Thursday, February 2, 2012

Favorite Things: Newborn Gear

We are now three weeks into round two with a newborn and I thought for posterity's sake I’d put together a list of my favorite gear for a newborn. My apologies for the off-topic non-DIY post but to be honest, there has been very little DIY going on recently to blog about.
The items I've listed aren't neccessities such as diapers and a layette but they've definitely made our life with a newborn a little simpler.
1. Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper - this was awesome with our firstborn who suffered from acid reflux and needed to sleep reclined. It's also extremely portable and moves easy from room to room (even the bathroom while mama showers).

2. Halo Sleep Sack. - the hospital our babes where born at uses these and we picked one up for ourselves as soon as we got home. They keep baby nice and warm and there are no loose blankets to worry about.

3. Itzbeen baby care timer - get one of these or download a baby care timer app. You'll thank yourself for it in the middle of the night when baby wakes up to eat and your too sleep deprived to tell the minute hand from the hour hand let alone do the mental math to determine how long it's been since the last feeding.

4. Sleepy Wrap - babies want to be held all the time. This is perfect for the little one and I can have my hands free for other tasks (like chasing a toddler).

5. Nursing cover - babies get hungry while in public places. I'm much more comfortable discretely nursing in public than having people in a restaurant glare at me for not quieting my screaming hungry baby.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The waiting game...

Officially less than two weeks to go to my due date and the nursery is finally ready for baby ... now we are just waiting on her arrival. Sorry I don't have a before picture to share but imagine a 8’ x 10’ sparsely decorated white  room with a futon for overnight guest and a small IKEA malm dresser. Since I'm not really into "themes" for a nursery I just decided to decorate around a aqua and yellow color scheme with bright accents that could be updated as she grows. We started with painting the walls in SW6477 Tidewater, a light aqua that didn’t remind me too much of toothpaste. The furniture consists of a secondhand crib from our neighbors, a $30 craigslisted dresser/changing table which was painted in Behr 3004-B Sunporch, and a rocking chair we used in Ivan’s room (another $30 craigslist find a couple years ago) that I finally finished reupholstering on the cheap using a canvas painter’s drop cloth.

The crib bedding is a simple yellow sheet and DIY crib skirt (no fancy bumpers required). The crib skirt I made out of Ann Kelle Remix Zig Zag fabric in Bremuda. I cheated and only did two sides since the other two sides are up against the wall. I simply attached hemmed panels to the mattress support with iron on velcro.

The room also got a little baby-proofing upgrade as well with a black-out roller shade and DIY window cornice to replace the horizontal blind and while the outlet covers were off for painting we replaced all of the outlet receptacles with new tamper-resistant ones (YEAH for not needing to fuss with outlet covers!).

Here are the results of each side of the room and a few close-ups of some of the hand-made elements.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Chair "Upgrade"?

Last week Jens and I splurged and got a new chair for the family room. It was from craigslist and we paid $80 for it (yep, we're that cheap). The chair's predecessor is a beaten up old brown recliner which my mother picked off of a curb for free and we have been using since college. Needless to say, it has seen better days and the springs were finally starting to go and the foam was falling out of the bottom. The new craigslist chair is everything we were looking for in terms of shape and proportion, however, the upholstery leaves a little to be desired so we have a new DIY project. We hope to reupholster it in leather or maybe some manly houndstooth upholstery fabric and also construct a matching storage ottomen. It's not going to be quick or easy but it'll be less painful on our wallets then purchasing it's look alike cousin at PB for $1500. Here's a little preview of what we are working with:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sew, Turn, Repeat …

Jens and I have some friends from college that are having a baby and are due the day after our due date. When I was expecting Ivan my crafty friend made a beautiful knit alphabet wall hanging as a baby gift so I’m excited that I now have the chance to return the favor. I came across the chevron baby blanket below from Aesthetic Nest when it was featured on Ohdeedoh and immediately pinned to my pinterest board knowing I wanted to make one myself.

I had some leftover Anne Kelle Zig Zag fabric (in Bremuda) from my DIY crib skirt project which I figured would work out perfect to try this out with. It was definitely not a quick sewing project by any means (8+ hours of sewing zigzags) so I cheated a little bit toward the end and used some store bought binding instead of making my own. After following the tutorial over at Aesthetic Nest and pulling it out of the dryer here is the final result:

project 52 p52 weekly photo challenge

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I went back and forth for awhile about setting any New Year's resolutions this year and whether or not to post about them but since it seems to be a pretty common theme around the blogosphere the past few days I figured I'd go ahead and throw mine out there since a few of them are home improvement related.
  1. Drink more water - I'm horrible about staying hydrated! This one shouldn't be hard, I just need to remind myself more. Maybe a tattoo on my forehead would work?
  2. Post more consistently and grow blog. This is a big challenge I'm throwing out there for myself since I really fell off the bandwagon (or never really got on it for that matter) doing consistent blog post. I'm going to shoot for 1 post a week at least which could be difficult with a new baby come late January/early February but I've learned that I need to make time for myself and my hobbies as well. Projects might take longer to get done so that means there may be some more in-process detail sharing around here. 
  3. Cross off a few items off the ol' home improvement to-do list. I'm a fanatical list maker so there are about two dozen lists around somewhere but Jens and I need to do some more brainstorming/arguing on what we'd like to see accomplished around the house this year. Look for a 2012 Home Improvement To-Do list post in the near future.
  4. Take more pictures and become a better photographer. Since getting a DSLR camera when I was expecting Ivan 2 years ago I've become a bit of a photography geek and now know what things like white balance, depth of field, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture really mean - now I need to keep practicing and putting all that good geeky knowledge to use.
  5. Become BFFs with Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower. Okay, this one isn't likely to happen but a girl can dream right??? Maybe when our family room is 100% complete we can have a reader redesign featured on YHL though or possibly meet the Petersik's in person if they go on a book signing tour and make it to the midwest.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

So Close, Oh So Close

Im currently sitting in my living room wrting by the light of a recently installed light fixture, being warmed by a fire place that wasn’t here when we moved in, and drinking beer from a fridge that was not here when we bought the place.  It always astounds me how fast time can pass when your not paying attention, beating your head bloody on home improvement projects really seems to accelerate the time line. 

The pic below is the pretty close to (99.85% complete) finished built in custom cabinetry we started almost exactly two years ago. 

Right Side:

Left Side:DSC_0389

Front: (Its hard to get far enough back to get the whole project in the frame)DSC_0397

There are some little things we have left, I need to face some of the shelves, and build two more shelves for the bigger open cabinets, for all intents and purposes though its done.   I am pretty happy with the end result.  It has not always been fun, It hasn’t in any way been easy, cheap or quick.  There is a significant sense of relief and a smidge of purposefulll pride here though. Its not perfect, and any one that’s passed a basic shop course could do this.  However we did and its in our house, and it looks good.  I wont have any problem looking at this while drinking coffee in the morning.

To provide a frame of reference you can check out the the project that never ends.  Or you can check out the pic below.

Where we started:


Where we are:DSC_0397

We have come a LONG WAY.  If you ever attempt a project like this, understand the beginning is fun the middle is a ton of work, the end never seems to come, but completion is pretty damn rewarding. 

Ill write more on this a little later, in closing though, please check out what made this some what more rewarding than just a DIY project.