Sometimes You Never Know

Today it rained.  All.  Day.  Long.  The kind of slow rain that makes you want to crawl back in bed and stay there.  I really wanted to but not just because of the rain but because I got a new fabulous quilt and it makes my bed oh so cozy.

I've had my eye open for a spring green quilt for a while.  It is one of my favorite colors and I thought it would add some much needed color to my very white bed.  As luck would have it, I found one at HomeGoods during a recent trip to Atlanta.  I got it not really knowing if it would work on my bed but I loved the color so much that I figured if I didn't use it in my room I could put it on Claire's bed.

Well, I got it home and on the bed and couldn't be happier with it.  It adds a great punch of color but is still balanced out with the white pillows and duvet.  Also, you can't really tell in the picture but my headboard and dust ruffle are navy not black so the green combined with the stripes makes for a very preppy look that I adore.

Here's a little secret about design...sometimes decisions are just a shot in the dark.  You have an idea but aren't really sure if it will work or not until you see it.  In these situations my advice is to stick with what you love.  If you love a certain color, go with it.  If you are drawn to a picture or piece of art, it will work no matter where you put it.  Don't be afraid to try things!  If it doesn't work in the space you intended, if it is something that you love, more than likely it will work somewhere else in your home.

So be daring!  Don't be afraid to make mistakes decorating.  Trust me, even the professionals make mistakes but they learn from them and never have them photographed.



Spring Break or Something Like It

could have been here last week but wasn't

Last week my hubby was on spring break.  For him it was a week off from work, for me it was a week of disrupted schedules.  We had lots of fun, got tons of projects done and Claire really loved Daddy being home but now I'm in recovery mode.  Getting back to my normal schedual of cleaning, playing and blogging is a little rough but I'm working on it.

The good news is I have tons of projects to share with you this week so stay tuned for some pure decorating awesomeness.  As for me, I need a rest after writing this post because in the time it took me to type these few short sentences I've had to make french fries, untangle a brush from Claire's ratty morning hair and save her from faling off the back of the couch.  Just another day in the life of me.

~ Andrea


Spring Cleaning - Paper Clutter

This is week 2 of Project: Simplify over at Simple Mom.  The hot spot for the week is paper clutter.  Paper is a problem for a lot of people.  It is easy to acumulate, seams to multiply on its own and can be hard to organize if you haven't found a system that works for you.

I was a little relieved with this challenge because I don't have much paper clutter to begin with.  I have taken steps over the years to rid my desk and my house of all things paper so I thought I would share my system for a paper free home.
  • Sort mail as soon as it comes into the house.  Recycle sales flyers and other unimportant junk mail, Shred credit card offers and anything else that could get you into trouble and File bills in my home notebook until the first of the month.
  • Set up for paperless billing and automatic withdrawl.  This makes paying bills a breeze.  I just record the amount in my spreadsheet and thats it.  Because of this I only have one or two paper bills each month to keep up with.
  • Keep a folder for household information.  It's not something I look at often but I keep current insurance statements, mortgage information, medical information, tax stuff, etc. in a 3 ring binder so that it is easily accessible but out of the way.
  • Pay in cash.  Since quiting my job I have switched to a cash only budget.  It helps me to not overspend which is easy to do when paying with plastic, even a debit card.  Another up side is that I don't have to keep up with reciepts.  If you are anything like I was reciepts are a big part of the paper clutter in your house.
  • Keep a small notebook to keep lists.  I leave it on my desk and write everything in it from groceries to books I want to read to websites I want to visit.  It is small enough to put in my purse which is super convenient.
  • Have a family calendar.  Put doctor appointments, play dates, sport schedules, everything on it as soon as the little sheet of paper crosses your door.  This way you don't have to keep up with appointment cards or multiple sheets of game schedules.  It's all in one place.  I also use mine for meal planning so that "what's for dinner" never has to be asked.
Now this is not to say I don't have any paper clutter, I just don't have as much as most people.  I gathered everything up and set it out on my dining room table.

I also have two file boxes that hold past taxes and manuals for things around the house.  I got out my hole punch and label maker and went to work.  First I took everything from 2010 in my home folder and put in its own tax file and put it in the tax box.  With that done I sorted everything else into three piles.  Recycle.  Shred.  File.  With that done I went through my manual box and got rid of everything that we no longer owned which was a lot.  I was able to consolidate my tax box and my manual box with everything that I got rid of.

Within an hour I had everything done and put away.  I also went around the house and rounded up old magazines that were taking up space and put them in the recycle.  Here is my desk after, which isn't a big change from before.

Overall an easy week for me but I'm curious.  How do you tackle paper clutter in your home?  And don't forget to visit Simple Mom on Friday to see how other people tackle their clutter.  You may get a few ideas.



Managing My Serventless Household

I recently read The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it especially if currently live in or grew up in the South.  It is about a young white woman who decides to write a book of stories from the lives of the black maids in her hometown.  To make it even better it is set in the early sixties right at the height of the civil rights movement.

While I got the whole civil rights aspect of the book what really struck me was how well these maids cleaned, cooked and raised the white ladies kids and then went home and did the same thing for their own families.  These women worked hard (I mean they polished silver at least once a week, who does that!) and I kept wondering what it would be like to have my own maid.  Someone I could leave a list of chores for and have them done by the end of the day on top of all the regular cleaning and cooking that had to be done. 

Then it hit me...I'm my own maid!

I consulted Amy Vanderbilt and, while I now know how to address correspondence to the Queen of England without fear of being beheaded, she gave little advice on the proper way to clean and keep a house. 

So I decided to make my own list.

I started by writing down everything that I wanted done during the week from moping and dusting to laundry and dishes.  I went through the list and marked things that needed to be done everyday like wiping down counters and making the beds.  Then I went through the rest of my chores and assigned them to a day of the week.

You may think I'm crazy and that this is extreme OCD but it really has made my housekeeping simpler.  I only spend about an hour a day cleaning, which I try to do in the morning while Claire is glued to her cartoons.  Everything gets done and I feel more productive.  Plus, I have way more free time during the day to play which is always more fun.

I realize that not everyone gets to stay at home and tackle a list everyday but try giving yourself just a few chores in the evening on top of your normal routine.  By the time Saturday comes you'll be glad you don't have to spend all day cleaning.  And with your extra free time might I recommend reading The Help by the pool with a fruity drink in hand.  It's a nice way to spend a day.

~ Andrea


Whatcha Think?

Been working for a while on a new header for the blog and finally got exactly what I wanted even though I didn't know it at first.  Now I would love to take credit for the awesome graphic design but I can't.  I owe it all to my dear friend Kim Reid.  She is a graphic designer by trade, a stay-at-home mom, sorority sister, former roommate and all around awesome friend.  My sincerest thanks to her for listening to my random ideas and creating something wonderful from the chaos.

So what do you think?

Oh, and if you need some graphic design help yourself (blog, business cards, invitations, etc.) email me and I'll hook you up with Kim's contact info.

~ Andrea


Spring Cleaning - Master Closet

Spring has sprung and the urge to clean and freshen my house has hit hard.  I have been a busy bee this week cleaning out and organizing my wardrobe and I've also been doing a little painting and rearranging in the living room.

I've had "clean out closet" on my to-do list for some time but this week Simple Mom started her Project: Simplify and the first hot spot was the master closet so I figured now was as good a time as any.

Here is what I started with

The key to cleaning out a closet is to work quickly.  The more time you give yourself to think about if you want to keep something to more likely you are to keep it and not get rid of anything which is pointless.  I worked hard and fast.  I started with my hanging items and decided immediately that I wanted to store all of my dress pants and shirts that I used often when I worked in a showroom everyday.  Now not so much but they are classic pieces and if I decide to re-enter the workforce one day I won't have to build a wardrobe from scratch.  I pulled all of these things and put them in a pile.  Next I did a quick scan and pulled everything I haven't worn in the past year and made another pile.  Then I went through the rest piece by piece and quickly decided if it was a keep or give mainly based on how well it fit.  Then I pulled out all of my shoes and lined them up and pulled down all of my folded things and other junk from the upper shelf.

After an hour this is what I had

store and give piles

my shoes minus nine pairs of flip flops

kept items neatly hung and arranged

My next task was to go through my shoes.  This was the hardest part.  I love shoes.  I don't want any of them to go but some were past their prime so off they went.  I have always stored my more formal or dress shoes in plastic boxes so I decided to do the same with some of my "work shoes" that still go with things I wear but not ones I go to everyday.  I ran into a small problem with keeping all of my shoes together because I have a shoe lover in training who kept stealing pairs I was trying to put up.

After a quick trip to Lowe's and Walmart to pick up a few containers, I was able to put everything back and I am very pleased with my finished project.

In the top cubby I made a little make shift jewelry box for myself.  I don't wear much so I don't need a lot of space so this worked out perfectly.

If you are wondering the little flower plates were a wedding present (I got a total of 7 from different people).  When I got them I thought they were cute but I had no clue what they were used for.  I'm not sure if holding jewelry was their intended purpose but they do a pretty good job.

The closet I did in a few hours on Tuesday.  On Wednesday I went through my half of the dresser and my night stand which took me as long as the closet did but I was dealing with a lot less stuff.  Go figure.  It's done and I'm happy I get to check something off my to-do list.  I would love to paint or wallpaper my closet but baby steps.

You may be saying, "hey, Andrea you forgot the other half of your closet!"  No!  That is Chris' side and I have tried to make him part with clothing and it is a battle I'm not up for right now.  I may have more shoes but that boy has more clothes than SJP.

So tell me!  Has spring fever hit you yet?  Is there a project that you just can't wait to tackle?  If you cleaned out your wardrobe with me this week share your before and afters on my Facebook page!

~ Andrea


5 Kitchen Essentials

These everyday items are useful and will add a designer touch to any kitchen.  Every kitchen has its staples and from the viewpoint of design, these are mine.

1.  Wood Cutting Board - It will add a warm wood element to your kitchen especially if you have painted cabinets.  Plus, all the cool chefs have one.  Put some mineral oil on it every once in a while so it doesn't dry out and the oil keeps all the icky germs from taking up residence.

2.  Flour Sack Towels - An everyday must have.  I have a drawer full of kitchen towels but these are my favorites.  They don't leave lint all over your dishes and they dry almost instantly.  You can get plain white ones just about anywhere or you can splurge and get cute ones like this.  Available HERE.

3.  Wood Spoons - I love wooden spoons!  I use them everyday.  Not only do they look good but they are great to cook with.  They won't scratch your cookware and, like the cutting board, you can oil them up and they will last forever.

4.  Greenery - Plants add life to a space.  I know your kitchen is probably full of "life" but seriously try putting some herbs in the window or a little vase of flowers by the sink.  My mom always had an aloe plant in the kitchen.  Since plants quake in their roots at the thought of me taking care of them, I have some very nice fauxliage that I picked up from Ikea.  I can't kill it and it looks nice.  Nuf said.

5.  Large Basket or Bowl - These are a very nice way to keep things like onions, potatoes or any other veggies or fruits reined in.  No matter what you fill it with it will instantly become a decorative and practical fixture.

~ Andrea