Gianna Clare: A Birth Story

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To epidural or not to epidural?

That was the question I had been trying to decide for weeks before grrlfrran made her arrival.  I love epidurals for the obvious reason – no pain – but was all the pushing and the horrid recovery after-birth I get along with it all worth it?  When I wasn’t in labor, it wasn’t worth it.  Of course I’d go sans epidural this time so that I could feel what I was doing when I had to push and then after the baby was born, there’d be no shaking or nausea and I’d just be able to sit and enjoy the child outside my womb.  But during labor, it was worth it, very worth it.  Or maybe I just didn’t care because my mind and body were reeling in pain.  So what was the outcome now tied to that looming question for this third labor of mine?  What ended up happening?  Read on, my friends…

The day was June 2nd.  We had scheduled an induction because, long story short, my doctor was going on a trip a few days later (also a few days before my due date) and he’s just so great that I really didn’t want anyone else to deliver our fourth.  I know it sounds crazy maybe but he really is just that great and I trust him with my life…and the life of my kids, obviously.  Of course, if all signs pointed to baby girl not being ready June 2nd at 39 weeks, we’d hold off and wait but thankfully, everything looked just peachy.  I had been three centimeters dilated for a couple of weeks and, at 39 weeks, chances are the babe inside wasn’t too big to fit through these tiny hips.  Yes, that is unfortunately a concern for little ‘ole me here.  I envy you women with hips.  I’ve always wanted them but wasn’t blessed with ‘em so I’ll just keeping faking them with side pockets and gathered dresses. 

So, we waltzed in to the labor and delivery ward bright and early that Thursday morning (6:45 am) and were led to our room where we settled in and I tossed on the ever-so-stylish ‘gown’…though why they call it a ‘gown’ is beyond me.IMG_3902

We sat for  an hour, chatting with my nurse (she was the sweetest!), and flipping through channels on the telee.  I got prepped for baby landing – IV and monitor belts.  I was started on pitocin around 8ish and it was also at that time that my doc came in and unleashed the deluge…aka broke my water.  The contractions started slowly and then got more and more intense…blah, blah, blah.  Normal birthing stuff.  More intense, more intense, more intense, ow, ow, ow, more intense.  At some point, the mind games started and I began to wonder why the heck I was doing this without an epidural.  “The awful symptoms.  Ouch!  The not-being-able-to-feel-how-to-push.  Owwww!  Ugh.  Is it worth it?!  Owwwwww!!!  Yes.  Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!  No.  I’m dying.  That one was bad.  Really bad.  I don’t think I have the willpower…yes I do.  Nope.  I don’t…”

Somewhere during the beginning of the whole process my nurse noticed that, after every contraction, the baby’s heart beat was just dropping off.  She wasn’t overly concerned but she was concerned enough to have me lay on my side while I labored just in case baby girl was having issues with the contractions.  Such a huge bummer because I was hoping so much to be able to walk around while I labored.  I’ve heard it makes it a tad easier if you can move around and gives you some sort of distraction.  Of course, the baby’s health outweighs any and all of my walking wishes but still, it was unfortunate.  Either way, on my side I went and there I stayed.  I got to know the bedside buttons real well – lumbar:  inflate or deflate, raise, lower, call nurse, etc…

The contractions came and went like they do and all the while, I was texting back and forth with my sisters and some close friends.  I rely on my sister Farrah for all things life and motherhood and she quickly became my birthing coach during the process…
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I mean, who needs birthing classes?  Not this mom.  ;)  (But really though, we’ve never been to one.  Ha!)

At 9:45, my nurse checked my dilation.  I had to be at least 7-8 centimeters.  HAD to.  “Let’s see…you’re about five centimeters”.  Oh, heck no.  Heck.  No.  All that pain for two measly centimeters?!  No, no, no.  Epidural pa-lease!!!! 

And just like that, my nurse wheeled in the epidural meds and cart and called the anesthesiologist.  The time was 10:01 (I only know the time because my nurse told me afterwards…gazing at the clock was theee last thing I was doing amidst all my turmoil.)  Unlike the anethesiologist at Sebastian’s birth, this one came within minutes.

This is where things get a little dicey as far as my memory goes.  My memory is usually pretty perky but with the pain that I was experiencing, I felt like I had slipped into this half out-of-body, half madness state of mind.  Seriously.  It was so weird.  I heard bits and pieces of what was going on around me but a lot of what I know is from talking to the nurse afterwards and via Anthony’s perspective.  What I know from all that is this…

The anethesiologist came in and I had to sit up and hunch over so that he could get the IV in.  The contractions were coming really close together – within mere seconds of eachother – and so during one of those seconds of relative calm, I pulled myself to a sit and hunched over right as another contraction came on and I was once again a raving lunatic.  Ok, so maybe I wasn’t raving but I was definitely on the verge of bawling and babbling on in pain.  (All you single ladies and future mothers, doesn’t this make you want to have tons of kids?!  I know…so sorry.  It’s so worth it though.  Promise.)  All of a sudden, as I sat in pain, I felt like my insides were falling out…errr, more like shooting out in a fury.  I had to push.  I wasn’t in control of my body anymore and my body had to push and so it was.  It was so very bizarre.  I managed to voice my concerns to all the ears in the room and right then, I vaguely remember hearing the anethesiologist say “She’s not going to make it.  I’m not going to be able to do this”…as in, this baby was coming.  Like now.  This baby was coming now.  There was zero time for an epidural.

I slumped back down onto my side and the urge to push subsided…for ten seconds until there it was again.  My nurse took a peek and exclaimed that I was, in fact, 10 centimeters dilated but also she said “don’t push, the doctor is on his way”.  “Act like you’re blowing through a straw whenever you feel like you have to push.”  Ok, a straw.  A straw.  I mean, what does a straw even look like at this point in my lunacy.  Who has time to think about that when your insides are exploding?!  Oh but wait, oh yes, a straw!  Blowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww…but nooooooooooooo, my body is still pushing.  I can’t stop it.  Or wait, it was more like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, MY BODY IS STILL PUSHING!!!!!!!!!!  I CAN’T STOP IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then a few seconds of semi-calm until, once again, DON’T PUSH BUTICAN’TNOTPUSH!!!!!!!!!

And then a few more seconds of semi-calm and you know what happened.  Yep, my body took over and I couldn’t stop the pushing.  Except this third time, the nurses had me roll onto my back and two pushes later, Gianna was born. IMG_3903

And two minutes after that, my doctor walked in.  He said if the elevator hadn’t taken so long, he would’ve made it.  Haha!  Since it was mid-morning, he was literally a building away seeing patients but Gianna came so quickly that a building away wasn’t close enough.  Thankfully, there weren’t any complications so doc not being there was sad but not a huge problem (Sebastian was sideways and semi-stuck so you just never know).  He still monitored this bitty babe her entire 8.9 months in utero and for that, we will always be grateful.  <3

Gianna was on this side of my skin and the routine newborn process had begun.  I was so very grateful that my mind had returned to reality and I could savor those first moments without the shaking and nausea that the epidural would have brought.  I don’t know how not having it really affected the rest of my recovery but, let me tell you, I was ready to get up and at ‘em a half hour after she was born.  It was amazing.  That was a blessing too, especially since Anthony wasn’t able to stay the night in the hospital with me.  He had to get back to our other three.

Speaking of our other three, we managed to get a snapshot of their first visit with their new baby sister, who at this point in time was still nameless.
IMG_3906Their smiles lit up the room upon their entrance; seeing this wee babe who was no longer in mommy’s tummy (even though I fielded lots of questions about what or who was still in mommy’s tummy since it just got “a little smaller”.  Ultimately, they all concluded mommy’s tummy was filled with milk for the baby.  Common sense seekers, our kids.) 

LIke I said, I was ready to get going pretty quickly post-birth but it wasn’t because the pain had disappeared.  By some small miracle, I didn’t tear like I did with our other kids but still, pushing a watermelon out of a tailpipe doesn’t really warrant a three-second, full recovery.  I’m sure you probably know or can just about imagine.  I was sore but mobile enough to change diapers and grab Gianna out of her bassinet. 

Gianna and I got permission to go home the next day and man, I was elated.  There’s no place like home to recover and plus, sitting in a hospital room by yourself is b-o-r-i-n-g.  There’s only so much that social media browsing and the boob tube can do for ya there.  I had cabin fever the minute Anthony left to go back home.

Anyway, that’s the story of how Gianna was born and I’ve never wished for a video of a birthing event, but this one I do.  My mind is so foggy about it all that I’d love to see how things went down.  #literally  The nurses told me after that they were getting a big kick out of me when, everytime I’d feel like I had to push, I’d say “nooooo!”, like that alone could hold her in.  I guess mind over matter is not a skill I have.  Anthony said I kept saying “Oh no you guys!” when a contraction was coming on towards the end.  Lunatic, I tell ya.

Whatever.  I’ll own it.  Pain does funny things to people.

Since her birthday, things have been awesome and oh-so-smooth with a fourth kid around.  Anthony’s job allows him to work from home if he needs to so he did just that for two weeks and those two weeks were amazing.  I didn’t have to lift a finger even though I wanted to.  I’m not one of those people who can just sit around for hours on end so I was itching to do something.  I know you all probably think I’m crazy but I felt like the nesting bug bit me post-pregnancy and I was dying to get up and get stuff done, all with a newborn strapped to my person.  I didn’t get much done thanks to still being sore the week after but I did get to help Anthony finish our headboard and I took lots of pictures of our newest during a couple of DIY photo shoots while the ‘big’ kids were napping.

PicMonkey Collage

Right now, I’m soaking up the newborn phase.  I’ve never really liked this stage, mainly because everytime we’ve had a newborn or two around, it’s been crazy – I mean we started with two at once and then had three under 18 months.  This time it’s still crazy but we’ve got three semi-independent older kids plus that newborn who is an awesome sleeper compared to her elders.  I mean, in all things she’s pretty much the easiest baby we’ve had.  She has her moments but those moments are so much easier to deal with and, dare I say savor, because we aren’t a pair of exhausted care-takers who haven’t showered in weeks and who are surviving on coffee.

And now I should probably go pound my fists against a solid surface of the tree variety…

Adios!

.           .           .

Want more newborns?  Go meet two handsome misters, Blaise and Fred, brought here by Susan and Ana.  :) 

You Know You’re a Twin Parent When…

1 comment:

Psst…a HUGE thank you to those who are helping me fill empty blog space while we widdle away at the first weeks with our newest little sprout!  I’ll be tossing a few of these posts in with some of my own in the coming weeks while we slowly get used to life with four little ones around.  It’s been such a smooth transition thus far but I know that having Anthony home plus a sleepy newborn is a big, big part of why things seem like they haven’t changed so I’m bracing myself for when he goes back to work and Gianna gets older and needs more attention but right now, I’m savoring it.  We’re all savoring it.  :)

So, without further ado…

I besought a bunch of twin moms in a Facebook group I’m a part of to finish this statement – You know you’re a twin mom/parent when… – and they didn’t disappoint.  Maybe you can add to it (the comments section is open for business!) and maybe you have no clue but can only imagine.  Either way, life with twins is, well, interesting and busy and chaotic at times and wonderful and a whole bunch of other adjectives.
 

IMG_0147…those biceps can’t be attributed to a swanky gym membership.

…you almost fainted (or did faint) at the ultrasound that revealed their existence.

...someone sends ONE gift from Amazon and you think, "riiiight...they'll just share it...cause that's a possibility..."  -Laura

…your house looks like a poorly run daycare…or is that just me?  -Krissy
  Nope, not just you Krissy. 

IMG_0264…you spend inordinate amounts of time and energy trying to figure out the best way to cram two cribs/wardrobes/swings/sets of whatever it may be into one tiny room.

…you hear one infant twin cry in the middle of the night and leap out of bed to grab her like your pants are on fire lest she wake her sidekick.

…you get one twin fed and sawing logs and rest your head against your pillow in bliss…for three seconds until the other one starts up.

…you tell someone you're expecting boy/girl twins and they ask, "oh are they fraternal or identical?" –Kristy

...someone says, "two for the price of one!" and you laugh to yourself because that's totally not a thing. –Laura
-Yes! The only exception in my experience was labor pains which actually were sort of two-for-one. But the rest has totally been two for the price of more than two! –Margaret

…someone lists ALL the ways to tell your identical twins apart, and you smile and adjust the colored necklaces they HAVE to wear. – Laura

…you refer to everyone's unborn child as "they". –Nicole

myheart 003…you get the two-word comment “double-trouble” by strangers in public and you laugh and say “twice as nice”…and then you cry inside because double-trouble is right on.

…’damage control’ takes on a whole new meaning…and so does damage.

…you own 3 or more double strollers. –Krissy

…people who have multiple kids close in age compare that to having twins ---- nope. Sorry. Your 1 year old can hold their own bottle! –Nichole

…you have to subdue the shock of unsuspecting pregnant strangers after your 4-year-old points to their belly and exclaims, "two babies" because he thinks all pregnancies result in two.  No, he is not psychic nor prophetic, we just have twins babies at home. –Keeli

…your three year old asks of anyone with a newborn, "why do they only have one baby?" –Margaret

…you hoard anything anyone is giving away because the twins could use it. –Marisol

…you've sat on a dirty diaper just to get your other baby not to open and play in it. –Keeli

…you resist the urge to roll your eyes when people ask "Are they twins?" about your identical twins, followed by "one girl & one boy?" when you have them dressed alike. –Emily

…you are so sleep deprived that a 30 minute nap is the same length as a chunks of sleep you get through the night. –Emily

…you are jealous listening to others' complaints about getting anything over 3 hrs of sleep. –Emily
-Or want to throat-punch the person that says they're tired. Haha. –Marisol

plaid scarves 008 …you struggle with whether you should dress them identially or just coordinate or just totally different.  And you get asked a lot which method you prefer.

…people ask "were you trying for twins?”  Yep!  We are super talented!  We can have twins on demand. –Nichole

...you need to call ahead to a restaurant to reserve two high chairs. (On the rare occasion we all go out.)
...you have a backup plan for every possible scenario.
...you used to laugh silently at other parents using leashes on their one kid.  (I don't do this, but I'm pretty sure I'll consider it.)
...you buy four of everything in case two of those things get lost.
...you plan your purchases based on the possible resale value of all furniture, accessories, toys, and clothes.
...you feel like an expert when people genuinely ask you how you do it. –Marisol

…you cram all of your purchases in the bottom basket of a double stroller because a cart won't hold more than one infant carrier.  -Brooke


IMG_0783…your heart is twice as big, your dreams twice as high, and your wishes twice as spectacular.

We wouldn’t trade them for the world, our twins.

…most of the time anyway.  ;)

Introducing…

17 comments:

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If I could describe her birth in four words, they’d be “whoa, what just happened?”  When I get to the state of mind when I can actually do all that describing, I’ll type-type-type it up like a blog-blog-blogger does.  Until then, I’ll hopefully be logging on with a few guest post type things and we’ll be (very, very slowly) finishing up the headboard that we didn’t finish before Gianna graced us with her presence.  :)

I hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend!

DIY Tufted Headboard: Part I

5 comments:

IMG_7852(The above pic in an ‘in process’ one – the tufts weren’t smoothed yet nor were the buttons on but I had to give it a trial run and whoa, doesn’t it look gooood even half done?!)

Oh man, I can’t wait to share this tutorial with you guys.  Let me preface this whole project tutorial with this though – it might seem super overwhelming and intimidating.  The thought of making a tufted headboard from scratch seemed really far-fetched for me even.  When you look at your inspiration pictures and then you take a gander at some tutorials, it can get to be too much and the idea can easily seem like one for the go-getter DIYers who have every tool imaginable.  But, let me shove this into your brain - you can do this.  Anyone can do this.  Take it step by step and don’t think about the final product until you’re almost done.  Yes, this is something you can do with a whole day’s time.  But it’s also something that you can do over a period of a couple of weeks, like us, by doing a step per day and then all of a sudden, you’ve built yourself a headboard that you didn’t even think you could.  Easy does it.

First, find your inspiration.  Figure out what you want.  Pinterest is a great place to start.  I started a pin board for our master bedroom, the room where this headboard is going, so all my headboard dreams are tucked away there.

After I pinned inspiration pictures, I then hunted down tutorials on how to get what I wanted.  This tutorial by Kristi at Addicted 2 Decorating on how to diamond tuft is, by far, the best I could find.  Even though her tutorial is for an ottoman, you use the same steps as you would a headboard.  Her pictures and instructions are so thorough and, when you have no clue how to build a headboard from scratch like me, detailed instructions are so appreciated.  I’ll be linking back to her a few times during the tutorial just because it’s so great.

So, armed with inspiration and instructions,  we got started.  (Note:  This post is all about the tufted back of our headboard.  We’re in the process of adding arms to each side of the back and then retrofitting it to our current bed but those will each be detailed in separate posts.  You can whip up a headboard just like the one I’m about to write about and call it done in the end, sans arms and retrofitting, because it can definitely hold it’s own.)

As with any project, first we figured out what we needed to get ‘er done; you know, the supplies.  From start to finish, all we used were a slab of foam, a piece of plywood, a few pieces of wood boards, a sharpie pen, scissors, a drill (a screwdriver would work too; it’d just be a little more work), fabric, batting, screws, washers, upholstery buttons, glue, staples, and a staple gun.  It’s a good amount of stuff but I bet you have half of it at home and the other half is easily (and cheaply) attainable.

Let’s break down those supplies a tad though first.
Plywood.  We bought ours from Lowe’s and guess what?  They cut it for free (Home Depot does too!)  Yep.  That means you don’t need a saw of any sort.  Go in, grab a piece of 1/2 plywood, give them your measurements, and let them cut it.  We got ours cut 61 5/8” by 32”.  Our bed is a queen-size and a standard queen-sized bed is 60” wide but since we’re retrofitting the headboard to our existing bed frame, which is a tad wider than the mattress, we added a few inches.  When you’re measuring, make sure you account for the size of your bed frame instead of the size of your mattress.  Or instead of using plywood, you could scour your local thrift stores and/or resale sites to find a simple queen headboard that you could easily reupholster.  I saw this one advertised at a local thrift store here last week:
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Foam. 
IMG_7814My Aunt had this three-inch thick eggshell mattress topper laying around that she wasn’t using so she let us have it to use for this project, saving us a good chunk of the project cost.  If you don’t have an Aunt with a spare piece of foam, Home Depot sells this multi-purpose foam pad that’s a lot more affordable than the foam you’ll find at fabric stores.  However, it’s only 24” wide (or tall if we’re talking headboards) so if you want something taller, you might need two (and then you’ll have a bunch leftover for another project).  

Wood Supports.
  For added stability and to make your edges look a little beefier, you’ll want to frame out the back of your plywood with a few pieces of 1 x 4.  So, you’ll need to get four pieces cut (remember to get them cut at the store) that can be screwed along the perimeter of the back edges like Sarah at Sarah M. Dorsey Designs did to the back of her DIY headboard here.  Once again, we lucked out because some good friends of ours were tossing some wood out that we salvaged for the supports on the back of ours (thank you Alford’s!)

Fabric.
  Kristi (Addicted 2 Decorating) recommends using a woven fabric so that it doesn’t twist while you’re screwing in your tufts.  I agree that using a woven fabric would probably keeping the twisting to a minimum, but I couldn’t find a woven fabric in my under $10/yard budget.  I did find this linen blend fabric on sale at JoAnn fabrics though that was exactly the color we were going for and it worked great!  I used about three yards of it for the back of the headboard.  We did toy with using a jewel green fabric that I have in my stash but, after hanging it on the wall behind our bed for a day to see if it jived, we decided we really just wanted a neutral that would work with any color decor we went with in the future.  Maybe we’ll use the green to make the girls’ a headboard someday.  :)  To soften the linen fabric up a tad, I tossed it in the wash quick with a little bit of detergent and some fabric softener and it came out just right. 
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Batting.  In my opinion, batting is optional.  It does give a little bit more fluff, smooths everything out (if need be), and helps protect the fabric from ripping when it’s pulled over the corners.  But, if you sand down the corners to make them less pointed, that would help the fabric stay intact.  For our headboard, I did use batting though I’m not sure if I will next time.  I bought this full-sized package of batting (with a coupon) to use for this and a couple of other upholstering projects we have on our to-do list.
 
Buttons.
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We used these size 30 cover buttons for this project (purchased at JoAnn’s with a 50% coupon) and they are 3/4” in diameter, the perfect size to fit right over the… 

Screws and Washers.
IMG_7842Instead of going the typical threaded button route, we used screws and washers to get our tufts, using Kristi’s genius tutorial.  For our headboard we needed 30 #8 screws and the same amount of #10 washers.  If you’re going with larger buttons, you’ll just have to make sure you use larger washers; small enough that they won’t peep out from under your buttons but large enough that they’ll allow the button to slide down into your tuft and sit upon them.

Drill or Screwdriver.  If you’re going to have any tool on hand, I’d say a drill should be it.  We have the older model of this one* and it’s been our trusty go-to tool for going on ten years.  You can use a screwdriver to get those tufts if you don’t have a drill though, but it will definitely be a little more time-consuming.

Glue. 
Gorilla Glue*, Liquid Nails* (we used this on our ottoman buttons), E6000*  – any of those would work to glue the buttons onto the screws and washers.  Hot glue would work, though if you accidentally get it anywhere that you don’t want it, it’s difficult to remove so I’d say stay away from it.  I actually used Aleene’s OK To Wash-It glue* because I had it laying around and it’s stuck good so far.  We’ll see what time says though.  In addition to glue for the buttons, you’ll also want some to attach the foam to the plywood while you work.  A spray adhesive like this one I’ve used in the past would work well (or Elmer’s if you’re lazy like me).

Staple Gun and Staples. 
To attach the fabric to the back of your headboard you’ll need to use a staple gun.  We have and used this one* along with 5/16 staples.

Onto the process…
First, I cut the foam to the size of the plywood.  I wanted the eggshell side of my foam to be against the plywood and the smooth side closest to the fabric but to cut the foam, it was easiest to slice it with the smooth side up.  So, lining up one corner and making sure both sides out from that corner were in near perfect alignment…IMG_7815
I traced around the other two edges with a sharpie.
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I also marked which was was up on the foam and on the plywood just in case the plywood wasn’t cut into an exact rectangle.  It probably wouldn’t matter too much if things got flipped though.
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Then I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut out the foam along the sharpied line.  A serrated knife or an electric knife would also work to cut out the foam.
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Next, I marked out where the buttons would go by just measuring and placing +’s over each spot.
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The marking was easy.  Figuring out how spaced I wanted the buttons was the hardest thing about this whole headboard.  Seriously, it took me three days of naptime brainstorming to get to the end decision.  I blame it all on the fact that I couldn’t think with this lack of pregnant energy for the life of me and maybe, just maybe, I was overthinking it all to begin with.

It wasn’t just the measuring that was hard, it was deciding on the amount of buttons I needed to achieve the look I was going for.  I didn’t want a ton of buttons like this headboard from Target:
50072296_Alt01

But I didn’t want too few like this one from West Elm:
narrow-leg-upholstered-bed-frame-dove-gray-1-o
Both of those headboards are beautiful but just not what I had in mind for our tufted beaut.

The tufting pattern I had in my head was a series of equilateral triangles at the points of which would be the buttons.  I wanted the distance from each button to be the same – across and diagonally.  That meant I had to go back to middle school to figure out the height of the triangle in order to figure out how much space would be between rows.  I know, too much thinking.  Told ya.  In the end, I came up with a design where each button is 7.5” apart horizontally and each row of buttons is 7” apart (it measured a little under 7” but I rounded up for simplicities sake.)  That meant that, on our queen-sized board, I had two rows with seven buttons across and two rows with eight.  It was helpful to use a piece of rectangular paper cut to scale to figure this all out before I started marking up the foam.  After the plan was made on paper, it was time to hit up the foam.  To mark out the buttons, I started at the top of the foam and marked the first row 7.5” from the top - I made a small mark 7.5” down on each side of the foam and then, using a tape measure as a straight edge, connected my two dots to give me that entire row.  Then I found the center of the foam (the entire width or 61 5/8 divided by 2), marked that, and that gave me the halfway point between the two middle buttons on the first row.  Once I got those marked out, I just made marks every 7.5” each way and then measured out the second line the same way except that the buttons this time were staggered so that the middle mark I made was where a button would go.  I hope that makes a whole lot of sense to you all!  It might be more helpful to draw out a grid on your foam – the columns and rows – and then place your button marks on the intersecting lines.

Once I was done marking out the buttons, I put the whole slab up on the bed to quell the fear that I had too few or too many buttons.  Color me a paranoid perfectionist, I guess.     

IMG_7822
Next up was cutting out holes in the foam where each button would go to help them sink down into the foam with the fabric, giving that deep-tufted look.  To do this I just stabbed the points of a small pair of scissors into the foam and cut out a square that was about an inch wide on each side; just wide enough for my 3/4” buttons to slide right in.
foam cuts
At this point, the foam was ready.  Before it could be attached to the plywood though, we needed to frame out the back of the plywood with those pieces of 1 x 4.  Since we are retrofitting our headboard to our current bed frame, ours looks a little different on the back than if you’re just going to attach your headboard to the wall behind your bed.  You could also make this headboard to attach to a metal bed frame as well by the addition of some wood legs that extend from the bottom of the headboard down to the frame itself.  Cover those legs with fabric before you attach and call it good.  I’ll have a retrofitting tutorial up here hopefully in the next few weeks.

If you’re going to attach yours to the wall, frame it out like this…
IMG_7826mock…where the red rectangles represent the 1 x 4’s.  Just screw them in with some 1” – 1 1/4” screws; three or four in each board should do.  Then you can either buy a french cleat (this one* has great reviews on amazon.com) or make one to get it up on the wall securely.

Once framed, it was time to glue the foam to the plywood.  Gluing it to the plywood ensured that it didn’t move around while I laid the fabric on top or started on the tufting.  If you have the energy, the best way to do this would be to carry the foam and plywood outside and use some spray adhesive to get a good stick between the two.  I was at this stage of the headboard game when Anthony was at work one day though, so there was no carrying all this outside for mwah.  Instead, I went down Lazy Lane by swirling and then spreading with my fingers some Elmer’s glue I had lodged in the desk five feet away. IMG_7827I let the glue dry and it worked like a charm…and amazingly, I didn’t get any on our duvet cover.  (In case you’re wondering, I did this in our bedroom because anywhere else in the house is deemed unsafe from toddler hands and potential destruction.) IMG_7828
The next thing I did was cut shallow slits in the foam between each button.  I read about this trick on Little Green Notebook.  It’s a great idea, the point being that the fabric in between each button will just sink right down into the slit, making nice folds.
IMG_7832But I realized after that, since I was going to be placing batting over the foam it really wasn’t necessary and really, a waste of time.  If you’re going the no-batting route though, I’d definitely make those slits!

It was time now to get this thing covered, starting with the batting.  I laid my entire roll of batting over the top of the foam and cut it so that it would be able to be wrapped around a few inches and stapled on the back.  Then I just used my finger to poke holes in it over each button hole.IMG_7835
And now, the fabric.  To make sure I only used what I needed and so that I didn’t run out, I started at one end and corner of the headboard, placing the first tuft so that there was just enough fabric left on the outside edge to be wrapped around and stapled.
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Down the first row I went, pairing a screw and washer and sinking it into each hole with the drill.
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I didn’t drill pilot holes (holes made with a drill bit slightly smaller than the width of the threaded screw) into the plywood first and I kind of wished that I would have.  Since the tufts are so deep, you really can’t tell if one screw is a smidge higher or lower than it’s next door neighbor but some of them are a tad off (I mean, we’re talking like 1/8 of an inch).   Having a pre-drilled hole to place the tip of the screw in would’ve been helpful to keep everything nice and straight.

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The key with using a linen fabric like I did is not drilling too much.  Drill until the screw isn’t super tight up against the foam and plywood; there should be enough space to easily stick your fingernail between the fabric and washer.  The tighter you screw into the plywood, the more likely your fabric is to twist, which you definitely don’t want.

Before I sunk each screw/washer, I pulled the fabric I needed for the tuft I was on from the loose fabric in the direction I was working; not from the button I had just planted.  Thank you again Kristi for the tip!  However, I was so concerned with not pulling fabric from the previous drilled button that I didn’t stop to make sure the fabric between buttons was smooth before I started on another screw.  So, a few of the spans between buttons is a little looser than I would have liked.  You live and learn, I guess.  Thankfully, I could tuck a good amount of excess fabric into the folds at the end but still, I made the mental note for next time.

Also before I sunk each screw/washer, I poked all of the fabric that would go into that tuft into the hole for it so that the screw wasn’t pulling fabric in while it was going in; all it was doing was securing what was already there.  In the picture below, all of the holes have screws in them except for the one on the bottom right.  The fabric is just sitting in that hole, waiting to be screwed in.
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Once I had the top row done, I skipped a row and worked on the row with the tufts directly in line with the row I had just finished.  Then I went back and did the row in between and the bottom row.
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Kristi really does the best job explaining the whole screwing and tufting process so I highly recommend heading over to her post for all the details on this part.

After all of the screws were in but before we stapled the fabric onto the back, I cut off all of the edges of the foam to get a diagonal edge vs. a sharp corner. This helps get a more rounded corner without having to really pull the fabric super tight.  Since I was using batting, I wasn’t concerned about cutting that edge so it was perfectly smooth so I just grabbed a scissors and went snipping away on each edge.
edge
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Now it all comes together by stapling the fabric to the back!  Can I just send you over to Kristi for detailed instructions one more time?  Her pictures are just so good.

The key is to make sure you’re keeping an eye on the weave of the fabric while you’re pulling the fabric to the back; making sure it’s all continuous before you staple.  There should be a fold going from each screw around to the back of the headboard.  The weave of the fabric on each side of the fold should meet and continue along the same line.  Here’s what the top of our headboard looks like stapled:IMG_3884The bottom and sides should look the same; a straight lines of folds leading from screw to the back.

Here’s what the back of our headboard looked like after all of the fabric was stapled:
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And this is after I trimmed off all the extra fabric, which I saved to make the buttons with:
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Then I did the test run because my middle name is Impatient.
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So far, so good.  (That green trellis fabric I laid on the bed is going to be made into faux roman shades and will be perched over each window with the existing white curtains flanking the sides.  I’ll probably whip up a pillow cover or two with it as well just to tie everything together.  The other pillows are also getting new fabric and the nightstands are going white down the road.)

We’re almost done with this tutorial!  Hang in there! 

Onto the folds.  Basically, you want one, clean fold leading from button to button, not a jumble of them.  To get that one fold, all you have to do is make it by tucking all the fabric into one fold like so:
PicMonkey Collage
Can you see the difference in this before and after?
foldsI feel like my fabric wrinkled a tad during the time between screwing in the tufts to making the folds (there were a couple of days in between those two steps) so I’d recommend fixing those folds right after you screw the tufts in.  I’ll probably end up going over the whole headboard with a quick ironing once we’re completely done to see if I can smooth those wrinkles out.

Now, the buttons!  Like I said above, I used the excess fabric I trimmed off after stapling to cover my buttons.  The button kit has great instructions on how to cover the buttons but basically you just use the included template to cut out as many circles as you’ll need for as many buttons as you’ll need to make.
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Then you use the included tool to stack the fabric, button top, and back to easily get those professional looking buttons.  Since you’ll be gluing your buttons on, you’ll use the plain backs vs. the shank backs.  My only problem here (the same problem I had with our ottoman buttons the second time around) was that my fabric was too thick to get the backs pressed on with the tool.  So, while the fabric and button top are stacked like they should be in the tool, I placed a dab of glue onto the back of the button top and used a screwdriver to press on the back.  I pressed one end of the back and then, while holding my finger on that end, I used the screwdriver to press the opposite end until the back clicked on and then just worked my way around the rest of the back.
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To glue the buttons to the screws, I put a dab of glue on the backs of all of the buttons and one-by-one, stuck each down into a tuft and onto a screw. 
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And that’s it!  Onto making the arms, preferably before this baby gets here which means we better hop to that considering we might have mere hours left!  If you’re calling it done at this point in the headboard game, attach it with a cleat to the wall or add some legs and get it screwed onto your existing frame and then take advantage of the comfort that will follow.  My back and head cannot wait to rest upon the pillowy goodness.

.           .           . 

Stay tuned for tutorials on the arms and retrofitting…and a possible baby announcement!  Disappointed smile

*Some of the products links in this post are affiliate links.  All of these things are products we purchased with our own cash but that we’ll get a small commission on if you purchase via my links.  Thank you for supporting us!

The Tuesday Breeze

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Tuesday breeze because I’m hoping you’ll let me just shoot the breeze with ya today because… 

It’s been realll sa-lowwww around these parts.  My typically busy brain can’t handle more than one thought at a time and that brain has needed a nap almost everyday which means that my productive time, nap time, has been productive in a whole ‘nother way and that way involves my head on a pillow.  With that said, things might be a little smorgasboard-y on the blog here in the next few weeks before baby girl arrives and probably after too.  I’ve got a few posts lined up post-baby thanks to the help of some of my favorite people and I’m hoping to squeeze in a couple of posts on the headboard that we’re halfway done making next week and the week after.  Speaking of, last Saturday night while Anthony was away for work, I was tufting:
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That tufted beauty once looked like this big ‘ole piece of plywood…
IMG_3707…and will go up as high as that line of tape on the wall behind our bed.

I’ve mentioned maybe once or twice recently that we will have a comfy headboard to rest our backs upon before this baby arrives.  All of my will and brain power are being directed to that sole intention.  Right now it’s sitting against the dresser in our room, all tufted and stapled.  Next up are the two arms that will flank its sides and then we’ll be retro-fitting it to our existing bed frame.  I can’t wait to write up the tutorial!  I’ve been trying to be very diligent on taking pictures throughout the process so that anyone who doesn’t want to or simply can’t (our hands go all the way up) spend hundreds of bucks on a luxe headboard can just go right ahead and make one for a fraction of the price.  You know how I do…


We finally hung the string lights we’ve had for months and months outside on our new screened-in patio!
IMG_7848I didn’t take pictures during the process because it was a quick, albeit nerve-wracking ordeal.  We actually started one night but, after getting one strand up with the technique we were using, quit after that one fell and a few of the bulbs shattered.  We had to reevaluate how we were going to hang them and ended up putting aluminum (anti-rust) screws in where we wanted the strands to attach to the walls, stringing fishing line from screw to screw, attaching the small hooks on each bulb to the fishing line, and then securing each strand to the screws with a small piece of wire.  It was a lot more complicated than I thought it would be and something I never want to do again.  But, the lighting is magical.  The space?  Not so much.  All of the upholstery has yet to be brightened up, the big wall on the left is waiting for me to find the perfect thrift store picture for a project, and I want to toss more pillows and plants in before anything is stamped ‘done’.  Check back in a few years.  ;)


Balayage.  I’ve been pinning and saving inspiration pics for awhile, seeking the advice of my pro-stylist cousin, Kendra, and just waiting for a free moment to jump on that train.  My hair has naturally grown out to a sort of balayage with the ebb and flow of coloring and not coloring over periods of time but I wanted it a little lighter for summer at the ends so I tried to DIY it last week and am so happy with how it turned out.  (I tried it a couple of months back too but didn’t leave the color on long enough to make a difference.)  I shared this after picture on Instagram:IMG_3666

And here’s another (poorly timed) shot after the fact that might show the results better:
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I’ve gotten a good amount of requests for a tutorial and that I will do the next time I do it but until then, if you’re wanting to try it, go for it!  Kilee at One Little Momma has an awesome tutorial for DIY ombre that is basically what I used except that I added a few streaks of color all the way up to the root around the crown of my head.  Also, hers is for short hair but for long hair like mine, I just colored higher – I blended the color up to around the bottom of my nose.  I use the same Kaliedocolors powder she uses mixed with a 20 volume developer by Clairol that I get at Sally Beauty.  I’ve used this stuff to color my own hair for years and LOVE it.  I left the color on my hair without adding heat for about 45 minutes and that amount of time was perfect.


Bean In Love Studio, my pillow cover shop, will be on vacation mode starting Thursday so that I can do important things like pack a hospital bag and get out all the newborn clothes but, use coupon code ‘ohbaby’ to get 20% off any order over $25 until tomorrow.  If I get all my important stuff done before labor starts, I might hold a little flash sale on the shop’s Instagram feed to empty out all of the covers already made so you might want to be on the look-out for that.  :)


Last but not least, give me all your best name recommendations.  I have a little someone who might be in the market…  IMG_3849We’re having a hard time agreeing on names we like, Anthony and I, and while we’ll wait to see her face before we stamp her with a life-long title, we still like to have a list and, right now, that list is pretty short.  As of last Friday, I’m at least two centimeters dilated currently so we might have a bit of time and we might not. 


Welp, that’s it for today.  More easy, breezy posts coming your way soon – a few recent yard sale finds and more updates on what has been bumpin’ up in this casa.  Exciting stuff, I tell ya.  ;) 

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