Thursday, January 31, 2013

One Corner At a Time

Know what this face means? This face means business. This face means "I'm going to get my hands on that thing that lights up and I'm going to swallow it." Just ask his Dad. He literally ate his phone tonight. It was cute until it stopped working. 
And so the iphone obsession begins. If it wasn't my main source of quick pictures I would have a no phone around Jack rule, but then I would miss moments like this when he pulled himself up and reaches for...wait for it...MY PHONE. SIGH. Stop growing up, Jack. Stop it right now. 

I've been working on the house one corner at a time. It's evolving slowly. 

Chairs before:

This corner was quite affordable:
  • Lamp: $6.99 Goodwill
  • Lamp Shade: $15.99 Target-splurge 
  • Mirror: $5 Menards-Black Friday a few years ago
  • Chairs: Ikea purchase a few years ago
  • Pillows: $3.99 Hobby Lobby
  • Sofa Table: Hand Me Down from Mom & Dad
  • Lamp Table: Ikea $4.99
  • Fabric: $7.50 per yard-
  • Ottomans-purchased with couch 6 years ago
Still on the to do list:
  • Refinish sofa table
  • Cover ottomans
  • Hang Mirror
  • Artwork


Chalkboard frames. They're hot right now, but the price tags are a little laughable. $45, $65, $80. Over the past few months I stop at every chalkboard frame I see, but I can't bring myself to pay that asking price because deep down I know I can make it myself...


I told you we were on a recycling binge. We had a white frame in our old master with a picture of Italy. It may be a year or two before we make it to Italy so I decided to ditch the picture and recycle the frame.

Frames have these great things called backs. The project is simple. Paint the cardboard or back. Ditch the glass and hang. The chalkboard paint if from Lowes for $14 which is where I came up with $2. I probably only used about 50 cents worth.

If you're buying a new frame I'd recommend buying a frame with the wooden back, but the cardboard worked fine too. I did two coats, but I may recommend three.

Hardest part of this project: waiting for the paint to dry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

For the Uncrafty at Heart-No Sew Shower Curtain

With old homes come funny measurements. It's difficult to find the right lengths for curtains and blinds. Unless you have a few thousand extra bucks laying around for custom treatments it can be pretty frustrating...

Starting with the shower curtain.

No matter where I go they are all 70-73 inches long, but our space is more like 90 inches from rod to floor. A friend sent me a DIY shower curtain idea. Here's the problem...the DIY person spent $40 on the ingredients.

Rule #1 of DIY...if you spend more to buy the ingredients then you would pay for a pre-made one you are wasting your time and money.

So here is my take on a custom made shower curtain...for only $17.

1. Buy drop cloth at Lowes. ($9) I chose the tan for the echo friendly look.
2. Buy iron on hem tape. ($1.65)
3. Buy curtain clips-make sure they fit around your shower rod. (this is the step that saves the most money).  ($6.50)
 4. Measure length and cut excess cloth.
 5. Place hem tape along cut.
 6. And iron. This was so incredibly easy. Too easy.
 There's the new custom hem line. Looks a lot like the old hem line.
 7. Hang curtain.

8. Let the magic of steam from the shower do its trick and work out the wrinkles. 
Entire project maybe took 30 minutes. Oh, and the curtain clips work better then those stupid hooks that constantly fall off the rod. 


Monday, January 28, 2013


Today you were crawling across the floor and my brain did something a little strange. It reverted back to you being a baby unable to crawl or roll or stand or eat real food or take your socks off or take your pants off or carry a diaper (a clean one) in your mouth or do pretty much anything without the assistance from me, your mom.

Today I disappeared back to new baby land. And I must admit a tiny piece of my heart broke off. Cue the recent 10,000 pictures on facebook of brand new sweet little babies.

In two months, they tell me you won't be a "baby" anymore, but I challenge this theory. You will always be "my baby." Yes, you may no longer be sucking on pacifiers (fingers crossed) or needing me to hold your bottle or wake up with you at 3 am just so you know I'm there, I'm close. You may not be a baby by the definition of doctors, but you are my baby. You always will be.

The last week has been a little crazy, a little unpredictable, a little bit of everything really, but dang when I'm sitting there with you watching you crawl across your room thinking about where you were just a few months ago, the world feels pretty right. Can't argue with the world when it's feeling so write (yes this misspelling is intentional for all you copy editors out there).

Good night.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Edible Art and Random Thoughts

This one is going to be random. I have some catching up to do.

I had a really good lunch this week at Devour Downtown Capital Grill. Just check out this art.
In the morning when I walk into Jack's room he pops his head up, smiles at me with one eye open and then reaches his tiny little arms out to me. This is the equivalent to taking a shot of espresso. It's my happy pill. I pull him into my arms and squeeze him so tight I am still worried he may stop breathing. It is especially amazing on Saturday mornings because I know it means two full uninterrupted days with him and me exploring the world. Sunday mornings are almost as good.

My fabric arrived in the mail yesterday and I can see why crafty people become craft junkies. As I opened up the box and ran my hands over the fabric I was in awe. It was ten times more beautiful then I expected. I immediately began covering everything in my house with it as my imagination ran wild.

I get it, you crafting freaks of nature. I get it.

Jack has been awfully needy lately...needy of Kyle and me cuddle time. The house was a little cold Friday morning so the three of us pulled layers and layers of covers over us and snuggled into bed. He looked back and forth studying our faces and I just knew this was the happiest most magical place that little boy could ever be...tucked  in between the two people he loved this most. Mom & Dad.

What's that parenting style called again? Attachment parenting. Oh, yes. I'm starting to understand that too (minus the breastfeeding part).

I fall in love with this house a little more everyday. Sometimes I walk from Jack's room all the way to the basement just because I love having the extra place to go. There are so many layers to this house with the full basement and attic. I can't wait to add the outside to that layer. I have a serious obsession with the kitchen. I put the lights on different levels of dim just to stare at it before I go to bed every night. Well, done, husband. You may finally have a dinner on the table kinda wife. Wait a minute...was that your plan all along? Nice move.

I'm really really really happy. And I'm going to stay that way for I don't know...the rest of my life. Yep. I'm going to stay that way. Amazing how much joy making one little choice can bring you. Be. Happy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

91 Years Ago...

As I was getting ready Saturday night, a very strange feeling came over me. I was suddenly living in a different era. This house is 91 years old. It has lived nearly 100 years, seen several families. The walls are still strong and standing. The floor creeks from original floor boards covered by slightly newer hardwood, but not much newer.

It's like I was still me in 2013, but I felt a strong sense of nostalgia as I ran my hands over plaster walls and freshly painted trim. I scooped Jack up from his crib and I told him about these walls, that they were nearly 100 years old. I showed him his view from his room. I pointed at the yard and said he would love that yard one day. (I made a mental note to childproof triple lock those windows.)

I told him he would grow up here, that we would grow older here. That the owner before us lived here for 37 years and maybe we would live here that long too. I told him that maybe one day he would have another brother or sister here. I told him we could walk to his new school just a few blocks north...that I too grew up in the middle of the city in a really old house. That I could walk everywhere and I never quite appreciated it because all I wanted was to be able to drive like my friends.

I told him to appreciate it. To take walks. To keep his eyes open and see things. Don't move to fast. Don't miss it. Take it in, but don't trust strangers. Be aware. Be safe, but not paranoid. I asked him if he was understanding what I was saying and I swear he nodded. He nodded.

I love everything about this house...the cracks in the walls, the chips in the floors, the ways the registers sometimes fall out of the walls because we have yet to secure them after construction. I love her natural beauty and her even more natural flaws. It's like it was built for me in 1922.

That's when you know it's right.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Half Off Curtains

It doesn't matter where you live, one thing is mandatory: window treatments. We've been surviving without them, but we really need them.

Today on I saw a deal $25 for $50 of home decor from Great name for a website. Everyone wants to think they are a designer. So I checked it out and actually found window treatments I liked for $25.99 a panel so basically with the living social deal it was pretty close to buy one get one free. With two separate living social accounts, I scored 4 panels for $54. They will look great in the sun room or living room. 

We're trying to keep things light and bright and airy with pops of color accomplished by accessories. I've always loved horizontal stripes, but never been able to find curtains with horizontal stripes. I'd call this buy a major win. I finally have my stripes. 

The Moment Has Arrived

I've always wondered how I would react the first time another kid messed with Jack. Would I stay calm? Would I confront the other parent? Would I confront the kid directly and privately and have a little chat that I would never want anyone else to witness? What would I do?

The moment has arrived. 

My little two days shy of a 10-month-old was playing when a little girl walked up and hit him on the head...with a toy hammer. I know, I know, these things happen, but she broke skin. She made him bleed. He had a band aid on his forehead when I arrived. The wound is small. It's maybe a quarter of an inch. It's tiny. It's nothing to be alarmed about or to call the doctor about. It's a small wound.

And the little girl, she's a sweet girl, she's a "help me bundle up Jack to take him home every night kind of girl." I'm sure this was all a misunderstanding. She didn't mean to hit a defenseless baby on the forehead. 


Truth is, I have secretly rehearsed the conversation I want to have with that little girl tomorrow when I pick him up. Truth is, it's a stern conversation. It's a "I'm not messing around" conversation. The words running through my head aren't very kind because every protective bone in my body is on high alert. 

But I'm reminded as a parent we simply can't always be there to shelter them. Once again I am tested in letting go. An unfortunate situation happened to my sweet little boy. And I won't always be there to confront the other kid. I won't always be there to protect him. And he will cry, and he may want me, but in the end he will be just fine.

So how will I react tomorrow when I see that little girl? I will forgive her because that's exactly what I would want Jack to do. 

But, no. I'm not going outta my way to be nice to that little girl ever ever again. And that's what I would expect out of Jack too. Be kind until someone abuses that kindness. 

And then throw rocks at them. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recycle, Reuse, Reuse

After a kitchen renovation and two bathrooms, my "Decorating Budget" is a little on the dry side. So I'm on a mission to reuse starting with my throw pillows. I have a bit of an obsession with throw pillows. If I see a pretty throw pillow I  stop dead in my tracks. And then I remind myself I have 20 pretty throw pillows and they need love too so I refrain.

The new house is awesome. It really is. I'll get into that later, but it's lacking color. After much debateI did something a little out of character today. Instead of buying new pillows, I bought fabric to make no sew pillow covers. This could get pretty interesting. I'm somewhat artistic, but I'm not very patient which is why I'm trying the no sew technique.

This is the fabric I chose:

Then I did something really crazy and decided to buy this fabric to try to make a no sew ottoman slip cover. We have four awesome ottomans, but the pattern is painfully boring. We'll see how it goes. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

This is the Beginning of Something Great

So this thing happened. We packed up the old house and we moved into the new house. After a few times of rearranging the living room furniture, we have it right. It feels like...what's the word for it...oh, yes.

It feels like home.

The smile has been plastered to my face since Friday. Best part? I can see the stars from the master bedroom window while I'm laying down. We're in the middle of the city and I can see the stars.

And I was worried about Jack adjusting. He woke up Saturday morning beaming. He began sprint crawling around his room which is rather large compared to his old humble abode. I'm sure a few new (Christmas) toys helped a little. But he seriously loves it here.

It's the dogs who have surprised me. It's like they are just waiting for me to take them home (the old home) which I may do just to appease them. Myles came inside the new house and went straight to the basement which he loved because it's cool. Johnny has just been prancing around or reclaiming his corner of the couch. The fenced in part of the yard is a fraction of the size of their old yard so that probably doesn't help much, but they'll adjust. They always do.

Speaking of dogs, I've seen about 1,700 since we moved here. It's a very active area which I love. I simply cannot wait for spring. And the people. They are so friendly. I barely had the car parked when our neighbor walked over with a tray of appetizers.

Here are pics taken late on move in day.

 Jack really excited the night before moving day.
 Old empty house.
 Awesome closet moving boxes. Highly recommend.
 There she is.
 It looks so big and empty.
 Florida oranges from the best Gram in the universe.
 And my Grandpa's antique table he refinished paired with some modern chairs.
 Check out that detail.

 Nook will be a great place to feed Mr.
 As you can see, Myles won't leave my side.

 Beverage center gets a work out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Our Last Night Here

This house is quieter than normal. It's calmer. The bass from the car that drove by rattles the windows. I welcome the sound. I invite it in to preoccupy my mind. This house is awfully quiet and calm. Perhaps it's because it's our last night here.

The boxes are stacked in the garage and the furniture is waiting to leap into the moving truck (if only it could actually leap). This is our last night in this house and I'm a little sad.

I'm sad because this master bedroom reminds me of the time I went to visit my mom who was recovering from a surgery to remove a tumor on her spine. I stayed in the hospital with her and got very little sleep. When I got home, I walked upstairs to unpack my bags and go to bed. I opened the door to the bedroom and what I saw brought me to tears. Kyle had redone the master bedroom and the bathroom with crown molding and a chair rail and beautiful chair rail accents. He worked around the clock so he would have it done by the time I got home. He later told me he wanted me to have a calm place to go to relax and put my worried mind at ease. I cried the better portion of that night out of exhaustion and complete contentment.

I'm sad because when I was pregnant I spent hours planning the nursery. Picking the colors and deciding the feel of it. Hours were spent making small decisions for a 10x10 space. Hours. And we brought you home from the hospital to that nursery. It's a very special room even if you constantly hit your head on the dresser because it's so small.

I'm sad because that guest bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in the house...the way the light fills the space during the day. I photographed you in that room from when you were a baby because of the way the light looked on you. I love that room.

I'm sad about the backyard. And the front yard and my garden. And the porch. And the neighbors. I'm really really really going to miss the neighbors. They are such incredible people.

But change is good. It challenges us. It reminds us of what really matters...people. Family. Change is good. And now the doors are open for another family to love and laugh and live in this home. I'm not sad about that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Sunset

Tonight we watched the sunset. Shades of pink and yellow and orange and purple ate the sky. I told you I have always loved sunsets because I like how the darkness swallows the world in one swift gulp. I like being tucked away under my blanket as the blackness shines through the windows.
I like the dark. I think more clearly in the dark.

I told you maybe it could be our thing...the sunsets. Maybe we could count on watching them together like some families count on eating dinner together every night. Maybe our thing could be the sunset. You seemed agreeable to this idea.

I told you about the places we could go and watch the Florida to visit Grandma and Grandpa who would one day live there full time. And California...because the sunsets there are unlike any I have seen. Or maybe just maybe we could see the sunset in Italy one day.

The sunset...maybe that can be our thing and one day when you grow up and leave our home you can watch the sunset and think of me, your mom who loved the sunset.
Maybe that can be our thing.