The Long-Awaited Kimono

It’s been a while, eh? Now that Baby H has finally started napping  somewhat reliably and I actually have more than 5 minutes a day where I’m not brushing my teeth, showering, shoveling food down my gullet, or catching up on sleep, I might have time to blog again! 😮 [side note- I first wrote this draft three months ago; clearly the napping has been going swimmingly. I have one of those babies that naps anywhere from 30-45 min and occasionally over an hour. I can count on one hand the number of 2 hour naps she’s had. Somewhere out there, a friend of a friend of my husband’s told him that by 6 months, he could expect that our daughter would nap for 2 hours, 3x a day and I would have time to grow a veggie garden, clean the house, and cook elaborate homemade meals with all my free time. Dude, I don’t know who you are or where you are, but I hope karma does.]

I would also like to take this time to formally apologize to every new mom I know, who I quietly judged inside my head before becoming one myself. Forgive me. The best quote I have heard on this topic is “It’s awfully hard to get on that high horse with a baby in your arms.”

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We both know it’s going to be weeks months before you finish this, so I’m just going to make myself comfy…

I’ve had a kimono project in the back of my mind ever since I saw Holly Dolly’s. When I found a cute peachy floral fabric at my #1 happy place AKA FabricLand, I knew just what to do! Actually that’s a lie, here is the original fabric that I wanted to use, but it was like $20/m so I settled on the cheaper alternative.

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I wanted something that would be light for the summer that I could nurse discreetly in. It’s not perfect by a long shot, but the last item of clothing I sewed was a pair of PJ pants back when I was oh, 10 or so? And I hated them and never wore them (sorry, Mom). I used a tutorial from Elle Apparel Blog as a rough guide, laid out my fabric, and got to it!

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Why yes, that is a baby strapped to my body while I sewed. #babywearingforthewin

One thing this project gave me was experience using the presser foot on my sewing machine. I’m super impressed with my little Janome SUV 1108. It came with a ton of accessories that I am slowly learning the different uses for. It was a fun challenge figuring out how to do a rolled hem. Shout out to the people of the sewing sub on Reddit for their tips! The fabric was super fine and hard to work with, so I used spray starch to get it to “stick” and feed better into the foot. I made sure to practice on a few test strips until I got the feel for how to feed the fabric into the foot, and took my time- unpicking was tedious and not suited to the delicate nature of the fabric, so I really had to try to get it right on the first pass. I also used these tips from Megan Nielsen and this video from The Colorful World of Sewing to help me out.

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Test strips, test strips, and more test strips

Et voila.

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Just in time for the fall [Edit… winter] and for baby to start solids, my easy breezy summery nursing-friendly kimono!

-C

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Acetone Transfer Graphic Cushion Cover

Whenever I’m having a bad day and want to throw a pity party for myself, making a list of all the things I am blessed with helps to keep things in perspective. Even better if I can have some sort of daily reminder that there are many things in my life that I am grateful for. So I printed a favourite quote of mine on a cushion cover that I sewed for our sofa. Here’s the finished product first for all you impatient people out there!

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I used the acetone transfer on canvas technique that I have previously posted about. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as last time, mostly because I was working with a larger image and had to do it in sections, but overall it turned out well. One thing I have learned in motherhood is to be happy- or try to be- with “good enough.” I no longer have the time or energy to be the perfectionist that I want to be, so I’m making my peace with the imperfections in this one. That’s how you can tell I made it and didn’t buy it at some crappy store, right?

You can refer to the original post for the full tutorial, and I’ll highlight what I did differently below. Just remember the most important steps are to create a mirror image of the design you want and then print it on a laser printer, or this technique won’t work. [In the pictures below the image looks like it’s the “right” way because the printed image is facing the canvas and the backside of the paper is facing up, essentially flipping the flipped image if that makes sense!] To start with, I measured the pillow I was covering and cut a piece of canvas to the right size to form the front face. I figured out where I wanted the transfer to go and used pins to mark the left and top margins of the paper so that it would be exactly in the centre.

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Then I cut the paper into segments to make it more manageable to do the transfer- the acetone evaporates quickly so you want to work in sections. Starting with the first piece, I pinned the paper to the canvas, usingthe pins I placed on the canvas as my guide.

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I also marked the bottom of each section of the paper with a pin so that I knew where to put the next one to keep the alignment of the design the way I wanted it; I didn’t want it to look “piecey.”

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I kept moving down the canvas, section by section, following the steps in the tutorial to burnish the image from the paper onto the canvas until it was done.

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Once that was over (phew), I filled in any bare patches with a fine-tip Sharpie and then cut pieces of canvas to form the back of my cushion cover. I decided to do an envelope enclosure which is really simple- I just cut two pieces of fabric to form two “halves” for the back of the cushion, adding some extra length so that they overlapped in the centre. I had my pieces overlap by 4 inces, after hemming the ends that made up the opening. Then I just pinned the two back pieces with the overlap to the front pieces (right sides together of course), sewed all around the outside, and it was done!

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Let’s just not talk about the part that I smudged or the questionable Sharpie touch up job. I really dig these transfers, they are a neat way to make a custom print and I always have fun doing them (once the cursing is over). Try it and let me know how it goes!
-C

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Gardening Plans for the Front

Remember how we spent all last summer digging up and waterproofing our foundation? Well, this summer’s project is trying to make our yard look halfway respectable again. This is going to be an interesting project, because we will have a “Before, Before” with our flower beds and yard looking lovely, a “Before” for when we tore it all out to fix the foundation, and an “After” for when we redo all the grading, planting, and landscaping. I’m sure the neighbors were watching us last year and weeping for the previous owners, who apparently loved to garden- as indicated by the well maintained and lovingly tended perennials we used to have.

I tried to keep some of the plants but there just wasn’t the time to plant them somewhere else and salvage them. I feel super guilty about the planticide we are responsible for, but let’s face it, a leaky basement doesn’t make up for a beautiful garden!

Here’s how the front of our house looked before we tore it all up last year.

DSC_1916_blurredDSC_1920_blurredDSC_1921_DSC_1922_.blurredjpgDSC_1917_blurredIt might be too cringeworthy to share how it looks now. Imagine all the grass is brown, all the plants are gone, the front steps are sitting in the middle of the yard and there is treacherous boot-eating mud everywhere. Got that? Ok.

Now for my plans… I’m not going to be reinventing the wheel here. I quite liked how it looked to begin with- the bush beside the front door turned a beautiful red colour in the fall (a Burning Bush I think?) and I liked the variation in heights of the plants in the front bed. I’ll probably do something pretty similar to how it looked before. For the bed below the large front window, I’m thinking a few shrubs flanking a row of white hydrangeas with hostas in front.

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I haven’t decided yet what to do with the other bed below the two smaller windows. The same thing as the other bed? Something different? My mother-in-law offered me some of her bleeding hearts, so I might do a couple of those, maybe with something that can climb up the wall on a trellis? I like how astilbes look and that area gets a lot of shade in the afternoon… Obviously I still have some work to do on my plans. But seeing as we got snow a few days ago I probably still have some time!

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Of course all of this can’t take place until we have regraded the yard, planted grass seed, and leveled out all the tread marks in our lawn from the excavator! Looks like this summer will be just as busy as last. Anyone have a green thumb I could borrow?

-C

PS. Oh yeah, we totally had the baby. My husband was right all along; Baby H is a girl! She is healthy and happy and keeping us very busy. Being a parent is just as hectic, terrifying, and amazing as we thought it would be… maybe more. :)

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Baby H’s Neutral Nursery Reveal

I’m super excited to share our finished nursery! I took advantage of the 30 cm of falling snow outside to stay in and do a little photo shoot with our new camera, which I’m still learning how to use. If you want a little refresher, check out this post for my style board and plan and this post for a progress report. I’ve been working on this room on and off for about 3 months and I’m really happy with how it looks. It kept me occupied between losing my job and waiting for baby to come, which I am grateful for! But enough of my nattering, here are some visuals.DSC_4809_DSC_4781_ DSC_4807_DSC_4778_DSC_4786_ DSC_4826_DSC_4793_DSC_4794_DSC_4797_This room featured a lot of DIY and craft projects, like the papier maché zebra head I previously posted about and the 2D cloud mobile I made, loosely based on a wooden one I saw online.DSC_4828__01
The wall art is pretty much all DIY, from the zebra head to the art prints I made with some free web graphics that I found online – I love how these turned out!DSC_4838_DSC_4843_We really tried to save money anywhere we could, like using coupons, shopping sales, and repurposing things we already had in the house (like the curtains). I really wanted some cute maternity photos to frame and to have as a keepsake but hiring a photographer was not in the budget- so we bought a new-to-us DSLR camera that was an upgrade from our 10 year old one and did our own photoshoot at a nearby park with a tripod and a timer.

DSC_4799_ DSC_4805_I may have gone a bit overboard with storage containers. It’s hard to know what we’ll need before the baby actually gets here, but I tried to give us lots of options for toys, blankets, clothes, diapers etc- all the various baskets and containers will help keep things as organized as possible!

DSC_4804_I really liked the idea of a shelf/organizer combo with hooks above the change table but couldn’t find anything I liked at a price I wanted to pay. So I made my own with an inexpensive shelf, wall hooks, and baskets. I think this will end up being really valuable storage and functional space for diaper changes!

DSC_4802_My favourite corner of the nursery is the rocker, bookshelf, and ottoman, and I’ve already been testing it out! Hard to believe that soon I will be sitting here nursing our baby, and later reading to them.  I love the little zebra stool which will function as a drink station for those midnight feeding sessions.

DSC_4819_If you’re interested in where we got everything and our budget, here is a handy little source guide with a price breakdown too! I’m pretty happy with what we ended up spending on this room.

  1. Crib – Delta “Waves”, Sears, $130 on sale
  2. Mattress – Simmons Peaceful Slumber, Sears, $75 on sale
  3. Linens – ÄLSKAD 4-piece set, IKEA, gifted
  4. Mobile –  DIY with supplies purchased from Michael’s and Fabricland, ~$10
  5. Rocking chair – POANG rocker with black leather cushion, IKEA, $219
  6. Macramé ottoman – HomeSense, $39.99
  7. Antelope accent pillow – Village International, gifted
  8. Zebra stool – Village International, gifted
  9. Book shelves – MOSSLANDA picture ledge, IKEA, $16.99/ea
  10. Floor lamp – HEKTAR floor lamp, IKEA, $79.99
  11. Wall art – DIY prints from free vector images found online in RIBBA frames from IKEA, $9.99/ea
  12. Accent stripe – Behr paint in Perfect Taupe, $18.97/quart
  13. Curtains – recycled beige and black panels previously purchased with added blackout liner, $30
  14. Curtain rod – RÄCKA rod with 3 brackets and BLÅST finials, IKEA, $19.49
  15. Toy storage unit – TROFAST storage combination, IKEA, $105
  16. Bone/enamel picture frame, Dollarama, $3
  17. Laundry hamper, HomeSense, gifted
  18. Papier maché zebra head – DIY, free!
  19. Wall lamp – RANARP lamp, IKEA, $29.99
  20. Change table/dresser – Kijiji, $80, with change pad, gifted
  21. Bamboo basket for wipes, HomeSense, $12.99
  22. Change table storage – EKBY shelf, $18.99, with SVARTSJÖN hook rack, $6.99, and NORDRANA baskets, $9.99; all IKEA
  23. Painted mason jars, Little Miss Mason, gifted

As always I’d love to hear what you think in the comments! Now we just need sweet Baby H to arrive to really pull it all together. 😉

-C

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“Neutral Nursery” Progress

Today I’m sharing how the nursery is coming along. If you want a reminder of where we started, check out this post for some seriously old school wallpaper and this post for my plans.

So far we have all the furniture and the window treatments figured out, which were slapped together from a couple of old panels we had kept from our very first apartment. I was super impressed at my ingenuity of adding the black panel to the bottom of the beige ones and when I showed off my accomplishment to my husband he said “But they were already curtains anyway, right? All you did was stitch them together and change the length?” Huh. Next time he can sew. Slight segway: I will never NOT buy curtain rods from IKEA. For the price, look, and quality, they hit the sweet spot for me! The sweet spot being a ~$20 price tag, that is. The finials match the dresser knobs nicely too.

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One project that has kept me busy lately is lining the drawers of the change table. This was my first attempt and there was definitely a steep learning curve! I can post more about this if anyone is interested, basically I just used wrapping paper cut to size and Mod Podge to adhere and seal it. Now the insides of the drawers look nice and fresh! I shared this on Instagram a while back, obviously I move closer to real time in social media land than in blogging land, so you might want to check me out there @dear_diy.

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I’m not sure what to do above the change table- a shelf? Artwork? It might be nice to have the wipes and Penaten or something within arms reach so we don’t have to be opening the dresser drawers while trying to restrain a pee machine.

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(Happy to report that I have since removed the price tag from the laundry hamper- for someone with “attention to detail” I sure miss a lot of stuff. Perhaps I should remove that from my resume when I start looking for a job again?)

I really like the idea of a shelf/storage/hook combo unit like this one from Finding Silver Linings.

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So far the only ones I’ve found run about $50-60 at HomeSense. They also tend to have more of a “rustic” look which doesn’t really jive with the mostly modern look I have going on. I think I have hit upon a solution, I just need to convince my husband that we really do need more storage (when does anyone ever NOT need more storage?!).

Stay tuned, I’m hoping to wrap this room up in the next few weeks just in case Baby H decides to make an early appearance!

-C

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