S & C

I don’t consider myself to be a crafty person. An artist, yes. Crafty, no. There is a difference but don’t ask me to explain it because I can’t. Kind of like the difference between jelly and jam or muffins and cupcakes. Everyone knows they’re not the same thing but does anyone really know why? (If you do, keep it to yourself or you’ll ruin everything.)

Despite my crafting deficiencies, I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of it lately. I spiffed up a lamp shade, repainted some mirrors and snazzied up a stool.

And now I’ve gone and done it again.  

See, most of our efforts on the house have been concentrated either on the first floor, since that’s what most people will see, or Isabella’s room. Our bedroom has gone pretty untouched. Then I stumbled across this blog post and was inspired.



Aren’t those awesome? We all know how much I love Samson. What better way to honor him than by placing his beautiful silhouette front and center on our wall? That started the wheels turning and before long, I was digging out my trusty can of spray paint again.

There are many ways you can do this project. You can trace an outline of your pet on the canvas and then paint around it. You can put a stencil on the canvas and spray paint over it. You can make it all up on the computer, print and frame it. Or you can do what I did, which seemed the easiest: spray paint your canvas whatever color you want. Print out a pic of your pet that measures the right size and then cut it out with an Xacto knife. Cut it out again on white archival paper and then glue it to the canvas with spray adhesive. The whole thing took me about an hour from start to finish (not counting drying time of the paint).

Here’s the result:


I so LOVE how it turned out!

Isn’t he regal? 

But why stop there? While I was at it, I did a silhouette of Isabella too! Can’t play favorites with your kids you know!


LOVE! Love! Love! That pose is very indicative of her personality too. Always heads down figuring stuff out.

Remember in my post from Sunday how I mentioned spray painting an “S” and a “C”? Well, those went up on the wall with these beauties!

And now for the big reveal!


Ta da! At first I was worried that it was too much black and white. But now I love the graphic nature of it. High contrast with a hint of color in the red ribbon gives our room a slight edge, so it’s not too “fluffy” (I’m not a very fluffy person).


Pretend there are curtains on the windows. This shot would look much better with curtains. I had planned to have some up by now but Target thwarted my plans. It’s a long story. Suffice it to say I bought 2 sets of curtains from there only to have to return all of them for one reason or other. I finally settled on some from JCPenney, which of course were on back order. They should be in our possession some time in May.


I also like how the black/white above the bed ties in with the black frames on the adjoining wall. I have read over and over that you can unify pictures just by keeping the frames consistent. So the rule in our house is black frame, white matte. Always.

I’m super happy with how it turned out. In my head, I had pictured hanging the letters by the red ribbon. But when I went to implement, I didn’t like it. So I went with this instead. MUCH better.

I’m also happy that CJ’s didn’t have a name that started with “M” or our bedroom would take on a whole other theme…

Oh, and another “crafty” project I did a while back but forgot to share was this –


I needed some sort of yellow tray to put on the dining room table to bring more of the sunny color into the room. Then I read in a magazine that you could take an empty frame and put fabric in it to make a tray. Voila!

It just so happened that I had some fabric leftover from reupholstering the dining room chairs so I used that! It worked out beautifully!


All right, that’s enough “Craft Time with Sarah”. I’m really excited about how all these house projects are turning out and love sharing them with you! I hope it gives someone else inspiration too!

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29 Day Organizational Challenge – All done!

Look out Martha!


This weekend was full of projects. I’ve had a few things in mind I’ve been wanting to do for a while PLUS I got a few things at Goodwill recently that needed a little TLC. I finally decided to bite the bullet and just get to work.

These mirrors I found at Goodwill a month or so ago.


Both are in great condition and a good size (the small one was $2.99 and the big oval one was $4.99). I wasn’t in love with the color though so I bought some spray paint and got to work. The little one was going to be black and the big one white, which would go in Isabella’s room so she’d have a mirror at her level. Wasn’t quite sure where to put the little one but figured black was a pretty safe color that could go anywhere.

I started by taping over the mirror with newspaper so it would stay clean.


Then set them up outside, on some more newspaper, so that I’d be working in a well ventilated area and wouldn’t have to worry as much about overspray.

Here they are after the first coat.



As you can see, it would take me several coats to fully cover them.

Getting closer…



I didn’t count the number of coats but I think it was about 5 for each.

Here they are in their final state, hung up to enjoy!

The big white one went in Isabella’s room, next to the door so that she could see herself after getting dressed.


I ended up putting the little black one by the front door to use as people are coming/going and want to check their hair, make-up, hats, etc.


I’m really happy with how they turned out and both were super easy.

Another painting project from yesterday was this stool I got at Goodwill for $4.99.


It’s the perfect size for Isabella’s playroom (and we needed one to help her reach some books). The natural wood color was ok but didn’t really go with the theme of the recently redone playroom. So, I got out my trusty white spray can!

Here it is after one coat.


It took about 5 or 6 coats for this as well, due to all the little divots of the wood and wanting to get those filled in.

Here’s the final product, set up in it’s new home.


Isabella already loves it and will pick it up and carry it around to various rooms!

While I was spray happy, I took on some wooden letters. See, I want to put an “S” and “C” up on the wall above our bed and I’d like to put at “I” above Isabella’s! I happened to find a wooden “S” at Goodwill for $.99 (see a pattern here?) so all I had to do was buy a “C” and an “I”. Isabella helped me pick them out. She wanted a glittery pink “I” for her room. While I could have made one myself, I opted to just buy one that was already done.

Here it is hanging on her wall.


Not the greatest pic but you get the idea.

The “S” and “C” had to be painted though because they were plain white.


I painted them black so that they’d stand out from our bedroom wall (which is a light tan) and provide some good contrast. Of all the painting projects that took place yesterday, they were the easiest. 2 coats later and they were done!

You’ll have to wait for the final reveal on those as I want to show them as part of the finished bedroom wall. More to come on that this week!

I also fixed up our living room lamp yesterday. The lamp itself was another Goodwill purchase made over the summer and it cost $14. The shade however was on it’s last legs. It worked for a while, until Isabella knocked in to it a couple weeks ago and broke it beyond repair. So, I bought a new lampshade (no, not from Goodwill…from Target…geesh).


It was a nice lampshade. Contemporary, with the cylinder shape and made of burlap, but a tad boring. So, I bought a clearance roll of ribbon from Michael’s and got to work. I basically took some spray adhesive and sprayed the top of the shade, as well as the back of the ribbon, and then just laid the ribbon around the top. It took me all of 5 minutes to complete.

Ta da!



I really like it. The change is subtle but enough to give it personality. I plan to add another ribbon along the bottom but I ran out and have to go buy more.

Finally, I tackled the kitchen pantry.

Here is the “before” shot.


Things were randomly jumbled in there and it was getting harder to find things.

I started by taking everything out and categorizing it – cereal, baking supplies, cooking, snacks, etc. Then I looked at each group and further sub-categorized (for example, in “snacks”, we had crackers, bars, bagged stuff and candy). Each category then got contained in a bin of some sort, labeled and put back on the shelf.

Here’s the after.


Look at how much more room we have! And it’s nice because some of the staples that I use for cooking or baking are corralled all together so I can just pull out the whole bin and have everything handy! Oh, and of course I got the bins at either Goodwill (for $.39 each) or the Dollar Store.

Here are a few more pics of items that I’ve ‘scored’ recently while thrift shopping!

This circle-patterned pillow ($3.99) on the living room couch.


Some summer shoes for Isabella ($2.99 each).


Some scarves and a vest for me (scarves $3 each and the vest was $5.99).


AND this toddler chair for Isabella to use at the table instead of her high chair (which I’ve been wanting to get rid of for a while)!


This was a huge score. We found it at a used children’s place for $5.50 (normally they can be in the $20-$30 range)! She absolutely loves it too! We also found a potty seat for when we start potty training. It was also way marked down to $5.50 (and it’s a nice one that converts from a self-contained potty, to a stool and seat that goes on the adult potty).

Well there you go – that was my Saturday! Seems like a lot for one day – and I guess it was – but most of it was quick. The painting takes a few seconds to put on one coat. It’s the drying that takes the most time. The pantry was the biggest project, which I knocked out during Isabella’s nap.

I LOVE it when ideas from my head come out in real life just as I pictured them to! And it feels even better knowing they were all thrift store finds (the most money I spent was on the spray paint at $6 a can. Considering I got 7 things painted using 3 cans, I think it was still a good deal)!

Now I’m off to play outside with my sweet daughter and handsome hubby!

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29 Day Organizational Challenge–All Done! {#29DOC}

Well, it’s the end of the month and therefore the end of the 29 Day Organizational Challenge I participated in (you can recap my progress here, here and here).

I’m really glad I participated in this challenge as it forced me to get moving on a room that I was continuing to put off. It now looks SO much better and I’m really pleased with how it turned out!

What room did I organize?

I chose Isabella’s playroom because it’s the first room you see when you walk in the house and it has a lot of “stuff” so it needs a good system.

Here are the before pictures:




Eeh gads.

I’ll give you that I took these pics on a particularly messy day but unfortunately, those messy days were becoming more the norm. With no real system in place, cleaning up seemed like such a laborious task. One that I was often too tired to bother with.

My goals with this room were pretty simple. Basically, I wanted to simplify, organize, coordinate with the adjoining dining room, and do it all without breaking the bank. I’d say I achieved all those goals, which feels great!

Here are the steps I took to ensure I completed the space in the 29 day timeframe: 

1.  I started out by making a plan of everything I needed to do to get it done, making sure to include my goals. I wanted to set up a course of action that would make sense and be doable. It wasn’t anything complicated. Literally my plan looked like this:


1. Simplify so that the room looks less cluttered

2. Use vertical space better

3. Unify color scheme with dining room so that the 2 rooms complement each other.

4. Visually separate the 2 rooms while still allowing for easy movement between them.

5. Keep costs down – try to use what we have first before buying


1. Paint cube organizer shelf white or use contact paper or find another shelf

2. Paint the canvas storage bins blue and yellow OR buy cheap new ones (around $15 for a set of 2)

3. Empty both LEGO bags into one of the canvas bins. Use remaining plastic bags for storage in basement.

4. Give each bin a distinct purpose and put labels on them

5. Put stuffed animals in ottomans and use the toy box for storage in basement  


1. Bench/ottoman

2. Possibly new canvas bins if painting doesn’t work

2. Next step was taking inventory of everything in the playroom and decide what to keep and what to purge (either trash or donate). Items that were kept were either relegated to storage (if they were something Isabella had outgrown but we wanted to keep for the next kid) or remained in the playroom.

3. Then I bought some new storage bins and ottomans and figured out a system of what goes where, labeling each one.


4. I also used a shelving unit we had in the basement to reorganize and “pretty up” her books, which also gave us more vertical space to play with.


After that it was a matter of re-evaluating how things were working and make adjustments. One thing that was bothering me were all the medium to large sized toys that were sitting out with no real “home”. I looked around and realized that the buffet we have in the dining room was full of junk and would be a perfect place to hide toys not in use. All I had to do was clean it out!


This picture gives you an idea of how the drawers were being used before.


Most had random toys, books, games, tablecloths, etc. in them, with no rhyme or reason. I went through each drawer and got rid of, moved or organized what was in them. Here’s that same drawer after my cleaning.


I was actually able to free up enough space to put several of Isabella’s bulky toys inside the cabinets of the buffet!


When the doors are closed, you wouldn’t even know there is a Sesame Street house and pirate ship in it!

After putting up some curtains, laying down a rug and finding some decorative items to finish off the room, we were all done!

Now for the big reveal!

Here are the “after” shots of the whole playroom!


I love how it still looks open and airy, yet there is a clear separation between the 2 rooms. It also feels grown up in all the right ways (like with the curtains, valances, rug, canvas bins and ottomans) while also having just the right amount of kid appeal.


(It’s a good thing Samson coordinates with the color scheme of the room!)


I also love how the dining room remains its own space yet the 2 rooms tie in together nicely (and the buffet hides some toys and coloring books)!

Close up of the bins/containers along with some decorative elements on top of the shelf (frame and flowers from Goodwill, lamp on Clearance at Target)


Finished bookshelf (2 items on top shelf on 80% off clearance at Kohl’s, yellow frame on clearance at Target, blue candle moved from another room). The Muppets paintings were actually done by my grandfather and given to me when I was 3! Such a cherished treasure!


What was the hardest part of the challenge?

Getting started! At first it seemed really overwhelming. I’m the type of person who wants to do it ALL right away but didn’t have the time or energy to knock it out in one afternoon. But once I made my plan and had a good place to start –as well as a vision of upcoming steps – it made it seem much more doable.

One of my proudest moments during the challenge…

…was when I saw my 2-year old daughter using the bins and figuring out where things went. Thanks to the labels having both words and pictures on them, when I told her to help clean up, she knew that her little cars went in the “little toy” bin and her blocks went in the “blue blocks” bin. She also thinks the “secret compartments” in the buffet are super cool. That’s when I knew the effort had been worth it and that this system would work!

If I had to give anyone advice as they begin their organization journey, I would say…

Make a plan and start small. As I said before, getting started is the most daunting part because it’s hard to know what exactly to do and what will work. Take a few days to think about it and write down a plan of action – including what you want to change in the space, what you want to get rid of, what you need to add (e.g. containers or labels) as well as what your final vision is. Also include the baby steps you’ll take to get there. Once you have that, the rest just falls in to place!

There you have it! A finished playroom – organized, tidy and still beautiful!

Next up for me? The kitchen pantry! I already got a head start today by snagging 5 bins from the Goodwill (for $.39 each)! Look out pantry, here I come!

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29 Day Organizational Challenge: Progress Update 2 {#29DOC}

If you don’t know what the heck the 29 DOC is, you can catch up by reading here and here.

Now, 2 weeks in to the challenge, it’s time for another update.

We actually got a TON done over the weekend. In fact, I’m nearly done!

As a reminder, here is a BEFORE shot:


And here are my goals for this project:

1. Simplify so that the room looks less cluttered

2. Use vertical space better

3. Unify color scheme with dining room so that the 2 rooms complement each other

4. Visually separate the 2 rooms while still allowing for easy movement between them

5. Keep costs down – try to use what we have first before buying

Last week we de-cluttered, bought some new canvas storage bins and some new ottomans to use for seating and storage.


This week we re-arranged, organized, re-labeled and decorated.

It was a job that took the whole family. I wanted to put in a new bookshelf (well, new to this room. It’s a shelving unit we already had from the old house that was just sitting in the basement here), hang up some valances I had ordered weeks ago that finally arrived, re-arrange the remaining furniture and toys and re-label the canvas bins. To do all this, we first had to move out a bunch of stuff.

Most of it ended up on the dining room table.


CJ got to work drilling holes in the shelving unit. We wanted to attach it to the wall to make sure Isabella couldn’t pull it over.


Isabella helped too by trying on Daddy’s safety glasses.


Once the shelf was installed, the books were moved over and we started hanging the curtains.


Then it was a matter of moving stuff around until it looked right to me. There was no real process for this part, just trial and error.

Here are the bins with their new labels.


These canvas bins don’t have a slot to put a label so previously I had taped one on. I didn’t really like how that looked though and it didn’t stick real well so I needed something else. I got the idea to make labels out of scrapbook paper and tie them to the handle from another blogger participating in the challenge. I love how they turned out! Oh, and not only did I write what goes in each one, I also put stickers of the items so that Isabella knows (since she can’t read yet)

The white stacking bins are a new addition to the room. They were previously used in Isabella’s old bedroom for clothes because her closet was so small. She didn’t need them in her new room so I repurposed them down here! I added the yellow and blue paper to the front to make them more decorative and fun and then attached tags similar to those on the canvas bins, for consistency.

Now for the big reveal!



I am really loving how it turned out!

The new corner shelf adds the height I wanted while also utilizing valuable space. The new bins fit in with the color scheme of the dining room to make the 2 rooms more cohesive. And the valances add that extra pop of color that also helps tie the playroom to the dining room! I also love that I was able to use items we already had so I didn’t have to go spend a lot of money! Having the labels on the bins is really working well too and makes clean up a breeze!

We are ever so close to being done!

After living with it for a week, there are a few tweaks I want to make. The books on the corner shelf need some help as right now they’re kind of stuffed on there. There are still many bigger toys sitting out that make it look messy. Not sure yet what to do with those. I also want to add some decorative items to the top shelves of the corner unit, to make it “prettier”, along with a  rug for the floor.

I’m really happy that we’ve come so far so fast though. Definitely feels like we’re over the hump and what remains is simply touch ups.

I’ll be back next Friday with another update!

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I’ve never had a full set of dishes or china. When CJ and I got married, we registered for china but only got 1 place setting. To buy the rest would have been way out of our budget and at the time we didn’t have a need so we took the one place setting back and used the money for other necessities. So, for the 5 years we’ve been married, we’ve been using a mish-mash of dishes. Some were CJ’s from his bachelor days (white with gray stripes and polka dots) and some were from my bachelorette days (white with blue and yellow flowers). Neither were really true to our tastes but buying all new dishes just never made it to the top of the list.

The other day my mom called and asked if I wanted their wedding china. My mom has been using my great-grandma’s china all these years and so theirs had been sitting in boxes. I figured, why not? At the time I didn’t put much thought in to how we would use them – or even if we would. But I figured it was another heirloom from my parents so it would be worth it for that.

Little did I know what treasures would await me.

I finally unpacked the boxes today (there were 2). In it was a full (and I mean full) set of china that they got when first married (40 years ago).


This isn’t even all of it. There are matching tea cups and saucers too that I didn’t get out because I know we wouldn’t use those. I couldn’t even believe how much there was. 2 platters? A gravy boat? The cool part is that the pattern on the dishes is very close to what CJ and I had registered for way back when. I guess it was meant to be!


Oh and that cloth you see is a pillow case that my grandma cross-stitched for me many moons ago. Somehow it got left behind when I moved out of my parent’s house years ago so my mom tucked it in with the china for me. That was a lovely surprise!


It’s hard to see there but it has my name sewn in it, along with the flowers.

But wait, there’s more!

I also found a few other dishes from a different china set.


I called my mom and it turns out these are remnants of a set her grandmother had. My mom has the tea cups and saucers that go with it and thought that was all there was. She had forgotten about the additional pieces tucked away. There were 5 plates, that lid pictured above and a couple other small bowls. I get to keep those too and will get half of the cups when my parents die (my sister will get the other half). I’ll probably put them in our china hutch once we haul it up from the basement (any strong guys out there want to volunteer to help us do that?)

On top of that, I also found these in the box:


My mom has no idea where they came from. Probably from either her mom or grandma. As fate would have it, they exactly match the platter I bought on clearance at Target just the other day, which perfectly matches the colors of our dining room!


I love happy accidents!

After unpacking those 2 treasure chests of goodies, I emptied out our dishes cabinet and filled up a box for Goodwill of the mixed up stuff we had. The china was washed and put in the cupboards for every day use. I decided to do that, instead of keeping them stored away, because I want to appreciate them every day. What good does it do to have china if it doesn’t get used? Besides this gives us a full set of matching dishes, which makes me feel really grown up!


Isn’t it pretty?

(The multi-colored bowls are for Isabella or when we need something that isn’t breakable.)

I’m so excited for all my great finds today. I love that not only do we have a full matching set of dishes now but that they are heirlooms from my parents. I also love the pieces I found of my great-grandmas and the mystery blue cream and sugar jars. Such an unexpected treat for a Saturday!

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