Tuesday, November 22, 2011

DIY Nursery Progress...

I am happy to say that the nursery is coming along nicely! It's a good thing too, considering our due date is only 7 weeks away (wow!). Along with the crib and dresser/changing table that we recently placed in the room, we received the bedding from Pottery Barn Kids, got a navy blue rug from Target (thanks sisters!), put some color on the walls, and I was able to tackle two DIY projects this last week in my free time that were on my "Nursery To-Do" list. The room is starting to have character and I can't wait to share photos later on of it being more complete. In the meantime, I wanted to share the "art" I created for little Matthew's space :)

Knowing that we wanted to create a room that wasn't too "themey" and overpowering, yet didn't lack color and boyish touches, we thought (okay, I did most of the thinking) quite a bit about what kind of feel we wanted to have in the room. We prefer old and vintage over something new, yet we like to mix the two for something unique. We kept coming back to using transportation as accents in the room because we felt we could incorporate both old and new in ways that would give the room character. Of course, decorating a nursery takes $, and we realize that while we may have a nice vision in our head of what we desire the nursery (or the house for that matter) to look like, it all takes time. Also, our sweet little boy will be just a baby and I don't think the design of his room will matter to him just yet, so long as he has a place to sleep and lots of love from his mama and daddy. My list of fun "Nursery To-Dos" was prioritized based on what we have money and time for - hence the two DIY projects below.

Here is some art from Pottery Barn Kids that I fell in love with after searching for something to go on the walls that just "felt" right. Unfortunately at $69 a piece, we knew it was out of the question so I opted for a DIY version instead.

I knew that I had one 16x20 canvas laying around from a couple years ago and made a list of what I thought I needed to create my own version of transportation wall art. After sketching it out on paper and printing off outlines of a plane, truck, boat and car from the internet, I headed to the store to get the rest of my supplies. Here's my finished piece - the empty corner is where we'd like the rocker to go whenever we get one.
Cost of supplies:
    canvas - free
    transportation print outs - free
    5 sheets of scrapbook paper - $0.88 (1/2 off sale at Michael's and with 25% off coupon)
    2 bottles of paint in cream and white for background - $4.66
    black paint pen - $2 something (I'll say $2.50)
    mod podge - free
Total: $8.04 

How I Did It:
I began with painting the canvas a tan color by mixing the white and cream paints, then proceeded to take a rag and wipe it off, giving it a grunge/rustic look. While that dried, I traced my printouts from the computer onto the scrapbook paper I felt would look the best. Cut those out, centered them onto my four sections I had measured and penciled onto the canvas, and mod-podged them on. I then painted the white lines (note to self: don't keep trying to make it "better" - stick with simple!), used the black paint pen to write the letters and words, and lastly covered the entire canvas in mod-podge for a more finished look. I did it in two days so it would have adequate time to dry. Matt was surprised at the finished product, as was I, although when I see it on the wall I do get bothered by one imperfection in particular. I just tell myself it's hand-made and that makes it unique!

My second project, a hanging branch mobile, was inspired by this photo found on the blog Dear Lily. She has a tutorial there and this is one of the many inspirational projects you can browse through. Not to mention, her photos are beautiful! Anyway, I attempted to create my own hanging branch and headed out into the yard to go on a stick hunt. Thankfully, our niece and nephew visiting a while back had collected a nice pile in the yard that Matt had been adding to as he picked up after some storms. I just dug through the pile holding up this stick and that, breaking off little pieces here and there until I decided on two that I really liked together.

Matt and I love it! It only cost us $5.28 because the branches, spray paint, acrylic paints, and string were all things we had on hand. The little wooden transportation pieces were something I lucked in to at the local store for $0.88 a piece - don't you love when you find something perfect at the store and you weren't even looking for it at the time?

How I Did It:
For this hanging branch mobile, I lightly coated the two branches with yellow spray paint and then a dusting of white. I painted the wooden airplanes, cars, etc. with acrylic paints we had in our craft container. Using a light blue string that would blend in somewhat with the wall, I tied it carefully onto the pieces so they would balance evenly. Next, I baked my sweet hubby some brownies. You see, he was working hard editing weddings for Taflan Pictures, and I knew a break was just what he needed. A break that included brownies and hanging up the branch for me ;) He screwed the 2 branches together in the position I liked, held them up to the ceiling (being 6'5 1/2" has that advantage) and then carefully placed screws into the ceiling. We made sure to tie string onto each screw, connecting it to the branch and it all went up nicely. Together we tied and wrapped the strings holding the wooden pieces in place and ta-da! We have a hanging branch mobile! (If you want more details, just ask and I'll share).

So there you have it - some DIY nursery projects that have been crossed off the list in the last week. We're pleased and are anxious to get some more things crossed off before our little one arrives!

**I must mention: My lovely youngest sister came over a few weekends ago to help me paint two coats of Ships Ahoy! blue onto the walls of the nursery. I couldn't have done it without her! Thank you Meredith! At first it took a while for Matt and I to get used to considering we've never really had color on the walls of any home we've lived in aside from tans and whites (the joys of past rentals). Now we love the happiness of the color and are pleased with what life it added to the room.**

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nursery Inspiration

As the arrival of our little boy gets ever closer, my mind is pretty consumed with all things baby! The nursery is a slow process... remember the picture from this post? Yes, well, it's almost all cleared out. We've really come a long way with that considering our spare time on weekends is few and far between. Need I mention that the holidays are just around the corner? And after the holidays will be the birth of our son? Goodness! Time is going to fly like never before! My goal is to have the nursery ready for little Matthew by the end of November... ready as in it needs to be livable in case he should arrive early. I can always add finishing touches after that time, of course. I thought I would post a few photos I've found that serve as inspiration for our nursery in hopes to keep us on the right track!

The crib and dresser/changing table by Europa Baby - Palisades Collection that we already have (love it even more in person on our hardwood floors!)

The bedding found at Pottery Barn Kids - Madras Collection. I plan to mix it up with a train crib sheet and plane crib sheet found there also to throw in transportation. I love that it's not too babyish and can grow with our little boy, not to mention it'll add just enough color to the room without going overboard! 

We're thinking about some sort of shelving similar to these ClosetMaid cubes to go along one of the walls in the nursery. Whether it's this particular one or something a little different, we plan to buy some cloth bins to put on the shelves for toys, etc. and of course books! I don't know yet if I want green bins like the ones pictured, but there's many colors to choose from that'll match the bedding. I'm going to wait until we have the bedding and then decide. It's perfect for a little table lamp and decoration too. 

We will definitely need a rocker of some sort in the room and I know I want it to have a white base like the one pictured from Amazon. I don't know what color yet for the cushion or where we'll purchase one from (I've been watching Craigslist!), but I'd like for Matt to find it comfy too! 

In our nursery we've decided on the layout of where we'd like things to be and can't wait to see it all come together! We have a wooden nightstand that was in Matt's childhood bedroom that we plan to set near the rocker with some sort of table lamp, and I would love to make a photo frame collage on one of the walls. I have scanned pictures of Matt as a baby to reprint and have ideas for filling the other frames too. And thanks to my mom, we have 2 cute wall hanging hooks from Hobby Lobby - one that is a car and the other is a tractor. I'll have to post pictures some other time. We plan to accent with transportation themed items without going overboard and may paint the walls some shade of blue. I still need to think about a rug and curtains. I think I can better visualize when we have the bedding in the room and make decisions from there. We want to keep things simple, in looks and price, and with personal touches. And let's not forget that although my desires to have this and that ready for the nursery may be on a long mental list, it all comes down to finding time to make it happen! That's why prioritizing is so important so I don't get weighed down with the unnecessary :) 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens... (if you didn't just read that with the voice of Fraulein Maria, I encourage you to read it again and I promise you the happy song will be stuck in your head for a while!)

We all have numerous favorite things and lately I've been creating a mental list of my favorite things concerning our new home. I can't help it when I'm outside or inside and something about our house catches my eye and I think, "oh, I just love that!" Matt and I are truly in love with our little homestead and we are so thankful for it! A 1937 built home is not for everyone, but we are loving the potential it holds. We enjoy discussing creative ways we would add to our house's charm to make it work for us and add it to a future to-do list. For this post, I want to share our top 20 favorite things (in no particular order) about our home in hopes that it inspires you to find your favorite things about your house that just make you smile. We all have them!

1) hardwood floors (supposedly the original and they're beautiful!)

2) old glass door knobs

3) the way the light shines through the old keyhole on our mudroom door and into our kitchen

4) the floor plan - it's fairly open for a house of the '30s and the hallway is quite a decent size

5) my two large windows in the kitchen - they make my small kitchen feel bigger!

6) slightly uneven floors due to age (yes, not ideal, but it does add character and makes us laugh when
                                                        we move furniture around)

7) the brick chimney wall on the front porch - people told the seller to paint it, but he said he knows someone will like it's rustic look and it was one of the first things we LOVED about the outside of the house!

8) the way I can look out my family room window or back office window and see/hear the neighbors'

9) having a carport area and shed/small garage

10) the walk out to the coop to gather the eggs every day

11) the quiet, open countryside that makes you forget you're just 3 minutes from the highway

12) walking around our property together dreaming about what to plant here or there, and how our future children will have plenty of room to play

13) all the wild birds - just the other morning I counted 17 robins while looking out my kitchen window, and that's just one species!

14) a gravel driveway that circles around the house

15) rockers on the front porch

16) large shade trees in most areas of the yard

17) a mudroom entryway

18) full size attic that we can make useable for storage space in our house and more storage in the loft above the shed

19) new windows (this makes a HUGE difference when comparing the rental house from the late '30s to this one!)

20) having pear trees and pecan trees

Wish I had a picture for each of these, but that would make for a long post. I'll post photos of our favorite things over time :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

There's quite a few exciting things happening!!

Yes, I’ve been away from blogging for quite a while, but I really have a great excuse! Remember how we were in the process of purchasing our first home? Well, here it is!

We closed on this charming, 1937 country home on Thursday, May 5th. We were beside ourselves with joy and this overwhelming feeling of being blessed. The house is 30 minutes from the rental home, yet closer to everything important! Moving is quite a process… especially when you had things stored at your parents’ home on top of all that needed to be moved from our rental house (oh, and let’s not forget packing up my classroom!). The house and moving process would not have been possible without our family! God is so good!

So we closed on the house May 5th and guess what blessing we received on May 6th? The gift of expecting a baby! Yay! Again, joy flooded our hearts as we were able to share this news with family in our new home. How perfect… more to come on how we shared the news later! Here is a photo of our sweet baby at 13 weeks and one of me at 17 weeks. We are now almost 19 weeks along and can’t wait to meet our little boy (yes, a boy!) in January!

While in the midst of organizing things in our new home and feeling giddy over the fact that there’s a baby growing in me, we have been busy with Taflan Pictures as well. Meeting clients, shooting weddings, maternity sessions, and senior sessions have kept us (especially Matt) constantly at the computer editing after a day of work. We have also tackled a couple projects around the house and are in the middle of a couple more! We finished the chicken coop and all it needs is a coat of paint, the washer and dryer have been set up and operating in the laundry room in the shed, and we are in the middle of building custom desks for our little office. We also have a new front door sitting in the dining room waiting to be put on, and should I even mention what the future nursery looks like? It’s shocking…yikes!

Those are just a few of the things keeping us Taflans busy. It’s crazy to look back to May and see all that has taken place since then in just a few short months. We are so thankful and continue walking in faith that God will continue to provide and care for us as He has done so faithfully in the past.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

~Spring Happenings~

Seeds have been planted, chickens are fully feathered, the sun is gradually warming up our days and my break is drawing to a close. We have truly enjoyed experiencing the season here in NC. It's so beautiful to see the new life springing up everywhere we go. Here's some of what's been happening around the Taflan household...

I planted some seeds for our future garden a few weeks ago. They're growing a bit too quick for me because we have yet to get a piece of yard ready for them to grow! Squash, cucumber, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and green beans are some of what's been planted. I sure hope they make it! Herbs are next.

Haven't they grown? Oh, and notice how there's a white one in the mix? Yep, she surprised us and ended up being an Americauna, not a Buff Orpington like we had thought. She'll lay greenish blue eggs... interesting, right? The Ladies eagerly await the completion of their coop that Matthew has been constructing. It's going to be great when they have a place of their own...outside...where they can roam free and use the bathroom wherever they'd like, as opposed to taking up half our sunroom! Would you believe that Matt is building a coop large enough for more than just our 6 chickens? You know what that means... either he's quite taken with the Ladies or he's planning on being greedy for eggs! We'll try to make it through this year with our 6 and see what happens next spring. So far they've been healthy and entertaining to watch :)

This is the lovely wind chime we have enjoyed hearing on these windy, spring days. I would like to find a smaller one for the other side of the house. The first time we really heard it ring we both had the same thoughts... it just makes our place feel more like home.

We've done some traveling lately too. Here's Matthew in Barbados... yes, he went on an amazing Silver Seas cruise without me for an entire week! Of course, it was all business related as he filmed different events and photographed for work. We missed each other a great deal and he certainly wished I could've been there too. Next time maybe?

The day after Matthew arrived back from the islands, I caught a flight with my mom and youngest sis to NYC for a few days. Here we are on the double decker tour bus as we learned about Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Harlem. We were able to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Daniel Radcliffe and Chicago with Christie Brinkley on Broadway. Great memories!

Coming up we have Easter with the family, Matthew's birthday, and hopefully more time to spend outdoors working on projects and enjoying the warmth!


P.S. We just may be closing on our first house this coming week! We're staying prayerful - details to come!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Meet the Ladies...

Introducing our newest feathered friends...

Lizzie (after Sanford & Son's, "You hear that Elizabeth? I'm coming to join you!) and...
June (after June Cleaver, of course!)
Friends already - just few days old

They look alike!

Almost 2 weeks old - taken while I was cleaning our their cage today. Pardon the chicken rear, she's shy ;)

We brought home 5 on Thursday the 24th and they were so cute! Unfortunately, we lost one this past Tuesday night due to what I believe was a respiratory infection. She was clicking quite a bit while breathing and was so lethargic! That brought us down to four little chicks and the man at the feed store replaced the previous chick with not one, but two buff orpingtons free of charge! We now have 6... oh my. I am learning that raising chickens is a bit more complicated than I originally thought, especially after reading things online about all that can go wrong! We're hoping the rest of the chicks don't come down with anything and stay their healthy, little peeping selves.

I'll be honest, I can't tell some of them apart. Actually, when I introduced the two new ones into the cage with the others, I lost track of who was new! There are two that are easy to tell apart, aside from the black one, but that's it. I'm hoping as they grow they'll have some more distinguishing features because I want to make sure each chick gets the right name. Matthew is ready for their production of yummy, brown eggs, so he's having to work on his patience. We're having fun with them, learning as we go!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicks, Feathers, Eggs... Oh My!

Yes, chickens are in the very near future for the Taflans! The chicks will hopefully be ready this weekend and their box and heat lamp await them in the laundry room. You may be thinking we're crazy, or have a weird obsession with feathered friends, but we see it like this - when you have a little bit of land, and part of it is already fenced in, and you love the thought of having fresh eggs from an animal that initially costs $3 each... then who can resist having their own backyard flock? Not us! We think it's great that we have the opportunity to take care of God's creatures and enjoy what they produce here in our own backyard :)

I've thought for a while now that having chickens would be a neat, productive pet to have and when we began renting our little white house, I felt like the place was perfect. Will our landlord agree? We don't really know! Maybe fresh eggs will make her think like we do... In the meantime, before gathering our first egg, we have to keep the little chicks warm and inside until fully feathered (around 6 weeks) and then they probably won't lay an egg until mid to late summer. I'm not sure what our parrots will think having more birds inside, but we bet they'll imitate the chickens a little now and then. While the chicks are growing feathers, Matthew plans on building the chicken coop in the fenced in portion of our yard. He has it sketched out and we plan on cutting costs some by using wood found in our shed and my dad's shed. I'll post pictures whenever it gets completed.

Buff Orpington is our breed of choice and we hope to pick out some healthy little hens (fingers crossed that we don't get a rooster!). Right now 4 is the magic number and I've had the names picked out for them since this past fall. I'll share those later along with a picture of the chicks once they're home.

If I could (maybe one day?) I'd add a milk goat and dog to our miniature farm... although a dog is much more likely than a goat in Matthew's opinion. For now I'll be content with some chickens!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Handmade Christmas

I realize I may be a little late in writing a Christmas post, but why not drag out the Christmas memories a bit longer? :) It IS the best time of year you know! Plus, I only just today got around to putting away our tree and decorations (yikes!) so it seems fitting to finish my day with a post about the holidays. That's what a snow day - or should I say ice day - will do for you...it's God's way of giving me time to take care of some housekeeping!

Our little Taflan family of two + 2 birds spent Christmas at my parents' house and enjoyed each minute of our time there. Much time was spent visiting family there and in VA, eating delicious food, and gift giving. We felt so very blessed! On the 30th we left for Ohio to spend time with Matt's side of the family. We had fun hanging out with everyone and playing with our five neice and nephews (with the 6th on the way!). Again, we felt so blessed!

A joy of the holiday season is being able to give gifts to those around you. I found great joy in crafting handmade gifts this year and am determined to do more handmade projects in this upcoming year. I wanted to post these pictures as soon as each craft was complete, but that would've spoiled some Christmas surprises! Here's what I handmade this year...

Cookies! I'm pretty sure I baked over 100 cookies... at least it felt like that many! Some to give away and some to eat...yum!

These are tile coasters I made for the teachers on my team at school. Fun and simple! I used scrapbooking stickers with their last initial to monogram each one. I really need to make some for myself!

This is one snowman decoration of three - this particular one was for the basement at my parents' house, since my mom decorates in all snowmen down there. The other two were for our grandmas. I saw this idea at a craft show and thought it was so cute - I just had to recreate!

A wreath I made for my middle sis - she's a music major at UNC. I bought aged music books and spent a good deal of time cutting circles and using the hot glue gun. These pics were before she found a place to hang it. I just love the way it turned out!

I made these dictionary page ornaments for my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. We exchange ornaments each year and I thought these were unique either hung on the tree or elsewhere. I found the perfect sized decorative boxes to package them in at Michaels.

That wraps up my handmade gifts for this Christmas. I am happy to have left over materials so I can make some of these items for our home! Having a holiday vacation from work certainly fed my desire to craft and I am determined to take more time to do so - even with 19 kindergarten children taking up my time :) It's refreshing to complete a project and giving them away as gifts is rewarding! I want the gift-giving spirit of Christmas to live on well into the rest of the year...
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