If you came to our house this afternoon around 3 PM, you'd find three little pink-dressed girls donning their princess hats, eating ballerina-topped cupcakes. If you stayed a while, you would've gotten a cupcake and some ice cream (eaten with a tiny princess spoon) and then watched the princesses get their nails painted shades of pink and red. One of the princesses kept calling Miles "Smiles" which cracked me up everytime I heard her say it. The birthday princess awoke from an afternoon slumber just in time to greet her guests. She wore only half of her birthday suit (no pants, just a diaper and shirt), how apropos.
She has been a lively one ever since she made her debut three years ago, and I don't see her slowing down anytime soon. Her funny faces, her butterball thighs, her love of all things feminine (along with Batman and monster trucks) is so endearing. She is relatively obedient, except when it comes to holding her Mama's hand in public and keeping her seatbelt on (oh, and letting me put a diaper on her before naptime). I love that Lucy-girl. Oh, I love her!


Filling the Cracks of Winter Time

I seem to have caught a case of the winter blues. They have crept in, making the pre-preschool-out-the-door shuffle more of an ordeal than usual. They appear at the end of the witching hour, about 4:45 PM, when I'm about to blow my top if my kids don't stop running around and hollering. It doesn't help that the sun hardly shines here in the winter. But, I'm trying to be proactive. Projects make happy. A clean house makes me happy. So, this week I've: cleaned my oven + stove....

...sewn a baby quilt out of fabric scraps for a first-time-expectant friend...

...and am getting ready for this Little Girl's 3rd birthday tomorrow. I've also thoroughly vacuummed the first floor (including underneath bookshelves and furniture), and cleaned out my fridge and freezer. What I found in numbers:
1 bear scout manual (tucked in the recesses of our couch)
5 bottles of mustard (in the fridge, including 1 dijon!)
2 bottles of ketchup
2 huge bottles chocolate syrup
lots and lots of toys and little doo-dads
Oh, and I vacummed out our heating vents in the front room and toy room. That about sums it up. For now...


Sink: Skirted Last Night

(above: bathroom before we moved in)

(above: the ugly, bent metal legs and hoses I was trying to hide)

(above: after the skirt)

Isn't that much better? It feels nice to have all that "schtuff" hidden beneath a soft white skirt.
(skirt inspiration here.)


On a Roll
And since I redecorated my living room, I figured I might as well organize it too. It's been a love/hate trip down memory lane, looking through photo albums (ugh! those ugly college photos!) and finding scraps of notes tucked inside books. I wonder if I'll ever acquire that vast collection of books I've wanted since I was little. Or maybe by the time I can afford that collection, I will just buy electronic books. At any rate, it feels good to sort and purge, even if it means visiting the crypt of my past.


From Drab to Fab: on a Budget
Here you have the before and afters of the two "bigger ticket" items in my living room redo. This little round table was a Goodwill find for $15. Not only is it old, but it has those little curvy feminine details I was going for. I sprayed it with several coats of white spray paint, a coat of ivory, and then a top coat of white. (I think it makes the white look deeper and older to have a layer of ivory underneath the pure white).

And the mirror was a Craiglist find for $30, which is a steal of you've shopped for mirrors lately. (I went to TJMaxx, Marshall's and several second-hand home furnishings stores and the cheapest large mirrors I found were at least $50). I bought it from an elderly couple and it didn't have any scratches or marks on it. Bonus. Again, some spray paint and voila. Rococo-modern mirror.


Ever-Changing Living Room Wall: Stilled

I decided I needed somewhere in my house to act as a grounding wire: to catch all the crazy ideas I have in my head. A place where change is inevitable, because my tastes change about as quickly as seasons and I get bored, fast. Meet my living room wall, the one above my couch, to be precise. I've changed her yet again. This time, I was going for a more feminine, softer look, to counterbalance the blocky, masculinity of the sometimes overpowering brown couches.

I got everything at thrift stores, an antique store bargain basement, and the mirror I found on Craigslist.

I'll do another post tomorrow with befores and afters. It was really fun putting this together. Honestly, I felt guilty hammering away in my pajamas this morning, it was so much fun. Now you know why I change it up so often. For the sheer thrill of creating.
Getting the Hand-tint Look with Photoshop

I love the style of this encaustic-tinted vintage photo.

So I found some instructions on the world wide web to do it in Photoshop. This is the first picture I did, so it's not super-good, but it was so fun to "color" my family picture. I felt like a little girl with her new box of Crayolas, picking colors that look vintage and making it look hand-tinted.

encaustic photo here
Photoshop tinting instructions here


We Meet Again

Usually I do one or two loads of laundry a day. Since today is a six-load-day I thought I would share some of my laundry quirks with you.

For instance:

I don't sort colors when washing. "Pour it in the pot" is my motto.

When folding clothes, the bulkiest items in the pile are folded first.

Underwear is folded last.

Travis' shirts must not be folded, but laid in a pile to be put on hangers.

What about you? Do you have any unusual laundering methods? I'd love to hear them. Excuse me while I go fold the laundry mountain on my dining room table...


The Man

Happy Martin Luther King Day! I just happened to find this plate in the bargain basement of an antique store today. (No, I didn't buy it for MLK, I am going to paint over him). How uncool of me, I know. I hope to show you what I've been shopping all over town for this week. Don't get your hopes up, but check back and see what I've been doing.


Saturday: In Living Color


Punk Rocker Transformation

I have to tell you why I took these photos (don't judge me for having sloppy joe mouth corners: I scrubbed and they wouldn't go away!) Anyways, as I was saying, I took them to show you what I looked like 5 minutes before I stepped out the door to go to a Relief Society meeting, and then after I hurried and put on my basic ready face (mascara, foundation, powder, eyebrows penciled in, eyeshadow cream, chapstick and some pomade on my hair). I always have a debate running in my head if I think women are prettier with makeup or without. Most of the time I don't wear makeup, but when I got to church or the doctor's office, it is a must. Are you an always-wearing-makeup kind of girl or do you prefer au naturale?


That Close

Morning ritual: singing a silly song (this morning it was the "Dora the Explorer" theme song) with my lips touching Miles silky cheeks. He leans in really close, tilts his head into me and holds really still while I sing quietly. That boy! He's golden.

(Except that the childcare worker lady at the gym said he was pulling all the kids hair and scratching them yesterday. Is he capable of doing such naughty things? :)


Lucy made the "big move" last weekend, you know, the one out of a crib into a "big girl" bed. (I think it was high time as she is days away from turning three). And, because we took down her crib and Finn now sleeps in Miles' room, I wanted to create a new look for Lucy's room. I was anticipating having to spend some money, but it all came together using things we already had, which was super nice.
I got the alphabet print from Sycamore Street Press last year at a local craft show.

The large ballerina painting (by my talented sister Emily) used to hang in our stairwell hallway, but now graces Lucy's room. Perfect for a little ("big girl") ballerina's room.


For a Baby Boy

I literally sewed all day yesterday (except to hand out snacks and do a preschool pick-up). It was such a wonderful break from the daily grind.

I gave this to a friend who is expecting a boy in mere weeks!
And the other item I worked on yesterday? One lucky person will just have to wait and see what arrives in his/her mailbox!


Living the Quiet(er) Life
I've thought alot about my New Year's Resolutions and have decided on one. To live quieter. To me, that means to listen more than I talk, to pause and reflect when my inclinations are to raise my voice and blurt out in anger, to sit and read more with my kids, to do things because they are right and not so that people will see what I do. It's a step back from the never-ending race to cross everything off the day's to-do list. It means doing less but living more fully. So, in this new year, 2010, I hope to relax a little more and slow down. Because we already have enough going on around here: I don't need to be the one stirring.


Clowning Around

I thought Lucy was napping, but alas, she managed to get all my tubes of lipstick in her bedside table drawer, paint some rouge on her face and she was even humming to herself when I caught her. Busted!


All Things New

I changed up my bed pillows a little. I sewed the shams on the large pillows in the back out of leftover curtain fabric. Then, I bought a bolster pillow at TJ Maxx and sewed a different, ruffly cover for it.

And, it was time for a little change-up in my dining room as well. I took down the thin wire that was my curtain rod, plus the thin white curtains, and made cream linen Roman shades for the windows.

I also hung some plates on the wall (apparently I never get sick of plates hung on walls...they're everywhere...in my kitchen, my living room, now my dining room). I got two at TJ Maxx and one the bottom one I had.

And look what came in the mail! I had this book made by Blurb for Miles' baby book. I am really impressed with how it turned out. It's nice to have the pictures part of the page instead of glued on. It feels more durable that way. I left lots of blank pages at the back to add more pictures and thoughts.