Inspiration for our Shared Baby and Toddler Room

shared baby and toddler room

You may remember that last year, when I was expecting our youngest, I started working on various projects to turn our small second bedroom from a room for one toddler to a shared room for a baby and toddler. Well, I accomplished the most important goals on my list such as repainting the room, setting up the crib with our DIY adjustable crib skirt, and making a baby quilt, but ran out of steam and didn’t quite finish every project I had hoped to do before Elsie arrived.

closet door with curtains

Now that our baby girl is a year old and I feel like I’m finally starting to come up for air, I really want to finish this room! Most of the room is fine, but it’s the decorative elements that are lacking, and there’s a lot of blank walls. We can’t have that! Here’s my remaining to do list of projects and some inspiration for each.

1. Curtains! Right now, I have black out fabric cut to the size of curtains I need, and hanging from ring clips at the windows. It does the job, and most people don’t even realize they’re not white drapes, but they don’t hang nicely, and I really want to make something. Actually, I’d really just like to buy something, but the ones I want are of course, rather expensive, so DIY is a better option. I’m thinking white and ruffles. Here’s what I have in mind…

pottery barn ruffle curtain

I love these simple white drapes from Pottery Barn. The ruffle around the edge would be an easy project.

I also love all the versions I’ve seen of these ruffle curtains, originally from Anthropologie, but since knocked off by half the blogs on the internet. But there’s a good reason for that: those ruffles are awesome! Here’s a version from DIY Til We Die:

diy ruffle curtain

2. Make Elsie’s name wall hanging just like I did for Violet. I plan on doing a tutorial for this project too. It’s one of my favorite things I made back when this room was Violet’s nursery.

embroidery hoop name wall hanging

3. Make a gallery wall on this blank wall. It will have both the girls’ names, plus various pictures and artwork that I’ve been setting aside for them. I may need to get a few frames, but I think I mostly have everything I need for this project.


4. Find a different end table for between the two beds. The one that’s there now is super rickety, and I only ever planned for it to be temporary. Elsie loves grabbing the handle and shaking the whole thing, so we definitely need to find a safer (and hopefully still cute) solution. The heating vent is right there beneath the window, so it also needs to be something that doesn’t obstruct the vent.

None of these projects are huge, so I’m hoping I can check them off little by little over the next few weeks. Let me know if you have any inspiring ideas for this room. I’m all ears! :)

Dollhouse Pillow!

dollhouse pillow

I finally finished Violet’s dollhouse pillow!

diy dollhouse pillow

I am so so thrilled with how it turned out!

hand made dollhouse pillow

I made this pillow as a sweet little place to corral my daughter’s many small stuffed animals at bedtime. She’s at that age where she loves hiding under pillows, and the coziness of small nooks and crannies, so I thought this pillow would be a fun thing she could use and enjoy.

pink dollhouse pillow

Biscuit the puppy is her favorite lovey and so she has been calling this “Biscuit’s House.”

make your own dollhouse pillow

The pillow is made up of three layers: the normal front and back of a pillow (with stuffing in between), plus an additional pillow front that is the decorative “house” portion of the pillow. Basically, the front is all one giant pocket and she can stuff as many toys and stuffed animals into it as her heart desires. I made sure not to over-stuff the body of the pillow so that there’s plenty of room for housing stuffies.

doll house pillow

My favorite little detail is the chimney. It is just the right size for stuffing a tissue inside, handy for those late night nose-wipes which we seem to have pretty often in this house.

dollhouse pillow chimney

Oh, and I love the curtains too! Pink eyelet lace frames the small round window in the “attic” and a delicate white lace makes up the curtains in the rest of the windows.

dollhouse pillow window

The door is hand-sewn to the doorway on one side, so it can really open and close, and a tiny button from an old shirt makes the perfect little doorknob.

dollhouse pillow door

And then there’s the pom-pom fringe. Because… pom-pom fringe! I want to put it on everything! And I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t! Must procure more pom-pom fringe…

pink dollhouse pillow

The trickiest part of this project was sewing the bias tape to the inner edge of those square windows. The round window and arched doorway weren’t too difficult, but the square windows! I’m still not completely happy with how they look on the front, and they’re a lot worse on the inside, but I’m trying not to care about that, since it’s something nobody else will ever see. Still, that’s the main thing I’m hoping to adjust before I make a second pillow for Elsie. Once I work out all the kinks, I’ll post a tutorial.

dollhouse pillow diy

The back of the pillow is a plain piece of soft flannel. While this pillow is mostly for fun, I wanted one side to be un-decorated and comfy for resting.

dollhouse pillow back

This was a fun project for using up scraps! The main part of the house is fabric leftover from one of the baby doll moses baskets that I made recently, and the “roof” portion is from an old skirt I remade last year. The fabric for the door is something I’ve had forever. I think I used it to make my sister a pillow when I was in highschool! I love putting a little history and extra happy memories into something I’ve made by using up scraps from other meaningful projects.

dollhouse pillow

I’m so in love with this little dollhouse pillow and I can’t wait to make another!



I’ve been obsessed with this project…


It’s a dollhouse pillow for my oldest daughter’s extensive collection of small stuffed animals that she MUST sleep with every night. They needed a home to corral them all in one place, and this is my solution. It’s my new Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Made and it’s not even finished yet. Hopefully later this week it will be completed and I can show you the whole thing.

And I now have this space for my sewing and crafting…


It’s a $40 Ikea counter with 2×4 legs. Yeah for no more sewing at the kitchen counter and then having to clear it off for meals! We purchased the counter a few weeks ago, but my husband hadn’t yet found an opportunity to get everything put together. I left the house Saturday afternoon with a larger than normal mess of sewing stuff on the kitchen counter and came home to find this table set up in our basement, and all the mess that was in the kitchen relocated to my new sewing table as well. I guess he’d finally had enough of pushing fabric and scissors out of the way when he wanted to make a cup of coffee. I am so thrilled with my new table! I love how having a white work surface makes my work space feel so much brighter.

Last week was our family staycation/vacation. I. am. pooped. Who knew taking your kids somewhere exciting every day could be so exhausting? I’m very much a stay-at-home-unless-I-absolutely-have-to-go-somewhere kind of mama, so being on the go every day was not our norm. One child loved it and the other refused to sleep or eat or be happy anywhere but home. This resulted it switching up our plans a few times so that one of us could take the loves-to-go-places child out for an activity and leave the just-want-to-sleep-in-my-own-bed child at home to… sleep in her own bed. It was kind of nice to go that route actually, as we both got one-on-one time with each girl and a day where we were not running all day long.


One of our outings was to The Crayola Experience and I have a renewed love for crayons! There were some really neat activities at that place and we came home with some cool artwork for our kids’ art wall. My favorite part was painting with melted crayons! I need to find a way for us to do this at home. Wouldn’t that be a fun way to use up the old broken crayons?


For a souvenir, you could fill a tin with any combination of colored markers and crayons. I loved seeing the rainbow of colors displayed on the wall!


I’m loving the cooler temps we’ve been enjoying the last few days. It makes me want to pick apples and buy a humongous pumpkin! I’m hoping we can make that happen this week too.

What are your fall plans?

Our Simple Play Kitchen

Simple Play Kitchen

The other day as I was cleaning up all the girls’ pretend play food, I realized I never blogged about the play kitchen my husband built the girls for Christmas. I’ve had my eye on the Simple Play Kitchen plan from Ana White’s website, and we decided this was the year to make it happen.

Play Kitchen Ana White

My husband loves to build furniture from her plans. He always raves about how simply they go together.


This was one of those projects that could have kept going and going and going… Once you get into it, you think of a dozen different things you could do to make it even more over the top.

Such as a real faucet for the sink.


Surface mount doors on the fridge, instead of inset doors. You know, to make it more… fridge-like.


The burners on the stove are coffee can lids.


And strings on the oven door, so that it doesn’t fall the whole way to the ground.


My contribution to this project was significantly smaller.

I made the skirt under the sink.


Organized the fridge. Ohhh! I wish my fridge was this organized.


And then I made Miss V an apron to match the sink skirt.


I also started matching aprons for me and Elsie, but it was Christmas Eve by this time, and… yada yada yada… There’s always next year!

Here’s some more gratuitous play kitchen pictures, because I’m so proud of my husband for building this! I know it will be a family heirloom!









Ana White Play Kitchen

DIY Kid’s Super Girl Costume

DIY Kids Super Girl Costume

With Trick-or-Treat time right around the corner (next month!) I thought I’d share the DIY super girl costumes I made for the girls last year.

Our oldest was in quite the super hero phase. She loved racing around the house with a cape flying behind her. She literally had worn her old cape out, so I decided Trick-or-Treat was the perfect excuse to make her a new one, plus one for her sister to match!


I purchased them each an outfit of matching shirt and pants, choosing things I knew we could use in their everyday wardrobe after Trick-or-Treating was over. For the shirts, I used Wonder-Under to create a simple logo: a white circle with their first initial in the center. Once the pieces were cut and ironed, I sewed close to the edges of each piece of fabric with a small straight stitch on my sewing machine.


I then used the same fabric I used to decorate the shirts, to create capes. To do this, I measured each child from the bottom of her neck to just above her ankles. Then I used this measurement on some large paper I had, to determine the length of the cape. For the neckline and pieces surrounding the neck, I laid a bib on the paper and loosely traced around it, modifying it a little to get the look I wanted for the cape. This worked perfectly for the baby’s cape, but for my older daughter, I ended up having to create a larger circle to comfortably accommodate her neck, even though the bib fits her.


Then I used the pattern I had created to cut two pieces of fabric, placed them right sides together, and sewed all the way around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and left a section about 8 inches long un-sewn, so that I could turn everything right sides out.


Next, I folded the remaining raw edges inward, ironed them smooth, pinned them in place, and top-stitched close to the edge around the entire cape, including the neckline.


After that, I tried the cape on my daughter to determine the placement of velcro. I choose velcro over ties so that she could take the cape on and off herself, and also to avoid a potential choking hazard. My kids are wild.


Each super girl costume was finished off with a simple felt and elastic crown. I used my hot glue gun to secure the two ends of elastic together as in this headband tutorial, and then cut a crown shape out of felt and hot glued it to the front of the elastic headband. I had hopes of decorating them with metallic thread and sequins, but… two-month-old baby in the house, and all that. They had homemade costumes, which felt like a win. It was probably only the crazy post-partum hormones that made me attempt homemade costumes in the first place. That is all.


They made the two cutest, most powerful little super heroes ever! Have you ever seen a super hero with pigtails or a paci? It makes those super hero powers even stronger.


The baby stayed home with Grandma and Grandpa, to cry and smile and pass out candy. Her cape was barely larger than the bib I used to copy it. Now that she has grown, it has become a baby doll cape, though I suppose it could be used as a bib too.

Mr. Vintage Violet and I took our big girl through the neighborhood, where she bravely marched up to every door, smiled sweetly, and collected more candy than we would ever let her eat. Thankfully, Mr. Vintage Violet has a sweet t0oth.



DIY Kids Super Girl Costume


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Update to the Family Command Center Chalkboard Wall – And also, I can’t draw.

Family Command Center

One of my favorite corners in our home is the family command center and chalkboard wall we put together over a year ago. It’s a relatively small space in our home, less than four feet wide, just between our side kitchen door and the doorway to our basement.

Command Center Chalkboard Wall

Since the little makeover we put together for this area, it’s become the drop zone for the mail, keys, house and cell phones, an art area for the girls, as well as where we hang the calendar where I keep track of all our activities and appointments. That’s quite a list of responsibilities for such a small space!


I’ve totally left it exactly as it looked the day we finished that project and haven’t played around with the chalkboard area as much as I thought I would.

Chalkboard Wall

Yesterday, I was ready for a change!

Command Center

But I forgot: I can’t draw.


After scouring Pinterest for inspiration, and playing around with chalk on and off for about two hours, this is my best attempt.

It took an alphabet worksheet, two naps, and an episode of Doc McStuffins to get me even to this point. I think you understand.

I kept trying different things, wiping it all away with a damp rag. Starting over. I’ve decided that if you can’t draw, symmetry is not your friend. This was originally going to have a cute leafy circle around this saying. But it was really giving me away on the whole can’t draw thing, so we switched gears.

Mail Organizing System

I long for fancy chalkboard art! But sometimes you just need to make an improvement, even if it isn’t perfect.

I’m telling myself I’ll do something fancier and more complex next week.

Family Command Center

But really, let’s check back in another year and see if I’ve changed a thing. Just keeping it real!


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Fabric Flower Headbands from T-Shirts

fabric flower headband

Ever since I had my oldest daughter I have love love loved making fabric flower headbands!

fabric flower barrette

With that back-to-school feeling in the air, I find myself wanting to make things for my girls to wear, and when time is short, these t-shirt headbands are the perfect fit!

t-shirt headband

Fabric flower headbands are such a fun project because the materials needed are minimal, you can complete this project with just your hot glue gun (no sewing needed!), and the amount of time you will need to invest is relatively short. I’d guess you can complete at least one fabric flower headband in under an hour.

t-shirt fabric flower

Here’s what you’ll need:

1. An old t-shirt or jersey knit fabric (t-shirt fabric)

2. Soft elastic or a large barrette

3. Felt to match your fabric

4. Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks

5. Iron

First, start by cutting your t-shirt fabric into long narrow strips. Mine measured about 2 1/2″ by 30″ long.


Next, iron your strip of fabric in half, lengthwise, making an even narrower strip of fabric.


After that, iron it in half again. Now you have a piece of fabric approximately 3/4″ tall by 30″ long, and it should be four layers of fabric thick.


Get your hot glue gun warmed up, and then start rolling one end of your fabric, creating a tiny little jelly roll. Once you’ve rolled it a few times, place a small line of hot glue on the fabric, and roll it into your jelly roll, securing everything in place.


Now you can begin to create the criss-cross rolling technique that will give your fabric flower some texture, and keep it from being one solid jelly roll of fabric.


I like to hold my fabric flower on my work surface, fold the fabric strip over at an angle, then add a line of hot glue, and roll the flower over the glue to secure the “petal” I have just created.


Then I immediately fold the next section of fabric back in the other direction, make a line of hot glue, and roll the fabric flower over the hot glue to secure everything in place. Keep repeating this process back and forth until you have only a few inches left of your fabric flower.






When you get near the end of your fabric strip, fold the fabric over, secure with hot glue, and then instead of folding it back again, tuck your tail of fabric under the flower, and secure in place with several globs of hot glue.


To turn your fabric flower into a headband, I like to find some soft elastic, measure the person’s head, and make the elastic at least one inch smaller (possibly more, if your elastic is very stretchy). Take the two ends of your elastic and overlap them, adhering the two pieces together with hot glue.


Then make a line of hot glue across the back of your fabric flower, and lay the elastic over the line of glue, making sure the raw ends of the elastic that you just glued together, are the part you glue to the back of the flower, that way they will be concealed under the next layer, which is felt! Cut a circle of felt a little larger than your fabric flower, run a line of hot glue along the edge of the flower (on the back part of the flower), and then place that hot glued side on top of the felt. Allow to dry, and then trim with sharp scissors, as close to the flower as possible.




My older daughter does not care to wear headbands, so for her I made a fabric flower barrette! I covered the top piece of this barrette with extra fabric before I glued it to the flower, but in retrospect, I’m not sure it was necessary. So long as your flower covers all of the barrette, you probably don’t need to bother with that extra step. I’ve used alligator clips in the past, but they are light weight and can only hold the weight of a smaller flower. This time, I wanted to make her a big flower, so I went with this “French barrette” which has worked out better with the larger flower.






And now some pictures of the finished products!




I so appreciate that my older daughter is old enough to understand what I mean when I say, “hold still for the camera.” Snap snap snap, and we were done in under a minute.

fabric flower barrette

Baby girl was another story all together.

t-shirt flower headband

Whoever has the job of photographing one-year-olds is worth their weight in gold. Yeah, we’ll definitely be paying someone to take the family pictures for our Christmas cards this year.

diy flower headband



Not that these photos are any different from most of the pictures we’ve gotten of her lately. Someday she’s going to look at our family photos and wonder if we stopped loving her at nine months old because there will be no more pictures. No, you just stopped holding still for more than a half a second at that point. I’m sure this phase will end at some point. Before she’s twelve.


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Our DIY Simple Princess Birthday Party

Castle Cardboard BoxThough it was several months ago, I thought it would be fun to take a quick look at V’s third birthday party.

Since we had a new baby in the house, EASY and SIMPLE were the key words when thinking about how I wanted to plan this party. I sent out some e-mail invites, and a few of her friends were able to come one morning for a princess playdate.

The plan was pretty basic: have everyone dress up in their favorite princess dress, make a castle out of cardboard boxes, and serve a meal that could be entirely purchased at Costco.

diy cardboard castle

I think we were able to succeed on all of those points! My husband found some huge, clean cardboard boxes at work from an area that was getting new cubicles. He brought them home and had a blast building a castle to surprise Miss V when she woke up the morning of the party.

cardboard box castle

He’s such a perfectionist, and pretty creative, and I think it shows. When someone gets out a T-square and a level to make a cardboard castle, you know they mean business! We knew there would be parts that needed taped together, so rather than try to hide the tape, I bought some pink duct tape and we just made it part of the “look” of the castle. When he was all done, Mr. Vintage Violet used extra pieces of tape to decorate the castle with a few “bricks.” Christmas lights completed the look, and we tossed a kids chair and a few blankets inside to make it cozy.



Instead of games, I bought a pack of 1,000 princess stickers at Target and told the girls they could decorate the castle to their hearts’ content. This was a bit hit and they spent all of the party either decorating or playing inside the castle. Bonus for mommy=no games, no prizes, happy kids.

There were favors too, of which I didn’t get any pictures, but they were basically this: brown paper lunchbags (I thought it matched the cardboard castle, and again, EASY!), princess crowns from Target’s dollar section, and some candy bracelets from the dollar store. Again, nothing fancy, but the girls seemed to enjoy everything.


I’d had elaborate ideas about making my own princess crowns for each girl out of headbands, felt, and sequins, but with a new baby, I kept not getting to that project. A few days before the party, I was at Target and I saw the exact thing I had been planning in my head. It was one of those crazy moments where I felt a twinge of regret that I wouldn’t have time to make them myself, followed by thoughts of hallelujah-I-don’t-have-to-make-princess-crowns! Because seriously, a bunch of three-year-olds would not care about whether their crowns were store bought or homemade. I like to make things though, so sometimes it’s hard to reason with myself. I’m glad logic won out this time. It probably saved my family from watching me stress out while trying to hot-glue a half dozen felt tiaras and nursing a baby. That wouldn’t have been pretty…


For a birthday cake, I made cupcakes and used bits of scrapbook paper and crochet thread to create a small bunting to span the plate and make things a bit more special.






The castle was definitely the show-stopper of this party, which was awesome since it was, um, free. Well, except three dollars for the duct tape. You can’t do much better than that! V loved it so much, it stayed in our living room (which it pretty much filled) for the next week, and she took many of her meals in there on a tray. Everyone who visited our house had to crawl in there with her and I think she would have slept there too if we’d let her.


We kept it pretty low-key, and I think the girls, and the parents had an enjoyable morning. And if anyone wants to give this idea a spin, there’s a giant cardboard princess castle in my basement that you’re welcome to borrow. None of us had the heart to throw it away.

Teddy Bear Picnic 1st Birthday Party

teddy bear picnic birthday party

Our baby girl turned one recently, so we hosted a special party with family to celebrate!

teddy bear picnic partyThe theme was a Teddy Bear Picnic. For the invitations, I set up a little “picnic” in our backyard and then snapped photos as fast as I could before the birthday girl’s patience ran out.

1st invite

Her birthday outfit consisted of a homemade onesie, tu-tu, and headband. The onesie, I decorated with fabric and Wonder-Under, then stitched around the edges on my machine. My photo-shop skills are not the best, but between my husband and myself, we managed to design a cute party invite that fit with the theme.

teddy bear picnic birthday party

The day of the party was overcast, cool, and looked like it would soon rain, so we moved our picnic indoors.

Having a few kid birthday parties under my belt, I’ve found I am beginning to develop a consistent approach: homemade, simple, and lots of food. I try not to get caught up in every idea I see but stick to a few key elements: cake table decor, some kind of banner, and a special shirt for the birthday child. Beyond that, there might be a few other touches, but I try not to get too crazy. Party day always manages to be crazy enough, even when I think I’m keeping it simple!

teddy bear picnic cake table

So here’s how The Teddy Bear Picnic Party turned out.

diy rosette cake

I made a rosette cake using this tutorial, a box mix cake, and this recipe for icing. People, this may be the only cake you ever see from me ever again. Seriously, it was soooo easy to do! The trick is getting your icing the right consistency. You want it to be firm, but not too dry, or it won’t swirl into the rosettes easily. I was running late the day of the party and was still mixing the icing as guests were arriving, but once I had the cake iced, I probably finished decorating it in fifteen minutes. It was that easy. I can’t wait for an excuse to make this cake again!

teddy bear picnic party

The cake table is the area where I try to focus most of my decorating efforts. The tablecloth is actually a curtain from Ikea. I just folded the tab-top side underneath and nobody knew my secret! Some grocery store roses in a thrifted milk glass vase, plus a few teddy bears from the playroom made up the rest of the decor.

teddy bear picnic decor

I used a second vase, with a few more roses and a small teddy bear to decorate the dining table. I try not to put a bunch of decorations on the table where we eat. Once everyone’s plates and glasses are on the table, it can feel really crowded, so I try to make my decorations there very minimal.

no sew fabric bunting

Over the cake table, I hung a no-sew fabric bunting (tutorial soon to follow). It added a lot of color for minimal time and effort. Plus, I can re-use it for future parties. A second fabric bunting decorated the top of the french doors in the living room and made that room feel decorated.

diy fabric bunting

My only other project for the party was displaying the month-by-month photos I’ve been taking the past year to document how much our girl has changed and grown. I went with the same idea I used for our oldest’s first birthday, and strung a ribbon from thumb tacks (probably going to be in trouble with my hubby about the holes in the wall, but oh well!) and then used clothespins to clip the pictures to the ribbon.

month by month baby photos

Since my girls were the only children at the party, we didn’t attempt any games. Opening presents is enough of an activity for a one-year-old’s birthday. Come here. Sit with mommy. Do you want to open this? Look what so-and-so got you! Oh, you want to eat the paper? Ok, whatever. It doesn’t look chokable, so you’re good.

teddy bear picnic birthday party

Sometimes, I try to make the food table pretty too, but I didn’t even bother, so no pictures. But we had hamburgers and hot dogs, mac and cheese, chips, fruit, and cucumber salad. I also didn’t bother with favors. I have in the past, but since it was all adults at this party, it didn’t seem necessary. Everyone was just glad to get together and watch the kids be cute with cake and presents. It was a great evening celebrating our smallest girl and spending time as a family! Happy Birthday sweet girl!



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Baby Doll Moses Baskets

My baby girl had her first birthday recently. (Excuse me a moment, while I sob in the corner.)


Such a special occasion obviously required a memorable handmade gift.


I’ve been eyeing Dana’s pattern for Baby Doll Moses Baskets for a while now, so I decided to make one for the birthday girl and one for the big sister too!


These turned out so cute. They just might be my new Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Made.


Big sister loves filling her basket with babies and accessories, then toting it all around the house.


Little sister mostly enjoys pulling everything out of her basket. Baby doll, pillow, blanket, mattress, all get tossed aside, then she turns it upside down, to see if she missed anything. She does love to cuddle her baby doll, so maybe we’ll eventually progress to using the baby’s basket.


I would classify this pattern as being for the intermediate sewer, or at least for the ambitious beginner. The directions and picture tutorial that came with the pattern were very clear and easy to follow, but the complexity of fitting all those rounded and straight pieces together made for a lot of fabric and batting to wrestle through my sewing machine.


I made the medium-sized version, and it fits both our Baby Stella and Bitty Baby dolls very well. I used a fairly heavy interfacing, and only low-loft batting, as opposed to the high-loft suggested in the instructions. My baskets have started getting a little floppy now that they’re being played with regularly, but that may just be because I used the thinner batting.


Even with a little floppy-ness, they are still so adorable. I love the contrast of the brown trim on the pink basket. With the contrasting stitching, I think it gives it a bit of a luggage-like feel. The natural-colored bias tape on the coral and blue basket gives it such a soft look and cozy look.

Both baskets are well loved and get played with often, so I’ll declare this project a success!