Author Archives: Mary Grace

The Boy’s Room

Happy First Birthday Stephen!

Doug and I had “plan” last year right around this time—finish Stephen’s bedroom over my spring break from school once we knew what we still needed after the baby shower.

Stephen had a different plan. We welcomed him on the day of the baby shower, three and a half weeks early. Hooray! He’s arrived! He’s perfect! He doesn’t have a mattress on his bed, or sheets, or enough clothes to get him through a week. No big deal, babies sleep in their parents’ room for those first few months anyway.
New “plan”: we’ll just spend the first month snuggling him and getting his room finished.

You see where I’m going here? After a 9 day stint in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and roughly 6 weeks of focusing all of our attention on making sure he was gaining enough weight, Stephen still didn’t have a finished room.

Long story not much shorter, Stephen’s room had the final touches completed in February after a trip to IKEA. Starting with the paint choices for upstairs, here’s the timeline behind what we feel is a pretty awesome room for our little boy.

After Doug and I had moved in, we chose a color palette for the upstairs bedrooms that would work in the master as well as rooms we knew would one day be for our kids. The goal for those rooms was to choose a color that would work for a boy or girl, and wouldn’t be outgrown as the kiddo got older. This Valspar paint is called “Ancient Olive”. We’re big on flat finish for rooms because it covers imperfections on the wall. This room stayed empty or held a few miscellaneous items for the months we were finishing the rest of the house and, well, not thinking about babies yet.

The first purchase for Stephen’s room was a Sputnik mobile from an Etsy shop called mdmobiles. The design was simple and the assembly was even simpler.

Next, we got his crib and changing table as gifts from my mother and sister. As it turns out, matching wood colors to amber shellac is next to impossible. That deep amber color can’t really be replicated with a different stain. The next best thing is to find complimentary wood finishes, and incorporate some white to break up the two different wood shades.

Since almost day one, Stephen has been known as “Scuba Steve” by our family and friends. While we tried to avoid any specific themes for his bedroom, the nickname made it much easier when looking for wall art for his bedroom (at roughly six months). This painted canvas is from the Things that Go collection “Submarining” from

His bookshelves are IKEA Ribba shelving. It was a non negotiable for me to have his book covers visible. They’re still deep enough to stack while still seeing all of the covers. Having two shelves allowed us to put beginner books on bottom and tearable books on the top. The other IKEA purchase in the room is the POANG rocking chair.

Finishing out the room is the chalkboard wall. Doug used a magnetic metal sheet and painted it with chalkboard paint. So far, he and I have had a blast writing on it. Eventually, another RIBBA shelf will be added as a chalk tray.

Enjoy your room, Stephen! We’re never changing it.


Breakfast at Camin’s

Doug’s grandmother was a skilled baker. She had the top of the line baking tools and gadgets needed to create special meals from scratch. Well before we moved in, Doug and I spent a great deal of time helping her go through her various items. When the time came, my job, alongside his grandma, was the kitchen. She rather enjoyed my adoration of her very beautiful and meticulously cared for kitchen items, including a 1950s Sunbeam W-2 waffle iron complete with a cloth covered cord.


We discovered our similar opinion in the vast difference  between a Belgian waffle and an old-school homemade waffle.The main and key difference being the size of the nooks. Once she realized my affinity for baking and cooking food from scratch, she began to set items aside for me that would stay in the house. The most prized possession, her waffle maker. Chromed, shiny, and retro at its finest. There was only one condition, I had to make good use of said items, and she wanted a continuous supply of waffles. Challenge accepted, Grandma.

As it turns out, the rules are quite simple with regard to creating delicious old-school waffles using a retro  waffle maker: Follow the instructions without deviation. Make zero substitutions. I learned this through several failed attempts at replacing key ingredients. This includes substituting butter for any kind of light butter, or whole wheat flour instead of white flour. Lastly, the cardinal sin of cooking and baking, adding items in a different order than what is specifically directed on the recipe.

I can confidently state that I am indeed following the instructions, since I still possess the original insert that came with the box. Yet another bonus from years of care from Grandma Rynkus. I received her waffle making stamp of approval a handful of times, and started making enough for my grandmother as well. The waffle maker also made an appearance at our Retro Breakfast Cocktail Party.

The next retro appliance: the Sunbeam Party Grill