Easy Kitchen Chair Update

We have gone through a number of table and chair combos in our kitchen during our six years of marriage.

We started with an old $25 garage sale table that I had from living on my own.  We moved from there to a pretty round pedestal farmhouse style table.  After that, we had a darling free-from-someone’s-driveway corner bench and table set-up.

Finally, we have a simple rectangular farmhouse style table.  The chairs were exactly what I wanted shape wise (they are square with legs that are straight up and down rather than angled outward (allows you to push them in further, thus saving space). However, the seats were a rattan style.  This is horrific with toddlers!  Food and play-doh smashed on . . . almost impossible to clean!

So, an upgrade was in order.  I literally have one photo for you because I am fancy and professional like that.  But, you guys, this is so easy!

 

MATERIALS:

Oilcloth

Wood (cut to correct size of seat)

Foam

Staple Gun

DIRECTIONS:

  1. The hardest part is cutting the seats.  We used scrap wood we had on hand and my husband has a saw, so he was able to measure and cut four seat bottoms for the chairs (the rattan ones simply lifted out).
  2. Measure the foam and cut to the same size as each seat bottom. (I bought one rectangular piece of foam from Beverly’s for about $10.
  3. Measure the oilcloth wider than the seat, so you will have enough to wrap around to the back.  Oilcloth is about $10 a yard and I think I only used about 2 yards and had extra leftover for recovering my kids’ metal folding chairs.
  4. Staple the oil cloth to the seat.  Fit into the chair opening and wa-la!  New easy-to-clean seats!

I love this upgrade because it really freshened up the seats, made them easier to clean, and added some fun design to the kitchen.

We can’t always afford fancy upgrades and we have no space for a big beautiful table, but we try our best to be stewards of what we have and this was one way to take our $50 craigslist table and beautify it as well as make it more practical for our family!

Birthdays on a Budget

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I love throwing parties. So having three daughters is perfect!  I can throw parties at least three times a year!

However, when on a tight budget, throwing a party means using what I have and DIY-ing ALL. THE. THINGS.

So, I thought I’d share a few tips with you on how I throw fun and pretty parties on the cheap.

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  1. Use what you have.

I like to choose a theme for my parties, but once I’ve done that I consider what items I already have that can be used for the party and this often determines my color choices, decor, activities, etc.

For Sonora’s first birthday party I had the following items:

scrapbook paper, ribbons and fabric, cardboard, paint, vases, chalkboard, various dishes and cake plates, baking ingredients, horse figurines, edible flowers and herbs, popsicle sticks, craft paper.

This allowed me to create multiple banners, a backdrop, decor, sugar cookies, chocolate and whipped cream cake, and a pin the tail on the horse game for no extra money.

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2. Shop cheap.

I always buy my party plates and cups at the dollar tree and then “splurge” on a $3 packet of cute napkins from Home Goods.  I sometimes buy fun straws from the dollar spot at Target as well and then I have a stash to pull from. I spent $2 on plates and cups for this party.  I bought the ranunculas as a splurge and spent $12 total on the flowers, but they are still alive and decorating our home! I purchased the snack food from Food 4 Less and kept it simple: pretzels, caramel apples, and cream cheese/cucumber sandwiches.

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3. Accept help.

As a sort of go-getter, independent type, I tend to say, “I’ve got it” when people ask if they can help.  But, I am reformed . . . a little.  Parents often love helping with parties.  This time around my mom brought all the drinks and my in-laws brought a veggie platter and some edible flowers for decor. Also, grandma’s Christmas present to Sonora was the fancy horse dress she wore at the party.

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4. DIY

I’m going to admit that I almost ordered custom sugar cookies from this party.  But, then I found a 99cent unicorn cookie cutter and decided to make my own cookies (I cut the horns off, lol)! I also made a basic chocolate cake (2 layers with dollar store cake pans). I used whipped cream instead of frosting and then simply garnished with herbs and flowers from the garden as well as leftover scrap paper and one of my kids’ horse toys.

I purchased a few pieces of felt, iron on paper for her onesie (I used an old stained onesie), and one page of stick on gold glitter paper one package of pre-made flowers from Michaels.  I used a coupon and all of the decor cost me less than $12.

With these items I made the birthday crown, the high chair decor, the mini banner on the cake, the cake smash onesie, and the wording on the Pin-the-tail game.

The other item I love to DIY are the invites.  I buy a giant ream of cardstock that lasts forever and I use picmonkey to create a cute invite.  I print two invites per sheet of cardstock and then cut them.  I typically buy envelopes at Michaels with a coupon, which costs about $3 for 50 envelopes. I also hand deliver when I can to save on stamps!

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5. Keep it simple

I like to have my parties at non-meal times.  This way I only need snacks and drinks, rather than a main course.

I stick to easy games and often print out coloring sheets.  This time I had horse coloring sheets and I used craft paper that was used as padding in a package I received earlier in the week to cut our horse heads for the kids to decorate.

I will admit that we had a mini horse at this party, but in my defense it was free and unexpected! This brings up a great point!  Ask friends to participate.  Do you have a friend that teaches art, juggles, does magic tricks, sings, etc.? They might love being a part of your party entertainment!

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So, there you have it! A pretty party on a simple budget.  It was beautiful and fun and pretty easy to do!  Any questions?  Tips of your own?  I’d love to hear!

 

 

{Winter Wonderland First Birthday}

Since our house is so small and our little one was born in winter, we hosted her birthday party at a local park building.  It was a great space since it was so neutral and also had numerous big windows to let in lots of light and allow for pretty views!

I kept the party very simple. We had desserts, snacks, and hot chocolate.  The activities consisted of coloring and snowflake cutting for kids as well as gingerbread-house-making for adults and children alike!

It was a fun day and we loved celebrating our “toddler” sniff sniff.

I went with a Winter Wonderland theme, since I figured someday our daughter may resent having a birthday so close to Christmas and this was one of the few years I could get away with a wintry theme!

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As you can clearly see, I have amazing cake decorating skills!

 

 

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I made the little crown from felt and an elastic headband material.

 

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Attack of the snuggle monster!

 

 

 

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When you have a bunch of engineers, men who work with their hands, and math minded people, you get some pretty epic gingerbread houses!

 

 

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She was a little hesitant with the cake at first, but eventually enjoyed the frosting!

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Happy Birthday!

{Garden Themed Baby Shower}

I was blessed to be able to throw a baby shower for a sweet girl in my Bible study!

It was a collaborative effort that included a crafting day with friends and lots of the attendees bringing the food and beverages!

Since it was a smaller, or shall we say, intimate affair, we were able to go a bit fancier and more detailed than normal!

The garden theme also allowed a lot of freedom: any color and pattern was fine as long as it was girly and gardeny!

Fresh flowers in clear vases and potted herbs (which also served as the party favor) made for a lovely and simple centerpiece.

A white lace tablecloth and some vintage floral china. Glitter paper and washi tape for place cards. Gorgeous Napkins that I found at Home Goods.  Oh, and a plastic kiddie pool to contain my crazy 10 month old.

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A real teapot and tea.  We drank coffee with teacups and saucers (the way my grandma always did).  I felt so classy!

Floral scrapbook paper for an eclectic garland.

Paper straws because, hello, no one has a party without them these days! ha!

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Delicious beverages and a galvanized tub.

Some chalkboard art.

Some free printables hung on chicken wire in an old frame.

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We made flower headbands for the little baby girl who will be arriving in November.

We ate things that grow in gardens: fruit, veggies, nuts, and cupcakes. Oh, wait, those don’t grow in a garden.  But they should, they really should.

Also, I am going to pretend that the rake in the background was put there as part of my meticulously planned garden them.  ahem.

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I mean . . .

These girls helped me with all of the set up and the decorations . . . and food . . . and cleanup . . . wait, what did I do?

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And . . . there is the glowing mama in the middle.  She loves gardening and has a beautiful yard and I am so happy for her to be “Growing” a family now!

Also, I always awkwardly lean in to photos as if I won’t fit otherwise.  I do not know why.  I am 5′ 1″.  It’s not as bad as usual in this photo, thank goodness!  I’m improving.  There is hope!

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It was a lovely day and I can’t wait to plan my next party, although it is for my daughter who is turning one and I sorta want to postpone her growing up, so now I am feeling conflicted.

Hmmmm, I need to go sort out my feelings on this topic.

{Addie’s 2nd Birthday}

I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking here.

I can’t believe we have a two-year-old!

I had so much fun planning and decorating for her party. I know it is unnecessary and she won’t remember it, but it bring me joy.  I have always been a planner and a decorator! I told my husband I need more kids so that I have more parties to plan for. HA!

She had a blast with all of her friends and we had a great time with our friends as well.  It’s neat having parties with young children because their parents still come, so really it is a party for you as well!

We went with a “Brown Bear” theme at Addie’s request.  It is her favorite book and the first book she ever memorized.

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It was a fun day!  Now i can begin planning for Father’s Day, Hubby’s b-day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then a FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY for our little Ellery!

 

 

{The Saga of the Shed}

When we moved into our little 816 square foot abode, we immediately fell in love with the yard.  We also immediately began to focus the majority of our home improvement efforts on the backyard.

Looking at the uneven, weed-filled front yard with its cracked concrete and faded front door, you would never know that we put in a lawn, grew a garden, made a brick patio, or built a shed in our backyard!

The shed is the most recent project.  The yard came with a giant metal barnesque-looking shed.  However, we wanted something a little more pleasing to the eye and less space-stealing.

Thus began the saga of the shed.  My dad came up with some plans and he and my hubby have been working on the foundation, frames, and raising of the shed on weekends when my parents visit.  This past weekend we put the shed “up”.  They built it in pieces over time and raised it in one day! We still have trim, windows, a door, and a weathervane to add.  Oh, and some window boxes if I bat my eyes at hubby enough.

Here are a few ( read: a lot of) pictures of the process!

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Ready for a performance or two!

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Not a bad view for a shed!

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Raising the Roof!

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My husband can do anything.  I love him.

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Are you doing any major yard renovations or upgrades?  We still have so many plans for back here.

Our list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Ditch the old shed.
  • Build something to hang the free bench swing we scored on from craigslist on.
  • Add another small brick patio under the trees.
  • Landscape.
  • Build a child’s swing.
  • Add some lattice and plants.
  • Paint fences.
  • Redo fences.

Onward we go!

{Simple Spring Wreath}

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*linking up with Someday crafts 

Spring is here and the weather is beginning to cooperate with the season!

This always puts me in the mood to decorate my home for the new season.

Making a wreath for my door is a fun and easy way to welcome spring, however, I don’t have the space to store numerous wreaths.

So, I like to make simple wreaths that are pretty, but easy to change when a new season rolls around. Also, I have a very small window of time for anything crafty now that I am navigating two little ones and a combined total of four naps per day (Naps that require numerous instances of soothing or nursing).

Anyway, I start with a basic grapevine wreath (they are great for tying things to or hot glueing onto).

Then, I add something fun!  This year I decided to add some bunting.

Here are the materials I used:

  • Grapevine wreath
  • fabric scraps
  • Baker’s twine
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spray paint (optional)

I didn’t feel like hauling out the sewing machine to make my bunting, so I created a no-sew version that was quick and easy.

Here are the simple steps:

1. Cut the fabric scraps into your desired shape (I used squares). You can also iron the fabric squares if necessary.

2. Fold the fabric over the baker’s twine so that it overlaps a bit.

3. Adhere with hot glue.

4. Cut baker’s twine to desired length.  I used two separate sections for my wreath.

5. Tie the garland to your wreath.

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Really, you can make this tutorial your own.  Perhaps make only one garland and add your family initial?  I added a few flower pins that I have had for a long time.

Another suggestion is spray-painting your wreath first.  I have considered this since we have an old, brown door and the natural color of the grapevine wreath tends to blend in. I actually tried to paint it white, but used a really cheap can of spray paint that didn’t fully cover it, so now it sort of looks like a Haunted Mansion spring wreath. HA!  I am thinking I will re-paint it with a more quality paint or a darker color, such as teal.

Have fun with this project!  This can really work for any season as well, as long as you have the necessary fabric.

Enjoy!

 

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