Useful & Pretty Things

Cup Hooks

A simple cup hook is a terribly useful thing! I’m always looking for ways to get papers off of horizontal surfaces.  It’s just a better use of space AND it’s readily visible as you walk by.  But, it can be a challenge!  How often do we seek to hang something….yet all our wallspace is spoken for? Or…perhaps you face the same challenge I do – an open floor plan without an ample amount of wallspace?  Think beyond your wall!


I hung some cup hooks on the bottom of our ribbon board to hold new clipboards and it worked out so well!  They are hung right behind my desk – so they’re at arms reach!  It’s so easy to do, but be sure you start a pilot hole with a drill first!  You’ll be glad you did!  My 10 year old, Sparkly, did this for me!  The cup hook screws in so much nicer and straighter with a pilot hole.


Those adorable clipboards are courtesy of box64 studios – a delicious little etsy shop!  Check out her offerings!


Aren’t they pretty hanging there?  I almost hate to hang my lists on them!  LOL!


Now…I shall shift gears quickly from our learning room upstairs to an older daughter’s collection of beading work in order to show you another use for those amazing cup hooks:


I don’t have any PVC-coated cup hooks pictured in this post, but in my detailed look through the learning spaces you can see them.  These larger hooks are perfect for larger projects like hanging maps!  A small box of cup hooks from the hardware store is one of the most inexpensive organizing tools I know of!  I find the 7/8″ cup hooks to be very useful, and those are the cup hooks you see pictured in this post.  Grab a box and see if you can’t find a few uses around your home!

The Action Center


This is my action center which is arranged here on my supply cabinet.  Ribbon boards are a wonderful way to display a child’s artwork, pertinent information, anything important really!  I use it all the time and I hung it using 3M picture hanging strips (more on the usefulness of 3M below!).  That’s an Edith Holden print that I cut out of an old book – I have a print for each of the 12 months that I hang up.  (Edith Holden is the author of Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and I just find her nature sketches inspiring and cheery!)


I’ve not been able to find a copy of James Partridge’s Natural Science Through the Seasons in spite of my persistent attempts to locate a copy.  That’s a hard book to find!!!  However, about a year ago, I did find a delightful little book, Nature Activities (first published 1943), that has some wonderful articles written by a variety of contributors with nature study ideas in it as well as those beautifully sketched nature calendars by D. Farwell such as you would find in Mr. Partridge’s Natural Science Through the Seasons.  It’s a small, pamphlet size book.  Contributors include: James Partridge, Edwin Way Teale (a favorite naturalist of ours that has written a number of wonderful books detailing natural history in North America), Betty Price, Marie Gaudette, and D. E. Farwell.  This is probably one of my top favorite Nature Study resource books.  Its diminutive size and helpful articles make it accessible and usable without being intimidating in a way that a larger book might be!  Because it’s lightweight, I hang it up with Mr. Farwell’s inspiring nature calendars open for us to see.  We enjoy looking at them.

S Hooks

And…lets not forget the excessively useful S-hook either (pictured above holding the calendar on the twine)!  You’ll find these in use here all over my home!  I like a variety of sizes!

In case you’re wondering, those are 3M clips there on the left and right.  I make them *pretty* by using double sided tape to hang beautiful holy cards on the top of the clip.  I use 3M products everywhere because they remove easily from a surface!  I used a little twine to wrap over each clip and then an S-hook to hang our favorite Learning Calendar.  Sometimes I use the clips to hold our liturgical wall pocket calendar (pictured at the bottom of the learning room post with instructions for making at the end of this post.)


This is NOT a glamorous or pretty picture from around my house!!  LOL!  There’s only so much one can do with a shot of the pantry!  BUT…practical is useful…and I find this terribly useful!  In an attempt to get that box of kitchen trash bags up off the floor, I punch holes in the back of the box and hang it with S-hooks on the back of my open shelving in my pantry.  It hangs right above the trash can, so it’s in a convenient location for the person in charge of trash.  Works perfectly!  You’ll need substantial S-hooks for this job.

A Little Pretty

Goodness!  I can’t bear to leave you with an image of my garbage bags as your last memory of this post.  The *pretty* side of me just can’t have it!


Here are a few organizing and *pretty* tools I’m using with a few projects I’m working on!  Those are oilcloth pouches & envelopes in a tangerine swirl…and positively delicious turquoise tape!  Doesn’t that just inspire you with possibilities?  I’m inspired!!!  I’ll have to post later on my projects!

There you go!  My, but that was a random post – covering garbage bag storage, hooks, pretty tape, and even a positively spontaneous review of a favorite nature study resource!  LOL!!!  Hope you found something that might be a useful idea to inspire you in your home!  Useful can be both practical and lend itself to the pretty of your home!

Happy useful and pretty homes everyone!

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  1. Wow…I love this post. It really reminds me how sometimes thinking outside of the box is really really a good thing! My innovation creative skills are really lacking. I need to work on that!

  2. We have little cup hooks attached to the underside of our fireplace mantle for hanging our Christmas stockings. They are very useful. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  3. Jen-
    I'm a long time reader- your blog is one of my favorites and I'm always happy when I see a new post pop up on my Google reader.

    We are currently redoing our school room- installing built in cabinets, shelving, countertops, etc. A while ago you posted about some bookends you used that had a label on them- so you could separate your books by subjects. I'd like to get some for our shelves. I've searched & searched your blog to no avail. Also tried to email you but the program tried to make me sign up for something so I thought I'd leave a comment instead. Could you help me find these bookends?

    Thanks, Kelly

  4. What great ideas Jen. I am off to the hardware store for S hooks and 3M hangers! And the garbage bag storage is such a grand idea. Thanks for posting.

  5. Jen, love the hooks, your beautiful clipboards and all your great ideas! We found a great board with several L-hooks, which had once been a store display for tiny brass stencils (50 cents at a garage sale)…it now resides inside our pantry door, keeping track of keys, calendar, dog collar and leashes, a small wall basket filled with markers. Hooks, binder clips, tape and clipcboards are a few of those wonderful creations homeschooling moms just have to love!!!

  6. Don't forget shower curtain hooks too…so many styles to choose from there. We have them hanging from the wire shelving in the kitchen holding sieves, graters, etc…for quick grab items that you don't want buried and yet don't want sitting on the counter. oh, and I use clothes pins in there too…for holding up recipes (among other things) so that I don't trash them while cooking. Clothespins are such a versatile tool! (the springy kind)

    Back to shower curtain hooks, they could work very well on the school shelves holding books that the kids make (or mom creates for them) that are made with binder rings or chicken rings (remember those??) The bonus is that they are removable and re-positionable.

    Dowels are also good as you can use them for anything from ribbons on a roll or a chart or and kind of banner (for us a felt banner that we add to, like the felt Jesse tree)

    If you go to a place like Home Goods (TJ Maxx or Marshalls) you may find interesting wall hangings that you can re-purpose like those used for plants.

    The kids and I were talking about making a “clothes line” some pretty twine and prettied up clothespins (they come in all sorts of colors and sizes too…love the mini ones) for displaying art work. We would fashion ours so we could take it down when we have company…like a temporary clothes line deal. (Heck, maybe I should get a retractable clothesline for the school room…hmmmm) Every child could decorate their own clothespin and it could hold their special art work for the week, or a particular artist's postcard sized print …etc…

    Oh I have loads of ideas. I should blog again..yes? ;o) instead of using yours?? ROFL!

  7. Thanks for posting the pictures of your lovely clipboards and the link to where to purchase them. I found one at her site and posted on my blog that I wanted it. A few hours later a old friend of mine emailed me to tell me that she had seen my post and that she purchased it for me, a late Christmas present! I am thrilled! Here is the link to the post if your interested in seeing the one I am getting! Can't wait for it to arrive! Pretty things are so inspiring!

  8. Thank you all for all of your warm comments!!! 🙂 And thank you for sharing some of your “great use of small spaces” storage ideas! I'm taking notes here!

    I saw you post a comment to the re-post I put up on the clip on bookshelf supports – glad you found that post helpful! Why in the world did I bury that in a daybook post to begin with?! Just for the future, in case someone is reading the comments here…I'll leave a little trail of breadcrumbs to that new re-post on clip on bookshelf supports:


  9. is very shortly to be coming out with a re-printing of Partridge's Natural Science Through the Seasons! Very excited to see this coming back in print!

    Karen in Kansas City

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