Friday, September 12, 2014

19 DIY Leather Cord Keeper

I have a few travel dates scheduled and one thing on my mental list was to find a solution for my cord situation.  I typically take two cords with me everywhere I go - a phone cable and my headphones.  There are many sleek ways you can corral these types of cords within your bag, everything from prescription bottles to q-tip containers will do.  But I thought it would be fun to experiment with some new materials for this project, so that is exactly what I did.

I had recently come across some high-end leather cord wraps online, so when I spotted some gold gilded leather at JoAnn, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  With a 40% off coupon, I was able to pick up the leather for around $6.00.  For this project I also ended up using some brass mini anorak snaps and liquid stitch glue {which can also be found at a craft / sewing store}.  I thought I would end up doing some stitching by hand, but it wasn't necessary so you can ignore the spool of thread in the photo below.

This project can easily be done in under an hour on your own, however, I had my husband assist to speed along the photo taking process.  Such a good guy!

Here is a close up of the snaps.  Each snap starts out as a total of four pieces and I was going to end up with two total snaps.

The snaps I purchased came with a kit for setting the snaps.  Now that I have the kit, there is nothing that I can't add snaps to, it is like a whole new door has been opened!

I started by deciding where I wanted the snaps to be located and lightly marked with a pen.  Using the kit we were able to easily punch holes into the leather with a few hits of the hammer.

Then we continued to follow the directions for the snap kit and had the bottom of the first snap installed.

I added two snaps on one end of the gold leather strip, then folded it over to mark where the top portion of the snap needed to be installed.

To finish off the receiving end, I folded over the edge to create a crease and added the liquid stitch around the snaps.

I then pressed the end down to let the liquid stitch take hold, it will fully cure within 24 hours.

I determined approximately where I wanted to place my cords and drew a cut line with a straight edge.  A new blade in our utility knife created a nice and clean cut in the leather.

I then rolled the cords and slipped them through the slit cut in the leather.  Tada!

I don't know guys, I think it is pretty darn sweet!  I love that it keeps the cords corralled and wrangled nice and neat within my purse or carry-on travel bag.

I also love that it is a pretty gold finish!  This project was a simple and quick win!

The snaps were a little extra expense but I found they really finished off the look of the cord keeper.  But to save on those costs, the same slits could be created within the leather and it could just be rolled and tied with string, ribbon or twine.  Whatever is clever I say!

Anyone else playing with new supplies to whip up a quick and easy afternoon project? 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

8 Reader Space: Double the Storage Fun

It has been awhile since we have celebrated a good closet cleaning around here.  Thanks to Joy we have the opportunity to do so today.

Joy is just darling and runs a blog called Beautiful Protest where she shares her quest to create beauty from the little things in life {my kind of girl!}.  She recently created beauty within her two kitchen closets by ripping everything out, grabbing a can of paint and getting her organizing groove on.  I asked her to stop by today to share more about the process, but first a quick look at what she began with.

What is the main function of the space?

The main function of my new closet is to organize all our daily stuff—you know, postage supplies, garden paraphernalia, books, sewing & craft supplies, tools, and paper.  I’m always doing projects, so this closet helps me keep everything in its place.  Prior to the makeover, I would basically just shove things where there was space, so the function was inefficient, if not hazardous.  After deciding to homeschool my daughter for her first year of school, I realized that I also needed easy access to her homeschool curriculum, so that’s what put me over the edge to reorganize.

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

At this point, my main tip for keeping it organized is to put things back where they go.  Sounds simple, and usually takes 30 seconds or less, but it’s easy to get lazy and just throw things into random bins– I’m certainly guilty of this!  Another no brainer is that I keep stuff I don’t want my kids getting into on the upper shelves—you know, tools, postage supplies, gardening stuff and dangerous craft cutters/tools.  This helps keep messes and accidents to a minimum.

What items did you find were essential when organizing this space and why?

If I had to choose just a few, I think I would say that the essential items are all the plastic bins and file boxes.  I found most of the bins at Target—it was crazy how perfectly they fit in the new space, not to mention coordinating with the color scheme.  The magazine boxes are from IKEA, and they hold all of my daughters school and workbooks.  For daily use, I keep them turned to the short side so I can see what books are where, but when school's done, I just turn them around to hide the spines.  Another of my favorite items is the handy KVISSLE paper organizer from IKEA.  Paper is a hard thing for me to keep track of, and I’m excited to maximize storage with this little contraption.

What did you do to go the extra mile and “make it pretty”?

Form and function working together is my idea of perfection, so I hoped to apply that to my new closet and pantry.  I painted the interiors with leftover gray cabinet paint from my kitchen renovation last year to make them aesthetically cohesive with the rest of the room.  I tried to keep the palette limited to gray, white and wood tones.  The woven baskets add warmth and help keep the space from feeling sterile.  I also tried to find plastic bins with a variety of textures and styles--some solid, some see-through.  Thankfully Target had a wide selection of boxes and bins this season, so it wasn't hard to find what I needed.  The other easy thing I did to make it pretty was to use glass jars for storing things like crayons, colored pencils, chalk and clothespins.  It's easy to overlook the mundane beauty of everyday objects.

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?

In terms of budget, my goal was to achieve the highest level of efficiency for as cheaply as possible—hiring the job out wasn’t really an option.  So, I guess the whole project was pretty much DIY.  But one of my favorite customizations was using shorter bottom shelves to create a nook in the closet for a rolling cart (IKEA'S RASKOG) and one in the pantry for the garbage can.  Thankfully, the guys at Lowe’s were happy to cut down the white melamine shelves to my specified sizes.  It is AMAZING to not have the trash can taking up space in the kitchen.

How has it impacted your life for the better?

Even though I'm still shifting stuff around and figuring out what works best where, having my closets painted and basically organized has removed so much stress from my days.  Now we can actually get our work done with purpose and peace.  It also helps that I'm no longer in danger of thread spools falling on my head when I’m trying to find my tape measure.  I can't believe it took me almost 4 years to do this!

Now that we know how the closets are used and what Joy did to make it fabulous, let's check out a few more before and afters.

What I find to be most intriguing about this makeover is that it shows what simple changes can make for the functionality and aesthetics of her closets.  Things as easy as painting the interior the deep gray that unites the closets with the remainder of her kitchen and allows those white shelves to pop.  It gave her a fresh starting point and instantly cleans up scuffed up white walls.  Adding a track wall system as her new shelving was also super smart, as they allow her to adjust each level to fit the different storage needs and more than doubled her available storage capacity.  And what a great reminder that lumber and shelving can be cut to size right at the hardware store which keeps things super quick on installation day.  Now she has pockets of space in her closet to accommodate her trash can and rolling craft cart.

Other wins for this makeover include unifying storage solutions in similar finishes and tones.  Everything is gray, white or woven, which becomes extremely pleasing to the eye and creates consistency instead of clutter.  I also adore this quote, "The other easy thing I did to make it pretty was to use glass jars for storing things like crayons, colored pencils, chalk and clothespins.  It's easy to overlook the mundane beauty of everyday objects."  Well said Joy, I couldn't agree more.

Last but certainly not least, her new setup is safer.  No more craft supply avalanches and I think that is something we can all celebrate!

You can find all of the befores, the durings and the afters on Joy's blog here.  I appreciate Joy for stopping by to share a perfect example of what paint, shelving and love can do for any closet project.

 *  All images courtesy of Beautiful Protest

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!
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