2.27.2011

Weekend Project: Diaper Cake

I'm co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Erin this week, and I was assigned the task of creating a diaper cake. (Erin is the friend whose nursery I painted last week.)

I've never made a diaper cake. I've never even heard of a diaper cake. To be honest, I'm definitely in the bridal shower era of my life, not the baby shower era. (Although those two are kind of meshing together, which is scary!)

A little bit of googling later, I was informed on the [apparently very common] tradition of the diaper cake. We're doing a The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme for the shower, so I used that as my inspiration for the lovely cake o' diapers.






Supplies: 
Diapers (whichever type the mom-to-be is registered for)
Rubber bands
Tissue paper
Ribbon
Construction paper
Toothpicks
Hot glue gun
Various cute things with which to decorate the cake– I used baby socks and a stuffed caterpillar
Something long and tall in the center to build around... I used a rolled baby blanket, but most people use bottles of baby lotion or baby powder. 

Disclaimer: This is the way I made this cake. I'm not saying it is the best way, but I sort of winged it and this is what I came up with!
  1.  Roll the diapers up like you're rolling paper into a scroll, and wrap each with a rubber band to secure the shape.
  2. Start with something tall and cylindrical in the center. I used a rolled up baby blanket because it was so cute that I couldn't resist. (Much cuter than baby lotion, but I'm sure that is more practical.)
  3. Start assembling the diapers in the ring around the center object, building outward to create the cake tier. The diapers need to be standing up lengthwise. It's almost like building a circular fence of diapers around the center object.
  4. Secure each circle of diapers with a rubber band, joining it to the center object. Continue building outward until you have the right size tier for the base of the cake.
  5. Cover the bottom tier with tissue paper, and wrap a large ribbon around the tier to finish it off. 
  6. Follow this technique for the second tier and third tier (and fourth tier and fifth tier, if you want to make a cake that big!)
  7. Now the fun part- decorating! I topped my cake off with the stuffed caterpillar from the book. I also mimicked the sweet dot print from the book on each tier, which is my favorite part. The dots are cut from construction paper and hot-glued to the tissue paper surface. (You simply have to add those caterpillar holes- it's an essential detail!) Those pieces of fruit and ice cream cone were created out of construction paper, hot glued onto toothpicks and then poked into the "cake." I also couldn't resist those sweet baby socks, so I placed those lounging against the bottom tier. 
These are my inspiration:

photo from www.judyoz.com


photo from www.practical-homeschooling.com


Overall, the diaper cake was much easier to create than I anticipated. The structure probably took 30 minutes, and the decorating part took a little bit longer because I had to glue those dots on one-by-one. 

I must confess that I kept a running commentary in my head as if I was a fabulous cake decorator on those Food Network shows. "Well, I chose to mimic the dot pattern from the book to add pops of color, and I love the way it is coming out! It's tedious, but it's worth it. The caterpillar emerging from the top of the structure is really cute, don't you think? I think it adds a touch of whimsy... Well, I hope the client likes it!"

Oh man, I'm a dork. 


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2.25.2011

Play Ball! (*Happy Friday*)

I haven't been posting that much because, well, life got busy! Our schedule feels extra packed now that Scott started coaching baseball. He's now teaching and balancing football and baseball, and I feel like I haven't seen him these last two weeks! Scratch that, I did see him last night (from the bleachers) as I watched his baseball team add a notch to the win column.

(For our friends and family that want to follow Scott's baseball team, check out this site. He coaches the freshman team. )

(Photo taken from this site.) 

Who is that handsome third base coach?! This was just a scrimmage so he didn't have to wear the uniform, but it's pretty funny to see him rocking white baseball pants. They are definitely out of his fashion comfort zone!


The baseball tournament continues tonight and tomorrow, so we'll be spending our weekend at the field. I am hoping to get some projects done, including building a diaper cake (should be interesting), laying down some great new rugs we bought and hopefully continuing our flooring project. I also have ambitions of customizing one of my vases with a great chevron pattern. Hopefully I'll have a lot to share next week. Then again, I might get distracted by the Academy Awards...

My thought process this week:

"Hey baseball, can I have my handyman back so that we can work on our house?... What? Three more months of this? And then he'll be busy because spring football starts? But when are we going to renovate our guest bathroom and finish all of the flooring in the house?!"

Looks like I need to teach myself how to use some power tools if I plan on getting anything done these next few months...

*Have a great weekend!*
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2.23.2011

We [Finally] Have a Coffee Table

Our living room has been coffee table-less for a long time. At first we liked it that way because we could use the open floor space to play with the nuggets or do exercise videos. Then we got a gym membership and realized the nuggets would rather sleep all day than play, so we decided it was time for a coffee table.

I had been casually searching for a table for months, randomly shooting the husband emails with links and pictures to see what he might like. We never found one that we both really liked, but I don't think we really knew what we wanted. I was hoping for a table with wheels so that we could move it out of the way easily, but he thought wheels were ugly. We even thought about building our own coffee table, but we couldn't decide on a certain style.

Then I got an email from World Market announcing their latest products, and a coffee table caught my eye. I sent it to Scott, and he thought it was great. Before I knew it, we had visited the store in person, confirmed we loved the table and made the purchase!



I love the bottom shelf. It will be great for storing books and extra blankets for TV time.


It rolls! The wheels roll any direction, and they lock when you don't want them going anywhere.



We love the table for many reasons. The styling is very cool, mixing the wood and metal. It's not girly or masculine– totally unisex. It's unlike any furniture style we have, which I love. The wheels/casters are sturdy (and husband doesn't think they are ugly, so that's a bonus). Yesterday I ate dinner on the table, rolling it right up to my legs for comfortable dining. We are eat-in-front-of-the-TV-people, so that function is very convenient!

I guess I wasn't the only one who liked this table because I can't find it on the World Market site anymore. Maybe they sold out already? The coffee table was part of the Aiden line, which also included a sofa table, end table and etagere. They were all online a few days ago, but now the only Aiden item available for online purchase is the end table.

If you like this style, I'm sure they will be restocking it online soon. Maybe you're lucky enough to have a store nearby who still has some left. I hadn't been to World Market in a long time, but they really had some great new stuff- curtains, upholstered chairs, towels, artwork. I recommend checking it out!

Happy Wednesday! :)
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2.21.2011

Birch Tree Nursery Mural

I told a couple of my friends that I was painting a baby nursery this weekend, and some of them thought it was for our own house. No, we are not expecting! Yes, I would have told you if I was!

Our good friends are expecting a baby boy in April, and I offered to paint a mural for their nursery. They accepted my offer, and we spent our Sunday working on this special project while they did their best to stay out of the house.

They chose this adorable bedding from JCPenney, so I used that as my inspiration. They gave me full creative license, and I tried not to share too many of my plans with them so they would be surprised. It's a very small room– 10x10 –so I tried to keep the designs minimal. I was trying to keep the room simple, bright and calm.

Overall, it went really smoothly. Scott added his special talents to the project, too. It was his idea to replace the white ceiling fan, so he went to the store and picked out a new fan/light with dark wood blades to bring out the brown in the bedding. He kept my company by taking down the other fan and installing the new one. He also used some wood chisels and a piece of oak firewood to carve the Reiter sign you'll see on the rocking chair in the pictures below. My only instructions were, "Imagine the sign on a little boy's tree house," and he interpreted that perfectly.

Overall, it went really smoothly. The only challenge was that the walls were very textured, so it was really tough to get a good clean line. They were really happy with the room, so I'm going to deem it a success!

This is the view of the room when you are standing in the doorway. The daybed and rocking chair were both staying, so we needed to work around those. The crib (which they don't have yet) would be on the wall opposite the day bed.


This is the corner we focused on first:


After a couple of hours, it looked like this:



That is Scott's cute little sign for Reiter on the chair. I can't wait to see where they end up hanging it!




Those are my favorite wall flowers on the trees. Reiter's mom had seen them at my house and liked them, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate them into the nursery. 



Here are the other sides of the room:



The crib will be placed on this wall, so I mimicked what I did on the other corner on this side:



The squirrel was a special request from Reiter's dad. They have had troubles with squirrels at their house, so he thought it would be funny to have a squirrel on the wall. I just pulled his shape from the bedding. 


We added some measurements to this brown flower so they can measure Reiter as he grows. Once he gets past 3.5 feet, they'll have to measure somewhere else!

Reiter's mom has made me promise that I will update these photos once she gets the room finished, complete with crib and other fun stuff. (Complete with baby Reiter, perhaps?) I can't wait to see the finished product, but it looks pretty cute for now!


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2.16.2011

Kitchen Cost Summary

Well, I think our kitchen is done. We finally grouted the backsplash, and the floors are finished. I know we won't be making any changes to it until I tire of something and decide it has to go!
This is what we did to the kitchen:

• Tore out an upper cabinet to make room for a venting microwave above the stove and framed the microwave so it looked like a built-in
• Added crown moulding to the cabinets
• Installed a new faucet
• Added new cabinet hardware
• Removed two cabinet doors to have open shelving
• Added a custom pull-out drawer to a lower cabinet for pots and pans
• Added two rugs

Let's see how far this kitchen has come since we bought the house eight months ago...

BEFORE:

AFTER:

(What's on top of the fridge? Cutting board and flashlight!)

BEFORE:

AFTER:


BEFORE:

AFTER:



BEFORE:
(but already after we added new countertops, faucet and crown moulding)

AFTER:


BEFORE:

AFTER:


Additional AFTERS:







Our new kitchen is probably my favorite place in the house, which says a lot because I don't like to cook! It used to be a point of embarrassment when we showed people around the house, but not anymore. Our kitchen is unique because it is really the main hallway of the house. Our driveway is in the back of the house, so we come and go everyday through those french doors. (We almost never use our front door.) The kitchen is the first thing we see when we come home and the last thing we see when we leave, so it's nice to have a kitchen that makes us happy. 

We have a very limited budget for every renovation we do in this house because we are very conscious of the prices in our neighborhood. We don't want to overspend and price our house out of the market. (We definitely don't want to sell this house anytime soon, but we keep the bottom line in mind every time we make a decision.) We haven't bought anything that would be classified as luxurious, but we have tried to get the best look we can for less. We're bargain hunters to the core, and that helped during this kitchen revamp. 

Here's what we paid to complete this makeover:

Appliances: $1,200 (All are floor models or returns that we got 50% off.)
Floors: $215
Paint: $50
Countertops: $200
Backsplash: $350 (Splurge! SO worth it.)
Faucet: $80 (It pulls down, switches from spray to stream... it's just so awesome!)
Cabinet knobs: $50 (I spray painted the brass hinges instead of getting new ones.)
Crown: $30
Pot Rack: $20
Accessories (rugs, towels, curtains): $120
Labor: $0! We did it all ourselves! 
TOTAL: $2,315

Source list:
Chevron mat- Kohl's
Rug by back door- Pier 1
Faucet- Lowe's
Countertops- Home Depot
Floors- Lumber Liquidators
Knobs- Home Depot
Backsplash- Lowe's
Paint- Lowe's
Pull-out pot rack- Home Goods


I'm linking up to the Roomspiration Kitchen Party at The DIY Showoff Today!




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2.14.2011

BREAKING NEWS: I Bought a Lampshade

Is this really that newsworthy? Nah.

Did I really buy a new lampshade? Yes.

My mom and I picked out this shade at Target this weekend to replace the dated shade on the lamp I worked on a few months ago.

Old lamp shade:


New lamp shade:






Better, right?

I think the white shade brightens up the area, brings out the book pages on the base (yay Mod Podge!) and gives it a modern look.

New Lampshade = Success!
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