Archive for the ‘Home & Organization’ Category

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece from MomAdvice.com.If there is one holiday I love it is Thanksgiving. Any holiday that focuses on all of the blessings of the year around a dinner table filled with those I love is definitely a holiday that I love to celebrate. Oftentimes though, the details of holiday preparation and decorating can interfere with the things that really should matter the most.

Today I wanted to share with you a beautiful and effortless centerpiece you can create for your table with some items you have on hand combined with a few items from your local grocer. To find out how to make this fast and easy DIY Thanksgiving centerpiece, head on over to the Kenmore Blog to grab the supplies list and read my easy tutorial for creating this for your own home!

See you there!

 

Fall Decorating With Goodwill Store Items

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Fall Decorating With Goodwill Store Items from MomAdvice.com.

This time of year is among my favorite because I just love decorating for the Fall season and for Thanksgiving with my family. Thankfully, decorating for Fall doesn’t need to be expensive at all especially if you have a Goodwill Store!  With a few inexpensive tools and some items from our favorite thrift shop, you will have all you need to start decorating your home for Fall.

This month, I am guest blogging over at the Goodwill Tips Blog on thrifty ways to decorate your home for Fall. Check out these six fun ways to decorate your home for Fall using some commonly found items from the Goodwill Store on the Goodwill Tips blo

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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!

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How to Easily Stain Furniture

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Staining furniture seems like a pretty intimidating project if you have never stained before. Today’s tutorial is going to showcase how to easily stain wood furniture and how you can turn a tired piece into that piece of furniture you have been dreaming of with a simple stain technique.

Today I am working with Cabot Wood Stain to share their new Premium Wood Finish, a stain + sealer product that you can use to restore the finish on your furniture. This H2Oil™ formula provides the best of oil and water-based stains and makes for easy clean up with just a little soap and water!

What I really love about it most though is that it conditions, seals and protects in one step and doesn’t require primer or wood conditioner. You can find this stain at your local Lowes store and the stain color I am working with today is their Espresso finish.  Don’t feel like you have to be committed to just the traditional stain though because it can be tinted to nearly thirty different colors including non-traditional colors like teal and purple!

Premium Wood Finish Colors

Let’s get started on our fun project- I can’t wait for you to see the results!

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

I headed over to our local thrift store and found this beat-up wooden table for $50. I sent a picture of it to my husband and he replied, “Please tell me you didn’t bring that home.” Yes, you know that you have picked the perfect piece if your husband requests that you not bring it home.

As you can see on the top, this was in extremely bad condition. The top of it looked irreparable and the drawers were deeply damaged. I knew that I would have to be creative with this piece, but the legs and pretty drawers made it a piece worth working on for our office. Because this piece is so damaged, my process took a few extra steps, but even with all the damage, I was able to finish it in a mere 24 hours. You won’t believe this transformation.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Supplies Needed

Cabot Premium Wood Finish Stain + Sealer (in your color choice- I have used espresso)

Optional : Cabot Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (I used this because my piece was so incredibly damaged, but it is an unnecessary step if your piece is in better condition)

Wood Filler

Medium & Fine Grit Sandpaper

Sander (or you can do this by hand)

Rags

Gloves

Drop Cloth

Painting Supplies (if adding painted details like me. The drawers are spray painted using this technique here)

New Hardware or Spray Paint for Old Hardware

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

How to Stain Furniture

1. Begin by thoroughly cleaning your piece well with a clean rag. Once the piece has been cleaned, apply stainable wood filler to any gashes you may see on your piece. Allow the wood filler to dry (two hours) and then using your medium grit sanding paper to smooth and make the filler level to the rest of the surface.

2. Using a sander (or you can do this by hand), sand the piece to remove any old stain and any scratches. Due to the damage on my piece, this took a half hour to do which gave me a chance to begin painting the drawers to this piece.  Make sure that you have on gloves and a mask when sanding your piece and once finished that you clean it well with a clean tack cloth to remove any of the sanding particles before staining.

3. Because of the condition of my piece and how uneven the top still looked on this, I decided to brush on some Cabot Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (be sure to do this with the grain of the wood)  to make sure that my stain really took evenly. If your piece is in better condition though, you can definitely skip this step. 

On larger surfaces, you will want to work quickly in small sections. Saturate wood with a uniform coat of Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner using a clean brush or sponge. Allow no more than 5 minutes for penetration. Then wipe off all excess. Immediately after removal of Conditioner, apply your Cabot Wood Stain If you are pre-conditioning DO NOT allow the Conditioner to dry. Surfaces which are allowed to dry will not accept stain!

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

4. Now we are ready to stain and seal our piece. Before you begin, make sure your piece is clean and free of any debris using a clean tack cloth.  Again, using a foam brush apply the stain with the grain of the wood. Raw wood is very thirsty so it will absorb the stain quickly. After five minutes, using a clean tack cloth, and wipe it down to remove any stain that hasn’t been absorbed.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.Here is what my tabletop looked like after the first coat. You can see that there is definitely still some unevenness to it, but we are off to a good start. Allow this to dry for 2 1/2 hours before applying the next coat.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Sand very lightly with 600 grit sandpaper to smooth wood grain. Remove sanding dust with tack cloth and apply a second thin coat. For full color and maximum durability, apply 2 or more coats. For a muted, distressed look apply 1 coat.  For my table, I applied just two coats so I still had the distressed look that I was after. Since I am impatient, I really love that the Cabot Wood Stain is a fast drying formula that dries in 2-1/2 hours between coats and fully dries in only 6 hours.

Since I also have two kiddos that are rough and tough on my furniture, I also love that it offers a durable finish that will hold up to our abuse and that it protects against spills, water rings and even household chemicals like bleach, alcohol, and nail polish remover.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com. How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

Hello beautiful new table of mine! I am absolutely smitten with this piece and I can’t believe the transformation. We updated the hardware with a couple of new drawer handles since the previous handles were falling apart. The drawers were distressed and antiqued up to match their chippy former days and then I applied my decorative glaze over these spray painted drawers to antique them up a bit more.

How to Easily Stain Furniture by MomAdvice.com.

I swear that this new-to-me table looks just like a table I was coveting in my West Elm catalog, but at a fraction of the price. This has become my new favorite corner in our house and I can’t believe the transformation! For other indoor stain ideas, check out Cabot’s Indoor Inspiration Pinterest board and be sure to follow me on Pinterest for more DIY inspiration! 

Have you ever stained furniture before? What are your tips and advice for updating a piece?

This post is sponsored by Cabot Wood Stain.  I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

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$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!

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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.

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7 Easy Chalkboard Paint Crafts

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Chalkboard_Paint_Crafts The back-to-school season is in full swing and to honor that oh-so-wonderful time of year, I thought we could talk about fun chalkboard paint crafts today on Goodwill Tips. What could be more fun than chalkboard paint projects and what better time to tackle a project like this then when the kids return to school?

Head on over to the Goodwill Tips blog to get the scoop on 7 EASY Chalkboard Paint Crafts to try with items you often will find at your local Goodwill store! You won’t want to miss this fun post!

I have received compensation from Goodwill  for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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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!

 

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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!

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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!

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