Thursday, September 4, 2014

Play Kitchen "Hack" for Ikea L√ĄTT Table

I'm just as in love with all of the nightstand-turned-play kitchen DIYs out there as the next guy or gal, but a project of that magnitude presents a few obstacles.  

Too time-consuming, requires power tools (of which I'm terrified to wield), and not nearly enough living space to accomodate.

But we DO have a LATT table from Ikea that already has a dedicated spot in his room, and is obviously the perfect height for play.  

Challenge accepted.

This is just a hardboard base, with most of the decorative elements secured on using clear outdoor caulk.  

No hot glue here, I went for the big guns.  I picked hardboard because it's thin, relatively light, and the 1/4" thickness that I bought could be cut to table-top size with a utility knife.  

I first painted the stove area white, then used leftover peel-and-stick tile from our bathroom as the counter.  Faux stone contact paper would work well too, or you could even sponge paint it to look like stone.  

The faucet for the sink is a PVC P-trap pipe I spray painted silver and loosely screwed into the base.  Because it isn't tightened all the way it's easy for Jack to move back and forth, and when he needs his table for something else, it can unscrew for easier storage (we slide ours behind a dresser when it's not in use).  The sink rim is a thrifted picture frame I spray painted as well.  I went with something that was fairly tall so the pots and play food would stay in the sink area.  

Before I glued the sink rim down, I painted a piece of cardstock with different shades of blue acrylic paint, covered it with clear contact paper, and stuck the whole thing down underneath to act as the water.  

The only part I'm not thrilled about are the knobs.  I just painted some bottle caps green and stuck them on there, but in retrospect I'd at least have looked for some cool old dresser knobs or something.  

Possibly my favorite part is the stove- the burners are sticky-backed magnets, and Jack's Ikea pots and pans stick to them!  It makes everything a little more interactive, which is great considering there's not a real sink basin, no lights, no doors, etc.  I painted on the retro-looking burner swirl with acrylics and covered it with more clear contact paper, so the metal pots and pans won't scrape it up.

All in all it's been a pretty big success.  We purposefully keep the kitchen top hidden away most of the time, so when we do bring it out it's exciting and fresh, versus just another thing that's always sitting around!

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Crocheted Rug with Fleece Strips

It's freezing cold this week in Michigan.  I'm all for the cold weather (more reason to drink something warm, and less possibility of the sun burning my arguably transleucent skin), but when the temperatures are in the twenties and teens it's hard to love my hardwood floors.

I recently picked up crocheting (hooray for YouTube videos that teach left-handed crochet!) and really wanted to make this beautiful, beautiful crocheted area rug from the Purl Bee.  

But the alpaca yarn they sold was over $150.00 a skein, and I'd need four to complete the rug.  Yikes.  

Instead, I used some fleece I had leftover from another attempted project and started crocheting a flat circle.

Here's where I'm at so far!

All this is is a flat crocheted circle, which is NOT a tough thing to make.  This can definitely be a project for crochet beginners!

One of my favorite things about this project is how quickly it's coming together.  It only took me about 40 minutes to get 2 feet of width!  

If you get your fleece on sale it should really be affordable, too.  Not to mention the whole rug will be machine washable!

You'll Need:

Fleece fabric cut into 1-inch strips (1 yard adds roughly 2 feet of width, buy as much as you need to achieve the size you want!)
A size Q crochet hook
Needle and thread (optional)

Round 1:  chain 4, then join the chain through the first loop with a slip dtitch.
Round 2:  chain 3, then double crochet into the center of the circle 11 times so you have 12 stitches total.
Round 3:  chain 3, double crochet into each chain stitch twice, so you have 24 stitches PLUS the chain stitch.
Round 4:  chain 3, double crochet into the first available stitch, then put two double crochets in the next stitch.  Continue this until you've used up all the available stitches.
Round 5:  chain 3, double crochet into the first snd second stitches, then put two double crochets into the third stitch.  Continue as above.

Keep increasing your pattern as above, adding an extra double crochet to every round, until you have the width you want.  If find it much, much eaier to watch a video tutorial than read a pattern, so if you're confused go a-YouTubing!

I'll update once it's finished!  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Super Simple DIY Floor Pillow for around $20.00! No sew option too!

Once upon a time, I couldn't get my toddler off my dog's bed.

And who can blame him?  Besides the fact that it's dirty and drooled on it's basically a giant floor pillow, and I know I certainly love those suckers.  

Add to that the fact that the area rug pictured was soon after destroyed by aforementioned dog, and it's no wonder my little dude was all over that dog bed instead of rolling around our hardwood floors).

So rather than fight it I decided to just make him his own dog bed.  I mean floor pillow.

All you'll be doing is attaching the pillows to eachother and creating a giant pillowcase out of the fleece!

You'll Need:

A needle and thread
2 yards of fleece or other no-fray material (you can do all one color or one yard in two different colors like I did)
4 standard bed pillows
Washable velcro or buttons*
A sewing machine*

Money saving tips: 
- Get your pillows either on sale or at Biglots, where I got mine for $3.00 each.  
- Instead of buying fleece by the yard, pick up some cheap fleece throws.  They'll often be cheaper, you won't have as much cutting to do, plus you'll avoid the cutting table line at your fabric store!

1) using the needle and thread, sew the pillows to eachother at the corners, overlapping the fabric to minimize unstuffed space.  I used blue thread so it'll be easy to find if I ever want to snip it and wash the pillows separately.

2) lay the attached pillows onto the fleece, trace around them, and cut your big rectabgle out of the fleece.  It's no big deal if you cut a little too big or a little too small, the pillows will conform to the size you cut.  

3) with wrong sides together, sew three sides of the case.  

4) attach the velcro or closure of your choice on the open side

5) Stuff in the pillows!

*If you DON'T want to use a sewing machine, leave an extra 3-4" around the pillows when you trace them so you can create your pillowcase the same way you'd make a tie blanket.  You won't need velcro or buttons either, just tie three sides, stuff the pillows in, then tie the remaining strips to closethe  pillows inside!

I know this completely defeats the purpose, but she looks so comfy...

Monday, February 18, 2013

The really, really cheap version of DIY French Flower Pots.

By now I'm sure you've seen this very popular DIY from Heaven's Walk on turning boring terra cotta flower pots into the faux vintage french versions.

You may have also seen this post at 17 Apart on how to indefinitely supply yourself with celery.

Well I really wanted to try both, but I didn't want to leave my house to go buy a terra cotta flower pot.  It's about 11 here in Michigan today, and I didn't feel like bundling up my 7 month old just to make a Home Depot run, which inevitably ends in $100.00 worth of purchases, not $3.00 for a pot.

(The temperature is also partly why all the photos so far have been in my kitchen... I need to diversify.)

Luckily I had a really cheap-o plastic pot that was terra cotta colored and slightly textured, so I gave it a try and BAM!  Crappy pot made not so crappy, for free!

The Heaven's Walk tutorial (it's such a good tut I'm not going to bother re-explaining it here) explains how to transfer a printed image onto the pot using Mod Podge.  I tried it... it peeled off the paint.  Oops. Since the plastic pot is non-porous it just sits on top of the pot, where it would soak into a terra cotta pot and not peel away.

BUT, it actually contributed to the aged look, so I just painted over those parts, dabbed on more gray paint and let it dry.

To add the image (curtesy of The Graphics Fairy), I taped white tissue paper to a piece of cardstock I knew could go through my printer and printed my picture on that.  Then I just cut around the image, painted a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the pot, carefully applied my picture, then added a good coat of Mod Podge over the top.  The tissue paper was thin enough that the paint was still visible underneath, so the image looks like it's part of the pot, not slapped on top.


The drip tray is just an old yogurt container lid :).

All in all I spent about an hour on this, and that's only because I had to wait for the paint to dry.  Otherwise it would've been 15 minutes, tops!

Now I just have to wait for the celery stump inside to grow and add some greenery to my kitchen!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Lentil Soup, fifty cents a serving.

I've been trying to cut meat from my diet for at least one day a week. Don't get me wrong, I love me some bacon, but I know it's a little unnecessary to eat eat every day, for my diet, for sustainability, and for my budget! I made a pot of lentil soup yesterday since lentils are absolutely PACKED with nutrients, and the entire pot cost me around $5.00 since I had a lot of the ingredients in my pantry already. It'll easily serve 10, probably 12!

Simple Lentil Soup

8 cups water
2 cups green lentils
30 oz. stewed tomatoes
3 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup whole wheat penne, pre-cooked
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups spinach, chopped
3 tbsps olive oil, plus more for serving
2 tbsps oregano
1 tbsp thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tbsps lemon juice, plus more for serving
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Add everything but the spinach, lemon juice and pasta into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the lentils are tender (you may need to add more water as it simmers). Take the soup off the heat and stir in the pasta, lemon juice and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with extra olive oil to drizzle on top and parmesan cheese.

The recipe is pretty standard, if you're missing some of the herbs don't sweat it. You can also sub the lemon juice for vinegar, or use veggie stock instead of water (though I don't find it necessary, it's flavorful enough without the stock). Some recipes suggest cooking the onions and garlic before adding them to the soup, but I don't find it necessary (plus I'm lazy).

Nutrition facts for this soup can be found here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Brave New Blog!

I wear lots of hats. The wife hat, the new mom hat, the employee AND homemaker hats, the crafter hat, the foodie hat, and now the blogger hat! It feels as though that last hat is just as common as the others, but even so, I'm excited to start up this blog and share ideas and information with like-minded people.

My goals for this project are to share with you the ideas, pieces of advice and little trinkets of information that keep me sane, keep my household running and keep my family happy. I'll share what I discover from other bloggers and what I think up myself, and hopefully make your day a little more interesting and your life run a little more smoothly!