Thursday, August 29, 2013

Portland Baby Shower

My second baby shower was hosted by my mom and sister and held at my sister's house in Portland (where I grew up).  I wish I had gotten more pictures of my own, but I know there were a lot of cameras snapping'll just have to live with mine!  My sister had a "decorating vision" that we teased her about the entire time we were setting up, but this vision turned out to be pretty dang cute!  We had some great food, a delicious cake, a gift table, wonderful centerpieces (cut from my sister's own flowerbeds...I felt so special!), and a little side table at which guests could give me motherly advice for the future.  For our activity, we made a little alphabet book for the baby.  Everyone got a piece of paper with a letter on it, and drew and colored an object on the paper that started with the letter they were given.  Cute, different, and something that's already sitting on the bookcase in the baby's room!

Here are some pictures of the occasion (again...sorry I don't have more of my own!):

My best friend from high school, Jess, who is GETTING MARRIED!


Probably my favorite picture of the day.  My sister and cousin (neither have been pregnant before) wanted to feel my belly.  Which was fine with me!  Hilary asked if I could ever hear the baby move when I was  Ha!
Hostess(es) with the mostest!

Sadly, a lot of my school friends couldn't make it to the shower because everyone was on a stinkin' vacation (can you tell how jealous I am?!).  However, I don't want to leave them out because they also contributed tons of gifts after the shower and are super excited for our little addition.  I have such great friends :)

Our little girl is so blessed!

Michigan Baby Shower

Our little family has been very blessed to have so many caring family members and friends in our lives.  We have had two baby showers already (Michigan and Portland) and one coming up in a week here in Muncie put on by some wonderful women from church.  I registered at Target early on in the summer and spent HOURS poring over what brands/items were best for baby.  I read so many item descriptions, customer reviews, etc. that I'm pretty sure my eyes were crossed after awhile.  I distinctly remember when I put together my bridal shower registry not caring a thing about reviews...if I thought it was cute, we put it on the registry!  Now with a baby involved, I really wanted to make sure we got our money's worth and that what we received was, most importantly, SAFE!  I think the hours of reading really served us well; not only were we blessed with everything we wanted/needed, but we're resting assured that the items are of good quality.

The first shower was in Michigan in mid-July.  My sweet mother-in-law, Michele, hosted.  I think she had a really cute idea...we had the shower at an adorable tea room in Frankenmuth!  It doesn't get much more quaint than that!  Those who were invited were Kyle's extended family, but I think we all enjoyed the elegance that Sue and Esther gave us :)  The perfect location, really, for a girly baby shower:

Like I said...CUTE!  I'd never been to a tea house before.  They had several types of little sandwiches, fruits, and desserts (the scones were to die for!) and everyone got either a soup or salad with their tea (or, in my case, water).  The place settings were absolutely perfect and after we finished at the tea house, Michele and Grandma Brenda took me to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland!  I bought a First Christmas ornament for the baby as well as a couple of other cute Christmas items.  Although I feel like Kyle and I are in a golden age (excitedly anticipating the arrival of our baby while savoring the last few weeks of "just us" time), I really can't wait for the holidays with our little girl.  I'm so excited!

It was such a great trip, really.  I invited Kyle to come along, but of course he pooh-poohed our "chick showers."  Gotta love that kid!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bookcase Project

We're a family of book and movie lovers, so we have often found the need to have several bookcases about the house.  Back in January, we got rid of our old school entertainment center for a refinished buffet and china cabinet from my grandparents' house (see the project here).  This meant that we had three relatively new bookcases just sitting upstairs in our (at the time, unfinished) attic collecting dust.  For reasons that are long and boring but mostly have to do with measurements and new trim around the upstairs windows, all of these bookcases will not work upstairs in the spaces we originally planned.  We couldn't find a place for one of them AT ALL. The bookcases aren't solid furniture, but we did buy them new and had plenty of things to put on them (namely books), so we didn't want to part with them.  We had to figure out something... I decided to take the smallest and use it downstairs in an empty space in the dining room.  We had just moved all the upstairs stuff either onto the basement shelves or back upstairs (or got rid of it), so the dining room suddenly looked huge and bare.  Keeping one bookcase downstairs meant one less piece of furniture to paint, too, so we were both happy about that!  I decided to do a Pinterest project on the bookcase to make it look more meant-to-fit-in downstairs and less cheap-o.  We did have some rougher bookcases that were the same size upstairs originally that we did decide to toss, but for some reason, Kyle really wanted to save the backing.  I'm glad he did, because they came in handy!

Here's the process:

Original bookcase with some decorations/family heirlooms that I felt were my "inspiration"

I went to JoAnn Fabrics and picked out some material that complemented what was already going on in the dining room.  I intend this to be a year-round decoration, so I wanted to be sure the colors matched.  We have a black and gold color palette going on in there with a little bit of green, so this fleur-de-lis pattern is what I decided to go with.  I had Kyle carefully measure the space at the back of each shelf and cut the backing from the shelves we tossed so that they'd just fit in over the back of the bookcase.  We didn't want to take off the original because the small nails holding the backing on are flimsy and this way we can also change out the fabric if we'd like to do so in the future.  I labeled the parts "top", "middle", and "bottom" based on how snug they fit (believe it or not, the shelves were at slightly different heights not visible to the unsuspecting eye).  

All you do after that is cut around the backing, tape, slide them onto the shelf in front of the undamaged backing you saw before and voila!  You have a masterpiece!

Bookcase with fabric backing, undecorated.
If you are doing a similar project but don't have backing like we did, you could use cardboard, particle board, whatever.  You could take off the original backing and cover the entire thing and nail it back on, you could put on a thicker backing with fabric over it, etc.  Instead of using fabric, you could even wallpaper, although we didn't like this idea because (a) fabric was easier, (b) we couldn't find wallpaper in the style we wanted, and (c), the backing is kind of flimsy and the wallpaper probably would have warped it.  Plus, with JoAnn coupons, it made the project even cheaper!

Bookcase decorated!
 We have a lot of family heirlooms around the house.  Probably more than the typical twenty-four-year-old couple does...I had always wished that I had a better way to display them, and finally, the bookcase presented itself!  The two cameras were in my grandmother's family and are pretty old.  The books in the baskets and on the shelves are my grandma's and her siblings school books from the 1920s and 1930s.  The crock is also from the homestead.  The baskets are large egg baskets that I got from my mom (I don't know where she got them) and of course, the pictures, certificate, and brick are from when Kyle and I got married.  The chicken isn't an heirloom...I picked him up at a Goodwill store because I thought he was cute!

The entire look!
The frame on the wall was a wedding gift, the telephone is from my friend Krista's home that she lived in when she was first married (it really worked at her house and I used it to call my mom once when I was babysitting her kids!  Not hooked up in our house, though...just on the wall).  The box beside the bookcase is for holding library books and my teaching bag and is also from my grandma's homeplace.  Finally, the chair is from my dad's side of the family and is super-old as well.

This project was so successful that we decided to do it with the bookcases we took upstairs (instead of painting them).  The bookcases will hold both of our books, but since I promised to leave the decorating up to Kyle, he got to pick the fabric:

Everyone pitched in to help!

Overall, EASY way to spruce up a bookcase!  I have some extra fabric that I used for a classroom project here that I'll probably use to do my school bookcases...someday.

Every day I see my dining room bookcase, I have to smile!  I love that I get to see some more family heirlooms out and looking great, and the bookcase really doesn't take up too much space, so it doesn't feel too cramped.  I HIGHLY recommend using this method to change up a look if you can!

Project Update: Bathroom Floor

Okay, so life has been just the teensiest bit hectic over the last several weeks, and the blog totally got neglected (sorry)!  However, I did remember to take lots of pictures of things that we DID do, and the good news?  I just uploaded all of them, meaning I have something to jog my shrinking memory.  

So, without further ado, I give you a blog post to begin with.

We have a bathroom upstairs that had a hideous floor.  It was a peel and stick floor, which is exactly how we intended to fix the problem.  Unfortunately, the previous owners did this horrible black all the way around the perimeter and off-white in the middle.  There were flecks of gray and white all throughout the floor...not too pretty.  We decided to cover it with a nice, neutral, grayish-brown color peel and stick instead.

At least the previous owners laid the floor correctly, for all that it was ugly!  It made it easy to figure out how many tiles we needed as well as have a guide by which to lay them.
This project was mostly a one person job, so Kyle did all the measuring and the peeling and the sticking while I was waste management (I threw away the backing and the scraps), tool facilitator (I handed Kyle pencils, pocket knives, levels, etc.), and moral support (I told him what looked like crap and needed to be done over again).  We finished this project around the Fourth of July, just as my baby bump was starting to get big and cumbersome, so it was a nice break to be doing something low-key.

Since redoing the floors were always in the plan, we weren't very careful while painting or mudding.

The finished product makes the room look a lot bigger, in my opinion.
The hardest part was maneuvering around the toilet, shower, and odd corners.  Math isn't exactly my or Kyle's strongest suit, so we might have done more trial and error on the tiles than most people.  You might say that the easiest thing to do would have been to take the toilet out.  I'll be honest, we just didn't want to mess with any plumbing (or, in other words, we just didn't feel like it)!  Aside from laying the trim, this was the last piece of the puzzle for the bathroom.  We've since done trim throughout the upstairs, so that's done now, too.  

We also replaced the toilet seat, caulked, and bought a few accessories for the bathroom, but mostly we're going to leave it pretty plain.  Less is more, I think.  Below is a picture of the finished bathroom stall.  I used metal paint to paint the trim of the shower from gold to silver.  We also used this paint four years ago on all our doorknobs throughout the house.  Time-consuming, but so worth it!

So there you have it!  One of these days, I will actually take and post pictures of the finished upstairs.  It's completely done, besides maybe some touch-up paint!  The furniture is still a work-in-progress...some pieces are done, some aren't.  We moved things back upstairs and we love that we have so much space up here.  Still need to decorate after the furniture is done, but we've taken some time away from that to concentrate on a more important part of the house...

...the nursery!  A few more things to do in there, and I'll post pictures of that someday soon, too.  I promise! 

All in all, the upstairs remodel is done and I. Am. Glad.  It is so worth the final product, though!  We didn't use as much of our savings as we originally thought (thank goodness for savings bonds!) and learned a lot along the way, but it makes us appreciate the room that much more.  Our cats love it, too!  Their food, water, and litter box is upstairs now, so no more basement for them!  We constantly hear them running the length of the upstairs and wrestling on the floor.  It's pretty cute :)