Category: Home sweet home

Our new chalkboard

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We have a new spot for our aprons and potholders! Now they’re no longer hanging from random cabinet handles – which makes the kitchen look a lot tidier, I find. For the same reason I am planning to abandon my usual habit of having my groceries list lay around beside the fruit bowl, and just take a picture of the chalkboard before heading to the store. Not that my discipline is always sufficient to fulfill all my resolutions, but this time I have a good feeling. 😉

For the frame, Paul used some maple leftovers from the kids furniture and for the centre, he covered a thin sheet with black board paint. Then he attached four little hooks et voilà… so pretty, eh?! The back wall of the kitchen is a really nice spot for it, I think. And my favorite detail is the little groove for the chalk – but thankfully, I wasn’t around when Paul did this terrifying cut on the table saw…

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Small peoples’ furniture

Today’s post is dedicated to my amazing husband. He made some new furniture for the kids room and I just LOVE it!

It’s already been a little while that we felt the need for some storage cabinets for all the kids’ toys and because we both like our high chair so much, we decided to once again combine maple and white elements. We wanted some open shelves for books etc and a low cabinet that could double as a bench. We discussed a few different layout ideas and ended up with these two pieces that we placed on either side of the little monster’s crib:

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The color of the frames and fronts is a very light shade of creme which matches the cover of the kids’ chairs, the tops and shelves are natural maple.

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Paul started cutting the pieces about two weeks ago and finished spraying everything earlier this week. So we could bring them in and fill them just in time for the big monster’s birthday. And he was really excited and immediately started to rearrange all the toys, and again, and again… 😉

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Now the room feels a lot more complete. Before, there were only the two beds, a changing table, a kids chair and some toy bags.

And, I’m not going to lie, I also really like the fact that we were able to reclaim some of the shelf space in our living room! 😉

Lots and lots of pluses

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I finally fulfilled one long term ambition and made a quilt for my parents. They really liked the baby quilt that I made for the little monster, so they got one with a very similar color scheme. Actually, a few of the fabrics are even identical. Instead of triangles, theirs is featuring a pluses design though.

The whole project started with cutting the pieces, two little squares and one long rectangle for each plus. Doesn’t look like many? It’s just under 1000 pieces… 😛

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Instead of laying all the pieces out to figure out their exact positions, I created a cheat sheet and coded the different fabrics with numbers from 1 to 9. This technique had already proven very handy with the baby quilt last time, but was an actual necessity with the full size quilt this time around. We simply don’t have enough empty floor space in our house to put all these pieces down (and not have them attacked by little monsters).

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So according to this nifty cheat sheet, I prepared one little pile of pieces for each row…

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,,, which I then sewed together forming strips. You can see a few “editions” to my cheat sheet where I changed the position of a few pluses because I wanted to avoid the two brightest and the two darkest fabrics to have neighboring pluses, so they would stand out to each other more nicely. Below is a picture of a few of the finished strips – it was definitely a great moment to see all these strips of squares and rectangles come together to form the actual pluses!

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Another moment where lots of endorphines were released was after all these strips had been joint to one single sheet. After a good little while of ironing it looked like this:

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In order to assemble the quilt sandwich – I used a light polyester batting and a matching navy blue flat sheet for the back – I pinned the three layers together using safety pins.

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Then, I quilted the sandwich together with gentle wavy lines. It’s hard to see in the picture but I used a turquoise yarn that would stand out nicely against the navy background.

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And finally, after attaching an also navy colored binding, here is the finished quilt:

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As an additional surprise, I hid a little triangle in the back of one of the corners – which my parents found within only a few seconds 😉

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I’m so happy I managed to finish the quilt before my parents’ visit! The last stitches were only completed on Friday, the very day befor their arrival…

So, dear Mutti and Vati, I hope you’ll sleep well under your new blanket! I love you! 💛

And more toy bags

The two monsters have kept me quite busy lately and simultaneous daytime naps are a rather rare treat. Hence there has not been much to show here… But at least I managed to make a few more toy bags and I’m happy that this is not going to be the first month without any blog posts as I was fearing!

The first one is for the big monster’s brand new racing cars, …

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… the second one is for the big vehicle fleet, …

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… and finally, I added a little pouch for the small train accessories to keep them separate from the bulky tracks.

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I’m amazed how well they actually work – Yannick knows exactly where everything belongs. Just operating the drawstrings is still a bit of a challenge for him, but I’m sure he’ll figure it out soon.

And a last picture of the entire collection:

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Toy bags!

These days, our living room looks much more like a kids’ room and you really have to watch your step… So I have started to make drawstring bags to organize some of these toys in a nicer way. I still had quite a bit of that heavy grey fabric left from the teepee because I overestimated how much I would need for the floor mat, and I also had some lime green leftovers. For now there is a smaller bag for the kids’ wooden blocks and a fairly big one for the trains. In order to “label” them I appliqued symbols of the respective content on the front. There is still enough material for one or two more bags, depending on their size, so I’ll see what other toys I can find to organize in one of them. Maybe the legos…?

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A Christmas teepee

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Yeehaw! I made a teepee! 😀

Well, I actually made it back in October, but now the big monster finally moved in. The reason why I hid it in the basement for two months is that I didn’t want it to experience the same cruel fate as his cardboard box house earlier this year. Even though I was really close to throwing it out a few times because it was battered so badly, I ended up keeping it until it literally fell apart. It was just so invaluable during those moments where I was cooking and just needed to know the monster was not climbing onto the dining table or living room shelves. And I also thought that the teepee would make for a great Christmas gift, especially to give us more inside playing options for the winter.

I got the fabric at Ikea. I wanted something stable and durable and was happy to find a selection of heavy quality fabrics there. While I don’t love most of their patterns, they also have a few nice solids, so I decided to combine white and dark grey. I chose a hexagonal shape, sewed wide white and grey fabric strips together as walls and cut windows in two of these walls and a long slot in another to be the door. For the dowels I added fabric tunnels along the sides and in order to add some color accents, I trimmed the edges with lime green bias tape.

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Because I wanted the teepee to be as cosy as possible, it also got a floor mat that can be tied to the posts to also give the teepee a little more stability. And the monster was lucky: his new home comes fully furnished with a bunch of pilows. 🙂

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So yesterday, we set up the teepee in our living room. The big monster didn’t try to climb through the windows as I expected… but through the gap between the wall and the floor mat and still almost managed to throw the whole thing over. Oh well…

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This morning we finally succeeded in reading the first book together in there, sitting on the pillows. I hope this will become the main (peaceful!) use of the teepee and it will live a long and healthy life!

And exceptionally a picture of the proud builder… 😉

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Another house shelf

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Paul made these house shelves for my last birthday that we hung up above my sewing desk. He could not decide between two different designs at first though and simply made one of each. I hate to admit that one of them has been sitting in the basement until now, just because I could not decide on where to hang it… 😐

But now I finally found the perfect spot! I have been keeping a few diapers, wipes and spare outfits beside my bed for our nightly adventures with the little monster, because using our normal changing table in the kids room would mean disrupting the big monster’s sleep. So Paul mounted it to the wall beside my bed today and I filled it with all the mentioned goodies – plus some midnight snacks for mommy… 😉

And doesn’t the shelf look so nice with our co-sleeper?! Thanks again, Paul!

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Our balcony bed

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I’m so excited that the co-sleeper that we already used with the big monster is finally back in use!

As these balcony style co-sleepers don’t seem to be very common here, my wonderful husband Paul just built one for us. He made the dimensions to fit the little mattress that I had bought, then attached two brackets that hook onto our bed frame. I for my part made some fitted sheets and tadah, the little bed was complete! 🙂

I really enjoy being on one level with the little monster, especially for nighttime feedings. And I really like the oval holes that Paul added as handles. They also came in handy to attach the little bunting that I just added this time around to make the bed look a little more inviting. And of course the little monster also got his own little music bear! 🙂

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Now we just need to work on our sleeping rhythm. But last night he already made me the wonderful gift of sleeping straight through from 9 pm to 4 am! So let’s hope he repeats that tonight… Good night!

A little birch forest

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This weekend we set up the crib for the second monster who is going to join our family in two months. And while trying to find the best spot for it in the kids room, I realized how much I love this room and especially the birch trees along one of the walls that I painted last year, shortly before Yannick was born. I’ve used them as a background when photographing many of my little projetcs, but I just realized that I never published a post about these birches themselves – so let me do this now!

The first inspiration was from visiting my friend Tingting in Hamburg who has a very similar wall in her living room. At first I considered getting some wall stickers, but when I saw their price tag, I quickly decided for a small container of white paint instead. I found my personal favorite birches illustration online, then used my video projector to transfer it to the wall. In order to get straight trunks and scaling them so they would go from floor to ceiling, I had to do this in several pieces, moving and readjusting the projector each time, but that also allowed me to arrange and space the trees exactly the way I wanted to.

As I had previously done with these cloud shelves, I outlined the contures with a thin pencil line, then filled them with white paint. Applying the paint with a small paint brush resulted in a not perfectly homogenous layer of the paint – while it is thicker in some areas, the grey wall shines through in others. That effect frustrated me a little bit when painting the first few stems, but I now think that it actually adds to the overall result and mymics the typical character of real birches quite well and I’m sure wall stickers could not have done that so nicely! It was certainly not the quickest solution – I spent quite a few hours alternately on the floor and on a chair to reach for the tree tops – but I’m still just as happy with the result as I was on the first day. And what did you do during your last month of pregnancy? 😉

My little Bavarian table cloth

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In contrast to what the photo might suggest, this was not initially intended to be a food post… 😉

When I told you about my first attempt of making homemade pretzels (here), I also mentioned that I wanted to finish the edges of that white and blue fabric in order to make a Bavarian table cloth. And that’s what I did now. For a bit of color I also added a red and pink ribbon which I find complements the white and blue plaid pattern just perfectly.

It is only about three by four and a half feet, so really a lot too small for our dining table, but we had friends over for Schnitzel and potato salad on Friday night, so I simply couldn’t resist using it for the first time. I think everyone liked it and in the future it will also be a great companion for picnics etc.! 🙂

Chunky knit pillows

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A little while ago (when it was still cold and more knitting season than now…), my dear friend Angela infected me with her chunky knitting. I already have tons of scarfs and cowls, so I decided to make some pillows for our living room after I found a teal yarn that perfectly matches our accent chair.

The needles that I borrowed from Angela had the dimensions of a pair of drumsticks. I had experimented with a pair of our chopsticks at first but those actually turned out too thin. 😉

I went for a knitted front and got some matching cotton fabric for the pillow backs. The knit rectangles had already been completed and waiting in the closet for weeks, and this weekend I finally finished the fabric part, too. I decided to have the zippers go right across the pillow back since placing it somewhere along the pillow edge at the knit-fabric joint didn’t seem like a good idea. I covered it under a pleat though as I didn’t want it to be exposed.

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Because of the knit being so large-scale I was a little worried that the pillow insert would show through the mesh, so I backed it with a layer of the same cotton fabric. After finishing all three pieces, I assembled them making a nice fabric sandwich (zippered pillow back right side up / knitted pillow front right side down / lining right side down), sewing them together all the way around (which was a bit of a fight as the knit would always retract), then flipping the finished pillow cover inside-out through the zipper opening.

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Not being sure how large the pillow covers would turn out after finishing up all the yarn, I also made custom inserts, quickly sewing together two rectangles cut from some leftover fabric and emptying an oddly sized Ikea pillow that we never use to stuff our new friends.

And tadah, here they are, our new cuddle buddies! 😉

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House shelves for my crafts corner

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Paul made me a very special birthday present this year. He built some plywood houses for me!

Some time ago, we were thinking of making some house shelves for the kids room, but then he figured that I would certainly like them a lot more than the monster and he was so right!!

Paul let me chose the colors and I decided for a white interior and clear lacquer for the roof and sides. And after I found that I had some cute little cardboard boxes that just fit perfectly (magic!), the largest house also got an additional floor. So this weekend, the house shelves got sprayed and hung up over my desk. And aren’t they so beautiful?! 💛 Can’t wait to fill them with more sewing and crafts supplies!

A quilted headboard cover

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It’s finally done! This headboard cover that’s caused me so many headaches is finally done!!

But I should maybe start my story a bit earlier: Shortly after we moved into our house here in Ottawa, we got a new bed. While I instantly loved the simple wood frame, I hated the leather headboard it normally comes with. The happier I was to find out that both could be purchased separately. I was totally enthusiastic about making our own headboard cushion, ordered a mattress topper as a filler, cut it to size and even bought some fabric, then… Nothing. For over a year. Until I made this little zipper pouch for my Kobo in order to practice quilting and more specifically to try out that leafy lines pattern that I figured would be manageable with a regular sewing machine foot and wouldn’t require free motion quilting.

So far, so good. I expected this project to be challenging, but I did not expect it to be that hard! Part of it was simply the size of it. Manoeuvring that heavy thing through my sewing machine while it tried to jump off the table more than once… But the worst part was the fabric itself, quite a nightmare! So slippery! And I have never worked with anything before that would fray only half as badly. Literally, just by looking at it, the fabric would already disintegrate! 😛

I admit having cursed a few times but I’m glad that in the end I didn’t let myself get defeated. Although I’m sure that I’ll be more careful with my fabric choices in the future!

Our little people

I am not an overly sentimental person, nor do I get attached to things all that easily. But there is an exception for everything. While tidying up and reorganizing the guest room, I recently found these little guys in one of the boxes filled with things that don’t quite have their spot but I also can’t throw away. They were our wedding cake topper and oh, I remember trying so hard to match our outfits and hairstyles when I made them!

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Paul’s actual bow tie wasn’t quite so huge on him though… 😛

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I’ve been looking out for a shadow box for a while but couldn’t find one with the right dimensions. So, as you can easily guess, we ended up making our own. 😉

During our last trip to Ikea we got a square picture frame and explanted the glass. And with some leftover maple from our highchair project Paul build a new, deeper frame and a little pedestal. It’s been glued together and the back has been painted to match our bedroom wall. However, with the low temperatures outside and in the workshop (aka our garage) spraying it with clear lacquer will have to wait until it warms up a bit. But until that happens (winters here can be long I’ve heard…), our little people might as well enjoy their new spot on the wall instead of waiting in a dark box!

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I hope you like this very special, now framed memory of ours! Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! 💛

Kiddo-proofing our fireplace

With Yannick getting more and more mobile and even more curious, last Saturday, we were on a mission to further child proof our house. We already had protectors for the power plugs in place and all accessable cables removed a little while ago. Now we got a second baby gate to keep Yannick from climbing up the stairs and installed a whole bunch of these annoying hooks to our kitchen cabinets and drawers.

One thing that Yannick kept attacking though, was our fireplace. And as the chair in front of it didn’t really help anymore and we got tired of pulling him away from the danger zone all the time, Paul quickly cut a board to cover it and I found two little handle knobs in my Ikea leftover box. I guess that’s all that was required, but when Paul just casually said “you know, we could even paint a fire on it” I definitely didn’t need a second invitation!

And a spray can of chalkboard paint and a package of non-toxic kids chalks later, this is what our fireplace now looks like:

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Now let’s wait for some monster hands to make a mess out of it! 😉

UPDATE:

Ha! It only took about two and a half minutes for him to attack… 😛

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