Again Questioning the Hive Mind…

admin March 3rd, 2011

I figured I’d ask here, just in case -  you all are such a brilliant resources!  We’re starting to put together the bedroom to be used by some/all of our potential new kids, and also preparing to give up all of us cramming into the tiny little clown car and accepting that people with 6 or 7 kids are van people, at least some of the time.  As usual, money is at a premium, and so’s time, but I figured I’d start looking here.

Does anyone in my general area (upstate NY near Albany) have any of the following they are looking to unload reasonably cheaply?

A set of bunk beds

1 or 2 kid sized or twin beds

A good condition, cheap many (at least 8, maybe 9+) passenger van?  We probably can’t spend more than 3K here and would love to spend less, but we’d also like it to last, which may not be compatible with the former.

Any really cool kid room decorations that do not have Thomas, Bob the Builder, SpongeBob or any other major television characters on them.  We need some fun/pretty stuff for the walls, since it has kind of boring wallpaper on it, and we probably won’t get to repapering this year.

I doubt I have enough barter to cover a van unless you want 160 copies of _A Nation of Farmers_ for some bizarre reason ;-) , but I’m open to full or partial barter in classes, goats, herbs, tinctures, books, vegetable plants, CSA membership, eggs, possibly kosher poultry, apprenticeships, or whatever you can think of, and of course, there’s money.

Thanks everyone - I really appreciate the aid!


22 Responses to “Again Questioning the Hive Mind…”

  1. Erin says:

    Let me see if we still have all the pieces, if so you are welcome to a decent set of bunk beds. You’ve already “paid it forward” with the classes you’ve let me take! :) . If it does work out, we could meet mid way (I’m in nw CT) to pass them on, or maybe it work out to come to you & get a tour! :)

  2. Bill Harshaw says:

    Have you thought of freecycle? Or Craigslist?

  3. MEA says:

    Freecycle. If you don’t object to the origianal Thomas, I have quilt bits I could mail.

    If you are thinking of girls, what about a couple of floral scrap quilts?

  4. Tegan says:

    I’ll pass this along to my mother — I think she still has my old mattress and such.

  5. admin says:

    I’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist and Freecycle and haven’t seen what I’m looking for - that’s why I’m enlisting help!


  6. Jen says:

    Okay here are my frugal ideas:

    If you already have extra twin comforters make some duvet covers from girly flat sheets. Those can be had at a thrift store or a even new for cheap. I made art work for the kids with freezer paper stencils and cheap canvas from Big Lots, cost was $6. You can also make really cool buntings from old kids books. I did this for about .50:) Also basic pine trunks can be had at AC Moore for a good price and they run coupons weekly. They could be painted and even have names stenciled on.

  7. Karen says:

    Sharon - check surplus sales at colleges for bunk beds. I got some dorm bunk beds at UConn very cheaply a few years ago. They were extra long twins, so I cut pieces of foam and made covers out of sheets for the foam to make up the space left by a regular twin mattress.

    I just checked - they have them again though the next sale may be too short a notice for you as it’s March 11 (10-3) and on the far side of CT in Storrs.
    My truck isn’t up to it right now (recent accident) or I’d pick some up and meet you part way. Maybe there’s someone else out this way that could help out. While they come apart into head boards, foot boards and spring, big thing to remember is that the spring frame is extra long.

    The bunk beds are $10 a bed or $20 a bunk set. They also have dressers for $20 each, desks for $10 and chairs for $5. The bunk beds are the kind where the spring is a big heavy metal spring set that the mattress sits on. Everything is heavy! :) You’d still need mattresses.

    Check state and university surplus sales for the van too - one of the places that passenger vans are still used is for team, class or work crew transport. School bus companies might be worth a look too.

    Tie dyed sheets are a wonderful way to decorate - you can do a batch for the beds and make a few extras for curtains. They can either be classic tie dye patterns or my favorite, low water immersion dye that ends up with a mottled appearance over the whole sheet. We usually pick two or three related colors for that. I generally use a fitted sheet and a comforter with a duvet cover (which can be made out of the dyed sheets). Dyed pillow cases painted with the kiddo’s name have been a big hit among friends. If the kids are foster kids, this is also something that can easily go with them if they move.

    For wall decorations - how about collecting cheap/free picture frames, decorating or refinishing them and putting family and farm pictures in some, and adding pics of the kids that come when they get there. If you’ve got kids who are maintaining contact with their family of origin, adding photos of those family members fits right into this decorating scheme.

    Instead of trying to pick a decorating style before the kids get there, how about putting in some panels/boards that are painted in chalkboard paint so the kids can decorate themselves? I’ve also been really appreciating the Shaker peg rails I’ve added around here, which can easily be put up over the existing wallpaper for now. The rails themselves could be decorated by painting. They make it easier to keep things picked up.

  8. Alice Y. says:

    I saw at a friends’ house, and asked: they wallpapered with the pages of kid’s books with illustrations. I think they had been given a box of battered yellowing Winnie the Pooh books with line drawings. They took the books apart, dipped them in wallpaper paste and got the older kids to help sticking them on.
    Clearly this is only going to be the cheap option if you see an opportunity to get a box of ancient kids books that have a particular style either cheap or free.

  9. admin says:

    Wow, folks, you guys are all awesome! Thank you for the suggestions, particularly the college idea - I’ll see what SUNY has to offer.

    At the moment we have no gender definition - the room in question is really two rooms, interconnected, so we can put a mixed gender group in there if need be, so I’m planning on doing a neutral decorating thing, and then we can do more specifics once we have the actual kids and we have time to know what they like.

    Right now the room has white and silver wallpaper (pretty enough but boring) and white woodwork, whereas the small interconnected room has the ugliest mustard color of all time - I’m going to paint the woodwork in the white room and the walls in the mustard room a bright spring green, and put in curtains, and do some gender neutral decorations.

    I like the idea of old children’s books, which I do have some of - not enough to wallpaper, but maybe for making collages. Certainly family pictures for the kids - but that will have to wait a little bit. We’ve got toys and books (I probably need to find another bookcase). I don’t have matching bedding, but hey, my kids don’t have matching bedding.

    I am working on knitting afghans to go on each bed - one for each kid (don’t know if I will have two or more, but I figure if I can knit four afghans I can give a couple away and will be well ahead for holidays).

    Thank you!!!


  10. Karen says:

    One more idea that might come in handy if you’re up for some building. has all sorts of easy to build furniture, most of which is easy to adapt to fit in one’s own room specifics.

  11. MEA says:

    Sharon — are you knitting squares? If so, and you are taking a scrap approach, I’d love to contribute a few (and I think other here would do, as we seem to feel a vicarious attachment to these children). Are you knitting courner to courner inc. or dec. as needed at the start of the row or just knitting them the long way? Measurements?

    MEA who runs your life.

  12. admin says:

    Oh, wow, Mea that sounds like a great idea - I’d love to do a knit along - and hey, we’re likely to get enough people that there will be additional ones that can be donated to foster kids as well! What a terrific idea!

    I was knitting squares, as I had a couple lying around from a previous unfinished project! Cool!


  13. MEA says:

    So, adminnie, what size and corner to corner or straight. I’m going to the re-constituted neigborhood knitting group tonight. Yeah!

  14. jen says:

    Would love to join in - but cannot knit. Is there room for crochet here? Please say yes - i can do that!
    Sharon, love your blog, book and all, you are inspirational (but guilt inducing - didn’t plant, harvest or put up today - but this is mid wales - wet, wild, cold and windy, with frosts ’till June!)

    Wish you much luck and joy with your fostering venture, you are an amazing woman


    Jen x

  15. Kim says:

    I believe in Oregon some resources are made available to those adopting through the state - if a family were to need a bigger vehicle, financial help can be obtained in getting one. I am not totally sure on this, but a friend who adopted once commented on it. You might look into New York’s resources to those who are adopting - maybe the state would help you get a bigger vehicle both financially and/or finding one. Just a thought!

  16. Geomom says:

    Pictures from old calendars make good prints to be framed or just hung on the wall-anything with animals would be pretty gender neutral. And farm animals seem appropriate to the environment;)

  17. stephanie says:

    I decorated the girls’ room with a large current map of the world, NASA pictures of the planets/sun from a defunct mobile and a grouping of Chagall pictures from my old calendar from 2007. It is all colorful, interesting to look at and cheap. And we won’t have to redecorate when they are no longer infants/toddlers.
    Their bedding doesn’t match either :)

  18. Anne M says:

    I seen on HGTV years ago a cheap easy way to redo walls - never tried it myself but may be worth a shot. You use fabric and dip it in liquid starch and then apply it to wall like wallpaper. It’s supposed to come off easily so you can use it in a rental so you’d be able to apply it this year and then remove when you could afford a new wallpaper. I would imagine sheets would work well for this and if you had enough white ones you could dye them the color you’d like.

    An even easier and cheaper way is to use flat thumbtacks and sheets - I have done this. It takes some work to hide the thumbtacks but worth it if you can’t afford to fix the wall color/design.

    Some more ideas for wall art are fabric scene panels or puzzles. Sometimes you can find the panels were you buy fabric. You could also use the ones that are supposed to be pillows for smaller wall art. With puzzles you could put a few up and then later the kids could do their own and add to the decorations. Used puzzles are usually cheap and believe it or not, usually have all the pieces! Puzzle glue is about $3 and they can be stuck onto thin wood or foam poster board with a glue like liquid nails pretty easily.

  19. jengod says:

    I’ve done a lot of decorating by demolishing cheap editions of beautiful children’s books that I picked up at the thrift store. I’m personally drawn to anything with animals-right now we’ve got some of the illustration from the Lion’s Paw by Tenggren and some woodcuts from a book by Christopher Wormell.

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