Apr 29, 2014

curtains and sweater balls

it's tuesday and derby week.  which, if you don't know, means not a lot gets accomplished at the office.  i take that back - i'm actually getting a lot done in preparation for month end - but there's fun activities scheduled all week at work (run for the rose, a "boat" race, "balloon" race and so on) so it's more laid back around here.

i've actually felt very on top of things outside of work as well - i called and ordered my breast pump, all of my new mom classes are scheduled, i am registered at the hospital, and bill and i got around to hanging the nursery room curtains last night!

in real life i've gone on and on about these curtains.  they are from pottery barn kids - fully lined, blackout curtains.  i stroked them many a time in store.  the price tag ON SALE was about $60 a panel.  the window in the nursery is extra wide (two window panels are hidden by the curtains in this picture) which means i needed 4 panels to get a nice full look.  so $240 for curtains? 

no.  i'm cheap.

i was at a kids' consignment sale in e-town a few months ago and found 4 (!!!!) panels - for $50 total.  they look brand new - no wear, tears, stains, or smells - were probably in a kid's room for a short period of time.

i thought the green was fun - i probably wouldn't have originally picked it for the nursery, but at that price for that quality i said i could make them work.  which is the primary reason i went with navy walls - i love green and navy.

the room is slowly coming together - bill has called the cable company to activate the internet in the other bedroom so we can move his desk out of the nursery (we tried 2 weekends ago and realized the cable wasn't activated in that room)

so once he's out of there we can lay the quarter round and move the furniture in place.  above is the room looking in from the living room.  eventually we will have the same floors carry over into the living space...patience i tell myself.

i keep saying i just have the fun stuff to shop for now - a lamp, artwork, a cushy chair - OH! and also because i'm a cheapskate i thought i could get away with 2 packages of ring clips on the curtain rod. womp womp.  i clearly need one more package (check out the extra wide, droopy pleats on those curtains) - and weather permitting, i will head out at lunch to grab them (rod, clips, finials, and mounts all from home depot martha stewart collection).

my other "task" i gave myself as of last week was to visit the diaper fairy on bardstown road.  i HIGHLY recommend checking out emily's shop if you are interested, curious, or even doubtful of cloth diapering.  first and foremost, emily offers a laundering service and provides diapers - she is the only service that i know of in the kentuckiana area to offer the diaper service.  most recently she opened an actual store - or "cottage" that sells basically everything you could want - from all the well known cloth diapering brands and styles, to natural laundry detergent, baby wraps, environmentally safe baby toys, AND expert advice.

bill and i stopped in on saturday and once we were asked if we needed any help i basically said i was overwhelmed and didn't know what i wanted.  the sales lady was so nice and offered her help but also suggested the intro to cloth diapering class that was being held on sunday.  we signed up without hesitation and came back again the next day.

i learned so much and i think it helped bill to see and hear the process. i won't lie - he's still pretty weary of the washing process, which with our immediate budget to buy cloth diapers, we will be doing diaper laundry every 2-3 days (which is actually pretty typical - if you can afford it, you can definitely buy a huge stash and wash closer to once a week - but doing huge loads of dirty diapers sounds just as bad as doing smaller loads every 2-3 days in my opinion OR you could use the diapering service, but that kind of negates the money saving).

i'm planning a return trip in a couple of weeks to get a beginner stash going.  i think if i buy a few at a time it will make me feel better than dropping $200 at once on diapers.  that's my plan anyways.  and i hope to fill you in on what my stash will be made up of and get into the details of cloth diapering then.

as for now, one of the tips given at the class was to use wool/felt dryer balls (natural with zero dyes and chemicals - chemicals which could ruin or affect the absorbancy of cloth diapers) - which they sell, and i've seen sold online.  but seriously, for anyone who has ever knitted or crocheted or even accidentally washed an all wool sweater - paying someone else to make WOOL BALLS for you, is just ridiculous.

i came home last night and dug out some thrift store sweaters i once upon a time bought for felting.

if you don't have old sweaters or a yarn stash - head to your local goodwill or michaels craft store and look for 100% natural fibers.

(seriously, when was the last time you think old navy sold 100% natural anything...)

sweaters and yarn will tell you what percentage of fibers it is made from - we don't want anything that isn't natural

wool, lambs wool, merino, etc - all good - stay away from anything that says acrylic.  if there's a small percentage of acrylic (less that 30%) you might have some luck with felting - it just may take longer to achieve.

anyways, you can try and unravel the sweater in one continuous thread OR

employee someone else to cut strips of fabric while they watch the nba playoffs.  thanks bill.

i wound the strips tightly into softball sized balls.  i tried to keep the balls tight, and tuck in loose ends when i could.

i then cut up an old pair of panty hose and made a caterpillar with my sweater balls - tying knots between each.

dropped it in the wash with a couple of towels on warm.  washing with towels or a load of jeans really helps agitate the fibers.  and just a public service announcement - if you were ever curious as to why you ruined a sweater in the wash and not the dryer - it is because the actual washing NOT the drying causes natural fibers to felt. which is why wool sweaters and scarves say to hand wash - less agitation!

i then threw them in the dryer for 30ish minutes and cut them loose.

most of mine came out looking solid

but two had some loose ends that didn't quite felt all the way (i think i had got lazy and used too big of strips)

i'm planning to rewash those to get better felting.

so now - for cloth diaper drying - and all other drying - i can throw a couple in the dryer (or 3-4 for large loads) for chemical free, static free, all natural dryer sheets.  these will also help cut drying times (same concept if you've ever heard of throwing a tennis ball in the dryer).  if you really like your dryer sheets to be scented, you can add a few drops of essential oils to your sweater balls.

happy felting!


Apr 24, 2014

Hello Third Trimester!

it's my friday and this weekend is supposed to be gorgeous!

originally bill and i had planned to take a long weekend to asheville, nc - cabin booked and everything.

and then i started getting strong nesting urges and really preferred new floors over a couple nights away.  luckily the cabin stay was still 100% refundable and the money i had set aside for the trip went towards the floors and also momma gets to go shopping now!

and while i would love a short babymoon (maybe we can still swing a night or two away), i am actually quite relieved not to be going somewhere where my main plan was to do some sightseeing, walking, and light hiking.  whyyyy?  well as of last friday my ankles and feet have started swelling if i stand or walk too long.  i am also getting a burning stretching feeling right above my rib cage if i stand for even a few minutes - the belly weight is starting to take it's toll.

(please excuse the messy bathroom - it became a landing zone while we work on the nursery.  and yes i am wearing the hell out of that cardigan.  my soul feels somewhat at ease if i can squish my pregnant body into it)

i am now officially in my 3rd trimester (all my apps are different - one said 27 weeks, one said 27 week 3 days, and the other said 28 weeks marks the start).  i used to think the worst of women who would enter this phase of pregnancy hoping for early delivery - because i felt it so inconsiderate for those who couldn't carry to term.  but i get it now.  i'm still hoping to make it to full term, but i totally understand now.  i no longer feel pretty. i feel like a walking hot air balloon.  the swelling, how slow i walk, restless legs at night, etc - all kind of annoyingly miserable.  all completely 100% worth it.  but the next 12 weeks are going to be really trying.

lucy is now the size of a head of iceberg lettuce - 14.8 inches long and weighing about 2.2 lbs.  it's crazy to think she's going to more than triple that weight in 12 weeks.

some odds and ends - bill and i have been thinking more and more about life after maternity leave is up - whether my job will allow me a flexible work schedule for a few months is a possibility but not guaranteed. because we have a split work schedule, we will only need childcare for a few hours in the morning mon-friday, so neither of us is wanting to take lucy to daycare (or pay for fulltime daycare as many don't offer part time options) at least not for a year or two.  so we've been thinking more and more about a part time nanny if my flexible work schedule doesn't work out - or even after i go back to work normal hours.  ahem, if any family members would like to move or retire please let us know ;)

but anyways, the fact that we are pretty set on hiring a part time nanny has helped influence another decision i'm researching.  cloth diapers.  i had pretty much decided we would go the disposable route not wanting to mess with cloth and daycare - i'm sure many are open and willing, but i'm not a very pushy person, and frankly didn't want to add to my list of "things to look for in a daycare center."

so now i've gone down this rabbit hole of researching the many varieties, styles, solutions, brands - as well as trying to educate my husband on everything i read.  he's of the mindset that they will leak and be messy.  and they might possibly be.  but i've read many solutions, fixes, and opinions contrary to that belief. 

i've done some of the math, and cloth diapers work out to be close to a $300-400 upfront investment.  yeah.  a lot.  and also add in laundry detergent, electricity, water - cloth diapers aren't exactly the cheap alternative.

to go the disposable route, feel free to google "cost of disposable diapers" - but from my searching i've come to the conclusion that the cost over the life my child will be in diapers will be anywhere from 2-3 THOUSAND dollars. obviously that's not an upfront investment (thank goodness) but it does become a weekly/monthly expense to add to my budget.

add in the fact that we are hoping to have another baby - that's another 2-3 THOUSAND dollars which will all eventually go in the trash, whereas with cloth we wouldn't have any of the startup expense that go around.  i think disposables, if we choose to cloth diaper, will have their place once lucy can sleep through the night or when we travel - convenience can and will win out i'm sure.

which brings me to

1. scheduling a cloth diaper class for bill and i - more so for bill to see how it all works.  i'm willing to read all day long about the process, but i'm sure bill would rather see it in action.

2. taking a trip to the diaper fairy.  to see the different types of diapers in person - it's hard to gauge what i think will be best or how many of each variety i should plan on getting - as well as hearing their advice

3.  because the diaper fairy is actually a service - with a small store- that i'm hoping to use for the first few weeks after lucy is born!  they drop off cloth diapers and pick up your dirty ones to wash (which is probably more earth friendly as they will be able to do much larger loads than i can at home) at a cost of about $22 a week for 80 diapers.  my rationalization being we can try and see how we like cloth diapering without putting up the initial cost only to discover it's not for us.  it also saves us from having to buy the newborn cloth diapers - we would eventually buy the diapers that grow with baby from 8lbs-35 lbs.

still there?  tl;dr?  didn't mean to yap on and on about cloth diapering, i've just been researching it fervently for the past 2 days.

any momma's out there have any advice?


Apr 21, 2014

nursery progress and installing floors!

so i kind of hoped to have a bit more accomplished in the nursery by today

but since i didn't really have to do any of the grunt work - i'm not going to complain!

my awesome husband and brother-in-law signed up to run the derby half marathon this past weekend.  and for weeks all i heard about was bill "maybe going on a three mile run."  he finished a few 3 milers, but i think that was his longest distance.  but dangit if he didn't finish the half in 2hrs 30ish mins.

because he was so under trained, i threw a couple hissy fits about my floors being done this weekend, and that i didn't want to hear about him being too sore to do them.

without ever complaining about being sore or too tired once, the floors went down!  so i think we'll blame my hissy fit on the hormones and i will eat my words, because i am really pleased with their hard work!

the floors were ordered a couple of weeks ago from lumber liquidators, and i went to pick them up last week.  because we were installing over a concrete subfloor, we had to lay down a moisture barrier- basically plastic sheets.

we went with laminate - click lock floating floors

and while i didn't help, it looked pretty easy to install.  the major hold ups were the two doors and two closets in this room - lots of cutting!  but i think once we decide to install this floor into the living room, the process will go much quicker since there will be less jigsaw pieces.

another hold up the boys ran into - all the baseboards were glued down! so our choices were to possibly crack and break the baseboards as well as possibly need to patch drywall and/or have to buy new baseboards (which would be a continuing problem once we run the floors to the rest of the house) or butt the floors up to the baseboards and risk losing a millimeter or 2 of baseboard height.

the easiest solutions to me, was to butt the flooring up to the baseboards (as opposed to the walls).

i think once we get the quarter round down, you won't be able to tell/i don't care enough to maximize baseboard height.

we were able to move a few pieces of furniture in so i could see how the room was coming together and also to declutter our living room which has become ground zero for tools, supplies, and extra furniture.

i wanted to get some good pictures of the flooring + wall color.

lots of items still waiting to find a home/find their way to a yardsale.  we still need to paint, cut, and nail quarter round + install transitional pieces - all of which we ordered and have on hand.  i'm hoping those tasks will go a lot quicker and we can knock them out this weekend.  i was also hoping to have the curtain rod up - but the boys worked until 10 pm saturday night and it just felt cruel to ask for anything else to get done.

woodford has been a total trooper this whole time.  i was slightly worried how he would do with the moving and changing of everything, but he seems to love the new floors - probably because they're nice and cool.  the cat, on the other hand, wouldn't step paw into the room.

well, not until bill sent me this picture.  olivia + woodford both bird watching and in the nursery.  they rarely hang out like this - usually only when they're both exhausted.  i have a feeling they're going to get a lot closer once there's a toddler walking around.

i'm excited to have the major components of the room done/nearly done.  now i can go shop for fun accessories!

more progress to come!


Apr 15, 2014

transformation tuesday


i'm back after taking a 2 month-ish hiatus.  whoops!  it wasn't planned, but it felt needed.  obviously, i've posted all over instagram, but there's only so much i can share through pictures alone.

i've been incredibly lucky to have such an easy pregnancy thus far, but unfortunately i've also been pretty boring.  i got tired of forcing a narrative that simply wasn't there.  i've also struggled with how much and what i wanted to share on a public blog.  for the most part, at least since becoming pregnant, this has been a way for friends and family who are interested to follow along with my journey; i can also spare those casual FB acquaintances the incessant reminder of my growing uterus. 

so now that the "big wait" has turned into "hurry up and get stuff done" my personal narrative, at least comparatively, is becoming more interesting.

so transformation tuesday - shall we?

my last update i had just found out little baby gummy bear was going to be a girl!  i was right around 19-20 weeks, and i still hadn't felt Lucy kick.  i was also under the impression my belly was ginormous.  and it looks like my bras were still fitting pretty well.

jump ahead to NOW (picture at 26 weeks)

i feel and look like i strapped a beach ball to my front.  and i'm terrified that the real growth is now about to start.

bill and i went to a baseball game last friday night - the louisville bats are a triple A team for the cincinnati reds, and so i wanted to wear my reds t shirt.  it looked obscenely tight when i put it on.  bill kindly offered for me to wear his t shirt. 

which...turned out to be barely long enough itself.  whoops.

so now, in my last week of my 2nd trimester...!!! i am feeling lots of kicks and punches.  i sometimes just sit at my desk and watch my belly move.  i've tried really hard to capture it on camera to show bill since she seems to be most active around lunch, but i think lucy knows i'm filming and promptly stops.

other than my growing belly

there's been a few other transformations happening around the house

bill and his brother worked on putting the crib together

and it has sat in the living room while we get the nursery (bill's former office) together

gong-gong (lucy's grandpa) made sure she had a mattress and i couldn't resist picking up some sheets to see the crib mostly put together (still plan on adding a skirt)

the other side of the living room houses our matching cradle that lucy's great granny got for her - which will soon be moved into our bedroom.

the nursery itself has been a work in progress.

after thinking for weeks i would go with something light and neutral.  i decided i hated all of these colors.

and i just wanted what i liked - a beautiful dark navy. 

it's been a bit hard to photograph because of the time of day i get home, but i think it looks beautiful and relaxing.  i'm a sucker for blues.  ALSO.  the room has since been mostly cleared of all the clutter seen above - and so far, thanks to my aunt, i've made over $200 in selling our excess.

in a mad state of "let's get shit done!" we ripped up the carpet as well.  we knew at some point we would get new floors so there's nothing like impulsively doing so to get things moving.  i hope to share a semi finished room next week - the plan is to put the floors down saturday, however, we are still awaiting a phone call to to come pick up said floors. 

so while waiting on the floors this past weekend, we took on a whole other beast.

she looks harmless enough, doesn't she?  the dresser came from bill's grandmother's estate - which makes me happy to have a little something from her house - she had just found out we were pregnant a month or so before she passed.  i didn't know her very well, but she kept this dresser in her basement to store fabric and sewing projects - a very talented seamstress - she made her own curtains, placemats, could whip up a blazer, and in her younger years could reupholster a sturdy piece of furniture.  so i'm sure she got a big kick out of watching us tackle this dresser, and i hope would be pleased to see that this basement storage piece is going to be used as storage and a changing table in the nursery!

we spent several hours saturday sanding, deglossing, sanding again

chipping off lots of wood veneer and filling in holes with wood putty (also to note - random furniture in the background - my SIL is also pregnant and we've been DIY divas for months now)

we called it a day, and waited until sunday to paint (thanks to my brother and sister in law for letting us use their garage and outdoor space)

i picked up chalk paint - the paint that requires no sanding or priming - only to discover that the veneer was bleeding through in spots (see the drawer with the bleed through?)

after painting everything with 2 coats and still having bleed through - my brother in law came to the rescue with a can of killz primer which THANKFULLY took care of the red ruining my project.

unfortunately that meant i needed to paint ANOTHER coat of chalk paint over this whole dresser again.

pain in my rear.

not to mention, my original plan was to stain the top of the dresser to achieve a butcher block look.  thanks to that tricky veneer - there was zero wood grain and my dreams were out the window.

kind of.

i had picked up dark wax to go over the paint - hoping it would give me my desired look.

 and i'm pretty pleased with the outcome!

the areas we had trouble sanding/puttying which were such an eyesore - ended up being a blessing

the wax took hold in those nooks and crannies - and because chalk paint has a less than smooth texture when painted on with a brush - we were able to get that wood block look 

a project that i was ready to chuck 3 hours into - i'm now quite pleased with.

still not done though- i'm planning on removing the contact paper from the drawers and re-lining with some fun fabric.  

sorry for ramble blog, but i feel like we're caught up now.  i'm crossing my fingers we get a phone call from the flooring place and i can share an almost finished nursery next week!