Saturday, July 22

7 of My FavoriteTips to Make Moving Easier

No, I'm not moving, at the moment. But in the seven years we've been married, we've moved six times. The first year after moving into our house, it felt almost weird to not be scouring for boxes, busting out the packing tape and sharpies, and uprooting again.  But now we've happily lived here for over three years, moving is a distant nightmare. 

With all that relocating, I do feel like I have some expertise in making moves ... of the home kind. When Casper (the mattress company) asked me to contribute some tips, I had a hard time narrowing it down. Sometimes it's the simplest things that make a big difference. I'm not sure moving is ever totally easy, but at least we can aim for easier.

Not moving in the near future? On the Happier podcast, best-selling author Gretchen Ruben and her sister, Elizabeth Craft, recently recommended the happiness hack of making a "virtual move." To boost happiness through decluttering, you ask yourself, "If I were moving, what would I do with this?" When we prepare for a move, we're able to make more logical decisions about what to throw out, what to sell, and what to replace. Making a "virtual move" will help you look at your home with fresh eyes, and you never know - with the average number of times a person moves in their life (eleven), you might have a real move around the corner that you'll be prepared for!

1. Store it. 

To avoid living in a brown cardboard labyrinth in the weeks or months before you move, try renting a storage compartment, or better yet, a pod that can stay in your yard until it's full, and then ship to your new place.

2. Ship it. 

Speaking of shipping - as soon as you have access to your new place or a storage location nearby, ship your stuff. Especially if it's items you're positive you won't need, like out of season clothes, old toys and baby gear, home decor items, pillows, and files. This will save room in your Uhaul for the big ticket, super heavy items like books and furniture, potentially saving you money by allowing you to get away with a smaller truck.

3. Sell it. 

A garage sale is a great option for off-loading a lot of your stuff at once, and also a great tip for the "virtual movers." But if that seems like to much work for the amount of items you have, try Craig's List or the Offer Up app (even easier than Craig's List!) to sell items. 

4. Pack it... the "essentials box," specifically.

I've also used an "essentials laundry basket," instead of an actual box, but put all the items you'll need in the next 24 hours in here. Things like paper plates and plastic silverware, hand soap, paper towels or real towels, charging cords, and toilet paper (amen) will be wonderful to have easy access to right away. You could even tape this box with red duct tape to make it stand out. 

5.  Replace it. 

Moving is a good time to take a hard look at items you might pass over in your regular decluttering purges (or am I the only one that has those on a seasonal basis?). In our last move, we took the trouble of moving our old plaid couch to the new house - but replaced it not long afterwards, thankfully, because my DIY slipcover didn't work in the new living room, since the back of the couch didn't face a wall. 

We did, however, buy a new mattress. I'm not sure how old our old mattress was - it had belonged to Brian's family before we got married - but the main reason we bought a new one was because we'd finally decided to move from a full bed to a queen. Let me tell you - that was a great idea! 

6. Schedule it. 

It seems obvious, but make sure you've scheduled all your utility appointments BEFORE move in day. On the moving day, you'll have so much to deal with, you should not be messing with this. And if toilets aren't working when you and your crew are moving in ... not good things will happen. Plan to have your water and electricity on, and test that they're running fine, well before the big day!

7. Write it ... on the side. 

This is it - my big, life-changing tip: write on the sides of your boxes, not the top. It took me more moves than I care to admit before I figured this out. So many times, I'd pack 10 boxes, and then immediately need something I'd packed. "It's around here somewhere," I'd say, surveying the wall of identical brown cardboard boxes all nicely stacked out of the way. When you write the contents on the side, you can still read them when they're stacked on top of each other. Better yet, write on multiple sides - just to be sure. 

I also recommend writing a lot of detail - what's in the box, and where the box needs to go in the new place. For example, a box might say "sheets and pillow cases, BIG HALL CLOSET." 

A helpful graphic, with some crazy moving facts, for Pinterest: 

Bonus tips, because you scrolled to the bottom of this post: 
  • Take your dresser drawers out, but cover the contents with towels or pillowcases, and just carry them to your car or moving vehicle and stack them on top of each other. When you get to your place, it's quick and easy to pop them back in. 
  • Empty your flour, sugar, and other canisters that sit on your kitchen counter into plastic baggies, and then put the baggies back into the canisters to keep the contents from spilling in the move. 
  • And the Pinterest favorite - slide a trash bag over your hanging clothes, loop the handles around the hangers, and easily move them to their new home. Just be sure to differentiate from your "to donate" bags. 
What are your best moving tips? Share them in the comments below!

Wednesday, June 14

Life Lately: Spring to Summer

For Mother's Day, we tried a new restaurant in Downtown Mesa that's become a new favorite - Worth Takeaway. It's going to be a new favorite brunch and lunch spot! 

My Mother's Day present from Brian and Edison was new plants! So far, they're all still alive a month later, so this is good. 

Not pictured above is my fiddle leaf fig, which we named Newt. Short for Fig Newton, and also, Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That gives him basically pet status, and keeps the Harry Potter pet name theme going. Newt is the only plant I'm concerned about - some of his leaves have started turning brown and many have brown spots. I've done a lot of googling on the subject, but it seems like it could be over-watering, under-watering, a bacteria, too much light, too little light ... it seems that no one really knows what causes fiddle leaf figs distress. Any tips would be great, if someone out there has experience with them!

Poor Edison. He LOVES helping us get ready for work or church in the morning by bringing us our shoes - unfortunately in this case, Brian really didn't need his shoes while he was in the shower, which Edison could not understand. It's also heartbreaking when he wants me to wear my tennis shoes with my dresses and skirts to work, and just doesn't understand why I pick other shoes. I have once worn the tennis shoes to the grocery store, just to make him happy!

One evening, I'd decided to take Edison on a quick walk, more for me than for him, to clear my head a bit in hopes of not tossing and turning all night. He was fascinated by the water flowing through the gutter, and I picked up a few pebbles and tossed them in. He was delighted, and I realized I'd made a terrible mistake - now we were going to be here all night, and we'd barely walked a few feet from the house! As I was trying to hurry him along without success, a lady came jogging past. "I miss those days when they were so small and so content to play with rocks!" She said.

I took a deep breath. The days are long, but the years are short.

I planned a Memorial Day Stay-cation exploring our city of Mesa, specifically, downtown. First up, we discovered a coffee shop that has lavender syrup! I've only ever had a lavender latte in Cannon Beach, Oregon, several years ago, so I was beyond excited to discover this a few miles away from my house, all this time! Second stop was a "Sculpture Tour," a loosely structured scavenger hunt of the 38 some statues downtown.

Also, cool murals. 

We closed out the weekend with swimming, some shopping, and taking Edison to a splash pad. He was quite content to watch the other kids, the water, and throw rocks in the puddles. 

I see so much of myself in him in social situations like this. While the other kids are running around screaming, making fast friends, I relate so much to his desire to just watch the unfamiliar people from the sideline, observe, talk to the kids that come by and initiate conversation, but for the most part, just do his own thing. 

I took a few photos and a video of Edison in the tub, being entertained by his Aunt Andrea playing peekaboo around the doorway. His giggle is just the best.

And now we're halfway through June! Brian and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this month with a weekend trip to San Diego - can you believe we've been married seven years? And Edison's second birthday is just around the corner! 

I hope, friends, that you're making summer bucket lists and finding fun ways to relax and enjoy the days. The days are long, especially in summer, but the years are short! 

Friday, June 9

4 #FridayFinds: And A Poll for a Rug!

1. My "Harper" Better Life Bag

All through the last two years, I've struggled with my diaper bag. Don't get me wrong - it was navy with anchors and was very cute. But, am I supposed to carry the diaper bag AND my already large purse, which I also love? I tried many times to fit the diaper essentials into my purse, and it was just a little too small. So I usually moved my essentials from my purse to the diaper bag, and just carried that. But sometimes/many times I'd forget an essential, like ... my wallet. Plus, I didn't love the look of carrying a bag everywhere that was clearly a diaper bag. 

So for Mother's Day, my gift was a Better Life Bag. These bags are fair trade, and making these bags gives women in Detroit a second chance at life, and an opportunity to support themselves and their families. 

You can purchase from the ready-to-ship selections, but I chose to design my own! I got to pick the fabric, leather color, hardware color, pocket fabric, lining, and pockets. I'm SO pleased with how it turned out! Plus, I ordered the "Harper" bag, so it's actually a backpack. I can fit an astonishing amount of stuff inside, and it's so much more comfortable to carry on my back than my shoulder!

I actually like it so much, it's become my work bag too. I can fit my Surface and notebooks inside for work, and then once I'm home, I can switch them out for the diaper essentials, and I'm ready for our weekend adventures! 

I recently took it as my carry on bag on a work trip. I could fit my Surface, magazines, books, and all my clothes and toiletries inside for my overnight trip.

I can't recommend this bag enough - and they're not paying me to say that. It's an incredible value, and for a great cause! 

2. Holy Yoga YouTube Videos

I'm starting to figure out that I actually need to invest in taking care of myself, otherwise, I'm not going to be able to take care of others. I'm not about to join Brian with the whole triathalon thing - so I've decided yoga is more my thing. I took a yoga class at the YMCA years ago and loved it. There's a yoga studio downtown, but I've been looking for a "Holy Yoga" class. If you haven't heard of Holy yoga - it's yoga, but with Christian music and meditating on scripture. I thought it would be fun to try, but I haven't found a class yet, so I started following along with some Youtube videos. I've really enjoyed these ones, especially the morning routines.

3. Breathe Devotional. 

This devotional book follows yoga so well! It's by Life Lived Beautifully, and it's about praying the Psalms. 

4. Rugs under $100. 

This blog post with boho chic rugs under $100 has made my life better. I've been looking for a vintagey-boho rug for the office for forever, and most rugs in that style are freaking expensive. But this blog post has so many good options!  From these options, I've found others in the depths of Amazon and Target. Now I just have to decide which one I like best. These are my three favorites, all for different reasons. Which would you vote for? 

Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, May 1

4 Steps to Up-cyle a Trader Joe's Bag to a Trendy Paper Storage Bag

For a #FridayFinds post a few weeks ago, I mentioned the new paper bag trend. Initially, I was confused. Why are white paper bags cool? Why are they all over Pinterest? And why are they selling all over Etsy? 

If I had to guess, I'd say these are the new fabric cubes and bins. Maybe the reason they're becoming popular is that storage solutions can be pricey, and this is a way to reuse what you already have. I'm still not sure why someone would buy one, but with some paint, I'm planning to DIY some Trader Joe's bags and use them for storage in my closets. They do have a cool texture, and you can customize them easily. 

You will need: 

  • Trader Joe's bags
  • Paint - I used white, gold, copper, and black to decorate mine
  • Foam brushes

Step 1: Paint your bag white. I think the white paint on the craft paper texture almost looks like canvas when it's dry.


Step 2: Decorate your bag. This is the fun part! I looked at paper storage bags on Pinterest, like the ones I included in this post above, for my inspiration. For my first one, I painted copper metallic crosses.

Step 3: Fold down the top of the bag. This is by far the hardest part - I couldn't seem to do it without tearing the top of the bag a bit. My only advice is to roll slowly, giving it a good crease now and then, and use some tape if it tears too noticeably. 

Step 4: Fill and display!

I had so many ideas for more bag designs - I made three more from Trader Joe's bags, and then painted a few other smaller paper bags as well. I love how the metallic ones turned out!

The metallic ones are my favorite. 

What am I going to use these for? What WON'T I use them for? Currently, I'm using two in the linen closet to hold washcloths and extra toiletries, and one to hold craft supplies. I might use some of the smaller ones for some plants. I'll post it on Instagram when I find them all a home :) 

So, what do you think of the paper storage bag trend? Are you in?

Saturday, April 22

DIY: Make Your Own Tasseled Fabric Banner Wall Hanging in An Afternoon

Every time I passed that Target end cap, the cute spring banners almost jumped into my basket of their own accord. But somehow, every time one thought compelled me to put them back on the shelf, the thought that "I could make this!" 

It's a thought that can often lead an enthusiastic crafter astray. But fear not - today's project really is as easy as they come, and the end results can't be beat! You can make these banners with any phrase of importance to you - honestly, that's the hardest part, just narrowing down the quote options!

Once you've decided, you'll be able to whip up a couple of these in one afternoon. Here's what you'll need: 
  • White cotton fabric - or really, any color of cotton fabric! For your message to be most readable, I recommend keeping it a solid color.
  • Scissors and a ruler
  • A piece of copy paper for your pattern
  • Craft glue
  • Sharpie paint pens, or fabric paint, or a metalic fabric marker, like the copper one I used, that I bought at Joanns. Here's the closest paint I could find on Amazon.
  • A small stick from the backyard, or wood skewers, like you'd use for grilling
  • Embroidery thread for tassels and hanging
  • Pencil, or water soluble pen

Step 1: Make your pattern by marking the center of your piece of paper, and using your ruler to measure up the sides of the paper and connect the dots to mark the triangle sections you'll cut off.

Step 2: Fold your fabric over so that you can cut out two identical pieces at the same time, and place your banner pattern on top. Then, cut out the two pieces.

Step 3: Glue the two pieces together, staying very close to the edges. Glue all the edges together except for the top - leave the top of banner open, so that when the glue dries, you can turn the whole thing inside out. Yes, you could sew the edges, but ain't nobody got time for that.

Step 4: While the glue is drying, make some tassels! These are super easy. Just wrap some thread around your fingers until you have the thickness you'd like.

Slide the thread off your hand, and tie a small piece of thread around it, like so. This will be the top of your tassel.

Then, wrap thread around the tassel a small distance from the top, and tie the ends of the thread together to secure it.

Cut the loop at the bottom of the tassel, and fluff up the threads.

Super easy! Here's another tutorial, just in case.

Step 5: Now that your glue hem has dried, turn the banner inside out to have nice finished edges. Add some glue to the top edge, and fold it over. This will be the back of the banner.

Step 6: Cut two 1 inch wide strips of fabric, and fold them in half. Then glue the ends down to the back of the banner.

Step 7: Now for the fun part! Write your message or draw your design on the front of your banner. I drew mine on paper first, and traced it onto the fabric with the light from a window. I used a water soluble pen, so I could just dab off the blue after I was finished with the painting.

I traced the letters on one banner with my copper fabric marker, and use my gold Sharpie paint pen on the other. I LOVE how both turned out!

Step 8: I did break out the needle and thread to sew on the tassels. Just a couple stitches through the top should do it.

Step 9: Then I slid one banner onto a wooden skewer, after cutting off the pointy end. I hung the other one from a stick from the backyard - a stick that had a previous life as a wizard wand. I tied some embroidery thread to the stick and the skewer for hanging.

This was so much more satisfying than just buying a cheap banner from Target! I'm officially hooked. I'd love to try embroidering on one next, or using navy blue fabric with white fabric paint, or experimenting with pompoms and tassels. There's so many options, I just might need one in every room!

What did you think of this craft? If you liked it, pin it or share it!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that when you purchase something, I made a little percentage. Thanks for supporting my craft habit!