January 29, 2013

Raising an Issue

Posted by Laura

My husband built this gorgeous hope chest by hand for me as a wedding gift. We wanted to use it in the nursery as a changing table, but ran into a little issue. It's at lower thigh level, making it a little too short for a changing table.

I got a brilliant idea from Kristin to hoist it up on fabric-covered cinder blocks. So, Caleb and I picked these up for $1 each at Home Depot.

I had a package of cloth diapers that were too big to make burp clothes out of, so I put them to use.

I went outside for plenty of ventilation and used low oder spray glue. I wrapped the blocks like presents. This photo is of the first block, which was a hack job, as I was trying to figure out a method. 

Eventually I covered them all, and after letting them dry thoroughly we placed them under the chest. 

Not only did this bring the hope chest up to hip level, but provided extra storage underneath.

blocks and trains, what every boy needs

Just to give you some perspective, I did a 5 minute photoshop job to place me in the room. Ugly sweater party photo?

Ok, so you'd have to be in the room to really see the full effect of the cinder blocks, but you get the point. :)

January 25, 2013

Pine-ing For A Desk Top

Posted by Kristin

A little while back, I shared some pictures of my living room switcheroo.  One of the easiest pieces of furniture to move around was the desk. Why is that? Because it comes apart lickety split.  I got the desk from Good Will over the summer for that very reason. The two base cabinets are attached to the desk top with L brackets, so its sturdy when it's set up but very easy to take apart. However, it was clear from the moment we bought the desk that a new desk top was in order at some point. Orange laminate doesn't quite jive with me.

Enter my brother, Jon. He's quite the diy-er and isn't afraid of a carpentry project or two. Way back in 2007, he promised to make Mike and I a coffee table for a wedding gift. Well, its now 2013 and do we have that coffee table? Nope. But we don't really need one right now either since we have a perfectly fine white coffee table. What do we need? A desk top. So I simply switched my request from a coffee table to a desk top and counted my blessings that I didn't have to make one myself. Even this diy-er likes a break sometimes.

I started looking around on Pinterest this summer for white desks with wood tops. The two desks that caught my eye the most were from other blogs, with full tutorials on how they constructed the desk tops.

Aubrey and Lindsay made their own desk top out of pine boards and Ikea base cabinets.

John and Sherry, from Young House Love, constructed a 13 foot desk top!

After seeing how these desk tops were constructed, I decided I wanted to follow suit.

White base cabinets? Check.
Rough pine boards for the top? Yes please.
A rich-colored medium to dark stain? You betcha.

So I busted out my measuring tape, noted the dimensions of the existing top, took some pictures to send to Jon and wrote up an email with all the info, including two stain colors I'm debating between.

Either Minwax Fruitwood or Dark Walnut.

I'll see what my brother thinks and go from there. So the order is placed and now I just get to sit back and pine for my new desk top. Stay tuned for the finished product!

January 22, 2013

No-Bake Energy Balls

Posted by Laura

In need of a quick pick-me-up? My mother shared this recipe that she got from one of her co-workers for no-bake energy balls. They are a great snack, packed with nutrition and flavor.


2 cups oats
1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)
1 cup of natural peanut butter

First mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately, then combine all and roll into balls. Spread out on cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. Store in the freezer in a freezer bag.

January 18, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Posted by Kristin

I'm taking a break from creating this week and focusing on spending a little time in the great outdoors. I love winter. Give me a steady snowfall, a warm jacket and good boots and I'm one happy camper. This winter has been off to a decent start and I've been able to get outside this week and enjoy the recent snowfall. Earlier in the week I got some riding in with my dad and brother at a nearby ski area and it felt pretty darn good. But yesterday I had an itch to get out again, this time with Callum in tow. How you may ask?

When there's too much snow to go running, I strap on these babies:

After strapping on this baby, of course. 

I went to a nearby golf course which is a prime spot for snowshoeing. The views are gorgeous, especially with the sun shining through the snow-covered trees.

Happy, sleeping baby equals happy momma.

Even the drive there was nice.  

I realize winter isn't everyone's cup of tea but for this New Englander, I love me some snow. Throw in a lovable, napping baby that just snoozes in his carrier and I've got one good morning going on.

January 15, 2013

Merric's Nautical Nursery

Posted by Laura

If you're reading this post it means that I am officially on my PEC maternity leave! What a better way to start these pre-written posts than with a nursery reveal?

We decided over the summer that we wanted to go with a nautical theme, regardless of the gender. We're so happy with it since the sea offers up many options for decor :)

Due to limited closet space, we purchased two EXPEDIT shelves from IKEA, and we love the storage they provide. We left a few open for books and toys. 

Branches from a "love tree" that was given to us when we got married. We killed the tree (eek!, not the tree you want to kill) but kept the branches. The painting of the teddy bear was painted and given to me by my oldest brother a number of years ago.  The jar of rocks are from my baby shower. The lantern was a find at the Christmas Tree Shops boutique. 

Such an amazing piece of art; a sailboat made from driftwood in Nova Scotia. Given to us by my sister-in-law. Caleb and I honeymooned in Nova Scotia, and will always feel endearingly happy about it. This gift meant a lot to us.

Nautical picture frames from "Gram" (Caleb's mom). 

Lots of great clothes. We are blessed by so many people in our lives who either passed clothes onto us, or gifted us new ones.

Caleb built this hope chest as a wedding gift for me. I. Love. It. It is now our changing table.

These picture frames (soon-to-be completely filled) are attached to rope that is hanging from boat cleats. They turned out exactly as Caleb and I had envisioned them.

The basket to the right of our changing pad is filled with essentials. We're going to start with newborn disposable diapers, then transition into g-diapers once he's big enough (we have size small-large in the g-diapers, but no newborn).

Music is always playing in our home. Since the nursery used to be our office, we decided to keep the already-installed-and-split-to-the-kitchen speakers. Baby needs music.

His crib is near the window so he can look out and see the wonders of the world (which are quite "wondrous" in the city we live in). His sea of stars mobile hangs from the ceiling above.

A ship wheel.

The curtains are torn and un-ironed to create a shipwrecked feel.

Along the same lines as the curtains, the linen crib skirt is torn and un-ironed.

A basket next to the rocking chair holds burp cloths and swaddles. A combination of handmade ones, aden + anais, and Gerber's prefolds.

A small ship, looking out into the world.

Thanks to my new handy-dandy iPhone 5, I was able to snap some panoramic shots.

One last part of the nursery that's not really part of the nursery...a cradle in our room.

It was built by my great great grandfather in 1885, and now sits in our bedroom nearly 130 years later. It's in pretty good shape too!

And so the adventures begin...

January 11, 2013

A Little Bit of Black and White

Posted by Kristin

If there's one room of my home that I'm constantly rearranging in my mind, its the living room. In this house, a lot happens in this room: tv watching, laptop lounging, tummy time, office work, laundry folding, eating...you name it, we do it in here.  And even though we had already switched the layout of the room once over the summer to make more room for Callum and his gear, it still wasn't jiving with me.

Here's how the room looked up until last week. Open and airy but still not quite right in my mind.

Here's a group of friends over this fall, while Laura works on her star mobile. Click to enlarge.

The main issues I had were the angled couch and the white shelf above the bookcase. I never could find any combination of things that I liked on the shelf but I kept trying to work with it. So I told my very-willing husband that once the new year hit and the Christmas tree was out, I wanted to switch things up. Surprisingly, he said yes (once again) and we set out to switch it all up on New Years Day.

The changing has begun....

The dining room table held everything mid-move.

The desk ended up where the white bookcase was. But I still just didn't like anything
on that shelf. I lived with these bottles up there for a week while I thought about what I wanted to do.

And this guy napped for about 3 hours while the whole switcheroo happened.
Without that nap, it wouldn't have happened!

After some thought, I remembered that I had all these black frames. I got some cheap craft paper,
cut out 5 inch squares and hung them up.

And then I stepped back to look.....

And by golly I liked it! 

We also hung this great "Breweries in the US" poster that
Mike got for Christmas above the newly located couch.

We still need something above the TV. I'm thinking something round and simple, like a mirror.

The newly-oriented bookcase also got some accents on top. Black numbers and a framed photo.

This time it was the play mat that bought me time to putter around.

So what was it that finally made this set up work? Stepping back and looking at the whole picture made me realize that we consistently added in black accents. Black frames above the desk. A black framed poster above the couch. Black accents on top of the book case. And then I started to notice other black accents in the room that had previously gone unnoticed, like black curtain rods, black electronics, a black printer on the desk- all things very visible but not adding much of anything before. Now, the black accents really pull everything together and also make the white furniture pop. There's still more details to be added but overall, we love the new orientation of the furniture and I love me some black accents.