DIY Nursery Button Monogram

14 Apr

I’ve been having fun personalizing and adding more color and “girly-ness” to our formerly gender neutral nursery. I shared plans to make a K monogram out of buttons last month.

Here is the finished product:


For my supplies, I ordered 200 pink/coral buttons from Etsy, and then picked up a 9×12 frame, Fabritac fabric glue and these neat pre-made burlap-covered boards from Michaels, which made it so easy.

Then I printed a K on the computer and outlined it in pencil on the burlap.


Next came the fun part.. gluing on all the buttons. I started with the biggest ones and then layered on the smaller ones. It took less than an hour.

I debated hanging it on the outside of Kate’s door, but decided we didn’t want to put a hole in it, so I added it to her gallery wall.


You can also see I moved the baby handprint art to the gallery wall from over the chair in order to make room for this…

IMG_4572It was a gift from one of Ben’s clients. I think it is off of Etsy.

More personalizing was framing a photo of her, spelling out her name in blocks, and draping a colorful quilt (handmade by Ben’s Aunt) over the crib.


That’s all I have planned in the nursery for now, but I’m sure the photos and things will rotate over time.

Right now, our sights are 100% set on finishing the deck. Here is a sneak peak of some of the progress.


An update to follow!

Baby’s First Craft

9 Mar

We’re back!! We welcomed a beautiful baby girl to the world three weeks ago tomorrow. Here is a photo of our little bundle of joy, Kate, cuddling in front of the fireplace.


It has been a whirlwind three weeks. It’s strange to even be back on the computer. While DIY has obviously taken a back seat, we were able to do a fun little handprint craft project to capture this time when she is so tiny.

handprint close up

To make it, I picked up three colors of acrylic paint, an 8 x10 frame and four pieces of white card stock from Michael’s.

I made four versions knowing we might have trouble getting a good print from Miss Kate.

IMG_4423It’s very important that the baby be asleep when you take their handprint. We tried it with her awake and just ended up with a clenched fist full of paint and a huge mess. Rookie mistake!

With her sleeping, it was still a bit of a challenge but we got three good ones out of four.

We hung the handprint art in Kate’s room above the rocker.


Looking forward to starting on my next craft for Kate which is going to be something like this.



I’m also going to have a final kitchen reveal and an update on the addition very soon!

The Nursery Reveal

29 Jan

With only 5 days until my due date, it’s time to share the completed nursery! The room turned out even better than expected and is probably my favorite space in the whole house. We put a lot of love into this room and DIY’d most of it.

So without further ado, here is the grand tour….





Thanks to building out some shelves and buying some baskets, we have a beautifully organized closet with tons of storage.

Nursery Closet Revised


I was able to fit so much in here that the dresser/changing table is less than half full. I labeled each of the baskets with chalkboard tags, so they are easily changeable.


Now for a little more detail on all the different items in the room.

I shared here how we painted the stripes and built the crib. The two paint colors are Behr’s Powdered Snow and Perfect Taupe (lightened by 20%).

IMG_3853The changing table is a dresser we already had and we painted it with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint in Pure White. The dresser hardware we refinished using Rub-N-Buff (spanish copper mixed with ebony).

IMG_4249Hanging over the changing table is a musical sheep mobile from Pottery Barn. There are quite a few sheep in here as a nod to Ben’s childhood growing up on a sheep property in New Zealand. I’ll show you my favorite sheep soon.

IMG_4247I tried to include lots of other animals too including this adorable elephant laundry hamper from Home Decorators.

IMG_4256The art over the crib is homemade of course. For those non-New Zealanders, you may not recognize the animal, but it is a kiwi bird, the national symbol of New Zealand.

IMG_4241Ben built the wood sign out of some leftover barn wood that we used on the ceiling beams in the living room. I tried to freehand draw the bird but we agreed to just get a large copy made to use as a stencil. Then I painted it with white trim paint.


Next to the crib is a shelf with some framed baby shower cards, baby blocks, a Harrod’s puppy from a Welsh friend, and a sock monkey which started in my hometown, Rockford IL.


We installed a ceiling fan in the room to create some circulation and help prevent SIDS.IMG_4259The white Ikea Ektrop chair we already owned, except we retrofitted it so that it is now a rocker. We purchased a swivelling rocker base off of this website and then Ben created a plywood bottom and screwed it into that.


I see lots of hours in this chair in my future.


Above the chair are three wire baskets from World Market which hold a few books in quick reach.


Next to the nursing chair is a floor lamp we already owned from Target and a new nightstand from Kirkland’s.

IMG_4275On the gallery wall are a few items off Etsy, a small mirror, clock and childhood pictures of both Ben and I.


Can you spot my favorite sheep? On the right is 8-year-old Ben and his winning sheep, Lizzy.


Also I love this hook on the back of the door from World Market to hang a towel or jacket. It’s the little things!


And last but not least is the amazingly soft rug which came from Lowe’s. Seriously this is the the softest rug I’ve ever felt. Can’t wait to play on the floor with our little one.


Here is a full source list:

Wall paint: Behr’s Powdered Snow and Perfect Taupe (lightened by 20%); Rug: Lowe’s; Rocker base:‎- chair already owned; Chair ottoman: Ikea Sandby; Nightstand: Kirkland’s; Ceiling Fan: Menards; Floor lamp: Target- already owned; Wire baskets: World Market; White shelf: Home Decorators Standard Cornice Shelf; Crib: Toy’s R Us Nursery Basics Crib; Changing table/Dresser: Already owned off Craigslist; Crib sheet and crib skirt: Oilo Taupe Modern Berries; Wood kiwi art: DIY; Bamboo blinds: Home Depot; Curtains and clips: Target; Changing pad cover: Carousel Designs; Giraffe art: Etsy; Alphabet art: Etsy; Frames: Target and Home Goods, most already owned; Baskets: Target; Chalkboard tags: World Market; Elephant laundry hamper: Home Decorators; Sheep mobile: Pottery Barn Harper Lamb Mobile; Closet shelving material: Menards

I can’t believe there will be a baby boy or girl living in here soon. Now we wait!

Home Goals: How We Did & 2014 Goals

8 Jan

2013 was a year of pretty big changes at 12 Oaks. I posted our goals for the year here and I’m happy to report we got most of what we set out to do done! Here’s the checklist on how much we accomplished.

1) Put in Upstairs Hall Bathroom. Check! We completely gutted and re-did the bathroom. It is one of my favorite spaces in the house and has turned out to be quite the Pinterest sensation, lol. Full tour here.


2) Re-locate laundry and renovate first floor powder room. Check! Sort of. What was once the laundry and powder room is now our pantry and part of our kitchen. The new first floor powder room isn’t done, but it is functional (sink and toilet working), and we have a new laundry room.



3) Take down a wall to create open floor plan. Oh yeah! It feels like a whole new house since we did this.

Here was the before:

living room wall removed

And here is a similar view now.


4) Renovating the kitchen. Check! Just a few minor tweaks left, but this was the biggest transformation yet.



And now:


5) New windows. We’re on a roll, another check.


6) Renovate Master Bathroom. Ok, this didn’t happen. BUT, our master is now moving and the addition is built so a new master bathroom is started.


7)  Get the pool up and running. It took until the end of summer but we got another check!


8) Build a deck and/or patio around pool along with landscaping around it and the rest of the property. No check. We designed the deck, poured the footings and bought the materials but it got too cold to build. We did landscape the front of the house though.


9) Add french doors off of the dining room. Check! Love these.


12 Oaks Before 137



10) Paint the house and install new front door. No paint, but we did get a new front door.

Screen Shot 2013-02-17 at 11.32.36 AM

11) Update fireplace in the den. No progress. This is going on the list for 2014.

12) Add shadowbox molding in dining room and stairs. Not yet. Though our stairs did get a nice makeover.


13) Put in can lights in living room. Check! We put in dimmable can lights in the barn wood beams we installed.


14) Add hardwood floors in the entry way. Check! Our floors are all one material and color- love them so much.


12 Oaks Before 156



Phew! We were busy. It was a lot of work, but the house totally feels like ours now. I doubt we can keep up this pace in 2014, especially with our little one arriving in a few weeks, but there is still lots to accomplish.

Our 2014 home goals are to:

1) Build deck out back

2) Install retaining wall and landscape back yard

3) Replace rotten trim and paint the house

4) Finish addition upstairs (master bathroom and closet)

5) Finish addition downstairs (powder room and laundry room)

6) Makeover the office/playroom, including a fireplace re-do

7) Blacktop driveway

8) Relocate master bedroom

9) Update living room built-ins

10) Build a dining room table from native New Zealand wood

11) Build out basement storage

All with an infant. Think it can be done?

Stairs/Entryway Makeover & Addition Update

6 Jan

Now that the makeover of our stairs and entryway is complete, it’s time to show some before and afters.

entry cropped

It looked like this when we moved in:

12 Oaks Before 156

And now:

entry cropped 2

The new front door has been in and the stair treads have been stained and painted for a while, but most recently we:

  • Ripped out the front hall closet
  • Removed the slate tile and installed and stained new hardwood floors
  • Installed and stained a new chunky newel post, railing and balustrades
  • Skim-coated the walls to remove a weird texture
  • Opened up the doorway to den/office and installed french doors
  • Re-worked a bunch of electrical
  • Painted the walls Sherwin Williams’ Analytical Gray to match the rest of the first floor

Another before:


Look at those old floors:

12 Oaks Before 210

Here’s a progress shot after we stained the stairs and painted:

IMG_2996And now:


The chunky new newel post makes a world of difference. We stained it and the railing DuraSeal’s Spice Brown to match the floors.IMG_4201

The french doors also make a huge difference.

Here’s a progress shot:


And now:IMG_4183

The walls are now all a nice, smooth coat. They looked like this before:


Here’s a before from the top of the stairs.

12 Oaks Before 218And now:


Now to share the latest on the addition. The new powder room has drywall, tile underlayment, electrical/HVAC/plumbing, a door, and a working toilet and sink.

IMG_4191Next up will be tile (we already purchased some from Lowes), and mudding and priming the walls.

The laundry room is also taking shape.

IMG_4193Next to the washer will eventually be our dog, Doc’s bed so he can stay in here while we are gone and doesn’t get on the furniture or eat anything. His dog door is closed in this picture because it is currently -12 degrees outside (-40 with windchill), a record-breaking low!

Moving to the upstairs addition, the master bathroom is framed out, insulated and has electrical/plumbing/HVAC. Now ready for drywall.

IMG_4197Check out this gigantic icicle outside that window. It goes from the roof and almost touches the ground.


Here’s a look at where the shower will be. It will have a seat and a half wall as you can see.


And lastly the walk-in master closet. A double rod for hanging clothes will go on the right, shoes on the back wall and probably hooks on the left.

IMG_4198Our plan up here is to drywall, mud and prime and then leave it for a while and finish later in the year.

Stay warm, people!

Kitchen Renovation Part IV: Almost Done!

22 Dec

We are getting dangerously close to calling the big kitchen renovation complete! Yesterday they installed the granite— which took us weeks and weeks to find. We both said it feels too nice to be ours.


Here’s a close up.


It’s probably the lightest granite we could find and had more movement than typical granite, more like a marble or quartzite. It is called Cielo Merfil and we got it at a local shop called Damar Stone. Then we hired a fabricator that Ben uses at work to install it.

Since the peninsula piece is almost a full slab of granite, it took 8 guys (plus Ben got in there) to carry it in.

IMG_4117I heard a few Polish swear words as this was being hoisted in. I’m sure they just loved me snapping pics of them.

IMG_4119But yeah it is beautiful. We are really happy we went with this stuff. And it was under budget! The two quartzites we priced out (White Macaubus and Madre Perla) would have been $3,000+ more.

IMG_4127But the granite isn’t even my favorite part of the new kitchen. It’s the walk-in pantry.

IMG_4091Hello storage! Ben built these with white melamine shelves from Menards. So far, we really like having the microwave in here and out of the way.

IMG_4138The pantry door is also on a jam switch so the light turns on when you open it. I love the glass door knob we added to it.

Also new in here is the cabinet hardware.

IMG_4131The knobs are from Target of all places. They come in a pack of 10 for $30.

IMG_4106Then we picked simple drawer pulls that were the same bronze color from Home Depot.


Continuing on the oil rubbed bronze theme is our new Kohler faucet.

IMG_4137And that little button on the right is connected to our garbage disposal. I never knew those existed but it’s pretty neat.

Above the sink is a glass bell jar pendant from Pottery Barn. We plan to add an edison bulb like in our bathroom.


The range hood fan is also in and is really powerful.

IMG_4133We’re getting a piece of stainless to fill out the rest of range hood in the back there.

In addition to the hood piece, we have a few more things left on the to-do list:

  • Pick and install a backsplash.
  • Fix the cabinet crown molding. We’re having to take it down because the ceilings aren’t level and it looked crooked.
  • Find and install pendant lights for over the peninsula. We’ve purchased and returned 2 sets so far. One set was too big, the next too small.
  • Install a trim piece around the sink.
  • Do some final paint touch ups.

So close!

Lots more going on at the house too with the addition, nursery and stairs/entry way that I will be updating you on soon.

And while we decided to keep our Christmas decorations simple this year, our tree turned out really nice. Our old artificial one burned out, so we bought a new Martha Stewart one from Home Depot. It was the best one we could find for the price (under $200). There are little pinecones in it and several different types of branches. My color scheme this year is metallics: gold, silver and bronze.

IMG_4151It is so pretty and cozy at night with the fireplace on. Love Christmas time!


Kitchen Renovation Part III: Floors, Farmhouse Sink & Window

1 Dec

We’ve been back in the house just over a week since the floors were re-finished. They turned out amazing!

Here is how it looked before we moved our furniture back in.

IMG_4031The stain color is Spiced Brown by DuraSeal.

IMG_4032We are super happy with how they turned out. It was totally worth hiring this job out, staining floors is extremely difficult. We tried in our last house and it ended BAD including a burned down trash can (staining rags can and will spontaneously combust).



We also changed out our wall registers with these wood floor ones which they stained in place. They blend in beautifully. Also a little tip is to spray paint the duct work flat black so that you don’t see the the shiny silver ductwork through your registers.IMG_4035The color also looks great with the new cabinets.IMG_4059Next up, Ben installed the new kitchen window (from Studio 41 to match the rest of our windows).IMG_4041Here it is along with our new Rohl farmhouse sink. We had this same one in our old house and loved it so much!

IMG_4066That faucet is a stand in (leftover from one of Ben’s job sites) until we get our countertops installed. We also plan to run the backsplash all the way up and around the window, so there is no casing yet.

Ben also installed the pantry door (including a cat door so Mia can eat her food without Doc stealing it every day) and he is actually working on shelving it out as we speak.

IMG_4051So there is still a lot to do in here, but it is completely functional (minus the dishwasher which isn’t hooked up yet).


The plumber also fitted out our new addition so the laundry is now all hooked up!

IMG_4060We’re hoping to get the kitchen and downstairs addition finalized in the next 4 weeks. Which would give us about 5 weeks before baby arrives.

Now off to decorate the Christmas tree and bake cookies. I’ll be sure to share it on the blog!

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