Made by Kely & Dave

I don’t have many issues with the diy/interior design blogosphere…usually.  One issue I do have and have often though (and one huge reason why I blog), is seeing these beautiful rooms and then finding out that hundreds, and many times, thousands of dollars went into the before to make it the after.  While that’s all great and grand, it leaves budgeting folk like me hanging.  I mean, I have lots of before’s I’d love to stamp after’s but I definitely don’t have hundreds much less thousands of dollars to do so.

That’s why I love love love so very very much when I see beautiful rooms made beautiful on a dime (or a few…but you get my point).  It’s also why I tried not to sound too please-please-please when I asked my college friend Kely if I could share her recent makeover on the blog.  She and her husband, Dave, recently redid their daughters’ room for their eldest’s birthday and they did it on a budget…and it’s gorgeous!

On. A. Budget.  You can pick your jaw up off the table/floor now.

Here’s what the room looked like before:
Maybe you could argue that it had a ombre vibe going with the light blue paint meets blue sponge paint meets blue carpet but maybe you’d be arguing from the 1990’s.  Painting the walls was an easy and cheap update but swapping out that blue carpet was out of the question so Kely and Dave just worked with it; incorporating it into the room to make it feel like it belonged by adding some other, more 2015-ish blue accents.


And let’s talk about what I think might be my favorite part, the chandelier!  This is the boring fixture that was:11136886_827940195500_1363965512_n

But Kely spray painted a chandelier, up it went, and boom!  Amazing!


They also painted the long dresser and hung a gallery wall of sweet little frames over it. 11210083_833186691480_1283506594_n
Inside the frames are pieces of the blue fabric that Kely used in making the bed pillows…yes, she did.  She sewed the pillow covers and curtains.  She’s good.


Their daughter loves Edgar Degas’ work so one of his prints went up on the wall opposite the beds.11225773_833507308960_1836043015_n



Are you as amazed as me?  Seriously, I couldn’t stop looking at the after pictures when she sent them to me.  Beauty can be attained on a budget and here is some serious proof!

Let’s take a gander one more time because it’s just that good.kelyanddave


*heart-eyed emoji*


The State of Toddleropolis

Happy Monday ever-ee-buddy.  I know I’m a stuck-at-home, no wait, that came out wrong…stay-at-home mom and all so really I shouldn’t be that affected by Manic Monday and her infectious drab but, I am.  Every Monday I sit down and make a list of things I want to get done that week – which room I want to deep clean, which project(s) I want to finish, and what posts (lately it’s been post, singular) I want to get up on the blog.  That all really never amounts to much when I figure I have a whole seven days and roughly about 15+ hours of nap and bedtime to complete it all.  But then you throw in making sure we get in our one big grocery run, keeping the rest of the house fairly livable, and, oh yeah, making sure the three tots are busy, happy, and nourished.  Throw in the random incident here and there and sitting down to plan on Monday morning becomes sitting down to make a list and just getting really overwhelmed.  Why am I telling you all this?  I haven’t the faintest.  I guess I just thought you might all like to know what a ball of nerves I was this morning and hope that someone can relate even though most will probably just check off the “Sheena’s crazy” box.  I won’t deny it.

But, let’s move on, shall we?

I like to give updates on how our diy projects are hanging in there and so today, let’s zoom on in to two of our biggest diys to date.  These two:

First, let’s get down and dirty with an update on potty training

You might remember we used a three-day method to potty train the girls when they were 25 months old.  If you don’t, now you know and if you want to read all about it, you can check out this post.  Well, we went cold turkey with diapers day and night and while we considered the girls officially potty-trained after those three grueling days, they still had accidents.  Daytime wasn’t bad and rarely did the girls have accidents then, but night-time?  We were averaging almost 50% there for the first few weeks.  Both girls’ bed-wettings got fewer and fewer over those first few weeks though and a month out, they were waking up dry every day.  Actually, Cecilia has gone every night since then with a dry bed but Seraphia is another story.  A month after training, she was doing great.  She’d maybe wet the bed once a week.  Maybe.  And then January rolled around and she started wetting the bed every night.  This is after three whole months of barely ever wetting the bed.  We were dumbfounded.  There weren’t any big changes happening in our family, no traumatic events to speak of, and no difference in personality.  We finally caved after about two weeks of changing sheets every night and bought pull-ups.  She’s been in them ever since and ever since she’s woken up with a wet one, with the exception of maybe ten nights.   It’s just so bizarre.  Please, someone tell me what the deal is?  The only thing we’ve thought to blame it on is her very heavy sleeping.  But did that heaviness just increase one night?  Doubt it.  Just, seriously, dumbfounded.

Whatever the reason, potty-training in three days worked and let me tell you how nice it’s been to just have to worry about one in diapers.  I do still wipe the girls after they’re done doing their thing only because I don’t feel like they do a good enough job but I’m thinking we’ll probably start teaching them that in a few months. 

Side note:  I mentioned above that we ended up putting S in pull-ups overnight to curb the sheet cleaning and, while it’s been great to not have to clean sheets, I feel like they inhibit the overnight learning process.  When we ask her if she’s “dry” while she obviously wearing a wet pull-up, she says “yes” because she can’t feel the wet.  Needless to say, we’re not big fans of using pull-ups to train and we’d encourage the cold turkey method any day! 

Next up, toddler beds.  We’ve finally made the switch.  We went to Denver a month ago and, knowing that the girls wouldn’t be sleeping in cribs there, we took the opportunity a month before that to convert the girls’ cribs to beds so they could get accustomed to the change.

Well, we’re still getting accustomed.  While they sleep great in their beds, they don’t go to sleep so great in their beds.  We’ve moved their beds every which way in their room and still, they’d be up and playing .057 seconds after we laid them down for the night.  To be expected?  Probably.  A hindrance to our post-bedtime life?  Surely.  Should I stop whining about it?  Definitely.  So goes life, right? 

We ultimately decided to keep their beds open towards each other so they’d be close minus any crib railings since it didn’t matter where in the room the beds were and just because we love that they can look at each other at night.  For a week after the switch, we’d just let them play until they finally stayed in bed after the 40th time we went in and put them back there but they were staying up hours after their bedtime with little to no intention of ever sawing logs.  Their play kitchen is really the only toy in their room and even when we removed the play food and utensils, there was still invisible food and utensils courtesy of little imaginations.


So, for the past several weeks, we’ve just been taking turns sitting in their room, between their beds, rubbing their arms or heads or backs (whichever floats their boats) until shut-eye is attained.  Thankfully, Sebastian has no qualms about being set in his crib and going to sleep on his own (as of two weeks ago) but before that, it was a little rough balancing the three kids by myself at sleep times…a little rough as in fairly traumatic for mom here.  It was either, leave the youngest to cry himself to sleep while I coaxed the girls to sleep or lay with Sebastian until he fell asleep while the girls roamed free (and usually loud) in their room during naptime.  Hello rock.  Hello hard place. 

At first it was really hard for me to sit in their room with them during that precious chunk of time I had to myself everyday, but now I love it.  I love sitting in there with them and rubbing their heads; having some quiet time all to ourselves.  No matter how rough mornings are with them, being able to sit with them while they are nice and sweet and relaxed is so redeeming.  And the view ain’t too bad either:
Unconsciously, I think I hung a huge gallery wall on the wall opposite the crib for mine and Anthony’s sake.  Our eyes needed anything but a blank wall.  :)

Last on the agenda, the “adult table”.  We just moved the girls from their high chairs to the dining table.  I know, we’re a little late to that game.  Cleaning up the food messes one kid makes is tough enough; add two more and it’s even more fun.  (You moms of even more kids than me are my heroes!)  High chairs are great at containing messes to one area so we milked those as long as we could.

But, surprisingly, moving the girls to the table has been super easy.  Nothing like what I thought.  I pictured smeared food all over the table and upholstered chairs, puddles on the floor, and crumbs in every single crevice.  I have Nuby and Vero Chef to thank for the ease, of that I’m sure. 

Right before we made the high chair-to-table switch, Nuby sent us plates, cups, and utensils from their Flower Child line (link is our affiliate link but you can also find them at Buy Buy Baby, Kohl’s, and, online and/or in store).  The day they came and after I saw how cute they were, I was so excited to give them to the girls to use.  But I didn’t because bribery is the name of the game folks.  I told the girls that if they ate at the big table and didn’t make big messes, that I had a surprise for them.  A couple of days later, after several meals at the big table without incidents, the girls got their Flower power.
I love everything about their new stuff!  The utensils have bigger handles and they’re not too long – two critical things I look for in kiddie utensils.  The plate has an edge on it that keeps food on the plate and not on the placemat/floor/table/clothes…  And the cups, they’re no-spill and they really mean it.  They’ve been dropped (and thrown) multiple times with nary a spill in sight.  On top of that, they are so cute!  What else could you want?  :)

I also bought these baking mats from Vero Chef (affiliate link) off Amazon to use as placemats.
Our table has two seams where a leaf is inserted and one of those seams happens to be right where the girls eat.  The thought of getting food stuck down in that seam is not a clean one, so the mats have been amazing to prevent that and overall to keep the girls places clean.  I ordered these baking mats because I wanted something inexpensive and the only regular toddler placemats I could find that fit my silicone placemat wishes were $10+ each.  These mats come in a pack of two and the pack cost us $13.  And they are seriously awesome.  We highly recommend them if you’re in the market for toddler placemats.  They stick to the table since they’re silicone and hold utensils and dishware in place.  Also, they’re super easy to clean (dishwasher-safe when a simple rinse won’t do!) and when we want to store them, they just roll up.  Ten thumbs up from the Tobins!

Goldfish anyone?

On another note, they say that mannerisms are inherited.  Funny though because I’m pretty sure that when Anthony and I eat, we look graceful and becoming.  So, I’m not positive where these -isms have trickled down from:
 IMG_6055 IMG_6057

And then there’s this kid:
I’ll have more on him one of these days, including how he needed me or Anthony to lay on the floor next to his crib to fall asleep (which he just grew out of thanks to this toy [affiliate link], stolen from the girls!) and how for a week during that time I built a fake “me” with pillows and blankets to lay on the floor and then skipped out when he wasn’t looking.  Worked like a charm.  


Disclaimer:  We don’t endorse lying to your kids but a little deception with the best of intentions is never really that bad……………right?  ;)

Pom Poms + A Lamp Shade

Right before Sebastian was born, Anthony and I took a day-time date out to run some errands while our parents watched the twins.  I’ve mentioned this before and usually it wouldn’t be worth mentioning at all except for the fact that, during that particular date we made a spontaneous stop at our favorite discount store, Dirt Cheap, where we were lucky enough to score two bargain buggies.  You can read more about those here.  Well, in one of those buggies was a stack of something like 22 lampshades, all originally from Target.  They were all bedecked with the same floral pattern but were all brand, spanking new.  I gave away most of them to family but kept three for a rainy day project.  Yesterday was that day (even though it barely rained).

Here are two of the shades:
The third will make for another project another day.

The plan?  To pimp these two out with some pom pom trim and sell them.  I’d keep them but we have no place for them!  Sad, I know!

Here’s how I did it and how you can too.
 pom pom trim   shade

First, the supplies.  You’ll need a scissors, a hot glue gun and sticks, some pom pom trim (I got mine on sale at JoAnn Fabrics), and a lamp shade.  IMG_9345
To figure out how much pom pom trim you’ll need, just slip a measuring tape around the base (or top if you’d prefer to do that!) and write that down.

To start, I took one end of my pom pom trim and glued it right over the vertical seam of the lampshade.  You’ll want to make sure you start/end at this seam so that your ends aren’t noticeable when you’re finished.  They’ll just be hanging out at the back of the lamp shade.

Then, working in small sections, I lined the base of the shade with a strip of hot glue and pressed the trim to the glue.
Working with hot glue is bittersweet because, while it gives instant gratification in that it dries super fast, you also have to be really careful when you’re using it because, if you don’t move fast enough, it could dry before you’re ready.  That’s why working in small sections is key.

Also, I made sure to carefully line up the bottom of the trim with the bottom of the lamp shade.  I wanted everything nice and straight and even.
One reason I saved this simple project for nap time was because I know I’d have had some swerving lines if I’d had distractions courtesy of my toddlers.  ;)  Joking but serious.

Once I reached the shade seam again, where I had started, I cut my trim past the last pom pom that overlapped the start of the trim.  So, cut it past the last pom pom but right before the next pom pom so that you’ll have a pom pom plus a little of the trim at the end.  (Sick of reading “pom pom” yet?)

Like this:
You don’t want to cut your trim so that it just meets the start because then you’ll be able to see the ends that could fray.

Once you’ve cut, add a dab of hot glue on that little bit of trim you have at the end and fold it over like this:
Now your edge will look finished and you can then just glue it right over the rest of the trim.  IMG_9352
There might be a couple of pom poms closer to each other than the rest like on mine, but no one will notice since they’ll be at the back of the shade by the seam.

I went back and forth between gluing the trim onto the outside vs. the inside of the bottom of the shade but in the end I went with the outside because the pom poms didn’t hang off their trim far enough to fully peek out from under the shade.  But, either way would be great if you have the right trim!  I also struggled with what color trim to go with but I won’t go into that because #firstworldproblems

With the leftover six inches of trim, I whipped up a little bracelet for the girls (whipped up meaning I hot glued the two ends together).  They were overjoyed…probably more because their naps were over but hey.
I wish I’d have had enough for two but I guess I’ll use it as a lesson in sharing, which they (don’t) excel at at the moment.  ;)

I’ve got another lampshade project up my sleeve that I’ll be sharing soon but until then, have you ever refashioned a lamp shade before?  Do share!  Thrift stores are usually stocked with them, making them an easy makeover target!


Happy humpday!

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P.S.  This isn’t my first time in the lamp shade arena.  :)  Check out these past lamp shade projects:
recovering a lamp shade with burlap
gussying up the girls’ lamp shade with crayon
adding a lamp shade to our master bedroom fan (a semi-fail)
adorning a shade with diy fabric flowers

A Basket Case

I feel like this might be a little random but it still fits into the diy/home category that I love so I’ll just go with it and hope that maybe it helps somebody out there.  Coco-fiber baskets.  Ever heard of them/seen them?  You might’ve if you’ve been a reader of this blog for awhile.  They’re what we made the chandelier in our entry way out of.

They’re metal baskets made to hold plants and they’re called coco-fiber baskets because they’re lined with this thick, stringy material made out of coconut shells.  Do you care?  Probably not.

Well, here’s the thing.  I bought two for the above chandelier months before we even made the thing, misplaced them, thought I probably returned them, and then found them stashed away months after the chandi was made.  I still ended up returning one but the other I hung on our porch. 

IMG_5845 (1)

They look so much better than those hunter green or black plastic numbers that hanging plants come in these days and they’re a pretty cheap upgrade.  This one in particular only cost about $6. 

So, like I said, I hung it.  But before I did, I had to do a little research because I had no clue how to plant something in these.  Did I need to do something special because of the coco liner?  Could I use regular ‘ole dirt?  Will any plant work?

Turns out, they’re really no different than those regular plastic hanging baskets other than the liner, which keeps everything in place and in the basket.  Except, I read that plants planted in them need to be watered more often because the coco liner is not very good at holding water.  Since remembering to water plants is not my finest attribute, that doesn’t bode well for anything I bury in that basket.

Am I boring you yet?  Good.

As I usually do when faced with a conundrum of any sort, I put on my thinking beret and came up with this.  And it worked because my plant thrived all summer last year.  Here it is.

A plastic bag strategically placed to hinder water loss and harbor water retention…aka stop water from leaking out right after it was poured in.

Here’s my basket, all ready to find it’s plant mate:

After cutting off the handles of a plastic grocery store bag and cutting a few small slits in the bottom of it for drainage, I laid it in my basket like so:
Once I had it in the basket, I pulled the sides of the bag over the basket.  But since the edge of my basket was wider than my bag, I cut a couple of slits down opposite sides of the bag to make it fit.

Then I put a little bit of dirt in the bottom of my basket; just enough to set the roots of the plant atop it so the top soil of the plant would be slightly lower than the outer rim of my basket.

Then I set my plant in…
[I have no clue what the name of this plant is, do you?  All I know is that I bought it on clearance at Lowe’s for $3.]

…and filled the rest of my basket with dirt, making sure it was nice and packed around my plant.IMG_4955

Last, I went in and trimmed the excess plastic sticking up and over my basket edge so that it wouldn’t be noticeable while the basket was hanging.  A good watering and that basket/plant pair was set.

All of the above pictures were taken last year when I first tried the plastic bag trick, if you will, and that plant lived until freezing temperatures hit the South last December and I watered that thing maybe twice a week (even though it was probably closer to once a week).  This year I planted a fern in the basket and it’s doing just peachy (see the very first pic above).  I planted it about a month ago when it was just a wee thing and, well, it’s still just a wee thing but I have high hopes that it will grow and that maybe I’ll be able to keep it alive for a couple of years.  Time will tell.

So, all this is to say that if you’ve also been let down by the lack of aesthetics of the generic plastic hanging basket, set your bar basket higher because coco baskets are where it’s at…coco baskets plus a plastic bag.

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I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Anthony has his first whole day off in something like three weeks tomorrow so we are going to town on the to-do list – powerwashing, hanging new blinds, and working on these.  What’s in your weekend plan? 

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all you babies mamas out there!

Sharp Corners

Yesterday afternoon.  Lazy Sunday.  The kids were asleep and Anthony was outside primping the yard when I walked into our eat-in kitchen and beheld it.  The light.  It was amazing.  Our kitchen/dining area is the brightest room in the house as it is with all the windows it boasts but at that moment the light was brighter than any light I’ve ever seen stream through the windows.  And then I found out why.  We found a big, round pool for the kids at Dirt Cheap last week and set it up Saturday.  Well, Anthony had drained it while he was outside and turned it upside down to dry.  The bottom of the pool is stark white and it was laying right by the kitchen windows, reflecting the bright sunshine into the room.  Now I know why photographers use those light reflector things.  It makes all the difference in the world.

So, I took advantage of the light and got out our camera.  The funny thing is, I had just completed a five-minute project earlier in the day that I had planned to write about today involving the window treatments in there but I didn’t plan on getting whole room shots, until I saw the light.  #literally

[No filter.  No edit.  No nothing.]

(And you can bet that I will be Anthony will be carting that pool around to the outside window of every room I photograph from this day forward.)

But anyway, let’s get to that little project quick.

Three and half years ago we went from this...
kitchen1 (14)

…to this…
…just by adding some diy-ed window valances.
Granted my after is even better because of the incredible lighting but you get the picture, right?  Also, might I mention that the after was taken yesterday (you probably gathered that) and I haven’t changed a single thing at this view besides adding a couple of vases?  I find that a tad comical considering my affinity for decorating interiorly.  ;)  But, adding window treatments makes a huge difference, no?

Well, if you’ve ever made those valances yourself or maybe are planning to one day, this one’s for you.

Back when we made them, Anthony ironed corner creases in them so that they’d have that slight box look.  Well, over time, the creases started to uncrease.  You can see what I’m talking about here:
No more sharp corner.

So, to remedy the situation and get those corners back, I simply stuck a sewing pin through the hem at the bottom corner of each valance that went right through that corner.
I lifted the valance up and stuck the pin in so that the point went towards the end of the valance.  I made sure I stayed within the hem so that, besides the plastic ball top, the needle wasn’t visible outside the valance.  Make sense?

Then I let the valance down, grabbed the ends of the pin from outside of the valance, and bent it at the corner. IMG_9202

So now my pin was bent at a 90 degree angle and holding my corner so that it’ll now stay a corner…forever…or at least until I want to switch fabrics.

It was an easy five-minute project.

And that’s that.

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On another note, I’ve really been itching to replace our dining room table.  We bought it at a thrift store for $100 right before we were married and I love it, but a lighter wood, maybe a round table, and/or something I can paint are in the forecast.  I’m going to put an ad up on a local secondhand sales sight to trade with someone and see how far it gets me.  I’ll keep you updated like I do.  :)

[Click here to see how we reupholstered the dining chairs and here to get the deets on the frame collage.]

I scored those gold hex vases at a yard sale last weekend!  They’re Nate Berkus!  I know what you’re thinking!  Why on earth would anyone yard sale those?!  No clue, my friends.  But, I’m happy they did.

This room has come a long way from it’s sage + brown beginnings.  Ohhh yes it has.  See?
Before (previous owner’s decor):
dining b4


And chances are it’ll probably look a little different the day we decide to sell.

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P.S.  If you wondering how/why our kitchen/dining area look so clean with three toddlers running around, let me just tell you how thankful I am that the camera doesn’t pick up the goldfish crumbs littering the second chair to the right or the top of the high chair.  And speaking of the high chair and booster seat in the background, I almost moved them for these shots but then I thought I’d leave them so you get the full feel of how they’re incorporated into the design of the room.  Kidding.  They totally hamper the design but it’s ok.  That is our life.  *wink