Easy 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Eggs

peanut butter eggs

Every year at Easter, I make these rich peanut butter eggs that are so easy, they only have five ingredients! Well, five plus the chocolate, so I guess that actually makes six.

Still, they are very quick and painless to make. Peanut butter eggs have always been my favorite Easter candy, but for the longest time, I was too intimidated to make them myself. This recipe is so simple and the tricks I’ve figured out over the years makes them so quick and easy to complete.

Ingredients:

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You’ll need margarine, brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers. For the peanut butter, I’ve often used my regular, creamy grocery store variety, but a few years ago I switched to a natural version with no added sugar or salt. In a shocking candy dichotomy, the natural peanut butter (without added sugar!) actually seems to make sweeter peanut butter eggs. I have no explanation for why this might be, but it’s completely true. Yum!

First, grab a microwave-safe bowl and add your margarine and brown sugar.

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Put this in your microwave for 30 seconds, stop and mix, and put back in for another 30 seconds until the brown sugar is melted and no longer gritty. I have a small, low-powered microwave and this took about 2 minutes total.

When you’re finished, it should look something like this.

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 Now, stir in the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix with a rubber spatula until all the ingredients are combined.

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 If your peanut butter mixture is looking too runny, let it cool for a few minutes. It seems to thicken a bit as it cools. If it’s still not thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar until you get the desired consistancy.

Next, scoop about a tablespoon-full of the peanut butter mixture into your hand and roll it around until you have a ball.

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Now, you want to turn the ball into more of an egg shape. I do this by pinching one end between the crook of my thumb and index finger.

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 Then you can flatten it a bit with your fingers until you get the desired shape. After that, place it on a cookie sheet or tray that’s been lined with parchment paper.

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 Once you have all your peanut butter mixture shaped into eggs, put them in the refrigerator to chill for about half an hour. I was able to get 13 eggs out of one batch.

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While the eggs are chilling, wash up your bowl and spatula, and get to the really good part: melting the chocolate!

Place your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. It will come out looking slightly melted, but if you stir and stir, it will continue to melt. You may need to microwave it for another 30 seconds, but it won’t take much to get the chocolate completely melted and free of lumps. If your chocolate doesn’t seem thin enough, add a tablespoon of shortening and stir until the shortening has dissolved into the chocolate.

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Once your chocolate is melted and the eggs have chilled, you can start coating the eggs in the chocolate!

I’m sure there are a million different ways to do this, but here’s what works for me. Grab two large dinner spoons. Dip one into the chocolate.

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Now place a peanut butter egg smack in the middle.

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Next, use the second spoon to pour chocolate over the egg until it is completely covered.

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Now you can slide your chocolate covered egg back onto the parchment paper.

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When all your eggs are covered in chocolate, put your tray back in the fridge and let them chill for another hour or two.

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These will keep for about a week and should be stored in the fridge in a tupperware container.

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 That is, if you can keep your hands off of them. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a batch last that long!

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Here’s the recipe in short form, with all the measurements and basic instructions.

peanut butter eggs

Peanut Butter Eggs

Makes about 1 dozen eggs

1/4 cup margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1 package (about two cups) or more, semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate melting wafers

Microwave margarine and brown sugar on high, stirring every 30 seconds until brown sugar is dissolved. Stir in powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Shape by tablespoon-full into egg-shaped balls. Chill. Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Dip peanut butter eggs in chocolate. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment. Chill and store in refrigerator.

 

 

Our Simple, Less is More Christmas Decor, 2013

I think I put up fewer Christmas decorations every year. Since Elsie is still keeping me very busy with her needs, our Christmas decorations are super simple this year, and mostly things we already had. Going with a “less is more” mentality has really helped me zero in on what I truly love. There may be fewer Christmas decorations sitting out this year, but I find myself liking my house better, and not dreading putting everything away! I’m also realizing that since our house is small (just over 1000 sq. ft.) and has an open floor plan, it really does not take much to make it feel decorated. So, with all that said, let’s get on to the fun part, the pictures!

Our Christmas tree sits in the corner of the living room and is decorated with white bulbs (one thing I actually purchased this year), some homemade ornaments from years past, as well as a few favorite store-bought ornaments. For a garland, I cut up strips of burlap. When Christmas is over, I roll up the burlap into little bundles for next year. I think this is our third year with the burlap garland. The more tattered it gets, the more I love it! Instead of a tree skirt, I have a wooden crate we found on the side of the road a few years ago. Fitting the tree into our living room required a bit of furniture rearranging, so for now, the loveseat is in front of the french doors.

The red afghan and pillows are always in our living room, but next to the tree, they look so Christmasy! To see how I made the “home” pillow (the sewing part, not the stenciling) check out my tutorial.

I have several nativities, but only put out the Little People one this year. I love that it’s not something I have to keep little hands from breaking. As we try to teach Violet about Jesus’ birth this Christmas, I love how this nativity set allows her to get hand-on with the story. Her red Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn got a fun little muslin and ruffly pillow to dress it up for Christmas, but I may just leave it out all year.

Some of my favorite ornaments… On the left is one my sister crocheted for me several years ago, and on the right is my Christmas craft from last year. I took paper-mache ornaments from A.C. Moore and painted them with chalkboard paint. Last year, I wrote different Christmasy words on each one. This year, I wrote the name of a family member on each ornament.

This ornament is made from another paper-mache craft store ornament, with Violet’s baby silhouette printed off the computer and mod-podged on top. I need to make one for Elsie this year!

There’s not much decoration happening in the dining room. But this white bowl from Pier 1 gives a wintery feel when filled with pine cones. It will probably stay out all winter too.

The kitchen received a little decoration with a burlap JOY banner over the sink. It’s hard to see in this picture because of the light coming through the window.

Pom-pom fringe on this towel almost makes drying dishes a joy. Get it? Joy? ;)

The bay window has it’s usual decor, with the addition of the Let It Snow sign from Target’s dollar section, as well as these sweater trees, from last year’s Target Christmas decor.

The “R” wall became our Christmas stocking spot this year, since we are mantel-less.

I didn’t want to have the hooks up all year, so instead of drilling holes, we loaded up the back of the wooden piece with 3M Command Strips!

Violet and Daddy are the only ones with stockings. I made my husband a Christmas stocking the first year we were dating, and I finally made one for Violet last Christmas. I have fabric for Elsie’s, so hopefully I will have time to get to that project before Christmas. Unfortunately, it will involve quilting, definitely not my forte. After finishing Elsie’s baby quilt this summer, I thought I was done quilting for a while, but I’m hoping to fit in this smaller project without too much stressing. Someday I’ll make one for me!

I think I am too obsessive about finding the perfect Christmas fabric and that is why these stockings are taking  me way too long to make. Last year I found the coolest Christmas fabric to make Vi’s stocking: the characters of the nativity as matryoshka dolls!

Last year, I bought a small white artificial tree for the girls’ room. I have big plans to make it all fancy someday, but for now, it’s only decoration is a couple yards of bright pink pom-pom fringe.

In place of a tree skirt, I wrapped the base in a yard of Christmas fabric from Michael Miller.

It feels decorated, yet there’s room for me or the girls to make some special ornaments to add to it in the coming years. The rocker has long since been moved to our room, and the bookcase had been where the tree is now, so we just moved it to the other side of the room and put the tree here at the foot of the Farmhouse Toddler Bed my husband made for Violet last year.

Honestly, I’m just thrilled that we were able to fit their tree in the room this year since taking this room from being just Violet’s nursery, to now a shared nursery and toddler room. It fits pretty well!

You can also check out our Christmas Decorations from two years ago, when I was feeling a bit more ambitious with the amount of decorations I put out. I’m enjoying our simple decor this year. It definitely fits where we are in life right now.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours!

Linking up to:

The Nesting Place’s 2013 Christmas Tour of Homes
Inspire Me Please Weekend Blog Hop with House of Rose

DIY Owl Costume

Today I’m sharing pics from Violet’s costume from last year’s trick or treat.

She went as the cutest little toddler owl! Her costume was fun and and pretty easy to make. I promise I didn’t make it purple because of her name! I had planned to make her a pink owl, but then I found the hat at Target and decided that switching to a purple owl was worth not having to sew a hat.

I read lots of tutorials about how to make my own owl costume. Most are pretty similar: cut a large circle out of felt, cut a slit up one side into the center, and then cut a hole in the center to accommodate your child’s neck. After that, glue or sew (I used hot glue) feather-shaped pieces of felt allover your felt circle, sew some ribbon to the edges of the neckline to create ties, and you’re done!

I went through this process in about two short evenings, and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s not a project where everything has to be perfect, so there’s no pressure. Chances are, it will turn out pretty cute for you too.

But then, I came to the unexpected obstacle: my child! She did not want to wear the costume, and as soon as I put it on her, she promptly flipped her wings back and started tugging at the ties around her neck.

Honestly, I can’t blame her. The weight of all that heavy felt was probably pretty uncomfortable when held in place by just two little strips of fabric tied at her neck.

But mommy was not to be so easily conquered. Haha. I knew she would make an adorable little purple owl, and I wasn’t giving up!

I found an old hoodie sweatshirt that had some stains and so she wasn’t likely to wear it again. Using my fabric scissors, I cut off the hood. Then I spread out my owl cape with the feather-side down and the plain felt part facing up. I spread out the hoodie on top of the cape so that the neckline of the cape and the neckline of the hoodie matched. Then I hotglued the hoodie across the back of the shoulders and down the top of each sleeve to my cape. Make sure the arms are spread out. If you’re concerned about proper placement, I recommend trying the hoodie on your child, lay the cape overtop, and then safety-pin the cape to the hoodie (hopefully your child holds still better than mine does) to determine where you will need to apply the hot glue.

Once the glue had dried and I put the costume back on her, she didn’t mind it at all. I think it was just the very unusual feeling of wearing a cape that had really put her off to wearing it in the first place. Once she felt like she was just wearing a jacket, she didn’t mind at all.

A little practice trick-or-treating didn’t hurt either. Once she realized that looking cute in her costume and knocking on doors got her candy, she was all in.

Hopefully this year’s costume will be a similar success. It’s partially complete, but needs some tweaking to get a better fit. I hope to blog about it sometime in the next week.

Little Girl DIY Kitty Cat Costume

Here’s a simple costume I put together two years ago for Violet’s first Trick or Treat.

She went as a little black cat.

This costume was so comfy for her to wear and easy for me to put together. Almost everything was able to be used again as part of her regular wardrobe, which is something I try to do as much as possible when planning a costume.

The main part of the costume was a black turtleneck shirt, black stretchy pants, and black socks. These all became part of her regular wardrobe after Trick or Treat was over.

Then I found a black headband and made two little cat ears out of black felt which I then hot-glued to the top of the headband. The headband is now part of our dress-up supplies for everyday play.

Next, I took some black jersey knit fabric I had on hand and sewed a long skinny tube which I then filled with fiber-fill and safety-pinned to her pants just below the waistband. Pinning it above her bottom allowed her to still sit down comfortably. She wasn’t yet walking at this time, so it was so cute to see her little kitty cat tail bouncing around as she crawled. You could also take a pair of black little girl stockings and cut the leg off one to use for a tail, but it might not have as much curve to it as mine did. The seam up the one side of the tail I sewed caused the fabric to stretch unevenly and gave the tail a perfect cat-like curve. I didn’t plan that, it was just a happy coincidence!

It would be very easy to do a similar costume as a mouse or a dog, just changing the color of the outfit and the style of the ears.

Welcome Elsie Rose!

I know it’s been quiet here on the blog the last few weeks, but I have a really good excuse…

This is our newest blessing, Elsie Rose, who arrived almost three weeks ago. She’s such a sweet girl, and we are all completely in love with her.

I’ll get back to posting regularly as soon as I can, but please excuse me if things are a bit sporadic for a while while we adjust to new schedules, routines, etc.

We’re trying to get as much baby-snuggling in as we can. We know they grow up much too fast!

Adjustable Crib Skirt DIY

Crib skirts are cute, but can be a real pain. If they’re the right length when your crib mattress is at it’s highest height (usually when baby is not yet sitting), it will be dragging on the floor once baby is standing and the crib mattress has to be lowered. On the other hand, if you find one that just brushes the floor on the crib’s lowest height, your crib skirt will have high-waters when the mattress is raised.

There’s just no winning.

Until this method.

I would like to introduce you to my diy crib skirt, which- wait for it, can be adjusted in length to accommodate every height setting on your crib!!! Here’s how it works. (And forgive me for not having step-by-step pictures, but this was made in my pre-bloggy days.)

Basically, you are making a giant ruffle. I made mine out of about 7 yards of white eyelet lace fabric. Because this is a thin fabric, I folded the fabric in half lengthwise, and let the plainer part of the fabric act as a lining to the edge that was scalloped and more decorative. Once I had ironed and gathered all seven yards with my sewing machine, I sewed a thick piece of double-fold bias tape along the top of the ruffle. You don’t have to be very neat about sewing on the bias tape, which is good because this is a lot of fabric to wrangle through your machine. Just try to keep your bias tape fairly straight as you sew and you should be fine.

Then, I cut two splits in my crib skirt to accommodate the legs of my crib, and made a narrow hem on the raw edges of those slits.

So, now you are ready to put your crib skirt onto your crib.

First, I will explain the duct tape method. This is best if you have a solid wood base for your mattress support.

First, spread out your crib skirt around the edges of your wooden crib support, with the splits in the correct place to accommodate the legs of the crib. Make sure the crib skirt comes around the edge of the wooden base, and through the proper space on the crib (this will be a little different for every style of crib), and hangs down just a little above the floor.

Hopefully, this will be a pretty tight fit and your crib skirt will be semi-stuck in place just from being pinched between the wooden parts of your crib.

Now you can tug on the top or bottom edge of your crib skirt, all the way around, until it just graces the top of the floor.

Now, get out some duct tape, and tape the bias-tape edge down onto the wooden crib support. Don’t worry about it leaving some tape residue on the fabric. This part is never going to be seen.

Put your mattress in place on top of the wooden crib support, and you’re good to go! Now, when you go to lower your mattress as baby gets older and more adventurous, just move the bias-tape edge of your crib skirt further into the wooden support area and re-tape it in place to adjust for the change in height of your crib mattress.

As a side note, if you have a wire crib support base, you can achieve a very similar set up by sewing long pieces of ribbon every few inches to the top of your bias tape. Then, instead of taping your crib skirt in place, tie it to the wire grid of your crib support. You’ll still be able to adjust the length of your crib skirt by how far into the crib support you place your ties. Lindsay did a great job of demonstrating this version. Definitely check out her how-to.

I love how this crib skirt worked out when I used it for Violet. I was able to have a perfect looking crib skirt despite the various heights we used for her crib mattress. Also, making your own can be sooo much cheaper. I think I spent about $35 to make this crib skirt myself, when buying a brand new eyelet lace crib skirt would have cost me around $100. Definitely worth an afternoon at my sewing machine to save that kind of money! I’m excited to get some more use out of this crib skirt with our newest girl’s arrival.

Baby Quilt = COMPLETE!!!

I feel like I should title this post, It. Is. Finished. Or maybe, I did it! I did it! (Violet’s favorite phrase when celebrating one of her accomplishments.) This quilt is my magnum opus. My gift of love for my new baby. I like to think of it as giving birth… with fabric. Tired of the dramatics? Ok, I’ll wrap it up.

I’m soooo glad to have this project completed and no longer hanging over my head.

I’ve had the quilt top done for about two weeks, but kept putting off the next step: laying out the quilt backing, cotton batting, and quilt top, smoothing and straightening everything (ugh!), pinning the layers together, and then sewing through everything on my machine.

Saturday, I told myself that whatever hadn’t been finished by the end of the weekend was not going to be finished because I was packing it all away until well after baby is born. Sometimes, I have to be stern with myself and set boundaries. :)

My husband keeps trying to convince me that the baby quilt being unfinished is the whole reason little E hasn’t already come out yet. I was having such strong contractions after two hours hunched over my sewing machine, stitching the bias tape around the edges, that I was starting to believe him. Wishful thinking? Probably, but a small part of me fully expected my water to break with the final stitch. Alas, still nothing. I have tons of contractions every evening, but according to my doctor’s office last week, absolutely no progress. :(  I’d love to meet this baby girl as soon as possible, but am mostly content to wait, so long as she doesn’t have to be evicted like her big sister was. That’s an experience I hope never to repeat.

So, we wait. And I sew. And my mom actually keeps her cell phone charged and handy. This is a lesson I’ve been trying to get through to her for years, so it’s good to know there’s some positive side-affects to baby not rushing to have a birthday.

Poor Violet was feeling a little jealous over all the time I spent on the baby quilt, so this morning I whipped up a miniature baby doll quilt for her Bitty Baby doll. It’s super simple, and nothing fancy, but I think it turned out pretty cute.

It was one of those projects I didn’t really feel like doing at the time, but as I looked at our fabric-covered dining room table, I knew if I didn’t tackle it now when everything is sitting out and ready to go, it would probably never get done. Miss V was super interested in the sewing process and wanted to sit beside me and watch everything, but was then unimpressed by the final results.

That’s ok. Mama had fun covering up Bitty Baby with her little bitty blanket. You’re never too old to play with dolls. That’s true. Right?

Now to go make some baby headbands. Because you can never have too many accessories, even if you’re brand new to the world. :)

Family Day Trip to the American Girl Store

We’ve been trying to do special things with Violet when we can, before the baby comes. Our goal is one special family outing a month. I don’t think we managed that in June, but for July, we decided to have a special big sister-to-be day to the American Girl Store.

We’re within a day trip’s drive to the one in New York City, or the one in Washington, DC. Having recently done NYC with the toddler, we decided we didn’t want to repeat that experience in a hurry. Though having now been to both stores (the NYC one with my sister last year), I can say the one in NYC is a little fancier and more special feeling, but the one in DC is pretty nice too, and easier to get to!

Violet and mommy were both pretty excited about our trip. We told her the night before that we were going to a special store to get a baby doll so she could practice being a big sister. I had to go into her room several times after laying her down to shush her because she was so wound up! At one point, I asked her what was keeping her awake, and she answered, “a baby doll!” I could hardly sleep either. I have wanted to go to the store for years, and finally have a daughter old enough to justify the trip! Though after I saw how excited she got about going to the store the next day, I laid in bed for several hours worrying I would go into labor and have to disappoint her. Thankfully that did not happen!

It looks so cozy and fun in the backseat. We only get out the travel dvd player for long trips, so Violet enjoyed getting to watch a princess movie while enjoying her breakfast on the go!

A word about navigating your way to the D.C. American Girl Store. There are two addresses listed on the website. This makes no sense to me, but whatever. One said it was the physical location and the other was supposedly the gps location, so I wrote down the gps location, got in the car and… my gps could not find it! Had to run back inside, find the physical address, entered that in the gps, and we were good to go. The trip to get there was no big deal, though I am so not a city girl, so all those layers and layers of roads reaching into the sky makes me feel like I’m on The Jetsons! However, once we arrived, we realized that the store is not really a free-standing location like it looked in the picture on the AG website, but a part of a much much larger mall, though it does have an exterior entrance. We drove and drove around this massive mall and could not find the American Girl Store!!! We finally located the food court and promised ourselves that if this loop around the mall didn’t lead us to the store, we were going to go in at the food court, eat an early lunch, and ask someone for help. Finally, on our last time around the mall, we found the store! So, moral of the story: look up the mall where this store is located and know that you are headed for a very big mall with several parking areas and parking garages. We parked in the garage called The Terraces, which was free, and it was very close to the entrance of the AG store, but I so wish I had thought to check this out ahead of time. Lesson learned!

The store is very nice inside, clean, well-kept, and well-stocked. Though I was following an overwhelmed two-year-old around, they didn’t seem to be out of anything. Every shelf was completely full.

There are several different “looks” for the Bitty Baby doll, based on skin tone, hair color, eye color, and ethnicity. I wasn’t sure which one Violet would choose, but when we looked online the day before, she kept pointing to the one with brown hair and blue eyes, which I thought was fun, since it’s the one that reminded me the most of how she looked as an infant. So when we got to the store, we found the “brown baby doll” (the one with brown hair) and it was instant love!

The store is two levels and the Bitty Baby section was in the lower level. There weren’t a lot of things sitting out for the children to play with, but Violet did find a doll in a stroller and really enjoyed pushing it around. We had to do some clever distracting maneuvers to get her to walk away from it without a fight. The stroller was cute, but in my opinion, over-priced. I’m sure we can find something very similar at a local store for less money.

She was so excited about her baby doll, she had to carry the box to the register, even though it was almost as big as her!

The girl at the register was so sweet and asked if we wanted her to take it out of the box. Violet instantly cradled her baby and gave it hugs and kisses. She’s usually more of a stuffed animal kind of girl, and doesn’t pay a lot of attention to the dolls she has. My husband and I had joked (ok, we were kind of serious), that we could see her tossing the doll on the floor and carrying around the small teddy bear that came with it, but she totally surprised us. “Baby Doll” as she has been called so far, got lots of love and attention right from the first.

All these cute baby doll cuddles are enough to make the pregnant lady cry! What a little sweetheart we’ve been blessed with!

Other than the Bitty Baby area of the store, the rest of the place is dedicated to the “big girl dolls.” Some are the historical past-time dolls (which was my thing back in my American Girl Doll days), but there was also quite a bit of space devoted to the Girl of the Year doll and movie. This year’s girl is Saige, and her story apparently involves a hot air balloon. We had fun in this little photo-opp area, but I definitely think it was designed with older (and taller!) girls in mind, what do you think? :)

This is definitely a store where you will see lots of girls carrying around their American Girl dolls and having a special day out with moms, grandmas, etc. Violet always watches older girls so carefully, and imitates their play. She sat on the floor in front of a tv showing the newest AG Girl movie and copied everything the bigger girls did with their dolls. *heart melts!*

I would have loved to have taken more time to browse the historical dolls, especially since they’re all different from when I was a kid, but this was not interesting to the two-year-old. They also had a nice book section that would have been fun to check out, but oh well. Maybe next time. :)

We no sooner got in the car to head home, than I turned around to see this sweet site…

She fell asleep holding Baby Doll’s hand, and slept that way for over an hour. Again, heart melts, and pregnant lady tears up! It’s been almost a week since our trip and Baby Doll is still getting lots of hugs, kisses, naps, diaper changes, and occasional boo-boos. I can’t wait to make another trip again sometime!

Furniture Arranging for our Shared Baby and Toddler Room

I’m still here! And still pregnant! Just a lot of bloggy slacking off lately. As with everything that I’m not doing much of lately, I blame Pregnancy and the month of July. Separately they are each culpable, but especially since they’re working together to get the best of me. :)

I have a torpedo belly!

Our shared baby and toddler room is coming along. The latest adventure has been trying to find the best way to fit a crib and toddler bed in a 9×11 room. I measured, remeasured, and then measured again, and finally just had my husband move the furniture around a dozen times until we found the best arrangement. Don’t worry about him, he loves to move furniture. At least, that’s what I told him.

Here’s arrangement #1:

Oh yes I did. I cleaned just for you. Made the bed and everything. Not….

This one was just meh. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. It just didn’t feel right. Baby Cinderella tried out the crib and said it didn’t work for her in that corner. I agreed.
So then we tried moving the crib and toddler bed a little. The twirling two year old really helped us sort out our thoughts. :)
Behold, furniture arrangement #2:

I liked this arrangement for a while. I especially liked that we managed to get the rocker back into the room. We lived with it this way for a day or so and I thought it might be the winner. But then I was over it, and we moved things around yet again.

Arrangement #3:

At first, this arrangement felt too long and narrow to me. The room is rectangular, and so my usual approach would be to put the longest piece of furniture against the shortest wall to create more of a square feeling, but every time I tried that kind of arrangement (which was just downright confusing, since the bed, crib, and dresser are all very close in dimensions), it made for the beds being really close together and I was afraid V would not be able to resist the temptation to socialize with Baby after lights out. We managed to eliminate that problem with this arrangement. So we kept it like this for a while, and meanwhile I tackled the closet.

I didn’t think to take a before picture of the closet until I’d already emptied everything, but here’s what the room looked like after I pulled everything out, so you know it was bad.

Since we have like, two and a half small closets in this entire house, it’s just pitiful that this is all the better use I’d been making of such valuable real estate. The closet is small, just a little deeper on each side than the door that covers it, and I had it stuffed full of a lot of random crap. But….

Tah-dah! Here’s the after!

The closet probably goes out about another ten inches on each side of the doorway, so there really is a little more hanging space than you see here. I’ve just found that other than dresses, I really don’t hang much clothing for V. It works better for me to keep most things in drawers. The girls will be sharing the big dresser, and I thought we could probably use some extra drawer space, so we picked up the little plastic drawers at Target. They hold undies, swim suits, and pj’s quite nicely and are still handy when a little princess is getting dressed at the changing table. The white baskets hold shoes, one basket for each girl. The white shelving unit is something my dad built for me years ago and was being used in my laundry area in the basement, but we decided it could be put to better use in the closet, and it is the perfect fit. The pink organizing bins are also from Target and hold all our random baby essentials that would otherwise be a mess on the open shelves without something to contain them. We still have empty space in this closet! I’m amazed. Organizing makes me so so happy. Why don’t I do it more often…

A lot of things that had been in the closet, had to find a new home. But thankfully, that’s what basements are for.

After we got the room and closet more organized, and added a new rug (also from Target), I started really liking the arrangement of furniture. So this is where we’re at with things right now.

It’s not a perfect set-up, but it is working well for us so far. And we can always move things around later. I mean, my husband does love rearranging furniture after all. :)

I still need to get the crib made up with the crib skirt, sheets, and such, but all those things are ready to go from V’s babyhood. The quilt top is hanging there on the end of the crib, but it still has to be assembled with the batting and fabric backing and then… quilted! The hardest part, in my opinion. I keep putting it off. But I’ve done most everything else on my list, so I really just need to tackle that project and get it over with.

What do you think of the changes we’ve made so far? I love how cozy the rug makes things. V has spent more time playing in here already, so I think the room is meeting with her approval as well.

Baby Quilt Progress

The other day, I showed you my stack of quilt blocks that I finally got cut out.

Over the weekend, I started sewing the quilt blocks into triangles. Actually, they’re still square, so I guess that means they’re technically still quilt blocks, but now they’re made up of two triangles, instead of one plain square. Am I being confusing yet? Really?? No, I wasn’t actually looking for your honest answer, but anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing.

First, I laid out all my quilt blocks in stacks according to their pattern, so I could see what I had to work with. Also, pretty fabric makes me happy, and matching together two pieces for every quilt block was definitely the most fun part.

Perhaps foolishly, I selected several fabrics that had a definite up and down in the pattern. For example, the two pieces in this picture have people/animals, and it would make my ocd ways completely irritated if there were sideways people and animals in my finished quilt. Crazy? Probably. But stick with me here, and I’ll show you how you can be crazy too.

To make my finished quilt block have both pieces going in the correct direction, I realized (through messing up a few times), that I needed to have one quilt block facing the correct up and down, and the second one facing side to side.

Then, I put the right sides of the fabric together. See how when holding up the fabric a little along the diagonal line I intended to sew, the fabrics are now both facing up and down. Isn’t that cool? Ok, it was cool to me. You can just play along like you agree.

So then I had to make sure I drew a straight line from corner to corner. I used a quilting measuring tool, and a gray quilting pencil. You can buy other colors of quilting pencils, which might be better. The gray one is super-light so it’s a good thing I was using light-colored fabrics, or it wouldn’t have even showed up.

Boy, was it hard to pretend to draw a line with my clumsy left hand while taking a picture with my right. Excuse the awkwardness of this photo. I was trying to demonstrate my method. :)

Then, I sewed a quarter of an inch out on either side of the pencil line.

After that, I got a little too excited, and cut along the pencil line before taking a picture. Oops! Sorry!

Here’s a close-up of how that worked out.

Easy-peasy!

Next, open up your quilt block and iron flat. Wah-lah!

I really love how this method worked out. The quilt blocks came together pretty fast, and I think there was a lot less problem with the fabric pulling out of shape than there would have been if I had cut triangles out diagonally against the grain and then tried to sew two triangles together. Sewing while they were still in squares helped keep everything from shifting and pulling.

I started laying out the quilt blocks on the floor and had fun playing around with how to lay them out.

I was feeling all good about my speedy process, until I measured V’s baby quilt and did a little math to realize that after sewing these blocks together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, I was only about halfway done to get to the size of quilt I wanted to make.

Excuse me while I spend the next few evenings at my sewing machine. I’m hoping to have the quilt top sewn together and ready to start quilting by the end of this week. What do you more experienced quilters think, is that a reasonable goal?  :)