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Pin #100: The Rainbow Cake (non-wreck): Let’s Celebrate!!!

June 30, 2013
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Pin #100: My Mt. Everest: The Rainbow Cake

Well, here we are, at Pin #100!!!! I did it!!  I’ll re-cap the entire process in my next post, but for now, let’s focus on CAKE!!  If you’ve been reading from the beginning, you know how much I suck at baking.  Please recall Pin#5, The Ombre Cake Wreck.  It was indeed a WRECK!  But I vowed to face my fears and do this rainbow cake, learn from my mistakes and see if I could do it!  I’m so lame, I know, how does someone screw up a cake so badly?  Well, here are some rules I laid out for myself this time around.  1. Take  your time. 2. Don’t touch the cake mixture. 3. Take your time. 4. Use butter to grease the pans vs. PAM spray. 5. Use the same size cake pan for all layers (duhhhhh!!). 6. Take your time.

So, without further ado and with LOTS of great pics. My baby, the rainbow cake.

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I used a white cake mix, 2 boxes. I measured out just over 11 oz. for each color section. (Yes, measured, not guessed…this was also a rule).

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Luca helped and we had great time making the orange layer.

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The first three layers of the rainbow ready to cook!

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I really wanted the purple layer to be the same color as my freshly manicured nails, (the first time I’ve had them like this for about a year!). The cake turned out darker…oops, too much red!

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Even the dirty bowls looked beautiful once we were done making all the layers.

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After letting each layer cool, I wrapped each one put them in the fridge to get firm for the rest of the day.

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I was terrified every time I opened the fridge all day.  It was all going great, I hoped I didn’t screw up the frosting. Here we go….crumb coat going on.

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Crumb coat complete!! It was so pretty, I was excited.

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Cake and Vegetables! This is so typical Pinterest right? I pin my ‘healthy eating’ pins or ‘workout’ pins right next to the cake, cookie, cheese dip pins!! The crumb coat frosted cake spent the night with the vegetables.

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Yay!! I did it! I added more frosting to cover it all, made little ditches for the sprinkles and marked it with a 100!!

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Now the ultimate test….would it look good inside?? BAM – nailed it.

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Luca still didn’t like how it tasted. We’ve just come to the understanding the kid only likes chocolate cake. Fair enough.

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Andrew still liked his.

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Confeti crumbs.

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Isn’t she lovely?

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After our celebration, the cake got cut into pieces to deliver to neighbors and half went into the freezer. Since I just joined Weight Watchers this week, I thought it was important to get it out of my sight!. (As it turns out, I like cake of all kinds, unlike Luca).

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Milo also likes all kinds of cakes….

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“I got cake Mama.” –Milo (Note, Bailey also likes cake)

100 down….0 to go….

Pins #97 -#99:Look Deep* and Follow Your Passion

June 29, 2013
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Pin #97: Passion

I have written and re-written this post in my mind at least 100 times and actually almost posted a version of it around Pin #24 but I didn’t like the way it turned out. I think it is actually a bit more fitting that it come now, at the end of this 100 pin project. I really hope I can convey my point of view without sounding like a complete idiot. The bottom line to the rambling that is sure to happen here is this: I want my children to have a passion for life and doing what they love. I need to make sure I model that for them. They will easily see how passionate I am about being a great mom – but I also need to show them more.

These two ‘word’ pins really spoke to me. I first saw pin #97 (above) and felt like: YES! Those are words to live by, they so describe my feelings, I love it. Right away I also thought of my husband and his passions, soccer, aviation, fatherhood. I smiled thinking of how Luca knew about Daddy’s passion of airplanes and understood that as a concept far before understanding the concept of ‘going to work, having job, earning money.’ (Still a concept that is hard to fully grasp for a 5 year old I think). Luca knew at age 1 1/2 when he saw the Boeing 787 test flights fly over our house – that was ‘Daddy’s Plane.’ (Sometimes Andrew was even on it..super cool). I knew my pre-baby career-girl identity is far gone, and a part of me my kids will not know anytime soon, or maybe never. I know they witness my passion about being a parent to them everyday, but it is important to me that is not the ONLY thing they see that I’m passionate about. Then, I realized I couldn’t really pinpoint one thing that was ‘my something.’ I have dabbled at lots of little things but not really great at any one thing. Then, I saw pin #98 (below) and realized I was looking for my ‘some THING’ rather than ‘something.’ Lost yet?? Well, I was looking to put a ‘key word searchable’ label on my ‘passion.’ But what I realized was it is not a thing, a word, one specific hobby that is my passion.

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In my life I’ve been in band (saxophone), choir, school newspaper and yearbook. I spent my senior year with the distinguished title of ‘dark room manager’, was an on-air personality for my high school news station. As a working grown up I created ad campaigns for sports teams, designed game entertainment for Division 1 NCAA Football, Basketball and a handful of other sports. Created sports business related educational programming for high school kids, designed numerous corporate events for NBA Basetlball patrons and made it possible for no less than 1200 kids to perform (singing, dancing, instrument playing) on the court during a Seattle Sonics game. As a young-married-chick-with-no kids-homeowner, I learned a lot about gardening, a little about decorating and tons about remodeling! (We renovated our 1925 house, completed our basement and added about 40% finished square footage to the house. We designed the space together, Andrew drew up the plans. It was tons of work but one of the most fun and rewarding projects I’ve ever gotten to do).

Then we became parents. Andrew went back to his passion/work. The Seattle SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and there was huge new world of love that opened up with baby Luca, but along with it a big hole where my creativity used to go. Of course, there was tons of new things to learn about being a parent, raising a great kid, and I do all those things on a daily basis. But I needed something that was just for me. We all know becoming a mother means to nurture others – but no one talks about how you also need to need to nurture yourself. In fact, a lot of people, and sadly, other women, pass judgement on Moms who take time to nurture themselves. I don’t want to model that behavior – it is not good for anyone.

I realized early on, I am a person who knows I NEED a creative outlet to achieve (or strive for) balance in my life. Everything I listed above about my pre-kid life included the words: created, designed or learned. So there you have it. My passion is to create, design and learn. This blog allowed me to do ALL these things. I started this blog to hold my self accountable for something that was just for me. While, of course, many of the pins benefit my family and kids especially, but this blog, is just for me and an outlet for my passion.

Shew!! Ok – deep thoughts over. This isn’t rocket science, I know I’m not alone with these feelings and thoughts. Hello, why do you think there are so many Mom-blogs out there??? Hopefully I’m not coming across as a complete idiot. It is good to evaluate yourself time and again and check in on what keeps you in balance….and this, was my check in. As Flavor-Flav said, “You bedda check yo self before you wreck yo self.” Wise words my friend.

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Sewing with Mama. Luca made this cute lovey for a friend’s new baby born in January. *as a side note, we will NOT be returning to the salon that gave him this haircut! HA!

In the almost 5 years as a Mama I’ve filled my creative outlet hole in a few ways. I’ve learned or relearned to sew (a little), sort of learned some quilting, to sort of play the ukulele, put on an annual 5K to raise money for LLS with two of my best girlfriends (www.runwithabe.com), ran a few half marathons for chairty, ALMOST completed 100 pins off of Pinterest and as you all have witnessed learned (or relearned) a little about photography. My kids are pretty aware of this passion, that is for sure as I take pics of them daily. What I love is that Luca is totally interested in my camera. Since it is the Hyundai of cameras in the DSLR world….(the total base model…looking to upgrade to at least a ‘Camry’ one day), I let him have a chance to take supervised photos. I’ve included some of his shots below. Not half bad if you ask me…some of my favorite pictures of the year actually.

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Pin #99: Share your passion with your children and teach them to find their passion too. This photo reminded me so much of Luca and I when I pinned it

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This is a pretty regular scene but this pic I took just last week! Luca said “I’m the camera man”

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Milo also getting in on the ‘camera’ love – with this roll of duct tape he says “I take a picture mama, cheeeeeeeeeeeeese’

ALL PHOTOS BELOW BY LUCA:

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One my favorite photos of Milo, taken by Luca around 7 months old. (Luca around 4 1/2). I told him to put the red dot (center point focus) on Milo’s eye and wait for a good smile. He followed my directions to the T .

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“Milo and Mama” – 4th of July, 2012 – Luca was 3 years old, about to turn 4. I was almost too vain to post this since I’m make up free, but I love the look on my face that Luca captured. (Pure “Mama/baby/loving looking at my big boy who wants to take our picture” face). Again I told him where to point the red dot and he did it!

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Beautiful photo of our bud C that Luca took a few months ago.

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Great composition Luca! He said he wanted to take a photo of all Colette’s ‘loveys’ so she could always remember how many she had.

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Dinos and Gears by: Luca I was actually not pleased to find this on my camera as Luca picked it up and took lots of pictures like this without my knowledge…. But, neat pic.

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“Mom, take a picture of me taking a picture of you!” (pay no attention to the awful gold fingernails).

99 down 1 to go!!!!!!!!!!

*”Look Deep” is short for ‘Look Deep Inside” which is a catch phase we say in our family (thanks to the originator, my bro-in-law who loves to make up words or phrases that become part of our language!). It is used in a way such as: if you’re being a jerk about something, you may get told to “Look Deep.” As in, ‘check yo self before you wreck yo self,’ or ‘seriously, don’t be such a jerk’. Or if you wake up after a night of staying up too late, etc. In the morning you may be asked “are you looking deep right now?” It is very complicated, yet fun and funny.

Pins #93 – #96: Laundry Room Makeover: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

June 28, 2013
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Now that we’re almost done with this 100 pin project, here’s a post about the first room we worked on upon moving into our house last year!  We played it safe and went with the Laundry Room.  It was in bad shape, – brown walls (again), brown ceiling, a horrible wobbly metal shelf unit that stood over the washer and dryer and a plaid (maroon and navy) window valance that was purely ‘decorative’ since the window has blinds.

Now, I can’t get too cocky here that we really did much to upgrade mass appeal of the space, we painted it florescent green.  So here’s what happened.  We had our laundry room in our last house painted a bright (we thought) shade of green that everyone loved and just made the space so happy and lovely.  Who doesn’t need a little help in the happiness department in the laundry room?  So we picked out a shade of green we thought was the exact color as our last house – bam! easy project done!   Then we started painting and holy crap was that the green???  I thought maybe it just looked weird in this space with different light?  Maybe it will look less florescent once we get some shelves hung…??? Nope.  About a month after painting and not admitting to each-other that something went wrong picking the color, I found the actual paint swatch from our basement renovation / laundry room green!  Wow, were we WAY off!  The ‘lovely’ green of our last house was about 10 shades lighter than the color we chose here.  We had a great laugh and I wish I had a picture of the swatch against the new laundry room walls – it was hilarious!  It shall remain green until, well, likely forever since there is absolutely no priority to repaint anytime this decade!

We’ll move on, this post has nothing to do with paint – I just had to explain myself and throw out the disclaimer that our lovely paint color consultant friend did not approve of this choice.  This was 100% Andrew and my mistake! ;)

So …. the Laundry room makeover.  One of my mama friends was a huge Pinterest lover at the time and was pinning away all these super cool front door ‘locker’ type set ups for mud rooms, entryways, etc.  It made me think our Laundry room would be perfect for this sort of set up as well.  It is right off the garage so muddy feet, shoes, dirty clothes can easily go straight to the wash and not even set foot into the rest of the house.  I went with something simple like Pin #93 since building lockers wasn’t going to be an option with this small room makeover.  I found both items (the hanging hooks/cubbies and the bench/cubbies) at Target.com.

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Pin #93: Hooks and Baskets

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Our laundry room ‘lockers’

I liked pin #94, Family Rules,  because it reminded me of how Luca’s preschool, the kids make their own rules of the classroom. I like the idea of family rules that we all agree on. These rules are sweet, kind and silly.   And I found this exact canvas at …you guessed it…Home Goods.

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Pin #94: House Rules

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Family Rules

Of course we need the Laundry Room to be functional and with 2 kids and one shortly on the way (at the time this room’s makover happened), there is NO shortage of laundry! The boys’ rooms are right next door to this space so accessing these sorting buckets is pretty simple. Even Milo puts his clothes in the right bins a lot of nights.  I knew I wanted a vertical structure like the one here in Pin #95 but, again, wasn’t going to build anything.  I looked for a solution for  a long time and spent a whole long trip to Ikea looking for ideas that would be similar to this pin.  But then it was a trip to the Container Store when I realized that ‘recycle bins’ would be great stackable laundry sorters.

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Pin #95: Laundry sorting system

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Laundry sorting – my solution: Recycle Bins. I just added letter stickers I already had!

Finally, we had to get rid of that old wobbly shelving unit an install above washer /dryer  shelves.  We also need a place to hang dry stuff so Andrew installed a long handle upside down on one of the shelves that works great to hang clothes.  I, of course as you know now, love white against brighter colors, so when I saw the white baskets in Pin #96, I knew that would look great in our Laundry Room as well.  I got these baskets at Target and have written on them with a dry erase maker so I don’t have to be committed to my current organization methods.

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Pin #96: White shelving above the machines.

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Not even close to being as cute as the original pin, but functional! (Clean clothes go in the “Luca” and “Milo” baskets.  Sometimes folded, sometimes not.  The clothes get in drawers much faster this way I’ve found).

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This is ‘Bailey’s Room’ – her bed and self portrait, such a vain dog.

96 down…4 to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pin #92: Outside Curtains

June 25, 2013
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Pin #92: Outside Curtains

Whenever I’d get fancy catalogs in the mail, or saw pins like #92 with outdoor curtains I never understood them….until now.  I just love the white curtains blowing in the breeze look here.  We have a west facing house and we get amazing sunsets but also blaring evening sun in the summer.  It is great, no complaints from this Seattlite.  I’ll take all the Vitamin D I can get.  But, when eating outside in the summer, something has to be done.  We have a table under the deck above, so that provides some shade, but for the sun coming straight at ya, we needed to add curtains.  We installed the Ikea curtain / picture rail under the deck and attached curtains.  These not so great pics are from last summer.  We’re about a week or so away from putting them back up.  But for now, these pictures will have to do.

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This is from about 10 months ago! This guy has grown a lot since then!

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ahh, shade

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Pass the Pizza!! Milo’s Birthday 9/1/12 – it was a super sunny day to have dinner with our friend in the back yard with the breeze blowing our curtains!

92 down….8 to go!

Pin #91: Gia’s ABCs

June 24, 2013

This year we welcomed our first little cousin to my husband’s side of the family.  Miss Gia was born in November and I wanted to make her a very special gift for her first Christmas.  I loved the idea from Pin #91 to make an ABC book using your own photos representing each letter.  I gave the book to her for Christmas and successfully made her mama cry!  Success!!  I’ve included a few screen shots of the book. We were lucky enough to see Gia on the day she was born to get some pretty timely photos for things like “B is for Birthday.”  This was super easy to do and there is even a template using Shutterfly.

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Pin #91: ABC book using your own photos

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Gia’s ABC’s: Front Cover

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E is for Edmonton: Where our sister in law grew up and her family lives.

Screen Shot 2013-06-23 at 4.45.28 PMI: I love you!

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I just need to make one of these for my house next!!

91 down…9 to go!

Pins #84-#90: Living Room Makeover: The Turquoise Wall

June 23, 2013

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Wow, where to begin with our living room? Well, first of all you should know it started out looking like the wall had been painted light brown with dark brown poo colored paint sponged onto it. How anyone could have thought that was a good plan is beyond me! But who knows, I’m sure there are a good handful of people out there saying the same thing about my beloved turquoise wall. We have a great family friend who also is an amazing painter and color expert (by profession). We had her out to access the entire house when we first moved in and she gave us color suggestions on all the main living areas and our room. (Kids rooms and laundry room are all our choices – this said for future post about the laundry room color she will NOT take credit/blame for … it was all our ‘doing’…stay tuned on that one…) Anway, knowing me fairly well and things I love, she suggested a pallet of beautiful yet bold and daring colors for our main living space.  The most notable color being Rivulet, by Sherwin Williams:

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Rivulet, Sherwin Williams **most of my photos were taken with my iphone, so the color is a bit off, that is why I thought including this paint swatch would be helpful to visualize.

I had to think about it for a few weeks.  When I saw pin #84 and all the energy from the wall color I decided to jump in…life is too short to live with beige walls.

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Pin #84: This photo sealed the deal – turquoise it is! I loved how it can be used as a neutral and looked great next to all the other vibrant colors in this photo.  I don’ t know if this is ‘Rivulet’ but it is pretty darn close.

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The old ‘poo walls’ getting their first coat of primer last summer!

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After the first coat, I loved it instantly and was already starting accessorize the mantle.

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Luca posing in front of the new wall after a fun butterfly birthday! (Hi Eliza!)

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Pin #85: Turquoise Walls + White Frames = yes.

Next, how to accessorize this wall.  This actually took a lot longer to visualize.  I knew I wanted to put up all white frames since they look so great next to the turquoise.  (See above pin #85).  But I couldn’t decide on photos, size, scale, etc.  I feel like as I’m leaning more about photography, I want to change out all the pictures on my walls all the time since I can now have such better photos.  (Yet, I’ll always keep up  some ‘bad’ photos because of the people and moments in them and the time they represent).  Then I saw Pin #86 and the picture rails.  What a great idea and this would allow me to switch-o-change-o photos and frames around over the years without putting holes in the wall every time.  I pinned about 100 more ‘picture rail’ photos for inspiration before I knew 100% this was what I wanted.

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Pin #86: Picture Rails from Ikea, in combo with a large framed item.

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This pin also reminded me of one of my very first and FAVORITE ideas from Pinterest.  Pin #87, Instagram posters framed in white frames.  Of course, we all know my love of Instagram !!  I couldn’t get the company that produces the posters suggested by this blog post to work, but luckily, through Pinterest, I found Prinstagram (Pin #88).  It is a pretty cool site that allows you to print Instagram photos in various ways.  I have to say, when I was working on this project months ago, there was hardly ANY places to print Instrgams easily.  Now, I feel like it is a standard option – even Walgreens has an app for that!

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Pin #87: Instagram photo poster in Olby frames from Ikea. Another great idea from one of my favorite bloggers. (Daffodil Designs)

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Pin # 88: Prinstagram! I couldn’t get the photo company to work that Daffodil Designs recommended for the Instagram poster, but luckily, Prinstagram worked great!

The final touches for the wall were the white ‘expedit’ shelves from Ikea, we have two side by side.  They are great for book storage we needed.  Also, they are great for holding the toys we keep upstairs (or the ones that ‘bubble up’ daily as I say).  I loved pin #89 because it was one of the few ‘expedit’ examples on Pinterest that didn’t have kids items stored in it.  I was glad to see they could look ‘grown up’ too.  Finally, similar to the story about finding the kids room storage bins at Home Goods right after pinning the exact thing, it happened first with Pin #90 and this awesome floor lamp.  I think I paid less than half of what it was listed for via this pin online!

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Pin #89: Ikea Expedit in white, in a grown up living room.

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Pin #90: Floor Lamp, pinned then found at Home Goods – score!

Here is a fun pic of our doggie with the lamp in the background.  I love this picture since she looks like such a little prissy dog.  And, since I mentioned her in the “About Me” section, I thought she should get some love here and there!

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Our Bailey-girl, oh, and the nice lamp behind her.

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90 down…10 to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pins #82 & #83: Colette’s future Room

June 23, 2013

Eventually I hope to post the final room we will be putting together for our baby girl.  But for now, we’ll just have to enjoy the little touches that will one day help inspire the completed space.  (Milo is still sleeping in the nursery and Colette will be sleeping in our room for a few more months at least).  Here are a couple things that will be part of future that room that we’re enjoying now!

These bins/baskets/buckets whatever you want to call them were pinned from Land of Nod.  So cute right?  I pinned them after looking for the bins my sister got for her baby’s room (the larger version of these in gray).  Literally the week after I pinned this, I found the almost the EXACT item, in small and medium sizes at my favorite housewares store, Home Goods. Both baskets cost me a total of $14 while at Land of Nod, the cost for one is $19.99 – score.

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Pin #82: Striped storage buckets with rope handles.

Here are the buckets in use – the small one for diapers and the larger one for blankets:

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blanket bucket

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diaper bucket

Next, as I talked about in an earlier post about making fabric canvases, Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Collection inspired my ever changing vision for Colette’s future room.  My mom is 90% done with her quilt, I made the canvases and also made the super easy minky snuggly baby blankie.

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Pin #83: Out to Sea by Sarah Jane, Pirate Girls

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Snuggly blankie = minkie fabric one side, pirate girls on the other, sew inside out, turn it around, lots of ironing, 100s of pins and one decorative stitch around the edges.

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Colette at 4 days old enjoying her Pirate blankie at Luca’s first soccer game of the season!

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Colette at 7 1/2 weeks old hanging out with her Pirate friends! (Sheet in crib also Sarah Jane, Out to Sea fabric, sheet made by my Mama) (*iphone pic, so the colors are not as true as above pic).

83 down…17 to go…..

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