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DIY

Clearly, I didn’t have enough to do. You know, Thanksgiving, Christmas, new job, two babies, etc etc.

But I needed to get a christmas card out this year. My mother has been on me to do it. “You have babies now, Jocelyn. It is time.” And every time I’ve opened a card and seen lovely pictures of my friends’ offspring I’ve felt the familiar weight of obligation tugging at my sleeve. (just a slight weight, or I would have gotten around to this years ago).

So I rolled up those guilty sleeves and got down to business. We were home at my folks’ house for Thanksgiving so at least I had a small respite from the restraints of naptime only crafting.

I dragged us all down to Joann’s to see what there was to see. I thought Caroline would get a kick out of all the fabric and buttons and sundry, and she did. I bought yards and yards and yards of tulle and a little bit of elastic. I was sold on the idea of the no sew tutu’s I’d seen popping up all over the kids boards on Pinterest. The concept was simple. Baby + tutu + beach = dreamy.

Lots of cutting ensued. Six inch strips out of twenty yards of tulle, to be exact. Not sure how many strips that is because math isn’t my inclination, but in any event, it involved a lot of cutting.

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It only took three hours to make a tutu for both Caroline and Gabrielle.  Phew.  They were poofy and pretty and I just had to try one on and give it a twirl it was so pretty.

With the first phase complete, I needed to get us all down to the beach.  I met with some resistance on this angle.  Some people were deep in their cups and didn’t want to move the party.  Others disagreed with my idea for a christmas card, saying, “they” wished that we could just do a normal card. Still others fretted over the idea of taking the babies’ clothes off at the beach for the picture, insisting that I should put turtle necks on them and long johns, and that 66 degrees was simply too cold for naked baby photo shoots.  (can you guess which players had which concerns??)   I scoffed and ignored everyone, having just completed three hours of manual labor in furtherance of my beatific christmas card vision.  Truly, I felt as though my hands were guided by some force.  Perhaps it was the prosecco, or perhaps it was the clarity of my idea.  We shall never know.

We finally got everyone down to the beach.  Caroline was on the same page of the same book with me.  She was in full princess, ‘look at me’ glory.  My mother was a wonderful help–getting the children to look at me, arranging their tutus as necessary, and moving the onlookers to ensure minimal shadow interference.   I left C’s leggings on to assuage my mother.

The light was long and perfect.  I took about 600 pictures.  I got some perfect shots by sheer happenstance.  We had so much fun.  Even my father and my husband got into the spirit of things eventually, suggesting shots and angles, and feeling proud about the project as onlookers gaped on.  Gummy (great uncle Mike) was off flying a kite (the kite was the carrot that got everyone down to the beach), so he was having fun too.

sea foam baby project collage

Gigi got fretful halfway through, so I nursed her and she fell asleep. Even that worked out for us. (No babies were harmed in the filming of this scene)

Gigi in a half shell

c and g aphrodite

I made the cards on Tinyprints.  I found a lovely pale blue Tory Burch card.  I think the whole thing worked out quite well.  I didn’t order enough cards as it turns out, but I know now for next year.

Number 5 on the list of things that irk me–wet, stinky tubby toys strewn all over the tub. I’ve been searching for a clever way to corral rubber ducky, et al clutter. I tried Boon’s super cute suction froggy to no avail. Alas, the tiles in the bathroom are not smooth, so suction cups just ain’t gonna stick–and I wasn’t about to drill holes in the tile. (Well, actually, I was about to drill holes in the tile but my father told me it was a BAD idea–something to do with water potentially leaking behind the walls…)

Ha! Anyway–seemingly stumped, I was in the grocery store one day meandering aimlessly down the household cleaning products aisle (daydreaming that maybe one day my house will be clean…), when I spied a dish drying rack for 8 bucks. I had an “aha” moment and realized the dish rack was the solution to my problems.  The toys are under control, the water drains out, and the basket itself is kind of a toy. Perfect.

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Notes:  The shower curtain is from Ikea, the blue bath mat is from Target, and the picture frames are from Michaels.

I love terrariums.  I’m not sure what is is about them that is so attractive to me–but they call to me.  Green, sparkly, compact–and not to mention, virtually maintenance free.  My sister and I visited a garden store in town called City Planter that has a lovely selection of terrariums, as well as classes and all the fixin’s you need to make them yourself.  It was pure viewing pleasure.

City Planter is just such a beautiful place.  A little more eye candy…

Caroline liked it too =)

I was feeling indulgent (towards myself) so I picked up a few darlings to replenish the terrariums I had at home that needed sprucing up (I only kill plants sometimes).

Instead of buying your container from a fancy garden store–which will mark up the price exponentially–I recommend picking up your glass vessels/jars from a place like HomeGoods or Michaels.  Here is another link for some great cheap apothecary jars.

Terrariums brighten up any window.

I’m getting ready to go back to work next week, and I am trying to do something about the organization systems in the house. I get a little crazy about keeping things organized, but unfortunately, the other people in my life (my husband dearest and our two year old daughter to be specific) don’t feel the same way I do about the mantra “a place for everything and everything in its place.” I feel like I am forever organizing and re-organizing–so my new tactic is to organize once in a way that makes it easier for the other folks to put things back where they belong. I am trying to make it super simple and appealing. Easier said than done.

Here is one solution I am kind of psyched about. My husband’s ties always somehow end up on the floor of his closet instead of the tie hanger. I will acknowledge that the previous tie hanger is not very user friendly, especially in a closet that is packed full to the gills. (another project for another day)

Enter the Elfa tie rack I got from the Container Store.

I wanted to make the ties more easily accessible, so I wanted to hang the tie rack on the inside of the closet door. This tie rack was perfect–just what I was looking for, it was only $10, and it was perfectly simple to install. All I needed to do was drill two holes and use anchors for the screws. (make sure if you do this that you use the smallest possible drill bit–you don’t want the hole to be too big for the anchor or it will be loose)

I feel some major organizational catharsis right now, but we’ll see if my hubbers likes it and if he is willing to use it.

The navy blue greek key fabric I ordered for the chairs came in the mail.  I’m a little disappointed with the pattern because it is very small.  I thought the pattern was slightly larger.  It looks a little busier than I was going for. I guess that is why you should always order a swatch before taking the plunge!  On the upside, the fabric company accidentally sent me a couple yards of a grey dwell studio fabric that is pretty cute. Maybe I’ll use it for the chairs instead.

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I went to Home Depot to buy an upholstery gun and to Michaels to buy batting for the seat.  Here is a good blog piece about choosing the right upholstery gun for you. Love that I just stumbled on the LittleGreenNotebook because of a google search.

Now I just have to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.

While I was on maternity leave with Caroline, about two years ago, I found a beautiful midcentury dining table at an estate/salvage store. My mother calls the store the emporium of earthly delights and it is her absolute favorite place to visit in Philly. Karl is the proprietor.  Here I am with Karl and baby Caroline.

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Here is the table in Karl’s emporium of earthly delights:

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I loved the table, and its funky pea green cane backed-chairs. I believe it is a Lane.  I had seen a very similar table in a Martha Stewart magazine and loved the curve of the legs.  Oh, and the table has two leaves, and seats twelve when fully expanded.

As much as I loved the table and chairs, they were a little rough around the edges and needed some attention – particularly the chairs =)

My to do list included, (1) silver leaf chairs and table legs edge (2) refinish table top (3) reupholster chairs (4) eventually re-cane some of the chairs.

Fast forward two years later, and a second baby, I have refinished the table top, and I am almost finished the silver leafing.  Refinishing was easy.  Silver leaf is not very easy.  In fact, it is one of the more difficult refinishing projects I have tackled– the silver leaf is just so fiddly.

I leafed one of the six chairs.  It took FOREVER, not to mention the fact that silver leaf is super expensive.   I spray painted the remaining chairs with silver paint as a temporary stop gap measure.

I also started the silver leaf on the table legs.  I got very frustrated (and also had a baby) and stopped working on the project for a few months.  I just picked back up to finish up before I go back to work full time.

So silver leafing is kind of involved.  I found a tutorial on the gildedplanet.com. Martha Stewart also has a tutorial.  And here is a nice idea for leafing with aluminum foil–maybe a nice idea for walls or other large areas.  Here are the materials you need:

The short version is as follows:  first you sand the area you want to leaf.  Then you prime it with a red or yellow ground.

Next, you coat the entire area with a gilding size, which is basically a clear glue. Once you paint the size, you wait for about 10 minutes or so until the glue is tacky (basically sticky to touch) and then you start applying the silver leaf.  Check out Martha’s tutorial on this, as she shows you how to lay the leaf down with a leafing brush.  This technique didn’t really work for me, because I was working on the table base.  I cut the silver leaf into strips and then applied it by placing the silver side down, and holding on to the paper backing.

It took me two or three layers of silver to get rid of the red ground.  Here I am on the second layer of leaf:

My leafing came out pretty rough, but I actually like the look of the patina.  The Ivy Cottage blog tutorial on aluminum leafing shows how to accomplish this same look by crinkling the foil and then painting it.

I haven’t been a complete bum – I’ve made a little bit of progress on my two projects

For the two chairs I bought from Craigslist — I finally found some nice navy blue greek key fabric on Fabric.com.  It was a little bit pricey, but I think it will be marvelous.  Now I need to invest in an upholstery gun.  

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I also found a persimmon version that looked great, and a little cheaper to boot:

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Second, I sanded the midcentury modern nightstand I found on the side of the road. I am sticking by my initial assessment that the wood is teak – it is very heavy and sanded down to a nice blonde color.  I still have to get some of the nooks and crannies, and go over it with a 100 or 120 grit sandpaper, but at least this is a start:

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I unscrewed the legs and the handle to make things a little easier and neater:

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