Monthly Archives: August 2018

Making space in the summer closet (inexpensively)

If you took a look at my wardrobe you might think I live in a tropical climate. I don’t. I just favor warm-weather clothes and have built up a nice little collection of casual clothes over a period of years. Because space is tight, I have to seasonally swap clothes in and out of my closet (and tall IKEA unit) in order to make things fit. Nonetheless things have gotten particularly tight in my small 2×5′ closet this year.

Last October I put up a post showing how I organize my closet and clothes in small spaces.  That post has a ton of photos so I won’t duplicate them here so much as show my seasonal changes and a few new fixes.


In winter I keep boots on the lower shelf but in summer swap them out for bins.


Year-round I keep rain boots and some hiking boots on the upper shelf I added. The key to adding a second shelf is to make it more shallow than the lower one.


Summer shoes plus an inexpensive 5′ runner I found on Amazon. The closet gets COLD in winter so I thought the carpet would help. And it’s a homey touch.


Belts on the back wall


To save space I bought this tie/belt rack hanger to hold tank tops. It’s worked out very well and it was cheaper than hangers sold as “tank top hangers.”


Dollar Tree bins plus Dollar Tree plastic hangers (8 for $1) that are skinnier than typical plastic hangers so they save space. And I love the blue and green colors!


I recently treated myself to space-saving metal pants hangers from Amazon.They’re very nice; I didn’t know they made such a thing.



A tall, cylindrical laundry basket on the left side.


Hard to see, but laundry basket for sheets on right side


It folds flat when I’m not using it

Finally, I want to mention that the fabric covering the closet opening is a Kate Spade fabric shower curtain that I added an extra piece of fabric to in order to make it long enough for the closet opening. I found the curtain at Ross and immediately fell in love with it and while it took awhile to figure out its best use (I didn’t want it for the shower). I am delighted with this use. Since Kate Spade’s suicide earlier this year I have looked at this with bittersweetness. I am grateful to have her beautiful design but always saddened when someone of such talent dies, especially at their own hand.



Wearing Old Navy Sundress on hot day at August Farmers Market (bargain style)

As I posted earlier in the summer, I was determined to wear my cute summer dresses this season, rather than waiting for the “perfect” occasions. I found this awesome cotton sundress on the clearance rack at Old Navy 6 years ago (I know this because Old Navy, like Target and a few other stores, I think, puts a date on a tiny tag inside the clothes). Not only did I love the dress on sight, it was an amazing $5! And it fit! And looked good! The bodice or waist area of this dress, with no spandex in sight, is unforgiving. If I’m ever not the size I was when I bought it, the dress is not gonna fit. Fortunately, it does have a small side zipper which facilitates actually getting into it. The blue and white checked pattern has a kind of retro-sexy vibe; the dress shows a lot of skin but it’s more sweet than vavavoom so it works for day time.




The back has interesting details



I wore blue fabric Grasshoppers flats (purchased secondhand for a couple bucks).



Going blue: I made the earrings and the barrette, and recently found the cuff watch (it opens) on Amazon for $2.

The center piece of the barrette started life as part of an earring (from the nineties). I was able to wire it and the glass beads onto the barrette. You can buy plain, undecorated barrettes from craft stores or Amazon to make your own inexpensively. I wear barrettes and pins in my hair as much or more for decoration as utility.

In 2016 and 2017 I put up posts of all the hair styles I created for myself. I had let my hair grow (still am) and one of my favorite summer things is to get creative with my hair (in winter I’m usually in hats). There isn’t going to be a “Hair Tricks and Pics 2018” post but I did invent one new style that I wore with the Old Navy sundress. In this one I made two braids, one with the top half of my hair and one with the bottom half. I twisted the top braid into a bun and pinned it and made a loop with the lower braid). Here’s a couple shots to give you the idea.




As summer winds down, I am really glad that I took the trouble to wear a few of my great little dresses. Yes, it take more trouble and thought that a tank top-and-shorts combo, but every now and again it’s worth it – dressing up makes things more special (and more fun) and I can definitely see the value in that.

No more “House arrest” in the living room

I’m pretty happy with the things I’ve done with my living room, which I’ve shown from time to time on the blog.  Inspiration hit again recently, partly from a memory from a number of years ago when Nate Berkus, the charming interior decorator, spoke on Oprah about people’s tendency to place their furniture under “house arrest” – it was all “up against the wall.” I looked around and stood accused; the furniture tended to cling to the walls but given the fairly small space, I wasn’t sure how to fix it.

I have longed to have seating which faced the window, especially for winter (if you can’t BE outside, it helps to at least be able to look). Here’s my solution: pulling the couch away from the wall and angling it and the 5×8 rug in the space. The couch now faces neither the TV nor the window straight-on but each at an angle, but not so much of one or the other that your neck will complain. And there’s still plenty of room to walk around.


The couch is very deep and I thought it didn’t look good – big wall-o-couch – till I put the plant and small table at the end, which soften the appearance.


I made other small switchups. I put the white IKEA chair cover back in my bedroom and brought the flowered one to the living room (restoring each to the chair they came with). I pulled the blue lamp with the old-fashioned pull chain at the base out of storage. I had thought the baby blue co!or wouldn’t work before, given my general color scheme, but for now it’s okay and picks up blue in the chair cover. (I have since made a larger wood off-white top to put under the lamp so there’s a place to set drinks. When I put a drink on the coffee table I am at risk of kicking it off as I did once this summer, breaking a clear glass and sending my beverage flying, oops).

I have previously shown a high, narrow shelf I put up, one with pretty white lights strung from it. The lights are on a timer, 6:30-10:30pm. Well, last winter I got the bright idea to hang them in front of the window, despite knowing they acted up when moved. When I went to put them back on my high shelf for summer they promptly died and all the shaking and  “rearranging” in the world wasn’t bringing them back. I was kicking myself – I loved them on the shelf. Why hadn’t I left them alone? However, in  mid-summer I went to a local church rummage sale, the same annual one where I’d initially found the lights, and damned if I didn’t find another set. Yay! In addition to re-hanging my beautiful lights, I painted the unfinished wood white. Aaahhh, happy.


Short Thought 216

It isn’t just that at times in my life I’ve felt taken for granted, it’s how quickly it seemed to happen. I have yet to ascertain how much of this feeling is a reflection on me versus on the other people.

Short Thought 215 (distractions & temptations)

It isn’t that I don’t get distracted by unhealthy/tempting things so much that I now recognize them when they show up and CHANGE COURSE – redirect myself – sooner than I used to. I see trouble for what it is in whatever shape it arrives: person, substance, or situation. It is both a disappointment and a kind of relief to truly understand that nothing outside of myself holds the answers or the solutions.