Tons of Fun

Pinterest Challenge Post-It

We completed our first DIY project in our new house, proving that even the unartistically inclined can create something pretty sweet. Since our babies didn’t have their own room in our old house, we decided to start our home improvements with making their nursery a priority. We broke the project into multiple steps over several days. It was a ton of work, but it didn’t feel like it because it was a ton of fun.

I searched Pinterest for inspiration, but in the end we designed this one ourselves. Since we didn’t copy another pin and had no instructions to follow, it counts as 3 points on the challenge.  (For more information, click here.) Here I will share the steps we took so that you can personalize and adapt your own dressers for any room in your house!

We started off with an old dresser that we received from somebody for FREE! It was in decent condition, but as you can see, it needed some work.

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Step 1: Remove the dresser handles. IMG_0593

Step 2: Clean it! We scrubbed and wiped down every nook and cranny to ensure a clean slate both literally and figuratively.

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Step 3: Paint the entire dresser one color. We chose a very light gray- it looks more white, but we decided we were okay with that. We used a rolling brush on the large flat surfaces and a regular rectangular paintbrush to get inside the divots, sides, and harder to reach areas. IMG_0599

Step 4: Paint all of the handles to match. You can skip this step if you plan to replace the handles with new ones (hardware store, Amazon, etc.) IMG_0855

 

Step 5: As everything dried over night, we focused on our design. This is a multi-step process:

  1. Choose an image. We used Google Images to find one that we liked.
  2. Download the image to your computer.
  3. Open a new canvas in photo shop. We made ours 20 x 20.
  4. Create a “new layer” in Photoshop and paste the image. Your image will appear very small. Transform/cut/adjust the image to fill the entire canvas.
  5. Save your new image as a pdf.
  6. Open your pdf. in Adobe reader.
  7. Click on File, Print, and select “poster size”. This will print the image over multiple pages out of your printer.
  8. Cut out the individual pieces and tape them together to create a large 20 x 20 image.
  9. Tape this large image to the dresser and use it as a stencil to trace your image.

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Step 6: Reattach the handles.

Step 7: Paint the images. We chose to do pink and blue for our girl/boy twins’ nursery. Be sure to paint the handles as they fit into the image. As you can see, some of our handles are half white, half pink. Do two coats.

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Step 8: Add the details. Since this design was very basic, all we added was an eye. Our giraffe (coming soon) is more in-depth.

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Step 9: Line the drawers. I bought sticky shelf liner on Amazon. It proved much harder to get it to stay flat than I imagined! IMG_0903

Step 10: The piece de’ resistance if you have young children- INSTALL DRAWER LOCKS so the kids stop pulling all of their finally organized clothes out of the drawer!

BONUS: This dresser also doubles as a great changing station for the babies. Attach a changing pad, organize a basket with diapering supplies and you are good to go!

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Stay tuned for the rest of our twins’ nursery DIY projects!

 

Put Your Heart Into It

This Valentine’s Day, save your money, spare your waistline and give a truly priceless gift- the gift of love and memories for the entire family. (Note, this works just as well whether you are single and dating or have a huge family). This idea is so simple, that even the artistically challenged like myself can quickly and easily execute it. What it lacks in difficulty it makes up for in its substantial benefits.

I plan to start this on February 1st, so that everyone will get a warm fuzzy each day leading up to Valentine’s Day. If this seems too daunting, you could always shorten the time frame to one week or even just a few days.

“Everybody likes a compliment.”   -Abraham Lincoln

1) Cut out 14 hearts for each family member. If you don’t remember how to cut out a symmetrical heart, channel your inner grade school self and take a trip down memory lane:

Valentine Blog Post

2) Write the person’s name on the bottom corner or back. You can assign a color to each family member or do it at random. I chose to color-code so it will be easier for the kids to hone in on their own hearts on the wall.

3) Put the hearts into a bin.      IMG_0824

4) Each day, have each person close their eyes and pull out a heart. (We plan to draw in the morning to give us the day to think about it and work on it as time permits.)

5) Write something on the heart that you love about that person. Try to be specific. Instead of “you are a great father”, say “when J needs help you patiently give him your undivided attention.” Obviously you will have to help younger children write, but let them provide the ideas. For the non-talkers, put yourself in their shoes and think about what they would say. (Daddy, I love when you hold me high in the air and make me feel so special. Sister, I love when we play blocks together. Brother, I love that sometimes you hug me in the middle of playing. )

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” ~Mark Twain

4) Display it. I plan to post them after the kids go to sleep so they can wake up to see their new heart each morning. I chose to display it on a wall by the kitchen table where everyone is sure to see it at least three times per day. It doubles as an adorable seasonal decoration!

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Many simply do the project and stop at that. Have you ever considered what really goes into these seemingly basic ideas? This simple project benefits each person in so many ways. Not only do the warm fuzzies boost our egos and strengthen our love, but they also provide myriad other benefits. Here is a sampling:

Children:

Children thrive on positive reinforcement. They beam with pride upon receiving a compliment and it motivates them to keep doing those great things. Each day they will wake up in eager anticipation to see what compliment their new heart holds. Making the hearts for family members teaches them selflessness and thoughtfulness while further developing their writing, drawing, literacy, creativity, language development, and fine motor skills. The notes from siblings will validate them as big(little) brother(sister).
Today I asked my 4-year-old what he loved most about his little brother. As he pondered it, a slow smile crossed his face, and he emphatically drawled out, “everything!” <3

Babies:

Okay, I’m a realist, they will have no clue what is going on and will most likely try to eat it. But I promise, this WILL benefit them too. It will serve as a great memory source providing a glimpse back to what they were like at this moment in time. This is a great way to record the minutiae that may not get recorded in a journal or baby book. Instead of writing “you are sweet” to my baby girl, I am going to write “I love that you say ‘tank oooo’ when you hand us something”. When I look back years later, I will vividly remember her waddling up to us with a toy, handing it to us and saying “thank you”. It is also an opportunity for their older siblings to really look at them as people on the inside rather than just playmates. If they are able, let them hold a crayon and scribble on their heart to work on their grip, fine motor skills, focus, hand-eye coordination, and self-expression. Remember, they are little sponges at this age. They are just taking it all in, so continue to set good examples!

Adults:

Let’s face it, being parents is a pretty thankless job sometimes. And when you are caught up in the daily insanity of raising young children, the compliments don’t always roll off the tongue. (Can I get a ‘holla’ from anyone who has ever said “mmm, this dinner is good, isn’t it?” or “Did you see that I cleaned the house today?”) The sad truth for adults is that if you don’t ask for it, you don’t always get it. But a compliment is a compliment, so fish away! This will be a great way to show each other that we DO notice the little things and that we appreciate those just as much as the big ones. It will be insightful to hear how the kids see us and a great opportunity to share the unseen with one another (like how happy C looks when he is atop Daddy’s shoulders.) Perhaps this little project will rekindle something between us, as compliments and acknowledgements are something we desperately need to work on. Just the other day we were discussing how authentic our four-year-old’s compliments are (“Wow, you look AMAZING”) and how forced ours often seem. It will make us slow down and reflect on all of our blessings. It will warm our hearts to see the appreciation on our children’s faces. It will provide a creative outlet.

If done well, this project will capture a moment in time. It will provide memories that can’t be seen in a picture. I never want to forget that Tink makes a purring gurgling noise when we rock in the glider, that Cubbie stops whatever he is doing to run up to us with a huge hug and smile when we enter the room, or that Jake’s quick-witted comments crack us up daily.

When you finish them, and are ready to take down your Valentine decorations, remove them from the wall, and make them into a keepsake book.

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I feel like it is Christmas Eve. I am so excited to hear what they say about each other. I can hardly wait to get started on this tomorrow morning!

Seems much better than over-priced roses and chocolates, doesn’t it?