Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chalk Paint

As in chalk for writing on the chalkboard, not paint to make a chalkboard. A friend pinned this link and it was just perfect timing for me! My lettering skills are not up to Pinterest par, so I my excitement was halted in using our new chalkboard, but this method made it all so do-able! 

Three steps: crush a stick of chalk, add water, brush on! Add enough water so it will easily brush on, but not so much that it becomes runny! One piece of chalk goes a long way.

Does it get any easier?! It dries much darker than when first brushed, so let it do its thing before applying a second coat. The finer you crush the chalk the better too. Cody, after his infamous eyebrow raise when I explain my latest idea, really enjoyed crushing chalk with one of his dumbbells. He thankfully did so in the garage on a cookie sheet, because chalk dust everywhere would have been a hard one for me to overcome. He knows me so well! We also found this concoction works just as well for finger painting on the chalkboard. 
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Making a Quilt (Part 2)

Nearly two months since I started, but my quilt is finally complete! Originally I thought I purchased way to much fabric for the border and backing, but I actually needed almost double that! That's part of the game when I insist on largely just 'winging it' though. I fortunately found a black fitted sheet at the thrift shop for $3.25 and broke that down to make up the difference for the backing of the quilt. I usually overlook the fitted sheets as fabric sources, but it was pretty simple to break it down. Just cut along the corner seams and then snip off the flaps. 

I decided hand tying would be my method for this quilt, partially because I like the look of it and also because it made me less anxious! With a yarn needle and fine black yarn, I made knots starting with the center of each gingham square on the front. From there I just tried to create symmetrical knots all over the quilt so there is no gap greater than twelve inches between knots. Every tutorial I read emphasized basting spray, but I handled this just fine without it. I taped the backing to the floor and just pinned the whole thing like crazy. You'll notice I didn't bother trimming the edge of the fabric because I wanted to give myself lots of extra seam allowance. 

The finished size of the quilt is 92" by 67" and I used a full size, pre-cut batting roll (had to trim down the width). Referencing this tutorial, I used the backing to also create the binding. I thought sewing the binding was going to be more tricky since there's much less room for error. But it went really quickly and smoothly! Plus I had Luke partially cheering me on, its a tough competition between me and the ceiling fan for his attention. 

After removing all 40,000 pins and safety pins, we finally get to enjoy it! Super warm too, I might add, I bought the thickest batting available. Thank you ten times over for all your 'likes' and text message high fives while I figured this thing out! I've been wanting to sew a quilt for ages and your support and encouragement throughout was a major player in this project! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monthday Pictures

Now that Luke has reached the six month mark, I thought it was perfect timing to share his monthly photos. I have been taking his photo against a blanket backdrop every month on the 28th (or rug, see November!). The chalkboard is a picture frame with the glass painted over with chalkboard paint. I usually take these photos first thing in the morning since he wakes up so super happy. I sing a lot to keep his attention, and we're usually done within just a couple of minutes. Some months are more themed but I love seeing how much he's grown already!







Many of you have probably already seen these photos on Facebook & Instagram (tawnweya, if you want to follow me there!) but since this blog is also a journal of our life, here you go again! And just for fun, a list of Luke Stats:

Weight (as of 2/28): 18 lbs, 3 oz
Height (as of 2/28): 28" We have another appointment Friday so we'll see how his 'off the charts' height saga continues!
Diapers: Size 4
Sleep: When we started doing more food/cereal his sleeping through the night stopped. Trying to alter our eating throughout the day routine to fix that! He gets a bit of cereal in each bottle too. But he is usually ready for bed between 6 and 7 pm and then up for the day between 6 and 7 am. He'll wake up hungry once between 1 and 4 am. He definitely squirms and slightly wakes up other times throughout the night, but puts himself back to sleep without much noise. When its a hunger call, his cry is loud & keeps escalating til I get there and then slams that bottle down like nobodies business and its back to sleep right away. His best nap is in the morning about one hour after waking up and will last for an average of two hours. Then its shorter naps every few hours, usually about three rounds of this til bedtime.
Teeth: A definite bump on the center of his lower gums. We've had teething pain that lasts only a day here and there. They're taking their time and I get to enjoy a gummy smile for a little while longer!
Movement: Inchworm Master, also a fair amount of planking. Spins around like the hands on a clock and belly slides backward. Gets his knees up without his hands and vice a versa. But he's very happy and proud of himself--and we are too!
Sitting: Hasn't gotten into position on his own, but will sit pretty reliably once set up. He also does a controlled, slow fall (or maybe its a roll?) to get to his tummy when he wants.
Eating: Pureed Apples, Banana, Pear, Prunes, Carrots, Sqaush, Peas, Potato (all mixed with cereal, he's not into heavy flavors yet and likes vegetables more than fruit!)
Vocals: Been singing, squealing, laughing, gurgling, yelling, snorting, tongue clicking, lip smacking for a while now. Found his voice and likes it!
Clothes: 9 months across the board. Getting ready to pull out the 9-12 month stash too. He also really likes just being in his diaper only. Even just taking off his socks is instant joy!
Favorite activities: Chewing on everything, bath time, tummy time, jumpy seat, and just being outside. I've also been doing some sensory exposure: toes & hands in grass or a bowl of uncooked/dry rice and kidney beans. The latter has been hit & miss, some days he loves running his hands through it and other days he gets freaked out. So we're just following his cues on exposure time. He's also Cody's biggest fan when he plays the guitar. Its been helpful for both calming him down at bedtime and also in pushing through a grumpy hour.
Favorite Books: He never complains about being read to, but any book with rhythm is a winner. Cody's grandmother gave us a copy of poetry called 'When we Were Very Young' by A.A. Milne, and its perfect! I also read the book of Psalms to him.
Favorite Toys: He's pretty satisfied to chew on a burp rag honestly. But he also loves gel teething toys, seeing his reflection, crunchy-crinkle books, musical toys and recently discovered stuffed animals (AKA a stuffed burp rag!).

And that's our life in a nutshell! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Chalkboard Kitchen Door

It's taken a much longer time than I anticipated to roll up our sleeves and dig into adding our own touches to our home. During the home shopping/buying process I picked out color schemes and pinned furniture and layout options to no end. But now here we are nearly two years into home ownership and the bare bones of our home are largely the same as the day we moved in. I don't mean to downplay what we have done: exterior painting, bathroom painting/hardware, and the complete overhaul of Luke's room. Only noticing our trend, our method. Certainly, the financial cost of renovating is a large factor. But I am realizing that even with an unlimited budget, we're just slow movers in our home decisions. As much as my personality is to 'go-go-go', I also have too many ideas and likes and options and daydreams to really make a decision. Meanwhile, Cody is a fully creative man on his own and has lots of ideas too! We could stay up all night talking about landscaping options for the yards and still have confused direction. There are many promises to just sleep on our ideas and wait to see which ones simmer their way to the top as our front runners. There are many days when I get frustrated with our slow approach. I want the dream house now, please! But that's life. And I remind myself that its taken my parents nearly twenty years to remodel their home, and I'm just barely approaching two. 

And further in my mind wanderings, I wonder how much of my personal style is really my style and how much is dictated by whats available on the clearance rack. Realistically, everyone has a budget and even millionaires can't buy the sun and the stars. But I do wonder. At the same time, there is a constant battle within me between Southwestern Hippie and All-American Preppy, style speaking. So I doubt having a larger budget would really get me too far anyhow. I do believe that taking our time has allowed our house to show us what it needs. And I don't just mean upgrading our shower drain for proper drainage! But to see how we live in it, and how that's changed so much already with little Lukester. 

All of this to say, I finally chalkboard painted. I've admired all the glorious blogs and Pinterest boards full of chalkboard wall and door accents. I finally found the spot that felt perfect for me. It took me a while, a long while. But I've done it. And I love it. And I thought long enough about it, mentally listing all the pros and cons (overkill, I know), to be sure I won't regret it!

It took four coats to get full coverage on our white door. Now I'm just waiting and watching for 24 hours for the curing! Really excited for all the fun things we can write on it: menus, holiday messages, prayer/praise requests, etc. And you can count on Cody for coming up with some off-the wall ideas for it too. So far I think I have convinced him otherwise on journaling his many semi-permanent splinters. We may not have the biggest renovation budget but at least we have our humor, right?!