Friday, December 31, 2010

Au revoir 2010

I can't believe this year will be over in a little more than 2 hours. It's been a momentus year: we moved out of our apartment that we had live in for 5.5 years, found our first home and proceeded with the build process, moved in with the in laws until our house was done (I lived on my sister in law's couch so I wouldn't have to commute during the week and then went back to the parent in law's house to see the hubby on the weekends), became brave enough to give my injections every night without an auto injector, moved into our house (April), in May we found we were expecting our first baby, hosted our first party in our new house, hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new house (24 people!) and learned how to cook a Turkey, and hosted our first family Christmas Eve in a decked our house! Although this year was huge in every way, I think it's only fitting that next year be even bigger! We waited a long time to get a house, but I guess we couldn't put off having offspring too much longer.

I'm not even making resolutions for the new year just because I don't know what the new year will hold. I'd like to think we'll be the same simple, uberrealistic people we've always been and not so into our kiddo that we forget just how we started.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas craft to do: cone trees


Katie over at BowerPower has a cute, easy, and cheap craft: cone trees. I'm in love with some of the cone trees I've seen this year, including a $15 mirrored version at Target. (You can't even purchase them online anymore because they're out of stock. Do you know how tempting it is to go see if they're still there and snag them because they're so popular?!) I'm too much of cheap to buy it though. Instead I'm going to try making my own versions with yarn and Christmas card stock.

Glittery mantel

I couldn't wait to decorate the mantel this year. Unfortunately, work and other projects prevented me from finishing it until this week. I had purchased a $9 pre-lit garland from Target and during last year's after-Christmas sales, I had picked up two pre-lit 3ft. container Christmas trees for $25/apiece at Jo-Ann's. I set one on the mantel and the other outside. These were my foundation pieces besides the afore mentioned Keep Calm print and my hurricane.

My other purchases included a glittery Believe sign I picked up in Hermann, Missouri during our anniversary trip, a set of 50 gold shatter-proof ornaments for $15 from Target, 4 gold and 4 silver glittery snowflakes for $1 a package, and probably my most favorite finds for the mantel: a jingle bell G and one gold and one silver birdie (you know my thing with birds), which I picked up for less than $6 at Michael's. I repurposed some items I already had on hand, including little red glass balls, a Santa teapot that was my Mom's (I liked having a piece of her up there since it was her dream as well to fireplace), and the star in the corner is actually our tree topper that this preggo didn't like on her tree this year.

I loved how the mantel turned out for my first mantel. And in the process, it shook open some decorating vein in me! I want to decorate everything now. And repaint, but let's not tell my husband that!

I give you what my mantel looked like before:



And here's the Christmas after:










Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An exercise in staying calm



A couple posts ago, I told you how I was planning on having a print made of Craftily Ever After's Keep Calm and Merry On sign. Well, I did. And I had planned to slide it right into the frame Capricious gifted me with that held the Keep Calm and Gobble On (Just typing that makes me laugh) version she had made for me. What I didn't realize is that Miss Capricious is one fancy, detail-oriented lady (OK, I did realize this because she's my sister and usually it drives me nuts). Not only was her print an 11x16, she had had it printed on poster board.



It wasn't until I got to Costco and was waiting to check out that I realized there was no way my 8x10 was the same size. It was tiny in comparison. And glossy, like a Polaroid picture! Drats! I drove home determined to make it work. For one thing, the 8x10 print only cost me $1.70. Who can beat that? For another, I hate hate hate standing in line at Costco. (Seriously: How do Costco lovers do it? The deal just doesn't seem worth the chaos. Am I missing something?)



But never fear, because Capricious is here. The woman is like Super Woman. She once dawned a cape in college (I have a picture to prove it), and it's something I think she should wear everyday. When I told her what I did and how it wouldn't look as fantastic as her print because of the size, her answer was simple: Do a wrapping paper background. It'll make it pop even more.



Turns out I didn't have some fantastic wrapping paper that would complement that burgundy, almost brown of the print. But not all was lost: I happened to have a giant book of Christmas scrapbook paper with that very color. After holding up a few pieces and consulting you know who, a new sign was born and salvaged. And I just did as the poster said: Keep Calm and Merry On. The end result is fun and adds a bit of funky to my otherwise elegant mantel. I added a glittery snowflake to the top that I found at Target, four for $1. Love me some glitter this Christmas!

P.S.: Sorry for the crappy quality of pictures. My camera, an Olympus Stylus 710, is a sorry excuse for a camera. Next month we plan on purchasing a DSLR, just in time to record those monumental moments with the bambino. Until then, I'm keeping calm and snapping on.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Free art for the nursery



I decided to try my hand at designing a poster for the nursery. Ever since I saw this saying on another blog (it escapes where I saw it now), I knew I wanted it in my son's room. So I whipped one up last night while the hubby was watch Fantastic Mr. Fox. Now I just need to get it printed and to buy a frame. I love that I created something for free, and I'm sure I can find a frame for less than $30 and to get this bad boy printed on poster board at Costco costs around $10.

Feel free to print your own. I have it designed for up to a 11x16 print. Who doesn't love free?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On order


Tomorrow I pick up my Keep Calm and Merry On poster that will be the center piece to my mantel decor for Christmas. I'm so excited how my mantel is shaping up! Get your free download from Craftily Ever After.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I suck

House and home have unfortunately been put on the back burner while I put out wild fires all over work. You'd think my company would be smart enough not to give the hormonal pregnant woman work that makes horns sprout from her head, or at least not plan some crazy ass move that consolidates four floors into two floors all to save a few bucks since out of the 20 offices or so belonging to the company, we have the cheapest rent (and the cheapest cost of living and salary). So like I've said, I've been busy. So busy that Jonathan has been cooking all my meals and doing the dishes. Yeah, that busy. And that hormonal. Underneath this mask of normal is scary. I'd be happy to give you a preview sometime.

But now I'm looking at a week off and I'm hoping to accomplish all kinds of things: decorating my mantel for Christmas, Christmas shopping that I haven't even started, putting together the crib and moving other furniture into the baby's room, baking (hoping to back some ginger snaps and go to all my neighbors in our cul de sac crew), knitting, and of course some yoga.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Keep calm


As a thank you for hosting Thanksgiving, my sister gifted me with a framed print of Craftily Ever After's "Keep Calm and Gobble On." How sweet and awesome is that? I plan on replacing the print every season as appropriate. For Christmas, I'm going to print out the "Keep Calm and Merry On" version and hang it over my mantel. I think it'll be a perfect motto since I tend to hang on the edge with the surge of pregnancy hormones. Be sure to get your own print. It's free!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Decorating frustration

I don't get it. I don't get it at all. How does a person pull off decorating that looks polished and finished. I'm still in the throes of holiday decorating. And as excited as I was about decorating the mantel, I honestly have to say I have no idea how to do it. And I really don't want to spend money on the project. It makes me a little bah humbug.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hung by the chimney


When we bought our house, the fireplace was optional. We actually forked over some dough to have one put into our floor plan. It's a decision I'll never regret! I mean, how else is Santa getting in? And this year, I get to do what I've always dreamed of: decorate a mantel. I haven't quite decided how I'm going to deck it out, but I do know that the mister and I (and eventually the bambino) need new stockings—preferably one without a giant 49ers bear in a football helmet. Problem is, I can't find any I like—even on the craft mothership Etsy. I have, however, found some cute Christmas fabric, but I'm not sure I trust my instincts enough to buy fabric for something that will last this family years to come. I can't do too trendy, but I'm really digging this Riley Blake fabric. Thoughts? Too trendy? Not Christmasy enough? Should I go more Pottery Barn classic?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin belly


Happiest belated Thanksgiving! Our Thanksgiving was full—full stomachs, full house, full chaos and fun! We hosted my family: Dad, Tami, Joey, Tim, Toni, Jenna, Recca, Bruce, Kalin, LB, Jon, Stacey, Tabytha, Victoria, Jamie, Chance, Andy, AJ, and Abby (and breathe), and Jonathan's family: Pat, Al, Breanna, Chip, and Raylene.

It was fun to have everyone in the house and to see my family, which I don't see nearly as often as I would like. I love them to death, and it was especially fun to have our two families mingle and eat, and then party!

We had a small family (OK, maybe not so small when you consider the size of my immediate family) baby shower. Chewy received lots of beautiful, thoughtful, and many practical gifts. We're so thankful to share this time with our families. And now Jonathan has to get cracking on the baby's room. He took a look at the calendar today and realized that December is going to be one busy month and the count down is ON!

Now how cute is this picture my sister took? Pumpkin bellies. Only I get my pumpkin in February and he doesn't rot (unless you count his forthcoming diaper changes).

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm so thankful

I just had the world's great and most centering prenatal massage. My first massage experience last year was awful. I drove home crying. It might have been because I went to massage chain Massage Envy. The woman wasn't at all centering or relaxing, and the lotion she used on me didn't smell good and felt gross afterward. Even the rooms are devoid of any decoration or color. This time around I wasn't making the same mistake. I got a recommendation from a friend and it made all the difference in the world. If anyone asks, I want a massage for my birthday—or even before Chewy comes.

The experience left me on Cloud 9 and it made me reflect on how gifted this therapist is. Truly a gentle soul that doesn't grapple with trying to push life into her mold, rather she makes a garden out of what she's been given. (And she really does garden.)

My family is full of beautiful people like this, and they deserve a little shout out to know how special I think each and everyone of them are. And how I can't imagine my life without them. I'm so thankful for my family and all the unique personalities. Thanks for being you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anniversary and babymoon: St. Louis and Hermann, Mo.

This year, for a combination 4th wedding anniversary/babymoon, we went spent a day in our beloved Hermann, Missouri and then we ventured east to St. Louis.

Hermann provided us the opportunity to visit the places we truly loved last time we were there: The Secret Vine bed and breakfast, Montague's BBQ, Time for Pie pie and coffee shop, Back Home Again store (amazing pumpkin butter), and The Chocolate Box chocolatier.

Before we knew it, it was time to pack our bags and head east on 94 highway. (Note: If you're looking for a getaway to the Missouri wine country, pack Dramamine. The drive is really beautiful but so windy that I wondered many times if we were going to have to pull over for me to leave an offering of sorts.)

I left where we were staying in St. Louis to the husband, so when we arrived at Lafayette Square and were surrounded by row house after beautiful row house, I said to him, "I wish we could go inside one." Which is when he revealed that we were in fact. Oh be still my heart. Napoleon's Retreat bed and breakfast is hands down the best bed and breakfast I've ever stayed in. We had the garden suite that was off the back of the house overlooking a small garden and courtyard. The theme of the room was sage green—the walls, the bedding, the accent pieces. The best part was this modern, crisp white bathroom with a whirlpool tub. It was such a slice of heaven! And we got to stay there for two days!






The innkeepers, Michael and Jeff, made a delicious breakfast each morning that was served in the dining room. The first day was quiche, fruit salad, and this raspberry cinnamon crunch thing. I couldn't clean my plate I was so stuffed. Then today, we were served a cinnamon poached pear, blueberry pancakes, an orange slice, and bacon. Mmm. I think I came home a few pounds heavier—or at least I hope; gotta pack on pounds for my little boy.




Each night we ate at one of the restaurants in the square. It gave us a chance to walk around the neighborhood and see more of the painted ladies. The first night we ate at SqWires. They play live music every night, and it's a pretty crowded and bustling place housed in an old warehouse. I chose the fish tacos and Jonathan had the fish boil. Neither of us were impressed enough to truly recommend what we ate, and unfortunately, our waiter left a lot to be desired in the service. The next night we ate at Ricardo's Italian Cafe, which we preferred over SqWires. The place was smaller and quieter. I had the half portion of Cavatelli Broccoli, and it hit the spot. I actually ate way too much and ended up getting indigestion. Jonathan had the shrimp scampi, which wasn't soaked in butter but instead seemed to be baked with parmasean cheese.





We didn't have a lot of time to spend sight seeing, so we stuck to only a couple things we really wanted to see: the St. Louis Botanical Gardens and the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica. We spent more than 2.5 hours at the gardens and probably could have stayed longer if it weren't for the fact that we were both tired and I'm pregnant. I can't only take so much walking! The highlights of the gardens were feeding the coy fish who you could practically pet they were so eager to be fed and Climatron, a dome structure built in the 1960s and mimics rain-forest-like conditions. I had a good laugh at the name. It's so retro future. The flower, plants, and trees were unbelievable. The only thought I did have was that the unit keeping the dome at the right temperature to sustain the right environment is so loud that it has to cost big bucks to run that thing and it probably consumes an outrageous amount of energy. The gardens do get bonus eco points from me for composting their onsite restaurant remains and growing a vegetable garden. It does cost $8 per an adult to get inside the gardens, but considering the amount of time we spent inside, it was well worth the expense. Plus, it was a gorgeous day to be outside.




We only took a quick look around the basilica since we had missed museum hours, but even going on your own is a treat. I felt like I was in Europe without leaving the States. The mosaics are mind-blowing and opulent. Some of them were even done by Tiffany and Co. I left there thinking how religion used to use (and still does to some degree) its money to create believers, suppress people, and push its own political agenda. I definitely felt like I walked back in time.

It was nice to get away for a long weekend. I thought I would be said to think of this trip as my last for awhile until Chewy is older, but I was eager and even happier once we got home. But maybe that has something to do with the fact that I'll I thought about all weekend was work and it put a damper on my long-awaited vacation, but that's another conversation that's primarily going to stay in my head.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Narrowing down the buffet


The dining room area is still in need of a buffet, and finding the perfect one is, well, it's perfect so of course it's gonna be hard. Every now and then I peek around online to see if anything new has turned up that fits our budget and has both drawers and shelves. In the drawers, I'd like to store our current can't-stick-in-the-dishwasher silverware. It's a pretty set, but it's a pain the hiney to have hand-wash them every week. And with a baby on the way, I think replacing that set for a cheap set that can go quickly be washed in the dishwasher will save me some time and sanity. I need the shelves to store my rather extensive platter and serving bowl collection. I do love me some Pampered Chef!

Here's what I found in my latest scavenger hunt. I would rather the wine glass area be another drawer, but I think I could put a basket in that area since I don't think the hooks could hold all my wine glasses. And they have a happy home in my cabinets anyways.

The plus is that the look matches my new dining room table, and should I ever get tired of the color, I think it could be changed up a bit with a coat of paint. And for $365, it's not as pricey as some of the other options I've looked at.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Love me a hoho


Capricious also sent sent the baby a hoho. Love these crazy little creatures made by Little Bit Funky. Spoiled baby.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Boo!

Look what I got in the mail, handmade with care by Capricious. I still have some other pieces to buy to Halloweenofy the mantel! Can't wait!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I've lost my edge

Something happened when I got pregnant. The world seemed to stop as I know it. There's been almost no yoga, no house gushing and decorating, and minimal socializing. Now I'm just deciding what I want this blog to be and what I want to say in it. I have projects in my head that I so want to complete, but I have niether the money (kids are expensive) or the talent. I think the baby has sucked up my creativity. Here's on my to-do list nonetheless, should the inclination return:

1. Buy an area for the great room (I love calling it a great room. So much more greater to say, don't you think?)
2. Buy a sideboard for the dining room.
3. Buy a console table for the foyer.
4. Buy an ottoman for the great room.
5. Buy some fall decorations!
6. Buy some sort of structure to go around the egress window well so wildlife quit falling in and dying.
7. Organize the chaos that is the office.
8. NURSERY!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chirping salt & pepper shakers


Check out these cute robin salt and pepper shakers from Z Gallerie. And only $10. I just might have to go snag these little guys because I heart me some bird decor.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baby's out of the bag

Why have I been a blog slacker? I've been busy growing a little human. But I'm feeling better and house projects and life in general can resume so I can have more blog fodder and my sister can stop harassing me. For a peek in the womb-growing business, check out my other blog, Motherhoodasana.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tweet tweet from the mantel

One of the many things I love about my sister Chance is her generosity. When she was visiting, she and her little family went up to Atchison, Kansas for the day. But look what she got me at Nell Hill's! A bird for my mantel. Just what I've been wanting!




The mantel is still a work in progress, so don't be too upset I'm not showing the entire thing.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Taming of the shrew: Home edition

We have a new friend. His name is Vinny. His past residence: our egress window well. His occupation: whatever shrews do.

One of my favorite things is to look into our oh so deep and wide window well to see what animals might fallen in. So far, we've had Larry the frog and Quincy the baby snapping turtle. When I saw Vinny, I first I thought he was a mole. But upon further research, we discovered he's a shrew.





And although I gave him the moniker Vinny with all the tender loving care of a mama, Jonathan liked calling him something that rhymed with Ducker. Our house is colorful to say the least. You see, Vinny wasn't necessarily doing anything down in that pit of ours. I was more concerned the thing was going to dig his way to the bottom and starve to death in his attempt to escape. And at first, we weren't even certain he was alive, but with a little nudge from a long pole, he scampered around. It's ALIVE! I was actually pretty excited about the creature, and me being me tried to get it to move around bit more by throwing a weed at it. Oh, my bad. The thing just raced to the side of the wall and jumped up into our siding. Christening him Ducker from Jonathan. It wasn't until then that we researched what he was to find out exactly what we need to do to get rid of him. That is if he came out of his hidey hole.



He eventually did come out, and the meantime we let him be while we trekked to Home Depot to get a live trap. The trap turned out to be unnecessary since the trap was for a mouse and shrews, once Jonathan got a closer look at him, are a little bigger. Plan B: find a box. It was now dark outside, so armed with a flashlight, we coaxed him on the lid of the box—once he quit playing like he was a rock! Then we walked across the street to the woods by our house and Jonathan launched him into the woods. Farewell Vinny!



Now we're making plans to prevent animals and humans from falling in. We really don't aspire to play Noah.

If this isn't cute

I don't know what is. Unearthing myself and my camera. I didn't take hardly any pictures while my sister was here visiting, but apparently I got enough or a couple picture that will steal your heart. Here's Abby. Isn't she a doll? She's at her favorite spot in my house: at the bar eating.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

I made a curtain, part four: Big reveal!

Okay, okay. This is a loooonnnnggg time coming. What does that sidelight look like all dressed up and places to go? Here she is. Jonathan looks at it every week and says that I did an amazing job. Him saying that makes all my anxiety worth it.










Now we can walk around naked. If we want.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I made a curtain, part three



Deep breaths. I made the first cut. Into designer crazy amazing upholstery. And I had a plan. I would take a 30in. wide segment of fabric and then cut that in half again to fit the 14in. wide sidelight, covering the window so that the inside and the outside of the curtain was the same. This is a tall window that's highly visible to visitors as they walk up to the porch, so I wanted the pattern to be visible from the outside too. That was the final plan, but it took some getting there.



Initially I thought I would take a 30in. segment of the fabric for each side of the curtain, allowing for gathers. But once I started working with the fabric and the Heat N Bond, I realized that gathering the fabric would actually cover up the really cool oval design. When you pay $17/yard for fabric, you don't want to block the design. I also learned that although Heat N Bond is a really easy way to get around sewing, it wasn't going to hold everything on this thick fabric. Altering my plan actually made it easier to execute.



Once I had cut down my panels to size, I heated up my iron and got to work. I left room on the width to fold in the sides half an inch, and it turns out the pattern provided an excellent measuring tool in how far this would be: each oval was just folded in half. Neat and tidy. Once I had ironed down the Head N Bond tape to the backside of the fabric, it was peel and stick time.

Okay, it actually wasn't that easy, and this was my first time working with the stuff, so I enlisted Jonathan help in this step. While I ironed, he went ahead of me folding down the edge of fabric about to be ironed. This prevented me from having to stop and do it myself and keep the edges neatly folded. The first panel went without a hitch. It was on the second panel I ran into problems.

Apparently Heat N Bond can be temperature sensitive. You don't want to get your iron too hot, and alternatively, you don't want it too low. So I had couple inch sections here and there that didn't want to stay down. Once I researched the problem online, I made sure my iron was turned down.

Panels done, I got to the final part of my plan. Some actually sewing. I need to sew the two panels together so they could fit around the tension rods. Remembering my grade school sewing days, I faced the two panels together with the backside facing out, and marked 2.5in. in from the top. Because I still wasn't want to even sew that much, I did single stitches every inch or sew. Sewn, signed, and delivered, or more like, sewn, flipped right side out, and tension rods placed, it was time to give my foyer it's privacy curtain...

Master bedroom: art

I don't own a lot of art, but I do own a lot of our wedding pictures (four years this October! Where did time go?). Including these two pictures that my photographer had matted for me. I used frames I already had. In our old apartment, I had these hanging in different locations, but I wanted to use them together in our new master. To figure out the layout, I laid them out on the floor first. Here's how it turned out on the wall. Noticed the wall color! This collage still needs a little something...