Category Archives: Make

Craft/Play Room Reveal

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Here we are in the Ides of March and I’m done with my project!

This was the first time I set out to makeover a complete room all at once and the first time I tried to work within a budget. Overall, I’m very pleased with the outcome. Although it wasn’t exactly as perfect as I had it pictured in my head (is it ever?), it is a vast improvement on what it was and a good starting point for improvements to be made in the future. Budget-wise? I failed. I don’t have time to tally up the damage tonight, but I think it was somewhere between $150 and $200. I’m planning to add it up and post all the nitty-gritty details tomorrow. Today is just for appreciating the pleasant space that is my craft and play room. I hope you get a few ideas for any trouble spots that may be lurking in your home. Honestly, if I can do this, anyone can.

Here are the “afters”:

I spent almost the whole first week just focusing on this closet. Everything came out and then got sorted, labeled, and put back in. EVERYTHING has a label on it. I used the over-the-door shoe holders I already had along with some covered boxes, baskets and Ziploc food storage containers. The clothespin labels are just like the ones from our clothes closet.

These are photos from Hubby and my trip to Barcelona. They were sitting in a box so I decided to showcase them in this frame I had something else in before. I’ve been to that city several times and I’m always so inspired by the mosaics and architecture and lively atmosphere. I found out I was pregnant with Boo-Boo on the day we got back so this trip was especially special.

Remember the mirror that reflected a blank wall? Now it reflects the windows and craft table. That light switch caused a spacing problem so I decided to hang it as a diamond instead of a straight square. (Thanks for making that happen, Hubby!)

I really wanted an area for Boo-Boo to be able to reach his toys and be able to pick and choose what he wanted. The four baskets have toys arranged by type. Once a week I rotate things out to keep it interesting. The books are also rotated. The toys not in use are in the second closet (along with out-of-season clothes) and the books are in the wall shelving. Those shelves, if you’ve never seen them before, are just brackets with large books on top. I’ve seen it done where they actually drill a hole in the book to make it the shelf, but I wasn’t about to puncture any of my precious books! (Props to Hubby for making these happen, too.)

Finally, my craft table is meant to be a bright and open workspace. I have a few supplies displayed in the curios above and a note board (made from ½  yard of fabric and an old poster frame) to post reminders and clip inspiration pieces. The box on the table is to keep the supplies I’m using for an ongoing project. I usually take several days to finish up and instead of leaving everything spread out I can store it in there quickly. There are more book shelves over here and a small couch for relaxing. In case we play too hard!

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Crafty table

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As my deadline for the One Month $100 Project approaches, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my new room and I can finally see some real changes. Like all my projects, I’m sure the final outcome won’t be exactly what I had in my head, but at least it will be an improvement on what it was… ah don’t remind me!

One of the most noticeable changes happened to this ordinary collapsable banquet table.

BEFORE: Drab table

It was purchased at Target several years ago for around $20. It’s metal on the bottom and plastic on top. I considered painting it but I was worried about the paint chipping off and, well, paint is expensive.

I was inspired by this Apartment Therapy post about using contact paper on a desk. Contact paper is usually used to line shelves and it comes in an assortment of colors and patterns. I got this one for around $6 at Target– I DO shop at other stores… from time to time. Anyway, here it is:

AFTER: Craft table with ironing pad

There was plenty on the roll for the table top and to cover some boxes. I actually messed up a big strip by removing the backing too quickly and it got all stuck to itself. Contact paper is easy to unstick from plastic and paper but gets easily tangled up with itself. So beware of that. But generally it was very easy to use. There was a mild glue smell but it went away in a few hours.

I also decided to add a small ironing pad to the top of my table. I’m often to lazy/forgetful/hurried to pull out the ironing board when I’m sewing. I took an old comforter that was destined for the dumpster and cut out a table-sized corner. Then I sewed a piece of fabric on top. It was very simple: just like making a pillow except there was nothing to stuff. I affixed Velcro to the four corners and the table so it won’t slip. (You can also see the recovered chair in action!)

Now I have a bold table with function on the side.

Happy windows

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Before I started to work on my mammoth organization project, I decided to do something to give the room a quick flush of color and whimsy.

Some time ago, we used shaving cream and food coloring to marble color some shapes cut from coffee filters. This activity isn’t my original idea; it was all over Pinterest and if you Google “shaving cream and food coloring” you can find several blogs and even a few You Tube videos. I decided to use coffee filters instead of paper because they tend to be more porous and a bit translucent.

I cut them into different shapes (Bean was learning names for shapes at the time.) and gave her a tray of shaving cream with a few drops of food coloring and let her start swirling.

BEFORE: Food coloring and shaving cream make marbled prints on coffee filters

We talked about the shapes and different colors. You could also expand it to color mixing for older children. Then she laid the shapes on top and tapped down gently. (Okay, I did most of the gentle tapping!)

 

Afterward we let them dry and brushed off the slight filmy residue. AND if you are worried about wasting the shaving cream, I used it as a window cleaner after we were finished!

So these little marbled shapes have sat around for a while and they made their way into the craft/play room. A few were eaten by Boo-Boo, but this morning I finally hung them in the window. (I got then to stick with a dab of the glue stick.)

AFTER: Happy windows

 

  

Fabric Bracelets

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A few months ago, I bought several scarves and noticed they come on these plastic rings that make for easy display in the store.

BEFORE: Plastic rings from a scarf purchase

I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out with the tags. I’m really not a hoarder, I promise, but these sat around in my craft closet for a while before I got inspired by these fabric braceletsand decided to try my hand at it. One is wrapped with embroidery thread. The other is all scrap fabric. The one that’s all scrap has a more frayed look, but I kind of like that. Both have a small piece of scrap fabric to cover the beginning and end of the wrapping. There are many possibilities of fabric to use and ribbon would have a less frayed look if that’s what you wanted. The embroidery thread took a while to wrap, but not as long as I anticipated. I really like them because I get the look of bangles without the clanking sound that metal and glass bangles make. What do you think of the fabric bracelet trend?

AFTER: Fabric-wrapped Bracelets

I joined the Link Party at homework!

Clothespin organizing

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I came across this blog post about closet dividers on Pinterest a few months ago. I loved the idea, but the way our closet bars are designed there wouldn’t be space for a large, CD-sized marker.

Recently, I’ve become more frustrated by our disorganized closets. Digging through to see what is clean, what matches, and *oops* what still fits while wrangling my energetic baby isn’t always quick and easy. And I like things to be quick and easy.

BEFORE: Hard-to-Find Clothes

After staring at my closet railing for an idea as to what would fit, I realized that a clothespin would work beautifully. Using small pieces of scrapbook paper, I wrote the days of the week, covered each with a protective piece of clear packing tape, and hot glued it onto a clothespin.

Now when I’m hanging up clean clothes I just organize them by outfit (usually two per day for Boo-Boo) and hang them by the day. If I know that one day will be the really cold, for example, I can save the warmest outfit for then. This way, I’m not stuck saying “All his sweaters are dirty!” fifteen minutes before we need to leave the house.

AFTER: Quick and Easy

I decided to make a set for myself too.

Hanging yellow

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I decided to participate in the ‘Color me Happy’ project on Lil Magoolie. For January, the idea is to brighten up our bedrooms with yellow. Looking around my house, it’s clear I tend to stay away from yellow. There are no yellows in my closet either. I don’t know why yellow is an intimidating color to me, but I decided to embrace the challenge and diversify my color palette.

Here’s what our bedroom looked like about a year ago, a few weeks before Boo-Boo was born:

BEFORE: Pendant lamp (and wire) over crib

We previously had this beautiful pendant star lantern over the crib. It came in handy when we needed a little light in the wee hours of the morning. But as soon as Boo-Boo started to crawl and pull on the cord we took it down. So this corner has looked a little lame for the last few months. A mobile was a great solution.

I’m not going to lie; this project was a bit of a nightmare. However I would do it again but I’d change a few things, as I’ll explain below.

1. First off I made a trip to the fabric store for some yellow cloth as I had NONE in my spare fabric collection. I guess this is a testament to how intimidating yellow really is! I picked out three yellow patterns.

2. I read up on using fusible adhesive on one of my favorite blogs, Make it and Love it. I know it sounds dramatic, but this post changed my world.

3. I ironed the fabric to the Heat n Bond with a different material on each side. So I had three stiff sheets of double sided material.

4. Using a cookie cutter and an orange fabric marker, I traced stars onto the fabric. The orange marker worked great because if there was any little bit that didn’t get cut off, the color blended in with the fabric. I didn’t know how many I would need so I just did all that would fit.

5. I cut out all the stars.

6. I threaded each star with yellow thread and a couple of beads.

7. I tied each thread onto an embroidery hoop. I played around with the lengths and decided to hang them in descending height. I ended up with twenty hanging stars.

8. I tied 4 threads to the hoop at equal intervals and then tied them all together at the top to be the hanger. I realized that I should have done this before hanging the stars. 

9. The hoop and the top knot were all sealed with Mod Podge.

Now we wake up to a bright and happy mobile every morning.

AFTER: Star mobile over crib

Things I would do differently:
* I would experiment with using embroidery thread because it would be easier to work with and hold a knot better than the slippery and delicate thread I used. I’m a pretty bad butterfingers and I kept dropping the pieces as I was tying them onto the hoop.
* I would plan ahead better and decide how many dangling threads I want and calculate their distance based on the circumference of the hoop. I’d attach the supporting threads first and fill in the dangles from there.
* I would figure out a better way to temporarily hang the hoop while I’m tying everything onto it. It fell a couple of times and de-tangling the threads is a mess.

Another note, after looking at these photos I think I’ll add the yellow basket back to the changing station to continue the color infusion.

Here are some close-ups of the mobile:

Bibbed

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During our trip, I realized that Boo-Boo’s bibs and some of his clothes have been attacked by icky mold spots. I believe it was due to a combination of his constant flow of drool and the more humid climate. Whatever the cause, he certainly couldn’t eat in those bibs anymore.

BEFORE: Moldy bibs, headed to the trashcan

I have so much fabric, half-finished projects, and ideas for projects piled up in my closet, but this one had to take precedence. I went to Jo-Ann’s fabric store the day we got back in search of some fabric that would be waterproof (and cute, natch!) It seems Jo-Ann’s is eager to get in on the trend of cloth diapering and making baby accessories because they are stocking this new line of PUL fabrics called Babyville Botique. They sell this package of three, 21×24 inch squares for $14.99. (Of course I used a 50% off coupon.) The fabric is also on bolts at $12.99-$14.99/yd and they carry instructional books, appliques, snaps, applix and elastics in the line. I got the package because it allowed me to have a diverse selection for the least price, as the 50% off coupon will apply to one item only.

The PUL is a thinner weight than the PUL they have stocked in the past. I washed and dried it to loose the wrinkles. I traced around the old bibs and made a pattern on an old piece of plastic I had. After some thought I decided to forego the front pocket. Yes, it was much easier to sew, but I also felt like it would just create another space for water to be trapped and mold to grow. Boo-Boo makes a big mess with his food anyway. That little pocket wasn’t doing much.

Once I had my pattern I traced it to the wrong side of the PUL and carefully cut it out. I did a zig zag stitch around the border to give it a more finished edge and Fabri-Tacked some repurposed applix to make the closure. To set the PUL and close any holes from sewing, it needs to be put in the dryer on medium-ish heat for a few minutes. I can make several more bibs from the fabric I have left. But I’m planning to just make two more and use the rest to make a little highchair cushion since the original padding is beyond the help of the washing machine.

 

Now Boo-Boo can eat without mold eating up his bib.

AFTER: Brand-new bib