Marimekko Inspired Floral Wreath for $3

1 - Marimekko Uniko inspired Floral Pool Noodle Wreath - Brave New HomeWhen I was unpacking boxes (yes, we moved over a year ago and some things are still in boxes…) I came across a black felt wreath I had started waaaay back when I had participated in Lindsay‘s 31 Day Modern and Fresh Fall Home Tours.

I’m really trying to stay away from crafts and focus my efforts on more permanent home decor and improvements but since this wreath was half done I figured I may as well finish it.

As it’s clearly no longer fall, I thought about what would look good on a black felt wreath.  Marimekko’s Unniko, meaning poppy in Finnish, flower pattern (which just turned 50!) immediately came to mind.

To make this wreath, you will need a pool noodle (I got mine from the dollar store), duct tape, cardboard, tooth picks, a hot glue gun, ribbon or fabric and a couple sheets of felt (they’re about 20 cents a sheet).  So the total cost should be somewhere around $3 since I’m guessing most of you already have most of these items on hand.2 - materials for marimekko inspired wreathFirst take your pool noodle and duct tape the ends.  No need to cut the foam or anything like that.  Just bend and snap tape.3 - pool noodle duck taped into wreath formThen take strips of felt (I cut strips lengthwise from my black sheets of felt), wrap them individually around the pool noodle and hot glue them in place.  Repeat, repeat, repeat until you’ve completely covered your pool noodle.4 - cutting flowers from feltThen trace your flower on your felt.5 - felt pieces of unniko flowerThese are the pieces I cut to assemble my flower.6 - completed marimekko pink felt flowerThen just hot glue the pieces together.  In the end, the stems didn’t really add anything to the wreath so I left them off.7 - gluing cardboard to back of felt flowerThen I cut cardboard (I’m sure many of you parents instantly recognize this kid favorite pasta box) for each flower and glued it on the back to help give the felt flowers more structure.6.5 - arranging felt unniko flowers on black wreathNext, arrange the flowers how you will want them to appear on your wreath.8 - adding toothpick to pack of felt flowerCut the end of a tooth pick and hot glue it to a few of the flowers that you want to pop out in the foreground.  This will give your wreath a bit more dimension.9 - poking hole into wreath formsThe toothpick alone will not penetrate through the felt and pool noodle so use some sort of pokey tool (I used a mini screwdriver) to create a hole.10 - wreath with unikko flowers attachedThen go around and fill in the rest of the flowers.  The majority of them will be glued directly onto the wreath.11 - adding ribbon to hang wreathTo hang the wreath, I used some black and white fabric but a ribbon would work just as marimekko flower wreathYes, the wreath will be so lightweight that you can actually hang it with washi tape alone.felt unniko flower wreathDon’t the flowers kind of seem reminiscent of butterflies somehow?modern pink red flower pool noodle wreathI think this is a fun wreath to display towards the end of winter but not quite yet spring.  I’ve never been one for the typical spring color palette of pastels so something a little bolder like this is definitely more my style.using fabric and washi tape to hold wreathBlack and white goes so well with Marimekko’s Unniko print.  The geometric lines add a nice contrast to the more organic flowers.graphic floral felt pool noodle wreathI think I may even display this is my daughter’s room when it’s past season.  It’s so pretty!felt red pink black pool noodle flower wreathThis post may be linked to any one of these link parties.

P.S. Egg carton wreath and another summery pool noodle wreath.

P.P.S. My Marimekko Unikko wallpapered closet makeover.

LOVE Art with Baby Foot Prints

robert-indiana-inspired-love-baby-foot-print-artLast weekend I asked my four-year-old how he wanted to celebrate Valentine’s day and much like his response to commemorate sleeping in his own bed, he wanted to make some art!  He also wanted to eat at a restaurant for both lunch and dinner (two kids + one adult + a restaurant on Valentine’s Day = uh, no thank you).  A penchant for creating art and incessantly eating out, yeah that’s my kid alright!materials-for-love-foot-print-artI decided to go with something modern that both kids could help create.  I used Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture as inspiration.

For this project, you’ll need a canvas and some black and white acrylic paint.  I’ve been going a little art crazy since stumbling upon these heavily clearanced canvases at the craft store so you can expect a lot more art tutorials coming your way in the near future!sketching-robert-indiana-love-on-canvasI started by just sketching out the letters L and E of the word LOVE intending to use the side of my four-year-old’s hands for the O and the baby’s feet for the V.using-side-of-kids-hand-to-make-artOf course, it was way easier getting my four-year-old to cooperate (and not get black paint all over the place).  The baby’s feet took two tries.painting-love-art-with-kidsTo get the feet to look more graphic and less like an ink stamp, I went over them again with acrylic paint once they dried.correcting-kids-artI never would have said anything about the O but my son, who was very involved with the whole process, looked over my shoulder while I was photographing our progress and said, “Uh, mommy, that O is kind of ugly.”  So with his permission we mixed some grey paint and simply painted on an O instead of trying to stamp one with his better!modern-love-art-black-white-baby-foot-printIt’s sort of hard to tell from the photos but all the whites are actually shades of definitely need to figure out some pretty way to frame this piece because it’s a can’t believe how big our baby’s feet are getting already, sniff sniff.  It’s going by so much faster this second time around, I swear.modern-love-art-black-white-baby-foot-printI think I need to squeeze in some more of these hand print type projects before my kids get any bigger!

A Day in the Life

Honest moment here, this is my fourth attempt at doing a day-in-the-life type post.  It’s kind of like when you’re getting your photo taken by a professional photographer and they tell you to act natural and you suddenly don’t know what to do with your hands.  Or your face for that matter.  You get all self-conscious and being natural suddenly feels contrived.

Plus, it’s really hard remembering to keep track of the million little things you do!  By five o’clock I always seem to trail off and get so engulfed in our nighttime routine that I lose track of time.  Anyways, here goes nothing!

Being a stay-at-home mom each day is dynamic and different.  I say that to my own surprise because I never thought I could handle not having an outside-the-home job.  I really thrived working and I loved going to work every day (even Mondays!) so by the association fallacy (if X then Y) I reasoned I wouldn’t enjoy not working. Quite the opposite.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

6:50am Wake up and nurse the baby.  She goes back to sleep in our bed and we (including my four-year-old who has assumed a place in my bed in daddy’s absence) sleep a bit more.drinking-hot-water-throughout-dayOnce we’re up, I make breakfast for my son while he dresses himself (uniforms make life so much easier!).  I start boiling my first pot of hot water for the day.  I aim to drink at least 64 oz. of water a day.

7:50am I take him to preschool and it’s chapel day.  We’re a bit late because I’m chatting with the other moms so I walk him in and he finds a seat next to his best friend.  From across the pew, the teacher mouths to me to move him somewhere else.  Those two are little rascals when you get them together! teenage-mutant-ninja-turtle-lunch-boxAll the boys are collectively into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which me and the other moms have a hard time understanding because none of them actually watch the show.

8:10am Return home, do dishes and clean kitchen.  I set up the baby (she’s almost nine months old now) with some snacks in the high chair but after a while she wants to come down.  She’s usually a happy camper in front of the reflective oven.  She has some fresh pineapple and I reason that it doesn’t matter if it’s a sticky mess because I need to mop the floor anyways.  So, so I typically make myself a big breakfast (which usually consists of lunchtime fare) since I don’t always manage to squeeze in a lunch.  I have a leftover slice of pizza and try making my own garlic butter dipping sauce (the sole reason I order from Papa John’s).  My husband doesn’t like pizza so we have a pizza picnic and watch Frozen almost weekly when he’s away.  overstuffed-couch-cushionI have my breakfast on the couch (a big no-no but no one is around to police my own rule) and I mentally shake my fist at the overstuffed couch cushion that takes up half the depth of the seat.  I remind myself of Emily Henderson’s recent post on why people buy these sad couches and why they shouldn’t do it and encourage myself to get something more tailored.

I get in about 20 minutes of Dance Moms with my slice of pizza.  I love me some reality TV and finding something to watch in the sea of choices that is Netflix can be daunting so I tend to settle.

9:10am I play with the baby a bit and put her down for her only regular nap of the day.  She’ll nap at other times but it’s more sporadic in time and duration.

9:35am  I check my emails and do other obligatory adult stuff like scheduling appointments.  This time flies by and further proves that being on the computer is a giant time suck for me.  If I weren’t tracking my time I would have thought I was only on for five minutes total (it was 25).

10:00am  The baby wakes up and I change her into her clothes.  I play with her and just soak her in.  I love mornings especially for our one-on-one time together.  I always make it a point to spend at least 20 to 30 minutes a day just savoring her little being and enjoying her company. baby-in-oversized-sunglasses 10:20am I do some power cleaning with the baby on my hip because she’s had enough of floor time.  I vacuum most of the house and mop the kitchen.  I vacuum, mop, repeat the kitchen floor four times (partially because of the pineapple mess from earlier)!  I think I’m doing something wrong and make a mental note to check online for a better vacuum (I’m using the one I bought for my college dorm).vacuuming-with-baby-on-hipI also make myself a cup of coffee and read this article my mom highlighted and passed on to for me about personal finance.  Me and my husband are big into business and real estate and I myself am a bit more into personal finance.  I know from a glance the article will be superficial but I make it a point to glean over it because I’m sure my mom will ask me about it later.wallstreet-journal-personal-finance11:00am  Nurse the baby.  Girls are so much easier (faster) to feed than boys!

11:15am My dad stops by for a visit.  He’s been doing more of that since he spontaneously retired.  He’s really great with babies.  It may be their shared penchant for napping.  I chat with my dad a bit then head out to donate some items.  trunkload-of-goods-for-donationI just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (and yeah, it is life changing) and have been purging even more than usual.  I tend to purge a lot when my husband is deployed because he has a stronger aversion to letting go of things than I do and because I always strive to welcome him back to a home nicer than the one he left.

12:15pm Pick up my little guy from pre-school and as always, he had an awesome day.  I am so thankful for his teachers!

12:30pm Come home, make him a snack and have some quiet time (in which he proceeds to ask be about five questions a minute anyways).  He recently phased out his nap which has been a big adjustment for me.  Once my son is home I feel like the frantic pace of trying to get everything done and cleaned in the morning comes to a screeching halt.  My dad is out for a walk with the baby and stays a bit longer before returning home.overexposed-out-of-focus-portaitI let my son take a photo of me using my DSLR camera specifically for this blog post.  He shot in auto mode.  He’s been asking to use my camera again ever since, little sweetie.

2:30pm The weather has been weirdly hot so we decide to go to the beach.  We stop by a Rita’s that recently opened on our way there.  Oh man, best frozen custard ever!  This is somewhat of a new-to-California phenomenon.  I had been seeking frozen custard out every time we left the state so I’m happy to finally have some available.ritas-custard-in-cup-holder2:50pm We get to the beach and set up near a playground.  I’ve been feeling off all week (maybe I’m coming down with one of the many colds that my kids have been passing back and forth?) and am hoping the fresh air will do all of us some good.  I have my good camera with me so I snap some photos of the kids during golden hour, that magical hour of soft, gold natural light right before sunset.beach-at-golden-hour4:50pm Return home.  It’s my little guy’s coveted TV time.  It’s my biggest bargaining chip with him.  Right now he’s into Leap Frog, Lego Friends (which seems to bother everyone because it’s a show intended for girls but I feel neutral towards him watching it) and Julius Jr.  While he watches, I feed the baby rice cereal and get her ready for bed.  I prefer not to leave him alone with the TV (even with kid settings) but when I’m solo parenting as I call it, I rely on that time to catapult our night time routine.

Typically, I exercise with YouTube videos from 4-5pm but like I said, I’ve been feeling a bit off.  With the sudden temperature change I also try to take it easy as that can be one of my migraine triggers.  All that is to say, I didn’t exercise today :P unless you count cleaning while carrying a 20 lb. turkey.

6:10pm I prepare leftovers for my son’s dinner and put the baby to bed.  While my son eats at the kitchen counter, I wash dishes and tidy up.  I take my dinner after the kids go to sleep (I know, eating later is not great for the metabolism) but I really like to have at least one meal in peace where I can enjoy my food instead of just scarfing it down.

6:30pm Bath time and more regular night time ritual type stuff.

7:30pm With good behavior my son is allowed to pick out two books for bed.  Right now he’s really into my old Barenstain Bears books which I don’t mind at all.  They’re the kind of books with a moral to the story.  He goes to bed easily.

8pm I make myself one of my go-to meals: half a cucumber, homemade, tahini-tastic hummus and vegetarian buffalo “chicken” wings.  My go-to meals are always simple stuff that I keep on hand and foods that can be eaten at room temperature (for when you don’t get the chance to sit down and you’re squeezing in a bite here and there).  I finish the rest of the Dancing Moms episode.cucumber-homemade-hummus-morning-star-buffalo-chicken-wingsAfter my dinner, I clean up and tidy a bit more.

9:30pm Hop on the computer.  This is my prime-time blogging time.  I didn’t do much in the way of blogging today but I check and answer emails, edit a few photos, pay some attention to my social media accounts, etc.  And then I do a lot of non-essential, totally fun computer stuff like Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

I write my husband a short email.  He hasn’t had much time on the computer lately so we haven’t been able to communicate as much as I would like.  A lot of my friends and family assume that since we live in this digital age we are able to communicate freely and regularly but that is far from the case.  A concise email every day or so from him is pretty much the norm.

11:00pm  Call it a night.  Usually I’d stay up a good bit later but like I said, I’m not feeling 100% so I’m trying to rest up.  The baby wakes up one to three times a night (down from five to six times a night before I moved her to her own room!) so I’ll likely be up again in another two hours or so.

Overall, this was definitely one of my cushier days.  My dad came over to help and I didn’t have any appointments or errands to run.

I love reading other bloggers’ day-in-the-life type posts (they’re sort of some of my all time favorite posts) especially those stay-at-home-mom types who I hold on a pedestal because they seem to have to all together (and I myself feel like such a noob).  I find them demystifying in their ordinariness and typically end up feeling that we have a lot in common.  I hope you feel somewhat the same!

Our Home One Year In

black and white rancher roof blue skyWhen we moved in last February I gave myself the seemingly generous deadline of a year to get our house to a point where I would at least be comfortable photographing it in its entirety and finally updating the all important Home Tour page.

Well, we’re at the one year mark and I feel like I’m just now ready to roll up my sleeves.  I have been steadily chipping away at home projects but it’s been slow going.

When we first moved in, I was pregnant with our second and my ever present sciatica made it painful to walk let alone lug furniture from room to room.  Oh, I so do not miss my waddle…baby playing on kitchen floorWhen we welcomed our daughter last summer my attention naturally shifted to taking care of a newborn.  For me, the adjustment to having a second child was infinitely easier than welcoming our first child.  It just didn’t turn my world upside down the same way but of course it was (and continues to be) an adjustment.

The Hubs has been deployed quite a bit.  When he is home, he is rightly recharging and we haven’t tried to squeeze in anything major in the way of home projects.

In my husband’s absence I took on managing the condo that we rent out which required its fair share of attention.  Paired with the upkeep required to keep this ’60s home livable, it often felt like all-things-home-related were coming at me from all sides and not in the fun picking-out-paint-colors kind of way.little boy rain boots gardening mudAll that is to say that our house didn’t get the type of attention I would have hoped for.  And that’s completely understandable.

That being said, we did make some progress towards our house this year (much of which surprisingly happened in the first few days following our move) mostly in the way of flooring and paint.  We also began the tedious task of updating all the electrical outlets and light switches. It was minimal but it was still progress. 

I am glad and thankful to have this year behind us.  Things are finally starting to fall into place and a flow is beginning to be developed.  We are understanding how we want to use and enjoy our space.mcm bench woven basket kilim rug entry way

In the near future, we’ll be renovating both the bathrooms.  The designs won’t be anything groundbreaking, mostly a generic concept (for potential buyers) with some modern flare (for me) since this is a short-term residence for us.  In April I’ll once again be participating in the One Room Challenge and tackling our bonus room.  jean shorts coral t shirtMost imminently, I want to get our backyard in shape in time to enjoy for summer (or now, why am I wearing shorts in February?  Why did winter not happen here?).  In our region, winter is the time to get your yard established so behind-the-scenes I’ve been working little by little but trust me that there isn’t anything worth sharing quite yet.  I’m envisioning a sandbox, a vegetable garden, a fire pit and maybe some sort of play house for our backyard.trio succulent on fence in white potsOf course, I’m super excited to finally be on the brink of making some serious headway on our home and even more excited to have my partner back to enjoy it.  This is such a great house that was so loved by its original owners.  It’s going to feel so good to give it the little dose of TLC it deserves and breathe some new life into it.  I can’t wait!