Monday, January 20, 2014

Nursery Reveal !

With about four weeks to go until we meet our little one, we finally have our nursery just about finished !  It's painted, furniture is put together, shelves are up, most of the decor is up, and the drawers are just about stocked with clothes and diapers.  Since we didn't find out the sex, it's fairly gender neutral.  I figured I can add some pops of purple if its a girl and leave it how it is if it's a boy.  Here's a little picture tour :

The curtains came to me as a revelation.  I couldn't, for the life of me, settle on a pair of curtains !  I looked at IKEA, Target, Wal-Mart, and the internet and just couldn't find anything that fit the room. I was thinking of purchasing a fabric from IKEA, but fully making the curtains was a little intimidating for me (I made my bedroom curtains from scratch and I felt like it took me foooorreevverr to make them and vowed I would never do it again).  Then, one day as I walked passed the bed sheets aisle in Target, I vaguely remembered reading about using sheets as curtains.  Then I quickly Googled it (thank you smart phone) and read that it can be done !  As soon as I turned into the aisle, I found "the one" set of sheets:

I purchased a twin set of sheets.  This print was PERFECT for the room, and at $15.99 (no, I didn't get that sale price) I couldn't beat the price for turning it into two panels of curtains.  Since the nursery is "forest" themed, the leaves pattern was perfect and the teal and green matched exactly to the other teals and greens in the room.  This is how I turned the sheets into curtains (sorry for no step-by-step pictures):

Step 1: Wash and dry flat sheet.
Step 2: Fold flat sheet in half length-wise and iron the sheet (this helps to put a crease right down the middle to make it easy to cut).
Step 3: Cut the flat sheet right down the middle - now you have two curtain panels.
Step 4: Fold over, pin, and sew the long cut side to make a nice edge.  Repeat for other panel.  (I did read that some people use hem tape if you don't have a sewing machine)
Step 5: Depending on how tall you want your curtains will determine how you do the next part.  I just folded the top of the sheet over about five inches and then sewed a horizontal line to make a rod pocket.  
Step 6: Slide the rod through pocket and hang.  Easy !  

There are a lot of other great tutorials out there with pictures that can help you as well.  The sheets worked perfectly because of the print and color, but also because it was so easy to make.  I didn't have to do a lot of measuring or cutting and I only had to sew four straight lines because the other sides and the bottom hem were already done for me.

So that's how I got the perfect curtains for the nursery.  The rest of the nursery is just a smorsgaboard of framed things, books, and stuffed animals.  It's a pretty simple nursery.

The pennants on the wall were made out of scrapbook paper that I already had.  I used a 12x12 sheet of paper and was able to cut out five triangles per sheet.  Then I used a hole punch, punched two holes, and put the twine through.  Pretend pressing of Staples "Easy Button."

The "Owl Always Love You" print was also made out of scrapbook paper I already had.  I found a cute owl picture online, freehand drew it, and cut it out.  I used my heart punch for the heart and my Cricut for the words and placed it in an IKEA frame. Done !

Lastly, the animal prints above the cube shelf were a bit more time consuming.  I've decided on a forest theme pretty quickly and you guessed it...I had these pretty much made the weekend we found out we were expecting.  I found these animal prints online for $88 for all four. Even though I loved them, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much.  I kept looking at them, hoping I'd change my mind, and then I realized they looked like pieces of paper rather than an actual print.  So I thought, "Hey, I can make these !"   Over the course of a couple days, I freehand drew, cut out, and taped these little animals together.  Each piece is cut out of scrapbook paper and taped with acid free tape to a piece of white 8 X 10 piece of paper.  Then I placed a teal piece of paper behind the white to matte the picture.  The frames are from, yours truly, IKEA.  

So that's just a quick little tour of the nursery.  Actually not too much was DIY, but what was DIY'd was made with love...with a few trips to IKEA (and a pit stop to the restaurant for their meatballs each time).

Here's a rundown of the items we bought for our nursery:
   * Dresser: IKEA Hemnes
   * Knobs on dresser: from Hobby Lobby
   * Crib: SUNDVIK
   * Cube shelf: EXPEDIT with 4" CAPITA legs
   * Rug: GISLEV
   * Curtains and Rod: Target Room Essentials Collection - Mint Leaf and Ball Cafe Rod
   * Paint: Behr's Silver Drop
   * Frames: RIBBA series

And since I don't ever post pictures of myself, here's a little bump picture for ya.  

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our upcoming little one's room.  Not sure how much DIYing I'll be doing once the babe is born, but hopefully once we get into a routine, I'll be doing more fun projects.  Spring is around the corner and I'm bound to get a good garden this year and I'm sure Pinterest will inspire some more crafty projects for me to take on as well.  

What was your inspiration for your little one's nursery?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reading Rainbow: DIY Kid's Color Book

Happy New Year !  

I haven't been blogging for quite a while due to working one of the biggest DIY projects of our life: a baby ! We are due in February and are extremely excited for our little person to join our family.  The beginning of the pregnancy was rough but it has gotten much better.  We have been working on the nursery and I'll reveal some photos once it is finished.  

But on to the book I made.  I know it's a little soon to be teaching our Peanut (yes...we are waiting to find out the gender) his or her colors, but I couldn't pass up making a book like the one on this wonderful blog post I found via Pinterest.  I love colors and ROY-G-BIV and thought the idea was the cutest ever to help teach colors.  I think it is great that there are different shades of each color to help the kid see differences in the same color.  Plus I had some stickers and scrap paper lying around that needed to be used.  So when it came time to make the book, I dug up some swatches I had collected that showed off all the colors of the rainbow.

I decided to use a Zutter Bind-It machine that I got for Christmas last year.  I've only used it once so far and figured this would be a great project to use it on.  If you don't have a binding machine, you could staple it together or punch holes and use binder rings like my "pinspirational" blogger did. 

For extra support, I glued each swatch to a piece of white scrapbook paper (there are two swatches per white page - they are back-to-back).  Then I rounded out the corners as well. After I did that, I used the binding machine to put all the pages together.

Once it looked like a book, I used a combination of letter stickers and my Cricut machine to label each color page with the corresponding colored word.  I also put some matching colored stickers on each page.  For the cover page, I used a star-shaped punch and punched out each color, stuck them on the front and used black stickers to say "My Book Of Colors." 

Here's the final product:

So you'll notice there is no "indigo" and "violet" magically turned into purple.  I can't remember teaching a kid (or learning when I was a child) the color "indigo" or calling the color purple, "violet" (unless, of course, when I learned ROY-G-BIV...or in Spanish class- violeta).

I love it !  I can't wait for our little one to learn his or her colors using this homemade book of colors.  I'll probably add a few more color stickers to each page - maybe colored shapes or other animals for extra learning.  

What educational projects have you made for your little ones?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Do You Have It? GUTS!

This is Kerry - I've decided to take over Steph's blog for a post and talk to you about something near and dear to my heart.  No, I'm not talking about Stephanie - I'm talking about good old classic Nickelodeon television.   If you were born in the mid 80s, you were a kid of the 90s and know exactly what I'm talking about.

Growing up, I religiously watched Nickelodeon Guts.  For those who don't know what Guts is - it is American Gladiators for kids…except with Ghostbuster Mike O'Malley hosting, and "Mo" refereeing.  Kids would compete in various events with the finale being the Aggro CragMega Crag, Super Aggro Crag (ok they seriously renamed it enough times).  The Aggro Crag wasn't just any ol' event - it was a treacherous mountain climb (28 feet) with rock avalanches (foam boulders), nuclear flying crystals (glitter), and strobe lights.  The winner of the game got a piece of the "radical rock" and hoisted it above their head in victory knowing they just did something that every 9 year old wanted to do. Come on, who isn't excited?

Several months ago, we hosted a 90s party complete with dressing up in our 90s gear that we dug out from the thrift shop…or had been holding on to since 1998.  We also decked out the house with 90s gear, food, and brought out a Nintendo 64 in full standard definition.  More importantly, we created a DIY, homemade Aggro Crag!

You can buy (or make) foam ones on ebay and other places, but where is the fun in that?  At first, I wanted to go super realistic and cast it in resin.  It didn't get past the WAF - wife approval factor - so I had to come up with plan B.  Plan B consisted of some cheap plastic materials, wood, some cement glue, some lights and an array of tools.  So if you are looking to make your own Aggro Crag, here is how we did it and this is what it looked like at night:

  • 2 Polystyrene Lighting Panels
  • 1 2x4x8 piece of wood
  • 6ft+ of Electroluminescent Wire (EL wire) - green
  • Cement Glue
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Screws
  • Sharpie
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Saw and Dremel if you have one)
  • Exacto/Utility Knife
  • Screwdriver
First thing was to get the right design for the Crag.  Having studied the Crag in my youth my entire life (thank you Nick GAS), this wasn't too hard to do.  Stephanie freehand drew the design on some extra paper we had lying around and then cut it out.  It looked pretty good. The tall end was about 20.5 inches and the small end was about 8.25 inches.  The base was 20.5 inches.

We then traced the design onto the lighting panels using a sharpie.  The panels have 2 sides - one was smooth and the other had cracked texture.  We traced the first one so the cracked texture would be facing out.  So after we traced the first one, we traced it again on another panel.  Don't forget though, if you want the cracked texture on the outside for both sides (I recommend), you'll need to flip over the crag template or flip over the panel.  So now that we've got the patterns, it was time to cut out the Crag.

This was where it got a little bit ugly.  Polystyrene isn't the easiest to work with - it is prone to cracking - and our trip to Lowes didn't prove fruitful in finding some other type of plastic that was both rigid, cuttable, and had a neat texture to it. There were a couple options for cutting the light panels - either a saw or using a utility knife and scoring.  We went with option 2 and scored the plastic along our pattern (useful to use a straight edge to help guide you).  Once scored, you need to carefully split it.  If you put too much pressure, you will probably crack the plastic.  So keep scoring until it comes off fairly easily.  Be patient.  

After the two main side pieces, we cut out the 7 top and side pieces to connect the two main pieces together to create the true 3D look.  Some of this was trial and error to get the pieces to fit - luckily the pieces flexed a little bit.  You can see the pieces in the picture below (obviously taken after the Crag was complete).

So now that the plastic was cut, we needed a base - we made it 22 inches x 6 inches and used wood to give it some weight.  We cut the wood and screwed all the pieces together.  Worried that the plastic wouldn't be stable enough, I used a Dremel to make some grooves in the wood (a saw would probably work too) that the plastic would sit in.  After putting some wood glue over the screws and sanding, we painted the wood black and stuck a GUTS label on it.

At this point, you could just cement or hot glue the pieces together and place it on the base and call it quits.  But I was going for the full on effect.  With the 9 feet of EL wire I bought, the Crag would certainly have a "WOW" factor.  We couldn't find any good glow in the dark spray paint, so we went with the EL Wire (see below).  It actually ended up looking fine without the paint. 

To put the finishing touches, we taped the EL wire to the inside of the Crag and velcroed the EL wire battery pack/switch to the inside of the base.

So this is what the finished product looked like: in the daylight and at night.  Pretty rad, dude!

Will it stand the test of time?  Doubtful.  But at least for a day, I can hoist a piece of the glowing radical rock and fulfill my childhood dream.

Do you have it? GUTS!