Thursday, June 30, 2016

Read a Book: 5 Days to a Clutter Free House by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims {book review and declutter progress #honestcraftroom}

This month I have selected 5 Days to a Clutter Free House written by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims to share with you!

We are in a declutter movement, as it seems, right now. I know it's not just our house, but those around us as well. The amazing popularity of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  is just proof of the declutter movement. But, it hasn't entirely worked for me. I love the concept and getting everything in one category at a time. But, that is a super daunting task! I was searching for some books at my local library, (Cleaning House: A Moms Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement & The More of Less), and came across this one instead. I figured, why not see what it suggests? I mean, 5 days is an incredible feat? Right? How could this daunting task be completed in that time frame? How could I transform my incredibly overstuffed house in just 5 days? So, as any desperate person would, I checked out the book.

The gist of the book:
Get a bunch of friends and put everything that is out of place in boxes.
Label boxes by contents
Line up against the wall
Go through at your leisure

Umm... Ok...

Needless to say... I was a little disappointed.

I don't want friends seeing all the trash, junk, and everything else in my house. I don't want to have to answer question after question about what an item is and what box it should go into. And I'm not decluttering, I'm moving the mess from the tables and counter tops into boxes along the wall. How does that even count?!?

And then I thought about KonMari and the gathering of like items to go through. I have barely made it half way through KM-ing my items because of going through the house and gathering. The categories I had completed did not get removed quickly enough and managed to become re-scattered amongst my joy sparking things.

I needed a more systematic approach to gathering items, especially since I am so ready to move the baby into her room (which is still currently the craft room, 4.5 months later)... And this book gave me that approach. I'm realistic. It wont be completed in 5 days, it hasn't been completed in 5 days. But it helps. If I applied the zones a little better, it would probably help even more. 

Here is the craft room before (embarrasing, I know):

I started taking out all the fabric after this, and stalled.

I told my mom about the premise of the book. One saturday afternoon she came over with some boxes and helped me get started clearing more space off the table and desk (both are going to have to be sold). 

And this was as of last week:
A photo posted by JessiBerry (@jessiberry09) on

I'm still not happy about having everything in boxes. We still have things in boxes from when we moved into our house 3, almost 3.5, years ago. and the chances I actually go through them are pretty slim. But the approach has given me something to work with, and a way to group everything by category.

as of yesterday:

A nice thing about the book, it is coming from a perspective that seems to understand the trouble with staying clutter free, versus KonMari where the author has always organized, decluttered her things, and easily purged objects from her room.  Especially for us crafty type people, those things do not always come naturally. "We cannot have a museum, library or store in our living spaces and still maintain a gracious, orderly, welcoming, and beautiful home." (pg 120) This is how I treat my craft supplies, something I can shop from without having to go to an actual store. It is something that is cluttering up my home and taking away from the beauty of it. I need to "make a decision not to keep everything" (pg 135) and I need to consciously understand that it is ok to get rid of things. This is the hard part with KonMari. Yes, she makes sense as well, but doesn't appeal to my own sentimentality as these authors do.

It has helped having someone here with whom to organize things. And it helps to have someone who understands the different types of craft supplies. KonMari has had me doing it alone. It hasn't worked. 

I wonder if I will be able to use this for the office space, which will become the craft/office space, in the master bedroom? So much to do.
This is where the craft space is getting moved to, also super embarrassing. Those drawers at least are for fabric:

Book Scoring:
  • Content - eh, half of it is something I feel like I can use. I don't like all of it, but it might work well for others  (1/2 check)
  • Organization - 2 parts. the boxing up of things and then the going through the boxes. The second part is too much for me. yes/no/maybe boxes. then go through the maybes and place into yes/no. too much sorting (1/2 check)
  • readability - easy enough. understandable and relate-able. repetition of certain concepts and monotonous. (1/2 check)
  • Conversation worthy - It started my mom and I talking, comparing the KonMari book and this one (check)
  • Invokes personal thought/reflection - It's getting me thinking about my habits and what I need to change in order to successfully create a beautiful living space I am not embarrassed to show to my friends.(check)
          Overall: 3.5 checks (stars, what have you)

Check out my other books reviews here

Join me on GoodReads here, I'm always on the lookout of a new book and to share with other book loving friends!

tell me:
How do you organize your craft supplies?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Real Life, Real Sewing: Sew 20 Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Sew 20 Real Life, Real Sewing Blog Tour!

I love how this is all about the reality if handmade clothes and not just those behind the staged pictures. So much gets created that often does not enter the blog land, and so many times I am lucky enough to barely remember to take a picture with even just my phone of kids on the clothes! I put my kids in momma made about every day for the last several weeks and barely remembered to take pictures! It's not until going through my phone and instagram that I realized I often put them in momma made, just don't think about it! (that's so nice!)

Little man wearing some PAB Classic Chinos
 We were also posed several questions to answer!

Older kiddos wearing mommy made pjs
1. What do you look for when choosing a new sewing project?
     I look for simplicity when choosing new projects. Simplicity of the pattern and the speed with which it can be sewn together. Time is valuable and often, if I cannot get it done in a nap-time, then it's never going to get finished. If it's a project that has many steps and complicated directions? "Well. Then," I say to the kids and myself, "tough". There are the occassional exceptions...

     I also try to shop my pattern and fabric stashes first. My budget has been cut back drastically and I have to fit it in with what I already have. Often that means that I have to modify and adjust patterns. Then they rarely get finished.
     Right now I have a batman dress for the middle child to work on and it hasn't happened yet. I now have everything for it, but it's the embelishments.

gyct designs firecracker dress

2. Is there anything you would like to (or wish you could) do differently when selecting projects?
     Plan my sewing better so I have time to complete an object that I know myself and my kids will love. I'm working on this one. Trying to fit it in. Goodness, school for us starts in less than a month! Little boy needs new clothes!

blanks slate vintage v-neck and his tiger tail for dress up play.
3. What is your most used/worn sewing project?
    This little black drop waist dress for my little girl. I made it for Husband's Grandpa's memorial and she wears it whenever she can.

     For me it is my Greenstyle Creations Jillian Tank. This thing is awesome for our super warm weather and super easy for nursing the baby. I wear it over a nursing tank. I haven't
A photo posted by JessiBerry (@jessiberry09) on
     After that I would say Halloween costumes. They come out for play all the time! Drives my husband nuts when he learns we have gone to the store/event/or anywhere in a super hero costume! I just laugh. I'd rather the costumes get wear more that one night! I've had to deal with breakdowns because of the outfits being in need of mending! I so dislike mending!

4. Do you have a project that you thought would be used/worn frequently but just did not end up working out?
My finished sewing projects...
     My daughter's hooded Zanzibar shores tank. It has everything she loves: pocket, hood, no sleeves. But she wore it a couple times and that was it.
     The hat that went with my son's "boys can wear pink" outfit. It is a style he always go straight to if he sees it at the store, and the pink band is removable for his dad's comfort. But the hat was never dawned after pictures. Come to think of it, I don't even know where it is...

Unfinished, I'm hoping the batman dress will be worn, but thats if i can ever finish it.
and a pair of skinnies for me. I've been trying to get the waistband right forever...

5. What is your favorite tip/quote that applies for sewing in real life?
    so many ...
I think this one is cute. Doing what we are created to do...
I like this one as a reminder to myself to keep doing it. If I'm not feeling it with my heart then there I need to sit and reflect why. One of the reasons I need to start planning better. if I'm rushed then my heart isn't in it. Colossians 3:23
Craft your heart out and your soul will grow!

Do you have any examples of Real Life, Real Sewing to show off? You can play along by using the #realliferealsewing on social media.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Kids Behind The Blog: Father's Day Edition {TKBTB V5}

Father's Day is coming! I had been looking forward to these questions all week! These guys crack me up!

Hall Around Texas

What do you like doing with Daddy?
Nikolai// long walks outside, camping trips
Samara// walking outside with purple {waterpack}, books! (hehe)

What was Daddy like as a little boy?
Nikolai// I don't know because I wasn't there, but maybe he was like me
Samara// like Kiera

What's Daddy's favorite food?
Nikolai// frosted mini wheats, potatoes, chicken, and tacos
Samara// fruit snacks

What does Daddy do at work?
Nikolai// work
Samara// work

What is you favorite memory of Daddy?
Nikolai// hugging me, making my helmet.
Samara// {working on} cars

I got answers from Samara! Yay! I love how her responses represent her and the things in her immediate world.

Kiera was watching her Daddy the other day, and it was the most precious thing!
I'm looking forward to the day with family. What do you do for father's day?

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Read a Book: The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly {Book Review}

I forgot to post my book review for April! And barely missed May! So I was going to do a double one in May, but decided against it and glad I did since it's June! I didn't read too much in April, and fought through this book in May. As a result I'm going to use this as a "practice" to test out my scoring categories. Plus reading this book took me forever!

I'm trying my best not to give spoilers here and be as vague as I can be. there is some slight foreshadowing in the beginning (is that what it is when it is past tense, but not revealed until the end?), but after the half way point it starts to become more frequent. You read just to figure out what her 'secret' is.  Hint: don't read the reviews on goodreads, people give it away!

Story Line/ Content
-The story bounces back and forth between present and past, which the author does fairly well. At least it doesn't cause to too much confusion. For my overtired momma brain, it was a bit much.
-I would have to reread the book to search for any foreshadowing, but there was nothing that stood out to me.
The beginning of the story dragged on. It wasn't until you meet the father who was originally presumed deceased, though wasn't, where the story picks up. Then the thrill and suspense kicks in!

Character development/
Honestly. I was not captivated by the characters. It felt like "Anniversary Party" meets "Daria" with a cross of "The Dreamers" thrown in, but not at all in a good way. The characters seem annoyingly flaccid in their interactions in the beginning. Biba is the only one who feels like her energy isn't dull or drowning like the rest of the characters. I see the attempt to juxtapose Karen's rich school mates with the delinquency from privation of Rex and Biba. I am annoyed by the characters and their interactions together. But without the conflicts between Guy and Rex, and Karen's search (almost feels like a search for herself), there would not have been much interest for this story.
I found myself mad with the characters once events started to unfold, even though I didn't feel drawn to them in the beginning, I grew to care for them as I read further. I found I loved the characters you were meant to love and in the end, sighed a relief with Karen!

readability/ writing style
It is easy enough to read. The story line moving so slowly with tense changes within each chapter and often times jumping back and forth multiple times within the chapter is almost too much. I feel I need to sit and re-read straight through. I would often jump back into the book after taking care of the kids and forget if I was in the present or the past. It was rather annoying, but it might have been because I was tired with too many interruptions to keep up with the book. Of course, it's not really the books fault!

Aside from it being hard to read in the beginning it was easier from the middle to the end. I was finally able to delve into it and immerse myself in her world.

The book itself reads like a modern day noir fiction. Well, it is a modern day noir. I loved it about this book!

Conversation worthy
For me? No. I honestly don't have much to tell you in reference to this book. Aside from the fact that I felt excited that I am able to label it as modern day noir fiction. It would be hard to talk about the book with people who have not read it! Too much mystery involved and not wanting to give it away!

If you read it, I'm sure we could spend some time discussing it! I am sure there are things I am missing. Honestly. If you were Karen's situation, would you do as she had done? Me, I probably would... Probably not... I don't know! Honestly, you have to read the book!

Invokes personal thought/ reflection
It does remind me of the want to rebel, to throw cares to the wind and who cares what happens. The alluring carefree days of young adulthood and the thrill of doing and behaving in a way that is just this side of bad. I don't know a single person who did not experience such a phase, short lived or not. This book takes a seemingly innocent rebellious behavior and throws in what happens when it's pushed over the edge too far. What happens when innocence Something about that late 90's and bringing back My So Called Life and the feelings that time era evokes.

I was excited about it being like a modern day noir ( I know I have said this multiple times but it's the most exciting part of the book for me, recognizing and feeling that it is as such!)
The story itself is pretty decent, though I think the delivery (to me) felt choppy. It's not a book to read intermittently. It needs to be read without so much interruption. That's hard to do with 3 kids demanding attention constantly!
For me, I wanted to give this book 2/5 stars originally. 1 for the story line (noir) and 1 for personal thought (emphasis on the story line). Other than that, it was hard for me to enjoy this book. Well, up until at least the last 40%. I would have given up reading it if it weren't for this 'rubric'.
I am giving it 5 stars as as it does deserve way better than I am giving it. The book deserves more focus and attention than I can give it. And to be honest I would want to pick it up again later when I have the time I can devote to this story and take it in all at once instead of small confusing piece by small piece.
But, it was a really good read and I am glad and excited to have pushed through!once you got to the last 25% (poor kids were ignored), I had a hard time putting it down. And then I had to hold them tight afterward!
What starts off as slow and sludgy does not end as such!

Books read in April:
The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

Books read in May:
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
The Martian by Andy Weir
Sherlock Holmes Theater (3 Plays audiobook)

Check out my other books reviews here

Join me on GoodReads here, I'm always on the lookout of a new book!