Archives for August 2017

My Organized Spice Drawer

My Organized Spice Drawer

This post is sponsored by Brother

We’ve been really enjoying cooking meals in our newly remodeled kitchen over the past eight months! We were getting used to cooking outside or in our electric skillet in our laundry room, but it’s so nice to have a real designated space again for daily meals.

We try to eat at home as often as possible. We loved going out to eat during our remodel (and still do, let’s be honest there are great restaurants in Seattle). But with vegans, semi-vegetarians, non-dairy and all-around health conscious family members, cooking at home means we can all eat well (and more affordably) and have better control over what ingredients are in our meals.

A transition to more cooking requires better organization. Enter my Brother P-Touch D210 label maker. This little gadget is my new organizing BFF. Have you ever used one? It is addictive, but in the very best way.

My Organized Spice Drawer

Knowing what you are going to cook, having quality ingredients on hand and being able to find what you need when it comes time to prepare are key for us in being able to prepare healthier meals. Even when we were working on our kitchen, we thought about how we could be better equipped and organized for meal prep to make it more enjoyable to work in. This led to our decision to install four shallow drawers on either side of our stove and a Lazy Susan cabinet nearby for pots and pans to help maximize our kitchen space.

My Organized Spice Drawer

We mostly shop in bulk so we ended up with lots of small bags or jars of unidentified items stuffed in the drawer. Unlabeled bags or hard-to-read grocery store twisty ties made it difficult to know when something needed to be replenished. Disorganization was causing a slowdown in meal prep because we’d have to open up the bag and smell or taste things to make sure we knew what was in the bags!

While we’ve been excited to prepare daily meals, I’m actually not a great cook myself so if faced with missing ingredients for a recipe I’ll easily give up and order something. After a few too many pizza deliveries in recent weeks, ahem, I decided it was time to take our organization to the next level.

My Organized Spice Drawer

If you can’t see the video, click here to watch it on YouTube.

With the P-touch, it is so easy to type in a word, print out a label, stick it on, and voilá, a minute or two later, you’re better organized. I LOVE IT!

I love that I don’t have to fear making mistakes. I can preview my label before I print it. I’ve also been having fun with different fonts, borders and symbols.

My Organized Spice Drawer

In fact, the P-touch offers 14 different fonts, 97 frames, and more than 600 symbols so you can really get creative and personalize your labels! The P-touch TZe tape is laminated, so it’s water, fade and temperature resistant – perfect for the kitchen.

My Organized Spice Drawer

Now that I’m on roll with organizing and my kitchen is in order, I have many more plans for labeling around the house! Stay tuned!

My Organized Spice Drawer

How could you get more organized with labels?

You can purchase the P-touch D210 labeler at Amazon, Office Depot, or Staples.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

You know that house in blogland or on Instagram (or in your neighborhood) where everything about it seems absolutely perfect? Well, I think “perfect” can be a misunderstood standard. Especially in our own home.

What does perfect mean to you?

Will a house be perfect if you can spend a lot of money on it? Is it perfect if it has every feature you need or the exact layout you want or is the style you’ve always dreamed about? Is it perfect only if it is in the right location? Or is it perfect if every choice is on trend or makes an Instagram-worthy photo? Is it perfect if everything in it functions the way it should?

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

I found this definition of perfect online:

perfect: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

I feel like the part about having all the required or desirable elements leaves the measuring stick of perfection up to our own interpretation. Which, as Martha would say, is actually very good thing. 

If you decide to set very few limitations on what you deem as required, achievable or desirable qualities, a high standard of comparison to someone else can determine whether or not you have “all the required and desirable elements.”

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

But if your expectation for what is required and desirable is “lower” (perhaps because it takes into account your own priority goals and expectations), what is “perfect” for you right now could take on a different meaning.

You know what I mean? No?

Well, let me try to explain.

Exactly two years ago we bought this house in Seattle. The market was and has been crazy here. So as I mentioned while we were house hunting, we knew we’d have to make some compromises to what house would be “perfect for us.” Our desired location lowered our expectations for the house we’d be buying, haha.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Fortunately, we were able to find a solidly built older home that actually feels nice to be in. That was a win, very few houses we looked at had “that warm homey feeling.”  You can’t really put a price tag on a home (or a life) that just feels right. That “feeling” ended up being one of our main criterion for choosing a house, even over a particular style or size.

This house didn’t have every feature I would have listed for my perfect “dream house,” but because it “felt right” we knew in time we could make it our own.

Making it our own doesn’t require that we make the design perfect, but rather, it is about creating a home that “feels right” for your family in the season you are in.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about our home, I’m increasingly finding myself drawn to simplicity. Not just in designing my home (although this house definitely seems to feel best when we use a certain amount of restraint), but simplicity in life!

Simple decisions all around feel the best to our family right now.

Rather than using perfection or a comparison to someone else’s high standard as a measuring stick, we are trying to use simplicity as one of our main standards for making decisions.

With simplicity as our goal, we can more easily learn to be content with what we can do (or with what are willing to invest in) during this season. 

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

So what does all of this have to do with painting our stone fireplace white?

You might remember that back when we painted our fireplace gray that I had said I wasn’t sure I’d want white stone. Painting the stone gray made sense to me, so gray it was! I knew it would serve our space well for the time-being. Paint wasn’t the “ultimate” fix I dreamed of, but it was the simplest and best choice for us in that season.

I thought by this point in time I’d be ripping out the stone anyway and putting in my dream fireplace. But even if we had to wait for many years, I told myself that I could always try to paint the fireplace white the next time I wanted a fresh new look.

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

When I got the itch recently to make some updates to our living room, I really thought the time had come to rip out the fireplace and start over. But when I used simplicity as my guide, I realized that once again that the simplest way to make changes was to apply a new paint color to the fireplace.

I reminded myself that if I didn’t like it or grew tired of it in time, I could always take a more drastic (and expensive, ha) approach when I was more prepared to tackle a bigger project with a bigger budget.

But that day was not today. Or that week. Or this summer. Or this year.

So, we painted it white!

And you know what? I’m totally OK with it. In fact, I think I actually like it white. I definitely like it better than I thought I would. It feels like a fresh, simple and clean backdrop for the room. So, now I’m extra excited about decorating for fall and Christmas! And all it took was some paint.

I’m even starting to feel OK with leaving the fireplace as it is for awhile, at least for as long as it makes sense. Because in this season in our life, simple actually feels almost perfect. You know what I mean?

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

And if you’re wondering what this fireplace looked like when we moved in, below is a flash back to the before!

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Do you ever find yourself craving a life of greater simplicity? How does that play into the design of your home?

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover


Fireplace and wall paint color – Simply White Benjamin Moore

Mirror (mine was purchased locally but I believe this is the same one!)

Watercolor quote artwork on mantel

Rattan daybed

Gray and white pom pillow

Woven basket in fireplace

Birch logs

Woven Shades


Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover

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Lessons from A White Painted Fireplace Makeover