In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Seven Tips for Decorating on a Budget


I've finally made it to the last blog post about Charlotte's nursery!  This evening I'm sharing seven tips on how I put a room together in my home, particularly how I put Charlotte's room together.

Here's the thing with making a house a home.  For me, there is always a budget.  That budget varies depending on where I'm at in life.  When I was 22 and making my first apartment a home, I only had a couple hundred bucks to work with.

When I was married and working outside of the home before we had kids, we had a little more money to work with.  When we were expecting the boys, I think our budget for the nursery was a little over $1,000.  That was for EVERYTHING.  Cribs, furniture, supplies, bedding...EVERYTING.  And if I recall, we still went a little over the budget.

For Charlotte's room, we planned on spending a few hundred dollars, knowing that we didn't have any new furniture to buy.  I'm happy to say we stayed within the budget for this room. 

Here are seven ways I put a room together while maintain a budget.
Rehome:

The first thing that I do when I begin decorating or furnishing a room is to look around my house for things that I can rehome!

For example, Charlotte's crib and glider came from the boys nursery.  All of the lamps and the tall dresser also came from different rooms in my house. 

Now, would I have rather had an expensive white girly iron crib and a pretty white armchair for her room.  Sure, I would have!  But budget is my first priority!  My goal is to make every room in our home look good, while keeping cost at a minimal.  We already had a glider and a crib, that I specifically bought gender-neutral when I planned the boys nursery, just incase we were blessed with more babies. 
Repurpose:

Sometimes ordinary things just need a different purpose.  Like the dresser that is now multi-functional as a diaper station, the bow holder that was once a picture frame, or the candle holder that is now the base of a headband holder. 
Recycle:

I try not to waste materials when I'm doing a project.  I also try to think of ways I can recyle scraps. 

In Charlottes room, the fabric banner was just scrap fabric from other projects in her room.  The sign above the dresser was made from scrap plywood from the feature wall.  The ruffled lampshade was scrap fabric from the curtains.  The paper banner, bow holder and mobile were all made from the same pieces of scrapbook paper and ribbons.  An oatmeal container was even recycled for the headband holder!
Refinish:

One of my favorite things to do is to buy used furniture pieces and refinish them.  Both dressers, a lamp and a shelf on the wall were all pieces that got a makeover.

Remember:

I'm not so sure that remember is that accurate word, but I was looking for an "R" word!  I try to incorporate a few memories and sentiments in my kids rooms. 

For Charlotte, I used my childhood tea set, a piggy bank and a few stuffed animals to decorate her room.  All were mine as a child.  My mother-in-law also made her a quilt and a blanket for her room.  Gifts from other people are also nice to display.

And of course I have some special pictures on display in her room, along with a shadow box of her special hospital items.
Reuse:

I always try to buy used whenever I can.  I'm pretty serious about buying used!  All of Charlotte's clothes were from consignment sales or FB garage sale sites, with the exception of a couple of pieces! 

In Charlott'es room, the table and chairs, book shelf, child's chair, books and toys were all bought used at garage sale prices.  In fact, all of the child's furniture that I just mentioned were bought years ago from the family I nannied from.  I knew I wanted to have kids someday, so when the girls outgrew certain things, I bought items from them and kept them in my basement until I had kids of my own!
Research:

I don't buy everything used or make it myself.  Somethings I do actually by brand new.  For those things, I'm always looking/waiting for a sale or a coupon, or I'm comparing prices. 

Of course, I have my go-to places like Hobby Lobby and Home Goods where I always seem to find the best deals on things.  All of the storage bins and baskets for Charlottes room were Home Goods and Hobby Lobby finds.  The picture frames were from Hobby Lobby.  The wall art and the bathroom rugs were from Home Goods.  Amazon is also my go-to online store.  The rug, diaper changing pad cover, crib sheet, vinyl decals and shower curtain were all from Amazon.

For the crafts and DIY projects that I make myself, researching online tutorials and Pinterest boards is a must!  And then shopping for supplies is usually done at Hobby Lobby.

For things that I buy used, I'm always scouring the online F/B garage sale sites, Craigslist or eBay, and scouting out Goodwill's while I'm out and about.

Bottom Line.  I research to find the best deals and cost-effective way to get a look I want.

Create:

Ok, so I know the word "create" doesn't start with an "R", but it kind of has the "r" sound in it.  Does that count?
Sometimes the cheapest way to get something I want is to make it myself.  I don't know about you, but I would love for my house to look like it belonged in a magazine, only I don't want to pay what it would cost to have my home look like it belonged in a magazine!

My solution is to custom make things myself.  I can't afford that fancy crib bedding or curtains?  The answer is to try to make them myself, or be content with cheaper things from the big box store. 
I think I paid around $60 for all of the fabric in Charlotte's room.  With that cost, I made a crib skirt, crib bumpers, 2 window panels, 2 sheer curtains, a ruffled lamp shade and a fabric banner. 

As for my husband's creations, all of the work he did on the walls cost us around $100 for paint and supplies.  With that money, we got more than a pink room by adding the chair railing and planked walls
Whether it's my child's room or any other room in our home, I always follow these tips when I want to achieve a certain look in my home but don't want to spend a lot of money.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

An Almost No-sew Ruffled Crib Skirt

Happy Saturday friends!  It's been busy around here the past few days.  I'm very close to finishing blog posts about all of the projects in our nursery.  I really wanted to have today's post completed yesterday.  I was working on it five minutes here and five minutes there, or whenever I had a few minutes to myself really.  Sometime late last night, I finally gave up and accepted my reality.  Completing this blog entry was going to have to wait another day.
For this post, I wanted to share how I made the no-sew ruffled crib skirt for Charlotte's crib bedding.  I feel like every time I share a no-sew project, I shame the world of excellent seamstresses everywhere!  Truth be told, I just don't sew.  I will say now that I have kids of my own, sewing is on my list of hobbies to learn.

Yesterday, I shared the no-sew crib bumper for our baby girl's nursery in this post.  I explained that I made them the exact same way I made my twin boys' crib bumpers.  That tutorial for my boy bumpers can be found here.

For the crib skirt in Charlotte's nursery, I used the same concept as when I made the boys no-sew crib skirts.  As in, I made three pieces, a front and two sides, and then used adhesive Velcro to attach it to the crib frame to make it look like a traditional crib skirt. 

The difference between the boys' crib skirts and Charlotte's crib skirt, is that the crib skirts for the boys were incredibly easy to make, because the finished product was straight crisp lines, made with a thick chevron material. You can find the tutorial for those crib skirts here. Using the Heat n Bond and a hot iron to make those crib skirts was easy.  Overall,  I was very happy with my no-sew version of a copycat navy/chevron Carousel Design crib skirt. 

For my girly crib skirt, I wanted ruffles and lace!  I discovered that no-sewing a ruffled crib skirt was going to have challenges.  For one, this is not completely no-sew, hints the title of this post.  I did have to do a little hand stitching, but nothing fancy, time-consuming, or with the use of a sewing machine.  Secondly, I could not use my go-to no-sew technique for this crib skirt, my secret weapon that is Heat-N-Bond.  To be honest, I pretty much "MacGyvered" this entire project, and guessed my way through each step. 
Considering the fact that I didn't really know what I was doing, I'm happy with how this crib skirt turned out.  I achieved a ruffled crib skirt, without using a sewing machine and I was still able to use the Velcro to stick it to the crib frame. 

Here's how I did it......
Step One:  Choose three different layers of fabric.  I purchased all of my fabric during a sale at Hobby Lobby.
 
Step Two:  Decide which order you want your layers of fabric to be, and tear or cut the fabric into 4 inches for the top layer, 8 inches for the middle layer and 12 inches for the bottom layer.

Note:   You will not have to hem the bottoms of each piece of fabric if you are cutting in from the sides of the fabric.  When you buy fabric by the yard, the sides will already have clean finished stiches or a hem.  Save yourself time, and let that be the bottoms of your ruffles.  Buy enough fabric for the length of your crib plus 12-18 inches for pleats.  Then you can divide that fabric in length, using half of it for the front of the crib and half of it for the sides of the crib.  I know, I know.  Now would be a great time for a diagram, but my attempt of explaining in typed words will have to do.
Step Three:  Cut a piece of thread the exact length of the front of the crib.  This is where I really wish I had video to show you what I did.  Basically, I hand-sewed the three pieces of fabric together at the top of the crib skirt, using a basting stich.  Description can be found here.  Unlike a traditional basting stich, I did lock the stich at the beginning and end with a knot.  The purpose of stich is not for beauty or perfection.  It's simply to keep the three pieces of fabric together in order to move onto the next step.
Step Four:   Hand stitch a pleat every six inches or so. 
This doesn't have to look beautiful or be exact.  I did not measure, but rather I eyeballed the spacing of my pleats.
Step Five:  Hot glue a piece of ribbon to the top of the crib skirt....
 ....and to the back of the crib skirt.
Step six:  Cut pieces of Velcro that are adhesive on both sides.  Every few inches Stick one side of the Velcro to the mattress frame in the crib....
 ....and the other side to the back of the crib skirt.
Step seven:  Repeat the above steps for the two sides of the crib. If your crib is against a wall, you do not need to make one for the back.
And that's my version of an almost no-sew ruffled crib skirt!  For those of you who do sew, this would be just as easy to make if not easier using a needle and thread and a sewing machine!  I just made the cheater's version, that's all! 
While I have made no-sew crib skirts and bumpers for all three kids, my mother-in-law does sew, and she has made all three kids special crib quilts.  That's something that I would never try to no-sew.  She not only makes them a quilt upon my request, but she even cross-stiches all of the grandchildren a special blanket when they are born.  She's obviously much better with the needle and thread than I am! I'm thankful that she has made our children such beautiful childhood sentiments for them to enjoy! 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DIY No-Sew Crib Bumpers

I have a few important facts to share regarding the crib bedding for my kids.
 
1)  I LOVE the crib bedding from Carousel Designs.
 
2)  I can't afford, nor justify spending hundreds of dollars on crib bedding.
 
3)  I can make my own for a fraction of the cost.

4)  But I don't sew!
If you recall, I fell in love with the navy chevron crib bedding from Carousel Designs for my twins, but refused to pay close to $500 for two sets.  And so I attempted no-sew bumpers and crib skirts, and to my surprise they worked!  My boys were in cribs till 22 months of age, and the no-sew crib bedding held up just fine.
I made Charlotte's bumper exactly like I made the boys' bumpers.  I'm not going to rewrite the tutorial, but you can find it here.  Please check it out for a detailed description of no-sew crib bumpers, as well as why I chose to use bumpers when they are somewhat controversial these days. 
The only thing different for my girl bumper is where I bought fabric and supplies.  I bought everything from Hobby Lobby this time. 

Overall, I'm happy with the outcome of my DIY crib bedding for both of my boys and now for our little girl.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

DIY Ribbon/Paper Mobile and Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

We are nearing the end of this series on Baby Girl's nursery.  Today, I want to share with you two easy DIY projects I made to hang in this space.  Tissue paper pom-poms and a ribbon/paper mobile were two of the easiest projects I made for her room.
Tissue paper pom-poms are very easy to make.  I've made them for all sorts of festivities.  Anyone can find numerous step by step tutorials of how to make them online.  I'm going to talk ~ or in this case, type ~ my way through of how I made these two pom-poms, but if you need something more visual, here is any easy tutorial with step-by-step pictures.  Nonetheless, here's how I made mine to hang in the nursery.

1)  Buy supplies.  I bought a pack of gold tissue paper and a pack of gold polka dotted tissue paper while I was at Hobby Lobby

2)  Fold several pieces of tissue paper (I used the entire pack) long ways like an accordian, making each fold about an inch.

3) Take the long bunch of accordion-folded tissue paper and fold it in half, as if you were folding a book or a card.

4)  Secure the fold using floral wire or a large paper clip.

5) Using scissors, trim the ends of the folded tissue paper into "v" or "u" shapes.  I used a "u" shape to give my puffs a rounded look.

6) Begin to fan out the tissue paper to make a ball.  Puff or scrunch the paper with your hands as needed.

7)  Attach a piece of fishing line or clear string to the floral wire or paper clip and hang from the ceiling.
This mobile is a somewhat primitive construction!  I've seen a few DIY mobiles using these wooden hoops on Pinterest, so I thought I'd give it a try.  It's not fancy, but I think it works in this room.  Here's how I made mine.

1)  Buy a small wooden cross-stitch hoop from the craft store.

2)  Cut three strips of leftover ribbon from the DIY Bow Frame, about 12in each, and hot glued the pieces symmetrically to the hoop

3)  Cut three strips of leftover lace from the crib skirt, about 12in each, and tied the pieces symmetrically to the hoop

4)  On a piece of cardstock, I sketched a basic bird template, then cut out the template.  You could find a free template online and print it.

6)  On the back of a piece of scrapbook paper, I traced my bird three times, then folded that piece of paper in half before cutting the birds out.  What I ended up with was six birds that could be glued together as three birds. 

7) Cut out wings for the birds and glue them to the birds.

8) Using fishing line or clear string, hang the birds from the hoop.

9) Take three pieces of fishing line or clear string, the length that you want hanging from the ceiling, and tie those pieces together on one end.  That end will hang from the ceiling.  The three loose ends will be tied symmetrically to the hoop.
The hardest part was figuring out where to hang these projects in the room.  I ended up choosing a place near the crib and rocking chair.  It was one of the few places that worked to maintain a visual balance in room, but it also ended up being functional to hang them in a place where the baby can spot them from the crib or rocking chair.
And there you have it, two easy projects that can be completed with out much time, money or effort.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Gold Stars and Chair Rail 3/4 the Way up a Wall

Two of the best tools we ever invested in is a miter saw and a nail gun.  We purchased those when we ripped out all of the carpet in our home and installed laminate throughout the house.  Those two investment tools have been used in numerous projects ever since. 

The floors were our first BIG DIY project.  Since then, we've figured out how to install chair railing, wainscoting, bead board and all sorts of trim throughout the house to help add character to our home.  And when I say "we", I mean my husband.  I've said it before, but if it involves power tools, I'm usually the brains and he's the muscles. 
For Charlottes room, I decided on a trim that would draw the eye up, and went with chair railing 3/4 the way up the wall.  Our second floor has 8ft ceilings, so we painted the bottom 6ft. pink and the top 2ft. white.

To make this room look a little more whimsical, I bought these gold star decals from Amazon for $30.  They were very easy to apply.  I eyeballed the spacing of the them, but they could measured if someone wanted to be exact.
There are basic rules when making cuts for trim. 
1)  cut pieces at 45 degrees
2)  unless a piece is against a door/window or end of a wall, then make a straight 90 degree cut

I'm going to attempt to explain how we put up chair rail, but just incase I'm not clear, this is a fairly easy link for a tutorial.  The only thing we don't do that they say to do is use wood glue before nailing.  Our reason for that is incase we decide we want to take it down someday.
Here is how we did this project:

Step one:  Measure the room to see how much trim is needed.  Go to Lowes, or another lumber yard, and buy an interior chair rail of choice and any other supplies needed.  We always buy 8ft pieces, so they can fit in our vehicle.
 
Step two: Measure 2ft from the ceiling.  With tape or pencil, mark off a line across the wall. 
 
Step three:  Paint the top 2ft. white and the bottom 6ft. pink.
 
Step four:  Using a miter saw, make appropriate cuts on the first piece of trim.
 
Step five:  Using a stud finder, find studs in the wall.
 
Step six:  Using a nail gun, nail the piece of trim 2ft. below the ceiling. 
 
Step seven:  Repeat steps 4-6 until room is complete.
 
Step eight:  Fill in nail holes with nail filler.
 
Step ten:  Sand down the nail filler.
 
Step eleven:  Touch up trim with white paint if necessary.
 
Step Twelve:  Apply gold star decals to the wall once paint is completely dry.
I'm very happy with the character that the 3/4 chair rail gives this room.  I love it even more with the gold stars!  This really is another one of those posts that I wish I had some real photography skills to capture everything about this room!

Monday, July 25, 2016

DIY Planked/Shiplap Feature Wall

Good morning, and happy Monday to you!  I'm continuing nursery projects on the blog this week, and chose to start Monday off by sharing the feature wall for this room.  It's posts like this one that make me wish I had some photography skills.  It seems like I couldn't get a clear image of the boards and spaces that shiplap creates, no matter which setting on my camera I used. 

I debated doing a planked wall as a feature wall in this room.  I love the look of shiplap, but it is such a personal taste that I hesitated.  With a wall like this, you are looking at a bazillian nail holes, and I immediately thought, "What if we want to sell, and a buyer doesn't like the look of shiplap?" or "What happens when this look is outdated?"  Taking these boards off of the wall would be a pain.  None the less, I decided that since it was such a small wall, it wouldn't be a big deal and decided to move forward with the project.
To be completely honest, I didn't do any of the work on this wall.  This was all my hubby's labor.

Here's the thing about my husband.  He hates doing these kind of projects.  But do you know how many times he's picked up power tools to help make our house a home?  Too many to count.  And do you know why he does it?  It's not because he loves doing it. It's because he loves me.  And I love him for loving me enough to do something he doesn't love, just because he loves me.  Now that's true love!  Seriously though, if I ask him to help me with a project, he always comes though for me.

When it comes to miter saws and nail guns, he usually does most of the work anyway, but in the past, I've helped along side him.  Not this time.  This time, I did all of the smaller DIY projects, and he tackled all of the walls on his own.

The reason for this is because this was the first full room we've completed since we've had kids.  Let me tell ya what I learned this time around.  Having kids makes everything 10x slower!!!  This wall alone was a stop and start project for weeks. 
If you decide to shiplap a wall...or two...or a whole area of your home, you can find DIY tutorials for shiplap/planked walls all over the internet.  I had no problem doing a google search and finding easy tutorials.  Here are the basic steps for creating a planked accent wall.

Fair warning, the pictures of the process, are not the best.  I wasn't exactly thinking about taking pictures for the blog at the time, so they are just grainy cell phone pictures. I also did not think to take pictures of each step.
Step 1:  For an accent wall this size, go to Home Depot, or another lumber yard, and buy two sheets of 1/4 inch thick plywood underlayment.  Home Depot will cut the boards into six inch strips for you, or you can cut them yourself if you have a table saw.

Step 2: Starting at the top corner of the wall, begin nailing the boards from left to right with a nail gun.  Always nail on the studs.  Use a stud finder to find studs.

Step 3:  As you come to the end of the first row of boards, you will need to measure the space for the last board and cut the board to fit the space using a miter saw.

Step 4.  To begin the next row, use the leftover piece from the last row.  Do this process with all of the following rows.

Step 5:  Using pennies, space all of the rows.  Literally place pennies in between the boards of rows before you secure the boards to the wall.  The space from the pennies is what will make it look like shiplap or a planked wall once you've painted.

Step 6:  Fill all of the nail holes and sand down once dry.

Step 7:  Paint the completed wall white.  It will probably take two coats of paint.
WALLS WITH WINDOWS:  Because we had a window and did not have a table saw, Matt started around the window.  His reason for this was that he would have a clean line to continue to work above the window.  Then as he ended the project, he only needed to take the last few boards back to Home Depot and have them cut it at the appropriate measurement to fit the top row and bottom row.  If he started at the top, he would have only gotten a couple of rows finished before needing to use a table saw to work around the window.

UNEVEN WALLS:  As he finished the last row at the top of the wall, he discovered we had a bit of an uneven wall.  He make the boards fit, but he couldn't fit a penny in between the boards of the top left corner.  It is what it is.  I'm ok with it.  We didn't have a table saw to correct the problem, so we just went with it.  It's a minor flaw, but it's not that noticeable.


Originally, I was just going to do the trim at the top of all four walls and paint the bottom of all four walls pink.  Once I saw my pink paint color against the curtains, I changed my mind and decided I needed a feature wall to balance out all of the pink.  And that's how I came up with doing this wall in Charlotte's room. 

This wall truly is my favorite part of the room.  I'm glad I decided to go with it.  Even though it wasn't part of the original plan.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

No-Sew Pink Ruffle and Bow Curtain Panels

Let's talk curtains!  If you've been around my blog for very long, you know I do a lot of things, but sewing is not one of them.  You'll also know I've done a lot of DIY curtains ~ all of them being No-Sew curtains. 

For me, curtains are strictly d├ęcor.  We have blinds for privacy, and I see no need for blackout curtains in every room of the house, as I need sunlight in my home.  The boys' room is the only room that needs to have some form of blackout to help them sleep during naps.  To solve that problem, I custom-ordered them a navy blue blackout pull-shade that can not be seen underneath the no-sew navy chevron valence I made them.  The shade gets pulled down at naps and bedtime, but the rest of the time is hidden. I say all of that to say that when it came to curtains in the nursery, I was strictly thinking looks and cost, not function.

Ok, so now I need to address how I no-sew.  I use a product called Heat-N-Bond.  You can find it in any store that sells fabric.  Directions will be on the box, but basically, if you can iron, you can use Heat-N-Bond. 

Sometimes, for fabrics that do not take well to ironing, I'll even use.....

....wait for it....

....hot glue.

I know, I know.  Say it ain't so!  I can see all the faces of real seamstresses now, giving looks of displeasure!

Here's the thing though, if you do sew, then you can make these curtains just as easily as my no-sew version.  Instead of using an iron, you would use a sewing machine.  But if you're like me, a person who has yet to invest in a sewing machine or the time to learn how to work one, then this no-sew version will work just fine for you too.

I have done no-sew panels or valences in just about every room of our home, and when it comes time to do my seasonal cleaning, I have had no issues tossing them in the dryer on tumble low to get the dust off of them.
Now let's talk fabric.  All of the fabrics that I chose for the curtains were on sale from Hobby Lobby.

As far as the amount of fabric I bought, I can't remember exactly.  I can tell you that to determine how much I would need, I measured from the floor to six inches above the window, where my curtain rod would hang.

For each sheer panel, I needed that amount plus a one inch hem at top and bottom, and a two inch space for the curtain rod.

For the other panels, I was able to divide my pieces of fabric into two pieces and get two panels out of each piece of fabric.  For the pattern fabric, I measured six inches above the window down to the bottom of the window seal, plus a one inch hem at the top and a two inch space for a curtain rod (although I didn't end up needing it, as I tied ribbon to the rods). For the ruffle fabric, I measured from the bottom of the window seal to the floor.

When I purchased the fabric, I rounded up to the closest yard, to make sure I had more than enough fabric.


Now let's talk assembling the curtains.

The sheers were really easy.   I gave a one inch hem on top and bottom.  Then I fold the top over two inches to make a gap for a curtain rod.  Because each panel is a complete piece of fabric, I did not need to hem the sides. 

For the other panels, I tore my fabric into two pieces.  A one inch hem at the top, bottom and inner side was all that was needed, as the outer side was already hemmed.

To add the ruffle fabric, I carefully cut it in half, making sure to have clean even cuts.  Then I hot glued the fabric to the front part of the panel, before I hot glued a piece of ribbon on the top of that.

Lastly, I decided  dress it up a little by tying bows to the curtain rod.  To do this, I carefully cut one inch slits at the top of the panels.  Then I inserted strips of ribbon and tied bows to the curtain rod.
If you were wanting to block out more light, you could always add liner to the back of the fabric.  You could also use an entire piece of fabric for each panel, instead of cutting the fabric in half.

Like I said though, my goal was looks and cost.  So for me, I achieved my goal.  I was able to give this room beautiful curtains without breaking the bank.
I'm pretty happy how they turned out, considering the fact that I'm not a girl who sews:)