Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

Storage Brainstorm! April 9, 2009

Here are some snapshots of different ways we have found to organize our lives.  Hopefully these will help give you some ideas for the problem areas in your homes as you gear up to tackle Spring Cleaning 2009!

img_31961In the kids’ room-

top shelf L-R: coloring books and construction paper in the blue bin, craft supplies/glue/scissors in the clear bins

lower shelf L-R: crayons/pens/colored pencils/stamps in blue bin, markers in green basket, timer for room time, Maggie’s hair stuff in purple basket, hair ribbon/bows in pink&purple thing.

on dresser top: dehumidifier (our house is a moist place…), stereo, chapter books, library books, audio books, and give/save/spend jars.


In the linen “closet”-

(I put “closet” in quotes because it was made in the hallway by a previous owner…they stole precious space out of the bathroom to make it- I’m still wondering if it was worth their time…)  :-)

top shelf L-R: pain relievers and Rx, in drawers: travel size stuff/cough drops/cold medicines

lower shelf L-R: first aid, cotton balls, q-tips, and first aide.  In drawers: asthma meds/band aids and ointments/kiddie meds/extra meds

img_31891In the living room-

We semi-recently got rid of our coffee table and therefore needed a good place for our magazines (okay, mainly they are mine…and I can’t part with them until they are at least 6 months old and the season is past…).  SO, in the meanwhile, we weren’t too sure what to do with them.  I decided to buy 2 CHEAP magazine holders from IKEA and they’ve worked great!  I even think they look somewhat stylish on the bookshelf!!  :-)


In the kitchen-

I’ve been trying to save some dough by buying what I can from the bulk section at Winco.  I was encountering a problem though: everything ended up in a ziplock…and then in a pile in the cupboard.  I did some research on storage options and settled in these by OXO.  They aren’t cheap: BUT using a Kohl’s card with a great coupon at a sale I was able to get them fairly affordably!  I stole my sister-in-law’s label maker and got them all set to go.  I have two layers of them on the shelf and a few were removed when I took the picture.  I’m in love with them!  Here are the things I opted to store in them:  flour, sugar, cornstarch, powdered sugar, wheat flour, brown sugar, splenda, cornmeal, steel cut oats, slivered almonds, walnuts, raisins, and dried cranberries.


Another great way to save money by shopping in that bulk section is by refilling your empty spice jars!  You can get them for pennies on the dollar and it’s so easy if you already have empty, labeled jars!  I always have trouble finding the spice that I need in the cupboard, especially with shelves that are above eye level, so our solution has been to put the spice jars into metal baskets (or you could use plastic bins, etc.)  This way I can just grab a basket, pull it down and find what I need w/o pulling half of the cupboard out, dropping anything onto my head or into my mixing bowl (yes, it HAS happened!)april-2009-0471

In the entry way –

Even though our living room is fairly big, and we do have a coat closet in our current house, there is almost no entry way or welcoming area at the front of our house!  In an effort to make the area seem larger we hung this set of mirrors with pegs that both makes the space feel larger AND creates an easy place to hang a visitor’s coat (and not have it out of site to be forgotten!)

We thought we’d share some organizational solutions that we have used in our homes to help you get a jump start on your brainstorming!  There are a plethora of ideas and options out there, but hopefully SEEING some possibilities will help get you thinking of how you can reorganize your problem areas :)


Oops. March 17, 2009

Filed under: Comic relief,Decorating — Andie @ 6:08 am

sorry friends, I spaced the blog yesterday! You know that phrase “I was putting out fires all day” Well, it was literal and figurative for me yesterday! Yesterday morning I lit a nice vanilla candle and was relatively sure that Byron wasn’t going to bug it. After all, he was looking at it and constantly saying “hot, hot” which means that he knows not to touch it. What he didn’t know, apparently, was that you are also not supposed to touch anything ELSE to the fire. It seems what happened (of course I was in the other room….) is that Byron stuck a birthday card over the flame. I didn’t get wind of this until my smoke detector went off and and my buffet had a flaming card and napkin on it. I freaked out for a minute and tried to smother it with my large sweatshirt sleeve. This was ineffective (and generally a bad idea). Then, I grabbed the first thing I saw on the floor, Byron’s blanket, doused it in water and threw it over the flames. That worked (put this in your memory bank, ladies) on the 6-8 inch diameter fire. My buffet was only charred, and Byron’s blanket survived after a wash.

In other news, I was in charge of decorating for my friend Easten’s wedding last Saturday. We made topiaries like this one for reception centerpieces. I got the pot at ikea for $.50 and the rest of the stuff at (great site!!) for $8 or $9 or so per table.



“Itty Bitty Living Space” March 10, 2009

Filed under: Decorating,Household tips,Living in small spaces — Leah @ 6:00 am
Title is a movie quote- do you know where it's from?  Answer at the bottom of the post!

Our family currently resides in a 915 sq. ft, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, single car garage home.  :-)  The twins share a room, Miles gets his own, and we’ve recently done some things to make our main living space a bit more managable for our family of five.

Living Room: We set aside some of our tax return to by a flat panel TV.  Truthfully, we didn’t want the “big-fancy-TV” as much as we needed the extra floor space it would provide via it’s wall mount.  We’ve eliminated the entertainment/media furniture item from the living room and replaced it with a small bookshelf that fits under the television.  We sold the coffee table on Craigslist (who needs that silly thing anyway…my son can find something else to bang his head into I’m sure…), and bought a SMALL occasional table at World Market for $20 (it was on sale) to set drinks and whatnot on instead.

img_2077Bedroom Storage: The bedroom closets are not standard size in our home, they are smaller.  So, we added a second bar in each of the kids’ closets to accommodate their clothing storage needs.  We also added a second shelf above the main one to give us some extra storage space.  We bought the Billy bookshelves from IKEA for each of the kids’ rooms and filled them to the brim with baskets/buckets for their toys.  We’re using a combination of some super cheap ones from IKEA (red and blue only) and some not-quite-as-cheap ones from The Land of Nod (LOTS of color choices).

Note: The current configuration consists of the lower two shelves with the IDEA baskets, the toddler toys have been moved to Miles’ room.  We’ve also bought a additional (skinny) Billy bookcase to expand the one you see in the picture.  Here is the link for the picture hanging line (actually made for curtains).

Closet Storage: There is one small coat closet, and the linen closet is a JOKE.  Seriously, it was homemade by a previous owner and isn’t even deep enough to get a folded towel or sheet set in it. SO, we don’t keep many extra sheets for our beds.  The kids each have one extra set, and Eric and I have one summer set and one flannel winter set.  That’s it.  It means laundry gets done the same day that they bed gets changed…but that’s ok, at least it get’s done…right?!  :-)

img_06991Bathroom: The bathroom is as small as a bathroom can get and still enclose the necessary amenities.  Other than adding the cabinet above the toilet, I’m at a loss as to how to make that space any better.  Just to give you an idea of the space: I’m standing in the tub to get the picture taken. :-)

Garage: We gave up getting a car in there long ago.  I really dislike the idea of not actually using our garage as a place to keep the weather and whatnot off our main car…but with so little storage in our home it became necessary to kick that car out!  So, I have a shelf in the garage devoted to extra pantry items that don’t fit in the kitchen itself.  I have another one devoted to extra toiletries and cleaning supplies.  This allows me to get as much as I can when it’s on sale for super cheap without totally cluttering up my kitchen.

Okay, that’s it!  What are you ideas and methods for living in your small spaces?!

(It's from the Genie in Aladin)  :-)

Art Therapy: Wedding Card Collage August 1, 2008

Filed under: Decorating — Andie @ 6:39 pm

Art is therapeutic for me. It helps me enjoy life more,  helps me unwind, and helps me decorate my house for cheap :) If you have cards from your wedding in a box in the basement,  consider choosing your favorite cards and making a collage. This is also a good way to put your vows somewhere you will see them regularly.  Please forgive the poor color quality in the photo, it’s in our bathroom!