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Tampa home

Tampa home

Girl’s Bedroom Update – Before and Plans

Before Casey was born, we happened to live near a baby furniture outlet and we were excited to buy some nice furniture for her bedroom.  Funny thing is that she didn’t actually have a bedroom in our house at the time.  We lived in Navy base housing for the first 4 months of her life and there happened to be a section of the master closet with no shelving where a pac’n’play and rocking chair would fit perfectly.  So she lived in a closet for a few months.

But back to the furniture…it was one of the first things set up when we moved to our Virginia house and Casey got a bedroom.  Almost all of the furniture I/we have purchased in the last 15 years has been dark.  Casey’s bedroom furniture was espresso colored and we loved it at the time.  There was a lot of storage with a tallboy, a dresser and a hutch.  But over the last couple of years it has started to feel heavy and too dark.  It also got damaged in a move and drawers were no longer sliding nicely.

Girl's Bedroom Crib & Rocker

Girl's Bedroom Espresso Dressers

I had visions of white for Casey.  She is fun and energetic and outgoing and the dark furniture didn’t work with her personality at all.  I started putting together a vision of an updated bedroom that would work here in Tampa but also work in our next home where she will have a smaller bedroom.  Casey liked the idea of white furniture and wanted to add teal/turquoise into the design.

I don’t have any great pictures of her bedroom in Tampa before we started this makeover.  I do have a couple of not so great ones that I think Casey took.  I was always to going to clean up and take good pictures but before I knew it, the furniture was out the door!  So here is a little bit of before:

Girl's Room Dark Dresser with Hutch

Girl's Room Tall Dark Dresser

I think I thought there was a lot of baby “stuff” but now I realize that there’s really a lot of 8 year old “stuff”!

First up was a bed.  I regretted the cheap mattress/boxspring we bought for her when she moved out of the crib.  It was always squeaky and not comfortable and I felt like it wasn’t cozy enough for her.  At one point, I ripped open the boxspring and pulled out the huge piece of cardboard that was the culprit in the squeakiness.  That was a good first step toward a better bed, but I felt like a crazy lady ripping apart a boxspring!

I thought a daybed with a trundle would be a great option.  She would get the coziness and room to have a friend over.  Then I found this Ikea daybed…

Ikea Hemnes Daybed

                                               Ikea Hemnes Daybed

It has storage drawers and it essentially turns into a king sized bed when pulled out!  It was my ideal bed but we kept our eyes out on Craigslist for other beds that might work.

I wanted to find a large dresser on Craigslist or a thrift store that I could paint white if needed.  We would be going from two dressers with 8 big drawers and two shelves to just one dresser, so I wanted it to be pretty substantial.  I also looked around at newer dressers, but we were trying not to spend too much money.  I would rather refinish a solid piece of furniture than buy something new that’s not as good quality.

So, I came up with this mood board for Casey’s updated bedroom.  She wanted it to be a little beachy too and loves the wave on canvas from Ikea.

Mood Board for Girl's Bedroom | Capturing the Threads

Next, I will share how our hunt for a white dresser went!


organization, school, Tampa home

Simple Desks for Elementary Students

It’s been about two years since the kids and I went on a fun trip to get desks.  We had a lot of room in our craft room/office and I wanted them to each have their own place to do homework.  But, I didn’t want to spend too much on furniture that might not fit into the next house.  Since we already had a lot of storage for school supplies, I wanted a simple tabletop for each of them.

Since I’ve moved to Tampa and been near an Ikea, it’s become my go to store for furniture and storage items.  You can’t beat the prices and I’m not as worried about it becoming damaged in a future move.  There are still areas where I want nice furniture but there are a lot of places where Ikea is just right, such as these desks.

For under $100, we were able to buy two tabletops, two sets of legs and two swivel chairs.  The most difficult part of our adventure was choosing the chairs.  I had a vision for chairs that was a little different from the kids.  They both wanted different colors and different styles and I eventually steered them towards a single color, single style even though it wasn’t exactly the color I wanted.

Originally I set up the desks in the middle of the room and they faced each other.  This worked okay but they would easily distract each other and the desktops seemed to be constantly messy.  This prompted furniture move #2 in the craft room and their desks went up against a wall.

It turned out that the scrap book supply cubes I bought years ago were the exact same height as the desks and helped to contain some of the clutter that had spread over their desks.  And, I finally put labels on the drawers and it really helped with keeping things organized!


Elementary Study Area with Ikea Desks

I tend to get a project to 95% finished and call it good enough.  Labels are usually part of that last 5% that I don’t get to.  In the last year, I’ve been much better about adding labels and I am seeing why it is so useful.  Not to mention cute!  I still give myself a pat on the back every time I realize how helpful they are.

School Supply Storage

Each of the kids has a drawer to stash anything they’d like to help keep the clutter off of their desks.  Then I have places for glue, string, stamps and crayons.  There is a drawer for paper, a drawer for random craft supplies and a drawer for cards.  I recently went through and went through the cards.  There were a lot of good intentions in there…that never got mailed.  I decided if I hadn’t sent out the Thanksgiving cards in 5 years, I probably wasn’t going to get to that!

I bought each of the kids a desk calendar in an attempt to help them stay better organized.  I was mostly thinking of my son, who I thought could benefit from a monthly overview instead of the weekly planner he brings home from school.  My daughter was self motivated and has hers all filled out with special dates and homework due dates and his is still pretty much blank!

Casey's Desk

They each have a caddy on or near their desks which corral some of the junk that flows in.  We clean them out every once in a while when they start to overflow.  We’ve had them for years and they have always been useful in one way or another.

student desk with desk calendar

And finally, we have a lot of pencils!  I bought this divided copper container at Homegoods once and have been searching for a good place for it.  It’s a little short to store my kitchen utensils but it turns out to be a great place to store markers, pencils, scissors and rulers.

Copper Storage for School Supplies

The wall that the desks are on is a 16 foot wall and it was overwhelming to figure out what to put on the wall.  Originally it was going to have our college degrees on there but I thought it was a little boring.  When I moved the kids’ desks to this wall, it would have been cute to add bulletin boards and some of their projects but we just left it as is.

Desk Area

Now that my daughter’s room has been updated, she wanted her desk upstairs, so this area just has my son’s desk.  A few other things have been moved around and as soon as the new shelves are decorated, I’ll post the whole craft room/office!

moving, Navy life, Tampa home

In the Navy – Our Next Adventure

Even though we move a lot, courtesy of the US Navy, we generally have a good idea of how long we are going to be in a certain location.  We knew that we would have two years in Memphis and about two years here in Tampa.  And luckily, we already know when and where we are going next!  But in the meantime, I’m going to eke out another year in Tampa.

We know that we’ll be moving next summer but Pat will be done with his job here in Tampa soon and will be doing some training over this school year.  The kids and I will be enjoying one more year with our friends in this area.

I’ve been meaning to blog more of our Tampa home recently, but there has been a lot of work going on “behind the scenes” so to say.  We have already purchased the house we are going to be living in next and we are very excited about it!  I am so looking forward to owning a house again and I have spent a lot of time planning how things are going to work and fit in the next house.  I’ve been getting tight with Pinterest and graph paper.  But I haven’t spent much time planning and writing blog posts here.

The behemoth we live in now is a little too much for us at over 3000 square feet.  It has five bedrooms plus a big office and a big playroom and a formal dining room.  We have certainly figured out how to spread into all this space but we don’t need it and it’s a lot to take care of.

Our next house will be closer to 2700 square feet.  We will be using the formal dining room as the office and the playroom is going to be much smaller.  Plus we’re going down to 4 bedrooms.

Already knowing where we’re going to move in a year is kind of a luxury and I’m super excited about being able to plan the spaces.  While our Tampa house has a lot of space, the storage is awkward and it’s been difficult to organize using the existing systems and keeping spending minimal.  The fifth bedroom is essentially just a catch all for all random things.  The new house will probably have even less storage but I’m determined to think it all though and figure out where everything will fit and create the custom systems we will need.

Planning the next house has meant some changes here in Tampa lately.  Part of that means some serious purging and really thinking about what we use now and will use in the future.  Part of that is figuring out where we’re going to store certain items in the future and making a few changes here to “practice”.  I’m looking at every single thing in this house and asking myself where it is going to go in the next house.

Recently Casey’s room has gotten an update and is almost finished.  I loved her furniture when we got it but it was feeling too dark for the room and for our bright and happy child and it wasn’t all going to fit in the new house.  At first we thought we should wait and buy new furniture after we move so we don’t have to move it and risk it getting damaged.  But I already knew what I wanted to get in her room and that it would work well in the new room and hopefully it will survive the move.  Her room is now the brightest room in the house and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.  Just a few more projects to finish and it will be done!

I’m also working on the craft room/office.  There is no closet in the office in the new house and it is also open to the front entry.  I’ll need a good storage system…one that holds a lot of stuff but also looks good!  I have never been completely pleased with the craft room here which is why I’ve only ever shown part of it.  I’ve moved furniture around in it three times but there’s always a problem wall or spot.  I’m determined to get a good shot of the whole room soon!

So stay tuned for some updates on the Tampa house and maybe some plans for the new house.  And once I restore the craft room from it’s chaos, I’ll get some sewing done too!



Tampa home

The Book Thread – Space Books

**I’m always in the middle of reading something so I thought I would share some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed.  I enjoy a wide variety of books from nonfiction to summer beach reads so I’m going to try to pick a category of books and write about some of my favorites during my “The Book Thread” update.**
Favorite Space Books-2

(This post contains affiliate links which do not change the price to you but will compensate me if you think I’ve recommended some good books which you choose to buy.  Happy reading!)

I’m currently reading A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts by Andrew Chaikin that I picked up at a thrift store.  (I love browsing the thrift store books shelves to find some great books for great prices!)  While I’m only a quarter of the way through the book, it’s already getting a 5 star rating from me.  I’m learning more about the Apollo program but really feeling like I get the know the astronauts and they are so intriguing.

I’ve been a fan of books about the Apollo missions since I was in high school.  Someone left a copy of Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell at the family cottage one summer and I picked it up and started reading.  I loved it so much that I seriously looked into studying aeronautical engineering in college.  I was torn between architecture and aeronautical engineering but the schools I was looking at had either one or the other.  Ultimately I chose architecture only to switch to electrical engineering a semester later…since Norwich didn’t have an aeronautical program.

About three years ago, I stumbled across Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond at my favorite Maine store – Marden’s – when I was home for the summer.  It was another 5 star book for me about NASA and the space missions written by Gene Kranz, who I first read about as a flight director in Apollo 13.  Back when I thought about going into aeronautical engineering, I never wanted to be an astronaut, I wanted to be Gene Kranz.

3rd graders at our elementary school get to go on a field trip to Kennedy Space Center and I was a chaperone on my son’s trip last year.  I think I might have had a better time than some of the kids.  It was so amazing to see where it all happened/happens and reminded me of my love for space exploration.  I picked up The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America’s Race in Space
by Eugene Cernan.  I haven’t jumped into this one yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a summer read for me.

My son and I enjoyed Kennedy Space Center so much that we went back last summer and are thinking about going again this summer.  And, I’ll have a 3rd grader next year so hopefully I can chaperone a field trip again.

Also, one more book about space that I loved but is in the fiction genre is The Martian by Andy Weir.  It had the adventure of Mars mixed with some scientific geek stuff and a character with a good sense of humor.  I might not have picked it up except it was a book chosen by our book club.  I’m realizing that after writing about four 5-star space books in the one post, whether fiction or non-fiction, they might be some of my favorite books.  Of course I’m likely to say that about other books in the future too!

I should also say that I’m sure there are many other great books about space out there, but these are the ones I have read and enjoyed.  If you have any recommendations for books like these, let me know in the comments and I’ll probably add them to my never-ending “to-read” list!


Tampa home

Organized Kitchen – Coffee Station

Over the next few weeks, I want to share some of my organization ideas for the kitchen.  It’s not the perfect kitchen…appliances are all different colors, the walls are a bad grayish-white, and the cabinets and counters are not my favorite.  But it has some great aspects and I’m choosing to focus on them.  As a renter, I can’t really change much in the kitchen and sometimes that’s okay.  Sometimes the challenge of working in non-ideal conditions gets me even more creative.

One of the things I like about this kitchen is that it has a lot of drawers.  There are enough drawers that I can devote one to coffee and tea supplies and only the Keurig and a few mugs live on the counter.

coffee station


This frees up space for all the other things that insist on living on the counter.   I love the idea of open, cleared off counters, but kitchen life runs more smoothly for me when I can easily store some items on the counter and access them quickly.  I’m constantly working on the balance between how useful it is to have something on the counter versus how cluttered it can get.

organized coffee and tea drawer

Storage containers in the drawer are a collection of Target Dollar Spot items, Dollar Store items and… iPhone boxes.  The boxes the iPhones come in are so nice that I can never throw them away and love when I can find another use for them!

I have a couple different sweetener options, mostly for our guests.  The sugar container, from World Market, can also be used when you have a craving for cinnamon toast…shake out some sugar and then sprinkle a little cinnamon.  The back of the drawer has a few extra spices and my kitchen scale.

organized coffee station and drawer

In the cabinet just above the coffee maker, I keep the travel mugs and the rest of the coffee mugs that are not as pretty to keep out on the counter but have a little sentimental value.

coffee station and mugs in the cupboard

Having everything near the coffeemaker and organized makes mornings go smoothly for the hot beverage drinkers in our house.  Using a few up cycled boxes and some inexpensive baskets keeps items contained and easy to access.

I’m working on updating my recipe collection and menu planning process for the next post in Kitchen Organization.