Friday, November 21, 2014

Arrow Tail Quilt

Long time no see!  Did I ever underestimate how much free time I'd have with a baby or what?!  It took me months to finish this quilt, but I think that the final result is worth it.  I first saw this quilt on Sing All You Want.  My friend was having a baby and requested some home-made quilts, and I had been wanting to try something a little different.  I'm not going to reinvent the wheel and post a tutorial (let's face it, I don't have time anyway haha)…Laurel over at Sing All You Want does a fantastic job with that, so check it out here.

I had a lot of fun picking out fabric choices at Joann Fabrics.  It took a few trips to the store to make my final selections, but I'm thrilled with how they all coordinate (they were not from the same "fabric collection" so I had to hunt around a bit).  My friend didn't know if they were having a girl or a boy, so everything I picked had to be semi-gender neutral, although I did end up selecting several flower prints.  She ended up having a girl, so it worked out well :)

It really wasn't difficult at all…the hardest part was cutting out all the darn pieces and then deciding where to put them in the quilt relative to one another.  The dogs thwarted my attempts to lay out the quilt pieces on multiple occasions, so they ended up getting shut out the bedroom while I worked.  The sewing was actually easy peasy.  It was just a matter of finding the time to do it all! :)

Here is my sweet baby Grace modeling the blanket for you.  Isn't she just the cutest?!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gorgeous Garden Nursery

Hey All! I know that I’ve been MIA from the blog for the past 5 months or so.  See, my latest project has been 9 months in the making…

Yup!  We’re going to have a baby!  Baby Aaserud (Baby A for short) is due in less than two weeks.  Yikes!  We’re having a girl, and I just finished up her nursery a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share it with you all.  (And yes, Baby A does have a name…feels weird to call her by her name just yet though)

I had SO much fun creating her nursery.   My husband pretty much gave me free reign with it…his only stipulations were that it couldn’t be all pink/purple, and it couldn’t be Disney-princess themed ;) The overall theme that I came up with was a loose “garden” theme with a mid-century twist to it.  The “color” gold also seems to make quite a few appearances. 

The Rug:
I didn’t start planning the nursery at all until we found out that we were having a little girl!  Baby A’s room finally came together when I found THE most perfect rug from Anthropologie.  

Their Bouvardia crewelwork rug was just so pretty and colorful, I fell in love with it the first time that I saw it.  It was also pretty expensive (funny how that works, eh?).  So my method of attack was pretty much to talk about it non-stop until my husband let me order it (“I’ll never hear the end of it until you do!”).  :)  

The Dresser:
Since I spent what seemed like a small fortune on the rug for Baby A’s room, it was quite fortunate that I had planned to use a thrifted dresser that was in the craft room as her changing table.  It is the perfect height and length, plus it gives us lots of storage space for all of her adorable clothes.  The challenge was cleaning the damn thing out.  It’s sooo convenient to just stuff something in a drawer and shut it again, isn’t it?  It’s the illusion of having a clean house! 

The Crib:
Having a mid-century style dresser had me leaning towards a mid-century style crib as well.  I did a lot of research before I finally decided on the Babyletto Hudson crib.  The deal was sealed when I read that it was easy for short people to put their babies in the crib.  I’m 5’1’’ (on a good day!) and the last thing I wanted to do was catapult Baby A over the side of a crib ;)  It was also moderately priced, solid wood, and came with a toddler rail.  Can’t beat that!

The Glider & Footrest:
I really wanted an upholstered glider, but everything that I really liked was $800+, which wasn’t really an option for us.  After a lot of research I decided to buy an Ikea Ektorp Jennylund chair and attach a glider base to it.  Turns out a lot of people are really creative and have come up with all sorts of ways to convert non-rocking chairs into rockers (see here, here, and here).  Thank you creative people!  Psst…let me know if you'd be interested in seeing how we converted our chair.  

The footrest is an original Danish footrest that I scored a couple of years ago at a garage sale for $7.  I used a magenta and gold scarf that I had to sew a new cover for the cushion, and voila!  Perfection!  (I needed a footrest because my feet don't touch the floor when I sit in the chair haha)

The Bookcase:
My parents used to read to me all the time when I was little…so naturally it's important for me to keep that going with Baby A :)  I even saved all of my favorite childhood books for her!  All of the bookcases I looked at had the wrong dimensions or were out of our price range.  For about $80 I built my own bookcase to spec, painted it, and lined it with this adorable fabric.  It's not huge, but it has plenty of space for her books, and I can always build another one later on down the line if I need to!

The Lighting:
The capiz shell pendant lamp hanging above the bookcase is leftover from when the room was the guest bedroom.  It's from Pottery Barn and gives the ceiling a lovely pattern when it's lit up at night!   

The faux capiz shell shade for the overhead light in the middle of the room was a labor of love that I did…it cost me about $10 to make (woo!), but took me at least 3 - 4 full length movies to complete time-wise (boo!)  I replaced the room's existing ceiling fan with a simple "boob" light, and the faux capiz shell shade fits right over top and is held in place with some small eye hooks.  It looks really nice when it's all lit up! 

The Closet & Curtains:
The closet was already painted from when the room was a guest bedroom.  I also decided to keep the curtains from the guest bedroom.  They match so nicely, don't you think?  The storage boxes in the closet (and one is on the bookcase) are from Smock Paper, which is a local letterpress company right here in Syracuse!  I got them at their summer sidewalk sale last year.  

The Artwork:
I bought prints from two different artists on Etsy.  The first is Stacie Bloomfield, the artist behind Gingiber…her four adorable prints are over the crib!  The second is Sarah Trumbauer, whose prints of her original paper cut artwork are over the bookcase.  

The Linens:
I decided to make my own sheets and changing pad covers using a queen-size sheet set from Target.  I'm really happy with how they turned out!  I got three fitted sheets (two from the queen flat sheet and one from the queen fitted sheet) and two changing pad covers (one from each of the pillowcases that came with the sheet set).  Not bad for a $50 investment!  I used this tutorial to make the sheets, and kind of winged the changing pad covers based on what I'd learned from making the sheets (pretty much the same concept...I used the fold-over elastic for the changing pad covers too).  

I just love how her room turned out.  It's probably a good thing because I have a feeling that I'll be spending a lot of time in there in the next couple of months!  

Source List:
Artwork over crib: Gingiber from Etsy
Artwork over bookshelf: Sarah Trumbauer from Etsy
Dresser: thrifted (see here)
Mirror over dresser: thrifted (Syroco)
Footrest: vintage thrifted (Selig footrest)
Diaper cart next to dresser: Raskog kitchen cart from IKEA
Curtains: Urban Outfitters (no longer available, but see my past post on them here)
Crib sheets/changing pad cover: sewn from Threshold sheets from Target
Patterned storage boxes in closet and bookcase: Smock Paper

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

MacKenzie Childs Replica Wreath

This past week my mom sent me pictures of the wreath that she made with my little sister!  Isn't it gorgeous?  It's a replica of a wreath that is found at MacKenzie Childs, which is a very upscale pottery and home decor company that's actually located just down the road from my parents' house.  The original "Estate Barn Wreath" is going for a whopping $495, while the replica cost less than $75.  

So so so pretty!  Mom said that my sister has a knack for judging what looks good.  A budding artist perhaps?!

All of the assorted floral picks were on sale, and I believe that they used coupons for the beads.  She took pictures of all of the things that they used just in case you want to make one too!

Now for a few detail shots. Mom said that used a basic faux evergreen wreath as the base.  They were able to insert a lot of the picks without glue, but did use a hot glue gun to hold some pieces in place.

Have you made a wreath for the holidays?  How did it turn out?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wood Countertops: Part 3

Hey all!  Sorry I've been MIA for a couple of weekslast week was a short week for me due to our celebration of Thanksgiving here in the US.  Although, I actually went to Canada for Thanksgiving--my best friend recently moved to Calgary, Alberta over the summer so I went up there to spend some time with her.  It was a fantastic trip, and I had a lot of fun!  

The only snafu that I had with the entire trip were my flight connections in Toronto (one connection on the way out, and one connection on the way back).  Even though I was supposed to have 1 hr and 20 minutes to make the switch, I only had 35 - 45 minutes each time due to bad weather delays.  I had to clear customs AND security AND make it to the other side of the airport in that short amount of time.  It was pure madness I tell you, and somehow I made to my next flight both times.  Was it luck or skill?!  Probably a little bit of both, but all I can say is THANK GOODNESS for kind people.  Between people giving me directions about where to go and three amazing ladies letting me go ahead of them in the security line--my love for our friendly neighbors to the north was reaffirmed.  Thank you whoever you are!  

But onward!  Two weekends ago we did some exciting things with the kitchen--namely, the husband finished sanding down the counters, and then we applied the bar top coating!  

Apparently when I told you that we had 75 square feet of counter space, I was having a major brain fart because in reality we only have around 32 square feet of counter top (oops!).  This means that at about $4 per square foot for the glazing, this project only cost us around $200 total (that includes the glazing plus some other supplies we needed to apply everything).  

I won't go through the whole process of how we applied everything just yet (come back next week!), but in the mean time look at how pretty it is!  

And you know what the best part is?  Now I can do the back splash!! :) Even though you can't see me, just know that I am doing a happy dance right now.  I mean, I know that the ratty salmon-colored paint is enticing and everything (and after staring at it for about 8 months, it doesn't faze me anymore), but I think that some nice subway tile will really pull everything together.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Easy Christmas Pinwheel Wreath

Hey all!  We're slowly chipping away on the kitchen counters, buuuuut in the mean time...I broke out the Christmas decorations this past weekend!  I say if it's snowing (and it is...right now actually), then Christmas decorations are OK.  Yes, it's OK to be jealous of our snow flurries ;)

My MIL gave us this handmade grapevine wreath over the weekend, so I added some accents to it and put it up on our front door.

It was super easy to do too!  Forgive the poor quality final pictures...I snapped these with my phone one morning as I was walking out the door.  Damn daylight savings prevents me from taking any pictures after work because it's already dark out!

First, I used some white pearly berries from the floral section of a craft store to accent the wreath.  I clipped clusters off and placed them individually using hot glue.  Then, I used some wrapping paper and cut some long skinny strips.  I folded each strip accordion-style, and then created these cute little pinwheels.  I used hot glue again to hold them together, and then attached them to the wreath.  FYI: wrapping paper is from Smock, and it's double-sided!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wood Countertops: Part 2

Hey!  So I'm back with an update on the kitchen.  We are slooowly chipping away on the counter tops. 

Here's how they look right now.  And for the love of that is good and holy in the world, please ignore all of the dirty dishes!  Usually I stack them down in the sink so that you can't see them, but there were too many this time haha

Last time I talked about the counters, I mentioned that we had cut and laid out wood pieces for the top.  Well, long story short, I ended up changing my mind about the layout of the planks on the peninsula...I decided that instead of having the wood planks run straight into the wall, I wanted to do the 90-degree interwoven pattern that the corner of the kitchen was already doing.  

What can I say?  I like to keep things interesting :)  At this point, we knew that we weren't going to have enough wood from our one box to change up the layout AND finish up the edges, so we went out and bought a 2nd box of wood from Lumber Liquidators.  They were running a sale, so the box came to like, $144 with tax (which was actually cheaper than the first box we bought).  

Gluing the top pieces down was pretty easy.  The husband transferred all of the pieces to the floor so that he could put down some liquid nails on the plywood base.  Then he transferred everything back up to the counter and tapped things tightly together with a rubber mallet.  

 He weighed everything down with some free weights (umm...those suckers are heavy!), and then we waited for everything to cure.

See how all of the edge pieces have 45 degree angles cut in preparation for the sides of the counter?  To do the edges of the counter, the husband took a plank of wood and split it in half the long way.  Then he put a 45 degree angle on one of the long edges and attached it using liquid nails and finishing nails (using our air compressor nail gun) to the counter tops.  

From 10 ft away,our counters look amazing.  Once you get up close and you can see some of the gaps (I've filled in with wood filler) and it doesn't look quiiiite as good.  As a result, the husband has dubbed these "the 10 ft counter tops", but insists that they will look better after we put the finishing touches on them.  Only time will tell!  

Since all of the pre-finished hardwood flooring planks have micro-beveled edges, we wanted to sand everything down to make sure that it looked like a legit wood counter, rather than wood flooring at a counter height.  This meant sanding off the clear coating.  I mistakenly thought that this would be easy peasy and could be accomplished using my small orbital sander.  HA!  Turns out we had to go out and buy a belt sander, and this where 5 sanding belts got us:

The darker areas are spots where the clear coating is still on.  We need to sand all that stuff off before we can actually start sanding the wood to get rid of the beveled edges.

See?  We didn't get very far!  The blotchiness is where the clear coating is still on the counter.  

That's right, we're not even done with this one stretch of counter!  That clear coating is tough stuff!  And now I know why flooring guys recommend pre-finished hardwood floors over ones that you finish in place.  I don't think that my newly refinished hardwood floors would stand up to a belt sander like that.

Once we get things sanded down all nice and smooth, the plan is do several coats of polyurethane, or maybe even the clear epoxy coating like the stuff they use on bar tops.  However, I think that it's going to take a while to get everything sanded.  The house is a dusty mess right now!

Things that I would have done differently (so far):
Yes, I can already tell that I should have done a few things differently, so I'll throw these out there while I'm thinking about it.  

I should have used unfinished wood from the start.  I should have used unfinished red oak, like the stuff that we have on our floors.  Why?  Well, for starters it would have been cheaper.  The unfinished wood doesn't have the rock-hard finish glaze on it already.  Oh, and it doesn't have beveled edges either!  To me, beveled edges are a dead giveaway that you're using hardwood flooring, which is why we're in the middle of a sanding war with our counters. 

I should have looked into the price of the bar-top epoxy before now.  Apparently, it's roughly $4/SF to coat something with this epoxy (aka, it must be made of gold!).  Now, we have roughly 75 SF of counter top to cover, so that's a cool $300 just like that.  Luckily, we're no where near being done sanding, so I don't have to make a decision right NOW, but it's definitely weighing on my mind.  We both like the idea of the epoxy, but the price gives me sticker shock!