Monday, September 30, 2013

We've officially switched directions...

So, remember how I was sooooo set on an adorable bird nursery? I had all these plans of like a zillion dollars worth of wallpaper going up on that ceiling?

I kind of changed my mind.


It really, really wasn't my fault. I promise.

See, the thing was that right as we were getting ready to make some final decisions on the nursery, Joann fabrics came out with a Where the Wild Things Are line of fabrics. was pretty much my favorite book as a kid. And, Nate and I are book nerds.

And all the names we've been throwing around have some sort of literary significance.

We actually pretty much planned on if Wookie was a boy, we were going to name him Max.

Oh, by the way?

(And yes, we are super geeked about it!)

So, while I've been swearing left and right that Wookie is a girl, I had a week or two where I was kind of hoping for a boy because I planned this really awesome, rustic boy room for Where the Wild Things Are.

But here we are, rocking an innie instead of an outie, so I had a mild panic attack because all the fabric was blue based.

THEN. I was visiting my family this weekend, and they had GREEN fabric.

Then my brain exploded in eyelet and lace and yellows and greens and sear suckers and chenille and I might have almost cried in the fabric aisle planning this quilt with my mom. 

And now, may I present, a rough representation of a baby girl Wild Thing Room.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

This room may also have been partly spawned by the awesome crown light at Shades of Light that I'm hoarding pennies for. It is so very Max. (Even though we have a Girl cookin in the oven)

This room is going to be a kind of abstract version of Wild Things. If you pinterest Wild Things nurseries you are attacked by all these bad ass murals and monsters and stuff and honestly- it's a small room. I want a little more light and airy, a little less, this tiny room became a jungle kind of thing.

We finished putting up the first coat of primer in the nursery this weekend (only took us a week to get that bead board covered...) and we'll start trying to get stuff put together in a timely fashion. We are OFFICIALLY 20 weeks today and I'm already feeling huge and unbalanced. The sooner I'm done painting that ceiling, the better!

Did anyone else get fun news this weekend?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

And That Isn't Even Paint!

So way back in the day (about a week ago), our nursery looked kind of like this.

Super sweet wallpaper and some stained bead board.

Now with the drywall and one coat of primer up, it looks a little something like this.

I think this room may have cuteness in it yet!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Exciting Week

A GIANT thank you to everyone who entered the Give Away last week.  It was a huge success.  We have a winner: “Cape On The Corner!”  Make sure to check your email.

This week is super exciting for Nate and I- not only are we finally able to start working on the nursery, we're also basically (if you count that no one in my family makes it to their due date) half way done with being preggy. I can't believe that we're already 19 weeks into this thing!

We are currently in process of priming the main part of the nursery which Nate and Robby repaired the drywall on last weekend. Can I just say that painting bead board is tedious as hell? Nate typically doesn't help me paint (it makes him a cranky man) but as my balance is so off, he said that for the baby he would do all the up high stuff for me.

Let's make that clear. For. The. Baby.

We ended up getting a system down for the primer of me going through and cutting in as well as painting the lips in the boards and then Nate would come by with the roller.

We are going to do several coats of KILZ before moving on to paint to try and cover up the knots and stain on the wood. Luckily, the previous owner didn't seal the wood so we don't have to strip and sand it, but it will still be a long process none the less.

I'm expecting us to finish priming about 30 seconds before our appointment on friday.



So excited. I am twitching waiting to know if all organs are safely tucked inside the baby. I'd also like to know what genitalia he/she may be rockin' but for now, knowing everything is where it should be is good enough for me.

I have an awesome side by side of how much brighter the primed walls make the nursery....on my other computer (dammit) so look for those later this week.

If anyone needs me I'll be scolding my dancing baby for keeping me up all night and singing along to musicals while painting an endless sea of bead board.

What projects are you guys working on?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Farewell Maple Leaves

Ohhhh the maple leaf wallpaper.


*sigh* Sorry. Outrage.

The wallpaper in the nursery has taunted me since the day we first looked at the house and was only made worse when we tried to remove said wallpaper only to find out that it was crumbling the plaster trying to remove it.


We had to come up with some kind of a plan. We either needed to rip EVERYTHING down, or do a cover up job.

Both had pros and cons.

If we ripped down the plaster, we would be welcomed with the chicken wire like metal that would be found running through it and would have a near impossible job getting it out without  damaging the bead board (which we wanted to save since the playroom has it running in it as well) But, if we were able to get it down, it would give us the chance to start from scratch, and let us check on insulation, wiring, etc.

If we covered it up, we wouldn't be able to address any of those problems, but we would save ourselves a ton of $$$ and labor and it could be done in a weekend.

We really don't like patch jobs. We've done a couple for "phase 1" decorating (like the downstairs bath where we plan to rip it completely out and we peel and stuck tiles over the existing flooring) but at the end of the day our friend who is a contractor said that if we didn't have any obvious signs behind the plaster to leave it where it was. He said it actually does pretty well with sound absorption and that if I am pregnant and already allergic to drywall dust as it is, why open a can of worms?

That pretty much sealed the deal for us.

We figure that we could drywall over what needs to be covered, live with it for a few years, then when we're done with the beadboard and don't have an impending child and I can run away to my parent's house for the weekend or something- then Nate can kill it.

So for now, killing the leaves as correctly as we could was the name of the game.

To do this (since, as mentioned- I am allergic) my dear friend Robby made a trip up from Chicago to help Nate tackle it.

This was way more budget friendly than we thought, as the project came in at about $100 (we bought an extra $50 of materials that we were able to return...math...not my best.) This included the truck rental to get it home!

The one thing that Robby did that I would never have thought of is to build what he called a "dead man" out of 2x4s to give the guys an extra hand while working on the ceiling. Genius, I tell ya!

Now, this is where me sucking as a blogger comes in. There are thousands of drywall how-tos on the internet. I was not present while they were installing the drywall ergo, I do not feel comfortable telling you guys how to do it.

There, I suck. Hate me forever. Go read about it on This Old House or something.

I will say one thing though- anyone that has been in this house, will not be missing that wallpaper.

Once they taped, mudded, and sanded it down twice, (and a thorough vacuum/mop extravaganza) I went up to see how it looked, and holy shit is that room suddenly five times bigger and brighter.

I'm really thankful for friends that are willing to come help on things like this. It really sucks when I want to help and I know how to do it (I did, after all, have to find out that I was allergic to it while building a Habitat House in college!) but that I can't. 

These guys were some awesome muscle.

And, Nate and I are super excited to finally be able to start working on this room once and for all.

And yes, I'm aware Seamus is adorable.

Make sure to come by tomorrow too! We'll be announcing the winner of the $200 Gift Card Giveaway!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ruining My Sister's House: The Utility Room

Continuing on with ruining my sister's new house, we have, by far, the biggest money pit in the house. This room really should just be demo'd and done all over again. mess. My sister does not have a basement in her home so she has what may be the world's ugliest utility room.

First things first, everything needs to go. The furnace needs to be replaced (notice that lovely cardboard chimney sticking out of it? Hellloooo fire hazard) it also seems to have two different kinds of paneling, wallpaper, and just general awfulness.

I would seriously just rip this room down to the studs and start over.

While framing, I'd add another door to the pool so wet folks are coming in here instead of tracking through her kitchen, then I'd put the furnace and water heater inside a closet (much like at an apartment complex) and reroute the washer and dryer to a more central location. Thanks, Hannah, for letting me have an imaginary infinite budget.

Now, Hannah is not a crafter like me, but she is a music teacher and spends a lot of time working on bulletin boards, hand outs, all that kind of stuff. She intends on using one of her bedrooms upstairs as an office, but I think for resale value making a real laundry and craft space is essential. At least somewhere for her to store all that colored paper, right?

I would totally do something like this.


It has enough storage to help with the fact that she doesn't have a basement, but it's still open enough that she can do laundry, have a folding station, and have a giant table for her bigger projects (and a table that she doesn't have to get up the stairs to an office!) but it isn't so arts and craftsy that it feels dedicated to that.

On the far wall by where the new door would be I would add some lockers. For now, Hannah is renting out her other rooms, and that means that there are 3 or 4 girls worth of purses, coats, scarves and boots hanging around. This house really is built for a big family, so I think in the long run these will be super beneficial.

For flooring I would have a tiled section by the door, but I would use wood laminate like there is in the kitchen so if that door is open it would be more seamless.

I'm also extremely jealous because a laundry room is what I wish I had in my house *sigh* some day I'll get out of the basement...

What are your dream laundry rooms like?

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Pumpkin Tower & Giveaway!

Fall in Michigan is officially upon us. It is time to take down the summer colors and embrace the reds, oranges, yellows, and whites of fall. Plus, you know...crazy things happen in Michigan in the fall. Like, for example, all of your plants dying.

So when I was approached by asking if I wanted to be a part of a fall craft blogging extravaganza you bet your buttons I jumped on the opportunity. is a great and easy way to save money on anything from your groceries to your latest DIY project, so with them on my side I knew I'd be able to spiff up my front porch just in time for some mulled apple cider.

Now, before I could get to the fun, crafting part of the project, I needed to remove the dead summer plants from my pot.

First I grabbed onto my plants by their root bases to pull them up out of the pot (with my land waste bag already at the go next to me). I left my soil saving bottles in the pot still and simply added a new paper bag. I scored these mums (because, hello fall!) at the local grocery store for $7 a piece (using my awesome coupons) I removed them from their pots and roughed up the roots a little bit before putting them in my pot with additional potting soil. A quick drink of water and a wreath on the door later, and my porch already looked infinitely more fall like.

Did I stop there? Of course not. I felt like it was missing height. And with a $100 gift card from I took my craft to the next level. I had seen the idea of a pumpkin tower from Better Homes and Gardens and wanted to do something similar.

I ordered seven 5.5inch crafting pumpkins from Amazon to make my sign. You could totally make this with real pumpkins, but I wanted to be able to store the sign and use it again next year.

To make this sign, I needed the following:

  • 7 crafting pumpkins
  • 1 Sharpie Paint pen
  • 2 3/8'' dowel rods
  • 1 artificial vine (from your local craft store)
  • Power drill
  • Weighted container (you could do a bucket full of sand with some straw in it, or you could use a planter like I did) 
Nate and I tried several different ways to attach the pumpkins to the dowel rods, but decided the best course of action was to actually drill through the pumpkins and skewer them. Since my pumpkins were 5.5 inches each we needed two dowel rods, so one pumpkin was drilled through with the dowels meeting in the middle. The top pumpkin was only drilled half way through to act like a cap. 

I had Nate drill the holes in the pumpkins kind of randomly to make the design look more organic and less stacky-stacky. 

Once the holes were drilled, we stuck them on the dowels and into the planter. To fill up the spaces in between the pumpkins, we wrapped an artificial vine around the rods. 

Then, using my trusty sharpie paint pen, I freehanded the word "Welcome" onto the pumpkins.

I especially liked how the 'E' was nested in the mums.

I think we still need some other things around the base, like maybe our Halloween pumpkins, but I love the new fall entrance to the house.

Need some more inspiration? Well, there are eight other bloggers rocking out their fall crafts today for you to explore. 

Please take a minute to blog hop and look around at everyone's awesome ideas.

That enough inspiration for ya? Well good, because now it's your turn! What, you didn't think that would hook all of us up and not you, did ya?

Here's the deal. 

Who: is here to hook you up with all your couponing needs!
What: A $200 gift card!
Where: Sorry, this giveaway is only available to US residents
When: Entries close at 12AM on September 23 

Entries are done through the rafflecopter and the winner will be notified via email. 

Happy crafting everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 13, 2013

Breaking My Sister's House Part 2: The Kitchen

As we talked about yesterday, my sister bought her first house last month. This is how I'd ruin her kitchen.

Hannah's house came with a very nice kitchen. However, it doesn't really work with anything that she already owns.

Hannah LOVES cobalt blues, whites, and yellows. Think...french country kitchen. So even though her kitchen is's not exactly her.

Let's take a peek.

First thing I'd do would be to paint the walls a soft blue- she shouldn't paint the walls yellow because of her honey oak cabinets. It'd just be too much! Though, if I was allowed, and let's say for the sake of it that I am, I'd either lacquer the cabinets white or I would stain them a darker wood. Then, I would take the darkest gradient of blue on the paint chip she used and paint the bead board under the breakfast bar.

I'd add some white bar x-back bar stools to lighten it up as well as a thrifted chandelier painted white and swagged over the bar. If it prove to offset the lighting in there too much I would add under cabinet lights.

I'd also rip out the concrete back splash (again, from the guy being a concrete worker both the counter tops are stained concrete and the back splash is stamped) and add a white subway tile to brighten it up. I'd be tempted to even run it vertically like Michelle did in her bathroom to mimic the bead board around the kitchen.

If I was feeling really feisty I would replace the counters with a mix butcher block and a white gray quartz. I'd also add a touch of modern by adding a yellow chevron kitchen mat under her sink.

I'd also remove that red valance from the window and add burn out curtains like I have in my kitchen. They give privacy but sun still comes through. I think these ones from World Market are beautiful and very feminine.

As she has french sliders on the eat in side of her kitchen, I'd also buy a pair of these for those.

Those french sliders go out to the backyard that we looked at yesterday and the door next to the breakfast bar is her utility room (the house doesn't have a basement) We'll get into the utility room later because it's where the most chaos seems to have landed.

So in this area, imagine we already have the x-back bar stools, blue walls, and those pretty burnout curtains on the sliders.

To match the bar chairs, I would add a dining table here like this one...


I'd add a big white and blue porcelain vase from her collection to the center of the table with some hydrangeas to pull color across. I'd also add a coordinating chandelier to the one that we'd have put over the bar.

Above the bead board I'd add a simple overlapping plate collection like Kelly did in her dining room.

when we turn around, we can see where the kitchen lands in the house.

Under the arch is her little family room and down the hall is a half bath and her living room. I would probably stop the blue paint right where the red stops and paint the arch wall a bright white. Painting that a bright white would allow for more colors in the adjoining rooms and it wouldn't make the pantry stick out so much.

This is the hall that leads down to her living room. I'd replace that boob lamp with a simple schoolhouse fixture and as I said, until it opens up into the other rooms I would have this hallway be white. Well...I personally would add bead board all the way down, but for the sake of my DIY deficient sister, we'll just call it paint!

And that, my friends, is how I'd ruin my sister's kitchen.

What would you do to it?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Sister Bought a House (and other shenanigans)



So, for the remarkable amount of like...nothing exciting going on around here (no, I haven't made the other curtain yet...) I feel like we've actually been super busy.

First things first, we've been running around trying to get crap ready for Robby. You guys remember Robby don't you?

He's my BFFL and will be coming up to help Nate redrywall the baby's room next weekend so we've been scrambing to get the empty and shit. Yeah, I know, it's Wookie's room, but Wook won't be here until February so crap keeps landing in there. I feel like we've made progress though... at least there's a floor in there now (although there's about 15 boxes of crap in the hallway that Nate needs to lug over to the thrift store for me)

We are hoping in the 72 hours we have Robby next weekend to get the drywall done and bookshelves built (I also have about 15 backups planned because sometimes he hulks out and finishes a months' worth of projects in three days...) Plus, when Nate is doing homework or something Robby is always willing to do thousands of little honey-dos for me that as a homeowner are just irritating.

"Hey Rob...will you caulk this for me?"

"Hey Rob...can you paint this ceiling?"

'Hey Rob...will you feed me?"

You know...the basics.

So that's what has been mostly going on around here.

I've also been texting my sister, Hannah, like crazy who just closed on her first house. She is not the oriented. She likes things to look nice, but she to put it...she doesn't want to do it?

So, jokingly, I told her I should do a "how I'd ruin my sister's house" series on the blog to help her get some ideas. So, look forward to that. She snagged this HUGE house on short sale (seriously, she got a four bedroom house and she doesn't even have a cat yet...) so there are parts that are lovely, and parts that need a LOT of work. I haven't seen the house in person, but I've seen tons of pictures and as my baby shower will be there in December, shit's gotta get done.

I thought I'd show you guys the one thing that doesn't really need a lot of "work", and that's her entertainment area. Oh, it's needs some sweat, but nothing that will cost her too much time or money.

First, here is the front of her house. It reminds me kind of UgDuck's, don't you think?

The things I'd do to the front of the house:

  • Trim back that tree to a more...tree like shape
  • Weed and pull back the shrubbery
  • Paint the house (she never would since it's "fine" but I think this house would look way cuter with shutters or even blue and white (though I'm a fan of blue houses...))
  • Add more flower boxes under windows to lift the eye up

  • Powerwash all the things...
  • Put in a bigger porch light for more weight
  • Did I mention weeding and pulling back all the things?
  • Add a bench, little side table and a pot of flowers/seasonal decor (something like this)
If you look at this from the other way you can see more of why the weeding and trimming needs to happen... I feel claustrophobic just looking at that entry. Plus wouldn't a lily patch or something look so cute right under that tree?

Now, if we go to the back, we see the real show stopper and why her steal on this house is amazing.

Yeah, right? My foreclosure didn't doesn't have a yard like that... I mean, she's got a paver patio, a pool AND a hot tub. So rude. So much maintenance. My little sister justice is apparently that there's a plague of frogs breeding in her pool.

I think all this space needs is a good power washing, some potted or boxed plants next summer, a couple loungers, and a big circular table and umbrella. Voila. Done.

But, if we go behind the pool we see MORE WEEDING.

Check that hoard of weeds out. Terrifying. I think my mom has already been on it a little bit, but seriously, it might need a machete.

I think my favorite thing about Hannah's back porch is the awesome back steps. The guy who used to own the house was a concrete worker, so there's all these awesome details (like the stamped concrete patio and walkways...)

For some reason those just make me happy.

So that's the outside of my sister's new house. What do you guy's think? Pool party at Hannah's house?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Real Life. (I finally messed with the dining room curtains)

Okay, so are you guys ready for some real life?

Once upon a time, Emma and Nate redid their dining room. It was their first big project on the house and it was planned down to the last inch. It was beautiful. It photographed well. It looked finished.

But sadly, when we posted a table reveal, there were still many projects to be done. And by then we were so burned out from working on that room that we moved on to the bathroom.

So little things went unfinished. ...And the one that was driving me crazy?

uhhh....the curtains were too short. We have super tall ceilings so I've had to modify basically every curtain panel I've bought in some way. They're either way too short or like...IKEA long.

But this is where the real life comes in...since getting my pregnant, my dining room does NOT look like this.

It actually looks more like this.

Forgive me Blogger Gods for I have sinned. I swear- that first trimester kicks your ass way more than anyone tells you it does.

So, after having to stare at this mess for months, feeling way too tired to do anything about it, I decided enough is enough and I want my life back.

This is especially convenient because we will be having tons of guests in the upcoming months of people wanting to spend time with us before the baby gets here, holidays, parties, etc. So, I figured slowly, but surely, I would start tackling this beast.

I decided to start with the curtains. And no, I didn't clean first. Because fuck that. I wanted to do something fun to get myself back in the spirit of things. Of course, there was math involved...and math is hard and I don't like it. But, I was able to get one curtain panel completely done while Nate was at school last night.

I used the same fabric for the bottom of the curtain as I used on our lamp makeovers - yeah, remember these? I still had the fabric.

The thing was though, that this fabric is cream based, where the curtain is white. I needed something to bridge the two, almost like a quilt. So, I used a coordinating stripe fabric that I had bought with the original fabric (I was going to make pillows) to make a band between the two. I thought about doing a horizontal stripe, but that shit is so obvious if you mess up and while I am feeling more motivated, my brain still doesn't work the best, so I went with a short band of vertical stripes.

To make it easier on myself, I sewed my stripe band and my big piece of pattern together first.

Since all windows are different, I won't give you all my boring measurement stuff, but I will say that I used the length of my existing hem for my band, but I flipped it up. I needed just a few more inches to make the bottom band substantial enough, but I wanted to keep the weight of the original hem to help it lay straight.

It looked kind of janky, but at least I totally understood what I was doing... (I literally had a "how the hell do I explain my weird thought process on the blog"...moment)

Then, to make sure that none of the seams frayed, I folded about half an inch under between the original hem and the curtain. I had accounted for seam allowances when I cut, so my hem between my two patterned fabrics lined up with the original hem seam. It made it easier to feel that it was straight.

Then, once that was sewn together, I made my side hems and hung it up to get a length on my hem.

I made my hem REALLY big. Like...7 inches (3.5 inches folded over on itself) I had two reasons for this. 1.) Because I messed up my math and 7 inches was what needed to be hemmed and I didn't feel like cutting in case I was having a pregnant moment and it was wrong. and 2.) The weight of a large hem keeps everything hanging nicely.

Again, from the back this shit looked janky, but I felt like I was doing this correctly.

And then, I hung her up!

I still need to do like...obvious things like ironing, and you know, taking pictures when the sun is out. But I figured for an evening's work, I did pretty well.

This is what they look like closed up, which I did for pictures only- we don't ever close these curtains so we don't have enough for them to cover the window. It just seemed like a waste of money when that top window is 6 feet in the air and the bottom windows all have blinds anyway.

So yeah, that's what I did last night. Just one, but I still want credit for it. I cut the fabric for the other panel so hopefully tonight when Nate is at school I can get it done and then clean and take like real pictures of it when it looks like a dining room again.

So what do you guys do to get inspiration going again? Do you do the hard stuff before the fun stuff or do you just do what you want? I know it would drive my Aunt CRAZY that my dining room even looked like this, but especially that I didn't clean up before a project.

Well my dearest Auntie- I didn't clean up after my project either (and of course a couple of my other Aunts, and my Mom are like "that's my girl...")