Saturday, February 23, 2013

What to do when it snows

Make a spring purse.

Pink and Canvas Cross-body

Really, I liked the purse I was carrying around, but I'm in a springy mood and the gray/mustard color combo isn't matching my mood anymore.

I should really take pictures of the stuff I make before I wear it out. I liked the styling and spent a lot of time designing this bag--a little ruching on the sides and a bow near the top, lots of pockets, including a big one in the back to fit our tablet.

I finally found an excuse to buy this odd mustard-ish print that I had been eyeing forever, but now I'm over it. This is too fall/winter.

So I made a new purse the other day while I was trapped in as it snowed. It was a simple purse (pattern and tutorial here). The challenge was more with myself because I decided that I would give up spending money on myself for lent.

Perhaps that shouldn't seem like a big deal, and it isn't really, but it is something I have to be conscience about. I need to buy a snack for Michael while we are out. Do I need one too? No. Need new clothes? No you don't. See a Groupon that's just too good to resist? Resist. Super sale at my favorite store? I'll live without. Out of my shampoo/conditioner/face wash/makeup? Go through your stash, you goo hoarder! That rug would look great in my living room! It also looks great on the shelf at the store.

Obviously, there are still things that I'm spending on myself for... my regular food, gym memberships, medicine, copays, that kind of thing. But the point is that I tend to view things as necessities that aren't and I tend to buy things for myself under the guise of being "for the house". And there are always Sundays, if I truly do need something. I could have gone on a food diet for lent, but I would have failed at that for sure... I actually have a chance to succeed here.

So I made myself a little purse to brighten things up. Perhaps if I hadn't made this lenten pledge, I would have bought a pattern. And different fabric. And the perfect color of pink thread for the top stitching.  And a couple of more buttons so it would look like the example bag. But no. Make due with what you have (and I really do have quite a lot). This bag doesn't meet my normal desire for perfection, but I pretty sure no one knows that and no one is comparing it to that but me.

I would have liked to have more buttons/different buttons. Oh well. And that petal pink top stitching is barely visible.

A lot smaller than my last bag, but still sufficient for running about. Perhaps I can learn to carry less crap around too.

I guess that I'm trying to learn that I can make myself happy, without being perfect.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Big Boy Bed

There are all sorts of milestones to celebrate as your child grows and one of the bigger ones that was on my radar was the transition to a big boy bed cause furniture shopping and room rearranging are my crack. I've been looking forward to this for about a year and a half.

I knew I wanted one thing for Michael: BUNK BEDS. People think I'm crazy for putting my three year old in bunk beds, but me and my brother shared a room and slept in bunk beds when I was that age and we survived. My husband didn't understand at all, but he's a great enabler, so he went along with it.

I spent a long time shopping for beds online, checking craigslist, checking furniture stores in person. I'm very picky about bunk beds. A lot of beds are so short... so short that Michael, at 2, wasn't able to sit up in them without bumping his head. You think I want to change the sheets and make that bed? Def not. So I was searching for "tall" bunk beds and I found a few options, but I wasn't that excited about them or their prices.

So I looked for plans online to build them ourselves. A big problem with most bed plans is that they don't come apart (easily) and you have to either build them in the bedroom or at least do heavy assembly in room (or they are the bed on top of a bed type and those are usually short). Not for us. So I was pretty thrilled with this set on Ana White. This design is great because it comes apart in four sides that simply bolt together. And it was easy to modify the dimensions for our needs. We made it a little TALLER. Yay! We made the space under the bed a little taller too for Michael to park his fleet of trucks and tractors under it. And we made the head room the same for both beds (the distance from bottom bunk to top is the same as top bunk to ceiling). We also added a rung to the ladder to make it a little easier to climb.

It only took about a day to make and was pretty easy. It took about a week to sand and poly. Michael was involved in the making and got to see it come together which I think is an important lesson, even if it doesn't really make sense yet. And I'm SO GLAD that we didn't try to make something in his room, because it was a total mess. And then with the poly, the fumes were pretty dangerous. We got it finished in time to move it into his bedroom on his birthday. He was really looking forward to it and was very excited.

On top of making the bed, I made the bedspreads. I was going to just buy something, but then I got this idea to upcycle a giant pile of old jeans and make a jean quilt. I started to hate myself about half way through, because making one bedspread is a whoopin', making two is crazy (and I was splitting my time between finishing the beds, making the quilts, and cleaning 3 year old puke). But I felt it was a worthwhile project. Michael now has two handmade blankets, made from his parents' jeans. Jeans we wore while making his life. If you look closely, you can even find some paint splatters on a pair of jeans ruined while painting Michael's room. And because I decided that the "worthwhile-ness" of this project was in the sentimental value I decided to do a little embroidery at the foot of the blankets so it's there, but it tucks in, cause these are for a boy after all.

Ok, so the pictures.

Michael was so cute, he wanted a book and a stuffed animal up top to chill with. He's allowed up top, but he sleeps on the bottom (for now).

Plenty of clearance for his toys... unfortunately I didn't realize how large his collection had become and it's stuffed under there.

The embroidery, "made with love 2013".

Another view where you can see the quilt a little better. It's a strip quilt, very easy to make. FYI: Denim quilts are super heavy. Each quilt is made from ~9 pairs of jeans. I used flannel as a thin, lighter batting and the backing is red homespun plaid. I made it a little more narrow than a regular twin spread so it tucks in more easily. I also made a sham and still have a few more on the project list.

And we had to move his shelf to the other side of the room. This shelf is still the handiest thing.

And like I mentioned earlier, we had to move the chair out of his room but now we cuddle in his bed for story time and now that Michael is so big, I think that actually works better than the chair.

So far the beds have been a great change and Michael has done great with them. Climbing up to the top is also great "heavy work" that helps with his SPD

And I spent a lot of time thinking about why I was so adamant that Michael have bunk bedsThink it's because I can relate bunk beds to some of my best memories. Being a carefree little kid. Summer camp. College. Bunk beds are the best.