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Last year, I added this white filigree vase to my kitchen to help organize my cooking utensils.  I love this vase and it is super convenient when I’m stirring something on the stove with one hand, preventing my dinner from catching on fire with another hand, and need to quickly grab a spatula!  Plus, it has helped cleanup my kitchen utensil drawer…well, sort of.

kitchen_utensil_vase

As of late, my utensil drawer was starting to get a little messy and things started getting hard to find.

unorganized_utensil_drawer

I don’t use these utensils on an everyday basis so I don’t need them in the utensil vase, but I did need to make things a little easier to find.  So I used this ultra complex, mulit-step scientific method to organize my drawer:

organized_utensil_drawer

…I used a few tupperware containers!  Earth shattering, I know.  But hey, it works.  Now my measuring spoons are all in one place and my less frequently used tools are tucked away in the back of the drawer.   My measuring cups are all clipped together with a metal ring making them easy to find too.  It might not be the most complicated organization project, but it works!

Do you have any simple solutions for kitchen organization or to keep your cabinets and drawers neat and tidy?

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CSN Giveaway Winner


January 29, 2011
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 Thanks to everyone who entered my CSN Stores giveaway!

CSN_Stores_Logo

It's time to announce the lucky winner, commenter #15....Laverne!  Congratulations, Laverne, I can't wait to see what you buy with your gift certificate!

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DIY Storage Boxes


January 25, 2011
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Last week when I organized my spice cabinet, I put my baking supplies in this striped box that I made.  Believe it or not, I made this cute (if I do say so myself) box out of supplies you probably already have in your pantry.



This striped box is simply an old peanut butter crackers box that I covered in scrapbooking paper!  I made another one from an old tea box as well.



First, I gently unglued the box so it would lay flat.  I did the same for the tea box and also cut off its lid since I wouldn't be needing it.


I sprayed the back of the boxes with Elmer's Craft Bond adhesive spray to attach scrapbooking paper I had on hand.  I love this adhesive spray because it creates a pretty strong bond, but doesn't add any thickness like hot glue or white glue does.  After my first try, I realized the gluing process works better if you trace an outline of your box onto the scrapbooking paper first so you can see exactly where to glue down the paper.


Once the paper was glued to the box, I folded and glued any excess paper over the edges.  I secured the folded over paper with paper clips so it would stay in place as the glue dried.  Then I made cuts where the box would be folded back up.



I waited until everything was dry before folding the boxes back into their original shape and gluing it back in place.  I was running a little low on the spray adhesive so I also used white glue for this step which worked just fine.  I paper clipped everything into place and waited until all of the glue set.


I ended up with these super cute little storage boxes.  I may shift around what I'm keeping in these boxes, so I haven't created labels for them yet.   


But my baking box is all set and is looking very cute in my newly organized spice cabinet.



I'm loving how these boxes are adding a little color to my cabinets and pantry.  I also love that since I already had all of the supplies, they were totally free for me to create!  So what do you think?  Do you have any suggestions for DIY storage solutions?

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Giveaway Reminder!


January 23, 2011
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Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!  Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter the $40 CSN Stores giveaway!  They have thousands and thousands of items for the lucky winner to choose from.  Thanks to all who have entered so far!

To enter, visit my giveaway post!

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Spicy Cabinet Organization


January 19, 2011
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I’ve been tackling my kitchen as part of my New DIYear Resolution to get and stay organized.  Yesterday, I showed you my new kitchen mail system and today I'm sharing a spicy organization project- I organized my spice cabinet! 

Here’s the before shot.  All of my shelves were cluttered and I could never find the spices I needed.  I had bought a three tiered shelf, but it was pretty useless because the highest tier was too tall to fit any spices.  Plus, I couldn’t see the labels of the spices which did fit, making it hard to find what I was looking for.

spice_cabinet

To tackle this problem, I started by removing everything from my cabinet and then raising the bottom shelf to better fit the tiered organizer.  (Why I didn’t do this before I’ll never know).

Next, I needed to label each spice jar so I could still tell what each spice was even when it was partially blocked by another spice on the tiered shelf.  I came up with an easy and free solution: paper + marker + tape. I simply cut strips of paper and in marker wrote the name of each of my spices.  I attached it to each spice jar with a clear piece of scotch tape.  No fancy spice jars or labels here, but it’s works!

spice_labels

I put everything back into the cabinet with the most used spices toward the front.  This time, all of the spices fit on the tiered organizer and my simple labels make it easy to spot the spice I’m looking for. Since the tiered organizer is fully functional now, I was able to fit all of my spices on just one shelf which cleared up the previous overflow on the other cabinet shelves.

spice_rack

The top shelf of my spice cabinet houses all of my baking supplies.  To organize and add some flavor to this shelf, I made this cute little stripped box (tutorial coming soon) for my often used baking supplies.  Since the top shelf is a little high for me, this sweet box (ok, I'll stop with the puns now) makes it easier for me to reach and grab my baking ingredients.  Plus, it’s cute! I labeled the box with another simple label I cut out of paper (bonus: if I want to use this box for something else later I can just untape the label and make a new one).

kitchen_cabinet_organization

I put everything back into the cabinet and it looks much more organized now.  Baking supplies are on the top shelf, cooking sprays and salt/pepper are in the middle, spices are at the bottom, and slipped under the tiered rack are little spice packets.  Everything is easy to see and reach now!

organized_spice_cabinet


Here’s the side by side comparison.   What do you think?


Do you have any tips for organizing your spice cabinet?

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my CSN stores giveaway!  You could use your gift certificate to buy organizational products or thousands of other items!


This blog post is shared on Somewhat Simple, Fireflies and Jellybeans, Tales from Bloggeritaville, Life as Lori, Paisley Passions, Allie Makes, Suzy Sitcom, Beneath My Heart, DIY Showoff, A Design Story, I Heart Organizing; check out some of the other great projects featured.

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Our Mail Organization System


January 18, 2011
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The mail always seems to be a problem in our house.  Like Newman rants, “the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming…”


It’s easy to toss the mail we don’t need into the recycling bin, but the mail we want to hang onto always seems to pile up in the kitchen with nowhere to go.  Over the summer, I picked up this wire wall pocket and used it as a spot to stash mail we want to keep.

wall_pocket

This system worked pretty well, but the hanging wall file wasn’t really large enough for us.  What I was really dreaming about is Pottery Barn’s Daily System:

pottery_barn_daily_system

Or Ballard Design’s wood wall pockets:

ballard_designs_wood_wall_pockets

But I didn’t want to shell out over $50 for either of these systems.  Well, I nearly fainted when I went to Ross and in the home section found a knock-off of the Pottery Barn system on clearance for $17!  I couldn’t believe my luck!  I now have the male mail of my dreams (my Hubby already has the first part covered!)

My knock-off mail organization system has two wooden wall pockets and a magnetic white board.  It’s hung on rod just like the Pottery Barn system.

mail_organization_system

Rob and I each have our own pocket to stash our magazines and other mail.  On the marker board, we’ve been jotting down our to-dos and reminders for appointments and when household bills are due.  The marker board is magnetic too, so we can clip important items right where we’re sure to see them.

The mail always accumulated in the kitchen, so we hung our new mail organization system by our back door in the kitchen.  We’re constantly letting the puppy outside through that door, so we’re sure to see any important reminders written or pinned to the white board.

mail_organizer_pockets

I am totally in love with our mail organization system!  It is helping to keep our kitchen free from paper clutter, but still lets us keep important mail at our fingertips.  It’s the best $17 I’ve spent in a long time!

Do you have a system to keep your mail organized?

P.S. Don't forget to enter in this week's giveaway!

This project is featured on Beneath My Heart, I Heart Organizing, stop by to see the other great project that are featured too!

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CSN Stores Giveaway!


January 17, 2011
103 comments

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to those who entered! 

Today I’m hosting another great giveaway from CSN Stores!  If you haven’t already checked them out, CSN Stores offer a slew of products for every room of the house- everything from kitchen ware, modern bar stools, home decor items, and so much more!

csn_stores


The Prize: One lucky winner will receive a $40 gift certificate to use in any of CSN’s dozens of stores. 


To Enter: Leave a comment and make sure I have a way to contact you if you win (either link to your blog, leave your email address, twitter alias, or privately email me your email address). 


Bonus Entries: No bonus stuff is required to enter/win, but if you want to become a follower of my blog, share this giveaway on Twitter, post about this giveaway on your blog, shout it from the rooftops, run an ad in your local newspaper, or however else you want to spread the word, I’d be forever grateful and you can earn up to 3 bonus entries!  Just leave a separate comment for each bonus entry.


Details:  All entries must be received by 11pm EST on 1/23/2011.  Maximum 1 entry (+3 bonus entries) per person.  One winner will be chosen using Random.org.

Good luck!

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Just like last year, I've compiled a list of New DIYear Resolutions for 2011.  My "DIYear" resolutions are goals I'd like to accomplish in my house this year (you can see how I did on my 2010 goals here).  This year I've also set modest budgets for each of my goals and I'm hoping all 5 of my resolutions come in under $360.

Here's what's on the agenda for 2011:

Powder Room Update:  When we first moved into our house, the powder room was painted this frightfully bright blue color (it was even more electrifying in person than in this photo).  One of the first projects we did in the house was to paint this room a much more subtle tone, but we haven't done much to the room since then.  The plan is to change the lighting, hardware, mirror, and add art- all for under $75!

powder_room_remodel_before


Master Bedroom Update:   Our master bedroom is actually one of my favorite rooms in our house.  I love our bedroom furniture and the room's big window.  However, I've grown tired of our bedding and the room needs new accessories and art.  I'd like to reuse accessories from other parts of the house, so I'm hoping to revamp the room for $100 or less -including the new bedding!

master_bedroom_update


Sew New Pillows:  I can't really remember sewing anything since 8th grade home economics class!  I think it's about time I got behind a sewing machine again and created some new pillows for our family room.   We used to have these blue pillows in our family room, but they've since been moved upstairs because I'd like to have a green color scheme in the family room instead.  Sew So, I'd like to make new green pillows for the family room for under $35.

bedroom_pillows


Get (& Stay) Organized:  This resolution is rolling over from last year because there's always room for more organizing.  I made some good strides in getting organized in 2010, but there are still some trouble spots in the house which desperately need to be organized.  My goal for 2011 is to clean up the trouble spots and keep the already organized areas in shape.  There are a few organizational items I'll need to get the job done, but this project is more about getting rid of stuff than buying new stuff, so I'd like to keep the budget to $50.




Basement Improvement:  This goal is still on the list from last year.  We currently have an unfinished basement with a gym, pool table, and storage area.  Finishing a basement is very costly and since we know we want to sell the house within the next few years (and probably won't recoup our investment), I don't want to spend a lot of money on the basement.  However, I would like a warmer feeling space so I've been thinking of creative ways to make the basement feel more finished (without actually finishing it) by using paint and fabric.  If you have any suggestions for this space, I'd love to hear them!  Total budget (crosses fingers) will be $100 or less.

Have you set household goals for yourself in 2011?  Any suggestions for how I can accomplish mine?

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Snowman Craft Projects


January 12, 2011
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Like many of you, we woke up with a few inches of snow on the ground today.  We’re up to our shoulders in it!  Well…maybe we’re not, but the pup sure is:

snow

In fact, I heard on the news that 49 states (sorry Florida) have snow on the ground today!  I’m featuring some snowman crafts today in honor of all of the snow.  These crafts are also fun if you have some bored kids on your hands or you just miss your Christmas decorations and are looking for some winter appropriate crafty decor (assuming you’re not like me and they’re all taken down- but we won’t get into that).

Edible Snowman Crafts


Snowman Crafts

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Happy 1-11-11!  If you're a fan of fun dates, the numero uno happens to be your lucky digit, you're the world's #1 mom, or you're a math teacher like my sister (hi!), today is a special day for you!

In order to commemorate today's fun numerical date, I put together 11 numbered decor items I'm loving:









For more numerical fun, check out some house number ideas I compiled on 09/09/09!

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Every year, HGTV puts together a stylish "dream home” in a fun location and gives it away to one very lucky winner.  Last year, the 2010 Dream Home was in New Mexico.  This year the dream home is in snowy Vermont and has a more rustic, but still modern, look.

Check out the stylish living room with a very cool barn door adorning one wall (although it would have been even cooler if it was a functional door).  I was surprised to see paneled ceilings throughout the house, but with such tall ceilings and bright windows everywhere I think they add a nice warm vibe to the house.



The kitchen has vaulted ceilings and very modern cabinets and appliances, but the paneled ceiling keeps the room feeling warm and the high windows keep it looking bright.



The mudroom is definitely a dream and has plenty of space to stash ski equipment and winter coats.  The size of the mudroom alone is amazing and I would love having so such a great storage room in my house!



The master bedroom isn’t really my style, but who wouldn’t love the full wall of windows with pretty mountain views. 



The luxurious bathroom is definitely more my style though:

 
I really love the kid’s guest room full of 8 bunk beds.  The room looks rustic and warm and I can imagine how fun it would be for a group of kids to bunk together.    



In the family room, there is plenty of seating for lounging and lots of guests.  There’s a lot going on in the room, but I think it looks like a comfy hangout.





Like last year, I put together my own Dream Home look for less.  Here’s how to steal the style of the family room on a budget.  Most of the original furniture comes from Ethan Allen which is beautiful, but can be pricey.  Here’s how I snagged the style with furnishings from Walmart, Target, and Ikea.

hgtv_dream_home_look_for_less

- Metropolitan Sage Sofa: Target
- Silk Toss Pillow: Target
- Red Textured Throw Blanket: Target
- Expedit Wood Coffee Table: Ikea
- DVD Basket: Target
- End Trunk Table: Target
- Large Cylinder Vase with Candle Holder: Walmart
- Regan Kiwi Upholstered Chair: Target
- Striped Throw Pillow: Target
- Karlstad Red Chair: Ikea
- Round End Table: Target
- Glass Table Lamp: Ikea
- Striped Rug: Target
- Red Karlstad Chair: Ikea
- Geometric Pillow: Target
- Square Storage Ottoman: Walmart

So what do you think of 2011's HGTV Dream Home?  Do you like this year's rustic house or prefer last year's New Mexico retreat?

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