{how to} make egg carton twinkle lights

I like to think of each light as a mini, personal chandelier.

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

So pretty.

You’ll need:

Egg cartons, emptied. Preferably the cardboardy ones. Scissors, paint and Christmas lights.

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

Start by cutting up the carton until you’re left with 12 little pieces per carton. I had two so I ended up with 24.

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

Then paint to your hearts content. Or not, you can leave them plain. You’ll poke each light, individually through the bottom of the carton piece and then watch magic happen.

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

An egg carton chandelier for your christmas lights

{how to} wrap your presents for free

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

I don’t have anything against wrapping paper, just that it’s over done. And everyone and their cousin’s brother has a closet full of the stuff. Except me? I gave away most of my stockpile in the wrapping department when we sold our house.

I’ve seen most of these ideas in magazines or around pinterest but got really excited about them when I saw an uber-creative and very talented friend gift wrap a present for her husband in an old blueprint.


You’ll need:

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

Old blueprints, old sewing patterns, comics, scissors, tape and gifts!

I called up that favorite realtor of ours and asked if he had any old blueprints or if anyone in the office might? Maybe you know a contractor? Hoarder? Is it possible you know a realtor who is involved with a development?

He had a few laying around and agreed to give a few to me. GIDDY! (I have a few other ideas for them as well – but as gift wrap? AMAZING. So fun.)

Sewing patterns you either have in your basement or at your local thrift store for 10 cents a piece. And comics? If you don’t get the paper – your local paper is a great place to walk in and ask for day old or week old papers to sort through. Also, your parents? Grandparents? Anyone who gets the paper?

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

Your tree just got interesting.

Creative Wrapping Paper, a how to.

It begs to be mentioned that this is a great alternative (and eco friendly version) for wrapping but it’s also mostly free. In my case, entirely. You throw away or recycle the gift wrap after opening presents but there’s no need to throw away your money too. Right?

Friends!! What are you doing differently this year?

DIY Shoe Pallet

Another idea from Pinterest that solved a problem in our house.

I spent ZERO dollars on this project and I didn’t pull out one tool. I used my muscles; which are huge, for the record, and my hands (not huge).

In our last house (that we owned) we had a 3 season breezeway that was on it’s way to becoming our laundry room/mudroom/kitchen prep room Place of Amazing. We paid our favorite contractor around $1,200 to build a custom cubby situation with shoe storage, a mail sorting desk, pantry shelves and lockers.

Mudroom solution: Ardmore house

It was b-glorious. I loved it. We ended up painting it an orange, yellow and I probably would have repainted it something cleaner (more cohesive to the rest of the room) had we stayed. But oh well! Someone else’s problem now.

Only – now that we’re renting and shlepping 18 million pairs of shoes around and no longer have the room for custom built cabinets (nor the budget as a renter) for a permanent solution to the ongoing suffering of our back entry … well. I did this.

Shoe problem? Didn't think so.

And here’s how:

Welcome to our back entry. A place of many insurance problems, I’m sure.

{how to} make a shoe pallet

We were about to hang a liability disclaimer on the back door letting folks know that any fall or mishap was their sole responsibility. šŸ˜‰

In short: it’s a mess back there. And we trip over eachother and shoes and our CSA crate and I dump stuff there that I don’t know what to do with or for a trip to the garage when the weather turns …

{how to} make a shoe pallet

I went on a hunt this morning for a pallet thinking I’d need two but only had room for one in the van – you should have seen my daughters face when I pulled over (in the Lowes parking lot at their dumpster pile) and ruffled through the pallets laying in the rain. I think she was half mesmerized that I was actually doing this and half mortified that I didn’t care who saw me.

We found one and I lugged it to the van for use in our back entry.

{how to} make a shoe pallet

Then I just kicked around the shoes and whatever else was laying around to make some room for the pallet.

{how to} make a shoe pallet

{how to} make a shoe pallet

And simply leaned it against the wall.

{how to} make a shoe pallet

Stuck our shoes in the slots, toes first, and was amazed that they all fit on one pallet with room to spare.

{how to} make a shoe pallet

{how to} make a shoe pallet

A totally free solution!

{how to} make a shoe pallet

Now I just need to vacuum šŸ˜‰ …. and hang a new sign ::Welcome to our home::

{how to} Use Flickr Uploadr

You can find this tool and download it here.

We started this series with how I store my digital photos and then moved on to how to use flickr.

I got some good questions about how I use flickr to put a photo in my posts on this website – I’ll bring you step by step through that next. Today, we’re going to conquer all that is FLICKR UPLOADR!!!! **roar**

Using Flickr Uploadr

The white box you see is Flickr Uploadr (a tool I downloaded and now it lives on my desktop.)

Using Flickr Uploadr Step 1

You’ll get a pop up of your folders – choose the photos from whatever folder you want or have and select the photos you’d like to upload.

Using Flickr UploadrUsing Flickr Uploadr

Once you select the photos they’ll start loading into Flickr Uploadr like this:

Using Flickr UploadrUsing Flickr Uploadr

And now for the fun part – now we’re going to focus on the right side of your screen within the Flickr Uploadr – it looks like this:

Using Flickr Uploadr

Here’s the great thing about this tool – you can make changes to ALL the photos at once or one photo at a time, or a few or whatever you feel like. So you could upload 100 photos for 17 different sets and individualize their titles, tags and where you want them to go … here’s how …

I’m going to make the 12 photos I uploaded a batch (so I want them altogether in one set) so I just need to select them all (on a Mac that’s Command+A)

Using Flickr Uploadr

A window will appear when you click CREATE A SET … after you’ve selected the photos you want to include (again, for this exercise … all of them).

Using Flickr Uploadr

Title your set (this is like an ALBUM or FOLDER)

Using Flickr Uploadr

And you’ll notice that your “set” has been added to another box on the right side of the Flickr Uploadr. (Bottom right)

Using Flickr Uploadr

And now for some details.
Using Flickr Uploadr


Remembering that we still have ALL photos selected (on a Mac = Command+A) you can Title the photos altogether. (TIME SAVER!) Keep it short – this is what folks will see first when looking through your Flickr Feed. This is not where you tell the story.


This is where you can tell the story. Write a little something about what the photo’s mean or are a part of. This batch of photos was for a Barbie Party I had gone to with my daughter – so I write a little about it.


Tags. This is the SEO stuff. This is what google and other engines search your photos for. (They also search your code, but that’s another post) I try to be specific and general at the same time. Not very many people will search PINK when they mean BARBIE but having a color key in there is some times helpful. I always add my site because most of the photos I upload are for my site (and copyrighted) so I want that information in there.

And when you’re satisfied with the information – you can UPLOAD!

Using Flickr UploadrUsing Flickr UploadrUsing Flickr Uploadr

When it’s done uploading it’ll ask you if you want to Stay in the Flickr Uploadr or go right to Flickr … I generally stay because it’ll take you right to Flickr’s “edit” page which if you’ve already done all that … is a waste of time. So I stay and then later go to my photos and use them, if needed.

Easy? I think so. This is my favorite Flickr tool and I use it ALL the time.

Questions?? Let me know!

I’m going to Flickr you off

I’m on Flickr and so are most of my edited photos (that I want to share).

We just talked through how I store my digital photos and now that we have them all neatly organized – how do we share them?

You should be using Flickr if:

You have a blog that has a photo on it. When you upload a photo into your {wordpress/blogger/etc} gallery to use in a post that photo needs to load before your site is visible to your audience. If you have a million photos on your main page (say you allow 5 of your current posts to just scroll on your landing page and each post has at least one photo – all of them you just uploaded to your gallery to use within your content management system for blogging – EACH photo slows down the load time.) Also? If you lose your site files or your content package when you upgrade or change themes?? You lose your photos, too. Have fun with that one.

Having your photos (as a blogger) load from Flickr in a post (I’ll show you how) lessens load time because your server is reading a “place” not a “file” and will load the content quicker because of it.

You take more photos than the average person. This is when you need to have a pro account. It’s all of $25 a year – well worth it. You can download original size files (which is why I do not store my edits, I delete them all once they’re on Flickr) – Flickr is essentially my secondary storage of my photos. But it works (literally, like an intern) for me – so it pays for itself in the first 30 minutes.

Go ahead, I’ll wait while you sign up.

There’s a free account too – so you can ease in to it – but only 200 photos will be displayed/usable in a free account. Currently I’m storing just shy of 17,000 photos on Flickr … so uh, 200 is a drop in the bucket. (BUY A PRO ACCOUNT.) Ehum, sorry – did you hear something?

There are a number of ways to upload your photos to Flickr once you have your account. (Because you have one now, right?)

When you’re in the HOME tab you can Choose to UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS

HOMEUpload FROM Flickr

From here it’s pretty easy to walk through the process.

Choose your photosChoose and opennow upload, set privacywaitadd description

Now you’re photos are uploaded to your account. You could stop here and not lose a thing. BUT … you can organize, tag and group your photos together for easy navigation (and SEO, for those who want it) in this next screen … so I think we’ll go through that.

a lot going onchoose a set

A set is like an album. Organize your photos into groups that make sense. For this tutorial all my photos are in a set called “Storing Digital Photos” – and it’ll include ALL the photos from this series of tutorials on digital file photo storage and what to do with them after.

I make sets differently than I do with my original files (that I store according to YEAR_MONTH_DAY and every day has it’s own folder. In Flickr I use descriptions for my albums and groups or sets. You can have “parent sets” that hold like-minded smaller sets (so for instance, KIDS and then all the sets “Jessica’s birthday!” “Oliver does the critter barn!” can live underneath the hierarchy of KIDS. It’s like a word tree – with words that are really photos.

I do this because I only ever put my edited images on Flickr. I do not save copies of edits anywhere else. Once I process a batch of photos, burn them to a disc for a client (if needed) or upload them to flickr – I wait about a week before I delete them entirely. I have all the originals and all my edits either live on Flickr or a disc or both. Redundancy is only good twice, then it’s just too much.

Photos are a large part of what I do, so having this system down pat is important for me. It streamlines my time and effort when I need to sit down and batch edit 900 photos at a time. I’m not wasting time, emotionally or otherwise, worrying about my photos because I have a system that I trust and has worked for me for 6 years.

add tags

You only have to add your TAGS once in the batch edit after you upload (in the field above) and it’ll automatically add those same tags to every photo in the batch. Nifty!

Picture 11
Give them a story

When you’re through with all that (seriously less than 5 steps!) you click SAVE and you’re ready to roll.

Next we’ll tackle the Flickr Uploadr (makes this whole process easier) and then How do you put your photos in a blog post?

Questions so far?? Comments? Let me hear em!