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Baby #2 should be here any day and this past weekend, we celebrated with a BaByQ and all of our family and friends.  Needless to say, the nursery was done and waiting for everyone to see!

Here are a few of the details that we added to the nursery:

These are the curtains that I purchased from Ikea and then added my own fabric for some unique embellishments.  When I did my daughter’s nursery a few years ago, I made the curtains as well and made them so they could be drawn shut at night time.  Well, I must not be a very good seamstress, because they just didn’t hold up.  For this nursery, I left the curtains stationary and added the black out shade instead.  The shade is so inexpensive and costs much less than purchasing black out materials for the back of the curtains.  I got a custom look with the store-bought curtains for less that $40!

This is a mobile from Ikea as well.  I thought it would work well as a great detail above the window (we already have a great mobile left over from my daughter’s nursery).  I stuffed it with plastic bags, a great way to recycle I must say!  My daughter points it out every time we go into the nursery.

Just a few accessories for the shelving.  I chose to accessorize with items that can be used as toys in the future . . . this is a huge money saver as they do double duty!  I also like the used items that are personal to us . . . for example, the stuffed dog was given to me by my husband when we were in college.  Now, it will be a fun and cherished toy for Baby #2.  I also like the have a few family photos around the room.  The one on the shelf will soon hold a picture of Baby #2 and there is a picture of my husband, daughter, and myself by the glider chair.

These are some adorable hooks from Ikea.  I learned very quickly from the first baby that I need to have some things easily accessible such as blankets, hats, coats, and toys for distraction.  They are beside the changing table right next to the door and they will get lots of use!

EASY STORAGE!!!  These bins were SUPER cheap at IKEA and fit perfectly under the crib.  I filled them with all of the toys from when my daughter was little.  This has actually helped her become excited about the baby’s room.  She loves to go in there and pull out the toys.  It gives her a special place in the room and I hope she uses them when I am in there caring for the baby.  These bins will also be great for the future as they can easily be adapted for clothing or toy storage.

A little green lamp on clearance for $10 at Target and a couple of picture frames beside the glider complete the accessories.  The smaller frame actually holds a “baseball card” of my husband when he was a little boy.  I love to look at it and see my daughter’s eyes reflected in his face!  The quilt was made by many church ladies when my husband was born and it also has a matching dog stuffed animal that is in the crib.  It is a great and personal accent.

BIG MONEY SAVING TIP:  Use personal items!  Don’t feel like everything needs to be bought brand new.  Contact some of your relatives and ask if they have any cherished blankets, toys, family photos, etc.  These accents make the room feel cozy and warm.  also, if you are going to buy, buy things that can do double duty . . . storage for clothing, toys, and blankets or accessories that can be used as toys later on.

I will post some pics of the nursery when it is in use . . . hopefully, that will be soon!  Enjoy!

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

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The nursery is going well and almost complete.  Over the last few days, we have finished up the closet.

For most people, the closet is no big deal.  But for this mommy, organization in the closet is EVERYTHING.  Having a new baby is tough, having a new baby and an 18 month old is tougher, and having all of that plus an unorganized space can make things down right crazy!

Here is a picture of what the closet looked like prior to our little nursery makeover.  It was pretty standard with one long hanging bar and a shelf above that.

We removed the mirror doors as they are difficult to slide back and forth and make it difficult to access the closet.  We ended up selling them on Craigslist for a nice little profit.

You would be surprised at how awesome a closet can look if you paint the inside of it.  Most people choose to keep it white, but I love to paint a color that coordinates with the room.  In this case, we used turquoise.  No matter what, if you are doing a room makeover, take the time to freshen up the closet with a new coat of paint.  It makes a huge difference!

The closet system was purchased from Home Depot and was incredibly cost effective at approximately $80.  It doubled our hanging space and the shelf space is wonderful!  It was pretty easy for my hubbie to put together . . . I directed from the glider chair.  I will say that having a level is key to making sure everything lines up correctly.

I added some snap baskets that I already owned to the shelves and they hold blankets and toys.  I think they are a little too big, but my little girl finds it easy to pull them out and they can take a beating, so we will stick with them.

Lastly, we installed a curtain rod to the inside of the closet.  We bought one for $5 . . . it is brass and quite unattractive, but who is going to see it?  I added some detail fabric to my IKEA curtains and VOILA!  Adorable closet and great organization for less than $150!

Enjoy!

I have also posted this blog entry at Serenity Now:  A Progress Party:

Be sure to check out Amanda’s Blog when you have a chance!

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

The nursery is really starting to come together!  And it better since Baby #2 will be here in a matter of week!

Today, I am focusing on the artwork.  Everything you see here, I created myself and you can too!  Many people get intimidated by making their own artwork saying that they aren’t creative or they can’t draw a straight line.  I got new for you!  YES, you can do this!

For the above painting, I started by selecting an image that appears on the fabric that I chose for the nursery.  You can check out the fabric here.  I selected the house with a little garden around it.

I purchased a canvas and some basic acrylic paints.  You can even use craft paint from the hobby store which costs less that $1 per color.

For me, I just free-handed the drawing since it is such a simple little house.  But if you are concerned about your drawing skills, consider using a projector.  I own my projector and purchased it from Hobby Lobby a few years ago (using a 40% off coupon!).  But you can always trace your design and then borrow a teacher friend’s overhead projector to enlarge the image onto your canvas.  If that is not an option, you can use a basic computer program like Word to enlarge the picture and then print it out and trace onto your canvas.

I outline all of my drawing in black sharpie because I tend to paint over the lines and need the help locating them.

When beginning to paint, ALWAYS start in the background and work your way forward.  I started with the sky and ground, then shifts to the trees, then the house, and finally the wording and flower pot.

Once you have completed all of your painting, you can outline using a sharpie or using a paintbrush.  Whatever works best for you!

I also go back and apply a layer of spray polyurethane to cleanup the finish.

For the drawings on dictionary paper, I was inspired by this Etsy artist.  I loved her work, but was not willing to pay $10 a print.  I purchased a dictionary from Half Price Books for $8.

Once again I selected an image and freehanded it onto the paper.  You can use any of the above steps to transfer your image.  Or because this is a smaller piece.  Just print out your image and place it under the dictionary paper.  Tape it to a bright window and trace.

I used basic colored pencils to color in my images and then outline them using a black felt tip pen.  Simple, simple, simple, but it does take a little time.

I also made sure to draw the giraffe on the page that had the definition of giraffe and the same for the other images.

My frames were purchased with the mat included from IKEA.

Voila!  Instant artwork with a handmade touch!

Some other ideas that might work for you in your nursery or home:

*  Consider sticking to a basic alphabet letter in the color of your nursery.  You could spell out your child’s name, frame each letter, and hang above the crib.

*  Geometric shapes are super easy and look great!  Draw a circle, color to coordinate, and then write the definition for circle underneath and frame.

*  Collections are sooooo in!  Purchase a shadow box and arrange a selection of family jewelry, antique matchbox cars, family photos, hair bows, building blocks, etc.  The sky is the limit with this one!

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

Here is a quick tutorial for a Patriotic Wreath under $15!  Can’t buy a pre-made one for that price and it is fun to put together  . . .  even for the non-crafter.

Everything you see here was purchased at Hobby Lobby.  Don’t have a Hobby Lobby?  You can also find similar items at Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, and even Wal-Mart.  The price tags are still on, but I got everything for 50% off!  Gotta love Hobby Lobby!

Start by arranging your wooden embellishments on the wreath (no glue yet!) and make sure that they are spaced in a way that makes you happy.  I like to have one piece that is the focal point, so I used the red,white, and blue paddle.

To give it some personalization, I penciled in our last name and then painted it using basic craft paint that I had in my stash.  I had to put two coats of paint to get good coverage.  Once it is dry, go back with an eraser and get rid of any pencil marks.

To add a little bling, I pulled out my rhinestones and added them to the existing white stars on the paddle as well as the corners of my letters and the center of the wooden stars.  I used a basic white tacky glue.

While everything was drying, I worked on the bows.  I used light brown raffia tied into a knot.  Just grab several strands, fold in half, and then tie into a knot.  Trim to desired length.

For my bow, I cut one piece of ribbon that was about 12 inches long and put it aside.  Next, leaving the ribbon on the roll as I worked to make sure that I had enough, I layered the ribbon back and forth until I had create six loops (three on each side).  I twisted the ribbon to add one more loop in the center.

Use the 12 inch precut ribbon and string it through the seventh center loop.  Flip everything over and tie the 12 inch precut ribbon in a tight knot.  Turn bow back over and arrange loops until it looks pretty.  This works best with a wired ribbon.

I arranged my raffia and ribbon on the wreath and secured with hot glue.  Then I secured my paddle and stars with glue as well.

Hang it on your door and VOILA!  You are done!

Enjoy!

We have been in full swing with a backyard and master bathroom renovation.  I definitely feel the hormones kicking in with the pregnancy and I am very well settled in the nesting phase at this point.  I recently purchased a 1950s American style buffet for additional storage (holds all of the crystal and china that was stored in the now baby’s room).  I purchased it off of Craigslist and admittedly, it is a little beat up.

I was looking around my house and trying to decide how to refinish the piece.  My immediate thought was to paint it “Cotton Whisper” which is the color of my baseboards.  I glanced around the house again only to realize that I have an addiction . . . an addiction to white paint!

What is painted white in my home?

*  Entertainment Center

*  Kitchen Cabinets

*  Bathroom Cabinets including the ones I just had refinished

*  Dining set in my Bridal Consultation Room

*  Mirror that I purchased damaged from Pier1

*  Fireplace and Mantel

*  All doors and baseboards

Yikes!!!  I think I am making “Cotton Whisper”  the most popular color in America because of my excessive use!  So, I am going to try something different with the buffet.  I saw a great technique on Centsational Girl and thought I would try it out for myself.  Here was my inspiration piece . . . a little too beachy for my house, but beautiful none the same.

I started by removing all of the hardware and sanding the entire piece.  I left some of the gouges and scratches, because I wanted the piece to look used and worn, but if you want a clean finish, be sure to remove all scratches and dings.  Sometimes it helps to use a little bit of wood filler for the deeper ones.

Once the piece was sanded, I wiped everything down with a damp cloth to remove all sanding dust before applying any paint.  I ended up doing this a couple of times.

I choose a beautiful denim color by Martha Stewart.  I purchased one quart and selected a semi-gloss finish.  Why semi-gloss, you ask?  This piece will most likely be the host to many different dishes as the years go by.  The semi-gloss allows for an easy clean up if anything is spilled on the buffet.

I applied one coat of denim paint using a 2 1/2 inch brush.  No rollers here!  The brush allowed me to get into the nooks and crannies.  Try to paint all in the same direction to keep the piece nice, neat, and precise.

After the first coat had dried, I looked over it to make sure there were no drips or runs.  If you have drips or runs, lightly sand with fine grit sandpaper and wipe clean before applying another coat.

I applied a second coat of paint, allowed it to dry and then searched for drips and runs again.  Looking good!  I almost stopped at this stage because I was so enthralled with the color of the paint . . . but after some encouragement from the hubbie, I pushed on.

Next comes the dry brush coat.  I selected a lighter washed blue color by Martha Stewart, purchased it in a quart, and semi-gloss.  If I had to do it again, I would buy a tester size paint sample for the dry brush, since it took so little . . . guess I have some paint left over for another adventure!

You need a good towel and a stiff brush.  I dipped the very tip of the brush in the paint and blotted most of the paint off on the towel.  I worked on the side first, just in case I messed up.  Start at the edge of the piece and gently draw the brush across the surface of the piece trying to stay as straight as you can.  Work in the same direction as you cover the piece.  ALWAYS blot off paint before applying  . . . hence, the dry brush technique.

For added character, I went back and added more of the dry brushed light blue to areas that would genuinely be worn over time.

Once the dry brush layer had dried and I felt satisfied with how it looked, I applied two coats of water-based polyurethane.  Why water-based, you ask?  Well, I am pregnant right now and that is the safer product.  If I wasn’t pregnant, I would go with an oil based to allow for better durability.

When applying the clear coat, be sure to use a very clean brush and DO NOT SHAKE the clear coat in its can.  Instead use a wooden stir to gently stir the paint.  You don’t want to get a bunch of air bubbles in the clear coat because they won’t go away when you apply it to the furniture.

Reattached old hardware or new if you selected something different and voila!!!  You are done!

I purchased this piece for $150 off of Craigslist and spent about $20 on paint.  The piece cost a little more than I would have liked to spend, but the style and size worked perfectly for my home.

For those of you who know what Get Your Craft on Tuesday is all about . . . stay tuned for some quick links to some great craft ideas!  For those of you who don’t . . . every Tuesday a few of the blogs that I follow link up ideas, tutorials, diy, and great craft projects.  I usually pour through them looking for some stand out ideas.  Today’s Creative Blog has a high level of participation and loads of ideas!  Check it out!

Here are a few that caught my eye!  Enjoy!

Diaper Bag Roll Tutorial by Just The Morning Coffee.

Ruffled American Flag Shirt by A Little of This, A Little of That.

Butterflies In the House by A Few Of My Favorite Things.

Buttefly BooBoo Bag by Pony Tails and Fish Scales.

Red, White and Blue Strawberries by Oopsey Daisy.

We selected out paint colors and painted the top half of the wall a butter color and bottom half a turquoise.  It looks great!  Paint is such an inexpensive way to make a huge impact in your space.  The use of two colors gives even more definition.  You can divide the two colors with a simple line of paint or be more creative making the line undulate, resemble waves, flowers and grass, etc.  Whatever you think goes well with your theme.  We chose a chair rail as the divider between the two colors.  The entire project cost less than $60!

First thing to decide is the height of the chair rail.  Luckily we have a window that hits at about the level a chair rail would be, so we had a guideline.  A typical chair rail is 1/3 of the wall height.

Here are the supplies that you will need:

*  Moulding- Get a few more feet than what you think you might need.

*  Wood Glue

*  Finishing Nails

*  Hammer

*  Level

*  Tape Measure

*  Wood filler

*  Caulking

*  Miter box and saw

*  A little bit of sandpaper

*  A second person!  This is a two person job!

Start by making a mark at the designated height all around the room every few feet.  We used this as a guideline as we worked, but constantly checked to make sure we were correct.  If you have a laser level, it would work great for this step.

Use your miter box and saw to cut a 45 degree angle at the end of one of your pieces of molding.  Remember, you will need two 45 degree angles to complete one 90 degree corner.

Hold the moulding up to the wall and fit it into the corner to be sure everything lines up right.  Remove moulding and add wood glue to the backside.  We learned really quickly to smooth out our wood glue, so that it did not drip down after the moulding was installed.  Use your finger, but be sure to have a damp towel near by!  Hold the moulding up against the wall and put the level on top.

Once you feel that the moulding is level, hammer a finishing nail into one end to secure to the wall.  Add another finishing nail every few feet, but be sure to constantly use the level and make sure that everything is straight.  Wipe off any excess glue.  Continue around the room being sure to remain level!

When all of the moulding is in place, use a small tipped phillips head screw driver to gently hammer the finishing nail just below the surface of the moulding.  Just place the tip of the screw driver on the head of the nail and use a hammer to hammer it into place.  Do this for all of the nails.  Use a bit of wood filler to fill in the holes and lightly sand with sandpaper when it is dry.

Using caulk in a caulk gun or in a squeezable tube, carefully apply a small bead of caulk to the top of the railing where the moulding meets the wall.  Use your finger to gently smooth out the caulk.  Do the same for the bottom of the railing and the corners or joints as well.

Once everything is dry, go back and apply paint or finishing touches.

We found the project down right EASY!  We were quite pleased with ourselves and how well the railing turned out!  We felt that $60 was more than worth the impact that the railing has in the room.  In the future, we intent on painting the bottom out in chalkboard paint as a fun activity for our little ones.

Next installment of the Nursery On A Budget Series- Baby Furniture!

-Amanda- High Fire Designs

Well, Baby #2 is on the way and should be making his or her appearance in mid-August.  Hot Texas summer plus pregnancy does not equal relaxation!  But I do have something fun to work on in the mean time . . . the baby’s nursery!!!

Since we did not find out the sex of the baby, we will be creating a gender neutral nursery.  My husband and I are always interested in saving money and hope to come up with some great cost-effective ideas for this little one’s room.

Today, I got Ivy up for an unexpected morning nap and we dove into the guest room (aka: soon-to-be nursery).  Our current goal:  Remove all furniture and unwanted items from room.  After I had pulled a ton of stuff out of the closet and drawers, only then did I realize that I meant to take a picture.  Pictures below and please know that this room is never that messy!!!

What can you expect to read about over the next few weeks?

*  Selecting furniture on a budget.

*  Gender neutral themes.

*  Choosing a paint color to match your theme.

*  Installation of chair rail.

*  Installation of cost-effective closet organization.

*  How to create unique window treatments.

*  The little touches that make you feel at home!

Hope you enjoy the series and please leave any questions that you might have!!!

-Love lots,

Amanda – High Fire Mommy

For those of you who don’t know, I am a crazy, crafty person!  I have a degree in Sculpture and enjoy working in my ceramics studio on my property.  I love all types of art and have a blast doing DIY project around my house.  I thought I would try to start posting some of the ideas on the blog.  Maybe some of you will become inspired!

Check out my latest finds while garage sale hunting today!

#1:  A solid wood shelf for $5.  I loved the detail on the brackets and I intent on painting it out white and hanging it above the new baby’s changing table.

#2:  Detail of brackets.

#3:  Antique iron grate for $5.  About 2 feet by 3 feet, it is large an heavy.  The chunky wooden frame has great breadth and I intend on white washing it.  The grate will need a good cleaning, but should look wonderful on my fireplace mantel.

#4:  Detail of grate.

#5:  Set of 21 pink vintage glasses.  I purchased these for Christine’s baby shower in June.  The theme is “Pretty in Purple and Pink!”  And what better way to serve pink lemonade than in these beautiful glasses.  The lady I purchased from said that she used to eat homemade ice cream out of them at her grandmother’s house when she was a little girl.  Heavy glass that should last a life time!

Pictures of the completed projects to follow!  Stay tuned for a “Nursery on a Budget” series to begin next week!

Love lots,

Amanda- High Fire Mommy