Oct 30, 2014

One Room Challenge: Week Five

Welcome One Room Challenge participants and followers! If you are just joining me, I am working to transform our former guest room turned home office into our son's nursery. All while 27 weeks pregnant! Catch up on Week One, Week Two, Week Three, and Week Four

Hard to believe we are already five weeks in to this challenge! Next week is the reveal! Yikes!

The name of the game this week was PROGRESS! I feel like I'm in such a better place than I was this time last week. What a relief!

First up I made the crib skirt. All by myself.

I used the duct tape method. Ha.

I literally spent hours thinking and researching making crib skirts. Many suggested using ties to make them adjustable by tying to the mattress springs. This is all well and good, but my crib does not have springs. It's a flat board. To make it fully adjustable, I used duct tape to the board. The sides and hem are edged with bonding tape.

With the rush of completing this project and my issues with seeing the big picture last week I pushed the furniture around (thank goodness for old wood floors!) to where I thought the final resting place might be.

Why didn't I do this earlier?! I immediately felt a rush of confidence knowing where I was headed and where things fit in.

My sweet mother came over two days to help me prime and paint.

We used a grey tinted primer and one really thick coat of paint. I had some touch ups to do Tuesday morning and it's definitely not perfect, but hallelujah, we have painted walls!

On Saturday we went down to the River Arts Festival, my favorite local art festival in Memphis, and we purchased two pieces for the nursery. Originally I was not planning on purchasing any additional pieces for this room, but when you see something you love, you just gotta pounce. New art for Charlie!

Towards the end of last week I got a call that the carpet was ready. I told them great, but I would come get it when I was finished painting. Tuesday morning we were out in the burbs and picked up the carpet.

Here's just a peek at the room. I don't want to give too much away.

Please note: I did not take the rug into account when I positioned the skirt. Thank goodness for adjustable!

The room is really coming together now! On Friday the curtains will be installed and then I'll start hanging art. We still need to get the bookcase from my mom's house. The glider cushions are still in the works and I'm praying that she will be able to finish them early next week, although I doubt it.

One task still to accomplish is the mirror. I need to spray paint it to go with the room. I'm thinking gold. Any other ideas?

To Do: 
- Prime and paint walls
- Select rug
- Make a decision on window treatment and order

- Get potential chair, ottoman, and bookcase from my mom's house and storage unit
Set up crib and changing table
- Choose, purchase, make crib bedding
- Spray paint mirror I already have
- Hang/Make Art
- Add baby stuff

Oct 28, 2014

Snuggly Girls

Last week Bryan was out of town and it was just us girls at home. Both the girls, Motley cat and Roux, our dog, love to snuggle.  Motley cat is usually the instigator of snuggling with Roux.  With Bryan gone they both seemed extra snuggly. I snapped numerous pictures of them throughout the week and didn't even bother getting a photo at every instance. 

On Tuesday. 

Wednesday night. 


Thursday night


Besides all the snuggling with Motley, Roux was up to more shenanigans. I found her several times throughout the week like so...

I mean, really. It's a good thing they are both so cute. 

I apologize for all the pet pictures. 

Oct 24, 2014

Feeling Fall-ish

The air has turned cooler and crisp. Leaves are starting to fall and gather in my back yard. Hot beverages are snuggled and cherished.  It's fall, ya'll!

Around this time every year Bryan and I play this game. You probably play it at your house too - please tell me we aren't alone! It's the "how long can we go before turning on the heat" game. I know we caved early last year due to a cold snap, but this year we are still going strong.

Socks and sweaters have been a mainstay around here for the mornings and evenings. During the afternoons we are seeing highs in the 70s still so it's hard to justify turning on the heat when later in the day we are shedding layers to t-shirts.

But it's that magic hour (or three) in the mornings. When you first wake up, snuggle back down under the covers and fight for the last few minutes of warmth before getting up. You put on your favorite sweatshirt and socks and drink your coffee.  This feeling makes me want to camp out on the couch with warm drinks, design magazines, and holiday food magazines scheming of elaborate holiday meals and gorgeous Thanksgiving tablescapes.

Happy Friday and weekend, folks. Hope ya'll do something fun and fall-ish this weekend.

Oct 23, 2014

One Room Challenge: Week Four

Welcome One Room Challenge participants and followers! If you are just joining me, I am working to transform our former guest room turned home office into our son's nursery. All while 26 weeks pregnant! 

Another week, another post. I swear time is moving faster during this six week process. It's not even funny. On one hand I'm kind of mad that I'm not making as much progress as I'd like, but on the other hand, I don't mind the time going faster as this pregnancy progresses. I'm sure there are a few mothers out there that can sympathize.

Last week I made much progress in terms of furniture, carpet, and placing orders for window treatments. I had hoped to have some paint progress happening this last week, but it just hasn't happened. Shouldn't that be the first thing one does, and yet, here I am four weeks in without priming or painting.

I'll be honest, I'm super frustrated about it myself. We got some unexpected, life changing news - which I can not discuss just yet - but that has had to take priority.  Basically, my painter helper husband has been too busy to help me and I have not been eager to start alone.

Last week I mentioned that I had picked out some fabric at a local store.  Fabric shopping was such a headache. I think part of my problem was envisioning the whole picture. Without the room painted it was hard to envision how the room, crib, furniture, and fabric would all work together... or if it would at all.  I was still rattled with indecision regarding the bumper. Picture texts were flying between me and my design assistants mom and friends.

Here's one.

I ended up buying nearly 12 yards of fabric for just under $40 from the remnant section. I really liked the fabric and loved the price, but wasn't sure how I was going to use it. Originally I thought crib skirt and that I'd find something else for the glider since there was no way I could sew stripes straight enough. But then my mom pointed out that since I was saving so much on the fabric, maybe I could afford to hire out someone to cover the glider for me.  I immediately took to this idea. I think it will look fantastic on the glider, giving it a bit of a masculine edge. Masculine glider? Oxymoron? Maybe.

I was still not sure about the whole crib situation. How would the fabric look with the white? What about bumper?

Mom and I went to a local baby store on Saturday to look around see what they had. They offered custom crib set ups with a variety of fabrics. So we started looking. The fabric selections, while cute, was just not my style and was not in the direction we were headed, so I just had them price out a simple white bumper in a textured fabric. $295 seemed a bit high. Especially when I am fairly certain I could pull off a bumper myself... granted with a lot of time, cursing, and probably blood and tears. We walked out empty handed.

Monday I took the glider cushions to a local seamstress.  I feel pretty confident in this decision, so at least there's that. However she said she would try to get it back to me by November 15th. Doh. Spoiler alert: by the sixth week of this challenge I will not have a finished nursery. But at least we'll be closer. I plan to upholster the glider ottoman myself once I get the cushions back. I'll have to line up the stripes to the cushions, but I've recovered several benches and things and this should not be an issue.

Feeling like maybe the nesting instinct has started to kick in, I rode an energy wave and started cutting fabric for the crib skirt. I wanted to visualize what the striped fabric would look like on the crib before I went any further. Sometimes you just have to cut the fabric and hold it up to see. I like it well enough that I'm moving forward with the skirt myself.  The bumper situation is still to be determined. I'm leaning towards finding or making an all white bumper and doing the ties in one of the fabrics. If I end up hating the skirt with the crib, I've only invested a couple dollars and a couple of hours.

To Do: 
- Prime and paint walls
- Select rug
- Make a decision on window treatment and order

- Get potential chair, ottoman, and bookcase from my mom's house and storage unit
- Set up crib and changing table
- Choose, purchase, make crib bedding
- Spray paint mirror I already have
- Access further needs
- Accessorize!

So there you have it. Too many words about fabric indecision and my decorating neurosis.

Oct 22, 2014

Hotel Chisca Tour

Last week we were able to tour the old Hotel Chisca with our AIA LuniTects group.

Bryan has long been obsessed with this building. A couple of years ago plans were announced to turn it into apartments and they have been doing steady work over the last couple of months. This is a huge building that is on Main St connecting the core downtown to the South Main area. It will be great to have it be functional and busy again.

It was from the Hotel Chisca that Elvis was first broadcast on a local radio show. They didn't point out that area to us, but there is nothing remaining from the studio regardless.

I didn't get a good picture of the building from the street, but above you can see the building from the courtyard area on the 2nd floor. This area used to be a ballroom, but will soon be an open common space for the tenants.

The inside of the original hotel (built around 1910, I think) is not in the best shape, but it was cool to see some features, like wallpaper and flooring.

The modern addition, added in 1960, is already well under way in the construction process. On the second floor the apartments were already framed out and we were able to get  sense of what the layouts would be.  I'm sure the original building apartments will be interesting to see once they are finished. The architect said they were going to try to preserve what was remaining, such as the wallpaper on the columns.

The building should be finished by next summer. I'm hoping that we get to go back and see the finished work!

Oct 21, 2014

My Closet

One of the selling points of our house is my closet. It's a small (about 8'x10') room in the back of the house. Too small to be a bedroom, but the perfect size for wardrobe overflow or office.

When we looked at the house the previous owner had a large free standing hanging rack in the room and I was instantly in love. With the room and the house. Sold!

We've lived in this house nearly six years in December (yikes!) and it has functioned as my closet ever since. Here are some previous closet blog posts:

Cheap hanging racks are cheap for a reason.

Bryan built me an up-cycled wardrobe last year.

Last October when I started the 31 Day Challenge and organized the closet.

As of July this year it looked like this:

We jokingly called it Rachel Land. I loved this room, but it was busy and cluttered.

After we met with the designer about making our house my function better for us and making room for baby, we worked with Incognito Closets on a custom closet solution. We knew we would have to keep Bryan's samples in this room as well, so we left one wall open to him and utilized two other walls for my things.

Here we are after:

I'm utilizing the top of the system to house craft supplies, items I sell on eBay, and shipping supplies. Because of how functional the system is I was able to move everything in to the drawers and shelves that was previously in a dresser in our bedroom. Everything I need to get dressed is all in one location!

I even carved out a little space to put on makeup. Granted, I still need a mirror in order for that to happen in here!

I'm so pleased with the space, but it's not done yet! I want an area rug to soften the space. I'd really love an oriental or kilm, but for now we are going with a carpet remnant until I can find just the right thing.  I've also ordered a valence for the window that will tie into the treatment in Charlie's room. Some art might be nice as well.

Just a few little things to do, but it makes a huge difference. Plus, it will add value to the home should we ever decide to move.

Have you ever worked with a professional closet solution company? What do you think?

Oct 20, 2014

Monday Garden Update

This post is going up late because cold. It's gotten colder here, especially in the mornings and I procrastinated going outside!

Things are still moving along in the garden. I skipped a fall seed planting a couple of weeks ago because of traveling and lots of rain. But I planted three rows of carrots and beets last week to help make up the difference. So far scheduling out the tasks seems to be really working for me.

What's not working for me are my seeds. I have approximately 3 beet seedlings so far.

My carrots are doing slightly better.

I pulled out half the basil that was overgrown last week. I left about three or four basil plants that hadn't gone to seed yet. In the blank space to the front of that middle bed I planted some spinach seed last week.

Do you see this? This is the work of a very naughty dog. I think my broccoli, which you can barely see to the left side of this bed, is going to make it.

Here's the other side of the garden. I pulled up the "pepper" plant a week or so ago and put it in a pot. It's a very attractive potted plant for fall. I've also been slowly picking the carrots as I need them for meals. There aren't too many left. The tomatoes are still going strong over there.

And now for the back bed:

The tomato plants are growing like weeds. While we were out of town we had some storms and knocked them over. We temporarily have them supported to the fence with twine.  Our first frost date is coming up in two weeks so I didn't want to invest too much time salvaging them.  They are still producing and I want to get every last tomato while I can.

Today's harvest. Lots of peppers. There are still tons of baby peppers on my two or three producing plants, but I picked everything I thought needed to come off the plant.

It's hard to believe the summer is over and pretty soon - two weeks! - I'll be pulling nearly everything up. It's especially bittersweet since I'm not sure what our next year's garden will look like given the presence of an infant in our lives.

Oct 17, 2014

New Music: Amy LaVere's Runaway's Diary

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not a music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

Local musician Amy LaVere recently released a new album, Runaway's Diary. I listened to it in full this week as my new listen. We've seen Amy perform several times at the Levitt Shell and have always enjoyed her unique sound.

This album starts off slow and mellow with "Rabbit", but gets into a fun groove with "Last Rock N'Roll Boy to Dance".  Some songs have more of a bluesy, twang. "I'll Be Home" has a bit of a jazzy swing to it.  Amy's lyrics hook me. Which really says something since I can listen to whole albums over and over and over again and never really hear one word.

Favorite Songs: Last Rock N' Roll Boy to Dance, Don't Go Yet John

When to Listen: working, car tunes, hanging around the house

Special note to Memphians: Amy will be playing at RiverArts Fest on the 24th and at Indie Memphis on the 30th. Catch her schedule here.

Oct 16, 2014

One Room Challenge: Week Three

Ummm.... how are we already at week three? I feel like maybe it should still be the first week? What is happening to time? Argh.

Well I have gotten a few things done this past week. I thought I'd break it down diary style this week.

Thursday - yeah, nothing happened in or with this room.

Friday - met up with my mom and visited a local carpet and flooring store, Kiser's, to shop for remnants. They have two locations and we hit up both as they have different items at different locations. I snapped pictures of favorites so I'd remember. Here are a few.

I was in love with the doe print to the right, but it was already on hold and also Bryan hated it.

We ultimately decided on this brown for the nursery. It's incredibly durable and will hide stains well. I didn't think about this initially, but a white or cream would just be too much white/cream in that room with the white furniture and cream trim.

With the carpet chosen we nailed down drapery fabric and Mom has placed that order.

The bulk of the drapery will be the sand color with several inches of the patterned fabric on the trim vertically and horizontally. This was cost effective and also wouldn't be too overwhelming visually.

Saturday - Bryan's parents came over and helped Bryan set up the crib and changing table. We got these from my aunt's mother-in-law. Yay for free!

The Jenny Lind style coincidentally matches the child-size rocking chair that I got from my grandmother's house.

Bryan and I are both blown away that there is a crib in our house. For a baby. This is weird stuff, you guys.

Sunday - Bryan's running partner texted early in the morning asking if we wanted some of their old baby furniture. We brought home the below rocker and another changing table.

We aren't sold on the Jenny Lind style table because a) open storage and b) it might be too matchy matchy. So now we've got options. And I've got a recover project on my hands.

Monday - I was too tired from Friday decisions and weekend set ups and moves to think about this room. The glider is my new favorite talking-on-the-phone chair though. Can't wait to beef up the cushioning on this baby.

Tuesday - Spent time on Pinterest looking at cribs. Confession: I know nothing about babies. I've reached the point where any and all nursery pictures I look at closely to see what is on the crib and changing tables. What are nursery essentials?  It looks like all I need for the crib is a basic fitted sheet. Bumpers and skirts are optional. (Please correct me if this is wrong!) So my plan for the crib linens is to just do basic white for crib sheet and then find a pretty pretty fabric and make a bumper and skirt.

Wednesday - fabric shopping day! Otherwise known as the day I over thought things and gave myself a headache and then came home and finished off the Chunky Monkey. Ha. I wish I was joking. My mom recommended a local fabric store, Johnson's Fabric, which was a hike from my house, but ended up being worth going to. Many of the fabric stores are either too expensive or too cheap. This was the nice middle ground. I ended up liking a fabric in their remnant section which was $4 a yard. You can't beat that!

Next week I'll get into my fabric selection, but it feels good to make some progress this week. My goal for next week is to have started if not finished painting the room. Wish me luck!

Oct 15, 2014

One Year Later

In early October of last year I was fired. Fired from a job I hated.  At the time I was part humiliated and part relieved. It ended a two year streak of being unhappy in a string of ill-fitting jobs. I was lost professionally and I had no idea what to do. So I didn't do anything.

Let me back up.  In case you didn't know, Bryan, my husband, is an independent sales representative for several running specialty brands. He has been doing this for about three years now. When he originally took the job we started dreaming of one day my being able to travel with him and be his secretary.

The day I was fired I knew I needed a break. A break from looking for jobs. I had spent about two years non-stop looking while I had three different jobs in three different fields during that time.  Bryan was gracious enough to let me try being his full-time secretary/assistant.  Amazingly we have been able to swing it financially and maritally.

When we first made the switch it was so funny to hear people's reactions to us working together. The vast majority of married couples say they can not work together. Bryan and I met working retail together and it has always been a natural fit for us. Granted, we have our moments, but for the most part no business fights over the last year.

Every day is different. Sometimes I feel super busy as his assistant and sometimes I have little to do.  It took some time to get used to this flux, but now I love it. When we work 10 days in a row, it's nice to know that in a few weeks we can take a few days off to recover without having to run it by anyone.

A little less than six months ago I became pregnant and we are figuring out the next chapter of our professional and personal lives. I am so thankful for this time to work with Bryan and build his business together.

I'm not sure what the future holds for me professionally. One day I may end up back in the traditional working world. Or I may not.  I do know that God works for the good of those who love them, and I needed to be fired. I needed to be forced into a new role. One year ago I would have never ever guessed that I would be pregnant, but here we are. About to embark on our next great adventure into the unknown.

Oct 14, 2014

New York Trip 2014

Last week Bryan and I spent four and a half days in New York City. My bestie, Allyn, and her husband Josh have been living there for the last year. When they started talking about moving there I knew I wanted to visit. Originally I had hoped to go in early December as a birthday thing. I have always wanted to see the Christmas window displays at the big retailers. Allyn convinced me it was too cold and what with being pregnant and Bryan's travel schedule we decided early fall would be the best time anyways.

Thursday we flew in just in the perfect time to grab dinner at Prune, which was delightful. It was one of our favorite meals of the trip.

Friday morning Bryan met with one of the lines he reps (CW-X) while Allyn and I shopped at ABC Home and Fishs Eddy. We shared lunch at Eataly before meeting up with Bryan at the Natural History Museum.

After the museum we strolled through Central Park before heading to Ssam Bar for dinner.

Saturday morning was a bit wet, but Bryan and I ventured out on our own.  Our first top was Grand Central Terminal. It was breathtaking. Probably my favorite sight we visited.

We spent the afternoon shopping, seeing Rockerfeller Center and cruising through the Met. I wish we had more time/energy to spend there, but we were tired and didn't have much time after the shopping!

On Sunday Allyn joined us in further touristy excursions. Katz Deli, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial, and NY style pizza at Johns.

Our flight wasn't until late afternoon on Monday which gave us time to see the Cloister's in the morning and have ramen for lunch. The Cloisters were another favorite sight.

Aside from Saturday morning, the weather was perfect while we were there. I brought a light sweater with me each day for the evening and was perfect during the day.

I'm so glad we were able to get this trip in before Allyn and Josh move to Cincinnati and before Charlie graces us with his presence.