Monday, January 21, 2013

Upcycled Blackboard Shop

This is my proudest upcycling project to date!
Butterfly recieved this lovely blackboard/whiteboard from her Grandma for Christmas (Funky Creations deluxe wooden blackboard/whiteboard from Target).  It is such a lovely and thoughtful present!  Butterfly especially loved the paper roll on the top, and spent a lot of time drawing us "maps" :D Eventually, she started to use it as a "shop".  She would "sell" us things from the boxes.  In passing I said to hubby "I wonder if the blackboard part comes out? It would make a pretty cool shop". Well, Butterfly immediately got excited!  She insisted it happen right away!  So Daddy got the drill out and removed the top of the unit so the blackboard slid out (we will be mounting this on the wall so as not to waste!)
This is what it looked like!  Butterfly immediately ran to get some things to sell in her new "shop", mostly play food) and I fetched her cash register and basket (we had all these things on hand so it didn't cost us anything!)
I mentioned curtains to Butterfly... of course we were looking through our fabric stash within a minute!  She chose this lace material.  She made the little cardboard open/closed sign all by herself :)
 "Roll up, roll up!  The shop is open!"
Butterfly had a BALL playing shop, Mummy and Daddy took turns being the customer.  Everything was $1!
The next day, I went to Mitre 10 to buy some spraypaint in pink to paint the new shop.  Butterfly doesn't have much pink stuff, I've kept most things gender neutral in case we ever have a boy!  But that may never happen!  Usually Butterfly would choose yellow, her favourite colour ;)
This was the only part that cost us money, $15 for two cans of spraypaint.
We replaced the very bright yellow and red buckets at the bottom with white Trofast buckets (from Ikea).  They fit perfectly!
Butterfly decided it would be a cupcake shop, like Katty Cakes (her favourite coffee shop in town)
This is the final product!  I made a sign for her new cupcake shop, and sewed this doily bunting from things we had lying around the house.
This has been a real family project, with each of us doing our part!  Butterfly had ultimate creative control :) I actually wanted to take her to the fabric shop so I could sew her proper curtains, but she likes these ones.  Bless her money saving socks!
I am so happy with the result!  Sometimes we make things at home, and then I see a professional one for sale and think "I REALLY want THAT one!".  I can't see this happening with this shop, I adore it!  And the one's I've liked in the shops have been $300!
This one cost us $15 because we improvised with things we had lying around the house.  I think, from googling old target catalogues, that this blackboard was $50.  It was bought a few months ago so they may still be around!  Or you might have something similar that could be upcycled.
Best of all, Butterfly had NOT stopped playing with it!  She has asked if we can bake real cupcakes one day to sell in her shop.  Of course baby, of course!
By the way, Butterfly's awesome rainbow shirt was tie dyed by my good friend at the fabulous 'The Sunny Daisy Tie Dyed Creations' (I don't get paid to advertise on my blog, I do it when I want to!)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

TV rots your family!

I've recently been asked to blog over at nurture-natural parenting magazine! What an honor! I went through and read some posts from other bloggers to see what they were talking about. I found one called "Two weeks TV free".

I've been pretty uneasy with the amount of TV Butterfly has been watching of late. So I decided to have a TV free day to see how we went.

I was dreading the day, I thought I wouldn't be able to get anything done and that it would be a
VERY long day!

I don't know what I expected to happen, but I was absolutely astounded at the results!

Lately I've been feeling so disconnected with parenthood, I hated playing and would avoid it at all costs. I'd always have an excuse not to have to play. Butterfly and I were clashing a lot, I had actually yelled at her a few times. We were both snappy and cranky.

The TV would be on ALL day. Some kids have the TV on but barely watch it. Butterfly is not one of those kids. I'd ask her if she wanted to come outside while I hung clothes... She would choose to stay in and watch TV. I'd ask her if she wanted to help me water the garden... She would choose to stay inside and watch TV. Anytime I'd be doing chores, she would watch TV. In between chores I'd sit next to her on the couch, but since Mike the Knight does nothing for me, I'd pick up my iPhone and browse the net. Anytime she asked me a question I'd have to ask her to repeat it because I'd been reading. If she did ask me to play, it was always 'in a minute' while I finished typing something.  It sucked!

Just by turning the TV off... ALL of our problems seemed to resolve themselves! At first Butterfly was all 'where's the remote?' but soon we were engaged in play and she stopped asking. I found that, for the first time in ages, I actually enjoyed playing! We played board games, read books, read her Bindi magazine together and started using her Starter Stiles! She got the hang of it really quickly and loves sitting down to do it together. She learnt so much in one day! We talked more, laughed more and hugged more. She engaged herself in the chores I was doing, helping me clean windows and make lunch. It was nice to eat without the TV on!

The best part was, we didn't clash once!

I couldn't believe how easy the day was. I wish I'd known that pretty much all our issues could have been solved just by turning off the TV (and by extension, also staying off my iphone)! I'd read all the studies about TV rotting kids brains etc, I hadn't realised that it rotted relationships as well. We had become so used to using the TV to get things done. Butterfly has no siblings so I felt I needed the TV to provide stimulation for her.

As a family, I think we will always watch TV. It can be relaxing and fun, and Butterfly has learnt a lot from certain shows. Bindi the Jungle girl especially has expanded her world and taught her about respecting animals.

However we will be imposing some restrictions. I didn't want to be 'that family'... But I've tried letting Butterfly regulate her own TV time and it hasn't worked. I need the TV off for my own mental health, I seemed to be the person benefitting the most (which always benefits Butterfly as well!)

We will allow TV in the afternoons, occasionally movies on especially hot or rainy days, and Butterfly has a DVD player in the car for long trips.

This adventure has been about finding our family's healthy balance.

The TV is on right now, and I'm on my iPad, but when Butterfly asked me to play a board game I was careful not to say 'in a minute'. I put down the blog, I turned off the TV and we played.  Today hasn't been as easy as the first day, I've changed herbal supplements and am really tired and hubby is on overtime. So the TV went on earlier today, and we did go to Maccas for ice cream to kill some time!

They may be baby steps, but at least they are in the right direction :)