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This year we finally dug deep in our pockets and invested in a pre-lit, 9-foot, artificial Christmas tree…

…the only reason why I made this promise to Deric:
“I’m going to decorate the tree without buying any new ornaments”. Gulp.

Luckily, I had a bazillion or so shimmery orange ornaments that I scored for 6/$1.00 a few years ago. Those along with some blue, silver and glass ornaments made the tree look just ok.

It needed garland.

So, here’s my updated take on garland. Super easy, but gave the tree an extra umph! (All supplies were left-over from previous projects).
p.s. the color combos/possibilities are endless! use any color paper, with a contrasting paint color to achieve a personalized look for your tree.

Instructions:
Start with 8 x 11 cardstock, gold acrylic paint, any old paintbrush.
Gold triangle garland - supplies

Paint 5 rows of triangles (pennants). (If you want your triangles to be larger, paint less rows.)
Gold triangle garland - entire paper

Paint your lines fairly thick, and then cut in the middle of the lines. That way, each triangle (pennant) will have a gold border.
Gold triangle garland - cutting triangles

Gold triangle garland - pile of triangles

Use a gold/beige colored thread to sew the pennants together. I used a medium stitch. Pull the thread out about 6 inches before you start to sew, this will be used to attach the garland to the tree.
Gold triangle garland - gold thread

Very important: leave about a 1-inch space between each pennant – the space will allow the pennants to hang over the branches without looking too stiff.
Gold triangle garland - spacing

Also very important: Sew only about 3-4 feet of garland at one time. If you make a longer strand, the pennants will get tangled. It is also easier to drape a shorter segment on the tree.
Gold triangle garland - spaced

And there she is! kind of a mish-mosh of styles, but it’ll do!
Gold triangle garland - tree

Gold triangle garland - up close

Gold triangle garland - entire tree

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So much has happened since my last post!

And so I will attempt to play catch-up…

The MAIN event:
Baby Celia made her world premiere last week! More on that later, but here’s a photo of our angel -cuz that’s what mommas do :)

Pure sugar and spice!

And the other stuff:
– Our master bathroom remodel is complete! At least on the contractor’s end. The finishing touches are up to the resident designer (me), who I hear is a major procrastinator and commitment-phobe – yes even when it comes to choosing a soap dispenser, so it might never be really “finished”.

– My sister came to visit from Washington state and took my maternity pics – they turned out so fantastic! and brought her baby with her, Bonus awesomeness!!

– I sewed my first crib sheet(s)! I found a super easy tutorial – watch out friends with babies, this may be the new baby shower present :)

– A dye and refashion job on white maternity jeans.

– Luke’s “Despicable Me” minion crochet hat.

Seriously I do.

This past week I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of two amazing pieces from 2 friends. Score!

First this beauty:

A retro/mid-century? Lazy-Boy Rocker/Recliner. I have never seen one of these before.

My friend Laura bought it second-hand, and she didn’t want to haul it with her as she will be moving back to her hometown. So she offered it to me, FREE!

Its permanent residence is now in the nursery, and I think it’s just beautiful! and the room will be designed around it, because it’s my favorite piece in there!

And then, there is the most beautifulest, grandest, most regal of all chandelier cinderella stories.

My friends Jeff and Joanna bought a new house around the same time we did.

And with the home came a collection of chandeliers that didn’t fit their taste and style of the home.

But I remember the first time I walked in and saw this beauty.

I tried not to gasp out loud, but I just thought it was so beautiful! Eventually I couldn’t contain my admiration and offered to buy it if they ever wanted to replace it.

Well lucky me! After several months of my husband resisting (he couldn’t visualize it in our home), and the J’s not ready to replace it yet, we finally became the proud new parents of this baby :)

Ain’t she grand?!

Oh, and being the awesome people they are, the J’s even came over and teeter-tottered on ladders in order to help my husband install it.

Yep, I’m a lucky gal with awesome friends and the best husband that loves and trusts his wife enough to let her buy this chandelier*.

*no J’s, hubbies, or wandering toddlers were harmed during a somewhat tense chandelier-hanging that included 3 adults on 3 ladders, plus 1 clumsy pregnant woman on the ground barking orders, rude..*

I found this large frame and canvas at a garage sale several months ago for $10.

I thought it was a steal because the frame alone is worth more than that.

The art that came with it, eh, yuch. Not to mention it was just a paper print that had been glued onto the canvas. And it looks like someone already started painting over it.

So, the frame has just been sitting on my mantle, all by its lonesome for several months.

Recently I placed Luke’s first non-watercolor “painting” up on the mantle. And the more I looked at it, the more I liked it! It was fun, colorful and it was my baby’s :)

!Lightbulb!

I could have Luke paint over the canvas that came with frame! And it would be an original piece of art, and it would mean more to me than any other painting ever could, AND he would have so much fun doing it. (he LOVES to paint!)

After putting it off for a few weeks, I finally decided it was time.
I prepped the canvas by rolling 3 coats of white acrylic paint over the print.

Then it was time for Luke to go!

Here are some important tips:
PREPARATION:
1. Begin by recruiting a well-rested, well-fed, paint-loving, non-paint-eating, happy and excited 2-year-old (if any of those qualities are missing, ABORT!)

2. Cover a corner of your kitchen with cardboard and plastic.

3. Strip your toddler down to his skivvies or put them in an old shirt (acrylic paint does not come off once it dries).

4. Choose the colors for your toddler since they prob haven’t had a chance to take a class on color theory yet.

5. Have at least 4-5 clean brushes on hand. El-cheapo kids’ brushes from Wal-mart is what I used.

6. Squirt the paint onto a plastic plate or cheap plastic artist’s palette, also from Wal-mart.

7. Recruit a spouse/helper (willing or unwilling) to be nearby – just in case your toddler decides to jet from the designated painting area and decide to go hug a white wall (we were fortunate not to have this happen).

8. Put on your painting clothes and your most patient self.

9. Have a large roll of paper towels/old towels and baby wipes on hand. You will need them!

Although Luke did all of the painting, it was not without a little direction from mama :)
TECHNIQUE:
1. Let him choose his first few colors and just go for it!

2. After he uses 4-5 colors, switch his brush out for a clean one. This will keep the colors from becoming muddied. (and the switching of the brushes didn’t appear to stifle his creativity any ;)

3. Suggest to toddler that he should paint on the white areas. This will get your canvas covered much faster and keep the colors from mixing too much and turning into the color of dirt.

4. Keep an eye on the paint palette and top off the paint with fresh paint as needed. If they use the same brush for multiple colors, there will be a lot of cross-contamination.

5. Once the masterpiece is completed (mama makes this call), remove from the area and let dry.

6. Supply your toddler with poster board and let him use up all of the paint from the palette.

7. Paint a purple “Mickey Mouse bear” for your toddler per his request.

8. Throw in a little bit of learning by painting his name on the poster board.

9. Show toddler that if you paint his hand, he can make hand prints. Let toddler dictate which color he would like for you to paint on his hand.

10. Then suggest he paint his feet, sit back and watch the real fun unfold!

11. Once baby is completely covered in paint, take some pictures and then it is time for a bath.

12. Take a minute and enjoy the feeling of being a cool mom or the mom-I-had-always-hoped-to-be. Smile :)

Aaaaaaand, for the piece-de-resistance!

Amazing abstract art or just a pre-school painting?? You Decide :)

After all, art is very subjective, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And what is more beautiful than a cost-effective, memory-inducing, sentimental, colorful work of art?

Sigh… the floor tile has been laid… and I like it, I like it alot…

I might actually not leave my bathroom once it’s done… I can hear them now…
“Where’s mama?”
“Why does mama have to use the bathroom so much?”
“Is mama ok?”

.. but I think I had my first panic/anxiety attack with this floor.
This is what the pattern looked like last Friday – not the herringbone I had asked for.

Worst part, I noticed it after they had finished laying the tiles and grouting.
Even worse, I have been staring at this floor, watching the progress, ALL week, and never noticed anything wrong… until Friday afternoon when the workers were gone for the weekend.
What I was most upset about was that I hadn’t caught the pattern error earlier.
Yup, obviously I’m a stickler for details. I’m going to blame this one on pregnancy.
( I know, I know, First-world problems)

Since it was Friday, there was nothing I could do about it but email the contractor.
Thankfully, he was not phased by it, and assured me that it would be a quick and inexpensive fix.

True enough, the tile sub-contractor came yesterday and had it all completed by the end of the day. Aaaand they were able to use the existing tile, so no extra $$ spent on materials :)
Lesson of the day: Don’t remodel your bathroom while 7 months pregnant. Do it yourself! and if you can’t, pay attention to the details, and hire an awesome contractor!

If you don’t know what Pinterest is, be warned – you may not want to know… explore at your own risk.

I have to admit, I’m on almost daily, usually pinning one or two things a day. Sometimes more.

….especially since I’m in the middle of a bathroom remodel, pregnancy and an indeterminately long adventure in stay-at-home-motherhood.

Last week I found this pin:

A gorgeous black door, with gray wall and white trim. I loved the way the black door looked in this room.
There were several more beautiful examples on the nestegg blog.

My walls are gray, trim is white, just needed a black door!
The painters came on Monday of this week to paint the nursery, guest room, and some other unfinished doors. They finished on Wednesday, and I got a beautiful, shiny black door.

Not bad, eh?! The black even makes the brass doorknob bearable! almost likeable! (sorry I don’t have a really good BEFORE picture. It was the same buttery cream that was on all of the trim in the house.)

Only problem: I now want to slather black paint on every door in my home… which was not approved by the hubby. Maybe the front door??

and as much as I LOVE my black door, the real Pinterest success story lies in the following recipe.

We received organic arugula in our last two Urban Acres co-op bins and I needed some new ideas for what can be a very bitter/spicy green.

Arugula, Apples & Manchego in Cider Vinaigrette

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest a couple of weeks ago. We’ve had the salad a few times, but the vinaigrette really is the star!

I make mine with equal parts vinegar and oil because I don’t think it needs the extra oil. I’ve had the dressing everyday for the past 5 days, sometimes twice a day.

My new fave combo: Mixed greens, sliced peaches, fat-free feta, plus the apple-cider vinaigrette. Yum!

I’ve also put it on a mixed green, cherries, manchego cheese and red onion salad – or when the veggies ran short at the end of the week, some bibb lettuce and orange segments. Seriously, you cannot go wrong!

So 2 successful Pinterest attempts in 2 weeks, not bad! makes up for a few of the fails…

What a difference a week makes!

Gone are the mauve toilets, cracking acrylic tub, mauve subway tile, rusty brass showerheads, and shell sinks.

Our faucets, sinks, showerheads and tub have all safely arrived after ordering them online from Home Depot.

Still need to make decisions on tile, countertops, mirrors, cabinet hardware, paint color and finishing touches such as towel racks.

Feeling: mildly stressed, mostly excited, giddy that it’s happening!

Before:

During Week 1:

Before:

During Week 1:

Before:

During Week 1:

Oh, and there’s a tub in our dining room. Anyone need a box for moving? could prob fit a couple of rooms in there!