Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back To School Teacher Gift

Back to School Teacher Gift Basket - Paper and Pens

By now, I think almost everyone's kids are back in school. We made sure that kids' had all the supplies they needed for the new school year, but what about the teachers? Knowing they spend their money on class supplies, I wanted to give them a little something they could use in the classroom, that was for them.

As usual, the Target Dollar Spot had new notepads and paper that I could not ignore. And, thanks to stockpiling school supplies when they went on clearance last year, I had a good supply of pens too. I put everything all together in a plastic basket, and wrapped the pens with fun washi tape to keep them from looking messy.

Back to School Teacher Gift Basket with Notepads and Pens

Back to School Teacher Gift Basket with Notepads and Pens

I made a cute little tag that I glued to cardstock and had the boys sign, then I attached it with baker's twine, conveniently in school colors.  

Fresh Paper & Pens As A New School Year Begins - Teacher Gift Basket

 All bundled up and ready for delivery!
Back to School Teacher Gift Basket - Paper and Pens

Did you make Back to School gifts for any teachers this year? What did you give out?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Inspiring Home Space 8.25.14

The Inspiration:

This space is so airy and inviting, it looks like a perfect place to just sit down with a group of friends and hang out. The skylights and vaulted ceiling do a lot to give the room that airy feeling, and keep the space from feeling too closed in.

To really achieve this look, you need to start with white or very light walls, this will let the color you choose stand out and become the focal point in the space and will help the room achieve that light and bright feeling. For the larger pieces of furniture, unless what you already have are white/off white, you will need to slipcover them either white or off white (which is really more kid and pet-friendly that you might think). Then it's time for the fun! If it's in your budget, purchase a chair or two in a solid color of your choice, keep in mind this is color the rest of the room will be based on. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a bit and find something that maybe you feel is a little bright or bold. If new chairs are not in the budget, a slipcover in the color of your choice, or even a nice throw blanket folded and draped over the back and seat of the chair can work wonders, at little expense.

A striped area rug in white and your color pull the entire space together. Add in throw pillows on the couches that contain your color, in a couple of different patterns, and a white pillow on the chair, give all the furniture a put-together and cohesive look. Place your furniture around a large, dark wood coffee table, and now you have a place to sit down a drink, or gather around and play a game. Keeping the window coverings minimal or light, will allow lots of light to come in and keep the space from feeling too closed in.

If this was your space, what color would you choose?

Friday, August 22, 2014

33 Facts About Me - Celebrating 33 Years

Happy Birthday to Me! I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit today and share with all you lovely readers, 33 facts about me for my 33rd birthday. Enjoy!

Here we go, in no particular order:

1. I am a small town Kansas Girl, and I can't imagine living anywhere else.
2. I am married to my highschool sweetheart, we have been together for almost 18 years and married for 12 and a half.
3. I love being a "boy mom" to my two guys, ages 8 and 6.
4. I have degrees in both Finance and Management.
5. I love the smell of coffee, but can't stand the taste of it.
6. Dark chocolate and M&M's are my weakness.
7. I love creating my own original art, and would love to start selling it one day.
8. I am a firm believer that most things can be fixed with a fresh coat of paint.
9. I hate cleaning bathrooms. (Probably has something to do with being a boy mom!)
10. My favorite colors are navy blue, gray and spring green.
11. Even when it is 100 degrees outside, if I am inside, I am most likely wrapped in a blanket.
12. I am every bit of 5'1" tall.
13. I have never been to a Disney theme park, and honestly have no desire to ever go.
14. I love going on road trips, it's the best way to travel and see the sights.
15. I like office supplies way too much; I have more pens and notepads than I could ever need, but I can't resist!
16. I still use a hardcopy planner, I just can't seem to jump on the all electronic bandwagon.
17. Twitter is overwhelming to me, there is too much going on, so I don't even try.
18. I want to be an Interior Decorator/Stylist when I grow up.
19. I am a Jayhawk fan, through and through. Rock Chalk!
20. I tend to be a shy person around people I don't know.
21. I really do like all types of music.
22. I love reading magazines.
23. Fourth of July and Christmas are my favorite holidays.
24. I would rather go to auctions, garage sales and flea markets than big name stores when I am looking for home decor, I like the thrill of the hunt!
25. I once bought a pair of $200 designer jeans at a thrift store for $6, and then found $6 in the pocket when I got them home.
26. I strongly dislike shoe shopping.
27. I believe you can never have too many purses in your closet.
28. I would eat Mexican food everyday if I could.
29. I never put milk on my cereal, just the thought of it makes me gag.
30. I love making lists, it's such a great feeling to cross something off once it's done! (Hence the endless supply of notepads.)
31. I am a sports nut; watching football, baseball, basketball and playing volleyball.
32. Spring and Fall are my favorite times of year. I love the changing weather and spending time outside.
33. I started this blog on a whim to share my decorating ideas with a few friends and family. I love it and can't wait to see where this adventure takes me!

Thanks to all of you who take the time to visit this little blog of mine! I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of the girl behind the blog, I will be back to business as usual on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wooden Crate Shoe Organization

Wooden Crate Shoe Organization - Entry Closet Organizing

Last week I shared a few of my tips for back to school organization; one of those tips was corralling all the kids shoes in wooden crates. This is one of those "duh" projects, it's so easy to do and simplifies the whole "putting shoes where they belong" job for the kids.

The trick to organizing for, and with, kids is to get their input on the organizing goals and what will make it easy to meet those goals. This was where I made my first mistake with my original shoe organizing plan; I just picked out what I thought would work, and told them to use it. I bought a basic shoe organizer and asked them to put their shoes away in the cubbies when they took them off.

Here is what the inside of the closet looked like before. There is the shoe organizer that was supposed to keep everything neat and tidy.
Entry Closet Shoe Organization - Before

Here is what the outside of the closet looked like before. Looky there, a whole bunch of shoes piled next to the closet door (they pretty much never opened the closet door, not that you could with all the shoes laying there).
Entry Closet Shoe Organization - Before

So, using what I know about my kids, I knew they needed something super easy that just allowed them to toss their shoes into the closet. I lucked out and actually had everything I needed to make this organizing project a reality. 

Here is the supply list:
-Unfinished wooden crate
-Stain in your choice of color (I used this one)
-Old rag to wipe stain with
-Acrylic paint in your choice of color(s)

We have a few of these wooden crates around our house they we occasionally pick up from Michaels with a 40% coupon. Here they are, set up on flowerpots outside to make staining easier (be sure to put a dropcloth down to catch drips).
Unfinished Wooden Crates for Entry Closet Shoe Organization

Here is the (blurry) after shot. I used Minwax stain in Special Walnut, it is my favorite color to use, a little dark, but brings out the wood grain beautifully. I painted one side at a time, top to bottom, and then immediately wiped it down with a rag, from top to bottom. I let it sit for a day to thoroughly dry before I added the final details.
Special Walnut Stained Wooden Crates for Shoe Organization

Once the stain had a chance to dry, I used a level to make a straight line across the end of the crates and then I traced each boy's initials onto the crates with a pencil, I just eyeballed the letter placement, using the handle as my guide for the center. Then, I just used a thin paint brush to fill in the stenciled letters with acrylic paint.
Stenciling Wooden Crates for Personalized Organization - Shoe Organization

Once the paint was dry I moved the crates into their new spots in the entry closet, and the boys filled them with their shoes.
Stenciled Wooden Crates for Personalized Shoe Organization

Stenciled Wooden Crates for Personalized Shoe Organization

Here is the after view of the closet. Holy Cow! It looks like a whole new space! I am happy to report that this has been in place for a while now, and it is still going to strong. The boys like that all they have to do is toss their shoes into the crates, and I like that I can walk in the door without tripping over shoes, and I can open the closet door if I need to.
Shoe Organization in Entry Closet Using Wooden Crates

Shoe Organization in Entry Closet Using Personalized Wooden Crates

Do you have any of these crates around your home? How are you using them?

*This post contains affiliate links

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6 Tips for Back to School Organizing

6 tips for back to school organizing

I toyed with the alternate title of: "Tips for Keeping Your Sanity When the Kids Go Back to School". Although it was attention getting and dramatic, it was a little too long.

My kids went back to school this week, I know a lot of you out there are getting ready to do the same thing, and there are even a small few who have already gone back. (Seriously, where did the summer go?) I try really hard to be organized, but I know that I can always do better. I love seeing what other people do to keep their mornings on schedule, and how they control the mess that seems to come home with the kids after school. With that in mind, I thought I would share a few of the tried and true organizing tricks that we use in our home to stay organized during the school year.

1) Backpack Drop Zone
Hanging one command hook per kid right by the door to the garage gives the boys the perfect spot to leave off their bags in the afternoon, and pick them up in the morning on the way out. Adding the little stool gives them a place to sit when putting on their shoes, or set down books and papers as they are organizing their bags.

Backpack organization with command hooks - entryway bench

2) School Paper Organization
Keeping all those school papers from taking over your home is a never-ending task when the kids are in school. On the side of our fridge we keep a command center that holds our calendar, invites and bills. Under the command center each boy has a file holder that they put all of their papers in when they get home. After I go through them, I put anything that needs to go back to school in that file and they know to check there for anything to go back to school.

School paper organization - command center

3) Coat and Jacket Storage
Again, with the command hooks on this one. Since the boys are not tall enough to hang their coats and jackets on hangers in the entry closet, we needed something more their level. So, on the inside of the closet door I hung a couple of command hooks right at their level.

Entry closet organization for kids using command hooks

4)Wooden Crates to Corral Shoes
This is my second attempt at keeping the kids shoes from taking over the entryway. We tried one of those 16 cubby shoe organizers, but I was the only one who put shoes in it. So, I picked up a couple of wood crates from Michaels (be sure to use your 40% off coupon when buying them), stained them and put them in the entry closet for the boys to just toss their shoes in. And, I am happy to report, so far so good on this one. I mean, how much more simple can it get? Take off your shoes, toss them in the crate. (You can see how I created these here.)

Wooden crate shoe organization - kids shoe organization

5) Cut Lunchbox Clutter
I, for one, like having the things I use in my kitchen on a daily basis readily available. My boys take their lunches to school everyday, so putting away their lunchboxes and water bottles everyday, only to dig them back out in the morning just seems like a waste of time. I keep a wire file basket on the countertop to hold the lunch boxes and water bottles. They are nicely corralled and the basket is not heavy looking in the space.

Countertop lunchbox organzing

6) Easy Access to Lunch Supplies
As the kids are getting older, they are helping me more with packing their lunches. I had everything in a cabinet next to the fridge, but the kids couldn't reach. So, I cleaned out a drawer and all the little lunch containers fit nicely, well within reach. A basket from the dollar store keeps the smaller containers together with their lids, and keeps the drawer from getting messy.
Lunch container organization in a kitchen drawer

So, what tips do you have for keeping your kids organized and your school mornings running smoothly?

*This post contains affiliate links

Monday, August 11, 2014

Inspiring Home Space 8.11.14

The Inspiration:

Since so many kids are headed back to school, this simple organized space caught my eye. Plenty of hooks for bags, coats and hats, and a simple bench to have a seat while putting on your shoes. There is room to corral shoes under the bench, keeping them hidden out of the way. By keeping the entire area simple, you can bring in, and change out, colors quickly with a few pillows, or a couple small pieces of art.

No matter how big or small your entry area, you can pull off this look. You need a simple bench that fits your space, or even a small chair or two would work. A basket to keep everyday shoes in, keeps them from piling up all over the floor, and brings texture to the area. 

There is a variety of ways create the wall of hooks. If you are in a rental, or are just looking for a less permanent option, command hooks (medium and large) in variety of sizes work great, just make sure you get the right size to accommodate the amount of weight they will be holding. If you want a more permanent option, there is an almost endless amount of choices, from individual hooks to multiple hooks pre-mounted together for you already. (With either of these, be sure to screw directly into a stud or use anchors to ensure the hooks are securely attached to the wall.)

Once you are organized, add a little color. Toss a couple of fun colored pillows on your bench or chairs. This is also a great place to add a couple small and colorful pieces of art, I would suggest making your own, or grabbing a couple of masterpieces from your kids to brighten up the space and give it some personality.

*This post contains affiliate links

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fresh Makeover For A Boy's Room

Along with the desk makeover that I shared earlier this week, I also gave the room it is in a makeover too. Painting this bedroom was on my spring and summer to-do list, and I am sooo happy to finally have this one marked off that list. You have been warned, this is a photo heavy post. Enjoy!

Below are my really terrible before pictures. First, I had already started to move furniture when I realized I forgot to take pictures, my apologies. Second, that blotchy, uneven look was totally unintentional and the reason I have disliked this paint job since the minute it dried. (I kid you not, there are 3 coats of red paint on there and it still looks this bad!)

Boy's bedroom with red accent wall - before

Boy's bedroom with red accent wall - before

This is the smallest bedroom in our home and the red was really overpowering in the space. So, I knew that I wanted to go brighter and I wanted a color that complimented the other colors in our home. After checking out a few paint swatches I decided on Glidden's Spring Green. I went with the paint and primer in one since I was painting over the red, and I will say that I had my doubts on the coverage. But, I was pleasantly surprised! Even with this light of a color, I used only 2 coats and the coverage was awesome!

Here are the much improved and much lighter afters. (Side note: this room is never this clean.) You will see that the curtains I already had in this room were the inspiration for this color, and the same color is also in the stripe on the comforter. (I bought this bedding a couple of years ago at Target after they clearanced the dorm bedding. So, if you need twin sized bedding for your kids, remember to check out the dorm decor at Target after they start marking it down, you're welcome.)

Boy's bedroom with spring green accent wall - after

Hamper storage for stuffed animals - kids room organization

Kids room with spring green accent wall

Kids room reading nook - hanging book organizer and blue chair

Tan and green kids room - bookcase and desk

Tan and green kids room - desk and lego storage

Kids room decor - baseball table and shutter art display
Details on how I DIY'ed the desk here, the baseball table here and the shutter art display here.

*This post contains affiliate links