Wednesday, April 25, 2012

When a light bulb goes off!

*** UPDATE - New and Improved Menu board - see bottom of post for additional details! Sometimes I even amaze myself! LOL. 

My new menu board!
Have you ever had a moment when a light bulb just went off, and something you've been struggling with suddenly seems so simple?  I'm not talking about world peace here, my issues in Podunk are much more minor than that, but issues none the less.  Maybe I should call them annoyances rather than issues - you get the point.

I love to cook, but how to organize my recipes and recipe books and clipped recipes and pinned recipes and recipes in my head and on my computer drive me crazy.  Crazy to the point that a few months back, before Christmas, when I was cleaning (this doesn't happen often!) I got completely fed up with my current non-system and threw the whole mess away.  Well, not the whole mess, but a good portion.  Some of the cookbooks I donated to the local DAV. 

That leaves me with no system at all, which up until now, I've been OK with.  In case you hadn't guessed, I'm not an organized person by nature.  I am a want-to-be organized person, just sometime don't know where to start. 

This led me to Pinterest (is anyone else addicted to this site?  Of course you are, don't lie!) in search of ideas.  The first one I found was wonderful, fabulous, spectacular from a blog robbygurl - it just wasn't for me.  Too organized (is there such a thing?) and too time consuming for me to think I would actually get it done.  I see now where she sells them, so if you want to purchase one, I'm sure she would love to sell you one.  I don't know her, but that would be my guess!

picture from robbygurl

 Then I found another organizing idea on Pinterest, this time from a blog called The homes I have made, which I think is great.  She saw the board from robbygurl on Pinterest too!  Her recipe calendar is a little simpler (which I liked) and still colorful and easy to manage. 

picture from The Homes I Have Made
Isn't it great?  And the real beauty of this calendar is that it somewhat resembles how my recipes were organized way back when.  I thought I might be able to manage something like this, but my one concern was that I just don't have any space in my kitchen for the calendar board.  Plus, I'm kind of cheap frugal, and really didn't want to go out and buy a board if I didn't think I would use it long term.

I did, however LOVE her idea to use magnets with the recipe names on the board.  This is when the light bulb went off.  I would do a weekly calendar (more manageable for me) and instead of using a special board, I would clear a spot on my refrigerator, and use the front of the fridge! 

I happened to already have magnetic paper (did I mention I work for a paper company!) and I already had some 3 ring binders and clear page covers, so no need to run to the store for supplies, BONUS!

I started with looking for a label template that I liked, and found an Avery template that fits labels 3261, 8257, 8760 and 8987 which are 30 up, and are about 1" x 2.5".  I like the size, and very little wasted paper.  Magnetic paper is not inexpensive! 

I started by typing in all the days of the week using a fun font.  Gotta make it fun, right?  Then I pulled out my recipe clear plastic tub (don't laugh! OK, maybe just a little) and started typing in names of my most used recipes/meals.

clear plastic tub of recipes - what a mess!

Not all of your meals need a recipe, right?  For me that's stuff like fried rice (way to use up leftover meats) or spaghetti & meatballs ('cuz I buy the sauce and meatballs).  You know what those meals are for you. 

I also typed in all the days of the week.  If you want, you could add "lunch" and "dinner" too.  I'm generally the only one home for lunch, since I work from the house, but if a "lunch" menu helps you, by all means, add it.

Once I was done with a sheet, it looked something like this:


I really liked the colors that "The Homes I Have Made" used, but my printer was low on ink, and remember earlier I mentioned how cheap frugal I am?  I figure I will dig out the markers later and maybe add a colored border.  

Then I cut them apart, and headed to the fridge to see what they looked like.  I had already planned my menu for this week, so it was easy to assemble, once I had cleared a spot of pictures and coupons and the such.

Fridge with a split personality!

After I decided that I liked it, I took my recipes and began to put them into the clear sleeves and when I did that, I numbered the sleeves.  Each recipe gets a number and I wrote the recipe number on the little magnet (if it had an actual recipe).  This keeps all of my recipes in one 3 ring binder instead of needing several binders.  If I find I need another binder, I will continue with the numbers, and just label the outside of the binder number 1 - 100, 101-200, etc.

I will eventually need to organize my magnets, but for now, they are going into a Ziploc bag.  You know the kind with the label area on the outside, and I will sort them by entree, side, dessert and whatever other category makes sense to me.  This is a bit of a work in progress, but one that I think I can manage.  Yeah me!!

** UPDATE **

I was going to start adding my colored borders, you know, like I mentioned above, with markers, but then suddenly, it hit me (not literally of course) scrapbooking paper!  I have some a lot of unused, lone sheets of scrapbooking paper.  I went rummaging thru my semi-organized file of scrapbook paper, and found 5 single sheets of paper that I liked for this project.  Nothing too dark, I was afraid the type would show very well on paper that was too dark.  Then I cut the sheets that were 12 x 12 down to the same size as the magnetic paper, which is 8.5 x 11.  I used scissors, because there were only two sheets to cut, so I wasn't getting out the paper cutter for that.

Then I printed my recipe/menu titles out.  I didn't take time to sort them into categories before I printed this first sheet - I was excited to see if this would work, and look great.  I'm inpatient that way!

Once printed, I pulled out the spray adhesive and a piece of newspaper.  If you haven't used spray adhesive before, be sure to spray either outside with a piece of newspaper behind it, or inside with LOTS of newspaper behind it.  This stuff is sticky - they aren't kidding about the adhesive part here people!

Spray it really well, because you will be cutting this into little rectangles, and you want this to stick.  Once you have the back of your recipes/menu sprayed, stick it to the white side of your magnetic paper.  I rubbed the top of the scrapbooking paper down really, really well on the magnetic paper, and then let it dry for a few minutes, before I cut them apart the little rectangles.  They stuck just fine to the magnetic paper, and the true test, they stuck just fine to my fridge.  No plain, white, boring menu board!  I am pumped about the easy addition of color, and also about not having to pull out the markers.  I am also pumped about finding some scrapbook paper with Chinese writing on it (why did I think I needed that originally?) and printing all of my Chinese recipes out on it!  Yes, I'm officially a menu board nerd! :)

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