Sep 17, 2013

Our couch-hunting saga has a happy ending!

As you know, we’ve been on the hunt for the perfect couch ever since our ‘foster couch’ went to be with it’s forever family (my sister’s college apartment). We were fairly prepared, because we knew we’d be needing a couch and thus started saving our pennies... but when the time came, FOR THE LIFE OF US we couldn’t find a couch we liked.

We wanted something with:

  • clean lines (maybe a mid-century feel?)
  • fairly long to accommodate the giant hubs
  • neutral in color (gray or tan)

We started out with a budget of $600, but as time wore on... the longer it took to find the perfect couch, the bigger our budget got!

We’ve been to countless furniture stores, but all the couches seemed super small. It’s like they make couches almost the size of loveseats these days. Whatever happened to the 7-foot couches they made in the old days? Like my friend Megan’s gorgeous vintage davenport.

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Many of you suggested the KARLSTAD couch from IKEA, and while it had all the requirements we needed (price, size, color), the closest IKEA is about 4 hours away (tragedy, I know). We just couldn’t bring ourselves to drive to another state to buy a couch and haul it back.


At this point, we had close to $900 in our ‘couch fund’, and were getting sick and tired of not having a couch!

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You might be wondering... WHY DON’T YOU JUST BUY A SECTIONAL?

Well I’ll tell you. We ALMOST did! But the fact is... because of the way our doorways are placed in the living room, there is only one corner the sectional could work without covering a doorway. This BITES because not only does this limit our rearranging options (we LOVE rearranging!), but it would also cover our gorgeous bay window. Well... BOTH windows even.

Living Room {Sawdust and Embryos}

Out of pure desperation, we ALMOST bought this sectional from Homemmaker’s in Des Moines (below). We liked the color and the fact that the bonded leather would clean up easily with the toddlers. AND it was on clearance! But the ‘long end’ of the sectional was on the WRONG SIDE, and would totally cover up our newly stripped/stained front door by about 3 inches. Wa wa wa....

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This is where I curl up on an over-priced orange sectional and cry myself to sleep.

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It felt like we had exhausted ALL POSSIBILITIES for the perfect couch. We had been to a dozen furniture stores, crunched numbers, contemplated fabrics and colors, and rescued table lamps from from the anxious paws of impatient toddlers.

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As a last resort, I checked craigslist the night before we were heading to Des Moines for something completely unrelated. I usually strike out on craigslist. And a couch wouldn’t normally be something I would want to purchased in used condition. But I was desperate and at my wits end.

After sifting through countless dumpy sectionals and flea infested nastiness, I came upon this one. I liked the neutral-ness, and it SEEMED like it had clean lines... but what a weird angle to take a pic. Amiright?

THE ONE! {Sawdust and Embryos}

It was worth calling about... because what do we have to lose? Worst case scenario is throw away 10 minutes stopping in to their house only to find out that we hate it.

I called the number listed. The gentleman seemed pleasant on the phone, and struck me as potentially elderly. My first question (after confirming it was a smoke-free home) was: HOW LONG IS IT?

Answer? One HUNDRED inches!

The longest non-sectional couch we had found at ANY of the dozen furniture stores we’d been to was 84 inches. My interest was piqued to say the least!

The next day, we showed up at their house. This elderly couple was ADORABLE. Their house was IMACULATE. And the couch was PERFECT. (and they have a set of adult twins... instant connection!).

And here’s the kicker... of our $900 couch-budget, we spent $150. Pinch me now.

Living room with NEW (ish) couch! {Sawdust and Embryos}

I mean we freaking LOVE IT! We put it on the north wall for now. We still need to get curtains up (OBVIOUSLY), and we’re still in the process of figuring out exactly how to arrange things on our ‘crown molding shelf’, but you get the idea, right? (This is two separate images below FYI... I know it looks weird. HA!)

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'New' couch for our living room! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Due to the fact that we have TWO two-year-olds, and hopefully more baby (ies?) coming soon, we know that it’s probably good that we didn’t spend close to $1000 on a couch. We were originally wanting a tufted-back couch, because we wanted to avoid floofy/lumpy back cushions that would eventually look SAD, but these are pretty firm! And even if they do become lumpy, we’ll know that this couch is just to get us through these years of young children. And when we send all our kids off to school, we can splurge start the couch search ALL OVER. *sigh*

New Couch! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Shortly after the above pic was taken, we implemented a no-beverages-on-the-couch policy.

OH! And just to give you an idea of just how long 100 inches is... this man-boy is 6’8” tall.

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This concludes the saga of our couch-hunting endeavors! We love a happy ending. And LOVE our ‘new’ couch even more! Have you scored an unexpected treasure on craigslist? Or a garage sale? Do you love a good bargain like me? Of course you do! Thanks for being excited for us!Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}

Sep 16, 2013

State Pride Tour and Collaboration {IOWA!}

Monday greetings my lovlies!

My friend and colleague Beckie from Infarrantly Creative is hosting a fun collaboration where I and 30 other bloggers will be throwing down a tutorial that is themed after our respective states! We’re calling it a State Pride Tour... and I’M NEXT IN LINE... with Iowa!!!  I’m following Kim from Washington on her blog Today’s Creative Blog, so if you missed hers, be sure to go check out her creative Washington-themed project!

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If you’ve been around our blog for any amount of time, you know that I love geography and have tons of pride for my home state: IOWA!! Represent!

The ‘Barn Board’ signs on our Etsy Shop are popular, and when I made one  in the shape of a bracket sign... I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before!!

Barn Board Signs by Sawdust and Embryos

Since 1x4 pine boards are inexpensive and easy to customize using my make your own ‘barn boards’ techniqueI might as well try making it into the shape of a state! Drr!

Outline of IowaSource

After printing my Iowa shape onto a transparency and projecting the image onto my boards, I traced with a pencil and wasted no time getting down and dirty with my scroll saw!

Using a Scroll Saw to Cut a State Plaque {Sawdust and Embryos}

I cut each board individually. It was so fun to see it come together one board at a time!

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State of Iowa cut from 1x4's and distressed to look like 'barn boards' could do this with ANY STATE! {Sawdust and Embryos} (2)

Next steps are to paint, sand and stain! I went with red and a touch of black for dimension. For the full step-by-step tutorial on making these boards truly look like old distressed wood, click here!

Iowa Barn Board Plaque (distressing new wood to look like barn wood!) SAWDUST AND EMBRYOS

Finally, Nick cut a 1/4” piece of plywood and glued/stapled it to the back to secure all the boards together. (CHECK.OUT his creapy man-hand!)

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After sanding, I decided to paint the outer edge a shimmery gold (Martha Stewart ‘Pearl’) and a little heart on Des Moines (our state capitol!)

State Plaque (IOWA!) made from barn boards could make ANY STATE! {Sawdust and Embryos} (3)

All that was left was to seal things off with a little finishing wax, and slap on a comb hook! These look AMAZING on a gallery wall!

State Plaque (IOWA!) made from barn boards could make ANY STATE! (Sawdust and Embryos)

I love that the red represents actual barn wood, since Iowa is known for farming and agriculture! It’s difficult do drive ANYWHERE in this state without seeing a gorgeous old barn in all it’s glory!!

State Pride Tour- IOWA! {Sawdust and Embryos}

If you’re following along on the state tour, we got Kim from 733 Blog next in line sharing about her home state: Vermont! If you’re new to our blog Sawdust and Embryos, feel free to snoop around for awhile! We’ve got lots of exciting things going on around here!Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}

Sep 13, 2013

Can I interest you in a GIVEAWAY? {now closed}

Top of the mornin’ to ya! Literally... cause I just realized it’s almost noon!

So, I got to thinking that it’s been awhile since we’ve had a giveaway. And it’s been even longer since we’ve had a giveaway from our own Etsy shop SyWoodInk!

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Our biggest seller on our shop is by far the state/country cut-outs. We cut each state or country out of 1” pine boards using a scroll saw, stain them, and paint (or stain) a heart where the client specifies!

State and Country Plaques by Sawdust and Embryos

I love it when people order their state/country to have a bright color painted around the edge. It’s just so cheerful and feels so custom.

DIY State Map Plaques with a POP of color! {Sawdust and Embryos} Louisiana cut with a scroll saw {Sawdust and Embryos}

So today, we’re giving away one United States plaque. BE EXCITED!


The winner will be able to customize it to their own preferences... ie stain color, paint color... even the city marker! You’re not just limited to a heart!

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The united states measures approx 30” wide x 20” high... and they look AMAZING on a gallery wall. Here’s ours!


Here’s how this is going to go down. On the Rafflecopter form below, each person gets one easy entry. If you’d like OPTIONAL additional entries, we ask that you add us on Facebook, and Instagram! GOOD LUCK!

GiveawayDIY State Map Plaques with a POP of color! {Sawdust and Embryos} a Rafflecopter giveaway


  • This giveaway is sponsored by us! (and our Etsy Shop)
  • Open to continental US residents only
  • Winner will be announced on Tuesday 9/17
  • Good luck to you!Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}

~~~~~~~~~~~~~This giveaway is now closed~~~~~~~~~~

Sep 11, 2013

Toddler Happenings

Lots of mommies have a hard time with little things like switching from a bottle to a sippy cup, or switching from an infant carseat to a toddler seat.

Those things weren’t difficult for me.

The things that were the most painful had to do with them being twins. I distinctly remember the day I made the decision not to carry them simultaneously anymore. They were both around 25 lbs, and I was having back trouble, and I knew it was just plain dangerous. I cried that day.

The other extremely hard transition was separating them at night.

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They shared a crib until about 3 weeks ago (25 months old) when we moved a pack-and-play into the middle of the nursery. I knew it had to be done eventually (they certainly aren’t getting smaller!), and they were starting to pick on each other before falling asleep.

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So now my once adorable/perfect nursery now looks like this:

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It’s a little rough getting around in there, but it’s soooooo worth it after lights out. I desperately miss the sharing of the crib. My heart physically hurts when I think about it. Silly I know.

Let’s see, other new developments...

OH! We now sit at the table as a family for meals without using the high chairs or boosters. I was mildly concerned about how things would work with our counter-height table, but it was all they knew! They climb up and down by themselves, and sit and eat like little human beings (ish). I super love it.

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We’ve taken to playing with soapy water and cups on these hot summer days when mommy is desperate for a moment of peace. It keeps them busy, and it’s adorable to watch.

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Sometimes, in the evenings, when the girls have grubby feet from frolicking outside all day... I get lazy and give them a ‘foot bath’ (as we call it) instead of a legit bath before bedtime. The girls love it!

Foot Bath {Sawdust and Embryos}

Their daddy is their hero... hardcore. They do everything together. And Nick is a lot more patient with their, um, TENDANCEIS than I am.

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We’ve just been carrying on over here... taking one day at a time. You can follow along with us on Instagram if you want to be a part of our daily grind and don’t mind seeing our messy house in the background of every pic.

Some super fun projects in the works... so stay tuned!Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}