THE GRAND REVEAL!

Makeover Monday 
It is FINISHED!
Well, kinda


This is where it started.

and

this is where it ended.


Let's just take a moment and soak it all in.

I'll even put them together for you so you can experience the full effect!

Isn't it beautiful?

Don't get me wrong. The room still has issues.
1. There is still no overhead lighting.
2. The girls' computer chairs match nothing
3. No place for guests to sleep.

But, for right now.
I love it!
It makes me smile every time I walk by.

Here's an "around the room" series of
Before and Afters.





 Feel free to "Oooh" and "Aahhh".

Thank you for your support through this journey.

Honestly, it would not have been finished if I hadn't known someone was watching.





The Magic of a New Coat of Paint Part 2

Makeover Monday

        First, I must apologize for missing last week's Makeover Monday. It was the first day of school for me and my girls. That took every ounce of energy I could manage. Anyway, I promised to show you what some paint did for this beauty. We have two of these for the girls' computers. They were both in this condition. I was going to sit them out on the curb but my friend suggested cutting off the side and giving them a few coats of spray paint.

She's pretty brilliant.


This is now the perfect size for the computer without allowing much room for clutter. 

            The same friend was awesome enough to spend an entire day with me painting the Mama Elephant room.  I paid her in books and pizza. 

It was very, very, very blue. 



We started off using Kilz. Lots and lots of Kilz!





Then we got a little high off the fumes. Laughed until we cried and had to take a snack break. 

We recovered and two coats of "Antique Beige" later. 
This: 

Became this!
 Please ignore the random dog rope in the middle of the room. They were slightly fascinated by the empty space and one of them may or may not have walked around with paint on his tail for a week or so afterward. I'm not saying. 
(yes, it was him.) 

 NEXT WEEK will be the big reveal to prove the Mama Elephant has been tamed!
 Please come by to "ooh" and "aah".


The Magic of a Coat of Paint

Makeover Monday
The Magic of a Coat of Paint 
(or Why My Husband is Awesome.)


This chest 
is actually 
in this picture. 

This was the "Dress-up corner".
 I had dreams of my girls digging through the chest, 
trying on costumes 
and using the cute mirrors to admire their new looks. 
Um, yeah, that happened...oh, let me see.... NEVER. 

I've had the chest since before the girls were born. I have a matching table and stool. All that I planned to paint someday. Remember when I said I've had it since before they were born? My oldest is eleven, just so you know. 
Poor, poor, neglected chest. 
I even broke and lost the lid years ago. 
Terrible.

Enter my hero husband.

New lid and a coat of paint!
Isn't it pretty? 

It goes perfect in the new playroom 
(which we are currently trying to rename "the study" 
because heaven forbid our tweens have a "playroom".)

Next week, I'll show you the wonders a coat of paint did for the room itself 
as well as this beautiful piece of furniture. (You know you wish this lived at your house, don't lie.)


Meet Mama Elephant

Makeover Monday

As I mentioned last week, I'm not done with the Baby Elephant project. But, Mama Elephant broke loose and had to be dealt with before I could continue on either. 

So, today is the grand introduction. 
*Warning: The images below may be disturbing to some readers*
This is my children's playroom.



Um... Four years ago.
This is it now. 


Please come a little closer...


The room has no overhead light. 
So that beautiful standing lamp in the corner...
 Yes, the one with only two working bulbs, provides all the illumination needed. 


Maybe you'd like to
read a book 
or play a game 
or scale a mountain of God-knows-what the size of Everest. 


If you are musically inclined, there is a fifth grader recorder 
precariously balanced on the top shelf for your enjoyment. 


A chest of dress clothes to the left, complete with full length mirror for optimal viewing 
and a science table to the right with craft projects conveniently stored in removable bins. 


Older daughter's computer desk and art cubbies on the left. 
Lego table  and additional lamp (not plugged in, by the way) on the right. 


Art easel in the back corner. 
Lego table (yes, there is a table under there) in the foreground. 


Evidence my strict rule against eating in any room other than the kitchen/dining room and certainly not in front of the computers is being followed without question. 
*SIGH*

Let's not even talk about how it got this way 
or how long it's looked like this
 because at this point I don't remember
 and it doesn't really matter. 

The room has several issues: 
1. It has no door. There is no hiding this monstrosity of a mess. 
2. It is painted a dark blue. Yes, I picked the color and at the time it looked pretty good. Until I realized it turned a cute play room into a cave. 
3. My kids are way too old for most of what is in here.

So, say hello to Mama Elephant. I've already started working on her. I've got two weeks before school starts and want it done before I go back. 

You'll come on this journey with me, won't you? She's REALLY big and I'm kind of scared. 

My Life on a Puzzle Board

Makeover Monday


Image Credit
Have you ever played with one of these? 

Right now, I'm living in one. 
It's called My-House-Is-A-Wreck-and-I-Don't-Know-Where-To-Put-Anything.
You see, 
Mama Elephant escaped last week, before I could completely finish up with baby. 
(If you don't normally read my blog, the above sentence is probably incoherent to you. No, I'm not a zoo keeper. I have two rather large organizing projects going on. Baby Elephant and Mama.) Due to scheduling and other logistics, I had to empty out the Mama Elephant room (You'll get to actually meet her next week) before I could finish the Baby Elephant area.

Now my living room looks like this:
I can't describe how much looking at this makes me want to cry. 

You see the Baby Elephant space there in the background and my pretty new empty bookshelf on the right? 

It's empty because the floor behind the couch looks like the picture above. 
I can't get to the bookshelf to put stuff on it. 

I have to keep moving the puzzle pieces around.
Example:
 Furniture item X must be moved into room A, but that means furniture item Y is going in to room C, but room C doesn't have a space for it yet because I have to clear out that corner which requires making a decision on furniture item Z. 

And, this is why I'm sitting on the couch paralyzed with anxiety instead of diving into that pile. Which is large enough I could literally dive into it. I'm not sure the flooring is even present anymore. 

So, what do I do with all this stuff? 
Feel free to resume your regularly scheduled life now. 
I'm just going to here and breath into a bag. 




Sneak Peek

Makeover Monday

I'm actually not here. I'm at ASL Teacher Camp in Austin. But, it is Monday so I wanted to share a sneak peek of how well my baby elephant is coming along. Remember this? The place where I store all my family's priceless picture and mementos?

Well, in the process of sorting through everything else. This happened.
AVALANCHE!

So, I took the hint that it was time to start sorting. For now, I just have everything divided by person. I have big plans of making each family member an album. But, that wasn't going to happen this week. Each picture went into the appropriate box. The awards, game tickets and other souvenirs went into crates. Then, my awesome husband rewarded all my hard work with a new book case. 
 Isn't it pretty? 

Before and After 


30 minutes or...more.

Makeover Monday

I really wanted to title this post "30 minutes or less". I'm taking a momentary break from my elephant and working on some other small projects around the house. Don't worry. I'm still making progress on the biggest project. Just giving myself breathing room to avoid burn out.

Anyway, my youngest daughter is a gamer. Serious gamer. This is her game area.

I thought we could manage this in 30 minute or less because we were only focusing on that drawer right there. The massive amount of Pokemon cards, Skylanders and random Halloween pumpkin could be addressed later. Just this drawer. No problem.

Then,
we opened it.


Then, I closed it and walked away. 
THE END

Okay, I wanted to close it and walk away. But, I didn't. 
*Deep breath.*
Step one: 
Empty the drawer. 

Step Two: 
Manage this.
Actually, I made my daughter manage this because I don't know a Play station from a Nintendo. 


Step Three: 
Find a way to contain all of this without spending any extra money.

Only my daughter gets in this drawer. I wanted to use what I had on hand.
 (Plus, she refused to make a trip to the Dollar store with me.)


Ta Daaa!

A left over desk container from a desk organizer, an apple container and two shoe boxes later.
She can actually see what she owns!

And, it only took....Okay, it took over an hour.
But, it was totally worth it! 





Buried Treasure

Makeover Monday


   I've been avoiding sorting through the picture stack of my current major project because I know it's going to be an overly emotional experience. From looking at photos of high school friends who have passed  to snapshots of my children as babies, I probably need to just get a box of tissues as well as a bottle of liquor and just do it. 

 
 In my avoidance, I concentrated on the stacks of paper and stuff that were inside the desk.  I assumed most of it to be old bills in need of shredding, some pay stubs from three jobs ago, maybe a letter or two from former students. I could handle that. 


Instead, I found buried treasure: 


Polaroids and hair snips from girls' first hair cuts.
Which happen to take place at the same time, despite the year age difference. My oldest daughter was a very, very bald baby.


Letters from a sweet woman who I wish I could still call. Virginia Hawkins was the grandmother of a
boy I dated my last year in high school and first two years of college. She had an infectious laugh and a quick wit. After he and I broke up, she called me to let me know how unintelligent she thought he was being and that she still loved me. She wrote me letters after I moved to Texas. Several of them were lost in this sea of paper. This birthday card and one that I couldn't get out for the picture or I'd cry again. A folded piece of stationary thanking me for the invitation to my wedding and telling me how happy she was I'd found someone to share my life with. She passed away in 2002. Her grandson that I dated died in 2008.

This picture of my great-grandmother was stashed between an electric bill from 2007 and a lease agreement from the second year I was married.





Last, I found a gallon sized Ziploc bag stuffed with old Christmas cards. I considered not going through it. In the middle of the stack, I came across this:


Inside was the best treasure of all:

Pictures from of my dad with my cousin taken years before I was born.

I don't remember getting these or ever seeing them before. 
I'm not sure who they came from but it brought back good memories of him holding another baby 33 years later.

Notice the baldness!

So, that's what my elephant was hiding
My goal for this week is to conquer the pictures. 
Instead of being sad, maybe I'll just break out the scanner
 and embarrass some old friends on Facebook.
 Nothing like big hair and blue eye shadow to make a girl feel better, right? 


Baby Elephant Part II: Tiny Bites

Makeover Monday

Tiny Bites


LOOK! Carpet!!!!

I gave myself a built in deadline when I started this project last week. I knew that on Saturday my house would be filled with people for my daughter's birthday party. The main goal was to get everything off the floor and in a presentable pile. 
After hours of Pandora radio, dropping a shredder on my foot (OUCH! Very reminiscent of the marble chess board incident)  and a healthy dose of self-talk ("You can do this." "Don't get overwhelmed." "No, no, no sitting down to check Facebook and Twitter, Bad Dawn!")
the floor emerged.


It looks even better with the lid down!

I filled up several garbage bags with donations and had our recycle bin overflowing. 
That left this. 

The dreaded "TO-BE" pile.
To be filed
To be shredded
To be tossed
To be...um, I don't know. What do you do with Christmas cards from 15 years ago?

That's the project for this week.

I sorted everything into crates and hope to go through a crate each day this week. 

Next Monday, I'll be posting some of the buried treasures I found in this mess. 
Like this,

Nine reams of unopened paper as well as a stack of unused folders and binders. 
Previously lost in the seas of chaos, now neatly stacked in a cabinet. 

For now,
What do you do with old Christmas/Birthday/Congratulations on the New House cards? 



Eating My Elephant

The Return of Makeover Monday!

How do you eat an elephant? 


One bite at a time.

Welcome back to Makeover Monday!
It was on hold for a short time while the Mondays piled up on me like college freshman's mountain of laundry their first weekend home. 
But, I'm back and I'm confessing.

I have a baby elephant in my house. 

Wow. 
If you ever want to know just exactly how terrible a space looks, take a picture of it. 

This is my dumping ground "office". 
I have a lovely desk in the corner. 
Isn't it pretty? 

This is where all of our precious family photos and mementos are stored in an organized, easily accessible manner. 

There are multiple problems with this space.

1. It appears to have no floor. I am pretty sure one still exist under there because I don't fall into oblivion when I climb over everything looking for an envelope. 

2. Just to the left of the picture above is our front door. Yes, that's right this is what you see FIRST thing when you enter our beautiful home. As a family, we almost never come in the front door. So, this lovely scene is reserved for guest!

3. I don't have the slightest idea what's over here. In my defense, most of this was stuffed into the desk with the top closed until I had to find a paper...for our taxes.. 3 months ago. 

*Hangs head in shame*

So, it's time to eat the elephant. 

I don't expect the plate to be clean by next Monday, but I need some accountability. 
You'll ask me about my elephant, right? Make sure I'm taking daily bites and not letting it just over in the corner and grow like it has for the last few months? 

Good! I knew I could count on you. 

And, you may have noticed, this is the baby elephant. There is a mama. She lurks in the other room. 
If I survive this journey, you'll get to meet here next! 





Makeover Monday~ The Little Things



Makeover Monday

The Little Things

I didn't tackle any major organizing projects this week. I have one looming that I'm not quite ready to share. If I do get it done, we're having a virtual party. 
But, just so I didn't disappoint any faithful Makeover Monday followers, 
I thought I'd share some of the little things I've added to our house that make me way happier than they should. 

The first is this hook. 

I bought this forever ago to hang bags in my closet. It is supposed to fit over the door. Unfortunately, I have fat closet doors because this was too thin.  Last week, when I was doing the great kitchen shift. I remembered it. It fits perfectly over the cabinet door and holds my cutting boards right within reach. 

Second, is this basket.

I mentioned this basket in this post, but didn't really give it the attention it deserves. This is a charging station for my children's electronics. It hides a surge protector and gives them a place to store anything that needs a plug. No more scavenger hunt to find a lost mp3 player two minutes before leaving. 

And, last, this basket.

I got one of these for both of the girls when I redecorated their bathroom. They are wide enough to hold a regular-sized cup, toothbrush and toothpaste and they suction cup to the mirror. Why do I love them? They get all of the dental hygiene products off the counter and give them a neat, organized appearance. 

So, how about in your home? What little things give you a big smile? 



Makeover Monday~ Pantry Revisited




 Makeover Monday

Pantry Revisited

My pantry has become my nemesis.

Phineas and Ferb Nemesis Song

You may remember my Makeover Monday: Sad Dawn post about my pantry difficulties. 
Like the laundry room, this is a room I going into several times a day. I really wanted to make it something cute. 
*sigh*

First, Before pictures. 


It was making my teeth cringe EVERY time I opened the door. Plus, I couldn't find ANYTHING. 
So, since I had a week off. I decided to tackle the beast. 
Step one: 
Take everything out. 


Um, wow...
This is what happens when you're unorganized. You end up with FOUR OPEN boxes of plastic wrap and FOUR OPEN boxes of trash bags. 





Empty pantry
Here is where it got complicated. Have you ever tried one of those puzzles where you have to move every piece to make a one piece fit ? Yeah, that was my kitchen. 
The goal of organizing the pantry was to move the spices from this cabinet and the storage containers from the other cabinet into new homes. 

Inspired by Alejandra, I decided to buy a  "Wall Pocket" for the spices.

 No, it isn't a shoe organizer. Having a shoe organizer in my pantry would be weird...

Then, I decided to concede my search for cute shelf paper and just buy practical that would give some color. 

HUGE MISTAKE! 
I tried putting a few items back in and realized every time I lifted a box the shelf paper stuck to the BOX, not the shelf. 
*Double sigh*

Having everything on the counter was making me twitchy. 
I just started putting it back in. 
It looked a little better. 
The wall pocket worked great. 
But, the rest of the pantry... Meh. 

On the surface, it looks organized, but do you see the problem I did? 
No boundaries. Nothing to keep that jar of Peanut Butter from wandering over to Sprite bottles. 

I decided to give myself one more day to work on some solutions. 
I added Lazy Susans to make use of the corner space and keep like items together. 

 

I created a snack station for the girls: Zip-loc bags, crackers, water, water bottles and Goldfish.
 
And, moved the paper towels to the bottom so they are easily accessible. 

Before:

After:


It is the cutest pantry EVAH? Um, no.
Does it make me smile every time I open the door? 
Nope. 
Can I find everything and see exactly what's on hand? 
Yeah. 

Any suggestions on how to liven it up? 
I really don't want to paint. But, I've given up on shelf paper.

What area of your house would you consider your nemesis? 


Makeover Monday~ Hair Help, Please!


Makeover Monday

Hair Help, Please! 

This is my youngest daughter's hair:


This is after a shower, shampoo and conditioner

After half a bottle of detangler 
and 25 minutes of combing:

52 minutes later 



What does this have to do with Makeover Monday? 

I need to makeover the detangling process!
I know all the tricks:
Start at the bottom 
Work in sections
Use lots and lots of patience!

But, I am asking (begging) for suggestions:

Any ideas on how to smooth out this process? (See what I did there?) 

Product recommendations? 
Homemade remedies? 
She has already vetoed chopping it off. 

I'm up for anything you've got! 



Makeover Monday~ The Garage


Makeover Monday

The Garage
(otherwise known as the Black Hole)

This is our garage.


My husband has spent hours in here. He's purged. He's rearranged. He's stacked, moved, shifted. 
And, it still ends up like this. 
After first glance, it isn't too terrible. 
But, look closer. 

Tools, camping equipment, lawn stuff and fishing poles all conveniently crammed into one area.


Sports equipment, more camping stuff and boxes of "I don't know what's in here and I don't want to go through it right now" all stored for easy-access in another area. There's actually a table under all that somewhere! 

My car could fit and you could get in on both sides, if you held your breath, turned parallel to the wall and inched like a crab. 

This is my stopping point. 
Some people have tennis balls, but we're a hockey family.


This weekend, Scott decided he'd had enough. 
We were organizing the mess and this time, it was going to stay that way. So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to Home Depot we go!

First, shelves!

No more playing, "Wonder what's in the corner?"


And, it made room to spread out the tools and lawn equipment.

So much better!


Plus,  you can walk in the door without fear of being attacked by the cleaning tools like something out of the Sorcerer's Apprentice! 

Before

After


It isn't perfect.  Scott won't let me label his shelves or tubs. *Pouting*
But, it makes me smile when I don't have "suck it in" to get into the car. 

So, what'd you do this weekend? 


Makeover Monday~ Kinda


Makeover Monday

Work in Progress

I don't have an official "Makeover Monday" to share this week. I have a project in mind. I bought all my supplies, but my best intentions were sidelined by the opportunity to have a date with my husband. 

Sorry, Makeover Monday Hopefuls, he's kinda cute and I like him alot. 
So, he won. 

Still want a BEFORE and AFTER? 

Before
(before marriage, two kids and fifteen years together.)

After



Apologies for the less than great photography, but you get the idea. 

So, while you anxiously await the space I want to show you next week, 
I have a question for you.

If you could snap your fingers and have one  area of your house magically organized/decorated, which area would you choose and why? 



Makeover Monday~Paper Avalanche!


Makeover Monday

Paper Avalanche!

Run! Run for your lives!

My current WIP has an avalanche scene. 

My inspiration came from this.


Oh, the shame.

I almost didn't post this because...

Well, LOOK at it!

No, really. Don't look at it. 

It's HIDEOUS! 

This is my writing/lesson planning/bill paying/etc. area.

You can probably guess how much I was actually getting

 accomplished.

I have this beautiful desk.


It has all sorts of cubbies and drawers. I love it.

But, it's on the other side of the house. 

And, for your own safety,

 you wouldn't want to roll up that top!

This is a space that will be featured on 

Makeover Monday soon.

Anyway, back to my side table. 

Some of the clutter experts emphasize figuring 

out why the clutter got to this point. 

I can tell you the why of the end tables. 


Stress.

All of this paper was there because I couldn't deal 

with it. If someone was coming over, I would make it into a

nice, neat stack. Pretend I had it all together. 

Kinda like I was doing with my real life.


New Year's Day,  I turned on the Macy's parade.

 (Well, 'cause I love it! )

Grabbed a trash bag.

Turned on the shredder

And, went to  work.




I turned this....



Into this....


I even organized the drawer.



The best part is, for the most part, I've kept it clear for the 

past two months. 

Every time I see the avalanche building, I make myself stop 

and clear it off. 

Do you have a  precarious, pile of paper? 

Any trick for controlling the paper clutter that you want to 

share? 

Any spots in your house that look this? 

You can lie to make me feel better.  It's okay. 




No Makeover Monday



No Makeover Monday
Sad Dawn

My plans for a BIG Makeover Monday were thwarted (yes, I'm using the word THWARTED) by the lack of cute shelf paper in the DFW area. 

I have an idea for the best pantry makeover EVAH. But, I can't find any cute shelf paper. And, just in case my husband is reading, the "camo" paper we saw does NOT count as "cute". 

I want something with color.
Or else, I might be forced to *gulp* paint! 


So, here is the BEFORE.









No, AFTER.

Sad Dawn.


Any suggestions for shelf paper? 
Colors? 
Anything? 

Makeover Monday~ Laundry Room

Makeover Monday
THE LAUNDRY ROOM


A little background for today's post. 
We have been in this house five years. For the 25 years before that I lived in houses I knew I would be moving from. The houses I remember growing up were rent houses. My parents bought a house after I went to college, but I never officially lived there. 

My husband and I moved from a townhouse to a rent house to a starter house to a rented trailer (yeah, I post pictures of that place some day. Nothing like original 1982 wallpaper to make you appreciate how far you've come.) to here. 

So, even though we've been here a while, it took me some time to get used to the idea that I could do whatever I wanted to this house. 
Before my houses were all about function.
Did it work? Fine, no need to make it pretty. 
It's not going to stay mine anyway. 

When I started researching how I wanted to organize the laundry room, I found all these pictures of people who I thought had been sniffing too much Tide.
It's a LAUNDRY room. You have framed pictures of your kids on the shelves with a decorative glass jar to house your soap? REALLY? 
How deeply do you inhale when you're pouring in that Clorox? 

So, I did this. 

(Sorry for the crooked picture. We really don't live in a house built by Dr. Seuss.)

Nice. Clean. Functional. What more does it need? 

Except...

The laundry room is right off the kitchen. 
The door is never closed. 
I go into this room several times a day.
I walk by it even more times a day.
I can even see into it from where I sit on the couch. 

UGH. 
It was still bugging me. 

So, I made a decision. 

It is my house. 
My laundry room.
And, I'm going to make it pretty. 


I may have gone slightly nuts. 


Or at least, that's probably what my husband was thinking to himself as he install the new shelving.  He was kind enough not to mutter it under his breath or anything. 


I even hung a picture! 
It says "The stars at night are big and bright..."

(Those of you from Texas just clapped in your heads, I know you did.)

Before

After



You don't think I've been sniffing the stain remover too much, do you?