Porch Sign

I’ve been LOVING my time with my little Gem. She is a spirited little lady who loves to move but also loves to cuddle! I can’t believe she’s 6 weeks old already! (Okay, technically she’s almost 7 weeks old now, but Tony and I both were struck with the stomach flu before I could finish taking the pictures for this post. Neither of us has seen the other that sick. Ever. And we’ve known each other for twelve years!)

And I can’t believe how little time has passed. It seems both like she just arrived but also that she’s been here forever. Isn’t time crazy like that?

I LOVE cuddling on the couch like this, but I have been itching to do a project! I had just the one too – a big sign for the back porch. We’ve been spending a lot more time outside lately, and every time we do, that blank wall just stares back at me begging for some attention! (And a new coat of paint… but that’s a project for another day.)

Tony was home the last couple weeks, and he found the perfect scrap of wood for my vision.

I primed and painted both sides of the board. Then I used my machine to cut out the letters and dry brushed the paint over the stencil.

It was missing something though.

Mom suggested a border, so an old stamp and the same paint gave me just the right look very quickly.

Now it’s hung…

…and will be ready for this little man’s 2nd birthday party this weekend!!

Goodness! A two year old?!

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New Addition!

One week ago today we welcomed Little Miss Gemma Pearl into the world. On Tuesday, April 3rd at 8:33pm, she weighed 7lb. 4 oz. and was 19 inches long – a petite little thing just like her momma!

Gemma was due on April 7th, but we’d told her to come on Tuesday because it meant she could be delivered by the midwife and that Momma’s maternity leave could extend to the end of the school year. Gem listened well, but though I had contractions on and off all through the school day, things didn’t really get rolling until dinnertime that evening. She missed the midwife, but luckily the on-call doctor listened when I called, and all made it to the hospital in plenty of time.

Edmond was excited to hold his new “siser”… For about 8 seconds.

He asks to give her a kiss when he wakes up in the morning, but then he’s ready to start playing. His main coping technique right now seems to be becoming terribly independent. We hear “Edmond do it!” about a million times a day! : )

Charlie is settling in too and readjusting to nighttime feedings. He doesn’t even stir anymore. All in all, we feel so blessed to be a family of 5 – 4 humans and a canine!

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Slide Out Sewing Shelf

Moving EO into his new room and relocating our big desk meant I lost both my craft storage and sewing space. I got rid of a bunch of old craft supplies and decided to move the majority of what was left into my closet. When Tony built my closet, he included a storage space just the right size for those big 18 gallon storage tubs. I added some very basic shelves a few years ago and covered it with this polka dot curtain.

This was where the Christmas decorations were, so they went up to the attic to make room for the craft supplies. But I needed to do something different with my sewing machine. Sewing is not my favorite activity, so it’s much easier to motivate myself if the machine is easy to get to. If I had to lug it off a shelf and clear a space to use it every time something needed sewing, odds would be good that it wouldn’t happen. I decided a slide-out shelf that the machine could live on all the time would  be the best option.

The shelves aren’t fancy in any way. Most of them are scraps of prefab shelving from downstairs or plywood we had left in the shed. The slide out shelf is just a sanded plywood scrap nailed to a 1×2 frame and mounted with heavy duty drawer slides. But now my machine is easily accessible when I need to use it, and it stores away easily when I’m done – no lugging or cleaning necessary.

This project was the last one on my Before Baby list. Both kids’ rooms are done. Freezer meals have been made. And now my sewing station is ready too. Little Lady can make her debut as soon as I have time for a pedicure!

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A Little Boy’s Room

It’s taken me ages to finish EO’s bedroom, but I’m so happy with how it’s turned out!

A Review of Progress:

You may remember the closet project from a year ago. I still like to come in here and just look at it sometimes!

Then the new paint and board and batten made a big difference and covered some of the unsightly cracks in the sheetrock.

EO’s pop-up trundle bed was finished just before Christmas, but the room still wasn’t ready to move him in yet.

You see, this room had basically been our storage room for the last 5 years, and it’s taken awhile to relocate all the stuff we had in here! Here are some old photos of what a mess it was!

Most of those tools went into the closet when it was built, so they had to go somewhere else before EO could move in. We bought Tony a tool shed that holds most of it, and I moved some things out of the storage area in my closet to make room for some of my craft supplies.

And the Update:

And now we’ve finally made this space EO’s. It’s a little cramped currently because of the crib, but the kiddo’s not even two yet – I’m glad we made the decision to keep him contained awhile longer. And he LOVES the room! He has his reading nook by the window and can reach all his books from the chair. (I say all his books, but 80% of them are actually down in the library. He has his own cabinet down there.) He helped me put the clock on the wall, and like his mommy he’s obsessed with clocks!

We moved his pictures from the nursery in here, and he loves pointing at them and saying, “Pictures!”

I left a few craft items in the bins on the top shelf. Between the closet and the dresser, the kiddo has plenty of storage space!

All his stuffed animals and memorabilia are displayed on the wall shelves, and swapping the desk for this dresser really opened up the walkway to the bathroom.

Here are views from the bathroom doorway. 

This view is from the doorway. 

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Desk Makeover

Phase I of our desk makeover is complete!

We bought this old desk at an estate sale years ago – before we even moved into this house. It’s been in the office and has been great for sewing and craft projects, because it’s gigantic. I always intended to do a makeover, but I just never had the right inspiration.

Then it was time to make the office into EO’s room, and suddenly having this giant desk wasn’t so great anymore. With his big boy bed finished and installed, things were tight in the smallest room in the house! I wanted to sell the desk and get something smaller.

Apparently, though, it was quite a challenge to bring this desk up our curved staircase, even with Tony and his three friends working together. I was informed that this desk will likely be sold with the house someday! So, Plan B for the desk began to emerge. Tony said the desk had to stay upstairs, but it didn’t have to stay in the smallest bedroom. We decided to switch it with the dresser from the nursery. I turned to Pinterest for ideas to give this desk a more feminine touch and fell in love with this:

Isn’t that gorgeous?!

So Phase I was actually really simple. I tinted a little primer with some black acrylic paint then painted two coats of light gray paint over the primer and roughed up the edges just a little bit. It’s the same color I used in our bathroom and in EO’s bedroom.

I whipped up a version of the inspiration stencil with my machine and dry brushed it with some leftover white latex paint.

Don’t you just love that new hardware?

Once Little Lady arrives I’ll complete Phase II and work on the desk top and the slide out desk surfaces. I’d like them to be darker – more of a walnut color than the orangey color it is now. Ideally I’d take it outside and sand the whole top down, but you know that’s not going to happen! I’ve been looking into various refinishing products that don’t require sanding, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

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Baby Update

Have I mentioned that Baby #2 is a girl?!?

When I first painted this room a few years ago, I did so knowing it would be turned into a gender neutral nursery. With the news that it’s next occupant will be a little lady, though, I’ve been working on “girlifying” the room. It’s taking forever, but these snow days have really helped! Since we moved EO into his new room over the weekend, I’ve finally been able to get into the old one to get some stuff up on the walls during naptimes… after cookie baking and water painting, that is!

The biggest decor change was the huge floral rug, of course, but I also wanted to change out the artwork. In particular, I wanted to highlight that etched and leaded glass door.  It was the central door in a hutch in my parents’ dining room for as long as I can remember. When Mom tried to sell the hutch, there was an accident and this door was all that she could salvage. I primed (tinting the primer with a few drops of red paint), painted, and changed out all the hardware (including all the brackets holding the glass in, because they stood out a good inch or so in the back), and added a hanger to the back. Then I used coarse sandpaper to rough up and distress the edges.

The “little lady” frame above the G was a clearance purchase from Goodwill that’s been waiting for a new life for a couple years. My initial intent was just to paint it, but it looked worse painted than it did with the ugly horse picture in it! The frame was covered in pock marks, and the paint really highlighted them. So the coffee filter flowers were Plan B. I kind of like the texture it brings to the trio.

When my cousin came to visit from Green Bay a couple months ago, we went out for a girls night at Pinot’s Palette, and this is what we made! I chose the pink color knowing this would be the perfect spot to hang it.

We have been so blessed already by hand-me-downs for this Little Lady! I mean, check out this girl’s closet! I also made a couple little skirts to go with all the onesies from my baby shower with EO. The dye has faded a bit on some of them, but all the cute messages are still there!

There are still a couple more projects to complete, but things are starting to come together for little girl. Good thing, too! We’re only about 6 weeks from her arrival!

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A New Chair (Cover) for Charlie

So… our dog has his own chair. We didn’t really intend for it to happen, but I must say, it’s been one of the best accidents. Charlie will spend hours laying on his chair, and we practically have to drag him off the thing at bedtime! 

When Charlie was just a puppy, Tony felt guilty that he wasn’t allowed on the furniture. So Tony would sit on his own chair and invite Charlie to sit on his lap. Over time Charlie would climb into that chair by himself, but he never tried to sit on the other furniture. He’d claimed that chair as his own. Luckily, it was part of a set of old hand-me-down chairs, so it wasn’t terribly important to us anyway. As we began replacing them, first with a chair for me, and then a recliner for Tony (because that’s what Dads have, right?), we would trade out whichever chair looked worst and hide it away, leaving the nicer of the set for Charlie’s chair.  You may remember I talked about these chairs when I posted about our personalized pillows

Anyway, Charlie’s chair has been in rough shape of late. 

When the little chunks of chair fabric started winding up in Edmond’s play rice tub, it was time to do something. I ordered 7 yards of really heavy-duty upholstery fabric and spent nap times last weekend working on a slipcover. I totally intended to take pictures during the process, but the camera was downstairs… and things were just going so well, I couldn’t stop! 

Since this chair is in the living room and guests do sit there when Charlie lets them, I’m glad it wasn’t my first slipcover. Over the summer I made one for other chair in the set. It’s now up in EO’s new room with this adorable $10 garage sale giraffe fabric.

I learned a lot from that first project! Just like they told us to do on Trading Spaces all those years ago, I flipped the fabric inside out and just started pinning. With this first chair, I learned the importance of trimming the fabric down before sewing the seams. At first I was afraid to cut off too much fabric, but reducing the bulk made it much easier to see what needed sewing. I started with the panel that goes over the back rest and onto the seat. I attached that to the sides of the backrest and then worked on the armrests. Finally, I added the front panels, hemmed all around and added ties to the back so they can come off easily. They’re far from perfect, and they do get pretty bunched up when someone sits on them. Ideally I would have sewn a separate cushion cover for the seats, but they don’t come off, so I just had to go over the top of the cushion. It sure looks better than it did though, right? 

When guests come over I can pull off the blankets and it will almost look like we have a nice piece of furniture! The best part, of course, will be not having to clean up the chunks of bonded leather anymore! 

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Merry Christmas!

This year was a white Christmas for our little family – a white sand BEACH Christmas, that is!

Tony picked me up from school last Tuesday with the car already packed, and we went straight to the airport. EO was an absolute champ on the plane. He played with some of the Dollar Store toys we brought with us and loved looking out the windows at the planes, the clouds, the wing, etc. We had dinner on our layover in Nashville and got EO all ready for bed. It took a little while, but he finally fell asleep on Momma during that second flight. Once we landed in Ft. Lauderdale, Tony took the checked bags and I took the gate checked items and the no longer sleeping toddler to get the shuttle to the hotel. Arriving after midnight made for a long day, but it was all worth it to arrive at our adorable little condo in Naples by noon the next day.

We went straight to the beach for an hour, and EO loved playing in the sand!

Then the boys went grocery shopping while I had a surprise prenatal massage and pedicure (there may or may not have been a hormone induced breakdown on Sunday evening about not having time to get a pedicure before our trip) at the spa! Then it was dinner at the condo and an early night for all!

On Thursday we wore EO out in the morning at the beach! I don’t know what he loved more – digging in the sand, splashing with Daddy, or riding on the paddle board! We went back to the condo midday expecting EO’s typical 1.5 hour nap, but he slept for 3.5 hours! That afternoon we made it back to the beach for an hour or so for sunset before dinner at Steamers Seafood (incredible clam chowder!) and a drive downtown for ice cream. What a fun day!

Friday was our boat excursion day. We set sail on the Sweet Liberty Catamaran at 9:30. Leaving from Naples Bay, we rode past some of the most incredible homes you’ve ever seen at Port Royal. The Captain said one of those homes sold last year for $48 million. There were 6 dolphins hanging out in the bay, and they gave us quite a show, swimming right up to the boat over and over again.

After leaving the bay we pulled up onto the sand of Key Island and walked down the stairs straight onto the beach for some shore exploring time.

Then they put the sails up and we got to sail back to the bay. Tony and I were back in our happy place, and EO loved exploring the boat. Apparently the 3.5 hour nap was going to be one the norm for the little guy, so that evening we drove down the street to Clam Pass, a 3/4 mile boardwalk through the mangroves to the beach, where we played for a half hour and watched the sunset before dinner in. EO was enthralled with the sunset and loved learning a new word!

Saturday and Sunday were much the same in the most delightfully predictable ways: beach, SUP, and home for nap around noon. Tony stayed at the condo to read while baby slept and Momma went to the pool! Then a little more beach time and a beautiful sunset.

Sunday morning did bring quite a surprise though. The three of us were all out in the water when I noticed a fin pop out about 20 feet away. There were dolphins swimming right near us! Three of them rolled and flapped and played right around us for several minutes. Someone on the beach snapped a cellphone photo and sent it to me. The quality is terrible, but you can see all of us!

That brings us to today, Christmas Day! What better way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday than enjoying his splendid creation! A beautiful morning at the beach before loading up the car to travel home where our relatives will quite literally be awaiting our arrival! We will be glad to spend some time with them and to reunite with Charlie, whom we’ve missed very much!

I hope you all are having a joyous holiday season!

With Love,

Lindy, Tony, and EO

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Vinegar Stain on the Big Boy Bed

Have you ever stained something with vinegar? It’s got to be one of the strangest crafting experiences I’ve had, but I’m so pleased with how it turned out!

For Edmond’s new big boy bed, I decided to try this new-to-me wood finish. I wanted a stained look, specifically in a gray tone, but being five months pregnant, it probably wasn’t the best idea to use a regular stain. I’d seen posts on Pinterest about vinegar stain that were gorgeous, and the idea was very intriguing. So I popped a #0000 grade steel wool pad in a jar and mixed up a quart of apple cider vinegar based stain. It sat for two or three days before I tested it. The color was much more brown than I expected on my pine board, so I went back to Pinterest for a little more research. I mixed up another jar but to this one I added about half a cup of balsamic vinegar and let it sit for 6 hours. Then I tested again.

Here on this test strip you see 5 pretty distinct colors, but there are only two different stains in use here! I couldn’t believe what an impact the timing of the tea application had on the color. I really liked the gray tint that the Balsamic added to the Apple Cider Vinegar mix, but it didn’t sit long enough to develop a deep, rich color like my first batch of straight Apple Cider Vinegar stain. However, that color was a little more brown than I was going for.  In the end we decided to mix it all in together, and it’s a good thing too, or I probably would have run out of material.

Mom came over to help me with this project because she was so intrigued by the idea of a homemade stain. I mixed up 4 cups of black tea at double strength (8 regular tea bags left to steep for several hours) and we started painting it on with foam brushes. There was no change in the color of the wood at this point, but according to all the Pinterest posts, the tea adds tannins to the wood that are vital for the reaction that occurs during the vinegar step. I myself have no idea why it’s necessary, I just knew it was.

Then we immediately began brushing on the stain mixture with regular paint brushes. It was amazing to watch. With each brushstroke there was almost no color but within 30 seconds the color had shifted. It darkened further as it dried.

There were a couple times we commented on the wisdom (or lack thereof) of choosing such a large project for the first with a new finishing method, but I’m actually really happy with it! And bonus, everything cleaned up with simple soap and water!

A few notes about the process:

  • One blog I came across stressed the importance of letting the vinegar and steel wool steep with the lid off. I also made a batch of stain with white vinegar, and it got really rusty. I don’t know if it was a lid issue or just a fluke, but it’s worth noting, I think.
  • I recommend wearing rubber gloves for application. Even with the gloves my fingernail beds wound up stained black. It took about a week, but the color is gone from them now.
  • Most tutorials I found suggested removing the remains of the steel wool pad when the desired color has been reached. My understanding is if it’s left in the vinegar, it will break down further and the color will deepen.
  • A lot of posts talked about how bad the stain smells, but I didn’t find it offensive at all. The rusty smell bothered me more than the vinegar.

I still have to seal the wood, but I haven’t decided what to use. I’m leaning toward a wax of some sort. Why stop experimenting now?

We picked up two twin mattresses at Ikea (They come rolled flat like a giant sleeping bag. Isn’t that wierd?!) Right now we’re using our regular guest room bedding. I’ve picked out something different for EO, but I haven’t ordered it yet.  

With the trundle popped up, it’s nearly a king sized bed. It fills the entirety of this little room, but hopefully it will be comfortable for the 2 or 3 overnight guests we have each year!

EO won’t be moving in for a few months yet, but he seems pretty excited about this big bed! He loves using the stool to crawl up on top and throw his little body around!

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A Big Boy Bed

The small bedroom makeover is still in progress, and the next step is a new bed! Since this is the bedroom with the ensuite bathroom, it will be where overnight guests stay, so the new bed has the accomodate two adults. However, 99.5% of the time it will be occupied by one little boy (and someday in the not-too-distant-future, likely his very large dog) so I didn’t want it to take up the entire room. When I came across this picture on Pinterest, I knew it was exactly what I wanted – a day bed with a pop-up trundle.

This picture comes from the Ana White site. She’s pretty amazing and posts all her plans online for free. This particular bed, though, was a modification from another one of her projects, so there weren’t any detailed plans I could use. After a lot of thought and conversations with Tony, I set up my own plan and went to buy materials. All the wood is pine or common board, so I was able to keep materials at under $100!

Materials and Cut List:

1 8ft. 4×4 Untreated Pine board (Cut in half at 48in. each for back posts)

5 8ft. 2x4s (2 at 36 in. for front posts, 2 at 43in. 40.5in. for side rails, 1 at 77in. for headboard, 1 at 79.5in.  for the front rail support)

13 8ft. 1x6s (28 at 32in. each for headboard and side piece slats, 4 at 38.5in. 36in. to hold slats together horizontally)

I love 1 8ft. 1×8 (Cut to 77in. and decorative cut made with jigsaw)

Wood Glue

1 box 1 1/4in. Kreg Jig screws

1 box 2 1/2in. Kreg Jig screws

1 box 1 1/2in. Kreg Jig screws

1in. Finish nails I already had on hand

I was able to buy and cut the boards in one weekend, then it took about 3 hours to sand them all down. I had to break that up between two days – sanding is hard work! I was okay with some imperfection, so I only did one round of sanding with 120 grit sand paper, and I was cognizant of where the boards would be placed on the bed. For example, I only sanded one side of the boards that would make up the headboard, because the back would be against a wall, and I didn’t sand the 2x4s that would support the mattress.

Tony cut my decorative top piece with the jigsaw. I’m really good with the miter saw, but those freehand saws still freak me out a bit. 

Time to Build!

Step 1: Assemble headboard

I first attached the two 4×4 posts to the 2×4 mattress base and the 1×8 decorative piece. By propping the 1×8 up on some scrap wood, it was level with the thicker 2×4. I used 1.5in. Kreg Jig screws to attach the 1×8 (even though the holes were drilled at .75in.) and 2.5in. KJ screws for the 2×4. I also put some glue between boards before screwing them together. Tony assured me this would be helpful.

Next I laid out all the vertical slats. My boards were just over 5.5in., which meant they were longer than my headboard, so Tony used the circular saw to cut .5in. off the two end boards. Three pops with nail gun per top and bottom of each board made thus step a snap.

The top is my 2×4 sits at 14.75in. Since were putting the pop-up trundle underneath, we had to match the height as exactly as possible.

Step 2: Assemble sides

This is the area that I deviated most from the inspiration image. Why? Because this bed is a beast, and I needed to reduce its footprint as much as possible! That’s why I chose to use a 2×4 as the front posts instead of another 4×4. That reduced some of the decor elements, but it also bought me a few inches of overall width.

The most important step here was drilling the Kreg Jig holes in the right places so as to hide as many of them as possible! Here’s a pic from the inside:

Attaching the 2×4 front post to the 2×4 side rail in the the right spot was probably the most challenging task of the day! 

Then the slats were laid down and nail gunned on.

The outside does have 4 sets of holes that will attach the side to the headboard. I did this intentionally so that the whole thing can be taken apart and moved. We will leave this house someday, and I’d hate to have to leave the bed behind!

After completing the left side, it was time to mirror it for the right.  This was my really big mistake of the project. Every project has one. I knew I needed to mirror the first side. I changed directions on the run to help me remember, then I ended up building the exact same thing, and I only realized it as I was attaching the last slatTony talked me off the ledge, I fixed the error, and I was off to the next step. 

Step 3: Attach the side pieces and build the front rail

This step had to be done in the bedroom for a couple reasons: 1) This thing is flipping heavy. I definitely couldn’t lift it all assembled. 2) Have I mentioned it’s HUGE? No way would it get through our narrow hallway.

Attaching the sides was easy with 9 2.5in. KJ screws. The front rail is just a 2×4 (to support the mattress slats) masked by a 1×6. I chose to install the 2×4 horizontally to maximize the amount of space for the trundle to roll underneath. It has 5 sets of KJ holes to attach it to the 1×6 and 2 sets on each side to attach it to the side rails.

And here’s the somewhat completed bed!

The next step will be finishing, sealing, and adding the mattress support slats!

Oh, and don’t worry – we didn’t work ALL of Thanksgiving Break!

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