some artwork…

Abstract Art

ECB’s room has been in need of some art above her crib. Ages ago, I had torn out a page from an Anthropologie catalog featuring some beautiful abstract art:

Priced at $800 and up, it was such a steal, right?! I filed it away under “Interiors and Decorating”, and resolved myself to be ambitious and attempt my own interpretation someday. I didn’t know where in the house I wanted to display my future creation, I just knew I wanted to make it happen eventually.

After racking our brains trying to think of what to put above her crib (a vintage alphabet poster? Something with her name?) a light bulb came on and I decided to do an abstract canvas painting. I thought it would be perfect way to tie in all the greens and blues we’d used to decorate Emmeline’s nursery. I purchased a large canvas at Michaels for about $15 (yay, 40% off coupons), and armed with all the paints (an assortment of latex wall paint and acrylics) and brushes I had, got started. A couple hours later, this is what I had:

I really surprised myself! It was quite intimidating at first, seeing as how I had ZERO experience in this type of art, and really no idea what I was doing! But I just kind of went with it, and it was so. much. fun. And so great re-using all the paints we used in her room!

What a dream to do this as a money-making venture! And I promise to charge a fraction of $800 😉

Other little nursery touches:

My dad gave this to me right after Emmeline was born. He found it at an antique mall before he even knew she was going to be a girl–I guess we were all hopeful! It’s the cover from some sheet music from the 1920’s. It’s just perfect. It came in a not-so-perfect faded blue frame…I had the intention of re-framing it, but instead just painted the wood white to save a few bucks in the meantime.

Sweet little bird hooks…my mom found them on clearance at Jo-Ann’s…they are the perfect complement to the other birdie touches throughout the nursery.

Maryland Print

Because I had so much fun making the bridal shower state prints, I made my brother-in-law a version for his beloved state of Maryland. I printed out a Maryland flag using our new photo printer (it does a pretty great job!) and used that as the paper to cut around the state outline. Instead of a rhinestone heart this time (not very manly), I used a little Natty Boh logo…we both love National Bohemian, and of course, it’s a Baltimore tradition! I was so happy he liked it; it made a great b-day present for his new place in Federal Hill.


Christmas Treats & More Nursery

Hello all!  Only a week left until Christmas, and life has been very busy for me as I’m sure it has been for everyone else.  I am very much looking forward to my last week of teaching before Christmas break and being able to take time off with BB!  And most of all, we are so very excited to welcome our little boy or girl into the world.  We could not be happier to be parents and I just can’t wait to hold him or her in my arms. although the thought of it is very surreal and hard to wrap my head around at this point!

I had a casual crafting afternoon with my sister and two girlfriends today…I had gifts for parents volunteers that I wanted to get together.  I made two batches of cracker candy (this goes by many different names, and I am sure most of you have either tried it or made it yourself, but here is the recipe just in case you have yet to experience this delicious and super-easy treat!) :

Cracker Candy:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place one layer of saltine crackers on top of foil.

Heat one stick of butter and 1 cup of sugar (you can use brown or white–I used a half cup of each) in a saucepan until melted together.

Pour heated mixture over top of saltine crackers.

Put baking sheet in oven for 5 minutes.  Crackers should come out golden and bubbly.

Pour one bag of milk chocolate or semisweet chips over top of saltines and let sit for 5 minutes.  Spread melted chips evenly over crackers using a spatula.

Top crackers with sliced almonds or pecans (I used crushed pecans sent from Fla from my Grandmother).  I’ve also seen this done with crushed peppermints for a festive holiday touch.

I placed the sheet in the freezer for a while to make sure everything solidified and hardened, and then you can break it up into irregular pieces.

I bagged the cracker candy and tied a personalized ornament onto each baggie.  I bought matte green balls at Hobby Lobby and wrote each parent’s last initial using a gold Sharpie paint pen, as well as our school’s initials and the year on the back.

For my two room mothers, I made these poinsettia vases:

I discovered the idea on Pinterest, and thought they’d make a cute Christmas centerpiece.

I used empty coffee cans and spraypainted them gold.

I wrapped each can in double-sided tape, and then placed a rubber band around each can.

I then slid the candy canes behind the rubber band, lining the around the circumference of the can.  The double sided tape kept the candy canes from sliding.  (Tip: some of the candy canes had excess plastic wrapping around both ends…I trimmed these off with scissors.)

I have to give my husband credit, I did not purchase enough candy canes at first and he had to go to 5 different stores to find more.  Everywhere seems to be completely sold out of white Christmas lights and now red and white-striped candy canes!

I tied a bow around each can with red tulle.  I wrapped the tulle around a few times to make for a more opaque band and to cover up the rubber band.

He also purchased mini poinsettias at Watson’s, which is a big garden store near us.  I took them out of their plastic containers and “planted” them in the cans.

On another note, I have installed the beautiful bumper pads my mom made, and our glider arrived!

The bumper pads are a wonderful finishing touch…all that’s missing is a little baby in there!

The glider was ordered from a great company called Posh Tots …I heard about them from my friend Alison who ordered one for her daughter’s nursery.  The Valentino glider comes in many different fabric options…we chose this nice neutral ivory with a tone-on-tone print.  I love that it looks like a real upholstered chair and could really work in any room in the future.  It’s also VERY comfortable, which is great because I plan to log many hours in this thing!

That’s all for now…I have a few more gifts to make, lots of wrapping to do, and Christmas activities with 25 first graders to accomplish before Thursday!  Have a great week : )

Bird Sketches

Here are the bird prints I created for the nursery:

….and how I made them:

I used a  similar technique as my chandelier sketches, but started with a white frame instead.

I had blown up Audubon-esque bird prints on the copier, and then trimmed them to size to fit inside the mat of the frame.

I selected this taupe color of paper to bring out the shade of the branches in the curtains.

I used white transfer paper, placed it underneath the bird picture, and traced over the basic design, focusing on the bird because I knew I’d struggle drawing each free-hand!

After I traced the design, I went over it with rougher chalk lines, and added branches and leaves:

When I had “chalked” to my liking, I trimmed the paper down to size and put them back in their frames.

I’m very pleased with the result, and love how they add height to the nursery walls and give a finished look to the room.

Now onto a few Christmas crafts…look for them in the next several days!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…& a nursery update

Hello everyone!  It’s been quite a while since I posted last…lots to do in the last few weeks before BB’s arrival. : )

This weekend we bought our tree and garland for our little banister.  I’m not used to having our tree up so early, but this year is an exception with life changing in a big way January 1st (or earlier!).  Here are some pics:

Our tree…I have been aiming for a vintage (1950’s) tree the past couple years…big bulb colored lights, a peppermint tree topper, tinsel, and a silver lame tree skirt.

Our garland…I was very happy with how it turned out!  I had a vision, but not really a game plan, so it took a bit of trial and error.  Jason helped me wrap 20′ fresh garland (from Lowe’s) through and around the spindles, and then I followed with silver beaded garland and candy-striped giant shatter-proof ornaments purchased at Hobby Lobby.  Lastly, I tied big bows with this great polka dot wired ribbon, also a Hobby Lobby find (all Christmas decorations were 50% off that day!)

Now for the wreath…I have seen many “ornament” wreaths, both on Pinterest and other blogs, so I have planned to make this for a while.

I bought a 14″ green foam floral ring, and wrapped it carefully with Duck Tape…they come in so many great colors these days! I think my roll is called “silver coin”.

Here’s a close-up of the polka dot ribbon, which I also used to tie a bow at the bottom and then later at the top of the wreath.

A few weeks ago, I purchased these tubes of plastic ball ornaments from the Target One Spot.  I’m glad I did, they were pretty much gone by the next week!  I purchased 4 tubes of the larger balls- multi, gold, red, and green.  And then 2 tubes of the small balls, both multi.  It was just enough for the whole wreath.

I removed the plastic tops off each ornament.  At first I tried to glue them upside down by the top of the ornament, but it wasn’t enough surface area to adhere to the wreath.  So I just applied hot glue to the side of each ball and angled it so the top wouldn’t show.

I had fun gluing the balls onto the wreath randomly, and then filled in open spaces with the smaller balls.

I added small balls on top of the first layer, for a “piled on” look.

For the finishing touch, I added a small red ball to the center of each bow.

Here is the wreath, hanging on our front door!

She was very easy to make, and so cheery don’t you think?

The Nursery!

BB’s room is finally coming along, and I have some pictures I want to share.  We still have a few details to work out…we’re waiting for the glider to arrive, and we need to install a dimmer switch for the overhead light, and have to hem the curtains, etc…but it’s looking great–everything I envisioned and more. : )

The dresser/changing table was given to me by my sister…it was her old dresser, already painted white so it just needed some touching up!  I love the pink handles, so I figure I’ll keep them on there for now, and if it’s a boy we’ll have to change them!

This is a lamp purchased at a barn sale this summer…it just needed a wipe-down and a new shade! I loved the pair and am so glad they worked for the nursery.  Its twin will go on an old phone table we plan to hang by the glider.

I purchased some rattan, canvas-lined baskets at Target for storage in the bookcases and beside the changing pad. The original bows were dinky so I tucked them down into the handles and tied cuter ones over them…this pretty ribbon was from a shower gift’s wrapping!

Here are the beautiful curtains my mom made.  I love them.  We used our bird curtain rod from the living room and bought a sturdier one to replace it.  They just look perfect in the nursery!

Here is our crib and crib skirt! My mom sewed the skirt, and did a fabulous job again.  I LOVE the fabric and it works so great in the room.  The crib was such a tedious endeavor, but very worth it when it was put up!  The color is Olympic One in Antique Moss.

The carpet was a Pottery Barn Kids purchase, on sale!

The bookcases were a fantastic handmade gift from my father-in-law…he is so talented with woodworking!  He created these all based on a picture from a blog I sent him.  I fell in love with these bookcases on Elements of Style’s blog, and he made them for us!  They turned out perfectly and make such an impact…I couldn’t be happier with them.  They are great storage and display for a tiny baby room!  I wish I could take a head-on picture of the pair, but the room is that small I couldn’t fit both in the shot!

I am so happy with how our little nursery is turning out…hopefully tomorrow I will be able to post the bird sketches I created to hang above the dresser!

Until then, goodnight!

Graphic Prints & A Nursery Update

I hope everyone has been enjoying the beautiful fall weather we’ve had over the weekend!

Yesterday I started and completed a really fun project.  We have been looking for inexpensive artwork to hang above the bed in our guest room, and really liked the graphic chandelier “sketches” done by artist Ethan Harper.

Pretty confident I could make my own versions (I am no artist, but figured I could handle the lines and silhouettes of chandeliers), we procured my materials needed at Michaels (using a 20% off your entire purchase coupon) during a 1 and a 1/2 hour-trip there yesterday, which Jason was thrilled about!  Then I got to work!

We found these frames for $10.40 a piece and picked up 3.

A close-up if you wanted the dimensions:

Jason spray painted them silver with spray paint we already had on hand:

I was debating between graphite and chalk….we went with good old Crayola chalk figuring at $1.00 a box, if it didn’t work out we could always return for the pricier white graphite.

We used chalk because we decided we wanted white-on-black sketches.  We thought that would be best with the aqua, black, and white colors we have been using in our guest room so far.

We bought slightly textured black paper, advertised as working well with graphite, at $1.83 a sheet.  I laid the underside of one of the frame mats down on top of the paper to use as a guide and keep me within my dimensions.

With each of the three sketches I did, I tried to “lay out” the design by doing the basic outlines first, then adding in details.

I was slightly daunted by the multitude of lines and the detail at first (plus, you can’t quite “erase” chalk once it’s on paper!), but I just tried to relax and have fun with it…and it really was so much fun.  I was surprised at how quickly each chandelier came together, and each one looked so interesting and unique from the others.

Once I finished, I tested a spot by spraying a sealer to try to “hold” the chalk in place…and I’m glad I tested it because it practically faded the chalk into oblivion!  The more I thought about it, since the sketches were going to be preserved behind glass in a frame, it wasn’t so necessary for them to be sprayed with some sort of fixative.

When the frames fully dried, I trimmed the paper down to size and set each one in its matting and frame!

Here is a close-up of each one (can you tell I am a little too proud of how each one turned out?)

I just love the high contrast of white on black.  And all for the price of one print, non-framed! Once we re-paint the guest bedroom, we’ll hang these over the bed.  Can’t wait!

I feel ever-so-slightly guilty for doing a side project over anything nursery-related, which is of course our top priority…but we have been making strides in that department, and unfortunately my hands are a bit tied since everything is paint-related!  So Jason has to do most of that.

Here is the latest with the nursery:

The walls:

The room is finally painted!  Jason did a fantastic job of transforming this:

to this:

I still can’t get over why they a) chose that clay/rust/ugh color, or b) why they painted the inside of the closet, shelves, and even VENTS in the same color!  I imagine them taking the gallon of paint and just throwing it towards the wall, painting everything in its wake.

Anyway, our little room has undergone quite a transformation.  We used our favorite paint brand (Olympic One Paint + Primer) in Creamy Cucumber, a color chosen with the help of my mom’s dear friend and very talented, inspiring decorator, Mrs. Julie Wills.

We thought the white trim would be fine, but as soon as it was set against the new paint color, we realized how dingy it looked!  So I picked up a quart of Delicate White, and Jason did an awesome job painting all the trim, around the window, and the doors.

I think it’s a great gender-neutral color!

Jason was able to replace 2 of the red vents for white ones.  For the funky-sized, un-repurchasable (word?) 3rd vent we realized white spray paint would do the trick, to rid us once and for all of that color!

He painted the inside of the closet and the shelves a neutral creamy, buttery color, which was left-over by the previous owners (it’s the same color of our living room, staircase, and second floor hallway).  This way, we will never have to paint the closet again, no matter what the room color is!  What a novel idea! 🙂

The fabrics:

(From left to right: window treatments, crib skirt, bumper pad & piping, and possible glider fabric choices)

I am in love with the curtain fabric, which is “Small Talk” by Waverly in Mint Julep.  My mom came up for a visit a few weeks ago and helped me sew made the curtains while I watched in amazement.  She is so gifted!

Here is the fabric laid out. I love the sweet little birds:

The curtains just need to be finalized, and I have to decide whether or not we want to construct a pelmet or cornice for the top of the window treatment, OR just buy a cute curtain rod to add the detail we need.

The crib skirt fabric we’re going to order is also Waverly, called “Square Root” in Aquamarine.  I just received the glider fabric swatches in the mail yesterday (see photo above).  I want to go with a neutral fabric that will work with not only the nursery, but a future kid’s room or other room in the house, since the upholstered gliders look like real chairs and not just a rocker! I think I’ll go with one of the two fabrics on the top of the pile…I’ll decide on that soon.

The crib:

We decided to use the crib I had when I was a baby.  I love the detail, which has been a double-edged sword…all the spindles and grooves have proven difficult to sand down and prime!  This is what we have done so far:

…sanded with our electric Mouse (I think my hand was still vibrating an hour afterwards)

…and now Jason is priming it as I type:

We are aiming to paint the crib a green that will bring out the leaves in the curtain fabric. Painting the crib is going to be a challenge, as we’re not sure how evenly it’s going to go on with all the grooves and rounded areas on the crib.  I’ll keep you posted!

Have a great Sunday :- )