Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall is in the Air....So is the Smell of Applesauce!

Don't you just love apples? This week we received 15 shiny guys from our crop share.  Since I knew we wouldn't eat all of em' I wanted to make something tasty...

What to make on a beautiful fall day? 


Here's how it went down...

Yummy Applesauce by PB and J (Hannah B Helped too...)

8 Assorted Apples diced (we left the skin on for more nutrients!)
1/4 C. Brown Sugar
1.5 C Water
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

We put everything into the crockpot on High for 5 hours. It came out so tasty!

Happy Fall Everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Make Your Own Bay Window Treatment

I've wanted to hang some curtains in our dining room- not really for any functional reason but because I think they look pretty and soften the room a bit. Since we have amazing blinds that came with the place, we really don't need them for any other purpose (key point, as this DIY window treatment is totally not functional :)

I started doing some research on curtain rods for the bay window in our dining room. Here is what it looked like before:

Bay Window treatments are expensive! The cheapest I could find was $70 including shipping. Then to add the curtains on top of that- no thanks! An example of one of the rods I found:
See how the windows above have 2 curtains on the corners? I didn't really want to block that much of the window so we only hung one curtain. Since we don't want to "use" the curtains my personal prefrence made our job a whole lot easier!

I figured we could probably noodle out a way to make our own. Nothing a little spray paint can't handle!
I bought some super glossy black spray paint, a few dowels from home depot, standard (read: cheap) curtain brackets (6), and two wood finials.

I had Peter cut the dowels to our desired length, and we glued the finials to the ends. Next came the spray paint! I did a few coats on everything - including a re-coat after the dowels needed a little light sanding in between coats.

My part was done for now. I eagerly awaited Peter coming home from work so he could mount my brackets! Once he did that, I hung the dowels on their brackets and measured the curtains to length. We bought the standard cheap white curtains from Ikea that only set us back a few bucks. They even include hem tape- so this is a no sew project!

Voila! Curtains hemmed and ready to be hung! We used the sleeve instead of the big loops on the curtains - I just liked that look. It was a super tight fit, but they don't need to move, remember?! I knew you would...

We were going to glue the corners together (Peter had mitered the corners in anticipation). Then...when we went to hang them, we realized we wouldn't be able to slide the curtains on if they were glued! haha. Live and learn. Since the brackets have a screw that allows you to tighten them and firmly hold the dowel in place, we had no need for gluing anyways! The curtain covers our makeshift corners anyway. No one will ever know. Shhh...

Here is the final product...

I am thrilled with how it came out. Even more thrilled with the price tag. Heres an approximate price breakdown:

Spray Paint: $3
Wood finials: $4 set of 2
Dowels: $4
Brackets: $6
Curtains: $13 per pair.  $26 total

Total: $43!

That's cheaper than the rod itself! Note: if you did want the curtains to be functional you could glue corners together and add those curtain clips to the rods...

So happy with the result and I am so glad I didn't buy a new curtain rod :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guest Blogger: Auntie K's Guest Room

Hi, this is “Auntie K”, Jen’s sister-in-law, with a guest post on our DIY decorating while Hannah B is keeping her parents pretty busy!  My husband and I closed on our first house a month after Jen and Peter bought their Cottage on the Coast.  Like Jen’s excitement over her dining room, a room she’d never had before, I’ve recently been enjoying setting up our first guest room: 

Here’s the room on the day we closed this spring:

The first improvements were a coat of new paint (no-VOC paint by Olympic from Lowe’s), getting our futon frame out of storage at my in-law’s (thank you!), a new futon mattress for $100 at Ikea, and a navy blue futon cover for $35 from Amazon (free shipping!).

Buying a three bedroom house meant that we had to take the rest of our furniture out of storage at my parents’ house too, but I was glad to have again the dressers from my old bedroom set.  They were a hand-me-down gift from some dear older friends when I graduated college.  I decided to refinish another hand-me-down piece from my aunt: a cedar-lined hope chest.   Here it is before:

If I were to do this project again, I would have used primer over that mahogany-colored finish instead of starting with my yellow paint.  We only scuffed the finish with sand paper first.  Three coats of paint later I was tired of painting it, and the plan changed to a distressed yellow painted hope chest.

My husband (known here as “Uncle J”) used a chisel, sandpaper, steel wool, and a Scotch Brite red pad (don’t get the non-scratching green pad by mistake) to sand and distress several small spots that would naturally get wear and tear, such as corners, edges, and where your hand touches to open and close the lid of the chest:  

Sometimes distressed furniture is too overdone, but he definitely got the right balance.  It could almost even use more distressing, but I think that the original dark finish that comes through under the yellow could very suddenly be too much if we had done any more.  Here is it finished, after two coats of wipe-on polyurethane and with new bronze hardware ($20 total from Lowe’s):

The fabric on the cushion is new too, along with the pillow covers, and is from Joann’s Fabrics.  I made each pillow cover with flowers on one side and polka dots on the reverse, and made them one inch larger than needed on all sides so I could add that cute little extra cuff around the edges:  

My inspiration for this came directly from Jen’s living room pillows.  (Hopefully she’ll share how to make her pillows soon!)

While painting one piece, I also painted two wooden shelves.  They were originally unfinished, so to similarly darken up the bright yellow paint, my husband wiped on some wood stain over the paint.  We didn’t really plan all this out before we started, but it did work out really well:

(My little houses were a hand painted Christmas gift made by Peter!)

And here is the guest room so far:

Thanks, Jen, for letting me guest-write.  Here’s a perfect spot for some future naps and sleepovers, Hannah B!  Love Auntie K and Uncle J :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cloth Diapering a Newborn 101- What We Do.

I've had a bunch of people contact me and ask how cloth diapering is going. The short answer: Great! We love it. Better yet we love how much money we are saving with it. Especially when we go through 3 diapers in 3 minutes. We are convinced Hannah will only go to the bathroom in a clean diaper. I can't blame her though...

So, this post is dedicated to those who want to know what a day in the life of cloth diapering a newborn is actually like.

First we need a baby:

Hi Hannah B!

When I first wrote about cloth and the diapers we had purchased, I didn't realize that the One Size Diapers and covers would be a tad too big for a 7-pound babe. Since I was counting on a small baby, I thankfully did a little more research and we prepared ourselves before baby.

Here is what we bought:

  • 24 Preemie-size Bummis Organic Prefold Diapers (available on Amazon in packs of 6). Note: Join Amazon Mom for free and get free super saver 2 day shipping!
  • Set of 6 Real Nappies Newborn (6-13lbs) diaper covers (Also at amazon). They work out to $6 each which is super reasonable for covers.
  • 1 NB Size Super Whisper Wrap Diaper Cover (basically one more cover that is patterned and not necessary but super fun to have and adorable!) 
  • Set of 3 snappis (also bought on amazon) to hold pre fold diaper on baby nice and snug.
  • 1 Bottle LuSa Organics Baby Wipe Juice (makes 2 gallons of wipe solution!) I make small batches of the wipe solution for small spray bottles that we have at the changing station.
  • Charlies Laundry Soap (Cloth diaper safe)

Here is what we made:
Large Size Wet Bag with waterproof liner and snap loop- available at Cottage On the Coast.etsy soon!

  • 4-5 medium and large size Wet Bags (Basically a sack with waterproof liner that you throw in laundry along with the diapers - more on that)
  • 30 Reusable Flannel Wipes (I'm going to make more of these though - they are invaluable!
Good News! My Etsy Shop will soon be carrying wet bags and flannel wipes....stay tuned!)

So let's start with a clean baby. Time to put a diaper on. Take a pre fold diaper and do a jelly-roll fold and use a snappi to close diaper. I know, I know. I lost you. I would have been lost a month ago too. I did my research and found this was one of the best folds for newborn "liquids" (we'll leave it at that). Here is a video on youtube I found explaining how to do the jelly roll using a Snappi (Note: this video is slightly misleading in that your newborn will NEVER be as still and compliant as the doll!). I will admit that the jelly roll takes some finesse. Don't lose heart. Within a week and 50 diapers later you will be able to do it in your sleep. Or you could be like Jim on the office and diaper everything you can before baby is born:

Then you put one of the waterproof covers on. Make sure the pre fold isn't peeking out from under the cover, or you'll find that wetness will wick on to your baby's clothing (not that it's happened to us or anything). Done! 

Uh oh. Dirty Diaper. Time to take the cover off and see the damage. Is the cover dirty? Probably not, but it happens from time to time. Take the snappi off and unfold the pre fold. Give a quick wipe with the pre fold to take care of the worst of it.  Give a few sprays to your reusable wipes and clean baby. Note: Baby's feet come standard with poop radar...they will find it faster than you think and have no qualms putting their feet joyfully in it.

What do you do with the dirty diaper (and sometimes cover)? Throw it into the wet bag along with the wipe and zip it up. (Yet Another Note: As long as you are breastfeeding, there is no need to rinse the diapers before putting them in the wet bag.) TMI time: Breast milk is water soluble and will rinse out in the first rinse cycle you do--no need to "swish" in toilet if you don't want to. Who wants to stick their hand in the toilet anyways?

Essentially, you are taking the dirty diaper and throwing it "away" in the wet bag (instead of a disposable in the trash). Same idea!

So here's the wash routine (these are directions for a top loading washing machine. The energy efficient front loaders require a little tweaking to get the correct amount of water for rinse cycle. I've heard people add extra water through one of the drawers or adding a soaking wet towel to the load):
      1.) Take the wet bag to your washing machine. Unzip the wet bag and dump everything into the washer. Shake the bag out until the lining comes out and throw the bag in the wash with everything else. 

       2.) Make sure you do a rinse cycle with cold water only, no soap.

       3.) Then add a scoop of Charlie's soap, switch to hot water wash, and do complete wash cycle.

       4.) Transfer everything to dryer or line dry in the sun (has bleaching potential for stains).
       5.) Done! 

So this routine has worked really well for us. We have had to do laundry every day though.  If you don't want to have to do the wash every day I would suggest buying more covers and prefolds. It is a relatively short time period that you use so many (first 3-4 weeks) and then it becomes more manageable. We felt it was worth it to do more laundry.

Then you have a Happy Baby!

So there you have it! How we have cloth diapered our newborn.  It's absolutely manageable and saves you so much money when you don't go overboard on cute covers:) Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Basement Progress

With a little one in the house everything seems to take much longer:) The past few weeks have been really busy but with the help of family we have made some significant dents to the basement. We have mentally split the basement into 2 parts- the bathroom and "the rest."

Take a look at the initial progress we had made. We got the platform in and it was ready to be "studdified" by who other than my stud of a husband (sorry could't resist that one).

Bathroom Progress thus far:

"The Rest":

Everything is at least studded out, the electrical 99% done, and ready for green board (definition: drywall with moisture resistance).

Back to the bathroom. We had the plumber come and do all the piping for the toilet and sink. He also moved the washer and dyer shut-off since they were located where the bathroom is. You may wonder- why is there a platform under the bathroom? I would ask the same question. Short story: Building the platform slightly higher than the main drain helps us to avoid an "up flush" toilet (Basically a $1000 toilet vs. $100 regular toilet) and just in case any water happens to come into the basement (as it did a few weeks ago...panic mode ensued...but we just needed to patch some holes in our sidewalk (which Grandpa B and Uncle J did while Peter and I were at the hospital, and in the middle of we wouldn't have to worry about it after!) and reroute some downspouts.)

We've definitely made some progress since this:

So there you have it. Greenboard is up and we are working on mudding the seams. Next steps are to sand and re-mud a few times, cut out the access panel that will let us get to the water shut-off and water meters, position the light and wire it in, and then to my favorite parts: painting, accessories and making things look cottage-y! Wahoo!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

She's here!

Well in true "B" time Hannah Caroline decided to come to us 11 days late. Not only was she 11 days late but she decided to take her sweet time entering this world. 36 Hours later this precious miracle entered the world:

Here are her stats:
7lbs. 5oz.
21" long

Because I couldn't pick just a few pictures, I shamelessly put together this slideshow so you could see Hannah's first 2 weeks:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...