Recycled Desk Organizer

I recently learned my workplace will be moving to a new building, one that is far nicer than the little brick eyesore I work in now. As a bonus, employees were given a chance to vote on the colour scheme of the new location. The core colour will still be grey-on-grey, but the most voted for accent colours were green with light yellow polka dots and deep red. It seems like a random combination but they actually look pretty great.

Finished Office Organizer

Now, our office will not be relocating for some time but I wanted to start making some décor to suit the new office space and brighten my current one. My first project is this recycled office organizer made from a shoe box and toilet paper rolls. If you the idea and want to make your own, follow along below!

Materials for Office Organizer

Materials:

  • A Shoebox (any size)
  • Toilet Paper Rolls (enough to fill your shoebox)
  • Paint (I used acrylic craft paint)
  • Paint Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun

 

 

 

First decide how you want your finished organizer to look. I wanted two rows of sloped “pencil holders” with an open area at the back for larger items (hole punch or paper). Measure where you will need to glue and cut your toilet paper rolls. I found it very useful to cut one toilet paper roll into the sloped shape I wanted and use it as a guide for all the other rolls: fitting it like a jacket around a roll and cutting along the guide’s sloped edge.

Staging the Office Organizer

Making a guide

Once all your toilet paper rolls are cut, it is time to paint. I chose to paint the inside and outside different colours to correspond to the two accent colours of the new office space. I ended up really liking the effect too! Just make sure you let each layer dry, it will take quite a few layer and you do not want to soften any of the cardboard.

Painting the organizerFinishing the paint

Once dry it is time to glue your toilet paper rolls inside the shoebox in your desired pattern. Just make sure you have everything lined up before gluing. As you can see below, some of my inner pieces do not quite line up, and that is because I turned the rolls the wrong direction while gluing and caused the slopes to no longer line up. Insert sad face here…

Gluing the rolls

Then just add in your pencils, pens, highlighters, scissors, et cetera!

Office Organizer FrontBack of Office Organizer

After I finished my organizer I decided it was a bit plain. At first I was going to do some light yellow polka dots on the outside but it didn’t look quite right. So I added a touch of lace and I think it was a great addition, so don’t be afraid to accessorize your organizer!

Adding Accessories

 

So what do you think of this recycled office organizer? Did you create a similar item? Sound off in the comment section or on social media and let me know what you think of this Make It Monday project!

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Easy Raspberry Smoothie

Raspberry Smoothie

While I love the idea of healthy or “clean eating” smoothies, I find a lot of them don’t actually taste that great. Green smoothies – regardless of what they say – always seem to keep that “green” taste. Fruit smoothies can easily get too sweet. And banana based smoothies tend to get boring after a while. So, I took things into my own hands! After much experimentation I found a smoothie that I actually enjoy: a raspberry smoothie with hints of coconut and honey.

A quick look at the ingredients you will need

This recipe features simple ingredients and can be altered for your particular tastes though I like it exactly how it is! My only suggestions are to switch the berry you are using or use a different kind of milk (coconut, almond, etc.) to change the flavour without sacrificing the base recipe.

Very Berry

One thing I really like about this recipe, is you can make it in any serving size. For this post I made a ½ serving since I was still experimenting. The recipe below however, is for a FULL SERVING even though the pictures are for half. I wrote in the ingredient picture below that you need double what is shown for a full serving. Make sense? No? Moving on…

Raspberry smoothie ingredients

Recipe (1 serving)

  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut
  • 2 Tsp Honey
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon (more of an add to taste thing)

Ingredients in blender

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Add ice cubes to alter thickness.
  3. Blend until smooth and all ice broken up.
  4. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with coconut.
  5. Serve.

Raspberry Smoothie

That’s it: 5 ingredients and 5 steps. Nice and simple.

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Any alterations you would suggest? Comment below and I will post my favorites!

The Hustler

When I was 19, I moved 6 hours away from home to attend university in Canada’ Capital City: Ottawa. I was pretty excited for a challenging academic life but was concerned about the university social life.

Me in Ottawa

You see, growing up I was always an outcast. Never got along with the popular girls, didn’t do too well with sports, and was intimidated by the smart kids. So I hung out with a rag tag group of friends from elementary school all the way to high school graduation.

I was afraid university would be much of the same. More popular kids snubbing me. More jocks running past my attempt at a jog and laughing. And even more smart kids, but this time with a larger vocabulary. Plus, this is university. This is the age where drinking skyrockets, right? I do not drink. Not even a little. Sure I tried a couple drinks to see if I liked them but no, anyways the side effects are not worth it. So what would I do in a new city, with no friends, and an intimidating atmosphere that I wanted no part of?

Outcast_FreeImage

Well, I told myself that I would never find the university equivalent of the rag tag group I had back home without putting myself out there. I mean, outcasts are not known for finding each other unless someone makes a move. So, I signed up for the Frosh Kit and started going to orientation events and activities.

Frosh week

It was hard at first. Talking to people felt like making cold calls because I didn’t know where to start. I met a few people at the regular events but still could not connect with anyone the way I hoped to. I was holding back and would not do. I had to showcase who I really was and in a way that got the attention of people. That way people who like whatever quirky show I put on could show themselves and maybe start a new rag tag group for my university life.

And my plan was to dance.

Dancing In Red - FreeImages

Up there, that photo, that is NOT me: I do not dance or I shouldn’t, depending on how you look at it. But my big idea to sniff out outcasts was to dance at the biggest Frosh event of the week: the all-first years clubbing event. Basically a huge cabin is turned into a club for a night, complete with food, bar, DJ, and dance floor.

I part of the first group to arrive and the party started off slow. Most people went to the bar first (to beat the line-ups) and stood around drinking. Someone had to start the party, so I enacted my plan.

I started to hustle.

I learned a simplified version of the 1970s hustle in high school drama class. It was a warm up and ice breaker exercise. So I used it for a similar purpose at the Frosh event. I started the hustle in the middle of the dance floor and told two people to follow my lead. Once they had the steps down pat we started gaining attention. Eyes turned towards us and slowly people followed along. Soon we had over 100 people dancing the hustle. Definitely different than the usual bump and grind you see at clubs.

Dance_FreeImages

Gradually the hustle died off but not before some people came to me wanting to know where I learned the dance, why I did it, et cetera. These were the folks I spent time getting to know better. They were interested in the quirkiness I showed and wanted to learn more. And so my university group began.

This experience is now something I will never forget. So I encourage you, if you ever feel alone or of out of place – whether it be because you are starting fresh in university or there is some other change in your life – put yourself out there. Show your personality! People who share your taste of life will find you and a new community or rag tag group can begin.

Have you had a similar experience? In university or otherwise? Tell us about it in the comments!

Nail Polish Flowers – Part One

Nail Polish Flowers – Part One (You Are Here)

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Two

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Three (Coming Soon)

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you would have seen this sneak peak:

Sneak peak at the nail polish flower experiments

That’s right. I am tackling the nail polish and wire flower pin from Pinterest. This DIY caught my eye a while ago but the only instructions I could find were in foreign languages. After some experimentation and additional research, I felt ready to tackle this beautiful project. Want to make your own? Follow along!

Tools you need for the nail polish flower

First, gather your supplies. You will need:

  1. Wire: I tested this DIY with 20 and 26 gauge wire and both worked just fine though 26 gauge yielded flowers with petals closer together. Pick any colour and metal type you prefer.
  1. Nail Polish: The best nail polishes to use are medium to thick in consistency, with no large sparkles or special effects; however, other nail polishes DO work. I even managed to get a crackle top coat to work, I just had to make several layers to fill the holes that would appear once dried.

Collect your nail polish, it is time to experiment

  1. Wire Cutter/Scissors: You will need something to cut the wire with and I suggest wire cutters for jewelry wire. If you do not have this, NO WORRIES, just grab a pair of scissors.
  1. Shaping Tool: No need to get fancy here. You can use a stick, pencil, pen, or anything small and circular. This is just used for the initial shaping of your flower petals and/or leaves. I used a mix of a pen and a jewelry tool in my photos.
  1. Gloves: If you want to stay on the safe side and avoid blisters, wear gloves. The wire ends can prick you and cause minor injuries. Also, be careful to keep the wire ends away from your face!

Cut the wire to your desired length. I suggest starting with a 6” or 15cm portion of wire. Keep in mind what you want to use the flowers for and adjust the length accordingly but wire can always be added by twisting new pieces together with the stem. From here on, it may be useful to also watch Sigrid Soto’s video tutorial HERE. Watching the process can be much easier to learn from than just looking at pictures though I have made some adaptations that you will see over the course of this series.

Start wrapping your wireWrap around the shaping tool once per petal you want

*Sorry about the photo quality!

There are two methods to shape your wire and today I will share the “neater” version. This version requires you to hold the starting end of the wire below the shaping tool and wrap it around the tool for as many times as you want petals. Try starting with 4 or 5 times/petals. Push together the loops and slowly slide off the shaping tool. It should come out looking like a spring.

Form a spring like shape

Cut another small piece of wire (3” or 7.5”) and feed it through the loops you created. Push both ends of this short wire down towards the stem and twist together with the stem. This ensures your loops are set and will not fall apart.

Thread a new wire through the springBring threaded wire towards the stem and twist together

Now that they are set, spread your petals apart. Start by halving the petals and pushing one half to the “top” of the flower, and the other to the bottom. Then separate each petal using your fingers and spread the petals apart until you reach your flower shape.

Separate your loops into two sectionsCreate the final shape of flower that you would like

Now it is time to break out the nail polish. Load your brush with polish and set it under one petal near the stem. Hold the brush in such a way that it completely covers the petal. Slide the brush up to the tip of the petal ensuring contact with all sides of the petal at all times. THIS IS KEY. The brush must have contact with all “sides” of the petal. The pictures below show what to do but I am using a dry brush to demonstrate as there is no time to take pictures while doing this!

How to work the brush to apply the nail polish to the wire petals

In the end you should eventually get a bubble-like covering over the petal. This will take several tries but do not give up! It is entirely possible. See:

A single petal covered in nail polish

Wait for the polish to completely dry and add additional coats until you achieve your preferred look. I recommended at least two coats to ensure consistency.

Once dried, you can easily bend the wire frame of each petal to form more realistic flowers. Just avoid pinching or pushing through the nail polish, it can break though you can just clean it off and start over. It is a fairly forgiving project.

A finished nail polish and wire flower

So play around with these flowers. Find a design you like and make it yours! In two weeks I will share the other method of shaping your flowers which yields a larger flower. Later on I will show ideas for how to use your flower in things like décor, jewelry, and accessories.

A nail polish flower formed into a ring

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Please share your creation! I would love to see your spin on this project!

And shout out to Sigrid for her amazing video!

Apple Pancake Rings

Apple Pancake Rings

A staple fruit in our home is apples since one of the only fruits my husband willingly eats is good ol’ red delicious apples. So I have been experimenting with apples in order to get him to eat more of the fruits he needs. Through my tests, I found pairing apples with pancake batter was a tasty combination. By dipping apple rings into homemade crêpe batter and frying them I was able to make this quick and easy breakfast food featuring apples.

Any apple variety can be used in this recipe but some fare better than others. Since the apple is being fried, you want to pick something with a harder flesh like granny smith and red delicious. While the pictures show red delicious apple pancake rings, I have made a great rendition of the recipe with farmer’s market crispin apples. The ability to use all kinds of apples allows for lots of experimentation.

Dry ingredients in a bowl

Mixed ingredients

Use the recipe I have provided as a guide. Change the measurements of the basic batter to suit your tastes. The easiest and most flavourful change you can make is adding more or less of the vanilla and cinnamon. Or switch to other flavours altogether like all spice or a bit of lemon. Personally, I add either a lot of vanilla OR a lot of cinnamon. My husband and I like the strong flavours and want that flavour to carry through to the finished product.

Slicing and coring the applesDipping apple rings into the batter

I am very glad this experiment worked out. In our home, breakfast seems to be a rotation of bacon and eggs, hashes, pancakes, and cereal, so a fruit filled addition helps lighten our morning meal. This recipe does not stop there though, there are many alterations that can be made which extend the utility of the apple pancake rings. See below the recipe for my suggested alterations.

Frying the apple rings

Recipe: Apple Pancake Rings

4-6 apples (any variety)
1 ½ cups of flour
1 tbsp of sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 egg (large)
½ cup oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon). Stir in the milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Beat with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Slice the apples into approximately ¼ inch thick slices and cut out the center core of each slice. You could also core the apple first but seeing as I do not own a corer it is easier to cut it out after the slices are made. Depending on the variety of apple you choose, you may need to pat dry the apple slices with a paper towel. If the apple is too wet from its juices the batter will not stick.
  3. Heat a frying pan with the oil on medium-high heat. Dip the apple slices into the batter being sure to coat both sides. Let any excess batter come off the apple as if there is too much the batter will fall off after cooking. Once battered, added several rings to the pan so they lay flat. Turn often to ensure the batter browns equally.
  4. Once the apple slices are golden brown and slightly crispy (or whatever texture you prefer), move them to a plate lined with paper towel so the excess oil can drip off. Serve warm and enjoy!

Apple Pancake Rings

Alterations and Notes:

You can toss the still warm apple pancake rings in a cinnamon sugar mixture for a sweeter treat. Just mix 3 tablespoons of sugar for every one teaspoon of cinnamon. I always have some of this cinnamon sugar mix in the cupboard since it is great for adding to fresh or cooked fruits when they need an extra kick!

Add these pancake rings to vanilla ice cream for an apple pie alternative. With or without the cinnamon sugar.

The rings could also be dipped in dessert toppings such as chocolate or caramel sauces. You will need to make sure the crust is extra crispy at this point though.

Be sure to keep the heat at a high frying temperature. If there is insufficient heat the batter may not cover the sides of the apples, even in my photos you can see gaps because I had too low a temperature. Just be sure not to overheat your oil!

Washing apples

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Have you experimented with this recipe? Have an alteration to suggest?
Comment below with your alteration and I will try as many suggestions as possible and add my favorites to this list!

 

Who is this woman?

Who is this blogger? A question I always ask myself when doing some late night blogosphere browsing. A quick trip to the about page and a couple of lifestyle posts later and I usually have an idea. You see, it is important to me to find what I have in common with a blogger and I think many readers want the same. So I want to start with a grand introduction to who I really am. I want to readers to find ways to connect with me.

That's Me!

How to learn about me in three easy steps

Step 1: Go the about page and give that a read.

Step 2: Read the rest of this post for a more in depth view.

Step 3: Check back on Thursdays for more stories about my life.

So without further ado…

 

What is your family and career status?

I am actually in a common law relationship with my husband and we have no children (and no immediate plans for any). Since we are still quite young (both 23) we have time to decide whether any children will join our little family of 2. So while I may love touring mom blogs, I am not a mommy blogger myself.

As for career, I am one semester away from finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Development (in December 2014 I will have graduated). While in school I also worked a mix of part-time and co-op/intern jobs. Thankfully there are talks about my current co-op job becoming permanent after graduation. As for what I do, I am a data analyst/statistician for an employer that shall remain unnamed for now.

What are your views on faith?

A collection of religious items

I grew up in a Roman Catholic family BUT view myself as an agnostic. I prefer to keep myself open to all possibilities and love the beauty that accompanies the faith I see in others every day. I also choose to learn about other religions and faiths because I feel it is important to understand the views of others.

With that said, within my blogging there will likely be no specifically faith based posts and I will typically avoid using overtly religious language such as “I am blessed…” or “Thank the Lord.” It just is not something I feel reflects me though it certainly is not something I am against.

Are you an urbanite or a country girl?

Currently living in a more urban area but I avoid city life. I probably fit in more with the suburban side of things. But when I need to relax I head to the country or at least head into nature, I never lost my love of the wild when I moved from cottage country to the city.

Flats or Heels? Pants or Skirt?

Cute black flats

Flats…better yet, running shoes. I dislike heels and only wear them when I feel it has some benefit (like no other shoe in my closet works with an outfit). I would rather be in the most comfortable pair of shoes I own regardless of fashion.

Pants. I do like to wear dresses on occasion but I never truly feel comfortable in them. To put it simply, I am not exactly a fashionista. While I do enjoy the art that is fashion, I prefer to wear clothes that function well in all scenarios, not that look pretty.

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Are there questions you would like to ask me? I am always willing to answer reader questions. Just use social media with the hashtag #apopofFAQ or send me an email.