Coral Crush

Our main bathroom remodel still isn’t done, so most people aren’t using it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work on storage.  Being drawerless in the bathroom, wait, that came out wrong.  Without drawers in the vanity, I have to get creative with hidden storage.  So, I took to Pinterest to see what fun I could come up with.  I saw neat tutorials to make soft sided fabric bins, creative hard sided boxes, and even considered a rope covered box.  Ultimately, I decided to combine a few ideas to make something perfectly suited for our bathroom.  So, I started by cutting a large box to fit inside our small linen closet because I couldn’t find a pre-made box to fit the same.

Of course, cardboard boxes are ugly.  Luckily, I’ve been hoarding fabric lately, so I pulled out a yard of light gray duck cloth.  I didn’t have a long enough piece to completely wrap around the box, so I cut one strip 12 inches wide along the long end of the fabric.  To cover the back, I cut another small 15 inch wide by 12 inch tall strip to piece together.  With my long strip taped in place, I marked the corners.

Using those small marks, I sewed the smaller piece to make a box slip cover.

Because I was feeling lazy, I used Gorilla tape to hold the fabric in place along the underside and around the top edges.

It seemed too boring, so I dug through my paint stash until I found a bottle of coral acrylic paint.  How ’bout some stripes?  After measuring and marking two-inch wide strips, I taped off my edges.

And used a sponge brush and pouncing motion to paint near the edges and filled in the middle.

Pulling off the tape is such a fun part of painting.  Especially when the lines are crisp.  I had some rope on hand, so I marked two holes to create a handle.  Using a screw, I rotated through the fabric and cardboard to make the pilot holes.  Stuffing a pen through widened the holes enough to get the rope through.  Simple knots on each end hold the rope in place.

Now I’ll have to find a white or gray vinyl to line the inside.  Right now, it holds bath toys and we’ve got room for other ugly junk.

I’m really surprised at how sturdy it seems, but we’ll see how it holds up over time.  I think I’ll add fabric to the bottom so the shelf doesn’t get scuffed up when it’s pulled in and out.  Gotta hunt down a good-looking clothes hamper and maybe a few wire baskets.  Or maybe I’ll get all DIY on the hampers arse and make something myself.  Who knows.  Until then, tell me about your bathroom storage situation.  Do you prefer drawers, cabinets, boxes, open shelves?

The Guests Are Coming!

In a few weeks.  But I got in a mood to clear things out, so I focused on the basement.  Last time you saw it, we literally had dropped unnecessary crap stuff down there.

I’d like to say it got better, but it didn’t.  We just added more to the room.  Like 45 sheets of foam insulation.

I can’t move the insulation, but I can organize things and put some of it in a better place.  Like the trash, er, under the stairs.  Yes, the stairs sound much better.  I’d hate to have to part with any of my junk.  Shuffling things around, condensing like items to a single box, and moving it under the stairs took about an hour.  And we have room to flop the two king mattresses on the floor for our guests.  Lap of luxury, I tell ya.

Bulky and heavy items are around the corner because I could barely drag them on my own, let alone across the basement.

Fueled by my desire to condense boxes, I pulled a few boxes of frames up to the main level to get some art on the wall.  First on my list, add some art to the boys’ bedroom.  This big blank wall needed some attention.  Because I can’t paint yet (we’ve got to remove the popcorn ceiling and install new trim first) I decided to hang some art.

Having several boxes of art to choose from, I picked my favorites and started hanging.  I didn’t put too much thought into the placement, just held things up and nailed it in place if I liked it.  It’s not necessarily the best way, but I can always fill the holes when we decide to paint, so I had nothing to lose.  Because this was a ‘slap something on the wall to get it out of a box and make it look like we live here’ effort, I used an easy hanging method.  First, hold the picture up to the wall.

Use a pencil to mark a small line across the top of the frame, and another small tick mark to show the rough center.

Measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hook.  I found it easiest to use a ruler for this part.

Make another mark on the wall, measuring down from your original set.

Erase your top set, pound a nail in the lower mark, and hang your picture.

The less measuring I have to do, the better.  And I didn’t have to make templates, which is nice, too.  Keeping the frames up helped me figure out what I wanted where, while seeing it in relation to the other frames in the group.

And here it is now.

I’ve got to get a pack of Command adhesive strips to prevent Everett from pulling the frames closest to his crib down.  I did strategically place the non glass fronted frames closest to him for safety.

I didn’t stop there.  Armed with another box ‘o frames, I moved down the hall to work on our family gallery wall.  Same process, but I couldn’t hang two frames because we’ll have to take down the ugly sconce.

Sconces are abundant in this house and I’d be happy if we got rid of 90% of them.  A few larger pieces of art adorn the walls, too.  The Savannah cut out map is temporarily in the living room.

I’m working on our city map right now for a matching set.  Of course I’ll have to get a set of frames to go with, but I think the pair will make a nice addition to the empty dining room on either side of the French door.  My sense of size must be off in this house, because all the ‘big’ art from our first house looks tiny here.  Looks like I’ve got plenty of crafting and painting to do.

Have you added art to your walls recently?  A gallery wall maybe?  Large pieces?  Maybe you’ve cleaned out your basement, too?  Let’s share our successes.

How To: Artfully Arrange a Bookshelf

Arranging a beautiful bookshelf seems like a simple task.  Really, it can be difficult if you’re a perfectionist and organizer like I am.  I would LOVE to organize my books so they are just pretty, like by color.  But, the logical side of me says, “Amanda, that is SO impractical.  You NEED to organize by subject.”  Yes, I am a tad OCD. 

Just before our second son, Ev, was born, we worked to finish our basement.  What was I doing the day before Ev was born?  Not packing for the hospital, but putting together my new office!  FINALLY, after a year in the making, I had an office.  I quickly threw my books on to the shelves.  They looked okay, but they weren’t organized. 

I needed a way to make them look good and be easy to find.  So, here’s is the how-to for my newly designed system. 

1.  I took everything off the shelves.

2.  I separated all of my books into different categories: Fiction, Classic Fiction, History, Science, Travel, Biography, True Crime (guilty pleasure), magazines,  encyclopedias and random (books that don’t easily fit into my categories).  

3.  After grouping, I arranged the books in rainbow order.  Red through purple first, then white, grey, black and brown.   A group of red books is the beginning of a new group.    Not exactly a science, but it works for me. 

4.  I placed the books on the shelves where they fit best.  Then I filled in with accessories based on open spaces. 

I have most books vertical, but put some horizontal and one showing its beautiful cover.  (Thanks, Ash!)  I had some open shelf space, so I put some empty magazine files in so I have room to grow.  You’ll notice I also have storage boxes  to hold some of my stationery shop, Customized Stationary,  supplies.