Fresh Blooms

My brother and sister-in-law are great at bragging on one another, and they’re always encouraging others to do the same.  So, consider this post a little brag on my boyfriend. 

On Valentine’s Day morning, Matt work up extra early and whipped up waffles, served with a homemade caramel syrup, before work.  Yum! 

He also snuck these lovely tulips (my favorite) into the house! 

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While we tend to be pretty low-key around holidays, his sweet gestures kept me warm inside all day.  : )  By the way, have I mentioned that he’s been planning the menu, buying groceries, and making meals since Liam was born?  How many gold stars is that worth?! 

Love you, hubbie! 

Snow Day Extravaganza

Snow has finally returned to Colorado—along with several other states—and I am soaking it in!  I awoke to our kind neighbor across the street shoveling snow from our sidewalk and stoop, as he does every.single.snow.  It’s amazing.  And even more amazing is that he does this for all five houses surrounding his, and it’s always finished before I walk out of the house.  Oh, and he often comes back during the day to clean up any additional snow fall.  Can we say neighbor of the year?  Century?  I’m thinking some homemade chocolate chip cookies are in order soon…

After happily hearing that school was cancelled for the day, I decided Liam needed a bit more introduction to the white fluffy stuff, so after a hearty lunch (he mowed down pineapple, white potato, carrots, and oatmeal after nursing), I bundled him up and dragged him around the yard on a cookie sheet.  *My mom and I found this fleece suit for a few bucks at a local thrift store this fall.  I didn’t think Liam would it into it for at least another year, but even though it’s still big on him, it worked great!  Thanks, Gma Mimsie!*

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He liked it for about five minutes, but the wind was pretty fierce.  Then I made the mistake of moving him off the cookie sheet and onto the actual snow.  You know—so he could really experience it.  : )

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Apparently he wasn’t a fan of having a cold bum, but it was fun while it lasted.  I have determined that even if it takes us twice as long to get ready as it does to enjoy the experience, it’s still totally worth it. 

Well, Liam is snoozing away and I’m off to enjoy some chai and the end of A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle—which I last read in fifth grade, but am really enjoying as an adult.  I hope you’re cozying up on this blustery day, and if you’re somewhere else—say, Costa Rica—say hello to the beach for me!

Mastering Mobility

Independence + excitement over newfound skills + parental terror = baby mobility.

Yes, my friends, it has arrived.  I sense we are on the brink of a very different season in the world of parenting.  Check out Liam’s various modes of transport during this past month.  

Bundled up for a winter stroll. 

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Hitching a ride on Dad’s back on a hike through Red Rocks Open Space—enjoying the view from up high!

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Paddling his pint-sized squishy canoe on a play date at Whit’s End.

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Hanging out with Mom and Dad on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

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Doing the worm!

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Any words of wisdom for this new stage?  : )

Faux Cornice Valences

Faux sounds so much better than fake, right?  Ha.  Either way you put it, our new kitchen valences definitely fall under the “cheap and easy” category. 

I’ve long admired the crisp, clean look of a cornice valence. 

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Like this cornice board for over kitchen slider or French doors.   Fresh as salad greens, paired with pristine white cabs, and a lil' bling to boot!

Linen covered cornice boards with nailhead trim.

Shades of green and a modernized cornice make for a fabulous room.   # Pin++ for Pinterest # looooooove

contrasting but complimentary cornice & panels

Cornice Boards Design

There are clearly lots of ways to skin this cat…

Pelmet Cornice Shapes

After seeing pictures of foam valences on good old Pinterest, I decided to try my hand at it.  The burlap covering the bottom half of our kitchen windows was looking pretty bedraggled, plus I wanted to enjoy the view from our new windows (we finally replaced the old ones—two of which were broken).  *I didn’t follow this exact tutorial, but after reading through it, I think I like their process better than mine.  Both will work, so go with whatever works best for you.*

This was one of those projects that really should not have taken very long, but we dragged it out for months by completing it in miniscule steps.  Here was our basic process:

1.  Measure windows—be sure to also figure out how far you want your valences to stick out from the wall

2.  Choose fabric (this always takes me forever, since I want to find a good deal on quality fabric that I’ll like for awhile) *I found that upholstery fabric worked well for this project, as it’s weightier and covers up imperfections*

3.  Cut foam board to size with an Exacto knife (To cover three windows, I used 2 pieces of foam board that I picked up at Michael’s for 50% off—I used the thinner foam board, but if I were doing this again, I think I would use the thicker board for a more professional, sturdy look); use packing tape to piece foam board together if you need to make it longer *I did not worry about perfectly straight cuts, as the batting and fabric hid many of the imperfections*

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4.  Cut and add wood blocks to the top of foam board (this will be the part that securely hangs on the wall above your window trim)

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5.  Cover valence with batting—I stapled it to the foam board using 1/4 inch staples

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6.  Cover batting with fabric—again, I used 1/4 inch staples *Be sure to pull batting and fabric as tight as possible to avoid saggy valences*

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7.  Hang cornice valence and enjoy the view!

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I’m considering adding some trim for interest and the feeling of dimension, but I’m not rushing into anything yet.  If I do add trim, I’ll just iron it on using iron-on bonding tape.  Overall, I’m happy with the end result.  Our kitchen feels much more finished now. 

Just a Click Away

Finally.  After years of cursing finagling my pathetic car key clicker (at least that’s what I call it…is there a more specific term?), I now can click from inside our house and unlock my car!  Can we say happy dance?!  Believe me, there was lots of it last night.  Ask Matt.  I even had a piece of his leftover birthday cake to celebrate.  So did he.  I mean, happy wife, happy life, right?  ; )

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So here’s the story.  Four and a half years ago, we became proud owners of a little Nissan Sentra.  While it’s been a pretty steady Freddy, the key clicker has annoyed me to no end from nearly day one.  I always thought it was just rundown, since the buttons are pretty beat up (there are even holes in a few of them…I’m guessing the previous owner experienced much of the same frustration and maybe pressed a tad too hard at times…).  Somewhere along the line I heard that replacement clickers are expensive—as in, upwards of $50—although I never officially looked into it, so that might not even be the case.  Life went on, until baby Liam arrived.  If you’re a mom, you know what I’m about to say.  A baby brings so much joy—and an insane amount of stuff to cart everywhere you go.  I now average three bags on a good day.  Often it’s four, and that’s when I don’t come home with shopping bags.  Basically, trying to wrangle a baby/carrier/diaper bag/breast pump/lunch bag/shopping bags/miscellaneous items that just seems to fall out of the bags/yougetthepicture is enough to drive anyone crazy, but having to carry everything around to the driver’s side in freezing cold weather (since the car manufacturer decided it would be a good idea to only have one key hole from which to unlock the car) to manually unlock the car was the last straw.  You know, the one that broke the mother’s back.  After whining about it for waaay too long, I finally called the Nissan car dealership in town to find out the cost of a replacement clicker.  The man I spoke to on the phone was a bit brusque, but that was actually slightly comforting to me, as he sounded like an older man who knew his stuff.  I grew up around car guys, since my dad owns an automotive shop, and I was looking for a straight answer.  He was certainly the man for the job, since he got down to brass task and immediately told me to hit up Wal-Mart for a new battery, since that was probably the issue.  Without telling me the price of a new clicker or trying to upsell me, he promptly hung up.  I was a bit skeptical, but figured it couldn’t hurt to check with Wally-World. 

Rarely do I venture into Wal-Mart, but I’m happy to report that a kind employee quickly understood my plight, took one glance at the back of my clicker and determined the battery number I needed,

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walked me over to the hardware department, and grabbed my exact battery off the spinning rack.  Picture my mouth hanging open in shock when I found myself in the car less than five minutes after walking into the store, and only paying $3.73 to boot!  I showed Matt my treasure as soon as he walked in the door from work, and he popped the clicker apart using a quarter and slid the battery in place. 

Whaalaa!  Good as new. 

If you’re still following along, bless your heart.  I totally get that this is not the most blog-worthy material, but if there is even one lonely soul out there experiencing the same aggravation, I hope you’ll find solace in my story.  Now get thee to Wal-Mart for a battery and start enjoying life again!  Believe me—everything is rosier with a working car key clicker. 

P.S. Did you notice the lovely bowl in the photos above?  My cousin-in-law made them for her wedding!  In fact, she made enough bowls for every single guest at their wedding to take home their bowl as a keepsake—and to top it all off, every single bowl sported a unique design.  We even ate yummy homemade soups out of them at the reception.  Isn’t that such a cool idea?  Now get thee a potting wheel and become a clay artist!  Haha.  Just kidding.  Here’s some eye candy from their big weekend.

My little sis ogling the bowls during set-up.

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Into the New Year

We’re nearly to February, so I thought it might be a good time for a photo dump, since I just downloaded photos from December and January.  Yeesh!

Catchin’ up with the fam… I soooo wish I had taken more photos during Christmas.  Will I never learn?!

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One sick kiddo… I’m thankful I was with my mom during Liam’s first bout with the flu.

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A Midwest boy at heart… Playing with all the cool toys at Grandpa Feller’s store—definitely a highlight. 

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LOVE this face…cracks me up every time.

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A few photos from this afternoon.  I’m determined to learn how take better manual shots this year!

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And just to mix it up, here are a few recent photos of our table décor.  I’m always a little stumped on how to decorate between the holidays and warmer weather, but I’m digging this simple arrangement—especially thanks to the cool wood serving board that my mother-in-law gifted me on my birthday. 

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I’ll end with a few shots of Matt’s birthday cake.  Although we didn’t do a big shebang this year, I wanted to make a special cake for my mister.  He tends to like peanut butter and chocolate combos, so I slaved over whipped up this ditty.  Check out Annie’s Eats for the recipe.  By the way, Matt really enjoyed this cake, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something decadent.  The fluffy peanut butter frosting is delicious and would be a great addition to your favorite chocolate cake recipe.  You can totally see the imperfections in the photos, but I was happy with the overall turnout.  Another goal…learn how to frost a cake!

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How is your 2013 going so far? 

Backup Plan

Maybe it was the herringbone pattern.  Maybe it was the $2.98 price tag (gotta love Target clearance tags).  Or maybe I was just thrilled that two babies were sleeping at the same time.  Either way, this happened. 

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In case you missed it, what I meant to say in my muddlings above is that I was wandering through Target the other day and spotted this super cool herringbone (love) wrapping paper marked down to $2.98 (love).  Naturally, I scooped it up—the very last roll (whew!).  Drawing from YHL’s inspirational DIY book, I decided to use the wrapping paper to back our built-in bookshelves.  (And yes, I’ve been known to tack odd items to our walls.  Check out this post about placemat art.)  Oh, and somehow in the middle of my day, Liam and his buddy Adin (a kiddo who I babysit once a week) were both snoozing soundly, so I hitched up my britches and got some project on.  Funny how backing bookshelves was probably the absolute last thing I should have spent time on, but yeah, it felt awesome.  Hmmm…kind of like how I should totally not be blogging about this right now, being that it is 11:06 pm and I am totally wiped out from trying to get back into some semblance of routine after being gone for two weeks of Christmas break.  I digress…

Anyhoo, the basic process I used was covering foam board with wrapping paper (just like you would wrap a super skinny present) and then wrangling the covered board into the bookshelf.  I did use some double-sided tape to keep the board in place.  And while I did measure, my cuts weren’t perfect, so don’t look too close.  Even with some imperfections, I LOVE the look.  It makes the white dishes pop; plus, it provides some nice coverage for some not-so-pretty shelves. 

Take a gander at the original built-ins, doors and all…

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Midway through the journey…

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Pish posh polished…

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Now the bookshelves sport some new décor that snuck into our abode after Christmas. 

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Some books swiped from my parent’s bookshelves, greenery, branch pencils, porcelain tree trunk servers (another Target clearance item), gold mercury candle holders resembling bee hives (also on clearance at Target), and my favorite—a coral cake plate that plays off some of the other orangey accents in our house (a complete Target splurge using a birthday gift card—I opted to forgo practical in the name of whimsical, which is actually pretty unusual for me—not to mention that I spent it within a month of my birthday, rather than hoarding it all year).  Oh, and a little egg crate I snagged at Ross for $2.49.  I’ve been hankering after an egg crate for several years now, and I fell hard for the square shape—and the price tag—of this sweet little guy.  Of course all these random items were totally justified, because they could potentially be used for staging down the road (at least that’s what I tell myself : ).  And if you’re wondering about the gold, I never thought I’d say this, but this year gold is the new black (or gray, if you look back at the color schemes of 2012).  I have to say I’m pretty smitten with the added sparkle and you know I won’t hesitate to bring out the spray paint if the urge strikes. 

And there you have it.  A simple update requiring very little sweat and $—yet it packs a nice punch and simultaneously satisfied my desire for a creative DIY project.  As always, I’m happy that it can be easily removed if I tire of the look or need to neutralize the space down the road. 

Alrighty then…off to link my knockoff project to YHL’s book project page!

Let It Snow!

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Do you remember the moment your fingers felt the cold of snow for the first time?