As excited as I was to move Jack out of the crib, I was a tiny bit heartbroken when I realized I’d soon be taking down the mobile I so lovingly created. I hated to just cast it aside.

I’ve got a plan to reuse the yarn balls, but first I tackled a smaller project: creating a piece of embroidery to fill the green painted hoop. I started working on it several weeks ago using a spare embroidery hoop, then just moved it over to the green one after we’d set up Jack’s new bed and taken down the mobile. My first attempt involved tracing an image of tree rings that I found online. When it was finished I wasn’t sure about the outcome so I texted a picture to my friend Lauren and asked what it looked like to her.

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So with that I started over, this time keeping it simpler. I used a backstitch for the rings and lettering and two rows of split stitches for the bark. And to avoid any unintentional resemblance to anatomy I stitched his name in the center instead of ever-narrowing rings. It’s supposed to look like his name was scrawled on a tree stump.

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The green and brown are perfect accents in his room.

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I love the addition of something round to the collection of items on his wall. I’d like to add something else to the right side but I’m not quite sure what yet.

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It’s kind of symbolic–the rings of a tree are a visual marker of growth and this is a space for a growing child to play and rest.

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It’s hung on the wall with a nail and secured in place with some museum putty. Since he’s not confined to the crib anymore I went ahead and added a bit of putty to everything else on the wall, too, just to make sure that he doesn’t accidentally pull something down and hurt himself when he’s in there alone.

I’ve been working on this embroidery project on and off since May so I’m thrilled to finally have it completed. Next project: stringing those yarn balls into a garland to hang from the ceiling!

Even though we’re not planning on selling for a few years, Nick and I want to start working on some of the things that need to be done before we can even think about putting our house on the market. There are some big ticket tasks, like a new roof and a fresh exterior paint job, and plenty of smaller ones, like this broken fence gate. In this photo it’s just propped into place (upside down!) to provide some privacy and deter trespassers. It was too heavy for me to move on my own and would often get knocked over by strong winds.

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We’ve been putting it off forever but we finally tackled fixing it this weekend. First we removed the old, rusty hardware.

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One of the reasons Nick had been dreading this task is that he thought he would have to hold the heavy gate in place while I attached the hinges, so he was pretty thrilled when I told him my plan to block it up with some scrap wood.

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These big hinges were about $5 each at Lowe’s. I had no idea what type was best suited to our circumstances so I just picked these.

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Luckily they were a cinch to install! We moved the location of the bottom hinge up a little so it would be better secured to the frame, and actually added a piece of scrap wood on the other side to reinforce it. I think the poor placement of that hinge might be what caused the old hardware to fail.

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With the hinges installed I added a new latch to the backside of the fence. Our neighborhood is not dangerous, but there are a fair amount of burglaries and so we prefer to keep our home on the secure side. We’ve never been robbed, knock on wood, though someone did try to kick in the back door once when we’d just moved in and didn’t have signs from the alarm company yet. A determined burglar could jump the fence or reach over to unlatch it, but this at least creates some resistance.

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And last but not least I installed a handle on the front. We actually didn’t think of this until after we’d fixed the gate, so I picked up the handle yesterday and installed it while Jack was napping. I shut the gate to see how it looked, then realized it had latched closed and the front door was locked. I had to drag a chair around from the front porch to reach over and unlatch the gate. This makes me wonder about how the guy who reads our electric meter will get back there, as well as the guy who mows our lawn. Perhaps I didn’t think this whole “backyard security” thing through. Do you think most men are tall enough to just reach over and unlatch it? It’s really amazing to me that in this day and age a person still comes out to literally look at my electric meter. He scared the crap out of me one time when I was in the backyard by myself. I could tell that he felt bad about it–he had actually called out to let me know he was there before I saw him, but I had my back to the gate and practically jumped right out of my chair when a strange man’s voice came from nowhere. Anyway, I digress. The handle makes it easier to pull the gate open when it’s unlatched.

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The other problem here is that the gate sticks big time. You have to really throw your shoulder into it to get it closed. Is there a magic way to fix that? A planer perhaps?

I picked up a graph paper spiral notebook recently and it rekindled my longstanding hobby of sketching plans for my future dream house.

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Pinterest is supplementing my fantasy nicely. Please let my future dream house have oak trees.

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BHG

My plans include not one, but two window seats.

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House Beautiful

And traditional meets modern built-ins similar to these.

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Michele Skinner

This is my dream tub. I love that I could slither down for a soak after washing my hair without having to contend with a wet shower curtain.

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The Colonial

And these floors! White hexagon and dot plus dark grout equals happiness.

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Life in Grace

Yep, this is what my future bedroom will be like.

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Cottage Living

I really want to have a detached carport or garage at the back of the house with a brick patio connecting the two.

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Bruce Clodfelter and Associates

Nick keeps laughing at me as I sketch away in my notebook and ask him ridiculous questions like, “Would you rather have a fireplace or a TV on our back porch?” But someday, y’all. Someday I will build this house.

Happy Thursday, my friends! What a fabulous midsummer week this has been. A little bit of work, a little bit of play, and a whole lot of happiness. Today’s post is a special shout out to the small businesses I’m proud to partner with.

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Sprigs Jewelry and Accessories has over 100 items to choose from and they are all adorable so you’re sure to find something that you or someone you know would love. She also has lots of options for customizing colors and finishes so if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for just ask! The majority of her creations are earrings but this simple and elegant birthstone bracelet is actually my favorite.

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Anna Birthstone Bracelet

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Little Eli is the brainchild of friends Amelia and Meghan. Meghan makes jewelry, Amelia works with concrete, and together the two of them have some seriously covet-worthy creations, like their new line of concrete jewelry! They also have several pieces that would make great gifts for wedding season. They’re on a brief hiatus while they expand and move studios but you can still view some pretties in their Etsy shop.

Concrete Hexagon Pendant. Metallic Gold or Silver Finish. Gray or Black Concrete Jewelry. Necklace. Minimalist. Subtle. Cement. Gray.

Concrete Hexagon Pendant. Metallic Gold or Silver Finish. Gray or Black Concrete Jewelry. Necklace. Minimalist. Subtle. Cement. Gray.

Every month I like to feature a worthy nonprofit. I’m a big fan of Law and Order: SVU and was thrilled to learn that in 2004 actress Mariska Hargitay founded an organization in response to the letters she received from viewers telling of their own experiences with sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Today, Joyful Heart is a national organization with hubs of service in New York, Los Angeles and Honolulu. Their mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. They carry out this mission in three ways: Healing & Wellness, Education & Awareness, and Policy & Advocacy. To find out more, visit their website at joyfulheartfoundation.org.

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Have a great day, y’all!