Thursday, January 31

Solo Cabinet

I got the new C&B catalog... erm a month ago? Already? Anyway.... after drooling over a few favorite pieces for a while, I decided it was way past time to draw up some fun new plans. First up, meet the Solo Cabinet. That was a naming opportunity I couldn't pass up - you're welcome, husband. Anyway, this guy is inspired by Crate & Barrel's Oslo Bar Cabinet which retails for $800.

Shopping List:
1  sheet 3/4" plywood
5  -  1x2  @ 8' long 
1  -  1x4  @ 8' long
1  -  1x6  @ 6' long (3' is plenty if your store carries shorter boards)
1  -  2x2  @ 6' long (or 3' if available, you can even use scraps. you just need four 6" pieces.)
4 hinges for full overlay doors
4 drawer/door pulls
2 sets 12" drawer slides (we like the euro style)
**optional - 1x12 board for putting shelves in the cabinet***
**optional - four 6" legs such as these if you want a more mid-century modern look**

1 1/4” screws (or Kreg Jig & 1 1/4" self tapping screws)
2" screws (or Kreg Jig & 2 1/2" self tapping screws)
1 1/4" screws
1 1/4"Finishing nails
Wood glue
Wood filler
Sandpaper (a power sander is great if you have one)
**optional - router & jigsaw (to get the more rounded mid-century modern look, you could use a router to round the edges of the cabinet doors and drawers and a jigsaw to round the corners of the top and bottom boards)**

3/4" Plywood Cut List:

Tuesday, January 29

Not the Baby

I don't think we can call him Baby B anymore. For a couple reasons.
  1. He is all toddler. Sassy, stubborn, running-wild toddler.
  2. He's not the baby anymore. That's right. As of July, we'll be be a family of FOUR!!!
We had fun making the big announcement a couple weeks ago, which of course included some fun pictures for facebook. This was my take:

And this was N's:

We are super excited to grow our little family! And although Baby B doesn't really know what is going on, he was a very willing photo participant! I tried to get him to "ooooh" and "aaaaah" but he wasn't going for it. So I got out a nice shiny M&M. Sure enough he gave me all faces I wanted... but he never took his eyes of the M&M. So I also have a lot of these:

So what do you call a guy who's not the baby anymore? I guess just B. Unless I stumble across something more creative. :) And if anyone's wondering, my sister screen printed the shirt just for us! I photoshopped the image and then she worked her magic. Thanks Bef!

So that's our big news! But be sure to stay tuned, because I have more fun stuff coming. I'm hacking my way through the new Crate & Barrel Catalog, so get ready for new projects like this:

and this:

and this:

Happy Tuesday! :)

Wednesday, January 23

Momma's Day Off

Yesterday this momma got a day off! Husband used a vacation day to take Baby B on his first big date with daddy... up to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago! I found out too late that I sent along a camera without a memory card (oops), but N was still able to take some phone pics of their fun day.

Riding the train.

"Let's go on that underwater boat!"

"I know what I want to be when I grow up!"

Driving a tractor with the daddy.

"OOOOO, pedals!"

"OOOOO, buttons!"

"Pigs are my favorite!"

"Daddy, these aren't real pigs..."

"I still like them."

Water table fun.

Water + balls = Baby B paradise

I can't believe how tall and thin he's getting!

Watched some baby chicks hatch and kept signing "more birds!"

Ready to get back on the train.

They both had a great time and Baby B was sad to come home. I had a great day doing mostly nothing with my sister (she was in town for a long weekend & her boyfriend went up to the museum with my boys). There was much food and napping involved. :)

Thursday, January 17

When Your Lampshade is Too Big

Okay, so I just made my lamps all spiffy with some ORB spray paint, and then picked up a couple nice (& cheap) lamp shades at Ikea to finish them off, only to get home and find out..... they don't fit. Wop wop. Don't you hate it when that happens? I just found out, who knew lamps & shades weren't universal?!? Luckily they were not fitting in the too-big-for-the-lamp way and not in the too-small-for-the-lamp way so I found a way to make them work that way easy and totally free! Here's how:

Grab a piece of sturdy cardboard from the recycling bin (don't have any? Ask your friends!) and trace around the top of your lamp.

Next grab the lamp shade and line up the inside ring so it is centered around the circle you just drew. Now trace around the outside of the ring.

Use an exacto knife to cut out the center circle, then the outside circle to make a ring. Slide the ring onto your lamp base (you may need to trim it just a bit more to get a good fit).

Set your lampshade on the ring and center it around the lamp. Use a couple pieces of scotch tape to secure it to the cardboard and keep it from sliding around.

Pretty easy, right? :)

I'm loving how these are turning out! They are a much better size than the old Ikea lamps.

And I feel like they fit our style so much better.

And they look pretty sharp with our new nightstand...

...and antique dresser!

I do think I'll do something with fabric or paint to dress the shades up. I don't think I like how they disappear against the walls. But, you know me, I don't like to rush into things. I like to think about it for a loooong time... and then decide to rush into it. ;)

But in the mean time I'll just make a crib tent with Baby B! Which is a little sad, because I just realized these are his last crib pictures! He's graduated to a toddler bed! Big boy. ;)

He wanted his favorite animal book and just laid in there looking at the pictures. Because he's funny and he can't help it.

Any ideas for spiffing up my lamp shades???

Wednesday, January 16

Free Furniture is Good Furniture

Am I right? Okay, maybe not always. But a lot of the time a free piece of furniture just needs a little work to be awesome! And actually, every piece in today's post I got for free at some point in the last few years.  But even if you're not finding free pieces on the curb, it's amazing what you can do with the things you already have if you just look at them a little differently. I just learned that lesson AGAIN after months of wishing for a bigger bookcase in Baby B's room and a bigger nightstand in the master bedroom and not being able to afford them. But we'll get to that in a minute.

My most recent freebie was a sweet mid century modern dresser. A friend got it for free but wasn't up for making the repairs, so she generously passed it on to me! A few nails and a little glue later, all the drawers are working again. :) Once it was fixed I slipped it right into the office between the bookcases. I'd been wanting some closed storage to break up all the shelving, and this seemed like the perfect fit. Granted it still needs some work in the paint department, but for free I can totally work with that!

And the bookcase that used to be there? It was the perfect thing for Baby B's room! With $0 spent we slid it across the hall and solved the toy storage problem. I do plan to repaint it. I'm not sure what color yet.... Any suggestions?

We also moved all the books to a yard sale basket at the foot of the crib. Baby B loves being able to rifle through there and pick one out. :)

But wait, there's more! Remember the small bookcase thing that used to be there? And remember how I wanted a new nightstand? Boom baby! Lots of room for books and even a big basket (that currently holds nothing but unmatched socks.... so there are probably like 20 complete sets in there by now).

So if you're on a tight furniture budget, be sure to keep your eyes open. Freebies can pop up anywhere! Our desk was found on a curb, Baby B's old dresser is was passed down through the family, this dresser was a freebie from a friend who got it from a friend and passed it on to me, the bookcase was from another friend who didn't want to pack it when she moved, and the nightstand was a freebie I found in the campus classifieds a couple months before we were married (so it's been with us 5 years!).

You can also stretch your budget by working with what you have. I (obviously) forget this all the time. I had the two things I needed right here in the house, and I had no idea! When I moved in the new dresser and displaced the bookcase, it opened door after door. If I'd kept my eyes open I probably could have figured that out weeks ago! But I kind of have an excuse... I'm usually keeping my eyes on this boy:

Wearing his baby carrier... but refusing to ride in it. Stinker.

Oh, buddy, I'm not sure you want to stay in there....

What's the best thing you ever found for free?

Monday, January 14

Christmas Traditions

One of the things we're really looking forward to with Baby B is starting a few Christmas traditions. We especially want some things that are fun, but that keep the focus where we want it to be - emphasizing giving, family, and of course the story of Christ. We have quite a few ideas, and we'd love to hear some input from you! Here are a few things we have in mind:

Santa can be really fun, but there are two things I worry about a little (and I may worry to much, ha!). #1 that it takes the focus off of Christ. Who want to think about that when a big jolly guy is about to bring us presents?!? #2 that it focuses on getting. "What will Santa bring for me?" But I found a really cool idea on Pinterest to still keep some Santa fun, but avoid those two things. Here's the deal: On Christmas Eve each child picks out a certain number of toys (5-10ish) to put in a special bag. Santa will pick up the bags and take them to boys and girls who don't have toys (a.k.a. you donate them to a shelter or needy family). This way your kids are giving first and there's still some Santa mystery (you could still put out cookies and milk with the bags too!). Not to mention it helps cut down clutter and keep the number of toys manageable. :) You can read more about it here.

Via Pinterest. Please click through pin so she gets credit for the idea! Thanks!

As you may have seen, I tried making us special Christmas pajamas this year and pretty much fell flat on my face. Sigh. But I at least have a decent pair for N & me to use again, so I could get by just making new pants for the kiddos. Or maybe I'll buy them jammies. We'll see. I just like the idea of getting special new pj's to wear on Christmas. And especially this idea of a big box on Christmas Eve full of new jammies, a Christmas movie, popcorn, and hot chocolate.

Pillow Cases
This one is kind of similar to the jammies I guess. Also from Pinterest, I think it would be really fun to make a special Christmas pillow case for each kid that they can use all through the Christmas season. And, you know, maybe for me too. I like a good, Christmassy time as much as the next kid.

Via Pinterest. Please click through pin so she gets credit for the idea! Thanks!

Countdown Books
Yes. All my ideas are from Pinterest. :) This one is just a fun Christmas countdown - you wrap a Christmas book for each day in December (until Christmas Eve) and open one to read each night before bed. I need to start collecting Christmas books!

Via Pinterest. Please click through pin so she gets credit for the idea! Thanks!

We've found that we really love making ornaments to mark ages and special times for Baby B. It's something we plan to continue every year. Here are a few favorites:

My dad and sister made this last year at Baby B's first Christmas. It's just a clear glass ball with his hand printed in acrylic paint. Easy, pretty, and ohmygosh look how tiny that hand is.

A snowman hand print ornament made by my MIL this year.

Baby B's "Christmas pickle" from last year - also known as his favorite toy turned ornament.

We really want to start an Advent calendar. There are some super cute design ideas on.... Pinterest! Surprise! But I haven't found what I want to fill the calendar with yet. This is one thing I really want to have based in Scripture. I definitely want each package to have Scripture verses to read together, and hopefully some kind of activity to go along with that. But I don't know the details yet. Ideas? Anyone?

 Via Pinterest. Please click through pin so she gets credit for the idea! Thanks!

Christmas Story
Spend time on Christmas Eve reading the Christmas story together. That's all. And maybe playing with the Nativity set too. :)

We kind of got off easy this year because Baby B didn't know what was going on. :) But next year I think we need to have more of a plan. Hopefully we'll have at least a few of these ideas ready to go. What do you think? Which idea do you like the best/least? Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition with your kids? Fill us in!