When I picture the windows open in a room, I imagine warm sunshine streaming through as the wind gently blows the curtains. Fresh air hits me and I am compelled to take a deep breath. The refreshing energy fills my soul. Of course there are only certain seasons when it's practical to open the windows, but my goal is to fill my heart, home, and family with a beautiful serenity that always makes me think the windows are open!

Thursday, January 21

Little Boy’s Denim Shaker Peg Strip and Basket

 shaker peg rail 1 b

I’ve been working on turning our guest room into a cute cheery girl room for lil sis, since she will soon need to vacate the nursery  for the new baby.  I’ve been taking my time doing it, but I think spending so much time on it has left big brother feeling a little jealous.  So I wanted to do a quick project for his room that would make him feel special, without taking too much time away from my little girl’s room makeover.
A while back I had seen a Shaker peg strip in a book at the library (sorry I don’t remember which one) and always liked the look.  I remembered it and thought it would be a perfect addition to his room.  After looking around for more inspiration, I found the pic below and decided this denim look was a technique I wanted to try.  Now, I can’t for the life of me find it back to give credit where credit is due.  If you see this anywhere, PLEASE let me know!


So… wanna know how cheap I really am?  Hubby had bought some lumber for a project he’s been wanting to do.  It’s been months now and he still hasn’t found the time to work on it, so I “borrowed” the two 1 x 3 x 8’ boards he had and went to work.  Hey, if he ever gets around to doing his project, he can buy some more wood, right?  He loves me!!

And I picked up some pegs from Joann's... couple bucks.

First I used a miter saw to make 45 degree cuts on the 1x3 pieces where I needed them to fit the length of one wall and a short span on the adjacent wall.  If you need more info about how to do this let me know.
Then I drilled holes part way through the boards every few feet for the pegs.  Put some wood glue in the hole and pushed the pegs in.  I made sure when I drilled the holes that the pegs would have a snug fit and the glue is for extra security.
drilled hole

Now the painting can begin!  This is the paint and glaze I used.  I used a lighter blue for the base and a darker blue glaze for the denim fabric effect.


After a quick sanding I put on a base coat of Valspar “Blue Eyes” Interior Satin.  Make sure you use a satin finish!

Blue Eyes Label

I wasn’t really concerned about perfect coverage or brush strokes.  Just get some color down on the board and pegs.

base coat2

After that dries, move on to the glaze.  I had Lowes tint a can of glaze with Valspar “Indigo Streamer”.

Glaze Label

For the first coat of glaze, only run the brush in one direction across the width of the board.  Make sure you don’t put it on too thick.  You want to see the base coat through the brush strokes.

1st coat glaze

After this has dried, do the second coat of glaze in the other direction across the length of the board to create the look of fabric.
 2nd coat glaze

To hang the boards on the wall, I used my handy-dandy DeWalt  brad nailer (I love DeWalt tools!) and enlisted some help from the hubs to hold the boards in  place.  I chose to put the boards above “normal” person height to keep heads from running into the pegs sticking off the wall.
My son can’t reach the pegs yet, but when he’s older he can.  And for now it can hold things I’d like to hang up.  I mean really… he’s three… what would he hang up anyway… his sole purpose in life right now is to leave everything possible laying all over the floor! LOL!

finished rail1
finished rail2 shaker peg rail 1

To tie into the new denim theme in the room, I then used the same painting technique to turn this basket

original basket

into this…

finished basket

It’s a great place for him to store books, toys, etc.
Now back to my little girl’s room…  some day I’ll finish and reveal that makeover to you too!


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Monday, January 18

A little dollar store organization

My craft room has been in serious need of some organization.  I still have a ways to go, but wanted to share this cheap organization idea I used.


At the dollar store I picked up some colorful baskets to store ribbons, fabric paint, etc.  The shelf was made by salvaged pieces from an old house… as in FREE.  :-)
I just painted the piece of wood and the rod and put them on the metal brackets.

green basket
blue basket

These two plastic baskets hold scrap fabric and jelly roll fabric.

purple wire basket and ribbon

Rolls of ribbon hang directly on the rod as well as in the basket.

two wire baskets  

These baskets hold odds and ends like buttons, craft paint, scrap book scissors, pipe cleaners, etc.
Useful and handy, yet out of the way and no longer cluttering my work area!


Friday, January 15

Fixing the Velcro/Aplix on your cloth diapers for good!!

With my third child due very soon, Baby has been on the brain.  I decided to share my cheap and easy remake of my cloth diapers that got worn out after about a year of use with my two older kiddos.

I have about 33 bumGenius™ 3.0 one-size pocket diapers that were supposed to last me forever.   Ha!!
Did you know that hook and loop tape wears out with use and many, many, MANY washings?  Well, now I do too.  And the thought of spending hundreds of dollars right now on a new set makes my pregnancy heartburn and nausea come back.  (I hesitated for two seconds about whether or not to buy some really cheap ones from China. Uh, no!)  So when I saw other companies and WAHMs making their diapers with snaps, I thought DUH!
diap 01

Here are all the supplies I need.
1. old diaps with worn out hook/loop tape
2. seam ripper
3. snap pliers (or press) for plastic snaps
4. plastic snaps
I also used these to make things easier, but could have done without.
5. awl (came with my snap pliers)
6. ruler
This is so easy you won’t believe it.
     Note:  If you don’t have a snap press or snap pliers specifically for plastic snaps you will need to order one online.  The ones at local JoAnn-type stores don’t work on plastic snaps.  I got my pliers from Kamsnaps.com with 200 snaps for about $35.  I don’t recommend paying over $100 for the snap press unless you plan to use it a lot.

First use your seam ripper to take off the wide strip of loop tape across the top of diaper and the two tabs of hook tape that normally would affix to it.  (After I get it started with the ripper, I find it easy to gently rip it off with my hands.)
diap 02
diap 03

Now, of course, since I’m a perfectionist (yes I know I have issues) I’m gonna spend a little extra time pulling all those little threads out.  They will probably come out in the wash, but I can’t wait that long!! :-)
diap 04

Next, I mark about 8 places across the diaper where I want to put snaps.  I start on either side of the middle and measure out about every 1-¼ inches.
diap 05

Then, using either the seam ripper or an awl, I poke holes through the top layer of fabric where I’ve marked for the snaps… (notice my hand is up inside the diaper pocket) and push the cap piece into the hole.  While my hand is in there I do all of them at once.
 diap 06
diap 07

Placing the socket piece onto the cap, I make sure the pliers is centered and squeeze! TaDa!!!
diap 08

Now do this with the rest of them.
diap 09

Last step is to add the stud part of the snap to the two tabs using the same method.
diap 10

Before and after….
diap 11diap 12 

Hope this is useful to some of you. Or maybe it will inspire you to make some other baby items using snaps. They really are super easy!!!


Wednesday, January 13

Throw Open the Windows... Let's get started!!!

Welcome to Throw Open the Windows!!!

Everything in my life right now tells me that now is really NOT the time to start my journey into blogland.  After all, I’m due to deliver our third child in just a few weeks and many of you know how time consuming this period is.  But the truth is I want to do this for me.  I have such a long to-do list of projects (some of which have been inspired by other blogs I’ve read) and I need a place to organize my ideas and projects.  I also figure that if I start a blog, you guys will help keep me accountable for finishing the projects I start.  Am I the only one who’s bad about that?!?!

So even if it’s a slow start… it’s my start.  I hope you will join me on my journey as I share with you some of the DIY projects, crafts, and family fun that go on in our home. And I hope you can take away with you an inspiration and a sense of peace when you leave.



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