Clara turned three on Tuesday (Threesday?) so we’ve spent the last few days marveling at this wonderful little lady before us and wondering where the heck the time went.
And just like we did for her two previous birthdays, we marked the end of another 12 months by customizing the fabric backdrop for her photo project. You might remember that this tradition started on her first birthday, when we used my handwriting to create a pattern that we printed on fabric using Spoonflower (here’s how we did that).
Spoonflower came to the rescue again last year, but we took advantage of Clara’s artistic abilities and converted one of her scribbles into the fabric that time (here’s how we did that).
Last year’s fabric turned out a bit fainter than we would’ve preferred, so this year we knew we wanted to (a) involve Clara again and (b) make sure it came out bold and colorful. So we decided to just unleash Clara on the fabric itself…
Since it promised to be a messy project (if all went as hoped!) we headed to the new house where there were lots of big, not-too-precious spaces (like the deck) and taped down a drop cloth. Then we taped the cotton fabric down right in the middle of it.
For the paints we went with these little pots of Crayola Kids’ Paint (from Target) because it’s what Clara’s used to and it’s washable and non-toxic. We contemplated using some sort of fabric paint so her masterpiece could be preserved, but ultimately these kid-friendly paints were better suited to the free reign we were able to give our budding 3-year-old.
She chose pink first and basically just went to town pouring it right out of the bottle and smearing it with a foam brush.
Here’s a quick video of our painter in action.
She even added some hand prints and footprints. They’re our favorite.
It took about 30 minutes or so for her to fill the whole two yards of fabric with paint splotches. Right as we were wrapping up we got the idea to let her paint her shirt, right where we typically would photoshop the circle with her age on it. We figured why not give into the theme, right?
So with the paint still wet and Clara still a mess, we dragged the whole drop cloth over to the side of the house where we could tape it up to create a spot to shoot her photo.
Despite being dangerously close to losing all light (and losing the patience of a girl who was so far doing a very good job listening) we managed to snag this shot at the start of a jump. Jumping is kind of her default motion these days, so it was perfect. You can read how we add the number to her shirt in photoshop here.
We also caught a bunch of pretty hilarious outtakes, which you can browse over on Young House Life today. Sherry calls this her Stomp The Yard pose.
And with that folks, we’re calling it a wrap on her monthly pictures. I know it would be fun to keep them going, but we think she has started to outgrow enjoying them (read: it’s becoming more challenging to convince her it’ll be more exciting than doing whatever else she’s doing). So rather than force it, we’ll use this as a natural stopping point – although we’d still love to break out a new fabric for each birthday – and maybe even for her half birthday – depending how she feels.
The 25 pictures above are the ones that we took between age 1 and age 3, and the 52 weekly photos that we snapped during her first year are below. You can see all 77 of them at full size over here.
Oh and speaking of photo traditions – Clara’s also lucky enough to have spent all of her birthdays (including her actual birth date) with three of her grandparents. Our favorite thing about studying those photos is noticing than each adult re-wears the same shirt at least once.
Is anyone else out there making their own fabric? Wrapping up a photo project? Letting your kid loose with little pots of paint? Happy weekend everyone!
Let’s talk about wood, shall we? As we mentioned on Tuesday, we decided to go with solid oak hardwoods for the four bedrooms and the hallway upstairs since many rooms downstairs along with the stairs themselves have a nice medium toned oak already (pretty similar to the hardwoods in our first house that ended up being super dog/kid friendly).
As for where to get it, first we looked on craigslist to see if anyone had a large quantity of something in the right tone/amount (no dice) and then we headed to Lumber Liquidators, since we’ve had luck with them when it came to buying hardwood floors for half of our first house back in 2007 and it’s also where we got the cork flooring for our kitchen in 2011. They always have a ton of selection, and tend to have lots in stock along with all of the underlayment & tools in one place, so they’re pretty much a one stop shop for us now that it’s our third time to the flooring rodeo.
Clara walked right in and made herself comfortable (the girl’s right at home on wood flooring, what can I say?) and we had a look around.
She also had some fun on the tiny set of display stairs. According to the guys who work there every kid who enters the store does that as some sort of unspoken toddler rite of passage.
We ended up grabbing six different samples to hold up against the stairs to see which one would be the best match (we tackled this “sampling phase” right before ripping out all of that nasty upstairs carpeting). Since the sun was setting, we waited until the next morning to take them to the new house so we could judge them in natural light.
We decided to try stripping the carpet off of just the top stair so we could be sure the wood under there was still in good shape (if it was completely damaged we’d have to refinish them, which would mean that we could be less careful about picking a matching wood tone for the upstairs). Thankfully the floor under the runner was in great shape (after we pulled about a hundred staples out by hand) and we loved the medium brown tone (not too yellow, not too dark, not too light). Basically it’s the Goldilocks of hard wood.
For a bit more on why we love not-too-dark-not-too-light-not-too-yellow-not-too-red-toned oak, it’s probably 50% personal preference (some people love it redder or more golden) and 50% practical (if you go too dark with hardwoods we hear that every spec of dust and pet hair can be seen, and if you go too light we’ve heard that wear and tear is also easier to spot since it’s such a light surface). And since we had practically the same tone of oak hardwoods in our first house for years (and it worked well for us – we loved how it looked with our furniture, etc) that ended up swaying us.
Can you tell from this bad iPhone picture of all the samples (sorry!) which one works the best with the stairs?
Yup, it’s the bottom left guy. He was the only one in almost exactly the same color and with the same variety of grain (some dark grain and some light grain). It was also the same thickness (2 1/4″) as the hardwood downstairs. So although we loved some of the wider board options, it felt true to our house and nice and cohesive to go with the one that was the right color, had the right amount of wood grain, and was the same width as the rest of the wood flooring in the house.
It took everything in us not to keep going down each step with the crowbar and the pliers, stripping that stained old carpet as we went. But we knew we had a date with the carpeting upstairs (it’s more important to rip that out and lay the new hardwoods before we move than it is to get it off the stairs, which can be done at any time). In the bad news department, that top step took us about 20 minutes to wrestle free (which means we have about three hours worth of work in our future). But stair runner, you have been warned. We’ll be back.
So after judging those samples in the nice natural light of the morning, we returned to Lumber Liquidators a day after our first trip to officially put in our order. We were armed with the square footage for all of the areas we needed to do, so now that we had picked our Hardwood Bachelor (he accepted our rose and everything), it was pretty straightforward.
Here’s a close up of our winner winner chicken dinner. It’s called Lono Oak and it’s a solid wood floor (it’s not engineered, and it’s 3/4″ thick so it can be refinished many times) and it comes with a 25 year warranty. Most hardwood flooring is in the $4-7-ish range, but LL’s list price was $3.69 per square foot.
Here’s where I smiled sweetly and asked my favorite negotiating question, which is “what’s your best price?” Then you just stand there. Resist the urge to mumble “uh, not that I’m trying to be tough” or “I’m sorry, forget it” Just stand there in silence and wait to see what they say. If they can come down, they’ll tell you. And if they can’t they’ll say they can’t and you can smile and say “just had to ask.” John hates this step, so it’s always my job. And before I threw out my favorite line, I also mentioned how this was our third big order from them so we’re definitely loyal repeat customers.
Boom: 10% off our entire order for those two sentences. So that took the price per square foot down to $3.29 and also scored us 10% off other things we grabbed like a special type of underlayment to work with our subfloor (more on that when we get to the installation process). Speaking of installing it, we’re going to attempt to do it all ourselves, and we better get started soon if we hope to move in 2.5 weeks! Plus we want to paint all of the blue/mauve trim (and maybe even the doors?) while the carpet’s out but before the floor goes down. So… yeah. Tick tock, Petersiks.
Meanwhile Clara was busy spicing up their brochure displays…
We left feeling pretty excited about our big upstairs flooring overhaul. Especially since we asked how much it would cost to hire their guys to install all the flooring and they said it would be around four thousand bucks! So assuming we can do it (knock on hardwood) it’ll definitely add up to some serious money saved.
So our hardwoods are ordered and we have a whole mess of blue trim to paint. We’d like to buy a paint sprayer and try our hand at that, so we’ll keep you posted. Should be interesting…
It’s time for our monthly moment of thanks to the sponsors who make the other 30+ posts possible. Without them we might not have food on our tables or clothes on our backs (and hungry, naked blogging doesn’t make for good DIY morale). So feel free to check out some things that caught our eye this month, and peruse our usual round-up of discounts at the bottom of the post – plus a hint about Monday’s $500 giveaway!
- This “Splatter Stacks” print from Hoot Design Co. Because books make me happy.
- Shades of Light‘s dhurrie rugs, like this honeycomb guy that comes in five colors.
- Our pal Dusty’s DIY backsplash install as featured on The Tile Shop‘s homepage.
- This “Ava” bed frame from a Southwest inspired Joss & Main sale.
- Kendra Scott‘s statement necklaces, like this Valora piece in matte green.
- Entryway monogram vinyl decals from WallQuotes. This one’s for Burger.
- This office-ready paper clip inspired key hook rail from Liberty Hardware.
- Jewelry for every occasion from Lisa Leonard, like this true friend necklace.
- Custom growth charts from Urban Tickle. I, of course, like the one with the bikes.
- Fish Window Cleaning services (clean windows = more spring sunshine).
- The feline reference on the Naked Binders website that literally made me LOL.
- Royal Design Studio‘s new Bonnie Christine stencils, like this herringbone one.
- Speaking of herringbone – Cozamia‘s Wild Herringbone print rocks our socks.
- This cool vintage postcard from Ruby Lane, featuring flowers framing the US Capitol.
- Freshline Illustration‘s cheeky nursery print that can be customized too.
- These stellar house notecards from 1 Canoe 2. I kinda wanna live in them.
- Smock Paper‘s earth friendly printing methods that produce pretty cards like this one.
- Keeping up with the charm-tastic inspiration on the Heart & Stone Jewelry blog.
- The crisp line drawings available at A Vintage Poster, like this brass trumpet.
- Mirror Mate‘s Pinterest page, especially the board of blogger bathroom makeovers.
- Audrey + Gem‘s colorful watercolor animals for nurseries (including a Clara worm!)
- Food & leftover minimizing meal planning for two from Couple Supper.
- This summer ready woven bag from Red Barn Mercantile. Bring on the beach…
- And a hint for Monday’s Giveaway, which will be $500 strong!
Here are the details on those DISCOUNTS:
- Shades of Light: 10% off with the code YHL0811
- WallQuotes.com: 15% off with the code YHL15
- The Tile Shop: 10% off when you use the code YHL10
- One Canoe Two: 10% off with code YHL10
- Heart & Stone Jewelry: 10% off with the code YHL10
- Royal Design Studio: 10% off stencils with code YHL10
- Freshline Illustration: 25% off with code YHL25
- Urban Tickle: 10% off with code YHOUSE10
- Audrey + Gem: 10% off with code YHL10
- Hoot Design Co: 10% off with code YHL
* None of the products or services shown above were provided to us for review or for free (check out our no-swag policy here).