Monday, April 30, 2012

Coat Closet Organizing

Back in January, I shared some organizing goals I had for the year. I tackled one pretty quick, but the others got pushed lower on my 'to do' list. After all, I have all of 2012, right?

Well, considering that it is now April...almost May, I thought I needed to get going on some more organization. A few weeks back, I tackled the coat closet. Here's how it turned out:

This is the large closet at the end of our laundry room. Our laundry room is also the entryway to and from the garage. So,this closet holds coats, shoes, and all the other weather-related gear. It also holds our vacuum, mop, and broom. Like closets often do, it also became a home for random items that don't really have a place. Here's a reminder of what it looked like before:

I started by deciding what things needed to be stored in this closet. Based on the location, it has to function as our coat and shoe closet, but also needs to hold reusable shopping bags, small outdoor toys and our large cleaning tools. Anything that didn't belong there got relocated. For example, I used to keep extra rolls of paper towels in this closet, but found a spot for them in the bottom of my pantry.

Next, I went through our shoes. I took some of my dress shoes to my bedroom closet since I wear them less often. Then, I grouped my shoes on one side and John's on the other.

I purchased a rolling plastic box from IKEA to hold our sandals and Levi's shoes. This makes it easy for him to get his shoes out and put them away. (Please look past the scuffed up walls. I could have earned bonus points had I painted inside the closet, but I didn't want to tackle that.)

I decided to move my vacuum and cleaning things to the other end of the closet. That allowed the other end of the closet to be coat and shoe space only. They are a little more "out of the way" when not in use than they were before.

Then I went through our tubs of hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves. I weeded out any that we don't use anymore and organized them by who they belong to. I added labels that I downloaded from Better Homes & Gardens for free.

I corralled our reusable shopping inside one of them. Now it's easy to grab a bag or two on the way out the door if we need to. I used a basket from IKEA to house the smaller outside toys: bubbles, velcro catch game, frisbee, etc. A box of chalk is also on the shelf. Again, as we're going outside, it's easy to grab something to take out with us and everything's not falling down on us. I also labeled it by tying on a label with a ribbon.

Our umbrellas used to sit on the shelf, but they'd often fall down and get lost under shoes. To solve this problem I mounted removable hooks just inside the door of the closet. There was an unutilized few inches and it's the perfect spot to hang our umbrellas.

Finally, I straightened our coats a little. I'd like to say we got rid of some coats, but we are coat hoarders. I will admit that we've had many of our coats for a long time and we have a hard time letting them go. Truthfully we should each have just a few hard-working multi-purpose coats, but we don't. We have more than we need. But, I do promise that neither one of us is buying a new coat anytime soon.

We have lived with our newly organized coat closet for about three weeks now and it seems to be working well for us. It is staying pretty neat with just a few reminders about putting one's shoes away. And it's nice to not feel like you're leaving or coming home to a mess when you walk out of or into the house.

So, that's another organizing goal I can check off. What about you? Have you organized anything lately?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Embroidered Pillow

Recently I made a new cover for a throw pillow. I had a pillow that was wintery and I wanted to lighten it up for the spring and summer.

I chose to make a pillow cover out of muslin with a simple embroidered design. I used navy and pale blue embroidery floss and created a simple sunburst pattern. It is just a subtle design, but adds some lightness to my dark chair.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Girl

I can't believe that in less than a month Lillian will be turning one. It seems to have gone by so fast. This week I took pictures of her for her party invitations and thought I'd share them. I got some good shots and some great smiles. What a happy girl she is.

When I was her age I wrinkled my nose up like this too.

Showing off some of her teeth

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lilac Love

Nothing says spring better than lilacs.

My neighbor so generously shared some of her lilacs with me. Not only are they beautiful, but they smell wonderful. You can smell them throughout the house.

It brings back memories of the many lilac bouquets that my dad would bring into the house during my childhood. Or going for springtime walks in our neighborhood and catching the scent of lilacs in bloom.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter Fun

On Sunday we had a day full of Easter fun. It started with Easter baskets in the morning.

Here's our little bunny. I found the idea for these goldfish carrots on Pinterest. They turned out so cute!

I tried multiple times throughout the day to get the kids together in their "Easter best", but I wasn't successful. Maybe next year. This year I had to settle with individual shots and even those were hard to snap--neither on likes to stay still for long.

After church John's family came over for Easter dinner. I'm so thankful to have family close by to celebrate holidays with. The cousins had fun playing. Lillian and Trenton are both getting so big. They'll be turning one next month.

One of the highlights in the afternoon for Levi and Griffin was the Easter egg hunt. Bring on the candy!

Griffin's got his game face on.

It's always great to spend time with family and kids definitely add to the fun of the celebrations.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter: What It's All About

It's easy for the real significance of Easter to be lost amid the colored eggs, the jelly beans, and the chocolate bunnies, but we can't forget that this holiday is about a death and resurrection that gave us all the chance at eternal life.

It was God's sacrifice of His only Son that allowed my sins and yours to be forgiven. Not because I deserve it or because I've done something right--simply because God loves me. Even though I continue to stumble through life and I constantly fall short of the person I can be through Christ, He repeatedly offers me forgiveness and grace.

God's gift of Jesus is there for the taking. All we have to do is accept it.

Here's one of my favorite songs--a great reminder of the many promises we have through Christ.

"And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
(Matthew 28:20)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring Decorating...Finally

Way back at the beginning of March, I began to put away our winter and Valentine's Day decor to bring out our spring decor. I love doing that. It lightens things up and everything seems fresh and new. I shared the process of decorating my corner cupboard with my decorating think-aloud and not long after, finished up the rest of my decorating. I intended to share it with you, but it got interrupted by birthday party planning, beautiful summer-like weather, and of course, the painting.

So, even though I feel like I'm really late in sharing this, I have to remind myself that it is still spring so it is still the right time to share my spring decorating with you. Here goes...

Last spring I made this yo-yo wreath out of 1930s reproduction fabrics for my front door. I have a few yo-yos leftover so I intend on using them on a table runner.

Once again, in my entry is my cute little antique table. I topped it with a woven tray which I filled with framed pressed ginkgo leaves (my favorite-they're beautiful), a round green vase, and a jar candle. For a touch of nature I added in a forsythia branch. I've had to leave the bottom shelf empty because I have a very curious ten-month-old right now.

On to the living room. Here's my corner cupboard again. Boy was I glad I had taken pictures of it already when John told me I had to UN-decorate it for the painting. It was so much easier to recreate it.

In another corner, this bookshelf. Since this is also accessible to Lillian, I've had to place objects on here that aren't easily broken and are easily rearranged after she messes with them. I just recently placed the pitcher on the bottom shelf. I'm not sure if it will be able to stay there, but I'm going to give it a try. It survived being on a low shelf when Levi was her age and so far she's left it alone.

In the dining room, I have a lovely pale green striped table runner that my mom just bought for me. I've topped it with a glass bowl filled with artichokes.

The buffet is pretty simple. On the left a pale green candle, a cream metal tower, and a ceramic bunny. On the right, a willow basket made by my dad, which I've filled with artificial grasses.

On the kitchen table, I have a pale yellow bucket filled with wooden crackle eggs.

In the corner of my counter is a hydrangea bloom in a crock, an iron bird, and a green metal egg holder.

On the brown shelf in my family room, I placed a branch in the background to add some interest and tie all the pieces together. I filled another glass bottle with split peas and added items in a variety of shapes and materials.

My mantle has a vintage metal tray along with a white metal pitcher and a glass bee catcher.

If you haven't already lightened up your home decor for spring, now is as good a time as any. Look for pieces throughout your home in light colors. Adding green always says spring, as well. You can throw in a bunny, an egg, or a bird if you like. Just think new and fresh...even if you're using things that aren't. Changing the placement of just a few things in your home can make a big difference.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

All Aboard!

In honor of Levi's birthday, we decided to ride the train to Des Plaines, IL to eat at The Choo Choo-a train-themed restaurant.

The restaurant has been around for over sixty years. It's a popular stop for train lovers of all ages. Since the seating is limited, we decided to head out on an early train that would get us there a little after they open in the morning. Not only was this Levi (and Lillian's) first trip to The Choo Choo, but it was also their first real train ride.

Levi was so excited to ride the train and enjoyed talking to the conductor and looking out the windows as we traveled.

The Choo Choo is a 50's style diner located a block north of the Des Plaines station.

The fun thing about it is the electric model train that brings out the food. We were lucky to get a booth right on the track so Levi could watch the train go around and around. The menu is what you'd expect from a diner-burgers, fries, and ice cream treats.

The burgers were delicious! John and I also shared a chocolate malt-YUM-that was mixed up with a vintage machine. Lill enjoyed getting to taste some of the diner food too.

After telling the waitress we were celebrating Levi's birthday, she served him up a scoop of ice cream with a candle and whistle, then played a "Happy Birthday" song. What a way to end our meal!

We were glad we had come early. When we left there was a line forming in front--an everyday occurrence at The Choo Choo.

We hopped back on the train and wrapped up our birthday train adventure.