Tuesday, March 27, 2012

tips to organize your pantry

okay so this post is a little unusual compared to the other stuff i've been posting.  i'm also posting this on a weekday...this post is just all sorts of weird...

anyway, there's something i haven't been telling you...i am an organizational freak.  there's something so satisfying about having a designated place for everything.  it's something i like to do with my free time, sad i know.  anyway, the pantry in my apartment has slowly been getting messier and messier since we've moved in.  so a couple weeks ago i finally broke down and reorganized it a bit.  and while it isn't exactly as organized as i'd like it to be i have a few tips to share on clearing up some space.

first...spice racks!!  i'm not sure why but my boyfriend LOVES getting different bottles of spices...and when he buys spices he buys a lot, usually 4-6 at a time.  so before, we had a lot of different bottles taking up a good portion of shelf space.  and it was really hard to tell which ones were opened/unopened because there really wasn't any sort of organization to them.  and i actually have a third set up on the other side of the pantry-so i cleared up roughly a 12"x12" area of shelf space just by installing these on the wall in my pantry.

my boyfriend was really skeptical when i bought them, but after installing and setting them up he admitted they were a good idea.  they're also really useful for small bottles of medicine and vitamins.

next-pan lid racks.  if you do a lot of baking, you probably have a bunch of little bags of chocolate chips or baking nuts in you pantry.  i had a lot of bags of candy bark leftover from making red velvet cake pops for christmas and they were all just sitting in a pile together.  you can use a lid rack to keep all the bags nice and separated so it's easy to see what you have or move them around if you're cleaning.  i also use mine to hold my curry mix.  it's also great for holding bags of candy...

okay, so i got this baby from the container store, one of my fav places to shop for organizational goodies.  this is the small version of their multi-purpose bins, and it's only $4!  i love these bins-they have sooo many uses!!  for example, i have one holding folders and notebooks on my desk, one for all my cleaning supplies in the bathroom, the medium size is perfect for holding loaves of bread or holding large beverage bottles (if you use them in a fridge door it keeps the bottles from falling out), and i have one under the sink with all sorts of random stuff like rope, caulk gun, drill, etc.  i bought a couple originally to help organize my fabrics but they've spread all over my apartment.  every time i order something from the container store i order a couple more of these, they're really cheap and you can never have too many!!

anyway...you could use a magazine holder or old cereal box to the same effect.  the only thing that didn't fit in here was my wax paper, but that thing was a monster so that's okay.  i really enjoy having these kitchen supplies upright as opposed to a pile in the corner of a cabinet somewhere.  it's easy to grab what you need and you don't have to dig through them to get to the ones at the bottom of the pile.

another thing i've been doing recently is buying clear, air tight containers for dry goods.  it can get kinda pricey depending on the container but when i first moved here and was reminded that there are more roaches than people in hawaii i decided that it might be worth it.  rice/cardboard are really good ways to attract roaches so i try to get rid of as much of that as i can.  plus it's really easy to get the rice out and see how much i have left.  and it's really kind of an upgrade seeing as i used to get rice from my parents...who gave it to me in a trash bag in an old 5 gallon bucket of soy sauce.

i also keep oats, cereal and sugar in these containers.  i wouldn't bother with the cereal if i was living anywhere else but it's really useful for the sugar.  i used to just keep them in the bag/box, but this way is soo much cleaner and easier to use.  plus i think it might help keep the sugar from getting lumpy.

and a something i've been thinking about getting...
these are linus pantry binz from the container store-i swear i don't work for them...i just love them...a lot...  these are bit more pricy than the multi-purpose bins, but i have a some other containers from linus and they're a really sturdy, quality plastic material.  their other containers also have rubber feet to keep them in place but i'm not sure if these do or not.

anyway, i've recently started to make freezer meals and my freezer was starting to look a little hectic with all the frozen ziplocked blocks of food.  if you've ever done this before i think you know that they're practically impossible to stack.  i think the 8"x8" bin might be the perfect perfect size for holding the ziplock bags upright.

so these are a few of the things i do to keep my pantry organized...i wish i was cool and had some cool before/after photos of my pantry unfortunately because of the way it's built it's almost impossible to take photos of the actual shelves.

happy organizing!!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

i will never again use store bought hamburger buns

so i love bread..a lot.  when i was a kid my parents used to by loaves of french bread from homeland/albertson's/food pyramid/who knows what it is now, and i would eat one...a whole loaf...by myself...for lunch.  not sure what it is because most breads don't really have a strong flavor but there's something about the smell and texture that just makes me want to eat lots and lots of bread.

anyway, i found this recipe on pinterest and i hate the store bought hamburger buns so i decided to try it out.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 1 dozen.

so i added the full 3 1/2 cups of flour and my dough was still suuuuper sticky, i think i ended up adding another 1/2 cup (at least) but it was still pretty tacky.  i didn't want to add too much and make them tough so i just did the best i could with forming the rolls.  instead of a greased baking sheet, i just used a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  i was actually able to form 15 rolls although a couple are somewhat smaller (i blame the sticky dough).  

also, i have a gas oven which tends to heat pretty unevenly.  i set it to 400 and after 5 minutes, a couple were pretty browned on top.  and by that i mean they were burned black on the bottom (fortunately they didn't actually taste burned).  and of course the majority, while fully cooked on the inside, hadn't had a chance to brown on top.  

the buns ended up being really fluffy and tender, so much so that at first i was worried about how they would hold up against a hamburger patty.  but after i let them cool and cut them in half they seemed like okay.  they have a really simple and sweet flavor-i really like them but i could see some people finding them a bit plain.  i think this is a really good base recipe to modify into some really flavorful rolls.  

this recipe was so simple and easy-i think it actually took me less than 40 minutes!!  i'm definitely not going to be using store bought hamburger buns anymore!!

diy sewing machine pin cushion tutorial

so i saw this sewing machine pin cushion on pinterest and it looked like a really cute, easy project and i've been meaning to start a 'printerest projects i've completed' board so i decided to make one (even though i avoid using pins at all costs...).  so here's my inspiration:

i followed the same basic idea as this tutorial but i did make some changes-i used an elastic band instead of ribbon (because, for whatever reason, when i tie ribbon it never stays the way i tied it) and i boxed the corners of the front piece to make it sit more flat against my machine (rather than a small pillow tied to it).

-elastic ( used 1" but you could go a bit narrower)
-interfacing (optional)

first, measure the circumference of the part of your sewing machine you want the pin cushion to be-mine was about 22 inches.  to make the casing for the elastic, you need to cut 2 strips that are the same length as the circumference you just measured, and the same width as your elastic plus seam allowances.  so my circumference was 22", my elastic was 1", so i cut 2 strips that were 23" x 2".  for the elastic, cut a strip that is 3/4 of the original circumference-i rounded mine down to 20, 3/4 of 20 is 15, so a 15" piece of elastic.

now for the cushion-you can make it whatever size you want but i think a narrow strip across the front of the machine works best.  so the width if my machine where i want the pincushion to be measured 4" and i wanted it to be 2" tall, add seam allowances, and i cut a 5" x 3" rectangle.  this will be the back of the cushion.  for the front, i added an extra inch to each side and cut a 6" x 4" rectangle.  cut interfacing for the front and back pieces if you want-i went with a sheer weight fusible interfacing.

to make the casing for the elastic, sew the 2 long strips together with the right sides facing in.  i sewed roughly 1 1/4" apart just to make sure i could fit the elastic in there.  flip inside out and press.  it helps to  place a safety pin on one end and work it back through.

now put the elastic inside the casing (using a safety pin is helpful here too) and use a zig zag stitch to hold the elastic in place on each end.

next sew the ends of the elastic on the right side of the back of the cushion (the smaller rectangle)-make sure there aren't any twists in the elastic.  you will want to center them on the 3" sides (or the shorter side) of the rectangle.

now, on the 6" x 4" rectangle, or the front of the cushion, make a mark 1" away from each corner in both directions.

fold each corner in half so that the 2 marks line up and sew down perpendicular to the fabric edge.  trim away the excess fabric.

now sew the front piece to the back piece, right sides together.  leave a small opening on a side that does not have the elastic strap.  when you come to the corners, sew as close as you can to the corner stitches, lift the foot, turn your fabric, replace foot and keep sewing.

flip inside out, stuff, and slip stitch shut.  i didn't have any stuffing so i just used some leftover poly batting-i think it's somewhat lumpier than if i had used stuffing but it gets the job done.

and now you have a pincushion for your sewing machine!!  i can even move mine around...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

diy rope bowls

so it's been a while since i've posted anything remotely crafty lately...i suppose i must be getting lazy (technically lazy-er).  anyway, i saw this cute bowl on craftgawker over the weekend so i decided to make my own-with my own tutorial 'cause i need the practice anyway right?

anyway, it's a pretty simple process, it's actually really similar to my recycle magazine bowl but with rope instead. basically just glue, wrap, glue, wrap, etc, etc.

all you need is a hot glue gun and rope.  i got my rope for $2-it's 50 ft, 1/4 inch, manila rope (i almost went with the sisal but i liked the color of the manila more).

start wrapping in a circular motion to form the base.  if you plan on making several i might consider making all the bases first just to make sure they're the same size.  when i made my second i tried to make it the same size...which of course, it isn't.  but that could just be the fact that i can almost never make the same thing twice...

to start the walls, just start stacking the rope on top of the previous layer instead of to the outside.  keep wrapping until you've reached the desired height, or until you only have enough rope for 3-4 more rounds.

to form the rim, i glued the last bit of rope to the inside.  this makes the bowl feel a bit sturdier which is nice if you plan on moving it around a lot.

making one bowl took me about an hour...ish?  it's currently keeping all my wrapping/craft paper from falling all over the cupboard.  and then i made another today which i filled with granola bars.  i wanted one for the bathroom but the fact that it's hawaii and the bathroom tends to be the most humid room in the apartment...i thought it might be a bad idea.

so dimensions-both of the ones pictured are made form 50 ft ropes and they're roughly 6.5" x 6.5" and 6" x 7.5".  yeah that's my attempt at making two that are the same size...and i still have one more rope...i have the feeling it's going to be a different size as well.

these bowls (now that i'm looking at them they're not really bowls so much as...tubes?  rope tubes?) um, these rope thingies are actually pretty easy to make and super cheap.  and they have so many organizational uses...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

ah the rain

so it has been raining like crazy in oahu the past couple of days...serious rain...rain that reminds me of thunderstorms in oklahoma kinda rain.  i actually saw lightening and heard thunder for the first time here and it made me miss all of oklahoma's frequent thunderstorms (but not the hail and tornadoes).

it's been pretty awesome, but it got me thinking...i don't have an umbrella-mostly because i'm kinda picky and i've never seen an umbrella that i really like.  well except one that i loved (before it broke), it was white with black lace embroidered around the edges, but it was more of a parasol.  so much so that it flipped itself inside out at the slightest hint of a breeze (hence why it's now broken...it didn't hold up too well to a thunderstorm).  aaaanyway...so i was wondering, since i like painting/drawing, why don't i just buy a plain umbrella and jazz it up?  i haven't found too many articles online, but i think i might try using sharpies or fabric pens...if i ever get around to actually buying an umbrella anyway.  i mean i like the small fold-up ones (they've become so tiny!!) but they do tend to be smaller and flimsier.  and i like the charm of the 'standard' umbrella but they seem so bulky and i have to commit a whole hand to carrying it around...  yeah, not only am i picky, i'm also indecisive...

anyway, it's an idea to keep on the back burner i suppose...

has anyone else tried this?  any tips or suggestions?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

sting like a bee...?

until yesterday, i, at age 23, had never been stung by a bee.  apparently my boyfriend thought this was ridiculous because 'every kid gets stung by a bee or a wasp at some point' but yeah, not me.  it probably had something to do with the fact that my parents thought it wasn't proper for girls to play outside...or something. 

anyway, my boyfriend just 'happened' to find a honey bee on the steps to our apartment and thought it was a good time to find out if i'm allergic.  he had the bee in a 7eleven bag, put said bag on my leg, and apparently squeezed the poor bee's head until she stung me.  fortunately i'm not allergic to bee stings!!  unfortunately the bee still had to die...
this is the bee that died for me-sorry for the fuzzyish photo.  i've always liked honey bees, well i like most social insects, but it always made me sad that their ultimate defense, their sting, caused them to die.  after the bee stings, when it moves away the sting is left behind along with a trail of bee guts.  of course that's what alerts other bees to the potential threat but still...poor bees. 

speaking of social insects, i think bees and ants are my fav (but honestly who likes wasps and termites anyway??).  it's always fun watching an ant colony at work; each little ant toiling away endlessly in a long line to carry food or other supplies back to the nest.  it's pretty amazing how much weight those things can carry.  i once watched an ant trying to pull a piece of chip that was too heavy and when it's mandibles slipped it ended up slingshot-ing itself back like 3 inches.  it was pretty comical...

yeah i do weird things in my free time... 

have you ever been stung by a bee or wasp?  are you worried you might be allergic?