Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Organized Mail!

My first DIY project!  I'm so excited that I finally made something that is both cute and functional and will hopefully help keep our kitchen more organized.  My mom had given me a couple of wall hanging baskets that she found and didn't want/need.  Just days before, the hubs had asked me if I could figure out a way to organize our mail and other *stuff* that ends up piled up on our counters in the kitchen.  So as soon as I saw these baskets, I knew they were perfect for the job!  Only problem was that when she gave them to me, the bottom of them was an oak color, the trim was navy, and they had American Flags and hearts painted all over them.  Don't get me wrong, I love the patriotic stuff...but it's generally not my taste in every day decor for the home :) 

So, after selling some items at a garage sale over the weekend, I used some of that money to go out and purchase some paint for my first real DIY project.  For the base of the baskets I got this:
The color is espresso which is similar to the color I want to redo our cabinets in.  Also similar to the color the rest of our furniture is.  For the trim of the baskets I got a little pre-mixed paint sampler.  They sell them at home improvement stores in very small containers that you can use to take home and paint a swatch of your wall if you are trying to decide between colors.  I figured that was just the right amount of paint for this project, and the price was pretty good too!  This is the kind that I chose for the trim:

It's by Martha Stewart and the color is Aegean Blue.  Lately I'm loving the blue colors. 

That night I sprayed down the baskets with two coats of the espresso spray paint waiting about a half hour in between coats (I recommend wearing gloves, because after that, I looked like I had dirt all over my hands from the excess paint that got on them!)  After the second coat, I let them dry over night.  The next day, I painted the trim/handle.  The Martha Stewart sampler comes with a brush attached to the lid, kind of like a nail polish bottle, so I did not have to worry about getting a small enough brush.  Again I did two coats for the trim, letting each dry for 30 minutes or so.  Then I let that dry over night as well.  The next day, I hung them on the wall, along with a small metal basket I got from Target on clearance.  I'm using the baskets to keep mail/bills, and the basket will be for magazines and catalogs.  Here is the picture of the (almost!) final project on the wall:
The blue looks a little more aqua in the picture than it does in real life (sorry, crappy camera!).  But I think it turned out quite nicely.  Now, I said almost final because there are a couple of things I want to do to make them complete.  I would like to add a fabric band just underneath the painted trim.  Something with a little pattern.  And, each basket also needs a label: In coming, Out going, and Magazines or something like that.

Hopefully this new system works out for us!  We shall see in the next week or so!  Stay tuned for more of my small projects around the house :) 

Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Laundry Room Progress

I know in my last Organization/Home projects post I said that the Master Bedroom closet would be the first project, but since the budget has now come into play, that priority list has had to change.  The closet will be a project for next month when the budget resets :-D  For now, (since I'm way too close to my monthly budget limit!) I've decided to work a little on the Laundry room.  I'm doing what I can with the resources I already have on hand.  The rest of this project is TBB!  This is a pretty short post, but I thought it would be fun to share my slow progress on my home organization journey.  Once this is all completely finished, I might submit it to this organization blog, since she was my inspiration after all!

Without further ado, here are some of the before pictures:

I will admit, that I did do a little organizing before I took these pictures.  I had forgotten to take the official "before" photo.  So, if you can imagine, the dog stuff in the wicker basket was all a jumbled mess on that shelf, and there were no soda can holders, only the boxes that they came in. Also, in the top picture, the napkins/hand towels were not nicely folded and there was no little basket for the dishwasher tabs.  Sorry, I cheated a bit!  

Here are the after (intermediate) photos:
Added a rug for a little color/homey-ness

Placed napkins/hand towels in canvas drawers and laundry stuff in the drink bucket

Placed cleaning stuff into bins

Used the newly created space for food overflow :)
I still plan to replace the shelf above the washer/dryer with two shelves.  The current one is so high up, and too deep.  I can't reach anything that gets shoved back there.  I plan to paint over the stark white walls with maybe a nice blue/gray color to match the rug.  And I'd also like to redo the shelves opposite the washer/dryer to create some space for the ironing board, broom and swiffer!  

Ok, so it wasn't as short of a post as I thought originally, sorry!  But, stay tuned for more updates as the budget allows ;)  

Monday, September 19, 2011

LCS Tournament

This past weekend was the League Championship Series (LCS) Tournament for the co-ed softball league that the hubby and I play in.  The team started out as mostly co-workers of John's and their significant others, but we've grown and changed some throughout the seasons.  We are in our 3rd year or so of playing with these wonderful people and a couple of seasons ago (spring season maybe??) we took first place in our league!  Go Giant Slayers!! (Team name is an inside joke)  Not only did our team get a little money for winning, we were then eligible to sign up for this LCS tournament.  The tournament consists of teams from all over the area who won their division in their respective leagues.

The tournament was a lot of fun.  We played 4 games on Saturday, but only 1 on Sunday.  It was a double elimination tournament, and we had lost our very first game on Saturday.  We hung in there for the rest of the afternoon as tired as we were, but unfortunately, we are very much a team accustomed to playing at night.  And with a 9am game Sunday morning...well I'm just going to blame it on us not being completely awake yet. Or maybe it's that we were TOO rested??  Either way, we were done after our first game Sunday which left us with 6th place out of ...hmm.  I'm not actually sure how many teams there were, but there seemed to be quite a few!

Sunday night we had our normal league game which we ended up winning!  Woohoo!  The funny part about that one, was that we were actually short one girl up until about 5 minutes till game time.  At which point, our manager managed to (literally) chase down a girl leaving the fields following her own softball game and convinced her to play with us for that night!  Now, to me that is one brave girl!  But our team was definitely appreciative.  Thanks Amanda!  Whoever and wherever you are :-)

I hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Organize the Organization

Ok, so I know having a budget is a VERY good thing for any household, but sometimes it's a bit of a disappointment to find out that you can't do every project that you have in your head all at the same time!  As my hubby can attest to, I am slightly EXTREMELY impatient when it comes to a lot of things (just ask him how many times I questioned him about our engagement...hehe)!  However, this is one small part of why he is my perfect match <3.  He is very very good about being practical.  Whether it comes to purchasing new shoes, to trees and landscaping, to a new car, to our next vacation, he reminds me to be patient and wait until we know we can afford it.  Soooo, with that in mind, yesterday we sat down and planned out our Barker Family Budget.

Now, like I said before, with all of these new home projects popping up in my head left and right, this was a bit of a pouty-face moment for me.  But, the more I got to thinking about it, the more I'm starting to think this is a very good/exciting thing for me.  I do love to organize (apparently I have loved it since my elementary days - just ask my mom!), but oddly enough, I need to organize my organization projects!  Does that make sense?  I have all of these ideas floating around in my head, and as I go around the house, I tend to be a little am very much A.D.D when it comes to which part of the house and which project I'm working on.  I will go from organizing the linen closet upstairs, to the kitchen cupboards, to the master bathroom, etc.
And you may ask, "How does having a budget help with this lack of focus?".  Well let me explain my train of thought!  By having a set budget, and knowing exactly how much I am allowed to spend on .... well, generally whatever I want, this forces me to plan out the different projects that are floating aimlessly up in my head.  Organize the organization!  I will finally start to write down my different ideas, and plan them out by month, figuring out how much each project will cost and when I can fit it into my budget.

To start things off on the right foot, we made a trip to Home Depot yesterday to start pricing out the master bedroom closet project!  Unfortunately it will have to wait till  next month (darn budget!), but now I have a definite start and end time for this project and I can plan out what I need and want .  As opposed to my normal "someday soon...." timeline.

So, in the mean time, I will be excitedly planning my our new closet and probably doing a few mini organization projects around the house.  Stay tuned for my before and after pictures of my mini laundry room makeover! (Large laundry room makeover is currently TBB - To Be Budgeted!)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home Projects!

Since I have started this blog, I've been getting more and more into reading other people's blogs (novel concept huh?).  Recently I discovered this blog which is pretty much completely dedicated to organization/home projects.  Her ideas are pretty genius, very affordable, and super cute!  I don't have a whole lot to say/show about the projects that have been popping into my head since starting to read her blog, but I thought it would be fun to tell you about some of my ideas for our little Barker house, because I'm SUPER excited about them!!

First off would be the master bedroom closet.  Now, don't get me wrong...I love our house, it's a great first house.  But, the closet is definitely not big enough for the two of us!  Granted, I'm sure I need to thin out some of the articles of clothing/shoes that currently reside in our closet, but even so...we have a separate dresser, wardrobe, guest room dresser(s), and guest CLOSET that house the rest of our stuff.  I know, I know...we have way too much stuff, and that is going to be the first part of the project.  Spring Fall cleaning!!  I very much intend to clean out the closets and multiple dressers that we have stuffed clothes into.

I will post some before pictures soon so you can see what I'm dealing with.  But basically what I would like to do in a nutshell:

  • Take out the existing rods and shelves that go all the way around
  • Replace on the back wall with two levels of wire racks/shelves
  • Replace on the right wall with 1 tall level of wire racks/shelves (for long dresses, etc)
  • Replace on the left wall with all shelves all the way up (for shoes, hats, belts, etc)
  • And finally add a curtain rod and super cute curtain as a door (we had a door that opened inward which blocked off nearly half the closet's usable space, so we took it off, and now its just wide open)
This is my inspiration :)  

Other projects I have on my dream/to-do list (in no particular order!):
  • Refinish bathroom cabinets in master and guest baths
  • Refinish jewelry chest
  • Replace mirror in master and guest baths
  • Add curtain doors into master bath
  • Add shelves/organize laundry room
  • etc, etc, etc...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Fun

So, unfortunately, this was not a three day weekend (personally I think they should all be three day weekends!) but it was still fun none-the-less.  Friday after work I got to indulge in some much needed retail therapy.  No particular reason why it was needed, but what girl doesn't need some retail therapy every now and then?!  I met up with my friend Linda at the outlet mall.  It was a mostly successful trip.  I found some work clothes I "needed" and a really pretty purse that I didn't :-D (hehehe).  We then headed up to watch a softball game that John played in.  He was involved in a weekend long tournament with a couple friends to help raise money for a children's organization (don't remember which one exactly).  After that we drove back and stopped to eat at this little pizza place.....sooo yummy!!

On Saturday Linda and I met up around 8am to go for a run by the river.  We are training for a half marathon in late October.  So today was a 6.5 miler (I'll do a separate post on that later).  After that Linda and I met back up that afternoon for some more retail therapy :-)  DSW and Marshalls.......very successful!  I FINALLY found some new dark brown pumps and knee high boots that are acceptable for work!  Who knew it was so difficult to find dark brown anything!?  Seriously, I've been looking for about a year for dark brown pumps since my last ones kinda fell apart.  I ended up with these
 and these  so I'm pretty happy :)
Saturday afternoon Linda was kind enough to accompany me to a housewarming party since I was not going to know anyone else there, and John now had this softball tournament to play in all weekend.  Very cute house, I was definitely taking some mental interior design notes!  Saturday night was spent at home, watching some How I Met Your Mother (super funny!) and relaxing with the puppies.

Sunday was also a busy day!  Linda and I (yeah, we were pretty much inseparable this weekend) had tickets to Country in the Park which was put on by the local radio station.  It was a great day for it, the weather was not too hot, a tiny bit cloudy a nice breeze...very fun.  We walked around, got some airbrush tattoos ('cause we're cool like that! Pictures to come!) and got some tinsel in our hair.  Sounds weird I know, but its kinda like a hair extension, but its just a piece of tinsel that they tie into your hair.  It's fun, it was a dollar, why not? And of course we watched/listened to most of the artists that were there to perform (we were right behind the sound our view was minimal, but hey, we were in the shade!)  oh, and we definitely did a lot of people watching :)   Sunday night was the usual coed softball game.  We won :)
Getting Tattoo'd!

Finished product

Waiting for the concert to start

Getting tinsel in our hair!

All in all, a very good, very busy, very fun weekend.  I hope everyone else had a great weekend as well!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

What a great holiday weekend!  I hope everyone had some time to relax and do whatever it is that you enjoy doing on your days off :)  We did quite a few things this weekend starting on Friday.  My sister and her husband came up from LA to visit over the last week.  Unfortunately with work and what not, I wasn't able to spend as much time with them as I had hoped.  But the time I did get to spend with them was awesome :)

On Friday the six of us (John, myself, my sister, her husband, and my parents) all drove up to Lake Tahoe for lunch.  We went to this great little place called Lake Tahoe's West Shore Cafe and Inn.  It is RIGHT on the water.  Literally, you can pull up your boat to the dock and go get a table.  Such beautiful scenery.  Again, my little point and shoot camera does not do it justice, but you get the idea.  Apparently its a popular little joint, because even getting there at around 2pm, we still had an hour wait for lunch.  So we got some appetizers and just enjoyed the surroundings and company for a while.  The food was so-so, but the atmosphere and just overall experience was great!  We stopped by an Emerald Bay scenic overlook on the way down the mountain for a few pictures, and then that evening, everyone came to our house for dinner/dessert (mmm...brownies).  All in all, perfect family time!

Saturday/Sunday I had an Ultimate tournament.  For anyone not familiar, you can read a little about Ultimate here.  I play with a local club team in my area.  It's a coed team and it's lots of fun.  This weekend our tournament was in San Francisco.  Now...I LOVE the city, but this turned out to be what seemed like an exceptionally cold/foggy/windy weekend considering it's still technically summer (or maybe I'm just a wimp?).  So while the temperatures were reaching 95 degrees at home, we were freezing our butts off in the mid-50's + wind + foggy weather.  Overall, we didn't do so hot as a team, but....meh.  It was still fun!

I hope everyone else had a great weekend!
The progressive foggy-ness

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Barker Grooming Salon

In an effort to save money, I decided that I would try my hand at grooming our littlest dog's hair.  He's the kind that doesn't shed, but requires a haircut every month or so.  Otherwise, he'll look like a mop on legs.  So while at Wally World a week or so ago, I picked up one of those dog grooming kits.  It comes with clippers, different length combs, scissors, and a mirror (because the dog really cares what he looks like afterward...)  Here is the kit that I bought

I think it was around $50 which seems like a lot, but when you stop to think that I was paying $35 each month for someone else to do it, it makes sense.  So, Wednesday night, I decided to go for it.  I sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor and just kinda went to town on poor Paddy.  He was not a huge fan of the clippers.  Or the scissors for that matter.  But I think he turned out pretty good for a first try!  The hardest part was by far his face.  I had to use only scissors for that.  He was quite the trooper through the whole ordeal.  He stayed fairly patient with Mommy while I figured out what I was doing along the way :)

And without further ado...the before and after pictures.  And the piles of hair that was left on the floor/garbage can.  We washed and dried him after the hair cut.

The Before Picture


Half the hair...

The other half :)

And the final product!  Still a little wet from the bath :)

So that was my adventure with dog grooming.  Hopefully it gets easier/faster.  Leave comments below if you have any questions or suggestions for next time!