Sunday, February 28, 2016

confetti curtains

I was having a really hard time picking out new curtains for our nursery. The wall color is a light blue-gray (Sherwin Williams Rainwashed), which is somewhat difficult to match correctly. Blue or gray fabric might blend in too much with the wall color. I considered pink curtains, but was worried about the room looking like cotton candy!

While shopping around for the perfect panels, my mind kept going back to this Remodelaholic tutorial for confetti painted curtains. They're inexpensive (using plain white curtains and acrylic paint) and I could pick the exact colors I wanted!

cozy birdhouse | confetti curtains

The project cost around $40 total. The IKEA Merete curtains were $30 and the paint supplies just under $10. I used regular acrylic craft paint for most colors, and the lighter blue dots are actually just leftover paint from the walls. I mixed my paint colors, added a few drops of water to thin them out a bit, and used the bottom of a Chobani yogurt cup to stamp out my circles before filling them in with a brush. The colors look really cute with the quilt I made.

To finish off the window, I added an IKEA Tupplur roller shade to block light and a set of Matilda sheer curtains for a bit of privacy during the day. I love the little embroidered pattern on the sheers. The room doesn't look like cotton candy now... it looks like Funfetti cupcakes!

I finished the curtains (washing, ironing, hemming, painting) in about 4 days. I probably could have finished sooner, but I'm definitely starting to feel some third trimester aches and pains. This is my last "crawling around on the floor" DIY project for a while!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

handmades for baby

I knew I wanted to make my own baby quilt to coordinate with our light blue nursery but with just enough pink for our little girl. I fell in love with this fabric collection called "Littlest" by Art Gallery Fabrics. The prints are perfect for a nursery with their bunny motifs and pastel hues. This is the selection of fabrics I used, a mix of the two available color palettes.

cozy birdhouse | my fabric selection from the art gallery fabrics littlest collection

I chose an hourglass pattern to show off the different fabric patterns while keeping the design light and bright. I hope that the somewhat busy pattern will help hide any inevitable spills/stains despite all the white! I think it will be a great playmat for her.

cozy birdhouse | hourglass quilt

cozy birdhouse | hourglass quilt

The whole quilt is machine stitched, except for the hand-embroidered patch I added in the corner with a little love message to our baby girl. I followed the hourglass quilt block tutorial from Generations Quilt Patterns, the continuous bias tape tutorial from So Sew Easy, and the machine binding tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew. The binding fabric is Dear Stella Confetti Dots in stone and the white fabric is Kona cotton.

cozy birdhouse | hourglass quilt love note

My other recently completed project is the Shale Baby Blanket knit in Garnstudio Drops Cotton Merino. Good news: I have found my new favorite baby blanket yarn, so I will stop whining about Cascade Sierra being discontinued. This yarn meets all my requirements; it's a wool/cotton blend for warmth/softness, machine washable, and relatively inexpensive! Oh believe me, many hours of research went into the purchase of this yarn, and I'm quite pleased with it.

cozy birdhouse | shale baby blanket

I love the texture of this pattern, and it was actually pretty simple to memorize after a few rows. Thank goodness for our 10 hour flights to/from Italy or I wouldn't have finished this blanket nearly as quickly as I did (just over two weeks!). Project details on my Ravelry page.

cozy birdhouse | shale baby blanket

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

when in rome

Dan and I hadn't planned on taking a 'babymoon' vacation, but we realized that January was probably our last chance for a big international trip for quite a while! With Kelsey studying abroad this semester, choosing our location was easy... Rome! We arrived in the Eternal City early on Friday, January 22nd. After a lunch and a short walk with Kelsey mid-day, we returned to our hotel near Campo de' Fiori to "just rest our eyes for a bit." We finally dragged ourselves out of bed in the evening for a free walking tour which started at the Spanish Steps and wrapped up at the Trevi Fountain... so pretty at night!

cozy birdhouse | trevi fountain in rome

Saturday we trekked over to the Roman Forum and Colosseum for more sightseeing. Street vendors were absolutely swarming these touristy areas selling... of all things... selfie sticks! It was impossible to walk more than 20 feet without hearing, "Selfie stick!! Selfie stick!!" These mono-pods actually seem really useful, not just for their intended purpose (taking a group photo without entrusting a complete stranger with your precious electronics), but also to lift your smartphone over a fence/wall/horde of people for an unobstructed photo. However, I successfully resisted the urge to buy one. Photos are so much better from our camera than our phones anyways!

cozy birdhouse | the colosseum

Sunday we walked with Kelsey to the Vatican for the Angelus from Pope Francis. We joined the crowd of people in St. Peter's Square waiting excitedly for him to appear at the window and give the blessing. We walked around the square a bit afterwards and stopped to admire the nativity. If you're a bit behind on getting your Christmas decorations down, don't worry; the Pope still has his tree up, too.

cozy birdhouse | pope francis at the vatican

After leaving St. Peter's Square, we shopped a bit near the Vatican and then around Piazza Navona. I found a little silver charm of the Colosseum to add to my collection. We also stopped by the Pantheon and then again at the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin in... Now we know we'll come back to Rome someday!

cozy birdhouse | at the pantheon

Monday we hopped on a high speed train to Florence. I was excited to show Dan my favorite spots from my previous trip in 2010 with my friend Laura, so I dragged him all over the city. We started at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (with its beautiful reddish Duomo), walked to Santa Croce, and continued on to Piazzale Michelangelo for a beautiful overlook of the city. We walked back to our hotel across the famous Ponte Vecchio. (No, I did not buy anything... but I was tempted!)

cozy birdhouse | overlooking florence from piazzale michelangelo

Tuesday we spent all day at the Uffizi Gallery before catching our train back to Rome. We ate dinner at Campo de' Fiori (so pretty at night) before transferring our luggage to our next hotel across the river in Trastevere.

cozy birdhouse | campo de fiori in rome at night

Wednesday we went back to the Vatican for the Papal Audience. Pope Francis made several loops around the square in the Popemobile, so we had a great view of him waving, blessing babies, and even trying on a novelty souvenir pope hat from one kid. The audience included readings and blessings in lots of languages and, for some reason, a Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics performance. Very odd. Then, Pope Francis walked around for quite a while to chat and bless the groups in attendance, including some people in wheelchairs, the acrobats, and several newlyweds in full wedding attire.

cozy birdhouse | pope francis after the papal audience

After the audience, we walked through St. Peter's Basilica and then spent the rest of the day exploring the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. I was shocked at how extensive the museum collection was. I expected to see a small collection of papal mementos and some religious art. I did not expect entire museums-worth of Roman sculpture, Etruscan art, Egyptian artifacts, and all sort of other historical/artistic goodies in 54 separate galleries! That was definitely our most tiring day!

cozy birdhouse | st. peter's square at dusk

We took it a bit easier on our last day in Rome with a leisurely breakfast at our hotel followed by a short walk to the Circus Maximus and the Mouth of Truth. Dan must have lied as he stuck his hand in, since the mouth totally chomped it off. Poor guy.

cozy birdhouse | consequences at the mouth of truth

Did you know that Rome has WILD PARAKEETS?? We spotted a few on Thursday afternoon while relaxing at our hotel. Thursday evening we joined Kelsey for one last dinner in Rome (pizza again!) before saying our goodbyes. At least I know we'll be back some day since we dutifully tossed our coins in the Trevi Fountain!

Finally, in case you were wondering, here's our Rome-by-the-Numbers:

Pizzas consumed (Caitlin & Dan): 9
Pasta dishes consumed (Caitlin & Dan): 10
Cups of gelato consumed (Caitlin): 6
Hands consumed (Mouth of Truth): 1