Adult Pieces, Kid Prices

Quick post before I dash off to start setting up for tomorrow's DIFFA event. Just wanted to share with you some of my favorite pieces of the moment. I often check out the kids section of stores for great, stylish pieces at about half the cost of the regular 'adult' section.

1. Amelia Headboard Cover from Pottery Barn Kids $64.99 for a full size cover

How perfect for a guest bedroom?!?

I'd get our initials and hang them above our bed.

3. Number Knobs $24 for a set of 4

How fun for a craft room, play area or tool workshop?


5. Media System from Land of Nod $149-399 (WAY less than it's adult counter-part Crate and Barrel)

Have you found any great deals in the kids section? Share them!

It's Friday for me and I'm off for a full 3-day weekend. Hope everyone's having a great week.
love, S


DIFFA Dining by Design Prep

With just 3 days until the 20th Anniversary DIFFA Dining by Design event, my design partner, George, and I are officially in a crazed state of mind. However, we couldn't be more excited.

The next 72 hours are going to be busy-busy with last minute preparations, but here is a sneak-peak of what we've been working on-

Our DIY mercury glass. It looks like solid gold here but once they are completly dry, it will have the variations of typical mercury glass.

Our great room is filled with boxes, fabric and supplies.

George hard at work.

Can't wait for Friday and to show you all the final result.
For those of you in KC, come see me Friday night!!! Details and online ticket ordering can be found at http://www.diffakc.org/

Wish us luck.
Have a great week.
love, S


How I beat kitchen clutter once and for all

In the words of Louis Parrish,

"If you can organize your kitchen,

you can organize your life."

It seems that people struggle with organizing their kitchens more than any other room in the house. Perhaps it's those cute little gadgets that seem to call your name when you walk into Bed Bath & Beyond or maybe, in the sake of saving money, we talk ourselves into buying 4 gallon jars of tomato sauce and a case of creamed corn at Costco. Regardless of the reason, you can turn your kitchen into the organized, clutter-free space that you've probably been dreaming about for years (well, if you're like me and dream about decor and cleaning).

Here is my small but perfectly organized kitchen-

Here is how I got there-

1. De-clutter. Everything. That means every single drawer, cabinet, pantry shelf etc.
Throw out old, expired food and spices. Condense your four bags of flour into one large, sealed container. Set aside your avocado peeler (unless your a guacamole fanatic), extra sets of measuring cups, broken or chipped plates, mismatched pieces of silverware etc and take them to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.

Helpful Hint- If you have several mismatched plates and serving pieces, you could create a plate wall, similar to the one I just did in our dining room-

Helpful Hint- Use an extra saucer as a soap holder in a bath or by the kitchen sink-

real simple

2.  Put everything in it's proper place. What's the proper place, you ask? It's what makes the most sense to the function of the kitchen. Cups should be placed closest to the sink or fridge. Baking dishes, pots/pans are put closest to the oven. Serving pieces or utensils that are not used on a regular basis can be in high cabinets or low shelves that aren't as easily accessible. Plates should be stacked by size and type. All salad plates together, dinner plates together etc. This makes finding things and putting them away much easier.

We use our salad plates and bowls most frequently, so those are put on the easiest to reach bottom shelf. Dinner plates are above them, and our less frequently used pasta bowls and cups & saucers are on the highest shelf.

3. Utilize every square inch. Our new construction neighborhood has six models to choose from, we went with the floor plan that was the cheapest worked best for us. However, it also has the smallest kitchen. To compensate, I've made good use of every nook and cranny. One area that is often over-looked is under the sink.
I purchased 2 organizers from Walmart.com to install on the inside of either cabinet door. The ones I bought aren't available anymore but you can purchase similar ones HERE for just $4.99.

This roll-out bin from BB&B holds trash bags, detergent and extra dish soap.

Helpful Hint- Put rubber, shelf-liner below your kitchen sink to protect the wood if your kitchen sink ever leaks.

Our cookbooks and boardgames are kept in the cabinet of our attached island.

Our silverware is placed in the drawer closest to the dishwasher.
We have a silverware sorter similar to the one above, courtesy of Organize.com.

Helpful Hint- When loading the dishwasher, put all forks in one section, spoons in the other etc. When you go to unload, you can grab each section and put it away without having to sort them.

4. Bare down to the essentials. People survived for many generations without quesadilla makers, smores makers, hot dog cookers, separate brownie pans etc. You can survive without them too. Justin and I are able to cook wonderful meals with just a toaster, microwave, oven and stove. We just recently purchased an electric can opener (yep, we have our moments of living large). Oh and a great wine opener or two IS an essential.

This is our gadget drawer, everything we need fits in here.

5. Limit what is left out on your counters. The less knick-knacks, canisters, boxes and baskets you have on your counter, the easier it is to keep clean and the larger your counter space will appear. I have enough room in our drawers to store our serving utensils. However for those of you that don't have this space, a utensil holder set next to the stove is a great idea.
This keeps your utensils together and organized without taking up precious counter space. Found HERE.

Helpful Hint-DIY Magnetic Spice Cabinet Door Holder. We received 3 over sized spice holders as wedding gifts and to be honest, they all went back. They took up too much space on our counter top and didn't fit in our pantry. I'm in the process of completing a magnetic spice rack on the back of one of our cabinet doors, similar to Dusty's at AllThingsG&;D

This containers can also be used on the side of the fridge as well.

6. Attack your pantry with abandon. Pantries, even small ones, are an excellent asset to any kitchen. After you have decluttered, you should be left with food and baking supplies that are fresh and that you will actually use. Now, sort according to your lifestyle. For those with children who can help themselves to snacks, place snacks on the bottom shelf where it is easier to reach. Remember to keep cleaning supplies or chemicals out of their reach. For dieters, place your 'cheat' foods on the top shelf or dispose of entirely.

Our pantry is organized as such-
1st Shelf (bottom)-Holds barbecue tools, dog treats
2nd Shelf-Baking supplies, breakfast foods
3rd Shelf- Snacks, canned goods
4th Shelf-Cleaning supplies, paper goods
Top shelf- Tablecloths, extra serving pieces, formal china

Helpful Hint- Use a label maker to label each shelf inside your pantry (ex: breakfast, snacks, canned food etc) This makes it clear to any family member where everything goes and you can easily spot items that are not in their proper place.

You can double your pantry space with something like this-

for just $24. Found HERE.

Other good options for maximizing pantry or cabinet space are-

Plastic bag holder, found HERE.

We have one in our pantry and it helps keep all those plastic bags confined. We try to remember to bring our own reusable bags to the store but sometimes we forget:( This helps us reuse the plastic bags that we do bring home.

Bakeware/Lid Holder

I recently purchased something similar to the one above and no longer have to scrounge around trying to find my muffin pan or what lid goes to what pot. Keeps my cabinets organized and my sanity intact (for the most part). Found HERE.

Another great option for the back of a pantry door is this-

This mop and broom holder keeps the items off the floor and out of the way. Found HERE for just $9.99.

Helpful Hint-Avoid buying many things in bulk, if you don't have the space to store it all. It isn't saving yourself any money if you have to toss items you don't use or cram items into your pantry where they sit for months forgotten.

7. Clean out the fridge and pantry the day before your trash day. Every Monday night, I go through our fridge and throw out any to-go containers that didn't get eaten or any produce that's less than fresh. I also double check our pantry for bags of chips with only crumbs remaining. I then recycle/throw in the garbage can for Tuesday's morning's trash pick-up day.

8. Don't let mail/coupons/menus sit out on the kitchen counter. When we first moved into our house, I'd grab our mail, come inside and set it on our counter. It would inevitably sit there for days. In order to be more green and rid ourselves of all the extra paper piling up around us, we now have paperless billing for ALL of our bills. It was free to do this, easy and I'm still able to view, track bills online. This has cut down tremendously on the amount of mail we get. I also stop by our recycling bin on the way into the house and dump any advertisements/flyers that we don't want. This way no mail gets into our house that we don't need. I place cards/invites on the side of our fridge, write important dates on our chalkboard wall and don't have to worry about a mess on our counters.

9. Don't forget to have some fun. Cleaning may not be the most thrilling activity in the world but it doesn't have to be horrible either. The thing about organization is that if you do it right the first time, you won't have to do again. Let your kids help sort cookie tins or Tupperware. Play some music and have your spouse help too.
A few personal touches like this cute little chalkboard stand can serve a valuable purpose (such as displaying shopping lists or menu), while adding a sense of fun.

Write tonight's dinner recipe down or your grocery list. (This would be very easy to DIY and much cheaper too!)

Helpful Hint-Place this suction ring holder by the kitchen sink to hold your wedding ring while washing dishes or cleaning. No more worrying about your ring falling down the disposal.

Just $2.99 for piece of mind. Found HERE.

I'll leave you with my new favorite piece of art, that would be perfect in any cute, clean, cutter-free kitchen-

I hope these steps help some of you get organized! Do you have any helpful suggestions for keeping kitchen clutter at bay?



Earth Day 2010

I'm 'recycling' this post from last year's Earth Day.

Earth Day 2009 2010

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I'd showcase some local 'green' Kansans.

1. Dan Rockhill, founder of Studio 804

Rockhill, a professor at my Alma Mater KU, and a group of 22 design students worked to build/design a completely green space in the tornado-ridden town of Greensburg, KS. The new building not only aided in rebuilding the entire town and community, but offered an amazing example of green design at it's best.

'Constructed in seven 12-foot sections using wood salvaged from a local ammunition factory, the entire structure is encased in a curtain of donated energy-efficient glass. A 38-foot-wide hydraulic airplane-hangar door folds up so that the gallery, which has already become an essential community meeting space, can spill out into the street. Powered by a geothermal-heat pump, wind turbines, and photovoltaic cells, the building dovetails with a city-council resolution last year that all publicly funded city buildings greater than 4,000 square feet meet LEED Platinum standards.' -Stephen Zacks of Metropolis Mag

*photo credit: Studio 804

For the full story, click here. For a direct link to Studio 804's website, click here.

For an article on a different but still amazing Studio 804 project, click here.

2. Cafe Seed

A cute cafe that features a 100% vegan menu. It's located at 29th & Cherry in Kansas City, MO. The staff continue to add to an already impressive menu, providing healthy, tasty and animal product-free dishes. FYI-My friend George was really impressed with their veggie burger.

* photo credit: The Pitch

3. Elements of Green, found here.

A local company/website that provides info on green design, materials and benefits. The info on the website is thorough, detailed and easy to follow. However for more detailed info or to schedule installation etc, you can make an appointment at their office at 19th & Wyandotte.

I love how so many local companies are jumping on the green bandwagon and are working towards a better world for us and future generations. The mid-west, especially Kansas, is not really known for our green lifestyle, however thanks to the folks listed above and a great deal of many others, Kansas City is on it's way to bettering the earth.

Hope you're enjoying the beautiful earth today. -S


Front Entry...One thing leads to another

When I first made an offer on our house, it was about 75% complete. The good news was we were able to pick out a few interior finishes, the bad news was the exterior was already complete. I actually really like the colors of my house (main and trim), but the front door is another story.

Dark green for a front door?!?

And not a pretty, deep forest green but a dusty, medium, brown-based green.

Yuck! It looks like mold.

So, this began the first phase of our front door do-over plan.

I've been dying to paint the door black, like I recently did with the interior-side. The more I thought about it, the more I thought I should paint the window trim the same color as the regular trim , instead of black.
So, the final result would be similar to the interior side-

No big deal, just one more step.
Sounds easy enough.

Once I finally got on board with completing another house project, I thought if I'm going to go to the trouble of painting the door, I might as well get a storm door to protect it. Makes sense, right?

So on to Home Depot to order a new door I went!

I ordered one similar to the one above but without the brass trim. The brass was too shiny and looked cheap, not like the more posh polished brass that's all the rage right now. 

I started collecting inspiration pics and really liked this one below. Which got me thinking about how much I love the big polished brass knocker...And how great one would look for our front door. How about a matching kickplate? Or new door handle?

credit HarveyInd

And if I'm going to go to all the trouble of a new paint color, new storm door and new door accessories, I should have some new fancy lights to show it all off! Obviously.

There's this cute one from Home Depot.

Or a more dramatic, oversized option. (credit Home Depot)

And then there's the subject of wreaths...

Yikes, I'm dangerous. Sadly, it's taken 3 whole weeks to get our storm door in, (apparently black=special order?!) The door is going in TODAY and I can't wait! I'll post pics of the transformation soon.

For your eye candy pleasure, here's some of my favorite front doors-

Anna Hansson Interior Design


Country Lines

Miles Redd's front door

Mid-Island Homes

My Deco

love, S