Thursday, March 17, 2011

Food for the Furballs

Over the weekend, I traveled to Atlanta to spend some much needed time with some of my best girl friends.  Saturday was my birthday, so it worked out to be a really great weekend with some of the most amazing women in my life (really, I couldn't have asked for better friends). We all have very busy lives and I am so thankful to be able to have spent a few days with them.

On Saturday, we stopped by IKEA, because, for my birthday, I wanted to do nothing else but spend time with friends, and pick up some much needed things for the house from my favorite Swedish discount store (my sweet friends happy obliged).  Oh IKEA how I love thee.

At the top of my list were these recycling bins.  However, I had different plans for them than using them to store our used paper and plastic. 

See, we have this issue with Harley and Baxter's food.  This is how we have it (or really don't have it stored in our laundry room). 

Please excuse the tornado that went through our laundry and utility room, it's awfully messy and on the list of things to be organized. Anyways, Harley's dog food conveniently comes in a re-sealable bag, however, Baxter's doesn't, so we have it in an old sheetrock bucket.  

Clearly, this isn't working for us.  The bucket lid gets stuck all the time and they are both in the way of our deep freezer that we access daily.  

So, with the addition of two bins from IKEA, the dog and cat food now live tucked away next to our washer and dryer. Please note the half white and half beige trim. I will finish painting one day.    

It's the perfect solution to our storage issue.

The lids flip up allowing for the perfect amount of space to scoop out food for each furball.

More importantly, an entire bag of food fits in the bins perfectly.  

Slowly but surely things will get organized and into place around here. Usually that process is aided by a trip to IKEA.  If only it weren't 3 1/2 hours away.

Thank you for helping us get organized IKEA.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Found Treasures: We're Big Fans

Life should never be taken too seriously.  I like to think of decorating the same way.  For us, we want our house to be comfortable, lived in, fun and cozy.   

We aren't going to run out and buy the most expensive, coolest new thing for our house. Sometimes found treasures, someone else's hand me downs, the things with history and a story to tell are the most fun and interesting ones.  

We like to to adorn our house with those kinds of things.  Well, I should again say "I". I am pretty sure Alan could do without any "adorning" of our house, but he also wants to make our house feel "homey", so, I translate that into "find some cool, previously loved things to adorn our house." 

With the help of my Mom (Thanks for having the time to do my antiquing and yard sale shopping for me!), I have this sweet little fan in the office/craft room.  

Isn't she a doll? I simply love her, and best of all, she still works!

She's the perfect shade of blue

And fits quite nicely on my work table.

Thanks for the perfect found treasure Mom! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Home for Lunch: Ironing out Some Kinks

Over the weekend I began cleaning out and trying to get the home office/craft room organized.  Everything was pretty much thrown in the room once the walls were painted and the new floors went down.  It is not really functional for daily work that I need to get done (on the office side of things).

But, I also realized this would be a good time to update a few not so functional aspects on the craft side of things.  I came to the conclusion that my lil 'ol table top ironing board is no longer going to cut it.  It now simply functions as Baxter's new bed.

Once I get everything organized and Alan has time to build some shelves in the closet (soon to be sewing nook) I will be able to get back to work on quilting, etc.  In order to make that happen I need a much larger, regular sized ironing board.  Since I have turned this room's closet into an open sewing area, there's not much of any closed storage in this space, definitely not large enough for a full size ironing board, so I opted for a space saving door hung board.

It's the perfect solution for this space and I am looking forward to using it in the months to come to finish the quilts I started before my little nephews were born last fall.  Maybe they will get a quilt for their first birthdays...hopefully.  Better late than never right?  I guess...

Since these door hung boards are notorious for bumping against the door when you open and close it (I remember the exact sound they make from when I was little). I cut a piece of 3m wall adhesive strip to fit on each bumper and they no longer bounce against the door.  Thank goodness. Problem solved.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Portrait of sweet Baxter
(in his new favorite spot - my craft room, next to my yarn stash)

Home for Lunch: Feeling Spicy

One little (and I mean really little) part of our kitchen that has been troubling me every time I cook and bake is our spice cabinet. 

Yep, it's narrow, and pretty deep.  So, every time I need a particular spice, I have to pull out everything, just to find out, I picked the wrong shelf, and have to move on to the next one, pulling everything out of that one just the same.  It's. annoying. And, I don't want to do it anymore.

So, I decided this drawer was not being utilized as well as it could be

So, I emptied out the drawer, with plans to relocate those items.  I moved all of our spices to the drawer, and yes, you can see, because we could never see what spices we had, we have lots of multiples.  Hello Basil!

With some consolidating, hopefully we will be able to free up a little counter space and move these spices into the drawer as well.  

Now, I can see everything in our spice cabinet.  Sure, there's some wasted space behind all of these items, but it's now functional, and we don't have to guess what is hiding back there.

I picked up a couple of door organizers at Lowes (for only a few bucks), and after a 10 minute installation, we now have new storage for all of our foil and ziploc bags under our sink. Super easy.  I don't know why we hadn't made this switch earlier.  

Retrieving what we need is much easier now, and we gained a spice drawer with this quick switch! We can now cook and bake with ease.  Thank goodness! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Home for Lunch: That Dreadful Drawer

Well, if you didn't know this already.  I have a hate hate relationship with our kitchen.  Nope, no love from me on this one.  

I guess it is because Alan is a much more patient person than I am (he IS a high school teacher - he's pretty patient), but I really really loathe our kitchen.  I probably dislike it more since I spend more time in it.  

Let me give you a quick little list of the things I dislike about our lil 'ol kitchen.  Perfect place to start - it's small and closed in.  We had to build a pantry to house our food, do you remember? There was no where to store food.  Awful.  A cereal box won't even fit properly in our cupboards.  

Oh, right, back to the list.  
It's dark.
The oven is too small for the cookie sheets we own. - ha, that one makes me laugh every single time.
The drawers don't work. (well, the hubs fixed one of them)
There are at least two whole cabinets that are not even functional (ie. they are too small to put anything in)  I mean, really?  Who builds a kitchen like this? 
I can't reach half of the cabinets - but, I guess that's not really the kitchen's fault.
The countertops are faux wood grain and the corners don't even match up (they are so uneven that we can't put anything over the threshold because it won't sit level.  Which can make for some interesting cutting board action).   
It's dirty, and will probably never be totally clean, as hard as I try. 

I could really go on all night.  But, I will spare you every single detail.  

Just know, I loathe it.  Very much. Very very much.  However, until we have saved up the enormous amount of money it takes to tear out a kitchen and start over, we have to live with it.  

So, in an effort to find more function in this little functionless thing in our house that we call a kitchen I got started on a few little projects today.  

The first one, cleaning out this drawer, that doesn't get used, since it doesn't work.  Yep, there's no track for the little wheels to run on.  Well, there is, but it's really hard to open.  So, instead of opening it all the time, we just shove it full of stuff.  See.

Mostly what makes it into the drawer are take out napkins (for what reason, I'm not sure, we don't eat that much take out), owners manuals to whatever gadgets we purchase, funnels, matches.  Well, here are most of the treasures recovered from the drawer. Pretty much completely random things. 

There were some useful things and even some coupons for free food! Score!

I only had time to clean out during lunch today (let me rephrase that, Wal-Mart didn't have what I needed - I don't know why I even shop there, ours is awful), so on my way home I stopped by Lowe's and picked up a utensil tray to make our old junk drawer more useful.  After filling it up, it's now much easier to find what we're looking for, without having to move everything out of the way first. 

Here's what our main utensil drawer looked like before. Piles and piles of things.  Just a mess.

Now, it's looking much better.

Since we use this drawer daily, it's the only one that has been upgraded with a new track.  Let's just say, this is a total function over form thing. It looks horrible, along with the rest of the kitchen (so it fits right in), but man does it work good.  Smooth as silk. The other drawers will be getting new tracks this weekend.  Now, we will just have to figure out how to make them work on the trickier other two drawers. 

Next up, find out how I fixed my spice problem. Another drawer and a few more things from Lowes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Home for Lunch: A Spring Table

The weather around these parts (South Georgia that is) has been quite beautiful recently.  Spring is definitely on it's way, and coming home from work everyday and seeing this is not exactly our idea of a good time.  But, with some new freelance work I have started, Alan finishing up the last class of his Masters degree (he's so smart) and the projects we ALWAYS have going on around the house, sometimes, the dining table ends up this way.  True story.  It's our reality right now.  You know, since we like to keep it real around here.  Well, this is definitely real for us right now.

So, today, instead of having to come home to this mess at the end of our day, I decided this would be my little lunchtime project.  I know, I know, cleaning off the table is a pretty lame thing to write an entire blog post about.  BUT, I did manage to bring in a little Spring cheer and now, we get to come home to this

Ahhh....  Much better. 

I picked up these cheerful napkins (4 for only a few bucks) and the blue table runner on clearance at Target.   

I also added this other succulent that I picked up at the nursery yesterday for under $4.  I planted it in a little white Ikea vase I had sitting around, just waiting to have something beautiful living in it. 

Along with a tall green vase (for more added color) and some yellow twine wrapped around a white candle (just to make it a little extra special), that's all there was to it.  I corralled everything on a white tray I have from Ikea.  It makes it easier to pick everything up in one fowl swoop if we need to get the table ready for a big supper. However, if it's just the two of us, the runner and tray can stay put, since we sit at one end of the table. 

So, how is the weather in your neck of the woods? Felt any sun on your face yet?  

We are welcoming Spring with open arms and a table ready for friends to gather around.  
Cheers to Spring!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's for Lunch?

I am thankful to have a job that allows me to go home for work everyday.  We live only a few miles from where I work, so I have about 40 minutes or so to spend time with the furballs, grab something to eat, and run whatever errands I have.  

Today, I came to the conclusion that life around these parts is not getting any less busy.  It will probably only get more hectic! So, in an effort to make sure I get to do the things I love (working on our house, decorating, crafting, etc), I have started a little project during the month of March.

A little something I like to call Home for Lunch.

In order to get my ongoing projects finished, and my upcoming projects started, I am going to devote a little time each day to working on them.  This time is going to be while I am home for lunch everyday.  I normally watch some mind numbing television show, and waste away this little break in my day.  Starting today, I will try to do one little project around the house, or work on a portion of a much larger project, hopefully making a much needed dent in our ever-growing to do list. 

For my first day home for lunch, I did a little plant project.  I stopped by the nursery next door to where I work to pick up some succulents - my favorite indoor plants.  They are beautiful, and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. (And, best of all, they take very little attention and care, just a little water every now and then). 
Today, I found a burro's tail for just under $4.  Using a hanging pot and hook I already had on hand, I started a little vertical succulent garden in my home office/craft room.  

I plan to add more plants slowly and eventually have a great plant wall to gaze at while I am working and sewing! 
Here's a sneak peek of the fun, whimsical curtains in my new office/craft room.  Yep, those are little owls. There's squirrels too! As more projects start getting done via Home for Lunch I hope to share more progress on the space!  Until next time, enjoy your lunch!