Nursery Dresser

This is my last furniture post, but it's quite possibly my favorite. This dresser is something the hubby and I redid to use as a changing table. Keep reading for all the details.

Here is the dresser in its 'before' state. The hubby found it at a yard sale and snagged it for only $20!

Now, here's the dresser after a few coats of white paint, new hardware and some wallpaper accents. Yes, it would have looked fine without the wallpaper, but i thought it added some nice texture and interest.

I am in love with this wallpaper pattern! The blue and green stripes are a subtle nod to the wall color without being too matchy-matchy. Plus the white background helps it read as a pale accent without providing too much contrast.

And as a bonus, I was able to use the extra wall paper to line the drawers.

The real hero of this makeover is my hubby. He and I brainstormed together, but he did all of the work. Partly because he loves any excuse to be out in our workshop, but mostly because he didn't want my very pregnant self breathing all the sawdust and paint fumes. He's such a sweetie!

So there you have it. For just $20 and some white spray paint we have a snazzy new dresser for the Peanut. Now all it needs is a changing pad and some accessories and we'll be good to go!

Funny Instructional Diagrams and The Majesty of David Caruso

So, these are funny. You should read them and laugh at them.

Both of these shameful screenshots images are entries in a Cracked photoshop contest. If you've never been to Cracked, you totally should. It's funny and you can learn stuff sometimes. I can't tell you how many times I have, in the midst of an adult conversation, told someone "Oh yeah, I just read an article about that" then realized I read about it on Cracked, therefore I'm not actually qualified to talk about it so I just mumble something like "I only saw the headline, but just skimmed the article. What do you think about it?"
P.S. - Something you should know about me. I watch CSI: Miami. I don't just watch it, I DVR that shit so I can rest assured that I haven't missed an episode. Do I watch any of the other, less ridiculous, members of the CSI franchise? No, just the one set in Miami where a jaded, yet oddly good with children, redhead spends his days spouting corny one-liners and whipping off his sunglasses. Is it a good show? Not really. Is it the cheesiest show on television? Probably. Can I stop watching it? Not a chance.
In fact the hubby and I have so much fun watching and mocking the show that we make up ridiculous one-liners for our everyday lives and then follow them with a YEEEEAAAAHHHH!* EXAMPLE:
Hubby: Aw, we're out of lemonade.
Me: Well I guess someone [removes glasses whiles pausing dramatically] is going the the store.
*If you have no idea what I'm talking about, watch this montage. You only need to get about 45 seconds in to understand, but the full is 7 minutes is awesome in its own weird way.
P.P.S. - I am leaving tonight to spend the weekend at Merlefest. I haven't been in several years, and I am STOKED to be going this year. Avett Brothers + Elvis Costello + Steve Martin = happy, happy me.
I have a post scheduled for tomorrow, so you won't even miss me. In fact, it wasn't even necessary to tell you I'm going since you won't know the difference. But I wanted you to know I would be spending 3 days surrounded by bluegrass music so that you could hate me a little bit. See you on Monday.

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Time for a Pop Quiz!
What happened to this owl?

(i) She's a secretary by day and a cat burglar by night, but she forgot and wore her mask to the office.

(ii) She saw her boyfriend dancing with another girl at spring formal, then spent the rest of the evening crying mascara tears in the gym bathroom.

(iii) I forgot that fondant melts and her poor little eyes dribbled down her face.

Before I give away the answer, just reading those answer choices will probably tell you that I (A) am stupid, and (B) have a skewed ratio of imaginative to rational thoughts.

If you picked (iii) YOU WIN! What did you win? I don't know. My cupcakes are crying. Leave me alone.

Nursery Bookcase

I'm back with another piece of nursery furniture. My latest purchase is an Expedit bookcase from Ikea outfitted with some navy blue storage boxes.

The shelf will be used to corral books, toys and any baby related clutter. The navy boxes tie in nicely with the recliner and the shelves will look so festive once we have lots of bright colored baby accessories filling them out.

Stay tuned for one last piece of baby furniture, then I'll start with decorations!

No-Sew Bunting

I had my first baby shower over the weekend and I have already posted the highlights on the baby blog. Everything was beautiful but not overly cutesy so be sure to check it out.

One of my favorite decorations from the shower was the adorable fabric bunting that we strung up between my living room and dining room.

It was fairly easy to make so I thought I would share a quick how-to with you.

I'm sure there are lots of ways to make your own bunting, but here's what worked for us.

2" wide ribbon
fabric scraps
tacky glue, or other glue suited for fabric crafts
1 sheet of cardstock, any color
iron and ironing board
fabric scissors or rotary cutter
heavy books, to use as weights

1- Measure your space and determine how long you want your bunting to be. We made 9.5' of bunting for an 8' opening. Cut ribbon to length.
2- Fold your ribbon in half, width-wise, and crease with an iron. We used grosgrain ribbon. It didn't crease as well as I had hoped, but it got the job done. The crease allows you to line up all fabric triangles evenly and provides 2 surfaces for gluing.
TIP: If you are going to hang your bunting against a wall and not across an opening, you can skip this step and use 1" ribbon. The result will be an unfinished backside.
3- Determine how many triangles you will need for your ribbon length and create a triangle template with your cardstock. At this point, decide if you want your triangles to touch or if you want to allow for spacing between the triangles. Our triangles were 6" wide at the base and 6.75" long from base to point, and were arranged with no gaps. We found that if our triangles were too thin (longer than they were wide) the fabric would be too floppy and the bunting wouldn't hang flat.
4- Using the cardstock template, trace triangles onto your fabric. If your fabric has a geometric print, make sure you like how the pattern 'lays' on your triangle. Cut out your triangles and iron if necessary.
5- Lay your creased ribbon on your ironing board with the crease facing away from you. Run a bead of glue along the inside of the ribbon and place your triangles on the ribbon with the base tucked all the way into the crease.
6- Once all triangles have been placed, run a second bead of glue on top of the triangles and fold the ribbon down onto the glue to create a binding. You may want to glue the ribbon together several inches beyond the triangles to give it a more finished look. We ran our glue 3" past the triangles on both ends.
7- On a flat surface, place your heavy books on top of the ribbon to hold it in place while it dries.
8- Once the glue is dry, you may choose to trim the ends of your ribbon to prevent fraying.
9- Hang and enjoy!
So that's it. We could have made the bunting with a sewing machine rather than glue, but we wanted something quick and easy for the party. Do you think you'll give this a try?

Vignette #3

I'm back again with another decorating vignette. This piece was my wedding gift to the hubby.

A quick back story: The hubby and I got engaged in March of our Junior year of college and two days later we left for spring break in Biloxi, MS where we spent a week doing post-Katrina clean up. Our days were devoted to the volunteer work, but in the evenings we were free to explore the city or relax. Often we would go "scavenging" where we would find interesting items buried in junk piles - hey, it's not stealing if someone's throwing it away, right?

I found this board on one of our scavenging trips and brought it home with me, unsure of what to do with it. As our wedding day drew closer, I was wracking my brain for a meaningful yet inexpensive (we were still in college, so I was broke) wedding gift. Then it dawned on me to turn
this tattered board into a plaque that commemorated our engagement and wedding in one fell swoop. I removed a few rusty nails, but otherwise left the board in its damaged, post-Katrina state. Then I used the laser cutter to engrave our wedding date into the blank panel at the top.

Now whenever we look at it we think of not only our wedding day, but the first trip we ever took as a bona fide couple.

Nursery Recliner

I've had this navy blue chair for over two months now, but I wanted to wait and show it against the new wall color.

This chair is so comfortable I might actually look forward to midnight feedings, just so I can sit in it! Ok, probably not, but it is really comfortable.

My mom bought me this chair to help me get the nursery set up. I'm telling you, a crib and a chair - my family is too generous!

When we first ventured out to Ikea I assumed I would be getting a rocking chair. Something about them just seemed fitting in a nursery. I must have sat in nearly every chair in the store, but none of them were going to cut it. Many of my favorite chairs, including the early favored Poang, were comfortable but they didn't seem suitable for nursing. In any other situation I would be thrilled to have a Poang, but hte chair encouraged a slouched posture which I thought would make holding up a baby more difficult.

I hadn't even considered a recliner, but with my rocking chair search coming up emptty I was willing to try anything. I tried out the recliner* and it was love at first sit! When upright, the posture is perfect for nursing and the padded armrests are a nice bonus. I love that I have the option to recline when it's time for reading, snuggling or napping. The frame is much smaller than a traditional recliner, so it's still the perfect scale for my little nurery. The best part is I can recline and sit up by leaning on the chair - no handles or levers - which means I never have to take a hand off the baby when I get up.

So that's the story of my recliner. Stay tuned!

*I have searched Ikea's website but cannot find this chair anywhere! Maybe it's discontinued? Maybe the pollen is clouding my brain? Who knows.

The Most Inexplicable Hollywood Hero

Over the weekend, to prepare for the new Russell Crowe version, the hubby and I watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, a.k.a. Kevin Costner's butchering of the classic Robin Hood tale.

Now, don't go assuming that I'm so spoiled by modern technology that I can't look past the cheesy fight scenes and special effects from 1991. None of that bothered me. What did make me cringe, however, was the "acting" put forth by dear old Kev. The only thing that made this movie tolerable was Alan 'Hans Grueber' Rickman's hilarious over-acting. Side Note: why was there no Prince John?

I have always thought that Kevin attended, and possibly co-founded, the Don't Bother Acting, Just Play Yourself... Again school of theatrics, as favored by "greats" like Keanu Reeves, Sean Connery, Jack Nickelson and, lately, Tom Cruise. I don't think Nickelson has actually had to act since Batman - A Few Good Men, if I'm being generous.

Seriously. Kevin is playing a well-known character in a big budget blockbuster and he can't be bothered to attempt a British accent? And the hair. The costume department didn't have a wig to cover up his mandatory early 90's mullet?

This got me thinking "Didn't he have similar hair in Waterworld? Then again in Dances With Wolves?" Yes. Yes he did.

This, my friends, is the exact same mullet, styled with varying amounts of mousse and mustache.* He would have had this hair again in Wyatt Earp if they hadn't needed to tame the mighty mullet to get a Stetson on his head. This man was - and presumably still is - so full of himself that he didn't see the need to alter his appearance to play three very different characters in THREE. DIFFERENT. CENTURIES.
*Coincidentally, this is the title of Tom Selleck's upcoming bio-pic.
With that in mind, may I present to you Mullets of Fury - the Kevin Costner Early 90's Collector's Set. Why watch this be-mulleted man "act" his way through one epic masterpiece, when you can watch him "act" his way through all three?**
**Because you hate yourself?

There are some actors, such as Gary Oldman, who literally disappear into a role. Half the time I don't even realize I just watched Gary for two hours until the credits roll and I think "Dude, that was Gary Oldman?" He has the gift to transform himself over and over again. I don't expect every actor to be able to do this every time. In fact, some actors need to be themselves in order to really nail a part - Jesse Eisenberg comes to mind - but you can't make it in Hollywood if you keep phoning it in by playing yourself again, and again, and again.
Unless your name is Kevin Costner.

Dual Flush Toilet Converter

Our little miracle is here! No not the baby, our new toilet converter!

A few weeks ago I saw a review of new green products and the Drop-In Toilet Converter caught my eye. This miracle gadget converts any household toilet into a dual flush toilet for less than $25.

For those of you that don't geek out over eco-products, a dual flush toilet is one that is set up to have a low volume flush for liquids and paper, and a standard, high powered flush for all the heavy duty stuff. The product literature claims this little guy can save a family up to 15,000 gallons of water per year!

Here's our toilet, with the standard flush mechanism...

... and here's our toilet with the new water-saving drop-in converter!

Once everything is installed, the only difference on the outside of the toilet is the new flush button. The top button is for the little flush and the bottom button is for the full flush.

I have to say, this product was as simple to install as it claimed to be. I suped-up my toilet, by myself, in less than a half an hour. It was so easy, I've already ordered a second one for my guest bathroom. It feels good to be doing something good for the environment and saving a little money in the process!

NOTE: The folks that made the Drop-In Toilet Converter did not pay me or otherwise perk me for mentioning their product. It is something I found, paid for and am using in my home. I just wanted to share the love with my readers.

Nursery Crib

I am so excited to finally show you the crib! We shopped for our crib over a month ago, but we had to wait to assemble it until after we painted the nursery.

The story of our crib is almost too good to be true. Steven's grandmother works at the customer call center for Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma and she asked if we had thought about getting a crib from Pottery Barn Kids, but since they're usually so pricey we had crossed them off our list from the get-go. The she offered to get us a crib as her gift to us - how could we say no?

We browsed around the store and I spotted the Kendall Crib. It's the sleekest of the Pottery Barn cribs and it was available in white - just what I wanted. If we were to buy our own crib we would have been limited to shopping at the big box stores, so we're thrilled that we ended up with a higher quality crib! We're so grateful that our family wanted to help us out!

Stay tuned for more furniture posts!

Pantry Upgrade

Over the weekend I took a break from the nursery madness to reorganize my pantry. Remember my fondness for re-purposing shoe holders? Well, I bought another one to add a little OCD happiness to the pantry.

The slim pockets are the perfect size for holding all sorts of kitchen gadgets.

The flat pockets up top are perfect for storing chip clips and Kitchenaid paddles, and the gusseted pockets hold all sorts of kitchen gadgets - all it took was some painter's tape and a sharpie to whip up some quick and easy labels for my assortment of plastic bags.

For longer items, like plastic wrap and a rolling pin, I just cut the bottom of one pocket - releasing the gusset - to create a double height pocket.

So that's how I added lots of storage to my pantry in under 30 minutes with a $15 shoe organizer. There is no end to uses for these bad boys!

Nursery Wall Paint

This weekend we got the nursery cleaned out and painted! The color is Valspar's 'Aqua Glow' which we had color matched with Olympic paint - that was the only low VOC option. With a mama-to-be doing the painting, we didn't want to take any chances.

This is the obligatory 'before' shot. Beige walls, beige carpet, white trim and ceiling. BORING!

I wanted to take a proper picture for you but the hubby was making it difficult. He had already brought in the paint supplies and dragged the furniture to the middle of the room, so it was VERY hard to get a decent angle that didn't show too much other stuff. I told him I was trying to document the process "for the blog" and I don't think he really cared. I know this because he said "I don't care."

Anyway, here he is doing an excellent job of cutting in. That's our division of labor - he cuts in and I get the roller - fun times.

I was planning on doing a separate post for the curtains, but I realized I couldn't easily show the walls without giving you a peek of the windows, so here we are. We picked the Matilda curtains from Ikea because, let's face it, you can't find cheaper curtains anywhere else.

These curtains are very soft, and have a wonderful nubby texture - perfect for a nursery.

I love, love, love the way the color turned out. It's bright and fresh and doesn't lean one way or the other on the gender spectrum. I have always liked this color but I was afraid it was too bold for any other room of the house. However, I think it has the perfect amount of zest for a baby's room.
So that's the first big step in turning our junk depository spare bedroom into a nursery. We got the whole thing done in less than 4 hours, but it made such a huge difference! Stay tuned for the scoop on furniture!

Happy Friday!

I think I'm coming down with a cold so I stayed home today. As for the rest of you, have a great Friday and weekend!

image by me

Nursery Layout

Here's a quick sketch I did for the nursery layout. Much like the layout I created for my living room, I brought back this standard technique to arrange the nursery furniture. The single door opens to the hallway and the double doors open to the closet.

We have three key players here: the crib, the recliner for nursing/reading/cuddling, and the dresser that will do double duty as a changing table.

The dresser is a little smaller than the crib so, on paper, it fits better on the wall where the crib is shown. However, I need space next to the dresser for a laundry hamper and a trashcan for dirty diapers so the dresser had to move to a bigger wall. Also, the recliner is quite large so it could only fit in one of the two corners, and I thought it would be more pleasing to enter the room to see the front of the recliner rather than the side of the dresser. So that left the shortest wall for the crib. I will be adding a few more things - a floor lamp, hopefully a small bookcase - but they are small enough to work in later.

In this case there were lots of layouts that I played with, but in the end only one seemed to fit the room.

Next up is wall paint, so stay tuned for some major color!

The Great Drain In The Sky

So, I'm kind of in love with this tub stopper. Won't you buy me one?

The Easiest Makeover Ever

I was doing some spring cleaning over the weekend - mostly getting our miscellaneous junk out of the soon-to-be nursery. Among the junk was a pile of framed pictures that had yet to be hung. In finding a home for my forgotten art, the guest bathroom easily came together.

For a while now the guest bathroom has had no decoration, just a lonely red shower curtain the hubby had leftover from his apartment days. It's a high quality item and there was no need to throw it out, so up it went.

the shower curtain that got the ball rolling

As I was sorting through my homeless art a trend emerged - they were almost entirely black & white photographs. Only 2 items stood out: a pencil drawing I did years ago (still black & white) and an embellished print (red with black accents). Here's where my brain kicked in and I realized I could throw together a red, black and white bathroom for no money and very little effort. Those just happen to be the colors of NC State, the alma mater of the hubby and myself, and he has been asking for a room done in Wolfpack colors. I want to state that I DO NOT APPROVE of a room with a cheesy theme like college memorabilia, but the colors are there, so that makes him happy.

screen print on silk, embellished with beads and sequins

black & white photographs

John Lennon photo (purchased in NYC) / photo by Andrew Fulcher / Broadway photo (purchased in NYC)

drawing by me

the ring box is a nod to our wedding locale

So there you have it. Is this the most sophisticated bathroom ever designed? No. But you can't argue with a room that looks "finished" when it only took a few minutes and a few picture nails to accomplish.

Coveting: Sundresses

It's been a while since my last coveting post, but today I wanted to re-visit the old format.

We don't know if we're having a boy or a girl, and we're not going to find out until the grand entrance in the delivery room - "It's a ____!" I honestly won't be disappointed either way - the hubby and I just want a healthy, happy baby. That being said, this spring weather makes me drool over little girl clothes. Whether it's for this baby or one down the road, please tell me I have some itty-bitty sundresses in my future.
Buy It (L-R)

Playing Fast And Loose With The Words "Customer Service"

This exchange was just too bizarre not to share.

I'm sitting at my desk at work - the phone rings.
ME: Blah Blah Blah Architects.
HER: Thank you for calling AT&T customer service. How can I help you?
ME: Uh, you called me.
HER: trying to stifle a laugh Yes, let me check my records. (pause) I am calling to confirm that you recieved your new AT&T phonebooks.
ME: We did.
HER: Thank you, have a nice day. She hangs up.

It must be Monday.

Vignette #2

Here's another installment of my "what's on my walls" series.

This piece hangs on the narrow wall between the living room and dining room, or the side of the pantry.

I wish I could say this is an autographed original, but sadly it's not. This print is a reproduction of an autographed lithograph that was made to promote a Beatles tour stop in Nice, France. It was given to me by a dear friend many years ago and it always receives a place of prominence wherever I go.

The yellow ties in nicely with the china cabinet (which is directly across from the print) and I love that it's a little more unusual than the normal art and memorabilia you see for the Beatles.

Tres chic, non?

Living Room Finishing Touches

As I mentioned in my couch post, I tied in the new color with a few navy blue accents.

In addition to the blue throw pillows I hung the striped painting I had made for our apartment bedroom.

I wanted to put something on the mantle but nothing so dominant it would compete with the painting. I threw these glass vases up as a temporary solution, but they've grown on me so I think they'll stay. The collection is a mixed bag: 1 from C&B (wedding gift), 2 from Target (reception decor) and 3 that I picked up at thrift stores and 1 glass milk bottle. I like that they occupy the space without overwhelming it.
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