DIY

Small Bathroom Makeover Part 4

Yay! Our small bathroom makeover is DONE! This makeover took a lot longer than I had originally anticipated. I am going to blame part of that on the baby and the other part on me just losing motivation. But I got my mojo back and the makeover is done! I am so excited about how this turned out. The bathroom transformed from a room that was a major bummer to a space that I actually enjoy being in. So sit tight for small bathroom makeover part 4!

The last step of this makeover was the finishing touches. You can see Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 to see how this bathroom transformed.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

The Budget

I had a goal of staying on a budget of $300. Lets see how we did below:

Grand Total of $228.5 – yay, under budget!

Door Updates

Both our closet door and bathroom door were in need of updating. The closet door was a louvered one and way past its prime. We exchanged it with this one from Menards. My hubby painted it the same color as the walls and changed out the plastic door knob that it comes with to a sleek sliver one. We have exchanged all the closet doors in our house to be the same as this one over the past couple of years. This was the last one that needed to be replaced and it feels good now that it is done.

Next we took down our bathroom door. Once it was outside on the saw horses we took off the hardware and sanded it down. It then got a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. This door was in really good shape but it was just starting to look really grungy. The hardware had been painted over main times and were mismatched. This simple update of the door really made a world of difference.

Shelving

So you might have seen the wooden shelves that I made for the bathroom in my part 3 post. I really liked these shelves and they turned out great. But then I went to install them in the bathroom and they looked out of place in there. I think they were too dark and looked bulky, too. I like the shelves and will definitely use them in a different room of the house, but just not the bathroom.

Sometimes that happens, though – something just doesn’t work in a space. I put a lot of work into these but I was okay with moving on to a shelving unit. Then I spent the next couple of weeks trying to find something else. I looked at my favorite stores and Pinterest for inspiration. I kept coming back to a rope shelving unit, but I wasn’t sure. Ultimately, one day I just decided to go for it and make the shelving unit and if I didn’t like it I would scrap the project.

Well it turned out great and better then I expected! You can read the full tutorial here on how I made this awesome (if I do say so myself) rope shelving unit. I was so surprised on how easy this actually was to make. In fact, it was way easier than the other shelves I made.

I have decorated it with some odds and ends that I had in the bathroom already and a couple of new plants. Having plants in the bathroom was an important goal for me. Beyond looking great they help add oxygen to the house and absorb moisture, which is important in a bathroom.

Finishing Touches

A soap dish I got from an art fair in town over the summer.
Textiles

This is a small bathroom so I didn’t need to go overboard with the accessories for it. I did update the bath mat, opting for a 100% cotton one from Target. I also re-installed these amazing hooks for hanging towels. These hooks came from a little boutique and they have moved around from bathroom to bathroom with me. They have now been with me through 3 different apartments and a house. They are iron and very sturdy. I have had them for years and they have really held up.

I got the above soap dish from an art fair during the summer. It was reasonably priced and looks so cute. Sometimes it is worth holding back on just running to the closest store and instead taking your time to find a gem like this one.

I also upgraded to some new cotton towels. I found these great bath sheet towels from Target. They are so soft and are 100% cotton!

Lighting

We had an old fashioned light that was true to the era of the home, but it looked strangely industrial. I didn’t want to replace the the whole light fixture because the base was still functional. Instead I replaced the globe to this classic white one. You can find the same one on Amazon here.

Window Treatments

There is one window in this bathroom and it used to have blinds on it. I would always have it closed for privacy, but I missed the light that came through the window. When demoing the bathroom I removed the blinds and patched the holes in the molding. I ended up selling the blinds on a Facebook market place.

Using a tension rod that I had on hand, I got some curtain rod clip rings and cloth napkins to create these cute little curtains. I love these because they are 100% cotton and easy to clean. They also let all the morning light in.

Counter Top

As an experiment I covered my dated, yellow-streaked, laminate counter tops in contact paper. I was hoping to get something like this. However, I remembered that I had leftover white contact paper from another project so I just used that. This was definitely an experiment and I am mixed with the results. It made a very big change to my bathroom. However, this contact paper is on the thinner side so the pattern of the counter top shows through a little bit. It was also hard to get a nice cut around the sink. Maybe with some practice I could get better at it. The good thing is that it is really easy to clean. This isn’t going to last forever but it will look better until I am able to replace the counter top for something else.

This bathroom makeover took a lot longer than I had originally anticipated. It has been finished for a while but I just haven’t been able to get it together to take photos. I am planning on doing a bigger remodel further down the road, but for now this update has freshened up the bathroom and made it a room where I don’t mind spending time.

Small Bathroom Makeover

DIY Dry Shampoo

DIY Dry Shampoo

Let me start with this – I love dry shampoo! I have fine hair that tends to get greasy very easily. It has been a goal of mine to take better care of my hair. My switch to all natural bar shampoo has helped immensely. Washing my hair less frequently is also helping it look and feel better. However, after one day of not washing my hair it is one giant grease ball…enter dry shampoo! I use this recipe 2-4 days a weeks as a part of my morning routine. This DIY dry shampoo is very easy to make and it uses ingredients you can find in your pantry.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart .

Supplies

Below are the supplies needed to make DIY dry shampoo. This is going to be a fairly short list because it is that simple!

  • Corn Starch (This one is vegan, gluten free and Non GMO) Some people use arrowroot powder instead of corn starch. I have never tried it but if you have some, give it a try and let me know how it goes!
  • Cocoa Powder Note this is for dark hair only. If you have blonde hair you can skip this ingredient.
  • Essential Oil You can choose any scent of essential oil you want (lavender is popular). If you don’t like having a scent you can go without essential oil.
  • Glass container. I personally use a candle jar that had been used up from Ikea that has a nice silver lid. You can use any glass container as long as it has a lid of some kind.
  • Make Up Brush The make up brush is used to apply the dry shampoo. I highly suggest having one dedicated to only the dry shampoo and not to mix it with your foundation brush.

Instructions

For dark hair, mix one part corn starch (1/8 or 1/4 cup) and 1 part cocoa powder (1/8 or 1/4 cup). Next, add a couple of drops of essential oil and mix. Put the dry shampoo mix into a glass container and it’s ready to use. Simple, right?

For light hair, take 1/4 cup of corn starch and add a couple drops of essential oil. Set it into a glass container.

How to use dry shampoo

To use DIY dry shampoo, take your blush brush (remember, only used for the dry shampoo) and gather a small amount on it. Shake off any excess because you don’t want to have it clumpy in your hair. Next, working in small sections use the brush to rub the dry shampoo onto your roots. Repeat as needed for all the greasy sections of your hair. Give your hair a brush and shake off any remaining dry shampoo.

That’s it for DIY dry shampoo! This is such an easy DIY that has a great result for your hair and a better impact on the environment than the aerosol cans. What do you think of this dry shampoo? Let me know in the comments below.

Next, check out my other zero waste switches at Little Family on the Big Lake.

Hogwarts Hooded Towel

Around Christmas time last year, my husband and I reached the firm conclusion that our Little One had outgrown his infant bath towels. It was time for an upgrade. There are many hooded towels out there. However, we wanted one that would fit with our Harry Potter nursery. So I headed over to Pinterest to see what I could find. I did find this great tutorial over at Rae Gun Ramblings. However I wanted something more Hogwarts themed and less Harry Potter specific. So I came up with my own pattern for a Hogwarts hooded towel!

If you are a new sewer, check out my beginners guide to sewing terminology.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart .

Supplies and Materials

This was a fairly simple project to make, but first I needed to gather my supplies.

I used the following supplies to make this Hogwarts hooded towel.

  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Hand Needle

We chose to make our Hogwarts hooded towel just a Hogwarts towel instead of picking a house. Little One isn’t 11 yet…we will have to wait to see what house he is in (I know, we are dorks).

Supplies for Hogwarts hooded towel.

Assembly

The first step in making this Hogwarts hooded towel is making the scarf that goes along of the edge of the robe. I first decided to put this scarf on the robe to be like the striped house scarves that the students wear. However, being that we didn’t want it house specific, we chose this crest fabric instead.

Cut the fabric in a 4 inch strip (or wider depending of the thickness of the scarf you want). Depending on the length of your towel, you may have to cut two pieces and stitch them together, like I did in the photo below.

making scarf for Hogwarts hooded towel

Next, line up the fabric along the side, 3 1/2 inches in from the edge, right sides together, as pictured below. Stitch along the side closest to the edge of the towel. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end, leaving 1/2 inch open on the bottom and top for turning.

Sewing on scarf on Hogwarts hooded towel

Turn the scarf over and press down with an iron. Turn in the raw edges along the edge of the towel using the iron. Pin and stitch down around the entire scarf section. I did two layers of stitching – one at 1/4 inch seam allowance and another at 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Sewing Hood

To make the hood part of the Hogwarts hooded towel, take the towel and cut it in half so you have two near square pieces. You can cut some off the side you cut depending on how big you want the hood to be. I cut around two inches off.

cutting hood on Hogwarts hooded towel

Next, fold the towel in half and stitch along the edge, forming the hood as pictured below. I would suggest doing a tight zig zag or serge along this edge to keep it from fraying. Next, zig zag or serge along the non pointed end of the towel if that is a raw edge, as well.

Cutting hood on Hogwarts hooded towel

Attach the hood to the towel at its center front. Using pins to pin down, use a stitch along the edge.

Sewing the hood

The final step in this process is to attach the patch on to the robe. Follow the instructions provided with the patch you purchased. I do suggest even if the patch is an iron on, secure it with a couple stitches, as well. Towels tend to go through the wash a lot, so the extra stitching will help it stay secure.

That’s it, you now have a completed Hogwarts hooded towel! All in all it’s a relatively simple sewing project. Let me know what you think about this in the comments below!

Hogwarts Hooded Towel

7 Eco-Friendly DIY Toy Projects You Have to Try

Are you tired of hearing “Mom, I’m bored!” but don’t want to fall into the trap of indulgent parenting and buy a bunch of plastic toys that get thrown out in a few weeks? There is a surprising solution that you might not have thought about before. Making DIY toys at home is a great way to expand your little one’s creativity, and it also has the added benefit of being more environmentally conscious.

Check out these great toy hacks that are easy to make yourself with environmentally friendly materials.

Recycled Cardboard Play Houses

This environmentally friendly option lets you turn all those old Amazon shipping boxes into a fun activity instead of tossing them in the trash. A cardboard playhouse is a great project because your child can have hours of fun building it and then continue to use it for weeks. Place it outside to get some fresh air or keep it indoors to let the house last longer.

To get started, all you need is a collection of cardboard boxes, some sturdy scissors, and tape. Decorating with water based paint can add a fun touch, but remember to use it sparingly because painted cardboard cannot be recycled later on. There are all sorts of neat ideas all over the internet, or you can come up with your own original design. 

Homemade Baby Blocks

Blocks are one of the most classic toy options for any baby or toddler, but they are often pricey and coated in layers of harmful paint and varnish. This project can involve a little woodworking, but it is not always necessary. For those new to DIY and carpentry, making these baby blocks can be as easy as getting precut wood cubes, sanding them down, and applying a finish. However, if you or your partner is interested in things like wood carving, you can customize with carved letters or other cute designs on the side!

The key to making these blocks baby safe and eco-friendly is all about the materials you select. Pick high quality wood that has not been pressure treated or otherwise soaked in chemicals. Use a food safe, penetrating oil like tung oil or linseed oil to provide a protective coat along the outside of the block. After letting the oil soak in and cure, you get adorable, glossy wooden blocks to build towers with your little one!

Repurposed Play Kitchen

Avoid buying unsustainable plastic toy kitchens by upcycling an old piece of furniture instead. You don’t have to be an experienced woodworker, all you need is a little paint and a few screwdrivers! This incredible idea comes from GiggleBerry Creations, and it shows just how much difference a few simple changes can be. Start out with an old TV unit that is just the right height for your little chef, and give it a fresh coat of paint.

With a few additions like a cheap sink faucet, painted on stovetop, and new doors, it transforms into a cute little stovetop, sink, oven, and fridge. You can get all the knobs, faucets, and handles needed to transform the kitchen from broken appliances if you want to be extra eco-friendly. Once you finish this DIY project, your child can pretend to bake, cook, and clean just like mom or dad! 

Snuggly Teddy Bears 

Skip polyester bears filled with ocean-damaging microbeads and make a stuffed animal yourself. Whether you’re a seasoned knitter or just looking for a new craft to pick up, a knitted bear can be an adorable toy for a child who wants something snuggly. This project is easy to customize with different materials, colors, and knitting patterns. 

Wool yarn is an environmentally sustainable material that is gathered without harming the animals, and it has the added benefit of being resistant to spills! For a green filling, consider using buckwheat hulls, kapok tree fiber, or unspun wool. Feel free to use this easy (and free!) pattern from Ravelry, or pick out your own to find one that suits your needs.

Paper Towel Marble Runs

All this neat DIY toy needs is some paper towel or toilet paper tubes. Once you cut them in half and tape them into a fun shape, they turn into a cool track to slide marbles and other materials along. As this fun video from Brick Building Kids shows, there are plenty of neat configurations for a marble run.

In addition to being a great way to recycle cardboard, it can also be a great learning activity! You can generate an early interest in physics and engineering throughout this entire project. We know it might seem like this toy is only going to keep your child occupied while they are building it, but you’d be surprised by how long it continues to entertain. With some toy cars, bouncy balls, or other materials, the marble run can turn into a busy racetrack that provides excitement for hours.

DIY Drum Kits

This is the perfect eco-friendly toy if you just finished painting the house and don’t mind having a bit of noise! To make the drums, you start by simply collecting wood, plastic, or metal gardening and paint buckets of different sizes. Then you and your child can clean them, let them dry, and decorate them with glitter and glue. If desired, you can even hang a few of the lids on a rope or stand to turn them into gongs and cymbals.

Arrange the drums on a flat surface, find a pair of sturdy sticks, and get ready to rock. Of course we know there are plenty of moms who might cringe at the idea of giving their kid anything noisy, but if you have a basement or big yard, this can be a fun project that helps get your child in touch with their musical side. 

Fabric Baby Books 

Say goodbye to torn covers and creased pages when you create a cute fabric book for your baby to play with. You can choose your material based on your preferred style of environmental consciousness. If your focus is using sustainable materials without chemicals or toxins, consider natural fabrics like unbleached linen or bamboo dyed with vegetable dyes. Moms who love reusing and recycling can cut up old shirts or sheets to make the baby books, which can also be a cute way to incorporate fabric from sentimental clothing. 

To make the baby book, start by choosing your design. This can be as simple as shapes and letters, or you can get fabric printed with cute pictures to cut out. Then you just need to cut your pieces to the right size and sew or glue them together. Check out this helpful guide from MySewBliss to get an idea of how to assemble the book as easily as possible.

These fun toy ideas can keep your kids entertained for hours, so you can get some much needed “Me Time.” Since they are eco-friendly, you don’t have to worry about exposing your loved ones to a bunch of chemicals or having the toys pile up in landfills later on. If you’ve tried any of these neat DIY ideas before, let us know how it went!

Author’s bio:

My name is Ivana Davies and I’m an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7 year old girl and a playful 5 year old boy. Since I didn’t have a clue about raising kids, I had to learn it all in a hard way. I managed to find so much information online, and that inspired me to turn to blogging to share my experiences and struggles as a mom. Being a mom is not easy. In fact, in can sometimes be pretty isolating. My blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, is here to help you connect with other moms, as well as to share mom hacks, information, and tools to help you on this parenting journey. You can catch up with us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Note from Little Family

I want to take a moment to thank Ivana at Find Your Mom Tribe, for crafting this post. It’s chalk full of awesome activities for the Little’s in your life, so hopefully you find these ideas helpful! If you have some time I highly suggest you venture over to her site Find Your Mom Tribe. She has excellent posts on parenting, pregnancy and even recipes!

Christmas Gift Bags

We are all about reducing waste whenever possible here at Little Family on the Big Lake. With the holiday season fast approaching, I have been thinking about Christmas morning. This year, Little One will be 18 months old, and we are so excited to be experiencing Christmas with him. I wonder what he is going to think of what Santa brought him and all the fun we will have…then I turn to the cleanup. Sure, watching Little One rip off wrapping paper may be fun, but I can’t help thinking about all the waste the wrapping paper has created. So this year, gone is the wrapping paper that only lasts a day. Introducing Christmas gift bags!

On average Americans go through 4 million pounds of wrapping paper each year. To put that into prospective, that is 5,787 football fields! Obviously, this is waste that can be greatly reduced. Gifts can easily be wrapped in alternative materials that could be recycled instead of wrapping paper that sits in a landfill. I have seen brown paper bags and newspaper be cute wrap ping options. But after a trip to Joann’s and seeing all the cute Christmas fabric I decided to go with Christmas bags. Brown paper bags or newspaper is still a good option for those larger packages, though.

There are of course some cloth fabrics bags available on line, you can find them here. However they are really easy to make!

Materials Needed

I got 100% cotton fabric from Joann’s’ and 100% recycled cotton yarn to be used as the draw string. These bags can be reused over and over again. We got a couple of prints that matched well and creates a cohesive look under the tree.

From one yard of fabric I got 8 bags that are around 15” * 10”. I did change sizes to bigger and smaller for different sized gifts.

Process

Step One

The first step in this process is to cut the bags to size. You will need two even pieces of fabric cut to your size of choice to make each bag. A fold in the fabric can be utilized as one of the sides, too. That way you would only need one piece of fabric.

Cutting Christmas bag fabric
Step Two

Next, finish the edges of the fabric to prevent unraveling. I choose to do this by using a serger, but a zig zag stich along the edge or a French seam could be utilized.

Finishing seams
Step Three

If using two pieces of fabric, stitch the two pieces of fabric together using right sides together along the long edge. If you are using one piece of fabric, start with this next step. Along the top edge fold the fabric down between ½” to 1 inch and press it with an iron. This will form a case for the yarn to go in to form the draw string. Stitch down the folded piece, back stitching at the start and end of the fabric.

Creating casing
Sewing casing
Step Four

Then line up the two pieces of fabric right sides together. Stitch along the edges of the fabric, avoiding the top of the bag and the casing that was created so the casing isn’t stitched closed. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and the end.

Christmas bag
Step Five

Next using a safety pin, tie the end of a piece of yarn. Cut the yarn a couple inches longer then the bag opening. Thread the safety pin through the case opening and push it through until the other end takes the yarn with it. Line the end of the yarn up and tie it off around 1 inch from the end. I like to fray the ends up to the knot.

Inserting draw string
Finished cloth Christmas bag

Repeat the steps for all other bags that you would like to make. These bags are a simple design and there fore can be made relatively quickly. If you can spare 10 minutes this is a great project!

I hope you liked this Christmas gift bag! I loved matching the fabrics and creating a cohesive look for under my Christmas tree. For close family I plan on using the Christmas gift bags, because I can probably get them back. For those other gifts, like the secret Santa at work, I plan on utilizing brown paper!

Have you thought about implementing Christmas gift bags too? Let me know in the comments below.

Check out my other zero waste swap here!

Beeswax Wraps

Plastic wrap is one of the easiest things to eliminate from your home on the journey to zero waste. When you really think about it, there are alternatives to everything that plastic wrap can be used for. One of the more obvious is just using containers instead. But for those items that need to be wrapped, try beeswax wraps.

There are so many beeswax wraps on the market, like these. They are a great choice, but did you know that you can make your own? I know, pretty cool! Instead of purchasing a pack of 3 for $18.00, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Also, you can use left over fabric that you already have…truly zero waste!

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart.

Materials Needed

Fabric – It’s best to use 100% cotton and a looser weave. Also, it works better with fabrics that are dyed instead of printed. I personally like gingham fabric.

Beeswax Pellets

Grape Seed Oil

Jelly Roll Pan

Oven

Pinking Shears

Parchment Paper

** I linked the supplies needed, but if you already have the supplies needed, use those instead of buying new.

Beeswax and grape seed oil

Process

First, press the fabric with an iron and cut it to size using the pinking shears. I normally use 12 inch by 12 inch squares but the beauty of this is that you can custom make any size you need.

Pre-heat the oven to 175* F.

Lay the fabric down on the jelly roll pan over a piece of parchment paper. It’s best if the fabric is completely flat. However, if the fabric is bigger then the jelly roll pan, then just fold the fabric over on itself.

Place 1-2 tablespoons (depending on the size of the fabric) of beeswax pellets on top of the fabric, spreading them evenly. Next, add 1/2 teaspoon of grape seed over the fabric.

Place the pan in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until all the beeswax is melted. Once done, take it out of the oven and check that the fabric is covered. A basting brush can be used to move the melted beeswax around. More beeswax can be added at this point if needed, and then pop it back into the oven. Once this is done, take the fabric off the jelly roll pan and gently wave it through the air until it’s dried This should only take a minute or two.

Repeat as needed.

beeswax wrap before heating
beeswax wrap after heating in oven

Care and Maintenance

Beeswax wraps can be used in place of what you use plastic wrap for. However, you shouldn’t use it for raw meat.

Beeswax wraps can be hand washed with soap and water, then laid to dry. The wraps are good for 6-12 months. When they are showing some signs of wear and tear, they can be placed in the oven again with more wax. If it gets to the point where they cannot be used anymore, they can be placed in the compost bin (I strongly recommend cutting the fabric into small pieces first.)

Notes

The beeswax is not easy to get off the jelly roll plan, so use an older pan or one designated just for this project.

I have tried the ironing method to making the wraps. Place the fabric with beeswax on a piece of parchment paper and fold the paper over the top. Next, iron until the wax is melted. This worked well to make the wraps but I did get beeswax all over my ironing board.

Beeswax wraps are a great zero waste switch. Have you tried them? Let me know your thoughts down below!

Next, check out my zero waste switch to produce bags.

DIY Chair Update

DIY Chair Update

If you have read my past posts, you probably know that I am all about the 5 R’s: recycle, reuse, reduce, rot, and refuse. We have been wanting to replace our dining chairs for a while, but didn’t want to purchase anything new. I wanted to reuse and recycle some chairs that needed a new home. I have been looking on my Facebook shop and swap page for a while now and finally found some. These were originally from IKEA (similar to these ones) but I got them from a community member whose daughter happened to go to the same day care as my son – gotta love small towns! These chairs were in somewhat rough shape when we got them but with some TLC, we made them much better! Continue reading for my DIY chair update.

Cleaning Them Up

The first thing we did when we got the chairs home was give them a good scrub with our DIY all-purpose cleaner. We also took the slip covers off the chairs.

I love the construction of these chairs. They have four screws on the bottom, which makes popping off the chair pads really easy.

Dirty Chair
DIY Chair Update, Dirty Chair Leg
DIY chair update, Cleaned Chair Leg

A couple of the slip covers were marked up and way beyond repair. With a toddler, I also didn’t want white chair covers for the reason you see below!

DIY chair update, Messy slip cover
New Chair Covers

So the chairs I got have slip covers on them. I wanted to replace them so off to the fabric store once again :). I found this lovely blue fabric in the outdoor section of the fabric store. It was 50% off and I also got 20% off at the register. Yay for sales!

Upon getting the fabric home, I ditched the idea of making slip covers for just reupholstering the chairs. I got extra fabric so if I ever need to update the chairs, I can. I also purchased outdoor fabric in a dark color. This will be more durable then the canvas fabric that was previously on the chair. They are also easier to wash off.

To upholster the chairs, I first removed the chair covers. I then laid the chair cushion on the fabric. Next I cut the fabric to have a 3 inch edge all the way around.

Working from the middle of the edge, I stapled the fabric to the underside of the chair. I did the middle on each of the 4 sides pulling the fabric tight. I then worked around the other sides. Next I finished the corners, pulling them tight so there were no folds.

Assembly

Finally I placed the chair pads on the chairs and flipped them upside down. I screwed the pad back on the the chair and just like that we had a finished chair.

This chair update was really quick and made a world of difference in our dining room. These chairs are sleeker then our old ones and take up way less space. With space at a premium in our small dining room, we improved our previous situation in a couple big ways.

Attaching the chair pad

So what do you think of this chair update? I think they turned out pretty good. I always encourage you to take a look at resources around you and see what you can reuse and turn into something new!

Next, check out my my post on Eco Friend Rules to Live By.

How To Find Stress-Free Kids Crafts

I have always loved crafting. As a kid I was doing projects literally every day! My mom had an in-home daycare and she did a fantastic job of facilitating fun craft projects focused on learning letters, science, animals, space, shapes, colors, the list goes on and on. I often reflect back on this time and now that I have my own Little One I think of how much work that must have been! Little One is not quite to the crafting stage yet and just thinking about it stresses me out a little bit. So in this post we explore a resource on how to find stress-free kids crafts.

That is why I was so happy to find Green Kid Crafts. They have taken the stress away from me having to figure out projects. They are a monthly subscription box that delivers age appropriate, education-focused, and Eco-friendly crafts right to your door step!

I don’t know about you but I am busy. Both my husband and I work, and between getting dinner ready, keeping the house semi clean, and trying to have quality time with Little One, it doesn’t leave much time for planning out craft projects.

Just so you know – read through to the end for a special offer!

**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As a Green Kids Crafts associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you buy from them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interest at heart

The Contents

Green Kid Crafts offers both subscription packages or single purchase boxes for the kiddos. All the boxes contain 4-8 projects and are developed around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

The boxes range from ages 2 years to 10+ years. I wanted to try one even though Little One is still a bit young for the boxes. So I got one and did all the crafts myself…just kidding. But I did get one for my niece in the 10+ category and she loved it!

Why Green Kid Crafts

There are many subscription boxes out there, so why this one? I personally gravitated toward this box for a number of reasons:

First, they are very Eco-friendly, as I try to be with all my crafting. Green Kid Crafts is actually a carbon neutral company! There will be more on that below.

Second, there are multiple activities in each box. I have checked out some other subscription boxes, and while very cool they often offer one or two activities. Green Kid Crafts offer 4-8!

Third, every box focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math! The boxes are developed by child development experts, and you can click this link to read bios of the child development team. I think it is so important to know that the projects are thoughtfully created by a team of experts.

The Company

As my husband and I keep considering the types of consumers we want to be, it is really important that we know where we put our money. That’s why we support companies like Green Kid Crafts – they hold and implement so many of the values that my husband and I believe in, too.

Green Kid Crafts was started by a mom wanting to encourage learning, development and creativity in her own kids’ lives. Mom power! She is an environmental scientist committed to creating a product that has as little impact on the environment as possible. They also have a partnership with the CarbonFund, and, like I mentioned before, is a carbon neutral company.

They use 100% recycled materials for all of their packaging, as well as implement sustainability into the contents of their boxes.

Green Kid Crafts partners with One Tree Planted, and they plant one tree for every online order! Click below to find out more.

The Blog

The Green Kid Crafts website has a blog that is packed full of fun activities to do with your kiddos. You can easily do some projects at home by following their clear directions. So when you are wanting to plan projects, Green Kid Crafts makes it really easy. Just go check out their blog page and pick from all of the wonderful activities they have available.

Special Offer

For a limited time you can get 60% off your first STEAM box! By clicking this LINK here. I will also receive some credit when you use this LINK, so thank you in advance for helping keep Little Family on the Big Lake up and running.

Or you can click the Order Now button to check out Green Kid Crafts subscriptions boxes. And don’t forget to use the code SUMMER19 and receive 50% off your first order. I am not sure how long this sale is running.

But to get the 60% off use my special link!

See their site for full promo code details and terms and conditions.

I hope you like the Green Kid Crafts boxes as much as I do. Let me know if you got a subscription box and what you thought of it in the comments below!

Next, check out my post on how to make a felt vegetable garden.

How To Make a Rope Shelf

As part of my small bathroom makeover Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 I wanted to put some shelving on the far wall. I had originally made box type shelving but didn’t like it. So, Plan B is this rope shelving. Honestly, I was surprised at how easy it was to make! So join me in my latest post on how to make a rope shelf.

This rope shelf turned out great and was made in an afternoon. Luckily I had extra wood and the rope was left over from another project. I used 1*8 pine and 1/2 inch sisal rope. All I needed to get were the hooks and the O rings for hanging up the shelf.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interests at heart.

Materials and Tools

Materials needed:

Tools needed:

  • Saw (electric or hand)
  • Sander and sand paper
  • Clips or heavy duty scissors
  • Drill and 5/8 inch paddle drill bit
  • Rag
  • Tape
  • Straight edge
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure
  • Level
  • Clamp
Step One

The first step is to cut the wood to size. I chose to make three shelves using a piece of 1*8 cut to 20 inches. The great part of this project is that the shelving unit can be very customized to meet the needs of the space. The depth, length, and number of shelves can all be changed. If the length gets to long, add extra rope in between for stability.

Step Two

The second step is to drill holes in each corner of the shelves. Measure one inch from each edge, and mark with a pencil. Using the drill and paddle drill bit, drill holes though each corner.

Pro tip – do not drill all the way through on the first side. Drill through enough that the drill bit has just broken though the bottom of the wood. Once this is done, flip the wood over and use the small hole to position the drill bit and continue from the other side. This will prevent the wood from splintering (see the second picture with my helper Samoa).

How to make a DIY rope shelving unit
Step Three

The next step is to measure and cut the rope. For this project, cut two lengths measuring 8 feet. I left plenty of extra rope because I would rather cut some away at the end then have too little to complete my project.

Next find the center of each rope. From the center, measure and tape the distance between each shelf. I used 12 inches between each. When I got it into the bathroom, I ended up wanting to change the distance. The great thing about this shelf is that it is easy to change.

Step Four

Before threading the rope through the wood, insert the O rings on to the middle of each rope. Next, line up the end of the tape with the top of the shelf. Then tie a knot under the shelf. Keep it fairly loose for now. The knot can be tightened when you’re checking that it is level during the hanging process.

How to make a DIY rope shelving unit
Step Five

Using a level and tape measure, determine where the hooks should be placed on the wall. Mark where the screws should be inserted with a pencil. Drill holes in the walls and insert dry wall anchors. Next, install hooks using the drill and screws. Hang the rope shelves using the O rings. Take the level and place it on each of the shelves, adjusting any of the knots that need to be adjusted and tightening the remaining knots. Finally, cut off the ends to the desired length and either rap the ends with string or fray the ends to the knot. Then decorate!

How to make a DIY rope shelving unit

I found this project to be pretty easy and it’s a great look for the bathroom!

What did you think of this post on how to make a rope shelf? Have you given it a try? Let me know in the comments below!

how to make a rope shelf

How To Make A Produce Bag

How to make a reusable produce bag.

One major but easy switch in helping us reduce our plastic use was switching to reusable produce bags. I found some great ones here on Amazon. What I liked about these ones are that they are 100% organic cotton. But, of course, instead of ordering them I thought to myself “I can make that!” So join me in this post on how to make a DIY produce bag.

This is a simple bag design with a draw string. I used some mesh that I had left over from a curtain panel that I got from IKEA. If you are an IKEA fan you have most likely seen these panels for about $4. I purchased these panels to decorate for my wedding and have been storing them for 5 years so I am happy to put them to good use now. While these bags that I made are not organic cotton, I feel better using something that I already had instead of ordering something new.

Any material could be used to make these bags, but a mesh like this or a sturdy cotton would be best. I used left over ribbon, shoe string, and cording for the draw strings. My goal was to reuse what I had, so although none of the bags match each other, that’s okay with me.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers’ best interests at heart.

Step One

Step one for making a DIY produce bag is to gather the following materials and supplies:

  • Fabric
  • Draw string
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Straight edge
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Safety Pin
Step Two

The second step is to decide how big the bag needs to be. I did a variety of sizes for different types of fruits and vegges. A large size would be 12 inches by 17 inches, medium would be 10 inches by 14 inches, and a small bag is equal to 8 inches by 12 inches. These are great sizes to start with but what’s great about making these yourself is that the bags can be customized to meet your needs.

Measure out the size needed for the bag. The width of the bag should double the size that the bag needs to be. So if making a 12 inch by 17 inch bag, cut a piece of fabric 24 inches by 17 inches.

Cut out the bag using the straight edge and a cutting tool.

Step Two, cutting DIY produce bag.
Step Three

Next, fold the top edge of the fabric down and pin it. Fold enough fabric over to contain the chosen draw string.

Then stitch down the folded fabric using a straight or small zig zag stitch, back-stitching at the beginning and end. When stitching mesh, go slow and try to keep the fabric from stretching.

Step Three sewing casing on DIY produce bag.
Step Four

Fold the fabric in half and pin along the open sides. Do not pin or sew over the area stitched for the draw string. Sew along the edge, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance and back-stitching at the beginning and end.

Step Five

Using the safety pin, pin it to the tip of the draw string. Feed the draw string through the pocket at the top of the bag. When the draw string is through, remove the safety pin. Tie the ends of the draw string together in a secure knot.

Step Five inserting draw string in to produce bag.

That’s it! You now have a draw string bag. This took me less then 10 minutes to make. I have now made 5 of these and take them to the grocery store every time we go. Our grocery store has a great foods section where I can get most of my produce without using plastic packaging! My next goal is to make a couple of bags that are solid fabric that I can utilize for the bulk food bins. We routinely get beans, rice, and seeds from the bulk bins and using jars can be challenging, so bags might be our perfect solution.

Check out my tips for zero waste shopping here.

Have you tried this how to make a DIY produce bag tutorial? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below!

Finish DIY produce bag.