Nursery Project – Part 2

Nursery Project - Part 2 CO_Feb_07bI’ve always loved the nostalgic look of paint-by-numbers. Despite it being a some-what retro art style, it has a modern quality to it, don’t you think? I’m so pleased how the squirrel mobile I made matches these paintings! I guess I see a “forest” theme happening?

I want to make it clear that these designs are not my own. I found images of a tapestry (the deer) and an old paint by numbers painting (the cabin) on Google that I liked the look of, I traced them onto art boards and then numbered the colors myself. These took me forever to finish, seeing as I used cheap acrylic paint. This meant painting 3 layers of each color to get it to look nice and solid without any streaks! I would’ve like to do a couple more but, you know, time.

We won’t really be using the nursery that much until our baby is a bit older, since we intend to have the baby sleep in our room. So I think I’ll have a few more nursery projects to share as time goes by.

Essential Oils – Health and Beauty

Essential Oils - Health and BeautyWhen I use essential oils in my health and beauty products I feel like I’m pampering myself at a fancy spa or something. Even if it’s just using a really awesome smelling hand soap! The aroma from the oils are so uplifting and the added health benefits of using essential oils make me feel like I’m doing something right. Here are some of the ways I’ve utilized essential oils in homemade health and beauty products.Essential Oils - Health and BeautyIf you missed my last post, I mentioned that I use DoTerra oils. The “On Guard” oil I use in the hand soap is one of their oil blends. It makes your hand soap smell like truly fancy pants stuff! Let me know how you get on if you try any of these out? I’d love to hear how you’re using essential oils!

Nursery Project – Part I

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While Danny and I were dating, he wrote a little love story for me about two squirrels who make their way back to each other, amidst a bundle of challenging obstacles. I had been keeping an eye out for nursery mobiles and since none of them felt quite right, I decided to craft my own, featuring the characters from the “Tale of Two Squirrels”, with the intention of sharing the story with our little one at bed time.

This was my first time using felt and attempting embroidery, but I think the mobile turned out nicely, maybe a bit lop-sided on the stringing together part. I used this pattern from Nuno Runo (people who share free patterns online are awesome) for the squirrels and as you can probably tell, I made up my own pattern for the awkward looking tree and deformed acorns!

For those of you who are interested, you can read on for
this weeks pregnancy update…

How far along?
25 weeks. That means only 3 and a half short months to go!
Total weight gain?
I can’t remember what I weighed at last weeks midwife appointment but I recall I had gained A LOT since my last weigh in.
Maternity clothes?
Bought some longer tops that I’ve been layering with cardigans and leggings are my new best friend!
Stretch marks?
None, yippee!
Sleep?
I’ve been sleeping with a pillow wedged under my belly which has alleviated the pressure on my rib cage which means, happy ribs in the morning!
Best moment this week?
Sitting on the rug in the nursery with Danny, talking for hours about kids and being parents. I feel so lucky to be his wife and unbelievably blessed to be doing this with my best friend.
Worst moment this week?
No emo days this week.
Movement?
I’ve been feeling kicks higher up in my rib cage. Baby is getting bigger!
Food cravings?
I had a craving for rice crispies, so whipped some up for desert. Baby was kicking all night, so probably not a good idea to have that much sugar :s
Anything making you feel sick or queezy?
Still anything that I ate during my first trimester – omelettes!
Gender?
Still waiting for the surprise. We’ve chosen names if we have a girl or a boy.
Belly button in or out? 
Still on the verge of being an outie.
Happy or moody?
I’ve been really content and happy and I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I’ve been using these dōTERRA essential oils or whether it’s all in my mind? I went to a dōTERRA class and was given a maternity essential oils gift pack which included single bottles of lavender, peppermint, and lemon oil, and bottles of their specialty blends. I’ve been using a blend called “Solace”, which helps to ease cramps, nausea, hot flashes and emotional swings caused by an imbalance of  hormones in women and one called “Citrus Bliss” which is a motivator and improves your mood. I swear that my sense of happiness and peace has improved since I’ve been using these that it’s almost like they’re too good to be true! Whether they work or not, they smell REALLY good!
Looking forward to?
Adding more things to the nursery 🙂

Our House

Co_July_008Hello hello! It’s been too long since I’ve posted anything on here! We’ve been so busy with moving into our new house that I haven’t had a moment to be in front of the computer. Oh yeah, so, exciting news! We got the house that we were hoping for and I may have done a happy dance around the room when I received the email that we were selected as tenants. It’s a cute little old house in a pretty neighborhood where the houses resemble dolls houses and the streets are wide and lined with enormous trees. We really couldn’t have had better luck with our house search. It feels like we’re finally making a home for ourselves. Two months in your parent in-law’s basement will give you some real pent up, antsy energy to get your motivation levels sky-rocketing. We’ve been working on furniture to fill our new house with, weeding the garden and tilling up the old lawn, polishing the wooden floors, you name it!

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This is the table that we sanded and repainted. It used to be covered in a super dark varnish that was too dreary for our tastes, so we brightened it up! The house is still very empty and needs artwork on the walls and flowers in the vase, all those good things that make a house feel like a home.

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We acquired a few chairs that we intend to re-upholster, this rocking chair included.

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This is the wooden framed couch has been our biggest project this month. It was about to be thrown in the dumpster but we saw potential in this beauty. We dismantled it, sanded it, stained it, and varnished it. It sounds a lot easier when I say it like that, but this was in really bad shape when we found it. We even replaced the warped underwire and spring support with new slats. The next step is to re-upholster the old cushions. This step has kind of been put off for a while since we investigated upholstery prices and they’re not as economical as we’d hoped. We’re both not sewers so we might just have to fork out the cash to get some nice cushion covers made that’ll last us many years instead of risking an amateur job done that will just be an embarrassment to look at.

Well, that’s just a little bit about what we’ve been up to.
Home making is so much fun, but so exhausting.

Garage Days

Co_July_001_title-01I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garage these days and a lot of time away from the computer. I’ve really missed blogging on the regular and hope to get back into it.
I was in need of a decent desk and chair to work at, and I was lucky to be given these unwanted rough gems (the chair above and the desk below) from my granny in-law.

Co_July_002This old desk actually had an ugly beat up piece of fiber-board glued to its top and just looked plain nasty when I got it. I should’ve taken a photo of it before I ripped it off! What I found underneath was pretty nice hard wood. I thought, with a bit of sanding, staining and varnishing, this old thing could look just like new (only better) ;).

Co_July_006I covered the chair in Handi-Strip with a cheap brush to melt the 4 layers of paint off. It took longer than I had anticipating to scrape off all that history! I also discovered a manufacturers sticker underneath the seat that says “Imperial Chair Co. Holland. Michigan.” I looked up the company name and it turns out that it was a furniture company that was manufacturing furniture in the early 1900’s!

I used Acetone for general cleaning up of brushes and when I needed to wipe down the furniture to dust off any debris.

Co_July_007I had to fill in quite a few cracks and holes in the chair and desk with stainable wood filler. Once the filler was dry, I sanded everything down with my handy dandy power sander. I was a bit nervous when it came time to stain the top of the desk and drawers. I used a dark walnut color and was worried it’d be too dark but it turned out just the way I wanted. I then varnished the the top of the desk and drawers, one layer at a time. I waited for each coat to dry overnight before I lightly sanded any bubbles with fine grade sand paper.

I used Cover Stain Primer to prepare the rest of the desk and chair for their new coats of paint. I love this stuff! It just seals everything up and gives the paint a good surface to adhere to.

Co_July_004I chose a high gloss enamel paint called “Houseplant” green for the chair. They only sold it by the gallon so I’ll be sure to use it again for some other future garage project.

Co_July_005I painted the desk with a semi gloss enamel paint called “Panda White”. I wanted to leave the top of the desk and drawers unpainted so the desk still had character and can tell its story through its grain and scratches. I did some investigating with the help of a clue (map of telephone lines) left in the drawer of the desk, that it belonged to the Mountain Bell Telephone Company. Some guy used it in his office some time between 1911 to 1991!
Pretty interesting, huh?

I can’t wait to have a proper work space set up. A place to decorate and make me feel cheerful and inspired. At the moment I’ve got my new desk and chair in the basement and, it’s not pretty down there. We’ve been looking for a rental home, so hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) we’ll get a call back from one of our applications soon and then these new beauties can be set up properly in a nice space. I think they deserve it 🙂

Arts and Craps



Okay okay, I might be three years late here, but for those of you who haven’t heard of Amy Sedaris’ book, ‘Simple Times – Crafts for Poor People’, please read on.

So Amy Sedaris published a pretty hefty craft book back in 2010 that’s filled with cheap pocket friendly craft projects that are less than practical and probably worthy of the rubbish bin, but that’s the whole point! It’s a tongue in cheek take on the arts and crafts culture. I mean how often have you attempted a cute craft or baking project from Pinterest and the results were abysmal? You know what I’m talking about. Anyway, I stumbled across these videos of hers and this lady is hysterical! Here are a few videos for you to enjoy. The second one gets a bit sexy, ha! And can you believe there’s even an App!?

A New Year. A New Day.

It’s the first day into the new year and I’ve already broken one my resolutions to eat healthier! I can’t just let all those boxes of chocolates I got for Christmas go to waste now can I? I don’t feel too bad about it though, because my husband said these very true words below which made me feel less like a failure! Every day is a new day! We can learn from our mistakes and failures, pick ourselves up and try again tomorrow and if we don’t succeed we just try again the next day. As long as we make an effort, that’s what counts!

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2012 was a pretty exciting and eventful year! I faced many new challenges and changes and grew up a lot! The best moment of the year (of my life) was getting married to my best friend. Coming close behind was becoming an Aunty to my gorgeous niece Ellaline and very recently welcoming my second niece, Mia to the world just a few days before Christmas. I am just smitten with those two beautiful babies! And the most crazy thing that happened was when I quit my full time job to pursue a freelance career and I am just so proud of myself for doing so! Although it’s been a challenge and still is as I feel my way through this new self directed path I have been so rewarded and inspired by the people I’ve had the chance to work with. I also started this little blog to record my inspirations and projects which I may have neglected some what. Which brings me to my first resolution!

  • Share MORE of my creative projects and things that inspire me on the blog.
    Simple as that. Don’t think so much, just do!
  • Drink more water and get that balance between energy intake and energy output.
  • Try to spend less time in front of the screen and more on hand drawn projects.
  • And lastly, even when things get hectic remember to take time to take care of myself.

I’m already looking forward to the new day ahead so I can give these goals a go!
I wish you a happy 2013 everyone!

image created by Stephanie Kunau.

Avocado Harvest

We love Avocado’s around here! We’ve got an Avocado tree in our backyard that is abundantly adorned with these beauties. Our neighbor said it’s the first time in his eleven years living next door that he’s seen fruit on the tree! We are very lucky!

Yesterday Danny and I collected another basket full of Avocado’s. Well, Danny did most of the hard work. I just collected the one’s that had hit the ground after he prodded them off the branches with a very “state of the art” hand-made avocado picker ( garden rake taped to a pole). See image below for the “prod and poke” technique.

We had avocado on toast for brunch today. It was scrumptious! Best Avo’s I’ve had!
I hope you’re enjoying your day off work this Labour day if you’re in New Zealand too.

Stephy.

Our Wedding : Part 1

ImageOn the 12th of February this year, Danny and I got hitched! It was actually part 1 of a two part wedding. Why a two part wedding you ask? Well let me tell you! Danny’s entire family are in America and half of my family are scattered across the globe so it was quite a nightmare trying to plan a wedding in New Zealand when both sides of our family could be in one place at the same time! So we decided to have a small and intimate ceremony at my parent’s house with about a quarter of my huge family present and we will have a bigger wedding in the States with Danny’s family and some of my relatives in the new year. We are still planning our American wedding but we’ve been thinking about something a long the lines of a summer barbeque banquet at the Kunau family ranch!

ImageOur little wedding was filled with handmade touches. Catering can get expensive, so for such a small crowd we decided to make our own cupcakes. I bought a petal tip and we practiced icing cupcakes a few times before the big day. It’s surprisingly easy to use a petal tip! Just watch this video. To add to our afternoon dessert table, we had watermelon slices cut into heart shapes, platters of various miniature tarts, chocolate hearts and a two tiered white cream cake that we ordered from a local bakery. We also made lemonade to match the colours of the flowers and cupcakes!

The weather was a worry all day as it was overcast and drizzling every hour but when the ceremony started, the clouds parted and the sun shined for us! I’m not kidding! Everyone gazed up at the sky and smiled. We were very blessed. We were thrilled at how the day turned out. Part 1 was lovely,short and sweet so now bring on part 2!

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