Thursday, February 28, 2013


I went to get a "hair thing" [elastic], out of my baby-kiddo-mominator-backpack today, and as I fished around in one of the pockets to find one, my hand came across a little velvety pouch.  I couldn't figure out what the hell could be in said pouch, for as a mom to a maniac-lady-woman and an infant Budman, I don't get out much these days.  But when I opened the pouch and poured out its contents, my eyes welled up.
See, a few days before I went in to labor with "Baby Deuce" as we called him before we knew he was indeed a him, I packed something I wanted to rely on as a strength, or beacon, or focal point, or reminder of some sort of all the loves and determination and energy I'd need to have this baby in a birth center, without drugs and without Western intervention.

On the chain I placed 7 things:
-A ring that once belonged to my maternal grandmother (who died while my mom was a teen), as a reminder to embrace motherhood and be warm to my children even if my soul was feeling cold
-My long gone dog Kiote's tag as a reminder of my first 'baby' and her youthful, spiteful, and silly spirit
-A turquoise pendant made by Scott A. Yellowhorse and the journeys that I made out west that forever changed me
-A silver hibiscus ring given to me by my father, who in his great absences made me grateful that my children have the father I always wanted, in my husband
-The demure, understated, plain wedding ring that my Pop-Pop gave my grandmother to remind me that love is more powerful than things and sensibilities
-A giant white flower ring I wore in one of my best friend's weddings: a reminder that 'family' may be by blood but people that you choose are family by heart! I've got a great authentic sisterhood of strength.

-A sapphire ring my mother gave me.  My birthstone. As a single mother, the reminder of the incredible endurance and greatness she has allowed me to witness and the journey it's probably taken us both to appreciate.

In the roughest moment of labor, as I leaned in to my husband, I closed my eyes and summoned all the “strengths” I hung on that chain.  It was all of those things, all of those people, all of those feelings that I saw in the sparkles behind my eyelids.  When I opened them, I gasped  "THIS IS THE LAST ONE!" I pushed one more time and then Ken and I delivered our new baby on the bed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Made a Micro-Man-Room, (well WE did).

It's been awhile since I "blogged" as it were.  I was busy growing a human inside my body and dealing with managing myself, a household, and a small-brilliant-maniac-woman who happens to be my daughter.  I metaphorically departed. I think [metaphorically] I am back. I think [metaphorically].

Anyhoo, thought I'd show off the ceiling project I finally got to after I blogged some ideas about it awhile back and show you the completed room my husband and I made for our new tiny man! Naturally, we did it on the cheap, and you can, too:

Our Lady-Woman, as we've been known to call her, was thrilled with helping at every turn.  She came in most handy painting the palest of grey V's on the lower third of the walls.

My super-handy husband labored over restoring the original heart pine floors.  The sanding pads ended up costing more than sander rental did! Still, [educated] DIY = super savings.

Originally the ceiling had a drop tiles which we removed only to find it covered in 70's textured wallpaper, with packing tape to hold the seams together: I tried to remove that, (semi successfully). Under the wallpaper was a textured ceiling! It was all too labor intensive, so I decided to roll with what I had. What I had was an oddly-textured-half-peeled-ceiling that I decided to put to good use. Since I was prego, Ken used a drywall hand sander to remove any extra debris & dust. Then I came back with a bevy of watered-down paints (sage, charcoal, light-grey, pewter, shiny-silver), and rubbed them over the ceiling as if I were washing it. Don't think. Just cover your ground with the paint! It now looks like plastery-concrete with a subtle sheen. I had these paints already = free.  But you could use samples = cheap.  OR investigate what colors your friends and family may have = free.  FYI: I used a heavy duty mask while I painted, 'cuz I was "with child."

We added chair rail moulding (about $1/sf), rather than pricey crown moulding, around the ceiling to tailor the look of the room and pay homage to our circa 1900 digs.  Oh, the moulding also covered the ickish edge where the peeled ceiling met the wall. Think solutions!

This was my daughters convertible crib. Then it was our family friends new little boy. Now it's back for our tiny man.  Don't need new. The rails will get chewed no matter what. Cost = free.
For color and interest, I added three different trims at the top of the canopy that my daughter help me pick out at JoAnn Fabrics (about $12).  The footlocker at the end of the bed was given to us by my dearest family friends who used to babysit me.  Not only is the trunk masculine-cool but doubles as a seat and storage (hello, winter clothes?)!

While I was pregnant we did not find out the sex of the new babe. I did know I wanted to use red because it is the first color babies see.  After that I thought I should use some common color to our home to create cohesion. The turquoise we've used on our third floor, its corresponding stair case, and our daughter's bed was an obvious choice for us.  Yellow seemed to balance out this look for a near primary experience.  I did my best to make sure all three colors were well balanced around the space.

Bought the dresser for $70 (on sale) at my favorite consignment gallery.  It got a fresh coat of high-gloss turquoise and a new knob on the door.  It's a great focal point when you enter the room and currently serves as a changing table too! The pad is simply removed when baby becomes too much of a squirmeister. The dresser will be around MUCH longer.

The snail pull I used for the door came from the sale section of Anthropologie and was a great compliment to the existing hardware. It was a hugely priced $3.00 for alladat charm.

The mirror is from Goodwill ($5).  The lamp is old and a hand-me-down we used when this room used to be a playroom.  I love a real plant in every room to clean the air, so I used one we already had.  The musical red box holds special things and I bought it in September at a yard sale for $3 (it sat atop a boho-woman's piano for 30 years in a previous life). The circus art was given to my daughter for her birthday by one of our great friends, Katy. My daughter adamantly painted the blank canvas for her "new baby." I love that she painted an X through it because circus' and zoos make me sad.

Don't worry, I'm not encouraging him to be a Peeping Tom, just an explorer! My great-grandmother made me those Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls...
The curtains are inexpensive and from Ikea. They are nice and tall to make the room feel that way.

There's an Eloise Wilkin Collection book I read to my daughter quite often that her Nona gave her. One of the stories, Baby Listens has a rocker quite similar to this one. Our daughter was determined to get one for her "new baby." Oddly enough she found one when we went to get the dresser (on sale $17)! She's almost as full of luck as her GrAuntie Maggie.

The old children's teaching boards are Scott Foresman from the 60's.  I got them for super cheap at the West Chester Vintage Garage Sale when my daughter and I went with my friend Kendra & her spectacular daughter.  It was the first purchase I made for the nursery and it set the tone.  They are installed with screws and washers as to not put holes directly in the cardboard. The rocker was a gift from my husband when we had our first baby. Avoid spending a ton of money on a glider or something that you wouldn't want to look at in later years.  Invest in something you'll use and love forever!

Our friends, Josh & Elizabeth always give our kids the coolest gifts.  Although these assemble-yourself, cardboard animals were for our daughter, I thought they'd get more longevity and appreciation on a shelf.  I saved a few for my sweet lil' lady, though.  The point is, decorated with what you have and what can transition from a baby room to a kid room.  Remember you'll be in there too: let it appeal to your senses, as well!

Soft durable rag-rug for $20, (brand new), at a yard sale.  Bargains are out there! Look for them. Don't spend a ton of money on what your kids will wreck anyway.  If you can't baby-wipe-it-clean, hose it off, or throw it in the washer: ditch it.  

The display shelves may have toddler books and kiddo things on them now, but in the future they may hold action figures or trophies or beakers or plants or tween pix or diplomas: they have longevity.  Think ahead, people.  And that pleather (a.k.a. Vegan Leather) bench was a purchase we made when our first baby was learning to walk.  It was a squishy choice as a coffee table for our living room, complete with storage.  Now it works just as effectively for our next kid and his junkola.

***Look and see what you have or what people are giving away before you start spending your hard earned cash on a room that would be cheerier without all that matching perfection. Put that money in an account for your new kid or a fantastic post-baby date with your partner, (you're gonna need it)!