Archive for April, 2012
Last night my friend, E, and I hosted a baby shower for our mutual friend, B—who is due about 3 1/2 weeks before us.
A good time was had by all and I thought I’d share a few details about the theme of the shower, along with some photos.
B and her hubbie have decided to use Classic Winnie the Pooh as their nursery theme, so E and I decided to play off that idea for the shower. We went the route of a honey and bee theme, and it turns out there are tons of great ways to tie this theme into a baby shower. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of the invitations that we made, but at the top we wrote, “Babies and honey…two of life’s sweetest things.” We also got a little cheesy and made sure to let people know that it was a shower for the mom to bee…
For décor, we kept it pretty simple and incorporated some rustic elements, like hemp twine, tin cans, lots of textured cardstock, potted mums and sunflowers, and some handwritten Winnie the Pooh quotes scattered throughout.
E found all the quotes, and they were the perfect touch! If you haven’t read a WP quote lately, check out this website and you’ll find some whimsical words that might do your heart good. Here’s one to whet your palette.
While we kept the food fairly simple, it was really yummy and touches of honey were sprinkled in here and there. Our menu consisted of:
- Spicy honey chicken skewers
- Vanilla cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting, topped with a blackberry
- Frozen grape skewers
- Melon fruit salad
- Cranberry scones with lemon curd and fresh clotted cream
- Vegetable pizza
- Jars of B’s favorite candy
- Honey sticks
- Tangy citrus and sorbet punch
- Orange and lime flavored water
Everyone took a Mom to Bee quiz and the winner received a honeycomb soap from a local downtown boutique. The second game was for voluntary participants, as it was a multi-tasking game to see who could do certain tasks the fastest while holding a baby; the winner’s prize was Burt’s Bees lip balm. All in keeping with the theme, right?
During the shower B’s friends wrote notes of advice and blessing on mini honeycomb hexes, which they pinned to a corkboard. B then drew one of the notes randomly and that person took home the mums.
I’m so thankful to live in a community of women who rally around one another during all seasons of life!
Nesting. It’s apparently all the rage when you’re pregnant, although I think that I tend to nest even when I’m not with child…which means my nesting is slightly more neurotic than most…hence, my freakish desire to combine closets.
Whoever built our little 1947 house decided that closet size wasn’t a major necessity, and while I would love to say that closet space isn’t important to me because our material possessions are not our priority, I have to admit that I like having space for my shoes. And clothes. Bags. Belts. You know…girly stuff. But at the same time, I love that having smaller closets forces us to pare down and not hoard tons of extra junk. If I buy something new, I tend to donate something old. But I’m rambling. The point is that we have two bedrooms with small closets, so when we moved into our bungalow, Matt took the back bedroom closet and graciously allowed me to take the master bedroom closet. This system worked fine for quite awhile, but now that the back bedroom is being converted into a nursery, I decided it was time to truly unite as a married couple—it was time to share a closet.
Now some of you might say that a newborn doesn’t need a closet all to themselves, that we could get away with keeping separate closets for awhile longer, yadda yadda yadda. But I’m not good at doing things halfway. It bothers me. At some point there might be two kiddos sharing that back bedroom and then we’d definitely have to make the switch, so why not do it now and learn to live with it? Even if the closet isn’t loaded with clothing, I already have lots of baby items that will be making it their home, as there is nowhere else in our house to put them. So last weekend we bit the bullet and spent a good portion of Saturday morning paring down, moving seasonal clothing items to the basement for storage, and rearranging the master closet.
Here’s what the master closet looked like when it was just little ole’ me using it.
The back bedroom closet when Matt was using it…
And the combined master closet…
Here’s the now empty nursery closet (notice that the hubs converted that funky removable plumbing wall into a hinged door—yay!).
My goal is to paint the nursery closet a fun color (actually, I’m planning to have my mom paint it when she comes out to paint the rest of the nursery), so we’re not filling it up yet. We’re also replacing that nasty bar with a new white one, since we’re removing the closet door and hanging a curtain instead. The door doesn’t shut completely, takes up valuable wall space, and I like the idea of a cute curtain hanging in its place.
As for our newly combined master closet, I have to say I LOVE it! I’m not sure if Matt would agree with me, but I really like storing only the clothes I actually wear in the closet at one time. I was shocked to find that extra space existed after we combined our clothes, belts, bags, and shoes. That deserves a woot woot! We do have two dressers plus a stand of wicker baskets that hold stuff like t-shirts, socks, and our unmentionables, but I was even able to give up two of my wicker baskets so that Matt could store his socks in them.
Ahhh…freedom from clutter.
So a few tips for organizing/combining closets:
1. Have garbage bags on hand, that way you can create a stash of items for the thrift or consignment store. My rule of thumb is that if I haven’t worn it within the last year, I’m not likely to wear it again. Out it goes. Last year I experimented with hanging my clothes on backwards hangars; any hangars that were still facing backwards were clearly clothes I hadn’t worn in the past year, so they were thrown out (I made a few exceptions, but not many).
2. If combining closets with your significant other, be flexible and willing to share. This can be challenging, ladies, as you likely have a lot more stuff than your man. Thankfully, we were able to work together so it wasn’t too difficult. It also helped that we pared down to the items we are wearing this season and this season only. For Matt, that doesn’t change all that much throughout the year (guys have it so easy), but I definitely have different items for warm and cold months. At the moment, our closet pretty much contains only my prego clothes. Also keep in mind that you change over time, and therefore things that you used to wear may not be as important to you. For example, in college I wore a ton of bulky sweatshirts because I was always trying to keep warm on campus and in our old school apartment (love that tiny place). Now that we live in Colorado, I find that I wear more fitted fleece items which take up less space, keep me warmer because they’re designed better, and have basically replaced my sweatshirts. When I went through my stash, I ended up tossing several because I realized that my lifestyle has changed enough that I won’t likely be going back to sweatshirts anytime soon. I kept a few and ditched the rest.
3. Use the space underneath the hanging clothes. Several years ago we installed wire shelves on the lower half of the master closet, which provides space for stacking jeans and sweaters, along with stashing a few bins filled with hats, scarves, belts, etc. There’s even enough space underneath the shelves for storing a few pairs of shoes.
4. Don’t forget about closet walls. There are several inches of space around the edge of our closet, and we plan to either hammer in a few nails or a rack for belts and ties. It’s the perfect amount of space for hanging those long and skinny items.
5. Leave some extra space in your closet for adding items in the case of unexpected weather changes, the occasional new purchase, and simply because it’s far easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re not shoving aside a bazillion items every morning. A little breathing room also keeps clothes from getting wrinkled, which is certainly a plus in my book.
I was a bit ruthless when it came to my own clothing, but keep in mind that we’re still storing plenty of seasonal items in our basement, so I didn’t get rid of as much as you might think. Still, Matt did take an entire SUV full of stuff to the local thrift store (we pared down a few more items in the basement in addition to clothes and shoes). Part of me wanted to keep everything for a summer yard sale, but who am I kidding? I have a feeling a yard sale won’t be at the forefront of my mind when this child arrives… So we got rid of it.
And that’s the end—or perhaps the beginning—of our closet organizing adventure.
Spring break has officially ended for me, but in true Colorado style, this morning greeted us with a snow day! After a week of gorgeous 70-80 degree weather, it is now snowing big, beautiful flakes on April 3. Funny how it evaded us all of February and March… In between answering student emails about literary analysis and putting our new crib together (it arrived on our porch yesterday—hurray), I thought I’d fill you in on my latest bookcase hack.
Awhile back we purchased the Expedit bookcase from IKEA. I love the clean lines, chunky edges, and functional storage options. But after putting the bookcase together, the open back bothered me. Notice the three—yes, three—electrical outlets?
Not attractive. Not to mention that an open back begs for some applied creativity.
So I started brainstorming ideas. My first inclination was to purchase some thin pressed board from Home Depot for about $8, cover it in a cheerful fabric, and then adhere it to the back of the bookcase. Apparently this is a common solution to the open backing of the Expedit bookcase, along with wallpaper, etc. Sadly, after browsing the fabric at JoAnn’s and online, I realized that my favorite finds were a bit…pricey. Since I didn’t want to spend much money or time on the project, I decided to keep my options open. Enter: Target!
There is something about perusing the aisles of Target that never fails to inspire me. This trip was no exception. While walking past the placemats, these geometric vinyl mats caught my eye. Hm.
I must have a thing for vinyl placemats, because while I can’t say I fancy them on the dining room table, I’m drawn to them as wall art. Remember these guys? They’re still gracing our living room walls in all their green, textured glory. I figured if I like framed placemats, I might like them as bookcase backing, so I snatched up eight mats at $1.99 each and bustled home to test my theory.
You know I love changing things up, so I was very happy to find that blue painters tape—which is easy to remove from surfaces—was all I needed to adhere the placemats to the back of the bookcase. It’s not a permanent solution, but I love knowing that they can be switched out at any time without leaving lots of holes in our bookcase.
I chose not to cut my placemats, just in case I want to use them elsewhere down the road, so the bottom ones on the very bottom shelf overlap a bit.
But unless you’re lying flat on the floor and looking directly at that spot, it’s not noticeable, especially since those slots are being filled with storage baskets. I think I secretly like knowing that I’ve jimmy-rigged parts of our house décor. A custom look doesn’t always require lots of time and money, which is good news for this gal.
A peek at the backside…
I’m not done styling the bookcase, but for a few “after” shots I threw in some baskets (also from Target—oops, forgot to remove the tags) and a few clearance items that I’ve been collecting on the sly. Mister Owly might be getting himself a new coat of feathers, as hunter green isn’t exactly my fav and I’m jonesing to break out the spray paint when my mom comes to visit. TBD.
So am I the only one who finds uses for vinyl placemats? This could be my new addiction…