Nursery Update: Curtains

The nursery is really starting to come together now.....and it's about time!!  My due date is fast approaching (2.5 weeks left), so the urgency is really starting to kick in!  The most current change to the room is the addition of some curtains.  I am a creature of habit, so I went with the same IKEA Ritva curtains that I've used in all my other rooms.  1) They are SOOOO affordable (at $19.99 per window, although I've seen them advertised anywhere from $14.99 to $24.99, so check online before heading to the store to see if they are running a sale); 2) Being a not-so-savvy sewer, they are SUPER-EASY to hem with included hem tape, and 3) They have a linen-like feel and touch, but are oddly sheer enough to still let some light into the room (although I'm planning to put some blackout shades on the windows as well, since light + sleeping infants = BAD NEWS.....or so I'm told).  I would highly recommend these curtains to ANYONE that is in the market for something simple and affordable.  And since I may not keep the curtains in his room forever (since I can just envision our little one tugging on them as soon as he is able), it is a totally affordable short-term solution.  And who knows, maybe he will steer clear of them and they will last up through his toddler years.....here's hoping!

So here is what they look like at the moment: 

This room gets a lot of light in the morning (when I'm always trying to take pictures for the blog, coincidentally), so I apologize for the washed out photos.  Despite the grainy-ness, you can still totally see what I mean about the light seeping through the curtains. This is lovely in all my other rooms, where I wanted a light and bright feel, but I think it will be troubling when I am trying to bribe convince my little bean that he should be napping.

So all in all, it was a super easy project for the nursery....which is probably why I kept putting it off.  I'm really glad they are done though, so that I can move on to some more DIY artwork projects.  Next on my agenda is to create two frames with the lyrics to "You are my sunshine."  I saw this idea on etsy the other day (check it out here) and was totally inspired.  I already have two frames from IKEA, that I talked about here, so I think I'm going to cut out white letters with an exacto knife and paste them onto yellow paper.  I tried designing and printing them on my computer, but I couldn't seem to get the right yellow to print out with my printer.  So, I picked up a piece of yellow and white cardstock from Michaels and will hopefully be making progress tonight after work (although, I have to admit that it has become harder and harder in the last few weeks to be productive after working and then commuting back home....all I want to do is lay on the couch and pass out).  But since baby could arrive any day now, I suppose I need to get my act together!   I'll keep you updated on my progress....

Oh, and before I forget, I received a comment the other day asking about the crib bedding.  I ended up just using yellow crib sheets (Koala brand from Babies R' Us) and will be making a crib skirt out of Serena and Lily's Slate Goldenrod Mosaic fabric.  It was a little price-y at $40/yd, but I loved it so much that I thought it would be worth it in the long run.  I will probably only need 1 yd when all is said and done, but you can only buy it in 2 yd increments, so I plan to make a cute pillow or something else for the room with it.  I'm also planning on doing some bunting above the crib (instead of a mobile) so I will be able to use some of the leftover fabric for that as well.  And I also purchased a striped blue crib bumper a few months back (before I even had the crib in my possession) and later learned that it doesn't fit properly in there.  My one requirement for using a crib bumper at all was that it would be perfectly snug all around to avoid potential suffocation.  So, in the end, I'm not going to use it (and since the crib is so chunky, I really don't need to either).  I have posted it up on craigslist and am crossing my fingers that it will work for someone else's crib!!  Wish  me luck!

And again, I'll definitely keep you guys posted on those projects as well. 

Have any of you done DIY-artwork projects lately???  Any nursery ones?  I would love

to see and hear all about them!!  Any extra ideas or inspiration would be great!! 


Nursery Update: Rug

Here's a quick sneak peek at the nursery progress:

Sorry for the grainy photo.  My old iphone takes terrible photos and I was too lazy to look for the camera this morning to capture the room at this stage.  I promise that when I do the final reveal, I will have some good pictures to show you though!!

So we are still a long way from being "done" with the room, but it is definitely coming along.  We finally found a rug for the room last week (YAY)!!  I can't tell you how many hours I spent agonizing over colors and patterns and reviews for different styles of rugs.  I even bought one from the Home Decorators Collection (through Home Depot) and returned it to the store (they have a really great return policy) because it was both WAAAAY too rough and scratchy for my liking, and it wasn't the right color yellow for the room.  Here she is in my car on the way back to HD....

I liked the rug generally, but it just didn't feel right in the room (LITERALLY)!!  It is more of an indoor/outdoor rug, so its not very soft and cushy underfoot.  I should have known that based on the description (key words: wool, flatweave, durable construction) and the reviews, but I loved the pattern, so I blindly purchased it.  I always get so anxious about online purchases, but I knew that I could return it if I needed to, so that helped me push the button.  The price was also right at $200 for a 5x8, but at the end of the day, savings and style just didn't outweigh comfort.  Especially for my little boys' knees once he starts crawling around.  And until that time, I still have to walk back and forth across it 5 million times a day, so it best be comfortable for my tired, aching feet!!! 

So....long story short, it didn't work out and I went back to obsessively online shopping for another few weeks.  By the beginning of July, I was absolutely spent with this whole project, so I decided that I would put it off for a while, and we would just find a rug down the road when we really needed it.............. 

Until one day last week, I was browsing around Target and...ALAS...I found the perfect rug!!  I wasn't even shopping for a nursery rug, I was just browsing around for a bigger entryway mat to put our shoes on when we come in the door.  Don't you always find what you are looking for once you stop looking for it???  It's some cruel universe trick.  But back to the story.  I had been searching and searching for the perfect yellow rug (and even a white one for a fleeting moment....then I thought about poop and the moment slipped away), when all along I should have been looking for navy blue.  I passed by this beauty in the rug aisle and fell in love.....

Kind of anti-climactic huh?  It is definitely not show-stopping, but it turned out to be the "one".  It was exactly what I was looking for to tie the room together.....I just didn't know it.  I thought that the only way to ground the space was to highlight the accent color in the room and draw your attention down, but in reality, the rest of the colors in the room stand out MORE because of the grounded color on the floor.  It definitely doesn't match the walls perfectly, but it provides a really nice accent to it.  I am not big on everything matching perfect anyway, so it is nice to have different shades of blue and yellow in the room.  And at $69.99 for a 5x7, I couldn't resist.  I thought the HD rug was a steal, but this was 10 times better.  Plus, it is super soft to stand on.  I won't go as far as to say that it is going to last forever, but it will do its job for a while and we can just replace it in a few years when we switch the room from a nursery to a toddler room.  And who knows, we could be totally surprised by it and it will stand the test of time.  I will definitely keep you updated on that as we spend more and more time in the room. 

Here's some shots of the rug with everything else in the room.  What do you think??

It looks a little bit darker in these pictures than it is in person, but I still like the contrast.  It actually matches the quilt on the edge of the crib (which we will move once the baby comes, so don't worry) and the lamp shade perfectly!! I love the subtle stripes in the rug as well.  It gives it a little depth and makes it feel more masculine.  Maybe that's not always a good thing when you are looking for a nursery rug, but I think that the bright colors elsewhere in the room help to balance it all out.

And I'm not sure if you noticed in the picture above, but I started to do the curtains in the room.  They are the same white RITVA ones that I've used in the rest of the house.  I only had the time/energy to hem one window of curtains yesterday, but I will hopefully tackle the other one tonight.  But instead of finishing the curtains, I managed to put some contact paper down inside his dresser drawers (since the bottom of the drawers is wood and a little scratchy in places) and then wash all of his clothes and blankets and fold them away in their respective drawers (at least the drawers that I think make sense at the moment....I'm sure I will rearrrange it 300 times).

Finally, B and I worked on a little artwork project for our little man last night.  B actually did most of the work, so I can only take credit for the idea and the design.  We bought a frame from IKEA a few months  back:

It is the VIRSERUM Frame for $16.99.  We actually bought it for the nursery before we knew what we would do with it.  Then, I scrounged up some yellow and white polka-dotted wrapping paper left over from a shower gift and a piece of navy blue cardstock.   So, with all those items, and a little imagination, we created this:

It is totally simple, but I really love it.  B did such a great job with the sailboat.  He has always been really good at sketching and was super excited to be a part of this project (but don't tell him I told you that!!).   And the best part is, we can change it out whenever we feel like it and not feel guilty about it....since it was FREE artwork!!!  My favorite kind.  So the total for this project was $16.99.  Not too bad, right? 

I have a few other DIY artwork projects in the works that I can't wait to show you and I plan to get moving on the DIY crib skirt in the next week as well.  So there is certainly lots to share with you on the nursery front in the coming weeks!! Hopefully he holds out in there so that I can finish everything though.  I have had some braxton hicks contractions here and there for the last week or so and his head is very, very low, but I am still crossing my fingers that he waits a little longer before his big debut!!


Pregnancy: 35 Weeks

We are in the home stretch, finally.......with a big emphasis on the stretch part!!  I honestly don't know how my stomach is going to expand more in the next 5 weeks.  It's a little scary actually.  There have been times in the last few days that I swear his arm is going to come right through my skin!!  And the pressure on my belly button (which is still an innie) is unbelievable.  We were sitting on the couch the other night and B reached over me and brushed against my belly button accidentally......I literally screamed.  He had no idea what was happening, but he felt terrible.  Poor guy.  I'm sure I'm not the most pleasant person to be around lately.  The heat has been pretty bad for the past week and I am just feeling super pregnant and uncomfortable because of it.  At least we only have a few short weeks left of this!

Things are going well overall though.  We have been really really lucky with this pregnancy.  Despite my recent aches and pains and discomfort, I still can't complain too much.  At our last appointment, baby is currently head down (YAY) and my doctor feels that he is not likely to flip around prior to birth.....so we should be good to go for a "regular" delivery (I was going to say the "v" word, but for some reason it didn't feel right on a home-decor/DIY-related blog....and I thought it would open the flood gates for me to be waaay too expressive about this process in the coming weeks......so you're welcome!).  All in all though, the doc thinks that things are looking good.  Phew!

In other news, my family and friends threw me an AMAZING baby shower two weekends ago.  I honestly can't tell you how blessed we are to have such supportive, generous and thoughtful people in our lives.  We are really lucky!!  Our baby is going to be one very cozy, entertained and well-dressed little guy.  Oh, you wouldn't believe how cute some of the outfits and blankets and toys were!!  Let's just say that there were a lot of oohs and aahs in the room!  We also got a lot of wonderful handmade items that I know our son is going to cherish forever (well...let's be honest, he is going to probably spill things on it and spit up on it and generally wreak havoc on it, but his intentions will be good).  And I know that B and I will cherish it forever.  We are so grateful for everything and we truly feel lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful friends and family! 

Here are a few shots from the day (my mother-in-law took a lot more photos, but I don't have those from her yet.  These are just the ones that B captured on our camera at the end of the shindig.....

My lovely mom....isn't she adorable?
 And check out our kitchen we we got home from the shower.....

That was only the stuff that could fit in our car!  My awesome neighbor was nice enough to bring home the rest of the bigger items in her car (strollers, pack and play, play gym, etc.).  It is unbelievable!!  We just stared at the pile for a while and then decided to sort through it all (which also let Brian take a peek at everything) and then organize it all.  We ended up putting some things away in bins in his closet (6-12 mo. clothes and 3+ month toys), but the rest of it neatly placed on his bookshelf or in his dresser drawers (which I will definitely give you a sneak peek of tomorrow).
Other than finishing up a few projects in the nursery, though, and washing his clothes, we are pretty much ready for his arrival.  And by ready, I mean physically equipped with the necessary "things" that he will need (diapers, wipes, onesies, etc.).  As far as being mentally prepared....well...is anyone really?  We are incredibly excited to meet him, but there is definitely that twinge of nervousness about the whole thing too.  I mean, let's be honest, it's not an easy job.  But at the end of the day, I know that we are going to get through it together.  We have managed to tackle some pretty difficult projects together over the last year in this new house (which is obviously not the same as raising a baby), but we were able to work through the difficult times and we are better people and will be better parents for it.....I think/hope!


I've Got a New Way to Walk....Walk, Walk!

I have no idea where that song is from, but whenever I think about walkways (and especially my own), this song pops into my head.  Weird, right?  I honestly think it might be from an episode of Sesame Street....oy!

But enough trivia for the moment, let's get down to business.  So, as you have probably already guessed, this post has to do with my walkway.  I have been not-so-silently scheming and dreaming since we moved in to replace the uneven, rickety brick walkway that leads to our side door.  Not only is it an eyesore, but it is actually pretty dangerous to walk on at this point (since I haven't really seen my feet for a few weeks now).  The hubby and I have talked about getting it done before the little bundle of joy arrives, but we hadn't really planned much further than that.  Or so he thought.......

We had originally planned to go away for the fourth of july weekend, but I hadn't been feeling great towards the end of the week and we have been on the go so much that we decided to cancel.  And since we didnt' really have other plans lined up, I thought, why don't we tackle the walkway!  And by we, I mean him.....and my rockstar parents!  Trust me, I tried to help out, but everyone kept yelling at me to sit down and rest.  I know that I'm 8 months pregnant, but I hate sitting around and watching other people do work.  I like to get in the action and get my hands dirty!!!  So....instead of helping them with the walkway, my mom and I worked on weeding and planting (which she did all of since we've heard bad things about pregnancy and soil - I guess the chemicals in some fertilizers and soil can be really bad for unborn babies, so I stuck to yanking out weeds and trimming bushes). 

So here is what we started with on Saturday morning (Hi Mom!). 

The bricks really didn't bother me (from an asthetic perspective).  In fact, I took a drive around the neighborhood (since it was WAAY too hot this weekend to walk) and everyone in the neighborhood has brick walkways.  Either there was a sale on it when our houses were all built, or it is just the traditional Hingham style.  I'm not exactly sure, all I know is that the old, dirty, worn-out bricks that made up our existing walkway just weren't cutting it.  We considered reusing them in a different pattern once we re-leveled the ground, but after more thought, and a few trips to Home Depot to check out their patio stones, we realized that we ultimately wanted a change.  So, anyone that is looking for about a thousand bricks (there were some stacked up in the garage when we moved in as well), just let me know.  I'm actually thinking about putting them up on Craigslist to see if anyone bites.  I'm not sure what the going rate for bricks is these days, but maybe I'll just do a $__ + pickup deal and hope that someone wants to haul them away!! 

But back to the project!!  Let's fast forward to Monday night (yes, it took almost three full days of work to get er' done, but it was worth it).  Here is the "after" photo:

I love it!!  I can't tell you how happy I am with it.  What do you guys think?  I feel like it brightens up the area so much and the landscaping doesn't hurt to spruce it up either.  There is still more work to do (adding crushed stone along the foundation to keep out bugs and moisture, fixing a few of the trim pieces that are rotted out, replacing the molding around the door (since the current stuff is just not beefy enough for me.....nor is it tall enough, and replacing the steps).  After we started laying the stones, we realized that we didn't love our steps anymore since 1) they don't match the new walkway and 2) they are really dingy and starting to chip around the edges.  So, I called a local mason and he is coming later this week or next to re-face both the front and side-door steps with some limestone to match the new walkway.  YAY!!  So, once that is done, I will do a full before and after post with a little tutorial on patio/stone-laying (since it was our first time tackling a walkway).  I might drag B in to help out with that post, though, since he honestly did most of the work!!  I can't even begin to take credit for this one...they wouldn't even let me pick up the individual stones...haha!! 

But, while the boys were busy doing the heavy-lifting, my mom and I cleared out the jungle that was taking over the front of our house (and the side next to the walkway).  When we bought the house, we learned that the previous owner was an avid gardener.  Unfortunately, though, she became rather sick and wasn't able to maintain the outside of the house (or the inside, to be honest) for the last few years, so it was pretty unkempt when we moved in last year.  The good thing is, though, that there was a lot of great plants to work with around the house, they just needed a little love.  So love we gave them.....tough love.

Here is the before picture of the front of the house (SCARY!!):

I can't believe we had let it get so bad.  We had talked about tackling the landscaping, but with a whole acre of weeding and edging, it just seemed too much to handle.  So, instead of tackling the whole thing this weekend, we just decided to focus on the front of the house (since we were sprucing up the walkway anyway).

Here is where we ended up on Monday evening:

Again, we are not totally finished with the makeover (we are going to add a hydrangea to the front of the walkway in that empty corner, and add the crushed stone along the house), but it is definitely an improvement from before.  I was grinning from ear to ear as I watered the plants on Monday night after the dust had settled, literally, and everything was picked up.  My parents are seriously amazing.  They stuck it out with us all weekend and helped us push through.  In fact, most of the time, they were still going strong while B and I were sitting in the shade taking a breather!!  I have mentioned it in the past, but I just want to reiterate that we couldn't get done HALF of the work that we do on our house without their help.  They are our own little extreme home makeover team and we are really lucky to have them around!!!  So, if you are reading this, thanks guys!!  We owe you!!

So that's it for our little weekend transformation.  Hopefully we will have the steps finished in the next few days and the crushed stone all laid along the foundation.  I will definitely report back as progress is made.  But for now, you can find me standing out on my new little walkway just taking it all in!


1 Year Later: Lessons Learned and Plans for the Future

As I mentioned on Friday, we are currently celebrating the 1 year anniversary of blogging here at Simple.Beautiful.Home!  Time flies when you're having fun, right?  It has been a great year and I am so happy that I took a risk and started this little blog.  My initial intent was to utilize it as a web journal of our house transformation, but it has turned into so much more than that.  I have been exposed to so many other great blogs through this process and I feel connected to a whole new world of people.  I feel like I have friends out there that I have never even met!!  It's wonderful!  I wouldn't give it up for the world.

In fact, I am hoping to expand this blog even more in the coming year. 

Here are just a few of my goals for year # 2:

* Blog more often - right now, I am having a hard time squeezing it in with a busy work schedule, but I'm hoping to make more time for this in the future.  I have so much more to share with you guys, so I just need to keep up with all of my thoughts (or write them down before I forget them).  I currently do at least a post a week, but I would love to start doing 3-5 each week.  Wish me luck....

* Visit and reach out to more blogs - I try to look at everyone else's blog each day (at least the ones that I am connected to on the blog feed), but often times I only get through a handful before I have to switch to something else.  I really just need to make a more concerted effort to take the time to reach out.  I am always happy that I did.  Not only am I able to offer some encouragement to my fellow blogging friends (which I love to do), but I gain so much inspiration from everyone that it is overwhelming at times (and adds more projects and ideas to my never-ending to-do list).  It's a total win-win!!

* Document my projects better - I often find that I forget to take a before picture when I start to dive into a DIY project.  My intentions are there to write about the transformation, but a before (and during) picture are absolutely crucial to get the full before and after effect!!  And who doesn't love before and afters?  It is so inspiring to see what other people are capable of.

* Update the after photos on the house tour page - we have done so much more to the house since I first updated the house tour page, so I really need to give it a refresher!! 

* Add a baby page - I know this is a home/design/renovation/DIY type blog, but the new baby is going to be a big part of simple.beautiful.home, so I am thinking that I will designate a separate page for anyone that wants to oogle pictures of our little one (*ahem*...that's you, Mom)!!  I will keep you updated on any DIY-related projects for him and his nursery, but all of the random glamour shot photos will be designated to their own separate space!! 

* Ramp up my link party activity - I love participating in linky parties, but I always seem to forget to do it before they are closed.  My goal for the next year is to spend some time spreading the word about projects, and maybe even host a linky or two on here.  In fact, maybe I'll add a separate page for all of the link parties so that I remember which ones happen on which days.  I have seen this done on a few blogs before and I think its a great idea.  It's an awesome way to spread the word about your own projects, but its also a lot of fun to see what other people are working on too!!  Again, so much inspiration out there!!  I can't stand it!!! 

Other than that, I think I'm just going to keep plugging away!   I'm excited to see what the next year holds!  Oh, and the most important thing that I wanted to say today was a big ol' thank you to each of you followers out there for all your support and suggestions and encouragement over the last year.  Reading your comments and hearing from you via email honestly makes my day, so I'm very grateful to each and every one of you!  Thanks for coming along for the ride.  I hope you stick around to see what else is in store!

And speaking of what's in store, we have a lot to share with you in the next few weeks.....guest bedroom update, new DIY walkway installation and landscaping, hallway gallery of frames, new windows installed, nursery rug choice, and so much more!!!  I am slowly checking things off my to-do list and it feels great.  Can't wait to share it all with you guys in the next few days!!  Stay tuned...


Happy Blogiversary!

YAY!!  Happy 1-Year Anniversary Simple.Beautiful.Home!!  I can't believe I have been doing this for a year already.  Time has flown by since we bought the new house, and I imagine it will only speed up more once the little one comes along!  I haven't really taken time to think about resolutions or goals for the new year (since this kind of snuck up on me), but I will brainstorm this weekend and do a little recap post next week! 

Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!  Enjoy the BBQs, beer (have one for me, please), pool parties and fireworks!!  I have lots of updates for you in the next few weeks.  This nesting thing is really starting to kick in so I am flying through projects faster than I can write about them.  So stay tuned!!  Have a safe and fun holiday everyone!!!