Closet Reorganization

I’m a little slow getting to organizing in the new year, but it recently hit me that 2 areas were driving me crazy and need some organizational attention.  The first area was my night stand, which is where I was storing my jewelry.  The second area was our closet.

All of my necklaces were hanging on a cork board that I had covered in fabric and trimmed with ribbon.  I had most of my bracelets on the wire rack on the night stand.  I don’t know what its actually called, or even if it was the real purpose of the wire rack, because I bought it for a few dollars at the Goodwill.  The rest of my nightstand is very functional….a little lamp, a small decorative box that holds my phone charger and accessories, and our old alarm clock.

Closet Reorganization - Nightstand-jewelry Before

Our closet is a feature of our house that I love.  In my previous home, I always had to rotate clothes to other closets or storage areas based on season.  I don’t have to do that in our home, as there is enough space for all my clothes and some room for Bob’s clothes too.  The problem with that is that I don’t really have to purge.  It all just fits.  So, I have to really force myself to go through my clothes and get rid of ones that I don’t wear and/or don’t fit.

Closet Reorganization - Closet left side before

Closet Reorganization - Closet right side before

Closet Reorganization - Closet shelves-shoes-scarves before

But, as you can see just because there is room for everything, doesn’t mean it looks good, or it is very functional.  So, it was definitely time to go through the closet and purge and organize.  I had just gone through the closet over the summer, and it still felt too full.  This time, I took a different approach.  I made the goal of creating enough space in the closet that I could have a jewelry station within the closet.  That way, my closet got organized and I got a new organized place for my jewelry.  Bob was headed to Florida for several days on a guy/golf trip, so I decided that was the perfect time for me to reorganize.  The reason for waiting until he was away, was because I knew it always gets worse before it gets better….

Closet Reorganization - In Process - worse-before-better

I did my best to work with what I had, but in the end I had to spend a little bit of money to get the level of organization I wanted.  I bought a belt organizer ($6) and a hanging jewelry organizer ($10).

Closet Reorganization - New Belt and Jewelry hanging organizers

I also bought 3 hooks to install on the wall for my scarves.  They were $3.97 each at Lowe’s.  I was originally looking for something that had multiple hooks already assembled.  But, when I saw them at the store, they weren’t cheap and I thought the scarves would get too tangled together, so I bought the individual hooks so that I could stagger them on the closet wall.

Closet Reorganization - New hooks for scarves

After several hours of trying on clothes and making piles for trash, Goodwill, and sharing with my sister, I was done with the clothing portion of the organization.  I had removed enough clothes to have an area for my jewelry in the back of the closet by the mirror.  I hung the corkboard on the wall, and hung my new organizer right beside my hanging shoe organizer.

Closet Reorganization - Necklaces-Bracelets-Earrings-Storage

I added light to the area using the lamp that was previously on my nightstand.

Closet Reorganization - Jewelry station with lamp

The jewelry box and bracelet rack are sitting on top of 2 white shelves that were hidden in the closet before.  They were storing random items.  Now, they are used as additional shoe storage, which was accomplished by moving the adjustable shelves to make room for flats in the one shelf, and taller boots in the other shelf.

Closet Reorganization - New Jewelry station with shoes and scarves

Now, my scarves are on display so that as I am picking out my outfits, I can easily add my accessories too.

Closet Reorganization - Scarves on display

This is the most of the closet floor I’ve seen in a long time!  My clothes are separated by type: pants, suits, and dresses are on the left – sharing that side with Bob’s ties, shoes, t-shirts and suits.  I have a shoe rack for my heels on the floor under my pants and suits.

Closet Reorganization - Closet left side after

The right side of the closet has Bob’s pants and dress shirts, organized by color.  Then my short sleeve, 3/4 length, and long sleeve shirts, as well as skirts.

Closet Reorganization - Closet right side after

I feel so much better about the closet.  It was well worth the time spent, and I think I made smart organization decisions so that it is something I can maintain.  I’m still tweaking the changes to my nightstand, so I will share that once I get it finalized.  Has anyone else spent the new year organizing?  Do you organize your closet by clothing type and/or color?


Our Living Room

I’m discovering that Winter time poses an additional challenge for me, besides just trying to get through the short, dark cold days.  The lack of daylight hours that I am home has proven difficult in trying to get photos for blogging.  My photography needs all the help it can get, so when the sun was shining recently I took advantage and snapped some pictures around the house of areas that I have not shared yet.  I did show you the Odd Corner in the Living Room, so I thought it was time to share the rest of the living room.

Below is the view of the living room from the odd corner.  The kitchen is off to the left, the foyer is the opening in the middle, and the view on the right is into the guest room.

Living Room - View from chairs

This is the view standing at the patio door.  Our living room is heavily used since it is the central part of our home.

Living Room - View from Patio Doors

Overall, the room is decorated pretty simply.   I always think it feels better with some fresh flowers.  I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my spray painted vase.

Living Room - Flowers in spraypainted vase

I had the sectional before we got married, so its been around for a while.   I’ve already added extra poly-fil to the back cushions to give it a little more cushion.  At some point, we’ll get a new couch, but I think we’ll have to replace it with another sectional, since the corner of it is where Puddy spends a lot of his time.

Living Room - View from Kitchen with Puddy

I had to close the curtains on the patio door to get the picture below since it was so sunny.  This angle shows you the dining room, the kitchen bar and a sliver of the breakfast room in the background. I love that we get such warm sunlight in the hub of our home.

Living Room - View from Hallway

As we are beginning to consider a new couch, do you have any recommendations?  Should we stick to a sectional?  Or, is there other furniture we should consider for a better layout?

Vacation Memories

This weekend, the sun was finally out, but it just made me dream of even warmer weather.  So, to make me feel better, I turned my dreaming into a trip down memory lane with pictures of vacations from previous years.

The first time I was ever to another country was May 2006.  It was the first “big” vacation for Bob and I.  We stayed in Akumal, Mexico and it is a beautiful location.

Vacations - Akumal Mexico May 2006

We went a bit further south on that trip and visited Tulum. The view below is from the ruins.

Vacation - Tulum Mexico May 2006

In May 2007, we decided to go back to Mexico again.  Part of what we love about Akumal, is that it means “home of the turtle”, and it is.  Almost every time we hopped in the water to go snorkeling, we saw a turtle, sometimes a few turtles.  It was amazing.

Vacation - Turtle Akumal Mexico May 2007

We loved Tulum so much, we went back during our trip to find some other beaches that were new to us.

Vacation - Pink Boat Mexico May 2007

Vacation - Bob and Leslie Mexico May 2007

In 2008, we ventured even further south to Belize.  This was our honeymoon trip in April.   It took 3 planes to get us there, but it was well worth it.  Our first stop was Placencia.  We stayed in a little cottage right on the beach.

Vacation - Bob and Leslie Placencia Belize April 2008

Vacation - Placencia Belize Beach April 2008

After a few days in Placencia, we got on another plane and then a small boat took us to our next destination, South Water Caye.   Caye is an island in Belize, and South Water was our choice since it is right on the Barrier Reef.  We could walk from our cottage, onto the beach and get in water that was like swimming in an aquarium.

Vacation - Belize snorkeling fish

We also took a short boat excursion that had us snorkeling around the some of the most beautiful coral we have ever seen.

Vacation - Belize snorkeling elk horn coral

The island was very small, so we got to experience many beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

Vacation - Belize sunset April 2008

St. Kitts was our next adventure in February 2010.  On our first day there, we went to this point where you could see the Atlantic on one side and Caribbean on the other side.

Vacation - St Kitts Atlantic and Caribbean view bob and leslie Feb 2010

We got to go snorkeling yet again, and saw more colorful coral.  We also got to find conch during our snorkeling and the boat crew used it for our lunch.  One of the conch shells came home with us, since we knew it was empty, and it resides on the shelves in our basement as a great memory.

Vacation - St Kitts - coral

This was the beach right outside the hotel.  Bob set the camera on some rocks to take our self-portrait.

Vacation - St Kitts bob and leslie on beach

February 2011 found us in Grand Cayman.  The lighting before dinner was too perfect not to pose for a picture.

Vacation -Grand Cayman Bob and Leslie Feb 2011

The beaches in Grand Cayman were so beautiful.

Vacation - Grand Cayman - Leslie Beach

Bob did his research in advance and knew that Cemetery Beach was the place to go snorkeling.  The fish were so colorful, and they were not afraid of people.  They would swim right up to you.

Vacation - Grand Cayman - Snorkeling fish at cemetery beach

We also took a trip to Sting Ray City.  As scared as I thought I would be, it was so neat to be in the water with all the sting rays.


Last year, we ventured to St. Maarten.  The snorkeling was not very good, so we just enjoyed the beaches and we can’t complain as long as the water is warm!!

Vacation - St Marteen - February 2012

One day was a bit cloudy with some rain off and on, so I was able to convince Bob to go to the Butterfly Farm.  So, instead of pictures of fish and coral, we have tons of pictures of butterflies from our St. Maarten trip.

Vacation - St Marteen - butterfly farm

This trip was also the first with our new camera, so Bob took lots of panoramic shots trying to capture it all.

Vacation - St Marteen panoramic

So, that’s a quick trip down our vacation memory lane.  It doesn’t seem to cure my dreams of warm weather….it really just makes me want it more.  Luckily, we have our next trip planned…we are headed to Curacao.  Has anyone been there?  If so, what should we put on our list to do?

DIY Diaper Invitation

The first DIY aspect of Keri’s baby shower was the invitations. 

Baby Shower - DIY Diaper Invitations

My older sister and I went to Michael’s to buy supplies for invitations.  She had a sample of a store bought invitation that she thought we could make ourselves.  It was a cute invitation in the shape of a diaper.  It appeared to be simple enough to replicate.  We found a stack of cardstock paper in the scrapbooking section.  The sheets were 8×8 and double-sided cute baby girl patterns.  It was very close to the overall size of the sample invitation, just a bit smaller.  The stack of papers was the only supply we had to buy.  I had everything else I needed in my supplies at home.  In order to get started, I needed to revise the template since our 8×8 paper was smaller than the sample.  I used plain paper and after just a few minor adjustments developed my sample template.

DIY Diaper Invitation - OutsideTemplate

DIY Diaper Invitation - Inside Template

I used the template as my guide to trace onto the printed paper and cut around the outside with regular scissors.  The next step was to use the scalloped edged scissors from my scrapbooking supplies.  The scalloped edges are from the top template.  I cut from the middle fold line up around the “flaps” and stopped right after the curve, where the flaps would then fold.  I did this on both sides.  I think in the picture below you can see where the fold lines are in relation to the scalloped edges a little easier than in the template.

DIY Diaper Invitation - Outside

Then, I used an exacto knife to cut the straight slices.   I didn’t draw  the lines for that, because they became hard to erase on the patterned paper, so I just used a straight-edge.  After that was complete, I folded as indicated and it was now the complete outside shape.  I did each step in an assembly line, so that I was using my regular scissors for a while, then the scalloped scissors and then the exacto knife.  I will admit that it did get a bit tedious.  Fortunately, the timing worked out for me and I was participating in Arts & Crafts day at my work, so I took all my supplies and got the majority of them made in one sitting. 

For the invitation wording, I used Word and selected a label template (Avery Standard, 5164 Shipping) to set up my document.  This made 6 sections per page, and they were the perfect size for the text.  After I created the text, I just printed them on plain paper and used scalloped scissors to cut them out.  Then, I used scrapbooking adhesive tape to secure the text to the cardstock.  Below is the inside (I blurred out certain aspects for privacy).

DIY Diaper Invitation - Inside

Please feel free to download and print the templates.  I hope they print out correctly.  These are the first templates I have made and blogged about, so if they don’t print correctly and you know how to fix that, just let me know and I will change it…as long as it is within my technical abilities. 🙂

5 Years

5 years ago today, we had been living in our home for only a few weeks and we were already giving the living room a completely new look.  We removed all the furniture and brought in 30 white chairs to prepare for our big day…our wedding day!

Wedding - Chairs in Living Room

We kept everything simple, decorating only with some fresh flowers and candles.

Wedding - View from Kitchen-Flowers-Chairs-Unity Candle

We used a side table that we had and placed our unity candle on display.  We didn’t follow the tradition of not seeing each other on our wedding day, but we did stick with some traditions.  My Dad walked me down the aisle.

Wedding - Here comes the bride-Leslie and Dad

Our Reverend wrote a beautiful ceremony incorporating words that Bob and I both used to describe each other, but she didn’t reveal to either of us what she was including in that portion of the ceremony in advance.  Our comments were a surprise to both of us during the ceremony, which was very special.

Wedding - Ceremony - Bob Leslie and Reverend

Amazingly, I didn’t cry!! 

Wedding - Bob Leslie lighting unity candle

It was a beautiful ceremony! 

Wedding-Mr and Mrs

Bob’s brother is a wedding photographer, so his gift to us was the beautiful photos you are seeing here, and a few hundred more!!

Wedding-Rings with bouquet

Since we had an intimate ceremony with our immediate family, we also had the opportunity to take many family photos to add to the memories of the day. 

We had our reception dinner at a local restaurant.  No wedding is complete without some cake!

Wedding-cutting the cake 

To my wonderful husband, Bob,

I love with you with all my heart, even more than I did 5 years ago when we stood in our home in front of our families and pledged our love and committment to each other.  It has been an amazing 5 years and I look forward to many, many more!!  Happy Anniversary!


Upholstered Headboard Update

When I previously shared our guest bedroom here, I mentioned that I was considering adding nailhead trim to the headboard.   I purchased the trim weeks ago, but I finally found time to make the update to the headboard. 

DIY Upholstered Headboard - Nailhead Trim

I just moved the bed and laid the headboard on the floor right in the guest room.

DIY Upholstered Headboard - Before

I had never used the nailhead trim before, so I was uncertain how the project would go, but it was quite easy.  The trim is in one long strip, and every 5 nail heads in the strip have a hole in the middle so that you can insert a full nailhead to hold the strip down.  I used a rubber mallet to hammer the nail heads into the headboard.

DIY Upholstered Headboard - Starting nailhead trim

I was able to bend the strip to start the trim on the underneath side of the headboard.  As you can see, I decided to just go right over the white trim that I already had on the headboard.  

DIY Upholstered Headboard - After Nailhead trim - detail shot

Puddy is very protective of the guest room bed, since it is where he spends many hours of the day.  He was watching every move I made as I was working on the headboard.

DIY Upholstered Headboard - Puddy Watching

In a matter of minutes, I had the trim attached to the headboard.    I didn’t use the whole roll of trim, so I just used wire cutters to cut the end and again bent it on the underside of the headboard to finish. 

DIY Upholstered Headboard- After Nailhead trim- headboard shot

With the headboard back in place, Puddy was happy to relax in his normal spot on the bed.

DIY Upholstered Headboard - After Nailhead Trim added - full guest room

I think the nailhead trim adds some interest to the plain headboard.  What do you think?  Anyone else use nailhead trim to update a piece of furniture?

Christmas and New Year’s

We celebrate Christmas with my family on the Sunday after Christmas, so this year it was the day before New Year’s Eve, which meant celebrating just continued from one holiday right into the next holiday.  Bob and I made it a nice extra long weekend to allow time for us to really enjoy our time with family and friends.  My family started the Christmas celebration with a wonderful meal.  Bob was able to capture a picture of all of us at the table.

Christmas - Family Table

Mom added a bit of Christmas decoration to her kitchen by hanging a small wreath, which I think is actually a candle ring, above the stove. 

Christmas - Wreath on tiled backsplash

I think she really wanted her wreath featured on the blog, because she made sure to point it out.  I guess after I posted her leaves in the crock, she realized she is at risk for me taking pictures and posting, so this time she chose what she wanted me to share. 🙂  I am gladly sharing, because I like how it looked.  And, it shows off the backsplash tile that Kristel and I installed for Mom last year. 

After our delicious meal, we all shared in some gift giving.  We added some fun to it, and made whoever was the first to find a present with their name on it, then got to find a present for the next person.  We did that until we all had a present in hand.

Christmas - Family with first present

Then, it was the big decision of who got to open first!!  The kids were very anxious, but everyone was patient and shared in the fun and spirit of the season of giving.

Christmas - Cake Pops

There were also some treats to enjoy throughout the day.  Aniyah had gotten a cake pop maker for Christmas, so we got to sample her delicious and adorable creations.  The kids then had some fun playing one of the new games, Hedbandz.

Christmas - nieces and nephews playing hedbandz

They all look so cute with their hedbandz on…and they are no dummies, they tried to cheat and ask to see the picture I took of them so that they would know what they were.  Each kid didn’t know what was on their head and had to ask questions to narrow down what they might be until they could guess what they were.  It was quite entertaining. 

Christmas with my family was a wonderful day!

The next day was New Year’s Eve.  I ventured out to Target to do some shopping…I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket!  I lucked out and all the Christmas decor was 70% off.  I was looking at the Christmas decor for two reasons – one to see if there would be anything I could use in my house for next year, and two for anything I could use for New Year’s decorations.  I’ve never actually decorated for New Year’s before, but we were having neighbors/friends to our house that evening.  I didn’t want to take all my Christmas decorations down, but I did want to add some New Year’s decor.  The evening was to be a progressive evening, so everyone was coming to our house for cocktails and appetizers before moving on to the next house for dinner.  So, I added a few touches of New Year’s to the basement bar and dining area.

New Years - Basement Bar buffet

I set up the bar with part of the appetizer buffet, more food was brought by our guests.  I took the pictures early, so I didn’t forget once everyone arrived.

New Years - Basement Bar Vignette

For the bar decorations, I used glass containers that I had.  I bought some silver and gold bead garland and the tinsel at Target.  I used gold ornaments that I had and put them in the one glass with the beads.  The other glass just has the tinsel layered in it.  And, the apothecary jar in the back has silver and gold painted pine cones that I had, and was using in my Christmas decor.  I found the New Year’s printable on Pinterest (although I can’t seem to find my original pin of it now).  I just printed it on plain paper and slipped it in a frame I had – it’s actually a frame that normally has our wedding picture in it, but it matched the colors so I borrowed it for the evening.

New Years - Tablescape - mercury glass candles tinsel ornaments

This was the table in the basement. We didn’t actually ever sit at it, but it provided nice ambiance.  I had the mercury glass candle holders – they are from Target too, I just bought them before Christmas. 

New Years - Centerpiece - candles tinsel ornaments mercury glass

For the centerpiece, I used a rectangular white serving dish.  It was in the Christmas clearance at Target, so I got it cheap, and I know I will use it over and over.  The center candle holder was another one of my Target purchases that day.  I had the two little candleholders; they are normally on the shelves in the basement.  I just added the tinsel and some silver and gold ornaments and called it done.  I’m glad I decorated, because both of the other houses we went to that evening had very festive New Year’s decorations.  Here is all of us enjoying our cocktails and appetizers – Bob was the photographer again, so he’s the only one missing from the picture.

New Years - Friends celebrating at basement bar

A good time was had by all!  Happy New Year!!