Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dresser to Doll Closet

We have been busy with lots of little projects around the house. I was especially excited about this one - making a "closet" for doll clothes in Big Girls' dresser.

It started with seeing this doll wardrobe when we visited American Girl in Chicago.


We both loved the concept of the American Girl dolls having a special place to hang up their clothes and put their shoes and other treasures. We also both wanted something a little more modern and with brighter color.

Then I got to thinking about this (formerly empty) section of her dresser.


While she was occupied with other things I checked and the American Girls could stand up in the dresser. Perfect. Over the next few days - and a trip to the home improvement store - I came up with this.



We used a wooden rod to hang the clothes on ($2) and rubber stoppers ($2.50) so we didn't have to drill holes into the dresser.

Shout out here for the help.


I measured once and cut the piece of wood. Fortunately it was too long rather than too short, however my handy husband measured only once and corrected it.

While he did that I collected baby hangers from Little Man's room. We had one package that were really small that some clothes are already starting to slide off of (originally $2). I used wire clippers - don't know if that is the right name, but hubby uses them to cut wire, so you know - and snipped them to fit doll clothes.


We used scrapbook paper that we had on hand to cover the walls and some command sticky stuff to hang them up so they are secure but will come off easily ($3 with a $1 off coupon).


Then added hooks for the doll purses and hats, etc (left over from another project) and an empty square candle holder as a little box for shoes. Big Girl likes it because its fancy.


The final element (not shown above) is a mirror that we added to the door a few days later from the Dollar Store. Again hung with those command hooks.

It looks nice and was a quick and easy project. Big Girl and I are both excited to show it to friends.

... Oh, so you want the tally on how much this one cost?

Wooden Rod        $2
Rubber Stoppers  $2.50
Sticky Stuff            $3
Mirror                   $1

Sweet!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tickle for the Toes

In my last post I mentioned several art projects that are in progress and in the works. I'm almost done with one of them - and seriously in love with it - so I can't wait to show it off. The t-shirt rugs. Two of them (one for each kid) for in front of their bathroom sinks.

Big Girl's is done.


The rug project all started with Pintrest. I saw this great pin...

pintrest.com
 ... just after Christmas and was inspired. I went right over to Rags By Sock Monkey for the tutorial.

Here is my own version with a few tips.

1. Gather old t-shirts. I also used baby clothes and skirts and pants that the kids had outgrown. A great upcycle and helped with the "you can't get rid of the shirt with the glittery unicorn on it (even though its two sizes to small)!"

For a nice next the bathroom sink size I used 3 medium or large adult shirts and six or 7 toddler and preschool sized clothing pieces.


Rounding up a lot of pink and purple wasn't difficult at our house. Then an additional large shirt for the base. Gathering green, blue and gray for the second one required a trip to the thrift store.

2. Cut the shirts into scraps. I started by making strips about an inch wide then trimming them into 4" to 5" pieces. I also made a large rectangle from one of the big shirts. Mine was about 12" by 18."


3. Make holes in the large rectangle to weave the strips into. I made a few rows at a time wit each row about a half inch apart and each hole in the row about 3/4 of an inch apart. The smaller the holes the more secure the pieces will be and more difficult it will be the thread them through.

4. Place a strip in the corner hole and then weave it back through using the next hole. Go down the rows like this so the strips are all sticking out the same direction. You will want to have two strips going through each hole (except on the ends) so that the rows look like this.


5. Keep going until your whole rug is full. Don't worry about a pattern or using colors in any particular way - random is great.

Tip: If you want to make sure you have a good mix of every color across the rug you can divide the strips in half when you start. Use all the ones from one pile first - it should last until you're about half way across the rug. Then start the second pile. I did this the second time and it really helped to use the colors more evenly.

6. Turn it over and shake it out a bit. If there are especially long pieces you can adjust them or give them a trim.

It took me about three hours to trim the clothes into strips using scissors while watching TV. If you have a cutting wheel for fabric it would go much faster. If you focus on the project instead of watching TV it would probably also go faster. Weaving all the strips in took about four hours - also while watching TV. Again faster if you focus and don't have interruptions - but such is life.

If you try this out, share a picture and let me know what you think.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Crafting

The art bug has seriously attacked me lately. I've got a few projects in the works and a few more planned out/semi planned out in my head. The best part, I've been doing them all with the goal of being either free or really cheap.

For today, I'm going to show you the inspirations. As the projects move along I'll let you know how they go and do a little inspiration/knock-off comparison.

In the Works:
1. Doll Wardrobe. Pay no attention to the colors and style.
Amazon.com
2. T-Shirt Rugs. One for each kid in the bathroom.

3. Cute Jar Project. I've done one painted jar project for a birthday present. This will be valentines day with pink and red.


Coming Soon:
1. Crib Bumper into Curtains. My idea to re-use the fabric. This is the style I'm going for.

From learnandgopolly.com
2. Head Board. This probably belongs in the way to ambitious category, but I have these old curtains that were in the house when we moved in. They're a neutral color and high quality fabric. This will be the most expensive one because I'll have to buy plywood and maybe the batting... unless I can pull off a miracle and re-use what is inside the crib bumper.


A lot of these ideas came off Pintrest. I'm loving all the fun and easy things. Are you on there? Follow me and send and invite so I can follow you!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tears

Every parent has experienced moments that make them cry. For some its at the birth of a child or a graduation. Maybe its when they learn to ride a bike or after a valiant effort earn all A's on a report card.


I am rarely that type of parent.

More often that not if I am crying about something one of my children has done it is with laughter.

The most recent example is too freakin' funny to keep to ourselves.

For Christmas my cousin and her husband gave Big Girl a bike lock.

For some reason they had come into a whole bunch of them (something to do with his job?) and they knew that Santa she had asked Santa for a bike.

Check out the loot! Two bikes for two kids - how freakin' great!

When she got the lock she was very excited. We set the "magic code" to a number she wouldn't forget. If you see us at the park - the only ones with a bike locked up - don't try our house number, it would never be that. She immediately started locking things up and then unlocking them.

We are talking pot holders locked to my Mom's kitchen chairs. Pacifiers to Little Man's middle. The wheels to the frame of her bike. It was funny, but not pretty.


Imagine this around the middle of a 13 month old. Photo from dicksportinggoods.com.

A few days ago she remembered the lock that we had placed out of sight - but apparently not out of mind - and asked my wonderful husband if she could use it.

He, having witnessed the past lock entertainment and not being as amused as myself asked what for.

- This is the part that gets me laughing and crying -

She wanted to lock her bike up. She wanted to chain it to the workbench. In the garage. Inside. In front of the cars. Next to the tool box.

"To keep it safe."

Just get me some tissues. I am laughing right now sitting at the computer. My mascara is running and I just can't help it.

Tears.
 ....

But kids cry too. For certain young ladies a little too often. For babies tears are almost a daily occurrence meaning anything from "I want candy," to "I don't want my diaper changed," to "you fool why did you let me hit myself in the head with that toy?"

Last night was one of - or maybe even the - first real tears of sadness for Little Man.

To understand this story, you first have to understand that one of his favorite toys for the last several months has been a wooden spoon. Its been a constant favorite since before Halloween (its in the pumpkin carving pictures, so it was around for awhile if we were having it in photos.) He loves the spoon. Uses it as a drum stick, a teether, an instrument of torture when his sister is doing something he isn't and wants to be included. Sometimes it hides for a few days at a time, but it always comes back.

Well. It used to always come back.

Yesterday during a routie jam session the spoon broke. I wasn't there. The sitter was. She sweetly saved it for us on the kitchen counter (its been on countless car rides and even play dates with her, so she knows how much it is/was loved).

When I came in and started making dinner I found the spoon. In two pieces. Sharp and unfit for little hands.


When my Little Man (who was in my arms) saw his spoon he leaned in for it. I had to say no and said that it was all done.

from BabySignLanguage.com
He looked and me and pointed at his beloved spoon and said "this!" and I said no-no.

My poor little guy cried. It was so sad. I offered him a newer spoon (provided by Santa in his stocking) but it wasn't the same.

The new ones (good 'ol Santa brought two) aren't seasoned and loved quite enough. Over the next few days, we'll just have to put them through the ringer to get him back to normal.

Perhaps some good chili is in order to season the spoons....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kudos

We've enjoyed living in Raleigh for years. I grew up here and after living in other places was excited to again call Raleigh home. There is so much to do and see and on top of the restaurants and parks and entertainment, there is a pretty stinkin' great climate and of course family close by.

Like I said, I really enjoy our home town and so do the kids and of course my husband does to. So, it was only a moderate surprise when Raleigh started racking up awards the last few years.

  • Forbes.com ranks Raleigh as the No. 1 Best Place for Business and Careers (They also list us as the Most Wired City and Safest City in America)
  • CountyHealthRankings.org named Wake County as the healthiest County
  • #1 Best City in America (Raleigh, NC) Businessweek.com, September 2011

The list goes on and on. Now, this week, the latest one.

The healthiest place in America for women by Women's Health Magazine. Get this (on the day I went in for my physical!), "women follow pap smear and mammogram screening recommendations almost to the T."

It also says, "[Raleigh] has some of the highest rates of prevention when it comes to cancer."

Good stuff. Good stuff.

Kudos to my fellow Raleigh ladies!

PS - There are lots of news stories about this one. My favorites are at the Daily Mail and Women's Health Magazine.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Christmas Memories

Its been almost a month since Christmas, and already there are many moments from the day and celebrations that are lost from our memory.

Little man holding his unlit candle during church. How he was in awe of all the lights and held (and consequently threw) his candle up for the whole world to see along with the rest of the family and congregation.

Big Girl seeing her bike under the Christmas tree and the squeals of delight. The similar squeals when she opened her American Girl doll.

For my husband and myself the victory of Big Girl not asking questions about her brother's new bike that looked just like her old one. "Mine was so cool Santa knew it was the best bike ever for little kids so he got the same one for him." Okay.

Following the initial excitement, there are many toys that are now gathering dust. Stacked up next to the Easy bake oven from last year there are new boxes.

It seems no matter how I try to plan out the holiday, how I ask people to restrain themselves when shopping for my kids they end up with a ridiculous amount of loot. So, after the initial excitement dies off, I pack many of the items up and then bring them back out on a rainy day.

But, here is the truth. And its not just the truth for my kids - its the truth for a lot of kids. They don't need stuff. They have all the toys they can possibly play with. More clothes than they ever get around to wearing (even with my lackadaisical laundry skillz). More bubble bath than can be used up before next Christmas. - Major sidetrack alert - Seriously, what was with the bubble bath this year? Each kid got three things of it.

Amidst all this how do you get kids to see the true meaning of the season? How do you get them to look forward to time with family and friends more than the cookies, candy and toys? I've been trying to figure it out for the last five years.

Do you have a method that works? Do you have any creative suggestions?

I need a plan for next year so we're not yard sailing this year's loot next summer.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby Steps and Chasing Girls

For weeks we have first suspected, then known that our Little Man could walk, but didn't want to. There is no way to get in his little brain and understand why, but he just doesn't want to walk. He crawls like an army ranger at top speed all over the place, he pushes a Fisher Price thing that makes music with confidence, but just taking a stroll around the house or yard holding onto fingers - no big fat way.

That is until there is a pretty girl.

Yep. A girl. He decided to walk when a girl he was chatting up walked away. Totally followed her. What a man.

The story goes like this.

Big Girl was at swim practice. Racking up the laps and doing an awesome job when Little Man started to get reckless restless. So, I scooped him up and went inside the office area to a sofa and chairs to let him play free of drowning hazards.

We were inside a few minutes and he was crawling all over the place when a little girl came in with her dad. She was clearly about his age, doing the zombie walk of "I'm doin' it on my own but I'm not so good at it yet."

They immediately started eyeballing each other and Little Man dashed over to her and started blabbing away. The dad and I said hello and exchanged the baby particulars. Then they were ready to go back out to the pool deck.

And that is when it happened.

The little girl walked out the double door. Little man was standing with his hands on the other door and as she walked out (still talking) I put my hand out and he grabbed on. Then he walked. He walked a good 12 to 15 steps just holding one finger on each of my hands.

Then he suddenly looked up at me. (He had been watching her.) As he looked up, he realized that the secret was out and plopped on his bottom.

I tried and tried to get him up and walking again but he has no interest.

We need another cute girl to chase. Maybe then he'll walk again.

If you have a blond (I don't think hair color matters much at this age) daughter between 12 and 15 months watch out e-mail me. Those with big hair bows and cute dresses please apply.

That's all. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resolutions for Our Family

New Years has come and gone. However resolutions are on my mind. Its funny that they are on my mind becuase they are not something that I do. If I get a wild notion to do one, its usually filled with sarcasm and/or humor.

For example, last year, New Years was less than a month after I gave birth to Little Man. I joked with everyone that I was gonna loose baby weight for my resolution. Like it was something that I wouldn't do without some "resolution." Of course I wanted to loose weight people. I was walking around looking like I'd just given birth with extra belly and boobs that could only be associated with bringing a little human into the world.

A few years before that - when my car was starting to turn into a total POS and I'd been in a fender bender the week before Christmas I said I was gonna get rid of the car. In mid-February I traded it in toward my CRV and only got $500 or $600 for it. The thing was 11 years old and had about 150,000 miles on it and one of the windows didn't roll down anymore.

I don't do resolutions.

Well. Not for myself.

This year, I decided to make some for the kids. That means they are actually going to be for me since I'll end up training the kids, but.... Isn't that what being a mom is all about?

Big Girl
1. Stop crying so easily.

Gosh. She cries easily. I'm telling you. Its a knee hitting the kitchen table and we have tears. The skin isn't broken. Its not even pink or scratched. There are tears.

She is six. We have got to move past this.

2. Brush hair before school without being asked.

Every day its the same thing. School clothes on and she comes downstairs and with dragon breath declares that she's ready for Martha Speaks. I like Martha too, but not with some dragon breath and crazy just rolled out of bed hair.

So, I say, "Did you brush your teeth and hair?" and she says, "I didn't not brush by teeth, but my hair looks good."

I have run out of kid appropriate comments to respond to this one. There are little blond and brown hairs sticking up all over the place. Even if you put a headband on top or a clip in the side it is not brushed. Seriously.

Little Man
1. Start Lovin' the Bathtub

Put him in the tub and there is a standard outcome. He stands up and cries. Well, there is another outcome. He also pees. Gotta get him to sit down chill and relax. It is crazy tough to get a standing up cryin' kid clean. It usually takes two people and its not super easy.

2. Walk

On Saturday I took him shopping with me and he totally promised to walk if I'd get him the new shoes he was droolin' over (literally), so I did. Put them on him, stood him up and he just stood there, laughed and plopped down on his butt. Ugh.

I know. Small things. But its small things that will make life smoother with two kids and two working parents. I'm convinced. Convinced.

I am really thinking these should be more like six week goals, but alas....

What are your kids up to right now? What are you working on? Any tips to get us toward our goals?