Featured Nursery: Amy's Fabric-Fabulous Space

8.30.2010
I actually first discovered Amy's amazing nursery on the Bump's Real Nursery Contest. It was my absolute favorite of the group (I may even like it as much as my own...if not more!). Amy managed to pull off a very modern and colorful space while still keeping it very warm and cozy.


The space is exploding with DIY projects, including this gorgeous rain and clouds mobile:


You can't help but immediately notice all of the amazing fabrics in the space. Believe it or not, Amy designed most of these herself on Spoonflower. That's taking DIY to a whole new level! I think that she may have missed her calling, as her fabrics are absolutely gorgeous:


And Amy not only designs her own fabric, she sews as well! (Something that greatly impresses this absolute sewing novice). This ottoman is one of her own creations, as well as the frog on top:


One of Amy's favorite elements in the space is her moose rocker from IKEA. Her hubby is from Canada, so it brings their baby's heritage in in a really fun way:


I think part of what makes Amy's nursery special is that it is so personalized. Her dogs were the inspiration for this gorgeous silhouette pillow:


And as if there wasn't enough fabulous fabric in the room, this hoop collage really takes the cake:



Thank you so much, Amy, for allowing me to share your space on with two cats. I'm a little jealous - I may have to steal a few of your tricks for my next nursery design! To see more of Amy's space, check out her Flickr photostream here and her blog here.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking here. It only takes a second and I'd love to reach more moms and mothers-to-be (okay dads - you too!). Thanks so much!

Making the Most of Nap Time

8.27.2010
So now that the Hubster is back to work and I'm a 'real' stay-at-home mom for a few months, I've had to get my priorities in order. Of course, my number one is my babe - while her beautiful blue eyes are open, I make the most of our time together. We play with her squishy squeaky toys, we cuddle, we coo. We have long conversations about what Mama is doing and I can speak baby babble fluently. Smiles and kisses, eating and poo fill my little muffin's waking hours.

But as soon as those long dark lashes start to flutter and those sleepy lids close with a sigh from those precious little lips, Mama leaps into hyperdrive. You see, nap time is precious to me (whispered in a Gollum-esque voice).

 Sometimes

Prioritizing is key here. I never know how long or short a nap may be, so I have to get the important things out of the way first. Number one on the list - EAT!

Between breastfeeding burning an extra 500 calories a day and my little motion-junkie personal trainer burning another ten bajillion, I get HUNGRY. Starving in fact. I'd even go as far as to say famished. And a mama with an empty belly is never good. I don't know about you, but I turn into something resembling Oscar the Grouch when I'm hungry. So filling my belly is the first thing I do after switching on the monitor.

Coming in at a close second is showering. I know that some moms say showering is overrated, but if I don't clean myself, I feel gross and disgusting all day long, which also makes me grouchy. Don't get me wrong - I can do it if I have to, but I think I'm a much more fun and focused mom when I don't stink.

 we nap

After that comes my to-do list. I think writing down five things that I'd like to accomplish during the day helps me to stay focused and keeps me from zoning out in front of the boob tube during my off-hours . Here's a sample list from today:

1) EAT
2) Shower
3) Fold & put away laundry
4) Write a blog post about making the most of nap time
5) Finish edging the back room

If I accomplish four or five items on my list, I feel like it's been a good day. Sometimes on a really good day I may even complete all five items and have some extra free time. In that situation I do anything from extra cleaning to surfing the web to reading a good book. I do think it's important to have some time for R&R - a girl can't be on the go 24/7. And if I get really tired in the thick of things, the list goes out the window and I lay down for my own little mommy nap. Because a tired mama is never good.

 together.

In the evenings when the Hubs is home, I try to get one hour of me-time and one hour of cleaning in if at all possible.

And for all of you brand new mama's out there, please know that for about two-and-a-half months I could hardly put V down without her getting upset. So this whole five item to-do list thing is new. Until recently my list consisted of 1) Eat and 2) Shower and that was it. So don't be discouraged - it does get easier!

Speaking of napping...my little angel is awake - hope you have a restful and productive weekend!

Do you have any strategies for making the most of nap time? If so I'd love to hear about them!

P.S. If you enjoyed this post I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking here. It only takes a second and I'd love to reach more moms and mothers-to-be (okay dads - you too!). Thanks so much!

Rug Research

8.26.2010
Since we are painting our back room a light gray and pairing it with a dark gray sofa, I definitely want to add a lot of color to the space with accessories. The first thing I want to choose is an area rug, as it will most likely be the largest accessory in the space. 

If I had my druthers (AKA a LOT more money) I would totally buy a Madeline Weinrib area rug. I love the graphic patterns and bold colors:



But since I don't have over 1K to drop on an area rug, I've been searching for something similar. Here's what I've come up with:


























Zigzag Rug via West Elm

Andalusia Rug via West Elm


Surya Pale Yellow Rug via RugsUSA


Boardwalk Stripes Rugs via The American Home Rug Company

Which one would you choose? If any of you know of any other orange/coral/yellow area rugs that fit the bill, I'd love to hear about them!

Update on The Bump's Our Real Nursery Contest Results

8.25.2010
A bit long and photo-less, so if you are tired of all of this drama (I know I am) feel free to skip this, but after being surprised by the number of comments that my original post received, I felt that some of you at least would like more details.

So you may have noticed my tweet that I received a call from The Bump yesterday. After I posted my 'explanatory' post, I received a message from a friend and reader letting me know that she felt strongly about what had happened and had contacted the Bump via Twitter (thus prompting me to get a Twitter account). After receiving a vague canned response she continued to express her concern and eventually received an equally vague email that claimed that the Bump had been trying for some time to contact me about the events in question, which she then forwarded to me.

That day I was contacted by the Bump via email. They requested my phone number (which I gave to them) so that they could explain the chain of events that had occurred. After a little phone tag (you can't always answer when you are in the middle of being pooped on or rocking your three-month-old to sleep), we finally connected.

The conversation was very civil and professional. Apparently I was correct in my assumption that the commenter had caused them to check out my blog, where they found my phrasing inconsistent with the contest rules. While they said that they did not believe it was my intention to encourage cheating, they legally had no other choice but to disqualify me. As far as the nasty message board comments were concerned they had tried to moderate them but, "couldn't keep up" and they apologized for that.

Furthermore they wanted to stress that Sherwin Williams was a sponsor of the contest only and had nothing to do with the way in which the contest was run or with the results.

One positive result of the call is that I was able to express my feelings about the contest, and while a large company like the Bump certainly does not have to listen to the advice of one mom, it did help me to get a few things off of my chest. I strongly expressed my distaste for the message board concept (especially if it could not be properly moderated), as my nursery was not the only one that received nasty comments. No parent who put their heart and hard work into their child's nursery should have to deal with having their space torn apart.

I also encouraged them to make future contests more foolproof. Unfortunately no contestant can control the actions of the general public - only those who determine the way that the contest is structured can do this. Simply having voters register their vote by entering an email address or username would prevent this situation from happening again. Although the Bump said that they felt this would decrease traffic, I still think it is the right thing to do.

So while the conversation did not tell me anything that I had not already inferred, I did appreciate finally being contacted. And NOW I hope to truly put this situation to rest and focus on my family, home, and writing about what I love. Thank you again for all of your support - your kind comments were truly appreciated! :)

~ Lauren

Choosing the Perfect Gray

Since we have so much color going on in the main living area of the H-Haus, we have decided to go very neutral for the sitting room. And since the sofa is going to be a dark gray, we know that neutral is going to be in the gray family.

The problem is that I always gravitate toward very light colors, while the Hubster likes colors that really contrast with our white trim (AKA dark). So whenever we choose a color it involves a lot of arguing discussion and a LOT of paint testers. Thank the Lord for paint testers! They've saved us from making a lot of mistakes and from wasting a lot of money. Because to be honest, who can choose a paint color from a tiny two inch by five inch piece of paper???

Here are the contenders:


From left to right:

Martha Stewart - Driftwood Gray (too dark/too blue)
Glidden Smooth Stone (too blah neutral/too light)
Glidden Canyon Echo (great color, a little too light)
Behr Dolphin Fin (great gray/great medium tone)
Behr Silver Drop (too light)
Behr Chocolate Froth (too beige/too light)

Obviously the winner was...Behr Dolphin Fin! Most of the time we've found that we have to go a shade or two lighter than the paint chip that we like to get the right color, but in this case we actually had to go a shade darker. I guess gray is its own animal! Stay tuned for the newly painted space.

Technological Advancement

8.24.2010

So I'm no technology wiz by any means, but I recently had a reason to do some snooping on Twitter after I was contacted by a reader (long story). That led to getting an account and wanting to link up to Facebook, which then in turn led to creating a Facebook page for with two cats. So it looks like we're moving up in the world of technology! Feel free to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or both to stay up to date with current H-Haus happenings.

The Time Has Come...

To resume work on the H-Haus! Our reno has been on the back burner while we saved up some dough so that I could have some extra time at home with the munchkin. Now that we have a comfortable amount stashed away, we thought that we could use the extra paycheck that the Hubster got this month (score!) to do a little fixin'.

Our main living space has become a bit tight these days (and it was pretty tight to begin with!) with baby swings, bouncers, and play gyms, so we thought it was high time to make better use of our sadly under-utilized back room. Currently a mish-mash of hand-me-down furniture and random storage, we don't spend a lot of time in the space despite the fact that it is one of the sunniest spots in the house. This is what it looked like when we bought the house (with the previous owner's furniture):


We did our best with what we had on a zero budget, but with one (very uncomfortable) chair from Tar-jay, a re-purposed hand-me-down entertainment center from IKEA, and an old desk, you can only do so much. Paint and new wood floors, art, and fresh flowers definitely helped make the awkward space at least be livable for a few years. Here is what the space currently looks like:







Not terrible, but it definitely wasn't working from a functional perspective. The plan is to create a cozy sitting room where we can get away from the boob tube and chaos of our daily life and relax, snuggle up with a good book, or play with our sweet baby. Which means step one of our redesign is to:

Buy a Comfy Cozy Sofa

We wanted something compact, casual, and comfortable. Basically an apartment-sized sofa. And we were on a budget. (You can only stretch one paycheck so far!) After checking out West Elm (great prices but too modern) and Crate & Barrel (great style but too pricey), we decided to hunt at our local furniture stores. In our area (Central PA) this can be pretty hit or miss as there is a LOT of big, poofy furniture. 



After an interesting couple of days of furniture shopping while lugging around a stroller, Beco carrier, diaper bag, and baby (not to mention some interesting in-car feeding and diaper changing) we found it! Under 1K (marked down from $1700!), comfortable, casual, and compact with nice, clean lines:

Maybe not our dream sofa, but it fit the bill (literally!) We ordered it in a gorgeously cozy gray fabric. The look reminds us of a wool, but it's super soft and durable like a microfiber. And at 72 inches wide and 35 deep, it is perfect for our small space.


So step one of our room redesign is complete. Stay tuned for step two - inspiration + paint colors!

Featured Nursery - Courtney's Colorful Creation

8.23.2010
I'm so excited to bring you our first featured nursery from Courtney of Jahjong!  

While browsing through the profiles of some of my readers the other day, I stumbled across this unique and colorful space that Courtney has been working on for her baby girl. With bold, vibrant color choices, repurposed furniture, and handmade accents it was right up my alley.



Courtney's color inspiration came from her grandmother's quilt block and an Amy Butler quilt:





I give the same advice - always seek inspiration when designing a space. It will keep your room cohesive and your budget focused.


And speaking of a budget, Courtney stuck to hers by repurposing furniture and DIYing quite a few accents. She scored this chair for free and the ottoman for just twenty-five bucks.  Some new upholstery and voila! A masterpiece :


And the stunning dresser was a flea market find. It's amazing what you can do with a little paint and elbow grease:


 But Courtney didn't stop there - the inside got a little TLC as well:


And do you see the adorable owl mobile above the changing pad? Another money-saving DIY:


The entire nursery is chock full of sewing projects and thrifty finds. (Do I see a familiar crib?)



To see more of Courtney's uniquely gorgeous space, check out her blog here. Thank you so, Courtney, much for sharing your space with my readers!

P.S. If you've found this post interesting, I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for us on Top Baby Blogs by clicking here. It only takes a second and I'd love to reach more moms and mothers-to-be (okay dads - you too!). Thanks so much!

You take some pretty awesome pictures - what kind of camera do you use?

8.20.2010
Thanks! It's a Sony Cyber-Shot HX1 Digital Camera.

It's super easy to use and pretty affordable. You can read more about it here.


On a Lighter Note...

Here are some photos of Charlie being a cute bad little boy:




Maybe he got tired of the kitty litter and decided to go the diaper route? He is pretty Pampered, but this is taking it to another level entirely.

And at least someone is getting some use out of this thing:


Guess he could use a little more work in this department. He's such a ham:



Whenever I start snapping photos of V he gets jealous and starts posing.

And one of Moe so that he doesn't feel left out:


Although he isn't nearly as much of a ham as Charlie. :) Have a purr-fect weekend everyone!
 

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