Stuff I like

Hey there! I’m dug out from under the snow and all caught up with my knee exercises so I thought I’d give you ‘Stuff I Like’ part deux.

Who doesn’t like affordable products that make our lives easier? Not me! Last month I shared with you some products that I use on a regular basis that definitely fit the bill, and here are a few more I wanted to share with you.

A few years ago our daughter bought us some luggage and an organizer similar to this one was part of the set. At the time I didn’t really think I would have much use for it. Boy, was I wrong! I use it nearly every time I go grocery shopping (just did so yesterday), and pretty much each time I use it everyone wants to know where I got it, including the cashiers. It holds the equivalent of about three bags of groceries, and since it’s just the two of us more often than not it’s all I need. (In case you’re wondering, I shop more than 1x a week).

I’ve seen different versions on line, and they range anywhere from $15 up. Some, like this one, even have built in coolers. I believe the one we have was purchased via Red Envelope and it seems they’re currently out of stock, but they’re readily available on so many other web sites including Amazon you shouldn’t have a problem finding one to suit your needs.

Oh, and it doesn’t have to be just for groceries. It can organize pretty much anything. Cleaning supplies, emergency car repair items, toys…anything you want! You can google ‘car organizers’ and a ton of stuff should pop up.

car organizer





Don’t you hate it when you’re washing something and the water gets under the glove? Regular gloves don’t really do a good job of keeping your arms dry. They’re too short and too wide at the cuff. These solve that problem, and they’re on sale so hurry!

long gloves


Once again, this is something our daughter bought a few years ago for us and my first reaction was hummmm…kinda looks like a contraption. Wrong again. I love it. It runs on batteries and after about 5 years the batteries just ran out the other day. I can’t promise they all will last that long, but just thought I’d share that tidbit with you. 


can opener


I dislike ironing boards. They’re big. They’re clumsy. They take up way too much room. And I hate to iron. I try to buy clothes that need little to no ironing, but every once in a while it’s inevitable. So I just whip this out and  place it on my washer/dryer. Easy peasy.

For some things, you will need to use your big girl ironing board, but for touch ups this works just fine. 


ironing mat



I don’t receive any compensation if you click on any of these links. I’m just sharing them to help make things easier for you should you decide to check them out. Let me know if you’ve used any of these products, or if you have tried any you think would be even better.



Tips For A Flexible Pantry

Tackling the pantry is one of those projects that is so easy to neglect, but it gives such instant gratification it should be at the top of our to do list. There are no shortages of pantry makeovers on the internet, and in looking at them one thing is very clear: your pantry should be different than mine and everyone else’s.  A pantry for a family with three children, two dogs and a cat will need very different organization solutions than empty nesters. 

No matter what your needs are, there are a few solutions that almost everyone could and should utilize to make the most of whatever space they have.


Before we get to the storage solutions I recommend, the process for cleaning out your pantry is pretty straight forward.

Get Things Ready

This may sound obvious, but you’re going to want to take everything out of the pantry, so you need a place to put things. Whether it’s your kitchen counter or table, make sure you have space to organize things before you put them back. It will makes things so much easier.

Purge, Then Purge Again

Get rid of anything that has expired. If you don’t see an expiration date and it’s been there since before the Civil War, toss it. If it’s still edible but something you know you’re not going to use, be ruthless and give it away or toss it.

Organize As You Go

If space allows, place everything into categories as you take them out, i.e., pet food, pasta, soups, etc.

Wipe Down Shelves

As you can see, we emptied EVERYTHING out, including the shelves. Now would be a good time to take a good look at your empty pantry and revel in the emptiness.

organization of pantry

Now it’s time to think about what wasn’t working. Here’s a ‘before’:


Part of the problem was shelves that were not flexible and we weren’t utilizing the space efficiently. There’s a lot of wasted space. You may be wondering what that object is on the right against the wall? That’s actually something Fisherman put together to convert our 42″ round dining table to a table that can accommodate 8 people. That wood piece you see is on two corners and secured to the underside of the table. It’s the only way we can have an indoor sit down dinner for more than 4 people, but I’ve decided to get rid of it. It’s not entirely comfortable to use and if I want more people over I’ll do a buffet style, or we will eat on the deck weather permitting. Getting rid of it opens up that wall for storage, which is always a good thing.

Items that are used most often should be easily accessible and you should also consider weight and safety when planning where to put things. I always feel more comfortable with heavier items as close to the floor as possible. If you have children and/or pets, think about what you don’t want them to have access to and plan accordingly. 

After everything was cleared out, I painted the two walls on each side in a semi gloss white and covered the back wall in contact paper. I then painted the existing shelves in white and covered the front in a coordinating ribbon secured with tacks that I spray painted brown. 

The biggest change is the use of adjustable shelving. Needs can and do change, and I know this pantry will undergo some major changes in the future so I wanted to make sure we’re prepared. Most likely we will add at least one more shelf and do something on the right wall a little differently. I also plan to make better use of the inside of the doors.


I’ve seen pictures of heavy items like stand mixers placed on wire shelves. That always makes me nervous! I much prefer fixed, sturdy shelving for small appliances and heavier bowls. I was lucky that we had this cabinet at the rental that wasn’t really needed so we put it to good use here. If the height between shelves are being under utilized, get some risers. They can double your usable space and they’re not expensive. I’ve seen them in stainless which are a bit more expensive than plastic, but super sturdy and something to consider if you’re storing heavy items, but for most of us the plastic ones will be just fine.

I purchased the Lazy Susan at The Container Store and what I like most is it’s two tiered and the price was right!

pantry lazy susan

I recommend storing canned items one of two ways: either get some brackets that are actually designed for shoe shelves (they’re available at Home Depot/Lowe’s, etc.) and place a closet shelf upside down on it, or get risers so the cans in the back are higher than the front. 

I found these baskets at The Container Store on sale for $6 each and they’re the perfect size! I’m storing some things like paper bags, paper plates and cups and party goods…all items I don’t use often enough to give prime real estate to.


I’m sure you’re looking at this pantry and wondering if we ever eat! Don’t forget…this is a weekend place and I almost never cook while we’re here. We usually eat something simple for breakfast like oatmeal and for lunch I usually pick up prepared food before we leave and bring it up to the cabin. Dinner is almost always out. The pantry at our rental which is where we are most of the time , you can see here, (along with some great pantry organizing ideas)and here is where I talk about my view on kitchens and pantries (one of my first posts). Basically I mention it’s better to have a larger pantry and a smaller kitchen and I tell you why.

Check it out and leave a comment. Since it was one of my first posts it really could use some ;).

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Adorned From Above 

Stuff I Like

I’ve been thinking about starting a ‘Products I Love’ post for quite some time, and I guess the start of the new year is as good a time as any. I enjoy finding useful products that make my life easier and I’m pretty sure you do too so here goes.

(If you would like more info on each product, just click the ‘source’ under each pic.)

Fisherman calls these ‘Hamburger Helper’ gloves. :) True, they’re not pretty, but they’re soooooo much more practical than pot holders, which I’ve never been able to work with and I’ve got the burn marks to prove it. I usually just end up grabbing a dish towel, but these gloves will give you the dexterity you want and need when handling hot items. I have a pair at the rental and plan on getting another for the cabin. Right now they’re on sale for $13 (normally $19).

oven mitts


I’m sure you’ve seen these stools by now. I’ve had one for a while and recently bought two more which I keep at the cabin. They’re super lightweight, inexpensive (you can usually find one for less than $15), and really sturdy. I plan on having at least a few at the cabin, maybe two upstairs and one downstairs, if not more.  




My favorite feature about this stool is it folds flat and can be stored easily. Here’s the one I have at the rental, which I keep in a small base cabinet in the kitchen. (There are also options for taller stools if you need it.)


Have you tried fingerless gloves? A few weeks ago I purchased a few pairs made of boiled wool at a small shop not far from the cabin. I think they may have been made in Peru. I gave some to friends and kept two for myself which was a good thing because it didn’t take me long to lose a pair. :( I love how technology paves the way for new products to be invented. These are great for texting and feel better when driving than traditional gloves. The link leads to an Etsy shop, but you can find these almost anywhere.



Around 10 years ago I bought a pair of black suede boots that are fur lined with a nice heel, perfect for wearing with pants. You know how sometimes you don’t want to wear regular high heels because there’s snow on the ground but you’re going someplace nice and you don’t want to wear clunky boots either?

Well, for the last few years I’ve been looking to replace those boots because they’re showing their age. It wasn’t easy. I searched EVERYWHERE and almost gave up hope when I came across these via Pinterest. The picture led me to a site but they were sold out. Armed with the manufacturers name, I did a search and found them on Amazon. Even though they said it would take 4 weeks to receive them, I got them in 3 days!

I love them! The heel is just the right height, they’re rubberized on the bottom so they’re pretty safe to wear while walking on slippery surfaces, and they’re super warm.



They also come in a pretty camel color and you can also get them a bit higher on the calf if you want, but since I’ll mostly be wearing them with pants these were perfect.

I can’t say how often I will post about the new stuff I try. I don’t want to feel pressured to put up a post and buy something I don’t really want or need, but I will definitely share anything I feel is worthwhile as I find it.

What about you? Any cool products you’ve tried lately?


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                                                      Ivy & Elephants 




Flowers in ‘Vases’

I was taking a look at a lot of my pictures recently and something came to me. I realized I’ve become a tad obsessed with placing flowers in containers other than vases. Maybe it’s the idea of giving items a new purpose, or maybe I just like the unexpected from time to time, but I can’t help but look at an item and wonder ‘hummmm…would that work as a vase of some sort”?

Here’s some Flox that I placed in an antique coffee pot. (At least I think that’s what it is.) It’s perfect for holding flowers because it’s leak proof.




An old, light blue mason jar makes a simple but sweet container for some Black-Eyed Susans.


This past Spring I had more Peonies in the garden than ever before. I had fun finding various containers to house them in. Peonies are so beautiful, they elevate even the simplest of vessels. 


Here I mixed silk flowers with real peonies. This container isn’t leak proof, so I added a glass vase inside to hold the water. 


Here’s that metal coffee pot again, but this time it’s housing a silk sunflower.  As you’ll see, the antique jug has served its purpose well…



   Some silk flowers in a wooden bucket…


Since the same bucket is not leak proof, I placed a vase inside to hold these peonies. Any leak proof container will due. No one will see it.


This antique cradle makes an adorable container for flowers. This was one of my favorite finds in the Spring at a community tag sale, scored for only $8!


Confession time. I couldn’t keep these flowers in this container for long. It’s at the cabin and since we’re not there full time the flowers would have died for lack of watering, so for now it’s sitting on the porch, empty.

I’ve seen some truly unique items used as planters; a desk with its drawers used to hold plants, tires, even a car! Almost anything can be transformed with a little tweaking and ingenuity.

How about you? Do you stick with traditional vases or do you like to use to mix things up now and then?

I’ll be spending the weekend at one of my favorite places, Montauk, L.I. Our friends have a house there and we’re looking forward to seeing them and enjoying what’s supposed to be some lovely Fall weather. Tomorrow night we’re planning a bonfire on the beach and Saturday maybe a trip to a vineyard. 

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Cozy Little House

Why I Love My New Flash

When I first purchased my Rebel T3i in the Spring, everything I read and nearly everyone I spoke to said to never use the built in flash on the camera.

I have to agree the built in flash produces flat, lifeless photos, so I avoided it like the plague. But it made me wonder…then why would anyone actually buy a flash??

After getting my camera, I jumped right in and started shooting in Manual most of the time, with the exception of close up shots when I wanted a blurred background and then I would shoot in Aperture priority.

Things were going along pretty well…BUT…I couldn’t quite figure out how to avoid blown out windows.

If you shoot room settings, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, let me explain the challenge. If it’s daytime and you want to highlight, for example, a sofa in a living room, you need to set your exposure for the lighting surrounding the sofa. This causes whatever window may happen to be in the picture to be too bright and all the details are lost of whatever view you happen to have. Obviously, if you set your exposure for the window, the sofa will be too dark.

I learned recently that a flash (not the built in one) will help prevent this. All along I’ve been thinking ‘why would a flash be a good thing when the built in flash isn’t?’ I don’t have the answer to that, but I will tell you…it just IS!

A picture is truly worth a thousand words so I thought I would share a couple of pictures I took with and without the flash. The settings were exactly the same.  Shutter speed 1/13, Aperture 5 and ISO 200. The only thing that changed was the use of the flash.


flash camera



None of these pictures were edited in any way, shape or form. Without the flash, the colors on the left look ‘muddy’, while with it they’re far clearer.

Buying a flash has been the best $59+ I ever spent.

Well, if you don’t count the brand new GEN-U-IIINE Dolce & Gabana bag I got at a tag sale. 

I purchased my flash at Walmart. It was the only one they had and at $59, it’s one of the cheapest on the market that I’m aware of, AND you can get it for even less on Ebay.

If you have any tips you’ve learned along the way, especially for blown out areas such as windows,  I’d love it if you would share them!


How We Saved $5,000 On Our New Deck

You would think that having a deck built would be a fairly easy thing to do. Not in our world it seems. We started planning for a deck a year ago. Last November I started speaking to a contractor who had been recommended by a neighbor. We were excited about the fact that he said he could start the deck in May or June of this year, and his prices were unbeatable. There were a few red flags along the way, but you know how it is…when you’re anxious to do something you tend to ignore the obvious sometimes. Well, that got us nowhere, because in June, after 7 months of wasting our time, he told us he didn’t know when he could start and that we should find someone else. UGH!!

Which, thankfully, I did. We really wanted to be able to use the deck for at least a couple of months before winter settles in so we didn’t waste any time interviewing a few contractors.  I got three quotes and one was very low and the other two were fairly close to each other. As it turned out, the contractor with the low quote gave us a price without actually pricing out the materials. When he got around to doing so, his price actually turned out to be the highest of the three. 

Here’s how the negotiating process went and how we saved around $5,000. After receiving the three quotes, I asked each of the contractors what portion of the quote was labor and what portion was for materials. Two of them quoted us around $8,000 for labor and another $4,000. Then I asked them if they had a problem with us ordering the materials. None of them did, and since I had a good feeling about the contractor who had the lowest labor bid we went with him.  I had also seen his work at another house in the neighborhood and it was clear he knew his stuff. He seemed to really want the job and after the fiasco with the first contractor, that was important. 

Buying the materials yourself gives you control, and you know exactly how much things cost and you can compare prices with two or three retailers if you like. Also, contractors typically ‘build in’ hidden costs which may or may not be necessary in the end, but the homeowner pays for it anyway. If we had taken the original bid of labor+materials, we would have spent another $5,000. It’s a bit more work, but not much. In fact, in our case the contractor used his own account with the retailer which also saved us shipping charges. 

Here’s a sneak peak at the deck which was just finished yesterday! We had a small bench built with some leftover materials and we can also store some things inside like small cushions, charcoal, etc.

how to build a deck

I wanted part of the decking to be installed on an angle. I think this helps to designate the sections of the deck and helps break up the expanse.



 We wanted the tops of the railings to be functional, so we had regular boards installed there which are large enough to put a drink or small plate on.

how to save money building a deck

If you’ve been following along, you might remember I was undecided what material to use and I asked for opinions in this post. We ended up going with Trex, which surprisingly was a little less expensive than Home Depot’s composite brand, Veranda. An added bonus was Trex had a much better color match for the house. The decking goes almost perfectly with the siding, and we choose a darker color for the rail spindles to add a bit of contrast. It’s a basic deck, nothing fancy, but I’m soooo happy to finally have it.  It measures 12’x32′ which is just large enough for a table and an area to lounge in, and as happy as I am about the deck, I’m equally excited about the area underneath which will eventually be closed in and will function as a much needed storage area.

under deck storage

There are still lots of details to tend to. We need a table umbrella, chaise cushions, some electrical installed, the landing at the bottom of the steps needs to be finished, we need to stain the framing and get a new grill. Next year we’ll start to enclose the bottom part and maybe get the rest of the yard up to snuff. 


 I’ll post about it again when most of the details are done and, of course, come over anytime and see for yourself :).

The 15 Places We Forget To Clean

For those of you who don’t know, Fisherman and I have owned a residential cleaning business for nearly 14 years. I was motivated to write this post because of scenarios that come up time and time again without fail.

It goes something like this:

Me (to potential customer): Has your home been cleaned professionally within the last three months?

Customer: No, but I clean it regularly. It’s not dirty and it shouldn’t take them more than an hour or two at the most…

items missed when cleaning

Suffice it to say it does take more than an hour or two.

I don’t think people deliberately try to misrepresent what their home’s condition is really like. They just don’t realize there’s cleaning, and then there’s cleaning. Yes, they wipe down their stove top and counter tops, maybe even clean behind their toilet from time to time. But there are lots of areas that aren’t as easy to get to that need cleaning. Maybe not every week or even every month, but they do need some TLC every once in a while. 

The good news is, you don’t need a lot of time or special equipment to get the job done. Just a mild all-purpose cleaner, a little water, a duster and maybe a magic eraser and you’re good to go!

Have you checked these areas lately?

      1.  Base Boards:

I’d have to say this is the number one area that is often overlooked. Most of us (me included!) just don’t enjoy bending down to clean. Have you ever heard the term ‘strike zone cleaning’? It just means we tend to concentrate on the strike zone area to clean, and avoid over our heads and below our knees. Because baseboards are low to the ground, they accumulate lots of dust, and pretty quickly! Try to get to this area at least every two weeks. Hand wiping isn’t always necessary though. Just use a lambs wool duster and only hand wipe maybe once a month or so, depending on your particular needs and circumstances.  

       2.  Door Knobs:

Think about it for a minute. How many times a day do hands touch the doorknobs in your home? If you have a large family, the answer is A LOT! Clean these areas as often as you can.

        3.  Light Switches:

Stop reading right now and go take a look at your light switches. Did you notice they were looking a little worse for wear? Thought so. Get a damp rag and give them a quick wipe. Takes just a minute and they’ll look so much better and be more sanitary too.

        4.  Chair Legs:

Remember that strike zone? Well, guess what? Chair legs are pretty low to the ground and are often overlooked.

        5.  Under Couch Cushions:

If you have pets or small children, try to get to this area every two weeks. If not, once a month is perfect.

        6.  Behind Refrigerator:

This area is overlooked for obvious reasons. Who wants to move a refrigerator?? If you’re able to get to the back without moving it, just use a duster to remove some of the dust bunnies. If you have to move it, let’s face it, once a year is good enough in my book.

        7.  Lampshades and Bulbs:

Lampshades attract dust like honey attracts ants. Dust these at least every two weeks.

        8.  Grease Filters:

Make it easy on yourself. Put these in the dishwasher. If you cook a lot, do this every two weeks.

        9.  Picture Frames:

The tops of picture frames, especially if they’re hanging, get overlooked because we usually can’t see it. Take a few minutes once a month to tackle this job. Oh, and don’t forget to straighten them out when you’re done or I’ll have the picture police at your door (that would be me). 

      10.  Handles:

The handles on your oven, refrigerator, microwave and cabinets take a beating. Clean these weekly, or better yet, every day when you’re cleaning up after dinner.

      11.  Windows:

Here’s one area you don’t need to do too often, once or twice a year, depending on where you live, should be enough. 

      12.  Shelves:

A couple of times a year or more, take everything off your shelves and dust. While you’re at it, think about if you really need or even want the items you’re dusting. Now would be a great time to declutter!

      13.  Mats:

Just because you can’t always see how dirty your door mats are, trust me, they’re filthy. Wash the mats you can, and shake out the ones you can’t. Do this at least 3-4 times a year. Mats aren’t that expensive, so consider replacing them fairly regularly. 

      14.  Ridges on Cabinets:

If you have raised door panels on your kitchen cabinets, armoires, etc., lots of dust settles there. Use a duster regularly, and hand wipe at least every 6-8 weeks.

      15.   Under Beds and Furniture:

There’s that strike zone thing again! Vacuum if you’re able, but be careful you don’t nick the furniture! Use a lambs wool duster for areas a vacuum can’t reach.  Every 2 months should be enough for most homes, but if you have pets that shed you might need to up that a bit.

I know this list seems pretty long, doesn’t it? But I promise most of these things can be done in an afternoon or less. I’m a big believer in doing a little at a time so it doesn’t get overwhelming and you end up doing nothing. Has this happened to you?

I know there are other areas of the home that can be added also. Can you think of any?





Peony Envy & How To Care For Peonies

I LOVE peonies! It’s hard to imagine their delicate blooms are actually pretty hardy, and the plant itself lasts for generations. I only wish the actual blooms lasted longer, but did you know you could get peonies with varying blooming times so they can be enjoyed all season long?  I didn’t know that until recently, but I’m filing that little tidbit away for future reference.

I drove up to the cabin on Wednesday last week and on the way up I stopped at a few places and did a bit of damage at HomeGoods. ;). I spent a lot of time on Friday putzin’ around the house, trying peonies in various containers, some of which I had just purchased at HomeGoods and others I already had, but I think this is my favorite…




The relaxed and free form style of peonies lend themselves well to containers that are a bit rustic and less formal. Maybe a metal bucket, or a small barrel if you have one handy would be perfect. If you happen to have a container that isn’t waterproof, just put a regular vase inside of it and use that to hold the flowers. That’s what I did with the bucket and if I didn’t tell you would never have known.


Here’s a container that I also picked up at HomeGoods and did the same thing with. Some of the ‘flowers’ are silk that I bought at Michael’s on sale.


Both pitchers I picked up at HomeGoods. Told you I did some damage!

planters for peonies

 This vase was purchased at Ikea a few months ago and works well for blooms with long stems.


 Another little red pitcher, also purchased at HomeGoods.

caring for peonies

Peonies are easy to care for and despite neglect, can still produce beautiful blooms. I know, because I’ve done absolutely NOTHING to help them along and look at what I’ve got to show for it. Not bad,right? But I thought I’d send along some tips and pros and cons in case you want to try your hand at growing some.

The most popular type of peony is known as Herbaceous. There are also Tree Peonies, Intersectional Peonies and Woodland Herbaceous Peonies. I’ll be talking about the Herbaceous.


  1. They’re beautiful. Nuf said
  2. They need little care
  3. They’re deer proof! That’s super important because our cabin is smack dab in the middle of deer country. If you’re interested in some shade loving, deer proof plants, check out this post for lots of suggestions.
  4. They make beautiful cut flower arrangements.



  1. Ants love them. If you bring the full blooms into your home, you’ll most likely have ants. It’s best to cut them just before they bloom to avoid this.
  2. They need staking. I’m not a fan of how stakes look, but that’s just me.
  3. The blooming season doesn’t last long (just a few weeks)



Use fertilizer sparingly and keep fertilizer away from the crowns of the plants. Around 6″ to 18″ from the crown is a good place to add fertilizer.

During the first two years they need a good soaking at least once a week, especially if it is hot and there is no rain. Just be careful not to over water as they don’t like wet feet. 

After peonies blooms are spent, deadhead the stems to the first set of leaves.

If you would like more info about peonies, you can just Google it, or check out this site which I think has lots of good info. 

Do you love peonies as much as I do? What’s your favorite flower?

Two Easy Ways to Line a Boxed Cosmetic Pouch




Hey there! Hope you had a great weekend and got to spend Father’s Day with the special men in your life! We had a busy weekend. We brought a 10′ U-Haul up to Massachusetts filled to the brim with a large 46″ square cocktail table, two outdoor dining sets and two outdoor chaises, a leather chair, a small outdoor bar, a queen size captain’s bed and a small pantry cabinet.  I wasn’t sure everything would fit, but Fisherman can get an elephant in a phone booth (if he could fine one…the phone booth, not the elephant) and my step-son helped who seems to have inherited the packing gene.  So Saturday was spent packing and unpacking, but on Sunday I squeezed a few minutes out of the day for some sewing.

My latest obsession is little boxy pouches. They’re so darn cute and they have the added bonus of only needing a tiny amount of fabric so they’re a great way to use up all those fabric remnants.  A few weeks ago I showed you how to make an unlined pouch, but if you’re like me and you like having a pop of unexpected color when you open your bag, read on.

I’m not going to show you the entire process, because in both examples I used the same techniques I used for the unlined pouch, so you can check out that post in the links above and below for the step-by-step.

There is no one right way to line a pouch, but if you want fast and easy, you might want to try one of these methods.

Last week I made a cute little pouch and the way I lined it was simply by sewing two pieces of fabric, right sides together, making sure to leave an opening on one side about 2″ long and then turning the fabric right side out.

cosmetic pouch

Clip the corners as shown, and use something to push out the corners. I used the opposite end of a seam ripper. 

easy sewing techniques


You do not need to sew the openings, just press the seam allowance inside making it even with the rest of the fabric. It will all get sewn later.  So essentially what you have is a piece of fabric that is self lined. Now go ahead and follow the instructions here and you’re good to go.


sewing beginners


Here’s what it looked like when I was done. This method added about 20-30 minutes to the time it took to make the unlined pouch. The hardest part is making sure all four pieces are the same size, but take the time to get that right or you’ll end up with a lopsided pouch.

 boxed pouch


This next method I tried today and I think it’s my favorite, but I’m not 100% sure yet because I didn’t have the time to fully complete it. What I did was essentially make another bag using the lining fabric, but instead of installing a zipper in the top I just hemmed the top opening with the sewing machine. Then I fit it inside the pouch and started to hand sew it in place but didn’t have time to finish.

This method was super fast and if you use solid fabric as an added bonus you can turn it inside out and you won’t see any seams on the inside.  

lined cosmetic pouch

 I used pink ribbon for the pull tabs on this one. I think this one is my favorite! 



There’s another method for lining that involves using fusible fleece and calls for using a Serger. I have one, but it scares the bejeebies out of me. I’m going to have to put my big girl panties on and give it a whirl and report back. 

The 10 Commandments for Homeowners and Housecleaners



I guess as the owner of a cleaning service I suppose I’m in a unique position. I’ve seen things from both sides of the fence, both as a homeowner using a service or an individual, and as a business owner. I’ve experienced some behavior, both from homeowners and cleaners, that make me scratch my head and wonder what they’re thinking, or even if they’re thinking at all.

No one is immune from making mistakes. When all is said and done, the Golden Rule applies. If we all just treat everyone the way we would like to be treated, what a wonderful world this would be! (Now I can’t get that tune out of my head).

If you clean houses, take note. Here follows some of the pet peeves homeowners have about cleaners, and rightfully so. 

The Ten Commandments For Housecleaners


  1. Thou shalt let the homeowner know if damage occurs.
  2. Thou shalt not talk on the phone whilst cleaning, or worse, talk on the phone and not clean. 
  3. Thou shalt not use the homeowners microwave to heat up your lunch. You may disagree, but the smell of arroz con pollo is not enticing. And that three day old burrito? Don’t get me started.
  4. Thou shalt not move items and place them in a random place. No one likes to find their sneakers in the refrigerator.
  5. Thou shalt not unplug homeowners electronic devices.
  6. Thou shalt not use green abrasive sponges on delicate surfaces such as stainless or marble.
  7. Thou shalt not pretend you understand what homeowner is saying. ‘OK’ is not an acceptable answer to every question or comment.
  8. Thou shalt show up on the day you’re scheduled. If you’re not able to, thou shalt call.
  9. Thou shalt maintain a pleasant, professional attitude. Keep your personal life personal.
  10. Thou shalt not throw out anything that is not in the garbage pail. Thou shalt remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

In the interest of fairness, here we go…

 The Ten Commandments For Homeowners


  1. Thou shalt not cancel frequently, especially at the last minute. Thou shalt understand that the cleaners rely on the scheduled houses for their income. Whether you use a service or an individual, your spot is reserved for you and consequently other business may be turned away. A cancellation results in lost income that can never be recovered.
  2. Thou shalt treat cleaners with respect. Cleaning is hard work. Thou shalt be grateful there are individuals willing to clean our toilets. And while we’re on the subject, thou shalt remember to flush the toilet before the cleaner arrives.
  3. Thou shalt understand damage is not always the cleaners fault. Thou shalt not rush to judgment if you find something damaged. You have 6 kids under the age of 8, a Mastiff, a Great Dane and an armadillo. Maybe one of them scratched your wood floor? Just a thought.
  4. Thou shalt not constantly micromanage and follow the cleaners throughout the house. If you’re going to do that, perhaps you should save yourself some money and clean yourself. Clearly, you have the time.
  5. Thou shalt remember the cleaners for the holidays. A small gesture of appreciation goes a long way.
  6. Thou shalt remember cleaners are human and will make mistakes. Don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ll live longer and be infinitely happier. I promise.
  7. Thou shalt remember while it may take 10 minutes to put items back where they belong and yes, it’s annoying (see #4 above), it’s far better than taking 4 hours to clean yourself.
  8. Thou shalt be flexible with scheduling. Thou shalt understand factors occur that can influence arrival time, such as traffic, changes in the schedule due to a holiday week, customer cancellation (see #1) or employee absence.
  9. Thou shalt communicate any concerns or issues so they can be rectified. Cleaners and business owners are not mind readers, and a little communication goes a very long way and is very much appreciated.
  10. Thou shalt not add to the scope of work after agreeing on a price without understanding a price increase may be in order. Not cool.
  11. I’m breaking the rules and adding this one because, yeah, it’s important…Thou shalt not be nekkid and wait for the cleaners to enter your bedroom. That’s perverted and no one wants to see your shriveled hot dog. Unless of course you’re George Clooney, in which case I’m grabbing my wooly and I’ll be right over.

These ‘Commandments’ are in no way all inclusive, and I’m sure you can add a few to the lists (and please feel free to let us know your pet peeves) but they’re some of the issues I’ve experienced and have heard along the way that annoy others so I thought I’d share.


Partying At

Ivy and Elephants

Life on Lakeshore Drive





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