Articles from June 2013

Recycling Bed Sheets

There comes a day when even the most quality bed sheet has outlived it’s function on the bed. It has become torn, worn, or simply doesn’t fit your style anymore. You can avoid adding one more item to a landfill by repurposing your old bedsheets. There are a number of new uses for old sheets and they always come in handy.


First, if your bedsheets are in good condition and don’t match your style anymore, consider donating them to Goodwill or other charity.  There is always a need for affordable, quality bedsheets.


Bed sheets worn beyond use on a bed are great to have on hand for painting, a307930173_47cc362f31rt projects, outside picnics, protecting furniture from pets or slumber party treats and any other time you might want to save something from getting dirty.  You can cut them into much smaller pieces and use them as dust rags. Tear sheets in strips and use them in the garden to tie up veggies that need support or climbers that are just getting started.


If you have kids, you can cut them into smaller pieces with holes in the top and use them as painting smocks. Left whole, they are also fun for building forts. White or light colored sheets can be hung outside on a fence or clothesline to use as a canvas. Let kids paint on them with tempera paint or fill spray bottles with water and food coloring and let them spray the sheets. Use them to make curtains or a blind for a makeshift puppet theatre. For an outdoor group game; have two groups of kids hold the edges of two different sheets, put water balloons in the sheet and have the kids toss them back and forth in the sheets. You can even do this over a volleyball net. Let kids be imaginative with them, they can often find many uses adults would never think of. It is a good exercise in creativity.


Bedskirts can be made by using the sheet as the inside material with a chosen pattern of fabric sewn around the outside edge. Measure carefully so the material will fall in the desired position. Rag rugs can also be braided from old sheets.  Craft Passion has instructions for a braided rug. Heartland Living on a Budget provides instructions for crocheting a rug.


The uses for bedsheets are only limited by your creativity. Re-purposing sheets is a great way to care for the environment and to have a useful tool around the house. Do you have a favorite use for old sheets? When has an old sheet come in handy?

Photo “The OTHER fun thing I did this weekend” courtesy of Anathea Utley

Tips for Lighting Your Bedroom

When you remodel or design a bedroom, light is an important aspect of the decoration you want to keep in mind. There are several ways to make sure the light in your bedroom is both attractive and functional.


First, decide everything you want to be able to accomplish in your bedroom. Knowing what you want to do will help you choose appropriate lighting. For example, if you want to read in bed, reading lamps on the night6602352125_7ebcf3005cstand are essential. You may also want to use your room as a work or crafting space. These functions will require brighter overhead light.


Once you have determined the function of your room, ElleDecor recommends taking measurements of your room to a lighting showroom. This includes heights and width as well as the location of outlets and furniture. Professionals can assist in determining the best light fixtures for your space.

Saving Space

If you do not have enough space on your nightstand for a lamp, you can use lamps that are fixed to the wall on either side of the bed instead. HGTV recommends sconces to elegantly frame the bed. Pendant lights hung from the ceiling are another attractive space saving option. Swing arm lamps can be mounted to the wall and easily positioned to facilitate enough light for reading in bed.

Globe Lights

For a modern soft glow, Apartment Therapy suggests using a cluster of globe lights in one corner of the room. Those who commented on the post suggested using PVC pipe painted to match the wall placed in a corner to manage the unsightly cords involved with globe lights.


Better Homes and Gardens recommends using a chandelier to add a romantic touch to your bedroom. Chandeliers range in style from very embellished to simple wrought iron candelabras. Be sure to choose a style that fits in and accentuates your decor rather than distracts from it. Better Homes and Gardens suggests hanging the chandelier either in the middle of the bedroom or centered over the bed.  

Improve Your Space

Whether you are looking for ambient light or functional light, be sure to find fixtures that match your style. Be creative with your lamps, as well as overhead light. A few well placed lights can add significantly to both the comfort and style of your bedroom.

Photo “Bedroom” courtesy of requintedecor

Do It Yourself Duvets

Duvet covers are an essential part of caring for a down comforter. They offer protection and are easy to wash. They also add to the style and decor of your room. You can purchase beautiful, high quality duvet covers. However, if you change your decor often or have a particular color or print in mind, it may be difficult to find a cover that fits your needs. Fortunately, duvet covers are not hard to make yourself. Most do require a sewing machine and a little sewing knowledge, but they are not very difficult or time consuming.

Here are a few ideas for making your own duvet cover:


Prudent Baby offers quick and easy instructions for sewing a duvet cover using a snap kit for closures.  The author includes standard measurements for all sizes of bedding so you can make yours according to the appropriate size.


You can add texture to a duvet cover made from two plain flat sheets by adding pin tucks in an informal grid throughout the material. 4965028976_61a22a4fc5Living On The Chic provides step by step instructions with pictures for making the pin tucks. 


All sewing a duvet cover requires is enough fabric to cover the comforter. You may have to sew several strips of material together to achieve the appropriate width. You can use fabric, flat sheets or a combination of the two. Plain flat sheets make great backings for patterned material on the top. You can also reuse sheets you have around the house.

Tips to Make It Easier

Make sure you wash and iron all of the fabric before you begin sewing. Then it will be preshrunk and easy to match the edges. Make the duvet a little larger than the comforter so that you will allow for the seams and have plenty of room to get the comforter ing and out of the cover.

Hem the top of the duvet where the closures will go before you sew the top and bottom of duvet cover together. Velcro, buttons and snaps can all be used for closures. 

Start Simple

With a little time and a small investment you can have your own beautiful duvet cover. If you are new to sewing, this is a great project to try. It will be very forgiving and you can hone your skills before advancing to something more complicated.

Photo “Duvet Cover” courtesy of hayzeleyes

How to take a nap

Everyone has a different philosophy about napping. Some people love it, others hate it. Whole cultures base schedules around them. So how do you get the most out of a nap, or should you take one at all?

Napping can have one of two outcomes. It can refresh you and give you energy for the rest of the day, or you can become more groggy and even get a headache. There are ways to avoid the groggy, disoriented feeling. There are also ways to keep naps from interfering with your nighttime sleep. 

Time of Day

It appears that the many cultures who plan for a siesta at around 2:00 pm are on to something. According to Mayo Clinic a nap that starts sometime between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm is least likely to interfere with nighttime sleep. The body is naturally sleepy during this time and it is easy to drift off and take a short nap. The Boston Globe suggests that a short nap in the afternoon “elevates mood and sharpens motor skills.” 


The length of a nap is also important. Our bodies’ sleep moves in cycles from lighter sleep to deeper sleep. The Boston Globe points out that to avoid sleep inertia, which is that groggy feeling, you should take naps either shorter than 20 minutes or longer than 90 minutes. After about 20 minutes of napping the body begins to enter deep wave sleep. If you wake up during the middle of this deep wave sleep, you are likely to experience sleep inertia. Keeping naps to less than 20 minutes will also reduce the likelihood that a nap will interfere with regular nighttime sleep. However, if you are expecting a late night or early morning in the near future, or have had some other loss of sleep, naps of 90 minutes can help restore energy and make up for the lost sleep.

Get Comfortable

If you can, nap in your bedroom, where your body is already used to sleeping. If you are somewhere else, be sure to make the area as comfortable as possible. Closing the shades, finding a light blanket, and finding a place to lay down will all improve your ability to sleep. Be sure to set you alarm so that you can keep your nap on schedule.

Do you like to take naps? What is your favorite time of day to nap?

Photo “Hammock Time” by Justin and Elise Snow

5 Ways to Spend 5 Minutes Getting Organized

When clutter has overtaken your house organizing can be a daunting task. It is hard to decide where to start. Sometimes getting organized can create a bigger mess than you started with and the projects can seem never ending. 

Here are five ways you can spend a few minutes everyday getting one area of your house organized.

6299254442_5b5b2bb0ec1) The Mail

While you are waiting for the stove to heat up or your kids to put their shoes on, quickly go through your mail. Throw out envelopes and junk and make a basket where you can stash bills and important information until you have more time to take care of it or file it away. Don’t let it pile up or drift all over the house.

2) The Refrigerator

While you are talking on the phone, HGTV suggests checking the dates on the condiment bottles. Throw away anything that is too old. Throw out leftovers. If there is any shelf space open wipe it down quickly with a rag. This way your fridge won’t become really gross in between more thorough cleanings.

3)  Whole House Pick Up

Make up a game called “pick up the whole house.” If you have children, challenge them to a race to see who can pick up the most toys the fastest, or set a timer for five minutes and see how much everyone can get done. It is fun to race around the house and pick up for a few minutes. This way toys, shoes, back packs, and more get picked up quickly.

4)  The Bathroom

Each morning after your shower pick a drawer or cabinet to go through. Throw away anything that hasn’t been used in a year or more. Spend only 5 minutes every morning until each space is uncluttered and organized. Then start the cycle again so things don’t pile up.

5)  The Desktop

Whether it is a desktop, dresser or kitchen table, everyone has that space where all the miscellaneous items go. These surfaces can become piled high when neglected for too long. Pick just two things everyday that you will find a better, more permanent place for or throw away. It won’t take long before you see the bottom of the pile.

Simple Steps

It is easy to feel like you don’t have time to be organized, but just a few simple steps everyday will help you knock out some of your biggest trouble spots. Don’t get overwhelmed by feeling like you need to organize everything at once. Little by little will get the job done and require less time. As you lose the clutter around your house hopefully you will breath easier and sleep a bit better at night.  

Photo “junk drawer organized” courtesy of miss karen

The Genes Behind Early Risers and Night Owl


Do you love to wake up with sun? Or, do you stay up long hours into the night and dread an early morning alarm clock? Chances are that you fall somewhere in between a true night owl and early bird. But, whether you fear the alarm clock or never need it may have something to do with your genes.

The Science

National Geographic News reported on a study that looked at genes in skin cells that mimicked the brain’s internal clock. According to National Geographic, “The study reveals that genes, not just environmental factors such as day length, have a major influence on our circadian clock”  This means your preference for when you go to bed and when wake up may be predetermined by your body.

Bad News

This can be tough news to night owls because the world is generally geared towards morning people. Most people work between 8 am and 6 pm. Many retailers, customer service hotlines, banks, government offices and more have hours that count on people accomplishing their daily errands early in the day.

Good News

There is also good news for nightowls. According to a study sited by Rodale News night owls are better at staying awake and engaged in tasks longer throughout the day. When early birds begin to lose focus and feel sleepy, night owls often have the stamina to keep going even when both groups of people have slept for the same amount of hours during the night.

Changing the Habit

If your schedule permits it, there is nothing wrong with being either a morning person or a night person as long as you get enough sleep. However, there may be times in your life when you need to move outside your preference and still get a good night of sleep. To change your sleep habits try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. It may be hard at first and you may want to use weekends to stay up late or sleep early, but eventually your body will get the hang of things and adapt. Having a comfortable sleeping space and a nightly routine will also help you sleep well at night.

What are You?

Are you an early bird or a night owl? How do you adjust to accommodate the demands of your schedule?

Photo “Sunrise” courtesy of Andy Right