Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Washington Monument

Did you know that it's free to get into the Washington Monument?

Tickets can be obtained for free the same day you visit, but they do run out.
If you want an assured ticket, you can order them ahead of time for $1.50 a piece, plus shipping.
We visited the monument last week, and we were happy that we'd gotten tickets ahead of time. Our scheduled time was for 2:00, and all the other tickets for the day were gone by then.

We drove to the closest metro station, then took the metro to the stop just a couple blocks from the monument. It was a fun little adventure and makes me much more willing to explore DC some more. I do not enjoy driving in the city (way too many cars and people), but taking the metro lets you skip all that. You do have the expense of the parking garage and the metro tickets, but the trade-off of less stress is more than worth it for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Purple ruffled wall

To give LMS her purple room without actually painting it, I stapled a purple sheet to the wall, then thoroughly wet the sheet with liquid starch, smoothing the sheet to the wall as I went. I actually had to re-starch various places 2 or 3 times in order to get it to lay flat. I let the sheet dry in between each starching, so it took several days before I was happy with the result. There's still some wrinkles, but they're only noticeable when the light is just right.

I didn't like the look of the edges of the sheet, especially since the staples were visible. So I went a bit OCD and made 20 feet of ruffle (which means I needed about 80 feet of fabric strips).  I did the ruffle in one long strip, so it was kind of awkward to work with. After ruffling the strip, I sewed it to some lavender ribbon to provide stability and rigidity. Then I sewed some tiny white ric rac over the seams in the middle of the ruffle. Definitely OCD on my part, but I like how it looks.

Once the ruffle was all done, it was time to put it on the wall. I just hot-glued it on, making sure the glue was on the sheet, not the wall (that would be a mess to clean up). It didn't take too long and it's stayed up without any problems.

Close-up view of the ruffle and the wall. I cut a hole for the light switch, and put the switch plate over the rough edges. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Embroidery hoop wall art

The hoops I ordered off ebay. I had bought 6 or 7 from Michaels, then decided I needed more :)
I didn't use the biggest ones, but I'll find a use for them.

The PBK curtain panel I found for cheap on ebay. Very pretty, but not long enough for the window in LMS's room.

A butterfly all cut out and glued into a hoop.

The backside: I used small amounts of hot glue to hold the fabric to the inside of the hoops. This went better than I thought: I did around 20 of these, but didn't get any bad burns. Since I'm a klutz, that's saying something.

Some of the finished hoops, stacked and waiting to be hung. I just hammered a nail in between the metal adjusting thingy and the hoop, and they stay up nice and easy.

My favorite hoops are the two with the flowers. After I stretched and glued the fabric, I hot glued the flowers to the fabric. I love how they turned out!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Name banner in LMS's room

The name banner in LMS's room originally looked like this:
However, I didn't like how it turned out. It was too....nursery-ish, if that makes sense. It didn't fit with the feel of the rest of the room, and the colors weren't quite right, either.

So I used some fabric, paint, and ribbon and made a different banner, and hung it on a different wall. I like the results much better.

1. I sewed some white fabric behind some lavender fabric (both were leftover from the headboard cover I used for the bolster).
2. I painted the backs of some chipboard letters (leftover from the first name banner) and used them to stamp the banner pieces.
3. I sewed a sleeve at the top of each triangle, then threaded some ribbon through it.
4. I knotted a loop on either end, glued some pretty flowers over the loops, and then tied some ribbons in between each triangle.
5. I hammered in some nails, then hung the loops over them.
All done!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

LMS's room: Decorated on a budget

(from doorway, looking to the left) 

 (from doorway, looking to the right)
This room has been a long time in the making. I first found the PBK quilt that I used as my inspiration (see further down) while Mr S was deployed two years ago. Ever since then I've been diligently looking for fabrics and accessories to use in LMS's room when we moved into our own place. A lot of the fabric I used is from the pottery barn reject store (aka Downeast Outfitters Outlet store), and are sheets, pillowcases, and a headboard cover that I got for a couple bucks each. Ebay and craigslist were the sources for several of the more pricey items. Because I collected things over such a long period of time, I don't know the total that I spent, but it wasn't a lot. And spreading out the purchases helped the budget.

I bought these cute prints on ebay and the frames are from wally world and I painted them to match the room better. (and yes, they're not hung quite straight. oh well.)

I found the log bed on craigslist about a year and a half ago. It was an awesome price, and the people actually lived only a mile away, so I bought it and we stored it till we moved here and had room to set it up.

We rent, so I couldn't paint, but I had promised LMS a 'purple room'. I used liquid starch and staples (the sheet was too heavy to stay up by itself while it dried) to adhere a sheet from the outlet store to the wall. The sheet dried to the wall, and it should come down without any problems when the time comes (that's what everyone says, anyway). I used the leftover fabric and some small white ric rac to make a ruffle to cover the uneven edges. Probably overkill, and it took quite a while to make 20 feet of ruffle, but I like the look.

(better view of the prints)

Embroidery hoop wall art: I bought a lot of 20 various-sized hoops for a ridiculously low price on ebay and the fabric is sheets and pillowcases from the outlet store, a sheer curtain with butterflies bought for super cheap on ebay, and leftover fabric from the ottoman.

I recently found a gently used light green PBK chamois sheet on ebay. LMS is really big on "snuggly" fabrics, so she really likes it. Pillows: the square one I found at the outlet store for a buck, the lavendar pillowcase behind that I made from a chamois stroller blanket I found at the outlet store for a buck, and I also found the gingham pillowcase behind it at the outlet store for a buck. The larger lavendar pillows were originally covers I made for cushions for our first bike trailer (it was hard plastic) but they work well on LMS's bed. She likes lots of pillows to prop up on and play with :)

The strip of lavendar on the right side of the bed is actually a bolster I made from a body pillow. There's a 6 inch space between the mattress and the wall, and I had crammed two body pillows in the space, but they didn't match and were really a bit big for the space. I used fabric from the headboard cover I found at the outlet store to make a rectangular bolster filled with the innards of one of the body pillows. It fits just right and looks much better than the old setup.

The dust ruffle I made from leftover fabric from the chair. The bed is quite high off the floor, so a store-bought dust ruffle wouldn't work. I sewed velcro to the top of the panels and stapled the other side of the velcro to the back side of the logs. Easy up, easy down.

There's a couple canvas bins in her room- a large green polka dot one for her stuffed animals and a large lavender polka dot one in the closet that we use for a dirty clothes hamper. I got them from the outlet store for $5-7 a piece I think. I did have to pick out some embroidery, but since it was only on one side it's not very noticeable.

The purple stepstool is an old one that I painted to match the room.

The ottoman I found for super cheap at the thrift store, I already had the foam and batting and I bought fabric on sale at JoAnns (details here).

I scored an awesome deal on ebay on the rug (it's a PBK rug). I really should have gotten a smaller one, but this was literally the cheapest one, and it works fine. Though I will say it was quite a workout to get in place, since it had to go under the dresser and the bed. I moved the dresser out of the way, but her bed weighs a ton, and I could only lift it half an inch or so. Try doing that while shoving a non-rigid rug under the leg of the bed with your foot. It would definitely have been easier with two people.

The whole room is based around this Pottery Barn Kids quilt that I first saw a couple years ago and loved. After much patience, I found the quilt and a pillow sham (seen on the reading chair) on ebay for a good price. LMS tosses and turns A LOT, and the side gate prevents a quilt from lying nicely on the bed, so she uses a purple fleece butterfly blanket that I made from fabric I found at wally world. When she gets older we'll move the quilt onto her bed. For now it just hangs on the footboard and looks pretty.

The reading chair that I reupholstered. I found it on craigslist for $20.

I bought the fabric for the curtains in the bargain basement of an upholstery fabric store. I lined it with a $3 black flat twin sheet from wally world. It blocks light remarkably well, even with the blinds open.

An easy tie holds the curtain back. I tie a cute bow, but LMS just ties it back with half a knot.

This is one of my depictions of Christ- we had it in our house when I was little. I found this print for a buck or two at a homeschool convention I went to in June, and the frame is another one from wally world that I painted.

View of the wall across from LMS's bed. We bought the dresser brand new at a naked furniture store before LMS was born. It was just the right height to be used as a changing table, and LMS is now tall enough to reach all the drawers.

The name banner is made from fabric from the headboard cover. I painted the backs of chipboard letters and stamped the fabric.

I built the bookshelf after I saw something similar in a catalog... for $70! And it was half the size of the one I built. I already had the wood and paint, so I only needed to buy the dowels and the fabric. My costs ended up being less than $20. I found the purple trash can in the dollar section at Target a year or so ago.

I found a butterfly mobile here, and loved the idea. All it took was some ribbon, some paper, a butterfly paper punch (found on ebay), a large embroidery hoop, and some fishing line. Kind of time consuming, but I love the result.

LMS's closet is behind the door, and it used to have bifold doors on it. However if the bifold doors were open, they always banged into the room door, and were annoying. They also didn't move very smoothly, and the hinge ended up breaking. So we put the doors in the attic, and a lot of aggravation has been avoided. LMS doesn't like having an open closet, though (it's scary, mommy), so I made a curtain for the closet door out of sheets from the outlet store. It's pretty, it covers the closet, and she's happy.

Final thoughts:
I love photoshop! LMS's room doesn't actually get direct sunshine, which is fine since it's just for sleeping in (if we kept toys in her room LMS would never sleep, it's bad enough having some of her books in her room), but it does make taking pics a little difficult. However, I was able to lighten most of them up using photoshop, and now you can actually see what her room looks like.

I love how her room turned out (and so does she). This is the first room that I've really gotten to decorate. I loved the creative process. After 10 years of feeling like crap and just getting by, I finally have the energy (mentally and physically) to do more. It was very fulfilling to try different things and sew and paint and put it all together. It took longer than I expected it would (all my projects seem to), but it all came together in the end, and it didn't cost an arm and a leg.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Packing peanut fun

A few months ago I was at Hobby Lobby and saw a package of pastel colored biodegradable packing peanuts. The packaging touted them as fun for crafts and such. I think they were charging $7 or $8. I remember thinking what a racket it was.

Yesterday a box full of 20 embroidery hoops for a project for LMS's room arrived. After unpacking the hoops, I was about to throw the packing peanuts away when I realized they were the biodegradable kind, and I remembered the packing peanuts I'd seen in the store.

I also remembered (from my UPS driver days I think?) that they're biodegradable because they're made of cornstarch. So if you get them a little wet, they'll stick together, and if they get too wet, they'll dissolve completely.

I put some water in a bowl and stuck the peanuts and the bowl in front of LMS and turned her loose.

It took her a couple tries to figure out how much water not to use- you only need a tiny bit- but then she had fun.

We spelled our names.
It was lunch time after that, so we didn't do anymore, but we'll definitely play with these again.

The best part? They were free- I didn't pay $7 or $8 for them in the store.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Refurbished ottoman

I've been working on various projects for LMS's room. This one is an ottoman to go with the lavender chair I finished earlier.
I was going to build an ottoman, but when I found one for $2.55 at a thrift store, I couldn't pass it up. I couldn't build an ottoman for that cheap!
I used foam leftover from another project. I did have to piece it together, but it works fine.
I covered it all with batting I bought on sale.

I sewed a simple cover with fabric I bought on sale at JoAnns.
I used some ribbon I had on hand to trim the top edge, then stapled it all down.

The fabric was the most expensive part of this project, but even so, I only spent about $10 on the whole thing.

I'll post some pictures of LMS's room in a couple days- I'm almost done with everything I have planned.