Autism and Decorating

Eighteen years ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, who happened to have multiple disabilities. When he was born, I was told he was profoundly deaf. At the age of three (he still couldn’t walk) he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. We suspected he was Autistic for quite a few years before he was formally diagnosed at the age of 8.
When he was young, decorating was the same as it would be for any little boy. As he grew, it became a much greater challenge. Especially during puberty!
If there was anything with mesh he would obsess over it (or eat it). If it had wheels, he would spin them all night (or break it up…and eat it). If it was wooden he would either climb on it or break it apart (or eat it…I’m not kidding! He once ate 30 wooden beads from an abacus that he broke up!).
I wanted him to be able to have a cozy little room, but was limited in what I could put in there. Plus, all of his toys have to be locked in a closet at night for safety concerns and his sleep issues (he was staying up all night every night obsessing over toys). So, he spent the next few years with very plain walls and an empty-looking room (except when he pulls the entire contents of his closet out onto the floor).
I’d tried all sorts of ideas out, but never considered painting a mural since I wasn’t blessed (like the rest of my family) with a whole lot of artistic talent. One day, after drawing the same little bird on his hand (he loves birds) that I’ve been drawing for him since he was a baby, I thought, “Why don’t I put that on his walls?”
I got out my craft paints and paint brushes and went to town. 
These are his walls now (sorry, didn’t think to take a “before” picture…so just imagine emptiness). I’m not such a great artist but, he was very happy with his new birds and that’s what matters the most to me! :o)
Big tree in the corner with birds, butterflies and dragonflies.

Scene with a bird trying to fly.
One giant bird.

Linking to these fun parties:

The Girl Creative

Bathroom Luxury on a Budget

Doesn’t everyone want to be pampered a little? Don’t we all want every room in our home to be a place we can relax and unwind in?

Up until recently my bathroom had been sorely overlooked. I mean, it looked OK…it was functional and nothing I was ashamed of, but I felt like it could be better. So I marched into the bathroom and put all the toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes…you know, all the functional, everyday items into the closet (of course, that meant a little re-organizing).

I realized that I don’t have to spend a fortune to get a little luxury for my bathroom.

First, I looked through what I already owned. It’s amazing the things that sit in your house everyday, unnoticed and unused, isn’t it?

I found these:

I inherited the bell-shaped bottle from my grandmother and found the other one when we moved in. If you don’t have anything like this you can usually find them at thrift stores.

Candles are great! They look good just about anywhere and they are cheap and easy to find.

I think interesting soaps are great for decorating in a bathroom! 
Hand made soaps in an old Mason jar.
Or interesting store-bought soaps in a wide mouth vase.
This particular soap is a Chinese brand called Bee & Flower. They are very inexpensive and are sold in most Asian markets.
I found some nice cork-lid jars at Goodwill for .50 cents each and filled them with interesting textures. Bath salts in one, seashells in the other. I wrapped them in twine to add to the texture.
A basket with rolled hand-towels or wash cloths looks nice, too!

It doesn’t have to cost much to look great!
I am linking to:

The Shabby Chic Cottage

Beyond The Picket Fence

Decor Mamma

Bamboo Table Runner from Dollar Store Placemats

Yesterday I was browsing at The Dollar Tree when I found these cute, multi-colored, bamboo placemats.
I bought 3 of them to make an easy table runner for an old trunk that my husband got when he was in the military. We’ve been using the trunk as a table ever since we got married.
I lined the placemats up end-to-end.
Then I used a needle to pull some neutral toned cross-stitch floss through the ends.
After, threading down the sides I tied them off, then trimmed off the extra string.
I got out my hot glue gun and glued some ribbon on.
And, now I have a nice little table runner! 🙂
I am linking to:

The Girl Creative


Disposable Chopsticks Wall-scroll

What do you do with those disposable bamboo chopsticks that they give you with your meal when you go out to eat at an Asian restaurant? Do you throw them away? Stuff them in a drawer somewhere? I imagine most people do.
Recently, someone gave me a a whole bag of disposable chopsticks…still in the wrappers. I saved them because I figured I would find a use for them. So far I have used some of them for cleaning out hard to reach places, mixing paint and Christmas crafts.
Today I thought of another use for them…decorative scrolls! 🙂
First, I took an old dress that I was saving for just this sort of project.
Then I cut it into the approximate size and shape of a small scroll.
I got out some black fabric paint and my paint brushes.
I painted a simple bamboo design…If you are not the greatest artist (hehe…me) then you can print a template off the internet to use for your design.
Here is my painting…very simple as you can see.
Next, I sewed the seams up then folded it over to make a place for the chopsticks.
And here it is. Now to find a nice place for it. 🙂
I’m linking to:


A Window in Red

Up until recently I had pink curtains that I found for $5 at Goodwill hanging in my living room. Those curtains served me well, but I really wanted something red to fit the rest of the decor. I shopped around and found plenty of red curtains that I liked, just not in my budget.
So, then I tried looking for fabric. No luck there! It was either the wrong color, texture, cost too much…you get the idea.
Then I had an idea that totally fit my budget. I bought an inexpensive (mostly cotton) flat sheet for $4. I also bought two bottles of Rit dye and a couple spools of ribbon.
I dyed the sheet the color of red that I wanted, then cut it in half and sewed it into two matching panels, and added ribbon to the top (look here).
Next I added white lights, an old white shawl, a lantern and a couple more of those bamboo fans I mentioned before.
Here is my new living room window! So cozy!
I am linking to:
Finding Fabulous for Frugalicious Friday
The Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursday