Thursday, June 26, 2014

TV Cabinet Makeover

You guys, my life is now complete.

I have a great husband...
I have a beautiful baby...
And I have an awesome place to put my craft supplies.

This is all I need!

So, let's rewind back to December when I asked my good friend Chariti to keep an eye out for a large piece of furniture for my Stuff.  Soon after that she texted me a photo of a TV stand that she thought had potential.


I had zero experience in furniture painting, restoration, repurposing, you name it.  But I am confident in following directions, and in the power of Pinterest.


Then after I started my new Stay At Home gig this spring, I had some time to actually finish it.

So here's what I did:

1. Sanded and primed the exterior, and painted the entire piece 
2. Added shelves in the large (former) TV area by screwing in square dowels and placing the shelves on top.

Like this:
I will probably add additional dowels on the back of the cabinet to hold up the middle.  I would highly recommend this, to avoid bowing if your shelf is on the thinner (read: less expensive) side.

3. Replaced the knobs and pulls with new hardware.

I found the knobs and labeled drawer pulls on Etsy.  Here's a close-up of the labeled pulls, which I love:

4. Added a ribbon holder on the inside door.

This is actually a bathroom towel rack from IKEA - I think it works great.

And there you have it!  There are so many other things you could do - maybe add some cork board to the other inside door, or other ways to hang things and utilize even more space.

Now if I didn't have my one thing I need to do today, I would go find a craft or 10 to work on.

Have an awesome day friends!

{And go visit more awesome inspirational ideas, projects and recipes at the Inspire Me Please blog party!}  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

This ONE Thing has changed my SAH Mommy Life

Everyone has asked me - how do you like Staying at Home????

I always answer that I love it (which I do), but it has come with some interesting challenges.  One of which is figuring out how to actually get something DONE with all of this free time. This is what I mean:

  • I put Mia down for her nap at 9:00am, ready to get ALL THE THINGS done during this 2-hour window
  • Clean up kitchen from breakfast
  • Bring toys from the kitchen back to their "toy area"
  • Walk past 3 pairs of my shoes on the floor, bring them to my closet
  • Look in the mirror and remember that I haven't showered in 3 days
  • Take a shower
  • While in the bathroom I notice some random items in a drawer
  • Decide to re-organize my bathroom drawers
  • See a photo album in the bottom drawer.
  • Look through photos for 5 minutes
  • See a picture of my sister and realize I haven't talked to her in over a week
  • Text back and forth with her 
  • Bring a random camera battery from one of the drawers to the office 
  • See a mess on the desk
  • Clean off desk and notice my computer
  • Decide I should check some email
  • Open a tab for Facebook while my email loads (who can wait those 4 seconds?)
  • Waste 20 minutes on FB
  • Read a post on my moms group page about an interesting parenting approach
  • Look up on Amazon for a book about the approach
  • Remember that I should order some X,Y and Z 
  • Read reviews and compare products for 20 minutes
  • Remember my to-do list and leave the computer to get the laundry
  • Throw a load of laundry in the wash
  • Come back to hear Mia crying, awake from her nap

And there goes my precious window for prime productivity.  With half of one to-do list item done.

So, a few months ago I listened to an interview about a book called The ONE Thing by Gary Keller.  I honestly haven't read the book yet (though coincidentally Joel just read it and loved it), but the interview explained it well enough that it is about how we need to stop trying to get so much done at once, and just focus on one thing at a time.  It can even translate into one thought / thing for a week, month, or a whole year, which I also think is a great idea.  I'm pretty sure he even suggests the One Thing should be narrowed down to one word.  Whoa.

ANYway, since being a SAHM I have realized how little I can get done with  seemingly "so much time!"  So I remembered this idea of the One Thing and started deciding that at the beginning of every day (and sometimes before) I would decide on the One Thing that I want to accomplish, the thing that if I just get this done today, I will feel satisfied.  It may be a load of laundry (washed AND dried) or another chore, an errand or a blog post, but whatever it is, I write it down on a weekly tear-off calendar on my fridge and make sure I get it done.

You guys, this may seem like it is a small goal, but it has changed my life.  Going from a 9-5+ job to an "Every Day's a Saturday!" feeling (which can be very good, and very bad), I feel like I finally have a handle on my days, on realistic expectations for my to-do list, and so much better focus.

She just couldn't wait to eat those eggs.

I usually do this One Thing during Mia's first (and sometimes only) nap of the day.  Which means, often I get it done before noon which is - seriously - the best feeling ever.  Anything I get done after that is like a huge bonus!

Because babies are notorious for un-folding your to-do items.

One of my favorite bloggers Jen wrote an awesome blog post about daily routines that has equally enhanced my life.  She reflects on the schedule that Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity follow, and how their day isn't what you might expect, and the lesson you can take from it.  She has 6 (I think?) kids, so her struggles are NOT my "I keep getting distracted by FB" struggles, but actually real daily routine struggles.  Anyway, it is a great read if you are looking for even more inspiration.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Fabric Travel High Chair

For the past 3 weeks I have been planning on going to a free sewing class at Joann's (2 free classes came with purchasing a sewing machine there).  I had Joel's schedule all synced up to be home with Mia; I had the materials I needed all cut out and ironed; I had my bobbins locked and loaded; I had everything ready until 5 minutes before I was about to leave when I realized I never called to put my name down for the class.  I quickly called the store to see if there was still room in the class.....and there wasn't.

Needless to say I was in the mood to sew.  SO,  I decided to take my novice skillz and dive into something I needed (wanted) for our upcoming trip to Georgia: a fabric travel high chair.  And if you don't look too closely at the stitches, I think I did alright!  It will work perfectly for layovers in airports, visits to relatives, and will pack like a CHAMP.

First of all, I got the awesome tutorial here.  I altered it a bit by adding longer tie straps because I didn't feel like going with the velcro. Maybe I would change my mind if I did it all over again, but it still works great and I think it's even a tiny bit more toddler-proof with the tie in the back.

For the material, I bought 12'' of quilting fabric for $3.60 after a 50% off coupon at Joann's.  I cut the inside and longer ties' material from a sheet set I bought at Goodwill for $5.00, which turned out to be about $.25 worth of that.  There's so much extra I could go The Sound of Music on that ish and make Mia some play clothes.

I followed the tutorial step by step {plus added the longer straps}, and voila!

If anyone has any great toddler travel tips, leave a comment!  And have a great week! :)

After putting together the travel chair I realized it irritates one of my pet peeves: carriers / wraps / baby gear that has straps and pullies and arms and legs flying everywhere with no good compact way to store them or throw them in your bag.  Does this make sense? 

Basically, I end up throwing this into my bag:

Which I hate.

So I decided to add a cute little toggle button and leather loop to the seat so I can wrap it up nice and secure. time I will work on the tiny detail they call "centering." But nonetheless -- Pet Peeve Solved!

Now go check out the other great posts at the Inspire Me Please linkup at House of Rose!

Friday, June 6, 2014

7 Quick Takes about books, sewing, gifts, and hair bows for sale...

Linking up with Jen for some Quick Takes!

As you may remember, Joel got me an awesome Sewing Machine for my birthday!  I have been playing around with it here and there for the past few weeks and have successfully completed 3 projects. I have decided to bore you with the details.

a) I added button holes and buttons to close the opening to a duvet cover.  Not sure why the company thought it looked fine with it open, but, problem solved.
b) I made a pillow cover that I am a little too proud about, even though Joel asked me the other day: "So....what are these pillows for again?" They're pillows, Joel. 
c) I hemmed a cupboard skirt (I'm not sure if that's an official name?) that I have had up for 2 years to cover a bottom cupboard that doesn't have a door.  Of course nobody notices that it's hemmed, but I just know that it's hemmed. 

After crushing these beginner projects I'm about to give in to my beaming confidence and make Mia a dress. Enough of this kiddie pool swimming, I'm ready for the high dive!

I've also been making more hair bows lately, for Mia and for gifts. Many people have told me I should sell them, so here we go: If you want a hair bow just shoot me an email! I'd love to make something for you, and have tons of different colors and kinds of fabric, elastics, hair clips, pins, etc.  Here are a few examples, and they cost $5 each.

I also wrote a tutorial about making fabric flower headbands - if you'd rather make one yourself here it is!

3.  Mia got a little blow-up pool for her birthday from my parents, and wow - she loves it.  I just wish it was big enough for me to play in it, and especially go down the slide.  Since it's been 108* out lately, water is definitely our friend.  We also have incredibly kind and generous neighbors who let us use their pool anytime.  I'm pretty sure Mia will grow up thinking it's normal to waltz over to your neighbor's back yard basically whenever you want.  We might have to clarify that at some point.

4.  Ok.  Does anyone else love reading books, but seldom actually reads? Or starts 5 books, all at the same time, and doesn't ever finish them?  That's usually been me.  Until recently.  It all started when I read Jen's Something Other Than God, and turned into a book-finishing-marathoner. I just realized how much I love reading, and how much more fulfilled I feel after having done so, as opposed to how I feel after watching TV.  Bleh.

So in the past 4 weeks I have read 2 books and finished another one I had started months ago.  You may think, wow, Kristin, what are you some kind of Awesome Reading Professional?  But listen people, this is a lot of non-internet-based reading for me.  And since I would recommend them highly, here's what they were:

1. #SOTG as noted above, awesome book
2. Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (much different than the Netflix version. MUCH. )
3. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton, a gift given to me by a friend that I am SO grateful for.  It reminded me of The Last Lecture, in that it was just chock full of wisdom. I didn't agree with 100% of it, but I loved it all anyway.  I read on her blog that she's working on another book, and I will definitely be reading it.

I have also started Dad is Fat, by the funniest of the funny Jim Gaffigan, which was dropped off at my Little Free Library! I was literally about to buy the kindle version (that I read from an iPhone app: game changer), but it showed up in the library a few days later. I call that Amazingly Awesome.

Joel and I decided on a new "norm" to shut off the TV (most nights) for a 9-10pm reading hour.  Kind of like Happy Hour, but, no, wait, that's way different.

5. I ALSO want to find a few of these at the library this summer, especially the audio versions.  What a great list for a business-y dork like me.  

Summer reading is taken to a whole new level here in Phoenix, where we spend most June-August indoors gazing at Facebook pictures of our friends at backyard BBQs.   SO, instead of that, (ahem) I have set a goal for myself to read or listen to 10 books between now and August 31st. I'm typing it out loud so I will stick with it.  Hopefully this tactic works.  Stay tuned for the report!

6. My dear sister Maddy turned 20 a few weeks ago.  

This is her surprising me at the airport back in April for Mia's Baptism

I'm not sure if you all know how excited I get at every one of her birthdays, but it's exCITED.  I am just so ready for her to be an adult and for us to be able to be a new kind of "friends!"  Like real, peer-to-peer friends.  Being 9 years apart was fun and all when I was 9-15. But now we get to be adults together, forever, and age and life stages won't really be that big of a deal.  And next year I can buy her a cocktail! I just can't wait.  Happy Birthday Maddy!!!

7. As mentioned already, we are very blessed to have some awesome neighbors.  The family that lets us use their pool has a daughter who Mia just adores.  One day she asked if she could take a picture of Mia for a project at school.  Then, months later she gave me this:

Oh my heart. It is just the cutest thing in the world. I told her, in complete honesty, that I have very few things I would grab from my house if it were on fire, and this will now be added to that hypothetical list. 

People are awesome.  Let's be more awesome to each other.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Framed Magazine Clippings Quote

I was reading my friend Sheena's awesome blog, like, a minute ago, and realized while reading her post about using cool pictures from a magazine as art that I have YET to post about a gift I made last Christmas!

So, instead of waiting until November to be more seasonally appropriate (maybe my plan all along. You'll never know.), here it is..

It was for my work's Secret Santa homemade gift exchange, with a $15 cap on spending.

Here's what I put together:

--Colorful magazine pictures, ads, graphics, etc. that I cut into letters (free)
--Cream-colored fabric (already had - free)
--Glitter paper (Michael's, $1.99)
--Frame (Michael's, $8 after 40% off coupon)
--Glue, scissors (already had)

I knew my Secret Santa giftee liked St. Catherine of Siena and so I figured a quote from her would be perfect.

Also, I got the inspiration for this framed-quote-using-magazine-clippings idea from a picture of one, believe it or not, in a magazine, with the quote

I thought this was a great quote too, but went with St. Catherine instead.  You could of course also use the actual printed letters from magazines as well for framed quotes!

Anyway here's a close-up.  I was going for a multi-textured look by using the fabric, but you can always just use some clean white paper, or any color for that matter.  

Now go see Sheena's awesome Magazine Art idea too!