More Nesting: Entryway Update

Do you remember back in March when I blogged about the Healthy Habit of removing shoes at the door, and mentioned I was working on making my entryway more friendly to shoe removal? Well, I finally have something to show you.

Here is my entry [before]. Not welcoming, and very boring.

And now . . . here is what it looks like [after]:

Big improvement, yes? So here was the progression:

First, I found a bench on craigslist. Addicted to Love craigslist shopping! (If you missed it, read my safety checklist on bringing used/vintage pieces into your home.)

I looked for a couple of weeks for a great bench, and finally saw this one for $60. Too bad it was about 45 minutes away, but then all the good stuff seems to be that far away from me. It just fit into the center area of my minivan (seat removed), with the kids stuck in the back. It’s a solid quality piece of furniture, but came with no pad. (Strange how the seat is stained a different color, isn’t it?) So I threw down a white quilt and some pillows, and it was OK for a couple months.

We continued to use the small metal bin for shoes, but as warm weather came we always had a pile of shoes in the corner which didn’t fit in the bin. It’s the other corner of the entry, and I don’t have a picture, but I’m sure you know what a pile of shoes looks like. Not pretty.

So I started shopping for baskets to go under the bench.

So after several trips to multiple TJMaxx’s, Ross’s, and finally HomeGoods, I found these baskets. I learned something: these kinds of discount home stores only stock 2 of any kind of basket. It’s like a rule or something. One cannot find 3 of a kind at these places. At least not in the dark color I wanted. So the middle one is the same type of material as the two on the sides, but a slightly taller shape. And our shoes fit great.

All this time I was considering what type of fabric I would want on the pad/cover I would make.

My children selling hot cocoa (day 2 of the garage sale). We discovered that kids can sell a lot more at a lemonade stand (day 1) than cocoa stand, even if it is raining.

And then we had a block-wide garage sale. My neighbor was selling upholstery from her garage; she has 2 pallets of a wide assortment of fabrics. She let me take several home to compare them to the bench, and then when I decided on one, she gave it to me. Thanks, Trish!

I really like the brown and cream houndstooth check. I think it’s classic, practical, and stylish.

Then it was just a matter of time for my pregnancy nesting instinct to kick in with enough energy to work on the pad making project.

For the pad, I used an old bedspread, cut to size and piled 7 layers thick. The cording is some light rope we had the in garage (I think it is made for clothesline).This is the first time I’ve done a cording project, and it was a learning experience!

The houndstooth check made it easy to cut straight pieces and pleat the skirt. The pad took me several days to make, working on it during toddler nap-time.

Then  I wanted to add some more pillows to the bench than I’d had on it, and I had picked up this ugly but clean pillow at a garage sale for 25 cents.

I had this pad thing in the linen closet. It’s from my grandmother and she couldn’t remember what it was for. . . seems like a table pad? Anyway, I like the old soft cotton and the quilted texture. I cut the center out to sew into a cover for the pillow. Two side seams and an envelope opening in the back to pop the pillow through. After sewing the bench pad, this pillow cover was easy-peasy!

Then I used a scrap piece to make a tiny pillow, and piled them on the bench with the pillows I’d had on it all spring. But after looking at it for a day I felt that the putty, blue, and white color scheme was too pale, at least for summer, so I switched in the flag pillow.

Now I just need to decide what I’m putting above the bench and the entry will seem complete. [Hopefully that won’t take another 4 months!]

I’m linking to blog parties at theinspiredroom and funkyjunkinteriors.

Clean Floors: Bliss to My Feet

I love it when my carpets are freshly vacuumed, and my hard floors are freshly mopped (as they are right now!). Bliss to my feet!

Clean floors are an important part of home health, especially if there are babies in the home who spend a good portion of their time on the floor. Those sweet little hands that crawl on the floor. . . they go right into the mouth, don’t they?

Shoe Removal

In addition to keeping floors much cleaner through the week, shoe removal contributes to a healthy home. Most parents are aware of the hazard of lead from paint, and its toxic effect to children. Since I’ve only lived in homes built after 1978 since becoming a parent, I did not pay much attention to these warnings. Then I learned that children can still be exposed to lead through roadside dirt that has been tracked into the home (roadside dirt generally has a high concentration of lead from exhaust residue which came before lead was banned from gasoline).

Of course, I don’t do a lot of walking along major roadsides. But it did get me thinking about what else might be coming in on my shoes. From the grocery store, and occasional public restroom, to the library and local farm for eggs and milk, my shoes go many places and must have an entire mini ecosystem of bacteria and filth living on them.

And so I began removing my shoes when I enter my home, and requiring my children to do the same. It did help that we moved to a home with new carpet around that time, and the No-Shoes-on-Carpet rule became so ingrained into my children that they are now self-appointed Shoe Police, ordering all to drop their dirty duds.

Large metal bins, placed both near the front and back doors, help contain the pile of little shoes and boots that now reside near the doors.

Cleaning Floors

  • Carpets: vacuum with a strong vacuum. For spots, first blot or scrub with plain water and a terry cloth rag (old wash cloth). If it doesn’t release, use a soap-based non-aerosol carpet/upholstery shampoo. I have had good results on both carpet and upholstery with Howard Naturals Upholstery Cleaner. Equal parts vinegar and water can neutralize urine odors.
  • Hard Floors: Sweep all loose debris from floors, then mop and wipe dry.

    • For vinyl, tile, and varnished wood floors, use 2 gallons warm water and 1 cup of vinegar.
    • For Linoleum floors, use 1/4 cup vegetable oil based liquid soap in 2 gallons warm water.

    I put the solution in a bucket, and wash the floor with a rag while on my hands and knees. I use an old bath towel to dry behind as I go. More difficult than a mop? Absolutely, but a mop is really just a filthy sponge that gets used and reused on floors without cleanings in between. If you have a mop where the cleaning rag can be removed and laundered between use, awesome! Since mine was the old sponge type, I chucked it in favor of a truly clean floor. I always have a laundry load of rags to launder together in hot water and oxygen bleach at the end of cleaning day.