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Happy New Year {Six Month Recap}

10 Jan

Happy new year, everyone! I’m finally making an attempt to pick back up on the blog a bit. It’s been an action-packed six months, so I figured I’d give a quick update of some of the highlights.

The rest of the summer was mostly spent getting settled into our new home and getting ready for Baby P … and sometimes both at the same time! One of my favorite projects in the home was, of course, planning and decorating the nursery! So much fun to plan a totally different type of room! I also loved having a blank canvas to work with in the rest of the house to re-imagine some of our existing furniture and add some new pieces in as well. Here are some snapshots of a few of my favorite spaces as they start to take shape.

20130904_184841This is our family room and I was so excited to move some of our new basement pieces from the basement redo up to the main living area. I love the coral and navy color palette and am so glad that it is now in a room that we use ALL the time.

20130922_182158The living room gave us the space to hang some of our favorite things on the wall … like the ukulele, which I think is beautiful, but is still easily accessible when the urge to play strikes one of us. And the Mary Belcher maps from Eastern Market really complete our office nook in a special and personal way.

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Finally, here’s a sneak peek of how the nursery started coming together. More on that later!

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Of course the biggest development in the last six months was the birth of our sweet baby girl. On November 12, 2013, our little Naomi Virginia finally decided to grace us with her presence! She was over a week late, but well worth the wait. Adam and I have been adjusting to our new world as her parents and enjoying how much she changes day-by-day ever since.

20131112_223759We have since been so overwhelmed by the love and support of our family and friends; who have visited, cooked for us, waited on me while I recovered and fed our little one, sent gifts, offered wise advice, and just generally been amazing!

I am enjoying the time away from work to really soak in these first weeks and months of Naomi’s life …  all of the firsts, the ups and the downs, and everything in between. I’m also looking forward to easing back into a {somewhat} normal routine, which will hopefully include continuing with some of the open projects around the new house and maybe even writing about a few things here. It’s pretty hard to tear myself away from this little face, so we’ll see how that goes!

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Happy Arbor Day! {A Few of My Favorite Tree Crafts}

27 Apr

Anyone who knows me, also knows that I absolutely love trees and using them in my crafts and home decor. There is just something about the quiet majesty of trees that inspires a sense of calm and wonder in me. So on this Arbor Day, I will salute one of my favorite things in nature by sharing a few of my favorite projects past involving trees.

Adam and I were married in a beautiful grove, which is situated on the grounds of an old estate in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Woodend Sanctuary is now owned by the Audubon Naturalist Society, and if you have a wedding there, it is pretty difficult to NOT feature trees prominently.

Rebekah Girvan Photography

So with that venue, of course, just about everything associated with our wedding also had trees {or birds} somewhere on it! From the save the dates …

… to the invitations …

… to the programs …

Rebekah Girvan Photography

… to the favors {more birds, but they are on a branch!} …

Rebekah Girvan Photography

… and, oh yes, the escort cards not only featured a tiny branch, they were also displayed on a TREE …

Rebekah Girvan Photography

Our wedding wasn’t the only time I’ve gotten a little wrapped up in the whole tree motif. You may remember the invitations from our recent Storybook Baby Shower

Trees were also incorporated into our holiday decor, not only with a Christmas tree, but  also with these pine cones as a little winter woodland scene {and a tree made out of a magazine behind it}…

So hopefully on this Arbor Day, we can all take a minute to think about all the ways nature inspires us and is reflected in our everyday lives … and maybe even plant a tree or support one of so many organizations doing great work to protect and enrich the beauty and biodiversity of our natural world {shameless plug}.

A basement update and a Craigslist adventure

2 Mar

I am so excited to finally report some more progress in our basement! A few months have gone by since I last posted about our basement project, when I was longing for that perfect rug to set the stage for the rest of our decor.  I wanted something more modern and playful than what we have going on in the main level, with color(s) that would bring together the coral and navy palette I’m eying.

Well, a lot happened quickly in December/January as we found a rug that we both love, a futon that seems comfortable enough to sit and sleep on {we were limited as to what we could get down the stairs}, and a used desk for my future workspace crafting corner.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of my favorite details in the room so far.

This Anthropologie vase is straight from my Pinterest inspiration board, and was a Christmas gift from my lovely sister {thanks, Steph!}. Right now I have it grouped with some old mason jars on our new built-in cabinets, and I love it!

Here’s a little, tiny peek at our new rug from CB2.  It’s just what I was looking for, and I promise I’ll share more once the room is “finished”! In case you were wondering, CB2 does honor Crate & Barrel gifts cards – score!

I also have some new fabric to play with that will hopefully soon become throw pillows and a seat cover for my new desk chair.

Got this with a Living Social deal!

My mom spotted this coral print!

And now for the Craigslist adventure! I hadn’t really been looking in earnest for a desk, but had the idea that it would be a good thing to have in the basement to keep my crafting supplies under control. So one day, I just happened upon an ad for a used desk that I really liked. And at $40 for the desk and chair, the price certainly seemed right as well! Through the magic of Craigslist, I was on my way to a storage unit in Centreville, VA later that evening to check it out.

I got more than I bargained for in terms of excitement, as the gate into the storage facility was malfunctioning. As the large fence/gate swung precariously in the air, it became apparent that there would be no pulling our cars up to the unit for an easy retrieval of the desk. Instead, the seller and I found ourselves watching the timing of the swinging gate so that we could run under it and safely into the storage area {at this point I definitely had some unpleasant visions of spending the night with a stranger in a storage unit in Centreville!}. Once inside, we moved all of the desk pieces as close to the gate as possible and then talked strategy.

After entering the code in a keypad about 20 feet from the gate, the gate would swing about 3/4 of the way up before coming back down … and then 1/2 way up again before bouncing back and forth a couple of times and finally crashing to the ground. We figured that if I waited by the gate with the desk while she entered the code, she could run over to the desk in time for that second half-way lift of the gate and we could safely carry it out. We watched a couple of times to really get our timing down, and then made a break for it {picture Super Mario dodging swinging fireballs to rescue the princess}! If anyone happened to be watching us, I’m sure it was highly amusing {but if they were, shame on them for not helping us – one more person would have made this infinitely easier}.

Anyway, we did it! And I know I have a new BFF and partner in crime if I ever decide to move to Centreville {thanks, Sharon, for being willing to go through that ridiculousness to help get my new desk out}! As I drove back down I-66, I started to wonder if it was in fact her desk to sell – had I just helped rob a storage unit??

Okay, thanks for indulging me if you’re still with me at this point … here’s a picture of the desk! It only needs a little touch-up, a new cover for the seat, and the yellow panels slide out for easy repainting! I’m pretty excited! My parents are staying with us in a couple of weeks, so that should be just the motivation needed for that final push to get most of the finishing touches done! Stay tuned …

New {used} desk and a curious cat checking it out!

A dear friend and a gift for Mom {Custom Embroidery}

30 Jan

I’m really excited about today’s post, because it gives me the chance to spotlight the wit and creativity of a dear, dear friend. You may remember my friend Sarah from such posts as Wednesday Wish List {Charleston, SC} as she was my college roommate and travel companion on my most recent trip back to Charleston. Our fathers introduced us one steamy, low-country afternoon as we moved into the dorm freshman year, and we have since shared countless memorable moments and inside jokes. Last year, I was honored to have Sarah stand with me as a bridesmaid on one of the most important days of my life to date. Here’s a photo from my wedding, which is still one of my favorites from the day, and I think perfectly captures our friendship.

{Rebekah Girvan Photography}

Okay … enough background!  Last year, Sarah found an outlet for her love of needlework when she opened her very own Etsy shop named Patsie&Lila {after her grandmothers}. Her original pieces feature quotes from geeky TV and movies {her words, not mine!} as well as from Shakespeare. Her most recent addition to the shop really cracks me up, and has me thinking of all those expectant friends of mine out there!

Beyond cute.

Now on to the “gift for Mom” part of the post. After hearing my mother rave about Little Women a couple years back, I decided it might be time for me to actually read this classic {as a bonus, lots of classics including Little Women are free on the Kindle!}. One quote stood out to me in particular: “What do girls do who haven’t any mothers to help them through their troubles?” I’m sure many of you out there think your mom is the best, but mine really is! She’s the most kind and caring person I know, and I can only aspire to be the source of strength and encouragement to my future children that she has been to her little women.

So, long story long, I asked Sarah to create a custom piece using this quote so that I could give it to my mother. The result was absolutely perfect and I know my mom really loves it as well. Here’s a look at Sarah’s beautiful handiwork, which was created using her own original design. I hope you’ll hop on ever to Patsie&Lila to check out more of Sarah’s work!  Enjoy!

Fun surprises and holiday spirit {Handmade Gift Exchange}

5 Dec

Last month, I was so excited to hear about the Handmade Gift Exchange organized by Linda over at Craftaholics Anonymous. {Side note: You should definitely check out her blog for fun and amazing craft ideas!} Anyway, the gift exchange worked like this: I signed up online, was assigned a lovely partner, we exchanged a couple of emails about the kinds of things we like, and then got to work on gifts for each other!  Fun idea, right?

Sneak peek {more details below}

First, I’ll tell you a little about the gift my partner made for me! In our initial email exchange, I sent her a link to my basement redo Pinterest board and she ran with it.  I was so excited to receive a beautiful pillow cover last week with the coral theme I am planning for that room!  I truly love it, and it really renewed my excitement about getting our basement together. I *think* I even found a rug this weekend that will serve as the anchor for the room.  More on that later.  Here’s a quick picture of my lovely new pillow and a link to my partner’s blog post about it!  {Thanks, Breanne!}

Can't wait to get this in our finished basement!

Now, a little about my gift for Breanne!  She mentioned that she likes classic Christmas decorations and Pottery Barn style, so I decided to make a decorative wreath.  After scanning the holiday section of the Pottery Barn website several times, it seemed that monochromatic, metallic was the way to go.  I started with a 12″ floral wreath form, gold ribbon, and some wooden letters – all from Micheals.

I then spray painted the letters gold and wrapped the wreath form with gold ribbon {which was a bargain at 70% off – I stocked up on lots of wired holiday ribbon!}.  When the whole surface of the wreath was covered, I just secured it in the back with a staple gun.

Gotta love spray paint!

Next up, I played around with a few ideas for center of the wreath.  I settled on backing the center with craft paper with a stamped leaf design.  I simply traced the inside of the wreath on craft paper and stamped around the circle using watermark ink.  Finally, a couple of leaf stamps in the center with gold embossing powder, and I was happy!

Next up I looped some more gold ribbon around the top of the wreath and tied a bow to hang it with.  I backed the craft paper with some thin cardboard using spray adhesive to make it a little sturdier and cut the backing down to size. This was also secured to the back using a staple gun.  Finally, it was time to attach the letters using a hot glue gun.

I was happy with the finished product and was hoping Breanne would be as well! Here’s a peek!

Finally, I wrapped it all up in some craft paper and festive twine and nervously put it in the mail {it’s amazing how much I cared what someone living halfway across the country who I will most likely never meet in person thought about my gift, but that’s probably why this gift exchange tends to work out}!

Hope she likes it!

The gift exchange was a perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and and to get a taste of the talent and generosity of a complete stranger!  Thanks so much to Linda for organizing and to Breanne for putting so much thought and effort into my beautiful gift! Click here if you’d like to see examples of other handmade gifts given through the exchange! Happy holidays!

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