Tidying The Craft Bin

I was so inspired mid-book to get to tidying, even though the author stresses NOT to do that. But I couldn’t help myself; the train got moving and who am I to try and stop it? I decided to tackle my craft bin instead of starting with clothes (like she suggests) mostly because I was working with an undetermined amount of time (nap time) so I figured my craft bin was the smallest and most manageable category to take on first. I didn’t like breaking all of her rules but I had momentum and I didn’t want to get in my own way!

This bin. It stressed me out. Also, a sneak peek of the current state of our office: horrendous. Be careful, it might eat you!

craft_bin

See, the lid won’t even fit on the bin anymore. Something had to be done. Like, yesterday.

I pulled it all out and got to sorting.

craft_mess

I also made a point to gather up my other craft items stored all over the house such as gift bags, tissue paper, cards/stationary, craft paints, etc and address it all at once.

Holy hell, it took a long time.

I thought this would be a breeze to sort it all but it was time consuming. I really tried hard to think about my current needs and not let my old hobbies or future possibilities persuade me. I wanted to focus on The Now. A long time ago? I used to make my own cards. I kept every scrap of paper with plans to use them up in their entirety. But in this phase of my life I buy the adorable cards/gift tags from the Target Dollar Spot and if I’m feeling really crafty, I slap on a piece of washi tape to fancy it up. I hope eventually Amelie/Cade and I will make a bazillion crafts together but currently our crafts are simple and uninvolved. Crayons. Random paper. Attention span of 13 seconds. I figured pairing down craft supplies is just what I need right now. I can always buy bits and bobs as projects with the kids come up. Typical of most purging experiences, I discovered a few forgotten gems that I’m excited to play with and discarded supplies that felt like items on my To Do list instead of enjoyable crafting adventures!

Initially, the bin seemed like the right choice to store everything together but I was finding that it was too big to haul out and too cumbersome to dig through. Currently they are all living in Cade’s closet (which still needs doors, by the way):

cade_closet_after

Marie Kondo emphasizes discarding before organizing and that makes perfect sense to me. It’s difficult to put any systems in place if you haven’t fully addressed what needs to stay or be discarded. For now, my crafts supplies are contained to the office at least.

Eventually, I’d like to move all of my craft supplies to the downstairs linen closet but for now, Cade doesn’t need this entire closet and things are put away in a kind of orderly fashion.

Onto clothes! Oh dear.

Happy 4th of July!

4thofJuly

We had a sweet day starting with a big breakfast, then hiking, swimming, grilling out and finishing with smores!

Amelie is so excited to see her first fireworks tonight! I’m excited to hear what she reports back. She already told me her favorite one is the  “blue one” before she even headed out to see them with Dad and Grandma. I’m so thankful for our freedom and my little cuties!

Happy 4th of July!

 

Gimme Gold

This post was not worth writing and certainly is not worth reading, ok?

I’ve had this letter opener for at least five years.

letter_opener_orig

It did its job, you know, opening letters and stuff. But, it kinda bothered me. So I fixed it.

letter_opener_gold

Ahhh, much better.

 

The Book Nook

I know it was only yesterday when I first mentioned this book but I’ve already finished reading it!

It’s true, I really can read!

THE BOOK: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 9.28.24 PM

 

I seriously love the cover of this book, by the way.

My feeble thoughts: Here is what I liked: I loved the Japanese lens she brought to tidying such as showing gratitude/respect for our things and our home, like thanking our handbag for working so hard for us today and all the blessings we were able to carry inside of it.

Of course, I adore her famous question: “Does it spark joy?”. It’s funny what little things spark joy for me. Currently, it’s these reusable snack bags that I have for the kids. I love them so much! I know, it’s a little weird.

I could relate to her stories and urges to tidy, especially a child.

I appreciated her main strategy: tackle by category, not by room, do it all at once (which is the complete opposite of my strategy that I declared in this post), and what category to start with first, next, and last. That was helpful and something we are actually implementing currently! Stay tuned!

Lastly, I like the word tidying. Don’t you?

What I didn’t like: I felt like she over-explained everything. I wasn’t too keen on her personal stories, even though I found myself relating to a lot of them. I didn’t love the writing, although it had a genuine Japanese voice to them, which I appreciated.

Grade: B for writing/content, A for inspiration! I could have done without the over-explaining, the meh writing, and the silly anecdotes but would have hungrily devoured more tips, lists, strategies, and pictures on how she folds her clothes. Please show me your sushi-inspired sock drawer! Yet, still, I walked away completely inspired to get my house/yard/life/mind/body in order, stat. SPARK JOY! Get rid of everything else!

Would I recommend it to a stranger on the bus (trying to make his way home)? Yes! This subject excites me so I want others to read it and take on the tidying mission with me.

What I am reading now: You know what? I never finished “Savage Girl” and I’m still reading “Stones from the River” that my MIL lent me PROBABLY FIVE YEARS AGO. It’s a good book, I don’t know what the hell is taking me so long to read it.

Wow, it’s been a minute since the last one of these, huh?

Just One Thing

Remember my Spring Cleaning “series”? You don’t? This is so ridiculous but neither did I. I always get embarrassed when I creep back through old blog posts of mine. Oh, the dumb stuff I’ve written (and continue to) during the life of this blog! And the pictures too! Makes my ears feel hot. I try not to think about it.

Anyway, I searched “spring cleaning” to reference in this post, and lo and behold – there was an entire series dedicated to it! I could write those same posts again: Clean out the purse! Clean out the car! Clean out the fridge! That’s the thing with spring cleaning. It needs to happen over and over again.

In the past few months, I’ve declared a new spring cleaning mission. I set a goal to get rid of “Just One Thing” Per Week. It doesn’t matter what – big or small – and it doesn’t matter if it’s trashed, sold, donated, or composted. I was going to write “or consumed” but upon further thought, that didn’t seem like the healthiest option.

A few weeks ago, I worked feverishly to clean up the Play Area. And even though I took four car loads of trash to the dump, I counted that as my “Just One Thing” in an effort to keep momentum.

My focus is diffused; sometimes I’m working in the office, sometimes I’m trying to tackle the kid’s clothes but mainly, I’ve been working in our garage. I think it might be a stretch, but I’m really hoping to clear enough out so we can park BOTH cars in there by winter time. It’s my pet peeve to have so much stuff stored in your garage that you can’t do the one thing garages are designed to do – “store” your car! Now, I’m one of those people. Doh.

Other things on my list:

  • kid’s clothes
  • kid’s toys
  • paper work
  • wedding dress
  • breast pump
  • craft bin

So it’s sort of spring cleaning-esque, but with an emphasis on moving stuff OUT without worrying too much about cleaning or organizing just yet. I’d like to do that too but I also recognize that my organizing efforts have been in vain because I have too much stuff. I’ve been shuffling items from one room to the next, getting nowhere.

This week I’m working to get rid of all of the scalloped edging since we replaced it with metal. I’ll be so happy when this is all gone!

edging

Has anyone read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo? I have it reserved at the library and I’m hoping to find lots of inspiration and tactics I can manage as a busy Mom. It really is hard to stay on top of the stuff with kids – the churn is massive and the time to manage it is minute!

Front Yard: New sod and edging!

Remember when we got a new backyard? Well, we got a new front one too. Yes, we overhauled both yards at once. It was awesome because I didn’t do a thing!

Waaaay, way back, our front looked like this. It was tree mania!

DSC_0176

Then it looked like this, with a few trees removed (like that hulking blue spruce):

locust_trimmed

But, there was still A LOT going on:

frontyard_sideSo. Much. Mulch. And the scalloped edging. It went on and on.

Our landscapers worked hard, even moving this huge rock stuck right in the middle of our lawn. It was the size of a Wee Little Amelie!

amelie_excited

She’s so cute. Am I right, or am I right?

During:

sod_prep1

Another angle:

sod_prep2

And After:

sod_front

Cleaner. Simpler. Greener!

A before view from our front step (from this post):

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And now:

sod_front2

The landscapers trimmed back the juniper jungle on the corner too:

juniper

Eventually, I’d like that taken out. This space gets afternoon sun and I am hoping to plant some peonies or hydrangeas here. Hydrangeas might be best since it’s such a large space to fill up but I still want to make sure the fire hydrant is accessible. Any thoughts or tips are welcomed! I’m not a fan of the pine tree but the tree expert encouraged us to leave it since it was straight and the biggest tree on our property. I find them quite messy with the needles and acorns and sap, though.

I’m excited to add color with more perennials. I’ve already done a little work out here that I hope to show you soon. I think I need someone to help me develop a plan because I’m doing this piece-meal and already have regrets over a few plants I planted last year. Oh well, live and learn!

Three posts in a row? This is not like me. Are you wondering if I am alright?

Back Yard: Perennials

Every spring gets me like this. I want to dig in the dirt. I want to plant perennials, garden, and fill my porch with happy annuals! Then I get overwhelmed because I’m barely keeping up with my To Dos on the inside of my house. I try to remind myself that a little bit of work outside each season will eventually add up to something beautiful. I’m trying to be patient.

Since getting our big landscaping project done last fall, I finally feel like this is the first year where I can actually enjoy planting and planning instead of spending the entire summer trimming back trees and weeding. You know, have fun instead of taming the chaos. Remember my monster compost pile from last summer?

compost

Whoa, right?

Want to see what I’ve been up to these days?

So, first things first. I’ve done a lot of clean up. As I mentioned earlier, I cleaned up the play area. Then, I donated most of the decking to the old hot tub to a guy that’s using it for his kid’s play house. So sweet, right?

Lastly, I also got rid of all of these patio pavers leftover from where the hot tub used to hang out.

patio_pavers

It feels good to be rid of it all and we finally have some room to play with. I’ve been aching to do this every since we moved…I finally planted a tomato garden!

tomato_garden

Eventually, I’d love to have raised garden beds and grow more than just tomatoes, but this is a sweet start. Considering this is what it used to look like:

hot_tub_mess

I’m totally thrilled with my mini garden. Plus, my helper is fantastic. We’ve already got a few green tomatoes.

garden_helper

And you know what surprised me this spring? We have a lilac bush back here, next to the tomato garden!

lilac

It was being strangled by the neighbors grapes and smothered by one of the trees, which later we removed after it had already bloomed so I never noticed it. Oh, it smelled so good!
lilac2Next, I addressed the side of my deck where my happy Clematis greets me each spring. Note to self, must plant more clematis. It’s so beautiful!

clematis

I added more Columbines and some fresh mulch. I’m praying they come back nice and full next year.

side_deck

I’ve got a few annuals on the deck, like basil…

basil_helpers

And pansies too:

pansies

I want to do much more – hydrangeas, peonies, clematis, hosta, maybe roses and a snowball tree. But, I’m also trying to be reasonable with how much more I can get accomplished this spring. I hope to have another surge in the fall and plant a bunch of bulbs but that’s always a busy time with coaching so we’ll see. I’m happy with the little I’ve done already.

Are you playing outside too these days?

Backyard: New sod and edging!

Way back when, I let you tour our backyard. Two summers ago, we made big progress by having a few trees removed. And just before Cade was born, we gave away our hot tub.

And last fall? Oh, I forgot to tell you but we got new sod, metal edging and fixed our sprinklers. Like, a whole new backyard, in fact. And front yard too but that’s for another day. Wanna see?

First, we got fed up one day took that walkway to Nowhere out!

remove_hottub

Then we hired help. The strongest person I have ever met, Ty The Landscape Guy, came in to finish the rest of the hot tub demo. It was not the easiest thing to do to dig out those cement posts. He took that job personally!

Our landscape guys worked very hard back here! There was so much scalloped edging to remove. So much mulch. So much rocky bumpy sod!

Remember when I drafted up this brilliant sketch for you?

left_side_yard_skitch

Well, we/they did pretty much that. Some of the old edging and mulch went back more than 15 feet deep in the corner. Here it is all smooth, getting the lumps and bumps out.

level_back1

And this is what it looks like today:

new_sod_back1

Let’s keep going, shall we?

My “plan”:

hot_tub_mess_skitch

Before:

skinny_stretch

During:

level_back5

And after:

sod_back3

Working our way around the back side, a Before:

right_side_trees_removed2

During:

level_back4

And after:

sod_back4

Remember our Super Slope leading out past the Dead Space Turned Play Area to the gate?

gate

It was all mulch and dried up leaves before. The landscapers smoothed out the slope as best they could and it’s much better!

sod_back5

We had some pesky vole problems this spring, because of course we did. Those little dudes sensed we spent a fortune out here and decided to kill a tree and make lovely patterns in our grass. Grrrr. Our yard could use some extra tender loving care. I’m hoping to hire these guys again to help get the lawn back to where it was and get through the summer and fall. I’m finding I need a lot of help in this season of my life. I can’t get anything done!

Next up? Hopefully a second round of tree trimming and removal. It’s coming along though, isn’t it? I can’t wait to show you the few things I’ve planted tomorrow. Git rrrready!

Hey, did you nod off?

Friday Tidbits

So, you guys, I finished a project!

(I do not know what’s gotten into me.)

Like this stool, the previous homeowners left us these two stools as well.

stools

We’ve been using them all of these years just as they were but I thought they were nasty.

First I used a deglosser to clean them up. Then I grabbed two cans of Winter Gray spray paint and went to town.

winter_gray

I gave them a quick spray of sealer and called it a day. Actually, as always, this took me two weeks. It’s like my magic number of getting things done around here. What’s your magic number?

gray_stools

Now, I’m the first to admit. I don’t know what I’m doing. I probably should have painted these instead of using spray paint but picking out a paint color intimidated me so I just went with what was easiest for my brain at the time. I imagine they won’t hold up awesome with lots of use but at least they are not orangey-oak anymore. Right?

gray_stools2

For now, they are stepping stools stones until we pick out pieces of our own when we update the rest of the kitchen set. The best thing of all, I’m not going to freak out if one of the kids takes a crayon to them while I’m trying to use the bathroom.

Are you surprised I went with gray?

Of course you weren’t.

 

Home Sweat Home: A Painted Master Bedroom

Remember when Pieter the Painter came to help me? Not only did he paint and caulk all of the trim in almost every room of the house, but he also painted the master bedroom. It’s the only room I hadn’t tackled myself yet and I’m so grateful for his help. He patched holes, caulked trim, and caulked the three doorways. It feels so much less gross now!

I don’t have a before picture but here is a picture from way back during our home inspection, blue carpet and all. Oh dear.

master_scaled

Besides new flooring, it looked pretty similar actually. Just envision our own matchy-matchy dark furniture swapped into the same places but with an unmade bed. And piles of crap, of course. Always with the piles. I’m working on fixing that.

I chose Paper White by Benjamin Moore because I love that color in the office/Cade’s room. Oh, you didn’t know? I painted the office/Cade’s room a while back. More on that update later. Hopefully. I’m so far behind…

I picked up the paint and bam! Pieter painted it for me in a day. Oh what a glorious day that was!

master_bed_painted

(Please excuse the dingy and mismatched bedding. It’s on the Needs a Refresh List.)

Although the picture makes it seem otherwise, it’s a very light gray. You know how I lurve me some gray. It’s a few shades lighter than the living room and kitchen color, which is Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore. The lighter color made the room feel bigger…and all of a sudden I was drawn to look up! But what I noticed on the ceiling horrified me: tons of dust bunnies dangling casually from the popcorn ceiling! Yuck! We took a vacuum to them as fast as we could and frankly I’m surprised Pieter didn’t charge us extra for the deplorable working conditions.

There is still lots to do in here: new light fixture, new windows and window dressings, art and pictures of the kids, new furniture and bedding. I’ve got big confused plans, like always.

Another angle, but with the same poor photography. I promise you, it’s not this dark!

master_bed_painted2If you take your mind off of how creepy it is that we have almost the exact same pieces of bedroom furniture as the previous owners, then you might notice a sneak peek of the other project I’m working on – a little vanity for myself!

I’ll keep you updated. I hope to anyway. As per my usual, I’ve started three projects and finished none so my brain kinda hurts.