Thursday, August 21, 2014

9 UHeart Organizing: Be Prepared To Party!

One of the reasons I heart to organize is because I can't stand spending time digging and searching for things, especially when I am in a rush to get out the door.  Another reason I organize is to be prepared when special occasions arise.  I have been in situations where I am making last minute dashes through Target ten minutes before my kiddos have a party to be at, and it is stressful with a capitol S.  Not to mention expensive.  Megan of Honey We're Home is joining us today to chat about how she prepares for events, and is offering up some great tips to keep you on top of your party attending game.

The month of August found us celebrating six little friends' birthdays with parties almost every weekend.  When the invites started arriving (via mail or Evite), I started to feel a little overwhelmed.  I wanted to make sure we had all the dates/times/places calendared, that none of the parties overlapped, that we RSVPd on time, and that we had gifts for everyone.

I hadn't considered "preparing to attend a party" a process until we got all these invites at once.  If you have more than one child, I'm sure keeping up with their social calendar of birthdays can be quite the juggling act at times- especially during the school year when you're also dealing with sports/dance/gymnastics or other activities. Today, I'm sharing with you some tips on how to stay on top of the birthday parties (or other events where gifts are appropriate) and some cute handmade cards to keep the costs down and make the gift more personal when it's for a child. 


I write the party on our family kitchen calendar that way we can quickly see if something is occurring on a weekend.  I also put the date and location on my iPhone calendar with details like "bring socks or swimsuit" so we don't forget.  Then, I "invite" my husband on my iPhone calendar so he knows what's happening on the weekend too, but it doesn't mean I don't still have to remind him. ;)

If you have an Evite account (just sign up with your email and password), you'll be able to log in and see all at once the Evite events you've been invited to.


As soon as we receive the invite, I confirm that we can attend, and RSVP right away so that I get it done and the host has enough notice that we'll be coming.  At a lot of these kids' parties, if the party is at a venue, parents pay by the number of children attending, so it's polite to let the host know if you won't be able to make it. 


I have simplified kid gift buying by purchasing all birthday gifts online.  It's more convenient than in-store shopping with a toddler and the selection is better.  I find Amazon particularly usefully because you can search for gifts by gender, age, type of gift (arts/craft, animals/figures, puzzles, sports, etc.) and read reviews from other purchasers about whether the item is quality and a hit with the kids.  The "best seller" items are usually good.  If I give a gift that is particularly well-received, I've been known to purchase it in multiples and have it on hand for future gifts.  Who knew 2 and 3 year olds would like a $10 Mickey Mouse play dough set so much?! 

For the adults in my life, I keep a Pinterest "gift idea" board and refer to it often.  Or, even better, I'll search my friends'  Pinterest boards to see if they have one for "stuff I want" - sneaky huh?!   Shhh...  Although Amazon is great for kid presents, for adults I like Mark & Graham (for monogrammed items), Minted/Paper Source (for personalized stationery), C. Wonder (for unique, cute items) HomeGoods & Hobby Lobby (for teacher gifts), and let's not forget the grocery store for wine!  La Crema Chardonnay, Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio, and Liberty School Cabernet are three solid, inexpensive choices.


When a gift arrives, I tag it with a small post-it note with the recipient's name on it and put it in our bar area until I'm ready to wrap.  Then, I make sure I have the appropriate sized gift bag or proper wrapping paper. 

I've stopped buying birthday cards, opting instead to make our own as we sure have enough supplies for it!  I love having craft supplies of all kinds on hand from markers, to washi tape to stampers and stickers, so it's fun to actually use them!  I have a wrapping cart for organizing wrapping supplies in my office closet, but I like to take the top two divided holders out and keep them in my office for easier access for making notes and sending cards. 

I've kept our stickers in a plastic file folder from Wal-Mart for years so I can find what we need quickly.  You can always find cute stickers on sale at craft stores like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.  Markers are kept in an old candle box and cup. 

Getting my son in on the gift giving process helps instill in him the value of giving, and gives him some letter writing practice!  A foam board or vinyl tablecloth protects the table from scratches and stains when he's creating at the white table.  

Or sometimes, he likes to get on the floor. 

I found these cute "Handmade with Love" stickers at Michael's. 

Do you have this birthday party thing down to a science or does it stress you out sometimes? 

"My name is Megan and I am a lawyer by day, design and decor lover by night, and Mama to the sweetest 4-year old boy you've ever seen.  I'm passionate about fitness (and chocolate!) and could not live without my relationships, girl talk, and my morning coffee.  I've been blogging for four years over at Honey We're Home, sharing my love of keeping things organized and beautiful at our house.  My efforts to live in the moment and cook more are an adventure in progress."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

37 10 Minute Decorating Idea: DIY Marble Tray

It is evident that I move things around our home on almost a daily basis.  Not necessarily for organizational purposes; but for aesthetics.  Often times, moving a planter or decorative accessory from one room to another can breathe new life to a space.  Instant decor gratification right?

My dear friend, Laura from Finding Home, believes that decorating your home should be fun and simple and that it is the little things that impact a space and your mood.  With that, she started a really great series on her blog titled, "10 Minute Decorating".  The idea is to find or do something really quick and easy that makes an instant difference to your space.  It can be anything, but shouldn't take more than ten minutes of your day.

Laura invited a few bloggers to join in on her challenge and today I am sharing how I was able to add a little pizazz to my desk in under ten minutes. 

I wish I could say I was the mastermind behind the new trend of marbling objects with nail polish, it is simply GENIUS!  I am hoping that because I did this to my workspace, some of that smart thinking will rub off on me... fingers crossed.

My new farmhouse desk is a blank slate at the moment as I am in the process of finally staining it and giving it a little extra treatment.  To ensure my office doesn't become too rustic {which is a great style, just not my personal style}, I want to add additional colors and finishes to the space.  What better way than with a decorative tray to corral some of my favorite daily office supplies?

I started with a plain white porcelain tray {found at Target} and a slew of nail polish colors that are similar to the colors I am using in my studio space.

The process to marble with polish is quite quick and simple.  Start by filling a paint tray or bin with enough water to submerge your item.  We used water that was around room temp, and it is important to use a bin that you don't love.  The nail polish will end up sticking to the edges/insides {but can be cleaned up with polish remover}.

Like I said, this project is quick.  You really have no choice but to move fast!  Nail polish dries and changes consistency almost instantly, giving you very little working time.  I recommend shaking and opening all of your polish colors before getting started.  I asked my husband to help with this project so that I could take photos, but it really could be done solo.  Although I will say, it was nice to have his help to be sure we could move quickly enough.

Simply adding a few drops of polish to the water will cause the polish to go straight to the bottom.  It was much more effective to splatter the polish around. 

Once all of the colors were in the water, I used a bamboo skewer to carefully mix the colors a bit better prior to dipping the tray.

Then, we just dipped the tray and pulled it right out.  The nail polish instantly clung to the tray and came out of the water in a marble like pattern.

And that is it!  Take it out, it dries quickly and it is done!  Ten minutes or less and you can marble anything you wish!

Because our tray was beveled, we sort of scooped it through the polish {vs just setting it face down onto the polish and pulling it back out}.  The first attempt we ran out of polish before hitting the final edge, you can see the line in the photo above where it stopped.  I also wasn't super thrilled with all of the pink and lack of other colors.  However, the sweetest part of this project is that those mistakes were no problem!  I just used nail polish remover to remove the first attempt and tried again.  The second time, we dipped one half first and let it dry....

And then re-dipped the opposite side and let it dry again.

There will be some imperfections, but that is the beauty of it.  I recommend starting out with something small and working up from there.  And it is surprising how little polish is needed, the water spreads it so a little really does go a long way.

I didn't do anything more to cure it as it seems quite durable, but you could put a protective finish over it if you wanted to.

I really can't stop oohing and ahhing.  It was just what my work happy space needed and I adore how it plays off of the beautiful wood!

If you love these types of quick projects that take very little time yet leave you smiling, then be sure to follow along with the 10 Minute Decorating series over at Finding Home; including additional tips from myself, Michael of Inspired by Charm, KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms and Jessica of Four Generations One Roof

And we also want for YOU to join in with us!  Just share your projects with us via instagram using the hashtag #10minutedecorating and we will all be checking in to see what you creative kids are up to!

How do you decorate in ten minutes or less?  Have you tried out the marbling technique yet and if so, what received the special treatment?

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