Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh Craigslist

Our living room TV bit the dust.  We had this great 55" TV I bought second-hand from a former co-worker.  It wasn't like a nice LCD TV or anything fancy, it was an older style that just sat on the floor.  Since that TV died (you can look forward to more on that later this week) we are going to be TV shopping and thus entertainment center shopping soon.

I'm not a huge fan of the traditional entertainment center.  Right now we have open shelves beside our TV that hold the satellite receiver, blu ray player, etc.  I hate it.  It doesn't go with the rest of the living room.  So, I'm fairly sure I don't want a plain old entertainment center thing for our new (not yet purchased) TV.  I love all these dressers turned into entertainment centers.  It's so great to conceal all the electronics and have a place to store DVDs and the like.  Something like these...
Oh my gosh, this is gorgeous, right?!  I hadn't even thought of this.  I could totally do a stencil or some kind of design on the front.  And I love that the inside of the cabinet is painted a contrasting color.  It's amazing.

Simple, but still beautiful.  I love the idea of this too.  

Okay, so I started looking on Craigslist for a bigger dresser like this last night.  Well, apparently the fact that people are getting on the bus with this fabulous trend, everyone who has a crappy ugly dresser is taking the opportunity to charge a ton for something hideous.  I am super cheap, I admit it.  But, most of the dressers I'm finding are not worth the over $100 that's being asked for them.  What a pain!  I'm really disappointed.  I don't want to pay that much for something I'm going to redo anyway.  Not cool.  

I guess the search is going to have to continue.  Or maybe I'm being totally unreasonable thinking $100 is expensive for a used, dated piece of furniture.  Maybe I need to start hitting garage sales, because I feel like if these were at a garage sale they would be like $50 in the morning, and down to like $30 if they hadn't sold by lunch time.  But, I guess the search is good.  I still have to convince my husband that an actual piece of furniture is better than a TV stand.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pinterest Fall Challenge

So, those wild and crazy kids over at YHL are challenging us all to actually make something we've pinned.  I like to think I'm already good at this.  I tend to look for things to pin that I have plans of making in the future. Not that I'm the perfect Pinterest user, cause I'm not.  Anyway, I love pinning and making things.  So I'm participating....

So, technically I think this was supposed to be a new project.  But I had two sweet projects sitting around that I had totally forgotten to post.  Like I had to flip back through all my pictures and blog posts to make sure these were not repeats because I was totally sure I had already shared these projects because I was so in love with them.

In case you were wondering, this post could've been alternately titled "If you liked it you should've put a wreath on it."  Okay, maybe not as funny to other people as me, but I thought it was clever.  Anyway.  Here's inspiration for Wreath #1.
Super cute, right?  I feel like I looked at tons of argyle wreaths when I was actually making mine.  For some lame reason though, I only pinned one though.  I had aspirations for mine being more elaborate.  I wanted to add a bunting and maybe a tiger head.  But, still it hangs on my door in it's plain black and gold wonder (we're Mizzou Tigers fans if you're curious)
This wreath did not start life this cute though.  My husband picked me up a wreath at Hobby Lobby because I wanted a cute fall wreath.  I wrapped it with orange yarn and made some felt flowers.  Well, it sucked.  But, in an attempt for full honesty, this is the wreath on my front door last year.  Here ya go.
So ugly, right.  I came to my senses.  We also painted that ugly dull blue door red.  Anyway.  Back to the pretty pretty argyle.

Most argyle wreaths you look at, the yarn that crosses over the diamonds is all the same color.  This has to be easier than alternating colors.  I ended up doing a separate piece of yarn for each X and then using straight pins to attach it.  That's also how I attached the diamonds.  I had bought fabric glue which really turned out to be Elmer's glue in a bottle that said fabric glue.  It didn't stick my felt down at all.  So, I got creative.  The pins are tiny are barely noticeable.

A shot a little further away of the wreath hanging on our front door.  I'm strongly considering painting my outside doors turquoise.  My husband said he was okay with it.  I'm still consider it.

And now, wreath #2.  I pinned the first one because I thought it was fun and quirky.  Then my sister said she'd like one for her birthday so I had to do a little more Pinterest research.  So, I guess grown ups call these Pom Poms.  When I was a kid we called them Warm Fuzzies.  So, I prefer to call them Warm Fuzzy wreaths.  Here's my inspiration....

And here's where I went with it.  Initially I hadn't posted it because it was my sister's birthday present and I couldn't risk her seeing it until after her birthday.  Then I guess I forgot about it.  But, here it is.  It kind of reminds me of a muppet.  And I spent hours, mostly while watching footballs, tying pom poms (or warm fuzzies if you prefer) to tie onto my wreath.  I used a straw wreath.  I left the plastic on and then wrapped it with white linen-y fabric that had been cut off window curtains that I shortened.  Then I just cut the string that tied the warm fuzzy together long enough to tie around the wreath.
I snapped a picture of the wreath before I gifted it.  The colors weren't really that bright.  It was something about it being dark outside and taking a picture on our dark colored chair.

And this is the wreath hanging on my sister's front door.  I was pretty happy with how it turned out.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Laundry Room Reveal (sort of)

So, as I predicted, the laundry room is not done.  It is however, much better than it was.  I got a lot done!  I did three loads of laundry (they’re laying on the bed in the spare bedroom waiting to be folded, don’t judge).  I shredded a bunch of junk mail and took two bags of paper to be recycled.  I took one giant bag to Goodwill to donate.  I did a little fun updating of my laundry shelf and I DIY’d some storage for kitchen towels.  Love it!

I know I wasn’t going to spend any money on the laundry room.  I realized I needed some bins to put kitchen towels in.  We have exactly three drawers in our kitchen, so no really good place to put kitchen towels.  They have just gotten hopped around, never finding a good home.  Sigh.  That is until Friday.  I hit the Target Dollar Spot and grabbed three bins for $2.50 each.  So, not free, but pretty cheap.  

I already had the silver spray paint sitting around for another project I never got to.  So I put that to good use.  I didn’t take a before picture but these bad boys started live as a dark orange.  Fall colors, it made sense, but definitely did not match the pink and zebra laundry room.  I thought about just spraying the inside too, but I knew I had some black and white polka dot wrapping paper left over from wrapping attendant gifts for our wedding that would be perfect inside.  So, after the spray paint had dried (I definitely did not give it the full cure time, I’m too impatient, but it was still dry) I brought my bins inside for some mod podge.  

A view of my completed basket.  So pretty!

The inside of my bins.  Not perfectly smooth, but my towels won't mind.

Bins all lined up and ready to store towels.
And my shelf update.  I got zebra print contact paper and covered my shelves.  I think it makes the plain old black plastic shelf from Walmart a little more fun.

And if you're playing a little "I Spy", that is definitely house paint sitting there beside my laundry shelf.  Here's the thing.  We bought two five gallon buckets of paint at Sherwin Williams when they were having their 40% off sale (super bargain!)  And we've been working, very slowly, on painting the outside of our house.  The paint needs to stay inside so it stays a reasonably consistent temperature and they are way to heavy to haul back down to the basement where the rest of the paint is stored.  So, for now, that's their home.  But it's an improvement because now they are stacked up and shoved out of the way.

I can't wait to show you what else is cooking in the laundry room.  I also can't wait til tomorrow to show you my Pinterest project for the Fall Pinterest Challenge!  Anybody else do organizing this weekend?  My husband and I also tackled the basement.  I am happy to say, I no longer feel twitchy when I go into either of our storage rooms in the basement.  It's not great, but it's so much better!

Friday, October 26, 2012

No-Clutter-November: Laundry Room

Oh man, get ready for some brutal honesty.  I mentioned my laundry room was bad.  But I bet nobody really believed how bad it actually was.  But, here goes.  Sorry, if the pictures are oddly blurry, they looked fine on my camera until I uploaded them.  Weird.  Anyway.
Problems in this picture:  Bag of stuff to go to Goodwill that I cleaned out of our hall closet last winter.  A case of water in the middle of the floor.  Rolls of paper towels that have no home.  A cake container, obviously those live in the floor.  My swimsuit still hanging where I put it to dry the end of August.  Clothes spread across the top of my paper goods bucket, they were put there to dry.... oh a few weeks ago.  On top of the freezer, beer one of my husband's friends made, a vacuum sealer, and the iron.  An orange rug that matched our apartment bathroom that I finally got out of our master bathroom back in the summer and haven't found a spot to store.  Jeans waiting to be washed.  Sheesh.

Problems in this picture:  Small appliances surrounding my laundry:  a deep fryer, a Dirt Devil, an electric skillet, a dehydrator, and a waffle iron.  Also on those shelves, a random bowl, about 3 spools of ribbon, and some pans on the bottom shelf.  Then we have two five gallon buckets of paint.  The mop bucket.  Recycling, the shredder, and a massive box of papers that are waiting to be shredded.

Problems in this picture (there are fewer since it overlaps other pictures):  Empty storage drawer on top of the dryer, it has never been the right size to do what I need it to.  Huge basket of socks that need to be folded and matched.  A rug that belongs in the kitchen but had an accident with dinner one night.

Problems in this picture:  Nothing is organized.  That big pink drawer is useless.  There's crap in here we never use.

So, can you tell what I'm working on today?  I've already done some serious work on the shredding issue.  I have bags sitting by the door ready to go to the recycling.  The Goodwill stuff is getting bagged up and dropped off.  I think I'm going to work on the stuff that is obvious and out first and then start on the closet.  And I'm thinking there is a mini craft project on its way.

I desperately want one of these....
Laundry basket dressers.  I am in love.  I need somebody to help me build one of these.  Or maybe two.  Sadly, these are low on my home improvement list.  So, for now we're just going to have to be happy with de-cluttering the laundry room.  It's going to be great.  Hopefully I'll be back Monday with a new and improved laundry room.  Oh, and that big pink drawer is going away.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Why I Blog

As we all know, I looooove working on my house.  I love DIY.  I love organization.  But I’m pretty sure none of my Facebook friends care about the fact that I organized the cabinet under my bathroom sink.  They also probably don’t care that I’m planning to organize my laundry room Friday when we’re out of school.  But it’s really interesting to me. 

I know my blog is nowhere near the coolest DIY blog.  It’s definitely not even close.  I don’t know all the tricks of creating a fantastic website.  I have some vague knowledge I picked up in college from the guy I was dating at the time.  I’m slowly learning a couple little things on my own.  But it is definitely nothing fancy.  And why is my header so dang big?  Um, I made it in Publisher and I made it too big.  Fail.  But, I tried, right?  And at least it’s not the plain old blogger template. 

I don’t have a fancy camera with all those snazzy settings to make my pictures look like they come out of a magazine.  For quite a while, I was taking all my pictures with my cell phone.  My new camera is better, but it’s not professional quality.  And I don’t really have the ability to edit photos.  So, what I take is what you get.  I’m learning a little though.  There are some things though, that I just can’t figure out how to get a good shot of.  Though it might help if I didn’t always wait until night time to take pictures.  Or if I would not sit in the middle of the floor and take pictures on our stained carpet.  But, we work with what we’ve got.

My house is never going to look like it belongs in a magazine.  I just have to come to terms with that.  Yes, I am absolutely 100% proud of the improvements we have made.  But, when your house is made of paneling, you can only do so much.  And I love our house.  It has quirks (i.e. lots of paneling and a tiny master bedroom).  But it’s our house.  I may be horribly embarrassed by our kitchen floor.  I mean it’s super bad guys.  The linoleum is peeling up.  It is insanely stained in places.  No matter how many times I mop, it looks dirty.  But, I know it will be better someday.  And until then, I try not to look down.  I have dreams of replacing the linoleum with some nice wood laminate and then carrying that same laminate into the living room and down the hallway.  It will be gorgeous.  But, I try not to live in the future.  Right now there are parts of our house that are ugly but it’s still a thousand times better than when we moved in. Like this....
And when I remember how it used to look, I feel so much better about things.  I read so many of these blogs where people are making over an "ugly house"  Oh boy.  Sometimes I just want to laugh.  There were so many truly ugly things about our house.  I am so proud of our before and afters.  No, it's not magazine perfect, but it barely even looks like the same house anymore.

I still have tons of plans for our house.  Do I feel like I have to an amazing project to blog about every day?  Yes, I really do.  But, that’s really just not realistic for me.  I work full time.  And my commute is an hour each way.  And my husband likes to eat dinner.  And I like to watch Gilmore Girls.  So, am I really ever going to have a huge project to show off every day?  No way.  But, I can show you little pieces of things I’m working on.  Or occasionally talk about other random things.  Like my nail polish adventures (still totally in love with my turquoise ombre nails, they’re totally distracting me today BTW).  And my extreme love of Gilmore Girls and country music.

So, basically I blog because I like to.  It will never be perfect and it doesn’t have to be.  And I’m okay with that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh So Inviting

One of my good friends is getting ready to welcome her first child.  Another friend and I are throwing her a shower.  I love throwing showers for people.  I love all the planning -- the decorations, the food, the perfect gift, all of it!

So, of course I volunteered to design the invitation.  I threw around lots of ideas and sent lots of emails with preliminary invitation designs.  The constant among all of them was a bunting.  I knew I wanted a bunting across the top.  I'm pretty much in love with them.  Swoon!

I found some ideas I liked on Pinterest and just by doing a Google image search.  For about 5 minutes I thought about cutting out tiny paper flags and making my own bunting on each invite.  Then I came to my senses and decided my time could be spent in better ways than doing that.  So, I ended up finding a design I liked.  I used a green, red, yellow, orange, and blue bunting.  Simple.  Those are the colors she's doing for her nursery.  I downloaded a sweet swirly font for free, off probably, but I forget where.  Anyway.  And I adhered each invitation to a plaid piece of paper that matched the bunting.
Please ignore my bad censoring of the invitations.  We're low-tech here at our house and that's the best I could do on the laptop.  And my fingernails were wet.  So, with that consideration, I think it's pretty cute.
I joined the washi tape craze and wrapped some around the bottom corner of the envelope.  It wasn't really exactly what I wanted but it worked.  Remember that part about me living in a tiny town.  Well, DG definitely does not carry washi tape.  And all JoAnn's had (that I could find anyway) was this roll with a variety of colors and prints.  Unfortunately some of those prints were pink.  For the most part I was able to cut the pink off, pink's not really appropriate for a boy baby shower.  Anyway, I was pretty pleased.

And now, here's everything all together.  Wouldn't you love to receive that in the mail?  I shipped them off to the other party hostess because she has gorgeous handwriting.  I wish I'd had her address my wedding invitations.  

So there you have it.  Oh, and remember how I said I was painting my nails.  Well, I tried something new.  I think I have at least 5 coats of polish on now.  But, I did a silver to turquoise glitter ombre.  It's pretty amazing if I do say so myself.  And now I have to hope my nails are dry enough to go let my dog out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

No-Clutter-November: Bathroom, Part 1

Okay, today is the first official day of No-Clutter-November.  I'm so excited!  I was off work a little early today so that meant extra time for a trip to Walmart and Sutherlands to pick up some de-clutterizing supplies.  I decided my first project to tackle was the hall bathroom because it was honestly the easiest and I knew it wouldn't take long.  So, let's get to the before picture.  Oh yes, I am being totally honest and showing you my horrifying bathroom cabinet.
Okay, let's talk about this bad boy.  There are shelves built in that are not super useful.  I tried to rip them out, but I'm going to need a bigger hammer I think.  So, for now they stayed.  On the shelves on the right, a set of shampoo and conditioner, Windex, a make-up bag, and a trimmer.  On the shelves on the left, Nair, another make up bag, hair color developer, and sunscreen.  On the bottom we have a bottle of homemade shower cleaner, a big bin full of tampons and the like, another set of shampoo and conditioner, my big travel bathroom bag, some empty shopping bags for trashcan liners, blow dryer, and Cottonelle wipes.  Talk about a disorganized mess!  Every time I had to get anything out, I had to dig through a bunch of stuff to find what I needed/wanted.  That big blue bin ended up being a catchall.  If I didn't know what to do with something, it got chucked in there.  Ug.  

So, I pulled everything out.  I couldn't really take a picture of everything pulled out because our bathroom is tiny and I was sitting in my massive pile of junk.  But, everything came out so I could start with a nice empty cabinet.
I know, this looks really gross.  I need to get the shop vac after it.  And have my husband get rid of the (empty) mouse trap.  And then I need to paint it.  But, today was not the day for painting.  This was just a basic get organized day.  Maybe I'll get it painted when we replace the sink.  It would definitely be easier to paint the inside without the sink, the light would be much better.  Okay, even though it's ugly we have a clean slate.  Yippee!

I worked with what I had and I bought a couple of things.  Like I said, I left the existing shelves because I couldn't really figure out how to rip them out.  I have dreams of them being gone though.  Anyway.  I reused a white plastic drawer I already had.  I bought a plastic coated metal shelf, a plastic basket for toilet paper, and a metal basket to hang on one of the cabinet drawers to put my blow dryer and flat iron in.
Oh, it's so much better.  I may have to just go hang out and stare.  So, let's see what we have now.  On the left shelf we have all of the bottles together: shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, hair color developer, body wash, and Cottonelle wipes.  On the right shelf we have cleaning supplies:  homemade shower cleaner, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and Windex.  Tampons and all that sort of thing go in the plastic drawer with the trimmer and a Ped Egg stacked on top.  A bin of toilet paper goes under the white shelf.  And on top, my travel bathroom bag and flat iron case.  All the little make up bags are stored inside the bigger bag.

And here's a view of the whole thing.  The metal bin holds my flat iron and blow dryer perfectly.  I may need to add something for the bottom so the cords don't fall through.  And my hand mirror (gotta check the back of the hair to make sure it's not crazy looking) hangs on the back of the other door.

Oh boy!  I am seriously so excited about this cabinet being organized.   I have been fighting bathroom cabinets since my first apartment.  The storage is never quite right.  In our house, we also have the battle of no drawers.  Not one of our three bathrooms has a drawer.  It's so frustrating.  We end up with lots of stuff on the counter.  

Someday I'll be back with an update once I've painted the inside.  What color do you think?  My upper cabinet is grey inside to match the walls.  I'm thinking white since it's so dark down there.  Anything's got to be better than the nasty wood.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


In college I had friends (guy friends) that always did no-shave-November.  This was especially hilarious on super blonde guys.  I don't know why, it just was.  Anyway.  It's going to be No-Clutter-November at my house.  Yes, I know it's not November yet, but we're getting an early start.  I'm planning right now.  And I'm off work on Friday and I always like something purposeful to do on my days off.

Our house is not as organized as I'd like.  I wish I could say it was just one or two rooms, but it's not.  Pretty much every room has its issues.  Big issues.  Things don't have a good place to go, or the place they're supposed to go is inconvenient.  I'm terrible at getting things put away.  It's pretty ridiculous.  So, let's break it down.

Kitchen/Dining room
The problem:  I have way too much kitchen stuff.  I love cooking, I love kitchen stuff, I love dishes.  We also have way too many small appliances.  I mean it's truly ridiculous.  Sitting out on our cabinets, we have my KitchenAid mixer, a Keurig, a regular coffee pot, a toaster oven, and a blender.  And our kitchen is not the big.  Stowed away in the kitchen cabinets we have a huge food processor, a waffle maker, coffee grinder, cupcake maker, two crock pots, a pop up toaster, and probably something else I'm forgetting.  It's ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.  Small appliances are taking over my kitchen.  And my laundry room.  Also, our food and pan cabinets are always a mess.
The plan:  Purge!  Get rid of the small appliances I do not use.  Reorganize cabinets for better, more efficient storage.  Install storage solutions inside cabinet doors to help make storage more efficient.

Living room
Well, this room isn't really that bad storage wise, if we would just pick up after ourselves and be willing to recycle our magazines.  Working on that.

Laundry room
Oh boy.  This room is driving me crazy.  In theory, it should be a gorgeous room.
The problem:  Well, there's the problem of all the crap in the closet.  Small appliances need to get out of the laundry room to make better storage for other stuff.  There are small appliances on top of the shelf where I sort my laundry, not cool.  
The plan:  The closet in the laundry room is going to become a linen closet.  I am going to get rid of all the junk in the closet that does not belong there.  Add some storage bins and make it a much more useful place. The small appliances are going to find a new home or go away.

Hall Linen Closet
The problem:  So, the real problem is that this closet is way too small.  I have to cram stuff in.  It's fairly organized as it is, there's just not enough space.  Not even close.
The plan:  Well, that stuff is moving to the closet in the laundry room.  It's a much bigger closet and I am so excited!

The problem:  This is the room where our organization is the biggest failure.  I dump everything in here.  I have all of my craft supplies in here.  Some of them are in the closet (which is terrible!) and I can never easily get to what I need.  Some of my stuff is on the desk.  And, my sewing machine is on the floor.  Oh, wrapping supplies are all shoved in that closet as well.  Ug.
The plan:  Well, remember how I just emptied the linen closet in the hall.  That's going to become my craft closet.  It's going to be perfect, it has lots of shelves.  I'm going to install a touch light on the bottom of each shelf so I can easily see everything and the shelves will allow me to split things up nicely.  And a lazy susan for my paints and such.

Hall bathroom
The problem:  My vanity/under cabinet storage area is ridiculous.  I'm thinking getting a new sink/counter top is the perfect excuse to organize this business.  When I open my cabinet doors under my sink, I'm mortified.  I have a big bin that has a bunch of stuff just thrown in.  Then everything else is just flung under the sink.  It's a pain and I have to dig for everything.
The plan:  Pull out the awkward, unuseful shelves that are under the cabinet.  Put some shelving in.  Add storage to the back of the doors for my blow dryer, flat iron, and maybe TP.  Brilliant.  Can't wait to do it!

So, that's the ultimate plan.  I can't wait to get started.  I really want to start with the office.  But, I know logically I have to start with the kitchen and laundry room issues so that I have an actual home for everything to go to.  It's going to be great though.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Truth About my Desk

I have to admit something.  My office at work is a disaster zone.  I cleaned out my desk a few weeks ago.  We were without internet one day, for an entire morning, so I cleaned out my desk.  I’ve been at my job about a year and a half.  When I started my job, my desk already had some stuff in it.  I never really bothered to clean it out because there was so much to do when I first started.  So, all the drawers were full of previous counselor’s stuff with my stuff shoved in on top.  Not really the most efficient way to work.  It was horrible.  So I purged.  Majorly purged.  Now all of my desk drawers are organized.  There was one tiny embarrassing problem left though.  My desk drawer organizer was a silverware tray.  You know, the ones that cost like ninety-seven cents at Walmart.  Not cool.  Well, I was helping my sister set up for her garage sale the other day and she was getting rid of her desk tray.  Now it has a happy new home in my desk.  I’m super excited about it.  But can someone please tell me why I have three calculators in my desk?  I’m a school counselor; I have no need for three calculators.  Sheesh.

So, the inside of my desk is organized.  The top….  Not so much.  So, today is the day.  I’m going to get busy and organize this mess.  And then, when my desk top is clean, I’m going to tackle the rest of my office.  It’s going to be so amazing.  And I’m even going to take my crock pot and my bag of huge Tupperware (it used to hold 4 dozen cupcakes) out to my car and take it all home.  Yes, I just admitted that I have kitchen stuff in my office.  This is ridiculous people.

So, I’m super excited to get my office clean.  Every day when I walk in, I just shake my head and try to ignore it.  It’s not helping.  Today is the day, this is happening people.  I may also have to go out to my car and get a new cd to listen to.  Anyway, hooray for a productive day at work.