The Hip Single Mama's DIY Couch

I love simple and modern furniture. Unfortunately, simple and modern furniture is always the most expensive kind of furniture there is. The less complicated it is, the more you pay. Ikea has some great stuff that's fairly moderately priced, but spending $300-$400 on a couch isn't an option for me right now. I decided when I was moving out of my old apartment and into a new one last week, that I wanted to get rid of my couch (I mostly didn't want to move it because it was super heavy and not that aesthetically appealing) and build one for myself.

The first thing I did, before I moved out of my old apartment, was recover the seat cushions and throw pillows from my old couch. When I moved I brought the cushions and pillows with me, and ditched the rest of the couch. I sat on the cushions on the floor for about a week (it was actually pretty comfy!) until it was couch building day this past weekend. I based this DIY couch project on this Apartment Therapy Desire To Inspire article.

Now, I did have a little help. A friend of mine made a 3D model with the dimensions, but this project is totally doable without a 3D model. On Friday night we went to home depot and picked up all the supplies needed. I decided to get cheaper wood for the support beams, legs, and the plywood inside, and I got a nicer looking light wood for the visible frame around the whole couch. Total amount spent was $59 (and I had a lot of wood left over).

Miter saws are fun!

Onto building! First step was to cut all the wood with the miter saw. This was super fun (and I totally want a miter saw now, but I have nowhere to put it).  If you're going to attempt this project, make sure you have all your measurements written out first to make it easy! Once all the wood was cut we pieced it together to make sure everything fit like it should, and then we took the pieces out, flipped the plywood over and screwed in the legs. The next steps after screwing the legs in is screwing the outer support beams in, then the V shaped support beams, and finally the 4 support beams in the middle.

All the support beams in place to make sure they fit

Screwing in support beams

Those steps were the most time consuming, and they didn't even take that long to complete! Once you have all of the support beams in place, the only thing left to do is screw in the front, back, and two side pieces that are visible. I also put a strip of wood inside to keep the seat cushions in place, since I left several inches behind the cushions so I could tons of throw pillows.

Finished! Now I just need to bring it home and put pillows in the back.

And I present to you: my finished couch! I'm always making or scouring thrift stores and vintage shops for fun throw pillows, so I think this couch will change it's look in the next few weeks since I can play with it now. In front of the couch you can see come oversized wooden blocks that I made for Eli out of the wood left over from the couch legs. He loves them! There are 12 in all, some not pictured, but he constantly stacks them all up and knocks them all over. Aside from the extra wood that I made blocks out of, I have 3 pieces left over from the visible front and side panels. I might turn those into shelves, all I have to do is get some L brackets for them. 



Become. Shopping your way.

I was only recently introduced to become.com. This is your online mega store. You want it? They have a section for it. Everything from Baby to Automotive, Home & Garden, Pets, even flowers & gifts! Become.com offers price comparisons, reviews, and hot deals, so this website really is one-stop shopping. Their integrated search engine is fabulous. Say you're looking for antique white bar stools, just type it into the search bar and you get an entire page of exactly what you're looking for. Looking for that perfect leather tufted sofa? No problem. Or how about if you have really wide doorways and you need to keep Fido out of your all white living room? Just type in extra wide pet gate and you'll surely find something that will exceed your expectations!



Bluefly.com - The ultimate hook up for the fashion obsessed

As a mom, I'm always looking for a good deal. I can't remember the last time I paid full retail price for something. One of my favorite websites for deals on fashion is bluefly.com. They are an established website that offers designer brands at discount prices. You can look like a million bucks for just a fraction of the cost. They carry one of my favorite designers, bcbg (go check out their dresses! I especially love the pink flush pleated organza strapless bustier dress), they also carry bcbg shoes.
Some other favorite brands of mine that bluefly.com carries are American Apparel, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Miss Sixty. There are so many designers to choose from, your favorites are guaranteed to be there. They not only carry women's clothing and accessories, but they have a large section just for men too.
Bluefly.com has a trends section, which I love, that shows you the current trends of the season, they have an awesome sale section, and they just introduced their website, eyefly.com, where you can get beautiful eyewear for $99 with RX lenses. 
So, if you're a mom on a budget, or if you just want some amazing deals on fashion (who doesn't?!) then go check out bluefly.com.



"Some days are harder than others."

I think every mother, single or not, has thought this at least once, if not multiple times in their life. The past couple of days have been pretty hard for me. It's just a period of time where I'm stressed out about pressing issues such as money and my health and there are certain factors (or people) who are making my stress level go through the roof.

I feel stuck. I've been looking for a job for the past few months, although not aggressively looking until about a month ago. I've made it a point to send out at least 5 resumes per day. I think I'm just feeling discouraged because I haven't gotten any call backs yet. I'm not being picky at all because, well, I need to work. Not only is not getting any interviews stressful, but I think about what's going to happen if I get hired and they want me to start immediately? Elijah is not in day care, and in order to get him into day care his dad is going to have to foot the bill at first until I make some money. It just feels like it's going to be impossible to set him up in day care and start working in the quick time frame that I am going to need it to happen.

My next serious stressor of course has to do with my health. I still don't have health insurance and I can't forsee that changing in the near future. I have an oncologist appointment coming up and I have to have him look over all of my moles since I can't afford to go to a dermatologist, and I am freaked out. I have a small spot on my shoulder that I think is new, and it looks abnormal to me. I need to remain positive and think that if they do catch something that it will be caught super early and I won't have to go through all that crap that I went through before. 

I'd like to end my rant on a positive note and say that my son is my rock. When I'm having a bad day, or week, he can tell, and he's the sweetest little boy ever. He constantly tries to cheer me up (and it works!) by giving me lots of extra hugs or kisses, and trying to share things with me (included, but not limited to, his food or drink). I don't know what I'd do without him.


Mom and Dad Make the Move

Guest written by our friend Katie Callahan

When mom and dad decided they wanted to live out on the country farm instead of in our neighborhood house I was a little concerned, to say the least. The farm was going to be a big undertaking and it was all the way out in the middle of nowhere… Not exactly the safest place for to elderly citizens to be living by themselves. I put together a plan for my brother and I to make sure we went by and saw him at least once a week each and we definitely talked to our mom at least once a day. I also did a good bit of digging on www.homesecurity101.com to find them a security system that made sense for their small budget. They seem to be really happy out on the farm and they like being away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I definitely think they shortened my lifespan by a few years at least, but I guess it's just payback for all the worrying they did over me when I was a kid!


Update: Cloth Diapers and Apartment Living

I have lived in an apartment without washer & dryer hook ups or a laundry room since September 2010. I decided that when I moved in I would hook my washing machine up to my kitchen sink and air dry my diapers. I have been doing this for the past 9 months and I am happy to report that I haven't had any problems! At first I was worried about water pressure and the amount of time air drying takes, but both of these things are non issues.

I have been using different kinds of soaps. First I was using Rockin' Green, which I absolutely love, but once that ran out I didn't have the money to get anymore. Being a single mom means I am on a serious budget. Luckily I had a large box of Country Save, so I used that for quite a while. I recently joined this awesome site called Heartsy, I had some credits from referring friends so I was able to purchase a deal from Life Soap Simple and I got some natural citrus laundry soap for free (and a stain stick too)! I have been using this on my diapers and it's working wonderfully.

For my wash cycle I turn my cold water on and do a cold rinse. Once that's finished I turn my sink to hot and put it on the longest wash with an extra rinse, then for good measure I do one more quick cold rinse and then hang the diapers up to dry.

One good thing about living in Texas is the fact that it's been warm/hot for months now, so my diapers dry super fast when I hang them outside. During the winter months it took a little longer since I usually just hung them indoors, but I have never been without clean cloth diapers to use. 

Even if you can't hook a washing machine up to your sink, there are ways to wash diapers if you live in an apartment. Don't let apartment living sway you away from using cloth. Depending on your situation there are diapering options that would be more apartment friendly than others. Do you live in an apartment and cloth? Share your routines!



The Littlest Forest Winner

Sorry for being so late picking the winner of The Littlest Forest longies, folks. It's been hectic around here with a computer that works part-time and SXSW. Without further ado, the winner of the longies is Rebecca O.! Cobgratulations, I will be emailing you shortly.

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