Here is the picture of my electrical box--the only substantial magnetic surface I have in my house. It's in the laundry room and I've used it as an area to display the kids' art from school. They love looking at it when they walk in and out of the back door and are very proud of their creations. Have a great day and a safe Halloween!
This is just for fun. I took this picture about a week ago of the morning glory blooming on our fence. This is a different type of morning glory from most in that the flowers don't fall off at the end of every morning. My friend's mom gave us the roots from her garden, my husband planted them late spring and they bloomed all summer and just got better and better. The vines are on their last leg now, which makes me sad, but I thought this vine was such a wonderful addition to our fence and if you like it you can try it on a pergola, trellis, arbor, fence, etc. I will have to get more info about the specific type and growing instructions--my husband is the gardener.
My kids don't really have an area that's set aside for a playroom although we do have a bonus room/study/playroom where they hardly ever go. As preschoolers I've found they tend to hang out right where we are so that means in the den, kitchen, and breakfast room. All of the art projects take place in these areas and this is why I think that a splat mat is an essential tool that provides a great work space and easy clean up. Here are a few pictures of my kids and their friends having fun with play dough on the splat mat I purchased from my good friend and neighbor who designs them. They can be purchased at samandbellie.com.
This subject I am sure will merit many posts because it is something that moms of little ones struggle with day in day out. What do we do with all of our kids' beautiful drawings and or scribbles? If you are like me, my kids bring home something every day from preschool. Some of these projects are more creative than others. If it is truly something I don't foresee treasuring or if it's covered in glitter, I toss it as quickly as possible without my kids seeing. We also have an area (it's actually the magnetic cover of my electrical box in the laundry room) where we display the art of the week or the season. In each of their rooms I have a box on a top shelf where I put all the other stuff. Eventually I try to weed through this, some of it will go into a scrapbook (nothing fancy, just glue or tape it in) and some of it I will frame. Here I've highlighted a few products I love for preserving artwork. The Pottery Barn Kids Stinson frames (unfortunately for me the red are no longer available) where you can easily slip a piece of art in and out are a fantastic idea. Land of Nod makes cute cables that can be put on a wall for displaying art in a room or playroom. Petite Picasso is a great company that can take your little one's masterpieces and preserve them in book form. This company also sells really cute gifts with an art theme. I love their fat colored pencils and their art "go fish" game. Visit petitepicassobooks.com for more info.
My husband and I were both literature majors and as a consequence we have many a book around our house. The majority of my French books are in the attic, but we have a library of hardbacks in our study and a freestanding bookshelf in our upstairs hallway as well as bookshelves in both kids' rooms. I am often rearranging the shelves so they look tidy and not junked up. I definitely think that shelves in a main living area should have other things besides books, but I think a shelf of just books can look interesting too. In our so called library I have arranged the books by category--most of them are hardbacks. In the upstairs hallway, however, I have just rearranged them by color. This is a recent trend I've read about. I do think that this arrangement is pleasing to the eye although it might make finding a book a little more difficult. What do you think? I think it looks great, seems a little OCD, but it did only take me ten or twenty minutes to do my shelf. The first two pictures are from Rainbow of Books group on Flickr.com, the third is from chezlarsson.typepad.com, and the fourth one is mine.
This is my bookshelf--ok a few are out of order, I'll edit and get back to you. Where are people finding pink books?
Recently I have discovered a wonderful website, Etsy. Through this website you can buy handmade goods from sellers in just about any category--home decor, jewelry, art, etc. It is somewhat similar to Ebay, but all the goods are made by DIYers trying to sell their products via the internet with no overhead costs. The search functions are truly unique. One of my favorites is how you can look for anything using just color as the search word. Today I have highlighted a few products I found that have to do with home organizing. Many of the sellers repurpose materials found in their house to use for storage, decor, etc. To find these products, go to etsy.com and enter "storage containers" as the search word. Oh yeah, the prices are extremely reasonable. I especially love the storage container fashioned out of 70's wallpaper.
OK, we all know how hard it is to keep kids' shelves organized and looking neat. These two pictures are from a project I worked on recently and they show my general organizing principle of keeping like with like. This makes clean up much easier--it's hard work, but I have been working with my kids about putting stuff back where it goes. The two boxes on the shelves in this picture jazzed things up a bit and I got them at Marshall's. I also think it's fun to rearrange shelves now and then depending on the changing interests of the kids. My four-year-old likes to collect things like rocks, shells, sharks' teeth, etc. I am constantly looking for the right containers to store these collections and haven't found them yet. I would like the container to be clear and plastic so they can easily see what's in them. Let me know if you have any ideas...
My husband's aunt is truly a superwoman. She is a mom to twelve-year-old twins, a fabric designer, political activist, awesome cook and entertainer, and an amazing decorator. Her taste in fabrics and design is much to be admired. Below I highlight a few parts of her house, but wanted to focus on the clever way she uses the long hallway that connects the front and back of her house. She has put a long row of hooks for the many jackets to be hung and above has displayed a collection of her kids' hats they wore when younger. This is a great alternative to a crowded coat closet and the hats really give the space character and tell a story. I also love the classic style and how she has hung pictures in her dining room and den.
I am now a stay at home mom but in my former life I was a French teacher--I have my B.A., M.A., and A.B.D. (next step to Ph.D. in French literature). I love teaching and miss it but in the meantime I am enjoying operating a part-time home organizing and design business. Contact me for more info if you are interested!