Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Friday (night)

Wow, this week went by fast for us! I remember being in 5th grade and complaining to my mom that the days were SO LONG. She reassured me that every year of my life time would seem to pass a little faster until one day I would wish things would slow down. She sure was right (though I have to admit I'm glad this rainy cooped-up day is coming to a close!). We're looking forward to a fun weekend, starting with my brother's birthday breakfast (genius idea!) with a bit of shark fishing thrown in. Maybe. I'll keep you posted on that. Hope your weekend is fun!

PS - new play mat in the shop. Pretty darn girly with a lot of my Grandma's precious vintage cottons in it. Love. (And named after my favorite dessert which I can't eat due to lactose intolerance. sigh.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simple Lunch

Yesterday Moses and I shared a lunch of crackers and cheese (I love you, Pecorino!). It took me right back to childhood - why don't we do this more often? Easy and filling and simple and delicious.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

That's just a risk you'll have to take...

You never know what might happen to you around here if you chance a quick nap on the couch. Lucky for this guy, Moses decided to leave him a small air hole. Next time could be much more serious.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Operation Redecoration - Phase Two

Here are some very belated photos of our somewhat updated "living room." It all started with this mirror that my mother-in-law gave to me. The silver looked beautiful at her house, but matched the color of our walls almost exactly. So, after reading Design Mom's inspiring post about painting her piano green, I decided to paint it a cool color and use it as a focal point to jazz things up. Here's what the room looked like before:

WOW. Terrible, I know. I knew it looked terrible and spent years trying to figure out what to do with this huge expanse of wall and strange corner area. There have been many variations of things-hanging-over-the-couch but all looked stupid. I have made Brett move furniture around into every imaginable configuration to make this area look better, and never did I think that a turquoise mirror was all that was missing. Ta-dah:

I LOVE how the mirror turned out! And my mother-in-law also had the idea to put a long shelf on the wall under the mirror to act as a mantle. Brett built it, of course, and yes, we do hit our heads on it from time to time when we plop down on the couch. It is totally worth it, though. :) Who would have thought that jamming a BUNCH more stuff into this area would make it feel larger? I love it. A few great finds at TJ Maxx filled up the strange corner space and now it is my favorite area of the house.

(The picture? That is Brett and I in the ocean in Bali. Dreamland Beach. That is its real name. Heaven.) Phase three will be figuring out what to do about the window to the right of the mirror... any good ideas other than curtains or mini blinds?

Monday, February 22, 2010


We play outside every afternoon, and lately that means playing in the rain (or at least the mud). It always takes me a minute or two to embrace the idea of my kids getting completely wet and filthy... I picture my newly mopped floor covered in soggy footprints and the laundry hamper filling up AGAIN. But the moment passes and we throw on our boots (or our sandals, as you can see Titus wearing in this picture. I know, great mom, right?) and get out there.

Even when things are soggy, it is beautiful out here. And the kids certainly don't care about getting muddy. Some of our best times have been spent in the rain waiting for that familiar sound of Daddy's big diesel truck rumbling up the driveway. I hope you are off to a wonderful week - and spending some time outside!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Coasters in the shop

It has been unseasonably warm around here, the trees are blossoming, and I've been wanting to have a tea party. Not a mud-pie tea party, but a real one with other adult girls there, drinking some sort of wonderful iced tea... Of course, it hasn't actually happened, but my dream has translated into a few new coaster sets in the shop. Check them out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Gift Ever:

This is definitely the most beloved item in our house right now. If there was a fire, Moses would grab it as he ran out the door. Or maybe he would just hop out the door on top of it, giving him the ability to grab a handful of Legos or something. I tried it out the other day and think someone should create an exercise program revolving around these things. I was DRENCHED in sweat after about 1 minute. Awesome. Thank you Grandma!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I am totally inspired by the adorable house featured in etsy's blog today - is this not the most adorable kids' room EVER?!?! The striped walls, book shelves, antique toys... this room actually looks like a kid lives in it and could use everything without fear of "messing it up." Super cute.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope you have a wonderful one...


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New place to play:

The boys have discovered that they can play in the closet which is Titus' bedroom. Well, they can play in the bed that fills up the closet which is Titus' bedroom. We're always happy about finding a new indoor place to play... seems we have exhausted pretty much every corner and empty space of floor.

Some day I might put together a sort of virtual tour for you of our house so you can gape at me and say things like "only one bedroom?!" and "you sleep on the couch bed?" as if you didn't hear me the first time I said it. However, it was a very conscious decision to continue living here beyond its capacity to hold us comfortably. In order for me to stay at home with the kids and our family to go on running on one income we had to make sacrifices, and in the grand scheme of things giving up my bedroom seemed like nothing compared to years of playing with the boys. So our "real" house is rented out and here we are, all four of us crammed into 850 square feet of cluttered 70-year-old back-of-the-farm-house goodness.

I share a closet with a 4 year old, a 1 year old and a neglected yarn stash. There are baskets of toys in the tv cabinet. Every Monday I run 12 loads of laundry because we have one of those half-sized washing machines crammed next to the refrigerator which is crammed next to the stove. My sock drawer has been absorbed by Moses' jammie drawer and my baby sleeps in the living room closet (quite comfortably, I might add). Every night after the boys have been asleep for a few hours and we have had some much-needed adult time, Brett moves the coffee table, folds out the couch bed, I put the linens on it and voila - the living room has become our bedroom! Yes, at times this process is a bit of a "dagger," as Brett says, but neither of us would trade this time for the things it has taught us.

Yes, I know you are waiting with bated breath to hear what these jewels of wisdom are, and you are in luck because I am prepared to share a few of them with you. First of all, there are a lot of things that you think you need that you don't actually need. A bedroom comes to mind. Nor do you need a garbage disposal - save those scraps of food for the chickens, throw them in the trash in the first place, or get over your fear of scooping up a disintegrating pile of wet broccoli-rice casserole with your bare hands. You do not need cold running water. When you get into the shower and want to avoid blistering your scalp, simply shave your legs at the other end of the tub while enjoying a nice steam bath. The hot water will eventually run out and you will have a full 3 minutes to wash your hair and the rest of your body before the water turns frigid. Another plus: boiling water is just as effective at waking you up in the morning as cold water. (Oh yes, run your kids' baths about 30 minutes before you plan on putting them in the water.) You do not need a "tv room," a "play room" a "sewing room" a "den" a "dining room" an "office" or a "parlor." You DO need a label maker, tons of pieces of furniture with drawers, and mad organization skills.

The other thing we have learned that I would love to pass along is to be considerate of one another's space and privacy in an environment that isn't always conducive to such behavior. At our house there is no banging on the bathroom door demanding that its occupant "hurry up." We have learned that in a pinch three out of four of us can totally go pee outside if the bathroom is otherwise occupied, inclement weather notwithstanding. We have learned that it is entirely possible to completely forget another person is in the room with you, providing an often-welcome sense of calming isolation. I regularly sew and watch "The Bachelor" while Brett brews beer 12 paces away from me. Neither one of us even knows what the other person is doing and are thus not at all annoyed by the sappy displays of affection or terrible smells emanating from the stove-top.

Of course, Brett and I both look forward to the day when we'll be living in a "real" house, and if I let myself I can actually YEARN for my own bedroom. Some day we will be there and our house will be just as full of junk. We will have a garbage disposal that I won't know how to use and a parlor that I won't know how to furnish (fill it with lots of labeled dressers, right?). I'm sure I'll have a closet all to myself and it will have just as many shirts and orphaned socks jumbled amongst the shoes on the floor. I will have an even harder time keeping things clean, and when we lose something we might actually lose it for good instead of being able to say "it will turn up by the end of the day." Titus will be in a real bedroom but never able to fall asleep since he will have spent the first 2 years of his life sleeping in the equivalent of a sensory deprivation tank. I know that some day we will look back with nostalgia on the "couch bed years." As for now we are doing just fine. And if you will excuse me, I have to go make my bed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Quilt Day

I love this quilt, partly because I used Momo's "Wonderland" fabrics in it, (and they are possibly my favorite fabrics EVER) and partly because of all the vintage fabrics I was able to integrate into it as well. Modern and vintage together just look so cool. This blanket is newly listed in the shop, thanks to a little break in the clouds today. I managed to throw on my boots and run through the mud, rig up a clothes line, pin up the quilt and snap a few shots before the boys woke up from their naps or the sun went back into hiding.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Kids' "Love" project

Here's a fun February activity to do with your kids. Cut out a bunch of pictures from magazines and have your kids choose which things they "love," then make the pictures into a collage. Very simple and lots of fun to see what they choose and talk about why. We did this last year and it was a big hit. I think this year we're going to do a "things I love about Daddy" collage using the same idea.

Friday, February 5, 2010

By Hand

I've been working on a really nice little something I'm hoping to finish this weekend. I'm to the hand-sewing part which is my favorite. I think some day I'd like to make an entire quilt by hand... in my next life, of course. This one was made mostly on the machine using a lot of my vintage fabrics.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Over the Christmas holiday our neighbors fired up their enormous wood-burning kiln and invited everyone they know to their amazing workshop to make pottery. Brett, who took a ceramics class in high school and really loved it, tried his hand at the wheel after all these long years. And guess what? He made some stuff for me!

Here is the small vase he made. It is so amazing how each piece turns out completely differently because of the minerals in the burning wood.
And here is my small bowl. After Brett made it our neighbor Izzy glazed it and it turned out so cool - I love how she let that thick layer of glaze drip down and left the rest unglazed. I guess this particular type of clay turns this lovely orange color during firing when left unglazed.

The inside of the bowl turned the most beautiful shade of turquoise. It is incredible! This little bowl is exactly what I needed to keep my favorite earrings in (courtesy of Amii at Satin Corset) - normally they are scattered all over the top of the dresser. Aren't hand-made gifts the best? Thanks Brettie!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Valentine's Day Project for YOU

Here's an idea that will get you in the mood for Valentine's Day - spruce up your lingerie drawer! (Or create one, as I had to do, since I formerly had an underwear/bra/jammie-pants/tank-top/receipt/bobby-pin drawer.) This is such a simple way to pamper yourself, not to mention an organization must.

First of all, you have to line your drawer with something fantastic. I looked and looked for drawer liners that were beautiful and modern, but everything I found that seemed promising was sold out (seems I'm not the first person with this idea!). However, making your own drawer liners is as easy as a trip to your local Paper Source. They sell a HUGE variety of gorgeous papers, some of them as large as 12"x12". Some of my favorites:

So, after you decide on what to line your drawers with, buy a few sheets of it and place it in the bottom of your drawer, you need a way to keep all your fancies from becoming a jumbled up disaster, like this:

And here is your answer (and it is on sale for only $5!):These drawer organizers are sold at The Container Store and are possibly the best organization invention EVER. And the magic they can work is evidenced by the after picture of Miss Anonymous Underwear Volunteer's after-shot:

Wow! It looks as if she threw away all her old maternity underwear and size C and D bras, finally accepting the fact that she is now an A-and-a-half, and can now locate everything she needs at a moment's notice! I bet she is pretty excited about her new lingerie drawer (if not totally excited about the bra thing). And I bet she is hoping her husband is reading this because she could sure use some new fancy stuff!

All that is left is to tuck in a few lavender sachets to keep things fresh and smelling wonderful. I happen to know where you can get some of those, too. :) Let me know if you do this project and I'd love to see pictures if you're brave enough!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Weekend Hike

How was your weekend? We had a really great one - first of all because Daddy, who had planned on working on Saturday, decided to stay home because he "likes eating a special breakfast as a family on Saturdays." How great is that?! After pancakes and coffee (adults only, of course) we headed to Penetencia Creek to go for a hike. Here I am rocking our awesome old-school purple baby backpack, complete with kick-stand.

It was a gorgeous day - so nice to be outside after being cooped up due to lots and lots of rain. Titus' favorite part was the meadow of wildflowers we found. He could have sat there for an hour touching them. We found puddles to jump in, hills to run up and fall down, and even built a bridge across the creek using logs and rocks. I love that feeling of getting back into the car all wet, muddy, hungry, and happy.

In a season where money is tight it was wonderful to have a super fun family outing that cost us nothing. We're hoping to do lots more budget friendly activities as "winter" eases into spring. How about you - any family activities to share?