Author Archives: jandrlik

Adorable Toddler Valentines

I love Valentine’s Day! Not because it’s a romantic holiday for couples, but because there are so many fun craft ideas surrounding it, especially for kids.

One of my favorite crafts I ever did for a holiday was a lion heart Valentine’s Day box I made in 4th grade. Since then I’ve loved making homemade Valentines to hand out or decorations to adorn my home.

Now that H is a little older I decided to make Valentines from him to give to his music class classmates. There are so many ideas to choose from (including some I posted when I first started this blog a year ago). With that said, I want to share some of my favorite ideas from around the Web that inspired me. Then later this week I’ll share what I did with/for H.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

One Bathroom Done, Several More Rooms to Go

As I mentioned back in November, we moved to a house in Connecticut. It has been one of the best and hardest projects of my life thus far.

We thought we would start off with a few small projects, and what I quickly learned is that nothing is a small project when you’re dealing with a 100-year-old colonial home. What we thought was a small bathroom leak became a gut job with new plumbing, flooring, vanity, sink, toilet, and fixtures.

Bathroom 1

This was the bathroom when we moved in.

Toilet in Bathroom

This is the bathroom now.

I wanted a clean, classic design so we went with Truly Taupe walls and left the wainscoting on the bottom, just gave it a fresh coat of white paint. Then I chose a black and white mosaic tile for the floor, a modern black vanity, and new, eco-friendly toilet both from Home Depot. All of the finishing details are chrome, also from Home Depot.

As my husband will tell you, the tile was not fun. The room has two entrances and was crooked from both angles so lining up the black diamonds was a challenge. Plus, the tiles had no net backing on them so each one basically had to be laid individually.

Side View of Bathroom This is the side entrance to the bathroom and another view of the floor.

Print in Bathroom

I had bought this print several months back after seeing it in a cafe in NYC. I knew it would be a great addition to a bathroom in our new house and remind us of where we came from. It is from Mr. Boddington’s Studio.

Next up, I’ll show you what we did to the dining room. Photos to come…

Introducing Party Kits in My Shop

Awhile back I said I was going to be making a big announcement, and here it is. Many of you email me and ask me for ideas when it comes to throwing parties. For your little ones, bridal and baby showers, or just because you’re having a get together.

Because I can’t be everywhere at once, and because you all have inspired me, I’ve decided to put together party kits based on themes with everything you need in them (from favor bags, to straws, to decorations, invitations, and more)! All you have to do is browse, purchase, and celebrate!

Complete Party Kit

Today I’m launching the first of many themes to come. It is the red rumpus party I threw for H’s first birthday. The second and third – which will be coming soon – are a mustache theme (great for both boys and girls) and a fashion party theme. I’m going to be rolling out more themes over the upcoming months, but if you have any specific ideas you want me to pull together for you, just message me and I’ll see what I can do. I’m always looking for new inspirations. And the fun doesn’t stop with kids. If you have a shower or a grownup birthday party you’re throwing, let me know.

Happy celebrating!

Arts and Crafts with a Toddler

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I love arts and crafts and do them every chance I get. So I couldn’t wait until H was old enough to get in on the fun.

Whether he is actually old enough to take part in these activities is still up for debate, but that didn’t stop me from trying to pique his interest. This past weekend we tried coloring on his new Pottery Barn Kids craft table. The table and roll of paper is awesome (mainly because it cleans off easily), crayons and H – well let’s just say we need some practice. He immediately put them in his mouth. We’ll have to try that one again a little later.

Next up, finger painting, which went a lot better thanks to some planning ahead of time. First, I gathered my materials including washable finger paints, an art smock for H, large pieces of paper, Saran wrap, and masking tape. Let me explain these last two tools.

Art Smock

To keep the mess to a minimum I got H in his art smock. Then I laid out a piece of paper on the table, put a few dollops of different colored paint (I encourage you to squirt lines and zig zags, simple designs, etc. because it will make it more fun for the little guy), then I put a piece of Saran wrap over the top and taped it down to the table covering the paper underneath so the paint doesn’t come out.

Finger Painting

Then I sat H on my lap and let him go at it. He seemed to really like it and ended up making two pieces.

Toddler Art 2

To document our art projects I used this great app called Artkive where you can snap a shot of your tot’s artwork and it archives it by date and by child. You can then share it with family and friends or make a book out of your little one’s artwork, which I fully intend to do once we have more of a collection.

My Latest Obsession: Paper Mache Animal Heads

So I’m a little late to this trend, but it’s only because I’ve always liked the idea of paper mâché animal heads for a wall, but haven’t been able to find the right ones.

I searched Etsy.com, I looked at West Elm, and I looked at Anthropologie and none of them seemed quite right. That’s because when I went to Anthropologie.com they only had a rhino, which was sort of plain in my opinion. But mixed with the colorful, new zebra and giraffe they have they’re spectacular.

Paper Mache Animal Heads

I recently got the zebra and the giraffe and I cannot wait to put them up in H’s playroom. I’m making a collage of different media including some prints, these animal heads, and other artwork. I’ll be sure to post a photo when it’s all done. In the meantime, enjoy my latest obsession!

My Top Organizing Tips

I have been paid to organize several apartments and homes. It’s something I enjoy doing and have never really thought of it as a job, so getting paid has just been icing on the cake.

I’m constantly trying to reorganize or come up with new ways to keep my stuff from becoming clutter. I think this comes from having lived in such small spaces in NYC for so long.

The new year is always a good time for many to reorganize (or organize) a space or spaces in their homes so I decided to put together a list of my favorite organizing tips.

1. Keep the clutter under control. Only keep things in your home that you really love or need.

2. Pare down (and often). Go through your house, room-by-room from time-to-time (I try to do this quarterly) and make a box for donations and things you can get rid of, then actually get rid of them.

3. Have a place for everything. If it doesn’t have a place that it consistently gets put away in, either make one for that item or get rid of it.

Toy Organization

4. All of these rules go for your kid’s stuff too. Just because they’re kids and they have a lot of stuff, doesn’t mean it can’t be organized. Invest in toy bins, shelving, etc. to keep their clutter in check just like you do yours. No, it may not stay that way all the time, but you’ll have peace of mind that there is a place for everything to go.

5. Store things away and switch things up with the seasons. This goes for toys, seasonal decor items, throw pillows and blankets, even tchotchkes. This will keep your home in order, but it’s also fun to “shop” your own attic or basement to switch out older items with “newer” items you haven’t used or seen in a while.

6. When in doubt, get rid of it. If you have to think about it too much, that means you aren’t attached to it and you don’t use it enough.

7. One junk drawer leads to another, which leads to another. Don’t start with one if you can help it.

8. Get creative. Don’t want to spend a lot of money on bins, shelves, etc.? Use molding as bookshelves. They’re both decorative and useful. Cover moving or shipping boxes with fabric or decorative paper to make them look nicer. And check out IKEA, they have great, inexpensive solutions for storing everything. Some of my favorite items come from here. Here is a bigger list of all of my must-have organization products.

9. Set realistic expectations and you’re more likely to stick to them. Your home does not need to be clean and organized ALL the time. Give yourself a break during busy times, but make sure you set aside some time every week to go through the house or at least a couple of rooms and tidy up.

Darcy Miller's Office

10. Use decorative, uniform boxes. If you do have clutter that you can’t seem to find a place for but you really need those items, store them in uniform boxes. Buy extras when you first purchase them so you don’t run out. I love how my friend Darcy created this wall of boxes and magazine holders in her office at home.

Kevin Sharkey's Office

11. Organize books on shelves by color. This is a trick that Kevin Sharkey taught me when I worked with him. His office is beautiful decorated and a big feature in it is his large bookcase that is color-coordinated.

My Favorite Organizing Products

With the New Year comes all sorts of resolutions. I usually never keep mine, but one thing I like to keep in mind and strive for all year round is staying organized.

Since we moved into a new house, I thought of this as a chance to hit the reset button. We got rid of a ton of stuff before we moved so we didn’t have to pack things we don’t need or use.

And now I’m going room by room to set up new organizational systems or implement old ones that worked. Here are some of my favorite products to make organizing even easier:

Grey Bins from Land of Nod – These are my go-to storage bins. They work great for kids stuff or other items like blankets and throw pillows, and they look good enough to leave them anywhere in my house. Unfortunately, they no longer carry them, but any bin that you can find on Etsy.com or at the Container Store that looks good in your living room is a good bin to have.

photo (3)

Trofast Storage System

Trofast Storage System for toys from IKEA – They’re easy for H to open and close and keep numerous toys tidy. I like to stick with the white bins only (I think it gives it a cleaner look).

Striped Cubes

Striped Cubes from Land of Nod – These stylish, yet still kid-like bins are pliable making it easy for kids to get things in and out of them, while not crushing the box or hurting themselves. You also won’t mind if your little one starts dragging them across the floor.

Deskstructure Desk Organizer   See Jane Work

Deskstructure Desk Organizer from See Jane Work – There is always a lot of clutter on desks (at least on mine). Keeping it in check is a challenge, but one that can have a lot of style. I’m getting ready to re-do my office in our new house so I’ve been checking out desk accessories and loved this one.

Skyline Bookends   See Jane Work

Skyline Bookends – Also from See Jane Work are these great bookends. I think bookends can keep books nice and tidy on a flat surface, while also styling your desk or table.

Build Your Own   Daily System Components   Espresso stain   Pottery Barn

Office Accessories from Pottery Barn – I love how these units work together. They may be a bit pricier than the others on this list, but they’re so worth it and you can pick and choose what pieces you need and make them work together in an entryway, kitchen, or office.

Large Rectangle Lacquer Trays   west elm

Lacquered Trays from West Elm – I LOVE these trays! They now come in square as well. I use them in my kitchen, bathrooms, and in my living room on my fabric ottoman. They keep clutter (like remotes and coasters) in check and are modern and beautiful as well.

LaqueredRectangularBoxLg_x

Lacquered Boxes from Container Store – I think the colors of these boxes are great for any vanity, bathroom, or dresser (which is where I have mine in several sizes). I keep all of my jewelry in these as they are an inexpensive and stylish alternative to a traditional jewelry box.

EXPEDIT Shelving unit on casters   IKEA

Expedit Shelves from IKEA – For books, I think these shelves are the best. They’re inexpensive, but hefty enough to look expensive. Plus they come in different sizes, colors, and you can flip it on its side and add casters to make a bench.

My Little Guy’s Own Stationery

Even though H is not old enough to know how to write his own thank you notes, whenever he gets a gift he sends a thank you note written by me, but from him.

I always sign his name and write it as though it is coming from him. For example “My mommy says I’m going to look so handsome in this new vest you gave me. Thank you from both of us. Love, Harrison”

Thank You Notes

Another special touch I like is the stationery is his own. When he was first born he had this simple design with his full name.

Photo Thank You Card

I’ve since moved on to photo cards, which we sent out for his birthday, so of course they had a touch of red.

Now that he is a bit older I also have him hold a pen or crayon with my supervision and help him to sign his own name. I’m hoping that in the future, this will encourage him to continue to write thank you notes, but also encourage writing on his own.

What I’m Grateful For in 2013

As 2013 comes to an end, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what I’m most grateful for. I also would love to hear what you all are thankful for in your own lives, so leave your comments below.

A happy and healthy child. I never take this for granted, especially since so many people are not as fortunate.

A wonderful husband who always knows when I need a hug.

My family, near and far. For always telling me when I’m right and wrong, supporting me, and putting the fun in dysfunctional.

A warm home where we can build memories as a family.

Good friends who always lend a shoulder to cry on, a person to laugh with, and partners to share a bottle (or two) of wine with.

Warm cups of tea (with milk of course).

Creative people, both who I know and I don’t. Both inspire me and for that I am very thankful.

Pinterest. A place where those I don’t know inspire me daily whether it be for my home, crafty ideas, my child, my closet, and so much more.

Skype and Facebook. Two ways to keep in touch with family and friends near and far.

Good books (or magazines), a comfy couch, and a cozy blanket.

Dance parties with H. They make my afternoons so much fun and I look forward to it everyday.

Good recipes. They keep me entertained while entertaining, something I love to do.

And the list could keep going and going, but I’ll stop for now. Happy 2014 everyone!

Merry Christmas from Me to You

Christmas Card

Card from TinyPrints

I wanted to wish all of you a joyous and happy holiday season. This year has brought a lot of happiness and changes into our lives, all of which I am so grateful for. Here’s hoping 2014 is the best yet for everyone!

Love, Jenn, Ryan, and Harrison too