In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle, the Globug Sleeps Tonight

Gloria’s nursery décor ran a few months behind schedule. When she caught us by surprise a few weeks early, the room simply had a dresser, a cabinet, and the crib that we had assembled a mere three days prior to her birth. While we had been planning to use the subsequent month to build out the safari theme we had envisioned for the nursery, we were instead thrown into the rigors of new parenting. The only sign of our intentions was a giraffe coat hook on the wall, left here by the previous owners.

Giraffe hook

By mid-August we had the basics of parenting under enough control to start planning on how to give the giraffe hook some company. We first acquired a quilt to hang on the wall. Of course, once we finally got around to unpacking the quilt we realized that it can’t “just go on the wall” (oops, I blame new parent sleep-deprivation). So our next task was to figure out how to unobtrusively hang the quilt.

Neither of us come from a quilting family, but the trusty interwebs came to the rescue. After considering various options, we ordered a Quilters Hangup to use as a sleeve. We also purchased a Hang it Dang it to use as a quilting rod; we were suckers for the branding, and the neodymium magnet worked exactly as advertised!


A few weeks later we commenced what was to become our most involved nursery project. Since we didn’t trust ourselves to paint an attractive wall mural, we ordered a set of large vinyl decals from Etsy. The scene included a six foot tall yellow giraffe in savanna grass, a brown monkey hanging from a tree, and a set of orange birds.

The decals arrived in a large tube, and the adhesion process was more involved than I expected. For some reason I had pictured a single decal each for the monkey in the tree and the giraffe. I now know that each piece of contiguous color is a separate decal, which meant one really big yellow decal for the giraffe background, another 49 smaller brown decals for his spots,  two white decals to complete the eyes, and a few more for the feet, tail, ears, and nose.  All told, we had six sheets of decals in different shapes and sizes to arrange on our wall.

Included in the tube of decals was a set of instructions that described how to apply the decals. There are three layers on each decal sheet: transfer tape, the decal itself, and backing paper. The goal is to remove the backing paper, rub the remaining two layers onto the wall, and finally remove the top transfer tape layer. To get your feet wet, the artist enclosed a free “practice decal.” My first attempt was slightly misaligned, but if you don’t press too hard on the decal initially, you can peel it off and readjust.

Practice decal
A little bonus for Gloria’s closet

For larger decals, the instructions highly recommended using a “hinge” technique. In addition to a textual description, a YouTube link was provided for further viewing. First you tape up the decal, and then make a hinge at the decal’s midpoint.

Making the hinge

Then you untape half of the decal and remove the associated backing paper, cutting the backing paper at the hinge. The decal will naturally fall into place (since you have the other half taped up correctly). Rub the decal in place, and then repeat for the remaining half.

Securing the decal

Finally, pull off the transfer tape. Often the transfer tape will pull the decal along with it, in which case you need to pause and re-rub the decal onto the wall.

Removing the transfer tape
Pulling off the transfer tape was the most delicate part of the application process

Monkey in progress

Once we completed this process for the base color, we needed to add the other layers. For some of the pieces, there were vinyl numbers to align, for others we had to wing it. Our guide had a helpful tip to spray the back of the decal with water to loosen the glue so that it would slide over the base layer. Turns out you need to use a lot of water for it to really “slide”, though any water makes it easier to pull off the decal and try again.

Giraffe in progressLayering grass at giraffe's feet

We were really pleased with the final product. Even though we didn’t design the decals, the amount of time and effort that we spent applying them caused us feel like we made them ourselves.

Monkey on a treeCompleted giraffe

To finish the room, we followed up our positive Etsy experience with a mobile order from another Etsy vendor. A grandma from Texas put lots of love and hand stitching into the animals, and diaper changes have never been more fun for our munchkin.

mobileGloria's perspective on the mobile
The mobile from our perspective (left) and Gloria’s (right)

Playing in the jungle
Playing with mommy in her jungle lodge

Gloria Highlights, Week 13

The big family project this weekend was adding a six-foot vinyl yellow giraffe to the wall of Gloria’s nursery. We also took advantage of the sunny weather this week and had some long walks around town. In Madison Valley, Gloria made friends with Nohra, the owner of Ines Patisserie. She also had another delicious brunch at Café Flora, and checked out the grand opening of New York Cupcakes (verdict – attractive but not nearly as tasty as Cupcake Royale). Gloria ended her week with another visit to her favorite dim sum restaurant, Jade Garden. Sporting her helpful onesie, all the staff are getting to know her name and there was a chorus of “Goodbye Gloria”s upon our departure.

Loving her bouncy chair

Chilling with Daddy
I love you Daddy, but why are we in matching outfits today?

Hello, my name is Gloria
Which dim sum should I choose? I don’t like siu maai, but maybe some ha gaau…

Catalog Choice

When we moved into our new house, I was reminded of how much junk mail one can receive in this country. Magically, every industry on the planet seems to be notified of your arrival to the neighborhood.

Fortunately, we’ve been through this before. First task, get rid of those pre-approved credit card offers. There’s an easy way to opt-out online, though we’ll have to renew the request every five years.

For the remaining unwanted mail (catalogs, “savings coupon booklets”, insurance offers, etc.), we use a non-profit service: The kind souls running this website handle all of the follow-up to remove you from any of their registered publications. They will also add new publications at your request once they’ve done their due diligence. We finally kicked back a donation to their cause, which entitled us to a pro-active removal of our names from a few more bulk lists.

In just a few weeks we’ve already noticed a significant reduction in our mailman’s daily load. If you are also interested in saving a few trees, check out CatalogChoice!

House/Car Incompatibility

When we moved into our house, we had a very unfortunate discovery – our new car does not play well with our new house! Since the garage is on the 2nd floor (or, as Tracy says,  “floor -1”), the driveway slopes down from the curb to the garage. Because of the low nose on the Prius, we can’t quite clear the angle to enter the garage. We have about a two-foot wide gap to fill:


We brainstormed a number of options with family and friends. Gio discovered some awesome display ramps, assuming we had the clearance and the free cash. My Dad uncovered a potentially more viable option: a company in Kent that sold a variety of ramp products. I emailed them a description of the situation, including the above diagram, and received the following response:

Neither one of our ramps will help you out due to the width you need to fill up the void causing your problem.

I have suggested the attached solution for several people and have received feedback that it works. It’s not a very good looking solution but if installed properly this could help you out.


Cut 4ft x6ft x ¾” horse stall matting, (found at feed stores) into 6ft long strips and lay one over the top of each other to fill up the low area causing the problem. You can move then around until they raise your car up enough to gain entry into the garage.

The strips will allow water to drain into your area drain.

To keep them in place you could bolt down the top one on each corner or glue them together. You could make 4ft strip and use two sets of them if the 6ft is not enough width.

The only other option we’ve thought of is large steel plates (also not “very good looking” but at least we could paint them). Stay tuned.

House Haunters

It’s been a crazy month between adjusting back to life in America, being back at work, and purchasing a new home! Yesterday we got the keys to our house, and the movers arrived this afternoon. We had a great stay with Gio, Gatsby, and Daisy over the past six weeks, and already miss having them around. On the flip side, we are quite happy to bid adieu to the storage locker that held the majority of our belongings this past year. We’ve had a few early visitors and are looking forward to many more!

Our kitchen
Lauren checking out the kitchen from our porch

Stocking the new pantry
Filling the pantry with goodies from Trader Joe’s

While the movers did the heavy lifting, we helped with a few odds and ends

Zombie cats!
Our first Halloween spirits: Zombie Cats!