We all know someone who gives selflessly, never asking for anything in return. My niece, Lalainia, is one of those people. She’s a penny-pinching, coupon-cutting, money-saving wife and mom. She’s mastered the art of ‘FREE’. Thanks to coupons and buy one get one offers, she has a stock pile of laundry soap, haircare, toothpaste, and Hamburger Helper. In addition to knowing how to stretch a paycheck, she is kind and patient. She has taken on the role of caregiver, for her father-in-law, who suffers from dementia, and changes more than her share of poopy pants–and it’s not always her 3 year old.
About a week ago, her family moved to be closer to her brother and sister-in-law, so they can help take care of James, her father-in-law. She sent her mom (my favorite sister) an email asking if she had seen any blogs on painting furniture, and what she knew about it. Donna, forwarded the email to me, along with a link to a blog on painting furniture. I responded, with “I’m up for a project, let’s have a sanding party!” Friday night worked out for all of us. Originally, that’s all it was going to be, sanding and trying out a new painting technique on Lalainia’s mismatched garage sale and hand-me-down furniture. You know, let her be the guinea pig.
I remembered Lalainia had recently posted on Facebook a photo of a blue and brown comforter set she liked. I had a blue and brown set in my staging inventory that wasn’t being used so I rounded it up, along with a single curtain panel, some throw pillows and several random pieces of artwork. I invited myself to come stay the weekend and help work on her furniture. A quick trip to Michael’s for some scrapbook paper ($5), and Home Depot for paint, primer, sandpaper and a bag of brushes ($39) and I head out.
My sister and I met there Friday afternoon, had a Hamburger Helper dinner, and proceded to get to work. We started by rearranging the bedroom furniture. Then we emptied dresser drawers (she had just unpacked a day before) and hauled the furniture out onto the back deck. We set up an assembly line of sanding, and then moved out into the yard for priming and painting. After a couple of hours we had the biggest part of the work done! We worked until we couldn’t see to paint (by headlights) anymore. Lalainia and I got up the next morning and wiped everything down and gave it one final coat of paint. I must say, we did a pretty good job for painting after dark.
My youngest daughter wanted to spend the day with her cousin, so Lalainia and I dropped her off at my favorite sister’s house. Donna used to have an upholstery shop, so she has quite a few materials left over. Without hesitation, she took us out to the shop, opened the doors and told us to take whatever we needed. (Now you know why she’s my favorite sister.) 🙂 We looked around, it was hot and dusty and no one really wanted to be in there. That is, until I spied the perfect headboard for Lalainia’s new master suite. Well, I saw it as this beautiful padded upholstered headboard. Lalainia saw it as an old dusty door with water damage on the bottom. Work with me here. Donna knew where I was going with this (because she had just helped me upholster a door for my new headboard), so she asked Lalainia to go inside and measure the width of the bed. 60″. The perfect queen headboard. We were able to cut the 12″ off at the bottom and get rid of the warped and water damaged portion. I found an 8 foot 1×4″ in the shop, and since the offer had been extended, I wanted it, too! We cut the 1×4″ in half and nailed it to the back of the door for legs. I scrounged around in Donna’s old upholstery stash and found a piece of black vinyl that would make the most amazing padded headboard. She also happened to have extra batting, and plenty of staples. I like staples. A few minutes later, ta-da! A new, custom-made, totally free (or gleaned, as my favorite blogger, Nike, would say) headboard!
We made a quick trip to GW Boutique for a $2.99 bedskirt in the perfect shade of dark brown. She needed extra storage, so we also picked up a set of $12 bed risers from Walmart, so she could store things under the bed, and a 5 pack of 11×14″ poster board, and a peel stick wall art (Always Kiss Me Goodnight!) from Dollar Tree, and we were off. The furniture was dry and ready to be brought back in and put the room together.
After bringing the furniture in and hanging a couple of pieces of artwork, she still needed just a little pop of color over the night stands. We raided her $1 photo frame collection, and came up with 4 matching frames. I pulled out the cardstock I picked up at Michael’s for $.69 each and the DT poster board. I used Lalainia’s scrapbook cutter to make custom photo mats and the cardstock for custom artwork. It was just what the room needed as a finishing touch. The sign over the bed was a brown bulletin frame with hooks. We removed the hooks, painted the frame black and the cardboard back blue, and used the peel and stick “Always Kiss Me Goodnight!” stickers for a one of a kind art piece.
The whole room redesign cost about $125, including the bedding I had orginally found new on Craigslist for $50. She loves her new space and posted on Facebook “We made her a hotel bedroom, and it wasn’t one of those $29.95 a night ones either!” Lalainia finally has a place to call her own, somewhere she can unwind at the end of a mentally and physically exhausting day–she deserves that.