December 3rd, 2013

Finding Inspiration for Those Holiday To Dos

I’m really looking forward to the holiday season since this will be my first in my new house. Since we’ve moved in May, I’ve brought home only 2 kinds of books: decorating books and baking cookbooks.  It’s becoming a bit of an obsession.

While I’ve had good intentions on the decorating, I’ve only decided on half of the colors and painted only a quarter of the walls! (Anyone want to come paint my kitchen? Several gallons of paint are waiting for you.  I’ll provide you a cake.)

I can’t seem to resist checking out any cookbook that has a pretty cake on the cover. I enjoy baking from scratch, but since we moved, I haven’t baked anything more complicated than the Hershey’s Chocolate Cake. You can find the easy recipe on the back of the cocoa box. Sorry, Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson and Bake It Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock-Prado, you look awesome, but I think you’re getting bumped to my New Year’s resolution list.

That said, I am determined to do a few things around my house for the holidays (once I figure out where I packed that box of holiday decorations…)


- Check out Merry & Bright.  I thumb through this book each year, but this holiday I can actually decorate my own house!  Our new home’s mantle and chandelier are just begging to be decked.

- Plan our 4th annual holiday cookie decorating party.

- Get some tips from Cookie Swap by Julia M. Usher. She has a picture of an awesome 3-D cookie Christmas Tree.

- Come up with awesome prize ideas for the cookie swap.  This year I’m thinking I need something special for all of my guests to take home and I saw some good options in Best of Christmas Ideas. They don’t look too complicated YET. Check back with me on this in about a week.

- Wrap my presents NOT the day before we head out to see family.

- Paint my kitchen. (I’m not joking, if you paint it for me, I WILL bake and ice you a cake.)

Who knows if I can get all this done, but I’ll have fun browsing ideas and trying.  Checking out books from the library always helps me get in the spirit and find inspiration.  What holiday traditions will you make and improve upon this year?

January 9th, 2013

Rock, Paper, Clutter

CB007273Paper clutter is my enemy.  Every week a brown paper bag of paper recycling is on my curb and I wonder, “How can there be so much of it?” Then I think about all the different ways it sneaks into our homes: mailboxes, magazines, newsletters and memos… A recent clean out of my purse found expired coupons, a museum pamphlet and several bank deposit slips.  And don’t get me started on my desk, which might more suitably be called “paper dumping ground.”  With tax time approaching, I just don’t know where to start!

Each New Year, I have the best of intentions to become more organized, especially when it comes to paper clutter.  So, it makes perfect sense that January is the National Association of Professional Organizers’ Get Organized Month.

To help all of us tackle the dreaded paper clutter, Elkton Central Library is hosting a program with NAPO Professional Organizer Nettie Owens on Saturday, January 26th at 1pm.  Ms. Owens has been featured on TLC’s show Hoarders and will teach about creating sustainable methods for handling bills, catalogs, school papers and more.  This program is free and will share fun and useful ideas for dealing with those dreaded paper piles.  Sign up today by clicking here or by calling 410-996-5600 ext. 481.

What’s the biggest organizational challenge in your life?

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