Sunday, August 19, 2007

Trash to treasure

A while back, I posted about some ways to improve the look of found items. The top picture is of a pair of bookshelves that I bought at a garage sale for $2 each. If you click and enlarge the pictures, you can see where the edging had pulled off. There were also nail/screw holes in the top of one, bottom of the other where it seems the two had been joined to make a taller unit. The second picture is the same bookshelves after 3 coats of white paint. I had purchased the paint to use on the baseboards and door of the bathrooms but I needed the bookshelves sooner than I would be painting the bathrooms (It still hasn't happened.). I used about half a gallon for the two, so about $12 for the paint. I probably could have gotten away with 2 coats of paint but bugs kept landing on them and messing up the finish (and sometimes I can be a bit of a perfectionist and obsess if it doesn't look quite right). With cleaning, lightly sanding and painting, I maybe spent 1 -2 hours (with kid help) on the project. In return, I got two nice looking bookshelves that fit our growing library quite well and a couple of hours of sunshine and fresh air all for about $16. The cheapest I found new bookshelves for of similar dimensions was about $20 each, for a savings of $24 not including tax (and the environmental costs of buying new and the old ones going to the landfill).

The second picture is of the loveseat we got free from dh's aunt when she moved. We also got a matching sofa. The loveseat now has one of the bookshelves (filled with homeschooling and a revolving selection of public library books) and a floor lamp next to it to create a nice reading nook in front of the wood stove. The rug on the floor was a housewarming gift from a friend. The only costs for furnishing this space were the $8 for the shelf, $7 for the lamp and $2 for a garage sale purchased basket that holds the library books.

The sofa and other bookshelf are on the other side of the basement where we have the kids' computer, crafts stuff, board games and the tv. We also have an armchair that the previous owners left behind which I draped an unbleached canvas dropcloth over. It's not necessarily beautiful but it is durable and extremely practical with a houseful of active kids. To round out the room, we have a dresser to hold building blocks, "school" supplies and comfy fleece throws that we got free from dh's uncle (another landfill save), an inexpensive computer desk and chair from Ikea (I think they were $20 each), a tv cabinette that was on clearance from Ikea, an Ikea floor lamp that was $7, a throw rug that we brought from Iran and 3 big denim floor pillows that I picked up on sale for $5 each. So, for this room, not including the cost of the computer, we've spent less than $200 furnishing the room.

I know not everyone has options for freebies, especially for expensive items like sofas, but if you open yourself up to think creatively and not confine yourself to a specific time frame (i.e. instant gratification/"must have it now") you're likely to be pleased with what you can come up with.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Long time...

no blog.

I can't believe it's been more than a month since I last posted anything. Sorry about that.

Things have been ticking along here. I've been busy sewing the girls' swimsuits, hem stitching some cute flannel for receiving blankets and I'm about halfway through with a robe for the hospital. Next on the list is a few pairs for comfy pants for me as well as some for the girls and maybe a skirt or two.
The kids have started swim classes so we've been getting up and out bright and early this week. They would have started sooner but their suits challenged my sewing skills and patience. I'm not much of a seamstress so working with the swimsuit material taught me quite a few things. But, they're done and finishing them gave me the encouragement to start the robe. That's what the girls' are wearing in the above picture. Sorry the image isn't clearer. It seemed ok when I took it but they were so excited I guess they just didn't stand as still as I thought they had. I was not planning on making matching suits but they both choose the same fabric. The only differences between the two suits is that Z.'s skirt and pants are a bit shorter than S.'s.
Our baby boy is proving to be one big guy. I just had a dr.'s appointment on Mon. and measured nearly 2 1/2 weeks ahead. The dr. expressed a tiny bit of concern and suggested that if I measure big on my next appt. I'll have to go in for another ultrasound to check and see if he really is just big or if there's too much amniotic fluid. I checked on-line and found another possiblity is that he could also have just been in a breech position (which she didn't check for). My guess is that it's probably a combination of big baby and funny position-this boy moves ALOT. This morning he was way up high and just now I caught a side view of myself in the mirror and realized he's positioned himself right in the middle, making my stomach look rather odd at the moment.
Now that I have the camera and software up and running again, in the next few days, I'll try and post some more photos of things I've talked about in previous posts. For now, it's time for me to go fix lunch then get working on my robe again. Hopefully, I'll have it finished in the next few days and can post a pic. of the finished product.