My First Quilt

Rectangle Block Quilt

Last week at a craft night with friends, someone asked me what my favorite craft medium is. Obviously I love crafting and all things DIY, but I’d honestly never thought about what my favorite medium is! I told her maybe woodworking or sewing. They’re both forms of sculpture for me— I can take something flat and giving it a new shape and new life with a little vision, time, and work. But after saying this, I felt the need to clarify something about the sewing thing.

Not quilts. I love sewing, just not quilts.

Give me a few months, and just like a difficult child birthing experience, I’ll most likely forget my back pain and woes and be ready to give it another go. (Though if quilting is anything like birthing babies, I’ll need a few years between each one!) But as of now, I’m very proud to have finished my first quilt, though I cut a few corners along the way and definitely compromised on my original vision. This was certainly an instance of “Done is better than perfect.”

Rectangle Block Quilt

The top of the quilt is a simple rectangular block construction. At first I wanted to keep things super easy and figured I would just hand tie the quilt, but I really love how quilts get crinkly when machine stitching the layers together. So I watched this very helpful YouTube tutorial and bought myself a free-motion quilting foot for my sewing machine. I designed an elaborate geometric pattern that I had planned to draw on the top of my quilt and then go over with machine stitching. But by the time I had basted together the layers, I had sunk many hours and late nights into the project and thought it might be better than I just finish it up, instead of dragging it out while tediously stitching a complex pattern onto a heavy quilt without the assistance of an extension table on my sewing machine. Not a prospect I relished much, considering the work load I had waiting for A Beautiful Mess projects.

So I decided. Done is better than perfect. I made binding for the quilt and machine stitched it in place, instead of blind stitching it— another compromise. Oh well! I don’t think anyone beside me would have noticed that detail anyway.

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest

Rectangle Block Quilt

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest

Happily, Lucy loves getting tucked in under her new quilt in her new bed. She gets a little distressed if I don’t cover her with it before leaving the room. And my heart melts. I suppose it’s perfect for her, and I hope that she will always treasure it, knowing that I made it just for her!

It’s fun to do these little projects to make my firstborn feel special, knowing that a new kiddo will soon be sleeping in her old room and old bed, and she’ll most likely have some trouble adjusting.

Have you ever had trouble finishing projects that you end up not enjoying as much as you thought you would? My issue is that I always add more details and tend to make each project more complicated than I have time for. Gotta keep at least one foot on the ground, right?

Lucy- Making Nice in the Midwest 

The Dining Room in Spring

Bird Branches Table Centerpiece

Last week, a few days before Spring’s official arrival, the massive piles of Ohio snow melted completely and we were treated with a glimpse of sunshine and warmth. Lucy and I gratefully took a long walk around our neighborhood, spying huge piles of branches laying in neighborhood yards along the way. Some people had their trees trimmed recently, while others just hadn’t gotten around to picking up the collateral damage from the winter winds. (Uh, yeah… that would be our yard!) The surplus fallen branches in my neighborhood inspired me to finally try out a table centerpiece idea I’d been wanting to do for a while, and had seen so beautifully done before. But by the time I drove around the neighborhood with my car to rescue the fallen branches, an entire crew of big orange trucks were just finishing chipping every single one of them. Such efficiency has never come at a worse time! Why couldn’t the city apply such initiative when it comes to filling potholes, huh? Well, I was thankfully able find a few nicely shaped branches while taking a walk in the park, so I snatched them up right away and brought them home to be spray painted.

At first I regretted painting them white. Would the centerpiece look too wintery now? Should I paint them a color instead? Nah, that would just be too much for my taste. Now going back now. All the good branches were gone now, thanks to those industrious orange trucks. But after I loosely arranged the painted branches in this white ceramic pitcher and attached the birds, I thought the look was perfectly crisp and lovely. I’m not sure if leaving them unpainted would have maybe made it look too rustic? There’s a fine line between simple and rustic, and I like to err on the side of simple. I really love how it turned out!

Spring Dining Room Decor

So, there ya have it— After indulging in this dramatic telling of how our dining room’s new Spring centerpiece came to be, I thought I might as well share some shots of the whole room.

I haven’t historically done a lot of decorating for Easter, mainly because I’ve never been too into pastels and bunnies, and as perfectly topical as it might be, decorating with crucifixes just really isn’t my jam. But I think I’ll allow myself to start accumulating some cute Spring decorations because it turns out that seeing the decorations was absolutely thrilling for Lucy! Which, in turn, was absolutely thrilling for me. I had to glue some of the birds in place on the branches, because after Lucy was through with them (doing her “nice” touches, even), most of the birds were hanging upside-down on the branches, as if to say, “I give up!” Poor little things.

Milton Avery print

Bird Branches Table Centerpiece

Easter Bottle Brush Trees

Spring Dining Room Decor

vintage photobooth panel from Cedar Point in Ohio

Easter table decor

What kind of decorating do you do for Spring? Would you ever use these feathered birds to make Spring decorations in your home? One of my best friends is incredibly freaked out by them (she has a thing about birds, and these feathered foam bodies at too creepily realistic for her), but I love the cheery bright vibe they give our home. I’m thinking about doing a bird wreath too, because I’ll tell you a secret— I still have our Christmas wreath up on our door! Oops! I should probably go take care of that while I’m thinking about it…

Planning Lucy’s Big Girl Room

Vintage-Inspired Toddler Bedroom Ideasvintage toddler room inspiration

What’s the first thing I thought of when I found out I’m pregnant? I’m going to be totally vulnerable and tell you that among my first thoughts were possible color schemes for the new kiddo’s room. You know, the important stuff. The interior designer side of me stayed up late dreaming of cute color combinations and mentally space planning our spare room for a crib and baby furniture. But one morning I had a redeeming thought pop into my head: Why redecorate a room for a baby who could care less, when I have a toddler who would find the whole process as exciting as I do?

I scratched my plans to makeover our spare room for the new babe and decided to ask Lucy about what she would want for the room instead. And what did my little firecracker tell me? “BOOOOO!” What color do you want the walls to be? “Boooo!” What color do you want your bed to be? “Boooo!” What color does mommy like least out of all the other colors? Bluuuuuue! But I set out to find a fun and fresh color scheme that was Lucy approved and wouldn’t require too many new purchases. I prefer shopping for home furnishings and accessories in our storage shed in the backyard.

Well, as our little girl ran around yelling “Booo woom! Boo wooom!” this week, we got to work at clearing out the spare bedroom and painting it a beautiful shade of light blue. Now we’re just wrapping up the painting, and I’m getting excited to paint and instal moulding this week. But first I thought I’d stop and take inventory of the things I’ve collected to far for Miss Lucy’s new room.

blue pom pom trim 5 yards for $5.50 from Etsy
inexpensive white curtain pair $41.07 for a pair from Amazon
eyeball sconce white $29.00 from Urban Outfitters
valspar la fonda mirage blue Valspar’s La Fonda Mirage #5003-5B
rabbit bunny nightlight $14.99 from Target
puppy sheets $69.00 from Land of Nod
ball finial white curtain rod $14.99 from Amazon
8 $354.76 for 8×10 from Amazon

off white diamond grid shag rug

Lucy’s furniture was either found or given to us, but we’re still looking for a dresser. Her headboard is a beautiful royal blue ironwork piece that will add a nice feminine touch to her room, though I would’ve never chosen that color had it been up to me. Lucky for Lucy, we found it that way and I didn’t feel like undertaking a big stripping and refinishing job, so it sort of forced me to bring royal blue into the mix. Now I’m kind of loving it!

Lucy's Room Before

Lucy's Room Before

I’m planning on adding a picture rail moulding strip to the spot where the color changes on the wall. I’m hoping it will add a nice classic touch to the room, while helping a fickle girl like me keep from making nail holes in the walls as I change out the artwork from time to time. So far we’re loving the changes, but Lucy’s actually been the most excited. I’m just so glad we decided to give her the new room instead of the baby, because that gal sure is enjoying watching the transformation!

This week we’re heading out to my favorite inexpensive antique shops to look for an old dresser with lots of character. If all else fails, we’ll go for Ikea (cheap!), but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can find something used. Wish me luck!

One Last Look at Lucy’s Nursery

Toddler room with vintage elements

Talk about a cliff hanger! I sort of left you all hanging there when I teased you with a color scheme for our master bedroom project. Well, I’m hanging right there beside you, because the project has been suspended since the news of my pregnancy. One day I’ll have a relaxing little getaway in that corner of our home, but for now we’re focusing our efforts on making over the untouched third bedroom for Lucy’s big girl room. Her nursery has evolved quite a bit since it’s debut, so I thought I’d share one last look at her room before it becomes the new baby’s nursery and Lucy’s things are moved next door to her new room.

calico critters family

It’s been fun to put away Lucy’s baby toys to make room for her cute new toddler toys. A particular favorite of mine are these Calico Critter toys (bunny family and elephant family) that live in my old childhood Sylvanian Family dollhouse that my mom and dad refurbished for Lucy’s Christmas present.

These toddler years have been my favorite so far, thanks to Lucy’s bubbly and affectionate demeanor, but also— the toddler toys! The fact that she is so excited about Easter and hot air balloons! Everything is just so much fun. You should see how she walks around enthusiastically babbling about her new bedroom with “boo waa” (blue walls), a “boo beh” (blue bed), and “white eets” (white sheets). She’s two and a half, and life couldn’t be sweeter.

Toddler room with vintage elements

Toddler room with vintage elements

vintage illustrated hangers

Toddler room with vintage elements

Toddler room with vintage elements

baby crib and crewel work

elephant tea party

Things in Lucy’s room are a bit mis-matched and quirky as of now, but soon all of her toys and some of her artwork will be carefully placed in her new bedroom with a bit more polish and pizazz. I’m not sure who’s more excited about it— her or me. But I’m also nervous about transitioning her to a twin bed. Life is changing a mile a minute.

toddler chalkboard

Here’s a picture of Lucy last summer drawing on the chalkboard that used to be in her room. It’s hanging out in storage now because it just takes up too much space in our little house. We’re thinking about doing a chalkboard finish in her new room somewhere. Maybe a closet door? Any tips or advice for toddler friendly chalkboard walls?