Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: Magical Stain Be-Gone

This week's quick tip comes courtesy of my fabulous sister-in-law.  She shared a solution to a common problem and I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  So, I had to try it myself, and share this cool little gem of a tip with all of you.

Stains.  Always a word with a negative feeling.  And although a ring is a positive sign of eternal love in marriage, an eternal ring on a piece of furniture or counter-top doesn't emote the same level of happiness.

Last week, my sister-in-law and I were chatting about kitchen counter-top options (as we are in the process of selecting ours for our kitchen renovation), and were discussing the pros and cons of each type.  We talked about how overall, our laminate counters held up fairly well over the years of our abuse; we really only had issues with seams, the color/finish that was selected and a few areas where we made the poor choice to skip a cutting board.  She then proceeded to tell me that one thing she appreciates about laminate, is that if they happen to be stained with a ring of red juice or wine, hand sanitizer magically will take the stains away.  Hold the phone.  What did she just say?  Hand sanitizer + red stain = no more stain?  I had to see it to believe it.

I thought about staining my own white laundry room counter top just for the thrill of the experiment, but we all know how silly that sounds.  Then, this afternoon, I spotted a stain that happened on a piece of our furniture back in December.  I had filled a vase with flowers and water and the bottom of the vase was wet enough that it left an awful ring of discoloration on our white furniture top.  I scrubbed, I cried, I scrubbed some more. Gah, so disappointing and sad!  Nothing seemed to work.

When I spotted the stain, I recalled last week's conversation and I started wondering if it was worth testing out the hand sanitizer trick.  Although it is not a laminate counter, it does have a laminate-like finish.  I dabbed some sanitizer in a location of the furniture that was not visible to test things out, letting it sit for about 30 minutes.  The furniture held up to the test with no signs of wear, so I decided to go big or go home.

I applied a generous amount of sanitizer around the ring of the stain.  I then let it sit for 15 minutes.

After my timer went off, I used a soft microfiber cloth to wipe up the sanitizer.  I was surprised to see how about half of the stain was gone!

I tried to scrub a bit, it helped a little but I concluded it wasn't really about the scrubbing action.  I think it was more about the sanitizer just pulling the stain up and out of the furniture.

So, I applied again, for another 15 minutes.

Patience is key.  I did this three times, but in the end, the stain was completely GONE!

So, if you have a stain that you have been frustrated with, I say, give it a whirl.  Do a little research ahead of time, my guess is that there are some surfaces you definitely would not want to try this on, such as solid wood (the key ingredients in hand sanitizer are water and isopropyl alcohol), and always test a small area first.  If you do try it and it works, be prepared to CELEBRATE

Looking for more quick tips?  Check out the entire series here!

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Closet Office Makeover - Panel Process

Although we are trying to spend as much time at the beach with the boys for the final days of summer break, we are also trying to finish up a last minute closet office refresh for our oldest son.

Last winter I decided it was time to do something with Preston's bedroom.  And we started with oodles of love and goals and excitement.  And we got a lot done, such as painting his dresser and nightstand, stripes on his curtains, updating his light fixture and DIY'ing a chalkboard calendar.  And then the holidays came, spring came and went, and we had a great summer.  But Preston's room felt no more attention or love throughout that entire time.  I think I needed to step away and really think about what direction we want to take it {"we" as in him and I}.

But one thing is for certain.  Preston's closet desk space has become victim to a pre-teen boy with zero excitement for organizing.  It is his dumping ground, his puzzle building spot, and a place to draw a picture from time to time.  Last year, he did use it for homework, and expressed that the desk was the perfect place for him since he loves his quiet time.  It just needs that extra attention to make it more functional, and more pleasing to not only work within, but for his room as a whole.

It has become my goal to continue to share our messy spaces.  Sometimes our systems fail, sometimes we get lazy and sometimes we haven't ever given those spaces the attention they need to be successful.  Whatever the case, it all happens around here, and we still have a list of endless organizing to do {wahoooo for me!}.

I give you, a 12 year old boy's closet office.

Although I may break out in nervous sweats and hives when I see his desk space, I will admit, the giant puzzle on the desk makes it look much worse than it is.  It also shows that we have a problem with our puzzle building and storage process {this kid does puzzles non-stop in his spare time, and enjoys doing them in his room where his little brothers won't get at them}.

Not only do I want to help him organize this space, I want to make it feel a bit more mature and "grown up".  So it is our quest to combine super simple storage solutions {meaning, simple to maintain for a boy with other things on his brain}, and something a bit more sophisticated as well.

So first, the sophistication.  We started by emptying out the entire closet, including the built in shelves and desktop.  When we initially installed the cloffice, we didn't select a thick enough piece of MDF for the desktop.  Ultimately, it began to warp over time, so something a bit more sturdy is also on the agenda.

Once the closet was completely empty {sorry for forgetting to snap that photo}, the next step was to plan a paneled wall install.  I have seen a few paneled walls in magazines and even in beautiful blogger homes, so I was excited to give it a try in a smaller space.

No matter which way you dice and slice it, there really is no super simple math solution {that we could come up with}, for creating an absolutely perfect grid wall {especially when multiple sized walls are involved}.

But we did come up with a solution that worked for us, which was something like this:
  • We drew a diagram of what we envisioned the interior of the closet to look like when it was all said and done.  {shown above}
  • Mathematically, we knew each wall would be framed out by the boards {meaning each wall would have trim running along the floor, the ceiling and each edge of the wall}.  Knowing that, we subtracted those boards from the remaining wall area, to determine the placement of the interior grid.
  • We added a complicating step by knowing where the first vertical board would need to run, so the desk would sit tightly against it on the back wall {and things wouldn't fall behind the desk because of the panels}.  If you are just paneling a wall, that step may be avoided.
  • Next we determined approximately how many vertical panels we wanted.  Once we were set on one for the small left wall, three for the back wall and two for the slanted side wall, we could subtract the width of the boards and divide the remainder of space into equal parts.
  • Once we had our vertical boards in, trying to keep the grid visually pleasing and somewhat even, we then used the width of the vertical panels to determine the height of the horizontal panels.

Basically, make a drawing and scribble on it and scribble on it some more until you find all of the right measurements.  Once you have your grid planned, it's all about following it and installing it, which probably took us less time than trying to figuring it out in the first place.

To install:

Because our walls are covered in an oh-so-fabulous orange peel texture {please sense sarcasm here}, we needed to smooth it out.  We figured we had two options, either skimming it smooth with taping mud, or by adding smooth wall panels.  We chose the latter, because we didn't want the walls to be easy to chip and dent.  The panels we purchased were 4' x 8' smooth panel board.

To get the panels cut to width, the hubby propped them on our outdoor table, added a straight edge guide that ran the length of the sheet of paneling, and used his skill saw to cut the edges.  {Yes, we work at night while our children sleep, it's the only way to get things done around here.}

Once the smooth boards were cut to size, we used a heavy duty construction adhesive to place them on the wall.

Bryan only nailed the edges since the perimeter of each panel board was going to be covered by a piece of trim.

Once the paneling was up, next was installing the grid.  This is the first of about a bajillion times throughout the process when I scratched my head.  The hubs and I prove to be opposites on many things construction related {good thing opposites attract, right Paula?}.  He often works on the heavy building stuff while I work on the typing stuff.  That means he works ahead of me, and does things as he would do them, not how I would.  In the end, it always works out, but you can imagine the hysterical conversations we have each time I check in on his progress....

Like when I walked in, and saw all the verticals installed without the trim and ceiling molding in first....

Yep, he installed all the vertical boards first, because they were already the perfect 8 ft height that the wall was, and that meant, he wouldn't have to cut any of the boards down.  My brain, wanted to see the trim on the floor and ceiling done first, but in the end, he said it would all be pieced in nicely and caulked and you would never even notice {fast forward, he was right}.

To install the boards {we used a 3/4" thick x 3" wide x 8' long primed pine boards}, Bryan used his level and brad nailer, and placed them per our pre-planned diagram.

Next came the horizontal boards.  This took a bit longer as he measured and cut each and every board for the width.

He did this because although the vertical board was straight, it could have slight warps throughout, and wanted it to be as seamless as possible.  Every piece was also measured into place by measuring down from the same point at the top.

Cut and repeat.  Again, and again, and again.....

After all of the horizontal boards were installed {again, with the brad nailer}, an hour of caulking each and every board and nail hole came next.  For this, we always select a white, paintable caulk.

This is where my hubby says, "Goodnight my love" and heads to bed.  And I grab the paint brush.

Although in my gut, I thought I probably should prime the walls, I knew I had the paint with the primer built in, and figured it just may take three to four nice thin coats.  I went that route, and was pleasantly surprised that it was almost all covered after the first coat went up!  I used Behr's Burnished Metal {which is the same gray on the upper portion of his walls around the perimeter of his bedroom}.

Backing up a minute, to get that far, I started by using my brush and brushing each vertical and horizontal board, and the inside of each square to ensure I didn't miss any board edges.

Then I followed behind with my mini microfiber roller.

This room has carpet, so I used a paint guide at the bottom and it worked really really well.

And here is the fabulous closet after the second coat.

Yes, I was scratching my head again, just as you are right now.  I couldn't figure out why my hubby went to bed without installing the final panel on the bottom.

He later admit he was trying to take a short-cut, because he thought the base of the desk going in, would supplement the look of the final wall panel.  Oh my, he should know much better than that.  My OCD could never let that happen, you can bet that final wall panel will be going in this weekend.

A few more things worth mentioning.  That incredible desk is actually the DIY console desk we initially built for my studio {don't even get me started on my studio, I am back to wanting to blow it up and start over for the third time}.  Once I realized how awesome the desk would work in Preston's space, I knew it was meant to be.  The beautiful wood with white works so perfectly with the darker walnut shelves above.  Love that we were able to use something we already had.  So knowing we were going to use this desk, we were able to plan the placement of the horizontal grid to line up with the back of the desk.  This ensures nothing can roll off behind the desk due to the recessed grid.

My hubby installed the shelf brackets for me before he went to bed {since he was just getting up to go to work the next day and I wanted to snap pictures in daylight}.  When he installed them, this was the third time I scratched my head {it's amazing I have hair left}.  I probably would have put them flush against the left wall.  He centered them on the grid.  He says, she says.  In the end, I still love how it all turned out.

So, next up:
  • Install, caulk and paint the final grid at the bottom of the closet
  • DIY wall storage options
  • Install lighting
  • Organize, organize, organize
  • Give him a place other than his desk to do and store his puzzles

Anyone else loving the paneled wall look?  Or get into a battle of the sexes situation while working on home projects?

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Reader Space: A Gracefully Organized Closet

Tomorrow we ring in a New Year and I couldn't be more excited for all that lies ahead in 2015!  Later this week I will share some tips for sticking with the resolution to get organized, but today we are sending off 2014 with our final Reader Space feature of the year!

The spaces you organize, create and share always inspire me to get something done in my own home.  Whether it be update a box with decorative paper or clean out an entire drawer, we are always encouraging and motivating one another.  That is what makes this place so magical to me.  So thank you to all of you who submit spaces and share your stories; I really can't wait to see what y'all do next year!

I have always said that by putting a little effort and love into your organizing, you will most likely feel inspired to maintain those systems.  It will also add excitement to your day-to-day routine when you come across those organized moments.  For example, imagine waking up and heading toward your closet in the morning.  It is one of the very first places you will see, and your experience can impact your mood going into the day.  Spending time sifting through piles or feeling frustrated that you can't find your favorite blouse, may instantly put you into a panic mode or leave you feeling disgruntled.  But walking into a space that you have set up to feel like a boutique, a closet that allows you to see at a glance everything you own and a space that is simple to maintain each day, will surely bring a grin to your face.

That is what Maria set out to do.  She blogs over at Graceful Order and is always looking for ways to gracefully take control of her home.  She created a personal closet haven to welcome her and prepare her for each day.  She wanted something simple yet special, and she did a beautiful job achieving that. 

So I asked...

What is the main function of your space?

"My walk-in closet also functions as my dressing room. I need everything easily accessible so that I can dress up and accessorize quickly in the mornings." 

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"The best thing I did was color-coordinate my clothing.   It took a while the first time I did it, but it saves me so much time to know where a certain blouse is, and it even makes putting away laundry faster. Any tip that speeds up laundry duty is a winner in my book! Also, I try not to crowd my closet with items that I no longer wear. If garments are jammed in the closet because they have no room to breathe, they will be more likely to fall of the hanger and putting away clean laundry will be more of a chore."

What items did you find were essential while organizing this space, and why?

"I purchased boxes and containers to store items that were not for regular use.   I also wanted to maximize all the vertical space and I purchased bins from Target, which were perfect for the top shelf. I labeled every bin using a big enough font to know the contents at a glance, especially the ones in the very top. I also purchased kid-sized felt hangers for my pants and that small change gave me more leg room (hehe) to walk around my narrow closet."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"?

"I tried make the space pretty in ways that were also practical. I added a tie organizer to an empty wall to display my chunky necklaces. I also added a tiny plant to bring in some color and "life" to the space. The rug that I added is plush and comfy and the gold stool was not only a practical spot to sit while putting on my shoes, but also a finishing touch to the space."

How has this space impacted your life for the better?

"I lived in my home for almost 10 years before fixing up my closet so I appreciate this set up so much more!   I love being welcomed by this bright and colorful little closet every morning. Also, my morning are so much smoother! The closet stays organized because the systems in there work for me, except of course when I get dressed up for a special event and I try on like 18 outfits before deciding on one (usually the first one that I tried on)."

I learn so much from these features.  Child size hangers to save on space?  Smarty pants! (wink wink)

Another great organized closet to go down in the books!  This closet offers a great use of vertical space, labels in easy-to-read large lettering, less frequently used items stored up top, a cozy spot to sit, a delightful jewelry display, shoe storage galore, color coded clothing system and clothing that she actually enjoys wearing.  So much to love and learn from, I give Maria a standing ovation.

You can read many more details about this gorgeous and graceful closet, over on Maria's blog here.

Now, time for me to go try on 18 outfits myself as we have some celebrating to do tonight!  Happy New Year everyone!

*  All images courtesy of Graceful Order

ATTENTION!!  Wantto be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Havean awesomeorganizingstory to share?  I amlookingforprojects thathave madeapositive impact toyour life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room. Please submityour story andphotos to iheartreaderspace@gmail.com, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited. Please include a description of theproject, including anycosts,inspiration,and how it has changed yourlifeandroutine forthebetter!  Oh,andno worries my friends, we will NEVER judge"before" pictures because thatjustwouldn't be nice!  Only love goeson at thisblog!

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Hooked on Navy!

That is right!  I am so hooked on navy, that I brought it into our main living spaces!

As you may remember, we recently painted our living room to bring more flow to our upper level.  I know it was a shock to many, but we have been so impressed with the difference the gallon of paint made.  Wall to wall space for our kitchen, dining room and living room is about 24 feet wide.  By painting the rooms the same light color, it felt like our space doubled!  Although, after the painting update there was one thing that made it all feel a little lack-luster to me....

The creamy curtains seemed to just disappear into the windows and no longer supported the wall color.  With the green walls they offered a neutral balance, however, with the grey walls their impact was minimal.

Being a deer in headlights with my studio, I ordered a few fabric samples to bring in some color, pattern and softness to the space.  When I received the navy ikat pattern in the mail, I instantly placed it up against the wall in our living room and my gut said, "DO IT!"  I wasn't even really looking for fabric {I actually planned to just paint/stencil our previous curtains}, but it was just so right.  So I ordered twelve yards of the Premier Prints Raji Slub Premier Navy Fabric.  I always get nervous at this point, but I love that fabric.com offers coupon codes, free shipping and the ability to return your fabric if it doesn't work out {not paid to say that, just where I shop for fabric}.

When it arrived, we took a good week to measure, cut and sew up the new panels.  The process was pretty simple for a sewing rookie, however, I will say that a huge table and extra hands were helpful at times.  Four basic sewn rectangles later and we were able to use drapery ring clips to hang the new panels.

We used our previous curtain rods and hung the panels from ceiling to floor.  It makes such a dramatic statement and also gives the appearance of taller ceilings.

We also opted to do the same panels in both the living room and adjoining dining space to unify the feeling and flow between the two areas.

The updated panels brought in SO much warmth!  I can't get over the dramatic impact that the single change made to both spaces.

My favorite view...

The navy seemed to work well with the tealy blues and other accent colors we already had within the two spaces.  And although I was initially more giddy for the curtains to make a statement within the so-light-so-much-white living room, I was a little surprised at how much I loved them in the dining room as well.

And because no post is complete without a before and after, not only does paint make a statement, but apparently curtains do as well!

This morning when I walked up the stairs and entered the living room, my heart literally fluttered.  The room impacts my mood and I am giddy about how it is evolving!

The overall goal for the space was to only make a few minor changes to get a big impact.  We started with a gallon of paint, now added the curtains and the final stage is to address the white built-in with the addition of doors and a rustic wooden top.  Can't wait to see how that warms things up even more!

Navy is my current color crush, what is yours?  What one change have you recently made to a space that completely changed the entire feeling?

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UHeart Organizing: An Organized Coat Closet

With the seasons changing, so are many of the items going in and out of our coat closets.  My pro organizing buddy, Ashli from Mini Manor Blog, is here today to share how she is getting her coat closet spick and span for the colder months ahead.

Happy Halloween!!! I hope you are all having a spooky and fantastic Halloween!  Today I am sharing my solution for the scariest place in the house, the front hall closet!

It seems like everything you don't want in the front closet ends up there and the things you do want in there, like your kids shoes and backpacks end up on the floor. Then there is the matter hats and gloves, scarves and reusable shopping bags. Some wire shelves, hooks and baskets turned our closet from spooky to serene.

First we installed the wire shelves for our shoes. I chose wire shelves because I wanted wet shoes to be able to have air circulate around them and dry out.

Another small investment was buying wood hangers. Coats are heavy {especially when your husband wears a XXL} so we invested in some big sturdy wood hangers that all match. They are functional and pretty!

Next we installed two wire baskets to hold all of the hats, gloves, leg warmers, boot inserts and everything else that comes with Canadian winters.

Above the coats was the perfect spot to hold seasonal items. In the winters we keep the sunscreen, swimming goggles, beach towels and other summer paraphernalia. The little chalkboard on the front makes it really easy to find what you are looking for.  {Basket is from Michaels}

Next we installed two hooks on the back of the door.  Hooks are our best friends.  We are all way more likely to hang up our coats if there are hooks readily available!  Which has inspired my new organizing mantra "when in doubt . . . install hooks".

Lastly on the bottom of the wire shelves we bought a little wire basket add on for our reusable shopping bags. I never found anywhere to store them inside the house, but this works perfectly. I have to go into the closet to grab my shoes and coat anyways, so I never forget to bring them.

I hope this helped you un spook your home a little bit.  Have a fun and safe Halloween!!!

"I’m Ashli from Mini Manor Blog. I live in Big Beautiful British Columbia with my Husband Lee and our 5lb yorkie Max.  I have an organizers heart, I am a bin-aholic, and I’venever met a wicker basket I didn’t love. During the summer I can befound lounging in the garden orat the gym . . . one of those was alie. And in the last 5 years I’vemade more then 2000 cupcakes. I wantto bake, eat and organize. Hand me some eggs,flour and an unorganizedkitchen, that’s my idea of a great weekend, okay go aheadthrow RyanGosling in there too."
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