Saturday, January 29, 2011

Who says...

Having a dog doesn't prepare you for parenthood? 

Big dumb daddy stepped on his little toe :( He's expected to make a full recovery from his busted little chicken leg. 

PS - Don't mind his privates, he's not shy about that kind of stuff. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

DIY Nursery Wall Letters

To add more color to the nursery and incorporate some of the fabric from the rocking chair, I decided to create an art mural to go above Baby Z's crib. I didn't want to spend tons of money in the process (the plethora of things we'll need once she's here has proven debilitating enough), but I still wanted it to be creative and original. So I came up with some art projects to form a fun mural for baby Z to stare at while she wonders why I'm taking so long with that bottle.

The first project is creating wall letters with her initials. Some people choose to paint wooden letters but this option was much easier and faster for me. It also lets you use cute scrapbook paper.

*Excuse the crappy photo, as I haven't put the letters up yet. I want to finish the other art pieces before I hang anything so I can give the mural arrangement some serious thought.

You'll need:

- Wooden letters
- Scrapbook paper
- Scissors
- Mod Podge
- Paint Brushes
- Paint (I used Americana Acrylic Paint)

I suggest bringing along fabric or paint samples when you pick the scrapbook paper. You don't want everything to be "matchy-matchy" but you don't want a cluster of unmatched eyesores on the wall either.

Start off by painting the sides of the wooden letters, since those won't be covered with the scrapbook paper.

 Yes, I went overboard and painted the whole dang letter. Just be careful that the paint doesn't drip, it'll cause your letters to get stuck to the newspaper and create a big fat mess.

Next, flip the wooden letters over and trace them on the back of the scrapbook paper. Remember that story I told you about the newspaper getting stuck? Well this here would be a prime example.

After you cut out the traced letter, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on the front of the wooden letter.

Carefully place the scrapbook paper on top of the letter, making sure all parts are covered. Let this sit for about 15 minutes.

If you notice any air bubbles and cannot get them smoothed out, don't fret. I noticed several air bubbles in mine when I used the thinner scrapbook paper (not the card stock textured kind). Somehow they disappeared after drying. This could be a total fluke, but give it at least some time to dry before you decide to start over.  

Apply 2-3 layers of Mod Podge over the scrapbook paper. Allow 15 minutes of drying time in between each layer application. You can apply Mod Podge on the sides of the letters too, just be sure that the Mod Podge does not clump up in any corners.

You can't see it incredibly well from this photo, but this is what it looks like while it dries:

Simple and cheap. I now have an obsession with Mod Podge - and this blog certainly doesn't help.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My latest find...

At the thrift store.

Grease splatter spots aside, he's pretty awesome.

He even has a little butt!

He'll go perfectly with my growing collection of roosters in the kitchen.

And about $5 and some spray paint later...

He's all like "Stand on your kitchen shelf? Don't mind if I do!"

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Great Rug Debate

You would think that choosing a rug for the nursery would be a simple task. Instead, it turned into a hormone induced tantrum at Ikea, hours spent surfing the internet for options that would only be turned down, and pure frustration. We simply could not settle on a rug. 

Enter my friend Jackson and her brilliant idea (and know-how) to Photoshop rug options on a picture of the nursery. After some magic wand action, some morphing, and multiple layers, we mocked up over 20 pictures with rug options. Then I sent an email to the husband and prayed that he would accept at least one. 

Here were the final contenders:

Seeing each rug in the room definitely helped to make a final decision. Some rugs were awesome and original, but just didn't work with the room. A lot of the rugs would have forced us to take big gambles with the shades of green and blue. 

Option 1: A great rug. But the green may be too light and clash with the bright green in the nursery. I also worried about the ivory base not meshing well with the white furniture. 

Option 2: Very basic, but a great color. This was a pretty safe bet.

Option 3: Had the green, yellow, white, and blue that we'll be incorporating throughout the rest of the nursery. I also liked that it added a bit of a girly aspect to the room, without being too flashy. 

We ended up going with Option 3. For $132.99, I was pretty happy with the decision. When the rug arrives, if we find that we really don't like it in the room or the colors don't work, we can always fall back on Option 2. 

Now we keep our fingers crossed in hopes that the Photoshop pictures are as accurate as the real thing! 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slowly but surely...

The nursery is starting to come together. It's still missing tons, but at least it's clean and ready to be filled with fun stuff.

The best part of the nursery so far is the awesome rocking chair my mom helped upcycle for us.

We scored the rocking chair at Salvation Army for $25. I could kick myself for not taking a "before" picture. Basically it looked like this but with stains:  

My mom completely repainted it and recovered both pillows. She's pretty amazing.

I'm completely in love with the fabric :)

Now begins THE GREAT RUG DEBATE. There are way too many good options and my husband and I cannot compromise. We'll have to photoshop some options in - more on that later.

Friday, January 14, 2011

DIY Baby Book

I'm not much of a scrapbooker. All my photos are either framed or lying in a bin dying to be organized and used. That being said, it would break my heart to let baby Z's first ultrasound pictures collect dust somewhere in the basement. Plus, I wanted to document how much pain and discomfort joy and blessings she brought me throughout the pregnancy.

Note: I don't honestly believe that my unborn child brings me pain and discomfort. I'm just bitter about slowly morphing into that giant orb in the room that can't walk to the bathroom without knocking stuff off the counter in the process.

I got this idea from Young House Love (again, because they're awesome). Here are the basics:
  • You'll need a photo album, scrapbook paper, and a computer/printer
  • YGL has a print-ready PDF and an editable Word version of the printed prompts that you typically see in baby books
  • Cut the captions out and arrange them in your photo album

I made my own printed prompts in Photoshop so I could add quirky details like "Baby's first fart" since I clearly aim to embarrass her when she turns 15. I cut the prints out with a pair of scalloped scissors and used double sided tape to attach them to the scrapbook paper.

Cost less than $15 and took 30 minutes to make. Not too shabby.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Potato Cauliflower Bake

A great way to prepare the homely vegetable that is cauliflower. A creamy, cheesy bake that's filling enough to be served as the main dish.

Potato Cauliflower Bake

6 large eggs
head of cauliflower (cut into small pieces)
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
6-7 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into small pieces)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups nonfat milk
salt and pepper to taste
nutmeg to taste

Hard boil the eggs. Cool and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Cook the cauliflower until crisp and tender (I steam my vegetables using one of these, but you can boil them as well).

Cook the potatoes until a fork can be inserted into them without resistance.

Begin the bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. When the butter starts to "foam", add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. In a separate saucepan, scald the milk. Place the butter and flour mixture over medium low heat. Add all of the hot milk to the butter and flour mixture, stirring continuously. Stir mixture over low heat until sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes.

Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Peel the eggs. Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Place the cauliflower, potatoes, and eggs in a 11" x 15" oven dish. Top with bechamel sauce, covering as much of the cauliflower and potatoes as possible. Top with grated Swiss cheese. 

Cook until cheese has browned, about 20-25 minutes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Does Your Fridge Look Like This?

Mine does and it drives me insane. It's the first thing you see when you walk into our kitchen and it reminds me of a dorm room. Lists, budgets, magnets - it's too much.

So...I took a pointer from the lovely couple at Young House Love and decluttered my fridge in less than 30 minutes.

You'll need cork squares. You can find these pretty much anywhere office supplies are sold (I got mine at Michael's). These bad boys even came with self adhesive squares:

Pick a cabinet to house your cork boards. I chose our bowls & plates cabinet because it's definitely the one cabinet we open every day. You can put your cork boards up any way you like. I only had room for two and had to cut the top one a bit, since our cabinets aren't very long.

Originally I was going to use magnetic strips to hang the $1 list pad I got at Michael's but, I ran into numerous problems. The magnetic strip wouldn't stick to the cork surface, glue didn't help, and the list pad was too heavy to stay up. I ended up separating the list pad into 3 parts and just pining one part up.

A great project for under $10! Best of all, I still have two cork boards left to use elsewhere. This will make a great place to put emergency contact information for future babysitters.

For the absolute must-have-hanging objects, you can use adhesive hooks. I put the adorable calendar my sister-in-law sent us on the side of the fridge: