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I super-duper wish I had awesome stuff to tell you all about. But alas, I got nothin’. Nada. Squat. (I think “squat” may be a redneck thing. You can read about why I might use such terminology in this post.) Easter was wonderful. Spent so much time with awesome family. And ate delicious food. Does life get any better?

But now I’m back with nothing to tell you. Zilch. Zero. I am working on several projects right now (why work on one when you can work on five, right?) including some furniture updates for our bedroom, adding yellow to our very red kitchen, John’s carnival invites, a spring wreath, and spring cleaning. Lots of goodies to dish on, but none of them ready. *sigh*

So I thought I’d whip out this old tutorial. Just like that. BAM! tutorial.

Before I even get started I can tell you what NOT to do if you try this at home. DO NOT use mugs with some obtuse shape. Get the traditional, drink-folgers-out-of-it-every-day mug. The shape on these made it quite difficult to get the labels to lay flat and get all the creases out. Unless you’re going for some quirky & crinkly look. In which case do what you want. Secondly, use a basic shape for the labels. See how mine have the fancy corners? I thought that would be a fabulous elegant touch. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Like when you’re diffusing a bomb do-I-cut-the-blue-or-red-wire and then the thing explodes wrong. I think you get the point.

Get:

-Mugs (dollar tree, where else?)

-Black scrapbook paper (or any color really)

-Spray adhesive (slowly starting to fall in love with this stuff)

-Pen in contrasting color

-Scissors

Do:

Practice your handwriting first. Find a font you like. Plain text? Bubble letters? Cursive? Anybody out there do calligraphy? My mom does. Guess who gets asked to do any fancy writing I may need? That’s right. Writing calligraphy for your daughter is probably one of those once you’re a mom you can never go back things. Because I apparently can’t even write for myself.

Now, trace out your shape onto paper. I find I can see pencil lead on black paper. It shines just enough that I can see the lines for cutting later. I use a stencil for this step. Of course if you’re an eyeballer, go for it. I’m a huge fan of eyeballing.

Cut out your shape. Before you do ANYTHING else, write on your label. I was using these for a coffee bar party we had at work, so I needed labels for marshmallows, cookies, and caramels. I tell you to do this now because if you mess up, this is the place you want to just trace out another shape and try again. It’s not messy yet.

Then it’s time for our new favorite person Mr. Spray Adhesive. What a stud. Lay out a protective surface (spray adhesive is like spray paint- it goes everywhere) lay labels face down, and lightly mist the backs. You might want to do just one at a time, so you can be really particular and loving to each label as it goes on.

Press label onto mug, smooth out and voila!

They’re pretty simple really. The best part? Because you lightly misted the spray adhesive, you should be able to peel your labels back off (think of it like a sticker) so the mugs can be washed, used for everyday use, or stored away until the next time you need them. And you can add labels for any theme and color!

And now, for some bid-ness.

It’s spring cleaning week at Villa Russo. Which means I’m exhausted. And cranky. And my fingernails hurt from being crammed into rubber gloves. It’s a dirty job alright, but somebody’s gotta do it.

I’m an odd bird. I hate to clean. Really, passionately, adamantly hate cleaning. But when I do clean, I get all OCD about it. Example: I have a list for every room, that includes what must be cleaned and the recipes for cleaning solutions. Then each room is given a day of the week, and those days are written in my calendar. I’ve been planning this cleaning extravaganza for weeks, buying spray bottles and essential oils in preparation. I will leave no stone unturned. Not one.

Monday night was the kitchen. Where I practically live. Or at least I feel like I practically live there. It was gross. Apparently we like to eat things deep-fried. That would be my guess from the way the walls looked. I thought that stuff was never coming off. It did eventually, but I had to take the walls with it. Also I learned that painting range hood=very bad idea.

Anyways, not that I think I’m a cleaning expert or anything, but here are my tips. Or at least a very gentle reminder to spring clean. 🙂

The Kitchen:

-spray the stove/oven with oven cleaner before you start anything else and let it sit. It’s a timing thing.

-be prepared to systematically empty all your cabinets. And live by the rule “if you’re not sure, toss it.” There were several non-perishable food items that I can’t remember using, so they get tossed. Don’t hold onto something that just clutters your space. And definitely toss it if it’s expired.

-make your space pretty. Seriously. I need to get you a picture of my cookbooks. I shelved them in a way that both looked pretty and was functional. So now I smile any time I have to start preparing a meal.

-start at the top and work your way down. I’m less than awesome at this. I like to tackle the big stuff first (like floors) and then do smaller things (like wipe down counters) but that is counterproductive. No pun intended.

-go natural, if you can. There are some chemical cleaners that I use, but I’m doing my best to move us toward more natural cleaners. Like vinegar, baking soda, lemon, things of that nature. So while I did use a commercial oven cleaner, my all-purpose cleaner was a mix of water, vinegar, lemon juice, and tea tree oil. You can find the recipe here. She has a list of other cleaners there too. I used the all-purpse cleaner for all surfaces except my stove/oven and the floor. I have a different recipe for the floor. It helps a lot when you’re cleaning in big chunks like this to go natural, so you’re not inhaling fumes for hours at a time. And open windows.

-sweat the small stuff. This is spring cleaning after all. You want to get up every. piece. of grime and dirt. You want that spice cabinet to be in alphabetical order. Got it? Okay, not really. But you do want organized and orderly cabinets, so go ahead and start now.

-think about it. Now is a great time to rearrange things that may have already been getting on your nerves. For example, my lover aggravates me to no end when he can’t find a snack in the pantry, and then I find expired cookies/crackers there a week later. So, I put all our snack food at eye level, you can’t miss it. Things like pasta and infrequently used sauces (like syrup) I moved to a lower shelf.

Sadly, after cleaning for more than four hours last night, I didn’t finish the kitchen. I ran out of elbow grease. All I have left is the refrigerator, which will be a beast of a task, wiping down the walls in the eating area, and the floor. Tonight I also have to tackle the bathroom, but it’s about the size of closet so hopefully I’ll be back on schedule after tonight. Wish me luck!

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