Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Flat Wall Book Holders

Here's another flashback project post. I really love these shelves so I'm not exactly sure why I never posted about them. They hold a ton of books, fill some wall space, and we made them out of scraps from the Dream Dollhouses.

We used these plans from Ana White to make two 24" shelves and one 36" shelf. Yes, Austin helped with this building project. Usually I'm way to controlling to get help, but I was pretty pregnant at the time and rational choices had to be made. If only I was that functional all the time I we would probably get more done.

To attach them to the wall we just screwed them into the studs (after pre-drilling with a counter sink bit).

The whole project took maybe an afternoon and most of that was spent waiting for the paint to dry.

And yes, I'm prepping for a full nursery reveal someday soon. I'm shooting for before Norie's first birthday. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nursery Shadow Box Wall Art

Hopefully you're ready for a blast from the past. Now that Norie is nine months old I feel compelled to finish my pregnancy scrapbook (or at least finish the pregnancy part since she has been an independent life form for just as long as I was pregnant). In going through my pictures to figure out which ones were going in the scrapbook I found several projects I never posted about.

First up is this fun and easy little heirloom display.

When Austin's mom found out I was pregnant she gave us this box.

Inside was a handwritten note from the Desk of Joelline Stoller.

I thought such a precious heirloom needed to be displayed. I was also really pregnant at the time so I didn't get crazy. I just  the note so that it would stand out and from the background and attached both to a full sheet of acid free scrapbook paper inside a shadowbox frame from Target.

I probably spent half an hour deciding exactly where they should go.

I love it.

 Cute. Easy. Heirloom. Done. Yay!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow Day!

I'm spending mine hanging out with Norie and working on curtains while she naps. What are you up to today?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's Day Decorating: Retro Inspiration and Health Department Wisdom

Yeah, I know. Valentine's Day was last week. It's my blog and I'm posting about it today. There are still hearts up all over Norie's day care so I think it's okay.

Way back in December I got all inspired when I saw this image on Pinterest and I thought I could actually make something happen by Valentine's Day.

Source: Design Sponge - Beyond the Big Day Valentine's Decorating

That should be totally doable, right? I mean it's a bunch of stuff clothespinned to some twine and a couple of red chairs. I had been looking for a cute way to display the fabulous retro valentine's decor I squirreled away from my grandparents' house. I also had a very strong desire to randomly paint something bright red.

Did I get it done?

Nope; sure didn't. But guess what little tiny thing I did do?

I hung up some of my favorite valentines on the mini clip board wall I've also been meaning to post about. I got the clip boards when someone in my office cleared out a storage space and was giving them away and hung them up one Saturday afternoon in a burst of energy. I hear you can buy little ones in the frame section at Target if you're interested. 

That's it.

That's all I did.

It was really fun to go through old cards to pick out some valentines (I'm not the only one who keeps every card they get and stores them in boxes for decades, right?). I found some entertaining stuff including a copy of this brochure with a lovely Valentine's Day message from a high school friend.

I probably should have included it in my clip board wall art, but I had already finished it when I found this gem and it didn't go so well with the mostly pink theme I was rocking.

I have big dreams of decorating for holidays so Norie can have happy little memories of stuff like that. Good thing she doesn't really have much experiential memory yet. Maybe next year.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sleeping Through the Night

I'm about to share something that makes me feel totally anxious and conflicted.

My nine month old still doesn't sleep through the night. She's slept continuously between 10pm and 5am a total of twice. Ever.

I was lying in our guest bed nursing her and snuggling a couple of nights ago when I realized I don't really want her to sleep through the night. Not like I'm making an active effort to keep her from sleeping through the night or I'll cry my eyes out when she does, but I haven't made it my mission like everyone in the entire world seems to think it should be.

I like cuddling with her,
just the two of us,
while the rest of the world 
is asleep. 

It's nice. It's this perfect, warm, relaxing time we get to spend together when nothing else is going on besides us being together. If she didn't get up in the middle of the night the only time we would get to nurse is before bed and first thing in the morning when I'm thinking about all the things I need to do to get ready for work and out the door.

Okay, so there's that. There is my fondness for the time we get to spend together and the bond I have with my middle of the night nursing infant. Then, there is the message I get from the world that if my child isn't sleeping through the night at this point I am doing something wrong and my goal in life should be to correct my behavior so I can fix the problem.

The message is clear

If your infant sleeps through the night, 
you are a good parent and 
you are doing everything right
If your infant doesn't by 
almost nine months of age,
you have failed in some way and 
not only are you not as good a parent as you should be 
you are creating a situation which will have horrible consequences 
if you do not change your bad parenting ways.

So there's that too.

And then there is the feeling of jealousy when my sister tells me her 4 1/2 month old slept for 10 hours last night. I'm not sure if it's real jealousy from the exhausted part of me or jealousy that she's going to be perceived as a vastly superior parent or my own internalization of this message and wish that I was a "good parent."

I have no idea, but I know thinking about it makes me feel emotionally exhausted, much more than I'm physically exhausted from having slept through the night three times in the last nine months (Norie stayed with Grandma once).

So yeah, sleeping through the night. What's that like?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pink Gooseberry Pyrex

A couple of days ago my sister-in-law sent me an email with a link to this post by The Acorn Achive about Pyrex.

This one stopped me in my tracks.

Mental conversation with myself:

They made Pyrex in pink with a gooseberry print?

How could I have lived all my life up to now without knowing this?

This is the most beautiful Pyrex ever in the history of time.
It is fabulous and wonderful and reminds me of my grandmother.

A mad search of Etsy returned this glorious, amazing, wonderful bowl.

Pyrex Pink Gooseberry 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl 4 Quart Qt, theRecylceista, $22

It's bright and pink and perfect in every way.

It's also $22 plus $13 shipping. My grandmother would never approve of a $35 bowl, especially when I own at least three that large already and I have absolutely no use for it unless I can come up with a need to simultaneously use the three I have and still need another one. Maybe I can start baking large quantities of bread all at once?

I also found these fab dish towels

Tea Towel: Vintage Pyrex Pink Gooseberry, Cinderella Bowls-Screen Printed White Cotton -- Soft, Lint Free, Awesome, freshpastrystand, $10

I really like that the description ends with "Awesome." I was meant to own them, but I just destroy tea towels whenever they are in my possession.

I don't think I"ll purchase either, but I have added brightly colored vintage Pyrex to my list of continual thrifting objectives and if you see the pink gooseberry one let me know. :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Chalk Paint Recipe and a Desk Reveal

Several weeks ago I posted about the desk I worked on with my mom on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. By "worked on with" I mean painted while she busted her butt to sand and refinish the entire top. I didn't get it oiled and moved off the porch and back into the house until a week or so later. Ever since I've been meaning to move our desk stuff back into it and stage it for some glamor shots.

That's not going to happen in the near future and I'm working on being honest with myself about what I can actually accomplish and not starting new projects I won't finish.

I've come to terms with it. I hope you have too and you appreciate the poorly lit shots I took.

Before I show them to you I want to share my mom's new homemade chalk paint recipe. It is a MASSIVE improvement over the old one.


1 part HOT water
1 part plaster of Paris
3 parts paint

Mix the water and plaster and shake the bejesus out of it, shake it like a Polaroid picture, shake it like I don't know what, but shake it really, really well. Then just add the paint and shake it a bit more. It was the most amazing painting experience I have ever had in my whole life.

I mean that.

My WHOLE life.

Anyways, so those iffy, dark pictures of the amazing desk I promised you.

Someday you'll see some improved shots. Maybe when I add the room to the house tour.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to Cut Up a Chicken

I found this tutorial today and it was so life changing that I had to share it. For the record, I have cut up several chickens in my day usually spending 20 or 30 minutes and ending up sort of hacking it roughly into pieces using cookbook diagrams and watching other videos online, but this is the one. Trust me.

Cut along the fat lines? Brilliance!


What the video.

You'd think I would have thought of that given my anatomical background, but I didn't. Not once. Ever. I cut this one up in roughly 8 minutes even without my kitchen shears (they were in the dishwasher and unavailable). I was so proud of myself I took a picture. Never in my life did I think I would take a beauty shot of raw chicken, but I totally did.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Real Simple and eMeals: Get on this.

A week or so ago I had this text conversation with my sister.

Food on the Table is great if you want to plan your weekly meals around what's on sale. It gives you recipe suggestions for the things that are on sale at your local store. That's great, but honestly, I don't want to decide what to cook. I want someone to tell me, but they have to pick things I would pick if I was going to make the effort to pick.

And in case you're curious my text is referencing these two EatingWell publications: EatingWell on a Budget and EatingWell in Season

Then, last week I read this post from House of Belonging. It's about a new eMeals plan for Target customers. I was intrigued so I did a little investigating.

Conclusion: It's pretty awesome. You tell them your family size, pick a food plan (from 9 options like classic, gluten free, simple gourmet and paleo diet), and for $58 a year they give you a weekly dinner meal plan (main and side dishes). For several of the plans (classic for example) the meals are based on what's on sale in the store of your choice, for others not so much.

But I have this other little hang up. Not the $58 a year. At first that sounded like a lot and then I thought about how freeing it would be to not have to think about what to buy at the grocery store and how that was totally worth $1.12 a week especially if I bought things that were on sale and saved even more by not wasting food.

No, the thing I want is some visual appeal.  The sample plans on the eMeals site are, well, not as visually stimulating as I want.

Totally informative and would get the job done, but I want something more like Real Simple's Five easy dinners section complete with beautiful photography eye catching text. Even something more like their website would be an improvement.

For example, this is a screen capture of a recipe for chicken marsala on Real Simple:

See what I'm saying? Still chicken marsala, but I'm way more interested in cooking it.

So, just to be perfectly clear...


I would like a service that provides me with a meal plan based on what's on sale at my preferred store (including my preferences regarding purchasing the Dirty Dozen in organic), what I like to eat, what is in season, and has the visual appeal of Real Simple's food section to inspire me to make the food it tells me to. Actually, why don't you just convince eMeals to figure out a deal with Real Simple? That would rock my world.


Monday, February 4, 2013

DIY Train Table I Made from Free Plans

I meant to post about this before Christmas, but since I just barely got it finished (like I requested a five minute warning to make sure I got it in off the porch and hidden in plain sight as a coffee table on Christmas Eve barely got it finished) I didn't get any pictures taken. I also failed to take any while it resided in my living room until it was picked up by my in-laws.
Thank goodness Grandma was wielding her camera on Christmas morning or I'd have nothing.

That's it in the background. Isn't it cute?

Are you as distracted as I am by the adorable father daughter moment happening in the foreground?

So yeah, basically I hid the table in plain sight not four feet from the present opening extravaganza and my nieces had no idea until they got a train set. They were pretty excited it. 

When we said we should set it up, they were like, "where?" and I was all, "HERE!"

Note to self: train sets are super complicated. With four adults helping I think we got it done in like half an hour.

The only changes I made from Ana White's free Mom's Train Table plans were skipping the bottom shelf and cutting half circles on either side for opening the top. I wanted it to be flat so you could set things on top without them running in to handles, but in hindsight it also means you can easily lose the balls from your Hungry Hungry Hippos game down the holes.

I painted it aqua at their mom's request and I love the color. I distressed it a bit and stained the bare parts. I should have taken some photos of the finish, but I didn't.  I also painted the opposite side of the top with chalkboard paint so the girls can draw when they aren't busy playing with trains.

Sorry I don't have a better full table shot. I'll try to update when I get one.

UPDATE: My wonderful sister-in-law sent me a photo.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I'm so blessed

Toady I've been given coffee, Oreos, and a balloon for no reason other than the people with offices near me are awesome. :)


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