Rock-a-bye baby…

Our baby girl is due in 9 days which seems forever away right now as we go through a horrible heat wave and I feel about 1,000 months pregnant. Today begins the first day of vacation for me, though. I knew I didn’t want to work up until the last day because I’d be uncomfortable, and thankfully I had plenty of days saved up. Now begins the scramble for the finishing touches on the house but, on a positive note, my bags are packed and the nursery is done!

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Literally. Our bags are packed! Mine is on the left, complete with a bag of snacks. On the radiator are the items that are “last minute, throw them in” like the coming home outfit, The Man’s pjs and socks, a stroller blanket from Pottery Barn that my BF from high school gave us, the quintessential nursing boppy, and a list of “grab this” items like chargers and my iPad.

The nursery was just a general use room before with a futon, all my yarn and crochet accessories, and my Oma’s steamer trunk. Well, the futon was sold and the steamer trunk and crochet paraphenalia found a new home in my office (which I’ll share another time).

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the room before

From day one, I knew that I loved the color of the room and wasn’t going to change it – it’s Valspar’s Wool Coat. It’s a beautiful, rich neutral color that lends itself to a host of complementing colors. Once we found out it was a girl, we also decided to leave the carpet which was a $25 score at an estate sale a few years ago. As I started decorating the room, I realized the carpet was limiting me more than the paint color was, but the room turned out amazing anyway. The valances were one of the first things I purchased at Lowe’s (a glimpse is in the very first pic in the post), inspired by both the carpet and the witches ball which was a gift from my sister-in-law when we first moved in our house. I’ve always loved the way the light hits the brilliant red, and figured it was a good idea to have something hanging to ward off evil.

I love all the stencils and wall decals I see on Pinterest for baby rooms, but didn’t want to repaint the room as she gets older so instead I decided wall art would be the decoration/theme, which ended up being Storybooks.

We were lucky in that we were given a crib by a friend whose daughter had just transitioned to her BGB (big girl bed) and the dresser the previous owners had left in the room had been sitting in our garage for literally 5 years, just waiting to be rehabbed. It had obviously been painted in a hurry with a brush, and the scroll details were aqua and purple – not my taste.

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dresser hell before (I had used the drawers as stands when I was painting something black…)

After a lot of sanding and many cans of spray paint for a glossy finish to match the crib (yes I used a Darth Vader-esque ventilator), the end result was nothing short of fabulous!

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The inside of the drawers even got their own special treatment – they were painted pink and lined. My mother-in-law bought us the most comfortable chair in the world (rocks AND swivels) and the matching ottoman (which is covered in a blanket The Man’s coworker made for us) from Babies R Us. The print above the chair is another nod to Storybooks – Rapunzel! I’ve had the print since I was a teenager and figured it was the perfect home for it. We also purchased the bookcase from Babies R Us. The Man put it together in less than an hour and it’s super sturdy so we’re hoping it lasts for the long haul.

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The shelves are adjustable so as she grows we can use the bookcase for storage AND books. The bins on the bottom hold toys, stuffed animals, and baby medicine essen

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sorry for the cruddy picture – stupid glare from windows

tials. The large white bin which is within arms reach when I sit down holds all the nursing essentials. And of course, she already has a book collection!

Then of course she needs somewhere to sleep. Over her crib we put three prints that her cousins got her off our registry. I found them on Etsy and used simple frames and mats from Michael’s so we can change them out over time.

It took a long time to find the perfect ones but I finally settled on a quote from Little Women, one from Anne of Green Gables, and one from Alice in Wonderland.  And because of the colors and pattern in the carpet, I also agonized over her bedding. I know, I know. The bedding doesn’t matter and they barely ever will get use out of the comforter so who cares? Well, this dork cares. I finally found  an amazing comforter from Land of Nod that is reversable and had a matching dust ruffle that I love. Add in some super soft stuffed animal friends and the sleeping area is baby ready!

We also have one more nod to Storybooks over her dresser and on it in the form of a mirror and another print from Etsy which I loved, with different Alice in Wonderland quote.

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And that’s it! All in all, we were blessed to have furniture and be gifted furniture. It made the whole process of getting the nursery ready so much easier. The room isn’t huge so I knew we had to be practical, and I definitely wanted a room that could grow with her.

We are so very ready for this little girl to arrive happy and healthy and safely.

 

nesting, nesting, and more nesting…

With seven weeks to go I have the overwhelming urge to clean every surface of my house and make sure everything we own has a place to go away. Last Monday, I realized our small(ish) kitchen was woefully ill equipped to house any of the impending baby gear like bottles and the eventual sippy cups and plastic dinnerware that is oh so fancy.

We did have room in our dining room, however, to add a small buffet on an otherwise empty wall. I perused Wayfair and Overstock but most of the buffets or sideboards had open storage, glass fronts, or built in wine bottle racks that we didn’t need. On a whim, I decided to check Craigslist quickly and on the second page of the search voila! The perfect sideboard! It was the right color, the right size, and almost the right price.

I sent an email and asked if it was still available and whether the price was negotiable. Amazingly, within 20 minutes I had an email back saying yes to both accounts! We ended up striking a deal in between what I wanted to pay and the owner wanted to make, and she even agreed to DELIVER! So as of yesterday morning we are the proud new owners of a fabulous new piece in our dining room.

Today I tackled the task of reorganizing half of the kitchen cabinets. I had one in particular that I thought could be better utilized.

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I can’t remember the last time I used martini glasses, and our good china definitely didn’t have to be in the kitchen because I always set the table with it rather than serving from the kitchen on it, so it was easy to figure out what needed to get re-homed. Oh, and I don’t think my Turkey wine glass is going to get used for a few months! The Man helped move everything into the dining room so I wasn’t walking back and forth and tada!

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Everything fit with a LOT of room to spare. I’ll probably get different racks at some point to utilize the space more efficiently, but for now the two shelves got emptied and even found room for plates from another closet. The cool thing is that what looks like drawers is actually a drop down face, so I can put some of our nice platters in there.

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And the major bonus, the wall finally looks complete. We used to just have one of our dining room chairs in that corner but now the corner finally looks finished. To reward all my reorganization efforts, The Man even bought me flowers when he did the grocery shopping tonight. All in all, I’m one happy mom to be! Now to just clean up the nursery…

 

decisions, decisions …

I’m not quite ready to share pictures of the bathroom yet. You’re not missing anything, though, because all we have to look at right now are studs and some gorgeous 3/4″ ply sub floor! At the same time, though, we have a lot of decisions to make.

The toilet? Easy. The vanity? We’ll find one eventually. Already found a medicine cabinet we like and some potential light fixtures. No problem! The thing that I’m agonizing over? Paint colors.

I’m very lucky in that The Man is so laid back because so far, he’s trusted me on the paint colors. We both picked the color for the dining room, which we later decided to change but no big deal. And when it came to the bedroom, we tried a gazillion samples until finally I went to the store and picked one basically because of the name. What I’ve started to realize, though, is that I tend to gravitate towards very yellow based colors, but then they end up looking WAY too bright in our house because we’re lucky in that we have tons of natural light. So I’m overcompensating for no reason.

I’d like to say I’m picking one neutral color and painting all the rooms on the second floor the same way, but that’s not going to happen. I like the fact that each room has its own identity. The problem is, though, that I want everything to feel like it belongs together. We have to repaint the one guest room I finished (and never even shared pictures of), we never painted the other guest room in the first place, I think our bedroom color is too pale, we never painted the hallway and I need to pick one color that coordinates with the downstairs and upstairs, and my office IS A VERY BRIGHT YELLOW.

So now, I’m trying to pick all the colors at once. Of course, I started trolling Pinterest and have a whole board dedicated to the remodel. This is the inspiration bathroom from my Pinterest.

I love everything about it – the floor, the wainscoting, the color… but then I realized I’d have a yellow office, was planning on a yellow music room (off the living room) and our house is yellow. So apparently I secretly have a passion for the color.

Now, my dining room table looks like this.

IMG_20140917_151232_889While I know all the rooms aren’t going to get painted at once, I really want to have a plan so that if we have a free weekend, we can just go out, grab a gallon and get a room finished with all the agonizing decision making behind us. So wish me luck! If I keep stalling any longer I’m just going to play spin the bottle for the paint color.

why puppies don’t do home renos

As you may remember, we have a puppy – Abby- and having her comes with plenty of joy, and equal measure challenges. As a half joke and half help, my aunt actually sent us the mini guide to Puppy Care For Dummies® (which I thought was a. hysterical and b. actually helpful). The poor little girl seems to have terrible separation anxiety. Whenever we put her in her crate to leave for work or errands, she barks and salivates so much that she ends up covered in her own saliva from her chest all the way down to her front paws. You would think she was showering while we were gone. And we’re talking after 4 hours, after 2 hours, after 20 minutes… it doesn’t matter. Equal saliva/drool/chaos puppy.

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happy puppy

So recently we tried a new way to confine her while we’re gone. We decided to loop her leash  – about 4 feet long – around the metal support pole in our basement so she could walk around a little bit but not get away short of gnawing the leash off or pulling over the support pole holding up the house. Both seemed unlikely, and in the week prior she had actually ESCAPED from her cage by getting the latch to pop up. So on the 24th, I put her around the pole, double checked that there was nothing she could reach and get hurt with, and went to an evening event for work dressed in my little heels and cute dress.

About four hours later, I came home, all excited to see my baby, and open the basement door. And see this nothing but a sea of white. White puppy, white floor. Both floor and puppy were previously gray.

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**BEFORE YOU SEND HATE MAIL** This was the next day when the paint was dry. See her sit like a good little girl?

Guess who got a can of paint (mostly used THANKFULLY) off the stairs and decided that she didn’t like the floor color? THIS DOG. Needless to say I have never kicked off high heels and ran down my basement steps quicker. You can tell EXACTLY where we ran on the way up.

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And where she paced by the back door as I grabbed her by the collar, ran outside, hooked her up the lead, and then hosed her down.

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A frantic call to Animal Poison Control and 10 minutes later, I realized that because of the kind of paint it was she would be absolutely fine, and proceeded to give her a thirty minute bath (mind you… still in my dress).  I did learn four valuable things.

1. Keep the number to Animal Poison Control handy. They are ridiculously helpful and the woman on the phone was EXTREMELY patient with me as I sobbed and told her I feel like the worst pet owner ever.

2. When trying to make a puppy free zone, take into account that, in my case, MY PUPPY HAS FREAKISHLY LONG LEGS. (Over 10 inches to be exact)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. Puppies find tape measures VERY amusing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Puppies SUCK at painting. See all the spots she missed?? Her technique is just way off.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also learned that I am not the worst pet owner ever, because the only thing she was upset about the whole time was that I wouldn’t allow her to jump on me because I was still wearing my dress. Miraculously? NOT A DRIP OF PAINT ON IT. How I managed that I still don’t know. And the helpful thing? She created a radius for us so that now we know EXACTLY HOW FAR she can get.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI guess I won’t be priming anything anytime soon. But hey… now I have a free DIY design on my floor. Thanks, Abby. Always thinking of us.

Oh and by the way? My aunt thinks she bought us the wrong book. She’s now looking for one called Puppies for Morons.

lacking cheer

The holidays this year were full of simple things.  From the decorations to the presents that the Man and I gave, we tried to keep all the pandemonium that usually comes with the holidays to a minimum.  The presents we gave this year were “cheer” baskets that included something crocheted by me, homemade jams from my friend Michele at Pickled Sweet, and some sweet goodies like hot chocolate and candies. And I honestly enjoyed doing that a lot more than things I’ve done in years past.

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holiday cheer in baskets

I can honestly say that as I finished taking the ornaments off my Christmas tree this year I teared up.  I didn’t full out cry, but I was emotional.  During the long, cold months it’s hard to cheer up the house after all the lights and garlands and decorations come down.  While my tree has been down since a week after Christmas, I left my nativity up on the mantel until just after the 6th – “Little Christmas”.  And I have yet to redecorate my mantel.

You’ve probably noticed a distinct void of house projects on my blog recently, and that’s because there aren’t many going on other than the usual cleaning, laundry, and attempt at organizing. Just as much as my house is lacking cheer right now, so am I.  But I’m ever hopeful that things are going to get better as 2014 progresses.

Don’t worry – no tragedies or awful things have happened, just a distinct, ever present stress that comes with trying to balance work, the Man’s horrible schedule, and the day to day goings on of life. Like bills. Those ever present bills. Wouldn’t it be nice if they went on vacation along with the rest of us during the holidays??

So for now, instead of focusing on the hole in our main hall ceiling (more about that some other time) and all the things I can’t change in my life, I’m trying to focus on the things I can change, like making the dollars streeeeeeeetch to their limit without sacrificing happiness, starting to make hearty and creative meals again (as cooking anything fun has taken a back burner recently), and starting to make new & fun things to stock my Etsy shop for the spring.

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spring bunny

And maybe as the months warm up, I’ll get my restoration groove back on and this post holiday/winter depression will melt away. But for now, I’m just going to focus on restoring me and the Man.

 

feline friday helps decorate

Christmas decorating has been slow this year. The craziness of work and etsy orders has meant that most of my nights are just spent trying to quiet my brain and crocheting while devouring some series on Netflix.

But as always, Luna and Loki are willing to help mommy.  One of my birthday gifts this year was a new tree skirt because my mother was slightly horrified to learn I was using the same remnant piece of velvet that had been under my “baby” tree when I was a toddler. When she gave me the tree skirt, she asked me if I wanted a light colored one because of the cats and how much they would be attracted to it. Because my cats have an obsession with sitting on anything that is fabric. Table cloth = cat bed. Painting drop cloth = cat bed. Towel on floor waiting to go in washing machine = cat bed. You get the point.

So with in about .5 seconds, she was proven right.

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And tonight, Luna tried figuring out whether there was a present for her under the tree.

IMG_20131213_200035_792I hope I’ll get to finish putting ornaments on the tree this weekend as I’m finishing up my second to last etsy order for the Christmas season. Then it’s just the crocheting for family and friends which I have a little bit more time to do. I’m stressed that I’m behind with where I’d like to be, but with every decoration I put up, it feels a little bit more peaceful.

So what is stressing you out most this holiday season?

and for my next trick…

Today officially marked the first day of my staycation and I couldn’t be more excited!!! Being an admission coordinator means that I’m pretty much “on” all the time. There are always questions, interviews, open houses, and applications waiting to be screened. So for the majority of the year, especially because the particular program I do admissions for just opened for the innaugural class, I was running around trying to figure out how to do my job, and pretty much neglecting any house projects I had wanted to do. But not now!

It’s our slow time so I’m on vacation until July 1! When I told some friends this, the first question they asked was “What’s the house project?” So without further ado…

TADA!

TADA!

I am finally doing the dining room! Now, some of you may ask “but… isn’t it done?” Well, my dear readers, the answer is… kinda. Within 48 hours of moving into the house a friend helped us strip the wallpaper in here. That taught us a few things. One, our walls are most definitely plaster. Two, holographic wallpaper from the 80s SUCKS. And three, if you allow your kids to write curses and their phone numbers on the plaster walls prior to hanging paper, the next owner will probably find it AND be unable to remove the writing, even with TSP. Solution? We painted right away.

We loved this color green when we first did the room. However, it later dawned on us that the base of this color is WAY too yellow for the rest of our house. In a lot of houses, it probably wouldn’t matter if one color strayed from the palette of the other rooms, but as we’re a center hall colonial, you can stand at our front door and see the hallway, living room, dining room, and upstairs hallway all at once.

I already primed all the woodwork, including the chair-rail-from-hell, so this room won’t take as long as a typical room in my house. I’m just hoping that I can get everything done in one week. And I can’t WAIT to share the results when we finish.

Wish me luck!