Friday, September 18, 2009

The Shape of Things

Hi All,
I know we haven't done many posts of the Bean, so I thought I'd post a new picture before it's too late.  3 days till the due date!
 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Changing Table Project

Hi!
So here's the 1st craft project I undertook for the nursery. It's a printing project I found in Lena Corwin's book Printing By Hand. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any desire to learn printmaking. The projects are really fun and stylish, and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.  I was lucky enough to be able to fit in a silkscreening class with Lena before we moved out of Brooklyn, but this project is totally different from silkscreening and I was still able to follow it.  
So here's what I made:

And here's how I made it.  The bureau itself is from Ikea, I just did the paint treatment on the front drawer panels.  We are going to put a changing pad on top and use it for a changing table and bureau.  You can do this with any old bureau you have lying around.  The advantage of buying a new one was that I could do the treatment on the drawer panels before assembling the bureau, which made life a little easier.  
The 1st thing you have to do is pick a pattern you want to use.  You can really use any shape or shapes you want, as long as you don't mind cutting them all out of contact paper.  The more intricate you get, the longer it will take you.  Here's an image of me cutting out my pinwheels with an exacto-knife on top of a self healing exacto mat.
 
Once you have all of your shapes cut out of your contact paper (you need one for every place you want to remain white, or whatever background color you choose.  You can't reuse them) you then arrange them on your surface.  Leave the backing paper on until you have a layout that you are happy with.  Depending on what surface you are starting with you may want to rough it up a little with sandpaper so the paint will adhere better.  

Once you are happy with your layout, you then peel the backing off the contact paper stickers and stick them to your surface.

Now you are ready to paint.  I used Benjamin Moore Natura paint, which is the same paint we used on the stripes on the floor of the Bean Room, so they would match.  

You will probably need 2 coats.  I did.  And here's what the panels look like all painted.  As you can see you just paint right over the contact paper shapes.

Once the paint has dried completely you can peel off your contact paper shapes to reveal the backround coler that has been preserved underneath.  It is a little bit of a painstaking process, but the paint didn't peel off in the wrong places, which was a relief.

And here are all the panels with their stickers removed.

And that's that.  Here is the final product, complete with changing table top (from Land of Nod).  It's all ready and just waiting for a Bean!
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nursery Renovations, part 1, striped floor

Hi all!
We are going to begin to try to catch up on our posts about renovating our nursery, which we call the "Bean Room." We have really done a lot of projects, so we can't fit it in one post. Also, it's not quite done, so I can't really do a true before and after yet. But no projects of any kind could be undertaken before the walls, ceiling and floor were painted, so it is the appropriate place to start. Here's the before, so you can get an idea where we started from.

We forgot to take a true before picture, but if you'd like to imagine brown seventies commercial carpeting over that floor, go ahead, because you'd be getting a more accurate before picture. And obviously in this picture we had already begun priming the walls. We really felt that the whole thing needed a tremendous amount of brightening, so we decide to paint everything white and add a striped floor for fun. At first we thought diamonds, but for both practical and aesthetic reasons we switched to stripes. So here's how it looked all primed.

Ok, so then we painted the walls and ceiling white. (Please note that this room truly has the weirdest ceiling, but more on that later) You can notice in the upcoming pictures that the white on the walls looks more even and bright than the primer. Once that was done TH could start on the stripes on the floor. Here's the 1st color of stripes, which is white.

I drew out a pattern for the stripes that looks semi-random, but is really a pattern of 1, 2 and 3 board wide stripes. Now here's TH filling in the yellow stripes.


I believe it took 2 coats of each color. And then we put 3 layers of non-toxic polyurethane over the paint to save it from wear and tear, and make it easier to clean. And there you have it, a painted Bean Room Floor! Doesn't it look so much bigger and brighter?

Stay tuned for upcoming posts about the decor and diy projects!

Update: We actually do have a picture from before. Yikes!

Behold!

Everyone, meet our new wood stove, Otto. We're very pleased and proud with this addition to the family. After a long period of research we decided on J√łtul, a Norwegian company. It's very attractive with its matte black finish and glass front door. The stove came with a spark screen so we can keep the front door open and enjoy the crackly goodness of a roaring fire.

It's also very kind to the environment. On the roof of the stove's fire box there's a series of tubes (I'm totally serious, there really are tubes!). Air flows in and out of these tubes providing the oxygen to mix with the smoke creating a secondary combustion. This secondary combustion creates longer, cleaner burns so we're not polluting as much and we get longer burn times out of our logs.

We're still trying to figure out how to get the best out of the stove. We'll run it during the day and before we go to bed we'll fill it with logs and lower the air flow into the firebox for it to burn slowly, hopefully through the night.

Here's what the stove looks like without a fire burning (doesn't it look nice!):

We also needed to bring in a bunch of wood that we hope will last through the winter, though it seems at some point we'll need to re-up the stash. Here's our lovely stack in the catch all room. There's just over 2 cords of wood here (a cord is defined as enough wood that fits a 4ft x 4ft x 8ft space).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Big Thanks to TH's Parents!!

The most comfortable chair in the world got delivered for our nursery today!!  I had to drag myself out of it to even put the slip covers on.  Thank you both so much!!  Oh, and it's also very good looking, and looks great in the Bean Room.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Picture of the Day

Just after sunrise

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Winter is Coming. . .

Hi everyone,
So today we started "putting food by" for the winter, as well as stacking wood for the winter to burn in our new wood stove(!!!).  Our friends Garet and Carolyn picked up 30lbs of tomatoes from the local farm stand that were considered "seconds," although we couldn't figure out why they were "seconds" they were so beautiful.  So we had a lovely day of old fashioned gender prescribed farm  chores.  Carolyn and my Mom and I spent the the morning in the kitchen while the boys stacked wood.  Canning turns out to be not so hard, actually.  Here's what we did:

First you need to sterilize your jars in boiling water, and get your tools together, which include a large canning pot, jar grabbers, citric acid (so as to not get botulism), knives and cutting boards.  Not to mention your tomatoes, and any herbs you want to include in your jars.  Here you can see we used a little basil and garlic:
   
Then you need to peel your tomatoes, because canned tomato peels are yucky.  To make this job easier we dipped the tomatoes in a pot of boiling water, and then into cold water, and the peels just slip right off.

Then you have to core and chunk up your tomatoes so they fit nicely into your jars.  Once you squeezed as many tomatoes into your jar as you could, you then fill in the cracks with water, stir the tomatoes around a little to push out any air bubbles, and add 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid powder to each jar.  Then you screw the lids on, but don't tighten them down all the way to allow air to escape when the contents to expand in the hot water.  These jars below are ready to go in the boiling water.
 
And here they are going in.  And they stay in there for 45 minutes once the water comes back to a boil.

And when they come out you let them cool off slowly at room temperature on dish towels, and you can hear their lids pop as they seal.  Then you tighten down their lids and you are all done.  We made 21 quarts of tomatoes from the 30lbs we started with.  
 
It was a very lovely and domestic way to spend a beautiful September Sunday.  We really feel quite rural, and we'll be super glad to have these yummy tomatoes to make spaghetti with in freezing freezing February! 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Help from the Masses

Hi Everyone.  I suppose you're all away on some type of end of the summer trip.  Hope it is fun.  We have a small predicament here that we need your help with.  

The cabinet/hutch thing you see to the left is something we've been looking for.  We saw it yesterday and it's within the realm of affordability.  We're just not sure if it's a good idea to get it for two reasons. 1) Is it silly to get it right before the baby/spend that money? 2) Since we already have something holding our dishes, do we really need it?

We'll most likely move it into the kitchen well after the baby is born.  So what do you think? Please leave your thoughts in the comments (and please hurry!)

Update: We boughted it.