Saturday, March 5, 2016

Little Man's Nursery

Boy do I love decorating nurseries. Babies and all of their tiny adorable things. I love to search through pinterest to find all of the new theme ideas with 100 interpretations for each. After we finished transitioning our little girlies into their new girly room, it was time to get started on our preparations for little man. We knew our Bemidji babe needed a proper North Woods theme so I went the direction of woodland animals. 

As usual, I did my best to reuse and repurpose where ever I could. His changing table and this shelf were originally purchased at IKEA for Curly Girl's nursery. I loved the idea of displaying some of his adorable woodland animal clothing on the hooks. 

I refinished this sad $10 craigslist find for GiGi's nursery. A fresh coat of white spray paint and a little grey fabric splurge turned this into a cozy little feature. I found a scrap of orange flannel at a local fabric store and turned it into a simple and fun fox pillow. 

Two of my favorite things in the room are this awesome birch tree feature wall and the cardboard deer head I bought at a local gift shop. I also loved the trendy pop of orange with this great arrow print fabric from Premier Prints. 

We squeezed in a day bed with some more pops of orange. 

The changing table

How cute is this little squirrel night light? It's too small put off any real light but was just perfect for middle of the night diaper changes.

My mother found cut outs from a quilt from a discontinued Carter baby line at a thrift store so we framed the fabric circles in embroidery hoops as a perfect way to feature some woodland animals without having a nursery of matchy-matchy baby items. 

The girlies clearly had a great time helping me hang them while they jumped on the daybed in their PJs and tutus. 

Sparkly glitter animal silhouettes in my boy's room? Yes. I reused some decor from our previous home's kitchen with the frames and chevron fabric. I had hot glued some brightly spray painted kitchen tools onto the fabric. I ripped those off and painted some fabric glue on that I covered in gold glitter. Another fun way to feature some DIY woodland animal art. 
My favorite--the deer antler silhouette

Of course I had to make my favorite mitered corner blanket with some fun woodland animal fabric and a super soft striped flannel. 

The before pictures--sad, poorly painted purple. 

Ready to paint!

The music notes. I celebrated painting over these… though I appreciate the previous owner's creativity. 
I found this AWESOME stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. No doubt this baby is going to be used again. What a fabulous design and big enough that I only had to do eight sections to cover the wall. One afternoon to finish this beauty!
The finished wall. 
…and an Instagram filter makes it even more dramatic. 

There it is! My favorite room to date. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Year for Little Man!

One of the great loves…and great chores… of all of my babies' first years has been monthly pictures. It started with Curly Girl when I received a set of onesie stickers at her baby shower from a good photographer friend. Each month I took a picture with whatever outfit inspired me for the month. I also tried to capture a photo with the two of us--so proud of my first babe. With GiGi, I took it up a notch with a hand decorated onesie themed by the month. With little man, I got inspiration from a pin where a mom took a picture of her little one in the same scene each month. 

I so loved the stenciled birch wall in little man's room that I chose it as the background. I grabbed a wooden rocking horse and a stuffed Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox I picked up at a craft fair just after the decision to move to Bemidji and the north woods of Minnesota, where Paul Bunyan and his blue friend serve as our mascot.

I tried to go easy on myself and buy paper mache numbers to mark the months but to no avail at the time…so I stupidly decided to make stuffed numbers out of scrap fabric. Cute but naturally became the chore I grrrrr'ed at each month as I tried to carefully time our photo session so that there was actually natural light in his small bedroom. (A task I found more difficult than I expected with the short days of northern Minnesota winters.)

Here's how the year turned out:

I can't believe how he's grown over time and how fun it has been to watch him develop. He's sweet. He's gentle. He laughs so easily. He's curious and strong. Love you, little man!

Our Girly Room

With little man well on his way, it was time to begin the feat of combining the girlies into one room. We were anxious for sure. Not only were we combining the bedrooms of our two very different little women, GiGi was just making her transition into a big girl bed. Can you believe we decided to just skip the toddler bed stage all together and throw her in a twin bed AND share a room? The decision was as bold as she is… and it worked! Being together for a year now, I can hardly imagine the two apart from each other.

Of course expecting a new babe (and planning for yet another daycare bill), my goal with this bedroom was two-fold--1. Make it girly. 2. Re-use, Re-use, Re-use…and make this makeover as affordable as possible. (After all, we still had little man's room to finish.)

Here's what I did:

Though I fought her, Curly Girl insisted that the room color be purple. Normally, I'm not one to paint walls in such a bold color or put up a fight with a four-year-old but since it was her room that was selected for sharing, I decided to be kind and work with it. I unwittingly found inspiration in their much loved Disney princess castle--choosing purple walls and pink, teal and other bright colored accents. There were few purchases made to complete the room outside of paint, bedding, and those giant paper mache initials. 

 a view from the door to GiGi's side

i spraypainted old pictures frames collected at garage sales in bright colors. and those butterflies? if you're a child of the 80's you probably remember those gold "home interior" butterflies from your mother or grandmother's house. both my mother and my mother-in-law had them hanging in their homes so i snatched some from my mil's home and spray painted them white. where did i find matching teal bed frames? spray painted those too! the previous owners of our home left some primary color bunk beds behind so i used the same teal spray paint to update those 90's beauties. 

penants are just so hot right now! love them! these were made with a package of yellow quilt binding and some cotton fabric scraps that i ironed to some pellon stabilizer and cut into triangles. i left the edges raw and sewed the top into the binding. i made loops on the ends and hung on the walls with simple gorilla hooks. 

a view of Curly Girl's side

 the ruffled curtains i so proudly made for GiGi's nursery found a new home in our girliest of girly rooms.

 "let her sleep…for when she wakes, she will move mountains." one of my favorite little art pieces from GiGi's nursery with piggy banks on the dresser.

another purchase from a local shop. a simple 1x6 painted into a ruler that we're using for a height chart. 

 while the diy'er in me said, "you can do that!", sometimes you just have to admit you haven't got the time and support some of your fellow crafters. 

 speaking of supporting fellow crafters, i found this at a craft fair in Fargo and fell in love. someday i'll remember the artist and link it. she had beautiful graphic prints.

my husband's contribution. though i protested, he grew up with posters on his door and insisted they needed one of their favorite characters. Anna and Elsa so represent the differing personalities of my girlies, i can't help but smile when i walk through the door. 

I wish I had some "before" pictures to share. I'll never forget painting over a pastel lime green color and making note of the fact that I would NEVER let my teenage daughters put so many holes in their walls. It took me days to pull the 50+ drywall mounts and fill in the hundred nail and push pin holes. Ugh. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My favorite summertime treat--Bruschetta!

Nothing says summer like fresh produce! 

One of my all time favorite things to make in the summer is bruschetta (pronounced "brew-skett-ah" for us non-native Italians). For us in northern Minnesota, we haven't quite reached that gardening phase in the summer when you're surrounded by a million tomatoes that seem to ripen (then overripe) by the second but when we do, this is my go-to recipe to use up a lot of tomatoes quickly. 

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

8 small tomatoes, about 4 cups diced (Roma or plum tomatoes are my favorite for this but any will do)
8-10 fresh basil leaves (3-4 TB)
3-4 garlic cloves (2TB)
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
3 TB balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 loaf of french bread and additional olive oil and garlic for seasoning


Peel the tomatoes. To do this, put the tomatoes in boiling water for no more than one minute to loosen the skins (parboil). Shock them with cold water to make sure they don't stew. Peel the skins off. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and remove the inner juice and seeds. Dice the tomato into small pieces (like the consistency of chunky salsa).

Finely chop the fresh basil and garlic cloves. Combine with the tomatoes and add the olive oil and vinegar. Taste as you go and adjust to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to combine. This can be made a day ahead and enjoyed several days after (if it can last that long!)

To prepare the bread, slice the loaf into 1/2 inch slices and lay out flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush a bit of olive oil on both sides (or leave it dry if you'd prefer to save a few calories). Bake at 375 for about five minutes on each side or alternatively, broil on low on each side for a few minutes. For extra flavor, sprinkle some salt or once the bread has cooled a bit, you can rub fresh garlic clove lightly over each piece. 

Serve together. You could also garnish with extra basil or a small hunk of Parmesan or mozzarella cheese. 

 some simple ingredients

 parboiling the tomatoes

see how easy that skin comes off? so worth the minute to boil them!

 the admittedly messy process of taking out the juice and seeds! 
I always have tomato juice dripping from my elbows

dice up the tomatoes nice and fine

basil and garlic

everything combined together! Yum!

 there it is... about to disappear!

Photos were all taken with my little iphone since I didn't have my fancy Canon at the lake house. Nice work, iphone. I knew you were meant for more than facebook!



gigi kept taking bites out of my tomatoes and stealing my ingredients. ha ha! nothing like a toddler to make you laugh at your own foodie-ness