Slider

Monday, October 16, 2017

Design This Room Series


I am excited to share with you all a little project that I have been working on...
For the past few months I have been pinterest-ing, sketching and writing down ideas for my master bedroom in our new home. People, I am stumped on this one.

We lived in our last home for 3 years, and it wasn't until 3 months before we moved that I got our master in that house completely finished! It took me 3 whole years to do anything with our room. And once it was complete, I loved it, for that house. Now we are in a new home and like myself, my style has somewhat evolved and this home is slightly different than the last. I am wanting to go all neutral, clean and french country farmhouse inspired. I know what I like, but when actually making the decisions on my own room, I constantly find myself second guessing my choices. At the moment, our master bedroom is a catch all for everything, we still have boxes in our room of clothes and other misc. things that I have yet to put in the attic, thus making me even less inspired to actually dive in and think about a design plan.

So, my solution for this dilemma?

Why not turn to all of my Internet decor friends? The actual ones that I am inspired by photographs of their homes on a daily basis? Yes, this is completely crazy for me and so out of character, because anyone that knows me, knows that I am a control freak. Lately I have been trying to do things that push myself out of my comfort zone, that help me to grow as a person, as a "wannabe" designer. 
My plan is this: turn to my Instagram community to vote on an element of my overall room design each day for one week which will be posted on my Instagram stories everyday at 10am (EST). At the end of each day, the majority voted design element will win and will be added to my design plan! Step by step, my room will be built solely on the opinion of others. 
Because I want this process to be fun for everyone, I wanted to give a little incentive to those who want to participate. I am teaming up with two amazing shops to bring you all a giveaway for those that go and vote on my design options each day for the next week!
One lucky winner will win a delicious smelling candle from Wax and Willow Candle Co. along with this beautiful sign from Grace Filled Farmhouse. To enter, you must be on Instagram and follow both accounts plus my account, Simply Ciani. All rules are posted on the giveaway image on my feed. You can enter once a day, giving you a change to be entered up to 7 times, but you must vote! *Giveaway ends 10/23.


I am excited to see where this design series takes my room design and to reveal the final product designed by YOU! Follow along with me as I post updates, DIY's and room reveal on the blog during the process. And thank you all, my sweet Internet friends, for helping me with this crazy little idea of mine!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Story Of Loss And Healing


Today is 
PREGNANCY AND INFANT LOSS AWARENESS DAY

I am proud to share my story of loss, pain and my rainbow after the storm. We tried for nearly 3 years to give my daughter a sibling. After complications from her birth, I was left with many unanswered questions and a "broken" body. Doctor after Doctor, 7 different ones to be exact, not one had a solution. Finally, after a move across the country due to my husband being in the Marine Corps, I crossed paths with a doctor that would change everything for me, in more than one way. He finally had the solutions and answers that none before him had. He helped mend my "broken" body through a surgery then fertility medication. Then, came the 2 week wait... And anyone whom has ever dealt with infertility or actively has tried to conceive, knows that 2 week wait is unbearable! It was 10 days after ovulation and I just couldn't wait anymore... I peed on a stick. In that 60 seconds, I think I felt every single emotion you could feel. Then, I looked, I saw the slightest faint pink second line.. Was I? No, really? No. Could I be?! I peed on another an hour later, compared the two, held it up to the light, posted pics on my infertility Facebook groups asking the annoying question, "Do you see it?". The next day, I took another and that second pink line that I was going nuts over, stressing over, it was even darker! I was! I was! This miracle baby that I had wanted for so long was really happening!!! I wanted to scream from the rooftops! Little did I know, that little miracle baby, I would never come to meet, never get to hold in my arms or kiss their sweet forehead. 

 10 weeks. 10 weeks that little life grew inside of me. To some, that may seem like nothing. How in just 10 weeks could you become attached to something/ someone you never even met? Surely that loss couldn't hurt as bad as losing someone living. I can't compare my experience to anyone who has lost a living child, and never will claim that my loss hurt similar to theirs, because loss for everyone is completely different. In those 10 weeks I grew to love a child that I had longed for, wished for, went through physical pain just to bring into my life. I started dreaming of decorating a nursery, began researching cloth diapers, and double strollers. I began planning a life with 2 children. We already had names picked out for both a boy and a girl. This baby was loved and wanted before he/she was ever formed. 

At about 5 weeks I went in to have my first ultrasound. This is not typical of most OB patients because at that stage there is not much to see, but because I was an infertility patient and was on medication before becoming pregnant they wanted to check how many of the follicles I had produced actually took, and I had produced 4 follicles before conceiving! So.. to say I was a little scared and excited at the same time is an understatement. The ultrasound showed one tiny babe growing, no heartbeat yet, but that was completely normal. We were sent home with a photo of our newest addition and would be back again at the doctor in another 2 weeks to hopefully see and hear that tiny heartbeat! 

2 weeks later I was back in the ultrasound room, feeling great, ready to see this tiny life growing inside of me and hear that sweet little galloping sound. In that 2 week wait, I never once worried, I felt like, we had overcome so many hurdles to get here I thought nothing could go wrong. And little did I know, God had a much bigger plan in store. The look on the ultrasound tech's face was the first sign, her silence was another. I asked "is everything okay?" She didn't answer. Just more moving around of the stick and clicking of the keyboard. Then she said "let me get your doctor." I knew that couldn't be good. I laid there, trying to prepare myself. He came in. Looked at the screen the same way she did, then said, "We see the fetal pole, and there is flickering there, so there is a heartbeat, but it's not able to be heard yet." I was relieved! But if there was a heartbeat, why did she have to go and bring him in? He then continued, "This can be completely normal at this stage early in pregnancy and your baby's heart may just be delayed in starting. So let's have you come back one week from today and check again." I thought to myself, everything will be fine, he didn't seem too worried. It is early, so this is normal.

One week later, and back in the same room again. This time, my husband by my side. We held hands as the ultrasound began and prayed we would finally hear that little heart beating away. Again, silence. My doctor returned and said the same words he said the week before. He explained that our baby's heart was weak, and from his experience that our baby wouldn't survive, but at this point the heart was still "flickering" so he didn't want to do anything yet. He wanted to continue closely monitoring me and take it week by week. I was devastated. My world shattered all in that moment. How could this be happening? Not me. Not us. I went home that night and prayed harder than I have ever prayed, asking God to strengthen my baby's heart, to let this baby live and grow inside of me.

Another week went by and I headed back to the doctor, this time, sitting in a room of pregnant women and newborn babies, not even knowing if my baby's heart was beating. A woman next to me asked how far along I was, I didn't know how to answer. I told her, "9 weeks." She said, "Oh I remember early in my pregnancy, it's such an exciting time! Hopefully you aren't too tired! I'm due in 2 weeks, can't wait for him to finally be here!" I felt like I got socked in the gut. I wanted to be excited, I wanted to feel tired and nauseous, but I felt not one of those things. They called my name and I headed back to my usual table, laid back and prayed. After 3 minutes (which felt like a lifetime), the doctor came in and said "how are we doing today?" How do you even answer that? The ultrasound began and both the tech and my doctor started at the screen and pointed yet again... No noise. Just the clicking of the keyboard. Then, again.. The same answers. Baby's heartbeat was still there but not strong enough. Again, I was sent home to wait.

The next week though, everything changed. There would be no more waiting, my baby's heart had stopped. Nothing was there. This time I was sent home for good and was given a surgery date for 2 days later. I walked into a waiting room full of pregnant women with bellies of all sizes and at that moment felt completely broken as I carried a lifeless fetus inside of me. I was pregnant but not pregnant all at the same time. 

I went home that night and felt numb, yet could not stop hysterically crying. I turned to God, and questioned why I would be given this gift, just for it to be taken away so fast? I found a verse, Joel 2:25 - God can restore what is broken and change it into something amazing. all you need is faith. That verse alone restored my faith. Made me see that he took my sweet baby because he/she was broken and needed to make them whole. I just had to have faith in his plan. 

The next 2 days were difficult. Trying to process it all. Then surgery day came. I knew this was my last moment with my baby with me.  My mom had passed away while I was pregnant with my first child, so she never got to see me become a mother or meet her grandchild. I asked and prayed that the Lord place this baby in my Mother's arms, let her raise my baby, rock them, kiss them, until we would be reunited again. I came out of surgery and knew where my baby was and was whole in heaven. 

3 weeks later at my follow up appointment, we received the results of the fetal testing that my doctor suggested we did just to be on the cautionary side due to my medial history after I had my first baby. In those results we found two things, one, our baby was a BOY. They were able to test the chromosomes and determine that early on the gender of the fetus. Second, our baby had triple the amount chromosomes, one from the mother and two from the father. I didn't even understand what that meant. My doctor explained that I had what is called a Molar Pregnancy or Partial Molar Pregnancy in my case, where the fetus forms, but one egg was miraculously fertilized by two sperm at the same exact time. In partial molar pregnancies there is no way for the fetus to develop normally nor survive in the womb past 20 weeks at most. Lastly, he added that this was not just the case of why we lost our baby, but my uterus became a harbor for pre-cancerous cells and I needed to have weekly blood work done until my HCG levels reached below zero. If the levels didn't go down on their own, I would need to have chemotherapy. Try to swallow that in all one appointment! 

Good news is that for me, after 7 weeks of weekly blood draws my levels reached zero. I continued draws for another month after to insure they stayed at zero or below before being cleared. Finding the news of the gender of our baby after he was already gone was tough. I wanted to connect with him, now knowing what life was supposed to be like with him in it. As I stated before, we had both a boy and a girl name picked, but our boy name just didn't fit this baby, his story, our journey. I went to bed one night and dreamed of a river, water flowing over the rocks, calm in certain places and rough in others. I knew that was the perfect name for this baby whom I never got to meet. My journey with him was peaceful and trying all at the same time. We rested on River James, James being after my grandfather's middle name who is also in heaven. 

This necklace made by Rachelle Isms means more to me than any other piece of jewelry I own, other than my wedding band of course. It holds my two babies (at the time) and the verse that got me through it all, and continues to. And little did I know that that storm would lead to the most beautiful rainbow... 

Once cleared to try again, we did. I wasn't giving up. I was scared with every ounce of my being, but I knew that nothing good could happen unless you continue to push forward. With a little help from fertility medication and God, our third little miracle came to be and Emmalyn Faith was placed into my arms. Faith fit her perfectly, because without faith, she would have never came to be. 

I may have never held my son in my hands, but I will forever carry him in my heart. 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

DIY Painted Shiplap


One Word: SHIPLAP

It's taken the nation by storm. It's been around much longer than Joanna Gaines, but she introduced it to the millions of Fixer Upper addicts and we ALL got hooked. How is it, that by just adding those perfectly spaced horizontal boards to any room makes it 1000 times better?

There are now tons, and I mean TONS of ways out there to get the look of shiplap, the real tongue and groove boards, the fake stuff (which is just plywood ripped into boards), the wallpaper, all of which are great! But... while I am a shiplap lover myself, I have to question... when will this "shiplap fad fade?". When will shiplap become the salmon colored carpet and oak cabinets of the 90's? Or the dark wood paneling of the 80's?  Granted, shiplap is classic. You really cant go wrong with shiplap. But, when you get into to gluing and nailing boards to your drywall, you are kind of committed at that point. You're in it for the long haul. What of you are a renter (like I am) and long to add some character to your home? Or what if spending all of that money on wood or wallpaper just isn't an option? Well, I have a solution to ALL of those problems.

Ready for it?
PAINTED SHIPLAP

Yes, painted. All you need is paint. No damage to your drywall, no spending $300+ on wood and supplies (not to mention tools). Just paint. And when you decide 5 years from now that the "shiplap look" is a little too "farmhouse-y" for you, just paint back over it!

Did I mention that it looks oh so real and you can't even tell it's NOT the real thing? 
Yes, even from a foot away it looks like REAL shiplap. Okay, so enough of me trying to sell you on why this version of shiplap is so much better, lets get down to how to create your own shiplap wall.



WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

- Paint: I used Sherwin Williams - White Batten
[Bought at Lowes]
- Paint Brush
- Paint Roller + Roller Brush
- Paint Tray + Liner
- Painter's Tape: I used the 3M brand
- Tape Measure
- Pencil
- Level
- Two pieces of wood trim (1x1)
- Chalk Paint + Small Brush




HOW TO:

1. Start by painting your wall. 
For mine, I used 3 coats since I was covering a darker colored wall and wanted to be sure I had enough coverage. White paint always takes more coats than other colors to get an even look.

2. Measure out your "boards". 
The average width of shiplap is approx 6", which is what I measured mine at. You can always adjust to the width you are wanting depending on the look you are going for.




3. Draw out your lines.
Placing your level on the wall, start where you marked out your lines and place the pencil above the level, then draw the length of the level. Continue on moving the level and marking until you have reached the other mark on the opposite wall.




4. Tape it.
Using your painter's tape, place the tape both above and below the pencil line about a nickel thickness apart. Take your time with this step and make sure your tape is straight and that where you start a new piece of tape, that it overlaps evenly.



5. This part is important so listen up!
Before you ever touch those lines with black paint, go back over them with your wall color. This will seal the tape edges and insure that there will be no bleed through from the black paint. You are creating "shiplap" here so you want crisp clean lines! Just to be on the cautionary side, I painted 2 coats of the base wall color and let completely dry before moving onto the next step.



6. Now, for the lines.
I have seen other affordable versions of shiplap include using a sharpie for the lines or just black craft paint. Yes, they both work, but here is why I chose to use chalk paint. When you look at real shiplap, the gap is basically a shadow between the boards. Its not a harsh black line. Therefore, I wanted to replicate that look at much as possible. Annie Sloan - Graphite is not a true black, it has more of a gray tone in it and is matte which I also love. Nothing will scream fake shiplap like a glossy line across your walls. I used a smaller paint brush to apply the paint and did two coats just to be sure I got enough coverage.



7. Time to reveal!
Take off the painters tape while the chalk paint is almost dry. Chalk paint dries fast so you wont have to wait long...And now marvel at those crisp clean lines!


8. Paint and add the wood trim.
Using wood trim, either doing a full room and using it on the corners or doing an accent wall and using them to define the shiplap, the trim adds the finishing touch and makes at appear as real shiplap.




So,what's the final verdict? Does it look like the real thing? I just love how adding the shiplap totally transforms this space. It brings attention to the fireplace and draws your eye upwards. Not to mention, everything just looks better against shiplap.

BEFORE + AFTER:



I hope that this post was helpful in showing you that shiplap and adding character to you home doesn't have to be costly nor permanent. Thanks for reading along!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Floral Pumpkin Centerpiece

Today's project completely wasn't planned. I had just put my youngest down for her morning nap when I walked past an olive bucket which I had put two brown craft paper pumpkins in with some greenery. I thought to myself "those really would look pretty with some flowers in them!" I have a whole Pinterest board of pretty floral fall pumpkins and have always wanted to make one for myself, but of course, never got around to it... well, unexpectedly, today was the day and done completely with what I had around the house! Score. If you don't just happen to have things around your home like my craft hoarding self, this project still wont cost you much at all and is so worth it when its done! Plus, its all fake so you can keep it, store it and enjoy it year after year! No rotting pumpkins or flowers here. Okay, so here is what you will need from start to finish to complete the project;


SUPPLY LIST:

- Paper Craft Pumpkin
- Faux Eucalyptus Bunch
- Floral Greenery Stems/ Bunches (I used 3 different ones)
- Brown Moss
- Bamboo Faux Flowers
- Floral Foam
- Green Floral Wire
- Scissors
- Knife

[All supplies used were purchased at Hobby Lobby]




STEP BY STEP:

1. Start by cutting the top stem of the pumpkin off to give you a flat surface.



2. Next, take your floral foam block and cut it into a square
about the size of the center of the pumpkin.


3. You will then want to cut off the corners of the square to make it into an octagon.


4. Once your shape is cut, take a sharpie and trace around the shape onto the pumpkin.


5. Take your knife and cut into the pumpkin INSIDE of the sharpie line. You will want the hole to be slightly smaller than the foam itself so it will fit in snugly.



6. Once your hole is cut, place the floral foam inside. It should be a tight fit, which is what you want, to hold the foam in place. Apply light pressure when fitting it into the opening, leaving approx 3 inches of foam sticking out of the top of the pumpkin.


7. For my greenery, I decided to use pieces that I cut off of a larger garland, because of that, the stems themselves did not have wire in them and were just plastic. The stems were not strong enough to place in the foam itself. To fix this problem, I wrapped each stem in green floral wire, making them easier to place into the foam and bend in the direction that I wanted them to. If you end up working with greenery that has no wire in it's stems, you can easily cut approx 3 inches of floral wire and wrap it around each stem.



8. For the faux eucalyptus leaves, I wrapped wire around them as well. I took each individual leaf off of the larger stem. I wanted the leaves to stick out slightly further to add a variety in height and dimension. I used about 6 inches of wire for these, and I chose to bend the wire in half first, making a stronger stem to stick into the foam.




8. Now for the fun part! Putting it all together! 
You will want to start with your long flow-y base floral first.


9. Next, Add in more of the shorter base greenery completely around the bottom of the floral foam.



10. Start filling in with the rest of your greenery and flowers, alternating where you place them. You want to have a variety throughout the arrangement.




THE FINISHED PRODUCT:


After finishing the arrangement, I still felt like it needed something extra...
So, I went ahead and finished off the base of the greenery with some brown moss.
It would have been much more beneficial to do this step first and actually hot glue it into place, but I never seem to know exactly what I want from the beginning. Plus, as I mentioned, this was kind of an on the whim project! For mine, I just shoved the clumps of moss up underneath the base greenery and it works! I've moved the arrangement a few times and it has yet to come lose.






Thank you friends for stopping by and reading! I'm hoping this tutorial inspired you to create your own pumpkin arrangement! It really was a breeze to make and took a little less than an hour and a half total. A nice little soothing craft time while the kiddos nap...


Simply Ciani © . Design by FCD.