Jul 26, 2014

Make Room For Baby

Check!  This week I wrapped up decorating the nursery (for now) and I think we're as prepped as we can be for Mr. Baby's arrival.  Everything that remains on the "to do" or "to get" list will have to wait until we meet the little fella.  Let's take a little tour of the nursery.

Come on in!

Hanging right from the door is Mr. Baby's diaper bag.  This won't be its permanent home, but right now the corner of the door at eye level means we're more likely to remember to grab it on our way to the hospital.  Steve very kindly shaved down parts of that door as well so now it opens and shuts completely and softly.  The tub full of bath time goodies and the dresser Steve's grandpa Mel built (read more about it here) have been joined by the diaper pail and two Ikea spice racks turned bookshelves.

Wonder how long it'll take before I can remember what baby things go in which drawer?

Our little changing area got some fun upgrades as well.  The mis-matched storage at the top of the closet bugs me a little, but not enough for me to make something to cover it!  This is another area that won't be dealt with until after Mr. Baby arrives, because the bins are holding newborn and 3 month sized clothes, and we're not sure he'll be small enough to wear any of them (Steve wore 6 month clothes as a newborn)!

The baby buns station.

I made some fun little orbs to hang above the changing station.  I took at 1.5" circle cutter and made short work of a bundle of paint chips (yay free materials!), folded the circles to make an equilateral triangle (once a math coach, always a math coach), used glue dots to attach all of the bits and hung them with fishing line.

Fun colors!

This little sign was made from an 18" x 24" canvas frame, leftover crib skirt fabric, and iron on letters.  Best of all, it covers our fuse box!

Cue the hormones.

Steve cleverly added hinges to the same side that the fuse box swings open on.  This means easy access when it's necessary, and we could attach them frame to the wall on the side of the fuse box rather than risk hitting wiring by hanging it from above.  We used velcro on the other side to secure it to the wall.

Steve is tricky.

We finally got a little storage ottoman for the rocker, so now it's very easy to rock- my feet barely touch the floor because we added the rocker skis!  I've loaded some fun magazines for me in elastic side pocket of the ottoman.  Tabi made the whale quilt that's on the back of the rocker.  Just like everything else she has made for Mr. Baby, it's adorable.

I don't think this is what LMFAO meant by "Party Rockin."

I elected to use all of the sweet cards I got at Mr. Baby's shower to decorate the wall behind the chair.  It's nice to look at all of those cards and think about how many people love him even though he hasn't arrived yet!  The twine and clothespins were part of a shower gift and they're held in place with some fun push-pins I ordered on Etsy.

Mr. Baby's affirmation wall?

Most of this side of the room has stayed the same.  The Pack N Play has been shifting around the room, looking for a permanent home when not in use.  And then there's the blow up air mattress my in-laws used last time they came for a visit.  We still haven't managed to walk the 30 feet to the shed to put it away.  Because we're lazy awesome.

Gotta move the air mattress to get the baby in and out of the crib.

The only other additions here are our filled-out bookshelf (thank you Paige, Anika, and Grant!!) and the video monitor we snagged for super-sale on Amazon perched in the upper left.

So many books!!

I am loving that most of the decor for this room was very inexpensive (or gifted or re-purposed), and Steve maintains that it's his favorite room in our house so far.  So at this point, I'm sticking a fork in Mr. Baby's nursery.  I'm happy enough with it, it's as functional as a person who's never been a mom before can figure to make it, and it feels like a place that I'll be happy to spend a lot of time in (even if it is in the middle of the night).  Now all it needs is a baby!

Jul 17, 2014

Mac in the Office

Fleetwood Mac, of course.

After doing a little clean up/organization overhaul on my side of the desk, I decided it needed sprucing up with a little bit of new wall bling.

Hello, my pretty.

I switched out the small mirror with the dark frame for a larger one that used to hang in our guest room.  A few coats of spray paint transformed its frame from gold to bright white.  Between the light, the mercury glass, and the mirror, that little corner of our bookshelf is nice and bright now.  As for the wall to the left, my diplomas are right where they've always been, but I removed the hanging pocket organizer which had ceased to be useful in lieu of some fun things that felt a little more in sync with my tastes now.

Me space.

I tried to keep the color palette simple and clean to tie everything together and minimize the feeling of clutter that can quickly creep in to our office.  I also wanted the art here to be things that speak to me.  Fortunately, Target had two of these pieces- the graphic Fleetwood Mac lyric (or Jason Mraz, if you'd rather) and the ode to coffee canvas.  The bird hook used to hold our pocket organizer but now is mostly just there because it's cute and I love it.  The art to the far left is simply a printable featuring a chalk design of "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."  The floating frame used to be a dark cherry color; a can of silver spray paint made it tie in with the rest of the grouping.

As long as other parts of the office were getting a lighter and brighter makeover, I decided the dogs' crate should get a little update as well.

New fluffy puppy blankets!

Seems like they are enjoying the improvements, right?  So am I!

Jul 16, 2014

Dipes, Wall Art, and Bookshelves, Oh My!

Slowly but surely the nursery is getting a little more "finished."

Although my goal in this post was to get the changing station all fixed up and ready to roll, I've really only made small changes in this corner of the room.  We finally got a changing pad and cover and attached it to the dresser.  I took the mirror from the office and spray painted it orange and hung it above the changing station to bounce some more light around in that little alcove.  I found a secondhand wipes warmer that will be great for storing cloth wipes and a cute little bin on super sale at JoAnn Fabric.  I also finally got our diaper pail set up.  This is my first simplehuman brand garbage can and I have to say that I totally love it.  It doesn't show fingerprints, has a handy feature for tucking in excess liner, and has a soft-close lid.

Almost ready for baby buns.

My favorite update in this area is something I actually had nothing to do with.  My very crafty and creative sister-in-law, Tabi, found a pattern for making cloth diapers online and last week she brought me this darling handmade basket full of 9 newborn sized cloth diapers she had made.  It kills me that they are color coordinated.

The whole kit 'n caboodle.

How cute are these??  Mr. Baby's going to be styling some cute buns, for sure.  PS, Tabi is thinking of selling cute dipes and accessories like these on etsy- I'll pass along a link once her shop opens!

"Rawr" means "I love you" in dinosaur.

On the opposite side of the room, I made a no-sew crib skirt for Mr. Baby.  I love that I got to choose my own fabrics, but I especially love that the skirt is attached to the crib frame with velcro.  This will make it really easy to take off and reattach when it needs to be washed, and it'll also make shortening the skirt as the crib gets lowered a cinch.  Plus we now have some handy hidden storage under the crib, woo!

The result of a couple hours of quality time with hem tape and an iron.

On the wall above the crib, I used some scrapbook paper and pins to create some whimsical wall art in the form of pinwheels.  I really wanted something that would have a big impact but be super-cheap.  That way I won't feel guilty if/when things need to be changed up again in this room.  The smaller pinwheels actually spin!

Handmade wall art that costs less than $5.

I spray painted some Ikea spice racks and attached them to the wall above the bookshelf.  I'm intending to use these for the books we'd like to keep in Mr. Baby's collection but not be handled without supervision, like books that have been signed by the author or are being passed down from my mom's collection.

Ready for bedtime stories!

I'm so excited that things are coming together in this room!  Makes me feel a little bit more ready to meet this little guy!

Only 3 weeks left til Mr. Baby's due date!

Jul 15, 2014

Guest Bathroom Reno: Episode 461

I cannot believe that we started our guest bathroom reno last NOVEMBER and are still not quite done.

Yes, the tub and shower are done, and that was what we originally were aiming for.  And we really like how our subway tile surround turned out.  Now we're mostly into improving the aesthetics, since we know this bathroom will now be a place used heavily by Mr. Baby and his needs.

Since the last update, a few things have happened.  I repainted the ceiling the same color as Mr. Baby's room- Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore.  Steve has begun trimming out the room and we've got floor-to-ceiling bead board on one-and-a-half walls.  I've caulked and painted the bead board that's already finished.  All of these things were planned.

So fresh and so clean clean.

We did make two unplanned improvements as well.  After helping my parents install some new toilets a few months ago, we decided to upgrade our toilet too.  Costco had awesome toilets, so we sprung for those.  The new toilet is chair-height, which means it'll be easier for our less-agile family members (which includes me at the moment!!) to get on and off the toilet easily.  It's also one piece (easy installation and cleaning), low-flow (our old toilets were not), less prone to clogging, and quiet.  Plus the sale price at Costco was about $400 less than the particular brand of toilet normally costs.  Our other unplanned improvement is still in progress.  The motor in the bathroom fan gave out.  Since the fan is loud, difficult to operate (it's on a timer switch), and moves less air than is necessary in a bathroom that size, we decided to purchase a new high-capacity fan that's much quieter, and change out the timer switch to a regular on/off switch.  Unfortunately, installing the fan will require Steve to crawl through our ceiling, so we've been waiting for Steve to finish his boss' desk and for the weather to give us a nice cool day so that he doesn't roast up there.

Less than fan-tastic.  Har!

All the rest of the updates are fun aesthetic updates that are bumping up the color factor in this room, coordinating a little better with Mr. Baby's room, and better serving the functional needs of a bathroom that will soon be used mostly by a little boy, sometimes by visitors, and occasionally for overnight guests.  I painted our mirror frame the same blue that I used on Mr. Baby's chest of drawers- Twilight Chimes by Behr.  The rugs, towels, and new soap dispenser all came from Target (which I managed to purchase on sale- yeah!).

Hello, nasty unfinished wall!

My favorite update though, was the trickiest one for me- the shower curtain.  It was easy enough to find a shower curtain liner long enough for our shower curtain rod, which is hung just below ceiling height.  I was having a terrible time finding a fabric shower curtain that would be long enough, not look cheap and junky, be easy to wash, and let a decent amount of light through.  After searching and searching and coming up empty handed, I decided to make my own shower curtain.

DIY shower curtain.

I purchased two 96" length rod-pocket curtains from Target.  The ombre effect seemed like it might be bright enough to let in decent light, and the teal color coordinated beautifully with the bath mat.  After pre-washing the curtains, I did some math- I measured the opening of the shower and the width of the two curtains, and chose to place the grommet holes about 8" apart (the grommet holes on the liner were more like 6" apart) leaving 3" of extra fabric on each end and overlapping the two grommets where the curtains would meet.  Originally I forgot about needing to overlap the grommets, which would have left me with a gap between the two curtains right in the middle- oops.  After I carefully measured, marked, and cut holes for the grommets, I used a grommet kit from Michael's to tap the grommets into place.

Please ignore the unfinished wall bits.

I love how it turned out.  The fabric is nice and light.  The color at the bottom of the curtain is saturated and matches the bath mat really well.  I didn't have to do any sewing at all.  Best of all, this little DIY project cost less than most of the 96" shower curtains I found on the interwebs- less than $5 for a grommet kit, and two curtains from Target (also purchased on sale).  Not only that, but the height of the shower curtain makes the room look taller and roomier than it is.

From this angle the bathroom looks finished!

Pretty sure I will never buy another stock shower curtain again.  :)

Jul 14, 2014

A Clearer View

I have a confession to make.  We hired out.

The seal in our kitchen window gave out last fall.  Yes, the same kitchen window we had partially replaced in October 2011 shortly after we moved in.  The broken seal wasn't effecting the window's performance too much other than a little fogginess.  And then the seal started decomposing and dripping down between the window panes.  Unfortunately, we were the only ones that knew what those gooey-looking white streaks on our window were.  To every other observer who's been to our house in the last nine months or so, it's looked like our window has been serving as a bathroom for seagulls.  Ew.

So the entire window needed replacing.

Yes, we still enjoy DIY.  Yes, this project would've been perfectly do-able for us.  Yes, hiring out is much more expensive than DIY.  However, we decided it'd be the best choice for us right now.  We remain very busy with other projects (Steve is building his boss a huge work table, our bathroom is still not entirely finished, the nursery needs a little more work), I'm hugely pregnant and wouldn't be able to assist with the window, and we really wanted to have the window replaced before we reached the hottest part of the summer.  The time and effort required on our end at this point was far greater than what professionals would need.  For us, in this case, it was worth forking the cash over to have someone else do the grunt work.

And boy did it pay off (har).  We decided to hire through our local big box store because they guarantee their work (something that the local company we went with in 2011 did not).  Despite taking about six weeks from initial consultation to finished installation, we only had people out at our house for a grand total of about two hours- an hour for initial consultation and quote, 15 minutes for the subcontractor to check the site and double-check measurements, and 45 minutes to cut out the old janky window and replace it with a shiny new window with thicker panes, a screen, and a 10 year warranty.  If we'd have done this job ourselves, we would've needed to buy some tools we didn't already have, custom-order a window, and the removal and installation process would have taken at least a full day's worth of work timed to a weekend when Steve's dad would be around to help.

All fixed!

Now that the new window's in, I can't believe we lived with it the way it was for so long.  It's so much prettier (since it doesn't look like it's been victimized by birds), and we can finally open the window for ventilation while cooking now that there's a screen on it.  I've also noticed that the contents of the sink get less hot when sun is shining in the window- because of better insulation, I'm guessing.  The best part of all is that neither Steve nor I had to take any time away from our other projects to get it done.

What do you consider when deciding to DIY or hire out?