Monday, February 21, 2011

closet office via ikea

the first time we toured our home, i knew i wanted to turn the back closet into a workspace. finally, the vision is complete!

our back bedroom was pretty much a catch-all when we moved in. extra furniture, boxes, random lamps--they all conspired together in the back room. it's the smallest bedroom + located at the back of the house. it will make a great nursery SOMEDAY. [i emphasize SOMEDAY because of the apparent raised eyebrows at my previous use of the word "crib."] but until baby v joins the family, the back room has become the office. 

the adjacent guest room has double closets, so we could actually spare the closet space. we have a coat closet next door, a linen closet in the guest bath, and a pantry in the hall. i realize not everyone can spare a closet, but it worked for us.

we drew up some tentative plans for the closet. the criteria:
  1. functional workspace. i telecommute 1x/week so it must be functional.
  2. shelves. hubs is taking classes, so he needs to store his books and such. also, cannot be too girly.
  3. craft storage. with the wedding biz comes lots of diy projects. though not necessary within arm's reach, they need to be accessible.
  4. light. it's in the back of the house and gets morning sun. by the evening, it's pretty dark back there.

hubs removed the sliding wood doors + i measured what was left. there's a weird little notch in the corner, thanks to the coat closet from the hallway. but, turns out, that worked in our favor. armed with my measurements, i headed off to ikea. i'd seen some countertops there that we'd be able to cut to size, so that's what i had in mind. i was somewhat dreading the task of finding the pieces to put my puzzle together.

closet width [to the funky notch]: 47.25"
closet depth [to door molding]: 25"

low and behold, ikea to the rescue. i stood in an flourescent blur amid desk legs, tabletops, chairs, staring at the dimensions of the countertops. could it be? double-check the measurements. no, can't be. really? you've got to be kidding. 47 1/4"w x 23 5/8"deep? am i reading this correctly. i looked around, i guess to make sure i wasn't being punk'd.

i wasn't. they had a countertop in my precise dimensions: the vika amon tabletop in white @ $19.99. SCORE #1.

i proceeded to the shelving section to be overwhelmed with brackets. i'd pre-shopped online a little, but i'm not sure it helped. hello indecisiveness! i knew i wanted to continue with the white + natural color scheme. i went with the ekby stilig brackets in white + ekby trygvve shelf in natural.

small shelf brackets: 4 x 6 3/4" size @ $4 each = $16 SCORE #2.
lg shelf brackets: 3 x 10 1/4" size @ $6 each = $18 SCORE #3.
short shelves: 2 x 7 1/2" depth @ $3 each = $6 SCORE #4.
deep shelf: 1 x 11" depth @ $7 each = $7 [this shelf was only 5/8" shorter than the tabletop] SCORE #5.

so, the shelves, brackets, + tabletop in-hand, i was feeling good. plus, no need to cut a darn thing so far. SCORE #6. so, i drifted to the accessories department where i found a bulletin board. she's pretty plain, but she fits perfectly between the short shelves + the weird wall nook. besides, a whopping $5.99 includes the pins. SCORE #7. i also picked up a pair of magazine files + a desktop organizer in a natural wood. SCORE #8.

a few weeks later, we returned to ikea for lighting. this pendant light spoke to me + she was installed the next day for a whopping $20.

not long after that, i picked up this wall-mounted magazine rack for $10 to help us sort our papers. work, school, tax docs, bills, etc were piling up + this was a great solution!

the printer lives on a pair of filing cabinets from ballard designs outlet that i scored for $40 a pop.

here's how we put it all together:

step #1. [pic 3] used some 1x4 scrap to build a ledge. we simply screwed the 1x4 into the studs around the perimeter of the desk area. once the ledge was in, we set the tabletop on top of it. we found we didn't need to screw it in, as it was secure. we also didn't need a leg in the front corner. our walls weren't terribly straight, so this sucker was wedged into the corner--not budging.

step #2. [pic 4 + 5] installed the brackets to the existing studs. the bottom shelf is about 23" from the desktop. the next shelf is about 11 1/2" above that one. the top shelf is about 15" above the middle one. if doing it over, i may have given myself 15" between the bottom + middle shelves too, but that would've given me less clearance for the top shelf. so it works, but it doesn't fit magazine files, binders, etc.

step #3. [no pic, sorry] installed the light. by installed, i mean screwing a cup hook into the bottom of the top shelf. this isn't hard-wired, so it's just a plug-in light. it came with some hanging kit that we didn't end up needing. we simply threaded the cord through one of the openings in the top shelf bracket.

step #4. installed the bulletin board, then the magazine rack [pic 6] to the notched wall. it's magnetic, so it's a second memo board, too!

step #5. [pic 2] hang the curtain. i sewed the curtain from premier prints' kimono fabric in chartreuse that i bought from we used ikea's dignitet [shocker, i know] so that the curtain would hang inside the closet + have the right amoung of clearance to glide freely. i'm not crazy about the curtain, so i may re-do that in the future.

step #6. enjoy the clutter-free organized space!!

total costs:
tabletop: $20
shelves + brackets: $47
pendant light: $20
curtain + wire: $30
bulletin board: $6
magazine file: $10
accessories: $10
file cabinets: $80
TOTAL: $193

contrary to the way it appears, ikea did not sponsor this post. hah! i don't always love ikea's style or quality, but for this project it was the way to go. the measurements were spot-on for our space, + the neutral white/natural scheme was easily carried throughout, with a touch of industrial chic from the metals. but, if any ikea execs are reading and want to throw me an endorsement, have your people call my people.

in the meantime, check out other great organization tricks at thrifty decor chick's organize it party


Sunday, February 20, 2011

a little order to the bedroom

we moved into our house in june 2010 + still had some un-packed boxes by the holidays. that's normal, right? our dilemma was that the boxes were full of books, accessories, + photos that we simply had nowhere to put. yes, we gained TONS of space in the new house, but we were missing any shelving/display space for our wares.

i think i've already gabbed about how we were bitten by the motivation bug when we visited our west coast bro + sis in laws over Christmas. so, in the days that followed during my work vacation, i headed to the ballard designs outlet. oh yes, that's a major perk of living in atlanta. we have not one, but two.

low and behold they were having a sale on bookcases. and by sale, i mean S.A.L.E. picture a car lot banner waving in the wind, the hot air balloon flying overhead, light show beckoning you to be tempted.

these tuscan bookcases were basically being given away. the narrow bookcases = $99 [retail: $499 each] and the larger one = $199 [retail: $799 each]. that means i could get this entire set for $400. retail is $1,797. fireworks.we'd been talking about doing floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, but weren't sure how we'd work with the vaulted ceilings. for the price, this might solve our problems.

mind you, these weren't in perfect shape. there were a few dings + scratches, but i planned to paint them anyway. i was sure the "tuscan cream" would be too creamy to match our trim. the biggest problem with these was that there were some major holes in the back panel. this was just the cardboard-esque backing that could easily be replaced with a sheet of beadboard. i was thinking i'd paint the back a contrasting color anyway, so it wasn't a dealbreaker.

i called the hubs to make sure the dimensions would work on our bedroom wall. he gave the thumbs up, so i scoured the aisles to pick out the three best-looking pieces i could find. knowing where we were putting these, i could work with certain imperfections that would be covered. finally, found the pieces and purchased. yay!!!

on new year's day, hubs rented a uhaul to go pick up the bookcases. we got them home + a friend helped get them up the staircase.


the big one isn't going to fit. no way, no how. it just won't make the tight turn of the stairs. CURSES. all sales final. DOUBLE CURSES.

okay fellas, surely you can take it apart and re-assemble it upstairs. right? nope. ugh.

i remembered seeing another option that was actually two pieces: the tuscan media console and hutch. the prices were a little higher [outlet price: hutch = $60, console = $290; set retail: $1,598], and the width was bigger than the center bookcase, BUT it came in two pieces and would actually fit up our staircase. so, i called the wonderful folks at ballard + they graciously allowed me to exchange it.

so, cricket, lu-dog, and i headed back to the outlet. why take the dog? well, she'd had foot surgery the day prior + we hadn't tested her temperment with the infamous cone yet. so, she got to tag along.

again, not perfect. the top shelf was missing and there was no hardware. easy fixes in my book. knobs from hobby lobby @$3 each.

we finally got the pieces upstairs + i got to decorate. after the 6-hour task of getting the stupid shelves, i had no energy to tackle painting them. save that for another day. surprisingly, the "tuscan cream" matches splendidly + i was able to disguise some of the bigger imperfections with a little styling. we also need to add the center shelf so the TV doesn't look so miniscule, but it works for now. check it out...

the bedroom is cream, taupe, mushroom, + robin's egg blue. the window shades are "eaton blue" and "kelp" from premier prints:
i was thinking painting the shelves the darker taupe/mushroom color, with a robin's egg blue backing. any paint color suggestions???

total cost:
2 x small tuscan bookcases @ $99 each
1 x media console @ $287
1 x media hutch @ $60
1 uhaul rental @ $150 [that extra trip to the store really killed us. stupid mileage]
2 x knobs @ $3 each
TOTAL w/ taxes: $750
RETAIL: $2,596 + tax & delivery


birds are chirping...

this weekend was absolutely gorgeous. while cricket played golf on saturday, i thrifted + played around the house. lu-dog loved it because i had the doors open to let in the fresh air, so she could venture to the backyard at her leisure. once cricket got home, we were lounging on the sofa when we started to hear a faint chirping noise.

"oh, isn't that sweet? spring is surely almost here! the birds are chirping outside." i thought.

wrong. the bird is chirping INSIDE. as in, INSIDE OUR HOUSE.

i can't believe the dog didn't go nutso, but the birdie just bee-lined for the stairway and fluttered between the stairwell window + top of the master bath door molding, trying to plan her escape. so, we rushed to the bedroom to open all of the upstairs windows to let the birdie out. the birdie wouldn't enter the bedroom, so cricket opened the laundry room window, and she fluttered away. well, she may have hit the window first, then flown out. [side note, i really wanted to video this whole escapade, but cricket scolded me when i brought up the idea. sorry guys.]

anyway, this whole episode reminded me that i haven't shown you the new shelving unit for the bedroom. what does that have to do with a bird flying? well, because when the bird flew into the house, i raced upstairs to fetch what else--my bird cage? yep, my bird cage is possibly my favorite accessory on the new shelves. here's a peak, but the shelves deserve a post all their click on and keep reading.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

jewelry pocket organizer

as a girl, one of our  most important challenges is what to do with our collection of jewels. right? i mean, there are really only a few options out there.
  • you can tuck it away in a pretty jewelry box, but i'm of the outta-sight, outta-mind persuasion.
  • you can display your baubles on a pretty necklace tree, but it never fails that i want the one at the very back of the row + i make a huge mess tangling them to get the one i want.
  • hang them on the wall, but i don't have enough wall space
so, a while back i came up with this clever solution. it's worked for me for over a year now, so it has some sticking power. that's a lifetime in my world of organization! i'm known to organize, reorganize, and reorganize the reorg. so, when i find something that works, it's pretty substantial.

it's pretty simple: simply re-purpose a hanging shoe organizer to store your necklaces + bracelets. an organizer with clear pockets makes it easy to see your options, yet stores each necklace individually so it doesn't tangle.

i hang the more intricate necklaces from the top hook, + i use the larger top pockets for bracelets. i can clip any corsages, flowers, etc to the pockets as needed.

the trick: use a STURDY hanger + hook to hang the organizer on the back of the door.

cost: $5

Thursday, February 10, 2011

shameless plug: vote for sis!!

shameless + selfish plug for sister's wedding.

it would mean a super awesome start for the poor grad students who are incredibly deserving! they're soooooo in love with each other + literally started their romance while she was living in a cabin without electricity. after years of long distance love while they pursued their degrees, they'll finally graduate, live in the same town, and set off on their quest to save the world's eco-issues.

...not to mention it could mean a super awesome trip to italy for yours truly. :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

it's raining twins

one of cricket's childhood bff's + wife are expecting twins in just a few more weeks. we co-hosted a couples shower for the parents-to-be to get them all set for the girls to arrive. luckily, we have an amazing photographer in the posse who captured it all! here are some highlights of the shower plus a twin-themed favor tutorial...

[aren't the little lambs sweet?]

[twin-themed favors, scroll down for tutorial]

[dad-to-be doing all the heavy lifting]

[the hub of any party: drink station]

[these were some of the fullest hydrangeas i've seen in a while - esp in february!]

[glowing mommy-to-be]

[lula following her nose]

[putting the new shelves to festive use!]

the favors:
inspired by the twins, the favor bags included twin-themed goodies:
  • double-stuffed oreos [2 packs]
  • TWINkies [1 box of 10] ...turns out the grandparents are already calling the girls the "twinkies"
  • double bubble bubblegum [1 bag each: original + fruity]
  • doublemint gum [2 packages of 4]
  1. the double-stuffed oreos don't come in snack packs, so i simply used plastic wrap + curling ribbon to wrap up individual-sized portions. i rolled 6 oreos in plastic wrap + tied each end with ribbon.
  2. place a handful of fruity double bubble in each clear treat bag. [i had a hard time finding double bubble. i swear someone was buying it all in spite of me. i finally found it on my 3rd trip to the 2nd wal-mart in the candy aisle.]
  3. insert a TWINkie + roll of oreo cookies into each bag.
  4. insert a pack of doublemint gum [it can be tough to find the regular old packs of 4-5 sticks of gum these days. i found them in the candy aisle of wal-mart]
  5. fill each bag with a handful of regular double bubble.
  6. tie with pink raffia.
this made 10 favors, 2 of which didn't have the doublemint gum. it would've made 11 if we weren't tempted by the oreos during assembly.

[finished favors]

Saturday, February 5, 2011

bacon wrapped dates

WARNING: these can be addictive and are in no way good for you (which is why they're delish, duh).
[photo from brown eyed baker]
Okay, so who doesn't love bacon? This is my current go-to snack recipe for any party. It can be match any menu, regardless of how sophisticated or casual. We hosted a baby shower today, so I made these savory snacks much to the pleasure of hubs & pooch who were tempted by the aroma of cooking bacon. Here's the quick recipe:

-pitted dates [2-3 per person is a conservative estimate--they'll go fast]
-softened cream cheese
-bacon [typically 3 dates can be wrapped from 1 slice]
-grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix softened cream cheese with grated parm. I use about a 5:1 ratio of cream cheese to parm, but you can adjust to taste.

Slice dates on one side so they are butterflied. Stuff with cheese mixture.

Cut bacon strips each into 3 sections. Wrap stuffed date with bacon section. Secure with toothpick.

Bake on a broiling pan (line the bottom section with foil for easy clean-up) for 20-25 minutes or until bacon is cooked + crispy. Enjoy!

Make-ahead tip: you can stuff & wrap the dates and refrigerate one day prior. Then, just pop in the oven for a quick party treat!

I originally followed this recipe from Williams-Sonoma, and have eyeballed it ever since. If you're looking for more precise measurements, you may want to reference the original. [I'm more of an experimental chef, as you'll soon find out.]

Thursday, February 3, 2011

about cricket

so i've gotten a few comments + questions about why hubs is called cricket. i guess it isn't the most masculine nickname choice in the world, but i think its origin is sweet enough to share.

once upon a time, a young girl + young boy were early in their courtship and took a trip to denver, colorado to hear the boy's younger brother play a concert or two at the infamous red rocks amphitheater. for that weekend they led rockstar lives, and paid for it each morning. one afternoon of the trip the young couple wisened up + planned to take a nap before heading to the venue to begin the debauchery. the nap would have to be a quick one. the couple laid down to take a nap and it was entirely too quiet for the young girl to sleep. there wasn't a fan to turn on, and even the traffic on the nearby street was too eerily still. so, the young boy began to make chirping noises. like a cricket, or a cicada. lulled to sleep by the soothing noise, the young girl fell asleep + had a successful power nap. the couple made it to the show full of energy to hang with the pros. the couple lived happily ever after.

ever since, "cricket" stuck. it's made it's way into wedding band inscriptions, love notes, + everything in between.

let's take a look at some rather important crickets...

first up, pinocchio's trusted advisor, jiminy cricket. you have to admit he's quite dapper. according to wikipedia, jiminy cricket was euphemism for jesus christ.

next, this fabulous priscilla of boston wedding gown. i fell in love with this gown when i saw it in a ralph lauren (?) magazine ad. it was just so sweet + unique. the dress wasn't the actual feature, so it was tough to track down since they'd removed the underlayers for the shoot. but, when i tracked it down and found out it's actually called "cricket," i knew it was my dress. until i tried it on, that is. it turns out it wasn't "the one," but i figure i already lucked out with the other cricket, + he's definitely "the one."

[priscilla of boston vineyard collection: cricket]
 lastly, perhaps the most manly cricket out there. the game. i couldn't tell you how it's played, but don't these guys look tough + athletic? i mean, you have to wear a lot of protective gear, so i imagine it's a pretty intense sport. not to mention it has wide international appeal.

so, after this little report on infamous crickets, i think the name suits hubs even moreso.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

a sweet valentine treat

as valentine's day approaches, here's a freebie download from li'l chick over at fresh chick design studio. how cute are they. i'm lucky to have too valentine's: lula dog and cricket. at least only one of the snores. the other is quite handy. i'm truly blessed to have them both shower me with kisses regardless of my ideas-turned-sketches-turned-nags for projects and my laziness at giving belly rubs. head on over to her blog to download the adorable print-at-home notes. if you like what you see, more is available on her etsy shop!