Monday, May 30, 2011

Amigurumi awesomeness

These are the stuffed animals I want for Elsa's room. I love handmade crocheted animals and I'm hoping this post encourages my very talented crochet-inclined mother to make one for her granddaughter. Or buy me one of these from Etsy:

Lion, from MrFunky on Etsy. She made Milo, my gray and yellow amigurumi cat that Jeff gave to me when he proposed. The cat has a little crocheted purse around her where he was going to tuck my engagement ring into which in hindsight would probably have been much better than slipping it into my hand while walking down a random street in NYC at night saying "gotyouthis." Needless to say, I love that cat so so much. Too much to bequeath it to my daughter so I need to get her her own amigurumi. I love this lion. This monkey is also totally rad:

And yes Mom, they are safe for kids because she puts washers on the backs of the eyes and nose so they can't be pulled off and choked on.

A less budget-friendly amigurumi that I felt in love with on Etsy comes from LazyMuse. You'd think that I would want the Siamese cat heads doll, but honestly, it's a little creepy. And I love this ballerina bunny too much instead:

She also sells a pattern for making the crocheted cat/octopus which is kind of amazing. Mom- make it!

And lastly, these aren't amigurumis, but they are awesome knit dolls from Blabla which I think are the bee's knees. The cat rattle and Pierre the Bunny are my favorites:

Sigh. Too much cuteness in this internet world...


I made a little floating sheep mobile for above Elsa's crib using a pattern from the book Baby Stuff but modifying it a bit to make Siamese colored sheep (of course) and using materials I already had on hand. The ring is a ribbon covered embroidery hoop, I have a ton of that satin cord so I use it every chance I get (it makes the best cat toys! Cats love it slipping through their toes.), and the bamboo batting I also had lying around from a coupon extravaganza shopping trip at Joann's. I like how it turned out, and the black and white should be stimulating to the baby. But not too stimulating. I want her to sleep.

Now I just have to figure out how to hang it over the crib. I've seen crib attachments that hold the mobile over the crib at the right height (hanging it from the ceiling seems weird), but where do you get those?

I also made a curtain for the other door in the nursery that leads out to the sewing room/library, which has a ginormous window that lets in oodles of sun. It's a sheer curtain so it's not too light blocking but the nursery is fairly dark as it is so maybe it'll work out. I can always line it later but I like how you can see the swiss dots against the sun looking out the nursery. I hung the curtain on the sewing room side of the door so I can still peek in and make sure she's not pulling off her diaper and poo finger painting when she should be napping.

Today we have more baby stuff to do... have to assemble the stroller, install the car seat bases, hang her awesome vintage swag chain lamp from the ceiling, and finish painting her vintage rocking horse and cat coatrack. Those are our Memorial Day goals, but I'll probably end up eating peach popsicles on a blanket on the backyard lawn instead.

34 weeks

I was reminded this morning that it's been a week since my last blog update! (Thanks Drea!) Time sure flies when you're 34 weeks pregnant and uncomfortable. It sort of just started this past week, where even sitting now is tiring. That's sad, right? We went to the doctor on Thursday for the check-up and came out with like 53 ultrasound photos! The ultrasound doctor went nuts. He made me roll all over the table to try to jiggle up the baby and move her hands away from her face and she finally relented. It was reassuring to see her, count her fingers and toes, and see her fat little cheeks.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Snuggler and a wet bag

I think Elsa likes it when I sew because she moves around every time the Huskystar gets fired up. She probably knows I'm making her cool stuff and she's excited about that.

I finished the Snuggler last night, made from a pattern from Lotta Jansdotter's Sewing for Baby book. I love her book and her designs but some of her instructions are pretty vague which usually results in some frustration. I like lots of diagrams and photographs of what I'm supposed to do, not so much with the sketchy illustrations. Oh well, it turned out pretty good I think.

I used an ivory microfleece for the inside and this Heather Ross Rabbits and Race Cars fabric from Kokka which I've been squirreling away for a perfect use. I love it so much, I'm sad to see my supply of it dwindle. :( The little dancing foxes, frogs, and rabbits are so rad. I love all her designs, especially this Munki Kittens one. I wish it wasn't $35 for a half-yard! Dats crazy.

And this morning I made another wet bag for poopy diapers on-the-go. This time with a zipper! Ooh, fancy. I used the Cloud9 My Happy Nursery Flock fabric for the outside, and a light blue PUL waterproof fabric for the inside.

Friday, May 20, 2011

All kids should have a collection of overalls, right?

Jeff and I love overalls on kids, and I'm kind of becoming an Etsy-thrifting pro at finding awesome ones. These are my recent acquisitions from littlereadervintage, which has SO much great stuff, at really cheap prices. Those deck shoes kill me. If Brian Kesling ever has a baby boy, I'm going to hunt these things down and buy them for him.


I realize Elsa will be too little for overalls for awhile, but a nice little stockpile is something she (I) can look forward to, encouraging her to learn to walk a little sooner.

Vanessa the Cat

We miss having Sadie in the house and Jerod and Karen probably won't let us have her for good, so we found a stray cat in the backyard that we're going to love. Her new name is Vanessa, she's little, super friendly, likes to be on our roof, and is probably someone else's cat. She seems healthy and well-fed but a little extra food and scratches from us can't hurt her. Jeff let her in his studio to hang out last night so maybe they'll be studio buddies.

Sorry for the crappy iPhone pics. It was at night and they're grainy from all the purring that was shaking her up.

Roman blind

We frosted the baby's window (which looks out onto the neighbor's driveway- not the best view) and I sewed a curtain to dress it up a bit and to provide some nap time light blocking functionality. I upped my game a bit and tackled my very first Roman shade, following the ever helpful instructions over here at ReadyMade. I used my favorite IKEA fabric (no longer being made sadly), which is a nice and heavyweight cotton canvas with a graphic bunting print, and not too cutesy which is good considering all the cute this nursery is going to contain in a few months.

Ignore that curtain cord that is right around baby-hanging hazard height. It has since been altered. I repurposed our storage ottoman that was in the living room doing nothing for toy storage here. Plus it makes for a nice little cushiony space to sit and read a book from her library. I draped an IKEA rug over the top of it because I like the colors and the ottoman was covered in cat hair, but I might get fancy and do a dip-dye ombre effect on the slipcover. We'll see.

I'm pretty proud that it actually worked. The folds seem even and the cord pulls it up nice and smoothly. I might attempt these for our room next.

Next sewing project- a snuggler. It's looking so cozy I might make one in my size.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mini nursery library

I've seen these IKEA Bekvam spice racks used as bookshelves in several photos around the infernets (so don't think I'm all original with my repurposing of the kitchen item) and wanted to use them in the nursery to display some of the awesome books we've received and collected for Elsa so far. This wall behind the door next to the closet was perfect for them. They're super sturdy and can't be pulled off easily (you have to push up and then pull out to remove them) so I think they're pretty baby-safe. Btw, IKEA is discontinuing these shelves so if you want them, go get them now!

Monday, May 16, 2011


We bought and assembled the crib this weekend which I guess means we're keeping the baby. It's official! After way too much consideration and searching for the perfect crib (which obviously is this one), we (I) decided that it was crazy to spend $800 on a piece of baby furniture when my whole nursery budget was under 1K (although now thanks to my crafty craigslist sleuthing and DIY craziness is more like $500). Luckily my Scandinavian friends at IKEA came through with a very close to perfect crib that we happily purchased. The Sniglar. Awesome name too. We shook the shit out of the assembled crib at home too and everything was sturdy, smooth, and oh-so-inexpensive. I love it and can't wait to deck it out with a nice mattress (which happens to be 3/5ths of the nursery budget! Christ Almighty organic mattresses are pricey.) and cute sheets.

And look who helped us assemble it! That little furball of sweetness is Sadie, Jerod and Karen's kitty, on loan for a few days. We missed having a kitty so much and luckily she's a great loaner cat. She's been having fun sniffing and licking everything in the house (our nostrils while we're sleeping included) and we've been enjoying having a furbaby in the house to play with again.

I think I'm happy with this new furniture placement. I like that the crib is right next to the hallway door so we can peek in and see the baby easily, and the dressers look better broken up rather than side-by-side. Because these things matter. The womb chair will go in the corner in between the changing table (now close to the laundry room which will be handy) and the black dresser. Can't wait for that bad boy to arrive.

I found these drawer pulls that I've had for a long time with nothing to put them on, and did a happy dance when I realized they fit the changing table and I had exactly enough of them. I got them on super sale at Anthropologie awhile back and love their card-catalog quality. I'm so type A and will obviously label the drawers once I figure out what's going to go inside of them. Fun!

New closet

Apparently I have a lot of clothing items. I still think I'm pretty restrained when it comes to shopping for myself but my closet makes me look like a liar. Poor Jeff and his flannels got pushed out of our bedroom closet into his previous studio's closet, but since the studio is now a nursery and Elsa is my daughter, she's going to need that space. Our closet is pretty long (96") and tall and the previous set up just had one bar going through the middle, so a lot of space was wasted. My brilliant idea was to take down the existing bar and shelf and install a modular shelving unit (Antonius from IKEA) to make a double decker closet, allowing more room for Jeff to move all his RVCA clothes into.

So here is what we started with:

All my stuff. And during the reno, all my stuff on our bed:

And Ta-Da!! The after:

Wait. Still all my stuff. Whaaa...? How did that happen? I close to doubled the square footage of hanging space in the closet and we still didn't have room for Jeff's flannels. Crap. My dresses and long cardigans took up more space in the double decker sections so his big boy clothes wouldn't fit. So after a breakdown (which stemmed from Alberta's putting cheese in my bean burrito which we specifically asked them not to do and then realized it after getting home), I calmed down, weeded out some clothes, shoes, and purses I'm not going to wear anymore (tear), and moved my accessories from the hall closet into this one, donating that space now to Jeff. He seemed satisfied, and I'm now happy with the new set-up. Let's just hope the screws hold and everything doesn't come crashing down!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Elsa Ida McMillan

I don't think I've shared it here yet, but Jeff and I decided on the baby's name so we're trending to calling her by name now, instead of baby or Skeletor. Elsa was on both of our "like" lists, and at the top of mine. I love that it's short, easy to pronounce and spell, and can have a few cute nicknames like Elle, Elsie, or EM (initials). The Ida is Grammie's namesake, and if you met Jeff's Grammie, it'd be clear why we would want our daughter to carry on her name. Plus it's old-fashioned and sweet, and goes nicely with Elsa I think.

We're fiddling around more with the nursery today (bought and assembled the crib yesterday, yay!!) so pictures on that coming up later...

The custom crocheted name piece above is by the awesome Etsy seller Crochetingbyrose. Her mom makes them and did this one and had it shipped to me within 4 days of the purchase! So fast! And inexpensive. I'm going to frame this one for her little art gallery in the nursery.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nursery progress!

My almost-Mother's Day present from Jeff was a weekend full of sanding and painting to get the baby's room ready! It was exactly what I wanted. While Mandy and I arranged and delivered flowers, Jeff sanded and painted the baby's dresser, changing table, AND painted the walls of the room! All in just one weekend. He's a work horse.

For the nursery walls, we went with my favorite color, a light minty-blue that I like to call Daiquiri Ice. Benjamin Moore actually has a paint color called Daiquiri Ice but it's all wrong. It's nothing like the Baskin-Robbins sorbet I know and love. This one came the closest in my sample swatches, and is Valspar's Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue. It's a little bright but I think that's because there is so much of it right now. Once we have more stuff in the room and up on the walls, I think it will be perfect and cheery.

This was Jeff's dresser from when he was a baby, and he repainted it with Martha Stewart's Silhouette black paint in high gloss. I think it's such a stately piece now. Still cutesy though because when you open the drawers, you see the original yellow gingham contact paper!

I was going to go for the IKEA Edland two drawer dresser for the changing table, but decided to save myself $140 and buy this similar piece off craigslist. It's solid oak with dovetailed joints and graceful curves, and almost the exact same dimensions as the IKEA dresser. Perfect for a changing pad on top. Jeff painted it also in a Martha Stewart high gloss paint, this time in a light gray, called Driftwood Gray.

And my contribution to the updates... new doorknobs!! Yay! After a year of living in this house, I finally changed out all those awful chipped gold doorknobs. I don't even want to post a before, they were so ugly. Some were gold on one side and silver on the other, all terrible. Now all doorknobs in the house match in this brushed nickel finish and I'm quite pleased with myself for being so handy and swapping them all out.

Next up, handles for the changing table, privacy film and curtains for the window, the crib, and a rug!

Baby shower!

Our wonderful moms threw us a baby shower up in San Jose at the end of April and to say it was a success is an understatement. We had so many family members and friends come out to the Parola's ranch for the party and we were overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone. Needless to say, it's a good thing we drove Jeff's truck up because we barely had room for all the gifts and our luggage on the way back! Pictures! (sorry, there are a ton)

Bump! I was 30 weeks on the dot at the shower and thank god Karen gave me like 8 bags of her maternity clothes before the trip because I'm not sure I had anything shower-appropriate otherwise (my mom said I couldn't wear my jeggings). This was the day after the Royal Wedding too so I was inspired to wear something big and poufy in my hair and dragged my mom around the mall looking for a fascinator. This fabric flower gave the effect I was after.

My mom, Jeff's Grammie (her name is Ida which will be our baby's middle name!), and Jeff's mom Sue.

They all did so much to make this party perfect. My awesome sister-in-law did the flower arrangements (and a special corsage for me!), and my mom and Sue stuck baby photos of Jeff and me in the flower pots which is what I'm looking at. There were a bunch of Jeff that I'd never see before, he was a damn cute baby! 

Me and pops, the photographer for almost all the pictures.

Richard is a fan of taxidermy. I am not. Those were his decorations, not mine. 

I was so excited all my friends came out! Kate, Jen, and Patrick came down from SF, Max from San Mateo, but Mandy and Seth get the award for furthest travelled since they drove up from Long Beach. Awesome!

Don't slap the belly!

It was such a beautiful day, and the Parola's ranch is such a gorgeous setting for any party.

Sue went a little crazy with the party food (this cake is bigger than me, and we had vats of pasta!), but you can't blame her, it's the Italian in her.

And check out our haul! This is only half of it too. Everyone was so generous and hooked us up! I was saying that I could be having sextuplets and still be totally equipped. Minus the cloth diapers though. Those weren't such a popular gift, but we got a few! I'm having so much fun going through everything and organizing it, and now that the nursery and dressers are painted (that's the next post), I can start putting things away. Exciting!

These are a few of the cutie-batooty gifts we got. Monica bought the baby designer shoes! In that same thread, my mom crocheted the baby a pair of "Louboutin's" with the classic red sole. So fancy!

She also crocheted these glittery ruby red slippers...

And our favorite: YETI FEET!!! She is so crazy clever. They have little blue claw toes and "fur" and everything! Jeff is going to try to convince her to crochet a pair in every size because the day she grows out of these, he might cry.

And Max got us these awesome baby Converse sneakers! I love that he got them in red too. They're going to look so cute with all the navy gingham dresses and rompers I'm buying her! 

I was so amazed by the sewing and knitting talent in our little circle. We got the cutest handmade blankets, burp cloths, bibs, and clothes! I love handmade stuff.

Huge thanks again to our moms for throwing us the shower, the Parola's for the stunning venue, and everyone that came out and celebrated with us! This baby is so very loved.