How Electricity Ruins Everything

Well, I promised you that I would be back today with an awesome addition to our laundry room. Unfortunately, my plans have been thwarted by dumb electricity. I mean, who needs electricity in the laundry room? Don’t we all wash our clothes on a washboard?

Basically, the area where I planned to drill in some screws is apparently filled with electrical lines. Or so says my stud finder. I’m still hoping that it changes its mind, but no luck so far.

Let me just tell you about my plans because I still think it’s a cool idea and maybe someday America will lose all power and I will finally get my chance to achieve my dream. One can only hope…

A few months ago, I saw this very cool home at Brick House that had this clever solution for hanging up clothes sans closet.

Pipes! I loved how industrial this looked and I knew it would be a great solution for our laundry room (not).

Later, I stumbled into this adorable nursery at Apartment Therapy and gasped (in my mind only) when I saw this photo:

Pipes, painted coral and gold, holding up curtains? SO COOL.

I’m sad just thinking about it. I tried moving it in different configurations and using two different pipe sizes, but I just couldn’t find a way to make it work and have it look good. I’ll find another way to hang up wet clothes, but I’ll also have to find another use for my pipes and floor flanges.

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(I also have a third pipe. Bigger than these two and just as useless.)

My cool clothes hanger was supposed to be installed below the small cabinet on the left:

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Oh well.

I’ll need to find another use for my pipes. Perhaps they can become legs for my jewelry cabinet, a la Brick House’s dipped legs.

Fortunately, a little elfin worked very hard to cheer me up today.

silly baby

Birds in the Sky… or the ceiling, whatever.

Just because it’s been quiet around here doesn’t mean we’ve not been busy! We are making good progress on the laundry cabinets and that thing is ALMOST DONE after so many touch-ups and additions and adjustments. I hope to show you what they look like by Thursday!

For now, I wanted to show you a sweet addition to the nursery that was made by my mom. Here’s the first clue:

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Yes, she’s looking up with a puzzled expression.

It’s a bird mobile!

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My mom did everything, from sewing the birds to gluing on the eyes to cutting down the branches (bought from Hobby Lobby) and hanging it all up on the mobile. Since she did everything, this is not a tutorial but more like a “Look, how cute! And I didn’t even have to do anything except hang it up!” thing.

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The colors she chose are perfect – bright blue/teal, yellow, orange, with touches of black and white.

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Janella is in love.

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She stares at the mobile when she lies down in her crib and tries to grab the birds when we hold her too close to it.

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Yes, a bird is missing a branch. The cats did it. Tala is my number one suspect.

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Since our goal for 2012 is to make the house FUNCTIONAL, it’s okay that the nursery isn’t 100% done even though Janella is almost 9 months old (how did that happen?). This nursery is definitely functional. It’s a happy place for all of us. Janella sleeps like a… well, a baby in there.

But I do have some things I want to finish up in there after we complete our laundry room and office to-do lists. For one, we bought three large canvases for that wall behind the crib and Nick is planning to paint a world map on them. I can’t wait for that!

See you Thursday for the laundry cabinets reveal, right? It’s a date, right?

Friday Randoms

Another day, another week, another month. Every time I stop and realize that it’s Friday, I’m amazed at how fast the week went. And then I realize that I haven’t even blogged anything or done anything that could fill out a complete blog post.

Hence, I’m trying something new here. Friday randoms, where I stop and look around and groan at our slowpoke process at making this house our home. Here goes!

The first thing I’m going to do after I finish this blog post is to order this pendant light for our living room:

Oversized Equator Pendant light cb2

I am so excited! I will have to put away a few months’ of spending money to get this, but I know it will take our living room to the next level. I’ve been looking for the perfect light fixture for that room since I wrote this post.

I’m still plugging away on the laundry cabinets… well, I should be honest and say that I’ve abandoned the project for two weeks now. I keep on saying, “It’s too late into the day now, I will do it tomorrow, I WILL!” and then I don’t. It’s the last lap around the track, but when you’ve run 1,000 miles, the last lap is the hardest.

laundry cabinet doors

I will finish it this weekend. I will. I WILL.

After all, the cabinet frames have been completed since April 11.

painted cabinet boxes laundry room

Poor, patient, and lonely cabinet boxes. I’m sorry, guys. You’ll be reunited with your beloved doors soon.

Remember the art I want to work on for our master bedroom? I have several large pieces of plywood in the garage waiting for me to get started on it, but I wanted to experiment on a small piece to make sure that it will look good. So far, I’ve sanded it, added wood filler, and primed it on one side. Next, I will add gesso on both sides and see if the primer is really necessary.

plywood art experiment 1

Once that little project is done, I will update you all and hopefully have a tutorial on how to do DIY art on plywood!

Back to the laundry room – we haven’t put up the art that I made on the wall because we wanted to experiment with templates first and see what layout would look the best. I originally thought we would have the four frames in a grid (two on top, two at bottom), but it didn’t look right with our short ceilings and the second row was too close to the floor. We realized that we were planning to remove the door anyway (to bring in more light to the game room), so we could use the whole wall and line up the frames, side by side.

templates for frames in laundry room

Looks great! We will put them up this weekend. I hope. Sometimes weekends have a way of fooling you on Fridays into thinking that it’ll be long, productive, and full of events. And then on Sunday night, you look up from your laptop when you’re sitting on the sofa and realize you’ve done nothing all weekend. No? Just me? Okay.

Oh, we used wrapping paper to serve as our templates to determine the location of our frames. It worked very well!

Our girl Janella loves strawberries. At the end of a strawberry eating session, she looks like Dexter, according to Nick.

janella loves strawberries

Janella is working on her crawling. She’s not there yet, but she definitely can move forward towards something she wants. However, you need to put the right thing to entice her into crawling/lunging forward. Put a toy in front of her, she will give you a blank look. But if you use a necklace, a working phone (somehow she knows the blackberry I give her is broken), a camera, or a leather purse, you’ll see her move with determination.

I found some redness on her knees, so I told Nick we needed to buy baby legs. But I read in this fun book that I could just cut up some old socks and put them on her legs. I tried that with a pair of argyle socks that I never wear and they look mighty cute on her legs!

baby legs from cut up socks

I’m gonna cut up more socks now. It takes 3 seconds to do – my favorite kind of DIY project.

Oh, and do you see that cute white/gray/yellow pillow in the photo above? Nick gave that to me for my 30th birthday. Love it.

Last AND least, I’m eating this greek dip right now. It’s really good and aside from lots of chopping, it’s ultra easy to make. I mean, if I can make it while entertaining a watermelon-eating baby, anybody can make it.

making greek dip

The end. I wish you all a great and productive (or lazy, that’s good, too) weekend.

The Case for Baskets

When I was preparing for the baby’s arrival, I knew that we would need baskets and boxes and all that stuff to corral ALL THE BABY STUFF but I didn’t exactly understand just what the STUFF would be, so I couldn’t just go out and start buying random baskets.

Instead, I waited and gave it a few months. It was worth it, because it helped us figure out exactly what to buy and what to skip. I’m not done yet and I know the STUFF will increase as Janella gets older, but this is a good start for us.

Come and visit, why don’t you. Check out the nursery closet…

orange closet green boxes organization

First – the clothes! Janella is six months old and obviously doesn’t fit in her newborn or 0-3 months clothes, but still fits in her 3-6 months clothes. Yes, she’s a thin one. 50% in height, 10% in weight.

The green box (from IKEA) on the right is filled with newborn and 0-3 months clothes. The one on the left is pretty much empty and waiting for the next batch of t00-small clothes. These little cute boxes do the job! No need for huge plastic bins. For now.

green boxes closet

Janella’s stash of toys were getting out of control, so we found a couple of spots around the house to keep them contained. These two cute purple mesh baskets were found at Home Goods and they store toys that Janella isn’t currently playing with (we rotate out toys).

purple wire baskets closet nursery

Okay, back up a little to re-enter the nursery. This little picnic basket with teal stripes were picked up at Target and holds all of Janella’s cloth diapers.

diaper basket nursery

I know what you’re thinking. A picnic basket?! But it is the perfect solution because I wash these diapers almost everyday and it’s hard to empty out the dryer with a squirming baby in one arm. With the picnic basket, it’s easy to just pick it up by the handles, dump the diapers in it, and transfer it back into the nursery. Plus, it’s cute and it will still be useful when I’m done with diapers. When will that be, by the way? I wonder…

I can’t move on without telling you about the colorful bag you see in the basket. It’s called a wet bag and it is an ESSENTIAL item to have if you use cloth diapers. It’s waterproof and seals in all odors. I can’t imagine using cloth diapers without these bags. You can find them at Amazon – we have three of this.

Okay, now turn your head a little to the right and you’ll find a cute green laundry basket with a cute baby in it.

green laundry basket janella

I have a confession to make: Janella’s not always in it. So, the basket isn’t always this cute.

Nick found the basket at Target and brought it home without consulting me. I was two weeks postpartum… It was a risky endeavor but he did a good job. It’s the perfect size for all of Janella’s tiny clothes and when it’s full, it makes a full load.

Lest you think that I’m some kind of organized guru with 1,000 baskets that hold all kinds of categories of stuff, let me show you what it looks like under the daybed in the nursery. (I haven’t told you about the daybed, have I?)

sad area under daybed nursery

Yep. Time to get some more baskets. I’ll measure the space and put the measurements in our iPhone to help us find the perfect baskets that’ll fit in there perfectly. For now, just don’t look under there. Thanks.

Since we spend a lot of our time in the living room, it’s where we store the majority of Janella’s toys that she plays with these days. For a while, we just dumped them in a corner or in a baby swing, but that got annoying fast. We realized that we had two old teal ottomans that were holding random things like old letters and blankets, so we emptied out one and chucked in all the toys in there. (I want to reupholster them, but you know, later.)

ottoman in living room baby toys

It’s perfect.

toy storage ottoman living room

At least, for now. The time will come when this little ottoman won’t be able to contain all of her toys. It will be a sad day…

The other ottoman is residing in the weird space between the TV set and our side table.

sad area in living room

It feels like wasted space. The space is actually bigger than what it seems like in the photo above. It would be great if we could fit in a chest under the window that holds blankets, toys, etc with a soft cushion to sit on. Something like this:

chest under window

via

If you’re looking for baskets, boxes, and that kind of stuff, some great sources include IKEA, World Market, Home Goods, and sometimes Target.

There’s a couple of green baskets at Target that I’m itching to get my hands on but I’m waiting for them to go on sale. Will I win? Or will I lose when they go out of stock without going on sale? I don’t like this game.

So. That’s the story of how I got my act together and organized everything. And by everything, I mean only a few things. I guess I need to buy more baskets and boxes.

Before I leave, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of our family and friends for the gifts and hand-me-downs that you’ve given to us. You’ve been amazing and we’re so grateful. XOXO

Iowa is Awesome

It’s awesome to us because that’s where my family lives right now.

It’s also where we’ve been over the past week.

Janella met her favorite cousin, Lily Kate, for the first time. I say she’s her favorite because Janella always stares at her and smiles when she sees her! Aw!

janella and lily kate meet!

I tell you, there is nothing cuter than a 3-year-old fawning over a 5-month-old like an old lady.

And Janella also met another cousin, Joseph Jr., who is only seven months older than her. It was so cute watching them meet for the first time. Even though they didn’t really seem all that interested in each other… But that’ll change before we know it.

janella and joseph jr meet!

I’m really glad that Janella has two great cousins living somewhat nearby (if you consider 14 hours “nearby” but it is to us, with all of our other family living on the east coast).

It was also really nice to finally see mom’s new/old house. I love that house – it has SO much potential.

They’re getting a whole new kitchen installed soon, which will be SO exciting. I forgot to take before photos while I was there, ugh, hopefully mom takes a couple of great photos so I can share it with you all.

Our spring break was awesome… and awesomely long, since Nick got an extra week off due to electrical problems at the school he works at. He’ll have to make up for these missed days, but it was really nice to have TWO weeks off!

Now we’re back home. Nick said that the time at Iowa was a really nice vacation for him, since I wasn’t pestering him to mow the grass or to put up the curtains or some other home-related stuff.

Well, Nick, vacation’s over. Put up them purple curtains STAT!

Pretty Painted Vases, Part 2

I should probably explain my absence for the past three weeks.

Janella learned how to flip to her stomach and that resulted in days and days and days and days and days of sleep deprivation on my part, but now she is 100% happy sleeping on her stomach and I am 95% okay with it. Maybe 85%.

So. Where was I?

Ah, yes. The painted vase project.

painted vase fail

The good news? The paint was easy to remove.

peeling off the paint glass vase

After peeling off the huge globs of paint, I was able to remove the rest with a damp paper towel.

So you can see that the tape on the vase didn’t work out… but in some parts the tape really did work. You can see some crisp lines here and there. I think that tape COULD work if you had a lot of space (e.g. a bigger vase) to maneuver and press the tape on the glass harder than I was able to.

Once the vase was free of the paint, I just poured in some new paint and followed all of my tips. I tell you, I give great tips. The painting of this vase went beautifully and it dried much faster than the other vases did.

pretty blue vase

(Ugh blurry photo) Boring, maybe? But still pretty!

Since I still had several more vases looking forlorn, I tried another paint trick.

A few weeks ago we stopped by West Elm (aka Heaven on Earth) just to look around (and pick up a few cute things, of course) and I thought this vase was cute:

west elm vase paint stripeI told Nick, “Hey, what do you think of this? I could attempt this with one of our glass vases!!”

Nick chuckled to himself with one eyebrow raised and then gave me a little shrug and stuck out his bottom lip (the international facial expression for ‘maybe or whatever’) and walked away with Janella. The nerve…

I made this, and Nick loves it. Elisa for the win!

yellow stripe on vase

I just poured in a little of the paint – enough for it to slide down the side, but not too much that it’ll drip all over the place. But the paint was a little too thick so it moved way too slowly for impatient little me. And the stripe turned out to be triangle-y.

painting a yellow stripe on vase

I’m waiting for it to dry before doing the other side to reduce the likelihood of drips – and I will try thinning out the paint with a little water. That should work.

OK! Enough about vases! But wait. I want to bask in the glory of “I FINALLY DID IT AND IT LOOKS PRETTY” so look at this Expedit set up with my “new” vases.

expedit in game room

Can you spot all the painted vases? I also experimented with a painting technique from this tutorial (see the green vase on the right, second row) but it didn’t really make for a pretty result.

I enjoyed playing around with the styling of the expedit! It gave me a few minutes of relaxation in between Janella’s cries today. It’s still very visually cluttered, but it is so much better than what was there now. I “shopped” the whole house to try to fill out the expedit and now I know exactly what we need for it. We need some white things (see the closet light cover on the bottom right, ha) that pop, five baskets to line the bottom to fill games with and reduce visual clutter, and a few colorful frames here and there of our favorite people.

I’m also SLIGHTLY considering spray-painting some of the game boxes. That’s a little crazy, maybe?

Now you can go! And I promise I won’t disappear for three weeks again. Unless Janella learns how to stand on her head or something…

laughing janella

"HA HA! I have PLANS for you, mom! HAHAHA!"

Janella’s First Tooth!

Come on, Janella, let’s show these nice people your first tooth!

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Open your pretty mouth, dear…

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No, no, don’t bite my finger. Open wider!

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Your tongue is very cute, yes, but not what we’re looking for.

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There we are!

Now you can go back to chewing on Sophie.

That was last week. As of today, she’s the proud owner of two teeth! Geez!

What’s next… will she be begging me to use makeup next week?