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.