Garden Thoughts

Gearing up for Spring, and dreaming of gardens and growing and harvest, reality comes crashing in and sets the tone.  That reality washed over me as I posted my recent activity in my garden journal.

I use an Excel spreadsheet to track what I plant and when and how it progresses, with notes to mark target dates, spacing and sunlight needs.  I use a new sheet for each garden year, copying the previous year and revising it to start the new season.

garden plot

Plot of garden spaces and containers, showing the sunlight by color

Distracted from this progress by a newly discovered idea, I had been engrossed in creating a garden plot on a separate sheet in the workbook and forgot to start my new tab.  Last night, I copied the tab – realizing that I was copying from the previously noted season of… 2011.

garden journal

Chart of plants and their needs with planting dates and progress notes, color coding left over from 2011

I’ve had a rough couple of years, and I was very aware of that fact.  I just hadn’t realized how drastically it had affected my garden plans until last night.

The past few months have been busy with bursts of organization, purging, and planning.  Activities that had been lacking for the most part during these years evidenced as missed tabs on my garden journal.

I was stirring last year, laying down a plot for a permanent garden, plotting about how to attract beneficial insects, and setting down ideas for permanent plants.  It’s time now.  Time to sink some roots.  Time to take hold of the time I have available and figure out how to do things I need to do.

Time to start gettin’ busy.




Partial Progress

It’s an oft-made mistake, to expect that a DIY construction project will be completed within the projected time frame.

And then there’s the extended time frame that occurs when said project goes on indefinite hold.

Definitely in limbo status, our kitchen project is now in its eighth month.  Since the kitchen has been extremely functional for the past five months, we’ve had no pressure to move it forward, along with little to no enthusiasm for the process.

But the project is nearly at the halfway mark, and it’s time to give an update ( since we’re beginning to feel compelled to get back to work):

This little portion of the project was an addition to the original plan.  The skillets had been planned for an under cabinet hanging mount installation (the corner is part of the unfinished business) in the corner cubby.

kitchen sink area

I was concerned about this plan, as I couldn’t satisfactorily determine the weight limits of the cabinet top I have planned.  I’d considered purchase of a wall mount iron rack to mount to the top of this window frame and I’d finally located a rack to match the measurements and was nearly ready to place my order.

kitchen skillet rack

Then it struck me that the best option for weight support would be between the two cabinets, with a closet rod for the rack.

kitchen skillet rack detail

A quick trip to the nearest hardware store and I’d found my skillet rack:  a metal closet rod, cut to the proper length, with closet rod mounts, and large (and hard to find) S-hooks with rubber tips for added safety.  The total cost was less than $40, with the S-hooks being the greater portion of the cost.  SCORE!

kitchen closed corner

In the corner cubby, I decided to pull one of the cabinet doors to leave an open cabinet.  I can’t decide if it’s a win, but it’s not been a loss.  Sometimes you just opt for so-so and call it good.  Seriously, it keeps the open cabinet door out of the work space and has spared a few head injuries.

Also, I installed the towel rack and utility rack.  The utility rack isn’t pretty, but it’s been one of the handiest options so far.  How nice to just grab what you need rather than opening a cabinet or drawer.

I’m not showing you the bottom portion of the corner, as that’s an incomplete part of the project.

kitchen open cabinet

Here’s the close-up of the open cabinet.  Part of the remaining project is to paint the cabinet interiors the pale green you see on the sink window sill.  It will add some depth and contrast.  In the meantime, this cabinet functions well and looks decent enough, with my obsessive use of glass containers.

kitchen end view

The impact is the new hardware and paint.  Hardware was chosen to match the faucet as I had no reason to change it out.

I chose a dark paint color for the bottom cabinets, trim and corner walls, to continue the dark line of the oven.  I chose a monochrome light color for the upper walls, trim,  and cabinets to give the illusion of space.

The floors will be dark laminate tile squares, while the ceiling will be white bead-board.

We opened the cabinet above the stove to allow easy access to cooking condiments, seasonings and spices.  The bonus is the exposed brick from an original stove chimney.  We’ll frame off the opening and give the brick a sealer coat to liven up the color.

dining room view

The dining room has returned to its normal state (and left with its own unfinished projects, lol).  We live here and it’s evident.

Here’s a quick summary of what we have left to complete in the kitchen:

  • Floor tiles and trim
  • Ceiling bead-board and trim
  • Interior cabinet paint
  • Frame off brick chimney
  • Install corner cubby counter top and shelving
  • Hang iron shelf over microwave cart
  • Create mini pantry in basement door cubby

There’s where we are, with a practical approach project and a work in progress kitchen.

Dreamin’ Girl

Basic Organization Outline


NOTE:  P4s – here it is – this is your guide.  Take it and run and get organized!  Please come back and share your successes with us.

This is the structure we’ll follow.  Read it through and mentally prepare yourself.  Bookmark the page because we’re going to follow these basics for every single space we organize.

Organizing, especially whole home organization, is a very intense process – it will be almost as unsettling as the process of moving to another home. The following facts and tips will help to prepare you for the tasks you are about to undertake.

Important Tip:  It’s best to tackle one area of the home at a time. Think about which areas are causing you the most problems and start with them – reference your first task and make a list.

NOTE: I recommend that you only focus on one room a month or even every two months, so that you can adjust and refine the area you’ve organized before moving to the next area. Also, plan to spend two full days for each room you organize8 hours each day fully dedicated to the process (two motivated people can handle the job in one 8-hour day).

Prior to the start of the organizing process, you will need to assign a “holding” location for all items that will be labeled least used. These items will be sorted at the end of your home organization project, so plan for it to be long-term storage space if you’re working on your whole home.

Determine your target area – the space/room which most needs your attention – you’ve done this with your list.

Find your work area – an area large enough to temporarily contain all of the items you are going to remove and sort from your target area.

Now you are ready to begin the process of organizing. For each targeted area of organization (each item on your list), you will do the following:

1 –  Assemble three boxes and a trash receptacle. The boxes are for:

      • Relocate – least used items for this space, future sort projects to determine where and if they belong
      • Relocate – often used, but boxed to move to more efficient location(s)
      • Give Away – find pleasure in parting with this box
      • Trash

2 –  Assign imaginary “rooms” in your work area (from above – a cleared space large enough for the contents of your target space) for your following categories:

      • Return to target area – it’s a keeper and it belongs here
      • Relocate to other areas of the home more appropriate for items – it would function much better in another space
      • Relocate to “holding” area for final sort – you need more time to consider how to categorize these items
      • Give away – to your favorite source
      • Trash – yep, kick that crap to the curb

3 –  All items in the target area will be removed – sorting by the above categories and quick-sorting all items returning to the target area by item type as you go. This is a quick sort and will be refined during the final steps.

4 –  Make quick decisions on your items – be realistic:

      • do you really need this item?
      • will this item be better used by someone else?
      • why are you keeping this item which holds negative emotions?
      • has this item seen better days?
      • can this item be very easily and affordably replaced should you ever find the need for it (speaking of those things we keep around just in case we ever need them)?

5 –  Once all items are removed from target area, quickly clean target area

6 –  Assign locations for items which will return to target area. Think this out a bit – put your most used items in the most easily/comfortably accessed locations. Those things that don’t get used as often can be placed into less easily accessed spaces.

For instance, in a bedroom, those pretty perfume bottles might be best kept in a fancy tray on top of your dresser, while your nail polish accessories would be better kept in a travel suitcase tucked into the closet.  Think things through in similar manner.

7 –  Move your chosen (and hopefully greatly reduced) items to target area

8 –  Use temporary labels to help all family members adjust to new item locations

9 –  Quickly move those “Relocate – Often Used” box/items to their new proper and most applicable locations/rooms

10 –  Store those “Relocate – Least Used” box/items in your assigned “holding” location

11 –  You’ve done it!  Pat yourself on the back.  Sit down and admire your newly organized space.

Important tip:  Remember to give yourself time to adjust, and to get used to maintaining your newly organized space – and maintenance means that everything has its assigned space and everything must return to its place.  Start your routine and stick with it to keep this space organized.

The change will be unsettling for at least a few weeks as you and your family adjust to the newly organized areas. An oft-repeated organizing theory: It takes 21 days to learn a new habit. So be prepared for the habit of being organized to take several weeks to become “natural” – stick to it, you can do it!

Move on to the next space when you are ready – saving that “holding” location for the last. Be ruthless when you get to the “holding” location – and remember that these items could be using up valuable space and keeping you emotionally bound to material objects.


You are well on your way. As you maintain your organized areas, keep these tips in mind:

    1. Incoming should equal Outgoing (with the exception of food items).
    2. Make a game of it – buy something new – purge something old.
    3. Remember to keep your most used items within reach – utilize your spaces to best suit your needs.
    4. There is always room for improvement. Regular maintenance and custom fitting for life changes is recommended. This is best accomplished with the help of a motivational friend – and can be reciprocated.


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