Thursday, January 31, 2013

Before and Afters: A round up of my Apartment Therapy "January Cure" Projects

It's the last day in January, thus I wanted to check in with my home accomplishments from Apartment Therapy's January Cure Challenge!  Here is my little round up of some before and afters. I'm going to elaborate on my bigger January Goal project- our daughter's bedroom, hopefully later today (or tomorrow!), after I finish the second curtain and take more pictures. We started the month off on a roll and despite being knocked flat with colds in the middle of the month, we pushed through and got a lot accomplished! Read my very first post HERE.

Above: the shelves in our living room/family room were decorated for Christmas at the beginning of the month, and over the course of January this little corner was tweaked. First the decorations came down and I reorganized the frames and objects on top, which subsequently rearranged the other surfaces of our family room. In keeping with one of the daily Apartment Therapy email challenges: to weed out books and magazines, I also recycled a big stack of magazines and you should see the pile of books in the basement waiting to list on Amazon. I also removed the chair from the right corner, which frees up both visual and physical space. Sounds crazy to take away seating options, but we have enough in this room and I can always bring it back should the need arise. And finally, the biggest change and addition to this corner is the lovely lamp from Bunny William's Beeline Home, that my sister gave me for Christmas. It adds a more modern element to the room. The previous lamp (that belonged to my grandparents) is now back in our bedroom, which was perfect since I lost a lamp to our daughter's new bedroom.

The kitchen in our rental is seriously dated, there are strange mirrors, a bar sink, and yellow plaid wallpaper, and then this funny built in above the sink. I day dream that if one were to do a minor revamp of the kitchen you could transform this built in into a deeper cabinet with a door that would house and hide the microwave, freeing up more counter space. In the meantime, I use these shelves to house some decorative objects as well as some functional kitchen items. However it was too cluttered and some objects needed to go elsewhere and be with other like objects. IE: the blue recipe box is now with our recipe books on the bookshelf in our dining room. It still feels a little crowded, but the 10 minute rearrange is a welcome improvement.

Entryway: We have a small collection of wool rugs that once belonged to my grandparents, and this lovely green and red rug is one of many. When we moved in in October, we needed a rug by the front door and this one was great initially, but in actuality was too small and buckled easily under foot and when opening and closing the door. So I happened to find this black and white rug by Nate Berkus at Target last week, that was thicker and bigger, and perfect for the space. Our living room has a lot of prints and color in it and I've been wanting to introduce more black and white/ graphic/ modern elements into the space, plus this rug stays in place. Hooray, all objectives accomplished! 

And if you've been following along this month I wrote a post about
reorganizing "the Staging area", by our front door. Read the Details HERE.

I also wrote about de-cluttering and organizing my
Bedroom Dresser. Read more about it's transformation Here.

And a post I wrote about adding more "Obje" to our home decor.

And a here's a little sneak peek of my bigger January Goal Project- Our Daughter's bedroom. Post to follow!

In conclusion, I have really enjoyed participating in Apartment Therapy's January Cure. I love the over riding lesson that much can be accomplished in a spare 10 minutes here and there. Those 10 minute clean ups add up to a bigger chunk of time at the end of the week to spend on larger, more in depth projects. So yeah, I'm gonna give my 30 week pregnant self a big pat on the back as I keep the motivation going into accomplishing more goals for February!

Skulls, snake skins and a wire sculpture- adding more "Obje" to our home

My Mom is organizing and editing her collection of awesome and funky objects, so her children are picking their favorites. Here's what I chose. Above: Beaver skull with dried hydrangea, apothecary jar of snake skins, piece of petrified wood, wire lion sculpture my mom made, and a turtle shell. And below is where I put these news treasures.

Our mantle received most of the goods, and they fit in nicely with my existing collection.

The snake skins are now grouped with my jar of quail eggs.  And the turtle shell now sits amongst my rocks- covering the outlet.

The right side of the mantle has the usual suspects, but now there is a wire lion sculpture in the mix!

The beaver skull didn't physically fit on the mantle plus it couldn't compete with the bear skull, so now it sits on the little blue dresser in our dining room, that houses napkins and table clothes. The petrified wood (not pictured) is on our recipe bookshelf opposite the dresser. Always so fun to get more funky pieces for the home!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Handmade Shout Out: Recent Etsy Favs

wow, it's been many moons since I've written a handmade shout out! In fact sticking to my weekly and daily blog themes has been a challenge of late... but here I am and happy to share some recent etsy favorites with you! Enjoy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Home Video: "I Don't Bother You"

I have a fairly extensive nesting bucket list before our second one comes along... the biggest priority is to make an ultimate home video of all the clips I have taken over the past 27 months of our first born.  (this goes for pictures as well) There were so many instances this past fall where I wanted to share a clip right away, but alas I will admit it must not have been a priority. And so over the next few weeks you'll find little clips and bigger clips- of personal home videos here on the blog!

ABOVE: Our Daughter and her Dad play this new game, which is funny and sweet and almost a nightly tradition after bath... I just hope she understands it's just a game and it doesn't translate to actual sleepy-time (although her 2nd night in her new bed, proved to be quite bothersome... more on that later.) In the meantime this sleep deprived mother is watching home videos in order to focus on the positive aspects of her child! joking, kinda.

A Love Letter to Winter

It's a tiny bit snowy here today, which somehow makes winter feel more purposeful rather than something to muddle through. Which is a nice way to begin to wrap up January and look forward to February. And so here is this week's Love Letter to Winter!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Progress Report: Toddler Bedroom Makeover

I wanted to check in with my blog and those who read it ; ) to report back on what I've been up to this week... Besides lots of stuff, I've been working on our daughter's big room switch and makeover. It's my big nesting project this go around, plus I'm tying it in with the "January Cure's" bigger month project!

This week has been all about painting! As I mentioned earlier this month, our landlord gave us the go ahead, plus the supplies, to paint the wood paneling in the third bedroom. After a deep clean, it took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint to cover the wood. Check out the very first picture at the top of the post to see what a difference a fresh set of blinds and paint can do to update a room!

In other news, I've made two trips to Ikea since Saturday! And here's what we got.

Pink Duvet Cover: Since we are moving the toddler directly form her crib to a twin bed, we already have a lot of twin bedding in the family. But I wanted to update an existing duvet cover without spending too much money. So I got this pink duvet cover for only $20! (Cheaper to buy it in the store than online) It's reversible- one side is striped while the other is gingham. I think I'll have the stripe side out.

White Storage shelving, Stolem: Then On Thursday, the Husband and I had a day all to ourselves (thanks mom!) so we went to ikea and got the toddler this storage unit. I had been scratching my head looking for something like this since October... I wanted a piece of furniture that was easy storage while creating a height appropriate surface where she could play etc. Then this week I learned about this Ikea piece on A Lovely Lark's post about her Daughter's room! Hooray!!! ps: parents also use the Expedit shelf, turned on its side, for this same purpose, but it was too big for her room. At a local fair trade store, I also bought a few baskets for her room to house toys etc, but the larger basket does not fit into the white ikea piece as I had hoped, so it will have to go back and be replaced.

There really isn't a budget for this room, since there isn't any spare money to spend, lol, but here are a few pieces I've been admiring for our daughter's room.

Reusable dress up wall decals, by lovemaestore (on sale for $25. Their larger version is here!)
Ladybug print, We have the artwork area pretty much covered, but this little one is just so sweet.
Striped storage tote, also comes in large and other colors.
Scalloped sheet set, if we needed sheets, I'd be all over these.
Aviary Sham, might not fit her request for a blue pillow, but still very sweet.

So it's been a busy week for this pregnant lady! But I'm very excited to see how the room shapes up. Since the paint is an eco friendly oil base paint, it still requires a few days to cure and air out. So the plan is to have her room set up by Sunday. (curtains and a potential floor pouf- sewn by yours truly, will happen next week!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Before and After: Organizing my Jewelry and Dresser-top

Over the weekend I tackled a little "January Cure" Apartment Therapy project- to focus on the bedroom. The to do list included a deep clean of the bedroom- including washing all bedding (mattress pad etc), flipping your mattress, dusting and vacuuming all surfaces, including the closet... And if you really felt inspired- to purge clothes etc. Thankfully the Husband and I did a major clean, including flipping the mattress etc, last week once we had recovered from being under the weather (a great thing to make our room feel fresh once again after being cooped up and in bed!). SO, after doing just a light cleaning, I was free to tackle my very obnoxious dresser.

My dresser had become a catch all for everything known to man. And I wanted my dresser to be my little haven. Let me digress- since baby number 2 is on the way, I want to stream line and organize my life to the point where efficiency will allow me to still hold on to my goals and identity- in little ways- like putting earrings on and accessorizing in the morning will take me less than a minute. (this is already the case, but I'll admit it's a little daunting to think of the addition of a third family member and all the stuff that comes with them! Thus purging my own stuff will create a nice balance.)

Ways to accomplish Accessorizing Efficiency: Have less stuff to sort through, and even less space to collect stuff. Also- just because I have the space doesn't mean I have to fill it! (Hence my bigger goal to have a smaller jewelry box.)

The dreaded before.

A hot mess of everything under the sun... I took 15 minutes on Saturday and went through the large jewelry box I have and weeded out a lot of jewelry I no longer wear. There was A LOT! I did this to the jewelry that accumulated on top of the dresser as well. And I could even do this again and again and get my jewelry down to a tiny box... but the amount I cleaned out was slightly staggering, so I'll wait another 6 months to repeat the process. 

The beautiful AFTER shot.

Then On Sunday, I tackled the entire surface of the dresser. 

My method for forcing myself to be really picky about what stayed was- I removed EVERYTHING from the top of the dresser, giving myself a blank canvas and only allowing myself to put back the essentials. I kept in mind what I mentioned earlier- less storage options = less stuff will accumulate. I think the biggest addition was the little lamp. This lamp is right by our bedroom door and allows us to turn on a light quickly in our bedroom instead of having to cross the room in the dark. (Since the overhead light situation is not ideal, and the outlets don't sink up to the switch.) ALSO the lamp adds more of a purposeful element to the space- like a lamp on a desk. It helps to dictate the tone I want to maintain with my dresser. Plus having a spotlight on this space will hopefully keep me in check and tidy, only allowing what belongs to reside on my dresser. 

side note: it's funny to look at the before and after and see how I unknowingly put the little dishes back in the same place on my dresser. When rearranging and organizing the dresser, I tried all different arrangements, but clearly this is the best fit!

Now all that is out on my dresser, are a few bottles of perfume that I actually wear, the two bowls in the back house bigger pieces like bracelets that don't fit into the drawers of my jewelry box. I also added more hooks to my canvas to hold more necklaces, as well as tacked up a few favorite pictures. Ideally one has a mirror above their dresser, but we have a very large mirror to the left of my dresser that has hooks on it for scarves, etc. (see below)

So there you have it, another January Cure post/ Before and After!

My new-found efficiency can be attributed to another post from Apartment Therapy: The New Year's Resolution to Rule Them All. The resolution being, "Do It Now". If the idea occurs to you to do something, do it then and there, don't put it off. This has made my life so much more efficient and less stressful. I suggest reading the entire article to have your own dose of inspiration! 

Looking forward to the day when I can show you a completed studio/ office in the basement! Won't be long now!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Our Week in Pictures: 32 years, 28 weeks

This week was another busy one, but in a good way. Thursday was my birthday and with the husband's new schedule he doesn't work on Thursdays, so we spent part of the morning together...

... with a chai tea and egg in the middle. And the husband got me roses and such. very sweet.

This week also marks 28 weeks of my pregnancy, the start of the 7th month and the third trimester! Bring it!

And for dessert, the husband made us this AMAZINGLY rich chocolate mousse cake! It is REALLY good! By the way those cuts are not the serving size, you only need, or can handle a teeny tiny little sliver.

And we ended the night with a cozy fire at home.

Birthdays, like any Holiday, are very different now that I have a child... it's never a complete break per say, but the trade offs are fun. Like having our daughter sing me Happy Birthday. Hope you have a great weekend, I'll be working on some nesting projects- including to continue to organize our basement- studio/office, and prep the toddler's room for new paint!

See you on Monday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Before and After: Remaking the "Staging Area" aka day 9 of Apartment Therapy's January cure.

Yesterday was Day 9 of Apartment Therapy's "January Cure" the task was to create a "landing Strip" in your home, or as we call it, the "staging area". We already have such an area by our front door, whose purpose is to house keys, sort mail and any other things we might need to head out the door. Even though we had such a space it was in much need of tweaking. Here are the changes that only took me 15-20 minutes.

The biggest red flag that called me to address this project, was the overflow of our staging area onto other surfaces. You can't tell from this picture but there is a metal mail sorter housing all of this overflow.

After: I simply removed the sorter, and pledged that this table would remain clear!

Before: The primary table by our front door had a receiving dish where keys and coins were dumped to mingle, inviting other non essential items to take root (receipts, mail, etc) resulting in a mess. And hence the overflow to the other side table. (Plus the mail was moved to the side table to make room for our Christmas tree, but had not been moved back.)

After: I moved our trash from the side table to below this primary table. Before it was too crammed and hidden between a table and a chair... and perhaps not used as much as it could have.  whoops! Now it's right by the mail area providing for immediate mail sorting. Apartment Therapy also suggests having hooks for coats and bags and a mirror in one's landing strip. I would love to have these things should we have the room.

After, Detail shot: The tray that holds our keys now houses a little coin specific dish, giving the tray more division and only enough room to hold our garage door opener, keys, and coins! I also chose a different container for our mail sorter. This container will only have one slot in the back for mail, a side compartment for pens, and the very front compartment for stamps. I feel that by restricting my space- I will keep the area even more tidy and organized. Plus it helps that we don't get that much mail.

Overall, I'm happy with the subtle changes I made to the area. Ideally I would have the plant live on another surface and replace it with a picture frame and a decorative object of some kind, but this table is prime sunlight territory, so the decision is made for me.

Apartment Therapy made the point that the biggest change one can make for their home is to clean it and keep it clean and to set up an organized system. It's the most cost effective upgrade one can make. (This helped calm my angst over pining after the sofa of my dreams. There are big changes I can make in the meantime that wont cost me anything that might have a greater impact on my happiness when it comes to how I feel in our home.)

It's not too late to sign up for Apartment Therapy's January Cure! (up next, organizing the top of my dresser!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Design inspiration: The Toddler's move to a big bed...

In preparation for our second child's arrival in April, we are making some home improvements and adjustments around here. The biggest one is moving our daughter down the hall to the third and smallest bedroom where she will be further away from a waking newborn and basically keeping their paths from crossing during each other's nap times, etc. I've given the husband and I a deadline to have her room all ready by mid february- which would give us about 2 months until my due date (give or take!) to have her adjusted to sleeping in her new big girl bed etc. When she and I talked about the move and her new bed, she got very specific, looked me in the eye and said she wanted blue sheets and blue curtains! lol. So I've taken her request into consideration.

It essentially comes down to our comfort level... are we ready to have to deal with wacky nights, after having such a loooong stretch of uneventful nights? Well knowing that we are going to have another wake up call with a newborn in the house... so why throw the toddler in the mix? But I think she is ready (eep)!  And to help convince myself, I am focusing on the fun wishful part of decorating her room. So here's my little round up!

1) Teal Otomi Bedding from Land of Nod or Tangled up in blue
2) okay to wake Night Owl, nightlight, changes color to let your child know they can get up for the day
3) Mini Sofa: to replace the glider. We will make it out of her cousin's old crib mattress... DYI to follow
4) Fabric hanging Baskets: pdf pattern- to keep things off the floor. Considering making larger ones for her stuffed animals too!

In addition: I'm thinking about using her closet as extra living/playing space- moving her dress-up stuff inside the closet, and perhaps having a little fort/ tent back in there, it's very deep and roomy and using the space would help balance out her move to a smaller room. I'm excited to organize her room once again to a more age appropriate activity level, which will ultimately give her a nice haven to go and be should she need some space with the bigger change of no longer being the only child in the house.

I'll keep you posted on all the projects and the final outcome!

Friday, January 11, 2013

our week in pictures...

I had every intention of blogging a normal daily, or at least every other day schedule, this week but the toddler and husband got knocked flat and are "under the weather". Thus the toddler stayed home from school and the husband from work. A big Thank you to my folks for helping me navigate the second half of this week. And now I must rest myself... sigh. But I still wanted to check in and share a few pictures from around these parts of our little week.

Above: the view of the Brandywine River from the post office parking lot.

Our daughter reading in bed

Our Tuesdays are our Saturdays around here...

And poof, needing some down time with Mr. Rogers this week.

Cinnamon bites for Breakfast.

Saying Hi to Millie, who is sitting on Cameron, who is sleeping on the sofa.

Playing with packaging for my paper garlands. Using the luggage tags as a spool to wrap them around. This one is off to Switzerland!

And today, Friday morning, the husband and toddler are feeling a bit better and wanted to venture out of the house to mail my orders and feed the ducks at the post office by the river. And here is our daughter's attempt to get her coat on by herself, it's quite the look! Maybe everyone's butt needs a hood?

Hope you all had a great week and I hope to be back up and running next week with more blog posts, but especially with a shop update or two!

Have a great weekend!


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