Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A New light fixture

The new and improved

The light fixtures have been my least favorite part of this house.  Well, that and storage space issues, orange countertops, and a constant battle to keep my son from scratching the hardwood floors. The blobfish in the dining room, the bare lightbulb in the stairwell, the heat producing spotlight in the kitchen, and the extremely feminine chandelier in the bedroom (ooh la la) have had me coveting everything restoration hardware and schoolhouse electric.

It used to have even more dangly sparkly things, but I took them off and cant find them anymore.

While this little switcheroo is neither of those brands (think menards with grammatical errors on the instructions), I'm pretty happy about how it turned out.

While making a spontaneous trip through Menards lighting department (what? you don't do that?) I spotted this little beauty on clearance.  $35 is a price I can live with!  The shiny chrome, I could not live with.  So I picked up a bottle of rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint as well.
All the little screws I removed to pop off the top and bottom rings

You can see the shiny chrome underside here, and the oil rubbed bronzed goodness next to it
The inner workings of the light are protected in the bag, the cord is (mistakenly) wrapped with blue painters tape

All  had to do was unscrew the metal top and bottom from the thick shade.  About 40 tiny screws and cramping fingers was all it took to pop off the top and bottom.  I also put the bulb end of the cord kit in a plastic bag and covered the cord with painters tape to protect it from overspray.  I wouldn't recommend the painters tape, at least not in hot and humid weather, because it made the cord sticky.  A little elbow grease and a lot of goo gone fixed it right up though.
I did couple of super light coats of spray paint on the top and bottom of the fixture, the ceiling part of the cord kit, and the tiny round screws that hold it in place. Let me tell you, I am an oil rubbed bronze convert.  Dillon, hide the children, I'm about to paint all the things!

Putting the shade back together was very easy, and we were finally able to remove the cream white chandelier (ooh la la) and put this guy up.  I think my favorite thing is that Dillon won't hit it when he puts his shirts on anymore.  Second favorite is that walking into the bedroom feels so much more open and large without a big swoopy chandelier (ooh la la) in your face.

The chandelier will be heading into a friends house for her daughters room and I'm delighted to have one checked off of the lights-to-replace list.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Table Painting

WAAAAAY back in college, I bought a table at a garage sale.  The sellers even came and dropped it off for me at my apartment.  I believe it was around $10.  It's never been my favorite table, but it did the job and it was nice that I never had to worry about marking it all up. 

Dino placemat! And an old dingy table

A few months ago, my son started pulling at the veneer on the side when he ate.  Little wood chips with your dinner, anyone?  So I bought a clearance tablecloth and resigned myself to washing it frequently because my toddler eats like a maniac.  It always seemed to be covered in food despite the dinosaur place mat underneath his spot.  Nothing says style like a dinosaur place mat AND a food covered tablecloth.

In early May, the city-wide garage sale came and went, and a neighbor put a table on the curb with a "free" sign after no one bought it.  You can bet I was casually walking by that sucker within minutes.  I even got free delivery with this one, too. I love my neighborhood.

This table needed some work: it had some chips and dings, and the top had obviously been the work surface for some painting projects.  I sanded down the top and wiped the legs with a liquid deglosser.  Because of the chips and paint drips on the legs, I decided to paint the whole thing white rather than try and sand it all down and stain. 

A couple rounds of wood filler and sanding later, the dings were fairly well filled and I was ready to paint!  I used paint that I had on hand and started on the legs, figuring that I'd get the kinks out of my painting system on the less-visible part.  So I started painting.  And polyurethaning.

Now, for reference, in early May I had a 1 month old and a toddler who just turned 2.  So I was able to work for about 15 minutes every other day.  That's barely enough time to do 2 legs and wash the brush. 

I put so many layers on this sucker I got turned around about which layer I was on for each side. It was a royal pain.  And I went through a couple of nice paintbrushes when I rushed cleaning them. Eventually I was able to turn it over and do the top, which was much much easier because it was lovely and FLAT. 

The drips, upside down of course

Although it has some drips in the poly (did I put it on too thick?  Should I have gone back and back brushed it despite the threats that it would create brush marks? Who knows.) I called it finished and brought it in the house.  I love love love it.  Someday I can go back and sand down some drippy areas, but in the meantime, I'm loving its clean look, actual cleanliness because it's easily wiped after meals, and the fact that it can host a larger group without being crowded. Next stop: two new chairs to coordinate with my great-grandmas that are here.  You know, in a few years after the second high chair is moved out of the way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A New Baby Quilt

Even before we technically knew the gender of our youngest, I knew she was a girl.  I'm 2 for 2 in that department.  I was so sure of my feeling that I found this pretty blue flowered fabric one day and decided that I would use it to make her quilt.  I followed the idea from Young House Love because I didn't want to spend my time downstairs at my sewing machine.  I wanted to be able to make this quilt from my comfy spot on the couch binge watching The Great British Baking Show. Best competition show in history.  I think it's the lack of suspenseful music and horrifically long pauses before someone gets kicked off.

Ah yes, back to the quilt.  I bought 1/2 yard of the flowered fabric to make my binding and I found embroidery thread that matched the colors in the fabric and also bought a yard of quilted white fabric from JoAnnes.  After some reading, I learned that embroidery thread may not be the best idea for this because as the quilt is washed the thread can shrink or deteriorate faster than the rest of the quilt. I haven't had an issue yet but its something to think about!

I cut a piece of embroidery thread about the width of the quilted fabric and started in the middle for each line of stitching.  That way, I wouldn't have such a long long piece of thread to work with.  I just followed the corners of the quilted fabric so I had nice straight lines, and tried to keep my stitches approximately the same length. Once I got to the end, I left a couple of inches of the thread hanging off while I moved on to the next color.

After I finished the Great British Baking Show, I was left with this:

I was nervous about adding the homemade binding without securing the tails of my stitches first, so I ran the two quilt sides through my sewing machine with a tight zig zag stitch to take the thread down better.  I cleaned up the tails of thread, and sewed down my homemade binding (google search purl bee for a great tutorial on bias binding and finishing).
Homemade binding

I'm in love with how this quilt turned out.  It took a long long time with that embroidery thread, but it was pretty mindless work.

I've been keeping up with the same thing I did for my son and snapping her picture on it weekly to track her size.  So sweet!

Monday, August 15, 2016

My Second Hypnobirth

I gave birth 4 months ago already and need to make sure I write this down before I forget details!

I had another successful hypnobirth.  There, no detail spared, right?

Okay here's how it all went.  If you recall, I had an extremely successful, nearly pain-free hypnobirth with my son two years ago.  This time around it went differently but was still successful.

I had been having prelabor or false labor or practice labor or something for two weeks before my daughter was born.  Two weeks is a long time.  These surges (hypnobirth for "contractions") were not comfortable, I was not able to just "hypnobirth them away", and I couldn't seem to get relaxed through them at all.  I actually was pretty embarassed because these felt so different than my other birth and I felt like a newbie who didn't know what was going on again.  My poor hubby was on high alert for two weeks. Whoopsie.

My doctor had been sure to inform me at all my prenatal appointments of her patients that have birthed in the car on the highway; I was supposed to head to the hospital with surges every 5 minutes for an hour.  

I went ten days overdue (oooof!).  Then on a Monday night, I was awake, AGAIN, from false labor.  I sent my sister a text complaining how the baby would never come and how I couldn't handle another day of practice labor.  I fell asleep on the couch somewhere around 3, and then was up again at 6am with some very strong and very fast surges.  I took a quick shower and looked at the time; 20 minutes later I had worked through 5 surges.  Ooh boy.

So Dillon called his mom to come watch our son, and I proceeded to panic that she wouldn't make it on time.  In reality, it was fine. I had just been worrying about it for about 4 months.  She arrived at 7am, and we were out the door 10 minutes later.  I've seen beautiful videos or read beautiful stories of when mom heads to the hospital and says a tearful goodbye to her only child.  Nope, not me.  See ya kid. I'm not having a good time here.

Thank goodness we didn't run into morning traffic, the drive was uncomfortable enough.  Dillon went to park the car and I started walking through the hospital to the labor and delivery area.  Well now about 35 people came to make sure I was ok, and all I wanted was to walk slowly and listen to my hypnobirthing cd.  No no no I have to make polite conversation with "helpful" strangers.  But I survived and we got into triage, where I was dilated to 4.  I was informed that I could not give birth in the tub because I was over 41 weeks.  Grr. I think this really threw off my mojo, because when I got to our room I couldn't really relax in the tub knowing I had to get out later.

I got out after an hour or two in the tub and went to the bed, where I did give birth.  Unfortunately, I had to be flat on my back or else baby's heart rate went down.  Most uncomfortable position ever.  I also had Dr. Peppypants (a resident shadowing my Dr.) come into my room a few times and he did not seem to understand my calm, quiet atmosphere request.  Nurses literally rolled their eyes when he entered the room once and declared "WELL, HOW ARE WE FEELING???" like a cheerful little f*#&er when I was moaning.  He also touched me when I asked him not to and didn't even move a muscle.  Until my doctor said "you can stop touching her, she doesn't have an epidural".  Not the best for bedside manner.

Well this was not the peaceful & serene birth I had pictured and instead involved a lot more moaning and groaning and a few screams.  I believe it was because of the meconium in the fluid but they warned me that she might come out floppy and that they would have to take her across the room to help her if she was. I asked if they could just leave her on me to work on her and I could tell that they all wished that they could but they said the ultimate parent line: "we'll see".  I was able to push her out without too much fanfare and they had Dillon cut the cord and whisked her away immediately. They spent about 35 minutes working on her across the room, Dillon told me later it was much scarier than I realized.

So here I am, laying on the table, asking how cute she is and feeling great that my labor is over.  I should have realized when the NICU nurses, two residents, nursing student, and my husband were all watching the baby intently while I was quietly cared for my one nurse.  Also during this time, I could see that Dillon was turning very very pale and I yelled at him to go sit down. Someone brought him apple juice so he didn't pass out.

Our hospital bill lists "infant resuscitation" so wow.  They were giving her oxygen for awhile and then taking it off to see if she started breathing well on her own.  She recovered and is totally fine.  They brought her back over to me and we got all our cuddles and breastfeeding going.  I even got to shower before going down to the recovery floor.

She was 8lbs 10oz.  Not a little girl! She was born just after noon, so I had been at the hospital about 4 hours.

I had been really nervous about another postpartum hemorrhage but I was fine.  Incidentally, I had been so afraid of hemorrhage around 6 months pregnant that I couldn't talk about going into labor without crying. So I talked about it with my hypnobirthing instructor and we did EFT tapping release, and within an hour or so I was totally comfortable and no longer afraid of giving birth. Weird, weird thing to do but it totally worked!  This mind-body connection stuff is no joke.  (Do I sound like a crazy hippie yet???)

We had a much better recovery and now I realize just how rough it was when I had my son.  I was in rough shape.  It took me weeks to have the energy and stamina to walk through the grocery store.  This time I felt pretty good right off the bat.  Horay!

I wish I had another pain-free, unicorns and rainbows birth to tell you about, but I don't.  I would not call this birth pain-free.  I need to give myself more credit because even though I was moaning and uncomfortable I did have a drug-free, natural birth.  I still believe hypnobirthing is the way to go.  Here's what I would do differently next time: prepare myself to go with the flow.  When I learned I couldn't birth in the tub, I was devastated.  When I had to lay on my back, I was devastated.  If I had been more flexible and remembered that every birth is different, I might have felt a little better.  Also, I should have worked harder to get into the hypnobirthing zone while I was having practice labor.  I think I was very tired mentally and physically before my "real" labor even began.

All in all, I am so glad I had another natural birth. I just need to give myself more credit and let go of the idea that it was supposed to go a certain way.  And of course, I got a healthy little girl out of the deal.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

My TWO year old

How is this possible? I blinked and suddenly I have a two year old!

You are so sweet, incredibly shy, such a cuddly kid.  You love watching anything with wheels (street sweepers, dump trucks, semis, tractors, trains).  You wake up with Daddy at 5am every day.  You love to run and read books over and over.  You are an adoring big brother and very gentle with your little sister.  You have this goofy look when you are asking a silly question and pretending to think of an answer; your eyes look so far over to one side and you say "hmmm" and it gets us laughing every time.  In short, we love everything about you, birthday boy!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Baby 2 Prep, Three Projects

Today is my due date!  Since my son was a week overdue, I've been trying to keep in mind that I will be "overdue" this time as well.  Nothing says fun like people asking you "when are you due?" and having to answer "last week". 

I've pretty much checked off as much as possible from my list of "to do's" so it's just been a waiting game for a couple of weeks now.  I even had my whole house clean at the same time...once.  Then I didn't give birth and now it's messy again.  Funny how that works.

Here's a few of my projects that I've done recently.  I could probably make separate posts for each one but...I'm 40 weeks pregnant and I make the rules here.

The first is a wall hanging that I made.  I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, mostly because my hubby thinks I'm crazy for wanting this on my wall.  But he let me do it anyway.  Thanks, honey!

Pretty hard to see clear thread, but just make sure that your thread goes through the piece of yarn tying the pom pom together.  Otherwise, tragedy.

I had been saving a branch from our backyard to make one of these jewelry/scarf hangers.  That's right, I was saving a special stick since last summer.  Thanks, again, honey!  I changed direction and decided I wanted to paint it with some stripes and hang pom poms from it, like this.  I used a variety of leftover bits of yarn to make different size pom poms.  By the way, have you seen this genius way to make a bunch of pom poms simultaneously????  I didn't do it that way but it would have been smart!  I used clear thread to hang the pom poms from the branch, after painting stripes on the branch with leftover bits of paint.  TADA!  And if you call it a "wall hanging", it's trendy and cool and not "junk I decided to hang on my wall".  This is being hung above the baby's crib in our bedroom.

The next thing that I made was for my son's 2nd birthday in about a month--an apron for cooking!  This kid loves to help in the kitchen and insists that I wear my apron when I'm in there.  So I thought he might enjoy one his size.
Proof that he likes to help.  This "Big Joe" apron is crazy huge on him though.

I used this pattern and found a cute fat quarter at Joanne's to use.  Don't be like me though.  I didn't realize that the cars were running the wrong direction (vertically) for the pattern because of how the fat quarter had been cut (they were "driving" along the long side rather than across the shorter side). So this apron is a bit shorter than the pattern called for.  Oh well.  I haven't given it to him yet, so I have no pictures of him wearing it yet.

It's an easy peasy pattern (made a million times easier because I finally got to use my new-to-me hand-me-down Janome machine!!!! Thanks, Grandma!) so that means that every toddler I know will be getting one for a gift at some point.

Finally, I whipped up this little project today while my son used play doh.   I've been collecting (read: hoarding) independent toddler activities for awhile so that he can play with special "big boy" toys while I nurse the baby.  I think I'm over compensating for feeling like he'll be deserted while the baby gets all the attention.  I saw this brilliant idea for a fabric "road" that can be laid on the floor and whipped a bunch of pieces out in about 10 minutes today.

I used an old pair of jeans that I've been saving (maybe I really am a hoarder??)  and cut it up into road shapes.  Nothing fancy here, just roughly the same width at each end so that the road can be continuous.  Then I used some blue craft paint (because that's what I found.  Again, 10 minute project) and made center lines along each piece.  Once they dry, I'll throw them into his special "big boy basket" with some wooden cars from the dollar spot at Target and he can choose to play with this, or several other items, while the baby is needing attention.

There you have it.  Three projects done!  One very pregnant lady, still pregnant. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Baby #2 Prep: Knitting projects

I've been knitting up a storm over here.  It all started when I needed to make my son this hat and I rediscovered half of this sweater (Norwegian Baby) sitting on my needles.  After I completed the hat I continued on (mostly) where I had left off and finished it up.  It turned out incredibly cute and I am so proud!  

I was able to use some of my Grandma & Great-Grandma's buttons to finish it and I love how it turned out!  Sorry, kid #1, your mom put off knitting for so long you'll never be able to wear this.  

I still hadn't scratched the knitting itch completely, so I whipped up a hat (Little Fair Isle Hat) for my sister's baby.  Then I whipped up an identical hat for my baby.  I am in love with the little loop at the top and think all my hats for kids will end up with a loop instead of a pompom for awhile.

After that, I knocked out a quick pair of baby socks following this pattern, Garter Stripe Baby Socks.

Now the knitting itch has been satisfied and I can work on some other projects for awhile. 

It's a good thing, too, as I'm officially 9 months pregnant and have quite a to-do list before this second kiddo is born.  Namely:

-get out and wash newborn attire and diapers
-pick out an announcement
-install the carseat
-preregister at the hospital
-print birth plan
-practice hypnobirthing
-make kid#1 busy bags 
-make a million freezer meals
-stockpile necessities (food, toiletries, paper products)
-buy a few things (like a double stroller and new diaper covers)
-plan kid#1 birthday gift and Easter gift
-buy a car (not nearly as fun as it sounds)