Little Home, Big World

…what would Ma do?

Backpack Rack August 18, 2010

Say that five times fast! πŸ™‚ I’ve spent the last few years tripping over first one backpack, then two…but starting four weeks from now, I’ll have four in school. Visions of having to climb over a backpack mountain when I come in the front door scared me into finally coming up with a solution. A trip to the local Habitat Restore turned up a nifty looking piece of wood (maybe part of an old bedframe? I have no clue.) for $3.00 and a bunch of brand-new nickel-finish hooks, two for a buck.Β  Perfect! Here is how I put it all together…

Step One: make use of some of gazillion empty boxes I’ve been piling on the back patio as I unpack to create a spray-paint studio. In the name of efficiency, I put out everything else I could think of that I was planning to paint – hence the picture frames and coat rack. You’ll see those later. πŸ™‚

Step Two: Panic when it begins to rain after you’ve finished the first coat. Cover items with boxes and duck inside. Panic doubly when thunder and lightning join the party. Spend the next 40 minutes hoping desperately that your projects aren’t destroyed.

Step Three: Dry projects and apply final coat of spray paint.

Step Four: (next day) Distress board. Conveniently, the spots with water damage added to the aged-and-weathered effect. πŸ˜‰

Step Five: Space hooks out evenly; I put mine at 12″ intervals so the backpacks could hang side by side.

Step Six: Hang on the wall; finding the studs is a smart idea.

I just used Krylon Interior/Exterior Flat Black spray paint that I picked up at the local Canadian Tire, not chalkboard paint, but it works as well – at least for this application, it might not stand up to a lot of chalk art. I like the old-fashioned, schoolhousey sort of feel to this…and at a total of $5.00, the price works!

Linking up to the CSI Project…the projects there put mine to shame, but hey, I did use spray paint! πŸ˜‰



A Spicy Entrance July 28, 2010

I was oddly fascinated by this spice cabinet of my mother’s when I was a little girl. There was something about the small knobs, and the way everything inside lined up so nicely, that I just loved. (Apparently my fascination with glass jars started early.) Moms remember those things, and she offered it to me when she was getting rid of it a few years ago…I jumped at it, but then it languished – sadly faded and spotted – for months years. I’d see it in my craft supplies tote every now and then and have every intention of making it over, without actually doing anything.

Sometimes it takes awhile for all the pieces of an idea to come together, you know?

Then I discovered this blog:

Visit …and saw that this week’s theme is “Roadkill Rescue”…and knew it was time.

So what that I’m days away from moving and my house is a mess and full of boxes and it’s horribly hot and I should probably purge and pack and not craft this afternoon?

*gasps for air*

Darn it! Sometimes a girl has to get crafty, for the sake of sanity. πŸ™‚

It was a simple makeover. I took off the “faux drawer”, reclaimed the knobs and drilled holes in the back of the cupboard so I could reuse them as key hangers. I primed with some leftover Zinsser B-I-N, brushed on a couple coats of semi-gloss latex I have on hand from painting my porch chairs, and use chalkboard vinyl from the dollarstore for the front doors. I lightly distressed the edges with some sandpaper…and that’s IT!

Total cost for project? Nada. Zero. Zilch! It was all stuff I had on hand. How sweet is that?

Ultimately it will end up hanging in the entryway at our new house – did I mention I’m moving in a few days? πŸ˜‰ – and I love the idea of pulling the color from the front porch chairs inside.

Turquoise. Chalkboard. Free.

Mmmm. Crafty therapy 1, Moving Stress 0!


Idea File: Harry Potter Kid’s Room

So, J and B are actually in agreement about this, and I have to admit I’m totally on board. We’ve been having a blast reading the books together, and they’re young enough that I think this is something they will continue to love for years…unlike, say, Thomas the Tank Engine, who has a decidedly limited timeframe of coolness.

The challenge? It’s a rental! That means all the changes need to be temporary/easily reversible. Plus I’m not big on theme decor anyway – it usually dates a room and/or makes it feel like a stage, not a room for relaxing and playing and sleeping. So, with that in mind, I’m looking to bring in just a few iconic HP elements. Not pictures of the movie, or bedding plastered with Harry, Ron and Hermoine…just a few simple, strong elements to add a bit of magic.

I love the idea of starting with the door to the room – perhaps a Platform 9 3/4 sign?

And I’m thinking a Nimbus 2000 would be an excellent window treatment…we’d be DIYing, so perhaps paper mache?

I’m undecided whether we will add panel curtains and use the broomstick as a curtain rod, or perhaps put in a simple blackout shade and let the Nimbus stand as the focal point.

And I’m wondering if there’ s a way to dress up their bunkbeds a little to give more of a four-poster effect like the Gryffindor dormitory.

The bunkbeds we have are dark wood with a very solid/chunky frame…I initially wondered about just suspending some fabric panels from the ceiling (little cuphooks, perhaps) – and then remembered that this is a room for two boys, ages eight and six!


Nothing suspended, unless we’re going for more of a Tarzan theme. πŸ˜‰ I’ll keep pondering this…

…and that’s as much as I dreamed up so far! Any other ideas?


#4 – Sew A Slipcover For The Couch – DONE! July 22, 2010

I’m crossing off the first of my 30 Before 30 list! I’ll admit to being slightly fixated on this project for a couple weeks, ever since signing the lease on our new place – and realizing that the brown carpets + beige walls + my brown slipcover would be WAY too much brown. As in, a mud puddle jumped on me. πŸ™‚ Money aside, I’m hesitant to invest in a new couch right now – with four little kids and a cat, it doesn’t seem like a smart purchase, you know? In a couple more years, yeah, but right now? Not so much.

So…the slipcover. I was down in Sarnia on the weekend with my eight-year-old to pick up his new glasses, and make use of the Sarnia Library’s reference section. We decided to check out Fabricland on the way home, and – *happy dance* – discovered they had seasonal fabrics on for up to 75% off. We scoured the home decor section, but no luck…then happened to wander over into the fashion fabrics. There I found it, a lovely linen blend, natural and neutral, a sturdy thickness but still softer and easier to work with than painter’s drop cloth (my other option), and best of all, really nice and wide – 160cm. That meant I needed to buy only 8 meters instead of 16! PLUS it was on for $4.00 a meter – normally $10 – hello, come to mama! πŸ™‚

I started working on the cover yesterday after lunch. Thinking of you all, I took pictures every step of the way…only to realize there wasn’t a memory card in the camera. Why, yes, I am just that good. So, I have only a picture of the basted-and-pinned inside-out cover to prove I made it:

Basting made a HUGE difference for this project. La Maison Reid‘s beautiful slipcover convinced me it would be worth a try. I’m nowhere near as accomplished a seamstress, but the basting made the slipcover MUCH easier to fit and sew, and provided a great sewing line for the seams. I used pink crochet cotton, so it was quick to hand-baste, and easy to pick out. Here’s the final result:

I can pick out about dozen things that aren’t quite perfect, but I’m pretty proud of it none the less. And it fits WAY better than the storebought version we have been using, so I think it will stay in place well. And it’s washable! πŸ™‚

Since I was on a roll – and had a meter and a half of fabric left – I recovered the cushions on my uber comfy and horribly ugly glider rocker, too:

I am pathetically pleased with the boxy corners on that cushion…

Overall, the project was pretty high up there on the challenging scale, and I must confessΒ  I developed a deep, lasting affection for my seam-ripper…who’d have thought such a tiny little tool would grow so precious to my heart? πŸ˜‰


Organizing Stuff…stuff. July 19, 2010

Filed under: Blahging,Frayed Shoestring,Simplicity — bethanyjoy @ 4:12 pm
Tags: , , ,

My writing brain is a little fuzzy today after a 4:30am start, so today’s post is simple:Β  Organizing is hard. Organizing a FAMILY home, well, I harbor a suspicion that it might be impossible…but I still like to pretend it could happen. Here’s a few ideas I’ve seen recently that, at least, make it seem doable…even just a little bit at a time.Β  πŸ™‚

Countertop storage (attention, moms of the cheerio-crowd!)

Storage idea for casserole/baking dishes

How to recycle veggie cans into useful storage (I love the cork!)

Printable Weekly Menu (for meal planning) – cute…now if I could only be diligent about USING it…

Do you know any good, easy, inexpensive organizing solutions? What works for you and your family?


Yarn Flowers (no green thumb required) July 15, 2010

Filed under: D.I.Why,Frayed Shoestring — bethanyjoy @ 1:21 pm
Tags: , ,

…heck, forget the green thumb, you don’t even need to knit or crochet! TheseΒ  yarn flowers over on The City Cradle are just adorable. I’m totally going to make some once we’ve moved over to the new place…I’d be making them now but my yarn is packed! This would be a PERFECT project for the little bits of leftover hand-spun or hand-dyed wool…I’m thinking just a few in really bold colors as an accent piece…maybe change them out seasonally, or with your mood…whatcha think?


Knitting, Crocheting & Sewing — oh, my… February 9, 2009

Filed under: D.I.Why,Frayed Shoestring — bethanyjoy @ 9:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sometimes things work, sometimes they don’t. I’ve been on a crafty binge the last couple days, and had some of each. The pillow likely would have worked better if a) I hadn’t had wine before attempting to sew it together and b) I had sewn the crochet block onto the cushion BEFORE it was stuffed.

But you know, I’m new to this whole sewing thing. Live and learn. πŸ™‚ (And, as an extra bonus, the project cost nothing. I used leftover wool, a fabric remnant, and stuffing from an extra pillow.)

Thankfully, this wee wine baggy (cozy? caddy? carrier?) knit up super quick and easily. It’s a variation of my Gully Green giftbag. I rather like it. It only used about 65 yards of DK-weight yarn, so it’s a great way to use up remnants of yarn.

And that’s a quick little round up from the weekend. Currently on the needles are a Top Secret Project, a lace shawl for a pregnant friend, and a chunky lacey cardy for me. But I’ve got to run and make supper, so I’ll update with links to patterns later.

Happy Monday! Hope you survived yours OK. πŸ™‚


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