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Archive for the ‘Projects and Crafts’ Category

In this ever-changing adventure of being a parent, I’ve tried to come up with fun, creative ways to play with my kiddo. Because, quite frankly, if I don’t, I’d never make it. My son happens to be a loud, fun-loving, super-energetic, never-a-moment-of-quiet kind of kid. Keeping him busy is of utmost importance! Over the past year or so I’ve slowly compiled some fun items and ideas that I pull out once in a while. Of course, Pinterest is always a good backup, but this I actually happened to come up with on my own, people! ūüôā It was a random decision I made one day because I had a large cardboard box that my kiddo had been playing in for a few days, but it was starting to get a little too floppy. So, I decided to cut it open, lay it flat, and give him some crayons. (Obviously, I did a lot of Sharpie doodling, too.) The first day or so it looked like this. He LOVED it! As you can see, it took up most of our living room floor space.

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But, like I said, he loved it, and it sure kept him entertained so I wasn’t about to get rid of it right away! It ended up hanging out on our living room floor for a little over a week.

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(Sorry for the teensy-tiny picture – I tried and tried, but it just wouldn’t cooperate. ¬†If you want to see it a little bigger, just click on it and it will open up.)

I love it when little things turn out to be the big things! The hubs and I even had fun with it, and even though we were ready to have our floor back, we all missed it when it was gone.

Don’t forget to make the most of life. Right now, re-using and re-purposing items is the “thing”, but more than that, this idea reminded me how the simple things in life can really be the most enjoyable. Take a minute to evaluate how you spend time with your kids‚Ķ doing big, exciting things isn’t bad, but make sure you do little things too. Like letting a cardboard box take over your living room for a week, and turning it into your own unique floor mural! (I don’t think it’s called a mural when it’s on the floor, but right now I can’t figure out what the proper term is! Ha!)

Whatever you do, I hope you have fun with it and join in – your kids will think you’re awesome!

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Happy Friday!  I am so thankful for the weekend!

I haven’t showed off the last few things I did in little A’s room.¬† I didn’t get a chance to finish it all before he made his grand entrance, and since then, blog time has not exactly been plentiful.¬† For very good, wonderful¬†reasons!

This is the wall above his crib.  You can read how I did the letters here.

The walls I covered in fabric since we aren’t supposed to paint. You can¬†read about¬†that process here.

And then there is the crib.  Here I showed you how I touched up some scratches on it.

We were storing a bookshelf for a friend, and at the last minute they decided they didn’t want it any more.¬† So, even though there isn’t a lot of room for it, it had to live somewhere. I decided to use it as a place to display pictures, store books, and toys, etc.¬†¬†At the top I have some figurines.

Don’t you love how we stuck to a specific theme?¬† Ha!¬†¬†The room is sort of half Toy¬†Story, half Super-Heroes, with just a splash off StarWars¬†thrown in here and there.¬† Definitely all BOY!¬† And I love it!

At the bottom of the bookcase are some cloth bins to use as toy storage.  I found the bins at the dollar store, belive it or not!

They are definitely not the highest quality, but they work just fine, and they were the prefect size!

I made the curtains and valance.  I showed you how that came about here and here.

Sorry for the bad picture…

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These are the walls above the changing table and the rocker.

I used wall decals (from Target) and frames (from Family Dollar) to put together the Toy Story frames.  I removed the backing to the frames as well as the glass, and then spray painted the frames navy blue.  (The cheap, Walmart brand spray paint) Then I stuck the decals onto the glass and that was that!

Aaaand, here is the lovely changing table. Thrilling, I know.  But, I wanted to show the baskets I found Рperfect fit and great for the diapers and all that extra stuff .

Also, that white pad on top of the table is actually supposed to go in the crib to keep the sheets from getting all drooly, but I use it on here. ¬†So much easier to pull that off and wash it than change the actual pad cover. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Plus, I can stick it in any load of laundry without¬†worrying about the terry cloth stuff getting fuzz on the rest of the load. It dries faster too. ūüôā

I had a heavy glass jar that I’m using to store the ever-elusive pacifiers.¬† It seems to be helping so far at least!

This lamp was from Target (a baby shower registry gift – yay!) and so is the clock.¬† J actually found the clock and I was thrilled with it! Isn’t it the cutest? Oh, and those white stars on the lamp are glow-in-the-dark.¬† Sweet!

The best thing about this room was the fact that I spent very little money on it.  All of the furniture was either given to us or we already had, and most of the rest was either a shower gift or bought with gift cards!  Whoop-whoop!

So, there you have it, the finished (for now) room.¬† You know how it goes.¬†¬†I think¬†I’m done until¬†some random, “brilliant” idea enters my head¬†and off I go again!

At least now I have other concerns that keep me from spending too much time tearing apart the house.¬† ūüôā

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

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I don’t know how you feel about used furniture for a new baby, but the way I see it, used furniture is great!  Definitely the cheaper option if you’re on a budget!  Especially when it comes to a crib that can be wiped down, refinished, or painted, I feel like it’s a great way to go.  We were given a crib for our on-the-way bundle of joy.  Of course, it’s used, so it had a several toofer marks on it.

 Other than that, though, its in great shape, and a quality piece of furniture.  I guess the fact that I know the family who gave it to me might have something to do with the fact that those teeth marks don’t really bother me at all… that, and the fact that I knew I could cover them up and the crib would be looking pretty much like new.  (Have you looked at crib prices lately? Whoah!)

I also plan to eventually make a rail guard… not sure I’ll get around to that before he’s born, but you know, most babies are not born wanting to naw on wood nor can they stand up to reach the  crib rail. So I think I still have a little time!

OK, so this is how I did it.  Seriously, the easiest re-vamping job I’ve ever done.  So simple, anyone, and I mean, anyone can do it!

I didn’t bother filling anything in.  None of the marks were deep – just surface scratches, so I went to Home Depot and got two wood stain pens for about $5 each.

I got two different colors because I wasn’t sure which would be the best option, and I figured the pen would come in handy later on for other random touch-ups with other furniture around the house. In the end, I used both pens because of the variations of color in the wood.  One section was more reddish than another, so having that second marker was great!

I did one “coat”, and let it dry.  Then, I wiped it down with an old rage to get all the extra stain off.

Then I went back over it again with the marker, let it dry and then wiped it down again.

And that was all it took!  Amazing how much of a difference it made.  Of course, if you look closely, you can see the dents in the wood, but if you’re just giving it a casual glance, you wouldn’t notice much.

Besides, I’m going to be so taken up with looking at what is sleeping in the crib that I doubt I will really care so much about some dents in the railing. ūüôā

Now, if my little guy was already sleeping in the crib or if he was old enough to be putting his mouth on the railing, I might have done something else.  I don’t think it would be a good thing for him to eat or breathe in that stuff!  However, since I plan to make those rail covers by the time he’s interested in chewing on the rail, I decided it was all ok.

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You know all those cute nurseries that have the child’s name on the wall? ¬†I’ve seen so¬†many versions of them – wall decals, frames, painted letters, you name it – and they’re all so sinkin’ cute! ¬† We had already decided that we wanted to jump on the band wagon and have our guy’s name on the wall too… the problem was deciding how we wanted to do it. ¬†So many options!

Well, I wanted to share what ended up being one of my favorite projects for our little boy’s room! ¬†This turned out much better than I expected, and even J was super excited when he saw the finished product!

Its A-mazing. ūüôā

I wanted to surprise J and do something very “guy-ish” with the letters (as in super hero – ish). ¬†J would have been thrilled had I plastered the whole room with Marvel and DC characters, Star Wars stuff, etc. ¬†But I’m determined to have a little bit of a baby/little boy look in the room for a while. ¬†I mean, they grow up so fast – and I’m sure through Daddy’s influence he will become a Marvel, DC and StarWars¬†fan in due time… but I didn’t want to leave J’s wishes completely out of the picture, so I figured the name would be the perfect way to add that bit of “guy-ness” I was after. ūüôā

I found a bit of inspiration here and there, and finally settled on the paper mache/decoupage idea. ¬†I bought cardboard letters from the craft store.¬†¬†(I waited for them to go on sale and got them for $1 each – oh, yeah!)¬†¬†Then, I started asking around about comic books. ¬†Since I was going for the decoupage look, I didn’t want to spend tons on comic books that would get torn into strips. ūüôā ¬†At first I was having a hard time… until I posted my idea on Facebook, that is! ¬†One of my friends (an actual, real person I know – not just a virtual acquaintance) found out what I was doing and he donated a hefty stack of comic books! ¬†I was so shocked and so excited! ¬†The picture below doesn’t have all the books in it. And the ones that are at the foreground are the. coolest. ever. I’m considering framing a few of the pages… we’ll see.

Honestly, the hardest part was deciding which pages to use!¬† It took me about two evenings to comb through the stack and set aside the ones. ¬†Yes, I took my time. ūüôā¬† I decided beforehand that I wanted each letter to be a specific character, and I¬†chose J’s favorites (Captain America was my choice actually!): Batman, Superman, Capt. America, Thor, and Wolverine.

Instead of buying Mod Podge or any other kind of special glue, I decided to use an old stand-by which you may remember from your kindergarten days.¬† Good ol’ hot water and flour!¬† So easy and cheap!¬† (The only down side is you have to use it¬†within two days or so¬†because it starts to REEK!)

First, I covered the entire letter with random strips of the comic pages.¬† No rhyme or reason – just making sure the surface was covered.¬† I let them dry for a day or so.¬† If you don’t let the glue dry, then the whole projects gets all goopy and warped.

Next, I sorted through the pages that I had reserved and tore/arranged/rearranged the pieces until I had it the way I wanted.¬† I didn’t use glue at this point – just set the pieces on top of the letters to get a visual.¬† Oh, and that green paper – that is actually a gift bag.¬† I tore that into strips as well and integrated it as¬†a way to¬†tie¬†in the letters¬†with the rest of¬†the room. Yeah, I’m a bit random.¬† I’ve learned to¬†deal with it. ūüôā

OK, so I didn’t take pictures of the in-between process… mostly because my hands were covered in gunk and I didn’t want to get my camera all sticky. ¬†So, you’re going to have to use your imagination!

Next, I slathered the letters with the flour and water mixture again and stuck the final strips of paper on them.   I added a thin layer of the glue over the top of the whole letter, sort of as an extra precaution to make sure the paper stuck well.  I let it dry out completely after that.  As in for about a week.  Probably no necessary, but I had other things keeping me busy, so a week it was!  My final step was to spray it all over with a clear sealant to protect it from moisture (after all, I do live in Florida).

And yes, in the above picture, that is a bin lid. ¬†ūüėČ I figured I’d want be able to pick up the whole kit and caboodle and move it when necessary, and that’s hard to do when you just put down a table cloth or thin sheet of plastic.

Now, I just need to hang it up!¬† Cannot wait!¬† For now its waiting patiently on the book shelf while I touch up the crib.¬† Once the crib is in place, I’ll hang up the letters!

Below I added a pic of each letter in case you would like to see a close-up version. ūüôā ¬†Can you¬†tell I’m a little bit proud of this project? HA!

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So, how’s everyone’s weekend?! ¬†So far, mine has been pretty good. ¬†Good as in productive, and actually fun at the same time. ¬†I love feeling like my hard work has paid off. ūüôā

I just thought I would share a quickie little Valentine’s Day project that I slapped together today. ¬†You know I like wreaths, and I try to keep some version of a wreath on our door all throughout the year. ¬†Doesn’t always happen, but I try. ¬†I don’t usually decorate much for all the different holidays though. ¬†Mostly because that would get super expensive, but also because I don’t know where in the world I would store it all. ¬†Same goes for Valentine’s Day.

This year, I decided to honor the day with a simple wreath. ¬†In my running around this morning I found a scrap of bright pink fabric in the clearance bin for $1.29… and I put it to work! ¬†I didn’t do anything fancy. ¬†In fact, it’s a little bit of a shabby look if you ask me. ¬†I left the jagged, uneven edges on the fabric and everything.

I have ¬†a grape-vine wreath that I use for pretty much everything… seriously, those wreaths are great! ¬†Just add whatever suits your fancy, and when you’re ready for a new look, pull it out and add something else! ¬†Can’t get much easier (or cheaper) than that.

So, I just tied that pink fabric into a big bow, and attached it to the wreath with some flower wire.  Then I stuck a few white dollar store flowers around it and that was that!  10 minutes tops!

Our front door is all ready for Valentine’s Day! ¬†Sweet!

 

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OK!  So, here we go!

With the roman shade all finished up, it was simply a matter of making some very¬†simple curtain panels to dress it up a bit… and yes, in the end I decided to make a valance as well.¬† But both were so simple it only took about an hour and a half to make them start to finish. ¬†I like the easy stuff!

So, I told you that I picked up¬†a twin¬†sheet from¬†Wal Mart, right?¬† I also mentioned that those sheets are pretty thin, so if you’re¬†planning to have only panels, you might want to double them or line them with something else… so the convenience and “cheapness” of using a sheet does have its cons.¬†¬† However, for my purpose, it was¬†perfect.

I cut the sheet exactly in half long ways.  That gave me two equally sized pieces of fabric.  (The window is not large, so it was plenty, but for a larger window you might need two sheets if you like to be able to pull them across and close them.)  I hemmed the cut side, and there I had two curtain panels!  I used the top part of the sheet that already has that nice, wide hem, as the casing for the curtain rod.

However, I didn’t want just¬†plain blue, so I used¬†some of the left over fabric from the shade, and added it to the bottom 12 inches or so of the panels I just made. I¬†simply pinned¬†the¬†fabric across the bottom of the panels, folded and hemmed the edges of the fabric around the ¬†existing hem on the panels, and sewed in place.

Ya think I should iron those babies?
I also added a solid stripe of green grossgrain ribbon to offset the two pieces of fabric.
Since I didn’t have green thread, I improvised, and used my glue gun again for the ribbon.¬† ūüôā¬†
I know, I know!¬† I’m not the most dedicated seamstress when it comes to things that don’t show.¬† Sorry!
I really like how the extra fabric at the bottom adds just a bit of weight so the panels hang a little nicer than they would have otherwise.
For the valance, I went as simple as I knew how.  No seamed corners, no fancy shape, no gathering or ruffles. This was a simple, flat valance.  (Heaven forbid I offend the poor boy once he gets to be 2 years old and he finds ruffles and ribbon are sissy!)
I decided how far down I wanted the valance to hang and added 4 inches allowance for the top casing, 2 inches for the bottom hem, and 1 inch for each side hem.  (I determined how wide to make the valance by measuring the already installed curtain rod) I pinned all the hems and the casing in place and sewed them all at the same time.

Then, just like I did with the panels, I glued a stripe of green grossgrain ribbon across the front (over the stitching).

How do you like all my floor shots? ¬†Ha! ¬†I don’t have a “craft area” really, so I just do things wherever I can find the space: kitchen table, coffee table, floor… wherever!!

I slid everything on to the curtain rods, and presto – all done!

Again, sorry for the bad pictures… I never realized how hard it would be to get a good picture of a window during the day with the sun blazing in… and in this picture, the pattern definitely looks like gingham or some kind of checked stuff… but its not! ūüôā

Oh, by the way, I did install a double curtain rod (investment of about $3 at Walmart) so I could have¬†the valance.¬† Otherwise, it wouldn’t have worked.

So, all in all, the whole curtain and shade project cost me roughly $25- $28, including that double curtain rod!¬†¬† I’d say that’s pretty good considering the fact that buying a single panel can cost that much!

So, there you have it.  The easiest version of curtains and valance I can possibly think of!

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So, now that my little guy’s walls were all done, it was time to work on the windows.¬† Boy, oh, boy.¬† It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do.¬† I mean,¬†I had been thinking about¬†it since before I started on the walls, and it still took another week or so of brainstorming, scrolling through Pinterest, and looking through websites and google images.¬† Yeah. I’m THAT indecisive.

I wanted something that wasn’t fussy, but I liked the idea of having a layer or two… or maybe some kind of textured fabric?

Finally I decided I wanted some type of roman shade and maybe contrasting panels

over that.¬† Why the double layer?¬† Well, I figured there will probably be times when I want that room dark during the day… so layers seemed the way to go.

I found a few tutorials on-line, but none that I particularly liked.  Although, I did get a few ideas that I thought might work if I modified them a bit.

I decided to work on the roman shade first.¬† I¬†knew I wanted a¬†pattern for the shade and¬†a solid for the panels.¬†¬†¬†So, I went to the fabric store in search of inspiration.¬† Once again, I searched high and low for the colors I wanted and came up empty.¬† What’s going on?¬† Aren’t these colors pretty basic?¬† Not like they’re seasonal or anything, right?¬† Or am I wrong?

Well, finally, as I rummaged through the clearance rack, I found a bolt of blue and green material!¬† Yay!¬† I was a little skeptical of the pattern at first.¬† Definitely not little kiddie or cute, or anything like that.¬† But as I stood in line waiting my turn at the counter it sort of grew on me.¬† Besides, I didn’t seem to have any other options. ūüôā

I bought enough of the fabric to make my roman shade and extra so I could add some to the panels or make a valance with what was left over.

By the time I was walking out of the fabric store, I knew what I would¬†do for the panels:¬† $5 navy blue flat sheet from Wally World!¬† Perfect!¬† So, I stopped there on my way home.¬† Normally, I wouldn’t go with cheapo sheets for a dark curtain, because they’re thin and don’t look all that great.¬† I mean, you sort of get what you pay for, you know.¬† But since the panels¬†are really just for looks except for when I will pull them over the lowered roman shade, they don’t have to be all that thick.

Alright, so all that to lead up to my very, very simple version/adaptation of a Roman Shade:

Our house has some fairly nice, sturdy shades on the windows, so I left them up.  Basically, my idea was to make a flat panel that fit exactly inside the window, on top of the existing shade.  Then, at specific intervals, the fabric would be attached to one of the slats, causing my fabric shade to go up and down along with the original blinds.  Does that make sense?

First, I measured, cut, and hemmed my fabric to the dimensions of the window, adding about 4 extra inches at the bottom.

I basically ended up a rectangular baby-doll blanket looking piece of fabric.  (The picture above is before I hemmed everything, but you can sort of see the points where it is attached to the blind behind it.)  I used paper clips to attach it to the blinds.  I tried a few different variations of intervals, but in the end I decided on the following:  I clipped it to the very top slat, counted down five, attached it again, counted down six from there, attached again, counted down 7, etc. until I reached the bottom of the window.

It is important to¬†increase the length of¬†each section.¬† Otherwise, when you pull up your shade, you’ll end up with all the folds in one spot, all piled atop each other.¬† Also, be sure you increase by the same amount each time, or¬†the folds will not be equal in size.¬† (For example, I increased each section by one slat.)

Once all the clips were in place, I pulled the shade up and down a few times to make sure¬†my idea actually worked.¬† ūüôā

My fabric is pretty stiff, so it didn’t fold perfectly right away, but I left it pulled up for a few hours and then tried again.¬† By then the material was “used to” folding at certain spots, so it worked nicely.

Next, I took the fabric off the window, but was carefull to leave the paperclips in place on the fabric.  That way I knew exactly where the fabric was supposed to attach to the blind.

Using some 1/8 inch elastic I had, I made little loops and sewed them on to the back of the panel, exactly where the paper clips were.  Before cutting it, I took the elastic over to the window and measured a piece that would fit snugly around a single slat leaving a little extra length at the end so it could be sewn onto the fabric.

Using that first piece, I simply cut the rest of the elastic into 9 more pieces of the same length.

I attached the loops of elastic with a zig-sag stitch, going over the elastic about three times to make sure it was good and secure.

I didn’t mind that it showed on the front because the pattern hides it so well.¬† Besides, the panels would cover the sides of the shade anyway.¬† If you wanted to keep the stitching from showing on the front, I would suggest sewing the loops on by hand.¬† Might take a little more time, but definitely not hard to do.

Once those were sewn on, I attached the whole thing to the blind and plugged in my glue gun.  Since the blinds are all metal and plastic, I knew I could put a few dabs of glue here and there without causing any permanent damage.  I glued the top hem of the fabric to the top of the blind so that it would hold its shape instead of sagging in the middle.

The strings that move the slats¬†will pull on the fabric some, but as long as you don’t get glue on them there shouldn’t be any complications.

Next, I moved to the first slat that had elastic loops attached, and put a dab of glue in the center of the slat, adhering the material at that one point.  I did the same with each slat that had an elastic loop.  Adding that little dab of glue helps to keep the middle of the fabric straight across when you pull it up instead of sagging and making a droopy fold.

At the very end, I folded the fabric under the bottom piece of the blind, and glued it all the way across.

Ta-da!  All done!

As you can see, even though this is a thick material, you can still see some sunlight filtering through. ¬†I don’t mind it, but it would be easy to add a lining with a dark cotton material if it becomes a problem.

I hope I didn’t make this sound more complicated than it really is.

Whatever the case, this was really the easiest way I could think of to make a roman shade that actually goes up and down instead of being rolled or tied up.

Next, I’ll show you how I made the panels!

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