I'm a wife to a U.S. Marine and mom to two boys! We are a military family, living in our 7th home in 11 years! I specialize in renter-friendly, movable, and budget-wise décor and organizational solutions that are high on style, function, and simplicity.
When designing this month’s printable kit for The Organization Toolbox, I either had baby on the brain (guilty!) or am trying to figure out how to get some rest and work time in this summer sans kids (double guilty!)…because this newest set of worksheets is all about the babysitter! Whether you’re heading out for the night, the day, or a series of days, it can sometimes be tedious to leave behind all the information your babysitter might need for the kids, meals, emergencies and more. I know I am always scratching things down on scrap paper or shouting directions over my shoulder as we’re running out the door. But thanks to this newest kit, the Printable Babysitter Notes and Instruction Sheets, we’ll all have any easier way to jot down everything the sitter needs to know in a form that is truly usable and accessible!
The printables contained in this latest kit are all about providing the information your sitter needs in an easy-to-use, easy-to-compile format. Helpful prompts ensure you don’t forget to communicate a single, important detail, and various layout options provide ultimate flexibility based on how long you’ll be away and/or how much information you like to leave behind.
Whether you’re gone for a night or a series of days…tend to leave just dinner instructions or prefer to hash out full medical histories, these mix-and-match pages will help you organize your thoughts so that you can leave the kids behind with a peace of mind!
This printable kit features 12 pages of worksheets, each of which can be used individually or mixed-and-matched into a set based on your unique needs.
What’s Included in the Printable Babysitter Notes and Instructions Sheets?
While We’re Out – 1 page babysitter notes
While We’re Out – 1/2 page babysitter notes
Away For the Day(s) – 2 page babysitter notes
While You Were Out – 1 page sheet for the babysitter to record messages, visitors, etc
While You Were Out – 1/2 page sheet for the babysitter to record messages, visitors, etc
In Case of Emergency – single page sheet containing important family information and emergency contacts (consider typing up, printing out, and laminating for repeat use)
Day-At-A-Glance – daily worksheet that details meals, schedule, chores, etc
Babysitter Log – keep track of all the sitters you use, what they charge, where they live, etc.
Baby Care Log – a simple worksheet that allows you to track a baby’s feedings, diaper changes, sleep and more.
Each and every page in this kit is fully editable, so you can type in your family members’ names and information once and then print when needed. The pages are also customizable via changeable text fields, allowing you to add your own family name to the footer on each page. And best of all…all pages can be printed in either black-and-white…
…or in the Rainbow Brights color scheme!
The primary pages of this kit (and the ones you will likely use the most!) are the “While We’re Out” babysitter notes, available in three (slightly different) formats: a single day, full-page version | a short-and-sweet half-page version | a 2-page, highly detailed version.
All three versions contain placeholders for the same basic information along the top. The upper left quadrant features information about the house, your contact information, where you’ll be going, when you’ll be home, etc. The upper right quadrant contains important emergency contact information including doctor information, poison control numbers, and local neighbors.
NOTE: I noticed the typo in “Poison Control” after snapping and editing these photos, but the PDF files themselves have been fixed!
The bottom half of each worksheet includes helpful information about each child such as age, allergies, bedtime, etc. The single-page version has space for limited information while the 2-page version allows you to include details such as medications, health concerns, etc.
The worksheets can then be printed double-sided with other helpful sheets contained in the pack. A “While You Were Out” log is ideal on the back of the above sheets, allowing your sitter to communicate important things that may have happened while you were gone.
And if you’re going to be gone for a series of days, a detailed “In Case of Emergency” worksheet and daily schedule can help keep your household humming in your absence.
By far, I think the most handy two sheets in the entire kit are the half-page “While We’re Out” and “While You Were Gone” pages! Not only do these half sheets provide a super streamlined way to communicate only the most important information to your sitter, but their smaller size make it a breeze to fill out for simple date nights or for sitters who already know your kids!
I love printing these two pages back-to-back and slicing them apart down the middle. All your notes to your sitter are on the front, and all his/her notes to you are on the back! I already have a stack of these printed and stashed in our home binder for easy use!
This kit is rounded out by a few more helpful pages: a Babysitter Log and a Baby Care chart!
The Baby Care chart is helpful for in-home nannies/sitters or even when you first bring baby home! Its clean and simple format make it easy to keep track of baby’s day while you’re away.
The Baby Care sheet is available in blue, pink, and black and white!
Last but not least, the Babysitters log can be printed in multiples to help you keep track of various sitters. Update this log regularly in order to make finding a sitter for your next dinner party a bit easier!
Both the Rainbow Brights and Black-and-White versions of the Printable Babysitter Notes and Information Sheets have been uploaded to The Organization Toolbox and are available for download right now!
If you are already a Toolbox member, you can click here to login and download them right away. If you need a Toolbox membership, just click below to get started!
Although this Printable Babysitter Notes and Instructions Sheets kit is a smaller one, I think you’ll find these pages to be incredibly useful if you have young kids. To make them super convenient to use, consider pre-typing in all of your important/non-changing information (contacts, doctor’s numbers, health/allergies/medications) and then printing out a stack to tuck into a drawer or your home binder. The next time you’re scrambling to get out the door, you’ll be oh-so-thankful to have a handy place to jot down everything your sitter needs to know in order to keep your kiddos safe! Enjoy!
P.S. It’s hard to believe a full year has come and gone since I first uploaded these, but don’t forget about another great kit already uploaded to the Toolbox: the Summer Boredom Buster Booklets! Now is the time to get these bucket lists printed and filled out so you’re ready to kick off summer once school is out of session!
I am closing out May with a bang with the long-awaited look at how I store aaaaalll my craft supplies! Next to paper storage ideas (which you can see a ton of here), the most organization-related requests I get is for ideas, tips and tricks on storing craft supplies. If there is one thing crafting comes with, it’s STUFF! And you guys know I constantly fight the battle between having what I need to create projects for our home and the blog, and having too much that it’s burdensome to manage. In recent years, I’ve really taken a hard look at the types of crafts I like to do and the ones that just aren’t my thing…and have slowly and intentionally aligned my “stash” to mirror those main interests. (You can read how I got myself to purge most of my craft supplies here.) Further, I’ve worked hard to organize my craft space so that the products I use most often are easily accessible and the ones I don’t use regularly are put away in deeper storage. Today, I want to give you a tour of all the storage solutions I’ve implemented in my craft room and share some insights about why I chose each one!
There are three main places where craft supplies are stored in our home. The first two are in my home office: 1) on the 5×5 IKEA Kallax shelf and 2) inside a series of 5 cabinets and drawers underneath my craft counter. The third location is inside two cabinets out in the garage. These garage shelves hold large items I don’t use very often (like my spare sewing machine, large Easy Press 2, and the embroidery component to my sewing machine), as well as various blank vases, trays, mugs, totes, and wooden items I use for gifts and blog projects. Although there’s a decent bit in the garage, the vast majority of what I use regularly is stored inside on the office shelves and cabinets, and that’s what I’m going to show you today!
My home office has no closet, so in order to get the space to function for me and hold everything I needed it to, we invested in the 5×5 IKEA Kallax bookshelf soon after moving in. Why? It was the best/cheapest way to fill the space with lots of functional storage.
Whether you craft or not, you can likely imagine that not every type of supply can be stored the same way. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all the various tools, notions, materials and more that a crafter might hoard store. As such, I’ve experimented with lots of different ways to best utilize this shelf and have finally settled on a combination of storage solutions to maximize every inch!
TIP! I’ve learned to use all white and clear storage bins and baskets in my craft room/office. Not only does this approach allow me to easily mix-and-match products from across a variety of stores, but it also helps to streamline what can frequently be a messy, cluttered, and colorful space. Keeping the whole room visually simple prevents me from feeling overwhelmed when supplies and projects start piling up!
The bottom three rows (15 cubbies worth!) of this shelf hold large bins filled with larger, bulkier items such as yarn, fabric, rolls of vinyl, etc.
I LOVE using IKEA’s DRONA bins to store things all over our home. Not only are they really inexpensive, but their generous size allows you to use up every inch (quite literally) of the Kallax cubbies. These bins are ideal for large collections of bulky items, and in my 10 DRONA bins are:
Kid art supplies -pearler beads, Rainbow loom, etc
Even though I still have 6 bins of fabric, that represents a serious reduction in my collection! Not only is each bin comfortably full, but I only kept items that I will truly/hopefully use. To maximize space and easily see what I have, I wrap my fabric onto cardboard sheets and store them like books (read more about this here).
I also store my vinyl vertically within the DRONA bins. Although vinyl is something I use several times a week, I just don’t want to commit the visual and physical space to a large shelf/display of roll after roll of vinyl. Standard 12″ rolls stand up perfectly in these bins, allowing me to keep a TON of vinyl on just two shelves. Plus, the vertical arrangement allows me to easily see what colors I have when working on a vinyl project.
I did choose to separate out all my “speciality” vinyl (e.g., iron-on, glitter, patterned), leaving only solid colors in the larger bin.
The middle shelf holds 5 of my beloved Y-weave baskets. I actually have 8 of these baskets, but Target discontinued this specific size a few years ago so I couldn’t use them across more shelves. Using just 5 was the only way I could make it look nice while still implementing something I already had. I use them for smaller collections of bulky items; specifically, they hold:
Camera lenses and parts
Party supplies – favor bags, blank banners, streamers, etc
Gift wrap – bags, ribbon, tissue paper, small gift boxes, etc
The upper two rows hold a variety of decorative objects, as well as different systems that store/contain paper – easily my most used material!
I did an entire post on how I store all the various types of craft papers in my office here, but I’ll run through them again quickly.
Since I use paper SO much, I find it a nuisance to open/close drawers or boxes just to fish out what I need. After a lot of experimentation, I determined that some acrylic dividers right on the shelf are a great way to keep my paper (both 8.5×11″ and 12×12″) accessible, safe, flat and sorted by color!
I do keep my scraps in a series of snap-close boxes sorted by color. Not only are these boxes the perfect way to keep lots of little papers corralled and sorted; but once they fill up, I know I have plenty of scraps on hand and don’t need to keep anymore. I’ve used this scrap system for years and couldn’t love it more. Read all about it here.
In addition to colored cardstock, I also use a ton of specialty papers to make my printables, labels and more. A basic letter tray holds our most frequently-used white papers (printer paper, white cardstock, and photo paper)…
…while an acrylic file box holds my specialty papers such as printable labels, magnetic sheets, printable vinyl, etc. I always discard bulky packaging (but keep important instructions) in order to keep this file system tidy and easy to use.
Along the far side of my Kallax shelf is one of my favorite craft solutions ever. It’s super hard to see (and I actually couldn’t get a better picture because of the wall), but I have two Command hooks secured right to the shelf itself to hold all my Cricut mats (12×12″ on the top, 12×24″ below). Mats can be incredibly exasperating to store, so I can’t recommend this solution enough as a way to keep them safe and easy to grab!
Tucked into the corner is a basic canvas tote that holds anything on large rolls. Mostly I have wrapping paper, shelf liners, and my collection of peel-and-stick wallpaper in here. The basket isn’t the biggest, which actually helps to keep these collections from growing too out-of-control!
Sprinkled amongst all the storage items are a few decorative objects, as well as many of the supplies I use for photoshoots. Having pencils, pouches, and notebooks out in the open helps make my photo shoots run (and clean up!) a little easier!
A majority of my large supplies are contained within the cubbie shelf. So tucked into the cabinets and drawers along my craft counter are the smaller notions, supplies, and materials that would get lost in such large baskets.
NOTE: I’ve gotten a few requests lately for more info about this counter setup. You can see the original post here, but briefly: we bought these stock base kitchen cabinets from Lowes/Home Depot (I honestly can’t remember which one) during a Labor Day weekend sale. They are screwed to the wall and to each other, and then are topped with inexpensive white countertops from IKEA. The entire setup comes apart pretty easily so we can move it from home to home!
The 5 drawers that span the countertops hold most of my small, everyday supplies…items that I reach for day in and day out as I create projects and run the business. I did a full post detailing exactly how I configured these drawers with off-the-shelf acrylic organizers that you can check out here.
Right underneath where my Cricut machine sits on the counter, I have a full drawer dedicated to all the Cricut tools I reach for regularly. I’ve seen some really cute peg boards/wall organizers for storing Cricut tools around the web lately. While I certainly love the look of those, as I mentioned earlier, I’ve learned that having my tools and supplies put away (rather than on display) ultimately helps me be more creative and maintain a cleaner space. Open compartments in this nearby drawer still keep these tools accessible when I’m mid-project yet visually out of the way!
If you’re a Cricut owner, you may be struggling with how to store the various blades you keep acquiring for your machine. I stumbled upon this bead organizer at Michaels, and it holds the various blades perfectly. Although the Cricut machine has a place to store blades, I much prefer this since it keeps them safe and away from little curious hands!
The next drawer holds all the basic sewing supplies I reach for during a “typical” sewing project…
…and the next two drawers hold mostly office supplies, pens, markers, glues etc. I LOVE having these common use items so accessible, not just for me, but for the whole family who constantly wanders in needing something!
Lidded Plastic Boxes
You’ve seen all those drawers before (again, you can see them more in depth here), but I haven’t yet shown you everything stored underneath the drawers in the cabinets themselves! Let’s open up those doors!
There is no doubt that the Cricut machines (either the Explore line or the Maker) are powerful creative tools. And while most of us associate Cricut with cutting out shapes from paper, vinyl and so much more, the machines can also be used for drawing and writing via the Cricut Pens. Using the Cricut Pens is pretty easy and fairly straightforward, but there are some specific things you need to do in order for your projects to turn out just right. So today, I want to teach you how to use Cricut Pens and break down everything you need to know in order for you to confidently create with them!
Depending on what kind of crafts you do, you may not have ventured much into using the Cricut Pens. Admittedly, I didn’t use them for a very, very long time. But over the years, they’ve absolutely become my preferred way to add details to craft projects, names to gift tags, and words to pre-cut labels for lots of different items around our home! With tons of pen options and “Draw” designs now available in the Design Space Library, I think you too will find the Cricut Pens to be a fun and powerful way to put your Cricut machine to use!
Cricut Pen Basics
The tricker aspects of working with the Cricut Pens are actually on the software side, so let’s get the easier stuff out of the way first. Specifically, what the pens are and where they go.
Whether you have an Explore (any version) or a Maker, you will notice there are two clamps on the cutting mechanism, the A side and the B side. The B side will always hold your blades, and the A side holds other accessories such as the Cricut Pens and scoring stylus. When you create a project that requires a pen, the Design Space software will prompt you to put a pen into the A slot. When you put the pen in, don’t be afraid to push it down with some gentle pressure until it clicks into place and the arrow on the pen itself hovers just above the clamp. Be sure to close the clamp (the grey piece with the letter A on it) to firmly hold your pen in place while the machine works.
NOTE! Below, my A Clamp is actually open. You will want to close it before allowing your machine to begin writing.
In recent years, Cricut has really expanded the type, colors, and weight of Cricut Pens offered so that you have a ton of control on how the lines on your project appear. Pen weights range from Extra Fine Tip (0.3) to Calligraphy (2.5), with several steps in between. The pen’s weight, as well as the color, are printed right onto the side of the pen for easy reference. The pen’s color is also represented on the cap and end of the pen. Fine Point pens now come in as many as 30+ colors, 0.8-weight gel pens come in a large variety of 5-pack sets, and calligraphy pens are available mostly in black and gold (shown). Any pen can theoretically work on any project, however smaller projects (small words, fine details) will likely look better with 0.3-0.8-weight pens, while larger, less-detailed designs can be done in the higher weight pens.
TIP! When I’m not sure which weight will look best for my project, I will often test a small part of the design in the various pens to see which one looks best before drawing out my entire project.
I’m going to dive deep into the software component of drawing here in a minute, but quickly let me show you where you can select which pen you want to use. With a drawn object selected, you will see a colored square next to Linetype along the top toolbar. If you click that colored square (the gold box in the image below), it will open a dropdown menu from which you can select your pen type.
Start by selecting which weight pen you will use…
…and then you can set which color you want.
NOTE: The color options listed coordinate with the Cricut Pens currently available.
Although it is not 100% required to set your pen type in Design Space itself (the software can’t control which pen you actually place in the clamp), I do recommend taking the time to do it, especially on projects that will utilize various pen colors or pen weights. Here is why…
The final cut screen is filled with all sorts of helpful information to complete your projects. Notice how it tells you exactly which pen to place into Clamp A! If you designated which pen to use on the Design Canvas itself, you just need to do what it says!
In the event you created a project that uses multiple pen colors, weights, etc, Design Space will actually pause, mid-project, and tell you to change to the next pen you have designated (image below). It can be very difficult to predict what the machine will draw next, so pre-designating colors on the Design Canvas and following the on-screen prompts is the only way to ensure your multi-color projects turn out just right!
TIP! I know that setting the specific pen weight/color for each of your drawn elements can get tedious, but I promise you it’s worth establishing the habit so that you can rely on the auto-prompts as the machine gets to work!
I do want to point out one important thing about setting colors/weights in Design Space. While the color of your drawn elements will change based on what you select, the weights will not appear any different on your Design Canvas. In the graphic below, I have each “Megan” set to a different weight (0.8, 1.0, 2.0, and 2.5), but they all look exactly the same. Nonetheless, the software will prompt you to put the correct pen in, based on your settings, when the time comes!
Drawing Text with the Cricut Pens
There are two main things you will likely “draw” with the Cricut Pens: words and designs. Let’s start with learning how to draw text/words!
By default, when you place text onto your Design Canvas (via the text tool), it will be a “Cut” design, meaning the machine will cut out the words from a material. You can identify that it’s a “Cut” object both along the top Linetype toolbar, as well as the designation in the right-side layers panel.
Cricut has recently changed the Linetype tool. Via the dropdown menu on the top toolbar, you can now change how the outline of ANY object/text is created: Cut (with the blades), Draw (with the pens), or Score (with the scoring stylus or scoring wheel).
Once you have text on your canvas, your instinct is likely to just change the Linetype to “Draw” via the dropdown menu. However, when you do this, the outline (that was previously “Cut”) will now be drawn. Notice how “Draw” is designated in both the top Linetype menu, as well as in the right-hand Layers Panel.
NOTE! ANYTHING that is designated as “Draw” will automatically be drawn with whatever pen is loaded into Clamp A on your machine.
The outlined letters may indeed be the look you’re going for if you want to do a coloring page or have blocky writing. However, if you want your text to look written (not outlined), you need to change the text to “Writing” under the font menu. When you do this, it will transform that particular font into one that appears written, rather than outlined.
It’s important to note here that not every font will have a “Writing” option. So…if you are working on a project that you absolutely want to have a hand-written appearance, you need to identify fonts that can be Drawn/Written with the Cricut Pens. The quickest and easiest way to do this is via the “Writing” filter within the Fonts menu.
By filtering out only the “Writing” fonts, you can easily pick ones that will appear written, rather than outlined when drawn with the Cricut Pens!
NOTE! Just like with script fonts that are “Cut,” “Draw” script fonts will NOT automatically connect into one continuous word (look at the very first, upper-left “Hello” in the image above) To make your words appear as though they were drawn in a continuous stroke (like cursive), you will need to un-group the letters, move them closer together, and re-attach them (Weld will not work here). You can see more on how to do this here.
Drawing Designs with the Cricut Pens
I mentioned it before, but it’s worth repeating: ANY design on your Design Canvas (other than Print-Then-Cut designs) can be created via “Draw” rather than “Cut.” This is a great way to add dimension and details to your designs, and create your own coloring pages!
Just like with text, when you place most images onto your Design Canvas, they will be “Cut” designs…
Again, by using that Linetype tool along the top toolbar, you can change any outline from “Cut” to “Draw.”
TIP! Changing artwork designs from “Cut” to “Draw” is one of the easiest ways to make coloring pages with your Cricut!
I want to point out an important feature when selecting images to “Draw” with your Cricut machine. Just like with the text, there are specific images that are intended to be drawn rather than cut, but it can be a little tricky to find them. For example, you will likely come across many images that appear as though they have skinny lines that would be drawn…
But when you place these images onto your Design Canvas, you will quickly see that, despite the skinny lines, they are still “Cut” files…
At the end of last summer, I was helping my girlfriend give her daughter’s bedroom a “rainbow unicorn” makeover. Although both unicorns and rainbows seem to be everywhere right now, we were having a really tough time finding a bedding set that used the right colors and was on theme, yet wasn’t overly expensive or overly…ahem…tacky. After hours and hours of looking through every site we could think of, I suggested that instead of using a pre-assembled commercial bedding set, we use my favorite budget-friendly bedding trick that I use on our beds: white coverlet + pom-pom trim + fun sheets + themed throw pillow = a chic yet fun display that is easily changed. I’ve briefly mentioned this formula here on the blog over the years, but today I want to show you why this approach works so well (especially for kids!) and how you can implement it into your own home!
I stumbled upon this “magical combo” when I was giving Henry his first bedroom makeover after transitioning out of his nursery. As a Mom, I wanted to give him a fun and kid-friendly space, but the design-lover in me didn’t want his bedding to be sooooo over-the-top toward a particular theme that it really dominated the room. I also worried that since kids’ whims change so often, if we committed hard to a Cars or Sesame Street or Thomas the Train set, we’d be replacing all the bedding sooner than we wanted to.
I personally love crisp, white bedding, so I opted to forgo the traditional sheet+comforter set and instead paired a classic white coverlet with bright colorful sheets. I added the pom-pom trim almost as an afterthought, but it instantly transformed the plain off-the-shelf product into something with a more whimsical and fun aesthetic.
This bedding combination works really well for a few reasons. First, no matter what else you have going on in the room, the solid white bedding gives the eye a place to rest. So if you have colorful walls, colorful accessories, etc, the white bedding goes a long way in balancing out the more visually-dominant elements of the room. Second, with a solid, white bedspread, you are free to pursue pretty much any color scheme regardless of your theme…provided you can find other items to match, of course! Finally, the changeability of this method can’t be beat. If you’re daughter is really into Princesses right now but you worry in 6 months she’ll be onto fairies, or rainbows, or llamas (???), then a swap of a sheet set and a few accessories is easier to pull off than an entire bedding display!
Here’s what I mean. When I first made over Henry’s bedroom, we went with a strong “modern jungle” theme all done in primary colors.
This past summer, I (finally) updated his room into a Star Wars theme. Instead of trying to hunt down bedding that matched some of the more permanent elements of his room, I simply swapped the sheets for a set I found on clearance ($10!!!), bought a new orange pillow sham, and re-covered his throw pillow with some Star Wars-themed fabric.
Not only did this swap cost me about $25 total, but it also provided some freedom (design-wise) to bring the theme to life in the colors and aesthetic I preferred (versus ones I had to use to match a specific bedding set.)
Let’s go back to the rainbow unicorn room to see another example in action. Once I convinced my girlfriend to head in this direction, our task of finding sheets + pom-pom trim + a theme fabric became much easier than finding the perfect pre-assembled bedding combo.
…but if her daughter suddenly wants a different theme, it’s a matter of swapping out the pillow sham and a few themed accessories. This rainbow unicorn bedroom could quite easily (and affordably!) become a mermaid room or princess room down the road!
Oh! And if you’re concerned that an all-white bed with just some colorful sheets and tiny pom-poms will look too bland or boring, I think you will actually find the opposite to be true. In my experience, this neutral (yet well coordinated) backdrop will actually give you more freedom to bring color, pattern and designs into the room in other (more impactful) ways! In fact, it’s the white bed+bedding that really allows the rainbow canopy over the bed to be the true star of this whole room!
You guys know that playing with patterns and picking out bedding combinations is one of my favorite things ever, so I couldn’t just stop there! Nope – I dove deep into the bedding section at Target to pull together all sorts of examples on how you can bring this concept to life in your own home, no matter what colors or theme you are implementing. Check out all these fun combos below!
I chose to trim Henry’s coverlet in black pom-poms because it seemed the safest and most neutral option, especially for a boy’s room. It’s certainly proved a great choice over the years since it coordinates with practically anything (even really colorful sheets) and would work well for both boy and girl rooms alike!
I am actually getting ready to trim out our third coverlet in navy pom-poms for Sam’s new room (design plan coming soon!). I currently have plans to pair it with some star sheets, but no matter which theme we embrace down the road as he gets older, we’ll have lots of great options since navy is a pretty common denominator!
I am smitten with this ombre green pom-pom trim and think it would look darling on a bed in either a girl’s or boy’s room! Being a primary color, you’ll likely be able to pair it with younger themes (e.g., Sesame Street) and mature it as time goes on. Side Note: these Snug as a Bug sheets are some of the cutest I came across for this project and sorta wish I had a little girl’s room to use them on!
You may have a little one begging for a purple room, and that might seem like a scary commitment. But by combining this ombre purple pom-pom trim with a white bedspread, you’ll surely have lots of sheet paring options that cover a wide variety of interests throughout the years!
If you’re doing a little girl’s room, trimming out a coverlet in either purple or pink pom-poms is likely a safe choice! No matter what your little one is into, you’ll be sure to find plenty of coordinating options as she grows!
Admittedly, I’m totally smitten with this red pom-pom trim and these sheet options. So much that’s it’s almost making me re-think Sam’s bedroom plan (almost!) I think red is another great option for either boys and girls, and can also likely transition easily as kids grow and interests evolve. Side Note: For all of you who loved the dragon artwork I shared a few weeks ago…you have to check out these dragon sheets, they are just the cutest!!!
This lighter blue set, like the navy, is also very versatile. It certainly works in boy spaces, but it’s an especially great choice for girl’s who really don’t want pink or purple! I can just see those cute bicycle sheets with the blue pom-poms and a bright yellow sham! #swoon
A quick search for pom-pom trim will not only yield results in every color imaginable, but also different multi-color options. Although these may seem a bit limiting in their palette, you might be surprised at how much can go with them!
For example, your young one might go through a strong Trolls or Vampirina phase but then become a die-hard basketball player! This single bedspread would work through all those whims!
We all take tons of photos, but how many of us actually get those photos off our phones and on display? Well…after today’s project, you’ll have no excuse because I am sharing an oh-so-cute and oh-so-simple method for displaying photos: Magnetic Polaroid Picture Frames! Truth be told, these frames were born out of a random idea that I just really wanted to see come to life. But as they came together so easily and turned out so darn cute, I couldn’t stop thinking of fun uses for them. Obviously, they are ideal for adorning refrigerators, magnetic boards, lockers, dorm rooms, and other surfaces with favorite snapshots! But with prom, wedding, shower and graduation season upon us, they would also make for the perfect party favor, parting gift or sentimental memento. These “polaroid frames” require only a few supplies and can be easily made whether you have an e-cutter or not…so let me show you how to do it!
These little picture frames are made out of magnetic paper. So beyond cutting them out, all you have to do is slap them up onto your favorite magnetic surface atop some of your favorite photos, and you have one heck of a cute and easy way to show off your family and friends!
I (of course) had to dress up my magnetic frames with some different patterned and glitter vinyls. But this (simple) extra step really gives the frames a ton of personality so I highly recommend doing it! And now with so many different patterned, colored and textured vinyls on the market, you can customize these frames to suit your style, favorite colors, school colors, club colors and so much more!
Here is what you need to create these Magnetic Polaroid Picture Frames:
Magnetic Sheets – I used these but also really love these
Most magnetic paper comes with a white top (for printing) and a black underside (the magnetic sheet). If you want plain white frames, you can skip this first step. However, if you’d like your frames to have a little color, texture, or pattern, it is easiest to add it right now, at the very beginning before you cut anything out!
TIP! This approach means you won’t have to painstakingly layer vinyl onto the magnetic frames after they are cut!
Start by cutting down your selected vinyl (in my case, the glitter vinyl) to fit on top of the standard 8.5×11″ magnetic sheet. I just used a paper trimmer to slice a 8.5″ wide section of vinyl off my longer roll.
Remove the paper backing off the vinyl and lay it on the top (white side) of your magnetic sheet. Working with really large cuts of vinyl like this can be a little unwieldy. So work slowly to avoid big bubbles and wrinkles in your vinyl.
If You’re Cutting On a Cricut…
The quickest and easiest way to cut out these frames is using a Cricut machine or other e-cutter. Start by loading the magnetic paper onto a sticky Standard Grip mat with the magnetic side facing down and your vinyl facing up.
TIP! You will want to use a very sticky mat for this project to ensure your vinyl+magnetic paper cuts cleanly through!
Next, locate the following image in the Design Space Image library: Polaroid Photo | #M38467 | Brooklyn Iron-on Cartridge and place it on your canvas…
Use the Contour Tool to reverse the image and create a solid frame design:
I sized my polaroid frames to be 4″ tall (so they would hold a 3″ square photo), but you can choose to size them to whatever dimensions you wish. Once you are satisfied with the size, click the green “Make It” button to cut out the frames. Whether you are cutting on an Explore Air or Maker, select “Magnetic Paper” from the Custom Materials menu in order to cleanly cut through both the vinyl and magnetic material.
After the frames are cut, unload your mat and use a weeding tool to remove the excess material from around and inside each frame. Carefully remove the frames from your mat…and then secure them to any magnetic surface you wish! Yep – they’re done…that easy!
If You’re Cutting with an X-acto Knife
I’ve worked with magnetic paper a lot, and I am always surprised by how easily and cleanly it cuts, even with plain ol’ scissors. If you don’t have an e-cutter, this is absolutely still a project you can make! And although they may not come together quite as fast as using a machine, they are still pretty easy since you just need to cut a bunch of straight lines!
Prepare the magnetic paper with your choice of vinyl, exactly as I show above.
Next, cut out the following shapes from some heavy cardstock or scrap paper: (1) 3.5×4″ rectangle, (1) 3×3″ square.
Trace the two shapes onto your vinyl+magnetic paper combo using a pencil, placing the square inside the top part of the rectangle (just like a polaroid photo)
Use a sharp scissors, paper trimmer, and/or X-acto knife and a ruler to cut along the lines to create the frames!
Magnetic Polaroid Frames with Patterned Vinyl
The patterned frames come together in exactly the same way thanks to my new favorite product: patterned vinyl!
Here’s a quick tip for easily cutting the same shape from a variety of colors or patterns. Instead of cutting one pattern/color at a time, load your vinyl onto four quadrants of the magnetic paper and cut them all at once! Below, I have four “swatches” of patterned vinyl secured to a single magnetic sheet…
…and ran the mat through to cut just one time! After peeling away all the excess, I’m left with an array of pretty frames for displaying my pictures in a matter of mere minutes!
Assembling Your Magnetic Polaroid Frames
In the grand scheme of this project, creating the frames may be the easier part! It’s getting those darn photos printed that may prove the tricker step. You likely already have a way you like to print your photos or may even use a service…those options will certainly work here! If you use my measurements for your frames, print/cut your photos down into 3″ squares. Otherwise, size your photos to fit into whatever frame opening you created.
I chose to print some photos onto Post-In Notes for ease and to give the images some fun color! I had no idea that printing photos onto Post-It Notes would be so fun AND so addictive, so I will share exactly how to do it back here on Tuesday…
The thing I love about using Post-It Note photos is that they are already sticky. So to get your photos up and on display…
…simply put your photo wherever you want it, and then place your magnetic frame right over it to keep the edges down and to frame it out nicely!
These magnetic frames aren’t only adorable but they really do make displaying or swapping out photos oh-so-simple! Spend 30 minutes making a whole bunch of frames and keep them stuck to your refrigerator or another magnetic surface. Then…whenever you come across a photo (or even a quote or reminder) that you love, you can frame it up in a matter of seconds!
I love these for my office memo board and along the side of our refrigerator, but I also think they would be so great for lockers, staff rooms, and other unexpected places! You can even personalize the bottom of each frame to say things like “Prom 2019” or “Graduate” and other fun descriptors! The possibilities for customization are endless, and they are sure to bring a smile to your face when you see them around your home. I do hope you give them a try!
Have a great weekend and see you back here next week!
Today I’m going to give you a “final tour” of the one space in our home that is rarely seen here on the blog: our Master Bedroom. There are lots of reasons why this space hasn’t made the regular blog appearances that other rooms have. Aside from it being incredibly difficult to photograph, the room never really came together in a way that warranted a big reveal. I started out with lots of big ideas and a pretty loose plan. But very few of those big ideas ever got completed, and many of my initial choices didn’t come together the way I hoped. Then, over the course of our 3 years here, the room became the landing place for items that didn’t fit anywhere else; and like most master bedrooms, giving it a “real,” top-to-bottom makeover kept falling lower and lower on the priority list. Despite all these excuses, I am choosing to share our Master Bedroom “Reveal” with you today because 1) I like to have our house fully documented before we start to pull it all apart and 2) I think it’s valuable to see that even with the best of intentions, some rooms just don’t come together as we hope or expect! Let me show you around, as well as chat a bit about what I didn’t quite get to and what my hopes are for this space in our next home!
Here are a few quick shots of the room before we moved in. Although a majority of our house was painted the same tan/beige color, the master bedroom was painted what I would call gold. Since our bedroom furniture is navy blue and grey, paint was practically required in order for our stuff to work.
Painting the room beige to match the rest of the house wouldn’t quite work because of the light grey furniture, so I decided to paint the room two different (but coordinating) shades of blue from our whole-home paint card. Although the wall color now falls into the “things I wish I could change about this room” category, I did really think this decision through at the start:
Why two tones? Because of the Navy blue bed. I was worried if the entire room was the darker denim color, the bed would have gotten lost. And since the room featured a “bump out” where the bed would go, there was already a logical place to block out different colors.
The paint card itself featured a bedroom painted in these two colors and it looked so fresh…so I moved forward with confidence.
The second I walked into the room once it was completed, I knew the lighter blue was the wrong color choice. It was just a gut feeling in the moment, but that sentiment has held pretty constant, and I’ve never really warmed to the light blue over the years. It feels too country or little boy and not sophisticated enough to match the other finishes in the room (e.g., crystal lamp, nailhead trim on the bed, etc). I toyed with lots of ideas for “fixing it,” including painting the bump out bright white or wallpapering it with a great focal paper…but I ran out of time, and the room has stayed these two colors the whole time!
The other main challenge in this room is the bump out itself. Not only did our original (larger) nightstands not fit into the bump out alongside the bed, but the placement of those three ridiculous little windows have proved more-than-exasperating our entire time here. Sure, we love how light and bright they make the room appear, but their size and placement make it impossible to cover/dress them (not to mention their east-facing direction ensures we are up with the sun pretty much every day!) I had plans for DIYing a huuuuuuuge peice of artwork to cover those windows, but that’s another one I didn’t quite get to in time either!
The bed itself hasn’t changed much over the years (besides when I added red throw pillows for the holidays), and that’s because I’m still so smitten with the combination of patterns featured across the various pillows.
We have these tiny blue dot sheets and shams on the bed underneath the white coverlet (I find the white quilts at HomeGoods/TJ Max/Marshalls and we use them on all of our beds!) I then layered another set of decorative shams, two throw pillows and a dot lumbar pillow on top to fill out the display. We’ve found that this number of pillows not only lends itself to a really complete look but also isn’t too cumbersome to put on and pull back off each day!
The bed itself was our 10th wedding anniversary present a few years ago. I still love its grand and classic aesthetic even if it is still missing one nail from our most recent move. When our original side tables wouldn’t fit alongside the bed in the bump out, I looked for something that matched the “French provincial” style of the other dressers in the room but still offered the height we needed for the tall bed. These two tables turned out to be a pretty perfect find. Not only did their height work out perfectly for the bed itself, but they have just enough storage space to be useful and not excessive. An added bonus: they were listed as “teal” and I had every intention of painting them. Once they arrived, their slate color worked well enough alongside the other blues and greys in the room!
One of my favorite parts of decorating a bedroom is playing with all the textiles and fabrics, and I often find that little details can often go a long way in making the room feeling cozy and personal and special. I personally love to use tassels and pom-poms on pillows, curtains and bedspreads (I’m going to chat more about this soon!), so when I found these navy tassel panels at HomeGoods, I knew they would be the perfect curtains for our bedroom.
The curtains themselves were a bit too low-impact though (wispy and kind of thin), so I sewed two panels together to create one giant panel for each side.
This trick not only provided the bulk I needed to balance out the really large window, but gave the curtains a really full custom look on a pretty slim budget!
The little nook between the window and the passageway to the bathroom was the perfect spot for our taller dresser (that used to reside in my Kansas office). Although this dresser is a darker shade of grey, its rounded legs and curved details help it coordinate with other pieces throughout the room.
The final wall holds my beloved French Provincial dresser, one of the very first furniture pieces I painted when I just started blogging years and years ago. We have a matching (smaller) dresser that we just couldn’t find room for in this room, so it has sat out in the garage all these years. I’ve got all my fingers crossed we’ll be able to use both in our next home!
These chairs started in the family room downstairs, but ever since Sam became mobile over two years ago, there just wasn’t space for them. Although I hate having their beauty tucked away where no one can see them, they sure prove handy for putting on shoes and (of course) throwing clothes onto! A benefit of purchasing furniture pieces all in the same palette is that they can easily transition from room to room and still work!
The final two elements in this room are also two that just kind of landed here…not because I wanted them here but because we had no other great place to put them: the bench at the foot of the bed and the rug.
Once I determined the sisal rug was horrible under our kitchen table, I moved it up here with the hopes that it would brighten up the camel-colored carpet on the floors. While it certainly did just that, the natural texture of the rug really competes with the finer finishes in the space…and not in a good way. It also sheds like crazy, leaving fibers all over clothes and pillows…which Greg just loves.
The bench is a holdover from our time in Okinawa. I’ll be honest: the longer and longer we are back stateside, the less and less I am drawn to the Asian aesthetic. For a while now, I’ve been casually searching for something that better compliments the headboard from a color, texture, and style perspective, and I think I’ve finally settled on what I want!
It’s a little strange for me to call this post a “reveal” when there is so much in this room I’d love to change. In reality, our Master Bedroom is more of a “work in progress,” and I just ran out of time before I could fix everything that isn’t quite working. With another year or so, I’d be able to add a wallpaper feature wall behind the bed, DIY some oversized art to coverup those small windows, find a better rug that works with the overall style of the space, and swap out the few furniture pieces that landed here by chance. Just by fixing those four big elements, I honestly feel the whole space would click into place and feel more like the bold retreat I was initially going for.
So…although I won’t and can’t get everything done this time around, at least I have a jumping off point as we transition some of these elements to our new home! I’m pretty sure I won’t be painting the walls blue and I am 100% certain the sisal rug isn’t making the move, but I do have a better sense for what will and won’t work with our other bedroom staples. And that…at least…is progress and a step in the right direction!
As many of you know, this summer we will be moving into our 8th rental home. And while we consider ourselves pros at this whole rental living thing, we are nevertheless humbled each and every time we have to learn a new area, a new process, and a whole lot of nuances based on the market we’re relocating into. As I sit here right now, we are (finally) emerging victorious in the hunt for our next home (cue the confetti!). And although I could not be more thrilled about our next home, this latest house-hunting process was our most stressful yet. Admittedly, I may have made it harder than it needed to be because I had very precise aesthetic requirements. Ahem. But we also needed to take into account Greg’s commute, Henry’s school, and the playability/safety for three (!!!!) little boys. Add onto that, date availability and rent specifications, and the pool of potential homes wasn’t exactly expansive. I have literally spent the last 3-4 months pouring over every listing to pop up on Zillow and our MLS feed, weighing the pros and cons of countless properties in an effort to determine if it’s the right place for our family. And while I do not claim to be any sort of real estate expert, these hours have helped me hone in on which aspects of a property listing made me consider/inquire about the home, and which ones prompted me to close the listing 5 seconds after opening it. If you are a property owner planning on renting your home, here are some really valuable things to consider when posting your house online…especially if you want it rented fast!
Pictures Are Everything
Interior Photos Required. This seems like a no-brainer, but I cannot tell you how many listings I opened that included nothing but the front-of-house shot…or, the front-of-house as well as 20 pictures of the landscaping. As a potential renter who is viewing your property from thousands of miles away, the interior pictures are the ONLY thing that will provoke me to inquire further and/or schedule a showing. Sure…seeing the landscaping is helpful, but if you don’t include any or enough interior photos, it signals to me that you are hiding something.
The More Photos the Better. When it comes to pictures, the more the better. I realize some websites restrict the number of photos for their free listings; but honestly, I can’t really figure out if your home is a real contender from just 5 photos. To prevent unnecessary showings or having to send additional pictures to prospective renters via email, upload as many quality photos of your property as you can…even if it means paying for a premier listing.
Empty Rooms Preferred. This may be more of a personal preference, but I found myself much more likely to seriously consider listings that included pictures of empty (or near empty) rooms over snapshots with the current owner’s/tenant’s stuff inside. Just like with houses that are being sold, it can be really difficult for a renter to see through a cluttered space in order to determine if it will work for them. If you are debating between pictures of empty rooms or full/furnished rooms, I recommend the empty room photos. If you don’t have empty rooms, try to empty out as much as you can in order to take photos of really clean rooms.
Step Back. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to get shots for your listing…but please step back and get as full of a shot as you possibly can. A random up-close shot of a closet or corner is of no use to me if I can’t understand the context of it within the full room. If there are lovely details you’d like to highlight (e.g., granite countertops, built-in storage, hardwood floors, etc), those detailed shots are great. Just include them alongside photos of the entire room.
Post Current Conditions. We came across several listings where the photos were old but the description indicated a bathroom or kitchen had been upgraded. We would then have to inquire to get clarification if the upgrades were shown or if the pictures were dated. Again, to prevent unnecessary back-and-forth, only post pictures of the house in its most-current condition.
Label the Pictures. When you are in your own home, you know exactly how everything fits together and which rooms flow into another. But a stranger viewing your home via the Internet doesn’t have that point of view. As such, it can be VERY helpful to have the pictures labeled. I can’t tell you how many times Greg and I said, “I have no idea what I’m looking at.” Sure, kitchens and bathrooms are obvious, but identifying one bedroom from the next or even a family room from a basement bonus room can be tricky based on the camera angle. It was incredibly helpful on the (rare) listing that the photos were actually labeled!
Photograph Transitions. This may be another personal preference, but photographs of just the rooms sometimes aren’t enough. I need to know how everything fits together and how rooms flow from one to the next. We came across several listings that included renderings of the floor plans (either professionally done or just drawn by hand), and they were incredibly helpful in determining if a home would work for our family. If that isn’t possible, consider showing hallways, landings, and entryways to help prospective tenants understand the home’s layout.
Be Honest & Specific. I understand the importance of “buzz terms,” but you also don’t want to be misleading. If your listing says “hardwood floors throughout main level,” then I expect to see only/mainly hardwood floors in the pictures. If there is tile in the kitchen and carpet in the family room, then you really should say “hardwood floors in the foyer.” If your description says “fully remodeled bathrooms,” then I don’t expect to see original cabinetry or worn grout. Rather, you should say “upgraded bathroom light fixtures and new countertops.” I was looking for very specific features for our next rental home (e.g., hardwood floors on the main level), and I could have saved a lot of time and eliminated a lot of emailing back-and-forth if the house’s descriptions and pictures matched and were accurate.
Include These Details. Even though I am not buying your property, there are still things I really need to know about your home in order to determine if it’s the right place for me and my family. As such, the following details are incredibly helpful as I consider your home:
Room dimensions – I need to know if my King bed will fit in your Master Bedroom or if my sectional will fit your basement. Room dimensions in combination with pictures are ideal!
Location of the laundry room – Top floor laundry versus in the basement are two veeeery different situations…I just want to know what I’m getting myself into!
Date the property is available – This detail can often be buried in a listing, if it’s shown at all. Please be clear when the property will be available for occupancy.
Length of lease you want and/or would consider – We wouldn’t consider anything shorter than a 3-year lease but had to inquire about lease length every.single.time. If you are/are not open to a multi-year lease, please just say so.
Zoned school district – We were surprised at how often Zillow had the wrong school auto-populated, so we made it a habit of double-checking if the owner didn’t specify in the description.
Added perks. If your property comes with lawn service, pool membership, etc, include it! Those details can be the deciding factors between two great homes!
What Conveys with the House – While kitchen appliances (e.g., dishwasher, refrigerator, etc) almost always come with the house, other household appliances don’t. If your pictures show washer/dryer, extra refrigerator, swing set, etc, please note whether these will come with the house.
Other Things That Will Help!
Neutralize Your Walls. You guys know I love color. But you know what…I love my colors, not necessarily your colors. I cannot tell you how many listings I shut down instantly because each and every wall in the entire house was painted a different color. I absolutely understand the power of paint and know that I should look past it to the house lying beneath. But do you want to know what I really see as a renter? Hundreds of dollars I will need to spend in order to get the house neutral enough that my belongings will work in it. Almost every home I “liked,” saved and eventually inquired about were all ones painted a consistent, neutral color from top-to-bottom. Even if I go in and decide to paint the baby’s room blue, I will take on that task/cost by choice, not because it’s currently hot pink and I have to paint it just to make the home livable.
Upload a Complete Listing. We had auto email notifications setup via Zillow and MLS for any property that met our location, bedroom, and rent requirements. This meant that as soon as a listing was published, we got an email about it and checked it out almost instantly. On several occasions, the listing wouldn’t be complete and would say things like “more photos coming soon.” And more often than not…we closed the listing, moved on, and never went back to check it out. So that you don’t miss out on good prospective tenants, try to have a complete listing (with all the photos) ready to upload from the very start!
Price It Right. I studied so many listings over the last few months, that when I saw a certain rent price pop up, I pretty much knew what the corresponding photos would look like. But every now and then, a house would be priced at the very top of our budget yet wouldn’t have the location, upgrades, school district or perks to warrant the price tag. Since we became so savvy on what our money could get us, we would skip right over these listings. Inevitably, we’d watch those homes sit and sit and sit, and eventually the prices would drop to where they should have been from the beginning. Setting your home’s rent right on target for both your market and the condition of the home is imperative to getting it rented fast and to the right renter. If “comps” on Zillow don’t help enough, consider having a realtor help you with pricing so you get it correct right out the gate!
Phew! Did this post feel like I was venting just a bit?!? Sorry about that. It’s just been a LOOOONG few months of analyzing listing after listing and home after home on our journey to find the perfect home for our family…and I’ve been dying to scream from the rooftops to all the property owners out there on what they can do to make this process just a little bit easier for owners and renters alike! I certainly can’t claim to know what it’s like to own a property and have to list it despite less-than-ideal circumstances (e.g., a renter who insisted on painting their whole house purple!) But I do know that so much time and false hope could have been spared on our side had a few more pictures, descriptions, and details been included from the start. If you own a home and are trying/struggling to get it rented, hopefully this point-of-view can help you make a few tiny changes to your listing and get it rented right away!
Once I recover from this most recent house-hunting rollercoaster ride, I will post my best tips on finding a house from a (very long) distance. Until then, you better bet I will be dreaming and scheming about this next house we get to make into our new home…because you guys…it’s SOOOO good!