Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday {Week in the Life 2012}

Getting closer to being done! I'm going to be honest, I'm losing steam with this project. I think just because this week is so busy, I'm not being mindful of taking pictures. And frankly, sometimes it's just not appropriate to take out my phone during the middle of a meeting to take a photo. :) But, that's okay, at the end of the week it won't really matter how many pictures I took each day.

On another note entirely, I got some really fun things for Gather yesterday {one of which you'll see in a photo below}, and I have plans to head to Des Moines this weekend for Junk Jubilee to find more cute stuff. I'm seriously over the moon at having some concrete plans for the opening of Gather, and I can't turn my mind off to all the ideas I have for the store. I didn't get more than a couple hours sleep last night because I couldn't relax. I'm exhausted, but I love it!

Okay, on to the photos from yesterday. {I'm @gatherboutique on Instagram, and these photos are all processed with the Nashville filter.} 

Thanks for looking everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tuesday {Week in the Life 2012}

Hi all!

It's my Tuesday pictures post. I took less pictures than on Monday, probably because I wasn't in my office much between teaching a class in the morning and then painting all afternoon for our renovation. One note I forgot to mention in yesterday's WITL post - I asked my husband to take some pictures for the project as well, so he's got a few to add to the project when it's finished. I don't have all of them so I probably won't share them in my blog, but you'll see them as the project is finished. He doesn't use Instagram, so I'll be importing them to mine and processing them with the same filters as the ones I've taken.

You can follow me on Instagram @gatherboutique if you want to keep up with my photos throughout the day. Thank goodness for this app, it's made the WITL project so much easier! Thanks for visiting!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday {Week in the Life 2012}

Hi all,

Below are my Instagram photos from Monday. All of them are processed with the Nashville filter. I like the idea of using one filter throughout the day {and may continue to use it throughout the project, we'll see}. As a reminder, I'm posting these images on my Facebook page, and you can follow me on Instagram @gatherboutique. See you tomorrow!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Here We Go! {Week in the Life 2012}

Good Monday morning, everyone!

Today marks the beginning of the Week in the Life project, and I'm excited to be participating for the 3rd year in a row. I wrote last week how I hoped nothing major would happen during this project to derail it, and then yesterday, I pulled a muscle in my back and was stuck on the couch all day. I figured it'd jinxed it, but today, I'm feeling almost 100% again. Thank goodness!!

So, here's what Week in the Life means for me: a whole week of photos of our everyday life. I plan to take all the photos with Instagram (I'm @gatherboutique if you want to follow), so you can keep up with me that way {we're using #weekinthelife for the project}. I'll try to post pictures from the day before on my blog. I also post Instagram pics to my Facebook if you're a friend of mine. There's also a Week in the Life free community over at Big Picture Classes that I'll be joining this morning {I joined last year, and it kept me very motivated!}

As of right now, I plan to incorporate the photos into my Project Life album to keep things easy. I honestly don't even know if I'll journal or not through the process. I kind of like the idea of the photos speaking for themselves, but we'll see. Becky Higgins just announced that plastics will be available in July with 4x4 openings for Instragram pics, but I think I'll come up with some sort of solution on my own with the plastics I already have.

So, that's my project for the next week. Please leave me a comment and let me know if you're doing this project as well...having the support of others is always a great motivator! I'll be back tomorrow with photos of today!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


 Happy Tuesday everyone!

My life right now is spinning in circles and while it's really fun, I'd like to slow down for just a minute. I don't see that happening, but it's nice to wish. The good news is that I'm thrilled with all the things that are making life so crazy right now!
  • I have a love/hate relationship with my job. It's called work after all. I love what I do, I love where I work, and I love the people I work with. Sometimes, it just exhausts me though, both physically and mentally. Which I hate. As I mentioned in my last post, we are opening a new wing {yesterday, as a matter of fact}, and have spent the last 6 weeks working hard to get it up and running. We had our first new client move in yesterday, and I'm really proud of all the work we got accomplished as a team. There's a lot more to be done throughout this week, but I'm glad the hardest parts are behind us. Now, it's moving on to the details, and catching up on all the other things that have fallen behind...like filing...
  • I finally feel like I'm making progress on Gather. The building itself is coming along nicely and should be finished soon for the most part. I've been busy gathering furniture and display pieces that I can't wait to show you. I have a lot of display ideas floating around in my head, and I should even be able to tell you a date for the grand opening soon! If that's not progress, I don't know what is! I visited with Becky for a bit last week and we talked a little about Gather. She suggested using Instagram to show customers finds for the store or things that are for sale in real-time. I think that's a fantastic, fun suggestion, and definitely fits into my hectic lifestyle. Thanks for your great advice Becky, and if anyone wants to follow me on Instagram, I'm @gatherboutique.
  • We're busily packing up our house. I've decided to take inventory of a lot of the products I keep on hand {thanks to couponing} so it's going a little slower than I like, but at least I feel really organized about the whole process. In my head, I'd like to get out of the house by mid-May, and get the house ready to be listed for sale on June 1. With the store opening, I'm not sure how realistic that is, but we're going to try. If you're interested in a really great inventory app, check out Prep & Pantry. It allows you to scan bar codes, enter expiration dates, tell you if coupons are available, and much more. It also allows you to list things that don't have bar codes, like books or DVDs in your collection. I have the full version that I just got this weekend, so I'm still learning about it, but so far, I love it!
  • The new Sookie Stackhouse book comes out on May 1 {oh em gee!} and every time a new book comes out, I read all the previous books over again, in order, in preparation. It's getting to be more and more of a task, but I love it. Problem is, I'm super busy and once I start reading a good book, I'm not really motivated to do much else. Maybe I could reward myself with a book after I finish a project?
  • Around spring, I'm always inspired to read more. It probably has to do with my Sookie tradition, but I love it. I got Tori Spelling's new book, celebraTORI, and a book on marketing and small business. I just finished two Nicholas Sparks books (Dear John and The Lucky One) in about a day...I didn't really sleep that night. It was awesome and reminded me of being back in high school and college when I stayed up all night reading for fun. Yes, I'm a dork. I'm fine with it!
  • Ali Edwards' Week in the Life project is coming up next week {beginning Monday, April 23} and I'm committed to doing it again this year. I'm a little nervous, every time I work on one of these projects, bad things happen. {The first year, I threw my back out and didn't move for 4 days. The next year, we heard about Mike's job. When I did DITL in February, it was the day I found out we might not be able to open Gather - fortunately, they all worked themselves out eventually}. I really don't want anything bad to happen next week!! Anyway, I'm not doing much prep. I'll use Ali's daily sheets, most likely, and incorporate my pictures into some Project Life inserts. I'm taking a very laid back approach to the project, and I'll be interested to see how it works out.
  • Speaking of Project Life, I'm still plugging along. I had my "real" camera out all weekend and took pictures at the kids' school carnival and at church on Sunday. It felt nice to actually take photos again. Just have to print the last couple weeks out and carve out some hours to get them in my album.
Honestly, there's even more that's going on, but I'm out of time to write for today. I hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Outdoor Inspirtation

I've got some inspiration for your outdoor spaces today! Here in Nebraska, it's chilly and rainy {one of the first times it's felt like spring since spring started}, but I would still rather be outside than stuck in an office!

Front Porch
I'll start today with ideas for the front porch. At our new house, there isn't much of a porch. Just a couple of concrete steps that lead to the door. Now, I have grand, "someday" ideas of building a long front porch that spans the width of the house. We'll see if that ever happens. In the meantime, check out these ideas:

This screen door is so much prettier than the standard metal door. It reminds me of something my great Grandma had, and would definitely give our house some rustic charm.

This is such a simple decoration that makes a big statement! It could be used on any size porch, and I really like the idea of adding a little decorative statement in the form of a welcome sign or pretty wreath.

There are certain necessities that come with many front porches, but those details don't have to be ordinary! This light, for example, can provide you with a safe journey up your stairs while adding to the feel of a charming front porch.

Mailboxes are another feature that serves a purpose, but who says yours has to look like the neighbor's to be functional? This one from Pottery Barn is adorable!

Back Porch or Deck
Moving on to the back of the house, this is where we spend the majority of our time at the current house, and probably at the new house as well. When my husband and I were looking to buy our first house, my only demand was that the house have a deck. Ours does...but it's tiny. I'm not complaining! I just can't wait to get to the new house and spend some quality time outdoors on our {much larger} deck!

For us, there's one key component to summer: barbecue. Almost all of our gatherings center around it, or it at least makes a showing. We love to cook outside as soon as it's barely warm enough, and if we can stay out there to eat, it's bliss! I love this big table and how many chairs can get around it. It's sturdy and looks almost like it could be a piece of furniture in the home...which is probably why I love it so much. I've always wanted a deck or outdoor space I could think of as another family room for our home.

Comfortable seating is also key. Whether it's drinking coffee and reading the paper in the morning or chatting the night away with a good drink, we want to be comfortable in our seats. My experience with outdoor furniture isn't the greatest, so something like this is on my "must buy" list for the new house. 

I love that I'm seeing more and more outdoor rugs when I'm browsing at this time of year. I don't know if I just didn't notice before or if they're becoming more attractive, but having a fun, colorful rug is high at the top of my wish list for our new outdoor space.

Cute or surprising details are also fun to incorporate on a deck space. For us, the deck's primary purpose is to gather people together. It's fun to think of uses for spaces, like a cooking station, where people can gather around the grill and watch the master cook. Or this drink space, so everyone is free to help themselves and they don't have to walk back and forth to the house.

And finally, this might be the one area of your house where it's completely acceptable {and even encouraged} to leave up Christmas lights year round!

I can't wait to have a deck space that we can really use for relaxing and entertaining!

I've been talking a lot about change here on my blog because we're getting ready to make a move in our personal lives, but this isn't the only place change is happening! On Monday, we launch a new program at work for short-term rehabilitation stays. It's a completely new area for me to market, even though we've been doing rehab for our long-term care residents for years. I'm excited to open this new wing on Monday and help our newest clients focus on wellness as they prepare themselves to return home. It's an exciting time for me right now...here's hoping I have the energy to get through it all!

Have a great day, everyone!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Inspiration: Organization

So glad to be getting back to my normal routine! Easter was nice, but I'm very glad to be getting back in the swing of things already this Monday morning.

I was listening to the radio the other morning and someone asked a question about what the listeners were "in to" right now...meaning, what are we obsessed with, focused on, choosing to spend our time on, etc. Right away, my answer was organization!

Before I met my husband, I was very in to having everything in it's place. I was never what you'd call a neat freak, but things were definitely more organized in my life. Since having another person to live with, that hasn't been going very well {on either of our sides}. We just haven't been focused on finding an organizational system that works with our house and is easy to use and fits in with our busy schedule. I'm craving something like that for our new house and have grand plans in my head, so I thought I'd share some inspiration with you today.

Practical Storage & Organization

There are a few things in my life that I'm never quite sure what to do with. Curling irons & straighteners are 2 of those things. I currently keep a basket under my bathroom sink for these, but the cords get tangled or curled, and I still have to dig through 4 or 5 appliances to get to the one I want on any given morning. Though not the prettiest storage solution, who really looks at the inside of the doors in a vanity? No one but the homeowners, I would hope. This PVC storage solution seems to work really well, and as an added bonus, it keeps the cords tidy so they don't curl up on you.

Measuring cups and spoons fall into the same category for me. Sure, I could restack all the measuring cups when I wash one and put it away. Unfortunately, I'm not normally the one putting them away {thanks, husband, for doing dishes so often!} Measuring spoons have those rings, but that's really annoying when you only want to use one spoon, so I normally take the ring off as soon as I get the spoons home. Shortly after, I'm complaining about not being able to find the particular spoon I want. This practical solution accomplishes a couple of things: 1. every cup or spoon has it's place and we know exactly where to find it or put it away when finished and 2. like items are kept together {which I'll talk about a little more below}.

Here's another kitchen issue. I don't know about you, but I have a drawer and a pull-out shelf dedicated to plastic wrap, foil, parchment paper, press & seal, sandwich bags, freezer bags...well, the list could go on and on. Seems like a waste of a drawer to me {especially if drawer space is limited in your kitchen}. Using a magazine rack to keep these necessities in the pantry without the fear of them toppling all over the shelves or floor seems like a perfect solution. They aren't used terribly frequently in my house {we use Ziplocs daily, but nothing else), so by putting away the items that we only use every so often, it allows more storage space in the kitchen for items we use daily. 

By identifying the problems you currently have with storage and organization, you may just be able to see a theme or realize you need a solution to make your life run more efficiently. Taking inventory of your routine and how things are working makes you really see the big picture.

Store Items Where They Are Used
I'll admit it, I don't even do this in my own house most of the time, but that's what I want to correct next time around. For example, look at this wrapping station on the back of a closet door:

In my house, wrapping paper is kept in the basement storage. Ribbon & tissue paper are kept in my craft room {also in the basement}. Scissors and tape are kept in the kitchen supply drawer. And I typically wrap presents on my dining room table. Doesn't make a lot of sense when I put it that way, does it? By creating a wrapping station {whether it's on the back of a door like this one, in a home office or guest room, or even made out of a laundry hamper like this one} all of the supplies are in one place and you can either access them easily and take them where you'll wrap gifts, or just wrap the gifts near the station.
Here's another fun idea. Corral all those counter-cluttering necessities into a pretty basket. Grouped like this, everything has it's place and the counter looks much tidier. Storing this basket near the stove makes everything readily accessible, and if you need the items elsewhere, you can just grab the whole basket and move it to where you will use it.

Here's a similar idea that could probably be used in a number of ways in your pantry or fridge. When we buy things that are for lunches or snacks at work, I try to pre-package them into serving sizes as soon as I bring them home. Then we just have to grab the packages and put them in lunch containers. I can see this working out really well for school lunches, after school snacks, lunch making supplies in the fridge, or even a breakfast station with cereal options, brown sugar for oatmeal, and so on.

When I'm organizing anything, I like to think about how I use the item. Yes, it may fit in a drawer, but does it really need to be there? Or, most people might keep this in the pantry, but for our family, it makes more sense to be out in the open {like the beverage station I plan on building, that I talked about in my fun details post a couple weeks ago}.

Think Outside the Box
I think the most important thing I remind myself when figuring out an organizational solution is that is has to work for us. Sure, there are storage & organization solutions out there that are designed for a particular use, but they may not work for your situation. Here's an example:

Source: bhg.com via Jen on Pinterest

I know they make tiny trash bags that are supposed to hang over the cigarette lighter in your car. The reality is, that won't work for us. My husband & I spend around 15 hours a week in our car just driving to and from work, so we generate a lot more trash than would fit in one of those even during the day. We normally eat breakfast in the car, sometimes have a snack or dinner in the car on the way home, and I sometimes takes projects to work on while we're driving {like clipping coupons or craft projects}. One of those trash bags would never work. Using a cereal container with a trash bag in it definitely pushes the boundaries of what the container is meant for, but it is a pratical solution for trash in a car, without taking up a lot of floor space to put a trash can in the car.

Here's another great idea. Card games come in their own {usually flimsy cardboard} boxes. We don't even have kids, and it doesn't take long for those boxes to get destroyed. Which means we're either losing cards, or they get damaged, and we're always looking for somewhere to keep them. Using clear boxes is a great idea, and you can even recycle the cardboard boxes to show the name of the card game inside the box. This storage solution is much more friendly for little hands too...it seems like they can never shove all the cards back in the original packaging {no matter how long they try or how many cards they destroy in the process}.

Disposable food storage containers are an ugly reality in most peoples' kitchens. I can never find a lid that fits when I need it without crawling around on the kitchen floor and dragging all the lids out. This dish rack provides a really great storage solution to keep everything together and uses the space really efficiently. I don't think there's any way I could keep this many lids in my cupboards just because I would get frustrated with the mess they created. By using a dish rack {or tray, or larger Tupperware container, etc.}, everything has a place and you can easily select the lid you need without a fight.

Thinking outside the box may just help you come up with a storage or organization solution that fits your needs when you can't find a product that was made for your particular challenge. Thinking outside the box can also save you some money in the long run!
As always, you can find all of these pins and more on my Pinterest board {these pins are all from my Organization board}. Let me know if you have any great tips for keeping an organized house by leaving me a comment.

Have a great day, all!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

April Project Life Blog Hop

Good morning again, everyone! Welcome to the April Project Life Blog Hop!!

First, welcome to my blog if you're visiting for the first time for the April Project Life Blog Hop! I apologize for the delay in my post this morning. I had actually recorded and uploaded a video last night {checking off one of my goals for 2012!}, and when I went to post it this morning, the file wasn't working! Let me tell you, I was not a happy camper. So, I had to take still pictures for this particular post, but I will try the video route again for some further updates.
Now, on to my layouts! I'm a bit behind with Project Life, but steadily catching up. The last few days, I've completed single-page layouts for Weeks 8 through 10, and a 2-page spread for my Day in the Life project {that I did on February 29}. This particular time of the year is when I got extremely busy with things and wasn't taking as many pictures as normal. So, rather than force myself to find pictures to include for a 2-page spread, I figured I'll switch to 1-page spreads for a few weeks until I have more pictures to include. The great thing about Project Life is that once the book is completed, it won't make a bit of difference that I only had 3-4 pictures for some weeks and other weeks I had 10+.

Week 8

On this layout, I focused on a baby shower that my husband & I threw for his cousin and his cousin's wife {if you read my blog regularly, you saw the post about it a few weeks back}. I loved a lot of the decorations and food we did for this party, so I knew I'd want to remember it. I used an Ali Edwards stamp on the left journaling card about welcoming new life into a family.

I also included the invitation I made:

I cut down a 6x12 page protector to fit the invitation {which is 5x7} and it just has a little overhang where the page protector is too wide, which doesn't really bother me that much. The back of the invitation has a coordinating chevron design so I didn't have to worry about finding something to put behind it.

Week 9

Week 9's layout included some ordinary, every day pictures in it that didn't require a lot of journaling because I knew I wanted to tell a longer story {that didn't include pictures} in the journaling slots. This week we talked with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law about the possibility of their adopting two of their foster daughters. The journaling in this post is just some thoughts on that and on the girls and how happy we'd be to have them legally part of the family {because as far as we're concerned, they're always going to be part of this family no matter what}. I created these journaling cards, printed them off and cut them down to 3x4 to fit in the slots.

Week 10

Week 10 was all about spring cleaning for us, so I just threw in some pictures about organization, throwing out, and generally what I was focused on this week. This was a very ordinary week for us, and I was pretty obsessed with making sure that things were put in their place, so I took photos of the contents of our fridge and of part of the pantry to include in my album {along with a stack of clothes we packed up for the move}. The filling card on the right side of the page is just an image I created a couple years ago with the days of the week on it. I thought it would be fitting on this light week.

You'll notice that the orientation is off on some of my photos. When I take photos with my iPhone, I don't tend to shoot horizontally. And while I like the vertical options in page protectors from Becky Higgins, they don't always fit my vision for the pages. So, I don't mind my photos facing the wrong way - I figure I can turn my head later on to see them better if I need to.

Day in the Life

I chose to do my Day in the Life project on February 29th this year, so it's actually inserted between Weeks 8 & 9. I asked my husband to help me out and take pictures of his day also, so you'll notice a couple from him. I had quite a few more, but honestly, I didn't like any of them, so this is probably more of a "Day in the Life at Work" project than a full day.

I did create some printed cards {you'll see one in the left journaling spot on this page} that said "Day in the Life", "February 29", and "Leap Day", just to add some extra details. I didn't really journal on this day, because I think the photos are pretty self-explanatory.

On this page, you can see the printables I made, as well as a saying I found on Pinterest that I liked especially for this day. As far as the photos go, Mike & I I both took photos on our way to work, and of our offices, which was interesting since we didn't talk about what photos we would take before the day got going.

There you have it, just a few layouts as I'm catching up with Project Life! I hope to have more updates for you after this weekend and FINALLY be caught up with this project. I do so much better when I'm caught up :)

You can check out all of my Project Life posts by clicking on the Project Life tag at the end of this post.

Make sure you check out Arlene's post next at: http://craftymommaph.blogspot.com/2012/02/project-life-2012.html

And, for the entire line-up, you can check out any of these talented ladies' posts today:

Margie http://xnomads.typepad.com/
Natalie espoirdesigns@bigpond.com
Sarah http://www.documentingchaos.wordpress.com/
Devon http://www.youhadmeatneurotic.com/
Brooke http://everysnapshot.com/
Helen http://www.helen-mills.blogspot.com/
Alissa http://lifeonlakeland.wordpress.com/
Jennifer http://vogtstories.blogspot.com/  << You are here!
Arlene http://craftymomma-ph.blogspot.com/2012/02/project-life-2012.html  << Up next!

Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Technical Difficulties

Hi all,

I'll be back in just a bit with my Project Life Blog Hop post for April. Please check back later this morning {darn technology!!}

See you soon!