Sunday, February 22, 2015

Review of the IKEA Ektorp Sofa Series

I recently took a little road trip down IKEA (the nearest being 2 hours away) to pick up a second EKTORP sofa! I purchased my first Ektorp two years ago and really love it. In that time I've been asked about the sofa by lots of friends, both online and in real life, so I'm here to give a comprehensive review of my experiences.

IKEA Ektorp Sofa Review

Here's the lowdown on why I love this sofa series:

1) Affordable price
2) Nicely tailored slipcovers (that don't look like slipcovers) in a variety of colors
3) Slipcovers can be removed & laundered
4) Easy to assemble
5) Good quality that stands the test of time

 The EKTORP series offers a full size sofa, loveseat, arm chair, footstool, and sectional options. I've owned the sofa, footstool, and until recently, two armchairs (which I sold in order to make room for another full size sofa). Each piece of furniture is purchased separately from the slipcovers, allowing you to easily change out the look as well as remove the slipcovers to wash when needed. I haven't had to wash mine yet but I've read lots of other reviews from people who have and say it's quite easy. The slipcovers vary in price depending on the color and material you choose. For the combination I chose I paid $499 for each sofa (without tax).

I chose 'Nordvalla Gray' for my slipcovers because it's dark enough to hide everyday stains and I just really love the color gray! My second choice is the basic white, which I've read is really easily laundered, and this is the least expensive of the slipcover options. What I really like about the slipcovers in addition to their washability, is that they don't look like your typical slipcovers. They are tailored very nicely with a piping detail so they fit the couch frames perfectly. In fact, most people don't even realize they are slipcovers when viewing the set in person. The Nordvalla gray cover is a very thick material, almost denim like, not as soft as the white slipcovers but very durable.

Let's talk assembly...they are SUPER easy to assemble. I put mine together by myself in about 20 minutes (including putting on the cushion covers). The frame comes as one piece, with the back folded down, and the arms and feet are unattached. First you pop up the back of the frame, then attach the arms, then the feet, then add the slipcover to the frame...

Finally, you add the slipcovers to each individual cushion and then you're done! What I like about these covers and cushions, is that they are reversible so you can easily rotate the cushions for even use and wear. Every so often I rotate my cushions so that I don't have a 'dent' in the spots that are sat on most often. I think this has helped keep the life in my cushions. Because I bought my first Ektorp sofa two years ago, I have a side by side comparison of the 2-year old sofa set next to the brand new sofa. The cushions on the new sofa definitely have more 'fluffiness' to them but I'm really pleased with how well the older sofa has held up over time...

The arms of my older sofa don't have any pilling yet, but I would imagine over a longer period of time they might. Also, it's important to note that I don't have any kids or pets jumping on my sofas (other than the occasional visit from friends) every day so my furniture is gently used. However, in all of my research on this series before purchasing, I read countless reviews of people with kids and pets who raved about the durability/washability.

IKEA Ektorp Nordvalla Gray
For further comparison purposes, in the photo above, the sofa on the left is the older one and the one on the right is the brand new sofa. I combined two of the Ektorp sofas in addition to an Ektorp footstool to form my own 'sectional'! I get compliments on the sofas very often from guests visiting my home and many are surprised to learn they are from IKEA! They are comfortable to sit on, not too firm, not too soft. Overall, I highly recommend this affordable, durable, and good-looking furniture set!

Room Source List
Photo frames: IKEA
Teal Pillow Covers: IKEA
Tan pillows: Home Goods
Curtains: IKEA (but I painted on the blue stripes)
Coffee Table: vintage from Goodwill and painted white
Trellis Rug: Rugs USA
Paint Color on Walls: Horizon by Benjamin Moore

Monday, February 16, 2015

Homemade Sugar Lip Scrub

Ever since getting Invisalign I've been suffering from a mild case of chapped lips. After a fruitless attempt at purchasing an inexpensive exfoliant at the drug store, I decided to make my own! I adapted the recipe from this source.

Here's what you'll need to make your own Sugar Lip Scrub:

-3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
-1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-3 drops peppermint extract
-2-3 drops of red food coloring
-Small container for storage

Mix everything together in a small bowl. You can play around with the type of oil and the type of extract you use but I chose olive oil and peppermint because they were readily available and relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other choices. I found the small plastic containers in the travel toiletry section at WalMart (2 for $1) batch of the scrub will fill two of these small containers. The scrub leaves my lips so soft and tastes yummy, too!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Craft Club: Valentine Paper Crafts

Today I hosted the second meeting of the Craft Club I started at school! We had a great turnout of students and even a couple teachers came to join the fun! I put together several different paper crafts for us to make! Below is a list of the crafts we made and links to the sources for each so you can make your own! Check out my Pinterest boards for additional craft ideas...

Valentine Craft Ideas

Paper Fortune Cookies

Pop-Up Love Cards

Origami Candy Hearts

Popsicle Stick Puzzles

We used these free printables for our puzzles...

Craft Club has turned out greater than I could have hoped! We sit and chat and interact with one another in a casual and creative atmosphere. It feels great to be able to share my love of crafting with my students!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Valentine's Day Printables For Teachers

Valentine's Day is coming right up (and so is school vacation...woo hoo) and I usually put a little something together to give to my students and coworkers. Below are some of my favorite simple and inexpensive Valentine ideas I've used in years past to spread a little love and kindness at school!

Starburst Printable
Free Valentine Printables
 'You're a Star' printable was originally found here but this source doesn't seem to be working so you can download the free printable here. Just add some Starburst candy and you're set!

Baggie Topper Printable
teacher valentines
Fill a snack bag with Goldfish crackers or Swedish Fish candy, attach this topper I designed, and give to some happy students! I've created a large version of the printable to attach to the long side of a snack baggie here and a smaller version that can be secured to the short end of a snack baggie here!

Applesauce & Pencil Printables
I'll be giving these little 'Awesome-Sauce' cups to my homeroom students this year! 
And last year I gave them something similar to this:

Because what student doesn't need a new pencil? Printable found here!

Humorous Historical Cards
 If you have a wicked sense of humor and an affinity for all things historical, you might consider giving out these Puritan Valentine cards or these Historical Figure cards...

I gave them out to members of my department at school last year!

Felt Fortune Cookies
 If you're feeling ambitious, you could make these adorable felt fortune cookies...I used pipe cleaners instead of floral wire filled them with Dove chocolates! I'll be making these with my craft club at school this week along with several other Valentine crafts! 

Come follow my Pinterest board for holiday craft ideas!