Color · five things · Organizing

Five Things

Hello! Happy Friday!

I’m back. It’s been a strange season – wrapping up our first school year experience, finding our summer rhythm, tying up lots of loose ends. I don’t think I have used my sewing machine in over a month, and I haven’t made jewelry either. But this week, I made time for a little of both, and it brought me so much joy.

What have we been up to? It’s hard to really say why we have been so busy. We’ve been immersed in house stuff – finishing up the outdoor projects (reveal coming soon!), painting walls and doors, rearranging furniture, and cleaning out.

Remember I was reading this book? (I talked more about it here.) I thought I would need to reread it monthly, but it seems that it took a few months to fully sink in. I am now completely entrenched in decluttering our house. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no pack rat, but something in the last few weeks really clicked, and I’ve committed to getting rid of ALL the excess. I have never been more enthusiastic about cleaning in my life.

Here are some other things that have been on my mind lately:

citrus fruit

1. Instagram. I finally jumped on the bandwagon. Just like blogging, I followed other people for a while before posting myself. And I’m loving it! (I’m @beautifulobjs if you want to follow along.) I think it is making me a little more mindful and attentive to what’s going on around me during the moment. (And my obsession with rainbow color order lives on!)

2. This made me surprisingly emotional. I have thought of it often over the last few weeks. Beautiful.

the forest feast book

3. The Forest Feast. I have seen reviews of this book on various blogs, so when I stumbled on it at my library, I added it to my overflowing bag. (Do you do this, too? I probably check out 10 books at a time. I know I will never read all of them, but in the moment, I just can’t choose. It still makes me giddy that I get to take them home with me. FOR FREE!) After reading only a handful of pages of this book, I knew I needed a copy for my own bookshelf. I want to live in its pages. Erin Gleeson’s photography and hand lettering are beautiful, and every recipe looks simple and wonderful. (Her blog, The Forest Feast, is lovely as well.) Reading it made me long for fall (even though we’ve just dived into summer) and to throw a party. It’s definitely time to throw a party.

4. This was fun. I saw this months ago, and put in Nicole (the name I have always gone by but which is actually my middle name – I’m from the South, we do that a lot), and the description that came up was not super accurate. It came across my path again, and this time I tried my actual first name. WHOA! Ridiculously accurate. Have you tried this? If you do, I’m curious about your results. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

5. Speaking of parties, this made me laugh. (I’m an ENFP. You?)

What are you up to this weekend? It’s going to be hot, so there will be trips to the pool, afternoon movies and popcorn, and house painting. Always more painting. I’m also in the middle of three books right now, so I’m hoping to finish one of them. So I can take it back to the library and get some more books, of course. Hope you have a great one!

Home · Organizing · Pinterest Made Me Do It · Thrifts

Thrift Scores

I know, posting two days in a row, don’t be shocked. And also don’t expect a post every day – I just can’t handle that kind of pressure.

high-res-white-page - Copy

No, I’m just here to show you a few of the cool things I’ve scored recently that don’t need to be added to my project list – they are great as-is. I mentioned yesterday that I’ve found some good stuff at our new Goodwill (my guess is they are “stacking the deck” – no matter, I’m taking full advantage).

Remember my messy kitchen counter? And how I got it in great shape? Yeah, it didn’t stay that way very long. But when I saw Emily’s kitchen counter organizer, I was sure I could find something similar.


Ta-da! Lovely vintage file sorter in great shape.


I also found this vintage wall file for a whopping $5. This cat came along for free. Just kidding, this cat is ridiculously expensive.


I googled it when I got home and found one similar on eBay for $40.


Sidestory: “Thrift Shop” is one of BB’s favorite songs. He’s got a top 5 that includes Pink, The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Macklemore (clearly the edited versions), and Chris Tomlin. Yep, pretty well rounded. We’re in a thrift store a few weeks ago, and he breaks out with “I’m gonna pop some tags….twenty dollars in my pocket….I look incredible – like The Hulk, Mommy!” and does the most amazing dance/superhero moves I’ve ever seen from him – and he’s had some good ones. I don’t have my phone to record the beauty, so I just stand there and soak up the moment.



Anyway, brought home the “Mad Men”-era desk accessories and tried them both out on the counter. This one was the clear winner. I didn’t even paint it – I left it just as I found it.


Well, except I wiped off the price tag. Did you know you can remove permanent Sharpie from most items with a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol? These are the kind of tips you can learn from a former teacher.


I got to work filling up the little shelves – phones and a basket of markers and crayons on top, paperwork for Husband in the middle, paperwork for me on the bottom.


Then I remembered something I saw on Pinterest a few years ago on how to keep phone charger cords in place – binder clips. You can just remove one side, slip the cord in, put it back in place, and clip it wherever you want. Brilliant! Husband was not nearly as impressed with this as I was.


It’s been almost a week, and the counter has stayed clear of clutter since then.

It looks incredible.

DIY · Home · Organizing · purposeful

DIY: Custom Storage Boxes (help wanted)


Hello, I’m back with yesterday’s do-over project. At time of posting, it’s still not quite 100% completed, but it’s MUCH closer than yesterday. But I need some advice. At the end of this blog, I’ll show you where I need help. Thanks in advance!


So, storage boxes. I’ve been wanting to make some toy storage boxes for our little downstairs bookshelf for a long time. Now, I know you can buy fabric-covered storage boxes, but I’ve never found just the right size for this bottom shelf.

Several months back, I realized that 12-pack beer boxes are a pretty close fit, so I attempted some decoupage on them but they turned out looking a little subpar. (Like, I-went-to-summer-camp-and-made-this-decoupaged-beer-box-for-my-Mom kind of subpar. Yeah, not quite the look I’m going for in our home.)

I’ve seen those diaper-boxes-made-over-into-storage-boxes on Pinterest, but that wasn’t quite it either. And I didn’t want to paint anything.


So after months of letting the idea “percolate” in my head, this is what I came up with – well, this is what I came up with today after the first version went bust yesterday, but you know what I mean.

These storage boxes are “custom”, meaning I used my specific shelf measurements to create them to fit just right. I will provide all the measurements I used, but you will want to make them custom to your shelf (or for whatever space you are using them).

I started by measuring the bookshelf opening, length, height, and depth. I want to make three boxes, so I divided the length of the shelf into thirds and subtracted a little to make sure the boxes would be easy to slide on and off the shelf. These will house kid toys; no need to add frustration to the cleaning up process. (My shelf’s measurements are 37 3/4″ long x 10 1/2″ high x 9 3/4″ deep.)


I took my measurements to my sketchbook to figure out what size my materials need to be. I want each box to be approximately 12″ x 10″ x 9 1/2″.

I needed 5 pieces of cardboard (4 sides and 1 bottom) that will fit between two pieces of sandwiched felt. In order to make the box the proper size, I wanted the cardboard pieces to be about 1/4″ shorter on each side to allow for sewing and a little wiggle room. The measurements for the cardboard pieces are as follows:

2 pieces – 11 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

2 pieces – 9″ x 9 1/2″

1 piece – 11 1/2″ x 9″


I was going to cut these out with box cutters, but I’m unsteady with box cutters. When I was in the garage breaking down old shipping boxes, I saw my rotary cutter. I have an extra blade just for paper, so I changed it out and used that. MUCH easier. (It wore the blade down really quickly, but it was totally worth it. I’m going to stock up on more blades, so when I order them from Amazon, they will arrive in another cardboard box I can use for future projects! Win-win!) (Full Disclosure: The rotary cutter is what sliced my finger open yesterday; however, I was in a hurry, and I used the rotary cutter again on the cardboard today with nary a scratch. DON’T TRY TO HURRY WITH SHARP INSTRUMENTS. You’re welcome for that original bit of crafting advice.)


Next I cut out the felt pieces that will cover the cardboard. I needed 2 pieces of felt for each piece of cardboard, and these should be about 1/4″ larger than the cardboard pieces for a seam allowance. The measurements for the felt pieces are as follows:

4 pieces – 12″ x 10″

4 pieces – 9 1/2″ x 10″

2 pieces – 12″ x 9 1/2″

OK, I honestly think the figuring and measuring and cutting are the hardest parts for this project. Once you have your pieces, assembling them is fairly easy.


I started with the base. Lay the two pieces of felt for the base on top of each other and, using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around 3 sides, creating a pocket.


Insert the correct piece of cardboard into the pocket, and sew up the remaining side.


I chose to have the seams on the outside – not only do I like the way it looks, I think it makes construction easier. And it’s felt, so it won’t fray. I set the base aside to work on the sides.

Next, I pieced all the sides together. (Don’t worry about the cardboard pieces – that will come later. For now, you are just sewing the felt.) I started with one of the long sides of the box. I matched up the felt pieces and sewed a straight line down one side.


Next I took the felt pieces for the shorter side of the box, lined them up with the pair of felt pieces I just sewed, and sewed that edge. (You will be sewing through 4 layers of felt here.)


I repeated this process, sewing long to short to long to short.


At this point, I had all 4 sides sewn together in a square.


Next was time to attach the sides to the bottom piece. I thought this would be difficult, but it was fairly simple. Match up the bottom edge of a long side of the box to the long edge of the bottom of the box and sew, using 1/4″ seam allowance.


Here is a different view of the base of the box laying inside the sides before I sewed it.


I continued matching up sides to the bottom and sewing them down until all four bottom edges were complete.


Looking good so far. At this point, I have a felt-enclosed cardboard base attached to floppy felt sides in the shape of a box.


Next I slid the cardboard pieces into their corresponding “pockets” of felt. I found that it was a bit of a tight fit on a few of the pieces; I just shaved a little off the edges of the cardboard until it fit well.


OK, here’s where we get to the HELP WANTED portion of this project.


Using my sewing machine, I started closing up the top edges of the sides of the box. I knew I would need to remove that removable part of the machine’s to get in really close to sew it up. (Don’t know the technical term. Will go google it shortly.)


It started out fine, but the adjacent side of the box kept the machine from being able to stitch all the way to the corner. I did as much as I could on all four sides.


Most of each side is stitched closed, and it looks really good.


But, there is a gap at the both corners of each side where cardboard shows. And, the kids will be using this box DAILY, so it needs to be completely closed to prevent complete destruction of the box. (During lunch today, the Boy was looking at my box, talking about the gap “Why is there a gap? What are you going to do with the gap? What if there’s a little gap, and then I put my toys in it, and there’s an even BIGGER gap? Would you be sad?” Yes, I would be very sad.)

So, once again, I have an unfinished project. Here are my thoughts on how to finish it:

  1. I can hand-stitch it closed. My hand-stitching is terrible and very uneven, but I know how to do it.
  2. Use embroidery thread (or yarn) to create a blanket stitch around the top of the entire box, keeping it closed and adding a little decorative element.
  3. Your Brilliant Idea! I don’t love either of my choices. What am I not thinking of? Seriously, give me your thoughts in the comments.


And, because I want the bottom shelf to just be storage boxes, when I FINALLY figure out how to finish this box, I get to do it TWO MORE TIMES!

Because there’s nothing PURPOSEFUL about starting a project (that I’ve been thinking about for 6 months) and not finishing it.



This post is part of a 31 Day series about improving my days by being more PURPOSEFUL.

You can read more about it here. You can find all the posts in this series here.