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A new announcement!

Last month we announcement the news that we are expecting again to friends and family. As soon as I found out I was expecting (New Year’s Eve to be exact) I started thinking of the whens and hows to announce the news to everyone. When I did the math I realized I would be 12 weeks right around Valentine’s Day! And what better day to tell the world we are filling our family with more love than Valentine’s Day!?!?! So I started thinking of card ideas, browsing the internet and (of course) Pinterest to find different ideas. I finally found something that sparked the idea of what I ended up doing.

One morning I set up my tripod (for the first time), got out my chalkboard and got Afton and I dressed. We then spent the next hour or so snapping (timed) shots in front of the camera. This was not an easy feat to accomplish with a toddler and sure enough she started getting tired of it and cranky in no time. So to ensure I got a least one usable shot I made it into a game…when the time started beeping we ran in front of the camera and smile and then ran away. This she liked! And I ended up getting a shot I could use.

photo

I took this shot and put it on a Valentine’s Day photo card and mailed it to friends and family, but Afton hand delivered the cards to all her grandparents because we really wanted her to play a special role in the news. She had a blast going from house to house and visiting everyone and handing them a card. She especially loved everyone’s reactions. Let’s see how she feels about it in 6 months 😉

Mother’s Day

Since this was my very first Mother’s Day I wanted to make so I will always remember it. I received the nicest cards from my friends and family (and even my brothers) so I decided to keep all the cards and make them into a book. I didn’t have to purchase anything to create this keepsake because I already had everything I needed: paper doily, pink construction paper, glue stick, hole punch, ribbon and scissors. I arranged all the cards in the order I wanted them and made sure all the folded sides came together evenly. Then, I picked each one up and started punching holes in the spines (two holes in each card, one in the small cards). I folded my piece of construction paper in half and wrapped it around my card stack and trimmed whatever edges I didn’t want. (If you have fancy scissor that cut designs this would add to the piece). Then I punched holes in the construction paper, threaded my ribbon through it and it looked like this:

The cards should all be easily readable. Flip through it to make sure. And there is no right way to arrange the cards, some might do it smallest to largest and some might do it in order of importance (me). To each his own!

Once that is done, take your paper doily and arrange it however you want it on the cover. Depending on the size of the doily you might have to cut it (see picture below). Before gluing it down take your marker and write on it (I wrote: My 1st Mother’s Day with the year). Put some glue on the back of your doily (smooth part only or the glue will get caught in the “webbing” of the lace). Smooth it over the cover and there you have it, a Mother’s Day keepsake you can come back to each year and remember your very first year as a mommy!

Keep in mind that this idea is not just for Mother’s Day, you can use this throughout the year and throughout yours and your child’s life. For example, I saved all of Afton’s first birthday cards from close friends and family and I plan on making something similar for those. I also saved my husband’s cards from his first Father’s Day and I plan on doing this too!

Tiny Handprints

This is a project we did when Afton was about six months old. I saw a variation of it on Pinterest when I was researching Father’s Day gift ideas (this will be a separate post) and thought it was a cute idea since our hallway wall is empty. I went to the local craft store and got a frame and a heavier sheet of paper to fit into the frame (I bought three pieces because I didn’t know how easy it would be or how many attempts it would take). The paint and marker I already had at home but you can buy the small acrylic bottles for about $0.50 each. First I will show you what it looks like, then I’ll walk you through the steps.

Ok first you put the baby down for a nap. Then you get your paper, paint and a paper plate. The hand print on the left is my husbands and the one on the right is mine. I have seen this done several ways, this is just the way I decided to do it. So we smeared the paint onto the plate and dipped our hands in it and got our prints on the paper (we did all three sheets so we wouldn’t have to do it again). I let the sheets of paper dry overnight. Then in the morning when Afton got up it was fun time! As you can see the handprints aren’t perfect but it was pretty hard getting a six-month-old to cooperate and not get paint everywhere at the same time. At first I was going to leave the paper blank with just our prints and at some point I was going to attempt to get the dog’s prints on it but my better judgement got the best of me. I looked high and low for a quote I liked and just wrote it on with a black sharpie. Here is the framed piece:

I know the quote isn’t perfect, I should have planned that out better but in the end it’s ours and I love all the imperfections it has. We will probably do another one when (if) the next baby comes along and update the frame.

Operation Shabby Chic Distressed Highchair

This project came about because Afton was turning one and when I started planning her party I realized she was going to need something fabulous to taste her first sugar in! I started looking around at yard sales and on Craigslist until I found the perfect antique wooden highchair. I bought this highchair from a women a few towns over. Her children were grown but she still had a tough time letting go of this piece. She told me the highchair was over 65 years old and it was given to her by a family friend, who happened to be her dentist when her kids were young. She was so happy to see it going to a good home where another child will enjoy it for years to come! I was happy to get it for $20. This is the highchair in all its original glory:

Hello, Mr. Bunny! Your days are numbered!

My first step was removing all the metal parts (two screws in the actual chair and the tray mechanism), after that it was time to sand! And sand, and sand, and sand:

No more Mr. Bunny…

Once the sanding was complete made sure to wipe down the entire chair with a damp cloth making sure to get all the dust out of all the tiny little spaces. Then I let it dry out overnight. Next, I had to pick a paint color. Now, as a side note, this is the first time I’ve done anything like this and upon researching different techniques to achieve the look I wanted I found MANY tutorials for DIY distressed furniture but nothing specifically for a wooden highchair. I was kind of disappointed, which is a big reason why I am writing this now. So the following was just the way I decided to distress this highchair based on random information I found. I knew going into the paint department that I wanted three things: I didn’t want to do the extra step of priming, I wanted this chair to be the lightest shade of pink ever and I needed some kind of glaze. Thankfully I stumbled upon a really nice worker who was familiar with the look I wanted. She recommended that I use a tinted primer/paint combo (color: Helios), she showed me where the glazes were and helped me pick a tea-stained one that was perfect and she also recommended a spray paint, high-gloss finish for easy cleaning once the baby actually started using the chair (cost for all = under $20). I walked out of the store with all that plus some foam brushes, sandpaper and clothes for the antiquing process.

And so the painting process began. Originally I didn’t think it would take that many coats, the wood seemed light and I was armed with a tinted primer, but being an amateur I was wrong. I ended up doing four coats of paint and in the end you could still see some of the wood underneath but I went with it because (a) I REALLY didn’t want to paint it again and (b) I was just going to destroy it anyway and I thought it would add to the look. Here is a photo of coat one drying:

This is where patience is a virtue

After applying the other three coats and waiting for each to dry overnight, I started the distressing process. I don’t have any photos of this but I will explain what I did. First I took my angled foam brush and pushed the glaze into all those  crevices you see around the back and seat of the highchair and then I used my damp cloth to wipe it off. That is the glazing process (for those of you who aren’t familiar with it) you put the glaze on and you wipe the glaze off, think The Karate Kid: wax on, wax off! That way you doing get in over your head and you can control the look you want. I played around with this a lot, then I got bored and got out the sandpaper. I was really scared to use the sandpaper and potentially screw up all four coats of my paint, but I soldiered on. I started with the tray. I closed my eyes and started sanding right in the middle (they say to distress in places the piece would be naturally worn from use), which is why I started in the middle of the tray. After that I sanded here and there (not too much because I was still scared) and then went back over those areas with the glaze. Here is what I ended up with:

Ta-da!

I know what you’re thinking…that highchair isn’t pink! Thank you, that is exactly the look I was going for. I wanted it to be pink because it was my girl’s very first birthday BUT I also know I will have more children someday and I did NOT want to redo this highchair over if I happened to have a boy down the road. So YOU know it’s pink, I know it’s pink and the lady who mixed my paint knows it’s pink…no one else has to and I’m fine with that. The finishing steps to this piece were spraying the entire chair and tray with my high-gloss spray (three coats, I want it to last) and putting the screws and tray mechanism back on (I spray painted them with some chrome paint my husband had left over but it’s not going to last, I can already tell) but nevertheless, here is the finished product:

Happy Birthday, Afton!

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