projects

Less is More (Children’s Clothing Edition)

It all started with trying to fit all our Christmas decor (minus the tree) into one tote. I realized how much excess we really had, and probably still have. I browsed the internet for wisdom in simplifying, minimalism, and organization. I found many good ideas, some I implemented and others that inspired me to keep going.

I want to focus on children’s clothing today, and how I am taming this monstrous beast. Please tell me I’m not the only one to go through this. 🙂 We have two children, a girlie and a boy so with them came an outrageous amount of cute clothing. Seriously cute. The gifts accumulated quickly and that, paired with my love for thrifting caused this thing I call a beast. Easy to add to and hard to minimize. Oh, each year I’d go through the totes, pairing things down. Being sentimental is not easy, each piece of clothing brought back memories (am I the only one?). I tried to get rid of them, I really did. This year was different. This year I wanted a system that worked. Something I could rely on. Here’s what happened:

IMG_4004

J. helped me figure out approximately how many items each child could live with. So the original list was made.

IMG_3558

IMG_3542

Please don’t judge. 🙂 I went through 6-7 totes of children’s clothing, and kept less than half. What we kept, I put into cardboard boxes that would fit into our closets upstairs. No more totes in the basement! Also, can you imagine the fun our children had going through these with us? Our children loved this project. It made me a bit batty. We clearly labelled the boxes, so we can grab a box if we ever need to.

IMG_5907

IMG_5909

IMG_5913 copy
IMG_5915

As you can see, the boxes aren’t all that full and they include coats and boots. Obviously the bigger sizes fill up quicker, but then I need to get rid of more. I didn’t necessarily stick with the list for these boxes. I tried to keep less than listed in order to leave room for new clothing (if we are blessed with more children).

IMG_5906

IMG_5911

Here are two closets in their organized glory. You can see that we have plenty of room for games, sleeping bags, pack-n-play, swimming gear, extra Pampers and wipes and a few odds and ends. Once the extra clothing was sorted and organized, I started thinking about the clothing our children currently wear. Would I dare get rid of some? That seemed a bit crazy, but throwing caution into the wind we started sorting. This time I stuck with our list (see first photo) to see if this was actually doable.

IMG_5917

IMG_5918 copyIMG_5920

So far, it has worked well. It’s been a few months since we started.

With everything organized, I needed a system in place to keep everything organized. Have you ever been at a thrift store or clearance somewhere, saw a pair of pants or a cute dress in a bigger size? The next thought is, “hmmm? I can’t remember how many pants I have for E, or how many dresses for O. . . I may as well buy it. It’s cheap!” This is how I ended up with excess. Cute and cheap! Somehow I needed to stop this cycle. Well, I tried to take my planner with me everywhere I went. That just didn’t work. So I thought of my phone, which is usually in my purse or pocket. I found an app and decided to try it. It’s called Sortly, and it works for me. I know there are other organizational apps, feel free to choose your own. Here’s how I organized my app:

IMG_4170In the shoes category, I have a list of our family’s current shoe sizes. The clothing category is organized like this:

IMG_4171And further organized:

IMG_4172

IMG_4173

As you can see, the main item includes the quantity needed. Then I can always see what we need. It sure makes decisions easier at thrift stores or any stores for that matter. 🙂 Organized clothing makes me happy. Each child has one drawer dedicated to the larger size.

IMG_5921

IMG_5923

It seems so easy…now. Some of you veteran Moms will probably smile, maybe even laugh at this post. That’s okay! If you’re just beginning to think that you have too many children’s clothing, be encouraged.

Enjoy this brand new week, friends!

More Simplicity.

in love copy

It’s easy to accumulate things. This year I’ve been determined to minimize. I wouldn’t say that I’m becoming a minimalist, but I’m gleaning lots of organizational ideas from minimalist blogs. And just trying to adjust my way of thinking. This week I spent two days minimizing and organizing my kitchen. Tupperware! Why on earth did I keep so much Tupperware? Whisks! Can I use more than one basic whisk at a time? 9×13 pans! Oh, the list goes on. There were duplicates of lots of things that I realized were just unnecessary.

It all started with going through our Christmas fluff. We had three totes/boxes full of things to decorate for Christmas. Of course, I didn’t use nearly all of it. I wondered if I could possibly whittle down the fluff to where it would fit into one tote. I analyzed everything. Probably too much.

IMG_3533 copy

But it worked! All the Christmas fluff in one tote, minus the tree. And I felt free!

fewer ends copy

The Great Christmas Fluff Purge led to other things. Our kids clothing was a big one, I’ll share later on how I tamed that beast. Well, I should say I’m still taming that one because it’s more about the process of buying than saving.

IMG_3599 copy

You might wonder if your kids have too many toys. Chances are they do! The toy situation can quickly get out of control. I’ll share later on how to have less toys and not feel like a mean mom.

less house copy

My goal is to have a simplified home, where I can focus easily on our family and not get bogged down with all that goes with having too much stuff. I’ll bring you along for the ride. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Patchwork Curtains

IMG_3688_edited-1 label

These cafe curtains have been a labor of love (and sometimes frustration) for the last 10 months. *hangs head in shame. I am very good at starting projects, sometimes it just takes a long time to finish them. I knew I wanted patchwork and my Mom suggested cafe style curtains. I used two old linen tablecloths and bought some fabric to add a little bit of color.

IMG_1418

Next, I got out my handy-dandy graph paper. I love graph paper. It makes planning and sketching fun. I figured out how big I wanted each panel, then just drew in the shapes. After that, I added seam allowances and started cutting.

IMG_1417 copy

IMG_1413 copy

You can tell that I didn’t iron the old tablecloths before cutting them. I probably should have. After cutting, I had to zig-zag or surge around each piece. This is when I started realizing what a big project I had started. I thought about putting a thin backing on the curtains and not worry about all that sewing. I ended up zig-zagging around each piece. I felt like any more material and seams would make the curtains too stiff to hang nice.

IMG_0468

Then I sewed the pieces together. This was my favorite part. It was like putting together a puzzle. Although by the sixth panel, it wasn’t as fun.

IMG_3689 copy

None of the curtains are the same. I chose to put the colored rectangles/squares in a random order.

IMG_3691 copy

For rods, I chose cheap, Oil Rubbed Bronze rods from Lowe’s, and popped off the ends. I used knobs from World Market for the ends of the rods. I used gorilla glue to glue them on. So far I have had to glue one back on. We bent some old silver spoons to hold the rods in place. The clips used to hang the curtains are from Target or Lowe’s in the ORB finish.

IMG_3695

Here is a more detailed shot of the knobs/rods. Once J. had bent the spoons, I started hanging rods in place. It took me most of a day to get six rods hung. We have three windows in the kitchen, and so each window needed two.

IMG_3680

For the top curtain, or valance I used the same old tablecloths. J. advised me to keep them simple. I love when he gives me ideas. I cut the lace off of this old, stained cloth to trim the bottom of the curtains.

IMG_3681 copy

A finished valance. The lace with the old tablecloth material turned out a little wonky, but I think it’s okay. Sometimes when I make things out of old stuff, they are less than perfect. I am learning to appreciate things just as they are. I would rather have old and imperfect.

IMG_3688_edited-1

The finished product. I am very happy with how it turned out. I’m not sure that I’d do it again, though. But, who am I kidding? I totally, probably would do it again.

Pom Pom Gift Wrap.

My favorite gift wrap is regular brown craft paper (found on rolls in the office supply section of Walmart). It is very versatile. It is a nice empty canvas for any type of gift. This year I wanted to make some pom pom gift wrap. I’ve seen it at Anthropologie, and positively love it. I think some year I will try the white gift wrap with pom poms, but I used what I had on hand this year.

IMG_2912 copy

What you need: gift wrap, tape, Elmer’s school glue, a scissors, and pom poms (I found mine at Joanns). The first step is to wrap your gift. And the second step is to glue on the pom poms. That’s it! It takes a little time, but I didn’t feel like it was an overwhelming project.

IMG_2762 copy

Here you can still see some of the glue because it is still wet. It becomes clear once it dries.

IMG_2915 copy

The cute gift tags are a free printable from here.

IMG_2914 copy

We left a few gifts plain this year. I just wrapped them with bakers twine (another thing I love) and added a cute tag.

IMG_2920 copy

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Oh deer.

For those of you who know me, this post may seem a bit ironic. In the last year I have started liking antlers and deer. Cute antlers and deer (not necessarily real). Now that it’s wintertime, I am starting to like them even more. A few weeks ago, L., E. and I browsed through our local antique mall and found a cute deer that just needed a little makeover. I asked L. what color she wanted to paint him. I gave her the choices of sparkly silver, gold, or red.

IMG_2746 copy

She chose silver glittery paint.

IMG_2752 copy

This is as far as she got before she was done. I was happy to finish the painting. To cover the whole deer, I had to apply two really thick layers of glitter paint.

IMG_2872 copy

He ended up so pretty and shiny. I love him in his little forest. For a while I thought of putting pink leg warmers on him. L. wanted purple leg warmers. Finally I decided that he would probably have an identity crisis if we gave him leg warmers. He is obviously a guy. And I’m pretty sure only the boy deer have antlers.

IMG_2879 copy

So we went with a plain, masculine red scarf.

IMG_2881 copy

IMG_2884 copy

He wears it well, don’t you think?

Salt Dough Ornaments

 

This year we thought it would be a good idea to use child-friendly ornaments on our tree. I am slowly collecting beautiful old glass ornaments, but those are displayed in an old box on our table (away from little hands). I don’t really get upset if ornaments break, they are just things. And I am usually the one that breaks the ornaments. L. and I had fun making them. I did most of the mixing, but she helped cut them out and paint them.

The recipe:
1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
That’s it! Mix the ingredients together in a bowl. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters. Make sure to punch a hole in the top of each ornament with a straw so that you can hang them up once they’re dry. (Sorry, I don’t have any photos of this process – my hands were covered in flour. Plus, I’m a slacker.) Bake the ornaments at 250˚ until they feel dry and hard. I didn’t really time mine. I let them set out overnight just to be sure they’re dry.

 

IMG_2493 copy
Next came to fun part, especially for L. We painted the ornaments with regular acrylic craft paint. It was a little messy, but fun. I think the whole painting process took a whole afternoon.

 

IMG_2494 copy
We let them dry on newspaper. You can see how some of the ornaments look a little warped. I don’t think about it now that they’re on the tree. Besides, imperfections add character. Right?

 

IMG_2807 copy
The next step was my favorite, hanging the ornaments on the tree.

 

IMG_2804 copy

 

IMG_2800 copy

 

IMG_2792 copy
This one was done by L. I encourage you to leave your children’s masterpieces untouched. These have much more meaning than the ones I did.

 

IMG_2812 copy
Oops. Where did this ornament come from?

With just the ornaments, the tree looked a little sparse. So we added a dot garland that I made a few years back. I used silver thread and white round labels. Stick two labels together with thread in the middle. A very easy, but time-consuming project. I can’t believe I had the patience to do that! I store it on an empty paper towel roll from year to year.

For a few dollars, and a little time we have a child-friendly tree this year. And we love it.

You might wonder what we did with the teeny tiny ornaments that L. was painting. I let her pick out more colors and we put them on a ribbon to hang in her room. They ended up hanging on her bed. She calls them her shapes.

 

IMG_2829 copy

 

 

IMG_2830 copy