Feb 11, 2016

Building a Tiny Terrarium

My Grandparents sent me this beautiful copper terrarium - it’s so pretty even without plants in it! They also sent me some tiny ferns to go inside - such a nice way to bring in some greenery during the cold winter days when everything outside is brown, gray and white.

I followed a tutorial from gardener's supply where the terrarium came from, though I used materials we already had on hand (except for moss, I bought that from our local nursery). Inside are six different tiny ferns - different leaf patterns and shades of green. It's really beautiful.

It's really hard to photograph because the glass is so reflective, but inside is this beautiful tiny jungle of green. Oliver kept insisting we put tiny jungle animal figurines (leftover from his Valentines) inside the "jungle." The only downside was that he then wanted to play with the terrarium, so the animals were relocated to an artificial plant.

Feb 10, 2016

Time for Bed...!

Once the crown molding was finished, we were finally ready to put together Oliver’s “big boy bed” which is a twin bed using my childhood bed frame from when I was his age. It’s dark wood so it blends well with the room. The bed also has a trundle that goes underneath it. Lovely friends of ours brought over a spare mattress from their guest room/office that they didn't need anymore, so we only had to order a trundle mattress, which was great. The trundle will be fun for sleepovers when he's a little older.

I think the bedding Oliver picked out looks good! The star sheets blend great with the ceiling color and I think the green works well with the palette. I think the bed could really use a navy blue throw pillow to bring it all together - it’s now on my list of things to find (preferably a pillow cover because we have enough pillows in our house).

Feb 8, 2016

"Wild" Valentines

Last year for Valentine’s Day I made inexpensive homemade Valentines with dinosaur erasers from Target. I really liked the way they came out and they were so easy to do!

This year in Oliver’s preschool he has more kids than ever to give to, so I definitely wanted to do something easy, inexpensive and candy free. I was really excited when I found these tiny circus animals in the party section of Target and they are perfect at $5 for 24. (Note: the website says 16 animals, but there are really 24 in the box)

I designed and printed simple cards on our home printer, then cut them out.

I punched tiny holes with a thumb tack, then used white stretchy string (the kind used to make kid’s bracelets) to tie an animal to each valentine. We made 24 pretty quickly - 4 of each type of animal.

I think they came out cute and most importantly - Oliver is very excited to hand them out this week!

Feb 3, 2016

Starry Night

When we painted Oliver’s ceiling, we kept comparing it to the night sky. This evolved into wouldn’t it be cool to do something with stars on the ceiling? Oliver of course LOVED the idea of stars (just like his sheets!). We just had to figure out the best way to do it. When I was in middle school I put up those cheesy plastic glow stars on my bedroom ceiling and they are still there glowing away, glued to the drywall. But those were out - too tacky right? I was hoping for something subtle that would only appear at night.

I researched different paints and stickers, different painting techniques. Unfortunately all of the paints I found were either white or the glow paint needed to be on white for it to glow. I found one brand of paint that might have worked on navy blue, but it was kind of expensive and I didn't know how well it would really work. The stickers and glow paint markers I found either had bad reviews or didn’t glow much. We thought about hanging LED twinkle lights but it wouldn’t look very nice during the day (and installing LED lights in the ceiling wasn’t an option since we boarded up our attic floor a couple years ago).

Then one evening Oliver was at his grandparents house and saw the old cheesy plastic 90’s stars on the ceiling of my childhood bedroom. He was totally floored, they were magical to him. I had to admit, I was really impressed at how brightly they glowed all these years later. And they didn’t look… terrible. Maybe I was being biased against them? Oliver loved them and his new big boy room was supposed to be all about him. Parents make concessions all the time? Happiness over good taste. After a quick search on amazon we had 200 stars coming our way for $7 - WAY less money than we would have ever spent on paint or fancy stickers.

And I have to admit, sticking those little stars up with a tiny dot of stickum that comes in the package is a lot easier than breaking our backs trying to paint a magical galaxy on the ceiling. Especially when Oliver loves the plastic stars so much. I’m a little bit worried about the fresh paint, but painting over the stickum dots in a few years would still be a lot less work than painting over painted stars. And right now they are fully moveable and removeable without any damage.

Mike got really into it and decided (since he was the one going up on the step ladder anyways) that we should do it right and put up constellations.  He did a really awesome job and it looks brilliant laying on Oliver’s bed. Very magical and fun. And those stars are BRIGHT- even an hour later they are still glowing (not as brightly but clearly visible). Unfortunately they don't photograph well in the dark, but you'll have to trust me that it's pretty great (even if they are cheesy plastic stars!).

Feb 1, 2016

Crown Molding

Mike put the crown molding up in Oliver’s new room and it looks amazing. It was just what the room needed. The crisp white line between the two colors really helps to make everything pop. Now I love the navy blue and yellow together more than ever - it’s just perfect for Oliver’s big boy room.

What is it about crown molding that makes a room feel so much more finished?

The crown molding was the final hurdle before we could finally start putting the room together - it was really exciting to have it finished - even Oliver loves it!

Jan 27, 2016

Big Boy Room Bedding

Figuring out bedding for Oliver’s room was tough. There are lots of adorable options out there but a lot of them are really expensive. With a new baby coming (double daycare!) we’re on a tight budget for this room. Plus little kids grow so fast and their tastes change so quickly - just because he loves space or dinosaurs now doesn’t mean he will love it in a year or two. Even if I went with something timeless, it’s hard to spend $300 on a quilt, even if it’s gorgeous, when little kids can make such messes on their beds. Ideally I wanted to pick something out that wouldn’t be the end of the world if it got ruined from all the gross things that happen with kids.

The bedding needed to be a lightweight quilt or coverlet, Oliver is a hot sleeper and he will roast under a duvet + duvet cover combo. We were looking for a solid, stripe or classic geometric pattern that wouldn’t go out of style (I didn’t really want plaid, chevron or dots). I was also hoping it would be soft and less than $50 for a twin. I scoured sales and my favorite stores, but I couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.

I was starting to get desperate… and then we were strolling through Target and walked by the kid’s bedding isle. They had some really cute sheet sets on display for a big bedding sale, and a friend of mine recently raved about how soft and lightweight they were (her kids are also hot sleepers). We were browsing and Oliver fell in love with a set white sheets that had navy blue stars that matched his dark blue ceiling. A ceiling he was very proud of since he helped paint it himself. And while we were looking at sheets I noticed they had a few quilts tucked away - I was immediately drawn to the solid green and solid navy blue ones. Timeless and classic colors, super soft, and the price was perfect at $27 for a twin on sale. I let Oliver pick between navy blue and green - he chose green, his current favorite color.

I think the leaf green will look great in the room - it coordinates well with the yellow and navy blue. Doing the bedding and ceiling navy blue probably would have been too much blue! To tie everything together I’d like to find a navy blue throw pillow that ties the ceiling color into the bed - I think that would be the right balance.

Jan 25, 2016

The Bedroom Ceiling Painted

The office/bedroom ceiling is painted! The navy blue looks as good in person as I hoped it would. Mike did a great job. He used a paint and primer in one (Benjamin Moore's Regal Select), so he was able to do the whole thing in only two coats without primer. The second coat was barely needed except in a few spots where we could see streaks in bright light.

It’s really dark, but this room gets a ton of light to make up for it. The ceiling also looks MUCH higher now too - I love it. It also makes the room feel a lot more masculine. I think it really needs the crown molding - not only because we did a loose line between the two (knowing we would do molding), but also to make everything pop.

Oliver also LOVES it. He wasn’t totally crazy about the color before we started (he wanted a “green and purple” ceiling), but now blue is his “favorite.” Mike let Oliver help paint, which made a huge difference in empowering him and embracing the change. He was so incredibly proud of himself and the ceiling, it really helped him take ownership of the room. Now he wants to show all his friends and move in right away.

The one downside?

Whoops. Oliver dropped the roller while helping in a spot where we didn't have a drop cloth. Mike spent an hour cleaning it, but navy blue paint on beige carpet is impossible. On the plus side it’s in the corner behind the door so most of it is easily hidden. Or we could attempt to cut this piece out (it’s the corner so it wouldn’t be hard) and replace it with a piece of spare carpet we have stored. Honestly it’s not a big deal and totally worth the sense of pride Oliver has for the ceiling. I'd rather he be excited about moving in than have a perfect carpet.

Jan 21, 2016

Georgia T-Shirt

I found this amazing t-shirt on clearance from Target. It’s GEORGIA. I wish they had adult sizes. And a onesie for the baby.

Jan 20, 2016

Ceiling Paint Color

We chose a dark navy blue for the ceiling of Oliver’s big boy room - Benjamin Moore's Van Duesing Blue. It’s a lovely dark navy with slightly green undertones and looks great with the Weston Flax Yellow in person. I’m so excited to put it up on the ceiling. We’re planning on painting and then putting up crisp white crown molding. Hopefully it will make the ceiling look higher and the room bigger (since dark recedes).

The yellow feels a lot brighter in real life than it does in the swatch, so in person the colors look really good together. The navy is really dark but this room gets a ton of light all day long. The colors look good together throughout the day in different lights. It's a big change but I think it will make the room feel a lot more fun and masculine.

My only concern is that once the ceiling is navy blue - will the white ceiling fan be too white against a navy blue backdrop? We can always replace the fan down the line or paint the fan blades a darker color (like gray?), though I think we need to see the final result before moving forward.

Jan 18, 2016

Emptying the Office

The first step to creating Oliver’s big boy room was to empty out the office. This actually took us weeks, it was a HUGE job - we stored so much stuff in here. We had to go through every shelf, every basket, every box and rolling cart and container. Everything was packed into boxes and tubs and even bags. Some designated for the attic, some designated for the basement or other spots.

The ugly truth: it looked like a disaster in here for a long time. It's actually organized chaos, but it felt as claustrophobic in real life as it does in the pictures.

It was extra crowded because it contained both packed up office stuff and a lot of stuff for Oliver's new room including his future dresser, nightstand, some toys and kitchen set. And then some random piles of stuff as well that landed in here from regular life. It was a lot of work to clear it out, but well worth it.

Since I'm not lifting a lot of heavy things these days, especially up and down the stairs. Mike was the superhero who got all the hard work done. Oliver was a great helper who helped move smaller stuff to the top of the stairs in the hall.

It's SO much better, but still crowded for redoing a room - all that's missing is the bed! It's not going to be easy to work this way, but for the first time we don't have the luxury of emptying a room to work on it. The basement is full of office stuff and we don't want to spread the chaos into other rooms of the house. Oliver is a sensitive kid and moving him to a new room will be hard enough, so we want to keep the rest of the house and his life as normal as possible. While Oliver does want to move to the bigger room (we gave him a choice) and he is excited about it, I know he's also anxious over such a big change so we want to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our goal is to keep him involved so that he feels empowered - helping with the work, making decisions (choosing from option tasteful option A and option B) and helping to make things for his new room.

Jan 14, 2016

Office to Big Boy Room

Oliver has had a big year. Potty training, a new school, a new brother coming... and now he’s moving from the nursery to his new big boy room (aka our office). He’s excited, we’re excited - but I know it’s going to be another big change. It’s going to take a while to adjust and we don’t have him to feel like the new baby stole his bedroom. We want to get him fully settled in the new room loooooong before the baby arrives in May, so we’re putting this project into high gear now.

This is what our office looked like on a really good day when things were organized:

Most of the time things were not quite so organized - piles of paper, miscellaneous things we needed to find a home for, leftovers from a craft project scattered on my desk. BUT it was nice to have a work space in our house that wasn’t the basement. I’m going to miss that.

However I am excited for Oliver to be able to enjoy this space. We’re keeping the bookcase and cube shelf in here for books and toys. We decided we want to keep the wall color for now as well. Repainting such a big room is a huge task and I really love this yellow color. To make the room more masculine we thought it would be fun to paint the ceiling a dark navy blue. I’d like to think of it as the night sky and we can build on that.

Our to do list:
  • Pack up all of our office stuff, downsize what we don’t need anymore, and move everything down to the basement
  • Paint the office ceiling dark blue
  • Add crown molding (if we don’t do it now, we never will)
  • Repair the top of my old dresser (Oliver’s new dresser)
  • Put together Oliver’s big boy bed, get a twin mattress
  • Find bedding that appeals to him, coordinates with the room and doesn’t cost too much
  • Decorate the new room (this will be a big job)
  • Transfer Oliver’s stuff over to the new room
Packing up the room is the hardest part. We've actually been working on it for a while - it's a slow process. We're keeping my glass desk because it's so versatile and we can each take a side for our own. Mike never loved his desk cabinet and mainly used it for storage, it's also falling apart in the back so we're going to get rid of it. My office chair is also broken so we're just keeping the comfortable green chair. 

Jan 12, 2016

How we made our Christmas Card

This year I didn’t take too many “behind the scenes” photos during our Christmas card photo shoot (I was too distracted trying to get the whole thing done), but I can still share how we built it.

This year we photographed the whole thing outside in the driveway in front of the garage, on a bright but cloudy day (no shadows). The backdrop is a sheet hung up in front of the garage door.

We put a drop cloth down on the driveway and then put the white duvet on top for “snow.” Under the duvet were pillows around the wheels to keep the car from rolling around during the shoot. The green trees in the background are two tree shapes we cut out of oversized cardstock, painted green and pinned to the sheet. The little car is Oliver’s toy cozy coupe and the tree tied to the top is the same tree we used in last year’s card. We plugged it in for the twinkle lights and taped the cord to the back of the car out of sight. The star is the one we use on the top of our tree every year.

I photoshopped the color of the orange car to red and added the text with effects. Everything else was part of the built "set." Oliver wore his green Christmas pajamas, a red santa hat and red rain boots to make him look as festive as possible.

Getting Oliver and Georgia in the car at the same time, looking even sort of happy, was really hard. I took over 200 photos with only one “magic” shot in the bunch. Georgia kept jumping out the car window, she was stepping on Oliver’s legs and being “ouchy,” and the November afternoon turned chilly and everyone started to get cold fast. There was A LOT of bribing involved with both of them. We were incredibly lucky to get one shot where they were both looking at the camera and smiling!!!

This was my second favorite but Oliver's face was too much in the shadows -

Now I just have to start brainstorming for next year. I have no idea how I'll get 1 kid, 1 dog and 1 baby to cooperate...