We Have Contact

There’s nothing like waiting until the 11th hour to complete a project.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I wanted to take inspiration from Project Pretty over at I Heart Organizing and DIY an organizing project that not only de-cluttered a space but also made it oh so cute.

Dirty Little Secret: I lose sleep over what goes on behind cabinet doors and in drawers. Unfortunate, I know. The funny thing is…even though I’m generally a neat freak…sometimes it’s just so hard to keep those spaces clutter free and looking fab.

Anyway, this week was insanely busy and blew by in an instant. I had much loftier goals in beautifying and organizing a space but alas, I didn’t get around to it until this evening so I kept the project small-scale.

The hubs is out of town with the boys so me and the girls (dogs)…sorry, Duncan, and boy (cat)…set out to spruce up my kitchen desk workspace. Observe my cluttered mess:

As I said, I decided to keep this simple and get some pretty contact paper in a cheerful pattern and color and some desk organizers to keep things neat.

This was also my first foray into contact paper. I thought I was going to hate it and be super frustrated with the adhesive and getting it to sit right but it was super easy to use. The back of the paper had a grid with measurements in 1″ and 1/2″ increments so it was very easy to measure. Also, it was pretty forgiving. If I didn’t place it quite right, it was very easy to carefully peel the paper up and adjust placement without losing its “stick”.

Here were the two ultimate rewards to this project. First, I threw away half of what was in these drawers. LOVE THAT. And Andrew, I promise there was nothing you needed in there. (My husband likes to save stuff.) Second, this project was FREE! Ok, well not exactly…I purchased my supplies from Target for approximately $20.00 but I had a $20.00 gift card. I purchased one role of contact paper, one small and one large clear acrylic desk organizers, and one white storage tray.

Here are the results.

pretty green contact paper…oooo, ahhhhh:


drawers lined:


feelin’ organized with desk organization trays in place:

organizer with our most commonly used pet items within easy reach:


a cheerful workspace…I love the pop of color when I open these drawers now!


Ok folks, I’m off to share my work over at the I Heart Organizing link party. Check out all the other wonderful submissions by clicking below!


Pretty Tidy

I have a wonderful recent blog discovery I must share. It’s an awesome little corner of the web called IHeart Organizing. And I LOVE it because, well, I heart organizing too! Even better, I love organizing in a pretty fashion and this particular blogger, Jen, is the ultimate inspiration. Remember my post a few weeks ago? I love pretty files, folders, and holders. I’m motivated to stay organized and use organizational tools when they are fun to look at. Even better, though most organizational solutions are technically for utility, there is no rule that states they also can’t be pretty. <– Te-he, little rhyme there 😛 AND, if organizing solutions can serve dual purposes as decor AND a way to keep your stuff tidy…well, that’s a win-win in my book. I’m real excited because this particular blogger is hosting a link party this coming week to feature and share ideas on “pretty” organizing/storage projects. (Click on the picture below to link back to the IHeart Organizing blog for more details on the challenge.)

This is just the kick in the tush I needed to get moving on a few projects I’ve been wanting to complete. Here is a short list of a few projects I’m thinking of working on for the challenge (click on the pics below to link back to the source for tips and how-to’s):

1. Line the kitchen desk drawers with pretty paper.

2. Line medicine cabinets with decorative paper.

3. DIY some baskets, etc., for current built-ins in the family room for pet storage.

4. DIY a pretty pet storage station for some of the furballs most used items (leashes, favorite toys, treats).

Check back in a few days to see what project I complete! (I’m smelling a trip to Michael’s and Jo-Ann fabric tomorrow!)

let me gather my thoughts

Decorating a completely blank slate is a big undertaking. When we moved in…the entire house was more or less “whitewashed”…loads of white trim, beige-ish walls, white kitchen, off white bathrooms, wood floors, beige carpet in the bedrooms. While I LOVE a stark, clean, neutral palette…this house was dying for some color and personality.

But where to begin. For those of you that know me, I joked that I needed to have 3 weddings because there are so many color schemes, themes, and aesthetics. I had many an evening listening to my mother say “MAKE A DECISION”. So where does that leave me in the home decor arena? Buried in magazines, catalogs, and paint swatches, and not a step closer to making some decisions.

There were a few givens…as above, I’m drawn to neutrals…mostly because they can be easily revamped on the cheap in the future. For example, have neutral sofa…spiffy it up with awesome pillows in fun colors/patterns/texture. Tire of those after a few months and swap them out. You really do get a lot of bang for your buck this way.

Ok, so anyway, that may be the only given. I’m drawn to traditional styling as much as contemporary. After taking a few style quizzes, try this one http://www.sproost.com/, I started to pin down the elements of design to make this space our own. Actually, the quiz from sproost confirmed what I thought…I’m 50% cottage chic and 50% modern elegance. It really is true…I love contemporary but am often alienated by the cold, clinical feeling it can have. Conversely, I love objects with history and comfort but find myself gagging a little at how cheesy the traditional, cottage look can be. Therein lies the rub, you can have BOTH! And it looks amazing! I agree there is no better way to truly make your decor choices your own than finding ways to blend and layer your tastes and personality into your home decor.

So where to begin…after looking into ways talented home DIYer’s keep it all in check, I’ve set up a system that works for me. The best system is the one you’ll use so start writing down ideas, tearing pictures out of magazine and catalogs, and clean home depot out of paint chips. (Also, places like pottery barn will mail you fabric swatches for free so snap up some of those for inspiration!) For me, I need my organization system to be pretty and functional. I, personally, will not be inspired to decorate or get down and dirty with a project based off of a few torn magazine pages…but that’s just me. Again, find what works for you. Here’s what works for me:

1. Cute binder, notebook, and accordion folder. (Found the binder, accordion file, and pencil cases at Office Max on clearance a few weeks ago). The fact that they were in some of my favorite colors, even better. (The notebook is Vera Bradley).

2. Got a package of clear report covers to organize my inspiration pictures and make my own mini-magazine. I’m using the accordion file to organize receipts from home purchases, etc.

3. Store paint chips in pencil cases.

4. Set up my kitchen desk as a workspace with everything handy.

*the super comfy desk chair is from IKEA! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79877709/#/S69816641

5. Using a basket as a holder for catalogs, etc., to reference as I plan my designs.

So start gathering…maybe you’re inspired by a favorite sweater, piece of jewelry, or picture from a fantastic vacation. Inspiration for color and design doesn’t have to be solely based on pre-exisiting home design elements. Start exploring your personality, likes, and dislikes in unexpected places. Look for themes as well…perhaps you’re drawn to the same color or you are choosing favorite sofas with similar lines. Take your time, let it unfold, and edit your collection periodically…happy planning!