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DIY Air Freshener Made with Coffee Grounds*

26 Mar

The Bird’s nursery has one of those odor trapper diaper pails that does an okay job of keeping the room from smelling like a public toilet … but it’s never as fresh as I want. It always smells vaguely of baby pee (better than the alternative, I suppose). I bought one of those plug-in liquid air fresheners, but the scent (while pleasant enough) was just too strong.

Then I saw this great idea on Pinterest. While I was thinking about a container, I noticed that Don was sprinkling coffee grounds in the diaper pail in the The Bird’s room. Coffee grounds are a natural odor neutralizer. Great idea, Don.

You Will Need:

  • Coffee grounds, dried well (as not to promote mold)
  • Small tin container
  • Small piece of breathable fabric like tullle
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue or double sides tape

Instructions:

My container had a plastic insert for the lid so I popped it out. If yours has an all metal lid, you will need a rubber band and a ribbon.

Cut your scrapbook paper into a strip that will fit around your tin. Attach to tin with double-sided tape or glue.

Fill your tin with coffee grounds.

Place small piece of fabric over the top of the tin. If your lid was all metal, secure the fabric in place with a rubber band and top with a ribbon. If you had a lid with a plastic insert, put the lid without the plastic on top of the fabric.

That’s it. Give the tin a shake when the air is a little stale. Refill with fresh grounds from time to time.

* I realized that shoving a DIY tutorial onto the end of a post largely not about air fresheners demonstrated poor organizational technique, so you may have already read this trick in its original location.

Making Progress in the Nursery

18 Mar

So … remember back  in December when Don and I became parents with 12 hours notice? Yeah, it’s kind-of hard to forget. Anyway, we didn’t have much of nursery to speak of then. We had a room that had been painted yellow with a nice light fixture. Oh – and I stenciled some walls. But that was pretty much the extent of it.

Fast forward three months and I’d say the nursery is about 90 percent done.

Here’s a rough outline of work needed in the room:

  • Get a crib
  • Copy this look for a shelf / changing table
  • Decide if more stencil is needed on additional walls
  • Make custom roman blinds
  • Sew some pillow covers
  • Buy a rug
  • Get some containers for blankets, toys and dirty clothes
  • Make some custom art
  • Figure out the best way to use the walk-in closet as baby storage and a linen closet
  • Remove baseboards around bed in order to make the trundle bed flush against the wall (and in order to be able to close the closet door)
  • Find a storage unit for under the crib since this one is no longer available


And here’s a look at where we are:

  • Get a crib
  • Copy this look for a shelf / changing table
  • Decide if more stencil is needed on additional walls (The answer was, “yes.”)
  • Make custom roman blinds  (Still need to add black-out lining)
  • Sew some pillow covers
  • Buy a rug
  • Get some containers for blankets, toys and dirty clothes
  • Make some custom art (We ended up with one typography print mounted on wood, one piece of paper art mounted on canvas, a tissue paper pom pom piece, a scrapbook paper baby bunting / flag banner and a couple of smaller items)
  • Figure out the best way to use the walk-in closet as baby storage and a linen closet
  • Remove baseboards around bed in order to make the trundle bed flush against the wall (and in order to be able to close the closet door)
  • Find a storage unit for under the crib since this one is no longer available

In this picture you can see a whole bunch of projects:

Three of our large custom art projects are visible in this picture (the typography print, the paper on canvas piece, the pom poms), one of our mini projects (a tin air freshener), a large yellow and gray clothes basket and my homemade air freshener. You can also see a huge basket of baby clothes that need to be laundered.

I will write up tutorials for these projects in more detail, but here’s a quick one for now.

Homemade Air Freshener 

I saw this great idea on Pinterest. While I was thinking about a container, I noticed that Don was sprinkling coffee grounds in the diaper pail in the The Bird’s room. Coffee grounds are a natural odor neutralizer. Great idea, Don.

You Will Need:

  • Coffee grounds, dried well (as not to promote mold)
  • Small tin container
  • Small piece of breathable fabric like tullle
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue or double sides tape

Instructions:

My container had a plastic insert for the lid so I popped it out. If yours has an all metal lid, you will need a rubber band and a ribbon.

Cut your scrapbook paper into a strip that will fit around your tin. Attach to tin with double-sided tape or glue.

Fill your tin with coffee grounds.

Place small piece of fabric over the top of the tin. If your lid was all metal, secure the fabric in place with a rubber band and top with a ribbon. If you had a lid with a plastic insert, put the lid without the plastic on top of the fabric.

That’s it. Give the tin a shake when the air is a little stale. Refill with fresh grounds from time to time.

DIY Nursery or Holiday Bunting Banners

27 Jan

My current obsession is making paper banners for the house. Remember when I posted my inspiration board for the nursery way back before we even knew about our little man? Here it is again:

Nursery Inspiration

See number 10 there? That’s a Baby Bunting Banner from this Etsy shop. I just loved it. We registered for it using Amazon universal registry / wish list option, but no one bought it. No matter. I’m all kinds of crafty so I decided to make one myself. But, time being somewhat limited these days and with the nursery only partially done, I decided it would be faster and easier to make a banner from scrapbook paper.

Here’s my banner:

Holy moly! It was so easy that I knocked out two more for Valentine’s Day.



Now for the fun part. I made three easy templates so that you can make your own.

You will need:

  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  •  Template of your desired size*

You might need:

  • A hole puncher
  • High quality, clear craft glue
  • Thin piece of cardboard or card stock
  • Letter stencils
  • Markers

Here’s what you do:
  1. Choose your template from the three options provided (or make your own)
  2. Print onto a regular sheet of paper.
  3. Cut along the lines so that you have the shape you want to make on thin printer paper. If you would like to make a sturdier template, trace your cutout on a thicker sheet of paper or even some thin cardboard and then cut that out.
  4. Using either the thin cutout you made with printer paper or your sturdier template, trace your shape with a pencil on the back on of the scrapbook paper you want to use. If you are using 8.5 x 11 inch paper for the 8.5 inch two-pointed flag you only need trace the mid line and the two triangular points since the template is one half of the sheet of paper. Same holds true for the smaller templates if you are using the papers from one of those mini-cardstock books (4.5 and 6.5 inches).
  5. Carefully cut out your shape on the scrapbook paper. Repeat until you have as many flags done as you would like.
  6. The triangle flags look great as is, but the two-pointed flags are meant to have something else on them. I cut out little hearts for the smaller banner and glued them on. I used a ABC letter stencil to trace the words “Be Mine” onto the burlap-looking banner and then colored it in with a red marker.
  7. Decide how to string your banner. I glued the nursery banner to some white pom pom ribbon and the fireplace banner to orange rick rack. The Be Mine Banner has two small holes punched in each corner and is then threaded with very thin red ribbon.
  8. Hang on wall. Stand back. Admire.
That’s it! See how easy?
* Here are the templates
  1. 8.5 inch two-pointed flag (half of of 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper)
  2. 4.5 inch two-pointed flag (half of one 4.5 x 6.5 sheet of paper – the kind you buy in a mini cardstock book at the craft store)
  3. 4.5 inch triangular flag

If you have the time and patience, you can also make these with fabric – sew or no-sew versions. I might remake the one for the nursery eventually, but this does the trick for now.
If you make one, share a picture with me, won’t you?

Stenciling a Wall

12 Nov

Well, I did it. I Made a Move on That Room.

And, as you know from my last mini-post, I added a pretty major element to the room. I stenciled some walls.

What? That wasn’t on my inspiration board.

Nursery Inspiration

See? No stencils whatsoever. But even when I put this board together I was thinking about it. In fact, when I posted the link on Facebook I went so far as to ask if anyone had stenciled a whole wall.

Working up my courage to do it was pretty hard, I have to say. Sure, it’s just paint. But if I didn’t like it, repainting would involve sanding the walls to smooth out the extra layer of paint on the stencil and then repainting with Light Yellow. I dreaded the thought of that so I knew I’d have to love it if I went forward with this project.

A few weeks back I looked at the full wall stencils in AC Moore and there were a couple I liked. After I posted my inspiration board, I decided to go for the stencil.

Here’s the first one I bought (yes, I said first one):

I really like the graphic design. A lot. But something just didn’t see quite right about it.

While I was at the store, I also picked up this little stencil for just $4.

I loved the spirals, and they definitely matched the inspiration board better – but they were too small. It’s hard to tell without any perspective, but the largest of these spiral is about the side of a saucer. I was hoping for the largest to be nearly dinner plate sized.

At home. I practiced the painting and tested some colors on a piece of wall board left over from our renovation. I used the small spiral piece and a Greek key stencil I had left from a different project. I didn’t want to use the the full wall stencil because I still wasn’t sold on it and it cost $20.

The next weekend, I returned to AC Moore and decided to walk back down the stencil aisle. There, tucked behind an animal print stencil, I found this:

It’s the same pattern as the small border on a larger scale. The largest spiral is much, much bigger.

Woo hoo! I had some stenciling to do.

On the way home, I stopped by Benjamin Moore and had their color expert helped me pick out a nice grey to go with my Light Yellow wall. We settled on Marilyn’s Dress.

Back at home I did one more test on the wall board and I was ready to go. This was around 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. Yeah, I’m fun like that.

I gathered my supplies – a sample quart of Marilyn’s dress, a super smooth foam paint roller, paper towels, painter’s tape and floor protection (newspaper). I started by putting tape over the baseboards and outlet covers.

Protecting the outlets and the baseboards.

Then I took several deep breaths. Really, several dozen deep breaths. Maybe 100. Seriously, this part lasted for a while.

Finally I taped the stencil into place.

Tape the stencil into place

Oh – before we took the picture above where I am actually taping the stencil, we took this one for the son of a friend of Don’s.

Casey is helpful.

Isn’t he cute? I banished him from the room right after this picture was taken.

With the stencil in place, I covered my roller with paint and then wiped the excess on a paper towel. All the tutorials I read online stressed the importance of this step because the paint needs to be thin in order not to bleed outside of the stencil edges.

Rolling the excess paint onto a paper towel

Finally – gulp – finally it was time to actually apply the paint to the wall. More deep breathing ensued.

I did it! Paint goes onto the stencil, and the wall.

Then I carefully peeled back the stencil, and … I loved it!

The first stencil. Sorry it's so dark. Remember that it was about 10 p.m. by this time.

Here’s what it looked like after 4 stencils were applied. I turned them into a different direction each time to vary the pattern.

I shifted the stencil on all four of these to keep it looking somewhat random.

Here is that whole once it was done.

The first section is *nearly* done. See that small area to the right of the outlet? There was a small crack in the wall board that we need to fix before we can stencil it.

Here I am pleased with my progress.

Yay! I did it. I conquered the stencil.

Then I tackled the wall on the other side of the dormer.

Wall two is done.

And that’s it for now. We might add a few more star bursts in the room, but the half walls are the only two getting the all over treatment.

In the meantime, I’m holding on to the Moroccan stencil because I like it so much. Maybe I’ll use it in another room.

What do you think? Are you glad we went with the kaleidoscope pattern? Should I return the Moroccan pattern, or hold on to it for now?

Make a Move on that Room: Preview

3 Nov

Well, I did it. I Made Move on that Room. Here’s a little preview of what happened.

20121103-230059.jpg

Grey and Yellow Nursery

24 Oct

When we last left off, Don and I had been encouraged by our adoption specialist to “make a bucket list”. Yeah, she actually said that. Among the the activities that should go on said bucket list is decorating the nursery.

It’s funny, really, because both Don and I were sure they originally told us NOT to decorate the nursery. When I asked her about it, she clarified that now is a good time to decorate the nursery but if we find ourselves in a match before we get around to nursery decor then it’s suggested we wait until after the baby comes home.  It’s a precaution that they suggest in case of disruption. Apparently if you decorate the nursery with a specific baby in mind, it’s much more difficult to face the room after a disruption.

Of course, I’ve been thinking about what the nursery should look like for well over a year – partly because we’re excited to NEED a nursery and partly because when we remodeled the house last year we had to make a few decisions about that room. The wall color and the light fixture have been up for nearly a year now, but we’ve largely ignored the room since then. I wish it still looked that tidy, but we’ve used it for storage and other random junk so it’s a little purposeless right now. There’s an ironing board in the middle of the room, the bed is covered with towels we use for Casey that I don’t want to mix in with our own towels (it’s not that I don’t want his towels in with ours, but I don’t want Don to grab one of our nice towels to wipe down a muddy dog).  There are two pieces of furniture that aren’t nursery appropriate but that I don’t want to give away yet. And there’s a stack of art pieces destined for a gallery wall in the upstairs hallway.

So I decided to get my butt in gear and make a move on that room. I guess I was inspired by John and Sherry’s “Dude, Get on That Already,” projects over on Young House Love, though they started getting on that way back in January and I’m just starting to think about making my move.

So before I could bring myself to do the boring parts of the project, I decided some pretty inspiration would be in order. Here it is, my nursery inspiration.

Nursery Inspiration

1. Baby Crib Mobile by hingmade on Etsy

2. Hampton Bay Sadie Collection ceiling light from Home Depot

3. Yellow and grey owl from a whole bunch of places like this Etsy shop

4. Decorative Owl pillow by WhimsySweetWhimsy on Etsy

5. Handmade Botanic Gardens Grey Wool Rug on Overstock

6. That wall color we picked out a year ago, Light Yellow by Benjamin Moore

7. Gulliver crib in white from Ikea. I would have been skeptical of a crib from Ikea, but it has great reviews from Baby Bargains and real life owners.

8. Art project I made for the room. I smell future post!

9. Greyt / silver pillows I already made for the window seat in the room. The match the roman shades I made. Another future post?

10. Yellow dot and grey chevron fabric bunting from LittleFreeRadical on Etsy

Okay, no more delays. It’s time to Make a Move on That Room. This weekend, I own you.

Before and After, Side One

24 Feb

You know, I just realized my last post lacks context. So, take a look at the before and after.

Here’s the before. The people who lived here when we bought the house used it as a dressing room. That’s because there were really no closets up here. Now we have two walk-in closets so we don’t need a dressing room.

And here’s the after. Every wall was knocked down up here so the change is subtle, but it’s there. The slope starts just a touch higher than it did before and the dormer is a just a smidge taller. Originally, I could just stand in there bare feet, and now I can walk in even if I have sneakers on. There’s also, of course, the duct-concealing window seat. The floors were also replaced. We were sad to say goodbye to the pretty heart pine, but we needed enough new floor that it just wasn’t practical to preserve it. Anyway, we LOOOOVE this engineered hardwood Australian Cypress.
 
In fact, the more dramatic view is actually the other side of the room. Where once the slope mirrored this side of the room, now we have full height ceilings. Also, the new big closet is over there.
Sadly, I haven’t taken those pictures yet … so you’ll just have to wait.
 

Sprucing Up the Nest, Part 2

23 Feb

Remember how we re-did our second floor to make a larger master bedroom, bathroom and nursery? And how we decided to go ahead and pick paint and a light fixture that would as a second guest bedroom now and a nursery down the road?

Well, I thought you might like to see what that room looks like now:

Our Home: Future Nursery

One day ...

Wall color: Bejamin Moore Light Yellow
Floor: Australian Cypress
Rocking chair: Belonged to my grandmother when my mother was a baby

That built in window seat is clevery hiding some unattractive, but necessary, duct work. Woo!

That’s all. You may go about your day.

 

Sprucing Up the Nest, Part 1

16 Jan

Remember how we’re in the midst of a BIG renovation project upstairs? Well, it’s ALMOST done. We’re living upstairs now and while we still need some electrical work (there are no lights in bathroom) and some plumbing (one of our vanities arrived cracked, we need a piece of marble for the drop in tub and the shower door is not installed yet), it looks pretty good up there.

So good in fact, that we’re actually working on finishing touches – like hanging curtains and making art.

Here’s a really fun and simple art project I made for the one-day nursery.

First I picked up a mess of paint chips from the local Home Depot:

I hauled out my crafty hole punches:

 

And I punched circles out of the chips:

 

Once I had all the circles I needed in a variety of sizes (and then some), I was ready to begin:

 

Using paper glue, I created the some layers:

Then I made a design using all my layers (some of the glue is still wet in the picture):

 

After it was finished and dry, I put it into this Ikea frame / shadow box that I already had in the house:

 

I’m pretty excited about the result. I watched HGTV while I punched the circles and glued the layers, took a break and finished the project later in the day. The whole thing took two hours tops, probably less.

Oh – one more thing. I must give credit where credit it due. I was inspired by a craft project that I saw on Pinterest (originally from here):

Planning the Nursery

4 Dec

It’s way too early to plan a nursery, but because of our house renovations we’ve been forced to make a couple of decisions already. For example, since we have professional painters attacking all the walls, it made sense to have them paint a color that would work for a future nursery. Why repaint ourselves in 6 – 18 months?

In the meantime, the room is not a nursery now … so we didn’t want a color that was too specific. Here’s what we settled on:

Benjamin Moore’s Light Yellow
 
We also needed a light fixture for the room. Again, we wanted to pick something that will work now and in 12 months.
Here’s what we picked:
 

Hampton Bay Sadie Collection 2-Light Satin Nickel Semi-Flushmount

 

Those are pretty much the only things we specifically picked with the room’s future purpose in mind. Once it’s done, we’ll take a picture before we move furniture into the room, as our social worker suggested.