Tag Archive | "DIY"

The Trip to Home Depot for a Vagina-Like Tube

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I love the scent of Home Depot- there is something about the mixture of wood and paint that makes me feel like I’m about to get stuff done.  On this particular trip to Home Depot my objective wasn’t to buy things for improving my home… I needed to visit the plumbing aisle for a vagine-like tube.

cheerful african hardware store worker

The plumbing section wasn’t my first idea for this project.  After unpacking a Christmas gift mailed from Amazon that was protected with pockets of air it got me thinking… what if I could create a better vagina for use in my menstrual cup demonstrations?  I’ve always used a champagne flute but they are only tight enough near the stem to fit a cup, giving the impression in demonstrations that you need to go 2 knuckles deep (not the case).  Could I create my own clear tube using air filled plastic?  That would give more like real flesh and easy to pack.  Possibly…… but before I did that I decided to hit the Internet up for ready made products.  Maybe, I thought, there would be a model for educational purposes?

No.  For the record, googling “clear vagina tube” is not advisable.  I did find a product that was not designed for educational purposes that would probably work… but it was pricey and also clearly for recreation.  I could only think of the potential security threat it may pose as seen through my luggage and wasn’t too keen on the possible extra attention.  That’s all I will say about that one.  #dontgooglethatterm

What about clear tubing?  EUREKA!

I started with Amazon and even though I did have the measurements for both sizes of cups (41 mm and 45 mm respectively for my purposes) I didn’t want to risk buying a product that might not work.  The next time I logged into Amazon I had fun new suggestions…


As much as that soft and rubbery tubing for home beer brewing appealed to me there was nothing in the diameter I needed.  Plus I really just needed to try to make it fit before buying.

I packed up my two demonstration Diva Cups and went to Home Depot.  In the plumbing aisle I saw several contenders…. for once in my life I wanted things to be in metric but these were in inches so I did a quick google to match up.  A 1 1/2 in internal diameter would be perfect but there was only one way to check.  Suddenly a sales associate with only one arm (I see him all the time and have no idea the story behind it) comes up to me and asks jokingly “Making a hookah?”

So do I just say no and have him not believe me, because who else buys a large clear plastic tube of this diameter without a plumbing license unless they are making a bong-like object?  Or do I say “Oh no sir!  I’m making a clear vagina-tube for educational purposes.”

I went with… “No.  Not making a hookah.” laughs nervously “It’s ummm…. not that.  Something different… for educational purposes.”  more nervous laughter.  He asked if I needed help but I declined.  I really wanted privacy so I could insert a cup into the tube to verify size but between the one-armed man watching over my shoulder and the 2 other men actually there for plumbing supplies I knew it couldn’t be there and the longer I stuck around the weirder I looked.  I grabbed my pipe and went to another aisle for a few other things I needed for my home.  I must have walked around with that pipe for 20 minutes looking for an empty aisle but of course it was DIY weekend and everyone was in every frigging aisle.  I went back to plumbing to find a cap that fit in order to turn the cup around without spilling things and did find the perfect one, thanks to the one-armed man again.

I finally managed to get some privacy for me and my vagina tube.  I pulled the Diva Cup out and inserted it with no ceremony (poor tube).  It was a perfect fit.  Before I could get to the register I ran into my neighbors.  I wish I were kidding.  ”What’s the big tube for?  You working on some stuff around the house?”  This is when I wish I were a good liar.  ”No… I need it for an educational demo.”  They kept pressing on for details and I’m not sure when or how but I finally broke down and said it was to demonstrate a menstrual cup.

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My shopping list for Home Depot- Wood Filler, Wood Stain, Vagina-like tube and cap, firewood.

I’m not shy about cups but there is something strange about having this conversation with your male neighbor, his girlfriend, and her 13 year old son.  I wound up giving a demo right there in Home Depot while nervously sweating.  Yes I did.  His girlfriend had never heard of one and seemed intrigued so maybe I converted another one.

After getting it home I put in a practice cup.  It became apparent that I am not a smart person because my demo Diva Cup Size 1 has a hole drilled in it and the thing leaked.  I had to find another size 1 and both the Lily Cup Compact and Lily Cup standard fit, though the standard was the best.  (I just so happen to have several un-used cups around from videos)

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Obviously the tube was too long but I had to try it out! After a few minutes with the hand saw I had what is a manageable 4 inches of vagina-tube past the end of the cap. The average vagina is 3-4 inches so I was aiming for that to show. I might paint the cap pink for a touch of class and add a decal with her name. The only problem is, I haven’t named her yet. Vag-Tube? The Vagina 3000? Honestly, she needs a good name but I can’t think of one!


Why all the fuss over a vagina tube? Well, I need something that I can effectively demonstrate menstrual cups with for the 2015 MommyCon tour. I’ll be there as #vagangelist and a cloth diaper advocate. These demos really hit it home how effective a cup can be so to me this is just one more step towards menstrual cup world domination.  If you can think of a good name let me hear it in the comments!  I’m stumped!

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Modern pool table game room

Rosas Home Tour- 2014 Edition

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Lets talk about my house!  Longtime readers are familiar with the ongoing work I’ve been doing to the home my husband and I purchased in July, 2012.  To refresh your memory, the home was painted in 3 shades of pumpkin orange and needed a lot of TLC.  In real estate, location is king and because the home was on a beautiful street, right on the cul de sac, it fulfilled our dreams.  It has been an amazing two years in this home- lots of love and laughter, a ton of time spent riding bikes outside or swimming in the pool, and we couldn’t love it more.

Make sure you look at those before photos!  And please forgive the photo quality- I didn’t use a tripod for these and didn’t want to use a flash so they aren’t great quality.


Let’s start from the front foyer.  It might be my favorite room in the house because you get a view of our front living room and my beautiful couch, and our game room.

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The foyer has a lot of my thrifty finds- the white chairs were found at a thrift shop for $40 each, the credenza was a Craigslist find, the wooden collage art was from a yard sale, the yellow signed lithograph was an estate sale find and the lamp was from the same estate sale.

Game/Entertainment Room

Next up is the “great room” which has now become our game room! (note the burnt out globe- we don’t have a ladder tall enough to change it so…. yeah.  One day.)

Modern pool table game room

We just added this gorgeous Brunswick Gold Crown II pool table to our collection.  Obviously, I care a lot about the items I put into my home, so adding a bulky pool table wasn’t something I was keen on.  However, my husband was determined to get one.  In fact, he wouldn’t shut-up about it.  For a year I’ve been researching modern pool tables and stumbled onto this line.  It is still made, however this particular table was made in the 60′s.  I found it for a more than reasonable price (if you Google it, I did NOT pay that price) and gave it to my husband for his birthday.  All the artwork (except our wedding painting) has been found at thrift stores and so was the record player cabinet (my husband is a vinyl enthusiast now and our collection is growing rapidly).  The overhead lights were from Craigslist.  My dying plant was from Wal-Mart…. hah.

The Kitchen/Dining Nook

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Our kitchen drives me a bit batty… the cabinets and counter are not my taste but we are trying to make it work!  We replaced our old college era dining table with this amazing smokey lucite and chrome set from the 70′s.  I saw it on Facebook from a shop in Orlando and went to see it that day.  The seats had to be recovered so I chose a white vinyl.  It is easy to wipe clean since I have little guys.  The bar was also from Orlando but I bought it from Ebay!  We had been looking for a bar and this one was perfect- it really is a cool thing to see in person.  The light turns on when you open it automatically!  Notice that the stone planter from previous photos has been removed.  It took more effort and time than I want to talk about but having it gone makes me so happy!  No more random pile of rocks!

The Master Bedroom

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Our bedroom only has a tad MCM (mid century modern) flair, the bed, the rocker, the armoire are more traditional items.  My armoire is so roomy that I’m sure I could never find a vintage piece to match the storage it has so for now it stays.  The nightstands are thrifted and refinished, lamp and long dresser are also thrift scores.  The dansk candle holder was my 6th wedding anniversary gift (iron) and hold 6 tapers.  My 5th anniversary gift (wood) was the large wooden lamp and his was the photo of the place we met in college, framed in wood of course.  None of our 7th gifts (copper) were decor related so they don’t get coverage.  I love how calm our room feels when it’s clean and that we have family photos all around!

The Master Bathroom

master2after masterafter1

These are just photos of our bathroom taken after it was first painted, nothing else has been done since these were taken except that the door was replaced.  (hence the older watermarks and text from an older post).  It is small but it works.

The Laundry Room/Pantry

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My laundry room project is complete and I even have a place to showcase a few of my “vintage cloth diaper” collectibles like the Sta-Puf advertisement.  I created sliding panels modeled after those sold at Ikea using curtains I found at the thrift store.  I placed a weighted metal rod in a pocket sewn into the bottom to keep it straight and we mounted them to sliders from Ikea.  We use our laundry room as a pantry since this home didn’t come with one!  The cabinets over the washer/dryer were found at the Re-store.  Even the paint for this room was a Craigslist find.

The Office 

The office hasn’t changed much at all since my last post.  It is technically a dining room but we wouldn’t use it so office it is!

officefromkitchen stevensoffice stevensoffice2

We added a rug that is made from FLOR squares, I wanted a more custom size so this was a good solution.  I would definitely use them again and am thinking of adding more to my hallway to the bedrooms.  We also added the large map canvas.  The office is a mess but it is used a lot.  This is the “tidied” up version.  Usually there are papers everywhere…

The “Formal” Living Room

The front living room  (designed to be a formal but we use it as a real living room) brings us full circle, as you can tell from the first photo.  In fact, our kids run this path over and over.  It’s like a home track.

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A lot of changes have happend in this room.  In fact, I don’t think there is a single piece of furniture in here now that was there in my last home update.  The sectional is something really special.  It belonged to my Great Aunt who lives in North Carolina.  She had to move from her home and so the couch went to me.  It needed new cushions and upholstery, not exactly what I was hoping to deal with.  My husband and I agonized over the color decision but wound up going with the color we picked first- 1 month after shopping everywhere else!  The upholsterer did an incredible job and I have to pinch myself sometimes- this beauty is mine!  The side table is a $10 yard sale score, the coffee table was from an estate sale, the vintage radio was from an auction.  Now lets talk about the credenza.  It’s one of the few pieces I’ve paid “almost retail” for but it was fate.  Our entertainment stand fell apart!  We needed something for our TV so I started looking- this turned up (in Orlando again… sigh) and it was the exact size I needed.  Apparently credenzas are standard 60″ or more.  Smaller ones are 1 in a million.  It’s a gorgeous piece of furniture and will be with us for a long time.  The rocker and stool/ottoman are reproductions I purchased from Zulily and not vintage.  The pillows are all from regular stores like TJ Maxx, Old Time Pottery, Ikea and Wal-Mart.  We placed a cat scratcher right where the cats from in from and it was really been effective in keeping them from scratching on the couch.

Guest bathroom

Guest bathroom… the only room in the house we totally renovated (and my ourselves!)

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Not much has changed in the guest bathroom since my post on it.  I still love it so much!  DIYing the entire project allowed us to put more into the big ticket items that make this bathroom look much more expensive than it was.  First time visitors love it, and I get a lot of comments about it on YouTube videos it appears in.  The artwork ‘If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie wipe the seatie.” was custom from Etsy.  The octopus stencil was also from Etsy.  The toothbrush holder is actually a bottle drying rack from Boon!

Everett’s Room

Everett’s room hasn’t changed that much but it’s worth a look.

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His dinosaur collection has grown quite a bit since we moved in.  His vocabulary is mostly dinosaur names, and don’t tell him that an Allosaurus is a T-Rex or he will not hesitate to correct your ignorance.  I also semi-permanently attached the building plates to our Expedit shelf for a nice place for him to build his Duplos on, an activity he still loves.  We got a new TV for Xmas from a family member so this was the only room the old one fit into.  Believe it or not they rarely watch it unless we let them watch a movie on it in bed.  All of his furniture is Ikea, and everything but the Expedit was bought from Criagslist for a STEAL.

Fletcher Room

Fletcher’s room has seen some revisions too!  (these photos have a different watermarks since I took them for a post about his room featured on OffBeat Families)

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Fletcher’s room has a Mario/Nintendo theme that evolved from the cross stitch I made for him while I was pregnant.  Most of his furniture is Ikea, but the dresser was a thrift shop find that I painted.

The Golden Girls Room

And lastly- the Golden Girls Room.

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Looks fabulous right?  This room flip flops between being a stately shrine to The Golden Girls and my filming “studio.”  I love my house but I do miss the full basement we had in NY- I was able to spread out my filming equipment and get away from the kids while I worked!  You can see it more put together in an older post.  

Wow… I guess that is it!  I covered everything except the garage, even though we did actually do some organization and added cabinets from Re-store in there for a workspace.  Seeing it all come together, even though it isn’t complete (in my opinion) has been fun for me.  In two years we have managed to fit in a ton of work on the home and make it our own.  As much as people dread buying “fixer-uppers” it gave us the ability to customize it fully to our taste and the home itself was priced right.

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make a breast pad rose bud bouquet

Bamboobies Breast Pad Rose Bud Bouquet

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This one is a very unique gift for your soon to be mom who is also going to be breastfeeding. It takes a practical item (reusable breast pads by Bamboobies) and makes it a centerpiece worthy gift!

make a breast pad rose bud bouquet

You can use any number of breast pads, I used half a dozen.  I did this post in a bit of a hurry and forgot to take a wide shot of supplies, sorry!  No time for a video for this one either.


  • Bamboobies Heart Shapes Breast Pads in Hot Pink or Light Pink
  • Floral Stem Wire
  • Green Satin Ribbon (wide, or wide and slim in same color)
  • Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Lighter
  • Scissors
  • Bud Vase
Step 1: Make a Rose Bud

Before you begin making your rose bud make sure you have a piece of stem wire handy. Using the heart shaped breast pad, fold the bottom of the heart inward and make sure the colorful PUL waterproof side is facing out. Start rolling from left to right until you have the desired look. You can play with how you fold the point up and how you roll it to create different looks. (The Eco-Friendly Family did this craft as well and folded her pads completely different)

Rose bud breast pad

Step 2: Attach the Stem Wire

Attach the stem wire to the base of the rose bud by using one end and wrapping it around a few times. Use the stem wire to keep the bud closed so make sure it is tight. When you spiral you can pull the bud tighter towards the bottom.

Breast pad rose bud

Step 3: Make the Bottom Ribbon Cap

Using your green wide satin ribbon cut a small section (just a few inches) and snip out triangles to make zig zags. Next, take your lighter and lightly singe the edges. This will keep the ribbon from fraying and also make them curl and look more organic. Wrap this around the stem wire and glue the bottom of the ribbon to itself. Don’t glue anything to the breast pads!


Step 4:  Close the Ribbon Cap

This is the hardest part for me. Trying to start the ribbon that you will wrap around the stem and making it flow nicely from the bottom
“cap” you just glued. For the stem you can either use skinny ribbon of cut the wide ribbon you already have and singing the edge to prevent fraying. The best method was glueing the bottom cap ribbon to itself on the bottom, then glueing the start of the long ribbon to the cap.

Make a breast pad bouquet

Step 5: Wrap the ribbon tightly around the wire. You can intermittently add clue to it doen’t unravel. I tried to get the glue on the stem as well. Keep in mind that this only has to look good for presenting, not last for years, since the gift recipient will pluck the bud from the wire! Make a loop at the end of the wire, add a dot of hot glue, then finish wrapping. You can burn any loose threads off from the stem with the lighter.


Add your beautiful breast pad roses to a bud vase of your choice! They’re a decorative gift that looks great on a baby shower table.

Breast pad rose bud bouquet

Make a rose bud bouquet from breast pads

If you love this tutorial make sure you have a look at the cloth diaper sushi baby shower gift post.
Breast pad roses in a clear vase- baby shower gift idea

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Real or Fake- A Fun Baby Products Baby Shower Game

Real or Fake? A Fun Baby Products Printable Game

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It’s time for a new game to play at your next baby shower that doesn’t involve chocolate in diapers or sucking milk from a bottle!  Today moms are more knowledgable about baby products than ever before, thanks in part to social media and those dedicated product reviewers like the infamous BabyGuyNYC.  Not only that, but inventors are constantly trying to solve the struggles and problems parents face when raising babies.  Their resulting products can either become a new baby shower gift staple or a “what the heck were they thinking” product that makes you wonder if they ever even had a human baby!

To poke a little fun at some of these products I created “Real or Fake?  A Fun Baby Products Game” meant to be played at baby showers.  Hosts can download, print, and cut out the cards.    As a bonus there is also an online QUIZ if you are dying to try the game but don’t have a baby shower to host or attend!  While I didn’t make it explicitly about cloth diapers it does of course include them!  Play the online Real or Fake Quiz now.

There are two ways to play using your printed cards:

Real or Fake- A Fun Baby Products Baby Shower Game

Call and Answer as a Group: Have one person hold the cards and read the back (all text) side of each card aloud.  At the end of the reading they will ask the group “Real or Fake?” The group can shout their answers and the reader will announce if it is real or fake.  No one keeps score and everyone has a blast!


Call and Answer- Taking Score:  Still have a person hold the cards and read the back (all text) aloud.  All participants in the group will number 1-14 and write “Real or Fake” next to each number.  The caller will need to keep cards in order as they’re called out.  At the end, the caller will reveal the correct answers, whoever scores the most correct answers, wins.

Once you download the file you will need to print them- preferably on card stock.  Depending on your printer you’ll need to download one of two files.  File 1 is for printers that are fancy enough print front and back in one go (two-sided printers).   File 2 is a bit more involved, you will need to manually print the fronts then print the backs.  You’ll want to determine which direction your printer feeds to decide which way to lay the already printed fronts to be printed on the back.  If you’re totally confused take the files to your local printing shop and spend a couple bucks to have them print and slice ‘em up for you.

Printable Baby Shower Game

Once you have them printed, either use scissors to cut out the cards or a paper cutter.


Then all you need to do is have a great time laughing with friends. I won’t spoil the game for you, but I will say that some baby products should have remained in the mind of the inventor and some products sounds terrible but don’t knock them til you try them!  Don’t forget you can play it online too!


Click to download File 1PDF!


Click to download File 2 PDF!

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DIY Cloth Diaper Chalkboard Sign {Fluffin’ Awesome Decor}

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This project stems from my obession with DIY chalkboard signs several months ago for a public event I was co-hosting.  I wanted a unique, easy, and relatively cheap way to make a lot of signs.  In my closet I found and used foam boards for rectangular signs but decided to try out cardboard leftover from another craft.  I had a few cardboard circles used for cake decorating- one side is white and one is regular cardboard.

These signs can be used on your mailbox to welcome baby shower visitors, on the gift or food table, on the door, etc. It’s a versatile craft!

cloth_diaper_sign_parts copy

Supplies Needed: Step 1: Cut the Shape

Design your diaper. I chose a simple shape and utilized the circular shape to make this a lot easier than cutting an entire diaper from a large sheet of cardboard (which is something you can totally do too). Start by drawing where you plan to cut. I did 3 cuts total- one long and shallow curve at the top, and two curves from each side. Tip: Cut one side and use that piece on the opposite opening for symmetry.  I didn’t photograph this step…. sorry.

DIY cloth diaper signs

Step 2: Paint

Use the chalkboard paint to cover the brown side of the cardboard. You can only paint one side, the paint won’t cover the shiny, white side. I tried. Keep in mind that 2 light coats will prevent major curling of the wet paper, though it will still happen. If you glop it on thick you may get more curling.

Chalkboard DIY diaper sign

Step 3: Add Permanent Outlines

Once paint is dry, use the white permanent chalk marker to add decorative touches. I chose to add 2 snaps per side, a tab on each side, and some “stiching” along the legs.  I drew over the dried paint with regular chalk first several times until I liked the shape, then went over that with the permanent chalk marker.

DIY Chalkboard diaper

Step 4: Draw!

You may be more artistic than I am. My lettering and drawing skills are not great so I’m sure you can make a prettier diaper sign than I did!

Decorate a chalk diaper

Optional: Punch holes in the top to string ribbons or rafia through in order to hang your sign. Or, attach it to a stake and place in your yard to welcome guests.

DIY Baby Shower Diaper Sign


Instead of using the diapers as decor consider making it a baby shower game! Make several diapers and allow guests to design their own diaper prints!

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The DIY faux stacked wood fireplace screen {that almost killed me}

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Ever since we moved into our home 2 years ago (wow!) I’ve loathed the fireplace.  The rustic stones are not in line with my modern and clean aesthetic but part of me would hate to remove them since they’re a {crumbling and cracked} part of the original home’s charm that future buyers may hate us for removing.  We did do away with the stone planter made from the same stones and I don’t feel any guilt about that since it was sloppily made, looked weird, and took up precious space.


I’ve considered covering the stones, whitewashing them, and have finally decided that instead of changing the stones, why not try updating the fireplace opening?  That led me down the Pinterest wormhole and Google searches for “modern fireplace screen” that resulted in tons of pins for expensive options.  For some reason modern=expensive across the board and buying an $800 screen wasn’t in the budget.  Other pins were to stack items in the fireplace such as books or wood.  I loved the look of stacked wood but it would then be a non-functioning fireplace.  Then I finally found the answer in a DIY from Pepper Design Blog that was also featured in This Old House.  I pined (get it?  lol) for a white wood such as birch but around here I haven’t seen any.  After looking to buy slices (very pricey) I finally just decided to stick with native Florida woods.  I posted to Craigslist offering a small sum for pre-sliced wood and a lovely guy met me with a huge bag of slices in varying sizes, lengths, and woods.  There is white oak, oak, fir, and cypress in our final result.


Before- old screen that came with the house

The process for my screen seemed to be more difficult than the original for several reasons.  1.  My fireplace has uneven rocks all round the opening, including the floor.  Getting a perfect piece of wood sized to fit was impossible to slide in over and past those bumps.  I went in and out 8 times from the fireplace to garage to saw off more areas to make it fit.  2.  The fireplace slants inside so I had to cut each side at an angle (like mitering moudling) for a better fit.  3.  I wound up glueing one slice past the edge which caused more heartache than I can express.  10 minutes with a saw, dripping sweat, cursing, kicking, and bloody knuckles solved it.  Then it fell off after previous tries to just pry it off failed.  I wish I were kidding.


The dry fitting was perfect…


Each slice was glued down


A notch had to be shaved off with a knife in order to make this slide past. And a few kicks.


This was how it was wedged, seemingly stuck forever on the slice that needed to be cut.

All in all I spent less than $80 buying a large plywood sturdy enough not to bend under the weight of the slices which was $22 at Home Depot, $3.97 for a matte black spray paint (I could have used my leftover chalkboard paint but i was too lazy to brush it), I paid for the slices of wood (more for labor than the wood which is so often free around here), the large bottle of Gorilla wood glue was $6, and I shaved a few years off my life.  The cleaner front of the fireplace has been worth it though!  Due to the differences in my fireplace shape and being set back a little more it is easier to figure out this is a black board, but eh.  I also dig the varied sizes and textures though I also like the cleaner look at the version from Pepper Design Blog.

fireplaceafter1 fireplaceafter2 fireplacelivingroomafter2

You may notice we are missing the coffee table and red tulip style stool (seen on Instagram).  Those are in the other living room with our new recovered turquoise sectional.  This room is eventually going to house a pool table (we are going to look at one next week that is mid century so it pleases me) that my husband has always dreamed of.  That, along with the turntable console and mid century bar will make this a very groovy space for entertaining!  Just don’t ask me to move this damn screen, it is wedged in there tighter than I had hoped… uh oh…. Santa will have to enter with a magic key in the front.

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4th Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge- Day 3: Open Topic

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Day 3 means we are almost halfway through our 7 day challenge to use flats and handwash for 7 days. This week there are over 30 bloggers participating who have been linking their posts and today instead of there being a prompt for writing they are picking their own topic. Today I’m going to write about my over night diaper and my clothespins (Tantalizing, I know).  Make sure to scroll to the end to view others’ links.  


One of the most nerve wracking issues for me regarding the challenge is overnight diapering. Harper has always been a heavy wetter and leaving her in any standard pocket or all-in-one generally results in soggy pajamas and an early wake up call. At home I reserve my most absorbent fitteds and richest wool to save me from washing her bedding every day, but with the flats challenge, my fitteds are not an option. Last year I tried doubling up my flats, which resulted in a very bulky diaper but managed to keep her jim jams dry as long as I put the diaper on immediately before nursing to sleep and changed her the moment she woke up. This year her current wool covers are too snug to comfortably fit the doubled up flats and with the pack’n’play we’re borrowing from my best friend as her temporary camping crib I really don’t want to risk soiling her bed. I field tested my favorite flats before our trip and was thrilled to find that the generous size(about 17 inches square!) of my bamboo flat from Sweet Iris allowed me to manage a very thick but stretchy diaper fold that would still fit comfortably under a breathable wool cover. So far we’ve made it through one night at home with this combo, and one night camping. I put some extra flannel receiving blankets under the blanket she sleeps on just in case, but the mix of bamboo, additional thickness from size, and evenly distributed fold under a wool cover seems to be hitting that sweet spot that keeps Harper dry and happy all night long.

On a more fun note, I decided the mostly-electronic-free days of camping would be an excellent time to enjoy a little arts and crafts time. My poor old wooden clothespins are used and abused every day, and they are showing their age. I could just pick up a new pack, but I thought it would be more fun to give them a little makeover with supplies I already had on hand. I packed a set of Martha Stewart craft paints I’d picked up on sale a while back, and a cheap paint brush, and when Harper was busy happily playing on her own I sat down at the picnic table and gave my clothespins a fresh coat of paint. I also brought a white paint pen in case I wanted to add chevrons or polka dots or stripes, but I liked the look of the solid colors so much I just left them alone.

I didn’t get overly precious about the process, I didn’t take apart the pins or paint inside every little crevice. When Harper needed me I’d drop my brush in a little water cup and come back to finish later. It’s not perfect, but I think that’s part of the charm.

I did an even number of each color so I could pair off matching colors when pinning diapers. I realize that may seem silly, but something about the brightly colored pins securing my equally bright and cheerful diaper laundry just makes me smile. It’s amazing how chores which might seem tedious or even grueling become fun with just a little bit of effort and creativity. It reminds me of that Mary Poppins song, “Spoonful of Sugar” or maybe the dwarves’ song from Snow White “Whistle While You Work”(can you tell Harper and I have been on a Disney kick, lately? I discovered the “Frozen” station on my iTunes radio and it’s been so fun to sing along with all my old favorites. Harper loves it when I sing).

I’m really interested to see what you will blog about on this open topic day. I can’t wait to read all your entries and see what you have to say!

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12 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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The Elf on the Shelf is a fun tradition our family looks forward to each year.  I enjoy finding new hiding places and scenarios for Wyatt and have come up with quite a few fun ones over the years.  I’ve decided to compile my favorites from past adventures and included a few new ideas that I’m planning to use this year!  Some days when I have the time Wyatt gets into more elaborate scenes than others.  If you’re wondering how our elf is able to strike such handsome poses it is thanks to the “Hack Your Elf on the Shelf” tutorial that you need to check out!  There is still time to find an Elf  and time to hack him/her if you hurry!


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One Year at Home in Florida and One Year of Busting Arse

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One year ago, on July 4th, I drove down to Florida with my two kids (and my sister, who was helping) and our family was reunited again. For those new here or for anyone who has forgotten, my boys and I lived for 6 months in North Carolina while my husband lived in Florida. We moved from Syracuse after bidding on a home in Florida. My husband’s job transferred him to Tampa so he had to go straight there, but we have nowhere to live other than a hotel, and no timeframe for when we would get the home. It was a short sale so these things can take as little as 1-2 months, or as long as a year. It was a HUGE gamble because they never give you a time table.



After the six month wait for the home, we finally moved in. That is when the real work began. The home was in bad shape- liveable but not pretty. I took a lot of time away from the blog in order to focus on painting and remodeling the bathroom. Between the 6 months I lived in Charlotte without access to most of my filming equipment, and the 6 months of intense work on the home, this blog suffered a lot. Shockingly, the traffic didn’t dip like I thought it would.

I was a woman on a mission and painting took first priority. I woke up every day and painted for 5-8 hours a day. I would take off every other day and do something fun with my kids to make up for the previous day of ignoring them while I was painting.

Now I can finally say that things have slowed down in the home remodeling department. I won’t lie and say that we don’t have more work to do. We have replaced all but two doors and need to replace all of the door hardware and paint the trim around the doors…. you can really see how dingy they look in the second photo.

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There are holes in the drywall from moving the water heater to the garage to make room for a pantry in our laundry room and that is being done this month.



I still want to rip out the giant stone planter with my bare hands but it will be a lot of work or a lot of money, or both. And the outside of the home is basically crying out for the help of HGTV or DIY- we have a rotten deck that needs replacing, a pool deck and pool that need major help, and our landscaping is the shame of the cul-de-sac.

Regardless of what we haven’t done, I’m so proud of the work we have finished over the year. We checked off every major interior fix we had on our to-do list to make this house a home. No more orange paint, no more peeling doors, no more ugly grey front door, bye-bye 1970′s bathroom, and no more hideous and filthy light switches and outlets. Hello thrifty mid century furniture finds and modern colors.  You can go back and look at the before/afters on this old post (a lot of changes have been made since the post but not enough to take new photos, except for the family room- the blue recliner went bye bye):


Before and After Rooms

I am still on the hunt for the perfect mid century furniture and decor to complete our home but that will take time and patience. Now we have the time to actually enjoy our new life in Florida, see the sights, visit the parks, and spend our weekends as a family rather than spending them at Home Depot.

I’ve blogged a heckuva lot about our home progress, I’m linking the old posts for anyone who wants to look back at the work and projects we have done this year.  Thanks to everyone’s patience as our family and home took priority over the blog.  Things are picking up in the productivity department and I can’t wait to share all of the fun projects and ideas I have with you!

Before/After House- Photos of each room

Guest Bathroom Remodel- The Octopus Bathroom (featured on Offbeat home!)

Entryway- The Fated Thrift Store Chairs

Master Bedroom Makeover- Serene Retreat

Laundry Room- Utilizing a Small Space

Front Living Room- Orange to Grey

Front Door- Grey to Purple

Golden Girls Room-Downloadable GG Quotes



Thrifted Night Stands- Traditional to Modern

Thrifted Chair- Painted upholstery (it works!)

Thrifted Dresser- Ombre Mid Century Mod masterpiece

Thrifted Frames+DIY Silhouette- Easy Tutorial



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Ombré dresser before and after

Thrift Store Find- DIY Ombré Dresser

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Ombré dresser before and after

My latest furniture project was turning a gross, nicotine stained mid century style dresser into an ombré painted beauty!  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a dresser that would work for my son’s room.  Since we moved in his clothes have been stored in two rubbermaid sets of drawers in the closet.  Fletcher has picked up a real sense of fashion lately and has a lot more clothes than would fit in those so he needed an upgrade.  After seeing the amazing ombré dresser on Young House Love I’ve wanted to do one but had to wait until finding the perfect dresser.  Thanks to the 50% off sale at my local thrift shop and a perfect fit for this project I came home with this guy for $34.50.  I purposefully chose a dresser that wasn’t super nice because I would hate to ruin something that would be more suited to new stain and not a whole lot of paint.  For that reason this dresser fit the bill perfectly and the hardware drew me in right away.  It was coated in grease and dirt and the dresser was badly stained yellow.  I don’t think the photos can convey how filthy it was.  I used the Centsational Girl laminate painting furniture tutorial since this was a laquered style paint job and it seems to be working great.  The color palette was imspired by a dresser on Thrifty Inspirations.  It isn’t perfectly smooth but I think overall it looks pretty nice!

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