Monday, January 30, 2012

House Tour: Marissa's Dining Room

Occasionally I get the chance to work with my friend Marisa on design projects. Remember Scarlett's room? Marisa is her mama and has great style. Her whole house is classy and I love it all, but I now have a new favorite room.  I recently got a glimpse of her dining room, and I just need to say that I'm in love.

My questions were probably the same as yours:
1. How long did this take you?
2. How did you do it?
3. How (how?!) did you get your husband on board? ( #3 was really my first question)

Marisa was inspired by the powder room in a great little local boutique, dear lizzie. She took the concept and went crazy with a stack of vintage books and a box of staples. It wasn't a quick project (plan on a few days) but it has major impact with the feel of wallpaper and the added bonus of great texture. I wondered about the durability/practicality of this wall treatment (she does have 4 littles) so she showed me how easy it is to replace a page (just tear it off and staple on a new one, under the edge of the one above). Brilliant! As for her husband, he took a little while to warm up (a brave man just to consider the option) but as he saw the process evolve, and the positive reactions of friends, his enthusiasm caught up with the project.
Today's lesson: Be brave and bold as you create the space your family lives in--if it smiles at you, you know you did good.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

House Tour: Joanna and Adam

My darling sister in law, Joanna, has a great sense of style and impeccable taste.  I recently got to visit her family's home in Arizona, where she lives with her hubby, Adam, and 3 munchkins.  I fell in love with their comfortable, vintage-modern style.  I thought you might too.  

I adore this pink, vintage sofa. 

An old corbel, hung on the wall as a shelf.

This simple little cabinet holds necessities in their children's room.  She made the art herself.

Joanna hung these flashcards in the playroom.  To keep the line very straight, she stretched twine tightly between small nails every few feet.  She hung the cards with small binder clips.  Another trick she taught me:  scotch tape keeps things really straight.

Her workspace

Evidence that Joanna is a California girl is the layed-back style and vibrant color story of their home.  I'm still California dreaming of that pink sofa...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Vintage Children's Literature

 I'm always asking my sis, Kate, for recommendations on books.  She's a prolific reader and writer, who is working on her first novel.  This time, I asked her to share (with all of us) why she prefers vintage literature and to guide us to some of her kid-friendly favorites.

For me, the entire justification for a bookshelf's existence lies in pajamas and adventure -- mine or my kids. Sharing the story enlarges the world it occupies. Many of my favorite memories include reading aloud, my kids lounging around me, asking questions. "What's a milkman?" "Why do they keep saying 'Sir'?" "Why don't they just go to the store and buy one?"  I love vintage novels for the opportunity they give me to explain the daily life of another time. After reading the readily available (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, The Boxcar Children, Freddy the Detective) I looked for others in the same era. Following are some that inspire my family over and over again.

  • Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. The drawings bring the story to life for little kids (I think my youngest was two when I read this to them). Squeaky clean and fear-free adventure tales for boys and girls. Like The Andy Griffith Show in print!
  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. Almost a time travel fantasy, but one step better as the characters exist in “modern†(1950s) time, even though they live a turn-of-the-century lifestyle. Inspired my kids to dress up as the main characters for Halloween. Don’t miss the sequel, or the Melendy series, also by Elizabeth Enright.
  • The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron. This book on space travel pre-dates the moon landing. What boy doesn’t want to picture himself on a rocket with his best friend, on a mission to save the world?
  • Little Men by Louisa May Alcott. Pre-vintage and heavy on the morals, this is the city equivalent to Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie.  Both books portray solid family values, DIY know-how, and abundant details of households without modern conveniences.
  • My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Fantasy for the very young, this series focused on kindness and adventure won't get dusty on your bookshelf.
Stay posted tomorrow for an amazing use for vintage books--those ones that are less than remarkable but completely beautiful.  You wont want to miss this one!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hello, Texas!

And the winner is...Texas!

I can hardly wrap my brain around how quickly everything is happening (those organization goals have come in super handy!) and I am certainly not ready to say goodbye to everything and everyone I love here.  My family and friends have been so supportive and excited for this new adventure for our family.  Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm--you guys have been really awesome! 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Time to Get Serious

Next up is organizing my time.  I want to make sure that my time reflects my values, and that I can get my work done and still have time for play, too.  Also, I'd like to be able to focus on my kids when they get home from school and do projects, teach them something or play with them.  

My schedule is somewhat simple, allowing Mondays for anything food related (creating a menu, shopping, cleaning the fridge and cooking ahead what I can), Wednesdays for deep cleaning and Fridays for laundry and ironing.  Other than that, I just tidy on a daily basis and everything else fits in between.  That's where I get in trouble--being vague.  I have 2 sisters (sorry Charity and Noel) who are super organized and yesterday my sis Kate showed me her weekly plan.  It was very efficiently organized in her phone so she can stay focused wherever she is.  I'll bet you it's hanging on her fridge too.  Anyway, I loved the way she used her values to distribute her time, allowing time each week for the things that are most important to her.  Wanna be a peeping Tom like I was and see what she's up to?

Monday: Food (planning, shopping, chopping, cleaning out fridge),
                Friends (lunch date for me)
Tuesday: Cleaning (general -- bathrooms, dusting, floors)
                 Baths for kids
                 Fix stuff with Paul
Wednesday: Clothing (washing, ironing, mending, buying)
                       Serve someone
                       Friendsday Wednesday
                       Girls/Guys Night Out (a week for him, a week for me)
Thursday: Deep clean and purge (at least 3 hours)
Friday: Paper (bills, letters, filing, following up)
             Work on my calling
             Holiday plans (room mother parties, birthday cards or gifts, menus)
             Date night
Saturday: Baths
               Yard work?
Sunday: Scouts, Faith in God, Personal Progress
               Sunday night movie

Daily: walk Cricket, prepare lunch scriptures (yes, this is our scripture reading
time: a verse in a lunch box -- we can talk about it after school), make beds,
clean kitchen, the general tidy. Extra chores (clean van, put away piles, etc.)
are done by kids throughout the week.

Kind of amazing, no?  But I'm ready, 2012, and this goal isn't gonna take a stinkin' three years to conquer--I'm hoping it's more like three months.  I wish you luck on yours too, whatever you choose.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

How Do You New Year?

 I've had the same new year's resolution for three years running, and I finally did it this past year (slow down and enjoy the simpleness of life).  I kind of look at a resolution as a wish that you have control over, so for this year, I decided it was time to really ship shape up and get more orderly.  I'm not doing it because I need to (though I do), but I'm doing it because I want to (this is the key, don't you think?)

For me, I needed to organize my thoughts even more than actually organizing my surroundings.  I went super simple with my strategy--I jotted down everything that felt chaotic to me or that I felt wasn't as orderly as I would like it to be.  Each though went on a new card.  Then I made 4 columns--things to tackle right away (to give me some success), things to get to in the near future, things to do after my first 2 lists were done, and things accomplished.  I've been able to move a few things over to that last column and it felt awesome.  I'm such a visual person that a board like this helps me stay focused--you may be able to do the whole thing in one list if that works for you.

I conquered the daily paperwork/homework issue by turning my pantry into an office.  Remember my post about small office spaces?  Add this one to your bag of tricks:

My pantry, turned home office 
I couldn't indulge in the entire space, but because we don't have desk space in our kitchen I needed a spot to put the things we use every day.  I always use fun canisters and containers to hold colored pencils and markers because they're out all the time.  I like to choose pretty vessels and containers when I organize so I can enjoy them on a daily basis.  My files are held in the  vintage breadbox and I try to label things clearly so everyone in the family knows where to find things (and hopefully return them).

 Tomorrow I'll be posting about the rest of my resolution to live an orderly life--organizing my time to reflect my values.  Please weigh in with strategies you use to lick your home into shape.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Modern Christmas Time Capsule

I love when time can be frozen and a moment can be perfectly captured.  This project captures your family just as it is today, and holds it together for Christmases to come.  I actually did this tree with my kid's classrooms last year as their class decorations.

Here's what they started out looking like:

  Here's how we made them:  Everyone got the chance to bring anything they wanted to represent themselves--little tokens of something important to them.  They took turns placing them where they wanted them on the tree, and I used hot glue to hold them in place.  I used metal tree forms that I picked up second hand, but you could use anything you have shaped in a cone.  When every item was placed, I spray painted them in a hammered metal finish.  You could use any finish you like, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to spray prime before hand.  I was on a time crunch for mine, so I skipped that step. 

What are your family's favorite things, right now?  For us, it would be legos, pencils, cooking utensils, coins for collecting, little toy animals and musical instruments.