I’ve done a lot of Bookish Gift Guides over the years, but I’m going to mix it up today. I keep getting a million Labor Day sale emails. I can’t resist when they ask for your email for coupons, even though a few days ago I went through and unsubscribed from everything that never gets opened. I decided that a lot of my students were graduating and learning how to function in a cubicle/closet of a dorm. Plus, isn’t it just fun to buy school supplies? Or home office supples? Or just organization cubbies because they usually have all kinds of funky patterns and matchy-matchy themes?
So, here it is: THE BACK TO SCHOOL // MAKE YOU DROOL Gift Guide
Dorm rooms, home offices, and students should be surrounded by inspiration. Inspiration these days comes from quotes, and signs on Pinterest, Etsy, and Tumblr. When I was in high school, I printed Tumblr quotes and taped them to my mirror so I could be surrounded by goodness (or what I thought were deep quotes about people not understanding who I am). Now, scotch tape isn’t needed, nails and hammers are.
- Top Left: “You Are My Wonderful” Wood Slice @ ACDavidson Designs ($18)
- Top Second Column: “Be Bright, Be Happy, Be You” Wood Slice @ Pretty In Lace Boutique ($20)
- Top Third Column: Literary Art Print: Virginia Woolf @ Obvious State ($24)
- Top Right: Carl Sandburg Altered Book Sign @ BookishlyUK ($42.51)
- Middle Left: Hand Painted Wooden Quote Sign @ MPWilson4 ($12)
- Middle Second Column: USA Map Wall Hanging @ Thula ($39)
- Middle Third Column: Vintage Metal Store Signs @ Raleigh Modern ($30)
- Middle Right: Vintage Ampersand @ A Vintage Obsession ($29.95)
- Bottom Left: Monogram Door Hanger @ Pink Door Wreaths ($38.50)
- Bottom Second Column: Hoop Art: “Home Is Where I’m With You” @ CaboPickles (26.81)
- Bottom Third Column: Hippie Tapestry Elephants Mandala @ Craftozone ($19.99)
- Bottom Right: “Choose Your Own Adventure” Wood Slice @ Time and Turquoise ($30)
My favorite use of signage is this photo from Birch & Bird Vintage Home Interiors. It’s bright and a tad Southern with the monogram M flower wheel. And it includes my next must have – Inspiration Boards.
- INSPIRATION BOARDS:
Inspiration boards are like tangible versions of Pinterest. Anything you find that inspires you in a magazine, a book (I’ve been known to rip pages, I know, I’m awful), postcards, receipts from movies or dinner where deep conversations were had, or just trinkets. My inspiration board in my childhood bedroom used to have a Nazar (to ward off evil) just because I thought it was a good totem. It can truly be anything that breathes inspiration into you.
Some of these inspiration board options are pretty expensive. My advice is to find a flea market, a shop of stalls filled with wood pieces, a store of vintage finds, a Habitat for Humanity Resource Center, and just find something to DIY.
- Top Left: Antique Clipboard @ Ohalbatross ($58)
- Top Second Column: Chinese Bamboo Sieve @ The Parsons Pleasures ($95)
- Top Third Column: Custom Cork Board @ Pavona Interiors ($225)
- Top Right: Recycled Magnetic Board @ Zebra Toys ($369)
- Second Row Left: Chevron Fabric Cork Board @ Hannah’s Craft Nest ($45)
- Second Row, Second Column: Handmade Magnet Oval Board @ The Artifactory Studio ($95)
- Second Row, Third Column: Vintage Metal Shirt Hanger @ Etsplace ($24.99)
- Second Row Right: Shabby Mint Green Bulletin Board @ The Dezign Shoppe ($38)
- Third Row Left: French Burlap Cork Board @ Forever Love Notes ($87)
- Third Row, Second Column: Vintage Print Easel @ Third Shift ($58)
- Third Row, Third Column: Large Paris Script Memo @ Antique 2 Chic ($75)
- Third Row Right: Frame Turned Memo Board @ Shabby Vintage Mom ($49)
- Bottom Left: Steel Potato Sieve @ The Parsons Pleasures ($95)
- Bottom Second Column: 3 Slot Mail Organizer @ Southern Woods Style ($89)
- Bottom Third Column: Cork Board Hoops @ Goodwins Custom Gifts ($15)
- Bottom Right: Vintage Mail Organizer @ Vintapod ($18)
I have a few favorite offices with inspiration boards. The first is from Tumblr (La-Belle-Vie). I wish I could give credit to the actual person who owns this quaint office space, but here’s the beautiful image. This office is ALL about the inspiration board. It makes the room, and shows that inspiration boards done right, don’t need to have expensive, luxury furniture.
The next one is all about color. It actually looks like a kitchen to me. Maybe it was a kitchen, or those spices just have something going on. I have a shed in my backyard that I inherited from the last owner. I would LOVE to make it into a home office, but my fear of snakes and my disgust at scratching mosquito bites until they bleed keeps me out of there. A girl can dream though. I think this one is all about organization and paint.
Then, there’s “decorative clutter” on Pinterest. Wish I knew who had that adorable bench, but again, Pinterest doesn’t really cater to copyright.
I mean, come on, guys, there’s a J.Crew bag up there. Inspiration can come from anything, anywhere, anytime.
- DESK ORGANIZATION:
I believe desks are where writers, readers, and business professionals can really be themselves. My creative writing teacher in high school had a taxidermy crocodile head on his desk and we never got the story behind it, but I remember that head being a reason why I really liked him as a teacher. My dad has clay-wrinkled sculptures that I made in elementary school art and expensive pen holders from his time in management. My desk at school has two plants: Laverne (philodendron) and Shirley (cactus wearing red flower bow). It also has a draw-it-yourself frame so my students can let of steam by drawing when they need to. Desks are for momentos, trinkets, and thingamabobs (thanks, Little Mermaid). If you need a little inspiration, here’s some fun.
- Top Left: Personalized Mouse Pad @ We Love To Create ($15.32)
- Top Second Column: Chalkboard Skull @ Nash Pop ($28)
- Top Third Column: Dapper Man Collection @ Post It ($5ish)
- Top Right: Beauty Bar II @ Rustic Fox Outpost ($59)
- Middle Left: Vintage Office Organizer @ Vintage Electricity ($64)
- Middle Second Column: Orange Edison Pencil Cup @ The Container Store ($4.99)
- Middle Third Column: Semikolon Desk Organizer @ The Container Store ($17.99)
- Middle Right: Jane Austen Dock @ Uncommon and Nice ($55)
- Bottom Left: Red Giraffe Safari Planter @ The Happy Planter ($14.50)
- Bottom Second Column: Coral Reef Shark Bag @ Minnebites ($44)
- Bottom Third Column: Hello My Name Is Name Tag @ McKenna Made It 2013 ($16)
- Bottom Right: Beach Terrarium @ Omorfigia Designs ($24)
My favorites around the internet are as follows:
I just really like the hour glass (PINK HOUR GLASS YES) and the mason jar of paperclips, and the adorable white frames. It’s just an eclectic mix of colors and pictures.
A lamp goes a LONG way and so do fresh flowers. Who needs a significant other to buy them flowers, Walmart has a bin right by the door – GET YOU SOME, GIRL.
Sometimes the best place to be “girly” isn’t your closet, it’s your desk. I love this desk design from Lovable Lockets. It makes me feel feminine, fresh, and modern.
Now I have to go off and stare at my “study” and try to figure out how I can new & improve it into an eclectic, whimsy, genius center. I’ll take pictures and share when I think I’ve got it where I want it.