Happy 1st Birthday, Olivia!

Liv is ONE! Can you believe it has been one whole year since Liv entered this world? I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by – that’s a repeat sentence from at least three of my last four posts – but it really has.

She is such a big girl now! It’s amazing to think back to this time last year…

Liv’s due date was actually December 29, but just as mommy hoped, she waited until mid-January to meet us (I had my fingers crossed she wouldn’t have to share her birthday with Christmas…). Her birth was uncomplicated and short (don’t let that fool you…) with just Kevin, a midwife and a nurse at a local birthing center that’s within a hospital. Read more about her welcome story here.

And her first hospital pics here. Our first week home with her was a new but not difficult adjustment. She was a good little sleeper, eater and oh so easy on the eyes.

It’s also hard to imagine that it’s been 12 entire months since I sported this crazy round belly bump waiting anxiously for her arrival… this feels like just a couple of months ago.

But alas she is indeed a big girl now. She began crawling at 6 months, walking at 9 months and she hasn’t slowed down a bit. Now she mumbles and carries on baby conversations and totes a doll around the house. She’s a toddler. How did that happen so quickly?

Eileen (my mother-in-love) and I set up this little birthday photo shoot. How awesome is that handmade wooden wagon she has to store Liv’s toy’s at her house.

By the way, I heard about the free Photoshop Action sets by Pioneer Woman from Young House Love. The above is Old West at 60% plus upping the brightness quite a bit. It’s the neatest, easiest way to add special effects to your photos.

I’m so excited to celebrate Liv’s birthday with family and friends this coming weekend! Will keep you posted on what I have up my sleeve for her party.

Olivia has been an amazing blessing in our lives and we feel so awesomely privileged to have been given the opportunity to raise her and to love her with everything we’ve got. Happy birthday, baby girl!

Building a Bathroom: Back in Action!

We have a project over here that’s been underway for some time. Eight months to be exact. For those eight months we’ve had a rather large hole in the very center of the house, a hole waiting to be filled with a brand new full bathroom.

We’ve always known that adding a second full back to the house would be a necessity at some point, and it was about a year ago that we decided to take on the monster task of converting three adjoining hall closets into a bathroom complete with tub and shower.

But what I think I always glossed over (funny how that happens) was that this bathroom was, much like our kitchen, going to be built from scratch. So before we could pick out pretty tile and I could get excited over lighting and vanities, there would be serious demo, electrical, plumbing (oh what a messy, time consuming project – if your hubby tells you not to use the bathroom while he’s cutting into the main sewer line, DON’T forget no matter how badly you have to pee), venting, sky light placing, wall building, dry walling and plastering to do. That plus creating plans and getting approval from our city’s inspection office to determine that those crazy changes were in fact structurally sound. Wait, are you still laughing at the plumbing part? True story.

So we were way ambitious on breaking ground in March of 2011 and overshot our projected two month timeline after many delays that we just couldn’t prevent. Two months turned into eight and eight felt like for.ever. Here’s the visual:

Just four months old!

And here she is at almost a year.

So much bigger! Eight months can feel like a long time. I’m so ready to patch up the 10×10′ hole in the center of the house!

As you might recall, we’re partnering with Lowe’s on this project to get it done! There’s a Lowe’s just around the corner from us and we’ve conveniently shopped there for so many different projects in the house (kitchen cabinets, guestroom, outdoor kitchen…). They’ve always had a much greater selection of decor related items too, Lowe’s is where I found an awesome silver leafed full length mirror a few years ago (see master bedroom), a nice selection of wallpaper (credenza project) and have you checked out their recent line of Waverly curtains? They carry this brown trellis fabric that I recently found at Ballard Design for $40/yard before snatching up a single panel curtain (3 yards!) for $14.99 in the exact same design.

Needless to say we were so excited to team up with Lowe’s to create a unique bathroom that was us and that fit our little bungalow well.

It’s been a while, so I’ll quickly catch you up to speed on the progress that we made back in April, and then the few weeknights that we tore back into her in an effort to speed things up. The story starts with a set of three hall closets that sit in the middle of a rather large hallway at the very center of the house. There’s Liv’s room to the left, the dining room through that hallway at the front and the new kitchen to the right.

Closet 1 was a coat closet of sorts that opened into the hallway, closet 2 opened at the other side of the hallway and stored all of our cleaning products, closet 3 was the closet in Liv’s bedroom for extra bedding. What you can’t see in this photo is closet 4, which is behind me taking the picture and to the right. It also opened to the hallway and was plenty large enough to hold the necessary hallway goods.

So what to do with three adjoining closets so perfectly poised to become a space on their own?


The house is just too small to justify four closets and so much unused hallway space. Plus, a second full bathroom means we can seal off the first for the master suite (which we hope to tackle at some point) and Liv will have her very own kids bath, plus guests will have their very own shower. As you can see, one of the doors to the bathroom opens right into Liv’s room, making it perfect for use with kids and guests.

Demoing was the easy part. Next was framing out the new space and determining the proper layout for the bathroom.

Once we had a plan in mind (that new little closet to the left of the door to the bath facing the hallway will become the pantry to the kitchen) we set out to find materials.

Oh man I love Liv’s face in the bottom photo. And she doesn’t even realize she’s flying in a bathtub in the middle of a store. We haven’t picked out everything just yet… but this is the color palette we decided early on.

Which goes well with the inspiration image that we’re working with. This is also my best tip for happy remodeling – choose an inspirational image (or images, board, etc) that you both love before any work is started and use that image to resolve differences in decorating opinions (that’s the PC way to put it) when they come up. Does Kevin want to suddenly incorporate a ruby red tile skirt around the bathroom? Nope, not in the inspiration image(s). No, he really didn’t make that suggestion but we’ve had a few ‘let the inspirational image decide’ moments :).

We chose a tub back in May and installed it in the new space. Read all about that decision and how we chose the one we chose here.

Next up came sealing in the walls around the tub. First was installing tar paper to keep that nook extra water resistant and then a layer of drywall.

Our little tiling tutorial (for those tricky 1×1″ tiles) can be found here.

And now you are up to speed! The exciting news is that we have dedicated a whole week (Kevin’s on winter break) to knock out this bath from here to the finished product. Let the clock start now. (happy dance)

Bedtime Stories Baby Shower Part 2: Fabric & Ribbon Bunting

Back with a few more details from the Bedtime Stories baby shower that I shared last week. I’m all about handmade decorations so two of the little projects I worked on leading up to the shower included a set of fabric flags and a little ‘ribbon strand’ to hang onesies from (which was our shower craft project).

So I’m still not exactly sure what the major difference is between fabric bunting, pennants and flags are… but I’m pretty sure they’re all basically describing this:

We’ll call them flags today :-).

I made a no-sew version for Liv’s nursery out of left over fabric remnants from her room decor a while back and had used a fusible iron-on hem tape to put it all together.

But I was pretty sure there was an even easier no-sew way to make a really large set of flags for this party.

What ended up making the bunting so super simple was the basic stitch at the bottom of each to create the individual flags. No sewing machine, not even an iron!

I opted for a light weight quilting cotton from Joanns and raided the quilting squares remnant boxes that they usually have throughout their store. Each quilting square made roughly three flags (which started as diamonds… more on that soon) and I probably had somewhere around 40 when all were cut.

I split the 40ish flags between two long lengths of thin twine to make two different strands. I know I’ll use these for lots and lots of different types of parties (they’re just really fun to throw up and around whether they’re indoors or out) so I kept the colors soft and gender neutral.

One set was strung over our buffet in the dining room (above) and one was added to the fireplace mantle.

But back to putting these together…


Super Simple Fabric Party Flags

Materials: fabric remnants, scissors, needle & thread, twine (or ribbon or string), white glue (such as Elmer’s)

We first cut up the fabric remnants into large diamonds and folded the diamonds in half over the long length of twine.

To keep the sandwiched diamonds in place, we added a simple X stitch at the bottom corner of the triangle with a needle and thread.

I found thin twine at Joann’s and thought that it gave the flags a nice little shabby chic look. You could use ribbon though (like I did for the sturdier bunting for Liv’s nursery) or really any kind of string you have lying around.

When the flags were strung up we noticed that they started to slide back on top of each other, so as a last minute solution a little dot of Elmers glue was placed on each end of the flag where the fabric meets the twine. Held the flags in place like a charm!

My awesome group of lady friends came over one night to help me assemble all 40 flags which made the process quick and easy, and Liv’s babysitter saved the day when she helped me add dots of glue to the edges of each flag after we realized (last minute) that the flags tended to slide back on top of each other without the adhesive. I was plum out of time and it was super helpful (yay for naptimes).

Ribbon Flags

Materials: ribbon of varying widths and colors, fabric strips, twine, baby clothes pins (found at craft stores), onesies or other fun items to showcase

The second bunting-ish project was a ribbon strand that held various lengths of folded over and loosely knotted ribbon, fabric strips and finished onesies from the group craft project (more on that to come – such an easy and fun shower activity!).

This one was so easy to assemble and while I don’t have the best pictures of it, the project is a fun addition as a backdrop to any shower or birthday. I’ve seen these strands strung up behind dessert tables before (without onesies) to add a little color – beautiful! The only bummer is that it requires SO much ribbon. My little strand here was four or five ribbon spools from Joann’s and I’m glad I planned on mixing in the onesies because that’s what really filled the gaps.

The bonus is that the ribbon can be used again and again for all sorts of projects, or even as bunting for a future event.


For the Bedtime Stories Part 1 post, jump out to this link. Hope to post one more segment soon with details about the iron-on/embroidery onesie craft project (and how easy they were to make as a group!) and my easy-to-assemble solution (without destroying your plates) for tiered food stands.

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