May 27, 2014

Maternity Pictures!

Happy short week of work everyone! I hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend. We spent ours catching up with lots of friends, including dear ones that surprised us with a visit from Arkansas!!! Memorial Day itself was spent in Grimes with Jenny, Tyler and Ben. Since it was nice out that afternoon, we headed over to the Saylorville Lake Park to take some maternity pictures together. Jenny took quite a few of Mike and I for us and then I got a couple of their family before Ben decided to sit down in the lake in his clothes! 

So with no further ado - here's the belly at 37 weeks!

May 16, 2014

House Projects: Nursery

This room barely counts as a project room other than getting it all set up.
This is the room when we moved in. It was used for storing all of the 2nd floor furniture during the bathroom and master bedroom projects.

We had planned for it to be the kids room for when we started fostering. Now that Baby Girl is on the way too, it will be a combination nursery and kids room. I had picked out this crib bedding (Mudhut Etosha from Target) and was super excited to find out it has a matching set for the twin bed that we got from my parents.

After baby showers and filling the registry (thanks so much!!), it was really just to put it all together. It's a pretty full room, but the basement is planned to eventually be the family/play room, so it shouldn't be too full of toys.

There will be a navy blue painted letter of Baby Girl's first initial on the wall by the window, but we're not 100% set on a name - just in case we change our minds when we meet her. Sorry no hints :)


 Please ignore the mismatched valances. Just one was too short and unfortunately the two didn't line up when we got them. Next time the sewing machine comes out they'll get lined up and sewn together.

Still trying to decide what to do on the wall above the twin bed. 
I may paint a big tree on the wall but that seems like a lot of work, so it'll probably stay plain for a while at least. 

My big DIY's were the origami elephant mobile and the wall art. Plus I guess the mirror, but I made that in high school, so it doesn't really count. 

These are on the wall at the foot of the twin bed. 

To Do List
Set up and make twin and trundle
Wash smallest clothes and crib bedding
Set up and make crib
Organize clothes by size in closet
Hang curtains and valance
Take down valance and sew
Organize changing table
Set up details
Wall art
Bring home the baby!

May 6, 2014

DIY Chevron Silhouette Nursery Art

More nursery projects! Again inspired by Pinterest/Etsy and made for much less thanks to time at home and the Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon! I made three 12x12 and two 18x24 panels, plus the two things of paint for $20!

What you need:
Watercolor Panels
Painters/Art Tape
Exacto knife
Computer and printer
Non-mechanical Pencil
Embossing Tool (optional)
Paint (~$1/bottle)
Paint brushes

The first thing to do is paint the chevron background. 
The easiest way to tape a chevron pattern is to make a lattice of tape and then remove squares using your exacto like so:


How you want to remove the tape (anything the lines cross)

 Which is ^ these ^ squares

Eventually you will have this on the left. 
IF you are doing a lighter background than your silhouette, paint away! If not, wait to paint until you have drawn on your silhouette outline so that you can avoid painting where your silhouettes will be. 

After a few minutes, but preferably while your paint is still tacky, remove the rest of the tape. Tada - chevron!

The next step is to pick your silhouettes. Our nursery has an African/Safari theme so I wanted animals, but also wanted to avoid cartoon-y silhouettes. The nice thing is you can pick whatever you'd like! Google "______ silhouette" and pick your favorite. Make sure you like the orientation (which way it's facing) and print to size. I just used Word, shrunk the margins as far as possible and filled the page. Of course you can always use your own pictures, but I recommend using a picture that is already a silhouette so that you can be sure you aren't going to lose any details you wanted when you convert it. 

The easiest way I've found to transfer the image to your canvas is to flip your print out over and scribble pencil lead around the outside of your silhouette (hold it to a window if you can't see through). Flip your printout back over and place it on your canvas right where you want the silhouette to end up. Tape in place and then trace the outline firmly with either an embossing tool or just a ball point pen. This will transfer a very light pencil line onto your canvas. I increased the contrast on the second picture so you can see how the drawing transfers. Only put pencil on the edges, not the whole page so you have a place to rest your hand without accidentally rubbing on the pencil lines. 

Ready paint! To outline your silhouettes, make sure you're using a fine tipped brush and load it with paint to be able to put down a smooth line (this is also the trick to trimming in ceilings when painting rooms - bonus!). I did two coats on mine to be sure to cover the difference of painting over white vs yellow and that was definitely enough. 

 There you have it, your very own nursery art!
I am going to hang mine as is using 3M hook stickers but you could also add a ribbon to hang it from a nail using hot glue on the back very easily. Enjoy your art!

Update: here's the large panels. I used the same transfer method for the giraffes, elephant and text as I described above.  A post of the completed nursery is coming soon!

May 2, 2014

Chicago "Babymoon"

Home again, home again. One of my favorite things about a vacation is how wonderful it is to be home afterward - no matter how incredible the trip was!

Last month (man, I'm behind!), Mike and I flipped the calender  to April and realized that if we were going to try to get away for a few days before Baby Girl gets here, our options were the 8th-12th or the weekend of May 24th - at which point I would be almost 37 weeks pregnant. No thanks, that'd be crazy uncomfortable. It also helped the decision that the 9th was Mike's birthday, so these two super frugal people were able to convince ourselves to splurge a little. So we quick consulted our bosses and were luckily able to get work taken off for Wednesday through Friday!

That Tuesday, I had my 30 week appointment and then picked Mike up from work. After helping him get everything ready to be gone for 3 days, we hit the road. About 6 hours in the car and a quick stop for dinner in Davenport later, we arrived at our hotel in Chicago. We decided to stay at the Best Western River North because they offer free parking (otherwise about 50 bucks a night!!) It wasn't anything special, but it was clean and the bed was comfy.

Wednesday we slept in and then checked the weather. It looked like rain on Thursday, so we decided to do our outside attractions on Wed. We walked the couple miles up to Lincoln Park, stopping for lunch right before we got there at a restaurant called Nookies. They had trident forks. Fail.

 After lunch we headed into the Lincoln Park Zoo. It has become tradition for us to go to the zoo when we take trips the two of us. So far Omaha is still my favorite, but St. Louis and Lincoln Park both are worth your time - plus Lincoln Park is free! You can check out my animal pictures here.

We left the zoo at about 4:30 to walk to Navy Pier. When we got to the pier we had dinner at Capi's, an Italian place in the pavillion - chosen mostly because we could get seated immediately, we had walked about 10 miles so far that day! Unfortunately, it was during dinner that we discovered that the ferris wheel was closed for maintanence and the rest of the rides opened for the spring on Friday! So after dinner we finished up our walking for the day by heading back to the hotel and crashed early.

Thursday ended up being a beautiful day so after lunch at the Slurping Turtle, we walked (again- oh our aching feet!) to the Field Museum. Their traveling exhibition right now is on biomechanics - right up our alley! We walked the museum for a couple hours, took dorky pictures with Sue the dinosaur and then headed out.

At this point I had gotten pretty lame and sore from so much walking, so we meandered our way back, taking lots of breaks. I only kinda getting stuck laying on the low steps. Mike was sweet enough to take a picture instead of helping :)

Luckily, the halfway point for our walk back was Millenium Park, so Mike got to see the Bean for the first time. And of course we took the mandatory picture.

After getting back to the hotel, we got all fancied up and went to Kinzie Chophouse for Mike's (belated) birthday dinner. Fantastic. Seriously, I was super sad to not be able to take my leftovers back to the hotel (no fridge/microwave) and that was after eating so much of it that I honestly thought I could be sick. Yum.

Friday as our only day with anything on the schedule - an afternoon at the Spa at Dana. Before scheduling the trip ihad googled prenatal massages in Chicago and this spa was both recommended and only about 4 blocks from our hotel. We slept in and had a quick lunch at Portillo's and then headed to the spa. I'm so glad we scheduled it for the last full day because I was ready for it after all our walking the previous days! After we were done, I was ready to go again, so we decided to head back to Navy Pier. Their "swing into spring" opening was happening, so they had dollar rides on the giant swings and then we played some mini-golf. I aced the first hole, but then the pressure of the Masters caught up with me and Mike beat me by like 6 strokes :)

Our last big stop in Chicago was Eataly. It is kinda like an Italian restaurant and Ikea had a baby. We had dinner (Italian style pizza with fresh moz, basil and mushrooms) and gelato there after wandering the market area, then headed back to the hotel.

Saturday was our travel day. We packed up and checked out at about 10 and got on the road. About 30 seconds in, Mike announced that we could definitely get used to living in a big city so long as he never had to drive... ever. Once we safely made it out of the city, we headed to Ikea in Bolingbrook. We were super successful in terms of saving money by spending money. We got a loveseat and patio furniture, as well as toddler dishes/silverware. Winners :) Then just a five hour drive and a quick stop to set up the church for Sunday and we were home again, back to real life :)