Monday, March 24, 2014

Custom chair slip cover in a day

Custom chair slipcover in a day; yes please and thank you...

Sometimes it's a great debate about whether to buy something new or to go through the effort to make it myself. This was one of  those times when I decided to put the time into something homemade.
 I bought this chair about 5 years ago at a yard sale, and it has been so well-loved the vinyl began to tear away. I debated for a long time about whether to toss & replace the chair, reupholster it, or simply cover it up. Duct tape can only hold for so long.
 A new chair like this would run me $90 - $300; I figured let's see what $60 and an afternoon with the sewing machine can do.
  Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
  Sorry, no tutorial about how I made this one. This is my third attempt at a custom slip cover, so I'm not confident enough to offer advice. Let it suffice to say that a pattern was cut from tissue paper, followed by lots of pinning and unpinning to get it right.
   This will make a cozy spot in our office for study or prayer time.
  And it turns out that I had a lot of fabric left over, so we'll be able to make something else to match!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On Babywearing and Corrie ten Boom

As a babywearing mom, I really appreciated coming across this little gem during my devotional time this morning. I've been reading Corrie ten Boom's book Tramp for the Lord which she wrote about her life & travels and her relationship with the Lord. In a chapter entitled, "A Place to Be, " she is telling the reader about how the Lord has a place just for us.

"I was born prematurely and my skin was blue. Uncle Hendrik, Tante Jan's husband, looked at me and exclaimed, 'I hope the Lord will quickly take this little creature to His home  in Heaven.'...But my parents surrounded me with love and care. However, since there were no incubators in those early days, I cried much from the cold. Tante Anna, knowing I missed the warmth of the special place under my mother's heart from which I had come, rolled me in her apron and tied me against her stomach. There I was warm and quiet."

"Many years later I was in a primitive house in Africa...Walking into the kitchen, I saw an African woman with the white missionary child strapped tightly to her back....'Hey, how nice she has your baby on her back,' I said to the missionary mother....The white mother smiled and said, 'The baby was so fearful this morning. All she would do was cry. When the African cook came to the house she took one look at the baby, and said, "'Ah, misseee, give me the baby. I will keep her quiet." So she strapped her on her back and the baby has slept all morning while the cook has been busy around the kitchen.'"

...."In all these years that I have been a 'tramp for the Lord,' I have often been afraid. But, in those moments I have always reached up and touched the hem of Jesus' garment. He has never failed to wrap me close to Him. Yet, I still long for that time when I shall have a mansion in Heaven."

Babywearing parents might giggle a little about the apron. Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch woman born in 1892 at a time when babywearing was at low point--it just wasn't done much in Western culture. I'm certain that she must have seen many mothers wearing their babies throughout her travels all over the world. And I'm certainly glad that babywearing is "in vogue" again in the U.S.

What a wonderful picture of our Father God.

Parents who wear their babies regularly know how soothing it is for the child. Wearing a newborn on your chest has been shown to regulate a baby's heartbeat and temperature. Babies who are worn by their parents...they simply cry less! And I believe with all my heart that Jesus has a place just like that for us. We can place ourselves tightly against the very heart of God--a place we can go to whenever we call upon him in prayer--and he will calm us.

P.S. I highly recommend Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Help with Organizing: Instructions, Product Warranties, and Receipts

If you're like me, you've struggled with what to do about all those instructions, warranties, and receipts that came with the important items in your home.
Have you ever thrown them out, only to have problems with the product down the road?
Find yourself wishing you had not tossed that warranty into the recycle bin?
Fumbling with your digital camera and can't get the settings right without the owner's manual?
Have you actually held on to all those papers, but they're cluttering up your home & you never know where to find them?!

Here's the inexpensive solution we've been using at our house for about 3 years, and it has worked rather well for us.

File bin or filing cabinet
Manila file folders
Hanging files
Plastic food storage bags (quart or gallon)
Felt tip pen

We put all the important papers related to products we own, as well as backup software discs and receipts for the really important stuff in a file bin. These files can be organized & labeled by the room you keep the item in, what type of product it is, or you can even have a separate folder labeled for each item and alphabetize them.

Here's how we've organized our bin:
Camping and Recreation Gear
Baby Gear
Pet Gear
Kitchen Tools/Cookware
Kitchen Appliances
Other Small Appliances
Computer and Software
Computer Accessories
Other Small Electronics

You can label some folders this way and start using this system at your house for the cost of a quick trip to the dollar store!
Choose to specify your folders however you like specific to your situation. For example, if you have a large collection of firearms, you might sort them by pistols, shotguns, and rifles. (By the way, it is important to have written down somewhere the serial numbers in case of theft).

Staple receipts and product warranties that go with the same item together. Plastic storage bags are good if you have a tiny part, disc, or tiny slip of paper that you need to hang on to. These can also be labeled with a felt tip pen.

It's a good idea to photocopy receipts onto a standard sheet of paper, but since manufacturers may require an original receipt in order to service or replace your product you should staple them together and keep both.

Consider carefully what should and should not go in your bin, so you do not hold on to mere clutter. Do you really need to save the instructions for that basic $9 drip coffee maker that does not even boast an auto function or clock? You may not need to save a warranty for an item that was very inexpensive to begin with, if you're sure you would not try to contact the manufacturer if it were to break. Remember, the point is try to clear your home of clutter.

Examples of some other things that should not go in this bin might include instructions for using your jumper cables (unless you're a mechanic, keep them in the car!), or instructions for setting up your tent (keep it with the tent!).

This system should work well for most households, but only if you maintain it.
  • Put the instructions in the file as soon as you've finished using them. 
  • Clean out the file bin at least once year, tossing anything that goes with...say...and appliance you no longer own. I try to clean out all my files between the New Year and tax season.
Now, hopefully next time the washing machine breaks down, or you need to re-program your remote, you'll know just where to look.

A place for everything, and everything in it's place. Now doesn't that feel better? Good luck, y'all!