Monday, November 21, 2011

A Star Wars Themed Big Boy Room


You'd think after this much practice I'd remember to take proper BEFORE pictures. But no. My child's room wasn't quite this boring before. There were no curtains and it had the same bland taupe paint color as did most of the rest of the house. But it did have a nice red bookshelf which hinted at our good intentions of decorating his room. He informed me earlier this year that he was too old for the Choo Choo bedding he had in his room - I would call it a theme but that would be stretching it. He had a nice train quilt and RxR decorative pillow. That's as close to a theme as it got.

When he told me he was too old for the train theme he also informed me that he'd be needing a Transformers or Star Wars room theme, please. I have nothing against Transformers but I knew it was a phase and if I spent my time on that theme he'd be over it in a month. He's loved Star Wars forever so I figured that might last longer.

The only problem was he'd seen a Transformer Bed in a Bag set at Kmart. I'm not really a Bed in a Bag kinda person, at least not for kids' rooms, for several reasons. Not the least of which is how fast they "outgrow" their love for them. I wanted a room that could have an easily changeable theme without having to remodel every time, still be kid-friendly and look awesome at the same time. That's not such a tall order. Is it?


We started out by painting the top half of the wall in a navy blue - the color is Admirality from Lowes. We added a faux board and batten using lattice strips, crown molding and chair railing all done in a semi-gloss white. Much better already!


Even though he got to see the paint job beforehand, I didn't want him to know what theme he was getting until I was done. I figured it would have more of an impact that way. I also thought it might make the lack of that dreaded (for me, anyway) Transformers Bed in Bag a little easier on the both of us.


I think he was pleased with the results!



I kept the bedding simple, masculine and, I like to think, sophisticated. And I did it without any help from Pottery Barn! Red, blue, white and brown - it can work with any theme. So if he changes his mind it's not a complete do-over!


I made the duvet cover by sewing together two flat sheets from sheet sets I found at both Kmart and TJ Maxx. The red and white polka dot is from Kmart and the blue and white stripe is from TJ Maxx. I cut a third of the polka dot sheet off and reattached it to make the opening for the comforter. Then sewed the two together.


I used the pillow cases from the two sets as pillow shams. Why not?
I also made two envelope style pillow covers out of navy pillow cases and used that blue striped burlapy ribbon stuff - which is technically called upholstery webbing. I love that stuff so much I think I might actually look for excuses to use it.


This accent pillow I got from Kmart matches the Canon Red Dot Floral Comforter Set. When I got it, it had a section of red and white floral fabric where the blue stripe fabric is now. I took the pillow apart, which was more of a pain than I anticipated because there's no pillow insert inside just stuffing, and added the panel of blue stripe fabric instead. I also added the red stripe webbing to the front. Sewed the whole thing back together and re-stuffed. Labor intensive but well worth the effort especially since I'm not a talented enough seamstress to have figured out how to make this pillow all on my own.


He already had lots of Star Wars stuff to decorate with so we just added a few accent pieces.


These lamps we got from Home Dept for $39.99 each. The have these beautiful shades that I just added a bit of ribbon to on top and bottom. They plug in, too, so no wiring is required!


I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for 11 x 14 frames. I wanted the cheap ones but I wanted them in white. Turns out they don't make cheap white ones, at least not that I could find, so I just got the black ones from Walmart for $5 each and spray painted them. I put a blue textured paper, that I got from Hobby Lobby, into each frame. I cut Star Wars silhouettes using my Silhouette machine and navy vinyl and mounted those onto white pages from my acrylic paint pad. This paper gave the vinyl a nice texture as though it had been painted on instead. Using double sided tape, I affixed the silhouettes to the blue paper inside the frame. They look so nice you can hardly tell they aren't matted. By the way, my Star Wars silhouettes are actually a font that I downloaded from da font.com.


My poor baby finally has curtains!


This little lamp I got from Walmart for $4 forever ago. I am so glad I saved it. I removed the original bell shade and painted the natural pine a true red. The drum shade is from Target. I added his monogram by cutting out the letters with my Silhouette machine and then using it as a stencil. I also added some of the trim that I used for the lamps above his bed.


An image of Boba Fett that I found via Google. I had it matted and then framed in a shadowbox. I didn't realize this until recently but you can totally frame a picture in a shadowbox for a nice chunky frame with just a few easy tweaks. I love the way that looks!


And the rest is mostly stuff he already had.


I couldn't resist this nutcracker from Hobby Lobby. I wanted Boba Fett but they were already sold out by the time I saw these.


This poster, the Science of Star Wars, came with a gift he got for his birthday and I just put it in a picture frame.


A 3-D Star Wars book he got for Christmas last year.


The bubble gum machine he already had but I just had to put red, white and blue gumballs in there. I know. I need help.


Moon in My Room which he already had. And loves. Perfect for a space themed room. Of course, he will only operate it on every phase but full for fear of attracting werewolves.


When he was little, my brother used to have a giant Millennium Falcon that would light up hanging from his ceiling. I can't imagine what something like that would cost these days so I just went with this planetary night light from Lowes. $9.99.....


....And as far as he's concerned, it's out of this world!



As always, if you ever have any questions (or comments) about any of my projects, please feel free to email me or leave me a comment. I'll be sure to reply!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Under $100 Closet System - IKEA Hack


Just before the baby was born last September I was in a panic to get a closet system in his room. (You can read all about that, here.) After that, the baby's closet was the nicest closet in the whole house and sometimes I would go in there, stand in the one room in the house that was organized, and bask in it's glory.

We bought our home as a foreclosure. That meant we had no appliances, no bathroom mirrors and absolutely, completely, empty closets. No rods for hanging, no shelves in the pantry, NADA! (I totally just said "Nada" in James Spader's voice from Pretty in Pink in my head)


That might not seem too overwhelming at first but there are 9 closets in this house and by the time we got done putting in all the appliances we normally take for granted and hanging mirrors so we could see to brush our teeth, the closets seemed really unimportant. Which is a shame because in the end they are so essential in the War on Clutter, especially in our oldest son's room. But we were tired so the only treatment our closets got was two of those triangle brackets that oh-so-handily hold a rod and a shelf at the same time. They are also efficient at taking up so much space that you can't put as many clothes on the rod as you should be to and you can only fit so many of them in a closet at a time. Then, you wind up with this...


Wow. That's actually really embarrassing. Now you know two things: 1) Someone besides the baby needs a closet system and 2) I need to wash clothes.

Here's the thing, the baby's closet system set us back $700. At the time my desperation, and possibly my hormones, clouded my judgement. But this time there was no way I was spending that much - especially since he has two closets.

I'd read some where on the web about someone using EasyClosets.com to design their closet and then using the plan/measurements to do it themselves. Bingo! (Actually, EasyClosets.com is a very affordable option and had we bought the baby's closet system from them we'd have probably saved some money!) But did we really have time for a DIY; to cut every piece of wood, pre-drill every hole and basically start from scratch? The answer is no for alot of reasons. Namely that I have way too many projects I want to do to spend an eternity on two closets and also because we'd probably never finish it. That's when I met Billy...

IKEA


Tall, white and Swedish. The man of my dreams...in terms of a semi-diy closet system. And he's cheap, too. We got four of these, two for each closet. Add some closet rods, some white shelving board and brackets, a small tweak to make Billy a little taller (see below) and you have a closet system for under 100 bucks per closet!


First we added a small mdf panel to the bottoms of each bookshelf to make the notch, already in the back of the bookshelf, fit over our molding.




Phew! Much better! Man, I love Billy!

Stay tuned for the Big Boy Room Makeover these closets go with. Coming Soon!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick & Easy Homemade Pumpkin Pancakes


I have the greatest from scratch pumpkin pancake recipe. Ever. The problem is I can NEVER find it. Every year the weather gets crisp and cool and I get a hankering for pumpkin pancakes. And every year I cannot remember where I've put it. Today, if I had turned the house upside like I usually have to, I'm sure I would've found it. But since I had a limited amount of time get my pumpkin pancake fix, I decided to explore my options.


I'm glad I did! My from scratch recipes calls for yummy things like spices and melted butter. It is to die for! But who has time for from scratch pancakes every time they want them? This version is the next best thing!


Simple Ingredients

2 eggs
1 c. Milk
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (or canned pumpkin puree)
1 3/4 c. Bisquick Mix
1 TBSP Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped nuts, optional


The Quick & Easy Part

Just mix it all up, pour it onto your griddle and flip when they start to bubble a little.

Supposedly it yeilds 2 1/2 dozen 4" pancakes. I must've made mine a good bit bigger!


Today I am thankful for pumpkins and lazy Saturdays with my family!

NOTE: I always have left over canned pumpkin puree from my Halloween party. I make a yummy pumpkin dip that only uses about half the can of pumpkin. I'm always looking for ways to use up that kind of stuff because I hate to waste. If you find yourself with leftover canned pumpkin puree, you can use it for these pancakes or for Festive Pumpkin Dip - found here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Carnival 1st Birthday Party


My baby just turned a year old in September. I can hardly believe it. I feel like I just had him. And since I'm still carrying around the baby weight, I sorta wish that were true.


We had the greatest vintage circus/carnival birthday for him and I've been anxious to share it with you. And since this is part of the Thankful series on my blog I'd just like to take a moment to say thank you to my husband for never, ever complaining about all my grand ideas and always playing along. You make it so much more fun to be me!

You saw our Big Top tent how-to, here, but believe me when I tell you there were far more spray painted, glued and decorated shenanigans going on.


I'm a big believer in using what I've already go to get just what I want and most of the time it's totally do-able. And if not, a trip to the dollar store is usually all it takes.

Dollar Store Glass candle sticks, ice cream dishes & faux silver platters.
A little glue + some spray paint = awesome serving trays


Costumes were necessary to complete the theme and let's face it, I'll use any excuse to wear a costume. I made the birthday boy's outfit and just put some stuff we had on hand together for Daddy - Edgar the Great (magician) and myself - a vintage clown. But big brother got a store bought one because I couldn't figure out how to do Strong Man DIY style. BUT I did make Strong Man a barbell with some styrofoam balls, a dowel and some spray paint. Can I just say, styrofoam balls are expensive!


And my final project, aside from the food, was a special seat for the birthday boy. I had my heart set on a wooden highchair, legs cut off with just the seat perched atop two round, galvanized containers in graduated sizes painted to look like old elephant stands. I mean, that's not asking too much, is it?


Now you have some idea what being me is like and how wonderful the people are who put up with me. In the end, I wound up with a special chair for the birthday boy - a donation from a friend who's two boys are all grown up - in other words, FREE! Add a little spray paint and while it wasn't what I'd envisioned, it was perfect.

And so.....it was time to party!


Mmmmm Cake! Popcorn cupcake recipe found, here.


I used liquid eyeliner on the baby's face. It stays put but it's gentle.
Find the cheapest Strong Man costume on the web, here.


The highchair turned out perfectly even though it wasn't what I envisioned. I spray painted the whole thing white then used my Silhouette to cut a mask for the tray, then spray painted that red. Aren't baby feet the cutest??


The baby's outfit was just a simple onesie that I added ric rac to for faux suspenders, a bow tie made from the same sheets I used for the photobooth (below). The 1 was created from felt I hand-cut then used fusible web to add a hand-cut 1 from the sheet material on top. After that I ironed the whole thing on to the onesie with the fusible web.


Plenty of clown noses, party horns & jumbo glasses were on hand as well as tons of popcorn. After all, you can't have a circus without popcorn!


I've gotta say, one of my all time favorite things about this party was the photo booth. Made from simple things like bulletin board paper and striped sheets from Walmart, it was a huge hit. I set up a prop station of clown noses, jumbo glasses and chenille mustaches and everyone had a great time getting into character. I can honestly say I didn't hear one person complain about having his or her picture taken. Even me. And that's sayin something!







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