Cribs: Baby Edition

So this might be somewhat different than a spotlight on MTV. No crazy lighting, trick doorways or indoor pools here…Darn.

The nursery is finally in a place where I feel like I can share things without showing our messy storage woes.

I am going to show you all it in pieces, because well, let’s be honest, it’s still not all together.

And we have 5 weeks to go, no big deal.

First up on the baby room show and tell:  Crib bedding.

I don’t think Tom and I ever really discussed having elephants as the “nursery” theme. I think it went down something like me showing him a picture from Pinterest, and he said ok. And then here we are.

I have always loved elephants, and luckily Tom is fine with being on that train. We have them all over our living room, and our spare bathroom also has elephants stamped all over it.

It seemed like a great nursery theme, and people have been kind of running with it.

I can’t blame them. Elephants are the greatest.

When my mom was here in June, we made the crib skirt, blanket, and a small pillow.

I found some gray fabric online for sale, and it matches the curtains we already had in the second bedroom. Then we picked up solid orange and blue fabric here in town.

I showed my mom a picture, and she worked her magic with making it happen. She used a pattern from a different bedding set, and we (I mean Mom) tweaked it as we went to fit my idea.

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It was my first time using patterns, so it was definitely a learning experience.

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I did help! But most of it was all Mom.

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Here is the layout of the blanket.

We made the bed skirt so it just lays on the springs/crib bottom.

So there is a white middle with the skirt on the sides.

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You can’t see the blue all the way around because of the current height we have the crib and how it lays with the rails. Once we move the crib up or down to fit George’s demands, you will be able to see the blue more.

For the blanket we made two identical sides and put thin batting in between to make it thicker. We sewed the eyes of the elephants to add some strength to the middle parts and so the batting wouldn’t move around.


The pillow was just made out of scrap pieces and then stuffed to my heart’s content. I might make more pillows here soon if I get inspired before he is delivered.


I know the pillow and blanket won’t be in there when he is sleeping, but it will be nice to have for other things.


I wasn’t sure how I would like the brown against the gray, but I actually am digging it. We knew we weren’t going to paint the rocking chair we already had, so brown was here to stay, and I just hoped that the gray fit in!

We have lots of fabric still left over, so there are some other projects I have in mind, like huge floor pillows. That will come later though, possibly after a move.

It is super simple, but I love that. Babies don’t need crazy elaborate. Plus it was an experience making it. I am also pretty proud of us knowing that my mom and I did that instead of just going and buying it.

Although, we did buy the fitted sheet. Ain’t nobody got time for that elastic sewing…

Huge shout out to my mom for bearing with me as I struggled to understand patterns, freaked out about sewing machines not working, and feeling like I had the touch of death. She really made all of this come together. My mom is the best!

And in honor of elephants, today is World Elephant Day!

Here are some awesome elephant things for you to enjoy.

Elephant and Mirror

Eye Opening Facts About Elephants

Seriously the Most Adorable Clips of Baby Elephants

To Infinity and Beyond

While we had the sewing machine out for the baby bedding, I figured I would work on a quick project that I have set aside since winter.

I have a handful of scarves that are an awkward length scarf-wise. I don’t get all fancy with my scarf tying, but the few ways I finagled these scarves they always looked awkward because they were too short.

So in the middle of this winter, I started using safety pins to make them infinity scarves. Doing so made them just perfect!

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Grace is an apathetic model.

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I had four scarves that I wanted to turn into infinity scarves. I just put the two ends together and sewed a straight line down the ends. It was a a little trickier than I had imagined to keep the fabric still for a straight line. I ended up having to use a lot of pins to keep them together so it wasn’t a complete zig-zag hem once I was done with it.

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So there you have it. An easy upcycle to transform normal scarves into infinity scarves. Now these four scarves that I hardly ever wore will probably see a lot more than the inside of my closet.

Have you been doing any fun projects lately? Any ways to turn around a piece of clothing that may have otherwise been dead to you?

Talks with Tom #6

This weekend was tax free weekend here, which apparently in TN is like another Black Friday event. They throw out tons and tons of sales around here to coincide with the tax free time. One of the gals at work went at 5:30am on Friday to hit up some stores for her little tykes to get some of the hottest new school items. I don’t remember this much hoopla in any other state I have lived in.

So Tom and I went to the mall yesterday to take advantage of some of the excitement. We had a great time shopping together.

After Tom selected his new pair of tennis shoes for work, he lingered near the shoelaces display rack.

Tom-“I have a dazzling new pair of shoes, should I get shoelaces to match?” His eyes were sparkling and lit up with glee.

Me-“Really?” (I have married a 5 year old. We might as well have gotten light up shoes.)

Tom-“Yea, I need to branch out from blues, greens, and all the earth tones.”

Me-“I think you will be ok with just the ones the shoes provide.” (which are yellow and black)

Amidst his rugged and sometimes obscene personality, he has his moments as a sweet and endearing hubster. We broke ways so I could go into Maurices while he went to Radio Shack. I like shopping in peace, so this works out in our favor. Moments after perusing some of the new skirts, Tom pops up and says, “You’ll find me at Mr. Bulky’s.” And I am fairly certain he skipped away to find his Jordan Almonds.

Resisting the urge to buy a few items, I left a few minutes after to follow him to see what kind of sugar coma he was about to go under. My heart melted when Tom pulled away from the cashier with an ICEE. He told me I could choose between mint chocolate truffle and the ICEE. The choice was obvious. ICEE all the way! The thought of the mint chocolate was sweet too, since I love most things with mint and chocolate. Love him.

Also, if you have never been to ROSS, you need to hurry up to your nearest store. It must be a southern store though, because I have never seen them back in the Midwest. It is a fantastic place to find some hidden deals for clothes and household items. We have been in desperate need of rugs, but weren’t willing to shell out the ridiculous amount of cash to do so. Our floors are bare no more! We bought two door mats, two long hallway ones, and one large one for our living room. We spent about $75 for all of these! And they aren’t just cheapo rugs either. Elsewhere you could have spent at least $25 for the small ones, and well over one hundred for the large one. Win for us!

Other highlights from the weekend:

  • Our family was in town. Five extra people in the house and another dog for Gracie to play with!
  • BBQing
  • finding the best local pizza place in town by accident (Luigi’s-the crust is delightful)
  • Farmer’s market, even though it was raining-I had the best soft pretzel!
  • My niece, Ava, teaching me how to play My Little Pony’s correctly and everything about the “Elements of Harmony”
  • introducing Ava to Mulan
  • watching the wedding episode of the Office-Love Jim and Pam!
  • people watching at the mall

I got out the fancy camera to practice some of my manual modes. Ava was a great subject! I still need to get a good editing program, so these are all before editing. Even though it was practice, I was able to get some fairly good shots of a few moments.

Grace loved having her cousin in town!

We went to the museum on base. Ava wanted to read to us.

We went to the park right next to our house for the first time.

Playing hide and go seek, she would whistle “youwhoo” if you didn’t find her fast enough or if she got impatient searching.

It was nice to have them visit and not have to do the driving. Someday we will live much closer so there isn’t as much time in between visits!

I have another curtain project for you today. Remember the torn bed sheet?

I decided to dress up this bathroom with it.

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See how boring and WHITE it is? Again, we don’t want to paint or cover our walls with holes.

So I bought a cheap tension rod you find in the bathroom sections.


Very similar to the other curtains, I had to pin my edges down before I started sewing. This was a little different because I did need to sew all four edges, and the sheet wasn’t exactly straight so I had to work some magic to get it to look the way I wanted to.

Again, this is a great way to start sewing because it is just straight lines.


It has added a lot of depth to this small bathroom. And the nice thing will be that it will be easy to wash.


Sorry the quality of the phone pictures and the angles don’t really give the project justice, but trust me. It looks so much better than before.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Sewing Solo

I had been dreading my first solo attempt at sewing. Threading the machine terrified me, so it stayed in its box for the past six months.

But a great project presented itself to ease me into working with it again.

More or less this mess was taunting me…

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This is our spare bedroom that has been like this since I moved down in May. It was time to make something happen with it. We have one storage room off the carport, but that has turned into Tom’s “workshop” so we didn’t have anywhere else to put all this. Into the spare bedroom it went!

So we decided we would clean this up and make a partition to basically hide our storage within the second bedroom. I feel like Monica on Friends…

We bought fabric to make curtains that we could easily slide open when we need to find something. We also wanted to do bright curtains because we are not going to be painting any walls since our time here will be too short lived to worry about the tedious task of painting. It is a great way to brighten up the drab white walls without all the work!

Here is the fabric I bought. DSCF1023

I am really in love with this color combo right now! So cheerful!

We bought conduit tubes and two curtain stabilizers for the rod since it does have to go the length of the room. We decided to make all of our own stuff since actual curtain items are super pricey.

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Tom also put a metal rod inside the conduit to stabilize it a little more since it was pretty long and sagged a little bit. (I really failed at getting pictures of this.)

We did have to cut the tube down to size so you will want to make sure you have the right tools that can cut thick plastic and metal. Tom used a hack saw.

I had to sew the top and bottom, but the sides were fine to leave as they are since we used the full length of the fabric. Since it was a straight line with no backing or anything, this was a pretty simple job. Seriously, the toughest part was threading that blasted machine. After some pouting, YouTube searching, and a very patient husband, I finally got the bobbin and thread where it needed to be. I am a little embarrassed now thinking about how long this part of the process actually took, but I conquered it!

On the top, I did leave enough to make a pocket of sorts that the rod could go through. You can see that in the above picture.

It did take out about a third of the room,  but that is OK considering we didn’t acknowledge this room existed in the past 3 months.

I am really in love with it. I sat in the rocking chair for a good 10 minutes admiring our work.


Look at how much Army stuff we have! Those file cabinets are full of gear. One drawer is full of all the sets of Eye-pro (or what I call them, Army goggles). And we had more gear a few days ago. Tom turned in a car load of multicam stuff right before we packed this all back here.


And now that I think I know how to sew, there may be some new projects on the horizon. I hope it doesn’t take me six months to get that thing out again!

It was really nice to get this all cleaned up. It is one of those things that just makes you feel good and accomplished! And just in time for our family to come for a visit this weekend!

Home For the Holidays

This last week was full of hustle and bustle. The holiday time meant a trip home for me.

But at this moment in my life, home is an operative word. I have lots of homes. With my parents being divorced since I was four, I have never really known a time where one single place was home. And now, with the in-laws that added another sense of home to the mix.

So in the last week, I had 5 family holiday celebrations, met with 3 old wonderful friends, and traveled from/to three different cities. I was able to visit and catch up with so many friends and family. Some people I had not seen in 6 years! Yay for a reunion with the Rydman family!

Even with the bouncing around, all of it felt like home. It was good to be surrounded by familiarity.

A week ago, I was not singing the same tune. I was down in the dumps about going home. I was very very anxious and apprehensive about my holiday vacation. I was worried that I would feel even more alone with all of the reminders about Tom being gone for the holiday season. I thought that I would get fed up with all the questions and conversations about Tom being gone and when he would return. This was also going to be the first time that I have ever spent the night at my in-laws without Tom around. Let’s talk about a Tom reminder! I thought I was setting myself up for a nervous breakdown sleeping in his childhood home. I didn’t want to think about Tom being gone, and I knew at home I would have to face it head on. Expletive said here.

Luckily, I have never been more wrong!

This trip was exactly what I needed.

I saw my family and friends while in my hometown. It was busy busy going from one house to the next everyday, some days even more than one house. Grace and I definitely traipsed all over that town! But it was a great distraction to be so busy. And it was nice to be with the comfort of my family and have our traditions still happen even though my world is a little off-kilter. Here’s to the shrimp at my grandparents’, Christmas Day malt-o-meal with my dad and stepmom, brisket buffet with the Coles (step-extended family), and banana bread with my mom! Hmm I see a theme with our traditions being based around food…. And then being able to see the friendly faces of some of my bestest friends over the years, words cannot describe how great this was.

Then rounding out the Tour de Missouri, I traveled to my in-laws. Being able to talk about Tom the way we did…I don’t really know how to explain it, but it was very peaceful and calming for me. We could talk about Tom and just be normal about it. It didn’t have to be focused on the Army or being in Afghanistan. We talked about what the next couple years would look like and the plans we have for family. It was not a conversation about Tom like I have with many with pity in their eyes or a worried brow.  I didn’t have to repeat things over and over, which can get exhausting at times to have the same conversation with everyone I meet. I sometimes feel like I just need to record myself with the scripted answers and just play it on loop. (He is coming home in the spring–He is doing pretty well–I get to talk to him every day, and yes I realize that is UNREAL–It’s a day by day process.) I was able to talk about Tom like he was there with us. It may sound kooky but there was a Tom aura there that maybe only I felt, but either way it was very comforting. And it was just normal. There wasn’t all this hoopla about Tom being gone and what he is doing. We did all miss him terribly and it definitely wasn’t the same, but I think we all were just tired of focusing on the fact that he is gone. We realize it’s not something we can change, and sometimes you don’t want to focus on the empty chair at the dining table. (Which is what I had been doing prior to the trip…) I don’t know if I would have felt all of this without the people who are so closely related to him reminding me of him so much. (Our niece, Ava, is so much like him, it’s silly…) So what I was most afraid of was actually the best thing for me!

And there was no nervous breakdown! I only cried twice on the whole entire trip and that was because of a news report of soldiers surprising their kids by coming home (this was more of a mad/jealous cry) and then crying during Les Mis (so nothing to do with Tom-sorry babe). Success!

The dictionary says home is “a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.”

Home took a very different meaning for me this last week. It was a place I could go to and be comforted and celebrate all the good things. It’s a place where love just kind of wraps you up like a warm blanket. It’s where you can go and feel like you never left and pick up where you left off. It’s a place that puts you at ease, somewhere to rest your hat so to speak. It’s a place where you go for family.

I went to a lot of “homes” this past week, and it was a perfect way to spend my time without Tom around.

As Dorothy says, “There is no place like home.”

And on the holiday note, this is my last homemade Christmas gift for this year.

Sidebar–I feel that homemade Christmas went over really well. I had a great time with it! And everyone seemed to enjoy it on their side too. (Or my family is really good at lying to me about liking their presents.) It really was a labor of love you were giving away. So I think we all had fun with it. The only down side was trying to figure out how to transport all of it back home.

Anyway, I am pretty proud of myself for this particular gift because it is my first attempt at using my sewing machine.

I have not used a sewing machine since 7th grade Home Ec which was in 1997/98. So needless to say, I needed some guidance on this one.

My mom helped me freshen up my sewing skills, and we used this pattern as our guide.

I did not take any “as we were going pictures” since this site explains it perfectly. This was a pretty easy project to get back into the swing of things with a sewing machine.

I made these for my brother so he could have them so he and his daughter could start their own holiday traditions with stocking stuffers. Maybe he will continue the tradition of toothbrushes and a deck of cards…


And after being reminded of how to use the sewing machine, I think I can start doing other varieties of crafts. 2013 get ready!