Pregnancy Album: Weeks 17-31

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I’ve been plugging away on this album throughout the pregnancy!  I usually work on 2-3 weeks at a time to save photo paper.  But I try and do the handwritten card right after the week is over before I forget what happened.

Choosing the Cover and Colors

The cover will be made out of patterned paper: Pure Joy from Crate Paper’s Gather collection.  I grabbed coordinating cardstocks from my collection to have at the ready when I needed them throughout the album.  I’ll be using this method to create the cover and bind.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

We ended up having more ultrasounds than I originally anticipated, so I’m glad I made the album flexible and cut out the weeks and numbers ahead of time!

Weeks 17 through 31

In Week 17 we planted a new tree in our yard.  This week was the first of many during this period where I wasn’t as great at getting our bump picture in natural light.  After we got back from Hawaii (see below), I started setting a phone alarm for Saturday afternoon to remind me.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 18 my parents came to help paint the baby’s room and the entire living area of our house.  I snapped this picture of them right at the beginning of the project before we got too busy.  Week 19 covers my thoughts on election day and what it means for our son.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 19 we had another ultrasound and in Week 20 we started a series of childbirth classes at the hospital.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Week 21 was Thanksgiving!  I got a great shot of Mr. P teaching our nephew how to make biscuits.  In Week 22 we were putting up our Christmas lights.  Since the album counts weeks rather than dates, I like having the pictures to mark the season.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 23 I got a shot of our Christmas tree and we had another ultrasound.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 24 my little sister got married!  In Week 25 we worked a ton on the accent wall in the baby’s room and I asked Mr. P to get a few pictures of me using the paint pen.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 26 we got to visit my newborn niece and had another ultrasound.  For our bump picture, I was in the middle of painting and caulking the baseboards of the built-ins for the baby’s room and was too lazy to change out of my work clothes for the picture.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 27 we were still working hard on those built-in shelves and prepping to leave for London.  In Week 28 we were in London (read more about how that went here) and I got a picture of the bear we picked out for our son at Selfridges.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 29, we finished up our time in London and made our way back home.  In Week 30, we were home for just a handful of days and then we left for a quick Hawaii trip.  I broke my streak of blank-hotel-room-wall bump pictures.  But I like that we were on the beach for this one.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

My baby shower was in Week 30 right before we left for Hawaii.  There were too many pictures I wanted to share, so I did a small layout with my favorites.  Finally in Week 31, I got a great shot of Mr. P learning how to use our new infant carseat/stroller!

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I’m having a great time with this album!  Even though it’s not bound yet, I’m already having a great time flipping through the pages.

More Information on My Pregnancy Album

Check out these posts for everything you need to know!

Planning my Pregnancy Album
Having Dad in the Weekly Bump Pictures
Album Pages: Beginning – Week 16



A Bright and Modern Baby Boy Nursery

Baby Boy Nursery Tour by Natalie Parker

I’m really proud of how our baby boy’s room turned out!  We’ve been working on it nonstop and I didn’t stop to take pictures of our projects in progress.

Is there a theme?  No.  I’m anti-theme and wanted a bright, colorful room that will grow with him.  There are stars.  There are animals.  There is travel stuff.  No one thing dominates the room.

Did I use the room as a vehicle to try every craft project on my wish list?  No comment.

Links to tutorials and products are at the end of the post.

Paint and Furniture

My parents helped us paint (1) the room a light grey with a white accent wall.  The baseboards and trim were already white when we moved in.

Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

We love the crib (2) because it’s simple and will convert into a toddler bed later.  There are plain white sheets because I didn’t think we needed more pattern and because I need a white background for his passport photo.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

The bear (3) is pretty random, but I wanted a giant stuffed non-teddy bear for the room.  It’s actually quite difficult to search for (“wild bear?”).  The hamper is several years old and repurposed here.

The glider (4) is a recliner, no stool needed.  Mr. P finally got a recliner in the house!

I looked for an end table (5) to keep breastfeeding supplies close to the glider but also something that could double as a nightstand as he gets older.  Next to it is a small trash can (6) for non-diaper items (diapers will go in the diaper pail (7) next to the dresser).

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

I made the pillow (8) by scanning a Paris Metro Ticket, printing it on fabric, then sewing and stuffing it myself.

The rug (9) is much brighter in person than it appears online.  I passed over it until we saw it in the store.  I love the colors so much!

The dresser is Mr. P’s dresser and changing table from when he was a baby.  He sanded it down and I painted it white.  We made custom animal drawer pulls (10) using some toys and spray paint.  Finding animals the right size was challenging!

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

I lined (11) the inside of the dresser to brighten things up a bit.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

The Constellation Accent Wall

Mr. P is a stargazer and after showing him several constellation walls (12) on Pinterest, he was sold.

He designed the wall himself and used an overhead projector to shine the drawing on the wall and trace it in pencil.  I followed with the silver paint pen, then he finished it off by adding more random stars and the Milky Way (the large band of stars).

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

The constellations are not haphazardly placed.  Mr. P used one of his favorite books (13) to place the constellations so they would appear next to each other the way they do in the sky.  I just asked for Ursa Major to be above the crib and he went from there.

Notice the dots for the stars are all different sizes.  Mr. P gave me a color-coded sheet — the larger dots are actually the brightest stars in the sky and so on from there.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

You may notice that the constellations look a bit different than you’re used to.  Gemini (above) actually looks like a set of twins (or two stick figures holding hands).  The book is really fantastic because it uses the same stars for the constellations but draws the lines between them so they actually make sense.  Yes, it’s the same H.A. Rey who wrote Curious George.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

The Ikea Hack Built-In Shelves

Storage is an issue in our house.  The boy’s room is pretty large and I wanted a ton of space for toy and book storage as he grows.

The shelves are from the Ikea Besta series (14) built-in and secured to the wall and trimmed with baseboards and molding (15).

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

We chose Besta instead of the Billy series because Besta shelves are 14 inches deep to Billy’s 11.  The Besta units allow us to shelve large children’s books with no problem.  The elephant is a bookend (16).

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

The 14-inch deep units also allow for great storage in the cabinet sections underneath.  I want places for toys when he gets older.  For now, we have Besta Bins (17) holding baby supplies.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

We bought brass hardware (18) separately for the cabinet handles.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

I’m thrilled with how the built-ins turned out.  There’s not much in them at this point but they should be able to handle a lot of stuff in the future.

Bits and Pieces

The curtains are a navy pattern (19).  In the picture below, there’s also a Nest Cam (20) hiding on one of the shelves.  There’s plenty of room for baby quilts and blankets from his grandma and great-grandma.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

The wall above the dresser / changing area is Star Wars.

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

I bought and lightly edited an Etsy pattern (21) and framed them in embroidery hoops (22).  The project really came about because I needed something to keep me occupied but forced me to sit down and rest.  I worked on these quite a bit during my London trip!

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

Also hiding on one of the shelves is a clock (23).  I almost considered going Vegas-casino-style and not having a clock in the room at all.  In the end I thought it would be helpful to track feeding times.

On the wall near the clock is a Paris skyline canvas print (24).  The clouds are sewn on top of the canvas!

Modern Baby Boy Nursery by Natalie Parker

Finally, hiding on one of the shelves is a picture from our wedding (25).

That’s it!  I’m so happy with how it turned out!  I’m hoping that the style and all the storage will grow with him.


  1. Paint: Double Click and Snowy Pine by Behr
  2. Crib: Sniglar CribVyssa Vinka Mattress, Len Mattress Protector, Len White Fitted Sheet, by Ikea
  3. Bear: Wild Republic Black Bear on Amazon
  4. Glider/Recliner: Dutailier Minho Reclining Glider in Grey on
  5. End Table: Franklin Storage Cabinet Triple Drawer at Target and Home Depot
  6. Trash Can: Threshold Split Finish Orb Wastebasket in Silver at Target
  7. Diaper Pail:  Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail in Grey on (sold in many other stores).
  8. Paris Metro Pillow: Inspired by this tutorial on A Beautiful Mess but printed directly on fabric instead of iron-on.  Fabric is Crafter’s Image Photo Fabric on
  9. Rug: Division rug by CB2.  NOTE: they will do price adjustments if it goes on sale within 14 days from when it’s delivered.  You have to call customer service.
  10. Animal Drawer Pulls: Inspired by this tutorial from Apartment Therapy using this tub of safari animals from Toys R Us and painted with Krylon Premium Metallic spray paint in gold.  Secured using bolts and Gorilla Glue from Home Depot.  The glue is important — the animals and bolts would have spun without it.
  11. Drawer Liner: Contact Shelf Liner in Scribble Black at Target
  12. Constellation Wall: Inspired by this technique by Vintage Revivals and this constellation wall by Young House Love.  I used silver oil-based Sharpie Paint Pens.  These paint pens are widely sold, but I had to go to an art store to get the size and colors I wanted without having to buy a package.
  13. Constellation Book: The Stars by H.A. Rey ordered from my local bookseller but it can also be found on Amazon
  14. Built-in Shelf Parts: Four tall white Besta Frames, two short white Besta Frames, four white Hanviken doors, four sets of Besta hinges, twelve white Besta shelves, at Ikea.  2×4’s for the base, wood screws, baseboards, molding, paint, too many drywall anchors and screws to count, Simple Seal 9 oz. White Paint Projects Sealant (caulking without needing a caulking gun), all from Home Depot.
  15. Built-in Shelf Inspiration: Inspiration from A Kailo Chic Life and The Naptime Reader (minus the big TV part in the middle), using some caulking tips from BrittanyMakes (photos not available in post, see this pin).
  16. Elephant Bookend: Zuny Classic Series Elephant Tan Animal Bookend at Amazon
  17. Cabinet Bins: Besta Large and Small boxes, by Ikea
  18. Cabinet Hardware: Liberty Soft Brass Ava Cabinet Knobs at Home Depot
  19. Curtains: Nunnerfört curtains in navyTidpunkt curtain rod set, by Ikea (hemmed myself on the sewing machine)
  20. Camera: Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
  21. Star Wars Cross Stitch: Empire Strikes Back Cross-Stitch pattern from knottybytes on Etsy.  Subtracted Boba Fett and added Obi-Wan from the New Hope pattern (edited Obi-Wan myself).
  22. Embroidery Hoop Framing: 5-inch Bamboo Embroidery Hoops at Michaels using this framing tutorial from Floss and Mischief.
  23. Clock: Threshold 6″ Brass Wall Clock at Target
  24. Paris Skyline Canvas Print: Paris Skyline Art Print Canvas by lauraamiss on Etsy
  25. Brass Pedestal Frame: Room Essentials Pedestal 4″ x 6″ Brass Frame at Target

New Handmade Travel Journal

Travel Journal by Natalie Parker

Sometimes the travel journal is the first thing checked off my prep list.  Sometimes it’s closer to the last.

We’ve got a big trip up our sleeve and I wasn’t sure how many pages I’d need to fit it all, or what paper would do it justice on the cover.  Due to lots of crazy life events, I didn’t have time to buy and had to use my stash.

Then I stalked around the house looking at every piece of paper I could get my hands on (insert moment when I thought I’d lost the paper from Italy in the move, then realized I didn’t want to use it for a journal once I’d found it).

I settled on something bright, cheery, and orange.  I added more pages to it than I ever have in a journal before.  Usually I use 10 sheets of paper, which when folded in half gives me 40 pages to write on.  I went with 25 sheets this time.  I hope it’s enough!

I sometimes find taking time out to write in my journal a chore and find myself envying Mr. P reading a book.  But I’m always glad to have it when I get home.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t scrapbook while traveling.  It’s just me and this little journal.  I can’t wait to use it!

Click here for step by step directions on making your own travel journal.  Click here and here to learn how and why I keep a travel journal.

How to Install a Temporary Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I love gallery walls.  I have a ton of them pinned on Pinterest.  I always struggle designing them myself because I can never get them just right.  “Effortless” is the absolute last word used to describe any project of mine.

Mr. P and I have a lot of art collected from our travels (read more about shopping for street art here) and most of it is not displayed.  I needed to solve for two things:

First, I had lots of oddly-shaped items but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  Getting odd-shaped things framed or mounted is expensive.  I considered cutting my own mats and making my own plexiglass frames, but that seemed like a lot of work too.

Second, it needed to be temporary.  This was for our little rental apartment.  While we love our place dearly, we knew sooner or later we’d move (sooner actually, more on that later).  It didn’t make sense to put a lot of time and effort into something that we’d take down.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I finally realized what I’ve been doing wrong: over thinking it.  I saw this pin on Pinterest and was sold.  I loved the idea of layering and mixing media and sticking things directly to the wall.

This entire process from idea to finished product took three days (including Prime shipping from Amazon on the adhesive).  That’s it!

Sticky Supplies

I ordered a couple types of adhesive: Duck Brand Poster Putty and Command Poster Adhesive.  I tested both on magazine pages first.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I was worried that the putty would leave long term marks, so I used the Command strips on the items I really cared about and the putty on ones I didn’t.


I planned the placement of the art.  Mr. P made me this scale drawing and little art pieces back when we were planning to get things framed.  I used the model to rough out where I wanted everything.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

I selected photos.  I went through my collection and went for bright, macro photos.  When I couldn’t decide on the final ones, Mr. P pointed out that the wall almost had one piece from every country we’d been to.  I stuck with the theme and picked pictures from other countries to complete the set.

I printed photo drafts in multiple sizes and laid everything on the floor to check the look.  This was fun.  We moved things around a few more times, played with the layering, and made sure we picked the right size for each photo.

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker


This was the easiest part!  I printed the photos and we got to work.  We started with the giant Antarctica map and moved right.

Not everything is hung perfectly.  The map could have been smoothed out a bit more.  The whole gallery could have gone a few inches to the left.  I don’t care though — I’m just happy that I can actually see my stuff on the wall!

Gallery Wall by Natalie Parker

Easy DIY Purse Shaper

DIY Purse Shaper by Natalie Parker (5)

Here’s an easy and cheap way to make a purse shaper for your handbag!

Why Use a Purse Shaper

Two reasons:

It will make your purse look nice, even when really full.  When I travel, I keep a ton of stuff in my bag.  I’m always carrying the DSLR, a travel book, phone, personal essentials, and maybe a sweater when we’re out and about.  That doesn’t compare to what I put in it for the plane.

It helps your purse keep its shape over time.  If you put your purse though as much as I do, it will eventually lose its shape.

Yes, there are companies that will make custom purse shapers.  I wasn’t going to pay $20+ for something that I could easily make (or ask my mom to make for me).


You will need: a handbag, a hard piece of plastic, a piece of fabric big enough to wrap around the plastic (preferably matching the handbag lining), a razor blade, scissors, and fabric glue.

About the plastic: pick any hard plastic that you can cut with a razor blade.  It doesn’t matter what it looks like because you’ll be covering it.  My mom cut up a campaign sign that she had on her lawn during the last election.  I bet the cover from an old hardcover children’s book would work great.

I don’t recommend using wood.  Thin, light wood might break after a while.  If it was thick enough to not break, it will weigh down the bag.


I freely admit that I asked my mom to make this for me.  I love having DIY projects to work on when I visit home and she had all the supplies on hand.

Step One:  Use your razor blade to cut the plastic.  Cut it larger than you think you’ll need — it’s easier to make it smaller than to start over.  Cut it so you can easily get it in and out of your purse.

We used an old lawn campaign sign for mine.  In case you were wondering, he was running for county supervisor.

DIY Purse Shaper by Natalie Parker

Step Two:  Wrap the plastic in fabric and glue.  Fold the fabric like you’re wrapping a present.  It’s fine if it doesn’t look perfect — put the glued side facing the bottom of the bag.

My mom sewed mine because she’s an overachiever.  Gluing will work just fine.

DIY Purse Shaper by Natalie Parker

Step Three:  Insert into your bag and forget about it!

I don’t even realize the shaper is in my purse anymore.  It handles all my things like a champ, especially when I toss my DSLR in the bag carelessly at least fifteen times a day when we travel.

DIY Purse Shaper by Natalie Parker

Make yourself one of these before your next trip.  Care for your purse!

How to Color Correct Craft Photos

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

Editing craft photos is always challenging.  I’m not talking about making pictures look better than real life.  I just want my pictures to show what things look like in person — not that easy!

Even with my fancy pants DSLR and trying my best to use natural light, my photos still come out dark and a bit off color.

The darkness I can fix.  I use Picasa to turn up the exposure and add a little more contrast to compensate.  Even then, the pictures are still tinted a bit — they’re either too blue or too warm.  Even more challenging, if I fix the temperature on the photos, it’s hard to get a series of photos looking the same.

Here’s the trick: add a piece of white paper to your photos.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

I use a small square of white cardstock and position it in my photo so it’s on the side where I can easily crop it out later.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

See what I mean?  I took that photo in natural light in my living room.

In Picasa, use the eyedropper tool and the white paper to correct the photo.  Simply select the eydropper and click on the white paper.  Boom!  The color is instantly corrected.  I’m not an expert, but I think it has something to do with telling the program that the paper is a true white and it adjusts the rest of the colors accordingly.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

I do this step first, then I play with the brightness and contrast.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

When I’m done, I crop the white paper out and get my finished product:

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

As a reminder, Picasa is a free photo editing tool.  I’ve written about my favorite Picasa editing tools here, and how to make photo collages in Picasa here.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

My 2015 Valentines

Valentine by Natalie Parker

Happy Valentine’s Day lovelies!

Just popping in to share my 2015 valentines.  I started designing and sending valentines to my girlfriends in 2013.  I love the chance to work on a different project and I love sending mail (obviously).

I also like to challenge myself to use up supplies.  This year, I had a bunch of 5×7 envelopes. 5×7 valentines here we come!  I’m in love with how it turned out — it’s huge.

I used a photo from a Paris market I took a couple of years ago.  Then I added some text on top in Photoshop (this easily could have been done in Picasa too).

Have a great weekend!

Earlier: 2013 Valentines, 2014 Valentines

Craft Project: Handmade Envelope Clutch

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

I’m so glad to be flexing my crafty muscles again.  Between my thesis, job, and making scrapbook layouts, I haven’t had the time for other projects.

Late last year, I was planning my outfit for a holiday party and my dress needed a new purse.  Serious.  Right before we headed to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving, ABM published this envelope clutch tutorial.  A new craft project plus my mom can help me?  Score!!

I followed the tutorial but made a few changes which I’ll outline below.


Instead of using two separate colors, I decided to go all black.  The faux leather at the fabric store was very flimsy.  I had much better luck in the upholstery section and found this woven black vinyl.

Even still, I didn’t think the vinyl would be stiff enough to hold its shape as a purse, so I purchased enough to double-layer it.

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

I also picked up some thick black thread.  ABM calls for waxed thread but I found it unnecessary.

I couldn’t find a cute closure.  Instead I got a regular purse magnetic closure, plus a cute button to glue on top (hence the tube of glue).

Sewing Away

I followed the tutorial pretty closely.  It was difficult to get the two layers of my purse to line up as I was sewing it, but I decided to keep sewing and I’d trim it later.

After it was all done, I trimmed away all the excess showing, then went over the seams with a Sharpie so the grey underside wouldn’t show (I know, classy!).

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

My mom and I attached the purse closure under the flap.  Then I glued the pretty button to the outside.

Taking it for a Spin

I’m glad I double-layered it.  It would have flopped all over the place if I hadn’t.  I might have been able to get stiffer material at a different store, but I’m happy with the result.

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

The bag held a small wallet, lipstick, and my phone with room to spare!

Here it was on the big night — it matched perfectly!!  I loved it so much I took it out to lunch the next day.

Envelope Clutch by Natalie Parker

Envelope Clutch DIY: click here for the full tutorial from A Beautiful Mess

Free Printable 2015 Calendars

2015 Free Printable Calendar by Natalie Parker

Hot off the proverbial presses, here are my 2015 free printable calendars!  For the uninitiated, I make these for myself every year so why not give them away?

Mr. P and I use the 12-page calendar to plan meals and sketch out travel plans.  I use the desk calendar on my actual desk at work as a reference.  Plus, it looks nice!

2015 Free Printable Calendar by Natalie Parker

Just like with everything in my work environment, I’m more creative if my tools look nice.  So, pretty calendars coming right up!  I’ll also freely admit I like to have things exactly my way, so making my own calendar is just another way I get what I want.  But hey, know thyself.

This year I went with softer colors and a fancier font.  Definitely a change from last year.  I hope they brighten your workspace!

Print the 2015 12-Page Calendar

2015 Free Printable Calendar by Natalie Parker

Print the 2015 Desk Calendar

2015 Free Printable Calendar by Natalie Parker

A Christmas Travel Journal

Christmas Travel Journal by Natalie Parker

What’s this?  What’s this?  A new travel journal?  I know, I’ve never made two in a year before.  But here she is.

Travel over Christmas = festive required (it’s a rule).  I went for festive rather than something that screamed holiday.  In the past, I’ve shopped for paper with the trip in mind.  For our big trip back in September, I used some paper from my stash.

I used my stash again here.  I had a bunch of great stuff with metallic accents that I hadn’t used yet due to my creativity problem.  I went with Shimmer by My Mind’s Eye.  Actually I had two finalist choices and let Mr. P choose.  He has to earn his keep around here somehow.

What do you think?  I love that it totally fits with a holiday theme but not stereotypically so.

A little secret: by the time this post goes live, I’ll already be well into my trip.  Want to know where I am and see some live shots?  Follow along on Instagram!  If you’d like to stay surprised, I’ll have some photos ready to share in January.

To learn how to make your own travel journal, check out my travel journal tutorial here.  To understand why I keep a travel journal, check out this post.