Party Central

Rose’s first birthday party went by in the blink of an eye. Remember when I said not to plan a party two weeks after moving into a new house? I meant it. Everything was perfect and we had so much fun and it was awesome for our friends to see the “before” of our home. But, yeah. Two weeks. In that time span we got all of our boxes unpacked (except for the basement, of course – we’re not that good), furniture arranged and rooms fully functioning (especially the kitchen), and decorations hung and food prepared.

But most importantly: I found my pants.

My mom was SO SO SO OMG SO helpful and made these beautiful and delicious cupcakes:

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And she didn’t stop there. Chef Gigi also made a pasta salad, caprese skewers, and cowboy caviar! I managed to make a crockpot of pulled beef for sandwiches which completed the party spread. I thought everything turned out delicious – we certainly didn’t have much leftover to indicate otherwise! 

I didn’t get great detail shots of the food and decorations. That was a total fail on my part. I was so busy just trying to snap pics of all the people and ROSE – obviz – and I failed you, my trusted blog readers. My apologizes. If you come over I’ll give you a cookie.

Can you see the polka dot “confetti” tablecloth in behind the cupcakes? That thing took me FIVE HOURS to hand paint and I didn’t even get a damn picture of it. (I did that pre-move.)

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I am in love with that tablecloth. Everything I made for the party is all stuff that I can reuse for future birthdays – which was totally done on purpose. I wasn’t about to spend hours making stuff to just throw it all away.

You can see a cloth-scrap banner below, hanging on the fireplace. It was SUPER easy to make. It took about 2 hours total and I promise you that no matter what craft-skill level you think you’re on, you can pull this one off.

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All you have to do is cut thin strips of fabric (or use ribbons – I wish I would’ve done that) and tie them on a piece of yarn or string. Once they’re all tied on, trim them with scissors to give it that cascading look. It really is as simple as that.

Here’s a ridiculously easy decorating idea: (this is from my Instagram feed so the quality is terrible – sorry.) I printed out all of Rose’s monthly photos as 5x7s, and hung them on the wall in a grid with just some bubbles of masking tape.

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I didn’t even measure it out. EYEBALL ALL THE WAY. Steve is shuttering.

Sorry Aunt Marci. This picture is too good not to share with the world.

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I told you the food was good. Could she be enjoying it any more?

In the picture below you can see that I reused some of the lace doilies from our wedding. That was a really convenient extra touch that made the space much more festive.

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Gigi and her little baby. I managed to capture this sweet moment among the chaos:

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party_1(Photo Credit: My awesome cousin who I can always count on to take photos and email them to me frantically after I realize I didn’t take many 🙂

After our guests mingled and ate and chatted and drank it was time for CAKE SMASHING!

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Except there wasn’t any cake smashing.

She gingerly poked at her cupcake with a candle. And then Steve fed her a few eager bites. And then it was over. I told her the lack of enthusiasm for cupcakes makes me wonder if we really are related.

The “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” banner was something else I wasn’t planning on doing – but when we were waiting for our moving date to approach and living with my parents, I had to keep my busy hands occupied. They’re pretty straight forward, but definitely time consuming. I cut the flag shape out of felt squares, folded over the top and sewed a pocket for the string, and glued on some hand-cut felt letters. That’s pretty much all there was to it! But, like I said, it definitely took me a good solid few hours to finish.

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My favorite part of that entire day was the chocolate kisses that Rose was liberally handing out. We couldn’t get enough! She kisses with her mouth open. Big, wet, sloppy chocolate kisses.

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We were VERY happy to have Cousin Caroline there to help out with unwrapping presents. It would’ve taken Rose until her second birthday to do it on her own. Watching the two of them shred into the presents was another one of my favorite moments from the party.

Rose is totally thinking, “Huh. So, that’s how you do it!”

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Rose got a swim outfit – complete with swim cap, sunglasses, swim robe, and flip flops. We were all but rolling around the floor laughing. I mean. COME ON. Could this get any cuter??

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Although Rose LOVED her new dollhouse from Grandma and Grandpa, her tent and big-girl chair from Gigi and Saba, her ball popper, and lawnmower, and piano, crayons, books, and all of the various adorable outfits and accessories….

The big hit was definitely this singing card from Aunt Molly. Go figure.

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The birthday party was definitely a success. We LOVED having our family and friends there – and are especially grateful to the ones who drove 2 hours each way!

We were all pretty worn out the next day. Rose and Steve spent a good portion of the afternoon watching Sesame Street with their bellies hanging out.

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Or at least, Rose’s belly was hanging out. Sesame Street was bookended with hours of playtime with all of her new toys!

If you have any questions about the DIYs feel free to leave them in the comments. I didn’t take pictures as I was creating them like I usually do. (This moving transition has totally thrown things outta whack.) But I hope to be back to my DIYing ways SOON.

I owe you guys a house tour and plans of what’s to come!

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Paint the Town White

You guys. I want to paint everything in my life white. I’m in this phase right now where I want everything clean and crisp. PAINT ALL THE THINGS WHITE!

I picked out a white paint color (Dover White by Sherwin Williams) for our trim and cabinets, but before committing 100% I wanted to give it a test run. I had this little kids table, which was a super cheap garage sale find, just BEGGING me for a nice white washing.

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The — ahem — lovely colors didn’t quite match my decor. Even though nothing really matches right now. (Our To-Do list is like 20 miles long.)

I didn’t take pics of the painting process because it was tedious enough without having to stop and take pictures after every brush stroke. Have you ever painted furniture? It’s a pain in the ass.

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Here’s an easy checklist to follow when painting furniture like this:

1. Sand. Sand so much you’re covered in sawdust and can’t feel your arms.
2. Don’t skimp – use plenty of primer. This baby took three coats of primer to get a good coat.
3. Thin and even coats of paint. Another three coats of paint, on top of the primer, to get nice and even coverage.
4. Don’t forget the finishing touch – use a clear water-based clear coat. Again, thin and even coats. I did two because that third one would’ve sent me over the edge.

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To achieve the “dipped” look, once the paint was dry I taped off the legs and painted a few coats of gray (leftover wall paint from our old house). I did three coats and then stripped off the tape while the “dipped” paint was still wet.

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It looks so much cuter now and no longer makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Also, I LOVE THE COLOR. It’s the perfect white – not too yellow not too blue. This color passed my test with flying colors (no pun intended). It completely blows my mind that there are so many options when it comes to white paint. There needs to be, like, 4.

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Now, just imagine that paneling behind the table is also white, and that the carpet is beautiful, wide-planked wood flooring.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

We have so much to do. That’s the laughter of a crazy person.

I have business-related news to announce soon. I will give you a hint: I’m launching a new business! Stay tuned for the details. In the meantime, enjoy your weekend! SPRING IS FINALLY HEEEEEEERE!

 

An Anyone-Can-Do-It Hanging Planter

There are lots of things I love about Rose. For example, her snot bubbles are pretty cool. The fact that she can’t be trusted around my plants is not so great. I have a lot of plants, you guys. I know you know this. I think my count is somewhere around 16. I’m fully aware that’s questionable behavior. Just wait until pot is legal in Ohio. I’ll have so many more! JUST KIDDING. Or am I? I am. Maybe.

All that to say I have a pretty serious need to get as many plants as I can off the ground and hanging from the ceiling. HA HA ROSE. You big sucker.

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There are tutorials all over the internet for these but I figured why not add my own and include terrible photos? This happened at 9pm on Saturday night after I had woken up from a nap. As I was gathering my supplies I grumbled to Steve that I hadn’t even fallen asleep, but he said the snoring begged to differ.

STEP 1: Cut 8 strips of yarn (or if you have a heavier plant, don’t be an idiot, and use something stronger) and tie them into a knot, a few inches from the end.

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STEP 2: Separate your yarn into four two-piece sections. Laying it out like this (below) helps to keep everything simple while you’re tying knots. 

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This whole project is really just kinda like origami. Just take things one step at a time and it’s easy. Except you’re using yarn instead of paper and tying knots instead of folding anything. If you followed along with that stupid comparison then you’ll have no problem following the rest of this tutorial. 

STEP 3: Tie a knot into one of your two-piece sections, a few inches from the main knot.

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STEP 4: Repeat that process for the remaining three sections.

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STEP 5: Ok, you know how we have four two-piece sections? Pretend like you’re trying to introduce them to each other. Hook them up. Broaden their horizons, if you will. Hey Mr. String, meet your hot neighbor Miss String. BOOM. And tie those two together.

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STEP 6: Continue your match-making all the way around.

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STEP 7: Now we’re going to get really crazy and mix these strings up again. Use the same method you used in Step 5, tying two of the neighboring strings together.

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STEP 8: Keep it going. One more trip around the block.

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STEP 10: You’re done! Stand back and ponder the creepy way I related strings to being a matchmaker.

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My planter is super lightweight (it’s thin plastic) and my plant is small, so this yarn should hold up just fine. Here’s a fancy shot from below.

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Rose wanted to get in on the photography action by laying on the floor with me. (She was sick all weekend which is why she has her pal, Carl.)

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I really love how the mustard yarn pulls out the warm tones in the wallpaper.

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PSYCHE. I know it’s hard to sense sarcasm via the typed word, but come on. You know me better than that. That stuff is coming off, pronto. (Pronto = whenever I muster up the courage.)

In fact, imagine that photo above with no wallpaper, new wood floors, and white kitchen cabinets. I know it’s early, but try.

After I tied a secure knot for the plant to hang, all I did was wrap the excess around the knot a few times. I didn’t want to trim it in the off chance I ever want to lower the hanging height.

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Not too hard, right?

I told you this project was do-able. Just do yourself a favor and stick to yarn hanging-planter projects and stay away from those mother effing yarn-wrapped letters. I hope you enjoyed my first Ohio-based craft. It’s good to be back!

HIP HIP HOORAY

This is a big deal, you guys. Do you know what Big Deal I’m talking about?

**** I started AND finished my first postpartum DIY! ****

My baby has pretty much sucked every ounce of energy from me the last three months.

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But, that smile really makes it all worth it. Well, maybe not alllllll of it. Most of it. The better portion of it.

Definitely 90/10.

Ok, 80/20.

At least 75/25, and luckily she seems to be falling into some sort of napping pattern which allows me a few gloriously free moments here and there. And how else would I fill these moments? Aside from washing bottles, doing laundry, and vacuuming, why DIY PROJECTS of course!

So, maybe I should back up a bit. Last week my dad had a birthday. He celebrated 67 years of being AWESOME. I have the photos to prove it.

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He really is the man who has everything, so gifting him something interesting is always a challenge. I figured he would probably, maybe, sorta be okay if I made Rose the focus of his gift. (You should know he’s obsessed with her. In a very adorably grandpa-ish sort of way.)

I stumbled upon a cool, chunky frame at Goodwill and the whole idea for his gift came into focus. Did you like that complicated 10 minute intro? Doesn’t this feel like an episode of Family Guy?

Without further ado, here’s how to spruce up a cheap Goodwill frame and turn it into something you’d actually want to hang on your wall:

Find a not-so-lovely frame. Cat paintings preferable.

For this particular project it would be beneficial to find a wood frame that’s in descent condition.

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Mask off the areas you don’t want painted. (I usually use expensive painters tape but only had cheap masking tape on hand. Ironically it worked perfectly well.)

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Next on the agenda is sanding and then priming your beautiful, new frame. For sanding I recommend using a rougher grit first, to get rid of any clear coat or polyurethane. After the rough stuff a finer grit paper should smooth things out nicely.

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I laid my frame to dry on the deck and serendipitously framed a weed. ‘Twas meant to be.

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These bastards are popping up from under our deck and they’re driving me nuts. Any tips on how to remove them without Hulk Smashing through the deck planks?

Olive is my trusted advisor. She was overseeing this project per usual, and was happy to see me back to my DIYing shenanigans.

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Ok, so after your primer dries, go ahead and slap on some paint.

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I used a sample of paint I had on hand that has already been used in so many random projects. Best $2.50 I ever spent. I also followed up this painting step with a layer of clear coat from a spray can.

After the paint dries, assemble your collage of photos. I ordered mine from a place that prints directly from Instagram. I won’t say the name of the company because I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the quality. (There are a million companies that print Instagram pics — if you find a good one let me know.)

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I used a piece of black posterboard as the background for my photos, and just a dab of double-sided tape to get the pictures in place.

You COULD measure them out. I say you “could” because I didn’t. Don’t have a meltdown,  my dear lumberjack. You do your thang, I’ll do mine. And my thang just happens to be eye-balling.

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Here she is, all put together:

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There you have it!

Here’s a cost breakdown:
Frame: $5.99
Photos: $12/24 photos, so $4.50 for this project
Posterboard: $0.45
Supplies: FREE (We already had the paint, tape, sandpaper, and clear coat)

For a grand total of $10.94! Dad, you know you’re proud.

And that, my friends, is how you turn an incredibly drab cat painting into something you’d actually want to gift (or not, and hang it in your own house instead because you actually can’t part with it).

The end.

I’M BACK, BABY.

The Hanukkah Bush Post

I should probably post a few pictures of our Christmas tree / Hanukkah bush, before, you know, the holiday is over.

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I opted for a simple tree this year. Lots of golds and silvers and whites and reds. And that’s pretty much it. I wanted it to have a vintage feel to it, and I think omitting some of the more modern ornaments really helped with that.

Oh, and you can never have too many icicles. They are the cinnamon on my toast.

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I looked everywhere for a faux-fur white tree skirt. Do you guys have any idea how expensive those things are? West Elm sells one for around $70. YES. I JUST SAID SEVENTY DOLLARS. For a tree skirt.

I went to JoAnn fabric and got this white furry piece of fabric for $7, and then cut it in a big circle. Take that West Elm.

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It’s not quite as fuzzy and thick as the West Elm skirt, but I think it does the trick. And it saved me about $63. Now I can spend that money on much more practical things, like adorable baby items that I don’t seem to have the power to stop buying. (I can’t stop buying pacifiers  They’re so cute! Why are they so cute? I have no idea. I even bought one with a little stuffed animal giraffe attached to it. It kills me.)

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So, I know my religion seems a little confusing for people who don’t know me that well. Let me break it down for you: I was raised by my parents, which consisted of one Jewish father and one questionable mother who converted to Judaism so my dad’s mom didn’t have a heart attack. My mom was raised Christian (in a very religiously-lax household), so growing up we sort of just celebrated everything. The Jewish holidays were very important to my dad, and the Christian holidays were just all about twinkly lights, sparkly wrapping paper, Santa, delicious food, family and friends, and a house full of love.

Oh, and glitter. If you know my mom you probably know one thing about her: she glitters the shit out of everything. It looks like a stripper spends the night in their family room during the holidays.

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I learned about all kinds of different religions at a very young age. I learned that your religion was determined by where you were born, and who’s family you were born into. I’m grateful that my parents let me explore religion–I will always have so much love and respect for them for just that simple freedom.

So, mom and dad, thank you for the Hanukkah bush and Christmas tree. You guys kind of rock. You AND your glitter. Merry Christmukkah.

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Whatever you believe and whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you get to spend it with a heart full of love. From the Harpster Home to your home, HAPPY HOLIDAYS! I’ll see you suckers next year. xoxo

A Friday Tute

As in tutorial.

I wouldn’t put it past me to make a fart joke on an early Friday morning, but not today, my friends.

Today I’m going to show you guys how I made the fabric-wrapped “R” for our nursery!

The first step of this process technically involves you wanting to make a yarn-wrapped letter. So, buy a bunch of yarn, spend an entire evening trying to wrap your letter, and then say shit shit shit over and over when you can’t figure out how to make one, all the while burning yourself with your hot glue gun. And then in a fit of rage cut off all the yarn and throw it all in the trash. And then grumpily say HURMPH. And then blame all of the above on your raging hormones.

That was my first step.

Step TWO is to take your letter and decide that you want to wrap it with fabric instead!

This is really so simple. All you need is a letter of your choice, (I got mine at Hobby Lobby — but you can find them at any craft store) a simple staple gun, a pair of scissors, your favorite fabric, and some thin batting for dimension.

Cut out your batting, making sure you have enough to wrap around the edges of your letter.

Once your letter is flipped over, start tugging and stapling. There is really nothing scientific about this. I just made my way around the letter, cutting the batting where it needed to fit in the letter’s grooves.

It ain’t pretty on the backside. But when is it ever, amiright?

But the front side looks way awesome. Smooth as a baby’s bottom.

After your batting is on, you basically just repeat that exact same process with the fabric. I’m telling you guys, screw the yarn-wrapped letters. This is WAY easier.

And you’re done! This project, after all of the supplies are gathered, only takes about 30 minutes. Easy. As. Pie.

Fit for a queen. Or a baby.

And they all lived happily ever after because I never, ever, ever tried ever again to make a yarn-wrapped letter.

The end.

The Baby Girl’s Nursery (with Source List)

Welp. It’s that time! The time where I show you all of our hard work from weeks and weeks of painting, sanding, spackling, curating, hanging, and creating. Our little girl’s abode is finally complete.

Kinda.

We still have to refinish the dresser, so politely ignore the unfinishedness of it. Also, my baby shower isn’t for another month so the room doesn’t yet house all of the baby accessories. I’ll probably do another “final” shoot of the room when it’s officially finished.

Until then, I thought why not just snap a few pics for the good folks in the internet.

For starters, let’s see where this room was when we moved in:

And here is where we are now–all ready for our baby girl:

Don’t get too excited about that letter on the wall, you little detective, you. We’re 97.999% sure what The Alien’s first name will be, but we’re 100% sure what her middle name will be: Rebecca. It was mine before I got married, so we were excited to pass it down to our daughter, and keep it in the family. Once we have her first name solidified we’ll add that initial on that wall, along with an “H” for Harpster.

I’ll be posting a tutorial on how I made that “R” very soon!

Yes, that is a baby picture of yours truly; Steve’s baby picture will soon be making an appearance in the room–his mom is finding the perfect one. The yellow chevron fabric was leftover from an old project, and the vintage botanical print was downloaded for free from here.

The changing pad will fit snug as a bug on top of the dresser, and our little nugget can gaze lovingly at the wooden bird mobile while she makes “HA HA I’M FARTING” faces.

I love the purple-ish pink ottoman, and the femininity it adds to the room. It’s just scrumptious. Also? Those rich, golden tones in the rug make me want to rub my face all over it.

I love that we can swap out framed art and pictures on the book ledges. This room will definitely grow with our little girl.

I’m sure these baskets will try their very hardest to corral toys. I’m also sure that most of the time they’ll probably be laying face down, their contents spewed across the room. Messy room = happy kid. I am trying deep breaths and therapy to get used to the idea.

The bunting height can be adjusted once she sprouts those long ape arms that we’re certain she’ll have. I love the flexibility of the decor in this room.

It’s hard for me to believe that we’re so close to being done with this room. I have spent so many days and nights trying to imagine what it was going to look like, and here it is. Neither of us can wait to have her here; we can’t wait to read books to her, sprawl out on the floor with toys and blankets, and get a whiff of her baby-scented skin every time we go in for a smooch on her cheeks.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! For any mothers-to-be planning a nursery of your own I’ve included a source list at the bottom of this post. Let me know if any of the links are broken–as I want to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks for all of the kind and supporting words–I do read every single one of them. You guys are seriously the best.

Source List:
Dresser – Hand-me-down from Steve’s Grandma
Mirror – Local antique shop
Bird mobile – petitcollage on Etsy
Collage frames – Target
Diaper basket – Hobby Lobby
“R” – DIYed
Rug –  HomeGoods
Planter – Old Time Pottery
Curtains – Target
Apple poster – Fine Little Day
Bunting banners – DIYed
Crib – SimplyBabyFurniture.com
Crib skirt – DIYed
Lamp – Mix ‘n matched from Target
Accent table – Target
Blue rocking chair – Hand-me-down from Steve’s Grandma
Ottoman – Overstock
Owl stuffed animal – Pier1
Hippo artwork – Twoems on Etsy
Book ledges – DIYed
“You Are Loved” artwork – thewheatfield on Etsy
Small metal shelf – Craigslist
Baskets on shelf – Ikea
Frog lamp – Goodwill
Books – Antique shops + mine, from childhood
Stuffed Animals – Mine, from childhood
Wall color – No-VOC Sherwin Williams color-matched to BEHRs “Rhino”

The Book Ledge Post

I felt this post deserved a slightly more dramatic title since I’ve been talking about these damn things so much. And I will gratify you instantly with a few pictures:

They’re so simple, yet they make such an enormous impact in the room. Can’t figure out what artwork to buy, make, or hang? Just put up a few book ledges!

This just turned into a 2am infomercial. Now I’m craving cookie dough. Because apparently that’s what you eat at 2am whilst contemplating new exercise equipment.

We don’t have an extensive step-by-step tutorial of this project because all you really need is the next picture:

It’s all right there. I even showed you where to put the screws and nails.

Steve drew a few 3D renderings before we started, just to wrap our heads around the project. They do a good job of simply illustrating the final product.

Here’s the placement of the three shelves on our wall:

If my pretty, little illustrations didn’t explain everything crystal clear, well then… first of all, are you surprised? And second of all, don’t worry I got yo back. I had Steve type up a little diddy about the things he learned along the way.

Tips & Tricks from the Lumberjack Himself:

  • Make your shelves the same length as standard boards (they come in 6′, 8′, 10′, 12′). Not having to cut the pieces saves a lot of time and waste.
  • When attaching the 1x2s to the 1×3: use clamps to hold the boards together while you screw/nail. Move the clamps with you as you move down the board. It will take out any warp in the boards.
  • Countersink the nails and fill the holes with spackle or wood filler. This will give your front a smooth finish.
  • Sand with heavy grit (we used 60) first and then 220. You can also use the 220 after priming.
  • Because the back piece is short I had to drill at an angle to attach the shelf to the wall (the front edge got in the way of the drill/screwdriver). If you don’t want to do this, simply use a taller, 1×3 board for the back, instead of a 1×2.
  •  If using the angle method to attach to the wall: At an angle, drill through the board and the wall with a long enough bit for the length of screws you’re using. Countersink at the same angle and insert the screw.
  • When hanging: If you space the screws at 16″ to match the wall studs then you won’t need anchors.
  • Dab some paint over the screw heads to help hide them. (The books will cover them, too, so they won’t be too noticeable.)

Yeah, yeah. Enough chit-chat. What is this? The View? I know what you really want is more pictures.

The shelves are pretty full already, but I’d love to continue adding to our book collection and continuously swap them out as our collection grows. There are still so many stories that I’d like to see sitting upon these shelves. And by switching out the books you’ll keep the kiddo interested. Right? I mean, it’s just like switching out dog toys for your dog. Kids and dogs? Same thing. Probably. Maybe.

Here’s the sexy side view:

My mom and I have been snatching up books left and right; garage sales and antique shops are great resources. In fact, every single one of these books is second-hand, which I just realized, but it’s pretty cool because we’re just keeping the cycle going.

(The photo above and below most accurately represent the wall color. Sorry about the wacky lighting in some of these. It was getting dark out and we had to use artificial light.)

And here’s the very proud and goofy Lumberjack, showing off his latest accomplishment.

He’s the best. He is the goofiest, but also the best.

Wheew. I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold my end of the “we’ll show you the book ledges by Friday” promise. But, we did it! They’re not hard to make, they’re just time-consuming. As with everything. After buying all of the lumber and hardware these bad boys cost us about $13 per shelf. Not too shabby.

We’re getting closer to showing you the nursery in its entirety. I’m still making switches and additions, and we still have one big project left: stripping and re-staining the old dresser that will become the changing table. Ho boy – but after that we’re virtually done! All that will be left is adding the baby girl, and from what I hear they arrive on their own schedule.

Steve is F I N A L L Y able to spend a weekend at home, instead of working, and we have a lot of Fun planned: a Saturday with some of our favorite people, and then a Sunday at the pumpkin orchard. Maybe I’ll even bring my camera (which we say Ca-mah-rah now, because 30 Rock has ruined us).

Happy Weekend, everyone! xo