Friday, August 23, 2013

Thrifting for Classroom Furniture

Guess what? I'm THRILLED to say that after being on a cart last year (and teaching in five places around the school) I've moved into a permanent room (well, permanent for this year at least)!  This means I can NEST...woo hoo! So this summer I kept my eyes peeled for some inexpensive furniture that I could use in my new digs, particularly a stool, a small round table, and some shelves. Happy to report I found all three items, and then some!

Thriftstore Budget Classroom Furniture
With a serious lack of storage in this room I wanted to find at least one shelving unit to put by the door to house the pencil sharpener, hole punch, paper, etc. I was randomly driving down a side street a couple weeks ago and passed a house with a bunch of FREE furniture on the lawn and found the perfect piece:

It was in great shape and just needed to be cleaned up.  I decided to paint over the dirty blue with my signature gray to freshen it up a bit.  Now here she sits near the entrance of the room:

Classroom Bookshelf Decor
Did I mention the shelves were FREE?!?! Can't beat that! The bulletin board on top was found for $2 at Goodwill and I used wrapping paper from Marshall's to cover the cork and add some bright color!

In the next town over we have a Goodwill bulk/pay-by-the-pound store where items from area Goodwill stores that don't sell are sent. The prices at this place are dirt cheap (and it is kind of grimy in there so 'dirt' cheap is really a good description). Around the perimeter of the store is all sorts of furniture that they are practically giving away. I was able to walk away with a small round wood table, a wooden stool, and a rectangular folding card table for a total of $1.75!!
That's right, all three pieces for a TOTAL of $1.75! I was pretty thrilled!

Here's the table and stool before I gave them a fresh coat of paint
(actually, you can see one leg of the table had been painted):

I used my favorite gray spray paint on the legs but had it color matched in a quart of satin paint at Home Depot and used a large foam roller to paint the top. I don't have very good luck trying to spray paint large surfaces so I find using a roller and 'regular' paint instead works much better!

The table came with the top and the legs but was missing the hardware to attach said legs. I purchased four washers and nuts from Home Depot for $2 and since I spent $.75 on the table, I was OK with that! It fits perfectly in one corner of my classroom which I envision
will be a place for collaborative work and creativity. 

Finally, the stool from Goodwill was in rough shape but since it was only $.25, I figured even if it fell apart down the road, it's practically free so why not buy it? I spray painted it 'watermelon' hot pink and will use it to sit in front of the class and impart my wisdom upon those little teenagers of mine! :)

I plan to post again with a full classroom tour since I've put up lots of other pretty things in my room since taking these photos! I think I'm going a bit over board since I'm so giddy to be in one space this year! But, I spend so much time at school (it's my home away from home) that it's important for me to have a space that's pretty, organized, and happy! 

And I'll be back with another FREE CLASSROOM POSTER printable, too!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Finally, A Deck!

It's been two years since moving into my newly constructed house (July 9th is my 'houseiversary') and I decided it was FINALLY time to add a deck to the backyard. My builder added a basic set of stairs upon completion of the house, which have been functional but certainly didn't allow me to fully enjoy my backyard. The deck has been a wonderful addition!
Having dealt with painting/staining my front porch, I went with composite decking for the floor boards and railings, which won't have to be maintained nearly as much as pressure-treated lumber. Next summer I will paint the sides white (where we did use pressure treated wood) and add some lattice to hide the underside of the deck.
 My friend and colleague builds decks during summer vacation and he graciously offered to lend his building expertise! I helped where I could (learned how to use a nail gun!) but he really did 98% of the labor!

I was able to score a patio set I had been eying at Target since early Spring for 50% off by waiting until mid-July to buy it (the 'Edinburgh' set by Smith & Hawken)! Apparently they had to make way for all of their 'back to school' stuff so what they had in the store for outdoor furniture was marked down. I LOOOOVE the color of pillows and umbrella!

Splurged on a grill, too, to complete my outdoor living space! I've never actually used a grill before and was really nervous about the whole propane situation...I'm happy to report that I made my first grilled meal without burning or blowing up anything! 

Now, to sit back and savor these last days of summer...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Easy A-Frame Tent

Wow! August already! I've been busy with some of my summer home-improvement projects, including painting and redecorating my living room, as well as having a deck built! I've also been able to squeeze in some crafty projects here and there including this ADORABLE little indoor tent:
This is a birthday gift for a friend's child and I can only imagine how much fun will be had under this tent! It was really easy to only need 4 pieces of wood for the 'legs', a dowel for the top, a twin-size sheet, and some elastic!

I used a tutorial found here to make the tent but added an extra step: To prevent the legs of the tent from slipping if used on a wood or laminate floor, I sprayed the bottom inch of each leg with Plasti-Dip (found in the spray paint section of Home Depot) which adds a rubber coating! Now it doesn't slip! I also used a fine grit sand paper block to smooth each of the four legs to prevent splinters (which isn't mentioned in the original tutorial).  I can't wait to see a little face light up when this gift is opened!