Thursday, March 25, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday ~ Strewn-About Magnets

If you have a mobile infant (not to be confused with an infant mobile), chances are he leaves destruction in his wake just like mine. The magnet letters on the fridge seem to be of particular interest. He makes a beeline for them as soon as he enters the kitchen and, as if to demonstrate his contempt — or perhaps as a commentary on the magnets' thoroughly offensive presence — he furiously paws the lower half of the fridge door clean. Seriously, he is focused and relentless...

Well, sometimes he gets distracted by the fact that he's so near the cat food dishes (notice the barricade?).

Anyway, we recently scored a Leap Frog Word Whammer Fridge Phonics Set at OUAC for $8.50 and don't have room for four sets of cheapo letter and number magnets on the fridge anymore. Since there were already several magnets on the floor and Caspian was napping, that meant I had to pick them up myself. I decided to store them in an old metal Christmas cookie tin that used to hold our spare change (until we started our Debt Snowball).

When I remembered that magnets stick to this type of metal, I decided to use the lid as an incredibly lazy ingenious way to pick up the letters without having to bend over and scrabble for them each individually. Any that are on the ground already and are magnet side-up will stick to the lid of a metal tin. The plastic is too thick for the right side-up ones to stick. You'll have to leave them for your husband/child sweep them up into a dustpan pick those up by hand. Oh, and we are talking about the back of the lid, here.

You can just "wipe" them right off the lid into the container.

If you're just cleaning the floor, you're finished. Should you want to rid your fridge of magnets as well, you'll need the lid again. Lay it on its back under the fridge so it sticks out a little more than halfway. Then simply push the magnets down the fridge until they drop off into the lid. They will be drawn to the metal and stick inside. Dump the loose ones into the tin periodically and repeat the process until they're all off the fridge, then just put the lid back on the tin.

Then...cover the entire fridge with different letter magnets! There, wasn't that worth it?

When your toddler keeps spelling "poo" in the Word Whammer...? Yes, it's still worth it.

This post was submitted to Works For Me Wednesday.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Roadkill Rescue ~ Delightful Desk, part 2

As I said in the previous post, this reveal has been a long time coming. Beckie at Infarrantly Creative inspired me to start crafting again last year, and I saw a soon-to-be-beautiful desk out on a neighbor's curb right after hearing about Beckie's Roadkill Rescue party. Perfect timing! "Where will we put it?" was my husband's first (and only, bless him) question. Turns out, we actually needed a work area for my husband at home.

We were on our way home from church when we spotted it. Too be fair, it was less "spotted" and more "espied" -- every curbside trash heap came under scrutiny in my efforts to find something, anything to make over. This looked perfect, ripe for rescue: water stains, gouges, was even missing hardware!

We checked to see how the drawers pulled out (just fine) and noticed this inside one of them:

Free pen cap! No, no...and not the "vintage" contact paper lining the drawers, either. It's hardwood, people!!! Score! The only downside to this treasure was the horrendous stench.

Pee-yew! Whoever owned it before must've been a chain smoker, because this thing smelled absolutely disgusting. If we'd had a garage, the desk would've lived in there...but we didn't. I honestly got migraines while we waited for good enough weather to take it outside. And let me just say, there are a zillion-and-one opinions online for how to get smoke out of wood furniture, but what worked for us was a combination of stripping off the finish and then sealing it back up. No more smell!

On to the stripping. First, the contact paper had to go...and it took some of the laminate with it. We also found the aforementioned pen cap, an unsharpened pencil, a penny, and two charms in the drawers. And lots of spider webs. Ick.

On my birthday, my fabulous hubby borrowed his dad's power sander and stripped the desk down for me.

He even did all the details and spindles by hand!

To keep him from getting distracted, I set a task master over him.

6 month-olds are impossible to bribe when you're the non-lactating parent.

He did ask to be a little closer to the action, though.

Can you hear the whip cracking? Whh-chh! (And no, he couldn't reach those scissors.)

Put your back into it! Whh-chh!

Don't think I didn't appreciate all of his hard work! Ewww...dust.

All finished! After hours of sweaty, dusty work, we thought about just clear-coating it. DH really liked the shabby look. But I had a spray painting jones, so I won.

Stay tuned for part 3: painting!