Monday, 27 February 2012

Your "Real" homes!

I totally spaced this weekend and forgot I had this post all written! Here's you "real" homes!

So today I get to show off your homes! I'm so glad some of you also wanted to show off you "real" life homes (and not just because it makes me feel better! ;) ).

Wendy from "The food war" and other tales shared a post on her own "real" and this perfect picture of her craft room. I love that she labelled it too, it made me smile because I could relate to so much of it!

Karen, at Somewhat Quirky, shared her dining table. It really reminds me of one of our worktops, it's a catch all for so many things, like Karen's! And I'm starting to feel okay about the piles of laundry in our rooms...however ours aren't ever as neatly folded as those towels in the background!

Darcee from ReesiePie Creations posted about her craft room (okay, I'm officially jealous of all you ladies with craft rooms!). I personally think having your fabric out is the best way to do it! Other wise how do you know what you've got and what matches with it? :) Normally I use the kitchen table...

And is it weird that all I think about is how much I'd love some of that polka fabric, and the floraly blue one. Oh and how cute the little dresses are! 

Thank you all so much for sharing your homes, and for all of your sweet comments as I have shared mine! I have loved seeing them. And I love that there are some more realistic images of people's homes floating around the internet!

One Day Monday - Organisation

So ever since doing the Ideal vs. Real series, I've been looking at my home in a new way. 

Not only has it given me a push to organise some of the "bad" looking areas that I'd been putting off, but it has also made me look at some of the room critically, and wonder if these areas are working the best they can. (This is proving to be a work in progress!)

But I was taught that whenever you say something negative you must also say something positive. (even to myself! ;) ) So one thing that I do like in our home is some of the organisation we do with baskets. More specifically wicker baskets. 

If you've been following for a little while you may have noticed that they pop up a little...(wardrobe, inside Ethan's drawers, the foot of our bed and quite a few more!)

I'd like to share a few of these ideas with you in a post, and how each of them work for us. But before that I've got some Pinterest eye candy of how others use them!

under a bench in living room for throws and mags

This bench would be great in a conservatory for throws and magazines. Ours just end up on the arm of a chair or on top of a table. I would love for them to have a "place". This one is from Museum Selection.

Love the use of wicker baskets as storage and table.

How clever to use a wicker basket not only for storage, but also as a table! Ideal for lesser used items or sentimental things that you don't need easy access to. Found here.

wicker baskets turn into towel storage shelves

I'm sure a lot of you avid "pinners" will have seen this smart idea. Pretty, functional and practical! Pinned from here.

I love, love, love this one.

under bed baskets for kids toys/linen

Mostly because it's such a pretty room! But also because of the clever use of space. They've used all the space, and it looks pretty too. It all matches, plus there's plenty of space for toys, and easy tidy up for little ones to understand. But you know I'd go and put some labels on them! I wouldn't be able to help myself! From I village.

Oh and I'm really coveting that bedding for Izzy's room! 

Now I can't promise my pictures in my next post will be quite as pretty as these, but hopefully they'll be useful and you may get some ideas or even you can tell me how you use your boxes and baskets. I would really love an excuse to buy some more pretty wicker! :)

Enjoy your week!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Stamped Wedding Gift and Card

Last night we went to a wedding, and in a very-like-me fashion I completely forgot about a gift until the day of the wedding (lucky it didn't start till the evening!). So I stamped a mini version of the personalised letter art.

I also made a stamped "love" card. Simple, but pretty.

I did my usual thing of wrapping in brown paper and accessorising. Is it weird that my mother in law asked if I wanted a bunch of fake flowers, and my thoughts were that I could pull the heads off? Now I have a huge bunch of them that I keep having to move off the table so we can eat.

They do look pretty on a present though. I just used a couple of strips of double sided tape to attach it.

The "love" cards are actually the newest addition to my Etsy shop. Just saying, in case you have an anniversary coming up, or you have anyone you love... ;)

So what do you think about the smaller art version? Here's the big and small side by side.

I think the smaller one is a nice alternative to more stamps, plus I wouldn't have to charge as much because it doesn't take as long to make.

Any of you ever pull the heads of fake flowers to decorate? Just me? I just can't seem to look at objects the same any more! I always think "How could I make something with that?" and BAM, now I'm a hoarder! 

My poor husband...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

One Day Monday

Before I jump in with the eye candy I have something really exciting to share! I opened my own Etsy shop!

You were all so sweet when I asked you what you thought about me taking the plunge and selling my letter art. It really gave me the confidence to do it!

The shop is still in the very early stages, I have more to add and some better photos to take. But I'm really excited to have started! It would be fantastic if you have a minute to go over and check it out. Maybe tell me what you think? 

(Click the image to go to the shop.)


Okay, on with the pretties...

DIY: animal hooks

I love this clever idea from Martha Stewart. My kids would love this, and it may even encourage them to hang their coats!! This is chocolate chip cookie dough fudge

I know. Wow. I need to make this! Though I may wait a week as I just made a double layered chocolate fudge cake for desert with a white chocolate and oreo cheesecake filling (and chocolate fudge sauce). Yes, I couldn't move for a good two hours after a slice of that! Even little Ethan came down from the table holding his protruding belly and moaning.

So it's amazing that anything sweet is making it onto my list, but these are too good not to share with you! (The link I mean, I would totally keep a batch to myself if I made some.) It's over at Bake at 350.


I absolutely love this idea from Cosmo Cricket. Who would have thought you could make a cute package and wrapping for a treat or gift with one piece of scrapbook paper?! Awesome! I always hate when you want to send someone some food (like to get the baking out of your house before you eat it all when the kids go to bed...), but you either have to go paper plate and cling film or one of your tubs that you'll have to ask for back. What a perfect solution!

Any other great ideas you've seen? Or that you've done? 

Anyone else recovering from serious gluttony? 

p.s. Even if I'm sick tonight, it was worth it.

Enjoy your week!

Ideal vs. Real - Ashley from Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night

My last amazing guest poster in the Ideal vs. Real series is Ashley from Mommy by day... Crafter by night.

She has some of the craziest sewing skills I've seen.

Like this cute Kindle case with tutorial.

And she can make her own clothes!

She is really sweet too, when I asked her to guest post she told me she had been thinking about doing a similar post anyway (great minds think alike eh?)! Plus she has just finished an amazing series of her own, Sew you think you can sew?

Here Ashley is with her "Real":

Hi everyone! I am Ashley!! I blog over at Mommy by day... Crafter by night . I love blogging about my adventures in crafting while my kiddos are asleep!
I am so happy to be here to share a little bit of the "real" side of blogging vs. the ideal side of it!
First let me start out with a question:
Have you ever felt worthless after spending hours(or even minutes) looking at blogs because in blogland everyones house is perfectly kept, kids are perfectly dressed, projects are always completed, pictures have perfect lighting, and meals are artfully prepared and served on color coordinating dishes, etc?
Then you aren't alone! I have spent many a night feeling like I am not as orderly, crafty, talented, etc as other bloggers out there!
But I have a newsflash for you... blogging is an optical illusion. You see what bloggers want you to see. The picture of the perfect chocolate cake doesn't show the kitchen in the other room that was torn apart making it! The picture of an intricate quilt doesn't show the number of seams that were ripped out while making it. The picture of a perfectly fitted pencil skirt doesn't show the safety pin in the back holding the skirt shut cuz the button popped off while taking pictures! Get what I mean? 
Pretty much 100% of the time that I blog, I am sitting in my pajamas with a house in need of some sort of attention! (to my defense, I mainly blog at night so pajamas are fitting- but that is no excuse for my house! ha ha)
Of course we want everyone to see the "perfect side" not the side that has let the laundry pile up and go unfolded for weeks while working on sewing projects. {Of course that has never happened to me- just giving an example- wink wink}
So today I thought I would let you in on a little bit of the behind the scenes in my neck of the woods. Brace yourselves... it isn't pretty!
I live in an apartment and have limited space. I don't have a perfectly decorated craft room {that will be the day}- so my dining room doubles as a sewing/laundry room. Here is what is was looking like last night amid-sewing...
Across the room lies a space full of disorder!! (un pictured in the corner is a sink full of dirty dishes and an empty pizza box cuz mommy didn't have time to make dinner! ha)
I guess what I am trying to say is that blogging is awesome in a lot of ways- but just keep in mind that what you see isn't always the whole picture! :)
Thanks so much for letting me come say hi! 
xoxo, Ashley

I love, love, love Ashley's post! I can totally relate to the laundry, fabric and toys out. I especially like Ashley's post I always drool over her photos of her home and projects, so it is nice to know that her home looks like mine too sometimes! 

I have just loved seeing bloggers real life homes and knowing I'm not alone! This IS what a home looks like, and I still think it's pretty :) Thanks Ashley!

And in case you missed any of the other posters:

Jen from A Place To Call Home

Now the extra fun part! I would love to see some of your homes too! (not in a creepy stalker-ish way...mostly :) ) 

  • If you have a blog, you can send me a link to a post. 
  • If you don't, or don't have a post, send me a photo or two with or without a description.
  • Or even just send me your experiences of "real" life, or tips on making the "real" a little easier!
I would love to be able to feature some of your "real" life photos in a blog post next weekend. Showing my own home far from perfect, and putting it on the internet feels really quite liberating! Plus how great is it to see how other bloggers homes aren't picture perfect and being able to steal some of their tips along the way! So be brave and send me an email:

And of course I will include a link back to your blog from your photo so we can all see have bit more of a nosey at your home!

And I'll leave you with a photo of what happens as soon as I try to take a photo for a minute instead of playing with the kids...

Friday, 17 February 2012

Ideal vs. Real - Jen from A Place To Call Home

To finish off The Ideal vs. The Real series I thought it would be really fun to have some other bloggers guest post their own "Real" post.

Today we have Jen from A Place To Call Home

Jen has an amazing style, I found her blog when I saw a picture of her master bedroom and fell in love!

I love the calm colours and stripes.

And just look at this chair she made over!


Amazing! And here she is to show us her "real":

Hi everyone, I'm Jen from A Place 2 Call Home

I'm here to talk to about Real Vs Ideal in our homes. Home bloggers obviously want to show the pretty side of our homes. We may show some ugliness along the way, but for the most part we are showing DIY projects, room makeovers, and amazing pictures from other bloggers or pinterest that inspire us, because the hope is that we inspire you.

Because our work is shown online, it pushes us to do better, work harder, and be more creative, however people can be left feeling less than. Wondering "Why isn't my house always perfect?"

Well no ones home is perfect, not even mine.

During a project, my home is anything but ideal.

The truth is real living happens and life is messy.

Here are some ways that I get my home to be tidy is:

1. Everything should have a home
2. That home should be easily accessible to where you use the item
3. Make sure every one knows about where items live
4. Use it, and then put it back
5. If you forget to put it away, make sure you return everything to there home every night so you start out fresh the next day.

My home is real. We use it, we get it dirty, we make messes and then we clean them up.

We use our living room and dining room all day long. I have storage all over the place and it takes me 3 minutes to go from baby toy disaster to tidied up. 

This video shows how I can clean up my daughters mess really quickly. I hope you enjoy!

Before & After Pictures

I do hope you'll come over to my blog and check out some of my posts on  cleaning , organizing or  decorating. Here's my post about Toy Storage.

Wasn't that great? I LOVE that she not only gave us some great before and afters, but also showed how she does it so quickly!

Come back tomorrow for some more amazing guest posters! 

And if you missed yesterday's guest poster, click here to see Jileen from The Overhaul's post.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Ideal vs. Real - Jileen from The Overhaul

To finish off The Ideal vs. The Real series I thought it would be really fun to have some other bloggers guest post their own "Real" post.

I'm so excited about this as I've never had guest posters before, and I'm going to have four in a row now!

First up is Jileen from The Overhaul.

She makes super cute accessories for her little boy's room.

And turned her son's old bedroom from this:

(Still gorgeous!)

Into this:

Guest bedroom, in one day!

This girl has some serious skill! Here she is to show us her "Real".

Hi everyone! I am Jileen from the Overhaul.  I would like to extend a big thank you to Rhiannon for having me as a guest blogger (this is the first time for me... you were warned lol).  I first came across Rhiannon's blog at one of those fantastic link parties. I noticed she was a British blogger and amigos I was on it like white on rice. Although I am not British, I am an American living the U.K. and British bloggers are hard to come by ;)

When Rhiannon invited me to guest blog for her Real vs Ideal Series, I was excited. When I received the email, I whipped out the ole' camera got to shooting.  Doing the "Real" section of the series, was easy. Maybe a bit too easy, some may say shamefully easy. This household contains a man who works full time,  a five year old boy whose sole mission is to make a mess and  a "preoccupied" women.  I mean who has time to tidy up? Seriously guys, tidying up was sooooo pre 2006 for us.

Taking these photos was very therapeutic. For the bloggers out there I am sure you know what I mean.  There is always a bit of pressure to have it "together"by having our home spotless and immaculate. In Casa Harkins that is not always the case. I am convinced we are outstanding at making a mess. In fact, I am going to go out and say we are unbelievable fantastic. I am sure if there was an event at London's 2012 olympics for fastest mess makers, the gold medal would go to Family Harkins. Who needs humility? We are awesome.


Let's start with the bad. Here is our real:

This is Aedan's idea of a few toys to play with before school. I count 15 toys, how about you? A few things to notice:

  • Fantastic display of safe child proofing - extension with my computer plugged in lying in the middle of the room. Nice Jileen, nice. 
  • Our curtain pole is about to fall down. Who needs a middle bracket? Not us, we are rebels. 
  • The Christmas Printable, hanging out on the shelf, evidently I missed the whole "christmas is not celebrated in February" memo.

Moving on to the Dining area,

Hmm let's see what we have going on here:
  • Tupper ware
  • Nail clippers? Great. If my memory serves me correctly I was taking off of Aedan, I can assure we don't clip our nails at the table. Promise
  • Diet Pepsi - a fun reminder of last night's dinner.
  • Cough medicine- Aedan was not 100%
  • Gift Bag- present for a Friend. 
  • Dinnerware - for selling on Ebay. 
  • Windex- a reminder for me to do the windows. (I still have not done them)
Directly behind the dining table is my craft area. My super duper organized craft area. 

Yeah, at this moment you can guess that last comment was dripping in saracasm.

On to the kitchen, which we install in December :

Shall we take inventory?
  • Yellow Cup on the floor- courtesy of the little guy
  • Basketful of laundry - it has been there a day already
  • Our failed shelf above the window- you can get the skinny here
  • Opened Cabinet Doors - Stephen complains I always leave the kitchen cabinet doors open. I always disagreed until that one faithful day when I walked into the kitchen and the fridge, pantry and sink doors were opened. He maybe right.. I have a problem. 

What is a "real" kitchen shot without the sink shot? 


Here is our Ideal living room.. well sorta.  We are awaiting new sofas and cabinets for our media built in, but thankfully all toys have been put back into Aedan's room.

On to our dining room:

Since the last photos, we have sanded and painted/varnised the table. We purchased a radiator cover and  started on painting the chairs and said cover.  This room is still in it's infancy but we are hoping to have it done for the beginning of March

On to the Kitchen

Cabinet doors have been shut, dishes washed, laundry ironed, and floors cleared.  We still have much to do in this room, (i.e. fix the shelving), but we will get there. 

These three rooms are on our DIY radar and hopefully you guys can join us as we "Git r Done" 

Thanks again Rhiannon for having me!! :)

Thanks so much Jileen! What an amazing first guest post! I LOVE that she has really showed us how it is, I for one am massively relieved that my sink is not he only one with dishes in and bottles! And what a great after shot.So pretty.

Come back tomorrow for some more fantastic guest posters!