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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

10 Spring Cleaning Tasks You Can Do In 10 Minutes or Less !

I don't know what it is about Spring that just makes me want to spend my days cleaning and organizing everything in sight! It is a time for Fresh Air, Flowers, & to make our homes feel organized and efficient for our daily lives! 
Don't be daunted by the list of jobs entailed in Spring cleaning & instead focus on tackling simple but much needed jobs that you can finish in just a few minutes & be able to appreciate immediately! Below you will find a list of 10 Ideas you can do to start Spring cleaning today in just 10 minutes OR LESS! 

1. Take 10 minutes to clean the 'Junk Drawer' or in our case basket - Sift through each paper / item and find the proper homes for them - 99% of the time that place is the trash.

2. Wash the Slip Covers From your couch & cushions - this can be broken up into two days / two 10 min intervals.
Day 1 - Remove Covers & Wash.
Day 2 -  Dry & Replace Covers.

3. Wash baseboards / Ceiling Fans - This is something that can be done in under 10min a day if tackled one room at a time!

4. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms - why wait for that super annoying beeping sound.

5.Clean out the Refrigerator / Pantry - Checking expiration dates & perhaps introducing a little more Organization if needed.

6. Clean out your Bathroom Vanity / Personal Care Product Storage - Check the labeling/fine print & toss any expired products Or those that contain harmful chemical ingredients, preservatives, or Parabens. A clean life starts with a clean, pure body after all!

7. Organize the drawer(s) in your dresser - removing each item of clothing from each drawer, checking for any items that no longer fit, you no longer wear, that could be donated. Whipe out each drawer and then neatly replace its contents.

8. Wash the bath tub & Wax if necessary - add a pretty candle, or switch out your bath mat or hand towels to freshen it up for spring!

9. Wash doors & door nobs

10. Reduce clutter by clearing off your most cluttered table or counter top & find Recycle,Toss, or Shred any un-needed items & re-locate items you wish to keep to a more suitable spot.

10mins A day adds up quickly, especially if you have 2 or more people willing to help!
By the end of the week you can accomplish 2hours & 20minutes a week with just two people! 
In a Family of 5 - 4hours & 50minutes a week! 
I hope that you have found this helpful! 
What are some of your 'Not To Miss' Spring Cleaning tasks? 
Do you have any homemade/green cleaning recipes you swear by? 

I know it doesn't quite feel like it just yet - But I am so excited because SPRING has officially SPRUNG, Easter is just around the corner, & I have soo many upcoming collaborations and giveaways planned that I can hardly wait to share with all of you! 
Dream Big Sparkle More   Shine Bright

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Guilt Free Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread is one of my all time favourite foods, it doesn't matter what time of day or year it is Banana Bread is always appropriate! This recipe which is 100% Vegan that can be easily made gluten free is one I actually I stumbled upon a few years back when I was in college (struggling to satisfy a craving with the very little baking ingredients I had) & it has quickly become one of my favourites & certainly a go to when ingredients are in short supply! It is so moist and delicious It's hard not to eat 1/2 a loaf - but quite honestly given the ingredients excluding the sugar I never feel guilty when it happens! 


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, or whatever your preference is ( You can also replace up to 1/3 of a cup with applesauce, which I find makes it deliciously sweet)
  • 1/2 a cup - 1 cup of brown or white sugar to sweeten
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour or Gluten Free Flour (which is available by a variety of brands & does not effect the taste results in the slightest) 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe mashed bananas (which is roughly 1 & 1/2 cups )
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup nuts / chocolate of your choice (optional) 

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). 
    2. Using your coconut or oil of choice lightly grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan. (or muffin tins but you will need to adjust the time to closer to 30min)
    3. In a large bowl mix together all ingredients! No need to separate your wet & dry this recipe is seriously NO HASTLE!
    4.  Pour batter into prepared pan.
    5. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick (comes out clean). 

    Enjoy !

    & Remember to ALWAYS...

      Dream Big Sparkle More   Shine Bright

      Sunday, March 15, 2015

      Kiss Me I'm Irish - DIY St. Patrick's Day Decor

      Taking a quick Hiatus from this months blog theme of Spring Cleaning to do a little St. Patrick's Day celebrating! 
      Almost all of the decorations I created for this were done using just paper, paint, scissors, tape, hemp twine, and a pencil. I am a firm believer that decorating for the Holidays is absolutely something that can be done on even the tightest budget & does not have to mean going out and spending a ton of money!
      Re-arranging and Re-purposing decorative items you already have in your home is a great way to switch up your home decor. Everything you see here is something that I thought would work well for the theme & has just been pulled from somewhere else in our home!

      Themed Paintings

      My intentions with this project were to create pieces that I could re-use and incorporate back into my home in other ways after St. Patrick's Day had passed. I decided on 'Kiss Me I'm Irish'  as the over all theme to my Decorations this year, which made it easy to come up with designs that I already have future plans for! 

    1. The Green Black and Gold painting was one of my first attempts at abstract painting, & I'm actually pretty happy with how it came out! 
    2. The 'Kiss Me I'm Irish' & 'Luck be a Lady' paintings were both super simple to do! I started by flat painting the card stock gold, & wrote on the cute quotes using my trusty Paint Pen! (I feel like these have made their way into every tutorial I do since having discovered them)
    3. Lastly I created the Black and White striped Kisses painting. I started by measuring out my stripes every 2 inches starting a 1/2 inch from the top of the sheet. I painted them using a disposable cosmetic sponge - if you want it to look abstract or imperfect a suggestion is to line up one side of your sponge with the line and then using one long stroke draw it out across the sheet giving it a natural gradient effect.
    4. The Gold Clover was one that I created last year & kept a tutorial for it can be found HERE.

    5. Garlands / Bunting 

      • Paper Buntings are one of the most simple and easy decorations to create, but there is just something about their classic design that I love! I created this Four Leaf Clover & Gold Coin bunting using gold & green card stock - As you can see in the photos below, I didn't actually have either when I sat down to make this, so instead I painted a few white sheets gold & cut up an old Bristol Board. I found a simple template of a four leaf clover using Google, which I just traced out onto the green bristol board. I drew out all of the Gold coins by tracing the inside of a roll of Washi Tape. After I had cut out all of the pieces - this was the most time consuming part of all of it - I used said Washi tape to secure the Gold coins, & Four leaf clovers to a length of Hemp rope. 

      • There is no denying the fact that I am totally and completely in love with Tassel Garlands - a wise women once said to me "It's just not a Party without Tassels" & I couldn't agree with her more! This Black one is actually from above our bed. As much as I am a true lover of bright and vibrant tassels, I have kind of been obsessed with this all black one since having made!
      Tassel Garlands are available for purchase or custom order in the Upcy Shop  - or - if you're crafty & would prefer to Do It Yourself you can find a complete tutorial on how to create your own HERE

      Happy St. Patrick's Day & Remember to ALWAYS...

      Dream Big Sparkle More   Shine Bright

      Wednesday, March 11, 2015

      10 Tips for Living Organized in a Small Apartment / House

      There is something I love about living in a small space - it very quickly feels lived in and fills with love! With that being said it also very quickly can fill with clutter - one organized pile of papers or laundry and it looks like you live in an episode of Hoarders. In keeping with the Spring Cleaning theme of March, I have put together some of the tricks I have learned about living in a smaller space!

      1. Embrace Storage Solutions - Living organized means embracing storage - people often think my apartment or house is so tiny I couldn't possibly fit a desk, a filing cabinet, box shelves, toy boxes, ect. But the truth is - if you have these items, if this is the life you live - an important aspect of your life than you need to accept that & embrace the appropriate storage solutions in order to do so effectually! As children we are taught to 'take care of our belongings' but this is a lesson that is easily forgotten in today's busy world! Essentially, embrace the fact that you have interests & items that reflect them. They are part of what make you - YOU!
      2. Furniture That Doubles as Storage 

       Our couch  is probably our favourite piece of furniture we've ever purchased to date! It is an L-shaped sectional couch that can be re-configured a few different ways, & pulled out easily into a double bed, but the best part is that the chase lifts up to unveil a massive storage space inside the couch! (Our exact couch (Manstad) is no longer available but I have linked a similar one from IKEA HERE). Ottomans are great for storage and can also double as extra seating! Bedside tables that double as storage containers are great for storing extra bedding, books or magazines, mementos, etc. If you like us, are in the market for a new Bed - consider looking for one with drawers, or that is lifted off the ground with enough clearance to fit storage bins,( there is many under-the-bed storage containers out there for just about anything). 

      3. Storage with Magnets 
       Everyone knows to use magnets to stick papers, or pictures to the front of their fridge - but the help of magnets does not have to stop there! We use storage containers with magnets on the backs to store our seasoning on the side of the fridge - which incidently is directly beside the stove in our micro kitchen. In your bathroom you can use magnets to attach nail clippers, tweezers and other personal care tools to the side of your medicine cabinet. 

      4. Decorative Baskets / Storage Boxes - There is truly no limit to what can be kept in baskets, or boxes and we use them pretty much everywhere! 
      You can see some black and white picture boxes I've tucked in the bottom of our record / stereo system in the image at the top of this post.

      5. Store Out of Season Items - If you have limited closet space - don't overwhelm it or yourself by keeping the clothes for all of your seasons out. Living in Canada where there is four changing seasons - it is no question that one needs a variation in their wardrobe to dress suitably, however we do not need our thermals in August! By keeping more basic pieces in your wardrobe & packing up / storing your out of season clothes is a great way to limit clutter - & quite honestly it's fun to switch out your wardrobe at the start of the new season - Sometimes rediscovering old items can feel the same as getting something new!
      Tip: You can use vacuum sealed bags to store clothes safely and in much less space!

      6. Take Advantage of Nooks & Crannies - In small apartments or houses especially there is often small seemingly unsuitable spaces; Take advantage of them as best you can. That small wedge space between your fridge and wall may just be the perfect space to hide a slide-out pantry? The internet is FILLED with beautiful inspiring images that prove, you don't need a lot of space to live a truly beautiful & organized life! Don't limit your space, get creative with it! 

      7. Hang It Up - Adding Hooks & Shelves is a great way to add storage in closets, small rooms or any areas where there isn't much room for excess furniture! 

      8. Re-use Items - Whenever Possible! The last thing you want to do is have more than one item that could very well serve the same purpose! Not only is this going to lead to clutter it is also wasteful! Next time you thinking about going out and buying a new decorative piece why not try to DIY instead & re-purpose something you already have! 

      9. Get Rid of Unused/Unwanted Items 
      That sweater you've been holding onto since high-school but NEVER wear - donate it! & Chances are you are holding on to a whole bunch of papers you don't need - if you can't reuse them - shred them! 
      I recommend starting a DONATE BIN or Bag - If you feel like an item isn't getting as much use as it should or could be, toss it in. Set a time period for yourself - whatever you feel comfortable with - at the end of the period revisit the bin and anything that hasn't been pulled out or used since going in  MUST GO!! I have found this technique useful for making the decision on those items - i wasn't quite sure I was ready to part with just yet! 

      10. A Little bit each day - I know that getting organized, or attempting to reorganize your life seems incredibly daunting and trust me it can be - but don't get overwhelmed, it won't happen overnight & some projects will take more time than others! Start with something small, like a single cupboard; This is something that can be done in less than 5 minutes in what I like to call ' Clean Sweep' Fashion .  Keep - Donate - Toss! 

      Dream Big   Sparkle More   Shine Bright

      Friday, March 6, 2015

      DIY Jewelry Organization

      I have always been a lover of jewelry - the more the merrier!!  I have been collecting jewelry for as long as I can remember & have always loved to hang the flashier costume jewelry as Art & displaying it on the walls of every room I've ever had! The majority of it being fun inexpensive pieces that may or may not turn your skin green. I have put together a short list of incredibly inexpensive DIY solutions to organizing large amounts of jewelry in a way that is 'view-able' & use-able!  It is soo much easier to mix & match your jewelry when it is accessible & organized!
      Most if not all of these can probably be done by up-cycling/ re-using items you already have laying around your house!!

      Tangent : A little trick to prevent this from happening with those extremely cute rings that have proven to not always be friendly - Apply a coat of clear nail polish & VOILA you'll never have to worry about another ring being lost/ forgotten on the side of a sink... (Please tell me i'm not the only one who's done this more times than I can count?!)

      Necklace Gallery Wall

      The First way I have ever organized my Jewelry & the way I Display the majority of My Necklaces to this day - Dry Wall Tacks - They are like tiny baby nails & I love them because I find they make it look like my necklaces are just floating on the wall. Depending on how many pieces you are looking to hang-up there is a tun of ways you could go about this! - I like to do mine in simple clean lines to create a streamlined look! 

      DIY Cork-board Jewelry Display 

      I have had quite a few lovely ladies ask me about how I made this Earring / Bracelet Holder & it honestly couldn't be simpler to make & is defiantly something that could be done on a budget (most if not all of the supplies can be picked up from a Dollar Store for less than $5.00)

      I created mine using a large desk/office sized cork-board that one of my older brothers was going to throw away -  one mans trash is another womens treasure holder! After a few coats of paint it was ready to go!

      I painted the wooden frame black & the cork board gold - be for-warned that the cork will absorb the paint, so it will take several coats - be sure to allow each coat to dry completely before applying another coat!  

      Depending on the size of your Cork Display / Jewelry collection a tun of different things can be stored & displayed on here. I use Mine to Display the majority of my Earrings & 'hang-able' bracelets. 

      When Displaying Earrings: Be sure to use a Thumb-tack Pre-poke holes for each of your earrings to go into - don't try and force your earrings through the cork .
      I keep the earring backs in my jewelry box.
      On the lower portion I  used clear & funky rhinestone Thumb-tacks as little hooks to hang some of my bracelets.

      Maybe it's the OCD coming out in me; But one of my absolute favourite things about this organizational system is that each piece of jewelry has a spot - so it is very easy to keep organized & you'll never unknowingly misplace an item again! 

      I attached some Silver tulle style ribbon to the back of the cork board & tied it in an over-sized bow to hang! 

                     Cute bowls / jars for Rings, Watches, Bangle Bracelets,                       & All Things Pretty

      I have had both of these pieces for several years now -  The White bowl is from Dollarama & The Bow box I believe is from Hallmark. & is actually intended to be used as a candy dish. 
       I find this to be really practical, and makes it super easy to just grab a piece and go.
       Not to mention clean-up is as easy as tossing them back in - talk about no hassle.   

      I hope that you have found this helpful, be sure to keep your eye on the blog as I will be another Fast Fingers Giveaway hiding in an upcoming post!
       & remember to ALWAYS 
      Dream Big   Sparkle More   Shine Bright

      Tuesday, March 3, 2015

      Up-cycled Organization - & DIY Chalkboard Paint Recipe

      Over the past month I have been attempting to get organized & one of the very first areas we desperately needed to tackle was our Craft Room / Office. It has become something of a dumping ground for all things unfinished or that don't seem to belong anywhere else!
      Over the next few weeks / through out the month of March I will be attempting to keep ORGANIZATION as the theme for all of my posts. - trying out something new - to me anyways - that I have been seeing quite a few of the other bloggers in my life doing.

      First on my To Do List was to find a way to both organize my art supplies - while still keeping them very accessible . In the past I have attempted to pack away all of my art supplies into boxes, or drawers - and while I do find this looks very neat and tidy - it is next to impossible for me to actually keep up with - It's very rare that I finish a project in one sitting - and I often have a handful of different things going on at once - so packing everything up at the end of the day isn't always  possible!
      I think that this new DIY Up-cycled Mason Jar Organization system will be much more practical & easier to maintain!
      I started off by just washing-up some of the different sized mason /glass jars I had laying around - this is also a great little way to up-cycle any old Bath & Body Works Candles! 
      If there is glue-residue left on your Glass it can be removed very easily using a scrub brush/sponge and a dab of rubbing alcohol. 

      I added these cute Chalkboard labels - The more traditional labels are from the Dollerama & the hearts I actually purchased last year leading up to Valentines Day from Target. 

      I also made some DIY Chalkboard Paint, which I used to paint the lids off some of the smaller containers! & chances are you already have EVERYTHING you need to make it yourself!
      Below I have shared the Recipe of how you can to make you own Chalkboard paint for a fraction of the cost!I seriously still can't get over how easy & in-expensive it was to make! 
      You can bet that this wont be the last!

      DIY Chalkboard Paint Recipe 

      1 cup latex paint (of ANY Colour)

      1 tbsp. of Unsanded Grout.

      Mix Extremely Well & Paint!

      Dream Big   Sparkle More   Shine Bright