Summer Spring Clean

Home organisation can make day-to-day activities and tasks more efficient, more convenient, and more enjoyable. Organising your home doesn’t have to be strenuous or time-consuming! It’s simply a case of tackling a little at a time to create a fresh, clean, and relaxed living environment.

Organise My Home!

If you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, you’re certainly not alone. Sometimes, life can seem to get away from us as we try to create a healthy balance between work, household chores, family time, and social activities. Every so often, you may just need to take some time out to organise your life and get back on track, and home organisation is a great place to start regaining control.

Organising the home is really a combination of tidying, de-cluttering, cleaning, and freshening up all areas. Regardless of whether you have a large or small home, the prospect of home organisation can seem downright terrifying, but we’ve got some tips to help you not only make a start, but also maintain this level of organisation long term.

An Organised Home: Room by Room

The absolute best way to tackle home organisation is to look at each room separately, rather than looking at the entire home in one go. Breaking home organisation up into manageable chunks not only keeps things simple, but it also boosts motivation as results are seen quicker than if many rooms are tackled at once.

Kitchen

  • Go through your refrigerator and food cupboards. Throw out anything that is beyond its use-by date, and donate anything you don’t anticipate using to a local food bank.
  • Recycle any cardboard or other packaging that has been lying around. It’s so easy to leave empty packets or cartons around without realising it!
  • Make sure everything has a place. Frequently used items should be easily accessible, and those items that are used infrequently can be packed neatly away in a cupboard.
  • If something doesn’t have a place, give it a place! Consider installing shelves or other storage solutions.
  • Use plastic containers to store food rather than keeping leftovers in open packets. Not only will these keep food fresher, it will also reduce the risk of spills.
  • If you’ve got a number of small appliances that you don’t use very often, store them in the attic or garage, or give them away if you really don’t need them.

Bathroom

  • Clean out the medicine cabinet, throwing out any medicines that are beyond their use-by dates, as these could be ineffective or even dangerous to use.
  • Implement systems and storage solutions in the bathroom for toiletries, cosmetics, and towels. Don’t leave things lying around.
  • Find gorgeous Laundry baskets here.

Living Room

  • De-clutter the floor and any surfaces so that they’re clear, moving anything that doesn’t belong in the living room to its correct area in the home.
  • Consider media storage for safely and securely housing DVDs and CDs. Tall media shelving accommodates many items while taking up limited space.
  • Add visually appealing storage solutions that you don’t mind being out on display, such as floating shelves and decorative baskets.
  • Vacuum all over, including the curtains, and then open the windows to air the room out. This will make the room feel fresh, and instantly more appealing.

Kids’ Rooms

  • Storage, storage, and more storage! Plastic boxes, wooden toy boxes, wall-hanging pockets – use whatever you can get your hands on to help keep your child’s room clean and tidy!
  • Keep similar items together – for example, group all toy cars in one place, or put all the dolls together. This makes them easy to find, but also gives them a place they belong.
  • Encourage kids to use drawers and wardrobes for clothes, rather than the floor.
  • If the amount of toys is simply too much for the room, operate a rotation system, keeping half of the toys in a storage container in the attic or garage for a month, then swapping them out for the ‘current’ toys. Kids love it – it’s like getting a whole new toy box!Source: http://www.cleanipedia.co.za/

storage idea

Make Your Own Detergents

Gentle scouring cream
1/2 cup baking soda
Liquid soap
18 drops essential oil

Add essential oils to baking soda and blend. Next, incorporate the liquid soap, several drops at a time, until a creamy paste forms.

Window cleaner
2 cups water
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon liquid soap
36 drops essential oil

Wooden furniture polishing oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon jojoba oil
10 drops lemon essential oil

Carpet deodorsing powder
1 cup baking soda
18 drops essential oil

Carpet cleaner
1 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap
18 drops essential oil

Microwave cleaner
It’s easy to clean baked-on food and spills from you microwave! Partially fill a measuring jug or coffee cup with water and add a slice of lemon. Boil the water for a minute, and then leave the door closed and let the steam loosen the mess. After 10 minutes, open the door and wipe away the grease.

Restore the shine to a roasting pan
Mix bicarbonate soda and distilled white vinegar into a thick paste. Apply to the stain with a kitchen cloth and scrub in a circular motion, adding more vinegar if the paste becomes too dry. It does take time, but the results are more than rewarding. Follow with a rinse in warm water and towel dry.

Remove coffee and tea stains from cups
Squeeze a wedge of lemon into the cup and fill with boiling water. Leave to soak overnight, then empty. Wrap a damp cloth around your finger, dip it into some sodium bicarbonate and rub the stains in a circular motion.

Deodorise your dishwasher
Cut a lemon in half, remove the pips and skewer the cut side of each portion onto the spikes of the upper plate rack or place in a muslin or cotton bag. Once the cycle is finished, remove the lemon halves and admire the miracle of citric acid at work. The same process done once a month – without dishes – will help to keep your dishwasher fresh.  Fighter

Remove rust from kitchen utensils
Happy campers will know that sometimes utensils will get slightly rusty. To remove rust from knives or other kitchen utensils, stick them in an onion for about an hour. Move the blade back and forth to help the onion juice do its work.

Old toothbrushes for cleaning
Don’t throw away your old toothbrush, use it to get into small areas for cleaning. Use around bathroom taps to remove built up grime. Clean tile grout with a paste of sodium bicarbonate and refresh and whiten.

Keep old sock for a cleaning mit
Great for occasional dusting around the house. Pop your hand into the sock and wipe away dust from large surfaces. Also great for dusting delicate items – hold it in your hand while you dust. Use for dusting Venetian – wood and aluminum blinds.

Air freshener
Don’t fill the air in the your home with chemicals. Making your own room freshener is a breeze. Use the juice of three lemons and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and fill with water. For a longer lasting spray, add several drops of lemon essential oil to a bottle of distilled water.

Non-toxic cleaner for nursery
Make an anti-bacterial spray with grapefruit seed extract (available at health food stores). It’s a safe and effective way to sterilise toys, change areas and just about anywhere your little ones can get their hands on. Add 1/2 cup of grapefruit seed extract to 500ml of warm water and place in a spray bottle. Make a fresh batch every time you wish to clean!

Written by Janice Andersen at www.homedzine.co.za 

 

 

Festive Cheer

Here are some fabulous festive ideas to try at home these holidays.

Reindeer Cookies

I came across this recipe for reindeer cookies and thought they were so cute!  

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter (room temperature)

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 egg

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate-covered mini pretzels

Mini brown M&Ms

Regular-sized red M&Ms

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat until just blended.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.

Form dough into 3cm balls. To make reindeer-shaped cookies, pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point, then gently flatten with your hand. Space cookies about 4cm apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until set or just beginning to brown.

Remove from oven and immediately (and gently) press two mini pretzels into the tops of the cookies for the reindeer’s antlers. Press two mini brown M&Ms in for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose (or any other colour… some of mine ended up with green noses. They might be South Pole reindeer.).

Allow to cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel to cool completely.

Makes about 40 reindeer cookies.

Source: Peanut butter cookie recipe from Jif.

source: http://www.designlinesltd.com/

Hang Decorations from a Stylish Floating Branch

Christmas Tree Napkins

Candy Cane Place Setting Name Holder

Image Source

 Rustic Santa Logs

Find affordable festive items at our online store. Click the image below.

festive decor

 

Decorating Tips for your Home

Think you don’t know how to decorate? Well here are a few easy to use tips to transform your home. You will be amazed how simple tips can make a huge difference in your living spaces.

Pile On the Pillows

One pair of pillows can look a bit plain. Use two pairs, in contrasting patterns, colours, and textures to liven up your living space.

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Tuck In Your Throws

Keep throws under control. Fold them lengthwise, then in half, then tuck them behind your cushions. This will add texture and a pop of colour.

Leave Cabinets Open

An open armoire is more interesting than a closed one. Let people into your secret world by displaying collectables and glassware.

Create a focal point.

Choose a striking piece of art or a large vase of flowers and make it the focal point to anchor a room. Allow other items to take a secondary role.

Plants Cheer Up a Lonely Corner

Nothing softens a lonely corner in a big room or the mantle above the fireplace like a potted plant.

http://mrp.scene7.com/is/image/MRP/03_3251511561_SI_00?$atg-viewer-LargeView$

Vary the scale.

Too many large items or too many small items grouped together does not work. Create interest by grouping various items together into a visual story.

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Use a Real Rug in the Bathroom

Use a rug instead of a bath mat. This will make your bathroom warm an inviting.

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Edit your collectibles

Don’t hang on to a piece that just doesn’t fit. Even if it has significant sentimental value, you are not obliged to display it all the time.

Be bold

Personality is what makes a space great. Make your own statement and have fun. The more you try, the more you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t.

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Tips on Hanging Curtains

Tips on hanging curtains

For many a young homeowners hanging curtains is not as easy as it appears, especially if you also have to mount a curtain rod or track. It’s important to measure up so that curtains completely cover windows and also add extra character and texture to a room. Here are some tips on hanging curtains…

curtains

How to hang curtains or drapes

Take a look at home interiors and you will immediately notice that curtains make a big impact on a room. You can use something as simple as curtains to introduce colour, pattern and texture all in one.

Curtains are also a way to give the illusion of width, lower a high ceiling or visually widen a window.

Curtains are an interior decorator’s magic wand for turning a so-so space into a beautifully decorated interior.

sheet street curtains

how to hang curtains or drapes window treatments

Measuring up for curtains

Before you start measuring up for curtains you need to have an idea in mind for how you want the curtains to be mounted.

You have the option of mounting a curtain rod or track just above a window (normally 15cm above the top of the window), or placing it higher up if you want to visually add height to a window. You will often see curtain rods or tracks mounted as high as possible in a room that has a low ceiling. Additionally, if you are mounting curtains in a double-volume space, raising the height of the rail will make the ceiling appear closer.

However, bear in mind that ready-made curtains only come in standard lengths and anything longer or wider will have to be custom made.

Use a retractable steel tape measure for measuring up the width and height of a window. It’s much easier to hang from a rod or suspend the tape measure where you want the curtains to hang from.

Measure the width

measure width of windowTake into consideration the length of the curtain rail or track, or how long the rail or track needs to be, bearing in mind that the rail or track should be wider than the window to allow for curtains to be open and placed at either side.

A distance of 30cm is usually sufficient, but if you are looking to visually increase the width of the window you will need to allow extra space at the sides, around 4 to 5cm is sufficient.

GOOD TO KNOW

Your choice of hanging will determine the total amount of fabric required for making up or buying ready-made curtain panels.

Pencil Pleats X 1.8 or X 2 for fuller width

Tab top X 1.5

Eyelets X 1.5 or X 2 for fuller width

Generous X 4

Add an extra 3cm to the total width if you want the curtains to overlap at the centre once hung.

Determine the number of panels (drops) that you need for a particular window by multiplying according to the heading you will be adding – or divide by the number of ready-made drops you need. In most cases when having curtains made to order you will simply provide the width and height of a window and the calculations will be done for you.

If you are making your own curtains, allow extra fabric for side hems.

Measure the height (or drop)

measure height of windowOnce you’ve decided how long the curtains need to be you can measure from the top of the rail or track, or where the  rail or track will be mounted, to the required length.

Since not all window frames are level, measure the height at the sides and centre.

You can hang curtains that have a 1 or 2cm gap, touch the floor, or have extra length if you want curtains to pool on the floor – usually about an extra 3cm is sufficient.

When buying ready made curtains, the total length includes the header, but when making your own curtains allow at least 30cm extra on the top and bottom for heading and hems.

GOOD TO KNOW

If you have installed or are installing a decorative rod and would like this to show, measure the height from the bottom of the rod, allowing for the type of hanging you will use. Some curtain rings and clips are larger than others, so you will need to know in advance the type you will be using.

Dressing up

Shop around for decorative rods, finials and accessories to add a finishing touch and a dash of glam to your window treatments. Simply by adding a decorative finial you can create a feature or frame a beautiful view.

Tiebacks are another way to dress up a plain window treatment and also help to let in a lot more natural light when curtains are fastened to the sides.

- See more here

 

Indoor Winter Fun

Winter doesn’t have to be boring. When you see your little ones staring out the window longing to play outside you can save the day by encouraging creative play inside. Children love nothing more than engaging with their parents in creative activities and it is not all fun and games either. Creative activities actually stimulate parts of the brain responsible for critical thinking skills such as organisation and mathematics.

Dollarphotoclub_63032507sm

Here are some fun ideas and great resources for little hands

Olaf The Snowman

craft for kids

Frozen fun

To make the miniature Olaf, you can use  any self drying clay to form his head and body. Before the pieces dry add his arms and hair using thin black cord. Alternatively you can use sticks or painted toothpicks. Use small pieces of wooden toothpicks to attach the head to the mid section and body, and secure each with a little drop of  glue. For the final touches add stiff orange felt for the nose, tiny black buttons, and googly eyes attached with glue. Once dry brush areas with craft glue and dust him with white sugar to complete the snowy look.

Find more Frozen Theme party ideas here

Magic Snow

This amazing faux snow It is naturally cold, making it really realistic.  It is fluffy and powdery and clean smelling and AMAZING!  You also only need TWO INGREDIENTS to make it ; baking soda and shaving cream -two things most people already have on hand!To make your own Snow:
Add the desired amount of baking soda to a container.  Then, slowly mix in shaving cream.  I used one large box of baking soda and almost a full can of shaving foam.  As you slowly mix in the shaving cream you will discover a fantastic mold-able snow.  The snow is super soft, silky smooth.  It feels just like fresh fallen powder in your hands.

Playing with the snow just like this is LOTS of FUN!  You can add glitter just for fun but it isn’t necessary of course.
snow recipe

Drop a few snowballs in a bowl of vinegar to make a snow avalanche and huge snow ERUPTIONS!

See more fun ideas here

Snowman Cupcakes 
These adorable snowman cupcakes are low fat, easy to make and they are a hit with the kids!

To make the face use Jellybeans, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and some coloured sprinkles. The cupcake itself can be made from any store bought cake mix if you aren’t an expert baker.

You can make your cupcakes low fat but replacing the oil in the recipe with equal parts of low fat yoghurt, egg whites and water.

For the vanilla icing mix some powdered sugar with a little melted butter and some water. These cupcakes don’t use a lot of icing, less than a tablespoon on each. If you plan on making them into snowmen, work quickly putting the candy on or the frosting will harden.

 

Autumn Soup and Craft

Leaf Creatures

katjaenseling.com

Take advantage of our short Autumn season by recreating these cute creatures with leaves you find in your garden or in the park. The kids will love spending time with you adding life and personality to the flora.

Lasagne Soup

After your family craft session you can score points by cooking this warm hearty lasagne soup that the whole family will adore:

Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup with Chicken and Mushrooms - afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Ingredients:

for the lasagna soup:

  • 1.5kg boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, with breasts cut into chunks
  • 3 roughly chopped onions
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1  can tomato sauce
  • 2 to 3 T. tomato paste, to taste
  • 1 to 3 T. brown sugar, to taste
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

to finish the soup:

  • 1 packet of fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • additional salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • freshly shaved Parmesan, optional

Preparation:

* Please note that this recipe makes a large batch of soup. You will need a large slow cooker.

Add chicken pieces to slow cooker. Then add lasagna soup ingredients, onions through salt and pepper. Stir gently to incorporate, cover, and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, until chicken is cooked and tender. Remove chicken pieces to a cutting board and chop into bite sized pieces, or use two forks to shred. Return chicken back to slow cooker. Taste and then season with additional salt and black pepper if needed.

About 20 minutes prior to serving, cook the pasta in a pot on the stove top. Add pasta to a pot of boiling water with 1 tablespoon of salt added. Cook just until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain, return pasta to pot, and cover to keep warm.

To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls. Stir in some of the pasta and fresh basil. Top with fresh mozzarella cubes. Finish with freshly ground black pepper and fresh Parmesan, if desired. Serve with warm fresh bread.

source: a farmgirl’s dabbles (Adapted for a South African audience)

Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup with Chicken and Mushrooms - afarmgirlsdabbles.com

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

Easter is coming up and what better way to celebrate with your family than enjoying a lunch that has a fun and healthy story behind it. Artificial colours are extremely bad for us, particularly children, so here is an alternative. Grab the kids and dye some eggs that can be peeled open and enjoyed by all.

You will need some mason jars or glasses, boiled eggs (white ones if possible), water, salt, vinegar and any of the colourful ingredients listed below.

The uniqueness of each egg and the length of time the eggs are in the dye produce a variety of designs.

Colored eggs and blueberry-stained, chubby fingers…is there anything better?

organic food coloring

Each ingredient is boiled in a small pot for about 10 minutes with the salt.  Then you pour the liquid dye into mason jars and add vinegar and the hard boiled eggs. You can dye them for a couple of hours or leave them overnight.  The most vibrant colors were from the cabbage, blueberries and turmeric.

Even though it can take a while, it is fun, and if you are planning on eating the eggs, wouldn’t you rather have some beets or spinach seep into your egg instead of artificial colors?

To dye your eggs BLUE:040112_002
-2 cups chopped purple cabbage
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs GREY-BLUE:
-2-3 cups blueberries
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs PINK:
-1 beet, chopped
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs BROWN:
-2 cups of strongly brewed coffee
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs ORANGE:
-1-2 tablespoons paprika
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs YELLOW:
-1-2 tablespoons turmeric
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

To dye your eggs GREEN:
-3 cups chopped spinach
-2 cups water
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon vinegar

source: kaleyann.com

 

Love is in the Air

Valentines day is fast approaching and it is a good opportunity to spread love not only with your better half but also with friends and family. Why not get the kids involved in creating some of these charming treats and cards this Valentine’s day.

Make a envelope heart

Write a love note and put it inside. Once you are done wrap a ribbon around it and pop it in somebody special’s lunchbox.

Heart envelope www.diy-enthusiasts.com

Heart Garland Having a valentines dance at school or a romantic evening at home and need a little decor? Create these easy to do heart garlands to hang over the mantle or above the entrance of the school hall.

www.diy-enthusiasts.com

Heart garland www.diy-enthusiasts.com

Strawberry Oreos Make these yummy treats for classmates or work colleagues to celebrate the day.

Strawberry Oreos

Ingredients:
Cookies: 1 package of strawberry cake mix, 2 eggs 3/4 cup of shortening
Frosting: 1 tub cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 stick of butter, softened 2 tsp. vanilla 4 c. powdered sugar

Instructions: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix together strawberry cake mix, eggs and shortening until well combined. The dough will be pretty thick. Roll dough into balls, making sure they are all similar in size. Place dough onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies to a cooking rack. Mix together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread onto cooled cookies and sandwich together. *Makes 12-15 cookies after they are sandwiched together

Valentines Bunting We all love bunting right?! Valentines day offers the perfect opportunity to create this gorgeous wall candy which is a perfect touch to the perfect day.

bunting

We love bunting

source: yesterdayontuesday.com/