Harper’s dresser makeover

I’ve been getting a lot of questions via email and some comments about Harper’s dresser and how I painted it. I decided to do my best to write up a more detailed tutorial about the dresser and it’s transformation.

how to paint a dresser

I knew I wanted a French Provincial style dresser. I finally found one via Craigslist at a vintage furniture store about half an hour away. It’s a fairly petite dresser (dimensions 19″ deep, 46″ wide, and 29″ high), so I had no problems fitting it in my rav4 with the middle seats folded down. The color I picked was Sweet Pea (Olympic ONE brand in satin finish from Lowe’s, which is acrylic paint with a built in primer). A quart of paint was more than enough.

It was the middle of winter, so I painted up in our loft (it’s open, so very well ventilated) with a fan and used an old comforter as a drop cloth. First, I took out all the drawers and removed the hardware. I put the hardware and screws in a ziplock baggie so I wouldn’t lose anything. The second thing I did was get a bowl of warm, soapy water (I just used dawn dish soap) and a rag, and wiped everything down. I just wanted to get all the grease off from years of finger prints, etc. Since this dresser already had a painted finish, I figured soapy water would be enough. If it had been a wood or shinier finish, I would suggest using a liquid deglosser to wipe it with instead. Then I turned the dresser upside down (since I wanted to paint the top last).

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Next I took my angled brush (this one is my all-time favorite) and painted all the crevices and areas I knew I wouldn’t be able to use a roller on (like the ornate feet, corners, etc). Right after that I used a small foam roller on all the flat surfaces. Tip: use the roller as much as possible for the smoothest finish.

It took about two coats of paint with the angled brush, etc, waiting about a day between coats. Then it took probably three coats on the flat parts with the roller. This is because the foam roller puts on very thin coats. After this I let it dry another day then turned the dresser right-side up and painted the top. I let it dry another day and put the hardware back on. Here’s the picture I took shortly after finishing the nursery:

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It’s been over a year, and the paint job is holding up really well. I was afraid the top would scratch or chip with the changing pad and diaper caddy on top of it, but it’s still looking great! Here are a few pictures I just snapped with my iPhone to show you how it looks after a year of using it every day. The quality is not the greatest, and the lighting is artificial since we have the windows blacked-out, but it’s enough to give you an idea.

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So for those of you looking for some answers about how I painted this dresser, I hope that helps! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other questions. :)

My favorite items for baby #2

We are in that phase of life where many friends have recently had a baby, or are expecting a baby. Preparing for the second baby is in many ways easier, because you have the essential baby gear and feel like you kind of know to expect. However that second baby can feel like exponentially more work since you have a toddler to chase around (definitely not a linear relationship). I thought I’d share some items we found to be the most helpful during the transition from one child to two.

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1. Nursery camera – we use this in lieu of a video baby monitor. We have a baby monitor we use for sound and temperature, then we use this Foscam to see what they are up to in their cribs. There’s an app you download onto your smartphone and can access from anywhere. Of course, we use it a lot at home, but it’s also nice to be able to see if they are napping while we are at work.

2. Baby Carrier – two words: hands free. Grocery shopping, family walks, playing at the park, getting through the airport, etc. I like the Boba 4G because it is super comfy, comes with an infant insert and sunshade, has handy pockets, and even has a little strap that snaps to secure your diaper ba

3.  Backpack diaper bag – because you will need both arms for wrangling infant car seats, holding toddler’s hand, etc. Bonus points for one that’s not ugly. I used to clip my diaper bag onto the cart/stroller, but found with a sit and stand stroller (see #6 below) that the diaper bag would hit Noah in the face if I clipped it on the handlebar. So having a bag that could convert to a backpack became a must. I love this Petunia Pickle Bottom bag more than words can say. It doesn’t show dirt, has a pretty quilted texture, and holds a ton of stuff. The backpack straps slip inside a pocket when not in use so it just looks like a cute tote bag. It stands up by itself when you set it down. I could go on and on.

4. Baby swing – Because you won’t have the time or energy to carry baby #2 around all hours of the day. A swing will free up your arms (see a theme here?). We would swaddle Harper and put her in the swing with a pacifier when she would get fussy. It usually helped her fall asleep, and we would then turn it off to save batteries and also give her more restful sleep. Lifesaver.

5.  Sit ‘n Stand stroller – this Joovy stroller is the lightest double stroller on the market. It has a Universal car seat adapter so you can plop the infant car seat right in it. Your older child will love being able to sit, stand, and hop on and off when they want. The back bench also converts to a seat if you just want a tandem double stroller. When the baby gets older you can snap on the snack tray in place of the car seat adapter. The huge canopy  and parent console are also convenient. Not to mention it’s also a total bargain for a double stroller.

6. White noise machine – I could quote Happiest Baby on the Block and talk about the benefits of white noise to recreate the womb for a newborn, but the reality is you need to mask noise while baby sleeps. This isn’t always easy when you have a toddler running wild through the house. The Dohme white sound machine is nice because instead of playing a recording on a loop, it just sounds like a fan. You can adjust it to be louder or softer.

Honorable mentions: We have used this sleep book as a guide with both kids, who now both nap well and sleep soundly at night (*knock on wood*). I also got good use out of my nursing cover since we were out and about a lot more with the second baby. And I know the Boppy pillow makes it onto every baby gear list out there, but for good reason. What can’t you use that thing for?

I hope this list can be of some use to mamas out there expecting their second baby. And for mamas of more than one I’d love to hear: what items you found most helpful?

Easter baskets

I’m looking forward to Easter this weekend. It has always been one of my favorite holidays (as Blake says, “Hard to top Christ rising from the dead”), but having kids means I can once again get (shamelessly) excited about Easter baskets. This is actually the first year I’ve done an Easter basket for Noah, and of course I had to put one together for Harper, too.

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Noah is your typical guy. He likes what he likes, and he’s not changing his mind. In his case, he loves anything with wheels. I bought him Red the Firetruck for his Cars collection, as well as some car stickers. I also threw in a Cars magna doodle, an Easter book, and a bunny sippy cup.

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For Harper’s basket I was inspired by the upcoming wedding of my brother-in-law. His fiancé told me their main color was lavender, but one of her bridesmaids was wearing mint and another was wearing pink. You know how much I love mint green, and the thought of lavender and mint together makes me swoon. Not pictured is the mint and lavender headband I ordered her off Etsy. I also got her an Easter book, a sippy cup, and some heart sunnies – because they were too cute to pass up. Here’s a picture of her cute little Easter dress (also for the wedding) that I can’t wait to see her in on Sunday.

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I hope you all have a wonderful Easter! Last week in Sunday School Noah made a palm leaf, which he has been waving around and shouting “Hosanna!” so we are getting in the spirit of things here.

 

 

Harper’s 1st birthday

Last weekend we celebrated our sweet little Harper’s first birthday and also had her baby dedication. Blake’s parents, brother and sister-in-law came from Kansas. My parents, aunt and uncle were also there. We also had some friends and neighbors join us as well. That day I felt like everything was as it should be – our home was full of family and friends, our bellies were full of good food, and our hearts were overflowing with love. Cheesy as that may sound, it was true and I could not have been happier.

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suddenlyinspired | pink gold black twinkle little star birthday party dessert table

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My mom did an amazing job decorating the cakes. I sent her some Pinterest pictures, and she totally nailed it.

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I had fun decorating the dessert table. The colors were pink, gold, and black, with a star theme.

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I also couldn’t resist making a little party hat and decorating the chalkboard.

bday hattwinkle twinkle little star you've grown so much and come so far birthday chalkboard

Sunday morning was church and Harper’s baby dedication. I had to write down the words I wanted to say because I get nervous talking in front of people and was feeling emotional about everything. I feel like ever since having kids I cry at the drop of a hat. Blake totally winged his portion of it, and he did great. That sums up a lot of our relationship – me diligently planning and he breezing through effortlessly. It used to drive me nuts when we were in college, but I’ve come to appreciate how good he is at life. Our church family has been so supportive and really lifted us up in a time of need when Harper was born prematurely. It was a special moment to stand before them and dedicate our child and reflect on God’s grace.

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Good things. Then after church we headed to Five Guys to stuff our faces.

Cream cheese spritz cookies

It’s not often that I dedicate an entire post to one recipe, but this one is definitely worthy. Last week I made the most amazing spritz cookies. The magic ingredient: crack cream cheese.

Blake told me never to make them again unless we plan to give them all away, because neither one of us could refrain from sneaking several one every time we were in the kitchen. And I don’t even have a sweet tooth! I used this great recipe I came across on Pinterest and did just a few things differently.

cream cheese spritz cookies recipe || suddenly inspired blog

Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. margarine
4oz cream cheese
1 c. sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour, sifted

Let butter, margarine, and cream cheese sit at room temperature awhile to soften. Cream butter, margarine, cream cheese. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Slowly mix in flour. Use a cookie press to place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar (optional) and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes or until just before they turn brown on bottom. These cookies taste amazing if they are left a little bit soft.

The original recipe recommended chilling the dough overnight, but aint nobody got time for that I found that (for me) they came out of the cookie press much easier when I didn’t chill the dough. I also used parchment paper, which makes cooling and clean up much easier.

After cookies have cooled a bit, shovel several into your mouth before another family member comes and devours them all. Bon appétit.

Cloth diapering essentials

This is our second round of cloth diapering, and we are still loving our BumGenius diapers. We primarily use cloth on Harper when we are at home, with the exception of using Pampers Baby Dry diapers for overnight. We also use disposable diapers when we are away from home for convenience.

Since I get a lot of questions on using cloth diapers from friends, I thought it would be nice to share more specifics. Here are the things we use:

cloth diapering essentials | must have items and tips for using cloth diapers

cloth diapers / bamboo diaper inserts / diaper sprayer / laundry detergent
wet bag / diaper pail liner /  diaper pail

Choosing a diaper

There were three main types of cloth diapers we considered: pocket, all-in-ones, and fitted.
Pockets are a waterproof outer layer with a pocket; an absorbent insert fits into the pocket.
All-in-ones have a built in insert that is not removable.
Fitted diapers are an absorbent (but not waterproof) diaper that requires putting on a separate waterproof cover.

We ultimately decided to to with the pocket design for a couple of reasons.
Reason #1: You can “customize” the absorbency by doubling up on the inserts or changing the type of insert. For example, our diapers came with microfiber inserts, but we switched to bamboo inserts to increase the absorbency. (We also double up on the bamboo inserts.)
Reason #2: They are easier to clean. Because you can pull the insert out and spray off the shell, the diaper doesn’t soak up a lot of water and get “soggy.” They dry faster than all-in-ones because they inserts can be removed and dried separately.

After doing some research, BumGenius 4.0 seemed to get the best reviews. They’re adjustable to fit babies size 8 lb – 35 lb with two different sized inserts – one for newborns and a larger one for bigger babies. As an added bonus they come in fun colors and cute prints. We used them for about a year with Noah and loved them, and have been loving them again this second go around with Harper.

Cleaning/Laundering

This is the part that is most intimidating to people, but honestly it isn’t that bad. Investing in a waterproof diaper pail liner, the right detergent, and having a decent washing machine certainly makes things go more smoothly.

Wet diapers – we pull the insert out of the diaper cover, then toss both the insert and the diaper cover in the diaper pail. It’s as easy as that.

Dirty diapers – we still pull out the insert and toss it in the diaper pail. We then take the dirty diaper cover (the outer shell of the diaper) to the toilet and spray off the mess with the BumGenius diaper sprayer. After the diaper cover has been sprayed off, we put it in a wet bag (waterproof, zippered cloth bag) that we keep in the bathroom to avoid carrying a dripping wet diaper on back to the nursery.

We use this Dekor diaper pail, which does a great job at preventing any odors from escaping and has a nice large opening to allow the diapers to pass through. We also use a cloth diaper pail liner (we have two of these), which comes in handy since you can just toss them in the wash with the diapers.

To launder the diapers, we just take the diaper-filled liner out of the pail and empty it into our washing machine (as well as the wet bag with the dirty diapers from the bathroom). The diaper pail liner also gets tossed in with the rest of the load. We wash on sanitary cycle (extra hot water) with the soil level set to medium-high, and add in an extra rinse at the end of the cycle to get them extra clean. After trying a few different detergents, I can’t say enough good things about how well Rock N Green works. I only use a rounded tablespoon of this powdered detergent, and it does an amazing job of not only cleaning the diapers, but also maintaining their absorbency. I initially balked at the price, but one bag of it lasts us over five months since we only use it for diapers. Good stuff.

Once the wash cycle is done, we air dry the diaper covers by draping them over the side of the laundry basket (they usually dry within a few hours in our dry Colorado air). We throw the inserts in the dryer. The only downside to having super absorbent bamboo inserts is that they do take a bit longer to dry, but throwing a few towels in seems to help toss them around so they dry a little more quickly. After everything is dry, we stuff the inserts back into the pockets of the diaper covers. This is a little time consuming, but it only takes a few minutes to get them all done.

And that’s pretty much it! A little wordy, I know, but I hope this information can be useful to those considering cloth.

Preemie essentials (for bringing home baby)

Bringing home your preemie is exciting but nerve-wracking. After spending all that time watching the NICU monitors alerting every episode of bradycardia and apnea, you feel a bit anxious about “unhooking” your baby. The important thing I kept reminding myself was that they would not be sending my baby home if she wasn’t fully capable of breathing by herself and regulating her own heartbeat. Here are some of the things we found most helpful in the first weeks at home with Harper.

preemie essentials top ten must have items1. I mentioned Dr. Brown’s bottles in my NICU essentials post. It was what our nurses recommended for reducing reflux, and Harper never did have an issue with reflux or spitting up. 4oz bottles will be plenty big in the beginning. Harper started on a preemie nipple when she was first learning to take a bottle, but by the time she was discharged she had graduated to a level 1 nipple..

2. You will likely need to fortify bottles if you had a preemie, even if you are breastfeeding. We used Similac Neosure (there is also Enfamil or whatever your doctor recommends).

3. A multivitamin with iron was recommended to us by our NICU docs and pediatrician. Preemies don’t have enough stores of certain vitamins and minerals like a full term infant, and therefore need a daily multivitamin.

4. Dr. Brown bottle warmer. This is my absolute favorite bottle warmer. It’s digital, which makes it super easy to set an accurate time to warm different volumes of milk. We’ve tried the Munchkin brand as well, but it doesn’t compare to this one.

5. Microwave sterilizer – so awesome and easy to use. We use it to sterilize bottles, pump parts, pacifiers, teething toys, etc. Keeping germs at bay is essential with a preemie, especially in those early weeks at home.

6. Angelcare monitor. Honestly any baby monitor will do, but due to the aforementioned apprehension we wanted this one to alert us if she were to stop breathing.

7. Breastmilk storage bags. If you are breastfeeding, it may take quite some time for your preemie to catch up to your supply. This means you will need to freeze and store a lot of milk. My favorite are the Lansinoh because they freeze relatively flat. (I found the Medela bags to be bulky, even after removing all the air.) The thinner, flatter Lansinoh bags stacked well in a drawer (a shoe box also works well) in the freezer. I put my newest milk in the back which makes it easy to take the older milk from the front.

8. Hand sanitizer. Baby is leaving the safety bubble of the NICU, and entering the real world. It’s ok to ask well meaning friends and family to sanitize their hands before touching or holding your babe. They know what you’ve been through and they won’t be offended.

9. Preemie sized diapers. Our developmental therapists said it was important to have the appropriate size diaper so you don’t spread their hip bones. For many preemies being discharged, even newborn diapers may be too big.

10. Swaddleme infant wrap. Preemies get used to being swaddled in the NICU to give them that snug feeling of being in the womb. A SwaddleMe or Halo sleep sack works well.  We preferred the SwaddleMe in the warmer summer months because it was thinner cotton and didn’t seem quite as warm. They also run a little small, so Harper fit well in the small/medium size even though she was only 6.5lbs when we brought her home.

Other thoughts:
There were a lot of doctor’s appointments in the early weeks at home. Because Harper came home on oxygen, it was a bit bulky lugging around her oxygen tank, a diaper bag, and car seat. Having a stroller that the car seat snaps into made it easier to get from the car to the doctor’s office (especially with a toddler also in tow). Also, people love babies. Rightly so – they are precious! I never thought I’d be that mom that didn’t want people touching her baby, but with a preemie susceptible to germs, you just can’t be too careful. I found a car seat canopy to be helpful in discouraging any unwanted contact, and as an added bonus, shielding Harper from unexpected coughs and sneezes. Before bringing Harper home I also stocked up on saline spray, mylecon, and baby Tylenol in addition to the other baby hygiene essentials.

I felt anything but prepared to care for my sweet baby girl without the aid of our wonderful nurses and doctors. However, we made it through the transition (by the grace of God!), and each week got a little easier. My goal is not to give advice, but to share our experience in hopes that it may be helpful. I was certainly grateful to everyone who shared their NICU story with us during this time!

* You can find my NICU essentials post here.

NICU essentials

Having a baby in the NICU was something we were not at all prepared for. I’ve been approached by friends with loved ones in similar situations and asked if there were any items I found useful while Harper was in the hospital. I rounded up the things I thought were helpful to serve as a reference. Having a baby in the NICU is tough, but having these things can at least make you feel a bit more comfortable during this time.

NICU top ten essentials must haves

1. It was several weeks before Harper was able to start breastfeeding, and even then she didn’t take much milk. The first thing I did after being discharged from the hospital (besides going to see my baby girl) was rent a hospital grade pump. It was recommended by my lactation consultant to establish and keep up my supply while exclusively pumping. I used a Medela Symphony. They had some available for use at the hospital, but I needed one to keep at home as well. I already owned a Medela Pump in Style, which I kept in Harper’s cubicle at the hospital to make pumping a little more convenient (that way I didn’t need to worry if all the hospital pumps were in use). The hospital where I delivered and the NICU both supplied me with extra pump accessories. This is so important because it cuts back on how many times you have to wash and sterilize the pump parts.

2. Since I was hooking myself up to my pump every few hours, making it as easy as possible was imperative (for my sanity). By using this Easy Expressions bustier, I was able to use my hands to surf the web, check my social media, read, write thank yous, etc. Being able to do something to pass the time made pumping *slightly* more palatable. By the way, I got mine in white so I could bleach the milk stains out of it.

3. Harper didn’t start bottle feeding until about the last week she was there, and the NICU provided her first bottle. However, they recommended Dr. Brown’s bottles with a preemie flow nipple. Preemies are more prone to reflux, and Dr. Brown’s bottles are good for reducing that as much as possible. We had used Avent bottles with Noah (and use them now with Harper), but in the beginning, the Dr. Browns bottle were great. Even if you plan on exclusively feeding your baby breastmilk, you will still need to fortify some of the breastmilk with formula and give it by bottle.

4. A cooler bag with an ice pack is a must-have for transporting breastmilk from home to the hospital. The NICU provided a decent-sized Medela one, but having a cute one makes it a little more enjoyable, plus it can double as a lunchbag or daycare bottle bag later. As far as milk storage goes, the NICU provided me with small plastic bottles called snappies to store my milk in, along with labels to record the date and time. Preemies don’t need much milk compared to what you are pumping, so make use of the NICU’s freezer to store it. I ended up donating quite a bit of mine to Mother’s Milk Bank since there was no way Harper could use it all before it expired.

5. Sterilizing pump parts is a must. I quickly learned how important being sanitary was to protect a vulnerable preemie from germs and sickness. I washed and sterilized my pump parts after every use. At home I used my Avent microwave steam sterilizer (super easy to use), but when on the go I used a Medela microwave steam bag. The NICU provided a couple of the Medela bags, and they are reusable up to 20 times.

6. I checked out several books about preemies from my local library, and found The Preemie Primer to be the most helpful one. The author, Jennifer Gunter, is an OB-GYN who delivered her triplets at 22 and 26 weeks, and gives a lot of insight to the healthcare system and explains a lot about the health and development of a preemie.

7. Between the frequent pumping, practicing nursing, and the kangaroo care, being comfortable is a must. These Basic Stella nursing bras are so comfy, and easy to slip on and off for pumping. These Be Maternity camisoles from Target were awesome for kangaroo care. I would actually lay Harper on my chest and then pull the camisole over her to keep her warm and snug. As an added bonus, they are really smooth to the touch, which made infant massage a lot easier during her developmental therapy sessions.. I had three from my maternity wardrobe, and always kept one at the hospital.

8. A journal or notebook was handy to have. I kept a daily log of Harper’s progress, including weight gain and other milestones. I also used it to jot down other thoughts and record her birth story while it was still fresh in my memory.

9. It was awhile before Harper could wear preemie clothing. They had little kimono style jackets they would put on her. This was due in part to her small size and also because she had to have a stable temperature before she could wear clothes. The NICU had a lot of preemie outfits, but I also brought a few from home because I was excited to dress my little girl. Ideally the clothing should have snaps and open feet to accommodate all the leads and the pulse-ox on baby’s foot. I also didn’t like slipping anything over her head because we had to remove her oxygen cannula each time. Hats help keep baby warm (plus they’re super cute). Toward the end of Harper’s stay they started using sleep sacks instead of all the NICU bedding. I got Harper a preemie sized Halo swaddle sleep sack to use at home. Swaddling helps give preemies containment that makes them feel safe, and keeps their limbs in a more flexed position at midline, like they would have been in utero.

10. Staying hydrated is a must when nursing, and the NICU only allowed closed/covered drink containers. They also had an ice and water machine, which I made good use of, but I would take my favorite cocktail of ginger ale and cranberry juice in an insulated tumbler.

I’ll discuss some other points worth considering as well. Before you can bring baby home, you will need to have an appropriate car seat. If your baby is very small, you may need to buy one with a very small weight limit. We already had a Graco Snugride 35 car seat that we used for Noah (accommodating 5-35lbs). Fortunately Harper fit in it just fine and passed her car seat challenge (90 minutes in the car seat with stable oxygen and heart rate)  – she was about 6.5 lbs when she came home, but they send babies home much smaller than that. For extremely little babies you may need to get a special car bed.

If your baby is born during flu season, be sure to inquire about Synagis shots to protect against RSV. They may be covered by insurance depending on birthweight and other risk factors. Also ask your hospital social worker about Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is a government program that provides assistance to some at risk babies. They will send you a monthly check while your baby is in the hospital, but the biggest benefit is that if your baby qualifies for SSI, then he/she may also get Medicaid benefits, depending on what state you’re in (which can help reduce costs tremendously even if you have private insurance). Also ask your social worker if your baby qualifies for the Early Intervention program. This is a free program for at risk babies through age three which will provide access to occupational therapists, physical/developmental therapists, and other professionals.

Other practical points to consider: having meals prepared for you, childcare (if there are older siblings) while you are at the hospital, professional house cleaning service, car detailing service, are all extremely helpful. Gift cards to restaurants nearby the hospital also came in handy. Don’t be afraid to accept help when people offer, as difficult as it may be to swallow your pride.

If you are going to have a lengthy stay, some pictures or simple decorations around the baby’s cubicle can add a personal touch and make it feel less sterile. Our nurses did a great job of making cute little signs with Harper’s handprints and footprints. I also kept a few granola bars in my bag along with my wallet, because you never know when you will become ravenously hungry or if you may need to stay at the hospital longer than anticipated. Usually a snack would get me by, but I ate my fair share of meals in the cafeteria there as well.

I hope this is useful advice for anyone going through a NICU experience or who has a loved one in that situation. Please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me if you have any other questions! I’m working on another post to share the most helpful items we had in the early days at home with Harper.

* Update: You can find my Preemie essentials post here.

Coffee table chalk paint makeover

I bought this Pottery Barn coffee table on Craigslist shortly after we moved into our house. While the table is sturdy and well built, the finish wasn’t in very good shape when I brought it home. Over the years it has taken more of a beating with a toddler who loves to bang it with a toy hammer and run his Hot Wheels all over it.

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I came across this awesome tutorial from Dear Lillie on Pinterest. Ironically enough, it was for the exact same table, so I knew it would work. I followed the directions, making just a few small modifications.

1. We used Klean Strip stripper to remove the dark varnish from the top only. Just brush it on, wait about 30 minutes, and scrape it off. Like the tutorial, it took 2-3 applications to fully remove all the finish. The sides and drawers I left as-is, since I would be painting those.

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2. After stripping the top, I sanded it down with a pad sander and 120 grit sandpaper.
3. In the tutorial they stained the top with a walnut stain, but we really liked the natural look of the wood, so I just brushed on two clear coats of polyurethane in a satin finish.

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4. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Paris Grey on the bottom part of the table. It took two coats.  (the tutorial uses Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter, which also looked great). For this part I just used an angle 2″ Wooster brush – the same type I use for cutting in.

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5. After the paint dried (which for chalk paint is only about an hour or less) I distressed the edges of the table and drawers with some 220 grit sandpaper. This part I did by hand.

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6. I wiped off the dust from distressing, and applied a coat of Annie Sloan’s clear soft wax. For this part I use the waxine brush from Annie Sloan and buffed it with an old t-shirt.

This was my first foray into chalk painting, and I’m hooked. It requires pretty much no prep work (except dusting off the furniture before painting), sticks to any surface (wood, leather, metal, plastic, fabric, etc.) and the color options are so pretty. It’s a bit pricey, but that is offset by the fact that a little goes a loooong way.

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I love the new look. When I walk into my living room now, I have a little moment. Kind of like that moment in “What not to wear” where the formerly unstylish person has their big reveal after hair and makeup. I wish I had a beautiful picture of it perfectly positioned in front of the throw-pillowed sofa and accessorized just so, but the truth is that it lives pushed in front of the fireplace for now (and is usually covered in toys) to allow more open space for the kids to play.

Chalk painting was so easy that I did a few more pieces. I painted a wood file cabinet that I got for free. I haven’t taken any pics of that yet because I am still figuring out where it will live in our house. I also painted our entryway console table Duck Egg Blue. I love how it turned out! (The basket below holds bibs)

IMG_6857IMG_7149I’m sure I will probably chalk paint some other things down the road, but between doing these pieces of furniture and the nursery, I’m pretty tired of painting for now. I announced to Blake that I will not paint anything else until spring. We’ll see if I can make it that long!

Harper’s nursery reveal

I have finally finished Harper’s room, six months after her arrival and three months after her due date. I mentioned before that this nursery represented so much more to me than just a place for Harper to sleep. Nothing about Harper’s premature birth was the exciting, blissful experience I had anticipated when we found out we were welcoming a second child. After going into labor and unexpectedly delivering at 27 weeks, life was a bit chaotic. Creating a beautiful nursery became the one thing I felt could still turn out as planned. After visiting my baby girl in the NICU, I would come home and paint (and paint, and paint), plan, and work on things to create a lovely room for her to come home to. It was my therapy. But enough with the dramatic introduction. Let’s get to the pictures.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nurserysuddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

It took me forever to decide on colors for the nursery, but once I came across this fabric and this inspiration room on Pinterest, I fell in love. The crib skirt fabric is Caitlin Wilson’s Fleur Chinoise, and it set the tone for the whole room. I custom-ordered the crib skirt, changing pad cover, and pillow cover from Sally Jensen Interiors on Etsy.

The wall colors are Benjamin Moore Classic Gray and Dove White. Painting the stripes was a little daunting on our textured walls, but I followed this tutorial I found on Pinterest and it turned out great! My best friend Amanda was a huge help for this project.

The crib was a Craigslist find. Noah was still using his crib, and didn’t seem close to being ready for a big boy bed yet. (In fact, he still loves his crib!) I didn’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on another crib, but knew I wanted a Jenny Lind style. After a few weeks of hunting, I found this one for a steal on Craigslist. It was a dark wood finish, and I painted it white.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

The Harper sign over the crib was a baby gift from my parents. It came as unfinished plywood, so I painted the edges a shimmery champagne color with Martha Stewart craft paint and painted the front mint green with leftover paint from the dresser.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

A small table next to the crib holds a humidifier and the baby monitor. It was an espresso wood finish, and I repainted it white and gave the legs that gold-dipped style using the same champagne craft paint I used on the sign.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

The dresser was also found on Craigslist. I knew I wanted a French Provincial style and it took me about a month to find one that was the right size and in my price range. It came in a beige and gold color, so I painted it with Olympic’s Sweet Pea to tie it in with the crib skirt (update: I posted the tutorial here). The hardware is original, and I left it untouched. The mirror was a clearance find at TJ Maxx a few years ago. It had black distressed edges, so I painted it white. The changing pad cover was custom ordered on Etsy. The rocking horse to the right of the dresser was a $3 garage sale find. It was wood and fairly beat up. My mom repainted it white and mint.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nurserysuddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

Vintage looking wall hooks are a fun way to display some of Harper’s adorable outfits. I have to admit that shopping for baby girl clothing is so much fun! The framed typewriter print says “You’re just my type,” and the other one says “And the child grew and became strong in spirit.”

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

I wanted a capiz shell chandelier from West Elm, but it was a bit pricey for me. I found one on Amazon that looked similar but fit the space better with smaller dimensions. The upholstered rocking chair is from Walmart. It used to be in Noah’s room where it had a denim slipcover. I re-slipcovered it in beige to stick with the color scheme. It has been used for many nursing sessions and bedtime stories, and is sure to see many more. The personalized pink chevron blanket was a gift from Blake’s coworkers. It has Harper’s first and middle name embroidered on it. The side table was painted white and gold and holds a few BabyLit books. I have to admit that Harper is still sleeping in her swing or Pack ‘n Play in our room for now, so once she moves up here I will put her white noise machine on this table.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

Wall shelves feature a few accessories. The flowers add a pop of color. The alarm clock is cute, but functional, since it is the only clock in the room. I painted a gold dipped paper machet letter H. The sheep stuffed animal was a gift from a friend that somehow ended up in Harper’s NICU cubicle. That little sheep stayed in the hospital with her until she was discharged. It holds a special significance now. The print says, “Being yourself is the prettiest thing you can be.”

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nurserysuddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nurseryI saw this closet on Pinterest and loved the design. I drafted up a similar design, and my dad brought it to life by building the shelves and installing the clothing rods. I removed the sliding doors and replaced them with curtains. It makes it feel more like a boutique and less like a closet with all Harper’s cute clothes and accessories on display.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nurseryThe top shelf has a glass canister full of Harper’s headbands, some board books, and a lamb that was given to Noah by Blake’s parents. the second shelf displays Harper’s birth announcement and a favorite pair of baby shoes. The mommy penguin wearing her baby penguin in her pouch is reminiscent of all the hours of kangaroo care (skin-to-skin time) that Harper got in the hospital. I would literally wear her inside my stretchy camisoles for hours at a time. I felt very much like an actual kangaroo.

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

And what would a nursery be without a precious baby?

suddenlyinspired.com || harper's nursery

There are a few finishing touches I’d like to add to the room. I’m thinking of adding some pom pom trim (white? mint? hot pink?) to the window and closet curtains as well as a mobile over the changing table. We also need to install a Foscam to spy on Harper. Overall though, I am very happy with how the room turned out. I just feel so grateful for the nursery and the healthy baby girl who gets to sleep in it.

Source List

Paint colors: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray and Dove White
Jenny Lind Crib: Craigslist (similar here)
Harper sign over crib: Etsy (kygracedesigns, sweetheart script font)
Crib skirt, pillow, and changing pad cover: Etsy (Sally Jensen Interiors)
Rocking chair and slipcover: Walmart (also found on Amazon) (formerly in Noah’s nursery)
Pink chevron blanket: Pottery Barn Kids
White ruffle pillow: Target
Curtains for window and closet: Ikea Lenda style
Faux sheepskin rug: Home Decorator’s Collection (bought on discount from Amazon)
French Provincial dresser: Craigslist (painted Olympic’s Sweet Pea)
Round mirror over dresser: TJ Maxx clearance a few years ago, painted white
Rocking horse: garage sale find, repainted
Picture frames: all from Ikea
Art work: found here, here, and here
Wall Shelves: Target
Alarm clock: Amazon
White baskets: Target (Room Essentials Y-weave style)
White wall hooks: Etsy (DiamondInTheRust)
Mint flower pot/vase: Ikea
Flowers: Michaels
BabyLit Books: Amazon
Side tables: From a set of three nesting tables on clearance at Lowes a few years ago, painted white and metallic champagne (with Martha Stewart craft paint)
Capiz shell chandelier: Amazon