Saturday, December 7, 2013

Closet Makeover Reveal!

When I say I haven't touched my coat closet since we moved to Cincinnati back in December of 2012, what I really mean is I have consistently piled more stuff in there than humanly possible since then.  So much stuff that I found all kinds of hidden treasures that I previously considered lost.  Score!

It was a pile of crap mixed in with regularly used items and you couldn't even see the floor because of bags and shoes.  It was by far the worst space in my home - although all the closets need a good work out.  Not only is it the worst, but it's the most used...which is why it was the worst!  I finally broke down and said, 


My husband hates it when I say that, because he knows I'm about to make a mess...and somehow I'm going to rope him into it.  Sorry hun!

So, in my break-down-haste, I forgot to take a picture of the dreaded beast that was my closet...however, I took a picture of the damage it made to my adjoining kitchen.

Mountains of ties...that Mr. MCD all of a sudden realized he liked...again.

Hats, mattress pads, and a bag.  Don't let that bag fool is full of meaningless crap and pens and crap and CRAP!  And it wasn't all neat and in a bag.  Oh, the deception, THE LIES!

A Tupperware full of  All kinds of gadgets and gizmos a plenty (see what I did there).  Old remotes, car chargers, and paper and CRAP!

So much CRAP!

Okay, so on to beauty and function and a lot less crap.

After I cleared her out, she looked so clean and minimal and I really wanted to keep the closet like that but I need room for coats, gloves, scarves, shoes, bags, cameras...okay...crap.

There was actually a second shelf right above the clothing rod and another shelf above that one that you can barely see.  I had already started adding stuff like the brand new shoe rack down at the bottom by the time I realized I needed to take pictures.  Hello!!  Blog about it lady!

So on the agenda was to move the clothing rod up to the top shelf, change out the old closet shoe organizer for a hanging nursery organizer I had in Grace's room but really wasn't using.  This one, by Munchkin, has mesh pockets on the side and multiple sized cubby holes, in which I placed three fabric bins I already had.  

I love the organizer.  At the top of it, I have all of my wristlets, which are switched and used all the time, and even some of my evening bags.  The next meshed cubby at the top has all the girls' gloves.  The divided cubby has pull-ups for C-bear on one side and my camera and camera case on the other with room to spare should I need it.  In the bottom three cubby's are hats and scarves for the whole crew.  The side mesh pockets hold mommy's and daddy's gloves.

I also attached hooks that I already had on hand in a V pattern on the side.  The bottom is for G's preschool backpack, from this post.  The top two are currently holding a scarf and two light jackets for the girls.

The over the door shoe organizer was already there but definitely got a make-over and doesn't just hold shoes.  It holds dance gear, headbands and bows that don't make it upstairs to the bow holder.  And it also holds toiletries like deoderant, chapstick, sunscreen and even a hairbrush for the girls with hair ties.  It works so well for getting ready for the gym and school as I generally unpack our bags after every outing because I used different bags for different purposes and need different things in each.

The other side is just as functional!

I got another set of hooks for small items and in the back is a towel bar from Ikea with clip on plastic hooks.  The plastic hooks work for now but I think I am going to use something a bit sturdier like a regular s hook.  However, it holds the two rain coats and one of my small hand bags for now with room for more.

That one random shoe...Don't ask where the other one is.  The closet probably ate it.

Shoe storage!!!  The girls have already formed the habit of taking off their shoes and putting them in the closet.  However, they just threw them in...there was nothing else to do so I can't blame them.  So now I have to break them of that habit and turn it into putting them on the new, pretty shoe rack...*sigh*

Behind the shoe rack is the perfect amount of space for one of my large diaper bags and another bag (like my diaper backpack) to sit comfortably and out of the way.  GENIUS!!!

And at the top...another bag, a purse and bucket full of grocery bags!  Clean, uncluttered, functioning beautifully...this make me happy.

Sorry for the lack of a full on frontal's a small hallway and I wouldn't be able to get all of it.  But trust me when I's sooooo much better.  Even Mr. MCD keeps opening the door and saying..."I can't believe how much of a difference this is."  He especially loved my idea to raise the clothing rod, which truly did make all the difference in the world.  By utilizing the vertical space, I made the closet not only look bigger, but increased the usable square footage at the bottom.

Oh...and a little extra something I did for myself.  When we are leaving or have just gotten back from an outing, I don't put my bag away right away because, as I've mentioned, I like to completely empty the bag.  However, I'm tired of having to place the bag on the counter when packing or unpacking and also having it linger on the floor while in transition.

Well, problem solved...

That little beauty of a hook is reinforced with some heavy duty toggle bolts so it's not going anywhere and believe me, that's good because that awesome backpack is pretty heavy at times.  It's the perfect spot; out of the way but within our regular traffic pattern.  Love!

Very cheap makeover for me.  I didn't have to buy anything but, if you had to build your closet space from scratch but as affordable as possible you could  make your closet look bank for under $100.

If you would like some closet organization ideas, contact me and I would be happy to provide a detailed layout and price sheet for your project.

Until next time...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Preschool Backpack!

It's been a whirl-wind of a time here at the MCD house.  We've had family and friends over and I've been sewing and crafting a ton!  One of the most recent projects has been the oh so beloved backpack.

G started preschool this year!!!

And although G and I were super-duper excited about this little adventure...a certain little someone else, was not...

Poor Claire Bear.

But G and I couldn't have been happier!  It was time.  She is so beyond ready and I need a little more one-on-one time with my little pouty-lipped, fire-cracker of a two-year old.  Because believe it or not, the little baby doesn't require the most attention, it's G!  G won't play by herself to save her life!  And she's oh so sensitive, which I love, but it can be tough and can require a bit of time and a truck load of patience since I'm trying to raise a human being...not a hot mess.

 I just love that photo.

Since G was starting Preschool, we needed a backpack!  And when I say I looked, I mean I scoured the internet, looked at all the department stores and came up with only two that I even remotely wanted.

The first choice was this one from Joo of BaggyBags...

Needless to say, I was in love with this bag.  Unfortunately, no embroidery and we were required to have her name on the inside, outside and top of her bag.  This bag is just too pretty to do that to.

If you are looking for an amazing bag with beautiful neutral colors, classic shapes and clear-cut quality...Joo of BaggyBags is phenomenal.  I know I'm about to purchase something for myself from her...however, I can't choose which one I love the most.  She's that good.

Second choice and the one we almost got was from Pottery Barn.  The only reason we didn't get it was because I wouldn't have received it until the end of October!!!

Therefore, instead of letting G get swallowed by a slew of plastic and poly...I made the trepidatious decision to make her backpack.  *ooohhh....gasp*

I got a couple folks who asked "Are you crazy?" and "why?" and "Really?"

Yes...I'm kind of nuts sometimes.

But, let me tell you how wonderful this experience was.  This was by far my most complicated project I have ever taken on.  And I came out singing!

Take a look!

First, lets talk fabric.  This fabric is absolutely too cute!!!  I found it at my new favorite fabric shop, Sewn Studio.  The shop is the perfect stop for modern fabrics and the owner and staff there are beyond remarkable.  They are so helpful and I dare say they were as excited about my project as I was!  I could talk to those ladies for hours and their knowledge and experience shows.  If you are ever in the Cincinnati area and you sew or know someone who does...go to Sewn Studio.  You will not regret it.

The fabric is called Collage Dotty Bird in purple.  It also comes in tan and cream, which is so pretty.  It's a border print so the birds are on the bottom so I had to buy extra yardage...for another project :)    It's a neat fabric.  Some of the dots and bird wings look like newspaper print and the colors are a little more funky...not so bubble gum pink if you know what I mean.  Basically, I love this fabric!!

I paired it with a orange and white gingham...think creamcicle and that is the color it reads.   For the piping, which I made myself thanks to the help of Julie at Sewn Studio, I chose a beautiful teal cotton.  I'm telling you, I'm probably going back for more of that teal fabric.  It's so soft and has a sheen to it.  I can see a skirt for myself in that fabric. 

Yes. Ma'am.

The pattern I used is the Toddler Backpack from Made By Rae.  The pattern is really a beautiful basic pattern and it can be expanded for a school-aged child.  I added a front pocket to mine to highlight the birds on the fabric and lined it with the teal.

The straps were new for me.   I've never done anything like that but...I will be in the future! (hint, hint)

I added a lot of extra stitching to the bag, one for durability and two, for style.

I hand embroidered all of the name patches.  There are three in total, one on the front, one on the top....

...and one on the inside pocket as a tag.  I also embroidered a little heart on it!  So cute!

I thought the bag seemed a bit heavy when I went to photograph it...

So besides being lined in canvas for stability, it seems to make a very nice home for the entire royal family.

James to Sophia:  "I really like this bag...and the stitching is impeccable..."

Queen Miranda:  "Please!  I was a cobbler for royal sake!  Talk to me about stitching."

G really loves her backpack.  She loves that it's purple, she loves, LOVES that it has pockets...for various reasons...namely, the ridiculously real looking lizard.

That lizard is so creepy.

She loves that it's all hers and she can put it on by herself and she loves that Mommy made it for her.  I couldn't be happier with how it turned out and I am truly proud of myself.  It was easy in some ways and pretty tough in others and I think I did a pretty good job on this beauty.

Hand-made preschool backpack...COMPLETE!

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

DIY Fairy Garden!

What little girl doesn't want to play in a fairy garden!  Grace and I have been talking about making a fairy garden or fairy house for quite some time.  So the hunt has been on for something we could turn into a fairy garden or house.  We've seen bird houses and other structures that could have worked, but nothing ever really seemed right.  It all seemed too closed in.  But today...a stroke of genius!

My DIY fairy garden has a tree house with ladder, a swing, and a campfire with three stools and a bench.  I also made a chaise lounge and small awning along with some "poufs" for sitting.

Supplies for one phenomenal fairy garden...

-  1 Cereal box (that's my stroke of genius)
- Scissors
-  A pair of small hand held pruning shears 
-  Hot glue gun and glue...quite a few sticks
-  Elmers Glue
-  Spray Adhesive (optional)
-  Potting Soil (optional)
-  Paints and Paint brushes
-  Small sticks, leaves, acorns, rocks...pretty much anything you can find in your back yard

First and foremost, the scavenger hunt to find all the sticks and leaves and goodies was so much fun!  First, we have these giant Hickory trees and they are dropping these enormous hickory nuts.  I don't allow the girls to go under the trees right now because they seriously hurt when they fall on your head....but, they turned out to be great fairy boulders or poufs!  More on that later.

First!  Cut off one wide side of the cereal box.  Next hot glue the tabs and sides together to make a box.  In the front portion, cut an L shape into the cardboard, this makes your gate.  Although, I doubt fairies need gates, seeing as they can fly...but hey, my kiddos love the gate!

For the fence, take your pruning shears and start making some uniform cuts length wise on your twigs and sticks.  Some you can just break by hand, for others, I was very happy to have the pruning shears.  Below is a look at how it was going...then I clearly got distracted with the idea of making furniture.  But a word for the wise, if you look at the photo below, you will see that I started the tree house before completing the fence all the way around.  I probably wouldn't do this again because I had to be very selective to fill in those spaces for the fencing.  That part was kind of annoying and took a very long time.  Instead, I would complete the entire fence, then glue in additional parts and pieces in their proper spaces.

After you have made your fence, you can use spray adhesive on the floor and dust potting soil onto it.  After spreading it out, patting it gently and then dumping the remaining soil, just spray again and repeat.  When finished with the second coating of soil and getting rid of the extra, give it another good coat of the adhesive.  You don't have to do this.  You could paint the floor, make beams for it, glue beads or pebbles to it.  You can really use your imagination on all of it.

Filling in the gaps with twigs...not fun.  Also, the original swing...really cool.  It was also supporting the other corner of the tree house!

For the tree house, I simply took a rectangular piece of cardboard and glued leaves to the outside, turning the overhang under and gluing in place.  Next I made a small fence around three sides of the perimeter and hot glued two small plants for decoration.  Next, I figured out how high I wanted it to stand and cut three twigs to that length, my fourth was cut longer so I could anchor it into the corner and not take up floor space (you can see it a few pictures down).   Grace then white-washed the leaves to give them contrast and painted the railings. 

I then hot glued small pieces of twigs to one of the support beams for the tree house (cut using the pruning shears).

I then made a long support beam anchored to the front corner of the garden the the front corner of the tree house to make a swing.  My original swing was way cooler but it broke on the way out to put in the soil.  Once installed, paint it yellow and call it a happy day!

The swing was made from an old hickory nut section with twine hot glued beneath it and wrapped around the twig and secured with hot glue.

Next comes furniture!!

You can see the long anchor beam for the tree house right in the middle of the corner.

Stools are made with a small piece of cardboard (1"x1" roughly) and tiny twigs hot glued to it.  Next hot glue four small twigs to the bottom...then hand it over to your child to paint...done!

The camp fire is actually two parts.  First part is four twigs shaped like a rectangular tic-tac-toe...if that's understandable.  Glue in some tissue paper fire and the camp fire is done.  The bowl on top is two hickory nut sections glued and painted.  It's removable and deep enough so that Grace can put things in it and cook for her fairies.  Oh, and our fire is pink...because Grace said that's the color of fairy fire.  

...You learn something new every day.

Next, I made the chaise lounge.  I think it's my favorite.  Just take a rectangular piece of cardboard, fold one-third of it and glue a leaf to it.  Next hot glue some short legs and it is the cutest thing in the world!  We then gave it a little white wash with some pink highlights.

The awning is just as easy.  I took a rectangular piece of cardboard and covered it with leaves the same way I did with the tree house.  Then I cut out a small rectangle right in the middle that was wide enough to fit the corner support pole for the swing.  Next I hot glued a small twig (same as the ladder) to the pole and the height I wanted.  Attach the awning with hot glue at your desired angle on top of the twig with the support beam in the cutout and it such a nice shady spot for the fairies!

Oh, and don't forget the boulders...the poufs...or whatever they are.  Paint some nuts and put them in there for extra seating!

It's not too shabby!  I love how rustic it is but how colorful it still was able to be.  It really helped when we white washed the fence and put a little color on the gate.

I'm very happy with it and so is Grace.  She's waiting for me to make some fairies...but I'm kind of at a loss as to how to do that and not be overly breakable.  No biggie, I'm sure it will come to me!

Until next time...

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