January Joy

Hey everyone…it’s been a few weeks since I posted last, but I’m overjoyed that the reason why was the birth of our beautiful baby girl, Emmeline Claire!

She was born on January 4th at 3:10 pm, weighing 8 lbs, 10 oz and measuring 21 inches…childbirth was an amazing experience and I’ve had to pinch myself every day since…I can’t believe I’m a mom!  She is just precious in every way and we are LOVING being parents.  Thankfully she has been a rather content baby–which I know could change, but in the meantime she has made my job easy.  However, I haven’t been left with much time to spare lately!

The weekends are the best time to get things done, because obviously we have two adults to keep an eye on Emme.  This past weekend we were able to complete a long-awaited project.  Over the summer we went to a barn sale (where we purchased our basement couch) and picked up this trunk:

It actually belonged to the original homeowners, and has “Baltimore, MD” stamped on the side…it was a steamer trunk that has been around since the 20’s!  It took a good bit of cleaning up when we brought it home, and since then it has sat in our bedroom with a beach towel over the top.  It was screaming for a cushioned top to make it more of a bench.

It was very easy to do, and the supplies cost around $30.  To DIY, you will need:

-piece of plywood, dimensions to fit the top of the bench (ours measured 20 and 3/4″ x 3 feet)

-piece of foam for cushion, large enough to fit top of bench (we used 3″ foam from Jo-Ann Fabrics)

-quilter’s batting (there are many different price ranges and thickness, but you just need it for a little extra padding…we bought a bag that was $5 with a 50% off coupon)

-fabric of choice (we purchased a yard, which was plenty big enough to cover the cushion)

-Exacto knife, staple gun, and scissors

-Screws and drill to attach cushion to surface (or top of trunk in our case)

We started by laying the foam on top of the plywood.  We trimmed it down to size using an Exacto knife.

Once that was trimmed down, we trimmed the batting to size, wrapped the batting around the foam and plywood and stapled it to the back of the plywood. TIP: Make sure to pull the batting taut to the back of the plywood as you staple.

Then we flipped the board over (so that the batting and foam were on top) and placed the fabric on top to make sure it laid properly and the print was as centered as possible on top of the cushion.

We carefully flipped the cushion over so the fabric stayed in place, and then stapled the fabric to the back of the plywood.  Again, make sure to pull the fabric tautly so there aren’t any wrinkles or sags.  We wrapped the fabric around the rectangular cushion just as if we were wrapping a present.

Now it was ready to screw on to the top of the trunk!  Jason used a drill to attach it, and drilled screws through the underside of the trunk’s lid to secure it.

And the finished result:

(Please don’t mind our curtains that desperately need to be hemmed! 😉 )

Now it’s a great surface to lay pillows after turning down the bed, or clothes, or whatever!

I’m thankful to have had a little time over the weekend to complete this little project…fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get back to posting on a regular basis soon!

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Emmeline pics…she has the cutest curly hair, which dries in every which way after her bath 🙂  And she loves placing her hand like this under her chin!  I feel like she’s developing a little personality already. 🙂

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Lightening up

I love our dining room, but even with a bright chandelier, the lighting has just not been right.  I felt like the wall with our buffet table (which is actually an antique dresser passed down from my Grandmother) was just  a bit too dark for my liking. That area of the room needed some brightening up.

I have been shopping around for inexpensive buffet lamps, but then had a *bright* idea the other day…why not just use lamps I already had? A few years ago I purchased these beauties ( 🙂 ) at Ikea, always with the intention of painting the lamp bases.

That never happened, and they were residing currently atop my dresser in our bedroom.  While I love symmetry, I figured one lamp would do the trick in that space for now at least…there is a lot of other lighting in our bedroom.  So I put the nursery lamp’s twin on top of my dresser, and moved the Ikea lamps to the dining room.

Before I did that, they needed some sprucing up…the bronzed metal just did not go with the dining room.  I have a gold mirror hanging above the buffet on loan from my mom, so I thought I’d turn the lamps gold as well.

Before getting out the can of spraypaint, I remembered seeing a great idea in my Design*Sponge At Home book.  She had given vases the look of textured porcelain by painting a design with puffy paint, letting it dry, and then spray painting over the design.

So I decided to give a little more pizazz to my lamps by using this technique.  I used a puffy paint color I already had on hand:

and began painting a design…

Once that dried, I spray painted two coats of gold paint on the lamps.  I taped off the lamp cords so they wouldn’t be painted gold.

It gave them a nice 3-D finish!

Here they are on the buffet, and I think it makes a world of difference in the dining room!

I think it makes the blue walls glow, and just puts me in a better mood when I walk into the room!  Always nice to get a new look by re-purposing something you already own and using materials already on hand! A free little facelift : )

(Above is a shameless plug of our secretary in the dining room…I just love it because it was given to me by my parents but Jason and I painted it white a couple years ago…pictured are blue and white china from my mother-in-law–garage sale find!– mixed in with wedding crystal, shells, and monogrammed high-ball glasses. This piece of furniture makes me so happy!)

New year, new look

Happy 2012!  BB decided to not make his/her appearance in 2011…I guess he/she has their reasons!  I just hope they’re not already paving the way for a lifetime of procrastination. ; )

Today is the actual due date, but it’s just been a normal day around the house for us.  We shall see if anything happens!

I decided to give my blog a fresh new appearance to kick off the new year.  I like it and hope you do too!

Since there have been no signs of BB, Jason decided to undertake painting the guest room.  We decided on Secret Passage (Olympic One paint+primer from Lowes, of course), and it’s a pretty pale grey.  I am so glad to get rid of that periwinkle color! There were serious clashing issues between that and the aqua and black color story I had chosen for the room.  This grey color provides a much nicer backdrop.

Yesterday I worked on a pillow sham to go with the new bedding.  Here is what I came up with:

It was a very easy, inexpensive, no-sew project that I encourage you to try if you want to spruce up or add to your pillow collection!

Materials required:

-standard 21×27″ sham (mine was purchased on clearance at TJMaxx for $10)

-9×12-inch piece of basic felt (I chose a charcoal grey color.  I bought 2 pieces, which I would recommend in case of mistakes–plus they can be purchased for under $1 a piece, so why not?)

-template of your choice (I printed out a large “B” for our last name, done on Word with the font “monogram kk”)

-chalk

-sharp scissors

-fabric bonding glue (this makes it no-sew! I highly recommend Aleene’s Fabric Fusion permanent dry cleanable fabric glue pen.  It came in a pack of 2 for less than $5–or even cheaper when you use a coupon!–and worked really well)

Time to get started!

I gave the sham a quick bath in the washer, and while it was drying I printed out my template.

I then carefully cut around the “B”.

You can pin whatever you choose to trace onto the felt, but I found that the paper stayed pretty still because it stuck to the nubbiness of the felt.

Trace around your design using chalk (TIP: I found the underside of the felt to be smoother, so I laid my “B” backwards on this side…this made it easier to trace with the chalk and avoided any marks left on the right side of the felt once I cut it out and turned it over).

Using a rubbing motion with the chalk helps to create a bold line.

I left out some of the finer details when I traced–I wanted it to be a bolder “B” on the sham.

Then I cut around what I traced using sharp scissors.  The “B” took a little touching up afterwards, just to make sure there were clean lines. Oh and yes, I am still in my robe.

I put a paper bag inside the sham to prevent any bleeding of glue onto the fabric.

I laid out the felt design on the sham, measuring to make sure it was directly in the center of the sham (for example, my “B” was about 9 inches wide, so I left 9 inches on either side of the letter).

Once I had it placed just where I wanted it, I used the fabric glue to affix the bottom of the “B” to the sham. This way my design stayed in place and I didn’t have to re-measure.

After gluing the bottom in place, I folded over the rest of the letter and used a generous amount of glue.

I pressed the design firmly to the sham with my fingers, then went around afterwards to touch up, making sure all edges were firmly glued down.

The glue takes about an hour to set…just make sure you leave ample time to dry before inserting the pillow into the sham of course.

Below you’ll find more pictures of the finished product, as well as our guest room transformation!

I love the idea of mixing fabric textures….the nubbiness (I’m making that a word if it’s not already!) of the felt against the soft stitched sham makes for a neat effect I think.

I love our new grey walls, and it’s been great to finally hang the chandelier prints!  It finally feels like the room has come together.  It was so nice to get an unexpected weekend project in–so maybe BB realizes his/her mother is project-obsessed and was just giving me a little more time. : )