Archive for the ‘home’ Category

Sponsored: Learning How to Contain Calligraphy

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This post is brought to you by The Container Store. It’s like meth. Or what I would assume meth would be like because I can’t seem to get enough. Now that we have a store nearby I seem to find myself there a few times a month picking up new shelving, boxes, organizers, gift cards, etc. Also, did I mention this is a calligrapher’s paradise?! There’s a container for everything. Basically.

Right now, The Container store is offering a 30% discount on all Elfa® shelving until February 11th.

We love to take advantage of this sale, and now that we don’t have to pay for shipping it’s hands-down my favorite sale of the year! Since we moved in over 2 1/2 years ago, we’ve been slowly working on transitioning all of our closets over to the Elfa® system. If you’re not familiar with it, you screw a top track into the wall near the ceiling, insert the hang standards and click everything in from there. You don’t have to mess up your walls in order to have amazing storage and you can change it up as your heart desires. No need to go into construction mode after hanging the top track. If you’re not sure where to start? Get in touch with a designer to help you plan your space!

If you’ve been in my house, it’s likely I’ve shown you my closet with my eyes glossed over with hearts. I’m that much in love with all things Elfa®.

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AAAAnyway. . . My studio has been a complete disaster. If you follow me on instagram, I gave you a sneak peek at how awful it’s been lately. I can’t be productive when my space is that disastrous.

When we first moved in, I spent a weekend transforming the yellow room into a blank white canvas. It was alright, but the furniture I used to store all of my supplies was bulky and I didn’t have nearly the desk space I needed, either. Oh, and I hated that wobbly old desk. Chris bought it in his bachelor days, so it had seen a fair amount of use. And it had been moved about 9 times.

Two Christmases ago, Chris bought me a new desk, with slightly smaller real-estate, but a much more stable surface. He got it on super-duper-uper sale at Copenhagen Furniture while visiting Phoenix. Mega win, but I was collecting more and more calligraphy supplies so the desk was feeling cramped and less than effective.

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Turns out Chris and I were both experiencing the same crowded ineffective space. So we upgraded in a major way with help from The container store!

The minimalist in me would have bought white opaque boxes to store everything, but I’ve learned that I need to see all of my supplies so I’ll be able to quickly find them and put them away. I went for a white and acrylic scheme here and it works amazingly.

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The utility board keeps the scissors at hand, but off the precious desktop. The acrylic drawers keep my glitter glue on hand and I can see the lovely rainbow collection from my chair. Without much effort I can grab for my favorite brush markers and switch up colors and keep tidy as I work.

The boxes on the pegboard hold extra tape, glitter, gum (an essential resource for late-night calligraphy work) and iphoneography equipment.

I have the pliers easily accessible so I can change out nibs quickly. My favorite inks are safe in their own shelf above so I won’t tip them over. And Felix won’t get tempted by them when he sits at my desk with me.

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I originally had a pegboard behind my computer screen (which is wall-mounted now, thus saving even more desktop space!), but it was wobbly and cluttered. I switched that out for a metal magnet strip. It was advertised to be mounted horizontally, but it fits perfectly in the space between my shelves and the door.

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Did you know that toothbrush holders make for amazing pen holders? Which reminds me, I could probably get rid of a few of those old plastic pens.

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Now the only things that stay on my desk top are my bare essentials (water jar, keyboard, mouse, graphics pen). My goal in 2015 is to maintain this level of cleanliness!

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Let’s keep it real: with all this vertical storage, I’ve opened up 8 square feet of space in my office (that’s a lot considering my room is 10×10). Which has opened the floor up to more ink stains. :( The one pictured below my desk happened last night. Still left on my things to do in this room:

  • Switch up the art
  • Tame those cables (aka: another trip to the container store)
  • Get new flooring

*This post is sponsored but all opinions and thoughts are my own. I love the container store this much!

Sponsored: Penelopes Studio Revisited

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This post is sponsored by Sprout furniture for kids. This flat-pack, eco-friendly furniture is easy to assemble and transport.

The friction fit makes for a sturdy piece that will last for hours and hours of imagination and creativity. Connect with Sprout on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

For Penelope’s birthday in 2013, we converted a utility closet into a studio just for her. Her own little space. Needless to say that it’s been a huge hit. Neighbor friends of all ages (and genders!) have flocked to this space to make many a creative masterpiece. It’s heavenly to hear the quiet whispers of creative plans among friends. However, the space hasn’t been perfect. We’ve found a few issues with the space that we’ve had to remedy.

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  1. The narrow space was really only inviting for 1 person. Maybe a friend, but not more than one.
  2. The closed off, one directional seating made Penelope feel separated from everything so she would often spend time crafting on the floor in the hallway. Tiny shreds of paper in the carpet drives me nuts.
  3. While the little pink boxes were cute, Penelope rarely put things in their own boxes to keep them organized.
  4. The pink boxes would roam the house (as would the loose supplies).
  5. Her completed artwork would typically pile up until I would recycle it or put it in a storage box. Rarely on display.

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Thanks to Sprout Kids, we replaced the two tables and chairs with one table and three stools. We got rid of the filing cabinet so it opened up room on the sides for friends to come sit. The sturdy stools make it easier for older kids (and adults) to join in the fun, too.

Tangent: Assembly was a breeze. Even Felix and Penelope helped. I had to bust out our trusty rubber mallet to get the pieces to squeeze together, but they’re fabulously sturdy. Especially the stools. I want grown-up sized stools like this for having company over!

I was nervous about the exposed MDF with Penelope’s watercolors, but so far it hasn’t been an issue. I plan to seal the exposed edges with beeswax, but I haven’t had the time yet. 

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Now that the filing cabinet is gone (it’s now in Chris’s office closet), Penelope can sit with her back facing the wall so she feels less secluded and more involved in family happenings.

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Those tip-prone pink boxes had to go. I cleared out her unused supplies as well and fit all her good supplies in a little plastic caddy she can take with her anywhere. All of her supplies go and everything has a place. Since the compartments are clear, it’s easier for her to keep track of where things are supposed to go.

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No more stray supplies. They stay contained!

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I found some cork drawer liner with an adhesive backing. I plastered that onto the wall so now Penelope instantly has a place to display her gorgeous drawings and sculptures. She’s really gotten into sculptures lately. And the tooth fairy (that’s a whole different blog post, though).

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The updates are very subtle, but have made such a huge difference to keep the hallway clear of debris. It’s so great to walk to my room without stepping on scissors and shards of paper!

It’s been a thrill to see Penelope’s artistic side flourish, particularly in these last few months. She has such a wild imagination, I hope she keeps going in this awesome direction!

This post is sponsored by Sprout Kids, but all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

 

 

Sponsored: Nesting with The Honest Company

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This post is sponsored by the Honest Company. They’re a fabulous resource for safer home products such as cleaning supplies, personal care and baby essentials. They’ll even deliver all that awesomeness to your doorstep through their bundle and save subscriptions.

Also, how cute are their diapers?

 

Has anyone ever asked you the question: Would you rather have a cleaning service or a landscaper?

I was thinking about this the other day, I’d much rather have a landscaper. I can’t stand all the weeds in our yard and I have no idea what to do to make our yard look pretty. It’s been a source of internal contention for some time. I can’t seem to keep the real plants alive and the morning glory seems to love whatever it is I’m doing wrong.

And the truth is, I don’t mind cleaning. Doing the floors and dishes aren’t my cup of tea (Chris does those, thank heavens), but I get strange satisfaction out of cleaning bathrooms.

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After some reflection, I think I know why:

  • The bathroom is a small finite space (unlike floors which go on FOREVER).
  • You know when it’s clean because of how it smells when you walk in.
  • A clean bathroom seems like a much brighter, open space.
  • It’s easier to keep a bathroom relatively clean/tidy for a longer period of time than to keep the kitchen sink tidy (unless you just never cook).

I’ve slacked off in my bathroom duties with this pregnancy because of the tight spaces, little air circulation and how those two play into basically suffocating me when cleaning out the toilet with bleach. I’m sure What to Expect When You’re Expecting has some warning about cleaning agents alongside with germophobic warnings as well. Let it go on the record that I absolutely hate that worthless book. I read it once while I was pregnant with Penelope. It induced moderate to severe paranoia about everything I came into contact. Worthless.  I digress.

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See my slacking duties? You can see smears on the mirror and all of my junk out with no particular purpose. Honest Company sent me a bunch of cleaning supplies which were just the motivation I needed to get cleaning and jazz up my bathroom a little bit.

Did I mention these cleaning supplies didn’t send my lungs into a panic? The eucalyptis mint bathroom cleaner works as nicely to remove bathroom grime as it smells. And it smells soooo good.

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Taaa Daaaa!!! Look at that transformation!! This is no amazing before and after. Quite pathetic really, but Chris noted a very dramatic change when he first stepped foot into my bathroom.

At some point, we’re going to demolish this bathroom and give it the finish it deserves (or should I say I deserve?). We want to replace the vanity with double sinks (so Chris can actually use this bathroom, he’s currently stuck with the one down the hall). I want to tear down the wall to the “toilet closet”, who needs a 3′ x 8′ closet for a toilet? Open that floor up, baby!! I also want to tear down the wall to the linen closet and have open teak shelving there. Add subway tiles along the floor and walls and a giant soaking tub and I’ll be a happy woman.

Until that happens (cough, $$, cough), I’ll be happy with my minute upgrades. :)

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I started out by designing and cutting out vinyl decals of random geometric outlines to add some fun texture to the wall. I organized my nail polishes on the little rack to keep them away from Penelope and around for frequent use. This is a spice rack I scored from Ikea for $4. Chris originally put one in his bathroom so I copied the idea. It’s perfect for storing bathroom stuff up high.

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I end up taking my cosmetics around the corner to the bedroom mirror and work on applying my face while sitting on the floor. It’s much easier than trying to manage my giant belly around the counter top to get close enough to the mirror to curl my eyelashes. I was previously using a wire basket, which would frequently lose pencils because of the wire-y-ness of the basket. Switching to a real tray made a difference. It’s prettier, too.

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I decanted my hand soap to a pretty dispenser and bought mis-matched containers for my toothbrush, tumbler and plant.

The light in this bathroom really stinks, so the plant is now happily living in our bright master bedroom instead. I miss the greenery in my bathroom, though.

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I got a new curtain that allows a little more light in and has more of a neutral spin to it. The geometric pattern plays well with all of the different textures.

A while back we were using regular towel rods, my towels never seemed to migrate off the floor. Chris cut out some wood, stained it and added hooks to the wall instead. It’s much easier to hang towels when in a rush to get kids out the door in the morning.

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I created a little piece of artwork that reads, “Hello Gorgeous”. I already feel gross with this pregnancy and I know it’ll only get magnified when the postpartum body comes into play. I need a little reminder that I’m gorgeous no matter what my body may look like. It’s sad how media distorts perceptions of how our bodies are supposed to look like after a baby. I’m a believer in trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but a healthy outlook is also important.

Other than that, I haven’t done as much nesting as I would have liked. Next up is organizing artwork; making sure it’s all framed and hanging it on our bare walls. I’ve got 2 boxes and a pile about 5 inches tall of art that’s waiting to find a home on our walls. My mom will be in town next week to help with the baby, so maybe she’ll be able to help. :)

This post is sponsored, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sewing: Body Pillow

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Time is ticking on this baby bomb. I’m getting bigger and more uncomfortable by the minute. It’s not a complaint, just a fact of life when growing a human. Sleeping has been particularly tricky with this baby as I find myself waking up on my back multiple times a night.

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I needed something to give me more back support while I was sleeping on my side, so I thought about buying a body pillow. Then Chris reminded me that we have a ton of memory foam just lying around that I’ve been hoarding for some undecided future project. BOOM. Done. I made myself a body pillow.

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I ended up rolling the foam like a crepe (or burrito?), measuring and sewing two pillow cases for it. The interior case is just to protect the raw foam from drool or any other liquid that may come in contact with it (via my disgusting – but adorable – kids or me). The second case is decorative, made from amazing fabric* that I’ve had in my stash for about a year. I fell in love with the print, but couldn’t think of something awesome to use it for.

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I boxed out the bottom of the case and made a simple drawstring for the top to keep everything in place. It weighs about 15 pounds and it’s a beast. We took it on a weekend family reunion vacation. It was brilliant in the car, both kids could cuddle and sleep with it. It also served as the perfect separator to keep Felix and Penelope from brutalizing each other in the back seat. HOWEVER, it was a little too big to sleep with.

I haven’t had much time to alter the design much, but I just plan on taking everything out and shaving off about 12 inches of the roll of memory foam. I think that’ll do the trick.

*Fabric provided by Modern Yardage. Check out the amazing collections available here.

Decor Fail: Orange Doorway

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Just keeping things real around here this week. We are now proud owners of the most boring door on the block.

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Just after Chris left for Phoenix with the kiddos, I set off to do some much-wanted home improvements. I planned to paint the entire basement (didn’t quite happen) and paint the front door a new cheery color. Our previously blue door was alright, but fading. And not really my color. I wanted to do something different. Orange!

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I wanted a pumpkin spice color (like in our master bedroom). But I ran into a few problems.

  • I was painting over the blue door with a complimentary color
  • I happened to purchase the worst (they boasted to be the best) semi-transparent paint
  • What I thought was going to be pumpkin spice orange, ended up being construction cone orange

Yes. The paint glowed. Like a hot flare in the middle of an ocean of bandaid tan.

I realized this issue halfway through layer number two, at 5:30pm Saturday night. F-A-I-L. I had originally bought the paint from a local paint shop, but since it was after hours I booked it to the nearest Home Depot to see if the “inferior” Behr could remedy the problem before Sunday Morning. It did all right, that Behr Ultra covered up my day-glo door in about a layer and a half.

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Behr Ultra: 1, Kwal Ambassador: 0

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Halloween came a little early around our house.

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