It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Eric and I are having a lovely and quiet little dinner tonight on Christmas Eve...I am trying out the fondue pot that my sister, Molly, gave to us a few years back.  I thought fondue, wine and an old movie like It's a Wonderful Life would be just the thing to put us in the spirit while waiting for Santa to arrive.   From our family to yours, we wish you and your loved ones a magical Christmas.

Owen, 2010 Christmas
Owen, 2010 Christmas


Owen and Elmo

Owen, Ryan and I were out shopping this week.  While walking up and down the aisles, we came across a little friend...

As I am sure all of you are gearing up for Christmas, we are doing the same.  We debated about presents this year for the boys, trying to decide what we should ask Santa for.  Owen is starting to understand what Christmas is all about and I can't wait to see him light up when he sees the tree on Christmas morning.  What is a good amount of gifts for an almost 2 year old?  I am thinking it could go by age...2 gifts for 2 years, 3 for 3, etc.  What do you think? 

We had a great visit with Dana and baby Garrett this week.  Ryan and Garrett are just one day apart and are so cute together.  We can't wait to have another play date!

As for the house, I have a few projects that I have been working on and will post about soon.  Here is what you can look forward to....DIY peg board made out of ceiling tile, birdie mobile, and Ikea hack Rast side tables.   


Chalkboard Cabinet Doors

Here is an update to our pantry cabinet doors.  We thought it would be fun to paint the center with chalkboard paint.  We can keep our shopping list up to date as well as give the boys a creative outlet.  It was super easy and only took about an hour from start to finish.

First, I prepped the doors by giving them a quick cleaning with Windex.  Then, I trimmed them out using a 2.2in angle brush.  We used Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint tinted to Moonstone. 

The first layer goes on thinly.  The trick is to put on a nice even coat using long even stokes.  TIP - don't go over the paint until it is totally dry.  It gets really tacky and chalky and if you go over it with the paint brush you will gunk up the paint and leave brush strokes.  Not that I have any experience with that...wink wink.  If you do end up with brush strokes, wait until it is totally dry (usually overnight) and lightly sand down the lumpy part. 

I put three coats on the doors waiting for a few hours in between coats. 

Here it is all finished.  I still haven't put hardware on the cabinet doors.  I know what I want to put up, but am still searching for the best deal. 

Owen is having such a good time with the chalkboard finding his letters and numbers.  So glad that we chose to go this route.  As a side note, this is such a low risk project...if you hate the way it looks, or if you change your mind down the road, just paint over it with normal acrylic/latex paints.  HMMMMM what else can I chalkboard paint???

Tutu DIY

My nieces turned 3 and 5 this month and I wanted to give them something that they would love.  They just started ballet classes and also really like to play dress up now. I scoured the blogosphere a few months ago looking for a diy tutu tutorial.  I found a basic project and made a few changes and really liked the results. 

What you'll need...

  • A few yards of tulle.  I used white and pink for the above tutu.  You can find rolls of tulle as well and it will save you the time of cutting the strips. 
  • Elastic band
  • Sewing Machine or Needle and matching thread

Cut your elastic to one inch more then the final size you'll need to fit the child's waist.  20 inches fits most kids well. Overlap the elastic band one inch and sew it together so it forms a loop.  Before sewing check to make sure there are no twists in the elastic band.

Cut your tulle into strips.  I used 4 inch wide strips that were varying lengths between 24 and 30 inches long. 

Slide the elastic band up to your thigh like a garter.  This will make it infinitly easier to attach the strips.  Fold the strip in half.  Take the loop end and slide it under the elastic towards you.  Take the two loose ends and pull them through the loop to make the knot.   Here is a diagram...

Pull tight and continue to attach your strips around the entire loop.  I used pink and white strips in a random pattern.  Get creative.  I used approx 35 strips of each color to fill up my elastic band and as you can see it turned out to be nice and full. 

After I was satisfied with the amount of strips, I used my sewing machine to sew a zig zag stich along the band to ensure that the strips stay attached.  This step is probably optional, as the knots seem very secure and shouldn't require the stitching to stay attached. 

Now, grab scissors and trim your tutu to your liking.  I trimmed the top pieces shorter to give the tutu a fluffier, fuller look.  Tada...your tutu is ready to wear. 

Idea Originally found on http://mamasdoodles.blogspot.com/2007/08/tutu-tutorial-tuturial.html



So, I was making dinner tonight.  Ryan was in his high chair and Owen was in his little lion booster seat.  I was making a glaze for the baby carrots in a saute pan.  Owen heard the sound that the cooking carrots and glaze were making and said "Daddy home?"  I told him no, that the sound was the carrots sizzling in the pan.  He said, "siss-ell".  I repeated the word sizzle a few times for him and he laughed at me as he tried to repeat it back.  I finished cooking dinner, served up some carrots and pasta and sat down to feed Ryan his cereal.  About 20 minutes had past and I looked over and saw Owen with a very concerned look on his face.  I asked him what was up and he looked at me and then over to the stove and said with a very, very sad little voice..."bye, bye sisss-elll".  It was so sweet and I got such laugh (under my breath of course) that I had to share it.


Firebird Festival, First Annual Tree Cutting and Visit from the O'Neills

It was a wonderfully busy weekend.  First, my parents came to visit for the weekend.  On Saturday we went to Yeager's Farm to cut down our tree.  Saturday evening was the Firebird Festival in Phoenixville.  Sunday morning, my parents departed back to Rochester and on Sunday afternoon, we hosted a Thirty-One party for my friend Becky Verna.  Whew!  Here are some pics from the weekend...

Yeager's Farm Photos...

tractor ride to the cut your own trees
Owen saw this little baby tree and gave it a hug.

On the hunt for the perfect tree.

Eric cutting it down, Terry catching it.

On the tractor ride back to the barn for hot cocoa.

Tree Photos....

 Firebird Festival Photos...
getting bundled up to walk to the festival

Ryan in his bomber outfit

 Owen found the Firetrucks, or as he says the WeeOOO WeeOOO's

Roman Shades...Check them off the list!

Yay...we are no longer the neighborhood fishbowl.  Roman shades are up and completed.  Here is a brief description of the process of making the shades.  For a step by step tutorial and video directions, please visit http://www.terrelldesigns.com/.  She makes it clear on how to assemble your shades. 
I took the Ikea panels that I purchased for the bay windows and deconstructed them based on the size of the roman shade I was making.  The panels came with the front fabric layer as well as a second privacy panel which I reused for my roman shades. 

I cut the shades to the size that I needed.  Because the Ikea drapes had a pattern in the center, but tapered off at the sides, I made sure to cut the center portion for my shades. 

Once cut, I sewed the front fabric to the back privacy panel so that it resembled a big tube.  Then, I glued the wood battens to the back of the front panel.  Once the glue dried, I turned the shades right side out and sewed on the lift rings to the back of the shade around the battens. 

I created a mounting board out of firring strips that I had on hand left over from from studding out the mudroom.  I used eye hooks to run the cords through.  (mounting board not shown here...I must have forgotten to snap a separate photo of it). 

Once I strung the cords through the lift rings that I hand sewed on the fabric around the wood battens and up through the eye hooks, I then drilled the mounting boards into the top of the window frames.  They fit nice and snug.

I really love the way they turned out.  The only downside is that they do cover the arches in the tops of my windows. 


Bay Window Dilemma

We have been living in a fishbowl since we moved into the house in August.  We have a wonderful bay window in the front of our living room that needs some window coverings.  I have been going back and forth on what type of window treatment I want to put up.  I love the woodwork and arches at the top of the windows, so I want to try and keep that exposed.  But, I don't want fabric hanging where toddlers can yank on it and pull it down.  I love the look of Roman blinds, but they will surely hide the arches. 

Bay Window after it was painted - Photo of Nana with the boys.
After thinking about it for some time, I decided to go with hanging panels and a bay window rod along the top.  Here is an example of what I was thinking about...

Image is from
 I picked up the bay window hardware on Saturday from JC Penney.  As soon as we got home I ripped open the box and was ready to install it right away.  Unfortunately, the hardware was too wide for the fabric panels that I chose.  So, I was on to option 2.

I returned the hardware to JC Penney and headed to Ikea to pick up the DIGNITET wire curtain hanger.  It mounts on the wall and then there are two additional corner pieces pieces that I purchased to string the wire through along the corners in the bay window nook.  It was pretty easy to hang.  It took a couple of hours because I measured wrong...twice.  I hung my panels (see above photo for the idea) and was pretty happy with the result.  As a bonus, we were no longer viewable to anyone who walked by the house at night. I started to tidy up the space, tossed a blanket into the corner where one of the panels hung and suddenly the wire popped and all the panels crashed to the floor.  Ugh.

Sooooo...now I am rethinking the whole project and leaning toward roman shades.  The drawback is the loss of the arch, but I think I will prefer the look over the hanging panels.

Making Roman Shades isn't that difficult, but it requires exact measurements and a good diagram.

Diagram of the shade.  I use Terrell Designs website to calculate the dimensions. 
They also have an excellent tutorial for anyone interested in taking the DIY route.
 I am going to use the fabric panels that I purchased already and will just deconstruct them for the roman shades.  Hopefully, I can squeeze time in this week to get this project completed. 



Breast Cancer Walk Team Logo

Jessica Malone, a friend of mine in VA, asked me to help out with a team logo for an upcoming walk they are doing to help raise money to find a cure for Breast Cancer.  The Avon Walk is on Saturday, May 5th 2012.  I was SO excited to help out with this project that all the house stuff got shoved to the side...hence the reason for a lack of recent posts.  She and a team of 4 additional women will be participating in the upcoming walk.  Here is a blurb from their website http://doublejs4doubleds.weebly.com/our-story.html

In 2011, founding members of JJ4DD, Jen and Jess, met around Mile 8 of the Washington, D.C. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer (http://www.avonwalk.org/). Both participating by themselves, they started chatting and by mile 39.3 they formed a friendship and a desire to walk together again in 2012! Along the way they picked up three more enthusiastic walkers and are up to a solid 5 member team!

This page is to spread the word that we are "In It To End It" and are dedicated to raise funds and awareness to finally bring Breast Cancer to it's knees!

We do this for our moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmas, friends, each other, ourselves and Y-O-U! Thank you for your support.

So, after talking with Jessica and learning a little bit about the team from their website I put together the following idea for their shirts...

Each unmentionable represents a member of the team, and I offered to customize the bras to their specifications (the fun part!)

After several reviews and changes...here is the final product I think...

It really was so much fun working on this project and feeling like in a small way I am helping with their mission to find a cure for breast cancer. 

I encourage you to check out their website and learn a little more about the JJ4DD team. Have fun! 

Here are links to the JJ4DD team member pages





Ok, so I am a little late getting these posted.  I know.  I've been working on a few different projects which have been eating into my blogging time.  We had such a fun Halloween night.  Owen was so excited to be able to walk door to door with his cute little pumpkin bag that Nana brought for him on her visit that weekend before.  We decided a few weeks prior that Owen would be a Fireman. 

First, he is obsessed with fire trucks (which he calls wee-ooo-wee-ooo-wee-ooo's). 

Second, we went to First Friday in October in Phoenixville and it was Fire Prevention night.  All of the local fire departments were there and Owen got to tour the fire trucks and ambulances and even got a souvenir hat which was going to be part of the costume.

Finally, the night before Halloween, there was a 3 alarm fire on Bridge St. in Phoenixville that was pretty impressive.  Us houses on the hill had a front row view of the 3 story high flames.  Owen was in awe.  He spent the next hour saying "Bye-Bye wee-ooo-wee-ooo-wee-ooo's".  Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire.

So, here are some pictures of the evening.  Ryan was Tigger and only made it a block before he fell asleep on Daddy's shoulder. 

Owen tried to run off with our neighbors ghost. 

We tried to get a shot of the boys together, but Owen couldn't wait to get to the next house.  Special Note - see the snow on the ground!  We got 7 inches the Saturday before!

Our little Tigger.  He only made it a block before he was out cold.
Owen's fireman costume worked out really well and only cost me $4 to make.  Nana and Grandma brought Owen that coat on a previous visit.  I believe they found it at a rummage sale.  So, I bought some duct tape (I didn't know which color I wanted so I bought a silver and a bright yellow).  We thought the silver would be best because it really reflected the light well making him more visible at night.  I used a sharpie to write Fire Chief on the back and made a name tag for him on the front.  Because it was so cold that night, the plastic fireman hat that he got from the First Friday event wasn't going to work.  So, I just slapped on a piece of tape on the front of his hat and grabbed my sharpie again. 

Tigger was obviously a store bought costume - but it is so perfect for keeping the little one's nice and toasty.  And he looks pretty darn cute if I do say so myself!



One of our recent projects was the pantry in the kitchen.  The old fridge cabinet is the new home of our pantry.  As you can see, we put in shelves and now need the doors. 
So, to start off, I drew a plan for the doors. I took all the measurements and headed to HD to pick up some cabinet grade plywood, hinges, and trim.
My assistant helped me make the cuts to the trim. :)  I sanded down the doors and the rough edges to a nice smooth finish.  I initially used the palm sander with the orbital attachment, but that was taking off too much wood in a very random fashion.  I switched over to the regular palm sander attachment and it did the trick perfectly.  I used 120 grit sand paper.

I glued down the trim flush against the edge of the front of the doors with Elmer's wood glue.  I didn't see a trim that matched the current cabinet doors perfectly, so I picked out something similar but not so similar that it looked like I was trying to match it.  I tacked in some nails over top of the glue for extra stability.  I counter sank the nail holes and filled them with wood filler. 

I then attached the hinges to the doors and then had Eric come in and help hang them.  It really is a two person job to hang cabinet doors.  The hinges have to but pushed flush against the cabinet in order to mark the holes - if they aren't pushed in, the hinges don't lay flat and will give you an incorrect mark.  So, I had Eric place the doors up against the cabinet and I used the drill to make a pilot hole and then screwed the doors in.  We had a few minor issues.  First, the cabinet is not plumb, so when we used the level to make sure that the doors were hung straight, it appeared that they were crooked on the edges and straight on top.  We ended up eyeballing it and it came out perfectly.  Second, I screwed in the hinges on the wrong side of the second door (easy fix with wood filler, but a real DUH moment for me).

Finally, I attached a magnetic plate to the door and the cabinet to keep the doors securely closed.  We haven't chosen hardware for any of our cabinets yet.  I keep changing my mind on the style. 

The cabinets are primed, but not painted yet.  I need to swing down and pick up some more "Glass of Milk" Martha paint in Semi Gloss color matched in Behr to finish the job.  Will post final pics soon.

It is so nice to finally have a door on the pantry - the kitchen looks so much more organized without the big "black hole".