Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Duct Tape Toy Bin

I'm from Mississippi. For those of you who don't know, that means I am a special breed. We all are here. Some of us even more than others. I'm also blessed to come from one of those extra special breed kind of families. By virtue of this, I have learned several key truths that I can carry with me always. One day I will share my wealth of knowledge with you, but today I'm just going to share two key lessons that I carry around in my day to day:

1. Never pay full retail if you can help it.
2. If you can't fix it with duct tape, it probably isn't worth saving.

So how do these two particular lessons apply to my latest dilemma (read: How the heck is she gonna get from this to a toy bin)? Well, as mentioned in my previous post, kid stuff is expensive. Ridiculously and unreasonably so. There is no reason that a plastic box to store my stuff in is only $5, but a toy bin that is essentially the same thing, but happens to have a toy duck painted on the side is $100. 

Stupid toy duck.

So, once again, I took to the internet. The shipping charges for even the cheapest of options still put them over the price range I was willing to pay, which, in all fairness, wasn't much. I mean, really. All I wanted was a plastic bin that I could throw some toys in. It didn't need ducks, a monogram, or "safety hinges". Light weight plastic is not going hurt little fingers.

What I needed was essentially a storage bin with some paint on it. I had craft paint. Storage bins come cheap. However, the thought occurred to me that I didn't want to spend the next several days wasting paint on a cheap plastic bin. My baby won't care if I cheat here and there, and being that he is a boy, he probably won't really care what it looks like in the end, either. So, what would be quicker, and still cheap? 

Duct tape.

Duct tape can fix anything. Especially now that it comes in a myriad of colors and designs. 

I chose my color scheme as one that would pay homage to my alma mater (Mississippi State), because you have to raise them right, dont' ya know, and camouflage, because this is Mississippi, after all. 

So I got a cheap bin.....

...and began covering it strip by strip.

I made sure I only covered to within about an inch around the bottom, so that I could use my secondary "color" as an accent.

Then, I went around the top and bottom with my accent tape.

I went all the way around like this. And then, I made sure to do the top. And VOILA!

Duct tape toy bin.

But what about safety standards for this?!?!?

1. It is lightweight plastic for Heaven's sake. If he can climb into without turning it over, it will take more effort than getting back out.
2. Once you cover it with duct tape, it doesn't exactly latch tightly. 
3. Even if he could wind up inside it, and somehow get the lid on, the lid isn't exactly made of lead. It comes off easy.
4. JUST IN CASE, for you worry warts out there, I will point out that there actually are two air holes, one on either end for just such an emergency. I covered them with duct tape, but then re-cut the tape in that area to match the original hole.

So, once again, pbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb.

And for those of you who look at this and say, "OMG! Could she BE any more redneck?!" The answer is yes, I can, because you don't know the half of it. I'm from the South. We're proud of our crazy around here, don't ya know.

Monday, August 26, 2013

DIY Pacifier Clips

So here's the thing about baby stuff, no matter whether it is for a girl or a boy, a lot of it is pretty feminine looking and none of it is cheap. Note to designers: just because it is blue doesn't automatically make it look masculine. For instance, pacifier clips that are powder blue with frilly green flowers does not scream baby boy to me. And as for the gender neutral options? Still pretty girly.

So what was I to do? Scour the internet for possibilities? That would mean paying more in shipping than the darn things are even worth. I mean, it is essentially a clothespin, some velcro and a ribbon.


I could just make a few. It wouldn't be that hard. And before all you naysayers jump my case for things not being safety standard approved, I actually looked into that. So ppppbbbbbbbbbb!

So I took stock of what left over craft supplies I had on hand. I had some simple snaps (with the attachment doohickey - very technical term, I know - and the hammer I needed to go with it), but I needed some clips and my ribbon selection wasn't great. Nothing was cross grain or appropriate for the task.

Enter Hobby Lobby. I got some really cute ribbon options without much effort (or cash). Now the trick was the clips. What should I use? I wanted something strong so that grabby little hands wouldn't be able to just pull it off. I wanted something sturdy. Most importantly, I wanted something that required very little effort on my part. Priorities. So when I looked through the options, what did I come away with? Mitten/Suspender clips. Laugh all you want. It works in theory (the baby still isn't here yet, so I haven't road tested my finished product).

So how exactly did I accomplish this? And yes, I trust that you are smart enough to figure out what I did, but the whole point of the blog is for me to have a creative outlet and I really want to talk about this for a minute, so bear with me.

My materials:
Ribbon (I chose 3 different kinds to branch out a bit)
Snap attachment tool
Hammer (it is gold and covered in flowers, but I've learned to love it)
Hot glue gun (not pictured)
Measuring tape (not pictured)

I started by cutting the ribbon. Safety standards (see, I told you I looked into it!) say that the length shouldn't be more than 6", but I needed enough to work with each end first. I found that if I cut it about 13" first it worked out once I worked all my magic.

So, I looked at the cut ends of the ribbon and knew they need to be protected from fraying. I didn't have any of that fancy schmancy No Fray stuff. So I decided to use what I had. I hot glued the ends so they wouldn't fray.

I also realized the snaps called for a double layer of fabric, so then I folded the ribbon over with enough room for each snap set on each end and hot glued them again (this seemed a more efficient use of my time than sewing the ends, plus the glue gun was already hot).

Next, I attached the snaps at a short distance from each other, making sure I still had enough room to actually attach them, but not so much that it kept the length of the ribbon too long. I did this at both ends, so that all I had to do was snap in the suspender clips at one end and a pacifier could snap in at the other end.

This is what I came up with (note: some of the pictures show the snaps closed at both ends, making them the correct (mostly) measurement, others are unsnapped and therefore a little longer):

And boom: pacifier clips that I actually like. Of course, you may look at them and sneer. In which case you can take your hoighty toighty opinions and shove.....ahem, I mean to each their own. In any case, this is what I threw together. I think it works. And, another bonus, if ever they get super nasty and beyond saving, I can just throw together a few more with the supplies I have left!

So there you have it. I'm cheap, but I'm resourceful!