bits & pieces

I'm not an expert on any single subject, but I'm opinionated about several.

DIY Baby Girl Nursery Complete! April 9, 2012

Filed under: DIY — nemecke @ 4:15 pm
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We’re almost there – about six weeks to go until our baby girl arrives and her room is finally complete! And I am in love with it. Don’t you love spaces in your home that make you feel happy just by walking into them? That’s how I feel about the nursery – and I don’t even have a baby in it yet! Imagine. . .

We started with a dark navy room with a puppy dog wallpaper border.

Image

This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. My vision was the result of a Pottery Barn catalog that had photos of a lavender and grey bedding set. First step, strip the wallpaper (finally all of the wallpaper in our house is GONE!).  Next step, paint. Once we had the walls painted I started sewing and my mom started painting furniture for us.

Our “To-Do” list included:

Painting a dresser

Painting a changing table (a repurposed dresser we had used in B’s room already)

Finding a used crib

Sewing crib sheets and a crib skirt

Sewing curtains

Misc. decorative items

Let’s start with the curtains. My FAVORITE part of the room. I originally saw these at Urban Outfitters but at $80.00 per panel plus tax I just couldn’t do it. Plus they’re floor length and not black out. Somehow I feel like white curtains in a baby’s room are risky enough so I’m choosing to at least stay away from floor length. And black out curtains have been a necessity for B’s room so I knew that was a must in this room too. So, the way I saw it, my only solution was to tackle this project myself. My curtain making history included one shower curtain so I sort of knew I was crazy but, nevertheless, I trudged along. Four trips to the fabric store and several, several, several hours later the project was complete! A few photos of the process…

Ironing over the bottom hem of every single strip.

Sewing down the bottom hem of every single strip.

One finished ruffle.

Did I mention I do not have a ruffle foot for my sewing machine? Every strip was bunched and ruffled as I went along. Once all of the ruffles were cut, ironed, hemmed and ruffled I sewed them one by one onto a panel I had cut from the same fabric. Eventually all of the ruffles made it onto both panels and then I sewed them both onto store bought black out curtains from Target (I found some in lavender and figured it wouldn’t be bad if some of that color peeked through once in a while). Ready for the finished product?

Ta da! I’m in loooooooove with these curtains. Here they are hanging up in the room – I couldn’t wait for this part!

Ruffles galore!

I will never tackle ruffled curtains again but I am SO GLAD I DID THIS. They are exactly what I had in mind. Love! Even better is the fact that, even with 4 trips to the fabric store and store-bought black out curtains, I still spent less than I would have had I purchased the Urban Outfitter curtains. I love a good deal!

I’ll explain the rest of the pieces in the room once you have a visual – so here’s the reveal!

The crib is a Craigslist find (B isn’t ready for a toddler bed yet and we weren’t ready to buy a brand new crib again). The glider chair was moved over from B’s room and he got a replacement chair that my parents were no longer using.

The pictures need to be replaced in the frames once the baby is born but, again, they are reused from B’s old room. I just added new ribbons and hot glued white buttons to the nail heads. The blanket on the crib is another DIY sewing project I tackled (thanks Pinterest!). Crib sheet and crib skirt are also completed sewing projects.  (Crib sheet tutorial, crib skirt tutorial).

That’s the $5 dresser my mother-in-law found at rummage sale that use to be a nice peachy-pinkish color. My mom painted it and I found those glass pulls at Wayfair.com.  The purple tray was in the Target dollar section before Easter. They only came in pink and blue so I bought the pink one and spray painted it lavender. I made the printable in Picnik using a tutorial I found on Pinterest. We had the lamp in our house and we weren’t using it. The base was black so I spray painted that white and the lamp shade was a cream color. I found this lavender ribbon at JoAnn fabric and hot glued it around the shade. Oh and the cute clock was a Salvation Army find.

The bookshelf is just a stackable shelf from Target and, again, I made the printable in Picnik.

We used this changing table in B’s room but it was still in it’s original brown color. So my mom painted that for us too and I found the glass knobs at Target. The square mirrors on the wall above it were another Salvation Army find and were originally light blue so those got painted as well. I can’t find white bins/baskets that fit under the changing table ANYWHERE and the cream is really bugging me but it’ll have to do for now.

And then there’s this adorable find that my mom picked up at TJ Maxx – could it be more perfect?

So that’s it. Our DIY baby girl nursery on a budget. I’m so thrilled with the way it turned out. So thrilled that I can’t let myself think about the fact that we’ll only live in this house for another year or two. Boooo. But I’ll tell you what, I’m taking those curtains with me everywhere we move for the rest of my life!

 

Impromptu Kid’s Bathroom Redo. . . January 23, 2012

My husband was recently gone for 5 days and than meant it was project time for me. Every time he goes I feel the need for a big project and it usually involves paint. We have a bathroom in our house that is pretty much only used for Brayden’s baths, the dog’s baths and Scott’s haircuts. We’re only in there a few times a week but still, I couldn’t take another day of it. It was dull and dark and flat. I do not get along well with flat paint (and quite honestly I don’t think you should either). I find no reason for flat paint anywhere in my house. Nowhere. Especially not in a bathroom. So, here is what I started with…

There were marks on the walls from where pictures had been hanging for 10 years too. It was just in really bad need of a makeover.

I was originally inspired by this adorable, little stool that a good friend made me for my baby shower…

Did you notice how she even drilled holes in the food that the caterpillar ate through?? So cute!

And then I saw this Pottery Barn Kids Very Hungry Caterpillar bathroom and it was a done deal.  Only I wasn’t about to fork over $60.00 for a shower curtain alone (plus I don’t have a claw foot tub and trees for curtain rods) so I took on the challenge DIY style and did it all for under $60 total. First things first, get rid of those dull, flat walls. I went with a very light blue that actually dried not quite as light as I expected, but it works and I like it. A lot actually.

Then I used the new level I got for Christmas to mark off where I wanted circles all the way around the room. After tracing them on with chalk I painted them all in with a nice shade of green called “green stalk” – appropriate don’t you think? Don’t look close, it’s really hard to paint in a perfect circle.

In the room with the tub and shower I did an accent wall in that same green color and continued the circles in the light blue.

Once I had all the painting done it was time for the fun part – sewing! I found some cute white fabric and sewed a new shower curtain. (In hindsight I could have bought a plain white, fabric shower curtain but it was fun to learn how to do this. Thanks online tutorials!) This was a big deal for me, I had to learn how to do button holes! Once the curtain was finished I bought a bunch of felt squares and created my own hungry caterpillar. Here it is, my absolute favorite part of this bathroom!!

I LOVE this shower curtain, partly because I made it but also because I just love that little caterpillar. He is so bright and fun and he turns in to a beautiful butterfly!

So that’s that, my impromptu bathroom project is complete! I may add some pictures to the wall – thinking of framing the jackets from some of B’s Eric Carle books.  So happy with the way this turned out and so glad I took this project on!

 

Yes, I’m Proud of That and No, I Don’t Like Your Book. March 22, 2011

Filed under: Parenting — nemecke @ 2:33 pm
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The other day I was really excited to start reading a book I had spotted called Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay and Other Things I Learned as a New Mom (already the title is way too long, I should have known). I feel like I’ve taken a pretty light-hearted approach to parenting so far and I thought this was going to be a fun, quick read that gave me additional fuel for my genuine “being a mom is super fun and happy-go-lucky” fire.  Turns out the author is actually burning a “motherhood is dark and dreary and a literal hell on Earth” fire. Who does she think she is? And why, oh why, are people reading this book? I’ve been racking my brain to find ways I can get all of my money back. Really if I even end up spending 1 penny on this I’ll be upset. For two and a half years at Barnes & Noble I found no issues with their 14 day return policy and slightly enjoyed turning people away when they tried returning something after their two weeks had passed. But now I’m the customer so…what kind of crappy, scheming, unfair return policy is 14 days?! I’m going to Borders. (Kidding. I’d never do that. Not when there’s Amazon and BookMooch). I could be reading the new Jodi Picoult book and instead I wasted my money on a book that shames every one of my mothering decisions. I took time to choose a pediatrician carefully, I didn’t put bumpers in the crib, I chose to breastfeed and I definitely look forward to new milestones. I’m proud of them.  But I’m a crazy, stupid, new mom according to this total waste of paper. Save the trees! This book is suppose to be funny. It’s just not funny. I’m not a book snob. I read lots of books and always feel the need to finish them but this book is stupid.

Ok. I’m not going to rant about that anymore. It’s not worth it. But sippy cups really could be for Chardonnay if you wanted them to be, damnit!

Before I started reading the anti-parenting book I kept on noticing how proud I’m feeling about the silliest things lately. I’ve always been a good eater but I’ve never actually felt proud of myself after polishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (did you see they have a new kind with chocolate covered potato chips? Add to shopping list. . . ) but when B ate two cubes of baby food instead of one it was cause for celebration! When he moved from two to three I almost planned a party. My kid is eating THREE cubes of pureed peas for dinner plus baby oatmeal and breastmilk. He. Is. A. Champ.

When we decided to start giving him one bottle a day again to make sure he doesn’t have any issues with a bottle and to make sure our frozen milk supply doesn’t go bad it was really just another excuse for my heart to swell with pride. Six ounces at a time?! Unbelievable.

Successful tummy time, supporting himself up on his arms, unintentionally rolling from his front to his back, sitting up without a support, a good sneeze and a great burp. I am proud of it all! My own son is doing these things. How about that?! My son! I mean my God, what am I going to do when he’s the starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers I can barely contain myself when he figures out how to make Sophie squeak.

This is what parenting is all about. Enjoying all of the little moments because, right now, they are big moments. As parents we have every right to celebrate these little achievements and to be proud of them. We get to laugh at them and laugh at ourselves for bragging about bodily functions and growth chart percentages. If your goal is to document parenthood in a light-hearted and funny way then write about the silly things you do as a new parent in a way that makes other parents feel its okay, not in a way that makes new parents feel ashamed of their feelings.

I ate all my carrots!

I'm getting so strong!

 

What a Shrimp! March 8, 2011

Filed under: In General,Parenting — nemecke @ 10:06 pm
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When I was little my twin sister, step-brother and I took swimming lessons at the YMCA. I don’t remember many of the details but for some reason I cannot forget the fact that my brother and I got moved up to the Minnow group and my twin-sister was stuck back with the Guppies.  I’m not sure if it’s a permanent memory because I’m saddened by it or because I find it hysterical.

Yeah. It’s hysterical.

Besides the fact that I think water safety is important and that I want to go swimming with Brayden this summer, I also don’t ever want him to be the Guppy kid when he’s at a pool party with a bunch of Minnows. So I signed him up for swimming lessons at our local Y.

Before his first lesson we put him in the water to see how he’d react (better to have a private fit than a public one). Turns out we may have a swimmer on our hands! Lord knows he’ll have built in flippers and an enormous wing span.

No tears and, along with some purple feet, we also got a few smiles!

I am, of course, a very proud mommy.

And, last but certainly not least – look at this face! Love, love, love.

Swimming lessons are now in full swing and Brayden is 1 of only 4 Shrimp. He is the youngest of the group but he holds his own! Again we have avoided tears because it seems that, as long as there is water and little, baby fingers to splash it with, all is well in the world. If he was graded on actual class activities he would clearly get an A for effort but would not score quite as highly in a skills test. But really, can your 6 month old sit on the side of the pool, twist his body so that his hands are supporting him on the wall and then propel himself into the water? Can he hang from the side of the wall and move from side to side? Can he sit on the wall holding a kick board and then jump into the water on my 1-2-3 count? The class description says “6 to 18 months” and apparently they actually meant “120 to 180 months.” Maybe he won’t be the next Michael Phelps but he sure as hell will be a Minnow.

 

Vegas ain’t got nothin’ on this. February 22, 2011

Filed under: In General,Parenting — nemecke @ 10:20 pm
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Two weekends ago Scott was off on his annual boys trip to Vegas and that left me, Brayden and the dog to hold down the fort. The last time he left for a few days he came home to a freshly painted family room, back hallway and bathroom. A standard was set. I needed a project.

Thankfully a couple of months ago I found a diamond in the rough calling my name on a curb in Green Bay.

And apparently it once belonged to Linda. Oh Linda, didn’t you see the potential!?

I did. And so it was shoved into the backseat with Brayden and then eventually hauled to  Milwaukee where it sat until a plan was formed in my head and an agenda free weekend awaited me.

After some “toy box” Google Image searches, a trip to the craft isle at Walmart and a short brainstorming session it was time to paint.

My original thought was to draw my design on with pencil but I couldn’t stop thinking about those ugly smudges left by all pencil erasers. Either I needed to draw it on without any mistakes (in that case why not just use a Sharpie?) or I needed another solution. Ah ha! I have one, lonely piece of chalk in a zip lock bag in my junk drawer. It’s been waiting for its turn.

The base coat is painted, the design is finished – time to bring this thing to life!

And there you have it, Brayden’s very first toy box and my very first furniture painting experience. It’s not perfect and I certainly didn’t stay in the lines, but I had a lot of fun doing it and the whole process made me really happy.  Even silly things like painting a toy box seem so much more special when you’re doing it for your child.  As soon as he’s old enough I’ll tell him all about how mommy painted that just for him and, because of that knowledge, I’m positive that he’ll always pick up all of his toys and put them back in the box and he will never refuse to share his toys with any future sibling(s).

By the way, I also hung two large picture frames on the wall of our dining room that weekend and I don’t think Scott has noticed those yet.  But he was really impressed with the toy box!

 

Baby’s First Christmas January 4, 2011

Filed under: Parenting — nemecke @ 8:42 pm
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Christmas Joy

This was our first Christmas with a kid and, since it is too early for him to understand any of it, it was a good year for us to be able to really soak in the true meaning of the holiday and the true joy of the season. Since late August we have been trekking our way through parenthood and getting better at it every day (if I do say so myself) and the holidays actually gave me a chance to breathe and let the joy, the peace and the hope of mommy-hood settle in. Who knew the holidays would get more relaxing after having kids? Turns out you go to a lot of different celebrations all of which have grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends just dying to hold and play with your little one. Mommy & Daddy get a chance to relax and talk to adults!

Brayden will never remember Christmas 2010 but for us it will always be a special one. Besides the fact that he rolled over for the first time the day after Christmas, it is also the first year we celebrated as our own little, growing family. The first year the fact that it won’t be long before we need to once again take Santa and Rudolph and cookies & milk seriously settled in. The first year all of the hoopla and the gifts and the going-going-going really took a back seat to what was important.

It’s not about us anymore and somehow that is actually a really wonderful thing.

I have a feeling 2011 will be quite the year for us. We have a lot to look forward to. We have a lot of growing and changing to do. In 2010 we were very, very blessed and now in 2011 we have a lot to be thankful for.

God bless!

Christmas Hope

 

Hey, they forgot to invent a word for this. September 26, 2010

Filed under: Parenting,Pregnancy — nemecke @ 9:55 pm
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It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, it’s been over 4 weeks in fact. In the past time would pass and I’d think of it in terms of a “few” weeks or a “couple” of days. But once a baby is introduced into your life you start counting time much more specifically – it has been exactly 4 weeks and 1 day since Brayden Thomas was born. Therefore, it has been over 4 weeks since I’ve exercised the blogging parts of my brain. It feels good to be back! (It also feels good to have a happy, peaceful, sleeping baby next to me).

So are you wondering what they forgot to invent a word for? I’ll tell you. There is no word in our current, English language dictionary that adequately describes what it feels like to have a baby. I don’t mean what it physically feels like (for me that word would be “hell”), I mean what it feels like emotionally. I really like jeans that fit well. I love ice cream. I really enjoy going for walks. I think shooting stars are amazing. So when I try to describe what I feel about Brayden it doesn’t seem right that I say I love him, that I really like him, that I really enjoy him, that I think he’s amazing. Shouldn’t there be a special word that is designated just for this? There should be something you’re not allowed to use for anything else. Like if someone actually tried using this word to describe how they felt about pizza everyone else in the room would go completely still and quiet and they’d stare at the culprit with their mouths wide open until it was so awkward she would just turn and leave and think about what she’d done all the way home.

So it might be best to either just make a word up or combine some of the best options we already have. Fabulous is a pretty good word. And so is incredible. So we could describe this feeling as fabible. I also like super and splendid. Maybe having Brayden makes me feel supdid. I actually really like supdid but maybe not for this particular situation. That may actually be better for pizza and ice cream.

The point is, I’m head-over-heels in love with my son and I wish I had more words to express that with. All everyone talks about before you have a baby is the complete lack of sleep you’ll get. First of all, that’s not the case for us at all ’cause we have the best son ever. But the other thing is, when I have to wake him up to eat at 4am (yes, I have to wake him up to eat) I love it. Yes, I would like to be sleeping but instead I get to pick up the cutest baby in the world and cuddle with him while he fills up his little belly. I get to hug him and kiss him and rock him to sleep and tell him I love him and there are no other distractions. My computer is shut down, the TV is off, my phone isn’t ringing. It’s just the 2 of us hanging out for 15 minutes before we both go back to bed and get ready for another day. But what’s the word that accurately describes that??

But lets talk about something on a bit more of a serious note because I think this is important and I wish I would have talked about this more before having a baby. People say the moment the doctors put your baby on your chest for the first time is a moment you’ll never forget. People say when you have your baby it’s unbelievable and you’re completely in love immediately. People say there’s nothing like it. You know what I say? People are lying.

When you’re 9 months pregnant you start dreaming about getting your own body back and finally not being pregnant. The hours and days after you have a baby you feel so much worse than when you were pregnant you’d give anything to have the huge belly and the swollen ankles back. The last thing I felt capable of doing was taking care of a little, 9lb human being. I hadn’t slept in over 40 hours, I hadn’t eaten in over 24, I was sitting on ice, I was bleeding – I was in pain. So no, I didn’t feel head-over-heels in love at first sight. I felt like I needed them to finally give me the dinner they’d been holding hostage for hours and I felt like I needed to sleep for a few days.

When I got home my postpartum hormones were so strong I could cry at any moment and was barely able to hold back the tears no matter how hard I tried. Now I was home and still exhausted, sore, sitting on ice, bleeding etc. but I didn’t have nurses teaching me how to take care of my son and giving me pain medication every 4 hours. I didn’t come home to the euphoria they show you on TLC’s A Baby Story. I came home to reality. No one talks about reality.

Please don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby from day 1 but I want other moms to be realistic about it. I want other moms to know it’s OK to still have feelings besides intense love for your baby. You’re still a woman who just went through a very courageous and tiring 9 months of pregnancy and hours of childbirth. The more I have started to share my feelings with other women the more I’ve started to learn that I’m not alone. But no one talks about it. I called my mom crying because I felt like a horrible person for feeling these things. I wanted my old life back. I wanted to go to bed when I wanted to go to bed. I wanted to sit and watch TV in peace and quiet. But it’s OK, it’s normal! It’s a huge life adjustment and women are allowed to take time to do that. Every day life with Brayden has become more and more normal and after just a few short days with him, my euphoria finally did set in. My moments I’ll never forget started happening every single day. Now I agree, there isn’t anything like this. Every day I fall more and more in love with him. But I didn’t feel all of this immediately and I’m not a bad mom because of it. I want other moms to be aware that they may feel the same thing and that it doesn’t make them a terrible person or a terrible mom. Being a parent takes a lot of patience and I think that is one thing you do start learning immediately. Be patient and your sense of normalcy will come and with it you’ll also get the head-over-heels in love feelings that they haven’t yet invented a word for.