Friday, February 26, 2010

Repurposing

image from here
For the last 2 months we've been working hard at decluttering. Having a third child has really been making us reevaluate our use of space and what we're storing. I had so many unfinished projects and I decided it was time to do something with them or get rid of them. I got rid of many boxes of craft materials but still had lot of fabric and old clothing I couldn't bear to part with.


I recently got the book Handmade Home of Soule Mama from the library. If you are at all crafty, read this book! I love the ideas in it and am going to do some of the projects in it along with some others I found on the web. I'll post what I finish. Hopefully that will further motivate me to stop setting these aside!!

Things I want to repurpose right now: flannel/cotton bathrobe, old towels, tee shirts, sweaters, mens dress shirts, big old jeans that are too big.

The flannel part of the robe is being used to make diaper inserts. I don't know what I'll do with the cotton part yet.

Ideas for the towels:
Bolster pillows - I thought this was a fun idea!
Bath rug - this is from Handmade Home and one of the things I decided to make.
Bath Mitt/dust rag - basically you make the towl into a mitten and go to town.
used for batting on potholders


Men's Dress Shirts
Make into a little girls dress
This one makes a dress and pants out of the sleeves
More sleevey pants and an overall neat website


Sweaters
check out resweater.blogspot.com for an entire blog of things to do with ald sweaters. Love this one!

I'm still working on ideas for tee shirts (my kid needs new pjs...) and the jeans. There's so many things I can do with them I don't know where to start! I'm leaning toward purse or skirt.

Is there something you've repurposed? What ideas do you have?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Built-in Closets"

I kind of really love IKEA. I'm sure I'll never buy fabric or a sofa from there, but when it comes to organization, they have some great ideas. So I try to pay attention to all their small space displays. While walking their showroom floor, I noticed several of the staged bedrooms have the IKEA closets on either side of the bed. I LOVE this idea and wanted to try it, but the doors are pretty expensive so I thought about using fabric. Wasn't too sure how that would look. But I knew someone had to have done it. And finally found someone. I love the internet!!!
Young House Love is usually the sort of blog to tick me off ("well of course you can do all of that, you don't have kids!!") but I have to let go of that and admit they have some great ideas I can use. Especially this post. I don't agree with the color scheme, but who wouldn't love this room?!
Here's the after of their room and what we are someday shooting for. But we have a ways to go. I never thought of using crown molding or a fake beam across it. I think it's a fantastic use of space and it's really helped us make our bedroom cuter and functional all at the same time. The best part? We bought these from the "as-is" section for $30 each! The boxes were dented, but the cabinets themselves were fine. That's $140 saved!

So here's how it's coming in our room. At least what you can see. Just goes to show how smll my room is when this is the biggest picture I could get! ;)
Not as cute, I know, because it isn't finished. I just can't find lights I like and a humongous picture to go over the bed. But we're focusing on closets, right? All we need is a little crown molding and some extra fabric behind the diaphanous curtains and we're set! I think? Any other ideas??

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why We Love Smaller Homes

During college, my husband and I moved quite a bit. I would get restless and it was so easy to rent and sell contracts that when we got bored, we'd simply move. Our favorite place we ever lived was a place we called "the mansion". It was an old 1800's place that was smaller than most new homes built today. But back then it was a mansion. We lived in a room on the second floor that was less than 200 sqft total. We had a 10x10 room, a small kitchenette, a small bathroom (no tub) and a closet. We LOVED it. It took a lot of creativity to make it work and no one ever wanted to visit us (not always a bad thing), but we were our happiest there. We lived in a lot of places since then, and have learned that smaller is usually better for us. Remodeling in cheaper, utilities are cheaper, and we don't have so much clutter in our lives. Our last home was an 800 sqft 2bedroom condo that would have been great if we hadn't really wanted our own land. By the way, it's amazing what you can grow inside with a good south facing window! In our search for a house we looked at homes ranging from 600 sq ft to 2000 sq ft. Sometimes I regret not getting the 2000 sqft home. But then I loook at our heating bill and the regret quickly vanishes. I have to be honest, it's not easy living in a smaller home. Especially when all your friends have dining rooms and play rooms and family rooms, etc. But this is what we chose and we're going to make it work.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cloth Diapering

I am completely new to cloth diapering. We used disposables on son #1 and for the first 22 months of daughter #1's life. She had spent the last 5 of those with a never ending diaper rash. It meant buying expensive cream and going through more diapers than usual so she wasn't sitting in pee. Finally I'd had enough. So I bought some prefolds off craigslist and some Thirsties covers and gave it a shot. She liked the cute covers but said they hurt. Plus her butt was about 3 times bigger than before. So when I found some g-diapers for 50% off I decided to give them a try. There was no way I was going to buy the expensive flushable inserts but I thought about giving the washable inserts a try.
I didn't need to. I found that by folding my prefold into thirds they fit perfectly in the g diapers. AND they were less bulky! AND since g-diapers velcro in the rear, she isn't constantly taking them off! I feel like I won the diaper lottery.
Almost. Poo is pretty easy with a toddler. Most of the time it just falls into the toilet and the diaper is barely dirty. Today we had some diarrhea and I had to scape and swish and I HATE that. I have read about using flushable liners and want to try them out. It's $9 for 100 at Walmart. But from what I hear, they're like dried up baby wipes so I'm thinking of leaving out some flushable wet wipes to dry and trying those. It'd be a LOT cheaper. I'll let you know how it goes.
The other problem we're having is night time. We simply haven't been able to use cloth at night. That's the other problem I need to work out. Microfiber is not comfortable next to skin, but I've heard hemp is pretty absorbent. If I can get my hands on some good material I'll try sewing some.
Despite those two challenges, overall I'm really finding I like cloth diapering. The extra laundry isn't a hassle for me and everytime I change her I think of how I just saved $.20 and smile a little. If cloth diapers can make me smile during a change, I'm all for it!

The Purpose of the Blog

I'm always on the web looking for ways to make my "small house" work for our family. What do other people do? Sometimes I find a gem from someone who is really making a small house work. But most of the time it's people without kids living in 200 sqft, or a family of 4 telling of the difficulties of making 2200 sqft just barely work. Most of the small space decorating ideas aren't very applicable to real life. Nothing I can relate to.
Since many of my friends and neighbors are in similar circumstances and are also looking for solutions, I thought I'd start my own blog about it. A place to share the joys and challenges of raising kids in less than 1000sqft. To get/share ideas for raising kids with a conservation attitude and an appreciation for what they have. Now I realize we are not nearly as cramped as other families. My neighbor lives in a home about 300 sqft bigger than mine and has 7 children. I have to remind myself of her every time I wonder if we can really have 3 (or more) kids with only one bathroom! Still, as our family grows we'll come across new problems and ways of solving them. I think the inernet can be a wonderful place for like-minded people to share ideas and experiences.

Muse

I just haven't felt like writing lately. So maybe I'll play catch up. I came up with a reward chart for myself, based on this entry from Bloom I found. It's always nice knowing you're not the only person who struggles with a certain problem. :) My chart isn't quite so cutesy, but I liked the idea behind it.

Also, here's a picture of my yummy white bread.



I found a fantastic tasting wheat bread recipe, but I don't like how it rises. Once I get that part figured out, I'll post the recipe.

What's been on my mind the most is my small home. We are doing o much to make it work and I want to share ideas. I am thinking of doing a blog just about that because "small house with kids" blogs seem so hard to find on the web! I suppose I could just write about it here, but I'm thinking that domain name just about that might be better. I'll probably blog more often there, at any rate.