Category Archives: creativity

Words of Wisdom {Nursery Wall Decor}

Confession time: I’m a little scared to raise a little girl.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m excited about having a little girl, all the pink and glitter, ballet classes and general ‘sugar and spice’ that having a girl entails.  It just seems like it’s so hard to be a girl and it’s getting harder.  I keep hearing things like how third graders at a school nearby have lunch group therapy because the cattiness with the girls has gotten so out of control (although that might be the product of helicopter parenting), and I see more and more cattiness and just downright rudeness between little girls.  And women as well.  I mean, let’s just look at the whole mommy wars thing.  Breastfeeding vs. formula, attachment vs. cry-it-out…  We do it to each other. It breaks my heart.  And I don’t know how to raise a kind, smart, confident, creative little girl that will grow to be a strong woman someday.

But dammit, I’m gonna try.

So when I was thinking of what to do in the nursery, I got an idea in my head of having a wall of wisdom, if you will.  I looked for quotes from strong women that would reflect qualities I want my little girl to have – things like kindness, confidence, creativity, doing your best, reading… I thought it would be hard to find enough to fill a wall, but the hard part ended up being narrowing them down.

The project was a lot of fun to do. I rummaged around my house, craft stores and Goodwill to find frames and my hubby and father-in-law spray painted them white.  Once I had an arrangement I liked on the wall, I began designing what went where and how it would look.  I ended up with a few other things that weren’t word frames: a corbal/shelf to which I added a little bud vase with a pink rose, a mirror to add some sparkle to that side of the room (and because it was $2 at Goodwill), and her initial.

To design the word ‘art’, I used a free trial of Adobe InDesign.  I love, love, love the Adobe Creative Suite.  I miss it so much.  I think that’s what kept me at my old job for so long.  Sigh.  But I digress.  I channeled my inner design nerd and spent way too much time playing with fonts, sizes, kerning, spacing and all those fun things I used to do back when I worked 9-5.  Finally, I had each frame the way I wanted it (mostly).  Most I was able to print at home, but there were two that were too big for my printer, so I had them done at Office Max for a whopping $3 or so. I then trimmed everything down to size as needed and popped them into the frames.

It might be hard to see the quotes in the photo, so if you are interested, this is what is up there (for now, at least):

1. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. – Marie Curie

2. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn

3. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

4. Let us always greet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. – Mother Teresa

5. You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

6. No me embarco sin galleta. – my grandma (this means “I won’t get on a boat without a cracker/cookie” in Spanish, meaning to always be prepared and being able to take care of yourself.  She said this all the time, and we take this advice to heart, literally and figuratively.  My husband who travels a lot will now not get on a plane without crackers based on her advice.  My grandma passed away this summer, so it’s nice to have a little piece of her in my little girl’s room.)

7. …something magical happens when you read a book. – JK Rowling

8. A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel

Admittedly, some of these have been all over pinterest and aren’t exactly novel, but they all speak to me.  What I couldn’t find were quotes on travel/seeing the world, but got some travel-inspired prints for another wall in the room to give her that sense that there’s a world beyond our little town.

Here’s another look from further away. I love how it’s part of the cozy little corner where I’ll be rocking her for hours  and hours.

I’ll admit that having these quotes on a wall in a room for a baby who can’t read may not make her a strong woman later on in life, but at the very least, it will inspire me to try to live up to these ideals and to work hard to raise a daughter that embodies these sentiments.

Glider Makeover

A few years ago when we were shopping for nursery furniture for my son, we found a glider in what we thought was a great neutral color that will work in any future baby’s room, whether it’s a boy or girl.  The taupe-y cushions looked great in our son’s woodland-themed nursery and the microfiber was soft and easy to keep clean:

But flash forward to a few weeks ago, when we put it in our light, bright aqua girl’s nursery and it looked like baby poop:

So what’s a hormone-raging mama-to-be supposed to do? Have a panic attack about how I can’t possibly have that glider in this room, or else some awful catastrophe will happen. Totally normal, right?

Well, I wasn’t that melodramatic, but close.  Still, I was really intimidated at the thought of recovering the cushions.  I mean, I’m used to coffee cuffs, notebook covers and bags.  Cushions are big.  But when a 60% off coupon for Joann’s arrived on my smartphone, the project didn’t seem so bad.  At least I wouldn’t be out too much money if the project was a bust.  So armed with 4.25 yards of fluffy pink fabric (which is enough for the glider, a blanket and more), I set to work.

I began by laying out the cushions on freezer paper, my pattern-making material of choice.  I had to tape two pieces together for the back and seat cushions to get it wide enough.

Then, I traced around each cushion.  After that, I used a compass (yes, the ones that gave you headaches back in ninth-grade geometry) to give myself room for the cushion depth. There’s probably a good way to measure this, but my pregnant brain wouldn’t process it correctly anyway, so I guesstimated how much to add. I ended up with an extra two inches except for the front of the seat cushion that’s a little thicker.  I went with three inches for that.

After cutting out the paper templates, I pinned them to the fabric and cut out the pieces. Next, I pinned the fabric pieces right sides together and stitched them together, leaving one side open to stuff the cushions.  I added two 20-inch lengths of grosgrain ribbon where the straps that snap to the chair on the back cushion so I could tie it on instead of trying to make little covers for the straps.

And this is where I began to cheat and get lazy.  I decided to just safety-pin the back cushion closed, since it rests on the seat cushion and I wasn’t going to see the closing anyway. I didn’t want to sew more ties or deal with a zipper/velcro closure, and I hate it when cushions are sewn shut because then it’s so much harder to pull the covers off to wash them.  I pinned the seat cushion closed as well, which allowed me to use the ties from the original cushion.

Here is a view of how the cushions tie.  The back cushion ties with the ribbon and the seat cushion ties with the original ties.

For the arm rests, I made the pattern pieces and cut the fabric the same way as the cushions, but I sewed just the sides, so I ended up with tubes.  My glider arm cushions snap onto the chair at the top and bottom.  At first, I was going to sew them completely in and then slit some holes where the snaps are until I realized that the snaps are completely hidden.  So I slipped the tube/covers on the cushions, pinned one side to the cushion to keep them from sliding off and snapped them onto the chair.  I didn’t even need to pin the bottom side.  It’s snugly snapped in and well hidden.

The foot rest was next.  I cut out fabric the size of the top plus a half-inch seam allowance, and added 4-inch bands around the side.  When those were all sewn together, I hemmed the bottom to make it nice and straight and an even depth.

So there it is.  A glider makeover for a little girl’s room, all pink and fluffy and soft.  And it was so much easier than I thought it would be.  I think it will make those 4 a.m. feedings much more pleasant, don’t you?

Guest Posting at The Craft Monkey Today!

Hi there!  A little while back, my pal Heidi over at Craft Monkey decided to de-stash her craft supplies and hosted a De-Stash Bash, where a bunch of us got a mystery box of goodies and made something with it.

I ended up making this patriotic ruffle pin with interchangeable, magnetic centers.  Want to see how I did it?  Check it out here!


FunTime Friday

When I had a job (meaning one that kept my bank account nice and happy – we all know being a SAHM is more work than pretty much any ‘job’ out there), Fridays were awesome.  I worked at a church, which meant that most staff members worked on Sunday, so Fridays were just a skeleton crew around the office.  So we had fun.  I started my day off with a latte (the only one I allowed myself each week), I got to see my awesome volunteers, and we usually ordered something good for lunch and all sat together. We all had work to do, but we just made it fun.  And I miss it.

So I started doing FunTime Fridays with my son.  It happened by accident, but now I’m embracing it as a ‘thing’ we do. Each Friday, I try to line up something above and beyond our normal routine.  It’s not like I sit around all day with him watch TV.  We color, read, count, and sing.  We play with play doh, play inside, play outside, play with trucks, play with blocks.  We watch a little bit of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and do the Hot Dog Dance a million times in a row. I try to keep him active, but I just don’t have the mind power to plan super days every day.

But I wanted to do something really cool with him once a week.  Something different from the norm.  Something that would celebrate the moments of our lives (fake coffee anyone?).

So far, our FunTime Fridays have included play dates, lunch with Dada, making and eating Jell-O jigglers (hence the photo above), some messy crafting, and a trip or two to the kids’ museum.  His pre-school has started doing ‘learn at home’ activities (aka: homework for two-year-olds ~ yikes!), so those will also be part of our Fridays. I have a few other ideas that I hope to do soon like:

How do you get creative with your kids?  I’d love to hear some ideas!

It’s about dang time (a.k.a. a house is not a home)

Four years.  That’s how long we’ve lived in our house, a house that we were so excited about.  Our ‘forever-or-until-our-yet-unconcieved-children-are-out-of-the-house’ house.  We moved in just days before Christmas in 2007 having just moved to NC, excited to be in a place where we felt we could settle down, set down some roots and start a family.  Having already had a house, we had most of the furniture so you’d think it would be set up in no time, right?  And yes.  Our rooms are furnished and boxes are unpacked.  We have a few personal items out on the shelves in our family room.

But we never got around to making it a home.  Only two rooms in our home have been painted.  That’s it.  Two.  My son’s nursery in 2009, almost two years after we moved in, and my craft room/guest room just last summer.

Everything else is low-quality blah-blah-builder-beige (although the paint can calls it ‘antique white’).  It chips and scratches just by looking at it. And it’s so drab.  But it’s not just the paint.  We haven’t put anything up on the walls except for a couple of prints in our entry door (‘antique’ maps of the world).

The need for ‘home’ in our house has been nagging at us for a while and now it’s like a bomb went off.  It’s not a just nagging need, it’s an itch, one that has grown into a really annoying, stinging, poison-ivy-meets-jellyfish-meets-fire-ants kind of feel, right in the middle of your back where you can’t reach it and it drives you nuts until you take care of it and then are all like “AAAHHHHhhhhhhh.”

Alright, I’m sorry about that.  Where were we?  Oh yes.  Making a house a home (or is it finding a good back-scratcher?).

It may seem superficial, but making your house pretty, personalizing it with memories and things that make you smile really adds to other memories.  Coming home and seeing photos of your baby when he was a baby or that trip where you fell in love all over again feels like coming home to hugs.

But where to start?  For us, it was here:

While taking down Christmas decorations, my hubby apparently got into a back-alley fight with a Command hook that resulted in a chunk of paint being ripped off the wall in our family room.  Unfortunately, the way our house is, if we paint that chunk, we’d have to paint the wall, and if we paint the wall, we’d have to paint the whole downstairs because of the open layout, so that left us with the option of covering it.  So off to Kohls we went and replaced the blank wall with this:

And their home accents department was having a buy-one-get-one for a dollar sale, so we got another mirror for our entry (and moved the map prints to the dining room). Then we decided to move a chest that we had cramping our garage entrance to the upstairs, hang some pretty trivets on the wall, pulling out a really pretty red depression glass plate that was handed down and using it for a pop of color…and so on and so forth.

I even put back the coffee table into the family room.  It had been moved out of the way soon after my son was born to a) make more play space available and b) keep him away from the fireplace.  Now I realize that having the coffee table limits how many toys can be out (he still has plenty of room to play) and gives me my fireplace back.  And a place to put my feet while I blog or cruise FB/Twitter/Pinterest.

We kept holding off adding personality until we painted.  But I can’t figure out what color(s) I want, since each room flows into the other so everything is visible and I don’t know how to choose a color that will work..and…and…and.  So many reasons to sit inside my builder’s beige world and not add personality.  But no more.  Even if I’m not ready to paint yet (and oh, God, how I need to do that!) there is no excuse for keeping my house so lifeless.  I don’t have to spend a fortune, I just have to have it reflect who we are.

I’m so excited to finally get some personality into our house!  I hope you don’t mind coming along for the ride with me.  How about you?  How do you make your house a home?  How did you choose a color?

Plum Perfect

A few days ago, a friend of mine (and fellow blogger) asked me if I could make her a coffee cuff and a camera strap.  Awesome!  But then I read the next line:

“I’m not a big fan of prints…”

eeks!  Isn’t half the fun of getting handmade goods all the prints and color combos?  But, I’m a simple girl and can appreciate solid colors and I do like to use solids (in combination with a print).  So I sent her a list of what I have on hand and asked her if any of those appeal to her.

Soon enough, she had chosen a color scheme.  A plum camera strap and a teal coffee cuff with a black reverse.

I have to say, I love it. Of course, my photography leaves a lot to be desired (hence the photography class starting next month). Just simple, rich color, understated, but still adding a little more umph to your usual day.  It’s plum perfect!  ha ha! Sometimes simple is better, don’t you think?

p.s. – I have to confess I did send her her an extra choice of a print of black letters scattered on a white background, since she is a blogger, and she liked it!  I’m kind of proud that I found something she liked!

Looking Ahead at 2012

Hello everyone! How is the new year going?  I had the last set of guests leave yesterday morning and was able to enjoy a relatively quiet day before getting back into the swing of things.  The extra down time has gotten me thinking about goals for 2012.  There is so much I want to do, but dreaming big isn’t going to get me where I want to be, so in order to help myself accomplish my goals, I’m not only writing them out here for accountability, but assigning specific tasks to get me there. So here I go:

1. Sew at least two pieces each week.  I always feel so overwhelmed by what I want to sew that I end up not knowing where to start.  Two coffee cuffs or a zippered pouch or two are doable, even with my limited time (SAHM to a very active two-year-old that hates to sleep doesn’t give me much time to sew).

2. Be more creative.  Last year, I had so much creativity running through me.  It’s like part of my personality was re-awakened.  I love it and I don’t want to lose that. I registered for a photography class in February, which will certainly keep me creative, but I also want to paint one painting this coming year.  Not sure what it will be or where it will go (probably my craft room), but it’s something I really want to do just to exercise a different type of creativity.

3.  Live and enjoy life more.  I tend to get stuck in ruts and not really get out and explore life.  My hubby and I sat down and created a 2012 Bucket List.  Each month, we have something we want to do – take our son to the zoo, plant a salsa garden, take a day trip, etc.  Nothing is crazy out of the ordinary.  It’s stuff that most people do, but we never seem to get around to it.

4. Make a quilt for my son.  Isn’t it sad that other than a couple of burp cloths, I haven’t made anything for him?  It’s kinda hard to do anything for boys.  And I have a ton of handmade blankets for him (I ended up with 23 receiving blankets, knitted blankets and quilts as gifts when he was born) and some of them are handmade.  But I want him to have something from me.  I recently got this quilt pattern, which I love.  I’m now trying to find fabric that won’t make me have to sell my first born (which would defeat the purpose of making him a quilt) that I like.  Why is it so hard to find fabric for boys?

Do you have goals for 2012?  I’d love to hear them!