Friday, June 28, 2013

Fourth of July Washi Tape Banner

My sister in law Amy blogs over at Some Of The Best Things In Life Are Mistakes (read why she named it that here) and is always making the cutest banners for every season and holiday. For Fourth of July this year she made this adorable flag banner using four different patterns of washi tape.

Be sure to hop on over and check out her blog!

And don't forget the Olive Leaf Stencil Giveaway ends Tuesday!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Storing That Liquid Gold

This post will only appeal to a select few of you so for the rest feel free to skip...

But if you are a nursing mother, are pregnant, or hope to be pregnant one day and plan to nurse...this is for you. Since Evey was born I had been pumping here and there so Dan could give her a bottle before bed and also to start building my stash, knowing that I would be going back to work eventually. Well "eventually" finally came. Tuesday was my first day back working part time and thankfully I had more than enough to feed her for the day. That age old saying "Don't cry over spilled milk" took on a whole new meaning when I became a mom and realized just how precious breast milk is! I wanted to save every last drop and when it came time to store I did a little research and this is what I came up with:

A narrow shoe box fit perfectly in our freezer and holds about 15 bags front to back and along the side. If you find a shoe box with a cute pattern you get bonus points. I also went onto the Medela website and printed out the breastmilk storage guidelines and taped it to the front of my box for easy referencing.

I like storing them upright because I can easily read the tops of the bags to see how many ounces are in each and which day I pumped. You should always take from the front (oldest) and store in the back (most recent).

That bag folded up on the side I just picked up from Babies R Us because I needed a bottle bag for when I went back to work to bring Evey's bottles to whoever watches her that day but also to bring home the milk I pump while at work. I found this one called Pack It and love it so much. The whole bag is lined with that freezer-goo and it all folds down to freeze. Then when you're ready to use it just unfold and the whole bag is frozen on every side. Plus it's so cute! It's much more periwinkle/purple in real life than the blue they show on the website:

For fresh milk, I use little 5/6 oz Medela bottles for storage in the fridge in a little bin picked up at the Target dollar spot. The bottles are only marked for 5 oz but they hold up to 6. I used to keep it on the door of the fridge but then learned you're supposed to keep it in the back which is much colder than the door. Don't want to risk spoiling that liquid gold!

I printed up a little tag and "laminated" it with some packing tape just so my husband and I are clear which bottle needs to be used first. When I have one, I keep a third bottle behind the box of Gripe Water which is also meant to be stored in the fridge. Then as the bottles are used I rotate them to their next spot.

As a sidenote, I found the ounce measurements on the bags themselves to be completely inaccurate and made you think you had more in the bag than was really there...quite frustrating for a first time mom who was new to the whole pumping experience. Now I'm always sure to pump into a bottle first to get an accurate measurement before storing in the bags.

Here's my sweet little lady now, eight weeks old and chunking up nicely :)

For some other storage ideas, check out what these crafty ladies came up with:

An old soda box is the perfect width and can hold a lot!
Recovering it in craft or contact paper would also be cute and cheap.

A regular old ice cube tray is space saving and free! Each cube is about an ounce 
and can be popped out and stored in an air tight gallon zipper bag.

A gift bag with a slit at the bottom allows the oldest bags to come out first 
and the newest to be placed on top.

I know I said I didn't want this to turn into a baby blog but I know I found these kinds of posts helpful and interesting when I was expecting so I hope these tips were helpful for you new or expecting mothers! Plus I talked about fridge and freezer organization...that pertains to our house right?

>>To watch my breast milk organization + storage video click here!
>>To watch my fridge and freezer tour click here!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Olive Leaf Stencil Giveaway!

I have a fantastic giveaway to offer you guys today which I am super excited about. The lovely folks over at Olive Leaf Stencils are offering one of you lucky ducks your pick of one of their amazing stencils! There are so many beautiful options to choose from but these are a few of my favorites:

Here's how you can enter:

>>Become a follower of My So-Called Home if you aren't already<<

>>Visit Olive Leaf Stencils and pick your favorite<<

>>Comment on this post and tell me which stencil you'd choose<<

>>For extra entries, like Olive Leaf Stencils on Facebook and/or Twitter<<

Giveaway ends Tuesday, July 2nd and I will announce the winner, chosen at random, next Wednesday. Best of luck!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get Your Stainless Sink to Shine!

Since we use our nice big kitchen sink to give Evey her baths I'm always making sure to keep it empty and wiped down with soap and water but it just wasn't cutting it. Plus I had left a metal sheet pan in it for too long a few months ago and it left a rust spot that soap could not remove. So one day I broke out my Dollar Tree Magic Eraser knock-off and decided to give it a go and to my surprise the rust was gone immediately! 

I kept wiping with the eraser and was so grossed out at the amount of grime that was coming up and what a difference the shiny clean surface was underneath so I kept scrubbing until the whole thing was clean. All the rust was completely gone as well as quite a few tiny paint splatters that you could only see up close. You can see in the shots below that there's a clean spot on the right where I started and you can compare it to how it looked grimy!



And thanks to Pinterest I learned that a bit of baby oil rubbed in with a dry paper towel ramps up the shine for a beautiful gleaming sink! That's a great home staging tip if your house is on the market.





Monday, June 24, 2013

Tackling The Tool Drawer

Organization is a long term process, not a one time deal so it's no surprise that the tool drawer I organized last May needed a little re-evaluation. Since all of our major projects are done, or mostly done, we no longer needed a bunch of things so quickly accessible like we did before. Now that those projects are done I was able to move some items down to our basement tool storage and free up some room in the kitchen drawer. Yup, we keep tools in the kitchen. Is that weird?

What used to look like this:

Now looked like this:

So I needed to do a little of this:

And now it looks like this:

I removed the old bath mat that was there to protect the drawer and replaced it with an old kitchen towel. It still protects the drawer but is less bulky than the mat. I also used a couple dividers to keep things in place like this clear one from the Dollar Tree...

...and this metal one from Ikea.

I also repurposed a crow bar as a divider since its heavy weight will keep a few items contained and prevent them from sliding around.

Ahh much better!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Organized Storage in Our Small Bathroom

Oh happy day! Our main bathroom used to be small and storage-challenged. The only storage the room used to have was the cabinet under the sink and while I tried to organize it as best I could there was only so much that could fit. My hair dryer, flat iron, nail supplies, and other things still could not fit in the bathroom so we simply needed more storage. Thanks to a $10 Craigslist medicine cabinet, a free shelf from my Dad's office, and a couple trips to the Dollar Tree, although still small, our bathroom now is perfectly functional with storage galore! Check it out:

The medicine cabinet was such a great addition and now holds all of my most often used supplies.

All of the bins in my medicine cabinet cost me a total of $5 and the three jars were only $1 each. The two white baskets, black dishes, and the jars all came from the Dollar Tree and the blue and gold bins were from the Target dollar spot. 

I used some leftover chalkboard paint from my craft nook on the cabinet doors and now have a place to write a cute message or a reminder.

On the first shelf I have my daily makeup in the white basket and my toiletries in the blue bin. The black container (which is really one little dish on top of another) holds a couple extra eyeshadows and my eyeliner sharpener. To fill in some of the vertical space I hung an adorable little frame that Dan made me many years ago.

The second shelf holds a little glass toothpick cup where I keep the chalk for the chalkboard, another white basket of nail polish and files, another blue bin for nail polish remover, and lastly my perfume.

Now this next bit of storage I am super psyched about:

I finally hung a shelf above our door! All by myself! 

The shelf came from my Dad's office when he moved recently so all I had to buy were two brackets from Home Depot. Yeah they're a little long but better sturdy than sorry, no? I found the two plastic woven baskets at TJ Maxx and just love them so much. They have lids which is so great for keeping out the dust and they're plastic so the humidity of the bathroom won't bother them at all. 

And how will a shortie like me reach such a shelf? With this adorable little step stool of course (also from TJ Maxx)!

Best part is it folds right up and tucks neatly away between our tub and vanity. Plus when Evey gets older she can use it as a step stool when washing her hands.

Extra TP sits on top for easy access and I accessorized just a tad with this sweet little figurine from, yeah you guessed it...Dollar Tree! It just happened to catch my eye and I knew it was gonna be the right scale for the space.

And last but not least, the original storage of the room, the sink cabinet. I freed up a little space when I moved some of my items out and now everything is neat and accessible.

To solve my hair tools problem I used two Command hooks to hang them on the door! It worked out perfectly because the hooks are nice and strong.

So there ya go...eeking out every square inch of storage in our small, yet functional, bathroom.

I even went ahead and filmed a video for you all! See it here on YouTube.

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