One of my goals before the baby came was to completely organize our basement.
This included going through all our 'storage' boxes from moving - you know, the ones that got stuck in the basement because there was no other place for them? Yup, those ones. Plus, of course, legitimate storage items, and a great number of boxes marked GARAGE SALE. That was finished last week, and makes my feet do happy dances whenever I look into that side of the basement.
The other part of my basement organization was the side that contains the boy's play area, our office, and the laundry area! Since we're working with an unfinished basement, but plan on spending a decent amount of time down here, I scoured KIJIJI for carpet and baskets, and was rather tickled with what I found.
Today was the day I finally finished what I wanted to do on this side of the basement. I don't have pictures of the office/laundry area, but was so tickled with the boy's area I had to take pictures. :)
My picture taking jumped the gun a bit, still a bag of garbage, a toy that is departing to other lands, and a few books to be removed... The boxes you see along the left side of the picture is my recycling - a neat and tidy system that makes me most happy. I am considering covering the boxes with fabric or paper to make them more attractive - we'll see how bored I get before the baby comes. ;-)
I am SO thrilled with this carpet! You can't see it very clearly, but it has a very nice pattern, tight weave, and best of all, makes a much warmer play area for my little men! There was about a 3ft strip that Josh cut off which goes very nicely in front of my washer/dryer/laundry table as well. :-D
Now, to the left of the freezers is a very special place. Most people know it as Under The Stairs, but I prefer to refer to it as The Cubby Hole.
To dabble down a bit of a side trail, I've been taking a personal journey this year to find a place between utilitarianism and interior designism... I love things that are beautiful, but often don't think of all the ways of beautifying, and in the past have seen a lot of decorating as a waste of time. On the other hand, I have a hard time watching people spend exorbitant amounts on interior design, only to change it all over again when the whim seizes them - specifically when this takes resource that may not really be available. As a result, I've erred a bit on the side of utilitarianism, a view God has been challenging this year, with the concept of making everything beautiful - just as He did.
My sister-in-love, Breanne, has been a great inspiration to me in this area, as she does such a great job of making everything she touches beautiful, within limited resources.
The crowning touch on this journey so far is a book I have been LOVING - The Hidden Art of Homemaking, by one of my favorite authors - Edith Schaeffer. Basically, she challenges us to make an effort to reflect the nature of God in our homes through many little art forms (music, gardening, decorating, flower arrangements, etc). She gives a lot of ideas of ways to do so without spending extra, or even taking a ton of time, and gives many thought provoking reasons for surrounding our children with beauty, and for using this avenue to reflect the nature of God as Christians.
Aside from some of my personal reactions, I have always seen it as important to help my children see beauty, and especially (having only sons at this point) to instill in my boys a love and appreciation of beauty.
All that being said, the following pictures may not be beautiful in every sense of the word, but were inspired by my reading of Edith Schaeffer. I have always loved the Telus animals, and Peter will sit for quite some time looking through their calendars. I'm one of those people who will save calendars, or cut out beautiful pictures, and then not know what to do with them, and after a bit, the practical side of me kicks in and I throw them all out.
While sorting through the toys (another thing that made me happy - throwing stuff away, putting some into the cupboard for a change of toys, selling some, and neatly arranging the rest) and looking at the nasty walls, I was inspired to see what I could do with the calendars to make it a fun and more attractive little cubby for the boys.
There is no doubt that doing something breeds more creativity, as just doing this today has spawned a number of ideas that may or may not take flight down the road... :-D
The basket between the Bear and Mr. Frog is one of 6 I found on KIJIJI for a great price. They are beautiful, scoocum, and work even better than I expected for sorting toys/etc. My next project is the boy's bedroom and nursery where I'm using more of the baskets, and rather excited about that as well...
Don't you love these salamanders? I do... :-D
Peter loves elephants, so this is one of his favorites...
I wasn't crazy about this wall - feels a bit messy, but Peter really likes it, and I do like the words that go with each picture.
These adorable little bunnies made me especially happy - you don't see the tape typically, and it keeps them a bit safer from prying fingers.
My satisfaction was complete when Peter came home from an outing with Josh, took a look around the transformed play area, and said, "It's NICE mommy!" :-D