Friday, February 17, 2017

What we're reading

Reading with my girls is one of my favorite times during the day. Everything comes to a standstill as they snuggle on my lap, often cheek-to-cheek, and we enter into a story together. To grow their collection, every birthday and christmas we give them at least one book. A couple years ago I started writing inscriptions on them, and I think it will be special in the years to come. For those of you struggling- I will say that I've been there! It wasn't until she was three, that R has been able to sit still long enough to get through one non-board book (let alone five) without squirming. I remember having to have snacks on hand and making it interactive (like adding in jumps and whatnot- I kid you not) to keep her interest. C was a different child, it seemed from the get go she had an interest in books, books are her happy place. She can usually be found with a book in hand as well as a pile beside her. Whatever personality your child has, I have found that through perseverance we have come to this happy place of really enjoying reading together. I thought I would share some of our favorite children' books with you.....these are books that the girls ask me to read again and again (the illustrations are pretty too). I'd love to here your favorites!

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Client: Newlyweds

I stumbled across this moodboard I made earlier this fall for a newlywed couple who hired me to design their bedroom. It was a really fun project melding together two very different design styles. She was very bohemian and feminine in her taste, being drawn to lace and curved lines, pinks and purples. He preferred very modern pieces with minimal decor. Tricky yes? To blend these two (seemingly) opposite styles, we kept the furniture streamlined and added a feminine rug and pillows with texture (blue for him to tone down the pink and purple in the rug). The result is a cozy room that  satisfied both parties.
Pillows- 1,2,3 (most of these are no longer available-sorry)
Blanket
Swing Lamp
Marble Tray
Table Mirror
Rug
Side Table
Dresser
Bed




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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

DIY Modern Cement Lamp

As mentioned in last week's post, this year I'm hoping to do a monthly DIY series dedicated to the idea that good design doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag. First up? This cool modern lamp I made for $20 ($5 for the bulb, $12 for the light kit, and $20 for a 50lb bag of concrete mix that I plan on using for other projects.... if you count only the amount of cement I used for this project, the total would come to around $20). Inspiration struck when I saw a similar lamp while perusing a design site one day and thought "I could make that.".....not to mention, I've been wanting to work with concrete for a while now.
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Here are my supplies, I bought a 660 Lumens 60W bulb (basically the largest round bulb I could find at Home Depot), this light kit, a bag of concrete mix (I used Rapid Set Cement All), and a cardboard mold for the concrete. If I had to do it over again, I would choose a PLASTIC mold. We were able to cut off the cardboard with a knife, but plastic would have been much easier.
 Next, I cut a hole in the lid of my container and fed the light kit cord through the hole. I used the lid on the bottom of the container, and taped around the hole the cord came through so that no concrete would come through when I poured it. 
 Next I placed tape over the top of the light kit to protect it from concrete.
 I put the whole thing into a larger container for any concrete that got out. Now, the directions to the concrete package said something vague like "add water" and that adding more water meant "less firm concrete". The first batch of concrete I mixed was "soupy"  (seen below), and that worked fine, when I needed more concrete for my mold, I made it thicker and that worked fine as well.....so don't stress about the consistency too much. Now the concrete will set fast, so you will need to work quickly, but you do have a minute or so to maneuver things and get them just the way you want. I held the light fixture while Connor poured the concrete in the cracks, and then with my finger I made sure it was level.
I let it dry, and in a couple of hours- I had a lamp! If you are intimidated by working with concrete (like I was), don't be. While dusty, it's super easy and very satisfying. I'm already scheming about what to make next with that huge bag sitting in my garage. 
I love it paired with my modern night stand, but I also love the idea of it being paired with an antique piece.






Thursday, January 19, 2017

Year 2017

I feel like just the mention of New Years resolutions evokes one of two responses- the eye roll or  an eager "me too!". As a goal oriented person, I fall in the latter group. Like every year, I quickly came up with a list of things I want to do this year and skills I want to improve on. But, there were a couple of different things that I have been wrestling with over the past few months, that finally made their way to paper, and I thought I would share them with you:
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1. Read 1 book/month. Reading for me is the quickest thing to be dropped when life gets crazy, but I think this is a manageable goal. I'm almost finished with this months book and couldn't recommend it more.

2. Learn calligraphy and/or hand lettering.

3. Choose peace over the to-do list. I'm one of those people who loves lists. I love checking things off and that feeling of accomplishment after a long day of work. It's a gift (oh hey, hard worker), but it also has a negative side. I have a tendency to not ask for help when I should, and push myself (and my sanity) to get things done. This needs to stop. I'd rather be a person at peace with life than a frazzled one who has accomplished everything on her list. When I'm exhausted and I need to recharge and there's a messy room begging for my attention- I'm hoping I'll start choosing to close the door to that room.... and then make some tea and find a clean corner to recharge (because who can recharge in a messy one?).

4. Check social media no more than once a day, then LOG OUT.  Ok, so I really wrestled with this one. On one hand as a blogger/interior stylist, I feel like instagram is more than a hobby. I use it to get a feel for what's current in the design world, to get inspiration, and as a creative art form.
  But, I've noticed this tendency to check it when I shouldn't, to glance down at my phone when I get a notification rather than making eye contact with my daughters or Connor, and I don't like it. I've been thinking about what those seemingly small actions say to my family/friends, and how I want my girls to use social media as they grow up.
  I've also been thinking about time, and how I want to use the precious time I have. It seems to me that we all have a choice with how we use our time. How much time am I willing to give to social media?
  I listened to this ted talk recently, and it really got me thinking about how social media (instagram mainly) can both spur on creativity and kill it. When we don't allow silence in our lives, when we don't live in the moment, when we don't allow our minds to wander, we will not only miss out on connections with people, but we will also miss out on ideas and creative endeavors.

5. Add a new DIY series for the blog.  In this day of being bombarded with wish-lists and must-have lists in our inboxes and popping up on instagram, it's easy to feel that good design automatically comes with a hefty price tag. I'd like to get back to the basics, and create beautiful things that are more about creativity than money.



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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Blackout Liners- 5 months in review

If getting more sleep was one of your New Years resolutions, I hear you. We bought blackout liners for the girls room about five months ago because we needed a solution for the bright light that kept interrupting the girls sleep (in other words-ours).  Since we had linen curtains from our Indiana house, I wanted to see if I could make them work by just adding a liner. After reading all the mixed reviews, we bought these liners and have not looked back. The room gets exceptionally dark and I am happy that I get to continue using our linen curtains.

If you look closely you can see one of the many silver hooks we used to pin the liner to the curtains. 
Here you get an idea of how opaque these things are.


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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hallstatt- celebrating 10 years

One of the reasons I'm just now getting around to sharing pictures from our Germany/Austria trip with you is that we have had an unusually busy fall. The other (and probably more honest)reason, is that part of me felt like pictures could not do these beautiful places justice.....in particular, I worried my pictures would not do Hallstatt justice. In each of our trips, Connor & I usually come away with one or two spots that hold a special place in our hearts and that we talk about revisiting someday. Hallstatt was that place for us on this trip. There were moments I felt like we were walking through a storybook, it just did not feel real. As such, I've decided to dedicate a post just to Hallstatt, and will be sharing other pictures from our trip in a few weeks.
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We splurged during our stay in Hallstatt to get a place on the water, and I'm so glad we did. Not only was it a beautiful view in the morning, but I was drooling over the design inside our apartment.

The town center of Hallstatt:
We ate our first night's dinner at this little beer garden. After ordering Schnitzel, Connor asked if there were any local brews to which he was told they only had local brews. Of course.
That white house in the town center with all the ivy mixed with red flowers was my absolute favorite.
Another peek at where we stayed in Hallstatt. How beautiful is that chandelier?

This picture below looks like a Thomas Kinkade painting to me.
Another shot of the town centerL

This house was everything to me- the door, the flowers, the windows, the green shutters....I could go on and on!
Celebrating ten years with my favorite person. It really could have been anywhere (we just loved having some uninterrupted time together), but Austria made it all the sweeter.






Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On simplifying

I know what you're thinking- she blogs! Yes, I took a break- a longer one than intended, but a necessary one. Our fall was incredibly busy with trips to Virginia, Germany & Austria (more on that soon), Maine, and Colorado.....and in the middle of all that we hosted six rounds of company (we love hosting!) and two rounds of sickness (the company being way more fun than the other).  I like to think I've come to terms with my inability to juggle everything really well, so at any point I feel myself starting to slip, I reassess and drop things and say "no" as needed. My family, friends, and health/fitness were "yes" and this blog had to be a "no" this fall. I'm grateful that I can always pick up where I left off though, like an old friend. 
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There's something about coming out of a busy season of life that makes you want to simplify everything. Coming from Indiana, we had more furniture than will probably ever fit in a Boston house (in our price range), so we have been looking at each piece that we own with a critical eye. It all appeals to the minimal part of me that wants to own less, but really love what we own. Enter our new coffee table. We sold our old coffee table and console table that we bought when we were first married and used that money to buy this one- no money lost, just less "things". In some ways, I was sentimental about them- after all they went with us from Virginia to Oklahoma to Seattle to Oklahoma to New York to Indiana to Boston. But the truth is that it had been a long time since I had loved them. This new coffee table is better suited for the smaller Boston rooms, it's bright and modern in contrast to the period home we are living in (and will probably live in the future), and I love it. In the coming year what areas of your life are you trying to simplify? Whatever it is, I hope it leaves more room for the people/things you love. Merry Christmas and see you in the New Year!