Valentine’s Day craft inspiration

I love holidays and especially love the fun that comes with them.  People tend to tuck their creativeness away until holidays where it will suddenly emerge!  I wouldn’t complain if we were all creative all the time though. 😉

Crafts and artwork are always fun, and the best thing is that with holidays I don’t necessarily have to be mentally creative or imaginative for the themed crafts since so many people already have been and share their great ideas.

That brings me here, with lovely ideas to do for Valentine’s day crafts for Elizabeth and Alodia which I have rounded up here to share with you.  Once Elizabeth wakes up we’ll begin our craft date on the porch! ❤

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These hearts are quick and easy and can be made entirely with leftover craft scraps and recycling.  How great is that?  I can imagine how cute these would look hanging on a girly Christmas tree, too.

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Crafts that celebrate not only a holiday but that also capture a moment in time like these fingerprints are especially dear to me.  This fingerprint heart tree could so easily be mailed to loved ones as a Valentine’s day card!

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These hearts are so pretty I’d love to make some simply to hang in the girl’s play area!  They just use paper, paint, scissors, and shaving cream.  Imagine how fun that will be for little hands to get messy with (even big hands, lets be serious, I’d smush it around too).

I can’t even collect any more at the moment, I’m too eager to get the supplies assembled so Elizabeth can dive right in after waking up before it gets dark and buggy!  Happy Sunday!

Sources: yarn hearts  |  fingerprint tree  |  shaving cream heart

DIY for “all the reasons”

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Okay you all know how cheap I am, seriously, I’ll do anything to help save a few bucks here and there.  Except extreme coupon, that is way over my head.  However, I fortunately am entertained by many do-it-yourself projects which actually end up saving me money in the long run.  While sitting in my living room I can see two projects that have been financial “wins” for my family.  The first is our TV stand, the second is Elizabeth’s learning tower.

Our TV stand is some sort of victorian dresser-type piece that was the worst condition of furniture we had ever tackled.  We learned so much while working on it and learned a handful of techniques as well.  Our TV stand cost us under $100 for the entire project which is hundreds less than most tv stands, let alone real wood ones.

The learning tower allowed us to take a stab at a very “hands on” approach to parenting.  Before our tower Elizabeth would cry at our feet simply because she was so interested in what we were doing on the counters that she couldn’t see.  With the tower she is able to watch what we’re doing from a safe distance, or right up in the mix.  It has allowed us to spend more time in there cleaning or cooking and has exposed her to those very life skills which she is already mimicking!  The learning tower cost us under $50 which is a fraction of what regular learning towers cost.

Yay for DIY!

IKEA latt hack

If you’ve been following along you’ve probably noticed that for while now we’ve been slowly working our way from a cluster f of accumulated furniture to rooms we’re happy to enter and proud to see photos of.  One of the things I was adamant about was that we would have a play area worthy of the internet.  Pinterest worthy, if you catch my drift. 😛

We have two white cube shelves, one is a 9 cube 3×3 (shown in this post), and a 4 cube 1×4 which we currently have in use elsewhere in the house.  Since we rotate Elizabeth’s toys we are able to keep the play area tidy and clean without a lot of storage since her toys are in containers tucked away to prevent temptations.  We knew we needed a place where our little girl could do more toddler activities so we purchased the IKEA latt table and chairs set ($25).  I had to do something about the blonde colored wood and simple white mdf on the table top and chair seats so I decided to use some left over gel stain from a recent project and did two coats.  Initially we stained the mdf for the chair seats but it disagreed with me.

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After that we decided we wanted to add a cushion and some fabric so I knew in an instant we would do black and white stripes.  We used 1″ thick cushion foam and cut it to a 9″ square and secured it to the chair seat using the fabric and hot glue.  With the hot glue and the way the seat is held into the frame of the chair I’m confident the cushion won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

For the table top we decided to use a piece of chalkboard contact paper that we had on hand from another recent project and it turned out visually better than I expected, plus we didn’t have any issues with bubbling, yay!  How did you hack your IKEA latt table and chairs?

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DIY projects this week

We have been knocking out project after project this week and it feels GREAT!  This morning we had about three or four complete renovation projects going on in our garage and as of this hour we have completed one entirely, and have a small little bit of work left to do to finally be finished with another.

It’s tough to be a DIYer with a toddler who is at home full time (rather than many toddlers who are in preschool or daycare), not even to mention being 39 weeks.  EEK!  I have to squeeze in time when Elizabeth is asleep or when her mood and the weather align perfectly for her to wander around the work area while I’m working/keeping her out of the project.  I’m really going to miss how “easy” it was to deal with only one child when this second one is also getting in the way of these projects. 😉

This morning our project to-do list included an old Victorian dresser (we think?), the IKEA Latt table and chairs set, a glider and foot stool combo, and the IKEA bekvam step stool.

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While three of those same projects are left unfinished, one of them is completely finished, and one is just about at the finish line, it’s so close I’ve even shared it on my facebook although there is still one thing left to do.  The two IKEA projects are still being worked on but I’d say the latt table and chairs set is about half way, and the bekvam step stool is maybe 1/3 of the way to being completed.

I’m really really hoping that I can share with you a second completed project tomorrow!!  Until then, here is my second DIY reupholster/stain/paint glider job:

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Charlie loves gliders which basically means that she is either in or begging to get into a glider if she’s around one.  This glider was initially a light blonde or ash wood color which I’m not crazy about, and a dark blue almost-corduroy fabric on the cushions.  We purchased it secondhand with the intention to redo it like we did with Elizabeth’s, which you can read about here.

I would love to take on another glider project sometime in the future (next baby, maybe?!)  because I’d like to try some other techniques throughout the process.

Have you been feeling productive lately?

How to build a deck for FREE!*

*Free except the cost of tools and screws, sorry to be misleading.  Let’s get started!

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 The first step was to remove each “floor board” from the pallets.  My husband did that part, depending on his mood, with either a crow bar and rubber mallet or with a sawzall.  If he used a sawzall he would have to pry the boards from the center support on each pallet, simply because there was no feasible angle at which to place the saw and cut straight.

The next step was for me to remove each nail from the boards.  Some had 6 total, some had about 30.  I removed them using a hammer, then sanded the top and edges of each board which this fist photo shows:

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After sanding each board I would stand them up almost as if they were a part of an assembly line waiting to be used.  Since we made our deck 4 pallets wide I would match 4 floor boards up by width to be in the same row.  Every other row had 1 floor board cut in half to give the “brick” pattern necessary for strength and appearance.

The following photo shows the deck in the very beginning stages of being assembled.  We screwed the pallets together and put supplemental support “beams” in between each that was still attached.  These supplemental ones were not screwed into or attached in any way to the substructure shown in the photo or to the floor boards, they are strictly for support and to prevent boards from caving in under foot.

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Here you can see the floor boards being laid down, but the supplemental supports have not been inserted yet; we typically waited until the row of pallets was about halfway covered in floor boards to shove the extra “beams” into place.  That way we could ensure they wouldn’t be a nuisance and move around on us while we were working.

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This next photo you can see how it comes together.  Unfortunately with a free deck not all the boards are going to be the best, so there are some significant gaps like in the center right of the photo.  However those are rare and overall the deck is still purposeful. 😉

However, this photo just barely shows in the top left corner the supplemental support boards and how they aren’t attached to anything, just hanging out being helpful.

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Onto row 2 of 3!  When we got to the “seam” of pallets we would begin lining up rows to ensure that we would be able to attach them to each other using floor boards.  In this photo you can see the second to last row (nearest the camera) is a bit wider than a lot of the other rows of boards.  That is on purpose, and that allowed us to have one solid row straddling the seam between the two pallet rows.

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This next photo is the second to last row on the entire deck! Yay celebration time! After the rows were all screwed down we used one last row of boards to create a skirt along the open edge, which you can see in the final photo.  With that being said, we didn’t worry about the small openings in the sides of the deck.20160517_124345 - Copy

Here is our final set up! (Update on this later)…  Here you can see Charlie the crazy girl strutting her stuff across her cool new deck.

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This photo shows the spacing between the boards, none of them are touching each other regardless of how they definitely look like they are in the photo.  I actually love the variation in the boards and some even have really pretty woodgrain!20160522_162539 - Copy

Here is the final product!  Our deck in all its glory sitting pretty before a wind or rain storm came to cover it with bark, spiky pine cones, pine straw, gum balls and leaves! ❤

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Back Yard Project is complete!

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We worked for roughly 5 weeks from start to finish on this FREE deck.  I am very proud of us for not only building this, but for coming up with the concept and design all on our own.

I will make a walk-through post later targeting just what it took, but I couldn’t hold it in any longer without sharing with you all.  I hope you love it as much as we do.  Yay for money saving projects that bring us together! ❤

Back Yard Project Sneak Peek

Today was easily the most productive day we have had at home in awhile!  I am so proud of us all (Elizabeth included) for how amazing the day went.  We shopped yardsales in the morning and had some great finds that I will post about later, and in the afternoon, worked on our back yard!  Tomorrow will be another day of back yard DIY work.  For now, here are a couple sneak peek photos!  Yay!!