Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Organizing Kid Crafts and Games

Until about a year ago, I kept all of our art supplies in a smallish bin in our kitchen. However, my boys are growing and so are their skills, interests, abilities and cache of art supplies. Plus there were puzzles, games and mom-supervised activities!

I used to have some of my scrapbooking things in the bottom section of our entertainment center. (Dude, are we the only ones who haven't bought a flat-screen tv? We only watch an hour or two ...  like, a month, so it's not exactly high on the priority list. Anyone else not do the tv thing?)

I recently moved those scrapbooking supplies to my craft closet which freed up some room in the entertainment center.

In the midst of, well, life, I hadn't taken the time to organize it!

What a mess!

After the kids and my husband went to bed, I tackled the chaos! I don't normally stay up later than my husband, but he doesn't feel well and hit the sack early. Poor guy! 

Before we see the results, let's remember that I used what I had and didn't spend any money. Also, the focus was to make the space I functional, not pretty. These doors stay closed!

Ok, enough already! 

*The top shelf is for me--empty frames, clipboards and blank canvasses. 
*The middle shelf has a bin of play-doh and cookie cutters, a crayola dry-erase board, and a big basket of special Sabbath books and toys.
*The bottom shelf has games and puzzles, a basket of coloring books and workbooks, and the old art bin that now has paint, paint shirts, glue, extra markers and crayons, flash cards, etc. The papers standing to the left are extra-large art papers.  

Once more--see what an hour can do?

Have you organized anything lately?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Inspiration Files: 15 Pretty Breakfast Nooks

Enter 'breakfast nook' in the search bar on Pinterest and you'll get a great collection of images. You'll get the small-table-and-chairs look, the fully-built-in-booth look and the free-standing-table-and-some-regular-chairs-by-a-built-in-bench look. Today I'd like to highlight a few beautifully done breakfast nooks of the last variety.

I love the neutral colors here, the big sturdy table and lots and lots of windows!

This one is also neutral. I love the pillows and the white pedestal table. This is also a very space-saving model where the homeowner used a corner very effectively. By using the built in bench instead of more chairs, not only is there more seating available but the table can be scooted closer to the corner. 

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Here's another corner bench with a round table. I love the colors in the pillows, the bulletin board and built-in book shelf. What a great homework (or blogging) spot!

Again with neutrals and blue! I love the traditional table and chairs and how the beadboard trim really defines the space. We can also see what looks to be an island in the same color as the pillows on the nook's bench, and stools that are the same style as the chairs at the table. This is also a great use of space--a full sized table and seating for 6-8 wouldn't be possible without the built-in bench.

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Oh how I love this kitchen! But this isn't about kitchens... This is a unique example of a built-in bench as part of the island instead of against a wall. I like the pillows here, and of course the neutral colors. (I do wonder if the person sitting across from the sink would get sprayed...)

Ok, here's one with bright, fun colors! I love blue and green together, and I really like the pretty green fabric used in the pillows and curtains. What a pretty place to start your day!

Oh, look! Back to neutral colors. What can I say, I like them! It would be really easy to add some color by switching out the rug or the pillows. 

Isn't it fun that the lamp shade and the art work match the pillows? This looks like a comfortable spot to read the paper, enjoy a hot drink and chat with your family over breakfast.

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

I could spend the day here, blogging, watching the kids play nearby, and getting inspiration from those pretty views out the window!

I really like how this table is centered on the window. I love the pillows too, and it looks like the bench is built from in-stock cabinets from your local Lowe's!

This must be the formula for a beautiful breakfast nook: pretty pillows, an area rug to define the space, a few chairs and a regular table, either round or rectangle. Here, I like the repetition of the colors in the artwork, dishes, pillows and rug. I also love the built-in display and cupboards, yet the bench isn't crowded in the least.

Source: via Ellie on Pinterest

Wow, what a view! This space looks more modern, thanks to the shiny pendant lamp shade, the metallic chairs and the fun yellow accessories. Again, there's a built-in bookshelf and storage under the bench!

See, I can do colors too... Sort of. The art work is fun, as is the fabric on the chairs. I would prefer to keep the bottom of the bench closed with storage--or at least use the space for folded lap blankets, extra pillows and baskets for the kids' coloring books or your favorite magazines.

What a lovely window! I want to just sit there in the corner with a cool breeze on a summer morning. Ah... Anyway, notice the bench? Not the built-in, the other one. I think that would make some smaller spaces more efficient and less cluttered looking. Beautiful!

Ok, one last built-in that would work in a fancier home or a more modern space. Everyone here would be deliciously comfortable, don't you think? I love the extra-tall back on the built-in bench, the blue in that fabric as well as the curtain and pillows. Built-ins can be fancy too!

Do you have a built-in breakfast nook? I'd love one! We're thinking of knocking down the wall between our eat-in kitchen and the living room, but if we didn't the area would benefit from a built-in. Anyone want to make a Lowe's run to pick up some pre-built cabinets and some beadboard and come build with me today?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Barns of Benton County: Aged to Patriotic Perfection

Today's barn takes us back in time to the civil war, where battles were fought and lives lost while freedom was won. 

Just kidding, I have no idea. It's the barn at the end of our road and belongs to a working farm. I had fun with picnik to make the photo look old. I love the flag in front of the barn, how it is the only colorful thing in the picture. 

Take some time for barn-spotting today! I'll be sorting boxes in my basement. UGH!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Anatomy of an Organized Bathroom Vanity

This is our bathroom vanity.

It's the only vanity in our one bathroom in our house. Five people use it.

Ok, the baby only takes baths and the little boys don't spend a lot of time getting ready for the day. But it still has to be functional and maximize storage.

This is what works for us.

Of course there's a tall tower of toilet paper.

Then there are the cleaning supplies. Most are in a caddy to make them easy to grab. There is window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, a general spray cleaner for the toilet, sink and tub, as well as clean rags and old toothbrushes for stubborn spots. Outside the caddy is some cleaning wipes for touch-up jobs (I use them almost daily), paper towels for cleaning the mirror, and if you look carefully, you'll see the toilet brush in the back.

Last is a stack of boxes with more supplies. They're sterilite brand and cost about $1. I used them for everything in my classroom when I taught. Here they house extra toothpaste, shaving supplies (my husband uses a straight razor and has honing things there), girlie things, and extra make up.

Everything else goes in this closet which is right outside the bathroom door. You know, extra shampoo, travel size things, first aide, more toilet paper... You can read more about this closet makeover here.

So there you have it. Never thought I'd be posting pictures of toilet paper, toilet brushes and girlie supplies! 

How do you organize your bathroom things?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our New Master Bedroom

Our master bedroom is done!

It's such a good feeling to have a finished space, a little sanctuary, a place where we just love to be! It's simple, rustic and cozy and full of fun details and meaning.

We love a fan running while we sleep in the summer. It helps us stay cool while not worrying about the power bill! My husband's mom made the block quilt. It's heavy and warm, made from corduroy pants. We love how cozy it is in the winter, and the colors work well in this room. My grandma made the afgan on the foot of the bed. She passed away in 1999, so it's a treasure of mine. The large, square pillows are couch pillows that our couch is more comfortable without. The bedskirt (and matching shams) are a microsuede set I bought with a gift card from our wedding. The rug is a bath mat, but it's so soft!

My husband made the barn door headboard from an old fence he tore down on our property. The iron bed frame is one I bought when I bought my first home. I love how they look together! I made the wreath from drop cloth canvas scraps.

On her side of the bed is a narrow table. It was just waiting around downstairs for some purpose in life (our living room is too small right now), and I thought it might be a good idea to carve out a desk area for myself. So I did! And I love it! As you can see, my computer likes it here too, so I've been blogging from this little desk.

Here is the view out this window, just for fun!

This little table works well as a bedside table as well. The small basket on the desk is full of lotions while the one below the desk holds magazines, an extra throw blanket and my camera after I've downloaded pictures.

On his side of the bed there is just room for a night stand. I'm under the impression that my dad made these. Even if they're just something he bought, it's fun to have something of his. I may paint them (there's a set) one day, but for now I like it as is.

Here is the wall on the far side of the bed. I used my Cricut to cut out the quote and put the vinyl letters around canvases of my husband and me during our wedding. "I have found the one whom my soul loves."  Aww...

Here is the view out this window to the west:

On the wall opposite the bed is our line-up of dressers. The closet is tiny, so we rely heavily on these dressers! You'll notice that they match the narrow table; they were part of a set I bought at Pier 1 about 10 years ago. Styles and tastes have changed, but we like these distressed pine pieces of furniture just fine. 

His dresser is in the corner with the dreaded alarm clock, a box with mementos from his grandpa and a tray with a plant, a tiny Bible and a bowl for little things--tie pins and a watch, mostly. There is quite a bit of 'kid' left in my husband, and he has a line-up of matchbox cars on display! The mirror is another Pier 1 find. 

Her dresser has some decorative votive candle holders and a tray of out dated pictures. The canvas art is a picture of the Arch in St. Louis, the place my husband took me on our first date.

Beside my dresser is the door to the room, or, since we're in the room, the door to the hall. You can see my next project in progress! I painted the hall side of the ugly door in slate black.

Above the door I hung a piece of barn wood with our anniversary date stenciled on it. Here you can see a close-up of our duct tap trim as well!

Just for fun, I covered the back of the ugly door with newspaper.

This little space of wall between the door and the closet I had thought was big enough to put a hanging shelf with hooks for our robes. I'm so glad it wasn't big enough! I stole this small wrought iron shelf from another place in the house. It goes so well in here!

I put some books on the bottom shelf, a plant, some candles and a picture frame on the other shelves and was excited to finally have a home for this vintage suitcase! This is something a friend of mine gave me several years ago and I never had the perfect home for it. This might not be the right post for it, but I keep my hair dryer, brush and curling iron in this suitcase. If you look closely you can see the cord--it's always plugged in for easy use. Our bedroom is steps away from the bathroom, but there always seems to be other people using it, so the only girl in this house needed to find a place for doing hair! 

And if you're doing hair or just getting dressed for the day, you need a mirror!

This is the tiny closet that the two of us share. I decided it would be easier for both of us to access our clothes and shoes if the sliding doors--where only one side can be open at a time--were removed and curtains hung instead. I sewed these striped curtains from drop cloth canvas and corduroy. There's a ruffle on the bottom that was my first ruffle ever and I love it!

Sharing a closet this small takes organization and neat folding, but it works! I painted the closet the same blue as the ceiling.

That concludes the tour of our master bedroom! I hope you've enjoyed it and been inspired by a thing or two!

The blue ceiling is 'calm misty sea', the walls are similar to 'rural fairfax gray', and all trim (with exception to the stripe around the ceiling which is duct tape) is off-the-shelf white trim paint, all by ColorPlace which is Walmart's paint brand. 

beneath my heart
It's Overflowing

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