Sunday, December 5, 2010

Confession-of-the-day: Sometimes, I'm a Mess!

Hi There-

Forgive me People, for I have been a mess. Maybe the term "mess" is relative, but for me to preach organization and then carelessly toss DVDs and books around, neglect making the bed for days, and often leave my PJs on the floor (WTF?),  well, it's just wrong, and this is my collective, giant confessional.

I feel it necessary to show you as well. The aforementioned PJs on the left, the chaotic bookshelf above-right, and below is my poor beautiful antique Chinese chest, slowly becoming a small electronics & handbag depot. Chairman Mao would have sent me to the fields.

So, it was time to get my tiny place whipped into shape. Money where my mouth is, baby.
I began with the bookshelf. It's not as easy as you might think, especially when you have different sized things, books/albums/DVDs all on one shelf.  As you've all read and gathered, I have a limited space, to say the least-because I don't have the space to say the most.

On that shelf in particular, I was in a bind - not having enough of any one thing to adjust the shelf up or down and fill it. I also didn't have an extra shelf to insert, which would have helped fix the issue.  I had to get creative with placement. First, I pulled out all the regular sized books, edited my other shelfs to fit them, then put everything else on it's side. Next, biggest  things on the bottom (the albums), then my "coffee table" books side by side and leveled, to become a shelf in themselves, and lastly the DVDs.

I had to give up a few regular sized books, and I also edited my DVDs (you may be thinking What a sad collection for an actor & writer...) BUT I know that everything, I mean everything, I may need or want can be found on this giant series of tubes I'm using right now. And, less we forget, the Public Libraries - while they're still open!

You don't have to always donate your stuff if you're having a hard time parting with it, you can also sell your media at Amoeba or your local resale place (getting a few bucks always makes it easier).  In LA/SF, check out

With the Chinese chest,  I just simply put my purses away in their box and my tiny electronic devices into their silver vase you see there. My phone lives on that plate, where it charges.  I'm allowing myself to keep the one purse out that I am currently using. The glass box full of beads is art, to me anyway :)

And that's my big secret - I like to toss things around and leave them where they lie. Sometimes...

Thanks for listening!

xo ruby

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tip-O-The-Day: Easy Access Jewels!

Ok, not real jewels, but jewels in the sparkly, shinny, dangly, I-just-got-this-at-the-best-thrift-shop kind of way.

If you have real jewels to organize, I do not discriminate, but maybe my ways are not the best for really delicate or fine jewels, the basic black velvet box or tray is best for those.

But if you're like me and have jewels you cherish but will never live off of or put in a will, here are some (dare I say) clever ways to keep them in control.  Above, you'll see all my danglies. I simply took an old silver chain and nailed it at both ends into the wall above my little dressing/makeup area. I admit, they do not always get put away so nice and neat, usually they're thrown on the shelf right below the chain, but when I want to get everything in order, it's easy to slip them back on the chain.

Next, to your right, are the emergency exits, and my rings. Now, I've done this a few different ways before. I take 2 or 3 chopsticks, pencils or . . . right now I'm using these unusual tiles I found somewhere - and stick them into a glass full of garden rocks, the little polished kind you can find almost anywhere including the dollar store.  Obviously, once you stick them in the rocks they are weighted down - or you can put the chopsticks, etc. in the empty glass and pour the rocks in, either way. Then all you do is plop your rings on!

Last, to your left, is simple and what many of us do - you can get these chain hooks at any self-respecting home-type chain store like Target or Walmart (or Fred Meyers, lil shout out to my Oregon People, man I miss Freddies!)

Another idea I have for chains, I unfortunately don't have photos for but I can quickly tell you about it - a few years ago an old boss of mine tore out a page from a magazine of a fantastic idea,  and for Christmas that year, I made it for her - I think the total cost was $20 or $30.

I took:

  • A gold gilded frame from Target, 12 x 12 
  • Tool peg board, the kind you see in an actual tool shed or mechanic's garage
  • The pegs that you stick in the peg board
  • 1 can gold spray paint 
I spray painted the peg board and pegs, let them dry overnight. Then framed the peg board like a picture. Recycled the glass that came with the frame.  Stuck the pegs in and hung it in her closet with some of her necklaces on it for a surprise. She loved it - and, honestly, it felt great to replicate something that was selling in a fancy magazine hundreds of dollars.

K, that's all I got today. Thanks for reading!! 
xo ruby

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tip-O-The-Day: CDs, WTF To Do w/ Them?!


Sooooo, are you sitting near a book case right now, or better yet, a CD stand just filled with all your most prized (and dated) music? If you're under 25, maybe not. But if you had any income throughout the 90's, I'm betting you have a fair amount of music on disc.

Now that you're all teched up and out with your ipod/iphone/imac/itunes/ipad and ibrain - what are you going to do with those stacks and stacks of discs?
There are three questions to address here:
1. Can you really get any money at Amoeba for them?
2. Can you even give them up, or at least give up their cases and the idea of ever selling them?
3. How the hell and who the hell has time to download 500 CDs onto a computer?

Well, I can tell you how I answered these questions when I moved from San Francisco in 2004 and did NOT want to lug three shelves of CDs with me.

1. I didn't have a this mac, or a computer of this millennia yet, so I didn't have a man-enough machine to download them all.
2. Since I needed to keep them, I paranoid-ly decided my taste in music was not cool enough to ever sell them, so I went to Target, bought two giant CD books and rolled out the blue bin to disassemble and recycle all the cases. I was afraid they wouldn't get recycled if the jacket covers were still attached. But some friends were horrified that I didn't care to keep the band info & lyrics, etc.... If you're one of these special romantics, you can keep the paper covers and put them in pocket of the CD book with corresponding CD.  Whatever spins your record (I just made that up, as you can tell).  So once my CDs were out of their cases, into the books they went.
3. When I did get a download-worthy computer, I made a home-made spindle out of a wax pencil and a candle holder. I put as many CDs on it as fit and set it on my desk next to my computer and just started popping them in over and over whenever I was home. While puttering, while watching movies, while cooking, while talking on the phone, while cleaning, while writing.  On the way out for an errand? Popped one in. Going next door to see my Girls (my neighbors are now indispensable friends) - Popped another one in. It took a week maybe, and when one was done, I'd just put it directly back in the book. BUT if that's not an easy option, you can make two spindles and have one on the other side of your desk for "loaded" CDs.  Just choose one method or the other for putting them away, otherwise you end up with them sliding all over your desk and getting ruined, not to mention in the way.

That is how one can tackle this seemingly endless or daunting task - it's not undoable (= doable), it's not impossible, and you don't even have to give up your CDs!

Tapes, on the other hand....Brothers and Sisters, give up the ghost. Really.

Thanks for reading!

xo ruby

Friday, October 8, 2010

Tip-O-The-Day: Organize your Soul

Tonight I went to a spiritual place to hear a little experience, strength and hope. I didn't really hear much . . . but on the way home in the Friday night Hollywood traffic (also no strength or hope there) I found myself stuck in front of the $25 Chinese Foot Massage place.  My first thought was "I don't need to spend the money..." but a couple of small miracles happened that I just couldn't ignore.
1)  There was a restriction free and meterless parking space in front of the entrance.
2) Although I had passed it by about a yard, when I looked in the rear view, there was NO ONE behind me on Sunset Blvd.
3) I am house-sitting this weekend and have some unexpected cash.

Needless to say, I put it in reverse and swung into that parking spot like an early settler staking their claim on the prairie.

Now, a "Foot Massage" is not an accurate advertisement.  You go in and there are 9 bark-a-loungers draped in giant terry cloth towels. It's very dim light and a low soundtrack of tweeting birds and harp is playing. But you don't start in the lounger. They bring out a wood tub of warm water with good smelly stuff in it. You sit on an ottoman with a big pillow in your lap and your feet in the water while they work on your back for the first 1/2 hour. The nice but odd man whispers in my ear, "Your neck very bad."
Yes, I know.  "You work today?" "No. I worked on myself today." I don't know if got my meaning but he chuckled and pressed a little harder.

When its time for the lounger, they guide you to it, recline you completely, put pillows under your head, cover your eyes and then swaddle you in big, fluffy towels like blankets. The next 1/2 hour is spent on your feet, legs, and arms while you're cocooned in the bark-a-lounger.

Then when it's time to pay, the total of $32 (with tip) is like eating an entire box of Trader Joe's "No Guilt" brownies - So decadent but No Guilt!! Just bliss, whether it's your tummy or the rest of your body.

Brownies and cheap massage, that's how I organize my soul.

Thanks for reading! xo ruby

PS- if your here in LA and want to try them out, it's on Sunset just east of Western across from Food for Less.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tip-O-The-Day: Save Energy and a lil' Cash

Just a quick one today that many of you may already be hip to - Years ago I was really verschnicked about having 5 various electronic boxes that are factory wired to be partially on 24/7, piled atop my TV.  It really seemed weird to this (originally) Oregonian to be wasting all that juice. So a friend said, "Are they on a power cord" and the answer was "Why yes, yes they are..."  She said, "Just turn off the power cord switch at night & when you leave for the day." Simple, and duh, I said to myself.  So now, I have 3 major power strip intersections that house 4 or 5 plugs each that I flip off every day and night. Financially? I don't know if it's all that much, but does my brain feel better about not wasting energy? YES, I really do feel much better when I flip off those switches.

Now, I don't have a fancy DVR or things on timers, so if that's the case, I don't recommend this semi-hippy-dippy idea; but for a basic cable box, a regular DVD player, and a small surround sound system - oh, and the TV, that's a lot of juice getting sucked out all day long.  Same goes for my microwave/toaster/blender/lamp in the kitchen. Also my fan/heater/ipod charger/cell charger.

SO, now I just flip off the strips, and feel good that I'm doing my tiny tiny part, in some way. Especially since I like showers a bit too much - hey, I'm no environmental angel!!

Thanks for reading!  xo ruby

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tip-O-The-Day: Needed, Skinny End Table!

Hello Guys!
I had the GREAT fortune to be lent a futon sofa for my tiny studio from the lovely Amanda - Thanks Mandy!!

A sofa is something I haven't had in years. Oh, I've had a cushy chair or two, (I'm not living like an animal!) but haven't had the luxury of sprawling out on a sofa or sitting face to face next to someone for a simple conversation (at my place) in years. The sad truth when you've chosen an artistic life.

Anywho, no more "poor me" crap because now I have a lovely, cushy futon sofa! So, because of my limited space, I needed a tall and skinny side table for my little reading lamp, but the side space is super limited because it would sit next to my bathroom entrance and if the table was even an inch too wide, I'd whack it with my 40 inch hips every time I went into the bathroom. Since going to one of the fabulous furniture stores around here is not in my budget, and the specs are so specific, I was determined to just look around for something to inspire or just employ. I didn't have to go far, I found it in my yard:

A simple plant stand. I added my 2 favorite toast plates I found at Ross a few years ago for $1.99 each and, voila! A two-tiered side table, just big enough for the reading lamp and just small enough so that my hips and the table will be safe and bruise free.

Just a little idea I wanted to share.

Thanks for reading!

xo ruby

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tip-O-The-Day: Needed, Big Strong Man?

I was at a friend's house the other day and we were discussing the rearranging of her living room furniture and she actually said, "I think I'll hire a couple guys to just shift everything." What?? I really didn't understand this because she doesn't own anything over 4 feet tall or more than a 150 pounds . . . I think I said, "What are you talking about?"  Was she really going to pay a man to scoot furniture around her apartment?  So I let her in on the secret to being a delicate flower (myself included!) and moving heavy furniture.

1) AS SEEN ON TV:  You can buy those furniture coasters they sell on late-night TV where a tiny woman slips them under each corner of a ten foot tall, fully stacked bookcase, then pushes it across the carpet with one hand. They are plastic discs that displace the weight and slide like casters.

2) FOR THE STARVING ARTISTS: You can use a good, thick, flat piece of cardboard underneath one end or both ends of the furniture.  For example, if you are moving a couch alone, you can put the cardboard under one end (or two legs) of the couch, then lift the other end and pull it into the new spot. Remember, ALWAYS LIFT WITH YOUR KNEES!! Especially if you're alone, nothing like throwing out your back and not being able to reach a phone! I've done it. Not fun. It took me 4 hours to get to the phone. On December 23rd, the day I was to fly home for Christmas.  Yeah, not fun. But I digress, if you're moving a bookshelf, empty it first, put cardboard under the whole thing, then push from the lower part of the case. Have your tennies on for better traction.

So, cardboard, bent knees, tennies and some gumption - But first, always call a friend,  if we're around, we really are happy to help for free, or for a glass of wine :)

thanks for reading!  xo ruby

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Organizing Tip-O-The-Day:

I have a tiny kitchen with tiny counters and even tinier cupboards. For those of us with very limited space, a dish-rack may be sometimes in the way and cumbersome to store.  I don't think it's an absolute necessity (people are gasping at this).  I simply dry my dishes on two towels and when I need more space, I put them away and hang the towels outside to dry.

I know this is not practical for everyone- but if you're space is tiny and you haven't many dishes on a daily basis (aka, you're single...) and your dish rack just seems in the way... pass it on to someone else or the Goodwill, you'll add an instant foot or two to your counter space!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Organizing Tip-o-The-Day

I like pretty, color-y, shiny things- and I like putting stuff inside stuff. A cheap and easy design trick for storing everyday things like pens, post-its, stamps, etc . . . is to use flower pots. I found these at the 99cent store!

:) ruby

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lesson Learned

Hello Indeed-

First, let me say thanks for stopping by. . . Thanks!  Second, I want to explain that the photos above were lovingly offered by a good client, and I would never post someone's space without express permission. AND, the examples will always remain anonymous-

SO, on that particular day we got said client all nice and organized. I, on the other hand, not so much. When we finished, both of us left her apartment, and as I watched her drive away, I threw my purse, my camera and my keys onto my passenger seat, grabbed my phone to call someone, and promptly hit the "All Lock" button on the door while slamming it shut. With my wallet wide open hanging out of my purse,  keys right next to it and camera saying "Smile, Come steal me!" - all in a car that had been broken into twice in the last 20 days . . . but like any good Angelino, I did have my phone glued to my hand so I was able to call my friend & neighbor for help. I instructed him on how to break into my apartment and where my spare key was, but in true LA fashion, traffic was just too difficult for him to get to my exact location, so I walked down to a centrally located Starbucks to meet him.  I had to leave my car in the center of Hollywood with it's sweet, sweet nectar dripping off the front seat - with no real barrier that couldn't be easily breached if you didn't care.  I mean the last person smashed my window using the butt of a Corona bottle - it's Hollywood, Man, people are resourceful.

But I risked it and it paid off, Brent met me at Starbucks, gave me the key, traffic for him wasn't bad, I got a little exercise by racing back to the car in fear, and big relief to see it all in tact. Thank you Car Gods. My new mantra, "Keys stay in hand, keys in hand...." Hopefully, lesson learned!