The Case for Baskets

When I was preparing for the baby’s arrival, I knew that we would need baskets and boxes and all that stuff to corral ALL THE BABY STUFF but I didn’t exactly understand just what the STUFF would be, so I couldn’t just go out and start buying random baskets.

Instead, I waited and gave it a few months. It was worth it, because it helped us figure out exactly what to buy and what to skip. I’m not done yet and I know the STUFF will increase as Janella gets older, but this is a good start for us.

Come and visit, why don’t you. Check out the nursery closet…

orange closet green boxes organization

First – the clothes! Janella is six months old and obviously doesn’t fit in her newborn or 0-3 months clothes, but still fits in her 3-6 months clothes. Yes, she’s a thin one. 50% in height, 10% in weight.

The green box (from IKEA) on the right is filled with newborn and 0-3 months clothes. The one on the left is pretty much empty and waiting for the next batch of t00-small clothes. These little cute boxes do the job! No need for huge plastic bins. For now.

green boxes closet

Janella’s stash of toys were getting out of control, so we found a couple of spots around the house to keep them contained. These two cute purple mesh baskets were found at Home Goods and they store toys that Janella isn’t currently playing with (we rotate out toys).

purple wire baskets closet nursery

Okay, back up a little to re-enter the nursery. This little picnic basket with teal stripes were picked up at Target and holds all of Janella’s cloth diapers.

diaper basket nursery

I know what you’re thinking. A picnic basket?! But it is the perfect solution because I wash these diapers almost everyday and it’s hard to empty out the dryer with a squirming baby in one arm. With the picnic basket, it’s easy to just pick it up by the handles, dump the diapers in it, and transfer it back into the nursery. Plus, it’s cute and it will still be useful when I’m done with diapers. When will that be, by the way? I wonder…

I can’t move on without telling you about the colorful bag you see in the basket. It’s called a wet bag and it is an ESSENTIAL item to have if you use cloth diapers. It’s waterproof and seals in all odors. I can’t imagine using cloth diapers without these bags. You can find them at Amazon – we have three of this.

Okay, now turn your head a little to the right and you’ll find a cute green laundry basket with a cute baby in it.

green laundry basket janella

I have a confession to make: Janella’s not always in it. So, the basket isn’t always this cute.

Nick found the basket at Target and brought it home without consulting me. I was two weeks postpartum… It was a risky endeavor but he did a good job. It’s the perfect size for all of Janella’s tiny clothes and when it’s full, it makes a full load.

Lest you think that I’m some kind of organized guru with 1,000 baskets that hold all kinds of categories of stuff, let me show you what it looks like under the daybed in the nursery. (I haven’t told you about the daybed, have I?)

sad area under daybed nursery

Yep. Time to get some more baskets. I’ll measure the space and put the measurements in our iPhone to help us find the perfect baskets that’ll fit in there perfectly. For now, just don’t look under there. Thanks.

Since we spend a lot of our time in the living room, it’s where we store the majority of Janella’s toys that she plays with these days. For a while, we just dumped them in a corner or in a baby swing, but that got annoying fast. We realized that we had two old teal ottomans that were holding random things like old letters and blankets, so we emptied out one and chucked in all the toys in there. (I want to reupholster them, but you know, later.)

ottoman in living room baby toys

It’s perfect.

toy storage ottoman living room

At least, for now. The time will come when this little ottoman won’t be able to contain all of her toys. It will be a sad day…

The other ottoman is residing in the weird space between the TV set and our side table.

sad area in living room

It feels like wasted space. The space is actually bigger than what it seems like in the photo above. It would be great if we could fit in a chest under the window that holds blankets, toys, etc with a soft cushion to sit on. Something like this:

chest under window

via

If you’re looking for baskets, boxes, and that kind of stuff, some great sources include IKEA, World Market, Home Goods, and sometimes Target.

There’s a couple of green baskets at Target that I’m itching to get my hands on but I’m waiting for them to go on sale. Will I win? Or will I lose when they go out of stock without going on sale? I don’t like this game.

So. That’s the story of how I got my act together and organized everything. And by everything, I mean only a few things. I guess I need to buy more baskets and boxes.

Before I leave, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our family and friends for the gifts and hand-me-downs that you’ve given to us. You’ve been amazing and we’re so grateful. XOXO

The Story of the Headless Teal Lamp

Remember my spray paint mania? Well, it’s still going strong.

I ended the last post with this photo as a hint…

lamp in living room

I thought it was really obvious but nobody guessed it correctly!

I’ve had these headless lamps for a long time now…

They are beautiful and a smoky purple color. I bought them for our master bedroom, but the side tables we got later on were too small for these lamps.

So they were just hanging out in our office, doing nothing.

We had nowhere to put them. I thought they would work in our living room, but they added absolutely nothing to the room. The room needed more COLOR other than yellow and the lamps just didn’t do the job.

We looked for a great pair of teal or blue lamps, but couldn’t really find anything we liked or in our price range.

And so… you know what’s coming.

glass vase waiting to be spray painted

Yep, I decided to experiment on one of the lamps and spray painted it the same teal I used on The Thinker!

At first, it felt crazy to be spraying such nice lamps. But they were lamps we had no use for. And they were pretty inexpensive — we got them from Target. Instead of buying another pair, why not just use what we have?

Tape off the top and the cord. Prime it. And then… TEAL SPRAY PAINT TIME.

use blocks to keep lamp from falling over

I carefully covered the lamp with several layers of thin coats. I wanted it to be perfect. Near the end of all that layering, I needed to spray the bottom of it, so I turned it over but it wouldn’t stop rolling over. I was paranoid that I would come back into the garage to find the lamp broken and crying after falling off the box.

I added two little wood scraps on both sides to keep it intact. The lamp didn’t fall off, so I guess it worked!

teal lamp

I can’t believe how grainy this photo is. It can get dark in the living room when all the shades are pulled down and most of the time, they are, because the houses next to us are too close for our liking. We will need to add frost to the windows to give us more privacy, and then I will keep them pulled up much more than I do now.

But anyway. Look at the teal lamp!

teal lamp

Remember, they’re teal, not blue like they seem to be in these photos. Cameras hate teal.

The teal lamp just works beautifully in the living room. It adds COLOR and LIFE – two things our living room needed. Now, with the addition of some colorful pillows and some more color touches here and there, it will all work together.

Okay, let’s talk about the lamp shade. In the photo above, it looks great and white. But in real life, it was kinda loose and flimsy and when the light was turned on, it looked sickly yellow.

The lamp shade is from Target as well and I was so excited to finally have heads for the headless lamps, but I hated them so back to the store they went. And I will never (never say never) buy a lamp from Target again, because it is so hard to find decent compatible lamp shades for them.

Here’s why:

kinds of lamp shade types

graphic from LAMPS USA

Most lamps require a spider/harp fitter shade, but Target lamps use slip UNO fitter shades. Then what happens? You tear your hair out when you can’t find a cute slip UNO fitter lamp shade for your stupid lamp.

I did some research to see if I could convert the slip UNO fitter lamp into a spider/harp fitter lamp. Behold.. this tiny apparatus.

Slip Uno Adapter Harp Converter Lamp Shade Uno Euro Fitter

It’s called a slip uno adapter. The amazon description explains it well:

“Slip Uno adapters are made to fit directly over a plastic lamp socket found on lamps usually purchased at places like IKEA. This adapter will then let a harp attached to it. Then it will allow you to use nearly any replacement shade on that lamp. This is meant to be an alternative to the lampshade which has fitter already attached to it. You can now easily attach a harp to a lamp without one.”

Cool, right? But it costs $10. Yes, $10 for that tiny thing. Plus $4.18 for shipping. Then I will also need to purchase a harp and then… the reason I’m doing all of this work… a lamp shade.

*EYE ROLL*

I did some more research and one website (HERE) calls the little circle thing a “saddle” and says it should be 50 cents. What? Really? That sounds slightly better.

I’m going to make some calls to local lamp shops and let you all know how it works out. If you have any tips, bring them my way! Otherwise… give me good vibes.

Closing off this with a cute little Instagrammed photo of the lamp! Yes, we finally got a iPhone and hell didn’t freeze over. As far as I know, at least!

teal lamp

Spray Paint Mania

Do you get spray paint mania? Right after you spray paint something and you remember how easy it is and you love the result, you go foraging around the house looking for things you can spray paint.

I’m in the middle of a manic episode right now. I’m even considering spray painting my dining table. Fortunately, there’s a wise guy here named Nick who will stop me from committing this madness.

But nothing is stopping me from spray painting things that don’t work in our house in their original state.

It all started with this little project:

the thinker and the cat, before

The Thinker and the Snobby Cat were both Home Goods finds. We grabbed The Thinker a long while back for the office and I planned to spray paint it white, because it was just too dark and we don’t need any more gray things in this house. The Snobby Cat is a recent find and it was too silver – the kind that looks cheap. It looks better in the photo than it did in real life.

My original plan: turn The Thinker into a white statue and paint the Snobby Cat a cool orange.

I gave both mini-statues a coat of primer. This step changed everything.

The Thinker just didn’t look good in white. It made him look fat… well, not really. He just had too many dents and dings and he looked weird. This photo shows this, but this was after the first coat of teal spray paint.

The Thinker doesn't look good in white

Sorry to ruin the surprise but we decided to make him go teal.

Also, the white primer on the Snobby Cat looked really good and I decided that he had to get a lighter color than orange. What about a bright yellow?

Snobby Cat turns yellow

He’s still snobby, but he looks better doing his snobby thing.

Here’s The Thinker in all of his teal glory.

The Thinker goes teal

Why does my camera curse me so? That’s not teal, that’s blue, camera!

Here’s the same photo, edited heavily to show you the real teal color that it looks like in real life.

This, but only darker.

Well, this is a really simple project (spray paint projects always are) but let me tell you something that I learned…

Rust-oleum spray paint is the best.

rust-oleum spray paint is the best

It coats BEAUTIFULLY… Just be sure to shake the can constantly as you spray. It costs slightly more, but it’s worth it. It’ll be the only spray paint I’ll use from now on – if the color is right. I just wish they had more colors!

The Thinker was sprayed with Rust-oleum Satin Lagoon and Snobby Cat was sprayed with Rust-oleum Gloss Protective Enamel in yellow. Both great, bright, saturated colors.

The pair is now happy in their new home – the Expedit in our game room.

The Thinker and Snobby Cat in their Expedit Home

The nice thing about creating a home with a good color flow is that these things can be put in any room and still look good. So, even though they look good in the expedit right now, they might make a move sometime in the future.

Remember what I said about my current manic episode? Well… guess what I’m working on right now. Here’s a hint:

In other news – I hope you had a great Easter weekend!! We spent ours at the park and it was perfect. Mounting Bloggif

Finding a Home For My Swirly, Colorful Painting

I thought it was time to get started on the art for our living room. I saw this beautiful art installation at an Anthropologie store in Austin (at the Domain) and I wanted to recreate it for our home.

art at anthro

It’s much more majestic in person – it’s huge, spanning the entire wall behind the cash registers, and it’s outlined in gold paint.

But I didn’t want to get started on this without doing a test drive first. What if it didn’t look good in our living room? And what colors would I use?

So, I did a much smaller version of the artwork.

sketch for art

With the help of the photo of the artwork on the laptop, I sketched out this outline. But before I put pencil to paper, I put tape to define the art space and to divide it into three parts to fit into our three large frames in the living room. If you look closely, you’ll see the tape – along the bottom, the top, and between the three sections. You can see the tape better in the next photo.

tape on painted artwork

It was hard trying to choose the colors I wanted to use. I also was somewhat limited by the acrylic colors I had and they didn’t take too well to color mixing, or I don’t know how! I wish I took color theory or something in college. I took a bunch of drawing classes, but no painting ones. Regrets, terrible regrets.

The tape was really helpful when it was time to paint. As you can see above, I painted over the tape and then it was easy to remove the paint from the tape. All I did was to add a bit of water to the tape and then wipe it away with tissue.

no paint on tape anymore

I wasn’t completely happy with the color choices I made, but this is what I ended up with:

completed artwork... hmm

Now it was time for the big test. I brought it to the living room and held it up to see how it would look in the space.

My face looked like this:

Old photo of Janella - from late November, when she was around 6 weeks old. She was so tiny!

It didn’t look right. The art was whimsical and the living room was more simple, modern, and had clean lines. The painting, not so much.

But I did like the painting. So, I thought about where else in the house I could put it in. I held it up at different places and finally arrived at my bedroom.

Here’s what it looks like (sorry for the MESSY bed and the blurry shot, I was holding a squirming Janella in my arms).

painting over bed

I think it works better in there, but the bright colors don’t really go with our chandelier. I downloaded a free trial of Photoshop Elements and played around with the colors.

painting over the bed, after photoshop

I think this could work! I can add outlines of silver paint, like how the original art did with gold paint, and paint the sides in silver as well.

I have a few large pieces of plywood in the garage that I’ll use for this project. Since I’ll be using plywood and not canvas or paper, I think wall paint should work just fine. This gives me much more choices in colors without worrying about color mixing!

Off I go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to pick up a few paint chips and figure out a good color scheme.

I’m not sure whether I will be doing a triptych for this room or do it on one large piece of plywood. Let’s see. What do you think? I also plan to add mirrors behind the lamps on both sides of the bed. Maybe round mirrors to offset all the sharp lines. We’ll see…

It’s great how doing small-scale samples can help us make better decisions for our home. Along with the help of technology, of course!

What will we do with the still-empty frames above our living room sofa?

ribba frames

Do another small-scale painting, of course. I think I will try making some swirly black art, like I talked about 3,221 years ago. I thought I should go with something with a bit more color, but my original plan is probably the best one. Funny how that works out.

Iowa is Awesome

It’s awesome to us because that’s where my family lives right now.

It’s also where we’ve been over the past week.

Janella met her favorite cousin, Lily Kate, for the first time. I say she’s her favorite because Janella always stares at her and smiles when she sees her! Aw!

janella and lily kate meet!

I tell you, there is nothing cuter than a 3-year-old fawning over a 5-month-old like an old lady.

And Janella also met another cousin, Joseph Jr., who is only seven months older than her. It was so cute watching them meet for the first time. Even though they didn’t really seem all that interested in each other… But that’ll change before we know it.

janella and joseph jr meet!

I’m really glad that Janella has two great cousins living somewhat nearby (if you consider 14 hours “nearby” but it is to us, with all of our other family living on the east coast).

It was also really nice to finally see mom’s new/old house. I love that house – it has SO much potential.

They’re getting a whole new kitchen installed soon, which will be SO exciting. I forgot to take before photos while I was there, ugh, hopefully mom takes a couple of great photos so I can share it with you all.

Our spring break was awesome… and awesomely long, since Nick got an extra week off due to electrical problems at the school he works at. He’ll have to make up for these missed days, but it was really nice to have TWO weeks off!

Now we’re back home. Nick said that the time at Iowa was a really nice vacation for him, since I wasn’t pestering him to mow the grass or to put up the curtains or some other home-related stuff.

Well, Nick, vacation’s over. Put up them purple curtains STAT!

Home Dreams vs. House Realities

It’s fun to dream, but there always comes a time when you need to determine the difference between what will always be a dream and what is actually possible. And so it is with our house.

My dream is to have wood flooring throughout the house. Real wood – not too dark, not too light. Wide planks. Perhaps they’ll be made of maple. But the reality is that wood flooring is expensive and this house is not our forever home. I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s worth the expense – will we get back what we spent in resale? – or swallow my pride and install economical laminated flooring instead. I need one of these real estate experts from HGTV to come to my home and tell me what the right choice is. I’m still not sure.

Source: feedly.com via elisa @ on Pinterest

My dream is to have a beautiful patio with tiles on the ground and a fan above. Our master bedroom has a window that overlooks the backyard and we’ve been dreaming about changing that window into french doors and adding a balcony right over the patio. How beautiful would that be. I image us sipping a cup (or three) of coffee in our robes (that we don’t own) and chilling on our balcony in the morning dew. But I can’t even imagine how much money that would cost. I still want to put down tiles for our patio and possibly have some kind of shade – a pergola, perhaps? Again, it all comes to resale, it’s not about what I want.

Something to consider is the area where we live. I’m sure that certain improvements count more or less depending on the neighborhood. Right?

There are tons of other examples where my dreams and my reality collide, but these two are what I’m struggling with the most. And we’re also trying to decide which of these projects we should do first. The patio, so we can enjoy our backyard sooner, which we haven’t been doing because there’s nowhere to sit? The floor, so I can get rid of the cheap carpet that hurts my eyes and my heart and that’s probably hiding thousands upon thousands of… I don’t even know what and I don’t care to.

Any advice? Any real estate experts out there? Any offers of free labor? If you just want to commiserate with me, that’s allowed, too.

Pretty Painted Vases, Part 2

I should probably explain my absence for the past three weeks.

Janella learned how to flip to her stomach and that resulted in days and days and days and days and days of sleep deprivation on my part, but now she is 100% happy sleeping on her stomach and I am 95% okay with it. Maybe 85%.

So. Where was I?

Ah, yes. The painted vase project.

painted vase fail

The good news? The paint was easy to remove.

peeling off the paint glass vase

After peeling off the huge globs of paint, I was able to remove the rest with a damp paper towel.

So you can see that the tape on the vase didn’t work out… but in some parts the tape really did work. You can see some crisp lines here and there. I think that tape COULD work if you had a lot of space (e.g. a bigger vase) to maneuver and press the tape on the glass harder than I was able to.

Once the vase was free of the paint, I just poured in some new paint and followed all of my tips. I tell you, I give great tips. The painting of this vase went beautifully and it dried much faster than the other vases did.

pretty blue vase

(Ugh blurry photo) Boring, maybe? But still pretty!

Since I still had several more vases looking forlorn, I tried another paint trick.

A few weeks ago we stopped by West Elm (aka Heaven on Earth) just to look around (and pick up a few cute things, of course) and I thought this vase was cute:

west elm vase paint stripeI told Nick, “Hey, what do you think of this? I could attempt this with one of our glass vases!!”

Nick chuckled to himself with one eyebrow raised and then gave me a little shrug and stuck out his bottom lip (the international facial expression for ‘maybe or whatever’) and walked away with Janella. The nerve…

I made this, and Nick loves it. Elisa for the win!

yellow stripe on vase

I just poured in a little of the paint – enough for it to slide down the side, but not too much that it’ll drip all over the place. But the paint was a little too thick so it moved way too slowly for impatient little me. And the stripe turned out to be triangle-y.

painting a yellow stripe on vase

I’m waiting for it to dry before doing the other side to reduce the likelihood of drips – and I will try thinning out the paint with a little water. That should work.

OK! Enough about vases! But wait. I want to bask in the glory of “I FINALLY DID IT AND IT LOOKS PRETTY” so look at this Expedit set up with my “new” vases.

expedit in game room

Can you spot all the painted vases? I also experimented with a painting technique from this tutorial (see the green vase on the right, second row) but it didn’t really make for a pretty result.

I enjoyed playing around with the styling of the expedit! It gave me a few minutes of relaxation in between Janella’s cries today. It’s still very visually cluttered, but it is so much better than what was there now. I “shopped” the whole house to try to fill out the expedit and now I know exactly what we need for it. We need some white things (see the closet light cover on the bottom right, ha) that pop, five baskets to line the bottom to fill games with and reduce visual clutter, and a few colorful frames here and there of our favorite people.

I’m also SLIGHTLY considering spray-painting some of the game boxes. That’s a little crazy, maybe?

Now you can go! And I promise I won’t disappear for three weeks again. Unless Janella learns how to stand on her head or something…

laughing janella

"HA HA! I have PLANS for you, mom! HAHAHA!"

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