Archive | March, 2008

Gahhhhhhhhhh!

31 Mar

contractor bags and duct tape

That is my distressed/battle cry when I can’t get a plastic bag open- with grocery bags it’s pretty easy…Just keep rolling them between fingers and eventually they will separate.

I have yet to reach that breaking point with Contractor Bags.

And lately, I’m using a ton of them… Don’t fret, my friends. I’m not stocking up the landfills of the south lands. But I do have a little kid and a GE refrigerator that roasts things once a year- so an occasional bag does actually contain trash but I have also found them to be a great container of transport, a holding device of sorts, for things heading to our local goodwill.

The problem is I can’t open the darn things. They are thick and sturdy and melty-welded together on one end, and un- breachable on the other.

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Makes me nuts.

I was watching a movie a long while ago and watched as a robber cut a circle in a plate glass window and removed the (really freakishly perfect) circle with one of those doohickey handles with the suction cups and I thought “Eureka! Contractor Bags will no longer stymie this gal from donating (and occasionally throwing out large amounts of turned dairy)!”

The solution was simple.

DUCT TAPE.

I know! I feel ever so clever that is took me this long to figure *that* out… Good gravy!

So I put a little length of duct tape right on the box to keep it handy… Simply stick the duct tape on one side of the (supposed) opening of the bag and pull…

I have my piece of duct tape a little different than in the picture- I have it mostly folded over so only a little adhesive is showing and it doesn’t just perma-adhere to the bag (and then render the gigantic bag useless as a bag, and pretty useless except as a small tarpaulin).

Also- clear packing tape works… Pretty girly decorated packing tape works (but I can’t find mine now that I switched to the reinforced paper tape stuff)…. Blue painter’s masking tape doesn’t work so well, but that is more for masking than for adhesive prowess.

But Duct Tape rocks…..

I may have to keep a stash in my glove box for the produce bags at the natural foods market- those are taunting my arthritic hands these days….

Wondering if they make a “green” duct tape…. (off to find out….)

Mama’s Brand New Drawers!

29 Mar

*swoon*

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Ok. I finally did it. I finally had enough of my little small parts boxes stacked high in their bright orange Black & Decker caddies…
So I took some measurements and did some research…

It’s a pretty obvious solution to my small-parts storage needs (in this case my bead collection) but it took awhile to get here….

My wants (wishes) were:
-able to keep dust out
-mobile within our home (casters, or overall portability)
-easily transportable outside the home (in case of emergency, but not a “you have 5 minutes to get out of the house and have to spend a week in a shelter” sort of emergency…. I do have my priorities straight.)

I researched a few options, and eventually decided to invest in a steel literature sorter- like the ones used in schools as mailboxes for the teachers… Sheesh, again with the old office stuff floating my boat…..

I already had all of these (ok. 30 of them, 24 are being used, 6 are just waiting for occupants) small parts boxes with lids… I figured I could put them in my (rather large considering I’m not a clothes junkie) closet and give each box a bin….Nicer and easier and less noisy (and frankly, hard on my old bones and muscles these days which really don’t take kindly to much lately) than pulling them in and out of the plastic caddies they came with.

Well, earlier this week I took another look at topdeq.com’s offerings (I have been getting their catalog since way back when) and my brain just decided to do the math…. I realized I could fit 2 tackle container things in each drawer- totally releasing the concept of buying the Bisley brand drawer dividers (at $10-$18 a pop and still not enough spaces per drawer for my liking)….

So I ordered…

I wound up with this beauty…. This is a Bisley unit, purchased from Topdeq.com, and delivered yesterday by freight. It has 15 drawers…Each drawer measures 2″ x 12″ x 16″…. Each drawer fits two of my little small part tackle boxes with a little wiggle room- just enough to put that hank or two, or bag of beads, where I can have a visual reminder of it (hugely important with my ADD and creating- I tend to have stuff everywhere because with me out of sight out of mind holds so true) when I open up the drawer of similar beads….

Anyway, this came with a plinth (steel riser) and I bought the caster attachment to go with the unit… So off came the plinth and on went the casters….

I busted the hinged lids off the little divided containers -with some success…. On some I had to cut a hinge, but the lids still fit on top, and if and when we do move and I need to transport everything I can just use some of those fabulous “h” rubber bands to hold everything secure….

So now I have a unit that holds all of my beads (I don’t like to buy more than a strand or two at a time as I get bored easily, so most beads fit in here)… And is organized…

And mobile….
And easily stashable (fits in the hall closet/linen closet…. Also tucks under my elevated kitchen bar area (43″ tall….Bisley unit is around 36″ I believe)….
Dust free…
Quiet….
and of course easy enough to use for a quick bead sort that I won’t put it off until I have a gallon bucket of loose beads (like now. *gulp*)….

It was delivered super fast- I ordered Monday night and got the call about delivery on Wednesday… Pretty awesome. And for the amount of space and comfort and peace of mind this creates, it was totally worth it, and no more expensive than the various other solutions I was looking at. Actually, as the drawers are such a great size, and not too deep, I wound up saving money and space…Yay!

I just need to pen some pretty labels for the drawers….

Oh and here is a picture of one of the drawers (with a freshly started small parts, tackle bin/thing, hence it has space to add more yippee!)….

drawers

My only cons about this purchase:  I was instantly aware upon unpacking that I have many more spaces in my studio and home for rolling steel units and I have a pretty clear idea of what drawer sizes I need and hey, add a sturdy top to these badboys and I have a nice packing table…. Woohoo!

Also- the drawers don’t have stops. *gasp* So I will have to rig some up… Boyo has been warned that the drawers are not to play with, and I told him a dramatic bedtime story about what would happen if a drawer was pulled too far…. It involved beads, the shortcomings of our vacuum, and the dynamics of hard round things on tile flooring and tender little foot-soles….

I’ll list some of the other options I looked at shortly…. Some cool things for storing for folks like me that are combining family and work and art and then taming them into a happy and less frustrated ball of goodness.

A symbol of quality

28 Mar

I love…

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

I love a nice hot pixxa.
mmmmmmm

Fortune.

26 Mar

Fortune.

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Easter grass dispenser…

23 Mar

Old easter grass dispenser

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Here is my old easter grass dispenser… For those of you that haven’t experienced my packaging first hand, I typically use shredded paper for my box stuffing…. But my shredder is the cheapo jamming sort and the shredded paper was very linty and frankly, it was driving me (and our sensitivity to dust) bonkers….

A couple of years ago I bought Easter grass for boyo’s first official “old enough to know the day is different from other days of the year” easter basket. As many of you know, I am an official liason for the Easter bunny, and I enjoy the special job of assisting him with some of the smaller details of his journey to our home. This year he brought a couple of books, by the way, as boyo is getting very good at reading.

Anyway, at that time I did not fully understand the whole easter grass to basket ratio. Clearly, I had no grasp on the expansion of easter grass when expanded and fluffed as I purchased 10 bags from Target, of the green paper variety. 10 bags. There is one child in this family.

But I couldn’t just throw it out or recycle it, and as it is shredded our local recycling/waste management organization will not accept it. So I sealed it up in a plastic box with other paper goods and forgot about it.
As many of you know, hunting for decorations for a specific holiday will always turn up decorations that were lost when you were looking for them the previous holiday (ie Christmas reveals Easter, Thanksgiving reveals Halloween- well, except in our house. I have made a large effort to incorporate a pumpkin theme into Thanksgiving. Hey, I’m disabled and I’m freaking tired and I love pumpkins and orange. It’s all good. It’s better than a sharp stick in a sensitive place, or *gasp* no decorations at all, which I have been informed would make me a lazy, terrible parent. By the way, thanks Mom. You are so very inspiring with your gentle words and yearly addition of a faux Christmas tree to our bursting collection in the garage.)

So at Christmas I got a fabulous gift… My giant collection of easter grass… So I switched to using a few strands as cushioning in my little Gocco printed slider boxes. Much neater. And prettier. Goes with my whole lust for contrast…Faux grass, faux bois… Lovely.

But, the question remained. How to neatly store the grass so it would still be easy to just grab a tuft when gift wrapping outbound orders…A plastic ziploc did not work as it was quickly confiscated by boy and used as a projectile until the ziploc opened and it rained grass everywhere. Don’t fret, I will be posting about the new portable emergency vacuum soon…. Well, one bag of grass down the crapper…. I sat looking at a sealed bag and put my thinking cap on….

Well, those handy plastic containers (read my labelmaker post…the short story: I compulsively purchase plastic containers…) came in handy once again…. With a quick stab of my sheet metal sheers I shaped a hole in one of the lids…. You can see, in the image, a tuft poking out….

The problem? Dust. We live in SW Florida and we seem to have an endless supply of dust here. Eek. And we love garlic and hubby makes tacos for himself once a week. Old cooking odors are nasty and really adhere to papergoods. So I have been trying to find another, handier, sealable containment device as I have stubbed many a toe in the frantic dash to shield my packing materials from garlic. The mere sound of olive oil in the pain makes me panic these days…

I was in Target the other day and I was looking at the lovely snapware containers…. Someone put one back in the wrong place and I knocked it over when reaching for something else and Eureka!

A cereal dispenser!

With an opening big enough that I can fit my fingers in to advance a tuft of grass and a lid (with a rubbery gasket!) that clicks securely and conveniently shut…

Problem solved. Hope this helps someone else with their easter grass dispenser needs….

And I am proud to announce that now I can find my labelmaker and my easter grass. And for those of you that are curious, I did not label this container.  It took much restraint, on my part.  But it’s faux grass in a clear container.  Doesn’t really need a label…Or does it?  ha. ha.

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