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Nautical Knot Necklace

Nautical Knot Necklace
I made this chunky rope necklace out of shoelaces! This necklace was the last bit of the insanity that was Andrew's Nautical birthday party. Of course Mommy has to match the theme of the party, does she knot? get it, knot? eh eh eh... Don't be intimidated, after a practice run, I got this knot neatly tied up. You can do this!

My Inspirations
This ribbon knot from elfinadesign has a bright pop of color. I love the contrast between the yellow and black! Visit Cristina's Etsy shop and check out her other amazing knot designs :).

This design from diytrix is fabulous. I especially love the large chunky metal pieces she used.

I tried to figure out what this type of knot was called. I believe it's based on the Carrick Bend Knot. According to Wikipedia, it also goes by some other names, 
  1. Double Carrick Bend, 
  2. Double Coin Knot, 
  3. Ten Accord Knot, 
  4. Bosun's Knot, 
  5. Basketweave Knot, 
  6. Chinese Knot, 
  7. Josephine Knot, 
  8. Whistle Lanyard, 
  9. Sailor's Breastplate Knot, 
  10. Sailors knot, 
  11. Pretzel Knot, 
  12. Wake Knot
Whatever you call it, a knot's a knot, is it not?

eh eh eh... :)

Here's what you'll need to put this fabulous necklace together! Buying all the supplies like I did will cost you about $10.

DIY Nautical Knot Necklace

  • 2x  "5-8 hole" Round Shoelaces
  • 2x Large Crimps
  • 60 in. of 1mm Silver Beading Wire
  • 2 Jewelry Clasps
  • 4yds. of 1mm Hemp Cord
  • Plyers with wire cutter
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
Step 1. Weave It Alone!
To start, cut off the plastic ends of the shoelaces and hot glue the ends together. I pinned my laces to cardboard to they'd be easier to work with.

I won't even attempt to describe how I made this in words, pictures work way better! I highlighted in yellow what to do at each step.
Don't be intimidated. I know it can be a little confusing. It took me a few attempts staring at the picture on my phone to get it right.

Tighten and adjust the knot so it's nice and symmetrical. Leaving about 1 1/2" of laces above each side of teh knot, cut and hot glue the ends together.

Step 3. Crimping My Style
Cut fourteen 8" lengths of the hemp cord, to get 7 lengths on each side of the necklace. Feel free to use as many or few as you like.

 Use pliers to secure 7 lengths in a jewelry crimp. Do this for the other bunch as well.

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Use a bit of tape to wrap the other end of the bunch, then use a dab of hot glue to join the hemp cord to shoelace knot. Don't worry about being too neat, the wrapped wire will cover this section.

Google's Got Nothin' On This
I loved the chunky metal pieces used in Diy Trix's necklace! Sadly I looked for them everywhere- Joann, Michael's, Hobby Lobby. None of them had anything even close : (. DIY Trix calls them "metal blushings", but when I Google the term, nothing remotely close comes up...

Anybody know what they're called???

As a Plan B I picked up some 1mm silver beading wire. I like the way it looks, although if I ever come across those big metal pieces, I may just pop them on instead. A bit of ribbon or more hemp cord could also work to cover the joint, depending on the look you want.

Step 4. Getting Wired
I used the wire cutter on my pliers to snip off 30 in. of wire. I laid a flat piece down over the joint, then started from one end wrapping the wire around.

After winding about 3/4" and completely covering the joint between the pieces, I snipped off the wire and tucked it down into the wrapping. The stiffness of the wire should keep it in place.

Step 5. You're Knot Done
Eh eh eh... I know, I know, I've been rather knotty with the puns today. Wait! Oh, another one! Better cut it off now, before I get all tangled up. Oh snap! ok, ok, wrap it up, Alyssa, wrap it up.

We're at the finish line with this piece. I added a jewelry clasp to the ends, and it's done!

This is me wearing my new creation at Andrew's party.

What are you up to this weekend? Going out, staying in? making Mama some jewelry? ;)
<3 Alyssa

Andrew's Birth Story: I DIY'd a Tiny Human

Andrew's official birthday was Monday. We threw a super fun Nautical party for family and friends earlier this month, so Monday we celebrated just the 3 of us. Andrew and I spent the most part of the day like normal, naps and playtime. We went grocery shopping in the afternoon and as we passed the floral department, I thought, this is a special occasion, I'm buying my kid a balloon! (cause I'm cool like that).

He was fascinated, licking it and waving it around. He thought it was pretty funny to bop Mommy on the head with it sporadically through our trip.

After dinner, I followed a family tradition from my side of the family- Hostess Cupcakes for the birthday boy. I love those things, but can never manage to rationalize buying them most of the time. Thankfully, calories don't count on birthdays!

J and I sang this dorky version of "Happy Birthday", even busting out some harmonies at the end if you can call it that! We like to think we're musicians, so we make it fancy.

Video Observations:
  • For some strange reason Daddy is nervous about Mommy shoving a lit flame in our baby's face.
  • Andrew is not the "stuff it in my face" kind of kid, taking the more sensory approach by poking his finger all the way into the cupcake and leaving it there for the duration.
  • Things sort of trail of as we realize our boy is happy to stare and poke the cupcake. 
A Little Trip Down Preggie Lane
I admit, I'm a little misty about how fast this year flew by. It went by so fast!! Such a great year. Time for a little reminiscing!

Check out this collage I made of the 9 months leading up to Andrew's arrival :).

Andrew Carter Wine was born almost on his due date, just one day late, on Sept. 24, 2011, happy and praise God, healthy.

I had no idea what to expect for my "big day", since he's our first. I had read the books, and we had attended what I called the "Labor for Dummies" class.
(totally hacked that pic together, sadly there is no official Labor for Dummies book)

I was inspired by natural birth, and really wanted to take a hands off approach as much as possible. We felt good going in. This is my blow by blow story of how Andrew came into the world!

Friday, 9-23-11
10:30AM- Fat and Miserable
I had an OB appointment the morning of  Andrew's due date. I'd been feeling light, sporadic contractions for the past couple days and I was feeling miserable (aka 9mo. Preggo)- fat, uncomfortable, and sooo beyond ready to have this baby already! Jason drove me to the appointment, where my Dr. told us I was in early labor, and 3 cm. dialated!

Woo hoo! I'd have this baby by lunch!
We headed home to wait for things to get going. Jason brought me fish tacos for lunch (my craving of the hour, and my last opportunity to use the "I'm pregnant, get me whatever I want, now!!" card). We watched tv, and I breathed through my contractions as they came.

3:00PM- OMG, We're Spazzing Out!
After a couple hours I was firmly parked on my birth ball, doing the "slow hula hoop" dance and breathing through my now stronger contractions, coming every 7-10 minutes. Me and Jason were totally doing the totally classic, "omg I'm/you're in labor!" spazzy contraction documentation. (It was cute.). At 4pm, my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, and we decided it was Go Hour. We threw our bags in the car, and locked eyes for a sec, in a, "omg we're driving to the hospital!" spazzy realization.

I was doing good mentally at this point, Lamaze breathing helped me a TON, and gave me something to focus on as the waves hit. I could ride out each contraction with a focused, calm mindset. I'm so glad we took that class,  I highly recommend it to new AND repeat mommies! One of the best preps ever.

4:30PM- Banished to the Halls
We arrived at the hospital and I got hooked up to the monitoring equipment. Still only 3cm. dialated, :/ This was 7 hrs. AFTER I had been checked that morning. Doh. They don't admit until 4cm. so I was told to "walk the halls" and hope it helped.
We walked for 2 hours.

We ate, and after dinner it was back to be checked and see if I was getting anywhere. STILL at 3cm. Double doh-ness.

This happened TWO more times. I'd walk the halls, get checked: still a 3... walk some more, still a 3. Talk about getting nowhere fast.

9:00PM- Talk to Me! Shut up!
By 9pm I was "hee hee hoo-ing" like nobody's business. I couldn't relax through the contractions anymore. I found that if I focused on a very strong memory I could check out from the contractions and get through them. I was now hanging on my poor Jason's neck, huffing and puffing, every 2 minutes or so.

He started to tell me how great I was doing and how proud he was of me. But, funny thing, instead of encouraging me, for some weird reason it made me feel really sorry for myself, and want to start bawling! I was afraid of losing it! So, (not very graciously) I said, "Stop it! Just talk to me about work or something else! Don't tell me how good I'm doing!"

Picture the scene:
I'm doubled over, hanging from Jason's neck, hee-hee-hooing like it's going out of style. When the contractions pass, he'd start to tell me some story about some coworker, or random airplane part he was working on (Jason's an aerospace engineer). Another contraction would hit, and he'd go silent (I made him shut up for that part). Then we would walk and he'd share another random detail about work. If my body wasn't imploding on itself, I might have laughed.

10:30PM- Back Labor and My New Best Friend
I was DONE-with-a-Capital-D.  No amount of hee-hee-hooing was going to get me through this kind of pain. 12 hours of increasingly painful contractions, and only at 3cm dilated! I didn't realize it at the time, but I was totally having back labor. If you've never had the pleasure, it basically feels like your pelvis is being crushed in a vice every couple minutes. If you've had the pleasure, Lord bless you, and your child should be eternally grateful for bringing them into this world.

And we were still out walking the halls!!

At the next monitoring check in, I was indeed still a 3, but, something wonderful happened. The heavens opened and my fabulous triage nurse had pity on me. Maybe it was the look I gave her.
For whatever reason, (thank you Lord!) she fibbed. 

She wrote down the magic number: FOURRR!!!! And just like that, I was whisked off in a wheelchair into a room, where I said the magic words: E-P-I-D-U-R-A-L. 

It was time. I didn't hesitate, even though that meant my "natural approach" was going out the window. Being dubbed "failure to progress" after 12 hrs with no change, and dealing with the Mother of all Contractions, it was the right decision for me. 

The anesthesiologist hooked me up (literally) and within a minute all was right with the world again. And I was all,

My legs were numb, and I was stuck in bed, but that was ok with me. We were even more glad we made the decision as the hours kept coming, and baby was not budging. 

Saturday, 9-24-11 
Midnight, no progress... 3am, same... They had put me on Pitocin with the epidural, which kept the contractions coming (thankfully I couldn't feel a thing). In the wee morning hours we finally started to get somewhere. 4cm, 6. Mommy and baby were doing ok, but not perfect. I developed a slight fever, and Andrew's heart rate decreased with my contractions, so they had me changing positions pretty often. 

10:42AM- Born, Baby!
Finally, around 10am the next day, 24hrs after I'd been declared in early labor, we were almost there. The nurses were coming in more frequently and asking me if I felt like pushing. They broke my water, but I didn't feel a thing.

I was nervous I wouldn't be able to feel anything with the epidural, and not be able to push effectively. 10:30am came around, and my nurse came in our room with a "let's do this" face.

I pushed when they said "go". I could only feel a slight urge to push, but went for it anyway. That stuff is exhausting! Thankfully I only had to push through 3-4 contractions, and then, pop! Andrew was out!

Poor guy had such a cone head when he came out! Don't worry, it's normal shaped now, ladies.
 8 lbs. 5 oz., 20 1/2 in. long. Healthy and perfect.

Well, hello there :)
And That makes 3
All told, it was a pretty smooth, complication free labor. Jason was amazing, and took care of Mommy and Andrew through the whole experience. I love you, Babe! :) (sorry for telling you to shut up).

Here's a video I took on my phone when we were taking Andrew home. I can't believe how little he once was!

I love you, Munchkin Bunchkin. You're the best thing that ever happened to me. Happy Birthday!

Are you a Mama? How have your births gone, crazy, crazy easy,...? Did you have any plans change once things got going?

<3 Alyssa
AKA Proud Mommy

I'll be here again on Saturday with a regular DIY post. Have a great week! And please:

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We are Selling our House!!

Selling our Nest!
This is a pretty big news for us as a family, and definitely for what Clever Nest is all about. We are moving!!

Daddy's Long Drive
Jason works in aerospace. Maybe you're like me and when you hear aerospace you picture space shuttles blasting off and astronauts flying around. Apparently aerospace only means "flying things" related. So much to my disappointment, Jason's actual job involves designing airplane parts and not outer space exploration. I can deal with that instead, I guess.

His job is currently 35 miles away in Orange County and it takes him about an hour to commute there and back each day. The commute was working ok for us, up until Andrew was born. Then it really started to take it's toll on J and me. At first it wasn't so bad, Andrew went to sleep around 9:45pm and Jason had plenty of time to be with us before bed.

Now that Andrew is older his bedtime is at 7:00, and Jason sometimes sees him for only 15 minutes before Andrew goes off to bed. Not cool :(. (Stretching bedtime is not an option, Andrew and Mommy are both d-o-n-e and it wouldn't be pretty, haha)

Something had to give.

Show and Sell
We decided we wanted to move closer to his work in the OC and took the plunge. We listed our house, wondering how long it would take to sell and what it would be like having our house in "show" condition non stop. We didn't have to wonder long! We listed it in the afternoon, by dinner someone was looking at it, and we had an offer the next morning!

I think I have this blog to thank for that, in a way. When we were looking to buy this house 3 years ago, what we found in our price range was pretty scary, haha. Forclosures, short sales, places that were trashed by disgruntled owners, old old old houses with ancient features, and itty bitty layouts. This house was one of the better deals. And since we've been working on it for the past 3 years, I think we brought it up to pretty much the top of it's price range as far as looks. Just look at what we did!

Painted all the rooms
Added decorative molding to living room
Updated stairs
New tile floor down stairs
New carpet upstairs
New lawn
Installed sprinklers
Flower bed
New fence

All told, we think it was looking pretty good for our asking price. Our realtor even said we'd been smart about our improvements. Paint and flooring go a long way toward making a home more appealing. Whereas major upgrades like kitchens and baths aren't getting the return they once did in our market. Now I'm glad we didn't attempt to tackle them!

What does this mean for the blog?
I haven't done much in home decor since Spring, really. Behind the scenes I've been taking stuff down and packing it up. Andrew likes to help pack too. :)

Don't worry! I've got plans for lots of stuff to share while we're in transition, including Moving Money Saver ideas, our search for a new place, and some pretty sweet pics of our current home from when we first moved in to now! And once we get in our new place, I'll have a whole new nest to start on!

Let the journey begin. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
<3 Alyssa

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Andrew's First Birthday: Vintage Nautical Style

UPDATE: Thank you, Kathryn for the feature on Destination: Craft, and Keiko of Disney Baby!

Happy Birthday to Andrew!
It's party time! Baby is turning the big "1". How do you manage the frustrating role of planner, designer, and caterer WHILE attending to Mommy duties AND documenting the moments AND still be mentally present  all at the same time!?

If you've been in this schizophrenic Mother-of-the-Party situation, and have some advice for me, could you please let me know for next year? I didn't fully realize until that day what it would be like to tackle all these roles. Thankfully, I managed and we had a great day celebrating our little Monkey Pants!

Backing up. 

I'm pretty sure I went without sleeping, basic hygiene, or doing housework of any kind that whole week leading up to Andrew's party. I was on one big sweaty B.O. craft-a-thon mission.

Here's a tour through the crazy, intense, craft-tastic-ness that resulted in a fun and memorable 1st birthday, along with some money saving tips I learned along the way! :)

Ahoy! Vintage Nautical Style
Check out the inspiration board I created to get my juices flowin' and hone in on my theme. 
1. Shark Fin Cupcakes from Butter Hearts Sugar (love their name :), 2. Bunting from Betty and Barclay Etsy Shop, 3. Starfish Smores from Hungry Happenings, 4. Vintage Anchor Drawing, 5. Air Golf from Family Fun, 6. Nautical party mood board from Fine Stationary, 7. Big balloons from Geronimo Balloons.

It's My Party.
Let's admit it- baby's first birthday is really about MOM. Face it, Andrew is not going to remember it and doesn't care what goes on. It's more like a, "Congratulations! You Made It Through Your First Year Without Mommy Majorly Messing You Up!" party. I think I deserve some cake for that.

I love the classic look of navy and white. And Lord knows I love me a beach theme. Therefore Nautical it shall be. 
We can do Batman some other year.

Location, Location
Our backyard not being in party hosting condition, I chose a nice shady park to host the party at instead. I reserved a shelter with the city for $15/hour. 

Money Saver: 
Inexpensive or Free Party Locale

If your casa isn't in party hosting condition either, consider low cost Summer venues like the beach, community pool, or Grandma's house!

Do Me a Favor
For the kids I put these colorful party favors together.

$1 = Metal pails which I grabbed about a month ago from Target's Dollar Spot
$3 = Giant bag of Life Saver Halloween candy from Walmart
$2.38 = 16oz. box of Whale (not Fishy! :) crackers from Walmart. 
$0.50 = Beach shovel clearanced from Party City
$0.50 = Squirt gun, 2 for $1 from Dollar Tree for the older kids
$0.66 = Bath squirt toy, $4 for a pack of six from Walmart for the younger ones

All told each favor cost me only about $3!!

I made the label on PicMonkey using a clipart anchor and overlaying the name. Feel free to save and copy!

Vintage DIY Life Preserver
No nautical party is complete without a life preserver, right? Like most crafty things I attempt, there's no telling if it will come out awesome, or a complete mess. This thankfully turned out to be the latter. I am SO stoked by how it turned out! Plus it was FREE, made of stuff I already had around the house.

Large Foam Art Board from Michael's
1 Yd. Fabric, I used an old bed skirt, haha :)
About 10 yds. Thick Rope

I cut out a large 20" diameter circle with a utility knife. Then I cut a 15" diameter circle inside and cut it out. 
 I disemboweled an old pillow to get some stuffing, and wound some scrap material around to hold it in place.

 I laid some fabric over half the stuffing, trimmed it in a "U" shape, and taped it to the back, securing the stuffing as I went. I did the same for the top half.

Since I don't have a fancy Sillhouette (Christmas??) I printed out the letters for Andrew's name and birth date using "Boston Traffic" font from (a great font resource), and traced around the letters with pencil.

I laid down tape to make a perfect "X" for my rope later.

I painted the letters with craft paint, with an uneven coverage for a more vintage look.

The rope was the easiest of all. I just wound it 5 times around the top, bottom, and sides. I tucked in and hot glued the longer rope at each corner.
can't handle this... :)

Nautical Bunting
I made these to flutter in the breeze around our little gathering area. I went out to my local scrapbook store, oooh is that a dangerous place for me...! and chose a few nautical prints to play around with. I went for an "inspired by" look based on real nautical signal flags.

Money Saver: 
Color copies instead of Scrapbook Paper

Color copying is way faster and cheaper than buying and making all the flags out of scrapbook paper by hand. If you need a lot of bunting, consider making one set and having the rest copied on card stock!
I took my flags down to the nearest Postal Annex and copied 2 flags per page for $0.39. I taped them onto my 1/4" rope about 10" apart with clear masking tape.

Baby's First Year in Pictures
I've been taking Andrew's picture every month since he was born. I've told you how I thought it was going awesome, and then how it was almost a complete fail! I didn't give up though, and I wanted to find a way to incorporate these pics into my, I mean, Andrew's party somehow.

I took an old canvas, wrapped it in more of the bed skirt material, and hot glued the material to the sides.
To hide the seams I glued a ribbon around the edges.

 I painted on some colorful stripes using Painter's Tape and craft paint. I'd never tried that technique before, but it worked great! Like the life preserver letters, I left some areas with less paint to give it a softer, more vintage look.
I secured some rope (doggy toys from Dollar Tree!) to the front by punching through the canvas from the back and tying with wire.

I printed out the months in "Boston Traffic" font, and Andrew's milestones in "Dirty Daren", both from, and taped them to the canvas.
It was fun to have there at the party for people to read, and remember how much he has grown in just 12 months!

Splash Time!
Andrew LOVES water in almost any form- bath time, pool, in the kitchen sink, from my water bottle. He is crazy for it! I knew his party had to involve water.

Money Saver:
Plan themed parties toward the end of the Season

Unwittingly, I timed my Nautical themed party perfectly. It's the end of Summer, and all the stores are clearancing out their Summer stuff! 
I got these beverage tubs from Party City on clearance for $7 each.  We filled them with water and tossed in some water bomb balls, also snagged on clearance from Target.
Andrew and his cousin Judah thought this was pretty much the best thing ever for about 30 minutes, which equates to roughly 4 hours in Toddler Time. 

For the older kids, and adult "kids", we had a bucket of squirt guns handy and a beverage tub full of water balloons. It didn't take much for everyone to get in on the action!

Good Eats
My fantastic sissy-in-law Val is one of the most creative people I know. We were talking on the phone last week and for some reason she offered to make Andrew's cupcakes for me! Was it the stress in my voice? The fact that I told her I hadn't slept in a few days? we shall never know. But I was so grateful, and that leads me to another helpful tip.

Money Saver:
Ask your Sister-in-Law to make the Desserts

I understand that this might not apply to you if you don't have a Sister-in-Law, or if you have one who's not great with an oven, or that simply gets on your nerves.  The point is- don't forget to ASK FOR HELP! You don't have to make it happen all by yourself (talking to myself!), and I guarantee friends and family are more than willing to jump in and lend a hand!

Look what a "few" cupcakes turned into!! I love you, Val!

Shark Cup Cakes, with black cardstock fins
  Life Preserver Cup Cakes, with Life Saver mints and dye pen stripes

Rice Krispy Star Fish
One dessert I wanted to make myself were some star fish Rice Krispy Treats, thank you, Pinterest. 

6 c. Rice Crispies, generic brand is fine
3 Tbs. Butter
10 oz. Marshmallows 
Yellow and Red food coloring
Star Cookie Cutter

I made the Rice Krispies according to the recipe on the box, which you can find here. Once the cereal and marshmallows were mixed together well, I added some yellow and red food coloring to tint the mix a bright orange. My ratio was 50 drops yellow and 8 drops red. It turned my batch bright orange!

The orange gooey mix went in the pan and I let it set overnight. Next morning I cut out my stars with a cookie cutter and arranged them on a platter in a "net", none other than a trash can from Dollar Tree.

Now my guests can officially say 
I've made them eat out of the trash.

Love At First Bite
 We sang "Happy Birthday", and presented Andrew with his very own cupcake. 

This picture cracks me up, it looks like he's saying, "for me??" :)

He thought the squishy texture was pretty funny.
 I don't think he knew it was for eating. I gave him a lick of the frosting and you could see the look on his face change, "shuugarrr!".
This was followed by some serious chowing down.
 And now, more pictures of my kid stuffing his face and looking cute doing it.

Sailing to the Finish Line
There it is! The whole diy crafty Nautical madness. I'm glad it's over, but I'm planning on reusing the life preserver and flags. I feel a nautical toddler room in the works.

Oh my happy boy! Mommy and Daddy love you so much! We're so blessed to get to be this little guy's parents and that he has such wonderful Aunties, Uncles, cousins, and grandparents!
Do you have any 1st Birthdays coming up? How do you handle all the jobs you have to do? What are your party money savers?

I'm going to go rest now. Probably also shower.
<3 Alyssa

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