Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Toy Storage Part 1 - Stuffed Animals

I hate stuffed animals.

I mean, I get having 1 or 2, or even 3 - it's nice to snuggle with something that makes you feel all warm and cozy.  But the 5 million of them that take over every corner of my children's beds so that they're relegated to a tiny corner of it?  That's just ridiculous.  And my kids loves each. and. every. one.  Like they have radar and can tell when even one of them is missing.


So, for the past 7 years, I've been trying to figure out a solution to this problem.  At first, it was just the big rubbermaid bin on the floor that contained all of my oldest's toys.  When there was just her, it was fine.  Then we added three more kids to the mix and the amount of toys grew exponentially.  I felt like I was drowning in stuffed animals and every other bit imaginable.

We moved the stuffed animals to one of those chain thingies:

Stuffed Animal Chain

My kids just pulled them off the clips and could never get them back up, so it became one more thing for Mommy to do :/  Plus they really liked to pull on the chain.

Then we moved it to one of those nets:

Stuffed animal net

This was fine for a little while, but it was too high for them to reach, and again, putting them away became a project for Mommy.  No thank you.  It also just looks like a big spiderweb in the corner of the room, taking up a ton of space on the wall.  I did not like it.

So I started doing some research on Pinterest, because, well - Pinterest is awesome ;)

I found some really cute ideas, like this wall planter idea from Organize It Challenge By Aubrey:

Check out her site - seriously, go now. It's awesome

I loved this idea, but again, the issue for me was the kids not being able to reach it and Mommy having to clean up everything.  Again, no thanks.

And this idea from Come Together Kids:

Also an amazing site!

Also a great idea, but we have 3 of the space hogging really cute and useful Pottern Barn kid chairs that take up most of the floor space in the play area.  We don't need anymore floor cushions or seats.

And then I saw this from the Griffiths Garden:

The Griffiths Garden

BRILLIANT!!!  I'd seen other ones, too, like this one:

Picture source

And this:

Picture source

But I kept running into the same problem.  I didn't have anywhere to put ANOTHER shelf.  Seriously.  I have 2 cube storage shelves and that's pretty much all that will fit in our playroom.  And then BAM!  It hit me - do this to some of the cubes!!!


It's at the right height for them to put them away on their own so Mommy doesn't have to do it.  SOLD.

Wanna know how to do it?  It's really easy, I promise :D

You'll need a drill with 2 sizes of drill bits and canopy ties - oh, and a cube shelf.  

The cube shelves I have are from Target and each cube measures about 11" square.

I bought these canopy ties from Home Depot - I liked them best because they were the thinnest and seemed to be the easiest to work with:

I measured the top and bottom of each cube and marked a dot 1/2" in and at points 3" and 8" from the left.  I then drilled with a smaller drill bit first and followed it with a bigger drill bit slightly larger than the canopy tie - just so I didn't tear the particle board apart.  This stuff is on the cheap side.

Then I prepared the canopy tie by sliding off the little orange bit on the back and wiggling the knot out of the orange ball enough to grab it with pliers and pulled the orange ball off.

I untied the knot using the pliers to get more leverage.

I tied a double knot at one end of the bungee cord...

...and threaded it from the bottom through the bottom left hole...

...up through the top left hole...

...across through the top right hole from the top...

...and down through the bottom right hole from the top.

Tie another double knot at the bottom and you're done :D  Repeat for as many cubes as you'd like...I did the top four.

Fill with stuffed animals and enjoy!

I'm in love :D

For a tutorial on how to make the cube bins, check out part 2.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Monster Cupcake Cookies

Been working on a lot lately - have a bunch of projects to share with you, but I need to get some more pictures taken.  For now, here are the monster cookies I was messing around with so far this year.  I had an order for chevron cupcake cookies, so I was trying to figure out what I could do for Halloween with the extras.  Here are the results ;P

The zombie cupcakes were inspired by  The others, I was just messing around with.  That top one is supposed to be a ghost, but - as a friend lovingly pointed out - it looks a lot like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  Ha ha!!  My personal favorites are Dracula and Frankie, with their oh-so-fabulous coiffures ;)  What do you think?  If you're interested in some for Halloween and you live in the DFW are, hit me up at  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Backsplashes, Bunk Beds, and Attics, Oh My!

Well, I finished painting the rest of the tile backsplash behind the sink.  I had already painted behind the coffee bar in Part 1 and the stove in Part 2, and I liked it, but the contrast with the old yellow color still behind the sink made me not love it.  I don't know what it was, but it just got to me.

Coffee Bar
Behind the sink before
Behind the sink before
Now, with it all being the same color, I LOVE it!  I smile when I walk in there and I can't wait to refinish the cabinets and and paint the walls/ceiling.  It's going to be so much brighter :D

And after ;)

Still haven't caulked it yet - going to wait about 7 days for the oil paint to cure.

I also refinished our old Walmart bunk beds.  Here's the story on those.  All three of my older children have strong oral fixations.  My oldest sucked her two middle fingers, my second her thumb, and my third - my son - is apparently a beaver.  As in he chewed his beds to bits.  The crib.  The bunk beds - his AND his sister's...  Seriously, these beds were in AWFUL shape!

See?  I totally wasn't kidding.  

I know, I know, why waste your time refinishing crappy Walmart beds, right?  The honest answer - they're still functional and with all the other junk we're working on with this house, we just can't afford new furniture, too.  So I used the same gel stain from the cabinets and it is beautiful!  Only needed 2 coats of stain and 2 coats of poly.  LOVE :D

This is one coat of the gel stain

With 2 coats of stain and 2 coats of poly.  We lost some of our screws, so it'll be awhile before we get them replaced and the beds put back together.  I'll post pictures when we do :)
Update: pic of the beds up and in use :)

My husband also finished out the attic by adding a floor so we can actually store things up there.  I think he did an absolutely AMAZING job!

Now that's it's the weekend again, should have some more to show you soon ;)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Things NEVER to say (or do) to a Postpartum woman

Photo from this website

So, I have a house full of sick kids, and the baby is sleeping.  I should be doing all kinds of projects, but honestly, I'm afraid to start something that I can't quickly run away from - hence me writing a blog post ;P

I've been sitting on this one for quite some time, as most of my energies have been focused on kids and fixing up our new home.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you might remember this post about things never to say or do to a pregnant woman.  After talking with my friends and hearing about (and experiencing some of my own) horror stories, I thought I'd share a list of helpful hints on what NEVER to say (or do) to a postpartum woman.  Enjoy :D

1.) First, the most obvious.  Never, EVER ask a postpartum woman if she is pregnant again.  This goes along the same thread of never even remotely THINKING of asking a woman if she's pregnant unless it's ridiculously obvious, and even THEN don't ask because it could be a weird tumor or something.  Just. Don't. Go. There.   Ask a friend or someone else who would know and go from there.  Of course, then that friend might share your inquiry with the one you wanted to avoid insulting, but if she's a really good friend, she'll know better.  I was asked this once and just looked at the person and said "Nope, still just fat from the last one!  But thanks :D"

2.) Other questions not to ask: "When are you due?"  "Are you having a boy or girl?"  These are all just backhanded ways of saying she still looks pregnant.  Not. Cool.

3.)  Be very careful what you say about her looks.  Things like "I never would have guessed you'd just had a baby!!" can make her feel amazing, while other statements like "Phew, I was afraid you'd lose your looks!" are not really compliments at all.  Statements such as one of my friends received - "Wow, that baby's really done a number on you!" - are downright no-no's, Daffy.  (Sorry for the really random old-school fire safety reference - at least my sister will get it ;P)

4.) "If the baby's out here, what's still in there?" - Can we just say "OUCH"?!?  Seriously, keep yourself from getting a black eye or fat lip and steer as far clear of this one as you can.

5.) "I thought you had your baby already!" - had someone say this to me about 2 weeks after my second.  As I was holding my baby.  She obviously wasn't paying attention.  That or she really, REALLY wanted to hurt me (which I don't think was the case), but still.  Don't.  Just don't.

6.) Don't - I repeat, DON'T - rub her belly.  If someone had done this to me, which fortunately they didn't, I would have been very tempted to say "Thanks for rubbing my lunch.  It helps it digest faster."

7.) This last one is for those of you in sales - especially children's' clothing stores.  "I assume you're having a (boy/girl), because of the baby clothes you're buying."  Me: "Um, no, I had him a few weeks ago.  Sorry to confuse you by not having him with me at all times.  Because heaven forbid I try to get a break for 2 seconds."  A friend of mine even had a sales attendant go so far as to say "Well, you really should have your baby with you."  SERIOUSLY?!?  The nerve!  Just own up to the fact that you stuck your big foot in your big mouth and say you're sorry.  DO NOT pass the blame back on to her for your bad word choices.

Have any of you had something like this happen?  I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Newly stained cabinets

Well, I decided to try my hand at staining cabinets, the idea for which came from this post by Monica Wants It.  I forgot to take a before picture, so here's a picture of our other bathroom - basically the exact same thing, at least as far as color is concerned.

(I lied - I found one that the realtor had taken:)

I bought the General Finishes Java gel stain - which I now am IN LOVE WITH.  It seriously is amazing.  I used her sock trick and it went on so well and smoothly, I don't know that I'll ever use a different stain ever again unless I have to.  Well worth the $50 I spent online.

I only did 2 coats of the stain, and honestly, I didn't notice much of a difference between one and two coats - not sure if I did something wrong or not.  Either way, I decided that I liked that it was just subtly darker, so I kept it at 2 instead of going on to three.  I also only did 2 coats of the satin poly instead of the three recommended on the can.  Hopefully it holds up alright ;P

Oh, and word to the wise - if you choose to do this project, be VERY careful how you dispose of the socks and gloves.  The stain is oil-based, and therefore cloths, rags, etc. soaked in it can spontaneously combust.  Yeah, didn't know that and I'm pretty sure there could have been a catastrophe in my house had I not read the can the next night.  I. FREAKED. OUT.  I had seriously just shoved them in a big trash bag and left them in the bathtub in that bathroom - which is in between my kids' rooms.  **Breathe, Laura, Breathe**

Long story short, I did some research and learned that as long as the cloths are dry (read that as crunchy and completely not wet at all), then they can be disposed of in a trash can.  You just want to lay them flat to dry, so that heat can not build up and cause it to combust.  BE SAFE, PEOPLE!

Okay, enough with the talking, Laura.  Here are the after pictures.  I added handles that I found at Hobby Lobby (large for the drawers, and small for the cabinets).  Black-topped screws are EXPENSIVE, so I just bought regular wood screws and spray painted the tops, touching up the paint after installation (I just sprayed some paint into a little medicine cup and used a Q-tip.  Be sure to wear gloves - which I did not - and do over a drop cloth - which I also did not - so you avoid getting paint splatter all over your hands and garage floor.  Oops.  Learn from my mistakes, friends...)

Before and After :D

Now I just have to paint the trim, recaulk everything, and reinstall all the fixtures ;P

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