Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bye bye baby weight!

The beauty of having an online journal of sorts is that you can make it whatever the heck you want. I tell people I document our home remodeling here or that I occasionally post DIY's, but today it's about this "baby weight" I just can't seem to lose. How nice to have a baby to blame it on! To be honest I just really haven't been motivated whatsoever to put in the discipline and work to do it. I now have a 15 month old so blaming this on her doesn't seem fair to her. 
I just want to be comfortable in my clothes. I am going to be realistic about this. There's a part of me that doesn't feel healthy or like this is my body anymore. I want to be able to try on clothes and feel good, to be able to wear jeans that don't have the elastic band at the waist...that are intended for pregnant women...
I am challenging myself to get back into my normal jeans by my 30th birthday in March. From today it is exactly 6 months away. It took 9 months to put the weight on so I realize it's not going to happen overnight. 
I don't want this blog to have any one focus so I will probably post about how I am doing at the end of each week to track my progress somewhat. 

This is me today...in black and white. I thought it wouldn't look quite as bad. Hm.

To the front...

To the side...

From this day forward if you see me eating chocolate or one of it's relatives I'm giving you permission to knock it out of my hand!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Country Living Fair 2013

Last weekend was the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio. Two more are held in Rhinebeck, NY and Atlanta, GA each year. Find out dates and info here. It's a weekend centered around eating and antiquing. You can also take a variety of classes, have your own antiques appraised, and meet the editors of the magazine along with professional pickers like Cari from the show Cash and Cari. It's a fun time, but the more popularity it gains the more crazy and busy it gets from year to year. This was our third one and we always walk away with treasures and memories made. There's just something about walking around the fair and seeing all the pumpkins out, it's the perfect way to kick off the season. 

 In Columbus the fair is held in a recreated village from the mid 19th century providing the perfect backdrop for this kind of fair.

Some cute things I saw but didn't buy(books cut into letters and arrow signs)...

Everything is displayed so perfectly.

Joel and I had a set amount to work with just to be fair and reasonable but of course I was the one who overspent. I wanted everything there. He walked away with two things and $50 leftover. He bought a letter from a light up sign and a framed horse picture.

I got four hankies, a piece of fur, a beaker, test tube, apothecary bottles, antlers, and tiny tubes containing watch parts.

However, my favorite purchase from the day would have to be this sweet little salt sack purse.

Last year we had a three month old with us...

And this year a fifteen month old...

Wow time flies!
You should go if you've never been. It's quite the experience if nothing else. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Living room love...finally!

Almost a year has passed since we moved into our home in Oakley. We love it but we are still far from done. Sometimes I think part of owning your own home is accepting that there will always be something to do, change, or fix...in our case anyways. Well I am pleased to post this and be able to say the living room, for the most part is DONE! There are a couple of details here and there that we've put on the back burner because other things need attention first but I love it and it truly feels like home.
Here is a "before" picture. I can't find one of the actual before, when the walls were still covered in awesome vinyl wallpaper but this will do. Take it all in.

It's somewhat embarrassing to admit this but we lived with the room in this state for several months.

And another view...

Even though plaster walls don't look quite as nice and clean as drywall, painting them made a huge difference and covered over a multitude of problem areas.

This room has a similar layout to our previous house but it's quite a bit smaller. As a result the couch didn't fit the space. We replaced it with a scaled down neutral sofa from Restoration Hardware. 

The bookcase is one of the things we'd like to replace eventually. We're thinking wall shelves using metal pipes like we used for the coffee table.

Next to that is a side chair and table. 

The card catalog fit perfectly in this little nook beside the fireplace.

The fireplace...

And decor...


Desk and out of control toys.

Above the desk is probably my favorite area in the living room. I've had the best time making it our home and decorating with things we enjoy looking for and at. I used a desk drawer as a shelf to house my tiny bottle collection, part of a beehive I framed, a couple of W's I've collected, and to the right a small wooden box holds our address stamp for easy access when we're filling out bills.

I love the character of our house, which is something you miss out on with a newer home. We have a mail slot for the mail so we attached crates underneath and shoe trees above as hooks to create some extra storage seeing as we don't have an entryway or coat closet.

Everyone, even Harper are thrilled with the way everything has turned out and even though it was a long tiring road to get to this point it has definitely been worth it. This is my daughter staring out the window, probably at the trash men...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2 baby showers in 1 summer on a budget

So, I had not planned on taking a year off but that is what happened. Now I am back and ready to go! My husband and I have made some home improvements that I am excited to share...hopefully before next September! More of that later. 
This summer I had the privilege of hosting not one but two separate baby showers for some great friends of ours. I had actually never threw a shower for anyone before but I was almost giddy at the thought of going crazy with a theme and trying to stay within a budget. I don't know, you like what you like. 
First and foremost I tried to consider the women I was throwing the showers for, then I took into consideration what would be fun for me to make and scour stores for. They were both having boys but I wanted to steer clear of the cars and sports stuff, both of which I know nothing about. So for the first I went with a vintage theme and the second was a bird/nest theme. I knew Sara was going to be decorating her nursery with antiques so this was right up her alley and as a bonus she would be able to use some of the decor in his room afterwards. For the second shower I stalked Andrea a little, not knowing her quite as well I didn't want to overdo something she might hate. Thanks to Facebook I learned that they had birds at their wedding and I love birds! It really does make a difference too if you can choose something you have an interest in as well. If I had to throw a car or sports themed shower I would've been out of my element completely.

Shower #1: B is for Boy
I had a head start with this one because I already had vintage toys and books I could use as decoration. The nice thing about this theme is you can always find baby blocks and books at flea markets for a reasonable price. Gather up what you already have. I used an old chalkboard as my sign on the front porch,

and another,

 some old baby blocks,

toy sailboats, an old toolbox, baby scale, flashcards, and anything old that was baby related really.

Pinterest had a lot of diy ideas so I tried to work in whatever I could using paper and fabric- two things that tend to be inexpensive and go far. I used the scrapbook paper for paper airplanes and pennant flags.

I lucked out with the fabric because I have an issue buying fat quarter pieces even though I don't have a project in mind but they came in handy this time. Yay for hoarding! I made tiny drawstring bags to put candy in as the party favor. The front side had this cute alphabet pattern...

and I just used a variety of contrasting patterns for the back. Like this one...

It's poor picture quality but you can see the baby scale below on the left side of the table holding the napkins and forks. Now you can buy straws of any color you want and with different designs even so for this shower I used the red and white swirled ones. A friend of mine provided the cake(s). She baked individual ones in mason jars so that everyone had the option to eat it at the party or take it home as another favor. They were pretty cute and kept with the theme I think.


Shower #2: Nesting
I am a sucker for bird anything so this theme was my jam. Again, I lucked out with this one because I already had so many bird items, from figurines to nests to eggs and feathers. I went a little cuh-ray-zee to say the least. I set out an extra postcard I made as an invite for the shower, nest flashcard, and different bird prints I had on hand.


 More bird decor...

For the centerpieces I used little metal nests with some moss and inexpensive paper mache eggs from the craft store, along with dishes of gummy worms (in keeping with the theme).


For signs I used cardboard,


my handy chalkboard,

and some unfinished wood letters I just covered with scrapbook paper (that she could keep afterwards).

For the favors I got a bunch of thicker card stock and cut strips gluing them together to form a mini birdcage. I wasn't thinking and neglected to take pictures of the process but I kind of just made it up as I went. Then I cut strips of book page paper to fill the bottoms and added some feathers to each one. These held the candy.

My favorite part of the favor was the dishtowel though. If you're trying not to spend much you may opt out of this part but they are just too cute and once again fit the theme so I went with it. I followed this link for how to make your own sweet potato stamp to a T and it worked great. I got the plain white towels at Target for around $1 a piece.

Since I had hosted the first shower just a couple of weeks before this one and many of the same guests came to both I decided not to do the traditional games everyone normally does. Instead I got several onesies, some short sleeved 0-3 month and some long sleeved 3-6 month. At first they served as a decoration...

and then we were able to eat and hang out while we decorated them for baby Jack. They're obviously not perfect but a fun memory and she now has several onesies he can wear to bed.

 Side notes to think about:
~These were baby showers for church friends so with the first one I had everyone bring a side dish which was a huge relief to me as the host. I also collected money to go in on a gift. Many times people like to do this so that they don't have to worry with a registry or go out to get something last minute. This way too you can get a bigger item as opposed to the recipient getting many small items, often times things they didn't even register for.
~The second shower I hosted I made the mistake of sending a Facebook message to see who would want to contribute to a gift as well as give $5 that would go toward the decorations and food. Several people said they would chip in but rounding up all the money can take time so it's kind of a gamble to assume you have a set amount to work with if you don't actually have the money in hand.

Overall it was a fun experience and something I definitely didn't think I'd enjoy doing as much as I did. Maybe I'll have another kid just so that I can throw myself one!