Friday, October 17, 2014

Dinosaur Curtains {two pairs of curtains from one set of sheets}

We finished the big boy room makeover way back in the spring, but today we're finally going to take a closer look at those dinosaur curtains! We used a sheet set to make light, airy curtains with an accent strip across the bottom. This is the story of how I squeezed two full sets of curtains out of one twin-size sheet set.

I had a terrible time finding the perfect thing. Big Brother loves dinos, but so many dino fabrics are babyish or crazy colorful. I really wanted something light, clean, and not cartoony. A thorough fabric search both in-store and online turned up nothing like what I was looking for (except one single fabric that was $30/yard. *faint*). So I broadened my search - duvets, sheets, shower curtains. Nothing was safe. And finally. Finally. I found something. It was a sheet set at Pottery Barn Kids that would just fit the bill. Except... where the actual bill was involved. Ideally you would want flat sheets for making curtains, and I like to plan on one curtain per window which would mean two flat sheets for this room. But PB only sells their sheets in sets. And a twin sheet set was $59 (but they have lots of great boy prints and most are on sale at the moment for $47). There was no way we had the budget to double that, so I just ordered one set and vowed to make it work! Another note - shipping was OUTRAGEOUS and we could not find a way to get it cheaper. Almost $20 between shipping & taxes. Definitely recommend buying in-store at PB Kids if you can.

When my sheets arrived I started by washing & drying them. Then I set to work on the fitted sheet first (since it was smaller and I could cut the flat to match whatever the final size would be).  I started by cutting right along the corner seams so the corners opened up flat like this:

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY Swinging Baby Gate

Babies are tiny little Houdinis. Before they're big enough to crawl they can cross the room in a blink. Add their signature stealth-waddle and they'll be up the stairs, in the bathroom, splashing in the toilet before you even know they're gone. One of the trickiest things to do as a parent is find ways to contain the children (and their respective havoc) to keep them safe and save your sanity.

One of the baby-problem-areas in our home is our master suite. It's upstairs and the staircase is wide open. I can't do anything up there (make the bed, put laundry away, clean the bathroom...) without the brothers making a break for the stairs. The other problem is that our babies sleep in our room for quite a while - until they are at least mostly sleeping through the night. Baby Brother is still there at 14 months old, but he is definitely outgrowing the pack-n-play that he's been sleeping in. Our best solution for this is to put the crib mattress on the floor, but we don't want him sneaking toward the stairs when we are asleep. The obvious solution would be a baby gate, but all the openings upstairs are just a little too wide for a standard gate, and the larger sizes are pretty pricey. So we made our own with scraps of wood from the garage!

The great thing about a DIY gate is that you can make it just the size you need for any space. We made it perfectly fit our hallway upstairs. It's also really nice having a swinging gate because we don't have to fuss with putting a gate up and taking it down each time. Plus it's pretty affordable to make! We spend about $15 on hardware and all the wood was leftover pieces we already had (if you need to buy new wood you're probably looking at $10-15, depending on what board sizes you get).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Elderberry Syrup {and our natural medicine cabinet}

You guys know we try to stay pretty chemical-free around here, especially when it comes to our little fellas. A while ago I talked about how we ditched our conventional personal care products in favor of some safer alternatives, and then did the same with our cleaning products. But there's another big area we've also been addressing, and that's the actual medicine part of our medicine cabinet.

Not that we think medicine is all bad. It definitely has it's place and we use it when we have to. But before we go running to chemical products that suppress symptoms, we want to give our immune systems the best chance to fight off illness. So immune-boosting foods and supplements have been our first step. One of our very favorites is this homemade elderberry syrup. Elderberries are high in vitamins A & C, stimulate the immune system, are high in antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory and antiviral. This syrup tastes pretty good so we have no trouble convincing Big Brother to have some, it packs an immune-boosting punch, and it costs a fraction of the commercially available stuff. Plus it's super easy to make!

Ready to make your own? Here's all you need:

2/3 cup  elderberries (available here)
3 1/2 cups  water
2 Tbs  ginger root (grated fresh or dried)
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp  cloves (whole or ground)
1 cup  raw honey

We bought 1/2 lb of elderberries  and I think we will get four pints of syrup from it. Extra berries can be stored in the freezer to keep them fresh.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Basement Laundry Room

I have an itty bitty laundry board on pinterest. It only has four pins on it. Why only four? Because they so perfectly pin down just exactly what I dream of for a laundry room. This is my single favorite laundry room in all of time and space (and I'm pretty sure it was one of the very first things I pinned):

 image via pinterest

The whiteness, the wood countertops, the plants, the natural light, the oversize pendants... this is my laundry room love. Followed by this close second (yep. basically exactly the same thing):

 image via pinterest

But let's hop out of pinterest for a moment and into my actual laundry room dungeon basement.