Who I’m Reading – Jan 2015 Ed.

yellow dried billy ballsAfter deciding to use only original images, I retired my monthly Blogger Spotlight series.  A bunch of text and a link without an enticing image (which I previously borrowed) to go along with it just didn’t seem to warrant a post on it’s own.

Well, after several months of using my own images I’ve gotten more comfortable creating my own images.  I try not to fuss about the image too much.  We can all read and my titles are pretty self explanatory (sorry if you came here and were expecting a post about flowers…).

While I still have my regular reads (A Cup of Jo, Chris Loves Julia, Emily A. Clark, House Tweaking, Style by Emily Henderson, etc.) every now and then I find a new-to-me blog that’s too good not to share.  The kind where you go back and read through the archives—it’s that good!

For me a big part of blogging has always been participating in a community and what better way than promoting the deserving work of others?

Annabode – Anna describes her style as “mid-century-boho-minimalist-Scandinavian.”  Need I say more?  Probably not but I’ll say more anyways.  She’s a designer and is always just a step ahead of the next trend that you’re about to fall for that you just haven’t put your finger on yet.  And I love the mini design history lessons!  She’s pretty design meets substance.

Enjoy It – Elise is a local blogger and her husband is in the Navy, too.  She makes stuff for a living (her words) and is completely uplifting and motivational in the non-cheesiest way possible.  Her message about ‘just starting’ is so powerful and she even recently launched her own day planner, too.  I also really appreciate her business savvy approach to all that she does.  And her style is pretty great, too.

House of Hipsters - I knew from blog’s name alone I would like this blog.  Cause anyone who would call themselves a hipster is probably doing it ironically.  Kyla does this hilarious series called I Make Emily Henderson Cry (and if that were true I’d probably make Emily depressed for days because even Kyla’s before photos look gorg to me!) and is one of the few people I know who can totally pull off decorating with photos of a rapper in her living room.  If you’re not already convinced, she made you a mixed tape.

Pepper Design Blog – This is another local blogger who seems to have this motherhood stuff worked out or at the very least offers some pretty helpful tips and a fresh perspective.  Morgan just had her third child and I’m following along on that journey intently.  And man, does she have creative vision!  I’m so impressed each space she tackles, especially her patio.

Pink Stripey Socks –  Leslie, a self-proclaimed Ph.D. dropout, thinks up the most endearing kids crafts that make you awwww out loud.  Her son is around the same age as my own so a lot of her crafts happen to be appropriate and interesting for my little guy, too.  I especially like how she weaves science and learning into so much that she does.

Just like my own blog, I sense my reading tastes veering towards more lifestyle blogs that encourage me to nourish my creative soul all the while being the best mom I can be.  Finding local bloggers is also really inspiring because I think it’s so easy to chalk up our design shortcomings to geographical restrictions.  Oh, those kind of plants can’t thrive in my garden.  Or, houses just don’t have that kind of character in the area I live in.  And really, that’s hardly ever the case.

Any new-to-you blogs you’re currently crushing on?  Please share!

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The January Cure: Week 3

We’re in week three of Apartment Therapy‘s The January Cure.  As a reminder, The January Cure is an assignment a day to get your home clean and organized.  Each task is published daily which forces you to stay on track (and keeps you me from getting overwhelmed).

This sort of seemed like a lighter week for me as a lot of the assignments were sort of already completed.  Don’t you hate when your homework is already done?  Not!

Assignment 10 – One DrawerI didn’t have a drawer that automatically came to mind for this assignment but I know I had been meaning to tidy up my craft cubby for some time so I straightened it out, recycled some packaging, consolidated some glue bottles and put things in baggies. before after cleaned craft cubby

Assignment 9 – The BedroomThis was surprisingly the most rewarding assignment so far and I totally didn’t expect it to be.  Our bedroom is the most bare bones room in the house so I didn’t think there would be much to it.  There were some spots I had been meaning to dust, namely the two ceiling fans and the window shutters, so I started with those.  The assignment said to clean the windows and I thought mine were clean enough so I was surprised by all the dirt!dust from windowsCleaning the ceiling fans, the shutters and windows alone literally made the room brighter.  I still can’t believe the difference.  So worth it.

Assignment 11 – Media FastUgh, this was the worst!  I played by the rules and turned off the TV and computer (still don’t have a smart phone) for one night.  I lied, I wrote an email to my husband but that was all!  I folded some laundry that I washed on Saturday (my clothes always seem to be the last to get put away…) and used up the rest of my wood grain contact paper refinishing some frames in anticipation of a gallery wall in the bedroom.

When the kids are in bed, I like to at least have some music on so it’s not so quiet without another adult around so this was the most un-fun assignment so far.  And of course, every ten minutes something popped into my head that I felt I just needed to pop on the Internet real quick for (but I resisted!).  Just how tall is Krysten Ritter?  How come so-and-so hasn’t shown up in my Facebook feed lately?  Are we still FB friends?!

Assignment 12 – Bathroom CabinetsI went through both our bathrooms’ vanities but I’ve been on top of those guys (and just recently did a big makeup purge) so there wasn’t anything to throw out or organize.

Assignment 13 – Create a Clutter Filter:  The concept of this one is basically to have a landing strip of sorts for everything to get dropped on upon entering your home.  I sort of recently already created one when I fashioned our entry way.  It’s working great and doesn’t leave much to be desired.

P.S.  Week 1 and Week 2 of The January Cure.

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Fruit Paintings + Tips for Maximizing Art

fruit art sock monkey boys roomSeveral months ago after my pre-schooler successfully started sleeping in his own bed, I suggested we commemorate his accomplishment.  Froyo?  A trip to Chuck E. Cheese? Whatever his little heart desired.  I was surprised when he said he wanted to put “picture frames” on the wall above his bed.  Really?  Cause I was kinda hoping for some frozen yogurt…

I gave the pair of gold geometric paintings I had made for the wall above the couch in our last condo several coats of white paint and tried to get some buy-in from the little one to make some Enzo Mari inspired graphic fruits.  I saw them years ago in a Domino magazine and I’ve never been able to shake them out of my head since.

I had my son pick out the acrylic paints for the apple and pear he was going to paint.  pre-schooler painting pairI drew the outline of the fruits in pencil and let him direct me where to put little blobs of paint on the canvas.four year old painting green fruitGoing into this, I really didn’t know how they were going to turn out.  I think that’s true of any arts and craft you do with kids when you have an end result in mind.  They’re pretty huge paintings compared to a little four-year-old body and like many creative projects, it’s easy for them to take a turn into something else completely.child completed fruit paintingHe did a pretty good job sticking to the directions and staying within the lines.  Once the paintings had dried, I cleaned up the outline with some white paint and added on the dark brown stems.  I love the texture from his little brush strokes.  Aren’t kids just the best little artists?modern apple pear painting by childThe black glossy frames work so well with the paintings.  Stick anything in a black frame and it takes whatever is inside to a whole new level.

My placement of these paintings was pretty strategic.  I basically wanted to maximize their enjoyment as much as possible.  So here are my tips for getting the most out of any art:graphic pear artThink about vantage points from other rooms.  Personally, the pear piece is my favorite (I’m a huge fan of yellow green) so I hung it to the right of the apple so I can see it from our own bedroom.  Even though the painting isn’t in our bedroom, I enjoy it from there all the time.displaying art across from mirrorHang art from across a mirror.  When I posted the state of my little guy’s room a couple months ago, many of you gave thoughtful recommendations of how to bring more color in.  I wanted to start with a black and white foundation and bring in colorful accessories; it was definitely never my intention for it to be devoid of color.  Placing this pair of fruits across from a mirror gives us four paintings for the effort of just two.pear fruit print marimekko Iltavilli wallpaperMy son is pretty thrilled with his paintings and whenever we have some down time or are in a decorating mood he’ll ask to paint some grapes or bananas for some of the other walls in his room.  It’s too funny!  That’s why I think kids need a little decorating direction.  If it we’re up to him, his room would be a produce isle by now!

There may be more commemorative decorations in his future since shortly after creating his fruit paintings he found his way back in our bed.  Boo!  He was doing so well for a while but then the smoke alarm in his room randomly went off one night and it took some time just for him to get comfortable being in his room again let alone sleep in there.

And as you may have noticed, the computer desk is out and the small futon couch we had in his previous room is back in!  I can’t tell you how excited I am for this switcheroo.  Things are not only finally coming together in his room but as a result our room, too.

P.S.  The state of the big boy room part 1 and part 2.

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The January Cure: Week 2

We’re already half way through Apartment Therapy‘s The January Cure (see last week’s progress here).  If you’re new here or unfamiliar with The January Cure it’s basically a list of daily tasks to help clean and organize your home, yaknow, get the new year off on the right foot.  Assignments are released daily so it’s all real time blogging and no skipping ahead.

Assignment 5 – Pick a Project: I’ve been meaning to recover and install the wall sconces in our bedroom since we moved in.  I bought the fabric, stripped off the wallpaper lampshade treatment I DIYed then stopped right there.  Lighting is one of the things I really want to focus on integrating into our home.  I just know it will greatly improve the quality of each space.

Assignment 6 – The Kitchen: Yes, the whole kitchen.  We had three days to tackle the kitchen and I’ve been slowly chipping away at it.  As of this post, I’ve decluttered and cleaned two drawers (I kinda dig the ’70s green shelf liner, I’m likely the only one).decluttered drawer 70s green shelf liner I cleaned the fridge both inside and out.  It’s something I do on a semi-regular basis anyways but I hadn’t gotten to the freezer in several months.clean organized fridgeI cleaned the microwave and the stove top which stayed cleaned for about a hot minute.cleaned stove topI also cleaned up the counters, moved some things around and put some things away.  I had to keep reminding myself it’s not about perfection, but improvement the whole way through,  I didn’t complete nearly as much of the kitchen as I would have liked to but it feels better opening just the two drawers that I worked on.

Assignment 7 – Plan a Get-TogetherAlready done!  My husband is returning from a deployment next month and some family are coming from out of town at the same time.  It’s gonna be a partay!  Karaoke will likely be involved.

Assignment 8 – Surface Sweep: The idea was to set a timer (for about three minutes and no more than 10) and clean surfaces of clutter.  I think I glossed over this assignment in my ongoing cleaning frenzy.  I love the concept and am always surprised by how much I’m able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

Assignment 9 – Work on Your Selected Project: I had all my materials out to work on my wall sconces but my friend came over and we ended up eating, drinking and chatting the night away.  Oops!  I’ll have to save this one for next week.

I have some catching up to do this week and I’m going to try and find a good time I can consistently implement a daily surface sweep.  I am the worst about cluttering surfaces.  A clean and empty surface is like a magnet for clutter.  I just hate it!  Improvement, not perfection, right?

Jennifer singature - Pea Jenny Script