Friday, September 27, 2013

Curbside Pickup Transformation

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hi Mrs. K. and Mrs. G.,

If you have a weak stomach, you may want to look away right now....

I know what you're thinking - "That is disgusting!  Where did Mrs. Williams even get that thing - the trash?!"  Why, yes - in fact, I did pick up it up from the trash (really quickly, so no one could see that I put its nastiness in my car.)  

When I got home I put on some rubber gloves, removed the random carpet square stapled onto the stool, and gave it a good scrub down.  The "fabric" was vinyl - so it actually washed up really well (and believe it or not, it was in fine condition underneath the pea green carpet grossness.)

Once it was all cleaned up, I painted the legs.

Then, as an extra layer of protection (from its former life), I wrapped the entire thing in duct tape (I was about halfway done in this pic.)

Next step - sewing.  I bought a shower curtain for this project because you get a lot of fabric for a fairly cheap price.  Also, I tried sewing piping with the actual fabric for the first time with this project to line the top (not very hard, but you need a bunch of fabric - good thing I had that huge shower curtain.)  Once my cover was sewn, I added a bunch of batting to the stool.

Then, I stapled it all down underneath, and ta da - here she is all covered.

Can you believe someone was going to throw it out?  

Gotta go read some magazines and put my feet up for a rest,

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  "Can you believe someone was going to throw it out?"  Yes.  Yes, I can.  Having said that, I will remember that old saying about never judging a book.  That's one sweet little stool.  Love the fabric.  Love the legs.  It makes me want to sing, "Dip baby, dip."  Nicely done.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dear Children's Clothing Stores Of America

A Note from Mrs. Kelly:  The other day my friend Maureen (aka Mrs. Sedaris) posted this "note" on her facebook account.  It definitely resonated with a bunch of people...especially with Halloween right around the corner and all the "lovely" costumes out there. What do you think?  

Passing Notes Today:  Guest Mrs. Sedaris

Dear Children's Clothing Stores of America,

We've got a problem. It seems you've mistaken my five year-old for a pop starlet, a little Beyonce in the making. See, she actually climbs jungle gyms and plays in the woods every day, but you seem to have gotten confused and must believe that in actuality she spends her time, I don't know, licking construction site tools with Miley or something. It's the only reason I can think of that you keep making all this tarty, glittery crap for the kindergarten set. She's not a "diva" as you seem so eager to have her proclaim; she's five and some days still needs help wiping. Clothing manufacturers, I just want to buy my daughter some sweaters for the cold Michigan winter ahead. But you, the fashion world, doesn't seem to believe that little girls like her need sweaters, that your thin, sequin-encrusted, neon, color-blocked cardigans should suffice. What's a girl gotta do to get a little wool up in here? And please, don't even get me started on your leopard-print skinny jeans. Have YOU tried to climb a tree in pants that barely allow your legs to bend at the knee? Believe me when I say that not all of us parents out there want our little girls dressed like a Bratz doll. I might consider shopping in your brick-and-mortar stores, but since you're still in that "is she a five year-old or an inebriated ex-Disney star?" state of confusion, I'll be hanging out on the mostly-reliable Lands End website. You can take your cheap, crappy threads with their stupid sayings and overabundance of sparkle that you're trying to foist upon little girls who sparkle on their own just fine without your help, and shove it. I'm not buying.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monthly Thrift Finds

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Kelly

Hey guys,

I thought I'd share some of my recent thrift finds over the past month.  I love finding treasures and I especially love shopping that doesn't break the bank.  I can find something useful or meaningful that otherwise might have landed in a dump.  So really, I'm a master recycler.

This little sugar cup goes with my china and it was too "sweet" to pass up for $1.99.  It's small.



I'd been looking for a little plant stand for my front step and, as luck would have it, I found this.  I love this little stand because of the green patina on it.  Also, I loved the price tag.  It was $4.99.  Did I mention it's iron?



This little chotchke was $1.99.  I don't know what it is but I liked the height.  

gw find

I was sooo excited to find these prints.  They are original prints by a local artist.  The subjects, local barns, are right around the corner from my house.  One sits in front of the kids' school.  I can't wait to reframe them!  They were $2.99 a piece.



Keeping with the farm theme, here are my lovely cow bells. I can't tell you how excited I was to find these.  Dork!


This canvas was $1.99. For all I know, it was painted by an aspiring artist or sold to the masses at Target.  Either way, for two bucks, it's a fun pop of color. 
  Then, just when I was feeling totally proud of my thrifting expeditions, my son brought this home:

gw paper

AHHHH!  Busted.  Ok, so it's not for everyone.  In the meantime, find any good treasures lately?  I love to see what people find!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Finishing What I Started...

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Gosling

I have to confess something.  No, I'm not really a super model with 4' legs and a Brazilian tan!  Shocker! 

I never really finished the Guest Room Bathroom that I showed you a while back.  I only 99.9% finished it. 

Remember it?
This is what I had left to do and for some reason it has taken me over 2 YEARS to do it.  Something about 2 more kids and no AC played a part (insert exhausted humor followed by love & gratitude here). 

At the time, I was trying to avoid having a little piece of tile at the forefront of the bathroom threshold.  I kept thinking that it would be stepped on repeatedly and eventually come popping up.  But then someone pointed out that the first couple inches of tile ... don't actually get stepped on.  It's natural for an adult to step over the threshold, clearing the beginning tile and kids, well, they run everywhere and actually never touch the ground.  So I did some measuring and cut my tile to perform my post makeover bathroom surgery. 
I also bought a wood threshold, instead of marble, to finish the job.  Marble was more expensive and I was in a frugal kind of mood that day.  And really, the oak is fine.  Once it is poly'd up, it will match our hardwoods and I would rather spend the extra money on a Butterfinger.  True story.  I bought a Butterfinger leaving the home improvement store and ate it before leaving the parking lot.  DELISH! 

I started to "dremel" the grout out, but quickly realized that didn't agree with a sleeping child.  Now, I have to do it by hand.  Here is my dandy little "scrape anything away" tool.  As you can imagine - its going slowly.  
Qep Tile Tools 10015 Carbide Backerboard Scoring Knife

My plan of attack

1 - finish grinding out the old grout
2 - check the closet for more grout (I'm thinking good thoughts that we still have some)
3 - carefully pry up the old tiles
4 - scrape away the old thinset and reapply
5 - regrout/stain protectant

Stay tuned for part deux!

Keeping my nose to the "grind"stone

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  You're a tease.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reupholstering Isn't for Wimps

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Williams

Hey Girls,

On TV they make it look so easy...reupholstering.  Take it from me, I've lived it (as you're about to see), and it's no joke. My reupholstering adventure starts in the same way a lot of my adventures do...with my mom. She picked up a chair at a huge garage sale.  It was velvety.  It was $5.  It was already stripped down (nails and old fabric removed) when she gave up or at least gave it to me.  This is how it looked when it arrived at my house...

At first we discussed painting the legs, but since they were so simple, we decided keeping them natural wood would work better - we thought a color on them would cheapen them, you know?

Like I said, she had already removed thousands (that's what it feels like when you are pulling out nail after nail after nail after nail) of the nails that attached the old fabric.

I added some new batting on the seat.

Then, I started stapling the new fabric onto the frame. This is truly the last in-progress shot I have to share with you.  I know why, too.  It's because when you're stapling and adjusting and pulling fabric tight, and spending hour after hour (no joke) adding layers of fabric to a chair, you just don't think to pick up the camera, until...

It's finished.

Do you see the box pleat and the nail holding it into place at the bottom of the chair.  That was not intentional.  It was our only way to solve the excess fabric bubbling up at the bottom of the chair.  It works, particularly if you always put this chair up against a wall!

Check out the cording.

Some pretty upholstery nails.

Here's what I learned in this experience.  The chair may be cheap when you buy it, but you'll definitely pay later in time spent on the project.  I'm sure my mom and I could get better and faster and more skilled, but I'm not sure if we have the patience to even try.  For now, I'm just going to put this chair up against a wall and not let anyone ever sit in it!

See you later,

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  That's one hell of a before/after. I'm amazed. I want you and your mom to go on Flea Market Flip.  You'd rock it!  All the work was worth it.  Your chair is so sweet and mod.  Paging Lara...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Art On The Cheep

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Kelly

Hi Mrs. G. and Mrs. W.,

On a recent thrifting adventure, I spotted a cute bird print.  The frame looked rather dated and country-esque but I knew it had potential.  Also, the price was right.  It was 50% off of $2.99.  So I snatched up my little piece of art for $1.50.

Here's what she looked like when she came home:


I loved this sweet picture. It had FIVE chicadees and we're a family of five. Plus, it was a signed print by the artist (as in, it wasn't photocopied)!


That afternoon, I sanded the frame and taped the edges with painter's tape.


Then with some leftover black paint and a foam brush, I painted a few coats.


I didn't wait long after the last coat was applied to pull the tape. I let the paint dry over night and then with a razor, removed any black paint that had seeped. And voila... 


So much better!  Isn't it sweet? All for $1.50. Eventually, maybe I'll reframe/mat it, but for now, it works.

Check ya later Chickadees!

A note from Mrs. Williams:  Where did you hang your new "cheap"  art?

Note from Mrs.K.:  This will go with my seasonal collection.  As soon as the first snow falls (next week), I'll put it up!  :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Passing Notes Today:  Mrs. Gosling

Hi ladies!  It's that time of year again.  School!  Football!  Sweatshirt & jeans!  Pumpkin roll and now pumpkin muffins.

I have added another staple to the fall time grocery list of goodies (don't worry, I'm still baking 10 loaves of banana bread a week).  The kiddies are eating more than ever and wanting their home cooked snacks, in their lunch boxes.  For ease and a little sweet - I wanted to add an autumn appropriate muffin, that I can make, freeze and throw in a ziploc.  I made some pumpkin bread last week and so I had puréed pumpkin on hand.  I searched Pinterest for a new recipe and found this bloggers delight.  Perfect!  

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar or raw sugar (can be reduced)
  • 1 (16 oz.) can pureed pumpkin (or two cups cooked and pureed fresh pumpkin)
  • 1 1/2 cups oil (vegetable, Canola, or olive)
  • 3 cups flour (whole-wheat, white, or any combination of both)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until smooth. Add in dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 16-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
To freeze: Thoroughly cool muffins and stick in an airtight freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 weeks.
To thaw: Let muffins thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour. Or, defrost individually for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.
Makes 24-30 muffins.

And here is the sneak attack and VICTORY
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Happy Baking,

Note from Mrs. Kelly:  Is it weird to do a sneak attack that involves driving in a minivan?

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