Monday, December 30, 2013

Play Kitchen Grocery List

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A couple weeks ago I was making a grocery list (one of my least favorite things to do in the world besides the actual grocery shopping).  The only thing that made it better was Charley writing along side me.  I made a simple list for her with three of her favorite things:  milk, bananas and broccoli.  I added little pictures next to the words.  The kindergarten teacher in me loved when she “read” the list to Daddy (pointing to the pictures of course). 
Annnnyway, that brings me to today’s post.  A simple and fun way to add a little print into your toddler’s life.  All you need is an empty frame and a chalkboard wall.  If you don’t have a chalkboard wall, which I’m guessing is most of you, then you would just use a frame with paper inside, minus the glass.  Or you could keep the glass inside and use a dry erase marker on top of it.
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Right next to Charley’s play kitchen nook I hung an empty, super cheap Ikea frame using 3M picture hangers.  I bet you can guess what I did next.  I wrote a simple list with chalk.  Bam, an ever changing grocery list for your little. 
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I love when I can overhear Charley reading her list.  So sweet.
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By the way, did you spot the small chest of drawers in the playroom?  It’s a new addition thanks to a $12 thrift shop find.  It needs a little work seeing as it’s currently painted with a faux wood finish.  But I'm excited to have some closed storage in there, as opposed to all open shelving.  Especially since B.J. and I have been busy trying to organize the aftermath of Christmas 2013.  Extra storage is always appreciated.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  Happy New Year (tomorrow)!!! Pin It

Monday, December 23, 2013

Goodwill Hunting: Baby Doll Cradle

Santa’s elves have been busy around here getting this $1 yard sale find ready for Christmas morning.

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Way back in September maybe, we went to a community yard sale and B.J. spotted this wooden baby doll bed for a dollar.  A DOLLAR.  It was falling apart a bit, but like I said, it was a dollar so we snatched it up. 

B.J. repaired the loose side with some screws, filled a few holes with wood filler and smoothed out some rough parts with spackle.  When that was all said and done, I gave it a coat of primer and a couple coats of paint. 

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I used leftover reddish paint from Charley’s dresser (Whip Lash by Behr).  Once that was dry I added some simple bedding I made using leftover fabric from the dresser drawers.

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The blanket is just one piece of hemmed fabric.  The bottom “mattress” is stuffed with some random quilt batting I had on hand.  The pillow was an added bonus that happened by mistake.  I measured my fabric but never cut it down (oops), which left it way too long for the cradle.  I just folded it over and tada!  A pillow! 

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Finally, I added some pom pom detail to the headboard with a couple thumb tacks.

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The grand total for this project falls somewhere under two dollars.  One dollar for the actual cradle and less than a dollar for the pom pom ribbon.  Everything else I already had-primer, paint, fabric, quilt batting.  That’s a seriously good deal for a baby doll bed that Charley’s going to LOVE on Christmas morning! 

P.S. I fancied up another one of these thrifted doll beds for my sister a while ago.  You can check it out here!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Paint Marker Ornaments

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Are you in the mood to do a mindless craft while watching Hallmark Christmas movies on repeat?  I can’t be the only one who finds pure joy in that. 
But seriously, this is a super easy Christmas craft that you or your kids could partake in.  All you need are some bulb ornaments and paint markers.  I found clear ornaments for 70% off at Michael’s.  I was actually looking for white for the sheer fact that they’d show up better on our tree, but no such luck.  The paint markers I have are Sharpie brand.
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Then, you settle in on the couch, turn on a sappy Hallmark movie and start coloring designing!  I chose to do scallops, dots, stripes and chevron.  The scallops took a little thinking and my first one is a little wonky.
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Here are a few hanging on our tree.  The black scallop one barely survived a game of fetch that Charley tried to start with Libby.  I’m still not sure how she got it off the counter in the first place.  These suckers are a lot tougher than they look apparently!
Can you believe we’re just days away from Christmas?  I’m going to try and slow down so I can soak it all up before it’s over.  Pin It

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Adding a Little Function to Charley’s Closet

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I started with the fun stuff in Charley’s closet.  Like a book nook, a hanging light fixture, artwork and pretty curtains. 
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Now it’s time to add a little function.  I tried to think about what Charley really needed in her closet and one thing instantly came to mind.  Holding baskets for clothes that are too big or too small.  We have been super blessed with great hand-me-downs and I need a place to store the items that aren’t the right season or are just too big.  I also like a place to put pieces that are too small until I’m ready to store them in a bigger bin in the basement.  Sometimes a few items will be too small but other items in the same size still fit.  I’d rather wait until she grows completely out of that size so all the clothes can go to the basement together. 
I found a couple basic white fabric bins at Ikea for 5.99 a piece.  I thought they’d be perfect for the job.  Also, they collapse so if we find that we don’t need them we can always store them flat. 
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I added simple labels to each bin using left over fabric from Charley’s dresser drawers, brown cardstock and fabric glue. 
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They add just enough color to the otherwise boring white bins. 
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Now we have some useful storage bins which also provide a great back drop for the light fixture that used to fade into the walls.  Win win! Pin It

Monday, December 16, 2013

Office Closet Makeover

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When we made the office/guest room/big girl room switch, I started thinking of better ways to organize our office and craft supplies.  It was the perfect time to tackle this job because the office closet would be Charley’s new closet.  Which meant everything had to be cleaned out any way, why not organize it in the process.  The fact that all of our stuff was being moved to a different space made a huge difference.  I was starting with a blank slate as opposed to trying to reorganize an existing space.
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I started with my craft supplies.  I wanted the majority of this stuff to be behind closed doors instead of in desk drawers in the main office space.  Charley loves opening and closing drawers and most of these supplies are small and unsafe for toddlers. 
I bought inexpensive cardboard boxes from Ikea and stored like items inside each.  Things like ribbon, sewing supplies, card making supplies and stamps, just to name a few.  The big red bins are from Target and they hold things like paint and other art materials.  Oh, and one holds a bunch of cd’s.  Random, I know.  This shelf also holds our wireless printer so it’s not taking up space in the office.
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I hung a big bulletin board above the shelf to collect those little items I never know where to put.  Like magazine clippings or sweet notes from the husb.
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Wrapping paper was something that took up a lot of floor space in our old office closet.  We had it stored in one of those Rubbermaid bins made specifically for wrapping paper.  Our extra gift bags and tissue paper were tossed in a different bin that took up even more floor space.  Not anymore.  I tied three pieces of string from the back of our shelf to the front.  Now our wrapping paper lays neatly in what used to be wasted space.  The tissue paper got stuffed in a gift bag along with other extra bags.  Those all hang from three hangers on the right side of the closet.
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Also on the right side is a white shoe organizer.  Obviously it’s not being used for shoes, rather things like batteries, 3M hooks, flash drives, memory sticks, printer ink, ear phones, you know, all the things that usually get tossed in a junk drawer.  I plan on labeling each compartment so it’s even easier to find what we’re looking for.  The basket on the floor just holds a laptop bag and our camera bag.
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The left side of the closet holds a sweater organizer (towel holder? days of the week clothes sorter?).  I’m using it to store all of my printer paper and craft paper.  Down below is a sewing box and behind it sits my paper cutters. 
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The top shelf holds three wire baskets.  The basket on the left is filled with extra canvases and scrapbook stickers.  The middle basket is filled with extra fabric (my favorite).  And the basket on the left is for computer related items, like our external hard drive, our mini photo printer and extra speakers.
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So far my organization system is working out really well.  Everyone knows right where to find everything.  Including Charley.  She knows right where the paint is and every time these closet doors open, she thinks it’s time to paint. Pin It

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Wrapping

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Anyone else totally in love with woodsy Christmas decor?  I wish I had a whole tree dedicated to all things woodsy.  Maybe next year.  Perhaps I’ll wipe West Elm clean after Christmas.
It was no surprise that the wrapping paper I chose this year hinted at a woodsy feel.
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The past couple of years I wrapped all our gifts in brown kraft paper (you can read about last year's HERE).  This year I decided to mix and match colors and patterns.  I found the white, red and brown paper at Target and the black checked paper came from T.J. Maxx. 
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I kept it simple with red and brown twine and basic white tags.
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I was able to knock out a bunch of wrapping thanks to a couple snow days.  Libby was my helper(ish).
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Now we can sit back and enjoy the view for the next couple of weeks.  Merry Christmas!
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Monday, December 9, 2013

Good-bye Contact Paper, Hello Fabric!

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I’m happy to report that I finally, FINALLY, finished peeling off the stubborn contact paper from Charley’s thrifted dresser drawers.  My fingers are killing me and my blood pressure is probably seriously raised, but it’s done. 
Way back in September when I first shared this dresser project, moving Charley into her new room seemed like a lifetime away.  Now that “move-in day” is in a couple weeks (yikes!), I realized it was now or never.  Her clothes were going to need a place to live and the grimy contact paper-lined drawers were not going to cut it.
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I waited until every single drawer was prepped and cleaned before I added any fabric.  It was sort of the light at the end of my contact paper covered tunnel.  I chose three different yet complimentary fabrics and used spray adhesive to attach the pieces to the bottom of each drawer.
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Now the inside of the drawers look as pretty as the outside! 
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Roll Out the White Paper

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In the midst of decorating for Christmas last weekend, I got way off track and started organizing/rearranging the playroom.  That sounds about right.  One thing led to the next and before I knew it the table and chairs were moved, toys were reorganized and Charley’s easel made its way to the basement.

That brings me to today’s post.

A while ago I brought up an old easel for Charley to play with.  The only thing it was used for was to hold her roll of art paper.  I decided it was taking up more space than it was worth and it was really too tall for her anyway.  So adios, easel.
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After a quick trip to Ikea, I had the materials I needed to put the roll paper to better use.  All it took was a super cheap curtain rod and a metal hook.  It takes up way less space and now it’s at an appropriate height for Charley to do her thang.   Like draw Dora, Boots and Ellen (as in, DeGeneres).  I’m not even kidding.
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We came across this snowman pail with our Christmas decorations.  It’s perfect for holding a few crayons and some chalk.
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As of now the paper just hangs down the wall freely.  I have plans to attach a couple upside-down clothespins to the wall just above the baseboard.  This way there will be something to hold down the paper tightly when it wants to flip up.
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Anybody else frantically organizing and getting way off track in the midst of holiday decorating?  I think I’m trying to prepare myself for the toy explosion that’s bound to happen in a few short weeks.  Pin It

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fixing the Playroom Gallery Walls

After I raided the playroom gallery walls to decorate Charley’s new bedroom, things were looking a little rough in there.  B.J. kept commenting how sad they looked so I decided to do something about it. 

My plan all along was to create an empty frame gallery for Charley’s (and baby Smallwood’s) creations.  I was envisioning all white frames so the artwork could be the focal point. I scoured some thrift shops for frames to add to my collection.  I found a few that needed a couple coats of white paint, but I still didn’t have enough to create two galleries.  I’ve been loving black and white frames mixed together and since I already had a bunch of black frames on hand, I went in a new direction. 

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I chose to mix already framed pieces with empty frames for interchangeable artwork.  I didn’t purchase anything new for this project except a couple thrift shop frames and some Target dollar spot clothespins.  Basically, I slapped some random things in frames or reused pieces from the old gallery wall and called it a day.  In other words, I needed to get the frames on the wall before I could really decide how I wanted it to look.  That probably sounds backwards, but I needed a starting point.  Now I can tweak things as needed.

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I attached clothespins to the wall with 3M picture hangers to make changing out artwork super easy.  For the tiny empty frame, I attached the clothespin right to the frame to make as much room as possible.

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I definitely like the contrast of the black and white frame combination.  Although, I may eventually make them all empty frames for a more uniform look.  We’ll see.

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Charley thoroughly enjoyed this project because she got to be a part of it.  We didn’t want the frames to stay empty for long so she was a busy little artist this weekend. 

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She looks pretty clean in these pics but it went downhill after 30 minutes of painting.  She went straight from her highchair to the bathtub.  I would say that’s a successful painting day!

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