Mission Organization Part II - Camera Gear


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Well hi there. Sorry if I've been MIA all of a sudden. It's just that once you encourage your baby to crawl (see my last Cooper update post) then you will inevitably be chasing him/her around alllll day and allllll night. Dude is getting into everything. Apparently crawling and pulling himself up trumps sleep. Oy. The only way I was able to get this post up was because I gave him my purse to play with and he entertained himself with my wallet and driver's license for almost an hour. :)
A long time ago I had purchased a set of nesting wooden boxes from Homesense. At the time I had no real spot or purpose for them but I snagged them up anyway because the color was perfect and darn they were cute. They've been in my dining room for a long time and housed a pretty random mishmash of stuff, primarily old magazines, our adoption binder, and some camera stuff.
I needed a place to keep ALL of my camera gear so I chose these boxes for a few reasons.
a) The boxes have lids to keep dust out.
b) They are lined with black fabric to prevent scratches on the camera equipment.
c) The lids flip up easily so that I can grab what I need quickly.
d) The boxes are kept in a central location so that I can find and use my camera quickly and easily.
The first box has just enough room for the equipment I use the most frequently: the camera body, my two go-to lenses, and my battery charger. {Note: The camera is missing from the box because I was using it to take the pictures, hee hee.}
In the second box, I keep the camera gear that I don't use quite as frequently: a flash, a small tripod, filters, my kit lens, lens cleaner, camera cables, and my old point-and-shoot.

The bottom box houses larger items: a tripod, a reflector, and a camera bag. All of the items in the larger box were previously all over the house. I'm glad that now everything is in one convenient spot.
I am loving this set up! Although with little mister motor-pants on the loose I might have to find a way to secure those boxes shut for a few months. :)
P.S. Here is a picture that I snapped with my iPhone to show you how snug-as-a-bug my little camera fits.
P.S.S. Just in case you were thinking about breaking into my house to steal my camera I have two great big (vicious) dogs, we have a state-of-the-art security system (a baseball bat), and I always bring my camera with me whenever I go out. So there.
P.S.S.S. Where / how do you store and organize your camera stuff?

January Sponsor Love + 25 Bits of Random-Itis


Sunday, January 27, 2013

This is one of those posts where I get to highlight some cute stuff from some cute Etsy shops. Check 'em ouwwwwt!

If you love vintage / antique finds but don't have the time or patience to go searching for them yourself, then Coco and Bear is the Etsy shop for you. Kim carefully handpicks all of the items in her shop for their charm and patina-y goodness. It's amazing how much interest and texture a time-worn piece can add to a shelf or vignette in your home. In the photo below, I've showcased my favorite items. However, the shop has quite a selection of vintage / antique suitcases, kitchen utensils, sewing gear, books, tools, children's toys, and more. You'll just have to head on over and take a peek for yourself. :) 

Vintage Singer Copper Oil Can
Vintage Red Industrial Kerosene Gas Can
7 Vintage Blue Book Collection
Vintage Lesney Matchbox Toy Car Collection

Enrouge is your one-stop shop for adorable nursery art. Karla's lovey-dovey bird prints are the sweetest.things.ever. How cute would it be to get a family of three little birds to represent your own little family of three? As you browse through the shop you'll notice that some prints are bright and vibrant while others are soft and subdued. I love that there are subtle differences in the prints to suit different décors. If one of these lovely prints catches your eye, you can apply a 15% off discount code that will run through February 28th. Sa-weeeeeet! {Discount Code: cozycottagecute15}

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor and showcasing your Etsy shop, blog, or small business just send me a quick email at cozycottagecute@hotmail.com or check out my Sponsors page for more information. :)
25 Bits of Random-Itis
1. Choosing a new pair of glasses has been on my to-do list for, oh, the past few years. I loved the pair I had but they were kind of bent and the color had worn off in spots. Well, the other day I just happened to sit right on them and they snapped clear in half. I'm not sure if it was a sign to splurge on a new pair or a sign to lay off the Oreos.
2. Alex helped me pick out a new pair of glasses yesterday. They're very Lisa-Loeb-ish. You can call me cat eyes from now on if you really want to. 
3. I very rarely wear glasses out of the house. They're usually only a part of my pajama-bed-head-hoodie-slippers ensemble.
4. We were supposed to stain our fence five years ago and never got around to it.
5. I'm a bit intimidated by the whole "1st birthday party" hoopla. Since when did baby birthday parties get so over-the-top? Was it Pinterest?!?!? Yeah, it was probably Pinterest.
6. I still really love Pinterest.
7. Sometimes I forget that we own two houses. Until I get to cash the rent cheque and then I'm all like, "Ohhhhhh yeahhhhhhhh we own two houses."
8. Coops and I used to spend quiet time together at least two times a day loungin' on our bed with no toys - just chattin', being silly, and having some down-time. Except now that he started crawling I'm pretty sure he's made it his life's mission to nosedive off the edge.   
9. I have a giant stack of decorating magazines that I don't know what to do with. I don't have a great spot for them and I never really look through them but it kind of kills me inside when I think about getting rid of them. I'm pretty sure that only hoarders say things like that.
10. Mini-Coop gets really clingy / needy / tired around dinner time and I find it challenging to make supper most nights. I should really bust out the crock pot more often but that requires, you know, planning in advance.
11. I wish my local Homesense carried cute cushions. The ones they do have are all shiny, silky and / or full of sequins.
12. Sometimes one or both of the dogs will bark after I just spent 30-40 minutes getting Cooper to sleep for a nap. When he wakes up after only 5 or 10 minutes of sleep after all that effort I seriously feel like screaming at the top of my lungs in frustration. I don't scream though. I just get him back to sleep again, give the dogs dagger eyes, and then reward myself with a cookie for being a good mom and not yelling at the dogs.
13. I'm really into cookies lately. I'm so glad I didn't make a New Year's resolution about getting in shape or eating healthy.
14. I only write with black ink. I'll avoid writing in blue ink at all costs. Black just goes better with everything, don't you agree?
15. If I make a mistake while filling out a form, grocery list, etc., I always restart and write the whole thing over again. I'm pretty sure there's a word for that kind of behavior. {OCD.}
16. The last time I slept through the night was just before Christmas in 2011. It was dreamy.
17. We've been without cable for a few weeks now and we don't miss it one bit! (We still watch t.v. some nights but we just watch a series at a time.)(Totally legally.)
18. I love vacations but I start getting homesick before we even leave.
19. We want to go on a vacation this winter but it's tricky to get away since we have two dogs. We've had multiple offers from peeps who are willing to look after Roary, but no-one wants to look after Lexie. She is such a maniac!
20. a) I dropped my favorite glass measuring cup yesterday. I'm so grumpy at myself for doing it! If only it had been Alex who broke it instead. ;)
20. b) I forgot to tell Alex that I broke the measuring cup and even after sweeping three times he still stepped on a piece of glass. {Whoopsie.)(Wife fail.)
21. Sometimes technology annoys me and I just want to hide all of the computers and iPhones and videogames so that Alex will spend the night playing card games and board games with me. Like Scattergories. Or Cribbage. Or Battleship.
22. I'm glad that I'm a spender and that Alex is a saver. It's a good balance. Plus, I really like spending.
23. I weigh the same amount as I did before I was preggers with Cooper. Except now I have ZERO muscle tone. How did that happen? I decided to do 10 lunges for fun one day and then I couldn't walk down the stairs for a week. Getting in shape sounds dandy but I'm not ready to put in the commitment yet. Plus, I'm into cookies remember?
24. I've never tried cottage cheese. Ever. It looks like brains.
25. I wrote this whole list of 25 things on a tiny piece of paper while sitting in the car waiting for Cooper to wake up. #mynewhangoutismydriveway
P.S. Cooper's leg and foot were draped over my laptop the entire time I typed these 25 things. He rolled over to cuddle with me and ended up cuddling with me and the computer. Hee hee!
P.S.S. I am way too tired to go back and see if there are any typos or swear words in this post. I hope that's okay. :)

Mission Organization Part I - Front Entry Closet


Friday, January 25, 2013

What's behind door #1?

I'm pretty much doing the running man in my head as I type this. Because I finally got a whole area organized from start to finish. It was hard, but I did it.
Yay! Organized!
The photos aren't going to be glamorous or pin-worthy. However I'm posting them anyway because, well, I said I would and I like to stick to my word even if it takes five and a half years.
My scatterbrained self started to go on an organizing rampage all over the house during the holidays. Except I was doing one drawer here, a cupboard there, and I couldn't really say that any one particular area was fully organized.
Last weekend I was inspired by our new, cute bench and decided that the front entry was where I was going to start.
Here's how it went down. I took absolutely everything out of the closet and dumped it all onto the floor. Next, I sorted everything into three piles: garbage, donate, keep.
I have no idea how I had so many things jammed into that closet but we ended up with one garbage bag full of garbage (Alex's old work boots, a pair of my runners that were almost worn through in spots, a mitten without a partner, etc.) and two garbage bags full of items to donate (old purses, old jackets, etc.). 
Once I had my pile of "keep" items, I started grouping everything into categories. These are the categories that I ended up with:
- mittens / gloves
- hats
- scarves
- high heels
- flats
- boots
- girl flip flops
- boy sandals
- spring / fall coats
- winter coats
- tote bags
- purses
- miscellaneous items (diaper bag, baby carrier, snow pants, laptop bag)
I also created a pile of random items that I wanted to relocate to difference places in the house and not the front entry closet (for example, I had been keeping my tripod in the front closet, don't ask why because I have no idea).
Top Shelves
I used a set of three matching baskets that I already had on the top shelf to organize purses (top left), summer flip flops (top middle), and tote bags (top right).
On the lower shelf I used three new wire baskets from Homesense to organize hats (bottom left), scarves (bottom middle), and mittens / gloves (bottom right). I like how the wire baskets are open enough to see the items that are inside.
Top Shelf: Purses, Tote Bags, Flip Flops

Bottom Shelf - Hats, Scarves, Mittens/Gloves
Thankfully I already had a set of nice, wooden hangers for our out-of-season and extra coats.
Wooden Hangers, Hooks
Notice that there are EMPTY HOOKS!?!? Wahoo, it's a miracle.

Out-of-Season Coats, Extra Coats

To the right of the coats I used three extra hangers to store my snow pants, laptop bag, and baby carrier.
Underneath the coats, I used a cheap, wire shoe rack (that we already had) for some shoes. I used the top rack for some tall boots and runners, and the rest of the racks for my uninspiring flat collection. Please don't judge this girl by her shoes.
Wire Shoe Rack - Flats, Runners, and Boots
Since I hate wearing high heels and only wear them to weddings when I absolutely have to, I only needed a small, canvas hanging shoe thingie to store my whopping six pairs that date back to 1995.

Hanging Shoe Rack - High Heels, Boy Sandals

I was able to use the bottom three slots to store a few pairs of Alex's sandals. There is only one item that is stored on the closet floor, which is Cooper's diaper bag. I wanted it in a handy dandy spot because we use it every time we leave the house. Aside from the diaper bag, the floor is completely junk-free! Amazing, yes I know.

Since our side entry is so tiny and cramped (with dangerous stairs everywhere), I've been getting Cooper dressed for outdoors in our living room / front entry.

I decided to use our new front bench baskets to store his tiny hats, mittens, and shoes.

So, that's that. Our front entry is officially cleaned out and organized. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

How's your front closet looking these days? Have you been hit by the organization bug or is it just me?

Cooper - Nine Month Update!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This little dude is almost nine months old! What a sweet age, let me tell you.
We're starting to see quite a bit more of the Coopster's little personality. Hmmm, what can I say. When we go out, we get a lot of comments that he is a serious little guy. He does tend to furrow up those cute little eyebrows a lot. But I'm pretty sure it's because he is a baby genius and is analyzing everything that he sees. ;)
At home it's a different story, he's such a funny little guy! He seems to get the craziest at dinner time, his latest antics are to make random screams or monster growls for attention. Then, when we look over laughing he also laughs and spits food everywhere. It's very messy.
He's got quite a little temper and knows what he wants. Most of the time what he wants includes everything that he's not allowed to have: the cordless phone, computer cables, lotion bottles, cookies, Roary's tail, etc. He basically loves and wants to play with ANYTHING that is not a toy. His latest fascination has been my toothbrush, so I got him his own and he chomps away on that thing all the time. Might as well get him used to brushing, right?
Speaking of teeth, apparently Cooper doesn't like to follow the norm. He just recently got his first two teeth.... and they were his top lateral incisors!!! He kind of looks like a vampire baby when he smiles and, well, I kind of like it. Hahaha. This morning his two bottom front teeth just popped through. He's been such a champ through the whole teething business.
Sleeping? Let's just ask the question - is it possible that I am getting less sleep now than I was when he was a newborn?!?!? He has made really good progress falling asleep in his crib for his oh-so-short naps (right now he's having three 20-30 minute naps a day). Nighttime, however, is a different story. Aye yay yay this boy does not know how to self-soothe and cries out for me whenever he wakes up in the night. We'll work on it though, when he's finished this bout of teething. Or maybe when he's five. We'll see. ;)

As for eating, he is a total rock star. Dude loves to eat EVERYTHING. I've been pretty adventurous so far with trying to introduce varying flavors and textures. The latest recipes he has tried and loved include:
Apple, Apricot, and Tofu
Tomatoes and Carrots with Basil
Sweet Potato with Spinach and Peas
Cauliflower Cheese
Salmon with Carrots and Tomato

Coops started eating finger foods a bit earlier than he was supposed to, because well, he literally told me that he was ready! He absolutely loves to feed himself and his current favorite finger foods include tiny pieces of chicken, peas, toast, grated cheese, watermelon, and banana coated with crushed cereal.

Unfortunately the Coops came down with a bit of a rash a few weeks ago and we (the doc and I) aren't sure if it was viral, a food sensitivity, or a reaction to some kind of allergen. I've been keeping a close eye on him and whipped up a little baby food journal just in case!

We signed up for 8 weeks of baby swim lessons at the little local pool in our town which starts next month. I think he'll love it but I am not looking forward to freezing my tooshie off in the cold pool water. We've also been hitting up a baby playgroup that meets once a week at the school up the street. Basically the babies crawl all over each other, swap drool, and pull each other's hair. I constantly have to tell the germaphobe in me to simmer down the whole time though. Haha!
As far as baby achievements go, he can sorta wave hi and bye, give high-fives, clap, sit up without falling over, wave his arms/dance to annoying baby music, and army crawl to get places. He's SO CLOSE to the real crawl. I blame cold temperatures and ten layers of clothing as the reason he's not on the move yet. Go away winter, nobody likes you! His current vocabulary includes mamamama, mumumumum, dadadada, nananana, gagagaga, yayayaya, and of course the random screams, laughs, cries, yells, and other silly noises to get our attention.
We just applied for Cooper's baby passport and are thinking about possibly taking a vacation to somewhere hot. I am nervous about traveling with a baby but know that it will be so much fun. And we need to get out of here because there were almost record-breaking cold temperatures here this week. I have never even heard of -45 degrees Celsius before. Eeeeeek! So, if you have any travel tips for me I will willingly take them. :)
{cozycottagecute on Instagram}
I hope you and your family are having a super awesome start to the New Year. I'll be back (soon I hope) to show you some front entry organization, some camera gear organization, and some kitchen-y Christmas goodies. See you soon, friends!
P.S. I'm pretty sure that I replied to every single one of your comments so far in 2013. Not sure if I'll be able to keep that up forever but I'm trying! Yay!



He's crawling, he's crawling! I tried something new today after I published this post. Instead of placing him fully clothed on a baby quilt, I threw down a large, tatty old blanket, turned up the heat, stripped him down, and placed some enticing objects just out of reach. The lack of clothes made a difference, they totally did!

Eeeek, he's on the move! :)

Front Entry Update


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oh how I love when I find the perfect thing. And it totally happened the other night on a way overdue trip to Homesense. I hadn't been shopping there since before Christmas. So yes, I was in withdrawals. Alex took the fam out for a little mini shopping adventure. He's such a keeper, right?
A bench for our front entry has been on my wish list for a few years now. I was looking for something simple and narrow, with the possibility of placing baskets underneath for storage. 
{Is there such thing as too many baskets? Ummm, I think not.}

I find that some pieces of "wood" furniture from Homesense are really solid and well-built while others are a bit flimsy or have cheap finishes.

The bench that I found the other night is nice and solid, a lovely shade of blue-grey, and looks just like this Pottery Barn bench that I've been ogling for centuries:

The best part about the whole thing is that the Pottery Barn bench (above) is listed online for $297 and I got mine for $69. But not really, because I had a $50 gift card from taking pictures (woot woot!) so really it only cost me $20.

 Squeal! I'm pretty sure that squealing is kind of unbecoming. But I'm doing it anyway.


I found the perfect storage baskets to go underneath on a quick trip to Michael's. I made sure to take some measurements with me to make sure the baskets would fit. I'm glad I did because when I was in the store I could have sworn the large size baskets would fit. But once I measured I realized that I needed the medium-sized ones instead. I was planning to do the awkward go in the store twice with two different 40% off coupons. However, their whole basket section was 40% off that day. Score!

I am LOVING how this little spot is coming along. I really want to start using the front door more often. It's so pretty in this entry compared to our ugly, cramped, add-on side entry that still has carpeting and smells like wet dog. Ugh.

Aside from the bench and baskets, everything else we already had. :)
Bench - Homesense
Baskets - Michael's
Lantern - Homesense
Pail - Local Home Décor Store
Plant - Home Depot
Mirror - DIY Project
What are you up to today? Coops and I are totally going to hibernate. It's -35 degrees Celsius here today! My plan is to make some fresh bread and roasted red pepper soup, put the Christmas decorations away, have two cups of coffee, research vacations, cancel our cable, play with Mini-Coop, and clean the house for a little baby play date tomorrow. I'll probably only get one of those things done though. Ain't that the way it goes....... :)
For More Inspiration:
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Simply Link Party @ Simply Designing
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous

The New Headboard and King-Sized Bed, Baby


Saturday, January 12, 2013

I can't believe that after all of my over-the-top excitement leading up to the purchase and delivery of our new mattress set and headboard I took so long to share the pictures and the finale to the story. 
Wah, wah, waaaaaaaaah.
In case you missed it and thoroughly enjoy reading posts about mattresses (c'mon, who doesn't?) here's the summary.
After Coopaloops was born, our queen-sized bed started to get crowded. Really crowded. Especially when a certain husband would let the dogs on the bed. (Against my wishes as I do not like fur on my pillow, thankyouverymuch.) We had talked about possibly upgrading to a king for a long time, but were pretty sure that a king-sized mattress and bedframe would not fit in our master bedroom.
After much deliberation and a trip to the mattress shack, we decided to go for it. You can read all about it in this post: From a Queen to a King.
After even more deliberation about what kind of headboard / bedframe to buy, we finally decided to go all out and purchase a white painted wood headboard. This was another upgrade from our cheapie metal Ikea bedframe. You can read all about that too: The Search for the Perfect Headboard.
Once we made the big purchase we had a crazy excited countdown until delivery. Even though I hate to admit this on the internet again, we were ultra pumped because we had been sleeping on a, like, 20 year old hand-me-down mattress from when we were in University. Shameful, yes I know.
So, we waited. We cleaned out our bedroom from top to bottom, disassembled our old bedframe, and moved the old frame and mattress set into storage in anticipation of the delivery and FINALLY a decent night's sleep.
And then.
And then.
And then the delivery dudes called to inform us that they were on their way to deliver our purchases but the box spring was a king and the mattress was a queen. It turns out the saleslady punched in the wrong number for the mattress. I got really frustrated and wrote a kind of angry, out-of-character-for-me post here: Mattress Mix-Ups Make Me Mad.
Okay whatever, I may have overreacted just a bit. You don't understand how squished I was on that old queen-sized bed. Every night was like a re-enactment from the movie Cliffhanger and not in a fun way.
So, how did the story end?
We waited an extra five days or so for another delivery. They came a day earlier than they originally said and brought an extra guy because they were worried that the king-sized mattress wouldn't make it up the stairs. I had to sign a waiver saying that if anything got damaged I wouldn't sue the store or anything which was completely fine by me. I just wanted a bed to sleep on instead of a camp-out on the floor which we had been having since the mix-up! The delivery team was able to get the box spring and mattress up the stairs no problem.
Note: Even despite the silly ordering mistake (everyone makes mistakes)(except me), everyone we dealt with, from the saleslady to the store manager to the delivery team, was really helpful and nice. 
Oh, I'm sorry. Did you say you wanted to see the pictures?
Obviously I need some bedding. And some window treatments. And closet doors. And a dresser. And pictures. And accessories. And an area rug.
But, it's looking good so far.
Can you believe that the king-sized bed doesn't seem too big? I think it's because we used to have the high, dark metal footboard that kind of closed off the room. I am so happy with our decision to skip the footboard this time and just get the headboard. It seems so bright and open now, even with a bigger bed!
And do you want to hear something even awesomer? The dogs haven't set a PAW on our new bed. We have two doggie beds now that we keep under the bed during the day and slide out at night. I love not eating dog fluff when I'm sleeping. It's the best!
Kingsdown Mattress Set - Sears Home
Kasey Headboard - Sears Home

{Note: We ordered everything on Black Friday Weekend to take advantage of some great deals.}

My Totally Attainable Goals for 2013


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Yep, just gave myself a pep talk in the title.

I'm almost afraid to write this post for the following reasons:

a) my goals will be out there in the internet universe and thus I will held accountable for all of them forever and ever

b) I sort of forgot about my goals from last year and don't want a repeat of saying I'll do a bunch of stuff and then not doing said stuff
(I'm so going to write an update post on my mini-goals from last year.)(Hopefully before the end of 2013 January, m'kay?)
So here's what I'm going to try this year. I'm gonna choose three goals, each from a different area of my life.
Then, I'm going to make a list of 50 40 30 20 or so "challenges" that I would like to tackle before the end of the year. Some of them will be hard, some of them will be scary, and some of them will be super easy so I can cross them off the list right away and feel like I'm doing a good job. ;)

The Home Goal
My only home goal this year is to o-r-g-a-n-i-z-e. I don't know how many times over the holidays I had to hurl myself across the room screaming NOOOOOOOO when a guest was about to open a drawer, cupboard, or closet. I've been hiding my hoarding for too long. I will, I WILL clean out every closet, every drawer, every dresser, every cupboard, every everything until my house is completely snoop-worthy. {I just made that up. It means that if someone came over and snooped in the bathroom drawer, I wouldn't have twelve toothbrushes in varying shades of pink and in varying degrees of crustiness crammed in there amongst all of the pairs of eyeglasses I've ever owned since I was fourteen.}

I'll be sharing my progress along the way, only because I know that deep-down you are totally a snooper and really want to see what lies behind all of my closet doors everyone needs a little bit of organization inspiration. ;) 

The Personal Goal

My personal goal this year is to take more pictures of my family. This includes me actually being in some of the photos, and it also includes printing them and putting them in REAL photo albums.

This picture is ridiculous.

Since I bought my DSLR two years ago, I've printed about five pictures. FIVE! And three of them were for my mom. I also have ten thousand pictures of flowers from my garden this summer, but only like, ten from Cooper's first Christmas. How sad is that!?!?!

I need to get out of the frame of mind that each picture needs to be "perfect" or "professional-looking". I'm sure when I'm eighty years old I won't care if there are shadows under people's noses or if the white balance is off a bit in a photo. I'll just want to see pictures of the Coopster with smooshed cheerios in his hair and drool running down his chin. (He makes that look pretty adorable I must say.)


The Blog Goal
My goal for the blog is not to gain more followers or to get more pins from my projects or to gain more sponsors. It's to be more consistent in replying to YOUR comments. I struggle with this one. Big time. I'm sure you can relate to this, but ever since I started this blog I've either been working full-time or looking after a baby. I find it difficult as it is to scramble together enough minutes to put together a half-decent post. So by the time I'm done writing the post and hit 'publish', I feel guilty that I haven't walked the dogs yet, or washed the dishes, or made dinner, or played with Mini-Coop. Later in the day I'll check my iPhone to see if there are any comments to moderate. If there are, I do a little happy dance inside, think of a cute reply in my head, and then make a mental note to go back later and actually write the reply. Except I never seem to have time to. Booooo, me.

There are times when I do go back and write a reply to every single comment in a post, but it's usually two weeks after the comments were written and I know that nobody will ever see them because I waited too darn long. 
So. You are my friends. And I want to be a better friend by taking the time to write YOU back when we were so lovely as to write ME in the first place.
P.S. Did you know that if you have your email address on your profile page or if you leave an email address in your comment it makes it so much easier to reply? For realz.
Now, the fun part.
My Challenges for 2013:
1. Take a family vacation.  
2. Learn Photoshop and/or Lightroom better by taking an online or in-person course or workshop.
3. Wear pink lipstick out of the house on a weekday.
4. Choose a runner for the stairs already.
5. Teach the Coopster better sleep habits, ummm, like how to self-soothe. Apparently he likes to wake up every hour now to get cuddles.
6. Eat at a sushi restaurant even though it makes me queasy just thinking about it. 
7. Order some fabric with color (gasp!) and make some new cushions for the living room.
8. Go fishing. Of course I would let the fishies go.
9. Read ten books. From the library.       
10. Knit one thing. Maybe a scarf. Maybe a baby scarf because they are smaller.
11. Give away 10 small gifts to unsuspecting peeps just for the fun of it.
12. Help Alex finish the basement.
13. Take Cooper for swimming lessons even though being in a bathing suit in front of strangers is kind of horrifying.
14. Get braces. Again. Yuck, blech, boooooooooo.
15. Do a 1000 piece puzzle. Wow, I'm a nerd.
16. Make a (wannabe) real photography website. Eeek. That one is scary.
17. Do some family portrait sessions and charge a wee bit of money for them. Eeek! That one is super scary too.
18. Cook a recipe from the Thai cookbook that I bought two years ago.
19. Bake some cinnamon buns.
20. Adopt a baby. Okay so this one doesn't really count because we've been trying to do this for the last four years. But maybe 2013 will be the year it goes down!
What's your #1 goal for 2013? If it's to do a puzzle then we're totally besties.

The Basement Reno - Floorplan


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

We finally whipped up a little floor plan to show you our plans for the basement.
Here's our new basement layout:

Note #1: The little room off the pantry (with the question mark) is a little cold room under the exterior cement stairs at the front of the house. It's very, very creepy in there.
Note #2: The guest room at the back of the house is not an addition! It's just how our house was built with an extra room sticking out the back. Weird, huh?

Now here are the five main changes we made to the original layout:

#1 - The office / play area in the diagram used to be a storage room the same size as the adjacent pantry. The door to the storage area was located in the middle of the wall, making a seating area difficult in the family room since neither the couch, loveseat, or t.v. could fit along that wall. Our original plan was to move the door off to the side, however once Alex took down most of the wall we realized how much bigger and brighter the family room looked with the whole space opened up. We gained an extra window in the family room and a spot for all of our office / sewing / craft supplies!

#2 - We closed off a doorway that led down a small hall to the laundry room. Again, the doorway took up space along a long wall in the family room where we needed to place a couch, loveseat, or t.v. 

#3 - We changed the shape of the laundry room in order to create a wide, open hallway leading from the family room to all the other rooms in the basement. With the old layout, we used to have to walk through the L-shaped laundry room to get to the guest room. It was a bit of a maze. Creating a unified hallway has made such a huge difference to the overall feel of the basement. It seems so much bigger now that we can see from one end all the way to the other!

#4 - We divided up the furnace room into two areas so that down the road we can add a bathroom. Alex moved the furnace and water heater all to one side to accommodate our future plans.

#5 - Alex built a little bump-out parallel to the beam/post in the office / play area so that we will be able to install a built-in desk along the back wall and built-in shelving for toys along the side.


I'm still not sure what to do with the little spot in front of the fireplace. It seems like a great little space for a sitting area but an extra set of chairs would kind of block the path to the laundry room / hallway. Whaddayouthink?

You Ask, I Answer - Part Seven - About The Basement


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wow, I should get a medal for dragging these Q&A posts out as long as I have. ;)
{Remember, it's only because I want to take my time and write nice, long answers for y'all that it's taken me five months to get only part-way through your questions. Hee hee!}
How did your basement renovation turn out? Will there be photos?
Oh, the basement. Oh, the basement.

I feel that I need to back up and explain a little bit about the basement situation for some of the readers that have come along since February of 2011. Yes, that's right. If you do the math it was almost two years ago that this crazy project was started. Oy.

Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote two years ago called When Your Hubby Destroys Your Finished Basement:
On his last day of Christmas holidays, Alex told me he was going to start demolishing the kitchen. Um, what!?!?!?! With no plan? No budget? No internet surfing and googling for 6 months beforehand?

I told him I didn't think it was a good idea, yet. So he went downstairs to "insulate the laundry room". Little did I know that "insulating the laundry room" would lead to him destroying the whole basement.
Alex ended up gutting the entire basement down to bare concrete. (It's kind of scary down there. When I do laundry I have to run really fast and turn as many lights on as possible so that nothing jumps out and gets me.)(Don't pretend like you don't know what monsters I'm talking about.)
It's taken a really long time for this renovation to get going for many reasons:
- Alex is doing all of the work himself
- He can only work on the basement after work and on weekends
- I always seem to sucker him into doing my projects instead
- Most weekends we end up out and about shopping, at the cottage, or going on little adventures
- We had a baby
- We bought The Fixer Upper
It also doesn't help that we never did a proper clean-up of the basement before the reno started. Alex is constantly having to move and work around furniture, boxes, Christmas storage tubs, sporting gear, etc., etc., etc.
All that being said, I am happy to share that there has been some noteworthy progress made in the basement over the last few weeks. We are nowhere near the "finishing" stages but I think I see drywall in my near future. ;)
Stay tuned because I'll be sharing lots of basement posts (with photos!) over the next few weeks. For now, I will share a little sneak peek of some manly-type progress:
Looking better, right?
You can find the rest of my answers to your questions here:
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