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Nervous Energy

15 Aug

After we got home from Clara’s surgery and knew that she was ok, I think the rest of us didn’t know what to do with ourselves.  We had so much pent up nervous energy, that we couldn’t just sit around.  Clara just wanted to eat and drink, and play every now and then, but was pretty low key compared to a normal day.  So we took advantage of the energy and the time, and worked on a few little projects around the house.

Joel and I had taken a trip to IKEA on Tuesday to get a few extra bookshelves for the office.  We had 3 big ones from before, but with law school and Joel’s insatiable love for books (I love them too, but don’t have all that much time to read anymore), our book collection had outgrown the available shelf space.  So we figured out that 3 of the skinny Billy bookshelves with the corner hardware that allowed us to put one on a short wall, one in the corner at an angle, and the other on the long wall beside the 3 big shelves, we’d have more than enough room, and it made a complete bookshelf wall.  Here’s the after.  I forgot to take a before photo.  Whoops!


While my dad and Joel put together the bookshelves, I asked my mom to help me with my hallway art arrangement.  I’ve been planning this ever since we bought the house.  I knew I wanted a big arrangement of photos and other pieces, but I was having a hard time picturing it in my head.  I finally ordered some canvases that I knew I wanted to incorporate into the arrangement, and when they arrived a few weeks ago, I knew I finally had all the pieces I needed.

The stained glass was a christmas gift from my mom a few years ago – there is a great salvage shop near where they live.  I’ve been wanting to hang it ever since I got it, but never had the perfect spot.  I knew it had to be a part of the hallway.


Last year when we were home for Christmas, my mom and I went to an antique store/salvage shop and found a bunch of great pieces.  I knew at that point that I was going to work on this project, but that I didn’t have all the elements I needed.  So we spent a few hours walking around, picking out fun, different pieces.  Here’s what we got:  4 different shaped iron pieces, 5 old keys, a keyhole, an old drawer pull, and 2 old metal stencil letters.

Other items included: frames I already owned, blank canvases (already owned), an old map, thread, a knob ($1.50 at home depot), corrugated cardboard, some old keys we had, hot glue, and some chain we bought at home depot.  Who would have thought that all of these things could come together to make a cohesive arrangement?

So, after an afternoon of painting, glueing, sewing, and hanging, here is my hallway!  A couple of the frames still need new photos – I’m planning to print more family photos for those (the three across frame and the top right hand frame) and then it will really be done!



I love coming down the stairs and looking toward the front door and seeing this.  Makes me smile every time.  For those of you who will ask, my sister took the photo of the three of us in the snow, and the one of Clara alone is from her first week here on earth, and the other photo canvas is from our trip to Hawaii a few years ago.  I love the way it all turned out!

My dad also cut a piece of plywood for me to put on top of two shorter bookshelves that we had that I’m going to use as a sewing desk!  Woohoo!  Photos of that when I get the sewing room all put together.



Laundry Room Makeover

3 Jul





So, I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can show you my laundry room makeover.

I can hardly believe that I’m showing you this… the before pictures definitely show how disorganized this space was – it kind of became a dumping ground for cleaning materials, random items, baby things, pool floats, and anything else you can think of.

This is embarrassing… but here’s the before:

As you can see it was a total disaster.  That’s my ironing board set up along the wall, acting as a counter.  Not ideal.

But now, 3 IKEA cabinets, a few hours, and some help from my dad later, it looks like this:


There’s still some organizing left to do, but I think it’s a great improvement!  Even with the cabinets taking up floor space, the room feels bigger to me.

I put together all the cabinets and their innards, and my dad came to help with a few things and he cut the countertop and attached it for me.  He also moved an outlet for me since it was too low on the wall and would have sat behind the cabinets.  The water lines are in a kind of weird spot, so he cut a notch in the far corner for me – near that dust buster – so that they wouldn’t get pinched.

So in addition to the cabinets, I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, and decided to do a row of hooks on the right hand wall.  I was just going to paint a stripe on the wall and put hooks on the stripe, but my mom suggested that I use a board instead, which made more sense, since then I could put hooks anywhere I wanted, not just on a stud.

You’ll still see the nails right now – I’m planning to go back and patch and paint over the nail heads… One thing at a time.










Yay for a functional laundry room!!

The Chair

8 Feb

So, an update on the chair… A lot of the fabrics that I liked were somehow out of stock when I went to order.  So I started my search over again.  And I found this.  A stripe that has the same colors as the polka dotted fabric, and an orange that just happens to match my wall almost exactly.  Not too much of it, but just enough to pull it in.  And it has blue.  Really, I think it was meant to be that everything else sold out.  I wasn’t sure about the scale of some of those other patterns as well.

Anyway, here’s what I went with.  I think I got enough that I can make a little throw pillow after I’m done reupholstering.  Yahoo!


Pardon the Tracer machine in the shot – I’ve been trying to get a little more artwork done for Clara’s nursery in my free time.  Oh, wait.  What free time?

But back to the important stuff – what do you think of the fabric???

Freezer Paper Stencils

22 Nov

Before Clara was born and I had extra time to do crafty-type things, I was working on a project.  You might have seen it mentioned here.  I promised a tutorial, so I’m delivering on that…. finally.

This is a really easy, really fun project.  It’s great if you’re having a baby, or if you know someone who is, these make really great gifts!

Here’s what you will need:

  • Blank onesies (or t-shirts or whatever fabric you want to put your design on)
  • Any image you like (I got mine from google images and inspiration from blogs I follow)
  • Freezer Paper (I found it at Harris Teeter, after searching several other stores)
  • Pen or pencil
  • Exacto knife or scissors (depending on how complicated your design is)
  • Iron
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Foil

So, I used white onesies, but you could use any color you like.  I’ve seen some cool bright colored ones at the Targets, or you could use t-shirts for older kiddos or adults.  Custom t-shirts for all!

What to do:

  1. Print out your image in black and white.

  2. Cut off a piece of freezer paper that’s big enough to cover your image, and have some leftover on the sides.
  3. Place freezer paper over the image (important: SHINY SIDE DOWN) and trace the design onto freezer paper.
  4. Use your exacto knife to cut out the image you’ve traced.
  5. Place the negative image (one on the left) onto the onesie in the location you desire.
  6. Iron it onto the onesie.  Use medium to high temperature.  If you have pieces that are independent from the main piece (like the center of the O lin LOVE), iron on the biggest piece/frame first, then fit in the others as you go.  Just double check that everything is stuck and the edges are well adhered before you are done with the iron.
  7. Take it back to your painting area, and use a paint brush, foam brush, or whatever kind of brush you like best, to apply the fabric paint of your choice. (I have heard that there is an additive you can put in regular paint to make it work like fabric paint as well – don’t know what it’s called, or what it really does, but if you have a stash of acrylic paint already, you might want to check it out.)
  8. Once your paint has dried, peel off the freezer paper.
  9. Give it 24 hours, then heat set the paint.  To do this, put an ironing cloth (or a pillow case or any spare fabric you have) over the painted area and iron it.  There are probably specific directions for this on the fabric paint bottle.

Here’s a picture of the finished product:

Then you’re done!  Have fun!

The cutest thing…

3 Aug

I was perusing my Google Reader today, feeling completely overwhelmed with the number of unread posts.  But, as often happens, I found something really cute!  This adorable little t-shirt was found on say YES! to hoboken.  I love it!  She gives a full tutorial for how to use any design you like, cut it out of printer paper, and stencil it onto a shirt.  I may have to use this idea and decorate some plain white onesies for the little one….

Oh the possibilities….

Weekend Update

1 Aug

This is just a quick one for you – it’s been a productive weekend!  We accomplished the following:

  • Had a lovely baby shower (thanks Diana, Emily, and Elizabeth!)
  • Joel was so excited about all the stuff that it actually got unpacked, sorted, and put away the same day
  • Dad repainted the guest/baby bathroom for us – it’s a lovely creamy yellow color
  • We hung our new polka dot and whale shower curtain
  • Rachel painted the shelf my dad made for us
  • Said shelf was hung on the wall
  • Curtains were finished, curtain rod put on wall, and curtains hung (!)
  • Artwork (most of it) was hung on the wall of the nursery
  • Streetside shrubs demolished (some would call it pruned, but I think it went beyond that)

Now for the rest of the week:

  • Clean out guest/baby bathroom cabinets and drawers
  • Tame the rest of the yard (mow, trim the rest of the shrubs, mulch)
  • Finish up artwork
  • Write thank you notes
  • Paint animals for top of shelf
  • Laundry
  • Shoot a wedding Saturday
  • And so much more!

I just realized today that several of my friends have delivered their babies at 37 weeks… which would be about 4 weeks from now… insanity.  It has kicked me into high gear.  Would be great if the weather would stay cool so I can do all the things I want to do…

The Curtain Project

29 Jul

Well, folks, it has begun.

My first attempt at sewing in at least 10 years.  I used to sew quite a bit.  My mom taught me.  She used to make us dresses and curtains and really anything you can think of.  Every Easter and Christmas, my sister and I would have new, handmade dresses courtesy of my mom.  So she taught me how to sew.  The first dress I made was a green empire-waisted dress with white piping along the empire seam.  It was made of some green linen that was left over (or never used) by my mom from some project back in the 70s.  Awesome.  I loved that dress and wore it all the time.

Fast forward a few years… I went off to college and living in a dorm room, there wasn’t room for a sewing machine, or much time for sewing either.  Not that there was a spare machine just sitting around somewhere.  So  since then, I haven’t done much sewing.  But, curtains seemed do-able enough, so here I go, trying my hand, once more.

Here’s the fabric I settled on (finally):

It’s from Joel Dewberry, for those who are interested.  I bought it from etsy, and I have a TON leftover, so if anyone needs some, let me know!  Or maybe I’ll try my hand at making a dress (or 10 – because that’s how much extra fabric I have) for the little one.

I thought it was going to be slightly more blue than it is, so since it’s a little more green than the walls, I thought it needed something to break it up from the wall, so it doesn’t look funny.  So I scoured Jo-Ann fabrics and found a piece of orangey-yellow fabric with little tiny white stars to use as trim.

Yesterday I pulled out the sewing machine.  My sister graciously passed it on to me, since she’s in med school with little-to-no time to sew.  It was my grandma’s, then my mom’s, and then my sister’s.  And that makes you think that it’s one of those sewing machines in a table that you power by pedaling with your foot.  But it’s not.  See, my Grammy loves sewing machiens.  She currently has probably the most expensive, state of the art, sewing/embroidery machine out there.  So the one I have, despite having been passed through 3 hands before getting to mine, is still a computerized one, capable of embroidering designs and doing many different stitches.  I only use one stitch though – and that’s the straight one.  I’m not good enough for all that fancy stuff.

So here’s where I got to yesterday:

So far so good!  I still have to hem them (and maybe put some of the yellow on the bottom, I’m still undecided, but open to opinions), finish the side edges, and sew a rod pocket in the top, you know, so I can hang them.  I’m pretty excited about how they’re turning out though.

Maybe the nursery will come together after all… I was starting to wonder.

…to be continued….

The Massive To-Do List

25 Jun

You could say I’m nesting.

I don’t really know what this looks like for other people.  For me, it means wanting to have everything done.  Organized.  Clean.  Minimized. Complete.

I have made a giant to-do list with everything that I have to accomplish before the baby gets here.  It is ginormous.  There’s no other way to describe it.  Massive.  But I have it broken down by room, and tasks under each room to keep myself from getting overwhelmed.  Since it’s the beginning of July, and a new month is a good time for starting projects (right?), here’s a bit of it my list (keeping in mind, I know how completely ridiculous I am and how excessive this is…).  Some of the items have already been tackled since my dad was up here last weekend.  He did a lot of things that I couldn’t have tackled myself, which was awesome!  This is more for me to keep track of things, and to feel good about crossing things off when I get them done… I love that feeling.

Flower Bed by Street:

  • kill grass
  • remove grass
  • put down black garden paper
  • buy more mulch
  • put down mulch
  • plant gardenias
  • plant bulbs
  • edge with bricks


  • move concrete block (for some reason, we have this concrete parking stop in our garage… we inherited it when joel bought the house)
  • hang joel’s heavybag
  • move workbench
  • put away gym equipment
  • sweep and mop
  • paint pegboard
  • organize tools
  • put basic tools on pegboard (so i can find a screwdriver or a hammer when i need one. this is impossible right now)
  • move freezer
  • clean out freezer

Garden Tools

  • close in area under the deck
  • put in a work bench/potting bench
  • get containers for potting soil
  • put up hooks for tools


  • get one copy of everything onto one HDD
  • make cuts and delete them
  • backup to second HDD
  • online backup
  • delete all other copies of photos

Laundry Room

  • get small trash can
  • remove cabinet doors
  • organize cabinets
  • throw out trash
  • take all shoes upstairs


  • complete mileage log Jan-June
  • complete expenses spreadsheet for 2010
  • file papers and receipts
  • update website – so many amazing weddings to add to the site… gotta do this SOON!


  • fix door trim
  • choose fabric for bedding
  • make bedding
  • canvases
  • paint clock
  • paint shelf
  • paint bathroom?
  • figure out closet organization
  • get carpet cleaned
  • make curtains

Dining Room

  • organize bills
  • move shredder
  • clean up projects
  • file bills
  • clean out trunk
  • fix leg on trunk

Living Room

  • clean out baskets
  • find a spot for joel’s gym bag to live
  • get table for by front door
  • clean out shoe basket
  • clean out hooks by door


  • clean out tupperware drawer
  • clean/organize ziploc drawer
  • organize pantry
  • clean out inside frezer
  • clean out pantry


  • move dvd shelf down
  • hide cables
  • put new outlet in wall
  • clean out dresser (joel)
  • give away clothes
  • get carpet cleaned

Man Room

  • cover base of stadium seats with carpet (anyone know where i can get a scrap of carpet? maybe 6’x6′)
  • get carpet cleaned


  • put all contacts in
  • clean up laptop
  • memory for mac pro
  • organize files
  • online backup of personal files


  • sweep
  • clean wood
  • refinish

Adventures in Nursery Decorating

19 May

Perhaps this post would best be served by me giving you a little insight into our plan for the nursery. I have a vision.  It’s perhaps still developing, but it’s a vision nonetheless.  I happen to think if your vision gets stuck in one place, perhaps you are being a bit too stubborn.  But I digress.

I found the most amazing color for a nursery over on my friend and fellow photographer, Candice Lanning’s blog – The Beautiful Mess Photography.  She and her hubby did a session for some clients who had just had a baby, and the color of their nursery was GORGEOUS!  I loved the yellow combined with the blue.

This is my first point of inspiration.  I am going for a slightly bolder look – a bit brighter with the yellow and adding in some orange and maybe even some red as accents.

Amazingly, when I showed this to Joel, he liked it too!  Shocking, I know.  I asked Candice to find out the name of the paint color, because I am obsessive like that, and she, being the amazing person that she is, asked them.  Thank you, Candice!  So, here it is:

Because Joel was in hard core “nesting mode” far and long before I was (immediately after finding out we were pregnant, while I was still in a bit of shock), we chose this color before we knew the sex of our baby.  Because of that, I wanted to make sure it was something I could make masculine for a boy or feminine for a girl.  It needed to be a flexible color.  Is that even a thing?  Well, regardless… So Bird’s Egg seemed like a good choice.  A turquoise-ey blue with enough green to not look completely baby (or Carolina, ugh) blue.  Joel painted the nursery with one hand (and a significant amount of help from Brandon, his brother-in-law), and it looks amazing.

But that’s just a color, and one color does not a vision make.  So, here are some of the other things I’ve been thinking of for the little nursery…

The Furniture -in the darker color.  The crib converts to a toddler bed, then a twin, then a daybed, then a double.  Or full.  I can’t remember.  Either way, one bed – whole life.  Love that.  Waiting for it to come in the next few weeks.  I think it will help me visualize the room a little better.

Giraffe Shelf (originally seen on black eiffel) – which will be modified from this version and made by my dad.  Told you, he can do anything.  We’ll probably do a bunch of giraffes and/or other animals along a longer line in the back, and then put a small shelf cantilevered from the front.  Maybe I’ll double-decker it so there are two rows of animals and two shelves.

Canvases – here are a few of them… I love the elephants the most! Sorry for the bad iphone pictures – better ones when everything is done.

Curtains – not sure which fabric I’m going to choose.  I’m open to suggestions and opinions.  I just want 2  simple panels from the top of the window to the floor… or halfway between windowsill and floor.  I’m going to make these myself, with the sewing machine my sister willingly gave up for me to use.  Thanks, Rachel!

I found all of these fabrics on because the selection in the fabric store is less than desirable.  At least I think so.

Bedding – again, not sure which fabrics to choose.  Help?  These and/or any of the above… ack!

I’m having a hard time choosing, because I’ve already had one fabric mishap.  I ordered these curtains from urbanoutfitters:

They look white, yes?  Well, they came yesterday.  They are most certainly NOT white.  They are a weird shade of beige that just looks dirty next to that sweet cool blue wall and white trim.  So back they go.  Hence the making my own curtains thing.  I’m ok with that, though.  I like to make things.  It will be an adventure.  (Mom always used to say that when we were lost in the car.  Not to say that I’m lost at sewing… well, it has been years, so I suppose it’s possible.)

Anyway, that’s it for the first installment of Adventures in Nursery Decorating.  I would love to hear what you think about the fabrics… or if you have ever made crib bedding yourself… how hard is it?

Doing it Yourself

14 May

I grew up in a crafty family. Not the sinister kind of crafty.  The glue and fabric and paint and sewing needles, sculpey clay and beads and shrinky-dink and iron-on transfers kind of crafty. In the summers when my sister and I went to visit our grandparents in Florida, we would usually stay for about a month (mom and dad’s vacation as well), and one of our favorite things was helping Grammy with her latest and greatest craft project.  Sometimes it was Christmas ornaments made from beads to sell at the Christmas in July celebration at their church, sometimes it was puff paint on various materials, sometimes it was using her embroidery machine to embellish clothing or purses, sometimes it was… well, you get the picture.  There was always something new and fun to do.  And I loved it.

My mom is a really good seamstress – she used to make us dresses for Easter and Christmas every year.  Sometimes they matched.  I didn’t appreciate that part very much.  But I remember her staying up sometimes all night before the day we were to wear the new dresses finishing (and sometimes starting) them.  I probably didn’t appreciate that effort as much as I should have, either.  When we were babies, she even learned how to smock, which, I understand, is a pretty technical and tedious thing to do.  But she still has some of the cutest smocked dresses and rompers that she made for me and Rachel (I’m pretty pumped about my daughter getting to wear them soon, actually!).

Being a good seamstress made her very picky about buying clothes.  If the stripes on a shirt didn’t match on the seams, we absolutely could not get it.  It wasn’t made well.  And that eye for quality (shall we call it… perfectionism?) was passed on to me.  It’s probably part of the reason that I can’t manage to delegate tasks very well.  You know the old adage “if you want it done right, do it yourself.” Not the wisest of advice perhaps, or the most graceful to those around you, but I do tend to try to take everything on myself and never ask for help from anyone.  Marriage has tested that, and stretched me to learn how to ask for help.  It’s a bit of a learning process, but I think I’ve made some progress… Maybe you should ask Joel though, if you want the truth.

But it’s not just the women in my family who are crafty.  The men can hold their own in the area of handiness as well.  My Grandad loved trains.  I’m not talking about the big toy trains, but the serious, I-have-a-train-table-that-takes-up-half-of-my-two-car-garage kind of trains.  Also real trains.  But he had a special fascination with them.  He built said table, landscaped it, and even built and painted several of the cars he had.  They were electric and ran around the table (we wired the whole thing himself), and had tracks that could switch and a trainyard where you could drop off the cars and stuff.  We also loved playing with this when we would visit them, but he was always there to keep a watchful eye on his creation.

***Prepare for little-girl-like admiration of her daddy***
My dad can do anything.  Fix anything.  Build anything.  If my walkman wasn’t working or snagged a tape, I’d just run to my dad and he would fix it.  My mom would draw him designs for various things for the house – shelving units, entertainment centers, kitchen tables – and he would build them.  He’s run cables, put in additional outlets, fixed malfunctioning printers and computers… oh the list goes on and on.

Since we got married, Joel and I have tackled several projects at our house without the assistance of a paid professional.  I would say “on our own”, but we have had some help.  OK, we’ve had a lot of help.  We ripped out all the carpet downstairs and installed hardwood floors.  Joel’s dad helped with that one.  Well, I should say he really did most of the work.  He’s a machine.  We also repainted all of our kitchen cabinets, painted the entire downstairs (twice, because I hated the colors the first time.), and our master bathroom (also twice.  Yes, I’m that girl.).

With the baby on the way, I’ve been thinking of things that I can do to decorate the room with things I make myself.  I love to paint, so I’ve been working on this project to cover the walls in painted canvases with fun animals, scenes, or patterns on them.  That’s been a really fun project that has kind of been put on hold because of my busy wedding season (this year – April and May).  I only have time for so much, you know.  But there’s still time and I’ll get back to it.

I recently found several other projects that I would like to try – not necessarily baby-related.  I love what I do, but am excited to have a little bit more time to do fun projects.  Like these:

I would like to put these lights in somewhere in my house.  Maybe my office/studio space.  Or just make it to use for a shoot.  But with LOTS LOTS more lights.  See on Design*Sponge

I love jewelry, especially necklaces.  And I would totally wear this.  It doesn’t look that hard to make.  What do you think?

These flowers are so pretty.  I want to add them to a plain white t-shirt, or put them on a headband.  Seen on You Are My Fave

I think it would be really fun to send letters (yes, real ones) in envelopes lined with fun papers like this!  I have a whole bunch of scrapbooking papers in the attic…. hmm.  Seen on black pearl press

And I am definitely making these! Seen on Everyday Chaos

What fun projects are you working on lately?