Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow day

It may only be a few inches, but it's still pretty and our first real snow since moving to St Mary's, so we are enjoying the little bit while it lasts!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Embossing love

As I mentioned in this post, my sister ordered a few stamps off Etsy and then embossed her own save-the-dates for her upcoming wedding.  I think the result is really quite impressive.  The raised gold writing is so elegant and you would never guess that she did these herself.

After buying a new stamp off Etsy (also in this post) and using a stamp pad to make my own Christmas gift tags, I decided to take it up a notch to Bailey's level and purchase the supplies needed to start embossing stationary with the same stamp.  Enter my new best friend, Paper Source.

Supplies neededstationary (lots of colors and sizes available), envelopes, embossing powder (lots of colors, but I love picking colored paper and doing gold or another neutral), embossing heat tool, watermark stamp pad and of course whatever stamps you desire.

Step 1: Use the VersaMark watermark stamp pad and stamp your stationary card.

Step 2: With the tiniest spoon I scooped up the littlest bit of gold embossing powder and then sprinkled onto the card where I'd stamped the watermark ink.  The watermark ink almost acts as glue, but I made sue that the entire area I'd stamped was fully covered.  I shook the excess back into the container and then inspected the card to blow off any stray pieces of gold powder.  Occasionally, I'd have to carefully use my finger to scrape off a little bit that was stuck where it shouldn't have been.

This is what mine looked like at this stage.

Step 3: You then use the heat tool - unlike the picture (since I was trying to take a picture and demonstrate), I held up the card and held the heat tool a few inches away from the card, moving it back and forth.  You will see the color and texture of the powder change as it reaches the correct temperature.  This doesn't take long - maybe 10 or 15 seconds.  With the gold, it became a much shinier gold.

The finished products -- I used baby blue for my baby shower thank you notes and then ordered the hot pink for fun.  I still have a TON of the gold powder left after making about 150 cards, so the supplies do go a long way!  It will now be a very cost effective way to make stationary, gift tags, etc.

The pictures don't do the gorgeous gold color justice at all!

In other news, I started a new job last Monday (that's right, 7 months pregnant!) and was in Santa Monica, CA last week for training.  So far I'm loving it and very impressed with the company.  It will be a very busy month of travel from NY to FL before I hit 36 weeks.

This weekend we headed to Kinston for Myers and Kai's wedding - such a fabulous night and the bride was as beautiful as ever. (photo credit of the happy couple to Hunter Schenk)  


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Baby Shower Recap

Rachel, her mom and Mrs. Yates hosted such a gorgeous and perfect baby shower for the Otto Bean and I on Saturday in Raleigh.  I had to share a few pictures of their hard work and great ideas.  Thank you so much to all the friends and family that showered us with so many gifts and their presence.  I feel so blessed, so thankful, so loved.  It did make the upcoming arrival much more real.  Down to 8 weeks or so...

Caroline and Julia won the onesie cookie decorating contest.
My mom, sisters, mother-in-law and brother-in-laws' ladies
These two don't look like grandmothers to me!

My mom and sisters filled up the elephant hamper / toy bin that I had my eye on for a while with lots of goodies.  I love it!
Jean surprised me with our stroller and filled it up with more baby loot.  She included the outfit Josh came home from the hospital in and I can't wait for our baby to wear it home 33 1/2 years later.  It has a little blue embroidered giraffe on it - what are the chances?!
Rach and her mom filled a basket with all of baby Ryan's favorite items.  Thank you so much to Rachel for all the love and time she put into truly making this such a special and fun day!  I can't wait to raise our babies together.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby Wardrobe Revamp

Over Christmas in Charlotte my sweet aunt brought me the baby wardrobe that was in my dad's nursery, her nursery, my nursery, my sisters' nurseries and then my aunt's two children's nurseries.  We are now onto the 3rd generation to use it by having it in my baby's nursery.  It's a sentimental piece and will also be very functional with all the storage it will provide.

It's a solid piece of furniture, it just needed some fresh paint and I decided I wanted to change out the wooden knobs for brass hardware.

The nice Benjamin Moore man recommended the Natura line after he saw my pregnant belly.  It was great paint - went on very smooth with little smell.  I chose Decorators White as the color and did it in a semi-gloss finish.

This was a very easy project.  First, I removed all the knobs.  I then used 409 all over it to get rid of the dirt and grime.  Next, I sanded the entire piece lightly.  I had to sand a little harder where I'd removed the knobs because the paint was not even in those spots.  Then- I got to painting!  I did 3 light coats.

I ordered the Lee Valley Plain Brass Ring Pulls in their largest size (57mm x 49mm).  What a deal for $3.25 each!
Plain Ring Pulls - Hardware

Before and after

My mom gave me these little animals (which are technically adorable ornaments) for Christmas.  I may leave them out year round if I have room.  Or they may come out and go on a little tree in the nursery during the holidays.  Or they may be incorporated into a little DIY project...

My parents also gave me 4 prints from The Animal Print Shop's babies collection.  I bought a four pack of white gallery frames from Bed, Bath & Beyond for $29.99 and framed them myself.  I may paint the frames or change the matting (currently creamy with white frames) to make them pop a little more.  Can't decide though because I do like the neutral look of them as shown on the site.

Josh thinks we have enough animals in the nursery now.  I really don't want it to become too much of a theme, so I think he is right.  Not too many more animal accessories will be purchased - we are running out of space for decorating and need the functional items now anyways!  Can't wait for my shower this weekend.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year - 3rd trimester maternity style

2014 is here and the Otto bean will be arriving before we know it.  I had a slight freakout when the clock struck midnight on NYE -- I can't believe I can no longer say and think, "Oh the baby isn't coming until next year."  I'm honestly still a bit in shock that we are having a real live baby.  It's we better get ready.  We are down to less than 10 weeks to the due date.  Josh loves to tell people the nursery is almost done.  Let's be real, I have mostly decorated it, but we have only one thing for the actual baby and that is a crib.  

Speaking of 10 weeks, what a difference 10 weeks has made.  This belly sure has grown!  I can't believe it's going to keep getting bigger for 10 more!  Ignore my pitiful hair in today's pic...yikes!  

Even though I look like I swallowed a watermelon, I've bought only a handful of actual maternity items -- mostly pants.  I love my AG jeans and intended to buy a pair of J Brand maternity, but at this point am thinking maybe just a cheaper pair of Old Navy skinny jeans and make due.  For work, I bought a pair of black J Crew Minnie maternity pants and have really loved them.  I found all of the pants mentioned ran really true to my pre-pregnancy size.

After reading Natalie from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers raving over the Spanx leggings (here and here), I decided to buy a pair to add into my pants rotation.  I got them from ShopBop today and they really are comfortable and flattering, even 7 months pregnant.  Typically, I'm completely on the Kelly Ripa leggings-are-NOT-pants bandwagon, but for the third trimester, I'm embracing them more than ever.  For the most part I'll wear longer sweaters with them to completely cover my bum.

After splurging a little on these leggings (they run nearly $100, so I do consider that splurging for leggings!), I decided to peruse Forever21's website to find some reasonable items to pair with the leggings.  Well these 5 items arrived on my doorstep at the same moment as the Spanx and they are quite the match!  These will be my uniform for the next few months (and after...the beauty of not buying actual maternity).  I ordered a mix of smalls and mediums to try and make sure the ones that looked shorter would cover the watermelon, but kind of wish I'd gotten a small in all of them since they are all stretchy and long enough on my 5'2" body.  I'm happy though and keeping them all.  

Textured Knit Sweater Cape $27.80 (this is one size fits all)

Relaxed Eyelash Knit Sweater $29.80 (ordered M and should have ordered S)

Southwest Bound Sweater $32.80 (ordered a S.  Love the colors and pattern of this one, but it is a little bulkier than it appears in the picture.  It's also a tad itchy, so I'll likely wear a long-sleeved shirt under it)

Longline Metallic Thread Sweater $24.80 (ordered a S - love the buttons on the back of this!)

The fifth sweater is actually no longer availble.  If you want any of the above items, act quickly since that's how it goes at Forever21.

ASOS has a large variety of cute maternity items and I did order a shirt (which is no longer available) and dress from there back in early December.  I wore the dress NYE.  I didn't want it to be too tight and ordered a 4, but the ASOS maternity runs big according to the two purchases I made.  I'd recommend ordering in your pre-pregnancy size for a better fit -- even if you are busty.

ASOS Maternity Knitted Dress with Leather Look Pockets (originally $72.60, now only $21.78!)

Happy New Year!