A Little Claire-ification

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31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 29 – The Card Catalog Reveal

Welcome!  This is Day #29 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


I cannot believe it is already the end of October.  Again.  Time flies when you’re  organizing your house.  😉

Ok, back to the card catalog (and this post is a.k.a. “The Card Catalog – Part 3” – see “Part 2” here).

So we were back at it today (well late today, amid work and a routine parent-teacher conference and real life, etc.).  All of the paint has now dried and The Husband made quick work of getting all of the hardware back in place.   First, here’s a little bit more detail on the drawers:

Since there is a gap inside which can allow for items to fall through…

Silly!  Anyway I added some colorful card stock to line the drawers.  It was what I had on hand and decided it was better than orange.  Maybe someday we can have little wooden inserts made for the bottoms of these drawers but for now we’re on a budget!

The rods that cut through the middle of the drawers made it a wee bit inconvenient…

We actually DID get a cutter that may work to trim these rods, but doing that this eve would have entailed a “Card Catalog: Part 4” post so please use your imagination for now.  🙂

On to the reveal…

So, as much as you know that I just L-O-V-E  light blue, I chose a more neutral color palette for this.  I did consider stain for the top section, but some of the wood is actually not that great of a grade so the base is now a color called “leather brown” with the top finished in a lighter khaki.  I wanted the drawers to pop but didn’t want white, so those are now a lighter cream color.

And, can I get a “woot woot”??  I am SOOO proud that I was able to get some “After” pictures while it was still daylight.  I am not a vampire y’all…  I repeat, I am a night owl.   I just can not seem to get anything posted before the sun goes down.

Here’s the “Before” once more (for dramatic effect):

And the “After”:

And then in place:
Back to the drawers… a “Before” reminder…
And now they are all organized and labeled.  Fancy, huh?
Can you believe that seven (SEVEN) drawers are now empty (thus, not labeled yet) after I de-cluttered???   Unheard of.   I think this could disturb the time-space continuum.  I also may now start charging rent for that precious drawer space.
And that brass sure polished up nicely – all these years and I never knew the potential there!

Of course I am already debating repainting  the legs a different color,  but I think I will get over it once the wall it is up against – below the chair rail – is painted.  I “strongly dislike” (using my nice words) the color that the previous owner chose, which I have now deemed to be called “Baby Poo”.   Sorry, but it’s true.

But I won’t tell the little kids that.  Fits of giggles would immediately ensue and would last well past bedtime and beyond.

Speaking of…  here’s a later edit (11/13/12) adding a photo I just found of Littlest putting on an impromptu show inside the base before it was refinished…

Silly!!  So at long last – the card catalog project is finished!

A last side by side image:

What fun restoration projects are you working on?  I would love to read your comments so please take a second and let me know what you think.

Be safe and all the best to you and your families this eve.  BIG prayers going out to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.




Linking up to some fabulous parties:


31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 28 – Restoring The Card Catalog (Part 2)

Welcome!  This is Day #27 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


I am circling back to a piece that I love – our antique card catalog.  So much potential and sooo many little drawers to organize.   I am calling this “Part 2” for two reasons.  The first is that I already mentioned this piece in my “Restoring Something Old” post a few weeks back, basically showing some pictures and saying that I would be restoring it later this month (It’s 10/28.  It’s later. The clock is ticking.)  The second reason will be revealed towards the end of this post.  And it’s a good one, so stick with me here.

In that earlier post I had mentioned that this piece was salvaged (basically out of a school dumpster) by my now retired teacher Mom about 20 years ago.  I just love it and yet it has been very neglected over the years.  A few more “Before” images before we jump in:

The front:

The top:

And a side view:

I had (very sloppily) painted it white some 18-20 years ago.  Then about 5 years ago I decided to paint the legs blue and we started stripping the paint off of the top section around that same time.  Then we just got sidetracked and never came back to it.

Now, you should know that my love affair with aqua / robin’s egg blue / light turquoise knows no bounds.  I will likely have an entire post with all of my favorite things and design ideas that include this color at some point very soon and yet… I’ve decided to go a different color route with the card catalog this time.  But, make no mistake, I could change my mind and re-paint at any moment.   This fact is not lost on The Husband, who had been sanding away for about two hours at the time this photo was taken.  😉

Aside from the bulk of this piece, fifteen little drawers take an exceptionally long time to sand.  I once again may have bitten off too much for one day.  Oops.

Two drawers before and after sanding:

Yes, I realize that this reemphasizes my sloppy white paint job back when I was young and impatient (now I’m just old(er) and impatient).  If The Husband weren’t taking charge of the prep, it would already be painted and back inside at this point.  And it also wouldn’t turn out as well.   What a difference a sander and taking a little time can make.  I’ll keep praying to be more patient (that will make my Mom happy too).

Speaking of the drawers (oh yes, the “organization” part!), we use this piece for all kinds of little storage, but it’s gotten a little out of control over the years.  Here are the “Before” pictures of the drawers starting with the top row:

And the middle:

And the bottom:

Now that’s a whole lot of random right there.   I knew before starting this project that at least half of what was in there could probably  Just.Go.Away.

Oh, but I was mistaken – it was more like 75%.  Absolutely useless things taking up space.  Phone chargers for phones we haven’t owned in years, random parts to things we also either no longer own or that we don’t need to save, Many duplicate school and office supplies, etc.

I am surprised we didn’t find Jimmy Hoffa.

So I worked on going through the drawer contents and the writing part for the better part of the afternoon, and I came back expecting that the paint would be dried and that we could reassemble and move forward with the “After” photos.

By this point the Husband had the first coat of paint on the base and the second on the top section and he was still finishing the sanding of the drawers (which he swears entailed removing the hardware and “doing it the right way”).  Pfffft.  That wasn’t my plan.  MY plan was to get this finished and posted today.

After the drawers were all finally sanded and had their first coat of paint, “Mr. Patient-Pants” finally gave me “the look” and closed up shop so that the paint could really dry (“the right way”) overnight.  Humbug.

Of course he’s right, though.  We can’t put the hardware back on yet.  I will not have my “After” picture this evening.

At that point I came back to my computer to sulk for a minute (or ten).  Always attractive.  But (insert whiny voice) this was the post I was working on and the project isn’t done so… what now?

While “sulking”, I popped over to another blog that I love and found this golden little gem and (somewhat sheepishly) remembered that sometimes it just can’t get done in a day.  Or even two.  Jules over at “Pancakes & French Fries” (and her Laundry Room adventure) is the second reason this post is now called “Part Two”.   Her blog is great (and her Husband’s reaction sounds familiar…).  😉  You should definitely check it out.

So at the end of the day, it’s all good.  There will indeed be a “Part 3” to the Card Catalog Saga tomorrow. Life will go on.

Any furniture restoration stories or thoughts on this project will most likely help this Mama’s sanity.  I like to keep things in perspective so your stories and comments below are VERY welcome!

Sweet dreams all and I hope that this coming week brings you much inspiration, many beautiful moments and a lot of laughs.




Linking up to:


31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 26 – The (once again!) Organized Baker

Thanks for stopping by!  This is Day #26 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


First things first – our thoughts and prayers go out now to those in the Caribbean and in Haiti who just got hit by Hurricane Sandy as it is barreling North.  It is not lost on me how trivial my “cares and concerns” are in comparison to the loss of life and utter devastation that these people are going through.   I hope that any of you over here on the East Coast that may potentially be impacted by this crazy storm will PLEASE keep safe.


Next, it is funny (at least to me) that I chose to do my 31 Days series on “Organization”!   And since I basically decided I wanted to do this at the final hour on 9/30 (a fly by the seat of my pants kind-of-gal – sometimes that’s just how I roll)  well, needless to say there wasn’t too much any planning ahead.  By next October, I should be “organized” enough to get a post up every day!    Believe me, there has been organizing going on during those in between days too.

After our kitchen overhaul, it’s time to now organize some of my FAVORITE things – all of my baking “accoutrement” (excuse my French – I figured that was better than a four letter word).   I absolutely love to use all of my baking tools and pans, etc. and it’s actually somewhat soothing and can take my mind off of the craziness at work and so forth.  But since we moved, and the kitchen is now less than half the size of what we had before, these items have just not been that accessible, and that makes it harder to be inspired to bake.

And that means less homemade goodies for the people that I love the most.

And that makes me cranky (and, believe you me, that’s just a load of fun – ask The Husband).

So I have to get creative here and get this stuff organized and back in action!

For starters, aside from my most used (and beloved) kitchen possessions (work-horses) – my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and my Waring blender, which are on the counter –  most of my baking items are either here, still in a moving box…

or in various cabinets.  As you can see,  these spaces are maybe not being used to their fullest potential.

Some of my bundt pans, spring forms, pie plates and pie weights, ramekins, my handy kitchen torch (which is perfect for both Crème brûlée AND for threatening disobedient teenagers) and a bread basket are in this cabinet…

And yet another cabinet houses my tart pans and some other random things that someone errantly placed here when they unloaded the dishwasher (hey, I’m just happy someone else unloaded the dishwasher):

(Slightly Very off topic but really.  Is it too much to ask that dishes be dried before being put away out of the dishwasher?  Oh the gnashing of teeth and wailing…  Is it just me??  Had to ask).

Ok, back to the matter at hand.

One more upper cabinet that mostly holds everyday bowls and strainers but the top right houses “the good stuff”.  Well, except for the chocolate.  That’s in the pantry. 😉

Lastly, a lower cabinet with my muffin and popover tins, french bread pans, regular and mini loaf pans, cooling racks,  etc.  This one actually seems to be working out ok but needs a little help so I may come back to it at some point:

Now, I do not want to get into the pantry at this point because I know it really needs some attention as well, but here is a picture so that you can see some other appliances and bundt pans etc. are on the floor.  Bereft.

And a closer look…

Food processor, fondue pot, immersion blender, George Foreman and in the back right corner The Husband’s beloved (old school, non electric) pasta machine (yum).

So here we go – first we got the small appliances arranged under the bottom shelf:

Then I started going through the (crazy) box.  I was able to get rid of a few things but mostly I use all of it so, since we don’t really have drawers other then the 4 on top, I decided to try a rolling cart that could slide easily into the pantry when not in use.  Here’s what I found (shopping details below):

It wasn’t initially what I wanted but our IKEA was out of stock and I’m not aways a patient girl – just want to get it done.  I did look at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Staples too, but found this at Target (and, for those of you who have been following my posts, that comes as a shock, I am sure).

Can you believe all of this was in that box??  I keep getting distracted from posting because I just want to go back and look at everything in all it’s handy “reachable-ness”.   Close-ups:

And, aside from emptying the box, all of my sprinkles and food coloring are now there as well!  Next:

All of my cupcake liners, decorative cutters and mini-tart pans on the middle shelf. And…

All of my cookie and pastry cutters here with a couple of (quite adorable) mini-springform pans.  I think they might have been used before this point had they not been buried under an avalanche of other things!  As you can see in that image there looks to be extra space leftover.  What?  Can that possibly be??  Do I need to run to Williams Sonoma as soon as they open tomorrow to fill in the gap??

I kid, I kid.  I added the cheese grater into that lonely right corner of this bin.  It wasn’t ever happy in the kitchen drawer anyway.  Crank/handle would always catch on the drawer .  Be happy, little cheese grater.  Make new friends.  With the way we go through Parmigiano-Reggiano you won’t be ignored.

Once it was all stocked up, and rolled into the pantry…

I am having trouble getting good light in this picture but you get the idea.   The baking cart is all organized and rolls right in and out as needed.  And, in hindsight, the IKEA cart would not have held as much so sometimes things happen for a reason!  As much as I would like to have more kitchen drawer space right now, this is a solution to the problem.  Once again, working with what we have!  We’ll get the pantry a little more organized as well but I want to paint in there and it really needs better light!   It’s on “the list”.   The Husband can’t wait. 😉

As far as the cabinets go, since I was able to get all of my cake decorations and extracts out of the one cabinet, and better organize the others, we gained more space.

And… didn’t have to do too much here but was able to add a couple of things out of the box I unloaded and get the other bundt pans off the pantry floor:

AND we were able to get our pitchers that were buried in the back of the pots and pans up into the cabinet as well – much better!  And the total cost?  Only $65 at Target ( the industrial shelf – $50 and the casters  – $15).  What a bargain to get so organized!

It feels so much better to be able to just grab what I need quickly so I can bake without it being a hassle!  So, making the boys favorite Peanut Butter Cupcakes was much easier…

And these little Mini Pumpkin cheesecakes with a gingersnap crust are always a Fall hit too!

Happy baking!!

I would love to hear about any projects that you have accomplished where you were working with less than perfect circumstances, but you made it work anyway!

Take care and thanks so much again for stopping by!



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31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 24 – The Kitchen Reveal

Thanks for stopping by!  This is Day #24 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


Well here we are on the 24th of October already!  Seven days until Halloween and my kid’s costumes still aren’t done but, darn it, I will finish this kitchen!   Mother of the Year.

As much as I tried to get this posted yesterday it was not to be.  If you read my last post you may recall that we were having some major internet challenges with our cable monopoly provider.   I would now like to retract every disparaging thought or comment I have made right now because our technician (even though I let The Husband deal with it since I was working during most of this) was very knowledgeable and could not have been nicer.

Well… ok.  Next time he could bring Mama a Pumpkin Spice Latte but, otherwise, he was absolutely great.

So that was late in the day yesterday.  We started putting the kitchen back in order after rearranging the counter and hanging some things late last eve but nothing felt quite right.   I rearranged again and then decided to GO BIG and get some paint this morning.  I am pretty excited about the way this has turned out and I am glad I spent the extra day on it.

As a recap – here’s where we started (hardest kitchen to photograph EVER ):

The window is on a very large vaulted wall.  Needs help!

So today I painted…  I chose this Benjamin Moore color called “Lady Liberty” because it reminded me of a color called “Batter Bowl Green” from the Martha Stewart line many, many years ago.  I’ve always liked it.  Let’s see if it sticks:

And painted…

And painted some more.  I was on a tear!!

And then the second coat of paint went up and we hung and placed a bunch of things (shopping details below) and here’s where we ended up (oh and, thank GOD The Husband has the patience of a saint, btw.  He is my “master hanger of things”).  Also, I found no window treatments I liked so I am going to have to make a valance:

I did not know if I would like the roosters until I placed them and I must admit I just love them.   And they’re the non-crowing kind, even better! 🙂

And the authentic wooden wine crates were found at a garage sale many years back.  We got rid of some in the move – now I wish we had kept them all, but we have the three shown above.

As far as the pantry and bi-fold laundry doors we have a bit of a dilemma.  First I painted the inserts in the panty door.  I wasn’t sure if it was too much (when The Oldest saw it he rolled his eyes and said “MOM, mint green? Really??” (which no, it’s not “really”) I told him to shut it or his room was next).  So I just did some of the insert trim as a test in the laundry doors on the right:

I don’t know which I like better.  Neither does The Husband.  What do you think??  Here’s another view of the laundry doors:

Going to stare at it for a few days.  Since the bi-folds have 12 total inserts it may be too much to fill them in? Hmmm…  This will NOT keep me awake tonight. (as a side note, Middlest (who is 8) came in and loved the pantry door but said we should paint the white part red.  Lord have mercy now that’s a fiesta waiting to happen right there – I think maybe “no” on that one).

As far as the shopping goes, we had $250 budgeted and bought the following:

Ace Hardware:

1 Gallon of Benjamin Moore paint  –                $30.00

Hobby Lobby:

2 Posters (Fork & Spoon) @ $20 –                    $40.00

Two frames (50% off) @ $25.00 each  –         $50.00

3 Roosters (50% off) at $20 each   –                  $60.00

8 metal letters (“LA CUCINA” – 50% off) @ $3 each – $24.00

3 Other pieces wall art (Bon Appetit, “Eat” etc) –    $44.00


TOTAL:       $248

Which is pretty good (and I’ll admit the Roosters are maybe a bit extravagant 🙂  but I went to Hobby Lobby, not Pottery Barn – which I love but this wasn’t a PB budget, y’all!).  Only catch is I still need to get fabric for a window valance.  Going to use a 50% off coupon at JoAnn fabric this weekend if they have something that will work!  I already have plenty of curtain rods.

So there’s the kitchen looking a million times better than before, at least in person!  Let me know what you think!

And, for the record, if I had my way I would have THIS kitchen (at least today).  Thank you Shannon at Fox Hollow Cottage for all of the inspirational kitchen photos!!

Here’s to some happy cooking! 🙂

~ Claire


10/26/12 –  Linking up to… A “Tres Fabulous” Linky Party at Redoux Interiors!



31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 20 – Making Time For Memories

Thanks for stopping by!  This is Day #20 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


I didn’t think I’d have it in me to write today.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we did a 5K obstacle run today and I figured that I might die we would be Wiped. Out.

And we were, but we took a two hour power nap this afternoon (relishing in our ability to do just that, with the little kids away for the weekend) and we woke up ready – well, at least able –  to press on in our garage endeavor.

I have always been a very nostalgic person.  The Husband is as well.  I am not a pack rat, but I just cannot get rid of things that have sentimental value as tied into family history.  Yet… it never ceases to amaze me what we will come across while going through the garage.  And, yes, I kind of thought we had gone through a lot of the key boxes of “stuff” during our move in May (we did get rid of a lot!!).   As always happens in a move, however, there are the boxes and items that get thrown into the “move mix” because we don’t actually have the time to go through them.  The truth is, some of these things (these memories) should have never been sitting in a garage to begin with.

We are going to press on with the garage tomorrow before the kids come back and we start another week but, in the meanwhile, here’s a few memories that I found just this eve…

That’s me – always had the cheeks. 🙂

My brothers and I with Santa in the 1970’s … wow.

My oldest is about to go off on his college adventure next year.  But at one point he was little and just  “squishy” and adorable (bet he would LOVE that!!).

(that picture taken in a house that doesn’t exist anymore after Hurricane Katrina).

And then he got bigger… (making Gingerbread cookies at Grandma’s in Boston!)

And today he raced with us…

And I don’t know where the years have gone.

Time flies – I wish it weren’t true.  So not only are we organizing the garage, we are taking the time to go through these “memories” in the process.  I have moved all pictures into more organized tubs and it will now be easier to go through these and incorporate them into our home.  It takes a little longer but it’s worth it in the long run.


“And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back–if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and that these are that day?”  –  C.S. LewisOut of the Silent Planet

Would love to hear any stories about memories or treasures found while on a cleaning spree/purge!

Thanks for stopping by!



31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 19 – A Place To Belong

Thanks for stopping by!  This is Day #19 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


Happy Friday!! (I think…)

I say that because, in the midst of this sometimes overwhelming “31 Days” series, I realized a few days back that tomorrow is the 5K MudRun obstacle course we signed up for last month. Oh dear.  Granted, this was before I decided to jump off the proverbial cliff and dive headfirst into not only a new blog, but also this very challenging “31 Days” project.   This month I have been both inspired and tired!  Fortunately the “inspired” part weighs out (although you can’t deny your body the sleep that it needs when you are trying so hard to get an area of your home to the “After” photo stage)!

We started on the kitchen and pantry and that was going to be my post today but then a few things happened:

First, I realized that I need to rest up for this (CRAZY) race tomorrow and there is no way I can stay up til all hours getting the kitchen post up (can you believe I am making such a mature decision?!).  🙂   I am such a night owl and my posts tend to go up at crazy hours, but… I am by no means an athlete!  I think I know I need some quality sleep to pull this one off tomorrow!  I may not be able to move tomorrow night anyway!  This will be my 2nd MudRun / Obstacle 5K but this time The Husband is racing too (and The Teenager, again).  I hope they’ll come find me after a few hours if I just keel over.  😉

Second, my parents took the smaller kids for the weekend so we took advantage of a very rare night out to dinner (yay – date night!) !!  Our Anniversary is actually next month but since we’ll be inundated with Family and Thanksgiving, etc., we cheated and celebrated earlier (not to mention, we had a 50% off coupon! Woohoo!!).

Third, I was reading The Nester’s blog yesterday and the post had some links to some pretty amazing other blogs.  Always a treat.  I have found so much inspiration from so many amazing women online over the last year or so (see my BlogRoll).  It’s one of the main reasons I am here and was so encouraged to start my own.  I hope I can inspire someone – even one person- the way some of these ladies have inspired me.   So one of the links in Nester’s post was to a gal named Ellen’s blog called SweetWater.  First, I love that name.  Next, her post yesterday was called “Belonging” and it was just so right on and when I read it late last night I simply just… well, I felt like I could breathe.   I didn’t realize how hectic this month has been and I guess it really just was exactly what I needed to read right at that moment.

There were so many things she wrote that touched me and I love this one:

“Your home? More than it needs to be spit-shined and sparkled up? More than it needs to be glossy page worthy? More than it needs to be liked or likeable? It needs to be a place to belong.”

Wow.  So, I encourage you to take a little visit on over to  Sweetwater –  I know I was truly happy to find this little treasure of a blog and I look forward to reading more!

More to come from my own home front again soon.  I hope you all have a restful, rejuvenating weekend!  I will post a  picture from my race if I survive.  😉

In the meanwhile, I’d love to hear what blogs inspire you the most too!


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31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 17 – The Front Room Reveal

Thanks for stopping by!  This is Day #17 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


Whew. This room has been a mental (and sometimes physical) challenge!   Ultimately, this space is a multi-purpose “Guest Room, Home Office, TV Room for the Teenager, Husband’s band equipment storage, and sometime Little Kids Play area”.   I knew it would require some extra attention.

First, organizing your home can cost a little money, so I have been trying to be very judicious about where the budgeted dollars are being spent this month.  It can be very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to function or to be creative in a cluttered environment.  It’s just not good for anyone, and I also don’t believe it sets a good example for my children – especially the teenager.  It was a little hard to harp on him about cleaning his room when ours was a disaster!

There are some areas / rooms (like my couponing workspace) that cost me no money to get in order.   The Master Bedroom ended up costing $291 (I had budgeted $250).  We hadn’t updated our bedroom (even through two moves) since 2004 so sometimes ya’ gotta spend a little money AND always repurpose what you can.

And then sometimes you plan on repurposing an item and it just doesn’t work out.  This is the case with the old (and granted, cheap) 10 year old desk that I wanted to re-utilize in this front room re-do.  It just didn’t work.

So I hadn’t planned on buying the new desk in this case, and this cut back on a few other things that I had planned on buying (I wonder how many times in how many posts I can mention “area rugs”??).  Anyway,  sometimes that happens, and you just have to roll with the punches and cut back in other areas.

We had budgeted $350 for this space.

If you remember yesterday’s post (and there is more detail there about the items filling this space as well) here’s what we started with:

Kind of makes you want to run screaming over to a more beautiful blog space, no?  It’s ok, me too.  You can just peek through your fingers and continue on for now.

Here’s the “After”.  It actually still has a little way to go but we are so much happier with this (the picture looks very yellow – the walls are off-white):


The TV is out for repair and when it comes back, it might be wall mounted.

Nice to have an organized desk and work area for everyone, especially for the boys and homework.  And I am hoping it will also help keep our dining area cleaner!!  Woohoo!

Shopping details:


  1. New desk   –   $99.00
  2. Two new bookshelves @ $69.00 each – $138
  3. Four organizational bins for the bookshelves @ $7.99 each  – $31.96
  4. Two green window Panels @$24.99 each – $50
  5. Two  cream window panels  @ $10 each – $20

So there we sit at $339.  And still no area rug  (Haha).  I might  buy some rich brown spray paint tomorrow (two cans will cost me $10 at Ace Hardware) and paint those two pine corner shelves which I think will really finish it off but I need to live with the space a little more first to see.

So there’s the front room.  It is now a functional space that I won’t be embarrassed by when I come in the front door.

And it is amazing how, when the room became organized and clutter free,  Littlest immediately wanted to be in there and went right for his easel which he hasn’t been able to get to in months! (Bad Mama!!)

I think we all need sleep now.

Thanks for stopping by!  As always, I would love to hear your feedback. Do you have a multi-purpose room?


~ Claire


10/26/12   – Linking up to some FABULOUS Ladies and Linky Parties:

Enjoy the linky parties!!

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31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 16 – Organizing The (Dreaded) Front Room

Hi there!  This is Day #16 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


OK, “dreaded” is probably a little dramatic.

But this one IS a doozy!  Since we moved in, the front room has sort of been a catch all – extra furniture, boxes of office and school supplies, our printers, The Husband’s guitars and band equipment…  Basically it’s become an extension of our garage (and that is scary)!  We just haven’t really determined exactly what this room will grow up to be.  To be honest, I am not sure that will be solved in this challenge but at least we can get it more in order.

Nothing pretty about this so just jumping in.  Here’s the “Before” pics:

This is such a “hodge-podge” of stuff.  Aside from the antique love seat (which we just moved in here to get our Dining area in shape yesterday so that was just temporary), here are the following pieces of furniture we are dealing with:

  1. Trundle bed (which I like and we actually need – we are down to three bedrooms from five so this is a much needed extra bed!)
  2. TV Stand
  3. Glider & matching ottoman (so comfy and I rocked two babies in this one – this is hard to get rid of!)
  4. Arm chair
  5. Two mismatched side tables (each holding a printer right now!)
  6. Two pine corner shelves
  7. Kids “Thomas The Tank”  chair and Kids easel
  8. Kids “Buzz Lightyear” table and 2 chairs

In addition to all of this, there are a boxes of school and craft supplies (and of course that ridiculous random box of “Data CDs with pictures and music” and unidentifiable cables that need to be figured out….)

So a few hours in and it’s kicking our butts.  It’s taking a LOT longer than expected since I am actually going through the boxes.

Thankfully we received a flyer yesterday announcing that our neighborhood is having a garage sale in November.  That actually has helped motivate – there are lots of things going into that pile!!  You might recall from my 10/1 post that I detest garage sales… I am willing to give it one more try just to hopefully make a couple hundred bucks back towards this home organization process!

Here’s the latest progress.  Many hours later and it doesn’t seem like we have gotten anywhere yet…  what we have accomplished is listed below…

  1. We moved the bed to the opposite side – once made and pillows added it will be a less cluttered view from the front door than the TV stand or the desk
  2. The desk – we moved this back in from the garage along with the desk chair.  I don’t know about keeping it yet.  I am going to try and spruce it up and we’ll see whether it just gets replaced or not…
  3. We went through boxes
  4. We hung a few pictures
  5. I bought some new curtains (since those pictured came with the house and I do not really like them). Then I changed my mind about the ones that I bought so not hung yet.
  6. The tile is still awful. 😉
  7. We are going to bed.

More tomorrow.  We also hung a few things in the Dining area arch so I’ll also add those to yesterday’s post tomorrow.

Night, y’all.

~ Claire

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31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 14 – Master Bedroom Reveal

Hi there!  This is Day #14 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


Happy Sunday, y’all!  I am happy to say it is now officially time to rest!  After starting on our bedroom makeover around 10AM yesterday morning, we worked into the evening and just finished up this morning.  Wow – what a difference getting organized can make (not to mention some new bed linens and a little spray paint!).  If you saw the last post, you know our room was in pretty bad shape.  Honestly it was one of those projects that was just hard to start, but once we got going, it was actually (mostly) fun and the results are SO worth it!

Here are the before and after pictures – I’ll give some more details about my purchases afterwards:


From the doorway:

And now…

And the next angle (notice the color of the standing mirror and the bookshelf):

And now:

We removed the red chair (oh no, where will I pile things?!?) and will repurpose that somewhere else.   We finally hung all of our artwork that has been sitting around.  The mirror got a fresh coat of black paint to tie it in with the bedroom set.  And, the plain little Target bookshelf that we’ve had for at LEAST 10 years, got a snappy coat of green paint to make it pop.  I love it!  The Husband did a great job handling the painting!

A closer look at the mirror:

And the bookshelf before and after:

Needless to say, there is a whole lot of HAPPY going on in my head right now.  It’s hard to explain the feeling of accomplishment and just plain relief at having this space organized and livable, and I’ll bet you’ve experienced it before too.   The lighter bedding just makes it so much more airy and fresh.  And, while I mentioned in my previous post that I just can’t stand the tile floor (and that’s still pretty much true), it’s a little more bearable now.  I DID look for a rug in my shopping adventures yesterday, but nothing really grabbed me.  I know what I want and will keep looking but, for now, the few I’ve seen that I like cost around $400 and that’s just not in the budget at this point!

So here are the stores I hit yesterday and the items I found to bring our bedroom makeover together.  After looking at countless blog posts and articles about bedrooms over the last few days (ok, months!), I set out on a mission yesterday morning with $250 dollars in hand to find some inspiration (and you may recall we have been on a spending “freeze” this month while following along with Ruth’s “31 Days of Spending Zero” challenge over at Living Well, Spending Less but we did have some $$ budgeted to get ourselves organized for our own “31 Days” challenge this month too)!!

Stop #1 – Hobby Lobby:   Let me first tell you that I have never been in this store before.  Ours opened about 2 years ago and I guess I was picturing model trains and cars.  Not so much.  Very interesting assortment of things.  Some items seemed a little pricey to me, and others more reasonable.  It’s clear that you have to hit the sales.  All candle holders happened to be 50% off so I snagged two of these at $10 each just in case.

I figured I could return them if I couldn’t use them in the room and, once everything started coming together, I thought they might actually work over the bedside tables.  But when we went to hang them it just didn’t feel right.   Too small or something.  The Husband (who patiently holds things up against walls while I agonize over the placement) simply moved it a few feet to the left , just turning the corner (see 1st reveal photo above) and bingo!  Perfect, and yet another point for The Hubs!


Stop #2 – Big Lots

Big Lots is in the same plaza as Hobby Lobby (but I tend to find that we are in Barnes & Noble the most when we are over there – LOVE.  I resisted the urge on this trip).  I’ve been to Big Lots a few times and it’s always hit or miss, but their prices are pretty good when you do find something.  When I initially set out, I had it in my mind that if I could just find a new comforter I liked, then I could really tie everything else in.

So, at Big Lots I looked at comforters.  Bleh.  Then I looked at rugs.  Nothing.  And then I wandered through the Home Decor aisle and that’s where I found this little gem.  They were $25 but the sign read that Home Decor was 50% off.  I still wasn’t convinced I wanted it for $12.50 so I had the Manager do a price check…. turns out they were marked down to $2.50.  $2.50!!!  What??  I’ll take two please.  They are now over our bed:

Two connected pieces of 5 plates each.  The initial reveal photo might make it look like these are hung a little too high, but the ceiling actually vaults on an angle towards the left so they are evenly spaced between the headboard and the ceiling line and also positioned at an ever-so-slight upwards angle which really helped with the flow of the room.  I will most likely mute out the gold tone in the one plate(s) at some point and bring in a whitewash or a bright green like the bookshelf.  Or not.  I don’t know.  Here’s an example of what inspired me in the first place and why I knew they would work when I saw them on the shelf.  And another example here.

Plate arrangements are just cool and they are always different, and for $5.00, this works in our room for now!

Stops #3 & 4 – Pier One & Ross:

Pier One is great for ideas but unless you hit a GREAT sale on something that works just perfectly, it can be really pricey.  I saw a rug here I adored.  $599.  Ok, no.  Ross is another store that is hit or miss.  No comforters or rugs that I liked there either.

Stop #5 – Marshalls (I’m still in the same plaza, mind you!):

Again, I didn’t see a comforter I liked and no rugs or pillows, either.  But… when I went through housewares I found two matching (shock!) lamps that caught my eye.  Just so you know, in all of these years we have never had matching bedside lamps.  And that really hasn’t ever bothered me  – I am ok with things not being too matchy-match, but for some reason these just “grabbed me”.  Since I knew I would be playing with some greens and blues (walls are mint green) I was hoping they would work.  I was definitely a little concerned about the price at first – $35 each.  Then I remembered the prices at Pier One and also the fact that just one single lamp base that I like at Target usually starts at $29 not including the shade, which is usually another $20 so I went ahead and snagged them.

I guess the initial picture above shows them off the best – I struggled with lighting (ironic) to get a good picture of the lamp but here’s one:

Stop #6 – TJ Maxx (I’ve now changed shopping plazas!):

I am glad they only had one of these precious little pillows.  I am not sure why – maybe because I hadn’t had any coffee yet – but it just made my day.  Six stops into the morning and still no new bedding.  And of course the pillow wasn’t tagged so I had to wait for a price check, but the Manager just made it $12.  Perfect.

Stop #7 – Super Target:

My nemesis.  I absolutely LOVE Target.  I think they have great buyers, the store is always clean and the employees are always super friendly.  I know many of you out there may prefer Wal Mart (and of course, it may be closest to you and that makes sense!) but I just can’t do it.  I’ve tried.  Not only is my Target closer, but the closest Wal Mart is always dirty and…  well, that’s a whole separate post.   So back to Target.   Ahhhhh……  AND I had an electronic coupon on my phone for a free Pumpkin Spice Latte from their Starbucks Cafe so everything was looking better now.  I spent quite a bit of time looking at window panels and bedding and I found an all white comforter with some fun detail – the fabric is gathered in a diamond pattern.  While I thought I MIGHT find an actual colorful pattern I liked, I realized white had been on my brain all morning.

Once again I was slightly concerned about the $99 price tag for a King comforter and two matching pillow shams (can’t a girl get sheets included too??) but returns are easy so I grabbed this and two blue window panels for $15 each.  I am am now up to $236.  I stopped at the hardware store (Stop #8) and got the black and green spray paint for another $15  ($251 total) and headed home.

While The Husband started sanding and painting the bookshelf and standing mirror, I cleared out the clutter and changed out the curtains on the sliding patio doors.  The blue really is tying in nicely and I am SO happy to get rid of the darker comforter and floral curtains.  We re-purposed a green swag that was in the closet from two houses back.  Once again, it wasn’t easy to get a great picture of the curtains.  Here’s the “Before” and two “After” pics:

And… much better:

So, while those are the after pics,  I still hadn’t actually taken the Target comforter out of the box at this point in the story.  I wanted to check one more place… just to be sure.   With the painting well in hand, I headed on over to Bed, Bath & Beyond just in case there was something better to be found.

Stop #9  – Bed, Bath & Beyond:

Can I just tell you that I am completely shocked at the cost of bedding??  This is the “bedding SUPERstore” and I did not find one single King comforter I really liked AND… the basic white comforter I DID find was $199 – what??   And apparently this is normal pricing but since we’ve had our old comforter for 8+ years I guess I was just surprised.

What I DID find were two “Nicole Miller” standard pillow shams with a green geometric pattern.  These were on “clearance” for $20 each and I am considering these my splurge for the day, putting me $41 over budget, but I am actually SO happy to have found them.  After re-purposing throw pillows from other rooms (and closets) I REALLY wanted something to tie into it all that wasn’t flowery or too feminine.   I actually did find another pair that I also liked and then found out that they were $69.  Apiece.  So I bought these:

End of day and all said and done, I think it was a hugely successful project.

Most importantly… I now actually want to BE in our bedroom.

And, from what I’ve seen today, so does everyone else. 😉

I would love to hear your thoughts on our project and to see your own bedroom renovation/re-do pictures and stories!

Sweet Dreams!!

~ Claire


Linking Up To… some FABULOUS linky parties!


31 Days To An Organized Home: Day 12 – The Cluttered Bedroom

This is Day #12 of my “31 Days To An Organized Home” challenge.  If you missed it, you can catch up with Day #1 here!


I absolutely love home makeover shows.  I love the “Before & After” pictures and browsing through home and room redesign photos.  So inspiring (and also sometimes depressing – let’s be honest).

Yeah, this is one of those weeks where I feel like my entire house will forever be a “Before” picture.   I am not sure how 5 people (and 1 cat) can create such a massive mess in one week!  And the truth is, a lot of the problem areas that need to be addressed have been piling up for WELLLL over a week.

The good news is that this “31 Days” challenge has us tackling all of the disorganization one area at a time.  The bad news is, it’s the 12th and I just spent an hour wandering aimlessly around the house once again trying to find my focus.  There’s a door over there and I don’t want to walk through it.

Oh wait, that’s our Master Bedroom.  Kind of unavoidable, that one.  Although these pictures DO make the couch look a lot more appealing at the moment…

I have REALLY been procrastinating on this part of my challenge (and I have plenty of excuses depending on how much time you’ve got to listen)!  But, for the next 24 hours I am going to only focus on that bedroom and I am hoping that by the end of the weekend it won’t be so scary anymore.

I’ve taken a few pictures and I didn’t clean up one single thing beforehand.  This is Friday night and here’s what I am looking at (it’s terrible, I know – here goes):

We love books.  There are many other shelves in our home (not to mention boxes stashed) just loaded with them.  These stacks were set here quickly to unload a box or two when we moved in and I just haven’t really looked at the shelf again (even though I pass it numerous times every day).

And this pile… well a lot of it is actually to donate but it hasn’t made it into a bag (let alone to a donation center).  Not to mention, it’s covering up a pretty darn cool red chair.

So, there it is.  The clutter, piles and mess.  Bare walls while stacks of pictures wait to be hung.  Ugh.

I would like to pretend that I am absolutely as appalled as you might possibly be.  But in all honesty, it has just not been on my top priority list even if it should have been, and I clearly haven’t made the time to tackle it.  On to the positive…

As I think about our bedroom makeover, the gentle reminder that we are only renting for now (“gentle” like a light smack in the the head!  Ha!) keeps causing me to mentally pull back from being as free and creative as I would like to be with this, and other spaces, in our home.  It’s just a little hard – ok it’s almost impossible – to change a few things that I REALLY just can’t stand.  Like the floor tile… why would anyone choose that tile for the Master Bedroom??   I am definitely a hardwood floor kind of gal but it wasn’t to be for this one.  More on the tile choices throughout the rest of the house in a later post – it will definitely come up again.

But (!!) I have learned a GREAT deal from looking through countless pictures online and also from The Nester.  If you don’t read her blog, you really should.  She has truly embraced her rental home and has made it “her OWN”  and she is just amazing at re-inventing and creating beautiful spaces.  You can also see one of her articles about being “Content To Rent” HERE.  I want her to adopt me but that’s mostly because I don’t want to deal with my bedroom.

Sooo here we go.  The goal here is to work with what we’ve got!  We love the back patio and pool – now it’s time to “take over” the inside and infuse it with things that we love.  Will post the bedroom pictures by the end of the weekend so please check back (and hold me accountable)!!

For now, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite posts I read today by sweet Edie over at Life In Grace.  Talk about inspiration. Her contagiously endearing blog is filled with more Southern adorable-ness (and amazing “Before and Afters”) than you can shake a stick at.  I want her to adopt me too.

I guess I better get crackin’!    😉


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