Category Archives: Projects

More Nap Mats

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More Nap Mats

Two years ago, we decided to do a no-spend month.  A third of the way into the month, God blessed me with a job opportunity, but that created a few challenges, since we had pledged to not spend any money, so I had to get creative with what I had.  I made the two little ones some nap mats for school using fabric that we had, and these worked well for that school year.  


Last summer, I sold one of the mats to a friend because my girls didn’t stay for rest time last school year.  This year, they need nap mats again, so I took the girls to the fabric store, and Sissy picked out Frozen fabric.  I had only planned to make one nap mat, since we still had one, but Little Sister got so excited about all the fabric that I couldn’t resist buying her some fabric too.  


I used Jenny Garland’s nap mat tutorial for all of the nap mats.  I always make just a few changes to her tutorial.

  • If using fleece instead of minky fabric, I only use one yard and don’t sew the blanket, which saves me a lot of time. 
  • For the strap, I cut a strip of fabric the full width (usually 45″) and 5″ wide.  I fold it in half with right sides together and stitch along the opening.  After turning right side out, I sew a seam 1/4 inch along each side of the tube before inserting the elastic.  
  • I only use 36″ of Velcro because that is how much comes in a package.  I go ahead and sew a 1/2 inch seam about 2″ long on the bottom and top of the open side.  I start the Velcro above the seam at the bottom of the open side.  
  • I also do the Velcro step before filling the pillow because it’s easier for me to sew the seams without the pillow stuffed.  


The girls are so excited about their new nap mats!  They have been carrying them around the house and snuggling up with their blankets.  

Now we have an extra nap mat (photo below) if anyone would like to buy it for $15.  I can also make custom nap mats if you are interested.  I charge $25 to make them plus the cost of the materials, which is usually around $25.  

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A Work in Progress

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A Work in Progress

We moved into our house almost three years ago.  Our twins were just four months old at the time, and I spent every nap time unpacking and finding places for all of our things.  We hung artwork and arranged furniture and other decor.  I have since purchased a few more things for the walls, so that I feel like the main living areas are almost complete.  However, the twins’ room was a nursery for more than a year and had a completely different look than it does now.  We slowly transitioned to big girl beds and away from the nursery decor.  I have been working on the furniture for the girls’ room, but now it’s time to focus on the decor.  
I made several pillows today for their room.  I bought a remnant of this gorgeous pink rosette fabric at a great price probably two years ago.  It is so soft and luxurious.  My girls love it.  I made two small rectangular pillows that have the pink rosette on one side and a floral print on the reverse.  The triangular pillows were sewn at Sissy’s request. 

 I have purchased most of the materials I need to make their new curtains, and I will work on those this week and post photos when they are hung.  The pillow with the printed fabric coordinates with the fabric we chose for their curtains.  Who would have thought three-year-olds would have a strong opinion about their curtains?!?   

 Next on my list, is rearranging the wall hangings.  I moved one of them over the chest of drawers I finished last weekend, so now the others need new homes.

 This little one has nothing on the huge wall above her bed, so I will move some of the wall decor over to this wall, but I will need more.  I have an idea for some very unique and personal artwork for their room.  We will see how it turns out.  

This little corner area is also on my to do list, and I can’t wait to reveal what I have planned for this little nook.  It will be fabulous!

Chest of Drawers Makeover

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Chest of Drawers Makeover

My grandpa was an appliance salesman by trade but spent many hours on projects around the house, for family members, and friends.  He and my grandma added on to their house, built a deck, built a large shop for all of his tools, built a gazebo, added on to their house again, and more!  My grandpa built this beautiful curio cabinet for my sister when we were in high school.  She had amassed quite a collection of porcelain dolls by that time and needed a place to store them.  

 When I was a child and my mom was a single parent, we had a water leak in our kitchen and needed to replace the floor and cabinets.  Insurance would cover most of it, but my grandparents drove six hours to come and do it themselves, so that we could have nicer cabinets and replace everything for less than what the insurance company had estimated for what had been damaged.  I also distinctly recall helping my grandparents reshingle their carport roof one hot summer when I was a preteen. My grandparents taught me how to use a hammer, how to do things well, and how to work hard. 

 About thirty years ago, my grandpa built this chest of drawers for me.  I have moved over a dozen times since then, and this piece of furniture has been in every house and apartment.  I used it as a child/teenager to store clothes, of course, but as an adult, I used it to store other random things (aka junk).  In my and my husband’s first house, we had a large enough closet to put this chest of drawers inside, and I stored my unmentionables in it.  Since we had the twins three years ago, this chest of drawers has been in their room.  It didn’t match their white cribs or dresser/changing table, and some of the hardware was loose or missing from the bottom of the drawers, but I didn’t have time to do anything with it when they were babies. 

The girls now have “big girl” beds, and the wood stain on the beds doesn’t match this chest of drawers either, but the bassinet for their dolls/stuffed animals is white and matches their decor, so I decided to makeover this chest of drawers in white too.  I had seen some projects on Pinterest where people had converted a chest of drawers to a bookcase or storage cabinet, and I wanted to create a piece of furniture that could still hold clothes but mesh with their room and be simpler for two little ones to access.  The two bottom drawers kept falling out, and they couldn’t put them back in by themselves. Once again, I consulted with my friend at Blue Happy Living and decided to use chalk paint.  I bought some supplies and started removing the shelves.  Oh, my.  This project ended up requiring much more time, energy, and money than I had anticipated.    

First, I removed the drawers and took the hardware off the bottom of each one.  (I’m saving the drawers for another project.)  I had to use a hammer and a slotted screwdriver to pry the trim off the front of each shelf.  Then I used a Phillips screwdriver to remove most of the screws.  Some screws had wood glue on them from the trim, and I couldn’t remove them.   I ended up taking out my frustrations on them with the hammer.  

 
Then I realized that the shelves weren’t just attached to the side walls of the chest; they were built into the walls.  I had to remove the trim from the front of each side wall in order to get to some of the screws.  At this point, I regreted starting on this project.   

   
Let me tell you, this thing would never have fallen apart!  My grandpa built it to last a lifetime.  I had to take off the back wall to access the screws on the back side of the drawer supports.  I had originally planned to leave the top two narrow drawers, but I decided to remove them as well at this point.  

 Then I removed all the pieces that had supported the drawers except the ones that were glued into the grooves in the side walls. I tried a few things and ended up hitting downward on them with a hammer to break the seal of the glue and then knocking them out from the front towards the back. A few boards splintered and had to be pried out, but most came out whole.  I spent a good deal of time using a hammer and a slotted screwdriver to chip away the pieces that were still glued in the grooves.    

I started on this project a few weeks ago while my husband was out of town for two weeks, and I had to stop after doing the prep work to wait on him to get home before proceeding because I don’t use electrical saws.  My father-in-law went to the store for me to purchase the boards to use for the shelves, and I measured and marked them for my husband to cut.  I went to the store myself to pick out some narrow trim to replace the trim I had ripped off the front of each side wall and the bottom. After my husband returned and cut the boards, I couldn’t resist putting the shelves in and showing the rest of the family my vision for this piece of furniture.

  I was so eager to start painting, but I had to glue the trim on before I could start. This was tricky.  My husband only has one clamp large enough to hold the trim on, so I improvised with bungee cords.  It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. 

 

I painted two coats of white chalk paint on each shelf and the empty cabinet before sliding the shelves into the grooves.  I also painted the inside of the back wall a deep red color to match the decor in the girls’ room.  I left the back off until the very end to avoid getting white paint on it or red paint on the cabinet.  It just so happened that my husband started tearing out our brick sidewalk about the time I started painting, so I put bricks under the cabinet and shelves to keep the paint from sticking to the drop cloth.  (More on our new sidewalk later.)

 After three coats on the top and two coats everywhere else, I put the shelves inside and painted another coat of white on everything.  It definitely needed at least three coats.  I think I used three 8 ounce jars of Americana Decor chalk paint in Everlasting (white).  I used two 2-ounce bottles of red with several drops of blue to paint the back wall of the cabinet.  

 At this point, I was so anxious to be finished with this project.  I had bricks and tiny slivers of wood all over the drop cloth.  The girls were living out of containers on their floor.  It was bothering me, but our usual chaos and multiple illnesses were preventing me from painting.  I finally finished by applying three coats of cream wax this past weekend, and then I reattached the back.  

 I let it dry for 24 hours after the last coat of wax and finally decorated today.  That top shelf is so narrow that I had no idea what we would use it for right now.  I figure when the girls are older, they will slide art supplies or books in there, but I realized this afternoon that their large puzzles would fit in that space perfectly.  Heaven knows they don’t fit well anywhere else.  

 I had originally planned to distress this piece, but after adding trim (unstained wood) and shelves (mdf), I realized the distressed places would not be the same color underneath.  If I had this to do all over, I would paint the whole thing red first and then paint white over the red, so that the red would show through when distressing it.   

 I am very pleased with how this turned out, and the girls love it. We can change out the fabric cubes if we change their decor, and they can choose to store other things in this later.  I love making things more versatile and more functional.  My mom pointed out that the grooves in the sides make the inside walls look like beadboard or something.  It does add another dimension to it.  You can barely see the red on the back wall when the fabric cubes are in the cabinet, so here is a closeup of the inside while empty.   

  

My next project will be repurposing the drawers into something special for the girls’ room.  It might be a few more weeks before I finish that project, but it will be awesome! 

 

Bassinet Makeover

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Bassinet Makeover

Almost forty years ago, my parents took a trip with my maternal grandparents to Madeira, which is an island located southwest of Portugal.  My grandpa had earned a trip for two through his company, and my parents were able to purchase the same trip for a great price from another man who earned but couldn’t take the trip.  While in Madeira, they went with a tour group to visit a wicker factory up in the mountains, and my mom was hoping to find a bassinet for her future children.  The bassinet they found was too big to take back with them, so my parents got back on the bus without one.  When my dad saw how disappointed my mom was, he took her back to the factory and bought it.  They were somehow able to get it on the bus and the airplane.  My mom says it’s a good thing wicker is lightweight because everyone in their group had bought so much that they all breathed a sigh of relief when their plane managed to lift off the short runway.

 Nearly four decades later, this wicker bassinet is still in good condition even though it spent several years in the attic when I was a kid.  When I was in high school, my mom remarried and we moved to another house.  The bassinet ended up in my bedroom, where I stored blankets, stuffed animals, and dolls.  Years later, my mom made a new mattress, fitted sheets, bumper pad, and skirt for the bassinet, and my firstborn slept in it many times.  

 We used the bassinet again when we had the twins because you can never have enough safe places to lay a baby down when you have two on your hands.  I remember in the early days when I was trying to nurse one baby and bottle-feed the other, I placed Sissy in the bassinet, propped her up with blankets, and positioned the bottle, so she could eat while I nursed her sister.  

  
Now, all my babies are getting big, and we haven’t needed the bassinet in a few years.  In fact, I had forgotten about it until I saw it in the attic a few weeks ago when I was up there looking for a flower pot.  I had been trying to figure out what to put in the girls’ room to keep all their stuffed animals off the floor, and I knew this bassinet would be perfect.  Fortunately, my husband had wrapped it in plastic bags, so it was fairly clean.  I wiped it off and placed it in the girls’ room to see how it looked.   

I felt the color didn’t look well in their room, so I consulted my friend from Blue Happy Living to see what she would use to paint wicker.  She recommended Valspar spray paint, so I went to Lowe’s and bought their Project Perfect paint in white.  The first Lowe’s I went to only had this paint in flat, and I was afraid I had made a terrible decision in painting this after one coat.   

Fortunately, my mother-in-law found this paint in satin finish at a different Lowe’s, and after a few more coats, I was quite pleased with the results.   

I think the light color looks better in the girls’ room, and they love having this piece of furniture in their room.   They can put their baby dolls to bed in the bassinet, and it’s just the right height for them to play mommy.  

At the end of the day, I can throw all of their stuffed animals in the bassinet to quickly pick up their room.  This piece of furniture is serving two purposes and now looks great in their room.  This was my first furniture project, and it took more time and paint (4 cans!) than I thought it would, but it was worth the effort.  I am currently working on another project for the girls’ room and should finish by this weekend.  I’ll share those photos next week.