DIY Glam Bookends

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I have always been a fan of all thing “quirky”. When I was younger I tried to incorporate quirky things into our home decor by failed and instead our vibe screamed “funky”. It’s a hard element to blend into the rest of the house. And as time has gone on, we’ve realized we are more “quirky-chic” than “quirky-funky”. And there is nothing wrong with a little funk, but its not us. Hubby is more subdued (hence the cooler colors and softer materials we use) and I’m not afraid of much (like that awesome Ikea fabric I brought home on a whim). I discovered Jonathan Alder a few years ago and realized he seemed to marry our styles pretty fluidly.

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What’s not to love? It’s quirky and fun without being silly. But its neutral and classy without being too stuffy. His entire collection is genius! The catch: $150 bookends aren’t in my budget.

So I got to thinking about how to incorporate something like this into our bookshelves. Coincidentally, my sister had a pair of bridesmaid shoes she just didn’t know what to do with. And these are some amazing shoes… she just truly didn’t know where she’d every wear them again. Check these bad boys out!

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I knew these were the twist of fun inspiration I had been looking for. So I gathered some old yard sale books that I had purchased because I liked the shapes and sizes. I seriously never even noticed the titles.

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I took the dust jackets off of the books to reveal some cool linen like textures that I remember of library books from elementary school.

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You can see some of the shapes, sizes and textures in the photo below.

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All I had to do was play with the arrangements of books and shoes. I made sure the binding of the books and the heels of the shoes worked so that as bookends they could face away from each other with the heels toward the books and binding facing out. I used super glue but hot glue or E6000 glue would do the trick.

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So above is the left shoe, that will be on the left of the books with the book binding facing out.

Below is the right shoe, facing so the heel can hold up books when it sits to the right of the books.

Does that make sense? Typing it out just isn’t the same as saying it. Ya know?

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Then I coated them with gold spray paint. I knew that these would be against the half wall in our family room near the gallery wall. This room and the gallery wall are heavy on white, black and silver. I thought gold might pop and glam it up a little. I also want to work a little bit of navy into the family room pallet eventually and gold would look killer with navy. Here is the finished product:

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As far as spray painting shoes goes… it is pretty labor intensive. I also was careful no to over spray because the fabric of the shoe was soaking up some of the paint quickly in spots. The shape of the shoe itself was the challenge. Lots of nooks and crannies, inside and outside of the shoe and under and around the heel. I spent a bout a half hour on spray painting so all in all it wasn’t too bad.

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What do you think? I love how these turned out! Any quirky objects could work… a pair of mismatched clocks, piggy banks, mason jars, action figures or plastic dinosaurs for kids’ rooms. The possibilities really are endless!

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Instead Of A Pony

Last week I wrote about organizing the hall closet. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it. It’s funny how that became an infectious runaway train of organizing. In a fit of rage against all the toys organizational inspiration I took on the play area. You may recall that the toys have been organized before but its been quite a while since I’ve had time to tame the madness. Honestly, O is pretty good about cleaning up but without proper toy storage we found ourselves with mountains of toys, many of them no longer age appropriate for our now toddler.

I packed up most of the baby toys but kept a few basics for when friends with smaller kids come over. I was able to fill a good sized plastic storage tub and stash it under the stairs. And in typing this I’ve just realized that we will eventually run out of stair storage space. Panic!

Enter the Closet Maid cubical shelf (Target and probably plenty of other similar places). With O’s birthday less than 2 weeks after Christmas we put in a request to grandparents for a “need” since all of O’s “wants” -and then some- were covered by gifts given at Christmas. We requested that O get some storage in the form of the cubical and the fabric baskets. I snagged everything on sale (yay for post holiday organization sales!) and was reimbursed rather than having them choose a shelf with bins and delivering it… so much easier. And yes, I realize I will never get to request a “need” for O’s birthday again. I’m sure next year she’ll just want a pony or something instead.

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And I put it together while hubby watched football and leant an occasional hand to stabilize while I drilled (I don’t do those things with screwdrivers… it will take 5 years).

Ta-da! In less than 20 minutes we had an assembled cubby shelf.

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I stashed all of the Mega Blocks, Little People and smaller things in the fabric bins and then displayed larger toys on top and in the empty cubbies. I chose fabric bin colors based on the bright rug and I figured they could easily be interchanged or replaced if we opted move the unit to another room. You may notice that this is the horizontal use of the same shelving unit that serves as a bookshelf in O’s room.

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So there you have it. Less mess and a happier play room. And a way happier mom. Isn’t organization bliss?

P.S. I think it was a very happy accident that I can’t find a “before” image that I swear I took. Oh the horror!

Company

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We are very fortunate to have most of both sides of our families in state… actually most of them are all here in Cincinnati! But that means that the opportunity for overnight guests is rare. Really rare. So rare that we made our smallest bedroom into our guest room. We moved in when I was 7 months pregnant with O. In the moment, our logic was that we’d be in O’s room a ton, use a lot of floor space in her room (since kids usually play in the floor for 4+ years) and that guests were few and far between. That’s how the nursery landed in the larger room and the guest room got the short end of the stick. And since we moved in when I was in prime exhaustion mode of pregnancy (besides random spurts of nesting) the guest room housed a wall of  unopened boxes of diapers I had pre-purchased while pregnant with an amazing system of coupons, points and Target gift card offers. Like we didn’t buy diapers until O was 9 months. THAT many diapers.

But when O was just a few weeks old we got a call from our friend Molly. She was excited to tell us that she had a few job interviews lined up in the area and hoped to come see O. She also needed a place to crash. Cool. We had a place. But thats about it… I was embarrassed but I had to tell her our guest room was nonexistent but that she was more than welcome to stay if she was cool with the couch or an air mattress. Molly arrived the next week with her air mattress and belongings. She also arrived to a brand new baby, a new mommy with food poisoning and an overwhelmed new dad. Molly jumped in and picked up where we left off so I could get better and Hubby could reclaim his sanity. It was like heaven sent her or something. The next day she had a really good interview… so good that she was hired on the spot. She started the very next day. New predicament: Molly was moving back to Cincy. Like now.

Lightbulb: She could live here until she finds a place. A month or two? We could do that for a friend. And it was the job of her dreams… she could rough it on a mattress until she found an apartment. We offered Molly the teeny tiny diaper storage room. Sure, it was “snug” and currently royal blue but she could have it if she wanted. We agreed on a friendly “rent” rate and before we knew it we had a roomie. Okay, you’re probably wondering if that was nuts. We just moved in and had a kid – our world was upside down… why on Earth would we put ourselves in this position to have another body under this roof? Were we out of our minds? Let me tell you something, where I come from you take care of each other. We had the means to help Molly stay so she could start the job of her dreams (no exaggeration) so why wouldn’t we try to help make that possible? So that’s what we did. But a funny thing happened. While we thought we were taking care of someone, she ended up taking care of us. Her “rent” gave us wiggle room in our budget while we got used to the unpredictable financials of caring for a baby (formula rivaled our car payment). Her presence allowed me to enjoy a full length shower without hurrying back to my child. She often babysat free of charge so we could enjoy a date night or even just an evening of grocery shopping together without hurrying home. Sometimes Molly was my shopping partner. This is a huge perk when you have been nowhere but your home or the doctor’s office for more than a month. I often came home to an empty dishwasher or a freshly vacuumed family room. It was working out so well that she stayed for more like 9 months. We were sad to see her go but she only moved 5 miles away and is still our go-to sitter.

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When Molly moved out, that teeny blue room was still teeny and very blue. And because it is the spare room it was neglected for quite some time. Eventually I mustered the motivation to prime that royal blue twice and then paint it Behr Zen green twice. That’s four coats of paint, people. Four. The photo above was taken as I was painting on the first coat of professional grade stain blocking primer. It sat painted with a desk and book shelf in it for months. When Hubby and I sold our souls bought a new mattress earlier this year and we squeezed our old one into the guest room. The room has slowly accumulated furniture like the curbside special sofa table. I hung mirrors and stocked the book shelf as time went by.

We have our first real guests arriving next week. This prompted me to finally hang curtains. While I was frantically drilling I realized that the not-so-blue-anymore guest room needed a full reveal of its own. Ta-da! Here’s what I squeezed into a 10’x8′ room.

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I used my duvet set from my single days (that I love but Hubby doesn’t) to dress the bed. It was a complete cooincidence that it matched the walls so well. Then I hung tan Vivan curtains from Ikea over the window. The mirror to the right of the window was once a stand up mirror but there isn’t any floor space I was willing to use on it so I bolted it to the wall a few months ago. I hung it directly across from the door… I often use it when standing in the doorway or hall.  I hadn’t thought anything of it until it was time to hang curtains. I was not negotiating its location. But I ended up hanging the rod off center and using the curtains over blank wall space as well as the window to give the illusion of having a bigger window.

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Here you can see that the sofa table is a desk, dressing table/vanity and a tv stand. In a small room, we needed multi-fuctional pieces. Unfinished canvases are stored here… I might have to hang something or finish one before our guests arrive. One of the thrifted lamps also resides on the sofa table.

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Another garage sale mirror hangs above the bookshelf. I wanted it to reflect even more light and I like that it mimics having another window in the room. My favorite books are in here as well as some work-in-progress photo collections. This is also where many of our gifts from our Japanese business associates belong. Many are fragile or just plain gorgeous so they are in here far, far away from babies and dogs.

The wooden bins on the bookshelf have a few things our guests might need. One has towels. Another has washcloths. My favorite use for them: I’ve stashed sample size soaps, lotions, fresh toothbrushes, razors and more in case a guests were to forget something (or lose their luggage as I have before).

20130923-145208.jpgMy pride and joy is that head board. With no space and a modest budget, I had limited options. So I Pinterested around and discovered that painting a headboard design directly onto the wall is a thing. Once again, I used my friend B’s rejected sample paint pints. I chose the same color I used on the sofa table and made rounded edge headboard. Now it feels like a real bed… rather than our spare room with our old mattress.

How do you like it? Anyone else paint a headboard onto the wall? I haven’t seen any others in person.

2 Things for Myself Friday Night

I had been looking forward to Friday night all week. I had grand plans with my good friend Greta. We were going to an art show (hello, my FAVE kind of thing to attend) and hopefully hanging out afterward. It was exactly what the doctor ordered: grown up time with a good friend, high heels, great conversation, art and likely a glass of wine. But my Friday at work proved to be a little draining and to add to my physical exhaustion, I become emotionally exhausted after learning that a dear friend of my family passed away that afternoon. Heartbroken, I sent Greta a text explaining that I just wasn’t up for going out. She explained that she had a headache… we decided to drop our plans. But then she asked me to make her a promise. No problem. Anything for her. But then she made me promise to do two things for myself that evening instead. I think she knew this was going to be a challenge for me.

I accepted and challenged her to do the same. I knew my first order of business: a manicure. When was the last time I painted my nails? I’d like to introduce you to my favorite nail polish. Sally Hansen INSTA-DRI! Oh boy, its affordable and comes in both classic and trendy colors. Those aren’t even why I love it as much as I do. It dries in record time AND it has a flat brush with a curved tip to make painting in one stroke a breeze. I also find it extremely helpful in painting my own nails. I often dread painting my right hand, as my left is undependable. I no longer have a right hand manicure that looks like a two year old did it for me. And one coat is all it takes. By far my favorite nail product  right now.

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{I chose Silky Slate- a deep taupe with a sweet hint of purple}

It was hard to come up with the second thing to do for myself. I wrestled with vacuuming, mopping floors and organizing some of O’s toys. All are things that are on my mile long to do list and would make me feel good (an organized home is bliss but mine is only partially there) but I was certain Greta would not accept this as “for myself”. Then it hit me: my nightstand. If you can call it that. Its a balancing act on top of Rubbermade containers. I fight with it every night looking for my phone charger, tissues and trying to keep the baby monitor from toppling onto the floor. And I trip all over it in the morning looking for my watch and rings as I fly out the door. It was an impromptu fix when hubby and I moved in…We knew we were going to purchase a new mattress (hallelujah- it arrives next week if it wasn’t held up by the blizzard) so we didn’t want to decide on a bed set until we knew if we were buying a king or queen. As much as we want a king, we felt it will make or room unbearably small. Anyway, thats why I have a plastic container for a night stand. Sad but true. So organizing this would be for me. It will make my life easier and our room a little more put together. Below is the “before”:

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The plan was to convert this old end table from Hubby’s bachelor days into my night stand. It was out of place in the dining room and was quickly becoming a collect all from the peninsula overflow (which I also organized this weekend because I just can’t take it anymore). Another embarrassing shot:

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It took a surprising amount of time to clear off the old nightstand. I sorted things for trash, needs, things that belong elsewhere, etc. Here is what I found:

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Some of the strange finds include: 5 paint chips for master bedroom, a plethora of pens, 2 sets of headphones, a spoon (really.), a long lost Swarovski ring (woo… glad that turned up), the Fifty Shades trilogy, “Bared to You” trashy read (and highly recommended), unknown chargers, a dangerous amount or extension cords and power strips, a sound machine, tons of lotion, a glasses case and iphone 5 package and instructions (who reads those anyway?).

Oh, and I though the container was empty. Apparently I haven’t missed any of these shoes. How random.

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And here is what I came up with. Once we decide on a color scheme I plan on painting it but it will do for now. I put a parfait on the top to coral my jewelry and hair things. I minimized all those cords to one power strip hidden behind the nightstand to charge my phone, computer (I guess I need an office?) and the monitor. The middle shelf is home to my winter hand lotion essentials and tissues. The bottom shelf stashes the baby monitor so now the little power and volume lights won’t be nearly as bothersome all night. It also is home to my spare glasses and both my current and regular reads: Bared to You, What to Expect The First Year, Baby 411 and Real Simple Magazines.

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The side by side before and after:

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What do you need to do for yourself? What have you been organizing to make life a little easier?