Homemade Christmas: Marker Roll up for Under $10

This year, I decided to take advantage of my new-found space and ability to craft and make a lot of the presents for our family’s Christmas.  The Fiance took me to Craft store on Saturday and let me play in the Fabric remnant section as well as re-stock a lot of my adhesives and other fun stuff.  I just can’t say enough what a good man I’ve got.  🙂

I sat down last night after The Monkey was in bed and made her a Marker Roll-Up.   It’s similar to the Crayon Roll-ups I’m sure you’ve seen tutorials for.  I just adjusted the measurements a little because instead of 16, or even 24 crayons – the package of markers I used contained 30 markers.  I ended up with 31 pockets because I am FANTASTIC at Math. hehe.   So – she’s got a 30-marker-plus-1-pencil-roll-up!  I’m just gonna pass that off as intentional. 😉

Marker Roll Up - Under 1 hour, under $10!  http://www.themadminx.com

The process really wasn’t that hard.  My fabric was 40″, so I kind of went from there.  I measured the markers, which were 8 inches from bottom to top, so I made my fabric 9.5″ x 36″.

I cut 2x the Owl Fabric, which I got from the Remnant bin in Joann’s.  Isn’t it adorable?

And then I cut 1x the Flower Fabric 11″ x 36.

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I folded and ironed the Flower Fabric in half and laid it down on top of 1 of the owl pieces.  I pinned it in place and then stitched around the outside to tack it down.

Then I took my ruler and measured every 1″ along the flower fabric, made my marks, and stitched vertical lines down the flower fabric, forming the pockets the markers would slip into.

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After I’d stitched all of the little pockets, I laid the second piece of owl fabric wrong-side-up onto the whole thing and stitched around the outside with a 3/8″ seam allowance, leaving a 3″ gap for turning.

I turned and pressed and then top stitched the whole thing closed, slipping my length of ribbon into the 3″ gap I’d left before stitching that closed.

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After it was all stitched up, I inserted the markers from the package I’d bought, rolled the whole thing up and tied a bow with the ribbon.  Voila!

Here’s the price breakdown:

30 Washable Markers– $3.98

Owl Fabric – $2.75

Flower Fabric – $3.99 for a yard, but I only used half – so $2.

Ribbon – From my stash, I’ve had it for years. (Free)

Total:  $8.73

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Even if I’d had to purchase the ribbon, you can find some in the dollar store, so this project would still be under $10.   I’m excited to include it in her Christmas gifts this year – she’s going to love it.  How can you NOT love those adorable little owls?!

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Sunday T&A

Today’s Thifting and Adventure post comes late in the day because – I just got done. LOL

Yesterday, we had my In-laws over to the house for dinner and spent our Saturday doing some projects around the house to sort of finish up the moving-in.  The Fiance and I engineered 2 new nightstands for the bedroom, and we finally started putting up pictures.

So, today we headed out to one of the Thrift Stores we found last weekend.  They have customer appreciation day on Sundays and there’s a coupon for 50% off everything in the store.  So, it’s likely to become a Sunday tradition.  With that as our sole intention for the day, we ended up going to 4 more Thrift stores, one that was new to us and 3 others that we hit last weekend.. just because.

Here’s the haul from this week:

That’s it for the week – it was a pretty great afternoon.

Have you had any amazing finds you want to brag about?  Use the comments to tell me about them!

The best laid plans…

I put off writing a lot because I feel like it isn’t good enough.

Not the writing, mind you – I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about my writing style or abilities.  I know that my audience understands me and that my points come across, so I don’t fret over every silly word.  I mean the content.  I read all the homemaking, DIY, crafting, parenting, etc. blogs.  I have a Pinterest account.  I see the wonder that seems to be everyone else’s creativity and resources and while I absolutely LOVE the project-sharing and inspiration that comes from these blogs, sometimes I think they come with a side of inferiority complex.

When The Fiance and I moved in last week, everything just kind of got placed into the pantry in the most haphazard way, just to get it out of boxes/grocery bags, and get it on the shelves.  To say that it needed organizing is an understatement.   Of course, as we prepared to make this move, I’ve pinned every beautiful pantry in the blogosphere to my Pinterest, planning and scheming in my mind’s eye how I would arrange ours.  I have a few things in mind, and this morning I was itching to attack the disorganization.   So, I went into the kitchen and started pulling all of the things off the shelves and putting them on the countertops, ready to clean, beautify and containerize my heart out.

Once everything was out of the pantry, I turned my Pinterest-trained eyes to the pantry itself.  Hmmmm… it could use a paint job.  What color do I want to paint it?  Am I going to start painting now, when I have 2 boxes waiting to be unpacked in the Master Bedroom?  Hmmm… I have a fair amount of jars and baskets, but they don’t all match, color or style.  Could I spray paint them to bring cohesiveness?  What about the mismatched styles?  Hmmm.. Canned goods are supposed to be on a lazy susan, right?  Didn’t I see that pinned?  But I don’t HAVE a lazy susan.  How could I possibly organize the cans?  Hmmm.. I asked The Fiance for a Silouette machine for Christmas, but it’s not Christmas yet.  What will I do about beautiful labels?

Talk about FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.  Oh no, I have so much food all over the counters.  However will I make it beautiful?!

Snap out of it, lady.  Patience has never been a virtue of mine, but it’s one that I need to learn.  Yes, yes – One day I will have accumulated all of the things I have in my head that will make my pantry a place that makes angels sing whenever it’s opened.  But to do that, I’ll need planning.  And time.  And to be cost efficient – it has to be over TIME.  What on earth will I have accomplished by running out, buying hand-made artisan paper to line the walls, 45,195 of the exact same shape container, and painstakingly making the same number of matching labels for all of those containers in a single day?  Will I join the ranks of the Pinterest greats?  Will you, dear reader, canonize me and share, link, pin, tweet, and bookmark my post?  Probably not.

I will have a pantry that still feels like it could be tweaked, an empty wallet, and I’ll be too tired to make dinner tonight, so I’ll have a cranky family who has Chinese for dinner.  Over time, those things are all doable – accumulating the containers at the Thrift store and Flea market will be a much better option than running to Target today.  Stumbling upon the perfect pattern for the walls will be a delight and a joy, when it happens.

As I stood there in the kitchen, The Fiance walked in and I frowned at the pantry and said “This isn’t going to be blog worthy.”

He looked at my pout and said, “Okay, so it’s not blog-worthy.  You can still put it all back in a more organized way so that the pantry is more functional for you.”  Ahhhh, my voice of reason.  There’s a reason why not very many men have Pinterest accounts, ladies.  If an organized pantry was my goal, I’ve met it today.  If having the most awesomest pantry in all of blogland was my goal – I need new goals.

So, my offering today is a simple one.   I spent 20 minutes reorganizing my pantry today.  It’s functional and organized and for my family, it’s GOOD ENOUGH.

How about you?  Do you find yourself Paralyzed by Pinterest?  Tell me what you’ve done (or are planning to do) so we can celebrate, no matter how big or small the victory is!

Sunday T&A (Thrifting & Adventure)

Wow!  Yesterday was an AMAZING day!

The Fiance and I have had such a blast exploring the little Flea Market near my home in Florida every Saturday that we were truly sad to say Goodbye 2 weeks ago.  In fact, we even built in a final trip to it in the middle of all the moving mayhem.   So, with our first available Saturday in our new home, we set out to find new Thrifting & Adventure! (Haha – T&A..  I really do crack me up.)

First, we started with a Googled list of Flea Markets in our area, and settled on one or two we found in a neighboring town.  We set out to find the top one on our list and were delighted to realize they are on bordering lots, so when you go to one, you literally just walk right over to the other one!  Score!

At the VERY first booth, I found 2 old Mason jars, which I love.  They weren’t from a regular flea market vendor, just a man who had a bunch of stuff he was looking to sell, so they were pretty darned cheap!  He was asking 3 for both of them, and I offered him $5 for both, and he took it.  SWEET!  The day was off to a GREAT start!

From there, we meandered around the two Flea Markets and found a few other little treasures.   My little Monkeyface bargained for a Star Wars Lego Lunchbox.  Originally it was a few dollars, but she managed to get it for 50 cents.  GOOD JOB, PRINCESS!  Inside, it is fitted with a foam insert that holds a Nintendo DS and some of its accessories.  Perfect!

We picked up a few more little things.  The Fiance and I scored a cool globe for the house, and Monkey found a Beanie Babies Monkey she loved.  After the Flea Market, we were going to head to Big Lots, but I decided that I didn’t really want to go there – it would just be disappointing.  I didn’t really want to buy anything retail – I just wanted to sift through other peoples’ old junk.  So, we scoped out a couple of new-to-us Thrift Stores.  That’s when we stumbled upon Thrifting Mecca!   Apparently the first weekend of the month, there are a few open-air marketplaces set up in parking lots opposite each other at an intersection that ALSO houses 2 different Thrift/Consignment stores.  Woo!

We popped into one of the Thrift stores, because on my list this weekend was a Winter coat for Monkey.  Georgia has been MUCH colder than Florida, and she didn’t own one.  In the Thrift Store, I scored not only a Winter coat for this year, but a coat for NEXT year, too!  And a cute sweater!  All for around $10.  GO MAMA!

We stopped by the Open Air Markets, and Monkey bought herself a bracelet from a local artisan, and then we headed into a Goodwill that was in the same parking lot.  At Goodwill I found some picture frames, some of them 99 cents, and some of them just under 2 dollars a piece.

These were on my list, as well.  Well, 2 of them were.  The other three were just really good bargains that I couldn’t pass up.  Last week, Walgreens was offering a free 8×10 print that I took advantage of, so I used it to have a Dinner Menu and a Routine/Chore Chart for my Monkey made up.  That project will be up this week on the blog.  Stay posted!

Also, Monkey got herself a Robotic Dog toy and a book.  She was pretty pleased with her purchase.  The Fiance saw a book by Jon Stewart that he wanted.  When he found it, he told me “I wanted this when it first came out, but I wasn’t going to spend $30 on it.”  He got it for $2.50.  Go honey!

We finished out the day by hitting up a couple of cute little Independent shops back in our town, as well as Ace Hardware, where I picked up some Half-gallon canning jars and some black spray paint.  (For two other projects, planned on the blog this week.  If you’re counting – that’s THREE posts to look forward to this week!  EEK!  Are you tingling with anticipation?!  You should be!)

All in all, we spent 6 or 7 hours adventuring our new thrifting sights, with plans next week to hit up a few that are in the opposite direction from our home.  By the time we got home, my feet were sore, my spirits were high, and it was dinner time.  We ate some dinner, and The Fiance and I got to work setting up the new bed in our bedroom and then collapsed, ready to enjoy the extra hour of sleep from Daylight Savings Time ending.  It was a GREAT day!

A little recap:

The picture quality isn’t great, but like I said – it was LATE by the time we got home, and I couldn’t wait to take pictures, even if it had to be in the dimly lit dining room.

Have a great Sunday!

Last Day in Town…

Yesterday, we worked pretty hard and got the house 95% packed.  Today, we blew off pretty much the entire moving process and decided to enjoy our last day in my sleepy little Florida town.  I think it was pretty much a great idea to build in a day of relaxation and enjoyment into this process – never underestimate the importance of morale!

We started out the day, bright and early and headed to our favorite Flea Market.  I’m REALLY going to miss this Flea Market – it’s one of my very favorites, in all of the places I’ve ever lived.  We ended up with James Bond Monopoly for $2, an antique potato ricer for $4, and some books for the Monkey, 3/$1.  Certainly not our largest or most exciting haul, but.. we had a great time, simply walking around and enjoying our morning.

By 10:30, we were done there, having walked the 2 miles around the marketplace.  So, we headed to Target, to see if we could pick up some goodies for Miss Monkey’s new room in the Atlanta House and check out the Halloween costumes as well.   We ended up finding her some new organic cotton sheets for $5, marked down from $25.  So, score there!

Then we drove out to the Beach and had lunch right on the Beach.  We went to this little Seafood place that I absolutely love.  Lunch couldn’t have been more perfect – they sat us directly next to the playground in the sand, and right near the Beach Volleyball nets.  Monkey made quick friends and played the afternoon away on the playground equipment, and The Fiance and I enjoyed some amazing shrimp and seafood on a gorgeous afternoon, watching the water and people play Volleyball.  It was simply beautiful.  Oh, and we finished it all up with an AMAZINGLY HUGE piece of incredible Key Lime Pie.

We came home and took naps, and then Monkey and I went out for sushi for dinner while The Fiance got up, took some tums and extended his nap into what will probably be tomorrow, because his tummy isn’t feeling so good.   He worked hard for us yesterday and he’ll be working even harder tomorrow – so he absolutely deserves a comfy long nap.  I’m going to go snuggle with him in a few, once I load a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother onto my iPad, and see if he wants to do a little cuddling and TV-watching before retiring for the night.

Moving time!

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Well, today’s the day! Today’s the day all of the boxes will be finished, taped up and ready to make their move to The Atlanta House. I’m excited and a bundles of nerves all stuck together! I’m feeling like there are a billion little balls in the air and I’m just wondering which ones I will drop.

I’ve got reinforcements coming — my friend Tiffany, from high school, who I haven’t seen in 2 years is heading my direction with her kids in tow, and she’s going to pitch in and help me finish up the last of the packing. I’m so excited to see her and so grateful for her help!

The plan is to have everything except the linens we are using to sleep on, in boxes and broken down and ready to be loaded into the truck by the end of today. Then, tomorrow, we have planned a relaxing day to stop by some of our favorite places one last time. (You know I had to hit the flea market one last time! What if the PERFECT TREASURE is there, waiting for me??) Monday, the truck will be here and we will load it up and clean the Florida House, and then hit the road, the path to our forever.

Through it all, The Fiancé will be off of work, but I will not, so it’ll be a tiny bit tricky fitting it all in, but I’m confident we can do it. The first day in Atlanta, my soon-to-be In-laws will be taking Monkey back to their house for a day or so, so that we can prioritize her bedroom and getting all of the furniture in place. I expect that, by Friday, you should start seeing photos of all of my dreaming and scheming coming to fruition.

My goal is to have the house fully unpacked, basically in order, and decorated for Christmas by November 25. That’s just a smidge over a month, and then I’ll be able to relax and focus on wedding plans. With The Fiancé’s support, your encouragement and maybe just a hint of Monster energy drinks, I think I can get it all done.

I am strong. Together, we are stronger.

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How to start fresh with organization when you move (part 1)


This is going to be in 2 parts.  The first part is here, in Florida – as I am packing on this end.   The second part will be from The Atlanta House when I am setting up a new household.  

So, the countdown to The Atlanta House is in full swing. The Fiancé is holding it down in Atlanta, painting and prepping for our arrival, and Monkey and I are in Florida, packing our things in preparation for moving day.

I’ve taken this opportunity to reevaluate our organization, what has been working for us, what hasn’t been working for us, and how things will change with a different living arrangement. I’m going to share some of these tips with you today.

1. Purge as you pack.. This seems like advice we hear a lot, but the implementation is usually not as easy. Well, let’s make it easy. There are no other scenarios other than moving where you are literally faced with every single thing you own, so now is the time to make some decisions.

Next to each box that I pack, I place a second box — the goodwill box. As I empty each drawer, cabinet, and closet, I envision The Atlanta House and how those objects will fit in to the house in my mind, as well as their use when I get there. The Fiancé and I have some duplicate items, so we’ve previously discussed who’s toaster, microwave, etc. stays. Therefore, these are a no-brainer. Other things such as sheets… I’ve been keeping three sets of sheets in each bed size, and either donating additional sets, or evaluating their usefulness as fabric for other projects.

For my closet, I sat on the bed as the decision maker and clothes folder, while The Fiancé and my Monkey took care of all the things that involved moving. Monkey pulled all of my dresses, one by one, out of the closet, and I evaluated them from the bed, either having her hand it to me, to be folded and packed, or having her hand it to The Fiancé, to be folded and donated. Once we’d been through all of the clothes in the house, The Fiancé had many bags of clothes to donate, which he took up to Goodwill the next morning and brought me back a receipt.

2. Reevaluate where you want to store your belongings.. This has been crucial for me here in Florida. I have had to be very creative with the storage space available to us in our small little home, and thus – some items are stored in rooms where I might not necessarily store them if I had more room available to me. There are also those little things that stray from their like items, such as the lotion that manages to make a home next to the bed, or the DVDs that meander to a tv in a room that isn’t where they belong, etc.

To address this, I’ve started 4 different boxes, labeled for the rooms where I ultimately want things stored in The Atlanta House. For my purposes, I have Bathroom, Family Room, Master Bedroom, and Dining Room.  Bathroom – because that’s where items tend to migrate away from in my household.  Family Room because in The Atlanta House, we will be combining the Office(s) with a living space, which is different than either of our set ups at the moment.  The Master Bedroom because in my current set up, I do not have a dressing area/make up area in my bedroom, but in Atlanta I will.  And Dining Room because my teeny tiny little Florida House does not have a Dining Room.  My Dining Room furniture is currently in storage and all of the things I would typically keep in the Dining Room are sporadically stored throughout the house as I have found space for them.

With this set up, I will avoid the unpacking of items in a room I do not ultimately intend for it to wind up.  That way, as I am packing my bedroom closet, instead of packing my tablecloths from the top shelf into my bedroom boxes, they can go straight into the Dining Room box, to facilitate easier unpacking when we get to our destination.

And finally..

3. I have packed all of my baskets, storage bins, containers separately on their own.  Why?  Well, I have many different baskets, bins, jars, totes, boxes, etc… And they are being utilized in a way that makes the most sense for the space that I have here in Florida.  The spaces in The Atlanta House are much different, so I figure when I unpack – having all of the storage containers in a central location will allow me to assess each space and shop from my own collection as I go about organizing our things.

I love starting fresh and having an opportunity to fine-tune the organization in my home..

How about you?  How do you handle moves?