March 29, 2013

Friday Faves - Easter Edition

Since Easter is just a few days away, I figured I’d make this week’s Friday Faves Easter related.  Here are some of the cute Easter ideas I’ve come across.

Excuse me while I try to take a bite out of these delicious adorable giant Peep decorations by The Seasonal Home.

Giant Peeps Decoration - The Seasonal Home

If you have kiddos, I love this fun idea- plant jelly beans the night before Easter and in the morning the kids wake up to lollipops that “sprouted” up.  Lovely idea from Balancing Beauty & Bedlam.

Plant Jelly Beans Grow Lollipops - Beauty and Bedlam

If you’re looking for a super cute Easter appetizer, check out these adorable deviled egg chicks by Breida with a B.  There’s nothing devilish about these cuties.

Baby Chick Deviled Eggs - Breida with a B

But if dyeing eggs is more your thing, I love these natural egg dye ideas.  Yummy Mummy Kitchen was very clever and used natural dyes from things she already had in her kitchen like tea and wine.

Natural Dyed Easter Eggs - Yummy Mummy Kitchen

If you’re looking for some more Easter ideas, you can check out my Easter dessert ideas post from last year.  Do you have any plans for Easter this year?

P.S. If you're pinning any of these images onto Pinterest, please click over to the original blog post and pin from their site.

March 27, 2013

Check Out My Crib

I’ve quickly learned that having a baby means you have to buy a lot of stuff (or register for a lot of stuff and thank your lucky stars you have generous family and friends.)  In all of the buying/registering, the three items I found the hardest to pick out were the stroller, crib, and mattress.  It took me hours of online research and 3 or 4 baby store trips to pick out a stroller! Pregnant women should not have to rack their brains with decisions like these!  I will spare you the details of the stroller decision, but since we’ve been talking about the nursery, I figured I’d share my crib buying experience.   Just call me Little Miss Fickle.

Buying a crib sounded easy enough at first, but after doing a little research I found out that all cribs are not created equal.  Some cribs of lesser quality are made of pressed wood that use glues with could contain a bunch of chemicals in them and the crib finishes/paints/stains can also contain scary sounding chemicals.  After adding up all of the hours a baby spends snoozing, I realized that the little one will be spending a lot of time in there and I want the crib to be as safe and non-toxic as possible.

And let’s not forget the crib should also be cute!  Admittedly this is less important and the baby isn’t going to care what the crib looks like, but heck I want to have a cute nursery!  As I mentioned back in my Nursery Mood Board post, I’d like the baby’s room to have a mix of white and wood furniture.  So I decided to go with a two-tone crib so it would work with both.  Plus although this isn’t always the case, it seems that a lot of white cribs are geared towards girls and dark wood cribs are geared towards boys.  Since we didn’t find out the baby’s gender, and want to use the crib for future babies, a two-tone crib sounded like the perfect solution.

After a lot of research, and knowing I wanted a modern looking crib, I narrowed it down to three two-tone cribs that were within our budget.

Two Tone Cribs

1. Delta Springtime Crib – $330 Babies R Us
2. Baby Mod Olivia Crib – $299 Walmart
3. Baby Mod ParkLane Crib – $279 Walmart

Then I started doing some research as to the safety specifications and materials used to make each crib.  I wanted to dig into this because some paints/stains used on a crib can pass government standards, but still contain some levels of phthalates and other chemicals that I would rather avoid even if they are at the government approved level. 

For the first crib, the Delta website listed that it has a “non-toxic finish tested for lead and other toxic elements to meet or exceed government and ASTM safety standards” and “JPMA certified to meet or exceed all safety standards set by the CPSC & ASTM.”  That sounded positive, but their website did not specify what kind of wood it was made from, it only listed that it was made from “strong wood construction.”  So being the overprotective mother I already am, I decided to call them to see if I could get any specifics about the type of wood and other things like phthalate levels.  The woman I spoke with on the phone, said that the crib was made from different types of pressed woods.  So I said, “Oh, so it’s not made from solid wood then?” but she insisted it was “solid wood” even though it was made from various types of woods that are shredded and then shaped and pressed together by her explanation.  I’m pretty sure she had no idea what the term “solid wood” means, because “pressed wood” sounds like the complete opposite to me.  She also said that they didn’t use any glues to press the wood together.  I’m no wood expert, but I would guess that you’d need some type of glue to hold the pressed wood together.  Plus, she wasn’t able to give me any further information about the levels of various chemicals used in the crib’s paint.  Now, I could be wrong about all of this, but she did not sound like she knew what she was talking about and I had no confidence that this was a solid wood, glue free crib like I was looking for.  To be fair, I also emailed them because this woman could have just been an anomaly, but I got no helpful information in their email response either.

At this point, you can picture me looking something like this (but with a less cool mustache.)


Meanwhile, the other two cribs are both made by Baby Mod and had more detailed information in their descriptions which said things like “solid wood, wood veneers and drawers; no paper press boards used” and “solid New Zealand pinewood construction.”  This had me feeling better already.  I still went searching for more information, but could not find an actual website for Baby Mod.  However, Baby Mod’s parent company is MDB who makes cribs under the brands Million Dollar Baby, DaVinci, and Babyletto among others.  And Babyletto makes the Mercer and Modo cribs which are nearly identical to the two Baby Mod cribs I was deciding between.  (The Babyletto cribs are currently on sale on Amazon, but at the time I was shopping around they were not, making them a lot more expensive than the Baby Mod cribs so that’s why I decided against them.)  The Babyletto cribs had much more detailed information on their website about the paints used in them.  On their website, they write:

“We exceed JPMA regulations and go through annual paint tests. Paint is called safe when it has toxic materials under 300 parts per million (ppm). In order for a company to claim low toxicity and as mandated by CPSC, it must be no more than 90ppm or 0.009%. All of our products here come in at less than 0.001%, way below the level allowed, making it absolutely lead and phthalate safe.”

Now, that’s specific to the Babyletto website, but their website does have a pledge to safety across all of their brands and I figured if the Babyletto and Baby Mod cribs look so similar, they probably have similar construction.  (Again, I’m just guessing about that, but I was impressed by the safety information given across the various MDB brands.)

So after all that, I narrowed it down to the two Baby Mod cribs, Olivia and ParkLane.

Modern Two Tone Cribs

I like the Olivia crib and that the two-tone wood part was actually part of the crib, not just a drawer front.  On the other hand, the ParkLane crib has a drawer and after all who couldn’t use more storage.  But, Walmart offers a free mattress with the Olivia crib (at the time I was shopping, both cribs were the same price, but the Oliva came with a mattress and ParkLane did not.)  But, I don’t know anything about that mattress and if it has all the safety specs I’m looking for in a mattress.  But ParkLane ends up being more expensive since no mattress is included.  And I went back and forth like this for weeks!  See image above of Miss Fickle.

I also looked online and saw both cribs looking cute in various nurseries.  I realized that the ParkLane crib was the same crib chosen by Young House Love for their nursery.  I even sent John and Sherry a message asking them how they liked the crib after over a year of use, to which they kindly replied and said only nice things about the crib.  I also asked if they thought the crib was too short, as it’s a little lower than some other ones and that was another concern of mine, but they didn’t have any issues with its height. 

The back and forth in my head continued for a while and then I finally decided on the simple fact that the ParkLane had a drawer and that would probably be useful, so that’s what I went with!
 Baby Mod ParkLane Crib

The crib was delivered exactly one day after we ordered it online.  As soon as I opened the box I was impressed because it was not smelly at all and I was worried their might be a “painty” smell.  It was fairly straightforward to put together (says the person who watched her husband do it without helping.)  All of the parts seem nicely constructed and high quality too. 

Here it is with the drawer open since that was the deciding factor after all.

Crib with Drawer

So after weeks of driving myself crazy over the crib choice, I can confidently say that I’m happy with the crib we chose!  Woot!

Two Tone Crib

So that's an overly wordy description of the craziness my brain went through in choosing this crib.  Thank goodness I liked it once we got it because I wouldn’t want to go through that again!  Have you had to rack your brain or did you have trouble making purchases for your little ones?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my Conscious Box giveaway which ends at today.

March 25, 2013

1983 Trivia - 30th Birthday Party Game

A couple of years ago I made a 30th birthday party trivia game for my husband’s birthday with questions about the year he was born.  This game has become a hit on Pinterest so I’ve updated it for any babies that were born back in 1983 and are turning 30 this year.  Just print out copies of the 1983 trivia card I designed and have your guests take their best guesses (or stretch their memory) at the big pop culture hits and other facts from 1983.  It’s the perfect kind of laid-back game for a 30th birthday party or even a 30th anniversary or reunion celebration.  Well, “laid back” as long as you’re not me and don’t take trivia games super seriously and get all competitive and make your friends fear you (don’t mess with me at Quizzo)!

1983 Trivia Game for 30th Birthday Party - DIYNewlyweds

This year, I designed two styles for the trivia cards.  Below are snippets of the two looks, but the actual trivia card contains more questions than what's shown in the images below.  The first look is what I like to call the “Back to the Future” design:

1983 Trivia Game - DIY Newlyweds

And the second design has fun rainbow letters:

30th Birthday Party Trivia Game - DIY Newlyweds

Since I’m a nerd and really into trivia, it actually takes me quite a bit of time to research the answers to each of the questions so I can make sure the the answer key is accurate (especially for the questions about the cost of certain items back in ‘83.)  I’m talking about digging through old census data and government reports.  Yeah, I take trivia seriously! 

So since I put a ton of time into making this trivia game each year and it’s available for download here totally for free, I ask that you do me a solid and follow me in one of the following ways in exchange for downloading this awesome game for free.

1- Subscribe to my RSS feed
2- Follow me on Pinterest

Thanks for understanding!  Now, here are the links where you can download either of the 1983 trivia cards and the answer key.

1983 Trivia Game – Back to Future
1983 Trivia Game - Rainbow
1983 Trivia Answer Key

I hope you enjoy this game and please make sure to either subscribe to my RSS feed or follow me on Pinterest before downloading!

P.S. If you’re looking for previous versions of this game, you can find the 1981 game here and the 1982 game here.

March 23, 2013

Friday Faves

Happy Weekend!  I’m a little late with this week’s Friday Faves, but we’re friends and you’ll forgive me right?  Awesome, I knew it!  Now, onto the faves:

10 Must-Know Measurements for Decorating from House Beautiful.  It answers questions I can never remember like how high to hang lighting fixtures.

10 Must Know Measurements for Decorating - House Beautiful

And if we’re discussing decorating “rules” you should definitely check out this post with 10 tips for mixing fabric patterns from Home Decorating and Staging.  It has some really good info!

10 Tips for Mixing Fabric Patterns - Home Decorating and Staging


And how about a  big shout-out to Better After blog for featuring my desk makeover.  Woohoo!

You can see the feature here and read all about my desk here.



And finally, make sure you enter my Conscious Box giveaway!  You could win a 3 month subscription which will deliver a box full of natural and organic products to your doorstep.  Woot!

Conscious Box Giveaway

March 20, 2013

Conscious Box Giveaway!

Have you ever wished your birthday was once a month instead of once a year?  Okay, maybe not the aging part, but the birthday presents part?  And that all of the presents were eco-friendly?  Well that’s kind of what Conscious Box is like.  Conscious Box is a service that sends a box full of natural products to your doorstep each month!  I don’t know about you, but getting a box full of goodies delivered to me each month is sure to bring a smile to my face!

Conscious Box

Conscious Box is a fun way to try and discover eco-friendly products.  Their boxes are full of sustainable, organic, fair trade, pure, and natural goodies.  The boxes are filled with things like beauty products, organic food, and natural home products.  They even have vegan and gluten free boxes!  Isn’t that cool? 

Well guess what, one of you is going to win a 3 month subscription to Conscious Box!  But that’s not all!  Conscious Box is offering all of my readers 50% off any of their subscriptions with the promo code DISCOVERNATURAL

To enter this giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.  There are several ways to earn entries into the giveaway.  Just click below on the entries you’d like to earn.  The giveaway runs from today until 12am on 3/28/13.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 19, 2013

Guide to Pinterest Analytics for Bloggers

Last week Pinterest rolled out a new analytics tool.  If you’re a blogger, you’ll definitely want to check it out.  After using it for a few days, I put together this guide to Pinterest Analytics to share what it is, how to sign up for it, and how to use the analytics features.

Pinterest Analytics Guide For Bloggers - DIY Newlyweds

What is Pinterest Analytics?
Pinterest analytics allows you to see things like the number of pins, pinners, repins, clicks, and visits you got.  Essentially, this tells you how many people are pinning from your blog and seeing your pins.  I know this is something I had been wishing to see.

Pinterest Web Analytics

Even better, there is a view where you can actually see the pins from your blog that were most recently pinned or are the most popular or most clicked on during a selected time period.  It’s awesome to visually see the pins that are getting the most traction!

How to see pins from your blog

I love seeing what’s being pinned from my blog.  It’s a good way to gain some insight into what your readers like to see and perhaps give you some ideas for future posts.  I found a few surprises in my results, several of my Christmas and Thanksgiving projects were most recently pinned.  I was surprised those pins were popular this time of year.

How to Get Pinterest Analytics - Signing up for Pinterest for Business

Now that you’re intrigued about Pinterest Analytics, here’s how you can access it for your blog.  In order to see Pinterest Analytics, you must sign up for Pinterest for Business.  Don’t worry, it’s free and you can use your existing Pinterest account to do so.  You can access the signup page by going to this Pinterest for Business link.

Once you’re on the Pinterest for Business page, you’ll want to click on “Join as a Business.”  You can also find Pinterest overviews, tips for using Pinterest, and read case studies about how businesses are successfully using Pinterest from this main page.

Pinterest for Business

Once you click to join, you’ll be taken to a new page with a form to fill out.  However, if you already have a Pinterest account you’ll want to click the link at the top-right that says “Already have an account? Convert”

Signing up for Pinterest for Business

Then, you’ll be taken to a new form that will probably have some of your profile information already pre-populated.  Here you’ll need to select a Business Type.  If you are a blogger, you’ll probably want to select “Professional.”  Make sure your website address is also entered on this screen.

Sign up for Pinterest Business Account

After your business account has been created, you need to verify your website.  This is to ensure that the website you are trying to get analytics for actually belongs to you and that you’re not some wacko trying to spy on the analytics for someone else’s site.

Using Pinterest for Business Account

After clicking the “Verify Website” button, you’ll be given two choices to verify your site.  You can either upload an HTML file to your domain or add a meta tag to your site’s code.  My blog is hosted on Blogger so the meta tag option was easier for me to do.  Basically, Pinterest gives you a line of code and you have to add it to the HTML of your site.  If you’re not familiar with HTML this may sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy. 

For those of you on Blogger, here’s a quick look at how to add a Meta Tag.  Once you login to your Blogger account, click on “Edit Template” in the left sidebar.  Then click on “Edit HTML” as shown below.

How to add a Meta Tag in Blogger

A new window will pop-up with the HTML for your site.  To make this process really easy, just copy the line of verification code Pinterest gives you and paste it right under where it says <head>.  This will always be towards the top of your HTML.  Once you’re done, click “Save Template.”

Adding a Meta Tag to Blogger Blog

That’s it!  Then just go back to Pinterest and click the verification button.  You should be verified now and have access to Pinterest analytics!

How to Use Pinterest Analytics
Once you’ve verified your blog, you can start using Pinterest Analytics!  To get into the Analytics portion of your account, you need to switch over to the new Pinterest look.  This isn’t available for everyone yet, but it will be rolling out to everyone soon.  Once you have access to the new look, you can access Pinterest Analytics it by going to Analytics from the new drop down menu.

Access Pinterest Analytics

Then start having fun!  Well, fun if nerdy analytics stuff is your jam, like it is mine.  Pinterest put together this nifty video explaining all of the analytics features, so I will it speak for itself.

Have you checked out Pinterest Analytics yet?  Are you an analytics nerd like me?  Yay line graphs!

This post is shared on Tatertots & Jello.

March 13, 2013

Painting the Nursery

I’m excited to start sharing some nursery updates.  As I mentioned in my nursery mood board, we wanted to a gender neutral room and decided that turquoise colored walls could be fun for either a girl or boy’s room.  I wouldn’t normally pick such a bright paint color, but hey this is a nursery, let’s have some fun!

Of course picking the right shade of turquoise is another story.  Since it’s already a bold color choice (for us), we didn’t want to go too bright with it.  We also didn’t want it to be too minty or too blue.  Okay, we may have gone a little nuts when trying to chose the color with quite a few paint samples, and then we even mixed some of those colors together in search of the perfect shade.  Eight paint patches on the wall, that’s normal right?

Choosing a turquoise paint color

Now, it would probably be helpful if I could remember what each of these colors are, but these pictures were taken a while ago (there’s been more nursery progress than I’ve let on) and sadly I have no idea which color is which.  But fear not!  I still have the sample paints so I painted them on a piece of white paper so I’d be able to share which color is which.  Whew.

mint green paint comparison

turquoise paint comparison

We decided that the first three color choices were all very similar and were all too light and minty colored (this much I do remember.)  So that left us with the Sherwin Williams choices.  Tame Teal was a little bluer and Aquatint was a little greener than we wanted, so after much back and forth we decided that Waterfall by Sherwin Williams was just right.

We went with the Waterfall color in the Sherwin Williams Emerald line of paints because they are no-VOC.  We also chose a satin finish because we figured kids are messy and we’d want something more wipeable than a flat paint, but still not super shiny.  Luckily, Sherwin Williams was having a sale when we bought the paints because they are on the pricey side.

Before tackling the walls, we painted the ceiling with Sherwin Williams HGTV Home line of paints.  The previous owner had painted the ceiling an off-white color, but we prefer the look of a crisp white ceiling.  We went with the HGTV line for the ceilings because it is a less expensive option, but is still zero VOC. 

Here’s a progress shot of the room after the ceiling was done and we started cutting in with the turquoise paint.  Sorry for the iPhone pics, but after working on the room, this pregnant lady didn’t have the energy to get the real camera (stairs + pregnant lady = lots of huffing and puffing!)

Painting a turquoise room

And now for the room after one coat of paint: 

Painting turquoise nursery

Aaaand, the finished walls.  Sorry to only show a few corners of the room, but I didn’t take any pics of the walls while the room was empty and there’s some furniture in there now, which I’m keeping under wraps for the time being, mwahaha!  Plus, I think seeing the color next to white doors gives a better idea of the shade (because between my camera and individual monitor settings, there’s bound to be some differences between the photo and the color in real life.)
sherwin williams waterfall paint

waterfall by sherwin williams

And now for a shot of the baby’s big brother guarding the room, gotta protect those baby shower goodies!

I really like the quality of Sherwin Williams paints, the walls had a very nice finish after 2 coats of paint.  However, I was hoping the no-VOC paint would mean it wouldn’t be smelly at all, but there was still a slight smell from the paint.  The smell was less than a regular paint would leave behind, but since this is a baby’s room we still did a considerable amount of airing out the room with the windows open and a fan going to get the paint fumes out.

I’m also really happy with how the paint color turned out.  At first I was worried we went too bright or bold, but once we got some furniture in the room it looked just right.  I’ll be back soon with an update on the furniture!

March 08, 2013

Friday Faves

Happy Friday!  I didn’t get a chance to share any projects this week, but I did find a ton of inspiration online.  Hopefully I’ll be ready to share some nursery updates with you next week.  Now onto what I was loving this week:

This very pretty office makeover at Two Twenty One.  I could get a lot of work done in a place like this!

Home Office Makeover - Two Twenty One

This very cute diy wooden puzzle from The Handmade Home.  This would make such a wonderful and thoughtful kid’s gift!

Handmade Puzzle - The Handmade Home

This clever and easy no-sew tutorial to turn an old sweater into a cardigan on Instructables.  So clever, I must give this a try.

DIY Cardigan - Instructables

And finally, how about a big shout-out for daylight saving time!  Don’t forget to spring forward and set your clocks forward one hour this Sunday.  I love it when it stays light outside later in the evening!

Anything strike your fancy this week?  Do you get excited by the clock change in the spring too?

March 01, 2013

Friday Faves

It’s Friday, woot! You know what that means, time for another look back at some of the stuff I’m digging this week.

Mom 4 Real combined chalkboard paint and a ceramic tile to make this clever chalkboard tray.  Using tile is genius!

chalkboard tile tray - mom4real

Lilikoi Joy stenciled this awesome accent wall.  She has a tutorial on how to make your own stencil too.

Stenciled Accent Wall - Lilikoi Joy

I am also loving this awesome website, which helps you choose fonts. It lets you see all of the fonts that are on your computer.  Just type in a word and you can see it in all of the fonts you already have.  I’ve already used it a bunch of times and it is so convenient! Below is a screenshot of what it looks like when I typed in the word “fonts.”  Thanks to Just a Girl for sharing this helpful tip.

Since babies are on my mind big time, I loved reading this article “5 Things I’d Forgotten About Having a Newborn” from Ask Your Dad blog.  His story of sleep deprivation had me laughing out loud (much funnier when it happens to someone else!) I also love this quote from this blog post, “I may have made some unnecessary remarks about why I shouldn't have to watch a show about Canadians redecorating their living rooms.”  Haha.  I can totally relate to that, I never even realized that pretty much sums up all of the HGTV I watch.

What are you digging this week?