Tuesday, June 1, 2010

operation Organization, Take 7. Or, A Very Sticky Situation

Tonight we took a break from our normal Monday Food Fest, in lieu of Memorial Day festivities with the family.  We talked, we played, we ate, we napped... oh, wait.  That’s the one thing we DIDN’T do, which is why the kids were in bed by 6:50 tonight.  And that’s only ONE reason I’m grateful for this day... thank you to everyone who has given their life and everyone who  gives OF their life to make MY life what it is.  Thanks.  You deserve more than my humble appreciation.
During this break, I decided to take a moment and type up Operation Organization, Take 7 - which was supposed to be done, no not last Thursday... the Thursday before.  
Without further ado, I give to you my “Easy Read” Toy Bin Labels.
I was wondering to myself the other day, what would make it easier for the 2’s to pick up after themselves?  And I answered, well, labels, of course.  Then we would all know what toys go where (and even mr wouldn’t have an excuse not to clean the playroom anymore).  Then I thought to myself, well, silly, the 2’s can’t read!  Ah-ha!  PICTURE labels!  Not original, I know.  Lots of people do them.  It just felt like an ah-ha! moment because I actually remembered such a useful idea.  (you know, instead of being clouded with trivia like “Dr. Seuss’s real name is Theodore...  Theodore Roosevelt was the first US president to visit Panama...  There are more birds in Panama than in the US and Canada combined - which is useful to know if you are a bird-o-phobe like me...)

OK.  So I already had the toys in bins - these relatively inexpensive ones from Target.  Come in all kinds of colors, fairly durable, convenient because they fold all up nicely.  
(photo from Target.com)

I grabbed some of this at the store.  

(photo from avery.com)

Printable iron-on transfers.  (I am no stranger to the “iron-on" concept, but I have to say I LOVE this product.  I love that you can design your own iron-on, and I love the quality of these particular iron-ons.  And no, I’m not affiliated with “Avery” at all.  I just like the ease of use and caliber of this brand.)  I was planning on using images I found on the internet, and at the last moment realized I could take photos of the actual toys and use those instead.  Then it would be much more personal, and bug might just think that was neat.  (I’m always surprised by what this kid thinks is neat.)

So I took a number of photos of the kids’ toys, grouped together as they are put away in bins.  Then I doctored them a bit in Picnik, and added the word label for mr and I (because we can read, you know). 

And I ended up with these photos:

Just before I printed them out on the iron-on transers, I realized the the words would have to be backwards in order to be forwards when they were ironed on to the fabric.  So I went back and changed every label so the words were backwards.  Phew, disaster averted!  But THAT, right there, is where the good ideas ended.  

I cut out the photos, leaving very little white space,

then thought how much more fun it would be in the colorful “new” playroom to have the labels on brightly colored rectangles instead of directly on the fabric bins or on plain white fabric.  I mean, how boring, right?  I also wanted an excuse to use my new pinking shears that I had just gotten.  (When I was a kids, I had this strange fascination with pinking shears.  They didn’t really have scrapbooking scissors back then, or I just don’t remember them having scrapbooking scissors (who is this THEM, anyway?) or maybe it was just that my mom didn’t have any... the point is, pinking shears were so cool.  I remember discovering my mother’s and wondering what they did.  I remember trying them out and being overcome with the sheer coolness.  They were like fancy shmancy scissors.  My mom wasn’t too happy to find me in her sewing area using her pinking shears to cut my coloring paper into millions of little zig-zags, though.  Anyway, I guess the fascination has continued, because I was so excited to get those things...)

So I  cut out some colorful rectangles and I ironed them on.  (We all know how I feel about crafts that require chores (i.e. they are LAME) but this was the first time I actually enjoyed using my iron. (I told you those iron-ons were good!)).  

This was when I noticed my first mistake.  (don’t worry, many more to come...)  Of course the photos didn’t appear very crisp when ironed on to colored fabric!  If they had been black and white photos, it would be a different story.  But they were colored photos on colored fabric.  So lots of details were lost.  Some were worse than others.  I decided to continue on, though, because it wasn’t as if you couldn’t tell what they were AT ALL, you just had to squint a little, you know?  

I used my pinking shears around the rectangles, because it looked way cooler that way.

Mistake two.  I only ironed on about 4 to the BACK of the fabric instead of the front.  Only 4 of like 8.  So, 50/50 isn’t bad, right?
So I finished up with that and got tired and went to bed.  That’s why it wasn’t posted the Thursday it should have been...

When I next worked on them, I realized that since I had ironed on to fabric, instead of just ironing on to the fabric bins themselves, I now needed a means of attaching them.  I got out my heat bond, cut out some rectangles, and adhered the heat bond to the label.  

Mistake number three?  When I ironed the heat bond on to the back, it also heated the FRONT - obviously, which made the iron-on transfer photo get all sticky again and some of it peeled off.  When I realized it was doing this, I was on the second one and started thinking maybe this project wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  
I used the backing from the pieces of heat bond that had already been used to lay across the front of the label.  This way, the photo was laying on the non-stick surface instead of on my ironing board pad or my dishtowel.  That solved the problem.

Now it was time for the exciting part - attaching the label to the bin and being all proud of my handiwork and showing it off - all cute and stylin’ - in the playroom.  I laid out my bin.  I set the fabric on the front with the facing out.  I had my iron cranked up because the fabric was cotton.  I adjusted the photo.  I mean, I wanted it to be perfect.  It needed to be straight.  I carefully brought the iron down on the fabric bin, sandwiching my iron-on label.

I lifted the iron to see

Yes.  My fabric label was cotton, but my CHEAP fabric bins were not FABRIC - they were cardboard covered with some kind of synthetic material - nylon perhaps?
So, by this point in the project, the casualties numbered three and were as follows: One sticky, plasticky ironing board pad.  One sorry, sad little dishtowel with patches of photo iron-on transfer.  And, One oozy green iron.  

Oh, and one very, very burned and holey bin.
I scraped the iron off and persevered.  I was determined not to let it get the best of me.  I am a little stubborn, did I mention?
So.  How to attach the labels?  With my trusty sidekick, the glue gun!  

I realize that yes, of course, one good YANK from either of the 2’s and this label is history.  I decided I was ok with that, for two reasons.  1) I had already spent too much time on this crafty/organizy thing and, quite frankly, most of that time was spent doing a CHORE, so I was ready to be done.  AND 2) I know I will be redoing this project at some point so I can use WHITE fabric and really show off those pictures.  So if it’s easier for the 2’s to rip the fabric labels off, it’s easier for ME to rip them off.  This will make redoing the whole project easier.
I hot glued the labels to the bins.  Voila!  Labeled bins!
When K got up from her nap on Friday, I decided to test out their effectiveness.  
“Go grab a box, K, and bring it in the playroom.”
She did.
“Look at the picture!  What is it?”
K looked.  “Dinosaurs!”  She exclaimed.  “ROAR!!”  She yelled loudly.  I had to remind her the other kids were still sleeping.  
“Can you get all the dinosaurs and put them in the dinosaur box?”
And she did.  With MINIMAL help from me.
This lasted for two full boxes.  
I think it’s a triumph, despite initial issues with the photo iron-ons, melting them on to the pad, ineffective use of the expensive heat bond, liquifying a bin beyond all recognition and turning my iron into a gooey green mess.  I can never use that iron to unwrinkle clothing again.  Not that I ever used it to unwrinkle clothing in the first place.  


Tricia said...

Awesome - I love how yours turned out so colorful! I took the easy way out a few months ago - took a pic looking down into the mess in the box and printed on white paper, laminated and attached with knotted ribbon, mostly cuz I change things around so much for the kiddos. I love your site! I'm a new follower!
Come over and visit sometime: momistheonlygirl.blogspot.com

Unknown said...

I SHOULD have taken the easy way out! Maybe then my iron would have lived. :) I always make things much harder than they need to be! Thank you for following - how exciting! I'm checking you out right now. Er, uh, your BLOG that is...

Katie @ Favorites and Things said...

So cute, I love the idea. I think the pictures would help out with my little one too. Anything to make life a little easier. I love your blog, so cute!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Katie! They do work really well, actually...
Thank you for taking a look here!

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