Saturday, March 19, 2011

152 Built In Beauty

I have some OCD when it comes to starting projects and not finishing them.  It drives me N U T S!  However, we do it all the time.  We are busy busy peeps.  We have three wild and crazy guys all under the age of 10.  Life is blissfully chaotic!  And the project we whipped up last weekend, was a LONG time coming.  Like, from August of last year overdue.

Here is a little back story for your reading entertainment....

One upon a time we had a living room.  It looked like this:

It's so weird to look at this picture.  Nothing about it is the same.  Everything has since changed.  Everything but the gallery wall and wall color....

And when it looked like this, it was intended on being updated.  This picture was taken in July of 2010.  What were we going to change?  Mainly, the standard dated media unit.  It was from a big box store from when we moved in.  It was falling apart, it was small for the space and it was not in line with my style any longer.  So what was the big plan you asked?  Why, I wanted to do a HUGE wall of built in white bookcases and/or a media unit of some sorts!  And it was gonna be grand....

And then we lost our basement in early August.  Yep. A flood wiped out our entire lower level living area.  Such a game life changer.

So, furniture got re-arranged and we downsized and moved things to storage.  And our living room instantly felt different!

The flood caused me to look at all the items and furniture we had in both spaces, and combine them into our new one and only living space.  Only my favorite pieces got to stay.  We had brought up our sectional and leather ottoman, used an Expedit bookcase for a media stand and brought in a more neutral shag rug from the storage room. 

Then, we freshened things up in December to open things up even more, by putting the Expedit into our sons room {all of our component boxes didn't fit in the cubbies so it wasn't working as ideally as we would have liked}, so a previous stand {again from our lower level}, made it's appearance instead.  And I brought back the glass coffee table, because the large leather ottoman gave us zero space.

And that's where I left off.

Because I promised to show you "real life" on the blog, our TV stand actually looks more like this on a daily basis...

IHeart real life.  And even though the TV stand looks mediocre, it doesn't matter.  Because my little man makes any room feel AMAZING!  Ok, sorry, proud mommy alert!

And as much as we are penny pinching to save up for our basement project, {we just found ANOTHER crack in our foundation and MORE water, so no remodeling until we fix the bigger problems first this spring - URG!} we decided to finally finish a project started over half a year ago now.  All we had done up until now was purchase some Ikea billy bookcases, which we planned to line on the back wall.  This was inspired by a post I had seen here on Maillardville Manor.  And then she had to go and do it AGAIN!  Yep, she had put in two bookcases and I hadn't finished my one.  Time to get our booties in bookcase gear!

So that's what we did!

As I mentioned, we had planned on lining the back wall.  However, after seeing Ashli's most recent bookcase project, in which she created a bump out, I knew we had to do the same!

Our bookcase project meant that I had to whip out the wallpaper again.  Because I can't leave well enough alone.  And I didn't want it too be too much white.  Or too simple.  I wanted texture and interest.  And I found this print which matched the wrapping paper I used under our console table, almost to a perfect T!

So the hubs threw together the bookshelves and I sprayed the backing with spray adhesive {tip, if you do this, do the ugly brown side so the good white side can always be used someday if you ever want to switch things up}.

Of course, I was SO excited to finally be doing this project, that I didn't take pictures up til this point.  And we also went to our local Home Depot to snag up MDF for the top and trim for the front, and I didn't take pictures of that either.  But it was a real party, let me tell you!  Just kidding, but in all honesty, the individual who helped us at the good ol' HD, completely cut the top three pieces of wood to an exact perfect cut for us, so we wouldn't have to drag out the table saw when we got home.  HE WAS SO NICE!  It was great!

OK, bookcases assembled.  Check.  Wallpaper attached.  Check.  Time to finish our new masterpiece.

As I mentioned, the wonderful employee at our local Home Depot cut the three top pieces to the perfect sizes.  The hubs just had to screw the bookcases together with 1 1/4" screws, tops and sides.  He also pre-drilled each screw hole to prevent any wood splitting. 

Then, he used his miter box to cut the chair rail molding for the front of the bookcases and attached with an air nailer.

Adding the molding is all we needed to do to be completely 100% sold and in love with the new addition to the space.  It unified all the single units {5 total bookcases} into one, and gave it such a built in feeling!

Next, came puttying and sanding down the lines on the top where the pieces met together, and filling any nail holes in the trim.

We also traced the cap to the wood putty to create a template to create a small notch in three places along the back of the unit, which were cut out with a jig saw.  Because we made the tops deeper than the bookcases themselves, we wanted the entire unit to push tight up against the walls and to hide the cords for all of our lighting and electronics behind it.

I brought one of the shelves into Home Depot with me to have them color match it to a quart of Glidden paint.  It came out to be the PERFECT match and sheen!  They are so great to us there!  {And no, they are not paying me, I just heart when we get great service!}

I used a smooth roller on the top and a edging brush on the trim:

Here we are almost done!

Then came my favorite part!  Putting the room together!  I had all sorts of my favorite decor and organizing books that were just waiting to be placed together in harmony!

And the kid's have loads of books of their own!  It's great having a place for them in our living area, where we do majority of our reading together!

I popped all of their library books into their very own basket as well, since I wanted to ensure they never got misplaced or lost!

And then the rest were just accessories gathered from around the home!  Ready to see the difference a little weekend project can make?

Again, before:

And After:

The new shelving unit absolutely fills the space up perfectly!  Like it was meant to be!  So much more proportional to the space!

The previous sunburst mirror didn't fit anymore.  It was too big with the new shelving height and TV combo.  So I found this smaller version at Target for $25 smackaroos, since I couldn't bare to be sans sunburst!

I want to chain myself to this room!  Since it's been done, I find my self gravitationally being pulled to the couch, just to snuggle up and gaze around.  I have never been so in love with a space in our home.  It is so bright and cheery and colorful and happy.  It feels like home.  Like a great place to raise our boys and play games and read stories and watch movies and cartoons and take long afternoon naps!

So that's the story of our living room!  Well, not actually not the whole story - it did once look like this....

Until Bryan's uncle told me it looked like we had smoke damage.  Then, it was this for a minute:

Until I felt like a sunshine threw up on my walls.  That's when Shrek came to visit and the rest is history!

So what do you think?  Who else has been putting off a project that just needs to be done already?  Big or small?  What about seeing something somewhere that got you off your project finishing booty and getting things done?!  Who else has embarrassing photos of a space that make you laugh and shake your head and wonder what you were thinking?  I want to hide mine just like I hid those pictures of me in 4th grade with poofy poodle top hair and rolled jeans....

Oh my greatness!  Check out how we took these super sweet built-ins a step further with new decorative doors!

Friday, March 18, 2011

3 For Japan with Love

The news of the happenings in Japan have made my heart ache daily.  Truly deeply ache.  It's such a gut wrenching situation and I can't begin to understand or imagine the devastation.  

Tomorrow I will be taking a moment to remember how fortunate I am, snuggle with my babies and send my thoughts and prayers to those in Japan.  Tomorrow I'll be participating in a day of silence. Please join me and go here to donate.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

33 March Challenge: Project "Household Binder" {This is the way I Blog}

All free printables mentioned within the post are now expired and available for sale!  Please check out my Etsy Shop for a large selection of personalized printables to fit all of your household organizing needs!

  Thank you!

I am gonna be honest.  Sometimes I am NOT always the most organized in certain areas of my life.

Yep, it's a confession that may have some of your jaws glued to the floor... but it's OK.  I am OK with that.  It's all about being happy, human and picking your battles.

One area I wasn't really that organized in, ironically, was my blog.  There were some nights I would stare at my computer screen as I was getting ready to post and not have a clue what I was going to write about.  I would "wing it" and hope that a reader might be happy with it and come back the next day.  Yep, that's how I rolled.

Then recently I decided that I had to get control of my organizing baby.  So I started writing down my "ideas" on a blog list, which I also shared with you here.  That helped, at least then I had a list of ideas to pick from when I was staring at a blank screen.

The blog has actually gotten to be a pretty busy place and I am grateful to be organizing giveaways and ideas and have some guest posts coming up as well!  I needed more than one list so I started using the calendar pages in my daily planner to try and keep track of things.  Until now.  This Household Binder is giving new life and order to my blogging life!

Let's start with the "Blogging Ideas" list.  I am still using this as a way to jot down future ideas for topics or titles or things I don't want to forget!

I tossed a couple in here to jot down all my hair brained ideas {you get to see a blank version of everything so I don't spill any blog beans - so sly of me!}

And one for you...

click HERE to download PDF

On the opposite side of the divider pocket, I slipped some additional checklist sheets.  However, these are to be used differently.  The first set is for "Ideas", this set is actually for my "To Do's" such as keeping Etsy orders, Style Tile orders, Giveaways and other blog related projects all down on paper, so nothing slips my hair brained brain.

And for you....

click HERE to download PDF

And now how I plan to ensure that I am not staring at a screen with googly eyes wondering what's next?  I created a full year calendar to keep in the "Blog" section of the binder:

Now I can write in specific post information for each day of the week, and "Pre-Plan" things out a bit!  LOVE THAT!  Love that it's all in one place!  Love that I finally got another little area of my life organized!  Love that things are going to get easier for me now that I got my act together!

And for you....

click HERE to download PDF

The PDF is actually a full year calendar.  All 12 months of it!  And all 365 days.  And since I typed every last bit of it in myself late one night while my family was fast asleep and my eyes were droopy, let's hope it's all correct!

The calendar could absolutely work as a great addition to any section in your Household Binder, such as for your children's schedules, or for important dates, or for meal planning or for your family calendar.  It's really versatile for however you would like to use it, there is nothing specific about it that says it has to be used for "Blogging".

So there you have it.  Hopefully you haven't noticed the chaos that can be this blog, and if you have, hopefully now that I have my binder working for me, you will notice improvement!

Your turn!  How are you keeping all of your blogging ideas in check?  What do you plan on using the calendar download for?  How obvious is it that I am the most unorganized organized person?  haha!

I decided a little challenge would be fun! This month we are creating a Home Management Binder!  Wanna Join in?  Take photos and blog about your awesomeness as you go!  I am hoping to do a giant, "We did it!" celebratory post where we can all link up our binder creating success stories at the end of the month!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

18 Reader Space: Ooh La La Laundry!

I am going to keep my intro on this one simple since the pictures speak for themselves, however, I am completely smittenly giddy and inspired by the oh so fabulous laundry space that Alicia popped over!

Alicia wrote:

Hi Jen

It’s always great to “meet” another organising junkie so I was excited to discover your blog a few months ago and I’m hooked. I’d love to share how I made over our laundry (yep, here in Australia we just call it a “laundry” not “laundry room” as I have learnt from American home blogs!).

Our laundry is the only thoroughfare between the inside and outside of our home, a small townhouse. Since we can’t just shut the door, it was important to make the room blend in and easy to keep tidy. After painting over the yucky walls and striped tiles, we added much-needed storage in the form of overhead cupboards and added hooks and rails to make use of the walls. The colour on the back of the shelves matches the wall colour in the adjacent living room for continuity. Removing the patchy window film and adding new stainless steel tapware really freshened up the space.  As a finishing touch, a few pieces of art make it a bit more homey.

I have attached some before and afters. You can find more info on my blog

Bye from hot hot hot Adelaide!

Here is the laundry space before the updates:

Get ready to give your fingers a workout, because you will be scrolling up and down to compare the jaw dropping before and afters... It's incredible what was done to this space!  Ready?  Set?  Go!!

WOW with a capital W O W!  I am speechless yet want to scream YAHOO in delight for this happy, clean, organized laundry!

Where do I begin?  The green accent, LOVE.  Just that tiny pop above the sink completely tied in the laundry with the living space through the door.  And brought in the fresh green from outside as well!

She kept it simple!  She knew she had a small space to work with, and kept the belongings to essentials only.  The "essentials" also double as accessories, which I ADORE!

She utilized her wall space, with those great Bygel rails and Asker cups!  Anyone who knows me, knows it was probably that concept that won me over from the start....  Plus, she added hooks to hang the items that weren't cup appropriate!  Adding shelving on the other wall was a HUGE win in this space, walls are a great place to add much needed storage, and this room absolutely proves that point!

I really am crazy in love with all the white as well.  It really makes that small space seem twice it's size.  And fresh.  And clean.  And Organized!

And last but absolutely not least, the pops of art!  Swoon.  They are the perfect prints to bring in additional color to the space!

I am taking notes on this one!  Everything about this is just right!

A special THANK YOU to Alicia for writing and sharing her fantastic space with us!

Now it's your turn!  What do you love?  What ideas can you borrow?

And a button for you:

IHeart Organizing

And feel free to leave some extra love for Alicia, and stop by to check out her blog here

P.S.  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please send your story and photos to and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and un-editted.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your routine for the better is so helpful!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

644 March Challenge: Project "Household Binder" {Labels & a GIVEAWAY!}

 **  Attention:  This Giveaway has since ended.  Thanks everyone for participating!!  The winners selected were #144, Lindsey and #460, Michelle {wahoo!}, and have been contacted via email! **  

So one of the very most important pieces of putting together our Household Binder, that I haven't touched on yet {yep, I have been holding out on you}, is labeling the divider tabs!

Sure, I am always a fan of making my own labels, but for some projects, that really just doesn't make sense.  That's when I turn to my trusted label maker!

I use this lovely fella for EVERYTHING!  Spice containers, folder tabs, shelves, you name it, it can be done!  It's really an essential household tool!

So of course when I looked at those small divider tabs, I knew I had to utilize my label maker to make the perfect labels!

It looks so pretty and uniform and I can read the labels which is of course the most important part, so I can quickly spot the tab I need without flipping through multiple pages!  What a time saver!

So, today, to help you out with your binder labels, and EVERY other organizing project you have going on in your home or workplace, DYMO is giving away TWO label makers to IHeart Organizing readers!

And these aren't just any label maker!  These things totally ROCK with features!  These are primo label makers my friends!

Two of your will be receiving a DYMO LabelManager 260P!

Here is some additional information on all the awesomeness included in this handy tool:

"Powered by a lithium-ion battery – the same technology used to power cell phones and laptop computers – the DYMO® LabelManager™ 260P label maker eliminates the inconvenience of AA batteries. Charge and go unlike an AC adapter, labelling power whenever you need it. The label maker’s sleek new design is perfect for any office or workspace. Plus it’s packed with new features – inspired by our consumers– that help you get the results you want with more ease and convenience. See what your labels will look like before you print them on a new, large 30 x 60mm screen that displays two lines of text. Work faster with an improved user interface that displays all menu commands without scrolling, and includes easy-to-read icons for formatting options. Choose from 3 fonts and 6 text styles; highlight your text with 8 box styles or underlining. Print up to nine copies of the same label, and prevent repeated work with a 9-label memory and “save text” feature. LabelManager™ 260P uses DYMO D1 labels in 6, 9 and 12 widths. Enter text quickly and naturally with the familiar ABC keyboard layout, and use special function keys for fast access to punctuation marks, currency and other special symbols."

Sound fabulous?  Here is how to enter:

1} Anyone in the US is eligible to enter.

2} Leave your email or blog address so I have a way to contact you when you win.

3} Leave a comment on the giveaway post stating "IHeart Labeling" and for fun, tell me the first project you would use your new label maker on!

4.  For a second chance to win, share this giveaway on your blog, twitter or on facebook and leave a second comment!

Giveaway is open from Tuesday, 3/15 through 9 p.m. central time Thursday, 3/17.  Two winners will be selected using

Thanks everyone and Good Luck!!