Monday, March 30, 2015

whoa-oh, domino.

I'm feeling a major domino effect in my house lately, where one project sets in motion a series of other projects. We started out by encapsulating the crawl space, which led to reorganizing the whole basement, which led to selling hundreds of dollars' worth of stuff from the basement, which led to buying new bookcases for the playroom, which led to painting the playroom, which led to reorganizing the playroom...and not one of those tasks - not one - is 100% complete right now. Also, the weather is breaking, which means I'm being seduced by sunshine and warm(er) air to just abandon all the half-finished indoor projects and work on outside projects instead. 

(Made J.J. rescue a wavy slide from a curbside trash pile last night so we can make this, oh yes I did.) (And spent yesterday afternoon at the thrift store, scouting out items for our outdoor music wall.)

But! I made good on my promise to finish building (and anchoring) the bookcases in the playroom:

Here are some shots of the other side of the room (the new gray paint is more evident in person - I think the sunlight is washing it out in these pictures):

I definitely want to add crown moulding to the bookcases, and to add a little trim to close the gap between the bookcases and the side walls. The gap is there because there's a return vent in one corner that one of the bookcases butts up against, so I mirrored it on other side of the room as well. But I finished building them! Even in spite of Ikea pulling an Ikea and giving me a wrong piece for the bookcase height extender:

That is most assuredly not a sixth screw-thingy.

For the time being, though, I'm leaving the bookcases alone and trying to focus on finding some storage bins (I just tossed all of Rowan's toys on the shelves for now), and figuring out where to position the rest of the furniture - namely, the third (and original) bookcase:

I think we're pretty set on keeping this brown EXPEDIT instead of replacing it with the new white one (which means the white one will go in the basement, in place of the Crumbling Workbench of Imminent Death), but I'm still not sure where to put it. It doesn't look perfect anywhere, and anytime I put it somewhere, a subset of dominoes starts to fall: I'm reminded that I also don't know where to hang any of the art now, and that the floor lamps don't have homes that make sense now, and why do I have so many pillows in this room, and where are we going to hang my guitars, and maybe I should paint the backs of the bookcases, and why don't my records fit on those shelves and where should I put them instead and...


And then there are the dominoes that I'm ignoring right now - the ones set off by the basement and playroom updates. Dominoes like the colors of the playroom blinds and the stairwell walls, which now clash with the gray of the playroom; and the halfhearted curtain system I sort of started across the crawl space opening; and the pile of stuff in the basement (and the garage, now that I think about it) that needs to move into our already-full outdoor shed...and...and...and...

I feel like there's a moral here somewhere. Downsize? Purge? Ignore? Probably. Or option D - all of the above, which shakes out as: ride out the domino train and see where it takes me. 

Which is probably back to Ikea for Moar Krap. Or outside to build a slide mound.

Friday, March 27, 2015

at eighteen months.

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It's official...my little baby is one and a half, as of this past Wednesday.

What shocks me about this age is that I feel like it gets better every day - that she gets better every day. As our pediatrician pointed out yesterday (during Rowan's checkup where she didn't freak out!!!), it's such a fun age because they learn new things every day, but they're still young enough that you have control over their environments. Her four-year-old, she says, comes home making his fingers into guns...but my toddler? Not yet. For now, Rowan is sweet, funny, curious, talkative, loving, and basically my favorite person on the planet ever. (Sorry, Michael Stipe. We had a good run.)

Rowan Sophia At Eighteen Months:

:: She's into categorizing things. For example, we were looking at a picture of her with Superman at the hospital (picture below), and I said Superman goes "up up in the sky." She was quiet for a moment before perking up and saying, "Bird!" Yes! Birds are up up in the sky, too! And now she'll rattle off a whole list of things that are up up in the sky: Birds, airplanes, helicopters, rainbows, the sun, the moon. She also knows "things that keep you warm" (hats, mittens, socks, coats - and glasses, according to her, lol) and things that are loud (hair dryer, blender, vacuum, disposal).

:: Sequences are starting to make an impact on her, too. A few weeks ago, I cut my finger on something and it started to bleed. Ever since then, she'll catch a glimpse of my finger and rattle off the whole sequence of events: "Mama. Boo-boo. Blood. Band-Aid. Kiss."

:: She usually refers to herself as "Ro-Ro" - probably because most of her buddies from my moms' group call her that - but when she gets really excited about something, she thumps her chest and says, "Meee, meee, meee!" Usually it's a request to go to the basement to play, which is a new thing for her since we started carving out a play space for her down there. When she does call herself "Rowan," she pronounces it Ro-wine.

:: When we first unearthed the toy vacuum from our box of hand-me-down toys, Rowan hugged it, kissed it, snuggled with it, and played with it for hours. She always gets to choose a baby doll to bring with her to naptime, and that day? She wanted to bring the vacuum. So sweet. (I said no. So cruel.)

:: Current food loves: blueberries (always her fave), clementines, cheese, veggie burgers from Elevation Burger.

:: She's trying to put phrases and sentences together - for example, "Up up sky"; "Nigh-nigh vacuum"; "Mama up please"; "More blueberries please"; "Daddy vroom that way" (Daddy's car went that way); "Daddy go yeah" (yes, Daddy went to work). My favorite, though, is that she's starting to use descriptors correctly - two babies, little puddle, green ba-ba [pacifier]. She's still learning and using tons of baby signs, and I think they've definitely helped her comprehend color and size descriptors.

:: If you sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," she'll cover her eyes and say, "Dark, bright, dark, bright!" because in sign class the other day, the teacher turned off the lights while we sang that song. It was dark with the lights off, and bright when they came back on, and girlfriend can't stop talking about it. She also learned loud and quiet from sign class. Interestingly, she's been way less nervous around loud things since she learned those words. I think that's so fascinating.

:: Her other favorite song (besides "Twinkle Twinkle") is "Happy Birthday," and she requests it con.stant.lyyyy, ever since Daddy's birthday last week. This is her version:

:: My favorite word of hers right now is "little," because she pronounces it "nee-no." I make her say it all the time.

:: She still loves talking for inanimate objects. Dolls, her little vacuum, Elmo, the blender - Rowan makes all of them say, "Hi, Ro-Ro!" in a high-pitched voice. She also makes them all participate in whatever she's doing, from sitting in her high chair to sitting on her little potty to taking baths to getting diapers to getting boo-boos to going nigh-nigh.

Having a picnic at Gramma's, complete with tiny picnic table and tiny cohorts.
:: One day, out of the blue, she pretended to breastfeed one of her dolls. I'm assuming she figured that out after watching my sister nurse my nephew about a week earlier. I tried to get a video of her doing it so I could send it to my sister, but Rowan wouldn't do it for the camera, so I sent my sister the failed video attempt instead. Her response? "I guess she's just NEVER going to breastfeed when you want her to!" I literally laughed out loud. That's my girl!

:: She almost always says Daddy instead of Dada these days. Every once in a while, she busts out with Mommy instead of Mama. I told her we are having none of that "Mommy" business until she's MUCH older.

:: She's officially down to one nap a day, usually from about 12:30-3:00, give or take. I can't remember the last time she did two naps - it was a few weeks ago at least. I'm loving finding her looking all disheveled after a good long nap:

:: The chairs at her little art table in the kitchen become a train almost every morning. I'll be doing breakfast dishes and hear a "Choo-choooo!" warning from behind me, and then a chair slams into my calves. Rowan lines them up behind me and brings her babies over for a ride on the train.

:: She has an exceedingly cooperative personality, but she's finally learning to stand up for herself with other children - a very good thing. Previously, she would just kind of stand there, frozen, if someone else tried to take a toy or push past her. Today, for the first time, she gripped her toy harder and said, "No!" A big step! (That I'll probably resent at times - but I still maintain that "no" is a super-important word for toddlers, and especially for girls.)

:: She's made some gross motor leaps the last two months, too - she can walk down deep stairs without holding on to anything; she can walk down our hardwood stairs just holding on to my hand (she could probably do it alone, but I'm not a huge fan of head injuries, soooo...); she can tackle any slide; and she dribbles balls with her feet while she runs. We're still working on her jump shot, though:

:: If you ask her what Spiderman says, she goes, "Fwhip! Fwhip!" (It's the web-shooting noise, clearly, and she learned it because she loves the Spidermen on J.J.'s pajama pants.)

:: One day, we were getting out of my car, and I was putting her puffy winter jacket on after I unbuckled her from her car seat. I said, "Let's put your coat on, because it's cold outside." Rowan: "Yeah, brrrrr." Me: "Yeah, it's totally brrrrr today." Rowan: "Totally brr?! Totally brr! Totally brr!" Now anything that's cold is "totally brr."

:: Her favorite books right now are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night?, Are You My Mother?, Good Night Michigan, the flash cards from her baby sign language class (she "reads" each one of them out loud), and all of her "Rowan books" - the books we custom-made for her. I'll do a post about those soon, because they're so fun!

:: We went to the first session of our new play group "class" yesterday. It's for kids up to age five, and except for a fourteen-month-old boy, she was the youngest by at least a few months. They did a little circle time at the end, and during one song, all the girls were invited to come in the middle and jump up and down. Rowie can't jump with two feet yet, and I'm not sure I've ever seen anything cuter than her bouncing up and down enthusiastically and grinning her little face off while all the big girls jumped around her. Adorable.

:: Other favorite activities around town these days: Monday toddler storytime at the downtown library branch with the best librarian ever, Miss Laura; open gymnastics time at Gym America; the Hands-On Museum; and Urban Toddler.

:: Slides (pronounced "guys") are her favorite thing to do outside...and inside. She turns EVERYTHING into a slide - the hills on train tracks, the curving leg of the table, my bent legs while I'm sitting on the floor, the edge of her high chair tray, EVERYTHING - for either her baby dolls, her cars, or her little Lego figures. Or for herself.

:: She's developed a totally endearing snort-laugh when she's being tickled or chased.

:: She loves to help J.J. check his blood sugar. All you have to do is say, "Do you want to help Daddy check his blood?" and she bolts over to the kitchen and plops down on the floor, ready to help. J.J.'s been a Type I diabetic since he was seven, and I'm pretty sure Rowan knows the steps for checking his blood sugar better than I do at this point.

:: She also helps Daddy make his "hot-hot" (coffee) in the Keurig and knows every step for that, too. And? She pretends that her toy mixer (from the 80s) is a Keurig. For real:

:: Ever since the weather warmed up, you can't get this girl inside. She insists on going for "walk-walks," and she'll request that you bring either her little bike or her stroller. Then she'll direct you to the park: "That way, that way, that way, that way." God forbid you have to go a different way besides whatever direction "that way" happens to be. And she looooves splashing in puddles:

So that's my girl at one and a half. She gets sweeter every day, and every day I clutch her close and give thanks that I get to be home with her. Like, I clutch her really close. And tell her I'm going to squeeze her right up and turn her into fresh-squeezed Rowie juice and then drink her up. #TopicsForHerFutureTherapy #SorryRowan #ButAlsoSorryNotSorry

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

file under: phrases of shivery death.

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I once wrote a whole blog post about my YES words and NO words. I'll wait a minute while you go read it, and then another minute while you shake your head slowly and say, "Duuuuude." (There's a reason I prefaced those lists with the descriptor "idiosyncratic and weird-ass glory.")

Well, it turns out that there can be YES and NO phrases, too - including one that I run across all. the. time, and am about to use. Repeatedly.


There. I said it. Pop of color. I've said it lots of times before, actually, because I looove pops of color in decorating. I just hate the phrase so much that I almost didn't want to write about the playroom progress, because the next stage is, inevitably, incorporating pops of color.

As you can see, painting status is: done! I spent the last week or so painting in chunks of an hour here, a couple hours there. It's the longest I've ever taken to paint a room - although, to be fair, it's kind of two rooms: the entryway (small area, but intricate brush work) and the playroom itself (large area, lots of cutting in, but then slapping the majority of the paint on with a big ol' roller). It helped that (a) J.J. had a few days off work last week, so he could be with Rowan while I painted, and (b) I skipped a lot of my usual painting steps. I didn't prime, which meant only two coats total instead of three; and instead of emptying out the whole room, I just moved furniture away from whatever wall I was working on. Oh! It was also much easier to follow the sharp lines made by our pro painter than to create new ones to hide the mistakes of the previous owners' paint jobs, and gray is a lot more forgiving than, say, bright freakin' yellow, if you happen to end up with a wobbly paint line here and there.

Speaking of gray - I changed my mind about the shade of gray I wanted after remembering how the color in Rowan's room (Benjamin Moore's Abalone) looks lavender sometimes. That's fine in a small bedroom, but I wasn't sure how I'd like that in a main room. Kind of on a whim, I went with Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl (color-matched to zero-VOC Valspar paint from Lowe's). I like it - a lot - but it's a little lighter than I wanted, and a little bluer. Hoping it looks more right after the room is put back together. And for the record? It takes EXACTLY ONE GALLON to paint the entryway and playroom. Like, you will be squeeeeezing every drop out of that roller to cover the last few square feet of wall, and nope, you won't have any left over for touch-ups down the road. Exactly one gallon.

Anyway! Now that the painting is done, it's time for...BILLY!

Grainy pics courtesy of dim evening light. Sorry 'bout it.
I picked up two Billy bookcases and a white Not-Expedit (I can't remember what they changed the name of the old Expedit bookcases to) from Ikea this past weekend, all with Craigslist cash from basement junk. (Still need to update you on the basement, too!) The bookcases are the easiest things I've ever assembled from Ikea...took about a half hour each.

But. Right now?

Everything has slowed to a halt. See, I thought it would look great to incorporate a (...wait for it...) pop of color by painting the backs of the Billys. Actually, if I'm totally honest, one of the things that motivated me to paint the playroom gray was that I wanted the pop of color in the bookcases to look great, and nothing was really jiving with the brown when I pictured it in my head. With the gray, though, the options are endless.

I wanted to pull something from the playroom rug, which led me to purple initially - like a deep violet. It's unique and unexpected. But I'm not changing out the record-frame installation I already have over the piano, and I think purple might clash with the orangey-red. UNLESS IT'S THE RIGHT SHADE OF PURPLE?! I don't know. My other thought was to go with a deep peacock blue, which makes total sense - there's already a turquoise/peacock theme going on in there:

My main detractor is that I use blue everywherrrrre in my house. Everywhere. Seriously:




So, on the one hand, blue might be overdone in my house. On the other hand, it makes it easier to swap out pillows, art, and decor from one room to the other. And on the other other hand, I love blue. It's my favorite color. And that bright, light turquoise shade I have everywhere is, like, my spirit color. (FYI, wanton use of the phrase "spirit animal" jettisons it right to the top of my NO phrase list.)

I decided to go ahead and build the Billys to see how they looked in the playroom, and then choose a color for the backings. Good thing I did...because I think I totally changed my mind about the method of popping in some color. My friend Bethy (a legit artist and graphic designer) threw a surprise alternative into the mix: bins as the pop of color. Picture me running into the playroom, staring at the bookcases, and slapping my forehead. YES! Duh! Bins as the pop of color! The whole point of the bookcases is to add extra storage, primarily for toys, which means we'll need something to corral them. We've been using brown fabric bins from Target so far...

...and it makes perfect sense to swap those out for some colorful ones and call it a day. And if the bins don't make the right impact, my mother-in-law had the perfect solution - covering cardboard cut-outs with fabric, paint, or wallpaper and just inserting them in the backs of the bookcases. Great! Lots of options, all of which can be decided on at a later point.


I can't. Get motivated. To finish. ANYTHING.

After a few weeks of chipping away at basement tasks once the crawl space was encapsulated, I powered through a week of painting, cleaning, and assembling in the playroom. Aaand then I took a day off from house updates because I literally didn't have ten minutes to spare throughout that day or night. And now? I'm stuck. I still need to:

  • Anchor the Billys to the wall (ASAP, because right now Rowan isn't allowed anywhere near them, since they're huge tipping hazards) - I was waiting to anchor them in case I wanted to paint the backs (nixed) or cut out holes to expose the outlets behind the bookcases (also nixed, I think)...and because I have a pathological aversion to searching for wall studs (yes, even with a stud finder)
  • Add height extenders to the bookcases, which will bring them almost to the ceiling...unless I decide to do a display shelf all the way across the wall?!
  • Figure out what, if anything, I'll do to make the Billys look more built in (add base trim, add trim to close the gap between the bookcases and the wall, add crown moulding)
  • Re-hang the artwork and guitars in the playroom, although I can't figure out where any of that's going to go quite yet
  • Assemble the new white Not-Expedit and decide whether it's going in the playroom (to replace the current brown Expedit) or the basement (to replace the current rotting work bench, which needs to be deconstructed and disposed of)
  • Hang curtains of some sort in the basement to close off the crawl space view
  • Oh, yeah, and figure out a hanging solution for those Instagram pics in the stairwell!

This is always the most annoying part of house updates - the middle. All your stuff is shoved in corners and on beds and in boxes, just waiting to be re-homed; there are random paintbrushes and screwdrivers still lurking on shelves; you used up all your excitement getting the first phase of the project done, and it turns out that was the easy phase; and every time you walk into the room to finish up, seriously for real this time, you get overwhelmed by how much still has to be done. So you meander away, probably to curl up somewhere soft and warm and stocked with Cadbury Eggs.

With that said: I hereby promise to complete Step One of Phase Two (build the height extenders & anchor the Billys) the next time I can hammer without waking up any babies. Friday? Maybe? Hopefully? I bet it'll help if I ignore the pop of color issue for now...and check out my playroom Pinterest board and remember why in the world I started this project, anyway. That, and eat more Cadbury Eggs. FOR ENERGY, guys. Obviously.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

sorry, not sorry.

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We all have moments (or months) of doubting ourselves and our parenting actions, right? You missed the big soccer game or the toddler fell out of his crib or we used the TV as a baby-sitter - again…you know what I’m talking about.

But there’s a flip side to that guilt: the sorry-not-sorrys of parenting. These are choices you make that you know some people would chastise you for, but that you just don't feel guilty about. Things like ate ice cream for dinner last night, or still uses a bottle at age two. It got me thinking: What are the choices I make as a mom that I'm so not sorry about? There are lots of things that I could probably convince myself to feel guilty about, or that someone else could criticize me for, if given the chance - but that I'm actually totally comfortable with.

It's a good exercise for parents to do, I think, because it's just so easy to get caught up in the guilt vortex, or to lose yourself in comparisons to someone else’s carefully-curated Instagram life. And, because, let's face it, there's always something to feel guilty about when you're in charge of growing and socializing a human freakin' being. So why not celebrate the choices, purposeful ones and accidental ones alike, that shape your parenting style?

Here are seven of my "Sorry-Not-Sorry"s:

  1. I let Rowan play in her crib when she wakes up from a nap for as long as we're both happy. I'll go up if she starts crying, but otherwise? Nah. What's the harm in letting her play happily, safely, and independently for a half hour (or longer)?
  2. EVEN THOUGH pacifiers were on my unofficial "I'll never" list before I had kids, she uses them for naps and nights, and I'm in no rush to wean her from them.
  3. I plan to wait as long as possible before potty training with Rowan. I was a preschool teacher. I've dealt with the effects of training kids too early. It's not pretty, people. And I bet it's even less pretty when you don't have a few co-teachers to corral the kids away from the accident, and grab clean clothes for you, and laugh about it with later. Sure, we have a little training potty chilling in the bathroom for her to explore and become familiar with, but the longer I can postpone official potty training (and the inevitable public potty accidents), the better.
  4. I'm still pretty anti-character in general, meaning I try to limit the effects of mass marketing in our household. I don't want Mickey Mouse or Winnie the Pooh on every damn thing she owns. But? The girl loves Elmo and Spiderman. And I love watching her love them. So it goes.
  5. She has the same thing for lunch pretty much every day: a cheese sandwich, a yogurt & veggie pouch, and fresh fruits or veggies. Her diet overall offers a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients, so I'm not feeling bad about the fact that we kind of fell into a lunch rut. I make it easily, she eats it happily, and it cuts down the number of daily meal decisions I need to make by a third. Win.
  6. Speaking of those pouches - I know they're expensive and supposedly not good for teeth, but since Rowan doesn't walk around sucking on one (or a sippy cup, for that matter - both of those are confined to sitting down for a snack or meal), and since they're chock-full of healthy fruits, veggies, and grains, and since they're convenient as hell...yeah. Sorry, not sorry.
  7. I'm not ready to add to our family crew yet. All three of us are thriving and happy. We're satisfied with not rocking the boat for the time being.

What are some of your Sorry-Not-Sorrys? And I'm not talking about humble-brags, like, "Sorry-not-sorry that my child speaks seven languages, even though that will make him stand out," or, "Sorry-not-sorry that I sometimes allow my daughter to binge on fresh organic spinach from our backyard garden." I mean confessing the un-confessions, the things you know Ms. Sanctimommy down the street gives you the side-eye for. Spill! And in spilling, know that someone else is reading your Sorry-Not-Sorry and nodding her head in understanding and connection.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

happy birthday, dear J.J.

Happy birthday to you...

Happy birthday to you...

Happy birthday, dear Dada...

Happy birthday to you! We hope 34 is your best year ever. Thanks for making my baby and me the happiest girls I know, as evidenced below.

(And P.S....Yes, the painting started! Woo! And not with the shade of gray that I was SO SURE about. Of course.)


Monday, March 16, 2015

oops, I did it again.

I was daydreaming about potential Billy bookcases in the playroom again today, since I've officially sold enough junk from the basement to buy new ones from Ikea, and I kept getting tripped up on something as I re-read my post about the room.

Can you guess what it is?

How about now? Seeing it yet?

This picture will DEFINITELY give it away...

It's the paint color. 


Paint is supposed to be such an easy thing to switch out in a room, but ughhh, the thought of taking everything off the walls...and moving the rug and the furniture...and cutting in around the windows and the doorframes and the staircase...blechhh. So not my cup of tea these days, especially since a certain member of my household is wont to running into walls, wet paint or not.

But I can't ignore that hue anymore. I really liked it at first (obviously, considering I...chose it), but I'm not feeling it these days. I don't like the way it plays with everything else in the room, and the shade is too dark, too moody, and too reminiscent of grody stuff...like mud. Or poop.

So I kept staring at those pictures on my computer and decided to go take a look around the room. JUST a look. A look never hurt anyone, right?


Hmm...those blinds aren't as hard to remove as I thought they were. That part of painting the room wouldn't be so bad. And...oh...look how the room just divides itself into convenient little chunks that could be tackled during naptime! Huh. And...you know...I don't think I'd have to prime, since the room was professionally painted just a few years ago. And...hey...I really do love the color of Rowan's bedroom --

-- and the leftover paint from her bedroom is in a handy little mason jar down in the basement --

-- and...okay. Maybe a few test patches happened.


J.J. is home from work today, but he was out on a run when the testing happened. There are four large-ish patches. He's been back from his run for a half hour and hasn't noticed them yet. That's probably good, since he's likely to try talking me out of it. J.J. is kind of against painting this room, which I get:

  1. I am unbearable when I'm trying to choose a paint color. Eleventy jillion test patches, none of which is The Right and Perfect Shade, and then I ask him for his opinion, which is always wrong, even if he chooses the one I was favoring. Yeah. I know. It's not my best quality.
  2. I do the painting myself (because control freak), but he has to help with some furniture moving, which is never fun, especially after you've been at an emotionally-draining job all day and then run the toddler-bedtime gauntlet and just want to SIT for two seconds.
  3. Having a room in your house being painted - especially the primary room where your toddler hangs out - is generally a giant pain in the ass. 

The wheels are in motion, though. I think it's going to happen. I mean - one of the hardest steps (choosing a paint color) is already taken care of! Gray is SUCH a hard color to nail, but I adore the color I chose for Rowan's room (Benjamin Moore's Abalone). And, come on, why go through the trouble of making over a room (in our case, with the new bookcases) if you're only going to half-ass it, right?


Off to see what J.J. thinks of my plan. (And to scheme about paint colors for the bookcase backings, which will look ten times more awesome in a GRAY room!!)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

pinterest fail: don't put all your lotion in one basket.

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I'm not really sure if Pinterest fail is the right term for what just happened, or if it's just common sense fail. Let's just pretend it's Pinterest's fault, okay? Because I feel like kind of a dumb ass.

I mentioned at the end of my last post that I'd be back "tomorrow" (which was, ahem, yesterday) to talk about "another easy project." Lol. Lololololol! So much for that. My Amazon Prime delivery did come yesterday, right on time, and I tore open the box to find six of these beauties:

Ahh. Cast-iron butterfly drawer pulls (which are no longer available, but here's a reasonable facsimile.) So pretty, and perfect to repurpose as hangers for these:

Twenty-four crisp but inexpensive Instagram prints from Social Print Studio (formerly Printstagram). It was $12 + shipping for all of these square prints, and I ordered them easily through their app on my phone. (And no, I'm not getting paid for mentioning them or anything...just loved using them.) Meanwhile, I was browsing different methods of displaying Instagram photos, and I settled on using them to decorate our stairwell.

Our stairwell is skinny and steep, so I don't think it could handle a visually-heavy display of framed photos, but Instagram prints? Could be perfect. I had found some fun display ideas on Pinterest...

Driftwood Hanger

from here
Because it's been seven stupid degrees here since January, I didn't feel like traipsing through the woods to hunt down the perfect stick - but I did love this idea. Also, it's probably not the best choice for a stairwell, since people are bound to periodically brush up against anything on the walls, and I didn't want to be like, "Hey, come on upstairs, just don't poke your eye out on the tree branch jutting out of the wall."

Simple & Streamlined

from here
I loved this tidy, streamlined arrangement, and does it get any easier than just taping your pictures to the wall? But that number of photos could be overwhelming in my stairwell, and (this may be the only time I ever say this) it was maybe too minimalist for my taste.

Wooden Knobs

from here
Eventually, I stumbled on - and loved - this idea. She used wooden stumps and string, according to the website, but I am currently fresh out of wooden stumps...and any kind of pretty string...so I decided to see if I could find something else. I ran across a few pictures of doorknobs and drawer pulls being used for display (of jewelry, for example), and thought that could look really cool. Drawer pulls! Yes. I remember seeing a bunch of beautiful ones when I was looking for pulls for Rowan's dresser.

I found the butterfly pulls on Amazon after perusing other websites - from Lowe's to Anthropologie - and finding that most pulls, while totally gorgeous and drool-inducing, ring up at, like, $10 a pop. I needed six, and my budget for the project was $0 (with a little wiggle room), so I nixed those knobs and went with the butterfly ones for $15. Still pretty, and much more affordable. The plan was to spend naptime yesterday stringing the photos and marking spots for the pulls, then installing everything after J.J. came home and could supervise Rowan while I power-tooled away.


SO. To start, the stringing of the photos was a pain in my ass. I used fishing line (probably a mistake), and it was unruly and curly and annoying. Also? Not heavy enough to weigh the finished product down, which means the pictures would've fluttered everywhere and turned backwards when people walked by them, which would have driven me cuckoo. So far, not so good.

This method got the job done, though, and I even tested it multiple times by tying the fishing wire to a butterfly knob and holding it up against the wall. It looked so good. Exactly what I was going for, and I fixed the fluttering-backwards issue by taping the bottom picture on the string directly to the wall. (In case you're wondering, yes, at that point I did consider just taping all of them directly to the wall.) I wasn't finished stringing them all by the time naptime was over, so I figured I'd work on it that night. Buuuut J.J. and I went out, and by the time we got back, I wasn't in a crafting kind of mood. Okay! Fine. I'd work on it this morning, after breakfast, when Rowan is usually able to entertain herself for a little while.

And in the light of a new day, my error became apparent.

Did you know (you're going to need a hard hat for this piece of DIY knowledge I'm about to drop on you) that YOU CAN'T JUST SCREW A DRAWER PULL INTO THE WALL?


That's what she said.

Like, SERIOUSLY duhhhh.

Also? ALSO? The pulls, while beautiful, have an unnerving Silence of the Lambs vibe...right?

"It puts the lotion in the basket..." (image from here)

So I'm kind of back at square one. The photos are already strung, but now that the pulls aren't an option, I'm back to ALL the other options. Ribbon? String? Yarn? Fancy tape? Attach them directly to the wall, or hang them from something? Hang them from WHAT? I'm open to suggestions.

I have six strands of pictures, and I hung the first and last columns this morning to map out the screw holes before realizing my mistake. So you can kind of see where I'm going (or was going) with this. Oh, well. Time to figure out a different solution - and return the Silence of the Lambs pulls, which sucks, because I am the worst returner in the world. I procrastinate until it's past the return date, and then I have to beg for sympathy so I can actually return the item, and then I STILL don't return it, and then I finally do and end up with a (rightfully) annoyed salesperson and only a teeny-tiny fraction of the cost being recouped. Usually in store credit. But not enough store credit to actually buy anything.

Anyway. File this one in the Pinterest Fail folder! Lesson learned: Don't put all your lotion in one basket...i.e., don't hang your entire project on one half-thought-through concept. Or on anything that can't actually be installed on a wall. I'll be searching for new options tomorrow. 

(On Pinterest, probably, even though that's how I got into this mess.)

(Definitely on Pinterest.)


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