Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bapron, My Bapron

Have you made a bapron? That's right, you heard me right - a bapron. Check out the tutorial at Craftiness is Not Optional, one of the many wonderful blogs I love to follow. Super-cute, no? You may already know that my sister recently announced she's expecting baby #4. Plus her best friend is expecting baby #3. Plus what seems like about two dozen of my friends & colleagues are pregnant with their first babies currently - talk about a baby boom! And what accompanies a baby boom? A bumper crop of baby showers, of course! So what's a thrifty, crafty girl to do but to comb her favorite blogs for a unique, homemade baby gift?

I didn't take any in-progress shots, since the beautiful tutorial covers all the steps in great detail, but I did want to share the results of my endeavors. I think they turned out pretty darn cute, especially considering the material is taken from scrap I had sitting in my fabric stash. I like how they turned out with fuzzy material on one side and cotton on the other. What do you think?

 Side 1 of Bapron 1 - purple satin from upcycled pajama pants

 Side 2 of Bapron 1 - pink & white candy striped flannel
The trim is green cotton with white polka-dots - I was surprised how easy it was to make the bias tape!

 Side 1 of Bapron 2 - fuzzy white "Songbirds" polyester, left over from making scarves for Christmas presents

 Side 2 of Bapron 2 - Pink & white "fleur" cotton print - recognize that from my new bedroom curtains?
The trim is white-printed black cotton left over from the Strawberry Tart Apron

 Side 1 of Bapron 3 - some random plaid flannel that found its way into my fabric stash
 Side 2 of Bapron 3 - left over from the sunflower quilt that took (literally) a decade to piece - more on that later ;-)
 Trim on this one was an autumn-print beige cotton used to put together a muslin for a dance costume last year

I enjoyed making these baprons so much! I took them to work today to show off to a coworker who knows the intended recipient of this set and she loved them so much, she asked me to make some for *her* pregnant sister! Must be something in the water, huh? I'm thinking of making a baprons folder on my Pinterest account so I can get some inspiration from cute baprons other creative crafters have made. Do you have one you want to share?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

"Eurotrash" Inspired

So now that the living room is completely prepped to move in, it's time to move on to the teeny-tiny bedroom. Our bedroom in Texas had white walls and beige carpet, as is the general palette for most renters, I believe. Our bed frame is black leather, our dressers were dark brown, and the curtains/lamp shades were red. My husband likes red and like black, so there you are. For the cottage, though, I wanted to do something very girly and, since I have the freedom to paint the walls (for the first time in my adult life!!!) I definitely wanted to think outside the white-walled box. Although closer to white than the hideous colors it used to be painted, which you will remember seeing here. Sea green and red - really?

I stumbled across this picture on Pinterest months ago and was completely smitten. When the surprise task of redoing the cottage came along, it was quickly repinned from "My Dream Home" to "Look Out, I Have a Cottage to Decorate!" I love the color scheme, if not every single accessory. The design was clearly made for a bedroom much larger than the little 8'x10' cottage space. I do also love that the name of this photo is "Eurotrash" - for some reason, it just speaks to me ;-)

I decided to take some core elements from this design and make it work for the cottage bedroom. Hey, it's the bedroom and this is probably the last chance in my life I'll have to decorate a bedroom that is mine alone, not mine & my dear husband's! Don't get me wrong: he's allowed to sleep there; he just can't make comments about the decor.
Plus we have the "Alvine Kvist" duvet cover from IKEA currently holding together my beloved comforter (which actually belonged to my husband and was already fairly well-worn when we met 10 years ago) which is white and gray and definitely needs some girly pink in its life. Really, who doesn't?

I figured the curtains would most likely be the hardest part of the process, and good golly if I wasn't right about that! I literally spent 90 minutes looking at every single pink fabric available at my local JoAnn and I'll be darned if my final selection wasn't the second-to-last one I examined! In the end, I settled on a pre-faded, light pink cotton with white fleur de lis designs on it. I love this fabric. Like, seriously, *LOVE* it. I ended up buying 3 extra yards because I couldn't bear to leave them on the bolt. Yeah. I'm serious about my fabric love.

Now, I haven't always been such a pink nut. In fact, when I told my sister about my plans for the bedroom, I believe her first response was, "Since when are you so girly?" Ah, yes. I have a theory about that, actually. I think I started noticing things like pink and ruffles and lace right about the time that I started crying at commercials and acting irrationally at moments that surprised even myself: after giving birth. I blame pregnancy hormones. They apparently turned me into a girl. Seven years alter, it seems to be permanent. Oh well, there are worse things to crave than pink and ruffles! Ooh, and really pretty, intricately frosted cupcakes. Yum!

To add to the cupcake-y, girly, frilly feeling I was going for with the curtains, I decided to get all crafty and try using shirring tape. Thanks to the super-crafty gal at Design Intervention, I had some lovely pictures to follow along with as I planned my project. Oh, shirring tape - my new favorite sewing secret! Clearly, there will be many shirred items in my future.

Now, while the sewing was going on after work on those days when I was just wiped out, I also had to work up some energy to get the painting done. Luckily, my dear husband was able to come down for a weekend from Tacoma and give me a hand. You'll recall the built-out bedroom closet was red when we started. Very, very red. The same bright red used on one wall in the kitchen, actually. Yikes. It took a coat of white primer and two coats of gray to cover the red. Let this be a decorating lesson: do not paint your walls red unless you really, really like red or really, really enjoy painting over it!

Oh yes, the red is gone! I like red as an accent color, but not so much when it takes up 1/4 of the total wall-space in the room!

Here's the wall beside the closet. It looks different because I've taken out the shelving boards so I can paint them separately. I didn't want to have psychiatric-hospital green stripes behind the shelves when a future tenant removes them, after all!

The bedroom door, all taped up. I'm sure you already noticed the sunny yellow curtain (sewn from the remnants of the kitchen curtains) over the half-moon window in the door, yes? It's on one of those neat magnetic rods, so during the day I can just move the whole rod down and let the light in. Stay tuned for the future adventures of the brown-framed mirror also visible in this frame.

While the paint dries, let's take a moment and discuss furniture, shall we? When your cottage bedroom is a scant 8' x 10' (including the closet & shelving areas) there sure aren't a lot of options. The biggest decision is, of course, the bed. The previous tenant had a full size bed in the room. I believe I once mentioned that upgrading from a queen to a king size bed several years ago revolutionized both my and my husband's quality of sleep, did I not? Yeah, no. If a full size bed goes in this room, one of us will be sleeping on the couch when he comes to visit...and then where will Monkey Boy sleep?

Fear not, friends - IKEA to the rescue! The BRIMNES daybed frame runs about $200 (did I mention how much I love shopping in Oregon? No sales tax!) and includes two drawers underneath the bed slats. Cute, right? And having a twin size bed in the tiny bedroom totally makes sense, so there's actually room to walk in there. Wait, what's that, you say? Where will I put my husband when he comes to visit?
Well, that's the fantastic part! Clearly, the IKEA designers understand the need for providing a comfortable resting place for a husband on the weekends - the bed features a pull-out trundle! You shift one of the twin-size mattresses to the other size and, voila! A comfortable bed a mere 5" skinner than our beloved king in Tacoma. Genius, no? And I can keep the extra covers in the drawers down below on weekdays!

Well, look at that - while we were busy over at IKEA, the paint dried. Here's the built-in shelving, nice adorned in two coats of Behr's 770E-3M Pewter Mug in an Interior Eggshell finish.

And I hope you'll agree that the closet is definitely less of an eyesore now that the red is gone. Almost makes it blend in with the rest of the room, huh?

And of course we can't forget about my beloved, pink, ruffled curtains. I was overjoyed how they looked in the freshly painted room. Too bad it was getting dark already as I finished up Friday evening and the colors look so strange in the photos :-/

The smaller window, on the wall opposite the door to the bedroom. I've never understood putting in a window that doesn't open, but here is an example of one. It is strictly light-seeking glass in there. Doesn't really make a difference as to how the curtains look, though.

So there you have it: a tiny bedroom cottage which, in my humble opinion, is fit for a princess. The princess being me, of course :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Heart is Still Fragile

[Note: This post was written on Tuesday evening]

The doctors who heal our bodies don't always remember to protect our hearts.

Our beautiful boy will celebrate his 7th birthday next month. Seven years of love, hugs, smiles, tears, giggles, laughs, glances, glares...he is my sweet baby boy who is just barely too big for me to comfortably lift. He is my Monkey Boy, the never-ending tank of energy and movement and chatter. He is bright and talented and loved by many, but for all that brightness, there is the dark reality we face each day: he is hearing-impaired, a congenital condition that results in him not only hearing differently but also looking different. This has resulted in seven years of doctors, tests, research, tears, anxiety, fear, rude questions, confusion, arguments, speech therapists, ENTs, audiologists, nurses, lab results, but still hope that, when the time comes, we will know what to do, how to guide our Monkey in figuring out what is best for him to do in regards to his hearing and his appearance.

A piece of my hope was crushed today and it was terrible and ugly and harsh and real and takes away options forever. It happened over the phone, which was a mixed blessing. My husband was angry - how can he process so quickly such big news? He didn't feel there was time to ask questions. Part of me was relieved - I can scribble as the doctor talks, look only at the paper and fight back tears, focus on the logical and the next step and follow up and referrals, hang up and not have to fake niceties, go find somewhere by baby can't hear me and cry because I am the one who carried this innocent child into the world and so somehow this is still my fault, no matter how many times I'm told otherwise. I can't protect my baby from any of this.

And there is that part of me who is mad at that doctor, a man I've never even meant, mad because he spoke of my child like just another patient, mad because he assumed my husband and I didn't understand technical terms like atresia and microtia (words we have been painfully intimate with for the past 7 years), mad because I need to be mad at someone who isn't me, mad because it will temporarily distract from the sadness. Mad because this man has confirmed what we were hoping wasn't the case: our son will never have anything near "perfect" hearing without an abutement surgically implanted in his skull and a bone-anchored hearing aid snapped on each morning. He will never have an open ear canal. He will never be able to accurately localize sound without visual input.

I know he will be okay. I know we will pull through this as a family. it's just hard right now, and painful, and sad. I am so sad for my darling baby boy and I need to get this out so I can find the strength to support him through this journey as we move forward.