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Toddler Room

Recently we moved Afton into her big girl room. I wasn’t sure how ready she was but I knew I needed her out of her crib and comfortable in her new digs before baby #2 so into the big girl room she went. A lot of planning went into this room. I knew it just couldn’t be any boring room. This had to be her escape, her play room, her solace away from a screaming baby and tired mommy. It had to be her favorite room in the whole house. I had a big job ahead of me and limited space to work with. I wanted to incorporate her favorite things: her books, her love of art and crafts, and all her familiar toys that have been a part of her life for almost two years now. I new I wanted all her clothes and things stored safely inside her closet. I didn’t want a dresser taking up valuable play area real estate and I didn’t want to worry about entering her room in the morning to find all her clean clothes thrown all over the place. All of the ideas from this room came from either Pinterest, IKEA, or Etsy.

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This part of her room is very special. The Expedit shelves from IKEA were turned on their side to house all her favorite books, the yellow dollar store baskets hold all her toys that used to be thrown all over our living room, the photo collage wall is comprised of family pictures, hangings that I hand made, children’s literature quotes (Harry Potter, The Velveteen Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh), an excerpt from her namesake “Flow Gently Sweet Afton” and one of the frames holds the first coloring she ever doodled. The cherry on top is the gray “A” that sits on the shelf. This entire wall cost under $100.

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This wall is the artsy side of the room. Her dry erase art easel sits in the corner and the gray chalkboard table and chairs was purchased from IKEA for $20. I painted the bare wood gray and painted the top with chalkboard paint. I also got a $5 roll of paper from IKEA that I tape over the chalkboard part with painters tape when she wants to color with crayons. The mirror about the table was old and not being used so I repainted it and put in some family pictures. The vinyl wall quote was $18 from Luxeloft (Etsy shop) and was super easy to apply. For the hanging artwork I simply stuck two clear thumb tacks in the wall and wrapped with in twine and hung the paper with mini-clothespins I had left over from her first birthday banner. This part of the room cost under $50.

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Her closet came together with the help of IKEA and the dollar store. The baskets used on the shelves were only $1 each and the Agot closet organizers from IKEA cost about $40 total. The drawers pull out just like a dresser and are mesh so I can easily see what is inside of them. And if you notice some of the drawers are empty, which means she still has room to grow! The closet organization cost under $50.

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And finally, this is her big girl bed. I purchased it from IKEA along with the duvet and shams. Sheets (3 sets) at K Mart along with some throw pillows. We both fell in love with this bed because of the size (full), the mattress (foam so she can’t jump on it and rocket herself across the room) and height (it’s about a foot off the ground). I was very happy with how it all turned out and so was Afton. She loves her new room and I find her playing quietly in it all the time. Goal accomplished!

Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day I was looking for a new, fun idea that was low in cost (isn’t everyone?) so I started scanning Pinterest and found this blog about creating vases out of jars (yes, I realize it’s in Swedish but isn’t the language of creativity universal?) and I loved the idea I just changed a things. Instead of using plain jars or even upcycling jars I already had (which is a great idea by the way, I just knew I wouldn’t get enough jars by the time I needed to start this project) I went to JoAnn Fabric’s and bought mason jars for $1.25 each.

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Next up was deciding what color/type of paint to buy. Glass paint is really pricey so I decided to buy acrylic paint and just spray the inside of the jars with a clear coat to stop any running when the flower was watered. I bought two colors for $5.99 each, I really only needed one but since I was making 5 vases I wanted to mix it up a bit. You can always use up old paint you already have.

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The next step was painting the inside of the jars. I took the lids off each jar and one-by-one dumped a good amount of paint in the bottom and starting twirling around the jars (adding more paint as needed) until the entire jar was covered. You don’t need to worry about getting too close to the top because you want to set it on its head anyway for the excess paint to drip out. SIDE NOTE: I used way to too much in each jar. When I flipped the jars over the next day there was a ton of paint that poured out. Next time I will use less, waste less.

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Once the paint was dry, and it will take a few days, I screwed back on the lids without the flat place to cover the jar’s opening. I just wanted it to have a more finished look at the top. Then I added chalkboard labels so that I could write on the jar who it was for. I taped off the space I wanted on each jar then put two coats of chalkboard paint, allowing the appropriate drying time in between.

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The chalkboard paint is a little high maintenance. It has to dry for 3 days before you can “condition” it. This means after 3 days you take the side of a piece of chalk and cover the area with it, then erase it. At that point you can wipe it clean but then need to wait another 7 days to write on it. I conditioned the jars and allowed them to sit.

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Finally all they need is soil and a flower and of course to be labeled for the recipient. Any type of flower can be used, I used Marigolds that I purchased from Lowe’s, which cost $12 for 3 pots. It’s better to plant just one or two flowers since there isn’t a ton of room in the jar. I also purchased a small bag of top soil for $5. That puts my total at a little under $30 for 5 Mother’s Day gifts. I didn’t include the chalkboard paint price in the total because I bought it for another purpose and only decided to do the labels because I had it on hand. If I didn’t have it, I would have left the labels off and wrapped some twine around the neck of the jar with name tags. Overall I am happy with the finished product. I hope they are a hit this Mother’s Day! Here is the finished product:

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Stay tuned…

Where is the time going? I have many projects in the works so stay tuned for some fun upcoming posts! I have been trying to find time to finish the growth chart I started for Afton a few months ago (well, I intend it to be not just for Afton but a whole family growth chart complete with Mommy and Daddy’s height too!) But now that we have another little one coming in September I have been in a mad dash to clear out a new room for Afton and make it her special, big girl room. And did I mention her second birthday is coming up in a few months also? But before that we still have to pick out and plant the veggies for our garden this year. Phew! Yep, I have a ton on my plate but it should make for some fun upcoming posts.

So stay tuned for: Growth Charts 101, Mommy and me: Gardening, How to make your toddler’s dream room and Afton’s second birthday bash! And maybe in there somewhere I can throw together a: How to revamp the nursery for baby #2 after your toddler destroyed most of it. 🙂

Happy Spring!

A new announcement!

Last month we announcement the news that we are expecting again to friends and family. As soon as I found out I was expecting (New Year’s Eve to be exact) I started thinking of the whens and hows to announce the news to everyone. When I did the math I realized I would be 12 weeks right around Valentine’s Day! And what better day to tell the world we are filling our family with more love than Valentine’s Day!?!?! So I started thinking of card ideas, browsing the internet and (of course) Pinterest to find different ideas. I finally found something that sparked the idea of what I ended up doing.

One morning I set up my tripod (for the first time), got out my chalkboard and got Afton and I dressed. We then spent the next hour or so snapping (timed) shots in front of the camera. This was not an easy feat to accomplish with a toddler and sure enough she started getting tired of it and cranky in no time. So to ensure I got a least one usable shot I made it into a game…when the time started beeping we ran in front of the camera and smile and then ran away. This she liked! And I ended up getting a shot I could use.

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I took this shot and put it on a Valentine’s Day photo card and mailed it to friends and family, but Afton hand delivered the cards to all her grandparents because we really wanted her to play a special role in the news. She had a blast going from house to house and visiting everyone and handing them a card. She especially loved everyone’s reactions. Let’s see how she feels about it in 6 months 😉

“(felt) Christmas Tree, Oh, (felt) Christmas Tree”

Being a huge fan of the holidays my husband was shocked when I mentioned not putting up a tree this year. In previous years (pre-baby) we have always put up two, now I barely have the room or patience for one. Images danced in my head of Afton terrorizing the tree and all the antique and sentimental ornaments that adorn it. I just didn’t want to think about her breaking her great-grandmother’s delicate santa clauses or poking an eye out with a branch. But after many discussions I gave in and we put up our tree (we are now on day 4 without incident). I like to think this is because of the felt tree I made just for her.

Afton’s Felt Christmas Tree

I put it up a few days before Thanksgiving so she could get used to it before we put the actual tree up. She enjoys taking the decorations off on a whim or changing them around or just throwing them all on the ground. I just kept telling her that this was her very own tree, and made a big deal about it.

The best part about it was it was so easy to make. I just bought a yard of green felt from the fabric store and picked up a few felt squares in various colors for the decorations. This project had to be no-sew for me, well because I don’t sew! I folded the green felt in half…sketched helf a tree on it with a sharpie…cut it out and…you have a tree!

No-sew Felt Ornaments

The ornaments I just did free hand and created in my head. I used my hot glue gun to put the ornaments together. I have to say the hardest part was actually cutting out the star. I stink at drawing starts so this was a challenge for me. It took a few tries but I finally got it. Oh and I used Command Adhesive Strips to attach the tree to my wall. And that is really it! Felt sticks to felt so you don’t need to do anything to make the ornaments stick to the tree…it’s a beautiful thing. If you have a toddler I highly recommend the felt tree:

Afton loves her tree!

Recycling Photo Props

So you spent some money on Etsy buying photo props for your holiday photos and you don’t want to just throw them out or put them in a box for next year’s photos? Why not fit them in to your holiday decor! I didn’t buy any special holiday photo props this year, I made them, and since I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into them you better believe I was going to find some way to display them for the holidays.

The first item I wanted to recycle was the holiday banner I created. It was super easy and cheap to put this banner together. The only thing I needed to actually buy was a scrapbook tablet to use as the pennant backgrounds. I had the rest of the items already on hand (twine, mini clothespins, printer paper, scissors, glue stick).

My Dining Room Hutch

To see how this banner was used in our holiday photos, check out my “Tis the Season post.

I also plan on recycling my chalkboard yet again to hang somewhere in the house…maybe by the fireplace downstairs with a cozy Christmas saying…any suggestions? And I made a felt mistletoe for our holiday photos that I did not get to use in them…so I will be hanging that in our doorway. Have fun seeing what you can recycle for the holidays!

‘Tis the Season

In October we had our fall/holiday photos taken (yes, I said October and yes I am a freak when it comes to the holidays). I start planning for them in September/October and hence, started driving all the people around me crazy. I spent what seemed like forever trying to figure out what we were all going to wear for these family photos, one of which would eventually end up on our Christmas card. I was determined to buy as little as possible and make the most of the clothes and props we already had and with the help of my BFF I think I did a pretty good job. I started out with a color scheme in mind and about two weeks before the actual photos it all went out the window. Not to mention I was making things for this shoot until about an hour before we left. So here is the finished product:

Merry Christmas!

My husband’s entire outfit was found in his closet, Afton’s dress was in her closet and actually from last season but the rest (tights, boots, headband) were all new, I already had my sweater and shoes but bought new jeans and the lace tank. Now for the props. The antique rocking chair is ours and was actually handed down to Afton on her first birthday from my Godmother. The blanket and chalkboard we had, I made the felt flowers and the “presents” are just empty shoe boxes that I took my boots out of. So there you have it…holiday photos on a budget.

My Christmas Angel

Again, another holiday photo. The only things added in this one are the bear (which was a gift when Afton was born) and the “Tis the Season” banner, which I made. I already had the twine and mini clothespins from the banner I made for Afton’s first birthday party so I just spend $9.99 and bought a scrapbook paper tablet for the background paper and I printed the letters from my computer and just cut out circles around them.

Tis the Season

Oh and one more thing, I made the accessories Afton and I are wearing. The red ruffle headbands and the felt flower belts (you really can’t see mine in the photos I posted and Afton’s is tied to her shoe). Thanks to BFF it went from being a belt to shoe decor. See I can’t do it ALL by myself! So I hope I inspired someone to look within before going out and spending a lot of money on clothes and props for holiday photos, because even though you want that holiday card to look good, you still have gifts to buy!

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