Monday, 27 October 2014

Put it in a photo book.

Okay so if there's something to know about me, I'm kind of obsessed with organising things and taking photographs. It's no surprise really that I have really gotten into photo books lately as they combine the best of both- ending up with organised photos. I love having photos on view and to be able to look back through special times and with so many cheap and easy websites out there you can make a photobooks for around $5 + postage...what beats cheaply organising photos??

I thought I'd share today a few photo book ideas that I have made recently. They are special to me and I love having these neatly recorded snapshots of early motherhood.

A photo book all about your pregnancy
I initially was skeptical about remembering how I looked during my pregnancy as I got bad fluid retention and swelled up like a balloon but it was such a special time in my life. A photo book allowed me to combine the few photographs I'd taken to make something of a little substance. In retrospect I probably should have taken more photos but I felt like a giant balloon, rather than someone sporting a cute bump. Thankfully once Henry was born, the swelling decreased significantly. I choose a beautiful quote for the back cover and filled the book with bump photos, ultrasounds, snaps from our babymoon, the baby shower and photos of the nursery.
A photo book about your baby's first days in hospital and at home
Another photo book I was very keen to make was inspired by pinterest and was a book documenting Henry's time in hospital and first few visitors when we got home. It was a wonderful way to record all the love around him when he was born and also a place to record some special messages we received that otherwise may have just got lost in the sea of messages kept on my phone. I look forward to when Henry is a bit older and we can read through this book together and look at the pictures.



 A photo book of professional photographs
We also got some professional photographs taken at the hospital when Henry was born and these have been wonderful for photo books as I've made photo books for Grandpa for Father's Day and also Grandma's birthday using these images. He was only 2 days old at the time so it's wonderful to remember what he looked like all teeny tiny and new. I also made a little book for myself with all the pictures altogether (one of the pages is pictured at the start of this post).

This self confessed journaling addict also admits to owning a few baby books and I thought I'd share the two I choose for any readers out there seeking looking for present ideas or journals for yourself.

This was a gift from Mum and has been so useful for recording and storing special early photographs and information that would easily be forgotten. Pages include topics like 'my first visitors', 'what my parents remember about my first weeks' and special memories of each months.
2
The journal loving side of me got a tiny bit giddy with this cute little journal. It is such a nice way to record each day and is broken up into sections about feeding, sleeping and changing as well as an area to record the baby's mood. If you miss a day it is fine as you just enter each date that you enter information (not that I've actually missed a day since I bought the journal ) and there is also a section at the back for monthly highlights. 

Between these two books I think I've got things recorded well. I look forward to when Henry is bigger and we can go through his baby books together- I know I loved looking back at my baby book when I was little and also in the lead up to Henry's birth wondering what my little munchkin was going to be like! The journal is really just for me but the days blurr together and it's a nice way to remember the little joys of motherhood (and challenges) and maybe compare those early days if a future bub comes along.

For now who knows how many more photo books I'll end up making- watch out Grandparents and Great Grandparents at Christmas time!
Lisa x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Homemade baby mobile.

I headed out to a crafternoon on the weekend which gave me that time I'd been craving to get a few little projects started- a few hours of just plain Lisa time.I had some sewn mice and wanted to turn them into a cute mobile for Henry as he just loves lying on his back and staring up. I thought this mobile would be the perfect colours for the playroom and add an extra playful touch.
You will need:
Embroidery hoops- 2 different sizes (I used some hoops made for tri chem paints that I picked up for free at a garage sale a while back), wool (I chose to use red and navy but if you wanted your mobile could just be one colour), scissors, a needle and some little animals (or other objects) for your mobile.

This DIY project is really so easy that any level of crafting skill could make this.Begin by wrapping the wool tightly around the hoop without leaving any gaps. Repeat this with the second hoop.
The next part is a tiny bit trickier as the perfectionist in me had to redo this part about five times before I was happy. I began by measuring and cutting three equal lengths of red wool and attaching them (spaced roughly evenly apart) to the red hoop and blue hoop using simple knots.I then cut three lengths of the red wool and spaced them evenly around the blue hoop. To help me with making sure every section was equal I hung the mobile from the baby gym and adjusted the lengths until I was satisfied with how flat the hoops were sitting.
I sewed my mice onto lengths of blue wool and then hung them around the hoops with a mice on a ball in the centre. I choose to vary the lengths of the wool holding the mice slightly and when I was happy with the length, I tied a knot. To ensure the knots don't come undone and fall on Henry as he stares up, I used a little bit of glue from the glue gun to make sure the knots weren't coming undone anytime soon. I put a hook in the ceiling and added extra wool to attach the mobile to the hook.
Henry seriously loves looking up at his mobile and looks up and laughs each time I knock the mice to make them move. I'm a pretty big fan of this cheap and easy mobile.
Lisa x


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Starry starry wall.


The playroom is progressing more and more. It's such a nice peaceful room to lie in with Henry and, because of the veranda around the outside of the room, it stays constantly cool despite the temperatures rising to 37 degrees already...and it's still Spring here. I loving having a space to put all the little toys and baby bits collected in the last few months. It feels nice to be able to put your feet up at the end of a long day and not have a lounge room cluttered with baby toys.  It's a nice orderly room that will be able to evolve with each passing year.  But for now, let's talk about the star wall.
There are two windows in the playroom and also bi-fold doors that open up into the main hallway. The walls are white and freshly painted but I wanted to just make them a little more exciting - in a simple and not over the top way. Although I adore wallpaper it's just a bit too pricey and permanent so I thought I'd opt for good old wall stickers. I look through many wall decal websites but I always keep getting drawn back to 'walls need love' for their simple and good quality wall decals. They also have the best prices but shipping is a bit of a pain...ah, you lucky readers who live in the US. Through using a discount coupon I managed to get a set of star decals to me for $16 which was pleasing to the pocket.
Then it was only a matter of sticking them on the wall... perfectly! Yes, this process took it's sweet time and involved the help of my handy Dad but I feel like getting the spacing and direction of the stars in order has made a fun new wall in the playroom that I am most happy with.
My tip would be to spend the time roughly positioning the stars with blue tac until you know the layout you want. Then we used a spirit level and string to make the lines straight and piece of wood with markings on it (of the measurements we had chosen) to make sure the spacing was even. For a more detailed explanation of the process, check out this post about adding gold spot wall decals in the half bathroom.

This is a project that requires some patience but I think it's worth it for the end result. I can't wait to show you the finished room soon.
Lisa x


Thursday, 18 September 2014

and almost two months later...

Life looks so different now compared to three months ago- I've spent many hours cuddling, kissing, rocking and feeding the little baby attached to those adorable feet. I've let my little corner of the web go for a short time but now I am finally settling into a bit of a routine and getting chances to do a few new projects while Henry naps. As soon as Spring started (here in Australia) and I felt I little bit of warmth, I wanted to clear the excess stuff that had been building up in our home and reassess the way we've set out our house now that I am a stay at home mum for the time being. There is just something soothing about waking up in a clean organised house and not having any junk or useless objects around cluttering up space- the more excess stuff the more cleaning needed.
After searching the web for ideas to motivate me to declutter, I stumbled across the 40 bags in 40 days. While this challenge was a few months back, I've taken it on myself and so far I'm 7 bags and 7 days in. I've also been purposely seeking charities and donation places to take these goods and doing a bit of tossing as well. Our home already feels much cleaner and organised.
Although my last post was about setting up the guest room, we had my sister in law and her bub stay for just under two weeks and after that I realised the space would be better used as a play space (joining on with the lounge room). I then moved the guest room to another room- combining it with my craft/office room which is really just a space to hold everything I have quite worked out what to do with. Let's be honest, kid's spaces are super fun and since we spend lots of time reading (already, I know, I'm a teacher), listening to music, lying under the play gym, practising tummy time and sitting in the swing- I like having a dedicated space to keep all these things organised and house the toys that Henry will grow into in the future. Being a Junior Primary teacher for the last four years has meant I have many toys that Henry won't be using for years.
I've attempted a mood board below of a few things I'd like to incorporate into the space that can remain as constants while the toys evolve.

 1 / 2 / 3  / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7
For storage an expedit (know known as kallax in Ikea) is great as it allows toys to be on show and accessible or grouped together in boxes. I already have one I purchased second hand last year which is perfect. After looking around I've become a bit smitten with the Skip Hop range of storage boxes as they're just so cute and a bit more fun that a plain box. It's always good to have some soft surfaces to play on and a sheepskin rug is perfect for that as well as Skip Hop play spots. I recently got a free faux sheepskin rug from a deceased estate and my sister in law gave their old set of play spots which are perfect for the space. The walls need a bit of excitement as I'm leaving them white. I love these star decals from walls need love and a search of Etsy led me to these cute artworks. I'm also hoping to do some DIY projects in the room.
Here's a little sneak peek of how it's coming together...
Time to go fill another bag for today- 8 days down :-)
Lisa x


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

And onto the guest room for a new paint job.


Once you start painting, it's hard to stop as new paint just makes everything look so much better. We've only got a few spaces in our home now that are still wearing their old crusty paint job, the rest of the house is fresh and ready to have personality added to it. With paint cans filling the hallway and rollers everywhere, we proceeded to tackle the guest room . This room is in the front of the house and was originally a second dining room but my clever Dad enclosed it with some old blackwood doors he owned. Living back in the city I am unsure how much use the guest room will get (it's only had four sets of visitors through in the last 6 months) but since we've got the space and already owned a spare bed, it seems like just as good a use for the room. In fact husband and I spent 2 weeks in the guest room bed while we were painting our main bedroom. We ended up finishing painting the guest room about a week before Henry came along.

Recently I found out my sister in law and niece are coming to visit from overseas for 10 days so it seemed like the time to get the guest room together before they arrive. It's exciting to add special touches to a room and make it feel that little bit more homely and welcomming.

A before shot: The room was the same dark pink as the rest of the front of the house but with some cracking and necessary filling needed. The before shot was taken with the old owners belongings before we added the blackwood doors.

Even with the doors the room still fells large enough to be another bedroom and the house doesn't feel any smaller than it did previously. We removed the curtains quickly as they really weren't our taste and then had a blank (albeit pink) canvas to plan a guest room in.

If you look closely in the right corner of the picture you can see how the crown molding has fallen down a little. This meant that we needed to remove the crown molding and put it back nice and straight.
The process of replacing it involved using the original pieces and simply reattaching them in a straight line, using screws and nails to hold them in place until the gyprock had dried. Once it was dry the screws and nails could then be removed. Hopefully  in the future we can use some watercolour paints in the future to fix up the marbling and get rid of the white lines left. For now though it is much better that the crown molding is straight and neat.

After this work the room received a few coats of antique white (following the usual painting process) before furniture was moved back in and a few pictures and items we had around the house were given a new home. When decorating the guest room, I used items that needed a home (and I didn't want to part with) and placed them in the room. It is really nice to have a nice, neat, clean room, always ready for use when someone pops round.
The dolls house was built by my grandfather when I was a child, the chest of drawers used to be my nannas when she was a little girl, the bed was secondhand and my Dad built the bedside cabinets (he's so clever). The blanket holder was an upcycled freebie, the Marilyn Manroe picture was purchased in on a holiday in Vietnam and the rest of the items in the room have been thrifted. As my niece is also coming to stay there is a temporary portacot and a few items for her around the room.

I plan to do a feature wall in the room as I loved having the chevron wall in our previous house and would really like to have a special interesting wall in this home. I won't be doing a chevron wall but it will be much more interesting than a plain white wall :)  I also want to keep adding to this room, maybe even some more bunting, to make it more cute and special but it is a far cry from what we started out with.
With a needy newborn I just need to rest for a little before this project will happen but it's always nice to dream of future ideas.
Lisa x

Monday, 21 July 2014

A before and after round up.

Life has certainly changed in the last month as our little man is now a whole month old. I haven't had any time to really do any crafting or diy projects for the last few weeks as I've been lapping up and cherishing my first month as a Mum and it's been fantastic.
Today I thought I'd share a little round up of the busy last six months before Henry entered our family. I've really enjoyed transforming our home into a space that feels like us and since I love a good before and after shot, I thought I'd go round the house and share the progress we have made so far. While there are still many ideas and lots to do, the progress has been great and I'm so pleased with the new space. I think the nursery and half bathroom are the only truly finished spaces (that I'm happy to leave as they are and won't be making any more changes to). However a home is really always a changing space, especially with our new baby forcing us to make more child friendly choices.
Enjoy the round up so far and feel free to ask any questions about sources/projects done.
Kitchen:

While the original before photo makes the walls look white, they were actually a peachy colour and just whitening the walls and shelving has already significantly lightened the feel of the kitchen. Eventually I'd like to paint the cupboards white, install a gas stove and extend the island bench (currently not pictured). I'm trying to restrict all items to display to neutral colours with a splash of yellow and black. 
Posts:

Laundry:
Our laundry feels so clean and crisp now with the fresh paint and crisp white laundry sink. We've actually set up Henry's baby bath in this room and the long bench has been perfect for washing and drying off our little man. We've also recently installed a dryer (not in above picture) as washing for three in the middle of winter was getting too much without one. 
Posts:
 
Half bathroom:
Our house was purchased from an older lady and her daughter and had a distinctively dated feel about it. Removing the curtains and wallpaper frieze was a start, but with crisp white paint, a new mirror and some wall stickers the room really feels a lot more modern and us. 
Posts:
Adding gold wall spots


Lounge area:
 While the after photo looks much darker, it's due to my developing photography skills, rather than how it really is since the walls went from peach to white (the carpet stayed the same and looks like the original photo colour in real life). We added a gallery wall and while the photo doesn't show it well, the room has three defined spaces (the lounge area, dining area and kitchen) combined.
Posts:
Black gallery wall


Library:

















Having white carpet in the entrance way was terrible so we quickly replaced it (and consequently the library which is just off the entrance way) with wooden floorboards which have made a huge difference to the feel of the space. The walls are no longer pink, but a nice fresh white and a lot of freebie furniture has been upcycled for the room.
Posts:
Painting the library
DIY window seat
Baroque style chairs
Library bookcase

Bathroom:



Once the wallpaper frieze was removed from this room and it was freshly painted, the bathroom felt much cleaner. We also custom designed and built shelving/ framing for the mirrors which has finished off the room nicely.
Posts
 

Nursery:

















The nursery was previously a small and uninviting room that wasn't really used much. We livened up with room with sea bubble (mint) paint and painted the existing sink and wardrobe. The furniture was purchased secondhand or found and this room has been filled with DIY projects as making things for a baby is great fun.
Posts:
 quilt 

Garage:


 In the country we had two large sheds so when we moved to the city, we really needed somewhere to store all our tools, camping gear and other larger items. We have a double garage and now it is getting lined with shelving and we're even in the process of building a little loft so we will have a large amount of storage for our future growing family. It's still evolving and I can't wait to share how much storage we've managed to create and some diy ideas...but the garage still needs work before it's ready to share.
Posts:

Atrium:

One of the key selling points of our house was that all the rooms lead out to a central atrium, thus the house is always bright during the day. The atrium is the only outside area for our dog, Maisy so we needed to make sure there was an area for her to do her business. We've planted some plants and bought an outdoor table but there is still lots we can do to unlock the potential of the area.
Posts:
Catering for the dog

Backyard:



The project we've invested the most time and money into has definitely been the outdoor area. While the before photo makes it look somewhat pleasant, in reality the retaining wall and fence were collapsing and causing some structural issues. Now that we have a blank canvas we need to think of some ways to spice up the space.
Posts:

And there you have it, a before and after round up so far- I think we've come a long way! In the future I hope to  share the walk in wardrobe, craft room, master bedroom, guest room, a few of the hallways and the front yard. But right now I'm going to give Henry a big cuddle :-)
Lisa x