Deck the Halls

Christmas is six (SIX!) days away and I have much to blog about. Like, say, gifts I've made (although some can't be shared till after the holidays, lest we spoil some gift-giving surprises), stockings I finished long ago, baby sleep updates, haircuts (a few), and some recipes. I got a great start on my Christmas gift making this year, and it is a good thing, because Matt and I were asked to plan our church Christmas party (with the help of a great committee) so Christmas making went to the back burner while party planning was in full swing. The party was on Saturday so now I'm full steam ahead for Christmas.

Our decorations are few this year, partially due to living in a smaller place, but I like to think we've done well with what we've got. We opted for a table top tree to keep presents and ornaments from our ever-curious almost-one-year-old's hands. I used mostly the same decorations we have used in years past, with a few tweaks. My "theme" (because yes, I think about stuff like that) is retro/vintage inspired. 
If our little tree looks like it is leaning, it is because it is. Not much we can do about it, since it came with a pre-drilled in stand when we bought it. 
The view from the gift side of the counter. Charly is mesmerized by the lights but can't get her mischievous hands anywhere near it!

I like to go all out with my gift wrap. We keep our Christmas giving small, and I think beautiful wrapping helps elevate the gifts that we do have. That, and having less gifts means it isn't as daunting to wrap each with bows, ribbons, etc. See the gift on the far left? Matt wrapped that one. Nice work, eh?

We bought this cute gift tag stamp at Anthropologie. I love a little humor and whimsy with my gift wrapping:) 
Here are a few of my favorite ornaments on our tree this year:
Owl made by a friend

My bird ornament from last year.

Matt's ornament from last year- cause he's a nut!
And here is the "mantle" (really it is just an IKEA shelf mounted above the fireplace): 

Here are the completed sweater stockings. I'll post a quick tutorial if anyone is interested.

A new decor addition- wrapping paper trees! I made these for the church party and they were EASY!!! Let me know if you want a tutorial.

That is about as decked as our halls are getting this year! Bring on the Christmas cheer!

Our Super Secret Fun Project Reveal!

It is finished! Our super secret fun project that I mentioned in this post by giving you a little visual clue... complete. Fin. The end.

Wanna know what it is?

Well, that pile 'o staples started out as part of this thing of beauty:

Gah. The color. The stains. Bad.

Yep. You guessed it. Upholstery project! I've been wanting to try my hand at a little reupholstery for a while, so I was excited when I happened upon this guy. Around these parts, people leave stuff like furniture they don't want out on the curb. Whilst I was on a morning run I spied this cube/ottoman/storage thingy and noted the location so I could come back later. I was hoping it was salvageable.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. A few needs have been unmet in our living room, and I've been looking for a piece that might help with some of them. We needed some storage- for either toys or blankets, but those things are always in the living room and they need a home. We needed additional seating- with our sectional gone we can really only comfortably seat 3 people without pulling out the camp chairs. That is fine for us on an every day basis, but occasionally we have people over and it would be nice to have some make shift seating so we didn't have to go Clampett style with company. We needed a table- remotes, wireless mouse and keyboard, drinks... those things all found their homes on the couch cushions or the floor.

I'd perused and seen some things that might work for seating and storage, or we could go the table route... but those things were pricey. And I'm cheap. For these many reasons, I was very excited to see that ratty cube on the side of the road at 5:30 in the morning. This could possibly be a storage/seating solution. Score. I went back at a more reasonable hour and discovered that it also had this feature:

See that? The top flips over and has a tray. Tabletop?!?! This thing fulfills- check it- all three of our living room needs. The dream piece. And free. But ugly. Oh so ugly. And dirty:

Storage! But dirty. 

After a few episodes of Royal Pains worth of pulling out staples, our beast of a cube looked like this:

We basically just payed attention to how it was put together as we disassembled so we could recreate that with our own fabric.

After a full Saturday of sewing and stapling, we now have this:

We knew we wanted a fabric to tie in the mustard yellow of this pillow I made, and even toyed with the idea of using that same fabric (since we already had enough and it was free to begin with) but decided against it because we needed something more durable. We picked this fabric up at JoAnn's- it is an indoor/outdoor canvas. If it can withstand the elements, hopefully it can withstand our drooly baby.

I used fabric that we already had for the piping and lining. I used the cord from the old piping to create the new stuff, making it even cheaper! Three cheers for upcycling! The piping was the trickiest part by far. I may have gotten a little...erm... frustrated. But I made it through.

Here it is fulfilling its storage duty. Note that I give my child things like an old sherbet container and call it a toy. Charly is easily amused.

The inside was a little tricky too... there was probably a better way to do it, but we couldn't figure it out, so I essentially sewed a fabric box and we used spray adhesive to stick it to the bottom and sides, then stapled along the top ledge.

And now it makes its appearance as a table! It has wheels, so it is easy to cart it around and move it to fit our needs. Like my diapers drying in the background? Keepin it classy.

And now- a budget breakdown for ya!

Ottoman/storage cube/table: free ninety-nine (picked up off the curb)
Extra cushion (it was a little hard on the tush): $6
Spray adhesive: $5
Staple gun (since we didn't have one, but we'll use it for future projects too): $20
Fabric: $18 (used a coupon at JoAnns)

Total Cost: $49 (or $29 for the project itself, minus the staple gun)

I saw similar items at Target for around $75, but they didn't have the tray feature, were smaller, and really just not as cute.

We think this bad boy was totally worth the effort. It gives a great pop of color to the room, and we love how it stands out against the cool tone of the walls. We saved a heckuvalot of money (when you factor in that we would have needed two pieces of furniture to fill the role of this one), and we have a custom piece at that! Woot!

(Just now Matt and I had to converse about whether one woot was acceptable or if they needed to come in pairs... apparently I'm a one woot kinda gal)

So there it is, super secret fun project revealed! What do you guys think? Anyone else take on an upholstery project?

PS- Did you spy my next big project in the picture next to the chair? I picked it up at a thrift store the other day, and we have plans for it already!

Crib Mobile (Finally!)

Back in December I made these cute little birds (pattern found here) for a mobile I had planned for the nursery. Do you guys remember how cute that mobile turned out? No? Oh yeah. I never finished it. I made all those birds and then never got around to assembling the mobile. To be honest, I knew the balancing act that would be, well, balancing the mobile, would be difficult. I thought about it every so often as I transferred it from one to-do list to the next and tried to think of ways I might make it easier. Finally, yesterday, I buckled down and bought the supplies to try and tackle this adorable mobile, with my own twist.

I worked on it last night and this morning (in between feedings and multiple failed naps) and finally have a finished product to share! I even got it hung up.

It was a little precarious getting the hook installed (ok, very precarious) but I got er done. It *may* have involved standing on the edge of the crib, while holding power tools, and I *may* have lost my balance and gotten a big bump/bruise on my shin. Maybe. 

Anyhow, my version includes dowels instead of tree branches (cause I couldn't find branches I was happy with. I'm a perfectionist) and an embroidery hoop . I also staggered my "branches" so that they aren't all linked- two "branches" connect directly to the hoop, and one hangs off of each of those, rather than each hanging off of the one above it. 
Each is secured with two strings because I thought it would make balancing easier. I'm not sure it did, but I kind of like the intermingling of the strings. I also ended up weighing one of the birds (I'm not telling which one) with beans, three pennies, one nickel and two batteries. Its a little surprise for whoever opens these up some day.
I love how different it looks from every angle. I don't love the lighting in these pictures, but it was already hung  when I realized the light available would not be the best, and at that point I was not crawling back up on that crib. I mean, if that even happened :)
I'm pretty happy to finally be done with this project and have something hung up in Charly's room. Hopefully we'll have more progress to report soon!