Thursday, December 8, 2011

A place for everything, everything in it's place

I'm such a firm believer in the title of this post.  I love knowing exactly where everything is.  I love knowing that there's a designated spot for all of our stuff.

Take our closet for example, shirts are all color-coded.  Including all of Mr. Pal's t-shirts.  I know it's a bit messy, but I need to purchase another one of those hanging organizer things.  Even with the mess, on weekends when we're ready to go out, if Mr. Pal is looking for a specific shirt, he knows what "color cube" to look in.

That being said, our desk and craft supplies were really, really irking me.  I had desk supplies in a three drawer cabinet but there was no rhyme or reason to any of it. Plus, the cabinet was in the closet of the spare bedroom, which is no longer were the computer is.

All my craft stuff was spread out between three different bins.  I tried to keep some sort of peace with my craft supplies by keeping paints together and ribbons together, but it just annoyed me that if I was working on a project I had to stop and get another bin if I needed a ribbon or a ruler.

Plus, I was constantly forgetting where my glue gun was.  This resulted in me being the proud owner of two glue guns. (just in case I get really crazy crafty I can go double-fisted with my glue!)

So, after moving the new improved desk to our bedroom, I figured now was as good a time as any to get all the desk & craft supplies organized.

I started by dumping everything out to see what I have.  Let me tell you, we will never have a shortage of paper clips in the Pal household.  Seriously, why do we have to many. And honestly, there are times like I feel I can never find a paper clip. (i'm beginning to see a trend here: multiple glue guns, multiple paper clips, ugh! before your know we'll have multiple bunnies. kidding.  maybe)

Since I really didn't want to part with anything (hoarder maybe??) I decided I would just keep the like stuff together.  In the top drawer I have all our desk supplies.  This includes the many paper clips, rubber bands, index cards, rulers, razor (in case the scissors don't work?), etc.  I made sure there was a spot for everything so there wouldn't be a mish mosh of supplies every time we open and close the drawer.  I like it.  It's not as convenient to get some of the supplies as I would like, but hey, it never killed anyone to move one item to get to another item.

The second drawer became my craft drawer.  I was able to fit all my paint, my brushes, my ink pads, even my fancy scissors in this drawer! I'm thinking of adding a dab of paint to the top of the paint jars so I know which color is which.  I have tons of time so I'm sure I'll be able to get it done.  Maybe this week. Maybe keep your eyes peeled for an update.  Maybe.  But don't hold your breath, I don't want to feel pressured.

The third drawer is for all my leftover fabrics and ribbons.  It also stores my graphing paper and the two glue guns.

With the drawers all filled up, I just moved the dresser next to the desk and added the drawers.  Now all our supplies are next to our desk.

Oh and see that basket on top?  That's my holding area for projects that I'm working on at the moment.  I love that I have space for that.  Usually my "in-progress projects" were just left out on the dining room table or something.

Now they're tucked away in a basket and I can eat dinner without an unfinished project staring me in the face!  :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Under the sink disaster

When Mr. Pal & I first looked at our townhome I was so excited to see the large counter and cabinet area in the main bathroom.  I always felt that I never had enough space for our stuff and the large cabinet made me so happy. I couldn't wait to have room for all our stuff.

When we moved in, being that I had more important things to do, like point out where the couch goes, I just crammed all our toiletry stuff under the sink and called it a day.

I tried a few times to organize it, but in the end, it always went back to being a disaster.  The areas I tried to organize were now just little bins of messes.

Yikes!! What is all that stuff? Do we even need it all? It gave me a headache every morning when I grabbed my make-up bag and then would knock over all the bottles around it.  Plus, we never had room for toilet paper, so I would just toss the rolls in the cabinet and slam the door shut.  I like to think I'm organized, but when I'm not happy with something, I tend to make the problem bigger.

So, I figured it was time to face the music cabinet and get organized.  I started by pulling out all our stuff and organizing it into keep and toss piles.  Umm, why am I keeping an giant empty bottle of body lotion?

Here are my two piles.  I'm embarrassed to say that many of the lotion bottles were epmty. I don't know why I didn't toss them when I bought a new bottle.  I feel like a hoarder! So all that stuff in the top picture got tossed.  The pile of stuff in the bottom picture I kept.  I was hoping the toss pile would be bigger, but no such luck!

It looks like we take a lot of baths at that Pal house, but we really don't.  I think I've taken 3 in the two and half years that we've lived here.  I think I'll make it a point to take more since we have a ton of bubble bath stuff.

Once I knew what I was keeping it was time to get the cabinet filled and organized.  I decided to ditch the make-up bag and use a mini-three drawer container to house all my stuff.

That also gave me a designated shelf to place all the stuff I use every day within reach.  Behind that I put all the bubble bath stuff (since now I'm so gonna be a bath girl! haha) in a clear bag.  Now it's all contained in one package.

On the other side I put all our first-aid type stuff in a caddy and then lined up a box next to it for all of Mr. Pal's stuff he uses everyday.  I tried to keep all the remaining items contained in order for nothing to be knocked over and make a mess.

I'm happy with how it turned out.

Now, I just hope it stays this way! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Desk love

So we had this desk that we got as a hand-me-down from my parents.  It's just a simple desk with a slide out drawer for your keyboard and a little drawer. It looked like this, just ask a desk.  We got the little printer table with it too.

It was good to us for about 3 years and then something changed.  Jealousy.  I was looking at everyone nice desks in blog-land and was not digging our hand-me-down anymore.  What to do?!

Did someone say paint it?? That's correct! I decided to paint it.  I've read enough "how-to" blogs to believe I knew how to sand and paint a desk. I was ready! I got my sanding sponges, I laid down some tarps, I changed into sweats and an old t-shirt and started sanding away!  I sanded.  And sanded. And sanded some more.  Then I noticed all my efforts weren't doing anything. The desk wasn't real wood. Ugh! So I did what we Pal's do here when we have a home reno project question: call my dad!!

Growing up my dad pretty much gutted our house and rebuilt the inside of it.  He expanded rooms, created closets, insulated walls, built stairs, painted, pretty much, you name, he did it. And now that he's retired he does some handyman work.  It's great to have someone to go to whenever we have questions about house stuff.

My dad suggested priming the desk and then painting it.  So, Mr. Pal went to our local hardware store and picked up a can of primer.  I crossed my fingers and got to painting.  It worked! The paint stuck to the primer! I was so happy I got to refinish a desk just like all the other bloggers to.

Originally, my plan was to have the desk white and then paint blue circles interloping on the top.  It would have looked really cool, but also would have been pretty time consuming.  Also, I'm not that great yet with painting straight lines, so I knew my circles would be a bit wonky, and not really circles.   So, the desk sat, plain white for a week, a month, then a few months, until finally Mr. Pal asked when I was going to finish the desk.  Ok, I can take a hint!  And, now with all my free time I can get it done!

So I went into the garage and stared at the desk.  Circles were out, but I wanted some kind of design on the top.  Hmmmm, I got it! I'll do a Chevron-type pattern! It's easy and I can use painters tape to keep my lines straight! Oh happy day!  So I just measured out my lines, taped it off and painted alternating colors of zig-zags.  I chose blue & green since those are the colors of the master bedroom, which is where the desk is going.

Once the lines were completed I added a pull to the little drawer on the desk to class it up a bit and Mr. Pal & I lugged it up stairs.  Here she is in her little nook!

I love it! I know it's not perfect, but I'm proud to say I did it.  Here's a close up of the lines.

Here's the new pull I added.  It's just an acrylic pull found at any hardware store.

 Now all I need is a lamp.  Since the desk is in an alcove not much light hits it, so I'm on the hunt for a lamp I can refinish.  Yeah, I got bit by the refinishing bug! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just hear those sleigh bells ring-aling!!!!

It's that time! Have you been good? Or did you decide to save Santa a trip and be naughty this year?

I decided to decorate slowly this year and really think of the decor for Christmas instead of throwing all the decorations up hastily in an effort to get it done and still have some time to myself.  So, to me I'm enjoying the decor just a little bit more!  Also, this year Mr. Pal and I agreed that we wanted a theme.  I love when we're on the same page! Usually we just use all the decorations we have, which we've accumulated on our own and also as hand-me-downs.

Although we agreed that we should do a theme, we never discussed what it should be. So, as I opened all our decorations, I started to pull out the "nice" stuff, instead of the kitchy, cutesy stuff.  I started just putting stuff up on the mantle and the entry table to see how I liked it.

Pretty soon, I had my theme: red & white! I was so excited that I pulled whatever I could that had red or white on it in our Christmas boxes. That wasn't that hard, since red & white are Christmas colors. I had such a great time decorating and really thinking about how I wanted the mantle to look and making the house festive, but sophisticated, but still comfortable to live in. So, without further ado, I bring you "Christmas with the Pal's!"  Here's my mantle with the stockings hung with care!

Oh, look how decided to stay for Christmas! That's right, our Thankful tree who made it's first appearance at Thanksgiving!  I love when I can carry a decor item through to the next season.  For Christmas, I just added some snowflakes to it's branches.  I got the snowflakes for a buck at the dollar store.  I love the dollar store!

Here's my lantern that was birthday present from Mr. Pal that he got at Pottery Barn. :)  I just added some red & silver Christmas balls to continue with my theme.  I'll let you in on a secret.  I didn't have enough of the red & silver balls to make it look full, so I just lined the bottom of the lantern with wine corks to add some height.  Just don't tell anyone! haha Actually from this angle, you can just make out the wine corks on the bottom!

Here's the entryway table.  I usually try to keep this not too cluttered. Mr. Pal & I have a habit of tossing our keys on top of the table sometimes, along with our phones and receipts, and all that good stuff.

Do you see another Thanksgiving leftover?  That's right, The red charger holding the pine cones.  The chargers fit perfectly with my red & white theme this year.  And, I got to use another one on the dining room table.  I also have my "Cookies for Santa" plate out.  Ok, so one cutesy thing got to stay this year. But I gotta bribe Santa somehow and I heard cookies do the trick!

Here are some other around the house Christmas decor pictures. Just simple and festive.  I know there's a few more colors than just red & white, but somethings are too nice to not display!

I think what really tickled me pink (get it, red & white make pink! haha) was that after decorating, I had to go food shopping and saw all the magazines are showing that red & white is big this year for the holidays! Finally a decor trend I'm following!  I'm off to make my list for Santa! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving fun

So this was the first year Mr. Pal and I got to host Thanksgiving! We were so excited to host and couldn't wait for the big day.  First off, let me just explain that we live in a townhouse, it's not small, but it's not large either, so having to fit 14 people at dinner was a bit daunting.  But, on the bright side, 4 of those people were under the age of 14, so they don't really take up that much room! haha

The tables, we had three of them, fit perfectly in our dining room.  There was room for everyone and plenty of space for all the food! I should mention that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I love that you get together with family and eat all day long, and the main dish is turkey! I love turkey!

So, back to the tables.  While shopping for Thanksgiving goodies one weekend, Mr. Pal and I came across these red chargers that you can put plates on.  We figured it would add a nice touch since our china is round and it may look fancy.  Well, I am happy to say that they were a hit! Mr. Pal's step-mom complimented them that they made the table to elegant! Between you and me, all that elegance was only $1.50 each! Nice, right?!

As I said, we had 14 people for dinner.  That many people all clamoring at once for the turkey can cause a bit of chaos.  So, I decided to make my a bridezilla and have assigned seating.  Instead of being "that person" who stands at the head of the table and dictates while pointing where you should sit, I decided to make little place cards.  I made an assortment of acorns, pumpkins, turkeys, pilgrim hats and pilgrims all cut out from card stock.  Here's how it looked!  I rolled the silverware into the napkin, tied it with some raffia I had lying around (doesn't everyone have this in their house?) and then added the place card.  Done!  Everyone knew where to sit and I didn't have to yell out, "No, no get up! You sit there!"

And yes, there was a menu! Ok, so maybe I went a bit overboard, but I loved the menu idea!

Of course, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a Thankful Tree.  Yep, we had one of those.  I cut out different leaf shapes from cardstock in fall colors, then added string for everyone to hang on our "tree."

I need to say "tree" very loosely.  Yeah, it's just a branch.  Go ahead ask me how long it too me to find it.  Simple, I sent Mr. Pal out into the woods behind our house the morning of Thanksgiving.  You know its love when your husband has no problem searching for tree branches while you're both trying to cook a turkey for 14 people!

I put the Thankful tree on the entry table and placed a pen and explanation so everyone can fill out a leaf.  It went well, the kids all filled out a leaf and some of the adults did too!  Mr. Pal and I had fun at the end of the night reading all the leaves.

All in all, Thanksgiving was a success.  How was the turkey you ask? Well, hold onto your buttons, it was soooooooo good!  Mr. Pal and I brined it beforehand and it really did make a huge difference. I can no longer offer you a piece because it's gone, but here's what it looked like fresh out of the oven.  YUM!  I drool a little when I look at this picture.

  Well,  now it's time to get ready for Christmas!  And no, this time we're not hosting.  We need a break!