The William Morris Project, Week 4

Who doesn’t love a big closet? I know I do. We have a large closet in our living room that I was very glad for when we moved in here. Unfortunately, I never showed my true appreciation for it. It became that catch-all that everyone has in their house (admit it). It held of the things one would expect: coats, extra blankets, the vacuum cleaner, etc. it also held some really random things: baby shower gifts we weren’t using yet, bins of batteries and cords, old cards that I love to keep, an old DVD player that needs to be thrown away after Andre retrieves the DVD that is stuck in it, boxes of clothes that need to be brought for consignment, and the like.

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So, we invested in a cube shelf from Target. We got the 9-cube shelf thinking we could use some for storage and some for Eila’s toys as she accumulates them. One fateful morning, I decided to put it together. Eila was totally content watching me, and it only took about 30 minutes. Then, I cleared out the closet and ceremoniously slid the shelf into place.

Except.

It didn’t fit.

No, really.

And lest you think we didn’t measure beforehand this time, we did. We just didn’t take into account (yet again) our very crooked walls. The one spot I measured yielded enough space, but apparently one wall tapers a bit and no matter what I did, I could not get it to fit.

So the 9-cube shelf is currently sitting in our living room (more clutter- ironically annoying considering the ponit of the William Morris Project) in hopes that we can sell it. We went back and bought a 6-cube shelf. it fit with some room to spare.

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I’m bummed that I don’t have as much storage as I had originally planned. but it sure is nice to to have a pile of stuff on the closet floor. I won’t leave the shelves like this forever. Once I clear out the other side of the closet (it’s full of clothes for consignment) I will move those plastic boxes and a few other things over there and add some canvas bins for Eila’s toys.

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Not a very glamorous project this week, but at least I don’t shudder every time I open the closet door. The piles of stuff were not beautiful, and this storage is definitely much more useful. I’m linking up over at Pancakes and French Fries and cant wait to check out everyone else’s projects!

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris

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The William Morris Project, Week 3

I was super excited for this week’s project- hanging curtains in the living room. It’s something I’ve been wanting to get done for a while. First I had to commit to the curtains, then, when I bought them and a curtain rod at Ikea, the rod was too short. What’s that you say? Measure before you go shopping? Now where is the fun in that?! I mentioned the too-short rod to my mom and she happened to find a $50 rod on clearance for $15 at Lowes! I figured the project was dead in the water for a while as I didn’t know when I would be able to get the rod from New York.

Cue my awesome lifelong friend Christine, who lives in Maine but just happened to be going home this past weekend for a visit. She swung by my moms for the rod and delivered it to me on her way back home. Yeah! Operation curtain hanging was back on! I wasn’t crazy about the finials at first but now that they are up I think they look pretty nice (also, beggars can’t be choosers).

So, here is the before picture:

Side note: You can see that there are roller shades on the two outer windows and not the center window. That’s because our landlord is slowly replacing the original windows in our place and the new ones are shade-less. Ahhhh apartment living. We are stuck with the roller shades at that height as we currently have plastic on the windows to help keep the chill out. Also,don’t mind the baby stuff. I straightened up as much as I could. I keeps it real, ya know (too much?).

Andre and I sprang into action with this project. We were eager to finally have something to block the chill on winter nights and keep the scorching sun off our necks in the morning.

While Andre did all of the high work (I am only 5’1 after all), I assembled the curtain rod and removed the old holdbacks the previous renter had left.

We made quick work of the project. Measuring everything off, drilling, and securing the brackets. Until we reached the middle. I’m not sure what was up with the wall right there, but the plaster just wasn’t holding up. We decided to move onto the left side and had the same issue. The anchors popped right through the holes we made, so I had a bright idea to use some anchors we had picked up for a different project. They popped right in and we secured the bracket. Then, the wall crumbled some more and the bracket gave way.

Yes, those are drywall anchors and yes, our walls are hundred-year-old plaster. Oops. At this point, my husband was so frustrated that he may or may not have had to excuse himself and yell his frustrations into a pillow in the bedroom. He didn’t want to upset the foreman, after all…

So, we headed to Home Depot to get some bigger/stronger plaster anchors. We got what we needed and installed the left bracket a little bit further out from the gaping hole we made. The hole is covered by the curtains and we will patch it up when we paint. As for the center bracket, it’s holding its own, but is pulling away from the wall a tad. Not sure what we should do. If we move it to either side it will clearly be off center and my OCD Libra self just can’t handle that. Oh well, live and learn. Everything is up and looks great.

Here is the after picture:

Again, don’t mind Eila on her playmat. She was playing quietly and I wasn’t going to the rock the boat.

So, here’s what I’m thinking as I look at this picture.

1) I can’t wait to get a bigger/nicer rug

2) I’m not sure if I want to shorten the curtains or not. Our ceilings are pretty low and I may want to keep the length in case our next place has higher ceilings

3) These are only 3 of the 5 windows in our living room. The other two are on the wall to the left of these and I’ve yet to figure out a treatment solution for them. That is another project for another week.

4) I thought I was going to paint the walls a neutral/cream color, but now that the curtains are up, I’m not sure what to do (I do know one thing- the two-tone gold and green has got to go).

5) I really need to clean my windows once Spring is here and we take the plastic off.

So, what say you? Any opinions/thoughts? Especially on the wall color. I’m horrible at choosing colors.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris

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Dear Baby: Three Months Old (and then some)


Dear Baby,
Wow, three months old already. Well, to be exact, three months and three weeks because I am super late in getting this post up. Please forgive me. You are getting more and more of a personality and daddy and I have really enjoyed this month because he has been home a bit more. We have lots of fun getting out of the house and you love to be anywhere that has bright lights and interesting sounds. You also LOVE to see your reflection in the mirror.
Case in point:

I was able to have my maternity leave extended until either February or March and I am really excited about it. I could not handle leaving you yet and we are not planning on putting you in daycare for as long as possible. I we could figure out a way for me to stay home with you full time, we would. Maybe we will win the lottery…

We celebrated your first New Year’s Eve ( and by celebrated, I mean Daddy worked, you slept, and I watched the ball drop and cried). I cried because I remember ringing in 2011 and hoping and wishing that it would be the year that we would finally have a baby. I’m so glad you are here!

Happy three months, Bug!

Love,
Mama

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Dear Baby: You’re Fine

Dear Baby,
You have a clean diaper, full belly, and warm PJs. Your nose isn’t stuffed. You don’t have a fever. No one is cutting off any of your limbs.

Please stop screaming bloody murder and go to sleep. The neighbors are going to start wondering what is going on up here.

All my love,
Your (very tired) Mama

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The William Morris Project, Week 2

While it’s week 2 of the The William Morris Project from Pancakes and French Fries, this is technically our first project. We started a week late, but that won’t stop us!

This week’s project was to add some shelving in Eila’s room. Her room has no closet and the more storage the better.  Eila’s room is long and narrow, I’m pretty sure it was originally an enclosed porch. There is only one long wall (where her crib is) and opposite that is an entire wall of windows (great for sunlight, bad for our heating bill). The far wall has a radiator and a door to our back hallway (which is being blocked by her cabinet), and the other small wall is just big enough to hold her dresser and still leave clearance for her door to open. The only logical place to add shelving was above the radiator. I apologize for the quality of this first picture. The battery on my Nikon was dead and I had to use my cell phone.

I bought 2 Antonius shelves and 4 Ekby Kanna brackets from Ikea. I will not disclose how long these shelves were sitting on the floor next to Eila’s crib. It is embarrassing.

It was a fairly simple process to get everything installed. Attach the brackets to the shelves, attach the shelves to the walls. But of course any project that requires symmetry or for something to be level on the walls always takes a bit longer as our 100+ year old house is quite crooked. This annoys my husband to no end, but he still keeps smiling.

Since this was an easy project, please excuse my gratuitous use of pictures.


I was so excited to finally have the shelves up that I immediately had to get some things up on them. I probably won’t leave it like this forever, but it was nice to play.  I have a bunch of books from when I was little that I found during the purge at my mom’s and I’d like to put those on these shelves (Little Women, The Secret Garden, etc.), but I forgot them in NY. Soon enough. I’m sure the space will evolve, especially as we complete all of the other little projects in this room.

I thought about having the shelves lower and adding a third one, but I hope to make some sort of radiator cover and wanted to leave enough room so that it wouldn’t look to crowded.

Well, that’s it for this week. I am going to link up at Jules’ weekly project and can’t wait to see what others have done!

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris

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The Willam Morris Project- Apartment Style

I found out about Jules’ William Morris Project from Nicole Balch’s most recent Honor Roll over at Making it Lovely. Her link brought me here, and that led me here, which led me here and finally here. I know that’s a lot of links, but if you are really interested in this project, they are all really helpful and inspiring. If you are short on time, just click that last one. That’s the post that really resonated with me.

When I went home for a week at Thanksgiving, I started helping my mom clean out the 30-something years of accumulated stuff that is in my childhood home. I ended up extending my visit for a second week because we had built up so much momentum and were really motivated to purge things. We made over 10 trips to the Salvation Army, and the garbage bags and recycling bins were overflowing each garbage night. We had lots of laughs, and some tears, too (jingle the metal chain of a dog you barely remember, who passed away when you were five, and that sound will bring back memories you never knew you had).

I didn’t realize it then, but I’m so blessed to have been able to purge with my mom. We could have very easily decided to watch HGTV or shop or coo incessantly at Eila all day, but we didn’t. We spent long shifts in the basement, closets, and crawl spaces and relaxed at night after a hard day’s work. Had we not done what we did, that would have been 2 weeks worth of purging that my sister and I could have found ourselves doing after our parents’ passing. Granted, there is still SO much more to go through, but I now know that my mother has looked in every box on every shelf and most of the things that are still in that house meant something. Also, I’m just so grateful that both of my parents are still here on this earth (God willing for many more years).

Okay, back on track. Seeing how much stuff we got rid of made me realize I don’t ever want to hold on to every little thing. I am very sentimental and will probably still save random mementos that hold a special meaning, but I realized I don’t need to keep that picture frame a friend gave me that really isn’t me, or the jeans I bought 4 years ago that are no longer my style. Between my trip home and Jules’ motivational posts, I’m ready to hop on board the William Morris Project train!

I feel like my projects will be a little smaller than most others, as we are not home owners and only rent a small 2 bedroom apartment in a 3-family house. We can’t make any major changes, but there is still plenty we can do. Plus, since this is not our forever home, it’s nice to know that we are paring down our belongings for our next inevitable move, yet making our current place as functional and “home-y” as possible.

Hubby has agreed to tackle one “project” a week with me, so maybe you will see a bit more of him over here at this blog of ours. I swear he forgets it exists sometimes…

Without further ado, here is our running list. I hope to add more as we go along.

Living Room (It’s really our Entryway/Living room/Dining Room/Office/Playroom)

Replace area rug (add a pad underneath new rug so Eila has a soft place to play)
Paint trim, doors and walls
Hang something above table
Hang curtains
Wall mount the TV
Create shelving in closet
Purge and organize closet
Spray paint chairs
Purge and organize bookshelf
Make a “landing strip”
Finally get sofa slipcover dry cleaned
Swap shelves on yellow table
Create radiator cover
Create toy storage for Eila
Baby proof

Our Bedroom

Paint trim and doors
Purge and organize bookshelf
Bring clothes to consignment
Create storage system for off-season clothes
Find a way to fix foot board or get rid of it
Nightstand for Andre’s side of the bed
Replace laundry basket
Make reading corner an actual place I’d want to use
Create radiator cover
Baby proof

Kitchen

Find a place for Andre’s art
Paint inside of island (it’s currently only primed)
Donate box of comic books
Tackle recycling bins
Optimize storage under the sink
Baby proof

Eila’s Room

Add shelving above radiator
Make or buy crib skit
Anchor cabinet to wall
Paint or add paper to back of cabinet shelves
Hang quilt rack
Artwork above dresser
Artwork above crib
Organize clothes not yet needed by season and size
Baby proof

Bathroom

Paint walls
Replace shower curtain and liner
Make or buy a new valance that matches this apartment, not the last one…
Replace bath mat
Add storage
Create radiator cover
Baby proof

Front Stairwell

Hang coat hooks
Add artwork

Back Stairwell

Organize storage cabinet
Find a home for random things that have been directly outside the door
Add more nails for Andre to hang artwork/supplies
Create a space to hang broom/floor steamer

Basement/Outside

Create a workspace for Andre
Create more storage space
Designate a space specifically for hand me downs we are not yet using and baby items Eila has outgrown that we will use again.
Clean and store bikes
Install a retractable clothesline for cloth diapers

Whew. I’m not even overwhelmed or surprised by that list. Every single thing on it has been swirling around in my head. I think I will sleep soundly tonight just for having typed it out. I’m starting a week late on the project, but for once in my life, I’m not going to let something like that stop me from being productive! Here goes nothin’!

Up first: Shelving in Eila’s room.

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. –William Morris

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Dear Baby: Goodnight Sweetheart

Dear Baby,
Sometimes I’m cuddling with you and get a huge grin on my face. It’s because for years I wondered if I’d ever have a baby, and struggled with that uncertainty. It was like a giant hole in my soul.

Now I feel you snuggled on my chest at the end of the day and realize you are more than I ever could have fathomed. Life with you in it is beyond words. You, sweet baby, are behind definition. Never let that change.

All of my love,
Mama

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Thanks For Everything, 2011

So many people are excited that this year is coming to an end, but not me. 2011 was a great year and I am actually sad to see it go. I’m taking a cue from Harriet over at See Theo Run and listing my favorite moments of the year, month by month.

January

What a way to kick off 2011-We found out we were finally expecting after eons of trying, many disappointments, and with the help of assisted reproduction. I can only think of one other event that topped this one (see: October).

February

February marked our 5 year anniversary of being together. We don’t really celebrate it now that we are married, but we do always acknowledge it and can’t help but reminisce. It was wild to think that 5 years ago we were 23 years old and still went out not only on the weekends, but on many a weeknight, as well. These days I’m in bed before most school children. Here’s what we looked like in February 2006:

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March

I’m noticing as I write this post that a lot of it is centered around my pregnancy and Eila’s birth. I guess there what happens when you get pregnant at the beginning of the year. Anyway, in the beginning of March, we were told that our pregnancy was normal and I finally felt like I could relax and leave all of the stress behind. This was a major turning point and I had a very mellow second and third trimester (other then the typical discomforts and some very ugly migraines).

April

April 1st was the day we told the last few “in person” people that we were pregnant before spilling the beans on Facebook for all of the virtual world to know. We traveled home to NY to share the news with close family and friends and hadn’t even realized it was April Fool’s Day. A few people were skeptical and thought we were trying to trick them. I never thought I’d have to work so hard to convince people of such good news! We announced our pregnancy on Facebook with this picture (nerd alert):

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May

May was a month of transition. I spent pretty much the entire month packing up all of our worldly belongings and trying up make our big move as organized and stress free as possible.We only moved one city over but it was happening on Memorial Day weekend, I was getting bigger by the day, and we own a Honda Civic. Luckily with a few amazingly good friends ( and their SUV) as well as a sunny day, we were able to move everything from a third floor apartment with an elevator to a third floor walk up with the worlds most narrow staircase. Like I said, amazing friends.

June

June was the beginning of my nesting phase. I’m already an organizer/neat freak, so you can only imagine how wild it got with the hormones added in. Andre, true to form, put up with my crazy and painted both bedrooms and the kitchen, including the old wooden cabinets between June and July.

July

Continue with the nesting and add in a visit from my mom. We got lots done and she was also a huge help with painting the trim in the baby’s room. I’ve never seen anyone with such a steady hand. The woman doesn’t even need to tape off the walls, she’s just that good.

We also celebrated our second wedding anniversary in July, even though it’s technically in August. We go to an awesome little inn in Provincetown every year, but I had a feeling that it would be too hot and I would be too big come August, so we bumped up our trip this year. It was a good call. It was still too hot, but I was feeling well and was in the stage of my pregnancy where I felt pretty and even rocked a two piece bathing suit!

August

August pretty much rocked. I was thrown a beautiful baby shower in New York (where I grew up), we officially celebrated 2 years of wedded bliss, we had a baby shower/BBQ here with all of our friends, and we celebrated Andre’s 29th birthday. I surprised him with 2 tickets to a  BC vs. Florida State game and he was shocked. It was the first time he was able to see Florida State play and he is a life long fan.  August was a total whirlwind and felt like one big party. Here’s what I was looking like by then:

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At my NY baby shower

September

By the time we hit September I was in full on crazy mode. There were a ton of things that had to be finished before the baby came, and I was convinced that she was going to come early as no woman in my family had ever gone full term. Add to that the fact that Andre was about to start his final year of college and that I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s wedding in NY, and you had one stressed out pregnant lady. Luckily Eila kept on cooking and everything went off without a hitch. Here we are at Karla’s wedding (hello pregnancy puffiness!):

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October

I don’t think I really need to go into detail about the biggest happening in October, so let’s just go with these 4 pictures from that amazing day when our lives changed forever:

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I didn't realize that my labor would start 9 hours after taking this pic

Just minutes old

Proud Papa

Mama's cuddle bug from the very beginning

November

November marked one month of parenthood under our belts and that first month felt like an alternate reality. We also travelled home for Thanksgiving with our families and Eila met lots of family and friends during our visit.

Eila and Nana

Big cousins are very helpful!

December

Finally, December. Another month that seemed to fly by. Even more so than holiday seasons of the past. Eila hit the two month mark, and we had a very quiet Christmas since Andre had to work. We didn’t let that stop us though. We headed to NY once again a few days later and declared Christmas #2 with our families and it was fabulous! A perfect way to end the year.

(I’ll have to add Christmas pictures tomorrow as my camera is in the closet next to a peacefully sleeping baby and mama is not messing with that!)

I have to say, 2011 was probably the best year of my life thus far. I hope I can keep the momentum going, and really want to do my best to create the best experiences possible for my family in the upcoming year. Here’s to an amazing 2012, I can’t wait to see everything we accomplish as a family in the next 366 days (2012 is a leap year!)

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Merry Christmas!

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Dear Baby: Your First Tree

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Dear Baby,

We decorated the Christmas tree tonight. Me, you, and Daddy.  You sat facing out in the sling and were mesmerized by the colorful, sparkling ornaments and pretty lights. You were quiet and happy the whole time and then we cuddled on the couch afterwards. You were very smiley and adorable.

I only wish you could have memories of special nights like this. I’m glad I will have them and I will be sure to share them with you when you are older. Tomorrow we finish up our Christmas shopping.

I hope you grow to love the holidays as much as I do!

Love,
Mama

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