(You thought it was a goner, but) the shop came back!

I guess I should say “shops” because I mean both this one and this one. Remember those? I haven’t had them up and running since we moved to Florida in August, but I’ve recently been experiencing strong urges to clean out all those boxes of Etsy supplies in my closet. I would really like to sell most of my stash before baby comes, so I’ve discounted all the prints and priced the paintings and drawings pretty low. All of the Alphabirdybet letters are $2 now, but I’m warning you in advance that I’m not printing any more so once all the As (or Ts or Ms) are gone, they’re gone! Same goes for the Day at the Beach prints — I only have a few left and don’t plan to order more. (Unless you are Miranda, and you happen to be sending me something awesome for the baby’s room. You could probably convince me if you really tried.)

Oh, today also happens to be my 29th birthday. I will be 29 when my baby is born. For some reason, I find this so hard to believe — not because it’s impossible that I’m growing older, but because this is the age when I am becoming a mother. Weird. And wonderful.

alphabirdybet

Now $2 here.

puffins

Now $5 here.

pretty-rock

Now $12 here.

lion-and-lamb

Now $12 here.

carrots1

$45 here.

strawberries

$35 here.

radishes

$40 here.

More pregnant pictures.

Josh and I posed last Saturday for a group of local photographers who were looking for a pregnant model. Other than the irony of starting and ending my modeling career at my heaviest weight ever, it was a really fun time and the photos that I’ve seen so far have been great! You can check them out at the link above or see some of my favorites…

here (by A.D. Miller)

here and here  (by Marty Hadding)

here (by Shannon)

And I’m sure there are more to come!

Apartment preview.

After spending way more time than usual at school this week, I finally had a day at home. Aaaaah. The less time I spend at home, the more untidy it gets and the more agitated I feel when I return exhausted in the evening, put my (swollen) feet on the ottoman, and see all the things that need to be done. So today I dusted and vacuumed and mopped and worked on a few projects that have been lingering for weeks. It’s not “done,” but it’s good enough to show a few photos.

Bedroom.

I’m going to start with the bedroom because it makes me happy every morning to wake up and see the gorgeous light streaming through the window. The downside is that all that light makes it hard to go back to sleep (I’m still looking for the perfect curtain), but I am so grateful that this is the only “problem” with the room. I also want to paint that dark brown frame and find a new, non-brown shade for the bedside lamp, but I can definitely live with both until I get another burst of nesting energy.

That big painting I was working on.

This is that big painting for the bedroom that I said I was working on awhile back. It’s done except for needing a few coats of a clear matte sealer…it leaves mysterious blue marks on the wall if I’m not careful. Since we don’t have a headboard, I really like having something big hanging over the bed.

Mmm, wood paneling.

Our kitchen has a little dining nook on the side and great light thanks to a set of sliding glass doors leading to our cute little patio (forgot to take a photo of that, whoops!). It’s been a long time since I had wall paneling, and I can’t say that absence made the heart grow fonder. At least the table and chairs stand out nicely, right?

Charming cabinets.

This is the kitchen half. Living in Florida obviously didn’t stop the apartment owners from putting in cabinets with all the charm of an Alpine ski lodge. And they’re not just tacky in the visual sense — the cheap stain combined with high humidity makes the doors and shelves feel sticky all the time, no matter how hard I scrub. I lined all the shelves with heavy duty contact paper but there’s not much to do about the doors. Or the door handles. Sigh.

A more neutral living room.

This is the view of the living room which you see from the kitchen. I think I’ll probably throw a bed cover over the couch when baby comes to make this space a little brighter and so that she doesn’t spit up directly on the upholstery. Not that my baby will spit up, of course, but I’ve been told that it’s better to be prepared.

My Calder print, of course.

This room is a lot smaller than our old one, and to be honest it feels kind of cramped since we have so many non-negotiable items that needed to be squeezed in (not-shown bookshelves and cd cabinets, the sofa and chair, big ol’ tv, and a desk and office chair). Plus, the tv and modem simply had to fit along this little wall, which also has an ugly vent that can’t be completely covered up so I can change air filter from time to time. Our red tv cabinet was too big, so we ended up getting the half-size white one (which has our dvd player, cable box, and a lot of wires stuffed inside) and trying hide the vent with the chair. It’s not perfect, but I just couldn’t figure out what else to do.

I guess I’ll have to post photos of the sides of the living room sometime, but for now I’ll try and leave you with the impression that our new apartment is very sparse and clean all the time.

Yah, right.

Much less comfortable.

I now know why everyone said to enjoy the second trimester while it lasts…the third one is a lot less fun (and it’s just beginning). Lots of new places have begun to ache and my ankles have taken on the charming habit of swelling to unfortunate proportions. Oh, and I’m having weird dreams again. Several times in the past week I dreamt that I had a baby boy. This in itself was not a terrible thing–I like boy babies too!–but in my dream I had a terrible and very real sense of loss that the girl that I talk to and think about and pray for just didn’t exist all of the sudden. To be honest, it was really disquieting. Other ladies who have been pregnant: did you ever have dreams like this? And did they come true, or was it just your subconscious playing tricks on you?

Despite my lack of gracefulness and bend-over-ability, I am helping to paint a set for Anne of Green Gables, this year’s school play. Lauren and I worked on it all afternoon and I’m going to see how much I can finish on Monday morning. It is really fun to paint with giant brushes (and to not have to worry that anyone is going to look very closely!). If it turns out okay, I’ll try to remember to take a photo.

Operation: Baby’s Room (a week later).

For some happy reason, our school tacks an extra Monday onto spring break. (Perhaps it’s because they know that everyone procrastinates on school projects over break and really needs that extra day to get their stuff together?) So I technically have today to work on home projects, but I’ve decided to call it quits for a while…over the weekend I was so tired I could–and did–cry, which seemed a little antithetical to the idea of a “break.”  

Anyhow, this is as much as I got done in the baby’s room. I managed to complete each of the big projects I had in mind (paint wall, paint dresser, buy + assemble crib and bookshelf, clear out other junk) and I’m pretty happy with the way it looks right now.

Baby's room (after).

This is the view from the hallway. I so love my little Amy Ruppel encaustic piece and am happy that it’s the first thing you see when you walk in.

Baby's room (after).

This is the version of the Gulliver crib that we ended up with. I had really wanted white, but in the end I think that the birch works pretty well as long as I have white or mostly white sheets (I still need to order the white-with-navy-blue-polka-dots sheets that I finally tracked down).  My contact paper stencil project ended up working really well and I will post a tutorial as soon as I can. As a little preview, though, I can tell you that it involved cutting out nine bird silhouettes on contact paper, applying them to the wall, giving them a coat of primer to seal the edges, and then painting over the whole thing with two coats of gorgeous sky blue.

Still need a curtain...

Um, now that I look at this shelf I’m wondering why I ever thought I needed the big version. I have plenty of room for more toys and books…why do I automatically assume that bigger is better? I do still need to work on cleaning that chair, though. I contemplated trying to dye it green to cover the dirty spots, but the golden color goes really well with the crib. Any tips on cleaning velour upholstery?

Little sweaters and dresses.

I don’t want to show the whole (still messy) closet, but I adore looking at baby’s little clothes hanging in a row. No, I don’t plan on dressing her entirely in pastels–I just scooted the other colors to the side because they don’t look as nice together.

The refinished dresser.

I should have taken a better before photo so you can tell how much better the dresser looks now. It is really quite improved, between the fresh paint and shiny white knobs. (The painting/collage, obviously, still has a long way to go.)

Putting baby's clothes inside.

I even lined the drawers with cute polka dot contact paper and spent a happy evening folding little bitty onesies inside. It’s amazing how quickly all that space fills up!

White knobs!

I went back and forth for a while trying to figure out what to do about the brass knobs. Furniture purists may hate me for this, but in the end I decided to paint them and I am so happy I did.

Brasso did a good job (but not good enough).

I did give it a go with steel wool and Brasso first, but the brass had a strange speckling that just would not go away. I think they originally had some sort of gold colored plating that was wearing off, but the only advice I could find online for removing plating involved phrases like “reverse the polarity.” Um, no thank you.

Spray painting the dresser knobs.

At the advice of the salesperson at Lowe’s, I went with high-gloss latex spray paint and it worked pretty well. If you are going to try this at home, I highly recommend propping the handles up on some styrofoam or they all tip over. Oh, and make sure to use lots of paint or the finish is matte instead of shiny. It will probably chip off eventually, but for now it looks pretty good.

30 weeks.

All of these projects (plus a lot of other ones) were made more challenging by the constantly growing person inside of me who has developed a new affinity for kicking in uncomfortable places. I had an appointment with the midwife this morning and she told me that I’m reasonably-sized for week 30. That was nice to hear, because I’ve been feeling positively enormous lately. Husband affectionately refers to the “big baby,” which may just be a euphemism for “big wife.” But it certainly sounds nicer.

Not as planned.

Husband and I drove to Atlanta and back yesterday just to go to Ikea. Atlanta is over 500 miles away from Pensacola and the trip involved about 12 hours in the car. (This only goes to show how bad my geography is, because if someone made a day trip from Pullman to Seattle just to go to Ikea I would have thought they were crazy.) Someone very graciously loaned us a truck and we made it back in one piece with all our new purchases, but the trip can be summed up by the three words in the title: not as planned.

While I love Ikea dearly, I have found from past experience that visits to an actual store can be quite stressful and challenging to one’s relationship with one’s spouse. For one thing, there’s just so much stuff to look at. I mean, how does anyone speed through the showrooms? You can’t take two steps without noticing a coffee table you haven’t seen before, some nice new pillow covers, and oh–how much is that bookshelf? The tendency to meander slowly through the store leads to spending way more time shopping than you had planned, which is just not a good thing if you have to drive six hours afterward. A second big problem is that, while everything is relatively inexpensive, it all adds up quickly (especially if you’re buying furniture). $99 may be a great deal for a desk, but it’s still $99. Add that to some dishes, dish towels, linens, a lamp, boxes, and whatever else found its way into your cart and the total at the cash register may shock you.

This time, however, I approached these problems head-on and decided that we were going to have The Best Ikea Trip Ever. I had a copy of the catalog, so I carefully looked at all the options, measured the walls, placed sticky notes on my final picks, and kept a running total of how much everything was going to cost. The key, I thought, was efficient planning with no room for surprises. I had a mental vision for each room (including the baby’s, of course), and everything was going be perfect.

Until we got to Atlanta and found out that all sorts of things were out of stock.

If you are ever wandering around the furniture pick-up area of an Ikea and see a crying pregnant woman, it’s probably because she just discovered that the perfect crib (which was to be the centerpiece of her elaborately planned nursery) is out of stock. If you see her crying even harder a few minutes later, it’s because that lovely white bookshelf (which was to hold all of baby’s cute little stuffed animals and toys and books and which matched the dresser she just painted) is also gone. This may already be on top of several other minor disappointments (she couldn’t find that desk from the catalog and is wondering if the new one they picked for the living room will look okay; the store is all out of the special boxes she wanted; she’s hoping that the pillow covers she convinced husband to buy aren’t as unnecessary as he thinks they are), all of which primed her to cry over something small anyway. Especially since she woke up before 5 am and gave the baby’s wall another coat of paint  before leaving.

Try to have sympathy on this woman as she slowly picks out a different crib and different bookshelf in between sniffles. She is trying very hard to convince her irrational self that this change of plans will not Ruin The Whole Thing. That all the furniture doesn’t have to be white and clean and pretty. That the baby won’t even notice these things for years and her friends won’t doubt her abilities as a mother and decorator when they see her mismatched nursery set.

And finally, if you are an Ikea employee, please do your best to fix the darn frozen yogurt machine so that when this woman stumbles red-eyed to the counter (after surviving the checkout line) and just wants a little treat to make it all better, you don’t coldly inform her that the one thing on the menu which she wants is unavailable. It just might be the last straw.

…..

As I tell this story today, it already seems somewhat amusing and pathetic. In fact, husband and I were even able to laugh about the frozen yogurt incident (which, by the way, was followed by a quick walk to the bathroom for some more crying, a stall door with no lock and a soap dispenser with no soap) later in the evening. I like to think that I don’t allow pregnancy to make me completely irrational, but the truth is that small things seem huge sometimes. And it takes me a while to calm down and realize that they are indeed small. As we were driving back home, I thought a lot about how much furniture doesn’t matter when compared with having a good husband and a baby who regularly and healthily kicks me in the ribs. It’s just stuff. Why do I get so upset about stuff? Today I am not upset about the new crib and bookshelf and think that I can make the room look just fine with the changes. But rearranging my expectations for how my stuff should look is not the true answer to the problem. The true answer is to look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them. And are not we (both born and unborn) much more valuable than they? There are so many things that I have planned that don’t work out the way they are supposed to: they work out better. I should just start planning to have my plans overturned, and then I won’t be so surprised.

Operation: Baby’s Room.

This week is spring break at Trinitas (hooray!) and while there are definitely some school projects I should be working on/thinking about, I’m doing my best to distract myself by decorating the baby’s room.

Baby's room (before)

Obviously the room is still being used as a catch-all, but we’re hoping to pick up a few pieces of furniture at Ikea for the living room so we can clear the stash piles out. (Locals: are any of you interested in the blue polka dot floor pillow and two matching cushions? Our new living room is quite a bit smaller than the old one and just not floor-cushion friendly. Leave me a comment or talk to me at school if you want ’em.)

I’m not feeling energetic enough to paint the whole room, but I think I can handle one wall (the one one the left). I picked out a nice light blue and am working on either a stencil or contact paper sticker project — if it works out, I’ll post a little DIY tutorial because it’s a great cheap alternative to those wall stickers that everyone likes so much. The blue will hopefully make the white Gulliver crib we plan to purchase stand out nicely. :)

Baby's room (before)

These are my two somewhat overpriced Goodwill finds. The dresser is huge, very sturdy, and has a practical melamine top. I had been planning to get a Malm, but this had about twice the storage for half the price. Unfortunately, it also had kind of a hard life…the last owner did a crummy job painting it with cream-colored flat paint (when sanding, I also discovered traces of ochre and forest green…hopefully not at the same time!).  I spent the last two days hand-sanding, priming, and giving it two coats of bright white semigloss and it looks a lot better. This is not the time in my life to completely strip and sand furniture so it’s still a little wonky looking, but at least it’s clean+ glossy — flat paint is impossible to wipe down.

The velour chair was a bit of an impulse buy since these chairs are not very common around here (this was the first one I’ve found in a thrift store). I don’t like the look of gliders and can’t afford the rocking chair of my dreams, so this seemed like a comfortable compromise. Unfortunately, however, it’s a little dirtier than I noticed in the store. I am contemplating slip-covers or a more, uh, radical project that I will definitely share if it turns out.

Baby's room (before)

This is more of the wall I plan to paint and the unfinished art project that will eventually hang over the dresser. It’s based on a big drawing that husband has been making on the whiteboard in his classroom ever since we saw the baby on the ultrasound. I started in acrylic, but I think I’m going to make it into a collage…another in-the-works project. The closet is currently stuffed, but we want to get an Expedit shelf to hold books and toys. [Hmm, that shelf is a little more expensive than I had remembered. Sigh. I know that we’ll be able to fill it up, though, and you can get these great square bins that fit in the shelves to hold blocks and train tracks and stuff like that.]

In other news, I just ordered a new computer this morning (thank you, mom and dad!) so hopefully I will soon become a) a better blogger and b) a better teacher. Not having one’s own computer leads to skimping on lectures, I have discovered. But now I have no more excuses.

Thank you all for your kind words about the move — I look forward to sharing a (more) finished baby’s room with you at the end of the week!