Friday, January 29, 2010

Kids Room(s).... Done?!

So Katie (Ben's sister) made fun of my FB post in early January saying I was going to try to complete all my projects... she said something about my being too ambitious. Well, Katie, I was just trying to get them done so I wouldn't have any to do (I'm actually more lazy than ambitious). My mom came over for 8 hours and helped me sew and I finally finished my kid's room. Since then I've eaten lots of bon-bons, read the entire Twilight series and the first Hunger Games book, and spent too much time reading crafty blogs and not making a darned thing! It's getting hard not to start a new project, but I have to say those books were better than I had expected.

For those of you who haven't seen it, my kids live in what probably was an attic years ago (1oo to be more exact). When I bought the house it was the master suite, but the ceilings hit me and Ben in the head, so it was the guest room and TV room until it got remade into the kid zone. The main area is for playing, etc... Because the ceilings and the knee walls are especially low, it's really hard to get a good photo, so keep that in mind. Here it is:

This is the biggest part of the room, basically a big alcove at the top of the stairs. It's the play zone. We've loved this Nilo play table. It's super duper strong so when the kids climb all over it I don't worry. The shelf is from I like having things on a shelf instead of a toy box so the kids can see what they want and not have to pull it all out (of course they still do that, but it gives me hope that maybe someday they won't).

This is looking down the stairs. The door in the back is to the bathroom. To the right is Alice's alcove. She doesn't get a room, just an alcove. That's her dresser there. The quilt is something my brother got me in China in about 1992 or so. The print is from Land of Nod and my sister gave it to us when Clyde was born. It's an ABC print with cities from around the world.

This area is in the same big alcove as the play table and shelf. It's the reading/movie watching area. The ottoman is one of my finished projects. The guys at Mill's End fabric made me the foam cube over a year ago and I finally covered it with an old (and kind of cheap) quilt I had. It's a 20x20x20 square which I would change by making it a little shorter but still 20x20 if I did it again. The center of gravity's a little high and the kids often tumble off, but luckily our carpet makes for a soft landing. It's pretty awesome for putting my feet up though. On the floor is a cute blanket Ben's mom made for Clyde. I love using blankets instead of rugs for kids. I had a great braided rug in Clyde's old room (now our TV room), but it was really hard to clean short of taking it to the cleaner's when it inevitable got spilled or spit up on. Now I just use blankets and throw them in the wash.

This is the kitchen my sister Catherine got the kids. I tried to arrange the food, kitchen etc. so both kids could play at once. This introduced pink into the mostly primary color room, but I had been planning on incorporating a little pink into Alice's alcove, so it works.

This is Alice's alcove. The rosebud pillowcases were something I found on the ranch and have no idea where they came from, but they're old. They were the inspiration for a red & pink themed girl's room that would coordinate with our primary color scheme in the main area but give it a feminine feel. My mother made the curtains from a long insulated panel I got at Target. We used blanket binding and a cute crochet lace to finish them. The dresses turned out great and I am now recommending that everyone decorate their baby rooms with baby clothes. They hardly wear them, so it makes sense to get a little more use out of them! Free decorations - I love it!

Clyde's room was originally the master closet. When we put in air conditioning, the ducts were run through here. We had Ben's Uncle Richard frame around the ducts and make some shelves, a window seat and a built in bed with storage drawers. I sawed off the closet rods to make Clyde a small closet. Mom and I finally made the curtain a year later. The roman shade I made was so complicated with crazy dowels and ropes that I also thought might be dangerous, so I redid it with little ribbon loops that you just slip on two mug hooks. Safe and easy!

This is the closet. The fabric is some vintage cowboy print sheeting that I got on sale at Caledonia (a very nice but pricey fabric store on Americana). You can see the baskets are on a ledge that's concealing the ducts.

The lighting was terrible with the bright sunshine coming in, but here's Clyde's bed and window seat, great for reading him bedtime stories.

Now we're working on a cushion for the window seat, but it's really just a figment of our imagination for now. Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Wises... dolly versions

I wanted to do something unique and thoughtful for my sister's family for Christmas. They have two small boys, so I decided that I'd make them some dolls, as that's something they don't have in abundance. Then I thought it would be fun to make dolls that represented their family. At first they looked like aliens, but after I added the hair it wasn't as bad. Meet the Wises:

Janelle is in her Asics running shoes, bike shorts and a tank top. Elliott and Harrison are in hand-me-downs from Clyde and Tyson's in khakis, Clyde's old loafters and a Carter's baby dress shirt. Making the khakis was the hardest part of the clothes. If I did it again the necks wouldn't be so skinny, but all in all it turned out all right.

Clyde got kind of attached to the Elliott doll before Christmas. He shared his toys with him and set him up to watch movies. It was really cute. We even took the Elliott doll to Clyde's ear tube surgery so he'd be there for moral support.

Christmas Shopping Guide (for reference for next year)

Do you have some small children on your Christmas list? I have resolved to get Christmas done ahead of time this year, so I thought I'd help you do the same with some helpful hints tor the little ones on your list (and their parents).

I'm talking about one and two year olds in particular since that's my current area of expertise. Here are my tips....
  1. Go with something dangerous
  2. Make sure it's something that needs cared for
  3. Make sure that it's beyond a toddler to do the caretaking
  4. Get something that has further equipment or feed needs and don't provide those

In other words, get them a pony! It'll be added work and worry for mom and dad, but the kids will love you forever and ever....

Meet Daisy, one of the two new additions to our family:

Alice still prefers just the saddle...

The second addition is our new puppy, Jigsaw, who is also a surprise Christmas gift for the toddler children. We do love both of our new additions, but we're just now getting over the shock.
Happy shopping!