Things I’m Loving

Every month I post about things I’m loving… sometimes it is real life stuff, style, decor, fellow blogs and so on. So here is a grab-bag of things I’m loving lately.

In Life:

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My amazing “Aunt Kathy” of York’s Corks (actually my dad’s cousin but we are close so she earns the “Aunt” title) was going through a box of family stuff and sent me this incredibly detailed frame embroidery by my Great Grandmother “Gram Corc.” I love it for its obvious sentimental value and history. Not to mention the craftsmanship and time this must have taken! I’m not yet sure where to hang it… It could be a cool piece to add to the gallery wall in our foyer espcially with that black background! Or perhaps it could add an interesting pop elsewhere (half bath? or guest room?). Decisions, decisions!

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Speaking of the foyer gallery wall… it happens to be the background against my next “love”… fresh hydrangeas! I promise I didn’t do that on purpose. Anyway, when we go grocery shopping everyone gets a “spurge”… sometimes it is something unhealthy (poptarts!) or indulgent (wine for me) or just a total perk like flowers. In the midst of our gloomy, frigid winter I have been so excited to “splurge” on flowers. Then I break them into several small vases and scatter them throughout the house, literally bringing life into each room!

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Oh yes, dessert. Hubby and I went on our Valentine’s date during a blizzard. That’s how good our favorite place is. Everything on the menu is fantastic so saving room for dessert is difficult. But we look forward to dessert as much as we do the rest of the meal so on our way in, we pass the dessert bar and choose two pieces to be held for us… you know, in case everyone else knows how amazing the homemade confections are. Here we have an Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake and a Classic Red Velvet cake. Both were divine… I may or may not have reenacted the famous cafe scene from When Harry Met Sally.

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On a separate outing, we went bowling for a friend’s surprise 30th birthday party. I feel like just yesterday we were still celebrating 21st birthdays. So, we’re not so young anymore I guess. What a fun time! Hubby and I realized 4 things: 1- We had never been bowling together before. 2- Hubby is a really good bowler. 3- I am an embarrassingly bad bowler. 4- The style of bowling shoes haven’t changed in 50+ years.

With O:

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O got new play shoes. Not just any play shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. I grabbed them at Target for less that $20!

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The good news: she loves them. The bad news: she loves them too much.

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When I first turned the corner into the shoe section she gasped “SHOOOOOOES!” And I gleamed with pride that my girl loves shoes. And then I realized this might be a really bad (expensive) habit if we don’t keep it in check. Haha! Anyway, she wouldn’t let me take off her other shoes. I had to pry her other shoes off while she screamed “No! My Toms! Mommy! MY. TOMS.” I had to explain that she would get to keep her shoes and buy new ones. She’s been wearing her Chucks since. Like every minute. She even wants to sleep in them (um, no.) and calls them her “Chuckies.” Oy, I’ve created a monster.

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We had a freak spurt of nice Spring weather. O and her friend H graffiti-ed our entire porch and sidewalk with their chalk art. We had tons of fun and lots of laughs. Too bad their masterpieces are now covered in snow and ice. What a tease… We are all looking forward to more sun and warmth.

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O asked me to tuck her bear in and give her some books. Then I sat in the hall and listened to her read to him and sing “Happy Birthday.” Just too much cuteness.

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And I can’t forget O’s new favorite hiding spot: behind the couch and the curtain. 

On Pinterest:

Winter seems eternal this year. But I’ve been eyeing tons of pink fashion, home decor and jewelry to brighten my days and pull me through these gray winter days. Pink pinterest boards gives me hope.

PINK

Source

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Source: Pinterest

Visit my Pinterest board inspired completely by my love for my daily grind.

On other blogs:

Brunch with KT of Nerdy Girl Writes. I’ve had the pleasure of an actual real life brunch date with this nerdy girl, but for those of you who aren’t so lucky her “Sunday Brunch” posts will have to suffice. Poke around! She has tons of post on decor, fashion and suggestions for good reads.

Nutella Brownies on Cup Of Jo. This woman speaks my language in so many ways. Nutella is my favorite!

PSSSsssssttt: Get 20% off any purchase over $10 at my etsy shop by entering SPRING20 at check out. Good thru 4/1/14

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Projects Elsewhere Part Three: Josie

My sister and I took on a fun extra project and helped transform three rooms for a friend. First we gave Sam a pirate themed room, then Jack got a sweet new baseball themed room. Now we present Josie’s room. Josie is all girl in every way. She loves dress ups, dolls, books, fairy tales, penguins and pink. Her mom, Heather, hoped for more order to her room including all of those dolls and dress ups.

A few before pictures:

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As you can see from the pictures above and below, Josie has tons of dolls, books and toys that needed a little corralling. Susie and I would have to be pretty strategic with how we organized this room. We wanted Josie to be able to reach everything as well as put it all away when she was finished playing. Her room had two soft pinky (and sometimes lavender looking) walls and two beige walls. Heather told us she didn’t love the colors. Josie handed me a handwritten list of things she wanted to see in her new room as well as a list of things she liked and disliked about the current room. She wanted a reading nook, loved her windows curtains, loved her sheets (bright and cheery polkadots!) and she wanted a mirror and place for her dolls and penguins.

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We also had to remove more of those built ins. And see that Luvs Diaper box up there? Josie has long outgrown diapers but she was once the face of Luvs! She told us to get rid of that box… her mom had some framed images from the Luvs days instead.

………………Drum roll please…………..

Susie and I chose a bright mint/jade color for the walls in Josie’s room. We were inspired by her cheery polkadot bedding and made a hot pink accent wall with large bright yellow dots. Here is what we came up with:

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We gave Josie the mirror she wished for. It was a $5 yard sale find that just happened to fit her dresser perfectly. We spray painted it white and attached it with a few screws since the mirror already had the mounting hardware with it.

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We kept Josie’s letters from her old room but gave them a fresh coat of white spray paint and painted the edges to coordinate with the accent wall. Josie had quite a bit of jewelry so we recycled the “J” wall hook from her old room and relocated it to behind her door. This way she could sort of “stash” her jewelry out of sight and it was still close to her closet.

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Josie got her reading nook too! We found this sweet little wooden swivel chair at the same yard sale for $5 and gave it a coat of white spray paint. So fresh! The pink “dot” cushion is from Ikea. Susie organized all of the books and styled up the bookcase with some of Josie’s keepsakes. We tucked the chair in the corner and book case under the window. Ta-da, Reading nook accompished!

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We found white mesh curtains at Ikea. Josie had wanted to keep her pink ones (and we did too!) but once we painted the pink wall, they completely clashed with each other. The white is a little more grown up and will hopefully extend the life of this room into tween years anyway.

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Ah, the pink wall. This is the first stage of the accent wall. I’d have to come back later to do all of the polkadots. But you can see how Susie used the space at the foot of the bed to make a home for the baby doll cribs and accessories. Josie already had the cubbie storage unit so Susie just made sure all of the baskets were pout to good use and we added some of he stuffed animals to the top as well as keeping her hanging stuffed animal storage from before.

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We came back one evening to hang Josie’s 6ft Ikea LACK shelf. We wanted to give her more stuffed animal storage, but its also in a place that she can use the shelf for books or keepsakes in a few years too.

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Stage two of the accent wall: polkadots. I traced a cookie tin (What? It was the perfect size!) and painted two coats of the yellow. The pink is Behr “Hot Gossip” and the yellow is Behr “Cheese puff” both in Satin.

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Another view. I like all of these colors together. They are so happy! I think this room is much more “big girl” than before.

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Here is a better look at the dots with the inspirational sheets.
We moved Josie’s bed under the window to give her more space to play. Before, the bed gave the feeling of cutting the room in half. But now you enter the room and are greeted with more space and easier access to things on both sides of the bed. And its all visible so things should be easy to find too. Our solution for storing the dress ups was to get a couple of under the bed storage containers. We also moved a couple of the larger toys to the basement (like the dress  up vanity). Josie is happy with her room and her mom reports that keeping it clean (and getting the kids to clean up their rooms) is a lot easier than before.

Baby O’s Style

She’s only 18 months but O has quite a personality. From her nonstop chatter and giggles to hand-on-hip attitude and waving her (already) jewelry wearing arms, she’s all girl. When we found out that we were having a girl we were thrilled. I daydreamed of sweet sundresses, hair bows, little bathing suits, baby dolls and more. There was one girl thing I wasn’t up for: nursery decor. I dreaded painting bubblegum pink walls… and worse- repainting over those in a few years when suddenly she loved lavender. Hubby agreed. After several trips to the paint chip wall at the home improvement store, we had settled on going with beige, greige or khaki tones. Boring? We know. But we had a few reasons. First, we had chosen to give O the largest of our bedrooms. It was inevitable that we’d be spending a lot of time in the nursery, so why not the bigger room? And incase nobody tells you, kids come with a lot of stuff. This room was largest and already had a well designed (and fairly modest size) closet. Also, most of our family lives in town so we host only a few overnight visitors a year. We could afford to have a smaller guest room. Second, we wanted to be able to switch O’s room to a boy theme later down the road if needed. We also knew that any of the soft beigy tones could easily lend itself to a big kid room, office or guest room if we decided to do any rearranging. The last reason is that we were painting over bright, gross sunflower pollen yellow. Said yellow was sloppily painted over a light purple color (we could see it through a bunch of spots on the walls). Beige would surely drown out all that nasty visual noise. Or at least thats what we told ourselves. The color we married was Behr Roman Plaster. Why do I say married? Because later on that same color graced the family room wall with stripes and then I took it all the way down our main hallway. Still in love.

I’ve mentioned a tour of her room before… I recently had a few minutes to clean out O’s drawers, organize her books and do a basic clean up of her room. I snapped some shots because I know it won’t stay like this for long.

From the doorway:

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From the closet side:

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And from the corner near the crib:

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And a few little details I enjoy:

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This dresser. It is Hubby’s from his single days. I don’t have a before pic but imagine it DARK. You know, bachelorhood dark. And the cubbies on the right used to have an awkward cabinet door. I vetoed that when I doused it in high gloss white paint. I like the look of the baskets instead. And less places for little fingers to get pinched.I changed out the funky hardware for softer brushed nickel pulls and knobs.

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I added a couple of things to her dresser that were a little more about us. I was given the sculpture of the expectant mother by a dear friend of mine. I used to sit in the glider before she was born and just admire this space and the sculpture. So peaceful! Next to it is a photo from our wedding of Hubby and I kissing in the ocean. A little reminder of our love for O and each other. The lamp is wrapped in a cloth ribbon that happens to match the bedding set and theme.

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What is a baby room without some super sentimental handmade gifts? The pink frame holds a cross stitch that hung in my own nursery made by my Aunt Jackie in 1986. The frame above holds a similar baby cross stitch made for O by Mama Lisa (my friend Molly’s mom).

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I have yet to hang her little coat rack but O’s bookshelf is stocked with books. My mom and sisters gave me gobs of children’s books at each shower. Some are favorites from my own childhood. A few are based on an Olivia the Pig character. I also received books from many friends. My boss gave me a book with girl poems, my friend Chelsea gave me a dozen of her own childhood favorites. My mom even found my old The Giving Tree book. A family friend gave it to me when I was a toddler. He’s no longer with us but I have his loving inscription forever “From one tree lover to another” he wrote. Which will explain my next picture.

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I chose to display pages from the book above O’s dresser. I tried to photo copy my favorite pages for framing but I ended up with low quality images and curved edges. I can’t believe I did this, but I bought a second hand copy of the book and cut pages out of it. I love books. I never dreamt I’d purposely destroy one. Cardinal sin!!! I hope this is worthy enough cause to cut pages from a book. The message of The Giving Tree, the simple illustration and the sentimental value it holds for me made it the perfect choice for nursery wall art.

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My pride and joy: O’s mobile. I made it when she was just weeks old. I was inspired by many pinterest and etsy versions but I ended up making this myself for just $6. You can see the tutorial I made here.

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O received this small handmade globe rattle from some of Hubby’s Japanese business associates. You should know that Japanese culture is based on honor, family, loyalty and honesty. To show this, our Japanese friends arrive with arms full of gifts when they visit. We have gorgeous scarves, art, pottery, dishes, figures and more from them. I don’y know much about this particular piece but I know I love it. In fact, it is already the inspiration for O’s big girl room.

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O’s extensive collection of stuffed animals lives in her bassinet. I felt like I just had to repurpose it since it was only used for a few months.

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O’s monogrammed canvas is the latest addition to the room. I made it just this week. Look for a tutorial on it soon.

Where items in this room came from:

Crib: gifted Bellini crib in “Annie” style

Bedding: CoCalo Daniella bedding set (sans bumper)

Dresser: Hubby’s old one. Refinished.

Glider: Hand-me-down. Which is why it’s blue/purple.

Shelving: Target. This is the closest one I can find like it. I was too pregnant and tired to get my behind up to Ikea for the Expidit cube shelving unit.

Picture frames: Target ages ago.

Curtain rods: Hand-me-downs, Pottery Barn Kids

Curtains: White Sail Cloth Curtains from Target.

Storage bins and changing basket: JJ Cole

Changing pad cover: Target, Circo brand

Diaper bin: Diaper Dekor. I love it (and hate Diaper Genie)

Elephant Humidifier: Target Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist … quiet, easy to clean, safe and cute!

Pink-tastic Birthday Garland Tutorial

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and is enjoying the new year! I took a couple weeks off to enjoy family, friends and of course some food! After the busyness if the holidays we had the honor of celebrating Baby O’s first birthday. Let me first warn that having a baby RIGHT AFTER Christmas and New Years is brave. So is throwing a birthday party less than a week later. But Hilda doesn’t miss a party so I put on my thinking cap and got to work.

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Problem #1: Budget. I’m not spending tons on this party. Let’s be honest its more for us me than it is for her. She won’t remember it and she’ll likely be embarrassed when I display these pictures all over the place on her 16th birthday. Fix: I devised a plan to use paint chips (free!) from Home Depot and a little bit of Pinspiration. I don’t have a fix yet for the 16 year old embarrassment. I’ll get back to you on that.

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I grabbed several different colors of paint chips from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot. They are the biggest swatches I saw and had the best selection of pink. I shoved a handful of each shade of pink into my purse (Ok- I didn’t bring my purse in but luckily Molly was on this adventure with me and she carries an equally large purse- Thanks Molls). I know they are free but I felt embarrassed taking so many swatches. Stashing them in the purse was the best idea I had. *Clarification: I spent $60 there that day on air filters and supplies for a little electric project we had going. So I felt like I paid for the swatches anyway… And I buy tons of paint there. I think the Home Depot paint staff might secretly hate all the Pinterest addicts who come in a swipe swatches.

At any rate, this is what I whipped up-

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I cut a large triangle out of each of the swatches. I didn’t measure or trace anything. I just cut as big of a triangle as I could get. They varied a little but it doesn’t bother me. I made sure to start the base of the triangle at the end of the swatch that didn’t have any printing or markings.

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I pulled out my trusty twine and hot glued each triangle about 6 inches apart from each other. I randomly mixed the colors without pattern and just kept gluing.

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I laid the garland out on the floor to keep tabs on spacing and placement. I also wanted to guestimate how long I needed each strand to be.

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This was the end result. I hung the garland along the dining room wall. I knew I was going to hang tissue paper poms there and that most birthday pictures would have this wall as the back drop.

Problem #2: Time. I don’t have enough of it as is. Let’s not talk about the last time I shaved my legs. TMI? Sorry.  Fix: Prepackaged decor and a friendly helping hand.

I grabbed a 3 pack of tissue poms at the party store for $3.99 and I knew the $4 was about what I’d spend making them and the prepackaged ones saved me a ton of time. They were still tedious and a pain to puff out. I didn’t perfect my puff and fluff technique until halfway through the last pom but it is what it is.

I enlisted a friend to bake the smash cake and big cake. That alone saved me HOURS. So big shout-out to Sara for some gorgeous and super tasty cakes! Her cakes were also way more delicious and pretty than anything I could have done. Baby O’s cake was pink with white icing. Word to the wise: colored icing can stain and I’ve seen enough of it regurgitated on first birthdays to order white icing. Also, Baby O has been pooping pink for 2 days. I chose the lesser of the two evils.

Here is O anxiously awaiting her cake, enjoying her cake and then crying when we took it away to clean up. And then she pooped pink. She really is all girl!

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