Organization Station

Welcome to Made Monday...

...on Tuesday. Our good old faithful computer bit the dust, so Monday just simply wasn't a possibility.

I am finding it humorous that I am about to reveal my new organization station... late.

So much for organized. Ha! But I find that the best organization system is a flexible one, so there you go.

Here's my flexible Organization Station.

I was at my friend's house for a monthly preschool meet-up. While in her kitchen, I noticed her wall dedicated to the running of her home. She had pictures-frames-turned-dry-erase-boards up for all her shopping lists and meal planning. She had a weekly calendar and a monthly calendar. She used scrapbook materials to create sections for her dry erase boards. I thought it was brilliant. Thank you Christina for your awesomeness!

The kitchen is the heartbeat of our home. So, it makes the most sense to do all of our planning for the home in the kitchen.

I like/need flexibility in my plans. Dry erase boards are perfect for flexibility. But, I need some kind of way to form a system, some kind of constant. That is what makes the scrapbook organizers in the picture frame so brilliant. Organized on the inside, flexible and very erasable on the outside. Works for me!

One board is for planning my week. This includes appointments, to-do's, meetings, and places I would like to go. I made room to write in a chore for each day. I have decided in an effort to organize my life and home, I need to simplify my chores into one chore a day.

In case you are curious here's my chores:
daily: A quick pick up of the the house and do the dishes
weekly: bathroom, floors, vacuum, laundry, windows and mirrors, computer desk (i.e. "the pile" and bills), and then one monthly chore
monthly: dusting, baseboards, kitchen deep clean, organization project

Everyone needs a "Win!" I do anyways. So I decided that if I can manage to put food on the table, do the dishes once, pick up the house for 5 minutes, and do one chore then I have accomplished something great for the day. WIN! Perhaps, it's because I have small mess-makers children, perhaps it's because my husband is rarely home, perhaps it's because I am a writer, perhaps it's just that life happens and it happens all over the place, but this girl is having trouble keeping her head above the crazy amount of cheerios and toys strewn everywhere water. I am hoping this new system of organizing helps this home and the sanity level of all persons living in this home.

The other board is for meal planning and my shopping lists. I don't do well when I plan a meal for each specific day, that's not flexible enough for me. I just need a list of options, so that when I go into the kitchen to start cooking I know what meals I have bought for and can cook whichever meal works best for that evening. My shopping lists are divided into groceries, costco, and walmart (which actually isn't necessarily "walmart," it's just the list of miscellaneous household items that aren't food.)

I had read the seriously life-changing book, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and if you have read that book you know why there is a journal on my wall... if you haven't read the book, seriously, read it! The journal is for counting my gifts... and I am hoping Mike will add to it too. I am also thinking it would be a great place to scribble down the cute things my kids say and do... like when I was asked if I wanted hot sauce, and I said "yes," and Addy turns to me and says in her most grown up voice, "Mom, I want the cold sauce, please." You know, the fleeting and precious "cute stuff" that I will forget 15 years from now when she's bringing dates home and I need some ammunition to scare them off with (I kid!). I know that stuff could go in a baby journal, baby book, or scrap book, but it's not handy enough and I forget by the time I got to write in the aforementioned items.

The metallic board is for quotes or scriptures or things I need to remember. It's also for love notes for me and my husband. I really don't see enough of that man and we need another way to communicate some affection.

To do something like this for yourself: 

Week Planner and Meal Planner were made from old 11x14 picture frames. I took out the old pictures and mattes and used that for my guidelines for my scrapbook paper. I painted the frames to match the kitchen (and cover up what was underneath! It was screaming 1993 and not in a good way.)

You will have to come back next week if you want to see how I made the journal. wink wink

The metallic board was purchased at Walmart for $4. I bought the pencil cup there too. Cups with flat sides are ideal so you can easily mount them to the wall. The calendar was from the dollar section at Target.

Here's to a life slightly more organized!


DIY Cabinet of Awesome

As a warning, I have this love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I love being inspired. I love having a place to store my ideas.


I hate when I research how to do something, invest money to make it happen, spend hours of work on it, have to improvise because nothing is ever as simple as one picture makes it look, and then someone says, "Oh, you got that from Pinterest" as though I saw one picture, clicked it, and it magically appeared. No I did not get it from Pinterest. I got it from blood, sweat, and tears. And not that I think I am so wonderfully intelligent and unique that no one else can think up the same idea on their own or that I am spontaneously inspired without any originating ideas, but lots of my ideas formed in my own mind. My projects belong to inspiration, research, creativity and hard work. Pinterest can share ideas, Pinterest can inspire, but please don't give it all the credit. Okay, rant over. Apparently I felt the need to be raw and human and a little prideful. Please, tell me I am not the only one that feels this way.

So, you have been warned, don't look at this DIY and comment with a "Wow, you got this from Pinterest." I may just "rawr" at you. Ha!

That said, the idea for this project started from need. I needed somewhere to store my scrapbooking stuff, I had it spilling out from under my bed. I needed somewhere to put all my sewing and crafting stuff. What started out as 2 neat drawers in a plastic storage unit in the corner of my room, taking up a mere 2ish square feet, became piles of fabric, ribbon, craft stuff stuffed into paper bags and the now-crammed drawers and spilling out into my room... multiplying square footage of messiness exponentially. Michael, now in a schooling program full-time, needed to use our front closet for his uniforms... the closet where I placed all of Addy's games and preschool stuff. The place where I had hung our preschool cork boards was not my brightest moment.  It has push pins, and it is well within reach of a toddler's grasp. (I found this out at a preschool meet up at my house when 3 of my friends had toddlers and immediately 3 sets of chubby little baby hands were drawn to the cork boards and their push pins... a small nightmare. Sorry friends! But thanks for making me all the wiser.)

It needed to be large enough to house all of my stuff. Pretty enough to be located in my dining area. Functional enough to somehow hide preschool learning time and easily pull it back out. Also, it needed to be inexpensive. Could one piece of furniture really meet all these needs?!

Need made me begin to search the internet and, yes, Pinterest, in search of solutions.

Armed with an arsenal of ideas, I hit the thrift stores in search of the perfect cabinet unit.

I found this piece. (Sorry, I once again forgot to take a good "before" picture. I remembered after I had taken it apart.) I wasn't drawn to this piece because I thought it was pretty. I was drawn to it because it met my need of function. I knew I could add the pretty later.

It's a mission-style, dresser cabinet. It has a couple pieces of pressed wood, but the bulk of it is solid wood. It is well-made, though well-worn. Drawers and doors were sturdy built. My favorite part: the cabinet doors closing mechanism is a magnet grip that makes it hard to open... my kids are not going to be able to open this thing for a few years!

I started this project by cleaning the cabinet with a mild degreaser. I took out the drawer pulls. Since I knew I wanted knobs, I filled in the drawers that had 2 holes with wood filler.

I patch up the major dings with wood filler. I let the wood filler dry over night and then sanded it till it was smooth with wood surface. I scuffed up the cabinet with a sanding pad, but later found out the primer I purchased was good enough to not need to sand first (Look for Zinzer 1 2 3 Primer if you want to not have to sand too).

I primed the cabinet. It took two coats.

I enrolled my father-in-law to help me with the glazing. I wanted it to be a blue color that picked up the light and dark blue in my curtain fabric. It took more samples than I think I could count to get it right. The paint I picked out was the wrong color. I had in my head that my curtains had turquoise in them. Definitely not. It was a dulled blue. I think my dad spent 4 days and 4 hours each day trying to get the color right for me. Thank you Dad for being so patient with me!

I applied the glaze using a positive application (meaning I added some glaze and then used my brush to hit against the paint to move the glaze over the piece. I went back and lightly brushed it so there was subtle brush strokes in one direction. This took a little practice and some extender so the glaze didn't start to dry before I was done with a surface). I messed up the entire cabinet once because I didn't thin my glaze enough. It ended up clumpy looking and way darker than I wanted. I messed up my cabinet doors and had to repaint them when the glaze dried before I was done applying it to door and I ended up with lots of patches of heavy and light glazing. I definitely got to that point where I felt like, "I am just SO over this."

I made a very translucent glaze out of my green/gold paint that I used on this project. I applied it where I thought the sun might have faded the cabinet.

It was so worth it to try out glazing. I love the depth this cabinet has. This cabinet is not just a color like it would have been had I just picked one paint color I liked and slapped it on. It ended up being a work of art marked with my own signature brush strokes. The lighter color comes through. The darker color is subtle. The very faint patches of green/gold are barely visible but add the appearance of a sun-aged piece of furniture. The brush strokes are suggestive of wood grain.

Glazing was frustrating, but it was also fun. I felt like a painter and the cabinet was my canvas. I got to be creative and even daring without having to be a talented artist that can actually paint murals or even just a 8 by 10 canvas. I am so not that person. But glazing kind of let me be. I enjoyed that.

Glazing will require some research and some practice. (Check youtube for how to videos on making your own glaze, glazing application techniques and antiquing furniture... I didn't do this but my dad did and he said he found good information that reminded him how to do it... it had been a couple years for him.) It may even require that you re-prime and start over. But seriously, it is so doable. And I think... worth it.

Thank you SO much DAD! You were such a help! He helped me mask it off (one of the hardest parts of painting something is just prepping it to be painted... especially if you are painting it in your home.) He helped me make the new holes for the hardware. He spent a lot of hours fixing my bad paint color choice. Best of all, he gave me the gift of learning how to glaze. He did the first mix. After that I felt comfortable enough to make the green/gold and the antiquing glaze for my bench project. He made it accessible and let me try my own hand at it. Thank you Dad! I know you could have done this and it would have been seriously beautiful and intricately worked by a master technician, but you let me do it. And now I can take pride in my own handiwork and have a new skill under my belt. Time together and skill learned...priceless gift. 

I picked up some beautiful knobs from World Market. They have a great selection of quirky, antique, and unique knobs. I decided to do 2 different ones, mostly because I couldn't decide which one I like better, but also because it added to the aged-effect and uniqueness of the piece.

I think dressing up the cabinet was my favorite part. I got to shop!

I made one side of the cabinet my preschool side. I hot-glued corkboard squares down the middle of the door. I added ribbon detail to make it look more finished and to divide my board into sections.

It was as simple as cutting and folding ribbon over to keep edges from fraying and hot-glueing it on.

I made the other side of the cabinet my scrap-booking side. By the way I haven't finished putting all my stuff in. I promise it will fill up the entire of this cabinet. Ha! I made this side my chalkboard side for Addy to practice writing her letters, but mostly just for fun. Chalk is awesome... Why? Because it doesn't mark walls or stain clothes, and it is easy on mom and Addy. Having the chalkboard housed in a cabinet door keeps the potential chalk dust mess from being available for Addy to make whenever she wants. There is a "lip" on the cabinet door that catches most of the dust to keep it from getting everywhere. Major Win!

By the way...I went to purchase chalkboard paint from Lowes and it was $15 bucks and only came in quart size. So, I checked Walmart and found it in the acryllic paints section in a small bottle for $5. It would be cheaper to cover a large surface with Lowe's paint, but with such a small section, Walmart wins!

Can you tell I love my cabinet? Ha!

I love it. LOVE it!

My new peaceful view (well, when the house is clean anyways, ha!) from my kitchen sink.

$109- cabinet
$45- Paint: 1 qt of Zinzer 1 2 3 Primer in base color, 1 qt of Behr Eggshell in a dulled dark blue color, 1 qt of Behr Eggshell deep base (for glazing)
$15-drawer knobs @2.99 a piece
$10-door knobs @4.99 a piece
$5-chalkboard paint
Free-Wood filler, Roller, Brushes, extender, masking paper and tape were all on hand from my father-in-law. Cork board and ribbon I already owned (but cork board squares were super cheap at Walmart when I originally bought them... like $3 for 4 pack??). I counted the cost of the green/gold paint I used in glaze in cost of bench I made.

I don't think I could even buy something similar for twice as much if I wanted to. I saved a ton of money doing it myself. Perhaps, the style is a taste all my own, but this girl LOVES the way it turned out. I can't express the pride I have (you know, the good kind) from the hard work and creativity put into this thing. The function of it is AWESOME. I have been able to do preschool time so easy. If Addy is bored, I open up the chalkboard side and let her imagination go for at least a good 15 minutes. My sewing, scrap-booking, and craft stuff is conveniently located right next to the table I do all that stuff on, making set up and clean up much faster. I LOVE it!

Sorry if I appear to brag (and to be honest I so am bragging), but I suppose after 5 weeks of a tore up house and hard work, one should be allowed to gush a little. Thanks for letting me.

Bragging rights earned!

I hope I inspired you to go earn yours!

And promise I won't say "Oh, you got that from Pinterest." Ha!

I am linked up at 

DIY Repurposed Toy Storage Bench

Anyone ever feel as though their entire life has been reduced to cleaning up toys? Some days it feels as though that's all I do.  In an attempt to make life and toy clean-up duty a little easier, I decided to organize my home and start with the living/dining area first because that's where most of the living happens in our little piece of the world.

Honest moment: Having a designated place to put things is great, but I find just having a space that I like to be in motivates me to keep it clean and tidy. Decorating is Organization Motivation... ha!

I set out to find a piece of furniture that could serve as toy storage and a bench. I could use an extra seat in my house when I have company.

I have a VERY limited budget so I hit the thrift stores (with a bestie and without both kids... a winning combination for a productive and fun day). I found a piece of end table ugliness that was the right size for storage and the right height for sitting on. It was a mere $20

I forgot to take a good "before" picture. BUT I found a picture of my cute kiddos with the table in the background before I fixed it up.

Ugly end table is in the upper right corner of the picture. You like? Ha!
I really didn't need to sand it. I did scuff it up a little with a sanding pad. I used Zinzer 1 2 3 primer available at Home Depot. A good primer keeps there from being a need to sand. If you hate sanding, ask around for a good primer to use that will stick to any surface.

I painted the cabinet the color of one of the leaves in my curtain fabric.

My curtain fabric was the inspiration for the whole room. Not quite sure why but I love this print. It has such an organic, easy feel to it. It feels modern, but it's a little bit quirky. I love the colors in it too. I think it might be me in a curtain!

After painting the cabinet, I thought I'd try scuffing it up a bit to antique it. I wasn't too crazy with the way it was turning out, so I stopped. I didn't hate it enough to go back and paint over it though. (Can you tell I got tired of projects and just wanted it to be done?!)

I made a really translucent black/brown glaze that I put over the cabinet to make it looked aged. I used a negative application, meaning I put in on and then wiped it off. I had fun with it... letting it stay heavier in the cracks and on places I thought would be more worn. Glazing was easy and a lot of fun. (However, I seriously feel under-qualified to explain it well. I don't think I could do the entire process justice. Plus, a lot of it is just based on preferences. Don't let it scare you though! Anyone can do it with a couple youtube/blog tutorials under their belt...or as in my case a very well-informed, ex-faux finisher and cabinet glazer for a father-in-law. It essentially involves making a more "clear" paint so that the underneath will still come through.)

I also replaced the hardware.

It is really deep so it fits a lot of toys. Also, my daughter loves to pull out all the toys and use it for a fort/hide-and-seek space.

I made some pillows to make the bench look inviting. I happened to have all of this fabric on hand from past projects. The white pillow was made from an old shirt and scrap fabric. You can see more about it here. For the pillow behind it, I made my own pleating down the middle for some texture, added homemade piping on either side, and then used my curtain fabric for the rest.

For the cushion I purchased a piece of high-density foam. I measured it onto some left over denim fabric I had. 

My mom gave me her left over upholstery cording from a project she did a while back and I made the casing for it out of my curtain fabric. If you want to add a professional touch to a pillow or a cushion, upholstery cording is a really easy way to do this.

Cut cording the length of all your sides and add a couple inches just to be safe. (If you do it like my cushion you will need 2 sets... one for around the top and one for around the bottom.)

Cut a 1 1/2 inch strip of desired fabric. It will need to be as long as cording. (Doesn't have to be one continuous strip of fabric. It is really easy to add length.)

No need for pins for this. (SWEET!) Get out your zipper foot, fold fabric over casing (right side out), and position so your needle hits as close to cording as possible.

The trick to a tight casing is to feed the cased cording at an angle so that the cording touches the tip of the zipper foot and remains as snug against the entire foot as possible... this is achieved by feeding it at at angle. (My mom showed me this... and it changed my life. Okay maybe not my life, but it sure was helpful! Thanks Mommy!)

 To add length, simply fold over end of another strip of another piece of fabric.

Place it over where the fabric leaves off on cording and keep right on going.

Making all that upholstery cording was SUPER easy!
Add it by placing it around the perimeter of your fabric. It can just be sewed as you are sewing the top and bottom of your cushion to the sides (sorry I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the project.) Remember to feed it at an angle so that your seam ends up tight against cording, lest you have floppy cording. Also, I pinned everything together on the foam itself so I knew it would fit nice and snug. Making the cording was easy, but I fear adding it is not. It's not really complicated, it just requires some sewing muscles. I broke 3 needles and managed to sew my finger (ouch!). It is just a bit difficult to sew through a couple layers of fabric and get the cording to cooperate around the corners. Anyone with moderate sewing abilities can do this; it just takes a little determination and muscle.

Now that the bench, cushion and its pillows are done... I say that cording was totally worth it! It looks legit. I can't imagine it looking "finished" if I had used the denim by itself.

Anyone else feel like plopping down on that bench, knees pulled up, coffee in hand, and contemplating life? The bench looks so cozy next to the fireplace!

I am considering adding velcro to the cushion and bench so the cushion stays put but decided to live with it for a while to see if it's even necessary. I forgot to mention I just added a zipper to one side so the cushion case can be washed.

Cabinet: $20
Hardware: $7
Paint: $15 (I am adding my primer cost and glaze cost to large cabinet project cost, because that was what I originally bought the stuff for, leftovers were used for bench)
Foam for cushion: $16
Zippers for cushion and pillow: $4
Everything else I had on hand: Score!
Total: $62

Not bad for a cabinet that houses my kids toys, provides an extra seat in my living room, and adds style and warmth to my home.

Hope I inspired you to go conquer your house projects. You can do it!

Recipe Organizer

Sometimes I have moments of brilliance.

Sometimes this brilliance is very simple. But brilliant nevertheless.

Confession: I am a messy cook and an even messier baker. Because of this my recipes look, well, gnarly after a couple uses (okay, I'll be honest... after just one use). You know, a little flour and powdered sugar, batter globs, oil splashes... or the unfortunate raw meat (very unfortunate because I now have to rewrite or reprint the recipe to avoid being seriously gross and unsanitary).

So, my simple solution: Binder and sheet covers. Simple. Brilliant.

I love pulling recipes off of blogs and recipes sites, ripping them out of magazines, or scribbling them down during a phone call to my mom or mom-in-law when I am in need of creativity and something tried and true. So, most of my recipes are not contained in a book (and, if they were, the book would be pretty messy); therefore, I need somewhere to put my finds or risk having a messy stack stuff inside the only recipe book I do have. I also love having a binder that contains ONLY what I have tried and liked. I love that I can catalog my recipes, pull them out and write my notes, and wipe the page clean with a rag when I'm done using the recipe. By the way, here's another freebie: Keep a pen handy in the kitchen. I am forever changing things about my recipes, or lack of ingredients leads to a brilliant improvisation, or after trying it once I think of something that could be better about the recipe. I write it down, because I never remember it when I go to make it again.

I put untried recipes in the pocket. Notice first page is my favorite French Toast recipe from pioneer woman: French Toast with Berry Butter. That woman is my hero!

I like to add what I cooked alongside things. Gotta serve a starch and greens with dinner too... but I sometimes lack creativity. Now I only have to be creative once!

I write down all my improvisations. By the way, SUPER YUMMY turkey meatballs. If you can read it; steal it! (Otherwise wait till I have the time to post it. You may be waiting a while ha!)

I take note of how I felt about making it (easy, hard, time consuming...) and how my husband felt about it. Gotta keep the mister happy!

Um yeah... this is why I love this. One of my "famous" most used recipes. It is in yucky condition. YUCKY! I really should rewrite this! But then that would take time...

Happy, Simple, Clean Recipe-ing Wishes to You!