Sweet and Simple Storage Solution

Our garage houses many things, except our cars. Most of our “stuff” is stored in large bins, but as always, it is the little things that are always bouncing from place to place, unless they have a permanent home.

We recently inherited, among other things, a few bins from Steve’s parents, who closed their catering business after thirty years. Given the unused space next to Steve’s desk and the new-to-us bins, he decided to build something to store small things like cables, computer parts, etc.

This idea is similar to Ana White’s Laundry Basket Dresser.

The area before:

Measuring (twice) and cutting (once)

The finished – and oh so useful! – storage area with bins in place.

As always, I have to thank my sweet husband for always looking for ways to make our lives more efficient. Less time spent spent searching for things means more time spent having fun. Yesterday I sat at his desk, while he measured and cut, working on a little project of my own, while our boys had fun in the front yard. But for now we are loving the orderly look and more streamlined area. Woot!!

Redwood flower frames

We love our backyard, no question about it. It is a pretty decent size, it allows our boys to play hard and it allows us to entertain and grow fruits and veggies for our family.

THAT said . . .

Sometimes things out back get kind of, well, boring.

True, we will have lots of lavender and tomatoes bringing in the reds and purples of summer, and there will be fresh corn and plums, too, but we wanted some instant gratification and my husband decided to put together some frames for nature’s works of art.

The frames are made from redwood planks – we painted them using leftover spray paint and some mistints that cost $5/gallon.

I love looking outside the playroom/office window and seeing these bright pops of color!

We are very happy with how this project turned out, and it has been featured at:
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A welcome change

This project has been in the back burner for a long time. I got an awesome Welcome sign from Leen the Graphics Queen and with holidays and birthdays and life, it’s just this past weekend that we finally put up the sign on our front door.

The door had a brass plaque on it that was put there two owners ago:

It is not our style to tell our guests to take their shoes off, considering we have two young kids and two cats so our carpets are hardly immaculate 😀

No project around here is complete without a drawing by my better half:

However, when we removed the plaque a couple of years ago we realized the wood behind it was a very different color from the rest of the door:

I knew I wouldn’t be able to match the color of the door — not only is the door over 20 years old, but it has obviously been weathered a lot, so my dear husband cut down a piece of spare wood for me:

I painted it black to match the door trim, sealed it, and added the decal:

The sign looks much better than the old brass plaque and has a much nicer message:

Our front door, looking so much nicer!

I am super happy with this little change, it’s something that every single person that comes to our door notices and although we would always tell them to ignore the previous sign, it still made people feel guilty and they’d take their shoes off. Now, it’s not an issue and our friends and family get a nice message instead – go check out Leen’s shop for this Welcome sign and many other goodies!

Superhero birthday party — invitations

My oldest turned 7 yesterday – he’s been into superheroes for the past few months:

As Captain America for Halloween

He’s waiting for the new Avengers movie to come out – so is mommy, for entirely different reasons – so of course, a superhero party was requested. My husband and I go crazy planning our kids’ parties so we had a lot of fun with this one.

The invitations were the first project completed, of course — I’ve posted about some of our past efforts, but in this case, it was my husband’s work all the way. He came up with a cool superhero invitation concept, but I’ll let the birthday boy show you the invitation itself 😀

The Avengers seal on the front of a gate-fold card.

Inside, on the center panel, would be all the party information.

On the left were the names of some of the Avengers and their status for attending the party — Responding!

On the right were the map and coordinates for the superhero headquarters, i.e. our house. Yes, the map and coordinates actually pointed to our house. It’s my husband we’re talking here, he’s very detail-oriented 😀

Some more detail pics:

More about this party on Wednesday!

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!

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Basket o’ projects

I don’t make resolutions for the new year but I do have a dreaded Basket o’ Projects staring me in the face. Oh believe me, we have tons and tons of craft and project stuff in the garage that we really need to go through but since every bit of advice I’ve read tells you to “start small”, I figure this innocent-looking basket can be more motivating than a whole garage worth of stuff.

So before I embark on any new project, i.e. anything I need to purchase stuff for, I need to use up three items from this basket.

What’s in here, you ask?

Well, let me tell ya – from the back to the front, sorta:

  • A small scrapbook I’ve had for 3 years. It was meant to be a bridal shower gift with recipes brought by guests but no one brought anything so I couldn’t make the gift.
  • Patches for my boys’ jeans. And boy, do they need them. My oldest loves to save the world and slide all over the kitchen floor , so his jeans have lots of holes in the knees.
  • A bunch of fleur-de-lis patches my mom got me.
  • A few clothespins I mod-podged with spring scrapbook paper. Two years ago.
  • Brown fabric dye.
  • A digital camera filter kit I got 4 years ago.
  • Adhesive magnets. I used a few because we love to give out fridge magnets with pics of our boys to the grandparents and aunties, but I need to use up the rest.
  • Labels I made for my freshly re-organized pantry.
  • Magnets and labels are sitting on a cute notecard box I want to mod-podge for jewelry bits.

So there you have it, my current Basket o’ projects. I hope to start using up some items and add a few more from the garage. That way it doesn’t look so overwhelming – I hope!

Tiled outdoor counter

When we moved in to this house, we found a BBQ and counter attached to one of the outside walls. It wasn’t in very good condition and the fact that it was right next to the house concerned us. There was a kegerator with spouts both inside and outside. Awesome, right? Except we don’t drink beer.

The old BBQ finally collapsed, full of rust, and left a huge hole in the middle of the counter. We figured, since we were redoing the bathroom floor, we could use the same materials to re-vamp the counter into an actually usable piece.

The process was basically the same – clear off all old materials, layer backerboard, mud it, then lay and grout tile. For this counter, we purchased edging pieces and an extra pack of the tile we used for the bathroom. At 68 cents per tile, it was perfect.

Now we have a beautiful counter that is both useful and presentable:
On the top left corner you can see a switch box, we can hook up music, a coffeemaker, a fan on hot days, etc. so it is a very serviceable area for entertaining.

My awesome husband did a great job on this as well, didn’t he?