Alina Sewing and Design

“Old World Modern” Nursery Mood Board

Hello friends! We’ve still got boxes to unpack around here…and no, I don’t have my shop open yet. But, I did score some killer deals on some baby items last week at a local consignment shop! Priorities…priorities. 🙂

If you follow me on Instagram you saw the following:

Nursery16The whole caption reads: “Baby and I got some amazing deals today! Everything but the basket was second-hand. Delta Canton 4-in-1 convertible crib: $300 new. Kolcraft mattress: $70 new. Britax B-Agile Travel System (stroller and carseat combo): $400 new, Chicco Hook-On High Chair: $40 new, large wire basket for cloth diapers: $7 (it was the only thing I purchased new). In total, that would bring me to $817, but I paid (drumroll, please)…$401! And my ever-so-generous Mammaw sent us $300 to help with whatever we might need, so WE actually paid $101! Blessed, blessed, and blessed!”

Now, I’ve had this color scheme in my mind for quite awhile, but having actual baby items in the house (and having moved into the house that actually has a room designated as “nursery”) made me hone in a bit on where I see it going. What better use of my time right now than a mood board? Exactly. 🙂

First off, let me remind you how I usually decorate…super neutral and timeless furniture that can be updated and/or changed with colorful accessories. This room will be no different!

Nursery Mood Board1. Delta Canton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib: This is the actual crib I got last week! It sells for $299 at Toys-R-Us. I got it for $140!

2. DRAGOR rug from IKEA: We actually already bought this rug as well! Now, I would LOVE to have a colorful or fun rug in here, but the room is huge and this rug is almost 7×10 feet…and was $79. There’s NO beating that price for that size and there are other things I would rather spend the money on, like a comfortable and aesthetically-pleasing rocker, which brings me to…

3. Nurseryworks Sleepytime Rocker from Target. It’s $499…which is FAR more than I want to spend on anything. You guys know me…I will probably Craigslist something and reupholster it myself. Everyone’s taste is different and while I appreciate the comfort and functionality of a traditional glider, well…I just can’t bring myself to put one in my own house. I will steal Cowboy’s recliner from the living room before I buy a glider. But, this is a mood board and money doesn’t matter in dreamland, which is where I would have something comfortable to sit in for hours AND beautiful.

4. These are the inspiration colors! (Behr Starless Night, Martha Stewart Living Bakery Box White and MSL Tiger’s Eye.) We have an Ethan Allen secretary desk that I purchased at an estate sale for $40 a couple of years ago. Cowboy has already stripped it, painted the inside white and I have ordered all-gold (brass) cup pulls and label holder drawer pulls to replace the original hardware. The outside will be Behr’s Starless Night (which is actually a much darker and richer navy than it appears on-screen) and we will be using it as a changing table.

5. Small Triangles in Oxford and Gold, by Walls by MurI ordered these on a crazy awesome sale last week. They will be going on the wall behind the crib!

6. These 2-inch gold wall decals, which I got for 20% off, will be going on the inside of the secretary desk (which is white), cascading in a confetti-type pattern.

7. These are my crib sheet fabrics! Monaluna Modern Home Herringbone in Red (which I think I just bought the last of–sorry!), and Modern Meadow Herringbone in Lake.  The latter is $8.98/yard and if you are wanting to order it, here’s how I built coupons to get free shipping and essentially a free 1/2 yard: anytime you order from, you get free shipping on orders over $35. I needed four yards, so that was easy, but that put me at $35.92…and if I had a $40 order, I could use the code “corner13” to get 10% off. So, I added a 1/2 yard to my order, slapped on the code, which took off $4.04 and put me back at $36.37. So, I ended up paying an extra 45 cents for that extra half yard. Always build your coupons!! 🙂

8. Neverland print by Cassie Rangel: Cassie sells out of a local handmade shop called Kitsch in Norfolk, which is where I got this, but you can also purchase from her Etsy shop!

9. Classic Edition Wall Map by Rand McNally. I also have this map already. I have a little something up my sleeve for it, and all I’ll say for now is that it’s going to get mod-podged, painted on and hung above the crib. 🙂

10. Globes. You guys might remember our vintage globe collection…it will be moving into the nursery!

11. Wooden crates will be stacked/hung and used to house baby’s already-growing book collection!

All-in-all, if I had to give a style name to this nursery, it would be “Old World Modern,” as you can see from the post title. We’re still sticking to our guns about not finding out the gender (it’s been almost five weeks since our sonogram and the two sonographers told us they could easily tell what it was…so take from that what you want!), so this does have to remain gender-neutral. I want it to be smart and educational in style, but I also want it to be fun and playful in feel. So that’s where we’re headed!

Now for all of those boxes still tapes shut… (I mean, come one, I don’t really need all of my decor unpacked, right?? Especially if I’m doing this again in a year?!?)

Treasure Hunting

You know the kind. The rusty metal baskets waiting to be filled, the dusty ball jars waiting to be cleaned and given use again, the furniture begging for new life…and the things that may or may not belong on another planet (what IS that thing?!). The unique, the never-before-seen, the needing-attention-and-care. And the best part? The hunt itself.

I took a drive out to Marion, KS today with two friends and a sister. We went to Bearly Makin’ It Antiques, Cindy’s for lunch, and then made our way toward Peabody, KS, stopping at the Copper Shed. It was so fun to just browse together or on our own (we did a lot of both), at our own pace, taking in all of the treasures to be had. Our carefully trained eyes were surverying and pulling attention toward the gems that were there for us.

Treasure 1

Treasure 2

Treasure 2.5

Treasure 3.5

Treasure 3

That is…don’t be sorry unless you need to be. 🙂

Treasure 4

Treasure 5

Treasure 6

Treasure 8

Treasure 7

Treasure 9

We came home with a lot of metal baskets, a rolling cart, some fabric (that will probably be showing up in my shop in form of fun items soon), a leather wallet and coin purse, some vintage children’s books, a vintage blanket, and a very dusty bumper! Small town America, we thank you for your finds!

Treasure 9.5

Unfortunately, this is the ONLY picture of all four of us…and it’s out of focus! My self-timer and autofocus had a battle…and the autofocus lost. On the up side, you can see my neighbors house quite clearly. 🙂

Born to Deliver: a Book Review and a Giveaway

UPDATE: The winner of the autographed copy is Briana! Thank you to every one who participated and helped spread the word!

On January 17, 1950, an innocent baby girl was brought into our sinful world, unsuspecting and unaware of the generational strongholds she had just inherited.

By the age of 15, she had given birth to–and given up for adoption–her first baby. Trying to fill the void left by a mother who couldn’t provide emotionally and an absent (but abusive) father, this little girl grew into a woman with such incredibly deep scars that only One could heal. Doing her best to survive in this world on her own, and with the best intentions (at least that’s what she felt at the time), she continued down a painful and broken path that would only lead her to her rock bottom, over 20 years after she gave birth to her first baby. In her wake, she left a trail of broken relationships, unwanted pregnancies and a web of deception that threatened to entangle her and everything she loved.

By the time she had reached her rock bottom, her nearly-grown daughters were beginning to follow in her footsteps and her husband had decided to file for divorce. What happened next was something that can only be described as the grace of God.

That little girl’s name was Kathy and her incredible story of redemption is far from ordinary. Like every other human being on the planet, she tried to cover up sins and move on, hoping they would disappear. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever covers up his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” (ESV) She, like many of us, learned that the hard way, over and over again. And then she was delivered.


Co-authored by Kathy Brace and Natalie Wickham, Born to Deliver is a book that I cannot recommend enough. So much so that I will be giving away an autographed copy. You may enter the following ways:

  1. Like the Born to Deliver facebook page and comment here to let me know you did.
  2. Read the first chapter here and comment again to let me know you did.
  3. Share this post OR the link to Chapter One (see above) on facebook and comment again to let me know you did. (You may repeat this one every day for additional entries! (And, if you have a business page in addition to your personal page, I will honor two entries every day if you share on both!)
I will announce the winner on December 14 (one week from tomorrow)!

**I was in no way compensated for this review (other than being given a copy of the book to read), nor am I being compensated for this giveaway. I TRULY believe in the grace that God has for our lives and TRULY believe that this is a book that everyone should read. Now share, share, share!**


About the Authors

Kathy Brace is a Certified Professional Midwife who has assisted at over 1,500 births, including ten of her thirteen grandchildren. She is committed to helping families have safe, natural, God-honoring birthing experiences. After
serving as the Director of a nationally accredited midwifery school for twelve years, Kathy now devotes her training efforts to working one-on-one with women using an apprenticeship-based approach. She loves spending time with her four daughters and their families, and is grateful for every opportunity to share with others how God can redeem our failures to accomplish His good.


Natalie Wickham is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and enjoys teaching students of all ages and levels in her independent piano studio. She is founder of the popular, and is dedicated to inspiring
creativity in music education. She is also author of the book, Pajama School – stories from the life of a homeschool graduate, and producer of the CD, Journey to Self Publishing – 12 steps to successfully publish your book. Natalie’s driving passion in life is to know Christ more deeply, and to inspire and encourage others in their walk with Him.

Top Three Things I’ve Gained from Pinterest

What was life like before Pinterest? Dark? Lonely? Lacking in color?

I’m only kidding. Sort of.

I will say, though, that the world of Pinterest has connected me with other bloggers and projects and ideas I never would have otherwise known. There are some, however, that stand out more than others. So, I thought I’d round up my top three because, in my opinion, these are worth sharing.

1. Going ‘Poo-Free’

Yep. Weird, I know. Sounds weird if you don’t know what that is already…and maybe it sounds weird if you do know what it is already.

Now, I know and am prepared for you to judge me. That’s OK. But before I delve into this one, please let me defend myself on one important fact: I am not a granola-crunching, Birkenstock-wearing, save-the-environment, will-do-anything-in-the-name-of-healthy kind of person. Well, I do care about the environment and being healthy but I’m not an extremist by any means.

So, let’s carry on, shall we?

A few months ago, I was surfing around on the main page of Pinterest, looking at stuff people I don’t know had pinned. And I saw the words ‘Poo-Free’. Um, what the heck? I thought. So I clicked on it. A skeptic, I started reading about this lady who started using baking soda and vinegar in place of her store-bought shampoo and vinegar. What a weirdy…I thought. And then I got to the reasons WHY she did it. I’ll re-cap, but please read her blog for the full why and how-to.

The three reasons she (her blog is, btw) lists:

  1. Shampoo is a detergent
  2. Shampoo has all sorts of chemicals (um–read this if you want to know what kind of chemicals)
  3. Shampoo is an unnecessary cost
Then I read this one.
And then I read this one. I had just been thinking, vinegar? Stinky! when I read her recipe of a teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon to mask the vinegar smell. (P.S. This smells AWESOME.)
Well…those got me thinking. I have crazy oily hair…always have. And I lose approximately 28% of my hair down the drain every.single.time. For a girl with thin hair, this is NOT cool.
So I casually brought it up in conversation with Cowboy. Would he think I was crazy? Or weird and extreme? Or would he call off the wedding?

I’m only joking…sort of. So I sauntered through a conversation, throwing in the idea, moving on, then circling back to wonder aloud what he thought of the idea. He really 
So there I was, a month before the wedding. And I did it. And do you want to know what? I’m a believer…100%. Here’s why:
  1. It is CHEAP. I just bought a big box of baking soda for 56 cents. At a tablespoon per use, do you know how long that 56 cents is going to last me?
  2. It’s baking soda. If it’s healthy enough to be in my food (err…cookies), it will do zero harm to my skin or hair. Picture it (uh, or don’t)…your skin is wet, ready to soak in anything you give it. Hey, want to throw some laundry detergent on your head? Of course not! So why would you? 
  3. Speaking of skin–this one took me by surprise. Since I started running regularly a few years ago, I’ve gone through the worst break-outs on my shoulders and chest (sorry, tmi). When I started half-marathon and full-marathon training, you KNOW all hell broke loose. I would shower as soon as possible to get the grime off, but apparently, the shampoo was only agitating it more. When I switched to baking soda/vinegar, the break-outs stopped completely. NOT kidding.
  4. My hair is was painlessly limp, flat and thin. Now? Not at all. It has a certain healthy body to it. I can’t explain it, but it’s like my hair was depressed by shampoo (regardless of brand…you name it, I’ve tried it!) and then when I took it away, it threw a party and started doing whatever I wanted it to. 
  5. Want more proof? So I wouldn’t have to mess with it when we went on our honeymoon (uh, baking soda + squeeze bottles of water + vinegar + carry on = no thank you), I packed travel sized bottles of regular shampoo and conditioner. Big mistake. I literally undid everything. My hair freaked out and stayed freakishly close to my head, I was attacked by a static monster, and my skin went on strike in form of major break-outs. You know I kissed the baking soda when I got home.
If you want more info, let me know, but I think the three blogs I linked to above will do more to answer your questions than I ever could.
2. DIY Pore Strips
Also beauty-routine-related, this one has absolutely nothing to do with chemicals and everything to do with budget. You know those pore deep-cleansing strips? You know…the ones you pay $18 for 10 chances to rip the skin on your nose off?
Yeah…I happen to (much to my bank account’s and nose’s demise) love those.
So when I saw that you could make your own pore cleansing mask (read: not just your nose!) for a few cents, I ran to the store like a mad woman looking for unflavored gelatin. One package of unflavored gelatin + a tablespoon or 2 of milk + a few seconds in the microwave. That’s all. Read the original post here.
3. Homemade Greek Yogurt
OK, so I, like many of you, really like the idea of eating natural, non-processed foods…no fillers, no preservatives, no fake sugar. I REALLY like that idea…and more often than not, I try to hold our meals to these standards. You feel better when you eat healthy…you just do. Better enough that the thought of fast food makes my stomach churn. But, there’s a certain cost to eating healthy. And we all know, as exhibited by Whole Foods scheme to take the economy down one kale leaf at a time, that organic is usually better…but WAY more expensive. 
So when I saw this tutorial/recipe for homemade greek yogurt, I thought, you can DO that?! So I read through the directions. Meh…seemed like a lot of work to me, but thoughts of no preservatives and half-priced greek yogurt conned me into trying it. Turns out, it was actually the number of steps that had conned me. It is SUPER easy, you guys! Actual hands-on time is very minimal. I’ve done it both in a crock pot and in the oven. That means greek yogurt for the cost of a half-gallon of milk (so, usually half of what a container of store-bought greek yogurt would cost), and NO preservatives, fake sugars or  fake “fruit”! 
And then sometimes the stars align and this happens:

Yep…I made a batch of greek yogurt for 50 cents that week.
So what about you guys? What kind of tutorials/recipes/ideas/blogs has Pinterest introduced to you that has pretty much blown your mind and changed your world?

2012 Goals and a Free Printable

Good morning, loves!

I have great news…are you ready? It’s Saturday!!! One of my favorite times of the week is waking up on Saturday morning with plenty of time to spare (you know…around 9:00 or so…we’re not talking early here, people). There’s something about having an entire day open and free to accomplish and tackle projects, take day trips, go to the gym…whatever your heart desires and the day can handle! The day is simply full of optimism and promise at that point.

So, on this optimistic Saturday morning, I thought I would share some of my goals for 2012. I’m not a big fan of setting resolutions because I think you should make necessary changes asap…not wait for the beginning of the year. However, I am a very goal-oriented person. There are things (for myself) that I’ve pushed off until “after the wedding” (do you know how many times I’ve said those words in the last six months?). So, here we are…”after the wedding”…and I thought it would be a perfect time to start myself with some fun goals.

So here we go:

  • Make a quilt: two of my great-grandmas were quilters. One on my mom’s side and one on my dad’s side. I, very luckily, ended up with a quilt that great grandma “Y” made and it covers the bed in our guest bedroom. She has since passed (when I was little), but my great grandma Ruth (mom’s side) is still here. Mostly, I remember being at her little apartment when we would make trips back home to Texas to see family. I remember her making bean soup (and letting me put as much salt as I wanted in them…isn’t that a weird memory? I have no idea why this was a big deal to me…although I’m sure I was just flexing my independence from mom’s watchful eye, haha! I ate some verrryyy salty beans at her house). I also remember her quilting. I remember the frame in the back bedroom that could pretty much stretch across the whole room as she would be in the middle of hand-stitching one of her quilts. She doesn’t quilt anymore…but that’s because she’s 94! She was extremely talented and her work was exquisite. So, in memory and ode to my great-grandmas, I want to make a quilt. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the one.
  • Make my own cleaning projects: This is one of those things I’ve simply been keeping front-of-mind to accomplish for quite some time. So, now that I’ve written it down (I’m an OCD list-maker), it will happen! Not only will this save money, but it will also rid our home of some harsh chemicals.
  • Take a yoga class: again, this is one of those things that I’ve been wanting to do, but just keeps getting pushed aside. This is the year of yoga! As a previous marathon runner, I’m looking forward to working up a sweat and getting a good workout without beating my body up.
  • Learn my camera: (more on this below)
  • Make a piece of clothing (for myself): I specified because I’ve made clothing before. In fact, I made our flower girl dresses. But I’ve never made a piece of clothing for myself. I haven’t been specifically inspired by anything as of yet, but it’s only January 7. And accessories (like scarves, bags, etc.) don’t count because I’ve made those too.
Now, for the camera. After returning duplicate wedding gifts, adding up all of our Target gift cards and redeeming a 10% off coupon Target sent us for remaining registry items, the Mr. and I came home with this:

 Yep…a Canon EOS Rebel T2i. It’s like a dream come true. Seriously…I’ve been eyeing this camera for a very long time. I did in fact put it on our registry, if you caught that a minute ago, in hopes that someone would decide to be super duper uber generous to us (well, people WERE generous…but an $800 camera would have taken the cake on generous, if you know what I mean). BUT it ended up working out perfectly; in classic Alina fashion, we ended up getting it for $625 with an in-store sale + 10% off coupon. That also just happened to be almost exactly what we had in gift cards, so we walked out with this baby for freeeeee!!! A BIG thank you to everyone who gave us Target gift cards!

So, I want to get to know my camera. I spent an evening watching YouTube videos on ISO, aperture and shutter speed, so I’m happy to say I now know how to work my camera in manual mode…but that doesn’t mean I quite have a feel for which settings are best in which situation. For now, I can use Canon’s pre-set modes while I dabble in manual, but I’d like to have a MUCH better understanding by the end of the year. Like, as in I could explain it to someone else with confidence.

Finally, I do have one more goal. It’s always been my goal to see all 50 states before I turn 25, which seemed really easy and reasonable at the age of 18, when I set the goal. Now, I only have a little over a year and a half left! Ack! I only have 20 states left, but that includes Hawaii and Alaska…so, wish me luck.

I mentioned above that I’m an OCD list-maker. Seriously…I would live and die by my lists. There’s something about finishing an item and being able to cross it off. I’m just like my step-mom in that if I accomplish something that wasn’t on “the list,” I will actually physically add it to the bottom of the list, just so I can cross it off! Crazy, I know.

I like to do the same thing with states. I’ve had various maps printed out since I set this goal so that I could cross off states as I accomplished them, but I decided to make one I could hang on the wall to display. I found a printable map here and tweaked it a bit to make it my own. I put it in an 8×10 frame (so it should print nearly perfect for an 8×10 frame…let me know if it doesn’t) and colored in the states I’ve been to with a dry erase marker. You could color in the states on the paper itself, but let’s face it…dry erase markers are way more fun.

So, for the first ever MYU free printable, I thought I would share it, both as a thank you and as an encouragement to travel and try something new this year.  Click HERE or the picture below to download!

Please only download/print these for personal use–please and thank you!

Enjoy your Saturday, friends!

All of the things I want to do with a Mason jar

I’ve been collecting bookoos and and bookoos of mason jars for the wedding. I go weekly to clean out the three thrift stores closest to me. Add that stockpile plus my time on Pinterest, and what you have is a million things I want to do with what I already have on hand! So, since I will need to at least wait to do these projects, I thought I’d share a few that I love. (Click on photos for links!)

1. I want to paint the insides all sorts of fun colors. Ohh, what about an ombre collection??

More insides painted…sigh…

2. I want to frost them. Seriously…how cool are these?
3. I want to make a matchbox

4. I want to make terrariums

5. I want to make lanterns with them (…and hang them from trees over a table, too!)

6. I want to light them and put them everywhere (actually, I am doing this for the wedding. I found this picture a long time ago and it inspired a lot!)

7. Did I mention I want to make terrariums?

8. I want to drink iced coffee from them (OK, so technically I could do this many times over right now…)

9. I want to make cupakes in jars (and about a dozen other desserts!)

10. I want to use the jars to display photos
I can think of more, but I’ll stop at ten. Technically I could use my mason jars for some of these now, but some I have to wait on. I’m almost certain I’m going to go mason jar crazy right after the wedding. 🙂
Cowboy grew up drinking out of mason jars (another reason we’re using them for the wedding). What’s your favorite use for a mason jar?


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