7th House on the Left

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.

Some people collect stamps. I collect greeting cards. I hate making a trip to the store just because I have to pick up a last minute birthday card or a card to go a long with a gift, so I started collecting them. If I see an abnormally cute or clever card, I just go ahead and buy it, even if I have no idea who I’ll give it to. Needless to say, my card collection has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years.

Greeting Card Storage // 7thhouseontheleft.com

I’ve been keeping my stash in one of the cabinets in my office, but the boxed Thank You card collection is slowly overtaking the occasion cards. That being the case, I decided it was about time to give the occasion cards a new, more organized home. Before working on an organization solution, I went through all of the cards and got rid of the ones that were out of date or not our style anymore. I stand by the philosophy that a card tells a lot about the person’s style. For the next day or two, I kept my eye open during my errand-running for a container to corral and organize the now slimmed-down collection of greeting cards.

Nate Berkus File Box // http://bit.ly/19ucN0T

I picked up this Nate Berkus file box from Target. The color and pattern made me happy just like cards do, so it seemed fitting. On top of that, it was the perfect size for what we needed, and it would make me keep my collection a reasonable size.

Organized Greeting Cards // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Before I got started organizing the cards, the first thing I did was attach a bookplate label to the front of the box. Everything is better with a label. 

To get the organization ball rolling, I made a list of all of the categories of cards that I had on hand plus a few categories I needed to replenish (like Congrats and Get Well). After a minute or two of figuring out the categories, I came up with a reasonable list: Birthday, Birthday (for Kids), Birthday (for Family), Thank You (like I mentioned earlier, I keep boxed sets of Thank You cards in my office but this section is for single/special Thank You cards), Blank, Get Well, Just Because, Congrats, Anniversary, Wedding, Baby, Sympathy, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Holiday.

Organized Greeting Cards // 7thhouseontheleft.com

While at Target, I also picked up two packages of gold Nate Berkus file folders. Because I was having a “bad handwriting day” – and the fact that I’m obsessed with my label maker – I went down my list and made a label for each category. Whenever I’m making labels for a lot of things at once, I type everything out, putting two spaces between each word, then hit the “Print” button to print them all out in fell swoop. You’ll have to cut between each word by hand rather than with the machine, but you save a lot of label tape this way.

Organized Greeting Cards // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Once all of the file folders were labeled, I put them in the box and loaded in the cards. If feels like a tiny weight has been lifted off of my shoulders to know these are organized and ready to go whenever we need a card for someone special. If only every other area of our house was this organized. One tiny mountain at a time.

I’m currently swimming in emails to return, logo concepts to finish and deliver, a website design to fine tune, files that need to be sent to the printer and new art for Brown & Barkley to post, but I wanted to pop in and give you guys a quick update on the guest room. Yesterday, we talked about the bedding and today, we have side tables!

While on the search for side tables, we had three things on our wish list… 1) rustic/wood tones 2) clean lines and 3) a touch of black to tie in with the dresser. We searched pretty much every possible online resource (Amazon, Overstock, ZGallerie, Home Decorators, Joss & Main, One Kings Lane, Wayfair, etc), and while we were able to find the three things on our wish list, pretty much all of the options were super short – like, 27″ or less. Seeing as how the bed isn’t that low to the ground and the nearby dresser is 38″ tall, we thought a 27″ side table would look kind of dinky and small.

Just when we were about to give up hope of finding “the ones”, we stumbled on these while shopping at Target…

Target Threshold Console Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Greg was actually the one to point them out first, and the first thing I said when he showed them to me was, “Wow, Threshold is killing it…” Seriously, they are. This table is actually considered a “console table”. Over to the right, you can see a glimpse of the side table version. It’s a bit shorter and about half the length. At first, I was worried about it looking too much like a console and not enough like a side table, but I figured it would look a lot better once there was a table lamp and a few kick-knacks on board. So, in the cart they went–well, one went. They only had one in stock, so we took one home, put it in place, and realized it was perfect. We were so happy/anxious about it that Greg immediately took a trip across town to track down a second table at another Target store.

Guest Room Side Table // 7thhouseontheleft.com

We love them. They are the perfect height and large enough to hold everything we wanted. I haven’t accessorized them quite yet, but this is what one looks like after a 5-minute “oh-this-might-look-good-here” session. I’m anxious to find the time to actually style them the way I have in my head, but this setup works for now.

In Guest Room 2.0, we had sconces, but we’ve decided to forego the sconces this time around and bring in nice, big table lamps. They fill up the space more and they’re a great way to bring in some white to tie in with the sheets. I’m using “tie in” a lot these days. Please forgive me! I actually grabbed the table lamps from our bedroom (I bought them from ZGallerie a while back) to make sure I wanted white lamps in here. I have to say, I kind of like them in here! They actually look better in here than they do in our bedroom, so they might be here to stay. The jury is still out, though, because I also have my eye on these. I love them.

So that’s the current state of the guest room. I’m still on the hunt for curtains (I still have NO idea where to begin with those!), wall art to go near the chair in the corner, a side table/stool to go beside the chair in the corner, and accessories for the dresser and second side table. Still a ways to go until we reach the “finish” line, but we’re liking where we’re headed so far.

Now, back to bury my head in my giant to-do list.