Monday, December 26, 2011

2012 Color Of The Year

It's that time of the year when everyone starts making the big predictions and claims for what they feel will be the next trend, or the next big thing. Some trends are spot on, while others can be a bit outrageous. On the other hand, there's many people out there who, especially when it comes to their homes, flat out refuse to buy into any sort of trend, and pursue items and accessories that will last them a lifetime. Oh, how we envy those self-assured types. For the rest of us, trend-spotting can be quite the adventure! And there's no greater satisfaction than being the first to spot the latest trend... unless you were the one to actually start the trend, that is.

Recently, Pantone announced its trend color for 2012, and it is: *drum roll*


Do I love the pick?- hell yes! Do I agree that its the color to represent 2012?- not so much. I think it's a bit over-the-top for a common trend color, but, once again, there's nothing quite like raising the bar and being a bit obscene. I see this tomato-red shade working quite well in modernist settings, and am intrigued to see how the traditionalists will embrace it (or, if they will at all).

Back to all that talk of trend spotting: the very first thing that I thought of when I saw the color of the year was Hazel's play kitchen, and how the hue is almost identical! I then remembered waaay back to my first Color of the Week last year, which was also the same tone! I'm not sure if I'd go as far as to call myself a trend setter- but definitely a trend spotter. And now, the pressure is on for me to find and share the next great thing!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Decorating Faux Pas

Okay, call me satirical, or a critic, or even a grinch, but there is one Christmas decor fad that I simply cannot find permissable. And that is: picture frames, or wall art, wrapped in wrapping paper with a bow, and then hung back on the wall. Even as a child, I've often wondered if these people that commit this atrocity, wake up on Christmas morning, and unwrap their wall-art-gifts, surprised to find the same art that they had wrapped over a month ago. I wonder if these people feel a sense of awe, or incredibly lame- I'm voting for the latter. My deepest Christmas philosphy is that gift wrap belongs on the gifts. And that's it. Merry Christmas.

P.S. I actually do love all things Christmas (well, most of them), and this post is not meant to be a humgbug rant, but rather an SOS call for all those who commit the crime of picture wrapping!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Wishlist 2011

Don't get me wrong- I'm generally not a petty person who will mass produce lists of the things that I expect people to buy me for Christmas (well, not since I was 12, at least). But, I thought that it might be fun to produce a list of home decor product that I've been eye-balling over the last few months. Maybe in turn, it will inspire you for all of your last minute shopping and gift purchasing.

1. Scandinavian Tree Tea Towel (West Elm)

2. Distortion Candlestick (Uncommon Goods)

3. Gourd Table Lamp (West Elm)

4. Pop Rocks Glass (Jonathan Adler)

5. Modernist Bowls (West Elm)

6. The End Bookend (CB2)

7. Garland Light (DIGS)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Faux Taxidermy: Still Not Loving It

Would you believe that the most viewed post that I've had on this blog since I started back in April is one about Faux Taxidermy? It really makes me laugh a bit, as I consider how many people are running Google searches on the topic every single day.

In honor of that post that leads so many newcomers to my blog, I'd like to share with you a product that I stumbled upon this afternoon. It combines my love of Lego with my dislike of mounted dead deer heads:

That's right, it's a Taxidermy Deer Lego Kit! It can be purchased from David Cole, and wouldn't it just make the most perfect stocking stuffer!? Admittedly, if one of these showed up for me on Christmas morning, even though I'm still not digging the faux taxidermy trend, I'd still be inclined to mount this on my living room wall!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Xmas Reflections

Sometimes I get to thinking that as rad as technology is, I have a certain discomfort with it. Take, for example, my lack of blogging lately- it's not to say that I'm lacking ideas, or have nothing to share, but simply that I'm just not feeling like plopping in front of a computer to execute my thoughts into words. Or, whenever I get a text message or email, I can take days, even weeks to reply to a message. I'm not sure why... I like to think of it as a technological fear or procrastination. Anyways, now that I've established a lame excuse to compensate for a lack of blogging lately, on to better things!

Not that it's a big surprise or anything, but it's just over a month until Christmas, and I'm getting pretty pumped for that. Having Hazel be another year older, and a bit more aware of her surroundings, I hope that this Christmas will be really special. As much as we flaunt the mantra of her already having too many toys and material goods, I can barely resist the urge to go out and buy her a million gifts! I yearly feel this way about Jackie as well, so I've been instructed not to get "too crazy" this year with the spending. I especially love wrapping gifts and preparing them for Christmas, and having them nestled under the tree for weeks! Speaking of tree nestling- we haven't put up the tree yet, but we may get around to that tomorrow. The bulk of our other Christmas decorations exploded into our place almost a month ago (right after Halloween!). And so, everything is twinkly, and bright, and nostalgic-like.

I've been crafting Hazel some felt toys for Christmas- once they're done, I'll share them with you. We've also decided to make as many gifts for family this year as we can- to save on cost, and to give a personalized touch. I'll also try to share as much of that as possible- without revealing who's getting what.

In the meantime, let's kick back with some eggnog lattes, and enjoy the best time of year!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apothecary Style Candy Jar

A few years ago, before we converted to apartment living, we used to live in a townhouse built in the 70s. One of the things that I loved/hated about the place, was that in the living room, we had a ledge that ran the entire width of the room (I think it was meant to be a breakfast area for bar stools), and we used it to store random junk. It was impossible to keep it clean. But, one of the items that we displayed on the ledge was candy jars- and our guests would love to help themselves to candy whenever they visited. Due to downsizing, the 4 candy jars were one of the things to go, due to a lack of space. What didn't change was our habit of keeping a bit of candy around the house, and it's often difficult to find a place to store it.
With the removal of some of our Fall decor, I managed to free up a bit of space on our Living Room Dresser. The problem I struggled with was finding a candy jar that wouldn't get lost amongst the other decorative items- if only there was a way to give it a bit of height, the jar would be more accessible, and it would be easier to create a sense of layering in the dresser vignette.
Enter an old wooden pillar candle holder from Debbie Travis' home collection from approx 2006. I purchased the candle holder because it had a bit of height to it, and at the time, I couldn't find any pillar holders I cared for that were in my budget range. I'll admit, I was never too keen on the look of it- it was very plain and streamlined, and lacked any sort of embellishment, and thus, has been living in the back of a storage cabinet for the past few years. I was at the point of wanting to donate it when, I decided to use it as the base of the candy jar to give it a bit of height! For the jar itself, I purchased a simple glass jar from the dollar store (for a whopping dollar!). The jar had a silver lid, and I really wanted the jar and the candle holder to feel cohesive.

The cure for that particular ailment?: paint, of course! I teetered back and forth between painting it a deep green, or a muted blue, but I really wanted to give it a bit of punch, but just couldn't come up with the right shade. I asked Jackie for advice- her suggestion: hot pink. And hot pink it was! I used the same color as our pink feature wall, just for continuity (and because I already had it, and didn't need to purchase any more paint!).

Prior to painting, I removed the lid from the jar, and attached an old finial I had kicking around, just to give it a finishing quality. And the finial went perfect with the lines of the candle holder base. I primed all the pieces, slapped on severeal coats of Benjamin Moore's Peony, and gave it all a very light coat of water based clear coat.

Once everything was dry, I attached the base to the jar by using a generous amount of clear glue (I chose a glue that was meant for fixing fish tanks and other glass applications). The only set back in the entire project (and there's always at least one!) was that I didn't handle the finial/ lid with care while the glue was setting, and it came off! Oh well, nothing that a bit more glue and paint couldn't fix.

The hot pink certainly delivered that punch I was looking for. I filled it up with some LifeSavers candies and lollipops for the time being- but I can't wait for Christmas to approach and to stack it full of red and white peppermints, or some bright Quality Street chocolates! YUM!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Pure Awesomeness of Mercury Glass

I'd like to dedicate this post to mercury glass, and my current obsession with it, and its awesomeness. Remember how 4 or so years ago, crackled glass was all the rage, and you could get that sweet effect in everything from candle holders to champagne flutes?- Well, this is better and a thousand times cooler than crackled glass.

First off- what the heck is mercury glass? Well, mercury glass refers to silvered glass, that, when blown with double walls, a liquid silvering solution is inserted, and then sealed. The result is a haphazard shimmering effect, that is heightened with a light source is reflected behind it (i.e. a mercury glass votive holder).

While I'm generally of the opinion that anything is DIYable on the cheap, I'm not sure if this is acheivable with this finish. There's numerous tutorials circulating online on how to get a mercury glass effect, but all of them involve using Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint- a mini spray can that is practically obsolete- and can run you about $15 per can. For cheaper, you could get some mercury glass votive holders or vases from most home decor stores. There's a certain satisfication about doing something yourself- but at the same time, if I could get the same effect for significantly cheaper, I'm likely to choose that option.

With Christmas looming around the corner, I'm on the look out for any decor in this finish, and hope to incorporate some of it into our decorating for this year.

Speaking of which, one thing I often struggle with at this time of year is when is it considered too soon to bust out the Xmas decor? I know that the answer is personal and everyone has a different opinion, but Fall is legitamately around for another month and a half, and I spend so much time waiting for September to approach to bring out the Fall accents- it just seems short changed to only have it out for a month or two, and then to transition to Christmas so quickly. If possible, I think I'd like to try a slow transition. Maybe throw out a few rotting pumpkins, incorporate some metallics and silver candlestick holders. And save the tree for another few weeks. Knowing us though, Christmas will probably hit our home by the time the weekend is through.

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Second Pipe Dream

It's pretty amazing when one DIY project can effortlessly lead to another. Last week, I posted about a candlestick holder that I had fashioned from some metal pipes and paint. That project in itself was a test, or "rough draft" that led to the project I want to share with you today.

Almost 5 Christmases ago, IKEA had a 3 tiered candelabra that I had purchased and loved dearly. Over the years, the metal candle holder developed a bit of rust (probably from improper storage) and became very difficult to open and set out. I tossed the thing out last year, and since then have been on the search for a new candelabra. To my dismay, I had yet to find a new one. Upon a stroke of brilliance a week or so ago, I realized- if you can't find what you like for sale, you should make it yourself! And the idea for this candelabra was born! Similar to last week's candle holder, this project took maybe half an hour to complete. I cleaned all the pipes, assembled them into the shape, primed it and painted! I used Autumn Purple for the color, and gave it a good heavy gloss, just to give it some eye candy qualities! (yum)

The only potential setback I came up against with this project was the pipes were about 1/16" too big for the candles- meaning that they leaned or tended to sway to one direction. The solution: wrap the bottom of the candles in several layers of tin foil to build up the depth.

I think what I admire most about this project is the blended contrast of the industrial pipes, with the punch of color. It currently is adding a dose of humor to our dining room table- but I think this candelabra is versatile enough to fit into most schemes!

P.S. Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Color Of The Week: Hazy Lilac

This week's color is a muted dusky purple- a tone that I just can't seem to get right. It's a fine line between being either too pink or too gray. I think this purple hits it right on the mark. I used to have this impulse to paint our bathroom this color- and who knows, maybe someday, that dream may come true. But, while I truly love muted tones, it's a struggle to incorporate them into a house full of bright, saturated colors. I'm also a pretty big fan of the Hazy Lilac color, as "Hazy" is a common nickname that we use for Hazel at home- so it just fits nicely.

Hazy Lilac 2126-40
While I have given up on purple hues over the past few months, the onset of Fall has brought them back to my mind, and I am feeling particularly inspired this week by a new line of furniture at IKEA. This is the ISALA Laptop Table- a style that fuses traditional elements with a modern twist. I absolutely love the color- and feel it fits in well with the Hazy Lilac tone.

ISALA Laptop Table
Lilacs carry with them a great deal of serenity, and are usually thought to be represented as a spiritual color. I'd stray from using a lilac as a main neutral, but rather in small rooms that could use an airy vibe. In the meantime, I'm going to save this one in the "color bank" as a resource for a well-deserved furniture project for the future. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I think that it's come to light that hoarding simply is one of those unforgivable sins in our culture (just think of all those hoarding TV shows that now exist)- the problem is, whether we want to admit it or not, we're all guilty of the crime on some level, and watching others hoard worse than us makes our own hoarding feel a bit more acceptable.

When you look around your living quarters, ask yourself this question: is my junk functional and contributing to my daily life? It's good to be surrounded by items with nostalgic value, and not everything has to be dual purposed. But, how much of our junk exists simply because we once spent money on it, and simply can't bear the thought of parting with it?
Enter the rule of 10%, which is: in your living space (specifically in your home organizers), you always want to reserve 10% of the space, or leave 10% empty to allow for new things to enter your life. If you're always living with no vancancy, you're not opening yourself up to any newness, or clutter will accumulate pretty quick!

To help assist with the decluttering process, consider having an outbox in your home. The outbox doesn't necessarily have to be a box, but an area that can house items that are ready to be parted with. Think of the outbox as a tool to help you seperate first, and to remove the item from your home later. Give any item in your outbox a week's stay, to allow you to process whether or not you're ready for the item to be removed from your life. After a week, consider whether the process worked and if you're ready to part with it, or if you feel it has substantial enough value to remain in your home.

Decluttering is an avid choice, and requires very little work- but rather, the emotional choice of letting go of the things around us. But, in reality, if you haven't used an item or appreciated it within the past 3 months, there's a strong chance that the item is ready to be decluttered from your life.

If our homes are a reflection of our lives and our personal journeys, perhaps having too much stuff, and leaving no room for growth or change speaks volumes as to who we are as people. Give yourself 10%- it will go a long way.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here's a Tip

If you'd asked me 2 years ago if I'd ever own a piece of painted furniture, or if I'd even re-paint a furniture item myself, I would've scoffed at you. And now, painted thrifted furniture items are some of the most loved treasures in my home. Throggh the many adventures of trying to prime and get into all the crevices of a furniture piece properly, there still is one chore that I despise like none other: painting the legs of a furniture piece! From what I've experienced, there literally is no way to get a good proper paint job on the legs. Well, at least, there wasn't: I came across this great tip from Martha Stewart (same source that prompted my carpet ghost post)- and she has a brilliant suggestion:

Before you begin painting, tap a finishing nail into the underside of each furniture leg. Turn the furniture item face up, and support the piece on the nails. Raising the piece off the ground will allow for a proper finish of the legs, and will allow the piece to dry properly (without getting stuck to the dropcloth!).

I definetly am going to try this tip out the next time I'm working on a big piece. (which hopefully will be sooner than later).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Minute Fall Decorating

If you have just 5 minutes to get some decoarting done this Fall, and just aren't sure what to do- try wrapping a Fall-inspired ribbon around an existing candle for some instant color, pattern, and interest.

I found this owl ribbon at the bottom of the sewing drawer the other day, and just had to incorporate it into our Fall decorating somehow! It was such an easy little project: measure, cut, glue, and admire!

Life can get busy - but carve 5 minutes out of your day to give yourself a break and spend some time admiring the little things in life.

P.S. The above candle is from Bath & Bodyworks (I think it's called "Leaves" or "Falling Leaves" or something like that. We've been burning through it like crazy, and I didn't realize how gross it had gotten with the bits of burnt wicks stuck to the sides of the glass- sick! I apologize for my gross candle etiquette!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pipe Dream

See this picture:

Can you guess what these parts do and what purpose they serve?

...keep guessing...

....I'll give you a hint: the parts are teal-painted 3/4" round plumbing pipes...

...and they combine together to...

... form a candlestick holder!

I know, I spend too much time at work, dreaming up things that I can make with the junk I see around me- but this one is truly inspired!  

I found these parts in a junk pile of plumbing parts, and snagged them for under a buck. The color I used is the Dark Teal that I featured as Friday's Color of the Week, and I through in a pop of bright yellow just because I'm digging the combination lately. To be honest, I'm not sure yet if I'll keep the yellow in there, but we'll see. To prep and paint, I used some warm water to get all the grease off the pipes, and sprayed a coat of dark gray primer. To finish it up, I just used some paint I had kicking around, and used both a fine brush and a thicker one to get into all the crevices of the pipes.

I love how the candlestick holder looks so industrial, but has a funky vibe in that cool teal tone. Now that I've put this candlestick holder together, I'm feeling uber-inspired with the plumbing hardware, and who knows what I'll come up with next!?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Color of the Week- Teal

This week's all about Teal for me- especially when paired with a vibrant yellow. I'm absolutely craving the combination, and have been itching to paint something teal and yellow.

Dark Teal 2053-20

Teal is one of those colors that has certainly come and gone in popularity over the past few years. I see it as a color with an enormous amount of depth, and carries a degree of mystery as well. Our bedroom "headboard" wall is painted a similar shade of teal, and it is definitely striking. I love to see teal used in the main  living spaces- a bedroom, a living room, potentially a small powder room. I personally don't see the tone working well in a kitchen setting- at least, not as a main wall color (room accents are a different story). I especially would love to see dark teal in a library or reading nook- an area that featured strong architectural features- and in a gloss finish. Consider the Fall season and how brilliant this color would look with those burnt oranges and dusky purples! Some say teal is so over, but I think that this shade is here to stay for a long time.

Teal and yellow! YUM!
 P.S. look for this color to appear next week in an upcoming project!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Monster Mash

I really want to take all of the credit for this one, but I can't. I saw this drawing online a month or so ago that sported the slogan "learn to love your inner monster", and I instantly fell in love with the concept- the drawing, however, not so much. When I showed the print online to Jackie, she agreed that she liked the concept, but encouraged me to do my own variation (I think her exact words were "you can draw it better"). So, I tweaked it, and kept with some of the original placement. So, last Friday, this was my "Hazel's-napping-and-I-need-something-quiet-to-do project.

I definetly love what this image represents. I think that if you can learn to accept, and even love the darkest parts of you, you will ultimately become a more whole person, and will inevitebly have more power over that darkness. (I know- a little preachy, but whatever).

My inspiration:
a little bit Helena Bonham Carter,
and a little bit Marge Simpson

When I get a chance, I anticipate on framing the drawing and propping it on our IKEA picture ledge- once again proving its functionality, as I can switch images at my leisure. (*woot*)
In a roundabout way, I also feel that this image is my contribution for a Halloween craft, and fits in so well with the upcoming celebration. Oh, and Hazel also really likes it- she loves to point at the monster and say "OOOOooooOOOO".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Twine Pumpkin

While Jackie was out the other night, I had to itch my crafting bug and make something. I came across this tutorial on Homepodge (a compilation of submitted crafts and home decor) and have been wanting to get this project done for the past month or so. The twine pumpkin is not my original concept or idea, but  I'm really pleased with the results.

Out of the closet reno we gained a much roomier closet for storage- but I also found the extra floor space perfect for getting projects done- the closet has essentially become my own workshop. The supplies for the craft were simple enough: twine, glue, and a balloon. The project required me to blow the balloon up (to about the size of a pumpkin), and wrap glued twine tightly around the balloon in haphazard sweeps. It seemed easy enough in theory, but it was quite difficult to keep the string glued down. It kept flopping off, and sticking to me, and I ended up becoming a gooey-sticky-peeling-mess. Eventually I learned the secret was to pull the string VERY tight, and it stayed put. I let the balloon-covered-in-glued-string mess dry for about 2 hours, at which time, it had dried a bit and was pliable. I popped the balloon, and sculpted the string into a pumpkin shape and let it dry over night. At this point, I was less than impressed with the effort, and figured that I had just wasted a roll of twine, a bottle of glue, and my time. The next morning, I awoke to a hardened string ball, and was thrilled that it actually worked!

To finish it off, I spray painted a coat of Oil Rubbed Bronze (*yum*) to give it a bit of shimmer. For the stem, I sculpted a sheet of aluminum foil into a stem shape, and tightly wrapped it in the twine (unpainted). I left a small hole in the bottom of the pumpkin for some mini lights, and when I get the chance, I'll put some in there to have some sweet Fall ambiance. We had my mom and brother over the other night, and she was convinced that I had bought the pumpkin at a store- which is always a great compliment to receive!

The pumpkin is part of our Fall vignette for 2011, and for many Falls to come! I've been aching for the past month to do some sort of Fall craft project, and I definitely recommend trying this one out! It's easy, cheap, and the results are fantastic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trend to Watch: Owls!

Every season or so, a prominent icon or theme becomes rapidly sought after in the design world- be it a pattern, a symbol, or a color- and this season's hottest trend is the owl.

The owl is often held in esteem as a symbol of intelligence, wisdom, and independence. The nocturnal aspect of this bird, however, does present a bit of a dark side that we can't help but be drawn to. They are a creature surrounded with silence and mystery, and I think, to be drawn to such a creature does indeed say a great deal about yourself.

Being that Fall is upon us, the owl figure is literally everywhere! I've especially noticed the influx of the owl decor through the new West Elm Fall selection. Here are some of the hottest owl-themed accents from West Elm to incorporate into your home this season:

Mercury Owls:

Owl Measuring Cups:

Embroidered Owl Pillow Cover:

Owl Sugar Shaker:

Owl Butter Dish:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Framed pt.2

Alright, back to that picture frame! (for a complete up-to-date-briefing, check out pt.1 over here).

I may have failed to mention in the previous post that when I purchased this frame from the vintage fair, I literally purchased just the frame- no hardware. no glass. none of that good stuff. Having already splurged $20 on the frame itself, I was wanting to do the rest on the cheap (or free, if possible).

Step 1 was to find some sort of glass or protective coating to put in front of the picture in the frame. Plexiglass was $2 at work. done. I figured I'd have to cut it to size (and was highly dreading the task), but I bought a sheet, took it home, and - I kid you not- it fit perfectly into the frame! It was a DIY dream come true!

With the inserted plexi, I was working with a 1/4 of an inch of space to fill in the back so the picture and plexi would fit tight when hung. I found a sheet of cardboard, cut it to size, and was still left with about an 1/8" of space. I turned the place upside down in search of more cardboard, and turned up empty handed! I probably could've waited until morning to get another piece, but I was on a roll, and improvised- I cut up strips of card stock and glued them in strips to achieve my desired thickness. Brilliant, right? To hold it all together, I mounted 4 L-brackets - one in each corner, and attached some picture hanging wire, and the frame itself was ready to mount! ta-da!

While Jackie was hanging the frame, Hazel wanted to
get in on the action- here she is in her mini Home Depot
apron with a sponge hammer toy! So rad!

We figured that the best location for the frame would be on the left side of our massive living room window, against the pink wall. We now had to choice what sort of image we would want framed. For a long time, we've discussed getting a giant picture of Hazel- potentially in black and white. We went through every single picture of her, and finally decided on a recent one- it's a picture of her, trying on her grandma's glasses- and grandma took the picture quickly with her iPhone. It's very cute and quirky. Jackie used a site called Picnik to edit it a bit (try it out- it's free!) and ended up doing a black and white filter, with just a few subtle colored highlights. Lesson learned with this project: iPhones don't take gallery-quality photos (at least, not when blown up to 11 x 14 size). Up close, it's kind of pixelated, but we'll mostly be viewing it at a distance anyway.

All in all, I'm really satisfied with this project, and am very proud to be an owner of an embellished frame. And the picture of Hazel is pretty awesome too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Color Of The Week: Fiji

I think I'm overdue for a good shot of blue. This week's pick is Fiji from Benjamin Moore's Affinity line- and it's just the blue I've been craving. I know, I know- a color called Fiji isn't an ideal choice for the onset of Autumn. But, the color itself is so perfect for fall. It's a muted blue that completes those oranges, yellows, and greens so well! Blue is a perfect base color for almost any space, and everyone looks good against it. So often, a bold blue is pegged as an accent option, as people become fearful of its saturated power, but I love it as a whole room option (see below), as it really enlivens the space and doesn't make a room feel smaller, but plays up the space.

Fiji, Benjamin Moore

According to a recent survey conducted by Dulux paints, blue is the most popular color in the world- preferred by 42% of males and 30% of females. To contast, yellow is the least favorite color of all, getting only 5% of the vote. And, oddly enough- both men and women equally begin to dislike the color orange as they age. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vertical Toy Chest

At the onset of this blog, one of the first DIY projects I shared was Hazel's Toy Chest, which inevitably, was a better idea in theory than in practicality. The problem with the chest is that she is unable to use it, as the lid is quite heavy and a little out of reach. It since then has become Hazel's Toy Chest for soft toys and stuffed animals. Which in turn, has left all the other toys to gather in a general pile in the corner. Simply unacceptable for the organized life, right?

In our closet upheaval, one of the items that was removed was a simple white cabinet with 2 doors. It was originally stacked on top of our EXPEDIT unit to house art supplies. With the closet reno, we were able to better organize the EXPEDIT, and actually had no need, nor room for, this white cabinet. So, off to the donation pile it went. But, it didn't stay there very long. Immediately, once her play kitchen was completed, Hazel took right to it, and Jackie suggested to use the empty cabinet as a fridge of sorts. We bounced the idea around of painting it to look more like a fridge, but didn't really go anywhere with it. Over the past few weeks, it has gone from housing play food to literally, all of Hazel's toys. And it became a chaotic mess!

The solution? IKEA? Nope, not this time. Instead, we went on a walk to the dollar store. I figured that with the 3 shelves, we could use the bottom for large toys, and the top 2 for some bins. We happened upon these lovely kelly green bins (I have a soft spot in my heart for this color!) at $1.50 each! Beat that, IKEA! (but, please don't hate me for my dollar store enthusiasm). I've always been a little skeptical of dollar store purchases. They generally stink, and simply being in the store itself is always such a depressing experience. But we have a brand new store next to our Benjamin Moore, and it's always so clean, and only stinks a little bit!

The 4 bins we purchased fit perfectly- almost as though they were made for the space! But, looked a little bland. I decided to label the bins with drawings of the toys that were supposed to go in each bin.
Here's one for Hazel's Mr. Potato Heads:

One for her play food and kitchen gadgets:

One for her Little People Collection:

And one for miscellaneous:

wasn't too sure what to draw for this one. So, I ended up drawing one
of her Zhu Zhu pets... I'm still not sure why. I really don't like those things.
Once Hazel turns the toy on, I'm never quite sure how to shut the thing off
and it squeaks into all late hours! If anyone has any advice as to how to
turn off a Zhu Zhu pet, please let me know!!!
 I attached the drawings to the bins and used some clear contact paper to protect them from any scratches or dings that could happen. At this point, I stopped to realize one of two things: Firstly, the shelving unit is, by no means, safe for a child's play as is. It needed to be wall mounted, as the unit was quite narrow and a bit top-heavy. I found an L-bracket, and mounted the shelving unit to the pink wall (sorry pink wall, this might hurt a little!). I love that the unit is short enough for her to reach toys stacked on top, and there is a bit of space above the chest that could be perfect for a little shelf (if her toy collection accumulates too much).

Secondly, the green was brilliant on the inside, but the outside was a little lacklustre. I wasn't about to go painting the entire unit (as tempting as that may be!), but decided to add just a little pizazz. See those gray handles:
These are the old handles. Obviously, my project got ahead on me,
and I attached the new ones before I had a chance to take a picture,
so, use your imagination a bit!

Pretty boring, right? Well, I found this pair for .50 at work (metal handles from a Martha Stewart kitchen and on the cheap too- ooh lala), and painted them a high gloss bright yellow (<3). I'm digging the yellow and white combination against the pink. The trio of colors is my favorite combination right now- and the rest of our place better watch out before I paint everything in those colors!

Oh, and while I was at it, Our pantry cupboard had the same old handles as the vertical toy chest, so I painted them Oil Rubbed Bronze (yes, I'm still obsessed) and swapped them out too. I know, it's a little change, but it's the little changes that matter the most.

Once again, a piece of furniture that was headed for the dump has found a new purpose in our home, and is providing us with daily function... that is, it will be, once we get the message of only one toy bin out at a time across.

And there you have it: a vertical toy chest! (...or, a repurposed shelving unit that now holds toys).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Decorate Your Door

A door is more than just a passage to travel through. It's a symbol of invitation into your home and into your life. To invite someone in through the door is to invite them to share in your living space. And the first impression starts with the doorway.

As Fall weather is approaching, most of our thoughts are leaning towards indoor activities. But consider, before the weather gets too cold, to give your front doorway a well needed makeover.

Firstly, try giving the door a fresh coat of paint. Use a semi or full gloss, as it gives a bit of pizazz and will also make cleaning grubby fingerprints much easier. The trend as of late is to choose a bright color, and this year's hottest door trend is yellow! Use bright yellows in a full gloss to add a sense of cheer to your home and to create an excitable first impression.

Another way to make over the door is with some new street numbers. True, the door isn't the typical spot for street numbers to appear, but try placing some mismatched numbers from thrift stores in the center of the door. Or, use a stencil to paint the numbers directly on the door itself. With this option, you can vary the size of the numbers to as big or as little as you want.

Finally, give the door hardware an update by purchasing new knobs, or by spray painting the existing ones. Painting, obviously being the more cost effective means, is a project that can easily be completed in an afternoon (just be sure to give the knobs plenty of dry time before reattaching). Choose a color or finish that will contrast well with the new door color. For example, try mixing up a gloss yellow door with some Oil-Rubbed Bronze hardware. It will add a bit of sparkle, and will look very chic of you!

I realize not everyone has the means to decorate their front doors (apartment dwellers, I feel your pain!), and front doors to units generally have to be identical-but, who's to say that you can't deck out the backside of your door? Consider this: whenever guests- or even you, for that matter, leave your home, the backside of the front door is the last thing they'll see of your home. It's essentially the last chance you have to make an impression- so make it count! There's a plethora of options for front door-backside decorating! Go all out and wallpaper your door!

Or Blow up a family or inspirational image, and attach it. Pull off the FRIENDS look and find an ornate picture frame, and frame the door's peephole. Consider purchasing a wall decal with an inspirational phrase or word. Or simply, just write the word "bye!" on the door. Such little quirks will remain in the minds of your guests and family, as they reflect on the time well spent with you.