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Author Archives: mom2qt

The Never-Ending List of Passwords

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Passwords

Your password must contain an uppercase letter, three numbers, a symbol, a lowercase letter, and your sanity. The struggle is real… Each time I sign up for an account, or create an online account to avoid the paper coming into my house, I have to get creative with my creation of a password. Each company has its own set of requirements as to what your username should be, how many characters your password is, what characters they will allow you to use.

So, the first tool of organization that I want to share is one I have been using for several years, and it is my password app. I used to be one of those bad people that kept a notebook on my desk at work with all my passwords in it. But, I kept the passwords in the very back, so who would think to look for them back there! These were just my work passwords though and as companies made it more complex to create passwords and to reset your passwords I decided it was time to try something new.

I use Keeper, and according to their website, “Keeper utilizes world-class security to safeguard your information from hackers and cyber criminals.” They also have some scary stats, and having had a couple accounts hacked before, I try to do everything possible to keep it from happening.

I typically try to use free or cheap apps, and when I first downloaded this one in 2015 it was $15/year but the price doubled in 2016 to $30/year. I hate paying that high of a fee, but I have everything already organized based on personal and work-related accounts. It would take me hours to change to something new. I have tried several free options and don’t find them to be as good as Keeper. I like that I can change the fields, create folders and subfolders, and it is super easy to copy the password and paste into the password field when I need it.

They also have the option to create a password for you. It creates those gobbledygook ones that you would never remember, but thanks to Keeper, you don’t have to! The app has a back up so if your phone crashes your passwords are still maintained in their super safe cloud. Their website offers white papers on security, so if you feel like reading more about how to stay safe, check it out.

Keeper also offers a family option for $60/year for up to 5 users. I just can’t bring myself to pay this much, so the hubby has to call me when he wants a password to an account.

As I mentioned, I would love to find a cheaper password app, but I am super picky now, so share with me what you use and help me save some money!

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Organizing My Life, or Trying To!

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Chaos

I have been told on numerous occasions by people that know me professionally that I am very organized and always put together. Obviously, these people don’t know the real me! My motto is a clean desk belongs to somebody that doesn’t have enough work to do! Try as I might, I can never keep a clean desk for more than a couple of days. Therefore, I am a super-busy person (or that is what I tell myself!).

In my personal life I have 4 email accounts, only the newest of which is semi-organized. When my prior email account gets full of spam I just open a new one. This hiding away of problem areas has become a theme in my life. If the counter is full of mail, just put it away in a drawer! When my pile of shoes tumbles over, just find something to stick them all in, and I will find time to organize it later. Only later never comes!

At the beginning of 2017 I decided I’d had enough and wanted to begin organizing my life more. I will admit I did better in 2017 then ever before, but my life is still very unorganized. For this reason, I thought I would begin to share some of the tools and resources I am using to organize my life, and hope that you will share some of your ideas with me!

Another area that I have been too unorganized to find time to deal with is this blog. It has been several years since I have blogged so I hope I can stay organized and find time to continue this. My hope is that by blogging it will keep me on task to find new ways to organize my life so I can write about them! I will share my first tool in a couple of days! Stay tuned!

 

 

Boy Decor 4: Grouping to Make an Impact

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I love the look of a child’s name on the wall of their bedroom. I was browsing through Hobby Lobby one day when I discovered these really cute metal signs with letters on them. I was sure they would be perfect over my son’s bed. I get home, put nails in the wall where I want them to be, hang them up, step back, and discover they are much smaller than I originally thought. They had no visual impact on the room, and actually looked quite awkward above the bed.

The letters purchased for above the bed.

The letters I purchased for above the bed turned out to be too small.

 

I left the letters there for a while as I was not sure exactly what I wanted to do. After a few months, I decided I needed to group the letters with something else. I had purchased an old frame for $2 from a local consignment shop. I painted the frame black and asked my husband to add some chicken wire to the back of it. I had found some other metal street signs at Hobby Lobby that I picked up. I then used wire and some small nails to create a grouping of the letters and the signs to hang on the frame.

I was very pleased with the end result, but I didn’t rehang it over the bed because I had found a picture on clearance that I really liked for above the bed. I took the grouping and hung it above the chest of drawers. It made a great addition to a very empty wall.

Grouping an old picture frame backed with chicken wire gave the letters a new perspective.

Grouping an old picture frame backed with chicken wire gave the letters a new perspective.

I have now started grouping things all over the house! By putting these pieces together they have much more of a visual impact than when they stood alone.

Boy Decor 3: The nightstand

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I was on the hunt for the perfect nightstand, however, all new ones were more than I wanted to spend. I hit the consignment shops knowing what I wanted to buy, and looking for the closest option that I could alter. For $20 I found this sturdy nightstand with drawers and it was the perfect height. It wasn’t the prettiest, but that is fixable!

The nightstand was purchased for $20 at a consignment shop.

The nightstand was purchased for $20 at a consignment shop.

My husband and I then took the drawer pulls off, patched the pull holes, and painted the entire thing black. I turned to Hobby Lobby again to find new drawer pulls. It is hard to find boyish drawer pulls as so many of them are crystal, flowers, or just have a girly appearance to them. I was able to find these pulls that resemble a finish line flag at races. The pulls add some fun and a pop to the solid black nightstand.

The knobs that were selected to replace the original drawer pulls.

The knobs that were selected to replace the original drawer pulls.

Then the product was finished and ready to put in place.

The finished nightstand.

The finished nightstand.

Boy Decor 2: Finding that starting piece

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After struggling with figuring out the best way to transition a baby boy room into a big boy room, we finally stumbled onto the starting piece at Hobby Lobby one day. My son saw, and fell in love with, these little characters that are made out of metal pieces, along with screws, nuts, bolts and more.

Metal figures available at Hobby Lobby.

Metal figures available at Hobby Lobby.

After a while, we began to build up a collection of these fun figures and needed to put them all on display. The great thing about Hobby Lobby is they put these on sale every few weeks, so even though they are affordable to start with, it is always nice to get them at half the price.

The display of our metal creatures.

The display of our metal creatures.

I found these floating shelves at Marshall’s and they were the perfect fit for our little creatures. They are off set on the wall with a bit of overlap to make them feel connected. I then added two other metal decorations to pull the wall all together. I am still debating on whether or not to repaint the wall a solid color, or leave it as it is. Would love to get your thoughts in the comments.

The complete display.

The complete display.

Boy Decor

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Boy Decor

Since the moment we found out we were getting a boy from our adoption I began the hunt for the perfect decor for a boy’s room. It is hard to believe that even just seven years ago, there were very few options for a boy’s room outside of trucks, sports, and animals. I looked all over, and finally settled on one set that was very simple with some stripes and circles in shades of brown.

After the bedding set was decided on, it was time to figure out the rest. I wanted to ensure the room decor would be something he could grow up in, at least for a few years. With this in mind, I began the work of choosing colors and a pattern for the large wall in his room because I wanted it to be a bit fun.

With some help from my sister-in-law, I was thrilled with the results of the room.

The baby room completed. Stay tuned for the transition to the boy room.

The baby room completed. Stay tuned for the transition to the boy room.

Now, seven years later, I have been struggling again to find the perfect pieces for his room to advance beyond the playroom/bedroom look. I have searched online only to find that many of the rooms are based on a theme and if your child is a lover of many things, a theme like these will only make them happy for so long. Don’t get me wrong, some of these themes are absolutely wonderful like nautical, gaming, skateboarding, team sports, racing, etc., but I don’t want to limit the design. My Pinterest board, Calester, will show you some of these amazing rooms that I have found.

I did decide on one theme though, it is a little generic, metal. I like the look of metal for a boys room and it doesn’t limit the design. You can find fun metal items all over and work to incorporate them into this look.

It is taking me quite some time to find the right pieces, and to get his room how I like it, so I thought I would share some of my ideas with others through a series of posts as I continue on my quest for the perfect boy room. I figure I will finally be happy with it by the time he goes to college!

Baseball Cuff Bracelet

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So I was wandering aimlessly around Pinterest the other day when I came across a pin showing a cuff-style bracelet made from a baseball.  Now it just so happens that my son plays baseball and I found the cutest baseball necklace to wear to his games at a local scrapbook store, so I decided I absolutely needed a baseball cuff bracelet!

One of my baseball cuff bracelets.

One of my baseball cuff bracelets.

I figured they would be difficult to make so I immediately went to Etsy to look for one to buy. I didn’t find any that I liked so I decided I would try to make my own. What I discovered is that the hardest part is deciding how to decorate it.

It really is easy, just follow these steps and then it is up to you to decide how to decorate it.

Step 1:

Purchase a baseball or two. If you want an antique look you can purchase an older one, or simply take one from the kids. Each ball will make two cuffs.

Step 2:

I used my seam ripper to rip out one of the seams all the way around the ball. Once you get one ripped out the other simply comes out as well. I went ahead and removed all the old threading, keep a trash can handy for this process. Peel both pieces off the ball and then you can give the inside to the kids to show what’s inside a baseball, or throw it away. (I got carried away and didn’t take a picture of this step after I separated the two. I was just too excited.)

Step 3:

I had some red embroidery floss in my scrapbook cabinet and pulled it out to use. You can buy it at any craft store and it is super cheap.

red floss

On my first one I used a needle and the floss and simply wrapped it around and through the holes.

Stitching

On the second one I sewed in and out of the holes to give it a stitched look. I just did this by hand with a larger needle that could accommodate the thickness of the embroidery floss.

Stitching 2

Other ideas to try for stitching:

  • Bakers twine (will want to get a good quality because the cheap stuff I had kept shriveling up)
  • Really thin ribbon, make sure to burn the edges so it doesn’t unravel.
  • Thin plastic ribbon that kids use for crafts (I really like this and will probably use it on a future one, not sure what it is called though.)
  • You could skip the stitching and hot glue pearls, sequins, ribbon or anything fun around the edge.

Step 4:

Add your clasps. I used a pony tail holder and a button. Simply sew them into two of the end holes. For the pony tail holder I made sure the loop that was being used was small enough that the button wouldn’t slip through. I also made sure to sew through the pony tail holder a few times to stabilize it so it wouldn’t slip through the threads. I used a baseball hat button for one cuff and a baseball glove button for another. I found my buttons at JoAnn’s Fabrics.

Pony tail holder used for one end of clasp.

Pony tail holder used for one end of clasp.

Baseball hat button used for one clasp.

Here is an image of what the underside will look like at this point.

underside

Step 5:

This is the most difficult part…deciding what to use for decorating your cuff. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a bunch of stuff. I had also ordered some Baseball Star Bottle Cap Images from Scrapbook.com. These bottle cap images are meant to be used inside the decorative bottle caps. You simply punch them out to the size you want (1″ for this project), glue it into the inside bottom of the cap, then add a 1″ epoxy sticker to the top.

Here are some of the items I purchased.

My stockpile of products purchased to decorate my cuffs.

My stockpile of products purchased to decorate my cuffs.

Step 6:

Once you have chosen your products you will have to decide how best to adhere them to your cuffs. Many of my items were self-adhesive so I just had to stick them on. I used super glue for the items that weren’t self-adhesive. For the brads I was able to punch a hole in the leather with a regular hole punch. For the large baseball in the middle of my blingy cuff I actually stuck it to paper first. It didn’t cover the entire cuff and I didn’t want other things to get stuck to it. I simply stuck it to paper, cut a around the baseball and then used super glue to stick it to the cuff.

Here are my almost finished cuffs.

My first cuff. I used brads on this and a bottle cap decoration.

My first cuff. I used brads on this and a bottle cap decoration.

My "blingy" cuff.

My “blingy” cuff.

The reason I say almost finished is because there is a Step 7 that I just haven’t completed yet.

Step 7:

Purchase felt in your preferred color. Lay your cuff flat on the felt and draw an outline around the cuff. Remove the cuff from the felt and cut inside the line you have drawn on your felt. You can cut as far in as you want if you plan to have some of the threading show on the underside. Then super glue the felt to the inside of your cuff and make sure all your threads are covered and that the glue is all around the edge. This will make the cuff more comfortable to wear and will also help in the prevention of thread fraying.

Good luck and I hope this helps you. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below.

Happy baseball season to all!

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