I am so excited!

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Best for Baby, Cooking, Daily, FASHION, Friday Finds, FUN Times, GET FIT, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, LIFE, My Pregnancy, Nursery, Other, photo, Photography for Mommies, Pre-CONCEPTION, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY FASHION, Pregnant With Style, Real Life on Instagram, REVIEWS, travel

The time has come for you guys to learn about what it is I have been working on so hard for the last 6 months. FEBRUARY 28th!

DAILY MOM

I’ve mentioned this name in passing a few times, but I doubt many of you noticed or paid attention. However it is now a huge part of my life that I am incredibly excited about. It took a lot of work and it’s almost here and you, guys, get to be the first ones to see it. A new portal that will hopefully stand out in the sea of mommy-oriented websites. I first came upon the idea for the website when I was sick of wading through hundreds of useless posts that sucked me in and wasted my time on big corporate website ( you know the ones I am talking about, those with scandalous news and celebrity gossip).  One post that has the potential of helping me as a mom and a woman among 10 posts of useless (but admittedly entertaining content). I wondered if there was a place for a website that doesn’t try to entertain, but tries to help. I instantly thought of Pinterest and how awesome of a service that is. My next thought was “I wish there was a blog like Pinterest, where all that awesomeness was delivered to me daily in a blog format into my email or RSS feed.”

DING DING DING

(that was the lightbulb over my head) Now over a year later after the initial idea and 6 months of grueling work along with my kick ass team of moms, Daily Mom is here.

So what is Daily Mom?

This is how we define it!

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: I am so excited!

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Nursery Final Reveal

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in Alexis, Nursery, REVIEWS

Welcome to Alexis’ Nursery Final Reveal

To view the progress, follow the links below:

Nursery Part I
Nursery Part II- bits and pieces

All the items in the room and where you can find them will be listed at the bottom of the post.

Overall, I am happy with how it turned out. The room we had for her is the smallest in the house and I was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to decorate it the way I wanted. I am not great with styling or design, I am not crafty and we didn’t have a huge budget. But I feel that we were able to do exactly what I had envisioned with minor concessions. There will be some changes to the room in the future and it’s not 100% complete, but it is as complete as it will be until Alexis starts sleeping in it ( which she currently isn’t and probably won’t be for a long time). I am planning on adding pom-poms in the ceiling corner and a bookshelf, but this is as final as it’s going to get for a while.

So let’s start:

The chair is the only thing that doesn’t completely match, but in order to get a white chair I would have had to either sacrifice my comfort or price. So this was a good middle of the road rocker/recliner that is insanely comfortable. The rug is temporary, as well. I haven’t been able to find a rug that fit the room perfectly, so this cheap Target rug will do for now until I find something more appropriate.

The blinds will get cord winders soon (if you know of good ones, please share)
The crib skirt and bows were made by my sister who lives in Russia. She did an amazing job, considering she’s not a seamstress and went off of our measurements. We opted for no bumpers (even though I had a very cute one in mind) and an organic muslin crib sheet and a Naturepedic mattress.


I debated buying children’s canvas art for the room or framing my own photography. I am glad I went with frames, because that means I can switch out photos once in a while when we get bored of them.


The dresser was a old craigslist dresser that we had refinished. And yes, I am aware the handles are upside down. No, it wasn’t on purpose :). Since the dresser is old, the only crafty thing I managed to accomplish was lining the drawers with pretty purple and white fabric that I ordered online.


We have two mobiles over the crib. Wispy soft and cute one for looks and for when Alexis is a bit older to be interested in such delicate things (see how to win one), and another developmental crib mobile made out of black, white and red plastic shapes that encourage baby’s visual development. Needless to say, Alexis loves it as much as she does her black and white board.

It took nearly to my due date to find a chandelier that we both liked. I didn’t want it to look cheap with plastic crystals and anything with real crystals was either too big or over the top. This one came in black and was exactly what we needed after some spray paint action.

The butterflies offer some entertainment for Lexi while she gets her diaper change ( that is when we use that area to change her diapers). The beautiful owl and birdie mobile is courtesy of Denise from my favorite Magical Whimsy Etsy shop

The closet dividers are courtesy of Erica from Fifi’s closet on Etsy and can be made in a variety of color schemes

Nursery Details:

Paint: Zero VOC Olympic Paint in Iris Isle

Mirror: Rooms To Go Disney Princess Mirror

Lamp: Shade from Layla Grace, base from Ebay painted white.

Owl: Red Envelope

Cloth Doll: Haba Organic Doll

Flower vase: vase and flowers from Michael’s, cut and arranged by me.

Frame: a gift from ex-neighbors. They framed Alexis’ announcement which I thought was so creative.

Dresser: an old craigslist dresser and night stand refinished. (bought for $150, refinished for $500)

Drawer Liners: Made using foam board from Michael’s, cut to size. Fabric ordered online.

Chandalier: Overstock.com

Butterly mobile over the changing table: Amazon

Owl & Bird Mobile: Magical Whimsy Etsy shop (WIN IT! see below)

Black and White Mobile: Manhattan Toy

Black and White Board: on Amazon from Manhattan Toy

Canvas: Easy Canvas Print

Crown: HomeDecorators.com

Sparkle statue: Zulily

Framed Photos: Frames from Michael’s, photos taken by me printed at Bay Photo Lab

Recliner/Rocker: Matter Brothers

Crib Skirt and Bows: handmade by my sister in Russia

Rug: Target

Shades: JCPenney (super cheap solution, but not cordless)

Shelves: HomeDecorators.com (painted white)

Organic Changing Pad: Naturepedic

Organic mattress: Naturepedic

Ugly Dolls: Amazon

ABC Nightlight: Pottery Barn Kids

Closet Door Handles: Pottery Barn Kids

Closet Organisers: Fifi’s closet

Closet cubes: Homedecorators.com Martha Stewart Collection

Closet canvas totes: Homedecorators.com Martha Stewart Collection

Flag Banner: Etsy

And that’s pretty much it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Denise from Magical Whimsy Etsy shop would like to offer my readers a chance to win $100 to her Etsy shop.
So if you have a little one on the way or just need a nursery revamp, feel free to enter.

Magical Whimsy $100 Credit

BELOW ARE THE GIVEAWAYS RULES
and Mandatory Entries: {read carefully}

There are two mandatory entries for each giveaway, after which you will have additional entries available,
and daily entries for which you can come back to enter daily. This giveaway is open internationally.
The winning entry will be verified and the winner disqualified if the action is not found or if the mandatory items are not fullfilled.
Make sure to notate how you’re following the blog in the extra info field (entry #1). The entry won’t count if that information is missing.
Each giveaway is open has specific rules, so read them on the widget (including which countries are eligible). See the rafflecopter widget for additional terms and conditions.

UPDATE: You can now log into the Rafflecopter through Facebook or just by using your name/email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Nursery Final Reveal

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

NURSERY UPDATE: Part II {bits and pieces}

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, Nursery

{Note: I lost this post in yesterday’s server crash, so here we go again. Unfortunately, all your comments got deleted along with the post :( But I did appreciate every single one of them!}

See NURSERY PART I HERE

As we are finishing up our work on the nursery, it’s starting to slowly dawn on us that this room will be soon occupied by a crying, cooing, pouting baby girl, our daughter!

You get caught up in building this perfect room and it takes so long, because there are so many choices and never that unlimited amount of money that we’d all like to have, that you forget why exactly you’re doing it. Crazy – we’re going to have a new human being that we created. I know it’s old news to most people, since everyone had to come to this world that way, but to me it feels like noone has ever gone through it and we are the first people on the planet to have a baby.

So at this point, every major piece of furniture has been ordered and/or delivered. Most decor items have arrived and been spray painted white. The only important piece that we don’t have is the recliner, which should arrive early January. So since the room isn’t exactly put together, I figured I’d do a detail update for you. Keep in mind, most of the shelves items are only there as placeholders right now, blinds aren’t fully installed, cords will be wrapped into a baby proof cord winder and a night table will be placed next to a chair when the chair bothers to show up.

MOBILE:

This is one of my favorite things in the room. I spent quite a bit of time looking for a perfect mobile as it can really set the mood in the room. I wanted something handmade and subtle, girly and romantic. When I found Magical Whimsy store, I knew that was it. At first, I couldn’t decide between this one in lavender and the one in the pictures below. I thought the first one would just blend into the room too much and I have a huge tendency to go too matchy-matchy, so getting a color that wasn’t lavender or yellow (two primary ones of the room) was a bit of a risk (for me). When I got the mobile, though, I instantly knew it was perfect. It’s like it was made for this room. I have to tell you, I was incredibly impressed with the quality ( I spent the next few days gushing over it). It is REALLY well made – Denise  knows what she’s doing. Check out her Magical Whimsy Etsy shop here for all kind of paper creations.

I will probably have a black and white mobile that attaches to the crib (for Alexis’s development) but to be honest I doubt she’ll be spending much time in the crib when she’s awake, so I might not even need it. But this is definitely a decorative piece that the room wouldn’t be the same without. I know where I’ll be ordering all my future mobiles ( if we have another baby).

WALL ART:

The original plan was to buy some colorful art for the walls since the rest of the room is so subtle, with walls being almost white. It would have ended up being around $350 and after some thinking (and nudging from a friend) I decided to instead see if I can find some similar pastel colors in my own photography and frame that. Eventually those will be replaced with family photos and headshots of Alexis, but for now I think it worked out pretty well.
The top shots (pictured below) were taken in spring at Universal Studios and the bottom ones on Florida and Antigua beaches.


DRESSER:

The source of our nightmares! I had a very specific image of a dresser that I wanted. I saw a picture on one of the nursery room websites and couldn’t get it out of my mind. After searching out all the online stores, I realized that a dresser like this cannot be found and similar ones are way over a thousand dollars so the only option was to buy a used one and refinish. Then I got lucky- I got REALLY lucky. A few days after I made that decision, an oak dresser popped up on craigslist. We snatched it up for $100 along with a matching nightstand (you can see the before picture here). I figured we’d refinish it ( and by we, of course, I mean hubby) and save a ton of money in the process. Well, enter the 4 weekends that I now call “I hate my wife for making me refinish this dresser”. It turns out refinishing a piece of furniture is harder than we thought. Based on all the blogs I’ve read, it seemed like these ladies would just whip a dresser into shape with no problems. That was not our case!

So let’s just say there was a lot of complaining and bitching and freaking out ( from hubby’s side- he REALLY didn’t want to refinish the damn thing) and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t go and do it myself, because the fumes are super toxic, so finally I declared the project a failure and we hired a lady to do it for us. Long story short, while I am happy with the exterior job, we ended up having to pay $500 to get it refinished (along with a nightstand), she put too light of a paint coat on the drawers and neglected to apply a polyurethane coating, which hubby still had to do himself.

In addition to that, Andrew spilled polyurethane on the carpet in the process ( yes the carpet was covered, but in the best fashion of Murphy’s law it got spilled on the only part that was NOT covered- at least that’s the story hubby tells me). He spent the next few weekends trying to clean it up and soften it with paint thinner which stunk up the room. We then had to clean the carpet with hot water extraction to get the chemicals and the smell out. So yeah I am telling you - A DISASTER! That was one of the reasons you didn’t see any updates- there was nothing to show!

However, finally, it’s all behind us and we have two {almost} perfect pieces EXACTLY the way I had them in my head. You won’t see the nightstand this time, since it was out of the room temporarily, so I didn’t take any pictures. So that’ll be for the next update along with the chair, mirror, nightlight, lamp and a few other items.

The pad on the dresser is an Organic Changing Pad from Naturepedic. Unfortunately, I won’t get to have one of those cute changing pad covers for it, unless I find a cute organic one, as well.

Because the drawers were so badly painted, I had to make a liner for each one of them, using foam boards cut to size and fabric wrapped around them and glued to the back. I’ll show more photos of that in the next update.

Above the changing pad I wanted to hang something light and pretty, and very subtle. Butterfly Mobile was cheap and perfectly inconspicuous, but a really pretty sight from Alexis’s viewpoint.


SHELVES

Here we lucked out. I had three gorgeous shelves ( in light oak again) that were gathering dust in one of the closets. They were bought on a clearance sale on homedecorators.com about 4 years ago and we never put them up because they didn’t really match our decor. Oh how glad I was we had them laying around! A coat of primer and a coat of paint and the shelves turned into the perfect princess room decor.

{Some of the items on the shelves are there as placeholders only. I will have to find and buy a few baby things to go there}

But here’s what’s going to stay for the time being.

CANVAS:

This was my first canvas purchase! I’ve always wanted to buy a canvas, but whenever I’d check the prices out, it’d be something ridiculous like $200. That’s until i found Easy Canvas Prints ( well, technically they found me)

I was offered to try out their website and canvas – Umm… YEAH!

I ordered a 16×20 photo canvas with the standard wrap (.75). I picked this photo because it almost perfectly matched the color scheme of the nursery ( the accents of yellow), plus babies love faces (especially their parents’ faces). After Lexi arrives, I’ll order a few canvas using her newborn pictures (which I cannot wait to take, btw!)

The ordering process was super easy: upload, position, pick size, order. Plus Easy Canvas Prints have promotions all the freaking time, so you can get a canvas for a really good price. I liked it so much that a week after I received this canvas, I ordered another one for our living room (using this photo). Right now they’re having a Get 20% Off + an 8?x10? Canvas Free + Free Shipping When You Spend $60 promotion that you can get by clicking on the link (the discount is automatically applied at check out).

This statue is one of the few things currently on the shelves that will actually stay there. I got it from Zulily- I think it adds some well needed color to the room. There’s also a big crown that’ll go next to it, that is currently in the process of being painted.

This frame might or might not stay, with a picture of Alexis in it. Yellow flower will probably go or get snipped a bit since our cats chewed the heck out of the fake grass :) The starfish will stay and might or might not get repainted depending on what else I get for the shelves. The pink rose bouquet was something I made to be put in front of whatever picture frame we’ll hang there. I am NOT a crafty person so this and a few other things would be the extent of my craftiness. Not much to it: a few small flowers from Micheal’s, a see through rubber thin hair tie, some glitter spray and a glass jar.

CLOSET

Finally the most colorful corner of the room – the closet.

Here’s the breakdown:

1. Martha Steward Storage from HomeDecorators.com
2. Martha Steward canvas totes from Homedecorators.com
3. Bunting from Starlit Nest etsy shop
4. Cubes backing- handmade. I simply wrapped the backing in fabric and glued it together.
5. Closet door knobs: PBK

Msc items on shelves are there as placeholders.


 

So there you have it!

I am very happy with the direction we’re going in. I wanted something bright and light, but at the same time with lots of color. I think we’re on the right track. We still have to figure something out for bookshelves. I want a part of the bookshelf to be low enough for Alexis to grab the books on her own when she’s mobile and for book covers to be facing outwards rather than to the side, since that helps babies pick their own books and be more interested in reading.

Let me know what you think and hopefully early January you’ll get to see the room as a whole. That is if Alexis doesn’t decide to show up early.

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: NURSERY UPDATE: Part II {bits and pieces}

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved

Nursery Update: Part I

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby. Posted in My Pregnancy, Nursery, photo


Today instead of Photo Share Tuesday, you finally get some updates on the nursery.

To say that it’s been difficult is to say nothing. Aside from the fact that we only have weekends to work on it, I have been strictly forbidden to even enter the room while the work is in progress. In addition to that, my husband is the kind of guy who would rather buy pretty things than make pretty things. I am not a crafty person either, but I am a creative person, so I have all these ideas and visions and I want them to come to life at minimal cost (lol).

So here we have one prospective parent who can’t work on the nursery (yes, we do buy low-VOC paint, and no, we still don’t feel it’s ok for me as a preggo to paint or be in the room that is painted) and another parent who really would rather postpone it till 2 weeks before Alexis arrives. So while I gotta give him props for calmly going and doing all these things I ask, my husband does tend to stop working an hour or two later, citing one of two things: “It’s a good start” or “I need a tool I don’t have to get it done right“.

For the past month, he forgot to pick up the paint from the store after he ordered it ( twice), didn’t get enough paint to finish the project (twice), realized he was missing a tool or something after starting a project that he simply can’t do without (once), threw a fit over having to refinish a dresser rather than buy a brand new one (once). So let’s just say it has not been easy for me and I’ve been doing NOTHING :)

In the end, he always did get it done and worked really hard, but not without a lot of complaining and excuses . Let’s just say my husband is great at a lot of things, but he is not one who enjoys working with his hands rather than his brain (and to be completely honest I’m exactly the same way).

So here’s what the room looked like once we cleaned the junk out of it ( took us two weekends, since it was our “don’t know what to do with it, let’s put all our boxes and useless crap in” room)

Our biggest challenge so far is that the room is tiny. It’s not closet tiny, like I’ve seen some rooms be, but it’s the smallest room out of the 5 bedrooms and it was “meant” to be a nursery. All our other bedrooms have a pretty permanent use: master bedroom, movie theater, home office and a downstairs guest room. They are too specialized to easily convert to a baby room, and guest bedroom is downstairs which is too far from master bedroom.

 

The only reason I am ok with Alexis having a smaller room is that we have a living room area downstairs that is currently a “mismatched furniture placeholder”, which I will convert to a playroom (photo on the left). It’s a large area and it’s going to look fabulous as an arts, crafts and play room for Alexis. So her bedroom will only be a place to sleep, not play. Once she grows up enough not to need a playroom or want more privacy, we’ll transfer her to the secluded guest room, which as a teenager she will love.

 

So here’s the direction we’re going in, with a lot of projects still ahead of us:

 

Our two primary colors, besides white, are lavender and soft yellow, with accents of muted, dark pink and aqua.

Sort of like the palette below.

We knew the walls were going to be lavender, but we weren’t sure how lavender we wanted to go until I decided on this palette. With so many colors in play, the walls had to stay subdued, so we picked out 2 lightest lavenders and got sample cans of them. Andrew painted two small areas with each paint and we gave ourselves a few days to decide.

The darker shade looked exactly what we thought the lightest lavender would. And the lighter shade looked almost white.  From experience, however, we knew to go lighter than our initial desire because once you paint the whole room with it,  it will really smack you in the face. {dried paint swatches below}

So while we weren’t sure about this little hunch of ours, we decided to go with it and paint the room the lighter color and then repaint it with darker if we end up thinking it’s just way too light. Once the room was done and allowed to dry, we absolutely fell in love with the muted light lavender. It doesn’t overpower the small  room and keeps things fresh and bright.

After the walls were finally done (we ran out of paint once), Andrew started working on fancying up those plain windows. The simple solution was to put casings around them. It was an easy job ( hehe of course- I didn’t do anything), but did take some time. Luckily Andrew had dome crown molding in the past, so he had the tools to make the cuts and a better skill level. He then spray painted them white and that was it.

 

Next went the baseboard painting which turned into a disaster, since in some places the baseboard goes so deep into the carpet you can’t reach it. So a day of work wasted, since we’ll have to completely re-do them.

One good thing came out of running out of lavender paint half way through: because we weren’t able to paint the closet right away, it gave me an idea to paint it a different color to spice things up. After playing around with swatches, we decided to go with a super light shade of yellow. {the closet has doors that were taken off to be painted white}

The paint colors we used are Olympic Iris Isle and Sugared Shortbread.

Next step: CRIB.

We wanted to get a fancier crib, but after some thinking I vetoed spending $1000 on the crib we liked, because it seemed silly and I wasn’t sure what all the expenses for Alexis and her room would be, so it was better to play on the safer side money-wise.

Travis, of course, was the first one to check out the new room and new furniture.

And it actually turned out even better, because my FIL was the one who bought us the crib. And while it’s not super expensive, I am still happy with the crib we got: it simple but  nice and most of it will be covered with the awesome bedding my sister is sewing. Besides, we were completely limited with the type of crib we could get, due to the fact that the nursery has 3 (!!!) windows, which meant any crib with a solid back was out, since  the back would cover some of the window regardless of where we’d place it. So side to side crib was our only option.

I am waiting til Black Friday to buy a mattress ( just like a lot of things), since we want to get an organic one and those suckers run $300 bucks (I’ll be writing about it in the next few weeks). We haven’t completely decided on where exactly we’re putting the crib, so the main window is where it’s at right now.

The little monster things you’re seeing here are UGLY DOLLS and even though I am waiting to buy the little decorative stuff for the room until the big furniture is finished and moved in and I have a better idea of where we’re at and what we’re doing, I couldn’t resist these two and snatched them off a Zulily sale. And they fit the decor colors we mapped out, so that’s a bonus.

So that’s as far as we have gotten with the nursery. I hate the generic cream outlet plates and the horrible mustard smoke detector ( who thinks of putting a mustard colored smoke detector into a completely white room? Are mustard smoke detectors really that much cheaper that builders find it more profitable to use them?), so we’ll have to swap those.

Also waiting on the Black Friday sales are the white cordless roman shades. As much as I love flowy curtains, that’s just not safe in a baby’s room with 3 windows where we have no choice but to put the crib by one of the windows.

 NEXT UP: DRESSER

The work on the dresser has already started. I couldn’t find the dresser I had envisioned for less than $1200 ( and in wrong colors, too), so the next best thing is to refinish an old one. This is a dresser we bought off of craigslist for 100 bucks ( I swear, a dresser is the  easiest thing to find there. I’ve been waiting on a perfect chandelier to buy and re-finish it and there’s been nothing even close to the simple chandelier base I need). I don’t have a good photo of the dresser and nightstand set, just the iphone snapshot I took when we bought it. Andrew already started stripping it and it’s an awful lot of work, because whatever finish it has, it doesn’t come off easily. So I see quite a few weekends spent on that project. I will try to remember to snap photos of the progress to post later. Once done, it’ll be painted white with yellow handles.

In the meantime, while A is slaving at the dresser, I have a few projects of my own that involve wood and fabric. We’ll see how well they will turn out, but I’m not holding my breath.

My sister is sewing a crib set that will look somewhat like this but in lavender. My mom will bring it with her when she comes in January so unfortunately, we won’t get to see it till then. Just a quick note: we’re not planning on having the bumper like in the picture. While I love the look of this bumper, I told my sister to make it very thin, not pillowy and in the beginning Alexis will most likely be sleeping in the co-sleeper and for the times when she sleeps in the crib, we’ll remove the bumper completely until suffocation is not an issue. The bumper will be thin enough so she won’t be able to pull up on it when she’s older either.

I already have one of the canvas for the walls and an adorable mobile from Etsy, that I will be showing you guys in the next Nursery Update Post.

That is it for now. I am waiting to buy a lot of things until Black Friday sales and until the big pieces are finished and placed in the room so that I can assess exactly what I need to get. I cannot wait to start buying colorful pillows and art work and shelving, toys and books and make this room bright and colorful and a real baby girl’s room.

Hope you enjoyed this, because I certainly spent quite a few hours on this post.  See you on Thursday for 27 week Bump update and keep your fingers crossed for me on Wednesday- I’ll be doing the glucose test :)

 

 

This article belongs to The Art of Making a Baby ! The original article can be found here: Nursery Update: Part I

The Art of Making a Baby © 2014 - All Rights Reserved