Category Archives: Artsy Fartsy

Tossing Your Car-keys

We’re totally installing a new dishwasher today! It was totally not planned! These exclamation points are totally uncalled for!! I hope to throw up a post about the install (that’s throwing us lots of curve balls) tomorrow (we’re being super optimistic about getting it done today), so for now here’s a little ditty about organization.

Get it? Like tossing your cookies? No? Okay.

In our family (and maybe yours), it’s typical to have a “dump station” when you enter the house. You know, the place where your keys, wallet, sunglasses, stuffed animals, notes, spare change, mail, etc. gets dumped. Maybe in your family people make it all the way to their bedrooms before they remove everything from their pockets and hands, but in our house, not so much. In fact our “miscellaneous items” pile always ended up in the most-trafficked area of the house- the bar of the kitchen.

I frequent pintrest and several other home design blogs, so please forgive me because I have no earthly idea where I saw this, but I totally copied it from someone else (props to you mystery person!). I wanted to make a station in our laundry room (our main entrance and exit via the garage) to drop/organize mail, keys, wallets, sunglasses, etc. So I made this little guy:


It’s 3 white porcelain trays on one larger tray, and each little area reads “his,” “hers,” and “yours.” Yours is for guests who happen to walk in and look for a place to drop things, which is mostly just for funsies since we don’t even have a guest room at the moment. The 3 trays are actually small containers for dipping sauce, I snagged them at Bed Bath and Beyond on the cheap. The longer tray that they all live on is from Target. Weird how I couldn’t find one at BB&B, right? Also weird how well they match. Weirdest of all- how I carried the 3 trays into Target hoping to find something they’d all fit on, and when I stumbled on that perfect larger tray in the dish section for $8, I totally did a little victory dance.

The his, hers, and yours labels are actually from the scrap booking section at Target.


These puffy letters have an adhesive back, so I grabbed them up for around a buck and happily stuck them onto my dipping sauce bowls.

See how the S is huge in YourS?


Totally ran out of lower case “s’s”. Bummer. But, definitely not something I was sweating enough to drive back to Target. In fact it’s just symmetrical to the Y and quirky enough for me to love it. I also love how sleek it looks since it’s all white with those perfectly curved corners. So internets, if you ever make it to our house, you know where to drop your keys.

I am making some plans to add more functional storage in the house, maybe a small rack to hang keys, since keys + wallet + sunglasses is just too much for these little trays. There’s also the matter of spare change that finds it’s way out of our pockets and onto the counter, so I’m thinking about tinting a mason jar to drop them all into. Heck, if that system actually worked, I could probably pay for all of the little projects I have going on all the time.


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Filed under Artsy Fartsy, DIY Decor

Pintrest Challenge- Chalkboard Wall

This video showed up in my Reader, and well, how can you say no to $herdog and KB? (ok, ok, let’s not forget Emily and Lana)

T and I have been talking about having a chalkboard wall somewhere for fun, for us and the kids, and we have a tiny baby wall next to the fridge that’s perfect, so…I’m painting it with, you guessed it! Chalkboard paint. We plan on using it for grocery lists and messages to each other, as well as a creative space for the kiddos. The wall is not seen from anywhere in the house unless you’re in the laundry room or getting something from the fridge, so there wasn’t any worry about it clashing with the rest of the house. We also haven’t done much to spruce up the kitchen as far as paint goes (we’re saving up for one big remodel), so we figured that we can have fun and experiment before we commit to something cohesive.

In case you’re wondering, here’s my kitchen inspiration photo for the big remodel:


Can’t remember where I found this, but yowza, that’s a beaut, right? It’s so clean and cottage-y, fun and funky, it’s adult but still kid friendly, which is what I’m going for. I want our kids to be able to run around and feel right at home, since this is a home, but at the same time I love living in a space that beautiful and interesting.

Anyway, enough mushy stuff, let’s get to the Pintrest challenge.

Here’s my “Pinsperation”:

We had chosen our wall (the baby wall, next to the fridge), and I already had the paint and supplies on hand from another project I’d tried to rev up to do (wine bottles w/ chalkboard labels), but after some research I decided to write on the bottles w/ a marker instead.

But first, I had to prep the wall. We had an IKEA bar hanging there with some hooks to hang hand towels, spatulas, etc., but it ended up never really being used (small, awkward walkway), so it was not a life changing decision to take it down to use somewhere else in the house.


That is the only picture of me you will see for a while, ’cause after T took these pics he was basically done with this project. My big helper.

Here’s the wall once the storage bar and the light switch plate were off. The door to the right is the pantry, and to the left is the laundry room.


That little baby wall is exactly 2 feet wide, for perspective.


I used some spackling to fill in the holes from the IKEA bar and a few other holes from things that had been mounted before we inherited the place. Once that dried (about 30 minutes later), I used a little sanding block to smooth the hole edges and the spackle down.

I was concerned about using the chalkboard paint on a textured wall (our walls are orange peel), but I figured it can’t hurt to try. So once it was sanded and I wiped off the sanding dust with a paper towel (or whatever was easiest, like my hands), I slapped on the first coat.


And it wasn’t that impressive. Actually, I have read on several paint tutorials that doing thin coats is the way to go, and I was super worried about durability with this stuff, so I went light and streaky (just like college!) and figured I’d do 3-4 coats. It’s such a small area that I wasn’t worried about the time it would take to do repeat coats. The first coat only took me about 30 minutes total.


While we’re waiting for that first coat to dry, I’d like to take a moment and let you all know that the kitchen is still on the “projects to tackle” list for us. That floor, the 80’s-tastic cabinets–

Oh hang on a second, Five wants me to measure his arm. Eighteen and a half inches.

We also had a spirited discussion about swapping the sink and the stove placement (when it comes times for the big remodel), but it seems like we’re going to need a pro for that one. The stove is gas and well, we aren’t professionals, and while I am confident about a lot of my abilities, running gas lines is a bit out of my league. There’s also a drop-ceiling in there which is so bananas to me, but we can’t wait to rip it out and learn about ceiling replacement. We also plan to add a pocket door to the laundry room if it’s possible. All in good time people, right now we’re focussing on the baby wall.

About sixteen hours later, I got antsy. The kids were coming over at 3, and I really really wanted the wall to be ready for testing after dinner, so I had to get a move on. So I forged ahead, although the paint can clearly suggests waiting 24 hours between coats.

Take 2.



I took a close up as I was painting the second coat, because I was sooo happy with how it was covering this time around. See how streak-tastic it is at the top of the light switches? Underneath, where my second coat was happening, the coverage is nice and solid, so I was feeling good that maybe 2 coats would get ‘er done.


Here’s baby wall with the second coat drying. It’s gorgeous, inky, and the coverage is super thorough.


Here’s our disaster of a refrigerator. That’s not really true, I mean, I know I’m supposed to say that it looks like we live here and it’s charmingly messy, but the reality is I kind of really want to rip everything off of it and have a clean slate. Just for a day. Just for 5 minutes. The 2 foot wall is directly across from the fridge. I took this picture so you can see how this wall is completely unnoticeable unless you’re coming in the laundry room, and actually my mother-in-law walked right by it and didn’t notice it. Twice.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t leave you in suspense much longer. After dinner we decided the wall was dry and we were over the waiting thing, so…


Today’s Special: Love & Tacos. That pretty much sums up our house, I’d say. Notice the light switch cover wasn’t back on yet, that’s how big of a hurry we were in :)


Me, Eleven, and Five are tripping over each other to get to this wall.




We had some AWESOME chalk to use- I think it was supposed to be sidewalk chalk, but we busted it out for this little project. SO fun.

Then we all traced our hands.


See the japanese writing in pink? Eleven is teaching herself Japanese, and that’s her name. I am often without words when I try to describe her. She is really something.


Here’s the whole family: Five is the top left, T is underneath him in yellow, I’m top right in green, and Eleven is in pink.

I am so in love with how this turned out, and I’m even more stoked about the kids being so into it. They are both asking for “chalkboards” in their rooms now, so this is quickly spiraling out of control. :)

If you like this post, check out my DIY Laundry Detergent and Cleaning Supply extravaganza


Filed under Artsy Fartsy, Before & After, DIY Decor, Home Improvement

Do You Love It?

IIIIII LOVE ITTT, butIdidn’tbuyallofit AT ROSS.

But I totally would have bought all of it if I had places to put everything (and money to burn).

Ross is not usually a place for me to score deals on home stuff, but yesterday I totes (mcgoats?) loved everything I saw. Maybe Sundays are the magic day at Ross? Maybe all of the little Hindu statues I saw were responsible for the blessed day of shopping. At least I think they’re Hindu…not real sure about that one. Apologies to any and all deities I’ve offended.

I found this black beauty on a shelf full of bookends, but I guess his mate scampered off to greener pastures. Marked down to $6.99 from $14.00, consider painting him a cool color so he’d be the mane event on a book shelf.

Ross had this huge display of funky colored (and funky looking) porcelain sculptures.


This beauty totally caught my eye. I love his teal-y zen vibe, and if I had a bachelorette-pad I would need to use him somewhere. He totally wouldn’t mind if I stored some of my necklaces around his neck, right? Or I could sit him on top of a pile of books or magazines on a console table. At $20 he could really liven up a party. As much as you can liven up a party when you’re meditating and your eyes are closed.


And check out the funky texture on these vases. At $9.99 each, you could paint them any color and use them in almost any room. They’d be awesome in a kitchen to store some big stirring spoons or spatulas on the counter next to the stove. Flipped upside down, the base is wide enough to set a pillar candle on. Traditionalist? Stick with flowers.



This giant shell bowl is definitely awesome- I could totally see it sitting on a dining room table or kitchen counter as a centerpiece full of fruit, or as a tray in a bathroom with different items like a brush, comb, etc. living on it.


But I’m totally not going to shell out $60 bucks for him. I clam up just thinking about it. (too much?)


Now this sexy mama. Oh yes. She is curvy. She has attitude. She will wear your coat with nothing underneath (Aerosmith, anyone?).




Forty dollars is not bad considering she could really dress up an entry way. This may come as a shock to you, but if you’re feeling experimental I’d suggest -wait for it- painting her. Any color, although I’m really feeling teals and deep purples lately.

Now for what actually came home with me.

Maybe you never would’ve guessed that we needed a rug in our laundry room– all of the reasons we do are in the picture below. Allow, if you will, a few moments for me to elaborate.


Item 1: the door. This is the most trafficked area of the house. Almost everyone comes in this way (the laundry room flows right into the kitchen). Check out that orange-y tile. And the yellow walls. Your initial reaction might be, “Wow, Em, that rug doesn’t specifically match anything in there.” And I’d say, “Right you are! But that is the least of my problems in here. The floors! The walls!” I could go on.
And I will.

Which brings me to item 2.

Item 2: Coleman the Wonder Dog. I am not introducing you to CtWD in this post, because he will somehow, while I’m writing it, take over my whole blog, get a large readership, make a video, eat all of my dinner, make a pan of brownies and eat them all, then throw up in Eleven’s bed when she’s not looking, then come back and tell you all about it while I clean it up. In the picture above, CtWD is drinking, and when he drinks he doesn’t slop it up like a normal dog in one spot. He likes to get a mouthful of water, turn around, then trot out of the laundry room into the kitchen, while attempting to swallow it. He is rarely successful. The rug is partly there to help absorb some of the water out of the dog’s mouth. Yes, that is as gross as you think it is.

Item 3: Laundry. No one likes to do it, but I’m hoping that maybe giving myself a bit of luxury, like a nice cushy rug underfoot, will make the experience just a tiny bit more bearable. This rug was $9.99 (Regularly $19.99), it won’t show dirt (thanks to it’s dark brown color) or water spots, and it’s super soft. Score. An added bonus: when the water from the dog’s mouth mixes with the dirt from people’s shoes, I can toss that baby into the conveniently located washing machine. Done and done.

Below is the trivet I grabbed for $3.99 (Regularly $8.00). I dig the design and the funky green color. We needed a trivet pretty badly, not really much more to this one. Although, I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t hold this trivet in my hands, close my eyes, click my heels together 3 times, and picture it in my dream kitchen. It looked great, in case you’re wondering.


But let me take a few minutes and gush about THIS bad boy:


He’s gorgeous, right? That smokey tan glass, the rippled texture, the earthy, thick twine wrapped around the neck.


And he is perfect for what I needed- something pretty to dress up the entertainment center a bit. He is multi-seasonal, sleek, and just big enough to work on a bigger piece of furniture. I shoved everyone out of the way and grabbed him for $19.99 (Regularly $40.00).
Here he is on the entertainment center:


Isn’t he great? Sigh.


Sorry about the harsh lighting. Yes, we organize books by color.

So here’s the roundup of my Ross trip:

Budget: $50.00

Rug: $9.99 (Saved $10.00)
Trivet: $3.99 (Saved $4.01)
Smokey Glass Guy: $19.99 (Saved $20.01)
Mystery Item: $8.99 (Saved $9.01)

Total Spent: $42.96   
Total Saved: $43.03

Not bad considering you never really know what Ross is going to have to offer. I usually don’t buy anything on a Ross trip (I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by lots of people in small areas), but the shopping gods were smiling down on me today and I walked away with some great finds– and the Ross jingle looping in my brain for the rest of the day.

PS- Mystery Item will be revealed in another post, it’s not quite ready to come into the world just yet. Would you believe I’m not painting it?

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Filed under Artsy Fartsy, Home Improvement