Friday, December 26, 2014

26 Dozen and 39 Weeks

Merry (belated) Christmas! It's been a while since I posted on here and we've been quite busy since then. Back in November, we had a few awesome baby showers hosted by family, friends and even coworkers. Then we visited with both sides of our family over Thanksgiving weekend and celebrated my Grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. The trip to St. Louis for Thanksgiving was our last road trip before the baby gets here which means we didn't get to travel to be with our families over Christmas. However, we've still managed to have a jam packed holiday season. Between Christmas parties, last minute shopping/wrapping/shipping, and visiting with friends we haven't had much time to just sit around! It's been fun though. I hope you all had a nice Christmas are finally relaxing now after what I'm sure has been a very busy season for you as well! Today I went to Target with a friend and scored some half-priced Christmas goods including the cutest little diapers that look like elf pants or something. I can't wait to use those next year!

One other big thing we had in the last few weeks was a GIANT order for wedding cupcakes. I booked this wedding before I was even pregnant and decided to go through with it even though it was dangerously close to my due date. A couple months ago I finally reached out to my friend, Chase, who also has a little side job baking and she agreed to drive in from Wichita on the weekend of the wedding to help me bake. Or possibly bake, ice, and deliver all 26 dozen cupcakes by herself if I ended up in the hospital to have the baby! Obviously, I didn't end up having the baby that weekend, but Chase was still a lifesaver in helping me knock out the order! We baked and iced all the cupcakes on a Saturday, then Chase headed home on Sunday and Joe and I delivered and set them up on Sunday afternoon. Everything went as smoothly as I could hope for and I was very relieved when we got it all done. I told the baby that he could come at any time now but he seems quite content in there. Oh well. Here are a few pictures of the wedding set up:

There were still quite a few cupcakes in a box that didn't fit on the table, but this is the majority of them. 

As for an update on the baby front, as you may have guessed from the title of the post, I'm at 39 weeks and anxiously awaiting the arrival of our little guy. I think we have everything in order around here to bring him home. Our bags are packed and we're just waiting for go time! I've been really bad about taking any sort of consistent "belly" pictures throughout this pregnancy, but I do have picture of Joe and I at my work Christmas party that shows off my enormous belly! Now, this picture was taken a few weeks ago, and I was really sticking my belly out in it, but this might be a more accurate idea of how I look now versus then haha.

I'm surprisingly not miserable yet, but I am looking forward to being able to reach down and put socks and shoes on without struggling! It's nice to know that at SOME point in the next couple weeks he'll be here. Until then, Joe and I are just going to enjoy the last of our quiet time together :)

Oh, and here's one more cake I did for a coworker's retirement that I wanted to share but that didn't really merit it's own post. It's a big cake but was fairly easy for me to make and the man of honor was very surprised and happy with it!

Well I guess that's it for today. Stay tuned in the near future for a baby announcement! Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Mostly Completed Nursery

It's been a busy several days since I last posted but I feel like I've accomplished a lot since then! The nursery decorations are pretty much all done and I've been checking other things off of my "get done before baby" list. Today we went to our birth prep class and I actually do feel more prepared after that. Now we just have several weeks to wait to put what we learned to use :) Yesterday while we had some snow flurries, we got some other "nesting" things done. Mainly cleaning out the basement storage rooms, which obviously won't get used by the baby, but it made me feel better!

Last weekend was when I got most of the shopping and projects completed for the baby's room. Joe was out of town in Washington DC on a trip with his Dad, so I took the opportunity to get as much done as possible. I guess I'll just jump right into pictures of the room now and talk about the different parts/projects as I get to them. First up, the same view you saw last time when I was talking about the dresser makeover:

As you can see, the large canvas got hung, as did a mobile, mirror, and two pieces of "sun art". I'll get back to the sun art in a minute. I also added a crib skirt to the bed (or as Joe likes to call it, a crib kilt). The lamp on the dresser was an estate sale find from a couple years ago and the brass pig is a bank that I found at one of my favorite vintage shops last weekend. The mirror is one that Mom and Dad had sitting in their basement that was no longer being used. Here is a closer up picture of the mobile which is made up of 3 wooden whales connected by brass wire semi-circles. It was a gift from my Uncle Charlie to Mom a long time ago and I love the way it looks in this room!

Close up of the "crib kilt". 

Now about that sun art I mentioned. I first heard about this project on this blog and decided it could be a fun idea for some additional art for the baby's room. All you need for to make these prints is some special paper that you can either buy online or at a craft store. (FYI: if you go to look for it at Hobby Lobby, the employees will most likely have no idea what you're talking about. So just know that the paper is located in the "science and education" section.) The first time I tried making these a few weeks ago, I just used some leaves from a tree for my print. This time I used actually photos that I printed in black and white with the colors inverted, as shown on this blog. All you have to do is lay your objects or photo on top of the sun art paper, then lay the provided piece of plexi glass on top of that, and set the whole thing out in the direct sunlight. Depending on whether you're using objects or a printed negative, the paper will have to stay out there anywhere from 3-30 min. Once you can see that the sun has done its job, just bring the paper inside and rinse it in a tray of water and lay it flat to dry. It's pretty amazing to watch the colors switch places as you rinse the paper off! I was very impressed/surprised with how well the paper developed with the printed negatives on top. Here are my final products:

The top picture is of some plants from the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, and the bottom picture is of jellyfish from the aquarium in San Francisco. 

Ok, now for the view you haven't seen and a few more projects. This is what the room looks like when you're standing in the doorway. 

No one can say there is a lack of color in the room! 

Now the first thing you may be thinking is that the chair we chose is not your typical nursery rocker or glider. That may be true, but I searched high and low for a more traditional rocker or glider that I liked, but couldn't find any that weren't WAY out of our budget. This chair came from Ikea and it truly is VERY comfortable and I've found myself sitting and rocking/swiveling in it just about every day since we bought it. The other things I like about it are that the leather will be easy to keep clean and it will be easy to move into another room in the house once we no longer need it in the nursery. The extra high back is also nice for me and Joe since we can lean our heads back on it. Enough about the chair. The little cart is another estate sale found that I cleaned up and spray painted. Those plants on top won't both be staying there by the way. Joe just wanted them to get some sun. The pillow on the chair is one I made and the blanket & small ottoman are more vintage finds from this past weekend. The blanket is super warm and cozy! The last 2 things on that wall are the new window shades and the little piece of art on the right. 

The window shades are another DIY project. They are made from the "skeleton" of a very cheap set of mini blinds that get combined with new fabric. I mostly followed the tutorial from this blog with a couple changes. It took a little trial and error, but I finally got them to raise and lower nicely while keeping the nice folds that are characteristic of Roman shades. I added blackout curtain lining to the back of the bright green corduroy to really help block out the light. 

The little piece of art is something I made using a kit I bought several months ago. The kit included a piece of fabric that looked like notebook paper, and dark grey embroidery floss. I decided to stitch the "ABC / I love you" print that I've seen online so I simply wrote the letters out in pencil then stitched over them. 

Finally we have the closet. I slapped on a quick coat of white paint 2 weekends ago, then we put in a small shelving unit from Ikea. Now we just need to add a bar for hanging clothes and get the whole thing organized. 

Well that's about it! With the exception of possibly adding some book ledges to the wall between the closet and the bedroom door, I'm calling the nursery done! Of course we still have to put sheets on the bed and a changing pad on the dresser, but those aren't exactly "projects" and will be easy to add soon. It is quite a relief to have all of this done now, especially since the holiday season starts next week with Thanksgiving and things will only get busier after that! Not to mention I'll just keep getting bigger and probably won't feel like doing much :) Pregnancy is still going well and I'm happy to say there have only been 2 nights when I had to get up in the middle of the night to pee haha. I do have almost daily heartburn, but Tums work wonders and I just hope that the heartburn means this baby will have some glorious hair! Ok, I've let this post drag on a little too long. Thanks for reading, have a good night, and stay warm!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Double Wedding Cake Weekend

Hi there! I don't know about you guys but I sure don't like how it gets completely dark at 5:30 after the time change this weekend. When it gets dark outside, I seem to get much less productive inside. Luckily I got a lot of chores done this past Sunday, so I suppose relaxing a bit this week after work won't be so bad. So while I sit here and watch The Voice I might as well write a blog post!

A few weekends ago, right after I got back from my work trip to West Virginia, I had back to back wedding cakes and cupcakes to do. To be honest, it was a mistake on my part to take both these weddings on the same weekend! I agreed to them at different times without double checking what I already had going on that weekend. Luckily, the first wedding was on Friday and it was a cupcake wedding plus a small display cake. Cupcakes are much quicker for me to make and I was actually able to get all 120 of them baked on Thursday night before the wedding. Friday was spent baking and decorating the display cake as well as decorating all of the cupcakes. I took a day off of work on Friday to get all that done. After setting up the cake on Friday night I came home and baked ALL the cakes for the Saturday wedding. But before we get to that, here is the cupcake wedding setup!

In case you can't quite tell, those are supposed to be trees :)

Lots of cupcakes!

The cake for Saturday was more of a traditional wedding cake. The flavor of all the tiers was a copycat recipe of Chantilly Creme cake from Whole Foods Market. The cake itself isn't that special but the icing is! It is a combination of fresh whipped cream, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and mascarpone cheese. The filling of the cake was the same icing mixed with some fresh berries. It is a delicious flavor combination! The bride had lots of cake designs that she liked so I came up with a combination of several of them for the final cake. I think it turned out great and she liked it too! I had to add the flowers at the reception, and needless to say, I am no florist haha. I just tried not to go overboard with them! 

The cake before the flowers.

The toppers are fox salt and pepper shakers. 

Well since the last time I posted, I've gotten a few more updates done in the nursery but I will post about those separately later. The room is really starting to come together now though! Only a few more DIY projects to complete and then we just have to get everything "installed". Unfortunately I don't have much to post about other than baby things, so you probably won't hear from me till next week sometime. Until then, have a great week!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

30 Weeks and Nursery Updates!

As I write this there seems to be a little one man rave going on in my belly. This baby sure knows how to wiggle! I don't mind though :) This past Wednesday we hit the 30 week mark and things seem to be moving along right on schedule. My only pregnancy complaint so far is WHY ARE THERE NO MATERNITY PANTS IN LONG SIZES!? What are tall ladies supposed to wear?! Sorry for yelling, but I'm pretty fed up with searching for a pair of pants that aren't high-waters.

Anyway, before I get into nursery updates I'll give a quick rundown of what we've been up to lately. This isn't in exact chronological order but I'll try my best! Back in September we had Joe's parents in town for the weekend and had a nice visit with them, including a failed trip to our newly opened IKEA. We'll try again next time though! We've gone to a couple baby showers for friends and family and Joe and also went on a tour of some historic homes in the "Hyde Park" neighborhood in Kansas City. We saw some really cool places and did some serious walking! I took a 2 day business trip to Charleston, WV then came home just in time to make back to back wedding cakes. (Those will get their own post soon enough.) Before, after and in between all these activities I've been spending LOTS of quality time in a respirator mask while working on painting projects for the nursery. These projects include stripping and repainting/staining a dresser, as well as painting EVERY surface in that room at least twice. But it's done and I couldn't be happier with the results!

This thing really does work well! When I'm wearing it I can't smell anything!

Luckily this pregnancy has been very easy on me, with the exception of a week or 2 of back pain, so I've been able to get a lot of work and projects done. I knew I wanted a dresser for the nursery that would double as a changing table wasn't sure what kind to look for. One option was to use the campaign dresser that we bought on Craigslist a couple years ago. I'm sure it would have worked great in the nursery, but honestly I love it where it is in the entrance and didn't really want to move it. So I headed back to Craigslist and eventually found this beauty for $30. Sold!

That dresser in the background is another Craigslist makeover from the beginning of this year that I've never posted about on here. 

I wanted there to be some natural wood on this dresser, but I knew the top at least had to be painted since it was just plastic laminate. So I decided to leave the draw fronts natural wood and paint the rest in a satin black to match the crib. To strip the paint I used a product called Citristrip which I'd heard good things about on other blogs. Even though it claimed to be safe for indoor use with no harmful fumes, I still wore my trusty mask. Even when I did catch a whiff of it, it just smelled like citrusy cleaner. It worked very well for taking the paint off the drawer fronts, and I decided to go ahead and try to remove the paint from the dresser frame as well. For some reason, this paint was more stubborn than on the drawer fronts.

Painting on the Citristrip. 

After waiting an hour or so, the paint started to bubble and ripple up. 

Using a couple different scraping tools, I managed to easily scrape off most of the paint. 

I didn't try TOO hard to get all the paint off the dresser frame. 

The paint on the top of t he dresser really did not want to come off. Even with multiple coats of Citristrip. 

The drawer fronts and frame all got a good sanding before paint or stain. For the drawer fronts I used Restore-a-finish and the wax that goes along with it to color and protect the wood. There were little bits of paint stuck in some of the drawer fronts around the raised part where the handles go, and I just could not get it off. So I grabbed some brown acrylic paint and just painted over those spots :) Probably not the RIGHT way to handle the problem, but it is the easy/lazy/pregnant way to handle it haha.

Looking much better after sanding. 

And even better after adding a coat of restor-a-finish!

When it came to painting the frame of the dresser I used some black satin paint that we already had on hand from a different project. Using a combination of a brush and a foam roller, I gave the entire frame 2 coats of paint. After a couple of days it became apparent to me that the paint on top of the dresser wasn't really sticking and could easily be scratched off. As much as I would have loved to just leave it, I decided to scrape the paint off the top of the dresser, sand it down again, then start with a coat of oil based primer before putting on more coats of black paint. This time it seems to have stuck! We got the dresser moved into the freshly painted bedroom and got the crib set up as well. Now it's time to finish up the little details, which honestly are the hardest part for me. I've got a couple months though so hopefully I'll get it finished!

This was after having to scrape off the first round of paint from the top and adding back on a coat of primer. 

All done! The little circles under the feet are just furniture moving pads that we were using. 
Well it's just about time to go carve some pumpkins! I've got a lot of little projects left for the room, but I can't promise that I'll get them documented on the blog. I will post about the 2 wedding cakes soon though! Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2014

DIY Otomi Artwork for the Nursery

Hello again! Tonight I have the first of hopefully many baby room projects to share with y'all. I mentioned in the last post that I had started on a piece of artwork for the nursery. Well this piece has been in my mind for years actually!

It all started a while back when for some reason I was looking at baby bedding on a website called Serena and Lilly that featured embroidered animals and shapes. I thought it was so pretty and told myself that if I ever had a baby then I would make something similar for the crib bedding. Here is the bedding I am talking about:

Eventually I discovered that the design of the bedding was based on a much more colorful version of embroidery made by the Otomi tribe in Mexico. Once I saw these colorful versions, I decided THAT was what I wanted for a future nursery, not the beige and white version that I had originally seen haha. Below is an example of actual Otomi embroidery.

 The problem with these authentic embroidered pieces from Mexico is that they are quite pricey. Even with scouring Ebay and Craigslist, I couldn't find anything in the size I wanted for less than $200. Now, maybe my little bundle of joy that is on the way is worth that much money, but I like to think he'd be more happy with the fact that I saved a little money to put toward his college (or some really cute clothes for him haha). Once I decided to DIY a version of the Otomi embroidery I had to find a something to trace or use as a stencil since I did not want to have to freehand the animals and other shapes. Luckily, I stumbled across these stencils and new they would be perfect! With the stencils figured out, I just needed to buy a large canvas and a variety of acrylic paints. The canvas I chose is 36" square and is from Hobby Lobby. I used a 40% off coupon for the canvas, and all the paints were already on sale. You'll also need some contact paper for this project. The total for paint and supplies was probably around $50. I did end up also buying some Polycrylic sealer to finish the painting off, but that part isn't absolutely necessary. Now for the steps to create the painting!

The first thing to do is trace the shapes onto the contact paper and cut them out. If you're using clear contact paper, then you can just lay the printed animal stencil underneath and trace them right onto the contact paper with a maker. Cutting all these shapes takes a while, so maybe pop in a movie or start a Netflix marathon and get to work! Once you have all the shapes that you want cut out, arrange them on the canvas before peeling off the backing of the contact paper.

Once you got 'em where you want 'em, peel the backing off piece by piece and press the contact paper into place.

This next step may not be essential but it was quick and probably helped a little bit. I used a small foam paint roller to apply a thin coat of primer over the entire canvas. My hope was that it would seal the edges of the contact paper shapes in order to prevent the colored paint from seeping under.

I waited overnight for the primer to dry, then got to work on the next step of marking out and drawing all the lines that I would be painting. Instead of painting stripes on the animals like the inspiration embroidery, I decided to leave the animals white and have the background be striped. My stripes were each 1" wide.

When it came time to fill in each stripe with paint, I just used a small craft paint brush. I skipped around on the stripes so that I was never painting up against a freshly painted stripe. To help the process go faster, I lined up the paint bottles in the order I wanted to use so that I didn't have to stop and decide on a color each time. Also, each stripe got 2 coats of paint.

The shapes on the left have had the contact paper removed, and the shapes on the right still have the contact paper that has just been painted over. 

As I went along I started to peel off the contact paper to reveal the white canvas underneath and it became apparent that the coat of primer I did was not super effective.

Once all the stripes were done, I went back with white acrylic paint and touched up any bleed through spots. Then I painted the edges of the canvas with gold craft paint. The final step was to brush on a coat of semi-gloss acrylic sealer to give a nice sheen to the painting. The craft paints I used had a matte finish and just looked kind of chalky. Then it was done!

Having this painting done is making me even more excited to get the rest of the work done on the baby's room! I'm already working on the 2nd project which is refinishing a dresser that we bought on Craigslist. Tonight I finished removing a few layers of paint from all the drawer fronts, and tomorrow I'm hoping to remove the paint from the frame of the dresser. I'll be sure to share the dresser on here when it's all done! Until next time, have a great week!

Monday, September 1, 2014

French Stripe Love Seat Makeover

Well I was on a blogging roll for a couple weeks but then I fell off the wagon. In my defense, we were out of town 2 weekends ago then last weekend I was busy working on this love-seat project as well as making some "taste-test" cupcakes for a wedding that is coming up in October. But a few nights ago I finally finished the re-upholstery job on the love seat and I'm really happy with how it turned out!

This didn't start out like my usual makeover post with a piece of furniture I picked up from the trash. I actually paid for this one! haha. This little settee came from an estate sale that I visited back in January. I loved the shape and style of it and the caning on the back was in perfect condition. The super fluffy down cushion was another selling point. Lucky for me, it fit perfectly in the back of my old Subaru, so it came home with us and then sat in the basement untouched for the next 6 months. Not my quickest furniture turn around, but definitely not my slowest either! I knew that it needed to be recovered but wasn't sure what type or color of fabric to get. Thankfully, the frame of the settee was in very good shape and did not need any work.

The makeover got kicked into gear when I found some fabric I liked while down in Houston in July. I had originally thought I'd use a solid color cotton velvet fabric since that's what it was already covered with. But when I saw this heavy blue and white stripe, I knew it would be perfect since it had a French country look that would play nicely with the French style of the love-seat. Without knowing how much fabric I really needed, I made a guess and bought 3 1/2 yards. It ended up being just enough! (with a little help from another fabric) The first step in the re-upholstery project was to un-stitch the cushion. There was no zipper and I couldn't just cut it apart since I needed to use the pieces as a pattern for my new fabric. I also wanted to re-use the piping that was around the edges. So I carefully ripped open all the seams to get my pattern pieces and removing the cording from the velvet piping fabric. This part wasn't exactly fun, but it made making the new cushion cover much easier. I don't have any pictures of the cushion making process, but if you have specific questions about that, just let me know!

When it came to re-upholstering the bottom part of the settee I had to start by ripping the fabric off from around the edges and removing all the upholstery nails. Then I had to un-stitch that fabric from the under layer. I tried to remember how this was done since I'd have to try and replicate it with the new fabric.

Even after removing the nails around the edge, the middle was still sewn down. 

You can see here it was sewn from underneath into a gap left between two sections of batting. 

Next it was time to add my new fabric. For the middle section of the seat upholstery, I used a piece of scrap fabric that I had since there wasn't enough of my new fabric to cover it. I sewed the striped fabric around the edges then used a round upholstery needle to sew the piece down. I sewed along the seam between the white and striped fabric, and tried my best to match it up to the gap between batting underneath.

That rectangle gap between the middle and the edge is where I sewed the new fabric down into. 

Upholstery needles are curved to allow you to sew through layers of fabric when you can't reach underneath to push the needle back up. 

All sewn down around the edges of the white fabric. 

Then I pulled the striped fabric down around the edges and used the pneumatic staple gun hold it in place. As usual the corners were the most difficult part to cover. They turned out ok though.

The final step was to add trim around all the stapled edges to give it a finished look. Since I didn't have enough striped fabric to make double chord welting like the love seat had originally, I bought some twill tape that had a little bit of gold thread mixed in to use as trim. My plan at first was to attach the twill tape using large decorative upholstery nails, but after trying to nail a few in, I decided it was not worth my time and probably wouldn't turn out well. So I turned to my trusty friend the hot glue gun! That turned out to be much easier/quicker. Now for some final pictures!

For these pictures the love seat is in front of the built-ins in our front room, but I think it's permanent home will be in the little window bump-out in our master bedroom. Adding this to our bedroom will inevitably make me want to do a complete makeover of our bedroom, but that will have to wait.

In other news, this weekend my parents came to visit us and we kept them pretty busy :) On Saturday we took a little tour around Kansas City including Chez Elle Creperie for breakfast, then the City River Market where there is lots of great local produce and hand made goods. After that we headed to the WWI Memorial and Museum. The museum is HUGE so we only made it through half of it before heading to lunch at a local BBQ place. Then we drove back to the museum to finish seeing the other half. By the time we finished it was almost 5:00 pm so we went home to take a little break before grilling some burgers for dinner. On Sunday, Mom and Dad helped us with a few projects around the house. Mom and I got started on clearing out the guest room that will be turned into the baby's room. Now I'm ready to really get moving in there! I started little craft project for that room tonight that I'll be sure to share on here (as long as it turns out good). I guess that's it for tonight! I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend and I'll talk to you later!