Category: Family

My First Strip Quilt!

I must be a sucker for punishment or something. We’re immersed in a gut bathroom reno, and our next child is due in less than 2 months which we have made NO preparations for, and somehow I decided I was going to attempt my very first quilt for my 2-year-old daughter. Luckily it turned out all right…

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I might even go so far as to say, it turned out much better than my expectations. (By the way, please don’t pay any attention to my very dusty floor. I’d like to blame my daughter’s chalkboard, which is right outside of the frame, but really, I’ve just been lax on vacuuming that corner.)

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at simple quilts and decided that simple straight strips of fabric would be the easiest, quickest, and most forgiving for my less-than-stellar sewing skills. (To be precise, I literally have to look up how to wind a bobbin every time I use the sewing machine.)

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All of the fabrics are scraps/remnants that I’ve picked up over the last couple years at Joanns. I always check their remnant pile for cute fabrics, which are always 50% off, and turned out just perfect for this project. The quilt back is an old fitted sheet that no longer fits any of the beds we own now.

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I made this quilt approx 40″ by 55″ so that even when Brownie outgrows it she’ll still be able to use it as a throw blanket to snuggle with. I bound it with store-bought bias tape, because after putting together the quilt top I was in no mood to cut and make my own bias tape (although it might have been cuter). The store-bought stuff is great! The filling is polyester, because I already had a piece of polyester batting in my stash, though next time (if there IS a next time) I’ll try cotton.

I quilted it “in the ditch” aka along the seams. Straight line quilting seemed the easiest to handle for me.

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There are far better tutorials than I could provide out on the Net (by people who actually know how to use their sewing machines), so I’ll just link to a few of them here.

How to sew a strip quilt top

How to baste and quilt your strip quilt

How to bind your finished quilt

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I feel that after sewing this quilt I have a much better idea of how to work my sewing machine. Next time I might attempt…dum dum dum…square blocks!

What do you think? Is quilting something you would attempt? Do you get intimidated by sewing in a straight line like I do?

Sharing at Thrifty Decor Chick, Tiny Sidekick, Remodelaholic!

Dollhouse Time (Part 1)!

Sorry for the months-long radio silence, folks! I’m expecting my second baby and the morning sickness hit early and lasted for a long time. Then, I was just tired and unmotivated to do any new projects. Finally, in the 2nd trimester, I’m feeling back to my old self (albeit a bit less limber) and back to tackling new projects!

Baby Brownie isn’t a baby anymore! She’s a beautiful 2.5-year old who talks a mile a minute and whose mind is filled with creative and original thoughts! This is such a great time, guys. She is always pretending to mix up Jello in her play kitchen, or talking to her stuffed animals, or dancing to her own singing. Imagination is starting to be a big part of her play, and to help her along, her loving parents decided to make her a dollhouse.

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After many weeks of Pinning, I decided to model our dollhouse after the one at Young House Love. I liked how simple and unfussy it was but still so cute. We did change the dimensions somewhat — our dollhouse is 10 inches deep instead of 8, and the pitch of the roof is steeper. We also tried to keep it to a 1:12 scale so the ceilings are a standard 8 feet (I mean 8 inches), so it wouldn’t get too ginormous.

I thought it would take longer to get Chris on board with the plan, but the idea catalyzed last Saturday when we saw some cute wooden dollhouses at a local toy store. Then later that same day, we were at Home Depot and saw these 4 foot long, 1×10″ boards for sale for $1.50 each! That’s right! The wood for this whole dollhouse cost $4.50!

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Then it was just a matter of measuring, cutting, gluing, and nailing. An easy peasy project for my handyman =p.

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We added doorways just for fun.

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I briefly debated leaving it pine, because it was really a lovely color, but thought better of it. The bare wood will get stained, discolored, and darken over time. Better to paint it all white.

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That’s where it is right now. We are going to add a back wall so the furniture has something to sit against (and um…wallpaper!), and I’m going to paint the roof and exterior.

Chris says really, the dollhouse is for me. It’s true that at this point I’m more excited about it than Brownie is…

DIY Covered Sandbox

This will be more of a “look what we did” post rather than a how-to. I just dug up these pictures from several weeks ago and sorta went, “oh yeah, we did that too!”. But if you’re thinking of making a sandbox for your child, maybe this will give you some ideas.

DIY Covered Sandbox

(Since Baby Brownie isn’t really a baby anymore, I’m just going to call her Brownie from now on.)

So, Brownie likes dirt (doesn’t your 2-year-old too?). And our yard has a lot of it. We’ve been in the midst of installing irrigation and other landscaping projects for a while, so there are literally big piles of dirt all over the yard. So to indulge her love for playing in the dirt, while at the same time keeping her clothes a LITTLE cleaner, we decided to build her a sandbox.

I’ve heard horror stories about sandboxes and cat poop though, so it had to be a covered one!

(Please ignore the neon green pool. We had a little algae overgrowth that we took care of right after we took this pic!)

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We started by digging up the area we were going to make the sandbox in. There used to be a fence here with a cinder-block footing, so we were able to use some of the concrete footing as 2 of the walls of the sandbox. For the other two walls, Chris put in some 4×4 footings in the corners and nailed on a couple of 2×6 redwood planks. Then, he used redwood fence pickets and cut them down to size to make the edge framing and the lid. He lined the hole with a weed-resistant barrier before filling it with playground sand.

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As you can see, the lid is super simple — just a row of fence pickets held together by a couple of stringers. We sanded down the redwood (which is quite splintery) quite a bit and then sealed it with our homemade Danish oil mixture (1:1:1 Oil-based poly, mineral spirits, and boiled linseed oil).

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The below pictures were taken about a month later, so you can see the red color of the wood has faded quite a bit.

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When the lid is open, we secure it to the metal fence behind it using this little loop, to prevent Brownie from pulling it down on herself.

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When it’s closed it’s just a little pad that looks like a mini-deck. I threw some mulch around it but I’m working on some ideas to pretty-up the dirt all around it. Probably some plants on the right side, and maybe some stepping stones in front.

I’m not gonna lie…Brownie still likes to play in the piles of dirt. Maybe a little less now?

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The Best Cheap Kids’ Chairs

A wonderful surprise was waiting for us this afternoon when we got home from running errands! The two child-size chairs I ordered have arrived! Baby Brownie and I were both so excited to try them out.

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They are the Flash Forward Plastic School Chair from Amazon and they were just $10 each! I know, crazy affordable, and we LURRRVE them!

I had been looking for children’s chairs for a while but my search got serious when I turned our old bench into a child’s activity table for Baby Brownie. After I painted the bench, I was trying to find some affordable and colorful chairs so she could sit at her table.

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I knew that I wanted chairs with angled legs so that it would be harder for Baby Brownie to tip over backwards. Most of the options at IKEA were affordable but had straight legs. I had seen some chairs with angled legs online on educational material websites but they tended to be quite expensive and aimed at the school market. Finally I found these little chairs on Amazon! Guess I should have looked there in the first place!

The reviews were excellent and the price was right so I placed my order right away.

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I couldn’t be happier with these little chairs. I should warn you though, the description on Amazon says these are red, but they are really a hot pink/coral. This color was actually a pleasant surprise for us and go so well with the duck egg blue on the table, but just so you know, the pic online ain’t really accurate.

 

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Flash Forward Plastic School Chair

The chair is definitely more on the pink/coral side than red/orange as it appears above.

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They are a really saturated coral color. Really fun!

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It’s still a little tall for Baby Brownie (we got the 10.5″ version) but she can get on and off without much difficulty. And the chairs are really sturdy! Not flimsy at all. I can sit on them myself without the legs flexing at all.

She was very pleased to have her own child-sized chairs and she has been playing with her tea set, reading books, and playing with her puzzles while sitting on the chairs =).

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I can envision many tea parties to come at this table.

At just $10 each, I’m a satisfied mama!

Note: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, which means I get paid a small amount (just a few cents really) if you buy the chair by clicking through my link.

Sharing at TatertotsandJello

Painted Bench Turned Kids’ Table

Over the weekend, while Chris was working like a busy bee on insulating our house, moving electrical, and figuring out how to put up new siding, I worked on a little pet project.

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I decided to take an old bench that had been sitting in the master bedroom, where it had been covered in a giant pile of clothes for the past 3 months, and turn it into a little activity table for Baby Brownie.

(The giant pile of clothes is now happily sitting on the floor.)

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We bought this bench for $10 at a thrift store and had sanded down the top in anticipation of refinishing it. It has been in the above state for over a year.

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I decided it would be easier to paint it than to refinish it, especially since the legs were all chipped, dented and dog-chewed. So I primed it with 2 coats of Zinsser Cover Stain, and then painted it with 2 coats of Martha Stewart’s Duck Egg (Glidden). Then, I painted on 3 coats of Polycrylic to seal and protect the top. Because I know this piece is going to get a lot of abuse use.

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It turned out really nice! And it’s just the perfect height for Baby Brownie to stand at and play with the new wooden tea set I got her.

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I kind of like how you can still see the metal bolts.

Baby Brownie noticed it right away and went over to it and stared at it for a long time. I asked her if she liked it and she nodded yes. That’s a big deal since she’s in her “no” phase right now!

I just ordered a couple of little chairs on Amazon and I’ll share with you when they arrive.

Another cool thing is that if we ever want to get all the kids’ stuff out of sight…

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The table/bench works really well as extra seating! The teal/aqua color isn’t so bright that it can’t be used as adult furniture.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is what the bench REALLY looks like after it has been played with:

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Just a note of warning for single/as-yet-childless folks out there…this is what you have to live with when you have a kid. Enjoy.

UPDATE: The chairs have arrived and they are adorable!

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Sharing at MissMustardSeed

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