Monday, May 24, 2010

Nerdy? I don't even think this BEGINS to cover the amount of nerdiness I have in my pinky

So I've given things some thought. I am really focused on moving between past events to get caught up {PROMISE!} and what's going on in our lives right now. The initial idea was to alternate between old and new, not two new, four old posts, etc.

HOWEVER, my excitement for my newest project is really spilling into all areas of the house.

I'll admit it. My nesting is in full-blown mode right now. The problem {ok, so not really a problem} with being preggies with #5 is that we have almost everything we need for bebe. Well, we need to re-buy a swing and a few onesies, but honestly we have everything we need. So my nesting this pregnancy has morphed into a different beast, animal, paranoia, project, etc. With our upcoming homeschooling venture scheduled to start in the next few weeks, my nesting mode has been put to good use. Projects that I would normally just stare at and watch collect dust have been tackled.

My latest project was to find a way to incorporate the homeschooling into our dining room setup. Some might call it the neglected step child room of the house. Part of the problem has been that we could not agree which direction we wanted to go with the dining room...and the gorgeous dining set that my in-laws drove down from Virginia has been discontinued, making it impossible to finding the matching pieces.

I'm not a designer. We should be clear about that much. I can fake it 'til I make it and I can definitely give it 110%, but as a rule I can't look at a room and see "the big picture".

Let me back up a minute so I can make some sense of how I got where I am now.

I found a 2x4 expedit bookcase back in December when the college students were all too happy to unload their four-month-old furniture on the lowest bidder. That was how I got this happy number. {ours is white with a birch colored desk off the side} It has a wonderful desk that jets out. It went straight to the playroom to hang out with its other expedit relatives.

I honestly thought that was all we would need. And then I realized I needed some sort of organization system for my own teaching materials.

Back to the dining room. I had not intended on buying more expedits, but cost wise, this made the most sense. To say I did an extensive google search on how to decorate, organize and design using expedits would be the understatement of the week or month. I perused IKEA just for ideas, picking up a few things here and there and spending time staring at the 4x4 expedit - black/brown - and rearranging the baskets they had to see how it would look aesthetically. I also took measurements and came back home. It was decided.

A 5x5 would be too tall and top heavy. One 4x4 would be too tiny for the long wall in the dining room. In the end, we would need two 4x4 expedit bookcases to really make use of the entire wall. I didn't focus on the fact that I would also need lots of cute things to fill up the remaining squares once all the homeschooling stuff had been properly organized.

We were able to knock out the two bookcases in a couple of hours, total time.

Neil has pretty strong opinions about IKEA and the quality of their furniture. I think the words 'cheap IKEA crap' flew out a couple of times. I mean, by comparison to the other furniture in the dining room, it's definitely a bit out of it's element; but, I was convinced that all it needed was some dressing up, so to speak, with some cute chotchkies and whatnots.

And, I must say, minus the remaining nine empty squares left to be filled, I am pleased with the final product. It is by no means "perfect" but it works for me and considering where this room was just over a week ago, I'd say it's easily heads and shoulders above where it used to be.

That said, I am open to all kinds of ideas and suggestions. If you have any tips on how to improve the design or flow of how it looks, I want to hear it! I like the decorating above the bookcases, but not absolutely 100% sold. Send me your thoughts!

Shall we get started with the visual tour?

{My sewing table that used to hold all my notions - it now holds coasters, napkin rings and place mats - below are my trunks that hold fabric and pellon}
{and to our left we have the opposite wall - a trip to Hobby Lobby and Tuesday Morning resulted in some chachkie purchases that are helping shape the dining room into a more "acceptable to me" look - I also grabbed a lot of knick knacks from around the house and gave them new homes}
{TADA!! Are you impressed? Let's go through the details, but to start this wall was long enough to hold two 4x4 expedit bookcases from IKEA}
{So...onto the decorating aspect - I took the monster wall art down from above the piano and added it to the top to give the wall a bit more height since the bookcases are pretty short. I added some personal touches from around the house, including some pictures of the kids and various knick knacks that needed a different home}
{a picture of Drew's pirate face - he *thinks* he's winking at us and a picture of Paige from her 5th birthday}
{on the floor in the back right is my basket of fabric I used to use once upon a time when I made tote bags - they're really just for show these days}
{This is somewhat hidden - something I was shooting for - to hide all the supplies. If I ever care enough, I can always take out the supplies and put in some perty flowers to spruce up the wall.}
{I got these from IKEA* - my SIL has the same set up for her kiddos. I liked the idea of the supplies being in a place of easy access, but also didn't look like a traditional classroom setup, which makes this solution perfect}

*If you like this setup, click HERE and HERE for pricing and purchase - I also bought THIS and THIS; they are not shown because it'll be put in the laundry room where I also plan to store 'teacher' things.

{OK, any supplies on the shelves have their own basket and are labeled both on the basket as well as...}
{the shelves - this is mainly so the kids know exactly where things go}
{all school books and grab and go supplies go in individual baskets - the basket is not labeled but...}
{...the cubby is - I put this one on the side because I figure long term it'll stick better there than on the bottom where it would get rubbed off}
{MOMMA!!! TAKE A PICTURE OF DREWBIE!! - ok, let's pause for a picture of Drew that he repeatedly insisted that I take}
{more shelves with various setups - this is mostly my collection of Catholic books, resources, stories, etc. I seriously thought I had more but I guess this is it. I better start working on beefing up this collection!}
{paper is stored with easy access on the bottom shelf}
{construction, plain white and colored paper}
{more organizing labels - if you are a label junkie, I know I got your number with *this* post ;)}
{After years of hanging out on the top shelf of our built ins in the living room, I moved our wedding album to one of the cubbies along with our cake topper - the pottery holding the keys is from an online friend who I met a couple of years ago. I picked two pieces and whenever I see them, I think of her. If you like her stuff, visit her Etsy store to buy and support a Catholic sista!}
{I broke out the yearbooks - I figured here was better than stuffed in some cabinet}
{Can you spot the other piece of pottery I bought from my friend, Donna? Or the picture of my beautiful niece and her sweet baby sister, Sophie? These shelves are filled with various baskets, supplies, books and Bibles - don't judge! I have more Bibles, but didn't want them ALL in the same place! I need to be able to bust one out near my bed and one is in the car. You can never have too many Bibles, in my opinion. :)}


confused homemaker said...

Drooling over here. I love it! And I love IKEA, we've got a similar set up for easy reach kids items. It's made life SO MUCH EASIER. I'm also loving how pretty your house is, although Drew looks so grown-up I can't believe it!

Martina said...

Thanks, momma! :)

Our IKEA is seriously ten minutes from my house so it's a bit of a trouble spot when I have a brain child of this magnitude, but I'm glad it's there so I don't have to drive all over creation to get something. ;)

You know one day you'll have to migrate down south to hang out. We should find a retreat to go to. :)

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

Oh, WOW!! Do you do homeschool consulting?! This is so impressive.

Martina said...

Thanks, Jen! And no, lol, no consulting. We just started last week - so far, the set up seems to be working out well. :)