How I stay focused through the year

I often get asked how I am getting on with our current cafe project. “You must be very busy!” they add. I then simply answer that I am just getting on with it. People seem to expect me to be stressed and panicked. But the truth is that I don’t believe panicking is useful or a sign of productiveness (Joni would agree with me on this). I learned to manage my life a different way.

Now if you met any of my old friends they would tell that I never been an organised person. I actually struggle to manage my constantly wandering mind! But in return I have been very passionate about goals and productivity. Over time I learned how to be focused. I tried many methods: I tried filofax, google calendar, and wall calendar. You name it, I tried it! But I came to a conclusion, strict routines never work and tight schedule is a recipe for a disaster.

What really works is writing things down! I am currently reading “Big Dreams Daily Joys” by Elise Blaha Cripe and the way she describes the benefits of writing things down, could not be better said. Elise in her book explains how writing down to do list temporarily clears your mind from thinking about uncompleted tasks. Tasks that are written down are more visual, it creates a bigger picture and makes it easier to see when and how they are going to be completed (basically stops the chaos in your head). Lists also make it easier to collaborate as you can have a shared record of what has been done and what is left to do. Finally, lists saves time! When you find some time you can quickly refer to your to do list and jump to the task without much thinking about what needs to be done to begin with. Another good book on this topic is “The checklist manifesto” by Atul Gawande.

Now about organisational tools. Different types of tools fit different types of people of course. Some people use apps, some love bullet journaling (I tried that!) and then there are some that use wall planners (that is me!). It took me a while to realise, but once I did I started creating wall planners myself. Why? That’s because I could not find a wall planner that fitted my organisational process (in fact there is not much choice out there at all). I will explain later my pros and cons for using a wall planner, but if you are interested to get one for yourself that really works for me then visit our etsy shop.

Now pros and cons. Like everything else in life, wall planners have some good points and bad points. Which is why it is best to weigh both and see what fits best for you as a person.

PROS

  • It is visual. You can see it all out there on a large layout all at the same time. It’s always visible (which is why I keep mine on our fridge), therefore it keeps you focused most of the time. This pro is good for people who work at one location most of the time (like me).
  • It’s not a distraction! Unlike technology tools on your phone or laptop, wall planners do not overload you with notifications and e-mails.
  • It’s good for teams (or families). Since wall planners are visible to everyone, they can simply contribute to your planning or even get few tasks done as well. I find it helpful when Joni records evening events on the planner so I know when I can’t go out and need to stay at home to look after our kids.
  • It won’t let you down. Nope, wall planners are not powered on batteries therefore it won’t die on you when you need to check what time is your meeting. Also it will definitely not get lost. It’s always there on the wall when you need it :-).
  • it is decorative! A very important pro for me, I love how it looks when it is hung on the wall!

CONS

  • It does not travel with you. Yes, I get it. This must be annoying to anyone who travels a lot for work. But I don’t, so it’s ok! I occasionally get asked on my availability, but then I simply reply “let me check my diary and I will let you know”. Also when I travel I record tasks and events that come up (on my phone, I use a notes app). When I am back, I simply go through the list and transfer everything on my wall planner.
  • It won’t be automatic. When you get an event confirmation by e-mail it won’t be able to transfer the date onto my wall planner
  • It won’t call/notify you. Wall planner just don’t have that ability to call you or play a ringtone when you are about to reach a deadline.

So how does my planning process work you may ask. It simply starts with writing down some goals at the beginning of each year (will write a post about this later). These are not wishy washy new years resolutions. These are realistic goals backed up by tasks. These tasks (not very strict at this stage) get transferred onto our monthly planner together with some events as well (if you have any planned).

Eventually after the year starts I start planning more detailed tasks one week ahead. This is where our weekly planner comes in useful! While still keeping an eye on the bigger picture (goals) you can clearly how things plan out through out the week. I just love to take some time on Sundays to plan the week ahead and I tend to create meal list on Mondays since this is when I find its best to do shopping (our local supermarket is almost empty on Monday evenings!)

Finally I have some tricks up my sleeve for success (Ha! You did not see that coming!)

  • Don’t overcrowd your planner with too many tasks! These have to be all realistically timed. All the events and other external factors need to be considered as well. Nothing is more off putting when uncompleted tasks by the end of the day!
  • Don’t let the unexpected to throw you out of balance. Because sh** happens! If the task is not completed by the end of the day simply move it forward or cancel it all together (if it is no longer relevant of course). Don’t feel guilty, just move on! It is better to address the task (cancel or reschedule) then get panicked over uncompleted tasks.
  • Give yourself some rest! If you are feeling tired, clearly you are not going to be your most productive self. Therefore it’s ok to move some tasks to the next day and it’s ok to cancel some. Just take a bath or whatever else you like to do to relax and when tomorrow come it will be much a better day.

Most importantly have fun with planning and share this with someone else who you think needs to hear this. Here are the wall planners again if you are like me and enjoy jotting down the tasks on the wall ;-).

Rasa xoxo

A year to find my style again: wardrobe detox

How I did my first wardrobe detoxOnce upon a time I knew my style. Yeah sure, I did not always wear the most exciting piece of clothing all the time, but I did know what suited my body shape. After having kids this changed dramatically. Yes I gained lots of weight (and lost some too), but my figure (my bust to be specific) has changed a lot which made me a little confused for a while. I could not understand why some of my clothes just don’t look right even though I do fit them. It took a while to figure out that because of my bust changes the overall balance of my figure changed too. Things that suit a flatter figure simply do not look the same on a fuller figure. I decided I need to find my new style and I couldn’t wait to start.  Now I have lost some weight finally the time is now!
On this journey I am planning to share my top findings on how to organise your wardrobe, how I do some alterations to old clothing to better fit my new figure, how to dress effectively (thinking to try creating one of those capsule wardrobe collections). I am going to invest in new clothing and maybe make some myself too! So watch this space girlies ;-).
So where do I start now? My obvious though is to first clear my wardrobe. I am not starting from scratch however! Over these past few years I bought some basics that fit and also some clothing pieces from the past does not do any harm in my wardrobe either. I decided to do a simple wardrobe detox where I remove all the clothes that no longer fit within the strict criterions I set out. So let’s get brutal, shall we?How I detoxed my wardrobeMy criteria for clothes that stay in the wardrobe were:

  • I have to like them (obviously), similarly to Mary Condo’s saying “it needs to give me joy”.
  • Have to fit me well, lots of time spend trying everything on!
  • Have to go with my style board, I have one on Pinterest.
  • Have to suit my body shape, probably the most important criteria!

With this I probably got rid of like at least 40%, my wardrobe looked a bit empty to begin with, but then I hang some stuff that could be hung from the drawers and that fixed it. Plus my drawers are much less crammed!
I did not empty the whole wardrobe and then put back what I am keeping (this is what Mary Condo does), instead I removed only the items that I am not going to wear straight away. When you have kids running around I find this is much more practical.
I made three piles:

  1. clothes that I am getting rid off
  2. clothes that I am passing on to my friend Vicki (we did lots of clothes switching in the past)
  3. clothes that need some alterations.

How I did my first wardrobe detoxEventually the pile of clothes that I am getting rid off ended up being the largest of course. That has been bagged ready to go to the charity shop.How I did my first wardrobe detox How I did my first wardrobe detox The drawers! I wish I took a picture of how it looked before. It was very very crammed. Although I am generally quite organised and I would not describe myself as a hoarder, because of a busy season in my life I let myself go a bit. My clothes were not only crammed, but also as hard as I find to say it; they were in chaos. I did not know what clothes I had and were mostly wearing a couple of items over and over again that were on the top. With the clear-out I gained the space where I could insert clothes organisers/dividers and fold everything in a way that is visible. I have been using my new organised wardrobe for few days now and I can’t describe how happy it makes me every time I open it :-).How I did my first wardrobe detoxHope you find this helpful if you are also going to do a wardrobe clear-out.
Rasa xoxo

Our new kitchen reveal

Our new kitchen revealIf you knew how long it took us to build this kitchen then you would understand how excited I am right now when it is finally finished! We started this project two years ago, just few months before Tomas was born.
Originally this was a study or a front room (pic bellow). We have our office upstairs so this has been used for various things such as storage, laundry, Lukas playpen and Joni desk was kept here at some point too. From very early on we have decided this space was perfect for the kitchen. We pretty much copied this idea (but not the layout) from next door neighbours who also transformed their so called front room into the kitchen.
Initially the chimney has been knocked down that took over so much space and then of course there were a break when Tomas was born. Once Tomas turned five months Joni started fixing floor and then we both were tiling (hexagonal tiles again). Then Joni’s dad helped us out to build the kitchen and then we got somebody to install the worktops. After that very hot summer came and I have been doing more gardening then DIY. I came back to painting and tiling walls by the end of summer thankfully. Only recently Joni finished installing shelves and now I am working on the organisation. If you think moving into new kitchen is easy, think again! Through this time we have been using our old kitchen and now we are so used to it that it is hard to change and start using our new kitchen. I am sure we will get into the habit very soon!Our new house tour: front room aka studyOur new kitchen revealI always liked the idea of shelves in the kitchen. I think above counter storage needs to be clear to see and because it is not hidden by the doors this storage needs to be ascetically pleasing too. This is why I organised my dry ingredients into jars (read how I did that here) and then I had cook books stored on other shelves. If you have any space left then you can always add little things such as vases or potted plants. I love my Fittonia that my friend gave, it does really well in the warm kitchens I think. Our new kitchen revealOn the shelves that are little hidden by the fridge we stored our microwave and other essentials for microwaving kids milk and porridge. It felt only natural to also store plates, bowls and glasses here too!Our new kitchen reveal My new planner is also ready for the next year ;-).Our new kitchen revealNow we probably need to work on our dining room which happened to be in the same room as kitchen. Painting walls are in order hopefully soon!Our new kitchen revealThanks for letting me share!
Rasa xoxo

2019 planner + giveaway

Free printable 2019 plannerAfter trying out bullet journaling I had and idea… to use this organisational system to create my own wall planner. And here it is!! Tam tam taram tam (intro music sounding)!! Hope you like it and I am looking forward to your feedback. But more about it later. Let me go through this wall planner so you can have a better understanding of it.
Like every year, I create my own planner that fits my needs, then following year I review it and make even better for the next year. Therefore 2019 planner does have a lot in common with the 2018 planner. The major difference is the fact that is organised like a book. And like any other book this planner starts with the index. Index page is is a very good page to come back to when you make different notes through the year and want to find it again later. I will show you how this works in just a moment.Free printable 2019 plannerBut first I would like to talk about sweet nothings about the Year Goals page. This is my favourite part of the whole calendar! Identifying annual goals really helps me to achieve big dreams and stay on track with my bigger plans. I urge you my friends to set your dreams/goals on paper and review your set out tasks once in the while through the year. Tip: Don’t overdo with too many goals, you want to set achievable goals! Free printable 2019 plannerMonthly Log page is essentially an overview of the whole year. Did someone send you “save the date” card for their Wedding? Well this is where you can record. It’s so much easer to see the date in a bigger picture then scrolling through the whole calendar. I also like to put monthly tasks into one place and then distribute them weekly onto my Weekly Planner.Free printable 2019 plannerNow about the Week page. This is the main area where you will be actioning most of the tasks. This is where you set the timeline for every task.  Failed to complete the task on the set week? Not to worry! With symbol system this planner can be flexible and forgiving as much as you want.
Let me introduce you to the bullet planning symbols. Events are marked with “” and located on the left of the Week page while tasks are located on the right and marked with “.“. When I complete the task I mark it with “X“. At the end of the week I review my uncompleted tasks and mark it with “>” if moving tasks to the next week, “<“if moving the task back to Monthly Log and I cross the task off completely if I decide the task is no longer relevant or needed.
Meals and Shopping List worked well past few years so I am leaving this tool here unchanged. First timers, check this out!Free printable 2019 planner Finally if you have any notes, like recipes, party plans etc etc, all of this can be stored on the Notes page that is located after each Week page. These then can be recorded onto the Index page.Free printable 2019 plannerWhen you need to find a particular note (that you hopefully recorded) then all you need to do is look up on Index page. Amazing, right? You won’t need to search for it through the whole planner again.Free printable 2019 plannerHopefully I got you inspired to be more organised/productive/and more for the next year? Then go get your printable planner here. I would recommend to get it printed by the printers as there are lots of pages and it is in A3 format.
Now if you like, I am giving away three planners to three lucky winners. All I need in return is your feedback. Be quick as there are a lot of interest already! Just send me a quick shout to rasa@friendlynettle.com
Rasa xoxo

Kitchen organisation ideas: jars

Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsOur kitchen completion is so so close that I can almost taste it! It’s those small little details that takes forever to finish, I don’t know why is it often like that. In order for us to move into our new kitchen (we are lucky to have an old kitchen in other part of the house), we still need to fill some gaps, touch paint, silicone and fit the shelves.
I am so excited about the shelves though! I love the open display plan. I already started preparing storage solutions that looks good and is a decoration itself. You guessed it right, jars are going to be my focus!
Jar storage solution is not a new invention, it’s just got really trendy in recent years. You can buy mason jars easily anywhere, however I don’t believe you need them to achieve the look. Although I do own few mason type of jars, majority of my jars comes from recycling. That’s right! I use a lot of jars that had were storing pickles in their past life. I think reusing these type of jars is so much better than recycling itself. It’s better for your pocket too!Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsTo begin with I started sorting out our grains, sugar, flour, seeds etc etc. I looked through lots of loose bags and I was little surprised to find some stuff that I did not even know I had (like quinoa). I stored these into right size jars according to the amounts, the use and the size I tend to buy them in the shop. For example, I hardly ever eat quinoa (don’t really like the taste of it) so it ended up in the tiniest jar the whole lot could fit. It’s different with the brown sugar and although I had a tiny amount of it left I stored it in a lager jar.Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsAs for labels I decided to go paperless. I got inspired by these and since my handwriting improved I thought I will give a go. I used basic black permanent pens instead of oil based paint pens. I experimented on the paper before going ahead and scribbling on the jar.Kitchen organisation ideas: jars Although the pens are permanent, it can be easily wiped out with some acetone or other type of solvent.Kitchen organisation ideas: jarsKitchen organisation ideas: jarsHope you like my jar organisation idea and get to adopt it at your home.
Rasa xoxo

My review of bullet journaling

my review on bullet journalingAt the beginning of this year I tried bullet journalling, so how did I get on? Well… my opinion about it has not changed much. I think this system is best suited for a single person who loooooves stationary. However the system itself is cool and it can maybe be applied to a wall organiser. Or at least this is what I am hoping to do.
First I will start with positives of bullet journalling (need to be positive!).
1. I loved how this diary is like a book. It almost feels like writing a book! You know how they say that everyone has a book in them?  Well, here is your chance to sort of practice and write it. It has page numbers, an index page, and more. my review on bullet journaling 2. The BUJO system itself is very practical. It’s all about tracking your tasks, organising them in advance and moving them around to different time slots. The “future log” creates an area where you can store events and tasks that needs to be done sometime in the future. The symbols lets you identify if the task is completed, moved or canceled. If only I could somehow translate this system into the wall diary/organiser…. hmm.my review on bullet journaling 3. My favourite part however is my new years goals pages. Although I feel I am slightly behind I feel splitting goals into tasks helped me to see the progress which itself is very uplifting. I know I know, if I do maths here I probably have almost half of the tasks completed, but only one third of the year left. So I am guessing I wont be able to complete all the tasks by the end of the year. But its ok, I can always review these tasks and forward some to the new year ;-).my review on bullet journaling 4. Additionally to all the fab parts of bullet journalling, I can store project patterns,my review on bullet journalingdetailed event hosting plan with drawings and recipes,my review on bullet journaling my cycle charts (embarrassed to say) and many more. Basically whatever floats your boat ;-). my review on bullet journalingWhen it comes to negative points of using BUJO is that it is not easy to access for whole family. Yes bullet journal is perfect for storing personal stuff like charts etc, but other then that when it comes to family planning this needs to somehow to transfer to a wall organiser.
And btw, I mentioned before that I was very excited to use my fountain pen with this journaling business. However this proved unpractical as I often had to wait till my writing dries before going onto next page. Also I made so many mistakes that by now I am not too bothered about my handwriting in this journal.
That is it for now, hope you found my review useful
Rasa xoxo

How to make reusable food wraps (to replace cling film)

Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin)The thing is that I always dreamed of living sustainably, even before it be became popular. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes business just took over my life and I had to cut some corners. The bottom line is I passionately hate waste and I feel like my heart bleeds when I see stuff wasted when it could have had another life (hope I don’t sound like a hoarder, because I am definitely not!!).
When it comes to sustainable living I believe it comes to choosing the products that should also benefit us directly (not only the earth). You see I dislike wasting money too (or even seeing somebody else wasting theirs). Which is why I always look out for things I could make myself and save money that way. For instance, last week I made some reusable food cloths, because I thought it would be lovely not to use as much cling film. I know, I know, this is not our biggest household waste (nappies and baby wipes are), but you’ve got to begin somewhere! I researched quite a few recipes and methods, so trust me you are getting the best here! Although after making some wraps I had a few other ideas how to make it even easier and cheaper.
To make these reusable food wraps you will need:

  • 130g wax (I used some wax thats been given to me by my mother in law who keeps the bees)
  • 26g pine rosin (or any other tree resin)
  • 4tsp jojoba oil
  • about 5-7 squares of light, woven cotton
  • pinking shears
  • old pot
  • old paint brush (optional, you will only be using it just for this)
  • baking paper
  • iron with the ironing board

Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin)First cut your fabric to size. I used pinking shears as this really helps to stop fabric from fraying
Put the wax, rosin, and oil into the pot and while stirring heat all the ingredients till melted. I think because I used not well filtered wax it had few black bits in it. It did not cause too many problems in the end result but it did leave a few black speckles on the cloth.Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin)As you brush the wax mixture onto the fabric it hardens very very quickly. I think I was too generous with it (so be stingy). The excess wax created lots and lots of mess later. I felt like a brush is not necessary here as the wax hardened after few strokes. I think I will try just dipping the fabric straight into hot wax next time. I imagine that should give good coverage without the wax hardening onto the surface. But of course I could be wrong!Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin)So here comes the mess I was talking about. In order to impregnate the fabric with the wax mixture completely, the fabric needs to be reheated. When I researched how to make reusable food wraps it seemed that one of the most popular methods to reheat the wax in the fabric is to stick it into the oven. That seemed a bit limited by oven size and I imagined it would be messy (plus the oven tray to clean up). I guess I failed to avoid the later! I used baking paper to sandwich the waxed cloth and heated the wax and the fabric once again by ironing it. In my case the excess wax spilled everywhere: the floor, another layer of baking sheets (I wasted whole roll!!), and the ironing board (thankfully not the iron itself). This wax mixture was very sticky to clean because of the resin (special ingredient to make the cloths clingy). Definitely NOT applying that much wax liquid on the fabric next time!!!Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin) The cloth cools almost immediately and can be used a few minutes after making it.Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin) As I mentioned before the resin mixed in with the wax makes the wrap slightly sticky against itself which is why you can use this exactly as you would use cling film.Reusable food wrap DIY (with wax and resin)Hope you found this very useful and you can learn from my mistakes.
Rasa 😉

My reflections on 2017

Our biggest project of 20172017 is about to be over and as usual I thought I will quickly reflect on it before I get into 2018. And what a year it has been! Tomas birth made it both very very challenging and exciting at the same time. I struggled lots, had lots of back pain, got really overweight, took sleeping pills and was almost considering taking antidepressants at one point. Thankfully it is much better now and I can see how amazing Tomas is becoming. I love his little character that is coming more and more everyday. Now I can finally say “babies gives you wings” like one of the mums I follow on Instagram 😀Quick toy storage label ideaNow, did I achieve my 2017 goals? Mostly! Because I did not expect to achieve much this year I only had one goal. This one goal was to organise our family life. I started organising everything in May one room at the time and now I at least know where everything is. You see, we moved into our current house one month before Lukas was born and from then on we were constantly doing DIY’s and then Tomas was born as well. It was crazy two years, so for me to have the house organised is a  very very big achievement. What helped me to organise is the planner, storage boxes and the big shelved wall in the spare room (also kids napping ha ha!).My reflections on 2017To organise the toys (it seems like our toy collection is expanding all the time!!) I used the idea from loundry basket project. I used 3D fabric paint instead of embroidery because I needed a quick fix. Besides I don’t think fabric boxes will last very long with kids (lol).Quick toy storage label ideaHappy New Year everyone!

Rasa xoxo

Printable 2018 planner

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love love planning and as new year is approaching I have so many dreams and plans that I wanted to add to a 2018 calendar. Except I did’t have a new calendar… Until now!
I loved the layout of 2017 planner so much that I almost copied it to make the new one. If you loved it as much as me that read on to see how I use it in practice.
Click here to upload your 2018 planner.Printable weekly 2018 plannerI picked a second week (because who plans anything for the first week in new year?) in 2018 to illustrate how I use it in practice. Of course I could not fill it too much in detail because some stuff is difficult to know so far ahead in the future.
Calendar comes first as everything is connected to it. From it you find out what appointments or events are on. I also often use this part to jot down the task I want to get done on specific day. For example, I wrote down that I need to buy yellow and black printer cartages on the 8th and need to close certain current account on the 12th. However, it’s important to be reasonable with the daily tasks and not to add too many in one day. Otherwise nothing gets done. Trust me! I have done this mistake too many times in my past ;-).
To do list one of my favorite parts. I prioritize my tasks by category and then I am always in the know what to do as soon I have a break from kids. In my case blogging comes first and then DIY. I added what DIY’s I need to get done in that week as we need to get house ready for the big party in February. Of course unfinished tasks can be forwarded to next week, so no pressure. At least priorities are there to focus on.
Meals is essential for meal planning. Just list all the meals you are going to have for the week including dishes for hosting if you are planning to have guests that week. I usually cook three main dinner meals for the week that last 2-3 days. I also cook soup that I split into 7-12 kids portions for the freezer. I usually make myself a toast and we have porridge for breakfast.
Shopping list is useful when making a list of items that you need from the shop. When I go about my business I quickly jot down things I run out of or things I notice we will need. When I make the meal plan I often go back to shopping list to add the ingredients I need for the cooking. Milk, bananas and eggs are our family food staples so you would find these are often on my shopping list ;-).Printable weekly 2018 plannerHope you found this inspiring and you will find the 2018 planner useful next year xx
Rasa 🙂

How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestation

How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationSo as you may know for me this year was all about organising. Because there are lots to tidy up after doing (still doing) so much DIY! Few months ago I started working on my craft supplies and sadly I came across a horrifying moth infestation which made things a little bit more complicated… arghhhh!  Not only did I have to untangle my very messy yarn I also had to get rid of these unwanted creatures… yuck! This is how my yarn basket looked like when I discovered the sad reality…How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationFirst I googled if it was really moths I was dealing with. Pictures online matched with mine which confirmed that it was indeed what I feared most.  I realised I had to just get on with it, quick! So I read and I read about different methods how to kill the moths, larvae and it’s eggs (this article was my favourite), but the only one that seemed practical to me was to freeze all my yarn. Hmm… that will need lot’s of freezer space! So I did it in batches which caused some problems with the yarn that was waiting in the queue. You see these evil moths are very quick to breed! I started with eggs and one moth and after just a day it turned into more eggs, moth and larvae…arghhhh!!! I ended up freeing up as much space as I can (that meant using up some of the frozen food) so I can stuff leftover yarn into freezer. Luckily we were going on holidays so I could just leave it there and forget it for a bit and deal with it later… phew!How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHow I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationOnce I was back from holiday (all relaxed and all) I went back to sorting out my precious yarn. I cleaned the basket where I store my yarn with vinegar. I ordered some moth cedar and distributed it around the house. I organised the yarn and I think is so far so good. I think I won!  How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHow I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHope you found my story comforting if your yarn got infested (to be honest I just hope it does not happen to you).
Rasa xoxo