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!

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Compulsive Organizing: Spice Cabinet

For the past few months (dare I say more than a year?) I’ve been guilty of muttering…or yelling…long strings of angry words every time I had to go into my spice cabinet. Living in an apartment that is little more than 800 square feet means my kitchen is nothing too large, and neither is my storage space. Which means that my spices were squeezed onto one small shelf, all stacked on top of each other like sardines in a can.

I was able to live in denial for the two years we lived here, because I hadn’t accumulated nearly as many bottles. But as I’ve been stretching my diet to healthier things and eating lots more homemade Asian foods (which typically require a large variety of spices), I found myself getting more and more frustrated.

You know it’s time for a change when every time you cook you start yelling, “WHY can’t I EVER find ANYTHING IN HERE?!?!?!?”

Not that I did that or anything.

Ahem.

So, I went out and bought a spice rack. For the second time. And I wound up returning it, for the second time. Which not only served to highly amuse my darling husband, but also to get me even more frustrated. Is there such a thing as a spice storage system for people with no counter or drawer space and the inability to put any major holes in anything?

This got me searching. And searching.

One of my favorite blogs – Apartment Therapy – did a feature earlier this year on spice racks.

Yes, I’m way too excited about it.

Go read their feature on 10 Practical Ideas for Better Spice Storage here.

My particular favorite, which I’m actually considering doing someday, is this one shown here on Traveler’s Lunchbox (and the photo below) made out of an old printer’s tray. Brilliant! I love that it has room for labels, since I’m not skilled enough to quickly recognize all my spices by sight and would most likely end up making some horrible errors.

However, time nor budget have allowed me to try this particular method yet.

Finally, I came up with my own solution. And that was to separate all my dear friends into two categories, thus keeping them in two separate places.

Spices that don’t get used very often like cinnamon sticks, marjoram, bay leaves, etc.,  got set aside to be put into a box, while ones that I use very regularly like cinnamon, garlic powder, and italian seasoning, made the cut to stay on my tiny shelf.

Now wait a minute, you say. How do you ever remember what spices you have if half of them are boxed up?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used these labels to figure out if I’ve got something. No more digging, no more swearing loudly at the spice cabinet.

And I actually have extra space in there now!

It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

How about you? Any secrets to spice storage and organization? How do you maintain your sanity in the kitchen?

Compulsive Organizing: Recipes

Have I ever mentioned that I’m a compulsive organizer?

It really is a sickness.

I took advantage of several long weekends recently (thank you holiday season!) to tackle the ominous project of all the recipes I’ve collected over the years.

If I see a recipe I like in a magazine, I rip it out and save it.

If I see a recipe online, I print it out and save it.

Which makes for a lot of paper.

Lots. Of paper.

Six 1.5-inch binders, hundreds of sheet protectors, and several hours later — my hard work has paid off in a most satisfying way.

Behold…my recipe collection.

Yes. I have two binders for desserts. Don’t judge me.