29 February 2012

Mini Closet Makeover

I recently went through Lucy's clothes to remove the items that she has outgrown (anything under 6 months) and to reorganize and add her 6-12 month pieces. Our little weed has been growing so much that I had to completely buy her all new pajamas this past weekend. The 6 month Carter's PJs are too short for our tall Lucybug.

I get giddy just looking at her organized closet. We also have all four draws in the dresser filled with clothes, although the bottom two drawers are dedicated to clothes that are for 9 months up to 18 months and even a few toddler items we have. The top two drawers are for 6-9 month pants, pajamas, sweaters and onesies.

Seriously, now.. how many 7 month olds do you know that need 30 pairs of pants?

In my defense I will say that these should last her until she's a year old. But I also can't stop buying her clothes every time we go to the mall. What's cuter than a little baby in skinny jeans? I'm weird about Lucy's wardrobe in that I don't like 'baby' clothes. I know, I know, she's a baby, but I'd rather dress her like a mini me. I buy lots of stripes and polka dots and patterns that I would wear myself along with a fair amount of neutral colors. I was very anti-pink in the beginning, but I've caved in a bit as there are some cute pink clothes that aren't over-the top frilly and 'baby-ish'. Some of the clothes I've bought her I wish they had in my size, like her seersucker dress, striped leggings, her denim dress and gingham grey and white romper.

Back to the point of the post.

I love how neat and organized Lucy's closet looks with the matching set of fabric hangers, so much that I was a little jealous that my closet didn't look so organized.

Here's another quirk of mine: I hate plastic hangers. Those big, chunky plastic hangers that come in all sorts of awful colors. I've been using all metal hangers (saved from monthly trips to the dry cleaners) and have been using them instead since they're slimmer. But as you can see in the below photos of my closet, they still look rather junky and cluttered.

I went to Marshalls and purchased 7 packs of these great neutral colored fabric hangers. I love the clean look and color of these hangers. By choosing a neutral fabric, it doesn't clash with the colors and patterns that are already in my closet. It also helps things look more streamlined and organized, even if I don't necessarily change anything about the organization of the clothes.

I started with 4 packs (72 hangers) and quickly learned that was just enough to do one side of my closet and just a few dresses. While I did take this opportunity to weed through some of my clothes and put together a donation pile, I still needed to purchase a more hangers. They were 18 to a pack and cost $9.99 each. Luckily I had a $50 Visa giftcard leftover from Christmas that I received from work so I only had to pay $20.00 of my own money for 126 hangers. Still pricey, but worth it to me. 
I had ordered some clothes online and waited until they arrived to start the closet redo. Once I replaced all the hangers, my closet instantly looked 10 times better. Just having one uniform color and type of hanger made a world of difference.

(The pictures are a bit blurry, but we dont' get much sunlight in the closet and I hate the yellow glow from using the flash.)

I've tried a few different ways to organize my closet. For a while I tried color-coding everything. I've found that it's easiest for me to navigate when I group similar types of things: skirts, sweaters, long sleeved, tank tops, dresses, etc. rather than by color.

Here's my little helper trying to 'organize' my shoes.

It was the smallest change, but I'm so glad with how much neater the closet looks. I actually enjoy going into the closet and seeing how nice everything looks. That and I'm a little bit of a perfectionist in that I try to perfectly space each hanger. We'll see how long that lasts!

I'm dying to repaint my closet. It's currently a denim blue color as I was channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw when I painted it a few years ago. Now I want a nice neutral palate (like I'm turning the rest of the house) that doesn't clash with the colors and patterns of my clothes and looks a little more 'grown-up'. 

Pre-baby I would have taken this opportunity of cleaning out my closet to just bite the bullet and paint the closet last weekend just to get it over with. I still have a good amount of Sharkey Gray leftover from the nursery. I wish I could have, but now that I have Lucy, I need to better plan my paint escapades. Hopefully soon though!

Oh and here is just a fraction of the hangers that were tossed.
What a mess.

Sidenote: For those of you wondering, Jordan has his own closet. I didn't kick him out. He was a good hubby and sacrified the walk-in and let me have it. He owns the large closet in the upstairs hallway for all his clothes. I think he likes having his own closet, anyway.

Photo of the Day 1.29.12

My pallets are here!
Can't wait to get started on them this weekend.

28 February 2012

Retail Inspiration: Window and Floor Displays

I always have my phone on me and I'm always snapping pictures of inspirations I see while out and about. One of the most common places that I found inspiration is at the shopping mall. Window displays can host a number of great decorative ideas, DIY art projects and other inspirations for the home. I first mentioned this back in December when I saw lots of great DIY holiday decorations while shopping at Gap.

Below is the current Anthropologie window display at our mall.
I love the idea of using paint and canvases to recreate the wall art. I even really like the aqua blue wall, although I don't have a place in my house to paint a wall that color. I need some wall art in our upstairs hallway between the guest bath and laundry room and I have two decent sized canvases just ready and waiting to be painted.

Anthropologie has always been where I find some of my best inspiration, however it's not always the most budget-friendly. Because of that I try my best to find alternative solutions or create my own 'look for less' based on my favorite Anthro pieces. Anthro definitely has some great, innovative ideas for home decor and styling. I rely on them mainly to purchase decorative accents in our home, and use their store displays and other larger pieces as inspiration for DIY home projects. The floor displays at Anthro are some of the coolest, most innovative displays and I always wish my home looked like an Anthro store.

I mentioned once before how I wanted to replicate the fabric rope canopy in the below picture. My sewing machine and I have yet to make friends, so that project is on hold for a bit. With the right colors, the other fabric display would be a great holiday decor accent piece as well.

This ladder shows a very cool way to display dishes in a rustic dining room. This idea cold even be used to store and display liquor, glasses and barware accessories. Lots of estate sales actually have old vintage ladders (I've seen them at Goodeals, too) along with other miscellaenous old tools. The shelves are simply made of scrap wood.

Of course, you would need to make sure that your ladder wasn't so vintage that it's shaky or uneven. And the plywood needs to be substantial so that it doesn't bend under the weight of the dishes. The last thing you would want is for your good dishes, glasses or even (yikes) booze to come crashing to the floor. The wood would definitely need to be secured to the ladder rungs.

This vintage mirrored wall art could be super easy to duplicate by simply picking up some various sized mirrors from thrift stores or estate sales. I'm trying to find a place in our house to recreate this fun mirror collage.

An inexpensive Ikea TV stand could be used to recreate this awesome storage piece.
The drawers could be reused from old furniture or built out of scrap wood. The different sized cubbies could be created with some wood built into the existing shelving and stained or painted to match. I think this would be a fun storage piece for a play room and may need to keep this one in mind once we move into a bigger house and have the space for a 'kid's room.'

Not necessarily something easy to duplicate, but I loved the idea of this chair made from an old radiator. Definitely needs a cushion before sitting!

Of course, we've all seen vintage crates reused and refinished as storage pieces.
I still can't get enough of them, though. Love the idea of storing colorful linens like this.

This is the current window display at our J. Crew. I was immediately attracted to the pinwheels made from magazines and colored scrapbook paper.

These are antoher fun, whimsical idea for a nursery, kid's room, or even made for holiday decor.

After all this great inspiration I have two Anthro inspired 'look for less' projects that I plan to recreate in the next few weeks: one for our master bedroom and the other for the guest room.

What inspires you?

27 February 2012

Happy Monday - A Gift For You! (25% OFF)

What better way to start off Monday than with a treat for YOU.

I have a great promotion running for the month of March, and was so excited about it that I decided to start the promo a few days early.

Just over a week ago I blogged about my desire to spruce up the textiles in our living. I purchased a few new pillows covers from various shops on Etsy to recover some old Ikea and other pillows I have currently residing on the couch. There were so many options to choose from and I had the hardest time narrowing down to just a few. 

One of the pillow covers I mentioned was this gray chevron one:

After hearing hearing about my textile hunt, Mandy who owns the shop Pillow Confections contacted me and offered to send me the cover that I was eyeing up. She also offered a great discount for my readers!

From now until April 1st, visit Mandy's shop, Pillow Confections, and get 25% off when you use the coupon code SIMPLEKINDOFLIFE at check out. Such a great discount that I'm seriously considering getting even more pillow covers for our house.

Mandy is a wife and mother of two toddlers, living her lifelong dream of raising her children from her country home in Tennessee and contributing to her family's finances doing what she loves - sewing. She creates a ton of gorgeous handmade pillow covers and curtain panels and will be adding more throughout the month of March!

I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my pillow cover, and can't wait to see how it looks on the couch with the rest of my finds. Be sure to check out Mandy's shop and take advantage of the huge discount she's offering.

Happy Monday!

26 February 2012

Photo of the Day: 2.26.12

It's beyond gorgeous outside. 
Definitely doesn't feel like the end of February.
We threw on our sunnies and took advantage of the weather out on the deck.

25 February 2012

Photo of the Day: 2.25.12 Rainy Friday

Yesterday was rainy and gloomy, today it's windy.
Trying to get some motivation to get moving this morning.
Lots to do!

(picture from yesterday)

24 February 2012

How To: Chevron Painted Canvas

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may hove noticed a few months back that I pinned this bag from Etsy.

While the bag itself is great, the actual reason that I pinned this picture is that I love, love the chevron pattern and color scheme and thought it would be great to recreate on a canvas. I've been desperately trying to find solutions for all the empty wall space throughout our house. I'm not a fan of most art I see in places like Marshalls and don't have the wallet to purchase legit paintings. So my solution is to DIY my wall art.

To create this chevron canvas the supplies I used:

- Canvas - any size. (I used 12x12)
- Ruler and pencil
- Painter's or masking tape
- Paint colors of your choice
- Sponge or small paint brush

To get started, you need to divide your canvas by how thick you want your stripes to be. 
Since my canvas was 12x12 I opted to make 12 one inch squares across and vertically. 

I would suggest drawing your lines very lightly. I made the mistake of drawing mine a little too dark and needed to try and erase the lines once the painting was finished. 

Once your square are set, you can start drawing the chevron pattern. To do this, you simply draw a line, corner to corner, across the middle of your first square. Repeat this in the same direction for every square below going vertically. Draw a line in the opposite direction for both squares on either side.

If my directions are a little confusing, use the below picture as a reference.

After the chevron pattern has been drawn out, I cut several two inch strips of painters tape and put them along every other chevron line. I wanted the stripes between to remain white.

This was the most tedious part for me. Again, I'm seeing this trend where I choose these tedious ways to create fun art. First the pom poms that took hours to cut circles and glue, then the subway sign where each letter needed to be individually cut out. Now, I'm cutting 2 inch pieces of tape one by one and sticking dozens on a canvas. I think sometimes I like doing monotonous, detailed work that doesn't entail a ton of thought. Luckily this time I have a fairly small canvas to work with and it really didn't take a lot of time to do. 

The tricky part for me was that my painter's tape didn't want to stay down. I'm not sure if I would have had better luck had I used Frog or masking tape, but at the time I only had blue and it was crucial that the tape be only 1" thick. 

To solve this problem, I used the same trick I did when making my subway sign and needed to reinforce the letters to the canvas. I flipped the canvas over and used heavy cookbooks to weigh down the canvas against the painter's tape.

You can see in the above pictures that I also put a strip of tape on the back of the canvas to hold down all the ends of the tape that wrapped around from the front. 

Once the books were set I let them weigh down the canvas over night. If you don't want to wait until the next day, I would suggest at least waiting a few hours to make sure the tape is pressed firmly onto the canvas.

Once the tape is set, the fun can begin when you start to paint. I chose the same color pattern as the bag I found on Etsy, but obviously you can use any selection and order of colors you like.

I lucked out that I had almost all of the exact (or at least pretty darn close to) colors that were used in the inspiration photo. The only color that didn't match was the light tan, which I recreated with a taupey-grey paint I already owned mixed with a little bit of white. When painting between the stripes you want to be careful to avoid the paint bleeding under the tape. I chose to use more of a dabbing/blotting method to apply the paint, or at least the first coat. It took about three total coats to get the deep color I wanted.

Once the paint dries, you simply peel the tape and your canvas is good to go.
This blog wouldn't be 100% true if I didn't let you all know that once the tape was peeled my canvas wasn't perfect. There were a few spots where the paint bled through the tape (looking back, masking tape would have been a better option to use) and there were also still pencil marks since I made the mistake of drawing my lines a bit too dark. 

I simply used some white paint and filled in the spots between the chevron stripes.
I'm actually glad that I did this anyway because it helped make the white stripes between each color bolder and brighter than the white of the bare canvas.

For now, the canvas is resting on the ledge that is on the wall above our bed. I may end up relocating it. I love how the colors of the stripes match the black ledge and vintage gold mirror already above the bed.

Of course you don't have to just do this on canvas. You can use this chevron pattern on anything you want to paint: a wall or rug, or embellish something small like a mug or plain white dishes (decorative, of course).

Happy Friday and Happy Crafting!
Have any great DIY plans this weekend?

Lucy's 7 Month Milestones

7 months means Lucy is over the halfway point of her first year. It blows my mind every day how fast time is going. While I enjoy watching her grow and learn so much each day, part of me wishes she could stay where she is right now. She is at such a fun age where she is learning to be more independent, really using her voice, recognizing photos and faces, and being such a good cuddle buddy. She's also pretty hilarious, and she knows it.

A few milestones since last month:
- She can pull herself up and stand in her crib. Her legs are still wobbly, she she can hold herself for a good few seconds.
- She hasn't started to crawl yet (which Jordan and I are totally ok with)
- She has been very cuddly lately and loves being held and snuggled all day.
- Reaches out for people when she wants to be picked up or passed to someone else.
- She really plays independently for long periods of time. Given several toys, she rotates and carefully examines each one, tastes each one, and plays a little with each. She is really interactive with toys that light up, make noise, etc. 
- No teeth, yet! I swear I think they're coming soon.
- Still discovering her voice everyday. Still loud (especially at 7am). 
- Is saying more pronounced consanants: ba-ba, da-da, ga-ga and even "thhh" with lots of raspberries
- My in-laws swear she says "hi dada" when they babysit and she sees Jordan's picture at their house. Jordan and I haven't heard her say anything, yet. I can't wait to hear her first word. I don't even care what it is. 

Sunday the 19th not only marked Lucy's 7 month birthday, but it was also her baptism day.

We lucked out with lots of family and friends, gorgeous weather, and a happy baby all day.

We chose our friends Allison and Mark to be Lucy's Godparents, both of which were thrilled and honored. 

And to finish - a shot of our girl standing in her crib!!

I have another bonus blog post coming later today showing you all how to create your own DIY chevron painted canvas.