Sunday, May 27, 2012

Why I'm not posting

Why, hello, friends.  I am writing a post to tell you why I have not been writing posts.  We have been blessed to have a friend visiting who is helping me get everything ready for the coming baby.  We've been very busy spray painting and doing various other projects, all of which I'm documenting and will share later.  For now, though, it's full steam ahead!  No time for blogging!

I appreciate those of you who have emailed, concerned that this nameless child had come early, but rest assured, I will let you know when he is here, and what his name is.  When we know.  Which may never happen.  How does Hey You Lewis sounds?

Or Whatchamicallit Lewis?

Or Whosey Whatsit Lewis?

Monday, May 21, 2012


Does anyone else see a disturbing sight here?

Like maybe a reason for a certain five-year-old not to be left alone with a certain newborn?

Or at least a reason for counseling?

Just sayin'.

It's creepy.

Really.  Creepy.

Should I be concerned?

Is that a really dumb question?

Nevermind.   Don't answer that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Toad stools

This weekend, I made toadstools for the kid's room.  The table and chairs currently in the room are not in great shape, so I'm replacing them, and cushy stools seemed perfect for seating and functional for being able to reach higher shelves in our coming bookcases.

I kind of love them.  If you are so inclined, here's how I did it.

The stools were simple unfinished round wooden ones from Michaels. We pulled all of them out of the shelf and chose the least wobbly ones {they're sturdily constructed, but the legs of all of them weren't exactly even}. Thanks to a couple of 40% off coupons, they were around nine dollars each.  I gave them a couple of thin coats of primer {I wasn't concerned about the tops because I was upholstering them}.

Then they got four or five thin coats of a glossy navy blue.   After this, I left them alone for a few days to fully cure, so that they didn't get scratched from the rest of the process.  Or from the kids.  You take a guess which was likely to do more damage.

To make my stools into toadstools, I needed white circles.  I used iron-on fabric adhesive that you can get by the yard at Joann's.  It's the same stuff used to put patches on uniforms.  I couldn't take any pictures of the process because I needed both hands, but the directions are super simple, and are right on the product.

Then I cut my main fabric with enough room to staple even over batting and foam.

Here's the fabric all toad-stooled up.  I debated sewing down the edges of the circles, but the lady at Joann's had said it wasn't necessary with this adhesive, and since I was feeling lazy and they looked really well-attached to me, I left it.  I did, however, scotchguard the life out of it.  No use inviting stains, right?

I had some leftover one inch thick foam on which I traced the stool top.  It was easy to cut out the circles with regular sewing scissors.

I {or rather, Ella, in this case - note the pink bracelet which is her current fave} used spray adhesive to adhere the foam onto the stool.  I don't know that this is necessary, but I wanted extra insurance since they are for kiddos and will likely take some supstantial abuse.

And here they are, looking like oreo cookies without the tops.

I cut some batting roughly three inches larger than the stools and it was time to start stapling!

I found that I needed to pleat the fabric with my fingers as I stapled.  This is the first circular piece I have upholstered, so there was a learning curve.  Here's what the first one looked like at this point.

At this juncture, I let the kids play with them.  They were SO EXCITED to try them out!  And I learned something - they are going to be even rougher on them than I anticipated.  With that in mind, I pulled out some anti-fray stuff {I used Aleen's, found with the fabric adhesive in the store} to keep the white circles from fraying.  I had never used it before, but lots of tutorials I have read call for it, so I felt comfortable going for it.  It was not what I expected - it squeezed out like glue and I had to smear it with my finger. 

The stool on the right has already been done.  You can see that it darkened the edges a bit, but I kind of liked the dimension, and when Handsome Hero came home, he thought it was something I had done on purpose and was praising my creativity!  Um, sure!

However, he noticed that the staples were not in the wood very well.  I had used my hand stapler, thinking it was too small of a project to warrant getting out the air compressor and pneumatic stapler, but it just wasn't up to this job.  So, per his advice, I went over it again with the pneumatic stapler, after which I pulled out all of the wonky staples.  It took about five minutes and was so worth it.  Look how warped these are!  Some of them were barely in the wood, and I hadn't realized it.  I just thought they needed to be pounded a bit with a mallet.  Thank you, Handsome Hero!

After trimming excess fabric, this is what I was left with.  Much cleaner.

I decided to hot glue some thick upholstery trim to the bottom so that little fingers wouldn't get hurt or accidentally tear the fabric.  Though it may not sound like it, hot glue is the way most upholstery trim is attached, even by professionals.  I was very liberal with the glue, using three glue sticks for one stool.  The white at the bottom is where I loaded it up so that the trim didn't unravel.  I'm sure there's a better way to do that....

I think it looks much better this way, and I LOVE the finished product.  If it were going in a main room, I would care more about the "pleats" being even, but because it's going in the kids' room, I'm not concerned about that.

These will go really well with another little project I'm working on. 

Don't ask, 'cause I'm not telling.

You can't make me.

Nope.  I'm like granite.  I can't be broken.

Okay, here's a hint.  It rhymes with sable, able, stable, Mable, fable, cable, gable, and label.

How'd you get that out of me?

Well, at least I didn't tell you it's a table.

I can keep a secret.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's my birthday today

I'm thirty-four. 

Does that mean I'm in my mid-thirties instead of my early thirties?

By the way, these pictures have nothing to do with my birthday.

Except, I guess, that I gave a birthday to the one in them.  I just love his expressions.

I will now sing to myself. Feel free to join in.

Happy Birthday to me!

I'm no longer Thirty-three!


I hope I don't get really wrinkly!

Happy Birthday to me!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mom Shoes

I love shoes.  Dearly.  An adorable pair of flats, a sassy pair of heels, a fashionable wedge, these make me so happy. 

You know what else I love?  A deal.  I am an obsessive bargain hunter.  A good deal makes me giddy and giggly.  Combine that with a great pair of shoes?  Heaven on my feet.

In my life B.C. {before children}, I had lots of beautiful shoes.  I wore a size 10, larger than the average bear, which gave me the advantage of being able to head straight the the clearance racks and know I could find a great deal on fantastic name brand shoes.  Black patent leather heels for $5?  Got them.  Brown leather slingbacks marked 90% off?  Got those, too.

But then, alas, I had children.  Kids have forever changed my shoe shopping experience.  There are several reasons for this.

1.  My feet are bigger.  When I got pregnant with Ella, my feet grew.  They're now somewhere in the 10-11 range, but I never know quite where I'll end up.  Often, cute shoes are made up to a size 10, and grandma shoes are the only 11's in the clearance section.

2.  Bunions.  When I got pregnant with Ella, I also got bunions.  I would like to blame Ella because they started during her pregnancy, but I will also blame my father, because it's hereditary and he has them.  Thanks, Dad.

What are bunions?  Bunions are a deformity characterized by lateral deviation of the great toe, often erroneously described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe (metatarsophalangeal joint). As the great toe (hallux) turns in toward the second toe (angulation) the tissues surrounding the joint may become swollen and tender.

Yes.  I copied that great fount of online wisdom, wikipedia.

Bunions, for my personal life, mean I have to be careful what shoes I wear.  And they mean that shoe shopping is no longer a breeze.  I can try on forty pairs of shoes and find none that won't be painful within ten minutes.  Also, I only have a bunion on one foot, so when I do find a shoe that fits very nicely on my yucky left bunion foot, it often slides right off of my normal and slightly less yucky right foot.

I believe we have exhausted the topic of bunions, since I'm thirty-three and not yet allowed to go on and on about my aches and pains.  Pretty soon I'll be telling you about my incontinence.

I'm kidding.  Really, I am. 

3.  I'm a mom and my time is not my own.  I don't have a whole day anymore to shop for deals on shoes if my heart desires.  Handsome Hero is really good at making sure I have time when I need it, but for the reasons above, it is never enough.  If you are a bargain hunter, you have to be patient and spend time doing it, and I have had to get used to paying more for fewer shoes.  This hurts.  It hurts my soul.  It hurts my pride.  It hurts my clothing budget.

4.  Kids = sensible shoes.  Kids mean running around.  Running around means sensible shoes.  Sensible and stiletto do not often meet in one shoe.

A couple of years ago, I finally had to go through all of my adorable shoes and give away most of my most awesome ones.  They were killing my feet, and I decided I was finally mature enough to realize that it wasn't worth it, no matter what Oprah says.

That left me with a need for black sandals.  I found two pairs that I really liked, but could only afford one.  As I looked at them, I realized something.

I was about to cross a threshold between high heels and {dun, dun, dun...} Mom shoes

Don't get me wrong - the mom shoes were really cute, but I was torn between a pair of sexy gladiator heels and more-comfortable-than-any-new-shoe-has-a-right-to-be black wedges with comfort soles.  I debated over these shoes for so long, Handsome Hero began to think I had been kidnapped by aliens who wanted to do experiments on earthlings with bunions.
Naturalizer - Posh

I bought the mom shoes, and ever since, I've walked the line.  I've walked the line in cute, but mostly comfortable shoes.  First come kids, then mom shoes.

All shoes via
p.s. I have found some awesome yet comfortable heels, and I am always on the hunt for amazing flats.  I'm not saying that you are doomed forever once you become a mom.  I'm saying that you are so saintly that you rise above {picture big, toothy grin}.

p.p.s  I am writing this barefoot.  How's that for irony? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day

This is my fifth Mother's Day, and I love it.  It's more important than my birthday, which is saying something. 

There's something I'm working on, though.  I find that I put unrealistic expectations on this day.  I expect that these two angels will behave perfectly because it's MY day {even though they're the reason I can call it MY day}.  There will be no squabbles, no crankiness, no bad attitudes.

They haven't quite captured the vision.  It was not a perfect morning.  It was a normal morning of highs and lows and good responses and bad reactions.  It was a morning of training, just like every other moment in their little lives.

I had to let my fantasy go this morning, because if I didn't, I wouldn't have enjoyed these sweet pictures.

I wouldn't have been able to find humor in the kids pretending to be like mama and hold their baby bellies, especially Jack, who kept looking for the baby. 

Where is it?

They are so excited to have a new brother, and I want to foster that, even while dealing with less-than-stellar behavior.

They won't be this little for long.

Or say "cheese" by gritting their teeth so that it sounds more like chish.

They will outgrow me someday, and not need me so much.  This time is fleeting.

The Lord has been truly gracious in giving us these three.  When I think of that, I am very aware of how blessed I am, and the gift they are. 

Perspective is beautiful.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jack and Ella's room - the, um, reveal?

Finally, the moment you've been waiting for!  Here, for your viewing pleasure, are the pictures of the new room.  And a very wordy explanation for everything.

We bought this bunkbed last weekend from a man who made it for his kids who are now my age.  This bed is rock solid.  It is held together by only eight bolts and has three drawers underneath that span the whole width of the bed.  It's pretty rustic, but that's great because it's long term home is with two boys.

I had arranged all the furniture in my head before we brought it home.  I had even measured it out. 

My measurements were wrong.  My head placed things badly.

The problem is that the bed fits nowhere easily.  It's the same size as Ella's last bed, but because of the height, there is no way not to lose a window.  It made me very sad to realize this, but we really did look into all of our options.  To make matters aesthetically worse, we put a very large dresser of a completely different style right next to the bed. 

Why, you ask?  I mean, I'm all about ecclectic design, but these just don't mesh.  Well, because Jack is still learning to stay in bed, we don't want temptation {meaning toys or books} too close, and that left us with only this arrangement option, but it means that two huge pieces of furniture are taking over the room.  I feel like the room almost tips in that direction.

And this is my pictoral confession of what this room looked like for a few days.

A mess of stacks and bundles and piles.  No wonder it felt claustrophobic in here!

Still, the kids love sharing the room.

As of today, it looks like this.  Nothing more has been checked off the design to-do list, but at least it's as neat and organized as it can be for the moment.

None of Jack's toys are in here yet, though.

We moved the play kitchen over and put the table with it {not that the table is currently usable because of all the books} for a "domestic zone."

I also found two plastic crates in a neighbor's garbage {no, I'm not above going through trash} and brought them home and cleaned them up for shoe storage.

So, where to we go from here?  Well, things are hopefully looking up.  Handsome Hero is working on a plan to build shelving on either side of the closet.  That would allow for all the kids' toys to be in here, with the higher shelving storing Ella's paper dolls and other delicate things that she really doesn't need to be sharing with her two-year-old brother.

So there you have it.  A room in progress.  I'm glad to have taken the plunge, but I'm looking forward to being able to say that it is complete.