Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Double-Take Tuesday

I almost didn't make it but here are some great fixer-uppers from Centsational Girl who is absolutely brilliant at DIY makeovers. For example...
The shelf on the left is hideous. The re-created shelf on the right is adorable as an outdoor storage unit for all those wonderful summery nights when you can eat outside.

Awful. No further explanation needed. But then...

So charming. If I had a guest bathroom that wasn't currently being invaded by a one-year-old I would definitely want something like this sitting next to the tub. You can find other great transformations in this post. She's great at explaining her methods too so wannabe DIYers can try to replicate some of her great ideas.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Baby's nursery has unfortunately remained fairly incomplete. It's pretty barren compared to many of the beautiful nurseries I've seen in magazines and online. There are odds and ends of the useful variety and toys filling space on the rug and a few framed pictures on the wall but I still haven't gotten much else done. Honestly we don't spend much time in there so I guess it hasn't bothered me a whole lot. But I'm feeling the urge to get it looking a little more finished. So here are the "befores" and hopefully the "afters" will come soon. Obviously these are the "way befores" when all we had done was paint and put together the furniture (and by we I mean the Fiance).

Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Finds

I have been a little scattered about blogging lately. I'll have a good week where I post 4 or 5 days and then I'll have a week like this past one where I posted twice, including today. I like the idea of providing some links to good articles, blog posts, etc. on Friday because it makes me feel better if I don't get to post over the weekend. Another little trick I've starting using is the post scheduling option. That way when I have a lot of ideas in my mind, I can crank out some good posts and schedule them to publish in the future rather than trying to get it done each day, which obviously doesn't happen. So here are some goodies for today...

On Smitten Kitchen I saw these little yummies that look seriously tempting for this weekend. I've loved SK since it was a personal blog with frequent cooking posts and not just a cooking blog, but it's still great and Deb is super talented in the kitchen.

Melissa at the Inspired Room did a post on lovely home offices which makes me want to just carve out a new space right now. We actually do have a nice little desk space, but it's been temporarily taken over by a dresser while my sister spends the summer in our guest room.

Hostess with the Mostess has a great feature called "B is for Baby Shower" and the idea is really sweet. As she mentions in the post, it could also be adapted as "B is for Bridal Shower."

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Double-Take Tuesday

This is a card table. Cheap, easy to store, great for impromptu parties where you need an extra spot for food or drinks. We have a square one and a round one. Really not that special when you get right down to it.
This is a card table disguised as hundreds of hours of playtime and fun.

If you feel like kicking yourself because you will never be creative enough to come up with something like this on your own, then take a look at this post on Ikat Bag, one of the latest features on Today's Creative Blog. I vow that Baby will one day have a princess tent like this to play in. And Baby, if you're reading this and thinking "I so did not have a princess tent like this when I was a kid," then now is the perfect time for a guilt trip about getting a car. Even more so if you are thinking "I so did not have a princess tent like this but my younger sibling did."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Finds

I've added some new names to my list of addictions. Some I've been following for a while and some I discovered fairly recently. That's what happens when it's late at night and I have insomnia.

Centsational Girl is the queen of DIY and her creations are amazing. I'm always impressed by people who can see the potential in something that just looks like crap to most people. Check out this footboard transformation.

I have loved Anna Maria Horner for a while. She designs gorgeous fabric and fun patterns, although she just had a baby (number 5 I think!) so she might not be posting as much. Here's an older post from when I first starting checking her blog on a regular basis.

The Mother Load is just a mecca of information about managing a home. Yes there's a lot of mom-oriented posts but a lot of it could be useful for anyone who takes care of a home. She's big on frugality and budgeting which is helpful for almost everyone these days.

Just a few places to get lost if you have free time this weekend!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Details, Details

For over a year I've been planning my wedding. Truly the action part of the planning began around September but before that was the part that all girls who dream about weddings wait for with eager anticipation... buying bridal magazines and basically fantasizing about just how fantastic your wedding will actually be. Some girls buy bridal magazines before they are actually engaged because the idea of getting married and having a wedding is so exciting that they can't wait. I admit that I was one of those girls. I used to buy the occasional bridal mag in college BUT once I was actually dating the Fiance, I refused to purchase a single magazine until the ring was on my finger.
photo from marthastewartweddings.com

In the months of browsing, hunting, researching and planning I have definitely learned a few things and I'm not even finished yet. Here are a few nuggets for those who might be planning their own nuptials.

1. Do your research. Check out different options either online, in person or even just by listening to other couples. The first option you find isn't necessarily the wrong one but it will help your mind rest easy if you shop around a little too. I knew that the first gown I tried on was "the one" but I still tried on several others. Seeing the others only confirmed my initial instincts and that's the one that I bought in the end.
2. Ask questions, lots of them, when meeting with vendors and planning different aspects of your wedding. At times it may feel tedious, but it's important to clarify small details that can make a big difference. In almost every picture we saw of our reception venue, the chairs were covered in white and it seemed like a nice touch that dressed up the banquet room. I told the club coordinator that we would most likely want covers at our reception but luckily I asked about extra charges. The basic white chair covers were an additional $6 a piece, which adds up quickly when you assume that obviously each guest will need a chair. Needless to say, we decided we could live without the covers.
3. Double check every contract before you sign. Actually it might be safer to triple check. While most quality wedding vendors pay close attention to detail, remember that while you are only planning one wedding, your vendors are most likely juggling several clients at once. And since they are only human, mistakes can happen. If you thoroughly check every detail of your contracts, you can avoid potential mishaps down the road.
4. Don't be afraid to be unconventional. If you let go of the idea that a wedding has to fit a certain mold, it will be easier to plan a day that will be meaningful to you and your future spouse. Of course there are many elements of tradition that make it a beautiful and special part of any wedding, but sticking to tradition for no reason other than thinking you should takes away from the essence of what a wedding is, an expression of the commitment between two people. If unconventional and nontraditional elements will add more value to your day, then I say go for it.
5. Be prepared to compromise. When you factor in your idea of a dream wedding with that of your fiance, your parents, your fiance's parents and your vendors, it will help if you can be a little flexible... unless you want to be Bridezilla, in which case you should feel free to throw an absolute shit-fit until you get your own way. But for normal gals who don't want to alienate all their loved ones, it will help if you include others' ideas, as long as you aren't sacrificing something that is truly important. Flexibility is also key when you are working within a budget, however big or small. Sometimes the ideas that seem so great in theory are not practical when it comes to cost.

Overall I think that planning a wedding is a lot of fun. I try to keep an eye on the big picture and remember the purpose behind all the details. When it comes right down to it, in ten years I don't want people to remember our wedding because of the great food or the beautiful flowers. While I want the food to be good and the flowers to be pretty, I mostly want people to remember how much fun they had and how happy we were as we celebrated our marriage with our family and friends. I'm much, much more excited about marrying the man of my dreams than I am about the wedding.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Heart Summer Style

Photo from marthastewart.com
I admit I am a sucker for the casual, fresh air style of summer decorating. I love having the doors and windows open, flowers from our garden throughout the house, and I really really like the whole patriotic look of summer holidays. I like that just seeing red, white and blue evokes the feeling of long summer days that gradually drift into summer nights spent sitting on patios just enjoying life. I love the summer issues of home decorating mags because they are full of bold, bright colors that really draw you in. I adore the summer spreads of beachy cottages and oceanside homes that seem so comfortable and worn in. The exact feel I'd love for our home. Lived in and comfortable but still pleasant. So many of my projects are on the back-burner right now and it's killing me but such is life. When the man of the house is already working overtime, the last thing he wants to hear is "wouldn't it be fun to paint the kitchen cabinets this weekend??" I'm trying to focus on the little things like oh I don't know maybe getting back to the spring cleaning that I was so gung ho about a month ago. Hmm... In the meantime I'll just keep checking out other people's summer style and daydreaming.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cloth Giveaway

I officially ordered my first cloth diapers yesterday and I'm so excited to get them. I found them on a great resource called Diaperswappers.com where you can buy and sell cloth diapers of all shapes and sizes, plus all the parts and pieces. At first I was a little wary of buying second-hand diapers. I mean I would never never in a million years buy second-hand undies for myself so it seems sort of comparable, but what I learned is that not all are used and you can score some great deals. For example, the mama that I bought from had simply bought extras in the wrong size. Rather than return them for store credit, she decided to try and resell them for cash. So I'm getting 8 never-been-worn cloth diapers for 1/2 of the retail cost. To me that's a pretty swell deal.

In continuing with her series on cloth diapering, Simple Mom gave her own personal reviews of various cloth diaper brands. To top it all off, several of the companies she mentioned are now giving away dipes to lucky winners. So if you're in the market or know someone who might be, head on over here to enter the giveaway!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cloth Diapers - Making the Switch

For a while now, I've been toying with the idea of switching over from disposables. For one, diapers are not cheap and while disposables are very convenient, it sucks to be spending so much money on something that will just end up in the trash. Just a rough estimate, but we've probably spent around $800 on diapers alone in the past year. That's not counting the money for wipes either. (That may not sound like that much to some people but keep in mind that Baby is only 1 year and probably at least a year from potty training.) That $800 also accounts for approximately 2700 diapers. Two thousand seven hundred. Aside from the cost, it's a well known fact that diapers are right up there with cat litter when it comes to biodegradability. The diapers go straight to the landfill where they will sit for approximately 300-500 years before they even start to break down. All this adds up to my feeling like there has to be a better method.

I've been researching different types of dipes and there are a lot of options for cloth diapering. Who knew? I've read articles and blog posts about different types, the cleaning process, traveling, and searched the net for reasonably priced cloth diapers. Because while the new models are often much more convenient than the cloth diapers our parents or grandparents used, that convenience costs a pretty penny. I've been off the cloth diaper kick for a little bit only because there was a lot of other stuff going on in our lives but this week Simple Mom is doing a series called Cloth Diapering 101. It got me back on the bandwagon and I'm going for it.

In my opinion, this is an ideal time to try it out for several reasons. At 1 year, Baby is literally pooping less, which I have to say makes the whole cleaning process easier to stomach. She also uses fewer diapers than she did when she was younger. In terms of preparedness, being a mom is comfortable and familiar now, as opposed to the stressful and somewhat chaotic beginning. Trying to figure out cloth diapers and washing cloth diapers while also attempting to take care of a newborn for the first time would not have been a good combination for me. But now I have the time and energy (and sanity) necessary to take on a new adventure. This also gives me the chance to get it down before any future diaper-wearers come along. I'm still looking into the best options for us. After all, it has to be easy enough that Fiance will still participate in the diaper-changing!
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