Protected: evelyn’s first birthday party: snapshots

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because this is what I do

… let’s do a seasonally appropriate blog post.

… about a month & a half late.

On December 9, in a sudden burst of Christmas craftiness, I went to Michael’s. (The craft store. Not where my husband lives. Which would also be my house.) I bought a medium & a small wreath, some brushed metallic berries, ribbon, a large discounted leather frame from the custom framing department, floral wire and spray primer & paint. I came home, and by the next morning, I had my Christmas paradise crafty mantle.

(Do you sense the pride? I don’t normally craft. It’s a financial decision based on a cost/benefit calculation, where I have a ridiculously large assumption for how much my “time” is worth.)

First, I took the large leather frame outside & sprayed it with primer. I wasn’t sure I could do this on a leather frame. I googled it, and nothing came up – which means, nobody had every spray painted a leather frame before. But, I decided to do it anyways, because obviously, I am a pioneer when it comes to being crafty.

I let the frame dry and went inside to tie the 2 wreaths together with floral wire to get one big, full wreath. (WHY do I keep typing “wrather” for wrather…err wrather…for WREATH?)

The fake berries were attached to a bendy stem, so I wrapped the bendy part around the wreath, tying down some berries with floral wire. Then I wrapped the wreath in white Christmas lights (which I already had).

I went outside periodically over the next few hours, spraying the frame. I think I did about 5 thin coats of primer & 3 thin coats of brushed metallic spray paint.

After letting that dry overnight, I brought it inside & used the wired ribbon to tie the wrather-wrata-WREATH to the frame.

I put the frame/wreath up on the mantle, plugged in the lights, took an old fake garland, wrapped it in lights & laid it up there. I took some metallic candle holders & stuffed the leftover berries in them. The pillar candle holders were already on my mantle, and then I added 3 white Christmas trees that my mom had got for me last year from a cute little store near her.

Ta daa!

And, because to me, this is more like a winter mantle, you could leave this up well into January. Like, January 20 for instance. With no immediate plan to take it down… because that was enough craftiness for a year, and you’re not really sure to do with your mantle after that.

little girl’s first bedroom

It’s finished, with a lot of help from many of little girl’s loved ones.

My mom made the gorgeous curtains. The fabric is Amy Butler’s Daisy Chain Deco Rose Navy. Michael & his dad hung the curtains.

Michael painted the walls & the trim, as well as refinished the window sill. The sill was pretty disgusting; the plaster wall around it was crumbling off in pieces & the sill itself was covered in several layers of cracked paint. He removed all of the old paint, rebuilt the wall around it, and repainted. It looks gorgeous.

There will be something above the crib, but that is a surprise for now 🙂

Michael also put the crib together.

I made the crib skirt using the same fabric as the curtains. It was ridiculously easy & didn’t require any sewing. Perfect for someone who isn’t crafty. The tutorial on Young House Love was my inspiration.

… and he and his dad put together the dresser.

The books were from many friends and family, but my friend Lauren generously gave us the majority of them! Part of her gift to us was a huge bin full of wonderful children’s books that we’ll treasure with little girl (and hopefully her siblings) for years to come.

Chris’ girlfriend, Carley, painted this amazing canvas of a cute hippo. She is so talented! The bunny I bought in Paris in November is hanging out next to him. Mom gave us the adorable little …dude?… in the pointed hat below them. If I sleep with it, it will retain my scent & calm down little girl when I can’t be with her.

This owl (“Owlie”) is one of my favorite gifts little girl has received, from my friend Erika. He’s hanging out in the reading corner.

And again, another project I dreamed up for Michael to do: he finished the IKEA kitchen cart we had in our old kitchen (mostly using this tutorial) to use as a changing table. It turned out fantastic. I was going to use the dresser as a changing table initially, but it was just a bit too tall for this shorty. The kitchen cart is just a bit lower, and only cost us a few cans of primer & spray paint.

Michael and his dad also replaced the door handle with this new one. The old one was a bit clunky & made a lot of noise when it was turned. Definitely not what we want when little girl is getting her sleep.

We look forward to the memories we’ll create with our daughter in this room … wiggles on the changing table, story time while snuggled in the chair, playtime on the floor, and sleepy smiles from the crib.

crib – Baby Mod ParkLane from Walmart

crib mattress – Sealy Soybean Foam-Core Crib Mattress from Amazon

dresser – IKEA Hemnes

dresser knobs – mercury glass melon knob from anthropologie

changing table – IKEA FÖRHÖJA, refinished using this blog

glider – Peyton by Best, from Buy Buy Baby

ottoman (“floor poof”) – Target (seasonal, spring 2012)

curtain & crib skirt fabric – Amy Butler Daisy Chain Deco Rose Navy from

crib skirt tutorial – Young House Love

bunny prints – Etsy seller krisblues

lion print – by artist Marisa Haedike, bought on

hippo canvas – gift from Carley 🙂

prints in square frames – cut from a 2010 Paper Source calendar

dresser lamp -Target (seasonal, spring 2012)

floor lamp – Target

rug – 5×7 zig zag rug from Urban Outfitters

wall frames – Ribba collection from IKEA

wall shelves – Ribba ledges from IKEA

mirror – Target, from 2010

birds on the wall – Target (seasonal, spring 2012)

changing table containers, lighter color – Target

changing table containers, darker color – Lowes

aqua petal throw pillow – Grandin Road, 13″ round

crib sheet – Carter’s Easy-Fit Velour Fitted Sheet, ecru from Babies R Us

changing pad cover – Boppy, sand from Babies R Us

books – so many generous gifts from friends & family!

plush owl – Pier 1

wooden sheep – lacing sheep by Plan Toys, a gift from Laurel 🙂

kitchen reveal.

When we bought this house in September of 2010, we knew we wanted to renovate the kitchen. I didn’t have any specific ideas in mind, but I wanted the space to be more open & airy, with clean lines, yet true to the character of the house. I’ll let the before/after pictures speak for themselves, but I think this was accomplished.

I want to say, first of all, that Hurst Total Home did all of the work, from the layout, to the structural considerations, to the actual construction. We were very pleased with the team we worked with at Hurst, and would recommend them to anyone in the Dayton, Ohio area. While they did all of the hard work, I had fun picking out the textile-type aspects of the kitchen … cabinets, counters, hardware, tile, etc. 🙂





(those 3 drawers still need hardware… 1 of a couple minor details yet to be finished.)









Ta daaaa!

We still can’t believe it’s our kitchen. We cooked dinner in it for the first time last night, and I think we both felt a little timid. I was so accustomed to using the microwave in the living room and the fridge in the dining room … I still found myself going to get water from the gallon jug in the dining room fridge, even though the water dispenser in the new fridge is fully functional.

Some details … the cabinets are custom by DeWils (black is stain, white is paint), counters are Cambria quartz, hardware is by Amerock, and all appliances are from the GE Cafe line except for the drawer microwave, which is Sharp.

{quartz counters by Cambria}

We had some more work done around the house by the same contracting company; I’ll post about those later. We loved our home before the renovations, but now … we LOVE our home 🙂  The functionality, design, character, warmth … it’s kind of ridiculous how much I love our home.

mums make it all better.

yes, folks, it’s time for another odd, out-of-season post!

I swear, if keeping up with a blog is this difficult NOW … well, let’s just say this blog will be retiring around April 13. However, I have a feeling that all I need for a complete blog post from that point on will be quick, timely posts of just pictures … I’ll let little baby girl’s cuteness do the talking for me.

Back to the mums.

First of all, I love our house. I love almost everything about it. I love how it looks like a little cozy cottage, yet has a surprising amount of room. I love the location, all nestled in the cutest neighborhood ever, fairly safe, and extremely convenient (to everything but my workplace). I love the multi-colored brick, the pop of the white windows and the beautiful dogwood in front. … and the hottie husband building a french drain in the front.

However, I still felt like something was missing.

So, we did this.

In order to play up the “cottage” look it already had going for it, I decided it needed some flower boxes. I bought these black window boxes made by Mayne. They’re unique because they have a nice curve in the front … which is a shape prevalent throughout the house (especially in the interior arched doorways) and the detail is very craftsman, also like the rest of the house. I also thought the black really pops and brings out the color in the mailbox and storm door. [It’s difficult to see, but there is a window behind the dogwood, with a window box.]

Then we stuck 2 pots of yellow mums in each box. We kept them in the pots for easy removal before winter.

What do you think?

What simple things have you done to improve the curb appeal of your home?