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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

tutorial for yarn covered lamp shade & letters in nursery



It’s been a year since I finished Houston’s nursery… a labor of love that I have remained crazy about ever since. I knew I wanted a “whimsical” nursery for our little boy – colorful, fun details with no real color theme or theme of any kind really! Pastels and bright colors spray the gray painted walls of this room. In words, it sounds like a crazy combination that would never exist harmoniously, but I think it became the perfect balance to see my little baby through to his toddler years!


To my surprise, yarn just so happened to become a most valuable player in a couple of stand out DIY crafts in his nursery. I had never used yarn in any project before this and I was extremely delighted with how these crafts turned out.


Nusery Favorites


The lamp I started with was cute on it’s own, purchased new from Marshall’s, but was no where near the “whimsical” I was going for in the nursery.

A picture with flash on the left and without on the right:




I used my trusty old acrylic paints to paint each letter on the lamp base. This was TRULY the labor of love part – staying within the lines, needing several coats each, getting the grooves inside the letters with the white – SHEW! It makes me tired just thinking of it. But back in those pre-baby days, I had the hours to spend on projects… not so much anymore :)


The entire project I did on the coffee table while catching up on hours of DVR. I’m nothing if not a multi-tasker ;)


Before I started painting with acrylic, I spray painted the base with a primer to help the acrylic stick. When I was finished painting, I sealed the base with spray-paint clear gloss which will help it last and gave it more of a professional looking finish. Both very important steps!


Now for the yarn – I just started wrapping!

I used no other tools or products but yarn to cover the lampshade… So EaSy!


My personal wrapping technique: I unwound a very long piece of yarn and cut it from the spool so I wouldn’t have to maneuver the entire yarn ball around the lamp shade and wires each time. {I also detached the shade from the base and just held it in my lap.} When the piece would run out, I would cut another long length of yarn and just tie the new piece onto where the old left off and trimmed the excess. I did this for the entire circumference of the shade until finished and tied the last piece onto a neighboring yarn thread.

The places where I tied pieces of yarn together sometimes happened to be on the inside of the shade, sometimes on the outside. They are so barely noticeable and there is no reason to try and rack your brain on how long each piece of yarn should be to be able to tie it off on the inside of the lamp shade.


No glue, no sewing - just wrapping, wrapping, wrapping! If we should ever decide that the yarn is too much when he’s older, it can be removed in 5 seconds with just scissors. There was no damage at all done to the new lampshade underneath – this is also what makes this a perfect project for remaking an old, damaged shade!


So inexpensive, bright, whimsical, and unique! Houston is the only boy in the world with a lamp like this one :)



  I was ECSTATIC when this was finished. I LOVE lamps, they can add so much character to a room and really finish the design and look you’re going for. I had looked at so many beautiful nursery lamps and their price tags were just too hefty for designs I would only be using in a nursery for a limited number of years.


This lamp can either follow him into his big boy room or play room with it’s bright colors or stay for the next nursery inhabitant ;)


{and now I’ll stop gushing about a lamp as I’m starting to sound a little like Brick from Anchorman right now…}




As for the “Baby Love” letters, I started with thick chip-board style letters like these from Hobby Lobby and a foam heart:


The heart I had previously made for Valentine Decorations years before:




Again I wrapped and wrapped, strategically covering every piece. The corners were sometimes impossible to keep the yarn from sliding off so I would use just Elmer’s glue to zig-zag a little yarn over the “peak” of the corner. Not noticeable in the least!


These letters were p.e.r.f.e.c.t. for this awkward little “bend in the wall” that was left bare. They’re so light, I was able to hang them on just thumb tacks!



I’m thinking of visiting Hobby Lobby tomorrow and I’ll try to take a picture of the brands/types of yarn I used for each project and update. The yarn on the letters was a much “fuzzier” softer type of yarn…. which I’m sure the expert knitters/crafters out there know a name for?


I hope you got a little inspiration from these super inexpensive crafts for my baby love♥







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Monday, October 29, 2012

in LOVE in Charleston

Before I dive into a post covering our trip to The Homestead in Hot Springs, VA this past week, it may be time I jot a little down about our vacation to Charleston, SC… this past July.

I shall be forever behind in the world of blogging.


When we originally planned this trip, we were trying to think of a place not so far away that we would have to hop a flight with the babe, but still get to put our toes in the sand of a sunny beach somewhere. Ever since my trip to Charleston with my girlies, I’ve been dying to go back and take Nick for the first time.

After all, he should see the place where I boldly stated we will live someday ;)


After we chose a place close enough to drive, we were then talked into leaving the boy behind with some very eager grandparents! We missed our little buckaroo tremendously, but some alone time for the parental units is always a positive and I can’t say Houston would have appreciated an almost 8 hour drive there and back as well as sight seeing in 90+ degree weather. I’m thinking “that” vacation would have near killed us ;)

So it was a win-win for the whole family!


Our little ♥Houston Michael Roberts♥ was forever on our minds while we were away, especially at the beach where I truly wished I could see his chubby little baby toes wiggling in the sand…





To begin the trip, I checked the weather forecast religiously - we were heading out on Thursday and the weather prediction became a sad stark difference that week from what the rest of the very dry, sunny summer had been like:




I was distraught, dramatic and considered cancelling… In the end, we didn’t see a drop of rain the whole stay!



I didn’t take many pictures while we were there, but the few I took with my phone shall due for memory’s sake. Like this one: I shall never forget this “coal truck” we saw at a gas station in the south on our way – I’ve seen a lot of coal trucks on the roads of Eastern Kentucky, but none quite like this…




Our first night there, eating at Coast Bar & Grill. After we finally found this much recommended place, it was a delicious meal!



…and you’ll notice, most our “memories” are from eating, just as it should be ;)


Both of us at Poogan’s Porch, another must try in Charleston!




If you’ve been to Charleston, you know you can’t really tour it without the traditional carriage ride around town. Our charismatic tour guide:



One of the beautiful ENORMOUS horses that pull the carriages:




Nick and I took a tour one evening that combined fine art and fine cuisine… my loves!♥

An annual event in Charleston, the Palette and Palate Stroll was a lot of fun. We got to sample 8 of Charleston’s best restaurants while checking out some of the stunning artwork that their art district has to offer.









The last time I was in Charleston, we ate at Magnolia’s and I fell in love with their shrimp and grits. Actually, if you want to quote the menu directly, it’s “Shellfish Over Grits” which is sautéed shrimp, sea scallops, & lobster, creamy white grits, lobster butter sauce, and fried spinach.


My mouth is now watering.


Before that first bite, I was convinced that grits has no business accompanying anything but biscuits and gravy. Since then, I have been on a quest to try shrimp and grits anywhere they are offered, which is quite the quest away from the coast in central Kentucky!

I finally got to enjoy them a second time on the day we took this blurry picture in the mirrored wall at Magnolia’s.



The last dinner of the trip was on Sullivan’s Island {the most BEAUTIFUL beach in the area in my opinion!} at Poe’s Tavern. The place was packed and everyone was having a blast! We had a great meal and I highly recommend this restaurant as well.



Sullivan’s Island is technically where I really want to live – not Charleston, though I would take the 20 minute drive to visit often!

When we’re ready for our coastal life to begin, I think THIS house on the beach will do:





A quick early morning trip to Sullivan’s just before we hit the road to return to our Old Kentucky Home:









Till we meet again, Charleston…♥




Friday, October 26, 2012

Foodie Friday: Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplins’


This meal was such a hit with the husband AND the baby that I will be easily throwing it together in my crock pot 50 years from now!

Speaking of making my own baby food – this was a great next step in solids with the fluffy dumplings and fall apart chicken bites. Houston had no problem chowing down on it and ate every bite again the next day at lunch :) Great for a new little eater and kids in general!


Ironically, it was almost the very first recipe I ever pinned on Pinterest and I JUST tried it for the first time last week. It is perfect for this fall weather we’ve been having! I even made double the recipe to send some to one of Hubby’s coworkers that just had a baby. It is absolutely perfect and EASY to make and take to new parents or even to double the recipe and freeze some for laterwhich is definitely what I’m doing next time!



I won’t tweak perfection, I’ll just lead you straight to the source for this little jewel at



The next couple of Fridays I have plans to actually show my own recipes that weren’t taken from Pinterest. I love sharing these great finds but it’s time I contribute something to the blogosphere, myself – possibly even pin worthy. Ha!


I know you’re just falling out of your seat with anticipation….


Happy weekend!!!






P.S. Am I the only one that can not believe that next weekend we’ll be in NOVEMBER already?!

Time flies :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adventures in Baby Food Making


I honestly don’t remember when I decided I was going to be making Houston’s baby food.

I didn’t do it to save money, though that’s a huge positive and one I’ve enjoyed reaping the benefits. I probably semi did it because I can’t stand the thought of all those baby food jars and pouches filling up the landfills and I still have the nagging mommy guilt of not cloth diapering. My #1 reason by far was to KNOW exactly what went into my child’s food, organic if necessary with absolutely no preservatives.

Do I watch for preservatives and buy organic for myself?

Almost never.



But my neurotic panic to do better for my child was enough to throw me into the adventures of baby food making. Once I started, I found so many other benefits to it and learned just how EASY it really was to ever turn back.

All of this coming from a girl who use to cook maybe once a month. I had next to NO kitchen skills prior to this. They truly aren’t necessary. Baby food making is pretty simple requiring mostly energy and little to no brain power ;)


I’ve wanted to write about the topic for a while now after getting quizzed by friends on just exactly what it is I had been up to. I want people to know if I can do it, you can most definitely do it, if you want to that is…


My disclaimer: I DO NOT believe making your own baby food is superior to buying pre-made. I simply advocate feeding your baby :):):) I still buy a good little stash of pre-made each month to keep for a quick grab or to throw in the diaper bag in a hurry. My child is no smarter, no happier, no better than the jar fed baby, but I have truly enjoyed this journey and the added bonus of it’s benefits are extremely nice, but not necessary.

Just doing my part to try and clear up anybody’s holier than thou thoughts before they began! ;)



I will say that my boy is one FABULOUS eater! Avocado, spinach, asparagus – he gobbles everything we give him no matter how out there it is. I have not shied away from letting him try what even I think is disgusting and he has surprised us every time. Some foods I’ve given him are seldom or not found at all in premade baby food - like the avocado, asparagus, lima beans, black beans, bell peppers, chick peas, etc… and I DO take pride that he has been able to have them early in his life and hopefully set him up to continue as a good, healthy eater… fingers crossed!




Now, to begin -  there are far too many books, websites, and other sources out there for me to duplicate all of their information here. I am not the professional. But everyone has their own process to get to the same results and that’s just what I wanted to show here, my own way of getting the job done.

My resources I used the most were the website Wholesome Baby Food {such a thorough and fantastic reference!} and this book from Sage Spoonfuls:


There’s a bazillion books out there on the topic and I really only chose this one because they had a special for it on Plum District. It’s been really handy for a quick reference in the kitchen and is a great choice if you’re looking for a book. But the website above is all encompassing if you want to save your money. Completely up to you!


My very first endeavor started with just carrots and the Baby Beaba Babycook. It could not have been simpler!



Though that little contraption is truly pricey, I feel pretty confident I’ve at the very least saved the difference in the money I’ve saved making our own food. Especially when your babe has just began solids and you’re not making huge quantities to store yet, it’s nifty to steam and blend in the same little container and have extremely minimal clean-up.

I know for me, the thought of how much kitchen prep and clean-up I imagined in this process was enough to overwhelm and keep me from trying it, but the Babycook really keeps it to a manageable minimum.



As Houston got older and was eating more, I began to use what free time I had to make large quantities to freeze. I decided to get a larger steamer to cut my steaming time down. You could also just start with this instead of the Babycook, save the money and use your own blender. It’s still not much more clean up! However, I continued to use the Babycook to blend as it was quieter than our blender {the baby was usually sleeping} and honestly, our blender was just becoming a hunk of junk.

May it rest in peace… that crappy blender has now finished its circle of life.


This is my inexpensive Hamilton Beach steamer which I now use for our own healthy meals as well:




In action steaming what looks like a large amount of parsnips:

{Fun fact: I had never tried parsnips before making them for Houston!}




For storage, I used breastmilk/baby food ice cube trays to first freeze the foods, then pop them out and into a labeled and dated freezer zip-lock bag. I already owned these trays from when I was freezing breastmilk and started using them for the baby food:



Mine in action:




They worked great but I needed to be able to freeze more than just 24 cubes at a time. Instead of getting more of the same kind, I decided to order these 2 trays that can freeze 42 cubes at a time. Both sets of trays work great!



When it’s time for him to eat, I pull out the foods from the freezer that I want to warm up and throw them in the microwave. DONE! The beauty of making so many different foods is the endless amount of food combinations you can make!


This is my little tub to keep all the ziploc bags together in the freezer:




For on the go and also for taking to the baby sitter’s house, I bought these great little microwave safe dishes and lids. They have worked beautifully for this purpose. Food can also be frozen in them or stored in the fridge for later. They have been uber convenient and I’ll even label a sticker or just a piece of tape to the lid with marker to let the sitter know what the mystery food is inside ;)



Again, in action:




I’ve listed some of the foods I can remember that I’ve made. Some are from frozen {even easier to steam and blend!} and a couple just use your fork to mash. Really, the possibilities are endless:

{Frozen peas – too easy!}



  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • peas {from frozen}
  • peaches
  • green beans
  • sweet potatoes
  • white potatoes
  • black beans {from can}
  • plums
  • apples
  • mangos {from frozen}
  • peaches
  • bananas
  • avocados
  • pears
  • blueberries {from frozen}
  • raspberries {from frozen}
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • cantaloupe
  • asparagus with parmesan cheese
  • apricots
  • blackberries {from frozen}
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli {from frozen}
  • cauliflower {from frozen}
  • squash
  • corn {from frozen}
  • chick peas {from can}
  • pumpkin {already pureed from can!}
  • banana {mashed with fork}

    avocado {mashed with fork}


    I have not attempted to puree any meats… just never felt like that one ;) The chick peas and black beans are 2 foods packed with protein that I make and he has great protein in his organic yogurt every morning, but I do buy him pre-made meat baby foods from Earth’s Best Organic brand. Organic meat is something I even make sure Nick and I eat – no additional hormones, chemicals, or antibiotics needed here! Houston is already eating chicken/steak/shrimp/hamburger meat straight from our plates, so I haven’t really felt the need to dive into that puree.


    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve found out how easy the “pouch” baby foods are on the go and just how quickly Houston can slurp straight from the pouch. I’ve also learned how they’re 3 x the price of jar baby food! Just a few days after learning his love for them, I stumbled on these reusable green pouches on Pinterest and ordered them STAT! I can put in my homemade food or just transfer a much less expensive premade container into one.

    Love a great find! :)



    That’s all I can think of for now… let me know if any of y’all have any questions! I’d love to know how many people are already making their own baby food too. It seems to really be going back to main stream these days.

    Soon I’ll have to write a post on the challenge of feeding our new toddler. The in-between-foods, how to pack for the sitter’s, etc. It’s already becoming a whole new world and I’m up for the challenge!








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