Family Organization Board

I hope the Easter bunny was good to all.  He sure was good to our family.

Liam, adorned with his snake face painting experienced Pop Rocks for the first time.  The look on his face is priceless…woah, what is going on in my mouth right now look of amazement.  His first response, “this is awesome!”.IMG_8168Dax was completely overjoyed when he heard that he got to go first in the family Easter egg hunt as the younger bunch got a head start out of the gates.  Here is the Dax-yeah-that’s-right-I-get-a-head-start look…IMG_8242Jonah “jo jo” Bear, was busy maneuvering his larger than normal body all over the place, and ever so often, captured the ever elusive ball rejoicing in victory!IMG_8185I had the same feeling when I received my new “Focus Board”.  I have been searching for a couple months now for the perfect solution that is stylish yet functional to host all of the weeks events in one place.  Alas, I found Kimbees Creations shop on Etsy.

I messaged Kim and asked if I could place a special order to her “Motivational / Focus Board” she had posted and within no time she created our custom board.  IMG_8175

Kevin and I sat down and picked out custom quotes, categories and layout.  I emailed Kim to see if we could make it a bit larger and we got a custom proof back from Kim.

The print is 24×36 and I got the reclaimed wood frame at Hobby Lobby using my 40% off coupon.  The print was only $45 dollars – what an amazing price for a custom piece!  She even included a chalkboard marker that we write on the glass with and it cleans off easily with water.


I would HIGHLY recommend this if you are looking for a cleaver way to keep your family organized – especially if your husband is like mine loves lists or if you just have a busy life in general.  You can tell, he was the first one to write on the board – his own illustrations included.

A bit about Kim, the fabulous owner and creator of Kimbees Creations – “I was a stay-at-home Mom for 22 years to my five children. Life changed, and I am now happily married with a large blended family, which includes my five and his two, four of whom are married, and have given us six grandchildren (with two more on the way!). Even though I am now working full time in education, family is my center. All of my creations and designs were originally created for family members, who then encouraged me to start an Etsy site. I continue to add new designs, based upon special requests.”

Huge high five to you Kim and thank you so much – we LOVE our Hall Family Focus Board!




Simple Locker Redefined

My husband works at a university and frequently shops their surplus store. When faculty transition or when a remodel occurs, all the old desks, chairs, fixtures, etc. go into their surplus storage and are then available for sale to the general public. Many schools have these, so you should check with your local college to see if they offer surplus sales.

After his trips to the store, my husband has come back with lots of awesome-ness, such as cabinets for the garage, children’s chairs that we’ve donated to our son’s school, a Restoration Hardware light fixture, and an old small locker. The locker looked like a perfect addition to my son’s room, so I decided to give it a new look.

Here’s what it looked like when he brought it home.

School Surplus Locker

School Surplus Locker

I got some spray paint primer and dark blue spray paint and started covering the whole thing. I ended up running out of the blue, and I didn’t like that brand, so I ended up trying Rustoleum’s spray paint for metal, which was MUCH better – I found mine at Lowe’s (sorry, I didn’t snap a photo of it).

Spray Paint for Metal Locker

Spray Paint for Metal Locker

After about four coats of paint, it was a great addition to my son’s bookcase in his room.

School Locker Redefined

School Locker Redefined

Isn’t it fun? There are so many things you can do with old classroom surplus…you just have to redefined it.

I’ll show you more of my little guy’s room throughout the week!

Chalkboard Labels

Last year, I decided to get my son’s toys under control in our basement. So I painted an old white shelf we had in the garage red and found every kind of bucket and bin we had around the house. I organized his toys so that each bin had some sort of theme (i.e. – Toy Story, Avengers, Robot Dinos, Cars, etc.). That way, he could pull one down and know that all of his robotic dinosaurs were together, which is very important for a kid who remembers every single toy he owns.

And recently, I decided to try out chalkboard labels as a way to identify each bin. Remember Jill’s fabulous “Little Details” post? I had bought some labels on eBay a long time ago, and she inspired me to finally get them out and put them to use. If you can’t find any on eBay, the ones I bought are also sold by this Etsy shop. I bought a pack that has all different sizes, so I can find all kinds of uses for these babies.

Chalkboard Labels

Chalkboard Labels




Chalkboard Labels - Varied Sizes

Chalkboard Labels – Varied Sizes

Then I went to Hobby Lobby to find chalkboard pins because I’d read about them on another blogger’s site. I found these and used the weekly 40% off coupon.

Chalkboard Markers

Chalkboard Markers

I love the way the labels give character to the play area setup.

Playroom Organization - www.middleredefined

Playroom Organization – http://www.middleredefined/caption


[caption id="attachment_1187" align="alignleft" width="600"]Chalkboard Labels for Playroom Chalkboard Labels for Playroom


Galvanized Bucket Storage

Galvanized Bucket Storage

Have you ever used chalkbaord labels before?

Little Details

I probably jumped the gun a bit when I showed you the built-in desk organization and master closet projects.  What can I say, I got a bit antsy and honestly was proud of my progress.  However, in both of those projects there were little things that I still wanted to complete.

In the closet – we added what I call “steel” (actually brushed nickel) closet rods instead of the wooden dowel rods.

Before Wooden Dowel After - Steel Dowel

Amazing the difference, huh?

OK – call me crazy but I love the simple update.  Not to mention the wooden rod was sagging a bit in the middle.  Perhaps it was all my clothes but I will blame it on the wood.

The next update is a bit more noticeable.

In Progress - Built-in Desk

Built-in After

Added a few more bins and found these fabulous chalkboard labels on Etsy.

Liam is obsessed with writing his name these days so he added his signature to the bottom two bins.

Side note: although I love the chalkboard look I sort of dislike how bleak real chalk appeared so I bought one of these pens.  The chalk “marker” wipes right off with water and it achieves the look I wanted.

Oh and I decided my color scheme on the outdoor furniture project.  But this time I will wait to share until the final project is completed.  And because the cushions I decided on won’t be here until JULY 1st!  I know, I can’t stand the wait but I think it will be worth it.  Stay tuned.

HAPPY MONDAY everyone.

Closet = Jewelry Box

Nesting issue part II – (see part I here) – I decided to clean out our closet and add a little glitz along the way.

Aside from organizing and purging (which I think is necessary once a year minimum) I desperately needed to update the light fixture in our closet.  (I don’t want to talk about the popcorn ceiling.  I know it is awful but I deal with it).  Hence why beautiful lighting is a must in every room.

Closet Light Before

I have been holding on to a vintage chandelier that was gifted to me from a friend when I lived in California oh about 6 years ago.  I honestly had forgotten about it because it was stored away in a hat box.  A few fixes and my electrician (the mister) hung this beauty.

Closet Light After

Glitz + Glamour = exactly what the closet needed.

Five additional details of the closet now that the lighting was up to par to achieve the jewelry box effect:

  1. High Gloss Paint – I chose “Tiffany” robin egg blue
  2. Fun Fabric – to infuse funk
  3. Fabulous Flooring – I chose a zebra animal print
  4. Standard hangers – I used the Real Simple hangers in black – it is amazing the difference just using the same hangers through out a closet can do to instantly update your closet
  5. Beautiful organization boxes – for scarves, jewelry, hats, misc. items

Closet Collage

Closet Collage 2

Moral of the story – do not neglect your closet.  On an organizational front – purge items you have not worn in the last 6 months – year or if they just look tired.  Try color coding your clothes – this helps putting an outfit together quickly.  Think of your closet as your jewelry box – where you can use high gloss paint, animal print, crystals and funky fabrics all in ONE.

Memorial Day Weekend

Phew! Where did the last three days go?  I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend.  I know we sure did.  We relaxed cleaned the garage.


Well, when you are 32 weeks pregnant and one kiddo down for an entire day (Liam was at Papa’s helping plant soybeans) you have to take advantage of the time to CLEAN!

Don’t get me wrong – we did attend a fabulous wine tasting (sparkling grape juice for me) get together with friends, our nephew Pete’s super hero birthday party and I did take a glorious nap on Sunday while it was pouring rain (gauge said over 2 inches!).

(BEWARE before you read any further: these are NOT glamourous photos – but this is real life organization/cleaning challenges that we all DO NOT want to clean – but it MUST be done!)

We deep cleaned the garage.  I say ‘we’ because the mister was an enormous help during this project.  This is his MAN SPACE so I let him have his space and do with it as he wishes.  BUT when it starts to look like this:


Garage Before - Holy MESS

Garage Before – Holy MESS

Garage Before - DANGER ZONE

Garage Before – DANGER ZONE

I had to intervene.  First step was admitting there was a problem and once I mentioned storage units and bins the mister freaked out a bit.  Grumpy a bit at first he then gave in and a few (probably 6) hours later we ended up with this:


Work bench AFTER

Work bench AFTER

If I had it my way I would have everything in bins but we got really excited about that Husky work bench organizer diddy so I let him have his MAN SPACE.  He refinishes and builds so many DIY projects for me it was the least I could do.

But I did get my bins:

Garage After - BINS - STORAGE

Garage After – BINS – STORAGE

And why wouldn’t we add some DIY art to the garage??

DIY Art - not being used in the house so we hung it up in the garage

DIY Art – not being used in the house so we hung it up in the garage

I will add some custom labels to the bins to jazz them up.  For now I don’t have to walk to the car with my eyes closed trying not to get anxiety from the mess.  Huge shout out to the mister for being a rock star and cleaning up his man space.  At one point I walked out and he was disinfecting the garbage bins!  I am officially rubbing off on him.

We also did TONS of yard work which I will share with you all soon.  YES, I actually planted flowers.  Two days and they are not dead yet.  Amazing.

For now, here is a pic of our helpers doing yard work this weekend…

Yard Work Helpers - Dax and Liam

Yard Work Helpers – Dax and Liam

Have  a great four day work week!

“Desk” Organization

I use the word “desk” lightly.  We have no stand alone desk nor room that we deem our office.  We simply have an area in our kitchen that has a built-in “desk”.  This is a bare minimum shot of the built-in desk area during our kitchen renovation.

Three drop down pendant lights - replace ceiling fan

And moment of confession, before Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013, it looked like this…

Built-In Desk Area Before - Doors Open

Built-In Desk Area- Before

Built-In Desk Area Before - Doors Open

Built-In Desk Area Before – Doors Open

I know, I know.


Very embarrassing.

So, I decided enough was enough and I went and got these baskets.

New baskets - found at Home Goods

New baskets – found at Home Goods

Three baskets all for 12.99 - used for desk storage

Three baskets all for 12.99 – used for desk storage

Three baskets for 12.99 a set – and 12.99 times two and I have a great solution to a massive unorganized mess for under $30 total.

I still have some minor adjustments but between playing outside with the kiddos, eating dinner, bath time, kiddo bedtime and a solid hour or so reorganizing, this is the after:


Built-In Desk - After

Built-In Desk – After

I still need to figure out how to make those bottom two shelves work but I am SO happy with the progress.  For more organization projects click here and here.

Now to find a desk chair…

YEP, we currently sit on a big exercise ball.  Hey, one benefit – I am working my core while I type.

Contain your clutter – Part II

As the saying goes, “A place for everything, everything in its place.”  – Benjamin Franklin

This slogan holds true in our household.  Each and every room in our house seems to have a basket, bin or tote to put items.  And in case you missed the first edition of “Contain your clutter” from Erica check it out here.

Storage items can be found in all shapes and sizes, colors and textures.  A quick cruise around the house I spied these items in which I think I hit on Erica’s tip number 1 – Baskets and bins EVERYWHERE.

In the living room, perhaps inspired by the popular color blocking trend, is this $12.99 textured bin I found this past weekend at Home Goods (it should be illegal to have one within 5 miles of your home – we do and it is dangerous let me tell you).  This newest addition to my storage items holds Dax’s toys.

Living room basket for Dax's toys

Living room basket for Dax’s toys

On the other side of the bookshelf is Liam’s toy storage bin for his “big boy toys”.  This bin hits on the very popular chevron print and black and white combo.  I found this puppy at Target for under $20.

Living room bin for Liam's "big boy" toys

Living room bin for Liam’s “big boy” toys

Also in the living room because lets be honest when a diaper needs to be changed I don’t want to go upstairs to the other diaper changing area.  (Moment of confession, I don’t even have a changing table…eek!)

Living room bin for diapers, baby socks and baby products

Living room bin for diapers, baby socks and baby products

This textured “diaper” basket holds diapers, wipes, little shoes, socks, lotions, creams and other baby creams that are used on a frequent manner.  Throwing all these items in a non-baby like bin helps it fit into the living room decor.  This was a Hobby Lobby find years ago for super cheap.

Moving to the basement…

In the media area we have storage to disguise magazines.  I dig the graphical print and again the strong black and white combo.

Downstairs - Media area storage for magazines

Downstairs – Media area storage for magazines

Also, in the basement I have these great vintage storage trunks that I found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market when I lived in California.  You betcha I was going to drag these puppies all the way back to Kansas with me.  This was years ago before the vintage trunks were really back in and “cool” so I scored each of these for under $25!

Downstairs - Media area storage for blankets and pillows

Downstairs – Media area storage for blankets and pillows

These trunks help infuse color while storing blankets and pillows for movie viewing.

Downstairs open play area -toy bin specifically for books

Downstairs open play area -toy bin specifically for books

With our basement split in half with media area and play area, these bins are used for books in the basement.  I like to keep books on each floor in the house that way there is always a story to read easily accessible.

In the nursery, I went a bit untraditional with these locker room inspired storage bins.  I splurged a bit on these knowing that I can use these for years and years.  Now they hold baby blankets, bibs and extra diapers.

Locker room inspired storage

Locker room inspired storage

Of course all storage doesn’t have to be out and about for eyes to see.  This round basket holds my bangles and bracelets in our master bathroom.

Under the cabinet storage found in bathroom

Under the cabinet storage found in bathroom

Also found under the sink is this textured basket to hold beauty supplies and necessities.

Store beauty items and necessities in this beautiful basket

Store beauty items and necessities in this beautiful basket

And the most obvious of places to have storage – a closet.  In our master room closet I have these storage items to add pops of color and great pattern.

Storage ideas - closet

Storage ideas – closet

I scored these puppies during the craze of Missoni for Target last year.  Or maybe it was longer than that – I tried to block that out of my memory.  People were CRAZY about that line.  But I do adore these bins – that store hats and scarfs.

Again, baskets and bins EVERYWHERE can help contain your clutter…Yep, I think I have that covered.

On Display: Make Your Own Photo Board

When I was in college, my incredibly creative friend Jamie had this massive photo board that displayed all kinds of fun pictures of all our friends and her family. One day, I asked her to show me how to create my own, and it has traveled with me to every house since then. Recently, I decided to give it a face lift so it would fit a little better with my current style.

My old one was red waverly – not my husband’s favorite material.

Old Photo Board Material

Old Photo Board Material


For my new one, I decided to use some of my leftover recycled coffee sacks I had used for another art project. I purchased several of these off ebay for about $10. Most of the time, when you search for coffee sacks, the sellers don’t guarantee what they actually look like when you get them. However, I’ve loved all the ones I’ve received.

Recycled Coffee Sack

Recycled Coffee Sack


If you’re starting from scratch, just buy an artist’s canvas. They make perfect photo boards, and you can usually buy them in multi-packs at Hobby Lobby for $5-$10. Lay your material over the top and wrap the fabric around the back, tucking the extra under the edging. Staple it all around the back.

Recovering Photo Board

Recovering Photo Board


Then use whatever kind of ribbon you want. I chose a satin cream colored ribbon because I didn’t want the color to compete with what I put on display. Depending on how large your board is, cut strips of the ribbon so that you have an equal amount of ribbon going each direction. In my case, I chose to do five strips going up and five going down.

I’m not incredibly precise with most of my projects, so you could totally measure and make sure everything is exactly even between each ribbon. In my case, I started in the middle, using the top and bottom points for the first ribbon, then worked my way out by eyeballing it from there. Each time I cut the ribbon, I just left an extra inch so I could wrap it around to the back. I did all one way and then all the other way…no need to mess with weaving anything in and out of each other.

Adding Ribbon to Photo Board

Adding Ribbon to Photo Board


Staple the ribbon on the back.

Back of Photo Board

Back of Photo Board


Find decorative tacks to stick into the canvas at the cross-sections of the ribbon. Once you push them in, however, you have to put something on the back to make them stay put. Jamie came up with the brilliant plan to cut Q-tips and use the sticks as the back. I just ended up reusing those same Q-tips – if it ain’t broke… My mom made some of these recently to donate to a nursing home, and she sewed buttons on instead of using tacks. They looked adorable.

Photo Board Finishing Touch

Photo Board Finishing Touch


Q-tip Solution

Q-tip Solution


We use our photo board in the kitchen to display photos of our family and friends. It’s also a perfect place to hold invites instead of on the fridge. Hope this inspires you to create your own display boards!

DIY Photo Board - Middle Redefined

DIY Photo Board – Middle Redefined

DIY Photo Board Up Close

DIY Photo Board Up Close


Gray and Yellow Fun

One of my favorite color combos right now is gray and yellow. There’s just something so relaxing about those two colors together that makes me happy. So I decided to use that combo when decorating my family room. Last week you saw my DIY Roman shade project, which was the latest addition to this room’s design.

DIY Roman Shades - Middle Redefined

DIY Roman Shades – Middle Redefined

Now I’ll show you the rest of the room and share where we found some of our favorite pieces.

My first yellow accessory was a vase from Anthropologie. I paid around $35 for it, and it helped drive the shade of yellow I wanted in the rest of my room. The gray vase and tray are from Target. My rustic trunk that stores Kingston’s puzzles and games was $150 find at an antique shop in the middle of nowhere Kansas.

Gray and Yellow Accessories

Gray and Yellow Accessories

The pops of yellow ar so fun, and so easy to switch out down the road if I want to add a different color. We tried to make sure we truly brought our family into this room with lots of photography. It’s also really important that we have plenty of room to play, so we chose fairly small furniture and tried to limit too many extra decorative items.

I got my couch and arm chairs from Nebraska Furniture Mart. The pillows on my couch are from Pottery Barn, and the yellow Ikat ones are from Etsy.

Gray and Yellow Family Room - Middle Redefined

Gray and Yellow Family Room – Middle Redefined


We keep a small table in the family room for Kingston to sit at for art, snacks, or other activities. It’s his little space where he stores papers and other goodies. I think we got it at Big Lots for about $50.

I adore the mirror on the wall, and it was a random find at Mission Antique Mall – I splurged a little on it and paid $75 because you can’t beat that distressed look. The ladder was $10 at a flea market in Lawrence, KS. And my mother-in-law got me that adorable throw blanket with little birdies at Marshalls.

The side tables are actually outdoor stools, and I bought them years ago at Pier 1. They’ve been about four different colors. I just put cut glass on top to extend the space.


Kid Space

Kid Space


The dough bowl on my flea market shelf is one of my favorite accessories. Another antique shop treasure from a road trip years ago, and I think I paid a whopping $50 for it. I’ve never found another one of this size for less than $150. I love the flecks of gray and blue.

Dough Bowl

Dough Bowl


The corner of the room holds a shelf with more of our personal treasures and photos. We got the shelf at Winfield House in Lawrence, KS. They don’t have a website, otherwise I’d guide you there. The basket is yet another place we store extra toys, books, and kid things that need to be easily accessible.

Gray and Yellow Family Room Corner - Middle Redefined

Gray and Yellow Family Room Corner – Middle Redefined


When searching for art that would incorporate some kind of yellow, I came across these adorable “You Are My Sunshine” signs from Etsy – only $24.

You Are My Sunshine Sign


It’s so fun when all the pieces start falling into place. We love our family room and hope it’s inspired some ideas for your home as well. Do you love gray and yellow as much as me?





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