Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pictures for Grandma

Back in March when my mom came to visit, she was surprised to hear that Ava hadn't been getting into the cupboards, as apparently her uncle had a special interest in that activity as a wee babe. She is making up for lost time now! Here is Ava on the move:

Who me? No, not me!

She can keep herself pretty busy with her new activity. Its fun to watch her discover! Makes you wonder why we even have any toys in the house!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hi, My Name is Ally and I'm a Tag Sale-aholic.

Let me hear you now, "Hi, Ally!"

Thank you for your show of support. At least I've taken my first step, right? Admitting the problem?

I found a GREAT estate sale last weekend. I'm finding that the best recipe for a great tag sale is older house out in the country, maybe on a farm, an older lady's house. I could have bought so much more, but I stood my ground. This is actually a pillow case, but I'm using it flat on the kitchen island right now. I HEART the colors. They had a ton of stuff like this. One of the ladies running the sale said "oh you're one of those....what do you call it? Shabby chic people, aren't you? (I'm not really, but what do you say?) She then proceeded to point out all this great stuff to me. Every few minutes.

This is handmade. Not totally sure what it's going to do yet. Perhaps hold magazines in the guest room.

Some of it isn't exactly baby friendly. But I love it! An apple crate. This might flip over and be a table in the outdoor room. (the one in my mind. That MAYBE will become a reality when pigs fly. I would LOVE an outdoor room)
And this adorable vintage baby romper for a dime:

Modeled by Miss Ava herself. It's a 12 month outfit, but I don't know if it'll fit her in another month-and-a-half! I'm sure sizing is different these days. But I figured for a dime, I had to get it!

Thanks for listening, and for your support as I battle my addiction. To tag sales.

Friday, April 23, 2010

DIY Wedding Decor, Part Deux

For Part I of this post, click here

Last, I wanted to share our favors. They are also a Martha find. Nests actually add up if you buy 300 of them, so my mom found an awesome frugal alternative. These are actually little wreaths that were about $.10 a piece. She just clipped them and re-formed them into nests.

I ordered the eggs from a local candy shop. I can't express to you HOW delicious they were. They were chocolate with caramel inside. was a beautiful day!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DIY Wedding Decor

We've been a little quiet around here. A couple projects waiting in the wings. Mostly we've been working on project get-Ava-to-poop and project get-Ava-to-sleep-through-the-night-it's-been-ten-point-five-months-already-girl!!! The former was a success. All I needed was an oral syringe, as apparently I have the only baby on the planet who doesn't like juice. The latter project....let's just not talk about that :0/

SO I thought I could share the diy decorations from our wedding. We wanted to do our wedding on the cheap. I had no idea what I wanted it all to look like (and we had 4 months to plan!) So I looked through all the wedding magazines I had collected and ripped out what I liked. It worked great (this is also a great idea for home decorating/remodeling projects). Everything I picked seemed to have a handmade/springlike appeal to it. So a theme emerged.

This was the inspiration picture I found in the magazine for centerpieces. That was even before I realized that birds were hip. So I employed (and when I say employed, I mean I didn't pay them. They were more like indentured servants) many friends and family members to make 1100 cherry blossoms out of crepe paper. You know. No big deal.

My sister added the birds, and also made these super cute vases to put them in. My parents cut down all their bushes in the backyard. Awww....
These are our invitations. We printed them from a kit at Target. We stamped the bird, scanned it and made it a watermark on the back. I love how they turned out, but if I had it to do all over again, I'd have paid someone else to print them. It took forever. But it was good team building for Mr. Wonderful and I!

This picture is to showcase the wreaths that my sister made (over my left shoulder) They are also made out of crepe paper blossoms (over and above the 1100 we already made!) She is truly a giving, gifted and loyal sister!

Okay, I have one more pic to post, but Blogger hates me and won't let me add it. I'm going to try and post this and I'll do a seperate post for the last picture. Click here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hope For Ava's Hair Do

My friend The Mothership is having a giveaway today! It features some SUPER adorable babywear from the Sunshine Shoppe. Seeing as how I am baby-hair challenged (see above) I am totally scoping the site out. Poor Ava. Having a mom who can't do your hair, but refuses to get it cut must be challenging. If you have or know a baby, get over there and check it out!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Just For Fun

Our kitchen island is going to be featured in an upcoming publication, (which I will share with you when it comes out) which I am super excited about! My friend, K, wrote the article after we finished it awhile back. Today, they sent a photographer to take pictures of it. *the following pics are NOT the photographers pics. They are my point-and-shoot, homely, no clue about lighting pictures* I just thought I'd take advantage of my specially-cleaned-it-never-looks-like-this kitchen.

This one shows the newly painted cabinets! I considered trying to do a fancy dancy "tablescape". Buuuut, that is not my forte. So I used my new coffeepot, some faux flowers from Joanne's (I put some books in the bottom of the pot to make them stand up higher) aaaaand a couple of branches from a really pretty bush that may or may not be on our property that I nabbed last night after dark. Nabbing things after dark might be my new thing. So what? Big deal!

Ha! So the photographer just got a couple pictures of the island and then wanted some with ME in them. Jigga wha? Nobody mentioned that small detail. If they had I may have, I don't know, showered today. Or maybe put on some make up. So as not to look like frumpy mama. Hopefully they either do some amazing photoshop tricks or don't use them :0) Oy vey.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Going once, going twice, SOLD!

We tried something new on Saturday, and went to an auction! I saw it advertised in the Buyer's Guide (free publication delivered to our house once a week), and looked up the web page. They had a couple of dough bowls advertised, which I've been keeping an eye out for awhile now. My friend Marge had one in her New England cape-style home. During Christmas she would put some fresh boughs and apples in it and it looked so great. I've always wanted one. Anyway, so I did some research, found out how crazy expensive they can be, and hoped for the best.

Our Mapquest directions got us ridiculously lost on the way there. They were terrible! So we were late. Walking into the auction was super intimidating, because I couldn't make out a word of what the auctioneer said at first. I didn't know where I was allowed to walk, or if it was okay that we brought a baby along, but I pretended to know what I was doing because I figured I should keep my game face on. A friend of mine gave me a few pointers:

1) Set a top price in your head
2) Don't make it a contest
3) Pretend it doesn't matter to you whether you get an item or not
4) Don't bid on the auctioneer's first price, wait until he drops it down

As time went on I was able to kind of decipher the auctioneer and understand how it all went. I got my little number card and "practiced" on some things I liked but didn't care whether I got. When the first dough bowl came up for bid I was distracted by Ava. She was being pretty good but I was feeding her some puffs or something. So I didn't get in on the action when I could have. But anyway it went for above our limit. So I didn't hold out much hope for the bigger more primitive dough bowl.

We stuck around. Mr. Wonderful ended up getting a set of books called "The History of the World" (sounds like some heady reading!) Finally, the other bowl was up for bid and I was ready this time. I didn't bid on his first price, I waited for him to drop it down. Somebody else bit first, I held up my number high for the next price, but I wasn't the only one. I got it at $40, and then I made a rookie mistake: I double bid. The auctioneer even had to say "ma'am I already got you at $40." Embarrassment! Somebody got it at $50, and I thought I was done, but the guy behind us said "c'mon, are you going to let that get away????" So I bid $60! And the guy who was clearly a dealer ahead of us bid $70 and I couldn't keep going. SAD!

We stayed for a little while longer. They put this foot warmer for a carriage up for bid, (you would have put coals in it to keep your feet warm back in the day) and nobody was biting, so they added an enamel coffee pot to the lot. I happen to heart enamel, and I thought it was cool, so I bid on it and got it! Here it is:

It's actually pretty huge. Here is a little perspective:
So the auction was a lot of fun! I highly recommend it, but as a warning it was really addictive to bid. And even though we set a limit in our heads, it was really tempting to raise that limit. Do I really want to lose this item over a measly $10? $20? $30? But that's part of the fun. I see many more auctions in my future this summer!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Birthday Party!

On Saturday we hosted a little soiree for our dear friend Rach. We like to call her Auntie Rach (she's not my biological sister. She's my sister from a different Mister.) Ava wore a special onesie in honor of her "auntie": Rach has rather unique dietary needs, including but not limited to gluten-free foods. So we made a "Rachael-friendly" dinner. I invented a new food for it, modeled by Chris!
It's a hamburger, but instead of using a bun, I pan fried some potato slices in olive oil. (please ignore the ketchup. It's not Rachael friendly. Some of us (*ahem, Mr. Wonderful*) just couldn't give up our creature comforts!) We also snacked on grapes and cashews.

Thankfully, Rach's doc gave her the go ahead to have a slice of cake. So she brought a gluten- and dairy-free cake as well. I know, the birthday girl shouldn't bring her own cake, but I haven't mastered the art that is gluten- and dairy-free baking.
Happy Birthday, Rach! We love you!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cute Pictures of my Baby

Snapshots of my days. She may keep me up at night, but she lights up my life!

Baby gate? Who needs a baby gate? She is starting to like solids! Yay! I won't breastfeed forever after all!

She loves her diaper time.

Chillin with Papa.

OMW these Nikes are adorable. I never would have bought them myself, but they are the only shoes that actually stay on. Highly recommended.

Inadvertent bouffant.

Less than 10 minutes later:

I should probably do a post like this whenever I'm sleep deprived. Its making me forget how frustrating it can be when the baby keeps waking up at night. It is so beyond worth it and I seriously have nothing to complain about. I love being a mommy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kitchen Update, Part I

Warning: Longest. Post. Ever. Lots. Of. Periods. For. Emphasis.

I have been waffling back and forth about painting the cabinets forever. I hated to be the person to paint over wood, but the more I looked at it, the more I saw fabulous cottage-y potential in cabinets that were, shall we say, past their prime.

My mom came to watch Ava while Mr. Wonderful and I went away for our anniversary, so I seized the opportunity to have her stay and help me with this special project. As I have mentioned before, my mom is a powerhouse at projects and I knew she'd help me get the job done.

Since I forgot she was going to take off the doors while we were gone, I didn't get a proper before shot, but these should give you the idea: Notice that we got new hardware but not new hinges...

After the doors were off:

My naive self with the profile sander before we started, thinking "We'll get these puppies done in a jiffy!"

The knotty pine was covered with what seemed to be two coats of a thick shellac. We ended up getting 60 grit sandpaper and a lot of elbow grease for the frames and using a new sander to do the doors in the garage. I seriously thought I had carpal tunnel that night. We sanded for about 6 hours. Any thoughts I was entertaining about painting the trim (which has the same finish) have vanished. We didn't just rough up the surface, we took it all off and it looked like this:

We did an oil based primer (Kilz) and two coats of semi gloss latex paint (didn't want to spring for the $50/gallon cabinet paint). On the inside we did yellow to match our walls. We just got a cheapo brand for that. We matched it to Behr Pale Daffodil. For the outside we picked Behr Parmesan (worst name ever, but it seemed to have the crispness of white while still being off-white).
This is my amazing mom painting the tricky spots in our makeshift workspace. This woman is in her 60s people. No joke.

The insides are so cheery! Inspired by a post from the Nester.

I decided to take some of the doors off on top and replace them with baskets. I love the variety and also those top doors are so wide and short that they didn't really hang right. I kept the middle ones because there's a recessed light in there.

We spray painted our existing hinges. Cheap. But again, some of our doors aren't quite fitting the same way they used to. It's kind of chancy to change up old cabinetry like this, but I think we'll be able to tweak it.

We chose this hardware a couple years ago, because the old hardware didn't have standard measurements. The new hardware curves in and covers up the old holes.

I love this little cutout in white!

Overall, I love the painted look. It makes our kitchen much brighter, and just overall looks better. However, Mr. Wonderful and I agree that we need some more contrast, because now our floors, counter top, back splash, cupboards and ceiling are essentially all the same color, which isn't to our taste. The counter top and back splash need to be replaced anyway, so the plan is to work in some color/contrast there. We decided to keep our sink and just do this as cheaply as possible.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In the great tradition of my grandfather....

...I went dumpster diving. Last night I was on a walk with Ava, and I spotted something in an accessible dumpster (as in I didn't break in anywhere) on our way. I asked myself, "could those wouldn't just throw those out..." but they were! And then I plotted to come back after dark and nab 'em. I hate to see anything go to waste! Do you like how I keep trying to justify myself?

So after Ava went to bed, I told Mr. Wonderful that I was going on an expedition. I pulled on my black fleece jacket, grabbed the empty stroller from the garage, and walked the short distance back to the dumpster. And this is what I found, right on top: Fabulous hardware samples! Mwahahah! So I threw them into the empty stroller (just as the neighbors were pulling in *whistles while looking around innocently*) and strolled back to the house to show Mr. Wonderful. It made me feel like a teenager! Stay at home moms gone wild!

If anybody asks, you NEVER saw this....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why? Why now? Why here?

Okay, so on Monday I decided to stop eating sweets for awhile. While I was pregnant and now that I'm nursing I have really just gone overboard with sugar. And I'm a good rule follower, but not good at limiting myself so I decided just to cut them out altogether for awhile. Plus I did the same thing in college and was successful so I wanted to see if I could still do it.

Well last night we had a terrible sleeping night with Ava, and my alarm woke her up so I stumbled out of bed, starving, into the kitchen and saw this: They have been haunting me all day. I couldn't even eat lunch in the kitchen because they smelled so much better than my food and I swear the smell is following me around! But you know what? They are still sitting there on that plate. Bam! I can DO it. And I can ignore the Easter candy in the guest room. And the chocolate in the pantry. Heck, even the Diet Coke my mom left is tempting me from the fridge, and I think Diet Coke is g-r-o-s-s! Sorry, I had to rant.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome on in!

Yay! So I "finished" the art wall in our entryway. I say "finished" because I'll probably add to it over time. I wanted some kind of welcome art and had been admiring some in Pottery Barn Home with the word "welcome" spelled out in mismatched letters and numbers in white on a white background. I scoped out the letters in Michaels and Joanne's lamenting the fact that "welcome" has so many letters in it, as those letters add up. And it seemed kind of formal for us, and then I saw these sweeties: They were right next to each other (alphabetical, you know) and it clicked. Much more fun! I have always liked the size and font of these letters from Joanne's. So I painted them up with two coats of leftover "Happy Camper" from Behr. Easy peasy! I hung them up with those strips from 3M that come off easily. Behold the less welcoming before:
And the much more welcoming after!

The clear files on the wall are to store things that I don't want to forget as I go out the door (but still do). They looked very antiseptic before, but now they look a little more mod and cozied up.
I wanted the arrangement to look random, like I added to it over time (which I have and will continue to do!)

Mr. Wonderful and I found some of the fabric when we went away for our anniversary. We found a store that was going out of business and got some fat quarters on the cheap. The key art from my last post is in the mix too. Appropraite for an entryway, I think!

A $.39 1/4 yard fabric piece from Walmart (I think it's my favorite) is above the "hi". Its a retro-looking apple print.

So it's better, yes? I still have a lot of ideas for the entryway, but it's good to see progress!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Key Elements

Well, dear readers,

There have been big goings on at our home this week, so I haven't had much time to share, but I will let you in on the big changes soon, I hope. In the meantime, I wanted to share my progress in the entryway. I'm trying to add in some art to cozy it up and make it much more welcoming. Inspired by this post from CG and also an image from Pottery Barn Home I set out to make my own art out of a skeleton key Mr. Wonderful had in his house when we got married. I always thought it was super cool, but didn't know how to display it. Using a frame I already had, I fitted some burlap in as a background. It is just held in by the fiberboard and the frame's hardware. I simply hot glued the key onto the burlap. But it didn't stick (it is pretty heavy). So I ended up drilling a few holes into the fiberboard and sewing the key in with black thread (barely noticable).

I thought I'd have to buy a shadowbox frame or something, but then I realized I could just take the glass out of the frame. So that's what I did! For now I think I'll just leave the frame as is. It looks like a chippy wooden frame, but it is actually plastic.

Free wall art! Hoorah!