A Highchair Fit for a Birthday Butterfly

It seems that it doesn’t take a lot of searching on the internet these days to find examples of how to froufrou up your standard high chair in preparation for your special little girls’ birthday.  I mean, really, can she eat her first birthday cake if she isn’t surrounded by tons of tulle and frills?  Clearly it just wouldn’t be the same otherwise.  I wanted to make my birthday butterfly a special seat, too, but I honestly don’t know how mothers with such active little munchkins, such as mine, even have time for no-sew tutu decor like some of the samples I found online.  So much cutting of tulle…  So much tying of knots…  Even with it being munchkin’s *golden* first birthday, there are limits to both my budget and the time I want to spend on decorations.  Frankly, I’d rather spend my time with my silly little munchkin!  Yet again, it was Michael’s to the rescue!  (And yes, Target, you were there to help me, too!)   For your reference, here’s my high chair in the “before” state:

When I was in Michael’s searching for supplies for the invitations, I happened upon some very special ribbon.  It’s the sort that you buy by the yard, and it had pre-cut strips of tulle-like ribbon hanging down as a sort of fringe.  It came in a couple of colors (ivory, white, etc.), but my eyes delighted upon the sight of some in a pale pink color!  Additionally, butterfly-themed is definitely the way to go in terms of finding cheap decorations.  They had TONS of clip-on butterfly decorations in different colors, sizes, and styles on clearance.  Needless to say, I purchased a little bit of everything, and definitely found a use for every last little fluttery butterfly (details on more decor to come!).  In any case, the ribbon solved my problems in terms of being even less work than any instructions I came across for even a no-sew tutu-high chair.  When you have a 1-year old running around the house and trying to get into everything, easier and faster is always better.  Here’s what I used:

On the left, you can see the fancy-shmancy ribbon I found.  For just a couple of dollars, I got 3 yards of it (plenty of extra).  The big butterfly was on clearance from $3.99 to $0.99.   I already had the Scotch velcro on hand, so it wasn’t any additional cost for me, but you could pick some up for a few dollars from Target or any other such store.  From there, I just started at one end of the high chair tray applying small pieces of the fasteners every couple of inches around the edge. ( I recommend putting the plasticy sides on the tray and the softer sides on the ribbon — when you’re not using the decor, the plastic-sided velcro pieces will still be on the tray and those pieces won’t pick up bits of food from your little munchkin as easily as the fabric-sided pieces will.)   I applied similarly sized pieces to the fringed ribbon at the same time as the tray so that I could make certain that the pieces were similarly spaced.  Then, I cut the ribbon once I had made it all of the way around the edge, and clipped on the butterfly to the fringe.  That’s it.  It really could not have possibly been any easier.  The nice thing about this plan is that I could easily take down the fringe until the big day arrived and could throw it back up in less than a minute just before the party began.  This prevented any sticky fingers from messing up my faux-tutu before its official debut.

Finally, in addition to giving the high chair some nice trim, I wanted some wings behind my munchkin to make the pictures extra special (sorry — no pictures of her on her birthday, but trust me — they were *super* cute!).  First, I went into Party City and found some wings for about $16.  It was a little more than I wanted to spend, but I didn’t think I’d find anything much cheaper.  Ha!  I definitely returned those bad boys, because Target had a cute pink set for $1!!  Oh yeah!

The wings were made for toddlers to wear.  You can kind of see the elastic loops that are meant for little ones to stick their arms through.  Instead, I took the loops and threaded them over the corners of the high chair.  These little wings were just the right size so that they would show up behind my little lady without being too big to not fit well within the chair (or to make it too hard to capture them in pictures!).  So with all of that said, here’s my final project:

I spent all of about $6 and it took me roughly 5 minutes to do the initial set up (and another 1 minute to reassemble on party day).  It really couldn’t have been much more budget-friendly, and the cuteness factor on our birthday pictures was definitely worth it!

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Know Thy Clearance Sections: The Perfect Word Art for the Perfect Space

We rent our current house, and we know we’ll only be here for a few years, so you can imagine that “permanent” is not a useful term when it comes to decorating.  “Expensive” is another one you won’t see me flout around.  Even if I find the single most perfect item to go in a room, there’s nothing that says it will go in the next home we live in or any other home further down the road.  Thus, I say, “Know Thy Clearance Sections.”

I don’t ever want to feel like I have to use some little piece of decor just because it cost me an arm and a leg, and I also don’t want to face my husband with a huge receipt for something that I can’t use long-term.  Being on a tight budget, however, does not mean that I can’t find the perfect piece at a great price.  Two of my favorite places to shop are Kohl’s and Target.  It’s not that you can’t find more expensive things there, but if you’re smart about your shopping, you can find some extraordinarily good deals.  Both places have special items on sale or clearance daily.  Sale items are typically interspersed with their more expensive cousins, but there are some magical sections of clearance that are worth investigating on a regular basis.  In either store, for each main section (home, bath, toys, kids, shoes, etc.) I have found that there is at least one shelf or rack that is clearly labeled “clearance” and has new items added to it on an almost weekly basis.  It is here that I find some of the best things for my house, my husband and me, or my little munchkin.  Go to your local stores, and familiarize yourself with your clearance sections; it will be worth your while.  On the flip side, I will say it is rare for me to make a “quick trip” into either store, because every time I go in, I like to troll along through each clearance section each time I visit.  You just never know what you’ll find!  Items might be marked down anywhere from 30% to 80% off depending upon the item, manufacturer, etc.  Frequently, I find things that are just what I wanted and are of equal or better quality to more expensive items elsewhere in the store or in other stores altogether.

Our current master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling and provides a huge blank space above our bed.  In our previous home, we had a sort of collage of artwork above the bed from Quebec where we honeymooned.  In general, this room is much bigger, and so the artwork has become scattered to smaller spots throughout the space, thus leaving the gaping white above the headboard.  See below.

Thankfully, Kohl’s came to the rescue.  Removable vinyl lettering seems to be very en vogue right now, which is perfect for a military home.  They go up easily, and they come down easily.  No worries about how to “fix it” when we move out a few years down the road.  In one of my magical clearance sections, I came across one such vinyl set that was going to be just perfect for our room.  I should start with saying that when my husband and I got married, I took issue with the “until we are parted by death” portion of the Episcopal vows, and so we dropped that and subbed in “forever and ever.”  My husband is stuck with me and just me – forever!  So you can imagine, when I found the lettering set that reads, “Just one lifetime won’t be enough for us,” I knew it would be more than perfect for our room.  To top it off, instead of the regular price of $29.99, it was on clearance at Kohl’s for $11.99.  Add in a 20% off shopping pass (which Kohl’s issues out almost every other week in the mail or via e-mail), and that brings it down to $9.60.  In case you were wondering, that’s 68% off.  My kind of deal.

Down below, you can see the finished project.  My set was made by Once Upon a Wall, and while it is “removable” it is not “reusable.”  You can do some minor adjustments as you are applying it to the wall, but you really want to make certain that you have measured out its height to where you want it to be and that the words will by and large be level.  Additionally, because the letters come rolled up on application paper inside of a tube, you definitely want to give it some time, as per the instructions, to flatten out, but even with that, I found that there would be a few creases in the paper.  What I did (and would suggest), is try to corral the creases into the spaces in between the words.  This will prevent there from being bubbles under the letters.  All in all, I’m very pleased with how it turned out, and love that it fills some of the space above the bed with love (and all on a “temporary home” budget)!

Guest Bedroom Headboard: Part 3

It’s amazing what can be created in a relatively short span of time with your own two hands.  Little more than a week ago, I had some blue sheets that were the ugly duckling in my guest bedroom.  They just didn’t belong, and I was kicking myself over the purchase, wishing that I had thought better of them before I’d given them their first wash and generally ruined their chance of being returned.  Good bargain or not, I do like for my house to like nice — especially for my out-of-town guests!  My little munchkin turns 1 this week, and that definitely means a house full of guests, and it put my little blue sheets on a serious time table for somehow finding a way to fit in.  Here’s how we came to our finished work.  (I consider it to be art, but I’m a little biased).

Where I left off, I had a nice headboard sitting in my kitchen, just waiting for a little bit of attention.  I really am blessed with a very nice neighbor who came over to help me manhandle the headboard so that I could do my end of the deal:  the upholstering.  If you don’t know your neighbors, call them over for a glass of wine or coffee ahead of time.  You never know when some storm will hit, literally or figuratively, and you’ll be glad that you have a friendly face looking out for you right nearby.  But I digress…

I had briefly mentioned before that I was going to purchase a fabric shower curtain to do my upholstering.  I have a sewing machine, and I actually use it from time to time, but I was concerned that I would have a piece of fabric that wouldn’t be quite the right size, and I didn’t want to have a seam running through the middle of my finished piece.  Also, being on a tight schedule (nothing quite like your in-laws coming to light a fire under you and your project for some serious motivation!), I didn’t want to have to fiddle with all of the time involved for sewing the pieces together.  The only tool I really wanted to use is my handy dandy staple gun.  Thus, I knew that something along the lines of either a shower curtain or a bed sheet would be within my budget and give me plenty of fabric to cover the front of my 62″x39″ headboard and still leave plenty for wrapping around and tacking onto the back.  I ended up with the following shower curtain:

As you can see, it’s listed as 100% polyester — you clearly do not want a cheap plastic shower curtain for this type of job, and you want something that will hold up well not only as part of the headboard, but won’t tear too easily when it has a staple shoved into it.  I got this beauty at Bed Bath & Beyond on sale and with a coupon (oh, how I love my never-ending pile of BBB coupons!) for $24.  I like how it’s more than one type of fabric.  It will make my headboard interesting without the added work of having to sew different fabric types. This is one of the benefits of working with a shower curtain rather than a sheet.  I decided that I would have a bit of the blue trim show at the top so that it gives a bit of a border to the overall design.  For the batting, I found a great big piece of high loft quilter’s batting.  It’s 110″ square, so I decided I would overlap it about 2 1/2 times.  This makes the headboard a little more cushy and provides added thickness at the top (versus down behind the mattress and springs where no one will notice).

I wrapped the batting around the front first and stapled it down.  On the corners, do as my neighbor kept telling me, and “wrap it like a present.” It ensures that you have tighter corners that won’t bunch up too much with all of the extra fabric/material.  I was also careful to not have fabric where my husband would later have to screw on the legs.  We outlined where they would go so that I would better know where not to staple.  In any case, with the batting on, it was time for the shower curtain.  Staple, staple, staple, and here you have it!

I chose to not cut the fabric in the back and to use the extra length to cover some of the wood to prevent it from rubbing too much on the walls.  With a little batting of my eyelashes when my husband came home, I convinced him that we needed to finish the project that night.  I love that man.  So, up the stairs it went.  We waited until we were upstairs to drill on the legs to make it a little easier to navigate the stairwell without pieces sticking out.

Here you see it laying on top of the bed with the legs affixed.  You can also see how I brought the material up in the back to cover some of the wood.  We were at the homestretch!  It may have seemed like an easy sprint, but we found one more hurdle…  We discovered that some of the holes on the legs were not quite lining up with the metal frame.  It happens.  So out came the drill and the vacuum.  My husband added some new holes, and I vacuumed my heart out getting the pieces of wood off the carpet.  Finally, we were able to attach the headboard to the frame with some nuts and bolts, and ta-daaaaa!

My ugly duckling became a beautiful swan!  We are so excited with how it turned out.  It can be kind of hard to compare the before with the after since I made several other changes.  I flipped the comforter to the solid gold side, swapped in some ivory pillow shams and dust ruffle, and added in this cute knotted pillow I found on clearance to go with our nautical theme.  Overall, we’re so happy with how it turned out, and we can’t wait for our guests to enjoy their new suite!