Archives For May 2012

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More details tomorrow!

Remember this sign I painted for the nursery back in March?

Well, yesterday I dragged it outside and gave it two quick coats of this stuff:

It dries in thirty minutes, so in no time at all I turned this…

Into this…

Coming along nicely, isn’t it? The canvas is supported for now by a few nails stuck into the wall, but after I live with it for a few days (or weeks) and decide for sure whether I want to move it down a little or leave it as is I’ll secure it additionally with some of those 3M adhesive strips. It’s super light (as in, I can lift it with my little finger), but I still wouldn’t want it falling down into the crib in case of one of those oh-so-common Louisiana earthquakes.

When I was looking through my old files for a picture of the sign I found this shot from back in March. Sample paint on the walls, rocking chair still sporting a plywood seat, side table not yet brought into the twenty-first century with a can of yellow spraypaint. That’s how I was originally planning to lay out the furniture, too, until I looked up the measurements of the average crib and realized no way was it going to fit in that arrangement. I love looking at this picture to help me realize how much has changed in the last two months.

When Nick was hanging up the sign for me I was criticizing his use of the level. I was all like, “You moved it after you made the first mark! It’s not going to be level!” Yeah, I’m not that easy to live with these days. Nick is a saint for putting up with me. Sure enough, once the sign was hung it looked all crooked over the crib. I smugly told Nick that he did it wrong and he should have listened to me and yada yada yada…then had to eat my words when he placed the level atop the sign and the bubble was perfectly centered. Then we placed the level on the crib railing and, of course, the bubble floated all the way to the right. One of the many, many joys of living in a 90 year old home is that the floors all slope toward the center of the house. It’s usually not a problem unless I’m trying to put something with four legs along a wall close to the middle of the house. The wall separating the living and dining room is generally the worst spot, but this is pretty bad, as well. The good news is that it’s not so uneven that the crib rocks on three legs or anything. We didn’t even notice it until we hung something perfectly level right above it. I stuck ¬†two layers of those felt furniture pads under the feet on the low side to try to even things out a bit, but that dang bubble is still floating to the right. So now I’m debating whether to adjust the sign so that it hangs parallel to the crib or leave it as is. You can’t even tell that anything is amiss in the photo above. It’s only if you’re standing directly in front of the crib…which I plan on doing a lot of in the coming years. Or maybe I just need to relax and let it stay all askew? Either way, I’m loving the look of the sign hung up in its forever home. One more item checked off my to-do list!

As excited as I was to get Jack’s crib set up in his room, it was looking a little boring with the white crib, white mattress, and white sheet. It needed some pizzazz! And a method of hiding all that empty space underneath so I can turn it into some much-needed concealed storage (remember the dearth of closets in my almost-antique house?).

Luckily, I’d seen this conundrum coming and picked up some navy cotton on sale at Hobby Lobby last week. I washed my two yards of fabric, gave it a quick pass with the iron, then laid it out on the office floor. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have chosen to work on the yellow rug. I got yellow fuzz all over my navy fabric and had to use the lint roller to get it off.

Then, I cut my fabric in half lengthwise down the middle. I knew that these pieces were still wider than what I needed for the finished skirt, but I figured I’d just start with this and trim them more precisely later on.

Jack’s crib measures 52″ across the front and 27″ wide. To allow for hems at the ends, I decided to cut one long 54″ strip and two 29″ strips.

Then, I broke out this 10′ roll of half-inch magnetic strip and attached it along one long end of each fabric piece. My idea was that the magnetic strip would attach the fabric to the metal mattress support. I don’t have a picture of this step, but I folded the fabric over the magnetic strip and sewed it down, encasing the magnet in the fabric.

I was so proud of my magnet idea. Unfortunately, my plans were foiled. The magnet turned out to be a little wimpy and wouldn’t stick to the metal with a layer of fabric in between, even though the fabric was pretty thin. I was totally bummed for about five seconds. Then I realized that the mattress support has a little lip along the edge, and the magnetic strip was perfect for wedging the edge of the fabric behind the lip and under the mattress. Sound confusing? I lifted the mattress up to take a picture that hopefully explains it a little better.

Since I’d left my fabric a little too wide earlier, I had plenty of leeway to make the skirt a little longer than originally planned to accommodate the extra fabric tucked under the mattress. I just kind of eyeballed how wide to make the hem then sewed along the bottom and two short edges. Then I repeated the whole process on the two side pieces.

I tucked all three pieces into place and voila! Crib skirt accomplished! The best part is that I can easily adjust it when we eventually lower the mattress either by folding more fabric up at the top or trimming fabric off the bottom and giving it a new hem.

You could totally use this same method to make a skirt for any kind of bed. And since most mattresses are a little lower to the ground than in a crib you could probably get three widths of fabric from one piece, depending on how wide your fabric is, I guess. I love the simple and tailored look of this skirt. It’s about as masculine as something called a “skirt” can be, and I love that it will hide all kinds of ugly boxes and other necessities under the crib. Bonus: Pistachio hasn’t discovered it yet, but I’m pretty sure she’s going to decide the newly cave-like space behind the skirt is her new clubhouse. She’ll get bored with it after a few weeks and that’s when I’ll start stashing important stuff under there, like extra diapers and too-big clothes and whatever other accoutrements I’ve yet to realize accompany a new baby.

When Nick and I went under contract on our house there was one major purchase I wanted to make for our first place: a new sofa. I had purchased our current sofa secondhand six years earlier, and while it had been great for the college years it was time for it to go. Here’s a glimpse of it in a dark and blurry cell phone pic from when we first moved in.

I had made it work with a SureFit slipcover for the last two years, but at this point nothing could have convinced me to keep that couch. It was too small and not particularly comfortable and besides, I just wanted a new one! It was time. Since it takes an excruciatingly long 30-60 days to close on a home purchase, I had plenty of time to research the perfect sofa for us. I wanted something comfy, but not too squishy, and big enough for both of us, but not too deep. My goal was to be equally comfortable cuddling up for a movie or sitting up with a glass of wine. Also on my checklist were exposed legs, neutral fabric, three cushions, and loose back pillows (as in, not attached to the sofa itself). All under $1000. One evening, while trolling the virtual pages of Pottery Barn, I fell in love.

Pottery Barn

It had everything I dreamed of! The only problem was that there was not one available to test out in our local store and, at the time, Pottery Barn didn’t have any reviews on the website. I googled and googled with no luck, trying to find somebody, anybody, who could tell me what the dang thing felt like. Finally, I got the genius idea to call the store in Atlanta, where my longtime BFF and her husband live. They had one on the floor! Lauren and Ryan dutifully went out to Pottery Barn and shot a cell phone video of themselves lounging and commenting on its various merits. The verdict: not too squishy, not too firm, this sofa was juuuust right. So I ordered it in the twill fabric and a few weeks later it was delivered to our new house, where it has lived happily ever since.

Did you think I would have my living room clean enough at eight months pregnant to take a current picture for this post? Ha! This place is a mess. I lifted this picture from our House Tour page. It was taken last September, when the sofa had been here about a year and a half. You can see that it’s still in good shape.

After two years of living with my dear friend Buchanan, I can confidently publish to the internet what I wish someone else had back then: this sofa is awesome. This room is the only place where we sit to watch TV and movies so we’re on that sofa pretty much every evening. I have never ever had a single complaint about its comfort. And I’m not the only one. Nick’s brother Tim lives down the road at LSU and has a nasty habit of spending HOURS napping on our couch on Sunday afternoons. I’m like, “Tim, it’s been four hours, get up. I want to sit down,” and all he can do is mumble about how comfortable our couch is. Haha. It’s also holding up really well–the only signs of wear are cat-induced. Sheila especially loves to lay across the top of the back pillows, so I keep a vintage quilt tossed over the back to deal with all the hair. And even though the weight of her body has squished that one particular pillow down every day for two years it still fluffs right back up when I tell it to.

The bottom line: I did an awesome job picking out this couch. I’d buy it again in a heartbeat. I hope it lasts forever so I can keep on feeling smug about what a great couch I picked. It’s one of the only big pieces in our house that we actually bought new, so it’s kind of a big deal. Now that I think about it, the other things we’ve bought new (dining table, white sofa, desk) were all from Ikea, so the PB sofa was definitely a splurge for us. Everything else is secondhand, and I kinda like it that way. But the PB sofa is definitely more comfortable than the Ikea Ektorp or the vintage one I’ve got in the dining room. I think it was definitely worth the extra dough.