Hope you have lots to keep you busy for the long weekend ahead!
I've got a gift to make, curtains to start (yeah, right), a trip to Ikea, some blog events to plan...
I better get off the computer and get started on my list!
Since discovering the potential of wasted behind-the-door space in Emma's room, I couldn't wait to put some up in Ethan's room. Before we started moving things around in here, everything had a low, horizontal feel. Nothing drew your eyes up. But with these shelves, we get vertical storage, a graphic stripey look, and a use for that wasted space. I love them!!
All 5 shelves only used 6 pieces of wood:
I cut piece into 30-inch lengths. The 1x6 was the flat part of the shelf, so that's where I drilled all the pocket holes. Actually, since I was getting the hang of things, I let Ethan drill most of the holes (with my help) and he also set all the screws, and helped me drive them in. The actual building of the shelves took less than an hour.
For paint, we picked Behr's Havasu. I took a gamble and tried to paint all of the shelves with just one $3 sample pot. We didn't run out, but we got close! So, one sample pot will paint 5 30-inch ledge shelves. As you can see above, Emma and Ethan both got in on the painting step. They are pretty good at painting, so all I had to do was go back and fill in the gaps. The boys room has kind of a rustic element, so it didn't matter if their brush strokes weren't all perfect.
We hung the bottom shelf 18 inches from the baseboard, with 10 1/2 inches between each of the other shelves.
One thing that I would change if I did this again, is the quality of wood I chose. I bought the roughest, cheapest wood, because I knew the texture of the would be fine in this room. I made sure the boards were straight along the length, but I didn't see that one of the 1x4s was slightly curved, like a parenthesis. So, depending on which way I screwed them together, the shelves are either tilting slightly down or slightly up. Oops. It doesn't affect the use of the shelves, and you can really only tell from the side, but I probably won't buy that kind of wood again. Live and learn.
I'm sure the tilt of the shelves won't show once I get the curtains up. Maybe that will light a fire under me enough to get working on them!
That bottom shelf is irresistible to Esther, so I filled it with her own toys and books. She empties it at least once a day, but she can also pick them up herself, so it works.
Also, the height of that bottom shelf makes for excellent motorcycle storage.
Every little boy needs a place to display treasures and half-finished lego projects, right? I'm sure the items on the shelves will change regularly, but I don't mind. I just hope no one gets the idea to climb them like a ladder, Kevin McAllister style. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't survive that.
Building, painting, or organizing anything this week? Whatcha been up to?
To add some floor space, I reoriented the ikea cube shelf to stand up on its end. (If you do this with yours, remember to anchor it to the wall so it doesn't fall!)
I like how these bins look, the fact that they hide tons of toys, and that they were a decent price, but the design leaves something to be desired. They are made from thin chipboard, so I'm constantly reminding the kids to pick up the lids so they don't get smushed. Also, the little bolts that hold them together are continually coming unscrewed and causing the sides of the box to sag.
I'm thinking of another solution, but for now, I just gather up the pieces and put them back together whenever I find them lying around.
I bought the white boxes about a year after the orange ones. While I was putting them together, I used my glue gun to dab a spot of glue onto the end of each bolt after I screwed it together. The white ones have held up much better, so it seems to have helped. If you buy these for use in a kids room, I would highly recommend adding this step.
I took some time this week to go through the boxes, make sure they weren't over loaded, and get rid of some toys the kids weren't playing with any more. I also grabbed too-small clothing and put them in bags to sell for the next JBF sale.
No wonder they were having so much trouble keeping their room tidy! Where does all this stuff come from? I think it multiplies like the loaves and fishes.
With all this out of the way, the room seems bigger. We emptied a whole box, so I brought in the play food, which I'd been storing in the garage for a few months. (I love rotating out some toys, so they feel new after a while.) They played with the food for several hours, and served some truly creative/disgusting entrees. Sausage banana pizza, anyone?
Yesterday I gave you a little peek at the tote bags I made for the kids' teachers. This is the first time I've ever made back-to-school gifts a priority. It's usually all I can muster to send a gift on the last day of school. And Christmas gifts for the teachers are hit and miss around here too. But last weekend I set aside some time to make them a little something to say thank you for all the prepping they've done to be ready for the school year.
We picked out the fabric at Hobby Lobby, on one of our many school supply runs last week. (I am so glad that's over!!!) Emma picked the green chevron, and Ethan chose the orange print. For your bag, you'll need 1/2 yard of solid natural canvas, and 1/2 yard printed canvas. (This fabric is also called duck.)
Cut 1 - 21x27 inches (body)
Cut 2 - 4x38 inches (straps)
Cut the print into two pieces:
Cut 2 - 12x21 inches (contrasting trim)
The width of the bag is 21 inches, so be sure to turn your trim fabric the right way so the design isn't sideways.
First, take the two long strips and make the straps.
For the Straps:
Press the strip flat with the iron. Then fold lengthwise and press, making a crease. Open the strip again and carefully fold the top and bottom edges toward the middle crease, 1/2 inch, pressing as you go. Fold the strip back together lengthwise, making sure the edges are now caught inside. Pin and sew 1/4 inch down both sides of the strap. Repeat for the second strap. Set aside.
Sew the bag:
For the body of the bag, bring the two 21-inch sides together, so that the fold forms the bottom of the bag. Sew along the sides. Since the bag isn't lined, finish the edges with a zigzag stitch or serger to prevent fraying.
Next, take both of the contrast (trim) fabric pieces, place right sides together, and sew along the both of the short sides to form a tube.
Turn both the body of the bag and the contrasting trim right-side-out.
Put it all together:
1. With both fabrics right side out, slide the trim fabric inside the body of the bag until the top edges of both pieces are even.
2. Sew around the whole bag, lining up seams, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Pull the un-sewn edge of the contrasting fabric out of the bag and smooth everything flat. The bag should be right side out at this point, and the trim should be wrong side out.
3. At the top edge of the trim, turn out 1/2 inch all the way around and press. Then bring this pressed edge down to cover the line of stitching on the outside of the bag. Press the folded trim fabric in place.
4. Measure in from the sides 4 1/2 inches, and insert each end of one strap. Make sure it's not twisted, and pin into place. Turn the bag over and repeat with the other strap. Once both straps are pinned, sew them in place with top stitching 1/4 inch from the bottom edge of the trim.
5. Fold the straps up into their final position and pin. With the straps pinned in place, top stitch the entire upper edge of the bag, 1/4 inch from the edge.
6. Reinforce the straps by sewing them down to the trim fabric in a rectangle or crisscross shape.
If you want, you can call your bag finished at this point! But if you would like to square off the bottom for a 3-dimensional bag, go on to the next step.
Square off the bottom:
Turn the bag inside out, and fold the corner in half, so that the seam goes straight up the middle. (See below.) Make sure that the fabric on the top and underneath this triangle is all smooth and flat.
Measure up the center seam 3 inches. Draw a line that is exactly perpendicular to the corner seam. A clear ruler is helpful for this stage, because you can line up the grid with the seam.
Pin the fabric together so it stays in place, and sew along the line. I sewed over the line three times to reinforce it. Leave the flaps inside the bag to keep it sturdy.
Flip the bag right side out again and admire your sharp corners! Clip any threads that are hanging around, and you are finished!!
Tote bags make great gifts because they are useful, cute, and can even be re-gifted without too much guilt. They make great library bags, shopping bags, or even a light day-at-the-beach bag. We filled our totes up with school supplies, which we were taking to school anyway, and told the teachers that the canvas bags were theirs to keep. I think it was nice to know that someone had thought of them on such a crazy, hectic day.
If there is any part of this tutorial that doesn't seem clear, leave me a note in the comments and I'll try to clear it up.
If you use this tutorial to make your own teacher tote, please let me know! I love to see how others interpret my designs!
Want to pin this tutorial for later? Hover over any of the photos in this post, and a "pin it" button will appear. How easy is that!
Well, I got through it again, even though I didn't think it was possible. The hardest day of the year for me as a mother is the day before the first day of school. I spend the day double checking school supplies, packing bags, planning lunches, kicking myself for forgetting to buy water or juice boxes of any kind, admiring my children's faces, marveling at how big they're getting, and grabbing them for a hug every time they walk past me. And crying. There is always crying.
But by the time the big day actually arrives, there is so much hustle and bustle, I don't have time to tear up. We got dressed, checked bags again, made lunches, ate breakfast, made lunches, and were out on the lawn for pictures before 7:30. We grabbed last year's picture for the annual frame-within-a-frame shot.
This part always takes a while, because my kids are chronic weird-face-makers whenever they look into camera lens. For example:
I have half a mind to hang this one on his wall all year. It cracks me up. I'll send these to Walgreens and have them printed and hanging in their rooms when they get home from school today.
Of course, the little guys had to get into the picture-taking too.
Oh my gosh. Ethan's face! I'm going to look at this all day long to cheer me up.
We packed up and drove the half mile to school, or at least we tried to. We only got half way there, because every other parent wanted to walk in with every other kid, so we parked at the end of the street and hoofed it the rest of the way, loaded down with six bags of supplies. By the time we got to the front steps, they were saying things like, I'm so tired! and Why does school have to be so hard?! I'm sure the 80% humidity didn't help! But everything got better once we made it to Ethan's class. He has the same beloved teacher that Emma had for first grade, so it was a happy reunion. I can't wait to catch up with her.
He found a seat next to some friends from last year.
(See the bag that Emma is holding in the background above? That's one of the tote bags I made for their teachers. I'm going to put up a tutorial for ya later this week!)
Finally we made our way to Emma's class. I'd never met her teacher before, but I knew that many of Emma's friends from previous years were going to be in her class. Turns out, her teacher is darling. And she seemed to be really excited to meet the kids and the parents. I made sure to give Emma a big sloppy kiss while her friends were watching, and I told her please don't cry, but if you get too scared or sad without me, just call and I'll come pick you up.
She said, "I don't think that will be necessary." Hmph.
So, with seven hours of waiting ahead of us, Esther and I are trying not to look at the clock too much. We are cleaning, working on projects, and watching videos, but really we are just counting down the minutes until carpool time.
And in case you're feeling sentimental, too:First Day of School 2012
Did your kids go back to school yet? I think we're pretty late this year compared to everyone else. If you took first day pics, link them to the comments! I'd love to see them!
Be sure to check back in later this week for the back-to-school tote tutorial!
It's Friday!! Do you have plans to do something fun with your weekend?
I have this pile of new canvas duck cloth that is begging me to make something new.
But I can't let myself play until I finish up some of the "chores" around here. Mainly, making sense of all of this:
Yep, school starts on Monday, and I'm labeling and sorting a mountain of supplies. Have you ever tried to fill a public school supply list? It is intense. I've already been to 5 places looking for the exact plastic blue folders with pockets and prongs. Two WalMarts, even the expensive teacher supply--no one has them. Yesterday I gave up and bought the paper ones. How can such a tiny detail make you feel like you're setting your kid up for failure? It's like all those school-year anxieties come rushing back and I'm at the end of my first day of 8th grade, when I realize I've spent the entire day making friends and learning a schedule that was actually designed for a 7th grader, and I have to live my entire first day over again tomorrow, in the correct grade, as the new kid! I really hope those late homework dreams don't start again...
Clearly I need to get these supplies taken care of and get my craft on.
So what are you up to this weekend? Do you look forward to sending your kids back to school, or does it trigger your own codependent panic tendencies? Don't leave me hanging here, I have to know I'm not the only one!
Last time you saw the fourth wall of the boys room it looked like this:
Ack. So messy and cluttery.
I've been planning a chalkboard wall in this room for several months. I was inspired by pictures like this one and this one. There was a moment of hesitation when I worried that the dark color would make our small room feel even smaller, but then I realized that a chalkboard would keep this high-traffic piece of wall between the door and the closet free from any furniture, I hoped that in the end it would actually give the room better flow, and even make it seem bigger. Was I right?
The first thing I had to figure whether the wall was smooth enough for chalkboard drawings. It would be a bummer to go through all the work of transforming the wall, only to realize it was too bumpy for writing. So I directly on the wall with a piece of chalk to test it.
The verdict? Yes. Too bumpy.
I did a little research and found out I had three options for smoothing out my wall.
1. Sand the whole wall until the texture was gone, then prime and paint.
2. Cover the wall with hard board, a thin, smooth sheet of building material. Then spackle, prime, and paint.
3. Coat the entire wall with a thin coat of plaster to fill in the low spots of the texture, then sand, prime, and paint.
If the room had been empty, I would have chosen the sanding option. It would cost the least, and with an electric sander, it probably wouldn't take all that long. But the idea of having to cover everything with plastic, and then clean up all the sanding dust was just too much. And since the third option also called for a bit of sanding (although not nearly as much) I opted for the cleanest route--#2: the hard board.
I measured the walls, and very carefully plotted out how much of the stuff I was going to need. Hard board comes in 4'x8' pieces, in either 3/16 inch thickness or 1/8 inch. I went for the thinner version. Thankfully the tall sections of the wall were exactly perfect for using 2 sheets, with one sheet divided vertically for either side of the door. I was able to avoid buying a third big piece for the section above the door, because Home Depot also sells hard board in 2'x4' sheets. All three pieces cost about $24. So as far as chalkboard go, this was still a very affordable option. I had the boards cut at the store. *note* When getting boards cut at Home Depot or Lowes, take the time to double check all the measurements and marks before the guy puts it through the giant saw. It might seem rude to check his work, but it's worth it to avoid mistakes. It also helps to not have four children with you, but sometimes that is just unavoidable...
While I was at Home Depot I picked up a can of chalkboard paint, and some smooth paint rollers.
When I got out to my van, I opened up the back to load everything up. I had laid down or removed enough of the seats that the area was long enough to fit the 8-ft boards. What I hadn't realized, is that my van's interior space is not tall enough to fit the boards' 4-ft width. After all the measuring, cutting, and child-wrangling that had gone into the last hour, I just stood there staring into my car, not sure what to do next.
The sun was beating down on me with all the force of its triple-digit oppression. I was debating whether to unpack all the kids and head back inside, to balance the boards on top of our heads for the short drive home, or to ditch it all in the parking lot and speed away laughing like a maniac. I had just decided on the latter, when I heard someone offer to help.
I turned to see a man wearing a sombrero and an orange apron with the name Gonzo on it. At first I didn't answer, because I knew that a sombrero-wearing Gonzo was just the kind of mirage I would dream up, and that the heat was playing tricks on my weary mind. But when he offered again, I considered the possibility that he might be real, and actually help me out of my self-induced predicament. I snapped a picture just to be sure.
Gonzo suggested that we tie the boards to the luggage rack. Ah, the luggage rack! Another five minutes, and lots of twine later, we were on our way. And although I imagined myself hitting the breaks and sending those boards flying into another car, they were actually quite secure, and stayed put for the mile-drive home. Thanks, Gonzo!
Once all the kids and the boards were inside, I set to work attaching them to the wall. I used nails to secure the boards to the studs. Then I went back over the nail holes and the seam with some spackle. I let it dry over night, and then went over it with a piece of sandpaper. Yes, I had to sand after all, but the mess was minimal.
The next step was priming. I gave the boards one coat of kilz that we had already so that the chalkboard paint would sit on top of them, instead of soaking in and using more paint than was necessary. After that, it took two coats of chalkboard paint. I've never used chalkboard paint before this, and had no idea what it was like. But rolling on that deep-black inky paint over my new smooth walls was deeply satisfying.
After the second coat was dry, we marked the time, and waited three days for it to cure. That was tough. The kids were anxious to write on their new surface, but I made them wait the entire 72 hours. It seemed like weeks!
At the end, we grabbed some white sidewalk chalk and seasoned the wall by rubbing it down with the side of the chalk.
It was very fast work--only took about 10 minutes to season the whole thing.
Then we wiped it down and had some fun!
Keeping furniture off of this wall looks so much cleaner, and provides lots more play space on the floor.
For the most part, I let them draw on it as much as they want (white chalk only to avoid carpet stains) and I only wipe it down to make more space or write giant messages and blog post titles.
I let the kids wash away their drawings with a water-dampened cloth, which works pretty well. But in all my research for this project, I found that the secret to a glossy, clean chalkboard is a cloth soaked in Coca Cola.
Sounds crazy, I know, but it works. The kids know I have a secret potion for cleaning the chalkboard, but I decided to keep the details to myself. I imagined spilled coke, and lines of ants swarming their bedroom. Aint nobody got time for that.
Are you working on any projects in your kids rooms this week? What have you discovered about space-saving and smart design? Have you ever worked with chalkboard paint? I admit that I'm hooked, and am currently looking for more surfaces to cover with it. I'll be around in the comment section to answer any questions. Have a good one!
Chalkboard paint and other for kids' room decor we LOVE:
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Last weekend I went to a baby shower, and to help out the momma-to-be, I offered to take care of the hostess gifts for her. Is this a southern thing, or does everyone do hostess gifts? In case this is new to you, when a group of friends throws a shower for someone, the girl of honor returns the favor with a small token of thanks for each of the hostesses. It's a little beyond the dinner-party-hostess-gift idea, where you only need one gift. And sometimes it's hard to think of something to give 4+ people, without costing too much or taking too much time. (Because who needs more stress when you're planning a wedding or growing a human?)
This burlap-wrapped plant was inspired by this post, and was so easy to do. It looks darling, took less than an hour, and the price was right, too.
First, gather up some supplies.
I found burlap at Walmart for under $3 per yard. I bought 2 yards, wrapped 7 plants, and had plenty left over for something else. Not mentioned in the list above are plants. (Duh.) And gifts tags. But hang around until the end of this post, and I'll take care of that last one for ya.
I bought ferns and ivy in 4-inch pots. I think almost any decorative plant would work fine for this project. I love the idea of herbs, too.
1. Cut the zippers off of the baggies.
2. Place the pot in the baggie, pulling the plastic up over the lip of the pot. This will allow you to water the plant, and it won't leak all over the place. Use clear tape to tighten the plastic around the middle of the pot. If you feel like the baggie is slipping off, poke a straight pin into the side of it, through both the bag and the pot.
3. Lay a piece of burlap down, turned so that it looks like a diamond. Place the pot, on its side, near the top point of the diamond.
4. Pull up the bottom point over the pot, and stretch the fabric around the sides of the pot. Pin in place, through the fabric and the plastic bag. Make sure the pins are vertical, so that they won't poke out when you wrap up the rest of the fabric.
5. Fold over the left flap and pin. Repeat with the right flap.
6. Wrap twine around the middle of the burlap pot several times. Poke both ends through a hole in the tag. Then thread each end through one of the holes of the button.
7. Tie the twine in a bow.
As a little bonus, I made a PDF of the tags I used, so now you can print some of your own! Feel free to use them as many times as you want, but please only for personal use.
Good morning to you on this gorgeous Monday!
How was your weekend? I hope you got to spend some time with people you love or doing something that you love.
I went to a baby shower, watched movies with the kids, had a long Sunday lunch with family, and even got some time to work on projects, which has been nearly impossible this last week thanks to baby Elijah's new go-to-bed habits. (He has decided that instead of turning in at 8:00 or 9:00 like his siblings, he would rather be carried or driven around for 30-120 minutes until he passes out. By the time this is over, I am a zombie without an ounce of creative energy left in my entire soul!)
If you follow me on Instagram, you know there was a little shopping in my weekend, too. I know I've told you about Junkadoodle before, and if you are local to Dallas, it is time to make your way over there before it's too late.
Junkadoodle is closing it's doors on September 1. They have been open for 17 years, and have decided that's a good run. For about 12 years, ever since I moved out of my parent's house, I've been buying from there--little odds and ends or furniture that I could never find anywhere else. I'm going to be sad when it's gone. (I'm already sad!)
I went over there on Saturday after the baby shower and spent a good chunk of my fix-up-the-house fund on some things I just couldn't leave behind. I couldn't resist--everything was 50% off! I'll be showing you some of my haul as I put it to use, but here are a couple phone pics I snapped as I was waiting to check out.
Sweet little chandelier for Emma's room (I think).
This funky 60's lamp is going straight into my front room, just as soon as I decide exactly where. I'm a big fan of the glass and wire combo.
If you can, make a trip over there one last time to say goodbye, and maybe pickup something cool for the house. I did leave a few things for ya. Just a few though.
Here's the address: 4402 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas, Texas 75209
So now that my fave store is closing, do you have any tips on where to shop for cool, vintage, unusual, useful home goods? I shared one of them last week, but I need options!
If you didn't catch it above, I am now on Instagram!
I plan to share sweet moments with the kids, sneak peaks of current projects, and other blog-and-shop related ventures. I'd love to follow you, and have you follow me too! Leave your user name in the comments if you have a public acct. Mine is Lassothetruth. Follow me!
Donnie and I like to get out at least every other Thursday night to spend some time together without all the little guys around. My mom feeds them dinner, gets them ready to bed, pops some popcorn, and snuggles in for a movie on the couch with all her grand-babies around her. Do you think they even notice that we're gone with all that fun? I doubt it!
Last night while Mom had them occupied, we headed up to the a Lakewood area to eat at one of my favorite Chinese food spots.
My dad used to take me on dates to the Snow Pea when I was little. When Donnie and I started dating, Dad took him there to have a man-to-man talk. It has some sweet memories built in to it's strange window-less facade. But last night when we opened the door to go inside, we saw this:
Ever feel like you're in a dream even thought you're fully awake? I think we were just here last month. Where did the restaurant go? Did it ever even exist? Was my whole life really a dream? *spooky organ music*
We were bummed out, but fortunately another of my favorite places is on the same strip.
Curiosities is a big warehouse store full of antiques, housewares, vintage collectibles, and strange "other" curiosities. I had my phone with me, so I snapped some pictures so you could see what I mean.
This orange wire shelf would look so cute in our turquoise girls room.
vintage game pieces
I'm a sucker for old paint-by-numbers.
a bed pan with a funny name
I'm always on the lookout for wire locker baskets, but at $45 each, these were way out of my league.
Someday I'm going to have a collection of vintage rolling pins with colored handles. And a kitchen to put them in.
There are hundreds of quilts, linens, sewing notions, and vintage fabrics in this shop. It makes me a little giddy.
This portrait looks exactly like my brother Jon. I don't know that guy standing next to him though.
Here's a side-by-side so you can see what I mean. The real Jon is on the left.
I almost got this giant nursing mother sculpture, just to commemorate my recent breakthrough with Elijah.
And if you have a thing for taxidermy this is the place for you. There are antlers, alligator heads, and furry creatures big and small around every corner.
Don't judge me that I wanted one of these ducklings really bad. But I left them all right there next to the register.
If you are local to Dallas and are looking for a cool place to peruse, or need a one-of-a-kind gift, stop by Curiosities. You will be entertained I promise.
Have you been out lately without the little ones in tow? Where did you go? What did you eat? Who did you go with?
Questions? Contact Me!