Allison's Getting Married Part II. And (Not) Finding Balance.

I know everyone says it...there is not enough time in any given day to get everything done that needs to be done. You prioritize -- determining what can sit and what needs to be addressed like, now. There is no getting around it, my first priority is taking care of the babies during the day. I have personal and work-related emails to answer...but often they have to wait longer than I'd like. I'm really struggling to find the right balance and I'm finding myself turning down jobs that I'd normally snatch up in a heartbeat. In fact, I shouldn't even be blogging right now -- because both kids are sleeping and I could have only 5 more precious minutes. That's the thing too. With Daphne, I know she'll most likely sleep from 1-3 in the afternoon. With Maddox, I just never know. Could be 20 minutes. Could be 40. Could be 3 hours. I'm hesitant to start a big project during his naps because I know that by the time I sit down (after washing bottles, feeding myself, throwing in laundry) he'll probably be awake and ready to eat. I think most people might say right here that they aren't complaining...but I know I am. High five for admitting to it? Thanks, I'll take it.

All this to say, most posts these days were really intended to be posted yesterday. Or the day before. Or the week before. Maybe even months before. Did you know I stenciled my main floor's curtains? Probably not, because I haven't been able to pull a post together about it. Basically it started with a pregnant me naively thinking it wouldn't take very long. And ended with a pregnant me complaining about my back and how I was NEVER doing something like that again. Guess I don't need to post on it now. But, let's talk about Allison's bridal shower invitations, mmkay?

Allison and Jake are outdoorsy folk. They like nature. And they've moved across country where there is plenty of it. I'm sure they are eating it all up. Actually, I know they are. I just saw Allie's latest Facebook album (Hi, Al!). When brainstorming shower themes, it really made the most sense to go with something that reflected their love of the great outdoors. It was no coincidence that we used words such as "paths" and " toasting" and "gather" to share the important details of this exciting event. Now that they were all delivered, it's time to share:

The end. Maddox is up!


Allison's Getting Married Part I

So, I posted Daphne's invitations a while ago. Then we all got sick and I had to reschedule her party for July 7th -- also known as the hottest day we could have possibly had it. Photos to come, but I'm telling you now that the sweaty, hot mess in the photos is me. Prepping the space at the farm for the party proved to be more work than I anticipated and I didn't exactly wear the most sweat-proof type of outfit. Lesson learned. Let's move on and talk about my dear friend, Allison.

Allison is getting married! And not only do I get to stand up there with her on September 2nd, I also had the privilege of designing invitations for her wedding, shower, and bachelorette party. I couldn't have been any more excited to do it all. And I can't wait to share them here. First up, the invite.

After discussing the color palette, any themes and/or preferences she had in mind, I got to work. I sent her a few different options -- all using deep purple and warm yellow hues. Allison gets five stars for participation. It was her suggestion to use the wheat graphic (drawn in Illustrator) in place of the dandelion I had there. A little background on her suggestion:

  • Allison and her fiancĂ© (Jake), have recently relocated to Colorado. Colorado is a state with more farming and land with less populous towns and people reminding Jake of where he grew up.
  • Symbolizes their new life in Colorado and the laid back lifestyle there and their future home they are planning to buy with land and acreage.
  • They picked a wheat 'strand' in Kansas on their drive out to Colorado at a really pretty wheat field on the side of the road. They still have it and plan on putting it in a shadow box.
  • They sort of have a special song (hey, mine and Brian's was Yeah, Yeah by Usher...) and its Neal Young's Heart of Gold. It's relaxing, mellow, and reminds Allison of a peaceful wheat field.

I love when there is a real purpose in design. It makes it that much more meaningful. And to top it all off, Allison added her own touch -- the wheat stamping on the back of the envelope. Way to go, Al!

So here's the whole shabang. Location and website information has been removed to prevent any party crashers (you know who you are) from...crashing.


Daphne's 2nd Birthday Invitations

Can I just tell you how excited I am about Daphne's party theme this year? For months, I thought I'd be designing a duck themed party for Daphne...until I realized that her love of all farm animals far outweighed her love for just ducks. Before she knew colors or numbers, she knew farm animals. Ducks go "cack, cack". Cows go "a-moo". Chickens go "buk, buk". Pigs go "oi oi". If there was ever to be a Jeopardy, Toddler Edition, Daphne would choose Farm Animals for $1000, Alex.

We are so fortunate to have a place like Clark's Elioak Farm in our area. They've got the Enchanted Forest to wander through, a tree maze, hay rides, and a petting zoo. We took Daphne for a test run a few weeks ago and she was ecstatic over being able to get so close to the animals. It only solidified our decision to have her 2nd birthday party there.

Last year it wasn't totally about her. I chose decorations and designs that I liked for her. This year we wanted a party that reflected things she loves. Maybe she won't remember, but we will. Seeing her run from the goats, to the sheep, to the chicken coop in delight are the kind of moments we live for. Just seeing her happy.

There will be a lot of gingham. A lot of burlap. Cowboy hats and neckerchiefs (each child will get their own!). I'm seeing lemonade with red striped straws. Oh, and more gingham.

Enjoy the invite package below!


The Birth Announcement

It's no surprise, I don't have much free time these days. I expect this to change a little in coming months as Maddox (hopefully!) starts to fall into a routine. I can almost always count on Daphne's 2 hour nap in the middle of the day, but Maddox is still unpredictable. Just yesterday, he gave me 30 TOTAL minutes of glorious napping all day. It was awesome.

I have a hard time putting Maddox down if he's not sleeping. He wants to be held most of the time, and for that I can't fault him. He is still a newborn and needs all the comfort and love he can get. After spending 9 months in my belly where everything felt safe, he's now been thrusted into our chaotic world. It's rarely quiet around here. It is nothing short of a small miracle that I was able to get these birth announcements designed and mailed, all while planning and designing for Daphne's upcoming 2nd birthday party.

Question: Does anyone create anything that they haven't already seen done on Pinterest these days?! No? Okay, that makes me feel better. I'll come clean and say the front of this card was inspired by a design I found on the big P. I wanted something clean and simple with pops of orange. If you remember Maddox's room, you will know where the orange comes from. I'd like to frame the front of the card and hang it in his nursery so I kept that in mind when choosing the color palette.

I will soon have birthday invites to share. I'm very, very excited with how they turned out. Stay tuned!


Maddox Ray

Yeah, I know. Old news. But I feel like I need to post it anyways...

Our son, Maddox Ray was born on March 28th at 10:12 pm. He was 7 pounds 8 oz and 20.5 inches long. Daphne had us waiting for her arrival until eight days after her due date -- this little guy graced us with his presence six days early!

Just as it was with his sister, my labor went very smoothly -- and for that, I am grateful. We arrived at the birthing center around 6:00 pm and four hours later we had a baby (I labored at home for about 2 hours). Is there more to my labor story? Of course. But I'll spare you all the details. This is, after all, a design blog.

Brian demonstrated his budding photog skills and snapped a photo of me at 38ish weeks pregnant and then another a week after Maddox was born. I cannot believe that was MY belly.

We are currently waiting for our newborn photos. Once I have those -- I'll be ready to share our birth announcement!


Baby Boy's Nursery: The Deets

I really left everyone hanging with my last post. The truth is, there was a lot to say about all of the different elements of Maddox's (yes, we've spilled the beans on the name...) nursery. So much, that I felt overwhelmed and decided to spew all my photos at you without explaining anything. I did plan to come back with a photo collage (oh, how I love myself a photo collage) and talk about how we brought this nursery together. And because bullet points and lists are a total cop out awesome, that is how I'm doing it.

  1. The changing table. This guy used to be Daphne's. It's been a long time since we changed her on it and knew that we would shift it on into baby boy's room when the time was right. We used it a lot during Daphne's infant days, and I'm sure we will get the same use out of it with Maddox. To bring some new life to it, I switched out its white knobs to natural wood cone shaped knobs. I found a fabric I loved at Joanns and used my crib sheet sewing know-how to make a cover. LOVE. IT.
  2. The above-the-crib set-up. You saw my post on the mobile. I recreated the prints from ideas I found online. One reads "Good Morning Sunshine" and the other is a whale. To create some interest, I decided to use frames with different finishes instead of going with my typical white frame. The "M" is cardboard, from Joanns, and painted with Cadmium Orange acrylic paint and finished off with a clear poly gloss.
  3. Maddox bunting. This was never in the plan. Then I saw a burlap bunting with acrylic paint letters on Etsy and I had to have it. I used leftover Ikea curtain fabric from our main floor windows to cut out the triangles, then sewed the raw edges to prevent fraying. I used a stencil and white acrylic paint to make each letter of his name, let it all dry, then hot-glued each piece to an off-white ribbon.
  4. Whale art. Original found here. While I'm sure the original is way better than my own, I knew I could handle painting this one. I used 3 8x10 canvases, acrylic paint, and a template of the whale I drew in Illustrator to pull this one off.
  5. I just love the view from the master into his room. Some random notes about what you see: the basket is from HomeGoods and stores soft toys, the rug is from Urban Outfitters found here, and the crib was from here.
  6. Alphabet monogram art. I designed this. This wouldn't work for everyone's initials. It's about 16x20 and the frame is from Ikea. I'm loving light wood frames lately.
  7. The floating shelves. You didn't see this in my previous post! That's because they weren't ready. I was waiting on my felt chihuahua to come in, and was in need of some art to fill the spaces. The little blue clock is from here. The giraffe is a print I mimicked from something I saw online. And the blue striped canvas is a little project I painted and might share at a later date. Spoiler, it's actually not a canvas — it's white fabric hot-glued to an emptied out old frame. In other words, it was free.
  8. The cats' view. Because we have cats.
  9. Daphne loves going in his room and looking out the window. Then she points up to the fan and whines until I turn it on (she's got an unhealthy obsession with ceiling fans...ask anyone that knows her). She constantly pulls the lion (from HomeGoods!) off the side table. Not to play with it. Just to pull it off. The curtains were tailored by yours truly — fabric from Carousel Designs.
  10. The crib sheets. I know I proclaimed I would never buy another crib sheet, but this fabric was too cute to pass up. Comes in other colors from PBK. I have another set with muti-colored stripes to use as well. The color scheme in his room allows for a lot of different textile options, which I like, so I'm not tied to any one crib sheet.
So, that's it. Another random tidbit — the ottoman is by its lonesome right now. The armchair has been relocated from Daphne's room to our room and will probably stay there for the next 3-4 months. After having Daphne, we realized quickly that she'd be sleeping in our room with us, not her nursery. It only made sense to bring the armchair into our room for late-night/early morning nursing sessions. Once baby boy has been moved into his room, we will reunite the ottoman with its beloved armchair. I know they miss each other.


Baby Boy's Nursery

And here it is...in pictures
view from the hallway
with a glimpse of my "whale art" (idea via Pinterest, shock)

the crib set-up (no, I don't plan to leave the throw pillows in there!)


Sewing (Semi) Success #2: Fitted Crib Sheet

I had never really planned to update Daphne's room. Things just started happening. I changed out a few prints in her room and that small change got me thinking -- she needs more color! After I happened upon a vibrant, modern, flowery fabric at Joanns, it was all over. I was making over her room.

We aren't painting. I'm still a big fan of the color and it lends itself well to different color palettes. I've been using her curtain fabric as my color guide. We have fuchsia, turquoise, and yellow in the mix. (See my Pinterest board!) Once the room is done, I'll show it in its entirety. It's still a work in progress.

I found two tutorials online on how to sew a crib sheet and chose the one that I thought sounded easiest. Tutorial here. Everything went pretty smoothly. It didn't go perfectly. But it went well.

When I bought the fabric, I forgot to check the width as it comes. When I went to make the sheet I realized the width was less than 45 inches, which is what the pattern calls for. I decided to proceed because I had already started cutting and I realized that if anything, I could still learn how to make the sheet even if it didn't fit. It would have been a $5 loss if I couldn't use it.

Once I was finished (and the sheet was washed), I rushed upstairs to try it on. As expected, it was a little snug on the long sides of the mattress. So snug that the mattress would show on one side through the crib slats. With the crib pushed up to the wall though, no one can see the exposed mattress. In the future, I'll check the width of the fabric. It didn't even cross my mind.

I know crib sheets on their own aren't very expensive, but now that I know it's possible to sew my own I don't expect to buy many more. There are so many unique and exciting fabrics to choose from this way. And with two kids in cribs (one hopefully in a toddler bed at some point in the near future), having a nice selection of crib sheets will be nice. And if I can score $2.50/yd fabric often, it will definitely save us some dollars!

As far as I can tell, Daphne really likes her new crib sheet. She likes to point to each flower and say wasssssaaaat?, as in, what's that?. My role is to repeat flower. Over. And over. And over. Until I get her out.


Playroom Revealed

Do you have a room in your home that you absolutely loathe setting foot in? The type of room that you keep the door shut to and only run in and out to get various items you need? Tell me everyone does. That was our basement to me for almost the last year.

When we moved in, we knew the basement was going to be one of the last spaces we touched. Over the year, it had become a dumping ground for anything we didn't have space for upstairs. Nothing was in order and it was certainly not baby-friendly. With the new baby coming in a couple months, I really wanted to have a space where Daphne could play and (hopefully) allow me to tend to the baby. While we have baby-proofed our main floor pretty well, treachery for a toddler still exists. Anything and everything Daphne can get her hands on in here are her toys. Toddler heaven.

For the first time in our lives, we actually taped up different paint swatches before we decided on the color. The light down here is low and we really wanted to see what it looked like under artificial light. Another requirement for this room was it's ability to double as a guest room. We do have a bathroom down here and now that all of our rooms upstairs will be taken, we wanted to have a place where people can sleep if they need to. We don't have a lot of space in the playroom, so we opted for the IKEA Manstad sectional sleeper. It opens into a full bed with storage underneath for sheets, blankets, and pillows.

This room is all about fun. I read somewhere that when designing a playroom, it would make a lot of sense to center the color scheme around the toys. This meant lots of color to work with. Daphne doesn't have much artwork to display just yet, but I was able to frame a finger painting she did a few months ago. I plan to add more ledges and more artwork through the years. The picture ledges are from IKEA. And for all the safety nuts out there -- the frames are all adhered to the wall to prevent them from falling off.

I made the pillow covers with my trusty new sewing machine. I have a tendency to go way overboard with throw pillows. Like to the point of people sitting on the floor because the pillows are taking up too much room. I really wanted to make more, but I refrained. I'm putting myself through throw pillow therapy.

One challenge we did face was finding something to fit the wall that separates the playroom from the office. In this space, we hung a TV and planned to have some sort of cubby furniture to keep toys. We wanted the cubby piece to fit the length of that wall perfectly. After some searching, we were able to combine two pieces from Target. Being the basket-freak that I am, we already had baskets to fit the open cubby holes. On top of the cubby piece, I have 4 boxes all labeled. One of them holds kid DVDs, two of them hold comedies we couldn't part with (we did a HUGE dvd clean out before we started this project), and one holds diapers and wipes. The basket next to the boxes houses our remotes and baby monitor. The whole thing is secured to the wall...and for good reason. I've caught Daphne climbing them.

You can see where the playroom opens up into the office. I put a tension rod up between the two rooms to give some separation and folded back behind the curtain is a baby gate. The office is not kid-friendly and is home to many sharp and dangerous objects. I probably shouldn't be allowed back there. The office is still a work in progress and won't be shown until a later date. It's coming along though and is looking great. I actually enjoy coming down here to do my work now. It's much easier to feel inspired in a space that oozes color and creativity. There are still things we want to do down here -- like add a large magnetic chalkboard and kid-sized table and chairs. But, we are happy with what this room has become and it is now serving its purpose. We all love it!



DIY Nursery Mobile

1 roll of clear jewelry thread
1 embroidery ring
4 different colors of cardstock
1" circle punch
2" circle punch
hot glue gun
sewing needle

There have been a lot of different variations of this mobile floating around on Pinterest. There's a paint swatch version out there, versions with more circles, less circles, ombre circles, scalloped circles, chain-linked circles...I could go on and on.

Side story: I actually made a paint swatch "chandelier" that was intended for use in Daphne's room. I used a 1" circle punch to cut hundreds of circles out of different pink paint swatches I had Brian swipe from Lowes. It took weeks to finish and in the end, I kind of hate it. I'm too proud to just throw it in the trash -- so it's currently hanging in my office.  Too soon to toss it. Two of the reasons I'm not happy with it: 1) despite following instructions, you can still see the text on the back of each swatch, and 2) each strand is very finicky and will not hang perfectly straight. Because of these two snafus, when I decided to make a mobile for baby boy's room, I went a different route. And this time I made up my own instructions.

I bought one embroidery ring, a roll of clear jewelry thread, and 4 sheets of scrapbook card stock (dark blue, light blue, grey, and orange) from Joanns. The total cost of these items was around $5.

I used the inner part of the embroidery ring and tied 3 long pieces of the jewelry thread to it so it can hang from the ceiling. (It was nice to have the ring hanging from something while I attached each strand of circles.) I considered painting the ring, but in the end left it as is because we are using a lot of natural wood elements in his room. Each strand uses 14 circles -- 7 circles double sided. 5 strands.
70 circles total.

You can recreate this mobile in any color combination. You can attach more than 5 strands, less than 5 strands. Strand lengths can vary, circle size combinations can vary. You could even get cray-cray and use a different shape other than circles. The possibilities!

P.S. The mobile will not be hanging from the fan once we get our crib in place. It's just the safest spot to keep it away from the cats. Jewelry thread and paper + our cats = stepping in jewelry thread and paper cat puke at 7am before my eyes have focused enough to not do so.


Colorful Number Garland

Daphne likes to count. Or really, likes us to count while she repeats "sish" over and over...and over. "Sish" in our house, means "six", and that's the only number she likes to say. If she wants us to count to her, she'll "sish" us and hold up one finger. It's pretty adorable.

Because Daphne loves (us) to count, I thought she'd enjoy a bright colorful number garland in her new playroom. Since it's been up, she loves to point to the numbers and have us repeat them (yay for us!). Brian thinks its a coincidence but she usually points to the six and says "sish". He thinks it's merely the result of the six being the closest for her to reach and smack dab in the middle. I ere on the side of my child being a baby genius...

Anyways, here is how I made it. I designed each number to be a 3 inch square. My color theory for the playroom is anything goes. If it's bright and vibrant, it's allowed in. I started with bright red and ended with deep blue. From Joanns, I purchased 10 mini 3 inch square canvases. I had the numbers printed at Snapfish by grouping them in a layout that would print as an 11x14 poster. When the poster print arrived, I cut them all to size. I used photo adhesive strips to stick them to the canvases. Usually, I'd use spray mount for something like this, but the fumes are harsh and our unborn baby boy is very important to us. Once he's out, I'll go spray mount crazy.

I hot glued each canvas to jute I had laying around. There's a chance I'll change out the jute for something more colorful -- but for now I'm happy with it. Playroom photos to come, soonish.


My First Sewing Success

Yep, I got a sewing machine for Christmas. If you told me a few years ago that I'd be asking for a sewing machine in coming years, I would have laughed in your face. Isn't it beautiful?

I don't have big dreams to become an amazing seamstress. I don't expect myself to pull off any amazing projects and I won't start making my children's clothes. I see this guy being used to make throw pillow covers, curtains, and other simple things like those.

I have to admit, I do have some experience with sewing machines. My parents bought one when I was in 4th grade because I wanted to be a Hershey Kiss for Halloween. They found a pattern and somehow pulled off sewing my entire costume (I wish I had a picture). Around the same time, I became very interested in making hair scrunchies. So, I made them. With our sewing machine. If I didn't have a hair scrunchie to match every single outfit I owned, I'd be very surprised.

I was a little nervous to start my first project. In fact, I didn't even open the box until just the other day. I'm not a big fan of reading instructions, but I knew I had to this time. While Daphne was napping, I opened up the box, pulled everything out, and started studying the instructions. Everything came back to me pretty quickly -- and even though it's been about 20 years since I last used a sewing machine -- I have to say, they haven't changed too much.

The first project I wanted to tackle was an envelope-style throw pillow cover. I've been known to switch my throw pillows very often and to be able to make my own covers would save us a lot of money. A while back, I found this tutorial on how to make pillow covers. The instructions were very clear and I had an easy time following them.

Right now, we are in the midst of decorating the playroom/office area in the basement. I have plans for lots of color in the playroom area (unlike the rest of our home) and I realized I had a fabric that would be perfect for a throw pillow in that room. Remember this post? We bought that fabric behind Daphne as soon as we found out I was pregnant. I thought I'd use it in the baby's room, regardless of gender, but have since decided on an entirely different plan for Baby Boy's room. Meet our new pillow cover, and my first sewing "baby"!

I swear I stared at this thing the rest of the day. I can't believe I made it! I think a lot of people wonder why I put so much time into making things myself -- and it's for that feeling of accomplishment. It makes me love the items in our home that much more.

And for the record, a few years ago, I would have laughed if you told me I'd say that.