How to organize cluttered shelves

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When shelves are cluttered and disorganized, finding what you need can be time-consuming. By eliminating useless books and papers and leaving room for what you need, your shelves will be easier to use and more visually pleasing. If your shelves are just a pile of messy papers, books and odd things, it’s time to organize!

Keep in mind that when you’re clearing off the shelves, that you’re starting at the top, leaving the heaviest shelf on the bottom to anchor the shelf. It also helps to determine the use of the shelf. Is it only for books? Do you use it for CDs or DVDs? Is it something you use or is it more for looks?

1. Start by removing what is on the shelf one thing at a time. Is it something that can be thrown out, something you want to keep, or something that needs to stay on the shelf? Make piles as you go along for each category. I had one pile for garbage, one for things that I will put away in a box, and one for things that I use and will keep on the shelf.

2. Once the shelf is empty, you will need to stand the books, folders, and other things that you will be keeping on the shelf on their ends, starting with the largest first. This not only keeps the books from falling over, but it’s easier to find smaller things that way. You can also organize books and magazines alphabetically, or by category.

3. After all books are back on the shelf, you might need book ends to keep the books from falling over. One idea is to stack smaller or heavier books on the shelf to use as book ends.

4. Objects other than books can be stacked on the shelf, or placed in bins for more organization. Shoeboxes, plastic totes and tins can be used for storage.

5. Throw out the left over garbage and store away other things you plan to keep.

 

Easy Summertime Activities

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If you want to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air this summer, sitting in a lawn chair won’t keep your attention for long. There can be plenty of activities for kids, but what are you going to do? If you’re not looking to spend a lot of money for entertainment, you might be out of ideas for things to do. Below is a list of summertime activities that can be easy and cheap (or even free!). If you don’t live in a city where you have sidewalks or a lawn you can use, nearby parks are a great resource.

1. Events at parks – Check with your local park to see what events they have to offer. Many are cheap and even free. Lots of parks offer music, plays, games and other things to do for everyone.

2. Ride a bike – Enjoy the warmer weather by going for a bike ride. Parks can have trails for biking as well as walking and hiking.

3. Walk, hike or jog – Get out and spend time with mother nature on the trails, or simply just take a walk. If you’re the more active type, you might like to go for a run to stay active.

4. Swim – If there isn’t a nearby pool or lake you can use, visit your neighborhood park or beach. There’s no better time of year than the summer to take a dip!

5. Go to the park – Relax, have fun, play a game….the options are endless.

6. Pick up a hobby – Write, paint, draw, crafts. Hobbies don’t need to be costly or elaborate. A simple sketch book or journal is all it takes to start a new hobby.

7. Read – Outside on a blanket or in a lawn chair, your surroundings and a little fresh air make all the difference

8. Cookout/grill – Hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh veggies, you name it! Don’t let the summer pass you by without tasting delicious food on the grill!

 

Red, White and Blue Mason Jars

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Mason jars aren’t just for canning anymore. In the craft world they can be versatile. For this project I used three mason jars and a little creativity to make them into decorative red, white and blue vases. Like other projects I’ve done, you can change the colors, use different materials, and add your own patterns as you wish. Try mixing it up!

I decided to try a different style for each jar, rather than making matching jars. Start with clean, dry jars and make sure you cover your work surface using old newspaper or plastic.

Supplies:                                                                                                                                        IMG_1437

3 wide-mouth mason jars

paint or foam brushes

acrylic paint in red, white and blue

blue painter’s tape

glitter in red and white                                                                                                                                                                               IMG_1439

red, white, and blue striped streamers

red, white, and blue striped ribbon

Mod Podge matte or clear polyurethane matte varnish

sandpaper

artificial flowers

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For the white jar shown above, I painted the entire jar with 2 coats of white acrylic paint, letting each coat dry completely before applying the next coat.  Next, I used sandpaper to lightly sand the jar to make an “antiqued” look. To finish the look, I gave the jar a coat of Mod Podge Matte. I added red, white, and blue ribbon to the top of the jar and tied it in a bow.

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I decided to go for some fun and sparkles with the blue jar. First, I painted the jar with one coat blue paint and let it dry completely. To apply the glitter, I painted the second coat about 1/3 way up the jar and sprinkled it with glitter as I went along. I then painted another 1/3 up the jar and did the same with white glitter. Finally, I painted the top 1/3 of the jar. When the jar was completely dry, I shook off the excess glitter and painted the last coat with clear matte varnish.

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Instead of painting a stripe on the red jar, I decided to add a red, white and blue streamer. To do this, I used painter’s tape around the middle of the jar as a guide when I painted the jar with 2 coats of red acrylic paint. Then, I removed the tape and let the paint dry completely.

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The stripe I made was slightly wider then my streamer, so I added white paint to the edges of the stripe to cover up any clear space. Then, I used Mod Podge to glue the streamer to the jar. Finally, when everything was dry, I added a coat of Mod Podge to finish the look. Arrange the artificial flowers in the jars and you’re finished!

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Patriotic Painted Basket

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It’s time to show your red, white and blue! When I was looking for some easy crafts for summertime festivities, I came across the idea for this red, white, and blue painted basket at Michael’s. This didn’t take much time to paint or dry. I found the basket, bandannas, and star garland at The Dollar Tree.

This basket is perfect for chips or pretzels, or can be used for displaying napkins and plastic utensils. It’s both decorative and useful!

For my basket, I chose to omit white paint and to use just red and blue, leaving the color of the basket as “white”. You can use any combination of colors you like. I also used the weave of the basket as a guide to measure thickness of each stripe. You can paint several thin stripes, a few thick ones, or any combination. Be creative! The directions below are for the basket as shown. I used the star garland as a personal touch. Try experimenting with ribbon or other materials.

 

Supplies:                                                                                                                               IMG_1436

basket

red and blue acrylic paint

paint brush

red or blue bandannas

star garland

tape (optional)

 

Directions:

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Step 1:

I used a piece of aluminum foil and a paper plate for my paint palette. If it’s difficult to keep in the “lines”, use tape as a guide for your stripe. Squeeze paint onto your palette and paint a stripe in your first color.

 

 

 

Step 2:                                                                                                           

For my basket, I removed the tape and left the middle stripe plain for “white”.

Step 3:

Next, paint the third stripe the same width at the bottom of the basket.                        IMG_1446

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 4:                                                                                                                                                          

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After the paint dries, measure the garland so there’s enough to spiral around the top of the basket. Secure the garland at the top by wrapping one end through the top of the basket several times. It’s easiest to find spots in the basket where the weave is loose.

Step 5:

Spiral the garland around the top of the basket through areas where the weave is loose. Secure the end of the garland the same way and back in the same place where you started.

Step 6:

Place red or blue bandannas in the basket. Use the basket on any table as a decorative bowl for snacks!

 

 

Easy Homemade Popsicles

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What a better way to cool off on a hot day than an icy popsicle? Even better, a popsicle that you made yourself? Well, you don’t need any fancy ingredients for these two recipes and you can pick your favorite flavor! These are very simple recipes, don’t require much preparation. I chose these with hot days in mind! One recipe is shown using store-bought popsicle molds. The other recipe uses paper cups with a plastic spoon or wooden popsicle stick.

For this recipe, I chose cherry flavored Kool-Aid. You can use any flavor you like. Also, the amount of Kool-Aid and the number of popsicles you make is up to you!

Kool-Aid Popsicles

Ingredients and Tools:                                                                                                                         IMG_1418

Kool-Aid – any flavor

popsicle molds

pitcher

spoon

 

 

Directions:

Step 1: 

Mix up the Kool-Aid in the pitcher according to the package instructions. For the picture shown above, I made 1 quart of cherry flavored Kool-Aid. I had enough to fill each mold and a little left over.

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Step 2:

Fill each mold with Kool-Aid, leaving about 1/2″ at the top. Replace tops of the molds.

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Step 3: 

Place in freezer on a level surface and freeze for about 4 – 5 hours. Enjoy!

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For the next recipe, you can choose any flavor combination of pop and juice you like. Here, I used pineapple-orange juice and 7-Up for a citrus flavor. I also used 9 oz. paper cups. You may choose to use smaller cups to cut down on freezing time. The amount of ingredients you need also depends on the number and size of the popsicle.

Pop and Juice Popsicles

Ingredients and Tools:                                                                                                                             IMG_1395

Fruit Juice – flavor of your choice

Pop – flavor of your choice

baking pan or tray

aluminum foil

plastic spoons or wooden popsicle sticks

paper cups – 9 oz.

bowl

 

Directions:

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Step 1:

Measure out equal parts juice and pop. Mix them together in a bowl. Here I made 6 popsicles in 9 oz. cups. I mixed together 3 cups juice and 3 cups pop.

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Step 2:

Use a scoop or ladle to fill each cup with your liquid mixture. Leave about 1/2″ or more of room at the top.

 

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Step 3:

Gently tear pieces of aluminum foil large enough to fit over the top of each cup. Mold each piece over the top of each cup to create a guide for inserting the spoon. The aluminum foil will hold the wooden stick or plastic spoon in place until the liquid is frozen.

 

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Step 4:

If you are using plastic spoons, remove the aluminum foil from the cup and insert the handle of the plastic spoon up through the middle of the foil. If you are using wooden sticks, you can insert the wooden sticks through the middle of either the top or the bottom of the foil. Replace the foil with stick or spoon back onto the cup and into the liquid.

 

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Step 5:

Carefully place all filled cups with spoons or sticks on your tray or baking dish.  This is so you can carry the liquid-filled cups to the freezer. Also keep in mind that the tray or baking dish will need to fit into your freezer. Place the tray or dish in the freezer

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Step 6:

Allow the popsicles at least 5 – 6 hours to freeze for larger sizes. Once frozen, run warm water over the paper cup to remove the popsicle from the cup. Enjoy!

Paper Party Globes

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Colorful party decorations are a great way to liven up the appearance of any party. In my search for easy-to-make crafts, I found the ideas for these paper party globes at Jo-Anne Fabric and Craft Stores. I chose to make mine an array of different colors, while you can choose any colors you would like or festive colors for any holiday or occasion. I made 12 globes although you could make as many as you would like.

Supplies and Tools:                                                                                        IMG_1374
8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock – total of 12 sheets
brads – 24
paper trimmer
hole punch – standard medium size
decorative edge scissors
ribbon or cord for hanging the globes like a garland
ruler
pencil

 

 

Step 1: 

I used the paper trimmer to cut a 1/2″ piece from the long edge of the paper. From the piece I cut off, I saved a 2 3/4″ piece the I will use to make the loop that the globe hangs from.

Step 2:

I used a ruler and a pencil to mark 1″ x 8″ strips on the paper.

 

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Step 3:

For my project, I used two sheets of each color. For each sheet, I used a different pair of decorative scissors to cut out the 1″ x 8″ strips.

Step 4:

Next, I used the hole punch to punch a hole in each end of each strip, approximately 1/4″ in from the edge and centered. I also punched a hole in each end of the 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ strip for the loop.

 

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Step 5:

Take one brad and the small strip. Put the brad through one hole in the strip, loop the strip over the top of the brad, and put the same brad through the other hole, making a loop.

Step 6: 

With the same brad, put one end of each strip through the brad and fasten the brad.

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Step 7:

Take another brad and put it through the other end of each strip and fasten it. Fan out the strips to make a globe.

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Finishing up:

Repeat steps 1 – 7 until all globes are finished. Hang globes from a ribbon or cord to make a garland.

Welcome to Two Savvy Cents!

Hello Everyone! And welcome to my first blog post! This blog is intended to show you easy and inexpensive crafts, recipes, diy projects, and activities in and around the home! What does Two Savvy Cents mean? Well, it means this blog isn’t just my two cents, buy my two savvy cents on how to save money and have fun while cooking, baking, crafting, organizing, decorating, and enjoying yourself at home! Occasionally, I will include posts about nature and outdoors, two other things that I love!

As a freelance journalist, I was inspired to write a blog to pursue my writing and other hobbies all in one. At the same time, I can share what I do with others!

Some of my upcoming posts this season will include summertime party ideas such as decorating and recipes.

Are you someone who is on-the-go, on a budget, or looking for home ideas that are just quick and easy? Feel free to leave a message in the comment section if you have any thoughts or ideas. Check back in weekly for more posts!