Friday, January 4, 2013

2012: It All Started With Pinterest

Well...most of it started with Pinterest, anyway.

In December 2011, some of my students told me about this new-ish website called Pinterest that they absolutely loved.  "Don't do it, Ms. Davis, " warned one of them, "It's a time-sucker.  You'll spend all of your time on it and won't get anything done."  Needless to say, her admonition only piqued my interest further.  At that time, I didn't know any of my friends who were on it so I found one of my daughter's friends and begged her to send me an invite.

OHHH...what joy I found looking at all of the brightly colored photos.  I was instantly in love.  However, it was Christmas, so I pinned a few things, made some neat cookies and vowed to get back to the website after the new year.

                                                            My First Pinterest Project

Meanwhile, my husband and I were planning a series of house renovations to make our home work better for our aging family.  When we bought our house in 2007, we had 2 teenage daughters and 3 toddler boys, so we took the five bedrooms and split them in the way that made sense:  1 bedroom for us, 1 for each of the girls, and then 1 for the boys to sleep and 1 for them to play.  This made sense for a long time until Kristyn, my oldest daughter moved out (her room became a guestroom), and the boys outgrew both the playing and sleeping arrangements.  What I mean by this is:  legos, books, arts & crafts and boys' clothing were constantly strewn all over the house giving me the fits and causing lots of yelling and crying.

In addition to my growing frustration with the boys' messes, our youngest daughter was getting ready to graduate and we needed to make space for visiting relatives.  So we came up with a plan that would give us more sleeping room for visitors while still allowing us to make the most of our space on a daily basis.

When I think back, it doesn't seem like it was going to be much work. And it might not have been.  But that tricky little website Pinterest got in my head (and thereby in my husband's) and the next thing we knew...we had an all-out year of room make-overs, renovations, and reorganizations.

Disclaimer:  Some of my ideas were copied directly from pins I saw on Pinterest, while others were variations of ideas from fellow pinners.  During the time that we were doing all of the work, it was like my creative juices were on fire; the more I pinned, the more I did.  And the more I did, the more I came up with my own ideas.

Here's a photoblog of our home improvements in 2012:

First, we changed the guest room into an office.


Then we made the closet for the guest room into a craft room:
This is where I scrapbook, wrap gifts, paint my Christmas village, frame pictures, etc.
(And the best part is, I can make a mess and then just shut the door so no one can see!)

 After the craft room was finished, we went to work on changing the boys' bedroom into a Game Room.  Here's what we started with:
It's a little hard to tell, but basically there was just enough room for three beds and a dresser pushed up against the wall.  Here's what it looks like now:

We transformed the closet in this room into a game closet that works as a storage area for our games and as well as a place for lego-building and storing:

Next, we went to work on the boys' playroom which now had to function as a playroom and a bedroom.  Here's what it looked like before:
Basically, it was a desk area surrounded by various toy boxes around the room.  It was always a mess!  Here's what it looks like now:

The boys' clothes are all contained in their dressers (except for their dress clothes, which we keep in our closet) and their toys are all in their closet so that they can make a mess if they want and I can just shut the door (notice a theme here?).

After getting the boys' areas finished, we really needed to work on the outdoor area, which was totally unusable.  I have tried for hours to find a picture of our original patio, but I can't find one.  Suffice it to say that it was a 10 X 10 block of concrete onto which we couldn't even fit our patio table without knocking the chairs off the sides into the grass.  Here's a picture of what it looked like when we first moved in:

Here's what it looks like now (and yes, my husband poured every inch of concrete himself):
The concrete covers the entire length of the back of the house.  We have a tv in the covered area and a patio table on the outside of the screened in areas.  (By the way, the covered area is the product of two JC Penney outdoor canopies zipped together and anchored to the patio.)

 Next, we needed some major reorganization to our mess.When we moved the desk from the library into the office, we decided that we needed a window seat in the library so that we could lie down and read. Here's what Tom came up with:

Tom made this bench to fit in between the two bookcases perfectly.  Underneath the cushions, the bench opens for storage.  We have magazines and all of our Christmas books in the bench.

Next, I got on a major kick where I just felt like I wanted everything to look neat and organized. (This is most definitely the fault of fellow pinners who made me feel inadequate in my organizing skills.)  Here's some of the highlights of what I did:

This is my makeup drawer.  I used various jewelry boxes and a Sephora perfume sampler for the dividers.  I am happy to say that I did this last Spring and it still looks like this 8 months later!

I put together a travel bag that would hold all of our supplies so I wouldn't have to repack the necessities every time we go somewhere as a family.  This travel bag (purchased at Ross for around $10) holds both first aid and toiletries for my husband, me, and the three boys.  I do not unpack it or take away from it; I just replace used items when necessary.


 I took all of the medicine in a tub in our closet and put it in an over the door shoe hanger so we could actually find what we need quickly and easily.  This was absolutely one of the best improvements of the year.  Nothing is worse than searching for medicine when you have a screaming kid.

You might have noticed that I put shoe hangers in the game room closet, also.  I actually have them all over the house.  I got the idea from a picture on Pinterest where the pinner stored her cleaners in them.  I thought it was such a great idea that I did it, too:

I liked this idea so much that I went on a shoe-hanging spree!  In addition to the lego bag and the medicine holder, I put them in my craft closet and the back of the office door for holding all types of arts and craft supplies as well as wrapping paper, tissue, and bows.

Since we are talking about the laundry room right now, I might as well mention that  we renovated this, too.  The yellow color is new, but most importantly, we put a laundry chute in the boys' bathroom closet so they would stop throwing their clothes all over the place.  Here's the entry-way for the chute:

 And here's where it empties:

I have to admit that the boys still throw their clothes on the floor sometimes.  However, the mess is a lot more manageable than what it was before.

In addition to implementing the organizing ideas on Pinterest, I tried several lot of the home decor crafts and improvements.

First, I loved the idea of putting shelves in smaller bathroom areas, so my husband put one in the master bath toilet room:

 And in the guest bath:
The vase with the painted sticks is also a Pinterest idea.  I mod-podged a cheap vase with acrylic paint and spray-painted some sticks I found in the yard to give the shelf  some pizazz.

I also like the idea of using baskets for shelves so I did this to our master bath more recently:

I also used some crafty pins to get ideas for seasonal decor:

 I painted leaves on canvas for a little touch of Autumn in the master bath (this was before the baskets).
 I spray-painted a leftover pumpkin and made it into a snowman head for the boys' bathroom.
 I took an empty frame and added some scrapbook stuff for an old Autumn picture of the girls.

 An Easter Vase I fashioned after a Halloween Pin.

I took several different pieces of the boys' artwork and put it together in one frame for a summer picture for their bathroom.

I mod-podged a large Family Christmas Photo to a piece of canvas for the fireplace.

I also used some ideas to make gifts for people.

First, for Father's Day, a picture collage of the boys put into a frame with three slots:

Then, a Thank You Gift for my mom:


                                          The Boys' Picture Made Into a Coffee Mug.

And then, end-of-the-year gifts for the teachers:

Our Final Project took place in early December after our youngest daughter moved across the country and right before Tom's parents arrived for a holiday visit.  (And when I say right before, I mean their plane was landing and Tom was finishing laying the last of the flooring!)

Our new guest room:

This is the armoire in the guest room.  It still holds a tv, but I put old family albums along with the boys' keepsake boxes so that when our parents (or the girls) come to visit, they can look at old pictures and reminisce.

Although this blog doesn't show everything we did, it's a pretty good summary.  And although this was a year-long, sustained, joint-effort, we still have a lot more to do....

Next Up:  The Garage!

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