We redecorated our dining room, it’s not 100% completed yet, but we have definitely made some changes. We went from primitive style to farmhouse style. I really wanted to brighten everything up.
We started with paint. We painted the walls SW Agreeable Gray, and the trim SW Alabaster. It really made a HUGE difference. Next, we added black curtain rods, and our DIY drop cloth curtains. We lowered the chandelier, changed the decor in the built-ins, and there you have it!
If you’ve found your way here, you probably already know that drop cloths make AMAZING curtains (and SO much cheaper).
So here is how you bleach them!
First of all, you need the drop cloths. It’s recommended to use 100% cotton ones. I got mine from Home Depot and used the Everbilt Brand, and got the 6×9 drop cloths. You can also order some from Amazon apparently, but it was easily for me to go to Home Depot. Check and make sure there are no seams! I would open the package and peek inside to see if there were seams so I wouldn’t have to refold them to exchange. We found that about 4 out of 10 would have seams (slightly annoying, but for the style and price… worth it!).
Next, buy your bleach. You need a TON of bleach. I used linen bleach and basically an entire bottle per panel.
I filled up a large plastic tub on my porch, added the bleach, then added the drop cloths. I let them soak for about 4 hours each, and made sure to move them around about every half hour so that it would be even.
After they soaked, I hung them on the side of my porch and used a water hose to spray off excess bleach. I then put them back in the tub and took them to my washing machine. I washed them on hot water with regular detergent for the first wash, and just with hot water for the second wash.
I dried them in the dryer until they were slightly damp and then hung them up so that the gravity of the heaviness would help get the wrinkles out. I think they turned out gorgeous!
We are in the middle of re-decorating our downstairs, making the switch from primitive to modern farmhouse. I really wanted to lighten everything up, and we were seriously overdue for some new furniture! I was trying to do a lot of DIY and stay in a budget, so using drop cloths as curtains was a GREAT idea!
It was an adventure to say the least, but y’all, they are gorgeous and no one can believe my curtains are actually drop cloths!
I did a ton of research before bleaching them, and I knew that they weren’t going to turn stark white. I actually didn’t even want them stark white!
So, off to Lowe’s we went to get some drop cloths. We got 4, and the first 2 that we opened had seams right down the middle. I was so disappointed. Back they went! And off I went to Home Depot to get the Everbilt brand (which I read was actually lighter than Lowe’s anyway, and most of them did not have seams). We got 6 this time, and the first one we opened had another seam! I was about ready to throw in the towel on using the drop cloths, but then I just decided to open a second package. NO SEAM! I continued to open them, and 4 did not have seams, 2 did. We took the two back and exchanged again, we got 4 and the first 2 did not have seams (we needed 6 total).
Now, it was time to bleach. I have dogs and a toddler so I did NOT want bleach in my house. I found some large tubs and filled them with water on my porch. At first, I used a cup of water per 5 gallons of bleach. I let them soak for about 5 hours, and noticed NO difference at all. I was disappointed, but thought I should use more bleach. (I made sure to use linen bleach, by the way). I washed them, then the next day set back out on a mission to bleach the drop cloths!
This time, I used an entire bottle of bleach per drop cloth and I let them soak for 4 hours each. At first, I did not think they worked, but after washing them (twice, to get the bleach smell out), I held them up to the ones that had not yet been bleached and there is definitely a difference! They look brighter and creamier, and the bleaching process definitely takes it from “painter’s drop cloth” to “curtains”. They look gorgeous and are half the price of curtain panels.
When hanging them, we used black curtain rods and clips. We simply folded the curtains over so it looks like there is a valance on top, then clipped them where we wanted them!
When your baby nears toddler-hood, you start to think about a playroom, or turning your nursery into a toddler room. We just turned one of our spare bedrooms into a playroom for Penelope and it was life changing to be honest. She was SO active and into everything, I wanted her to have a safe place to be able to explore, a “yes” environment. I love not having to chase her around constantly and worrying about her safety. I believe that this is very important for toddlers!
Here are some of my favorite playroom essentials!
I honestly think books are incredibly important! Probably the most important and education item (items) you can have in your playroom! Fostering a love of books will expand a child’s vocabulary, increase attention span, and so much more. We have a bookshelf and several book baskets all around her playroom. Its so interesting to see what books she decides are her favorites for that day or week.
A play kitchen This will allow children to engage in dramatic play (stirring, pouring, banging, cooking, feeding others, eating, etc). Also, play kitchens are wonderful for aiding in language development (hot, cold, plate, food, oven, door, sink, the possibilities are endless!). This is an item that you can purchase early on (we got ours at 9 months and she’s been “playing with it” since then! Children love play kitchens for years and years to come and it will likely end up being the toy that you have for the longest time.
A teepeeKids can use their imagination with a teepee. It can be a fort, a reading nook, a house, or just somewhere fun to hide! These also look adorable.
A shelf, bookshelf, and storage unitThese are super important for organizing your playroom!
Okay so this is obvious and generic. I suggest educational toys, but this will totally depend on you and your child. Some great choices are stacking toys, stuffed animals, push toys, a play house
Puzzles are fun and educational, and a great addition to any playroom.
Those are some of my top choices! What do you have in your playroom?
Some of you might be rolling your eyes with “school” and “15 month old” together, but before y’all fuss at me, let me explain.
“Tot school” is intentional playing and reading with your child during the ages of 1-3, before preschool officially starts.
Babies and toddlers are ALWAYS learning and it’s never too early to engage them and their sense of curiosity. Very young children learn through play, interaction with adults, and modeling. Toddlers are like sponges and literally soak up everything! It’s totally fine to just let them play all day if you want, but I choose to do a version of tot school with Penelope. I am eventually going to homeschool her, so I am setting the groundwork. I will also say that we don’t have a strict schedule, but we do follow a routine every day. While I don’t necessarily believe that a strict schedule is the way to go for us, I love having a routine because it helps both of us.
It’s important for me to point out that I never force her to do anything. If she’s not feeling a certain activity, we skip it and try something else. I want learning to be fun and I want her to be excited about it.
Here’s what our day looks like (I won’t put times because it varies, and also, make sure to narrate your whole day! They learn from you even if you feel silly talking through every little action):
We wake up slowly with lots of hugs and cuddles. I sing some version of a “good morning” song with her. This takes about 10 minutes.
We open all the curtains in the house. She gets excited about this and starts to point out the window before we even open the curtain saying “bird”, “tree”, etc. We spend about 5-10 minutes doing this. I point out the sun, we talk about the weather, bird, trees, cars, grass, etc.
We feed the puppies. She has to say good morning to the pups. This only takes about 1-2 minutes.
Change diaper and put on clothes for the day. Brush hair (she helps).
She watches nursery rhymes on a tablet and snacks on something (usually cheerios), while I get her breakfast ready. This takes about 5-10 minutes depending on what we are having for breakfast.
We eat breakfast together, and talk about each item that she is eating. I point out the colors, the textures, etc. At the end of the meal, I usually let her play with yogurt for a while. This is great sensory play and she loves it. Breakfast takes about 30 minutes usually.
After breakfast, we wash hands and clean up the table. She’s learning how to wipe down the table and high chair.
Time to take the dogs for a walk! We try to spend about 30 minutes outside at this point with the dogs. We talk about leaves, grass, sticks, rocks, etc. She loves exploring outside and it’s important to me to let her play in dirt, feel the grass, etc.
When we go in, we wash up and usually have another quick snack.
At this point, I will try to do some kind of organized activity. Most of the time, it’s “art and music” time. She is learning to color, and also plays with her musical instruments (this includes maracas, a xylophone, a triangle, and a drum). This really varies based on whatever she is feeling at the moment. Sometimes it lasts 5 minutes, other times it can last 45 minutes!
It’s time to walk the dogs after art and music time. We explore outside again, but usually not as long as we do in the mornings.
When we come back in from our walk, it’s lunch time!
After lunch it’s nap time. Usually she takes one nap a day and will sleep anywhere from 1-3 hours (sometimes it’s 3.5-4 hours though).
Once she wakes from her nap, Daddy is usually home from work. They get alone time to wrestle/play/go outside/explore for 1-2 hours.
It’s time for dinner after Daddy time. Dinner usually lasts 30-45 minutes.
Bath time is after dinner.
We unwind together as a family in the evenings. We pretty much follow her lead and do whatever she wants. We read books, play games, watch a show, etc.
Once she gets tired it’s time for bed!
This isn’t a hard and fast routine, there are days when we don’t do anything but cuddle or nurse (when she’s teething or not feeling well). Also, we go to a playgroup every other Monday and music/storytime at our local library every Wednesday, so those days are different as well.
However you choose to do Tot School, make sure it’s a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your little ones.