Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Basket Exchange

Sometimes it's the smallest change that can make a space feel more right.  That's what happened in my family room as I was cleaning up Charley's toys.  Something had been bothering me about the corner to the left of the fireplace for a while.  Maybe it was too cold? Too white?  White lamp, on a white shelf, filled with white baskets.

It needed some more visual weight.  I did a little basket swapping to see if that would do the trick.  I snuck into Charley's nursery while she was fast asleep so I could swipe her natural colored baskets and replace them with the white ones from the family room.

I think it's just what this corner needed.  The darker baskets balance out the big picture on the other side of the fireplace, and just make the shelf seem more substantial in the room.

While I was at it, I rearranged the mantle decor and moved the suitcases next to the chair.  I'm kind of obsessed with rearranging things, even in the smallest ways.  It's just so refreshing.

Oh!  I almost forgot! I'll be back on Friday to share what I did with $20 in a thrift shop, all thanks to Young House Love and their Unofficial Macklemore Thrift Shop ChallengePin It

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hair Bow Organization

Hair bows have just recently become a staple in Charley's wardrobe, because without one, her hair falls right into her eyes.  The other day I came home from Target with new clippies that were too pretty to be tucked away in a drawer.  I decided to DIY a hair bow organizer for her wall.

I went to T.J. Maxx to find an inexpensive white frame.  I thought I could attach wire in rows across the empty frame and clip the bows right on to the wire.  I didn't find a frame that I loved, but I did find a metal bird cage wall decoration-thing-a-ma-jig that would look so cute in Charley's room.

It's meant to hold pictures, notes, or cards, but I had a different plan.  I attached three rows of jewelry wire from one side of the bird cage to the other.  And then, I clipped on her bows!  Talk about easy.  It took about five minutes.

It's not flat against the wall, so you could easily loop headbands through the pieces of metal, too.

I hung the bird cage right next to the changing table, so it will be super convenient when I'm picking out Charley's outfit for the day.  Things are getting girly around here!

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Fireplace Facelift

Last weekend, on a whim, I decided to paint our fireplace.  Ever since I painted the family room light gray, the white mantle has faded into the wall.  We painted it white so it would stand out against what used to be a dark brown wall.  But times have changed, and so has the wall color.  The fireplace needed a little facelift to get with the times. 

I thought charcoal gray would look nice and add a bit of drama, but I wasn't in too big a hurry to make it happen.  That is, until B.J. mentioned that we should paint it.  And he also said we should paint the brick white.  And just so we're clear, by we, he meant me.

So Monday morning, I got my paint on.  Let me remind you what it looked like before.

And now.

I'm so glad B.J. hopped on board the fireplace painting train and then suggested the white brick.  What a serious difference a little paint made.

This was one of those projects that I finished and wondered what the heck took me so long to do it.  How did we live with that dated brick for two and a half years before we slapped some paint on it?  Crazy-town. 

Just for a little Friday fun, here's Charley playing with Libby stealing Libby's bone in the midst of my picture taking.  They're BFF's fo sho. 

And here's Charley helping herself to the remote.  Apparently she wanted me to stop taking pictures of the fireplace and turn on the Ellen show.  Ellen dances and Charley claps.  That's how we roll at four in the afternoon. 

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Homemade-ish Pizza

I love making pizza at home but I've never found dough that tastes very good.  I usually end up buying Pillsbury thin crust in the refrigerator section, which is fine but it's nothing special.  Word on the street (at least the streets of Chicago, namely the one our friends Ben and Christina live on) is that Trader Joes has a delicious pizza dough in the frozen section.  One of these days we'll take their recommendation and give it a try. 

Until then, we made a new discovery.  Actually, our insurance agent (so random I know) told us that you can buy dough from Dewey's Pizza, a local pizza shop, for a whopping $1.50.  I couldn't believe my ears.  I love Dewey's. So I went to the store for pizza toppings, and B.J. and Charley went to Dewey's for dough.

I don't think B.J. had the dough out of the plastic wrap two seconds before he was tossing it into the air.  Way to keep your eye on the ball dough, Beej.

Charley was doing the same thing with her imaginary pizza.

The dough ball was big enough to make a 17 inch pizza, but since our stone wasn't that big, we ended up having a really thick crust.  B.J. poked holes in the dough and topped it with olive oil, salt and lots of garlic cloves.

We baked it for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.  This may have been different if the dough had been spread thinner like it was intended. 

Then, we pulled it out of the oven and topped it with roma tomato slices, fresh mozzerella, fresh basil, a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.  It went back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so, just to warm everything up and melt the cheese.

Ta-da!  Our  homemade-ish pizza, fresh from the oven!

I can't even begin to take credit for this deliciousness.  B.J. did everything, I just snapped some pics along the way. Pin It

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIY Painted Wood Utensils

I pinned this image of paint dipped spoons a couple of weeks ago from Writing on the Wall.  I couldn't help but love the happy color against the natural wood.

Pinned Image

I didn't waste much time looking for wooden utensils so I could do this simple project for myself.  I came across some at Target for $3 each, but for whatever reason, I decided not to get them.  I'm happy I passed them up because I ended up finding a 6-piece set at T.J. Maxx for $3.99. Thank you, T.J. for your shelves full of randomness.

I chose to paint three utensils using different shades of yellow.  I already had two shades of yellow acrylic paint so I just mixed those together to create the third shade.  It took three coats to cover them completely.  And yes, they're drying on cans of beans.

I hung them to the right of the window to balance out the yellow espresso sign on the left.  

I loved this project.  Super easy, super quick, and super cheap. 
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Tracks in the Snow

The last of the snow just melted away, but hopefully there's more to come.  I mean, we're seriously due for a snowday.  Am I right, teacher friends?

In the spirit of winter, we've been reading lots of snowy books in my kindergarten classroom.  When we read In the Snow Who's Been Here?, a big conversation sparked about animal tracks and the clues animals leave behind.  Our discovery station quickly changed from fossil exploration to experimenting with animals, snow, and the tracks they make.  Of course we aren't using real snow.  Rather, white playdough and white sand.  The plastic animals are from Michael's.  I chose the ones that actually leave a real life looking print in the snow.

It's so fun watching my kids explore the animals.  One little girl realized she could make prints with their heads, their backs, their tails...she was beyond thrilled.  The pure joy and excitement a 5 year-old shows over the smallest things never gets old.

Have a happy weekend! 
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tweaking in the Kitchen

I had a little bit of time before I met some friends for dinner last week, so naturally I stopped at T.J. Maxx for a quick browsing session.  I took my usual route around the perimeter of the store.  Handbags, shoes, home goods, kid's stuff.  I was in there for a solid 20 minutes and came out with the most random items.  String, a bamboo box, and a rug.  It's like Target.  It sucks you in. 

I've been wanting a  rug in the kitchen to add some color mainly, but also because Charley plays in there a lot.  I figured it would be a nice spot for her to bang her mixing bowls.  You know, when she's not busy "helping" me load the dishwasher.  I found this bold rug on clearance for $12 and I love it.

While we're down here on the floor, let me show you another little addition to the kitchen.  I thought Charley might enjoy some artwork hanging above her grocery store, so I DIYed some for her.  I found a set of notecards with friends having a tea party for 50 cents at Michael's.  I taped one to scrapbook paper and put it in a frame (with plastic, not glass).  I used 3M tape to hang it on the wall.  That way it can be removed without nail holes when this space evolves into something else.

Lastly, I decided to hang a second shelf on the wall next to the window.  I had been thinking about it ever since I hung the first one, so I decided to go for it. 

I stacked our white bowls and plates on the top shelf.  Now we have some extra cabinet space for Charley's dishes.


And here's a glimpse of our rug again, just for fun.

That's what's going on around our house.  If you're looking for a wintery fun activity for the kiddos, check back on Friday! Pin It

Monday, January 14, 2013

Family Room Update

The walls on the right side of the family room have been pretty bare since I repainted them gray.  Over the weekend, I started to change that.  B.J. came with me I drug B.J. to a big antique mall nearby in search of various items, one being something interesting for our family room walls.  My hope was to find a wooden shelf, unique art, or an old monogram S.  Surprise, surprise, we didn't find either of those things.  But we did find a white oval mirror that made it's way into our cart and onto our wall. 

To the right of the fireplace I hung the New York City painting that originally hung above our couch.  After I repainted the family room, it hung next to the patio door.  I decided the wall above the white chair needed something dark, so I switched it one more time.

I used to have a wooden magazine holder sitting on the floor next to the white chair.  I liked it a lot.  And so did Charley.  She found her way over there quite often and it just wasn't working anymore.

I replaced it with a basket to hold blankets.  Then I added a white magazine holder to the wall.  I wasn't sure about it at first and B.J. said it would look great in a dentist office.  Awesome.  This is not a dentist office, but I hung it on the wall anyway.  And I think I kinda like it.  Eventually I'll find something to hang above it to balance out the mirror on the right side of the doors.

I'll be back this week to share some other little changes I've been making.  I hope you had a great weekend! Pin It