An Org-travaganza

I’ve been neglectful.  Well, really only of the blog… I’ve been totally rocking it in life and at work!  Mike, Phoebe and I went camping this weekend with his friends and their two insanely smart kids, while Gus went to play with his friends at Camp Bow Wow (he was on his best behavior there, unlike last time!).  It was so nice to have some time to de-stress, which is exactly what I did amongst all the corn.  Seriously, there was corn for miles!

photo-6And because I’ve been so busy this week at my new job, I’ve missed blogging.  So I’m jumping in with both feet this weekend to tackle a huge organization project… an org-travaganza, if you will.  But first, let me introduce you to the project at hand.  My craft room/closet.  My Achilles heel…

Please don’t judge me on the sheer craziness happening in this room.  I figured that cleaning before taking pictures and a video would constitute cheating.  So I snapped the room as/is.  Since I’ve kept this shame of mine hidden for so long, you might only recognize the dresser.  If you can’t watch the video above, just take a quick gander at the train wreck in picture form below:

What we have here is a catch-all room.  As in, anything that looks like it could be mine and doesn’t have a home just gets thrown in.  But it never gets viewed by friends, since it’s upstairs and the door is always kept closed.  So why bother fixing it up?  Well, it’s reached the point where it’s making me absolutely crazy.  I have no real designated place in the house to do schoolwork, craft/sewing projects, or to just get ready for the day.  And since we’ll be staying in the good ol’ Greater Akron area for the long weekend, now seems like the perfect time to get started!

I will update you this weekend on everything that goes down.  Whether I post 5 times a day, 1 time a day, or only once this weekend is still to be determined… I predict it’ll be based on how crazy this project ends up making me.  But either way, the big reveal will be on Monday, and I personally cannot wait to see how it’s going to turn out!

Anyone out there tackling organization projects this weekend?  I want to see some pics (bonus points if your “before” pictures are even more disorganized than mine!)!

Xo, Laura

How the Disorderly Became Orderly

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I love organization.

The last time I was home visiting my parents in Connecticut, they loaded up my car with things that no longer fit with their home’s decor.  I was lucky enough to snag a mail organizer that my mom bought at TJMaxx for $39.99 many years ago.  Mike mounted it on the wall in kitchen, before the pass-through to the living room, and there it remained in all it’s disorderly glory for about a month. photo (6)I had no idea how to organize this… I kept shifting and re-ordering the mail in the slots, but everything looked too messy.  And then Mike made a simple suggestion that we give some order to the slots by putting like with like (top slot for Mike’s mail, 2nd slot for bills, 3rd and 4th slots for whatever I wished). I was in Target for a hot minute before I spotted some adorable file folders in the Dollar Spot.  At 3 folders for $1, they couldn’t be more of a steal! image (18) And they even look cute turned inside out. image (19)I wanted a greater sense of cohesion in the mail slots, so I alternated between the herringbone pattern, and dark gray.  About 4 magazines or a million bills can fit inside one while still maintaining the shape.  The insides of all 4 of my files are lime green, so I cut out 4 “labels” using a 5th lime green file.  They slid down into place, and suddenly all was right with the world! image (20)But these bad boys still needed to actually be identified.  The folders are glossy, so I used a dry erase marker on the makeshift labels, hoping that if the contents of a slot changed, we could easily adjust the label.  And I was right, it works perfect! image (17)   image (21)No more unsightly wrinkled mail!  Hello, glorious organization!

Xo, Laura

 

Hand-Me-Downs

I had an incredibly productive afternoon despite Mike being away!

I like to get my cooking/baking done when Mike is away, so that I have ready-made meals to pull out of the fridge when I’d rather spend time with him than cook (which is pretty much always…).  Up today was banana bread.  I used a recipe I’d found online, but modified it a scooch, since I used frozen bananas I’d thrown in the freezer sometime last month, Smart Balance Light instead of butter, Splenda instead of sugar, and 2.5 teaspoons baking powder since I was out of baking soda.  It came out absolutely delicious, and I had an extremely difficult time putting it away to share with Mike!

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While the bread was baking, I started a few projects around the house.  And I worked hard to get all of the items from my old apartment and everything from Mike’s childhood home incorporated into our home together.  We were so lucky to get such amazing home goods from his parents!  Some of them include: a laundry hamper, a medley of frames, a workbench with circular saw, and new storage containers for my yarn.

But my favorites include a set of wicker lawn furniture,

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two wicker baskets for under-the-bed blanket storage,

image (10)and a beautiful cluster of succulents!

image (7)Phoebe was very opinionated about certain items.  She obviously prefers the lawn gnome

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Look at her running to her gnome love!

And is pretty upset that I switched out “her” body pillow at the foot of the bed

image (8)for two vintage vanity stools.

image (9)The stools are in rough shape at the moment, with scuffed wood based, wobbly gold feet, and worn/stained velvet cushion.  They need to be painted and reupholstered… but in the meantime, they look pretty darling with a $5 Ikea faux sheepskin throw on them.

What are some of your favorite family hand-me-downs?

–Laura

Ruly Jewelry

My earring situation went from unruly earlier today to totally ruly tonight.

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Earlier today you heard about my failure of an earring wrangling system.  Well, tonight I remedied that with a cardboard box, cork board, hot glue, and tape.

Basically,  I started with a huge piece of metal sheeting.

Laura & Metal Sheet LoveBut I cut about 1/3 of it off to create this flop of a masterpiece:

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So tonight I was faced with the choice of either using the tiny piece of metal I had left over from earlier today, OR using the other part of the sheeting, which was much bigger.  I went with the latter.  This meant that I couldn’t use the same frame.  But I unfortunately didn’t have one on hand that would work… so I made one out of a cardboard box left over from a recent dress order.

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I started by cutting the outside flaps off, and then I folded them in half to cut evenly along that line.  I continued this process until I had 6 evenly sized pieces.  1 each for the top and the bottom of the frame, and 2 for each of the sides.  In order to make sure these were secured properly to the metal, I used a hot glue gun as well as packing tape.

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Here is my manly version of Vanna White modeling the new handmade frame against the rejected one (you can really notice the size difference in pieces):

Hot glue dries almost immediately, so I set to work cutting out pieces of cork.  I used fairly thin rolled cork that I have had forever.  I used it most recently on a map project for Mike.  It’s super easy to cut, but can also rip if you’re not carefeul… you just have to be sure to go slow and be steady.  I cut 4 evenly sized pieces that were so long they overlapped on the edges.  I wanted this overlap so that the frame would look bigger than it actually is, but also so that there was some room for error in case an edge ripped or needed to be evened out.  When all of the pieces were cut and laid out, I carefully attached them with hot glue.  Then I had Mike hold it up to make sure all of the sides were even and neat.

It looked great, so I attached 3M strips on the back.  As always, I cut bigger 3M strips in half to save money, but then I worried that the frame wasn’t thick enough to lay flat on the wall.  So I made sure there were 4 pieces to hold it on the wall (two 3M strips cut in half).

image (46)And then I hung it up!  I think it looks SO much better, but the best part is that it holds studs (in the frame) just as easily as dangly earrings!

Unruly Jewelry

This week has been insanely busy.  So busy that we have to keep farming out the dogs to doggie day camp, which they love.  Every night, Gus is so tired that he can barely keep himself from falling off the couch.

photoSince we’ve been so busy, today’s posts are going to be a little different.  This morning’s is all about how DIY projects can sometimes fail… and tonight’s post will be all about how I rectified the situation.  I guess these posts can be considered a metaphor for life – sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you have to take those lemons and make them into lemonade!  Or at least, that’s the situation with my earring storage.

My jewelry has always been out of control.  As in, constantly talking back, breaking curfew, and just generally being a hot mess.    I have to say that I at least TRIED to corral everything together by storing earrings in bowls, drawers, hanging them on ribbon… I even tried to use an old cheese grater, similar to this post that I found on Pinterest.

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But no method was attractive and easy enough for me to maintain.  Until I saw this beautiful metal sheet for sale for $10.  And then I started brainstorming how it could hold my earrings.Laura & Metal Sheet Love

I thought it would look amazing hung behind an ornate frame I’d taken off a mirror (to use for another project).  I planned on spray painting the frame a fun color.

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But unfortunately, the metal sheet was a tiny bit too narrow for the frame.

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Luckily, I had a piece of plain white cardboard left over from one of my other frames.  You know, the white piece you can put between your picture and the glass?  It seemed like it would be perfect!

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The metal was surprisingly easy to cut with plain old scissors.  I trimmed it up and set it aside.  In the meantime, I turned my attention to the frame.

I love working with washi tape, as illustrated by my pencil-beautification project.  I’d purchased this beauty at Michael’s awhile back, and was so excited to use it, since it would coordinate perfectly with my green pencils without being too matchy-matchy.

See how pretty it is?

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See how well the color matches the green pencils?

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It took me about 10 minutes to tape up the frame.  In order to get neat edges, I made sure to always leave tape overlapping the edges, and then I cut a bit off to create a smooth corner.

Eventually I was left with a totally professional looking frame.

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I flipped it over and attached the metal sheet with clear packing tape.  I used a generous amount so that it would lay flat.  You don’t need to worry about the fact that the green washi tape looks messy on the back; it won’t show in the finished product.

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I wanted to hang it on the wall, so I cut some 3M strips in half, and attached them.  As I explained in this post, I like to cut them in half for light-weight frames in order to save money!

And then it was time for wall hanging!

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At this point, I started to slightly panic.  It’s too busy!  It’s too flimsy-looking!  But I thought maybe hanging some earrings would pull it all together.

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Nope.  Still too crazy.  I mean, what was I thinking?

And it’s not just the busy, clashing patterns.  Where do I hang the post earrings?  Major fail.

…But all is not lost!  Tune in tonight to see how I remedy the situation!  Leave your guesses in the comments :-)

–Laura

 

Spicing Things Up

The kitchen may still need some organizing, but the spices are all set!  Tucked away safe in this metal card catalog, they are as good as gold.

(Please ignore the ugly brown kitchen cabinets. They definitely need a coat of paint… we’re just waiting on the landlord’s approval!)

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How’d I fit all them spices in, you ask?  Good question!

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I bought a twelve-pack of 4-oz. quilted canning jars and just dumped the contents of one spice container in a jar, screwed on the lid, and then wrote on the top in permanent marker.  I ended up with a beautiful array of colorful spices!

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In retrospect, permanent marker was definitely not the best idea, since they don’t wash off easily.  So when a spice runs out (probably in about 6 months to a year, except for essentials like curry and garlic powder), I’ll just have to replace it with the same thing, OR put on one of these snazzy Avery labels I found in my collection of office products.

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No, I’m not proud of the fact that I bought so many office supplies at the start of grad school last year that I have no recollection of what I even purchased.

The best thing about these card catalogs is that the back is expandable.  That means I can buy another 12 pack of mini jars and almost all of the jars will fit in the drawers.  At the moment, I’ve shortened the drawer depth so that the spice jars fit nice and snug without shifting around.

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The entire card catalog also fits pretty perfectly on top of the microwave and underneath the kitchen cabinets.  It’s like it was meant to be.  All the spices I need available whenever I want them!

A few notes about this project… I had a LOT of help.  First, I didn’t come up with this idea on my own.  I saw the exact same type of metal-card-cabinet-used-as-spice-holder on Young House Love, and oooh boy do I love organizational projects!    So I started scouring craigslist for the perfect one, and was just over the moon excited when Joe from Play-Haus Design offered to help me out!  He has the most amazing studio in Cleveland where he takes wood and metal and turns the combo into the sleekest home furnishings imaginable!

I’d love to poke around his studio and see what else I can find – everything he makes and sells maintains the perfect balance of industrial qualities while still being warm, homey, and inviting!   You can follow his blog here or find him on Twitter here.

–Laura