Friday, September 23, 2011

The Nursery!

We are finally almost finished with the nursery for our impending little one! I say finally because I'm 9 months pregnant so talk about waiting to the last minute! And I say almost because we're still hunting down a few items like a fun area rug and some sort of diaper pail.

But even without those things we're still pretty much ready to rock! I just love how it turned out! Here it is!

I know it's not the most original idea since birch tree themed nurseries are all over the internet right now but I just love how we decided to use a very dark, charcoal gray for the two walls with the birch trees on them and then a light gray for the other two walls so that the whole room wouldn't be so dark and feel too heavy.

Thanks to my mom and dad for purchasing the crib, changing table and shelves for us! I decided on using the Ikea Expedit bookcase on it's side with 4 inch legs added to the bottom for the changing table because it was more versatile and to me more interesting than a plain old changing table. Dave was unsure about it for awhile, especially since he loathes cheap Ikea stuff (I LOVE cheap Ikea stuff!) and especially because that meant we'd actually have to go to an Ikea, go inside and be surrounded by all the cheap crap he hates. But bless his heart he went along with my vision and we made the trip there (all the way to Pittsburgh, a two hour drive).

Once we picked the color scheme I searched the internet for matching sheets and a crib skirt but couldn't find anything that wasn't pastel blue, green or jungle lion/tiger theme. So after a little research I found this blog that shows you how to make crib sheets. I must say that it's actually pretty easy! The crib skirt I just winged it without a pattern. I measured the dimensions of the crib platform, the length of the drop to the floor and then cut the pieces to those sizes, adding a 1/4" for the seams. Using the mattress as a template I traced around it onto my base fabric for the skirt and then sewed the side pieces to those.

I decided to make a pennant to hang over the crib from the left over crib sheets and skirt fabric. Again, this is a super simple project. Just cut out whatever size triangles you want to use, leaving a 1/4" to 1/2" seam on the sides to allow for seams. After I ironed the seams over to make it easier to sew down I realized that I didn't even need to sew them at all so I just left them like that! Then I took a coordinating 1" wide ribbon, folded it in half and sewed each triangle between the ribbon, making it one long pennant.

The light fixture was originally an ugly 80's floral, frosted etched half dome globe that I just thought we'd replace with a plain, clear frosted one. Lucky me though, my husband is just as creative and innovative as I am and one day came home with this!

A frame that he made out of wood to look like a drum shell. Yes, he made the frame himself out of wood. I don't know how but he did. And yes, he plays the drums and actually makes custom drums from fiber glass. Yep, our little guy is destined to be a drummer. Not looking forward to all the noise but the thought does excite me since I've always wanted to play the drums!

We wove thick charcoal and turquoise ribbons through the drum, securing it with hot glue as we went along and then added a frosted circle to the bottom to diffuse the light from below. Voila! Instant light fixture!

The two shelves above the changing table I thought would be big/long enough to hold more photos of our immediate family than it did. They were filled up right away with books, stuffed animals and a only a few of the pictures/photos I wanted to use so I decided to do a photo collage of frames to the right of the the baby's crib, each featuring an immediate family member. I figure when he's older we can do the point and ask game there, you know the- "who's that" and "who's that" game.

 (These frames are driving me nuts! Most of them are hung on a single nail so even though I obsessively level them every time I walk in the room they all seem to move a little over time. I need to get those non-slip corner thingys for them to keep them in place!)

The mobile was a random last minute craft that I threw together one afternoon after I organized all my fabric and craft supplies in the office. I had everything I needed and didn't spend one cent on anything. First I cut out the pattern for the bird body, beak and wings, traced them onto felt, cut them out and then hot glued the beaks and wings to the bird bodies. Then using embroidery floss I blanket stitched around each of the birds to secure the two sides together, stuffed them with some left over batting I had and closed them up. The black wooden oval they're hanging from is a bag handle that didn't get used from a different project. I used one strand of embroidery floss to attach each of the birds to the oval and used the rest of the remaining floss to hang the mobile up.

Painting the graphic on the walls by far took the longest time to do. Here are step by step photos of the progression of the walls:

Once we decided on what we were going to do we had to figure out how to get it on the walls. No small task since I don't consider myself an artist at all. Sure I'm crafty but that's so different from being able to draw and paint. I was going to free hand the trees at first, just wing it ya know but Dave said "No Way!" and suggested that I tape in the outline of the trees. I really didn't think this was going to work because I thought the trees would end up looking too straight and un-natural, like obvious blue masking tape trees.

I gave it a go though, just to get a visual. The first tree I taped in ended up being too short and too thick, a tendency that I would do to all the trees until I stepped back and realized they were too thick and "thinned" them out. After the first two trees I pretty much got the hang of it and the rest went fairly quickly.

Dave painted them in and an hour or two later we pulled the tape to reveal our cool little trees!

Next I hand painted the leaves onto the trees. Again, I was super nervous, not wanting to mess up our so far perfect mural but after taking forever to paint a few of them I just snapped back into my old self and just "winged it", just painting different leaf shapes and re-shaping them if they were a little off.


Feeling confident after my successful leaf painting stint I tried my hand at drawing templates for the birds. Here is where my streak ended. After an hour of trying to free hand draw the birds and coming up with some pretty funky, disproportionate birds I gave up and asked Dave to give it a shot. Thirty minutes later he walks into the room with 5 different birds, all perfectly to scale! Who knew he could draw! :)

We taped the templates to the wall, traced around them and then filled them in with our turquoise accent color. The trees, leaves and birds all required three to four coats of paint to cover over the dark charcoal paint.

So that's it! Little baby Martin's nursery in a not so little nutshell. It was fun putting it together and feels good that we took the time and put in the effort to hand make everything we did- all for our beloved little one! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

16 weeks - 36 weeks

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Our new house!

We've been moved into our new house for a month now and so far we've made pretty good progress! Especially since I am now 9 months pregnant! Yikes!

Thought I'd share just a few pics of the house pre- move-in. We love it so much! It's pretty much a blank slate so we're just starting the process of picking paint for each of the rooms and deciding what updates we're going to do first.

Our house hunting process was a long and arduous one, as most of them are. We looked at many, many homes, considered homes in other nearby towns and even put an offer on a house we thought was perfect. The house was a pre-foreclosure and in the end, ended up being a big pain in the ass and just not worth dealing with. We were disappointed but as with everything in life, when one door closes another opens and soon after we found a house that worked for us in the exact neighborhood that we wanted to be in from the very start. We feel so lucky that the previous house we made an offer on didn't work out. Our house is soooooo much better and BIGGER! :)

Like I said before, we've actually made some great progress in just the one short month we've been here. One of the first things we started on was, of course, the baby's nursery! We just put the finishing touches on it yesterday (only two things left to track down- a rocker and a diaper pail) and I will be putting up a post for it and all the details very soon! I LOVE it sooooo much. It turned out amazingly better than I ever expected. There are so many handmade, cool details that both me and my husband came up with and made ourselves.

For now I leave you with a few pics of our house....  gotta say again that they were taken before we moved in so I lay no claim on any of the furnishings. ;)

 Traditional colonial

 Large foyer!

 Yep, that's a lift chair that you spied in the previous pic! Of course we took it for a spin a couple times. :) It's actually come in handy with me being pregnant, I use it to carry heavy boxes and the laundry up and down the stairs. It's for sale if anyone is interested!

 My soon to be office/craft/sewing room!

The light and airy sun room.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Santa Barbara... our go to event/party/vacay spot!

In July I headed across the country (6 months pregnant) to Santa Barbara again for a bachelorette party. Santa Barbara seems to be our (me and my friends) spot for all events, parties and vacations. In the last several years I've been there many times, one of which was for my wedding at Firestone Winery! So of course SB holds some really great memories for me and I'm always glad to go back.

I must admit I was really nervous about traveling at 6 months pregnant. I'm not sure why since my doctor said it was perfectly fine. But having never done it before I expected (of course) and prepared for the worse. I wasn't sure if I was going to get air sick (which I've never been before), if the 5 hour plane flight would be totally miserable or if I'd be too tired to keep up. But all of those concerns were happily unfounded as I soon discovered I was just fine!

We stayed at our tried and true Hotel Mar Monte, where we always stay when in SB. It's a great mid-range hotel that's recently been updated and is located right on Cabrillo Blvd, right across from the beach. Conveniently there's a trolley (it only costs .25 cents!) that picks up right in front of the hotel (on Cabrillo Street) that'll take you to State St. where all the shopping and restaurants all.

We booked the wine tour through EOS, a transportation company that does wine tours to the Santa Ynez valley about an hour north of Santa Barbara. The price was very reasonable, they provide you with a gourmet sandwich lunch, pick your group up at your hotel and even offer a cheaper price for those in your group who may not be drinking- like me and our friend Donna who are both pregnant.

Anyways, enough about the deets... onto the fun photos...

 Good ol', trusty Hotel Mar Monte! Our go-to spot in SB.

 Part of the girls...  me and my burgeoning belly!

 The bride-to-be flanked by her beautiful sisters.

 Me and Donna with the Stork wine glasses I made for us. More deets on that after the photos!

 Two prego mamas on a wine tour- he, he!

 The whole gang.

 Can't get enough group pictures!

 Firestone Winery! My FAVORITE stop on the tour but I'm biased

Stork/Baby Wine Glasses

It may seem like an oxymoron- stork/baby and wine glass but I thought I'd paint these wine glasses for me and my friend Donna to use while on the wine tour so that we would have something to drink water out of and to hold up in all the pictures I knew we'd be taking! I didn't want us to be left out!

I purchased two cheapo wine glasses at the 99 cent store and a small, paint pot strip of acrylic paints at Joann's that cost $2. Not being a particularly great artist, I perused the internet for clipart of a stork and baby that I could use as a template. After finding what I wanted I printed it out and taped it inside the glass to use as a guide as I painted.

I also purchased a black, fine point paint pen which I used to outline everything and to write on the glass. After painting in the solid parts of the birds body and adding a white banner where I'd later put the month and year we each were due, I let the paint dry over night. (Depending on how much paint you put on it could take longer to dry) The next day I when in and outlined everything, putting in the details on the stork and baby and writing in the initials and due dates.

Of course I coordinated the color of each glass to the baby's gender. On the sack with the baby 
I later wrote in the initial of the baby's last name.

 I decided to paint the bottom of each wine glass filling in the middle with light blue and outlining it with white. I did it freehand so it was perfectly proportioned but that just adds to the whole "handcrafted" feel.

It was as easy as that! Simple and quite fun to do. Donna loved the glass and we both had something to use during the tasting, hold up in the photos as well as a keepsake of the trip and our pregnancy.