Sunday, December 9, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year to you all.  I hope the holiday season brought you everything you desired.

Last year was a whirlwind.  I was completely preoccupied with pregnancy and then the arrival of my beautiful baby boy for 11 of the 12 months.  Even now with just under 2 months left in my maternity leave I'm realizing how few things I had planned to do during my leave have actually been done.  (Don't get me wrong though, I'm certainly feeling at peace with accomplishing nothing more than looking after the little guy and doing basic household chores daily!)

Even something simple, like updating my blog, has been more challenging than I expected as our computers are in the basement so not super convenient.  Husband was kind enough to buy me a tablet for our wedding anniversary/Christmas so now I can communicate with you from the couch/rocker/bed....even with babe sleeping in the crook of my arm.  Technology is awesome!

For now, I leave you with a little bit of Photoshop magic, courtesy of our friend Nick.  Here's baby Owen in his Christmas Eve outfit...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daily Baby - Nursery Reveal!

I was actually hoping to do this post in the week before Owen's due date.  Given his early arrival though, I've been working backwards on a variety of things, the nursery reveal being one of them of course!  We were thrilled with how this turned out - and there's a few things awaiting the finishing touches, but it is certainly ready to share.

The overall view...
..and in the other direction.  The glider belonged to Owen's great grandfather who passed earlier this year.
Hot Air Balloon mobile (tutorial courtesy of
Building up the book collection already!

Dinosaur coin bank, thanks to Auntie Michelle
Bunting, thanks to Holly
Close up of some of the books
Mom and dad's collection of stuffed animals
We have Owen's name being painted onto wooden letters for us, and we'll also be putting a collage of family pictures on the wall under the bunting, so I hope to reveal those in the not too distant future.  We're also grateful that we've been able to keep the guest bed in the room as it has been helpful with allowing husband to get some sleep now he's back at work.  I know Owen doesn't really have much of a concept of what his room looks like yet, but I hope he loves it as much as I do!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Daily Baby - He's here!

Owen Philip Jacobs was born on October 29, 2012 at 19:19.  He was 7lbs 9oz and measured in at 19.5".

Little did we know, when we settled down to watch The Walking Dead, last Sunday night, that a trip to labor & delivery was in the cards.  Even while we were driving to the hospital, I thought in my head that they'd probably end up sending me home.  Turns out that I was actively having contractions only a few minutes apart and my doctor felt it best that they admit me.

17 hours of labor and the little guy arrived, healthy and handsome as anything!  The entire pregnancy, with my due date of November 4th, I'd had it in my head that we were going to have a November baby.  In fact, I'd told people that I wasn't ready for October and that he should just stay in there and bake for as long as necessary.  Turns out that, even though I may not have been truly prepared (i.e. car seat hadn't even been installed), he was ready to meet the world.

As I type this, I have one sleeping babe tucked into the Moby Wrap on my chest, sleeping so peacefully and making squeaky little newborn noises.  He has completely rocked our world and I hardly know what day of the week it is, or how many outfits he's gone through in the last 24 hours due to diaper change accidents.  At the same time, I don't know if I can truly describe how wonderful it feels to look down on his fuzzy little head, to laugh at the surprise on his face when he sneezes, to imagine what he's thinking behind his wise little eyes as he takes in his new surroundings.  It's so strange that he's here, but I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Hanging in there

Don't worry, my lack of posting doesn't mean I've gone into labor or anything.  I've heard that at this late stage of pregnancy, there is a shift into nesting mode (i.e. must clean everything in the house in preparation for baby) or exhaustion kicks in.  Based on the fact that my major accomplishment yesterday was finally getting a pedicure, I'd say I fall into the latter category.  Yup, I'm tired.  Husband says it's no surprise considering I've been making a baby for the last 8.5 months.  He's a smart man.  I was actually very busy doing just that while on the couch yesterday... 

So, although yesterday was a wash, on Saturday we were super busy and we're now 80% done with the nursery.  I need to wash the bedding and order the last few things, then I can take pictures for the big reveal.  Meanwhile, this morning was another non-eventful weekly appointment.  Nothing exciting to report.  Still pregnant.   

Last week, I had a final scan to get an idea of the size and position of baby.  It was possibly the most fun I've had at a doctor's office ever - the hour long wait for my appointment and the strange altercation with an older lady in the elevator (who was quite insistent that I'm having a girl) notwithstanding.  The good news is that we painted the room blue with good reason - he's still a boy and "not shy" about it (as the doctor said). 

It has to be said that I'm completely in awe of ultra-sound technology and the level of detail that can be achieved.  To be able to see his features, watch him snuggling up against his tiny little hands, and even know that he already has hair, is both eerie and amazing.  It's impossible not to be completely in love though. 

This week is my last week at work.  It's bizarre to think that I'm going to be taking a "break" from this place where I've been coming for the last 11 years of my life.  I may just spend all next week napping...we'll see.  :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Daily Ramblings - The home stretch

36 weeks and still hanging in there!  I still haven't done anywhere near all the stuff on that (rather informal) list in my head.  The important stuff is getting there though, so I'm cutting myself some slack.

This weekend, husband and I were relentless in our pursuit of "getting our shit together" (so to speak).  We finally signed up for our Costco membership - primarily for savings on baby wipes and diapers, although husband will tell you that it's so he can buy a new TV.  Armed with the 900 count box of baby wipes, which will still only last us 2 months by our estimation, we also ended up with about 12 lbs of meat to make and freeze meals with.  Since then, we've been marinading pork chops, cooking pasta sauce, and last night I made three meals worth of mini meatloafs.  11 days worth of dinner down and my goal is to move on to chicken recipes this week once I've gone shopping for more veggies.  Hopefully, the pre-made meals will come in handy when we're dealing with the newborn and trying to figure out what day of the week it is/the last time we showered.

On Sunday, we met with a friend for some maternity shots.  I've only seen this one so far, but how cute is that?  I can't wait to see the rest, and will definitely be sharing when I get copies.  I'm so used to being behind the camera that I forget how to pose in front of one sometimes.  Husband isn't usually thrilled about the concept of being in photos either - although I remind him that with the new addition, there will be a lot more of this to come!

Next step is finishing up the nursery.  I'll leave all the details of the great crib debacle for another time, but I'm really hoping that some time before the end of the upcoming weekend that we'll have everything built and situated.  We also need to make a final decision on wall decals (seeing as we're in an earthquake zone and don't need things falling off the walls next to the crib).

Meanwhile, baby is having a little party in my belly.  It's amazing to be able to look down and see my belly wiggling like a shaken Jello mold.  It's become visible to other people now too, which is good because I'm no longer that crazy pregnant lady who starts giggling for no reason and saying "did you see that?"  He seems to enjoy putting his foot in between my ribs on my right side and is more than happy to kick me away when I try to push him into a more comfortable spot (for me anyway).  This interaction with my unborn is the most indescribably wonderful thing. 

4 weeks to go....unbelievable really!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Daily Dish - Apple Pie

Apparently, it's fall.  Living in SoCal, we don't experience much for seasonal changes.  The fact that we started off October with triple digit heat has me wondering when the time will come for soup, hot cocoa and snuggling under blankets.  Perhaps I'll get the cool down in time for my maternity leave. 

Regardless of what the weather is doing outside though, there is no bad time for apple pie.  I have scored some great deals on Granny Smith apples at the store recently, so decided to venture into pie baking.  I'm a dutch apple pie kind of girl, as I can be picky about how the top is baked with regular pastry, so when I found this recipe for Butter Crumble Apple Pie, I knew I was onto a winner.  It's so unbelievably easy, but lives up to it's name (i.e. buttery and crumbly).  We ate this topped with a little Cool Whip, and also tried it a la mode for subsequent tastings.  I can assure you it's delicious with both.  :)

What are you looking forward to for fall?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Gift basket fun!

In the aftermath of all the shower fun, I did want to share the gift baskets that I put together for the girls who hosted.  I had been stewing for a little while on what to get each of them and had been throwing around several ideas in my head.  Finally, I decided that I was going to make a gift basket for each so that I could incorporate a mixture of things and tailor the baskets to their individual likes. 

Basket #1
Paige loves to bake.  She and I were opposites for a long time.  She could bake anything but wasn't great at cooking, while I could cook anything, but couldn't bake for the life of me.  (I should note that we've both made great strides in our baking and cooking respectively).  In that I will always associate her with a mild sugar high, when I spotted the Red Velvet wine from Cupcake Vineyards on the shelf, I knew exactly what I wanted to do!  Going along with that theme, I also got an oven mitt, Betty Crocker spatula, some dark chocolate covered almonds and espresso beans, and (to add the handmade touch) themed magnets [see insert in the picture below].  

Basket #2
Holly is a total anglophile - something that drew us together in the beginning when she found out that I'm English.  In the spirit of gifting alcohol, I know that she's a Guiness drinker so wanted to find some new British beers that were similar for her to try.  I ended up with Young's Double Chocolate Stout and a bottle of Hobgoblin (which was a necessary purchase for the name alone). From there, I added some Heinz Baked Beans (a British classic) and some Yorkshire Pudding mix.  I also threw in some more of the chocolate goods, as I figured they would go well with the chocolate beer, and made her magnets using a letter that Henry VIII wrote to Anne Boleyn [again, see insert].  I figured it was fitting for someone who stayed at Hampton Court every year growing up! 

I somehow had a preggo moment and forgot to take a picture of the basket of chocolate and cheese that I made for my mother-in-law too.  I'll admit that I've never really put together gift baskets before, but this may be my new favorite thing!  I had such a great time gathering all the little things to put in them, and it worked prefectly with my indecisive nature as I was able to put a variety of things together rather than having to decide upon one bigger item.

As for the magnets, I had fun making these.  I got the 1" half flat glass marbles, which you can find at Michaels or the dollar store.  I chose to use bigger marbles, but there's also smaller versions out there.  I used Mod Podge to adhere the images to the marble, and then E6000 glue to stick the magnets (also available at Michaels) onto the back.  The glue seemed secure after about an hour, but I've heard that 24 hours is best just to be sure.  Here's a pretty decent tutorial if you want to try it yourself.  They're so cute and I may be making more for holiday gifts this year!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Freshly showered!

This Saturday, I had my baby shower. It seemed like the shower was so far away, but then I realize I'm 35 weeks today and my pregnant self is rounding the last curve, heading straight toward the finish line!

My girls, Holly and Paige, had been conspiring on my shower theme for weeks.  They had my mother-in-law (who graciously allowed us to invade her house) fully entrenched in the conspiracy, so I was very much in the dark on their plans until I showed up.  They ran with the fact that I'm still a British citizen, and went full-on UK themed - union jacks, shepherd's pie, sausage rolls, royal family facemasks, the whole deal!  I was even given a rubber duck fascinator (a duckinator?) to wear - which is why you should never make frivolous comments about "you know what would be funny" to a crafty person as they will probably make it happen.

So, while Holly was busy being super crafty, Paige was a baking fiend.  Both of them have toddlers in the house, so no clue how they managed to accomplish everything they did.  My desert bar was insane, with a variety of treats that were all delicious (and some of which now reside in my freezer for emergencies during maternity leave).  In a slightly sick and twisted moment, Paige made the inside of the baby cake cops red velvet.  I've never felt so guilty to be chomping on a baby's head....not that I do that often anyway.  She also super-imposed husband's head onto the body of a baby, which was both hilarious and simultaneously creeped out all his family members.  It is still making me giggle! 

All in all, I'm such a lucky girl to have the best collection of family and friends who were there to celebrate with me.  It was fun, relaxing, and overall, I had a fantastic time.  The girls were even sneaky enough to Skype in my parents from the UK so that they could join in my special day.  This did result in spontaneous weeping on my part (that's one hell of a surprise to spring on a preggo lady) but I couldn't have asked for more.

Thanks ladies!  You are both so amazingly fabulous and talented...and quite frankly - you rock.  :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Daily Craft - More tiny stitches

I am very impressed that, only 3 months after starting the project, I am so far along with my cross-stitch birth announcement. Cross-stitching is a labor of love, that's for sure. The advantages for this particular pattern are that there were big areas using the same thread that didn't involve switching between colors or having to repeatedly count to make sure that a single x wasn't missed. The background is complete....but now I'm working on the back-stitching.

I should note that I have a bit of a love hate relationship with back-stitching. I love how it looks, but I hate the fact that you think you're done with the piece, and then realize that you still have a ton of tiny outline stitches to do before it's finished. These stitches that seem like they'll take as long as it did to do the background.  You can see how much difference it makes in this picture though - all the definition and detail comes through.  So, I'll keep stitching on and with any luck I'll be done by the time we head to the hospital (although I swear I'm not going to feel bad if I'm not!)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Daily Travels - Preggo on Safari!

Even though I went to college in San Diego, I never took the opportunity to visit the Safari Park.  We got some tickets half price through Living Social earlier in the year and with all the first trimester nausea, then summer heat, we never quite got to using them.  This weekend, we decided to go while I'm still mobile and take our last little excursion before the arrival of the little one.  We didn't quite manage to avoid the heat as the weather still isn't playing fair in So Cal right now (although starting to cool off a little it seems).  Despite the heat, it was a really nice 24 hours away and I had a great time hiking around the park!

So cute to come across this dog and cheetah on a walk.  Apparently they're best buds.

Flamingos with their babies
Rhino going for a walk
This guy was crossing the street in front of the tram!

A gigantic lion paw!
Elephants getting some shade
Check out the little baby  :)
What you lookin' at?
Regal looking male

Husband befriended this larakeet...who then promptly pooped down the back of his shirt!
If you've never been, I highly recommend it! It was a lot of fun (even with all the hiking while 7.5 months pregnant.) It's not cheap, but they offer some cool packages too - like the option to zipline across the park, or the "Snore and Roar" where you get to stay overnight. Those will have to be for another visit though... :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Daily Craft - Quite Charming

For any of you who ever go to Big Lots, you probably know that you can find some very random things.  Most recently, I found some fabric charm packs on sale for $3.  I grabbed a couple, although wishing now that I'd purchased more - as with any overstock type store, you can never guarantee that the item will be there if you return at a later date.

I decided to dive right in using a simple quilt pattern to showcase the charm pack.  It's coming together quite quickly, so I'll have more to show for it soon.  My only problem is that I enjoy making the patchwork tops, but don't love the quilting part (seeing as I already have another quilt top waiting to be quilted in the closet).

Do any of you quilters have that issue...or any suggestions on how to get over the quilting hump?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daily Craft - Crate covers

Finally got myself organized, so here's to my other recent sewing project.  You know those stackable plastic crates that you can get at office supply stores?  They're great for storage, but not all too pretty.  I happened across this tutorial on Pinterest on how to sew covers for said crates and knew that it would be perfect to make some cute storage for the nursery.

I used crates that I bought several years ago at Target ($2.50 a piece I believe).  They'd been storing some random crap in my closet from a while back, and I cleared out the junk when we got ready for the carpeting.  [Note the pretty new carpet by the way - we're really happy with it.]

I found both the striped fabric, and the fabric used for the interior of the crate in the clearance section at Joann.  Fabric cost was under $10 and enough to make covers for 2 crates, with plenty left over.  Total cost ended up being about $15 for the pair, which I consider quite a steal for customized storage.  Plus, they only took about an hour to make.

I'm loving that I can use these for safe, low level storage of books or toys.  I also love that the covers are easily washable, which from what I hear is important when babies and toddlers are involved.  :)

Seeing as there are several more of these crates around the house that are storing various things, I kind of want to cover them all so that they can be displayed more prominently!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Daily Ramblings - 32 weeks

Stormy skies when leaving Olive Garden after dinner last night.
Love it when it's moody.  ;)
I quite enjoyed this weekend - did a bunch more sewing, massage, pedicure, enjoyed some good food with family, and scored some deals at Target.  Yes, I think I've pampered myself more, since realizing I can no longer cut my own toenails, than I ever have before.  

This morning, I had my 32 week check-up.  Everything is looking good, and it says something when you spend more time discussing cell phone ringers during your visit than you do any concerns that the doctor has (i.e. there were none).  The number of weeks I have to go is in single digits, which seems so strange.  I feel like we have a ton of stuff to do, but also feeling quite calm about it all - perhaps because I'm not entirely sure where to start!

- Our crib and dresser should be working their way to our house soon so we can get those built, then work on decorating the walls in the nursery.
- I made my tentative list of things for the hospital bag, so plan to start putting it together in the next week or two.
- We secured a daycare spot on Friday, which is a huge relief in itself as it's good to know we have somebody we like lined up to look after #weebabyjacobs (yes, my unborn has an unnecessary hashtag in all Facebook references thanks to a friend of ours...who knew it would catch on?)
- Speaking of names, baby's still nameless for now.  I believe it's driving husband's grandmother crazy that we haven't picked a name yet, and she seems more anxious about it than we are!  We've narrowed it down though, so making progress. 

In the meantime, while I actually DID remember to grab my camera this morning to take some photos of what I've been sewing, I didn't have a chance to get the pics off the camera.  I'll get organized eventually, I swear!  :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Daily Craft - Planes, trucks and stuff

Hope you all had a lovely long weekend.  I made it a super long weekend by taking yesterday off with no intent other than to get some sewing done.  I'm still debating the best way (or if it's even possible) to share my sewing space with baby, as the nursery has been my craft space up until now, and I've been happily utilizing the dual closets for supply storage.  However, husband has graciously offered to let me move my craft space into his "man cave" once we've cleared some room.  In the meantime, I figured I'd take advantage of not having the baby furniture yet, and spread out my fabric!

I started off with sewing this panel that I bought on sale at Joann's.  I'd never really looked at the panels before, but this has changed my mind.  It was $6 and I loved the patchwork & makes it look like I did something much fancier than I did!  It's also got a nice variety of textures between the flannel, minky and felt on the front.  In the end, I just sewed some snuggly minky fabric (which I'd also purchased on sale and was already in my stash) on the back and called it a day.  Total cost?  Approx $10.  Super cute and cost effective?  I consider that a win! 

[Sorry these aren't the best pictures, but my preggo self didn't feel like walking down and then back up 2 flights of stairs to get my other camera.]

Next post...some crate covers thanks to a tutorial found on Pinterest!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Daily Craft - Playing with wire

While all my craft stuff was packed away and mostly out of reach, the one thing that I did have access to was my jewelry making supplies.  It all started with a tutorial for half herringbone wire wrapped beaded drops.  That resulted in me attempting the technique on several different beads.  My best efforts were a pair for myself, and a variation that is now in my shop.  I just love how simple but elegant the design is, and how the wire really highlights the beads.

A pair for you?
A pair for me!

Of course, this got me started with admiring other wire wrapping online, which led to checking out hammered wire pieces, and....well you know how it is when you start down the rabbit hole.  Next thing you know, I had to order a hammer, steel bench block, and more wire to play with.  Those supplies arrived last week, which resulted in a copper bracelet (photos to come in a future post), and yet another supply order for some items with which to give the wire a beautiful patina.  Yup, I've lost myself in yet another crafty vortex; however I'm thrilled that I'm going to be offering some fun new jewelry in my store soon, once I've perfected some new techniques!  In the crafty world, does it ever just stop with one thing?  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Daily Tip - Foaming soap!

Today I have a simple household tip to share, inspired by husband's complaint that the new soap I'd put in the kitchen wasn't lathering enough.  I'm not sure if he's  become accustomed to the foaming soaps that I'd picked up at Bath & Bodyworks, or if the dispenser for the soaps I'd grabbed at Bed Bath & Beyond ($1/each on clearance) just sucked.  Seeing as we still had the foaming soap dispenser, the answer was actually very easy! 

Pouring regular soap into the foaming soap dispenser on it's own won't work because the soap is too thick and will clog the dispenser.  All you need to do, however, is add water.  We put in a mixture of 1 part soap to 4 parts water, then gently mixed it together.  At first it wasn't mixed enough so the dispenser didn't want to foam properly, but I figured it was just because the soap was still somewhat settled at the bottom and was too thick.  We tipped the bottle back and forth a few times to mix it up again, and it was soon working perfectly. 

$0.20 vs. $3 for a container of soap.  When the other foaming soaps in the house run out, I think we'll continue to use this refill method.  Definitely a worthwhile savings! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Daily Craft - The other thing I knit

I shared with you the blanket that I finally took pictures of, and now to share the other thing that I knit up for the little one. Baby's first cardigan!  I also started knitting this before knowing gender, so went with what I hoped were relatively neutral colors.  I think it'll work out just fine for baby boy.    :)

Even after sorting through the many, many piles of baby clothes, I'm still in awe of how tiny each piece of clothing actually is.  I know this picture would look much more inspiring if it were on a real life model rather than a plastic hanger. I'll have to take an 'after' picture when he's actually big enough to wear it!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Daily Craft - A finished blanket

You may recall that I started a baby blanket a while back.  I actually started it before I even knew that we were having a boy, and had elected to knit up neutral beige/greens.  At the time, I had also decided to incorporate a pale blue, which is a nod to the fact that I suspected he was a boy all along.  

While I've been making various things all at the same time, I'll admit that I finished the blanket a few weeks ago and had put it aside for blocking.  Seeing as it's knit in an acrylic/micro-fiber blend, steam blocking was required and I only just managed to get around to doing that.  It could probably use a little more work to square it out, but I'm sure running it through the dryer a couple times will probably take care of the last part.    

Here it is though - one super soft blanket, which I adore and can't wait to snuggle the little guy in it.  :)  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Where did the couch go?

I think my unborn child may have more clothes than I do.  Husband and I unwittingly fell into the perfect storm of hand-me-downs with this kid.  Our two nephews are also fall babies and, as they are quickly growing out of the clothing and other baby gear, there is a stream of stuff making it's way into our house.  After receiving two huge boxes of clothes yesterday, we now have enough clothing to cover him from approx 0-9 months.  I happily sat in front of the TV, watching Olympics highlights, and sorting by size until the entire couch had been overrun by tiny little outfits.  It's all so cute I can hardly bear it!  Meanwhile, a similar thing is going on with one of my closest girlfriends, also with two boys.  She's also been toting around a box of clothes for me for the last 3 weeks.  [Seriously, nobody buy this baby any more clothes!]  I don't even know the right way to thank my sister-in-law and my friend (and their respective husbands of course) for their generosity.  It's truly overwhelming, in a wonderful kind of way.

I'm a few days from being in my third trimester and I can't help but wonder where the hell the last 3 months went.  I've heard that the middle three months are the best.  I no longer have the nausea from the first trimester, and haven't fully developed the discomfort of the last. Jenny (the masseuse at my chiropractor's office) has been keeping an eye on my progress.  A couple of weeks ago, I told her that I was hoarding the massage sessions that my insurance will cover until I really needed her.  Back then, she looked at my ankles and said "it's ok, they're not too swollen yet."  This week, when I was there for my weekly pilates session, she took one look at my ankles and said "it's time".  I'll be seeing her on Saturday, cankles and all. 

Meanwhile, the feeling that time is running out is upon me.  There's still so much to do and organize, birth classes to be attended, books to be read, things to be made!  I remember months ago thinking how much time I have....and now realizing that the time is slipping away quickly.  He's strong enough now that his wiggles are evident from the outside of my belly and he seems to be enjoying his yoga first thing in the morning as I'm trying to ignore the alarm clock.  Soon enough, he won't just be the alien being that's taken over my belly, he'll be a real life little person.  It's weird.  People ask us if we're ready and, honestly, we have no idea if we ever will be.  Feeling somewhat unprepared and all, I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Daily Craft - A custom made necklace

While I am definitely in baby mode when it comes to my recent crafting, I was asked to make a necklace for a co-worker.  When time permits, I'm all about making custom pieces as it makes me think outside of the box and create something that I may not usually do.  I've also been frighteningly neglectful of my online shop since getting pregnant, so jumped at the chance.

In this case, it ended up being a beautiful smokey Swarovski briolette, wire-wrapped to a quatrefoil link.  Now that I've made the finished item, I love this design and need to make more like it!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Daily Craft - Up, Up & Away!

I mentioned that I'd be making a hot air balloon mobile, and wanted to share my progress as it's already just about the cutest thing ever and all I've done so far is cut out the pieces!  A shout out to Jess over at Craftiness is Not Optional (one of my favorite blog names) for this fantastic tutorial.

Deuce figured he'd be helping out if he tried to chew on the felt pieces while I put them out for a photo...

This is a proper preview. Adorable right?

I modified the baskets a little bit, and I'm not sure how I plan to hang it.  I don't really have the tools to fashion the top that the original tutorial uses, so considering other options once I have an idea of how much the clouds and balloons weigh.

I'm 98% done with my two knitting projects as well, so more info on those coming up soon!!  Hope your weekend is shaping up to be a great one.  :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Daily Ramblings - Painting...check!

Here's a preview of the nursery, freshly painted in shades of blue!   We love the clean look of the blue with the white trim and the crib/dresser combo is going to be white as well.  We're still deciding on whether to get wall decals, but in the meantime I'm finally getting my Looney Tunes animation cels framed, which are going to look great against this backdrop.  I just love the darker blue that we're using for the accent wall.  I've actually been trying to figure out if there's another wall in the house that I can paint that color because it's gorgous (and we have a ton of paint left over). 

For any fellow preggos out there looking for a good paint - we used Behr Premium Plus (available at Home Depot), which ranks really well as far as low-VOC interior paints go.  I was able to help with the painting without worrying too much about fumes.  With an open window, the smell was pretty minimal.  Another handy tip, which I wish I'd realized earlier, is that Dollar Tree has a very decent selection of painting supplies.  I'll definitely be keeping that in mind for any future painting endeavors.  

Next step is the new carpet.  We picked it out and we're just waiting for delivery and installation.  The carpet we have now is beyond help and we were planning on getting it replaced at some point anyway, which would also serve to fix the annoyingly squeaky floorboards.  It'll be another couple of weeks before it arrives, and I can't wait!  Now that I know it's on it's way, the current carpet just annoys the crap out of me.  

Meanwhile, I convinced husband that we must have this hot air balloon mobile hanging in the room so used the 20% off everything coupon at Joann's to pick up the felt today.  More on that soon...  Can you tell I'm in full nesting mode?  ;)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daily Ramblings - 23 weeks already!

Typing this, I realize I am 23 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  That puts me so close to being in my third trimester already and I have no idea how that happened!  So, in the second half of 2012, and the second half of this pregnancy, time to take a quick moment to breath and recap what's been going on.

Second blue for most of the walls, first blue as the accent.
Things are trucking along on the preparation front.  Our living room already has a small collection of hand-me-downs from family and friends who are trying to offload their own baby gear.  Meanwhile, the bedroom is in the midst of being painted.  Deuce spent all day Sunday playing watch-cat in the hallway (seeing as we wouldn't let him in the room for fear of him ending up with blue paint streaks, or decorating with blue paw prints).  The lighter color is all done, and this weekend we'll finish up the accent wall in the darker blue.  Next step is replacing the carpet (which looks like it was installed well over a decade ago and is in dire need of replacing anyway).  As husband's grandmother said - it's like buying a dress.  Next thing you end up needing new shoes, handbag and jewelry too.  Speaking of jewelry...pregnancy swelling, accompanied by sweltering heat outside, has resulted in having to take off my wedding bands for the time being.  It's been 2 days and I honestly miss them.  I'll be getting a cheap placeholder this weekend. 

The hospital tour has been done, complete with making husband carry around the pack of Huggies that we won in the raffle.  I was hoping it would help the concept of baby sink in for him seeing as he doesn't get the pleasure of having the little one bouncing around on his bladder.  Next step is to look through all the books my friend just gave me.  Husband gets a copy of "My Boys Can Swim" as some light bathroom reading, while I get the more serious task of formulating some kind of "birth plan" (a/k/a best laid plan most likely to go awry).   

I miss sushi.  While tempura rolls and baked scallops are still delicious, a fatty piece of yellowtail nigiri has never sounded so good.  It's so hard to resist the bacon wrapped hotdog vendor in the parking lot outside of Big Lots.  I want to dive face first into a venti iced (and Irish) coffee.  I could really go for a medium rare filet. 

In more crafty stuff, I'm making great progress on the cross stitch piece, and nearly done with the blanket that I've been working on.  For those of you who are knitters, I'm sure you can sympathize when I say that I hate seed stitch!!  Only 10 more rows and I'm done though...I can make it!  My sewing space is non-existent right now, but I am still formulating crafty plans (which I will likely never find the time to execute) in my head.  I want to sew blankets, and accessories, create wall art, make a mobile (airplanes or hot air balloons?), sew ridiculously cute baby pants out of ridiculously cute boy fabrics.  The list goes on...

As I look forward to the next couple of months, I realize that there just seems to be so much that I need to do - baby related and otherwise.  This year has been a whirlwind of a time, but a wonderful one where I'm truly excited about the next chapters to come. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Daily Craft - Stitching away!

Husband and several of his guy friends were away this weekend on a "boy's trip", leaving me to my own devices.  Naturally, this ended up being a jam packed weekend having fun with my girlfriends - watched "Magic Mike" (eh), grabbed lunch at a tea house (yum), pedicures (divine), an impromptu sleepover too (hilarious!)  Unfortunately, all the fun I was having meant that I made absolutely zero progress on packing up all my craft supplies in the nursery so that we can make a start with painting.  Good thing there's a national holiday this week!

In the meantime, while I also didn't get any further with making stuff for the little one, I finally got around to snapping a quick photo of my cross-stitch in progress.  It's a zoo themed birth record, which is actually working up pretty quickly.  I think the blocks of color without complicated shading and color changes are helping that.  I actually bought it a couple of years ago on clearance at Joann for $3 and stashed it away...then promptly forgot about it.  The little guy doesn't have a name yet, but I'm looking forward to being able to stitch it on here eventually.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily Dish - Cottage Pie

You probably know this dish as Shepherd's Pie, which is what the dish is called when the meat used is either mutton or lamb (strangely logical no?)  I made it with beef, which is traditionally a Cottage Pie - probably because that is better than it being called a "cow pie".  ;)

Anyway, here is my super simple (but tasty) recipe!

For the filling:
1 lb ground beef

1 medium onion (diced)
1 carrot (diced)
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Butter
1 cup beef broth
Worcestershire sauce
Nutmeg, oregano, paprika, salt & pepper

For the mashed potato:
4 russet potatoes
Butter, milk, salt & pepper
Cheese (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • In salted water, boil the potato (chopped into smaller chunks) until soft and easily pierced with a fork, approx 10 minutes.
  • While the potato is boiling, brown the ground beef in a pan with salt and pepper.  
  • Once the beef is browned, add the onion and carrot along with a sprinkling of each of the spices (to taste)
  • In a separate pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter
  • Once butter is melted, add the flour and mix.  Then add the beef broth to the flour/butter mixture and stir until smooth. 
  • Put Worcestershire sauce into the gravy mixture.  I use about 2 tbsp, but I was eyeballing it so adjust according to your preference!
  • Pour gravy mixture onto the beef and vegetables, then add the frozen peas.
  • At this point, the potatoes should be about done, so drain and mash them. 
  • Add butter, milk, salt & pepper to the potatoes according to your preference.  I like my mashed potatoes to be smooth and buttery.
  • Spoon the beef and vegetable mixture into a baking dish.  (I used ramekins designed for personal portions, but you can also use a medium sized baking dish).
  • On top of the beef, add a layer of the mashed potato.  Even out the top with a fork so that the meat is all covered. 
  • We love adding cheese to things in our house so we elected to sprinkle some shredded cheddar on top.
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the top of the potato is lightly browned and crispy.