Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nifty Numbered Napkins

We are headed to a friend's house tonight for a little Halloween fun.  A few weeks ago our hostess had mentioned on her Facebook page that she was considering changing over to cloth napkins instead of paper.  I thought instead of bringing our usual offering of alcohol or food that I would whip up a set up napkins for her.  Here's what I came up with...

...a set of 12 napkins each numbered 1 through 12, then stacked, and wrapped with a piece of jute.  I think they are so cute I should have made a set for myself.

Like us, our hosts have 3 kids so I wanted the napkins to be somewhat practical and be able to compliment a variety of tablecloths.  I decided a natural colored osnaburg fabric would be the best choice.  I bought 2 yards at Joann's on sale for about $4 yard.  

The fabric has a beautiful linen look to it, but leaving it plain would not be any fun.  They needed some kind of embellishment.  The fabric reminded me of the pillows over at Dear Lillie .  I love the way they use black lettering on the natural background.  So a million thoughts later I decided that I would number each napkin using a black sharpie.  I looked around the Joann's for fabric markers, and they didn't seem any better suited than a sharpie, and since I already had a sharpie at home the decision was made.

I know I have seen the numbered napkin idea elsewhere so this is my version.  One of the pros of the numbers is that if you are using the napkins for your family and you want to avoid a ton of washing you assign each family member a number and let them use their same napkin for a few days.  

I made these using my sewing machine.  I thought about just using an iron-on tape, but I was worried that the tape wouldn't hold at the corners.  I also wanted the look that the top stitching adds.  This has to be one of the easiest sewing projects ever.  It would be a great project for a beginning sewer since it is all straight lines.  

Here are the How To Steps:

1.  Decide on the size of your napkins.  I made mine 13" square.  I know it seems a funny number but my fabric was 44" wide so it was the best size without wasting a lot of fabric.  I did google it, and it seems that most stores sell napkins anywhere from 11" to 22".  The 13" is a good size but if I wanted something fancier I might go with an 18" or 20" size.

2.  Add 1" to the size you have decided upon for making your finished edge.  So in my case I cut out squares that were actually 14" to get a finished size of 13". 

3.  Using a faint pencil line mark out your squares on the fabric and then cut them out (prior to cutting make sure that you wash and dry your fabric to account for any shrinking).

4.  Using your iron press each edge over 1 inch.  This will make it easier for you to sew the finished edge.

5.  Now fold the raw edge to the crease made by the iron ending up with  1/2 inch wide edge and pin to keep it in place.  I used 8 pins per napkin.  One pin at each corner and one pin on each side.  This just helps you keep it tucked under while you put it through the sewing machine.  Now some people would have just ironed under both folds so that it is all perfect but my attention span for any one project is only so long.  I was okay with the fact that my edges would probably not be perfectly straight.

6.  Sew around the outside edge of the square to secure the finished edge.   I started sewing in the middle of a side not at the corner.  When you get to the corner leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric 90 degrees.  Put down the presser foot and continue sewing.  This gives you the nice sewing line all around the napkin.  Do this for all your squares.

7.  Then I made a set of numbers on the computer to use as a guide.  In Word I found a font I liked called Century Modern TT and enlarged the font size to 150.  Then I printed off a set of numbers onto card stock.

8.  Then I simply slipped the card stock behind my fabric and outlined the number using my sharpie in the corner of each napkin.  This worked well because my fabric was light-colored.

9.  After I had colored in all 12 napkins I used my iron to remove the wrinkles and set the marker.  I had previously tested my fabric and sharpie method on a piece of scrap so I knew that the marker would not bleed with washing.

That's it.  From start to finish it probably took me 3 hours to complete this project and I only spent $8 for the fabric.  I think our hostess will love them.

Here are few more beauty shots.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ideas for A Stress Free Holiday Season

I know it seems early to most but I just ordered our first Christmas gift for 2011.  It was perfect timing this morning that Jones Design Company had a post about a book that I thought would be an ideal gift for my mother-in-law this year.  I was starting to get antsy about getting going on my xmas shopping.  So I quickly hopped over to Amazon, my go to place for everything, and ordered a copy.

Anyways I thought I would do a quick post on how I prepare for a less stressful holiday season.  I have learned a few tricks to keep me from going insane during this busy time of year.

Idea #1.  Try to get all the shopping for gifts done by Thanksgiving.  I did this for the first time 2 years ago and I will never go back.  There is nothing better than sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner knowing that for the next six weeks you can concentrate on your family and friends and not be worried about shopping.  It is amazing to never go into a crowded store during the holiday season and fight with the crowds over the last barbie or ben 10 or whatever.  I love being able to focus on the fun things like decorating the house, attending events, starting traditions with the kids.  I may miss a few holiday bargains, but the few items that I may save on are not worth the hassle to me.

Idea #2.  Use a spreadsheet to keep track of purchases. I know this sounds incredibly dorky - okay it is dorky -  but it makes shopping so much easier and keeps me on budget.  I had to start doing this once we had nephews and in-laws, 3 sets of teachers, and extended family, etc to get gifts for.  I would never be able to remember on my own what I had bought for each person and what I have left to get.  My spreadsheet keeps track of each person, the gift(s), whether or not it has arrived, if it was wrapped, and how much I spent.  There is nothing worse than buying the same item twice for the same person or forgetting to get a gift for someone.

I also like to keep track of my spending because it gets very easy to overspend when you are not paying attention.  Last year, we had decided to get our daughter a vintage barbie dream house with all the furniture and such.  If I had not kept my spreadsheet, I would have easily spent more than I intended because each individual item did not cost much but seeing all the items add up on my spreadsheet kept me in check.

This is a clip from last year's spreadsheet.

Idea #3.  Don't feel bad for getting the same gift for multiple people.  I know a lot of people who really go out of their way to get really thoughtful individualized gifts for the people on their lists.  This is fantastic, but it can take a lot of time and be hard to accomplish.  There are times, I think, when getting a number of people on your list the same item is perfectly acceptable.  One year we got all the grandparents a digital picture frame loaded with pictures of the kids.  They all liked them, and no one felt slighted that it was not unique to them.  I also get the kid's teachers the same thing usually gift cards or Yankee Candles.

However, I should say, that for kids I do buy individualized gifts.  There's nothing worse as a kid than opening your gift and finding it to be the same thing your sister just opened.  For adults, though, it is one way to simplify your shopping especially if you find a great gift that anyone would appreciate.

Idea #4.  Shop online as much as possible.  I find shopping in crowds very stressful.  I end up buying things I didn't really want and spending too much money just to get out of the store as quickly as possible.  I love shopping online.  Typically, I never run into items being sold out or unavailable unlike at a brick and mortar store.  Not only do I avoid all the crowds,  but I can easily compare prices and in most cases have the item shipped to my front door for free.  This is especially ideal since we have had kids because the package can come during the day and I can hide it before the curious monkeys get home from school.  Much easier than trying to sneak in the back door with your arms full of bags or forgetting something in the trunk of the car for 2 weeks.  It's no secret that I love Amazon.   I love their selection, I love their prices, I love the free shipping.  I would say that I get 90% of our gifts from Amazon.

You can even print a last minute gift card to Amazon from your computer.  This is really great when you have an unexpected visitor show up with a gift and you were not prepared.  Just excuse yourself, log in to your computer, quickly print one off and slip it in a card.  Then pretend like you had it all along.

Idea #5.  Agree to joint gift with your spouse.  As we have gotten older my husband and I find that there are fewer material things that we need or want and we much prefer to find an activity or couple item that we purchase together.  For instance one year we bought a piano.  A lot of our friends tend to do similar things like buying their own gifts or agreeing to after holiday shopping sprees.  I am hoping this year my dear generous loving husband will agree to a trip to Italy as a great joint xmas gift - - honey?

Idea #6.  Say "yes" less often.  Don't agree to make decorations for the neighborhood, bake treats for your kid's class and host a party for your husband's work friends all in the same week.  We all over-commit for various reasons but we have to learn to say "sorry, not this year".  Be selective and prioritize the activities that make the most sense for you and your family.  Maybe you can't do the holiday party at school but you can offer to do the Valentine's celebration.

Idea #7.  Simplify the present wrapping process.  I am just one of those people who does not enjoy spending hours wrapping gifts.  I have learned to take advantage of gift bags.  It takes 2 seconds to put an item in a bag, add some tissue and a nice tag versus the 10 minutes of sizing, cutting, taping to wrap one item  in paper wrapping.  For me this is a no brainer.

Since we usually have 3 main sets of family that we exchange gifts with I also like to assign each family a different kind of bag.  I will go to the Target and hit the gift bag aisle and pick out all kinds of sizes of bags in 3 different patterns.  Then when I start to wrap I put all of one family's gifts in the snowman pattern, then the next family gets the tree pattern and the last gets the angels.  It really makes it easy to find things under the tree.

Idea #8.  Set up a Wish List on Amazon.  I know - you think I work for Amazon but unfortunately I am getting zero compensation for being their best customer.  Anyhoo, they have 2 great tools to help you let others know things you may like as a gift.  I started using this a few years ago when our kids got to the point that they had so many toys that it was difficult to just say to a grandparent "oh he wants a lego" because inevitably they would get the one he already had or he would get the same thing from both grandparents.  The amazon wish list lets me add specific items and then if the item ends up being purchased from Amazon it will be removed from the list so no one  buys a duplicate.

This is a picture of an Amazon Wish List.

Even cooler is the Wish List Button that lets you add items to your Wish List from any website.

You install this on your toolbar and then you can add items from any website so that your gift givers only have to go to the one central gift list.  Say you want something from Pottery Barn you can use the button to add it to the Amazon list.  When the gift giver clicks on the item in the list it will take them to the Pottery Barn website.  Very cool.  Each item on your list also has a spot for comments next to it so you can let everyone know this toy is appropriate for child A and the next one is meant for child B and he needs it in red, size 12.  I have even added a comment that the item is cheaper at another store so the gift givers don't overpay at Amazon - although usually Amazon does have the best price.

The wish list has helped because now I don't have to keep track that I told Grandma to get the dinosaur and I told Grandpa to get a lego and Aunt Sally to get new underwear.  It also helps avoid the after holiday stress of returning duplicates.

I know some people are adverse to the whole make a list thing and they feel that asking for specific items takes away from the holiday spirit, but I have found that most of our relatives are grateful for the specific suggestions especially out-of-town relatives don't always have a good pulse on what the kids have or need.

I hope these ideas will be useful to some.  I would love to hear from anyone else on their best ways to cope with the holiday stress.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kitchen Chalkboard Wall

We recently completed a chalkboard wall in our kitchen.  This was one of the most satisfying projects we have done lately.  It was quick, easy and inexpensive and more importantly it looks great.  We needed something to fill the large walkway space behind our kitchen island.  I had thought about a plate rack or a large art piece but after a little internet searching I knew I wanted something less pricey right now.  I can't remember how it happened but I was suddenly like what about a chalkboard wall?  And even more surprisingly my husband was like great idea.  So unlike my usual ponder-over-it-for-a-few-weeks-self I went out the next day and bought all the supplies.

I was able to get everything I needed at Lowe's.  A quart of chalk paint ($12), molding (4 - 8 foot pieces for $5 each), 4 corner rosette pieces ($3 each), stain ($5), plastic gloves (10 pairs for $2), and a tube of liquid nails ($2).

I was torn on whether to stain or paint the molding and in the end I went for the stain because I wanted the frame to have the feeling of an antique piece.  I also plan to paint all the other molding in the kitchen white so  having the molding on the chalkboard stained dark will make for more interest and contrast in the finished kitchen.  Plus I figured if I didn't like the stain I could always paint over it in the future.

I also decided on the rosettes at the corners because I ended up choosing molding that is exactly the same as the door and window molding already in our house.  The rosettes make the frame seem different from the rest of the molding and more special.

Here is a before picture of the blank wall with blue painter's tape already up.  I used the tape not only as a guide for my paint but to also let me visualize the size of the board before I started painting.

One thing I should mention is that our wall has an outlet about 8 inches from the baseboard. I made sure to have the paint cover this and not the molding as I didn't want to have some kind of wonky cut or break in the frame.

Our wall is not perfectly smooth like a traditional chalkboard surface so I gave it a quick sanding with sandpaper I had on hand.  Then at the last minute I decided to use some primer in an attempt to fill in some of the deeper nooks and crannies and also to make the surface more durable.  I was lucky that the former homeowners had left us a stash of paint, stain, and primer in the basement so I didn't have to make another trip to the store.

Here's the wall with the primer up...

I had to stick that piece of molding against the wall because the camera would not focus of the big white and beige wall without something there.

In between the coats of primer and paint I stained the molding out in the garage.  If you have not done this before it is super simple, but I highly recommend wearing plastic or vinyl gloves otherwise your hands and fingernails will be dirty looking for a week.

I was a little worried after the first coat of chalkboard paint because it didn't seem to be covering very well and you could see all my roller strokes, but after the second coat it was looking great.  I did do a third coat just because I had everything out and I just wanted to make sure it would last for a while.  I do fully expect that in a few months of wear I will need to do a coat to freshen up which is fine because I have almost half a quart left.

I let the paint cure for 24 hours and then before we could even hang the molding the kids were drawing away.  The chalkboard paint works great and I have even washed it off with a damp paper towel a few times without any paint coming off.

We attached the molding to the wall with finish nails and put liquid nail on also.  Using the rosettes meant that we also didn't have to miter the corners so the moldings went up really quickly.  All in I think it took less than 3 hours (not counting the dry time) to get this done and so far the reaction from friends has been very complimentary.

This is a picture of the chalkboard from behind the kitchen island.  I can't wait to paint those beige walls.  Imagine the walls are a nice light aqua blue color or maybe a happy kitchen yellow.

Here's a shot of it from the side...

For those neurotic friends I will tell you that there is a little bit of chalk dust that does accumulate on the bottom ledge of the frame and on the floor.  For the most part the kids socks clean up the mess and otherwise a quick sweep with a damp paper towel takes care of the rest.

I found the quote on the internet this morning.  I prefer the kids artwork to quotes most times but I did like this one.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

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Photobucket shabby creek cottage

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Friday Night Special

You may wonder what a gal and her guy do on a Friday night when you live just outside the inspiring and vibrant city of Chicago.  Well, us big city folk like to do crazy fun things like makeover old wooden signs and play video games.  Wait.  That's not all.  while we paint we also take in some classic episodes of Friends, Seinfeld and How I met Your Mother.  All this fun is usually followed by some milk and cookies before bed at 10pm.  Yep.  That's just how we roll here in Gold Shoe Land.

So anyways, this was a quick project I did while watching tv.  I find that as I have gotten older I can't just sit and watch tv without something else to do.  I don't know if tv is too mundane now or I have developed some kind of ADHD or if I am in constant multi-task mode - anyone else with this disease?   In any event, I am trying to get some little things done and out of the way while I continue to wait for the big things in the kitchen to get moving.  You can read more about my kitchen plans here.  

I've had this sign since we bought our very first home over 10 years ago.  Back then our living room was done in the whole hunter green & burgundy color scheme so it fit right in.  Now my taste tends to be light colors and more modern french country than american country.  I still liked the sentiment on the sign so I thought I would give it a quick little makeover so I could use it in my kitchen dining area.

Here's the before...

I bought it at one of those "fall in the country" things where they have 100's of booths all at the fairgrounds.  At the time I was good with the pine and the green.  Now it is just too country for our home.

So I did a quick coat of primer over the top both to hide the green and the pine knots that were starting to come through.  Then I had a little sample pot of a light blue paint that I put over the primer.  Sometimes I am very impatient so before the blue paint even got a chance to dry I was painting the letters with some navy blue craft paint I had on hand.  

The next morning I finished the lettering and then started distressing.  I sanded down the corners, edges, etc with some fine grit sandpaper we had in the garage.  Then I found a small can of stain left behind by the old homeowners.  I used a wet paper towel dipped in the stain to "glaze" or "antique" over the blue paint.

Here are some closeups so you can see how the distressing and antiquing look.


This shot shows the finished product against the dropcloth tablecloth in our dining room.  It looks great here.  The blue is nice and subtle.

After I few hours I asked my husband to hang the sign up for me.  I wanted it above our patio doors right by our kitchen table.

Here's how it looks on the wall.

I'm not loving it.  It looks okay.  I think the blue is too bright against the tan walls and the oak woodwork.  Oh well.  It can stay there for now.  I am hoping that once I start to redo all the major kitchen stuff it will look better.  If not I can always repaint it another color next Friday night.

~Gold Shoe Girl~

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Old Chandelier New Home

Since the first day we looked at this house I knew the dining room chandelier would be a goner.  The quicker the better.  I am just not a brassy gold person at all and this particular chandelier screams bright and brassy right at you.  I considered spray painting it, but I also hated the huge ball at the bottom and the little wingy pieces coming off the bottom of the arms.  There was just no saving this one.

Besides I had something special waiting in the wings.  When I was a kid we had a fancy chandelier with crystals that hung over our dining room table. I remember when we moved into that house thinking it was the fanciest most beautiful light I had ever seen.  About 2 years ago my mother replaced it with a more modern looking light fixture as she had never liked it.  I, of course, jumped at the chance to bring the old, dusty, light flickering thing to my house.

It sat in a box in our basement waiting for me to restore it.  Luckily I never had time to get around to fixing it up.  It then moved to this house with us and I saw my opportunity.  I found a lighting store that did rewiring and immediately took the chandelier in for repairs.  Let me just say it was not cheap to have it rewired and repaired, but it was cheaper than buying a similar one from an antique store or from ebay.  

This weekend my husband took down the brass one and hung up the antique one in the dining room.  I think it looks spectacular.  The crystals sparkle so nice in the sunshine.  We also added a ceiling medallion just for a little extra something.

Now I say that it is an antique although I am not quite certain but it was in my parents house for at least 30 years and it says made in Spain (you ask:  What does being made in Spain have to do with being an antique??  And I respond:  Well how many things that aren't antiques come from Spain?  And you just give me a look and that's that) and I saw a very similar one on a website being sold as an antique.

So here's how she looks now.  

I love that while it has fairly ornate metal work that the overall shape is simple.

This is closeup of the crystals on one of the arms and candle.  I think I was very lucky that given how long it sat in 2 basements and that it was moved 500 miles across the country none of the crystals went missing.

I love the detail work on the body of the chandelier.  

Below is picture of the new ceiling medallion.  The pattern in the canopy of the chandelier compliments the pattern of the medallion really well.

Piece by piece, I will turn this dime-a-dozen-suburban-subdivision house into our own unique home.

~Gold Shoe Girl~

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tips for Buying Kitchen Appliances

I recently purchased some new appliances for our kitchen and I want to share some of the things I learned along the way.  

First, I decided I wanted a stainless steel finish.  Over the years we have owned white, black and stainless steel appliances.  White is my least favorite.  I immediately ruled out white because no matter how often you clean it, it always ends up looking dingy after a few years.  We had black appliances in our last house and they weren't bad.  They were great for hiding smudges and such but when I wanted to change the color of our cabinets it was more difficult with the black.  Unless I picked a dark color the appliances really stuck out more than I wanted.  You can see some pictures of that kitchen here.  

In our very first home we had upgraded to stainless and I loved it.  I painted the cabinets there twice and the stainless steel blended in nice with both colors.  Also, after watching tons of HGTV I know that just about everyone out there buying a house wants stainless steel appliances and if there is any chance that we could move in the next few years I want to make sure that I purchase something that will add marketability to our home.

Next, I knew that I wanted to get one of the new double-oven freestanding ranges.  We had a built-in double-oven at our old house and I loved it.  Since we are not replacing the cabinets in our kitchen here the only way for me to get the double-oven was buying a range with that feature.  Of course, these ranges are then more expensive than a standard single oven range but in the long run I knew I would be kicking myself if I didn't get the double-oven version.  

This is the GE double-oven I ended up purchasing.

Along the way I was at Home Depot getting an estimate on the counters, and I decided to check out the appliances in person while I was there.   I was able to get a lot more insight into all the appliances that I was considering and see the differences between the brands/models I liked online.  You really have to open and close the doors, pull out the racks, and generally make believe you are in your kitchen at home to decide if a particular model is going to work for you.  

In my case, my play-acting convinced me that even though I thought I wanted a french door refrigerator I really did not like the idea of bending over and having to rifle through the freezer drawer - not to mention the huge price difference between the french door models and the side-by-side models.   Also important to me was to pick a fridge that had two door shelves large enough to hold 4 gallons of milk at a time (we drink a lot of milk and I like to keep it in the door - just my little quirky thing).  I may not have thought of that if the store had not had milk containers in some of their display models.  There are just some features that you have to be able to see and touch in order to make the best decision.

Still I was nervous about spending so much money.  I decided that if I was going to spend $3000+ on appliances than it was worth $5 to get a one month pass on Consumer Reports
to make sure that I was getting the best value for my money.  I'm really glad I did it.  Here's what I learned from them:
  • Not one brand is the highest rated for all 3 major appliances (stove, fridge, dishwasher).  So if you are looking to get the appliance in each category that performed the best you will have 3 different brands in your kitchen.
  • The rating differences between the major brands were not all that significant as long as you stayed with the top 3-5 rated models.  
  • Every appliance has its lovers and its haters.  Consumer Reports includes actual user reviews along with their test results and without fail for every person that really liked a particular model someone else listed a bunch of faults.
  • They have this really neat button called price & shop that gives you prices, shipping costs, etc from stores that carry the particular item you were just viewing.  This is actually how I found the vendor I purchased my appliances from.  It was great to be able to see that I was getting the best prices available.
Screen Shot from

In the end, I bought 3 GE stainless steel appliances from Abt here in Chicagoland.  Not only did they have the best prices but they were highly rated as a seller and were local.  

As a group the fridge, range, and microwave all performed well (not the top but not the bottom either) in the Consumer Reports tests and price wise I could afford to get all 3 appliances I wanted instead of just 1 in another brand.  I purposely bought all 3 from the same manufacturer because I was concerned about the tone of the stainless not matching from appliance to appliance.  My range, fridge and microwave are all located on the same wall so it would be obvious if the color was even slightly different. 

I decided to forgo getting the matching dishwasher as ours is a brand new Bosch put in by the former homeowners, and it is the quietest best dishwasher we've ever had.  It is white, but I am going to try to paint it stainless steel to match the new appliances and if that doesn't work I'll paint it to match the cabinets.  Plus the front is smooth and blank so it won't be obvious that it isn't GE like the other appliances.

One Last Tip:  I found that it was cheaper to hire a local handyman install the appliances rather than the dealer.  Much cheaper.  

Normally, I would show you the pictures of these all installed in my kitchen, but of course the stove is on backorder:).  Must mean I picked a good one, right?

~Gold Shoe Girl~

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Organizing the Bookshelves

Today will be the last time I talk about my new Billy bookshelves - at least for a little while:).  You can see the before & after post here or check out the installation details here.  This post is going to show you how I choose to organize our books and such.  When I begin to put the books on the shelves I have a few basic goals:

1.  Keep all book collections together.  We have a number of special collection books, mostly children's sets, that I like to keep together on a shelf.  I think it is obvious that anything that is in a numbered set or such should all stay together.

Quick Aside:  These 2 book sets were some of my favorites as a kid.  The top set is called The Junior Classics and was given to me by a special family friend and the set below is The Childcraft Library.  When I was a kid my parents bought an encyclopedia set and the Childcraft series was included.  I used to spend hours reading these books.  My parents still have our original set so I bought this one off of ebay.  My kids now love both of these too.

2.  Keep all of an author's work together.  This is also common sense to me.  I don't go so far as to put my author's alphabetically, but I do like to keep all of their books together on the same shelf.  This leads to my next goal...

3.  Make it somewhat easy to find what I am looking for.  My books are organized by author and by topic.  So I keep my author together within my topic area.  For instance we have a lot of mystery/thriller books.  I keep all those authors together within a couple of book cases but not in any particular order.  This probably drives some people nuts but John Grisham comes before Nelson Demille at our house.  I also have a number of books about history and a pretty good collection of literature.  

While each of these genres are kept together on their own shelves, I purposely keep it somewhat unorganized within each genre because I love the idea that you have to browse around to find what you were looking for.  That is how I always find other great reads when I am at the book store or at the library.  You never know what you will stumble on or what will tickle your fancy while you are searching the stacks.

The picture above shows my historical collection.  As you can see it is only loosely organized which I hope will encourage people to grab something unexpected.

4.  Hide the ugly messy clutter.  Since this room also serves as our home office there are some things that if left out on open shelves would just look icky.  So we did purchase one set of doors to hide those things.  One of the nice things about the Ikea Billy system is that it has been around for 30 years so I know if I decide I need more doors next year I am pretty certain I will be able to get them.

You can see how nice it is to have the doors to hide this mess. 

5.  Make it pleasing to the eye.  I love to add little knickknacks, framed photos, and such to the shelves to help break up the monotony.  I will put books on their sides both as bookends or to show off a particular set of books.  One nice thing about having the skinnier bookcases in the corner is that it is perfect for showcasing little collections of items.

This shot shows a few different ways to decorate the shelves.  You can see where I added some family photos, a wooden bowl, and I used a basket to hold all the kids board books.  I purposely keep all the kids books together on lower shelves to make it easier for the kids to reach them.

I hope this post gives you some ideas for your bookcases.  I'd love to hear if anyone has any other good tips or tricks so leave me a comment.  

This last shot is my favorite thing about this room.  

~Gold Shoe Girl~

Somewhat Simple
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