Caleb’s Nursery Reveal

Here’s one in the long-overdue category. As you may recall, last May I was nine months pregnant and frantically trying to finish Caleb’s nursery. Well, it wasn’t quite done when he arrived, but I did finally finish it a few months later, and so for anyone who has been wondering how it turned out (which might turn out to be no one), this post is for you.

A quick reminder of how it looked when it was Alethea’s nursery:

teal and tan nursery with globe mobile

And here is the final “boy-ified” space:

boy transportation travel nursery

I’m thrilled with how it turned out!

The art work was an 11th hour project. I used Photoshop to create some cute transportation art that I hung in six frames that I miraculously found at a garage sale for $12. I finished hanging them less than 24 hours before Caleb arrived in the world and one of the first things I did when we got home from the hospital was to show them to him. He looked and looked and looked, so I’d say they were a hit.

DIY boy transportation room artI’m also proud to say that with the exception of the train bookends that I got on eBay and a pillow from HomeGoods, everything that I did this time around was handmade. My mom helped me sew the curtains and the extension on the crib skirt. I made the curtain rod from galvanized pipe and fittings from the Home Depot.

boy world travel nurserytrain bookends baby boy nursery

I think this is officially the most finished room in the house!

baby boy nursery DIY transporation wall artbaby boy nursery personalized wall art

And I would be completely remiss if I didn’t share pictures of the quilt that Caleb’s Grammie made for him. It is a one-of-a-kind transportation themed masterpiece!

boy transportation nursery quiltMy favorite part about it is that if you look closely, there are details quilted in the background, like clouds, waves, railroad tracks, traffic signs, and even an adorable squirrel!

transportation quilt detail

squirrel hidden on a quilt

So there you have it. Baby boy nursery: COMPLETE!

Spreadin’ the Love

Today was the first day of spring. Oh, I know it’s not official, and we may (probably do) have snow coming our way yet, but it was over 50 degrees here today and I wore flip-flops, so I’m calling it close enough. That’s why I’m putting up Easter decorations tomorrow. The weather is glorious, and I’m tired of looking at my Valentine’s decor, so why not, I ask you, why not?

But before I do, here’s this year’s February memory table, featuring photos of the girls from Valentine’s Days of years past, along with an arrow-pierced heart carved by my great grandfather, and some white tulips…

DSC_2185For the mantel, I did a quick and easy craft project that I whipped up after a trip to Michael’s. I was so inspired by their spring line, I had a hard time choosing just one project to make. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that. But seriously, four vintage-looking metal letters, a pre-made riveted burlap canvas, five minutes and a bit of super glue was all it took to make this little baby…

IMG_2015Which was inspired, of course, by the Robert Indiana “Love” statue in Philadelphia, ever of significance in our home because we were standing next to it when Peter proposed to me. (And it’s where we took Alethea on her first ever airplane trip in October of 2009.)

Philly Trip 09 009

I used this free printable as a guide for my chalkboard art. Then I added my five-minute canvas to the mantel with an assortment of other items I already had on hand and after a few shifts, tucks and tiny tweaks, I settled on this arrangement…

DSC_2694My best Valentine’s mantel ever! (Okay, so it’s only my second year doing one, but who’s counting? Not me!)

And now that you’re feeling all lovey-dovey inside, let’s move on to Easter, shall we? Hurray for SPRING!!!!

Mantel Makeover

Hey, everybody. I’m finally doing it. I’m finally posting the long promised photos of our living room mantel makeover! I know you’ve all been sitting on pins and needles (either that or you’ve totally forgotten that I ever mentioned it in the first place), but the wait is over at last.

Well, almost over, because first I need to remind you of what the room used to look like. Here is the picture from the last time I posted about it, which was November of 2012:

Living Room fall 2012And here’s what the living room looks like now:

Living Room Fall 2014 (2)We could not be more pleased with the finished product! The old mantel was functional in that it held our TV just fine, and it was sturdy (I personally tested that out by crawling all over it hanging Christmas decorations). So, it wasn’t awful, especially from a distance, but up close it had some less than lovely bits and we really wanted doors to cover the TV, media components, and all of the cords that come with them.









So a year ago we got on Angie’s List and contacted three cabinet builders to come bid on the job. (Because as much as we love a good DIY project around here, we decided this one was out of our league and we needed professional help.) We asked them if there was anything to be salvaged on the old mantel and each of them in turn said the same thing, “Rip it out, just rip it ALL out.” So that’s what we did…

Then we had the pleasure of seeing what our living room would look like with a gaping hole in it, which is always a good time.DSC_8294Then we hired one of our Angie’s List prospects, who came in and took extensive measurements, and also one of our kitchen shelves so he could match the stain to our existing cabinetry. A few weeks later he returned with all the pieces of the project and started the installation, at which point our house looked something like this:

DSC_8803We lived like this for two days. Two WHOLE days, people! And now anyone who has lived through a kitchen or bath renovation can laugh at me, but OH MY GOODNESS, I thought I was going to LOSE MY MIND! Things sitting in random places. Power tools where my kids could reach them (though the were unplugged when not in use of course). And the dust. Oh the dust. It was EVERYWHERE! I can’t believe I ever begged Peter to let us buy an old house so that we could renovate it and I’m so extremely glad he didn’t listen to me. What on earth was I thinking?!?!?

But it was worth it, we survived, and so did our cabinet guy. I thought the girls might pester him to death with their hundreds of questions (they did little else but sit watching him and asking questions the entire duration of the install). He was so good about it though and answered them all very patiently.

As you can see, the end product is a million times better than the original mantel. And while the two days felt much longer than they actually were, I can’t imagine how many eons it would have taken us to do it ourselves. Plus there is no way we could have gotten the stain so perfect or the finish so smooth. Seriously, it feels like silk. Don’t tell, but sometimes I just stand there and pet it when no one is looking. Smooth like butter…

Another time, I will post about the new shelves in the corner and the built-in bench in the kitchen that we had installed at the same time, but this post is long enough, I’d say.

Let’s close with one more before and after, shall we?

Before we moved in back in November of 2008…

empty-house-living roomAnd now, November 2014…

Living Room Fall 2014 | BobbleHeadBaby.comMuch improved, don’t you think?

Open Door Policy

When Peter and I bought our house six years ago, we realized that it was more spacious than we needed for just our family, even if we ended up having several children. But we also knew that we wanted to live with an open door policy: for our neighbors to always feel free to drop by, to have room for gatherings of church friends, to be able to say, “Sure, friend of a friend of a friend, we’ve got a guest room, come crash at our place.”

In the spirit of that open door policy, I’ve been attempting to seasonally decorate our front porch to be a first sign of welcome to our guests. Having three children under six meant nothing elaborate was happening this fall. Fortunately, nothing says autumn like a big pile of pumpkins.

DSC_6126So come one, come all, we’d love to see you at our front door sometime soon!

A Quick Project

Been trying to figure out why I can’t seem to get anything done around here. People keep telling me it’s because I have a 4 month old. Whatever the reason, there hasn’t been a lot of home improvement happening here lately. I did sneak in one quick project though. I got Caleb’s name in paper mache letters at JoAnn’s, spray painted them a happy shade of green, and hung them above his changing table.



I know his room has a transportation theme, but I still think it’s cool how his name is sort of guitar shaped this way. Maybe he’ll follow in his daddy’s six-stringed instrument playing footsteps.

DSC_5660Whenever I tackle a quick and easy project like this, I’m impressed with how finished a room looks with a little something on the walls. And while Peter and I still have lots of big home improvement projects on our mental to-do list, it feels good to be taking some teeny tiny baby steps toward a house that feels totally “us”.

To summarize… one project down, fifty bazillion left to go…

June Baby

Third baby. Third pregnancy going past my due date. But I am glad about one thing. I’m glad that I’ve gone far enough overdue that I’m going to have a June baby. It’s not really that important, but I grew up in a family where everyone had their own birth month, and I kind of liked it that way. So since Peter already had a corner on May in our family, I thought it would be nice if Baby Boy arrived in June. And with 12 minutes left until midnight, it appears that he will.

And bonus, the longer our little guy takes, the more things get checked off my to-do list. Today I finished planting my pepper plants, so “Plant Veggie Garden” is officially crossed off. I even started a perennial bed with strawberries and asparagus this year. The strawberry plants are looking healthy, but no sign of any asparagus yet. This is my first attempt though, so I’m not 100% confident I planted it correctly.

DSC_0409In the front yard, I’ve finished planting my pots of annuals.

DSC_0418And I also did a spring cleaning in the bean and added a few new perennials. It’s still not “done” (not sure a garden ever is done), but it’s definitely at a point when I can leave it for a few weeks to focus on Baby.

DSC_0448On the nursery prep front, my mom and I finished sewing the curtains and we also added a fun green patterned panel to the bottom of the existing crib skirt so that it hits the floor even when the mattress is up in the infant position.

DSC_0356The girls and I have been out hitting up some garage sales. In addition to finding a great deal on the newborn sleepers we needed (Baby wardrobe complete!), I found these six 12×15 inch frames, including mats, at a sale for the lovely price of $2 each.

photo(5)As you can see from the nursery progress pic, the art wall isn’t done, but you’ll notice the beginnings of the art I’m working on photoshopping to go in the garage sale frames. (It’s not finalized and yes, the train is missing.)

DSC_0353So admittedly, the nursery isn’t quite done, but the good news is that today we finally sold our extra vehicle that has been sitting around since we bought the Pilot a few months ago. Nice to have a clear driveway again.

To summarize… plants are planted, nursery is (almost) done, and we are down to the two vehicles we are keeping. And I get my June baby. There’s really nothing left. You can come any time, Baby Boy. Any time…

Three Weeks and Counting

Today I am 37 weeks pregnant. Just three weeks left until my due date, May 29th. Of course, I can’t know if Baby Boy will show up early or not. I’m 1-2cm dilated, but my midwife says that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. In any case, I’m physically ready to be done, but my to-do list is still quite long, so I’ve been trying to knock out as many things as I can before returning to those sleep deprived newborn days.

Of course, it’s harder to knock things off a to-do list when you’re nine months pregnant and your belly closely resembles that of a giant teddy bear…DSC_9432I shouldn’t complain. I feel very blessed to be expecting a healthy full-term baby boy. I’ve gained less than thirty pounds and can still wear my wedding ring, which was not the case at this point with either of the girls. This pregnancy still feels harder to me though. I don’t know if it’s because I’m over 30 now, because it’s the third time around, or because I’ve got two other kids to keep up with, but yeah, I’m exhausted.

DSC_9418Alethea and Lydia seem more or less ready to make the transition to a family of five. They enjoy giving my belly kisses, and telling perfect strangers about their baby brother who is coming. Alethea has really been on board from the start. I think she’s so confident in managing her sister that she figures it can’t be much more work to be in charge of two. She seems very eager to be Mommy’s helper.

Lydia on the other hand, up until about a month ago, kept telling me that she did not in fact want a baby brother, she wanted another sister. Fortunately, that has ended and more recently she has started saying things about helping her brother walk and discussing where his car seat will go in our new-to-us larger vehicle that we purchased to accommodate three car seats.

Besides the new vehicle, we’ve also managed to acquire a fairly complete first year’s wardrobe for our little guy. We have a couple wonderful neighbors who were getting rid of their baby boy clothes and gave me first dibs on them. Between that, the things we already owned that were gender neutral, some gifts, and a few Target clearance finds, other than getting a few more 0-3 month sleepers, I’m about done with the “Find Boy Clothes” item on my to-do list. And everything is even washed and put away! Sweet little hats that probably will never fit my baby’s head… awwww…

Baby Boy ClothesAs far as the nursery update goes, I’m not as far along as I’d hoped I’d be, but we have made some progress. I bought the airplane fabric I was eyeing and my mom came over and helped me turn it into drapes, or rather, I helped her turn it into drapes. (Let’s just be honest about who did more of the work.) I also went to Home Depot and bought galvanized pipe to make a curtain rod, which I spray painted last weekend (never fear, while wearing an OSHA approved respirator). Now we just need to get the rod and curtains up, then pin the curtains at the correct length, take them down to do the hem and put them back up again. Sounds fun, right?

Dresser in Sherwin Williams LagoonSo not too much has changed in the nursery. I have gotten most of the girly accessories out, although I still haven’t made any decisions on the artwork situation, hence the continued presence of that bit of pink.

Nursery in transition

I did find bookends on eBay to fit the new theme. I love them, but I just can’t decide if I leave the current paint job or do something else. Spray paint them a solid color, perhaps bronze? Paint just the red parts with a color that better matches the rest of the room? Maybe go bold with a fun green to liven things up?

Train BookendsSo that’s where things stand at 37 weeks. Just for fun, and because I’m running out of mental decision making energy, leave me a comment and let me know whether I should paint the bookends and if so, what color. Opinions please!

A Nursery Facelift

Having a “Where in the world does the time go?” moment here. I was just trying to figure out when I last posted pictures of the nursery. Turns out it was my second ever post, back on April 5, 2009, a few days before Alethea’s due date and three weeks before she was actually born. Back then the nursery looked like this:

Nursery Sherwin Williams Composed Globe MobileThe starting point for the room was the globe mobile over the crib. The color scheme (Nomadic Desert and Composed by Sherwin Williams) seemed cute enough for a nursery, while not being gender specific. My thought being that we might have a boy someday and it would be nice not to have to re-do the whole nursery when and if that happened.

Of course, our second baby was a girl, so not much changed for Lydia other than a new paint job on the dresser and a few new accessories:

dresser sherwin williams lagoonThis time though, it’s a boy, which means this nursery needs a few more changes. Although part of me would love to toss everything out the window and start over from scratch (I’d definitely pick a different crib if I could go back and do it all over again), there is no way the frugal part of me is going to spend the money, and if I’m honest with myself, I know I really have a million more important things to do than repaint the whole room.

So with that in mind, we will be keeping all the major pieces in the room (the crib, chair, dresser, bookshelf, changing table, lamp, mobile, and wall colors are all staying), and I’ll be making the look a little more “boy” with a touch of navy blue, olive green, and some new accessories. Here’s the mood board I cooked up:

Baby Boy Transportation Travel Room NurseryAnd here’s the to-do list that goes with it:

1) Buy/Make Art
I’m totally in love with these prints from PaperLlamas on etsy. You get to pick your four colors and four vehicles and they custom print them for you. I think they are completely and utterly perfect for the room, but given that we have to buy a new-to-us car before the baby arrives (one that can accommodate three car seats), budget is going to play major role in whether I go with these prints or try to DIY something similar by painting over the canvases that are already in the room. I guess we’ll see how much we end up spending on the car.

2) Paint Dresser
I think this will be the fourth time in my life I’ve painted this particular piece of furniture, but I’m really excited about the idea of an olive green dresser in the room like the one pictured above. Current color I’m leaning towards is SW Rural Green (bottom right on the mood board).

3) Paint Bookshelf
There is a small bookshelf next to the rocking chair (you can see the top of it in the bottom right corner of the first photo). The paint job has gotten really beat up over the last two children, so I’m planning on painting it again. Maybe olive green too, or perhaps SW Commodore, which is the navy blue color on the mood board.

4) Make Curtains
The nursery has a blackout roller shade and a valance over the window, but it has never had curtains. I go back and forth on whether or not I think curtains are okay in a nursery, since I do worry about them getting pulled down on someone’s head, but we’ve got floor length curtains in almost every other room in the house and none of them have come down yet. That and the fact that I found the adorable airplane fabric on the bottom left of the mood board means that this time around, there will be curtains!

5) Accessorize!
I don’t have plans for too many accessories, but I do know that I will be buying and painting paper mache letters to spell out Bob’s name over the changing table. And maybe some other car/train/plane/truck/map items will work their way in if I get inspired. Oh and Peter’s mom and I are already making plans for the quilt that she’s going to make!

So there you go, that’s what I’ve been working on lately. What have you been up to?

On Sharing a Room

Now that Bobble Head Baby #3 (Bob for short) is on the way, I’ve gotten a lot of questions on what the room situation is going to look like for all the kiddos, how many bedrooms we have, and whether the girls are going to share a room. And the answer is, we have four bedrooms in our house, but only three of them are on the upper level, so yes the girls will be sharing a room and Bob 3.0 is going to have the nursery all to himself.

As to some ways we are trying to make the transition to sharing a room easier for the girls, here’s what we’ve done so far:

You may recall that back in January of 2013 we investigated different bunk bed options and ended up choosing a bunk bed that had a trundle underneath. Since we didn’t think Alethea was ready for navigating a top bunk, we assembled just the bottom bunk and the trundle and let the girls try sleeping in the same room.

DSC_9845Despite the adorable sleeping kids picture, I’ll be the first to admit that Room Sharing Attempt #1 was an unmitigated disaster. The girls kept each other up until 10:30 or 11:00 every night and were unbelievably cranky the next day, every single day, for two weeks, until we abruptly ended the experiment and Lydia resumed sleeping in the crib. We tried again in the spring with similar results and after calling round #2 a failure, we agreed to shelve the whole rooming together idea until the possible future Bob 3.0 was in the works.

Fast forward a few months to after we found out Bob 3.0 was on his way, when Peter said to me, “We need to try moving the girls in together again.” To which I replied in a somewhat whiny voice, “Do we really have to?”

After discussing the pros and cons of bottom-bunk-and-trundle vs. top-bunk-and-bottom-bunk, and consulting with Alethea on whether she was interested in sleeping in a top bunk (she was… VERY) and whether she thought she would fall out (after confirming that there would be a railing on the edge, she observed, “If I’m rolling on my pillow and I roll up to the railing, I just won’t roll and further”), we decided to give the green light to the top bunk option.

columbia bunk beds walnutOne of my preconditions about putting up bunk beds, was that we had to change out the ceiling fan for a non-moving light fixture. Fortunately, I’d bought a fantastic pink chandelier at a second-hand sale months ago, planning on using it in the guest bedroom.

pink chandelierI still think it would have looked great in the guest room, but it’s very cute in the girls’ room too, and I’m pretty sure it’s safer than a fan they can reach from the top bunk. Admittedly, Alethea has asked on more than one occasion if she can swing on it, so there is the possibility that she may one day bring it crashing down in the middle of a trapeze performance, but thus far she has heeded our warnings and refrained from any acts of daring.

The girls began Room Sharing Experiment #3 in November, and it has been the most successful try thus far. Not completely without bumps, but it seems to have helped Alethea to have a space of her own, since Lydia is not allowed to climb up to the top bunk. Lydia herself is quite pleased to be a Big Girl who sleeps in a Big Girl Bed and will happily inform anyone who will listen that, “I don’t sleep in a crib, because cribs are for babies. I’m not a baby anymore.” She shows no inclination to return to the nursery and seems unbothered by the fact that another little occupant will shortly be residing there.

Having successfully arranged a bed solution, last week I moved on to the clothes. Fortunately the closet was big enough to handle both of the girls’ hanging wardrobes without any adjustments. For the dresser I found these nifty extra-deep spring-loaded drawer dividers on Amazon.

extra deep drawer dividersInstallation was a breeze. I think it took me longer to get them out of the packaging than it did to get them into the drawers. And when I was finished each girl ended up with two dresser drawers, each divided in half, which is how I managed to condense the contents of two four-drawer dressers into just one.

drawer dividers for kids sharing a roomWe have a few other orders of business to attend to, like getting the lamp on the bookcase fixed, moving some of the girly accessories in from the nursery, and come summer, finding some sort of solution to the lack of fan since the room does get a bit warm, even with the air conditioning on, during the warmer months.

But the good news is, I can cross off “Get Girls’ Room Organized” from my before baby arrives to-do list and move on to “Revamp Nursery Decor”. Goodbye pink… hello planes, trains and other things that go! Should be fun!

TATT: Painting a Bathroom

It’s Tuesday, Y’all. We have a fresh several inches of snow on the ground. And a Tuesday in January with a blank slate of a world outside my door sounds the like perfect time to revive Tips And Tricks Tuesdays. Now, I’m not promising that I’ll be writing a TATT post every week, in fact, I’m pretty sure that’s not gonna happen, but I think it was a shame to let them die out entirely, so in the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, here we go…

Back in October I decided a main floor half-bathroom facelift was going to be my next home project to tackle. First order of business… paint. Now, I already knew I wanted to paint the room gray. And I already had quite a few shades of paint to choose from because I’ve used five different grays in various rooms in my house and I’ve got samples of a bunch more. So here’s how I got from a slew of possibilities to actual color on the walls.

4 Simple Tips for Painting a BathroomBathroom Painting Tip #1:
Don’t assume because you like a paint color in another room of your house (or in someone else’s house) that you’ll like it in your bathroom. Since bathrooms tend to be small and often have limited natural light and sometimes poor overall lighting, it’s almost guaranteed that the color will look significantly different when applied in that context. At about 22 square feet, with a single overhead light and one small window, our bathroom is no exception.

Half Bathroom BeforeBathroom Painting Tip #2:
Do try out different colors on your wall before committing to a color. If you happen to have leftover paint from another room, great! If not, for just a few dollars, you can buy a test pot of any color under the rainbow from your local home improvement store. It is so much better to spend a few dollars narrowing down your color choice, than to spend $20 or $30 on a gallon of paint you can’t stand. (Bonus tip, if you like a color from a brand the store doesn’t carry… like if you want a Behr color, but you are at Lowes… just ask at the paint counter. They almost always have the color in their computer and can mix it for you regardless of what brand it is.)

Sherwin Williams Proper Gray, Functional Gray and Versatile GrayThis is the step when you realize that SW Proper Gray (left) that you love in your daughters’ south facing bedroom, looks very cold in the light of a north facing window. And that SW Versatile Gray (right) that was perfect in the low light of your guest room closet, looks rather drab when confronted with even a small amount of natural light. And thus, you, or rather I, end up with Sherwin Williams Functional Gray (center), because, for this room, it’s just right.

Bathroom Painting Tip #3:
Don’t be intimidated by working around the toilet. Yes, you might have to imitate a Circ De Soleil contortionist as you cram yourself into a cramped corner or two to paint behind it, but take the tank lid off and cover the back of the tank with Glad Press ‘N’ Seal wrap and you can slop around all you need to in order to get the job done. (Also be encouraged that if you still do get a bit of paint somewhere on the porcelain, it can be wiped right off with a damp cloth. No harm done.)

painting around the toiletBathroom Painting Tip #4:
Do realize that by changing the wall color, you may be irresistibly inspired to make other changes in the room. Since changing the wall color, I’ve also changed one small thing (the soap pump) and one big thing (the overhead light, which, okay, I admit, I ordered and Peter actually installed, but whatever).

Bathroom ProgressI’m scheming about some other changes, a shelf for storage, some sort of art on the walls, and maybe a faux linen paint treatment if I get up the nerve to try it, so photos of those and of the new light will be coming your way as soon as I launch into my 2014 Home Improvement to-do list. Stay tuned!