Voyager Walk – Help Me Make A Difference — The Worn Bookmark

Hey guys! I’ve made the decision today to join in on the Voyager Walk, a 100 hour virtual walk that symbolizes the time is might take a family to travel by foot and bus to reach medical attention in Ghana. Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Fraser on Outlander, has created this challenge to raise money […]

via Voyager Walk – Help Me Make A Difference — The Worn Bookmark

RENEGADE RED Covers Reveal! — The Worn Bookmark

*Want to look closer? Check out the large-size cover graphics at the end of this post. RENEGADE RED REVEALED! RENEGADE RED, the sequel to the award-winning novel SHATTERED BLUE will be available in THREE special edition covers, in both Hardcover and Paperback, in March 2017! Distribution from online sites and into bookstores will […]

via RENEGADE RED Covers Reveal! — The Worn Bookmark

Hoarders: Book Nerd Edition — The Worn Bookmark

Today on my book blog, I confess to being a book hoarder and lay out my plan to conquer the mess and get control of the chaos.  Check it out! 🙂

Hi, I’m Maren and I am a book hoarder. I think there comes a time in every bookworm’s life when their book collection gets a little out of control. Well, my collection has gotten BEYOND that point and I feel completely overwhelmed by it. I am without a doubt, a book hoarder. I have my […]

via Hoarders: Book Nerd Edition — The Worn Bookmark

Bedroom Rearrange and Book Purge

As I mentioned in my last post we decided to rearrange our bedroom this past weekend.   We are jumping back into the decluttering so we can have an easier time when we are able to move to a new home.  I concentrated my efforts on my books since there were so many.  Instead of just looking at the books on the shelves in my bedroom, I ended up going through all of my books.  I had some pretty good success and was able to cut out nearly 70 books!  For the upstairs shelf, as I put back the books on the shelf I held each one in my hand and asked myself if I was really ever going to read it and how long I have owned it without reading it.  For the other shelves, I didn’t take all of the books off but I looked over each one and asked myself those same questions.  Some were duplicates that I gave to a friend, others I will be able to sell for a bit of money, and the rest will be donated to our town’s annual hospital auxiliary book sale.  I didn’t take photos of all of the books but here are a bunch of them.

I have been collecting the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon for about a year now.  I started out with all of the mass market paperbacks but decided to also get every edition I could get my hands on.  I now have 12 different editions of the first book alone.  And the complete set of US trade paperbacks so I decided to let my US mass market set go to my friend who also loves the series and has been borrowing them from me.  I also gave her my mass market copies of the first 8 books of the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris.  I upgraded those to hardcover and she loves that series as well.

I am still getting used to the new bedroom setup but Ethan has said that he likes it better and that it feels more open.  So without further ado, here is our new setup.


Our bed is now up against the wall of our office.  Since we are planning to sell our house next year we decided not to make any more nail holes for artwork.  We had to take down the artwork above our bed to accomodate the TV and bookshelf but we will not be putting them back up on the empty wall.


Now on the shared wall with the neighbor we have my dresser, bookshelves and tv.


The room feels a lot brighter and even a little bigger now!

After decluttering my books a bit, I am back in the mood to declutter the rest of the house so stay tuned for additional purges!

Getting Back to KonMari

Wow!  I have seriously been neglecting this blog!  Sorry about that!  Things have been so busy in my personal life and between that and my book blog, I’ve let this one slip.

I hit a road block with decluttering my house.  In fact, everything I did before seems to have been for nothing because my house has never been more messy than it is now!  But I am determined to get back into the zone and KonMari the heck out of my house.  It’s kind of the perfect time for me now because we are having to rearrange our bedroom all because we have really crappy neighbors who like to blast loud bass music.  I’ve asked the guy to turn it down and he did… slightly.  On Wednesday night, we were woken up in the middle of the night to the thump of the bass.  I ended up sleeping downstairs on the couch because I couldn’t sleep up there.  Ugh.  We are hoping to be able to sell this place earlier next year but for now we will have to deal with this neighbor until at least October-ish when their lease runs out.  Anyways, enough with the rant and onto the details of the rearrangement which will lead to KonMari work.

Our bed is currently up against the shared wall with the neighbor, hence the need for the rearrange.  We will basically be flipping the furniture in the room 180 degrees.


This is our current set up on the shared wall.  I don’t have a before picture of the other wall but it has a bookcase, a shorter bookcase that holds our TV, and my dresser.

Last night I started the process of taking the smaller things off of the bigger furniture items.  I began by taking all of my books off of the bookcase and stacking them on the window seat.  When I saw the end result of that, I knew I needed to get back into KonMari.  Incidentally, I am also challenging myself and others to concentrate on reading all of the books they own but haven’t read yet.  So earlier this year I took an inventory of all of my books and marked the unread ones.  You can see my stats here and why I think a book purge is necessary for me at this point – My Home Library.  More than 50% of my books are unread!  And considering how many books are unread compared to my average of books per year, it would take me over 3 years to finish them all!

Here is the photo of all of the books stacked on my window seat for the rearranging.


So after we get all of the big furniture pieces moved tonight or tomorrow I am going to go through each book and purge those that don’t “spark joy”.

Stay tuned for photos of the final arrangement 🙂


DIY Cheaper Laundry Detergent

Two and a half years ago I came across this tutorial on Pinterest to make your own laundry detergent.  Since laundry detergent is so expensive I decided to give it a try since it claimed to be cheaper and much longer lasting.  So I went around town gathering the ingredients because I couldn’t find them all at one store.  I made the detergent and it lasted us two and a half years!  The best part was that it was only about $35!  We just ran out yesterday so I set out to make a new batch today.

(Full credit for the recipe to the blog linked above.  All photos in this post are mine.)


Here’s what you need:

1 (4 lb 12 oz) box of Borax– You can find this in the detergent aisle.  I got this from Target.

1 (3 lb 7 oz) box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda– This can also be found in the detergent aisle.  I found this at Cub Foods (local grocery store)

1 (3 lb) container of OxyClean– This is optional but really helps to get any stains out.  Can be found in the detergent aisle.  I got this at Target

2 (14.1 oz) bars of Zote Soap– This can be found in the detergent aisle.  I found these at Kmart.  The pink Zote soap smells great, especially when mixed with the lavender Purex crystals.  If you can’t find Zote soap you can also use Fels Naptha.

1 (4 lb) box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda– If you can’t find a 4 lb. box, just by two 2lb. boxes.  Can be found in the baking aisle.

1 (55 oz) bottle of Purex Crystals Fabric Softener – This is optional but makes your clothes softer and smells great.  You could substitute any other brand of fabric softener crystals.

This makes a really big batch (a little less than 9 quarts) so make sure you have plenty of storage containers, preferably ones that have an air tight seal.  The detergent may clump up but all you need to do is break apart the clumps and it’s fine.  The most time consuming part is grating the Zote soap.


Get a large mixing bowl, set yourself in front of the TV and just go nuts grating both bars of soap.  It takes a little over an hour to fully grate both bars.



This is what the soap looks like after it is grated.  You can leave it this way or you can run the gratings through a food processor to make the soap easier to dissolve in the water, especially cold water.  This isn’t a necessary step as the soap dissolves just fine when finely grated.


Here are the gratings after being run through a food processor.  It doesn’t take very long to do this extra step.  I just have a small Ninja 16 oz. food processor so I had to do it in batches but it only takes 5-10 pulses to get it this fine.


Next step is to get a large 3-5 gallon bucket to mix the ingredients.  I used a paint stirring stick to mix everything.  Add 1/4 of each ingredient to the bucket and thoroughly mix.  Once fully mixed, repeat the process until all ingredients are in the bucket.  Give it a few final stirs and then you’re all set to fill your storage containers.


Our main container is this large glass jar.  It holds 2 quarts.  Then I put the excess in a Rubbermaid cereal container and two Ikea containers.  The Rubbermaid container holds 1.5 gallons and the two Ikea containers hold 1 quart each.

You only need to use 1-2 tablespoons per load depending on the size of the load.  It works great using just cold water and it is safe to use in HE machines.  We have a front load HE and our clothes come out clean, fresh and smelling great!

So if you’re tired of paying for expensive liquid detergents, give this a try!  I will continue to use this recipe to make laundry soap for as long as I can foresee.


2015-2016 Erin Condren Life Planner

I’ve always been on the lookout for the perfect planner.  I even made my own out of a Moleskine notebook but even that wasn’t to my liking.  I had heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner but never got one until this year.  I was so excited when it arrived at my house yesterday!  I had to pace myself to allow for taking photos when all I really wanted to do was tear into the package and get started!  It arrived in perfect time for the beginning of the month.  It came in a cute box and was very well packaged on the inside.

IMG_20150701_174447IMG_20150701_174947IMG_20150701_175037There are so many different covers to choose from and most of them you can personalize with your name or your blog… whatever you’re planning to use the planner for!  The covers are also removable so if you get tired of your original cover you can get a new one and switch them out as often as you like!  I got the elastic band pack to help keep the book together if I ever needed to bring it with me anywhere.  If I had to toss it in my purse, I wouldn’t have to worry about the cover falling open and damaging the pages inside.

IMG_20150701_175258 IMG_20150701_175309


The first few pages of the planner have affirmations and motivational quotes.  There is also this two page section where you can list some of your goals in life!  It’s a great way to keep those goals in your mind so they are easier to achieve.

IMG_20150701_175317 IMG_20150701_175417 IMG_20150701_175432There are tabs for each month and section of the planner.  Each month opens with a monthly layout where you can put in your goals for the month on the right side and fill in brief event descriptions.  Then it moves into the weekly layouts.  This year there are two different layouts you can choose from: horizontal or vertical.  I went with vertical because I wanted to use the planner for my life, my blog and my fitness.  Each of the three sections are now blank so it is easy to write in what I want to use them for.  In the top left corner, there is a small box for you to write a thankful thought every week.  That is a helpful reminder to not take things for granted and be thankful for the good things in your life.  There is also a spot to make a list on the left side.  I will probably make that a weekly to-do list.  Underneath each day there is also a few lines that I will be using for meal planning.


IMG_20150701_175633At the back of the planner there are some fun stickers to use for birthdays, voting, dr. appointments, etc.  There are also two sheets worth of blank ones that you can make your own!  Those will be fun pops of color to use in the planner.


There is also a nice two sided pocket folder in the back to help keep loose items like invitations or anything else like that.

IMG_20150701_180119 The very last thing is a press and seal pocket to store any stickers or other small extras you may choose to use in your planner.  The planner came with a few gifts and samples such as a sheet of the Do It All Dots and a coil clip.  The coil clip can be used to add in a page whether you might want to make a dashboard or a color code key.  There is a bit of adhesive that you can attach to any piece of paper and then it clips right into the coils.  There are also some compliment cards and some referral cards!IMG_20150702_184114 IMG_20150702_184151

I had fun last night filling in this week of my planner!  I created a color code system that I will be using.  I used one of the compliment cards to write out the color code and attached it to my planner with the coil clip.

Overall I am loving this planner and am really looking forward to being more organized!

Are you interested in the Life Planner or anything else that Erin Condren has to offer?  Click this link and sign up to receive $10 off your first purchase!

North Shore 2015 Vacation

The Worn Bookmark

From June 11-14 Ethan and I had a mini vacation in one of our favorite locations: the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.  I grew up going there a lot with my family and he also did with his family.  The air is so much more fresh and clean.  It’s more peaceful and relaxing.  From the moment you hit Duluth on the drive up, you feel the weight of your normal life lift off of your shoulders.  Take a deep breath of that fresh, lake air and you instantly feel refreshed.  Although the trip was shorter than we would have liked, it was definitely what we needed!  On Saturday we met up with my parents for dinner.  They have been looking at buying property up there so they were up with a realtor for the weekend.  All in all we had a great time and are already looking forward…

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Book Journal Project

I have been neglecting this blog and I apologize for that!  I’ve been so busy with personal things lately and projects around the house that I haven’t had a lot of free time to devote to this.  I see that a lot of people are viewing my KonMari posts and I promise that I will be diving back into that process soon!  My little brother is getting married next month so once all of the craziness dies down there will be more KonMari posts!  For now, check out my most recent project that I originally posted on my book blog, The Worn Bookmark.

11329862_957687869263_6909989782567211323_nI have finally completed my book journal project.  Although it’s not so much a book journal as it is a binder with different sections to keep track of things like my wishlist and my collections.  If the ring size had been bigger I may have had more room to keep a section with an area to take notes on the book I’m reading at the moment.  I am extremely happy with how this project came out!  Like I mentioned in my original post about this (see that here), I had been looking to make something like this for a long time but could never figure out exactly how I wanted to do it.  I was searching on Pinterest for what seemed like the millionth time when I finally came across two pins that in combination would make exactly what I was looking for.  I will have the links for those two posts at the bottom of this post.  This post is going to have a lot of photos!  I’m only going to use the medium size so you can get the general idea but feel free to click on any of them to see the full size image! 🙂

I got the materials I needed at Target and on Amazon.  In total it cost around $25 to make.  I would have loved to make it in a Filofax type binder like the original blogs but I just don’t have that kind of money right now.

IMG_20150526_192208I got this super cute binder at Target for only $3.99.  They also had a pink one with flamingoes and a salmon colored one with pineapples on it.  I’m not a huge fan of pink so I went with the mintish green with zebras.  It’s not a full size binder, it fits 5.5 X 8.5 sheets of paper.

IMG_20150526_192229I added 4 sections using Avery dividers that I got from Amazon.  You can write on the tabs.  On each divider I put a graphic that I either made or found online that I felt went perfectly with whatever that section was for.IMG_20150526_192238The first section I have is my wishlist.  I also have a wishlist started on my Goodreads page but I wanted to have a physical copy as well.

IMG_20150526_192246I added a column to check off when I get the book, a column for the title and author, then a final column for the format that I want the book in.

IMG_20150526_192301My next section is my Acquisitions section.  I found this fun quote graphic on Pinterest and decided it would go perfectly for this section!  I used the word Acquisitions because I will also be including any ARCs I receive and also any gifts from friends or family so not everything written down will be a book I purchase.

IMG_20150526_192310I have 5 columns for this section.  First is the date, then title, then place (or person if gift), $ amount and format.  I am trying to be better about buying books so I think this will help me keep an eye on how much I am spending.

IMG_20150526_192326The next one is my Daily Reads section.  I want to try and get in the habit of reading everyday, even if I can only get in half hour or less.

IMG_20150526_192334At the front of this section I will keep a list of every book I read for the entire year.

IMG_20150526_192354Then each month has a page and I numbered it down the side.  One line per day.  Every day that I read, I write down the title of the book I read that day.  If I didn’t read at all then it stays blank.  I want to have as few blank days as I can manage.

IMG_20150526_192403The final section is My Collection.  For this one there are really two parts to the section.  The first part is for my physical books and the second is for my Kindle books.  I got two sets of the A-Z labeled tabs from Avery.

IMG_20150526_192410I totally love this graphic that I found on Pinterest so I had to use that for my physical books section.

IMG_20150526_192417Each letter gets a page (or two depending on how many books I have).  I have organized them by the author’s last name.  Then I added a column in the front to cross it off if I have read the book.

IMG_20150526_192429For my Kindle section, I just used the Kindle logo.

IMG_20150526_192437Rather than have a list of the titles, I felt like I needed to have photos to remind myself of what the cover looked like.  I tend to forget all about the Kindle books I own and it’s easier for me to remember what the book is about if I can see the cover.  Then to mark if I have read the book I got these cute little smiley face stickers.  If I have read the book, I put the sticker in the upper left corner of the cover.

IMG_20150526_192540And I have a little folder to keep the sheets of stickers in the binder.

To make the cover photo pages I copy and pasted the photos from Goodreads into a Word document, shrank them down so they are all 1.5 inches long.  Then I changed the margin setting so that they would fit easily onto the 5.5 x 8.5 paper.  Since each lettered tab has two (and occasionally three) on it I decided to just combine the two letters onto one sheet.  For these I decided to organize them by title rather than author. IMG_20150526_184930After I printed them out, I cut them to size and used double sided tape to adhere them to the paper.IMG_20150526_185501Then I went through and marked them with the smiley stickers if I had read the books.

You might have noticed that each of the pieces of paper is a colored border on the side with the holes punched.  Originally the paper was all white but I love color so I wanted to add a splash of color to each sheet while also protecting the holes from getting torn.  So I used my washi tape collection to make that happen.

IMG_20150525_201830First, I laid down a blank sheet of the paper on the table.

IMG_20150525_201903Then I added a strip of the washi tape, getting it as close to the edge of the long side as possible.

IMG_20150525_201917Then I flipped the sheet over to add another strip of washi to the other side.

IMG_20150525_201957When both sides had the washi tape on, I trimmed the edges with my scissors.

IMG_20150525_202037To re-punch the holes I took another blank sheet and laid it over the top to make sure I had the holes lined up perfectly.  Some of the washi tape was transparent enough to see where the holes but some were more opaque.  Then I used my single hole punch to re-punch the holes through the washi tape.  I opted for the single punch instead of buying an actual 7-hole punch because of the price difference.  A single hole punch cost me less than $3 whereas the 7-hole punches run closer to $30.  So it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

IMG_20150525_202658So that is how I got all of the fun colors while also protecting the holes from tearing off the rings.

And so there you have it!  My book journal-ish binder is now complete and I absolutely love it!

Here are the links to my inspiration:

It’s My Life! – Book Journal

Incarnations of Organization – Books, Books and more Books.

KonMari Update

Since I last posted I worked on a lot of things.  I have now completed the clothing category which was perfect timing because in Minnesota we have a charity called the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota that occasionally has pick-up days.  You’ll get a postcard in the mail announcing when they will be in your neighborhood.  All you have to do is bag and/or box up whatever you want to donate (as long as they are accepted items) and set them on your curb, label them with the postcard or a paper that says EF and they come around and pick them up.  Lucky for me, they are coming today!


I had 8 bags full of clothes, outerwear, and even some stuffed animals.  The printer box is full of shoes, at least 10 pairs.  The small box is full of cookbooks.

My biggest success this weekend was my husband wanting to go through his clothes in the closet!  On the floor of his side of the closet he had a ton of pants that were in a very very messy pile.  We were able to donate almost every single pair because they were too small.  We were going to go through his dresser too but ran out of time.

On Saturday I pulled several books off my bookshelves that I had not read.  They were the kind of books that I keep around for a quick read, mostly Nora Roberts and Robyn Carr.  I felt I could easily get rid of those whereas most of my other books would be nearly impossible for me to give up, even the ones I haven’t read yet.  Then I pulled up two boxes of books we had in the basement to sort through.  One was a book of mostly coffee table type books.  I have a great love for Ireland so I have a few Ireland books that I was not able to get rid of.  I did pull out an old high school history textbook and a really old cookbook.  In the other box was all of my late childhood-early teens books.  I was able to pull out all of them and put them on shelves except for the American Girls books.  Those I was able to put in the box with the remaining coffee table books though.  I was able to eliminate an entire box out of our packed storage room!  I also started to go through the things in our office.  Some of these things are hard for me to pull out by category because I’m not sure exactly what I have.

Yesterday I worked through all of our paper mess.  I was able to pull a large stack that needs to be shredded, and an even bigger pile that could just be recycled.

Even though I am far from being done with this process, my house is already looking more clutter free than it has since we moved in!  It’s been a lot easier for me to put things away when I am done using them because I am loving the way it looks!

The next three weekends I will be out of town so I won’t have much time to work on KMing my house but I feel as though I’m at a good place right now.  I may work on it a few nights after work here and there.