A while back, we set up this little office nook in our already tiny bedroom. Sometimes, this ends up being the dump station before we have company, which is unfortunate and makes the space unusable. I’ve been keeping it clear though for the last couple months and it has been a nice space for getting away from the rest of the household chaos. Our 5yo has been using it when she wants to make little iPad video episodes of her toys.

The desk, which you can’t really see in the photos, is L-shaped and quite small. We cut it out of plywood to the exact size that we were looking for, used brackets to hold it up on the wall side and used a couple table legs we found in the magic alley for support in the front. I painted the desk a distressed muted green and I love how that turned out (I’ll have to get photos of that for another post sometime).

The curtains are from Overstock and they are an ivory velvet with blackout material on the inside. The blackout material is great for getting late night projects done without the light disturbing whoever is trying to sleep.

The floating shelves are from Ikea and this “tieback” is from Ikea. It is actually a hanger for things like scarves and other accessories  but flipped on its side, it makes a nice wide tieback, which is just what I was looking for for this curtain.


Rock Collection

Kids like to collect rocks. Well, people like to collect rocks. From my experience, its not a boy thing or a girl thing or a kid thing, it really is more of a human thing. Look at a rock, really take a good look at it, and there’s a good chance you’ll want to take it home and look at it longer. From granite countertops, to travertine floors and marble topped tables, we like to surround ourselves with stone.

Our personal rock collection seems to grow on a weekly basis. Many end up in the garden, but the favorites end up here…

…in a square wood box (originally containing our wedding centerpieces so many years ago) on a living room side table.

When my husband and I got married, our wedding meal started out with a delicious butternut squash soup. Every summer I look forward to fall for, among a few other things, the butternut squash soup. As it is fall and the weather has cooled ever so slightly, I figured it was time for the first batch. I try to make enough to have leftovers to freeze. It is a wonderful dish to pull out and reheat when you have last minute company.

If you make the recipe as is, it doesn’t take much time (under 30 minutes) as long as the butternut squash is prepped already. I obviously like this soup a whole lot, but I would never make it if I couldn’t buy the pre-peeled and pre-cut squash at the grocery store.

I have no idea where this recipe originally came from. We’ve been making it for years. Sometimes, I make it in the crock pot and let it simmer all day, mostly for the joy of getting to smell it cooking all day long.

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe:

1/4 cup butter
1  onion, chopped
1  carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups chicken broth
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoons pepper

In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in onion, carrot and celery. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in squash and ground cumin. Cook and stir for 5 minutes more. Add the broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for 8-10 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Allow to cool slightly and puree in small batches until smooth. Return to the soup to the saucepan and stir in buttermilk, salt and pepper.

Notes: The original recipe called for topping the soup with thinly sliced blood oranges and toasted cumin seeds (using half the ground cumin), but I like to make things easier on myself, most of the time.

When we moved into this place, three and a half years ago, we had significantly less kitchen storage space than our last home. So, finding alternatives to free up some of the cupboard space was necessary. We decided to get the pots up on the ceiling. We couldn’t actually put it above the oven/stovetop because we would have hit our heads on it, but there was a perfect spot for it above a counter within easy reach.
I decided to look at an architectural salvage place for ideas. We ended up with this small gate, which was an oxidized gray, pretty, but not what I was picturing in my head. We painted it and my husband went up in the attic to make sure we were hanging it in in the joists. I didn’t want this thing coming down on my head!

I found hooks online and the whole thing has served us extremely well and the overall cost was still cheaper than the pot racks I was seeing online.

This little project took all of ten minutes. I had been contemplating drawing on these little guys with a marker, but as I was thinking about what to draw and how to keep the lines straight, I decided to just use some of our washi tape and leave it at that.

Happy October!

I’ve had these rugs sitting in the laundry room for months. I’ve been wanting to do something with them, but up until yesterday I wasn’t quite sure what that something was. After spray painting some bins gold and thinking about all the things I am trying to organize right now, I finally knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Make more bins!

I bought some soft-sided bins from the Container Store a couple years ago that I love, but they were not cheap. Not even close to cheap. But, these rugs were cheap…under $4 cheap. They are seasonal items, but I can usually find something like this or similar when I am at Ikea and I know this sort of thing is available elsewhere, although the colors and exact sizes might vary. Fortunately, this sort of thing can be adapted easily to whatever you have on hand. I even bought a rug like this in a dollar store once (even cheaper!).

Other than the rug, all you need is a needle, some thread (I used thick quilting thread) and a pair of scissors. Oh, and a safety pin or two are helpful as well.

Start by folding the rug in half and sew up the sides. It was easier for me to sew on the inside of the thick edge than right through it, so that’s what I did. Leave the fringe ends open (don’t sew them together). 

Once the sides are sewn together, fold the rug in half (sewn sides together) and find the center of the folded edge (what would have been the middle of the rug). I marked mine with a safety pin.

Take a non-fringe corner and fold it in to your center mark. The fabric should form a triangle.

Now do the same with the opposite corner. This will be the bottom of your bin.

Sew along the diagonal edges of these folds as well as the folded edge on the inside your bin.

Here is what the outside of the bin should look like when you’ve finished sewing along the edges.

And here is what one of the inside folded edges looks like when sewn.

Once you’ve sewn these six folded edges, you are basically done. The bins are essentially reversible, So use whatever side you want for the inside. I chose to use this side.

Fold down the sides for more stability. I tried mine a few different heights and settled on this.

The amount of side folded over also depends on what you want to store in them. I tried mine with books and yarn projects and I might also use them to store toys or towels.

When you aren’t using them, they fold up and store quite nicely.

Gold Painted Storage Bins

These bins were from Target a while ago. They were $2.50 and located in that section in the front of the store where most things are $1. They came in a few bright colors, mine were pink, and I knew from the time I bought them that I wanted them to be gold. They are just the right size to sit on the floating Lack Ikea shelves in our bedroom office.

My husband was busy painting a thrift store bike for our oldest daughter (from black to sparkly periwinkle) so, I figured it was as good a time as any to do some painting myself. I’m looking forward to trying these in a few different ways and places to see what I like best.