Friday, September 15, 2017

The calm before the...DORM!

I feel a little funny posting this before moving my daughter to Oregon State this Sunday, but it may reach a mom or two in a similar situation who also have the dorm move-in ahead of them.  And, of course, I'll update you on whether or not my ideas worked as I hope they will!  We all know, a picture is worth a thousand words...so, I'll start with one.



The calm before the...DORM!
Looking at the picture above, select the best answer:  A. You know I'm not expecting company in my guest room. Or, B. Organizing makes me feel more in control.  Ha! The answer is of course, C. All of the above.  

I know some of you may have been putting off the gathering of items your young adult needs for college (notice I didn't say "child," even though I wanted to), because it makes it all too real that she/he is leaving home.  But, the amount of things they need to make their tiny rooms feel like home for the next year take a lot of time to find at a reasonable price and in the style they want.  So, my first tip...start early!  We literally starting picking things up off our list after graduation in June (which I have attached for your printing pleasure!) Spreading it out over the whole summer makes the cost easier to swallow and allows you to avoid the last minute feeling of panic we all get when we're unorganized for an important event.  

Side note...We started with the general color scheme of course, which was decided by my daughter and her roommate.  They decided to get matching white comforter sets, but wanted to show their individual style through artwork and throw pillows.  Speaking of pillows, now they can get expensive! But, they make the bed look so much more inviting when there's a generous pile of them.  So, again, shop early.  Every time we were somewhere like HomeGoods, JoAnn or Marshall's, we would check out the pillow section. We scored some great clearance deals this way, and I know they're going to have that great "collected" look when laid on her bed. 

Back to organizing!  When you've got a lot of puffy things, like the afore mentioned pillows, you're going to want space saver bags.  Luckily, Dollar Tree has them because the real Space Bags are spend-y.  Granted, they only come in one size at Dollar Tree, but I was able to fit all her towels/hand towels/washcloths in one so they're not that small.  Another one was used for her set of sheets.  Another for her blanket. Her regular bed pillows got the vacuum treatment as well. Anyway, you get the idea.  They're a great space saver, and I was then able to easily stack the plastic blocks they became into large Ikea shopping bags (Only .99¢ each!) for portability.  I used these same bags to also gather together practical items like a fan, mini-vacuum, and a lap desk for studying in bed.  They're a great size, so I recommend picking up a bunch (this is an unpaid endorsement!)

A couple of the other organizing ideas we stole from our Pinterest surfing.  Like leaving the clothes on the hangers, and using garbage bags as garment bags.  We took it one step further by numbering the bags so that when she removes the bags her clothes will be organized by type and color.  A little obsessive, probably, but if she can start college with a little feeling of order and control it can't be bad! The two exceptions to this method were her jeans/yoga pants which we folded and stashed in her hamper, and her coats/dresses which were put in traditional garment bags because of their bulk.  After bagging and labeling her clothes, we folded them in half and stacked them into some more of the Ikea shopping bags.  I must say, I like these better for clothes than plastic bins because we can fold them down and store them in her dorm for the move-out next June and they have long handles we can swing over our shoulders for carrying.

Speaking of plastic bins, yes, we did use them.  We dedicated one bin for each area of her dorm room.  One for bath/toiletries, one for kitchen/snack type items, and one for school/desk supplies.  As we purchased items over the summer we could just toss it in the appropriate bin.  And, bonus, this way when we unpack the items everything is in one place and easy to find.

Another idea we picked-up from the web was to pack small drawer units ahead of time, and just tape the drawers shut. We can then simply slide them under the bed, remove the tape, and she's ready to go!  A narrow set of drawers holds undies, bras, and socks.  The wider set, t-shirts, sweatshirts and pajamas.  We also opted to purchase the opaque drawers for little extra for privacy, and the cute basketweave pattern. We just used a little craft glue to paint the handles gold to match all her other gold accessories.

Lastly, we packed a small bag (pictured on the bed) with cleaning supplies (Clorox Wipes & Swiffer Set) and commonly used tools, like screwdrivers and duct tape.  We wanted to be prepared for the unknown, and it just seemed practical.  Why would we move all her beautiful new things onto dusty old furniture? We wouldn't, so we can give everything the quick wipe down before unpacking!

Phew! That's it for now...I better go start loading this mass of things now just to make sure it fits in the ol' Ford.  I'll be sure to post a few pictures of the finished dorm room, because I swear there are like two pictures of Oregon State dorm rooms on the entire web.  Oh! And, here's the pretty little packing list I compiled from a bunch of others I'd seen.  Hope it comes in handy and gives you a little sense of calm in the storm of dorm move-in day with your daughter!  (Btw, it doesn't include clothes, 'cause honestly what girl would forget those!!)
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Quick & Easy Dorm Decor Ideas!

Hey there! I know it's been a couple months since my last post, but the summer just flew by between vacations and college prep.  You might have guessed since my last posts in June were about high school graduation, I'll now be moving on to a couple posts on dorm room decor and organization. But, I've also got a couple more ideas for party planning and dance team mom duties that I'll sprinkle in as well.  Anyway, as I look at the giant pile of things to move to Oregon State, I must say my oldest daughter and I might have had a little too much fun with all the preparation, because now we have to find a way to fit it all into the cars we're taking!  So, before I start shoving it all into said cars I thought I'd share two quick and easy dorm decor ideas...which happen to be really inexpensive, too!

First, on a recent trip to our local Ikea we found this cute little candle plate/dish above (find it here: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80239979/) for only $4.99.  It was too cute to pass up since my daughter and her roommate went for a pastel, feminine vibe for their dorm decor.  Of course, we had to switch it up a bit and use it in an unexpected way.  We decided to use it as a wall hanging for above the head of their beds and affix their monograms to it using Cricut metallic vinyl.  For those of you who don't own a cutting machine... get one now! Or, you could of course just order a monogram sticker from someone on Etsy.  Here's the finished product, which we added a little gold ribbon hanger to.  It's also nice that the plates aren't too heavy, because they will be hung by a Command Hook in the dorm. And, as we all know...you can't poke holes in dorm walls!


Ikea Hack...Candle Plate turned Wall Hanging!

The second project idea is a floral wreath.  Nothing ground breaking about this one, but it turned out really pretty and will be the perfect finishing touch for her gallery wall above the side of her bed.  The extra nice part, it was really inexpensive to make as compared to buying one pre-made and we could customize the colors to match the canvas' that it will be hung with.  So after a quick trip to JoAnn's where we scored a large bunch of 5 silk peonies for only $2.50 (end-of-summer sale), and then to Dollar Tree for the rest of the flowers and the foam wreath form we wrapped up this project for only $6.50 (minus the hot glue, which I already own)! 

 Here's some tips for success: 
  1. Beware of ugly. I'm sorry, but some of the silk flowers at Dollar Tree look like they cost $1. So, choose wisely to keep it classy and soft looking.  We grabbed the pink peonies, and hydrangeas in two colors that are delicately colored and simple.
  2. Use five large blooms to ground your wreath in a pleasing symmetry; varying their angles to keep it natural looking.
  3. Use an awl or similar tool to pre-poke the holes into the styrofoam wreath where the flowers will go to avoid breaking the plastic stems.
  4. Pull the flower heads and leaves off the thick plastic stems, and cradle the leaves at the base of the flowers to frame them.
  5. Use hot glue in the pre-poked holes before placing the flowers in them to ensure a secure hold.
  6. Start with the large blooms, then fill in the spaces between with the smaller flowers. Don't go in a strict pattern or it will look funny, spreading out the colors more naturally will give you a better effect in the end.
Without further ado, here's our pretty little wreath...can't wait to see it up on the wall in Weatherford Hall!  Move-in is this Sunday!


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Graduation Ribbon Leis!

The graduation of my oldest daughter is creeping up very quickly, so I've been prepping like crazy for all the celebrations. My last post was that cute little door wreath, now here's something for the graduate herself...and a few extra for her friends! I found a tutorial for how to make ribbon leis on YouTube (I should have written down the link to share!), and once you get the hang of it it goes quite quickly.  And, I gotta say, it's kind of relaxing like doing knitting or crochet.  So, I won't go into the details of how to make them since it's all over the web but I will share my results and materials.

For the leis I made for my daughter's friends, I used floral ribbon I bought at the local flower market. Most of them I made with the four-strand technique, but I tried two with just two colors as well.  The good thing about the floral ribbon is it's inexpensive (100 yards for $6-ish)...the bad thing, it doesn't hang like regular ribbon without something weighing it down.  That's why I made the center medallions.  Those were just 3-1/2" discs of poster board that I glued 3" ribbon loops (that's the cut size before looping).  For these, you'll want to start by placing the loops at quarter points around the circle (as if you cut the circle in fourths), then fill the spaces between in the desired pattern.  If you look closely at the pictures below this will make sense! To finish off the medallions I cut 2" circles, and 1.75" circles with Class of 2017, on my Cricut Explore, but of course you could do that by hand.  

For my daughter's lei, I wanted it to be extra special.  So, I bought regular narrow ribbon at JoAnn's in her school's three colors (but you'll need 4 spools for each lei, I used 2 of gold for each one).  I made three separate leis, then loosely braided them together and sewed the ends with invisible thread.  Her medallions were made on some plastic tube ends I had, and also finished with poster board and glittered Liberty Bells (she went to Liberty H.S.). I also found some tassels at my local Dollar Tree in their graduation decorations, so I tied those on as well.  I love how hers turned out!

Happy weaving!


My masterpiece...three four-strand ribbon leis with medallions and tassels!

A collection of four strand ribbon leis with "Class of 2017" medallions.

Two color ribbon lei in navy and white.

Two color ribbon lei in light blue and white, with a touch of glitter!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Graduation Celebration Door Wreath!

Graduation Wreath

Phew! It has been a whirling dervish of activity around here with my oldest daughter graduating this year! I've been working on several projects a little at a time to get ready for her party the second week in June, and here's the first completed one ready to share.  I made this wreath for the front door to welcome our guests to the party, and amazingly had all but the sheet of foam core ($1/Dollar Tree) among my craft supplies.  Her school colors are Columbia blue, navy, and gold so I wanted to be sure to make the wreath in those colors.  I started by measuring the interior circle of the grapevine wreath so that I could size the monogram correctly.  This happens to be the image I used for the top of her party invites, so I just uploaded it to my Cricut for cutting a template (be sure to weld little connection rectangles between the letters to keep them secure).  Of course, if you don't have a Cricut/Silhouette type machine you can just free hand it.  After tracing that onto the foam core board (don't press too hard!), I cut around it with an Exacto knife.  Don't worry if your edges aren't perfect because the glitter hides quite a bit.  I then used some craft paint (in the coordinating colors to the glitter I had selected) to paint the two sections of the monogram. I let this dry completely, then I applied a thin layer of ModPodge and sprinkled with glitter.  Let each color dry before moving on to the next color so the glitter doesn't stick where you don't want it to!
As the monogram dried between steps, I worked on attaching the flowers to the wreath.  I like symmetry, so I laid out my design first so that I could achieve just that.  Be sure to use an old pair of scissors or a pair of wire snips to cut the flower stems (2-3" long) because they are pretty thick wires to cut and might ruin a good pair of scissors.  Then, you'll just hot glue the flowers and leaves into the grapevine wreath until you get the fullness you want.  Next, I added the ribbons to the top of the wreath.  Lastly, I hot-glued the monogram at any point around the edge of the inner circle of the wreath I could make a connection to. I think it turned out really pretty, and I plan on adding a little "Come on in!" paper swag to the bottom when it's party time.  Cheers!

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Your Dancing Should be an Emoji" Competition Favor

Okay, last one for today!  After seeing these cute little packages of tissues at Dollar Tree, I decided to make them part of a little gift to sell at the competition gift table I'm in charge of.  Super simple, and totally customizable based on what little items you find.  I actually found some emoji candy with the Valentines candy at my local grocery store, but they aren't pictured.  Lastly, I've included the tag for your personal use for FREE at the bottom of the post! 😊

Here's what you'll need:

  • Small Favor Boxes (Wedding Section at Dollar Tree)
  • Sparkly Blue Ribbon
  • Yellow Plastic Gems
  • Tags
  • Emoji Tissues, files, candy, etc.
  • Glue Gun
  • Thin Wire
Directions:  Pretty simple stuff here...
  • Make simple "cheer style" bows, twist a small section of wire to secure around the middle.
  • The favor boxes come flat, so unfold and form into a box by layering the flaps at the bottom.
  • Gather your goodies!
  • Print your tags, cut and glue to box.
  • Glue your bows to the box at a cute angle. Then glue the gem to cover the wire and adds some bling!




Free emoji tag for your personal use!



Dance Team Mirrors...Take four?

Alright, I'll be honest...I've lost track of the number of times I've posted these little gussied-up Dollar Tree mirrors.  But, since they've been a very popular post for me here's a couple new designs I thought I'd share.  Directions are included on earlier posts, just use my search box by entering "mirrors" to get the details on how to make them! 




Why is this upside down...no clue!

The flashier the better!