Saturday, June 29, 2013

Space saving solutions

When we purchased our home in 2012, we knew that we were going to lose about 800 square feet of space, mostly in the storage and kitchen areas. We were both okay with that considering the significant location and home quality upgrade we were getting. I knew in order to keep up my hoarding of kitchen items/gadgets that I had to invest in some creative solutions.
I searched around for many inexpensive organization solutions and this is what I came up with:
Item #1: Pantry
We went from a walk-in 6-foot pantry to this. Yup.
If you're asking yourself, "Is that the smallest pantry I've ever seen?" Yes. It is, my friend.
My solution was to put in pantry shelving that was custom-cut at Lowe's so that we could have ample storage. We also ended up repainting in there since it was gross and hey, why not.
As you can also see, we put in a trash bag holder and a command hook to hold my aprons. HUGE space savers right there!
Item # 2: Cabinet storage
We cut the number of cabinets that we had in our kitchen in half. Literally. I did the math, cried, and then put on my big girl panties and went to Wal-Mart.
When I found these organizers for less than $5 a piece, my heart (and wallet) were overjoyed. I secured them to the bottom of the cabinet and voila!
Those are probably my favorite addition to the kitchen organization. I remember the old days when pans were stacked on more pans and the one you needed was on the bottom. Clanging and banging around to get one dang cookie sheet? No more!
I also installed something similar in the cabinet where we organize our pots & pans so that the lids are separate and easy to access as well as the pans, too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sewing tutorial: Floor Cushion (toddler)

A long, long time ago in a far away land known as life, I pinned this tutorial on how to make a pouf or floor cushion. With Cam's upcoming birthday I felt like I should make him something. Yeah, I know the bicycle and binoculars were cool and all, but I wanted something more personal. He always seems to love watching movies (or rather one, The Incredibles) so I figured a floor cushion/pillow would be perfect! (Next project is a bean bag!)
Materials needed:
* 1 yard home d├ęcor fabric
* 2 packages 1/2" premade piping
* contrasting thread
* 16-24 oz. fiberfill
* a napping toddler and approximately 1-2 hours
Step one:
Lay out your fabric and fold so that the shorter ends are together.

Step two:
Draw (w/pencil) a 17" diameter circle on the wrong side (or back side) of the fabric. Cut out; you should have two since the fabric is doubled over.
*Note: using a compass makes this step extremely easy

Step three:
Cut out two handles 3x12"
Cut one strip of fabric* (for the sides) 9x51.5"
*Note: this may need to be two strips sewn together (see next step)

Step four:
Sew the two 9" strips of fabric together if they aren't long enough.
I highly recommend sewing together at a point so that the fabric matches as best as possible. You'll thank me later.

Step five:
Pin piping to the right side (front) of each of the 17" circles making sure the raw edges of each are aligned.
Using a contrasting thread (to the fabric color), sew along the existing stitching on the piping. 
Sew piping on both sides (lengthwise) onto one of the handle pieces in the same manner.
Be sure to overlap the ends like so:
There's no such thing as too many pins:

Step six:
Finish the handle by placing the piece with no piping onto the piece with piping, with the right sides facing together/inward.
Sew around all edges along the existing stitching, except one of the shorter edges.
Flip inside out, fold edges inward, and sew open edge together (don't worry you can hide this stitching later).
Step seven:
Carefully lay the 9" side piece on top of one of the 17" circle pieces, right sides together facing inward. Don't pull too hard and leave about 1" on each short end free.
Pin the raw edges together around the circle and 1" free edges together.
Sew a 1/2" seam along the short edge to sew the sides together. Then, sew along the existing stitching to sew the side piece to one of the circles pieces 
Step eight:
Flip cushion inside out and position the handle where you want it on the right side of the side fabric. Sew into place leaving some slack.
*If you sew over the existing stitching to close the end of the handle, this will then become part of the "decoration" of the fabric.
* Sewing an X and double stitching the edges helps to reinforce/strengthen.
Step nine:
Flip inside out again and pin the second circle onto the raw edges of the sides. Leave an opening wide enough to turn inside out and fill with fiberfill.

Step ten:
Flip inside out and fill with fiberfill.

Step eleven:
Hand stitch closed and enjoy!

Here is another reason why it helps to sew the edges so that they match as best as possible (hiding the seam better):

This is so simple and takes 2 hours or less .. even with a beginner seamstress like myself (and no compass to make circles .. you don't want to know). Now go make your kid a movie pillow, or your neighbor's kid, or my kid. ;-)
**Edit/Note: If you have a toddler, surely you have a sit-and-spin. If not, find one and the bigger, bottom circle is about 18" so I used that for a second floor cushion and it worked great, but I'd use an additional inch or two for the side fabric, just in case the circle is a bit more than 17" around.**

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Medical Adventures of Our Family

About a month ago we decided to go visit Aunt Rachael so that she could visit with Camden before she trekked out of the country for her graduate work. Unfortunately that trip was cut short when Camden broke his leg. This is his story.
We decided to meet at Bremin Park in Terre Haute. It was a huge park with a smaller kids play area and a larger play area as well. Cam, Brad, and I were all having fun playing and of course I was taking lots of pictures.
Rachael and her boyfriend showed up and got in a few snuggles and then let him run around the play ground a bit before we headed to lunch. Since Cam usually loves slides so much I wanted to take him down a big one so we climbed to the tallest one and I set him on my lap.
On the way down, the bottom of his shoe caught on the side of the slide. I didn't think anything of it and just put his feet in the middle of my legs and we continued down the slide.
Cue the screams.
I thought he was scared at first since it was such a big slide. Poor guy! We tried to go to lunch but that didn't work out. I had a bad feeling so I tried putting him down on the ground to stand up and he wouldn't put his foot on the ground at all. Time to head home.
We headed to my moms house because he was calm and slept the whole way home. As soon as he woke up and we took him out of the car seat, it was screams all over again. I made a decision that it was time to go to the Emergency Department. ASAP!
They took an X-ray of his little leg and of course it was broken so they put a splint on for the weekend. That following Monday we saw a pediatric orthopedic specialist and they gave him a cool big-kid red cast.
Once it was casted, he was in much less pain and more mobile (crawling and scooting).
.. but that's not all ..
We went to a birthday party for Brad's best friend who has a son that was turning 3. I tried to take care of Cam because Brad hadn't seen his friends in a long time and I wanted them to visit.
My stomache was killing me that day. I thought it was the cake or candy or junk food I'd eaten at the party.
We went back to Brad's mom's place and she and Brad went out to the pond to feed the fish with Cam. Regardless of how awful I felt, I was determined to get some photos. :) 
And I did.
About an hour after that, Brad came back inside to me curled in the fetal position crying/screaming in back pain. He asked if we should go to the ED and I said yes.
Long story short, I got 6 needle sticks trying to get IV's started and blood drawn, a CT scan, and an US later ... I had gall stones. I had another attack as soon as we left the hospital too.
Gall stones are THE most painful thing I've ever experienced. Topping child birth, labor, and being in a car accident where I broke my leg. Painful.
So this past Friday morning I had laproscopic surgery to remove my gall bladder.
I'm still in pain but I know in the long run I won't be waiting around for that next gall stone attack. Now it's just time to get planning a super party for my best super hero Camden!