Monday, May 11, 2015

Storage of Priceless Memories

Priceless Memories

When it comes to storing items in your home, I am from the less is more camp. I thrive in uncluttered spaces! This process of purging that has occurred over the last couple of years tends to drive my dear husband crazy at times. But, through all of this purging there has always been one area I have had a difficult time with – our son’s things. Warning- this article is a bit personal.

When it comes to purging kids’ clothing and other items, you know for your family that it will save money later on if these items are just stored for the next child. But, for me, the decision not to purge was an emotional one. It began with the coming home outfit and then just escalated until we had four giant Rubbermaid bins stacked in our guest room and a closet full of other items (our son is now two years old). This was after I did pass along a few items to friends. I knew I needed to get a handle on these clothes if I was going to have a guest room for family. I would begin to purge and sort and decide what to do with everything and then emotion would set in and I would pack everything back into the bins breaking my back to stack them where they were previously. I just couldn't let go of anything remembering ever outfit and what he was doing when he wore it.

You may be wondering why I just couldn't keep these items for our next child like most moms do or consign them. The answer is a simple one –our son came after years and years of us longing to be parents. Some people are pretty certain when they are married that they will have a certain size family or they hope to have a certain sized family. In our case, God had other plans.

We tried for a few years to add to our family the traditional way. When we were financially able, we called on doctors to help us and we believed we would be successful. We were wrong. This was an extremely emotional time for us (as those of you who have gone through fertility treatments can attest too). We then felt the call to adopt. Because we followed this call, we had a baby boy in our arms nine months later (we had then been married 8 years)!! It was love at first site and that love for him has grown exponentially over the two years we have had him in our family. He is by far the best thing that has ever happened to us. That being said, you can see why it was and has been so difficult to purge anything related to his being in our home.

We recently joined a group at our church – the Orphan ministry – that offers support to families who choose to expand their family in different ways. These include adoption, fostering, or fostering to adopt. After joining this group, I realized that these items that I was holding on to needed to be used by others instead of sitting in our home. We were so blessed to bring Declan into our lives and our home. I wanted to bless others by giving these clothes to others who could use them now. I have since purged everything baby related down into two bins. This has been an emotionally cleansing time for me. But, there were still those items that have very special meaning to us that we really will want to keep including his coming home outfit and handmade hats and booties from grandparents.
I knew that these items could not just be packed into a Rubbermaid bin. They needed to be stored somewhere where they could be pulled out again years from now for another child or for our grandchildren still looking like they do today.

In my research, these are the guidelines I found to store these items successfully:
·        Clean the item completely or dry clean if able. Do not use any added stiffeners or starches on the item. Carefully inspect the item to ensure it is completely clean.
·        Use containers that are made of polypropylene (#5 recycling code or the letters PP). These would include Rubbermaid and Sterilite containers. These containers do not need to be airtight. You could also store items in a cedar chest, but they still need to be wrapped in the tissue paper mentioned below. You could also order Archival boxes from a reputable dealer. If ordering boxes, they need to be acid free and lignin free, not just labeled as “archival”.
·        Handle the item with clean, washed hands (the oils from our skin can cause stains over time)
·        Remove any metal or wooden buttons or other embellishments that could stain the item over time (store these in a polyethylene zip lock bag or wrap in muslin or tissue paper)
·        Use lignin and acid free tissue paper to wrap the item (lightly add tissue paper to sleeves, hats or other three dimensional items before wrapping), 100% washed muslin or 100% washed cotton sheeting can also be used
·        Add tissue paper to the inside of the storage container
·        Carefully fold the items if needed placing tissue paper between the folds and place the item in the container (the best storage will not require the item to be folded)
·        Add a container of dried French Lavender to the container to repel pests (do not use moth balls as they are a carcinogen)
·        Store the container in a room near an interior wall (not the attic or basement), ideally an interior closet or under a bed. It should be away from drafts or any plumbing pipes which may be inside the walls.
·        Inspect the item once every six months to a year to ensure it is still in good condition refolding it differently to minimize stress on the fabric
·        Finally, make sure these items are covered with your insurance company (take photos). This would go for antique items such as tapestries that are worth a lot of money.

No matter what items you have in your home that you need to store safely, be sure to follow these guidelines. You can also find more information on storing items of sentimental value by doing a quick google search with the words “textile preservation”.
We don’t know now what the future may hold for our family, but we know we are blessed beyond measure to have Declan in our lives. He has been the best thing that has ever happened to us. We hope to add to our family a sibling for him soon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

How to choose your design style {Part 1: Farmhouse Chic}

I have always loved HGTV and would pay for cable even if that were the only channel we received!! As a homeowner and designer, I find a ton of inspiration and ideas by watching the shows on this channel. One of my new favorites - and probably some of yours as well - is Fixer Upper with the Gaines Family in Waco, Texas.

This show appeals to me for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is that Joanna and Chip work together and compliment each other very well - the strength of their marriage and family is portrayed in the show. And, the second is her design style - very clean and refined while still adding unique and classic touches from times past.

I have constantly put effort into our home to make it more clean and refined as well as organized. The light colors, the open spaces and the lack of clutter in the spaces she designs really, really appeal to my senses. Everything has a purpose. Her own farmhouse is also inspirational in that she has inspirational sayings hanging on the walls in every room.

So, what style would I say Joanna Gaines inspires? She calls her style Farmhouse-Chic. A little industrial. A little country. A little modern with its streamlined pieces. But, altogether timeless.

What do I love about this style? Mainly, the open and airy feeling and the unique pieces that make a statement as well as the fact that the chosen pieces serve for form and function.

How do you add touches of this style to your home? 


  • Magnolia Homes: Many of the pieces Joanna uses on the show or in her farmhouse are also available for purchase. She also offers Gift Cards. WINK, WINK GARY CHEUNG. A few that I love include Metal Olive Buckets ($18 each), Tall Wavy Basket (from $58), White Canister Set ($38), Adjustable Stool ($145) and Bedtime Prayer Sign ($155) {Declan actually has a bear he received from his grandma that says this saying}     

  • Farmhouse Wares: This site also offers unique soaps and pantry items such as herbs and other food items  (also offers gift cards) 

  •  The Boutique by No Longer Bound where all purchases go to an awesome cause - to see men free of addiction and building a better life. Items available include custom built barn doors and custom built farmhouse tables. We have purchased a couple of signs from them and well as the Scrabble Letters to spell out Declan's name. In the future, we would love to change our Dining Room back into a Dining Room {Now a playroom} or a Sitting Room for Guest. If we opt for a dining room, we will definitely be saving for a Farmhouse table  from here.  

All monies go back into this program 

We have these to spell "DECLAN"

  • Home Goods {Local}All of the items below were on sale at our local Home Goods at the time of this post. They had a large shipment from Broyhill. All of the items except for the furniture pieces were between $6.99 and $24.99!! What a steal!!! 


Perfectly Imperfect  {She also has an awesome shop}
StoneGable {Lots of DIY Tutorials}
Live Creatively Inspired {Article}
The Farmhouse Porch {Has an Etsy shop}

How have we begun to add Farmhouse Chic to our home?
  • Floating DIY shelves in Master Bath {Hubby DIY}
  • Lighter colors in our Master and Master Bath {Master Bedroom}
  • Board and Batten in our Master Bedroom {Hubby DIY/Photo to Come}
  • Lighter colored bedding in Master - Purchased on Sale from {Pottery Barn Outlet}
  • Stained Dining Room Table/Covered Chairs {In the works}
  • Repurposed Dresser in Entryway {Dresser DIY}
  • Pallet Wall in Entryway {Pallet Wall DIY}
  • Handmade signs throughout our home {Myself and Boutique by No Longer Bound}
  • DIY Coffee Filter Wreath in Half Bath {DIY}
  • Storage in the form of baskets, wooden bowls (Heirlooms), Cedar Chest (Heirloom) 
Still in the works for our home are a redo of our dining room table and chairs {Summer 2015} and perhaps some more paint changes {Sorry honey!} 

I am the most excited about moving our playroom upstairs this summer. This new room will be full of industrial, rustic, farmhouse charm. The perfect place for a rough and tumble little boy to play - on rainy days that is. The rest of the summer, we will be making memories and taking adventures outdoors. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Photos of Food We Ate (All of this deliciousness deserved its own space!)

Dim Sum with Gary's Family
(Sook Sook-Gary's Brother, MaMa -grandma, YeYe -grandpa, and PoPo - Gary's grandmother)

Since being back in the states, we have craved Chinese food - authentic, only available for the most part overseas, Chinese food. So, last night we had a wonderful meal cooked by hubby of curry, rice and egg {Kare Raisu}which we ate at the food court in his parents' building. The Kare Raisu we ate had an egg cooked- sort of like an omelette - in a pan with the ball of rice on top and then it was flipped over onto the plate with the curry. So, so yummy!!

This weekend (older post - we enjoyed our Dim Sum and our trip to IKEA this day) - weather permitting - we have planned a morning of Dim Sum at a restaurant a little further from our house and tea time at a local Asian buns and coffee house called Sweet Hut. Can't Wait!!! We have made a plan from now on to eat Dim Sum at least once a month and invite different friends along.

The day in Hong Kong begins like the day in most other places around the world with people getting out of the house to go to work. But, breakfast in Hong Kong looks very different there than in the States. You can get eggs and oatmeal and toast, but those aren't the most common items found. Our breakfast here wouldn't last long with all of the walking and moving one does in Hong Kong.

Breakfast of Noodles, Beef and Bok Choy with Egg

The most common breakfast at home or out will include Dim Sum, noodles, buns or Breakfast sets at restaurants. If I wanted eggs, I requested them at home or ordered them alongside noodles. You can find cereal and oatmeal in the grocery, but the "Americanized" food tends to be more pricey.

Dim Sum Common Dishes:
Dim Sum is the Chinese equivalent to our southern restaurants that serve food in dishes family style. The dishes are ordered and brought to the table where they are placed on a giant lazy Susan in the center of the table. This is a great way to eat if you are a Chinese food newbie since you will get to try a lot of different things. I love Dim Sum. It is a laid back way to eat, drink tea and visit with friends.

Dim Sum Table 

Chicken Feet
Pork Blood

I have actually tried most everything there is to try from Dim Sum, including the Pork Blood and Chicken Feet. I do not care for chicken feet as it really is all about the chewing and not really any meat. The Pork Blood actually tastes a lot like beef liver and has the consistency of Tofu. I like both tofu and beef liver so this wasn't a biggie for me.

Congee is a winter staple at our home and it is our equivalent to Chicken Soup when we are sick - Declan loves it! It is so easy and simple to make - only one cup of rice goes a long way. We often add chicken, mushrooms, ginger and scallions to our congee along with the water.

 Other Breakfast:
Buns are served as a Dim Sum dish as well as found as a take and go snack. This article tells a lot about the different types. {Buns}

We also often visited a Chinese Bakery for tea time or for a quick snack for Declan. This website has a lot of mouth watering photos of the bakery items we eat most. {Chinese Pastries}

My favorites are the Red Bean Pastries while Gary loves the Egg Custard Tarts. Declan often went for the Hot Dog or Sponge cake pastries. The Sweet Hut tea and pastry shop is where we find these in the Atlanta area.

Baked Goods (Chinese Buns)


Octopus Balls (Takoyaki)

Gai Daan Tsai (Waffles) 
Chinese Tea Eggs 

Hot Pot for Dinner:
Hot Pot refers to a way of cooking a lot of food in one pot with a boiling soup base. The water is kept boiling hot and items such as meat, fish balls, vegetables and other items are dropped into the pot where it cooks. You then take out what you want and eat it.

7 Layer Pot for Chinese New Year (Already cooked) Included Chicken, Veggies, Abalone)

We enjoyed Hot Pot for our Chinese New Year Meal with all of Gary's family. I will add more photos of family meals when I find them on the computer :)