Tag Archives: cleaning and organization

one board wood shelves + 17 one board ideas

Well hello there!!  It has been awhile.  How are you?  I wish I had some incredible story to share with you about how I’ve spent my time recently, but the most accurate description would be … life.  🙂  We are still loving Aruba, hard to believe we have been here almost 6 months already, and we’ve finally made some official headway on the kitchen renovation project.  The contract is finalized, the cabinets are being made and installation is set for Sept 21st.  It will feel like a long time coming when it is all said and done, for a refresher on what we’ve planned and why it’s taking so long have look back here and here.

But let’s talk today about some pretty simple DIY wood shelves that I made with just one board.  Because when a group of builders who write blogs get together and chat about buildy things we toss around crazy ideas and a bunch of us decided it would be fun to see what we all came up with to make from just one 1 x 8 x 8 board.


Pretty simple requirement, just one board, a standard 1 x 8 that is 8 feet long, any species (meaning a type of wood like pine, poplar, oak, etc).  This little challenge proved to be just another of example how even the simplest things can get confusing if you’re living on a Caribbean island.

board-collageWhat I ended up with was an individually wrapped wood-ish board that measured just about right.  Who says “close enough” only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades?  It definitely also counts in pretty much anything you try to accomplish on a Caribbean island.  Take that label that says “solid wood”.  If by solid they mean pieces-of-wood-manufactured-together-to-make-one-large board then they are correct.  But it serves its purpose and now I have two shelves for toiletries and such in our master bathroom.  So I call this one a win!

diy wood shelves

At the end of this post I have the links to the 16 other projects that my creative friends have come up with using their one board.  They are sure to be more intricate and elaborate than my humble shelves, but sometimes function and practicality win out.  And it’s pretty darn nice to have a few more things at arms reach and off the floor in el bano.

Since I don’t have a work shop and only brought a few tools this little project found me measuring and cutting at the hardware store.  I knew I wanted two shelves about 30″ long so I cut the board into three pieces, 2 @ 30″ plus the remaining piece.

diy wood shelves

Once home I used a speed square and jig saw to measure and cut 4 triangles out of the extra piece of the board.  Use the full width of the “solid board”.  (I’m including the Amazon links to the tools I used for easy shopping.)

diy wood shelves

Now, let’s not judge a girl who DIYs in her LL Bean doggy slippers.  🙂  Oooooh, and you can see that I’ve started to make some progress with some primer and paint.  Hellooooo white!

With the triangles cut I used the square again to measure 2″ triangles to cut out of the long edge of each of them.  I thought this would make a simple yet decorative detail and also provide a flat edge that I could screw through to attach the shelves to the wall.

diy wood shelves

Before I attached the brackets to each shelf I wanted to drill the holes where I would thread my eye bolts through to attach the shelves to the wall.  I used my impact driver and a drill bit slightly larger than the diameter of the eye bolts I had bought and a utility knife to cut away any splintering wood.  To make drilling easier I used a new tool I bought on a recent trip to the US, a 90 degree angle clamp.  A standard clamp would work fine if you had a stable, flat work surface, but since I was working on a 5 gallon paint jug (don’t be jealous) the corner clamp actually provided the flat base as well as clamped the piece perfectly vertical for drilling.

diy wood shelves

Here’s where the corner clamp really came in handy.  I attached each triangle bracket to each end of both of the 30″ pieces of the board.  With the triangles and board in the corner clamp 1- run a bead of glue on the edge of the triangle that does not have the whole drilled through it, 2- use a drill bit smaller than the diameter of your screws to drill pilot holes into both the board and the triangles, 2 – use a drill bit larger than the diameter of the head of the screw to drill slightly into the board so the head of your screw can sit flush with the wood or even sunken a little, and 4 – screw through your pre-drilled holes to attach each triangle bracket to the boards.

diy wood shelves

After a day or so to let the glue cure I sanded each shelf and applied a few coats of stain, I have no idea what color, it was all in Dutch.  🙂

To attach them to the wall I used a small allen wrench that fit through my pre-drilled holes to mark on the wall where to drill and install my anchors and then I used a pair of needle nose pliers to screw in each eye bolt.  The eye bolts were actually Joel’s idea, something a little more interesting than just a standard large bolt.

diy wood shelves

And I really love how they turned out.  Simple but totally functional and a great DIY that pretty much anyone can do.

diy wood shelves

I have some plans for some maybe floating style shelves in our master bedroom and maybe even something like a picture ledge/narrow shelf of some kind for our living room.  I admit, it was fun to get the tools out of the moving boxes and get creative with something again, it has been awhile.

diy wood shelves

Now don’t forget to check in with all of my talented friends to see all of the other fun things you could make.  There are a few fun planter options, a plant stand, a couple of completely different stools and more shelf ideas, and no two projects came out the same.  So many great ideas with just one little board!!  And please tell me, what in the world have you been up to lately?  I’d love to know.

Addicted 2 DIYThat’s My LetterPretty Handy GirlFix This Build ThatBuild-BasicMy Love 2 CreateHer ToolbeltMy Altered StateSawdust & EmbryosThe Kim Six FixThe Ugly Duckling HousePneumatic Addict FurnitureDecor AdventuresMerrypadThe House of Wood, Sawdust Girl

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

Hey hey!

I am still working my way around finishing up the front part of the exterior of the house. More paint, primer, caulk and then more touch-up paint than is reasonable for one small house, really.  But with a few cloudy/rainy days postponing progress I shifted gears and decided to put together a little space in the guest bedroom just for creating.  But here’s a sneak peek of the exterior progress that I shared on Instagram.

exterior progress - soffit and fascia priming

And then I walked by this doozy of a remodel that made me feel like my little project wasn’t so bad.  🙂

Key West house jacked up

But still, every once in a while an indulgent little project is just the right thing to re-energize the ol’ DIY mojo.  I recently read Kristi’s article about remodeling depression and could totally relate. Sometimes it’s nice to just step back and make some reclaimed wood wall art, or beautify a little space that I plan to use for crafting, sewing and all things creative.

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

I’m realizing I haven’t given you all the low down on the board and rope wall that is now complete.  We actually used boards that we removed when we were in the demolition phase of the guest bedroom renovation.  Definitely more to come on those because they are my favorite DIY accent in the house (not to be confused with our favorite room) and you’ll never guess where Joel found the idea.  He’s always thinkin’, that guy.

You might remember that we actually removed the old closet that ran the entire length of the back of the room so we could install the new door to go out back.  It’s a really popular Key West home feature to have access to the outside from every room.

the guest bedroom before

And then we raised the opening up to the height of the ceiling of what used to be the closet, which is about a foot lower than the rest of the room, and installed an antique beam divider.  The new craft corner is where the insulation is in this picture.

building a room - guest bedroom progress

Setting up this little corner has been on my mind for quite a while now, but this space is also where we’ve had to put a spare bed for some visitors, so I held off until all scheduled company had come and gone.  I guess this is a warning that next time 3 or more people visit someone is going to be sleeping on the couch.  Sorry.

But you’re more than welcome to craft with me.  😉

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

Joel and I just decided it made sense to design every space in this house for how it will be used the majority of time and not the minority.  And luckily all the company we keep is pretty laid back and tends to think the idea of a slumber party in the living room, or even outside sounds fun.

So I folded all of my fabric scraps neatly in a storage basket under the table in hopes that seeing it regularly will inspire me to actually sit and make the pillows for the front porch. I put all of my adhesives and other oft used crafting supplies in the rustic willow milk crate that is on top of a scrapbook box that hides all kinds of unsightly scraps and materials.  And I took all of my random pieces of driftwood and put them in this beautiful antique inspired rice bucket.

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

That framed otter picture is one of my favorites, we’ve had since we lived in Carmel, CA and it always reminds me of that beautiful area.

I’ve also had that white wall shelf unit since I was young, it’s part of a three-piece set that I had in my bedroom growing up.  It could probably use a new coat of paint, but I kind of love the aged white paint.  The shelves are the perfect spot for more baskets and a wooden boat tray that is perfect for keeping my craft paint brushes and accessories at the ready.  Craft paints are hidden in the basket on the middle shelf and paint chips aren’t a noticeable mess hidden in a basket up high.

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

A few empty frames give the feeling of an empty canvas, a reason to create, a blank slate to fill with new creations.  And an old pallet word art project reminds that we are just forging our own path, no matter the direction.

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

One of my favorite upcycling ideas in the space is the use of those tea cups.  They were my great grandmothers and instead of stashing them away they are the perfect color for the room and the perfect size to hold supplies like paper clips, thumb tacks and erasers. I need erasers because I am infatuated with pencils these days.  No idea why, I just love them, so why not fill an old (the date on is says 1985) award I won in 4-H with them next to another with some scissors to help organize this hopefully stylish yet functional little space.

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

And isn’t this aqua, distressed double wood tray phenomenal?  You might recognize it from when I had it on the front porch.  But then I thought it would be the perfect spot to corral my thread and pins and fabric tape measures.  You know, because I am going to get to sewing something sometime here soon.

creating a craft corner in the guest bedroom

And I’m going to tell you something that is going to blow your mind.  All of those beautiful accessories … like the rice bucket, boat tray, set of baskets, willow milk crate and even the double tray … they are all from Staples.


I was not only blown away by the item selection available, but the item quality I received is also incredible.  Solid wood, sturdy construction, and they add just the right amount of style to a space that can often get filled with design-less items needed to hold all of the little accessories.  Staples is a great place to go for all of your office (or craft corner) supplies, not just paper and pencils … although you now know how I feel about pencils.

creating a stylish and functional project / craft / office space in a small guest bedroom nook



Day #6 – my favorite and most used organization trick

My road trip ends today and I am taking a red eye back to the east coast.

I’d like to think I’ll be able to sleep through it.

But I am so amped up on this whole experience I’m not sure my brain will let my body rest.

You know those times and places in your life that have stuck so close to your heart for one reason or another?  No matter how much time passes.

Our time in Carmel has always been one of those places for me. Continue reading Day #6 – my favorite and most used organization trick

getting organized

Note to self – don’t read the comments on this post on your phone in your car in the parking lot of the grocery store with your windows down because you drive a hoopty and the AC doesn’t work.  You will get teary eyed and the family getting out of the car beside you will feel awkward and scurry away quickly … and then stare at you in every aisle of the grocery store when you finally get yourself together and head in to stock up.

Seriously people.  You made my year day by sharing your thoughts.

In exchange, I am going to lead you to an extraordinarily unflattering picture of myself. Continue reading getting organized

our shed is a thrift shop

Hey hey!!  How goes it today?

One of the most fun things I’ve been able to do since closing on this house is sift through all kinds of goodness that was left in our back yard shed.  You know, our big back yard.

vintage finds from an old shed - it's like our shed is a thrift shop

Admittedly it took me much longer to get to where we are today than it would have, say Joel.  As may have been pointed out to me a time or two.  😉

But I like old junk and sifting through it all made me think that our shed is a thrift shop.  And who doesn’t like to shop for things they’ve already paid for?  😉 Continue reading our shed is a thrift shop

real simple garden tool storage

Hi there!  How are you today?

I am doing great.  To say that Joel and I are like kids in a candy store settling into our new space is an understatement.  We thought we had an understanding about how much we really missed tinkering around a house and yard and creating a space we love.  But seriously, even we didn’t realize exactly how much this little move would fill us up.


Yeah, that’s pretty much what it sounds like inside my brain on a regular basis right now.

But that’s not to say it’s all warm and fuzzy all the time.  I am constantly oscillating between unpacking more boxes and then organizing the madness that has been unpacked.

One of my personal priorities is the shed/tool storage and getting everything in order so there is at least a little sense of order when we start tearing apart every room around here.  And getting everything out of order.  🙂

real simple garden tool storage Continue reading real simple garden tool storage

upcycled picture frame turned diy wall calendar

This isn’t going to be the first, or the last post about a spontaneous project that just took over me and happened on a random evening in a random week.
diy wall calendar

Remember the striped rug?  That happened.

Well, in my quest for a functional blog room and with all of the focus on organization these days (you’ll be prompted to head over to Allison’s blog House of Hepworths to get your fill of Day 3 of Organizing 101 at the end of this post … you won’t want to miss it!), I had an idea for a diy wall calendar one night and ran with it. Continue reading upcycled picture frame turned diy wall calendar

how to organize your time

Happy Tuesday y’all!  I’m super excited to be a part of the Organizing 101 Series: Back to Basics with some seriously incredible bloggers.  Yesterday Beth at Free Stylin’ showed you how to get more organized with menu planning (and not break the bank) and today I’m going to share with you my tips on how to organize your time (without losing your mind). 🙂
time management

And I will warn you here, this post is wordy … this girl likes some organization, that’s for sure!  And I am pretty passionate about being happy, and for me, effective time management = one happy girl.  🙂

Can you believe today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11?  I can still remember exactly where I was when I heard about the first plane.

How I was glued to the tv coverage for days.

How it felt to think about everyone who lost their lives so unexpectedly.  Their families. Their children.

Such tragedy.  True, true tragedy.

For me, it’s a reminder to continually focus on what is important to ME. To make sure I am taking the time to do the things that really fulfill me.  To enjoy this life.  It’s the only one I’ve got. 🙂

Do you ever feel like you’re just wandering aimlessly through your daily tasks?  You have so many different balls in the air you don’t know which one to grab first?  It’s hard to tell where to turn, or what to do next because so many tasks are just weighing you down?

I do.*

*And this is where I’ll put a little asterisk and say a few words like ‘I am not an expert’, ‘I know I don’t live your life’, ‘I have no interest in telling you how to organize your day’ and ‘I just hope you can learn a few new tricks from this info’. Thank you very much.  🙂

My time management philosophy is simple, get what you need to get done done so you can get to doing what you really want.  And what things do we really need to do, anyway?  🙂

Here’s my take, broken down into 2 basic factors.
1.  It’s all about the 5 P’s of Time Management. And,
2. Keep one main goal in mind.
time managment

We really can succeed here if our goal is a feeling.  Can we agree that there is a limitless number of things we can choose to accomplish?  And that the cycle is never ending?  And we will never just be ‘done’ with everything we have to do in life?

With that goal in mind, here’s how I choose to manage my time.
time managment

I know, no brainer.  But this really is the key to obtaining that goal above.

We all have lists a mile long of things we’d like to get done around the house, yard, volunteer work, kid activities, etc.  And then there are the vacations we’d like to take, experiences we’d like to have, accomplishments we’d like to make.  Man, I’m tired already! 😉

But, it does no good to focus on all that we’re not accomplishing on a daily basis. So let’s figure out what we really want to accomplish.

I used this specific prioritize strategy when I got home from Haven.  I had, I think, 85 items I wanted to do as a result of the conference. And the only way I knew to break it down, so it would seem manageable, was to prioritize.

But, it’s a rank of priority for that task, not a ranking system against the other items on the list.

I read through my entire list and marked all items that I considered ‘easy’, then ranked all others with a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 (1=most important, 5=least).  There could be any number of tasks ranked 1, or 2 or any number. 

This gave me a clear understanding of which items were most important to me, and which one’s I could just do all quick like when I had a spare minute. You really will feel so much more accomplished if you are actually doing the things that you feel are a priority in your life.

Erin at How to Nest for Less creates a blog schedule one month in advance to help her determine her daily priorities.  Maybe you’ve been meaning to get a pedicure and this week is the week it gets put on the schedule.  Or maybe you can’t put off yard work one. more. day.  Make it happen.  🙂  Yes, that means something else might not happen … just pick your priority!
time managment

Now that we understand exactly what it is that we want to be doing, we need to make a plan.  My Sunday routine is to review the list of priorities and pick one task a day to accomplish.  (I have house lists, errand lists, blog lists … there could be kid lists, school lists … you can even implement this at work for all of those ‘I’ll get to that someday tasks’.)

The lists are forever evolving, with shifting priorities … and there’s always that ‘real life’ thing that sometimes happens unplanned. Which is nice.  🙂  When you discover another task, assign it a priority and add it to your plan. And move on … if you find yourself dwelling on it, maybe it’s a bigger priority than you thought … or maybe it’s just going to take some time to learn to let some things linger in low priority land.

Last year my priority was to study Spanish and now my priority is to learn the ins and outs of my new camera.  Shift your plan to enable you to accomplish your priorities.

And play around with the pace, maybe you’re an overachiever efficient and 2 tasks a day works, or maybe you have so many areas of your life to plan you’re better off with every other day.  What you want to do here is create the habit and routine that leaves you feeling ‘ahead’.  Do one thing, do it well and feel accomplished for that one thing. Maybe more is possible … maybe not.

Lisa from Before Meets After and her husband have a ’10 minute a night chore’. Take 10 minutes a night and pick a task … cleaning toilets, wiping down mirrors, emptying garbage around the house.  Then it doesn’t all pile up and take over your weekend.

And I LIVE BY the tip of leaving one day completely open.  The one free day leaves you available to do whatever it is that inspires you that day.  It may be the day you need to get caught up on things you didn’t accomplish on your plan.  Or maybe it’s a long workout or a new house project, or an ice cream date with your kids, or maybe it’s watching a movie on the couch. There’s comfort in knowing you have planned to have the time to be doing that exact thing you’re doing. 🙂

Let’s be real here … we’re not talking about any of the non-negotiables.  The work obligations, family engagements, kid’s soccer games and everything else you consider a non-negotiable.  We are talking about EVERYTHING else.  If it’s not on your non-negotiable list, it’s fair game.

TIP!!!  Pick your non-negotiables, but don’t marry them … they can change, too.

Exercise used to be optional for me.  Then I realized I would never do it unless I had it in my plan.  Then I realized I was a cranky, moody, easily irritated be-ach person if I wasn’t exercising regularly.  (I’m not training for marathons here people.  I’m just trying to not feel unhealthy … that’s it.  Really.)  Now, for me, exercise 5 hours a week is non-negotiable … unless we’re on vacation.  🙂

Cooking dinner every night, however … totally optional.  Just ask Joel  🙂

Prioritized. Check
Planned.  Check. Check.
time managment

Set yourself up for success.  Let’s get real again here. We can talk all day about planning and prioritizing, but if you’re not ready to execute, you’re not going to be able to shake that feeling of not getting anything done.

My prep time is at night. If I’m not prepared I can easily find myself at Noon on any given day feeling like I haven’t gotten anything done. And I hate that feeling.

If I’m hoping to have a productive day tomorrow, my evening preparation tonight includes:

  • setting the coffee maker
  • making sure I’ve got something good for breakfast (hey, this girl gets cranky hungry and that’s not pretty!) I hard boil a couple of eggs if we’re out of cereal or milk.
  • charge the laptop/cell phone/iPad
  • review the following day’s plan and make sure everything is accomplishable (not a word?) and I’m in a position to make it happen (is the dry cleaning in a bag by the door? do I have my grocery shopping list ready? are my keys and sunglasses on our landing zone?)
  • lay out my workout clothes

Carmel from Our Fifth House has an ingenius tip for all you parents out there about preparing.  She shares how picking out school outfits for the week at the beginning of the week has changed her family’s life here.

And Rita from This Sorta Old Life has a great philosophy to ‘keep the problem’ small.  Do one load of laundry a day, clean a toilet when you see it needs it (without feeling like you need to clean the whole bathroom), fold clothes as they come out of the dryer.  Stay ahead of the game.  🙂
time managment

It’s one thing to have an ‘idea’ of what you want to accomplish in a day or week. It’s something entirely different to take the steps needed to make it happen.

Write it down.  Add it to your phone or online calendar. Chisel it in stone.  Whatever means you are comfortable with … get your plan ‘on paper’ and use it as your daily guideline.  Why give yourself the added pressure of trying to remember it all?  Feel like you’re not sure what to do next?  Check your plan.  Need help getting motivated to get something done?  Check your plan and just do what’s next … the next priority in line.

If you’re left with a feeling that you’re not accomplishing what you need to be doing … it’s time to revisit your priorities.

TIP!!! Only put ‘accomplishable’ tasks on your plan.

I don’t need ‘make coffee table out of old doors‘ mocking me on my plan for a month.  Instead try MON – design coffee table, measure and cut doors TUES – scrape old doors WED – scrape old doors (’cause I know it’s gonna take me time THU – work on an entirely different project (’cause I know I’m gonna be hating the old doors right about now) FRI – get revenge on old doors with the sander  🙂

Whitney from Drab to Fab also lives by the ‘write it down’ philosophy.  Her big tip is to write obligations down immediately … we always think we’re going to ‘just remember’ … until it’s Saturday AM and the body shop is calling wondering if we’re going to come to our oil change appointment?!?!  Oh snap!
time managment

It really is your choice.  What exactly are you going to do with your time when all of the non-negotiables are taken care of?

Noticing that those floors really need a thorough cleaning? Plan it for this week and move on.  Don’t stress about not having it done already, you were doing something more important. #doghairismyfriend

Wanting for more play time with the kids?  That has to be a bigger priority than other things that were accomplished. #makedoghairyourfriend 😉

Desperate for a date night. Just do it. 🙂

Realize which items are really frustrating you that aren’t getting accomplished and make them a priority.

And for everything else … let it go.  Cut yourself some slack.  This is your life.  Other than the actual requirements of life (we all know what those are for ourselves) everything else is just gravy.

Unless you don’t like gravy … then it’s chocolate sauce … and caramel sauce … and maybe even some nuts.  🙂

And there is always this brilliant tip from Emily at 52 Mantels. When you start to feel overwhelmed about the amount of housework/yardwork/pick your poison (sounds like yours might be emails, Emily) :), set the timer and just GO.  No sitting, no tv, no distractions.  Get as much done as you can in the next 20-45 minutes.  And then move on with your day.  🙂

And have peace in knowing you’re doing exactly what you’re meant to be doing. And be sure to relish that oh so rewarding feeling.  You’ve earned it.

And for the rest of the week that is Organizing 101: Back to Basics, don’t forget to check out these great posts (I’ll add links to the specific posts when they all go live).

Beth @ Free Stylin’ – Menu Planning
Allison @ House of Hepworths – School Lunches
Jamie @ C.R.A.F.T. – Organize Your Blog
Becky @ Organizing Made Fun – Morning Schedule
power of paint

Now tell me, does this make any sense? Can you see this working for you?  Is it similar to what you’re doing already?