Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What "Upgrades" I Want For Our Umbrella Stroller

Remember the stroller accessories I wanted from this post last month? I made a couple of bottle holders instead of cup holders. We always carry our stainless steel bottle and a sippy cup with us, so no need for those heavy duty plastic cupholders. These bottle holders are so easy to make, used just a couple of small scraps, and about 10 minutes to cut and make. I used them for our entire stay in Orlando, and they are just perfect! I didn't have time to make a cute stroller bag like the one I showed in that post, just hang a canvas shopping bag (I got from our hospital benefit fair for free) on the handles. I used it to hold any other liquidy/wet stuffs, and little caterpillar's snacks (for easy access). I kept her extra clothes and other dry stuffs in my backpack, along with my camera and lenses. Didn't want to carry an extra camera bag, learnt my lesson from the first day. So, what else I could do to improve my stroller experience for the future? OK, stubborn did offer to buy a fancier stroller for our next big trip to China, but the usual DIYer in me kindly said no. I believe what my friend told me, get the cheaper ones, so when they broke down, you won't be broke as well. She went through 3 already! Maybe that won't happen with a higher end one, but who knows. We gate checked ours this time, and one handle cover was badly damaged.

Anyway, here are some issues I had with our umbrella stroller, and I really want some "upgrades".First of all, both Stubborn and I are tall, so pushing a umbrella stroller around for a whole day became a backbreaking chore! I want to stand up straight when pushing it! Found this while googling. So easy and affective! Next time I will keep my eyes open for a old/broken umbrella stroller while thrifting.

The third day we were at Orlando, there was a big thunder storm. We had to stay at hotel waiting for it to stop. I decided not to wait till it stops (predicted after 3pm) to go to Seaworld across the street. We never used a stroller in rain before, so the only thing I could do was covering it with a beach towel, pushing it with one hand and holding my umbrella with the other! It was so hard! Then little caterpillar was so bored sitting in there cannot see anything, she decided to pull the towel down. She loved my umbrella though. So, she ended up holding my umbrella handle, while I hold the edge with my both hands on stroller handles and wearing the towel on my head and shoulder. We must looked rediculous! The towel was wet even before we sat down for the shamu show! I saw other people had those rain cover thing,and their kids didn't miss a thing while getting pushed around. Well, that rain cover is not expensive at all, but you guessed, I had to search for tutorials on how to make one! I know it doesn't worth the effort to make one, but I really want one that I can easily access my girl. Maybe I can come up with a design that I can use for both a raincover and a mosqito net.

While googling for umbrella stroller upgrade, found this blog Baby Porting. It's full of interesting ideas, I am sure I can find some inspirations.

Oh, this is a totally unrelated topic. I also found a couple of tutorials about toy stroller. One is how to make this cute DIY Doll Stroller Liner.
And this amazing transformation from a broken doll stroller to this vintage-y baby buggy.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

DIY Toy Shelf

I should have said "shelves", since I planned to make two matching ones. But since I don't have time to make the second one this month, and the first one is so fresh and lovely, I have to post it now, standing there proudly, but very lonely. Don't worry, your twin brother will join you soon, I promise!
Well, I drew this plan in my little pocket book, like months ago. Finally got the courage to get started. Once the wood was cut, there is no turning back. Oh, I have to remember to post pictures of my plan for the shelves, and measurements and cutting plan to the original post. I measured all her toys, so even the big ones have their own spots in this new system. I love how crispy clean the white is, plus a couple of coats of polyurethane, it should hold pretty good. One thing I do regret is painting the inside aqua-blue. What can I say, mommy loves blue! Remember her room? It's blue! And the dresses I refashioned for her recently were also blue! But now seeing how many of her toys are blue, I should have just left it white, or painted it apple green? Anyway, I am getting some white plastic bins or baskets for the top shelves, so I can group toys, and it will look less messy. If I cannot find bins big enough, I just have to make some myself. To utilize every inch of the shelf space, I will need bins that's long and narrow, like 10" by 18". That's very odd measurement!

Here are the before pictures. It's hard to tell, but it's kind of messy before. Toys all over the floor, above and under her little table, so she got nowhere to doodle. And most of her smaller toys and stuffed animals are piled up in that big canvas bin. Of course there were toys in other rooms too. And do you see all those pillows on top of the sofa back? No one sit in that corner, it's taking up too much space, just to hold some pillows and toys sometimes. Yeah, it was our fault buying such a huge sectional sofa for such a small room. But it didn't look so big in the big bright showroom! We didn't even have space for a sidetable or shoe rack! So, to make space for the twin toy shelves, I removed that corner sofa! Look how much space we got! That metal shelf came out of little caterpillar's closet, and it's there only temporarily, holding the space for the second toy shelf. We also got more than enough space for a shoe cabinet! No more piled up shoes in front of the door. And we still have enough sofa for 3! OK, take another look at my new 'old' shoe cabinet!
It holds so many pairs of shoes, ours and little caterpillars. The door stucks a little, so you have to wiggle it to open. But it can be a good thing, so little caterpillar won't open it all the time and pull every single one of them out. I got it from my best friend, who moved away two months ago. It's still in good shape, but just dingy. Nothing some fresh paint couldn't fix. Now we have a spot to put our bags. And I am eyeing the narrow wall next to it for a cute coat hanger, so our coats and jackets won't pile up on the sofa again. OK, there is still much to be done for this room. Some are simple, like hanging some more modern arts, but others are very big job, like reconfiguring the living room closet. Those will be posts of their own, one day. For now, I just like to sit back and admire my handy work. Oh, did I mention this before? Little caterpilalr loves this new arrangement, she can get to all her toys now.

Revisit One of My Older Favorite

I meant older favorite blog! I revisited Grosgrain today, and found some new inspiration. Found some tutorials I'd like to try.

Sprocket Pillow. Have been thinking about adding some interestin pillows to littler caterpillar's room. This one will be perfect! And the best part, a perfect scrap sewing opportunity.

Sleep Over Pillow. How lovely is this pillow case. We always had miss-matching beddings, so a couple of new pillow cases that matches nothing really won't bother any of us. I might need to choose some different colors, Stubborn won't be happy to use these.

For some reason I could not open the link to find the tutorial for this! But I have the exact same sweater in my closet, it's just a bit too tight for me, but I just love the embroidery too much to throw it away. I should try to make it into a cardigan like this. Maybe not with those colorful buttons. If I wear a belt with it, not buttoned up, it won't be too small any more. OK, I am definitely going to dig it out of my do-something-with-this pile.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nursery Closet Reconfiguration

We all know that babies grow up too fast. I used to wish little caterpillar can grow faster, but now I want her to slow down. I really miss the feeling of holding that soft little baby in my arms. Anyway. As she grows, our needs for storage in the nursery has been changing. CONSTANTLY! It was quite simple, like this. Then there were more cloth and toys, so we added a sweater organizer (for blankets) and more hangers. This worked fine for a long time. But now that she is much bigger, she wants to help mommy to hang the clothes up. Also, Stubborn wants the clothes sorted and set up the way he could understand, since he will be the one drop her off at daycare. And it became very hard to hold her still on the changing station. So it's time for our elfa shelves to go back into the closets again. Base on all the reasons above, mommy had to reconfigure her closet, a total transformation.

The actual plan involves painting the inside of the closet pink, and building a narrow shelving unit for the left end of the closet to hold accessories and small items. But I didn't want to paint it while all the windows are still closed, and I didn't have time to build shelf yet, so these will the in progress pictures. First, I removed the sliding doors. I like they don't take any extra space, but hate that we can only access half of the closet at a time. So, they had to go! Now that the doors gone, you can see better how the closet was set up. A metal shelving unit inside a builder standard closet. Oh, plus some canvas bins and a hanging sweater organizer. And this is the changing station made with two elfa shelves. Oh, I already removed the changing pad.
After some measuring, cutting, and painting, here is the new shelf and rod. Also, one elfa unit inside the closet. I had to remove the wheels, since they are not very stable, and we won't be moving it for a long time. This is when I noticed that the new shelf may not be level! I couldn't find my level, so trusted the baseboard. Stubborn thinks it's not a big deal, but it really bugs me. I will fix it one day. Oh, that little box on that new shelf holds all her socks and tights.Look, little caterpillar was inspecting the new closet. She was very excited to find the new rod at her level. To the left of the new shelf is where the narrow accessory shelf would be. For now I just hang a canvas shoe organizer there. Once the shelf installed, I will somehow change this organizer to a 2 by 5 (two columns of 5 next to each other), instead of a single column of 10. So, one column will hold her entire sets of outfits from Mon to Fri, while the second column holds the backup outfits.
I will paint her closet before our next vacation and leave the window open, so it will have time to air out. I will never let my baby sleep in a freshly painted room, even if I use the no VOC paint. I will post the updates once all are done, probably in a couple of months.