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Why did I make the curtains?

26 Jun

You might ask yourself why I would go to the trouble to make curtains for the baby’s nursery, rather than buy them from Pottery Barn Teen?

And the answer is simple: I’ve gotten cheap in my old age. (I’ll be 30 tomorrow, people, and right now that’s feeling pretty old.)

To buy these curtains from PBTeen, lined and in the 84” length, they were $89 per panel for a total of: $178! For 2 curtains!

What I did was hit up World Market and get 2 of these panels ($26.99 per), with a 15% off coupon for about $46. Then I bought 4 yards of blackout liner at Joann’s Fabrics for $3.99 a yard – another $15 – plus two rolls of grosgrain ribbon at 2.99 per roll ($5.98).
In total, to make these curtains it cost me a little bit of time spread out over 3+ weeks (motivation is waning here) and the total out of my pocket was……

Curtains: $46
Blackout Liner: $15
Ribbon Trim: $5.98

Total: $66.98!

That is less on both curtains than I would’ve paid for one panel from PB. An the hubs thinks I just spend money to spend money. I’m a saver! I saved us money!

I got them more or less finished last night and was anxious to see how good the blackout liners are during the day. I snapped these pics this morning.

photo (1)

Pretty good, right?

Pretty good, right?

I think those will do! and for saving me more than $100, I’m happy with how they turned out! Now if they can magically help the baby nap!

DIY Nursery Curtains

11 Jun

After the Horrible Curtain Debacle of 2013 (ok, I may be exaggerating…), I asked you all what you thought of the replacement choices.

Most everyone I talked to chose this option:

PB Teen Curtains

PB Teen Curtains


My problem with these curtains was the price. They’re $79-$109 PER PANEL. Yes, they have blackout liner, yes, they’re adorable. But, really? Beyond the price, I was worried about the two options for the pink ribbon trim. Online, neither seemed the correct shade of pink for the nursery. I did not want to order these and have them arrive only to realize they clashed horribly with the rest of the room.

Safer to make my own right? I could easily pick ribbon that matched and spend a couple of hours ironing it on just like I did for our dining room curtains.

Thankfully, this pattern on the curtains was going to prove much simpler than the Greek key pattern I did on the dining room curtains, so I wasn’t worried about tackling this in a couple of hours.

Yesterday at lunch I shopped for the materials, and last night I got to work.

I started with these ‘Parker‘ curtains from World Market.

PARKER curtains - World Market

PARKER curtains – World Market


I got two panels, with a 15% coupon for $48. They need to be lined with blackout liner, but the price and the dark grommets are perfect for the room.

Then, I got to work with the ribbon.

photo (3)


I measured, added iron on adhesive and ironed the decorative trim to the curtains. The hardest part of this was the 45 degree angles at the corner. The hubs stepped in to help me with this. I only finished one panel last night but I hung it up to get an idea of the finished look.

photo (2)


Cute and so much fresher than the old option. I’m so happy with how this one turned out, I can’t wait to get the other one finished, get the lined and call this project DONE.

When I haven’t been working on projects in the nursery, I’ve been hanging with my big girl.

photo (5)


And she’s found a use for my big bump.



It’s coming!

7 Sep

Back on my birthday when the hubs was super creative and got me Pinterest gifts, one of them involved painting our front door. Yes, my birthday was more than 2 months ago, but this weekend we’re finally taking the plunge!

I’m struggling a bit with visualizing the entire door in such a bright shade of yellow, but I think with some accessories (like a bright new doormat) and a new wreath it will really perk up our house. From the swatches of Daffodil, Banana Cream, Yellow Brick Road, and Lemon Tart, I think the most terrifying named paint in my neutral world is going to win – Neon Light by Behr.

Yup, it’s true. I’m thinking about painting something in my house NEON. It’s not really neon, but it’s a nice bright yellow that leans more warm but isn’t gold.

What do you think?
Sunday is the big day! Wish us luck! Pictures (not from my phone this time) to come when it’s finished!
Have a great weekend – and GO STATE!

Now we need rain

2 Jul

As promised, the hubs made me a rain barrel this weekend, following the tutorial I’d pinned on Pinterest a while back. (tutorial here)

Most people who have a large garden or a lot of landscaping have rain barrels to take the strain off their water bill – they use jugs or cans to take that water and water the plants or beds. We have neither, bit I do think we have enough  pots and landscaping at the front of the house to make the rain barrel worthwhile.  Also, our big project next year is landscaping down the side of our house and around our deck ( possibly starting late this summer if we can find good deals on plants or split some from friends) so we’ll have more of a need for the rain barrel. And with the crazy drought we have going on, we’re watering the grass so much, I’d love to use Mother Nature when giving my hanging baskets a drink!

For part of my birthday gift, the hubs bought all of the parts listed in the tutorial from WorkBench Magazine. It’s a really simple tutorial and once he had the pieces, he didn’t have to follow the how-to step by step.

First, he created a sturdy base under one of our downspouts on the back of the house with some loose dirt. Then he placed pavers on top, filling and wiggling until they were level. Then, he drilled a hole into the 32 gallon trash can for the spigot, which you can see at the bottom of the photo. The spigot was installed with two rubber pieces – one for the inside and one for the outside – to make it water-tight.

The next step was drilling another hole at the top of the can and attaching a piece of hose. This is for overflow, so if we get so much rain that the barrel is full, it will run out that house at the top and away from the house.

The hubs used these brackets to attach the hose to the can. They’re not necessary, but made it a little prettier and cleaner, which I appreciate.

A better view of the hose – he trimmed the end with a saw so it wasn’t so long.

Into the lid of the garbage can he cut a hole for a plastic piece to attach to the downspout. It has a little curve in it to attach to the elbow of the downspout he created.

(you can read the ENTIRE tutorial from the link I posted up above if you’re wondering where the details are)

Then, it was time to test it!

Yay, it works!

Once it was made and installed, I checked the weather to see when we’d get rain next so we could really start using it.

This is what I saw:

This is what Georgia thinks of the dry weather.

I guess my new ‘rain’ barrel will just be a ‘decoration’ for a while in the form of a sweet black plastic trash can. Preeeetttty!

What’d you do this weekend?

Father’s Day DIY

20 Jun

Like I said on Sunday, I have had the idea for this Father’s Day gift for a couple of months now, so I was thrilled to finally see the finished product. I do have to be honest and tell you, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it never is, is it?

I had seen on quite a few blogs tutorials on how to make your own coasters and with out basement slowly getting put together and our new coffee table finally here, I knew the perfect Dad’s Day gift was homemade coasters. I wasn’t going to follow the standard DIY coaster plan with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge – I was going to give it a twist and bring Georgia into the mix.

I started with square white tiles from the hardware store – only .13 cents a piece! I knew whatever backing I put on them had to be able to protect the sharp ceramic corners and edges. These inevitably will be handled by kids and I don’t want them to have the chance to scratch the coffee table or anything else. Most of the blog posts just said to use felt squares on the corners, but I wanted something more substantial and thankfully I had some cork left over from the project I did to cover up the electrical box. It was just what I was looking for – and it didn’t cost me anything. Bonus!

I started by cutting the leftover cork to fit the tiles.

Which left me with this.

To get the cork to stick – and stick for a long time – I wanted to try Gorilla Glue. I’d never used the stuff, but had heard it was amazing and tons of people use it on DIY projects, so I grabbed some when I was out buying the tiles.

I quickly skimmed the directions on the Gorilla Glue which said it was activated with water, so I spritzed both the back of the tile and the cork square with water then put Gorilla Glue on them and pressed the two together. The most important part of Gorilla Glue is the pressure applied to the thing that is glued.  They called it clamping. So I applied glue on everything and then stacked them with magazines on top to push it all together.
It was then while I as standing there that I re-read the bottle of Gorilla glue and saw that it said, in italics, to use a thin layer of glue because it expands. A LOT. Well, turns out I think I used too much glue.

It wasn’t long before my coasters were starting to look like s’mores as the excess glue expanded and squished out. I guess the layer of glue I did wasn’t thin enough. EEK.

At this point, I had to walk away (and I actually had to walk away and be somewhere) so I left them alone until the next morning, when I realized I was going to have to pry them apart – or claim it as a total DIY fail. I was not going to admit defeat yet, so I moved then to the garage, grabbed a box cutter (because I couldn’t find a razor blade to to the scraping) and got to work.

Yes, a mess.

I started scraping and scraping. It took me more than an hour to scrape all of the crazy puffy/hard glue off the sides of the tiles and the top of the tiles. Somehow it was everywhere. I hope you all learn from my mistakes – Gorilla Glue is some crazy shit. Oh and it’s helpful to read the directions.

An hour later, I was back to square one.

Not bad, right?

Fast forward to Sunday night when G got home. I sat her downstairs at her craft table with paint that I bought to match our decor and some paint brushes and we got to work ‘decorating’ the tiles for daddy. I did tape off a few designs of stripes and diagonals, but otherwise it was freehand painting and handprints.

I took the coasters outside so I could be in a well ventilated area to seal them with acrylic sealant. This stuff by Krylon got great reviews for its non-yellowing and waterproof gloss finish. Perfect for something that will likely be holding sweaty drink glasses.

I sprayed the sealant on the tiles on the deck so I would be sure to not get sick from the fumes, but when I lifted the coasters I saw this.

Do we think the hubs will be mad? I hope it goes away!

When Ryan finally got to see the homemade coasters, he was really impressed. He said was surprised by my creativeness and of course praised G a lot for her focus and hard work on the painting. I’m thrilled he loved them – and again tonight he told me what a cool idea it was and that he wants to make more. I’m not so sure about making more, but I’m glad he likes them and is excited to use them and show them off.

We also put them through some real-life situations tonight.

And they passed with flying colors! Yay us!

If you want to make your own coasters, you could of course follow the tutorial I linked to above and make coasters with some fun scrapbook paper or you could take a similar approach and paint tiles – however you wish. Georgia did a great job, I was lucky enough to fix my Gorilla Glue (almost) fail, and Ryan loves the coasters and can’t stop talking about them. Great success!

So another successful DIY project in the books!

On another note, the weather has been sooooo hot that we have been playing outside later in the evening after dinner and playing in the basement first thing after work when it’s too damn hot to be outside.

Last night G and I played some hella Peek-A-Boo in her playhouse. There’s no story here, just cute pics for the Grandmas.

I hope you had a great Father’s Day and gave your dad or your baby daddy something they loved – big or small.

A Clever Cover-Up

3 May

One of the things I loved the most about the contractor who did our basement (Eric of Just Right Construction), is that he focused on the overall project and thought through all of the details, too. If you’ve ever worked with a contractor, you know how rare of a find that is!

In too many basements, the electrical panel is smack dab in the middle of a room. It’s rarely hidden in a closet or put in the room with the furnace and hot water heater. Why is that? Anyway, our electrical panel in the basement happens to be in the living room, on one of the first walls you see when you walk into the basement.

Pretty, right? Nope.

When we did one of the first walk-throughs with Eric to discuss our plan for the basement, he pointed out the electrical box and said he would build a box and frame around it so we could hide it. I thought that was genius – and immediately trusted him. It’s about the details, people!

Once the basement was finished, this is what he had built around the electrical box.

Initially Ryan wanted to just paint it the same color as the wall so it blended in more, but it’s so big I thought it would still be pretty noticeable, so I started brainstorming (and searching Pinterest). It didn’t take long before I decided I could make it a fabulous and colorful pinboard to show off all of Georgia’s arts and crafts.

It is in playroom, you know?

The ‘box’ isn’t on a hinge, it’s actually attached to the frame around the electrical box with these pegs.

Here’s what you’ll need for the project:

  • 1 pkg cork tiles (+ adhesive tape that should come included)
  • scissors
  • decorative fabric
  • heavy duty staple gun and staples

First, I bought those cork tiles that you can get at Target or Wal-Mart in the office supply section. I used the adhesive strips that came with them to stick them to the front of the board.

I had to trim a few of the edges, but it was easy to do with a scissors. It did cause little bits of cork to get all over my new carpet, but a quick pass with the vacuum eliminated the mess.

And turns out, Ari is not the best DIY assistant. See how he’s ignoring me?

Anyway, once the entire thing was covered in cork, I wrapped it with fabric I found at Joann’s for 50% off!


The fabric is  by Waverly, but I’m having trouble finding the style online. I’ll update this post once I find it.

Since the fabric has horizontal stripes, I had to be very careful that I kept things straight and didn’t pull one way or the other when I was prepping it to be stapled. Once I had it situated, I stapled the fabric to the back of the wood door with a heavy duty staple gun, checking the stripes every few staples.

When I had gone all the way around the door and hung it back on the wall, this is what I had.

A view from the side.

I love the bright fabric and the way it plays into the teal accents on the couch and the polka dots on G’s bins. Now it’s time to add art on the rest of the walls, but this is a good start.


How did you turn an eyesore into an accent?

Quick DIY

11 Apr

Since the hubs freed up the entrance to the house from the garage for me, I’ve had this bare wall staring at me, begging for a little bit of something.

We come in and out of that door at least a few times a day – so something just pretty would work, but I wanted some function, too. Then I saw these easy DIY whiteboards on Pinterest, and I pinned it, knowing I could pull it together when I came across a few spare minutes. Those spare minutes presented themselves last night, so with some leftover fabric and a frame I had stuck in a closet, I now have this pretty whiteboard for a whopping $0.00 –

It’s not much, but it adds a BIT of personality to that space. I’m also thinking a quick splash of color might be fun too? Or just adding color to that exterior door… To be determined!

How do you add personality to small spaces?

G’s big girl room

29 Mar

We’re creeping up on April 20th, and you know what that means? Georgia is almost 2!

How did this girl turn into this girl?

Yah, I’m not sure either! No matter what, she’ll be turning 2 soon and we’ll finally have to bring in the big girl bed we bought all those weeks ago! Since we bought the bed, I’ve been brainstorming and pinning ideas for her big girl bedroom. The best part of this is that I can totally girl it up! When I was pregnant, we didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl, so her bedding and decorations were gender neutral, but after she was born I quickly slapped purple paint on the walls – and the purple theme is going to continue!

This is what her room looks like now.

The purple walls help it feel like a girl’s room, but thats about it – but once we bring in her new bed, bedding and the decor I’m planning, there won’t be a question.

Here is my inspiration board made on Olioboard.

[From left to right: DIY Tissue paper poms; Frames & Shadowboxes, Pottery Barn Kids; Olivia bed, Legacy Classic Kids; Lyckoax bedding, IKEA; and Grape Mist, Sherwin Williams paint.]

 I bought the bedding a while back during a trip to Minneapolis, thinking it would go great with the paint, turns out, it’s not as good of a combo as I thought, which is why I picked a new paint color. Grape Mist is more subdued and has more gray in it than a lilac-purple like her room now.

The switch is going to happen sometime in April, I’m just not sure when yet….Tips and Advice are appreciated on how to best make the transition!

Back Entryway problem solved!

13 Jan

Remember a few months ago when I was telling you about the space/storage issues in our back entry? I bought this cubbie system, hoping it would be narrow enough, but we still ended up having to squeeze our butts, bags and other things past the cubbies to get into our house. Not good for the most used entrance to our house.

So, after much brainstorming, the hubs came up with a fantastic idea: build a platform for the washer and dryer so we can tuck shoes underneath them, behind closed doors. At first, I was skeptical, because in the same breath, he named off a few tools he’d need to buy to do the project. Red flag to me and our envelope system (I’ll update you on that next time!). Thankfully he got some money for Christmas, so he used that to get himself a miter saw for a great price at Lowe’s.

I understood how he was going to build the frame out of plywood and 2×4’s, but I had a few different concerns: how do we protect the floor, how do we make it visually appealing and how do we not butt up to the shelves that are above the washer and dryer?

Let me start from the top.

Hubs took a trip to Lowe’s to get the miter saw and also had the nice fellas there cut the piece of plywood to the size we needed for the washer and dryer platform. He also grabbed some trim to make it ‘pretty’ and a big piece of indoor-outdoor carpet – enough to put on the plywood underneath the washer and dryer and to put on the floor under the platform.

As for not butting up to the shelving unit too close, I trusted that he’d measured twice before he decided on the dimensions of the platform.

He did and here’s what we ended up with!

Looks pretty great, right?

Our entryway feels huuuuuge again. But we do have one thing that’s driving me a little crazy.

The platform looks so fabulous that the shelves look awful in comparison! I think we need cabinets to clean up the look, don’t you?

I found these at IKEA – the AKURUM wall cabinet. I think a trip to Minneapolis is in order!

Even though it took us months and still isn’t complete, I love the progress we’re making!

DIY Mania – what we did

4 Jan

Last week I told your that we here at The Nest were in the middle of a few DIY projects – and I hinted at one of them.
Here was the star of that project – no sew, heat and bond tape!

I think I’ve told you before that I have a sewing machine, but I’m half terrified of using it/half confused by how it works, so that equals =  no sew tape!

I loved the texture of these curtains when I bought them (great IKEA purchase) but I knew they needed something for a while and  I’ve always loved the Greek key pattern – and that was my inspiration.

Here’s how I did it. I bought 4 spools of  7/8” grosgrain ribbon at Joanne’s in a cream color – thinking white would be too stark on the chocolate born curtains, got out the iron and ironing board and got to work.

The most important part of this was keeping the measurements from the top and the bottom steady since I had 4 panels I was working with and needed them all to line up properly once they were hung up.

There was measuring, measuring again and then pinning. I learned quickly that cutting the ribbon and the new sew tape first, then pinning and lining them both up together, rather than one and then the other.

So, roll out enough ribbon and no-sew tap to cover the side of the curtain you’re doing, measure, pin, measure, pin and then iron. Repeat.

The tough part came when it was time to do the squares. This involved 45 degree angles and careful cutting.

I had no fancy way to get a perfect 45 degree angle and some of the cuts took me a few tries and a pin to hold them in place but the final product was worth it.

The simple classic pattern gives the plain IKEA curtains just the right amount of ‘oompf’ to the dining room. Mission Accomplished.

More DIY to come later in the week! Stay tuned.


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