The Best Room on the Block

20 Apr

We used to have a guest room.  Now we have a Best Room (half baby room/half guest room) – all hand made and dragon themed, of course!  Here are some shots of the awesomeness:

two handmade pillows, a dragon, and a teeny tiny velociraptor!

My all-time favorite poem - someone made this for my mom when SHE started having babies! She knew I loved it & surprised me with it... isn't she awesome?

One of my aunts made this when I was a baby - it's been hanging in my bedroom since I was born, and now it's hanging in my baby's room.

 

A dragon-y mobile my sister-in-law created, and an awesome dragon tapestry hanging over the crib.

The handmade wall (that's Husband's artwork on the left, and a few little dragon appliques I framed on the far right).

 

and, of course, more granny squares! I made this green blanket when we first started trying for a baby... after almost 3 years it's finally going to see some use! (Oh yeah, and one more pillow case)

 

It was surprisingly difficult to decide on decor for a baby’s room-slash-guest room, but I think we found a happy balance (I only cried two or three times!). There’s a baby sleeping device and a dresser along the back wall (beside the rocker), and some short bookshelves under the handmade wall.

See the top of the bookshelf there? It used to be the headboard for an old, old waterbed. We painted it black & voila! Instant toddler-sized toy storage!

 

We also used some things that Husband & I had saved from our own childhoods – Bugs Bunny, for example, was mine way back in the day, and the Pac Man lunchbox & Glow Worm were Husband’s.  In the end, the room turned into a nice mixture – some hand made things, some new things, some vintage things, and some repurposed things.  Considering the small amount of space, the fact that we couldn’t do any major renovations since we’re renters, and the dual-use this room’s going to see, I’m pleased with how it turned out.  And, honestly, baby boy isn’t going to remember living here anyway, so I’m pretty sure we could have just slapped some sheets in a laundry basket & he’d be happy.  =)

 

Killing Time, Granny Style

16 Apr

I have a dilemma.

I don’t want to start any long-and-involved projects before the baby gets here, but I also don’t want to sit around twiddling my (granted, Miss Piggy-esque) thumbs together & doing nothing.

I want to have a transportable project available to take with me to doctor’s appointments and hospitals to combat the “sitting around being bored” syndrome, but I don’t want to have to take a pattern with me, nor do I want something so involved I’ll have to stop counting and/or rip out a row to get back on track the next time I work on it.

Translation:  I want a project I can work on for five minutes, put down for three days, then pick up again & still be on track.

Solution?  Granny Squares.  And rectangles.  And pillow cases.  LOTS of them!

...a pillow case for the baby's room...

...a girlie granny throw made with alpaca homepspun...

...green-and-white-and-blue cotton WIP...

The problem is that granny squares projects work up quickly.  Like, Oh-dear-I-just-sat-down-and-now-I’m-out-of-yarn-again quickly.  Lucky for me everyone I know seems to be stocking up on babies, so I’ve got plenty of Welcome to Earth projects to keep me busy.  I’ve also used up my entire stock of scrap yarn – I started an awesome ALL-THE-COLORS granny quilt that will likely take years to finish (it’s an experiment in asymmetry…we shall see how my brain copes with the lack of perfection):

And, since I discovered that the amount of arthritis/swelling/pain in my fingers doesn’t subside even when I DON’T make lovely yarny things (and likely won’t subside again until baby gets here), I switched to some back post/front post double crochets and kept hooking – I made another pillow case:

And a throw blanket for Nina & Fraidy Cat, made entirely of scrap yarn from my Dr Who Scarf, which the kittens refuse to snuggle (because the box from our Roomba is a much more appropriate cat bed, obviously).

...handmade blanket-in-a-basket = definitely less comfortable than a cardboard box...

 

I’ve got enough yarn to finish one or two more projects… think it’ll last me until baby boy arrives?

Embroidery? Well, okaaaayy…

12 Apr

Some silly someone-or-other put all the embroidery kits at Michael’s on clearance last week, and since my hurty fingers were looking for something to do other than crochet, I picked up a few kits and got to work.

Not bad for my first attempt at needlework, eh?

 

It was a total cheater pattern – the design was stamped on with some sort of washable blue ink – but I figured no one would really begrudge me some cheating on my first attempt, right?

 

 

A better mommy probably would have ironed these before taking pictures of them, but since the very first thing that’s going to happen to them is that they get vomit on them, I opted to forgo the ironing in favor of, well… not ironing.  Also, I don’t really know where my iron is right now.  Also, I think ironing is stupid.   I stayed home the day of President Obama’s inauguration (because ZOMG DC traffic on inauguration day = seriously don’t leave your house) & thought I’d save Husband & I some money by washing and ironing all of his work shirts instead of taking them to the cleaner.   I’m still feeling a bit traumatized.  Maybe I’ve subconsciously hidden the iron so I don’t ever have to iron anything ever again… Hmm…

We’ll see how my stitchery holds up after the nine or ten thousand trips these little guys will likely make through the laundry, but for now I’m calling my first attempt at embroider a win!  Hooray!

 

Lucy’s Apple

5 Apr

Neice2 has a birthday this month, and guess what she’s getting!

Om to the Nom!

 

Her very own apple, crocheted by Yours Truly.  I’m guessing by now that my sisters-in-law will have discovered my pattern - their kids are all getting apples from me this year.  Luckily, I started this little guy in plenty of time to counteract the pregnancy-induced finger swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis, so Miss Lucy will have a delightful Granny Smith to open on her Birthday!  Hooray!

 

I heard through the grapevine that Lucy’s having an owl themed party this year, so she’s also getting these, some super adorable hand-made bows constructed by a friend of mine:

And a card I made.

Owl?

 

Husband assures me that this card, which started out as a pile of paper circles and a bottle of glue actually looks like an owl

…but I can’t tell if he’s just humoring me. What do you think?  Is it owl-ish enough to actually look like an owl?  I’m hoping Lucy won’t care much one way or the other.  If she does, I’m hoping her mommy will quickly change the subject and distract Lucy back to her awesome APPLE (which actually looks like an apple)!

I’ve had to take the apple listings off of my Etsy shop for now – what with my decreased motor skills it would take me way longer than I feel comfortable with to get any orders out, but hopefully things’ll be back up and running in the near future.  In the meanwhile, my patterns are still available, so wander on over to a Happy Little Shop & see what you can see!

AND… Happy Birthday, Lucy!  We love you!

I’m Trufflin’

2 Apr

They say pregnant women typically crave foods they don’t eat enough of in their typical diet.  Before this whole pregnancy thing you’d be hard pressed to find me eating sweets.  I’d rather have a sandwich than a cookie.  I’m that girl who scarfs up all the mushrooms from the buffet & leaves the petite fours.  Ice cream? …maybe as a special treat every few months…  Baked goods?  …Only when Husband made them…

Fast forward to NOW, and I’m a sweets-eating machine!  Screw tomatoes (previously my all-time favorite snack) – I WANT BROWNIES, and I WANT THEM NOW!

Needless to say, I’m trying to survive this pregnancy without turning into Melissa the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Mommy, and… my weight gain has been right on track thanks in large part to some awesome recipes from my new favorite blogger, Chocolate Covered Katie!

Katie’s recipes taste delicious but are secretly made with healthy ingredients, and I thought I’d share my experience with this one… a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles.

NOM.

Yeah, that’s right.  Delicious.  Except instead of butter, eggs, & flour, these little beauties are made out of chick peas, peanut butter, & wheat germ!  Instead of 120 calories and 6 grams of fat a piece, they’re only 40 calories and 0.5 grams of fat each!  (In pregnant-speak that means I can safely eat, like, 6 at a time without even beginning to feel guilty about it).

Here’s a link to the recipe, and another link to the nutritional information Katie provided:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles Recipe

Truffles Nutrition

 

Katie’s recipe called for either nut butter or oil, so I used half peanut-butter & half oil, which turned out to be a mistake.  My “dough” was a bit too runny, and I ended up adding a bit of wheat germ to thicken it back up.  Wheat germ is delicious, but it changed the consistency a little — they sort of remind me of the texture of those Girl Scout cookies with the coconut… still uber-delicious, though!

 

Due to my lack of pre-pregnancy sweets-making, I’ll admit my ability to cover things in chocolate leaves something to be desired… you should have seen me and my motor skills trying to dip these little guys into the crock pot full of chocolate goo!  (Most people use chop sticks to cover things in chocolate, right? …right?…)

Not so pretty, but deeeeelicious!

 

Verdict:  DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS, and an excellent way to satisfy my craving for sweets.  Thanks, Katie!  You rock!

I Love You, Kid. Now GTFO!

29 Mar

You know how women start doing odd, sometimes inappropriate things near the end of their pregnancies to encourage their wee ones to exit the womb a bit early?

...seems legit...

I can now relate to these women.

Let’s be clear, though – the run down of my pregnancy symptoms hasn’t been THAT awful… there are many, many women who’ve had things much worse.  I’ll freely admit (and I’m sure Husband will whole-heartedly agree) that the third trimester is kicking my ASS, but it really could be worse.  Yes, I’ve had constant heart burn for the past 9 months.  Yes, my fingers are now 2 sizes larger, my feet look like Fred Flintstone’s, and I’ve got to stop half-way between the bedroom and the kitchen to endure some of those delicious “practice” contractions.

I discovered a few months ago that I’m one of the “lucky” women who actually develop ocular migraines during pregnancy (translation: I get headaches so bad I literally can’t see, and since there’s a tiny person in my belly I make do with a bit of chocolate and a boo-boo buddy instead of some hardcore drugs), I spent a most excellent few days in and out of the hospital with a scary infection that made baby’s heart rate bottom out, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had just about every symptom a pregnant gal can get.  Yes, ALL OF THEM.

So then, you’re probably wondering which symptom it is that’s broken me.  The constant mood swings?  Nah.  The stretch marks?  (Nope – I’m stretch mark free as of this moment, KNOCK ON WOOD).  The racing heart beat?  The shortness of breath? The constant trips to the bathroom?  Nope – all tolerable.

IT’S MY MOTOR SKILLS.

 

 

I’m not allowed to bring electronic devices into the kitchen anymore.  There are several perfectly decent (except for being shattered irreparably) water glasses in a landfill because of my pregnancy.  I’m not allowed to slice my own fruit anymore. There are no less than three brand-new-and-completely-waterlogged “How to be a Great Mom” books in the house (no more reading in the bath tub for this woman)! My laundry load has already doubled – not because of baby clothes, but because *this girl* keeps dropping (and spilling, and splashing) EVERYTHING she tries to consume down the front of her shirt.  Husband follows around behind me picking up the random objects I drop – a fork, an envelope, a hat.  There’s been a dish towel on the floor in the hall way for about a week now, and when Husband brings himself home a bottle of scotch at the end of the week, he now also brings home a box of band-aids for his lovely wife.

Just today I dumped most of a 14 pound bag of cat food all over the floor.  Don’t worry – I wasn’t lifting it… Husband put it on the kitchen table for me so that I could transfer it to its more appropriately sized storage containers.  It’s just that, well, I have the motor skills of a three year old, and as soon as I cut the top off the bag (which I was pleased with myself for doing without accidentally slicing any fingers), it toppled over onto its side, covering the kitchen table, two chairs, and most of the dining room carpet with cat food.  We’re talking EXPENSIVE cat food here, too, people – Miss Nina, bless her soul, is allergic to ALL THE THINGS, so we’ve had to upgrade to corn-free infused-with-gold-and-diamonds cat food.

Fraidy Cat thought Christmas had come early…

He gave me a sad, condescending little look, then proceeded to try & nom all the food before I could clean it up.

Nina, on the other hand, just looked sort of worried.

What the? Umm... I'll just wait here until you get that cleaned up, kk?

 

My no-longer-pregnant friends assure me that eventually I’ll be able to walk and chew gum at the same time again, but in the meanwhile I’m eating spicy things, going for long (slow, rambling, senior citizen speed) walks, and doing lots of squats (it’s easy to work them in… someone’s got to pick up all those things I drop when Husband’s not around). And as for Baby Boy, well… he’s officially full-term now, so we’ll be seeing him very, VERY soon (and hopefully sooner rather than later).

Mirror, Mirror

21 Mar

Remember me telling you I had to take the vanity out of our bedroom to make a spot for Baby’s bassinet?  Well, because the vanity was 50+ years old and in baaaaad shape (think: badly peeling veneer that would require professional help to make it look nice again), we ended up donating it.  We couldn’t, however, find it in our bones to part with the vanity mirror:

The mirror measures 36×38 inches, and since the part that actually attached it to the back of the vanity busted about ten years ago, we didn’t feel bad separating the two.  Space being at a premium here in the high rise, there was really only one place to put this awesome guy… right smack in the middle of the living room.

Hey! Someone put a vanity mirror in the living room!

The good news: we can now see the planes at Reagan National taking off from a whole new angle.

The bad news: it looked like we took the mirror out of our bedroom and put it in the middle of the living room.  <sigh>

The interesting news: my moM came for a visit to help me get the nursery set up and suggested…

Tiles!

I’ll admit I was skeptical, especially when we priced out said tiles and estimated the cost of upgrading the mirror to be around $50.  THEN we found these tiles in shades of blues, whites, and creams.  They weren’t tagged, so we asked a lovely man named Raaj how much they were.  He took one look at us – my giant belly and I, my moM, and my godMother, and said, “For you?  One penny!”

SCHWHAT?!?!  Turns out we’d inadvertently chosen a discontinued style of which there were only four slates left.  Turns out Raaj actually walked us to the check-out, then handed the cashier a nickel out of his own pocket, saying, “Who says a nickel doesn’t go far today?” Turns out Raaj is the nicest Home Depot Guy in the universe!  Hooray, Raaj!

Thanks, Raaj!

After we thanked Raaj about a zillion times he wished us luck and we were on our way.  Wherever you are, Raaj, you have excellent karma!  =)

So, for the price of some gas and a few swollen limbs (which calmed themselves down after a few large glasses of water and some rest), we were in business!

The original plan was to glue each tile to the mirror individually to avoid grout, BUT…all those teeny glass tiles are actually connected to each other via a mesh backing, so instead of having to place and attach each tile individually, I just cut the mesh to the size “frame” I wanted, which ended up being 3×3.

The up side of this strategy:  it only took a few minutes to arrange and attach the tiles (versus what I predicted to be HOURS had I glued each tile individually)

The down side of this strategy: My next choice was to either live with visible mesh backing or invest in some grout, which I doubted Raaj was going to donate to the cause.

Simple White Grout.

Turns out grouting tile is fast, easy, and super fun. I had a bit of trouble with the edges, which I’m still tweaking, but after watching a few You Tube videos I was a grouting champ! The most difficult part was the timing – I had to be careful to wait long enough for the grout to set between the tiles, but not so long that the grout would set ON TOP of the tiles.  It made me nervous to see all those pretty tiles covered in drying grout, but as you can see they cleaned up nicely with just some hot water & a rag.

Here’s what the finished project looks like:

Would you look at that?!  Instead of a bedroom mirror, Husband and I now have a living room mirror!  I wish we had a fire place mantle to rest it on, but until then it looks pretty good to me.  The best part is that the tiles not only match the living room, but they also match our bedroom colors, so if I ever decide to put it back in the bedroom it’ll still work!  Yay!  There’s a small, nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me I’ve traded my bedroom mirror for a swimming pool mirror, but I think that’ll pass once I get used to looking at it.  All in all I’m happy with how it turned out, and I’d do it again!

Total investment: $15 for the grout, a few days of a giant mess on the dining room table, and some cranky cats who got banished to the back room during the grouting process.  Worth it?  Definitely!  (Plus, when a girl’s fingers are so swollen she can’t crochet she’s got to do SOMETHING, right?)

And one more time, THANK YOU, RAAJ, WHEREVER YOU ARE!

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