From Home Decor

Thoughts on Year Six and Tiny Turkey Art

I miss blogging.  More than that, I miss the “back in the old days” blogging when the email notifications about new comments on my latest post energized me and I could count on two hands the number of blogs I followed—and commented on—religiously.  Now that email notification in my inbox is most likely a spam comment and the number of blogs I can follow is endless.  Pair that with two kids under age four and a busier-than-ever job and, well, I’ve simply lost touch with current-day blogging.

I’ve been blogging since 2009—before business pages for Facebook, before smartphones, before Pinterest. (Gosh, I suddenly feel old.) So much has changed in blogging and I haven’t quite kept pace, which, for a competitive person like me, is hard to swallow. I’ve yet to reconcile the two bloggers in me.  On one hand, I want to blog like it’s 2009 with little regard for stats, pins or likes.  On the other hand, I want to be in the blogging game.  

While I’m still trying to figure out how blogging fits into my life today, I’ve decided the sixth annual Dare to DIY Challenge (sixth!) is the perfect reason to come out of hiding.  After all, it was Kim at NewlyWoodwards’s original Dare to DIY party in 2009 that drew me into the blogging community and created lasting friendships.  I’ve managed to participate in each of the first five years and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.

And that, my friends, would explain why I was making tiny paper turkeys this weekend.

How about that segue?

Chris wanted to know why I was “making Origami.”  I told him that small paper fans didn’t exactly qualify as Origami, but I was folding paper so he kind of wins.

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Candy Coated Christmas Shelves

It’s that time of year when most bloggers are showing off their festive mantels and I’m all like, “Hey!  I don’t have a mantel to decorate but I have styled shelves!”  You have to work with what you’ve got, right?

This year I’ve opted for a sweet pink and green theme for our three hallway shelves, featuring bright green ornaments, pink wrapped gifts and a little tassel and burlap garland that I whipped up (and will formally share on the blog another time).

I really like traditional Christmas decorations and colors for the majority of our house, so it’s fun to have this one small area to play with a different theme.

Poor Ike was a little dismayed and confused to learn the wrapped presents were empty.  A few more years of watching me decorate and he’ll no longer ask questions, I’m sure.  (“Just ignore my crazy mother,” he’ll say.)

Need some other mantle or faux mantel ideas?  Head on over to Our Fifth House or  Ten June to see other bloggers who are participating in the Holiday Cheer in the Blogosphere Mantel Party!

Hope you’re enjoying the start of the holiday cheer!

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Bright new play area {nursery update}

I’m pretty sure certain that the nursery we designed for Ike back in 2010 is my most blogged about room.  Perhaps I was a little obsessed.  Perhaps.  Well, my friends, let the obsession continue.  We’ve been making some cha-cha-cha-changes as we update the room to fit the two—count ’em—two boys we now have sharing the space.

A couple of weeks ago I shared the section of the room that has Ike’s new big boy bed and DIY headboard.  Today I am here to share our updated play area (formerly known as the nursing-and-reading-chair area).  This is what the corner of the room looked like when we revealed the room back in December of 2010.

And here it is today!

When we decided that Ike and Lincoln would share the space, I moved the big arm chair and white table into a spare room across the hall (which would have been the second nursery, if we had gone that route.)  Although it took away a comfy reading spot, I just knew that midnight nursing sessions and diaper changes would be a bit too much for Ike to sleep through.  And, guess what, the best reading spot is now the big boy bed!

It was just as well, anyway, because we needed a bit of space for Ike to use as play space in his room.  Sometimes he likes to hang out upstairs in his room all by himself and read books and quietly play puzzles or cars.  It’s amazing.

The highlight of the space is the rocking chair…

The chair has been hanging out in the nursery by the book slings, but up until now it mostly held a variety of stuffed animals.  The rocking chair originally belonged to Chris’ grandmother and was passed down to us by Chris’ dad and step mom just before Ike was born.  Chris’ grandmother was a tiny woman and this chair is very small and low to the ground—perfect for little boys to use!

I can’t seem to find the “before” picture, but when we first got the chair, it had some stuffing and fabric wrapped and stapled to the seat with a cushion on top.  I made a new cover for the cushion using fabric that matches Ike’s quilt, but as you can see below, I still have some updating to do to the chair before it is fully complete.  Trust me, though, the chair is sturdy and safe with the cushion on top in the meantime!

As for toy storage, I spotted these totes at Target for about $6/each and snatched them up.  Aren’t they just perfect for our room?  I’m ridiculously proud of myself for finding them.

And there you have our nursery play area.

Want to come over to play?  Ike would love for you to read him a book. (He is forever saying, “Read the book, Momma, read the book.”)

What do you think?  Oh, and is anyone curious about how the room situation is working for us now that an infant and toddler have been sharing the space at night for a few weeks?  If so, I could whip up a post…

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A Lazy Girl’s DIY Upholstered Headboard

Okay, so maybe calling myself lazy isn’t completely fair.  After all, this post is about me making an upholstered headboard when I was 9 months pregnant and finishing it when I had a newborn.  Maybe this is a mix of lazy and frugal.  Either way, this is the story of how I made an upholstered headboard for Ike’s big boy bed with as little effort as possible and without spending a dime, all in time for the winter edition of the Pinterest Challenge, to boot!

(The Pinterest Challenge is a challenge issued by four fun and friendly bloggers to get all of us psyched up to actually make something that has been hanging out on one of our Pinterest boards for all too long.  See more about our lovely hostesses at the end of this post! Oh, and you can follow me on Pinterest, too!)

The last time you heard about the nursery, we were making plans to adjust the room to accommodate our newest addition.  This meant moving Ike out of the crib and into a big boy bed.  We decided to go for a twin bed and set it up the weekend after Christmas.  He took to it instantly, and enjoyed jumping on it from the beginning…

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We positioned the bed against the two walls to help keep the kiddo in place at night and tucked a piece of the old crib bumper under the sheet as a “rail” (so far so good), but since Ike doesn’t really sleep with a pillow, he was constantly hitting his head against the wall.  And so, a headboard was actually rather necessary.  

But here is where my frugality and laziness come in.  The way I see it, this room might very well make several transitions over the next few years as it houses a toddler and a newborn and then two toddlers.  I have no idea how long this headboard will be needed, so I didn’t want to invest a lot in it.  So, I looked for something simple to replicate.

This was one of my favorite inspirations on Pinterest (although more ornate than I planned to do), the original post for which can be found here on The Shabby Nest blog.  (If you like this image, please click through to the original site and “pin it” from there!)

 

Just as DIYers before me, I cut a piece of plywood to size, covered it with batting and then fabric.

Here comes lazy/frugal step number one: instead of buying more fabric to complete this project, I used scraps from our DIY cornices and crib skirt and pieced them together.  Yes, there are a few seams, but it works.

I wrapped the fabric tightly around the plywood and batting and stapled it down.

And here comes lazy/frugal step number two.  We just screwed this thing to the wall.  No special hanging gear and no tufting.  Nope, we just pushed two screws through into studs.  Chris and I did this part together when I was hugely pregnant and while Ike was climbing around our feet trying to “help,” so sadly our screws didn’t even line up with each other.  And the fabric got a bit twisted around the screws.  It didn’t look very polished.

And then it stayed this way for about a month and a half.

Do you think my toddler will be traumatized by his mangled headboard?  Me neither.

But alas, the Pinterest Challenge finally inspired me to finish this project once and for all.  In a third step of extreme laziness, I took a scrap of fabric from Ike’s quilt, cut it with pinking shears, and glued it to the headboard with fabric glue to hide the screws.  It took me less than 10 minutes.

No, this headboard won’t be showing up in a magazine any time soon, but it is functional, it was inexpensive, and it was easy.  And it works just perfectly for the potentially short time that our two-year-old little man’s bed will be in this exact spot.

Remember Ollie the elephant doll, the original inspiration for our nursery?  My mom made this for me when I was a little girl and gave the doll some proper boy clothes when we found out Ike was a boy.

Don’t tell Ike, but his new little brother was trying out the big boy bed.  While the cat is away, the mice will play…

And here is a wider view of Ike’s little nook, complete with the poms, stars and mirror that originally hung over his crib. He is still using the quilt I made for his crib, so I’ll eventually need to get proper big boy bedding.  But for now it is just perfect for him.

What do you think?  Are you embarrassed for me and my headboard?  Or do you agree that this will suffice until we figure out the long-term plans for this room?  I’m just psyched that I might have used the last of the yellow elephant and ikat fabric!

Now, if you want to be inspired, please head on over to the blogs of our four Pinterest Challenge hostesses and see what everyone else has been up to!

Want to follow along with more of my adventures? Check me out on Facebook, Instagram @domesticadventure and Pinterest!

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The test of time: Kitchen Edition

I’ve been spending a lot of time at home.  Maternity leave in the dead of winter will do that to you.  So I’ve been doing a lot of daydreaming about what I wish we could do to improve our home.  You know, a painted wall here, crown molding there, wood floors…well…everywhere.  Finances and time are limited right now, (again, maternity leave will do that to you) so I’ve decided to focus on things about our home that I love.  And by things, I mean things.  Small things.  Not big design decisions or the fact that this house is our little family’s safe haven and favorite place to be.  Small things.  We all make bad design decisions/purchases from time to time, so I thought it would be fun for me (and maybe for you?) if I highlight a few things in different rooms of our house that have stood the test of time.

When I think back to my first apartment after I graduated college, I remember buying two wire wall hangings from Bed Bath & Beyond that were in the shape of two plump chefs.  I probably spent $30 that I didn’t have on those two pieces that I thought were pretty stylish.  Fast forward a few years when I moved out and those two pieces got tossed because they no longer fit my taste. Au revoir, chefs. (I like to think they were French chefs.)

(By the way, if you have wire chefs in your kitchen, I am sure they are cute.  Mine were not, I promise!)

So as I was making coffee the other day I smiled about this coffee canister and reminisced about how it has stood the test of time.  My little sister purchased this for me about 8 years ago and it has stuck with me ever since.  It makes me happy every day because it is cute, functional and timeless.  It is also a means to a caffeine fix< but that’s another story.

I started looking around the kitchen for other things that have stood the test of time.  This clock is one of them.  I spied it in a friend’s home about seven years ago and promptly put it on our wedding registry when the time came.  I think this clock could stay with me forever and it would make me happy.  And it probably will.

Next I focused in on our counter stools.  This was a big purchase for me when we bought our home.  I looked high, low and all over for the perfect stools and I have to say these IKEA stools won’t be leaving our kitchen any time soon.  Since there isn’t an IKEA nearby, I purchased these online back in the day before they charged $300+ to ship something to rural Maine.  They are sturdy and classic. And if the black ever becomes a problem, I bet I could recover them in some fun, and funky fabric for a quick change.

So, while I continue to wish that the white linoleum would magically turn to hardwood and that the appliances would change to stainless steel, I’m enjoying the small things that we use day in and day out that are with us for the long haul—and actually create a sense of home more than some of those big things, anyway.

How about you?  Have any of your small design decisions stood the test of time?  Anyone else have wire chefs hanging in their first kitchen?

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Hiding Toddler Toys {living room toy storage}

Our living room.  It’s where all the action happens.  And by action I mean drool, spit up and lots of toy cars and trains.  Our relatively small 20′ x 20′ living room is right off of our kitchen and dining area and it is where we spend the large majority of our time.  Since the room is visible from many parts of the house, it is the obvious place for Ike to play.  And although I wouldn’t have it any other way, there are times I like to pretend that I have a grown up living room, even if it only lasts for an hour at a time.

Which is why I have hiding places for our toddler toys.

See those six baskets at the bottom of these shelves?  Yeah, that’s where the toys hide.  But you wouldn’t know it unless you look inside!

I started with just one of the blue patterned flexible baskets about a year ago and I have slowly expanded my collection.  Back in May we picked up these Expedit shelves at my maiden voyage to IKEA and slowly we’ve filled them up.

I’ve found that these baskets work perfectly because they are lightweight and flexible, which means Ike can pull them down and even put most of them up on his own.  They flex around awkward toys, fit a decent amount of cars, blocks, etc., and they don’t look like obvious toy storage.  Score.

As you can see, Ike pulls out baskets as he wishes and plays with what is inside.  Surprisingly, he learned very quickly where each toy is kept.  For example, he knows which of the brown baskets holds the train, and which of the blue baskets holds the blocks.  And don’t try to mix the cars with the blocks, he won’t have it (he is rather obsessive about his toy storage…I wonder where he got that?).

The two square baskets (from Home Goods) hold puzzles and a variety of other toys. (As a side note, the vehicle puzzle on the right makes noises when you put the puzzle piece in place…and at random times when you are nowhere near the puzzle and the rest of the house is silent…not freaky at all.)

The blue baskets (purchased at one of my favorite local shops, Window Panes) hold the blocks and a mish-mosh of cars, trucks, helicopters and other plastic pieces.  Another fun toy note…Ike has decided that the king  on the “K” block is Daddy and the queen on the “Q” block is Mommy…he looks for us regularly in the block bin.

And in the bottom two brown baskets (also from Home Goods) are train pieces and stuffed animals.

Now, I have to admit that these toys represent only about 40 percent of Ike’s total collection.  He has a basket of books under the coffee table, a selection of toys in the nursery, and a whole set of toys that we are keeping in the guest room while we consider creating some designated play space there.  Sometimes toys come out of the other two rooms and hang out in the living room for a while, but Ike is quite good about putting toys back where he found them…even if they are in a different room.

But back to the living room shelves.

There are a few spots that Ike can’t reach, and I’ve styled those spaces to help me pretend that I have a grown up living room.

It’s good to pretend.  Especially since right now my living room looks more like this…and the toddler isn’t even home!

How do you hide toddler toys in your home?  Any good tips and tricks?

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