Painting While Patching

We finally have more updates on O’s Ophthalmology appointments to share! You may recall that she is farsighted (Rx: L +4.5 & R +4.00) with accommodative esotropia and amblyopia in her left eye. If you’re new to my blog you can read more about O’s condition and how we figured it out here, here and here.

We hadn’t had an appointment since March so we couldn’t wait to see how things were shaping up for her. We went last week to see what kind of progress she was making with her patching. We had been patching “as needed” an hour or two on each eye, depending which one seemed to have “weaker” muscles demonstrated by intermittent crossing of the weak eye. There is no real formula on how to determine how long a kid needs to patch… so even the doctors use educated guesses and trial and error to see what is working for her. The doc seemed to think she was responding very well to patching and is showing progress (verses regression or no change) in her strength. So good news! We continue daily patching for 3 hours on her right eye (strengthening her left).

Also, the exams are getting easier as time goes on. She is more cooperative, knows what to expect and is super excited to go to our appointments. But that last one may be based on the fact that we promise donuts. Hey, you do what works! Her appointments are easier for us too. Since she is less resistant and there is less crying, squirming and holding her down, then we don’t feel stressed or guilty about the situation. I personally am less anxious about the entire vision situation for her. In part because I’ve educated myself on her individual condition, possible outcomes and treatments and such. It’s much less unknown and so I’ve really had an easier time with it lately. I also credit a facebook group called “Little Four Eyes” for helping me through. It’s an online support group of sorts for parents of children in glasses. It has been a great place to compare notes, swap stories and pictures and find deals on patches. I also have found great gratitude for our situation. O has a considerably minor and easy to treat condition. Some of these kids are dealing with much more difficult or unusual diagnoses. Cataracts, glaucoma, strabismus, and so many things I’d never even heard of. Some have been through multiple surgeries already in their short little lives. I’ve realized how simple her condition is to treat and am so thankful we have the means to help her overcome it. We are blessed with great insurance and the added bonus of vision insurance, access to amazing professionals as well as consistent paychecks to help us pay for it all.

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We’ve been embracing patch time with O. She’s moved on from her recent playdoh obsession to now loving paint. She’s been watching me paint forever and I recently gave her brushes that she pretends to paint with all the time. My sister came over the other day and brought along paint and canvas. O was in heaven! We stripped her down (since this is acrylic), spotted several coordinating colors on each one and let her go to town. This way there wouldn’t be a muddy mix of colors since we kept them in the same family (pink, blue, purple and white) and we did it again with blue, green, yellow and white.

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We loved watching her paint. She was concentrated and intent with each stroke. I could tell she was taking pride in her work.

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She made two masterpieces. Once for our house. I think it may even end up on the gallery wall! And another for her grandparents.

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O had so much fun that she even stopped caring about being messy! Usually she has a paper towel by her side during every meal and craft. But today she let loose and jumped right in. Below is her forearm, complete with gold bangle bracelet and paint. We call her “Baby GotRocks,” you know!

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Things I’m Loving

Oops. I think I skipped this post last month. What can I say? Life gets busy sometimes. I’m working on a couple of art pieces, trying to get more jewelry up on Etsy and I am already starting to help plan next year’s Relay for Life. Woah. It’s definitely time to stop and smell the roses. Here are a few things I’m just loving lately.

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I was honored to attend the CincyNanny National Nanny Recognition Week VIP Nanny Dinner. Yes. That’s a thing: National Nanny Recognition Week. It was created for all of us in the home childcare field to give each other big high-fives. In the last few years our industry has made it even more exciting. Nanny agencies, groups and associations across the country do all kinds of things to celebrate each other. Our local group here in Cincinnati is called CincyNanny. Its a fantastic group of local nannies who come together online and in person for friendship, networking, nanny nights out, play dates, education, nanny/family pairing and empowerment. We held a VIP Nanny dinner at the National Exemplar in Mariemont to honor each other and talk about some really cool things happening in our own community. I can’t spill all of the beans yet but a couple of those cool things are Nannypalooza and National Nanny Training Day! (I accidentally made this a game of “How many links can I squeeze into one paragraph?”). It was fun to get dressed up (most of us are used to play clothes), go out for a nice dinner and celebrate each other. My friend Greta of Project Momma is the brain behind CincyNanny and she created these darling vases from recycled Starbucks bottles and bronze paint to give them the “dipped” look. We each got to take one home with a white rose in it. Super cute!

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Z recently finished the 50th of 100 reading lessons we have been working on. As a reward he chose to have a sleepover at my house with O. How adorable! I really am the luckiest girl in the world! We had dinner at my parents’ house for my sister’s birthday and Z tagged along. He knows my whole family since we all nanny and have play dates together so he jumped right in. We enjoyed pizza and s’mores before we headed home for our sleepover. How cute are these two walking hand-in-hand to my parents’ front door? Z even carried O’s baby doll for her!

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Now that O is wearing glasses we’ve noticed quite a few changes. She’s more interested in lots of things and is far less clumsy. She has mastered stairs (to the point that they are her new favorite play set), is less hesitant on slides and isn’t afraid of leaves (I mean if you were farsighted they would look like a ton of mysterious blobs who move in for attack every time the wind blows). Her life is just so much more clear and it makes us so happy.

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Check out this awesome art piece! It is a shadow box style replica of the Painted Lady Victorian (Columbia-Tusculum Cincinnati… not San Fran) we lived in when I was a kid. My mom had it made when we lived there. It was packed up for several moves and forgotten in the basement. She recently stumbled upon it and now hangs proudly in the kitchen. I can’t stop admiring it. The intricate details and accuracy are so impressive. It really captured the spirit of the house.

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O got a new coat! How stinking sweet… Those ears are just awesome. She is obviously excited about it too. It was a gift from “Big Susie” who is on her left. Big Susie is our dear family friend who my sister Susie was named after… thus, the “Big” part. However, neither Susie is actually very big. They are both petite. Little Susie is maybe 5’2″ and likely taller than “Big Susie”. Its just how we’ve always differentiated the two. I love love LOVE this picture.

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One of O’s new favorite things to do is shout “Mama, Cheese?” and make a face or strike a pose for me to photograph. She almost always tilts her head dramatically and bares a big grin. This kid knows how to fill my days with happiness.

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I made a new batch of homemade detergent! Finally. I had beens so busy that we actually used store bought junk for a month. But as I was cubing up my Fels-Naptha bars I couldn’t help but think that they were sort of pretty. Dumb? Maybe but I snapped a pic anyway.

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The dry-erase board yields some amazing artwork that I wish I could save. Instead I take pictures. Here Z has illustrated my family . Left to right: Hubby who has his trademark spiky/messy hair thing going. In the middle is O, complete with ponytail on top of her head. Then I have my big ponytail and glasses. Pretty accurate depictions, right? I mean, who needs ears?

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A fortune from Hubby’s Chinese carry-out. He usually lets me open the cookie.

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I found this sweet dress at Target right after we went to the Ophthalmologist but before we ordered O’s glasses. I’m so in love. She wore it to Children’s when we tried on frames and made our final choice. Everyone loved it. She rocks it occasionally on the playground as well.

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Oh yes, last but not least is this polkadot fabric from Ikea. I fell in love with it and was certain it would make an amazing upholstery fabric for our headboard against the soft blue. But Hubby was strongly against the moment I walked in the door with it saying it was straight out of a Dr. Suess book. Then he said, “Anywhere but the bedroom, please!”… say no more. I have 2 yards of this fabric and I plan on putting it in every room in some form. Except the bedroom. I’ve made it my mission.

So what are you loving? Any new discoveries, fashion finds or sweet moments you captured? Do share!

Gallery Wall Breakdown

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As promised, a gallery wall breakdown. What we chose, how we chose, how we (mostly I) made it. I love love love gallery walls. In fact, this isn’t our first gallery wall. Its at least the third. And third time is a charm my friends. But it IS the first gallery wall (and probably only one for a while) in our own grown-up house. I’ll do my best to go left to right with some up and down in between… don’t get dizzy now!

First up:

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The top left item is a small canvas I painted ages ago when I was dreaming of filling O’s wall with the alphabet. The idea for her room evolved (I guess I should post about her adorable room one day?) so I was left with a bunch of canvases of letters. I painted over most of them but I saved the A (for our last name) and waited for the right spot to hang it.

Below that is a Chinese paper art cut-out of an ox. I received a book full of paper art and cut outs from one of my father’s Chinese business associates. I framed this one because it had a great composition and the most bold colors of them all. It once lived on our hallway wall in our first apartment but it fits right in here.

The largest piece is a large print of our wedding announcement. We eloped in secret to Jamaica and had my mom send these out from “Loveland, Ohio” on the day we wed. Our good friend Erica made it. The entire thing is a water color treasure map depicting our engagement at the Cincinnati Zoo and our surprise Jamaican wedding. There is even a pirate ship and a treasure chest with our wedding rings. I think Erica and I came up with the rhyme together and she did all of that calligraphy by hand. Gorgeous work and one of my most prized possessions. Here is a closer look at it.

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Seriously one of my favorite things in the world.

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Closest to the door is a print of a photo I took of driftwood on one of our trips to the lake ages ago. The frame had a traumatic move but I plan on patching it with wood filler and giving it a fresh coat of paint. You can also see a little more of the Chinese ox in this picture.

20130312-114312.jpgOne of my favorite DIY wall art techniques is to take simple items and display them in an interesting way. Here I have done that with keys. I collect keys. I don’t know why but I have a shoe box full of them. So last time we did a gallery wall at our old place I grabbed our old car keys… Hubby had his beloved Volvo and I had my dream car Wanda the Wrangler. (Yes, I name my cars. My current ride is a 2012 charcoal Honda Pilot. She’s dark and boxy and looks like a Rhino so I named her Rhina). Enough about keys… The point is that all I did was paint a small canvas and hot glued my keys on. Then we each signed out names. The keys above are also on a canvas that I painted a coordinated chevron pattern on and glued some replica skeleton keys to it.

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This is our old apartment key and you guessed it- I painted a canvas and glued on a key. Then I used a sharpie to label it “Our First Apartment” and the address. I like it because it is sentimental and it ties in with a few other items on the wall. I chose orange to add a little color and pick up some of the vibrant colors from the Chinese ox.

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The next picture is of Hubby kissing O when she was just a day old. I especially love it in black and white with the silver frame.  It is a daily reminder for me of why I’m here doing what I’m doing each day.

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Above that is a smaller picture of me with O on the same day. I can’t believe she was ever so small.

And next to that is another driftwood picture that I took at the lake. Hubby and I used to stare at this picture and talk about what we see. I see an old man’s face. What do you see?

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Ah, and then there is a giant print of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. Hubby and I have agreed that she is only a placeholder for something else… should we ever find anything more fantastic than her.

The red frame holds corks. Its another free art piece I made with an everyday item for our old gallery wall. I even left the wire cage on the champagne cork in true Hilda style. Can you tell I like wine and corks? Because I posted about them here, here and here.

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Next is a framed sepia row boat print purchased from The Market in Charleston.

And then there is an adorable little Baby O foot print in plaster and a copy of her Valentine’s Day themed birth announcement. The natural wood frame is nice but the rest of the frames on the wall are black, white or silver so I think it may eventually get painted to give it more cohesion with the rest of the wall.

The last piece is a typography print of an eye exam chart but it says “I love you past forever and longer than always” instead of the alphabet. I bought it on Etsy as a valentines day gift for Hubby years ago. I wish I could remember which shop it came from.

So I that’s the novel version of our gallery wall. It is actually the second time I’ve written it… apparently WordPress ate my last post so I did this all over again. That’s love people. I love you! I didn’t mean for it to be so long but each piece has a story. The stories are what is starting to make our house a home. What makes your home?

Pinterest Challenge: Winter 2013

 

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I decided to partake on ANOTHER blog challenge. This time it is a Pinterest challenge. Basically: Pin something and actually do it. How many times have you actually done something you pinned? Be honest. (you can see some of my other pinterest inspired posts here here and here and The YHL Macklemore $20 Thrift Shop Challenge here)

20130224-173020.jpgThe inspiration or pinspiration I should say can be found on my “kitchen” pin board. I kept seeing all this silverware art. There was everything from a painting of a spoon to a chandelier made of silverware. I remember doing a studio study on silverware in art school… it was very hard to duplicate the shapes and reflections of a spoon or fork. As much as I loved the idea of a silverware painting I didn’t have the money to buy the Pottery Barn wall art or have the time to duplicate such a cool piece. What I did have was a collection of yours-mine-and-ours silverware. I chose a spoon and fork from our drawer. Nobody knows where the spoon came from and we have no matching counterparts so it was a natural choice. The fork is one of many from an inexpensive set. It won’t be missed.

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Next I had to figure out what I wanted to hang my silverware on. A plate? Straight onto the wall? I found a small unused canvas in my art supplies. I considered wrapping the canvas in fabric but the scraps that I had were either too busy or not enough contrast. I finally settled on black paint. I have tons of it, black was a fantastic backdrop for silver and it was neutral enough to go just about anywhere I would decide to hang the canvas.

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Now for the hard part: paint the canvas. Obviously it was not that hard. To be honest anyone could do this. Imagine having your kids mix a couple colors and gluing the fork and spoon on. Cute kid kitchen art. Unfortunately O is far too young for such a thing. She’d lick the paint, I’d call poison control. It would be a whole thing that I just don’t want to deal with. Ah, one day.

Anywho, after the paint dried I used superglue to secure the fork and spoon in place. And I was finished!

Total time: 15 minutes. Total cost: $0! Don’t hate.

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The finished project. Simple. Kinda “mod”. Somewhat bold. FREE and recycled. Me likey.

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I decided to hang my new art in our kitchen in the void space next to our new shelves. If you recall, we decided to center the shelves over the peninsula, which isn’t centered on the wall.  We ended up with more wall space to the right of the shelves than the left. I prefer symmetry so the whole fiasco frustrated me. The silverware art is my sort of “band-aid” to the situation.

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While I was at it I hung these two small fruit canvases I had painted ages ago. They are on the small wall near the back door and ad a little “pop” where I hadn’t realized it was needed. By the way, who likes the soft ocean glass green for the kitchen? Its taped on the wall for us to visualized with the floors and slate backsplash along with the strange torn wall paper under the chair rail.

Foyer Progress

When we bought our house it was the victim of “neutralization” in order to sell. Obviously a real estate professional advised our previous owners to paint things neutral and de-clutter in order to attract buyers. I’m not against this. I hate clutter too. I believe in neutral. What I don’t believe in is buying 5 gallons of flat tan paint and sloppily painting the entire house (minus the blue room- more on that later). No lie, the entire house was the same flat tan paint. It was a cave. A neutral cave.

I first attacked our family room and painted it gray with stripes. The family room is open to our bi-level foyer over the half wall. The gray was begging me to continue into the foyer. That’s the thing about open-concept homes: you never know where to start and stop painting. But I felt the gray was a natural progression into the foyer. I knew it would have enough light and add a little balance. So we did it…. with a really awesome ladder.

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{View from the family room}

IMG_2312 {View from top of the steps}

 

 

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{From the half wall}

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So tan, Right?!?!? I somehow lost the paint-in-progress pictures when I switched around some computer stuff. But trust me- I painted the foyer gray twice. On a really tall ladder. Really.

Next came hanging pictures. I have always wanted an asymmetrical gallery wall. Now was the chance. I used the tried and true newspaper layout trick and it saved a tone of headache. I also marked each cut-out with the spots to nail holes for each picture. Boom- NO MEASURING whatsoever. My kind of project.

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I spent a few days looking at the newpaper layout and rearranged a few things on it before I settled on the current layout. The best part is that its a work in progress. I can add, move and change things as time goes on. Note the teal door behind me. so cheery! Although I’m seriously considering painting it black to give a more chic/laid back vibe.

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{Work in progress}

I’m still waiting to find the right inspiration for something to go on the big blank wall above the door. And We’d like to add more frames above the current collection. But for now this is just what the foyer needed. Stay tuned for another update and a breakdown of all of the art/photos up on this wall.