Play Room Inspiration


Before becoming a Mom, I sometimes scoffed at people who created elaborate playroom for their children.  Make them go outside, I thought, or keep everything contained to the their bedroom, or don’t buy so many toys! Hahahahaha. Oh, you learn so much once you have a child.

Play rooms are great! Fantastic! Everybody should have one!  That being said, we’re currently working on turning the never-used family room into a full-blown playroom.  We have some bigger toys, like our IKEA slide, a play kitchen, and a train/activity table that just keeps getting moved around  because we can’t find the perfect spot for them.  I also want a place to do some more structured activities and crafts with Matthew, as well as have some crafting supplies that he can sit and do independently.

I’ve been pinning ideas for awhile, but here’s some of my favorites.

playroom inspiration

1.  Childhood 101 2. No original pin 3. Playful Learning 4. Pottery Barn 5. Apartment Therapy 6. No original pin

Check out much more inspiration on my playroom Pinterest board, and follow along while you’re there!

Things To Do:

  • Kid-friendly art above mantel (to cover TV mount & jack from the TV that went into the Man Cave)
  • Kid-friendly accessories for mantel and built-ins
  • Arts & crafts supplies storage
  • Off-season book storage
  • Art above play kitchen
  • Play kitchen storage for foods and utensils
  • Art table & chairs
  • Way to display Matty’s art
  • Reading nook
  • Place for big-ass slide
  • Still room for roaming/spinning/jumping/toddler shenanigans
  • Rug to cover bare floor
  • Refinish train table surface (we bought it used and it’s a little beat up/warped)
  • Touch up paint from previous art on walls and tv mount
  • Caulk trim and touch-up nail holes from when it was rehung
  • Curtains

We have a very small budget for this project–I’m thinking I’ll only need to buy a rug, curtains, and supplies to build a small table.  Hopefully we’ll stick to our budget this time.  We’ll see. 🙂

Any favorite play room inspiration pins?  Play room must-haves?

Sun Room Reveal

sun room

Done, done, done, done, done! After a little window cleaning and paint touch-ups, we finished up the sun room this weekend. Surprisingly, we got the entire thing done in about a month (including a whirlwind wedding weekend and Eric traveling a week for work). Ironically, it’s the first room in the entire house that’s 100% done.  You see where our priorities are. 🙂

As a reminder, here’s where we started. Giant spiderwebs, broken doors, disgusting carpet, mildew, broken window treatments, the works!


And here’s where we are today:

sun room decor renovation

sun room, decor

sun room, decor

sun room, decor, bar cart, cabinet sun room, cabinet, summer to do list, storage


 sun room

sun room table, decor

I love how much of this is DIY, like the table, cabinet, storage basketsflooring, and even the art.

I even updated a few things, like these lanterns…

and this vase.  It was just your basic glass vase, but I painted the inside with metallic gold spray paint.

It’s also functional for everyone in the family.  Eric and I have a nice lounging spot.  We can also entertain in the space and have a place to put drinks and snacks without grubby little fingers reaching it :).  Matthew even has his own little space.  We left the far corner empty-ish after seeing how much fun he had rolling balls, spinning in circles, and riding his car.  The ottoman is empty now, but I anticipate it holding more toys.  Under the table is a bin for balls and the most-played-with toys.  In the cabinet drawers are things like bubbles and extra chalk.

It wasn’t just cosmetic work that needed done.  We cleaned the gutters and fixed some flushing on the main roof that was directing water to the ceiling–creating a small drip inside.  I also think we went through 3-4 tubes of caulk.  On top of that, we had to thoroughly clean everything–the rail on the sliding door had at least 10 years of crud caked in it.

The best part about doing an outdoor space upgrade in July is that for the stores, Summer is already over, which means everything is heavily discounted.  We picked up 5 new throw pillows–all 50-75% off.  Even the patio plants were discounted as low as $1 at Lowes. We did splurge on the sectional, but it was totally worth it. 🙂

I have to admit, having this room done and accessorized just the way we want has taken it from “this is the house we live in” to “this is really starting to feel like our house.”

Scrap Wood Table

sun room table, diy coffee table

The sun room is coming along nicely, if I do say so myself!  The addition of our DIY coffee table really helped to finish things off.  When we decided to add a coffee table, we hit Pinterest (follow me for more sun room eye-candy!) to find some inspiration:

sun room table inspiration

1. Vintage Chic 2. No Link-through 3. No Link=through 4. Jenna Sue Design 5. No Link-through

We already had a crate-like thing going on, round wasn’t functional, and since Eric was building it, he got the final choice (5).  Though I have to admit, I’m totally digging 4.  The inspiration picture  used 2×4’s for the top, but we wanted something a bit wider, so we changed the plan.

We measured and made a plan for what we wanted to fit our exact space–my favorite thing to do when measuring for furniture or art is to put painters tape down in the dimensions you’re thinking to really help visualize.  We had to take into account what size lumber could fit into the car, and what would be most cost effective, for example, buying longer boards that can be cut down instead of multiple boards of the exact dimensions–a little more time, but usually cheaper.  We hit Menards (always a treat with a toddler in tow!) and went straight to the “value wood” pile.  Basically, this is a pile of scrap wood that may be a bit warped, have large knots, or leftover pieces from cuts made in the store–if you can work with this, you’re getting a little deal.

Were were able to find everything we needed with the exception of the 4×4:

  • (5) 4ft. 2×6’s
  • (2) 6ft. 2×4’s
  • (1) 6ft. 4×4

The total cost was around $35.

The dimensions of the table are 5 ft l x 2 ft. w, and 18″ h.

I asked the hubby to give some tips on how he put it together…

“A billion pocket holes, a measuring tape, and a trusty #2 pencil.”  Sorry folks, you’re on your own from here! 🙂 I will say he’s becoming quite addicted to the Kreg Jig, though.

I do know he assembled the top and bottom separately, as I stained them separately.  We used the same Rustoleum Kona stain we had on hand, using an apply-then-wipe strategy, then followed with 2 coats of polyurethane.  After that, we decided to jazz it up by adding some hardware on the ends.

sun room table, sunroom, diy coffee table

I bought some basic 1″ L brackets (or corner braces) at Lowe’s for about $2 each. Each bracket had a price sticker on it, so I used my lazy Go0-Gone method to get it off: spray a few squirts on a plate, put the object with goo on the plate to soak, come back later to easily wipe it off. (Don’t forget to wash it with soap and water.)

goo gone

Then I picked up this spray paint:

I must say, I’ve been doing a lot of spray painting lately, and I swear by Rustoleum.  Valspar seems to have a lot more colors, but it doesn’t go on as easily or hold up as well as Rustoleum. To paint the screws, I grabbed a leftover styrofoam take-out container and punched the screws through. Voila!

paint screws, spray paint screws

To keep the finish on the screws, Eric pre-drilled the holes into the table, then hand-screwed them in.

Then it was on to accessorizing! Most things we already had on hand. We love these Pottery Barn flameless candles since burning any type of candle can release carcinogens into the air.

pottery barn flameless candles

This serving tray was complements of a wedding gift 5 years ago, and I just Modge Podged it with some scrapbook paper.

I picked these succulents up at Lowe’s for just a couple dollars, and plopped into these metal buckets from the Target Dollar Spot that I bought to store Matty’s craft supplies.

sun room decor

P.S. I feel like a legitimate blogger now–I have a photo styled with Pellegrino bottles.  Seriously–find me a home decor blog that doesn’t use Pellegrino bottles in staging! 🙂

sun room, table, diy

sun room, table

Upcycled: Sun Room Cabinet

sun room cabinet

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Especially when said free stuff turns out to be a perfect fit, looks great, and functions well.  Case in point? The above cabinet.  That sucker started off like this: (okay, I can’t find the exact picture, but it was part of our kitchen cabinets that used to look like this)

When we moved in, one of the kitchen cabinets was in the garage.  Not sure why.  We tried to put it back where it went–didn’t fit.

WHAT THE WHAT?! We ended up buying a better fitting cabinet for the kitchen, and used the ill fitting cabinet in the garage for tool storage.

tool cabinet

When we recently redid the garage room for a man cave, this poor little working hard cabinet was left without a home, again. Eyeing the piece, I thought it looked about right for the sun room…it was about 11″ too short, didn’t have a top, and was a horrible orange-brown, but I figured that was nothing a little scrap wood and paint we already had on hand couldn’t fix.

After cleaning, using Liquid Deglosser, and painting, I enlisted Hubby’s help in building some open shelves to make up that 11″ gap. At some point I had to step in because things were getting over engineered and a bit crooked, but he gets credit for trying. 🙂 We had enough quarter round left to nail around the bottom to give it a finished look. For the top, we used…furring strips!  We have so many of these things.  I don’t even know why.

While Hubby built the cabinet shelves, I sanded and stained. We used Kona by Rust-Oleum, which we already had.
First we nailed down a scrap piece of beadboard as a base, then used wood glue to glue the stained furring strips down.  We used one on each edge to give it a nice finished look, and finished with two coats of polyurethane.

sun room cabinet

We actually got the whole thing done in an afternoon, so not too shabby for an almost free project.  The only thing we had to buy was the hardware, which I found these at Lowe’s for around $2 each.

It’s perfect as a drink and snack station, and the storage is amazing.  The bottom drawer holds most of Matty’s outdoor toys, and the other drawers hold random outdoor essentials like candles, bug repellent, and grill accessories.  The DIY basket crates hold a few more toys and gardening tools.

sun room cabinet

sun room cabinet

sun room cabinet

A Tisket A Tasket…

DIY Rustic Crate Baskets

…a rustic crate-like basket. Oh yeah, I busted that rhyme.

I was in search of a couple of baskets for a new cabinet we built for our recent sunroom makeover.  Problem is, the cabinet is custom built, so I was having a difficult time finding basket that fit the dimensions.  I knew I’d have to DIY something.  Not a problem, I thought–we’ve got tons of scrap wood and materials taking up floor space in the garage.  In fact, we had a bundle of furring strips that I knew would be perfect.  But problem.  I’m not skilled enough to actually build the frame (or at least a structurally-sound frame). As I was perusing Wal-Mart later that week, I saw these:

These little baskets, while neither rustic (or that appealing) or quite the right size, where in fact perfect…nothing a little hot glue couldn’t fix! So at $1.89 each, I was sold.

The baskets had connectors on all sides, so that the baskets could lock together.  I squirted some glue in the holes, essentially gluing two baskets together.  The connectors stuck out just a tad further than the rest of the basket, which means my furring strips wouldn’t fit snugly in some parts.  So first, I created a base layer of furring strips on each side.

DIY Rustic Basket

DIY Rustic Basket

Then, I glued the outer layer of furring strips to that base.

DIY Rustic Basket

The blue baskets were still visible at this point, so I used furring strips to cover the top ledge.  Then it was time for stain–I love Kona by Rust-Oleum.  It’s the perfect espresso color–a rich brown with no red undertones.

I knew I wanted to add some sort of “pop” on the front, and after scouring Pinterest for hours, decided a black stencil of some sort would be best.  However, I didn’t have a stencil or black paint.  I did have stamps and craft ink, though!

I wasn’t entirely sure if this would work, but decided why not?  It didn’t go on completely smooth, which was actually great because it looks worn without have to sand or mar it in any way.

DIY Rustic Baskets

There’s no significance to the numbers, though Hubby doesn’t believe me.  He thinks it’s the phone number for my hot Latin lover or the combination to some top-secret safe with dead bodies or loads of money.  He clearly thinks highly of me.

They turned out perfect, and will work great in our sun room for outdoor candles, bug repellent, and other outdoor odds and ends.

The Outdoor House

Not to be confused with the outhouse. Obviously.  Oh, that’s right baby. It’s done.  Just in time for Summer. It only took 3 months, but the outdoor play space is done, well, at least for now 🙂 Construction was halted due to unusual amounts of rain and an infestation, but we’ve got that under control now.

poison ivy

That pine tree really needs to come down and some more grass really needs to come in, but in the meantime, I decided to limb it up to free up some more yard space.  The great thing is that now Matty has a space that is pretty shady, so we can stay outside all day, even in 90 degree weather.

I can’t find a picture of how much space the tree limbs took up, but you can see where the grass ends in the picture above.  That’s where the limbs came out to.SO MUCH MORE SPACE!  Limbing it up did cause some privacy issues, but we’re working on it…think The Great Fence In Part IV…

The House

wood playhouse kidkraft

We considered building a play house from scratch, but we honestly couldn’t figure out how to do the roof. So we considered following Ana White’s plans, but once we factored in lumber costs with overall time (and number of other projects we’re doing), it made sense to just buy one.  I’ve had my eye on a Kid Kraft playhouse for awhile, and when I found this one with free 2 day Prime shipping on Amazon, I was sold.  This house had a red roof, which wasn’t our thing, so before assembling, we used Rustoleum spray paint for plastic to make it a more neutral brown.

Eric built the porch for the house, and it was his own design. We used two leftover 4×4’s from when we disassembled the fence planter that was here when we moved in.  We also had the 1×2’s for the little fence railing leftover from our own fence project, so that worked out great. The rest of the lumber we bought–which was then hauled in a Buick Rendezvous.  For anyone considering it, 8ft. is the longest you can get, and that’s if you put it up to the dashboard through the center console. 🙂  I found stain and sealer in one at Menards that matched the color of the house almost perfectly.

playhouse work

The steps were built from bricks that were here when we moved in.  And the little pathway was made from leftover rocks, much, and flowers. Matty loves watering them each day.


Last year, we built Matty these toddler busy boards, or activity boards, but he’s outgrown a few of the activities…

toddler activity boards

So we added them to the house.

playhouse activities

playhouse activities

playhouse activities

So I stained a few squares of leftover wood, attached some of his favorite little doodads, then used industrial strength velcro to attach them to the house walls. I didn’t want to drill into the house, and this should come off with a little bit of Goo Gone should we decide to add different activities.

I also found these chalkboards at a garage sale for $.25, so I added a bucket of chalk to round out the fun.

playhouse activities

Of course, his little chair is the star of the show.  He picked it out (and carried it himself). 🙂

The Rock Box

rock box

I love, love, love the idea of a rock box for numerous reasons.

1. A lot less messy than sand.
2. Most play sand is very harmful to your health.
3.  Cats won’t use it as a litter box. And we have enough of those around the neighborhood…
4. What kid doesn’t love rocks?!

We were actually able to use the ends of the 4×4’s from our fence posts (they were too tall, so we lopped them off) at the top.  Then we hauled some more lumber home and put this together really quickly.

rock box

I think it ended up being 5′ x 5′ which is a perfect size for him (and another kid could easily play).

Plastic lining went down first just ensure he didn’t start digging up a bunch of mud and dirt.  We did rinse the rocks before putting them in (a very arduous process, let me tell ya), and we ended up using about 12 bags.  The price was only about $3/bag, so it wasn’t too bad.

Natural Elements

logs in playspace

Have you jumped on the natural playspace bandwagon? Love it!  I knew I wanted to incorporate as many natural elements as possible, and I’ve been looking for logs for months.  We finally found some this past week, and was able to call this space complete. And yes, we hauled them in a Buick Rendezvous.  I don’t think we ever got up to speed on the highway. 🙂 Poor transmission.

I also put pots with our painted rocks, some pinecones, and sticks for open-ended play.

rocks rock painting loose parts

loose parts outdoor play space


swingset for toddler

We bought this last year thinking it would last awhile.  Pretty sure he’s about outgrown the slide already.  I did add these rings and bars to add a new element of fun, but Eric’s itching to build him a rock climbing wall extravaganza of a playset, so we’ll see where we end up…I’d love something that blends in a little more naturally, but that is definitely a project for next year!  The swingset used to be on the other side, but Matty kept complaining that the slide was hot, so I moved it under the tree and it was a perfect fit.

Overall, we love it. And by “we”, I mean all. of. us. Including the neighbor’s kids who invite themselves over–usually when they see us eating popsicles. 🙂  Now that the yard is fenced in, I’m able to let Matty roam while I work around the yard or in the kitchen (it overlooks the yard) or even *gasp* sit in the sunroom and read a magazine.  Yes, it keeps him entertained that long.

Man Cave: Ultimate Father’s Day Gift

That’s right.  Eric got a man cave for Father’s Day this year.  When we were deciding whether or not to buy a house 18 months ago, Eric’s one stipulation was that he was allowed to buy a Playseat with steering wheel for video games and that he have a place to put it.  Well, we bought the playseat.  Heck, we even bought a 46″ TV to go with it.  But unfortunately, we never found the right place to put the seat. After it being shoved behind Matthew’s playhouse for the past 6 months, I finally decided to do something about it.

We have this little room off of the garage.  Eric always called it his “man room”, but instead of using it, he shoved a bunch of half-empty paint cans, old tools, and leftover renovation materials in it.  So I decided it needed to be a “real” man room.  We spent 2 days cleaning it out. My only stipulation for this project was that I spend no money.  We have tons of other stuff that has to get done, and this is definitely not a necessity.  Plus, we have plenty of paint, materials, and decor items from previous projects just lying around.

This is what I started with:

Let’s take a look now, shall we?!

The door to the room started tan and grimy.  I primed and painted a bright white, but it seemed too glaring, so I added a bit of pop with some wooden numbers spray-painted oil rubbed bronze. Now Eric has no excuse to forget my or Matthew’s birthday!

The ceiling got a fresh coat of white.  The walls got the last of some Rockport Grey that we used in the living room.  We realized this space would also be perfect for when Eric works from home or needs to take a call without hiding in the closet to get away from Matty, so we hung his insanely huge white board so he has a place to track stocks, make notes while taking conference calls, and scribble video  game notes.

We recently bought this shelf at IKEA for Matty’s outdoor toys, but it didn’t quite work out.  I was happy to find it a new home here.  Eventually, we’ll need to get him a more comfy chair, but this works for now.

Eric has been to a lot of races, so I took some of his old tickets and put them in a frame we already had. Perfecto!

The red cabinet is one of my favorite things in here.  We inherited it with the house, but it was grimy and green.  I did invest $12 for a few cans of spray paint, but it was worth it.  Eric had to step in to run coax and some electrical, but he very happily obliged.  And before you worry that he’ll freeze or burn up, he’s got a portable air conditioner and space heater, and things are very cool in there now.

Have you ever painted brick? It’s so fun! (Sarcasm font, please!).  And this seat? No, you wouldn’t be able to find a place for it in your house either. 🙂

This IS my favorite thing in the room.  I took a program from the F1 race Eric went to in 2001, and pulled out 2 pages to frame.  I used a textured cardstock as a mat, and it really makes a huge difference.

We still have plans for a new light fixture and a rug.  We may also redo the entire garage floor, but um yeah…that’s going to be a while.  In the meantime, Eric’s definitely enjoying his new space!

And just because:

man caveAnd just to wrap up our Father’s Day fun:

We had a nice visit with family (3 generations of great men, here)

Due to said family trips, Matty was all tired out, so he slept in until 9! We let Eric sleep until 10:30 while we ran out for donuts and breakfast.

Oh yes, I will reward him with stacks of donuts for a good night’s sleep! I will make it rain donuts for a solid 8 hours of slumber. Jk (kind of).  To his credit, he did eat one sprinkle, and then ate all of his breakfast.  It took him all day to eat half of the donut–he would take a tiny, tiny bite, then place it down just so, then run around yelling “donut”.  Crazy kid.  And yes, he’s wearing Eric’s earplug.

We got Eric some cookies and a bottle of wine for the man cave, and Matthew made him a footprint picture and an “All About Daddy
questionnaire–a tradition we started last year.

This has got to be Eric’s best Father’s Day ever! Ok, ok, he’s only got one to compare to, but still.

Our HGTV Photoshoot!

Hi, Everybody, (Especially Grandpa)!

I’m so excited to finally be able to share some exciting news (Nope, still not a baby brother or sister).  I recently had the pleasure of playing host to the wonderful folks at HGTV when they came to shoot my humble abode for their newest publication, Toddler Geniuses Build Good Stuff. Let me share the article, you know, in case you’re not able to pick up a copy in your area.

cardboard playhouse

Construction on this one room studio home began in February 2013.  Using only upcycled materials and items found around his Mom’s house, construction was completed during the course of one afternoon, with decorating being an ongoing occurrence.  The walls are cardboard, made from reconfiguring a range and a washer box acquired from the owner’s former babysitter, now a Menard’s super-employee. “Mr. James really thought ahead.  He even saved the inner packaging as brace supports for the house.  He’s good at engineering and changing diapers.  It’s really a rarity in men these days.”

The roof is braced out with cardboard, from one of hundreds upon hundreds of packages the UPS man delivers to the owner’s Mom and Dad. “I had to find some way to use all these boxes.  I mean, one can only make so many play barns and toy boxes.”  To top it off, a brown sheet was draped casually over the braces, lending to the air of casual chic.

cardboard playhouse

To add a pop of color, the door was painted Flag Red by Walmart Craft Aisle Paint. “It really is an affordable, easy option for everyone.” As a finishing touch, the doorknob, in Duct Tape Black, was hot-glued on for extra stability from grabby toddler hands.

The owner added a flower garden.  Drilled holes act as a wonderful playtime opportunity for planting flowers.  The felt-board provides a home for bugs, a must-have staple for every little boy’s dream home.  “Me and Kitty have lots of fun playing flowers.  She jumps through the window, then I poke a flower, then she attacks the flower, then I poke another flower, then she attacks the flower, then I poke another flower, then she attacks the flower, then I poke another flower, and OH MY GOD IT’S SO FUN!”

To finish up construction on the the outside, the owner installed a mailbox using his Mom’s scrapbooking stash and his own array of magnetic letters hot-glued on.  “My mom and dad spend so much time here, they even had their mail forwarded.”

On the inside, a former crib mattress acts as a reading nook.  “I never used that damn thing for sleeping on, and since it was a bazillion dollar organic mattress, with organic mattress protector, and organic sheets, I figured I was obliged to use it somewhere.” A raid on his Mom’s pillow stash added a few pops of color and texture to an otherwise drab background.  A nearby basket of independent level books provides an easy quiet-time activity.

When the owner wants to tap into his creative side (either clothed or naked), he takes step over to his drawing pad.  A cut-in-half toilet paper tube, reinforced on the bottom with paper, provides a house for his rainbow of crayons.  “My mom has her faults, but she does allow 24-7 access to crayons, so that’s pretty cool.”

On dreary days, a bit of light is needed for optimal fun, so the owner installed Sparkles, by “Christmas” bin in the garage.  “I don’t think Daddy will miss them much when he goes to put up the Christmas lights next year.” 

As a finishing touch, a doghouse was constructed for the owner’s dog, Pudding.  “I recently visited my aunt, where there was a dog named Cookie.  Since then, I’m convinced every dog should be named after a decadent dessert.”

In the upcoming year, the owner has plans to add a 3-4 car garage. “Well, I have a racecar, and a pushcar, plus I need an area for my workbench, and a mancave would be nice.  You never know when I’ll want to have the guys over to eat wings and watch rugby without my mom nagging me every 15 minutes for a potty break.”  Other planned renovations include fresh exterior paint (in hindsight, the owner would have turned the boxes inside out before construction…), as well as some storage options (there’s no place to hide cookies).  And a table.  “Sometimes I take my snack tray in to read a book, and I have to makeshift my own table from a common cardboard box. Wait…”

This toddler was a delight to work with, and is the most creative and insightful individual I’ve ever encountered.  His eye for detail leaves me breathless.

Okay, I might have added that last part.  But I’m really happy with the way the house turned out.  In fact, I’m starting construction on my outdoor Summer home as we speak…stay tuned!

Pssst…I’m linked up over at My Healthy Happy Home for Toddler Tuesday.  Check it out!

Buckle It Up: Toddler Buckle Toy

Oh yes. We’re in the that phase.  The “me do” stage.  The “I can buckle my carseat by myself, MOM!” stage.  Since this is a skill he obviously wants to practice, I went on the hunt for some sort of buckle toy.  The best I could come up with was this:

Buster Buckle Toy

Don’t get me wrong, this is cute and pretty close to perfect, but at $25 + $5 shipping, it might be one of the most expensive toys we own (seriously).  I thought I could probably make my own for much, much cheaper. And I did!

diy toddler buckle toy

My sewing skills are very subpar.  But this was relatively easy and quick.  I used the basic “pillow sham” theory–sewing two pieces of fabric together inside out, then turning it right side out, stuffing it with some batting, and sewing the top.  However, before sewing the sides, you’ll want to pin your ribbons for the buckles.

The longest part of the ribbon (the part the buckle will be attached to) gets pinned to the inside, so when it gets turned right side out they’re on the right side.  Make sense? OMG, it took me a good 5 minutes staring at it to get this right.  It probably didn’t help that my ribbons were patterned, so I had to get the right side of the ribbon right side up. ::sigh::  I need a sewing class.

Attaching the buckles were easy, even if my sewing lines were not so hot…I used a combination of 1″ buckles and 1/2″ buckles.  I wanted to use colorful buckles, but I couldn’t find any bigger than this.  This actually was a happy surprise, because Wee One loves those the most–huzzah for super-fine motor skill development!

Drumroll, please…total price: $3.50

Granted, I already had the fabric, batting, thread, and ribbon. I estimate a yard of fabric, a couple spools of ribbon, and some batting (or use an old throw pillow?) shouldn’t run more than $7-$8 dollars if you use $.99 fabric quarters from Jo Anns (or Walmart).

I also had to buy the buckles in bulk, so the upfront cost was a bit more, but I actually made a few extras that I plan on trying to sell at our upcoming community garage sale.

And of course, it’s a hit.  My original plan was to keep it in the car to keep Wee One occupied during numerous drives back and forth to Lowes (hello, landscaping weather!), but as you can see, it has made its way into the house.

As he masters the buckles, I have plans to add a few more doo-dads–clips, carbiners, and rings–for even more fun!


  • Ever see a toy and think, “I could make that!”.
  • Anybody have a love-hate relationship with the sewing machine like I do? Grrrr…

Pinterest Challenge Winter Edition

Whoo whoo. It’s that time again.  Time to stop pinning and start doing!

This couldn’t have come at a better time, since I was just getting ready to start a project.  (It couldn’t have come at a worse time either because the wee one is sick, sick, sick.)

Wee One needs a place to nap on Wednesdays when he goes to the babysitter’s house.  The first week he apparently slept in the pack-n-play like a champ (I didn’t have high hopes of that lasting long). And it didn’t.  Last week he apparently took a blanket and pillow and curled up in the corner. Poor kid. Haha.  So I decided to make him a napmat to take along.


(Hubby took these pics for me…don’t you love the staged blanket?  He’s a keeper I tell ya!)

I found “pinspiration” here, here, here, and here.


I really like the first one, since we actually had a king size comforter without a use, so I just made a quick trip to Jo Ann Fabrics. #horriblefabricselection

All that’s needed for this project is fabric, thread, and some sort of filler–unused comforter or blankets or even regular cotton fill.  I thought about doing it no-sew, but I was afraid of how it would hold up to washing.  I think it would work out, though.

As for the fabric, I bought 2.5 yards off a standard bolt, then just folded it in half.  Exact measuring there, I know.  Ironically enough, that seems to be the perfect fit for a king comforter folded into fourths if you fold the edges of the comforter over a bit.  This is nice because it adds a bit of a roll barrier to the edge, making it nice and cozy.

I also hoped to add a pillow, but the hubs broke the needle on my sewing machine.  How, you ask? Because he had to take over the project halfway through while I nursed a sick toddler on the couch for three days (and counting).  And both of us are too lazy/busy/tired to figure out how to fix it.

(He’s now the beauty AND the brains of this relationship…)

I made three changes from the original tutorial:

1. Add a button closure to the top for easy washing instead of stitching it closed.  Took quite a bit longer, but still a naptime project (if you have a kid that naps well), or a 2 nap project if you have a kid like mine. 🙂

2. Don’t cut the comforter into 4 parts, just fold it.  Then it’s still washable.

3. Only 1 set of straps to tie it together.  Definitely still sturdy and manageable.

We’ll see how it goes today, but he’s been enjoying it for a couple of days now. Well, as much as one can enjoy something while sick. 🙁

The blanket was a perfect snuggle partner in the “sicky chair”.

Looking for more pinspiration?  Check out the other Challenge projects link-ups:

Megan @ The Remodeled Life

Katie @ Bower Power

Sherry @ Young House Love

Michelle @ Decor and the Dog