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Oct 24, 2014

DIY dry erase calendar...

In order to add calendars to my family command center  I needed a couple things. First of all I was looking for a large enough calendar. With three kids I wanted them all to see what I was writing without using a 3 pt font. I wanted two months at a time each on a separate calendar so we could plan out the month ahead of us. I purchased two of the IKEA Nyttja frames measuring 19.75 x 19.75 each. This gave me plenty of room for the size calendar I wanted. Plus the Nyttja frames are so incredibly lightweight that they can be hung using 3M velcro strips. This came in handy as I was figuring out the exact layout of my family command center. I might have changed my mind on the arrangement  two or thirteen times.

As you might have guessed I couldn’t find a big enough calendar to suit my needs. I decided to create a blank calendar myself. Using a dry erase method I would be writing on the front of the frame. This allowed me to use it over and over since the calendar would be inside the frame.  I could write in the month and the dates as they change. I created a 15 inch by 15 inch monthly calendar with just the days of the week printed out. I could have printed this out at home and tiled the image but I wanted a seamless image behind the frame. I place two calendars on one page (measuring 24 inches by 36 inches) and uploaded them to Staples.com. Since I just wanted a black and white print and needed a big printer to print out my 15 inch by 15 inch calendars this was the cheapest option. I chose their engineering print option and for a whooping $3.89 I had my two calendars. I’m including a link to the calendar I created in case you want to try this out for yourself.

dry erase calendar
I opened the frames up and added some wrapping paper as a background. The paper I used is from Target and I carried the paper backing through the rest of the command center as well. You can use fabric, leftover wallpaper, or even your childrens’ artwork. I then cut the calendars out and centered them within the frame.  

dry erase calendar

dry erase calendar


The large size works perfectly. I have two months up at a time so we can plan ahead. The margins around the calendar are so large that I even write notes here for the babysitter with cell phone numbers and bedtimes. Since it is dry erase I can have a clean calendar ready for the month ahead within seconds.


Oct 22, 2014

customizing store bought items to fit your style {via spray paint}...

I had a picture in my head of how I wanted my family command center to look. I wanted a clean and uncluttered look that went with the rustic industrial design. Some of the pieces that I purchased didn’t need any customizing to fit that description. Some did.

I’ll start with the shelf and brackets. I purchased two Ekby Robert brackets from IKEA in a nickel plated finish. I would be using them upside down with the shelf on the inside of the arch. Since I was going for a rustic industrial look I needed a darker finish. 

via IKEA
family command center

family command center


I laid these out of a piece of plywood to spray paint them. Two coats of  oil rubbed bronze spray paint later I had some rustic industrial brackets. I used the spray paint for metallic surfaces. Once they were dry I screwed them in upside down so the shelf could rest on the inside of the bracket. This allowed me to place the shelf at the height I wanted it without losing inches underneath. I wanted the calendars to come close to the shelf and not have a big empty space.

family command center

family command center


Next up was my own inbox. This is for the items that I need to work on ASAP. Bills, phone calls, sign up sheets, etc. I found a galvanized mail holder at Target which was perfect, just the wrong color. 



via target
Have you ever been to this section of Target by the way. It is so tempting to buy the whole line of products. They are perfect for an entryway, mudroom or even (gasp) a family command center! The mail holder got the same treatment as the brackets. Two quick coats of oil rubbed bronze for metallic surfaces and I had a sleek looking in box.

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

So the moral of the story is everything is customizable. If you find the perfect item in the wrong color, spray paint it. If you love the shape and frame of a memo board but hate the fabric used, cover it with new fabric. If something you see in a store is almost perfect see what you can do to make it perfect. The new pieces I spray painted fit in with the rest of the wall and the other items I purchased. 

Oct 20, 2014

family command center sources...


family command center

I used some pretty basic pieces to create my family command center. I started at IKEA and purchased some of the Nyttja frames. I picked up two 19 3/4 x 19 3/4 inch frames for my calendars at $7.99 a piece. I then picked up two of the 5 x 7 frames, $3.99 for a two pack. I was planning on using the Ribba frames at first since they have glass fronts. The Nyttja frames are much lighter and plastic. I wanted to be able to use the front of the frame for a dry erase surface so I was hesitant at first. After some checking and double checking I found that dry erase works on plastic as well so I went home happy!

I also picked up a Hemnes shelf in the white wash finish and two Robert brackets. I did a bit of customizing to those which I’ll tell you more about later on. 

At Target I found a mailbox slot and a corkboard. I customized these a bit as well. Adding the smallest touch to something can make it feel so much more personal instead of picking it off the shelf and slapping it on the wall. I found the vertical file holder at Homegoods. Add some accessories from Target, IKEA, Homegoods and we have an organized, well used and uncluttered space.

Oct 17, 2014

the family command center...

The new family command center is up and running. It has been in use for a couple weeks now and is working out great. The floor still needs molding and the outlet need to be recessed into the wall. Other than that it is in working order. 

I managed to fit everything on my wish list in this area. I have two calendars, a personal in-box, file folders for each family member, a to do list, a weekly menu, a bulletin board and a shelf for storage and display. I’ll break everything down for you and give you my sources but for now I’ll just show you what it looks like...

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center

family command center




Oct 15, 2014

raskog the art cart...


raskog art cart

By removing some kitchen cabinets I was able to open up my kitchen a bit. The cabinets were in use but not in a good way. They were full of junk, things that needed to be put away and things that we did use but were buried under the things that needed to be put away. It was a mess.

A lot of the items that we did use were art supplies for my kids. Some of these items went in the drawers under the new banquettte bench and some waited for a new home.

I’d been eyeing the IKEA Raskog cart for some time....




I’m not sure if it is the wheels, the industrial look or the colors I like more. Regardless I knew it would someday, somehow find its’ way into my home. I’ve seen it used for kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, craft rooms and everywhere in between. With a couple containers it could be the perfect art cart for our kitchen. 

First it needed to be assembled. From start to finish the entire cart was put together by my five year old and eight year old, after the mandatory bubble wrap popping. 




It is extremely sturdy and each shelf is the perfect height from the one below it. Some carts you find like this are crammed too close together with no room to fit much of anything. It is a heavy metal and not flismy at all.

In order to create some organization I purchased the small buckets from the dollar section at Target. I’ve used these buckets for party favors before and at one dollar each they are great for corralling and organizing and gifting. They come in all sorts of patterns and colors, including seasonal designs. I bought the simple striped ones and removed the handles. Twelve buckets fit perfectly on one shelf of the cart.

crayon bucket


raskog art cart

raskog art cart

The top shelf holds crayons, colored pencils, scissors, pencils, glue sticks, markers, erasers, rulers, pencil sharpeners, dot markers and pens. The second shelf holds some stencils, stickers and drawing paper. The third row has coloring books.

raskog art cart

raskog art cart

I could have purchased the fun turquoise color but I figured the items in the cart were colorful enough! It is kept in the kitchen where it can be wheeled to the table for homework or to color. We’ve been using it for about two months now and it is staying very organized. My kids are keeping the crayons with the crayons and the markers with the markers! If they want to just color with colored pencils they can take that bucket straight to the table as well. The wheels make it fun to wheel to the table or onto the three season porch. It is used everyday and I think they are coloring and drawing more now that their art supplies are right in front of them.

raskog art cart


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