July 17, 2013

Turning Bar Stools into Cute Kid-Sized Stools

Bar stool image found here

After searching for a while for some cute/cheap child-sized chairs without much luck, I decided to try my own thing. I saw these old ugly bar stools for sale locally for $5 each, so I snatched up two of them, even though they were mismatched and wobbly.

 I bought the two in back. (Seller's ad picture)
First, I took some wood glue and put it under the legs that were wobbly and tightened the screws. Then I borrowed a jigsaw from my neighbor (also my super cool and talented blogger friend Mable). I was too excited to get to work that I forgot to take my own pictures before slicing off the legs with a jigsaw, so here they are after that happened:

After cutting off the legs, I sanded them well to make the new shorter legs level and to take off any splinters. Then I primed with Zinsser and painted them with my black Rustoleum enamel left over from this project. I didn't even bother to paint the tops since they'd be covered.

Next, I cut two circles out of foam and glued them to the tops of the stools. As you can see, the edge of the foam is jagged, but it doesn't really matter.

Batting went over the padding next and was stapled underneath.

I used this black and white spotted fabric (only 2 yards left from fabric.com, FYI). I only spent $3 for half a yard. I really like the cotton velvet texture. It kind of feels like a soft fur. I folded it under before stapling so it wouldn't shed or fray. Yes, the staples show if you look under the stool, but they're so low to the ground that it doesn't bother me.

When upholstering something round, you have to make a lot of pleats for the fabric to curve around. You can see them here from the top view. As long as they're spaced in regular intervals, they look fine and intentional.

I bought some $10 Ikea Lack tables to go on each side of the sofa in our office/music room and the stools fit perfectly there.

It makes a nice art table on one side . . .

I had to include this one just for Maren's cute bedhead.
. . . and a computer table on the other side. This iMac is now about seven years old, which is about 90 in computer years, so it's become a good one for the kids to learn on.

This room is kind of the man-cave in the house. There's much less color in here than the rest, but I still have plans to make it cooler (but only in ways Jared approves of, since this room is his domain).

It would look much better if we actually had three instruments hanging up, but it's just the bass at the moment.

And here they are in Ivy's closet, just for fun.

Well, there you go! Super easy and cheap.

Stools: $5 each
Fabric: $3 for half a yard (each stool used about a quarter)
Paint: (I used hardly any so I don't know the exact cost)
Foam and batting: (once again, hardly any)

I'll assume they were about $8 each. The kids love them!

July 1, 2013

Dress-Up Closet (Or How I've Decided to Accept the Princess Phase)

Like most mothers, I want my daughters to be unique, to defy stereotypes, to be happy with their individual interests. I wanted to be like this mom who showed her daughter real life role models. I wanted Ivy to continue loving innocent non-handsome creatures, like Yoda and Count von Count. This dream of mine seemed to work nicely for the first couple of years, but recently, Ivy has been bitten by the princess bug.

I know it's not a big deal, I know, really. But I have to admit, I hoped we could skip over this interest, that maybe she'd never notice all the over-hyped, over-saturated , over-marketed Disney princess world.  Well . . . she noticed. Suddenly, she's Belle 24/7, Jared's the Beast, Maren is Chip, and me--well--I'm Mrs. Potts (seriously, Mrs. Potts! Why can't I be the sexy French feather duster?). She wants to wear a princess gown more often than not. Bedtime stories must always involve a prince and a princess. I can't kiss my husband in front of Ivy because "he's the prince!" and I'm demoted to the role of a servant instead of a mother. Actually. . . I guess that part's the same.

Of course, once your child has a passion, you can't ignore it. Because it's better to be passionate about something than nothing. I tell myself that all the time when I get carried away with seemingly silly interests. So, when your child gets so excited over something she loves that much, you've just got to go with it, right? I'm sure all the wiser mothers already know this, but I'm the slow type.

However, I still am claiming the right to embrace the princess passion in my own way.

Before Ivy's birthday, I went to D.I. (our local consignment store) and picked up three cheap fancy dresses for about $5 each (NOT the $50 Disney brand ones). I got some princess accessories from Amazon. Then I saw these Princess decals. They certainly didn't fit into the look I'm going for my girls' room, but I knew Ivy would love them.

So, I decided to turn her closet into a princess dressing room. That way, it's all there for her enjoyment, but we can hide it away for my enjoyment. I didn't want to get carried away and spend money on the closet, so I decided to only work with what I already had (which is very limited because I don't keep much extra stuff around). 

I took all the scrap wood I had . . .

. . .  and put it together (very imperfectly) and painted it to make a little shoe shelf.

I put some mirrors on the wall and hung a curtain.

I had a piece of leftover moulding from when I hacked our Ikea bookcase that was just the right size for the wall of the closet. I glued wooden knobs to it that I also already had and painted it the same color as the wall. I knew that if I made it too complicated, Ivy would never hang up her clothes, so the pegs are super easy for her to reach and use.

I also made a couple of child-sized stools from wooden barstools, but I'll do a separate post on them. Grandma was a sweetheart and got Ivy an Ariel dress with shoes and a Rapunzel hairpiece. Ivy got to help place the wall decals and she was very proud of her work.

Ivy told me she wished she had a treasure chest, so I used this mini wooden box that my brother brought home from Chile 15 years ago as a jewelry box.

The gift was well-received, inexpensive, but time consuming and of course, princess-y. It only left me the time and energy to give Ivy a simple party with cake and ice cream and a trip to the farm with Grandma and Grandpa. But she loved it all and was ridiculously excited. So, I've decided that as long as my child's grateful, sweet, and not a spoiled brat, I guess I'm okay with her being a princess. *crossing my fingers*
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