A while back, I wrote a post about repurposing clementine orange crates as shelving. I always have a stash of clementine crates that people save for me (thereby keeping them out of the landfill), and in most cases, I dismantle them to make other things. But there are also many ways to use these strong little wooden boxes around the house without much alteration.
Reign in the Paper Clutter
A standard clementine crate is 11.75" (30 cm) long and 8" (20 cm) wide (it is perhaps dorky that I know this, but there you go). So it's a good size for storing mail and paper clutter.
I hot glued some burlap to this clementine crate (including the bottom so it doesn't mark up my counter) and set it on my kitchen counter to collect all the random papers that accumulate at our house. This keeps the papers in one place instead of scattered all over the place. Every few weeks, I sort through it to file things away or recycle the papers we don't need.
Minimize Cupboard Chaos
At 11" (30 cm), the length of a clementine crate suits the depth of any standard kitchen cupboard. It's a perfect basket for organizing bagged and packaged goods in your pantry or kitchen cupboards because it's straight and strong (after all, it carried 30 some odd pieces of fruit across thousands of kilometres).
I covered this crate with paper and labelled it. When I need rice or noodles or quinoa, I just pull the crate off the shelf. Easy peasy, and no disastrous spills of thousands of tiny grains.
Tidy Up Your Cookbook Stash
If you're like me, you have too many cookbooks: some enormous ones that nearly break your wrist when you pull them out of the stack and some small and thin ones that never stand up properly. A clementine crate is the perfect solution because it's the right size for small books, and its flat bottom and sides keep the books nice and straight. (It's okay: "flat bottom" makes me laugh too.) A clementine crate full of books makes a sturdy book-end for your wrist-breakers as well.
So, there's three ideas for the next three clementine crates that come home with you from the grocery store. As for the rest, give them to me :)
My husband Dan is pretty great. For many reasons. He's smart, funny, honest and generous, to name a few. He also finds me great birthday gifts. On several of my birthdays over the years, he has given me some spiffy garden tools, accessories, and books. With my birthday in the cold depths of February, these gardening treasures get me excited about the promise of spring and the smell of dirt, blossoms, and rain.
I start planning and dreaming about my garden pretty early in the year, and I have accrued quite a collection of random scraps of paper with notes and drawings. They've always been disorganized: sticking out of gardening books or magazines, or lying crumpled and muck-stained on a dusty shelf in the garage. Needless to say, I've wasted a good amount of time looking for the notes I've written to remind myself of things from season to season. Receiving the garden journal was a wee revelation.
The Lee Valley garden journal is built to last, with all the acid-free pages sewn into the binding. So even though it's a beautiful book, I have no qualms about taking it outside and thumbing through it with dirt under my nails. The journal has page numbers and a blank index at the beginning of the book that you fill in yourself. That's a pretty handy feature because I can easily find the notes I need to consult. And everything's all in one place, not scattered all over my house and garage.
I keep track of things that will help me out in the current garden season:
I also write down things that will be helpful to know in future gardening seasons:
Keeping track of all this information might seem a little anal. And it probably is.
But for me, it's just one more enjoyable part of a process and passion I already enjoy so much. Keeping a garden journal lets me enjoy gardening even when I can't dig a spade into the earth, when all the plants are huddled under their blankets of fall leaves and snow. It keeps me organized, and I think it probably helps me take better care of the plants that have been entrusted to me.
If you want to start a garden journal, you don't need to get a spiffy Lee Valley one like I have (thought it sure is nice). All you need is a notebook or a binder, a pen or pencil, some ideas, and some insights. Oh, and some plants to write about.
Every day, everywhere we go, our eyes take in images. Usually, our brains don't register the interest, beauty, or complexity of the things we see because we're focused on other things. As a result, we miss a lot of opportunities for delight, inspiration, and heart lifting.
So lately, I've tried to keep my iPad mini with me when I'm out and about so that I can capture the mundane and spectacular sights that invoke responses in me. In so doing, I'm creating a catalog of images to peruse when I need a creative recharge, an idea for a piece of art or jewelry, or simply some cheering up.
Here's a sampling from my stash . . . no enhancements, no Photoshop . . . just the straight goods.
Jane Hogeterp Koopman
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