Office Overhaul part 2

Here's where we left off... a pretty disastrous room.
Having a baby changes everything! We thought we were prepared after we had Luke, but #2 has really made us rethink how our whole house functions.

We decided that regardless of gender, we wanted this baby to have it's own room. We are huge believers in sleep and creating an environment for sleep. Luke slept in our room for 5 weeks (he started sleeping through the night at 4 weeks), and it was the most miserable 4 weeks of our life. None of us slept. I woke up to every little noise, coo, and squeak he made. He woke up every time we rolled over, stepped on a squeaky floor board, or coughed. It was not fun. We knew the whole sharing a room thing wasn't for us.

If this baby was a boy, we planned to get good sleep habits established (2ish years) and then have the boys sleep in the same room. But since this baby is a girl, it's a pretty obvious choice that she will have her own room. 

We have 3 bedrooms, so 2 kids' rooms plus our room totally eliminated Josh's office and my sewing space. Although we were both a little bummed, we both knew turning the office into a nursery was for the best in the long run. We have also decided to stay put here (Josh's new job in July, we refinanced in October, trying to finish paying off a student loan) and work with what we have. Once we had a plan, and figured out what was best for us, it was an easy choice to stay. Sure a 4 bedroom house with a basement sounds like total luxury- but we're just not willing to do that right now. 

Soooo our minds were made up, but now we had to make it happen. Absorbing an entire room into the rest of the house is REALLY hard. Especially since everything already had a place. We had to rethink where e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g went. All our files, our desk x2, 3 filing cabinets, my fabric and all my sewing tools (machine, stabilizer, thread, etc); oh yeah and Josh's closet! Whew. I blogged about the chaos of moving closets. We both had no idea how it would work to share a space- but 4 months in and it is going way smoother than either of us thought possible! We purged, purged, purged and thought about everything we kept. Did we have room, did we love it, and was it still practical? We even rethought the need for a desktop computer. An iPad, iPhones, and a MacBook are wonderful, but when it comes to embroidery software that I use for sewing a Windows PC it had to be. Blah.

As far as the "office" aspect we did a trial run having our computer in the dining room. Here was the set up:
We knew we eventually wanted a hutch type cabinet for all the office supplies. But figuring out if the office was even going to work was #1 on the list. We tried this for a few weeks and quickly realized that it was totally do-able. We just needed to find a hutch to hold the rest of our things! A few quick searches on pinterest and I found the look I was going for:
But with a $400 price tag plus nearly $75 shipping it was totally out of the question. So off to more brainstorming...

With the closet and office situation nearly solved, we moved on to my sewing storage. I pretty much had one bookshelf that held all my fabric and sewing tools (minus my sewing machine which stayed out all the time). 
Since this shelf became our command center everything had to find a new home.

I knew I wanted to keep my fabric stored like how I organized it here (on comic book boards). So I found some locker sized crates (which held the comic book boards perfectly). It took 3 crates to get the job done and store all my fabric. Scraps, stabilizer, and tools are still stored in the clear boxes with blue tops and labeled with what's inside. 
I'm really not sure how we did this, but Josh puttered for an afternoon in our hall closet and made space for all my stuff. I knew that if I stored my sewing things in the attic that I would never use them or my machine again, so I desperately wanted to keep them within reach.

So what did we do about the office?
Some friends of ours were moving one weekend in early November. They had a hutch/office that they were using in their old place and while they tried to fit it in their new house, it wouldn't turn the corner into their office. They knew we were looking for one and asked us if we'd be interested in buying it! $75 later it was ours. Much better than the hefty price tag from Pottery Barn.
Josh is the primary budget person. He crunches the numbers, keeps up with the bills, balances the checkbook, etc. So this space had to be 100% functional for him. The entire right side is his stuff.

I sew, cut vinyl, keep some craft supplies, and coupon here, so I needed space as well. The left side is mine.

Our new to us hutch/office holds some much needed supplies:
a small filing drawer:
The rest of our files are held in the attic in plastic filing bins. We can easily put our hands on whatever we need thanks to our attic organizing system! Also extra office supplies are kept up there in a box (CDs, paper, etc).
My Silhouette:
and our small shredder:
(yes our shred pile is outta control!)

and because of how much the office sticks out from the wall, we had to move our dining room table over which in turn meant that our chandelier had to be re- positioned. That was seriously a pain! (finding a stud, centering it, and having enough electrical wire/chain, oy!).
The bins on top are from the Container Store. I immediately fell in love with the Rugby stripes. At $9.99 a pop they were pricey, but totally worth it! They hold all of our DVDs, which frees up some space in the entertainment center for other things.
I am totally thrilled with this whole project. Of course it gets out of hand on those totally crazy weeks. And it's a constant reminder to pick up after ourselves. It is so nice to know that we freed up an entire room by putting some thought into this space and making it work!

We did end up getting rid of a few pieces of furniture: 3 filing cabinets, 2 desks, and a bookshelf. Actually they're not totally gone- just waiting patiently in the shed for a spring yard sale.

Also I'm happy to say that my sewing machine is perfectly within reach. As you're looking at the new hutch our command center is directly behind. And my sewing machine fits on the bottom shelf. It's nice to not have to lug my machine half way across the house!
And you know what this means?? Now that the room is cleared and baby stuff is moving in it's almost time for a nursery update!! Paint will be going on the walls this weekend... the crib is already up, the closet is full, the dresser is ready, and the rocker is put together! Of course it took me 2.5 years to finish Luke's room- but maybe this one will come together more quickly. I mean we have already been through it once!

New Paint + Curtains

Just a warning- I probably should have split this into 2 posts (paint and curtains). I feel like this post is choppy at the end- but it just makes sense to keep them together because they fit so well in the space together! So here goes!

Something I've wanted to do since the day we moved in is paint our living room, dining room, and hallway walls. The color- a tan/light khaki was ok. But in some lights it seemed to turn pink which is a common issue with "tans". It obviously didn't bother us enough to change it quickly- since it took 4.5 years to do it!

I scanned the blog to find some true to life pictures of the old tan color:
The first picture is more true to life. The second looks washed out from the flash.
Here is the color the day we moved in-
When we redid the master bathroom, I decided to turn to pinterest to find a color. I had NEVER done this before. And I had no idea how it would turn out- but it quickly became my favorite gray tone! It's called Gray Horse by Benjamin Moore. I had it color matched to Martha Stewart paint for the bathroom and for the living room I used Behr. Here it is as I was cutting in with the gray on the tan wall. You can see how the gray is a little darker than the tan. 
Because it was such a success in the bathroom, we decided it would be our whole house color! Over Christmas break my mom came up to help paint, and we got the whole space knocked out in about 4 days. Add that to the 2 or so days it took to do the hallway...
Here are some pictures of the new color in the living room:
The gray against our chunky white frames-
I had to recut the vinyl for the "masterpieces".
It now matches my quatrefoil painting perfectly (since I used leftover bathroom paint!)-
And here it is next to our new "office". I still owe you a post about that!
We also upgraded our curtains on the back door in the dining room... we had already updated our curtains in the living room here. I say updated because we worked with what we had and added a panel to each window to make them more... flow-ey. Our old curtains on the back door were purchased the week (practically) we moved in. If I could do it over again I would highly recommend WAITING until you have figured out what look you are going for before spending $30+ on curtains. It was a mistake I lived with for 4.5 years and I was so ready for a change! The dark red made our whole space feel closed in and they hardly let any light in. Also it blocked the view we so desperately worked to achieve (when we moved in the seal on the back door was broken so the glass was all cloudy- we lived with that for 6 months before changing out the sliding door). This was the only picture I could find of the red curtains. I never took a picture of just them! (This was at Luke's first birthday!)

My only requirement was that the new curtains kept the privacy factor- i.e. not be so see through that they are sheer, and that they let some light in. I also wanted to raise the rod about 5 inches to give the door some height. We reused the old rod that used to hang right at the door moulding. This gives it some much needed height.
The curtains are from IKEA. I went a little crazy... When I went I knew exactly what curtain panels I needed. When I got there I couldn't find them. They are the VIVAN panels. I over heard another couple saying they were looking for the same ones. I found 2 packs seriously misplaced in a different container, so I grabbed both of them. It was an honest mistake because I didn't realize that 2 panels came in one pack (for $9!!!). So (in my selfish grabbing fit) I actually ended up with 4 panels and had to return one pack- since I only needed 2 curtains. I felt a little guilty and I really hope the other couple found some. I just didn't think it was possible to get 2 96-98in long curtain panels for $9!! Here's how they look on the back door-
Also the casing for the rod to slip through was not thick enough for our rod, so I jumped on Amazon and ordered some thick ring clips. Also I did have to hem the curtains. Not sure how much- I hung them, figured out how much I needed to take off and sewed a straight line!

The VIVAN panels are the same ones we used to update our living room curtains.
We also grabbed a rug that I fell in love with at SAMS of all places. At $20 I couldn't resist! It pulls the white from the curtains, blue from the living room and navy/green from the laundry room. I love happy accidents like this!
Back to the paint color- a little before:
and after from the same angle:
This is literally the perfect color for our space! We love it!


I figured I've done enough projects around here the last year and a half or so... so how about an update on some things?!

Last April I made some homemade laundry soap. I have just now run out this month!! Crazy how that 5 gallon bucket (which doubles to 10 gallons once placed in a container) stretched so far! Now I will occasionally grab some store bought laundry detergent for a change of things. When Tide PODS were released there were a few sales I couldn't resist. I have also been stocking up on free and clear detergent for when baby gets here (for her cloth diapers). I do about 3 loads a week and if I exclusively used the homemade stuff it would have probably lasted 5-6 months. Still not bad considering the cost breakdown.

After I made the first batch in April, I had leftover borax and washing soda. To make subsequent batches easier, I pre-measured 1/2 cup borax and 1 cup of washing soda in little baggies. The boxes of washing soda and borax were a pain to store and they were over 3/4 gone. I even shocked myself by labeling what was in each bag and leaving the recipe in the bag! Only problem? The gallon size bag with the mystery white substance!
I knew it had to either be borax or washing soda- but I had no idea which one. After a quick poll on Facebook a few friends said that washing soda will fizz with vinegar and borax will not! That's the quick chemistry class of the day :) So washing soda it was! I made sure to label that bag for next time. By the way I still have enough borax, washing soda, and soap to make 2 more batches! Yippe!

Also while we're on the subject of laundry soap- we recently upgraded our washer/dryer to an HE top loader. Instead of filling the chamber to the brim, I only fill it about half way. I would say with my old washer I put about a cup in. With these newbies, it's about half a cup. It's super strange not choosing the water level on the new washer! It senses how much water it needs and adjusts accordingly. So less water=less soap.

On to our chalk labels I blogged about here. We are still totally in L.O.V.E with these. This picture was just now taken (to show how they are holding up). By the way- if you want to see what we did before these amazing containers, head here.
Of course I do write with chalk. Real, old school chalk. So sometimes it rubs off. But it's so easy to rewrite it really isn't any big deal.
Also I have washed many of these containers numerous times.  I do have to hand wash because I don't think the labels would fare well in the dishwasher. But again this is no big deal! Love our uniform containers!

Another quick fix (while we're on the subject of kitchen cabinets) is figuring out how to organize (and remember) what's in our very top cabinets. I can't reach the handles to the very top ones, but I can to the lower ones. With my label maker I printed labels saying what's in the top cabinets, but I can see them from the lower cabinets. Confused yet? Here's a visual:

The mason jars are on the top shelf of the lower cabinet. I can reach the handle to open this cabinet. The "CH PLATES" label is telling me that our Christmas Plates are in the VERY top cabinet that I can't reach. That way instead of pulling a chair or step stool out and going through all 22 (yes 22 upper cabinets) I know exactly where to go. Here is an idea of how high the upper cabinets really are.
As long as stuff stays where the label says, it has made life so much easier. Also the labels are hidden once the cabinet is closed. Win-win!

It's hard to believe we were in the middle of our master bath reno a year ago this month! You can see parts 1,2,3,4,5. But the thing I was most worried about holding up was the vanity (part 1). If you remember we painted over the "builders grade" oak vanity and made it more of an espresso color. There was a base coat that was dark chocolate brown and then a oil rubbed bronze glaze that I rubbed over the paint to give it more dimension. I am super happy to report that it has held up WONDERFULLY! There are no nicks in the paint, and I have had to scrub general bathroom grime off it (tooth paste splatters, hair spray over spray) and it does fantastic! So glad we made the call to paint it!
I get asked alot where we purchased our living room rug and if we still love it. I did a post about it here, and it's from YES we still love it. I may love it more than Josh- but that's beside the point. Besides having phenomenal service (the rug was back ordered set to arrive the last week of June, but we got it the first of the month-  almost 3 weeks early), the color has stayed true to the original. It went through it's shedding phase like all new rugs, and I still feel like it sheds (that's what drives Josh crazy). Also the weave is a loop and sometimes when Sadie's nails are too long she'll pull up the loops. Oh well. But regardless I still love it! Also we used Scotchgard on it here which is helping to protect it from the inevitable toddler spills. Here it is today!
I just did a post earlier this month about our command center. I showed how we organized it, but what I neglected to do was show you the embarrassingly messy basket. Oh baskets are great for making things look great- but if they are disorganized there seriously is no point. Here was my basket on that shelf:

I started by clearing everything out. It's the only way to go! I grabbed a couple baskets at Dollar Tree. The long skinny basket came 3 for $1 and the square baskets were 3 for $1. The pink one I had laying around.
I broke everything up into categories (hand sanitizer, kleenex, post-its, chapstick) and put it all away. I did have a mason jar (filled with Luke quotes) that found another home, and the tripod that was the most awkward  part found a new home as well. This is kind of my purse dumping ground and refill station. Eventually I would love to vinyl the bottom of each basket designating it to whatever it's holding. I want to make sure this works first though! It's already super pleasing to the eye!

Also I'd love to do a similar update about how "going green" has been. I made cloth paper towels, we made the switch to cloth diapers and plan to cloth diaper new baby girl, we use cloth wipes on Luke and all our cleaning supplies (minus toilet cleaner) are homemade. I'll let you know how it's been working out!

Monthly Update: January

Luke started his new class at school this month. He is now in the 3 year old class and he is loving it! Heck, he's always loved school! He has a little crush of his teacher Miss Katie. It's really cute! He is doing great and I feel like he is talking about/pointing out his letters and numbers everywhere we go! I carried on our tradition of having his "old" teachers write him a note in the Dr. Seuss book "Oh the places you'll go!" I received this book as a high school graduation book and it has become his book. All his caretakers have left him a little note about him (and I'll continue as he moved through school) and hopefully he'll appreciate it either at his high school or college graduation!

One warm afternoon earlier this month we planted tulips that will hopefully bloom in spring. It was a little late season wise- but fingers crossed the bulbs will take. I planted some out front the first winter we moved in and they were still blooming 4 years later. Love some spring flowers!

I thought about doing a garden this year, but I just don't think I'll be up to it. I'd rather support our local farmers than go through the trouble of figuring out a garden and possibly having it fail. Plus after a c-section I don't think I'll be in any mood to water plants/bend over.

Not much has been happening with the nursery. A wonderful friend passed down some awesome hand-me-down clothes. So much in fact I ran out of hangers. And this is just 0-9 months. We are so blessed! We picked up the dresser at IKEA this past weekend so it has been fun watching the room come together.

The next step is painting and my mom is coming up next weekend to help. It will be so nice to get that marked off the list! I'll post pictures as soon as they are ready!

We had out anatomy scan at the beginning of the month. It was such a relief to walk out of there after seeing (and confirming) a perfectly healthy GIRL! I was super nervous this time around- like how is it possible to have 2 perfectly healthy children?! I know people have healthy children all the time, but it just had me thinking (and that's a dangerous thing sometimes!). I did find out my blood pressure was high and that makes me a little nervous. I'm trying to watch and be careful about what I eat. They said they'll recheck at my next appointment and we'll go from there. Fingers crossed!

Let's go January- fly fly fly!

Command Center

Like I've mentioned a hundred times, Luke's new brother or sister will be here soon. Which means that everything that was ever housed in that room had to find a new home.

One thing that made me tear up a little was getting rid of my sewing space. I have scaled back GREATLY on sewing orders- although I can still do them, I am not advertising because life is just so hectic right now. This shelf used to be a wood oak color.
I primed/painted it earlier this year and painted the back of it in a fun moroccan geometric pattern.
We decided we needed a "command space" in our kitchen for annoying piles that wouldn't go away. 
 Things like my camera, items that needed to be returned/delivered, and a place to hold my sewing machine and games. It also needed to hold the large diaper bag that we use on day outings and that will be the new baby's. This was going to go right up against our fridge and it works perfectly in the space because it's a relatively thin bookshelf. 

The moroccan green wasn't exactly fitting in to my red kitchen and blue/brown living room. After reading blogs about covering the back wall of a bookshelf with gift wrapping paper, I decided it would be the perfect cheap quick fix. When I went to find paper- I looked at Target, the Container Store, wally, and Dollar Tree... I just couldn't find anything that went with the space. There was a paper tablecloth that caught my eye at target and I realized it could be the perfect solution. I snagged it for $4.
My hope was to be able to drape/roll it over the backboard of the shelf. But when I opened the table cloth I realized that it wasn't a solid pattern. It had the pattern ONLY when it hangs off the table, not down the center of the table. The project then went from easy peasy to more difficult but not impossible. I had to figure out where the shelves covered the back and then I had to cut the table cloth down to the correct size for each opening. Also since the green print was so bold I had to double the tablecloth up for each section. 

I laid the backboard out of the deck and surrounded it with scrap white pieces of the tablecloth. I used spray adhesive to adhere the tablecloth to the back. It was freezing outside so I worked REALLY fast. 
Here is an example of what it looked like when I brought it in. See where the shelves would go? In this picture the geometric print shows through alot- but in real life it's not that noticeable.
Here is a close up of the blue print!
And a more real life example of how the moroccan print shows through. 
Once I put the backboard back on there was some paper overhang- so I used a utility knife to cut the excess. 
Now for the fun- organizing!
The top shelf basket is basically my junk drawer. I keep "extras" for my purse in here- kleenex, chapstick, gum, etc. It also holds my camera, tripod, and multitudes of other things. It needed to be out of toddler reach because nothing about it is baby safe. I've since done another post about actually organizing this basket. Check it out here.
The next shelf down holds our return/deliver bins. I found these at the Container Store for around $5 each and they are the PERFECT multi-functioning bucket. They would be perfect for cleaning supplies under a sink too. The return bucket is for any returns we have to various stores. I can grab this bucket in a pinch and all my returns are in one place. The deliver bin is for things I borrow from other people or things I need to give them. Whenever we go to someone's house or someone comes here I check it to see if there's anything I need to remember to give them. 
The third shelf hold the diaper bag and "paper pot". Just another way to save a buck- we don't buy kleenex boxes! The paper pot holds a roll of toilet paper for the constant runny toddler nose! We would go through 2 boxes a week otherwise. Found it on amazon and it comes in like 10 colors!

The bottom "closed off" half of the bookshelf holds our games and my sewing machine. I needed my machine  easily accessible to the dining room/computer so I can still do my applique. 
We LOVE this shelf! It's a command center and holds just the perfect amount of stuff. You could tweak the return/deliver bins to any of your needs. We just found these were the two things that kept piling up on the dining room table. 
P.S. How cool is it that one of my favorite blog (iheartorganizing) did a command center today as well?! I've had this post written since Thanksgiving and it was waiting for pictures... but maybe great minds do think alike?? Check out the amazing command center she featured today!