7th House on the Left

Well, it’s Friday. I don’t know about you guys, but it has been one long week. Not that it was a bad week, but I’m glad the weekend is finally rolling around.

One of the highlights of our week was when we received this amazing surprise package in our PO box from Snickety Snacks

Custom Logo Cookies from Snickety Snacks // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Seriously, I died. I immediately took a photo with my cell phone and sent it to my mom… “Mom! We’re on a cookie!” They taste as good as they look, but they’re way too pretty to eat. We refuse to eat the 7th House logo cookie – it’s currently sitting on a plate in the kitchen with plastic wrap over it. I told Greg I want to find a way to shellac it and keep it forever, haha. By the way, if you haven’t entered the Snickety Snack giveaway, click over and enter! We’re giving one lucky reader a $100 gift card for their own custom cookies. The giveaway closes Sunday at midnight EST.

Happy Weekend / 7thhouseontheleft.com

As for our plans this weekend, we’re going to be doing some house cleaning and getting ready for my grandparents, who are coming into town from Florida for a few weeks. They love seeing the leaves in Virginia when they change in the Fall. The leaves are starting to change now, so hopefully they’ll catch them at their peak before they head back down to the land of palm trees. Greg and I love it when they come into town, so we’re really looking forward to it.

Also on the agenda for the weekend is cleaning up the front porch to gear up for some pumpkin-action. We’re going to the local farmers’ market to get some mums, a few pumpkins and some small gourds. Bentley is now feeling well enough that we can leave him unsupervised in his crate (which he loves like his own little house), so I’m super excited about this outing. Speaking of Bentley…

Bentley the Pomeranian / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Thank you all so much for the comments and emails wishing our little kid dog well. He’s recovering from his surgery quite well and we had nothing but good reports at his follow-up appointment last week. We were able to have the stitches taken out, and he’s now cone free (sooner than we thought!). I think he’s even more excited about the cone coming off than we are. He’s slowly getting back to his normal mischievous self, but he’s not too happy with the fact that he’s still not allowed to walk more than a few steps at a time. He spends his day curled up in a blanket on a dining room chair right next to my desk chair. Where I go, he goes. (I took the above photo while I was taking after photos of the guest room closet.) I think he’s immensely enjoying all the attention, but you can definitely tell he’s getting tired of being on “strict rest”. He’s in dire need of a haircut (we normally keep his hair cut short, aka “the puppy cut”), but he isn’t cleared from the Dr for grooming visits until November 26th… so he has an appointment for the 27th ; )

What are you guys up to this weekend? Any pumpkin-patching action going on?

That closet. Everyone has one. The one you’d be mortified for your mother-in-law to see. The closet where everything ends up… things that need to go to the Goodwill, that picture frame you don’t know what to do with, wrapping paper, coloring books for when your friend’s kids come over, that candle holder you love but just don’t have a place for it yet, the Christmas ornament that rolled under the sofa and you didn’t find until after all the Christmas decor was packed and back in the attic… Yeah, THAT kind of closet. Well, that’s what happened to our guest room closet. Being fans of Friends, the closet became known around here as “The Monica Closet”…

Cleaning the Monica Closet / "No, honey you’re not sick! Look, I don’t love you because you’re organized, I love you in spite of that."

How did you get in there?!

You’re messy.

Oh no! You weren’t supposed to see this!

I married Fred Sanford!

No Chandler, you don’t understand! (Chandler starts singing
the theme forSanford and Son) Okay! Okay! Okay!
Fine! Now you know. Okay? I’m y’know…I’m sick.

No, honey you’re not sick!
Look, I don’t love you because you’re organized,
I love you in spite of that.

No, I don’t have a photo of what it looked like before, but just trust me, it was really that bad. The pile didn’t quite reach its way up as far as Monica’s, but it was getting close. Even though I would feel slightly really embarrassed to post it, if I had a before photo, I’d definitely have posted it.

Before we painted the guest room a few weeks back, Greg and I spent a few hours going through everything, purging what we didn’t need anymore and taking a trip to the Goodwill. After the paint had dried and all of the touch-ups had been made, I refused to put anything back in the closet unless it was organized and had a place… and was labeled, of course. Here’s a photo I posted on Instagram of the newly-emptied closet.

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Yep, one happy camper. Now that the closet had been completely cleared out, we were able to make a more focused plan of what we wanted it to be. The idea was to take the closet and make it serve a total of 5 purposes: 1) A spot for our overnight guests to hang their clothes, 2) A place to store gift-wrapping supplies, 3) A “secret” hiding place for hostess gifts and future birthday/christmas presents, 4) A place to store candles, vase fillers, etc. and 5) A place for the emergency “oh my goodness, we have kids in the house and no toys” box. Sounds like a pretty hefty load to put on the shoulders of a 76″ x 31″ closet, but we were optimistic we could make it work.

First thing, we needed shelving. When shopping for shelves, we had three requirements: 1) White, 2) Solid (as in, not wire) and 3) Adjustable. I checked all the usual online resources and wound up having to decide between this option from The Container Store and this one from Home Depot. While each had its own pros and cons, we decided to go with the Rubbermaid option because Greg could just pick it up after work, rather than having to order them online and waiting a week for them to arrive (the nearest Container store is almost 2 hours away). While looking for reviews on these particular shelves, I came across this post over on Young House Love. The installation process seemed pretty painless and the “after” looked like what we were going for, so it was a done deal.

In order to save some time and make Greg’s trip to Home Depot as hassle-free as possible after a long day at work, I went ahead and placed the order for everything we needed online and scheduled it for in-store pickup for when Greg got off from work. We’ve done this a few times before, and it always works out really well. No need to sit and stare at all the options for 20 minutes–just do your research online, order, and pick everything up when it’s ready. We ended up with four shelves (36″ x12″), eight brackets, two upright tracks (47″) and two hardware packs; totaling around $70.

The installation process exceeded our expectations because it was super, super simple. So simple in fact, that I didn’t even manage to get a “process” photo. Basically, as long as you have the two upright brackets perfectly level, you’re golden. All of the anchors and screws you need are in the hardware packs, so there’s no wondering if you’ll have enough hardware to do the job. After about 15 minutes, they were installed…

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Even though we knew we wouldn’t be hanging a shelf past the brace holding up the existing closet shelf (the one that goes across the entire closet), we still mounted the brackets all the way up, right against the molding. By mounting the brackets perpendicular against the molding, we got a more streamlined and less cluttered look.

The shelves add a ton of extra storage, and our overnight guests will still have a good 40-ish inches to hang their clothes and stash their luggage. (There’s also a place in the corner, next to the dresser for luggage if need be.) After a few hours of labeling and putting things back in place, the closet now looks like this…

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

So. Much. Better. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up…

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

For the bottom of the closet, I really wanted to add long shallow drawers here, but we couldn’t find quite the right kind. Everything we found was either too long (we’re wanting them to be about 36″ wide) or permanently-installed cabinets. Until we find another solution, we bought three clear under bed storage containers. The top one is for keepsakes. Once in a while, we come across something we want to keep, but we don’t have time to pull down the attic stairs, find an empty keepsake box, etc. This box is there to corral the things that we want to keep so they aren’t floating around the house until we find the time to get them into a box in the attic. The second one down is for unused picture frames and wall art. The bottom container is for gift bags/small gift boxes and “back up” rolls of wrapping paper (if I find a design I really love on sale, I always buy an extra roll or two). They aren’t the “prettiest” containers in the world, but the long, narrow design is works well for our purposes, and the clear tops help us see what’s in them without pulling them out each time. They might not be the perfect solution, but they definitely get the job done.

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

As for storing the wrapping paper, I brought in the vintage umbrella stand from the foyer. Once we actually start keeping umbrellas in it, I’ll put it back in the foyer and replace it with a floor vase – I just haven’t found the perfect floor vase yet. This was a good solution for this space because it’s slender enough to leave ample floor space for guests’ luggage, and it can easily be moved if it’s in the way for some reason. I’ve seen a lot of wrapping paper solutions on Pinterest that include hanging the wrapping paper rolls on the inside of closet doors. I think that’s a great idea, but for these particular doors (which don’t close very smoothly), it would drive me crazy to have rolls of wrapping paper banging, swinging and possibly falling off the door every time they were opened and closed.

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

A friend of ours was just at Ikea last week and asked if we needed anything while she was there (like the Container Store, it’s almost a 2 hour drive from here). Knowing that this closet organization process was coming up, we asked her to pick up three sets of white Kassett boxes – which happened to be on sale for $4.99 a set. Score! I have a love/hate relationship with these puppies. They’re inexpensive, convenient and easy on the eyes with their included bookplate labels, but they are a pain to put together. The little, tiny, Polly Pocket-sized bolts and copious amounts of white cardboard punch-outs laying on the floor afterward make me cringe… ugh.

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Instead of stacking two rows of boxes on top of each other, we added another shelf so we wouldn’t have to take out a top box just to get to a bottom one. I used my handy dandy label maker to mark each box with its contents. For the top shelf, we have ribbon, tissue paper and Christmas (gift tags, ornaments to tie on to the ribbon, etc). For the second shelf, we have candles, vase fillers and the “Kids Box” (which is filled with a few games, books, coloring books and crayons for when our little cousins and friends’ kids come over).

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Above the two shelves of boxes, on the top shelf, I made a little designated area for cards and gift prepping. On the right, we have our greeting cards box (check out the blog post about that here), and everything else I need to get a gift party-ready is on the left.

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

I picked up three clear canisters from the kitchen section at Target to house paper tape, scotch tape and gift tags. In the coffee cup is a double-duty thin/medium Sharpie, gold, copper and silver Sharpie paint pens, and a regular ink pen. You might notice we happen to be missing pair of scissors. That’s because my new pair of ridiculously glorious scissors haven’t been delivered quite yet. Once those are in place, this area will be ready for present-wrapping action.

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

On the very top shelf, we have three large Kassett boxes. We use one for Christmas gifts for family/friends and another for hostess or last minute gifts I pick up throughout the year. I can’t show you what’s inside because the Internet (and my family) will see the gifts we’ve collected for Christmas, haha. If for some reason something is too big to fit in the box, we have a designated Rubbermaid container at the top of the attic steps that’s easily accessible. The third box is where we keep backups for the “guest room welcome basket” we keep in the room (we’ll be sure to post more about that later).

Guest Room Closet Organization / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Having a place for everything and everything in its place is like a “natural high” for me. Every time I go in there to get something, it makes me happy. Our favorite thing about the closet is that it houses so many different things and still gives overnight guests enough room to hang their clothes and stash their luggage away. Now that the “Monica Closet” is history, we can mark this big task off of our ‘ole To Do List.

Friends image from here.

A new machine has been added to my office, and I’m kind of thrilled about it. Okay, very thrilled…

The Silhouette Cameo. If you have one, or have a friend that has one, you already know the awesomeness of this machine. The day it came in the mail, I unboxed it (while still standing by the front door!) and sat it on the dining table and just stared at it. Really, I did. Greg, who at the time didn’t get the gist of what a Silhouette actually did, was passing through the dining area on his way to the kitchen and asked what I was doing. I tried to explain it to him, but it was hard to filter through my excitement to explain what it can do. I just ended up saying something along the lines of, “It does everything…?” I then spent the rest of the night watching Silhouette tutorials on YouTube.

Silhouette Projects // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Here’s the thing… I’m not a crafty person. I don’t own 50 kinds of card stock, I don’t scrapbook, and I don’t have baskets full of glitter and embellishments. A few tubes of craft paint and maybe a glue gun is about as crafty as I get, but I love this machine. What I am is a homeowner who loves organizing – which makes this machine enormously exciting for me. The thing I’m most excited about: labels. Tons and tons of different types of labels. Above pictured projects from hereherehere and here.

DIY At-A-Glance Office Calendar / 7thhouseontheleft.com

To break in my new machine, I got to work on this wipe-off calendar in my office. I bought it from Pottery Barn a few years ago, making plans to “use it aaaaall the time”. Well, it has been hanging on the wall in my office for almost 2 years, and I think I’ve used it four times out of those 24 months.

My new goal was to turn it into an “at-a-glance” wall calendar that I could use in my day to day “office stuff” (blog, graphic design clients and writing gigs). Blog posts, giveaways, appointment details, birthdays, events are all in what I call my “Make It Happen Binder”, but I wanted this calendar to be something I could glance at and get a simplified idea of my week.

To spruce up the calendar (and make it functional), I used Printable Magnetic Paper. There are many, many really good, detailed tutorials on how to use this product (and the machine) on YouTube, so I won’t rehash the nitty-gritty “How To”. But basically, you start off by printing out your design (using your home printer) on the printable side of the magnetic paper. Then, you put it through the Silhouette machine to cut the design out. Pretty nifty, right? For me, since I design primarily using Adobe Illustrator, the Silhouette software was a bit of a learning curve. However, after playing with it for a while, I’m starting to get the hang of it. 

DIY At-A-Glance Office Calendar / 7thhouseontheleft.com

After putting a lot of thought into what I wanted the calendar to do for me, I decided to make 6 different types of magnets: numbers for the dates (I hate writing on a day only to smudge the date next to it with my hand), day-blockers (for “out of the office” days like vacations and “staycations”) and four markers for day-changers (things on the schedule that change up the day and are good to know when coming up).

DIY At-A-Glance Office Calendar / 7thhouseontheleft.com

DAY BLOCKERS // I made these blocks a tad smaller than the width of the calendar blocks. These will come in handy when we have a vacation or a “staycation” so I can remember to put up an “out of the office” memo on email and Brown & Barkley.

D’s // The D’s are for deadlines. I have all of the other information stashed away in my “Make it Happen Binder” and/or computer but the simple “D” magnet let me know a deadline is coming up. Normally, on deadline days, I set aside time for finishing up last minute touches, tweaks and edits. This simple reminder helps me remember that part of that day is dedicated to a deadline.

STARS // The stars are for days I have an appointment to work around (doctor, vet, hair, lunch date, etc) or Greg and I have plans with friends/family and I need to make sure to wrap it up in my office a little early so that I’m ready by the time Greg gets home from work. I’ve only been using this system for a few days, but this one in particular has already proven to be super helpful.

POWER PLUGS // The plugs are for “Official Unplug Days”. Being a blogger and freelance graphic designer, I’m on the computer/iPhone a lot. In order keep the creative juices flowing and give my brain a rest (and for it not to turn to mush by the time I’m 50), I’ve recently instituted “Official Unplug Days”,  where I keep the computers and cell phone off. It’s good to put them on the calendar because I like to be sure to catch up on all important emails and projects the day before.

HEARTS // Hearts stand for date nights. I love these. Even though Greg and I don’t have kids, our jobs are like our kids because they take so much time from each of our schedules. Date nights are a real treat around here, and we try to schedule them as often as possible. Technically, I could use the star magnets for this, but I like using the hearts specifically for date nights because it gives me something to look forward to in the days leading up to it.

DIY At-A-Glance Office Calendar / 7thhouseontheleft.com

In addition to the magnets, I still write in reminders for things like phone meetings and important emails. I decided not to include things like posts, giveaways, projects, etc mainly due to the fact that I want this to be a simplified, at-a-glance version of the calendar in my “Make It Happen Binder” – which is a lot more filled, scribbled on and hectic-looking than this one.

DIY At-A-Glance Office Calendar / 7thhouseontheleft.com

Oh, and I keep the extra magnets nearby in a dish on my desk for my ever-changing schedule.

DIY At-A-Glance Office Calendar / 7thhouseontheleft.com

My new calendar system has only been in play for a few days, but I can already tell this system is a keeper. One more thing to cross off my list for this year, woo hoo!

Our new friends at Silhouette are partnering with us to offer 7th House readers a special discount on machines (both the Cameo and the Portrait) plus a free Speciality Media Bundle…

Silhouette Promotion / 7thhouseontheleft.com

The Specialty Media Bundle includes magnet paper (like I used in today’s project), a cardstock essentials pack, printable adhesive kraft paper, printable clear sticker paper, temporary tattoo paper, printable cotton canvas chipboard, silver foil and double-sided adhesive. If you already have a Silhouette machine, they’re offering 30% off all specialty media. To take advantage of this deal, click here and enter LEFT at checkout.

We weren’t paid to share the Silhouette promotion nor do we get commission off of sales when using the 7th House promo code. We were given the Silhouette Cameo and Media Bundle to develop our own project for our home.