DIY Toy Box

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I think I officially have a toddler. I mean, when I spend the entire day either chasing the little munchkin or saying “No, Landon…no, no, no….Landon, that’s not to play with” that equals toddler, right?!?! When he first learned what the word “no” meant, he would usually stop whatever behavior I was saying no to. Now, he is testing the limits and repeating the behavior, over and over and over. The latest, picking food up off his high chair tray, holding his food-filled fist for me to see and dropping it while I tell him not to drop the food. Big heavy sigh.

Once Landon turned 4 months, we started accumulating toys at rapid pace so I needed a place to store them. I started searching for toy boxes and toy storage. There were some cute options out there but not a lot that really went with his nursery or my décor style. Baskets would have been the best option if I had a big shelving unit to store them on, but, space in the nursery was becoming limited.

I came across this unfinished wood toy box on Wayfair and decided to customize it to fit the style of the room.

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I painted the toy box white with Heirloom Traditions A La Mode chalk paint, 3 coats total, and then used DIY Big Top Aftershow top coat. I followed it up with a light sanding on the edges with 180 grit sandpaper.

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Next, I decided to add a padded seat to the top of the toy box. I added the hinges to the lid so that I could cut and attach the padding and fabric around them. Lay out your fabric on the ground (design side down), making sure that if you are using fabric with a pattern, you pay attention to the placement and angle of the pattern. Next, lay out a piece of 1″ foam on top of the fabric followed by the lid placed upside down on top of the foam. At this point, you can cut the foam and the fabric to the appropriate dimensions. Leave a 1″ border of foam around the toy box lid. Leave a 2″ border between the fabric and foam to allow for folding the edges over and attaching with staples.

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To attach the padding and fabric, I folded the edge of the fabric over on itself, the folded the remaining edge of the fabric over the foam and toy box lid, securing it with staples and my electric staple gun. When you are securing the fabric, work on one side at a time and secure only to within 2″ of each corner so that the fabric at the corners is loose. You are going to make some cuts and folds in order to tuck the corner fabric in. Also, when securing the fabric on the hinge side, staple everywhere except at the hinges, leaving the fabric loose there as well.

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To secure corners, you want to cut away the extra layers of fabric that were folded under, leaving only 1 layer of fabric. Take the tip of fabric at the corner, fold it over the lid and secure with a staple. You should now have loose fabric on either side of the corner. On each side, you will fold and roll the fabric under itself at an angle so that when you bring the two sides together they will meet at the corner. Secure with staples.

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To secure fabric around hinges, again, cut away some of the layers so you have just 1 layer of fabric, refold the fabric so that it fits around the hinge and secure with staples.

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Once I attached the lid to the toy box, I wanted to add a little more detail so I picked up some metal T strap and L strap angles , spray painted them black and attached them at each corner for a little industrial touch.

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That’s it! Totally customizable to your color and design! Just change paint color, fabric, spray paint and done 🙂

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Small Buffet Upcycle

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Hi everyone!!! Wow, it feels like I’ve been gone for SO LONG! I mean, 2 months isn’t forever but still, I missed posting for you and I’m glad to be back at it. Thank you for hanging in there while I took a little break. I was able to accomplish quite a few things around the house, get myself organized and reprioritize what I want and need to do with this blog going forward. I’m so excited to get back to sharing things with you and have so many fun projects in store, so I hope you love them as much as I do!

How about a little life update first 🙂 Not a ton has changed, just the usual day-in and day-out of stay-at-home motherhood. We have been taking more weekend trips as a family and I’ve been getting Landon out into some play groups each week, which he loves! So, we’ve been more social in the last couple of months I guess. The little one is seriously on the move! He is crawling and cruising SO fast! Walking is just around the corner…(heavy sigh). And no, mom, I still don’t have the baby gate up. :/ Landon is also adding to his vocabulary. He now says mama, dada, nana, & Ella (except Ella sounds more like Elwa, but so cute!) Speaking of Ella, I think she may have kennel cough. Ugh! Have any of you dealt with kennel cough in your dog? She is current on vaccinations, we did board both dogs about 2 1/2 weeks ago and she started this awful cough/choking sound just over a day ago. I’m hoping it’s not something more serious but we’re going to the vet today, so I’ll keep you posted.

So, this mini buffet. What do you think?!?! I’ve had this piece of furniture for years, 7 years to be exact, as it was a wedding gift from my little sisters. I honestly never had a true home for this piece but recently, have not been liking our bar area. It was a bit too big and in a very focal point of our home so I want to make it smaller and de-emphasize it a bit. This mini buffet seemed like the perfect size. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it before painting…this is why I needed to get organized about my projects, I start projects on a whim, only get them halfway done, never feel like I’m getting anywhere with this house! Before, it was a cream/yellow tone with bronze hardware and chalkboard doors. It was super cute but the yellow tone just didn’t go with the rest of the house anymore.

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I did want some of the black to show through when I distressed this piece, so to start, I painted 1 coat of Heirloom Traditions Black Bean on any area that wasn’t already black. Once that was dry, I added 2 coats of A La Mode (White). Most of the time, when I distress furniture, I just go over the edges with sandpaper. This time, however, I used a technique called Wet Distressing. You distress right away after the paint dries, don’t give it any time to cure because you want the paint to come off easily. Using a sponge or rag, and a bowl of water, you get the sponge wet, ring out the excess water, and lightly rub the area you want to distress. This will essentially peel off the paint giving you more of a “chippy paint” effect.  I actually found this method of distressing much easier than sanding and WAY less messy.

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For the knobs, I went with this simple matte black round ceramic knob from Home Depot.

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 And that’s it! Just a simple upcycle that made a world of difference to our bar area. If you have followed for a while, you’ll remember when I originally put the bar area together. It turned out like this…

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I did like it but have since taken our décor in a different direction so I thought this area needed an update. I also moved it to the opposite side of the room so that it is tucked away in the corner instead of front and center when you walk into our kitchen/dining room.

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I’d love to hear what you think of the new version! I also have a fall décor post coming later this week where you will be able to find sources for all the décor pieces you see here.

Happy Wednesday everyone! And it feels great to be back, I missed you friends!! 🙂

DIY Chalkboard Sign

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Confession…I love chalkboards. Or, I love creating cute little works of art on chalkboards. Weird, I know. I have created some fun chalkboard signs for my mom’s business and thought it was time I have one in my home. I created a new photo gallery wall in our living room and took down the old gallery wall which was hanging in this space. It’s kind of an awkward spot. You enter our home into a foyer with a vaulted ceiling with the living room, dining room and kitchen to the left but you don’t really see those rooms until you round the corner. As you turn the corner, you step up 4 stairs into the living area and this wall is right in front of you.

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Not only is it an awkward spot, but the wall itself is a bit awkward as well. It is essentially a square in the center of our upstairs area. On the left of it is our living room and on the right is our dining room and kitchen. And because of the light switches and thermostat, the placement of anything you put on the wall either has to be really high or really low. Which is the reason I wanted to move the gallery wall, because the photos were up so high, you never really saw them very well. Once I completed this sign, I loved it in this space but still felt like the wall needed something on the lower half too. I think a thin sofa table up against the wall could possibly look good. However, very shortly there will be a DIY baby gate at the top of those stairs…hint hint at a future post…that will visually cover that space as you walk up toward the wall so I will most likely leave it as is until after the gate is up.

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The great thing about this sign is that the size is completely customizable for your space if you use the same project boards that I used from Lowe’s. They come in multiple sizes, thicknesses and made from different types of wood. For my space, I used a stain grade pine panel that is 3/4″ thick x 24″ tall x 36″ wide. Unfortunately, I can’t find these pine panels on their website anymore but they are usually kept in the lumber area, near the wood trim section.

Supplies
stain grade pine panel 3/4″ x 24″ x 36″
1″ x 2″ x 4′ pine board (for trim)
table saw or miter box (for cutting trim)
wood glue
1 1/2″ brad nails and nail gun
wood filler
220-grit sandpaper
chalkboard paint
stain or chalk paint for trim (I used Minwax stain in Dark Walnut)
chalk

Step 1: Cut your trim

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Lay your project board down and cut a piece of trim for each side. Now, you can just do straight edge cuts on your trim instead of angled miter cuts. If you have a table saw and can do miter cuts easily, then I say go for it. If you are trying to do it with a miter box and hand saw, probably not worth all the effort. At least not with the wood that I used for the trim, because it is not soft and would not be easy to cut through with a hand saw. So, if you are doing a straight edge, 90° cut with a jigsaw, simply cut the top and bottom pieces first, attach them with the wood glue and nails, as shown in step 3, and then measure and cut the side pieces. If you are doing a mitered angle cut, I measured one side at a time and as I measured the next side, I held the previous side in place to make sure I had a proper measurement and snug fit at each corner.

Step 2: Paint

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I know it might seem a little backwards to paint first and then assemble, and you don’t have to do it this way, especially because if you use wood filer to seal the corners on the trim, you’ll have to touch that up anyway. However, I didn’t want to deal with having to be super careful to not get the chalkboard paint on the trim once it was assembled so it just seemed easy and must faster to paint the pieces beforehand. Like I mentioned above, I used this chalkboard paint for the main board (2 coats) and Minwax stain in Dark Walnut for the trim (1 coat wiped on with a cloth).

Step 3: Attach trim to chalkboard

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Lay a piece of trim down on it’s thicker edge, add a thin line of wood glue to the edge that will attach to the chalkboard. Make sure the edges of your trim are flush with the chalkboard or the corner on each end and attach the trim using 1 1/2″ brad nails and a nail gun

Step 4: Finish corners with wood filler

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Use a little wood filler at each corner to fill in any gap between the trim boards. Once it is dry, use 220-grit sandpaper to buff the wood filler smooth and touch up with whichever stain or paint you used.

Step 5: Chalk art fun!

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Now you get to change up your wall décor as often as you want, and the great thing about chalk…if you don’t like it, you can wipe it off and do it again! I get a lot of my chalkboard inspo from Pinterest. Just type in chalkboard art and there you go. Some are way more intricate than others so just start with something simple and each time you can get a little more brave 🙂 I also added this little faux fern garland to the top for a little something extra because I felt like the wall was still a little naked.

Tips for creating chalkboard art
1. Use your chalk to divide you board into 4 equal sections, lightly draw a faint line down the middle of the board both vertically and horizontally. Whatever picture you are using as your inspiration, visualize it in 4 sections just like your board. This will help you with placement of each word or picture in relation to everything else.
2. Start from the center and work your way out. I started this board with “hello” and the sun, and then followed with each line and did the arrows last. It was easy to figure out the placement for the most central word and then look at how each word or object is placed in relation to that central word.
3. Sketch it out first. I do a very rough, very light-handed sketch of each word to make sure I like the placement and the size before coloring it in darker or finalizing it. Keep a wet rag on hand to wipe away sketch marks that don’t blend in or are outside the lines of your final word. This works especially well for cursive words because, for reals….my cursive ain’t pretty! Unless I go VERY slowly and sketch it first.
Have fun!!

Gallery Wall

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You know the best way to wake up early on a Tuesday morning? To the sound of your dog getting sick. I mean, nothing gets you to jump out of bed and on your feet faster. And then try going back to sleep after that. Two things that I thought would be an issue having dogs with a baby or small child. 1) That the dogs would take or chew on the baby’s toys and 2) the dogs are going to get a little “thicker” when the baby starts eating solid food and can therefore feed the dogs 🙂
Until now, neither have been an issue. The other day, Landon was sitting on one of his little chairs that has toys attached to it, eating a teething biscuit. By the way, teething biscuits have to be one of THE messiest foods I’ve ever seen! Anyway, my mother-in-law was cleaning him up after he finished and Ella, sneakily and one by one, grabbed the toys which were now covered in biscuit crumbs. The toys were (<– notice how I said “were” not “are”) those round plastic rings, bright colored that stack on a cylinder and form a pyramid. Super flimsy and took no time at all for Ella to demolish while trying to eat every crumb she could find. I found the leftover plastic under our bed with some of the consumed plastic making it’s appearance this morning.
Welcome to our little slice of crazy town!

We have been so lucky to have some amazing photos taken over the last year and a half since finding out a little babe was on the way. Something I’ve been so bad about, in recent years, is displaying personal photos at home. This, to me, is such a down side to all the technology we use on a daily basis. Our photos are all contained on phones and computers and rarely make their way onto paper and into our homes. Why? One of my favorite things in other people’s homes is seeing all their personal photos, their family & friends, big events, love. I am resolving to have more photos printed and finish my home spaces with this personal décor detail.

I had this large wall space in our living room and went back and forth about what to put there. We did have a gallery wall in the house before, but it was all wedding photos and the location wasn’t a noticeable spot where people would stop to look at it. I asked Jeff if I should replace the current gallery wall or move it to the large wall in our living room. His response, “put it in the living room so we will actually see it everyday and enjoy it”. Yes! Too often, gallery walls are hidden on stairwells and in hallways where people don’t see them as often. Bring those photos to a prominent location!

I went with a grid style gallery wall, very uniform and pretty easy to put together. I have seen some gallery walls that are asymmetrical and I do love them, but I am just too “straight line, symmetrical, matchy-matchy” for that style. Maybe someday I’ll step outside my comfort zone, but until then, here are a few tips to help you create your own grid-style gallery wall…

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1. Determine the space and size of your gallery wall
Figure out where you are going to put your new gallery wall. Chances are, you already have a blank wall in your home that you struggle with filling or decorating. Next, think about how big you want the gallery to be. This will give you a measurement from top to bottom and side to side and help you know what size and how many frames you can fit in your space. For instance, my space was about 42″ x 51″. I had a pretty particular look I wanted, so I had already picked out the frames and therefore knew the exact measurements. I used an 11×14 frame that was matted for an 8×10 photo, plus the width of the actual frame, it left about 2″ between each photo if I did 3 across and 3 down. This part may take a little configuring, just be sure to measure the actual frame because depending on the thickness of the frame, it can add an additional 1-2″ to each photo.
2. Choose your frames
Here’s a tip if you want a uniform look, use a frame with matting. This will help separate the photos from each other as well as “tone down” the photo so that each picture isn’t competing with the one next to it. I was going for a black & white theme and found these frames for an amazing price at Michael’s. This frame is normally $23, but Michael’s regularly has sales on their frames and they usually do it by brand. These were 60% off last week!!! While they are no longer on sale, they do have a few other brands on sale right now. If you find one you like that is full price, it’s worth it to just keep checking back for sales.

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3. Choose your pictures & print
For the uniform grid look, you need to choose all vertical or all horizontal pics. I know I know, duh! But, I started picking out photos and then realized I was choosing both and had to go back and do it again! Another thing I did for uniformity was adjust the color of the photos before printing. The main reason I did this is because I used photos from all different photo shoots and 2 different photographers who have very different editing styles. Some of the photos were bright, vivid color and some were more muted. Plus, with different outfits and backdrops in each shoot, it just made for a lot of different looks going on. By adjusting the color, it helped make all the photos look more like they went together. I don’t have any fancy photo editing program, just the one that came loaded on my computer. All I did was edit the saturation of the photo to pull some of the color out. When I found a color level that I liked (I used -65 but it will probably be different on all computers/programs) I adjusted all the photos to the same level. Note: When you do this, make sure you “save a copy” of the photo, don’t save over the original, just in case you don’t like it, plus, you don’t want to loose the integrity of the original photo. Obviously this step isn’t necessary. I also did this because of the black & white look I was going for. I wanted to use my favorite photos but I didn’t want them completely black & white so this allowed me to get the look I was going for while still keeping a little color. As far as printing, if you are using professional photographs, chances are, your photographer will have a suggestion as to where to print them for the best quality. Our photographer uses Smugmug, but also suggests Shutterfly as a good place to print.
4. Hang your photos
I’ll be honest, I was not super technical with this part. I hung the center photo where I wanted the center of the gallery to be. For the photos directly above, below and beside the center photo, I just measured out the height or width of the frame, plus an additional 2″ for the space between each photo. Because I was just sort of winging it, I did have to make some adjustments. Just step back and check after you hang each photo because it may look even up close but once you step away you’ll be able to tell for sure. If you want to be more technical about it, you can pick up a laser lever at the hardware store. This one from Lowe’s is $20, attaches to the wall and will easily get the job done. If you are using a laser lever, your laser line is going to be where you hammer the nails into the wall so be sure to adjust down a bit from where you want the top of the frame to be.

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Now go get those photos printed and start enjoying them! 🙂

Deck Restoration, Part 2

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When I got to the point of being ready and able to start getting projects done again, with the urging of my husband, I knew I needed to finish up some things I had started before I got pregnant. A few examples…
1. The set of stairs from our foyer into our living room. I changed the stairs over from carpet to hardwood, stained/painted them but still need to add finish trim.
2. The kitchen cabinets. I started painting them white and am only about halfway, which by the way, they have stayed for about 1 1/2 years. Ugh! I realized when I got pregnant that the paint/varnish stripper I was using was very toxic so I had to stop using it. I bought a non-toxic version but of course it just didn’t work as well and took SO much longer.
3. My dining room table, we have a beautiful farm table with no seating 😦
4. And finally, our backyard deck. Since it is the start of summer (which really doesn’t get in full swing until July 4th around here) I thought this would be the best place to start so we could enjoy it once the weather gets consistently warm. It’s been about halfway done for a year…or so I thought. I was telling myself that I started this project last summer and only stopped because the weather changed. Except…I was very very pregnant last summer and didn’t work on the deck at all. So, it’s actually been sitting halfway done for 2 years now! UGH!!! Real life.

Hubby asked over and over if I just wanted to hire someone to finish the deck. I, because I am way too independent and stubborn, continued to say no no no, I will finish it. Time to put my money where my mouth is.

So, for the last 2 weeks, I’ve been working on it here and there, when the weather permits and during naptimes. The progress is slow but I’m determined! And because I’m trying to do this without starting any other projects in the process, I wanted to give you a little update of what I’ve been working on.

One of the first projects I did was the restoration of our front porch deck, you can see that post here. I’m using the same products on the back deck which I will link to throughout this post. The back deck was a bit worse off that the front. On the front porch, I didn’t have to replace any boards, just clean and stain. Here is a little insight into what I’m working with in the back…

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At first glance, it doesn’t look so bad. But…

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 Lots of small areas of rotted wood, and as I began to remove boards, found quite a bit more underneath. Row by row, I removed the boards, starting furthest from the house. Some boards were still fully painted and in tact so I did reuse some of them, however, I would suggest NOT doing this. Even though I used the same board size as what was already in place, the new boards are slightly wider and thicker than the old boards. Not by a huge amount, but just enough to make it noticeable. So, going forward, I’m going to replace all boards.

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I’ve got about half of the boards replaced at this point, right now I’m trying to get all the railings painted before continuing to replace the remaining boards, including all the stairs. I’ve got a big task ahead of me and I’m trying to get it all done by 4th of July!! Oh boy!

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I’m using the same deck stain as the front porch, Behr Deck Over solid stain in padre brown for the floor boards and anchor posts and solid stain in white for the railings. I am adding these solar power post caps to the railings for some night lighting. Keep in mind, these do not give off a ton of light so these are more just for aesthetics than lighting your outdoor space at night.

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I ordered this outdoor furniture from Target.com and LOVE it!! It is a simple black iron frame complete with white cushions. I purchased the loveseat and 2 chairs from the Fernhill patio collection. The black and white pillows are also from Target but are indoor pillows which I coated with Scotchguard to waterproof them for the outdoors. We will see how they hold up 🙂 I couldn’t find these exact pillows online to link them but they do have a TON of new indoor styles to choose from plus a sale on most outdoor accessories.

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So here’s too a few weeks of hard work so we can enjoy this area for the couple of months that we have sun and warm weather 🙂

 

DIY Herb Garden

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I’ve wanted to have a vegetable garden for quite some time now. Lack of time is what stopped me before. Now that I have some (little) time on my hands, I thought this might be a good time to give it a shot. I waited a bit it to long though to work out all the plans for a full vegetable garden (building beds, planning what to plant and when, etc.) plus, I’m terrible at keeping plants alive (they need water, I’m not so good at remembering to give it to them) so, I thought an herb garden would be a safe place to start. So far so good, granted, it’s only been about a week, but we’re off to a good start.

I have a feeling the fact that I’m getting something out of keeping these plants alive, i.e. herbs for my cooking, is going to help me stay on track because so far I’m super excited about this little gem on my back deck. I’ve already used some of the herbs a couple of times and there is something very satisfying about walking out the back door and snipping off a few sprigs or leaves of whatever I need. Not to mention, so much less waste! I can’t tell you how often I buy a full bunch of parsley or cilantro and only need a couple tablespoons. The rest always ends up going to waste. Now I can just take what I need.

When I started making plans for the herb garden, I was on Pinterest looking for different planter ideas. There are tons of great ideas, for both indoor and outdoor, however many of them required building the planters. Not that I’m against building something…obviously…but the thought of building a planter then having to plant all the plants somehow seemed like a bit too much, especially for something that may or may not be dead by the end of summer. I wanted to keep this as simple as possible in case the inevitable happens. So, I started looking for planters that held multiple pots and remembered I had seen this one a few weeks prior.

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This is the Socker Plant Stand from Ikea, it holds 13 4″ pots and stands just over 5′ tall. The stand can pivot to be positioned at an angle or opened up completely and be straight from end to end. It comes in white or grey (which to me looks more like black in person). Unfortunately, this piece is not available online (sorry guys!) but can be picked up in store if you have an Ikea nearby. I chose these galvanized pots to complete the simple look I was going for.

The first thing I learned about container gardening while doing my research, is that your containers need to have good drainage. The galvanized pots I chose did not have any drainage holes, of course. Now, you could get around this by putting rocks in the bottom of the pot but these are small pots and I knew it would be pretty easy to just drill some holes in bottom. I used a 5/8″ drill bit and drilled 4 holes in each pot. You want the holes to be big enough that bark or larger chunks in the potting soil aren’t going to plug up the holes but small enough that soil isn’t going to easily flow out when watered I made sure to pot one plant and water to see that it worked well before drilling holes into the other 12 pots.

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The herb plants that I picked up were from Home Depot and they really make it super easy to plant. They are grown by Bonnie Plants, in biodegradable “pots” that can literally just be dropped into your container. Simply cut off the plastic liner around the top of the pot…

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The second thing I learned when researching container gardens is that you want to use a Potting Mix and NOT a Potting Soil. The reason being that potting mix is lighter weight, has fertilizer mixed in, promotes better drainage and absorbs moisture in the best way. Fill the bottom of your container with about an inch of soil…

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Peel the bottom of the biodegradable pot off the plant to allow the roots out. Place the plant in your container and fill remaining space with soil.

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I used a mixture of different herbs, just based on what I use more when cooking. Here is my assortment:
3 Cilantro
2 Parsley
2 Mint
2 Thyme
1 Sage
1 Rosemary
1 Oregano
1 Basil
I cook a lot with Cilantro so I wanted a few of those. Looking at it now, I should have done an additional Parsley because I’ve already used those plants a lot, but I only had 13 spots. I’ll have to see what happens throughout the season and adjust for next year. But, if this goes well, maybe my herb garden will be MUCH bigger next year 🙂

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To finish off, I made little “signs” for each pot to label which herb it held. I used new popsicle sticks (which you can get at a craft store year round or most grocery stores during summer months), dipped about 3/4 in black chalkboard paint, laid them on wax paper to dry and then used a white paint marker to write the name of the herb.

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I’m seriously so excited about this little addition to my yard. I’m already saving money at the grocery store and wasting less! I’ll keep you all updated on whether or not I can develop some green thumbs 🙂

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DIY Floating Shelves

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I am so excited to FINALLY share this project with you all! I have been working on it for what feels like forever. Wait…you mean…having a baby will drastically change the amount of time in the day you have to accomplish things?!?! Case in point, I’ve been trying to write this blog post for 3 days now 🙂

When I started placing the furniture in the nursery, I knew I wanted this corner to be the “play” corner or the area for all the toys. Landon already owns quite a few books so a book shelf seemed like the way to go but I also wanted room for some sort of toy box (a post on that to come in the future) so shelves up on the wall were necessary for space. Enter the DIY Floating Shelves from Shanty 2 Chic. If you haven’t checked out their site before and you enjoy DIY building, check them out. If you’ve ever searched for DIY building projects on Pinterest, chances are you’ve come across some of their work. Their projects are always really well explained and the plans are very detailed.

I did make some adjustments to the original plans because the plans called shelves that were 3.5′ in either direction and I only had room for 2′. So, my plans are for 2′ long corner shelves and the materials listed are enough for 3 shelves. If you follow the plans on Shanty 2 Chic, their plans are for 3.5′ shelves and the materials listed are for 1 shelf so make sure you double or triple the amount of wood depending on how many shelves you want.

So, here we go…step by step 🙂

Supplies
NOTE: Before purchasing the wood, see the note in step 6 regarding the 2×4 and 1×6 boards

3 – 2″ x 4″ x 8′
2 – 1/4″ x 24″ x 48″ plywood
2 – 1″ x 10″ x 8′
2 – 1″ x 6″ x 8′
kreg jig for pocket holes
drill
2 1/2″ pocket screws
nail gun
1 1/4″ brad nails
3″ screws (torx or dry wall, whatever you prefer, these will be to screws the support boards to the wall and into a stud)
stud finder
wood glue
paint
hardware (for decorative purposes, I’ll show you what I used when I get to that part below)

Step 1: You will need to determine the height placement of each shelf. You want to think about what you are going to put on the shelves and how much space you need in between each one. I wanted my shelves to take up the majority of the corner and knew I was going to be putting some taller items and books on them so here are the measurements I used…
Floor to ceiling, the room is 96″ tall. Each shelf is approximately 4.5″ tall. Based on that, I measured out equal spacing from ceiling to the top shelf, between each shelf, and from bottom shelf to the floor, which was 20.5″.
Ceiling
20.5″
Shelf #1: 4.5″
20.5″
Shelf #2: 4.5″
20.5″
Shelf #3: 4.5″
20.5″
Floor

You will also want to locate the studs in your wall and mark those as well as you will drill each wall cleat directly into a stud.

Step 2: Build your wall cleats.
Using the 2″ x 4″ x 8′, make the following cuts
3 pieces @ 2′ (long wall cleat)
3 pieces @ 1′ 10 1/2″ (short wall cleat)
12 pieces @ 7 5/8″ (cleat braces)

When constructing each wall cleat, you will use one long wall cleat, one short wall cleat and 4 cleat braces, 2 1/2″ pocket screws and wood glue.
Using a kreg jig, drill for 2 1/2″ pocket screws into one end of each cleat brace then attach the cleat braces to the cleats as shown. I didn’t measure the placement of the cleat braces, just lined up the wall cleats (long wall cleat against the corner, short wall cleat against the long wall cleat) and then marked where the cleat braces should go so that they just met each other at the corner edge. The other two cleat braces went at the opposite ends of the wall cleats.

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Step 3: Attach wall cleats to the wall
Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the 3″ screws. Line up a wall cleat where you want it and drill a pilot hold into the wall cleat directly over the stud, check for level. Using the 3″ screws, attach the wall cleat to the wall in at least 2 different points.

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Step 4: Attach bottom panels to braces
You are basically going to wrap the braces in wood to build out your shelf. Using the 1/4″ plywood, make the following cuts (I made the cuts at home but if you don’t have a saw, you can ask some in the lumber department to make the cuts for you)
3 pieces @ 23 1/4″ x 9 1/4″ (long bottom panel)
3 pieces @ 14″ x 9 1/4″ (short bottom panel)
Use a wood glue, a nail gun and 1/4″ brad nails to attach 1 long bottom panel and 1 short bottom panel to each set of braces.

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Step 5: Attach top panel to braces
Using the 1″ x 10″ x 8′ make the following cuts
3 pieces @ 23 1/4″ (long top panel)
3 pieces @ 14″ (short top panel)
Attach 1 long top panel and 1 short top panel to each set of braces using wood glue, 1 1/4″ finish nails and a nail gun.

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Step 6: Attach the side trim
Using the 1″ x 6″ x 8′ make the following cuts
6 pieces @ 4 1/2″ x 9 1/4″ (side front trim)
NOTE: Because 2×4 are used for the wall cleats, it requires the front and side trim to be only 4 1/2″ wide which is not a width you can buy and will have to rip the board down to 4 1/2″. Again, you can have them do it for you in the lumber department. If you have a table saw at home then you can do it yourself. The other option would be to use 2″ x 3″ for the walls cleats instead of 2″ x 4″. By using 2″ x 3″, you will not need to alter the width of the 1″ x 6″ boards.
Attach side front trim pieces using the same method, wood glue, a nail gun and 1 1/4″ finish nails.

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Step 7: Attach front trim pieces
Using the remaining 1″ x 6″ x 8′ boards, make the following cuts
3 pieces @ 14 3/4″ x 4 1/2″
3 pieces @ 14″ x 4 1/2″
Attach using the same method, wood glue, a nail gun and 1 1/4″ finish nails

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Step 8: Finish with paint and decorate!
I used wood filler to fill in nail holes and the seams. Once dried, I went over the wood filler with 180 grit sand paper to smooth it out.

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I used Heirloom Traditions chalk paint in A La Mode to finish the shelves, topped with clear wax, and sanded the edges for a roughed up look.

Finally, I added some hardware to the corners to give the shelves a bit of an industrial look to compliment some of the other pieces in the nursery.

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I used metal corner braces similar to these from Lowes, and furniture tacks to attach them, spray painted all the pieces with black matte finish spray paint and roughed them up with some sand paper before attaching.

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That’s that! Then I decorated 🙂

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Nursery Crib

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Someone contacted me asking about some of the furniture details in Landon’s nursery and I realized that I never shared the finished crib! No time like the present…

I remember sharing a while back that I was having trouble finding a crib that I liked. I wanted white distressed wood. Everything I was finding in white was smooth finish and everything in a distressed finish was off-white or almost yellow. Of course, I have no problem painting a piece of furniture 🙂 but if I was going to put work in to it, I didn’t want to spend a lot. I searched some thrift stores but there’s not a lot of cribs out there. Enter Wayfair.com.

I went on Wayfair.com just to see what they had. I had purchased my office chair from Joss & Main, which is a sister company of Wayfair.com, and loved it so I thought I’d check it out. Turns out, there are a lot of options under $250! The crib I chose is by Viv & Rae, called the Rocco Kokopelli Convertible Crib.

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What I loved about this crib was the “shutter-like” look on the endcaps. I knew the raised edges would give great texture when I distressed it. Unfortunately, this crib is sold out 😦 However, if you go on Wayfair.com and search cribs, there is an option on the left side of the screen to select “cribs under $200” and there are lots of options to choose from.

My favorites, to get a similar look to what I did would be…
Camden 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft
Harbor Lights 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Graco
Watterson 4-in-1 Convertible Crib by Child Craft
And, the first 2 options come in multiple finishes, in case you don’t want to refinish or paint.

To refinish the crib I used Heirloom Traditions chalk paint in A La Mode. Heirlooms Tradition, as most chalk paint, is non-toxic and safe to use on furniture that a baby may put it’s mouth on. You just want to make sure to let the paint cure for a few weeks before baby would have it’s mouth near the furniture. The thing you don’t want to use in this case, is the soft wax. I didn’t use the soft wax this time and it didn’t really affect the distressing. The biggest benefit of the wax is that it seals the paint, protecting it from chipping and stains.

*Quick tip: assemble your crib before you paint it!

There are so many nooks and crannies and areas that will not be visible and therefore don’t need paint, you will save so much time if the crib is assembled first.

Once painted, I used 100 grit sandpaper to sand the edges. I used a coarser sand paper because I really wanted the dark brown to show through. I didn’t sand any flat surface, just ran the sand paper along each edge.

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That’s all folks! Pretty simple transformation. And for those wondering, the crib bedding is the Vintage Ticking Stripe and Vintage Washed Percale Collection from Restoration Hardware.

Vintage Scoreboard was made by me and you can find the instructions here.

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DIY Blanket Ladder

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Can we talk about the LIFE-CHANGING discovery I made a couple weeks ago. It was an average night, we had just eaten dinner and were sitting on the couch when the inevitable conversation came up…”Did you get anything for dessert?” my husband asks…
I hadn’t…fail.
Me: “No, but there is still vanilla ice cream in the freezer from Thanksgiving pie”
Husband: “Do we have anything to put on it?”
In case you can’t tell, I’m not good at keeping my fridge/pantry/cupboards stocked with the basics. I’m the type who goes to the store and buys just what I need for that nights dinner.
Me: “There are some leftover chocolate chips in the cupboard…”
Husband: “Can you melt them?”
We have really interesting conversations 🙂
I proceed to melt the leftover chocolate chips, dish up some ice cream and then drizzle the chocolate on top. Basic, right?
Umm…it hardened pretty quickly just like magic shell, but I hadn’t added anything to it! Is this normal?!?! Mic drop! I was so excited!! That’s the easiest dessert ever!
I’m not sure why I was so excited, apparently it doesn’t take much these days. Anyway, I was pretty stoked about this discovery, and please don’t burst my bubble if I’m like 10 years late to the party and you all knew this fact long ago.

You may recognize this blanket ladder from a couple years ago if you’ve been following me from the start…wow, that’s crazy, that I’ve been at this blogging thing for a couple years now! Since my time is a bit preoccupied these days and I haven’t had time to complete any new projects recently, I thought I’d repost one of my faves and one of the easiest, who knows, maybe you know someone that this would make a great holiday gift for. Or maybe you just want one for yourself. Either way, this whole project took me less than hour from constructing to stained.

Supplies
2 2×4 @ 8ft
1 2×6 @ 8ft
2″ wood screws
skill saw
kreg jig
drill

1. Use your skill saw to make the following cuts
2 2×4 cut to 5ft each
4 2×6 cut to 17in each

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2. Use your kreg jig to drill 4 pocket holes (2 on each end) into the 4 2×6 pieces for 2″ wood screws

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3. Lay one of the 2x4s on flat, level ground. The left side of the 2×4 will be the front of your ladder. Measure and mark every 12″ along the front of the ladder where your rungs will sit. Take one of the 2x6s and set it on the 2×4, turned slightly diagonal, so that the bottom of the 2×6 is even with the front of your ladder and the top of the 2×6 is even with the back of the ladder. Attach with 2″ wood screws.

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4. Continue with the other 3 2x6s at each of the 12″ marks.

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5. Once you’ve attached all 2x6s, measure and mark every 12″ on the other 2×4, lay it on flat, level ground and turn the ladder over onto the 2×4 so that the rungs meet up with the opposite side and attach with 2″ wood screws.

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Easy peasy! Now paint or stain to your desired color, let dry and add blankets!

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Changing Table Organization

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The fourth trimester…I saw things on Facebook and Pinterest about this topic when I was pregnant but I didn’t really read anything about it until now. Essentially, it speaks to baby being in the womb for 40 weeks and how shocking it is to them when they are born to no longer have hunger & thirst needs constantly met, to not be rocked to sleep at every moment by mom’s movements and to not be constantly warm, “snuggled” and comfortable. It makes so much sense!

We are still learning so much about Landon on a daily basis and it feels like every few days, you master one thing and then something new comes up. Right now…we are working on Landon’s feeding. Meaning, for the first 3 weeks, he never seemed to have gas, never spit up and was never fussy while nursing. Then, all of a sudden, in the last few days, he is nursing at such a fast pace for the first few minutes that he gives himself a tummy ache EVERY TIME! Any tips that you mamas have on getting baby to slow down are much appreciated! So far, I am trying the following…
1. Anticipate baby’s hunger, feed baby at the first hunger cue or beat him to it and not let him go more than 3 hours without nursing to keep him from getting agitated.
2. Laid-back/Biological position or Football/Clutch hold with baby sitting up rather than laying for breastfeeding. Laid-back position means, mom is laid back in a semi-reclined position (I usually prop myself up on pillows in my bed) and baby lies on your chest/stomach. This is how the lactation specialist showed me how to breastfeed in the hospital and is also a great position for skin-to-skin time. When we got home, Landon seemed to do best in the football position, so we changed things up and I position him so he is more seated than laying flat and propped up against my leg. Basically, I just avoid keeping him as upright as possible so gravity is doing it’s job.
3. Burp baby every 5-10 minutes, especially if he seems to be eating ravenously. (Making sure to anticipate baby’s hunger can help with this though. He will eat slower and not need to burp more than once or twice). After the first 5 minutes, whether he stops or not, I pull him away to burp, as the first 5-10 minutes are when he nurses the fastest. Typically, I burp him after 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes and end of nursing session.
If I can manage to make all of these things happen, he stays happy and there is no upset tummy or spitting up.

Anyway…on to my original topic for the day…changing table organization!
Not sure why I felt the need for an exclamation point there 🙂 This is my life now, getting excited about having time to post on the blog, no matter what the topic, and about getting a new shipment of diapers from The Honest Company. I’ll take what I can get these days… you know…when showering is no longer a part of daily life but rather a luxury that happens when dad is home and baby happens to be napping well. Ahh, mom life 🙂

My changing table is a 6-drawer dresser with a changing pad on top. I filled the drawers with all the essentials for diaper changing, nursing and bedtime. I really could have done with just 4 drawers, so if you’re trying to save on space you could get away with that, however, I still found stuff to put in those 2 extra drawers that would need a home somewhere else in your nursery.

Drawer #1: Diapers & Diapering products (i.e. Diaper rash cream, powder, ointment, baby body lotion. Note: Wipes are kept in the wipe warmer on top of the dresser (not pictured because it was added later) with extra packs of wipes kept in a bin in the closet. If you have room, certainly keep extra wipes here as well.)

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Drawer #2: Onesie sleepers and swaddle blankets

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Drawer #3: Nursing supplies (i.e. burp clothes, nursing pads, nursing covers)

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Drawer #4: Extra changing pad covers, diaper genie bags and scent fresheners

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Drawer #5 (Extra): Crib & cradle sheets, car seat covers, breast feeding pillow and sleeping cushion covers
Drawer #6 (Extra): Baby wearing & carriers (i.e. Moby Wrap, Ergo carrier, etc)

Hopefully this was helpful for all you new mamas out there. I know I was totally lost as to what to include and how to organize before I started researching so I hope this makes things a little easy, even if just for one person 🙂

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