Friday, May 31, 2013

Pink and Greige Nursery, Phase Two: Toddler Time!

Earlier this week, I showed you V's nursery as it looked when she was first born. Today I want to show you how it's looked for the last year or so as a perfect little room for a toddler!

Let me quickly refresh your memory.

Here's the baby girl nursery version...

And here's our big girl's toddler room!

Not a whole lot has changed since V's babyhood. The main differences are that we swapped out the pink jenny lind crib with our diy'd toddler farmhouse bed.

We also replaced the white end table that had been next to the crib with a bookcase to store V's growing collection of storybooks. Besides providing extra storage, the bookcase is also a lot sturdier than the little end table was. Once V learned to crawl and pull up on things, I was forever worried she'd find a moment alone to knock that end table over on herself, so while it was cute, it was a good decision to replace it with the bookcase.

Over the bookcase is a shelf, which clearly I have put no effort into styling. It's current theme is: Things-I-Want-To-Display-In-The-Nursery-But-Don't-Want-Baby-Girl-To-Touch. Nothing like a good sentimental theme to unify a display and create a unique look. I kid...

From this angle, you can see the door to the hallway, as well as V's dresser and changing area.

I used embroidery hoops and scrap fabric from her baby quilt to put her name above the dresser. I plan on making E's name in the same way, so I promise there will be a tutorial sometime soon.

Speaking of V's baby quilt, I promised when I shared the fabric for E's quilt, that I'd take a picture of the one I made for V.

Next to the closet, we put up a row of hooks down low where V can reach, which has proved useful.

Above the hooks is this absolutely adorable art print from Sarah Jane Studios. I love it. With the lamb and the dark haired little girl, it was just the perfect piece of art for V's room. I'm trying to find something similar with a little girl and a bunny to bring E's bunny theme into the room.

Once again, here's what this room looked like when we bought our house. (gross)

Here's what it looked like when V was a baby.

And here's what it looks like right now!

Now, we have to make some changes to make this room work for a two and a half year old and a new baby. I'll be blogging our to do list next week and will keep you updated on all the changes we make.

Linking up to: Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop at House of Rose Blog

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pink and Greige Nursery, Phase One

We had quite a long road to creating V's pink and greige nursery. This room has gone through quite the transformation in the last three years since we bought our house. Forgive the shadowy photos, these were all taken pre-blogging days.

When we bought the house, the walls were an almost neon yellow (they look much more subtle in this picture), and the hardwood floors were covered in a dirty brownish-orange shag rug.

We ripped out the drywall, had the room re-wired, added outlets, insulation, new drywall on walls and ceiling, and refinished the hardwood floors.

And this is how V's room looked when we brought her home from the hospital! This photo is stitched together from a few photos, so that's why the room suddenly looks bigger. It's not, I promise. The dimensions are about 9'x 11' so it's a fairly small room.

In addition to the work we did to the room itself, I did a lot of sewing and decorating projects to turn it into the little girl nursery of my dreams. The walls got a coat of greige paint. The trim is all a nice bright white.

The crib was a $10 yardsale find that we sanded and coated with a soft light pink spray paint. This felt like a gutsy move for me, because I tend to always think about what will be most practical, and obviously, a pink crib is not very versatile and would need repainted if we ever have a boy. But I'm so glad we went ahead and painted it pink. It was just such a fun little detail that made the room unique. I have to admit though, I was really glad not to have to repaint this crib when I found out baby #2 is also a girl. I loved it so much, and it was kind of a pain to paint the first time.

The crib skirt is made of eyelet lace fabric which I bought by the yard and then gathered on my sewing machine and finished off the top edge (the part hidden under the mattress) with white bias tape. I had a coupon for the fabric, so even though I needed several yards (I think I bought seven yards?) I was able to make the crib skirt for about $25. Not too bad, if you've priced a lace crib skirt recently. Also, it was nice to be able to customize the length of the crib skirt so that it perfectly touched the floor. I'll do a post about how I made the crib skirt length adjustable sometime soon.

The rug was from Ikea. I think it cost about $30. It is a flat woven rug, so it doesn't offer any cushioning from the hardwood floors, but it does warm up the room a little and matched the walls really well.

The floral wreath over the crib was a decoration at our wedding. I made several for our wedding and spent so much time on them, I could never bear to get rid of them, even though I couldn't imagine using them again. When I decided to use pale pink, white, and cream as the colors for V's nursery, I knew that one of the wreaths had to be in her room. I love that there's something from our wedding decorating the nursery.

The glider and ottoman were a lucky craigslist find at only $25. They were dusty, but in otherwise perfect condition. I managed to take the cover off the chair and run it through my washer. Made me nervous I would ruin it, but it came out great. For the ottoman, I took some heavy fabric I had bought for the room, laid it over the existing footrest material, and used one of those super heavy duty staplers to staple the edges of the fabric to the underside of the ottoman.

The little white table by the glider was one my in-laws were getting rid of. We brought it home and gave it a coat of white spray paint and it made a nice petite place to rest a the vintage lamb lamp on top of.

This vintage lamb lamp was from a local antique store. I think I paid $25, and then I covered the painted on blue ribbon with a brown velvet ribbon to make it better match the room. I love the vintagy-ness (yes, that's a word) of velvet ribbon!

Another project I did for this room, was putting V's name on the wall. I bought round embroidery hoops from the craft store, and used Wonder-Under and fabric leftover from her quilt to make the letters of her name, which I then put inside each hoop and hung on the wall. I'll be doing the same thing soon with E's name, so I plan to post a tutorial on how to make this project in the future.

Other details of this room: the crib bumper is a white mesh bumper, which I liked because the baby can still breathe even if their face is right up to it, but prevents little arms and legs from wiggling out between the rails. The curtains are from Ikea. They're a gauzy, creamy fabric which I don't think they sell anymore. Mine were originally used in the living room of our apartment, but worked better in this room when we moved. Also, the dresser was a craigslist find which we painted white and added new hardware to. There's a fun story behind that dresser which I'll be sure to share with you sometime in it's own post. (Hint: it once belonged to a now-famous blogger!) We painted it as one of our very first paint sprayer projects, and needless to say, it needs some serious touch-ups, which we plan to accomplish before Baby E's arrival. I'll be sure to keep you posted.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions I can answer about this room. I'll be blogging soon about the way the room looks now that V is a toddler, and then I plan to blog the changes we're making to take this room from a toddler room for one, into a shared toddler and baby room for our two girls.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Baby Quilt Fabric

Fabric in the mail always makes for a happy day.

I ordered these fabrics from for Baby E's quilt. They are so cute!

Quilting isn't my usual creative outlet, but I decided when I was expecting Miss V that I wanted to make each of my kids a baby quilt. I made one for V using a Tumbler or Thimble pattern, and for being an amateur quilter, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I don't have a good close-up of the quilt, but here you can see a little of it with a three week old V resting on it. :) Ack! How has she gotten so big?

V's quilt is a mixture of pink, raspberry, cream, green, and taupe. The toile fabric has little lambs on it, which was a theme I used just a little bit in her room.

For our soon to arrive Miss E, I decided to go with fabrics in pink, cream, teal blue, and raspberry. There's also a very subtle bunny theme going on with some of Miss E's possessions, similar to the lamb theme I did for V. I was thrilled to find a fabric with all my colors in it, with some very tiny bunnies hanging onto balloons. Again, it's subtle, but I know it's there, and someday E will too. Just a little something extra to personalize her quilt and make it different from V's. Since the girls will eventually share a room, I wanted to make their quilts and things coordinate, but still have some differences, so they will each have their own personal touch in the room.

I still haven't decided what quilt pattern I'm going to use, which is probably a major quilting rule or something that I am now breaking. I keep pinning ideas on pinterest, but I haven't found "the one" just yet. It has to be something pretty simple because I am not super precise when cutting quilt pieces. I try! But it just never seems to come out all perfectly at the corners like I see on quilts made by more experienced quilters.

This fabric from Sarah Jane Studios is so cute. I love the little saying, "just stay little" that is repeated all over the fabric. What parent hasn't thought that at least once?

I'm mostly content with being a good-enough quilter, and hopefully my girls won't mind the imperfections, but just treasure their quilts as keepsakes from their babyhoods. I'm a poky quilter though, so I need to get a move-on with this project! Baby E will be here before I know it! :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Simple Spray Paint Project

For our chalkboard wall and family command center, I knew I wanted to find something cute we could use to hang up our keys.

But after a few trips to TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods, etc, I wasn't coming up with anything that really jumped out and screamed "BUY ME!"

So, eventually I found this little guy at Hobby Lobby.

I loved the key shape, and it was just the right length for the space, but that dark black with bits of rusty brown, was not going to show up against the black chalkboard paint.

I was sick of shopping, so I bought it anyway and figured I'd find a way to make it work.

When my hubby was painting the phone shelves, I quick grabbed the key hook thingy and he gave it a couple coats of white spray paint too.

Much better.

When spray painting something like metal, it's better to do several light coats of spray paint rather than one thick coat. You might get away with a thick coat of spray paint on something like wood, because it will probably absorb some of the paint, but on metal, it is just going to glob up or drip and give you little streaks where the paint runs. So go easy with that spray paint (this is hard for me because I just want to hurry up and get it done!) and make sure you let it dry thoroughly between coats.

Once our key hook was all painted and dry, we screwed it to the wall, gave the screw heads a dab of white paint, and TAH-DAH!

All done! I love how it turned out! I really debated about painting it a color, maybe a bright turquoise, but that would have required my fifth trip to Home Depot in one day, so I decided to start with white and see if I liked it, and I definitely do.

I forgot to mention that this key hook thingy was only $4! Thanks Hobby Lobby for running such great sales, especially since I was shopping rather unexpectedly and sans coupons. Otherwise, it would have been $8, which I still don't think is bad, but $4 is definitely better. I like cheap stuff.

No more misplaced keys, or keys on my counter.

I'm sure I've mentioned a few too many times how much I dislike that.

Plus it looks great with the rest of the items on our chalkboard wall. All the white accessories keep the black wall from being too overwhelming.

Now I just need to figure out how to be more fancy in my chalkboard art attempts. I can sew and I wield a fierce hot glue gun, but I cannot draw. Not even a straight line.

Maybe I can find a chalkboard stencil somewhere? Anybody have some tips for my crafty-but-definitely-not-artsy self? :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mother's Day, 2013 and the World's Best Sandwich Ever. For Reals.

We had a low-key and relaxing day for Mother's Day.

I'm so glad, because boy was this lady worn out after our long day in NYC! We slept in, skipped church (which I especially hate to do on holidays, but there was no way we could have managed it), and my sweet husband made pancakes for V and I. Mine were heart-shaped.

Then, we met the rest of my family at Cracker Barrel for a late lunch and came home to more visiting and eventually naps. Ahhh, there's nothing better than a good Sunday afternoon nap. V wiggled between the couch and my pregnant belly to come check on me. "Mama, you awwight?" She doesn't understand that mama actually likes to nap.

For dinner, my husband did more cooking (can you tell my mother's day mostly centered around food this year??), and made my favorite cream of potato soup and the best. sandwiches. ever.

No lie. These were seriously amazing. Bacon, provalone, sliced avocado, and sliced apple on a pretzel roll bun with a little bit of mayo, then warmed up in the oven for a few minutes just to make everything a little melty and more awesomer.

Ahh, looking at these pictures makes me want this meal again, pronto. Soooo good!

The somewhat picky toddler wanted nothing to do with a smaller sliced bread version of the sandwiches, but she happily tucked away two bowls of soup and some apple slices, so everyone was full and happy by the end of our meal.

I got the most gorgeous bouquet of flowers I think I've ever had. They remind me of our wedding flowers too, which makes me love them even more.

I also got a card, and a cool berry basket bowl we saw at Marshalls and reminded me of the much more expensive version from Anthopologie. I've been wanting one of these for a while. I think I'll put apples in it.

I am so so blessed to have these two in my life.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Curb Appeal: The 2013 Update

Here's what our house looked like when we bought it three years ago.

Yikes! It was pretty spectacularly horrible. And this is just the outside.

So after a while, we painted the shutters, the porch, and the awning. Then we trimmed those massive holly bushes waaaay back, ripped out some flower beds on the right side of the house, and planted some barn red mums on the left side. I blogged about all of that a while ago.

We loved the huge improvement it made.

But then things took a downward spin back in the fall when we converted from oil heat to natural gas and the gas company insisted on running the gas line right through my flower beds!

We had been wanting to re-do that flower bed anyway, because when we bought our house, the home inspector told us raised beds against the foundation were a bad idea because it increases the chance of termite damage. It was on the list of things to do, but kept getting pushed further down. So once we realized those beds would be torn up anyway, we decided to pull out the beds, and re-do them with some more permanent solutions.

And here's how things look right now!

We decided to put a flower bed back on the right side of the house. Having nothing there made that side look really empty, not to mention we were forever dealing with tall weeds growing up alongside the foundation in that spot.

The only plants in the flower beds right now are some small type of holly bush that we got for $15 each at Costco. I like that they'll be green all winter long. Our house's siding kind of looks like high-water pants to me, so I want to keep those flower beds filled up to hide the house's "ankles" a little bit. Another reason for adding back in the flower bed on the right side of the porch.

I really liked my red mums that I had before, but after they lost their flowers, they just looked like dead plants the rest of the year. Anyone know what can be done about that? Dead flowers are something I'm all too prone to having anyway, so the easier to grow, and long-lasting a plant is, the better.

Some other little things we did, were paint some parts of the gas line hook-up thingy that runs into our house. When the installers but it in back in the fall, they hooked up an enormous gray box with spidery arms coming out of it, right smack in front of my light yellow siding. It stuck out like crazy and looked horrible. Cold weather set in right after that, so I had all winter to contemplate possible ways to disguise it. Big bushes seemed like a good idea, but after three years of pruning our old holly bushes, my hubby was definitely hoping for some smaller, more low-maintenance plants. I finally decided (and yes, I did check with the guys who installed the gas line) to get some good exterior paint that matched our siding and paint the parts of the big gray gas thingy that stuck out past the bushes. It worked out really well and unless you're looking for it, I don't think it's really even noticeable anymore. Thank goodness!

See it sticking out there behind that bush? I painted the top part as well as the pipes that branched off of it. I didn't paint the parts that were just up against our foundation because they didn't stick out as much as the parts that were in front of the siding. Also, I am hoping by the end of the summer that the bushes fill in a little bit and disguise the gray box even more.

My old wine barrel pot is the only thing filled with some colorful flowers. I always stick to red flowers outside because it seems to bring out our red door and shutters.

The side of our house still needs some work. We've never even painted the shutters on that side. They're still brown almost three years after we painted the ones on the front red. What can I say, we don't really see this side of the house much, so they're kind of out of sight out of mind. We did plant some grass over here where it had gotten sparce, hence all the straw covering the seeds.

So, here's an updated before and after.



Who agrees that my hubby needs to build me some nice chunky window boxes? I think that would help downplay the long narrow ranch look, and make things more cottage-y. What do you think?

Are you doing any outside projects now that spring has finally sprung?

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