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.

DIY Library Card Catalog Murphy Bed

I think I may have a new favorite DIY project.  It was not super cheap, it was not quick and when I described it at the beginning of the project, people looked at me like I had three heads.

But now we love it.

DIY card catalog murphy bed
Really really love it.  (Photos taken in a basement with no natural light do not do it justice, trust me, I tried).

Why a Murphy bed?  Well, we have a four bedroom house and we are not moving.  When we have another child sometime in the future, we will need that last bedroom.  And getting rid of the craft room was not an option that I liked.  The guest room was the least used, but with out of town grandparents, it was still a necessity.

There is a bathroom in the basement, along with a TV and some empty space (and exercise equipment and a fridge and tons of toys if you are so inclined).  Bingo.  New Guest Room on an as needed basis.

The bed was going to be Queen Size, so the cabinet was going to be a predominant feature in the space.  We thought about making the facing look like an armoire, but I wanted something more interesting.  Enter the faux library card catalog.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

So how did we do it?  We bought hardware that came with plans online (here).  And Derek and my father-in-law built the basic bed according to those plans.  They used predominantly plywood for the actual construction of the cabinet.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

Then came the drawers.  After a whole lot of math by the boys, we settled on 102 of them.  One of the challenges was the foot of the bed had to be in a certain place and a certain size.  Since it would hold the bed while people were sleeping in it, it was important.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

The drawers were cut out of 3/4 inch MDF because of cost.  Then all the edges were routed.  Bless my father-in-law with that stack of drawers.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

The drawers were nailed on in rows with a paint stick used as a spacer horizontally and flat molding nailed on vertically. 

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed
DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

We talked about adding molding on the top or on the sides, but after extensive research on library card catalogs (I’m looking at you Google Images), we decided to leave it plain to make it more “authentic”.

And then I finished it using a modified glazing technique.  Which will be a story for a another post.  Sneak peek: It took forever, may have involved some tears and cussing but I think the results were worth it.  I learned a lot. Stay tuned.

After it was finished, it was time to install the hardware.  Which was another challenge with this project.  When you need 102 pieces of hardware, they can’t be $7 a pop.  Especially since they are completely decorative and non-functional.

After much searching, I found my pulls here (but if you are buying them in bulk, check out their store on eBay).  At about a dollar each they were the winners.  When they arrived they were shiny in fake brass kind of way, so I aged them.  I tried a variety of methods with different results, (bringing me back to my junior high science fair days) with a clear winner.  Again another post. Now they look old and worn.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

Derek constructed a jig to make sure they went on straight.  And then he had the super fun task of screwing on every.single.one.

We brought down the mattress from the guest room, and the new guest suite was born.
Just pop open the leg and the mechanism releases.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

Add some pillows and a quilt and we are ready for guests.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

And the majority of time when it is closed and being played around, it is just nice to look at.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

And we can tell Carter about the good ole days when that was the way you looked up books. 
And he will look at us like we have three heads.

Cost breakdown-
Murphy Bed Hardware and plans- approximately $300
Lumber-About $300 (rough estimate as we were also buying supplies for other DIY projects at the same time)
Hardware- $155
Glazing Supplies- $15 (I already had the glaze itself from previous projects)
Mattress- $0 (used the one from the guest room)
Total: $770

Not bad for a incredibly functional yet nice-to-look-at piece of furniture.

We loved this project (especially now that it is done) and it is DIYable.  My father-in-law used to work as a contractor/carpenter so his skills were a huge help to Derek with the construction while he was in town. But if you are good with DIY and furniture building, we think you would be able to handle it, as the plans come along with the hardware. Also as I mentioned before, this was not a fast project.  The actual construction took Derek and my father-in-law a weekend.  But the finishing and the hardware application kept us busy for awhile.

DIY card catalog murphy bed

But worth it.  What do you think?

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.

Quilt Design Wall

Meet my old quilt design wall. 

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Difficult to visualize quilts on.  Especially without a ladder.  And prone to destruction by toddlers, dogs and the vacuum.

I am lucky to have a devoted space to my crafting and even luckier to have a huge free wall.

Quilt design wall

Perfect. 

Derek was not well versed in quilt design walls for some odd reason.  I explained the basic premise of wrapping batting over something light so that cotton fabric would stick to it.  And it should be large as we had about a 7 foot square to work with.  And since it was going to be permanent, I wanted something that looked nice. And not temporary.  Almost like a framed piece of art. 

This is what he came up with-

Quilt design wall

Well the wall, not the quilt.  That was me. But you get the idea.

So how did we do it?  Here is the how-to if you want your own.  This makes one approximately 6ft x 6ft design wall.

Quilt design wall

Materials:

13 6-foot 1x2 boards

4  6 1/4 foot  pieces of molding for the facing

Paint

Duct tape

Foam backing for vinyl siding equal to the interior of the frame size. 

Finish nails and about 16 3-inch wood screws (A finish nail gun is your best friend on this project)

A couple of straight pins

An exacto knife.

7’ by 7’ sheet of batting

 

Quilt design wall

1. Make an L-shaped frame out of 1x2. Use 8 1x2s to make 4 “L’s”.   We used a nail gun and finishing nails.

2. Screw your four L’s into studs on the wall in a frame shape. By making the L shaped frame out of 1x2 it provides a 3/4” interior lip to screw into the wall and creates a 2 1/4” inch frame that is perpendicular to the wall.

Quilt design wall

Quilt design wall

3. Cut up a 1x2 into 2 pieces that measure about 1 foot a piece.  This does not need to be exact.  Install these two pieces horizontally into the studs in the middle of the frame.  These will serve as supports for the vertical pieces.  Quilt design wall

4. Nail 4 1x2s as vertical supports-on the two sides onto the frame and two in the middle, crossing over the horizontal pieces in the middle.

Quilt design wall

Quilt design wall

5. Paint the exposed edges and the molding.  I painted before we started anything and tried to be strategic about only painting what was going to show.  However, as you can see by the painted 1x2s above I over painted.

6.  Measure and cut your foam (the kind they use behind vinyl siding) to your inner frame size. Make sure it fits with a little bit of space on the edges (about a half inch).  He had to duct tape two pieces together to get one this size.

Quilt design wall

7.  Wrap that sucker with batting.  We secured it with duct tape on the back and stuck a couple straight pins in the front close the the corners.  Pins/staples/anything sharp would be a bad idea on the back because of the potential poke factor on the front.

Quilt design wall

8. Stick it back up there inside the frame.

Quilt design wall

8.  Cut molding to fit the frame and nail it to the edges of the wood around the frame.  The batting layer is now enclosed and won’t move.

IMG_0011

9. Caulk your nail holes and your mitered edges.  Honestly we still have not done this step.  It is functional without it but prettier with it. 

Quilt design wall

And you are ready to go.

I have been using my design wall for awhile and it has been invaluable.  The cotton fabric just sticks right to the batting.  It is like temporary art.

Right now it is sporting some triangles.

IMG_0013

I received a couple of charm packs of Lotta Jansdotter’s upcoming line- Glimma and after adding some solids (all from my stash) the design wall was put to great use.  Making sure the triangles were not forming any funky shapes.  And that the colors played nicely together.  Because random takes a lot of planning.  That is what a design wall is for.

And providing great fabric to look at while I sew.  IMG_0017

Hmmm….maybe I need two design walls.

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…

IMG_7608

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-

IMG_8723

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.

IMG_0007 (2)

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.

Tutu Round 2

My little sister got married a couple of weeks ago and we had a great time.

IMG_8794

D&J&C3

Yes that is a newborn pacifier in his hand.  He hated them for many months and has now rediscovered their awesomeness. 

Carter was one of the ring bearers and even though we are not walking independently yet, he used his wagon walker to get down the aisle.

Carter 058

Well almost.  We walked half way and realized that there were hundreds of people looking at us and then sat down.  Oh well.

My biased opinion just has to say that he was the cutest, but the flower girls gave him a run for his money in their tutus.

how to make a tutu

My sister used my tutorial to make the tutu’s (with slightly bigger pieces of tulle to compensate for going on a child and not a baby) and then I sewed on the white ribbon.

Which, while definitely not the longest, the most difficult part in my opinion.  (But if you don’t sew, you can still make the tutu and just not add the ribbon.) And if you saw how unstraight my sewing was trying to jam all that tulle under there you would think I have never sewn a stitch.  So not going to sew these on Etsy anytime soon.  Luckily you can not see the sewing, just all of their cuteness. how to make a tutu

I loved her idea of putting the flower girls in tutus and they were definitely the hit.  And I think they liked twirling in them too.  It is not everyday you get to wear a tutu.   Maybe a should make one for myself…

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.

IMG_2802

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?

Burp Cloth Tutorial (Field-Tested)

When I found out I was pregnant, one of the first things I did was start buying fabric for burp clothes.  Easy and cute and I finally had an excuse to buy some kids fabric besides giving it away to other people. There are precisely 23894 tutorials on the blogosphere for how to make them and I did the whole sewing fabric on a diaper method (don’t worry, I go into greater detail in the actual tutorial).

burp cloth tutorialburp cloth tutorial

They did look prettier before they were washed a million times.

burp cloth tutorial

I made over 20 like this and thought I was golden.  Because we were not going to have an urper anyway so they would just sit pretty in their box.

And then Carter made his arrival.  And he had reflux. IMG_7440

Which meant that burp clothes became a constant fashion accessory.  And that you did not get nice clothes on for work until you were literally walking out the door in case he erupted. 

You should be thanking me for not sharing a picture of him actually spitting up.  Because we have them.

Anyway with all the urping going on, the diaper burp clothes I made were showing their weaknesses.  Namely that they are too wide for shoulders and were constantly falling off. Leaving your shoulder in a vulnerable position.  Not to mention your back.

My friend Lauren made us some thinner ones which worked so much better (and matched his nursery too- bonus!).

IMG_4678

So taking her thin design and adding some flannel for some extra “stickiness” I have now perfected the burp cloth.  At least think so.  Now if I just find the time make some more of them…

Ready for the How-To?

Materials:

Printed Cotton Fabric (approximately 9x18- a fat quarter works well)

Flannel Fabric (double the size of the printed fabric)

Scissors or Rotary Cutter

Sewing Machine

Iron

How To:

1. Cut your fabric larger than the size you are thinking of making your burp cloth and pre-wash it to get the shrinking thing out of the way.

2. Cut your now shrunk printed fabric in a 9 in x 18 in rectangle.  This size can be varied, I cut the three burp clothes I made at slightly different widths depending on how much fabric I had.  This is not an exact science.burp cloth tutorial

3. Cut two flannel squares the exact same size you cut the printed fabric.

4. Line up your three squares right on top of each other with right sides together. (In the picture the three pieces are fanned out slightly so that you can see the order…when you sew make sure they are right on top of each other).burp cloth tutorial

5. Sew around the 4 edges, and stop before you reach where you started, leaving a three inch opening to flip it out.  I used a quarter inch seam.

burp cloth tutorial

6. Cut your corners of the sewn fabrics.  Be careful not to cut the seam. Press open the seams.

burp cloth tutorialburp cloth tutorial

7. Stick your hand in the opening and pull it right side out.  The second piece of flannel stays in the middle for extra urping absorbency.  Make sure to spend some time poking out the corners.burp cloth tutorial

8. Press well so it lays flat.  Make sure to press the flaps where the opening is in so that it matches the rest of the seams.burp cloth tutorial

9.  Edge stitch around the all 4 edges to finish it off and to complete the area with the opening.

burp cloth tutorial

10.  And you are done!  Super fast and easy.

burp cloth tutorial

One side is cute, the other side is sticky and the extra piece of flannel will help absorb the urping.  Not to mention it is skinny enough not to be sliding off your shoulder.

burp cloth tutorial

Tie it up with a bow and it also makes the perfect shower gift.

burp cloth tutorial

Happy Urping!

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.

IMG_6373

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. 

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.

Houston We Have Bedding

The nursery is still a work in progress, but now at least he will have a cute and comfy place to sleep if he decides to appear early.  His quilt?  Not ready to be in this post.   And the quilt is more for me to look at anyway since he won’t be sleeping with it for awhile.  At least that is what I tell myself. 

This whole being off for the summer thing is doing wonders for my sewing productivity.  Now I just need to start fitting in showers before the afternoon.

Anyway…

baby bedding

One of the most difficult things about the bedding was picking out the fabrics.  They had to be certain colors…and kidish…but not over the top kidish…and possibly go with our loose “animals” theme.  I had lists and lists of options and struggled with making a decision as there were so many cute things out there.  I finally gave myself a deadline and started ordering things.  And then it sat until I got around to actually sewing it.  I know you are surprised.

First up….the crib skirt.   The fabric I used was Metro Living by Robert Kaufman.

Not exactly rocket science but I needed to cover the ugly gap between the mattress and the drawers.  The metal brackets were visible holding up the mattress and the drawers of the crib do not have tops on them so you can see all the stuff in them.  I also wanted to make it adjustable so that when we lower the mattress as he gets bigger, I can make the crib skirt shorter. 

First, I prewashed the fabric and measured my opening.  I added a couple of of extra inches to the tops and sides and then cut out a rectangle of fabric.  I seamed the sides and added ribbon ties.

baby bedding

Then I tied the ribbon to the springy part of the crib (that’s the technical term) adjusting for height.

baby bedding

After a couple of reties to even everything out and get it to hang straight, I had this.

baby bedding

So as the mattress gets lower and the skirt needs to get shorter, I can just retie further up.    Super simple but I love how it turned out.

baby bedding

Now onto the crib sheet.

For some reason this project was intimidating to me so I have been putting it off for awhile.  I found tons of tutorials online with slight variations.  Which one to choose?  How do I know there and my mattress dimensions were similar?

I think my major anxiety came from the fabric.  It is Central Park by Kate Spain and when I ordered it months ago, that print in that color was starting to become difficult to find in the yardage I needed.  So I knew that after I procrastinated that it was going to be really hard to find if I had to replace it when I royally messed it up.  Hello new fabric choice or spending way to much money for it on ebay.  So it continued to sit.

I finally decided to on this tutorial from luvinthemommyhood.  From what I read reading comments on other tutorials, elastic all the way around the sheet was more secure than just the corners.  Since it was quilting cotton, my fabric was a little narrower than I would have hoped but I decided to take a leap of faith.  I am not going to do a whole step by step because I followed her tutorial pretty closely.  With the exception of measuring four times before I cut anything.  And marking and pinning all the cuts and trying on the mattress to make sure it fit before I cut and sewed.  So it took 6 times as long but oh well.  I was not going to screw up this fabric.

The only difficult part was inserting the stupid elastic.  Luckily for me, my bobbin ran out of thread in the middle of sewing the elastic pocket.  I cursed at the time but thought I would try to string it through halfway and see how it worked since I had to stop sewing until it was reloaded anyway.

I could have been executing her whole “attach a pin and let it slide through” method totally incorrectly but it did not work for me.  At all.

So I got out this doohickey (another technical sewing term) that I had bought for some other project that has never seen completion.   It came in handy for this one, so ultimately a good purchase.

baby bedding

I had the pull the elastic through in phases because the wire was not long enough, but worked so much easier for me.

After the elastic was in and sewn, I had the nerve wracking experience of slipping it on the mattress.  And really really hoping it fit.

baby bedding

It did!  Happy day!  And it turned out to be a easy project….time to make some more.

In case you were wondering what the underside looks like….

baby bedding

And the corners….

baby bedding

It is actually starting to come together.  Just a couple of sewing and DIY projects left!

baby bedding

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?

IMG_0613

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.

How Hard Can it Be?

Thanks for all the well wishes from our little announcement!  We have started on the nursery, but a final after is a ways away.  We we have plenty of time and a whole lots of projects.

Honestly I had been thinking about the nursery since before we were even thinking about kids.  Because it is such a fun room and you can get away with cute things that would look silly anywhere else. 

In browsing all sorts of inspiration pictures, I knew I wanted some sort or built-in or architectural feature to add to our boxy room with two plain windows.

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Since I knew the window wall was wasted space in terms of furniture placement, I came up with a “brilliant” idea of a built-in window seat.

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Easy peasy right?

Well first the ceiling had to be scraped of the popcorn…and the stains.  Which, in my delicate state, I got to sleep through while Derek did the dirty work.

I did help him tarp everything though.

nursery reno

If you have never scraped popcorn, it is a very messy and gross job.  But it is also pretty easy.  Just dowse the ceiling with water from a garden sprayer, wait a couple minutes and scrape.

And it all falls down on you.

nursery reno

Or Derek in this case.

After we cleaned up that mess, it was time to make more messes with moving vents, light switches, and light fixtures to accommodate the new window seat.  Didn’t really envision that mess in the whole “hey let’s add a window seat” idea.

nursery reno

nursery reno

Luckily Derek’s step dad was along for this project and we could not have done it without him.  Drywalling is an art form we have not mastered and he took care of skim coating the ceiling, running new electrical, and patching all the wholes.  Not to mention the whole window seat thing.  He was invaluable.

After the drywall was done, it was time for primer and paint.  I planned a gender neutral aqua and orange color scheme, but I am sad to admit that I did not follow my own rule of painting a test spot on the wall and deciding on a color before buying two gallons of it.

Nope, I had figured I had picked enough paint out at this point that I could skip that step.  So I bought two gallons of my teal and let Derek handle the painting while I took another nap.

But after cutting in all the corners, he was very smart to wake me up because he knew it was not what I wanted.  A very pretty sage, but not a teal.  So we had to go buy two new gallons of paint.  I am never breaking my own rule again.  It is an expensive rule to break.  Here is the new teal on top of the wrong sage.

nursery reno

After the painting issue, the window seat was finally ready to go in. 

nursery reno

I wish we had a detailed window seat how to.  But it was so custom to our space and went through many redesigns during the install that it is not the case.  But I have lots of step by step pictures.

First the bookshelves went in…..

nursery reno

And then the facing pieces and the bottom (while it was blizzarding outside)…..

nursery reno

And then the lids and the crown molding.

nursery reno

The lids flip up for toy storage….

nursery reno

And there is a curtain rod built in behind the crown molding.  I plan on hanging full length drapes so the sides of the book shelves are hidden and I can try to hide that they are different sizes.

nursery reno

And I can pull them all the way across to block all light.  And when the baby gets older, the cushions can come off the tops and it can be used for a stage.

Now we are in the unglamorous section of the project of filling holes and painting.  Everything will be white including those windows. 

Ugh window painting…..

I think it is time for another nap.

Italy Memories….On a Wall

I may have mentioned that we went to Italy this summer.

And I may have taken have tons of pictures.

I may have been really tempted to frame all 1457 of them and hang them around the house.

But I knew that would have been just a little overkill.

However there was this big blank wall right behind the chairs in the living room that had “Italy” written all over it.

(Just picture it….it was a blank wall of nothing)

And I just may have had that wall in mind when we planned the Italy trip.

Anyway this what we whipped up….

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Because I wanted a way to remember our trip everyday. Without having everyone that walks into the house thinking that our travel photo album barfed all over the place.

My goal was to make look like we collected a wide array of pictures over a long period of time and make it say “Italy” without using all photos.  I think we achieved it and I am so happy how it turned out. 

It all started with this art that we bought for the old house because Derek really liked it.

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And it hung over the buffet in the dining room for years until we moved.  But at the new house there was not great place for it, so it sat in the closet for the past couple of years.  Sad.

Since it happened to be a painting of St. Peter’s Basilica, it worked out perfectly for our Italy wall.  And it wasn’t a photo.  Good planning 5 years ago.

Also when we at ZGallerie we stumbled on a Rome sign that was also a perfect addition.  I told Derek I could make it myself, but I got outvoted.  Now we had Rome represented.

After we had our two pieces, we bough some random frames and with the use of our area rug and a measuring tape laid out the the display.

By random, I mean absolutely no plan.  We picked a variety of sizes and finishes.  And different mats.  No plan here.  Collected over time was the desired look.

Next, we hung them all on the wall according to our plan on the floor.  And our new best friends smiled at us from their frames for a month (or two) while I picked out the rest of the pictures to complement the art.

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Finally finished….

On the bottom portion we have some photos of course.

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In addition to the normal photos, I also modified a photo of the Cinque Terre to make it resemble a painting.

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I used a filter in Photoshop to in order to achieve this effect.  And if I can do it in Photoshop, anyone can do it because I still have zero skill with that program.  Also if you don’t have Photoshop, there are tons of photo editing program online that can achieve similar effects.

Another “different than photo thing” I did was with some left over Euros that the bank would not take back when we arrived home.

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So of course I had to make something with them.

My first thought was do a rubbing over them with a pencil or charcoal.  And be all all old fashioned and stuff. Bad idea.

So I reverted back to the computer and threw them on the scanner.  I then did multiple random effects in Photoshop and Picnik until I liked how they looked.  Don’t ask me which ones because I have no idea. 

Then there is the top section….

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The top right is actually a retro travel poster from the Boston Public Library’s Flickr Photostream.

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High Heeled Foot in the Door mentioned it awhile ago and I had the link safely tucked away until I needed it.  There are so many fun posters there for all sorts of destinations.  I had trouble picking just one poster and can see this becoming a go-to spot for future trips.  Definitely worth checking out.

And last but not least….our Italian phrase.

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Il bel far niente.

Or the art of doing nothing.

Something we are both terrible at.  And I would like to pretend that having it written in Italian on the wall will make us stop and smell the roses sometime.

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I spent a lot of time with my Italian travel dictionary to try to find the perfect phrase and this seemed like the best fit.

Although there were a lot of great runners up in the “amore” section that I was tempted to put up there and just tell people it meant something nice and romantic.

Non ho mallattie has a nice ring to it don’t you think? (I have no diseases)…..

Or how about “Sono ricco e single” (I am rich and single)….

No?

Oh well…I guess I will have to get busy with the art of doing nothing.

And remembering our amazing vacation daily of course…..

Drapery Cutting-The Quick and Easy Way

I had a really good weekend.  My former college roommate, Katie,  flew in for a visit and we had a great time.  We shopped.  We enjoyed tapas, sangria, red wine and stayed up past our bedtime.  We got pedicures and cooked together.  And of course talked and talked.  Which made me really wish we were not hundreds of miles and a plane ride away from each other.

And took absolutely no pictures.  Even after I made a point to say “We need need to take tons of pictures this weekend because we got 0 last time”

Just picture us having an amazing time.

We also had numerous “wow we are getting old” moments.  Maybe it is because 30 is in the not too distant future.  Or maybe it is because we have both recently have moved from the city to the ‘burbs.  Or maybe it is the glaring differences in how we used to hang out and how we spend our time together now. 

But the point of this post is not to bore everyone with reminiscing.  I really do have a point.

As part of being “old” we spent some time making drapery panels for Katie’s new house.  We spent a half of day picking out the fabric and got five new lined panels banged out in just a couple of hours.

Which led Derek to ask why it has taken me months to finish our panels in the kitchen.

Anyway……

She picked out three great fabrics for each panel…..a deep gray, and orange stripe and an orange and gray pattern.   Of course again no pictures, but I made her swear to email me some as soon as they are hung in her house.

Katie is a beginning sewer and has just completed a couple of pillows.  So when I showed her my trick for incredibly fast fabric cutting she was amazed it went so fast. 

And so was Derek….because again those dang  kitchen panels.

This tip is not going to be anything new to experienced sewers out there, but i wanted to share it with everyone that is just starting to make an easy drapery panel on their own.  Because I wish I knew this with my first panels.

Quick and Easy way to Measure and Cut Drapery Panels

1. Find a square flooring surface in you house.  This could be a tile or wood floor.  Or even a carpet beginning/ending point in a wide doorway.  Or even a wall if you don’t have anything else.

2. Figure out how long you want you drapery panels to be and measure it out from your beginning edge.  Mark that spot with a piece of tape.  Scoot a little bit down and repeat to make sure you tape line is even.

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3. Stretch out the fabric from your tape line to your original square line on the floor.  If you are on wood or tile, line up the fabric with a line in the floor to make sure you are straight.

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4. Cut right along the edge that you know is square.

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5. Repeat with the other panels.

And you should have them cut in just a couple of minutes and ready to sew.  Quick right?

Just ask Derek about the kitchen.

Going Back In

Last weekend I realized just how long it has been since we have done an “inside” project.  We had been so busy with outside stuff and Europe prep that the inside has been ignored as of late.

And since I always get some project inspiration with a little wine, some good music and Derek not home to talk me into being more practical and having a plan (hence how the kitchen reno started), the office is now getting a mini-makeover.  Nothing drastic but just a couple of little things that have been bugging me about the space lately.  I am still in the going to Homegoods, returning to Homegoods and buying more at Homegoods stage but I wanted to share a sneak peek at one of the projects that is actually done in the space.

We try to make the decor in our home as personal as possible without going overboard with pictures of the two of us cheesing it up for the camera.  Coming back from Italy, I have been resisting the urge to plaster photos of the trip all over the place, while still putting memorable items on display.  Not so easy.

I saw an idea of displaying travel maps over from Alissa over at 33 Shades of Green awhile ago and loved how it was personal but pretty at the same time.  So I made sure to save all the maps we used during the trip. 

After I had dumped everything off the bookshelves in the office on that Saturday night, I decided to add some frames to the top.  So I messed around with frames I had in various colors and sizes until I found an arrangement I liked.

They were on the smaller side, but I sort of liked just including special sections of the map instead of the entire thing. Also I wanted to change it up in terms of colors on the maps and how they were positioned with mats in the frame.

So I pulled out the maps we used for sightseeing and went to work measuring and cutting with this in mind.

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Since I wanted the maps to “mean something” I got the location of our apartment and some major sights included the sections of Rome and Florence I cut out.  To change it up a little bit, I used a more zoomed out map for Siena…..to commemorate our memorable bus ride of course.   The maps are creased and written on (and probably quite sweaty) but that makes me like them even more.

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IMG_2721And now every time I look in the corner now I can remember Italy and where exactly we stayed.  And the bus ride.  And of course the running joke of why I never carried the maps or navigated the entire trip.  Let’s just say my sense of direction was left back in the States.  If I was in charge of this task we would have ended up back in Germany. 

Memories:).

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