Dirty Diaper Duty

Before I got pregnant, I always thought that I’d cloth diaper my babes. We try to be a little greenie household, from our one car policy to our urban living footprint, we’ve always had mother earth as part of our equation when we make our big decisions in life.

But y’all, maybe it’s the fact that I am still firmly planted in my first trimester and I have all sorts of aversions, but cloth diapering is sounding less and less appealing.

Since I know lots of my readers have done the whole mamma thing before, I’m curious if you guys have insight into the whole shabang. Even if you haven’t had kids – I’m curious, do you lean toward one option or the other? If you’re all like – ummm – that’s why I’m NOT having kids, I totally get that, too! ;) lol

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

Here’s the list I’ve formulated so far:

Cloth Diapers

PROS:

  1. Eco-Friendly
  2. Cheaper (after the initial investment)
  3. Cuter (IMO)
  4. Possibility of being able to use for future monkeys
  5. Softer for the babies bum
  6. Not disposable

CONS:

  1. Poop in yo face (the whole cleaning component)
  2. Less convenient
  3. Lots of laundry

Disposable Diapers

PROS:

  1. Easier
  2. Daycare … it might be tricky to find one that would mess w/ cloth
  3. Less poop in yo face

CONS:

  1. More expensive
  2. Premium for eco-friendly options (and really, when you’re tossing it into a landfill, what does that mean anyway)
  3. Tons of trash – quite wasteful

So – any thoughts? Speak to me, bestow your knowledge!

Who’s the Boss

A few weeks ago, I had Jay bring up the last of the boxes from our basement and I was delighted to find all our artwork in mystery box #1. Between all our moving around and life re-configuring, I think I forgot that I own artwork – a decent amount of it actually. Remember how I lamented that our house was feeling sorta non-homey, well I thought our artwork hanging would be a good place to start to get things feeling a bit more cozy and lived in.

When you walked into the office before, it was feeling a bit bare. In need of some wall adorning, wouldn’t you agree?

How to Decorate Office

So I mixed and matched and tried to find the prints that would look best – but everything I found felt too empty in the room, like it just wasn’t taking up enough wall space.

I finally found a grouping of (6) botanicals, which we had in our dinging room in the last house.

Dining_Room_Botanical_Art_Collage

I loved the idea of grouping (4) on each side – alas if you do the math, that leaves me two short … bummer dude.

But THEN, I remembered that I had two more, that we had in our loo in the last house. Remember these guys?

Botanical Art Work in Bathroom

So I crossed my fingers and headed over to Michaels, where we purchased the initial (6) frames. It was a generic(ish) white frame, but I obviously needed it to match exactly if I was going to group everything together.

And yaknowwhat?? They had the frames and they were only $5.99 each! Huzzaah!! Now that’s what I call a success :)

Inexpensive Frame Locations

While Jay was getting the tools he would need to pop up the prints, I took a quick second to arrange them so he could just grab each one and put it up.

Arranging Artwork

Although the room definitely still needs some accessorizing, I think the artwork definitely helps to make things look a bit more finished.

If I could actually keep fiddle leaf fig trees alive, one would look splendid in the corner of the office, no? ;)

Office Artwork

And another shot of the space, to the right of the computer and desk.

Botanical Art

Since we already had the art and most of the frames on hand, our total cost was around $13, which makes this little momma one happy camper :)

One more before:

Decorating Office

and after!

Botanical Art in Office

Southland Avenue Nursery

A few months back I spotted Heath and Mary Keller’s blog, Southland Avenue, and absolutely fell in love! Mary Keller is guest blogging today with some sweet images from her daughter’s nursery – enjoy!

Thanks for having us Mary!  For those of you who we haven’t met, my sister (Heath) and I (Mary Keller) blog at Southland Avenue and we’d love to share picture’s of my daughter Virginia’s nursery with you if you’re interested.  Virginia’s nursery is actually the master bedroom of our house.  You can probably tell from these pictures, but her room is huge, especially for an old house.  When we first moved in we decided we would never have enough furniture to fill the bedroom as a master bedroom, and instead decided to make it a giant nursery.  If Virginia becomes a big sister one day, our plan is for her to share this room with her sibling.  :)  We really wanted her nursery to be colorful and full of Virginia’s art and toys as the years go by.  So many pieces in the room are things we already had, but I’ll share sources and tons of photos below.

 

 

Sources:

The twin beds were actually my mother’s childhood beds with simple matelassé bedspreads from Bed Bath and Beyond.  The splatter paint pillows are from Biscuit.  We purchased an inexpensive chest at auction to use between the beds and the gourd lamps are from a local boutique Cottage & Vine in Columbia, SC.  The elephant and giraffe bookends are Serena and Lily (a gift from grandparents) and the art between the beds is by Michelle Armas.  (It’s a print.  Wish we could have done an original but Virginia will never know the difference!)

For her rugs we decided on two Dash and Albert rugs.  Her crib is an inexpensive Jenny Lind, but I loved it’s old fashioned classic look.  Crib splatter paint bedding by Biscuit.  Art above the crib is an old framed Spoleto poster, and the hot air balloon mobile is from Shower Me With Love in Charlotte.

We DIYed her glider (a tutorial here!) and the pillows on the glider and crib by Kevin O’Brien Studio.  The bookcase was actually made by my grandfather for my nursery when I was a child.

I’m using an old buffet as a changing table for now.  I found the toile flower lamp at a vintage shop and the black mirror is an inexpensive piece that I painted a long time ago.  I would love something more fun like this, but it’s not in the budget for now.

Right now this nursery stays nice and neat (too neat!) like this since Virginia doesn’t move around much, but I really look forward to the day that she has lots of room to run around in here, pull out all of her toys, invite friends (or a future sister) to have a slumber party with her, etc.  I’d love to add roman shades or some type of drapery to all of these windows to soften the room, but for now we’re pretty pleased with our girl’s sweet room!

Care for Kara | Giveaway!

Alright decorating fanatics. It’s time to get yo pillow on! This week, y’all have a chance to win a pair of pillows from Kara Fabrics!

pillows

Up for grabs are two sweet little patterns – her 20″x20″ Pink Moroccan Pillow and a 14″x20″ Coral Asian Peony Pillow.

collage

Enter to win, here:

Win: The two pillows, above. 
When: Today, September 16th – midnight on Tuesday, September 23rd
Winner: Announced on this post, next Tuesday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blinded

Jay and I went for an evening walk the other night and we were chatting about where the house is, and where we’d like it to be. Being the planner I am, this naturally led me to start thinking that we have 29 weeks to go until our little monkey is here, as well. I know the house doesn’t have to be perfect by then, but I do want it to feel like home. I want it to feel homey and like home and be cozy and comfy and ready for a miniature human.

Our Living Room, for instance – it feels like a pass through room right now. Not cozy and not homey.

For a quick second it looked nice and cozy, but then I started making executive decisions like getting rid of rugs and selling chairs. Once we get a rug back in here, I do like the idea of going back to something cozy, like this.

Living Room Furniture Arrangement

So in the name of getting this room back in action, I made a little bucket list of things I’d like to see.

  • Window Treatments (bamboo blinds and curtains)
  • Rug (large, at least 10×14)
  • Artwork
  • Additional seating to fill in side of room
  • New coffee table option(s)

Since I love me some JCPenney roman shades, and I found a stellar steal of a deal, I decided to jump on the first part, of the first bullet. Window treatments.

Bamboo Roman Shades

They’re cordless, just like the one’s we popped in our bedroom, but bamboo instead of linen. I wanted to add some texture to the room and later, once I pinch a few more pennies, we’ll add in some drapes, too. Swanky.

Just like our lest roman shade extravaganza, we had to retrofit the windows a wee bit to make the shades fit. Old house problems.

Modifying Window for Shades

We just notched out the sides of the windows (since you can’t see it at all, once the window treatments are in). Ugly before you get the shades in for sure though!

Removing Part of Window Sill

Here is a side profile of the shade, so you can see how the panel was able to just slide in to the little divet that Jay made. Perfect fit.

Installing Bamboo Blinds

All the windows in our living room are pretty large, this was the smallest side window. It ate up Jay there pretty quick. ;)

The blinds are a bit lighter than we thought they’d be and I’m not crazy sauce about the wood bar along the bottom (which is what you pull to adjust them, since they’re cordless), but overall, I do like them for the price!

JCPenney Bamboo Blind

Here are a few shots of the shades after they’re up and installed. It’s nice to have something in the windows (finally). This is a side angle shot of the smaller window.

JCPenney Roman Shade

For the two larger flanking windows, we’ll eventually pop in some pinch pleat drapes to swank things up a bit and soften the walls some more.

Cordless Roman Shade

In the name of adding a bit of character to our walls, we also picked up this beastly dude at HomeGoods. We do live in Bull City, after all! Since I’m a serial key loser, it helps to have a designated spot where we pop these.

Bull Key Holder

Oh, and so y’all can see the travesty that is our fiddle leaf fig plant, this is all that remains. I think it might be dead. ;)

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

Black Thumb

I still remember the moment. Seeing that beautiful little fiddle leaf, standing by it’s lonesome in Home Depot, just waiting for me to come and rescue it from the dole drum life of the hardware store. I couldn’t believe my eyeballs, and Jay couldn’t believe his ears – why, why was this woman so excited to get her paws on this tropical house plant.

I mean come. on. husband – that’s a whole lotta leafy green hubba hubba goodness. Am I right, or am I right?

Where to Buy Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees

But y’all – Houston has got a problem. I think I’m (we’re) killing the plant. A week or so ago, it looked liked this:

How to Care for Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees

And now, well now it looks considerably worse than that. I may be able to count the remaining leaves with one hand. :'(

Right now the plant is:

  • In indirect sunlight
  • Watered about once weekly
  • Kissed and cuddled and encouraged to get better soon

HELP! Do we have any (tropical) gardeners out there? Is this beautiful plant destined for the compost bin? Say it ain’t so – does anyone know what I can do?

House Stalking

Since I’ve been in such a vegetative state lately, progress has slowed down a bit on the house. Ok, a lot. ;) Pretty much all we do every night is lay in bed and watch Soprano re-runs. Maybe go for a walk if I’m feeling up to it. I know I’ll be feeling better soon, but y’all, I’m missing my pre-pregnancy days like whoa this week. Missing my energy, my appetite and my ability to walk into a room without vomiting from some smell that hits me wrong (kitchen, I’m looking at YOU). All in the name of growing this little fetus into a real boy/girl/monkey. Someone has got to do it.

We have been working on sprucing our upstairs bathroom and I’m excited to debut that little beauty to y’all next week, but in the mean time, I thought I send over some of the prettiest little pictures of the prettiest little cottage that I’ve ever seen. Do you guys follow Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo of ABCD Design? I found her on twitter a few months back and her style is to the nines. Her New England cottage is currently for sale and I’m pretty much head over heals in love with it.

East Coast Cottage

Her style is so gathered and eclectic. I love what she’s done with every single space and although it’s sad to see her leave this beauty behind, I’m sure she’ll do equally amazing things with their next abode.

That dark velvet sofa just looks perfect for snuggling in come those cold northern winters, doesn’t it. Delicious.

Eclectic Living Room

Speaking of dark, I’m totally in love with this galley kitchen. That inset custom cabinetry and contrasting marble counters are really perfect. Love the darker appliances as well, and how they blend right in with the cabinetry.

Black Kitchen Marble Counters

The dining room is a light and bright open space, right off of the kitchen.

I love the exposed beams in this space – the perfect rustic touch for this country home.

Dining Room Rustic

In contrast to the first living space downstairs on this house – this den is bright and neutral. I’m pretty smitten with the wainscoting details around the fireplace surround.

Rustic Living Room

Keeping that cozy theme, the Master Bedroom is dark and welcoming. Look at that headboard, y’all! Talk about a show stopper!

Navy Bedroom

As much as I adore the inside of this house, the outside grounds are full of wonderful surprises as well.

Although this perfectly groomed and landscaped outbuilding looks like a gardening shed, when you open the door, you actually find …

Outdoor TV Room

A cozy little TV room!

Rustic TV Room

And when you’re totally done enjoying all the amenities of this sweet abode, why not pull up a chair and dine al fresco under the stars. Sigh. Now that’s living the life.

Outdoor Pergola Patio

Tell me, which space is your favorite?

This house, along with a few others, are featured this week on the WSJ house of the week post (one of my favorites for gorgeous house inspiration). You can vote for your favorite, here!

Chim Chimney

We’ve learned lots of things about what happens to a house when it’s not lived in for 10+ years. Bugs – you betcha! Musty smells – yep! Chimney’s that leak water into your living room when it rains – we’ve got that, too.

And one thing about the South in the summer, it sure does know how to rain. Inches come down in minutes and before you know it, your once cozy living room looks like this (this was when we had our appliances delivered).

Water FromChimney

A bit of a shock to the system, needless to say … this little surprise also meant that the chimney repair that we knew we’d need to do at some point, ya know, far down the line in the future, just got bumped to the front of the list. GRUMBLE.

We had gotten a quote for a chimney repair before we moved in, and they said it would cost just north of $2k to fix our issue. Sigh. Since I didn’t feel like spending $2k, we decided to shop around a bit and got the price down to $1,700 once we found a 10% off coupon from a competitor. Still a sizable chunk of money for something, well, I really didn’t want to be spending money on. Chimney repairs are right up there with root canals in my book. Necessary, but expensive and not something you really look forward to.

Alas, our chimney looked like this.

Cost to Repoint Fireplace

Here are some of the photos that the crew took, so you can get an idea of the level of gappiness that we were talking about.

How to Repoint Chimney

Another close-up, showing the crack in the top cement pad as well.

Damaged Chimney

Remember when we moved in, and there were a bunch of birds in our house? Creepy, but true.

Birds Getting Into House

Turns out that was from the fact that our chimney was completely open on the top. No cap, no nothing. Just two big holes letting rain, and wildlife in and our AC and heat come winter – out. Eeek!

Repointing Chimney

So, we chatted with the chimney folks about what our options were and we came up with this list as our first round of chimney improvements:

  • Repoint of existing brick (adding new mortar in) and water proofing the chimney exterior (10 year warranty)
  • Installation of new concrete pad crown
  • Installation of new multi-flue chimney cap

And after their crew came through, our chimney looked like this (still sans the chimney cap):

Cost to Repoint Chimney

Here is a close up side angle view, so you can see all the repointing work that was done, too.

Repointed Chimney

After they left, I snapped a photo from down on the ground, too. Things are definitely looking better and much more importantly, no more leaking into the Living Room! ;)

Repointing Chimney

Back Alleys Back Roads | Giveaway!

I just can’t help it, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for vintage charts. In Dining Rooms, in Bedrooms, in Bathrooms – they just look great everywhere. :) Today’s giveaway is brought to you by Back Alleys Back Roads, which is an etsy shop specializing in vintage prints!

Today, you can win any one of the 12×18 prints from the shop!

collage

Enter here!

Win: Any 12×18 Print from Back Alleys Back Roads
When: Today, September 9th – midnight on Tuesday, September 16th
Winner: Announced on this post, next Tuesday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stacking Up

Don’t know where it came from, but Thursday afternoon I got a legit burst of energy. For someone who’s days consist of barely being able to get out of the bed in the morning – this was a BIG deal. And as I was stumbling along past the laundry room to start my morning, I thought, you know, it just might be time to start switching things up and making our room look a bit more sprucified. Get things in there a bit closer to my light bulb laundry moment vision.

Since it was looking like this and all.

Washer Shaking on Second Floor

We knew we wanted to organize the storage along the left side of the room, to optimize the flow in this little space.

This was the general layout we were thinking about before we went out to buy the wood.

Laundry Room Storage

Since we had to first get up and around all the plumbing and electrical that runs along the floor, we decided to raise the base shelf 8 inches. We just used a 2×4 base to do that – so it was super cheap, about $6 to build out the base.

Building Base for Storage

For building out the shelves, we decided to use a combination of (1) 4×8 piece of 1/2″ MDF and 1″x12″x10′ pine shelves. Here was our complete source list

  • (4) 2×4’s
  • (1) sheet of 1/2″ 4’x8′ MDF
  • (2) 1″x12″x10′ pine boards (made 4 shelves)
  • (1) sheet of 5mm thick underlayment, 4’x8′

Total cost: $109.87

Alright, here’s how it came together – it was actually pretty quick, took about (3) full hours to get the shelf to the point it is at the end of the post (pre-paint).

For our side panel, we had to use a few more 2×4’s, to give the side something to connect on to. We had to get a bit creative with this, but in the end we created a mini little framed wall, to attach the mdf directly to.

We popped in some mdf onto both of the bases we had built, and then started in on the shelving. This is where we used the pine shelf. It was a little bit more sturdy than the MDF, and we wanted to prevent the shelf from bowing as we added additional weight on it with our storage down the road.

Adding Shelving to Laundry Room

We used a 1″ piece of pine for the shelf to rest on. We just screwed it right into the side of each panel (of MDF).

About 20 minutes later, we had all the shelves up and you could really see the direction things were headed in!

Floor to Ceiling Storage

We had some serious storage, y’all! Jay and I were both like kids in a candy store by this point. Man, did it feel good to have an actual, legitimate shelf adorning our tiny little laundry room. So much more functional!

At this point, we realized we’d need to run back to HD to grab a small (thin) piece of wood to come through and finish off a few extra details. Like our base, which still needed some attention.

Adding Custom Storage to Laundry

We also knew that we’d have to add a skin panel to the front of each of the shelf brackets, to help cover up the ugly fugly little brackets we used to prop up our shelves ;) The front of the shelves were a bit rough looking, too (knotty).

Creating Floating Shelf

After day one, and our custom little veneer numbers we added on the fronts, we had this!

Built in Storage in Laundry

Not done, but definitely closer!

Now our list looks something like this:

  • Add trim
  • Add a surround to the area around the stacked washer/dryer
  • Patch the side wall
  • Paint the built-in
  • Grout the floor

Laundry Storage