Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nursery Pelmet Box

I had originally wanted to put curtains up in the nursery.  Actually, I wanted to buy this shower curtain, cut it in half length-wise, and turn it into curtains, a la this post.

But the more I thought about it, I figured that as soon as Evangeline can pull herself up, I'd end up taking the curtains down for fear that she'd rip them down. Plus, I didn't like that they'd be hanging so close to the crib.  So I decided to do a pelmet box instead.  I followed this tutorial, and this inspired the look of a pelmet box without curtains.

I wanted to find a way to use the fabric from the "inspiration picture" for our nursery.  Here it is, in case you want to see it:

Unfortunately, the fabric is $50 per yard with a two yard minimum.  I only needed one yard max, so that wasn't going to work. Plus, it would still be way out of the budget.

I originally tried to make a stencil, and paint a white piece of fabric, but that was a major flop.  After some trial and error, I bought some taupe colored linen and white bias tape.  I assembled the pelmet box from foam core board, just like in the tutorial that Jenny did.  Then I stapled batting around it, and then stapled the linen fabric around that.  After all that, I used fabri-tac glue to glue on the bias tape in a diamond pattern.

Once it was finished, I had no idea how to hang it! I left it for Kemi to tackle when he got home, and he had to rig it a little, but this is what he came up with:

I am really happy with how it looks!

My Cloth Diaper Stash

After several of my friends started cloth diapering with their babies, I decided to also do it with Evangeline.    My reasons at first were mostly financial....from birth to potty training, disposable diapers will cost on average about $2000.  All the cloth diapers and supplies you need from birth to potty training can be purchased for anywhere from $200-$600, depending on what type of cloth diapers you use.  For me the environmental and health benefits are secondary, but a great bonus nonetheless!

I was lucky enough to buy a HUGE set of cloth diapers (prefolds, or the "old school" type of cloth diapers) from a mom on Craigslist who said she bought the whole set and then was too lazy to use them.  I think one or two had been used.  The whole set, which really could last us from birth to potty training, if we wanted to only use prefolds, was $70, or 50% off retail.  This is only half of them pictured (they come in two sizes).

Since then, I've also purchased a few pocket diapers.  These are the type that look and act more like disposables.  I figure they'll will be good when we have babysitters who aren't comfortable with the cloth diaper situation. With pocket diapers, the babysitter can just take it off and toss it in the bag to be washed, and put a new one on. Side benefit to cloth diapering? They are so dang cute!!!

Most of my pocket diapers I was lucky enough to get REALLY good deals on through Zulily.  If you don't use Zulily yet, you should! I have bought a lot of things for Evangeline through that site.  It is a daily deal site for baby, kids, and women's products.  You can join here.

I'd still like to get a few more pocket diapers.  Can't wait to see Evie's cute little hiney in a cloth diaper!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nursery Update

It's time for another nursery update! Probably the last one before the final "reveal." I know you're all waiting with bated breath. Ha!  Our favorite house project of all time has undergone a lot of recent changes.

I wasn't entirely sure what direction to go with the nursery, at first.  I had found a LOT of pictures I liked, but wasn't sure how to put together the different aspects I liked about each.  Until I found this picture!
I LOVE the colors, and the fact that it's gender neutral.  I wanted the room to work for the next Ndolo kid, if we happen to have a boy next.  I also really didn't want the room to be tooooo sweet or babyish.  I am not into the idea of changing things out once our baby girl is a big girl (which I'm told happens in the blink of an eye).  I also am not a big fan of "matchy matchy." I wanted to buy things that I would still like and think are cool in a few years, not just buy an entire room set from a baby superstore.  There's nothing wrong with that, I just know myself and I would get sick of it really quickly.  I also really liked the challenge of trying to re-create the look of this room on a super tiny budget.

We decided to leave the walls of the room the gray-tan they already are.  Our entire house is painted that color (Valspar "wheat bread", if you're curious).

I fell in love with the art in this nursery, by Matte Stephens on Etsy.  Really, I now love all his art.  Check it all out here.  I loved the elephant painting, especially since it had an "e" for Evangeline.

Kemi loved the art too, but said why spend $60 when I could paint the same thing myself.  It felt like a really lame thing to do, but I did it anyway :/

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I like that we were able to customize ours to include a brown girl in the picture :)


THEN we got to our dresser project.  If you don't remember, here's our "before" shot:

I decided I wanted to paint the dresser white (Benjamin Moore "White Dove" if you really wanna know) and the drawers a really pale aqua color.  That way it would pick up the colors in the paintings, but not be too babyish.  Also, the crib is white, so I thought it would look best to keep all the furniture white.  I was really interested in using chalk paint but didn't want to buy it (are you catching on that this is an extremely budget conscious decorating project?)  So I found a recipe on Pinterest to make your own.  You just add some white unsanded grout to regular flat paint.  At first, I was really doubtful, but once it dried, I really liked the look.  It kind of makes it look antique-y, like it was painted decades ago.

I wanted to rough it up a little bit and make it a little chippy, so I took a medium sanding block to all the edges where I thought there would naturally be paint peeling off.

Here's what it looked like all put together.  Sorry for the blurry pictures!

I had a lot of trouble deciding what to do with the drawer pulls.  The original dresser had a TON of drawer pulls on it, and in two different sizes.  I didn't like the ones that came with the dresser, and I almost did brass ring pulls like the dresser in my "inspiration room" (can you tell I hate that phrase? I just don't know what else to call it.)  BUT, I really wanted to keep the budget under control.  I found these ugly pulls at Ace Hardware for $1 each.  I bought some jute twine, and just wrapped them in twine and glued it in place.  It was really easy and I'm pretty happy with how it looks.  Plus, if I ever get bored with the look, or they fall apart, I can just replace them with the ring pulls down the road.
Check out Evie's shoe collection! This girl is so spoiled already...

Next week I'll add a "window treatment" (I also hate that phase) tutorial and a few other updates!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

At the school, my staff often tease me about how much I love when someone knows what they're good at.  I do. I love it.  I once hired a girl solely on the fact that after the interview, she emailed me to thank me for interviewing her and told me she was the right person for the job. I thought, "who am I to argue with you? Let's see if you're right!"  I encourage my staff to tell me where their talents lie, and I will find a way that our organization can use those talents.  I find it encouraging when the people I'm surrounded with have a confidence and enough knowledge of self to know what strengths they possess (and, just as important, what areas they aren't strong in and could use improving!). Unfortunately, I think many people are timid to speak up about what they are good at, and what they can offer to an employer, a friend, or a relationship.

The same is true for beauty. We aren't supposed to think we're beautiful or attractive, and we definitely aren't supposed to talk about it.  But we ARE created beautifully, our creator finds so much beauty in us, that is sure.  But just like every woman, I often see what I don't find very beautiful in myself far more than I see beauty.  Whether it's cellulite, ugly feet, or the fact that if I didn't pluck my eyebrows as diligently as I did, I would have one incredible unibrow.  These are the things I see most easily.  It's easy for me to see my sin, my areas to change, my darkness, than it is to see myself as God sees me.  Times I have felt beautiful? My wedding day. Yes, I felt beautiful on my wedding day, as every woman should.  When Kemi tells me I'm beautiful, especially when it's an "unbeautiful time" makeup-just come home from work-sweaty as a trucker sort of "unbeautiful," I feel beautiful then.

I recently read this really great essay by author Kathryn Harrison on what makes her feel beautiful, and her response to that question was surprising.  What about you moms? Do your children make you feel beautiful? Or motherhood in general? Even in the "unbeautiful" times?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Awkward and Awesome


-When the woman from Department of Health Services stops by for her "surprise check-in" on the day you have three staff out sick and every student happens to be losing their mind at THAT VERY MOMENT. Oh, and did I mention that I'm in the bathroom with a kid who's pooing, and said child is sitting on the toilet, gets a gusher of a bloody nose (while sitting on the toilet with their pants down), child starts screaming at the sight of their own blood, I'm trying to stop the blood, when DHS lady pops her head in? Yep. "Hi! Welcome to our school! Everything's under control here! I'll be right with you!" I said in my prettiest Director voice, and tried to keep my head from exploding.
-Dreaming that I won a grammy for a song I performed in the movie "The Help." Ya, it makes sense. Comon.
-Dreaming that the doctor brought the baby in to me and she had blue eyes and red hair and no one would believe me that they mixed up my baby with someone else's. "Have you SEEN my husband?!" Whew. Scary.


-Feeling Evangeline get the hiccups for the first time! It felt like tiny rhythmic kicks, but it was too timed to be actual kicks. Unless this girl has INCREDIBLE rhythm...nah, she's my kid. Let's be real here. The best part was, it was the first night Kemi was back after traveling and he got to feel it too!
-Kemi remembering that I wanted "birthday cake remix" from Coldstone and bringing it home.  I think it tasted even better cuz he remembered.
-The tiny shoes that came in the mail for Evie.  The only thing better than new shoes for me is new TINY shoes for Evie. Oh, did I mention that they match Kemi's gold shoes? I'm in love with our little family.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Did any of you other moms experience nesting? Recently I find myself feeling really compelled to get everything totally clean and organized before Evangeline arrives.  As if having a perfectly neat house will somehow better prepare us for bringing an infant home for the first time.  Some of the things I'd like to do are practical, like cooking ahead and freezing a week or two's worth of meals for when we come home from the hospital. Other things are complete nonsense, like wanting our cans to be lined up and facing out. Clearly, that will make me a better mother. Basically, everything must smell like Downy and be alphabetized. MUST. Preferably both.  Especially where it pertains to the nursery.  I've gotta get all her clothes hung up, folded, and organized by size.  I"m getting tired just thinking about it. And now I have to pee again.