Easter Fun + Bath Progress + Mantel Feature

Hope your Easter weekend was full of time spent with family and friends! We had both staying with us for the holiday and it was a happy weekend.

Here’s a quick shot of us on Easter Sunday morning with my parents who drove down from Santa Cruz, California.

Easter Cake Pops

And how adorable are these cake pops? They’re well worth a shout out – our friend Stephanie whipped these up to share at an Easter brunch and they turned out terrific. I have tried to replicate Bakerella’s fabulous desserts but without much success. These chicks and eggs, however, take the cake.

Easter was also a deadline for the bathroom – oh how sweet to have a guest bath for the guests! But we’re just a bit behind so the guests will have to wait a couple more weeks.

DIY Recycled Tile

But we have made one huge step in the right direction – a commitment to our tile! It can be time consuming imagining what the final look will be for several different tile motifs, let alone making a full commitment to move ahead with a final choice (feels so permanent…). The above tile was from our original inspiration board but we tossed around 5 or 6 before taking the plunge and ordering enough Elida Ceramic Recycled Glass Tile (in moonlight) to tile the entire shower nook.

More on that soon.

Some exciting news to share – the new living room mantel made it on Centsational Girl’s Best of the Blogosphere Round-Up! Check it out (and many more great projects) here. Centsational Girl is one of my daily reads, so inspiring.

But before I sign off for the day, take a look at this cute little conversation Liv and I had while she was desperately trying to distract me while I was getting some work done (she’s in her little Bumbo seat):

I’m pretty sure it went something like this:

Liv: “Hey Mom, watcha doin? Are you listening to me? Can we play and ogle and coo at each other for a while? Pretty pleeeeaase with cherries on top?”

Oh those sweet eyes. And with that the computer screen closed.

Project Nursery: Basket Liners Part 2

Back with a quick update on the nursery… it’s nearly finished (as Olivia rounds her 3 month mark!) but I’ve learned that sometimes these projects just take a while (sigh). Most of what I’m waiting on has to do with little DIY projects that I need to find time to sit down and knock out.

Speaking of DIY projects, remember when I shared the changing table basket makeover? Well Kevin’s Aunt has done it again with these adorable basket liners from extra nursery fabric (pearl trellis and baltic stripe by Thibaut):

Ikea Expedit Bookcase Makeover, Nursery, Girl's room, Bookcase Basket Liners

The original plain brown fabric boxes looked fine, they blended in well with the Ikea Expedit bookcase and held all of Liv’s fun toys and stuffies. But there’s just something special about these colorful liners that add a little ‘pop’ to the bookcase! And I love that it ties into the rest of the room in such a subtle way that it doesn’t appear matchy-matchy.

As far as storage goes, we keep her bath time toys in that water-friendly green pail, her snuggies and stuffies tucked away in one of the baskets while rattlers and other noise makers go in the other – that green lidded box on the lowest shelf holds all of her keepsake pieces such as her birth announcement, cards from family and her footprints from the hospital (having it easily accessible means I don’t forget to store away important items). Her library really grew when books were substituted for cards at one of my baby showers. Instead of signing a card with their gift, guests were asked to bring a book with a special message written inside!

Nursery Bookcase, DIY Project, Basket Liners

To create a really simple basket liner pattern, check out this post. Thanks, Aunt Laurie!

As for that bookcase, it’s a piece that I spruced up by adding a fabric backing for this design show last year, where I presented a few fabric remnant ideas for quick decor updates.

The step-by-step for adding the backing to the backless Expedit bookshelf is posted here.

Bookcase Makeover Before & After

That beautiful fabric is Flower Field Sand Dollar, I noticed that Calico Corners carries it in pink now too.

Working on Liv’s mobile now! I’m working on a felted project that will tie in perfectly with the theme… but that’s all I can share for now ;).

More Project Nursery posts: basket liners part 1, the great glider makeover, sewing the curtains part 1, part 2, part 3, nursery fabric board, curtain fabric selection, rocking horse find, new pendant light, vintage wall art addition, changing table makeover, nursery wall striping tutorial, painted animal project, the initial inspiration board and the before picture posts.

Living Room Love: A Finished Mantel!

Remember when our living room fireplace looked something like this? the mantel was in need of a makeover.

One day I’d like to either knock down the brick to expose an original (fingers crossed) fireplace or fill in the brick with plaster to create a Spanish-style fireplace to match the house. Until then though, my first thought was to create a solid beam look by fitting a wooden box to the top of the current mantel. Kind of like the last image in this post.

So… I took my ideas and layout to my local hardware store that has a milling department and we created a mitered edge box that was just what I had in mind. But it came back looking like this.

And now, we’re finally back on track!

First up is staining. Since different types of wood will each have their own unique look with different types and colors of stain, I flipped the wood mantel over and tried out three different stains. The perfect shade? We chose the red mahogany in the center.

If our mantel had been cut from a softwood (uneven wood grain or blotchy patterns indicate that wood might be softwood), I would add a pre-stain wood conditioner to prevent an uneven covering (the conditioner seeps into the wood to create a consistent surface). Back when we were choosing materials originally, my carpenter friend recommended a vertical grain cut, this means that the growth rings run at 45 degrees and that the wood was quarter-sawn at the lumberyard – it increases the hardness by 20%, is a bit more expensive, but it looks beautiful.

Staining step-by-step:

1. Stir stain well.

2. With rubber gloves on, I used a brush (you can also use a sponge or old rag) to cover the bottom of the mantel. Applying stain to the bottom first means you don’t have to worry about dripping while the mantel is upside down! Or I should say the stain will still drip, but you’ll be covering it up when you stain the front – and cover it up quick, that dripping stain dries immediately. Next up is the top of the mantel and then finally the front, making sure to brush in one continuous movement in the same direction of the grain.

3. I then let the first coat of stain dry and reapplied several times.

4. It’s a good idea to apply a top coat of polyurethane to seal in the mantel (and off gasses) and to protect it from water rings from future vases, wine glasses, etc.

5. The entire mantel stayed outside for 3-4 days to prevent any off gassing in the house.

Here she is, all dressed for Easter! It makes such a difference in the room, I love it.

The extent of our Easter decorations this year is fresh flowers and beautiful hand blown eggs decorated by my Mom when she was my age.

What a neat gift to pass down through the generations, right?

My dad recently sent us this picture that he took of Liv when she was just two weeks old, he had it mounted on photo board – I love her little expression and her little scrunched forehead. So alert when she was so young!

And now the living room has a brand new look!

More living room posts: mantel progress, updating a fireplace mantel part 1, bookshelf styling tips, decorating in layers: stage 1, inspiration boards, picking the perfect couch, custom lampshade, coffee table-to-ottoman, and the‘before’ photos.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...