Thursday, August 30, 2012

organizing for school- school landing zone

My big kids have been back in school for about 2 1/2 weeks.  I feel like I almost have our schedule and routine down.  It's been an adjustment because I am spending so much time in the car dropping off and picking up my kids from school.  When my littlest starts pre-school (MDO) next week, all 3 of my kids will be in 3 different schools.  Crazy!  One thing that has really helped is to be organized and have a school landing zone. I'm still working out all of the kinks but for the most part this is working!

Inside our back door is our landing zone.  

As soon as my kids get home from school, they sit on the cutest chippy bench to take their shoes off and put them in the basket. 

Then they hang their back packs and jackets on their hook. It took some gentle (and not so gentle) reminders on my part to get them into the routine of putting their things away.  But they do it on their own now.  I'm so happy that we don't have to run all over the house in the morning searching for books, backpacks and shoes. 

My littlest can't quite reach his hook so I added a temporary hook down lower on the wall so he can hang his backpack by himself.

We have this chalkboard wall in our little hallway leading to our garage. 

This is where I put all of our schedules, lunch menus, school calendars etc.  

I also added some inspirational words.  :)

I think it's just fun and maybe puts a smile on everyone's face before they leave for the day.

Since the door to our garage is metal, I can use magnets to put reminder notes on it. Right now it only has a few things but usually band notices, birthday party invitations, school open house reminders and things like that can be found here.  

I'm sure I'll be tweaking things here and there as our needs change, but hopefully we are starting our school year off right!!

What do you do to help organize for school?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Staining our deck

Remember here when I talked about getting a new deck.  We had grey composite flooring and wooden rails added to our existing apron and poles.  It looked like this:

and this:

Not so pretty!!  I planned to stain everything the same color right after I let the wood cure for about a month.  Um yeah, then it got blistering hot here in TN.  I barely even went outside.  I certainly wasn't about to stay outside long enough  to stain this puppy!

Enter last week when it cooled down a little and I was able to head out to work on the deck.

I started by sanding (with the same mouse sander I always use) the bare wood down to get rid of uneven spots and prep the wood for stain.

Safety first here using a really nice respirator sent to me by 3M.  I'm a tiche on the claustrophobic side and hate my face covered so I normally don't use any sort of  mask when painting or staining.  But this respirator  (amazon affiliate link) has a valve on it that allows the wearer to breath in cool air.   I didn't freak out at all wearing it.  And my lungs said thank you!

For the stain I chose this semi solid deck stain by Cabot in Fieldstone color from Lowes.  The semi solid allows the grain of the wood to show but still has good coverage of the wood.  I thought the color matched our composite very well.

Then we stained and stained.

And stained some more.  It took 2-3 coats in some places to get all the wood covered.

But it turned out so pretty!!

Look at that!  I barely even remember sweating myself to almost death staining it!!  

And just so you don't have to scroll back up to the top, here is a before and after.  What a difference!

, 52 Mantles

Monday, August 20, 2012

School Mantel

In my continued quest to be excited for school, I decorated my mantel.

Really, it did help a bit.  I still miss my kids though.  And I miss staying up late, sleeping in late and swimming.  We are in school. We are celebrating being in school.  I'll just keep telling myself that!

And if I can't be happy about school then I'll be happy to use some decorative school items!  :)

I filled an apothecary jar with vintage letter blocks.  On the silver plate I used a library card and a flash card.

In front of my ever present Chevron art, I have an old chalkboard that I added some ruler washi tape to, a clipboard with some cute school paper, my ruler frame and some ABC blocks.

On the other end I used a jar of pencils and a printable that I whipped up of some inspirational quotes.  I don't know if anyone wants it and since I don't know how to embed a document link, if you want the printable, email me and I'll email it to you.

I better get used to the idea of my kids being gone.  My littlest starts Kindergarten next year.  

I better go do some retail therapy to cheer myself up and help me forget how much I miss my kids.

Maybe I'll find some more stuff to redecorate my mantel for the next season.  Fun!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

School Themed Ruler Frame

I'm really not all that thrilled about my big kids being back in school. For the first time ever, I wasn't ready for them to go back.  We had an awesome summer that ended way too quick!    But if there is one thing I can get excited about, it's crafting and decorating.  So I thought in order to have more enthusiasm about school, I would do some school themed posts.  I did a nap mat and locker accessories and now I'm doing some school themed decorating.

Starting with a ruler frame (inspired by one I saw here)

I used:
*a wooden picture frame- (from the craft store) which was painted black, then red and distressed for the black to show through
*and 2 wooden school rulers that are in all the stores right now

I cut the ruler down and mitered the corners with my handy little miter box and saw.

then I glued the ruler to the frame with wood glue.

Super simple and easy.

I put some patterned paper in the frame.

Here it is on my school mantle, which will be in an upcoming post.

How are you feel about school starting?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Locker Accessories

My oldest is starting middle school.  I have been in denial.  He's been looking forward to it since the end of 4th grade.  Me?  Not so much!  I have actually been sick to my stomach for the past 2 weeks just thinking about it.  This will be the first time I won't walk him to class, meet his teachers, see his desk, etc.  He's going to be doing so much on his own.  I'm pretty sure he's ready.  I'm just not sure I am.  (sniff, sniff)

Anyway, one of the things he's most looking forward to this year is having a locker.  He wanted some really cool (do the cool kids call things cool?  I need to figure out the lingo) accessories to hang up in his locker.  After seeing this post from Tausha at Sassy Style I was inspired to do a little something with the boring things we found at the store.

I started with an inexpensive magnetic storage box and dry erase board (that opens up to reveal a 3 way mirror) from Walmart and some washi tape. (Please excuse the poor pictures.  We didn't even start this project until 8:00 the night before the first day of school.)

When I first asked my son if I could decorate his things he got a very worried look on his face and asked what kind of decorations?  I think he was picturing flowers and unicorns.  But then I pulled out the decorative tape and showed him my plan, he was all for it.  He chose red and blue.

He was pretty happy with the way the storage box turned out. 

There wasn't a lot I could do with the dry erase board so I just wrapped the pen up with some tape and wrote some messages on the board.

He also wanted some magnets for hanging papers and such so I dug through my stash and came up with these chipboard pieces, which I then hot glued magnets to the back.

My boy is so excited to hang his new accessories up in his locker at Middle School.  I wish I could see his locker.  (sniff, sniff) I'll guess I'll have to ask him to take a picture.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nap Mat Cover tutorial

When my littlest started pre-school or Mother's Day Out 2 years ago, I made him the cutest polka-dot nap mat cover. Now that he's going into Pre-K, he requested something more 'big boy' and not babyish polka dots (his words).  I found some fantastic super hero fabric that he approved of and made him a new cover.

Here is how I did it.  (As I have said a bunch of times before, I am not a seamstress and I don't know how to use a pattern.  I just picture how I want something to turn out and wing it.)  I used my usual wing it method to make this cover.

This is the plain plastic nap mat.

And here is the fabric. (I used a little under 2yards)

I folded the fabric in half lengthwise, inside out.  Then I laid the mat on top of the fabric to measure how much I would need.  I cut about 1/4 of a yard off.  

Since the cover is similar to a pillow case, I folded down the top end, that will be the opening, 2 times and sewed a hem.

Then I sewed the sides and the bottom closed.  I wish I had taken a picture of what it looked like at this point, but I didn't.  It looked like a long pillow case, with the end open to insert the mat.

On the open end, to keep the nap mat inside the cover, I used sew-on velcro for a closure.

I then stuffed the mat inside the cover...

and my little man took it for a test drive.  He said it needed a pillow.

I used really soft fleecy fabric and sewed a simple pillow, leaving a small opening to stuff Poly-fill into.  Then I hand sewed the opening close.

I wanted a way to attach the pillow to the cover that was removable.  So I sewed buttons onto both sides of the pillow and the cover.

And used ribbon to attach the pillow and the cover together.  

The process was simple.  I took about a 6inch piece of ribbon, cut a slit on each side for a button holes and then melted the raw edges of the ribbon with a flame to seal the loose fibers.

The ribbon holds the pillow to the nap mat nicely.

To keep it all together, I wrapped more of the same ribbon around everything,

and closed it with some more velcro that I sewed on.

The finished big boy nap mat!