File it with flowers

I’m starting to get in the Back to School mindset, not to mention the Fall and Holidays (yay!) mindset, so I thought I would make sure all those random ideas I come across (hello Pinterest!) would have somewhere to go other than my brain. Because the filing system there sucks, I tell ya.

My boys and I made a quick trip to IKEA on Wednesday and we grabbed a set of 5 FLYT magazine holders. And meatballs. And cinnamon rolls. And then I nearly cried because they didn’t have my favorite sparkly pear drink, but then my friend J said we’d have some Wyder’s Pear Cider next time we hang out and that cheered me up.

It took me the same time to try and put one together as it took my husband to put the other four together. Did you notice I said “try”? Yeah, I ended up giving that one back to him and he put it together for me.

Then he held the gift wrap while I took a photo because I had asked my oldest and he kept shaking it and after five pics, I relieved him of his wrap-holder duties and called my husband. Apparently we cannot manage the simplest tasks around here ;D

I mod-podged the wrap onto the files then added some labels with cardstock I had on hand. The white scalloped tag is not glued on in case I want to change it (me, change stuff around?) so I used spiral clips that we had leftover from making our wedding invitations NINE YEARS AGO. Mm-hmm.

I love how cheerful they are and how I can just rip a page out of a magazine and tuck it into the appropriate file so I can go through it later, instead of having loose papers all over the place. The binder thing does not work for me, other than for recipes, so I needed something I would actually use.

The other stuff on the shelf also makes me happy:

The candlestick that I got on clearance at World Market. The little book my husband made me for my first mother’s day. The yummy candle my dear friend K got me. Okay, so, weird OCD here, I like the lid on that candle. It has this vacuum-seal thing going on and I just love opening and closing it. No, really, I do feed my children and clean my house and water the acres (feet) of garden I have, I don’t just sit around opening and closing a candle while listening to Pandora and browsing Pinterest.

Eiffel Tower from World Market. It’s a doorstop but you know how many bruises I would have on my ankles if I used that heavy thing as a doorstop? Two adorable chess-piece candlesticks in one of my favorite colors, found in Target’s dollar section. These were $2.50 each, but hello, total score, right?

I am loving my happy little files and I hope you like them, too – have a great weekend!!

Organizing someone else’s pantry

The conversation went like this:

and before I knew it, I’d agreed to help a friend with her pantry.

Dear Friend’s house does not have a lot of storage, so her (and Mr. DF’s) laundry room has become THE storage room for non-perishables, linens, pet supplies, home improvement items, etc.

I forgot to take a photo at the very beginning, but at this point we had just cleared out the second shelf from the top.

I asked DF what would work best for her – we put the items that are least used on the very top shelf, including some appliances and seasonal items. My main goal was to make the space as functional as possible for her and her husband. We sorted and grouped items together:

Camping items together on top of paper towels.

Different paper towels (recyclable) and cleaning cloths.

All the large cans of paint were moved to the back, since they are only kept in case a touch-up is needed. They were formerly in front of the shelves, taking up precious real estate. The white tower is next to the washer and dryer, so the laundry supplies went on top and the less-used light bulbs went below.

By the end of the afternoon, we had cleared out a lot of items that were no longer needed, shelved items according to frequency of use, and made enough room for items to be grouped in appropriate clusters, i.e. soups and broths, beans, various rice varieties, coffee supplies, pet supplies, etc. Here is the storage room by the end of my visit:

Then we moved on to the kitchen cupboards – the result of going through every corner is finding many items you’d forgotten you had, and also a few past their expiration date.

The baking goods cabinet.

We enjoyed some soon-expiring chocolate chips, and then I went home to my men. DF said she was very happy with the results and I think we did a good job going through everything and deciding what the best place was for each item.

So that was my adventure organizing someone else’s space – hope you enjoyed it!

The Simple Things

One of my favorite blogs is Simple as That – not only is Rebecca a super talented photographer and crafter, but her posts are usually full of peace and grace, even when moving from a tropical island to Canada in the winter!

Rebecca has this great series called The Simple Things – where you share something, be it a moment, a conversation, an image, anything that was simple in the large scheme of things but something that made you happy. Today I am joining The Simple Things:

Something simple that is making me happy this morning is my empty inbox!!!

First, because I bought it for $1 at the Target dollar bin area. In fact, I got 4, all they had left. I figure for $1 each, it was a super deal, and it is laminated so I can use one in my kitchen. They are not super sturdy, but I wouldn’t be carrying it full or drinks or anything, it is just a sweet little tray in a color I am loving, a cheerful pattern, and it works just fine where it is.

Second, I am thrilled to have emptied it this morning, I went through the mini-hill sitting inside and took care of everything. I tell you, that, and cleaning out my purse as such refreshers!

There you have it, my simple thing for this Sunday – I hope yours is a wonderful one and Yeah Niners!!! You should have heard my house in the last 90 seconds of that game. My oldest started cheering with me, at one point he said “the other team sucks!!! um, what’s their name?” He was just psyched to be cheering with mom he didn’t care who he was cheering against 😀

Pantry re-org 2012

I try to go through my pantry every couple of months,  but who am I kidding, two months becomes three and four and by the time I get to it, the poor shelves have become a mess. To begin the year with a clean slate, I took everything out and grouped things on my dining room table before putting them back.

Again, I didn’t spend a cent on this – I had most of the bins already in the pantry and found a few others throughout the house.  I made the labels and hung them with some denim-stitching thread.  Easy peasy, simple, and it makes me happy to open the pantry doors – btw, they are old cabinets that my husband repurposed so we’d have more food storage.

Here is where I store many prized items from Peru – a powder mix for lucuma ice cream, mazamorra mix packets, and various others. I’ll tell you more about Peruvian food soon.

The soups and broths bin, plus a rogue tub of french fried onions. We love miso soup, it makes for such a comforting meal, or snack, depending on what you put in it.

Potatoes and rice. And lentils, apparently.

A veritable cornucopia (ha) of sauces. Pasta sauces, white sauces, Indian cuisine, etc. We do love our sauces. What I like a lot is that I can cook two pieces of chicken and put spicy sauce on my husband’s plate and not on mine. Spicy hot food and my esophagus do not get along.

The most often used bin in the pantry. My oldest boy eats pasta every single day, and lots of it. I buy pasta at Trader Joe’s, where it’s still 99 cents/lb., cheaper than anywhere else. I also buy plain marinara sauce at TJ’s, and then doctor it up with spices.

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. We have a ton of jams and jellies, and pancake and crepe batters. Yum yum.

That’s my pantry as of two days ago – I can find anything I need easily and it’s also easy to see how much I have left of various items. There is another shelf at the bottom where the bulk items go, i.e. flour, coffee, etc. At some point I do plan on making the pantry prettier, but “organized” will have to do for now 😀

Stereo stand to craft tower

This old stereo stand had been languishing in the kids’ playroom — and my office — for several months:

I thought it had great potential for craft storage, and decided to give it a new look.

First came a coat of chocolate brown paint for the outside, a coat of Antique Gold for the shelves, and a Command hook for the side:

For the inside I chose my favorite peacock paper from Paper Source:

I gathered craft stuff that was scattered all over the house, and some random containers were given a new life. I didn’t want things matchy-matchy, and neither did I want to spend any money. Everything was done with items I already had.

Here you can see some of my paper crafting and sewing supplies:

Paper punches, threads and ribbons, and my blank card packs. I have so many, I really need to start using them!

On top, my pencils and markers, decorative scissors, various adhesives, and random bits and bobs, along with a tray I painted a while ago with my newest craft book:

Yes, it is The Martha’s Holiday Crafts book, and it is awesome. Some of the crafts are a little advanced to do with my boys, but I’m working on adapting a few.

So here it is, my sweet little craft station. I love that I transformed it without spending a cent and that it is now a useful piece instead of just storing old VHS movies and gathering dust.

I hope you enjoyed this makeover!

Featured At Serenity Now

It's OverflowingThursday Favorite ThingsWeekend Bloggy Reading The Shabby NestFurniture Feature FridaysPositively Splendid

Organization: A year’s worth of homework

With two boys in school now, there are lots of homework and art project pages filling up the bin I set up in the office. Now that the new school year has started, it was time to decide what to do with last year’s stash. Once I saw this, my decision was made:

One evening a couple of weeks ago, I sat down and photographed everything I wanted kept for posterity. I did save a couple of projects from each of my boys, and the memory books their teachers had made of the whole school year. I know, I’m a sucker, and we’ll see how those fare in a few years, but for now I am keeping them.

I got a coupon for a free poster print at Walmart, and I found super cheapo poster frames for $6 each, so my project ended up costing around $12 total.

We are redoing this particular corner of the playroom/office, since my husband likes my computer better (better graphics card, yeah!) and now never sits at his desk, so this corner is going to be the media/recharging station/printer/etc. area, but for right now I really like my boys’ work up there.

Have you met the Queen?

If you’ve spent any time around the blogosphere, then you are probably familiar with vinyl decals being used around the home. In my case, I was longing for some order mixed with ornate for my pantry, and I found it at Leen the Graphics Queen’s site.

She has a really cute set of canister labels, which added to my new IKEA canisters, resulted in a seriously pretty addition to our pantry.


Or rather, my husband liked them so much that he asked if we could get them off the pantry shelf and put them above our microwave. They look great and bring order and prettiness to things we use often. The labels are custom-made so you can have them say whatever you wish – as you can tell, we don’t really use sugar, so one label reads Splenda!

I was not paid or gifted anything for this post, I purchased this set and was so happy that I wanted to share with y’alls. I’ve also purchased Leen’s chalkboard decals and liked them a lot. Her prices are very reasonable and she ships very quickly – go do some browsing! Now!!!

My favorite paper goods store

Every couple of months I try to head up to Paper Source – I am lucky enough to have one 20 minutes away, and I just love their array of delicious papers for all sorts of paper crafts.

I’ve used their peacock paper on the back of my office tower, used it as artwork in my bathroom, and made tons of scrapbook pages and cards with it.

I recently got this notebook for my purse. We keep our calendar online but when we’re out and about and need to schedule something, this will certainly come in handy.

I love everything lavender and these will be great to freshen up with during the hot days of late summer.

I call my youngest my little monkey, and he needs a new backpack for kindergarten 😀

A new water bottle for my oldest to take to school?

I’ll keep you updated on what I end up getting!

My new BFFs

As we end June (really? this year is flying by!) I have to share with you about my new friends. I saw them online, as many friendships start nowadays, and I just knew we’d get along. We met IRL for the first time yesterday and I was right, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship! Come on, here they are:

Meet the all-in-one hangers from the Container Store. I just love them. I was actually browsing their online catalog for kitchen storage and saw these and oh my goodness, I had to run and get them.

I’ve mentioned before that I like to get outfits ready including accessories so that it’s easier to get dressed in hectic mornings, and these make it so easy. They have extra slots and “levels” to add scarves, necklaces, bracelets, even earrings to your outfit.

Here is one week’s worth of outfits I’ve put together with my new BFFs – click on the pic for a (much) larger picture.

And no, The Container Store has no clue I exist, this is my straight out real opinion because I just love these so much ;D

My new little office

Ever since my youngest was born and his room went from office to nursery, my husband and I have had our office space in the playroom.

It gets messy. Dinosaurs go everywhere, and seem to have a fondness for being on my desk and under my chair, so that more than once I have nearly toppled backwards because one of the wheels got caught on an ankylosaurus. Furthermore, my desk was so massive that I couldn’t reach all the way to the back of the desk and things that got put there were, inevitably, forgotten.

Knowing well that “the bigger the purse, the more you stuff in it”, I decided to get a smaller desk. I ended up with an IKEA desk, and I LOVE it. It is small but with all the space i need, and it is a lot more manageable for my needs.

Since I had some extra space, I appropriated a white shelf tower from my youngest’s room. No more diapers and wipes for him, so it became mine, all mine!!! But I decided to pretty it up with some peacock paper I saw at my favorite paper store, Paper Source.As much as I would like my office to look like something out of Martha Stewart or Real Simple or something, it is simply not my style.

I love color. The more the better. Up on the shelf above my desk I have turquoise, green, hot pink, red, brown, etc. There is a mini album my husband made for me on my second Mother’s Day, it is from my oldest, telling me all the ways I have been a good mommy to him. I love it and read it all the time. My darling dad watches over me every day, I made a collage of pics of him and his sweet smiling face keeps me company.

I recently made a family binder with some tips from Simplify 101, and that rests on the right, underneath the paper station with current mail I need to address, etc. I also have a weakness for cute notebooks, so there are about 2 (or 7) back there.

On the tower itself, lovely IKEA baskets corral items, below is my spray paint shelf and finally a couple of paper boxes and a magazine file. The item on top is the egg crate from Anthropologie, it holds some of my everyday jewelry.

So that is my new office area, messy and colorful, like my life. I love it, aside from the fricking ankylosaurus that still plague me ;D

Weekend Bloggy Reading