T-minus 4 days

Ummm…so where did December go?  Is Christmas really just a couple of days away(gulp)?

True to form I am way too busy with way too many sewing projects to give and the next couple of nights will involve long hours in the craft room.  But I wanted to pop in to say hi and with a quick tip on holiday wrapping. 

There are so many creative ideas on pinterest and on blogs for creative holiday wrapping.  Amazing stuff. Two Christmases ago each package at our house was carefully decorated with jingle bells, punch outs of holiday scrapbook paper etc. If you have that kind of time skip this post and start hitting up pinterest.

Last year I was in my first trimester and sick sick sick and we went the gift bags and tissue route.  At least I think that is what Derek pulled together.

This year with a 5 month old time is still very precious but I wanted our packages to look special.  My quick and easy solution?  Use satin non-wired ribbon and nice gift tags.

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This ribbon is not in the Christmas section of craft stores but in the normal ribbon section.  Which stinks when Christmas ribbon is 40% off but is nice that you could stock up year round (and when you have a coupon).

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Rocket science?  No.  But for the same amount of time and little more money I think it makes a big difference.  And if you are traveling, the bows won’t get smashed in transit.

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For the gift tags, I bought a bucket of them at Target for a couple of bucks.

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If you had an extra couple of minutes you also could print some off.  I love these from Brooklyn Limestone and used them on kids packages.  So far they are a big hit.IMG_6325

Now back to sewing…

Now If It Would Just Paint Itself

Last time we left the basement renovation, we had taken down the walls and found some unfortunate poles.  Well we have had some busy weekends since then.

First up the electrical.  Which involved the fun of putting more holes in the wall.  And ceiling.  And framing out the firepace to camouflage those weirdly placed poles. 

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And making a wall for the workout closet since we got rid of it’s own room.

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Then the drywallers spent a week with us working their magic.  We have learned that drywall is an artform that we have not mastered and hiring someone to handle it all was money well spent.  Very well spent.

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And then the two pallets of tile had to be carried downstairs.  Did I mention it was heavy?  At least that is what was reported to me.

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And after a weekend of fun with all that tile we are now looking like this…

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Love.this.tile.

It is a little hard to tell from the photos but it is a charcoal quarzite.  We did figure out a reason why it was on closeout.  Those tiles were all different thicknesses.  Even in the same tile one side was thicker than the other.  Which posed some challenges for installing it.  Or so I am told.  I just provided the beer.

In a perfect world we would have painted first so splattering all over the cement floor would not have been a big deal.  But we were lucky enough to have family come into town to help Derek with this undertaking. We took them when they could come in figuring that dealing with some drop clothes was better than having a cement floor and tile in the garage indefinitely.

Anyone feel like painting this weekend?  I am a pro at bringing down beer.

Habitat Challenge

Last Thursday was the Habitat Challenge Reveal Night at Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Yeah!

The challenge?  We each received 8 fat eighths of Habitat fabric by Jay McCarroll (of Project Runway fame).  We could use any solid fabric or other Habitat print in addition to our challenge packet.  Here is what I came up with-

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I was planning on originally using the solid gray as my major background color.  But I happened to set the challenge fabric next to a blue shot cotton that I had planned on using for the lining on a pair of pants for Carter.  I loved it so much that the blue replaced the gray.  And Carter still has no pants.

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I then quilted it with random vertical and horizontal lines to mimic the lines of the inserted fabric.

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And the back is another Habitat print.

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As a beginner with the whole quilt thing, I love it when people share their process.  So here is how I got to my finished product.

I started with this….just strips inserted at right angles.IMG_5490

Yawn.

I knew I wanted to cut it up and re-orient sections but I worried about making it look awful.  I needed to do a test run before I started  hacking into the fabric.  So instead of using modern technology, I went the old fashioned way of scissors and tape.

I printed out the picture of the quilt and started hacking away.

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I took a picture each time I made a cut so I would remember the steps in case I liked it. 

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My picture was not square to begin with so I was not worried about things matching up perfectly.  I just wanted to make sure it would not be ugly.

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I was satisfied that it was more interesting than what I was starting with, so I started the same process with my quilt, but this time with a rotary cutter and a sewing machine.  It did not turn out like my original picture because more math was involved to make sure things would line up correctly, but it gave me a general idea. And I was happy with the random finished product.

There were so many awesome quilts at the reveal…it made for a super fun night.  Check out our Flickr photostream to see all the talent.

And for those you wondering if I have given up my procrastinator ways of quilting, the answer is a resounding no.   I was binding this baby until an hour before I left for the meeting.  After not getting much sleep the night before.

But it is complete and I think it is going to return to it’s roots of the craft room.  Carter has been playing on the pink Project Plume challenge quilt while I am sewing and he has requested something a little more masculine.

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Much better.

Now he just needs his mommy to get on those pants.

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.

DIYer is to Paint Deck as Quilter is to-

My beloved paint deck has a new best friend.

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But this one stays in my sewing room.  And it unfolds to reveal all of this color goodness.

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So now when I am working on a quilt (or pillow, or pants for the little man) and I want a coordinating solid, I can just whip out my handy card and find the perfect match.

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Before I had to hope my computer screen was an accurate depiction of color.  I will let you guess how that turned out.

Or I had to be limited to the colors that my local stores carried.  And when I needed more and they were out and I had no idea what color I had bought I was up a creek.  But no more with this baby!

I have done two solids quilts in the past- an easy color box baby quilt and a zigzag quilt that was my (late) entry in the Robert Kaufman No Prints Allowed Challenge through the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  Just looking at the Flickr group for that challenge makes me not miss prints for awhile.

With my handy card I decided that I needed to make a quilt for the end of our bed.  In solids please.

Because the master bedroom has gotten the short end of the decorating stick and I am starting to enjoy actually keeping the quilts I make.  And I like to forget all the other sewing projects currently in progress to start a new one.  Much more fun.

Just looking at the fabric makes me happy.

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Now all I need is some long nap vibes…

Why This is Not A Cooking Blog

If it is still a blog at all with my pitiful lack of posting.

I hate when bloggers go into a long drawn out explanation about why they have not blogged so here is my short and sweet version.

A baby.  13 weeks of maternity leave over. 

I have tons of stuff to blog about which is the first step…now just finding time to write coherently about it. 

Or at least semi-coherently since some babble could be excused due to sleep deprivation.

Anyway, I was excited for this recipe for a couple of reasons.  1) I love pumpkin dips 2) It was super quick and easy 3) It meant we were actually going to a social function that required us to bring something (remember the whole three month old thing).

The name if the recipe is Pumpkin Fluff and I found it on Allrecipes.com.  I am not going to post the entire recipe, but here is the short and sweet version.

Pumpkin Fluff

1. Get the ingredients- Cool Whip, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, instant vanilla pudding, and graham crackers.

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2. Realize you are an idiot for not reading the sizes of said ingredients on the original recipe.  Meaning you have too little cool whip and pudding.  Which you figured out after you took the picture thinking “oh I am so going to blog about this”. Way to be with it.

3. Decide to cut the recipe in half.

4. Realize you have left over cool whip in the fridge. 

5.  Put somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the amount of ingredients the recipe calls for in the mixing bowl.

6. Mix.

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7. Serve.

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8. When you serve it make sure you put a little sign by it indicating what it is or make a big announcement.  Or your friends will assume you are a weirdo serving hummus with graham crackers and no one will touch it. Until you tell them and then everyone will love it.

Just don’t mention that you messed up the ingredients.  And then don’t blog about it so they don’t figure it out.

Oooops.

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

The basement renovation has officially commenced with the ceremonial first swing of the sledge hammer.

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And that sledge hammer made the well thought out plans change.  Of course. 

The original basement plan?  New paint, new flooring, new furniture. Easy peasy.

After living with cement floors and thinking about it for months?  No more work out room and opening up the walls completely.  Or should I say…

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Why?  First of all we could not call that room a bedroom as the window was not large enough.  And putting in a larger window was going to require digging out all around the foundation and cutting through cement.  Which equals dollar signs.  New plan.

The basement needs to serve many functions for us- man space, workout space, play space, tv space, and guest space.  This would be a lot easier with the walls gone and the workout space not hogging an entire closed off room.  Not to mention that it would be nice to actually be able to see the play space while you are working out to make sure no trouble is happening.  Although it is sort of attractive to have that excuse about why my work outs were not happening.

This plan had much discussion before the sledge hammer flew. 

What if we made that room the play space?  Where will the elliptical go?  What about a combo workout/play space?  How long are we staying this house as the most cost effective option is new paint and cheap carpet?

In the end we decided the walls were coming down.

So the old furniture got loaded up for it’s new home at my brother’s first place.

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And down came the drywall.IMG_4955

And then the plan changed again….because there were not one load bearing pole as we expected, but two.  And of course they were awkwardly right next to each other.  Like three feet in between them.

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Awesome.

We discussed sliding them towards the staircase, but after figuring out what making a footing for them entailed, that idea was discarded.

New idea…fireplace in between them.  We loved the look of gas, but that would require hiring someone to run a gas line and to vent it which equaled dollar signs again.  So we decided to go with electric as it was much more DIY and wallet friendly.  And after spending  a lot of time visiting fireplace stores and researching online and watching YouTube videos (yes people really do post videos of different types of fireplace models which turned out to be strangely helpful) we ordered this baby.

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Then we just had to figure out where everything was going around it.  The challenges?  A lot of functions in a relatively small space.  Wanting to hide the workout equipment, but have it easily accessible so it might get used more often.  And those ^&%$ low soffits that elliptical machines, murphy beds and any activity involving your hand over your head like workout videos can not be under. 

Just a little bitter of how they got in the way of every good idea I had. 

They and those ^&$# poles.

But I think we have it figured out.  I was going to post it, but no one would care to look as the diagram besides me and frankly it will probably change again.

One thing I am excited about …how we are going to hide the workout equipment-

 

Or…

Source: google.com via Jenny on Pinterest

 

Or..

 

Thank you Pinterest.

So after the boys spent a long weekend swinging a sledge hammer and filling a dumpster..

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And the girls spent the weekend loving on this guy (give you one guess who dressed him)…

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The basement is now demoed.  And all ready for this weekend fun with electrical.  Whoo Hoo!

Coming Up Next…

I think we may be a little insane…

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Derek thinks it is insane that he is now responsible for hauling 2 pallets of tile into the basement.  Box by box by box.  Or just not use his side of the garage for a couple of months.  His choice I guess.

Yep we are starting another project.  The basement.  And from the beginning of this project, I am announcing that it is going to be the longest DIY project in the history of our house.  Because we now have a baby which infringes on marathon weekends of work.  And because we don’t need the space, so it will be quite easy to close it up and not work on it for awhile.  And we are starting it before we had originally planned meaning that the cash for the entire reno plus the furniture plus the electronics is not all there yet.  So expect a renovated space with old ugly furniture for awhile.  Unless we win the lottery.

So why the basement?  Well for two reasons…a sump pump and a baby.  If you remember we had a bit of a flood back in March

water damagewater damageThe good news?  The insurance company is helping contribute to the renovation of what was ugly carpet.  Back in March I was bummed that we lost the laminate we installed in the workout room as well as the timing of the whole thing.  Renovating a basement while you are 7 months pregnant and trying to juggle working full time and baby showers was not going to happen.  But actually the timing was a blessing in disguise as it gave us a couple of months to think about what we really wanted.  And to decide that laminate in a basement was a bad choice because a little bit of water makes for an entire new floor.

The baby’s role?  One he has a whole lot of stuff that has already invaded all parts of the house. Which we are currently trying to corral in baskets, but we know as he gets bigger the size and amount of toys is going to follow suite.  And the family room is not big on space for things like train tables.  And since Carter needs to eat about every three hours and he is lazy/slow nurser and I am currently on maternity leave, we are watching a whole lot more HGTV than usual.  The DVR is my new best friend.

Lots of HGTV makes me want to start new projects.

I have always loved Candice Olson’s designs.  Especially because she is not afraid to make beautiful basements.  I even blogged about it back in the early days.

So when I was watching an episode of Candice tells all, I was excited that she used a flooring choice that I had not thought of.  Vinyl plank flooring.  Waterproof and it looks like wood.  And if it was good enough to use in her designs, it was good enough for ours obviously.  Bonus?  It was cheap. And easy to install.

I tried my best to find a picture of this particular makeover or even a screen shot from a video.  However the episode “family room fundamentals” is not to be found online.  Sigh.  Trust me, it looked great, just like all her other makeovers.

Anyway…

So why then do we have tile sitting in our garage? I am getting to it.

Carter got to have his inaugural trips to Home Depot and Lumber Liquidators.  He was super excited.

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We picked up tons of samples of vinyl plank flooring to take home and consider. But since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to stop at our favorite local tile warehouse just to see what they had on closeout.  And surprisingly they had one of our former favorites, a gray quartzite, there at a much reduced price.  So then we had to consider this and make a decision quickly because we were dealing with a close-out and we needed a lot of it-

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Vinyl plank

Pros- Slightly cheaper, easier to install, easier to store until ready to install, could bring more color warmth to the room, and warmer on the toes

Cons- The product is waterproof, but if we had a flood like we did in March, we would most likely have to air it out and reglue the whole floor.  Would it be lost, no, but it would be a lot of work.  Also it is vinyl so no matter how good it looked, it was not real wood and that would be apparent.  Dog nails could also possibly gouge it.

Tile

Pros- Only true waterproof option, loved that it was a natural stone not an imitation of something, and pretty much indestructible

Cons-More difficult to install and could get a little cold underfoot in the winter

 

The winner?  (I know I already gave it away….pretend to be surprised)

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The water thing was the most important, especially to Derek.  I think the idea of moving a basement full of furniture and regluing an entire floor was not appealing to him for some reason.  And the fact that we loved this tile months ago, but until it was reduced to approximately the price of the vinyl, it was not an option.  Because when we need 1000 square feet of something price is very important. But on the flip side Derek scored us a even better deal because we were buying two pallets of it.

So there you have it…the first basement decision done.  Hopefully you don’t think we are crazy for going the tile over vinyl plank route. Unless of course you want to give two pallets of gray quartzite a good home.

Zig Zags

Another quilt is actually going to stay at our house.  Bringing the grand total to two. Both of which are residing in Carter’s nursery.  I wonder who is the current favorite at our house…

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I could pretend that this quilt was finished in the month since he joined us.  But that would be a lie as it has been sitting in the nursery and I just had not had time to snap pictures or blog about it.  Carter is a great baby who is sleeping wonderfully and is not fussy, but honestly “showering” and “take a nap” have been added to the daily to-do list so I feel just a little bit productive.  Quilting (and blogging obviously) have been neglected.IMG_4681

This quilt was my version of the Robert Kaufman No prints Allowed Challenge at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  We were given a charm pack of solids in a specific colorway and challenged to make a quilt using every single color in the charm pack as well as any other solids we chose.  I chose the bright colorway as I already had a place in the nursery in mind for the quilt.  And as I had already made a quilt using this charm pack and wanted to switch up the design to something more complicated.

There were so many creative ideas that people came up with…well in March when the challenge was due.  And I had the quilt top completed then and shared it with everyone.  I swear as there is even photographic evidence that will not be posted here.  I thought I looked cute and obviously pregnant when I got dressed that night…but really I just looked like I had been enjoying too many quarter pounders.

Back to the quilt-I decided to do opposing zigzags with my charm pack with a white background.   I strategically put the blue/green and orange zigzags on one side, so folded on the chair in the nursery they would appear to match the color scheme.

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For the quilting, I did zigzags that mimicked the colored sections and moved further and further apart as they moved away from the center of the quilt.

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My lines aren’t perfectly straight and I got really sick of repositioning my walking foot each time I had to change my angle, but I am happy with how it came out.

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The back is simple and cuddly orange flannel.

I love how it looks on the rocker and it already has gotten a lot of use at night when I am feeding the baby boy and freezing.

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Of course my favorite pictures of the quilt are these-

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Anything is more fun with a baby on it…well at least I think so.

He’s Here!

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Carter Anthony

7/16/11

7lb. 2 oz.

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We are all doing great and are loving every minute with him.  OK maybe loving the middle of the night moments a little less, but still loving every minute.

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He was born two days before our scheduled induction which was a surprise because I was convinced that was how it was going to have to happen since I was making no progress.  Maybe it was the full moon or maybe was him wanting him to be ornery with a labor that started at 10pm and ended at noon making for a very long night without much sleep. 

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Since I was convinced that he was not going to come for another couple of days, I did not get all the blog posts written that I had planned.  And shockingly my productivity has taken a nosedive when there is a baby to love on as well as feed and change.  So I will get back to posting as soon as I can.

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I am happy to report that Carter is a fan of his nursery.  Especially the elephant curtains.  I did not think of the whole “only seeing high contrast colors” thing when they are newborns when I selected the fabric, but I am pleasantly surprised how much he likes staring at them.  Really they are mesmerizing.

Hope you like the pics!  There are only 1000 more where that came from.

Nursery Source List

As promised here is the source list for all the nursery items that got too long for the last post.  Frankly this post got a little long too, but I wanted to list everything as my pet peeve is wanting to know where that one little item came from and not being able to figure it out. 

As you can see most of items were DIY or came from a  non-baby store.  Let me know if I missed anything!

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Wall Color: Tame Teal by Sherwin Williams

Ceiling Color: Posy by Sherwin Williams

Trim Color: Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint in High Hiding White

Ceiling Fan: Lowe’s

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completed nursery

Dog paintings: Homegoods

Lamp: Wal-Mart and DIYed with orange spray paint

Lampshade: Target

Blue Frame: Target

Blue Tray: Target

Hourglass: Homegoods

White plate: Homegoods

Baby booties/hats- gifts

Dresser- hand-me-down.  DIYed with glaze detailed here.

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Glider/Recliner: Best Chair recliner special ordered at local furniture store

Pillow on chair: DIY  Fabric-Geo Grand by Daisy Janie

Ottoman: DIY using Amy Butler’s Gum drop pillow pattern (larger size).  Fabric- IKEA

Faux Sheepskin rug- Home Decorator’s Collection

Wall Bookshelves: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Quilt on Chair: Sewn by me (to be blogged about soon, just could not wait to post whole nursery)

Drapes: DIY- Fabric-Premier Prints Ele Village in Brown/White

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Stump Table: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Books: Gifts

Agate Coaster: Z Gallerie

Flowers: our garden

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Crib: Target- Dwell Studio (no longer available on their website)

Pinwheel Mobile: DIY (how-to blogged here)

Abacus: DIY (how –to blogged here)

Stuffed Moose: IKEA

Pillow in Crib: DIY with leftover fabric

Quilt: DIY- Coming Soon pattern (blogged here)

Crib Sheet: DIY-Fabric- Central Park by Kate Spain (blogged here)

Crib Skirt: DIY- Fabric- Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (blogged here)

Orange Tub-Target or Wal-Mart (can’t remember)

Toys and Blankets in Tub-gifts

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Dog Butt Hooks: IKEA

Sign above Door: Homegoods

Backpack: Gift

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Convertible Changing Table: DIY from Ana White’s plan (blogged here)

Changing Pad Cover: gift

Polka-Dot Fabric Box: DIY (blogged here)

Blue Crates: Target, but they are the Closetmaid boxes you can find anywhere

Baskets: Homegoods

Basket Liners: DIY-Fabric- Metro Living by Robert Kaufman (blogged here)

Mirror: Homegoods with a DIY navy blue spray paint job

LOVE print: Made by Girl

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1: Watercolors found on Etsy from HamjArt

2: Mirror from IKEA (stained with MinWax Jacobean)

3: Enlarged personal pictures from San Diego Zoo

4: DIY initial- basically took a canvas and a wood letter, painted them and superglued.  Super easy.

5: Soon to be authentic hand/footprints mounted on a painted canvas

6: Soon to be hospital bracelets-currently the fortunes that Derek had in his cookies the day we heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time (both said “girl”)

Frames: Various craft stores (Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Michael’s) and from my existing stash

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All pillow covers sewn by me and removable for easy washing.  Fabrics:

1:Herringbone from Modern Meadow line by Joel Dewberry

2: Color Beat by Jennifer Sampou

3: IKEA (on clearance at $2 a yard) over 3 inch high density foam from JoAnn’s

4: Bubble Burst by Anna Maria Horner

5:  Drawing Room Volumes by Anna Maria Horner

6: Woodgrain from Aviary 2 line by Joel Dewberry

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Dog Bank: Target

Baseball glove:  ?-this was a dad purchase

Books: gifts

Elephant: San Diego zoo

Cross: Vatican

Giraffe: gift

Train: Homegoods

7 weight: Homegoods

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Giraffe: gift

Frame: gift

Blankets: gifts

Silver scooter: Z Gallerie

Books: gifts

Toy: gift

Monkey: gift

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Closet Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Inventive Orange

Light Fixture: IKEA-rigged to make shorter to fit the space

Whew…who knew that much stuff would be for such a little baby?

Let me know if I missed something!

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-

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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. 

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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.

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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

A Quilt First

This is the first quilt that I have ever made that is not going to be given as a gift.  That is actually going to stay at my house.   Can you guess where?

Baby J quilt

Actually it is quite a miracle I was able to finish it without a deadline such as a shower etc.  But the whole “finishing the nursery before he makes his appearance” deadline helped me complete it.  Not that the nursery is totally done or anything.  Almost.

Baby J quilt

I used the Coming soon… pattern from Camille Roskelley that I picked up when I took her class back in September.  It came together fast and I love how it turned out.

Baby J quilt

I did a very simple back with a soft brown flannel.  There is just something about flannel on the back on baby quilts.

Baby J quilt

I did a simple wave on the quilting which made it all crinkly and cuddly.  I incorporated some of the sheet fabric in the piece in the back as well as the binding to tie the bedding set together.

Baby J quilt

I love how it looks on his crib and makes me all the more ready for his arrival.  Just have to complete the nursery first.

(Disclaimer: I know the quilt, stuffed animal and pillow should not be in the crib when he is in there….but for right now it makes me smile and I like how it looks.  Once he is actually sleeping in the crib (which will hopefully be quickly since he is going to be such an awesome sleeper…wink wink), the crib will be safely empty.)

Want  more details on his other bedding? Click here.  Or the DIY abacus?  Click here.

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.

2 Steps Forward….and 1 Back

I had this blog post all planned out in my head yesterday (first mistake)….it was we got a new fridge and I love it and the white monstrosity is gone and here is also how we finished updating our cabinets with glass. Yeah!

Not so much.

But at least it is going to start the way I planned.  Here is the white box that is was our fridge. 

fridge

fridge

Not terrible and actually a pleasant surprise when we closed on our house as we thought the previous owners were taking it and we assumed we were buying a new one right away.  But we are slowly changing the appliances to stainless in the order of function.  As I mentioned before the dishwasher…well sucked so it was the top of the list.  The water and ice in this fridge has never worked so it was next…even though the stove won in the ugliness contest with the bisque color. Unfortunately totally functional.

Shopping for fridges made me realize that we have a really short space to work with that severely limited our choices especially in the ones with the features I wanted.  But we found one and I love it.

Unfortunately, to get the height we needed, it is about 3 inches narrower than our old fridge.  Which did not sound like a big deal in the store.  But compared to the old fridge that slid next to all the cabinets with less than a 1/4 inch to spare, we have some gaps. 

fridge

Not a big deal from across the room, but up close you can see the sides of the cabinets.  That are still honey oak. 

fridge

fridge

Way to be really thorough in my cabinet painting.

I told myself that we left it way on purpose so if I ever wanted to remember the pink countertops and honey oak goodness, all I had to do is pull out the fridge.

fridge

Oh and there is a little wallpaper left too….

fridge

So even though I had the official “I am not painting in anything else else in the kitchen ever again” celebration, I am sadly breaking up the paintbrush today.  But this can be a lesson if you are painting cabinets….don’t be lazy like me by not pulling out the fridge….or just never buy a thinner one.

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…

IMG_3880

Lessons from the Garden

So I have been a bad blogger….again.  I am not going to bore everyone with details but May was probably the most stressful month for us in a long time.  Some of the stress was positive like seeing friends and family many times as a result of great baby showers.  And some of it not so positive.  But it all worked out in the end and we are ready for June and bringing the blog back to life as I have so many things to share.  Note to baby: you better stay put the next five weeks because I have a lot to catch up on.  Got it? Good.

The blog was not the only thing that was neglected….my garden was looking very…..well overgrown and unkempt.  And not planted.

I am normally the person that people are looking at funny because I am trying to buy plants before the last frost date.  And I am feeding and weeding and planting and giving all the plants tender loving care on a nightly basis.

This year I did not even step outside to look at the plants that were coming back until the end of May.  Major garden guilt.   Another thing I was sucking at this spring to add to the list.

When I finally got the nerve to wade through the weeds to see what I was working with however I was pleasantly surprised.  Here is my advanced visual representation of the state of the garden.  Green =weeds.  Very high and thick weeds.

IMG_3846new

We had strawberries…without me doing anything.

IMG_3782

And roses with no pruning or feeding…

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And the beginnings of grapes and raspberries…

IMG_3847

A good lesson about things surviving in spite of you and a lack of control is sometimes a good thing. 

Another lesson in giving up control was that Derek planted the vegetable garden this year…while I was not home.  Gardening is not his thing at all and we agreed to scale it back this year with the upcoming arrival of the baby.  And I knew I needed his help lifting and tilling. But he surprised me with this….

IMG_3846

For a before picture, please refer to above.

Did he pick all the plants I would of?  No.  Or put them in the location determined by seasonally rotating varieties? No.  But it was weeded and composted and planted.  And done. And I learned another lesson about giving up control and things turning out OK. 

On a semi-related note of not doing things when I planned, I wanted to update you on my painted outdoor pots.  When I first posted the tutorial last year, someone wondered how they would last.

I had planned on moving them into the garage for the winter.  Really. But then the whole morning sickness thing happened and they sat outside all winter and I did nothing (see the theme of the post?) to prep them.

I think they held up incredibly well (the specks on the bottom are dirt).

IMG_3844

However in the interest of full disclosure we did have one crack/chip that I noticed.

IMG_3845

So if you are thinking or painting pots but are hesitant on their wear….don’t worry about it and you can even do nothing like me!

Has your garden taught any needed lessons this year?

Glazing-Not Just for Cabinets

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

IMG_2852

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?