SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

Back when the four-legged monkey was a baby, she ate all of the cushions from our patio furniture.  She also ate socks, trash, and the swimming pool.  Although I’ve been trying to fix up the back porch and yard, the cushions haven’t been replaced.  At this point, it’s not even related to my sense of Cheaptitude.  I haven’t found anything I like. And why invest a significant amount of money in something that doesn’t make me happy happy happy?

Exploring Pinterest was helpful.  People are using all kinds of fabrics to reupholster outdoor cushions.  I saw tablecloths, shower curtains, vintage linens.  So many creative and pretty options! I have tons of cool fabric!

I don’t have any cushions left to reupholster.

So my next thought was to make cushions and stuff them.  Problem? Waterproofing. How can I make pretty cushions that I like that are waterproof?

Shower curtain liner.

When I replace a liner, I run the old one through the washing machine to be repurposed. 


My plan is coming together.

I kind of estimated how much “material” I’d need, trimmed it down, and sewed 2.5 edges.  The sewing actually puts holes in the plastic, so I covered the seams with duct tape.  Yup, I could’ve saved a step!


Then, I gathered my stuffing.  I had some polyfil from the craft store, the leftovers of a pillow the 4 legged monkey ate, and old bed pillows.  I didn’t need it super stuffed, just enough for an outdoor cushion.



After stuffing, I sealed the last side.

I’ve not made the cover yet, but have it planned in my head.  It’s going to be an envelope case, easy on and off for cleaning.  I’m so excited for my outdoor living space to be more livable!

What’s your latest outdoor project?

~ Katie

Posted from WordPress for Android


English: Picnic table - combined table and ben...

English: Picnic table – combined table and benches, often used in gardens and at camping sites Deutsch: Kombination von Tisch und Bänken, oft auf Campingplätzen zu finden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Being organizationally challenged runs in my family.  Granny-at-the-Farm always kept my bedroom door closed during my time living at home.  She tells me now that, as a parent, you choose your battles.  It took me reaching middle age to start to understand the benefits of organization.


Unfortunately, I have yet to get organization mastered.  And the monkeys, God love them, received a double dose of disorganized genes.


Monkey #1’s door will probably be closed until the day he moves out.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot get him to keep his clothes straight.  There are video games and movies and art supplies and cardboard boxes and plain old garden-variety trash all over his floor.  I truly believe he wore dirty uniforms to school all last week, because he couldn’t be bothered to get his clothes to the laundry.


Monkey #2 is a little better.  Every once in a while, I’ll wake up on a Saturday to find her room straightened up, bed made, everything in its place.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Maybe it won’t take as long for her to appreciate being organized.


For years and years, Monkey #2’s bedroom has been a hodge-podge of miscellaneous second-hand mismatched furniture.  When Grizzly and I replaced our furniture this summer, Monkey #2 asked for an upgrade.  Her furniture all matches now, but it is big and takes up a lot of her room.  Now when anything is out-of-place, her room looks a hot mess. I’ve gotten bins from 31 Gifts to organize some of her toys that she plays with all of the time.  She’s donated many clothes, books, and toys to charity (usually her idea!)  And the bedroom is still full as a mosquito on a Louisiana summer night. It’s not a losing battle, though.


One of the issues we’ve run into in the last year or so is the kids won’t play in the back yard.  I get it, we live in a busy neighborhood and the monkeys can’t be nosy from behind the fence.  However, we have a pretty good backyard.  And a pricey swing set.  And a dog who needs to rough house.


I recently moved Monkey #2’s play kitchen to the deck out back.  First of all, this frees space in her room.  Second, if she wants to play kitchen, she has to go to the back yard.  And finally, if she doesn’t play with it for quite a while, we can “sale” it, as she says. Win-win-win.


So of course, yesterday as I was clipping coupons, she gathered my scraps and informed me she was “going to the grocery” and she headed out the back door.  Today, she went outside almost as soon as she got home from school.  She announced she would be dining outside tonight if I’d hose down her picnic table, please?  I told her she could have dinner at the table with the family and we’d set up her outdoor dining tomorrow.


I’ve completed my lesson plans and most of my grades are in.  My biggest plans tomorrow were to go to the grocery and straighten the house, maybe work on my blog a little.  Instead, I’ll be helping a monkey redecorate my back porch.


And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.


So what is your next remodeling project?


~ Katie



{February 18, 2013}   Recipe: Homemade Furniture Polish

Recipes (Photo credit: pirate johnny)

Olive oil – it’s not just for cooking in my house!

With so many amazing recipes for homemade, greener cleaners on the internet, it truly hurts my feelings to pay money for store-bought furniture polish.  Not that I’m so green, I’m just that cheap.  And I don’t like the gummy, gunky build-up.  So here is the recipe for furniture polish I’ve started using:

Homemade Furniture Polish Recipe

Mix in a sprayer bottle:

This seems like a small amount.  However, if you make a larger batch and don’t use it up right away, it gets funky floaties.  It’s gross, and your Queen of Cheaptitude threw away a perfectly cleanable spray bottle full of olive oil, lemon juice, and floaties.  It was yucky.

Sidenote: Label your spray bottle very clearly so your wonderful hubby doesn’t think it’s one of his grilling concoctions.

Do not spray directly on the furniture.  I shake the bottle really well and apply a small amount to a microfiber cleaning rag (or a repurposed t-shirt/sock/pair of drawers.) Using the rag, spread the mixture evenly over your furniture surface – a little goes a long way. Then use the dry side of your cloth to polish the surface out.

Avoid glass areas.  It’s a pain to clean off glass.

I already had all of the ingredients for this recipe in my pantry.  I even had the spray bottle, from a long ago trip to the Dollar Tree. I won’t be using my pricier, imported extra virgin olive oil for dusting in the future. (Does my coffee table care if the cleaning product has been deflowered? Just sayin’.)  The lemon juice is just store-brand.

Not that I’ve ever been much of a duster, but I’m not noticing as much dust on my furniture these days.  It’s a nice side effect!

Do you use a homemade cleaner for dusting?  What is your recipe?

~ Katie

I love furniture.  I love to look at it, try it out, shop for it, buy it.  My sweet husband tells people he is perfectly safe sending me to Ivan Smith with every checkbook, credit card, and tiny bit of cash in the house, because I probably won’t buy anything.  I take advantage of the “x months, no interest” financing when buying furniture and refuse to buy any more till what I have is paid off (always before the promo period is over!)  We’ve slowly replaced our second (third, fourth) hand furniture over the past few years.  My living room was a bit of an impulse buy, but we’d needed to replace the hand-me-downs for a while.  My bedroom I shopped for over two years after the living room was paid for before I bought it, and my favorite chair was at Big Lots several years before I gave myself permission to bring it home.

In my living room, I had this wicker chest (hand-me-down) as my entertainment stand media unit for the first several years we lived here.  I have an idea in my head of what I want and I will not pay for something less.  But with the furniture swapping around that occurred with my bedroom purchase, I was left with extra dressers.  Something in me will not allow me to get rid of a dresser.  The one I had in Granny-at-the-Farm’s old house as a teenager was not in the greatest shape after both monkeys used it at different points, after probably twenty years of my not-so-gentle care.  But it had great bones.  With Pa-Paw’s help cutting shelves, I transformed that old dresser into a perfectly acceptably media unit.

We still have lots of hand-me-down furniture or things we bought from my mother-in-law when we moved into the house.  Some things are slowly making their way to new homes, some just to new purposes.  One that is finding a new purpose is the funky stool.

The funky stool lives in my garage.  It’s one of those little wooden stools you can buy at the craft store.  It’s had foam placed on top and fabric stapled over it.  It is FUNKY.  Grizzly’s friends sit on it when everyone hangs out in the garage, but I have a better purpose for it.

My beloved chubby chair is not a recliner.  I think it’s called a club chair.  Or a tub chair.  Anyway, you can’t put your feet up, unless you’re Monkey 2, who curls up in the chair like a slithery snake.  I’m going to repurpose the funky stool as a foot stool for my awesome chair.  One of the pillows that came with my couch was the victim of a tug-of-war between the monkeys and the four-legged kid, and is not fixable – as a pillow.  My plan is to take that fabric to make a new top for the funky stool.  With some paint and a little stuffing, the fabric matches all the other furniture, and I’ll have a new stool.

Without going shopping.

Are you addicted to furniture?  What’s your favorite piece?

~ Katie

I’ll come back & post pics later!


{February 9, 2013}   Organizing Spaces: the Bedrooms

Nightstand 469710772

So first of all, let me mention that it was a long and exhausting week.  We’ve (finally) started the novel unit in my classes, squeezing in additional test prep here and there, and all of this was interrupted by a Mardi Gras celebration for the 8th graders (which went off without a hitch, thanks to the amazingly organized and efficient 8th grade team leaders) and I am WHOOPED.  I stayed after school Thursday to help decorate the gym for the dance, only to arrive at PaPaw and MaMaw’s to find Monkey 1 had checked out sick and we would be putting karate off till Friday.  And did I mention I had not touched lesson plans all week?  Except to cover them in red ink because I had so totally over-planned.  So last night, I tried not to fall asleep as I wrote lessons for the upcoming week.

I’ve been a little busy.

But I woke today feeling fresh and rejuvenated with a big idea in my head (not really – more like a ton of sinus pressure!).  It was too early to call Jeepnmom and organize a kitchen drawer, but I wanted today to be productive around the house in some way.

And I looked at my bedroom.

Last summer, Grizzly and I bought our first-ever non-hand-me-down bedroom suite.  I’d been drooling over one in particular for almost a year and decided I didn’t love it after all, but we found another we absolutely loved.  With new furniture comes a new desire for cleanliness and organization and my room was gorgeous for quite a while.  Grizzly went to Vegas (some big APA tournament or something) for a week and a half right after school started in August and my room was immaculate.  The bed was made every day.  No junk on surfaces.  Laundry neatly contained in the hamper.

Somewhere along the way it’s gotten off-track.  There is junk all over his nightstand, a pile of dirty socks on his side of the bed.  All kinds of mail and miscellaneous foo-fah lines the top of my dresser.  The only time the bed is made is when I change the sheets and on my side of the bed is a basket of ironing, school books, and the leftovers of various craft projects.

On the bright side, my closet is still amazing and fabulous.

I think Grizzly needs to go back to Vegas.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

So feeling productive as I am, I decided today is “Bedroom Cleaning Day.”  I’ve sent to monkeys to their respective trees and declared “No TV” in the House of Cheaptitude today.  Grizzly headed to work and so, in my way, did I.

I’ve not gotten far.

I cleared the top of my nightstand and you would not believe what I’ve found.

  • A red pen (I grade papers in bed – so sue me)
  • A broken calculator (Monkey 1)
  • A credit card bill (I pay online, thank goodness)
  • A small blank canvas (because I paint in my room?? not!)
  • A copy of Freak the Mighty (Monkey 1 read it last semester for class)
  • Monkey 2’s iPOD (ok, I’m addicted to Dream Heights)
  • Some odd-sized pieces of felt and tulle (Monkey 2’s Halloween costume – I just knew I’d use those scraps)

Obviously, these items will return to their homes or go in the trash.

Once I got the top of the stand cleared, I went to the kitchen for my handy-dandy homemade dust spray and it’s not where it’s supposed to be.  Which sent me on a slight treasure hunt and then inspired me to blog for a minute.  Yes, I can be easily distracted.

I’m really excited about my plans for my nightstand, though.  Our laptop lives in our bedroom and I usually shove it under the bed when I’m not using it, but now it’s going to live on my nightstand by my alarm clock.  The drawer is going to have my paper grading junk, whatever book I’m reading, and I think that’s it.  I can use small baskets in the drawer to separate the junk.  What really has me excited though is the under-cabinet.  For years it has housed books that I used in college, some of Grizzly’s business crap papers, and so forth.  All of that is going elsewhere.  Some of my craft stuff that is sharing real estate with my repurposed linen closet will be moving in.  I want to keep a tv tray under my side of the bed for when I’m feeling crafty (that way it’s not a permanent fixture) and get a small lamp for my night stand.

And I still want another of those awesome chairs to put in my hidey-hole corner, but that is going to wait.  I need to find my dusting spray!

What project will you tackle this weekend?

~ Katie

Today’s To-Do’s

  • Clear surfaces in bedroom
  • Dust surfaces in bedroom
  • vacuum
  • Iron
  • Change bedding
  • Re-purpose night stand
  • Fix Grizzly’s broken dresser drawer (ARGH!)
  • Sort & wash all dirty clothes in bedroom
  • Clear out under the bed – Ok, this one is not happening the way I had planned.  I did pull everything out, but I found it to be a good space to stash the text books I use for lesson planning!

2 PM – Making Progress:

The top of my nightstand, post de-clutter session!

The top of my nightstand, post de-clutter session!

I used some leftover dollar store baskets to sort teacher tools from lotion, gum, etc.

I used some leftover dollar store baskets to sort teacher tools from lotion, gum, etc.

My husband doesn't keep his dresser neat like I like...

My husband doesn’t keep his dresser neat like I like…

My jewelry case, right by the bathroom door, usually collects all kinds of hair bobs and stuff...I like to see the top of it!

My jewelry case, right by the bathroom door, usually collects all kinds of hair bobs and stuff…I like to see the top of it!

Grizzly's nightstand, free of the usual trash!

Grizzly’s nightstand, free of the usual trash!

I can find everything and the open spaces make me happy happy happy :)

I can find everything and the open spaces make me happy happy happy 🙂

I have yet to change bedding due to the fact that all of my decluttering ended up on the bed for a few minutes….I’m getting there, though.  When my room is clean, I feel so much better!  How about you?

~ K

5 PM

Bedding is changed.  And the Cheaptastic chick is pooped again!  The vacuum and laundry may wait till tomorrow.  I’m ready for a pleasant crafting project!

I really want to buy new bed linens but the frugalista inside won't let me right now.  Missing the quilt my mom made - it's in the wash!  So pretty though, maybe I'll post a pic later.

I really want to buy new bed linens but the frugalista inside won’t let me right now. Missing the quilt my mom made – it’s in the wash! So pretty though, maybe I’ll post a pic later.


et cetera
%d bloggers like this: