Oh Boy...

I guess it's fitting that my last post was about baby onesies, because we're expecting our first little one this May! Looking back it seems like this pregnancy has flown by, even though the first 6 months felt like a slow crawl with nearly constant morning sickness. Glad to be feeling well enough now to enjoy these last weeks of carrying this tiny babe with me, and I'm hoping to catch up with this blog along the way, too.

We're still just in awe of each new stage -- from first hearing the heartbeat, to getting kicks and seeing him grow at each ultrasound -- it's all amazing in a way we never could have quite imagined!

PS. Photos are of a teeny cardigan from a friend, and our bump progress -- busting out of that once-comfy sweater dress.

Making: Stenciled Onesies

I'm still catching up on sharing 12 Months of Martha projects here, and this one is from earlier this summer. It seems like we're always in need of a last minute gift for visiting new babies, so I made a supply of stenciled onesies for the latest wave arriving this summer and fall. Our newest nephew was born the day after making the sailboat onesies above, so they were nice to have on hand! They're pretty self-explanatory, but below is a recap...

-Stencils (I used these from the Martha box)
-Paint (I used navy & pink from the Martha box)
-Sponge & Cardboard

Using a washed onesie, I slid a piece of cardboard between the layers and positioned the stencil carefully -- centered on some, 'pocket' area on others (see below). A small piece of sponge worked the best for dabbing paint, holding the stencil firmly and painting all the way to the inside edges. I used the round head of a pin to add polka dots to some of the flags too. Once the paint is fully dry, roll them up and tie with your prettiest ribbon!

(This post is part of the 12 Months of Martha, using Martha Stewart Crafts provided for a project each month. I'll be donating/giving away my supplies once the projects are complete.)

Making: Mini Garden Pots

I made a bunch of little potted decorations for the Peter Rabbit shower last weekend, and thought I'd share as my latest 12 Months of Martha project. It all started by painting tiny clay pots, and after filling them up with moss I thought it'd be cute to have some tiny produce tucked in there too (straight from Mr. McGregor's garden of course). So I made little carrots and strawberries to go with the cupcake flavors we were having at the shower. Below is a little recap...

-Mini clay pots & preserved moss
-Paint (I used green/blue & pink/red from the Martha box)
-Puffy brush (I used this one from the Martha box)
-Felt & thread
-Hot glue & toothpicks

For painting the pots, I blended shades of blue & pink (shown below) and swiftly brushed them on with a puffy brush for an imperfect look. For the little felt produce, I cut basic shapes (shown above) out of red, orange, and green felt scraps, hot gluing the pieces together. Strawberry seeds can be added with a little thread too. Stick the finished pieces onto a toothpick and "plant" in your pretty pots!

(This post is part of the 12 Months of Martha, using Martha Stewart Crafts provided for a project each month. I'll be donating/giving away my supplies once the projects are complete.)

Peter Rabbit Invites

My oldest childhood friend is expecting her first baby, and I made these little invites* for her Peter Rabbit themed shower. The shower is this weekend, so this post is basically me procrastinating!

I ordered Beatrix Potter postcards and printed the info onto pink vellum, with a footnote asking guests to bring back the postcard with some wit or wisdom for the new parents. It was fun picking out the different postcard illustrations for various guests that I know (which eventually came down to, how many cats would this person tolerate?).

When we were little, our old library had a collection of teeny, tiny (crinkly plastic-covered) Potter books that we absolutely loved, so I've felt really nostalgic planning out all the details and imagining my friend's sweet new baby. Fingers crossed I'll be able to capture more from the special day.

*personal info in pics altered

Making: Quick Folded Flowers

Continuing with the flower theme of yesterday's 12 Months of Martha project, I wanted to share a method I stumbled across for making quick and easy paper flowers. I love how you can make a bunch all at once! I happened to see an all-white version of these while passing a Fossil storefront -- they looked whimsy and dimensional at first glance, but up close you could tell they were made using basic origami folds. I knew I had to try them out, so I snapped a photo and Q helped me come up with a similar version.

Even though they were easier than any paper flowers I've tried before, ours still required boring steps like marking specific angles with a protractor, etc. But realizing the 60 degree angles were key (thanks to Q), I did a more specific google search and found this method that goes even quicker (no protractor!). I tried to highlight how simple the folds are below:

-Paper & scissors
-Brads (for holding layers together)
-Pom-pom stickers (for the stamen)
-Leaf ribbon (for creating a garland)

1. Fold & unfold a square piece of paper in half both directions to make light crease lines. Refold in half just from top to bottom.
2. Fold left side down to right, forming an approximate 60 degree angle line from the top center crease.
3. Next, fold right side down over left at another 60 degree angle, adjusting so both folds are centered off that middle crease line.
4. Now the two overlapping folds will form a point. Fold in half side to side.
5. Trim uneven layers off bottom edges in a rounded petal shape (or any shape you'd like).
6. Unfold your new flower! Refold, trim, crisp your crease lines (to give each petal dimension), etc. as necessary to get the exact shape you want, and stack layers together for an even fuller look.

To add more detail, I used the pink pom stickers as a quick 'stamen', but you can also make them from a tiny piece of paper (see above in yellow). I used the same steps as the flowers, but fringed the edges, unfolded, and added a brad to the center before scrunching it back together.

Overall, the flowers take a little bit of trial & error at first, but once you get going they go fast. And it's fun to come up with endless variations -- hope you give them a try!

(This post is part of the 12 Months of Martha, using Martha Stewart Crafts provided for a project each month. I'll be donating/giving away my supplies once the projects are complete.)

Making: Flower Tacks

I mentioned awhile back that I joined the 12 Months of Martha team this year, and I have a few fun craft projects to catch up on sharing here. The first are these flower tacks, which are an easy, pretty upgrade for your real-life "pin" board. I love the simple difference they make!

While these mostly explain themselves, below is a quick rundown (which takes about as long to read as to make). Hope you enjoy.

For the velvety tacks (above):
-flat, round thumbtacks
-flower ribbon
-craft paint (I used pink, coral, & yellow)
Using the flower ribbon (shown above), cut off a single 'flower' and poke a painted thumbtack through the center. Add a tiny bit of glue if you'd like it more secure.

For the gem tacks (below):
-flat, round thumbtacks
-acrylic flower embellishments (or anything similar)
-multi-surface glue
Remove adhesive sticker from the back of flower gem and add a dab of multi-surface glue. Stick the flat top of the thumbtack onto the glue and gently hold in place, leaving it to fully dry before using.

(This post is part of the 12 Months of Martha, using Martha Stewart Crafts provided for a project each month. I'll be donating/giving away my supplies once the projects are complete.)

Goodbye, June

Hi! I still (clearly) haven't gotten back into a rhythm here. But also, where did June go and can it come back for maybe 4 more weeks?

We've been trying to savor this time of year as much as possible... it's nice just going on walks while it's still light out at 9pm (which is also full of bunny sightings in our neighborhood as the sunlight starts to fade). And our peonies are long gone by now, but we enjoyed them both indoors and out while they lasted. So long, June...it always feels short but sweet.

PS. I'll be back tomorrow with some (long overdue) projects to share. So if you're out there, stay tuned. :)

A New (to Us) Piano

This winter we finally got a piano, and I can't believe it took us this long! It has really made this house feel more like home. Piano has been a big part of my life -- I took lessons growing up, and studied it part way through college, playing for various jobs like weddings & church services. After I got married and we moved into a tiny apartment, though, my parents gave me a small keyboard to practice with but eventually I kind of lost touch with playing all together.

I guess something clicked this year (?!), because I was determined to finally get a piano and start playing again. My parents want us to have theirs (that I love) someday, so for now we decided to look for a good deal on one through Craigslist. Our hunt eventually led to this Whitney Kimball, and thanks to some generous help from my dad with moving/hauling it during our crazy winter, here it is!

There was really only one place for it to go, along the wall in our dining/kitchen area, but it fits as if it has always been here and provides a sunny spot for plants too. Besides needing a tuning, the piano is in decent shape, but the keys were covered in old tape (see below), so I thought I'd share the before and after...

I used a scraper blade to remove all of the tape, but there was still a good layer of sticky residue left on each key, so after a quick pinterest search I mixed together a tiny spoonful of baking soda and some softened coconut oil, and rubbed the paste (too generously, maybe) onto the keys. Then I waited about ten minutes and kind of wondered if it was just going to be a big mess.

After letting it sit, I went back along each key with a paper towel, wiping off the paste and scraping thoroughly as I went. It was tedious, and I'm not sure if this was really the easiest method to go with, but after a few rounds the keys looked shiny and new! Plus, they did smell amazing the next few times it was played. So happy that we finally have a piano in our home to enjoy.

New York City

First, I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words last week. It's so good to be back! Since I'm still catching up here, I thought I'd share a trip we took to NYC shortly after Q's homecoming. Seeing the New York City Ballet is one of those things on my bucket list, so we decided to head there and see The Nutcracker!

We were in the city for our anniversary through New Year's, which are just a couple days apart...aka the craziest, busiest time of year to visit. But it was totally worth getting to experience part of the holiday season there (at least that's what we kept telling ourselves!). This trip tested our patience in a lot of ways, navigating the city, crowds & a few mishaps, so it made me all the more grateful we could share in the adventure together. It felt surreal to keep realizing something we'd looked forward to throughout the last months of deployment was actually happening...it was really wonderful.

We spent most of our time exploring shops, cafes, & museums (the paintings above were two of my favorites at the MoMA), and also visited Rockefeller Center a few times to see the tree & the Top of the Rock. We loved the bird's eye view of Central Park surrounded by a sea of skyscrapers.

On our last night, New Year's Eve, we headed to Lincoln Center for The Nutcracker, which was amazing -- the dancers, the set design, and even the theater itself. And now, of course, I want to go back!

PS. Above is a glimpse of the tiny apartment we rented through Airbnb while there. It was inspiring to see how the owner lived so intentionally in a small space -- everything had its place and doubled in both form & function, like her bookshelf wall. Also, a couple (grainy) night photos from going atop the Empire State Building as well...because when you travel with an engineer, this is what they like to do! ;)