Category Archives: Projects

Project Elephant Update: A Slipcovered Ottoman

Well, to say that I’m a bit off the pace for finishing my (admittedly ambitious) Project Elephant list from last week in time for this weekend’s party for the twins’ birthday is a weeeee bit of an understatement.

But it hasn’t been for lack of trying.

I blame all of these small human that live with me. If only they would stop making extravagant demands for things like food and water and diaper changes, I would be free to cross things off my list at will.

I guess that’s what I get for birthing 6 adorable, fun, maddening, needy, awesome children.

Anyhoo, I have been plugging along steadily when I’m able and have found that–just like my desire for productivity comes in waves throughout the year–so my actual productivity waxes and wanes from day to day.

Monday? AH-mazing! If I could manage to do what I did Monday–homeschool, cook, clean, project, read to my girls, feed/play with a baby, exercise–all with a minimum of fussiness and fighting and a maximum of energy, I would probably opt to play that day on repeat–Groundhog Day style–just to experience again and again the feeling of my head hitting the pillow that night with a thwump of satisfaction and accomplishment.

But then, there was yesterday, which felt like jogging through quicksand. As soon as I got everybody fed, another round of “HUNGRY!” cries began. Which meant another round of cleaning afterward. I hauled almost everything out of the craft room, but that just means that our big room, which started the day clean, now looks like Hobby Lobby’s fabric department got in a cat fight with their scrap-booking aisle.

And there were entire hours fraught with fussy meltdowns over scenarios such as: toddler asks for juice, mother hands her juice, toddler proceeds to wail as if mother has served her a scorpion with a side of razor blades.

I literally got into bed last night thinking: “Well, I hardly sat down, but I’m not sure what I accomplished or where the hours went.”

ANYhoo, as I comfort myself with the (quite possibly faulty) reassurance that, “It gets worse before it gets better,” I thought I’d show one thing I did manage to check off the list.

And that would be this recovering this sad little ottoman.


{Pardon the ugly yellow pic; I completely forgot to take a before pic when I had light}

I think I bought it at Ross for something like $30 4ish years ago. Clearly, it has been well-loved by my kids. And their apple juice.

I’ve been meaning to make a slipcover for it for aaaaaages, but it just never was a priority until I finally plunked it on my Project Elephant list (there’s the beauty of PE for you).

Do you remember my lampshade recovers from a little while ago? Well, I had juuuuuuuuust enough of that gorgeous Waverly Santa Maria fabric left (seriously, it was sufficient by maaaaaybe an 1/8″) to make my slipcover, so, using a modified version of this super-simple tutorial, I whipped up this cover, which took it from sad, stained, and lumpy to this:


I reeeeeeeally like it.

I’m not usually into matchy-matchy fabrics in living spaces, but I like that I can move the ottoman around the room so that it plays more or less off of the mirroring pattern in the lampshades.

And now I’m off to attempt to stuff all of my craft supplies in a somewhat organized manner back into the craft room (which, considering that it was piled practically to the ceiling and is clearly insufficient for the amount of stuff I have, could be…interesting).

Happy Hump Day, y’all! If you have any trouble chomping through your elephants today, I suggest eating an appropriately shaped animal cracker. You’ll feel accomplished immediately. Or at least, less hungry.


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Project Elephant Update: The Family Command Center

Remember that Family Command Center I was contemplating?

Well, I did it.


And I think I like it! In fact, I think I like it enough to actually use it, which is kind of the point, I suppose.

To start, I hauled that big yellow chalkboard I mentioned downstairs and wrote out a simple chore list for the boys (and Della too, when the task applies), plus an appropriately inspiring verse to help encourage good attitudes while they work.

Most of the items on the list are daily, but a few will only happen a twice a week or so(trash, toilets, etc).



If it’s a rotating chore (like who empties the dishwasher as opposed to who loads it), each week, the person in charge of it will write his initial beside the check he writes in the box next to the task (the boxes are written in chalk pen, but they write their checks with regular chalk, which wipes off easily with a dry rag without disturbing the chalk pen, which requires a moist rag for removal. All of which means that I don’t have to rewrite my boxes every day).

To replace the ugly whiteboard fridge calendar, I bought a large (pretty!) paper version on clearance ($4) from Target, which I adhered to the side of the tall cabinet with sticky tack.
Ditto for the corkboard, which came from Wal-mart (2-pack for $8) and to which I added a border of burlap polka dot ribbon because…why not?



{CONFESSION: that sticky tack business was a big fat FAIL It started out okay, but after a while, it simply would not hold either the calendar or the corkboard to the side of the cabinet, even after I applied approximately 78 pieces to a 1 square foot area; I’m going to have to regroup there}

I hung a pen for writing notes on the calendar from a coordinating ribbon and a  couple of tacks stuck in the corkboard…


…and then I added a basket full of  “essentials” (washi tape is an essential, right?) to the console table to make it easier for the boys to check off their chore lists and for me to keep up with important calendar info.



Last, but certainly not least,  I found a spot for an IKEA clock that I bought because of the color (sea foam green and aqua are pretty much BFF’s, after all) even though I wasn’t sure where it would go. Now I am!


Maybe it’ll help the boys stay on task (never mind that there’s already a digital oven clock approximately 3 feet away).

All in all, this corner feels so much more fun and cheerful and—best of all—useful than it did before. The boys are already loving using it to remind themselves of their chores and—the best part—to check them off.


Of course, with a new calendar system currently sitting on the table because it won’t adhere to the wall in place,  you might assume that I did something different with the cluttered fridge situation. (Which you can see here).

And you would be right! But you’ll have to wait until later on this week to see it.

Anybody want to take bets on how much use our new set up will get? I’m feeling hopeful, simply because I kept things so very simple and straightforward. If I’d made it more complex, I can guarantee you we would  have failed miserably.

Anybody want to help a girl out and suggest a brilliant non-paint-damaging solution for getting the calendar + corkboard to stay put? I’d rather not use nails or tacks of any kind.

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