How to Make No-Sew Cushions for Banquette Seating or Window Seats

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I finally completed the cushions for our banquette seating around the kitchen table. I had the bench built-in right after we moved here a year and a half ago. It only took me this long to do my part!

No sewing. Water proof. Washable. These were my non negotiable’s on the project. ANYONE can do this. If you have a window seat and want to make a cushion for it, this is the way to go.

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What you will need:

– Measurements (width and depth)
– Thin boards (I used 1/4 inch thick boards and had the store cut them to my sizes)
– Foam from a craft store. I purchased 3″ thick, but they come in 1″, 2″ and so on…
– Fabric: I wanted mine to be waterproof since we have small kids and this is at our table. I purchased a vinyl fabric to go underneath and then a cotton pattern to go on the top. My top fabric was a light upholstery grade fabric. It could be used for curtains or other type project.
– Staple gun
– Fabric tape, or duck tape.
– Measuring tape
– Scissors
– Sharp serrated kitchen knife

STEP 1

First I cut the foam to the sizes of my boards. I used a serrated kitchen knife which worked well. The store used an electric knife like our mothers used when they carved our thanksgiving turkeys but I don’t have one of those antiques. I have to say it did make the cleanest cut, but my kitchen knives worked ok too.

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STEP 2

Next I attached the vinyl fabric around the foam and to the boards with a staple gun. See the picture for how I did the corners. they came out very nice a square looking when finished.

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STEP 3

Finally I attached the fabric with tape to the bottom of the boards. I used tape instead of staples so I could pull it off and wash it without ruining it.

It’s that easy.

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Tuesday Tip

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Hairbrushes!

We are always losing hairbrushes. My two oldest don’t care because they hardly ever brush their hair but number 4 loves to brush.

I find hair brushes in toy bins, car floors, random baskets, under sofas, and in kitchen cabinets but rarely in a bathroom drawer where they belong.

Most of the time someone comes asking me to put their hair in a ponytail and since we are always in a hurry we don’t have time to check all the random places you might find a brush in our home. So I have to try and create a smooth ponytail with “no bumps” magically with my fingers without “hurting” them.

Impossible

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And then there is my brush. I really get frustrated when I go to blow dry my hair, open the drawer and find it empty. Blow dryer in hand and no brush in sight? This may not be a real crisis for you, but I have troubled hair. Hair that needs extra discipline and care. My hair has to be finessed, worked and coddled, not just thrown together. That’s not going to work. It’s touchy. It’s got a ‘tude. It requires extra assistance. So it just won’t do to NOT have MY brush.==

So brushes were the bane of my existence some days.

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Then a friend, whom God alone sent my way, told me this nifty trick. Tie your brushes to the drawer handle with a long piece of ribbon.

How simple, how splendid, how perfectly perfect.

I LOVE IT!

We now have brushes when we need them, where we need them, every time.

Focusing on the Beautiful in the Mess

 

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It is so easy to get down on my house. When I just look around the house and see all the projects I haven’t gotten to or the stuff sitting on counter tops and floors I get frustrated, and beat down and sometimes even angry.  It’s easy to stay there, irritated and madly picking up like some crazed housewife. But it’s like that again the next day, so the crazed housewife thing doesn’t seem to be fixing anything. I bet you feel the same way some days.

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So I started wondering what would happen if I focused on the beautiful in the mess. The things in each room that bring me joy not all the things that I need to still get to.

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I went around the house taking pictures of my favorite things in each room. The room’s jewelry. The piece de resistance. Almost every room has one. And on the days when my house was under siege by trash mongers I focused on these pieces. I found that I was able to rest amongst the chaos when I focused on the beautiful.

It’s the same way with our soul. When we are not restful, if we focus on what God says about us it brings us rest in the middle of the crazy.

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The truth is my house isn’t all junk, there are projects that are completed, and there are beautiful things in it. Just as I am not a total looser in life, God says I am beautifully and wonderfully made no matter what someone else does to me or says about me.

It’s what you focus on. If you focus on the negative and undone in your home, your home will be a tangled mess in your mind, but if you focus on the beautiful your home, it will be a restful and peaceful place, even amongst the mess.

If we focus on what others say about us, or do to us, we may feel bad about ourselves, but if we focus on what God says about us, who God says we are, we will be peaceful and joyful.

Today, I challenge you to focus on the beautiful in your home and in your life.

No more spilled milk in my home

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Why, oh why, do they make big kid plastic cups with skinny bottoms that flare out at the top? Do they want my kids to spill their milk at every meal? The design is totally flawed, it’s designed to tip over.

Oh the humanity!

Hey, why not make a kids cup with a wider bottom? Does anyone want to get on that? Seriously, it doesn’t take a genius. I think “they” are in cahoots with the dairy farmers!

Wide bottom cups may not stack well, but they won’t spill easily either. What is more important with kids? I say NO SPILLING is more important. What do you think?

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One day I realized glass cups aren’t made like this. Their bottoms are a wide as the tops and they aren’t so light a soft breeze could tip them over either.

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So I switched. Yep, I let my little kids use glass cups. Oh my, what if they fall and break and they get shards of glass in them?

What are the chances? What are the odds?

So, I switched months ago and I have had maybe 2 spilled glasses of milk in that time and neither of the glasses broke in the spill. No one got shards of glass in their bodies. They just tipped over.

Before the switch we averaged at least one spill a day.

The glasses are heavier, making them harder to knock over and the bottoms are nice and wide so it’s harder for them to tip.

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Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?

Craft Closet Clean-Up

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One of the first projects I did in our new house was the craft closet. It started out as a bare closet with wooden shelves on the right side. I purchased a shelving system from Lowes and installed it in a few hours. I did this entire thing myself ladies, it was that easy! Then I labeled some tubs that I already had and organized away.

Once every few months I have to go through and re-organize, throw away, and straighten up but now that I have a system that is all labeled – it is much easier. This weekend I tackled the clean up in here and as part of my house purge, I got a rid of a lot of junk that had accumulated. Here is what it looked like when I was done:

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My favorite part of the closet is this over-the-door shoe hanger that I turned into a wrapping station. Now I can always find the tape, scissors, wrap and ribbon! Ahhh. If you like this you can find a million great ideas on Pinterest.

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Now for a few before-the-clean-up pictures…

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How To Get Your Kids to Do Their Chores – Part 2

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Well, one thing is for sure, you have to keep track or you will have no idea what’s going on. Those little sneaky sneaks will tell you they definitely made their bed every day this week and you won’t have any idea if they are telling you the truth or pulling one over on you. You got to keep track.

However, I find that all systems begin to tire over time and stop working. They stop working either because you get tired of filling out the charts, or the incentives aren’t incenting anymore. One way or the other, it becomes old and boring, so you have to keep things fresh.

Here are some things if have tried over the years and liked. I will return to these periodically as we tire of the old system. Or if I start to slack off and then realize things are getting out of control, I will switch systems overnight to give us a fresh start.
Before I show you my sad little systems I have a few things to say.
1. You will not find any elaborate, crafty, Pintresty systems here. Anything I do has to be easy and duplicatable 5 times over. Five elaborate systems would take over the house so I don’t do them. If you are looking for something creative and really fun, try Pinterest, you will find a gazillion.
2. Please, if you take one thing away from this post let it be that no strategy is a permanent fix, we all fail at keeping up with these. So don’t get down on yourself, or your kids, when your strategy quits working. Just mix it up again and keep going. And if you need a pick-me-up or booster shot, email me and I will tell you that you have not failed, the system has. Get up tomorrow and start anew.
OK, now here are some of my chore tracking devices I have used, or am using now:
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1. Printable chore chart. This was my original plan, back when chores were new to my kids. I made these cute little sheets and printed a bunch out. I filled them out for each kid weekly. The pros, you make up new chores weekly. Cons, you have to fill a new one out every week. This works really well for those kids who like to mark things off. My older kids and my son are like this. Also, you can use crayon, markers or have lots of fun with it if your kids like stickers. Click here to download my printable chore chart.
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2. Dry erase chore chart. We had these from Board Dudes for a long time. They worked well for us. They come with magnetic stars that you put in the square when you have completed that chore for the day. The kids really liked these and they held up for a long time. The biggest problem with them was the smalls walking by and pulling all of the stars off so you had no idea what anyone had done that week.
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3. iPad chore chart. Our favorite is Chore Pad HD. I believe it costs $5.00. You can set up rewards inside of it, so when your kids do so many chores they reach awards. You can set up a different amount for each chore, so some are worth more stars than others. It allows you to go back and check their chores and deduct some points for sloppy work or give bonus points for a job well done. Also, it dings and applauds for you when you check off your chores. It’s quite the production. You will earn trophies when you have completed x number of chores and you can view your award chest anytime to see what you have racked up. Lots of fun and a good system. Chore Pad’s reign ended in our home when I found someone cheating the system by going back and checking off all their chores hey hadn’t completed in the past – giving themselves the highest prize unfairly. There’s always one.
4. No chart. Sometimes I abandon all tracking devices and pick a time of day when we do chores and I just divvy them up as I see fit at that time. I look around see what needs to be done and ask them to get to it. I use statements like this to make this work, “You are welcome to go play with your friends once your chores are done.” Lots of time this is instituted on a day when our house has been ransacked by a few or I’m in a bad mood and need some quick peace brought into our home. That’s just honest.
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5. Morning and evening five. These are little sheets I post on their doors with the 5 things they need to do before going to school and the five things they need to do before bed. This worked for a short time, when the kids were little, but I found I needed something more enticing than going to bed to motivate them to get the chores completed as they got older. You know what I mean? My kids would be more than happy to put bedtime off. But for the younger crowd it is a good visual to help them remember the few things they need to do to start and end their day well. Click HERE for printable Morning and Evening 5 charts.
As always, I would love to hear your ideas, please leave me a comment!

How To Get Your Kids to Do Their Chores – Part 1

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Bribes, threats, punishment, rewards, treats, money, toys…I have tried it all to get my kids to happily do their fair share of the household work. But the fact is, I don’t always do my chores with glee either. And, like my children, I have been known to procrastinate a less-than-exciting task hanging over my head.

So, we should understand when our kids don’t run toward the chore-at-hand with dancing feet and smiling faces.

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The goal is to teach them how to be a part of a family. We all pitch in to do the work that has to be done, so we can do the things we want to do. That’s why I do them. Because If I don’t have clean towels, I don’t enjoy my shower nearly as much.

I used to really dislike going to the grocery store. I had panic attacks in the snack isle and broke out with hives in the frozen food section. But it is a chore that has to be done. So I used to treat myself with a home magazine after I finished a big grocery run. After I had put all of the groceries away I would allow myself to sit down and peruse the pages getting inspiration for my next project.

Maybe my kids are the same way. And maybe they deserve a little treat at the end of their most disliked chore too. It doesn’t have to be food, just something to look forward to.

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After taking all of this into consideration I did away with the threats, and bribes and sympathetically approached this as a fact of life. These things have to get done and as a family we all pitch in.

First, I divided the house into similarly sized areas. Each child was assigned an area, or areas, they need to clean. One child has the front living room, another the family room, another the sitting room. Then I divided the basement, where all of our toys are, the same way. One has the kitchen area, another the dress up area, another the bins, etc. And each child is responsible for their own bedroom and bath.

Second, I divvied up the after dinner chores: everyone takes their dishes to the sink, one wipes the table, another sweeps and so on.

Now, here is how I ask them to get them done. While these techniques aren’t perfect, it enables me to stay calm while allowing them to take responsibility for their part.

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Chore Time. With the younger kids, ages 5 and under, I use a time technique. I tell them that 4:30 p.m. is chore time. And at 4:30 before I start dinner we clean up together. Since they require more supervision this gives me time before I am elbow deep in dinner prep. Often I will take the mail with me and sort through or read the latest catalog while I watch them cleaning. Otherwise, I help them out. Once they are done, and in order to keep my house from getting totally trashed again, I put a show on for them while I make dinner.

Chore Deadlines. With the older kids I give them a little more autonomy to choose when they do their chores. They have to have their areas clean before they can go out to play after dinner. This gives them all day to decide when to do them, but a firm deadline with incentive following the deadline.  For the ones that put off their chores until after dinner I like to use statements like, “feel free to go outside and play once your chores are done.” or “you are welcome to play with your friends as soon as your chores and completed.” So they have a deadline, but room to choose – now or later. There is incentive to complete them with the opportunity to play after dinner. And there is a consequence of not getting to play after dinner if they don’t get it done by that time.

Of course I always have to check, because they never get them done well, never. My husband and I share the checking responsibility and sometimes I will have them check each others work. If I don’t have time to check and they did a bad job, the next night they don’t go out at all.

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5 Minute Clean Up. There is one other technique I use now and then. I call it the 5 minute clean up. I use this when the toy room is really messy and no one wants to touch it. On these days I grab the kitchen timer, or the iPod and put some fun tunes on. Then we all clean as much as we can get done in 5 minutes. Then we stop – and leave it. We can make some decent progress in 5 minutes and the next day it isn’t as daunting. I just did this one the other day and we had the entire basement cleaned up in two evenings of 5 minute clean ups.

What do you do?