January 27, 2012

Laundry Closet: Shelves

The other project Peter and his dad took on last weekend was enhancing the storage in our laundry closet. I put in a request for one additional shelf but my father-in-law decided they could do better. And boy, oh, boy did they! 

I forgot to take a picture of the laundry closet before they started working so I dug this picture up from when we toured the house with our realtor. Hopefully the old tenants don't mind...
Peter and his dad came up with a plan that would significantly enhance our storage in the closet. They decided to add two additional shelves, one above the current shelf and one below. They decided to build the upper shelf in a u-shape in order to best utilize the space. Since we don't have a basement or garage, the guys worked in the backyard. Peter already had a stock of wood in his shed so they only had to get brackets from the store.
With the wood cut, they worked together to hang the shelves. 
It took hardly any time for me to find items to store on our new shelves. I've been working on making space available throughout the house in order to create openings for the various items that we will acquire in our role as parents. 
Next up for the laundry room is paint! Peter and I are going to paint the shelves and perhaps the walls.

January 26, 2012

Master Bathroom: Hanging the Valance

One of the projects Peter and his dad accomplished last weekend was hanging the valance in our master bath. When we got our new shower curtains we also got a valance to help dress up our bathroom. Peter and his dad knocked out the project in record time.

Step one was to cut a piece of wood to the exact width of our shower. They opted to get wood that was already primed. This meant that once hung, the project would look complete from inside of the shower. Of course, we could have painted the wood or covered it in fabric for the same effect.
With the wood measured to the proper length, they set about stapling the valance to the wood. Since the top edge of the valance was roughly cut it took a bit of strategizing to be sure the valance was attached evenly.
Once stapled to the wood, all that was left to do was screw the valance into the ceiling. The white of the valance helps break up some of the coral and it balances the white shelves on the other side of the bathroom.
Initially when the valance was just a concept, I envisioned coral trim on the edge. The seamstress who made the valance struggled with the best way to attach the trim so we opted out. However, once hung, I realized that the valance does need something to ease the transition between the solid white and printed fabrics so my mom and I will be addressing that when she comes next month. 
Regardless of the trim issue, I think the valance looks wonderful. I love the shape and the way it enhances our bathroom! The two panel shower curtains certainly look better with a valance. For the record, I did not iron the valance before it was hung, I'm just going to hope the wrinkles fall out over time.

January 25, 2012


Last weekend Peter's folks came to visit. While they were here, Peter and his dad knocked out a couple of projects (which I'll get around to sharing eventually). Before they left, we had brunch at The Majestic Grille. Outside of the restaurant, while the wind was blowing, I snapped this picture of Peter and his parents. We were so busy all weekend it was a the only group picture I took. 

After they left Peter and I  realized that we won't be having any other visitors until the baby arrives. Pretty wild.

January 19, 2012

Showered in Memphis

As I said before, I find baby showers very humbling. To see the effort, time, and other resources that my friends put in to hosting and attending my baby showers has left me overwhelmed with gratitude. Baby Slaton will certainly not lack for love! Last Sunday my dear friend Erin hosted a shower for me in Memphis. She worked her tail off planning and creating a beautiful and exceptionally personalized shower.
Erin asked her sister to design an invitation for the shower! The colors coordinated perfectly with colors we are using in the nursery. She used the stationary in various places around the shower, as well.
Erin made two beautiful wreaths, tissue paper pom-poms, a diaper cake, and so much more! The spread was made up of lots of my favorite foods including caprese salad, fruit skewers, hummus, and coconut cake.
Guests were invited to sign The Giving Tree, which is one of my favorite children's books, as a guest book.   
In lieu of traditional baby shower games, Erin created a couple of simple tabletop games celebrating Baby Slaton. Displayed instructional cards guided the games: 

ten little fingers, ten little toes, 
boy or girl, no one knows!
Write your name on the pink or blue paper, 
fold it in half and place it in the boy or girl jar. 

Based on the votes received at the shower, it seems that most of my friends are expecting Baby to be a little mister. Only time will tell. And, for the record, I'm holding strong to my opinion that Baby is a little miss.

Guess Baby Slaton's Birthday
on the date you think baby Slaton will be born 
and write your name under the baby feet.
Looking at the completed calendar, it appears most of my friends believe Baby Slaton will be debuting just a bit ahead of schedule.
Because I'm kind of fancy, I tried to get a group photo with everyone. Because I'm kind of not fancy, I propped the camera up in an armoire and set the self-timer. I forgot to set the flash so the picture is a bit blurred. Either way, I like this picture. What a loving group of women! 

January 17, 2012

Photo Shoot!

I scheduled a maternity photo session with the very talented Lauren Owens for the morning before the shower in Nashville. Lauren is the friend of a friend and her work has always impressed me. While I didn't see any maternity pictures in her portfolio, I knew her style was compatible with my own.

The morning of our photo session was wet and gray but the rain held off so we ventured to Percy Warner Park. Peter and I are not exactly naturals in front of the camera; frankly, we require a lot of direction! When Lauren sent me her pictures from the session, I was impressed! There were so many lovely pictures capturing this season in our lives.
Since my mom came to Nashville to attend the baby shower, we invited her to come along to the photo session. As our session was wrapping up, I asked Lauren if she would get a picture of the two of us. She willingly did! 

January 16, 2012

Master Bathroom: Shower Curtains and More

For the last few years, the master bathroom has been a low priority space for change. But over the last several months we've been making improvements to our bathroom. I suppose it started because we've been working on our bedroom (I'll get pictures up soon!) and I wanted the bathroom to look complete as well.  As you may recall, we took ages to decide on a paint color for the bathroom. We lived with various color samples on the walls for a long time. In April 2010, I put a blue sample on the bathroom wall only to decide I wanted a warmer color. Then in February 2011, I decided with certainty what that color should be and in, April 2011, Peter painted the bathroom. 

Once the bathroom was painted, the next issue was the shower curtain. The tile in our bathroom goes up to the ceiling so we needed a very long shower curtain. Using some beautiful Schumacher fabric that matches the color of the walls, we had two panel shower curtains made. We typically keep the two curtains together so pardon the scarf that I used to tie off the curtain. There is also a valence that will go at the top, but we haven't quite gotten around to hanging it. Soon enough. Once the new shower curtain was up, it become a catalyst for other changes in the bathroom. It started with some new bath mats. 

We decided to hang some shelves above the toilet. After a bit of window shopping, we found some white floating shelves at Lowe's that were easy enough to install.
The shelves offer some additional storage which is very useful. They also add height to the other side of the bathroom which is visually appealing. For Christmas, my sister gave me some beautiful fish prints which I tucked into some IKEA frames we already had and hung by the shelves.

Finally, I wanted to reduce our counter-top clutter. So Peter and I set about clearing out our respective drawers and then reducing our counter-top items. I wanted to get trays for each of us to store our remaining counter-top items but I was met with some resistance. Initially Peter was hesitant to the idea of only having a tray, but after a week of discussion we decided to try it out. Once the counter space was clear, he found he favored the trays and they got to stay!

January 15, 2012

Showered in Nashville

In the last two weeks I have been honored with three baby showers. I have found the entire baby shower experience quite humbling. It has been an overwhelming joy to celebrating the upcoming arrival of our little one with so many friends!
My first shower was in Nashville. It was hosted and attended by my dear graduate school friends. The hostesses came up with an Animal Cracker theme which was very clever.
My mom made the trip to Tennessee to attend the shower which was lots of fun! As you may expect, since this was a shower with my graduate school friends no one has any children. Still, my child-free friends were very savvy in their gift giving (even it if required a bit of shooting in the dark at Babies-R-Us).
I had to so much fun visiting my friends Nashville and showing my mom around. It's hard to imagine it is was eight months ago that I moved back to Memphis full-time. Time certainly flies! 

January 14, 2012

Nursery: Dresser Drawers

Alternative Title: "Same Song, Second Verse"

As I mentioned earlier, I've been working on adding pops of color into our recently painted furniture. In the nursery that meant adding Barcelona Orange to the drawers.
 The orange is quite lively against the gray and cream already in the room. I'm fond.

January 12, 2012

The GD

Goodness gracious, the last 10-ish weeks of this pregnancy began with some unexpected news: I have gestational diabetes. Back in early-December when I failed the 1-hour blood glucose test, I figured it was fluke. But on the day of my 3-hr test, when I found out how badly I failed the 1-hr, I prepared myself for either outcome. When the nurse called to let me know that I failed the 3-hr test and had gestational diabetes,  I took out a pen and recorded her instructions: : 
          -Attend gestational diabetes class in mid-January
          -Use a meter to measure my blood glucose levels four times daily
          -Follow a 2,000 calorie per day ADA diet
Since I had to go five-weeks without attending class,  I took some initiative to gather my own information. I was in touch with a friend who is a dietitian, another who is a diabetic, and my sister-in-law who had gestational diabetes during one of her pregnancies. Between all of my friends and the wealth of information available online, I felt fairly confident in addressing this new development on my own until I attended class. 

As I've told people that I have gestational diabetes, most of them are surprised because I'm a bit of a health nut when it comes to my diet. But, I have a family history of diabetes which is one of the risk factors. Some people ask, "Have you been feeling okay?" or attempt to comfort me by saying, "You'll feel so much better once your on the ADA diet." The thing is, I've been feeling great! Perhaps my perspective is skewed since I consider any day I'm not on bed rest to be a good one. 

One of my favorite things to do each week is plan our meals. We generally try one or two new recipes while rotating through other favorites in no particular order. Given the new circumstance, I realized that it would be easier to get on a meal rotation of ADA recommended meals. Considering it a very small gesture toward the health and well-being of our baby, Peter and I agreed it would be best if for the remainder of the pregnancy we followed a meal rotation. I set out own my own, counting carbs and what not but the whole thing was so tedious I didn't get too far.

Earlier this week I finally attended my three-hour class. There were two other women in attendance with me who had just been diagnosed.  Had I attended class the week I was diagnosed I think it would have been great but after five-weeks of managing my gestational diabetes it wasn't tremendously helpful. When the dietician came to speak with us for last hour of the class she provided us with some food exchange books. That evening, Peter and I went through the food exchange books to plan meals and snacks that fit the necessary requirements in terms of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Equipped with the food exchanges, the task was much easier! We now have a five-day rotation that should help keep my blood sugar level throughout the day:

As a side note, since I felt like the class was a waste of time I decided to pop into a children's boutique afterward. Considering we don't know what we're having, I figured I would just look around the baby sections and see whats out there. Thus far, I've been quite good about not purchasing any baby clothes.  We've been given some and we received some wonderful, gender-neutral hand-me-downs that should suffice for awhile. Anyway, on my way out of the store I did see a precious and brilliant collection of outfits that caught my attention: reversible infant clothes by Twotara. The clothes are pink on one side and blue on the other! I can't see buying more than one of these outfits but it seemed like a pretty cute idea for going-home from the hospital.
Photo from Twotara

January 6, 2012

Dining Room: Chairs

When we moved into our house in 2008, all we had in the dining room were chairs and a table. Around the time Peter and I bought our house, my mom and step-dad were combining homes for the first time so they had two dining room tables and two sets of chairs. We were invited to select one of each for our new home. I picked my mom's dining room table which I love. It's been in our family for a long time and the idea of eating family dinners around the same table I grew up with is pretty cool. As for the chairs, I picked my step-dad's. They are sturdy with a classic shape. I can't say I was ever crazy about the zebra print seats or black paint so I planned a dining room chair makeover.
Since 2008 we have made much progress in the dining room; we've added furniture and art, changed the lighting, and painted the walls. All the while, neglecting to make over the chairs. Somewhere in the years since we acquired the chairs, Peter and I have developed a joint sense of style for our home. While I still think the chairs are classic, sometime in 2009 I realized that a makeover wasn't going to be enough to make them fit our style. I started hunting for some mid-century dining chairs with little success.  So I asked my mom to be on the lookout in Baltimore for some.

As luck would have it, shortly after I asked my mom to be on the lookout she was dining at a friend's home when she noticed that she was sitting in a mid-century dining chair. She asked this friend where she found the chairs since I was in the market and her friend replied, "These chairs?  I don't know but I don't care for these chairs. Actually we're thinking about getting new ones. When we do your daughter can have them."

Fast forward to October 2010: an unexpected truck pulls into my mom's driveway and drops off the four dining room chairs. Her friend had gotten new chairs and remembered her commitment to give me the old ones.  Waiting for me in Baltimore were four dining chairs. The only issue, of course, is that Memphis and Baltimore are separated by a fair distance so it's difficult to get furniture back and forth.  We decided to pick up the chairs next time we were in Maryland or have them shipped.
Since we conveniently had Ms. Kathy when we went to Baltimore for Christmas we were able to bring the chairs back to Memphis with little fuss. And actually, since we realized we'd be able to bring them back fully assembled, I sent some fabric ahead of us to have the chairs re-upholstered in Maryland. I found some script fabric for the top of the chairs and some dark brown linen for the seats at Premier Fabrics.

Once we got back to Memphis, I began the task of painting the new chairs. I knew with the dark brown seats, the wood had to go! When I bought the bright Annie Sloan paints I went ahead got a neutral color as well.  Because the edges of the chairs are rounded, it took a keen eye and a bit of patience to cover the chairs thoroughly.
Once I finished transforming the chairs from wood to cream, Peter reattached the backs and seats.
It is such a massive improvement. I'm quite fond of our new dining room chair and so grateful that my mom's friend gave them away! Our dining room is finally coming together in a way that embodies our joint style and flows with the rest of the house.

January 5, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas

This year for Christmas, rather than give Peter just one gift, which he normally picks out, I decided to surprise him with a small gift for each of the twelve days. According to the church calendar, the twelve days of Christmas begin December 25th and run through Epiphany.  The idea was not to blow Peter away with an overwhelming amount of gifts but rather treat him to small gestures or gifts each day. I had to be a bit creative to stretch my $30 budget over 11 days (the gift for Day 1 he actually did pick out thus the cost was included in our holiday budget). Here is what I came up with:
December 25, Day 1: one pair of shoes
December 26, Day 2: Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins, $0*
December 27, Day 3: Mockingjay (The Third Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins, $0*
December 28, Day 4: four Reese's Christmas trees, $2.50 for six
December 29, Day 5: a five-year memory log, $12
December 30, Day 6: six glass bottle Cokes, 80¢ on sale
December 31, Day 7: a note recalling our last seven Christmases & an ornament to celebrate our eighth, $5 on sale
January 1, Day 8: eight dress socks, $10
January 2, Day 9: nine chocolate covered pretzels, $0 (the supplies were already in our pantry)
January 3, Day 10: ten minute massage, $0
January 4, Day 11: eleven ironed garments, $0
January 5, Day 12: a list of a dozen things I'm looking forward to in 2012, $0

*I already owned the books so I just wrapped up my copies. 

January 3, 2012

Master Bedroom: Bedside Tables, Again

When I last worked on our bedside tables in November, I knew the project was incomplete. I didn't paint the inner edge of the drawers so whenever I got something out, I was reminded that there was still work to be done.
I planned on getting some more of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint while we were in Baltimore (since I could buy it without paying for shipping) in fun colors then use the various colors to paint the sides and insides of the drawers of the beside tables, nursery dresser, and Peter's dresser. While in Maryland, I picked up Duck Egg Blue, Arles, and Barcelona Orange.
As I worked on another project, Peter painted the drawers using the Duck Egg Blue. For our purposes, the color was perfect! The gray-ish teal pairs very nicely with the color of the bedside tables and the leftover paint will be put to good use on other projects around the house.
After Peter painted, I waxed and sanded the drawers then reinstalled the hardware. Also, while the drawers were out, I painted the inner edge of the table but forgot to take a picture.
Painting the drawers gave our bedside tables a more finished look and essentially completed the project.