Monday, May 5, 2014

More Chalk Paint. And the Cutest Footstool Ever

I'm on a little bloggy roll!  I probably shouldn't jinx myself.  

I continued my craft-a-palooza this weekend, and loved it.

We started our morning on Saturday going to a couple of yard sales (pretty much a bust) and getting some ice cream.

After this boy played baseball, my mother-in-law and I went to pick Henry up from my parents' house, where he had spent the night.

We ran into Goodwill on our way home, because I was looking for a little footstool for the playhouse.  My friend Stephanie has an amazing ottoman at her house.  It's one that her mom recovered, and it's covered with patchworky goodness.  I.love.it.  That was my inspiration for the playhouse footstool/little seat.  I didn't really think I'd find anything at GW, because I normally can't go with something specific in mind.

My MIL found this stool.  AHHHH!!!  Perfection!  *I realize most people won't look at this and think "perfection".*  It was five dollars and the absolute ideal size.  It was also begging for a makeover. And yes, I realize how creepy Jack looks in this picture.

It has a lovely red velvet lining.  Hideous, but the kids think it's hilarious.  And the lining is in fine condition, so I left it.  There was a receipt inside from Wal Mart in 1997.

I pulled off the trim and the 1,000 tacks that they used to hold it on, then pulled off the disgusting cover.  All I could think was that some old woman used to prop her gross feet up on it to clip her toenails....

I used four fabrics and cut 4"x4" squares, then just sewed them all together, making sure I didn't have any of the same squares touching each other.  I lined it up on top and stapled away.  I had some jumbo red rick rack trim, so put that where the previous trim (which essentially disintegrated in my hands as I was removing it) was.

It is so cute with its little makeover, and I can't wait to see it in the playhouse.  Though I like it in the hallway, and may need to be on the lookout for another!  Total cost?  $5.00.  I had the scraps of fabric and rick rack, so the only cost was the stool and an hour of my time.

Yesterday, Jack and I got some flowers for the patio and porch.  He and Katie helped me plant them.  Have you ever had someone in a wheelchair who can't move half of her body help you plant flowers?  It's interesting, to say the least.  I'm fairly certain she got more dirt on the patio, herself, and me than in any pots.

After our flowers, Katie was crabby and she and I laid down for a nap.  She actually slept for about 90 minutes, and that child NEVER takes a nap.  

When we got up, I got her settled with a movie and iPad, and hauled our coffee table out to the porch.

I didn't take a picture of it, but this was it.  This picture is from three years ago, and our living room looks NOTHING like that anymore.  Thank God we don't have those couches.  I hated both of them!  I also hate that coffee table, and I don't know why I didn't paint it years ago.  I really want a rectangular table, but this will have to do for now.

I used the other sample container of the paint I got for testing exterior colors for the playhouse.  This one is Sherwin Williams perfect greige.  

I also painted this little table, which had been on our porch for years.  It was looking ROUGH.  

I did some distressing on the coffee table, and it was almost dark outside by the time I was done so these photos are awful.

I did two coats of wax on the top, buffing in between.  It is such a huge improvement!  I'll have to take more pictures next weekend when I get do it with better lighting.  (And, um, with no beanbag and discarded quilt in the background!)

The little table came out really cute too.  I have it on our porch for now, but it may end up in the playhouse.  It might be too little, so we're just going to leave it on the porch for now and see once we get a little further along with the playhouse.

I hope you had a great weekend!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Crafty Saturday

I'm loving all of the things I've been crafting up lately!  It's amazing how some nice weather is all the motivation I need.  We've been sticking closer to home than normal too, with Katie's limited mobility, so that's given me the time to mark some things off of my list.

I made another sweet little doll quilt.  This one is for a fundraiser auction.  It's not live yet, but I'll edit the post to include the auction link when it is.  When I reopen The Crazy Kukla Boutique, I will have these sets available.  I think they are so cute!

The back is a fun purple chevron, and it's got a little doll sized flannel pillow as well, with a coordinating pillowcase.

Remember Katie's Ikea doll bed?

We've had it for almost two years, and it was just the unfinished pine, as it came.

Well I finally tried some chalk paint yesterday, and this was one of my pieces I painted.  I love it!  I used one of the sample colors I had for the playhouse exterior to make the paint, and I had enough (with leftover) to paint the doll bed, a table, and a picture frame.  If you've been thinking about trying chalk paint but haven't, DO IT!  It was SO easy.

I got this little cross stitch at a garage sale for 75 cents.  It was framed in this frame, which was a lovely shade of 1995 hunter green.  I just popped the cross stitch fabric out, did two layers of chalk paint, and let it dry.  (It dries super fast.)  Then I went back and sanded it in random places to make it a little distressed.  Finally, after I wiped it down to get off any dirt, etc., I wiped on a layer of finishing wax, then buffed it out.  I know it sounds like a lot of steps - it's so easy.  The steps don't take long, and it's such an easy way to make something look 100 times better.  This frame was hideous, but it's a good frame.  And for 75 cents, I couldn't pass it up for the playhouse.  I love how it looks now!

This is the table I started with.  (And Katie's 1970s tupperware measuring cup in the background. . . that girl loves to measure some stuff, pour it into another container, bang the cups together.  She seriously could be entertained for 30 minutes with some measuring cups.)

This table was - wait for it - TRASH!  Like, literally trash.  We park in a parking garage at my office.  Someone left this table in the garage for probably a week.  I thought it was the cutest thing.  Obviously needed some love, but the table is so cute.  I joked and said I was going to take it home.  Well after it had been there for honestly a week and it was obvious nobody was claiming it, the girls from my office put it next to my car because they knew I would never take it!  That was TWO YEARS AGO and I've let the thing look like this since then.  I've been using it as my nightstand, and my intent was to repaint it and put it in the playhouse, because it's a little, little table.

Excuse me.  That's back next to my bed.  Chris was so irritated when I brought this thing home, because it looked like a piece of garbage.  It's adorable now!  I'm so irritated that I waited two years to paint it.  

The chalk paint method I used was:

Combine 2 1/2 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water.  Mix until it's smooth.  Pour 8 ounces of latex paint into that mixture, and mix really well until it's smooth and fully combined.  You don't want any lumps.  (I suggest using a plastic container for this so you can just throw it away when you're done.)  The paint dries and thickens quickly, so you have to work fairly fast.  Just brush it on like you normally would and let it dry.  If your mixture thickens up and becomes crumbly, etc., just mix in some more water and re-mix it all back to a smooth texture.  Once it's dry, you can distress or go right to waxing.  If you distress, make sure you wipe your piece down thoroughly to get any dust or dirt off, then let it dry again.  To wax it (which seals the piece and also protects the chalk finish from dings, scratches, etc.), I used Minwax finishing paste.  I wiped it on with a clean rag (I used a baby burp cloth - my magic cloth of choice for every.single.thing.)  I let that dry, then just buffed it.  And that's it!  Seriously, so easy.  And I have enough Plaster of Paris and finishing wax to last me about 30 years.  You use such a tiny, tiny amount of each, your cost per project for your supplies is literally pennies.  I'm going to do my ugly coffee table today!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crafty Business

So with The Crazy Kukla Boutique not currently taking orders, I've had time to make some fun things.  

This is my new favorite gift to make for a child.
It's a doll size Mai Tai carrier.

Jack used it for a kitty and Mr. Mouse.
And I had to pay him TEN DOLLARS to get him to try it on and let me take pictures.
He's quite an entrepreneur. . . 

The carrier is so cute - seriously just like one that the mama wears.

Jack pretended he hated it, but I knew he liked it.  
There may or may not be one of these going into the playhouse.

Tonight I finished a shirt and tutu set for a friend's little girl for her birthday party.  
It's a Candy Land party!

And, um, I totally made Jack try this on too.  He and Paisley, the birthday girl, are the same size and I needed a fit model.  No photos of that little gem.  :)

Next up?

Finishing up a sweet baby set for someone, and then a really, really cute project for the playhouse.  I seriously have to restrain myself from doing that before the baby set.  

And I'll leave you with something disgusting.  Katie's foot.

I'm sure you're thrilled I've shared.  Her cast, which you can see a tiny bit of in this photo, is gortex lined.  That seems to be sucking all of the moisture out of her body.  And she rubs this foot on something all.day.long.  Like it is her job.  It is so ridiculously dry and cracked and lizard like.  I can only imagine what it looks like underneath her cast.  We've been putting cream on it, but tomorrow I'm busting out the big guns and going for the coconut oil.  I sort of feel like that fixes anything, so I'm going to give it a run for its money with that foot!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

My First Quilt! And Some Extras....

Most of you know I like to sew.  I have an etsy shop and a FaceBook boutique, both of which I've temporarily "closed".  Katie requires so much more care than normal while she's in this cast.  While I do my sewing after everyone has gone to bed, between working full time, taking care of my family when I get home, projects around the house, grocery shopping, etc. and the extra attention Katie needs, by the time everyone has gone to bed I do not have the energy right now to sit down and start working on sewing orders.  Do I think it will be closed forever?  Probably not.  I love, love, love making things for other people.  Do I know when it will reopen?  No, I don't.  I'm sure I will lose customers, but that's OK.  I will get new ones.  I would absolutely love for sewing to be my full time job, but it's not so I will do it when I can.  Does a closed shop mean I'm not sewing?  Um, no.  I'm just doing it for us right now, which I have not done for a long time.

Katie has had the Ikea doll bed for about a year and a half.  It came with a "bedlinen" set, which was horrible.  It was a tiny little flat pillow and a flannel blanket.  Cozy, no?  I want to start quilting, but didn't want to jump right in to a huge quilt since I've never made one before.  I thought a doll quilt would be a perfect place to start.  I used the pearl flower doll quilt pattern from The Cloth Parcel, and I left off the pearl flower.  The pattern was SUPER easy to follow.  It's one page.  Without distractions, this could easily be completed, from cutting through sewing, binding, etc. in two hours.  

I used a mermaid fat quarter bundle I had from Joann (which also has seahorses and a cute octopus fabric), a pink fabric with tiny white polka dots, an aqua fabric with larger white polka dots, a solid turquoise, and a very faint blue and white chevron.  The backing is a light green with tiny turquoise diamonds.  I had all of these fabrics already, so my cost for this project was zero dollars.  My favorite.  

I made the quilt and put it on the bed, and it looked pitiful.  There was no pillow, no mattress, nothing.  Just a quilt on a wooden bed.  So next I sewed up a little pillow.  I didn't take a picture of just the pillow, but it's just a white cotton solid that's roughly 10 inches long by 6 inches wide.  I measured the inside of the bed rails (12 inches) and just eyeballed it from there.  Then I used some of the leftover fabric from the fat quarter pack to make the coordinating pillowcase.  I still didn't love it, so I wanted to make a mattress.

Thank you Pinterest, I found a great tutorial on making the mattress.  I was planning to just get some foam and cut it to size, but I love this so much more.  It was MUCH easier than I thought it would be when I started reading about a hand tufted doll mattress with box pleats.  For real - less than an hour to make it from start to finish.  And I had everything already (fabric, quilt batting, and polyfill stuffing that I took from a pillow that had a tear).  These are about $20-ish on etsy, and I made mine for free with materials I already had and about an hour of my time. 

I'm in love with this little set.  And with quilting.  I can't wait to make another!  We're putting bunk beds in the playhouse, and they will be smaller than a traditional bed.  I'm considering making the mattresses for them with this method, and making some custom sheets and quilts to fit them.  

Please ignore the spiderman pull-up, naked child,
and Spongebob duck tape on her cast!
Little Mama liked the blanket a lot too.  She saw it and immediately pointed to herself and said, "Yea!  KK!," and asked for a baby.  Jack, her happy servant, went upstairs to get her a baby, which she proceeded to snuggle, wrap up, sing to, pat on the back, and feed.  This is HUGE.  This child hates dolls.  Hates them.  She's terrified of them and would spank them and throw them out of the room.  Loving on one and playing with it in an appropriate way is a big step for my little mama, and I was so proud of her.  I keep showing her this picture and telling her what a good mama she was to her baby, and she gets very proud and smiles.  I love my girl.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Remember what the playhouse looked like before?  We've started making some changes!  

Chris tore down the little wall that was in there and opened the whole thing up.  Clearly Jack was excited. . . 

We searched locally everywhere we could think of for some small windows.  We found nothing.  Like, seriously NOTHING.  I was so disappointed.  Then Chris found these adorable little windows and shutters online at readyshed.com.  They were very reasonably priced (about $28.00 for each window and about $13.00 for each pair of shutters) so we ordered four windows and four sets of shutters.  I just ordered window boxes for the windows too, and I can't wait to get them.

The windows and shutters arrived Friday, and we had fabulous weather yesterday so got started putting them in.

Jack was very helpful with the tape measure.  We got him his own yesterday evening, because he loved to measure. . . 

The windows are up, so I painted some samples to test my color choices.  The exterior will be the darker square, and the door will be the center green square.  (The door will be the same color as Katie's room.  It's Martha Stewart Sea Glass, and I'm still obsessed with it.)  We will trim the windows out, hang the shutters, and put up the window boxes.

Inside we've got tons of work to do!  The door will be made smaller and a window will be hung to the side of it.  That will give us five windows total, and the door will be a dutch door.  The goal is, obviously, to have a lot of air flowing through.  We also ordered a solar exhaust fan to help with circulating the air.  

We're doing bead board paneling around the bottom of the whole house, with a thick baseboard and a chair rail.  We'll hang a thin plywood above the paneling, and paint it white.  The ceiling will stay open, and we're painting it white.  The floor will be white with the same sea glass paint striped on the floor.  The back left corner will have bunk beds.  Katie's birthday party this year will be a playhouse warming party, so it will have to be done before then!  

Surviving the Spica: Halfway There

Oh the spica cast. . . we're four weeks and five days into the spica cast.  I have to admit, it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would.  Please do not misinterpret that to read that it hasn't been hard.  It has been.  Very, very hard.  But not as bad as we were expecting.  And the things that have been hard have been things that I didn't think about.

The hardest part has been Katie's frustration.  Why is she frustrated?  Um, hello.  She can't move.  Her ability to tell us if something hurts, is itchy, she's hungry, she wet her diaper, etc. is limited.  She has a cast from chest to ankle.  There's only so much Spongebob one person can watch. . . pick a reason.  More than the frustration though, it's been the accompanying behavior that's been difficult.  You can take the girl out of the orphanage, but you can't take the orphanage out of the girl.  She's back to hitting herself (a lot), slapping herself, spitting, banging her head, and just closing her eyes and sucking on her tongue when she's upset and frustrated.  This is like 100 steps backward in the emotional health department, and I'm hoping will quickly resolve when the cast is removed.

We aren't, however, letting the cast keep us down!  Katie's been front and center at Jack's ball games, cheering on every.single.person who is up to bat, giving them a, "Go boy!" or a thumbs up, and some loud clapping and "Good job!"  

We went to our sweet friend Winnie's yard sale to tell her see you later as she got ready to move to Austin.  We will miss her and her fabulous family!

Last weekend we went to Gatlinburg for Henry's birthday.  It's about three and a half hours from our house, and Katie did great on the trip.  We stayed in a great cabin in the woods, and we loved every second of it.

Jack drew this picture.  He's been very protective of Katie.  The kids were at my parents' house and Katie was in her wheelchair on the deck.  My parents went into the yard and Jack said, "GIGI!  Katie MUST have adult supervision at all times!"  Today they were outside with my sister at our house, and it started to rain a little.  Jack quickly flipped the brakes on her chair up, wheeled her around and hauled it back to the house yelling, "Katie's cast cannot get wet!  Katie, you have to get inside!"  Apparently our crazy protection of the cast has rubbed off.  :)

Girlfriend loves a sponge bath on the counter.  We thought she would hate it, but she's really enjoyed it.  Her favorite part is when we're done and she gets to roll over and splash in the water in the sink.  She's the cutest little mermaid I've ever known.

She's out of school until next year.  She's receiving her therapies (PT, OT, and ST) at home, as well as three hours of educational instruction.  So far, so good.  We're starting with a speech app with her speech therapist to help her be able to better communicate.  She really likes it so far, and she's done well with it.  PT has really helped her to be more confident and less fearful in her cast.  And we're continuing to work with OT on strengthening her arms and hands, improving her grasp, and working on her writing.

She had her four week post-op visit to Dr. S. on Thursday.  He was very happy with her bone placement and hardware, so we've scheduled our cast removal.  WOOHOO!!!!!!  We're set for May 29th, and we.will.be.ready.  Her skin on her ankle and foot at the end of the cast is so dry.  Seriously like lizard skin.  I cannot imagine what it will be like under that cast.  I think we need to pack our swimsuits and stop at the pool on the way home from that appointment!

As hard as it's been, our girl has been such a trooper.  She's had, for the vast majority of the time, a fabulous attitude.  She's handled this experience SO much better than I would, and we're very proud of our girl!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Katie's Surgery - Day Two

I'm not going to lie to you.  Day two started out rough. . . All of her really awesome strong pain meds and anesthesia wore off around 2 a.m.  She had slept pretty much all day yesterday, so when she woke up at 2 she was up for the day.  I had gotten up at 3:15 to get ready for her surgery that day, as we had to be at the hospital at 5:30.  I did not love getting up at 2!  I put in a movie for her and sort of dozed on the couch until about 4.  Hospitals are not places for getting rest.  

You can see here how high up her cast comes.  Obviously that causes her not to be able to bend her torso at all, so no sitting up, turning, etc.

One bonus with the cast?  I can prop her ipad up and she's good to go!

She's still on IV fluids and a pulse ox monitor.  She's done great with that this time, and it usually drives her crazy.

We rolled her to her belly this morning, which she did not love.  It's all pretty scary to her right now.  It's important for us to move her so she doesn't get pressure sores, and also right now to keep the stuff in her lungs moving because she can't sit up to cough it out.

She did eat some breakfast. . . her beloved hot dog and a little bit of eggs.  

We petaled her cast with some water proof tape to help keep moisture from going to the bathroom out of the cast.  The last thing we want is a wet cast.  There was also a spot at the bottom of her cast, right near her bum, that was pretty rough and was down too low.  Someone from casting came up and trimmed it.  With a saw.  She was not excited about that, but he was so quick and so nice to her.  He did a great, great job.  He told her the noise would sound like a vacuum.  He clearly needs a new vacuum if that's what his sounds like!

I brought a bag of new treats for her.  She opened one after the cast trimming, and it was this little set of dress up bears.  I seriously almost cried when she dressed this first one.  She has a washcloth on her head and a thermometer coming out of her mouth.  She pointed to her and said, "Kk," and frowned.  It made me so sad!  She also had her catheter removed this morning, which made her very nervous.  She was really upset after the turning and the petaling and the catheter and the saw.  We gave her some valium and some pain meds and she took a little nap.

We also had visits from a woman who taught us all about her cast care, caring for Katie in the cast, things we should and shouldn't do, etc.  A woman from PT also came by to fit Katie for her harness for the car and to teach us how to use it.  Because her cast is reclined, she cannot ride in her carseat.  Or any carseat.  She will need to be lying down in the backseat of the car, wearing her harness, and strapped into two seatbelts.  This is how she will travel every.single.time. we have to go someplace.  We are going to have to rethink our school transportation for the boys, because right now Chris brings them and picks them up.  I'm not sure how feasible that will be with the cast, because it will literally probably take 30 minutes to get her in and out of the car each time she goes someplace.  We've got a big learning curve here.

This afternoon, a volunteer came by with some art supplies.  Katie picked some watercolor paints to use.  She loved it.  

She painted lots of pictures.  The girl had to get more paper three times.

She took it very seriously!  She also wanted Chris and me to both paint with her, and she was very selective about the colors we would use.  She may or may not be a little bossy.

We hung her paintings on her door and the walls of her room.  When people come in, she makes sure she shows everyone her artwork.

She was very, very happy when Chris got her collection of movies from the car.  A little Spongebob goes a long way with this girl!

The best part of her day was seeing Gigi!  She and Gigi ate dinner together, and Katie ate all of her hot dog and all of her macaroni and cheese.  She also drank a full cup of apple juice, which was the most she'd had to drink all day.  Gigi brought her a bag of treats, and we did some pop beads and watched a movie together.

She also got a visit from Mabel, a therapy dog.  Mabel was a Great Dane, and she was so big and sweet.  She was really excited that Katie smelled like a hot dog!  Mabel was like a pony - she was enormous!  Her owner was very sweet and friendly, and Katie really liked seeing her.  

If all stays the same, Katie should go home tomorrow.  I think they would have let us go today, but I told them I didn't feel like we were ready.  We're both going to try to get some good rest tonight and look forward to sleeping in our own beds!

Thank you so much to everyone who has been checking on her, praying for her, sending her sweet messages, and sending me texts to see how she's doing.  We are very lucky to have so many people who love Katie and care so much about her.