theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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The Nest, Part 3-It’s Finished!

Paper sack door wreath. Total Cost: $3. Oh Dollar Tree, how I love thee!

Aaaaahhhhh! (Sweet sigh of contentment.) I have finished the baby bird’s nest-finally! It seemed that every time I thought I was done-I would find one more little thing to do-and then another! But, I think-this time, it’s really done! Just in time too since I’m due in a little under a week. Not that it actually means something mind you. I haven’t seen any sign that this little girl is planning on making an appearance anytime soon. My only comfort is that my midwife has promised the latest I would give birth would be October 3rd. Sounds far away but at least I know by Christmas I will have a new little one to coo over anyways.So without further ado let me show you around her newly completed nest.

The paper sack wreath is really easy-but really time consuming.  If you like keeping your hands busy while you watch TV then this could be the project for you,, While I love the results, it takes a LONG time to do! Want the full how to? Check out this great tutorial over at Maryjanes and Galoshes.

 

Desk turned changing table. Makes for tons of storage and lots of longevity!

Any guesses on her name??? Please play fair, if you  already know it  don’t give it away-we’re excited to announce it ourselves (= Want to see how I made the subway art? Click here. Interested in a closeup of her clothes hamper? Go here.

Future nursing station. Books & burpcloths.

Talk about easy nursery decor. The picture frame art is just made scrapbooking supplies and the nesting doll was a gift from my aunt & uncle when they lived in Ukraine. The poetry book is a copy of the book my mom had when I was little-I used to love reading it in junior high.

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Crib skirt and pillows sewn from Riley Blake fabric. All of the baby girl’s fitted sheets are organic cotton. Yay for no chemicals!

Isn’t this  hand sewn sock monkey awesome?! He was a gift from my cousin Cher-xoxo!

Fabric Rosettes to embellish a pillow.

Quick & Easy Pillow dress-up made from leftover ribbon from another project.

This rocking chair is one of my favorite pieces. I was rocked to sleep in this by my own mother. Now it’s been repainted by DH and I made some coordinating fabric cushions for it.

The nursing stool. You know how much I love words so of course I had to use some good ol’ mod podge to embellish this nursing stool with flower names.

DH sanded, stripped, painted and slaved over this now beautiful chest of drawers. He did such a great job! Love you honey!

 

And of course her room would not be complete without SEVERAL butterflies! Does this collage look familiar? I blogged about making one of these after I saw this tutorial.

 

Well I hope you enjoyed the tour! It seemed like it took forever to do but now I think that might be a good thing because at this point…..all we can do is wait…..

 

xoxo, Rachel


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Weekly Menu Board & Whole Wheat Banana Bread

I’m still continuing with my pre-baby baking and have really been trying to figure out ways to make those first couple of months with a new baby a smooth one. So, I decided to make a Weekly Menu board inspired by this one I saw over at A Girl and a Glue Gun recently. Her version is quite a bit fancier than mine-its really  cute. I was going for simple and effective so I decided to do a week at a time and use dry erase markers on a picture frame. It erases like a dream on glass!   We’ve already started using it. So far so good. It really seems to help me remember to take meat out of the freezer to thaw for the next day and if there is an ingredient that we are wanting to use up we can write down the next meal using that ingredient for the next couple of days.

It’s also useful to use as a baking schedule like I’m doing this week. Today is Whole Wheat Banana Bread day . I use this recipe from Allrecipes.com. I found it a few months ago and haven’t gone back to my old recipe since. I love that it uses whole wheat (Yay for stable blood sugar!) and you can make it even healthier by using unsweetened applesauce in place of the oil and egg whites instead of whole eggs. I haven’t tried the eggs but have had good success using the applesauce instead of the oil last time I made it when I ran out of oil (eek!).

And did you know you can freeze whole bananas in their skins to use later?! It was a tip I read on allrecipes.com and tried it this last time when I was going through what I call my “junk phase” of pregnancy. You know Taco Bell, ramen, ice cream, chips. I’ve really tried so hard to keep eating healthy thru my pregnancy but sometimes those cravings have just won out. So anyways, I wasn’t eating my nanners so I just threw them in the freezer skins and all. They thaw enough to use in about 10 -15 minutes. I pull them out whenever I preheat the oven and they are ready to go when I put the recipe together. So easy and a great way to avoid tossing too ripe bananas but you’re not quite ready to use them yet!
Got any unusual baking tips you care to share????


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Subway Art for The Nest

Well, the nest is about 95% complete. I have 2 more small projects and then it will be done! Woohoo! I’ve been so anxious to share some of the things we’ve been working on for it, but it seems that we had so many irons in the fire but none of them we’re 100% ready-until now. So I thought I’d start with one of my favorite projects: subway art. I’ve seen it everywhere in the blog world these days. And I’ve got this crazy obsession with words. It’s a match made in Heaven…or something like that. Someday I’m going to do a whole wall-top to bottom- of words. A quote or Bible verse or something. But for now, here’s my own little version of the fabulous subway art I’ve seen out there.

Did I mention that it’s really pretty easy to do?

  • 1. Start with a piece of wood, whatever size you like or have on hand.
  • 2.Paint the whole thing a solid color, or whatever suits your fancy.
  • 3. Then, find a category or theme that you want to go with. As you can see we went with types of birds to go with the theme in DD’s room. If you want some more ideas, check out this great Subway Art party from a couple of weeks ago over at Tatertots and Jello.
  • 4. Finally, you just have to decide if you want to paint the words on, cut them out with a craft cutter, or purchase the letters from a craft or teacher supply store. Ours was made using a Silhouette Craft Cutter. I considered cutting the words from Vinyl but have been having some trouble getting the vinyl to stick to the paint I’ve been using from Lowe’s. Vinyl only seems to stick really well with an extremely smooth surface. So we went with using scrapbook cardstock and Mod Podge. Is there any project that a little Mod Podge can’t help with? I’m considering carrying a little Trial Size  in my purse-you know, just in case. Just kidding, about that last part, but I sure do love the stuff.

    Anyways, if you’re curious what the rest of the nest turned out like, stay tuned. Pictures and posts are going to come at a faster pace now that it’s ready to go. Now if we could just get DD ready to come out and meet the world as easily as 1,2,3….


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    Office Chair & Card Table Makeover

    I needed a space to call my own. You know, a space where I sit down and the creating happens-or doesn’t happen-and then I can get up and walk away without putting anything up-and return an hour or a day or days later and pick right back up where I started. So I searched Craigslist. Nothing. Or at least nothing I would pay the asking amount for. And then I tried used retail stores like Goodwill & the Salvation Army. Nothing. It was rather weird actually. All the Goodwill stores in my area are mysteriously out of furniture. No desks, no tables, no couches. Hmmm…are people wiseing up to the resale value of their goods? Or perhaps the economy is just causing people to hang on to their stuff instead of whipping out the plastic and replacing every last item in their home. (No judgement here, been there done that, drank the kool-aid myself.)

    So that pretty much left me to work with what I already had. Probably the best eco-friendly solution I suppose but definitely involved a little….creative thinking. What’s that saying? “Necessity is the mother of all invention”, I think it is. So here came the world’s dreariest card table and a rolling desk chair that I have wanted to ditch for a couple of years now along with some fabric & spray paint and voila! At least something that makes me smile when I see it! Want to try something like this yourself? Here’s what I did.

    Office Chair  & Card Table Makeover

    Supplies/Tools:

    • 1 yard pretty fabric of your choice
    • 1 can of spray paint in your color of choice
    • a screwdriver or drill
    • Staple gun
    • Chair in desperate need of some sprucing up
    • Depressing card table lookin’ for love

    How to:

    1. Figure out where all the screws are located on your chair. Using your screwdriver or drill take the chair apart only in the parts where you need access to the fabric. In my case I had to remove the back and the seat because the screws were keeping the plastic backing attached to the fabric in order to hide the one million staples keeping the fabric on.

    You can see it needs a little love, right?

    2. Pry  the plastic backing away from the fabric covered cushion.

    You may or may not need a butter knife to help you out here.

    3. Lay your cushion on top of your new fabric choice. Cut out enough fabric to leave approximately 1″  extra fabric on all sides. You want to give yourself plenty of fabric to work with. You can trim the excess later.

    4. Begin gathering  and stapling your fabric to the chair cushion. Start with one side of the cushion and then complete the opposite side, being sure to pull the fabric taught as you go. I like to check my progress as I’m going just to make sure things are on track. Then do the same thing with the other two sides.

    5. Now that you’ve finished stapling go ahead and trim any excess fabric. Get as close as you can without loosening the fabric you’ve just secured. You want to remove as much excess bulk as possible so that when you put the cushion back together it will still fit snugly inside or next to the backing.

    6. Complete the same process for the chair seat cushion.

    7.Spray paint the plastic parts of the chair. If you really want to protect it from dings & scratches make sure you use a clear sealer afterwards. (Or have your amazing hubby paint it for you , like I did.)Sorry I didn’t get any pics of this part. I think I was just too anxious to put it all back together (=

    8. Reassemble the chair.

    9. Do the happy dance because it looks so cute compared to before!

    ***To  complete the card table makeover you are basically going to follow the same process. Did you know that a card table can be taken apart VERY easily? I didn’t until I started this process. I always assumed that the top was glued on. Mine wasn’t. Only some very removable screws were holding the top to the base.

    Just flip your table over, grab your drill, cut your fabric and get to stapling! Spray paint the table legs. Let dry. Reassemble, and you’ll go from this…

    to this…

    Promise me you're only looking at the table & chair right? Not all the craft project stuff already covering it, right?

    ***I’m linking up to the linking party over at Sew Can Do this week!***


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    Making Reusable Cloth Napkins

    Ever had fresh juicy straight from the grill corn on the cob? You know the one with gobs of dripping sweet butter and the kernels just pop in your mouth? Delish! And messy! Grab me a paper towel-wait make that a reusable cloth napkin-will ya?

    Yep, I got my cloth napkins finished. Previously we had just been using some el cheapo washcloths from Wallies and they work great. Utilitarian gets the job done. But I’ve been wanting to make something a bit prettier since I started my quest to ditch the paper towels.  I don’t know, I’ve always had this image in my head that green somehow equates simple no frills, and when I get the chance to prove that just isn’t true-that green living can actually be…well…nicer…well that makes me happy. I love surrounding myself with beautiful things. And I love when that means I’m living a greener life and saving myself some green stuff too.

    If you’ve got basic sewing machine skills you can make these too. I consider myself at a beginner skill level.  They are easy I promise. I would say it takes more time to iron the edges , especially with my OCD tendencies to get the edges straight, than it actually takes to sew them.

    To make them:

    Step 1. Cut your chosen fabric into 14″ x 10.5″ pieces.

    Step 2. Lay your fabric wrong side up. Use an iron to carefully fold the edges of the fabric over about 1/4″. Do this on all four sides of your fabric.

    3. Then use your iron to fold over another 1/4″ on each of the four sides.

    Step 4. Sew the hems into place. Hint: Start sewing about an inch from the edge of the fabric, backstitch, and then go ahead and sew forward. This prevents the fabric from bunching and jamming up the sewing machine since you are working with such a narrow hem.Do this on all four sides of your napkin.

    And, voila! Pretty, reusable cloth napkins that add just a bit of fancy to your day!


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    Bathroom Scale: From Ugly Duckling to Swan

    Ever since I got pregnant, me (& the rest of the world) seem to find my weight gain fascinating. Not kidding. For some reason many  people  seem to think what would normally be a major faux pas is suddenly acceptable. I will never get it, nor will I ever get rude people (major pet peeve of mine). But I’m getting sidetracked here. Let’s start again shall we?

    DH and I bought ourselves a scale right after we got married. Seems a bit odd now that I think about it. What newlywed couple do you know that buys themselves a scale? Well, anyways, we bought this little guy in what I considered at the time to be a lovely shade of dark forest green. Now, no offense to forest green. I love green and I love the forest but at this point in time I think it should stay there. Truth is, I have a love affair with all colors. I love the way they can play with your emotions-calming you down or revving up your energy. But right now I love bright happy colors. Just like I love positive music and refuse to listen to sad sappy country songs right now. I think both have the ability to affect us in ways we  don’t even realize frequently and I’m determined to love and enjoy life.

    So with that in mind, I decided that my bathroom scale needed a little perking up. I figure if I’m going to be standing on this thing at least a few times a week for the next year (first for weight gain and then weight loss) then I might as well give myself something pretty to look at in the process, no?

    Whether or not you like the color of the scale I think most would agree this guy needs some freshening up!

    Here’s how I did it:

    Goodbye old cover!

    Step 1. Remove the old cover using a boxcutter/razorblade. Try to keep the old cover in tact if  possible.***

    Now, you’ve got yourself a nifty little template to use in making your new cover.

    Looking better already!

    Step 2. Make sure to clean off any remaining sticky residue/glue using an adhesive residue remover (i.e. Goo Gone). I recommend wearing gloves and working in a well ventilated area as this stuff has a strong smell and contains some not so green-friendly things in it. If you know of an eco friendly product that works just as well-please leave a comment-would love to find one!

    No you don't need your eyes checked-sorry! This was the only shot I got of this step for some reason.

    Step 3. Trace around your “template” using a fabric friendly marker/pencil (I just used a No 2. pencil) on both the fusible interfacing (less than a yard is needed) and on the wrong side of your chosen fabric.

    Step 4. Now cut out your fabric and fusible interfacing following your guidelines you just drew.

    Step 5. Place the rough side of your fusible interfacing on top of the wrong side of your fabric and using an iron fuse them together.

    Step 6. Place the fused pieces onto wax paper or material of your choosing to protect your work surface. Then use a liquid seam sealant (like Dritz Fray Check) around the edges of the material.Let it dry completely.

    Step 7. Brush the right side of your material with two coats of Mod Podge, letting the material dry completely in between coats.

    Step 8. After the second coat of Mod Podge is completely dry, flip your material over and apply a coat of Mod Podge to the back of the material as well as on the scale where the material will be placed. I recommend doing this quickly so that neither has time to dry before you place the material right side up onto your scale. Smooth & allow this to dry completely-probably overnight! Follow up with a couple of coats of Mod Podge around the edges to seal them completely! Finally, use an acrylic sealer to “finish” your scale and make the cover more durable!

    I’m actually kind of excited to weigh myself tomorrow. Now if only there was a way to make that scale magically transform your weight to the exact amount you’re looking for!!!

    *** If you don’t have an old cover to use as a template you can use wax paper and a fingernail to trace the shape of your scale, as per directions in One Yard Wonders. It’s a great book filled with projects like this one. I’m going to be working on a car trash bag and a dog bed cover from there soon.


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    Raising our first Baby Chicks and all that Jazz

    Whew! It has been a busy, busy weekend! Have you ever noticed how it seems like there is a period of time when nothing is happening and then bam!  Suddenly there are twenty different things happening and a million more to do? That is the story of my life right now.

    On Saturday it finally really felt like summer here. I had my shorts and a tank top on and the breeze was a warm one. Snow is no longer a realistic possibility-thank goodness! So that means its finally time to get out there in the garden-get the tomatoes in the ground and every other vegetable and flower that needs to be sown directly in the ground. For me that means a LOT of planting. I was quite ambitious when I saw all the seed packets there in Lowe’s a few weeks ago. Now I’m wondering if I bit off a bit more than I can chew this year. Reminds me of going to eat at a buffet when your eyes are always bigger than your stomach!

    At the same time DH is busy building our chicken coop. We got our little chicks (or pullets, as they are called) a couple of weeks ago. They will be ready to go out soon and the coop is a priority project. So no help from DH with the planting. The chicks are adorable but those little girls are fast! Meaning its up to DH to catch them and get them outside for some sunshine.  Just imagine a 5.5 month preg-o lady squatting and lunging with imagined lightning speed arm reflexes- and all the while trying not to hurt herself or the chicks. It was quite hilarious the first and only time I tried it! And with the weather being so chilly lately they barely got their first couple of days out this weekend. They looked so happy pecking and scratching around on the ground. And of course they we’re intensely guarded obsessively watched by our two fascinated labs.

    And to add to all that excitement ,”luck”  brought us not one-but two bull snakes passing through our yard. One was a baby (relatively harmless). The other was a mammoth size creature that I thoroughly wish I had snapped a picture of  DH the snake wrangler proudly holding up before tossing him to the outside of our fence.

    Did I tell you about the yummy chocolately marshmallow cookies I made or the two new vegetarian recipes I tried out? MMMM…they turned out pretty good-stay tuned for the recipes on those this week. They passed DH’s test of meatless dishes: seconds requested and no mention of “something’s missing” (i.e. the meat). One he actually requested without prompting to be made again. Ha ha-success!!!!! And it was the one I was least expected too. Go figure!

    DH was actually my hero this weekend.  He painted the frame and legs of this previously ugly forest green card table.

    Ugh! Depressing color! (Did you know you can remove the top of most card tables with a little help from a drill and an excited labrador assistant?)

    I have hated the color since the day we bought it and have refused to use it in my craft room until its somewhat “beautified.” I’m doing a redo of my craft room that I hope to have completed at least in the next couple of weeks. Here’s a sneak peek of the table. (Stay tuned for the full reveal of the table -and the room, of course.)

    Sorry about the lighting here-it looks a bit dark or yellowy color but it's actually a pretty celery green.

    Busy, busy, busy-buzzzzzzz!!!!!