kriselkeeper: March 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wood. Concrete. Palm Trees.

 We visited Dave on set somewhere near the Santa Monica Airport and I ended up parking next to this beautiful house.  I love the combination of the wood, the concrete and the palm trees. These were the only pictures I took.  I wanted to take more but I don't feel comfortable taking pictures of strangers homes without asking.  

I've walked outside or come home to find people taking pictures of our fence. I know they just want a reference picture.  It would be more of a bother if they knocked on our door and asked permission so I'm glad they don't but it's still just strange to see people taking pictures of our house.   

Anyway, this enough to remember the wood and the garage door.  I dream a little dream. 


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Closets. Part 2

All it took was one week of me putting clothes away in the girls' closet vs our closet and I was begging/demanding Dave to redo ours.  Wow!  I was going to lose it!  Not only was our clothes a mess but they were stored in multiple rooms because we didn't have enough room in our bedroom closet. Nothing was in order and our shelving system wasn't very useful. We were short on space and both of us had fought over clothes storage multiple times. It was beyond frustrating.

Now with our new Elfa closet both of us have all our clothes in our room.  Dave actually has so much room left over he has empty drawers. All my clothes are now neatly stored.  It's much easier to pull things out and put things away.  We swapped sides in the closet because Dave often has to leave for work very early. By switching sides his clothes are easier to get to so there's less chance he may wake us up while getting dressed.  

This is Dave's side before. There was only hanging clothes and most of it was mine.  

Now this is Dave's side.  He now has all his shirts, pants, workout wear, tee shirts, shoes, belts and sweaters in here.  Previously he had his half of the closet plus a dresser.  Now he has the closet and two drawers in the dresser. The rest are now for me!

This was my side of the closet before. You can see what a mess it was.  The shelves were so far apart that all my piles toppled over.  Look at the wasted space between my shoes and my clothes!  It was awful! It was always a mess. I was embarrassed for anyone to see how I kept my clothes.  And this wasn't everything. I had to go into our guest bedroom for my bras, underwear and socks!  

This now my side!  What a difference!  Everything is in order!  Everything is neat!  I can see it all and getting dressed isn't so hard. Before I use to think I know I have a black long sleeve, v-neck shirt but I haven't seen it forever!  That's because it was balled up under other shirts. Our new arrangement also freed up space in the dresser that use to be all Dave's.  Now I have 5 drawers so I can keep all my socks and "unmentionables" in the same room with the rest of my clothes. 

The beauty of being this organized is that I don't want to shop for clothes!  Go figure!  Because everything has a place and I have limited space for each category I know when I need something and when I don't.  If I do buy a new long sleeve shirt, I know I need to get rid of one because there just isn't enough room for more.  This may not seem like much clothes but my goal for the last 10 years has been to become like a sophisticated European woman.  They dress impeccably with very little clothes.  They have better quality items and  less overall. That's my goal. 

The Container Store did the installation again.  They are fast, good and well priced.  The only thing we had to do was pull out all the clothes and previous shelving. They actually came in and filled in the holes and did touch up paint.  It was perfect!  Here's Dave pulling out the last of the shelving and doing a pre-clean up.  

I'm so glad to have these closets!  This one was $1300 including installation and delivery.  If you wanted to save you could do your own installation and pick up the pieces. It looked pretty easy to do. But these days with Dave working so much and me juggling the kids we figured the easier route was better for us.   

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Closets. Part 1

Part of my daily routine consists of the following: feed the baby, bathe the baby, dress the baby. At least three times a day this is the agenda.  All of the above happens mostly single handedly because I'm carrying Gemma in one hand while doing whatever it is I need to do.  The most frustrating part of the routine was dressing the baby. Our closet system was horrible.  As with any 50's home, storage is rather minimal. Closet space really has to be utilized and ours was not.  Gemma's side of the closet was one big stuffed ball of clothes.  I couldn't dress her with one hand because if I pulled a shirt out an entire stack of clothes would follow. 

And, I guess I should add for those who aren't familiar with the chaos of multiple kids; I'm rarely just dressing one.  I'm grabbing clothes and going because I'm dressing one while trying to coerce the other to dress herself, or helping with homework, or reading, or just simply trying to give two little people attention at the same time.  Add a pile of clothes falling onto the floor three times a day and it's enough to make me go nuts.  

For Christmas all I asked for was a new closet system.  I'm over sexy Christmas gifts!  Can you tell?  Right now I just want whatever makes my daily life easier. Sanity is the best gift.  Calm. Peace. Easy routine. That's all I seek.  

Dave had a hard time with the concept of giving me a new closet. How was he going to wrap it? How could it be a surprise?  Would he get yelled at like the year I yelled at him for giving me a blender? Btw, I was expecting an engagement ring that year so anything other than that was going to get him a yelling.  And finally it took a yelling for the ball to start rolling on getting a new closet. 

The Elfa system at the Container Store goes on sale every year in January to mid February.  I wanted to take advantage of it for 30% off parts and installation. I took the two girls with me one day to the Pasadena store and started the initial design.  They have so many configurations that it can be quite daunting. Thankfully they have designers who will help you and basically design the space for you to best suit your needs.  

I did however, started the process at home by taking measurements of the closet and then writing down every category I needed space for: socks, tights, hats/scarves, dresses-coats-all hanging stuff, sweaters, and on and on.  When I got to the store I was able to see their options and know immediately where they would work best.  

The girls' new closet is amazing.  I can't even explain how much easier it is to get things in and out. Here is the same space before and after. As usual, I forgot to take more pictures of the before. The only items we had taken out were the hanging clothes which were right where P is standing.

The space is so much better utilized that I actually had empty spaces now!  Imagine that! Empty space in the closets! It's like hidden gold! We also have a hook where we can hang an outfit for the following morning. It's little things like this that can make a morning run so much smoother.  

This is Gemma's side.  The pull out drawers make it easy to grab her clothes with one hand. Now, the shelves are properly spaced out. I have more of them and my stacks of linens aren't falling over.  There's not just the girls clothes in this closet! There's bed linens for all year around as well and...

...I even have a few drawers for clothes she'll grow into.  One challenge with storing kid's clothes is that they grow through stuff so quickly.  You need a section for clothes to come, which could be in a month or a year, and clothes you want to store for the next kid line .  The girls were born in opposite seasons so with some things Gemma is just getting to wear them for a little bit because she outgrew them or the weather changed. 

I made sure to put clothes at P's height.  Things that she can grab for herself like socks, sweaters, hats I placed in drawers down low.  It's made our getting out the door process easier and putting things away easier.

This is now my "morning control station".  I sit on the stool with both girls where almost all of their clothes are at arm's length between the closet and the low dresser.  Girl's can be a challenge to dress. Fortunately, P is very accommodating and the getting dressed process is very smooth. We don't fight. I feel we compromise pretty well on what she'll wear but I also think that how we have this set up makes it easy to make choices for both of us.  Just about everything is at her level so she can grab it all herself.  I'm not sure how long this phase lasts. I keep hearing other parents tell me their girls dress themselves but P still wants me to be a part of the process.  Quite frankly, I'm happy about it. I like this time together.  

Anyway, this closet was done for about $1100. I like that nothing is permanent.  Some other  systems I saw wouldn't give me the flexibility of moving drawers and rods as the girls grew.  Elfa seemed to give me the best solution for the least amount of money while still being well built.  All it took was one week of me putting clothes away in this closet vs our closet for me to ask Dave for another closet. Ours was next! 

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Monday, March 4, 2013

New House Numbers! Finally!!!

For the love of Pete!  We FINALLY got new house numbers.  It took me two days to get these in and there's still holes in the wall that I need to fill, but they're up!  I stuck with the Home Depot ones.  The zero still kind of bothers me but I figure if I'm still irked by the time we get the house re-stuccoed and painted then I'll get the DWR ones then since they're not as expensive anymore.  

I feel a thousand times better photographing the front of our house with this "minor" change.  The other numbers made me cringe every, single time I went in the front door!  The mini make over is complete.  I found a buddha head that I like and I think it completes the grouping of three with the pot and hose container.  It reminds me of our trips to India and tells people we are a peaceful clan.  But now.....the mail box bugs me. Oh, and so does the front door! Home ownership is a never ending story. And this isn't even the stuff that's broken! Geez!

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Come On In!

"Welcome! Come on in to our home." I feel our entryway finally learned how to say this sentence.  It's taken forever to get to this point.  And really it was only a few plants and accessories that made a big difference...since the initial landscaping

Two years ago I bought a beautiful, burgundy pot at Potted in Los Feliz. It's one of my all time favorite stores, not just for the lovely and unique things they have but because Mary and Annette are lovely ladies!  Anyway, despite my best intentions the pot remained empty for two years!  This past Christmas I temporarily put poinsettias inside.  It looked so nice....until they died. And then it looked awful!  Getting to see this front corner so cheery over the holidays prompted me to make some changes.     

 On Pinterest I saw a tip about partially filling large pots with plastic water bottles so they don't get so heavy from all gravel needed for a good filtration system.  I thought it was a brilliant idea as long as the pot wasn't going to hold edible plants.  Plastic leaches chemicals through time.  Since my succulents are purely ornamental I followed the tip and filled our tall pot half way with plastic bottles.   

Then we filled it with gravel on top.  And then soil and then our lovely plants.  

I had a hard time deciding what to put here.  It's an important spot. Front and center to our home. Initially I thought a good size Varigated Foxtail Agave  would be perfect. But I wanted more height so I went with the Firestick plant.  This one was in another pot in our back yard.  He was actually part of a pair, and although I didn't want to leave his buddy solo, they were kind of growing in different directions.  I guess kind of like people do. While this guy was growing tall, his friend was growing fat and they were looking less like a pair.  I think they were ready to be the showcase of their own individual spaces. I did  give him some company.  I thought the  String of Pearls Senecio was a great complementary friend with her hanging beads.  

I rarely garden alone these days. Although it comes with A TON of multi tasking I do enjoy having the girls be a part of the process.  Sometimes bribing with healthy snacks keeps them motivated. Other times they initiate the steps willingly.  There are times I long for the silent, focused kind of gardening but after watching this week's Modern Family I think I'll relish in what I've got today. This quote is priceless: 
"Raising a kid is like sending a rocket ship to the moon. You spend the early years in constant contact then one day, around the teenage years, they go around the dark side and they're gone. All you can do is wait for that fait signal that says they're coming back." - Claire Dunphy

This is where we were when we finished planting.  Much better. But not good enough.  There was one thing that has been bothering me since day one at this house and I couldn't put it off any longer....
I'll write about that tomorrow. For now, it's 11pm and I have to go to bed. 


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