Sitting Pretty

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One of the problems I had in my craft/play room was this bland folding chair:

BEFORE: Bland folding chair

It was comfortable enough, but I really hated the look of it. I mean, what’s more boring than beige? I toyed with the idea of spray painting the metal parts, but decided against it because the kiddos are always climbing on it and playing under it. I just didn’t want to add any more chemicals to their little world.

While staring at it one night, I realized the padded part could be unscrewed and thusly covered with new, more appealing fabric. I have never upholstered anything before, but this was easy. I initially tried to use my staple gun, but I quickly realized that my staples weren’t fitting correctly and their little pointy ends would be poking my back and bum.

So I went to my go-to Plan B: FabriTac. I laid the fabric out with the chair piece over it and roughly cut out how much I would need. Starting with one edge, I put a strip of glue on the piece and pulled to fabric up and around it. It was a quick and easy fix– just the kind I like.

AFTER: Fun Folding Chair

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Mirror, mirror

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You know how when you were a kid and you stayed home sick from school and you dreaded going back because of the pile of make-up work you would have to do? I’ve been playing catch-up all week after being sick. Since my little Boo-Boo and I are both feeling better, I’ve been working like a busy bee on my project. I have several posts lined up this week, so keep checking back.

I managed to squeeze in this February’s Lil Magoolie Colour Me Happy challenge thanks to Leap Day. (It is still February in The United States, so I hope this one counts!) The challenge was to paint a piece of furniture. Well, I’ve never painted furniture before so I was a little intimidated with the thought of sanding and drop cloths. Also, I didn’t have anything I wanted painted. Then I realized that this Ikea mirror is sort of like furniture…

Remember?

BEFORE: Plain Jane Ikea Mirror

So I added a touch of pinky-coral and a strip of Contact Paper.

Now…

AFTER: Painted mirror

Fabric Preview

 

 

Clearance shopping

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It’s been a slow week on the blogging front: Boo-Boo got sick… then I got sick… Between a clingy, nursing baby and my 100º fever I’ve been in more of a survival mode than an organizational one. But, I’m still working on my project by doing some planning and a little shopping, too.

When I was at Target waiting to pick up Boo-Boo’s prescription, I decided to hit up their clearance spots.

Here’s what I found in the home, office supply, and Valentine’s Day sections:

 

Score! I’m super excited for the curtains as they were exactly what I was looking for to hang in the craft/play room.

When I got home and unpacked my prizes, I started thinking about how I feel so much more excitement finding great deals than if I just went out and paid full price. Of course, because of home economics it’s not always possible to plunk down $25 for new sheets. But I think that even if I had the money I’d still shop this way. Do you agree?

Here are a few tips for clearance shopping that I’ve learned along the way:

1. Know your discounts. At Target, items usually start at 15% and then go to 30%, 50%, and eventually 70% off. Seasonal items will go down to 90%. A lot of times I’ll spot something I like at 30% and then wait for it to go down to 50%. In my experience, a lot of things don’t make it down to 70%. It’s a little bit of a gamble (I guess that’s part of what makes it fun) and sometimes you’ll wait on something only to never see it again because someone else bought it. I consider several factors in my decision to wait for deeper cuts or buy now. If I really love it and need it and there aren’t many left, I’ll buy at 50% or maybe even 30%. For example, the curtains I bought this week were only 50% but there were only three panels left and I knew I wanted them for a specific, immediate purpose and they were exactly what I was looking for. Another time, toddler shirts were on 50% clearance. They had an entire rack. I thought they would be precious on Boo-Boo for next fall. But I waited it out and got them at 70%.

2. Scan it. Target is usually good about putting a little red sticker on anything that’s on clearance. But sometimes things get clearanced before they get a chance to mark it or things get put i the wrong place. If you see something that seems out of place or large clearance sections with several different % off signs, use those handy scanners to check the price. This is especially true for seasonal items. Scanning is also a good task for bored husbands or older kids to do while you are rummaging through the clearance selection.

3. Weekday late mornings are best. I usually find markdowns happening on Tuesdays-Thursdays around 9:00 or 10:00 AM. Usually by the weekend all the best deals are gone. I know it’s difficult if you work during the day, but shopping during the week is much better.

4. Set your price limits. It’s really easy to get carried away with awesome deals and buy things you won’t use or too much of something that might not work in the end. Maybe you give yourself a weekly allowance or a project budget. Yes, you are getting great deals, but you are still spending cold, hard cash! Buying clothes on clearance for the season ahead can be especially tricky. For adults, not much is going to change from one year to the next, but when buying for kids, well, it’s a shot in the dark. I have limits for what I’ll pay for future wear. If it’s for a year or more in advance, I’ll only spend $5 and under. That way, even if he can’t use it I’m not out that much money and I can feel okay about taking it to the resale shop with the tags still on it. (Or giving it as a gift!)

5. Think outside the (bread) box. Being able to envision items as something else will help you get what you need at a fraction of the price. Seasonal and speciality items are often quick to get marked down and usually hang around because people think they are out-of-season or not useful. Whenever I see something on 50% or 70% off, I think about how I could use it in a different way than it was intended. For example, I’ve found plus size dresses for under $5. Now, I don’t wear plus sizes but that material can be cut up and made into something like a pillow or curtains or a smaller dress. I think this creativity is what I like best about clearance shopping. I’ve done one or two posts about repurposing something I found on clearance. For your budget’s sake, it is important to be reasonably sure you have a specific plan and that you will follow through.

Anyone else love clearance shopping?

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

 

  

One month and One hundred dollars

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I’m about to get really real with you all.

One of the rooms in my house is a complete disaster and it’s driving me nuts. This room was formerly the master bedroom and currently a play space, storage space, craft space, and catchall for clutter. A few months ago, I organized my crafting supplies in the closet. At the time I knew this would only be a temporary fix. As I do more projects now for the blog, I need to be able to access my supplies (and clean them up!) in a more efficient way. I’m usually crafting on borrowed time and don’t want to spend 15 minutes digging for my glue gun or tape or that fabric I just knew I saved. (By the way, why do they always wake up from their naps when you are SO close to being finished with something?)

Moving on, there are other issues in the room that need help. There is a huge, white wall that I cannot paint but must do something with. There is that mirror that I’ve been meaning to move for, like, a year. There is the drab plastic folding table that is my crafting table. (The list goes on and on in my head.)

I also want this to be a dedicated play space with proper storage for all of the toys. We have other play areas in the living room and kitchen, but this will be the main room. With that in mind, I want the space to be bright, clean and inviting for my little darlings to play in.

So what am I doing to do about it? First, I took a bunch of “Before” snaps for your viewing pleasure. (Below them is my challenge!)

Here’s the BEFORE:

The Challenge: Make this space into a functional, organized, safe, fun room for crafting and playing. I have one month (till March 15) and $100.

Your advice, comments, and support are all appreciated!

To Dye For

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(Sorry for the punny title; I couldn’t resist.)

Before I had a baby, I knew that white wouldn’t be a good color for his clothes. From poo leaks to food dribbles to paint smears, stains were inevitable.

Why do they make white clothes for babies?

BEFORE: All white, all dirty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t until I was wrapping rubber bands around the onesies yesterday that I realized it must have been about a year ago that I dyed another batch of much smaller clothes. I looked back at my photos and saw it was right around the first of February that I was dying clothes in anticipation of my little Boo-Boo. This batch I actually did by hand in a bucket in the bathtub using Rit dye. Nine months pregnant and stirring a bucket of clothes was not ideal.

February 2011 (Pre-Boo Boo) Dye

This time I decided to use my washing machine.

AFTER: Little boy blue

I used Tulip dyes and added half a cup of  kosher salt like the package instructed. This time I was out of the larger width rubber bands so I used the thinner ones. I didn’t like the outcome as much. I would use the machine again, though. I was much easier to simply turn a dial to make the clothes agitate. I was a little disappointed with the color. I was looking for a brighter, richer color. Perhaps next time I’ll try pouring boiling hot water in the machine.

Anyone have more experience with dye? Know of any good brands to use? Any tie-dye tips?