Happy Halloween 2017

Hello, gorgeous goblins! I hope you’re ready for a fun night of candy and craziness. We finally got our house ready…lights up, pumpkins out, and costumes on hand. (I promised my family I wouldn’t hang the witch hats this year.) Haha!

Speaking of decorating, though…

Here’s a quick organizing tip!

Do you love how your house looks right now? Did you stick the landing on your entryway decorations and want an encore performance next year?

Then take pictures!

And don’t just take pictures for Instagram, but also print them out and tape them to your storage bins for when it comes time to pull it all down in preparation of Thanksgiving (or even Christmas if you want to jump right to it.) It’s only 8 weeks away. Eek!

Putting photos of your decorations directly on their storage bins helps you remember just how awesome your house looked AND tells you exactly what’s inside the bin. #likeagenie

If your witches and webs are too much for a single bin, not to fear. Print multiple photos and use a Sharpie to circle the items that are inside each bin. Even with clear bins like the ones below, it’s nice to have a snapshot of everything that’s inside.

{shop this bin} – it’s not an affiliate or anything, I just really like these bins. ūüôā

PS. Finding holiday-colored lids (think orange for Halloween and green or red for Christmas) makes it super easy to pull all of the right bins – especially if you store them in a dark attic or basement.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the festivities on this spook-filled night!

-Kate

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10 Best Organized Living Tips…so far

Well, this week is off to an exciting start. The Neat Nook was selected to be part of this BuzzFeed Nifty article about organizing tips. >

I was so honored when one of their editors reached out. She was particularly interested in the post about ‚Äúnew uses for rubber bands.‚ÄĚ

It was cool to look back at that post ‚Äď and even a few others in the Organized Living category ‚Äď to refresh my memory of all of the tips I‚Äôve shared so far on this blog adventure.

I decided to share a few of my own favorites with you. So if you’re new to the blog or haven’t caught these particular posts, you can see them here.

{ONE} New Uses for Rubber Bands

This was actually the idea that was posted in the BuzzFeed article. > Secure two tissue boxes with a rubber band. Use an empty one as your built-in trash can. It’s perfect for a kid’s room or traveling in the car. Ta-da!

I love finding new uses for things. In fact, I have lots of posts with this theme. If you want to see more, such as new uses for cupcake liners, or new uses for loom bands, check out these Neat Nook posts!

{TWO} Bedtime Rituals

Nothing beats the feeling of crawling into a soft bed at night. I tell ya. Some days are easier to lull into a slumber than others, though, so I pulled together an easy routine to help us S.T.A.R.T. sleeping better. (It’s even an acronym to help us remember.)

Read the full post,¬†and hopefully you’ll be sleeping like a champ – and waking up ready to rock the day.

{THREE} Creating a Welcoming Entryway

An entryway sets the tone for the rest of the house, so this post gives practical and beautiful ideas to organize this important space. <3

{FOUR} Organizing Your Jewels 

This was one of my very first posts, y’all! For sentimental reasons (and because the tips are still pretty dang useful) I wanted to include it on my list. ūüôā Check out these three simple steps to getting your jewels all jazzed up.

{FIVE} Tips for a More Enjoyable Laundry Room

This post not only offers great tips on organizing your laundry space, but also shares some photo inspiration that could actually get you excited about laundry.

{SIX}  Five Things Every Guest Room Needs

If you want to make guests feel like they’re on a retreat when they come stay with you, this post outlines five must-have qualities.

{SEVEN} One Hour Desk Makeover

Sometimes your desk just needs a mini makeover – like with some sorting, purging and organizing back in place. This post gives five simple steps to do just that – within an hour!!

{EIGHT} Slimming Down Your Bookshelves

If you love to collect books like I do, this post can help you slim down your selection so your shelves aren’t too overwhelming. Just let this photo be our inspiration. #ohsopretty >

{NINE} Candlestick Projects

Technically this post could be filed under the “new uses” category. I decided to round up some favorite ideas using candlesticks. Here’s the result.¬†

{TEN} Beautiful Bulletin Boards

I love a good ol’ fashioned bulletin board where I can print and pin pictures, quotes and even family schedules.

Here’s a post I pulled together that shows some of my favorite bulletin board ideas.

Speaking of boards, if any of these ideas inspire you, feel free to pin them on a Pinterest board. You can also follow me @ Kate Andersen.

Have a beautiful and organized day, my sweet friends!

Kate

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5 Perfectly Easy Pumpkin Makeovers

Halloween is just a few days away, but there’s still time to dazzle up some pumpkins before your doorbell starts ringing. And I have some super easy, no-carve ideas to share.

As an added bonus, when the Halloween clock strikes midnight, all of these can turn into whole new pumpkins that will last until Thanksgiving!! (No fairy godmothers required.)

Here’s a snapshot of all of the projects. The Halloween edition is on the left and the Thanksgiving makeover is on the right in each photo. >>

Now let’s get down to the details!

Here are the five projects, which include supplies and instructions. You won’t believe how easy these are. For reals!

{ONE} FROM MINI MASQUERADE TO MANY THANKS

– SUPPLIES –

Orange Pumpkin * Pretty Mask * Tulle * Feathers

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Cut strips of tulle and lay them under the pumpkin – like a star. (shown on left)

Gather up the tulle at the stem of the pumpkin and secure ends with another piece of tulle. (shown on right)

Tie on the mask and add feathers for extra fabulous flair.

I used feathers with wire stems so I could just poke them right into the pumpkin.

¬†– MAKEOVER –

Remove the mask and feathers and gather a few extra supplies.

¬†– SUPPLIES –¬†

2 Pieces of Gold Ribbon * Short Strip of Burlap Ribbon * Tag and Gold Pen

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Wrap the gold ribbon around the pumpkin. I used two separate strips of ribbon and tied them at the top.

Make a tag using words like “give thanks” or “grateful” and then tie it onto the stem with the burlap ribbon.

I plan to put this on the buffet in my dining room.

{TWO} A SPIDER TURNS TURKEY

– SUPPLIES –

White Pumpkin * Extra Fuzzy Black Pipe Cleaners * Sharpie

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Use the Sharpie to make two black eyes.

Insert the pipe cleaners directly into the pumpkin. Super easy!

This guy is resting on the armoire in my living room at the moment.

PS. You’ll see why I didn’t make a mouth in a moment.

¬†– MAKEOVER –

Remove the spider legs and gather a few supplies.

– SUPPLIES –

Brown Feathers * Gold or Bronze Sharpie

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Draw a turkey beak under the eyes.

Add the fancy feathers behind the stem, so it looks like a little turkey.

These feathers had wire stems, so it was a cinch to poke right into the pumpkin.

This might be my favorite pumpkin of all time.

{THREE} SPOOKY TO SENTIMENTAL

– SUPPLIES –

White Pumpkin * Black Tulle * Orange Ribbon * Fake Spider

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Layer the black tulle and orange ribbon into a bow and tie around the stem of the pumpkin.

Hot glue or tie on the spider to jazz up the spook factor.

¬†– MAKEOVER –

Strip down the pumpkin to its beautiful self.

– SUPPLIES –

Silver or Black Sharpie

– INSTRUCTIONS –

You could start a lovely tradition of The Great Thanksgiving Pumpkin.

Have each person at your Thanksgiving table take turns writing something they’re grateful for – on the pumpkin.

I love the one pictured below.

{FOUR} A CHANGE OF PACE IN THE VASE

– SUPPLIES –

Small Orange Pumpkin * Carving & Scooping Tools * Floral Foam + Gothic Feathers/Flowers

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Okay, so this one requires some carving, but you can preserve the inside of the pumpkin with this handy tip.

Now, cut a “lid” on the top of the pumpkin. Open and scoop out the insides.

{Remember to keep your seeds for these yummy recipes or this darling flower.}

Insert the floral foam in the bottom of the pumpkin and arrange your feathers and flowers.

I used a little Spanish moss to fill the gaps around the edges of the arrangement.

¬†– MAKEOVER –

Pull out the Halloween-themed flora and gather up a fall harvest.

– SUPPLIES –

Large Bundle of Wheat

– INSTRUCTIONS –

I was able to reuse the floral foam. If it’s too crumbly from your first arrangement, you can always use a fresh one.

Insert a few stems of wheat at a time. I inserted them at an angle so they fanned out of the pumpkin.

You could add Spanish moss or even tuck in a few pine cones at the base to help cover the gaps.

I also added a pretty bow, because I just like them.

{FIVE} THE GREAT RIBBON SWAP

– SUPPLIES –

Orange Pumpkin * Black and White Ribbon * Gold Paint and Brush

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Wipe down the pumpkin and paint stripes and polka dots – or any fun pattern.

Tie a bow around the stem. Boom. Done.

¬†– MAKEOVER –

Remove the bow.

– SUPPLIES –

Burlap and Gold Ribbon

– INSTRUCTIONS –

Um, all you do is swap out the Halloweenish bow for this beautiful fall bow. I layered the burlap under the gold ribbon.

You could paint lots of smaller pumpkins and arrange them down the middle of your dining room table.

For the Halloween pumpkins, add black candles to help goth-up the look. When it’s time to give thanks, swap out the candles for a cream or burgundy color.

That’s a wrap! I hope this gave you a few fun ideas to try. Which one’s your favorite? Or do you have other ideas to share? Do tell! ūüėČ

In the meantime, I’ll be busy gathering goodies (mountains of candy, more like it) for our little treaters next week.

Blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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Scare Up Some Creativity

Goblins, ghouls and spilled glitter aren’t the only things we fear. The death-stare of a blank page can make any writer go numb.

So how do we unmask the fear of our own attempts at creativity?

First, it helps to put fear in its place. Here’s some perspective from one of my all-time favorite humans. >

Along that same train of thought, I’ve heard that “fear doesn’t actually stop death, it stops life.”

That’s a pretty powerful statement. And why would we want to do that to ourselves? Why would we stop ourselves from truly living and expressing the creativity that’s inside of us?

If we’re being totally honest, there’s probably a long list of reasons. And some of them might look like this:

  • I could fail.
  • My ideas could suck.
  • People could think I’m stupid and have no original ideas.
  • I could lose credibility as an artist or writer.

The key word in all of those scenarios is “could”. We don’t know for certain that any of this is true. For now, it’s all in our head.

So, isn’t it¬†just as likely that our list could turn out like this:

  • I could succeed.
  • My idea could be awesome.
  • People could think I’m super creative and full of original ideas.
  • I could gain the confidence of those around me and have a giant fan club.

Yes. The pendulum could most definitely swing in that direction.

If we define fear for what it really is: False Evidence Appearing Real, then maybe we can muster the courage to face our creativity. Surrender ourselves to the process. Allow ourselves to take a chance and let go of the outcome. Even if a project or storyline doesn’t work out, we can choose to learn and live on.

Everything we experience becomes our experience.

So in honor of the upcoming holiday (Halloween), let’s make a pact to scare up some creativity this week.

Stare down that blank page and write like your life depends on it. Because maybe it does.

Courage and blessings to you,

Kate

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Winner of the Blogiversary Book Bundle Giveaway!

I’m happy to announce we have a winner! Jamie Bronis at The Bronis Family Blog¬†has won the drawing for the Blogiversary Book Bundle valued at $80. Congrats, Jamie!! All of these awesome books are headed your way. >

It sounds like Jamie is most excited to read You Are a Badass¬†by Jen Sincero. And I can’t wait for her to dig into this book and get inspired to do some awesome, badass things!

Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing and keep supporting the blog with your visits, comments and shares. You keep me inspired to write and I love you all to pieces.

I know it’s fun to have giveaways from time-to-time, so I’ll keep looking for opportunities to share discounts, deals and free stuff to help us all live a creative life in this messy world.

For now, have an amazing weekend, and I’ll see you next week with some Halloween-inspired posts.

Blessings,

Kate

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5 Favorite Fall Posts…so far

Happy Friday! I’m still in celebration mode this week as the blog just turned three years old. It’s crazy how this little baby keeps truckin’ along and making new friends.

By the way, if you haven’t already, be sure to enter your name in the Blogiversary Book Bundle Giveaway valued at $80.

The drawing is tonight, so get the details here!

As I’ve looked back at some of my favorite posts, I realize I really do love fall most of all. <3

I thought it would be fun to share my top five fall posts (in no particular order). >>

{ONE} DIY Pumpkin Seed Flowers

This was a fun post to write, because it involved getting creative with my leftover pumpkin seeds from our Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

If you’re carving up some gourds soon, be sure to check out this super simple idea.

The post also includes ideas for what to do with your flowers once they’re made – like napkin ring holders for your Thanksgiving table or even pretty Christmas ornaments. #crafty

{TWO} Fall Up Your Home

This post was written when the temps were finally dipping, and it really started feeling like fall around here in Northwest Arkansas.

I wanted to spruce up the house with some fall flair, but didn’t want to spend tons of money or time doing it. So I found five key places around the house that would instantly transition the home into a warm and cozy spot. Check it out.

{THREE} Inspiration for a Fall Garden

The cool air not only nudges us into sweaters and cozy throws, but also also inspires us to freshen up the garden.

I usually change up the color scheme of my flowers from summery pinks to cooler purples. And as I was searching for ideas for my front porch, I rounded up five of my favorite planters. >

{FOUR} Fall Chore Checklist

Okay, so the idea of “chores” isn’t the most exciting, but it must be done. I wanted to simplify the whole process (and even delegate a few things to my sweet husband and kids), so I decided to make a checklist for us.

To this day, I still refer to this handy PDF. Feel free to print a copy for your fridge and check out the full post here.

{FIVE} Halloween Treats!

While I’m not a food blogger (by any means), I still like to share some recipes from time-to-time.

This special Halloween post includes my all time favorite pumpkin-shaped cheeseball recipe. >

It also features these sweet cinnamon bat pita chips that I serve with fruit salsa.

Mmmm. I can’t wait to make all of these recipes again. There won’t be any tricks at this Halloween party, just plenty o’ treats!!

That’s a wrap! Have a terrific weekend, dear friends. And seriously, enter to win this amazing book bundle!!

The winner will be announced on Saturday here on the blog, as well as on Facebook (so make sure you “like” and follow The Neat Nook!)

Many blessings,

Kate

PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out. >>

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Hold On To Your “Ors”

For today’s creative tip, I want to focus on choices – and the beautiful fact we have them.

{via}

If you’re feeling stuck, challenged or downright uninspired, lean into the idea of choices. They don’t have to be life-changing decisions. Start with a tiny fork in the road and let it guide you to a better place.

For instance…

If you’re in between creative projects and don’t know what to do next, you could pickup your camera or sketchbook like usual¬†or try your hand at watercolors or crocheting. Challenge yourself with a new medium, and you might discover a whole new hobby. That you love!

Have you taken on too many projects and feel overwhelmed? You could stew in your stress or take a quick minute to stop. Delegate what you can. Say “no” where you need to. And handle the rest one thing at a time. It’ll all get done in due time.

Maybe you’re writing a book and are struggling with dialogue? You could continue to sit in front of your computer and feel frustrated or you could pack up your laptop and head to a coffee shop where you can eavesdrop on conversations and gather inspiration. A simple change in location could be just what you need.

Let’s say you want to share a creative idea at your next meeting but are afraid of rejection. You could sit in doubt and smother the idea¬†or¬†take a chance on it working out. Like they say with the lottery, “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

And if your idea doesn’t go over well, you have the choice of feeling deflated¬†or inspired to make it better next time.

There’s always an “or” when we really look for it. Hold on to it and maybe even see what’s on the other side?

Still need a nudge? Elizabeth Gilbert gives us this empowering thought from her book Eat, Pray, Love. It reminds us to stay in charge of our choices. >

Many blessings,

Kate

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3rd Blogiversary + Book Bundle Giveaway!

Hello, dear friends! I’m super excited today because it’s not only lucky Friday the 13th, but also the 3rd blogiversary of The Neat Nook. Threeee years!!!

This is my all-time favorite creative project. And at the same time, I can’t believe I’ve kept up the discipline (some months better than others, I’ll admit) and the courage to keep writing and sharing. This has become a sacred a spot where I can be myself, explore new topics, dig into projects, share a few perspectives, and even journal about my family from time-to-time. I’m terrible at filling scrapbooks, so some of my posts serve this double purpose.

I love that you’re here right now and thank you for reading. Hopefully you’ve been inspired at some point along the way. I’ve certainly learned a lot over the past three years and know there’s still plenty of room to grow. My hope is that we continue to cheer each other on and learn together. I encourage you to leave comments when you can, and introduce yourself so I can get to know you better!

And just for being here today, whether you’re new or a long-time Neat Nooker, I’m offering a special giveaway:

It’s a Blogiversary Book Bundle¬†with FIVE amazing titles that will go to ONE lucky reader. It’s valued at $80. Each book was handpicked with a¬†focus on five topics I love to talk about on the blog.

{ONE} Creativity

You may remember my recent post¬†about “unleashing curiosity” that was inspired by this book. Well, I think my favorite synopsis might be by Daily Beast: “Big Magic will resonate with writers and artists who find the process of producing work to be particularly painful‚ĶThrough anecdotes about her creative failures and resourcefulness, as well as those other artists, Gilbert encourages readers to pursue a creative life ‚Äėthat is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” Let this book be your muse!

{TWO} Organization

This “Do It All Planner”¬†is beautiful – and designed to keep you on track in 2018. It includes monthly and weekly planning pages, tear-off shopping and to-do lists, inspirational quotes and 300 stickers to keep you all sorted out!

{THREE} Inspiration

Ok, y’all. I listened to the audiobook version of this on my way home from the beach this summer and was astounded by how much truth Jen Sincero packed into these pages. You Are A Badass is described as “…an entertaining how-to guide of hilarious stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you identify and change self-sabotaging beliefs that stop you from getting what you want, and create a life you totally love.” You won’t be the same when you put this book down.

{FOUR} Simplicity

As you may know, I recently discovered the Swedish philosophy of Lagom (the art of a balanced life.) So I was super excited to see this new release in Barnes & Noble. Consider it a primer on how to introduce Lagom to your personal life, relationships and broader world. A lovely little read that would also be sweet on your coffee table.

{FIVE} Relaxation & Fun

This book is called Peaceful Dot-to-Dot, which is full of thoughtfully constructed illustrations designed to help you find a sense of peace. Think of it like those adult coloring books that help you get into a meditative state by chilln’ with your colored pencils. This amazing book has more than 150 images waiting for you to reveal them – one dot at a time. This might be my new jam.

There are multiple ways to enter, so be sure to check ’em out below. The drawing will be held next Friday night, that’s October 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm CST. Open to all U.S. and Canadian residents.

Good luck and many blessings to you!

-Kate

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PS. I’m linking up with all of these fantastic bloggers again this week. Be sure to check them out.

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10 Beautiful Bookmarks (that you can make!)

I love curling up under a fuzzy blanket and reading a good book. I might even brew a cup of peppermint tea and claim some official “mom time.”

Every good reading sesh comes to an end, though. And I never seem to have a bookmark on hand. Gripes! I’m usually reaching for a bobby pin in my hair or the nearest magazine so I can tear off a corner to use as a makeshift solution.

I’d love to have at least one¬†better option lying around. So…

I decided to gather up some DIY bookmark projects for us!

{one} peppy pom poms

Making pom poms out of yarn is super easy, and I love how they look popping out of the top of a book.

{two} buttoned up ribbons

This requires a tad of hand sewing, but nothing too difficult. I love the use of patterned ribbons with darling buttons.

{three} corner hearts

With a little paper folding, this sweet heart slips right over the corner of the page.

{four} crochet bouquets

Okay, quick confession. I have no idea how to crochet.

So I either need someone to teach me how to make these gooorgeous bookmarks, or I’m headin’ on over to Etsy to find a little purchase. #treatyoself

{five} paper clip ons

Now we’re back to something I can handle: gluing and tying. Aren’t these dainty flowers so adorable?

I actually made a batch of these (below) for my office makeover. Remember that??

I use my paper clips all of the time for officey things. I haven’t thought about using them as bookmarks until now. Duh!

These were my rendition. PS. I still love the black and gold in my office.

{six} magnetic magic

Probably the coolest thing about these bookmarks is the no-slip factor. They’re made with magnets on the tips, so they stick together when in place.

This first one uses washi tape, which is brilliant. And the second one uses pretty ribbon.

{seven} light as feathers

This is probably the most basic idea…using paper as a bookmark. But these beautiful feathers certainly don’t look basic.

You can have fun cutting out your own or downloading that second set (below) with inspirational quotes.

{eight} paint chippin’ in

This is really stepping up the craft game. These bookmarks are made with (free) paint chips from the hardware store that have been embellished with stamps, doodles and a pretty ribbon tab.

Notice the flower-shaped grommets around the base of the ribbon, too. Love the detail on these.

{nine} kids’ play

This one made me laugh. And who wouldn’t want the sweet faces of their kids dangling from their books?

I’m thinking you could do this photoshoot at any park. Have your kids hold onto a monkey bar and snap away. Too fun.

{ten} pop art

Ending with the KISS method (Keeping It Simple, Sister), these popsicle sticks actually look pretty cool decorated with hand drawn tribal prints.

Here’s some additional inspiration for your patterns.

I hope you enjoy some of these projects. You’ll have to show me your bookmarks!! Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram or Twitter. My handle is @KateJandersen.

Blessings,

Kate

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You’ve Got a Nose for Creativity

There’s a chance the only thing standing between you and your next big creative idea could be the smell of vanilla and cinnamon. Whaaaat?!

I know. It sounds crazy, but there’s research that says the combination of these scents has been linked to creativity.

In fact, this article talks about several fragrances that help us in various ways. For example, did you know the smell of oranges can reduce anxiety?

Fascinating, right?! So for today’s creative tip, I encourage you to light a candle like this,¬†bake a batch of these cinnamon-vanilla monster cookies,¬†or whip up a pot of simmering scents.

{Here’s a great recipe to try: Toss one sliced apple, three cinnamon sticks, a pinch of cloves, one teaspoon of vanilla and two cups of water in a pot to simmer down.}

Once you have your means figured out, head to the place where you do your creative thang, take a deep breath, and let nature take its course. Haha!

Have fun soaking in the scents and being brilliant, my creative friends.

Blessings,

Kate

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