“Hey baby it’s a freakin’ weekend”! Thank you R. Kelly for those word of poetic genius. It is, however, the weekend and confetti should be thrown in the streets. I have had a long week, how about you? Projects and pregnancy (and other words that begin with “p”???) fill up my days and it’s a good life to have. It is time to sleep in on Saturday I think. Now I’m off to drink a particularly frightening bottle full of glucose-test fluid, get a blood draw, and it’s waffles for lunch as my reward.
Some links to love:
I just bought this print for Liam’s room (eek!) and it is an instant win.
Fall floral arrangements may be my favorite kind of floral arrangements
For the last 6 months I have just been dying to get my hands on a Cricut Explore™ …have you heard of them? The Explore is like a crafting ninja…it’s almost scary how versatile it is as a crafting tool. Some of my favorite features are that it cuts through TONS of different materials (think leather, paper, vinyl, and duct tape obviously) and you can create your own designs on your computer and upload them to your Cricut. That last one was what really sold me…and I’m just dying to come up with a duct tape craft now. So when Cricut invited me to join their Cricut Design Space™ competition I yelled with the enthusiasm of a mom running to the sock section on Black Friday: “Bring on the crafting insanity!” Also, I’m part of a Cricut Design Space Star team (Team #16 to be exact) and dang these girls are talented. After you check out this Leather Necklace DIY I created with my Explore, be sure to check out their Cricut crafts too!
I’m so please with how this leather necklace turned out, and even more giddy with how east it was to make! It looks pretty cool, but not too crafty–good qualities for a necklace no? I dare you to make one of your own. Here’s what you need:
- A scrap of soft leather that is at least 8″ X 12″. If it is a larger scrap make sure you cut it down to 12″ X 12″ so that it fits on your Cricut cutting mat.
- Jewelry chain (I used 60 inches) that you can buy in a role.
- Jump rings. I bought a bag of 15.
- A lobster clasp (bonus…it has a fun name).
- Needle nose pliers or any jewelry pliers.
Step 1: Begin by placing the leather onto the Cricut mat. I always make sure to align my designs and whatever material I am cutting to the top left corner.
Step 2: Now, by following the super simple steps outlined in the Cricut Design Space, cut out your leather design (and watch the Cricut do its thang!). I created my own “swoop” template for this particular necklace.
Step 3: Fun step…peel off your cut leather pieces.
Step 4: To create a hole so that the leather pieces can be transformed into a necklace I just used a scrap-booking brad punch, but a simple nail and hammer would make a perfect hole. At the two ends of each leather “swoop” I punched a tiny hole, big enough for a jump ring to fit through.
Step 5: Next, in each of those stamped holes add a jump ring. Make sure you open and close the jump rings by twisting them open, not pulling the opening wider. This ensures that ring will close back up tight.
Step 6: Time to add some chain! You will need to cut 6 different sections of chain (3 pairs) to create a layered effect for this necklace. Using my pliers I cut two chains to 11″, two chains to 10″, and two chains to 9″.
Step 7: Then add a pair of chains to the ends of each of the three leather “swoops”, making sure that the two chains added to a “swoop” are the same length.
Step 8: For the next step, lay the three leather pieces in a row and bring the chains on each side together. Connect the three chains on each side with a jump ring.
Step 9: For the final step, add a lobster clasp to one end of the connected chains using a jump ring.
And we are done! Wear it like a super crafting diva!
Just in case you are in the mood for some more mind-blowing Cricut crafts, check out these DIYs from my fellow team member! We all created something that was military inspired…I’m dying to hear what you think!
Interested in becoming more involved with Cricut? Check out their affiliate program…it might be just the thing for you, you know.
*Disclosure: I am a member of the Cricut Blogger Network. I may receive prizes in exchange for my winning projects. Even though I am not being directly compensated for these posts, I am under consideration for a prize with Cricut Design Space™ Star. All opinion are 100% my own. This post does contain affiliate links.
>>>This image is one of the only images I have of me breastfeeding Liam. We were laying down for most of the time I spent nursing Liam because it was most comfortable for us both. After nursing him for 2o months I am a little ashamed that this is the best picture I have (so slap your wrists Alix and take more nursing pictures with baby number 2!). Can you even stand those chubby legs!? I die.
I think I will talk about breastfeeding Liam for today’s post. I have been meaning to write this very “busty” post since last November and repeatedly just pushed it back until I felt a real need to chat about it. I think on the eve of having another baby, my mind has been dancing around thoughts of birth and nursing. Could be the colostrum that has decided to make an appearance (yay! and wink wink). Some people laugh at me when I talk about breastfeeding, but those are usually people I don’t take very seriously anyways. I mean, I keep things alive with my boobs. That TLC drama reality writes itself. All cards on the table: I loved breastfeeding. I didn’t necessary love every single moment of breastfeeding and when it was time to ween Liam last November (when he was 20 months) I knew we were both ready. But I did dearly love to nurse. Not all women have this positive relationship with nursing and I totally respect their experience and struggle and perspective. I am really happy with Liam’s and my nursing story, and I feel blessed to be so. So here are my few thoughts on my nursing experience (and I would love to hear more about yours because hooray for boobies!):
Liam came out ready to nurse. (You can read Liam’s birth story here). He was alert and hungry and skinny mini. My in-laws joke that he ran out of room in me so he came 2 weeks early just to stretch out and eat. They are not that far off because Liam nursed about every 45 minutes for the first 2 weeks of his life. I was tired and exhausted (same thing?), but we were both very proud when Liam weighed almost double his birth weight at his 2-week check up. (I kid you not he was born 6 lb 9 oz and weighed over 11 pounds by the time he was 13 days old). It did take about 48 hours of tireless effort to get that latching thing all sorted out, but he came to nurse and I was ready to put in the exhausting (there’s that word again) hours.
I was so proud of my body too. For someone coming off of a particularly ugly-looking pregnancy I was just so relieved to not be pregnant anymore and even more relieved that I could keep a human alive just by feeding myself and taking the time to nurse. Seriously though, if pregnancies were like crying faces, mine would be the Kim Kardashian of crying faces. I digress…Liam and I were a team when we nursed. I felt like we were a team during labor and delivery and I felt the same way about nursing. It was him and I in it together.
And we were a pretty creative team too. Breastfeeding for us was all about ingenuity. Those images you see of a composed mother nursing her blemish-free newborn on a Pottery Barn chair were nowhere near reality for the Liam man and I. When we had to nurse sitting up we made it happen, but much of the time we nursed laying down on our sides. This helped with back pains (on my end) and Liam seemed to fall asleep much better with a bed, rather than my lap, under him. Also, no nursing schedules were rigorously followed. That last sentence may literally drive some moms crazy, but the truth is, when I stopped obsessing over a nursing schedule I felt the freedom to live my life! We nursed on the go and it worked (and when I say on the go…I really mean it). Just the other day I saw a mom nursing her baby on a couch at Costco while reading a book to her other child and I thought “now that is creative parenting”. Also, she should get a medal (or at least some free Costco muffins) or somethings for multitasking.
I nursed because it was something Liam and I wanted to do. So many women feel external pressures to nurse or to pump or to bottle feed…to use certain soaps on their babies…to get epidurals…to not get epidurals. It seems like pregnant women are bombard by birth and parenting opinions that breach into areas very personal and intimate. My opinion is that nursing your baby doesn’t need to happen in private, but it is kind of a private decision. And by the time Liam came into the world, I sort of just knew we would be breastfeeding buddies for as long as he needed to be. No bottle-feeding mom nor le leche enthusiast needed to tell me who to be, I just felt like it was the right thing to do. That isn’t to say it was a 100% guilt-free experience. There were days where all I did was nurse and eat and nurse some more. Those were the days I spent feeling like my identity was a bit lost in the shuffle of parenting. As a result, guilt would accompany my mourning the loss of identity because aren’t we all supposed to feel fulfilled as mothers? Isn’t motherhood enough of an identity? Clearly that’s not true…we women have so much to offer in addition to motherhood, but sometimes we forget that we are not alone. With the perspective of some really great friends and a supportive husband I found a way to make breastfeeding a part of my identity–not my whole identity. And my breastfeeding story is a success story!
And I love Liam so much is hurts. I literally feel pain at the idea of continuing a day without him being a part of it. I’m really deeply grateful for the role that nursing played in our relationship.
The wall tapestry thing is totally off the charts right now. Seriously though, I can hardly scan through an Instagram or Pinterest feed without feeling the need to buy a loom emidiately and create some fabulous multi-yarn geometric wall art. Tapestry making seems like a very art-history-ish thing to me…like, “this hand-crafted Native American tapestry…” or “as you can tell from this 16th century English tapestry…”. But the tapestries today totally make sense, right? The talent I have witness from the crafting community is mind-blowing. Currently I am saving up to purchase a wall tapestry and I am hoping that a tapestry-making class pops up in Utah (are you hearing me weavers???) because I am so there.
Just to get my hands wet in the tapestry business, a few weeks ago I created an easy and fun beginner version of wall tapestry making for the blog For The Love Of. It’s a great place to start if you don’t have the tools to weave, and it makes a big statement in your home. That statement would be, “look how crafty and cool I am”. Just the kind of thing you want wall decor to say I think.
Check out how to make your own yarn wall tapestry DIY!!!
You have probably been wondering where I have been all week. I bet my absence has you totally befuddled. Or there’s a good chance that you are not my mother and have been living your life as normal and have hardly noticed my absence. Just know that I am here again and that when I was away I was very busy doing very fun things! (Now breath that sigh of relief ). Of all the fun stuff I do that I get to call “work”, home improvement projects are my most favorite. I do love great parties and DIYs, but interior design steals the show when I’m brainstorming ways to spend my day (and my money). Some of you will know what I mean; you walk into a room and immediately start decorating it in your mind. Me too.
So you can imagine that I take nesting pretty serious. Yep, I’m nesting in a big way for this baby girl nursery. Wall colors are changing…woodwork is being installed…I’m using power tools while pregnant (which makes my mother-in-law visibly uncomfortable when she sees me feeding bead-board through a table saw). Safety goggles are on and I took wood shop in high school so this is responsible nesting, but still pretty intense. For Liam’s room all the parts sort of came together as I collected pieces, but for this baby girl nursery I started with inspirational images, colors, and spaces…then took off from there. Today I just wanted to give you a sneak-peak of my inspiration and leave you all giddy for the mega baby girl nursery series I have coming in a few weeks!
But first, a few before pictures (how sad, I know):
As you can see, I have a blank canvas. Let’s get going shall we?
PS…all the pretty images used for this post are from websites and individuals that I just adore. Their work has been credited under each photo so check their cute butts out!
1 & 2 | the first thing to catch my eye when thinking nursery was a color pallet. I’m not really one to swoon over a baby pink room…it’s seems a little bit predictable…but I did love the idea of creating a very feminine space. The walls will be light peachy color while the mustard yellow, coral, and mint will make cameo appearances here and there.
3 | isn’t this image and room dreamy? It has Emily Henderson written all over it. This room really inspired me to incorporate a healthy mixture of rich bold color with softer pastels. The juxtaposition really sings, wouldn’t you say? Also…patterns, don’t be afraid to throw in those patterns.
4 | bead board. I warned you, their will be heart-stopping lovely bead board. Bead board is like a bed skirt for your room…it just makes so much sense!
5 | besides the fact that this baby girl nursery will probably have actual pom pom balls in it, what I also find so inspiring about this garland is it’s placement in a room: the ceiling! There are big things in store for my little girls ceiling…a touch a whimsy for sure.
10| two toned furniture! I already shared a sneak peak on my Instagram account
11| and a star player in the game will be painted furniture…Paint just solves a lot of sad-looking furniture problems. Paint is like furniture therapy, no?
So there you have it! A little tour through my inspiration/Pinterest account. What do you think? If you were creating a nursery space from scratch what would you incorporate? Stay tuned for more fun!xoxo Alix
Very wise people in my life (a.k.a my mother, Emily Henderson, and the guy who sells dryers at Home Depot) have always told me that a rug anchors a room. Just as an anchor keeps a ship in place, a rug pulls a room together. Rugs are like the relative who smooths everything over between politically opinionated couches and judgey wall art. A rug is the glue that bonds competing elements.
Enough rug analogies? Never. But I think you get the point…rugs are a key ingredient in bringing a room together and giving it that “finished” look.
I’m all about the polished interior design, but what I love the absolute most about a house is when it looks like a home: lived in and loved. That’s why I buy my rugs to live on! A rug that my kiddos can play on and we can play picnic on. The good new, no make that great news, is that you don’t have to sacrifice style to get a family-friendly rug and thanks to the stylish folks at Wayfair, you don’t have to sacrifice your life savings either!
Today I am beyond giddy to share with my readers (that’s you, and you, and you) a %15 discount on all area rugs! You heard me…ALL AREA RUGS %15 OFF!
Just use the code: RUGLUV03
The code works from 7/31 to 8/4 (that’s July 31st, 2014 to August 4th, 2014) so be sure to snag that outdoor dining rug you have wanted for-ev-er. Or maybe your master bedroom or kid’s room needs some pick-me-up rug love.
Also, because Wayfair knows how to party, they are having a huge sale on rugs right now. I have been shopping around and here are a few of my favorite rugs (on sale and not):
In July we went to Oregon. We did a lot of other things too, but we also drove our tushies through Oregon and in return Oregon promised Clint and I a romantic vacation in the future. Our main mission in Oregon was to attend the wedding of my long-time friend Ryan. The second mission was to see a ton of Oregon in 3 days. We pit-stopped in Bend for a day, which is lovely BTW, stayed a couple days in Silverton, and waved a longing goodbye to Portland on our way home. All of the evergreen forests and water-front views in Portland made me so very homesick for Seattle. I love the sun and snow of Utah, but some days I miss the cold beaches and ferns of the Pacific Northwest. Must be the Twilight Vampire in me.
^^ People in Oregon like dinner on the water. That’s a good thing. In Utah there are limited opportunities to eat dinner over a river or lake, but I’m guessing that has more to do with geography than preference. In both Bend and Silverton we were lucky enough to enjoy yummy food on a waterfront. We were also lucky enough to witness our son throw 2 spoons into the water and spill water all over our table. Two may be everything they warned us it would be.
^^ I like to call this image: “Go stand over that manhole and I’ll take a picture of you in wedding attire”. It’s artsy in an unintentional way, right? And the interesting angle is compliments of my 6’6″ hubs.
^^ Clearly his enthusiasm for bubbles cannot be overstated. Our Sir William is such a passionate person. He prefers to be fiercely excited or an angry demon child. His third speed in unconscious. With Clint and I as parents, it all kind of makes sense. My guess is that a mellow kid is not really in the cards for us.
^^^ And then how lucky am I to be married to this stud and his red beard. I think I am the luckiest.
^^ more artsy…cropping, disheveled blouse, and that look from you-know-who…I kind of love it all.
^^ The wedding was absolutely and completely lovely. They held the ceremony and reception at Oregon Garden Resort for the win. A billion point five acres of gardens + Oregon coastal weather was exactly how every wedding should be. I may have teared up a couple times, maybe.
^^ To appease the mountain man in Clint, we finished our trip off with a 5-ish-mile-hike through Silver Falls State Park. Holy crap it was beautiful and luscious. Waterfall after waterfall. If I had the chance to hike it again, I would bring my real camera (because my phone camera is fake?) and spend some time taking more pics of these babes.
^^ On the road. Oh Liam.
So…If we go back to Oregon, where should we go??? What are some of your favorite spots?
By now it’s not a secret that I possess a deep affinity for ice cream. I decry that National Ice Cream month has taken the nation by storm! Well at least it has taken over my Instagram and Pinterest account on several occasions and I’m not complaining. In fact, I have been playing along with this playful holiday month and am kind of sad to see it all come to an end. To avert crisis mode I suppose I will just have to continue to eat ice cream in August. There, problem solved.
And here are a few links to some yummy blog posts and some of my favorite ice cream pins, just in case you haven’t seen enough Popsicles and cones!…
I can see the weekend around the corner…can’t you? What is is about weekends that makes everyone take a sigh of relief. I work from home, so a Saturday has the potential to look a lot like a Wednesday, or even a Monday (gasp) but for some reason on Saturday I am choosing to “catch up on work” as apposed to “trying to stay on task”. Also, weekends are my favorite because Clint is around! I keep trying to talk him into working from home permanently, because I adore him and because I adore the idea of more co-parenting with this stubborn 2-year-old of ours. I do have a feeling that if Clint worked from home it would lead to a lot more hunting television shows in the background and I may drop dead if I have to hear one more hunter’s prayer thanking Jesus for their ‘mazing elk kill. Hunting is an issue where I can sympathize with both sides but don’t get too heated about the whole thing…I choose to get my panties in a twist over other things, like sexism…teen pregnancies…and the Kardashians (important things you see). So no anti-hunting campaigns here, but if you want to watch some sketchy camera work and listen to a slew of grammatical errors I highly recommend hunting channels.
And I digress. Back to weekends. Weekends are a really lovely time to gather. To eat (ecologically-sound deer meat ) around a table . To make lemon cake without guilt. A great time for appreciating details. That’s why I made a perfectly pretty pom pom table runner, fit for a lovely weekend. You can make one too with full instructions at For The Love Of!
Well that post really got away from me. Now for a dismount: happy almost weekend!
This summer I was asked to party along with the Home Depot Outdoor Challenge, which by the way, is just as fun as it sounds. I’m a huge (obsessed) fan of Home Depot. It’s true. When Clint asks me what I want to do as a family, it usually involves a preliminary trip to the big HD and then a couple hours of painting/planting/woodworking to follow. Having a 6’6″ assistant has it’s advantages when roller painting a ceiling, you know. So when Home Depot’s Blog, The Apron asked me to build an outdoor game it felt a lot like coming home. Like my natural shopping habits were merging with my blog job. So I enlisted the help of my bearded sidekick to construct an fun and sturdy (very sturdy) kid sprinkler toy perfect to combat the summer heat! Find out how to make your own sprinkler kid wash!