An obvious shoe in for the job

We had a bit of a shoe storage problem on our hands. When we head out or come in, we enter through the garage. And although our main entry is rather spacious, this one is not. Heading out the door has become an interesting game of twister - minus the large colourful circles.

Since it is a high traffic - yet small space - storage is key. Everyone needs a place to drop their jackets and shoes, and here is Chace's spot. You can also see a shelf where we all dump our keys, loose change, lego men etc.

The view as you come into the house from the garage...

And the same space if you look at it from the rec room. That door heads into the garage, stairs to the main floor are on the left, and a bathroom is to the right.

Chef Kev stores his shoes on some large storage shelving inside the garage (right by the door), and I store my shoes in the yellow dresser that I made over, which is in the bathroom right off the small entry.

But back to this. Apparently children grow, and with that, so do their feet. Which means bigger shoes. And that translates into the system I had no longer cutting it. See the overflowing shoe basket?

And the gloves, hats and sun glasses? Oh yeah. Those too. Sigh.

But the best part? This shelf. Not only was it overflowing, BUT it was chipped in multiple places (take a look at the corner). Not quite the look I was going for.

So it all came out. And I was left with a blank slate.

But what to do on a wall that was only 28.5" wide? Traditional solutions like this and this where much too long for this space. So, enter RETUR - a recycling bin that functions in much the same way as the pricier shoe storage options.

Now, the RETUR doesn't look as pretty as some of the other options, but as I mentioned, this is not our main entrance  - just our basement one. Here, function really was the most important thing needed and these bins fit that bill. Plus, I love the recessed top that doubles as a shelf for us to drop our keys, change, lego men etc.

The first thing I did was find my centre point of the wall. Since the length of the wall is 28.5", I made a mark at 14.25". Then I lined up the corner of one of the bins, made sure it was level, and penciled in where I was going to need to place my screws by drawing in the little circle cut outs.

Luckily one screw for each bin hit a stud, but for those that did not, I hammered in some plugs. I pre-drilled the holes for these of course.

Once I had my first bin hung, I double checked that it was level.

Then I attached the one beside it in the same way and connected the two with a small screw that came supplied.

Then I attached the bottom bins using the row above them as my level.

You may have noticed in one of the earlier photos, there is a electrical outlet on this wall. I simply put the bin in front of it. Since we put furniture in front of plugs all the time I did not see any reason why this would not work. We don't use this plug and so far it's working out okay. Since you can plug plastic directly into a plug (childproofing plugs) I could not see a problem placing a plastic bin on the wall in front of one.

Then I loaded up the bins! I loved this part! A whole bin for hats and gloves!? Bliss.

A tad more efficient than this 'before' don't you agree?

Here is a head-on shot.

And now this is how it looks when you come in to the house.

And here is how it looks from the rec. room.

And here is a close up of the top of the bins which now take the place of the cracked, shallow shelf.

While I was revamping this little entry, I took a moment to raise Chace's jacket hooks. As we determined earlier, children have a habit of growing. Larger jackets = jackets now hitting the floor when hung.

Here is how they looked before.

I moved them up a few inches to just under the canvas that Chace painted at a friend's birthday party (so cute!). I used the bottom of the canvas as a guide.

And here they are raised and reloaded!

It feels good making this small space a bit more functional! We still play twister, but at least we aren't tripping on shoes anymore!

What sort of systems do you have in place to wrangle in shoes and hats? Are you using anything designed for another use? As long as we don't throw our shoes out with recycling then we are all good ;)


Teacher's need some love too!

Happy weekend everyone!

I know that Valentine's Day has passed, but as promised by my sneak peek (if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook), I still had one more Valentine's idea to share.

I whipped up some fun little Valentine's for Chace's teachers last minute!

As you can see, it's a simple little monster, holding a big heart. In the centre of the heart I placed a chocolate heart which I attached with a glue gun. I made sure to only use a tiny bit of glue (so as not to melt any chocolate) and made sure the foil around the chocolate was nice and closed on the back. 

If you'd like to make your own next year, I created a printable as well. 

You can download it here.

I did some with gold hearts too - just for variety :)

And that's it. Super simple - and cute!

I hope you all had a great Valentine's Day and are busy enjoying your weekend. 


Chef Kev got mugged

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope you all have a day that is filled with squishy sugar treats, an abundance of kisses and that you all get suffocated (in a good way) by warm hugs.

Now that that (slightly disturbing) wish has been thrown at you, let's talk about the Big Day.

If you follow me on Facebook then you may have seen the photo that I posted of the little Valentine's Day table setting that I left for my three Valentine's this morning (Chef Kev, Chace and Belle).

But what you couldn't see is that inside that 'xoxoxox' bag, there was a special mug that Chace made for his daddy...

That's right. He made it himself ;).

Let me explain. It all started with this really cool 'design your own mug' kit that I stumbled across at Starbucks last week.

As you can see, the mug is a graphic black and white, and the style of the mug is big, straight, chunky and masculine. Hello perfect gift for Daddy!

The pen came with both a white and black tip, so you can doodle and draw to your hearts content (pun intended) on both the black and white surfaces.

Once your design is finished, you 'bake' the mug in the oven for 20 minutes (I think it was at 325° but don't quote me on that). This sets the ink in place and the design is on the mug forever :).

So, earlier this week Chace got busy designing his mug before bedtime. He took it very seriously.

How awesome is it that he decorated the handle!? "Look mommy, I'm doing a pattern". That's my boy ;)

Chace went off to bed at this point, and I took care of baking the mug and setting the ink. Once out and cooled, we had this.

One side of the mug has his name on top, and a bike below.

The flip side boasts a heart (middle) and a flower.

And of course, the pattern detail. Love this.

I think we are going to have one happy daddy this morning... and one proud Chace.

Have a great Valentine's Day everyone! xoxoxo.


A 'beary' good Valentine

We are fast approaching that big 'ol love day. And who doesn't like to give (and receive) some love?!

I remember being back in elementary school waiting in anticipation for my little Valentine's mailbox. It was so fun to receive all the teeny cards my classmates would make and/or write. I also found it humorous how many ways you can spell 'Elaine' (apparently)... "Elan", "Elinea", "Elane", "Eleanor", "Eileen"... ah, good times.

Chace (my four-year-old) is in daycare with about 20 other little munchkins. I thought it would be fun to help him make some Valentine's that he could hand out. It was also a nice way to talk to him about - and show him - a good example of friendship.

... But has anyone noticed how girly Valentines are? Not that there is anything wrong with that (Seinfeld) but it's fun to have a somewhat boyish Valentine for my little BOY to hand out. I wasn't sure how he'd feel about handing out a card filled with cupids, hearts, cute doggies and jellybeans. He's been known to exclaim (in dramatic four-year-old fashion) "oh no, not agaaaain!" when "Sophia the First" or "Strawberry Shortcake" comes on TV. He makes a bee-line for his lego at that point.

So, I came up with a 'beary' cute boyish idea instead... black bears, and bear paws. Raaarrrr!

I wanted to give a little treat that was peanut-free, and I was hoping to have some sort of boyish play-on-words, so when I thought of 'Bear Paws' (those cookies made by Dare), the rest fell into place.

I went with a bear that didn't look too cute and cuddly - this is a boyish bear. Rarrrr. His expression cracks me up. 

The first thing I did was design the header cards. On the front I wrote "I'm so BEARY happy that we are friends" and of course, have the bear image. On the back I wrote "Happy Valentine's Day" and then had a blank spot that said "from your friend," and had room for Chace to write his name. Across the bottom I put "Mom and Dads: These are 'Dare Bear Paws' and are peanut free!" just in case there were any allergies in the home.

I set the cards as 'four-up' on a page to make the most out of each sheet. I included crop marks (for cutting) and score marks (for folding guides). If you'd like to make you own, you can download a copy of this file here. Enjoy!

The first assignment in my sweat sweet shop was to unwrap all of the bear paws. I thought they'd look better out of the packaging, and in clear cellophane bags. You must have your tongue out in concentration for this step.

While Chace was doing this, I used my trimmer/scorer to score the header cards. Scoring creates an indent or depression in the paper that allows the card to fold easily. This is not a necessary step but I find it helps make the finished project look clean and polished. I printed my header cards on 100lb cover stock so they were pretty thick. Scoring the paper helps them fold easier. You can use a bone scorer, or even the backside of a butter knife along the edge of a ruler to achieve the same effect.

After I scored the cards, I trimmed them down.

Once the header cards were trimmed, Chace started writing his name on each one.

After he completed this step, we put two bear paws in each bag. The bags that I used were from Michaels. They are 4" wide by 9.5" deep. They have about a 2" gusset on the sides (to hold the cookies). We placed the bear paws back-to-back so that the 'good side' faced out each side of the bag.

After that, I rolled down the top of the bag and gave them a quick staple.

I had some help with this step too.

Then I placed the folded header on each bag and added one more staple.

And with that, we were done!

Chace is really excited to hand these out at school next week!

What about you? Any childhood Valentines' memories? Any fun projects for the kids planned? I have a few other little ideas planned for the big day but I will keep those a secret for now. I don't want my Valentine to have any hints :).


The look of love

Holy camole! Where has the time gone!? I can't believe it's been SO long since I've posted. If anyone follows regularly, sorry, sorry. I blame life. Or the busyness of it at least. And I blame how much I miss blogging for the reason that I have returned.

And with my return, I bring my mantel. All decked out in Valentine's goodness.

It's pretty similar to what I did last year, but I liked the elements I had created and wanted to use them again.

Last year I shared with you how I created this 'love' art.

And this whimsical Valentine's Day bunting.

Those were the two main elements on the mantel this year. I wanted to keep it clean and simple. To finish off the look I used two rock vases and a matching votive. Those say 'love' to me too as I actually go them on my honeymoon.

Ahhhh memories...

I placed a few flowers in the vases. I love orchids. They were actually in my wedding bouquet so there is another nod to love for ya.

In the small votive holder I placed a little flower tea light. I picked up a package of these on vacation last summer and think they are so cute!

I love the colour in this particular one. It matches the orchids, art and bunting perfectly.

So LOVEly ;)

And a parting orchid shot just for fun.

Have any of you decorated for Valentine's Day? Any big plans or crafts in store? I have a fun one planned to do with Chace (my four-year-old) this weekend. I'll share the deets when we are done!
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