Michael’s ombre dresser

I recently posted an update on our soon-to-be-out-of-the-womb-baby Michael’s nursery and his new ombre dresser was definitely the star. (Just wait until you see the whale mobile! It’s even better!)

Here's the ombre dresser and changing table area.

Here’s the ombre dresser and changing table area.

I thought I’d share a quick tutorial, since this was one of the easiest transformations that I’ve done.

First, take before photos. I don’t take enough before photos.

We're thinking crib on this wall!

We’re thinking crib on this wall!

It looked good before but it looks better now!

It looked good before but it looks better now!

Before photo of the dresser

Before photo of the dresser

Find your color. I spent a lot of time in the paint sections at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and McLendon’s inspecting swatches. I finally found one that I really liked from Dutch Boy, swatch E19, with:

Ombre dresser paint swatch

Ombre dresser paint swatch

Moonlit Sky (E19-1), Twilight Navy (E19-2), Highland Mist (E19-3), and Well-worn Denim (E19-4)

Get your paint. I only painted the face of the dresser drawers, so I didn’t need much. In fact, all I needed was a sample size. I found these particular samples at Lowe’s. Sample sizes are 8 ounces and I used far less than half of each. I wanted to get the samples in “glossy,” but they only have them in eggshell. Eggshell turned out just fine for the $2.99 price tag. {McLendon’s had Dutch Boy paint samples but they were $8.99 for the same size. WAY too much for the little amount of paint that I needed!}

Paint samples

Paint samples

Prep. I labeled all of my shelves in the order that they sat into the dresser, so I didn’t get them mixed up or have to repaint over and over again. I unfolded a plastic sheet in my spray painting area outside and set up shop. I used sponge crafting brushes and painted right from the container. I used four brushes and threw them all out when I was finished.

Drawers, drawers, drawers!

Drawers, drawers, drawers!

Paint. Paint and paint and paint. My dresser was already “primed” (painted white), so we just needed one coat and some minor touch ups. It was a warm day and we let the drawers dry overnight.

Painted dresser drawers!

Painted dresser drawers!

Finish. After the paint was dry, we took the drawers back in the house and screwed in the new hardware, these pulls from Target. You’ll note that this is a six-pack and we have eight drawers. I was able to find a near perfect match with pulls from Home Depot, thankfully.

Let’s look at this beauty one more time. Ah: I love it! And, in case you were wondering, it’s completely full of diapers, wipes, blankets, outfits, and accessories for Baby Michael. Just four more weeks until his due date!

Here's the ombre dresser and changing table area.

Here’s the ombre dresser and changing table area.

50 days to go!

About 50 days ago I blogged my master to-do list for the baby’s room.

Well, time has flown by and over the weekend we hit the 50 days until D-day mark. We also spent a lot of time wrapping up some of the nursery projects.

Here’s a update of where we are, and what we still have left to do before the little guy comes in just about seven weeks. (Or sooner?!)

UPDATED master to do list: 

  • Remove the mattress and bed frame. Wrap for transport to the cabin. Transported to the cabin over the Fourth, where I won an award for my quinoa salad!
  • Apologize to Maddie for stealing her favorite napping spot. She still sleeps in there, and has made do with the bassinet. She’s in for a rude awakening when that bassinet is full with an infant!
  • Wash sheets, take comforter to dry cleaners.
  • Remove ball lights.
  • Clean out and remove the bookshelf side table.
  • Vacuum and dust thoroughly!
  • Buy paint and paint the room. We’re debating between Behr’s Sparrow and Anonymous. Which one is your favorite? We went with Sparrow. It’s very pretty and so serene!
  • Secure baseboards. Touch up with paint if necessary.
  • Hang curtain rods and curtains.
  • Place the art on the shelves and think about where wall art will be placed We still have some art to frame, but it’s we’re running out of space!
  • Empty Brandon’s clothes from the dresser. He’s all moved into the master bedroom! It only took 5 years…
  • Replant and move Brandon’s terrarium. It looks so good! I realized that I never posted about it. I’ll add that to the list of blogs to work on!
  • Assemble new rocking chair. Assembled! And we’ve used it several times. We have this pouf on order to complete the look!
  • Grab crib from home-home and set it up. It’s grabbed, but it turns out my sister busted one of the rungs when she was a kid. It’s in Dad’s shop now, getting repaired. We’ve got the mattress and lots of sheets for it!
  • Finish whale mobile. It’s almost ready. I just need to find the embroidery floss in my rather cluttered craft room. Maybe this weekend I’ll finish it!
  • Finish painting ceramic fish and lampshade. Painted. Now I just have to find a spot for the fish and put the lampshade on the lamp.
  • Measure dresser, cut whitewood (or other kind of cheap wood) to create a top. (We’re making something like this, but only the top.) We a went a different direction; one that I’m really pleased with the direction we went! See the photo of Michael’s new ombre dresser below!
  • Sand and paint dresser, replace drawer pulls. Painted. Pulls replaced! See photo and let me know what you think!
  • Sand and stain dresser top, elephant rocker, side table, trophy bases and book boxes. Rocker and side table sanding/staining are still on the to do list, but the trophy bases and book boxes are done and look great.
  • Spray paint the ceramic animal heads, adhere them to the wood trophy bases. They’re painted and now they need to be adhered. I’m debating between using super glue and hot glue. Anyone have any recommendations?
  • Make rope basket “zoo” for stuffed animals. It’s a great idea and project, but I could not find the rope anywhere. Then I went to Homegoods and found an adorable bin for far less than it would’ve been to make the rope basket.

Some new to do’s, in addition to the ones not crossed out above:

  • Get sun from home-home, hang in the corner of the room. Michael and I will grow up with the sun in our rooms, made by my Aunt Peggy!
  • Buy laundry hamper.
  • Clean out ‘candle drawer’ in the kitchen, so we have a place for all of his bottles and supplies. (Yes, we have a candle drawer.)
  • Clean out the bathroom a bit, making room for all of Michael’s new stuff.

And what you really came here for… updated photos!

Here's our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I imagine I'll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here’s our super-sized rocker and the photo area. I’ll be spending some quality time here soon!

Here's the ombre dresser and changing table area.

Here’s the ombre dresser and changing table area.

A close up of the "zoo" bin for Michael's stuffed animals.

A close up of the “zoo” bin for Michael’s stuffed animals.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here is one of our rolling apple crates for books. Brandon did such a great job sanding and staining them! We both did a good job on the wheels.

Here's the latest on the whale mobile. It's looking great and will be finished soon!

Here’s the latest on the whale mobile. It’s looking great and will be finished soon!

I hope you enjoyed our nursery update. There will be more photos as we keep finishing projects in the next (less than!!) 50 days!

Urban farming update: Out with the old {lettuce}

It’s been two months since our last urban farming update and a lot has happened in that time!

This is where we started:

Our new planter boxes/raised beds

Our new planter boxes/raised beds

And this is where we were at in the end of April.

Fast forward to the end of June: Our lettuce went crazy! I’m pretty particular about my lettuce (romaine heads, please) and with the abundance of kale we’ve grown, we decided the lettuce was taking up valuable raised bed real estate, so we harvested it all.

Our lettuce, pre-harvest (6-2015)

Our lettuce, pre-harvest (6-2015)

So many greens!!

So many greens!!

We made made great use of the harvest with lots and lots of salads!

The romaine part of our harvest. (Bibb lettuce portion not pictured.)

The romaine part of our harvest. (Bibb lettuce portion not pictured.)

We tilled our soil and planted two tomato plants and a pepper plant. And now our beets can see the light of day and continue to grow big and juicy!

Our new and improved crop: tomatoes and peppers

Our new and improved crop: tomatoes and peppers

Such a beautiful garden! So healthy and pretty!

Such a beautiful garden! So healthy and pretty!

Nutella Chocolate Chip cookies

Nutella chocolate chip cookies

Nutella chocolate chip cookies

Normally, I’m all about the savory treats since Brandon has a big enough sweet tooth for the two of us combined. However, this little guy inside of me has an even bigger sweet tooth than Brandon does and suddenly now I do too.

My pregnancy has been relatively craving-free EXCEPT for my new cookie-a-day habit. Chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite, and we recently discovered a recipe for cookies that is my new favorite: Nutella chocolate chip cookies.

I found these on Pinterest (of course) while researching a dish to bring my friend Stephanie after she delivered her son. On a whim I made a double batch.  We’ve enjoyed our portion so much that I’ve made them three times since!

I hope that you enjoy these as mush as I do!

Ooey, gooey dough!

Ooey, gooey dough!

Soft & Chewy Nutella White Chocolate Chip Cookies from Averie Cooks

YIELD: 11 large cookies

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOK TIME: about 13 minutes

TOTAL TIME: about 3 hours, for dough chilling

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • heaping 1/3 cup Nutella (stir well before adding)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 bag white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS: (My version. Her version is here.)

  1. Mix the ingredients up until flour until creamed and well combined.
  2. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Blend until mixed.
  3. Add chocolate chips and still until combined.
  4. Scoop your cookies and strategically place a few chocolate chips right on top of each mound of dough by taking chips from the underside and adding them on top.
  5. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. (I’m often tempted to not chill the dough because when I want cookies, I want them right then! I’ll try making these without chilling sometime soon and report back!)
  6. Preheat oven to 350F and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool.
  7. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. We really enjoy making a large batch of cookie dough and freezing them, so we can make just a few at a time.
Delicious Nutella cookies!

Delicious Nutella cookies!

100 days until the big day!

Wow. Where did the time go!? It feels like I’ve been both pregnant forever but also pregnant for just a few days, when in reality, the clock is quickly ticking down and there are only 100 days remaining until Baby Michael’s anticipated arrival! (I think he’ll be early, so maybe it’s even fewer than 100 days!)

Brandon is done with spring quarter today, so starting this weekend our attention will be focused on the little man’s new room. It’s always best to start with some sketches, some inspiration and a list. So, here we go!

What do you think of my masterful sketching? We’ll see how true-to-life this ends up being:

Sketching out the room

Sketching out the room

And the master to do list: 

  • Remove the mattress and bed frame. Wrap for transport to the cabin.
  • Apologize to Maddie for stealing her favorite napping spot.
  • Wash sheets, take comforter to dry cleaners.
  • Remove ball lights.
  • Clean out and remove the bookshelf side table.
  • Vacuum and dust thoroughly!
  • Buy paint and paint the room. We’re debating between Behr’s Sparrow and Anonymous. Which one is your favorite?
  • Secure baseboards. Touch up with paint if necessary.
  • Hang curtain rods and curtains.
  • Place the art on the shelves and think about where wall art will be placed
  • Empty Brandon’s clothes from the dresser.
  • Replant and move Brandon’s terrarium.
  • Assemble new rocking chair.
  • Grab crib from home-home and set it up.
  • Finish whale mobile.
  • Finish painting ceramic fish and lampshade.
  • Measure dresser, cut whitewood (or other kind of cheap wood) to create a top. (We’re making something like this, but only the top.)
  • Sand and paint dresser, replace drawer pulls.
  • Sand and stain dresser top, elephant rocker, side table, trophy bases and book boxes.
  • Spray paint the ceramic animal heads, adhere them to the wood trophy bases.
  • Make rope basket “zoo” for stuffed animals.

That’s about it. Totally doable, right? Maybe not in a single weekend, but we’ve got 100 days!

Here are some before photos.

The rocker will likely be on this wall. Ball lights will be gone. Pictures are already gone.

The rocker will likely be on this wall. Ball lights will be gone. Pictures are already gone.


We're thinking dresser, changing pad and toys on this wall

We’re thinking dresser, changing pad and toys on this wall


We're thinking crib on this wall!

We’re thinking crib on this wall!


Closet wall. Not much will change here except many of the clothes will change!

Closet wall. Not much will change here except many of the clothes will change!

Let the magic begin! Happy Friday!!

Blog photo composition secrets

Ever wonder how I get all of the great photos I post here and on Instagram? This comic pretty much sums it up:

The truth behind all of my photos... Kind of. ;)

The truth behind all of my photos… Kind of. 😉

Lucky for me, my cats are lazy and photogenic, my camera and I are friends and understand one another, and I’ve enjoyed composing and taking photos for many years.

Shortly after I saw this comic, I stumbled across this post on Instagram. The only thing missing here is a glass of wine! I think Jack and I totally nailed it!

FB photos 2

Have a great rest of the week!

Comic from Huffington Post

Let there be light!

It was a dark and stormy weekend…

…And I was home by myself and the power went out! Brandon was at the UW Homecoming game and I had to fend for myself. I was able to get by just fine. Our house and the pizza oven also fared just fine. The wind caused some of our bistro lights to come unhooked, and a lot of leaves and needles to fall in the backyard, but it wasn’t too bad. I’m so glad that no big branches fell off of the trees and that nothing came crashing down on the pizza oven. We’ve gotten great use out of it, but not enough for the effort we put into it!

Windstorm hits the backyard and the bistro lights fared just fine!

Windstorm hits the backyard and the bistro lights fared just fine!

I wrote the rest of this post last Sunday night, nearly 24 hours into the power outage. (The lights came back a few hours later and then went out again all night on Monday.)

The fireplace is turned on (it’s gas), I’ve got my headlamp at the ready, and I discovered the “light my keys” function on my laptop. My laptop was fully charged last night, so I’ve got ~7 hours of uninterrupted writing time ahead of me.  I’ve also been using my new Kindle PaperWhite, which is backlit, enabling me to read the one item I had gotten around to uploading. Fortunately/unfortunately it was a Jackie Collins teaser for several new romance books she has out. That’s what I get for searching the freebie books, I guess. Once the power is back on, I’m absolutely downloading some actual books.

I was thinking back to last year and I’m pretty sure that there was a power outage on Megan’s Island (Mercer Island) Halloween 2013. Seeing the ‘wind warning’ notices and driving through the sheets of rain last night tipped me off to what was to come and I charged my phone as soon as I got home. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made! This year’s outage was much longer than last year’s. Last year we blamed the lack of a single trick-or-treater on the power outage.  This year, we again failed to receive even one trick-or-treater.  Maybe it is the lack of sidewalks and street lamps and the dead end street. 

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the residents of Mercer Island. On Sept. 27 we had strains of e.coli found in our water and a “boil water notice” went into effect. That lasted for 11 days and  was much harder on the businesses than on the residents. Businesses lost a ton of money and I’ve heard of at least one business that wasn’t able to recover. Our grocery stores had to throw out a ton of food and it was pretty slim-pickings around here for a while.

Boil-water advisory on Mercer Island

Boil-water advisory on Mercer Island

No seafood here... or veggies... or meats... or deli foods...

No seafood here… or veggies… or meats… or deli foods…

Bottle-water-washed veggies at QFC

Bottle-water-washed veggies at QFC

The Associated Press even contacted me on Instagram and ended up using two of my photos for their articles about our e. coli.

Thankfully very few of the Mercer Island businesses were affected by this seemingly-never-ending power outage. (Yes, I’m being overly dramatic. I just want to shower, ok!?) Little Britches Bakery was ok, since I had access to my Etsy account via my phone and I filled my outstanding order before the storm rolled in.

It’s a lot more fun being stuck in dark solitude with someone else. The cats are great, but every time the wind picked up or pinecones fell on our roof, they would freak out and run and hide. I wanted to do the same, but that wasn’t in the cards for me. We’ve been closely following Puget Sound Energy on social media—not via their online outage map though, it’s virtually unusable via a mobile phone—and know what to expect. We collected all the candles, turned on the fireplace and unearthed our headlamps from Alaska.

We've got headlamps!

We’ve got headlamps!

Power outage? Glassybabies are the solution!

Power outage? Glassybabies are the solution!

Maddie loves the fire!

Maddie loves the fire!

Studying by candlelight

Studying by candlelight

Our power was out long enough that we had to get rid of some of the perishable foods in the fridge and freezer. We started cleaning things out and realized that the garbage disposal was electric. Whoops. Thankfully we got power back quickly after this poor decision and it wasn’t as gross as it could have been. Note to self: don’t do that again.

What not to do in a power outage

What not to do in a power outage

Even though they couldn’t find the source of the e.coli, I hope it’s behind us for awhile. Our water is super-chlorinated now and my skin and hair is sort-of getting used to it. Cheers to a new month, hopefully a better one for us Mercer Islanders.