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It was Friday, and I had a mantra: “Stop thinking and just do.” Too often I waste time thinking about the how and why of a project, and at the end of the day I realize I didn’t actually accomplish anything. So I have been making a conscious effort to not over-analyze and just go with my gut instinct about certain things. That’s why when I let the dogs out through the kitchen door that morning I made a decision to finally deal with the disorganized and jumbled shelves in the nook behind the door.

I had been putting it off, trying to come up with the perfect solution for dealing with that space. (Would a tall cabinet be best, or would a short cabinet and shelves look better? And how do I deal with the radiator situation without everything looking off-center? And of course, nothing can be done until that horrible wallpaper is removed.) Since my borderline obsessive/compulsive, perfectionist brain throws a fit every time I ask it to do something that falls short of perfection (or at least attempted perfection), it didn’t even occur to me that I could do anything with the existing shelves until the job could be done “right.” Not until I looked at them with my new mantra in mind, so I got to work.

Step One: Clear the area!

This is the before shot of the space exactly as it’s looked everyday for the last seven or eight months.*

The first thing I did was remove all the stuff that actually had a home somewhere else in the house and had just been left on these shelves out of laziness or convenience. Then I found homes for all of the stuff that I knew I didn’t want to keep on the shelves when I was finished with them. The remaining items went to the dining room table, where I planned to gather all of the things I wanted to display in the newly organized nook.

Step Two: A blank canvas.

Once the shelves were emptied and the floor cleared, I took down the shelves themselves and cleaned the entire area (something I’m embarrassed to admit has only been done once or twice since we moved in).

Then I replaced the broken pulls on the cabinet above the shelves with a set from the garage. They were filthy (which is probably why the previous owner left them), but very cute once scrubbed clean.

Step Three: The search is on.

Now that I had clean shelves, I needed something to put on them. So I scoured the house for hidden treasures in every corner, closet, and cabinet and gathered them on the dining room table.

Step Four: The fun part.

Piece by piece I returned the accumulated items to the shelves, rearranging them in a relentless attempt to achieve a kind of relative perfection. It took longer than it should have, but it was definitely worth the time and energy spent.

Step Five: Mission Accomplished.

I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the fact that I no longer cringe every time I use the back door. Now if I could only keep that mantra in mind the next time I walk into the laundry room. 🙂

*You can click on the pictures to see a larger image. You can see additional images here.

I can’t talk long. We have been blessed with company and are all enjoying the wonderful weather together. I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday weekend! I’ll write again tomorrow, and I promise to have more to say then 🙂

Today the weather was gorgeous: sunny, but not too hot and with a light breeze, and I finally got to spend some time outdoors…

But I wasn’t exactly relaxing. I spent the day digging up perennial plants left over from the previous owner and finding new homes for them (mostly pots for now) so that we can use the space where they were planted for a vegetable garden. I thought it would be an easy job, that it would maybe take me half the afternoon…I was out there all day.

Most of the plants were herbs, and the more I dug up, the more I discovered (the area was horribly overgrown). There are so many there that I can’t possibly replant all of them, so I cut some to dry because I hate the thought of just letting them go to waste.

The herbs I could recognize (thyme, sage, mint, oregano) but there are so many other plants out there that I don’t have a clue about. What I need is a good plant encyclopedia, one with lots of pictures. Can anyone recommend one?

…longing to spend some much needed time outside.

Allergies and rain have kept me inside for too long.

And when I’m stuck inside, so are these guys.

Which really isn’t fair.

But things are looking up for the holiday weekend. Maybe we’ll finally be able to get a garden in. Here’s hoping!

Remember the metal stool I told you about?

I bought it.

And look at what else I found while I was there:

It’s an unfinished quilt top. The tag said the fabrics were from the 20’s, but I don’t know enough about vintage fabrics to know if that’s correct.

I do know that it’s old and that I absolutely love it.

Though I have no idea what I’m going to do with it (I’m not really a quilter).

Any suggestions?

Last night J and I saw Tommy Emmanuel at The Music Mill. Amazing guitarist – amazing performer – awesome experience…I’m so glad I went (even though it was on a Tuesday and I had to rush out of work to get there).

You can hear his music here, or watch a video here. I highly recommend seeing him live if ever given the opportunity.

**photo courtesy of www.tommyemmanuel.com**

Has it really been three days since I last posted? How is that possible? I can’t believe that I could miss three whole days of the challenge….but apparently I did, so here’s what’s been going on:

  • Saturday J and I had some rental house business to take care of so we went back to the old homestead. It was a last minute trip, so we were both thrilled when we ran into and got a chance to hang out with a couple really good friends for the afternoon. The only bad thing was that for some reason my allergy medicine decided to quit working Friday afternoon, so I was fighting itchy, watery eyes and an itchy, sneezy nose. Just to give you an idea of how bad it was, we stopped at the local Humane Society’s annual rummage sale (being held in the goat barn at the fair grounds), and despite the multiple vintage embroidered wall hangings, basket of sewing patterns, and cute little mushroom salt and pepper shakers, I ended up leaving empty-handed because the only thing I could even think about was getting back to the box of tissues in the car. Damn allergies! We did have a great time with friends though, so the day was, overall, a good one. And that very same dear friend gave me several plants to add to my garden, which I am very excited about. (They’re in the ground and appear to be thriving – Thank you so much, Angie!)
  • The allergy situation hasn’t gotten any better, and I have way too much to do (things involving dust and dog hair) to be bothered with this crap, so part of my job for today is to try to find a new doctor and come up with a new solution. J keeps suggesting I get more information about allergy shots, but to be honest, the idea of getting regular shots for my allergies scares the heck out of me. Do any of you have to deal with this? Do the shots really work better than medicine?
  • Part of the reason I have so much to do is that another very good friend of ours is returning from an extended stay in China at the end of this month and is planning on staying with us (off and on) until he gets re-settled here in Indiana. We’re so excited to get to spend time with him again, and to eventually meet his new wife! But unless I get busy straightening up this house, he’s not going to want to hang around for long, at least I wouldn’t if I were him.
  • Speaking of straightening up the house, we FINALLY got the office finished. Well, maybe finished isn’t the right word. There are a lot of things that we still want to do, but it is at least functional. I’ll have some before-and-after pics soon.
  • With the office done, we can finally move on to the next big project: the garden. Yesterday J and I went to sears and dropped a considerable chunk on a few necessary tools to get the yard under control. We’re planning a (very) small garden this year. In fact, I’ll be happy if all we get planted is a tomato plant or two. My bigger concern is dealing with all of the overgrown plant life, the chipping paint on the deck, and the rotting wood around the existing beds (among other minor problems). It’s a big yard and therefore a big job…and unless my allergies get better, I’m gong to be worthless to J.

I think that pretty much covers it, and since I obviously have plenty of work to do around here, I better get to it. Till tomorrow!

Somehow I managed to spend my entire morning sitting right here in front of my computer reading blogs and being inspired. And even though I probably should feel guilty about all the things I could have spent this time doing, the truth is that I don’t. What I have been feeling might best be described as “giddiness.” That’s right; I feel giddy as a school girl about some of the things I’ve come across today, and that’s not a feeling I profess to have very often. So, in the hopes of spreading this affection, I thought I’d share a few of these goodies with all of you.

  • Holly from decor8 is currently sharing some gorgeous images from the German design magazine Wohn Idee. And despite the fact that I can’t read a lick of German, I couldn’t resist heading over to their website and clicking around all willy-nilly style. I am in love with what I’ve seen so far, and I’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s there! Here are a few examples:

    I love how the rooms are filled with contemporary pieces, yet manage to still feel warm and cozy like more traditional design tends to make me feel. This is something I have been struggling to accomplish in my own very traditional home.

    It reminds me a lot of the hoop.de.doos from Etsy seller Littleprettystudio, so if you don’t feel like making one yourself, you can head over there and pick one up pretty cheap.

There were several other things that added to the giddiness of my morning (most of which came from Martha), but if I spend any more time here I’m going to risk seriously upsetting everyone else who has to live in this currently very dirty house (namely J). I hope these things inspire you as much as they have me!

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On a side note, I noticed that I have seriously neglected the links sidebar on this blog. While there are only 5 blogs listed here, I currently have 81 feeds in my Bloglines account! I must make a mental note to remedy the situation…on a day when I haven’t spent so much time reading those blogs.

Finally, a trip to Goodwill pays off. I stopped there yesterday on a whim, hoping beyond hope to find a very particular type of picture frame for a very particular project I have in mind. I found two, but since they seemed a little pricey for Goodwill merchandise ($9.99 each) I only brought home one of them.

Thrifted Picture Frame

Then, as I turned around to leave the store, I saw this out of the corner of my eye:

Heywood Wakefield Chair

A Heywood-Wakefield dining chair! And it was only $6! The condition isn’t perfect, but with a good cleaning and new material for the seat it will make the perfect visitor’s chair for the office…if we ever get the room finished.

When we decided to buy this house, one of the things I loved most about it was (and still is) the amount of storage space it has. There are closets everywhere! It’s an organization-obsessed person’s dream. That’s why I am so ashamed to have to admit that I have made very poor use of what I’ve been given. I’ve written about this problem before, and despite my best intentions, I haven’t made much of a dent in the organizational nightmare that is our home. But I am determined to change! So when I sat down last night to spend a few minutes with my much-neglected magazine pile, I nearly leaped out of my seat upon seeing the cover of June’s Real Simple Magazine. “99 Low-Cost Organizing Ideas” – Perfect! (You can read the article here.) And since there’s no better way to keep myself honest and motivated than by posting something here (so that the guilt of not following through is unbearable) I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites from and inspired by the list:

For some time now I have been looking for a dry goods storage system like the Tupperware version my mom always had…you know, stackable, clear plastic containers with airtight lids for flour, sugar, nuts, pasta, etc. At this point you’re probably wondering, “Why doesn’t she just buy Tupperware?” Well, I would gladly buy Tupperware, but you can only buy sets with blue or red lids, neither of which would match my kitchen…and yes, J if you’re reading this, things like that most certainly do matter. But finally, thanks to Real Simple, I think I may have found what I’ve been searching for – Oxo POP Containers. Granted, they cost a little more than I had hoped to have to spend, but at this point, I’m just happy to find something that matches all my criteria (square, stackable, comes in a plethora of sizes, and has lids that are not decor specific).

J can attest to the fact that this in-drawer spice rack from Brylane Home should be at the top of our shopping list.

This will be the perfect solution to my jumbled bakeware cabinet: a MadeSmart bakeware holder from Sears. Who knew there was such a perfect way to store all those muffin tins and cake pans that never seem to stack together?!

I bought one of these Simple Human grocery bag trash cans a while back and love it! But I hadn’t seen this version before today. So convenient! I think I might need one for the bathroom.

I’m definitely ordering a couple of these cable turtles for the office (once it’s finally finished). There are few things I hate more than the piles of tangled cables that inevitably end up cluttering the area around any computer desk.

Last but not least, I love the idea of having a charging station for all our electronic gadgets in the mudroom, and although I’m not sure this one is the perfect one for our needs, I do love that it comes in green.

I hope these things inspire all of you to do a little spring organizing in your own homes – And if you do, I’d love to hear about it!

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