Dollar Shave Club

You know I love passing on good deals and I just couldn't keep this amazing company to myself!

I have a very strict grocery/toiletry budget that I stick to every month. Those months that Josh mentions that he needs razors I absolutely CRINGE.  I know that $30 of the budget will be going to razors. And although those months are very few and far between, there's a part of me that feels like $30 or more if I need them is entirely too much to spend.

A few months ago a friend shared an Instagram post about this company called Dollar Shave Club. Maybe you've heard about this club, but I hadn't. And I was totally intrigued. Please excuse their not so nice word in their subtitle. I promise their products are awesome or else I totally wouldn't share!
Basically it's a subscription service. You sign up for free and they send you razors every month.
They have 3 razor options:
1. The Basic which is $1/month + $2 S&H and includes 5 cartridges.
2. The 4x (4 blades) which is $6/month + Free S&H and includes 4 cartridges.
3. Then the Executive which is $9/month + Free S&H and includes 4 cartridges.

I was planning to wait until Father's Day to sign up Josh and then the dreaded "month" came that he needed razors and I decided I wasn't paying another dime (or 30 George Washington's) to Gillette. I'm no stranger to subscription services (I love birchbox) so I signed him up for the Executive razor and we weren't disappointed. Since he doesn't have to shave everyday we anticipate his "monthly" supply has lasted well over a month.

Also after you place your first order they allow you to change the shipment to once every 2 months! Even better. I also love that this allows me to grab some razors (we all know guys razors are better than girls) when I need some. So we signed up in February and Josh got his 4 Executive razors, they lasted through March (and he still has more) so for our April shipment I changed it to the $1 razors plus $2 S&H. I have used them for about a week and they are comparable to my Venus razors. A little known fact about me is I have to shave my legs everyday-regardless of winter/pants/bum days- my legs are always shaved. So I know my razors- and I am really impressed!

The first time you place your order they will send you the wand, but after the first time it is just the cartridges. So if you go through all the different kinds, you'll end up with 3 different wands. You can always order more.

I also love that I can throw in a shave butter treat for a gift or just because. Love this subscription service!!  If we keep on the schedule we're planning we'll get the $1 razors in April (which is actually $3 with S&H), the $9 razors in June, the $1 razors in August, and the $9 in October. So in 9 months we would end up spending $33! Not bad since that's about what I spent in one month (and I did that at least 3 times a year) with Gillette!!

And as the cherry on top? Clark Howard, Mr. Frugal Guru has recommended this club. He did an experiment to see if a disposable razor would last a year (which is did). You can read more about that here.

Of course there's perks if you sign up through us, but no pressure there. Just PM me on facebook if you want the code. Have I mentioned we LOVE saving money!

Sell or Rent?

We have had great success with renting our first home and carrying 2 mortgages. We have been asked by quite a few people about the details of how it all works and how to get started in the renting process, so I thought a post was in order. I will preface this post by saying that we know the day will come where it will be difficult to carry 2 mortgages, but for now it works for us and we are very pleased with the whole situation.

You have to make the decision whether to sell your home or rent it. Duh right? This is probably the toughest decision. Remember when I mentioned that decisions aren't always black and white? For us we had no choice. We had refinanced just 6 months before we moved. We obviously didn't know we would be moving (to make refi worth it you are typically advised to stay in the home 2+ years to recoup closing costs). Honestly though we don't regret refinancing one minute because it lowered our monthly payment making what we charge for rent more affordable. Had we sold we technically owed more than our home was worth (not by much, just from the closing costs added to our loan). And seeing how the economy went the last 5 years, we actually lucked out. Thankfully the market where we bought wasn't "hot" 5 years ago so it wasn't affected as bad as some bigger cities were.

Advertise. If you chose to rent you've gotta get the word out. We chose not to "publicly" advertise. So we didn't run ads in the paper or put flyers up in town. We wanted to be more selective about who our tenants were. They are going to be living in our home afterall. We advertised on facebook, through word of mouth, and at our local Bible college. August is typically a good month for people moving into a college town and it just so happened that August was the month it was. We found tenants in less than a week. Also this may fit under the next category but we chose to run a credit check. We know this isn't a fool proof method, but it gives us an idea of their payment history. I can't remember exactly how we did it (Josh did it) but we went to the credit bureau site and typed in the tenants email address and the bureau sent them a link to fill out with their personal information. Then the credit history was reported to us upon them submitting the link. That way we weren't responsible for any personal information (social security numbers, etc.). We didn't run background checks in this case because we actually knew of our tenants. If they had been total strangers we would have. 

Should you hire a property manager? It depends. First of all we were new at this and it would have been ideal to hire a property manager. But my parents have been landlords for my whole life. I've grown up around having a rental house and seeing the ups and downs it brings. We also used their knowledge to draw up a lease. That was probably the most difficult part. But I called my dad whenever we had a question about "lease/law wording" and he helped. If this is totally out of your comfort zone, I would recommend hiring someone to help. You also have to keep in mind that property managers get paid a certain % of the rent money. You must take that into account when you are coming up with what to charge for rent. Also we are about as far away from a rental as I would be comfortable with. We live just over 100 miles away. Anything more and we would probably have a property manager. We also have our a/c guy, plumber, and electrician on speed dial just incase. 

Lease. I already mentioned that you need to draft a lease, but there's lots of important things that needs to be included. Are you okay with pets? What if the tenants want to paint? Are you leaving anything behind that you expect to be there when they leave? This is very individualized to the situation. For instance we were okay with pets as long as we know about them. As far as paint, again we are okay with it (tenant funded) but they just need to run the colors by us (no fluorescent orange or black walls). I wish I could say I've never had to paint over a black wall, but I have. My parents had renters that didn't exactly stick to their lease terms (and didn't receive their deposit back either). Oh and I've had to paint over sharpie from walls. Yeah. We left alot of things behind at our house because when we moved out we weren't sure where we'd be living. We left our patio furniture, a few ladders, our lawn equipment, and other misc things. Those things are all drafted in the lease. 
Figure out a price. We aren't in this to make money. We simply want to cover the mortgage, we include pest control services in the rent, and a little bit to put aside for repairs. When I say a little I'm talking no more than $50 a month. Things break and we don't want it to be a hardship on our family when they do break so it's nice to have a cushion and pay cash when it inevitably happens. Also figure out a deposit amount that they pay with the first month's rent. Again this is going to depend on the circumstances. Make it fair to you and them. 
Maintenance. This should also be included in the lease (what's the tenants responsibility and what's our responsibility). We require our tenants to keep up with the lawn maintenance, but we make sure the air filters are changed and the smoke detector batteries are working. There's more written in the lease but those are the major things. Obviously if the septic tank needed to be pumped we'd be responsible for that too (but we had it pumped right before we moved).
This shouldn't need to be said but it happens. Stay in touch with your neighbors. They know what normal activity is. My parents had a bad situation a few years ago where the neighbors knew things were going on in the house but no one ever said anything. Since then my parents leave their contact information with the neighbors, just in case. It doesn't matter how many times you drive by, you may not see all that goes on. Your neighbors are gold when it comes to this. 
Hire a tax professional. We did our taxes by ourself for many years, but once we added the rental it was out of our hands. They were able to find deductions we weren't aware of and they have great advice when it comes to keeping track of all receipts and necessary documentation for tax time. Even our tax person said "Yeah, you had alot of changes this year. Good thing you came by." To us whatever they charged was priceless. We just couldn't have done it ourselves and felt confident enough the face the IRS if audited. 

We have taken the advice of our mortgage company and we keep 6 months worth of rent in our savings account just in case. When we were approved for this mortgage they required that amount of cash plus our downpayment to be in our account during the process. We figure it's just good practice to have that emergency fund just in case. 1. In case something huge breaks. 2. In case we don't have renters for a while. We thankfully worked hard to put a new roof on and replace the siding before we left so those "majors" are covered for a while. 

If I haven't already said it, please know that we are so thankful to be able to do this. Not everyone is comfortable carrying two mortgages, but given the circumstances, we felt it was the right thing to do. I mentioned before that when we bought the home we are living in now that we pay less for our mortgage AND HOA fees than we would to rent a 2 bedroom apartment. So for us this really was a win-win situation. We had to find the delicate balance of what we could afford and what we were comfortable paying each month and find a place that fit our budget needs and our family. The rest? It's history!


I'm honestly not even sure how we survived this week. If anything could have possibly happened- it did.

It's unusual to catch this sweet boy sleeping. He's always up before me. But I couldn't resist snapping this picture!
1. I mentioned last week that our dishwasher died. And the installers called a little while later to set up delivery- for 2 weeks away. She said "well I'm not sure how quickly you need it". I was like um REALLY?! We cancelled the installation and opted for  the free next day delivery. It saved us $125. I'll have a post later about the numbers. We got a GREAT deal.

2. We had a plumbing issue with our Toccoa house. Thankfully Josh was able to fix it on his off day. And thankfully by his off day his back was feeling MUCH better- not back to normal but better. Each day is getting better. 

3. On his last "weekend" off day (we've already had our weekend- today is a Monday for me) we installed a ceiling fan in Luke's room. With it getting warmer it really was a must. We found a used one at an online yardsale for $10 and had to buy a few light kits for $5 to get it mounted. It was a headache, but I'm so glad it's up (and the $70-$80 savings was totally worth it). 

4. So I went to the dentist this week and found out that I've regrown 2 of my wisdom teeth (on the top). If you google this phenomenon dr. google will say this is impossible. It's not. I had 5 wisdom teeth removed when I was 17. I had 2 on the top right- one abnormally large and the other abnormally small). And all my x-rays were clear afterward. 1 is starting to peek through (I thought I felt it coming in- but knew "I was crazy"- yeah not so crazy afterall) and the other will most likely never come out. It's nearly embedded in my cheek bone. They don't want to touch them since they are only the size of baby teeth, but I can have the one that's peeking through removed whenever I want (if I want). I kind of just want it pulled to see if another will grow back ;) Josh always said I was "One in a million." :)
The hilarious part? There is a whole school of thought that believes you can regrow teeth by eating super healthy. I want to totally blow that theory since my mom diet consists of unhealthy amounts of cookies, diet coke, and table scraps. 

5. We bought a grill for the new house! Now when I say "we" I mean "me". Josh wasn't able to really lift a finger, so I picked it up, hauled it in the house to the deck, and set it up. It sure was nice having grilled food again! Can't wait for summer.

and a #6 just because we've had a crazy week: I thought sure Emmie swallowed a screw this past week. I left her in the hallway while I ran in her room to put something in her dresser. When I left her she was throwing clean laundry everywhere. When I came back she had gotten into a pile of screws that were left in the hallway (behind a baby gate) after disassembling Luke's light fixture. All this happened while Josh was in Toccoa fixing the pipe on his off day. She eats any and EVERYTHING that's in front of her, and when she looked up at me, I thought I saw her gumming something. I swiped her mouth and swore that I felt a screw in there. She pulled her head away and started fussing so I repositioned her and swiped her mouth again, and didn't feel anything. I even thought I saw a little blue screw in her mouth (which I guess COULD have fallen out when I repositioned her). Well I panicked because although it wasn't large or pointy (more like a small bolt) it was a weird shape. And I mean hello? What if it cause her issues in 2-3 days. I figured better safe than sorry so I ran her into our Children's Hospital urgent care center a few minutes away. They took 2 xrays of her chest and also her neck and THANKFULLY she was all clear. $50 and 3 hours later, we had alot of peace of mind (and a super long exhausting day).  Luke was playing outside with his friends when this all happened and I asked another mama if I could just leave him with her. The wait time at the urgent care was pushing an hour and when I got there it was 90 minutes. She agreed without even missing a beat and I am so thankful for their kindness! They have 2 little boys a little older than Luke and they all love playing together. She has NO IDEA the favor she did for us!!
Oh and she learned how to clap while we waited.
Oh yeah- and Easter was this week! We celebrated by waking up and doing a resurrection egg hunt. Basically there were 12 eggs that walked through the story of Easter. The 12th egg was empty signifying the empty tomb. It was great fun and Luke was thrilled. I warned him that there wasn't candy in the eggs just so he wasn't disappointed. When he opened the first egg it was a leaf (to talk about palm Sunday) and he was so excited to see a leaf. It was so cute. 
We ended the hunt by finding their baskets. 
I got a great family picture on our front steps but it's on my camera. And lazy bones here doesn't feel like connecting my camera right this second. :)

High Five for Friday (finally)!

Wow I somehow missed last week (heck let's be honest I probably didn't even know when it was Friday last week because of how many meds I pumped into my body)! Glad to be out from under that allergy/pollen fog.

1. Josh pulled his back out. Yeah, no bueno. Like he pulled it out so bad that the chiropractor had to adjust a bone in his neck 20 degrees. So he's pretty much spent the last 4 days on the couch or in bed icing his back and neck 20 minutes on and 20 min off.

2. The same week he pulled his back out our dishwasher died. When the chiropractor told him to go home and do NOTHING he said "so that means I shouldn't install a dishwasher?" It's been awesome not having a dishwasher- said no one ever. It pretty much stinks. And the installers haven't called to set up delivery, which means that I will continue washing dishes by hand. Oy. (BTW this picture was taken BEFORE he pulled it out- this is when we thought we'd still be able to fix the old one).

3. I got my hair done- finally. I've hesitated finding someone here. It's always a big switch when you are used to the same person. But I decided to try out a beauty school nearby. I was actually really impressed by their work and really really impressed by their prices! It was 1/3 of what highlights would have cost here and 1/2 of what I used to pay. Win win.

4. This week has been super busy with orders since I had some really cute dresses for sale up on my Facebook page! I got those shipped today and it feels great to have that done!

The great thing about grabbing 30 dresses from the store for others? I get to choose from the leftovers for Emberly! I kept 7 or so that I loved and some I even doubled in a different size. They are perfect for monogramming!

5. I painted Emberly's toes! Arent's they cute? #twinkletoes Luke goes "wow they're pretty but boys DON'T paint their toes!"

Care for Personalized Items

I'm a mom and I understand how busy we are. Somedays I really think the pile of laundry is going to overtake me. But I wanted to share a few tricks I've learned along the way with custom monogrammed and embroidered clothes.

These clothes take a little bit of special care, but really they aren't high maintenance. Here are my tips as a mom monogrammer.

Try to flip the shirts inside out. Especially where there is an applique. It simply protects the design from rubbing against other items. The easiest way to remember? Flip it inside out when your child takes the item off. Luke has a big head (not making fun- it's totally true) and he usually needs help getting it off so I go ahead and flip it while I pull it off.

Always wash in cold water. Hand washing is ideal but HA! Aint nobody got time for that. I wash everything in cold to be sure. Also cold water helps the applique fabric not to shrink (keeping the design pretty). I always use Heat n Bond light on the backside of the applique fabrics.  I always "heat seal" it before I send an item to a customer, but after multiple washings it tends to come "unglued". If you ever feel like the design fabric is wrinkling a very light ironing job will do. You MUST be careful when ironing so you don't melt the thread. Ask me how I know ;P Most times I use a piece of scrap fabric between the shirt and the iron and I use the tippy tip of the iron to get into the area. HnBL is great, but it doesn't stay stuck forever. Remember thread is either Polyester or Rayon so keep that in mind when you set the temperature on the iron.

Drying. All the experts say don't. But come on right? I don't like how air dried clothes feel. There's something about being fluffed in the dryer. I keep the shirt inside out and try to dry it on low. I have an "eco" setting on my dryer and that's what I use the majority of the time. There's still a chance something may happen, so be careful!

Be sure to check for safety of items. If they have an add on bow or ribbon loop or any other "add-on", check the add on frequently to be sure that it's still attached securely.

I've recently started using "Tender Touch" on the back of my items. This is a soft covering that goes over the back of the design (either applique or monogram). Remember that this may wash off over time- no guarantees. Luke's Carter's and Gap shirts rub off eventually too. Nothing that gets washed and dried will stay put forever. If the tender touch falls off it will NOT harm the outfit or design in any way. It's always worth a shot to reattach it with an iron (on a low setting), but it can also go without. I appliqued and monogrammed for 3.5 years before using this product, so the item of clothing IS OK without it. It's just an added touch.

Remember- they're KIDS clothes. They'll get dirty and that's ok. Many times I've been able to use shirts year after year. Also the quality of the shirt depends on the quality of the finished product which is why I have transitioned to high quality blanks. It makes a world of difference!


Just an apology as we dig out from underneath this pollen.
We have all been battling some crazy allergies last week and now, so my apologies for being MIA. I have been stuffing tissues in my nose and hacking up a lung while simultaneously floating because of all the allergy meds I've taken.
I plan to be back this week as we're beginning to feel better. But bear with me as I try to catch up (oh and our dishwasher is broken). Nothing like trying to keep up with a broken dishwasher.

When it's time to make tough decisions...

It's been a year since the crap hit the proverbial fan. The beginning of April 2013. Spring Break is when I resigned and when Josh felt things unraveling. It was a terrible week.

A whole 365 days. My heart still sinks when I think back.

Disappointment. Fear. Embarrassment. Relief. I wish I could go back in time and assure my 8 month pregnant self that everything would be okay.

And in a whopping 365 days I've learned more about myself and the strength of my little family than in the last seven years combined.

I could have never planned it all. And I knew that going into it. I was excited for change. And when I think back to all that had to happen, everything that had to "fall perfectly into place", I am so thankful.

It's beautiful this little life we have.

I had an opportunity arise to take a full time job. I wasn't chosen for it, but I wanted to make a decision before they called. And this decision that I thought would be SO easy to make, turned out to be excruciating. And the simple fact? I'm not ready to go back. I'm not ready to give up these days and these moments. I had decided before they called to turn it down. I didn't have to- they turned me down, giving that extra confirmation that we had made another right decision.

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when something just isn't right? It's been a familiar feeling this year. When everything points to the logical (2 comfortable full time jobs, a sweet house, plenty in savings) and that deep down stomach lump points the complete opposite way. And it doesn't just point. It screams run. So we did.

I really think my heart bled. Maybe I'm dramatic. When I sat down with Josh to talk it through my mind was made up (I was going to take it), and then I slowly remembered why we are where we are. Why we are sacrificing our pleasures to raise these children who are unaware of these painstaking decisions. They don't have a care in the world as they sleep. All the while I'm kept up at night, all night, bearing the weight of the world- our world. And I remembered why we are letting go of what the world values. What the world considers "success" because we've been there. We've both been "successful". And it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Trust. Remember the T-word? Relying on Him for our next breath. Not creating a perfect bubble flawlessly controlled by us. I had all of that once. And I wasn't happier. And the "fast lane" wasn't smoother. In fact we were more stressed out. And more worried. Coincidence? Not a chance.

This experience was eye opening. I realized that I had started to fall into complacency again. Not living in the moment. Getting caught up with things that don't really matter. And how? How after the last year could I have already forgotten? The same way the Israelites forgot? Oh yeah, the Israelites who grumbled and complained even though all their needs were met.

I have been lost in thought recently about "what ifs". And I'm convinced that "what ifs" destroy. When Josh and I were talking we agreed that many times there aren't right and wrong decisions. It's rarely ever black and white. If it were, it wouldn't be so difficult. The right/right decisions are the hardest. When you can see yourself living both of the consequences you've worked through. And the inevitable what if's that come with finally making a right decision.

There are a lot of things I could question. What if our house had sold 2 years ago? Would it have saved a bunch of heartache? What if we hadn't taken the last youth pastor position? Would my heart be a little more soft? Would I be able to trust more freely?  What if I went back to work? Would life be "easier"? Maybe. Would it be easy? Not a chance. What if I could just accept decisions we make? And not think about the alternative. Not think about how life WOULD be, but how life is. And enjoying this little life we have. I am thankful that I had this opportunity to be able to process all this. Had it not happened, I may never have worked through these feelings.

At the end of the day I feel beyond rewarded. I read articles about moms feeling like no one notices. No one sees what goes on. And no one does see. And that's okay. I'm not doing these things to be seen. At the end of everyday I have an overwhelming sense of satisfaction that I've never had before. That I made a difference. I kept two tiny humans alive. Fed them, bathed them, clipped tiny toe nails, and rocked- back and forth. We talk about important things. Like how the moon is lit at night and where the sun hides while we sleep and what dolphins eyeballs are made of.

In my career I taught nearly 500 children math and social studies, reading and writing. Sometimes teaching them life skills and how to get along was even more important. Yet even with 100% of my class passing all the state tests for multiple years, NOTHING compares to being with my babies. For once I feel like I'm exactly where I need to be. No need to pursue anything else. Just rest, and be still and be thankful.

I am forever grateful for a husband who works hard to provide for us. Who has ALWAYS worked hard to provide. And adjusting his life, and sleep schedule, and giving up time with his kids (I mean they are half his right?!) to allow me this incredible opportunity.

I finally feel like the fog has cleared. That we are feeling settled. That life is feeling normal-ish again.


Wahooooo!!! Josh is home Josh is home!!! He's been training for work for the past 3 weeks, so I've been flying solo. Wow that's hard work! He had to pass numerous tests while he was at training and I've kept quiet about it because honestly I was a nervous wreck. It's pretty intimidating being a stay at home mom and your husband having to pass a test to keep his job. yeah. But he passed with honors #3 in his class (out of 46) and I couldn't be more proud of him! Absence makes the heart grow fonder and I was so ready to have him home!

1. We were cautiously optimistic when we purchased a "mattress in a box" for little man. He told us he was done with his Thomas bed and wanted a big boy bed. Lucky for him we had my childhood bed in the basement closet. All we needed were a mattress and boxspring! He's been sleeping well (on the mattress on the floor) until Josh is able to help get his bed set up! By the way... anyone want a Thomas the Train toddler bed?
2. Our house was painted this week! Town home living is different (no yard work, don't have to worry about exterior work- siding, roof) but such a relief since we have our other house to maintain. When the painters showed up (at no extra cost to us) I gladly welcomed them (and the slight inconvenience of having our windows covered in plastic for a day or 2).

3. I caught this sweet moment- giving his sissy kisses. She sure does love her brother!
And I couldn't help but post this one again. She is just precious.
4. Josh was in Brunswick training so I met him in Savannah last weekend. I'll have a post coming soon about the details, but I couldn't help but share:
The first photo is before dropping the kids and dog off with my parents. The second picture is after. Man they require alot of stuff!

5. Probably the most exciting thing this week is that Luke asked Jesus into his heart!! We were in the car after Awana and he asked "Is Jesus God?" ummm mini theologian maybe? So we talked and he asked if Jesus prayed when he was on the cross. I told him yes and that we could read the story in the Bible when we got home. After a fairly long conversation I asked him if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart. He said "Maybe when I'm older. I don't think I can do that now." I told him that of course he could. He said maybe tomorrow. I told him "how about tonight?" And he agreed. We prayed as I was tucking him in to bed. It was the sweetest thing ever.

My Sewing Space

Y'all. This space. 

I have always wanted an area where I can work, and be creative, and not feel restricted. And I LOVE this space. Really I do. I've mentioned before that we live in a town home, and we are extremely fortunate to have this space. Basically we have 3 stories. The basement/this room that connects with a 2 car garage, the kitchen/living room/dining room on the second floor, and bedrooms upstairs. 

This basement was one of the selling points for us. It gave us the garage and storage space our 70's ranch didn't offer. It also gave us that "extra room" we begged our real estate agent for. So why does everything just feel blahhhhhh? Tan walls, tan carpet, neutral furniture, NO WINDOWS. Oh yeah, did I mention no windows? Any idea how hard it is to photograph spaces with no windows? My apologies. 

This is very much a 2 part process. This is just part 1. My goal for part 1 was to make it useful without spending money. Rearrange. Purge. Rework it so it would work. 

So let's start at the beginning. I didn't bother to clean up. I wanted to show how restrictive it really was. When I did a project I didn't clean up, because I felt like nothing had a place. Then it got so messy that I couldn't work until it was cleaned. So I'd spend an hour cleaning, only to have it happen again. I was frustrated. 

I had been pinning rooms that I drooled over on pinterest. I tried to pinpoint exactly what I loved. Was it the colors? or the work areas? or the accessories? or the organization? I wrote down everything I liked as I studied the pins. And I was determined not to spend any money right now. I've already spent a lot on this space and the contents of this space. I just needed to get it under control so I could work more efficiently. 

After writing what I inspired me, I drew the layout. Josh and I share this space (half is his man land). I only have 3 walls to work with and I didn't really want to move the big furniture. I would have if it would have helped, but it didn't. This is definitely a 2 part project as you'll see. For each wall I've listed what I've done, and what I'm planning to do in a part 2 reveal.

Wall 1: work space
Here was my sketch. I'm clearly not an artist. 
The furniture piece is our old entertainment center. Josh is currently using our coffee table for the TV. We try to limit pointy furniture when our children learn how to walk and toddle. Less chance for accidents. He'll most likely get a new entertainment center when we move the coffee table back upstairs. For now this entertainment center is staying. 

I wanted some sort of shelf above this workspace for my inspiration magazines, some colorful markers, and extra spools of ribbon. Under that I wanted to make use of an ikea corralling tin thing we already had (used it in the laundry room in our old house). It would make the perfect place for scissors and other tools, foam brushes, etc. I also wanted to move my thread to this wall. I stand here to hoop shirts for appliqué, I iron here, and I cut fabric here. It's pretty much my only work station. And it was a pain to have to walk to another wall to match thread. The top drawer needed to hold my shipping supplies, my stabilizers, embroidery machine accessories, and all my blanks. 

Not bad for a part 1 cleanup/rework!

*the printables came from a quick pinterest search and clicking a few links to blogs where they were offered free.

The top drawer holds all my shipping supplies, stabilizer rolls, and my machine accessories (prewound bobbins, needles, etc).  

Underneath the entertainment center I used the file storage boxes that used to hold my fabric to now hold my blanks. Bibs, shirts, onesies, burp cloths, and already created samples. Amazing what some uniform happy labels can do. 

Part 2 goal: paint the entertainment center white, find a task light (still not sure if this will go here or on the desk), create an ironing board surface on the top of the entertainment center (plywood, batting, fabric). Right now I use a piece of fabric folded so it doesn't damage the wood top. It's real high-tech. Maybe add some bunting? How fun and whimsey is that?

Wall 2: computer/embroidery machine
Next up is the main wall with the hutch. This is where I work at the computer digitizing designs, I sit here as shirts are made, and it's where I cut vinyl/paper on my Silhouette. There is a good bit of storage area up above and it has storage shelves behind the glass windows. Also there is a keyboard drawer with 2 other drawers (for pens, post-it notes, etc) and 2 cabinets (1 for file storage, the other for various office supplies). 
Nothing really changed here. It did give me the chance to go through it completely, purge what wasn't necessary, and move what could be better used elsewhere. The top is still a little raw looking. 

Also on the hutch wall I reorganized my ribbon (holy disorganization) and the ribbon is color coded by the color of the letters "ribbon". 

There's a place for stationery: 
and a tiny hook now keeps my trimming scissors super handy. 
So what's left?
Part 2 goal: Paint an accent wall. I've seen the power of these accent walls. A little paint packs a huge punch. It needs to be a light bright color. With not a lot of natural or overhead light we have quite the task. I also would like to organize the top better. When we used it in our old dining room we had rugby striped bins from the Container Store up there. LOVED them, but I'm using these in other places in the house. Also maybe add some Christmas lights (hidden of course) to brighten the top. Also clearly my chair is pitiful. I left my office chair in my classroom because we just didn't need it anymore. Now I would like something with arms and a cushion. Keeping my eyes open at thrift stores! 

This drawing combines 2 walls (the top with the hutch is the main wall) and then the bookshelf at the bottom is the wall to the left. More on that in a second.

To the left of the hutch on the same wall I put these plastic  drawers. They were to the right originally. 

Eventually I would like for the plastic drawers to not be in here, but for now they stay so I added a piece of wrapping paper in the front so they all looked uniform, 
and added more happy labels. 
All my vinyl is held underneath the hutch. My original goal was for it to be on the other wall, but it works better here. 

Wall 3: fabric storage

Moving on the left side wall. I wanted to get the fabric out of the file bins. This was a great system that especially worked when my fabric was stored in a closet. But I wanted to use the fabric to bring color and happiness to this space. 

Also I love the bulletin board over it and want to utilize it more. 

My fabric shelf is now organized (much like how it was originally). 
The scrap bins break up the different categories (chevron, stripes, polkas, etc). 

Part 2: Paint the shelf the same color as the accent wall. This will add color over here. That's really all that will have to be done for part 2!

And for some side by side before and afters: