Monday, October 06, 2014

Life Hacks

October 6, 2014
So... our last post was October 2010. That tells ya' something, doesn't it? We're not going to try to make up for lost time, or do a retrospective, or a flash-back episode (although, digging through JewelGeek's and Crafterkat's Facebook photos for a flashback episode would be fun...)

Nope, we're going to pick up like nothing happened, and start in again. And today's topic is "Life Hacks."

I've read so many online articles about the cool things people do/use to get by, I have been inspired. So, periodically, I will share some of my favorite life hacks with you all. Reduce, reuse, recycle, my friends.

Tip #1 - Bag Clips

So these are pretty, plastic, and hefty. They also a) don't fit in the drawer for storage, b) break easily, c) don't have a strong magnet to hold anything in the clip and magnetize to the refrigerator, and d) cost upwards of $2 per clip (I just looked online) or $1 for 4 at a dollar store place (see items a, b, c especially for the dollar store versions).

These are made of metal, stack in the drawer, are nearly impossible to break, can be FROZEN, and cost $3 for 36 = ~$0.08 per clip at any office supply place. You can pay more, of course, for more quantity ($6 for 100) or different colors (gold clips, anyone?)

And for magnetic clips that really hold stuff to your fridge, splurge on these from an office supply store. I found an online supplier that offers 24 for $7. But you can usually pick up 3 for $5 at an office place. And really, if you are using more than 3 of these on your refrigerator, you need a better filing system.

Tip #2 - DIY Dry Erase Board

Have you priced a dry erase board lately? The cheapest one we found in a store of the size I wanted (24x36) was $60. And it looked like if I sneezed on it, it would snap in half.

So, what I did instead was to take a cork board and transformed it into a dual use dry erase/pin board. Granted, I already had it at home and wasn't using it for something else. But in my defense, I bought it at Goodwill several years ago for something like $5. A brand new cork board of the same size (24x36) at the office supply store will run about $30.

Find some fabric you like of a size that will fit the board, and enough to wrap around to the back. Glue the fabric to the board. I used Aleene's Tacky Glue, which did not bleed through the fabric, and did stick it nicely to the cork, the wooden frame, and the weird paper/cork backing on the back. Be generous with the glue on the edges/frame and the edges of the fabric on the back, so everything sticks/stays in place. Let dry.

Purchase some clear, adhesive shelf liner - also known as Con-Tact paper. You will want this at least 12-inches wide, which will easily cover half the width of the cork board. I got the 18-inch-wide roll, by 24 feet long, which is clearly more than I will need for this project.

Cut the clear sticky liner/Con-tact paper to wrap around the edges of the board.

Adhere to the back on one edge, then bring it over the frame, and on to the fabric. I taped my edges down with clear packing tape, both to keep it secured, and to prevent the edges from catching/curling up over time.

On the front, you can see that I have about 6 inches left at the top with no liner paper on it. I decided that I would keep that, so I could still pin things to the board without marring up the dry erase part. But to keep myself from accidentally drawing on the raw fabric, I pinned a bit of ribbon across the board to mark where the clear liner stopped.

An added bonus - the ribbon now holds my dry erase pens in place, too.

And yes, I can read the pens on the fancy fabric pattern!

Cork board - $5 at Goodwill
Fabric - free, from my stash
Con-tact paper roll - $10 (for more than I will ever need)
Ribbon - free, from my stash
Push pins - free, from my stash
Glue - free, from my stash
Tape - free, from my stash
Pens - $4 for 6
= $29