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DIY Recycled Alphabet Book Wall Art

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We recently moved our daughter to a new room, and of course one of the first things that came to mind was ‘yay, we get to decorate again!!!’

What has been so fun about decorating this time around is that I can actually respond to her personality and likes, in addition to just doing what I want to do.

The fact is, our daughter, nearly three now (!) LOVES books. Ok, she’s a book-worm.  So, I wanted to do some wall decor that reflected that.  Normally, I would not “ruin” a perfectly good book for the sake of art, but I don’t believe I have done that here, mostly because it is actually the complete book up there on the wall, just in a different format.

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So without further ado, here is how I did it.

First, I had to find two alphabet books that were identical (since of course the book is printed with letters on the front and back of each page).  I really loved the illustrations in this book, called Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet.  Honestly, these letters are so great it’s almost a shame NOT to hang them on the wall to enjoy all the time!  I was really lucky to find both of my copies at a book sale run by my local library (for just 10 cents a piece!).  They were booth canceled copies from the library’s collection, so they had already had a long life of enriching children.

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This is a board book, so the pages are made from a thick, card stock material, which is perfect for this application.

Using an exacto knife, I very carefully cut each page from the binding.  With a sharp knife this is not hard to do.  Once I did that I had a page that had two nice rounded corners and two sharp 90 degree corners.  To make the corners look uniform I just cut the sharp corners so that they matched the rounded ones then ran some fine grit sand paper across it give it a nice, finished, and smooth look.

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When it came to hanging the letters on the wall I knew I didn’t want to do any unnecessary damage to the pages by puncturing them with tacks or or by using tape, so I found some cute binder clips in a rainbow of colors and then hung those by the smallest nails I could find.

The hardest part of the entire project was actually putting them on the wall so that they were spaced evenly.  Luckily, with the binder clips you have a little wiggle room in this area.  It didn’t help that my wall is actually an inch wider at the top than it is at the bottom.  I found it best to work from the center of the design to the outside and from top to bottom.  In the close up photos you can see my registration lines.  I still have to paint over these.

Over all I am so pleased with how this project turned out and my daughter is too!

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Crafting family fun; DIY cardboard box maze

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If you are a parent, but even if you’re not, you’ve probably heard the age-old adage that a child will enjoy playing with the box that a toy comes in more than the toy itself.

Today I’d like to share some photos of a little family craft project (well, not so little actually) that we started one rainy, dreary morning this week.  It’s a giant maze made from recycled cardboard boxes that encompasses our entire dining room (I knew there was a reason we’ve been dragging our feet finding a dining room table).

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All you need is several cardboard boxes (ours were complements of Trader Joe’s, thanks to my husband, our insider connection) and some packing tape or even duct tape.  Just fit the boxes together in whatever configuration you like and tape them together where needed to keep the structure stable.

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Virginia is just a couple of weeks from her first birthday now (!!!!) and isn’t yet walking.  She LOVES crawling around this maze.  We’ve had it up for about four days now and it’s been good for HOURS of entertainment!  She just loves to chase momma around the maze and be chased herself!  Papa got in on the action too of course, but at over six feet tall, he had some maneuverability issues.  By the way, as an adult, army crawling through a cardboard maze is quite the workout!  Sometimes we mix it up and place rattles, balls, and other small toys around the maze for her to find, but mostly she’s content to crawl in and out, squealing in delight all the way.

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This is a great project for those days when you just can’t get out and I’m sure would work great with older kids as well.

If this post has inspired you to create your own box maze I’d love to hear about it!  Write about it in the comments below or on the zween facebook page.  Happy crafting!

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High impact, low cost nursery

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Welcome to Virginia’s fun and whimsical nursery! It is said that a baby’s true “work” is play. Through play, babies are learning about complex ideas that we as grown-ups take for granted.

I wanted to create a comfortable and fun space for Virginia to do this very important work that she needs to do, but to be perfectly honest, I also wanted a space that would be comfortable and enjoyable for myself to spend time in too. Lucky me, this is the second nursery that I got to design for Virginia! (Check out her first nursery here)

Why two nurseries you may ask?  For the first six months of Virginia’s life we were living in an apartment, but in January of this year we moved into our very own home! The first time around I had the luxury of time when working on getting the space just the way I wanted it.  Something that was in much shorter supply 6 months later!  Luckily, we already had the furniture and some of the decor elements made, it was just a matter of creating and installing the new decals, a process that was much easier the second time around.

So without further ado, let’s take a tour shall we?  To give you a sense of scale let me just say that this room is about 11 feet by 8.5 feet.  We’ll start with what you see first when you first walk in the door.

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The statement piece is the floor to ceiling stylized deciduous tree on the opposite (west) wall, along with the adorable and over-sized woodland creatures.  Like in her previous room, this tree was made by cutting out shapes of contact paper and sticking them to the wall (for further information on this process, check out this post).  What I really like about these new decals is the boldness and simplicity of the white against the dark brownish gray wall.  It’s a wall color that I would never choose myself normally because I like really bright rooms.  but by adding so many decals, it really lightened and livens the room up.  To the left (out of view) is a bookshelf and to the right (also out of view) is her dresser.

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As you turn to your left (toward to south wall), you will see the 3 dimensional foam core butterflies that my husband made for Virginia’s first nursery.  These are adhered to the wall with simple, double-sided tape.  I like that it looks like they are flying through the window in a swarm and out the door of her room (just out of frame to the left).

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Although we didn’t have a very large budget to create this nursery, my husband and I don’t like to sacrifice style.  We love searching for the perfect pieces on Craigslist and at thrift stores.  Some items were kept from my childhood and are ready to have another life with our daughter.  Though this does keep our budget in check, it also goes along with the values of our family, which we hope to instill in Virginia from the start.  That goes not only for the furnishings and decor, but toys as well.  With very few exceptions, nearly all of Virginia’s toys are either handmade, vintage, hand-me-downs, or second-hand.

Now we’ll turn 180 degrees to face the north wall and the crib. To the right I created a little reading corner under a hanging lamp. This is also a favorite spot for evening snuggles and nursing. The folding disc chair (which I’ve had since my college years) replaced the rocking chair from the previous nursery for a couple of reasons. First, there just wasn’t as much room this time around, and second, we use the nursery differently than when Virginia was a newborn (she is 10.5 months now). Now that she is more mobile we spend the majority of our time in this room playing on the floor (as opposed to nursing).  As far as nursing goes, we mostly do that in our bed where we can lie down and have some quiet mommy and Virginia time, away from distractions.  I LOVE the rocking chair, so we moved that to the living room where it can get plenty of use.

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This corner is still a work in progress. I plan on making some very shallow shelving out of recycled shipping pallets to display/store some of Virginia’s books along the short wall between the window and the closet door. The lamp shade, along with the one pictured on the bookshelf, were crocheted out of white cotton yarn.  Even Virginia’s crib sheets were handmade from vintage full bed sheets.

And making our way full circle, Virginia’s dresser is nuzzled perfectly between the closet door (left) and entrance.  Her impressive book collection was mostly acquired through the local library’s book sales, or as gifts from family and friends.  The owl fabric collage is one that I made a couple ago.

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And when looking for the perfect container for Virginia’s collection of wooden blocks, this vintage Du Pont blasting cap crate which housed my record collection for years, seemed to be the perfect fit, proving that toy boxes can take many forms.

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So how low-cost was this nursery?  Not including books and toys I calculate the cost just under $225!  Here’s how it breaks down.

Decor
Two rolls of Contact paper (to make decals)- $11
Foam core $5
White Lamp base, Goodwill $4
Cotton yarn for making two lamp shades $8

Furnishings
Vintage book shelf, Craigslist $25
White dresser, Craigslist $30
Crib (without mattress), Craigslist $100
Organic crib mattress, Target $80 (gift from grandparents) our cost $0
Disc chair, already owned for several years $0
5×7 Handwoven wool rug originally from World market, Craigslist $40
Child’s table and chair from my childhood $0 (table was handmade by my grandfather)

 

**This post has been added to Make it Pretty Monday on the Dedicated House, so go check out some other great links there!

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DIY nursery

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Creating a whimsical space for our soon to arrive little girl has been such a fun time! Although we didn’t set out with any particular “theme” in mind, we did have a few ideas about what we wanted for the space. Budget was of course a consideration, but we were confident in our abilities to make something really special without spending a ton of dough. The result is a mix of handmade objects, DIY decor projects, second-hand finds and hand-me-downs, and a handful of brand new items too.

Looking to create your own special place for a young one?  Here are the steps we took to transform a plain, white room in our rented apartment into a relaxing whimsical retreat for us and baby.

First we had to decide where to put the baby’s room. We live in a two bedroom apartment and have always used the smaller bedroom for our own because it has the bigger closet. In the past the larger bedroom was used as a [mostly nonfunctional] studio space for myself, so it only made sense to re-purpose this room for the baby. With a little creativity I was able to find homes for all of my most frequently used supplies and tools throughout the apartment, which has actually proven to be more functional these past few months.

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The next step was to start looking for furniture. Let me just start by saying that my name is Emily and I am a Craigslist junkie. But it payed off! We found all of the furniture (except for the cedar chest that was mine since I was a teenager) on Craigslist.

The crib was the first thing that I found. Like most cribs these days, it converts into a toddler bed, thus giving it a longer life.  Of course, safety was a huge concern with buying a crib second-hand, so we made sure that it wasn’t a drop sided crib or one that it had been recalled for any other reasons.  We also did not buy the mattress used because of the possible link between SIDS and using old mattresses.

The next item I found was the dresser.  I knew that we wouldn’t have the space for a changing table (in an ideal world I would have a changing table, but it would be in the bathroom), so it was important to choose a dresser that could also double as a changing table.  The key was finding one that was the perfect height.  The changing pad on top was found after the fact at a yard sale, and it was a happy accident that it happened to fit perfectly on the dresser top.   I made a removable cover for it that matches the drawer liners that I mentioned how to make in this post.

After the dresser I found the cozy shag rug, which is hand-woven and made of all natural fibers.  Then came the rocking chair, which is probably my favorite piece of furniture in the room.  From what I’ve heard and read, a good, comfortable nursing chair is essential when breast-feeding.  I wanted something that was both comfortable and could be used for years to come in another space in our home, (such as our living room, which has a mid-century modern vibe) once I am no longer nursing.  The same can be said of the book shelf.  Right now it’s a great space for a small collection of books and toys, but in the future it could be used elsewhere as the needs of our child change.

In the midst of all of this Craigslist searching, we were deciding what to do with the blank canvas of the all white walls and trim.  As I mentioned before, this is a rental apartment, so we didn’t want to do anything permanent that would have to be “undone” once we move.  That meant painting was out, even though the walls really do need a fresh paint job.  This didn’t really bother me because I actually really like the brightness that white walls give to the room, and putting plenty of decorations on the walls meant hiding a lot of the imperfections left by previous tenants (scuff marks, patched nail holes, etc).

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We started with a very fun DIY tree decal project.  You can read exactly how we created the look in this previous post.  Later I decided to extend the idea to the opposite corner of the room where we hung a very fun vintage growth chart.  The placement of the growth chart behind the closet door was very strategic by the way.  Now we don’t have to worry about it being covered by a piece of furniture if we decided to rearrange things in the future.

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The idea to use a cluster of Chinese lanterns is not new or original.  I’ve seen this idea in nurseries over and over on the web.  But it’s such an inexpensive and easy way to add color and dimension to a space!  We decided not to use the mobile that I had made previously because we thought the scale was just too small for the baby.  But the lanterns are big and sway gently when the cycling fan is on or the windows are open, thus we thought they’d be a bit more visually stimulating and appropriate for a baby.

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The butterflies were all Jon’s idea.  He drew each one individually on a piece of foam core than cute them out with an Exacto Knife.  The wings are scored at the body then folded up to create a 3-D effect.  They were then attached to the wall using Velcro.  Originally he had wanted them to be painted or colored in some way, but I pressed him to keep them white.  With the tree and the lanterns, we already had a lot of things going on and I didn’t want it to become too visually busy.  We are both happy with the fact that he left them white.  Now they add a subtle texture to the wall and the shadows that the wings make is very interesting.  Though babies can see only bright and contrasting colors at first, it is important that this be a pleasing space for us adults as well!  Besides, they will be something that she can “discover” as she gets older.  The sun and rainbow picture shown above is one of those plastic canvas and yarn kits and was actually made by my mom and I when I was around 4 years old.  Surprisingly it was still in excellent condition except for the mat, so I just covered the mat with some pretty pink fabric and it was good to go.

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The last decor project that we tackled was the white canvas night-light.  It was an idea that I found online that I thought would be really fun.  For this project we used a hand-made painting stretcher from my college days, which is much chunkier than the modular ones that you can buy at the art supply store.  We stretched the frame with some thin blue fabric that was printed with flowers and butterflies then I stitched down a strand of very tiny twinkle lights.  These lights are much much tinier than regular Christmas lights and they also have a dial that lets you choose what you want them to do.  I like having it on a setting where only part of them come on slowly then fade away while some of the other lights gradually get brighter.  The printed fabric was then covered by some slightly heavier white fabric.  The result is that you can only see the pattern very subtly during the day but then very well at night when it’s on.  It gives the effect of fireflies and it’s very fun to watch.

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In addition to decorating I also wanted to make some toys and some other every day items for baby Virginia.  In addition to the changing table pad cover mentioned above, I made four fitted crib sheets from various bigger vintage bed sheets, lots of reusable diaper wipes (tutorial here), a portable changing table pad, a pillow cover for the throw pillow on the rocker, the pink and brown granny square blanket, an owl softie and a couple of rag dolls, and most recently, a crochet cat designed by Nekoyama (free pattern can be found here).

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So there you have it, our DIY nursery!  I hope you have enjoyed the tour and if you are in the midst of designing your own nursery space, perhaps you have walked away with a little inspiration!  If so, I’d love to hear what your own plans are, or if you’ve made your own version of one of these projects, I’d love to see some pictures!

by the way… we started creating this nursery on January 1st, and have just now finished completely with only one week to spare before my due date.  Now all we need is the baby!  If you are planning to tackle some projects like we have, or if you want to rely on finding the perfect items on Craigslist or at yard sales, I do recommend starting as early as possible; these things take time and you don’t want to feel rushed!  What really kept me going was the thought that once baby Virginia is here we will not have the time or energy that we do now.

Enjoy this post?  Please leave me a comment!  Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting!

This post has been added to The Inspiration Board: link party 58 on Homework, Wicked Awesome Wednesday #70 on Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Wow Me Wednesday #59 on Ginger Snap Crafts, Primp Your Stuff Wednesday Linky Party #53 on Primp, Your Whims Wednesday #67 on My Girlish Whims, and Make It Pretty Mondays- week 5 on the Dedicated House.

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A Whimsical DIY Tree Decal for the Nursery

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When you live in a rental, wall decals are the way to go.  They aren’t permanent but they provide a big impact.  I’ve seen a lot of lovely wall decals online, but their price tags ($60-$150 or more) were not in our budget.  Besides, buying ready-made decals isn’t really our style.  I had a feeling that there was a way to DIY it, and sure enough there was.

I found this tutorial to be indispensable to the process and basically followed the directions exactly.

I’ll summarize the process here, although for more detailed instruction you may want to check out the above mentioned link.

We made the wall decals themselves out of Contact paper.  Contact paper is self adhesive vinyl that is primarily used for shelf liners.  I was a bit skeptical at first that Contact paper would work, because I remembered it being very sticky and I thought it might damage the walls, but after trying out a small sample I realized that it was indeed the perfect material for making wall decals.  The finish on our walls is a semi-gloss, and it is very easy to remove the Contact paper and even reposition it if needed.

When planning our design we started by looking at different wall decals online for inspiration.  I really liked how this image incorporated both a wall decal and an actual tree branch that suspends from the ceiling.  So the first thing that we did was go to our local park to find the perfect branch.  The branch that we found was very light weight; perfect for suspending from a small hook on the ceiling.

Next we went out looking for the perfect colors of Contact paper at Target.  Unfortunately, the selection of contact paper was very limited.  They had a plain white paper, which would have been perfect had our walls been any other color besides white, but for our purposes we had something more like black or brown in mind.  We were able to find a pretty green and white patterned paper, which I thought would work well for making leaves, so we bought a roll of that.

After Target we stopped at Home Depot (I know, I know, I hate Home Depot and vowed never to return after that fiasco with the table legs, but we really wanted to get this project going and not have to order something online).  Though it was a little difficult to locate in the huge expanses of this super sized store, we did locate the Contact paper eventually and found just what we were looking for; a dark brown with a subtle, kitschy, wood veneer pattern.  Perfect!  The two rolls of Contact paper were more than enough to make our tree and cost less than $15 together.

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Now that we had the basic elements it was time to get started!  I sketched out a design in a sketch book then Jon taped up several large sheets of newsprint on the wall to encompass the size tree we wanted to make.  We wanted our tree to be floor to ceiling and incorporate the corner of the room.  After all the paper was in place using painters tape Jon used my sketch to rough out the idea on the wall itself.  Once we had a tree that we were generally happy with, Jon held up the branch to see how we liked how they looked together and  make sure that the base of the branch would intersect with the tree trunk.  Finally, we just cut it out to use as a pattern for the contact paper.  Below are a few pictures of this process.

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Once we had the tree completely cut out we needed to get it traced onto the Contact paper.  We had to make the tree in sections of course so we developed an easy way to divide the tree into different segments then label each section in a way that we’d be able to reconstruct it.  Also, I wanted the branches to follow the “grain” of the printed design on the pattern so we took this into consideration when tracing the pieces.  If your design is not completely symmetrical like ours, you’ll also need to take care that if you trace your pattern on the back of the contact paper, you must also reverse your design, otherwise it will end up being backwards.

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Next came the fun part; sticking cut pieces of Contact paper to the wall.  To do this we started with the bottom most section of the trunk since it was most important that it line up perfectly with the baseboard of the wall.  The rest of the tree then “grew” from that in more or less the way that we had designed it.  There was a bit shifting, but all in all it came out pretty much spot on.  After the “naked” tree was completely on the wall the branch was ready to be installed.  To do this Jon installed a very small hook into the ceiling and used monofilament to hang the branch.  I’m really happy with how well the color of the vinyl matches the color of the branch.

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This was the end of day one.  Luckily, I also had the next day off work so I was able to cut out and stick on the “leaves.”  At first our idea was to make the leaves more “leaf shaped” and kind of floating around the branches, but at the last minute I decided that I liked the more Mid-Century-Modern and “design-y” look of using circles to represent the leaves, kind of like this image.

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After I put the circles on the wall I decided that the actual branch looked too bare, so I sandwiched some of the small branches between more circles.

We wanted to add more elements to our tree with more colors of Contact paper, but since we already knew what was available to us at Target and Home Depot, and since we wouldn’t be needing nearly an entire roll just to make a few birds, butterflies, or flowers, I decided to put a listing up on Freecycle asking if anyone had any leftover Contact paper that they didn’t need.  To my delight I got a reply and was able to make an owl out of some light brown suede contact paper.  A word of caution about the suede material though; it gives a really great texture and is just as easily removed from the wall, but unlike the vinyl kind, this stuff is very flexible and does not hold its shape easily.  I still like the way the owl turned out, though it has more of a “hand drawn” look to it.

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So what do you think of our DIY tree wall decal?  I’d love to hear your comments!  Did you find this post helpful in your own DIY project?  Does this inspire you to make your own wall decals?  If so, please let me know.

Happy crafting!

This post has been linked to;
Show it off party# 21 on Get Outta my Head {Please}
Make Mondays Marvelous on C.R.A.F.T
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays #117 on Coastal Charm
Tutorials & Tips Link party {63} on Home Stories A2Z
Take-A-Look Tuesday on Sugar Bee Crafts
Too Cute Tuesday: Linky Par-Tay #97 on Funky Polkadot Giraffe

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Vintage Dresser Rehab

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I’m no stranger to Craigslist.  If you have been a regular zween reader you may remember the red, white and chrome retro kitchen table and the awesome vintage buttons I found within the last year.

Now that we’re expecting our first baby, my interest in Craigslist has been renewed with a new purpose in mind; to find useful items for this new addition to our family.

One such item that I’ve been searching for is a dresser.  But it couldn’t be just any old dresser.  No no no, I wanted this dresser to do double duty; booth as a chest of drawers to store clothing and cloth diapers, and as a changing table.  That meant that the perfect dresser had to be of an appropriate height for the latter use, thus rendering taller bureaus out of the running.

I also wanted something older because not only do I like and appreciate vintage furniture, but because buying second-hand can be cost-effective without sacrificing quality.

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Which brings me to this little gem I found just two days ago on Craigslist.  I have no idea what style or era you would consider this dresser to fall into (though if you do, I would be interested in knowing!), but I had a hunch that this would be the perfect fit for our needs.  Although the listing only gave a very minimal description and one terrible cell phone photo, we decided to take a chance and check it out.  What did we have to lose?  The item was located less than 2 miles from our house!

When deciding when to go for something and when to pass I very quickly calculate mentally its pros and cons which include things like quality, functionality, aesthetics, and price.  This dresser was listed on Craigslist the day before we went to see for $40.  After taking a good look at it and debating on whether or not it would fit into our Toyota Carolla (it did), Jon offered $30 and it was accepted immediately.

A lot of our furniture has a mid-century modern feel that we really like and although I don’t think that this piece really fits into that era we still really liked it because of its simple, tapered legs and the well-worn and smooth feel to the wood.  Jon really liked the unusual stains of the dresser top.  I really liked the height of the legs which make the very heavy and sturdy piece not feel too heavy visually.

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So on the outside we are both more or less happy with this find, the inside of the drawers was the only thing we wanted to change to make this dresser more functional for our needs.  The drawers are dovetailed and well made, but the bottom of one drawer was severely warped and partially braking away from the frame.  Also, all of the drawers were partially covered with an ugly contact-like paper liner.

Some big heavy books (and my typewriter) along with some wood glue and a couple of claps fixed the broken drawer problem, and as for making the interiors of the drawers more inviting, we did a non permanent take on the contact paper idea by making our own fabric-covered cardboard inserts.  It’s basically exactly what I did for my suitcase restoration project a year ago.

The sequence of photos below show Jon figuring out the measurements needed for cutting down the cardboard, cutting the pieces of board, and what the finished cardboard liner looked like before the fabric was added.  The fabric, by the way, was all recycled from some horrible curtains I made years ago.  The color was a perfect complement to the wood tones and I had plenty of it for all three drawers.

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Now all we need is a changing pad for the top so that it can function as a changing table!  Using a dresser as a changing table is a great idea, especially since we plan on cloth diapering.  Now we’ll have plenty of storage for those cloth diapers and have a piece of furniture that can be used for many years to come!

 

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Baby Steps

It’s a new year and it’s starting out to be a good one!  Above is a recent project that I tackled (more on this later) that ties together what has been going on in my life these past few months.

Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump.  It’s winter, it’s cold, it’s dreary.  That never helps.  But it’s more than that.  I’m working more hours in my “day job” and I tire much more quickly than I used to.  Oh yeah, and I’m pregnant with my first child!

As of today I am 16 weeks along and every day is an adventure as to how my life is changing and will be completely different from now on.  I’m going to prenatal visits with a midwife, I listen to podcasts about pregnancy and babies (to learn about things such as birthing options, baby carriers, breast-feeding/pumping, etc.), I watch documentaries about the current situation most American women find themselves in when giving birth (Pregnant in America and The Business of Being Born are two of my favorites so far and are currently able to be streamed via Netflix), I follow along month by month with my used copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and I keep in touch with my good friend, Sarah, who is my pregnancy mentor, since she just gave birth to her first child three months ago (congratulations Sarah!).  What a great source of support and knowledge!  My husband and I are taking things one day at a time and trying not to stress out too much about the whole thing.  So far, it seems to be working.

Now that the first trimester is over and I’m regaining some of my previously lost energy, I feel more motivated to make things again (besides just this baby).  Motivation has been a real hinderance lately.  Though I want to start creating again, I find myself feeling a bit blocked as to what I want to do.  Do I continue making things almost exclusively with recycled materials?  Do I continue seeking out shops to potentially sell the things I make, as well as keeping up with the shops I’m already in?  Do I switch gears completely and just start making things for this baby?  I think the answer is probably to do a combination of all of these things.

Sometimes it’s the hardest to just get started, especially after what feels like a long break.  Taking things slow is probably a good way to start, which is how I came to make this crocheted baby dragon.  But let me back up first, because before I could make anything, I had to get organized.

On January 1st we took down all of our Christmas decorations, clearing the slate for the new year.  After that was done I was ready to do something that had really been getting me down; cleaning out my studio to make room for the baby.  I realize we have plenty of time before the baby will be here but it felt good to find new homes for all my tools and supplies.

The long, low dresser filled with my most essential tools (scissors, glue, hammer, pliers, crochet hooks, knitting needles, fasteners, etc) found a perfect new home as a buffet in our dinning room, conveniently located next to our dinning room table,  which is an excellent place to work.  The vintage suit cases underneath store finished products and also double as displays during craft shows.

On the underutilized side of our living room, my work table found a new home right next to a small closet which previously housed little more than our vacuum (not too necessary with all hardwood floors).  After moving the vacuum to the closet of the baby’s room, I had plenty of space for bigger essentials such as my sewing machines, irons, ironing board, sewing threads, and my most frequently used yarns.

My favorite feature of this storage space are the shelves that hang from the top to the door. We found these for only a dollar at a yard sale last summer! Now I can store and see all my little do dads such as buttons and beads. Love it!

Other, less used supplies, are now stored neatly in the attic and are still easily accessible.

I mention this because having an organized workspace is very important to many people’s creative process, including my own.  Though I feel lucky that I had a whole room to use exclusively for my work for an entire year, it did pose a problem of its own; it was impossible for me to keep it organized!  Now, with everything out in our living space, I am forced to clean up after my projects daily, since I am now unable to just shut the door and forget about it.

Now that I was organized I had to think of some things to make.  I started by processing a bunch of plastic bags that people have been giving me into new plarn.  Though it’s nice to have all those bags made into plarn and ready to be crocheted, I haven’t thought of what I want to make with them next yet.  So the plarn is on hold for now.

Then I started to look at my yarn stash and see what I wanted to make with that.  I couldn’t think of anything so I turned to Ravelry for some inspiration.  That’s where I found this free Baby Snow Dragon Pattern.  Originally, I had set out looking for something cute to make for my new baby.  Since this little guy has safety eyes it’s not exactly baby material since I guess it could be a choking hazard.  But it was the perfect application for my last bit of my green silk bamboo yarn, and since I haven’t done much amigurumi yet, it was a good exercise in the process.

two view dragon

More importantly, it got me making again, happy to be using up yarn in my stash, and excited about having a baby to make cute things for.  And I guess that’s all that really matters right?

PS- Doesn’t this baby dragon look like it needs a hug?

PPS- Here are my baby bump pictures that where take every two weeks starting at 12 weeks and ending with a picture that was taken today.


12 weeks


14 weeks


16 weeks

This post has just been added to Made By You Mondays over on Skip to my Lou!

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