At Home with John Newman

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, February 24, 2017

Capital Remodel & Garden Show

We're off to the:

This event is being held at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA.  We will be looking around for new ideas for home and garden.  And we are most excited to visit our friends from Merrifield Garden Center who have a booth at the show.  Be sure to come back next week and check out pictures from our visit.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bin Clip Labels are a Nice Upgrade to the Kitchen!

Today, we are back at the Container Store.  I have been on a roll lately with the Container Store.  And here is the latest gadget I found.

These wonderful bin clips.  What a great idea.  I have been considering replacing the baskets in the kitchen on top of the cabinets but could not find anything that was appealing or that would fit perfectly in the space like the baskets that are there now.  Actually, all I needed was an updated look for the existing baskets and these do just that.

There are three black metal clips in each package.  They come with white inserts on a medium weight, white paper.  I decided to discard the inserts and do something a little more creative.

This is the reverse side of each clip.  You see there is a flexible tab on the back which can be manipulated to fit over the edge of your bin and then hold the clip snugly in place.

I have three baskets in this one location in the kitchen, so one box of these worked for my purposes.  I made labels for each clip describing, briefly, what is kept in each bin.  I used Microsoft Word software to make these.  I just created a text box that was 2" high and 3.6" wide.  I used Segoe UI Light for the font and I added a textured background to each label.  I cut them out using an ordinary pair of household scissors and inserted them in the holders.

I made these labels several years ago when I first placed these baskets on top of what was then new kitchen cabinets.  Again, I created text boxes and typed in the descriptor information.  Then I cut them out and used double-sided Scotch tape to hold the two ends together after I wrapped the card stock around the top of the basket.  These held up quite well for many years.

This time, for the inserts, I used this wonderful glossy brochure paper from HP.  This is a dream to work with and the labels printed beautifully on the inkjet printer.  I normally use the laser printer when printing these types of things, but the inkjet worked beautifully.

So, our new labels look very nice.  Very clean and stylish.  A nice upgrade.  The original labels served their purpose well and for a long time.

I have decided to hang on to these baskets for a while longer now because I am so pleased with the upgraded bin clips.  Maybe I'll spray them with a neutral color in the future for an upgrade.  We will see about that.  Visit the Container Store by clicking here to find all kinds of useful storage and organization tools.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Snack Happy Mozzarella

I have a new snack item that I think you will like.  I found them recently at a local chain grocery store.  Giant Food to be exact.

These wonderful little Casaro Snack Happy fresh mozzarella rounds.  And when the label says award winning flavor, I would most definitely agree with that.

Some of the snack cheeses that come wrapped in wax have a waxy flavor which is off-putting.  I do not care for that.  But these are each individually wrapped and just taste fresh and delicious.  Plus you've got to love the take off on the happy face from the 1960's in their packaging.  SO clever!

These will be kept in the refrigerator at Crest Avenue at all times from now on.  This is a perfect between meal snack.  Calories are low.  Carbs and sugar are nearly nonexistent.

Carbs and sugar have been playing havoc with my health this past year.  It was only after the holidays that I decided to make some changes and have begun to reap the rewards. I eliminated bread and chips from my diet and that has helped tremendously.  My A1C has gone from 8.5 on my last visit to my Endocrinologist to 7.8 today.  Seven is normal for this reading.  Some people will be a little higher, some a little lower.  We are most pleased with my reading of 7.8.  These are great for anyone, whether you are diabetic, pre-diabetic or if your blood sugar levels are normal.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Time to Change the Flag

It has been a busy President's Day at Crest Avenue.  One of the many projects we completed today was putting out the St. Patrick's Day flag.

Hard to believe it is almost St. Patrick's Day.  March 17th is the day, which is a Friday this year.  I think a green beer or two might be in order with a couple friends.

One Additional Organizing Post

Another recent idea I had.  Of course we all have at least one set of salt and pepper shakers or grinders in our kitchen that we use everyday.

I have additional seasonings that I use on a daily basis in cooking and to season my food.  In addition to salt and black pepper, I prefer white pepper in or on certain dishes.  I also use onion powder on a daily basis.  And I am finding that garlic salt is becoming more commonplace every day.  So, a stop at the local Giant food store and I found several sets of these wonderful salt and pepper shakers which, by the way, can "shake" more than just salt and pepper.  So now I have salt, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, garlic salt, even multi-colored non pareils for baking - all at the ready when I want them.  There is one empty soldier at the end of the line.  Who knows what will end up in there.  To be determined.  Stay tuned.


These are the salt and pepper shakers I bought at Giant Food.  Anchor Hocking is a very reputable company which has been selling glassware since 1905.  You want the very best kitchen tools you can find right down to your salt and pepper shakers.  Anchor Hocking sells the very best.

More Elfa Storage

I found some additional storage and organization products from Elfa at The Container Store that I want to share with you.  These were not available when I first started installing Elfa storage systems at Crest Avenue several years ago.  And I love them  Take a look.

These tall utility cups are the newest in the Elfa line.  They were designed to be used with the Elfa baskets that we talked about last week.  But I found they are helpful throughout the house.

Here, in the kitchen cabinet to hold tubes of food coloring.  Once the box of food coloring is opened it can be difficult to keep closed.  It makes the cabinets look unkempt.  This is a much better solution. And they fit inside the cup perfectly.

In the bathroom inside the medicine cabinet is another place they can be used.  It is easy to let this area get out of control because it is out of sight.  You rarely enter the cabinet and guests do not see inside, so it is easy and convenient to just place things inside haphazardly.  But after a while, it becomes a mess and you have to tackle the job of gaining control.

Tall Elfa utility cups work perfectly in this area.  A great way to organize the cabinet that will make searching for the thermometer the next time you are not feeling well much easier.

If you want to use the cups with your Elfa baskets, you see here that they are designed to fit in perfectly.  You could do two cups width-wise in a large basket.

Or turn them so the the end of the cup is facing forward and line them up the length of the basket. Either way, they will help keep all of those small odds and ends organized and in their place.  Extra watch bands, cufflinks, folded handkerchiefs - whatever you have been wanting to get organized and put away can be easily handle with the purchase of a few of these cups.  Another great invention from the minds at Elfa.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Elfa Shelving Systems

I recently upgraded the  Elfa shelving on one of the closet doors.  Take a look.

These center support shelving systems are perfect to add to the back of a closet door.  The design is flawless.  It is just a metal support bracket with slots running the length.  It is affixed to the door at strategic points with screws that are included.  Then you choose the size basket(s) you want and slide them in place.  Initially, I opted for a combination of large baskets on the bottom of the support and small baskets from midway, up.  That was no longer working for me.

So I made a stop at The Container Store recently and picked up four large baskets to replace the small baskets.  This was a most excellent choice.  The large baskets are deeper and wider than the small. Same length, but more space is available for storage due to the extra depth and width.

The large baskets are 5-1/4" wide by 17-1/8" in length by 5-1/2" in height.  For my closet door, that means I can easily accommodate seven large baskets and still have plenty of room to place items and retrieve items from the baskets with great ease.

I noticed on this recent trip that Elfa has introduced a new mesh style basket for this storage system. I like the mesh look, but not so much that I would redo all of my Elfa storage with the mesh baskets.  I am still a big fan of the wire baskets.  It is a personal choice.  Either style affords wonderful additional storage.

Here, a picture of three of the four new baskets in place on the door.  I am using these to store belts, t-shirts, socks and various other items for which space is currently unavailable elsewhere.

The small baskets I replaced will be use in another area.  I am thinking possibly in the garden shed. We will see about that.  If you are in the market for Elfa shelving, The Container Store is currently offering 15% off on select purchases.  You can shop in-store or online.  It is a great time to keep that resolution to get organized in 2017! 
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