Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Organizing Your Small Home Office

If you are like us, there really just isn't a lot of extra space in your house - especially for things like a home office.  Because of limited space we have to be creative about how we use every inch - especially for things like paperwork, mail, office supplies, etc.  Those things can take over your home quickly if you let it - and I'm speaking from experience here.  I have absolutely loved taking a little time during each week to start getting our whole house organized.  For us, we decided to take it a little bit at a time - so we wouldn't get overwhelmed and just give up.  This has been the best way for us - we are actually getting organized and so far have really stuck with it.  Its been easy - way easier than expected.  So today I wanted to show you our completed "home office" - which is really a little desk area in our kitchen.  Its now organized and ready to actually be of use instead of being avoided.

So lets go back for a minute and remember the original state of this deak - it was a disaster.  The mail and paperwork runneth over.  I got to work by emptying everything out and sorting through all of the paperwork and little items that were shoved in.  You can find my post on sorting through the piles of clutter here.

Now all of the shoved in paper work has order and has been filed away in a pretty file box - which gave tons of space for actual office type supplies like envelopes, notebooks, clips, etc.

I'm so excited about this desk now - I like to just walk by and open it every now and again just to look at all the organized goodness.  Oh, I also lined the bottom with some scrap book paper and ended up painting a few places inside the desk, just to pretty it up a bit.

Another part of this task was also to clear out and organize the little drawer.  It was filled with junk - just like most drawers in our house (but we are working on it!)  Here's the before and after:
Just like the top, everything was cleared out and sorted through.  Some things were thrown away because it was just junk, some things were returned to its proper place and some things went back in.  I found some pretty wrapping paper (Target) to line the drawer with and some interlocking trays (from Homegoods) to organize everything when it went back in.

Another addition was this mail sorter for the top of the desk.  One section is for incoming mail and one is for outgoing.  I found the little notebook and mail sorter at Homegoods as well.  The notebook was $2 and the mail sorter was $5.99 - not much of an investment for something that will be a huge game changer for us.

I love that you can find pretty office and organization supplies these days.

Well, I think we can call this project complete for now.  For under $20 and a few hours time we now have a functional, organized and pretty home office space.

I'm linking up with Jen at I Heart Organizing and her Home Office Challenge.  Jen is like the queen of organization, I love her blog and have gotten a ton of inspiration and ideas from her.  If you have been on the organization wave like me, you should definitely go check her out!!

Thanks for stopping by today!   I hope everyone has been safe as the strong storms have come through.  Have a great day!  

Linking Up Here:

Inspiration Gallery

The Humble Brag Link Party

Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Fabric Pendants

This weekend we had some yucky weather so we were indoors more than usual - which equaled me needing a new craft to try, but not able to get out to purchase any new craft items (seriously though, I should have plenty of craft items by now).  So I of course went to the best crafting source out there - pinterest, and found an easy and fun project to try.  So lets break out our scrap fabric and make something.

Oh but first, let me share with you our major winter storm of 2013.  We were hoping for snow but received ice instead - Silas had no idea the difference since he's never seen either.  This was a huge deal around these parts.  I know some of my blogging buddies are used to much more wintry weather than this but to us- this was like total lockdown.  Not everyone loves snow, but I do- so this was a little disappointment but we still made it fun nonetheless.   
Silas even made "snowballs" aka ice balls haha.  He had such a blast running around outside through the icy grass, I wonder what he would do in a real snow event.
Ok, back to our crafty project - the fabric pendants.  So like I mentioned earlier, I first found these on pinterest via darling dexter.  After falling in love with them I immediately started to think of how to make something similar.  I wanted to use things I already had and for it to be easy - So here's my tutorial:
Supplies Needed:
- scrap fabric
- cardboard or small balsa wood shapes
- two pendant shaped stencils: one big and one small (I just freehanded mine)
- pencil
-glue gun
- needle & thread
Alright, so the first thing you need to do is trace out the shapes you will need. 

*Take your smaller pendant shape stencil and trace on your scrap piece of cardboard - this will be used inside of your pendant.  
*Next, take your larger pendant shaped stencil and trace two shapes on your fabric.  I just flipped over my fabric and used a pencil. 
*Cut out your shapes.
*You also need to cut a small piece of ribbon for the loop for your pendant.

--side note - I found some small balsa wood shapes I just had laying around so I used them as well (they are the circle and rectangle).  But you don't need those to do this project.

Now its time for hot glue!  
*Glue your ribbon ends together to form a loop. 
*Next, lay one of your cut fabric pieces down (pattern side facing down) and layer in the ribbon loop on the top and use a tiny bit of glue to keep it down.  
*Then, use a tiny bit of glue to secure your smaller cardboard piece, followed by a tiny bit of glue to hold together the last fabric piece. 
Now you are ready for a little needle and thread.  Don't worry, this is easy and it doesn't have to be perfect.  I just quickly stitched around my cardboard piece that's inside my fabric pendant.  This really makes it much sturdier and finishes it off nicely.

Now, from here you can totally use a chain you already have to slip it on and off to wear it.  I decided to make a few necklace chains with some supplies I had.  You just need some craft chain, clasps and jump rings (all found at any craft store - even walmart) .  I use wire cutters (to cut my chain), flat nose and round nose pliers to open my jump rings and secure the clasp - its pretty simple.

I love these sweet little fabric pendants and all three took me less than an hour to make - more like 45 minutes.  I love that I used supplies I already owned so there was no money spent to make these - my kind of craft.  I think the possibilities are endless with this, so many variations running through my head!

So any of you guys face the winter storm this weekend?  Do you have any crafty things you are working on?  Share with me!

Having a wonderful week!

Linking Up Here:

Make-It Link Party

The Humble Brag Link Party

Friday, January 25, 2013

Home Office Organization - Sorting, Files & Clutter

The organization crusades of 2013 are up and running and I have a little update to share today.  So far, we have conquered our kitchen junk drawer and I have been getting my craft supplies in order and today I have begun work on our home office space.  Now, let me stop there for a minute - a small house = no home office space - so when I say home office, for us that means a little desk in the kitchen and a few small spaces that we designate for certain things (most of which we are creating now).  So because of limited space we have to get kind of creative as to how we organize and manage some things.  I honestly haven't really spent much time thinking about this until now - so its a work in progress for me.

I am pretty much starting from scratch in the form of home office organization - its pretty bad really but we are making great strides.  First up in the battle is our little secretary desk that sits in our kitchen - it was a complete wreck and a place that I was pretty much avoiding due to over stuffing and clutter.  Here it is in all of its glory...

First thing I had to do was just get everything out and then come up with a sorting system to get it all in order.

I used some extra storage bins I have to use as sorting stations for all the the paperwork, bills, etc that we had shoved in the desk.  I also had a bag for trash (which there was a lot of).

I also sorted out all of the little knick knacky things and instead of waiting until later to worry about it I immediately began to put away everything that didn't belong in the desk to its rightful spot.  This is so essential in getting organized...make it a no procrastinating zone while you are working.

Just so you can see that I did have a spot for everything - here ya go.  The "keep" things are going back into the desk and everything else went to its correct location.

Ok, back to the paperwork.  Since we don't really have a home office room or very much space I wanted to keep our filing system simple, easy and functional.  Since this is all new territory for us, just getting something in place like this is huge - maybe it will develop into a great system down the road but I'm ok with this for now.  

So I found these pretty files at Target and a pretty magazine file at Office Max and started there.  After I had sorted through all of the paperwork I gave each paper pile a file folder and label - making sure to file away in date order - woohoo for organization!   All of these file folders are filled with items that we might need easy access to and also will need to be quickly filed away.

Oh, I used some washi tape for the labels, a cute little trick that Jen from I heart Organizing shared on her blog.  I love that it makes it pretty (i'm all about that) and the washi tape is easily removable so if you need to change out a file its easy to do.

Ok, so not the most exciting project, but a long overdue one.  The feeling you get from de-cluttering and organizing really is so great - and the fact that you can make it pretty and fun is just an added bonus.  This job was a little more time consuming than our junk drawer but well worth it - honestly it was one of those, I wish I had done this a long time ago things.

I have more organizing to do in our desk and office areas so I will share them soon!  Happy Organizing!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY Burlap Wreath

Truth be told (why is this a thing?), I don't like it when Justin is out of town.  I don't know how some of you awesome and amazing wives do it (especially you military wives) but I get really lonesome when my husband isn't here.  Last weekend Justin took a group of our students on their annual ski trip to West Virginia.  They had an amazing time and I'm so glad everyone got to go but I was definitely missing him and missing being with our students.  But, Silas and I had fun.  We spent our weekend getting crafty, playing with his new animal set, coloring pictures, watching Lady & The Tramp and slowly continuing the process of getting organized.  We had plenty to keep us busy - and that's what I have to do when Justin is gone - stay busy.  My friend and I had a girls night and decided to be all creative and make new wreaths, it was just about having fun and hanging's how my turned out...

 It was easy and besides the wreath form (thank you Erin!) I just used things I already owned.  Here are my steps below..

1. Cover your wreath in burlap
2. Find and old diaper box 
3. Trace or draw your letter - mine was free-form, I know it looks pro, just kidding - it looks hand drawn.
4. Cut it out
5. Wrap your letter in yarn (I used a little hot glue here and there to keep it to stay in place) and then hot glue it to your wreath.
8. Hot glue them onto your wreath

Your're done!  Yay!

I think I'm feeling kind of springy these days in the dead of Winter.  I'm so thankful for sweet friends who keep me company when Justin is away.  Everyone needs a good crafty night every now and again.  

Hope you are having a great week! What kind of crafty things are you guys working on?  Share with me!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Easy Herringbone Painted Table

I have a fun project to share with you today!  It involves taking something old and dingy and changing it into something new and bright. 

I had this old table that I just couldn't get rid of.  I received it along with several other things from my grandma when she was moving and getting rid of things that she didn't want.  Even though I took this table I have never really liked it.  I never know where to put it and I have not really had a vision for what I wanted it to look like so it usually gets shoved in a corner and hidden away.   I tried to sell this thing, give it away, craigslist - you name it - but nobody wanted it...poor side table.  From far away I guess it doesn't look too bad, but when you look closer you can see that it was gross - scuffed, banged up and needed some TLC.

I know this might look complicated, but I promise it was easy and pretty quick.  I have been all about a chevron pattern lately and I love the little tweak on a traditional chevron pattern in the form of herringbone -so that was my inspiration for this little table.  I decided if I couldn't get rid of it then I would embrace it and try to bring back some life into it (and actually enjoy it being in my house).  I have seen lots of herringbone stencil tutorials (or just stencil tutorials in general) and it always seems pretty tedious and time consuming.  This really totally wasn't at all - I promise, I quite enjoyed this project. So here's is little journey and some steps for creating and painting your own herringbone pattern for your furniture.

First thing I had to do was to paint the table white. I painted two light coats of primer and then two coats of white - I used spray paint for all of that.  Then I decided to paint the legs yellow - I used a leftover yellow paint from out laundry room project.  I totally forgot to take pictures of all of those steps but you can imagine it, I have faith in you.

Ok up next is a little tutorial on how to make an easy herringbone pattern.  I didn't pre-measure anything.  I just eyeballed it and adjusted my tape until I liked the way it looked.  Once its all painted its really hard to tell any slight variations in the pattern so it didn't bother me to not measure.  

PS - I used 1" painters tape.

Make sure you have a handy helper like I did - very important, especially if you like to clean up little pieces of tape from all over your kitchen.  

Oh, also make sure you take a minute to press down on all of your tape to esure you have a nice clean paint line.

Here's the sealer I used.  I have never used this kind but its what I already owned so I went for it.  I was so afraid of it yellowing after it dried but it totally didn't.  Just make sure you use light coats.

Best part about this project - it was totally free.  I used supplies I already had on hand that was purchased for previous projects and left over!

Seriously, this was easy.  Now I'm kind of ready to tackle a herringbone wall somewhere....hmmm, I'll keep you posted.

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend!!!