Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer front porch

One of my favorite things about my house is my front porch.  Its the perfect spot for sunsets, to watch my kids play, and to just relax.  Here are a few things I did to make it a little more inviting and ready for summer.  

I added a cute wreath my mom made during one of her visits and some vinyl to the door.  I also found a new welcome mat for $5 at Ross.  
 I updated my seasonal ladder.  Nothing says summer like watermelon and we have a huge field of watermelon right next to us this year so its perfect!.
 My dad build this awesome planter while he was here (plans from here.)  We also brought our bench from our entry way outside. 
We also added some potted plants and a hanging basket.  Some quick and inexpensive changes made a huge difference.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

spice rack makeover

About 10 years ago we were given a really cute spice rack. I loved it but quickly realized I never use most of the spices it came with.  Over the years the cute little jars became really sad looking.  The names started to come off, the glass was covered in residue, and the actually spices were looking more brown then green.  However it continues to sit on my counter and my shelves became cluttered and overflowing with spice bottles.  I was about to toss the whole thing and figure out a way to organize my cupboards but decided to give it one more chance.  Here's what the bottles looked like before (however I had already emptied all of them and ran them through the dishwasher so it doesn't look nearly as bad).  
 Here's the after.  New spices, cute label, clean jar, and polished top.

 I still have some empty ones.  I am just waiting to see what spices I actually use.
 My cupboards now contain this little basket of spices that I can easily reach.  It holds a few I rarely use and I'm waiting to see if its worth putting them in a jar.  I also have a similar basket on a top shelf that is a little wider that holds the extra containers of the spices that are being used in the jars.  I can now quickly refill when I need to but they are completely out of the way and organized.  Instead of using two shelves  to hold all of my spices and never knowing what I have, they now fit in a tiny little corner and are easy find.  It makes cooking a whole lot easier.

 Here are some really cute labels I found while searching for some to add to my jars.  Sadly they were all too big.  I ended up using this set below but cutting around just the words.  I really like the font and the chalkboard look.
 found here
found here
from Lia Griffith

Monday, May 4, 2015

Toy closet makeover

The after, everything has a spot and a label.  Its so nice to open the door. 
The Before

 yes its not so pretty.  When we moved into our house we had an entire room that we used for toys so this closet was used to store games and extra junk.  When we added a new baby to our family we needed the room for her.  The closest was the best solution for toys.  Over the last year the toys were stuffed in along with the games it was always a mess and impossible to find anything.  About a month ago I got serious and organized it.  The best part is it still looks like the after pictures a month later!  A shock in our house.

Here are some of the details. 
First I divided the toys into as many categories as I could.  Don't go too detailed.  Most of the toys fit into shoe storage boxes from Qalmart.  They are only a dollar and actually hold quite a bit.  I love that they are clear and stack well. 

For some of the bulkier items (dress up shoes, lego duplo set, and play food)  I had some bigger containers on hand.  The middle tub holds kids puzzles, and the top shelf is used for kid game storage.  (I'll do another post on how I condensed and store them.)  All of the adult games were moved to another closet.
For the bottom half of the closet I added a 3 drawer container.  It is used for larger toys (again grouped together)  The top holds dolls (the clothes and accessories are in one of the smaller containers above).  The bottom two have dress up clothes.  It has been so much easier having these in drawers instead of a box like we use to have.
 The key was to label each box for easy clean up.  There are lots of cute, free labels online but none of them fit our boxes exactly.  To save ink I typed up each label and printed on white paper.  I then cut and glued to some cute scrapbook paper and then taped them to the container.  They are not fancy but they are cute and are easy to switch out if we ever need to.

 I wish this held all of our toys but it doesn't.  Some of the larger, bulky toys have a spot in my older girls' closet (like swords, balls, little people houses), the barbie house and big baby/toddler toys also have a spot in their room where they are played with regularly. 
 Clean up with all of their toys has been so much easier.  My kids are more likely to pull out one box at a time and can easily clean up their own mess.  Organizing and cleaning doesn't come natural to me but seeing how well this closet works for us has inspired me to "fix" the rest of our house to work for us.  I'll be sharing more of these "fixes" as I go. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Front Porch Design: 6 Ways to Jazz Up Your Entry

I have a fun guest post for you today by Jane Blanchard from Modernize.  She is sharing some great tips to spruce up your front porch.  And when you have a minute stop by their site its full of beautiful photos and articles that will inspire your home decorating projects.  

Front Porch Design: 6 Ways to Jazz Up Your Entry

Are you tired of the entryway to your house? Want to jazz it up to make it more welcoming for your guests?  Here are our 6 favorite ways to transform your porch.

Invest in a functional, but fun seating arrangement

People like to linger when they either arrive or exit a home. Often times, small talk and conversations occur on the porch; your guests may look for a place to sit comfortably to chat. Try to arrange your seating so that it faces in different directions – one toward the house, the other facing the yard and two seats opposite of one another. Make certain that your seats are comfortable and weatherproof. You can also purchase new pieces, like a wicker chair , patio chairs or hammock, to make your space welcoming and functional. Try to hit sales in January for better deals on outdoor furniture.

Add a table

People like to sip their coffee or read a book on the front porch. Why not create an inviting space to relax? A table can set the tone of your entryway, depending on your intended use. If you want to entertain guests , you may consider buying a sturdier, more durable table, while for day to day use, a simpler option will work. Add a lamp or decorative accessories to give it further emphasis.

Try easy fixes

Want to do something with your porch, but don’t want to spend too much money? Add new throw pillows to your couch or accessorize the front with some plants. You can even buy new accent pieces, like a vase or trunk storage, to give your porch a lift. It doesn’t have to be expensive to make an impression.


Repaint your porch

Painting an old space with a different color offers an immediate facelift to any space. Determine the color scheme that will work with your overall exterior and then complement your porch with the right paint. Within a few days, you will have a new and fresh entry to enjoy.

Via Modernize

Spruce up your curb appeal

The outside landscaping of your property will influence how your porch appears to visitors. Keep shrubs, flowers and trees trimmed. Make certain your lawn is mowed and the pathway to your entryway is clear. Also, if your mailbox is in the front of your house, update with paint . You can also retouch the numbers outside of your home so they look fresh. 

Experiment with colors and textures

To keep your porch from looking too boring, combine different colors, textures and patterns. Mismatched chairs with wicker accents can appear complementary if you add pillows that will bring out the colors of both. Adding wicker, different types of fabric to your chairs and even an accent rug creates a presentation that offers a fun variety.

Sprucing up your porch is a great investment for you, as well as your guests. You can opt for a simple fix or be more elaborate, but whatever you decide your porch will definitely be more inviting and get more use.

For more design ideas and inspiration, head to

Thank you Jane!  I can't wait to try some of these ideas on my front porch.