The Nursery!

I finally got around to taking some better photos of the new nursery (aka, taken with my point and shoot Nikon and not my iPhone, but still not taken with my dSLR because I’m just that lazy), and figured I’d post them on the blog.

I’m completely in love with how this room turned out, since we actually spent very little money getting it together. Most of our investment was in paint and smaller decorations. Hand-me-downs are a wonderful, wonderful thing!

The diaper changing area. I’m glad it looks so lovely, when you think of what will actually go on there. The dresser was a hand-me-down from one of my husband’s aunts – I’ll post a “before” photo of it later on in the post. So grateful for Scott’s blood, sweat, and tears that were poured into getting this painted and freshened up!

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A gift from my sister-in-law. I wish I were organized enough to have neatly typed up the directions on how to make wipes and laminate them!

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Our mobile, a gift from Land of Nod, one of my favorite children’s stores on the face of the planet.

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The view when you first walk into the nursery. I love that all my childhood books are here – I can’t wait to walk down memory lane when I read them to our son.

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Le Cyclone Cycle tray was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. Blue cow print from the internet. Bicycle was a bargain from a gigantic antique store in Quechee, Vermont. Eric Carle prints are actually flash cards, which I’ll show more of later on in the post.

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Keeping some lotions tucked away but easy to grab. In an effort to brace ourselves for the launch into new parenthood, we took a lot of classes, one of which being infant massage and soothing techniques. Can’t wait to see if they work!

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Extra swaddlers and burp cloths right next to the rocker.

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Boppy, at the ready!

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We’re still saving up to buy a nice, cozy recliner/glider, since we want it to be more of a regular item of furniture that can still be used once we’re doing having babies, so in the meantime, we stole this out of our living room. It’s an antique maple rocker that was my great-grandmother’s, and I had it re-padded and re-covered several years ago while I was interning at an interior design shop. The footstool isn’t hugely visible, but that was something I found at a garage sale for 25 cents (yes, cents!) and re-covered with some fabric I had laying around. The white side table I’ve had since I was a pre-teen. Chalk another victory up to quality, classic furniture that will stand the test of time!

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It never ceases to amaze me how gray the room looks in these photos. It’s actually much more of an aqua/green. But I digress.

Framed print of Max from Where the Wild Things Are was actually a free printable from the internet meant to be a coloring page. Frogs are another Eric Carle flashcard. Abstract painting is one I did several years ago that tends to float around our house. The stuffed Aardvark is one of my favorite gifts – from Land of Nod of course. He’s going to live on the shelf until the little boy is old enough to snuggle with him.

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Love this little quote sign that was a gift from a sweet friend of mine.

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Close-up of my little “inspiration board” that I’m keeping next to the rocker for the long nights to come. Pretty photos, family photos, things that make me smile, or make me downright laugh. (Yes, I have a “got milk” bumper sticker on there. Seemed appropriate, since I’ll be breastfeeding.)

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Some dried hydrangeas from our yard, and our “honey-moon” that we actually purchased in Stanardsville, Virginia while on our honeymoon.

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Our beautiful crib. Another hand-me-down, which Scott spent many hours sanding down and re-painting. And of course, Brinkley, my usual photo-bomber. He looks so handsome, doesn’t he?

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A makeshift mobile. The bird cut-outs are another gift from Land of Nod (are you sensing a theme here?) that I then hung in some simple embroidery hoops.

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We have managed to get ready for this child with only buying newborn mittens. Every other article of clothing was a hand-me-down. It’s handy having a boy when you already have three nephews and a best friend with two boys! This is one of my absolute favorite hand-me-downs. I normally don’t get into Pooh or other cartoon-themed things, but if you could FEEL how soft and snuggly this little wrap is, you would curl up into a little ball and die too. I can’t wait to cuddle our boy in this.

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Can’t leave out the diaper bag! Which is actually not a diaper bag, per say, but a friend of mine recommended it to me for that purpose and I’m thrilled, since it’s pretty enough to be still be used once I’m past the diaper bag phase. From Stella &  Dot.

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So here are those flash cards I mentioned earlier. I got the pack on clearance sale at Anthropologie for $6, and there are so many that I would love to frame and have on the walls that I’ll probably wind up rotating them out. It’s pretty much my personal secret to decorating on the cheap, finding things that aren’t necessarily meant to be decorations and using them as such.

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Here are some “Before” photos of this lovely nursery.

The crib is sitting in our garage with other miscellaneous stuff, waiting to be painted. It was lovely in black and brown, but just didn’t go with the general theme we wanted.

The photo of the dresser gives you a good idea of what color the walls were and what the dresser looked like prior to Scott re-painting it. It also gives you an idea of what this room of the house had been used for since we moved in a year and a half ago, which was to store all the random stuff we didn’t know what to do with.

And finally, just a picture of a fraction all the hand-me-downs we got. Never turn down hand-me-downs my friends, they’re awesome!

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And that’s that! This post wouldn’t be complete without a huge thank-you to all the friends and family that were so generous to us, with gifts and hand-me-downs. You are so very appreciated!

T-minus 8 days and counting till the due date!

Hope you enjoyed the photos!

Bag Love

I usually don’t get caught up in those special offers stores do, where if you buy $50 of merchandise you get a free bag, or some such thing.

However, I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, and spotted this bag which made every fiber of my year-long-Christmas-obsessed-self tingle with happiness.

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Requirement? Buy any two items, get the bag for $10.

And heaven help me if I didn’t buy a greeting card and a magnet so that I could have my discounted bag.

I’m still trying to figure out who is the winner here.

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Oh how I love a good bargain.

And I mean LOVE.

I’m one of those obnoxious people who loves the thrill of the hunt. I don’t necessarily try to talk my way into bigger discounts – to me part of the excitement is actually stumbling upon that awesome deal.

And today was a good day.

Because the stars all aligned in a convenient and totally unplanned manner, I managed to find myself in a very nice Target store around 8:30 this morning…just as they were marking ALL the Christmas products 70% off. And I do mean ALL.

$39.19 later, here’s what I came out with. The poor man at the check-out didn’t even know what hit him.

In case you can’t see everything in the photo, let me break that down for you.

  • 27 gift bags of all shapes and sizes
  • 8 rolls of wrapping paper
  • 5 fake poinsettia stems
  • 5 “sprays” of berries/pinecones for wreaths/general decoration
  • 4 types of tissue paper
  • 2 containers of ornament hooks – one fancy, one plain
  • 2 large bags of bows
  • 1 spool of 200ft of wire-edged ribbon
  • 1 set up of cupcake wrappers
  • A partridge in a pear tree. Except not really.

Which means that I got 55 individual items. Roughly averaging to $0.71 an item.

I need to sit down – I’m weak at the knees.

And the best part is that I absolutely adore everything I got. Usually when I hit the after-holiday sales to pick up the next year’s Christmas cards/wrapping, I usually don’t like what I see. And every single item today is something that given a larger wallet, I might have spent full price on anyway.

Happy sigh.

I’m off to go roll around in wrapping paper now.

Happy New Year everyone!

Bye-bye Borders

Sad day in the neighborhood. Our local favorite Borders goes out of business next week, along with all the other Borders in the country.

It didn’t leave without one more hurrah though – we went one last time to catch the massive clearance sales – all books at least 60% off.

$60 later, we emerged, and I suddenly have the new stack of to-read books that I’ve been longing for. And Scott got a few things too. 😉

Goodbye Borders. Thanks for all the memories you gave us, and the hours that you gave Scott and I to roam together in your aisles in our early dating days. We’ll miss you!

Renditions of a Hallway

While the long, zig-zaggy hallway entry into our hallway keeps us separated from almost all of the noise in the hallway outside our apartment, it has been more than a bit challenging to decorate in a welcoming, warm way since it is very dark, and very narrow.

Especially when your fuse box acts as the focal point at the end of the hallway. Hmm.

Here was my first solution to our entryway. I took two curtains I had made for my first apartment in college and hung them on the wall to hide the fuse box and add some color.

Due to laziness and other more pressing projects, this entryway has pretty much stayed this way for over two years with the exception of the addition of a lot of clutter and bulk that just really doesn’t look pleasant at all when visitors come in.

Not to mention it makes me a bit cranky to see the clutter when I first get home.

So Sunday afternoon I tackled the hallway. I always like to challenge myself to use things in the house, so this was the best I could come up with without buying anything new.

I hung a red sheet up on the fuse-box wall, and hung some artwork I did in college to hide it. (Accessing the fusebox is easy, because the artwork is light and you can pull the curtain back and have easy access to the box.)

Unfortunately some of the clutter is still there, but living in the city makes our little wagons a necessity for hauling in groceries. Scott thinks the red sheet is a bit overwhelming and I tend to agree but for the moment I don’t mind it too much…I’d rather see it than a cream-colored wall!

I also made some extra room in our one big storage closet by pulling out 3 boxes of books/paperwork that we’ve been keeping in there, and turning them into a table of sorts by stacking them and covering them with a tablecloth and some extra fabric I had in my fabric bin.

Not too shabby!

I also hung up a few more frames under our Picasso addition to make things feel a little more complete since we accidentally hung it too high. The photos are ones that I cut out of an old calendar of black and white images of Paris. I confess I did buy the frames (12×12 scrapbook page frames), but that was a while ago.

So that was my project for the weekend. And I’m sure I’ll be changing it again soon, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated. 🙂 I know you’re on the edge of your seat. In the meantime, I encourage you to look through your own house if you’re wanting to re-decorate. You’d be amazed at what you can do with a little creativity!

Cleaning Sparklers

**Note from Meg: I tried this this morning as I was getting ready for work and it definitely works! My engagement ring is definitely a lot cleaner and sparkling like crazy. Woohoo!**

If you are anything like me – a working women who spends 1/4 of her time working, 1/4 of her time cooking/cleaning, 1/4 of her time sleeping (I wish!), and 1/4 of her time trying to figure out how to survive on a budget – then you probably find yourself with very little time to handle some of the little things in life… such as cleaning your precious jewelry. There are far more important things to do with what little “free” time you get and besides it is pricey or a hassle to constantly clean stuff that just gets dirty again, right?

Well think again! I have found a quick and inexpensive way to keep my “sparklers” sparkling in between professional cleanings… which honestly only happens about once or twice a year if I am lucky. And this process comes at the recommendation of my jeweler, so it is even professionally recommended.

So, while putting off some things is far too easy, give this quick jewelry cleaning process a try and your precious jewelry will thank you with a brilliance akin to a professional cleaning. Plus you would not believe how freshly cleaned jewelry can lift your spirits on a gloomy day. And did I mention is was cheap and easy?!

Step#1 – assemble the following items:

  • Your fine jewelry
  • A small jar or tall shot glass
  • Clear ammonia
  • An old toothbrush
  • Paper towels

The "ingredients"

Step #2 – Place jewelry into the jar and fill with enough ammonia to completely cover all the jewelry.

Note: if you do not have clear ammonia on hand, you can also use Windex cleaning solution as it is an ammonia based cleaner.

Soaking away in the ammonia. Note how clear the ammonia is at this point in the process.

Step #3 – Let the jewelry soak for about 15-20 minutes. (Feel free to do other things at this point… like watch a chick flick and eat some ice cream.)

Give the jar a swirl afterwards and you will see all the grunge that has been hiding in your jewelry. Gross!

Note the cloudiness. This was right after giving it a little swirl. Gross.

Step #4 – Remove the jewelry and rinse under warm water. Use the old toothbrush to scrub the jewelry to remove any remaining dirt from little crevices.

Scrub, scrub, scrub.

Step #5 – Dry off your “bling” and then shield your eyes from the brilliance of your clean jewelry.

Clean! Although, it's hard to see it in the bad lighting. Sorry.

And there you have it. Super simple, quick, cheap, and it really works. Every time a clean my wedding rings this way, which is about once a month or so, inevitably within the next 24 hours someone comments on how shiny and sparkly they are. And you can do this on rings, earrings, necklaces, etc.

So what are you waiting for? Go clean your jewelry and let it start shining like a sustainable super nova. But I will warn you… once you find out how much gunk gets trapped inside and how easy it is to clean, you will be addicted. But there are worse things, I guess.

Happy sparkler cleaning!

-GG

Introducing…

…the Love Pig.

I’d like you to meet one of the cuter and more productive members of our family here in Baltimore.

Readers….Love Pig. Love Pig….readers.

There, I’m glad you’ve met.

I wanted you all to meet the Love Pig because he is one of our favorite ways to save up for date nights. Inspired by my lovely best friend and her own love stash, the Love Pig gets money added whenever either Scott or I are supremely happy with each other.

Loving thought? Or even when you’re mad at each other. Stick in a dollar. (Or dump all the change from your pockets and wallet). And the money resulting once Mr. Love Pig gets filled up is used strictly for a date night.

We got $17 out of him this most recent emptying, although it would have been more like $25, but we didn’t have enough to fill up full coin-rolls. Hurray for savings!

Start your own Love Pig today. I highly recommend it.