Monday, February 27, 2012

4x4 caddy

4x4 caddyWell it’s about time I start to MAKE things that I love to pin on Pinterest.

I saw this, LOVED it, and said the famous crafters quote “I can make that!”

So I did.

I first followed the pin to the persons blog site to see the project, to find she wanted $11.99 for the template. Now don’t get me wrong, good for her for trying to make a buck. But seriously, easy peasy projects shouldn’t require a template.

Booya, I did it myself.

AND I’ll share it with you for one easy payment of a comment of what you think? Fair? I think so!

I took felt pieces, I had small pieces so we had a multi patterned look here. I cut the felt into 4x4 squares, you need TWO pieces for each side (one inside, one outside) I went with white for the inside.

I added these cute little pockets that are 2x4. If you want them to be divided sew that before you sew the 4x4 outside and inside together.

AND my inside and outside pieces have a 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 piece of cardboard inside for stability.

Sew it up. I hand stitched the sides together, and a bottom to it. I added a handle for carrying convenience. And wala after about 3 hours you have a cute caddy for anything from art supplies, to make-up, maybe a few office supplies, or toys.

This one went to a good home at my Mom’s the Queens house. She always does for me so I made for her!

Thinking for Easter I could make the kids baskets, and you can do this in whatever size you want, I just started with this and will go from there! Thinking dividers inside next time?

So what do you think?

JCat McGack

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Printed out photos in check.

Had to share, my newest art project.

Sure I blogged about how motivated I was to create, via coffee, dogs and sunshine. But realistically I started a project 2 days ago, and wanted to finish it up.

I worked on organizing my printed photos. Don’t freak out, it’s easy to do once you get a system and stick too it. For the most part they were about 80% organized. But it’s that whole ‘stick to it’ part I slacked on. Messed them up a bit.But 80% organized for me is impressive.

Let me tell you a few years ago I spent MONTHS organizing these pictures. And by ALL these pictures, I mean only since 2006 (when Tink was born) ALL the ones prior too, are in the cardboard photo boxes… semi organized as well.

Here’s my current system. I know we all have what works, but for those of you who are looking to organize your printed pictures fast and have easy access to them. Here you go.


I have two of these  cases, which each holds 6 of the smaller boxes, and each smaller box holds about 100 photos each.

If you buy the case, you get the 6 smaller cases included (about $15 and up. Go to JoAnn’s or Michael’s with your coupons for these)

The smaller cases can be bought separate  for $2.49 each (I’ve paid less, but they are SO worth it!) You can label them, so you can know exactly what you’ve got going on in each box.

If you buy more the one of these cases like I have they stack super nice too.


I’ve got one of the big ones as well. I saw where I was going with the smaller ones and finally got one big one.

These run about $30, and like a double of the smaller case. Again including all the little cases. For the money it’s like your buying all the little cases and getting the big one for free.

Oh DO NOT pick the big one up by that white handle to carry it!! That is for show only, or to pull it towards you if it’s on a shelf. It pops off… and the box falls… not broke. Just not really made for the weight of 1200 pictures I guess?

I had to do a bit of reorganizing like I said. Here is how I break down my pictures.

  • Tink 1. Tink 2. Tink 3. My daughter is almost 6, and I consider 300 pictures to be pretty good. This is not counting what is in my done scrapbooks.
  • Buzz 1. Buzz 2. My son has just 2 boxes he’s almost 4.
  • Sophie. Maggie. Cats+. My obsession with taking pictures of dogs, has made it clear that I need one small case per dog. And the cats, and reptiles get one box.
  • My parents & family get 4 boxes. My sister gets a box. My in-laws family gets a box.
  • My best friend gets a box. And then I have a ‘Friends’ box for all my other friends.
  • I get 3 boxes. I’m not that conceited, I also count photos I take of my coffee cups, and random ‘Me things’ in these boxes.
  • I’ve got a home and garden box. This is all things home, painting around the house and gardening.
  • Then there are some events that are SO big, they get filed in boxes via event. We used to see this band ALL the time, so I have a whole box of just those shots. My 30th Birthday in Chicago, a box. And the P!nk concert is it’s own too.
  • Holiday. I’ve got one box for Christmas, Turkey Day and Halloween shots.

Now I have many boxes for specific people. But it’s not a hodge podge mess of pictures in those boxes. Let’s take my family boxes. They are grouped by family reunion, get together, birthday party. Sure there are some random shots, but mostly by event.

YES I’ve got all those pictures from before 2006, like I said in boxes. Some what organized. But I also have a HUGE bed comforter bag FULL of photos from when I was growing up. AND a HUGE bag of shots from my wedding (not professional. Those are in an album) Sigh. LOTS of organizing to do.

But being a scrapbooker, I had to quickly tell myself that I can’t go back and catch up on the last 33 years and expect to stay on top of my pictures now. I just can’t. I’d go crazy trying to do it.

I hope this was helpful. I’m always trying to find that ONE way to organize that works for me. This was it. Take the time to organize them. If it’s clear boxes, great.

If you don’t scrapbook, them frame your pictures. I have a wall going up my stairs I rotate out each year of the best shot of each of our family members. I do have albums from before digital.

Oh I could go on and on. Let’s just say I’ve got this much down for photo storage. I’m still working on digitally saving them. I’m trying to do less on my hard drive, and more on flash drives, I’d like to get one big hard drive and call it a day. But till then, I’ve got my flash drives, and my Shutterfly website.

JCat McGack

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunshine and coffee

The two things that can inspire and artist greatly. Sunshine. and a good pot of coffee.

It’s a chilly Sunday morning in Channahon. But while my husband works, and my two children play, I sit in the front living room. In the morning, when we first wake up we come down the stairs to open the front door and pull open the shades to let in the sunshine!

We eat breakfast, and Sophie who is KNOWN for being Solar Sophie, goes from her spot at the end of the king size bed, to eating her breakfast, and then to the oh so wonderful sunshine.


I choose the big brown leather couch. Never the brown leather recliner, while it’s nice and comfortable, it’s because it rocks. (I get motion sick in it. Yes I’m that sensitive)

Some days I like to curl up in the small green chair, with embroidered gold swirls. While cleaning out my Grandma’s home, my cousin and I both said we would like that chair, so she challenged me to a game of Rock Paper Scissors my paper beat her rock!

I love the front living room this time of day, it has no tv, radio, game systems. It’s books, puzzles, books and magazines… and more books. It’s a room to visit, to unwind from a day, or rest before a day. So in comes the flood of sunshine this morning!

I curl up on the couch, Sophie on her favorite dog bed (thanks neighbor Jill!)  My big cup of Starbucks (this week is Espresso Roast)


What am I reading this morning? Well SO glad you asked, for Valentines my mom bought me the February/March/April issue of Where Women Create. I LOVE to read on other artists, their stories, their form of art. Anything from knitting, sewers, jewelry makers, photographers, mixed media artists, fabric creators, drawers… all in one fantastic book. It’s more of a book, it’s big, it’s beautiful on my coffee table, it’s got the best cover, not glossy, more with a texture. Oh and yes I love it so, that I wrote this post back in August about it… which makes me want to go reread that copy! And yes it’s probably my best form of inspiration, this week I also got my copy of Scrapbook Etc., and Creating Keepsakes, but the best was this one! Talk about inspiration all at once!

It’s the reminder I need. To go create, to make things from shrinky dinks, to paper mache, make my ugly dolls. To create with paper, and glue and glitter, and draw, ALL the time.

It’s a good combination. It’s the coffee, the sunshine, a squishy couch or a green and gold chair won by chance, the company of a beautiful boxer, of an inspirational magazine.

What’s your combination to be inspired?

JCat McGack

Feisty Orange Peel Mustache 2011