Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cabinet Door Jewelry Holder

I needed a jewelry "niche"... I mean, who doesn't, right?

I don't have fancy jewelry.  Most is just costume jewelry or sweet "mom" kind of pieces (adoption pendant, kids' name charms, etc.)  But I did somehow seem to collect quite a few over the years.

I didn't have any budget to do new shelves and fancy systems when I reorganized my clothes closet a few weeks back...
nor did I have the skills to make a custom one like all those fancy-schmancy ones on Pinterest 
(no I'm not bitter at all, ahem).

Here is my new jewelry niche.

I used a section of the builder's shelving in the closet that wasn't holding clothes.

I don't know about you, but I had six little hooks to hold a few dozen necklaces and I was tired of untangling them constantly.
So... I went with an old cabinet door frame I got at the ReStore.

Remember this?
Well, after redoing the laundry room in aqua and brown, this pewter-colored frame just wasn't cutting it.  So, I sprayed it with ORB (oil-rubbed bronze) and decided to put it to better use.

Then I stretched a seamstress' measuring tape across the one side and lined it up straight and taped it down.

All of these items were used in making this project... well, except the coaster (which was holding my drink before snapping the photo... managed to remove one thing) and the box of Thirty-One catalogs on the ground.  Ha!

I found these nice medium-sized cup hooks at Hobby Lobby.  I bought two packages @8/$1.99.

I decided in order to fit all 16 cup hooks across the frame, it was best to spread them 1.5 inches apart on my particular frame (spacing would depend on the number of hooks you use and the size of your frame.)

Then I took a 3/16" drill bit and made starting holes down the side of the tape.  

That's a story in itself.  I had the marks all ready... drill ready... and no small drill bit!  This project sat on my desk for two days while I figured out how I was going to get a new bit... would I order one on Amazon Prime and wait two days (I buy anything on Amazon Prime!), or would I try to squeeze a trip to the next town into my schedule?  So... I went downstairs to grab something out of the freezer one morning... and there was the drill bit sitting on the shelves next to it.  Not sure how/why it was there, but long ago I gave up trying to figure these things out with my "mommy brain".  I was just happy.

Using the pliers, I screwed in the cup hooks.

 And Wah-Lah... a frame of 16 hooks.  And now that I'm looking at this picture, I realize the trash can (which doesn't even belong in this room) is tipped over.  Oh, how lovely... good thing I really stage my photos, eh?

I stretched picture wire across the back and hung it with anchors/screws.  As you see in the pic below, I also tapped in two long nails to help steady the frame in the lower corners to keep the frame straight.  
(Good thing that new basket was there to become my drill catcher!)

And now... much more space for all my cutesy necklaces.  

I bought the baskets at Joann Fabrics for around $5 each to hold hair supplies and some jewelry boxes.  As you can see above, I reused my original 6-hook rack on the side wall to hold my long necklaces.  Worked out great!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Master Closet Redo, Stage One

Our master bedroom has two nice walk-in closets (much larger than I ever felt I'd need).  Somehow though, mine has become the catch-all for many, many things.  It was becoming the house eyesore.  Seriously.  I couldn't find shoes; tripped as I walked in;  couldn't dress in there;  and the dog was finding all sorts of goodies to chew on!

All of this was in there, somewhere:

Our "bathroom linen closet" things
"To Sell or Giveaway" clothes from all six family members
All my Thirty-One bags for parties
Box of single socks
Jewelry/Hair stuff
Luggage for all six family members
Cricut/Laminator/Paper Cutter 
Rolls and Rolls of adhesive vinyl (Cricut stuff)
Hideaway spots for future gifting


Oh... yes, and my clothes!

Here's the linen closet side PRE-organizing (notice the blank shelves... I already pulled down a few totes of stuff before snapping the photo)

The window and opposite side... how embarrassing to see the piles and piles.  Ugh.

This is the front wall after I rolled out the Cricut cart.  Jewelry, paper, stool, and more.

So... first job... remove it all.......  can you believe this all fit in that closet?  What happened to my bed?  At this point, I started to panic... thinking there was no way this was a "one day" project.  Good thing I wasn't painting or it wouldn't have been a one-day project!

Here is the empty closet.

I took my Target white shelves and moved them under the builders-shelves.  I don't need that much area to hang clothes.  :)

I moved luggage to the basement and vacuum to another room.
I decided to pull out all of those Thirty-One bags I've been collecting for my closet.  I kept buying totes in the PinDots pattern.  It's cute, but not frilly... even a tad "masculine".

I tried on every piece of clothing.  Yikes.  Seriously, I did... and came up with many totes of "too small" clothes (blech... Weight Watchers take me away!!)

I'm not getting rid of those, seeing as though I'm trying to lose the weight and cannot afford to buy a new wardrobe.  So... I piled up the too-small clothes in totes on the top shelf.

These are totes of clothes that I don't use often:  swimsuits and painting clothes.

I added a few little labels, too.  :)

I put the Cricut cart under the window and have the accessories in totes, hanging off the cart for wheeling to my bedroom when needed.

I went through the med boxes a bit to throw away old, expired things.
I also promptly ordered a few new totes to help it all match a little better in the future.  :)
The tote on the right is a big XXL Utility Tote with three inner totes.  I am beginning to store the kids' old school and team t-shirts in there.  My goal is to one day make a quilt for each kid  hire someone to make a quilt for each kid, using their old school/team/VBS/camp t-shirts.  

I saw this boot idea floating around the Internet too... how cute.  :)

Here is the one side of the closet, finished.  Notice that other than some new totes/storage bags, everything was just rearranged... no new shelves or new closet systems were bought.
I hung up some of my luggage/totes... out of convenience and because they are so pretty.  :)

Here is the old jewelry area.  I bought three matching baskets to hold the hair supplies and jewelry boxes.  I made that necklace frame from a ReStore cabinet door frame.  :)

So, now, I feel a lot better.  Everything has a spot... and I got my own closet back!!

Note that the title is "stage one".  I'm certainly hoping there will be a stage two.

When I paint it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Under-the-Sink Desk Organizers?

In our Master Bath, we have a bit of a storage issue.

{maybe it's because of all my stuff?}

There is no linen closet.  Well, I suppose you could say we have a linen closet... it's called MY clothes closet.  :)  I plan to show that doozie of an organizing project later.

Back to the bathroom, which is lacking in room except for cabinets under the sinks.

So... where do we put our towels?
Under a bench, of course.

I have a small medicine cabinet for meds I use regularly, but it's pretty narrow. 

All other meds and HBA stock-up items are kept in my closet, so where do I keep my irons, hair dryer, daily toiletries?  Under the sink.

It was getting rather messy under there.  My mornings left my back aching as I leaned into the cabinet trying to find the right electric device and worked to detangle cords. I'll admit... the deodorant was usually just tossed under there (and then I'd have to search around to find it the next day).

Thanks to some Pinterest inspiration, I was determined to organize under my sink in the bathroom.

I saw this on Pinterest... I link to the photo on Pinterest since it appears it was just uploaded by the original owner (not a blog).

So, I started researching to find the perfect size file holder.  I needed one to hold a wide hairdryer (I believe mine was almost 4" wide at the widest spot).  I found this at Amazon.  It's more like a wedge (wider at the front), but it worked fine for me.
I attached it to the left cabinet door by first painting and stretching a piece of wood trim across the door, then attached the mesh folder to that piece of wood.  {The middle of our doors are super-thin, so you cannot attach a screw to the middle of the door.}  Note all the weird silver dots?  Yeah... it was a little hard to get that drill into that weird position.  On the back side of the magazine file, I ended up putting the screw in at a 45 degree angle through two sides of the file.  Hey, it worked.  :)

On the right door, I found these large pencil cups at Office Depot (they rang up under $5 each).  Looking back, I should've stuck with black, but I'm not worrying about color now.  Two of these screwed onto a similar piece of wood first, then attached to the door will hold two curling irons, a flat iron and a brush.  :)

For the remainder of the items under the sink, I found this little utensil holder (picnic style) at Hobby Lobby.  $6 after 50% off.  

Now in the mornings and after showers, I just grab the basket, put it on the sink... and then replace it when I'm done.

For the "extras"... extra hand soap, extra bath wash, extra hand lotions for when I run out... I found these cute plaid bins on the clearance racks at Target.  I paid less than $6 each for them.  



 It may not match and look all dolled up and pretty, but everything has a place!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pinterest Project: Heart Crayon Valentines

I made these years ago with my two oldest kids when they were much younger.  I saw it on Pinterest recently and thought I'd do them again with my two younger kids. 

Since I still had the silicone heart mold and a box of broken, old crayons... and recent County-wide ruling at the schools to no longer allow candy with Valentines, it only made sense to do this.  Considering I had everything at home already, 48 valentines cost $0!

First you need to peel and break many crayons.  We had a bunch of used, no-point and sometimes-broken crayons in a big container so we used those.  This took For-ev-er to peel!  I eventually learned that if I took a paring knife and shaved the paper in a long strip down the side, I could peel the paper much faster.  I did not allow the kids to attempt this part as I was pretty certain someone would cut off a finger.  

They had to use fingernails and lots of patience.  Mommy used the paring knife.

Then you need to break the crayons into small pieces.  Each crayon essentially was broken into four pieces.  I didn't chop mine to avoid messing up my good knives... they snapped just fine.  Granted, it made for bigger pieces, but I think the result was fine.

Grab a small handful to put in the bottom of the silicone tray.  The amount I used above still showed some of the red bottom, but it gave me a 1/4"- 1/2" thick crayon in the end which was good.  (They pop out easily... no need to use anything on the tray first).

Bake at 230 degrees for 15-17 minutes.  As you can see, sometimes the top crayons weren't perfectly melted at 15 minutes, so I tried to go a little longer.  

To let them solidify quickly, I put them in the fridge to set.

After they were solid, I popped them out... just push on the bottom.  

Unfortunately with a six-cup muffin tin, the process was long.  Each "batch" took about 30-45 minutes since I had to wait till they were set to begin a new batch.  My 48 crayons took about 5 hours total (I did other things while waiting, of course!)  If you plan to do this more than one time, I'd definitely invest in a 12-cup pan or more.

I made little circles for the hearts to attach to.  Now the problem was... how to attach them!!?

I tried hot glue.  My thought:  Put a huge glob on there and help the glue mix with the slightly-melted wax to make it stay better.  The result:  The crayon would appear to stick well for about 10 minutes, and then it would pop off.

Tape didn't stick to wax.

I'm sure you could simply put these into little plastic candy bags and attach a card... which is what I did years ago.  However, I didn't have any at home and needed to figure this out.

So, I used a stapler.  From behind, I stapled the circle into the wax heart... one staple.  I realize it's not an ideal situation, but we're handing these to first and second graders, not preschoolers.  The staples stuck in REALLY well.  The crayons were not popping off at all.  So, it'll take a deliberate pull to get it off (not too hard though... it is only wax)... and I figure at that point the circle card will be trashed.  Hopefully the kids will wait till they are home to do this so that their parents can see this awesome little craft.  Ha ha :)  I tried to think of all possible harms that could come about from staples, but the truth is that our kids are exposed to staples ALL THE TIME from two-pocket folders to packets sent home to all sorts of paperwork and books... and my kids almost never get injured (ahem... unless they try to use a stapler on their own at home without asking while keeping a finger in the way... don't ask).

One crayon broke on me, so I used it to show how cool the crayon is.  The above was made simply by rotating the crayon a little as I went along.  Lots of fun colors!

I'm sure you can use all sorts of shapes and tins... but the obvious choice for Valentine cards was hearts.  :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Kids' Money Book

Before I begin, I must give the entire credit for this project to my friend Kathleen.  She seems to have her household so in order.  While out one night, she explained this "no cash" money book to me.  I loved it and had to adopt it!

I have toyed with so many ways of handling the kids' allowances.  It seems money never gets into the correct wallet, wallets get lost, Mommy forgets to get change to give the younger ones their allowance, Mommy forgets how much such-n-such toy was that she bought with the upcoming allowance at Target.... it was becoming a disaster.

So, we went cashless.

Most of the buying transactions of my kids involves me.  Probably the majority of any material things being bought is done on Amazon... so I just ask the kid to bring me that cash right back anyway so that I can charge the purchase to my credit card.

So... why bother with dollar bills?

All you need is a simple folder, tabs (I just used Post-it paper for now) and paper.  I called the book a "budget book", but "money book" or "account book" is more appropriate, since we don't allocate money to certain areas just yet.  Those are naturally Cricut vinyl letters on the folder.  

I designed a simple five column form in a spreadsheet program.  

The form needs a dates column (to remind me when/if I actually logged in the monthly allowance), transaction details column (to remind me if I actually deposited those miscellaneous holiday gifts and such), payment and deposit columns and a total column.

I added the kids' names to the top as well... just as an added reminder that I am adding/subtracting to the correct person's "money account".

Here is a sample sheet.  The "start" transaction was me going to the kids, asking for the cash in their wallets/rooms, and plugging it into the cashless account.  One cool little benefit of this... I took all their cash and threw it into a petty-cash drawer in my cabinet for when I need small change.  I don't know about you, but cash is a rarity in this household!

So, now on the last day of every month, the kids can't come to me and say, "Mom, you didn't give us our allowance", and me think, "Oh crud... I don't have any cash!"

Now, I just pull out the money book and plug it in.  Whenever the kids want to purchase something... whether at a store or online... I just use my own credit card and deduct that amount from their accounts.  

I thought about calling it "The Bank of Mom"... but my two oldest kids are wise enough about money that I was afraid they'd start requesting interest on the money in the accounts.  LOL

Our next step will be to get renewable credit/debit cards for kids.  (Which do they call it?)  Anyway, the sort that you can load with cash, but only that amount can be used.  There is no ongoing credit.  My oldest two kids are 11 and almost 13.  I'm thinking they are ready to have a card.  I'd probably still officially hold onto it.  Since they especially tend to hold onto their money longer, I'm afraid a card worth $100+ would be to risky to lose.

I am sure I can make the book prettier someday.  In the meantime, it certainly does its job just fine.  :)  Plus it's turning into a great learning experience to kids on how to account for their money... subtracting, adding, etc.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Confessions of a Lazy DIYer.

Ha!  Well, first I'm proud of myself for "finishing" the bathroom I started a few weeks ago.  However, as I look carefully around this little bathroom, I realize how lazy I am!!

When we were looking for a new home, we honestly thought our "dream home" was way beyond our financial means.  We weren't looking for luxurious details or fancy sweeping staircases or huge decks or media rooms or libraries or walk-in-closets the size of our family room.  One thing we needed was more space... for kids, not necessarily for us.  We really wanted a house with a bedroom for each child.  (In the last house, one bedroom barely fit a twin bed, and two kids shared another.) Of course, that means a five-bedroom house.  Those are harder to find in our price range.  Then, to top it off, we also wanted a dedicated guest room.  We are fortunate enough to have grandparents visit us at least once a month for a weekend, so the thought of having to shift family members around often wasn't something we wanted.

So... now we were looking at a six-bedroom house.  Ugh.  Who makes those, except in McMansions or million dollar homes?  Our hopes of finding the right house was slim.  So we wanted space, but in the bedroom department... not so much in all of those fancy-schmancy rooms.  

We stumbled across a new developer buiding in one of our dream neighborhoods.

After looking at models online and talking to their sales rep, we found a way to configure one of the models of a normal size house to fit six bedrooms.  And the icing on the cake is that two of the four kids have their own bath, and the other two share a Jack-n-Jill bath.  Perfect.  We're approaching those dreaded teens-in-the-bathroom years, and now everyone would be happy.

So... that means a lot of bathrooms to decorate, to paint... and to clean!!!  Ugh.

But, I digress... back to that bathroom I finished.  This is my daughter's bath on the top floor.  It's fairly small, but works great for her.  I wanted to make it cute, but a tad grown-up so that I wasn't repainting in another 4-5 years.  She's eleven now.

Since her favorite colors are aqua and purple, I went with a subtle periwinkle color (Eeyore in the Disney collection of Behr.)

But rather than do the whole bath in periwinkle, I added a VERY simple (aka cheap) chair rail to the bath.  Plus since the room is so small, every piece ended at a mirror, a doorframe or the shower surround, so no mitered corners needed!

It took me awhile, but finally I got the builder's semigloss white paint matched and painted below the chair rail with that paint.  I didn't do beadboard or board-n-battan, I just left it plain.  There really is not a lot of space to mess around with.
I finally got around to caulking the rail to make it smooth on Friday.  I also painted the rail again to top it off.

It was time to go back and redo the top of the rail to make it straight after the caulking.  I did that today.

Pre-tape removal.  (Print bought at Hobby Lobby)  The writing is French for bathroom.

Post-tape removal.  Ahhh... straight sweet purple line.  See?  Not only is the bathroom small, but the one wall slopes too!

Do I know how to rock the Thirty-One or what?  Yes, that is the Black Parisian Pop pattern on the Mini Organizer.  It only seemed appropriate to hold all of my daughter's beauty supplies since there is no medicine cabinet or wall shelves in there.  The accessories I chose were Paris themed.

I bought a wine-bottle rack to hold the extra towels.  "Serviette de Bain" means bath towels.

Here is another Thirty-One product, the Little Carry-All in Black Parisian Pop again.  It's the PERFECT size to hold headbands!

Now... on to the "Confessions" part of the Blog Title.  

Look below... see the "oops"?  Yes, I tried and tried to get the nails to hit studs when I was putting up this one piece of chair rail, and yet, somehow couldn't do it.  So, I gave up and decided I'm going to use a wood screw.  I'll screw it in and cover well with paint.  


See how much it protrudes!  It hit something in the wall (who knows what!) and got stuck... I couldn't get it out at all.  Then I stripped the top.  So, rather than find someone to fix my mistake, I grabbed the paint and covered it up, hoping to camouflage the goof.  Uh... what was I thinking?  Now it's the first thing I see when I walk in there.  Blech.

Oh... and my "inspiration for those clever little French Cricut words on the wall?

I am horribly AWFUL at patching holes in walls... and ridiculously IMPATIENT to try again.  These were left over from a towel rack.  My hopes were to have those words cover the awful hole-patching.  Does it work?