September 27, 2010

The Master Closet

As promised, the master closet.

I always wanted a walk-in closet, one with space for bags and shoes and pretty things - oh yeah - and clothes, too. The closet we designed for our remodeled master suite was a decent size, much bigger than any closet I'd ever had before, but the space that I'd always wanted was left neglected as we simply threw our shirts on hangers, and well, that's about it. I did paint the walls before we placed everything inside, but the color I selected was one I ended up hating.

If you hate the color of the closet before, me too. If you love it, why thank you.
I picked it out myself, and it's called Beachwalk by Behr.

Because life is busy and there are always more important tasks on our lists, I left the closet alone, leaving it to "Someday." Well friends, that someday is now.

I decided that I deserved a space that made me smile when I walked inside, one that reflected me. I knew I wanted a nice color on the walls {something that didn't make me cringe}. I knew I wanted a pretty way to display my shoes and bags. I knew I wanted a special space for my jewelry, scarves, and other pretty things.

I cleared everything out of the closet, taking a good look at each piece along the way. Having four kids in five years didn't leave a lot of time to build a good wardrobe, and I had pieces dating back to college. By trying on almost every piece and taking inventory of what I had {Hello FIVE black long sleeved shirts!}, I made a sizeable pile of bags and clothing {and a pink cowgirl hat} to donate.

Next, I painted the walls what I have deemed the most beautiful color of paint on earth: Rhino by Behr. It's a wonderful light gray blue that just soothes. The closet is the third space in our home to be lucky enough to wear the shade, and it wears it well.

After a quick coat of Rhino, I called in my husband to help me with the next step. When we remodeled the downstairs, my husband and father-in-law put together a quick storage system to stow our shoes.

It's great, but I wanted to move it to accomodate an extra piece of furniture.

Wasted space!
I used to have a couple lonely hooks to the left of the shoe shelf to store my bags. We removed the hooks, shifted the shelving system a couple feet closer to the door, and voila! I was left with enough space to incorporate my own accessory area! I had a narrow desk that I had picked up at Home Goods {and painted probably four times}. It had been in my oldest daughter's room and the entryway and was currently sitting in the garage. It was narrow enough to fit the space, it had three drawers made for storing lovely things, and it was just plain perfect. I made my way to the paint department at the local Home Depot {where I think they recognize me} and selected a new shade for the desk. Since I only needed a tiny bit of paint, I asked for the color to be mixed in one of Behr's sample sizes. The 8-oz sizes are less than $3.00 - perfect for testing on walls or painting a small piece of furniture.
This cute mini size is more than enough paint for this project.
We mounted some wall hooks that we already owned above the desk for hanging bags and jewelry. A few finishing touches, and this project was complete - one of my favorites to date! Welcome to the closet.

Rolled up magazines or catalogs will help your boots keep their shape while sitting pretty.
Rocks from my honey spelling LOVE from a trip to Door County {way back on a high school band trip!}
are now in a place where I see them everyday.
Necklaces and bags are hung on hooks. Easy to grab, and I can see everything at one time -
no more digging for the perfect piece!

Hello my Lovelies!

Earring are hooked on this piece of iron decor I stole from the nursery.

Bracelets sit in the Woman of the Year bowl from my last trip to Goodwill.

Drawers in the desk hold scarves and belts.

I knotted my new favorite scarf on the doorknob near the desk - fun to see and wear!

I own a pair of long black leather gloves that belonged to my husband's grandmother.
They sit safely in one of the desk drawers during the warmer months,
but I see them when I pull out a scarf or a piece of jewelry and think of her.

Shirts, pants, dresses, and skirts hang on the other wall.
Extra floor space holds our "sleeping pillows" and step ladder.
My hubby's ties and belts are kept on the back of the door - easy to see and grab
{no excuses for being late to work!}.

The high shelves add extra storage space.

I love the new space, my "dressing room." And I don't even mind putting laundry away anymore.

September 22, 2010

Pretty Fancy Pumpkins

Saw some fabulous ideas the other day. They were a couple of Better Homes and Gardens pumpkins gone glam crafty crafts that I fell in love with. You can find the instructions here and here.

See how fabulous?

I got myself to Michaels ASAP and picked up a few fake pumpkins, spray paint {both black and silver sparkly glitter spray}, sequins, and a fancy {yet spooky} black crow.

I took my pumpkins and my spray paint and last week's newspaper and headed outside to transform some pumpkins. My neighbors have seen me outside with spray paint so often that they probably think we own stock in Krylon.

Here are the pumpkins before, plain and nice, nothing fancy.

And here they are after their makeover.

The crow is my favorite part! A sparkly harbinger of Halloween.
Snazzy! The orange pumpkins each got a couple coats of black spray paint, and all of them received a coat of silver glitter spray. I individually adhered each rhinestone with my hot glue gun; next time I do the project, I'll definitely use some self adhesive jewels, like these.

Pretty fancy pumpkins! I love how fall just keeps creeping into my home.

September 21, 2010

Paint and Repaint

You already read about the fabulous kitchen cupboard makeover here, but I had a secret. As ecstatic as I was with the results of paint on wood, now there was so much white that I yearned for some color - not a lot, just a little. I toyed with the idea of painting some of the kitchen cupboards an actual color - maybe green, maybe a grayish blue, maybe black. I wasn't sure, but that nagging feeling wouldn't go away. I finally bounced the idea off of my husband, who promptly responded with, "No. I like them this way." No biggie. It usually takes him awhile to warm up to one of my projects.

My original thinking was to paint the wood under the counter where the barstools sit. It was a smooth space with a corner for a clear transition from the white to the color. I knew I had enough of our white cupboard color to paint it back if I didn't like it {we used the same color for all of our upstairs trim}, so I looked over my paint collection, picked a coolish green, and went for it.

I lived with it for a few days, didn't love it, and painted it white again. A pain? Not really. It only took about 15 minutes to paint the space white again, and that was totally worth it in case I'd loved it in another color. I love this part: my husband never even noticed I painted it until I pointed it out to him. Not sure what that says about him {or about how often I paint things}, but it couldn't have been all that ugly if he didn't notice it immediately.

So I thought some more {there was still an awful lot of white in the kitchen, after all}, and it dawned on me: the china cupboard! My husband's grandparents owned the house before we did, and his grandfather custom built all of the cupboards. When he finished off the kitchen, he added a built in china cupboard in the corner dining area. And when we painted all of his lovely cupboards, we totally painted the china cupboard, too.

China cupboard untouched {I think she's crying a little in this picture.}
China cupboard painted white
I liked the china cupboard white, but what a perfect piece to add some drama to the room. I looked through my color fan deck of paint colors, selected a country grayish green, and had a quart mixed. After that and two coats, I transformed our china cupboard from the nice girl that no one notices to that foxy lady in the corner.

No more tears for this babe.

I painted the back and side walls and the insides of the doors in addition to the outside of the cupboard. I didn't paint the top, of course. I wasn't going to spend time painting that. If you want to come and inspect the top of my china cupboard, you'll still see the wood in its original condition, but be sure to dust it for me while you're up there.

I think with this transformation, the china cupboard went from being the biggest not to hot in that part of the house. But as they say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. 

September 19, 2010

Fabulous Finds: The PopATot

Oh my. I have struck gold. I have just discovered the most awesome baby product of all time - for real. So you're having a baby, and you write a checklist of your must-haves: a stroller, a crib, a car seat, diapers, onesies. Well add to it, my friends, the PopATot, a baby activity center that travels anywhere with you and folds up in a snap. The inventors are parents who came up with the idea on a camping trip. Their six-month-old daughter, like most babies, didn't want to be laid in a portable crib or locked in a stroller. She enjoyed sitting up and playing with toys in her Exersaucer; unfortunately, as great as the Exersaucer is, it's not very practical to fold up and take along on a whim. Enter the PopATot. It folds up and stores exactly like those portable camping chairs and comes with its own carrying case. With three kids in hockey, two kids in dance and T-ball, picnics, days at the beach, camping trips, and whatever else comes our way, I knew I had to try this thing.

I ordered the PopATot on a Friday; it was delivered {with free shipping!} to my door five days later. I loaded the kids into the van and headed straight to my mom's where I busted the PopATot out of its box. It was ready in less than a minute {no assembly}, and Miss Louisa was sitting in her new seat with a smile until Grandma insisted I take her out so she could actually hold her granddaughter during our visit.

Two days later, after dropping off our oldest daughter at kindergarten, my husband and I brought the PopATot and the rest of our clan to our favorite coffee shop for some coffee, hot chocolate, and treats. I set the PopATot up next to our table, added some of Lu Lu's favorite toys to the attached toy rings {it comes with five}, and enjoyed my breakfast date with my husband. All was well, unless you count our five-year-old and three-year-old trying to see who could jump the farthest off of the furniture at the coffee shop. {Can PopATot make something for them??}

The next day our family celebrated my husband's grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary with a big family picnic. Ordinarily, we'd be trading Louisa back and forth while we ate, trying to juggle a squirmy baby who relentlessly reached for our plates and our drinks. That day she sat right next to us in the PopATot smiling at everyone and chewing on her favorite toy while we enjoyed the luxury of eating with two hands.

In owning the PopATot for less than five days, I can't believe how many people have approached us to ask about it, talk about how genius it is, or say they're buying it for their own child or someone they know. And I don't stop them. I have nothing bad to say. It measures 27"x27"x24", so it has a large base that won't be tipped over easily, and it's very light and easy to carry. It works inside, outside, upstairs and down, on the grass, on the carpet, and in the sand. Two cup holders are great for holding Baby's bottles or sippy cups, and the five rings attached to the top are so handy for hooking on favorite toys.

So easy to carry!

Ready to make its move to the van for lots of use while we're on-the-go!
This puppy is going to live in the van and make its appearance at most, if not all, of our outings. Right now, it's available in four different prints: primary colors, camo with brown trim, camo with green trim, and pink leopard. Louisa, of course, opted for the pink leopard version. For $49.99, the PopATot is worth every penny. My only regret is that we didn't know about it when we had our first child.
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