The Alphabet Wall

I started this post way back in 2014 when we were decorating our first daughter’s bedroom. This project was to be the pièce de résistance of the nursery and I actually managed to get in finished in time for her arrival. Of course, she didn’t come home with us, so we covered the furniture, pulled down the blinds and shut the door on that room until our little B was on her way. I worked really hard on this, and now, as we’re transitioning her room from a baby to toddler space and are considering taking it down to do something else, I think it is worthy of a post, even if it is three years after it’s completion.

Have you ever taken on a craft project and realized you’re in over your head?

It happens to me more than I care to admit. Pinterest is obviously at fault. No matter how many times I remind myself that most of my pins have been designed and photographed by professionals, I still try to live up to those impossible standards.

In late 2013, I was in full nursery decorating mode. At this point, we knew we were having a girl and we’d decided on apricot for the walls and a bright green shag rug from Ikea. For the back wall I was obsessed with the idea of an alphabet wall with an eclectic arrangement of different fonts, sizes and colours. If you do a search for alphabet walls there are tons of them similar to ours – it’s been done many times and seemed simple enough in theory, but it turned out to be far more work than I’d bargained for. Once I got started though, there was no turning back.

I will preface my vague instructions by telling you that you can buy a kit for this. It comes with all 26 wooden letters, unfinished, and costs around $100 on Etsy. I would really recommend this route if you are looking to try this yourself.

I didn’t buy the kit. Instead, I thought I could save a buck and decided to hunt down the letters on my own. It took a lot of time and energy, and really didn’t save me enough to make it worth the hassle. By the end, the cost of the letters alone, actually came close to the kit price.

Collecting the letters was time consuming and a huge pain in the ass. They came from everywhere – thrift, dollar and department stores, plus every craft/art supply store within a 100km radius. I kept a list to keep track of the ones I’d already bought but I wasn’t overly concerned about the size, case or fonts of the individual letters, I just focused on finding one of each.

Next came the fun part – painting and decorating. I used acrylic craft paint for most of them. I just bought a handful of basic colours and mixed different shades. I also bought some patterned scrapbooking paper and used mod podge to glue and seal. Then on the O (which was actually a small Ikea mirror), I added buttons because it just felt right. I didn’t have a definitive strategy for colours, I just made it up as I went along.

At this point, they were almost ready to hang. I added hardware to the letters that didn’t come with hangers already. For the ones thick enough to hammer a nail into, I used small metal saw tooth hangers, and for the thinner letters, I used adhesive fabric eyelets (both can be found with the picture hanging thingies in any hardware store).

Then, to get the layout just right, I cut templates out of paper and arranged them on the wall. This step took FOREVER. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it is to make things appear random. After almost a week of arranging and rearranging the templates, it was finally time to hammer in the nails (I used thin, 1 inch nails).

The overall cost was about $130 in the end, including the letters, paint, and hardware. This was certainly one of my more successful Pinterest inspired projects and I was really proud of the end result. The execution was a bit of a fail though – if you’re trying this at home, buy the kit. You won’t regret it!

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Hello?

It’s been well over a year since I posted anything on this blog. It’s not because I haven’t had anything to write about – quite the contrary, actually.

After my last entry in September 2014, two things happened: I went back to work full time after my maternity/bereavement leave and I found out I was pregnant again.

I’ve tried to write about my pregnancy since then, but I haven’t been able to articulate how I was feeling. It was a difficult time. Physically, it was a much easier than my first pregnancy, but emotionally I was a wreck. It was the longest 36 weeks of my life, but that horrible time finally came to an end on the first of May when our baby girl was born. Her first cry was the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.

smBritta Newborn

Then, in the blink of an eye, another year went by and we have a one year old.

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A ONE YEAR OLD!!!

In many ways she’s still a baby, but she’s toddling and babbling things that almost sound like real words. I know it’s cliché to talk about how fast kids grow up, but I feel like having our daughter has sped up time.

As fast as it has seemed, the three of us have covered a lot of ground over the past year. The prospect of travelling with an infant was daunting at first, but when she was only a few months old, we packed up our things, boarded a plane and headed 1500 km northeast for a family wedding. A few months later, we ventured 2000 km southeast to Florida, and that gave us the confidence to take an even farther and longer trip, southwest to California.

It hasn’t been all jet setting though. There’ve been plenty of other changes in our household too: both of our cats passed away (different times, different causes), we sold our little trailer (and bought a new one), I quit my full time job to be a stay/work at home mom, and I became a brunette, just to name a few.

That brings us up to date, in a Reader’s Digest sort of way, but now that I’ve finally written this post, this space will soon be filled with more of my ramblings. I’ve missed writing and look forward to writing here again, just for the sake of it.

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Head of the Bed

I’ve been looking for a headboard for our bedroom for almost six years now. Not inclusively, obviously, but every once in a while it comes back on my radar. I search for a bit, and then give up. We’ve never actually had a real headboard. When we lived in our condo, I’d made an upholstered board that hung on the wall, but it didn’t get reinstalled in our new place because I’d planned to get a proper one shortly after we moved in.

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That didn’t happen. Then I looked around again back when I painted in 2011 but found nothing to my liking – and by liking I also mean in our price range.

I took up my search again over the summer since I had all the time in the world to obsess over our décor, but still came up empty handed. I was tired of not having one though. I think a headboard really makes a bedroom look put together, and really, how much longer could we go on living like this? We might as well just put the mattress directly on the floor, stick movie posters with thumbtacks over the bed and hand a flag in the window.

We’re grown ups. We needed a headboard.

Inevitably, I ended up making one.

There are enough of tutorials out there for DIY upholstered headboards, so I’ll skip over the specifics, but here are a few pictures of the project in progress:

headboard

Unlike the one I made for the condo, this one is attached to the bed, rather than the wall.

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I had some of the basic materials around the house, including scrap wood, nails, screws, staples and buttons. I bought MDF from Home Depot (and had them cut it), quilt batting from the fabric store and linen from Ikea. Overall, the project cost me around $30 and only took a few hours to assemble.

Headboard

In my mind, this is just a temporary solution until we find something better, but at the rate we’re going, who knows when that will be.

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