Category Archives: Organizing

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

I’ve been playing around with some new photography ideas for my blog lately, so this past week I spent my off time making some “props”. I wanted to create ‘nomadic novelty hangers’ to use in bohemian-inspired photo shoots; and doing so was much easier than I expected! Here’s how I did it…

What you Need:

  • A hot glue gun
  • Hangers (I picked up a pack of neutral felted hangers from Container Store)

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

  • Thin strips of fabric (I used my multi-colored twisted fabric twine from Anthropologie. I’ve had these colorful spools in my arts & crafts kit for two years after snagging them on sale after the holidays. I never really knew what I was going to do with them…until now.)

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

How to Make Them:

  1. Simply secure the end of a fabric strip to the edge or middle of the hanger with hot glue
  2. Then tightly wrap the fabric around the hanger entirely covering the original coating
  3. Switch up the cloth sections whenever you please – just seal off one strip with hot glue & start another. The color combinations and patterns are completely up to you!
  4. When the original hanger is completely covered with fabric simply secure the end once again with hot glue and there you have it – your new nomadic novelty hanger!!!

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

They’re bold, beautiful & bohemian!

Now….I love the look of my new statement hangers, but I wouldn’t necessarily use them in my closet on an everyday basis. While they’re very vibrant & eye-catching on their own, they may be a bit much when mixed in with the colors & patterns that already exist within your wardrobe. If have a colorful closet like mine you probably already have a hard time focusing on each individual piece; adding another bold element only adds to the confusion of picking out what you’re going to wear.

You also wouldn’t want to run the risk of the colors on the hangers bleeding into your clothing – I don’t think they would, but if you ever hang your clothes up while they’re still wet, or for a prolonged period of time, it could be a possibility. And again, if you’re like me, you don’t take chances when it comes to your clothing.

Another thing to think about is space. After wrapping the original hangers in twine they became twice their size. If you’re trying to conserve space like I always am, you definitely want to go with something thinner!

And then there are the obvious reasons – that it would take a lot of time and could get quite expensive to create a whole closet full of specialty hangers. I suppose if you used the hangers you already have and created your own strips of recycled fabric it wouldn’t be too costly; but it takes time looping the fabric around-and-around-and-around. It was fun at first…but by the tenth one, the task was getting a bit tedious. I couldn’t imagine how long it would take to cover all of the hangers in my closet! Could you?!

My Closet

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

Even though I don’t think they’re ideal inside your regular clothing closet, I do think they’d work well in a coat closet or at the office. The original felt hangers were thin & flimsy, but when I wrapped them in the twine they got much more sturdy – perfect for those heavy, over-sized winter coats. And at the office, each employee could make their own personalized hanger for their stuff. It could be an easy arts & crafts project that not only builds the team moral, but brightens up the break room too!

DIY: Nomadic Novelty Hangers

What do you think of my new novelty hangers? Is making your own personal hangers something you would spend your time on…or are the basic ones you buy in the store adequate enough for you?

My ‘New’ Old Wood Box – More Meaningful than the Mass-Produced

I’ve been in the market for something to store my Women’s Wear Daily newspapers in lately since my stack of papers has been piling up (and it’s quite frustrating when I bump into my side table and they scatter all over the floor)!

WWDs Stacking Up

While looking online for something to put them in, I came across the Vintage Wood Rolling Cart at www.urbanoutfitters.com available for $139.00. It’s a unique piece that’s apparently crafted from wood used from packaging materials for the U.S. Army during the Gulf War.

Urban Outfitters Vintage Wood Rolling Cart

I like the idea of recycling an old wooden box and using it for storage; but for some reason, I feel ‘rare’ finds such as this loses some of its ‘exclusivity’ when you buy it from a mass retailer like Urban Outfitters.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s great that they’re offering vintage finds such as this & others because many people 1.) don’t know where to search for rare, refurbished pieces like this, or 2.) don’t have quality vintage shops, antique stores or flea markets near them to find these found objects. But I prefer to find them myself.

Seeing this salvaged storage case online sparked my inspiration and sent me on a treasure hunt to find something similar. While Chicago has a lot to offer for vintage clothing & accessories, I feel the city stores have little to offer when it comes to old-fashioned furniture and home decor. And when I say I’m searching for vintage I mean – I’m searching for vintage. Vintage floral print fabrics, fine bone-china, tarnished silver, and sturdy, solid oak…real old-school stuff that has stood the test of time and has a story to tell (not Crate & Barrel circa 1995).

Yes, it takes time to sift through all the second-hand stuff, some of its junk and some just not my style; but when I spot something that catches my eye, usually hidden underneath it all and probably full of dust…I’ve often found my diamond in the rough – my treasure. Whether it’s a hand-painted gold trim serving plate or a delicate ceramic vase, a worn-in, woven horse blanket or a beautiful silk scarf with hand-rolled piping around the edge – it’s my treasure.

Since my home goods hunt was at a halt here in Chicago I waited until my most recent trip home to Minnesota. While back, I stopped by Pines-n-Tiques, the antique store down the dirt road from my house. I only had 15 minutes to browse through the two-story barn-turned-into-store, but in that short time I found this…

My Vintage Find - Old Oak Grove Dairy Wood Box

My Vintage Find - Old Oak Grove Dairy Wood Box

My “new” old ‘Oak Grove Dairy’ wood box is exactly what I was looking for! It’s the perfect storage case for my WWD’s and furthermore, this functional piece even holds a few family ties! Oak Grove Dairy was an old dairy creamery not far from my hometown. It’s since shut-down, but when I was growing up and my dad was milking cows, that’s where he sent all of his milk to be processed.

Seems as though I just saved myself a little piece of history…and some hard-earned cash – my wood box was only $15 bucks! Thanks Urban Outfitters for offering up your rare, vintage finds, but for now, I’ll continue to search for my own :)

Are you a second-hand shopper? Where does your treasure hunt take you?

When the Flame Goes Out…

When shopping, I’ve gotten into the habit of looking at things and thinking what are all the ways I could wear this? Or, what are all of the ways I could potentially use this? It’s fun to do this when it comes to clothes – seeing if a maxi skirt can be pulled up & worn as a skirt, a blouse could be worn backwards, or if something can be layered on top to transform the way it looks. Here are a couple articles in my closet that I’ve converted in the past –

Free People Charcoal Maxi Skirt & Dress

Anthropologie Ivory Lace Button-Down Top

Urban Outfitters Light Blue Onesie

This can also be done when it comes to buying home décor. I’ve turned newspaper garland into a necklace, doilies into gift decals and old tin TV trays into artwork. But another thing I like to convert is candles.

Instead of buying the cheap convenient store candles that come in an ugly aluminum tin and barely let off an aroma, I like to splurge on the wax in decorative glass jars that you can smell the second you light the wick. Then, when the candles have been burned to the bottom, I reuse the containers they come in. Sure, the candles tend to be a bit more pricey, but the couple extra dollars I spend pay off in the end when I recycle the empty jars and put something else it them. It’s rather simple, when the majority of the candle has melted away, just pour out the wax and wash up the dish.

When washing out the jars, be sure to take note of the color coating on the containers. I scrubbed a little too hard and noticed the orange enamel came off one of my jars. Obviously, I wouldn’t want to use it to drink out of, but it’s great for decor! This was originally a candle I bought from Urban Outfitters a few years ago that I now use as a drinking glass.

Candle Converted into Drinking Cup

And another precautionary note– when discarding the hot wax…don’t dump it down the toilet! This may sound obvious to most, but I myself, was oblivious. After clearing out a couple of my candles this way, I noticed the water in my toilet was coming up…instead of going down when I flushed it. Oops! :) After a visit from my handy man (in which I acted completely unaware as to why my toilet was clogged) I had colorful collection of canisters to store stuff like coins, kitchen utensils and make-up brushes in.

DIY - Candles to Storage Containers

Candles are great in so many ways – After enjoying their fragrant smell you can use their containers to store things in forever! Here are a couple candles I’ll be adding to my collection because I love what the scented wax comes in…

Decorative Candles

What do you do with your candles when the flame goes out? Do you just throw them away? Or do you salvage them and store something else in them?

Oh, and by the way, I blamed all of the goop my maintenance man pulled from the plumbing on some face wash the must have “accidentally” fallen in the toilet and been flushed. I’m pretty sure I didn’t fool him…but I didn’t need him telling me what I did was dumb. I’m well aware of that…now.

The Perfect Mid-September Day for a Seasonal Wardrobe Switch

Today was a pretty productive day for me. I’ve been meaning to do a closet clean-up for quite some time – and today was they day! As I’ve mentioned before that it’s important to go through your wardrobe from time-to-time to make sure that you only have the clothing that you currently wear hanging in your closet (or in my case, folded in my dresser drawers as well).

I’ve also said in the past that I’m a very visual person; I have to see my clothing to remember to wear it, so the majority of my everyday things are hanging out in front of me. However, I still have a dresser that’s filled with casual t-shirts & layering tanks, workout wear and pajamas. Because the bottoms of my drawers have begun to cave-in, I figured it was about time for me to go through what was in them and get rid of some stuff – and since I always seem to wear the same five shirts over & over again anyways.

But getting rid of things can be difficult for some people (and when it comes to me – clothing especially!) I had my best friend over to help me weed out what I should keep & what I should get rid of so I’d actually make some progress on this purge of mine. After keeping all of the American Apparel deep-V neck gym t-shirts I’m obsessed with and separating my sentimental t’s – old Plato Bluejays softball jersey shirts & Hamline gymnastics camp tops from when I was 12, I chose a couple graphic cotton tops to keep and donated the rest. Although, it got a little tough at times – You mean I don’t need 3 pairs of the same shorts in 3 different colorways? Or all of the Harley Davidson t-shirts I collected on a family vaca to Deadwood? I’m happy to say I came up with a garbage bag full clothes to donate…and I no longer worry my dresser drawers are on the verge of collapsing.

My Vintage T-Shirts

Wardrobe Organization

Since I was a roll, I decided to continue with my closet merchandising and get my seasonal wardrobe switch out of the way right away. Seasonal rotations can be fun (because you get to pull out things that have been packed away for months!) but they’re also a lot of work and can take a lot of time. For tips & tricks on performing season switches read my past blog, Ahhh, My Spring Switch is FINALLY Complete, https://expressthrudress.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/ahh-my-spring-season-switch-is-finally-complete/ ,

Transitioning from summer into fall is always difficult for me. Because I love fall fashion so much more, I have a ton more sweaters than I do tiny sheer tops. I only packed away one tote of “off-season summer” stuff compared to the three totes of cozy sweaters I unpacked. Since five sheer shirts equals the size of one heavy sweater and a lot of tank tops stay out year-round & simply be layered with a cardigan I’m doing great on storage space. But that also means that I have some pretty crammed racks full of chunky sweaters. I’ll have to do some rearranging to make room for new fall styles; but after the day is done, I’m happy that I have cut out the clothes I don’t wear, put away the platform pumps I haven’t worn in years (boot-season baby!), stored my summer stuff and pulled out my cords & comfy sweaters.

My Organized Closet

My Organized Closet

My Organized Closet

On an odd note, I was looking back at some of my old blogs, and I noticed that I did my season switch on the 16th of September last year as well. It must be the perfect day to be productive and prepare for fall!

I’m ready for when the weather cools. Are you?

DIY Project: My Make-Shift Jewelry Display

I think I got this jewelry display around seven years ago; but since then, my necklace collection has no doubt doubled.

Pottery Barn Jewelry Display

There’s just no more room to hang any more necklaces from it without risking 1) it tipping over, or 2) having everything tangle. So, I’ve decided to start a new DIY home project and am in the process of creating my own necklace display using a piece of reclaimed wood and a bunch of random decorative knobs that I’ve collected over time.

Decorative Anthropologie Knobs

But until I find the perfect piece of wood (which is much harder in the city of Chicago compared to all of the random scraps I know are lying around my farm back home) I’ve come up with a temporary solution. I made a make-shift jewelry display using my old fabric covered bulletin board and a bunch of stick pins. This at least allows me to string my necklaces by themselves until I finish my final project is finished.

Creative Jewelry Solution - Bulletin Board Necklace Display

Creative Jewelry Solution - Bulletin Board Necklace Display

I looked online for a little inspiration, and here are a couple other creative storage solutions for necklaces others have used that I thought I’d share with you.

Creative Jewelry Solution - Necklaces Hanging from Branches in FrameHanging from tree bark inside an old picture frame

Creative Jewelry Solution - Necklaces Hanging from an Upside-Down RakeHanging from an upside-down garden rake

Creative Jewelry Solution - Necklaces Hanging from Flatware HolderHanging from a flatware holder

Is your jewelry out on display? Or do you hide it away until you want to wear it?

…And does anybody know where I can find a big piece of old, reclaimed wood??