Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Friday, August 21, 2015

Happy Birthday! Up-cycled Gifts & Heirlooms

We didn't buy our daughter anything for her birthday, and here's why. 

My daughter's second birthday is coming up, and in just over one week we will be celebrating. I'm looking forward to her celebration and I'm sure she'll have a great time, especially since we will have a beach and play equipment nearby. After Audrey's first birthday party last year, I remembered packing the car with her gifts and thinking to myself that we really didn't need to get her anything. Why should we bother in the future? Instead of purchasing gifts, this year I did a few things that will change the course of our family's gift receiving while keeping a precious item in working order for generations to come. 

My grandfather made me a beautiful kitchenette set when I was a little girl. It's complete with 4 cabinets and an area for the stove. My parents held onto it for me, and it made its way into our house last spring. It's been one of Audrey's favorite toys in the past few months, but it needed some things.
  • The kitchenette was initially white, but there were parts that were stained yellow and it lost its brightness.
  • Two doors were falling off, and one was completely off.
I up-cycled my old kitchenette to give to Audrey, and now the maintenance is complete and I'm ready to add decor the kitchenette didn't have previously, although I don't have a design at the moment.
  • I sandpapered the entire piece, 
  • I cleaned the hinges,
  • I re-attached the doors,
  • I re-painted with three coats of white paint to get rid of stains, pen marks, pencil, and marker. 
I also chose to grab one of our green tables from storage and paint that white so the kitchenette has a matching table, and I can now move her plastic table to the basement for when I do laundry. 

The other decision I made--not necessarily for Audrey's birthday but more for the future--is to take my old American Girl doll and Bitty Baby doll to the Doll Doctor at American Girl. I'm unsure of how much "surgery" the babies will need, but it could cost me up to $40, which is not bad considering buying her one brand new American Girl doll would cost at least $115, and giving her my refurbished doll will be both resourceful and sentimental in addition to cost-effective. 

Furthermore, now our families will know what sort of gifts Audrey (and maybe baby number two) will want. These dolls can be our main toys, minimizing the amount of excess toys they are bound to have. Instead of buying several small, less expensive dolls, there will always be Bitty Baby and American Girl.

In total, Audrey's second birthday present cost us $8, but it's likely to be an exciting surprise for her. I'm not sure if she'll notice the changes that were made unless I do an awesome job decorating, but I know she has missed the kitchenette and will be ecstatic once it's back in her bedroom where it belongs.

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