Archive for September, 2011

closet capers

Closets don’t get nearly as much love as they deserve. Think about how many times a day you open closets to get coats, bags, cleaning products and clothes?

Mine were really suffering from too many days of “I’m too busy to put stuff away in its correct place” — and in some cases, the “correct places” didn’t yet exist.

And I’m pretty lucky to have an old house with decent closets on the main level and in the master bedroom. (Of course, the master bedroom closet came at the expense of the closet in the blue bedroom before I bought it, but I’m working on some fun solutions for that…)
First off, here’s my newly organized downstairs closet. It’s the brown door on the north side of the dining room, by the doorway to the living room.
On the right are everyday jackets and hangers for guests.
On the left, old prom dresses and winter jackets. Far to the left is where I keep the extra dining room chairs, and there’s also a handy shelf where I keep extra candles and candleholders.
Front and center are some shoe and sweater holders that I’ve repurposed for more candles and things I need to grab quickly on a regular basis: chargers for the drill, vacuum cleaner and personal electronics; hats and mittens for winter; umbrellas and extra surge protectors.
Votives, tealights and aroma melts are sorted by season (right now, fall/winter fragrances like spiced cider and cinnamon bayberry are at the top, and spring/summer fragrances like lemongrass and citronella are on the bottom shelves).
Once that closet was conquered, it was much easier to tackle my master bedroom closet.

I started with the seasonal clean-out: shorts, summer dresses and blouses went in the “seasonal box” in the linen closet, and a few fall/winter pieces came back into the closet.
Then I rearranged the layout so that all casual items and work pants are on the top shelf, and business + special occasion clothes are on the bottom and on the far right. I wear skirts and dresses to work most days, and pants less often (hence, relegating them to the top shelf). And casual wear is only for the weekends and trips. So, everything I wear often is right within reach.
The final touch was hanging a curtain rod to match the window treatment. The drapes came from Target last summer, by way of my mom (who bought them when she was redecorating my childhood bedroom in very similar colors last summer – I should probably do a post about that when I’m home over Christmas, eh?)
I love love love the new curtains! And now, when guests are on their way and I don’t have time to make the closet look like it should, I can just close the drapes 🙂
I think I’ll probably keep them open most of the time, but I like having the option. They match the sheets perfectly, which works out well.
How about you? Any good tips for keeping closets organized and happy?

last harvest

The last harvest is always a sad day … for me, fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden are one of the very best things about summer. And this year was particularly bad for tomatoes — the squirrels got a few red ones, but I never did.

But here’s the last hurrah: lemon cucumbers, kale, basil, green tomatoes, and chiles (jalapeno and habanero). YUM.

And, some majorly delicious zucchini from a few weeks ago:
Stay tuned for some cooking posts … I finally got to spend a Sunday night in the kitchen for the first time in a long while 🙂

wedding crafting (*not mine!)

It was a dreary, drizzly Sunday in Minneapolis today … so we spent the afternoon working on projects for Danica’s wedding.

You probably recognize her from past craft days and parties at the house. She’s a great friend I’ve known since we worked on the magazine together years ago, and now we mostly get to see each other at seasonal clothing swaps and project days. But after the wedding in a few weeks, she’s moving into the neighborhood — yay!

gold, silver and peacock feathers

I’ve found some amazing treasures at some antique and vintage stores in South Minneapolis and Uptown this summer.

First, a 30-piece set of silver to add to my collection of various silverware patterns (and, altogether, I only paid $1.73 because of a 20% off sale at Hunt and Gather and a gift certificate from some dear friends who know me very, very well).

Peacock feathers for just three bucks a pop, which you’ve already seen in the living room (a now-closed antique store on Hennepin and 27th).

And a fantastic gold key that is also destined for the living room (from Rewind Vintage at 48th and Chicago).

Aren’t old things just so much prettier than new ones?

sconces + mirrors

When dad was here last weekend, he helped me hang some things in the yellow bedroom and the living room.

First, the massive frame of painted tiles that mom found in California and that we thought would be perfect for their room. First we tried the wall between the windows:

But it was a little too big. So we tried it on the wall on the other side of the bed.


Then it was on to the mirror, to fill some space on the wall above the dresser.

It was just the thing the room needed — it fits perfectly between the dresser and the ceiling, and it’s great for making the room feel more open.

With the new side tables that mom found, the yellow bedroom is feeling a lot more complete.
Then dad helped me hang some sconces in the living room:

And I rearranged the table in the corner, just for fun. Because you know me … I can’t help it. A disease, I swear 🙂

family bridal shower

While we’re on the subject of weddings… in July my mom, aunt and cousin and I threw a bridal shower for my cousin Maria. Aside from the housewarming party last summer it’s the most people I think I’ve ever had in my house at once! And it was a great motivator for me to get the living room painted and the couch delivered by the middle of July — I never could have hosted this many people with the old set-up.

We made it a kitchen-themed shower, and everyone brought recipes on cards that we had printed to match the invitations.

I wanted to decorate the house with fresh flowers, so I made an early morning trip to the Flower Market Annex at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. It’s my favorite place to get flowers — wholesale prices and you can pick them out yourself from a big cooler in the back. Maria’s wedding colors were yellow and gray, so I got a selection of yellow flowers and white hydrangeas.

We organized a salad buffet for lunch (my mom, aunt and cousin each brought one) along with a bunch of summery appetizers and drinks. For dessert, I made a pavlova with fresh raspberries.

And of course, Maria opened presents 🙂

We even managed to get a photo of the entire group.

Maria and Johnny got married in August and it was beautiful. I’m so excited to have them in the neighborhood 🙂

wedding season

Bridal showers! Bachelorette parties! Weddings!

That’s been my summer in a nutshell. Not even kidding. Eight so far since May, and three more this year. So much fun … and although I haven’t been home very much (hence the garden mess that ma and I had to clean up), I’ve ended up with a few fun additions to the house

pinwheels and mason jars from Rachel and Mark’s wedding in Omaha

tall yellow flowers from Maria and Johnny’s wedding in Minneapolis

my bouquet from Alison and Tony’s wedding in Atlanta
Soon I hope to update the stairwell photo gallery with lots of wedding photos. I’ll post pictures when I do 🙂


For anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating when I say that my family* invades my house when they come to visit, here are some examples:

True, it was back-to-school weekend for the young’ns. But still. That’s some chaos for a girl who usually lives alone.
But yesterday they all left … back to school, back to California … and I’m home alone in the house for the first time in almost three weeks. (Which only lasts until Thursday when I pick up some beloved friends who will be staying with me for another friend’s wedding this weekend.) It was great having them around, though, and I’m going to miss coming home to my mom’s cooking when I’m working late nights this week 🙂
And they helped me with some great projects, so I’ll have more posts for ya’ll soon. Fun updates afoot around the little farmhouse…
For now, I’m just sitting here laughing at these photos and comparing them to my now very clean, very still, very empty living room. The very picture of the tradeoff between cleanliness and community.

*Hi fam. Love ya.