A Navy Gallery Wall

So we bought a gallon of paint and did a little mini-redo on the upstairs gallery wall.  I was a little bit worried that navy would make the space look a little too dark.  And that if we hated it we could not paint it back to the original color because we did not have it.

But I loved it from when the first coat went on.

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

And now looking at the before pictures I love it even more.

The boring Before (reminding just how much I want to paint the entire entryway.  And get a new light fixture.)-

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Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

And the After (a navy wall distraction from those thoughts)-

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

Painting a hallway wall was an easy and quick project that achieved in a couple naptimes.  We added some more pictures and frames as well-using the old paper on the wall method.

At night as you can see by the crappy phone pic.

Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty
Navy Gallery Wall- Anything Pretty

And I love all the new pictures that now got updated and added to the walls.  You can never have too many black frames with white mats.  And a cute kid and dogs help too.  Although one could make an argument a maximum number of those per house could exist.

(Paint color is Rainstorm by Sherwin-Williams).

Anyone else wanting to paint something navy?

How To Antique Fake Brass

When the hardware for the Murphy Bed arrived in all of it cheap-fake-yellow-shiny brass glory, I knew we needed to age it somehow.  To give it a little bit of patina. The card catalog was supposed to look old and all the yellow shininess did not say “antique” to me at least.  It said something more like “welcome to 1992.”

I did some google researching and most of what I came up with was about aging real brass.  At 1.15 a pop, I knew my handles were not the real thing.  The tint and high sheen also would indicate that. I did find some suggestions about sanding them down before painting them to take off the shine.

Hmmmm…

DIY card catalog murphy bed

Way too many handles for that.

We had some extra pulls, so I got some plastic cups and let one soak in acetone and one in white vinegar overnight.

I looked at them the next morning.

Still shiny.  And they continued to shine the after another night of soaking.

So I took them out in frustration and to do some more research.  Because I was.not.going.to.sand.

The next morning, something miraculous happened.

How-To Age Fake Brass

The white vinegar handle aged after it was exposed to air. (the acetone one still looked the same)

Yes! I was doubly excited because vinegar is also cheaper than acetone and not a toxic chemical.

In effort to save containers, we dumped the handles into a gallon of vinegar with the top cut off.

How-To Age Fake Brass

It soaked overnight.  And then laid it out a trash bag to let the air do its magic.

How-To Age Fake Brass

Starting to see something.

How-To Age Fake Brass

After a day we washed them off in warm soapy water and had old looking brass.  With each looking a bit different.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

The “new” finish held fine during install and all the handling involved in that.

If you were using this technique on a handle was going to get touched on a daily basis, I would check to see how it holds up first.  I assume it would be okay, but I did not try that variable since these are purely decorative.  Also I am not sure how many different types of fake brass there are.  This method may not work on all types.  Moral of the story?  Test your stuff out first to see what happens.

I am just happy to find a method that was quick, easy, and cheap.  And involved no sanding.

How To: Make A Simple Tray

I love trays.  You can have a random collection of stuff sitting on a flat surface looking a whole lot like clutter.  But with a tray, presto.  It looks deliberate and styled.  Magic.

Over the past couple of months, we have been trying to spend a little time spiffing up our master bedroom.  The room that one could argue should be a top priority had been getting the short end of the decorating stick. 

So I wanted a tray for the top of my dresser.  And I wanted it to be a very specific size and color.  DIY project time.

How To: DIY tray

How To: Easy (and Customizable) Wood Tray

Materials:

Plywood the size of your desired tray

Molding with a rounded edge

Wood filler or caulk

Miter or block of some kind (only a couple of small simple cuts)

Pretty paper for the bottom of the tray

Coordinating Paint Color

Primer

Polyurethane of some kind

Pourable resin (can get at hardware or craft stores)

Hammer and Nails (or nail gun)

Spray Adhesive (optional)

 

1. Cut you wood to the desired shape.  Nail the molding to the side with 90 degree miter cuts at the corners.  Use caulk or wood filler to hide the corner seams.

How To: DIY tray

2. Prime and then paint the sides.  Here is where I tell you not to do what I did.  Either stop the paint before you get any on the tray edge. Or paint the ENTIRE thing.  You will see why in a minute.

How To: DIY tray

 

3. Poly the sides.  I used a spray.

How To: DIY tray

4. Cut your paper to the exact size of the bottom of the tray.

5. Dry fit it and then spray a light coat of spray adhesive to adhere it to the bottom.  You could probably skip the spray adhesive and be fine if your paper is a tight fit.

How To: DIY tray

6. Mix your resin and pour according to the directions on the packaging.

How To: DIY tray

This is when my mistake became apparent.  With the resin, my paper became translucent and you could see the wood grain…and my paint line.  I did not mind the grain, but the line annoys me.  Not enough to redo the whole thing, but enough to tell you about it.  Oh well…learn from my mistakes.

7. After the resin hardens the amount of time on the packaging (I believe mine was two days), put your crap in there and watch it become collection-like.

How To: DIY tray

My tray is my dump all on my dresser.  And the place where I keep  my favorite jewelry.  Having it out and seen makes me wear it a whole lot more.  And every once in a while I rotate it around.

How To: DIY tray

Not to mention I love the marble paper (found a local paper store).  And I choose to ignore the blue peeking through.

How To: DIY tray

I have been dumping stuff on the tray for two months now and the resin has held up beautifully.

How To: DIY tray

This will be my go-to project for any space that needs some spiffing up.  Next time I will do it properly…or choose some thicker paper.

DIY Painted Foam Play Mat

I pin a lot of things.  And I have grand plans to complete oh 85% of them.  But somehow that does not happen and my pins just sit there looking pretty on my boards.  Maybe even mocking me a little bit.

As part of the Pinterest challenge over at Young House Love, Bower Power, Decor and the Dog and The Remodeled Life I decided to change that.  I probably should have chosen a faster project, or at least one with less drying time.  But thanks to two blizzards and days off work, this one got done.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

Carter needed a play mat for his playspace.  And it needed to be indestructible.  And easy to clean.  Not to mention attractive.  Finding nothing that fit the above criteria, I decided to DIY.  

I was inspired by this…

(originally posted at Design Sponge)

The basic how-to is pretty simple.  Buy a cheap foam play mat, prime the non-bumpy side and paint with acrylic paints.  Finally seal with a couple of coats of polyurethane.

Easy and quick if you decide to make a large scale design with a couple of colors.  Small triangles on the other hand took a while to paint.  Especially since it took multiple coats to achieve color saturation.

But it was easy to paint while I was watching TV and somewhat relaxing to do- triangle after triangle after triangle.

In order to draw out the design, I used my sewing cutting mat to make a template out of cardboard of a 60 degree angle.

I drew straight lines on the primed mat-

DIY foam mat

And then used the template to draw in the angles.  My triangles are approximately 5 inches.  I mismeasured at some point and my triangles got a little jacked up in the middle.  I figured out my mistake, but did not want to re-prime and re do all my lines so I decided to channel my inner Tim Gunn and “make it work”.

DIY foam mat

I did not use tape to paint the triangles with the acrylic paint, so my lines are not perfectly straight but I like it that way as I think it looks more hand-painted.  At least that is what I am telling myself because it would have taken forever to tape.

DIY foam mat

Three coats of gloss polyurethane later, we have this.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

All ready to be played on.

 DIY Painted Foam Playmat

In the basement play space that almost gets no direct light for decent pictures.  Especially when there is two feet of snow outside covering the windows.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

The play area has had some other projects go in it, but I waiting until everything was done to blog about the space.  The rug was the last one, so that should be coming up.

So how does it hold up?  It has not cured the complete 24 hours as instructed but has already held up to books being dropped on it and a rousing game of stacking and knocking down blocks.  Before the poly went on, it seemed like it would crack easily.  But with the poly it seems a lot more pliable.  I will keep you posted. For now it is a hit.

And I am not painting triangles for awhile.

A Basement Playspace- In Progress

Babies come with a lot of stuff.  And toddlers add even more stuff.  And rumor has it that kids bring even more stuff.

Shocking information I know.

When we were planning our basement renovation we had kept that in mind, and the playspace there has its own corner to house a portion of that stuff.  

We wanted to make sure we made use of of the awkward space and had lots of storage.  Some open storage for him to see his toys and some closed storage to him (and guests) not to see things.  Like finger paints and crayons and markers for example.  Or possibly the book we have read 2846 times.

Originally I thought we would build something , but instead we came back to the old Closetmaid shelves that served us so well already as a craft table.  With the idea of making them look less closetmaid-esque and more custom cabinet-ish.

basement playspace in progress

So Derek started the construction.  And Carter looked like this…

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And he sat in one place and played without moving much.

Anyway to make room for molding to increase the custom look, the shelves were installed off the floor and way from the wall.

basement playspace in progress

We also added some store bought cabinets around the awkward soffit to give us some closed storage.

basement playspace in progress

And then the magic happened.  Carter turned into this-

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And some molding (and some toys) made it look like this-

basement playspace in progress

Disclaimer: It is impossible to take decent pictures in the basement that gets very limited light.  And this is completely unstyled.  Picked up…yes.  Made to look pretty…no.

We are only partially done.  The rug is getting a DIY treatment and things are going on the wall.  And see the track?  That is going to be curtains.  That currently look like this.

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Sitting under other projects.

But for right now it is functional which is all that matters.

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

The counter is a piece wood stained to match the fireplace and then molding added to the edge.  And lots of coats of poly.

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

So I have some sewing and DIYing to do.  But we are happy how well some cheap shelves look in the space.  And maybe if I bring my sewing machine and paintbrush down there, Carter will sit in one place again and play.  Right.

What to Put on Top of the Cabinets?

Looking around here lately, it appears like we have gotten away from our DIY roots and I have just been sewing(barely).  Not so. 

Back when Carter was tiny I was watching a whole lot of HGTV.  He was a very slow eater and I did a whole lot of sitting.

David Bromstad did this cool wine bottle art installation on one of the shows…which gave me the idea for the top of our bar cabinet.

Hmmm…

Now in perfect world, we would just have cabinets going all the way up to the ceiling and I would not have to worry about to put on top of them.  But we don’t and I do.

This was a super simple DIY….first drink lots of wine and save your bottles.  No problem there.  Although I think some people who saw the bar during the “save the bottles” phase may have come to the conclusion that we have a drinking problem.

above the kitchen cabinets

Then, to get the labels off, fill a bathtub full of hot water, add some cheap shampoo and soak them.

At least that is what David told me to do.

Some came off super easy and others took a little bit of scrubbing. 

I initially envisioned straight rows of bottles lined up…but the wires for the lighting and the cabinet tops prevented that.

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So instead we went with using some scrap wood to achieve different heights for the bottles.

After some arranging and rearranging we got this…

above the kitchen cabinets

Or should I say this…

above the kitchen cabinets

I think it adds some visual interest to the tops of the cabinet.  For free. And since the labels are off, I think it makes it look less “college dorm room alcohol trophy” and more “classy display of bottles”.  At least that is what I tell myself. 

I also love how it looks when it is lit up at night.

above the kitchen cabinets

I am toying with idea of adding this to other cabinets on the other side of the kitchen.  It would be a whole lot of wine to drink, but I think we would be up for the challenge.  I am not sure if it would be too much or make the room look we were trying for a wine theme.  Which we aren’t.

So for right now I am just going to enjoy them on the bar cabinet.  And continue to drink more wine….just in case we need the bottles.

Cutting Up the Color Card

I have loved my Kona color card for awhile.  So pretty to see all the fabric possibilities lined up just waiting for you to buy them and make something beautiful.

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Except there was one problem.  The fabric swatches were glued down.  So when you wanted to see how two colors played with each other, you had to try to finagle the cardboard to try to get them somewhat in the same vicinity while not bending the heck out the card. 

I don’t think I need to tell you how well that worked.

So I cut it up.

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It was a little scary making that first snip.  But then it was almost liberating…is that weird?  Take that color card!

But then how to store them? A quick google search gave me lots of ideas.  A hole punch and a ring.  A jewelry case separated by color.  All good ideas but I wanted them to be easily accessible and visible.  And moveable of course.

Then my time working in special education came to the rescue…velcro strips. 

If you are not familiar with what I am talking about, we use velcro strips a lot.  For reinforcement systems to communication modalities to sensory issues, velcro is where it is at.  I have spent many many hours putting velcro on the back of pennies. So this is the most unoriginal idea ever.

So I bought strips of velcro and cut the soft side into small pieces.  And them stuck them on the back of each and every little square.  Which takes a very long time. There are 243 of those babies.

Then I stuck the rough side velcro strips onto an old canvas I had laying around from another previously abandoned project.

cutting up the kona color card

A little little color sorting and sticking later, I have this completely functional and not to mention somewhat pretty piece.cutting up the kona color card

The best part? You can take them off and move them anywhere.  Or rearrange them in any way.  Or just look at al the color possibilities.

cutting up the kona color card

So when I am trying to match solids to colors in patterned fabric, I just swipe them from the strip.

cutting up the kona color card

Or when I want to see certain colors together…just pull them off and move them around.  And return them back to the strip later of course.  Can’t lose any of the colors in the mess I call a craft room.

cutting up the kona color card

I added a couple of velcro strips around the craft room so I can stick them anywhere.  Like over the sewing machine…

cutting up the kona color card

Or even on the bottom of the canvas-

cutting up the kona color card

I am not sure why I did not think of this earlier.  Or why it makes me so happy.  Maybe I should have pinned up the color card for display a long time ago. Or done some self-reflection about why little pieces of fabric stuck to a canvas make me smile.

Anyways all I know is I love how it has functioned so far.  And I love looking at the colors while I am busy cutting.  Even if it does make me weird.

cutting up the kona color card

Stumped (Again)

When we last left the stump table in the nursery, it was sanded and stained.  And loved by me- but that is beside the point.  I was afraid to add poly to it because it was still fresh wood and it needed to cure some more.

Or so said my intensive google research.

And I am happy to say that was the correct decision.  Books protected the top from spit-up, drool and other baby related liquids.  I had noticed the cracks becoming larger as time went on, and one day during one of our early marathon feeding sessions, I actually heard a loud pop coming from the stump and saw one of the cracks had doubled in size.

stump table

So after it had cured for six months and we were actually getting sleep and thinking about DIY again, I restained the widened crack with a small paintbrush.

stump table

And then added a couple cots of polyurethane in semi gloss.

stump table

Much shinier.  And better protected.

stump table

So the stump is officially done.  I like the sheen of the finished product but if you are making your own stump and want it to look more natural, you could tone down the gloss.  Or rub in a paste wax.  I entertained that idea, but considering that a certain someone likes to chew on it now on a regular basis, I did not think that was the most prudent decision.  Not Derek in case you were worried.

This table has worked out perfectly in the nursery and has stood up beautifully to first the spitting and then the chewing and now the pulling.  Derek (who thought it was a stupid idea in the beginning) is now a big fan.  And being able to say “I was right” is a beautiful thing.  Especially when you have a great and cheap table to show for it.

Office Mini-Makeover

The office was one the first rooms we put lipstick on when we moved in.  And since that has now been a couple of years ago and I was not happy with all my original “get in and get something on the walls and use furniture we have from the old house decisions”, it was time for some changes. 

So let’s start with the Before Before.

old office

We painted (obviously), beefed up the crown molding and added an overhead light fixture.

The In-Between-

old officeold officeold office

Not bad, but as we lived with it, not exactly what I wanted either.  So with some minor changes, here is the new After.

New art, new chair, new drapes, new light and new accessories.  And unfortunately a new printer. While it does not go with the design aesthetic it is very functional and I decided to keep it real and not move it for the picture. That and it would have involved moving a lot of cords.  Nap time is not that long around here.

office makeover

I liked the vacation photos that we had printed in black and white before, but they looked puny where they were and we needed some variety.  So they moved to the wall behind the TV.

office makeover

office makeover

All of the frames were reused and we just updated some of the pictures. 

office makeover

The bookshelves were streamlined by taking off all of the excess stuff and moving all the books forward.

office makeoveroffice makeover

I love looking at stacks of books…it is the one thing that I dislike about my kindle…no more books to stack and remind you to re-read. Oh well.

The top of the bookshelves holds our Italy maps and wine corks…

office makeover

As well as a cute Halloween dragon and Made by Girl print…office makeover

I have already shared the drapes, but let’s look at them again shall we?

office makeover

And while we are doing that, you can see the new lamp and lack of ceiling fan.

office makeover

Most of all the accessories came from everyone’s favorite…Homegoods.  Including the lovely nail head trim chair and wood lacquer box.

office makeoverIMG_7832

I wish I could add a rug in here, but between the funky diagonal spacing and the placement of the vents, everything looks ridiculous.  I have tried.

I have toyed with changing the paint color as it is the only space in our house with a warm tone and a peacock blue might be amazing.  But I also worry it would be too dark with all the black furniture.  Maybe when the basement is complete and I am itching to paint again, I will think about it.

office makeover

So what do you think of the cheap mini-makeover?

I Hate Sewing Drapes

Every time we talk about revamping a room I hunt for that perfect fabric for drapes.  I enjoy finding the perfect complement to the decor and knowing that whipping up some lined panels is not difficult.  Ahhhh…

Except that I hate making curtains.  I always seem to forget this small detail in the fun part of the search but as the months pass by and the massive amounts of yardage sit collecting dust in my craft room as I remember all the crappy ironing, pinning, measuring, wrestling with large amounts of fabric and plain boringness of sewing drapes.

Over I a year ago I washed our office drapes and they shrank.  Which made them look like we were going to have a flood anytime.  Not to mention sun shone through the loops at the top of them which made them look…well cheap.  And too small for the window.

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This bothered me every morning as I walked down the stairs.  And it bothered me enough to find and buy fabric on my IKEA trip.  Over one year ago.

IKEA!

I could pretend that some bolt of inspiration made me get over my curtain making hating ways.  Or that I really was going to be the queen of finishing projects this year. 

Or maybe it was because I want to buy fabric for the basement drapes and I knew I could not justify that with both office and kitchen drape fabric still inhabiting my craft room.   I let you be the judge of which one sounds more like me.

Anyway no matter what the reason…they are D-O-N-E.

how to fake pinch pleat curtains

 

And I love them.

how to fake pinch pleat curtains

As you can see, they needed to be washable as our two furry friends are their constant companion.  This time I was smart and pre-washed both the drapery fabric and the lining so our shrinking problem will not repeat. 

We also moved the curtain rods to hang them higher and wider so that the windows would look larger.

But I did not just want to show you the new curtains, I also wanted to share my trick for faking pinch pleats.

how to fake pinch pleat curtains

I wanted some pleats but I also wanted to use my existing hardware.  So I sprayed the back of the top tab with starch to stiffen it up…

how to fake pinch pleat curtains

And then I pleated it and stuck the clip of the ring halfway down the top tab.how to fake pinch pleat curtains

The starch keeps it stiff and non-floppy at the top and you can’t see where the clips are attached.  And you get pleats.  Super easy and can be redone in a snap for washing.

how to fake pinch pleat curtains

With the completion of the drapes the office mini-makeover is now complete which I can’t wait to share.  Since it has only been a year since it was started. 

Mark your calendars for this time next year when I am ready to unveil the basement drapes.  Because did you really think I was really going to be finisher this year?

Paneling?

Wood paneling and and electric fireplace.

In our basement.

Think we have lost our mind?  Because those three thing conjure up images a really bad, old, dark, cave like space.  The type we would be ripping out and renovating.

When we checked out at the home improvement store I was really hoping the cashier was not judging us for what we had in our cart….because I know I would have been.

But I love how it turned out…

cedar paneling on fireplace

The basement was feeling a little cold with all the tile and well, because it is a basement and it is cold. And the wood really brings a warmth to the space.  The heat radiating from the fireplace does not hurt either.  Oh and did I mention it was cheap?  The wood cost us less than $125. 

So how did we do it?

Well we started with a dry walled space that was designed to hide two oddly placed poles.  The entire reason for the fireplace in the first place.IMG_6374

It was built to the dimensions of the fireplace we had already ordered but we just needed something to surround it.  Tile?  Expensive, time consuming (with all the corners) and the fireplace structure was not completely square to cover the poles which would be made obvious if we spaced square tiles on top of it.  Hardwood flooring?  Viable option but the exotic stuff we really liked was still a little pricy and all the edges would have to be mitered.  So we headed to the lumber section when we stumbled on this.

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Cedar paneling. 

Really.

Using liquid nails, a saw, a nail gun and a level it became this rather quickly.  Holes were filled with stainable wood filler and sanded.

cedar paneling on fireplacecedar paneling on fireplace

We tried a lot of different stains on samples and settled on English Walnut by Minwax.  We then learned that stainable wood filler needed to be completely sanded off otherwise you could see every spot.  We cursed and re-sanded. A lot. At least with the cedar it smelled nice. This is what you get when you normally paint instead of stain and don’t know what you are doing.

A coat of stain and two coats of satin poly later, we were ready to install the fireplace. 

cedar paneling on fireplace

It slid right in.

cedar paneling on fireplace

We are happy with the choice to go with an electric fireplace.  Gas would have been better and with more options, but would have been more expensive. Especially considering needing to hire someone to run a gas line and vent it properly.  Ouch.  Not to mention I am not sure we would have been able to face it with wood considering fire implications.

We watched a video of the electric model we chose on YouTube before we ordered it and were happy on how authentic it looked.  (Yes people really make YouTube videos of fireplaces. Oddly helpful.) I have to admit I was nervous before we fired it up that it would look cheesy, but we are completely satisfied with it.

The next question we will probably get is why it is facing the stairs.  Here is what you see as you walk down them and enter the basement…

IMG_6976

We went back and forth on this as well.  We chose the side we did because if it was a solid wall it would have looked funny.  If I had enough space to put a console table there with a large picture, it would have been different, but there was not enough room to do that.  So my choices were solid wall of something (tile, wood) or fireplace.

The opposite side is next to the poker table (aka Christmas wrapping central).

cedar paneling on fireplace

So people’s backs would be facing it and it would be less of a focal point.  We thought about putting another fireplace on the back side (so it would look “double sided”) but that would have increased the cost by having to buy two fireplaces and the wall would have to be thicker and take up more floor space.  Not a good option.

Now that it is in and we are starting to get furniture down there, I am confident we made the correct decision.

Floorboards need to be cut and painted and some furniture is being delivered in the next couple of weeks which is exciting to see more pieces come together. 

Which is good because all the great toys Carter received for Christmas need a place to live besides the family room. 

Framed

You would think that the room that you spend a third of your life in would be the first to be beautiful.  But not our master bedroom.  It has been ignored for other projects for too long. And now it since the other rooms are getting closer towards being “finished” it has our undivided attention.

To share with a basement reno and a baby.  Oh and two dogs.

Sure we painted, and made the bed and added some other furniture but it never got past that halfway mark. Because no one ever sees it except the two of us and a lot of the time it holds unglamorous things like laundry baskets of clean clothes we I am too lazy to put away.

Or recently bottles, burp clothes, and pack and plays. Nothing says glamour like cloth diapers for cleaning up baby urps.

Part of the issue is it is a huge room so it is taking a lot to make it look complete. But I am on a new kick and have lots of ideas up my sleeve to make it elegant, relaxing, and personal.  And add some color. 

First up was adding some picture frames or something above the nightstands for some height.  Because the lamps look puny.  See…(yes this picture is from over a year and a half ago but sadly looked pretty much the same until this weekend.)

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And now…

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Not a huge difference, but we are taking baby steps here.  Any guesses what we framed?  Give you a hint…it was cheap and simple and has personal meaning without being photos.

A closer look…

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In keeping with the theme of remembering our trips (like with our Italy gallery wall and maps), I went with our passport stamps.

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It was super simple-just scan them in and blow them up.  I then opened them up in a simple photo editing program and messed with the tint and saturation in a non systematic way until they looked the way I envisioned.  Then a quick print and trim before sticking them in a frame.  All of my stamps on my side of the bed and all of Derek’s on his.

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We had some repeats of course since we do travel with each other a lot, but even those looked different because of the varied backgrounds they were stamped on.

So now as I get ready to turn off the light, I can remember our fond times in Italy Frankfurt, Germany. 

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Long story.

But it still makes me smile.

Nursery Reveal

We made it!  The nursery is officially complete even before he has decided to make his arrival.  It has taken a lot longer to put together than I envisioned back in January when we started this project, but considering the construction, all the DIY, our insanely busy spring and that I am the ultimate procrastinator, it is really not that surprising.

But before you scroll down to see what we put together, let’s walk down memory lane with the befores to see what we we were working with. 

What the space looked like when we moved in-

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And then what it really looked like for 2 and half years…..affectionately referred to the junk room.  Don’t know where to store something?  Throw it in there.  Need to paint some cabinets?  Scoot some crap around and have at it.

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And now here it is waiting patiently (unlike Derek and I) for it’s new occupant-

completed nursery

completed nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

Back in the beginning when we were planning the space, my first idea was an orange and aqua color scheme but no real theme.  I figured once we knew if we were having a boy or a girl we could add blues or pinks to make it a more gender specific space.  Of course, I figured a lot of DIY and sewing was also going to be in the cards.

One of the biggest projects in the room (and our first) was the window seatcompleted nurserycompleted nursery

Because of the window configuration, limited furniture was going fit on that wall anyway and I thought that an architectural feature that was also functional from a storage and seating standpoint would make the room.

After the construction and painting was going, we started to pick up random items we found that we thought we be good fits in the space.  Hmmmmm…somehow we had a lot of animal things so that is the loose theme we decided to run with.  However, I am a big believer in adding things that you love and not just because of a theme. 

completed nursery

completed nursery

Items with personal significance were also something I wanted to incorporate in the space.  We have not shared baby boy’s name with anyone (but my mother-in-law has a pool going if anyone is interested).  However, the first initial is common knowledge.  So of course I had to incorporate that.  On the gallery wall are also photos we took at the San Diego zoo during our last vacation (technically baby’s first).  After he is born, the clip art hand and footprints will we replaced with his (and yes I realize my stand-in has a disproportionate hand to the size of the foot…I was just using those to make sure I liked the idea).

But personal items don’t end with the gallery wall as I wanted things that meant something to us, but not scream “look at my name" all over the place (although I know some curious family members that were voting for that tactic).

For example, I needed some bookends and I love that this has his birth month stamped on it.

completed nursery

Or that all of those blankets were handmade for him by generous friends and family.  And that the silver scooter reminds us of Italy.

completed nursery

And that cross from the Vatican in Rome was the very first thing we ever bought for, at the time, our future baby.  completed nursery

I won’t bore everyone with the personal significance of everything in the space, but overall I tried to have at least one item with meaning on every shelf.  However, don’t get me wrong, some things are in the room because they are fun and I like how they look.  Like this…

completed nursery

I guess you could also say that DIY was a major theme in the space.  The only pieces of furniture that were store bought were the crib and the chair.  We either made or “revised” everything else.  I have already talked about most of those projects as we embarked on them but in case you missed them check out the abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

The space also had to be functional besides nice to look at.  We have never done this whole baby thing before, but from what I have heard, they can be messy.  So every single cloth surface (minus the chair that is stain protected) can be thrown in the washing machine.  Every pillow and cushion cover is removable and the although it took forever to find curtain fabric that I loved and could be thrown in the wash, I was ultimately successful.

The curtains are also not just for looks.  I made four panels that stretch all the way across for light control.

completed nursery

I am still planning on adding black out lining to the back of them for even more light control, but I decided not to sew them together as I read varying reports about the washability of black out lining.  So it is getting hemmed separately and then just clipped behind the panels.

The cushions also remove from the window seat easily to access all the storage underneath.  In addition, the neighbor kids have shown me that they make great hiding places.  Maybe we need to drill some more air holes.

completed nursery

Also every item that is hanging on the wall in baby’s reach is securely fastened to studs with screws.

completed nursery

And the ultimate storage area also went through a little makeover.

completed nursery

Lots of clothes and other baby paraphernalia waiting for him, but we still have tons of room that I know we will fill in the future.

completed nurserycompleted nursery

And finally just some more pictures of details of the space that I love…

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserypinwheel mobilecompleted nurserycompleted nursery

completed nurserycompleted nursery

completed nursery

abacus makingcompleted nursery

pinwheel mobile

So what do you think?   You can see from some of the pictures that a furry friend already likes to spend time in the space.  Although this is normal position…

completed nursery

…trying to will the stuffed animals that make noise when you squeeze them from the crib into his mouth.

Want to know where I got something?  Here is the source list for everything in the space.  Just got a little too long for a single post.

Missed the other nursery posts and want to see the DIY how-to?  Catch up with the window seat construction, abacus, dresser, changing table, bookshelves, stump table, pinwheel mobile, quilt and bedding

Stumped

Do you ever come up with an idea that you think is awesome but everyone you tell about it thinks it sounds stupid?

Yeah this was this project.  Luckily my husband loves me enough to spend a lot of time on a project which he was convinced was going to flop.  Who needs diamonds when you have DIY?

Back to the beginning…..

I wanted a side table next to the rocker in the nursery to be able to set things like drinks, burp cloths, cell phone etc.  Problem was we did not have a lot of space.

shelf DIY

I looked high and low for a small side table that would fit and not looked too cramped.  And not be breakable.

This search took awhile and I almost did a ceramic garden stool because of the correct size and shape, but it was pretty light and would be easily knocked over and shattered.  It was during this search that I came up with the idea of a stump table.

Not that it was an original idea….West Elm sells one for $200 and Mrs. Brooklyn Limestone made one herself.  So why did every time I mention it to someone did I get this reaction…”A Stump?  Really?”

Even from my husband.  But being the good sport he is, he proceeded with the project as long as he “had veto power in the end”

Yeah!

So first task….finding a stump.  Hmmmmm.  Derek called lumber yards and tree removal places but was not very successful.  (Again, he must love me since I know he got a lot of incredulous “you wanna buy a stump???!” when he made these phone calls. Hasn’t anyone seen the West Elm catalog recently?)  So far no stump.  Maybe it was not meant to be.

Then on the Friday before Easter, a tornado hit very close to my parent’s house in St. Louis.  Miraculously no one was hurt. But by close I mean the damage started 6 houses from the entrance to my parent’s subdivision.  Scary stuff.  Their house had zero damage, but  they kept telling me that I just needed to come visit because there were tons of stumps everywhere around them. 

I laughed it off because I knew that they thought the stump table was dumb and was I really going to take advantage of a natural disaster to get my table?

But then we came into town a week or two later (unrelated to the stump I swear)….and they were right… there were stumps sitting by the road everywhere, just waiting for the city to pick them up and dispose of them.

I was still a little iffy on the tornado stump.  But from my parent’s perspective it was going to be gotten rid of anyway and a stump from there would have meaning unlike a random piece of wood from a lumber yard.  Like being thankful…and making sure you head to the basement when the tornado sirens go off.

So while I was napping, Derek did a little stump recognizance to find the perfect specimen and the stump was buckled in the backseat on the way home.  Would have been weird to explain that one if we had gotten pulled over.

The stump in all it’s glory.

Stump

Now what we he did to it to make it table-like:

1.  Using a crowbar and hammer remove all the bark.  According to Derek, this step was pretty easy.

Stump

2.  If your stump is uneven or too tall, even it out the best you can with taking off slices with a chain saw.

3.  The longest part…..sand.  And then sand some more.  And when you think you are done sanding do it again.

Stump

For this project, we became the proud owners of a belt sander.  Which I was told made the sanding go so much faster than an orbital sander.  He started with a lower grit sand paper and moved up to a finer grit to make it smooth.  He sanded it while the wood was still considered “green” as it had only been cut down at this point for a couple of weeks.

4.  Add wheels for easier movement (stumps are heavy) to help level it even more.  He used washers to help achieve this.

stump

5.  Since our wood was still green, we let it then sit in the space for a couple of months to dry out with plastic underneath in case it dropped sap.  As it dried it starting to develop cracks and the grain became more apparent….yeah!

stump

6.  You could leave it the natural stump color, but I knew I wanted it darker to match the other wood in the space.  But I was not sure how long had to wait for it to dry before it would accept stain.  We were at 2 months.  Google did not give me a definite answer, so I decided to test some colors and see how it took it on the bottom.

stump

It sucked it right up, so I decided to go ahead with the stain.  Worse case scenario, it looks awful and Derek can just sand it again.  I kid.

Derek gave it one final sand with a very fine sandpaper and I stained it with MinWax Jacobean. 

And this is what we came up with-

stump

stump

I love that it is not perfect and adds a rustic element.  And it is the perfect size and height for the chair.

stump

I am going to add polyurethane to protect it in the next couple of months, but for now I think it still needs to breathe and dry before I seal it.  Since I am a wood expert and all.  In the meantime we will protect the finish something on top like a piece of glass. 

And I am happy to report that “veto power” was not needed.  Which is good since he would have wasted all of that sanding for nothing.  And we got a new belt sander out of the deal.

DIY Changing Table

A while ago…actually a really long time ago…I asked everyone’s opinion about this little corner of the nursery and if we should refinish the dresser and use it as a changing table or make one ourselves. 

nursery progress

I got some really great suggestions and in the end we decided to go the changing table route because I was worried the dresser was too long.

I did not want to spend a lot of money on another piece of furniture so Ana White once again came to our rescue with free and easy plans that included the capability of taking off the top when the baby got older and using it as shelves.  Score.  So Derek whipped it up in the basement.  One positive about a flooded basement with no carpet….a lot more space to DIY.  Who knew?

Then I made him carry it upstairs to make sure I liked the proportions before we I spent the time finishing it. 

changing table

Luckily I did. Whew.

So he carried it back downstairs.  Originally I was going to finish it with both brown and white to match the dressers and crib that look like this.

dresser glazing

But there was no good place to start and stop the white/brown combo without it looking funny so I just went with plain ole white in Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint.

I have to say that painting was the most difficult part of the project.  Trying to get under those shelves when you have a big pregnant belly was a little challenging.  I am sure I looked ridiculous but luckily no pictures of this feat exist.  That I know of.

Anyway I used one coat of primer, two coats of paint and three coats of polycrylic since I am sure this thing is going to take a beating.  Coming up with this:

changing table

But of course the changing table itself was not going to be the only DIY project. 

It took me forever to find baskets that I a) liked b)were the correct color and c) fit.  Many baskets were tried and returned.  Finally I found the bottom brown baskets at Homegoods.  Small problem was that they had lids and ugly liners.  But after the lids were cut off and I used this tutorial from Make It and Love It to make some new liners, we were good to go.

changing table

Of course I could not follow the entire tutorial.  I made the liner a little smaller and did not do the ties because I wanted a cleaner look.  So they are a little snug, but I love how they look (and the fact I got to skip the tie step).

changing table

The other DIY project was this cute little fabric box to hold diapering essentials.

changing table

I used this tutorial from The Sometimes Crafter. (See a theme of being completely unoriginal and using everyone else’s ideas…it is either being really smart…or really lazy).

This one was my first attempt because I was not sure how the sizing would work in the space in the changing table.  It was super easy and luckily for me it fit.

changing table

I am thinking about making some more with a different type of interfacing (I used heavyweight fusible on this one) to make it thicker as they will also look cute and be functional on the bookshelves.

changing table

So here is the changing table as it stands today.  I am thinking about making some tweaks stylistically in terms of the pad cover and maybe three navy middle baskets instead of the light blue….and maybe a different fabric for the box.

But for now it is ready and functional.  And cheap.  And all washable.  From what I hear that is important.

Baby Bookshelves

The nursery is entering the home stretch…which is good because the baby is due in about 4 weeks.  But could come at any time…but probably won’t…but could.  Which is really messing with my whole “I want to plan and write things on a calendar” personality.

Anyway there is a whole lot of DIYing to go in the space (while the sewing machine is whirring in the background.)

I knew I wanted lots of books in the nursery because you know the whole reading to your child is a good thing.  Not to mention they could be used as a decor item as evidenced in this inspiration picture.  But of course cognitive and language development trumps decor….unless you can have both of course.

Elizabeth Sullivan design

Elizabeth Sullivan

I love that entire nursery but those floor to ceiling shelves made me swoon.

Unfortunately, I knew we were not going to have the space to replicate that, but loved the forward facing idea.  And those skinny shelves would be super easy to DIY.

Rumor has it that IKEA has similar shelves that would not require you to make them yourselves.  I would not know as I have lamented mentioned before, the nearest one is 8 hours away…and not worth driving for some shelves.

Here is what we came up with-

shelf DIY

My participation in the project?  Showing Derek the picture, telling him where I wanted them and placing books.  I even let go of control enough to let him try to my favorite self-leveling paint on his own (after a quick tutorial of course).  Here is what he did:

1. Cut a 1x2, 1x3 and piece of quarter round each to 36”.


2.  Put it together.  The vertical 1x2 in attached to the horizontal 1x3.  The vertical 1x2 is nailed or screwed into the ¾” side of the 1x3.  This should leave ¾” of vertical 1x2 exposed above the 1x3.  The
exposed ¾” of the 1x2 will be used to screw the bookshelf to the wall.  The quarter round is attached to the top edge of the 1x3 to create an edge for the books to lean against.  Use finishing nails.

shelf DIY
3. To attach to the wall screw through the exposed ¾” of the 1x2 into  studs in the wall.  By making the shelf 36” long you should have at least 2 studs to screw into.


4. Prime and paint.

shelf DIY

Super easy ( I am told) and super cheap.  And I love the fact that we screwed the wood directly into the studs so that junior will be OK if he decides to use them as rock climbing wall at a later time.  Plus the fact that we can rotate books and hopefully since you can see all the covers, even more reading will happen.  At least that is what I am hoping…

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Glazing-Not Just for Cabinets

I love how some brown glaze can redo honey oak.  Like in the guest bath.

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But why should cabinets get all the love? What about other types of wood or furniture?  Like dressers?

nursery progress

Well I was going to find out.  These dressers were hand me downs from my family and they were solid wood and not oak.  Which were two huge bonuses in my book.  But considered that the cousin whose nursery they were in is now in college, the color needed some updating.  Not to mention that the bow and flower decals did not fit in our boy decor.

(For the full glazing how-to, please go to this post)

Of course we started with the worst part of the glazing process…the sanding.  Luckily for me in my delicate state, Derek took over this arduous task.  Two hours later it was sanded and Derek was very dusty (and will think again before volunteering for the next sanding project).

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

Then the glazing started.  We wanted the dresser to match the crib as much as possible, so we started with Behr’s Spiceberry mixed with the glaze like I described in original full how-to post.

dresser glazing

After it the first coat was dry, it looked too red and too light in relation to the crib. Hmmmmm….

dresser glazing

So to darken it up, I mixed a second glaze with Sherwin William’s Black Bean and put this on as the second coat.

dresser glazing

Much better.  And I loved that the two different color glazes gave the finish even more depth.  My color misjudgment turned out to be an awesome find.

I added 5 coats of water based polycrylic to get this finish.

dresser glazing

Perfect.  You can still see the grain and the finish is really close to matching the crib as planned (don’t worry that is not the mirror’s permanent home…..the floor is not exactly a child proof spot)

dresser glazing

The drawers were painted with my favorite paint….Ace cabinet and trim in high hiding white.  And then polyed for durability.

So happy how it turned out…..

dresser glazing

The lamp is not permanent….just a stand-in stolen from the guest room to figure out spacing until I find the perfect one.  Homegoods has been letting me down lately.

Anyway ignore the accessories and just enjoy the dresser….

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

dresser glazing

What should I glaze next?

Pinwheel Mobile

I know…another baby project.  Yawn.  But while there are other projects going on that I just need to sit down and blog about, the cuteness factor of these is winning out currently.  And who does not love a mobile?  I know I do.

Just like the “what to hang above the crib” conundrum, the mobile originally stumped me a well.  I wanted something cute (obviously.)  And cheap.  And something that was as interesting to look at from the baby’s perspective as it would be from standing outside the crib.  And while our general nursery theme is going to be “animals”,  I not really stuck on that (hence the abacus).  I knew if we were having a girl a bird mobile would be in order, but for a boy I was worried it would be too feminine.  Oh and I wanted it to move a lot.

So I did an inspiration search on Etsy.  And if you do not want to DIY there are so many amazing mobiles there. 

But after drooling over all the possibilities, I came up with pinwheels.  They fit all my criteria minus the animal thing and I was OK with that as I do not want the space to become too themey.

I could have made simple pinwheels and called it a day, but no, I had to do a google search and find more interesting and more time consuming ones.  That’s the way I like to make projects take 5 times as long as normal people.

Anyway, I found this great pinwheel pattern from Heather Bailey.  And I basically followed the first steps.

pinwheel mobile

Her tutorial calls for double sided cardstock.  I ended up with some solid cardstock and some scrapbook paper that I glue sticked together to make it double sided.  I found this to work great.

pinwheel mobile

Then the time consuming part.  Copying the pattern piece onto the paper and cutting it out.  Each pinwheel takes two of these.  Since I made 11 of them, I repeated this step 22 times. 

Very long and boring….but an easy project to do while vegging out in front of the TV. 

I am not much of a paper crafter, so I had to buy a mini paper punch to make the holes.  It was another purchase, but it made the whole process so much easier.

pinwheel mobile

After you meticulously cut them out, slide them together and put a little glue around the center so they do not slide apart.

pinwheel mobile

For each of my pinwheels, one piece was solid and the other was pattern. 

pinwheel mobile

Then, like she instructs, you attach an eyelet through the center hole.  She says to put a second eyelet in to bring all the pieces together in the center to form your pinwheel, but I found this too difficult.  I could not maneuver the eyelet setter thing (I told you I was not a papercrafter) inside the pinwheel and bang the top with a hammer without totally crunching my paper or having some of the spindles fall off the eyelet.  Grrrrr.  So I bought some mini brads from the scrapbooking aisle and those worked like a charm.

Now that the pinwheels were all constructed, we just needed to figure out a way to hang them in a mobile like fashion.  My first thought was constructing something out of wire.

So Derek spent an evening trying to manipulate wire in such a fashion to make it look smooth and professional while being able to allow 11 pinwheels to spin gracefully.  This part of the project led to Derek’s frustration…..and three crumbled up masses of wire.  I thought about photographing that for the blog, but decided that it would not would have been appreciated. 

Onto Plan B….the old standby of dowel rods. 

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We decided to use one longer dowel rod as the base and then make two X’s with smaller dowel rods to hang beneath.  The X’s were secured with fishing line and wood glue and then spray painted.  Holes were drilled at the end of all the dowel rods in order to be able to string fishing line through to hold pinwheels.

And then the fun task of hanging the pinwheels with fishing line began.  This was a two person job….one person to hold the contraption and the other to string the pinwheels.  Or to play with the pinwheels and watch them spin while the other did all the work.  Not that that was me though.   I was focused the whole time.

Anyway, we used a bead strung through the eyelet hole to secure the pinwheels and allowed them to move freely in the breeze.  We constructed each dowel rod X separately with its pinwheels at varying heights and then put it all together to get this:

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

And the view from the crib looks like this:

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

They spin so easily…I almost made a video of them spinning.  But then decided that it may be the most boring video ever.  So I didn’t.  You’re welcome.

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

pinwheel mobile

Hopefully he likes watching it as much as I did while we were putting it together.  Or hopefully half as much when he is not busy sleeping through the night:).

I think this is my Best Idea Ever

At least that is what I told Derek as I was flipping through a CB2 catalog.

lairddeskjoechairFC10

The oversized abacus.  The perfect addition to what to put above the crib which had been stressing me out for awhile as I was very uninspired in this area for some reason.  Of course we were not going to spend $150 for the CB2 version when of course we could make our own.  I mean how easy….see any resemblance to another DIY project?

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It was meant to be, we already basically had made one in the laundry room without the beads and some hinges.

Ready for the how-to?

1.  Find 100 beads for you abacus.  I ordered mine from this website, Woodworks Ltd. They had tons of options and the beads came super fast.  I ordered 1-1/2" Round Beads, 1/2" hole.  Of course you could do a different number other than 100 if you did not want to be mathematically correct.

abacus making

2. Prime ‘em.  We used spray primer and it was quick and easy.  After one side dries, flip them and prime the other.

abacus making

3. Paint them.  I used cheap acrylic paint because….well I was being cheap and did not want to buy 10 cans of spray paint.   I may have regretted that decision as I was hand-painting the second coat on every.single.bead.    And then flipping them over.  When the baby gets older I am going to make sure he knows that his mom loves him so much that those suckers are handpainted.

abacus making

4.  Gloss them.  The acrylic paint was in flat finish so we added a glossy spray coat.

abacus making

5.  Make the frame .  We made ours thicker than the CB2 version so that it could be screwed into the wall.  That way if Junior decides he is more athletically rather than mathematically inclined, he will not be able to pull it down on himself.

Materials: 4 – 8’ 1x2; 1 – 10’ 1x3; 10 dowel rods, your choice as to size; 1 1/4” nails; 1 1/4” screws if you want to be able to take it apart.

a. For this size, cut 2 22” 1x2 pieces.

b. Clamp the 1x2 pieces together.

c. Drill holes through the middle of both 1x2 pieces every 2 inches so the holes match up exactly.

d. Nail the 1x2’s with holes as verticals with 2 33” long 1x2 boards to make the inner frame.

e. Add a second “outer frame” of 1x2 around the outside of the inner frame.  This allows the dowel rods to fit snugly in their holes and does not require gluing of the dowels.  It is important that you do not nail both ends of the outer frame on at this time.  If you nail both sides you will not have a way to get the dowels into the frame.   The long sides of the outer frame are 34 1/2” and the vertical sides of the outer frame are 22”.

f. Use the 1x3 to make a backing that will be used to screw to the wall.  You will have a slight overhang on the inside of the abacus to screw through.  Nail this to the back of the outer frame 1x2.   Long 1x3’s measure 34 1/2” and the short sides are 18 1/2”.

6. Finish the frame.  I was originally thinking of staining it, but in the end we went white.  So we used spray primer and paint. 

abacus making

7.  Install the beads.  Since we were thinking ahead and left the left side off, we just slid those babies on making sure not to miscount.  Because that would have been embarrassing.

abacus making

8. Attach the final side piece.  We decided to use screws so that it can be removed if I want to change the color of the beads for some odd reason.  Or if Junior decides to use a dowel rod as a pull up bar and it snaps.  Screws will make it easier to slide out and replace.  We filled the screw hole with one of those white caps.

abacus making

9. Hang it.  Like I mentioned before, we screwed it in directly to the studs and then filled the screw holes with the white caps.

abacus making

10.  Enjoy your functional art.  And the thought that somehow it will make the baby a mathematical genius in their sleep. abacus making

abacus making

Best part?  It was less than half the price of the CB2 version and it was customized to our colors, size, and more sturdy for screwing in the wall.    And if a nursery is not in your DIY plans, you could stain all the beads or paint them all one color to match a more adult room.

It is exciting to actually have something hanging on the wall…now I just need to get going on the mobile and those drapes.

It is Beginning to Look A Lot Like…..

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Luckily/unluckily I am just starting to feel better while Derek is now best buds  with the Nyquil.  I am on his favorite person list right now obviously….

The whole sick thing caused some blog silence last week since going to bed at 7 was not good for my productivity and I even missed the first week of Kim’s Dare to DIY party.  Sad.

But no worries, I am back (for the most part…excuse my box of Kleenex).

Last year, I decorated our dining room table for Christmas a week early and while I loved it, I swore to myself that this year I would not forget about Thanksgiving and set the table with gourds and the and other fall-y things.

That is until it occurred to me that we were hosting Christmas and not Thanksgiving, so why waste good ideas on a tablescape that no one would use? Right?

So I present you with an early Christmas table for the second year in a row…..

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Red does happen to be my favorite color.  Good thing it corresponds with Christmas.

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I really wanted a beautiful red tablecloth to cover the entire table.  But a round tablecloth in a size to cover a 75 inch round table is impossible to find in stores.  Trust me on that.  I did find some huge ones online that I may order for future occasions, but that would not have fit the blog party timeline. 

Table runners also are too short for the massive table so I had to improvise.  I bought an oblong tablecloth and kept it folded so it just looked like an extra wide but long enough table runner.

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Of course I will have to re-buy the red roses closer to Christmas.  But I will take any excuse to buy myself roses.

And in honor of my new light fixture, i wanted to bring some bling to the table.  I found these mini mirrors at Michael’s for 1.99 for 25.  They made the perfect mirror confetti.

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And of course blingy napkin rings….

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Head over to the Newly Woodwards and see what everyone else put together!