Archive for April, 2012
***This giveaway is no longer accepting entries – see who won below!***
After lots of love proclamations for NSYNC, NKOTB and more, random.org has survived boy-band-mania and crowned our winner as… Megan G (who says she loves the original boy band…The Beatles). Congrats Megan!
In the spirit of a week of cleaning & organizing, who could use a new lawn mower to tidy things up outside? Well, someone’s getting this puppy (valued at $339) thanks to Lawn-Boy. It’s self propelled, easy to start, and features a “Blade Stop” system that allows you to turn off the blades without killing the engine, which comes in handy if you’ve got a lawn frequently peppered with sticks or toys (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything).
- PRIZE: The Lawn-Boy 10605 Mower
- TO ENTER: Comment on this post with the words “OH BOY!” and tell us…
- BONUS QUESTION: … your favorite boy band of all time. Are you digging the new guys (One Direction, The Wanted)? Or do the ones from back in the day (Backstreet Boys, NSYNC) still get you going? How about the really old school ones (NKOTB, Boys II Men, Menudo)? Or have you rolled your eyes at this whole question?
- GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Wednesday, May 2nd at 8pm EST or at 10,000 entries (whichever comes first)
- NUMBER OF WINNERS: One
- PRIZE SHIPS: The United States (although we do try to wrangle as many international giveaways as possible)
- USUAL STUFF: One entry per e-mail address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Thursday as an update to this post. That’s right, come right back here on Thursday for the announcement of our winner. Good luck…
Yes, that’s a Naughty By Nature reference. Let’s just get down with OPP for a second, shall we?
But why O-R-G? That’s $herdog’s abbreviation for organizing. I’ve gotta be honest. Our house hasn’t been this trashed/chaotic/messy since we moved in 16 months ago. Seriously, I’m not talking about a little dist around the baseboards or some streaks on the windows, I’m talking about serious stuff like not being able to locate anything in our completely ridiculous sink drawer:
So although we have two entire sections of our Projects page dedicated to cleaning and organizing posts of yore, there hasn’t been much of that going on lately. At all. It all started to fall apart back in Jan/Feb during three weeks of book shoots in our house (with a crew of people, and a ton of moving/painting/general insanity) that left our house looking like this…
Why would other things like our sink drawer go downhill too? The only way I can explain it is that it’s a slippery slope. When you’re juggling secret book projects, regular blog projects/posts, and baby care while a bunch of folks are in your house shooting over 150 different book photos that you’re DIYing and styling yourself, you just don’t have a minute to breathe during the day. And once the baby goes to sleep and the crew leaves, you think you’ll tackle stuff at night, but since they’re all coming back in the morning (and you have 20 more projects to finish, style, and walls to paint before they arrive in the am) it feels like you’re working two shifts and you don’t even remember what day it is let alone where the deodorant should go.
And between writing posts, doing projects, raising a toddler, and birthing this book baby of ours (we’re still proofing 200 page stacks of layouts, completing the resources section, and finalizing the cover) it feels like we’ll never have time to put our house back together. Unless we officially declare whipping our insanely unorganized casa back into shape as Project Numero Uno in a week-long bootcamp of sorts. So we’re doing it!!! Hang on to your hats. It’s gonna get messy. And then hopefully clean (with a giant yard sale pile at the end of the rainbow). And we’d love for you guys to hop on the spring cleaning train with us! Speaking of which, we got a head-start this weekend (forgive us) since we needed a Monday post to kick things off. First, I decided to make the cabinets under our dining room built-ins say my name. That’s right, I literally whispered “Say my name” to my cabinets. Winner.
Then I took everything out. Well, I took about three things out and was already over it, so I padded over to the computer and put on some tunes (Nicki Minaj then Eminem then a little vintage Britney). And I did some mild to moderate head bopping (but zero freestyle rapping) as I removed every last book, magazine, and other random object that found its way in there (many books and mags are stored in there since the built-ins aren’t deep enough for them).
I made piles. Piles of each magazine (Domino, Cottage Living, House Beautiful, Blueprint, and BHG & other Meredith mags like DIY). I also tried to stack my books by subject (pregnancy/health/green, chick lit, decor/design, and teen fiction like Hunger Games & Twilight – haha). I’ll say it again. Winner.
Oh and see those white things on the bottom of the pic above? They’re actually old shelves from the built-ins that we removed since it was way too crowded up there (more on that here), so we shoved them into the cabinet in case we changed our mind and wanted to crowd the cabinets with too many shelves again (why????). It was a bad call. Over a year later they’ve just collected dust and wasted space, so off to John’s scrap wood pile in the basement they went.
Then I wiped down the shelves (they were grosser than I’d like to admit) with good ol’ white vinegar. It cleans things and kills odors at the same time (they sort of smelled like an old storage room). Wiping the entire cabinet only took about half of Hit Me Baby One More Time. So worth it.
Then I slowly put things back in, grouping stuff that made the most sense, and stacking them in a way that I thought would be easiest to maintain while allowing me to store everything and see almost all of it. Instead of standing everything up (knowing I’d pull something out and everything would topple) I made small stacks of things that I can see beyond and can easily remove each stack to reach something in the back row.
Ahhh, order. How I love thee. Let me count the
ways Domino magazines.
Of course about 10% of the books and mags that came out ended up in a yard sale pile I’ve started in the guest room closet. It’s nice to admit that I’m not going to read something again and give someone else a chance.
Oh and you might be wondering where all my hard cover decorating books are (other than stacked in plain sight on the console, on the built-in shelves, and on the top of our office file cabinet). Well, the two ottomans in the hallway under the console (you know, that sits in our hallway o’ frames) are filled with them. But they don’t runneth over so I don’t think I have a decorating book problem. Yet.
At this point my brain hurt from thinking too hard about what to group with what, what to put in the yard sale pile, etc. But I still had a bunch of random decor related items sitting around looking for a home (remember in the before pic there were faux gourds, vases, and candlesticks shoved in there too?). So it was time to deal with the cabinet under the built-ins on the other side, which is where I keep all of my candlesticks, vases, and various decor-related-items. That side had gone to h-e-double-hockey-sticks too.
It was so bad that I started stashing overflow items in the book/magazine cabinet on the other side. Not good. Time to pare things down, group them so they make sense again, add stuff to the yard sale pile, and generally get my stuff together under there. But wait, there’s more…
Yup, I also overflowed stuff into the new corner cabinet in our kitchen. But about half of the things in there actually belonged there since they were kitchen/food/serving related (like a cake stand or a salad bowl). So I decided to turn the corner cabinet in the kitchen into only serving/food related storage and pare down my decor stuff so it would hopefully all fit in the single cabinet under the built-ins in the dining room.
Once again, the first step was taking everything out. This time I listened to various Glee versions of songs, more Nicki Minaj, and old school Snoop & Dre. Picture me singing “Ain’t nothing but a clean thing bay-bay. I got so many candles it’s cray-zay.”
I also emptied the corner cabinet in the kitchen. For reference that peninsula counter is five feet long by three feet wide. Blort.
Then I pulled out every last item I didn’t use/need/want for my growing yard sale pile and grouped everything else by item (ex: all vases in one spot, all candlesticks in one spot). Then back in it went after a quick vinegar wipe-down.
It juuuuuuust fit. A loose description of what’s going on in here now is that the top right quadrant has candle holding devices, the bottom right quadrant has vases and planters, the bottom left quadrant has various vase filler and a few other random decorative items, and the top left quadrant has all of my tabletop decor that gets rotated in and out pretty much all the time.
But where did all those crazy candles go? Well, many of them used to live in our first house’s living room fireplace (on a big silver platter) but since we now have a toddler who gets into everything, I just saved a few of the better looking ones and put them in a candle drawer of their own. How novel! This small cabinet in the dining room was empty (it’s actually a night table, but we thought it worked nicely in here), so I commandeered one drawer for candle storage. And the rest of my too-large candle collection went into the yard sale pile. Update: I’ve added two plastic place mats to the bottom of the drawer to protect it from any potential waxiness.
Huzzah! Now the corner cabinet in the kitchen only has kitchen-related items, like serving dishes, bowls, plates, trays, a cake stand, etc.
And there’s room to spare in there. Lookout John. Momma feels a shopping spree coming on. Just kidding, I’m way too tired. But I better buck up, because there’s still lots to do this week. And we’d love for you guys to join our bootcamp and clean/organize/pare down along with us! Here’s our schedule:
- Monday: Since we shared how we organized a few cabinets, feel free to tackle one or two of your own (you could also just dive into books and decorative accessories, wherever you keep them)
- Tuesday: Taming kid clutter is on our agenda (if you don’t have kiddos, any clutter-wrangling works)
- Wednesday: We’ll cover how we pare down our grooming & cleaning products (feel free to tackle yours and share your tips too)
- Thursday: Let’s get on some paper/tech org (we’re aiming for some blog streamlining, but you can take on anything from digital photos or cleaning up your desktop to filing paperwork or receipts)
- Friday: Ahhh, we miiiight let you see our basement. Gotta work up the courage. So maybe plan a little basement or garage cleanup on your end?
- Bonus: We also hope to tackle clothes (make sense of our dresser and maybe do some slight closet shifting) and our clutter-fied night tables at some point – here’s hoping!
Of course that’s tentative since we’re blogging in real time, but we can’t wait to report back and hear how you guys are doing. Have you already been doing some spring cleaning/organizing or any general house streamlining? Are you down to do it with us? What music keeps you from going out of your mind while cleaning and organizing? Or do you favor an audio book/TV/NPR? That sounds like a good time too.
Two weekends ago we hit up the Richmond Craft Mafia‘s Spring Bada-Bing craft show (which we told you about via this giveaway). It was similar to their Handmade Holiday event that we checked out back in December, so since that post was such a hit with you guys, we thought we’d share all of the awesomely local craft-y goodness that we happened upon during this show too. Oh, and while we didn’t leave with the bounty like we bought last year – we did purchase one of the many things we loved (times three, actually). So feel free to guess what it was as we lead you on a little craft tour de jour (and we’ll spill the beans at the end).
When we first stepped into the show space at Plant Zero, this print by Matt Butler met our eyes. Sherry immediately thought of her bacon-loving blog-compadre Katie B. I immediately thought of how I’d love to eat some bacon. We both knew the show was off to a good start.
Matt Butler is not just a spokesperson for the bacon movement, but also does a variety of hand-carved linocut prints (and painted Toms shoes!) “made with tongue firmly in cheek” (to borrow a line form his website). Although our affection for bacon hasn’t quite reached the level of a wall art declaration, we were eying this “Whale Love” print for a while.
One artist who deserved my “Why didn’t I think of that!?” award for the day was Articipe, who turns recipes into cheerful custom works of art. With my stomach now shifting from bacon- to cookie-craving mode, I started thinking of all of the people I could order a personalized version for (you provide her with the family recipe and she whips one up for you).
It’s no mystery that we like state art, so of course Jennifer Allevato‘s embroidery hoop creations caught our eyes. You can order any state from her Etsy shop if you don’t happen to live in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Nearby were some ceramic animals unlike any others we’d ever seen (and let’s be honest, we’ve seen our fair share). The Runny Bunny creates figures with mis-matched head and body combos. Garden gnome on a bird body? Check. Rabbit head on an elegant woman’s figure. Double check. Talk about a conversation piece, though! This booth had droves of people around it checking them all out the whole time. Sherry’s favorite was a cute little finch with the head of a truck. Come to think of it, I think that was Clara’s favorite too. Meanwhile, I was partial to the gentlemanly guy with a deer head.
Given our recent adventures in succulent planting, these Terrariums by Rich definitely drew us in. Just like Helen Hunt made Jack Nicholson want to be a better man, Rich makes us want to be better at planting stuff. He even put little green martians and other tiny creatures in some of them if you don’t like your terrarium to be too serious. Speaking of serious – check out how grand that one in the center is. Awesome.
Modern June showed off this cool chalkboard rooster decal, which is great inspiration for a cool twist on a traditional chalkboard.
Across the way we spotted these cool bound books using Legos from Moonlight Bindery. They had small wallet sized ones, as well as some larger ones using those big green squares that I fondly remember from my Lego-playing days.
Sherry – always a sucker for a sentimental houseware – was ooohing and ahhhing (mostly the former; lots of oohs going on) over these hand-stamped silver utensils from Milk & Honey Luxuries. Me, I lean towards the quirky forks on their website that say “nom nom nom” across the tines.
Speaking of houswares, the show wasn’t strictly art and other home stuff. There was also jewelry, clothes, and body products – like these organic soaps from Whispering Willow. As good as the soaps smelled, we also really liked how she displayed them. Wouldn’t a smaller slice of a tree trunk be a cool soap dish for your bathroom at home? You can even find them for a few bucks at the craft store – or hunt one down in your backyard.
Another fun part of the show was checking out the booths of folks we were already familiar with (either though the previous show, other events, or our earlier giveaway) and seeing some of the wares in person – like these colorful Wisdom Cards from Silver Tree Art…
… and more of the nesting bird bowls given away by Tasha McKelvey. We loved the detail that as the bowls got smaller, there was one less egg in each nest.
Last show we somehow bypassed the booth of our friend Karyn of KShonk Designs, so this time we were determined to say “Hi” (she hadn’t met Clara in person yet) and Sherry of course wanted to get all sparkle-drunk over her jewelry. We house crashed her a while back, so we’re old friends.
And it won’t come as a shock that I gravitated towards the more tongue-in-cheek jewelry of Inedible Jewelry. What man doesn’t need a pair of pork chop cuff links?
We also had fun seeing if some of our favorite booths from last time had any new stuff (or new-to-us stuff). Like Lazymuse Productions (whose cool crocheted jellyfish ornaments we previously shared). This time they had a cac-tastic display which just slightly overshadowed the funny cat toys shaped like rat heads, zombie fingers, and fortune cookies (for the knit-blood averse).
And Funnelcloud Studio had more prints that we loved. Man, maybe between these and the Matt Butler print we’re entering some sort of whale phase. Anyone know where we could find a ceramic whale to officially kick things off?
And Zou Zou’s Basement, who created the pink rabbit print that we bought to hang outside Clara’s room during the holiday craft show, had this cool Ostrich (Emu?) print that was pretty much in our favorite colors.
Sherry also had a momentary romance with this Turnerbot. While I was learning how Sarah crafts each one differently, Sherry was lost in its beady, glazed yellow eyes.
Speaking of colorful items, Sherry nearly took home one of these enameled penny necklaces from Lucky Accessories (who made the pea-pod necklaces we shared last winter).
But are you ready for the reveal of what actually came home with us? Here’s a hint, they’re in this pic:
Yup, it’s this friendly little trio of crocheted cacti from Lazymuse Productions. Do we like ‘em? In the words of Sherry: faux sho.
They were $10 a piece and are bigger than this pic suggests (the middle one is around 7″ tall). We originally planned to just get one (the guy on the left) but Sherry convinced me it should be balanced by a taller one… and then continued that things look best in threes. Haha. It wasn’t too bad since we walked in saying “we’re giving ourselves a thirty dollar budget to spend” and managed to stick to it. I must admit they look pretty chipper here on the window ledge of our office. My favorite part is that they’ll never die and I’ll never clutzily knock one over and spill the dirt everywhere. Score.
Oh, and the Spring Bada-Bing isn’t the only artsy adventure we recently had in Richmond. Pop on over to Young House Life to see what else we were up to that weekend (it’s a nice juicy post for over there). Have you guys hit up any craft fairs / art shows / farmer’s markets in your area lately? Did you end up bringing anything home?
Psst- We announced the winner for this week’s giveaway. Click here to see if it’s you.