Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last Minute Maternity Photo Fun

Yesterday, a lady came up to me in Whole Body and asked the (at this point) dreaded question, "Aw, when are you due?" I took a deep breath, smiled, and responded, "Last weekend." This time I was prepared for the worst possible response that would send my blood pressure through the roof. To my pleasant surprise, this woman was a smart woman (and I'm guessing a momma who'd been there before) who replied, "Well, you look great. Hang in there!" Then she politely smiled and walked away. How wonderful it would be if everyone had the common sense she had! I can't tell you how hard it is to listen to people say things like, "Oh, you're still pregnant?" or "Wow, you're never having that baby, haha!" or (my personal favorite), "Why haven't you had him yet??" (Like I have a magic wand I can use?!?)

One of my favorite poses, Pinterest-inspired!

I've felt great for months now, and I really have nothing to complain about. I'm not swollen, I haven't had indigestion, I sleep well at night, I don't have any stretch marks (at this point...thanks, Mom!), I haven't gained a ton of weight, my blood pressure is awesome. . .I could go on and on. However, there's this part of me that is sooooooo ready to meet this little munchkin (as Adam calls him). :) When I'm really excited about something, I have a hard time being patient and waiting for it to come. The week before we have a trip planned, it always feels like the days drag on for months. As holidays approach, I feel like they're never going to get here. When our due date came and went, it was like someone canceled Christmas! So, needless to say, at 40 weeks and 3 days I am on pins and needles waiting for William.

I hope he's a book lover like his Momma!

Last Friday night, my dear friend Jennifer McCann came to my house to take some maternity pictures and explore all the settings on her camera. Jenn and I became close friends during our teaching years together in Nashville. She is the most incredible reading specialist...I mean literacy coach....I mean instructional coach (they change her title every year!) I've ever seen, and I aspire to be half as awesome as she is one day. In addition to rocking it out in the classroom, Jenn has a love for photography. She has what I call a "fancy" camera and a love for capturing the world around her. She is so talented at everything she does, photography included!

This was one of my favorites!

We had a blast as she crawled around on the floor to try different angles (no really. . .just like a caterpillar!) and tested every setting on her camera. She's used to taking pictures of her two young, energetic children, so she enjoyed having subjects who stayed put for more than 30 seconds.  I was thrilled to be her guinea pig! (Adam was a total trooper too. . .maybe he secretly LOVED smiling for an hour straight?!?)

I'm pretty sure he wanted to kill me at this point. . .

Laughter is good for the soul, and even better for the pregnant soul, and that's just what we did through the entire evening. One final shot I really wanted to get was in our Preds gear. Reluctantly, Adam pulled on his jersey, and I sprang right into mine. :) I am a little bit of a bigger fan than he is, and I tend to get a bit carried away at times with things that I'm super excited about, so he really had the patience of Job at this point! We forgot to get a shot from the back- our jerseys have "Birdwell" on them. Oh, well...we'll do that with the next kid. ;)

I can't wait to take William to his first game!

Now you've seen for yourself the hidden talent my friend Jenn possesses. I'd love to see her dapple in it as a second career some day. I look forward to sharing my birthing story with you in the coming week! In the meantime, I'll keep eating eggplant, go for some more acupuncture, and work on William's Halloween costume (which I might share if it turns out well)!

I'm sure this is exactly what we'll look like leaving the house when it's really "go time"! ;)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summertime Means Watermelon Time!

I've been busy this past week enjoying a fun game of "Myth Busters- Labor Edition". I've eaten eggplant parmesan, basil, garlic, Mexican food, and pineapples. I've religiously taken Evening Primrose Oil, had 2-3 cups of raspberry leaf tea a day, and loved many giggle fits with my husband. I've stepped up the pace on my morning walks, and I've enjoyed 30 minutes a day doing hip rotations and other exercises on a birthing ball. I've had two labor-prepping acupuncture treatments so far (going for number 3 tomorrow). Guess what? I'm still preggo. Perhaps I started all these "tricks" a little prematurely- my due date is this Saturday- so I plan to "rinse and repeat" all of these efforts next week. None of them have been anything less than enjoyable, and it's a fun way to pass the time. My mom-in-law bought me a subscription to Fit Pregnancy magazine, which I absolutely love reading. The most recent edition had a great article about the health benefits of watermelon along with some great recipes. My favorite fruit is kiwi, except in the summer- then it's watermelon!

After I read the watermelon article, I decided to try out a couple of recipes that appealed to me. First was the "Summertime Slush". You can click on the link for the original recipe, or see below for my version.

The ingredients

I don't like green tea, so I omitted it from the recipe. I didn't have any white grape juice on hand, so I used apple juice. It was deeeeeeee-licious!!

I used an ice cream scoop to scoop out a cup of watermelon, and I pureed it in my Magic Bullet.

Add frozen strawberries and kiwi

I added 5 medium-sized frozen strawberries (you could use fresh ones, of course, but it won't give your slush the same texture at the end) and one peeled, chopped kiwi. Seeds don't bother me in a smoothie, but if you're not a fan I'd recommend cutting out the core and seeds from the kiwi before tossing it in the mix. Last, pour in 1/2 cup of ice cubes and 1/2 cup of apple or grape juice and blend. It is soooo tasty!

It's slurpin' time!

This was a very yummy, all-natural breakfast treat to start my day! It was a great refreshing treat after my morning walk, too. The next recipe I'll share with you, but I have to say I was NOT a fan of the watermelon pops I made.

I started with measuring out 4 cups of cubed watermelon. These went into the juicer. If you don't have a juicer, you can just puree them in the blender. The recipe suggested straining them with a fine-mesh sieve that I didn't have, so I just used my juicer instead. In hindsight, I might have liked the pops better if there had been some of the watermelon threads in them.

I didn't have popsicle molds (an investment I suppose I should make since I'll be making William frozen treats soon enough!), so I just poured the watermelon juice into plastic disposable cups. The recipe called for a tablespoon of lemon juice, which I didn't have, so I added a tablespoon of pineapple juice instead (perhaps that's where I went wrong??). Then I covered the tops with aluminum foil and slit the tops with a knife.

 I didn't have any popsicle sticks either (my shopping list continues to grow) so I just used plastic spoons instead. They worked well enough. :)

 Then, into the freezer they went. After an overnight stay, they were ready to enjoy. . . I thought.

Looks can be deceiving. . .

I was sooo excited to take the first bite. It looked so good, and it even smelled great! Then I took a bite. It. Was. Gross! Now I think I know why you can't get watermelon juice by the bottle in the stores. I don't know how to describe its taste. It was just bad. *Sigh.*

Oh, well. At least the watermelon slush was good! I will definitely make it again for breakfast, or even an afternoon treat! Maybe William will join us for my next post. . . no one stays pregnant forever, right?! Until next time! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Eggplant Parmesan!

Eggplant can naturally induce labor- Fact or Fiction? I don't know, but I will tell you that it's my absolute FAVORITE dish on the planet, so it's a win-win for me...either I go into labor or I don't, but regardless I get to eat an incredible meal. :)

As we're a week away from our due date, my amazing husband said we could go out to eat every night to a restaurant of my choosing. Monday, we went to the Pharmacy Burger Parlor in East Nashville. Their food is incredible, and they have a delicious selection of homemade sodas (I recommend the Lemon or Orange Creamsicle) and milkshakes.

Adam got a few sips of it. ;)

Tuesday night, I enjoyed an evening out with some of the girls. We went to Germantown Cafe, which was also amazing! Last night before church, Adam took me to a new trendy Mexican restaurant in Green Hills called Alegria. They have the best guacamole I think I've ever eaten. Tonight, we will be dining at Maggiano's Little Italy on West End, and tomorrow night he's treating me to Buca di Beppo. You can guess what I'll be eating at the last two...eggplant parmesan!!

Eating out is a hobby of sorts for us, but we also enjoy cooking. When I was thinking about what my first recipe post should be, it just seemed fitting to share my eggplant parmesan recipe with you! This recipe is completely vegan, but feel free to substitute in dairy products if that's more your speed.

Let's start with the sauce. That's right- we're making it from scratch (much less sodium than what you get from a jar, not to mention it's delicious)! I wish I could recall where I got this recipe, but the copy of it I have is not sited.

Yummy Red Sauce

2 TBSP coconut oil (comes in a jar, solid form, looks like lard but that's where the similarities end!)
1 finely diced onion
8 minced garlic cloves (4 tsp from a jar of pre-minced)
2 28-ounce cans organic crushed tomatoes (or you can crush fresh ones
1 6-ounce can organic tomato paste- not sure how many you'd need though)
2 TBSP fresh finely chopped basil
1 TBSP fresh finely chopped oregano
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 TBSP agave nectar (I use the amber one)

1. Heat the coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat.
2. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, without browning (6-8 minutes).
3. Add the garlic and continue stirring occasionally for 1 minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, crank the heat to high, and bring it to a boil.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the basil, oregano, and salt.
6. Add the agave nectar (it adds a wonderful hint of sweetness).
7. Set aside to use with the eggplant in a few minutes, or refrigerate it if you're saving it for later. It keeps for about a week, and it freezes well.

Now for the eggplant parmesan recipe...remember it's totally fine to sub dairy in it if you are not a vegan. I cut out dairy because of my Sjogrens, and I couldn't even tell a difference in the taste, but go with whatever floats your boat!

Eggplant Parmesan

3/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (or substitute for gluten-free crumbs!)
1 TBSP garlic powder
2 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 tsp black or white pepper
1/2 cup rice or almond milk (get original- the vanilla one is a bit too sweet)
Several TBSP Coconut oil (just have the jar and a spoon on hand)
1 eggplant (about 1.5 lbs), cut crosswise into 1/2" slices
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce. . .or more if you like a lot of sauce (you can use store-bought if you don't want to make your own)
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
8 oz vegan shredded mozzarella cheese...or more if you like a lot of cheese! (I like to use the Veggie Shreds Parmesan, Mozzarella, & Romano mix)

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Using paper towels, press the eggplant slices firmly on both sides to get rid of any extra moisture. Leave them on a paper towel until you're ready to cook them. (Don't skip this step!)
3. In a shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
4. In another bowl, pour the rice or almond milk.
5. Heat 3-4 tsp of coconut oil (enough to coat the bottom) of a 10-12" nonstick skillet over medium.
6. One at a time, dip the eggplant slices into the milk, then the dry mixture, pressing thoroughly to coat both sides. (If the dry mix isn't sticking, you can also try dipping them in egg whites instead of the milk for a thicker coating.)
7. Place the coated slices in the hot pan (preheating is a must for this step!) and cook about 3 minutes on each side, or until browned on the outside and tender on the inside. It will take a few batches to get all the eggplant browned- wipe out your skillet between each batch and apply a new layer of coconut oil to the base of the pan.

8. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of a 2-qt casserole dish. You can spray the bottom of your dish if you like- I have a great Pampered Chef Spritzer that I fill with extra virgin olive oil that's a great substitute for the cans of vegetable oil spray.

 9. Top the first layer with the sauce, spreading it evenly.
10. Top the sauce with the basil and your other cheese (either mozzarella or a mozzarella blend).
11. Repeat with a second layer of eggplant, sauce, basil, and cheese.

12. Bake until the sauce is hot and the cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 20 minutes. You can also top it off with mozzarella cheese slices if you like- it gives it a little thicker layer of cheesiness that I like- see my pic below.
13. Enjoy immediately!! Serve with your favorite garlic bread, fresh salad, and maybe even a side of pasta. I like to make quinoa pasta to go with it, topped with extra sauce.

I forgot to take a picture of it when it was "pretty" before I dug in!

Voila! Delicious, healthy eggplant parmesan. Even though the eggplant gets "fried" before going in the oven, everything it's cooked in is good for you! Who knew fried food could be good for the taste buds and the body?! If you try out this recipe, be sure to leave your comments below- I'd love to hear how yours turned out!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

William's Nursery!!

I can't believe it's done! Finished! Ready for William!! Yippee!!! It's been several months in the making, and it came together exactly as I envisioned it. Don't you love it when that happens?! I hope he loves it as much as I do!

So, here we go...welcome to William's nursery! The entire room came together in my mind after browsing through hundreds of nurseries on Project Nursery's Project Gallery. If you are planning a nursery, I suggest you check out that site! I've even added this room on there: http://projectnursery.com/?post_type=project&p=142874&preview=true

I bought the paint at Sherwin Williams. They had a 50% off sale in July, and I found an additional $10 off $50 coupon online. I got a gallon for the walls and a gallon for the ceiling for $47 total! That's about as cheap as Wal-mart paint. My great friend and talented designer Missy Brownlee (check out her business page for contact info! Defining Designs by Missy) came over with her paint-color-choosing bag of tricks and helped me make my selection. I wanted turquoise and gray, so she recommended painting the ceiling in addition to the walls! We went with the color Cay (a Benjamin Moore color- Sherwin Williams mixed it exactly to the sample card I took them) of Eminence High Performance Ceiling Paint. For the walls, we chose Gray Shingle in Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint with an eg-shell texture. The wall paint is VOC-free, so I didn't have to evacuate the house for days while it dried! Adam's dad was so awesome to drive down on a Friday and paint the room while Adam was at work.

Adam hung the letters above the closet doors. Who am I kidding? Adam hung everything that went on the walls! Those are the book slings I made as my first sewing project- they are hung with double brackets we bought at IKEA, and we got the dowels at Home Depot. The fabric is from Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 Granite Collection. I made the yarn wreath that's currently hanging on the door. I need to get a strong suction cup so I can hang it in the center of the mirror above the dresser.

The crib is next, but right now I want to talk about that tree. It's a wall decal that I bought on Etsy from Pop Decors. The quality of the decal was excellent, and it went on easily. It did take Missy and me all of three hours to put it together, but that's mostly because we'd never done one before and it was like putting together a puzzle. We were so careful to do our best to line everything up perfectly. Our slow and steady pace paid off- it looks great! The laundry basket by the crib came from Target. The yellow letter W was painted by my friend Cheryl Thomas. She made it match the glider fabric!

I LOVE his crib and dresser combo. It's the Creations Baby Summer's Evening collection in Espresso. We bought it at USA Baby in Franklin, TN. The mobile is a hand-me-down from my sister Rachel Woodcock. I love how the white and turquoise fit in well with the other accents in the room. The crib skirt is in the Granite Scrollwork pattern, and my fabulous friend Ashley Osman made it. Her work is incredible- check out her online Etsy store, Tushies and Tantrums. She also made his blanket that you'll see in a few- it's draped over the glider. As for the top of the crib, those are "teething rail covers". Also from Etsy, made by Bella Bambino, I love the amount of color it adds to the crib along with its functionality! Adam and I would love to have four children (yes, that's right- four!), and I would love for each of them to have a beautiful, teeth mark-free crib to sleep in. Plus, this crib converts into a full size bed, so I didn't want a chewed up foot board either. The fabric pattern is Lodge Lattice in vintage yellow, which is also what I used for his curtains.

The dresser matches the crib, and it had a very pretty top-hutch option (with a not-so-pretty price tag), so we opted for a $25 mirror from TJ Maxx/Homegoods instead. The Isaiah scripture canvas wall hanging came from the sweet boutique Hot Pink in Brentwood, and my wonderful friend Dara Macer made the middle picture frame. The turquoise and gray placemats are from Target ($1.99 each in the kitchen section), and I was given the lamp from my friends David and Jennifer Henry. The two small turquoise frames that are currently empty came from my sister-in-law Rachel Birdwell, and the yellow-trimmed glass accent lamp was made by another talented friend, Kim Stafford.

You can see my previous entries about the chair, one of my pride-and-joy pieces in the room. I got it off Craigslist for $30 and reupholstered it. The pattern is called Sparrows in Vintage Yellow. Ashley made the blanket, as mentioned before, and the curtains were made by yours truly. I lined them with Muslin to help block out sunlight, and Missy attached them to the ring clips at the top in a way that makes them look like they have a pleated finish. I almost forgot to mention the rug- you can see a corner of it. It's an eggshell color, and it's memory foam! To fully appreciate it, you have to take your shoes off. It's the softest rug I've ever seen, and I found it on clearance for $39 at Sam's Club! William and I will be rolling around on it in comfort!

My dear friend Ryan McCully moved back to her homeland of Texas with her hubby and adorable daughter, Cece, and they gave us their changing table. It originally had a cherry wood finish. Adam's dad did an AMAZING job refinishing it for us! I got the coat rack shelf from Goodwill for $7.99 and we've had the floor lamp for a long time. The diaper bag at the end of the changing pad is from Thirty-One, and it has "Dipes n Wipes" monogrammed on the front. If you need an awesome Thirty-One consultant, I recommend my friend Ashlee Anderson! See the sweet little blue doll on top of the shelf? That was Adam's Cholly Dolly when he was a baby! On the other end of the shelf are my very first pair of baby shoes. I love that there's a little piece of our babyhoods represented in William's room. I saved the best for last- see the canvas W art piece? My sister-in-law Rachel made it following a tutorial she found on Pinterest! The W is formed by lots of turquoise buttons sewn onto the canvas. I LOVE it!

I love his reading nook- the leather ottoman opens for storage and makes the perfect window seat! I have had the white bookcase for a long time- I got it from my grandparents. The curtains match the others I made.

Here's a better angle of the bookcase. I bought water hyacinth baskets from The Container Store, so it's functioning as toy storage. Yes, that's a lot of toys for a baby who isn't even here yet, haha! I painted the canvas above the book case- don't be too impressed though. I can only paint great canvases if I attend one of those "painting for dummies" classes! I love how well the color scheme ended up matching the room.

This is one last craft I made (it was actually one of the first things I did) that we still have to hang up. It's a mobile I made using wood cutouts and a needlework frame from Michaels, Mod Podge, fishing line, and fabric scraps from my other projects. We plan to hang it above the changing table.

Well, that's it! Now you've seen his nursery. Like I said, I am so happy with how it turned out. NOw I just need a baby to play with in there! He'll be here before we know it. :-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our Pregnancy Journey

His room is ready. All the blankets, bibs, burp cloths, and a few outfits have been washed and folded. Our hospital bags are packed and ready by the door...all we need now is a baby!

I know I said in my last post that I would share his nursery next, but as I started typing this post, I got completely consumed with sharing my pregnancy journey first, and it became quite lengthy. . . so I PROMISE his nursery will be posted first thing tomorrow! In the meantime, here's my 9+ month adventure ~ enjoy!

We found out we were pregnant on December 22, 2011 while I was in the hospital suffering from weeks of severe abdominal pain. It turned out to be SMAS (Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome), a completely unrelated-to-pregnancy condition. Adam and I had been trying to conceive, and I had taken a pregnancy test the week before that was negative. Needless to say, we were both shocked and thrilled in the best way to hear the news from the doctor! On the downside, it meant our treatment options were rather limited. The SMAS resulted from me losing the fat pad around my duodenum (part of the intestine).  This happens to people who are anorexic or people who experience great amounts of weight loss, neither catergory of which I fit.

Three months before, I drastically changed my eating habits in an attempt to stop my Sjogrens symptoms that were interfering with my life more than I liked. Medications weren't working and were costly. I stopped eating any and all processed foods, going totally organic and natural. The result? ALL of my Sjogrens symptoms (muscle spasms & cramps, extreme fatigue, dry mouth, eye problems, etc.) completely vanished! I had lost about 20 pounds (not an insane amount) and went from a size 10 to a comfortable size 6. My rheumatologist was amazed by my improvement and said he wished more people would be as committed to healing themselves through natural means as I had been. I felt better than I had my whole life...until early December when my fat pad apparently decided to melt away.  SMAS happens to less than 2% of people who experience "drastic" weight loss. That's about, oh. . .one in a billion. But, that's the story of my life. Stuff that happens to a very small number of people seems to happen to me, but I digress...

It was a very rough five months to follow as I dealt with the SMAS.  As far as the pregnancy was concerned, I couldn't have had an easier one. I didn't suffer from morning sickness, fatigue, or any other typical pregnancy symptoms. However, the SMAS came with enough pain and discomfort to cover the gamut! I missed almost 2 months of school; experienced what my gastroenterologist said is comparable to, if not worse than, labor pains for about 8 hours a day; and felt frustrated as I was forced to consume over 3,500 calories per day to try to rebuild my missing fat pad! That meant eating all the foods I had so happily given up, and drinking disgusting concoctions like Carnation Instant Breakfast mixed with a tall glass of half-and-half twice a day. Ugh. Our only treatment option was for me to wait for the weight to return in my stomach and treat the pain with Tylenol.

Zofran became my best friend. I don't know how I would have dealt with the constant state of nausea I was in if I couldn't have taken that amazing little tablet. I had a hard time keeping down so many calories. Things did get a little worse before they got better (my colon shut down completely, adding a whole new element of pain and discomfort), but my gastro doc, Dr. Barnes at Summit Medical Center (whom I HIGHLY recommend!) was so thorough and constantly seeking options for us to try. Eventually, after going to him every Tuesday for what felt like forever, my condition became manageable and my flare-ups were less and less frequent.

As for the pregnancy, I knew very early on I wanted to explore the "au naturel" route (despite the majority of people around me telling me that I was crazy) for labor and delivery. With all my health complications, the midwives weren't an option. Thank the Lord for Dr. Doug Brown at Heritage Women's Center! We have been more than pleased with his services, as he is supportive of natural labor and is so patient with us, giving us all the time we want or need at each appointment. He listens to our needs and concerns, and we always have a good laugh about something at each visit. A friend also told me about doulas, something that was completely foreign to me. Who knew there were trained and experienced professionals out there to support expectant mothers through natural birth?! Another friend from church shared the name of a legendary doula here in Nashville...Beulah Kyle (yep, that's right- she's Beulah the Doula, and there's no one else as awesome as her!), so we met her at Panera one day for a meet-and-greet. She won us over immediately, and I felt so confident that God placed her in our lives to guide me along this amazing journey.

Along with being a retired OB nurse and a doula, Beulah is also a Hypnobirthing instructor. We went to her house for five one-on-one classes, and each week she had a yummy homemade treat waiting for us (I need to get her banana bread recipe). Hypnobirthing is all about mind over matter. We learned breathing and relaxation techniques and watched several birthing videos where the mother remained calm and relaxed throughout labor and delivery. I decided to pilot some of the hypnobirthing techniques during my SMAS flare-ups to see if they eased the excruciating pain I was experiencing. To my amazement, it worked! I was actually able to work through some of my worst abdominal pain through careful concentration, relaxing all the muscles in my body, and breathing away most of the tension that was contributing to my pain.

Finally, in June, I turned a major corner. My stomach had finally expanded enough that the arteries were no longer restricting my duodenum, and my pain was almost completely gone. My colon was (and still is) not back to fully functioning, but we found a plan that makes it totally manageable. I stopped feeling nauseous all the time, and the third trimester greeted me with a burst of energy and nesting. I was able to up the ante with my walking routine, going a little farther each day, until I was soon up to walking 3 miles per day! I kept this up until last week, when I had to drop it down to 2 miles, but I'm still going every morning. I am back to eating like a "normal" person, consuming around 2,000 calories, and I've been able to add back most of the natural, organic foods I prefer. My only change in taste buds has been my cravings for beef. I didn't like it AT ALL for my entire life until my pregnancy, so I think William takes after his daddy. . . he's going to be a meat lover!

Now we're on the final countdown (I'm due August 18), so we'll see how he makes his grand entrance into the world. I think the hardest part has been blocking out all the skeptical, snide comments people make when you tell them you are planning a natural birth. You know what? I won't know if I don't try, so that's exactly what I intend to do. Do I plan to get an epidural? No, but can I change my mind? Absolutely. Will I completely refuse a C-Section if there's a medical emergency? Of course not- I'll do whatever we have to do to make sure my baby boy arrives safely. But am I going into this with the expectation of a natural, drug-free birth? 100% yes. I've been diligent in my preparations, and I have surrounded myself with positive, encouraging friends who support what I'm attempting. I promise to report back on my delivery experience in the very near future. In the meantime, I will continue to keep myself occupied and try to patiently await the blessed day when I get to meet my son for the first time. Thanks for reading all the way to the end of my long-winded story. The nursery reveal is coming tomorrow!

Friday, August 3, 2012

My First Reupholstery Project Part 4 of 4: the Galling-to-Glorious Glider

Part 4: The ottoman AND the grand finale!

Yesterday, I was sooooo exhausted all day long. I kept wondering, "What's going on? Why am I so tired?" I mean, I got plenty of sleep the night before, and I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I actually had a pretty relaxing day. Then it hit me- I guess this is what it feels like to be 38 weeks pregnant! I'm not used to things slowing me down, so this caught me a little off-guard. I've had tons of energy for weeks now, and I just expected it to continue. Alas, the time has come when my morning three-mile walks become two, and my thirty-minute afternoon snoozes become two-hour sleep fests. At least we will meet our baby boy very soon...I can't believe he'll be here in the next two to four weeks!
Enough about that, though...let's get back to the glider! I am sooooo happy it's finally finished! This last piece only took us about 20 minutes to complete. All you need is fabric, a staple gun, scissors, and a friend.

Adam was a huge help with this part. It really takes two people to get the job done right- one person to pull and control the tension of the fabric, and one person to operate the staple gun. We started by stapling opposite sides down, and then we did the other two opposite sides. With the material pulled taut, we just stapled the material in place with about an inch between each staple. We left about 2 inches on either end by each corner. The corners were a little bit tricky, because I wanted them to have a smooth but slightly pleated look, so I just worked with tugging and folding them until I got the look I wanted. Then Adam stapled them in place. We put more staples in the corners to give them a stronger hold. Lastly, I went around the underside with my scissors and cut off any additional fabric that was hanging.

Not bad, right?! I am so in love with this fabric! Here's a "bird's eye" view of it:

Now we're ready to rock in style! As promised, I wanted to post a "before" and "after" shot side-by-side so you get the full effect of this glider's transformation. It looks so good in William's room! Most importantly, it's still totally functional, completely customized, looks brand-spanking new, and cost less than I could've bought a new one that I would not have loved as much!

I can't wait to show off the rest of his room. This fabric is what inspired the entire nursery! At first, Adam was concerned it was going to be too girly. Once my vision came together, though, I think he is just as pleased as I am with the results. Thanks for following along, and I hope you found some helpful tips along the way! :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My First Reupholstery Project Part 3 of 4: the Galling-to-Glorious Glider

Part 3 of 4: The arm rests
Well, we are halfway to the big reveal of the new glider! I think after this, I'll post all the pictures of William's nursery and give you a tour. I haven't even posted pictures of it to Facebook yet, so you'll get first look! :) Now, back to the glider...

Learn from my mistake!

Once again, I felt a little in the dark about these arm rests because I couldn't find any online help. My mother-in-law called me one afternoon after I'd been working on them all morning. I told her I was ready to throw the entire chair out the nursery window! She said I probably shouldn't do that since it was above my weight-lifting limit...I suppose she's right! You won't feel like this, though, because I'm going to share with you what worked and we'll skip the part about what didn't. I started by separating the arm rest into two pieces...only to sew it back together when I realized that wasn't working for me! So, save yourself both time and sanity and leave it in one piece. My original arm rests had pockets on the outside, and you could easily include an additional piece of fabric across the top of your new cover that can replace the ones we're going to sew over in just a minute. However, I had already spent three days coming up with a plan that worked to cover these evil arm rests, and I was willing to sacrifice the pockets.

Let's get started, shall we? My bird fabric is directional, so I did needed to cut out two pieces for each side of the arm rest so that my birds wouldn't end up upside down on the outside. I used the arm rest cushion to trace out my fabric and immediately sewed those 2 pieces together. I did that for the front and back. Oh, and be sure to make your length a little bit longer than the cushion is (maybe an extra inch or two)...you'll see why in a bit.

                  Sew the top and bottom pieces together             
Now that you have a new front and back cover, sew those together into a "sleeve", NOT a pillowcase! Be sure to leave both the top and bottom open, stitching down the sides only. See below. The arm rests had hardware I needed to be able to continue to use, so I tucked under the raw edge of fabric and exposed the original snaps. I started with the part that goes on the inside of the chair because it snaps under the seat cushion, out of sight! Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, I took it to the sewing machine.

Sew directly onto the arm rest. The stitching is going through the fabric AND the bottom part of the cushion, just above the hardware. Don't worry about the exposed strip of the original cover- it's hidden under the seat! See?

We are almost done! Sewing the outside bottom of the arm rest was a tiny bit different than the inside, because you will see all of it on the outside of the chair. I tucked in my material enough that the raw edge was above the snaps, but the fabric looped down enough to cover all of the cushion. Then I sewed it on, just above the snaps, like I did for the other end. It secured the fabric to the cushion, but it also left a nice flap that covered the snaps on the side you see and allowed me to lift the flap on the back side to attach the arm rest to the chair.

Finished product

If you look closely, you can see a little bit of the original cover in the bottom corners, but I didn't worry about that too much. If someone inspects my work that closely and has a problem with it, I'll politely ask them to sit in the glider, and then I'll throw them and the chair out the window! Haha, just kidding! I'd never do that- I worked too hard on this chair to toss it out now! Anywho, to remedy this, I just needed to leave a little more of a flap before sewing it. The chair itself is now complete, but we still have one more piece to go...the ottoman! You will need a heavy-duty staple gun and help from a friend (husbands work perfectly!) for tomorrow's post. Then we'll see the finished product, complete with a "before" and "after" comparison! I can't wait to give you a tour of the nursery after that! :)