Monday, February 28, 2011

When all is said and done

I would do it all over again.
There have definitely been times in my life where a different decision would have resulted in a much different present. But whenever I see one of those quizzes about "if you had to do it all over again . . . " the answer is always yes. I would. If only to see these squishy faces every day.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Let's make a deal

For the past couple of years I have not indulged my passion for two types of crafting: jewelry-making and cross-stitching.

I used to make jewelry as a hobby, and then as a business, which I did for a few years. I even made my wedding necklace, which you can see on the left. I wanted something striking and with an antique feel to match my gown, so I mixed off-white faux pearls with topaz crystals and rhinestones.

Then I got burnt out. Also, having two squirrelly monkeys grabbing everything and stuffing it in their mouths was kind of scary considering I worked with beads, wire, and other small items that really shouldn't go into their little mouths. I gave most of my supplies to my mom, who'd just started making jewelry, and called it a day.

A couple of weekends ago I was cleaning out my desk (again) and I found a bag with beads I had ordered years ago, everything was unopened, and I had stashed my jewelry tools in there as well. That's all it took. My husband was building raised beds for my potatoes and the boys were playing in the backyard, so I sat and made a little necklace. And now I want to make 100 more.

But first! I need to finish a cross-stitch I promised a friend. She gave it to me last year. August of last year. She did say there was no rush but ya know, I need to finish it. I've been working on it every day, but with sick kids and a sick husband and not feeling 100% myself, it's been tough getting consistent chunks of time to work on it. But I've made myself the deal that I can only make more jewelry if I finish the cross-stitch.

Then I started looking around for more cross-stitch patterns. Never mind I have like, 20 in the garage somewhere. "New" is always more important than "old in the garage". I used to make these huge cross-stitch patterns and had them framed around the house, until last year I got sick of them and stashed them in an archival box.

This is my favorite cross-stitch designer. And yes I want to make the latest one:
But I've made another deal with myself. I can only get a new pattern if I finish 3 of my old patterns.

It used to take me about 3 months to make one of these, and that was pre-kids. Meaning I will be buying a new pattern around 2025.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Red Bag Love

My current bag is a neutral that goes well with 99% of my wardrobe. However, lately, red bags keep catching my eye - they definitely wouldn't go with everything I wear but oh, what a lovely pop of color they are!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Past Project: The Pirate Room

My husband thought a pirate theme would be awesome in our oldest's room. I was expecting our second baby and we decided to keep the nursery as it was for the baby, and make our office into a room for our big boy.

The initial sketch was then fine-tuned and entered into CAD - my hubby's BFF is a very good artist - with the dimensions of the room and we just had to copy the drawing onto a grid that was pencil-drawn on our walls.

Here are some pics of the project - it was under $500, including all paints, wood, rope, muslin, etc.

Shading on the sandy beach!

Initial painting of the ship area. The ship was 3-D, painted on a piece of plywood and installed 4 inches from the wall. The space between the plywood and the wall serves as a shelf for us to plug in lights, etc. and there is a sound system hidden behind the sail, for white noise at night.

Initial stages of the ship.

A super friendly dolphin splashes near the light switch.

My mom sewed the sail and my husband did all the woodwork and ropework. The railing is made up of unfinished candlesticks from Michaels that were painted to match the wood :D

The treasure chest, the coins were painted with metallic paint for sparkle.

On the wall, next to where the crib went, the outlet was camouflaged as a starfish, it even glitters!

My little man showing off his pirate room! There was never an issue for him to switch rooms, he slept just fine in his new bed from the beginning, and the pirate room is still the most ooh-ed and aah-ed part of the house tour we give to new guests.

Hope you enjoyed our son's Pirate Room transformation!

Weekend Bloggy Reading
Iron Violet Designs

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

i won i won i won!

One of my favorite new blogs is Casa Bella. Silvia is a fellow South American with a great eye for decor and style. if you haven't stopped by, go check out Casa Bella, I promise you lots of drool-worthy pictures!

I just won a giveaway she held of a wonderful home style book, The French Room. This francophile is super super happy!

Dino Wedges!

I recently saw this adorable dino pendant at ModCloth - my oldest would flip if he saw it, he's totally into dinosaurs and knows their name, eating habits, etc. just by looking at pictures.
dino wedges

Monday, February 21, 2011

Interview: Parisienne Farmgirl

I will readily admit that I first clicked on Parisienne Farmgirl's blog because of her blog title. I absolutely LOVE Paris, and I am obsessed with having a little farm right in my own backyard. I figured Angela would be someone I'd like to get to know better.

And she is! She is outspoken, stylish, and likes Carla Bruni's music. All good. I decided to throw a few questions at her; she was game, of course, so here's our little chat for your reading pleasure:

What does style mean to you?
Oh my. I don't even know where to begin. Ok, "style"... of my favorite words is "chic." So a discipline I have when I am styling something whether it is a room or an outfit is to ask myself, "Is this chic?" or "What about this is chic?" Which I suppose begs the questions - "What is chic?"
I think style/chic is a certain sense of refinement. Say accessories for example, I personally feel that a collection of old bottles, even some with a bit of dirt still stuck for eternity down in the bottom are more stylish than some trinket from the Home Accessories aisle at HomeGoods. Those stores are fun to wander thru but they can wreak destruction on any sense of refinement.
I do feel there are those out there that are paving the way in the world of style. Top of the line designers in the interiors and fashion world are phenomenal artists and I don't think it makes you less of an individualist to mimic or be inspired by them. Their work is a great measuring stick for what is stylish. They are pro's and it's O.K. to acknowledge that. Their work, be it a new black suit on the runway or the latest spread in Traditional Home can be phenomenally inspiring and exposing yourself to that work really, really, really, sharpens your eye.

What do you think are your signature touches around the house?

Old furniture. I am blessed that hubby does not require big, lounging, furniture. We don't watch T.V. but you will find us snuggled up in our king size bed with the laptop and a movie.
Mirrors. I love old mirrors. Did I mention I love old mirrors? It's not vanity. TRUST ME! It's visual space. I am addicted to it.
Chandeliers. I have twelve I think. I still need a few more for the "one in every room" dream.

What is it about French style that attracts you?

The gathered look. That's it. Whether it's a bedroom or an outfit French style NEVER looks like a showroom or mannequin. 'You know what I mean? There is a look of things and wardrobe pieces having had been gathered over a period of time. I love that.

What do you think can make the biggest change in a room – paint, moving furniture, pillows, etc.?

Oh boy. I think it's probably paint. Color creates a backdrop for which to display the rest of the room.

How do you want your home to be seen by others?

Cozy. Old book, family photos, throw pillows, quilts. I think it's pretty but I want people to be comfortable here.

Name one color you can’t live without – decorating wise.
Turquoise. All shades from Robin's Egg Blue to Teal. Maybe it's passé... I know so many girls are obsessed with white these days but I can't shake Turquoise.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t quite know what their style is?

Get a three ring binder, a hole punch and a GIANT stack of magazines. Rip out everything that inspires you and put it in the notebook. I mean TONS of paper - what themes begin to develop? Is painted furniture in each photo? Crystals? Big comfy suede sofas? Florals? Toile? Neutrals? Bright colors? You can use the internet too - simply print and hole punch.
This works with fashion too - say you make your notebook, you feel it's pretty developed. You find yourself attracted to sleek lines, simple constructs... every third page is Jennifer Aniston with her simple, uncontrived, non-frilly outfits. You begin to fashion your wardrobe around this style and you feel great - then you see a gorgeous, frilly, lacy number on someone's blog... you can know, that it's probably not for you. It may be lovely but it's not your personal style.

What are you planning for the "farmgirl" part of your life - any new veggies you'd like to grow, more Jane Austen character chicks, new flowers, etc.?Last fall we dug up every last bit of grass in the garden, expanded the Potager and put up a fence. This spring we have to finish that project, pouring the pea gravel for the courtyard that will be the entrance to the chicken run and hopefully building an outdoor bread oven. Can't wait.


Parisienne Farmgirl is currently writing a series on having your own potager, or vegetable garden - go check it out!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wanna see?

We're getting ready for our oldest's birthday party in a few days, so we'd like to revisit some of our past happenings - yes, we're cray-cray around here!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pillow Talk

I recently ordered some pretty fabric because I was jonesing to make some new pillow covers. I had made some red/green/tan striped ones but my husband hated them with a passion, so I figured, hey, I get to make new pillow covers!

I went neutral this time and also ordered some pretty trim to go with my fabrics
I love the color combination against our burgundy sofa.

Next time, though, I would go for a neutral sofa, something like a light brown, and these covers would still go nicely.
The ribbon satisfies my fleur-de-lis fetish :D

The quatrefoil design on this fabric is so pretty, detailed enough for not fussy.

The trim has a very nice sheen to it and frames both fabrics well.
I have a few more covers to make, I really need a 25- or 26-hour day!

Linking this up!
Weekend Bloggy Reading
linkpartyIron Violet Designs

and at Show and Share and Scentsy Day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In advance

Valentine's Day is barely over and I'm already eyeing the next holiday!
We had a rather ugly frame that had the redeeming quality of being wide and flat, so I figure i would decoupage it with St Patrick's Day-themed papers. I got the little Luck, of the Irish embellishment and placed the paper so that the large shamrock would be in the lower right corner.

Easy peasy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Really, Anthropologie?

I love some of your stuff, dear A, but some of your prices are seriously freakish.
My little one used to have special needs classes to help with his fine motor skills. One of his "jobs" was sorting balls (get your minds outta the gutter!) and stringing them on a cord, and I'm pretty sure he came up with something like this at one point, when he ended up knotting something that took the teachers 45 minutes to un-knot.

You're telling me I could have financed my boys' college education if I'd just given my youngest some string and balls? I could have my villa in the South of France by now? I could be a Real Housewife of Silicon Valley?

Apparently people will pay more than $400 for tangled balls. Who knew?

An awesome outfit post

This is from one of my favorite style blogs - Style Your Life. Today, Jen shares 5 outfits, 17 ways, go check it out!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I know what I did last weekend

So, a couple of weekends ago we were all sick as dogs. The boys were running around, not letting their coughs interfere with playing, but my husband and I were feeling like spit warmed over. I had a whole Sunday ahead of me and I decided to do something productive. I mean, more productive than adding to the used tissue pile.

The last time my fabric store had a flannel sale I snagged a few different pieces.
Blues were the dominant color, but I chose patterns that weren't too baby-ish. I'm kind of done with puppies and kitties and duckies at this point.

I made a few sets of jammies with my boys' initial on the t-shirt top.
They share the same first initial, so handing them down to little brother won't be a problem!

I also made a few fitted sheets and pillowcases

I found cute blue ribbon with moons and stars, I thought it fit the bedtime scheme, so I added it to the pillowcases
All in all I made 2 fitted sheets, 3 pillowcases, 3 sets of jammies and about 8 pajama pants. No, I didn't make them all on that Sunday, but I started then, which is the toughest thing to do, to get started.

I get this silly "frontier woman providing for her family" feeling whenever my boys wear or use something I've made. It's a great feeling.

handmade projects

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

We are spending tonight as a family, I have planned a scavenger hunt for the boys and some sweet prizes. Should be lots of fun! I also got some heart shaped pasta for dinner - ravioli (from Costco) for us and plain (from World Market) for the boys.

I did, however, put together a little board with an outfit for a fancy Valentine's dinner out. Yes, that is Kate Middleton's engagement dress, but in a lovely burgundy color, with classic accessories and my favorite perfume for dressy nights.
simple. classic. perfect

I am so excited about tonight! Hope the boys like their scavenger hunt!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Outfits of the week

In my neck of the woods, it gets warm around midday but mornings have been pretty chilly so I find myself bundling up for the school run, then slowly removing layers by pickup time.

Here are some ideas when the weather likes to keep you guessing!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A moment

This morning I was at my sons' school, helping out in my oldest's classroom. I listened to him and his classmates singing their days of the week and their months of the year. The last syllable in December lasts longer, and goes higher, and it always makes me smile, to listen to all those sweet young voices singing it.

As I left, I stopped by the office to buy some Valentines for him. My little one has no classes there on Monday but my oldest does. They're raising money by selling lollipops you can buy for $1 and they will be delivered to the classroom. I hope he likes them.

I went through the playground to get to my car and got sweet hugs from my boy, who was on recess. I also got some winks. Winks are awesome, and he does them so well. Then his BFF came up to me to get a hug, too.

I smiled as I got in my car, my boy and his friends playing in the cold, but sunny morning, their laughter a tender melody; my other boy learning more every day in his classroom, too.

It was a good moment. I love my life.
Weekend Bloggy Reading

Another reason to love IKEA

We're moving away from plastic containers in this house, and a goal for the year is to store things like beans, rice, pasta, etc. in clear containers in the pantry so I can better see what we have on hand.

IKEA has an awesome selection of glass storage jars and as much as I love The Container Store, IKEA has them beat in price.
I love the closure on the Slom jars, I think I'll pick up a couple here and there to build up my pantry storage.

I was in no way compensated for this post. IKEA have no clue who I am, I wasn't given money or anything for talking about their awesomeness. However, if they were to choose to give me money or products I would be like, totally psyched!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The 17,923th version of . . .

the Pottery Barn jewelry frame! I know, I know, you've seen similar knock-offs everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere, but ya know, I do love my deep, dark reds:
Yep, I used a rich glossy red for my frame, and I love it. Also, I used twine instead of wire to make it a little more of a contrast between the rustic twine and the gloss of the red.

I love the bold contrast between my bathroom wall and the glossy frame. Now I'm painting a little pot I found with the same red spray paint, and it will hold my daily cosmetics. A little update for very little money.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A tale of two tops

I recently tried on two tops at Old Navy, both in my favorite color amongst their selection:
I was initially going in because of the top on the right, I was looking for something tunic-y. What a disappointment!

The top on the right was HUGE. I don't mean one size too big for me. I mean I tried on their smallest size - XS - and it was still huge. Everywhere. Believe me, I am NOT an XS. The top on the left fit at my usual size, M. It also fit well at the shoulders, sleeves, boobs, everywhere.

I understand they are different shapes, but still, the same size should have fit me in both shirts. The top on the right should have fit a little looser throughout the body but the shoulder/upper sleeve area should have still fit me well. It didn't.

I ended up getting the top on the left, in three colors. Plum, taupe, and black. Like I've said before, when I find something I like, I get it in a few colors.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kitchen pretties

I almost forgot to post about this.
Or maybe I did and I can't remember?

How can that be? This was a big deal for me!
It only took me 6 1/2 years to decide what I wanted!

I finally found cute cabinet pulls and knobs I liked!
From Tarjay, wouldn't ya know it. I like how the oil-rubbed bronze finish accentuates the golden color of the wood.

That was my little news.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The fashion goal for the year

Last year was the year of the cardigan/outerwear. I got - both as gifts and purchases - some nice new cardies, sweaters, and even a peacoat. This year, I will be focusing on pretty tops and blouses. No more plain t-shirts here!

Luckily, there seems to be an abundance of pretty tops, just in time for Spring and Summer!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Could it be?

After years of empire-waist nightmares, could a proper waist be back in style?

I am digging these dresses from Old Navy. In fact, I think I might get one. Or rather, I might chase around the area for one because my Old Navy usually doesn't have the cute stuff on the website.

I am 5'1" and look 7 months pregnant when wearing empire-waist. I would love a cute little dress like this one to dress up and down in Spring and Summer. Sweet!