Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Lately... we've been pretty busy on a variety of projects.

And what happens when you I try to work on lots of things at once?

They all take much longer than expected.

Baby E's due date is fast approaching, so we are in full quick-hurry-up-and-do-all-the-things-we-should-have-been-working-on-for-the-last-eight-plus-months mode.

The list has been narrowed down to just those things that have to happen before her arrival or I will go full-out crazy.

Is this an interesting post, or what?

Sorry... but it's 10:30 pm and I've had a two Kit-kat bar kind of day. I can not be responsible for what my chippy nails may type.

Mr. Vintage Violet painted the girls' dresser last weekend. Huzzah! (Crap, he's got me saying it. Too much Mike the Knight.) One more item checked off the list! Other than painting over some holes that were just plastered, the remaining items on the Baby and Toddler Room to do list are pretty much all in my jurisdiction.

Have I mentioned I'm almost nine months pregnant and we're having a heat wave? These two factors do not result in tons of energy, but it's happening. Slowly, but surely.

I got all the quilt blocks cut out for E's baby quilt! I splurged and actually bought the correct supplies for cutting out quilt blocks. No homemade cardboard templates this time, no sir. It's amazing how the proper tools can make a project go more quickly. I'm excited to try out this method of turning my quilt squares into triangles. I'll keep you posted on how it works.

Miss V helped by sitting beside me and cheering me on. "Yeah Mama!" "You did it! You did it!" Love her sweet little heart! I'm so blessed with sweet children. When being my personal cheerleader wore off, she busied herself by counting out pieces of fabric. "One, two, two, two, five, seven, eight, nine, ten, two, two."

Two is her favorite number. I had a very unreasonable conversation with her tonight during a reading of Hop on Pop. The story goes, "Three. Tree. Three fish in a tree." So I said, let's count the fish! V pointed to each one with her finger and counted out, "two, two, two!" Much debating and explaining from mommy and daddy ensued, but she would not be persuaded. According to her, there were two fish in that tree! I have to admit, I kind of like how she sticks to her convictions. :)

But in the midst of all this busy-ness, something really fun and sweet happened! My girlfriends surprised me with a baby sprinkle! What's a baby sprinkle? Well, it's like a baby shower, only simpler because it's for a second child and you probably already have all the big stuff. The theme of this baby sprinkle was diapers and wipes. Best. theme. ever. Here's the loot Baby E and I came home with.

She also got some sweet outfits, blocks, and a book.

And two of the cutest diaper cakes I have ever seen.

It was a fun time, and I felt thoroughly spoiled. Thanks so much girls!

Just for fun, I calculated the number of diapers and wipes we received. We got exactly 2,464 wipes, and 904 diapers (plus whatever was used in the diaper cakes, which I will have to psych myself up to taking apart at some point). Isn't that crazy?! What's even crazier is how fast we will go through all of that!

So that's what's going on here. We hope to check some more things off our to-do list this weekend so we can move onto more fun projects, like radon remediation. Can I get three cheers for paying someone a grand to dig a hole in your basement floor?! No? Yeah, that's how we feel about it too.

What projects are you working on lately?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Shared Baby and Toddler Room, an Update: Painting the Walls and Trim

I'm so glad I shared our to-do list with you all a while ago. It has definitely helped keep me/us accountable to keep getting things done in our nursery turned shared baby and toddler room.

So far, we have painted the walls Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter. I think I'm in love!

Sorry this room's looking pretty bare. We took down the curtains and all the decorations until we get everything else done and the furniture rearranged. Then we'll put things back in place.

After painting the walls, the trim got taped off with Frog Tape (so much better than the blue painter's tape!), and we painted it Valspar's (from Lowes) String of Pearls. It's a nice soft white, and we've used it for all our ceilings and any other trim that we've actually gotten around to painting.

It's hard to get a really accurate picture of the paint color, and I know every computer screen probably shows it a little differently too, but to me, Revere Pewter is a light gray with a little bit of a tan and green cast to it. Now, I'm not saying that is looks green, but compared to the paint we had in here before that had more of a pinkish-purple cast to it, this color definitely leans a little more towards green. It's still very much a neutral though, and I think it's one of those colors that could pretty much go in any room and with a lot of different color schemes.

Here's another picture against V's quilt to show how the wall color compares to the taupe/greige fabrics I had used in her baby quilt and which more closely matched the former wall color. They still "go" with the new wall color, but clearly they aren't as gray as the walls now are.

Do you love the collection of puppies and the little duck? V's nighttime stuffies that she absolutely must sleep with were kind enough to pose for me.

Here's a little before and after with the old wall color and the new. Don't judge the new color to harshly. The room is still unaccessorized at this point. We still have lots to do!

And now with Revere Pewter on the walls...

It really isn't a huge difference. In fact, my parents walked in and asked, "really? You painted in here? It looks the same!" But I think it will be a better color that, so far, is looking good at all times of day. Certainly our painting skills have improved in the last three years, so the walls just look better this time around than they did before.

Next up: painting that yellow-ish dresser. Fun times...

Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Sew a Simple DIY Crayon Roll

I love finding small projects that I can whip up during a naptime or two. This DIY Crayon Roll is one of those types of projects and is so great for little ones, boys or girls! My favorite part is the extra piece of fabric that folds over the top of the crayons. That detail keeps the crayons from sliding out of the crayon roll and really sets this pattern apart from most of the other crayon rolls you may have seen before. The velcro tab is another fun detail which makes it easy for little hands to manage alone.

Here's what you'll need:

- two 9" x 13 1/2" pieces of fabric
- one 13" long piece of 1/2" double fold bias tape
- one 5" x 2" piece of fabric
- one 1 1/2" piece of 1/2" wide velcro


Before cutting out your fabric pieces, you'll want to wash, dry, and iron your fabric. Then cut out your fabric pieces.

Take the small 5" x 2" piece of fabric. Fold it in half with right sides together and iron smooth.

Excuse my badly-in-need-of-polish nails. My sister told me that the chippy nail polish look is now being called "the off-duty" model look. Somehow, I'd bet that an off-duty model still looks more put-together than this stay-at-home mommy sewing in her jammies at 10pm, but I'll take it.

Sew along both long sides with a 1/2" seam allowance. Then, clip seams a little closer to the edge, and clip the corners on the diagonal, close to (but not touching) your seams. Here's a close-up of what this should look like.

Clipping the corners should help prevent your corners from looking all clumpy when you turn it inside out.

Turn this piece of fabric right side out. You can use a straight pin to pick at the corners so that they look neat and square. Then iron flat. After that, top stitch along all three finished sides, about 1/4" from the edge, or closer if you want.

Set this little piece aside for a minute, and take your two large rectangles.

Put right sides together with the outside fabric on the bottom and the inside (lining) fabric on the top. On the right side, take the little fabric piece you finished sewing, and place it between the two rectangles, halfway between the top and bottom. Match up the raw edge of the fabric tab with the edges of the fabric rectangles.

Now, stitch along both short sides and the top long side of fabric. Use a 1/2" seam allowance and leave the long bottom edge un-sewn.

Clip your corners like before.

Turn your fabric rectangle right-side out, and iron smooth.

Now, you want to get your piece of bias tape. This is what it looks like out of the package.

We're going to fold over the end so that we don't have any raw edges showing in our finished crayon roll. Here's how I like to do it.

Fold over one end a little bit (about 1/4") and iron smooth.

Then, take the corners of the flap you just made, and iron them under into two little triangles.

Now, iron the whole thing down again, and you've got all your raw edges neatly tucked inside the bias tape so they won't show.

Next, start pinning your bias tape along the raw edge of your fabric rectangle, like this.

When you get close to the end of your bias tape, use the little bit of extra bias tape to fold over and iron all the raw edges out of sight like you did on the other end.

Use a straight stitch and sew bias tape to fabric rectangle close to the edge of the fabric.

Now, take that little piece of velcro. Get the fuzzy side (not the scratchy side) and lay out your large fabric rectangle with the outside fabric facing up. Measure over 4" from the fabric tab and pin your fuzzy velcro piece in place.

Sew along edges of velcro with a straight stitch, as close to edges of velcro as possible.

Turn fabric rectangle over so that the lining fabric is facing up. Take bottom edge that has bias tape, fold over 2 1/2 inches and iron smooth. Then sew along ironed edge with a straight stitch, about 1/4" from edge.

Next, use pins to mark off 8 openings (where the crayons will go). Each space between pins should be about 1 1/2" wide. I found that it helps to place the pins so that the pointy tips are facing your folded/sewn edge. Start sewing the seam of each pocket from the folded edge and sew towards the bias tape edge. Also, it's best to sew the middle one first and work your way out to the edges of your fabric rectangle with each remaining seam. That way, if your fabric shifts a little, it will not get too crooked.

Here's a close-up of what those finished pockets look like.

When you get to the final edge of your pockets, sew the edge of the pocket, and continue sewing around the entire rest of your rectangle. This is called top-stitching and will give your crayon roll a more finished look. Also, if you ever need to put your crayon roll through the wash, the top-stitching will help it retain it's shape.

You won't need to top-stitch around the bottom edge of your pockets, since that's already done.

Now, take the top long edge of your crayon roll, fold it down 1 1/4" and iron smooth.

Stitch along ironed edge, about 1/4" from the edge.

Finally, take the scratchy side piece of your velcro, and pin to the fabric tab. With a straight stitch, sew along edges of velcro, as close to the edges of the velcro as possible.

Congratulations! You're finished! Put some crayons in your crayon pockets, roll up your crayon roll, and you're ready to color on the go!

I especially love the piece of fabric that folds over the top of the crayons. I know myself (and my two-year-old), and we would totally have all the crayons slide out and end up all through my purse without that little extra detail.

Here it is all rolled up.

My sweet girl was so excited about her new crayon roll. She couldn't keep her fingers away while I snapped a few pictures.

She loves her crayon roll! It's already been handy to have in restaurants, doctors offices, and I'm sure we'll find other uses too.

Linking up to:

Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Creek Cottage
Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop at House of Rose Blog
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tatertots and Jello

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day Ideas

Since Father's Day is fast approaching, I thought I'd do a little show and tell of some of the things I've made to celebrate Father's Day in the past.

The first year that Miss V was on the way, I made my husband and my dad t-shirts using this freezer paper stenciling method.

They both seemed happy with the results. My hubby wears his all. the. time. so it has gotten pretty faded, but I love this technique for creating inexpensive (sometimes last minute) custom t-shirts.

The next year, I didn't make any gifts, but used some scrapbooking paper to dress up a plain gift bag and a bottle of hot sauce (my dad likes all things spicy) for some festive Father's Day fun.

Last year I had fun copying this idea to do a root beer sampler for some Father's Day gifts. I didn't get fancy with the packaging, but they're guys. They don't care about that.

I went to a large grocery store that tends to have a good selection of specialty items (Wegmans) and bought several packs of different root beer flavors. Don't check in just the soda aisle, check the natural foods section too. I found some really good ones there.

My husband and my dad each got a dozen bottles of different root beers, and the rest of us got to enjoy the extras. This was such a big hit, my husband actually asked me the other day if I could do the same thing for him again this year.

Since my husband has a major sweet tooth, I also got fancy with our dessert and made this recipe for S'mores Cake.

This turned out to be a massive, heavy, crazy-rich, but oh-so-good cake. I usually make a box-mix cake and call it a day, so my husband was super excited.

This cake was a lot of work. I cheated a little and used a box-mix for the brownie layer, but the cheese cake and cookie layers were homemade, as was the icing. I made one layer a day and froze it until I was ready to assemble the cake the night before.

This is definitely one of those desserts that gets better sitting for a little while. We refrigerated the leftovers and picked at them for a few days before finally putting the remaining 2/3's of the cake in the freezer for another occasion. Even with company over to help us eat it, we could barely make a dent in it. I swear, the finished cake had to have weighed 15 pounds.

It makes soooo much! And because it's so rich, you can't eat a normal sized slice. I cut myself a paper-thin slice a few days in a row as a nap-time treat, and could barely finish it. But it was a big hit with my husband and he still talks about this cake from time to time.

I need to find another over-the-top dessert recipe for Father's Day this year. Any suggestions?

Linking up to:

Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop with House of Rose Blog