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Learning Tower by Little Partners Redo

Coen constantly wants to be at the kitchen counter with the family, but the downfall is that he keeps falling of the tall stool. His highchair isn’t quite tall enough to have him sit in and see over the counter, so we had to come up with an idea on what we could safely do.

I looked all over Pinterest and almost decided to build a solution, however, I have recently failed at a few of my building jobs. Plus, I knew it would take forever for me to complete.

Follow Niki Adams’s board Learning Tower on Pinterest.

A few years ago, my sister-in-law bought a Learning Tower for her little one and loved it. I didn’t think I could commit to the $200 price tag, so I went to Craigslist to do my shopping. Lucky for me there were three for sale, so I was able to get one for $80!

Of course with every used thing, it has its wear and tear. I didn’t mind at all, since I like making things my own anyway. Plus, I just discovered chalk paint and this gave me another excuse to use it. (Looky here to see a pic of the chalk paint I prefer:

learning tower before

I enjoyed doing this project with Maren. I have to give her credit. She actually painted the majority. We even let Coen help out a little.

Learning Tower Help Paint

Now that its all done, Coen can finally be at the counter with the others.

Learning Tower Finished

I think Coen is most excited about the fact that the dog can no longer get his waffles.
Learning Tower No Waffles

Want your own Learning Tower, but your area’s Craigslist doesn’t have one for sale? Here is an affiliate link from Amazon for the Learning Tower by Little Partners. Click on the image and it will take you to Amazon.

Maker Faire of Kansas City 2015

My girls received their acceptance letter into the Maker Faire of Kansas City event in June and we are so excited for the opportunity. They came up with a product called “Wearing Wishes.” They are creating wish bracelets and donating half of their profit to Lee Anne Britain Infant Development Center.


{I will post their designs as they come!}

Have you heard of Maker Faire yet? If not, you are missing out. It is a place for people to show off their amazing work. Check out their site here:

Thrift Store Side Table

Table New and Old

During a lunch run at work, I stopped at the thrift store (leaving work to eat lunch is a very rare moment for me!) I always run to the back of the thrifts stores to where all of the big furniture lives hoping to find my next project. That’s where I ran across this beauty.

Thrift Store Table

Sure it had some dings and scratches, but overall I liked how simple it was. For an added bonus, it was solid wood. With solid wood, you can always sand it down and reinvent it.
Thrift Store Table Closup

Looking at it in the store, I still had no idea where I was going to put it. At first I walked away, but quickly came back and grabbed it. I figured for 5 bucks, I couldn’t go wrong. Even if it ended up in my garage sale pile.

I had it in our mudroom until I finally had a moment to start in on the project. This project only took up a Saturday afternoon and it was one of the cheapest projects since I owned all the things I needed to turn it into to something new.

Step 1 :: Varnish Removal

I used to make the mistake of sanding and sanding and sanding, but then I discovered varnish striper. It takes all the time out of sanding by stripping off all the old stuff in a matter of minutes. You just poor the remover onto the spots you want it removed from, wait a minute or two and use a putty knife to scrape it all off.

Varnish stripper

Within 20 minutes of starting this part, this is what I was left with.
Varnish stripper Final

Step 2 :: Sanding

Once the stripping is done, I let it dry a bit. Then I get out my little ole sander and get to work smoothing out all of the wood on the table.
Sander Table

Step 3 :: Staining

Next step is to wipe down the table with a moist paper towel or two to get all of the dust off. Then we get to see this table come to life. It is time to stain. I always use ebony on most my projects. It’s the color of our floors, so I figured the table would look great in the same stain.

Doesn’t this table look better already?
Stain Table

Step 4 :: Dipping the Legs

I really wanted my table to stand out and since I stained it the same color of my floor, I thought it would be nice to have white legs. I noticed a ton of pics on Pinterest that had dipped legs on chairs, tables and whatever else fit into a paint can. I know that it would go horribly wrong if I tried to dip them, so I went the easy route and taped off the legs at 5″ and spray painted the portion that wasn’t taped. Tip: Make sure the stain has dried or the paint will bead up.

Taped Legs

Table Leg Paint

Step 5 :: Lacquer

This is another step that you have to have patience for. You have to wait until your stain and paint has dried prior to spraying your table with lacquer. I tend to rush things, so I find the waiting period very challenging. Yes, I was the kid in back of the car asking “Are we there yet?”


No worries, I didn’t spray the lacquer on in the mudroom like this picture looks. It grew to dark too work outside (plus the bugs would start sticking to everything), so I moved it into my garage for the final steps. My husband just loves when I fill the house up with fumes from my projects!

Step 6 :: Final Touches

I just had to tighten some loose legs and replace a few screws to make this table sturdy. Then I added my felt pads to prevent the floor from scratching when the table is scooched.
Felt Pads for Table

Step 6 :: Donzo

This project is complete and ready for its new home. I chose our front room. With little guy on the loose, I will have to make sure that nothing is breakable or valuable on this table for now.

Finished Table 1

Finished Table 2

Finished Table 3

Finished Table 4

Finished Table 5

Boo Window

My friend and I were driving back from our girls’ cross country meet and saw a few old windows on the side of the road, so we grabbed one of them. I knew I could get some use out of it.


At first I was going to clean it up and stick it on my Front Room fireplace, but I realized it wouldn’t fit easily. Then I came up with an idea to paint the window and have it outside. I have yet to decorate for Halloween even though Maren, my middle one, has been begging me. She’s even used all my decorations to decorate her own room.

This project was absolutely free and it was fast!


  • Window
  • Paint
  • Sander
  • The first step was to wipe down the window to remove all the dirt.

    One all the dirt was removed, I used my sander to get rid of all the yellow spray foam. I also wanted to smooth the paint out a little.

    I then used a dry erase marker to sketch out how I wanted it to look. (You could also print out your letters on paper and trace it onto the window. I did it on the front of the window, because I wanted to paint the backside of the window. I figured this would help with preventing the paint from washing of if it rained.

    Window Marker

    Next step is to flip the window over and fill that sucker in with paint.
    Window Paint

    I loved how simple this project was and the fact that it was free!
    Window finished

    I decided to plop it on my front porch. Eventually I will get my mums and a wreath to finish my porch.
    Window finished 2

    Party Planning

    Coen’s first birthday is coming soon and we have a lot of planning to do! Hopefully I will share as I make progress on my punch list.

    Coen’s 1st Birthday Punch List

  • Cake :: No party is officially a party without cake
  • Decorations :: We need plenty of party decorations and decorations for his birthday photos
  • Smash Cake :: This boy needs a tiny cake to have at his party and at his photography session
  • Quilt :: I am making him a special bday quilt for his birthday. It is made from his fabric from his weekly photo shoot
  • Invitation :: We have to have guests!
  • Photos :: I want to create a book of his weekly and monthly shots
  • Halloween Costumes :: Out of all of this work, I still need a Halloween costume for him! It has to be good since it’s his first
  • I did get one thing done… His bday invitation. I used to get the pictures sized correctly (140 X 145). I then created a new image with a size of 5 X 7 and then added all my resized ones. Once I had everything arranged the way I liked it, I saved it as a “.jpg” and opened it up in to finish the edit. I found this site and fell in love with it!

    BDAY Announement Final

    Shim Sham Artwork

    Finished shim DIY

    I can’t ever remember what they are called that Maren and I used for our project. Either way, Maren loved being able to paint them for this project.


  • Shims (or Shams)
  • Picture Frame
  • Hot Glue Gun or Liquid Nails
  • Paint
  • I went to Hobby Lobby and grabbed a bunch of paints that I thought would look good in our bathroom. I cheated by grabbing a couple of pieces of paper from the scrapbook paper isle that I liked. I used that to match colors against.

    Paint Colors

    I setup a paint station for Maren to work on. She would paint on her free time after school during the week, since we weren’t in a hurry to finish this project. She painted as I cut Coen’s quilt blocks (another project I will post later.)


    Paint Shims

    One all the shims were painted, Maren and I used water and ebony stain over the top to add an extra layer of texture to help dull the colors.

    Paint Sticks 2

    Paint Sticks

    Maren ended up falling asleep while we waited for the last coat of paint to dry, so I finished out the project. I had to cut up the shims into different sizes by using a miter box and saw.
    Shim Cutting

    One all the pieces were cut, I arranged all the pieces in the picture frame. Once all the colors looked right and all the pieces were laid down, I used a hot glue gun on the back of the frame to secure the pieces.

    Shim Gluing

    Check out our finished work!
    Finished Shim

    Finished shim 1

    Finished shim 3

    Project Cost

  • Shims :: $3.45
  • Hobby Lobby Frame :: $27.99 – half off coupon = $13.99
  • Paint :: $1.07 each X 6 = $6.42
  • Stain :: already had
  • TOTAL :: $23.86
  • Dieting For the Nook

    Jay came up with idea to stencil the inside of the nook. (He also came up with the idea to put nooks in during our rebuild.) Even though it was his idea, he wasn’t so sure if he would like it. I instantly took advantage of the situation by placing a bet. If I won, I got to stencil the nook. If he won, I had to clean the basement. Either way I ended up having to do some sort of work.

    The bet? Simple, we just had to try the juice diet and the first to give up would lose. Easy enough, right? We lasted a total of 5 days of living off of juice and lettuce. Let me tell you, it was an emotional week. I would have eaten onions if they were put in front of me and anyone that knows me would know that that is beyond desperate.


    Before Nook 2

    Before Nook

    Not exactly beautiful. Even with the girls’ sculptures in them.


    I fell in love with this stencil because it is very similar to my blog background.


    You can find a million blogs that explain how to stencil, but here is a quick explanation of what I did. The first step is to measure the center of the space you are stenciling. Then you line up the center of your stencil to that spot and tape the edges down with painters tape.

    During 2

    Next you want to dab on your paint lightly. The stencil will stick down as you dab and you will work from the center out to the edges. They sell stencil paintbrushes, but I used a $.59 cent foam brush from JoAnn’s.

    During 3

    As I got closer to the edges, I had to chop up my stencil. There were times I just traced the missing part with a pencil and painted it in with a stiff paint brush.

    During 4

    See how it looks like my blog background!


    This nook will do for now, but I am sure I will trade it out for something else by next year.

    After Nook

    After Nook 3

    After Nook 2

    A Backup of My Backup of My Backup

    Does anyone else majorly fear of losing their family pictures? I know it is one of the things I worry about all the time. Below are some of my tips of how I organize and protect my digital pictures. It helps me sleep better at night when all my images are organized.

  • I have a mirrored backup. I have my images on two different external hard drives. Those puppies are known for dying all the time. So much so that I have both my external hard drives plugged in when I download my images off of my memory cards. An alternative would be to back-up to the cloud. I just prefer external drives over the cloud. Plus external drives are becoming cheaper by the day.
  • Organize by Year, Month, then by Day with Event. I have my images well organized so I can easily find them as long as my memory can recall the timeframe the image took place. If you look at my hard drive, I have a folder for each year (Ex. 2014), then you can drill down to see each month in the year (EX: March), then by Day with the event that took place (Ex: 10.25.2013 – Coens Birth.) It’s gives me a little peace of mind knowing that they are all organized.
  • Village Cape Cod house pics live somewhere else. My kiddos come first, so I try not to combine the two. I don’t worry about preserving my house pictures as much, which helps free up space on my hard drive. I figure that I can always come to the blog to grab the picture.
  • Family Blog. I keep a personal blog about the kids. Once a year I export it to a hardbound book by using I plan to give each of the children a book for each year at their high school graduation of all our family memories. Plus it gives our photos a purpose. We take so many images that aren’t picture frame worthy, but we love the memories behind them.
  • Organize when you move your photos off your memory card. I try to plan ahead prior to a big event where I will be taking a ton of photos, but there are times when I let all five of my memory cards load up. That’s when I get in a hurry and just dump all my images onto my hard drive without organizing. This causes a huge headache and more work later on.
  • Devote time. As I see my camera’s memory cards fill up, I try to devote a late night at moving them off. I only delete them off of my memory card if both of my external hard drives have a copy of the image.
  • What tips do you have for all your precious family memories? Does anyone else out there fear losing their memories? I don’t know how many horror stories I have heard of people losing their images. It happened to me one time and I vowed it would be the last!

    Coen’s Footstool

    Another ottoman??? We are just ottoman happy over here, however, this isn’t technically an ottoman. It’s a footstool. I picked it up for $4.99 when my littles and I were thrifting one day. I thought it would be fun to redo in a bright color for Coen’s room. Plus it will help him climb up into his chair for the time being.

    Village Cape Cod After Foot Stool

    As with any project, I had to figure out what needed to be done with our thrift store find. Initially, I thought about repainting the legs to a darker color or even a bright orange. But my mind was changed once Maren and I started in on our project. I grew to love the tarnished gold color it had.

    Original Foot Stool

    Foot Stool Material

    We removed the legs and let them soak in a mixture of hot water and murphy’s oil soap as we recovered the ottoman. When we covered the ottoman (we had the fabric from one of Coen’s photo-shoots, but we originally found it at Jo-ann’s Fabric), Maren insisted on working the staple gun. I figured that I would let her and after a while she got the hand of it and the staples became straighter.

    Maren Unscrewing Feet

    After our fabric was on, we went to give our ottoman legs a good scrubbing before we put them back on.

    Soaking Foot Stool Feet

    Foot Stool Final

    Foot Stool Final 3

    Foot Stool Final 2

    Our little project took us no time at all and fit in perfectly to Coen’s room.
    Coen and his Stool

    DIY World Map

    I’ve been seeing all these awesome World Map paintings everywhere, so I decided to attempt to do one myself. It’s very tedious, but it was well worth it.

    VCC World Map Final Shots


    World Map Materials>

    Step 1: Print Map

    There is a great website that lets you pick the number of 8X11 pages. I picked the world map with 4 pages. Here is the website:

    You will want to print two (2) copies. You will trace over one and then cut the other printed copy.

    Step 2 :: Tape Down Paper

    Position the map onto your board to where you like it.

    Step 2 Tape Down Paper

    Step 3 :: Trace Over the Paper

    I used a seam ripper to trace over the map. The reason I do this is to make the positioning of the map on the board easier once you cut them out. This kept me from having to be careful on the positioning or lining everything up correctly.

    Step 3 Trace Over Paper

    Step 4 :: Stain Your Board

    I stained my board in an ebony stain. You could also leave it with the light color if you want, but I wanted that rich color.

    Step 4 Stain Your Board

    Step 4 Stain All

    Step 5 :: Cut Out & Glue Down the Pictures

    This is the hard step. It takes a while and I couldn’t convince any of the kids to help me out! I was really hoping to have some teamwork on this part. I never realized how many islands there are.

    Step 5 Cut and Glue Shapes

    Step 5 Cut and Glue Shapes 2 Close-upjpg

    Step 5 Cut and Glue Shapes 3 All

    Step 6 :: Spray Paint Board

    You can spray the board once the map is cutout and pasted down. I did three layers to finally get the stain covered up.

    Step 6 Spray Paint Board

    Step 7 :: Peel Off Paper

    You think this would be a simple task, but the glue has to be cleaned off as well. Make sure you do this or you sandpaper will get all gooey.

    Step 7 Peel Off Board

    Step 8 :: Sand Picture

    Now that your world is popping out, start sanding. Keep the sander in different spots for a while to get that worn, used look.

    Step 8 Sand Paper

    Step 9 :: Mount Brackets and Hang

    I bought these at Lowe’s in the nail aisle. I placed them 3 inches in on both sides and used picture hanging wire to hang it.

    Step 9 Mount Picture

    Final Shots

    Here are the final shots. Still not loving my dark entry table, but the white helps to balance out all the darkness and brightens up that spot a little.

    World Map Final Shots 4

    World Map Final Shots 2

    World Map Final Shots 3


    I thought about adding a key or something else in the US to symbolize home and give a 3D feeling. Not 100% sure yet, but it’s never too late.


    Key 2

    Which angle do you like? Should I not add it or should I?

    Ottoman Overload

    I popped out of bed last Saturday morning excited to do what I thought would be a quick ottoman recover and a few new pillows.

    Of course it never goes as fast as I picture it in my mind, but I am so glad I did it. I had just an hour where Jay and Maren were at the farmers market and Alexa and Coen were still fast asleep to attempt to do the recover. Of course half way through, everyone came home or woke up. Coen still managed to entertain himself by crawling all over the upside down ottoman, while I made sure my scissors and staple gun were completely out of his way.

    The whole reason why I decided to recover wasn’t because I hated the fabric, but because our house colors are more cooler tones. This ottoman just didn’t fit in that well. Plus my sister-in-law loaned us the ottoman and couch while they moved to San Francisco for the time being. By recovering it, it kept the underneath material safe, so it will be brand new (or at least closer to it) when they ask for it back.

    Old LIving Room 2 Old Living Room

    Knowing this was a temporary cover, I had to do a few workarounds. For instance, I didn’t remove the feet or staple anywhere on the fabric itself. I just stapled around on the underneath of the ottoman where the other staples lived. I also had to do quick corners that are “ok,” but I ordinarily wouldn’t have been satisfied.

    I started out with a $70 fabric that I found at Calico Corners. I started having buyers remorse, so I quickly took that back and turned to my fabric drawer. Crazy as luck would have it, I had bought a cloth table cloth from Target’s Christmas section last year for $7 and threw it in my fabric section. The colors worked perfectly with the couch and wall color.

    The new pillow fabric was from Calico Corners. It was from a left over sample and was only $10 for a yard of material. I thought it worked well into the other colors of the room. The dark gray ones are from a curtain I found at Target. I was going to use it for another project, but didn’t so I had it just lying around as well.
    New Ottoman 4

    New Ottoman 5

    How do you like it? My choice must be right since the tag on the table cloth has the same wall color.
    dining pic

    Maren’s New Shades in a Day

    So I am getting much faster at doing Roman Shades. Although it is time consuming and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to plan an entire day, it can be done. It would require you to be up from 8 in the morning until 11 at night taking small breaks throughout the day.

    Windows Full Open

    I mentioned where I found the best instructions ever over at Brown Paper Packages on Coen’s Shade Blog, but I figured I would post it again:

    You can check out Coen’s Nursery Roman Shades here:

    I was hoping that it would keep my little middle one in bed until at least 8AM (she is a super early riser), but it failed. Even though it was completely blacked out, she was still up and about at 7:30AM. I guess that’s a good trait to have in life. I wish I could hop out of bed that early to start my day without fighting sleep.

    Full Room

    If anything could go wrong during this project – it did. My poor sewing machine was hating me during this project. Threads kept breaking, it kept jamming and for whatever reason, the lengths of the stitch kept messing up. I think I used almost every swear word in my vocabulary at one point during the day. Plus what made it worse was that I had a sensee of urgency to get it done, since I pulled my sewing machine out of my sewing room and onto my kitchen counters (it helped with the length.)

    Right Window Opened and Closed

    Again, the issues had caused me to take breaks to keep from going insane. I could have gotten these done so much faster if my machine liked me. I even ended up sewing a set of pillows half way through just to make sure my sewing machine wasn’t ruined. I think the type of material made a difference and I tried resolving it by increasing the tension (which helped a little).

    Left Window Open and Closed

    Overall, I think they turned out fine. Not the most professional looking, but perfect for an 8 year old’s room. Thanks to JoAnne’s Fabric for having an adorable pink fabric. I shopped everywehre before I finally found this one.

    Look who we found thrifting

    These guys were only $1.98 and as soon as I spotted them I knew they had to be mine. (Luckily I grabbed them. While I was checking out, the lady behind me said that she almost bought them too.)

    before and after owl picmonkey

    All I did was repaint them using my favorite kind of spray paint :: Rust-oleum Ultra Cover 2x Satin Spray. It has never let me down and I only needed to do two quick coats to get the job done. This by far was one of the quickest projects I have completed to date.
    (They did not ask me to post this. These are just my honest thoughts. I pretty much only use this paint.)

    Owl Being Painted

    I did play with the idea of doing a different color than white, but I thought white would give me the flexibility of moving them to any room.

    I sat them by the front door to be our new look outs for now. They are also right next to another thrift find we found that day for only $6 (the lamp to the right). I loved the white base of the lamp. I added the gray lampshade from Target for $16.99. One day I will do the front entry way and add some long overdue art!

    owl staged

    What color would you of picked out for these little guys?

    Ottoman Overload

    Two project posts in one week. When the husband is away the wife will play!

    Anyway, this weekend I was set out to find an ottoman to redo. I had been scouring Craigslist for months and couldn’t find any online, so I turned to Garage Sales and Thrift Stores. Saturday the girls, baby Coen and I set out early morning to find one. I not only failed on the ottoman portion, but I didn’t find really anything exciting. Bummed, I thought I had given up for the weekend, until Sunday evening around 4:00PM. My sister and I were sitting around that afternoon and the girls mentioned how we went thrifting the day before. She said she would love to join next time, so I looked up some more stores and their hours and we hit the road. We have a street with three back-to-back stores and the girls and I found a ton of treasures to redo. Maren loved looking at clothes and Alexa found gadgets to redo. My sister found a vintage camera and I found my ottoman!!! I was so happy. I went back and forth about getting it, b/c I kept picturing two square ottomans in my mind. I figured for $12 it was all worth it.

    before and after


    It was all torn up on the top, but I figured I would redo the entire thing so it didn’t matter. This was pretty ugly, right? Except for the baby. He makes my pics extra cute!

    Ottoman 2


    Maren and I got it home and instantly set to work cutting off the leather fabric on top. She was so eager to help, so I couldn’t turn her down. This little lady has the DIY bug for sure. For once, a project went a lot better then I could have imagined. We took all the fabric off and then we stapled the new one over the padding. The nice part is that I could staple right under the inside lining, so I didn’t even have to redo that.


    final room
    After looking at this I decided only to redo the top and leave the base since it was in almost perfect condition. For the top I did it in a Nate Berkus fabric I found at Calico Corners for 75% off making it $13. It was super thick and would be perfect for how rough we are with furniture. The total price for my new ottoman
    $11.98 Ottoman
    $13.13 Fabric
    (I had the rest of the items (staple and glue gun)
    For a total of $25.11.

    The crazy part is that when I flipped the ottoman upside down it had a price tag of $299.99 from Kohl’s. Maren and I still can’t get over that price!

    Maren my helper

    Not bad for this little ottoman. Plus, I now have storage for his baby toys.

    ottoman with toys

    Wooden Bead Necklace

    The supplies for this necklace were under $5! Plus my girls and I can make any color we want as long as we can find a stretchy, thin knit. It needs to be thin in order to get the really tight knots. See below for the rest of the instructions.

    Necklace resized

    Make two, three or 4 strands for this necklace!

    Supplies Cloth and Beads resized

    Supplies Glue Gun and Scissors resized

    Step 1 Cut Fabric Resized

    40″ in length will give you plenty of room to tie. Once the necklace is complete, you can cut off the excess.

    Step 2 Tie Knot in Middle - Copy

    Start with a knot in the center of your fabric.

    Step 3 Fold over fabric - Copy

    Open the fabric up and fold it over the knot evenly.

    Step 4 Add Dot of Glue - Copy

    This step is optional, but I added a drop of glue to the fabric to hold the bead in place.

    Step 5 Put Wood bead on top - Copy

    Place your bead on top of the glue. I made sure that the hole was on the knot. If not, it may show through the fabric.

    Step 6 Fold fabric over bead

    After placing the bead, fold the fabric back over it fully covering the bead.

    Step 7 Tie Tight Knot resized

    Tie a really tight knot near the top of the bead. If for any reason the fabric doesn’t fully wrap around the bead, you can add a drop of glue and squish the fabric together. I did 16 beads for the first necklace and the reduced each additional strand by 2.

    Step 8a Tie Stands together with knot

    Step 9 Tie Stands together with knot

    Tie the strands together by lining up the last bead on each strand and tying near the base. If you have three or more strands you can braid them together and tie a knot at the top.

    Let me know what your ideas are! I can imagine this with big giant beads for little ones or brighter colors.

    Messy Meal Times

    Happy 4th of July from the Adams Family!!!!

    Village Cape Cod - Drop Cloth 00001

    With all our busy time at the Lake of the Ozarks, I was still able to work in a small project.

    Coen is getting to the age where he is eating messier food and he is starting to think it’s funny tossing it over his high chair. Most of it gets in his mouth, but some of it finds its way to the floor. Rollie our dog doesn’t mind at all, but my newly bought rug does. In order to preserve it a little, I decided to make a drop cloth.

    I found my vinyl material on by Michel Miller called Laminated Cameras Jewel for $16.98 a yard. Since I bought other material the shipping was free. I also only needed a yard.

    Michael Miller Cameras Jewel

    I found the backing at Joanne’s fabric. It’s called a Tablepad White Tablecloth padding that has felt in the middle to make it soft.

    Village Cape Cod - Drop Cloth 00002

    Village Cape Cod - Drop Cloth 00004

    Village Cape Cod - Drop Cloth 00005

    Village Cape Cod - Drop Cloth 00006

    Curtains for Coen (Roman Shades)

    I finally finished the roman shades for Coen’s room and let me tell you – it was not easy. It was mainly because I had to purchase a ton of different things to make it and they weren’t from the same stores. By the end I went to Lowe’s 2 times, JoAnn’s 3 times and Hobby Lobby once. Even with some of the mistakes, I loved how they turned out and I owe it all to this site:

    She does an amazing job at explaining everything step by step to guide you through the process. I also love that these have wood dowels to make the curtain lay flat when it is raised. I had a pair my mother-in-law made for us that didn’t and they would squish up weird.

    Here are some tips to share prior to you starting in at doing your own (if you choose to use Brown Paper Package’s instructions.)

    1. Use blackout material for the backing. It costs just as much as any other backing (around $6.99 a yard) and it works really well. Coen never wakes up due to the sun now and his day naps go so much smoother.

    2. I read several blogs about how to make roman shades prior to doing this project and this one showed me Roman Shade Tube Tape to use instead of the ring tape.

    Roman Shade Tube Tape

    3. This is not going to be done in an hour. It takes a little bit, but well worth it. I know that the next one I make will go super fast. I already have plans for Maren’s room and the Living Room.

    4. Use a countersink when hanging your curtains. This was my favorite part, because I got to learn something new. I never had used or owned a countersink, but I bought one for $3.50 at Lowe’s and it makes it look a little more professional. Basically it is used to not only pre-drill the hole, but it also will indent it a little so the screw doesn’t stick out.


    5. Buy enough of the Roman Shade cord. It’s only $.99, so you might as well pickup a lot of it. It will run throughout the shade so I always load up on it.

    6. Buy these little guys to control the cord. Not only can you lock your shades in place, but you don’t have to put more screws in your wood by putting a cord anchor on the side of your window.

    I learned a lot and made a few mistakes, but overall I loved how they turned out.

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    20X20 Felt Pillow Instructions :: Part 2

    Check out my earlier post about how to make the pillow:

    This is the fun part for us. We both picked out a pattern we liked, grabbed some felt from Hobby Lobby and started cutting.

    Items Needed:

  • floss
  • different colors of felt
  • felt
  • needle
  • pencil

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    Just a quick example of our zipper. The last post explained how to do it.

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    Here is shot of everything needed for this project.

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    We found an image of this owl when doing a google search. We thought it was cute, so we modeled ours after it.

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    We picked arrows that would match Coen’s room.

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    Maren enjoyed making the pillows, but burnt out half way through. I had to finish them both up, but it was well worth it. I think they turned out great.

    20 X 20 Pillow Instructions :: Part 1

    I wanted to do a fun project with the girls this weekend. Alexa ended up going to spend the night at her friend’s house, so it was just a Maren and Me project. I created two 20X20 pillows. One for each of us.

    Items Needed:

  • fabric
  • 12 – 14″ invisible zipper
  • matching thread
  • pillow insert

  • Step 1: Measure out your fabric :: Believe it or not, for a 20X20 pillow, you only need to cut two 20X20 pieces of fabric. You can even do 19X19 if you want an extra plump pillow. You want it a little tight for your pillow, so that it looks really full. I choose a duck cloth, which I got on sale for 4.89 a yard.

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    Step 2: Zipper placement :: This part is tricky. You want to place the invisible zipper face down on the right side of your fabric. I put an “x” mark on the wrong side of my fabric, since mine is white to keep it straight.

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    Step 3: Sewing the zipper :: I don’t have a zipper foot, but if you do – put it on now. I just use my regular foot and get as close as I can. In between sewing the two different sides, unzip it to make sure none of the thread got in the way of the zipper keeping it from unzipping. I use my seam ripper if it did to cut through the few threads.

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    Step 4: Sew the pillow :: Unzip the zipper and then sew all the sides, just don’t sew where the zipper is.

    Step 5: Cut the corners :: Cut the corners to let it lay flat and then flip inside out. Stuff the pillow and you are done!

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    I bought my pillow inserts at Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. They are well worth the costs. They will last you for years, where other ones I’ve had are done and flat in six months.

    Cloche / Glass Terrarium

    I have had this glass dome on my kitchen counter since Christmas time that I have been trying to figure out what to do with. I did a quick search on Pinterest and saw some neat ideas on what to do, but I wanted something really simple. Here where some of my favorites:

    Cloche of Thread | Pinterest

    Privet Shrub Cloche | Pinterest

    Plant Succulents | Pinterest

    Glass Dome; Ikea Plant | Pinterest

    Island Cottage Glass Dome | Pinterest

    I finally decided I would try out a terrarium. The thought of bringing a plant into my house is intimidating considering that I can kill cacti within a month of getting them, but from what I read the glass dome helps to keep the plant moist.

    I ended up going to Lowe’s and for $3.98 minus my 10% discount, I was able to get a pretty neat indoor Jade Plant. I know nothing about this plant, but I liked how the leaves looked.

    Next I went to Hobby Lobby and grabbed a pot at 30% off making it $4.00.

    I stuck it in my glass dome and hopefully it survives the Adams’s house.
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    Next I need to work on the table itself. I really need to add a picture or something to the wall. Slowly the house will get decorated.

    Rocking Chair Rehab

    Prior to having Coen, I found this awesome little rocking chair at an estate sale. I talked the people down to selling it to me for five bucks, which I felt was an awesome price. It had seen better days and was an ugly yellow stain color.

    I couldn’t decide what I should do after I sanded it, plus I had the move and the baby coming up so I just left is sanded.

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    Finally I remembered my little project I had started, so I grabbed it form my mother-in-laws house while we were on a walk. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit under the stroller so I had to literally carry it a mile to my house. We passed a ton of people who had to make their silly remarks, but who could blame them. I was that weird women who was taking her chair for a walk.

    On my walk home I stopped into the hardware store near our house to decide if I would stain it or paint it a color. I have another project in the works that I plan to stain ebony, so I decided to paint it a bright orange. I have huge hesitation about painting beautiful wood especially wood that I have taken the time to sand down, but I really wanted the contrast in his room.

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    I loved how it turned out and my five month old is now able to set pretty well on it (with supervision of course).

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    Warning: make sure it dries. I was eager to plop him in the chair after only 15 hours of dry time and this orange wore off onto his skin just a little.

    I may eventually sew a small pillow or padding for the chair, but for now I am just enjoying the color. Plus his owl now has a home.

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    Walk Like an Egyptian

    I was told that I needed to make a costume the other weekend for a class project on Saturday. It was followed with a “Oh, by the way, it is due on Monday.” Not something you want to hear headed into the weekend, but we managed to pull it off.

    My goal was to make it look something like this:

    Originally, we planned on making it all out of material, but it occurred to me that we could probably find a dress at the thrift store. Luckily we did. We found this long white dress that had a lace butterfly on the outside and a white lining on the inside. It was perfect. Plus the gold material to make the dress part was $18 at Hobby Lobby and this dress was only $5.99. The fabric store takes back any material you by as long as you don’t alter or wash it.

    Alexa cut the lacey butterfly off and it was perfect.
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    I used batting to reinforce everything. Luckily, I bought it awhile ago on sale.
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    I basically did a circle for the collar, folded it in half and sewed in on the sides to make it stick out like her collar. Below is the belt. I put Velcro on it to make it easy for her to take on and off.
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    I didn’t worry about making it perfect. I figured it was a one time wear, although she did like it so much that she wants to wear it for Halloween next year.
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    The whole time I had two songs running through my head: Walk Like an Egyptian by the Bangles and Cleopatra, Queen of Denial by Pam Tillis. I cranked Walk Like an Egyptian on our speakers and Maren exclaimed “This is going to scar me for life.” That explains all of the 80’s. According to Maren, we can blame it solely on that song. I explained to her that they were a cool band and everyone loved their music, but she wasn’t buying it.

    I think it turned out pretty good for knocking it out in one afternoon and the main thing is that Alexa loved it. I thought she looked great for her school project.
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    Quick Burp Clothes

    We need tons of burp clothes ever since we switched to formula. I found that making them out of flannel with a batting inside has worked the best.

    Easy Burp Cloths

    This week Jo-Ann’s had their flannel marked down to 60%, so it ended up only being around $2.50 a yard. I had the batting lying around. For some reason I bought a ton of it right before Coen was born.

    For a template, I just find a burp cloth that I like and cut off of that. I also stack all of my flannel and batting into one pile, so they all are cut at one time. It saves me from remeasuring each time. You will need one piece of batting and two flannel cuts.

    I lay my batting down first and lay the first flannel piece with the pattern towards me down.
    Easy Burp Cloths Step 1

    Take your other flannel piece and lay it on top of the other flannel. This time have the pattern facing down.

    Easy Burp Cloths - Step 2

    You will want to pin it all together to hold while you sew. Make sure you leave a hole big enough to flip the burp cloth inside out. The first few times I made a tiny hole and it took me forever to flip. This past time, I made a bigger one and it saved me a lot of time. You end up sewing it all up in the end.

    Easy Burp Cloths Step 3

    Once you sew it you will want to make sure to cut the corners prior to flipping it out.
    Easy Burp Cloths Step 5

    After flipping it out, pin the hole down. Now you will want to topstitch (sew around the edges very closely) all the way around to close off the hole.

    Easy Burp Cloths Step 6

    That is all you have to do to create a simple burp cloth. Pretty easy.

    Rug Pad Cutting Made Easy – No Measuring Needed

    One thing with having wood floors is that we have a rug in every room. With that comes a rug pad. One thing I have learned about rug pads is that they never fit perfectly and I always have to trim them. I found the similiest solution in cutting it. Sometimes its the small things that help make a job go fast.

    I first put the rug and rug pad down trying to cover the rug pad as much as I can. I always let it sit for a little while so I know that the rug is going to lay properly.

    Then on the sides that have the rug pad peaking out, I lift up the rug to expose the rug pad.


    I then trim about two inches long with a width equal to the amount I need cut off. I them take the two inches I cut and fold it up (this becomes my template), lining the cut portion with the part I am about to cut.


    Rug Pad Cutting

    Rug Pad Remenants

    This saved me so much time at trying to measure and draw a line down the area I plan to cut.