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)
-Paintbrush
-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?





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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?


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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.

Translation:
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.

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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.



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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Colorful Vintage Desk Makeover

Vintage kids desk makeover - white desk

I am so excited to share this makeover with you all! I spent all of last week working on multiple projects, I'm pretty sure I have project ADD. I just can't seem to fully focus on one thing at a I time, I get started and then something else will catch my attention and I will work on that for a while. 

I have been casually searching for desks for the boys since last year, they are getting older and need a space in there rooms where they can work on homework or Lego projects without interruption. I picked up this desk and another one both for $20! It does pay to take your time to find the right pieces and not just rush into buying something that you only kinda like.

Here is the before of this little vintage desk:
Vintage desk makeover - before

Not too bad at all. Other than needing to add a support to the back to keep it from wobbling, it was in solid shape. It just needed cleaned up and a new fresh coat of paint.

Vintage kids desk makeover - before

We had beautiful weather, so I was able to spend an afternoon out on the patio cleaning, sanding and priming.

Kids Vintage desk makeover - primer coat

This next part is super important: Remember to remove any cats that have taken up residence inside the desk, before you start painting. 

Vintage desk makeover - Cat assistant

I decided to go with Glidden Crisp Linen White for the overall color. I wanted the desk to look simple and clean, and not stand out too much in the bedroom space. Once the paint dried, my lovely assistants decided they needed to test out the stability of the desk and make sure the paint was thoroughly dry before I added a coat of wax to seal and protect it.

Vintage desk makeover - Cat assistants

And, here is the after!!
White Vintage Kids Desk - After

Vintage Kids Desk Makeover - After

But wait, isn't the title of this post "Colorful Vintage Desk Makeover"? Where is the color, you ask? Well, there is a tiny, little surprise! Originally, when I was getting ready to pick paint colors for both desks, I asked my youngest son what color he thought might be good for his desk. I usually like to get both boys' input on the things that are going into their rooms, but when he picked a bright color, I had to take a step back and reevaluate my plan.

 Then, I had a great idea for how to incorporate the color he requested:

Vintage Kids Desk Makeover - White with Green Drawers

I took the bright green that he picked and used it to paint the inside of the drawers. This one is Glidden Spring Green, and it is a gorgeous fresh green color. It looks great with the white and is such a fun and unexpected dash of color on this little desk. And it makes this desk perfectly fun for a kid's room.

Vintage Kids Desk Detail - White with Green Drawers

I decided to keep the old knobs on the drawers because they were simple and the dark finish gives some much needed detail to the drawers. I wanted to dress up and protect the inside of the drawers too, and while I was getting my paint mixed I found some awesome cork shelf liner, and I could not resist! I cut it down to size and placed it inside each of the drawers.

Cork Shelf Liner in Desk Drawers - Vintage Desk Makeover

I am loving this little desk, and so is my son. It is the perfect size for him and now he has a perfect little work area to color, do homework, sort baseball cards and build his Lego creations. (See the Lego mini-figure organizer here, the shutter art display here and the baseball side table here.)

Vintage Desk Makeover for Kid's Room



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Monday, August 4, 2014

Inspiring Home Space 8.4.14

The Inspiration:
Eclectic Dining Room by Portland Photographers Whitney Lyons

Doesn't this space just make you want to pull up a chair, sit back and relax? There is a fun mix of colors that all just play quietly together in this dining area. Not one color stands out more than another, and the entire space just feels welcoming and relaxed.

Translation:
Although it is most likely not the first thing you notice, and you may not have noticed it until I pointed it out, the walls appear to be a beautiful dark navy blue. The white window trim and thicker white baseboards is what keep that dark color from becoming overpowering The dark color is a great backdrop to the rest of the space, so to make this your own, don't be shy, pick a dark color for your background.

These farmhouse style tables are pretty easy to find at garage sales and in thrift stores. So, as long as the table is in good condition (aka stable and not falling apart), you can overlook the cosmetic details. Depending on your taste, you can sand and stain the top of the table as dark or as light as you like. Same goes for the table base and legs; pick a complementary color for you space and go as light or as dark as you want in that shade. You can't do this part wrong, as long as you use colors you like, that look great in your space this table will be the perfect centerpiece to your dining area.

I love the built-in bench, and if you have the space to do it, then I say definitely go for it! Many of us just don't have the right configuration in our space to do this, and do it well (myself included). So, we get to have fun with the chairs instead. This is another hunting adventure that can pay out big. I L.O.V.E. mismatched chairs at the dining room table! It just gives the space a well-loved, collected over time, relaxed feeling to the space. Again, check out garage sales, thrift stores, Craigslist, (*cough* your own basement *cough*) etc. for wooden dining room chairs. The important thing to remember with these is, unless you are willing/able to repair the chairs, just stick to the ones that are strong and sturdy (you don't want someone to sit down and have the chair collapse underneath them). After sanding them down you get to add another fun color or two and your space is almost done! If you have a bench or just want to add a little color to your chairs, add a few pillows that pick up the colors from the table and the chairs and your space is done!

(BTW, how awesome is that bottle light above the table?!)