Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Decorating the Girls Room

I have many posts to get to (Santa, the tree, etc.), but short on time. The girls stayed in Illinois with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days while Dave and I headed home to Minneapolis so Dave could work. Meanwhile, I got a few days to focus on decorating the girls room as a surprise for their return on Saturday.

I actually remembered to take a "before" picture of the completely un-decorated room.

The layout is actually pretty functional for now, so that won't really change. It's all about what's coming in. Remember the new campaign dresser? That's going in (the hardware is all cleaned up, making a huge difference). Plus the raspberry "velvet" that I ordered online and that turned out to be more of a microfiber or faux suede. Curtains are made, lamps have been found, progress, progress, progress.

Can't wait to share the "after"!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The belated birthday post

In recent years, my birthday hasn't felt much like something of note. You know, a day like any other. And this was shaping up to be more of the same. I do not say this with bitterness, or sadness, or any other -ness that might denote negative feelings. I say it in the matter-of-fact way that I feel it. So many other, bigger, better milestones have been hit in the lat 5 years, my own birthdays pale in comparison. Like many other "special" days for me, the trend has been to take it as a "me" day, to go out, by myself, shopping or manicuring or even just running errands in peace. These days I have a lot of that kind of me time--while I always seem to be busy, it is not busy with a job, and time for errands is a plenty. I did get to bring my mom along for that kind of lovely meandering day, and lunch--a bonus of our new proximity. Dave and I were planning a night out together this time around, but my birthday fell on a Friday, and we forgot to call sooner, and out sitter was busy, and, well, no date night.

So we did something revolutionary. We celebrated my birthday as a family. I know, this is the obvious thing to do for so many of you, but for the first time in my life as a mother, it seemed like such a nice thing to choose to spend time with my kids on my special day instead of cashing in my chips for time off.

We went bowling. A first for the girls. I had noticed a throwback bowling alley on my way to bring the girls to the doctor last month, and it came back to me in a flash of inspiration. They have a little ramp that the girls got to send their balls down, and bumpers to keep them in the lane, and you can order dinner right at your table, lane-side. Eleri got cranberry juice and Clio got chocolate milk, so they were happy....and hyper. But they took turns nicely and waited patiently and didn't get upset if they didn't get a lot of pins down. The people in the lanes on either side of us were charmed by the children. And I bowled okay. Even broke 100. It was a nice birthday.

Though I will admit, it would have been nicer if the snow hadn't rolled in that night, closing airports and keeping Marni from getting here for the show-up-on-the-doorstep surprise she had planned with Dave. Just the thought of it is so wonderful: a night of bowling with my family followed by a weekend of girl talk, good restaurants, wine, and cake with my maid of honor.


Monday, December 20, 2010

The Number 1 Reason We Moved to Minnesota

Okay, maybe there were other, equally important factors. But seriously, cousins are the best. This is the first group of pictures of the lot of them together.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Accidents

I've been slowly but surely thinking my way through design for the girls' room, and in the process I ordered a great looking and super inexpensive cotton pile rug from I was inspired by this photo from Domino (We inherited a similar shade of blue on the walls and I already have raspberry microsuede for headboards and love the total effect)

as well as an outfit that Clio loves to wear which includes a white top with black stripes and a red sequined heart and a tiny floral print skirt (which in my mind translates to Liberty of London for Target bedding or accessories, though of course I missed my moment on that and would have to shell out for it on ebay one piece at a time. I never do things the easy way, do I?)

So I was really excited to find a 5x7 black and white bold striped rug for only $100.

Now, I was initially skeptical about ordering rugs online. You can't feel the pile, you can't really see the color, and the pattern could show up much more (or less) pronounced than it looks in photos. But I ordered one for the basement with great success, and found that I was hooked. There is just so much VARIETY on overstock, the prices are uniformly reasonable, shipping is fast and practically free, and you can search by size, color, pattern, style, material, and price point, which is really tremendous.

Well, fast forward to last week when my black and white striped rug arrived, only.... it was BROWN and IVORY. Damn internet. Seriously, under no circumstances could this rug be considered in the black family, and the color scheme just sort of felt muddy and, well, wrong in the girls room.

But guess what? Inspiration struck and I tried the rug in our bedroom, where I must say, it looks fabulous.

Don't you think? I have been using an old sheepskin rug in there, which I was kind of digging, but my grandmother's white upholstered boudoir chairs will migrate back into the bedroom when the living room loveseat arrives, and that will all be a bit monochromatic for me. The fun thing is that I NEVER would have thought to buy this rug for this room. So much brown. So much strong, graphic pattern. Just proves once again that more is more.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little Photographers

Clio got her very own "Crama" for Christmas two years ago, and I posted some "Clio's-eye view" shots here back then. Eleri has now discovered the joys of digital photography, and both girls have been examining our house and family through the lens.

I love the angle of these shots, corresponding with the height of the photographers.

There are lots of slightly-too-close shots, like these.

The camera also takes an especially long time to actually take the picture, leading Dave and I to get sillier and sillier as we wait to be immortalized on film.

And if that weren't bad enough, Clio has been posing us. No, we don't naturally stand that way.

As for Eleri? Well, she hasn't fully grasped the concept of aiming the camera, and her pictures mostly look like this.
Still, I love that we have this view on their perspectives, and think Clio is ready to try the "grown up" canon elf.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Making a Tree Topper

Clio and I have been reading Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, in which Nancy accidentally breaks the tree-topper she bought during the summer with all of her birthday money ("it's never too early to start planning for Christmas!"), and her grandfather helps her make a new one from paper plates and pipe cleaners, telling her that she can pass it down to her children some day. Clio is, naturally, obsessed with this "heirloom" tree topper, and has been begging me to make one of her very own. She has observed that most tree toppers are either angels or stars, and determined that this year she would like an angel--and next year she will make a star.

The girls are lucky enough to have their very own silver and pink tinsel tree in their room--my mom spotted it in a store window when she met Clio and I to see Enchanted in the Highland movie theater last week (the theater my mom used to walk to for films when she was a girl), and she brought us in after the movie and asked Clio to pick a color. I know, it's shocking that she chose pink.

At Target this weekend I let them each choose an ornament from the $2 bin. Eleri chose a Christmas Tree and Clio chose a stocking (or, as she has been saying, a sock or a socking.)

Tonight after school we went about making an angel for said tree with craft foam and craft "jewels." I must say, I'm getting a TON of mileage out of this craft foam that I bought--and did not use--for a project for Clio's birthday party last summer.

First, I drew a half-circle on yellow foam (Clio's chosen color) for the skirt, and Clio cut it out.

Then I cut two torsos from sparkly blue foam that has a sticky back, and wings from non-sticky green foam. Clio decorated the wings with the letter R, and I sandwiched it altogether while Clio was decorating the skirt with bits and shapes of glitter foam that she cut herself. I cut a white oval for the face, and used green glitter foam for the halo, again sandwiching two pieces sticky-side together to remain glue-free. Clio drew a face, and added some jewels to the front of the wings.

Next I looped the decorated half circle into a cone around this body, stapling it at the back. Clio cut a piece of green grosgrain ribbon for a belt, and we used a dot of glue at the back to secure it.

How cute is that?

I have to say, I am proud of myself (probably more than I should be) for letting Clio do this on her own without me interfering to make it look for "perfect" and polished. This is about 100% Clio, and I think it looks fabulous.

Plus, she was so proud putting it up on top of her little tree.

Outfit of the Week

I must say, Eleri is really coming into her own in this "column"

I won!

You know how people in design magazines (home or fashion) are always talking about finding the PERFECT authentic designer whatever on the curb and bringing it home to love? Kate Bosworth is on the cover of Lucky this month, and the story includes a photo of a vintage Michael Kors skirt that she got in Detroit (or somewhere random) for $15. And while I have to wonder just how vintage Michael Kors gets, I can relate to her sentiment that "they didn't even know what they were sitting on." One woman's trash is another woman's design magazine nonchalance.

Well. I'm coming to the end of my decorating budget, and I had JUST been complaining to Dave how I never fid what I am looking for for a steal, when I found exactly the right 70s campaign-style dresser on Craigslist for $75. Not super cheap, but also WAY cheaper than a new dresser or a great vintage dresser in a store. I immediately called the phone number only to be told that it was going up for AUCTION. The upside: I would probably get it "even cheaper." The downside: I would have to wait more than a week, and risk losing out on it altogether. As the week progressed, I was the only bidder, and the price was a cool two bucks. And I realized: they didn't even know what they were sitting on! There was some action in the middle there, but guess what? I won. Oh, yeah.

Final price: $35.
(plus tax and commission, making the actual out of pocket cost around $42. Oh, and bonus: its from the jobs foundation, which works to maintain living-wage jobs, so its almost like making a charitable donation, to boot.)

It will probably go in the girls' room (but it may end up in our room, who knows?) I'm thinking of painting it white, nicely offset by those brass corners and drawer pulls. Won't that be cute with pale blue walls and raspberry headboards?

Look at me, creating yet another project before I have completed the dining room curtains or even begun the headboards. But it feels like it might just be coming together.

Next up: hauling my butt out to Plymouth to pick up the dresser. I sure do hope they help load up the car.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Face Paint

It's starting to look like Clio has two modes for the camera: shrieking "Don't take my picture!!!!!!!!" and throwing her hands up in front of her face, and total, utter ham.

Dave took the girls to the Children's Museum this weekend for a little much-needed Daddy time (while I had some much-needed Mommy time at home), and I was surprised that they came home having painted their faces. Clio has a short history of starting to get her face painted and then changing her mind mid-stream; perhaps the difference here is that the paint was self-administered?

Whatever the cause, I think I may have found the cover for this year's Christmas photo book.

Next up: Headboards

I can admit that I am better at starting projects than finishing them. Better yet at dreaming them up than actually starting them. Which is why Dave has told me in no uncertain terms that he will not help me cut the plywood for the girls' headboards until after I have sewn the dining room curtains. (12 yards of beautiful chartreuse silk has been hanging by clips for months now. In past rooms, I have pinned up curtain fabric and then never took the project further, but my sister-in-law, a designer and maker of beautiful curtains, has asked me to please not do that to this fabric.)

Still, it can't hurt to get a visual, right? Oddly enough, I'm no perfectionist when it comes to this kind of thing--I'm more of an eyeballer--it's more to get an idea of the right scale and shape.

Cute, right?

I'll use the raspberry "velvet" that I ordered online online to discover that it was more of a microsuede--not great for the living room chair for which it was intended, perfect for headboards in a little girls' room.

I'll share photos if the actual headboards ever make it to fruition.

In the meantime, enjoy these rare shots of Clio hamming it up.

An actress, perhaps? Believe me, her crocodile-tears performances are already Oscar-worthy.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The girls woke up a bit under the weather yesterday, with Clio's fever clocking in at 102. Combined with the icy roads advisory in effect all morning, it was clearly time for some house-bound activities.

Clio had recently noticed a small city beautification project on the way to school: a number of decorative tile mosaics embedded along a curb. I told her they were called mosaics, that we could look at pictures of more of them online, and that maybe we could even make some. I thought I'd pick up a kit at Michael's, but necessity being the mother of invention and all, I realized I had everything I needed to make my own kit.
We started with a pile of glittery craft foam with sticky backs, and cut them into long strips and then crosswise into small squares. Clio and Eleri did a great job of sorting them into tupperware cups. Then we got to work.

In planning our designs, I tried to show Clio some examples online, but she was pretty sure that she knew what to do and therefore did not need such instruction/ inspiration. Sure enough, she dove right in with this strong graphic line across the paper.
She added some flowers,
And decided she would "cover every part of the black," ending up with a sculptural effect in the corner.

Eleri, meanwhile, made some play-doh worms.
All of this kept the girls occupied through until lunch, and Clio even needed to put on some finishing touches after we ate.

As for me, well, here's mine. Dave said "Honey, did you make some stylized flowers?"

I guess he does read this blog after all.

All those little stickers produce quite a pile of little squares of white paper. They would make excellent confetti, should you have a use for such a thing. I considered saving ours for just such a purpose, but quickly determined this was crazy, then considered using it on the spot, but knowing what the cleanup would entail, I decided this was insane.

We'll just enjoy our mosaics without the accompanying confetti celebration.