Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013: Upstairs Closets

Last year, we made (and I never blogged about) a cloffice (closet office). It's one of my favorite things in our house. One day I will explain the creation/inspiration for said cloffice, but today...I am writing about closets, in general. Toni, from A Bowl Full of Lemons set an organization challenge this week of closets, so I'm here blogging about our three very different closets: our cloffice, our master closet, and our linen closet. Would I say that any of these three are *completely* finished? No. Are they all FAR more functional and actually pretty enjoyable? Yes. 

#1- The Cloffice

It's pretty simple in that...I love it. There are a few wire shelves to the left (that came with the closet) as this room is relatively small. This is also a terribly bright picture, but the wall is super navy and I super love it. I super hate the chair. We're saving up for a nicer one...maybe acrylic? I want it to stop stealing the show from my navy wall. This stores all of my gift wrap, old magazines, tissue paper, random small crafty things, and, obviously, our files. I also copied Toni's original filing system[I couldn't find the link but it's all over pinterest] and it made my heart so happy over spring break (last year) that I probably could've cried. That's serious. 

I should write more on how amazing this is, but for now, the pictures are on my hard drive and it's not hooked I'm moving on to...

#2- The Master Closet

Truthfully, our "master" isn't billed as the master. The boxier room downstairs has an attached bath. It also has a smaller closet...with the water heater in it. This one has a double closet and it has been my room since my mom purchased our house when I was a sophomore in college. It has been different colors (on its way to a new one) and had many different sets of furniture and arrangements, but I love this room best. We redid our closet system in April 2011...after my husband's side fell. down. It has worked pretty well. It's still not huge, but that's the nature of the beast. Our upstairs bedroom closets like this one and the cloffice have slanted ceilings because they begin the transition under the eaves of our house. It's kinda weird to explain...maybe one day it will make sense and I'll have a picture of our oddly-shaped home. :)

Basically, this closet kinda stopped functioning so our room looked INSANE. Seriously.
Exhibit A:

 This was the point where I took everything on the floor (ie: should go in the closet) and threw it all on the bed. That has ALWAYS been how I clean my room. I make it so that the room "looks" clean-ish and then I go through the stuff on the bed. Typically, it works (as I'd like to get in bed at night). However, in college I slept on a pile of laundry for a few days because I just didn't. feel. like. folding. 

This is what the bed looked like from the other side. WHY DO I HAVE SO MUCH CRAP?!?!?!?!?! Seriously, almost none of this is my husband's. In fact, none of it is his. 

 This beautiful clear space on my side of the bed was my motivation. It still looks this way days later, thankyouverymuch.

 True confession? This part still looks slightly similar. The stuff closest to me & the camera needs to be donated/consigned and I just haven't been home during daylight hours to go through it the rest of the way. #comeonsnowdays2013!

See? I told ya we'd sleep here that night. How we sleep without moving the frames/canvas to adjust to center (to align with our mirror), I will never know.

This is the bag of donations. You'll notice they're mostly my husband's. Someone keeps losing weight. The only weight I'm losing is the half-ounce of nail polish that has clearly disappeared from my toes.

Then, I look into this beautiful closet and I don't care that my toes are chipped or that I won't be able to work out until April (#lifeofanOdysseyoftheMindcoach) because my closet is SO PRETTY. Things are organized my sleeve-length, and then rainbow order. I do keep all jackets to the right and dresses to the left. Also, in the right side there are probably...7-10" of space. I hung some 3M hooks with my 4 big purses, which house all of the little ones. It's splendid.

 Please don't judge the crazy curtain situation. I hung one of two panels on his side of the closet to see if I liked the no-door, curtained look. I do. I just haven't gotten around to hemming all 4 or hanging the other 3 panels. Soon. And very soon (that's an inside joke for you, Mom...and anyone else super familiar with the Baptist hymnal).

This is my husband's side. See all of those empty hangers? They were full FIVE MONTHS AGO. I tell ya, Insanity works. My man is looking mighty fine and diminishing by the day. He's so healthy I can't stand it. If he has to give away any more shirts he's going to be so naked nobody else can stand it.


And on to my newest addition to the 2013 Cleaner Closet Campaign, the Linen Closet! Hooray!

So, I went to Target at 10:20 p.m. on a Monday. I just...I had to have some baskets. I got the lovely y-weave and (apparently) I got the fall/winter ones that they are phasing out because 5 of them were on clearance- SCORE! I bought 5 of their large size and 2 of their mediums in white. Sidenote: The spring ones are also teal, but they were slightly lighter by comparison in person. Also, we used red ones for our laundry room and the ones now are a tad more...fluorescent? It's hard to describe, but noticeable since I already owned some. 

I also bought one of the little tiny Sterilite drawer sets for things I wanted to corral. I hit up the dollar bins because WHY NOT and found one other little box I didn't even know I'd use. 

This closet performs many duties: sheets, towels, medicine cabinet, paint supplies, extra throw pillows, beach bag [not pictured=not organized- sorry, beach bag]. I just needed to corral items in a way that would make sense. Here's where we started:

There are few more bed pillows that get stacked on top, but they were used this past weekend by some guests, so I haven't gotten them put away yet. Otherwise, this is pretty much what it looked like. OH, it did have a basket with ALL of the "medicine cabinet" related items. They were all thrown in with extra soaps, travel stuff, random lotions (kids give the best and worst teacher gifts), aloe-type stuff, back scratchers, etc. That was in my living room floor but came from the shelf that has the...smoke detector on it. You'll see the basket filled with trash later.

Yes, the lighting is terrible. No, it really is that ugly. Brassy knob. Builder white? beige? paint. I have not painted, but now that it's organized, it will be much easier to get everything out of here and paint it up one weekend. 

 You can see that I tried REALLY hard to utilize baskets, but I had random ones and some didn't really fit or you had to pull them both out to get to one...
now I have THIS:

Top Shelf: 
-still pillows (and the zip-up picnic blanket/pillow thingy)
Second Shelf: 
-basket on left: hand towels/wash cloths
-drawers: medical tape, ointments/creams, floss/oral ointments, bandaids, Breathe Right strips, sinus/allergy meds, thermometer
-divided organizer on top of drawers: small hair rubberbands (the plastic-y ones I use for special teacher-spirited hairdos), extra contact cases
-basket on right: "medicine cabinet", travel-sized stuff, extra glasses/cases, a few bars of soap & body butter, a box of unopened Prilosec, gauze/Ace bandages, handheld back massager, and that little thing from Avon that gets the pills off sweaters- what's that called? Sweater shaver?

You can probably guess that the third shelf is towels. We have 2 that go on the left (in the wash) and guest towels are in that basket in the middle.
Below that, the left basket is extra sheets. When we travel and bring sheets we have a set for a double bed and a set for a king. We use them more than I would've anticipated. The set in the middle has never been opened, but one of our current sets is wearing thin. The basket on the right has our current sheets that are in rotation.
Bottom shelf left basket has cleaning supplies for the upstairs, a make-up bag I can use for bottles & things during travel, and the right basket is where we keep random electrical things (extra smoke detector, pop-up lights & bulbs, my husband's knee brace, heating pads).

One last look! Top!

 ...and bottom!

 The beach bag will fit perfectly in the middle of the floor between those paint cans! Booyah!

The basket below WAS my "medicine cabinet" basket. That is now trash/recycling, minus the peroxide which is going downstairs to make laundry (armpit) pre-treater.

This make-up bag is a little less effective for me, but I'm going to see if I can't change my travel habits with packing that kind of stuff and keep it in my closet with the matching garment bag. I hate splitting up a set but I do know some really good consignment places.

And this will ALLLL be going to Freecycle. Freecyclers love beauty products because they're often expensive. If someone has extras of something you use, might as well get it for free!

I'm feeling MUCH better about my life in our closets. It took less than a day to construct our cloffice and less than 2 hours to organize the other two. Definitely a do-able night or weekend thing! I think our life will run MUCH more smoothly with our closet stuff organized...and I can't wait to get some bookplates/labels for those linen closet baskets! 

Our space-filling project for under our shelves is coming later this week! :)
A Bowl Full of Lemons

Monday, January 14, 2013

Manic Monday

I promise I'm coming back this week! I know that if we're friends on facebook, I promised a post today...but...

-a meeting started late
-it was still dark at 8 a.m.
-it was dark by 2 p.m.
-no recess today
-moved 4 kids' cards to yellow (that hasn't happened in awhile)
-found a HUGE scheduling snafu that I was responsible for
-frantic parent came in to the SIX P.M.
-it wasn't the 70 degrees they said it would be and...

did I mention it's pouring? ugh.

Anyway, I have a serious case of the Mondays but some things that are getting me through...

Living room progress:

My above-the-buffet project. :) Thanks to my husband for working on it while I babysat SO MUCH this weekend.

SO much better than this...I think it's coming together!
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, I'm doing this. WHAT? Most people who read this *probably* don't know what Haven is...but it's a HUGE HUGE HUGE DIY blogging conference held in Atlanta, GA. I mean, almost all of my favorite bloggers were there last year [Young House Love, The Lettered Cottage, Bower Power, Ana White, and name a few...]. So yeah, it's a big deal. I know my blog is but a baby blog. I call it "my little baby blog", but I feel like I could really grow and be supported and encouraged at Haven. So, I bit the bullet. I'm super excited to be rooming with a fellow Virginia-blogger, Caroline from The DIY Nurse! Hooray! I can't wait for August! :)

I'll be back with the "painting project" for the living room tomorrow- I'm hanging it RIGHT now!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Biggest Day Ever [The Day I Re-Met John & Sherry]

Kidding. Maybe not the biggest day of my life. But, I was really excited. 

Sidenote: Yes, this is two months late, but- better late than never, right?

So, as many, many people know, John and Sherry from younghouselove were doing a book tour this fall. First of all, their book came out and I got it for my birthday (awesome). Second of all, they had a Richmond and DC tour date stop. Yes, I was willing to drive between 1 and 3 hours. Of course I was. The drawback? Both of those events cost money. Mind you, they were for AMAZING things, but one was a weeknight and the other event had more expensive tickets. Lucky for me, John & Sherry are always considerate of their readership and their hometown. They really wanted to have a free signing for local readers and a few weeks later, they announced one on December 2nd! Pumped is not the word to describe how I felt, especially after my husband said I could go to Richmond, even though it meant missing church (thanks, honey)!

Anyhow, their event was at Mongrel, a superamazingawesome local card/gift shop. I had never been to Mongrel before, only to a few other shops in Carytown and it made me want to buy everything in sight. They had super cute gnomes, a-MAY-zing cards (I love cards & stationary), and were super personable when we showed up.

Mongrel offered to open up at 10 a.m. for the 1-3 p.m. signing. I showed up at 10. I was really nervous. So many other blogs had said that they waited for hours and that the line formed hours beforehand. Best part? I walked up to the door of Mongrel at 9:59 to see if they were open and walked INTO the door because it was still closed. Classy. Started the day off with a bang. 

As I stood there, on the phone with my sister so I didn't look creepy(er), a lovely girl walked up and asked if I was there for the book signing. Her name is Kelsey and she does cooler things than I read her blog. Around that time walked up another lovely girl named Heidi who is an amazing photographer (seriously, check her out). She actually had a photo that ended up on YHL's blog in a post about Richmond. She's really. freaking. awesome. Soon after, another friend joined the fold (hi, Emily!) and we camped out to sit on the sidewalk for...3 hours. Luckily, it was a pretty nice December day and we didn't get too hot or too cold (just had some stiff butts). Actually, Heidi was a GENIUS and brought a folding chair. Genius. I kid you not. 

Anyway, we flipped through our books and talked about ourselves for about 3 hours. It was awesome. They were the greatest line-mates I could've asked for and we coined ourselves "The First Four". Since we were there so early, we were *technically* ahead of the line-forming. I was also ahead of the "Line Forms Here" sign. I felt a little pathetic being so eager...but, my 3 line-mates were just as eager and Heidi told us that she secretly waited in her car before she saw us walk up. Clearly, we were all meant to be. Haha. 

View from the bottom...well, from the sidewalk where I was sitting. 

I really love these trees. I feel like they're not impossible to DIY...maybe next Christmas. Maybe, at this rate, I should start attempting to make them in August.

 They're going to be here TODAY!

The line started forming and the guy at the NY Deli was super funny & entertained by the line of women forming outside of the restaurant. Also, he did not give us free food. Not cool.

Kelsey was officially the first in line. I was too eager. This is how you know I'm not at all cool. 

Lovely line-mates! :) [Kelsey, Emily, Heidi]

Ya know, just Heidi being a genius, sitting in a chair.

Heidi was the best and took my picture...cheesing like a dork because I was SO EXCITED.

 So, they agreed to start the signing a few minutes early- we didn't squeal, but I think we really wanted to. We went in...and there were people getting their book signed?! What?! We were the First Four?! Clearly, they didn't hear, but the bitterness was overwhelmed by my concern that I was going to say something stupid. Have you ever thought "This could be really awkward so, play it cool," and then you completely blow it anyway? Yup. That was me. Some of you may have read about the last time I met John & Sherry. It was...less than graceful. Then, through their blog, I found out that John & I share a birthday and we both played french horn in school. Via blog comments, we agreed NOT to talk about "The Incident". Then I got there and they said, "Nice to meet you," and I said, "Well, technically we've met before." SLKJFS:LKDJF JESSICA! WHAT. WERE. YOU. THINKING?! You had a chance to START FRESH. My husband thinks that being their Most Awkward Fan is my version of winning a Dundie. He's right.

As usual, they were unbelievably gracious, remembered The Incident and laughed as though they didn't think I was crazy. I brought them a few cookies since this wasn't a signing that provided snacks. Hopefully my "bathroom humor" didn't keep them from eating the cookies. If so, my husband might never forgive me for taking cookies from him- hah. Then again, who takes cookies from a stranger? Particularly, a creepy stranger who talks about pee. [Who am I?]

This was about the time that John said, "It's OK- now we really do have other things to talk about and it doesn't have to be awkward that next time. Then Sherry said, "Oh..." and handed him the book. I may or may not have let out a guffaw when I saw what she had written.

 Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha- so fitting. Just. So fitting. #keepawkwardnessalive

A shot of the First Four! 

Cute Heidi, after giving them a beautiful photo of her skyline that they used in their blog. It was super sweet.

  At this point, I was starving. Heidi recommended Dixie Donuts in the same block...and she was right. I ate two donuts and was happy as a clam...that eats donuts.

Then, it was time to be on my way back. I snapped a quick shot of the block (Mongrel is on the left...bright blue and red) and the line that was still forming.

It was, all in all, a super fun day. Thank you SO much to John & Sherry for endless hours of inspiration, DIY ideas, and the openness to admit when they haven't done something before and still encourage us readers to try new things.

Biggest thanks to Heidi, Emily, and Kelsey for making me feel like either a) I am not stalkerish for knowing so much about John & Sherry or, b) you're equally stalkerish. I couldn't be in better company!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Brace Your Shelves!

Sorry. That is an inside joke. I'm not sure why. My husband and I said it once? to our roommate? maybe? We're losers. Sorry.

Another warning, this post has a bajillion photos. Apparently, that's what happens when you buy a new camera, supplies for a project, and have months of time on your hands. (I take too long to complete projects.)

Alright, on with the show! This all started in October when my wonderfulfabulousamazingsplendidromantic husband bought me a buffet for my birthday. Now, this isn't truly a "buffet", but it is two pieces: one old TV cabinet and one serving piece/sideboard. However, when we saw them in the consignment shop, they were side-by-side like one cabinet and I fell. in. looooooooove. For real, I did. This was the week before our anniversary and, when we got anniversary cards with cash, I begged him to come back to Newport News (we were visiting family) and go find the cabinet again. And it was gone. I almost wept. I'm not typically *super* emotional, but I LOVED this piece and I was devastated. Nothing seemed right. 

Fast forward 2 or 3 weeks and I started craigslisting. I REALLY wanted to find a cool vintage buffet. I finally found one and the sellers were AMAZING. I'm talking, drive-an-hour-for-you-just-to-look-at-it, amazing. Well, hubby got all squirrelly and started fussing at me.  See, he had also asked about celebrating my birthday (THE BEST DAY OF THE YEAR- only 309 days, by the way) and I said..." yesterday too early?" He was not amused, said we should just go get my gift now, I said "no" because he gave my anniv. gift early and kicked himself. It was weird. If you knew him, you would know he is the most even-tempered person EVER. Our roommate actually said, "I didn't know he could get frustrated until I moved in and saw you frustrate him." Our roommate has known him for over 10 years. I bring out the best in people. That being said, the next day he got REALLY weird and said, "We have to go to my parents' house." I said, "Does this have to do with my birthday?" (12 days early). He was not amused. So...we went in to his parents' home and he asked me to help with something upstairs. What did I find?! MY BUFFET!!!!! (I, truly, have the craftiest, trickiest, most thoughtful, worst secret-keeping and worst-at-lying husband in the whole world- love you, babe.)

Here she is in her trial-run, partially-set up state. I love her. She's slightly less orangey than this picture shows, but no less beautiful. 
 This got me husband hates it when I do that. I reaaaaaaaaaaaalllyyyyy needed something in ALL of the space above the buffet. 

SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO MUCH SPACE! Seriously, I could not handle it. 
(an aside: nothing about this looks remotely similar today...except the standing globe to the right)

I got on ye ol' Pinterest and looked at some old DIY pins I had pinned. I found a tutorial from younghouselove (not surprising) and Ana White on building floating shelves*...I started brainstorming. Then, I looked at the things that did not fit into the new buffet from the old china hutch (to the left two photos above...from Ikea...Bjursta collection?). The #1 misplaced item glasses. We have 14. They had nowhere to live. So, I did what any normal pinterest-er would do...I looked for a tutorial for building wine racks! I remembered that Katie Bower had retrofitted some Pottery Barn shelves with wine racks, so I googled those. No dice. Then, I bit the bullet and found a tutorial for building your own wine rack. 

Disclaimer: Nothing about these shelves is perfect. These wine racks? Not perfect. But, they were a labor of love so, I love them like I love my 2nd graders with their weird grown-up front teeth and tiny baby teeth. Awkward, quirky, loveable. 

Onward: Let's buy supplies! Truthfully, I didn't keep receipts, but this ended up being WAY more expensive than the tutorial. I do NOT think this is the fault of either tutorial. We had fewer supplies on hand, so costs rose more than we anticipated. Here is our pile of supplies on our dirty (now gone) carpet, next to the old trunk of books (that were all free) that I still haven't gone through. Open & honest here. 

Basically, we followed the tutorial and then...sat the braces and the shelf sleeves in the corner while we worked on our floors. For. Ever. (real time: less than 2 months) Finally, floors were done! Hooray! [The joy cannot be contained by this post and will be posted at a later date when I'm done with the grieving process and can release my bitterness and hatred at a "3 week turned 6 month" project.]

That darling husband of mine leveled the first brace (I held on, he screwed in- oh. man. so. funny. sorry.) and we had a brace! Hooray! We screwed into as many studs as we could [still inappropriately funny], but some of them were in strange places behind our little 11.5" cross bars. That made it complicated, but we worked it out. Fortunately, after the first one or two screws, we were able to leave it hanging with the level and he could finish drilling while I took pictures. [Nothing about this makes me stop saying "That's what she said." Nothing.]

We decided to put the lowest shelf 24" above the buffet...and then I realized that 9" tall wine glasses would be hanging from it. So, we went 33" to compensate. Does it look too high? Definitely now. Will it look better? I think so. Ideas are on the way.

Keeping it level because I'm neurotic. 

Then, it got dark, but we kept on going. Warning: the pictures will look horrendous from here on out. Our lamps are THE. WORST. EVER. I also don't really understand 90% of my camera, so, bear with me. I'm working on it. :) We had to make some adjustments from our original brace #2, but we were able to fix it so that it would hang correctly with a new 1"x 2". 
Then, we prepared for the moment of truth: sleeve-fitting. 

IT WORKED! IT WORKED! IT WORKED!!!!!!!!! Yes, I was jumping up and down. Yes, my husband was sweating bullets. No, I did not cry. 
Meanwhile, back (in Gotham City?) in the floor, I was wood-puttying some stray holes in the second shelf-sleeve, re-sanding, gluing on wine-glass brackets, and any testing out the wine-glass-holding capabilities.
We let it dry overnight (while I was painting my mirror- woop!) and then it was ready to hang!!!!!!! We did consider putting some additional screws in the wine glass holders, but we kept testing them (and testing and re-testing) and decided that they're very secure. God forbid anything happen, we'll put out a plea to donate to the Keep-Jessica-from-drinking-Moscato-from-plastic-cups campaign.

We put the bottom sleeve on and...ALKJDFLKSJDLFKJLKJ!!!!!LKSJDFKJ!!!!!!!!!!!
IT WORKED! Seriously, at this point I considered weeping. Also, check out those sweet branches that are in a floor vase to the left...thanks for your end-of-year sale, Target!

Yup, my husband works best in a tie. I am too anxious to finish projects when he comes home to let him change clothes. 
Now, I'm with $herdog on this, styling is THE BEST part. I wanted to keep things *somewhat* wintry with blues and silvers since I hate taking down Christmas stuff and wasn't ready to say goodbye to my mercury glass owls. 

With buffet: Try #1
With buffet: Try #2 (and mostly how it is still). Please, feel free to hate on the glass head. EVERYONE hates on the glass head. It remains one of my favorite things ever purchased in the whole world.

I instagrammed a photo of this and someone said, "Your shelves look like something off pinterest." I seriously have never heard a bigger compliment. 
Let's address the height issue of the lowest shelf. I don't LOVE how much higher it is. Those globes look way small here, but they're regular size and have looked too big on every other piece of furniture. However, I think about hosting Thanksgiving last year and how we had tall beverage dispensers that wouldn't fit with the lower wine glasses. I also think of the possibility of sideboard lamps. SO, I think we have something here to help shortly. :)

All of this being said, it just encouraged me to try more, this week I came home to this guy (I hope he'll help with the empty wall space under the shelf!)...I can't wait to get him finished and show him to you! :)

Anybody else in blogland creating something for the first time and in love with it?! Tell me all about it in your comments! Thanks for reading! :)

*The only design difference between ours and Ana's, besides that she is an incredible carpenter and we are not, is that our shelves come in at a total of 66" instead of 72". The buffet was not that long, so we tried to center it and have the shelves be a smidge smaller. Some quick math solved our dilemma. We like that they're space-filling without being super overwhelming with the buffet.

This project is linked up at A Bowl Full of Lemons: One Project at a Time!