Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kalia's Playroom

Most of you guys have seen this picture of my formal living room :


We intended to make this a game room, and were holding onto our old furniture from our old house turned rental property in case we needed to stage the house to re-rent it.  One day I got over it and decided that was silly, and called these guys to come get all this furniture that Chris and I both didn't like anymore.

And did a happy happy joy joy dance as they hauled away all of our unwanted furniture to give to someone who really could use it.  Win win!

I wanted a space for Kalia and her growing toys that wasn't just her nursery.

A space for us to play.

A space to contain the mess.  Easily.  I'm kind of a mess too, so containment is key in our house.

I wanted a space that will grow with Kalia, and that her friends can come over and hang out in that's safe and fun.  I wanted a space free from the TV (we don't let Kalia watch it yet), where we can be creative, loud, and play as hard as we want.

A playroom.  To just be a kid in without any of the adult stuff getting in the way.  It had to be eye-appeasing because it's the very first thing you see when you walk into our house.

It's still a huge work in progress, but here's where that room, our old formal living room that we rarely used, and now Kalia's playroom stands today :

For the most part, we worked with what we had.  We moved the extra daybed from the daybed room (which is now just a sewing machine room) out into here.  Eventually we'll want a couch and perhaps  storage shelves or something that goes vertical along that wall, but for now, the daybed provides seating and the three baskets are great for storage.

Kalia's got a lot of generous grandparents and aunts and uncles - and Christmas already happened, so she has lots and lots of toys.  She plays with all of them in here though, she really does love them!  We talk about what colors they are, read her books, dance to her music things, and make believe with her dolls in here.

Well, she really just throws her dolls around and we build with blocks and play with trucks and trains too.  She's a tough little girl already!

I have three favorite things that I've bought for this room.

This lamp from PB Kids.  It was on sale for 50% off, then free shipping, then they sent me a 15% off promo code, and I had to get it for her.  It's cute, practical, and unique.  I love it.

These stools and table are a lot of fun to beat on and sit at.  Kalia's just starting to want to get up here and sit with me.  I'm working on coloring with her on paper, which is fun to do up here.  The best thing about these tables and chairs are that they clean up easily, and are that material that is water proof as well.  These might find their way out to the pool deck one day.  They're from Serena and Lilly.  I got them when they had their 50% off their sale priced items.  Sale on top of sale, that's my way to shop!

And lastly, I have out two of these baskets.  I have a third, which I'm guessing we'll bring out after her birthday party.  They are amazing for just tossing her toys in and everything being clean in no time.  They're huge, and Kalia actually climbs in the one I have for stuffed dolls and plays around in there.  They're from One Kings Lane and the brand is Colonial Mills.  They're the large 24" ones.  I've seen them on sale a few times through them.  If you've never heard of One Kings Lane, or aren't a member yet, if you use this link to sign up, you'll get $15.  As a full disclosure, if/when you make your first purchase, so will I :-).

I don't love the empty walls, but they'll get stuff on them eventually.  We're working on another project in there this week too, so stay tuned for another update on Kalia's playroom shortly.

So what do you guys think of it?  I jokingly call it Kalia's prison yard.  I don't love the look of baby gates everywhere, but Kalia's is into everything, so they're absolutely necessary!

Hope everyone's having a great week so far!

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Kalia's 1st Birthday Party : Invites

I have no idea where the last year went.  Zero, zip, nada.  I can't believe in a few short weeks, Kalia will already be a year old.  Sigh...

I'm slightly obsessed with taking pictures of Kalia.  Before she got mobile, if she was throwing a fit, I could whip out my camera and say "smile", and she'd oblige.  She'd stop whatever cry fest she was having, and smile for the camera.  I don't exactly know how you train your baby to do that, I just chalk it up to be obsessed with taking pictures of her.  She's a pretty smiley baby anyways, so I guess that helps.  Err...toddler...sigh...

For Kalia's 1st birthday invitations, I wanted to incorporate my obsession with her cuteness into the invites, but I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for them.  So I made them myself :

Sorry for blurring out our home info - sometimes my life is like a fishbowl on here as is :-), which probably scares most of you away from wanting to show up unannounced, but I do have one darn cute kiddo, so ya just never know!

I just took pictures from every month of Kalia's life so far, starting with month 0 and ending with month 11.  I resized them down to 1.05" High by 1.57" wide.  I messed around with the sizing of the images until I got 6 across that would fit in a standard 4 1/8" x 9 1/2" envelope, which I already had a ton of on hand.  I fit two of these on one sheet of thick cardstock 8 1/2" x 11" paper.

For anyone interested in creating the same sort of invite, my margins were : left and right : 0.5", top : 0.38", and bottom 0.13".

I've got so many  decoration ideas floating around in my head.  I have no idea how many I'll actually manage to get done, but I'll be sure to share what I do with you guys!

So what do you guys think of her invites?  Do you guys DIY invites or order them out?  I'm not gonna lie, figuring out the pictures and sizes took a bit more time than I thought it would, but it just cost me postage and ink to send out.  With this down to one income ordeal, every penny counts!

Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Happy Monday!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wanna Be Sew-er

Do you ever come up with an idea in your head that you know is a bad one, but you just can't let go of it?  Yeah, happens to me all of the time.  I dream about my projects...literally, I'll wake up and jot down a sketch of some project or another that I want to do.  I'm weird, I know.

Let me start this post by saying I can't sew.  I can't bake, I can't sew, and Chris taught me how to iron.  I sound like a great catch, huh?  At least I have this blog to show that I can do a lot of things.  Well, it at least shows that I'm stubborn and ambitious enough to try almost anything.

And really, even though I can't do those things, it doesn't stop me from trying.  I just fail...again, and again, and again.  And then I try again thinking that maybe I've gotten better.  Which I haven't...

Anyways, there's a project-ish in here.  My newest niece, and the first on Chris's side, was coming over for the weekend.  She's 6 1/2 months younger than Kalia, so we thought it'd be cute to take pictures of them with matching outfits on.

Did I mention that I officially have a toddler now?  Kalia started walking about 3 weeks ago.  So taking pictures of a 4 month old and an active toddler who either wants to point out to her cousin where her eyes and ears are (by stabbing them or pulling them off) or play patty cake on the top of her head with her probably challenging enough.  But the night before they were scheduled to arrive, I decided I wanted to make them matching dresses.

I can't sew.

Oh, and I refuse to follow patterns when I do attempt to sew.  They use big words that I don't know what means, and I'm too impatient and give up by the time I've gotten to step 3, so I just don't use them.  Which is probably a huge reason why I can't sew (see my failed pillow attempts here - and yes, Kalia's pillows still look like that.  I don't think I'd do much better the next go round, so they're staying that way!).

But I have fabric that I really like and I wanted to make the girls cute dresses.

So I tried.  I took one of Kalia's dresses and added some length because they're always too short on her, and then made a smaller size.  I sewed the neck together once and the skirt part of the dress together once.  I don't have a seam ripper either, so I just started over again.

After a few hours, I came up with these dresses :

Cute, right?  I was so so so proud of these.  Because I can't sew...and I did, and I thought they looked sort of awesome, even though I didn't line them to finish them.  Meaning there is no hem or anything like that all the way around.  I mean, why do that if I had no idea if they were even going to work?!

Unfortunately I had to take them off of the hangers and put them on the girls.  Kalia's cousins dress fit Kalia, which means I obviously made them huge.  But I can't sew and there's no way I was attempting some sort of zipper or buttons or any of those other fancy things, so I just made them a little bit big.  I probably made an 18 month old size and a 4T size.  For an almost 11 month old and a 4 1/2 month old.  I'm a genius.  We took some bobby pins and pinned up the straps and that pretty much fixed the problem.  'Cept Kalia wouldn't stay still, so her bobby pins kept coming out.

Daddy attempting to put back in Kalia's bobby pins.
And then we waited until the girls were nice and tired and hungry and stuck them outside in the heat and told them to smile.

At least Kalia's cousin listened.  This was actually round two of pictures, but round one with the dresses.  Kalia tried to beat up her cousin a little too much on round one, so we had the Daddy's stand in for this go round.

Afterwards, I attempted to get some shots of Kalia with her dress on.  She doesn't really sit still for very long, so it was sort of impossible.

back with the straps pinned
Kalia : "peace on out Mommy and Daddy, this sitting still for photos stuff is for the birds!"
Oh well, if nothing else I tried.  They looked like they'd be successful on the hangers, right??

The funny part about it is that I already have an idea for something else to make.  With my non-sewing skills.  What is wrong with me??

I think it's because if you tell me I can't do something, I'll try to prove you wrong.  So apparently I'm trying to prove myself wrong.  I'm failing.  Does that mean I'm wrong or I'm right when I say I can't sew?

Hope you guys are having a wonderful day!
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Trunk Redo

Hope all of you Mom's out there had a wonderful Mother's Day yesterday!  It was my first with Kalia, which of course made a special day even more special.  Kalia helped her Daddy and her furry brother cook and clean for me yesterday and gave me a nice break!

We took a nice bike ride down to our Y and played on their play ground too.  Kalia makes it okay for me to be a little kid at those places and not look like a complete weirdo anymore!

It was a great and special day.  Motherhood is the most amazing adventure, and I wouldn't change anything for the world.  Okay, enough mushiness, onto the project part of the post!

My parents gave me this old beat up trunk when I was pregnant with Kalia :

Apparently they thought that I had a ton of free time on my hands between growing a baby and literally building Kalia's nursery, so they thought they'd give me something to do.  Actually, my Dad made a comment about knowing I had zero free time to work on it, but he thought I'd like it anyways.  He was right.  But it needed a lot of work!

First up, we took off that gross top.  I'm pretty sure that thing has been on there for at least 20 years, and with us kids, it had seen much better days!

Then because the laminate top layer was chipping, we attempted to peel  / scrape it off with a paint scrapper.

We did as best we could with that, and eventually just sanded it down until it was smooth.  The problem with what was left was that it was glued on, so we left ding marks on it where we tried to get it off.  I decided we weren't stripping the whole thing at that point, and just went the sanding method.  Whatever came off easily, we scraped off, and if it was stuck, it just got sanded down.

When we were done, we were left with this :

I wood filled and did a white stain on one side to test it out.  I knew this was a bit brighter than we really wanted, so I went back and added a colored stain on top of the white stain.  I believe this is called pickeling, but I'm not positive.

We still had to do something about that top too.  We took batting, folded it over itself to give it more cushion, and stapled it onto the top.

And then went around and stapled the fabric on, folding the corners like you would a present.

After it was all said and done, here's the trunk in its new home, our bedroom.

A few detail shots :

And one last one of my cutie showing her approval while talking on the phone to her Daddy.  She's too young for a cell phone, I know!!

So what do you guys think?  Are you a fan of the pickeling effect, or would something a little bit cleaner have suited your style better?   For me, I thought I needed to add to the character of the piece by updating it, but not trying to make it look too new.  I'll show how this ties in with our Master Bedroom before too long!

Happy Monday!

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Friday, May 4, 2012

You Light My World

Moving along in finishing up our outside projects, we got our pendant for our entry way and installed it this week.  Yay for light!

When we were looking for pendants we wanted something unique that wasn't too over the top, especially in the price arena.  I saw some of the most amazing outdoor lights, but when it comes down to it, we just weren't willing to spend the big bucks on something that hangs outside.  It's crazy how expensive those things are!

And then the latest Pottery Barn magazine showed up, and it had their Moroccan Pendant, and I was sold!  They had just sent me a 15% off coupon for PBKids, so I called and asked if they'd apply to to a PB order.  The lady said no, but that she could give me 10% off, and they were running a free shipping promo too...score!  Love it when everything works out like that!

First up, we wanted to make sure everything worked before installing it.  Of course, being Kara and Chris, we had a casualty.

Actually, after Chris dropped the light bulb and it shattered into a million pieces, he said "Call me TJ".  My Dad's name is Tom, and TJ stands for Tom Junior around these parts.  I can say I come by my clumsiness (and also knack for DIYing house projects to be fair) from my Dad.  Apparently spending a weekend with him rubbed off on Chris.  Love you Dad!!  :-)

The pendant came with a 12 foot long cord.  Where in the world do you use a 12 foot long cord to hang a pendant?  It looked like a tether ball instead of a pendant!

We took out the chain links and then wrapped the wires up in the top of the ceiling.  Our 8 foot ladder wasn't quite tall enough to reach though, so we did the completely safe thing and put concrete pavers up underneath the ladder to elevate it some.

I don't recommend doing this for anyone else.  It's definitely not safe.  I like my life, apparently Chris goes back and forth on his :-).

When it was all said and done, we got exactly what we were looking for.  I love the way the light plays off the cover of the pendant.

It reflects perfectly on our blue ceiling, and we've gotten tons of compliments by neighbors already.

Chris initially thought it was too small, but most pendants are pretty small.  We got the 12 inch one instead of the 8 inch one.  What do you think?  Do you like the new look of it?  It's much better than the gaping hole or rusted goldish thing that was there before, that's for sure!

Next up for the 'finishing it off' task in the front is getting that fountain re-painted!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  We've got family in town through next weekend, so postings will probably be scarce next week.  Happy Friday!!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Goodbye Dirt Patch, Hello Sod!

We finally have grass in our backyard!!  Woot!

We've been waiting to run into Ahmed Hassan of Yard Crashers at our local Home Improvement stores that we frequently visit, but finally decided after three years, that's probably just not going to happen.  Now that Kalia is here, and her and I love spending time outdoors, that got moved to the top of the to-do list for this summer.  We decided to section out the project because our backyard is pretty big.  I didn't get a before picture, but our backyard is pretty much all the same.  This is the section that we're waiting to redo.  Kodi wanted to say hi and he missed you guys too!  Do you see all of the weeds and dead sections?  Ugh!

First up Chris sprayed round up all over the section we decided to sod to kill all of the existing weeds and little bit of grass that was there.  After we let that sit for the better part of a week, I took the metal rake out there and raked and raked and raked during Kalia's naptimes.  I got about 80% done with it all before Chris came out after work one day to help me out.  He said he didn't know how I didn't make him rent a plow to pull it all up.  It was such hard back breaking work.  It was actually the hardest part though, so thankfully, everything got easier from there.

I might have told Chris that the success of our marriage depending on nightly massages while all of this was going on.  :-)

Chris rented a tiller from Home Depot and tilled up the dirt and few remaining stubborn areas of dead grass/weeds that we couldn't get to come up.

That part was actually easier than I thought it would be.  We rented it for 4 hours, and had it back in plenty of time.  The only problem with the tiller was that he hit the sprinkler pipe in a few places and had to patch some holes.  But after he patched that up, he laid fertilizer, weed killer, and bug killer on our fresh dirt to give the sod a good base to stick to.  Next up, we were ready for sod!

We had the sod guys deliver three pallets of sod on Tuesday of last week.  They didn't show up until after 6, so  we didn't get to start on laying the sod until 730 - after we fed Kalia, ate dinner, and put her down for the night.

Chris removed the fence panels and had the delivery truck just take the sod straight to where we were laying it.  My back loves that man!  So smart!

I have no idea how most people do this, but when we get to an edge or around a tree, we our big tree pruners to cut the sod.

And then we just push it down.  So simple!

We managed to get two pallets laid before it got too dark and we had to call it quits.  Chris rigged our dolly with a piece of plywood across the bottom and we loaded up all of the sod onto the dolly, rolled that over to where we were laying, and just emptied from there.  Again, my back loves that man!  Here's what it looked like before we went to bed (and a picture of Chris's dolly rig):

On Wednesday morning we got up and laid the last pallet of sod before Chris hurried off to work.  Kalia woke up well before the sun rose that day, which was only good because it meant she went back down for her first nap as the sun was rising.  Let me tell ya though, we were not so chipper laying down that 3rd pallet as we were for the first two!  But man, is insta-lawn (that's what I call pallets of sod vs. seeding or plugging!) so nice!

After we got the third pallet laid, we realized that we overkilled / underestimated how much sod we'd need.  I told Chris I wanted to leave a small dirt border around the sod so that we could keep the new stuff away from the weeds and such, but this was a little bit much.  Especially with a Kodi and a Kalia!

So Chris headed down to the sod place (they'll only deliver 2 + pallets for free) and had them put 500 sq feet of sod into his truck.  That thing was weighed down!

After laying that the night before we had to leave for my sisters wedding, we decided that the next big section of the yard isn't getting done until the Fall.  We're actually going to put another 1/2 pallet back here, because we still have more dirt than we'd like with Kodi and Kalia.  We need to resod the sidewalk part of our front yard anyways, so we'll just over load Chris's truck and do them both at the same time shortly.

After all our hard work, here's what our new back yard looks like today :

So much nicer!!  Kalia and I have already thoroughly enjoyed it this week too.  We borrowed one of those big sprinkler things to get a patch wet that looked like the sprinklers weren't hitting, and her and I had a grand 'ol time running through the sprinklers.  Ahhh, to be a kid again.  Life is good!

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!

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