Archive for the ‘Organizing’ Category

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece from MomAdvice.com.

I have been thinking about creating a knitted leaf centerpiece for so long and I can’t wait to show off my knitted leaf centerpiece that you can create to adorn your Thanksgiving table or as a fun addition to your holiday decorations. This thrifty knitted leaf centerpiece takes less time than you might think and is so much fun to knit up.

I am teaming up with Walmart for this fun project and being a DIY blogger for them is truly one of my favorite jobs. Over the years I have working with them, their knitting & crochet section of their store has grown significantly and they now offer every color in the rainbow for yarn and fun notions to organize and tackle all of your knitting & crochet projects.

Walmart Yarn Display From the knitting/crochet accessories section, you will need size 5 straight needles. If you want to vary the sizes though of your leaves, you can select anything between 2-5 to play around with different sizes. This might be fun especially if knitting the leaves in just one color.

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece from MomAdvice.com.

For this project, you can select any yarn except the super bulky yarns to work with. After working with several different types of yarn I would highly recommend the Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice in either solid or patterned finishes for this project or the Red Heart Soft Yarn for a soft & smooth finish on your leaves. Of course, this project is also a fantastic little stash buster and a great way to use up those odds & ends from other projects too.

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece from MomAdvice.com.

Knitted_Leaves-4

I gathered some branches from our backyard for the branches of this centerpiece and then would knit and add a leaf to the branches as I went along until I felt the entire piece was full enough. You could make this piece smaller or larger depending on your own centerpiece needs. Each leaf was secured to the branches using a small scrap of yarn and double knotting it to the ends of each of the branches. I then trimmed the edges with a pair of scissors.

No need to knit the leaf stick on these, a huge time-saver when creating this many leaves, just leave them as they are without the leaf stick attachment.

The vase I already owned, but you could certainly buy a new vase for your centerpiece or repurpose a tall glass jar from your cupboard. I found this vase when pulling together my tips and tablescape last year for setting the perfect Thanksgiving table!

Knitted Leaf Centerpiece from MomAdvice.com.

I have fallen so in love with this centerpiece that I doubt I will ever put it away. As we await Thanksgiving, it has been a nice addition to my new-to-me stained & painted thrift store table I worked on last month.

Want to make a Knitted Thanksgiving Centerpiece of your own? Grab this FREE knitted leaf pattern from Natural Suburbia. Oh, and let’s be friends on Ravelry! It’s where I get all my best knitting ideas!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

 

Pin It

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase Makeover

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverThis Fall I am committed to ridding my home of some unnecessary clutter. My bookshelves were in need of some true organization and updating. Today I am sharing a fabric-lined bookcase makeover to update a tired bookcase and some ideas for adding a little budget-friendly seasonal beauty to your bookshelves.

I work with Walmart and this project update can be done with $15 of supplies found at your local Walmart store.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverLet’s start with a before picture of my bookshelves. As you can see, they are brimming over with far too many books and clutter than you could ever imagine. One side housed a million books, while the other housed random junk in our house. Since this is the front room in our house, it really embarrassed me that they had gotten this cluttered.

The first step was to remove EVERYTHING from these bookshelves and figure out what to do with them. One pile was to keep, one to donate, and some were relocated into better places (cookbooks in the kitchen, productivity/work books in the office, etc…). Once you have cleared your shelves, it is time to make them pretty with some inexpensive fabric.

Supplies

2 yards of fabric (to cover two bookshelves- definitely measure for your own bookcases. This houndstooth fabric I found was only $4 per yard!)

General All-Purpose Spray Adhesive (I had some leftover from last month’s diy homework stations)

Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

2 Binder Cliips

Optional: Gold Spray Paint & inexpensive items in Seasonal Supplies

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase Makeover

Directions

1. Take the back off of your bookcase on top of your fabric. Cut around the bookcase leaving approximately one inch of fabric all away around to tuck on the back.

2. Once the fabric is cut, flip the fabric with the right-side out. Clip the fabric to the bookcase at the top, using two clips. Be sure you double check the front of the fabric to make sure it lines up if it is patterned.  Relocate your project outside to spray it with the spray adhesive.

3. Lifting the fabric up, spray the entire bookcase side with spray adhesive and then carefully lay the fabric back down, doing your best to keep the fabric even and flush to your bookcase.

4. Flip the bookcase back over and using your hot glue gun, add a dab of glue along the seam and pull the fabric tight behind the bookcase. Continue adding the glue down the seam of the fabric until it is all secure. Fold the corners in just as you would wrapping a present, and glue those to secure them.

5. Secure your bookcase back to your bookcase and begin assembling the items for your bookshelves.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase Makeover

I wanted to add a little nod to the season and another little nod to the Gold trend right now so I picked up another can of spray paint and a two little pumpkins and an owl that I found over in the Seasonal supplies for only $2.49 each and gave them a shiny new gold finish.

Did you catch my spray painted side table tutorial I did this summer? I am such a spray paint addict.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverHere is a close-up of my, “new-to-me,” shelves for Fall. The books at the top are among my favorite. I read East of Eden this summer for the first time, my childhood copy of Secret Garden from my great-grandma is in the pile, I’m Hemingway obsessed, and each year I am collecting one new reissued pretty classic from Barnes & Noble for a holiday gift to myself. My little $2.49 owl fits perfectly in there next to a few of my very favorite books.

The second shelf is simple with yarn and tiny bamboo needles I rarely use along with a few of my very favorite knitting books.

The bottom shelf is just for my hubby with his Harry Potter books and a golden pumpkin.

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverThe top shelf in this photo holds a few of my favorite cookbooks, a golden pumpkin, and my little Pie Bird that I think is oh-so-sweet and reminds me how much I love a good piece of pie.

My copy of Wuthering Heights (which I read this winter) rests beneath the beautiful China teapot that my grandfather gave me before he passed away. Behind it is the last picture I took of him with my grandma. That shelf makes my heart ache.

The last shelf holds my galley copy of my first book, a picture of my sweet boy when he was little in the beautiful Tin Man costume my mother-in-law made for him, our Boston Drivers Handbook which was a gift when we moved to Massachusetts and were terrified to drive, and my hubby’s copy of, “Understand Rap,” from his sister. It is always a great conversation piece.

Can you see the theme? They are ALL special and ALL mean something to me.

The mess before…how could we even see the gems in there? 

$15 Fabric-Lined Bookcase MakeoverHere are some shots of my beautiful bookshelves now. It is one of those projects that I sit and look at over and over again because it makes me so happy. The fabric completely transformed these and the clutter removed from them brings a lot more peace and order to the room.

Looking for more bookshelf styling ideas? Check out these ideas for decorating bookshelves and this post for bookshelf styling tips!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

Pin It

A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their ShoesI am so darn excited about today’s post. Today I am sharing a new way to teach your child how to tie their shoes. It is the best shoe-tying tutorial I could ever showcase and it comes to my site courtesy of my amazing friend Nancy from Nancy Lary Studios.

When my son was in first grade he was still struggling to tie his shoes. The fact that we put the kid in Velcro shoes his entire life may have been a big factor in why he struggled so much. When I shared this with Nancy, she showed me a new way to teach shoelace tying to see if it would work for our son. Lo and behold, a mere five minutes later my son was tying his shoe like a pro.

A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes

My daughter is three years younger than her brother and when we taught Ethan, she wanted to learn right along side of him. As luck would have it, she caught on just as fast as her brother and it is how she is tying her shoes still today.

You have to see this tutorial. If you are struggling with teaching your children to tie their own shoelaces, this is a parenting game changer. I can’t wait to hear about your own success stories with this tutorial.

An enormous thank you to Nancy for so generously sharing her video with my readers!

Note About the First Loop

The first time you teach them, you can show them with your own finger how to create that first loop. After that, it shows them how much space they  need to create it and they can do it on their own. For double knotting the laces, just show them as you normally would! When I was a kid we used one of these handy shoe-tying practice boards (affiliate link)  to help with tying my shoelaces.

Pin It

21 Back To School Organizing Ideas

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Can you believe that school has started for many already, and will be starting for everyone else within the next couple of weeks? It’s crazy how fast the summer goes, yet I always look forward to a brand new school year and that great fresh feeling of fall!  Dealing with all the busy schedules, paperwork, homework, and meals during the school week is part of the fun, but also can lead to feeling overwhelmed if not tackled in the beginning.

Now that my kids are a bit older, I’ve found that if I start out on the right track with simple, doable organizing strategies, then the rest of the year goes much better than when I put off setting up simple systems or decide to just wing it.

21 School Organizing Ideas

With this in mind, I’ve put together 21 Back To School Organizing ideas to inspire you and help you get the year off to a good start for you and your kids. I’ve picked some classic tried-and-true Mom Advice systems that work for us and gathered a few other amazing ideas in three main categories:

  • Making School Memories/Showing Love
  • Life Organization Tips for The School Year
  • Organizing Dinners, Lunches, and Snacks

Teacher School Supplies Cake :: MomAdvice.com

Making School Memories/Showing Love

 

Teacher’s School Supplies Cake (use the sales!)

Creating Back to School Traditions

First Day of School Pin/Barrette

19 Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Mason Jar With Chalkboard Printable Tags @ The Crafted Sparrow

First Day of School Journal @ Happy Clippings

School Year Time Capsule @ Family Volley

DIY Command Center :: MomAdvice.com

Life Organization Tips for The School Year

 

DIY Command Center

DIY Homework Station

The Top 7 Apps to Organize Your Life

Simplifying Your To-Do List

Organizing School Papers @ One Creative Housewife

Simplifying the Morning Routine @ Homey Home Design

After School Routine with Free Printable @ Living Locurto

Clothing Organization @ The Idea Room

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station :: MomAdvice.com

Organizing Dinners, Lunches, and Snacks

 

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

Dorm Mini-Fridge Healthy Makeover

Free Weekly Menu Planner Sheet

15 Back to School Treats @ Rainbows & Honeysuckle

Quick Tips for Packing Lunches @ House of Hepworths

Pantry Organization for Easy Weeknight Meals @ BHG

I hope this helps you all get off to a successful school year start. And I hope you share with us some of your favorite back-to-school organizing tips!

 

Pin It

DIY Homework Study Station

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

Back-to-School time is almost here for my crew and today I wanted to show you an easy DIY Homework Station you can create for a fun, focused, and quiet little spot you can create for your homework time. This Tri-Fold Homework Station idea was something that I came up with to do for the back-to-school season with Walmart. Each month they give me a fun craft challenge and I couldn’t wait to create these for my kids.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.These homework stations are perfect for small space living. Two kids at one table, but each having a place to call their own, so they can focus on their own coursework.  The best part is that these can fold flat and be stored elsewhere when not in use! I can’t wait to show you just how easy it is to create these for your kids!

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

Supplies List

1- tri-fold foam display board (this will make two homework stations for you)

Razor Blade

General  Purpose Spray Adhesive

Chalkboard Spray Paint (over in the paint aisle)

Rectangle Wooden Plaques (one or two depending on how many stations you are creating)

Decorative envelope(s) and stickers

Binder Clips (we did two for each one)

Scrapbook Paper in coordinating colors (8 sheets total per homework station. The type of paper we are using is their Watercolor Paper that they offer for $5 for the pack)

Hot glue & glue gun

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.Directions

1. Begin by measuring and marking the halfway point for your tri-fold display board. The display board is 48″ total, so you will want to cut it so that each side is 24″ long.

2. Cut the display board with a utility knife, making sure to cut carefully through all of the layers.

3. Spray paint your wooden plaques to create your chalkboards for your homework station.  Make sure to shake the can really well, as instructed on the back of the can. Hold your can 8 inches away from your surface and spray in a sweeping motion side to side with a slight overlap. It has always been my experience to go thin with the paint, allow it to dry, and then to add another layer for the best results and minimal drip. Allow the paint to dry for one hour.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

5. While the frames are drying, pick out eight sheets of scrapbook paper and set them up for where you would like to display them. Set them aside and, beginning with one side, line the bottom sheets up and, holding them in place with your hands, flip them up to add a little spray adhesive to the underside. Do this all along the bottom of your display board.

6.  Now do the same process again on the top, making sure that they line up with each other and with the top edge of the display board.

7. Once your chalkboards have dried, use your hot glue gun to mount it to your display. Attach an envelope next to it with chalk. Make sure to give your chalkboard 24 hours to cure before writing on it and prepare your chalkboards as I have show in this handy tutorial.

8. Add any stickers or decorations you might like to your homework station or let your kids decorate it themselves.

DIY_Homework_Study_Station_8 9. Clip your binder clips to the top of your display and then add any printables, thoughtful motivational quotes, calendars, etc… to the homework station.

Here are some free printables that I found that I really love:

Weekly To-Do List (A Pair of Pears)

Macaron Calendar (from Jolie Jolie Designs)

Modern Calendar (from LAUs NOTEbook)

If you are looking for more, be sure to check my Printable Goodness Pinterest Board for more ideas.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

DIY Homework Study Station from MomAdvice.com.

Good luck to everyone heading back to school! I hope this homework station inspires a fun new homework hangout for your kiddos!  I look forward to showcasing more fun back-to-school ideas to inspire your life this year!

walmart_mom_disclaimer

Pin It

Dorm Mini-Fridge Healthy Makeover

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Dorm Mini-Fridge Healthy Makeover

When I attended college, I lived on junk & convenience food and I had the inevitable, “Freshman 15,” to prove from my bad eating habits throughout the year. I only wish I knew how great I would have felt and how much better I would have performed if I had stocked my dorm fridge with healthy options.

Today I wanted to share with you some healthy ideas for stocking your dorm mini-fridge for the school year along with an easy no-bake energy bite that you can mix up in a bowl for easy snacks on-the-go when heading to your classes.

Dorm Mini-Fridge Healthy MakeoverHead on over to the Kenmore Blog today to read my ideas for smart back-to-school snacking and grab  my easy no-bake recipe for smart snacking on-the-go!

Pin It

Easy Hostess Gift: How to Make Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Neon_Paint_Dipped_Spoon_Set_4

With summer comes many summer parties and opportunities to share those warm days with friends. Today I wanted to showcase an easy hostess gift that you could create to show your appreciation for those hosting your family at their next party.

Paint-dipped anything is quite the trend this year and so are those vibrant shades of neon. It was with those color trends in mind that I created this easy paint-dipped spoon set that embraces those fun colors and I also have found a fun way to package it that any hostess would flip for.

Neon_Paint_Dipped_Spoon_Set_5

Head on over to the Kenmore blog to find out how I created this adorable hostess gift today!

Pin It

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard DoorWhat could be better than a fun summertime outdoor project? Today I want to showcase an easy DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door that I created to entertain my kids in the summer months. This DIY chalkboard project that we created is one of my new favorite things in our backyard.  This project featured is in conjunction with my job as a Walmart Mom and all of the supplies can be found at your local Walmart store.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Here is a picture of what our tired old door looked like on our outdoor shed. The neutral paint showed all of the dirt, debris, and water drip marks all over it. It was becoming an eye sore in our backyard. Instead of painting it with regular paint, I decided to transform this spot into a new backyard activity area and give the kids a spot to do their drawing outside.

For adult entertaining, this can double as a place to jot down a menu, create a welcome sign for your guests, or keep tally of game scores in a wild game of badminton.

We are crazy like that.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard DoorSupplies List (if you buy everything it will be less than $25 in supplies!)

1- 30 ounce container of Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint in Black Finish (over in the painting supplies)

Soapy Water & Rag (for wiping down your door)

Painters Tape

Paint Roller

Paint Brush

Paint Tray/Liners

Directions

1. Clean your surface and let it dry. I wiped my door down with a grout brush and a pail of sudsy water and then rinsed it with our hose.

2. Tape off around your door handle to protect it from getting paint on it.

3. Pour your paint into your paint tray and begin applying your first coat with your paint roller. The paint will be dry to the touch within thirty minutes, but give it a full four hours before applying your second coat.

4. Add a second coat of paint and repeat with the same timing above, if you desire, to add a third coat.

5. Allow the door to dry for three whole days before beginning  your conditioning or writing on it.

6. Before writing on it, after three days time, condition the surface by rubbing the side of a piece of chalk on the surface and then erase.  I like to rub my chalk in one direction and then rub it in the opposite direction for good coverage. This  will leave a coat of chalk dust that will provide erasability. Your chalkboard can be wiped clean with a damp towel, but wait seven days after painting before wiping it down. Repeat the conditioning step after cleaning.

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door

Give your kids some chalk and the chance to create their own welcome sign for your guests outdoors!  I hope your family loves this project as much as we do! The best part is the hours of enjoyment they get and the lack of dirt showing on my outdoor door in the backyard.

A win-win for both kids and parents!

If you loved this project, I just know that you will love these ideas for Chalkboard Fun & Outdoor Entertaining!

S’More Toppings Bar Party

DIY Chalkboard Conversation Bubble Cookie Jars

Dollar Store DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

DIY Lunchbox Creation Station

walmart_mom_disclaimer

Pin It

DIY Book Page Flower Tutorial (With Free Printable)

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

If there is one thing our family loves to do it is spoil our teachers. Today I am sharing how to make book page flowers out of old books to brighten a teacher’s day. I hope you will enjoy this book page flower tutorial and be able to use our free printable to create your book page flowers.

As you know, book page crafts are something that I have recently grown fond of and I wanted to create a bouquet of book page posies that you could share with a favorite teacher. A great way to build upon this thrifty gift is to pair it with a gift card to a favorite local bookstore for your teacher.

Supplies Needed:

1 old book/textbook (I picked one up at Goodwill for $.50- it was WELL loved with loads of notes, yellowed edges, and bent corners.)
Jar or Vase
Grilling skewers
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Book Page Flowers Template

Directions:

1. Cut out your five flower petals from the provided flower petal template

2. Begin by pulling out five pages of your book and leave them stacked. Using one of your flower petal templates as a guide, cut out your first petals. Since you are cutting through the stack of papers, you should have five petals cut. Repeat this process with the other four petal templates until you have five of each kind.

3. Using your grill skewer as a paper shaper, roll each of the petals to create curving of the petals around it. I simply rolled these around the skewer, then released them.

4. Pull out another page from your book and tear a strip lengthwise from the book. Just as you would with floral tape wrap, pulling down gently, the skewer with the strip from your page. You may need two strips to cover the entire length. (pictured above).

5. Tear another strip lengthwise and roll this at the top of your skewer to create the center of your flower (just ignore that bare stem!).  I just add a bit of glue at the beginning and then a bit of glue at the end to hold it together. Now you are ready to start adding your petals.

6.  Add a drop of glue almost at the edge of the bottom of your petal and begin with the smallest layer. Add these petals all around the flower center. Repeat this process with the petals the next size up. Repeat again, again, and again until all of the petals are attached to your flower. If the base feels loose at all, add a little dab of hot glue around the bottom of the flower with your hot glue gun.

DIY Book Page Flower Tutorial
7. Finish by placing them in a thrifted jar or vase and spread and fluff the petals of your flowers. Give these to your favorite teacher with a gift card to their favorite bookstore.

Be sure to check back this week for more fun teacher gift ideas!

Pin It

DIY Fabric Softener Sheets

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

For years I have been making my own DIY fabric softener sheets and today I wanted to share an easy process for making your own homemade fabric softener sheets for your laundry. These DIY fabric softener sheets will stretch your bottle of fabric softener much further, there is nothing to throw away, and when they finally begin to lose their effectiveness,  you simply repeat the process and can continue using them again. Pairing these with a jar of my homemade laundry detergent really can keep your laundry budget down!

How Can I Make My Own Fabric Softener Sheets?

When making your own fabric softener sheets, visit the housewares aisle of your favorite store and look for the brightest colors of washcloths to use. By picking bright fabrics, it will be easier to spot the softener sheet to pull out and reuse after you are done with your load of laundry.

Choose your favorite fabric softener and pour it into a bowl. Soak your washcloth in the softener and then wring it out well. Hang the washcloth to dry overnight.

That’s it. Done.

How Many Times Can You Reuse Your DIY Fabric Softener Sheets?

You can reuse your dryer sheets on up to twenty loads of laundry before you need to repeat the process. If you make a set of these and alternate them with your loads, they should last a long time. The best part about this sheets is that they perform better than putting fabric softener in your washer compartment and you don’t have to worry about any staining on your fabrics.

Are There Any Green Alternatives to Fabric Softeners?

Seventh Generation (affiliate) offers a green alternative to fabric softeners and could be used to create your own DIY fabric softener sheets. The best part about that one is that it still offers a scent, but this version is better for the environment over the other commercial brands.

I also was sent a bottle of the Method fabric softener (affiliate) and used that with fairly good results on my loads of laundry, although I did find that my loads still had a little bit of static in them, particularly if they needed to be refreshed.  The unique thing about the Method cleaner was that you sprayed it directly onto your fabrics and the tumbling of the dryer dispersed the softener throughout the load. It never stained my fabrics and also offered a fresh scent to them.

If you are looking for a frugal and green method for fabric softener, you can use vinegar to replace your fabric softener. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar in your fabric softener compartment of your washer or during the Rinse cycle of your load.

Using vinegar will help to soften the fabric, but it doesn’t always perform effectively in reducing the static in fabrics. You can either crumple aluminum foil into a ball and use that as a dryer ball, buy a store-bought dryer ball alternative like this one (affiliate), or even make dryer balls from yarn.

What Should I Not Use Fabric Softener On?

This might come as a surprise since those fabric softener commercials always seem to be about fluffy towels, but you really shouldn’t use fabric softener on your towels. Fabric softener can reduce the absorbency of your fabrics so avoid using it on your towels.

If you are a big fan of cleaning with microfiber cloths, like I am, you should also avoid using fabric softener on those. I just wash them with my towels so I know they won’t get mixed up into my other loads.

5.0 from 2 reviews
DIY Fabric Softener Sheets
Author: 
Recipe type: Cleaning
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
An easy DIY fabric softener sheet that will save you money on your laundry loads!
Ingredients
  • Brightly colored washcloths
  • Fabric Softener (your favorite variety)
Instructions
  1. Pour fabric softener into a bowl.
  2. Submerge your washcloth in the fabric softener and soak it for a few seconds.
  3. Wring the washcloth out and and hang it to dry.
  4. Allow the washcloth to dry overnight.
  5. To begin using, just throw it in your dyer with freshly washed cloths.
  6. You can reuse the same DIY fabric softener sheet on up to 20 loads before you need to repeat the process again.

 

 

Pin It