Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Because you ottoman

It was ugly and poop brown, but it was free on Freecycle.  It had potential and I knew I could make something really cute out of it.

I started by taking it apart.  I took all the staples out of fabric and found the foam was still in good shape.

The drawer was out of alignment so I popped it back in place and added some glue to keep it there.

Once the glue was dry I took everything out to the yard and spray painted it white. I used an all in one spray and did 2 coats.  Since both the boys were sleeping when I did this I didn't get any pictures of this step.

Next I took the brown fabric and laid it out on top of my new fabric.  The brown fabric had 3 pieces but my fabric was wide enough to just cut the shape in one piece.

I sewed up the corners and put it on top of the foam piece.  Then I stapled the underside of the fabric to the ottoman.  This was a 2 person job, I held the fabric while Ben did the staples so again I have no pictures of this step.

I took the top and glued it back on the base so it didn't slide around.  Gorilla glue is great for this.

I love how it looks now.  Fun and bright.  I also love the fabric. It's perfectly tacky but ads the right amount of color.  

If I knew I could sell these things I'd keep refinishing furniture, but we're running out of room for things.  Which really sucks because I saw a great gossip bench at Goodwill that I really wanted to fix up.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Holy Cow!

Forgive me if I don't post as much for a while.  Ben got a job in Memphis, Tennessee so we will be moving.
It's exciting and scary at the same time. This is a good thing for us. It's a company Ben can stay with for a long time and Memphis is a lovely place to set down some roots.

The next month will be filled with all sorts of moving things.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going Green saves you Green!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle has become my mommy mantra.
About 4 months in to my pregnancy I decided I wanted to cloth diaper. I had never really liked the smell of disposables (and those who know me know of my insanely strong sense of smell) and cloth came in so many cute colors.  Ben wasn't quite on board until I showed him how much money we'd save by using cloth.  Since we're using One Size diapers we've never had to buy more and have saved about $100 a month for 2 years (after the initial $500 investment).

Not everyone can cloth diaper, if we didn't have a washer/dryer in our home I don't think we would have done it either.  Never fear, there are so many other ways to go green and save yourself money.

Just do one thing, just this one thing and you will save a ton of money and make less waste.  Swap out disposable for reusable. 
Instead of disposable cups and utensils for the family use ones you can wash and reuse again.  You pay a little more for the permanent items (and sometimes there isn't a huge price difference) but it lasts much longer and you don't have to keep buying new items. 

Ziploc bags are useful but I hate having to toss them.  I started making my own snack bags with fabric and PUL, they're easily cleaned and I can chose the fabric.
simple PUL snack bag

If you don't want a soft snack bag you can find snack containers just about anywhere, Target usually sells them in their $1 spot (I could live in that section alone) and they are very sturdy.
If you can't get around using a Ziploc bag don't assume you need to throw it away when you are done.  You can wash and reuse them over and over again.

With the rising cost of everything these days it makes sense to go green.  Not just for the environment but for your wallet.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Official Diagnosis

We've known for some time now that Garrett was on the spectrum. It's been so evident to those who spend time with him. While he's a bright and sweet kid he's got delays. 
It's hard to get an official diagnosis, it takes time and you have to get it through a behavioral therapist. However Ben is interviewing in Memphis next week and we decided that we need to speed up the process.  Since we don't know where we are going and what programs there will be we wanted to get his official diagnosis so he would qualify for services anywhere.

Yesterday we answered a ton of questions. I was in tears by the time we were done because while I know he's made so much progress these last 6 months I still had to go through all the ways he was lacking. 
Today she evaluated Garrett. He said a new word (Baby) but really didn't communicate with her very well. He received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS(Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not otherwise specified). 
While he shows signs of it being Aspergers children can't be diagnosed that way until they are at least 4. 

We do hope by that point we can reverse his diagnosis. He already had 6 hours of therapies a week and we're hoping to add another 8 to that.

Garrett is still our amazing little guy and we love him no matter what.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stencil me in...for AWESOME!

My newest love is doing freezer paper stencils. They are super simple and you don't need lots of tools to do it.  Who knew freezer paper was this useful?
Can you tell what this is?

I've made Garrett several stencil shirts so far and I'm always looking for more stencil pictures and ideas.  You can make the pattern as simple or complex as you want.
They're great for gifts and so easy to personalize.  How cute would it be as an accent on jeans?  Am I crazy over stencils? Yes, yes I am.  And being so easy to do you'll go crazy over freezer paper stencils too.
it's a Death Star!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thoughts after watching Toddlers and Tiaras

Oh man I am glad I have a boy! 
What the hell is wrong with these parents, what are they trying to compensate for?

And then I wondered, there are so many of these girls who just don't want to be doing those pageants, one in particular wanted to be an Olympic gymnast but her mother wanted her to be in pageants. But why would the parents really want to force the children to do this.  If they're having fun that's great, but the cost of the outfits, fake tanning your child, the fake teeth, it just doesn't set a good example.  The fierce tantrums these girls have is rather disturbing. Then there was the mother who said she keeps her daughter motivated with Cheetos and sugar cubes.  Wait, really?  Didn't you just tell her she was getting too fat? It's a child not a horse. Food as motivation just generally disturbs me.

One of the girls won 1st runner up out of about 15 girls (this was the one who wanted to be an Olympic gymnast) and she was happy with how well she did.  Her mother on the other hand was not too happy with her.

In the long run how much damage are they really doing to these children? Every time I watch the show I think about "Little Miss Sunshine" (great movie) and how much pressure we put on children.
Before I do things for Garrett I remind myself that I'm doing them for him and not me. I worry that some of these parents forget that. Ben and I have discussed at length that if he is involved with something and turns around and tells us he doesn't like it anymore we aren't going to force him to stick with it (I'm talking extra curricular things and not something like not doing homework).

I guess this is why we rarely watch the show.  Garrett likes watching shows with other children. He seems more interested in the girls at the beginning than the ones who are all "glitzed" up.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Super simple fabric business card case

Try saying that 5 times fast. Go ahead, I'll wait.
I love projects that use up my scraps and remnants I have left over from other projects. It took less than 10 minutes.

What you'll need:
Fabric.  My piece was 10 1/2 inches  x 5 inches and fits standard business cards.
An iron (optional but it makes it easier)
Thread, coordinating or contrasting depending on the look you are going for.
Velcro or snaps (optional)
If your fabric isn't already the right size start by cutting a piece 10 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches high. 
I did my best to center the pattern

Next I ironed creases in to my fabric.  You don't have to do this part but it made it easier.
Short sides
fold the short sides in 1/8 inch and press.  Then fold an additional 2 inches in and press.
Folded in again

On the long side you'll fold the fabric 1/8 inch and press.

Long sides

Now you're up to the sewing part.  Unfold the short sides leaving the 1/8 inch piece still folded in and stitch.

Fold the short sides at the 2 inch crease. Making sure the long sides are still folded down, sew along the long edges. This will secure both of the pockets.
Make sure to keep everything folded in

All done! Yes, it's that simple.
My cards fit in here nicely
It has plenty of space for my cards as well as the cards I get from other people. 
If you want to add some extra flair you can do some applique, embroidery or a decorative stitch around the edges.
You can always add some Velcro or snaps to keep it closed but I loved the way it felt without a bulky snap. It fits in my bag or slides neatly in to my pocket without looking bumpy. Since it's cute you always want to give out business cards just to show off the case.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and men...

they go awry.  I was planning to have a nice post today about how we had a lovely weekend and Garrett really enjoyed the family reunion on Sunday.  
Saturday morning Garrett woke up with other plans, he was wheezing.  We took him to the local ER (we were visiting with family) to find out he had a case of viral Croup.
Poor little guy is on some steroids for a few days but we left early Sunday to come home and skipped the family reunion.  Garrett is doing well and doesn't seem to be bothered by any of it.  In his eyes he came out on top because the ER doctor gave him a popsicle.

He's on the mend while I work on some stencils.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bowling Bunnies

Last year I bought a 2011 sewing calendar that has 2 projects per week.  I've been wanting to make the bowling bunnies (the ones pictured) but have been putting it off because of Garrett's stacking and lining up habits.

It may not seem like a big deal to some people but Garrett feels the need to almost obsessively line things up.  We know it's part of his autism and make sure that he doesn't do it for long periods anymore.  At one point we watched him line up empty soda bottles for 30 minutes.  If they got knocked down he would get annoyed and line them up again, that was the point when I shelved the bowling bunnies project.

At Garrett's last home visit I brought it up with his case worker who told me that it would be a good thing to make them because we could turn it in to a game.  It's ok for him to line things up if there is a purpose to it (like playing a game) and it would be good for him to make a game out of it.
Our hallway doubles as a great bowling alley

I decided to make them without faces, there is still a front and back, but the lack of faces makes him less likely to line things up exactly. 
Lining up the bunnies