i promise. this is the VERY last time i forget to take a before photo.

because the before in this situation was positively shameful.

our downstairs closet has always been called the “art closet” because instead of hanging coats (which we never really need) we always stored our basic kid art supplies inside, along with their school stuff. (backpacks, etc) in various forms, such as a rolling plastic cart or an ill fitting bookshelf. the results were always a complete disaster. kids papers and backpacks and musical instruments thrown haphazardly inside, peeking out the bottom of the door even when it was shut. it drove me a little more insane each day. but, i let it sit like that for almost four years. so you can imagine how insane i really am.

i got the idea in mind to add more shelving about six months ago, and i finally had a chance to hire someone to do it two weeks ago. once the shelves were put up, the walls looked a hot mess. i realized i would have to paint the inside of the closet.

sidenote: ever since we moved here, i have wanted to paint my laundry closet a shocking, fun color, just to have a little happy surprise when i opened the doors. but i havent ever actually done that. i am too scared to move my machines. they were really hard to get in there, and even just thinking about moving them makes me feel anxiety ridden.

so, to satisfy my whole “shocking, fun color in a closet” desire, i purchased hot pink paint for the art closet.
(lowe’s : rasberry blush)

i also scurried about finding baskets and jars (target & at home) to hold all of their art supplies.

i also bought the kids all NEW art supplies. new crayons, colored pencils, markers. glue sticks, tempura paints, watercolor paper. puff balls, googly eyes, pipe cleaners. paint brushes, pencils, erasers. totally stocked them up. they needed it. we havent updated our stuff since the beginning of the the previous school year, so i didnt feel wasteful getting rid of some of the old stuff. also, after reading and being really, really inspired by this book, The Creative Family, by Amanda Blake Soule, i wanted to do as she suggested and give them good quality art supplies to create with.

i started sunday morning at 10:30, when jeff left for the gym. the kiddos were all happily occupied with club penguin (internet game) and el dorado (our favorite cartoon movie). we were all in our jammies.

they each came downstairs every so often to see what i was up to, and help. help sort things into jars. help toss out trash and recycle out the paper and plastic from the new supplies’ packaging. help fill up the shelves once i was finished painting. anna begged to help me paint, but i just couldnt quite hand it over to her, i had no tape or anything else protecting the floors, baseboards, or shelves. (but i promised her that the next painting project she could have at it. and she made me promise whatever it was, it would be pink.)

jeff came home while i was only about 1/2 way through painting. he passed and said, “pink, tara?! pink?!” and i looked at him with the eyes that mean “praise me now or lose me forever!!” and so he said, “but i like it!” and i said, “its a CLOSET man. A CLOSET. chillax!”

we finished at 4:30. we did have some breaks for lunch time and other stuff (fights, consequences, computer support), so all in all, it took me about five hours to finish. we were still in our jammies.

and here it is, in all of its care bear splendor. (thanks lisa.) :)




that green basket on the floor holds our oilcloth tablecloths that protect the table and floor from artsy messes. i bought them from a sweet woman in mexico who sells oilcloth purses out of her house and hangs them from her fence so driversby can purchase. i knocked on her front door praying she spoke at least some english so she could understand what i wanted. and she did. and she made me two in three hours, while we hung out in rosarito beach.

so if you are still reading, thank you. for some reason i really wanted to write about my process. i feel like i accomplished something huge, that has been on my to do list forever. so i feel really great today.

when i first started my blog, i did this thing called One Project A Week. (OPAW) i think once a week will be too much for me, so i am going to do one project a month. (OPAM) anyone want to join me? im going to call this project my april OPAM. and my project for may is going to be to fill the 9 20×20 frames you can barely see in the top photo with the last 7 images it needs. once i do that, i will take a photo. i could post my before on may 1st, and my after on the last day of may. you all could post on your blogs too, and link in the comments here. wouldnt that be fun? we could all goad each other into finishing.

(and guess what, i already took that before picture).

Join the Conversation


  1. An art closet is such a beautiful thing!! I am soooo jealous and wish I had one too! I love your OPAM idea. Don’t know if I am brave enough to commit though!?!

  2. Good for you! Doesn’t it feel absolutely wonderful? I have had an extremely messy desk (area) off to the side of my living room. It’s just the catch all ~ for mail, scrapbook supplies,etc…Just finished cleaning up the desk, the surrounding floor, the chair, the basket on the floor. Mind you, it’s been like this for approximately 3 years – since before my little one was born!! It’s like I have a whole new living room! Didn’t take a picture of it, as it would have been WAY too embarassing! As I scrapbook supplies crammed everywhere (I’m a hoarder), my goal is to clean up and clear out!

    So, girl, I’m with you on the OPAM!! Congrats on project #1!

  3. hey guys-you are awesome. i am SO EXCITED to do OPAM now. (my moms name is pam so that is kind of cracking me up.
    ok so-the pictures you see to the right of the closet are in glass clip frames from IKEA.
    that is my project for May, so you will have to wait to see more of them! :)

  4. i am so excited. i loved your opaw way back then. opam works better for me, too. count me in. i don’t have a blog (my life is entirely too boring) so could i e-mail my before and after pics to you? what a great idea. the closet looks fab. i love childrens art supplies. they just make me happy.
    hope all is well

  5. Awesome!!! I love the pink :0) Great choice of color.
    I am actually working on redecorating our bedroom.. Hubby is gone for a few more months and I thought I would surprise him with a new room. lol As is, it is bright pink and orange.. I think he has put up with it for 3 years very well and I wanted to do something fun while he was gone.. this has been an ongoing thing for the last month, just picking things up here and there, which I hope will all be put together by the end of June-ish. lol
    Congrats on your closet.. I adore it!

  6. Love this entire post … love the new new blog … love the new energy. As I still try and better myself in eliciting support for my creative endeavors from my nearest and dearest I LOVE … that you shared, “praise me now or lose me forever” comment. I could hand out a few of those myself.

    Good for you on all accounts. Yay Tara! Keep that good momentum going! :-)

  7. Totally RAD!!! I love the idea of a pink closet…my clothes closet, which is in our hall so I guess it is really our hall closet is painted a fab 70s rusty orange and I never loved it until today! Thanks so much! Love all those organized art supplies too! THanks for sharin, Tara!

    have a great week~

  8. argh! i should stop reading your blog. every time i see a new house project finished i feel so guilty that i don’t take the initiative myself to just get on with it and get creative in our house. i want to head right down to the hardware store and start it right away.

    seriously, i think i will also be jumping on the OPAM wagon and finally tackle my own danky closet. i love your decorating style and that you obviously love taking chances and they really pay off. well done tara! it looks fan-bloody-tastic!!

  9. WOW! I have not been by in a while… way tooo long! Hung out for a bit with your mom and T at a wedding a while back and heard how proud they are of you and your sisters :) as they should be ~ such and awesome family.
    Anyway, LOVE LOVE your new blog! I am going to jump on the opam with you because my old house needs some tlc. I have never hung anything in my stairway, and I really need to.. that’s my challenge… that or the bathroom… or the closets… or the family room blank walls.. or… or… you get the point! I’m in ~ thanks for the inspiration and it will make me come back at reegular intervals and not be missing out on your amazing generous self. Thanks again for sharing. Nice to “see” you again!

  10. Tara,

    Love the OPAM idea…I have so many “projects” to do this summer…mostly involving keeping my kids scrapbooks up to date. I used to be so on the ball..until baby number 3. Now she is two and does not even have a photo album. It is horrible! Anyway…I love the 20×20 frames, where did you get them? I have the perfect place for something like that! I will take a before picture too!

    Leslie Tucker

  11. I lovin’ the pink! How fun!!
    I would love to join in on the OPAM. I have so many things on my to do list!!!
    Isn’t it great to see what kids come up with when you give them free reign on the art supplies.
    It is such a great thing to be creative!
    Can’t wait to see what you fill the frames with for next month.

  12. I love what you did with the art closet….LOVE LOVE LOVE it! That burst of color when you open the door is awesome!! Enjoy!

    I’m so there…My May project of the month will be to clean out our under-the-stairs storage closet…right now, I just throw anything and everything in there that i don’t want to see…it totally needs to be rearranged and reorganized…So you’ll hold me to it, right? I’ll take before pics this week…and I’m hoping to accomplish the organizing this weekend – we’ll see!!!


  13. Looks so fun! I have lots of unfinished projects so I’ll join in. In May, go through all my old magazines and pull out the recipes I want to keep and put them in the recipe binder I bought last month. Then recycle the magazines!

  14. oh angela…please, PLEASE dont let this make you feel guilty!
    i too fall into that trap when reading blogs and would honestly hate to make another woman feel that way.
    look at my project posts as inspiration for when you are ready.
    there is a season in our lives for everything!! :)

  15. Hi Tara,
    I LOVE your pink closet!!! I have always said I was going to paint my garage a shocking color that I would never dare paint in my house. I still want to, but even thinking about cleaning out the garage gives my a panic attack.
    Anywho…I am totally in on OPAM. What a fun and motivating idea. Thanks!

  16. NICE SHELVES!!! The workmanship looks awesome… on the shelves… and the paint! I’ll totally join your monthly project campaign. Can my hubby help me accomplish the projects?? Is that fair? For April… I did a chalkboard painted door on my pantry! LOVE IT! For may… hmmm. Finish the quilt for my little Rylie…? I’ll think on it… but I’m in.

  17. I love it! It makes me want to paint the insides of my closets a fantastic color too. They are all boring white right now. And an art closet to tops. Love it.

    P.S. I’ve been lurking but you found my link (your link ;-) and so here I am.

  18. I LOVE this! I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this as inspiration to tame my dd’s art supplies. I love the jars – so cute.

    OPAM… I think I might join in on this, too. I have so many projects waiting to be finished, a little challenge might be just the thing.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. I LOVE IT!! Absolutely fabulous! I love the happy color and the shock of opening the closet to something happy. My project this week is to get some hooks hung up in the hall bath, mirrors installed on my girls’ closet doors and a super cool curtain hung in my daughter’s room. The curtain needs to be up today since her birthday is tomorrow and I want it all done for her!

    Have a wonderful day!

  20. i LOVE the pink. i, unfortunately, am renting and fairly limited in what i can do to my place. though, i suppose i can figure something out- right? there is always something to be organized or made better. i’ll take the next day to figure it out. oh! i’ll work on my quilt. ideation at its best (rambling comments)

  21. OMG….love, love, love this! The color is gorgeous….now you have me thinking…hmmm…..I know the perfect closet to do this in!!! Thanks for sharing Tara.

  22. When I saw the first pic, I was really wanting to see that wall with the pictures so I was very happy to hear that’s your next project. I can’t wait to see it. The closet turned out fab and I love, love, love the color. As I type I’m trying to think of what my project will be…so very many to choose from.

  23. Where did you get the 20×20 frames on your wall (your next project?) Love them! Also, where did you get the big letters and #s you have all over your house?

  24. Oh man, I wish I could’ve seen a ‘before shot’…then I could really vicariously experience that sense of accomplishment….my whole craft room looks like a tornado went through. It will be more like OPHY…One project a half-year…Sigh. Your closet looks awesome! Way to go!

  25. i love this! i have painted all of the insides of our closets & people think i’m crazy! it’s good to know i’m not alone. haha!

    can’t wait to see your next project!!

  26. love, love, love this closet – everything from the pink to the baskets is perfect and happy. i have a dreaded coat closet too that holds no coats (thanks to our fine oc weather) but holds so much crap i get scared to ope the door sometimes. i’m totally in on your project a month and i may make my closet my first project. did you just find a friend for the shelves or did you find a handy man?

  27. OK Tara… can we pretty please see morepics of your house?!?!?! I’m especially interested in your photos and how you’ve displayed them…..

    Also, quick question… are Tara ,like tear-uh, or does it rhyme with car, Tahr-uh)? Just curious!

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