HeartWork Organizing

Helping you find peace and purpose through organization and design

How to Organize Kids Art Projects April 3, 2012

Filed under: Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Kids’ art projects are notoriously hard to organize.  The topic comes up constantly.  There are a bazillion ways to store your little Picasso’s projects, of course, but really, simple is better.

My absolute favorite storage solution is the Li’l Davinci art frames.  You can check out this video of how these front-hinge beauties from Dynamic Frames work.  My kids (2 and 5) decide which creations are frame-worthy, and they love to help me load their new opus into the frames at least once a week.

While we have enough wall space in our house for a mini art gallery, we don’t actually have enough space in our house for the art studio it takes to create said art.  So I was thrilled to take my little ones to a new place recently, the Creative Clubhouse in Havertown, PA.  Unlike the pottery studio just down the street from our house, the Creative Clubhouse is geared for the younger set (12 months to 8 years), and I didn’t feel like I was bringing my bullish children into the china shop.  The setup is simple, with areas set up for Lego play, dough play, simple glue projects, easel art, magnet boards, a huge chalk wall (sure kids, go ahead and draw on these walls), and an area for building towers from blocks.  They also run scheduled art and music classes throughout the week.  If I had an extra room in my house for art, it would look just like the Creative Clubhouse.

Look around this space, and you’ll see some pretty simple but effective art solutions that can easily translate into most homes, even if you don’t have your own art room.  Owner, Amy, will tell you that they are all IKEA solutions, easy to pick up and easy to install.  Supplies, like paint brushes, crayons, and any other high-risk implements can be stored in cute and shiny cans hanging from organizing rails, originally meant to organize a kitchen.

how to organize kids art

Smocks and aprons, the wardrobe staple of the preschool set, hung on simple keyhook bars in the lower left corner of that shot, were super accessible to the kiddos.  At home, you might be able to hang these on the inside of a pantry door or coat closet door.

If you can’t spring for a set of Dynamic Frames, then a simple set of clips hung on airline wire, normally used to hang curtains in a hip loft space, will allow you to hang painted art, especially great for those that need a bit of drying time.

How to organize kids art supplies

For hardback or canvas creations,  this skinny ledge provides the perfect perch for a rotating display of color.  It’s only about an inch and a half deep, so it can fit into just about any space. I like the idea of adding in some favorite books to create a seasonal or theme display.

How to organize kids art supplies

Last, think multi-functional in every single piece of furniture you bring into your house once you have kids.  I think it should be a crime to manufacture any bench or ottoman without storage underneath.  With just a little planning and maybe a basket or two, a bench can store even more puzzles, games, and creative supplies.

How to organize kids art supplies

We’ve been back to the Creative Clubhouse, and I love that my kids get to be creative and messy, but I don’t have to clean it up.  If you need a few more ideas on how to store your kid’s art, check out how to organize creations in digital form, and 5 more ways to organize kids art supplies.

Are any of these solutions to organize kids’ art working in your home?


Fear Of Buttons March 29, 2012

Filed under: Closets & Storage,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Are you itching for a new spring wardrobe?  Beware not to let koumpounophobia, a real documented phobia of buttons, set in.  Watch this tip on how to store those extra buttons that come with new garments so you can actually find the right buttons when you need them.

If you can’t see the video thumbnail, click here:

Please comment below to let me know what you think of this idea to save and store buttons, and how you would make it even better.


Mini-Kitchen Makeover With Pink Appeal January 26, 2012

Filed under: Color With No Regrets,One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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More in the kitchen series: Yes, technically a this is also a kitchen, but for very small cooks.  And very pink.

Have you ever seen two little girls play in the Pottery Barn Kids store in the kitchen section?  Let me tell you, I thought I would not be able to get my girls out of there recently.  But for $700, there better be a real stainless refrigerator in that set, right??

Pottery Barn Kids Retro Kitchen

Kitchen Remodel for a Screaming Ugly Kitchen

When I had the chance to pick up a really sturdy wood construction three-piece kitchen for just $10 at a recent consignment sale, I couldn’t pass it up.  But, boy, was it ugly.  Purple, deep pink, and a shade of blue that made my eyes hurt.

Still, I could tell this was worth remodeling.  The girls got to play with them for a couple of weeks, then down to my workshop they went.  There were some details I liked, including the foil burners on the stove…

And some details I didn’t like, as in the unfinished backs and interiors.

Even though it’s miniature, this kitchen paint job starts like any other.  With a simple step, you can avoid this mistake: properly prepare oil paint surfaces.  Use this tip to tell if you have latex or oil paint on your existing surface.

Color Choices for a Super Cute Kitchen Remodel

Then primed, lightly sanded between coats, and rolled on two coats of Sherwin Williams Impatiens Petal SW 6582.  Picking this shade might have been the hardest part of the project, but luckily, I am an expert at picking Color with No Regrets.

It always amazes me how bad the primer coat looks. I’m showing you this just in case you want to paint your real cabinets.  Remember to use a good quality roller and sand in between coats to remove any fuzzies that are left behind by the roller.

I decided not to mess with the attached kitchen faucet on my set, and I saved a few bucks by spray painting the handles a stainless steel finish. There were two different sets of hardware here, but it didn’t make sense to spring for the $20 bucks for new hardware.  Remember, the whole set only cost $10 to start.

Kitchen Remodel: The Big Reveal

I was able to finish and bring the kitchen back upstairs a week before Christmas.  The girls love it.  Last week I thought one of the clients who visits my home office was going to rush over and get caught up in kitchen play when she saw it. I originally wasn’t going to keep all three pieces, but once they were done, the girls loved it so much that the whole set ended up in our living room instead of the play room.  How could we not keep them all?

Santa (aka Nonni) did come through with the actual Pottery Barn tea kettle that makes boiling and pouring noises.  At $40, it cost more than the kitchen and all the remodel supplies together, but it is the splurge that makes our little play kitchen irresistible.

I especially love that the backs and insides of all the pieces are finished now.  Thank you, IKEA, for such cute play fruit. And I love that the kitchen is actually storage as well.  The dishes and food are always stored inside the three pieces.

All in all, for the few hours of work it took to bring this retro kitchen up to speed, I can say that it was SO worth it!  This is a kitchen set that I am happy to have in my home for the next few years.  And I’ve even happier to have “saved” $680 versus the other kitchen.  The girls seem to love it, too.

And yes, in case you are wondering, the painting process I followed here or a cabinet paint product would work just as well for your real wood cabinets, in pink or any other color.


Decorating Bookshelves December 27, 2011

Filed under: One Day Interior Redesigns,Organizing — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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Your bookshelves can say a lot about you, if you know how to decorate them.  For inspiration with your bookshelves, look no farther than your favorite accessories or favorite accessory store.  That’s right, don’t limit yourself to books on your bookshelves.   Read the full article and use these bookcase decorating principles to create a bookcase you’ll love using things you probably already own.

Go from this:

Bookcases before

How to Decorate Bookcases- Before

Decorating Bookcases- After

Decorate Bookcases with Style- AFTER

Bookshelves Need Focal Points

Decorating bookshelves

Decorate Bookshelves with Room to Breathe

Play with Color

Stack and Stand


Add Lighting

Fill In Around the Edges

Whether you have a bank of built-ins, a stand-alone bookcase, or a few shelves to play with, arranging your bookcases with accessories you may already own can add miles of style to your home.  Read the full article for more on how to decorate bookcases.

Originally published in About One.

Photo Credits © HeartWork Organizing


Second Chance Decorating December 21, 2011

Filed under: Color With No Regrets,One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:59 pm
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Everyone deserves second chances, and that goes for good vintage furniture, too.  There’s something amazingly satisfying about repurposing something into a beautiful redesign.  Even if they aren’t old enough to be antiques, they are usually better quality that some items we find on the market today. When there is a chance to give a great piece a second life, and maybe save a few bucks, I’m all over it.

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This recent living room makeover is a great example.  If you didn’t see it, check out the wide shots of the room in the December 2011 newsletter.  Here are four of the items in the room, made over to be the perfect fit for the owner’s style.

We spent 6 hours hunting for the perfect sofa.  Would you believe we found it?

Slipcovered sofa before

Are ya lovin’ it?  Trust me, despite the very, very pink exterior, the interior of this sofa is wonderful.   Full of feathers and the most comfortable sofa I’ve sat on in ages, the client got a steal at just $125.  Wanna see the after?

Slipcovered sofa

The beauty, of course, is that frame will likely outlast the slipcover, which can be changed in the future.  But it can also be washed, if need be.  Your regular  showroom sofa can’t pull that trick.

Then we we found a few other funky items, one of which captured my imagination.

floor lamp needs a makeover

This floor lamp has bamboo-styled legs, which is a detail that I love in small doses.  But the brass trim was beaten up and the shade was a complete wreck.  Would you look twice at this beauty?

Chic black bamboo lamp

Several coats of black enamel were all it took to restore this lovely lamp.  Did I mention she was only $20 bucks to start?  And now nestled between two gorgeous, colorful and comfy chairs, she’s the perfect lamp table for the reading nook.

Here’s another transformation waiting to happen.  When I found these two club chairs and matching ottoman for only $150, I didn’t let the little bit of surface wear and ink stains throw me off.  You know there is a color change coming, right?

Club chairs waiting for slipcovers

With my favorite instant makeover tool, high quality stretch slipcovers, and a bit of work in the background, these “new” chairs fit right in.

club chairs with slipcovers

The last of the second chances I’ll show you here is a bright pop of color.  With just a teensy bit of repair, we repurposed this old chest into the room’s coffee table.  If I told you I was bringing a beat up old orange trunk into this room with a grand piano, would it make sense?  But this one, which once might have been a foot locker or fishing tackle storage for all I know, looks right at home in this warm place for one of my favorite families to gather.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these items we used in this second chance decorating project.  Are there vintage items in your home or at your local thrift shop that can be fabulous with just the right touch?


Lighting Matters When Decorating November 29, 2011

Filed under: Color With No Regrets,One Day Interior Redesigns — HeartWork Organizing @ 2:00 pm
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A friend and I are picking items for her new kitchen, and we were reminded again today to use the one criteria most taken for granted-lighting, anywhere and everywhere.

Outside lighting on a kitchen backsplash

My friend, I’ll call her Celia, did a great job of picking seven different floor samples to take home to try out. On her way out of the store, she spotted the perfect, to die for, colorful tumbled stone backsplash (see photo above). I cautioned Celia that she was seeing her picks in a huge warehouse store with terrible fluorescent lighting, and they were picking up colors of samples around them, not the colors they will be picking up in her kitchen.

The minute we walked out of the store, we saw all of the samples turn shades. Eew. Some of the items went pink, some went orange, some of them lost their color altogether.

A few hours later, I got an interesting email from Celia. Her colorful stone backsplash went drab at home. The darkest floor tile sample that was sure to be rejected in her light-starved kitchen turned out to be her most favorite and most colorful.

Was this shopping trip a failure? Not at all. We have options to improve the lighting that will restore the shine and color to the backsplash, and we both agree that it still reflects her style. And by spending that time in the warehouse store looking at all available samples, Celia has also zeroed in on qualities for the floor tile that previously knocked out several contenders.

So next time you are shopping for decorating choices, watch out for big spaces, bad lighting, and snappy judgements. Take samples home and see what they say to you in the lighting where they will live. Let me know how it goes.


The Science of Halloween Colors: Orange, Purple, Green October 29, 2011

Filed under: Color With No Regrets — HeartWork Organizing @ 11:45 pm
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Would You Decorate with Purple, Green and Orange Year Round?
Quick, what colors do you think of for Halloween? Start with orange
for pumpkins, of course, fall leaves, and candy corn.    Then purple.  Add
green.  We see it all the time.  This little assortments was in my daughter’s
goodie bag from school this week.
Halloween Color Triad
Halloween Color Triad
OK, so orange, violet and green are traditional Halloween colors, but
there’s more to it than that.  It turns out there is a scientific reason that we
put these colors together.  They are a color triad.  In other words, they are
found equidistant from each other on the color wheel, which is usually shown as
having twelve positions, or slices of the pie.
We usually see the “loud” version of this for Halloween decorations,
with very saturated color choices, as in the picture above.
But consider these things…
When these colors (or any other triad, for that matter) are used in
different proportion throughout your house in different rooms, your house will
read as a colorful and thoughtfully decorated home.  You can see this at work in
a home I had the honor of redesigning a few years ago.
Orange living room
Violet bedroom
Green office

You may have seen these photos before, because I was so happy with the collaboration
between the client and I, but now that you see the photos together, you can see
that the color choices are a natural triad.

If these colors are too bold for you, check these out.  They are all variations on
the orange/green/purple theme, believe it or not!

color choices based on Halloween triad

Did you notice that the two sets of colors on the right are the exact same colors,
but shown in different proportions?  If so, give yourself a star.

We could go on and on about the fun you can have with tint and tone, proportions,
accent colors and the fact that even neutrals have colors, as in the lower left
samples above.

I hope all of this gives you a new eye for color.  If not, you know where to find me.

Ya know, the holidays are coming.  If there is any tweaking you’d like to do your
home or office, please call me soon!

color combos above, all from Sherwin Williams and
available in Duration Home paint:

Top left:

6624 Peach Blossom/6709 Gleeful/9822 Wisteria

Bottom left:

6064 Reticence/ 6150 Universal Khaki/ 6260 Unique Gray

Right samples:

7707 Copper Wire/7742 Agate Green/ 7579 Alaea