Wednesday, October 26, 2011

5 Awesome Halloween Costume Helps

1. The Thrift Store- So many creative costume options at very affordable prices. My costume last year came mostly from the thrift store. I was Velma from Scooby Doo. I found a bulky white sweater turtle neck and dyed it orange. I found a polyester maroon skirt there too. In years past, large neon green shirt for my husband to be Mike from Monsters INC, purple shirt and pants to go under my scaly dress for a Celia costume, and red pants for my Incredibles costume all came from the thrift store!

2. Solid colored t-shirts and/or sweats- They can be the foundation for so many costumes! I bought solid red, long-sleeved shirts for my husband and I the year we went as the Incredibles. I printed out the logo on regular paper and taped it to the shirts. It looked great!

3. The remnant bin at Joann's- Around Halloween, the fabric cutting line at Joann's is crazy! But after a big weekend (big coupons, holiday, whatever) the fabric remnant bins are full of fun stuff. You might even find exactly the kind of fabric you wanted (or never knew you wanted till you saw it). And best of all, all the remnants are 50% off!

4. Felt- Available in paper sized pieces in a rainbow of colors at a multitude of stores, felt is some handy stuff. If you want something a little nicer than paper stuck to your solid color shirt, felt is incredibly easy to work with and has a nice look. You can sew it, glue it, or even tape it on. On my husband's Mike costume, I used felt to make the eye and the mouth. I taped it on because I was lazy. It held up alright through the night, but if we had wanted to get multiple wearings out of it, a more permanent adhesive would have been better

5. Group costumes- Having a group costume is fun. Sometimes it can be tricky (like when your kids start developing opinions on their Halloween costumes) but having a group theme can make it more obvious to other people what you are supposed to be. When we did Monsters INC, people who just saw our daughter (she was Boo in her pink shirt and purple pants) didn't get it. But when 'Mike' was holding her hand, it became pretty obvious.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cleaning the Carpets- Rug Doctor

Our carpets were pretty gross and they smelled weird. They needed a cleaning. My dilemma was how best to go about getting them clean. I decided that it needed to get done and that I wasn't going to get around to finding a professional to do it quickly enough. My choices were down to renting a carpet cleaner or buying one.
After consulting with my husband, we decided that getting a smallish home carpet cleaner could be a good idea, but that since I needed to clean all the carpets right now, I'd rent a rug doctor. The downside to renting a carpet cleaner is that they aren't always all that clean. People return them all dirty and gross. The one I rented was absolutely covered with white fur on the bottom. I had to clean the cleaner before I could get started. It ended up being about $40 to rent the cleaner for 24hrs and to buy a medium sized bottle of cleaning solution. After moving almost all of the furniture out and vacuuming (I think a lot of people forget that step, thus the super dirty carpet cleaners) I cleaned the carpet. I had to refill the tank many, many times. I also went back over the whole carpet with just hot water.
I learned from having a little carpet cleaner in the past that the solution left over in the carpet quickly attracts dirt. The carpet looks a lot better, but you can still tell where the previous owners' sectional used to be. Perhaps the pros could have done a better job getting those old traffic stains out (I didn't use a pre-treatment either) but at least it is not totally gross any more. It was tiring work and took quite a while. I also vacuumed and cleaned the upstairs hallway. That required far less furniture moving! The carpet is still navy blue, but at least it no longer looks brown in spots, nor does it smell like dog any more. My sweet husband, determined to get the max value out of our rental, took up the effort after I tired out.
The family room before, complete with dancing kiddo.
He cleaned the living room carpet and the carpet in the master bedroom. In the end we got pretty much all the carpet in the house cleaned.

The family room after. I guess I didn't get any pictures of the blue carpets.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DIY You Make the Call

This is an inexpensive dresser I bought at Ikea a few years ago. It was originally used by me and my husband. It was then my daughters' dresser for quite a while. It went into storage while we were staging our house to sell. Now I need to use it in our master bedroom again. The original stain job I did on it is "interesting" to say the least. The stain didn't really take, so I just globbed it on and let it dry in a faux grain pattern. And even that interesting finish has seen better days at this point. Getting banged up by the kids, having stickers applied and removed, and finally being shut up with packing tape (and removal of said tape) have done a number on it. So the question is, what should I do to redo this dresser?
Some thoughts: decoupage? I'm not sure what with. paint? what color? Stencil? Try to sand and re-stain? I'm at a loss. I'm hoping for some great suggestions. If you have any thoughts, please share in the comments!

linking to
thrifty decor chick,
just a girl