Saturday, December 31, 2011

before kids

I mentioned a few weeks ago the storage bins are in our bedroom. I discovered a bin of my design projects today. Nostalgia hit hard...last night I photographed some printouts.

I'll be honest. I miss earning an income, organizing consumer research, seeing a product go to market. At the same time, I find staying home with Bryce and Kinsey very rewarding.

So I'm learning to integrate the best parts of design to our everyday life.

Lee and I just finished (or rather, refinished) a project. I'll share in a few days.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

painted Christmas mugs

I went crafty with Christmas presents this year. I'd pinned a lot of painted mugs and decided to give it a try. I followed these directions...I won't give you a full tutorial but I will share some tips.
Where to buy
I bought the markers at Blicks. For the mugs I checked Goodwill first but most had a logo. I bought these at Dollar Tree. The boxes are photo archive containers from Target, they were the perfect depth.

Check the pens 
My black + aqua markers worked great. I bought a 3rd color and after multiple returns tried markers in store with the manager. I ended up with gold porcelain paint-it was thicker but great as an accent color.

Sketch ideas
I was too impatient to trace anything first, but I drew quick pen sketches on the kid's construction paper. It was helpful in deciding which design would translate to the mug.

Wipe off the mistakes
If you make a mistake its easy to wipe off with a damp cloth. If its been a few days rub it off with some warm soapy water. It won't be permanent until you bake the mugs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

colors for our dining area

I want to paint our dining area. Since its shared with the living room I've got to think about the whole space...Last month we received a few samples of Ferm Living wallpaper.

And while I still really like the idea of wallpaper (more ideas here) the reality is we're renovating the basement + hoping to put in new flooring soon. So paint is the cheapest option. I've thrown together some images of my favorite blues + greens with wood accents.

Top left clockwise (links to pinterest) Elisabeth Dunker's Swedish Kitchen

I really like aqua (even when I was little I loved blue mason jars) and I'm afraid of over-using it. My practical side says paint a neutral greige and decorate with color accents. What do you think? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve vintage hunt

With Christmas Day preparation (mostly) complete I took Kinsey antique + thrift store shopping.

We drive by Wescott's on 7th Street at least once a week with both kids in tow. But chasing two preschoolers in an antique store isn't exactly my idea of a fun time. So I enjoyed taking taking baby girl shopping with me--she behaved beautifully. I really wanted a soda crate for crafts like this or this but couldn't justify spending $30 on a coke crate.

So we headed to my favorite thrift store where antiques are undiscovered. I really liked the globe floor lamp but one of the bulbs won't tighten--is that fixable? I also found a Wolverine metal play kitchen. The condition was fair and at $15 a piece (3 pieces for $45, they resell for up to $75) I passed.

We ended up buying several games. Picked from 3 Hi Ho Cherry-O games and decided the oldest 1985 version was the most durable (built from 1 mold = less pieces to loose).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas

Eager to share some things next week, but today I am going to enjoy the day with our little family. Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas Day.

Friday, December 23, 2011


We had a few flurries today, just enough to cover the ground. Its such a change from last December's snow. 

And though I'm not one that loves cold + snow I really hope for a white Christmas this year. 

But if the ground is free of snow it will feel a bit more like Christmases I grew up with in Georgia and South Carolina...a taste of home. Do you wish for a white Christmas? 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

night trains

Saturday night we went to the Night Trains exhibit at the Model Railroad Museum. Our 4 year enjoyed watching the holiday trains (while our 2 year old attempted to derail them). It was a special way to spend our Saturday night, and at less than a mile from our house I hope we make it a family tradition.

We still plan to check out the Macy's display in Minneapolis. And I'm really looking forward to the Christmas Eve service Saturday night. Do you have any special activities planned before Christmas?

Monday, December 19, 2011

basement floors

Last time I updated on the basement I showed Lee removing the mastic glue in preparation for polishing the concrete. The concrete has a nice patina to it, we even like the cracks.
Oh and in case you are wondering--where are the boxes? The things you stored in your basement? Well, its been dispersed throughout our little house and especially in our bedroom! Not ideal but its given me great access to sort and organize. Where do you store things? I grew up using attics, we have one here but its not very accessible!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

family photo shoot

Excited to share some photos from our photo shoot at the Walker last Saturday! First time we've used a photographer since our wedding 6 years ago. It was definitely a different experience this time- chasing a 4 and 2 1/2 year old and encouraging (read: bribing with cookies) them to sit still and smile.

Our sweet Bryce. Playing angry birds of course...

Kinsey our little risk taker. Her hairband definitely didn't stay on her head..

Love this guy
Our photographer, Jenny Rigney, did an awesome job. We took some outdoor shots and will see those in a few weeks. Perhaps a part 2 next month?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

festive tuesday

I had a busy morning. Bills on the table and gifts to prepare. After wrapping and prepping boxes, I picked a leftover cardboard box and made a few trees for the kids to decorate. They LOVED the glue and glitter. I'm not big fan of making them stay in the lines. Many of Kinsey's "ornaments" were below the tree. I call that creativity.

Ta-da! Their beautiful trees. Hung with less-beautiful painters tape. Any ideas for hanging temporary artwork? 

I also made a few cupcake-liner snowflakes. 

Notice our snow melted!? my native-Georgia self loves seeing grass...

Then I brought out our Christmas tree (yep, its fake. i get a migrane from real trees)

Each branch is tagged with a color and letter. It was a great sorting lesson for the kid and they loved helping me...Excited to hang lights when Lee gets home!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

more Christmas ideas

We have allergies. But I'd love the experience of buying a real tree.
Perhaps a mini one?

i (gasp) usually make cookies from a mix. Its much easier when you have
little helper hands. But I'd like to try these swirl cookies.
a cardboard tree like this from Tinker Lab. we should have everything on hand.

an ice wreath. this can wait until January. we won't get above 30 next month so it
should last a while...

Ever feel a little over-inspired? I have so many Christmas projects running through my head. And Christmas gatherings, presents to get ready for teachers, ect. Its a busy month. Love little reminders like this that help me keep perspective on the meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

our lego house

Its cold and wintery here in Minnesota. To pass the time after dinner we're playing Christmas music with some good old fashioned family time. Earlier this week Lee brought up his childhood legos to share with the family.

Meanwhile my husband decided to model our house. for the fun of it. finished in a few hours...

Love how accurate it is! Clearly some lego-giftedness going on. If you haven't been to our house before, you can see a front shot here or here.

How do you pass the time after dinner when its cold and dark outside?

Monday, December 5, 2011

basement floors prep

Lee's prepping our basement floors for polishing, which means removing the rest of the tile and the majority of adhesive. We removed flooring adhesive a few years ago, so we'd already done the research and knew which product to use. Basically he uses the adhesive remover to soften the adhesive then scrapes it up. The cat litter absorbs the liquid and makes it easy to remove.

Lee learned to bag his shoes when he lived in Italy. I have a picture, will try to scan in later..

the window washer

Saturday afternoon (before the snow) Lee used a telescoping pole for washing our large upstairs window. It didn't clear things up like we hoped so he borrowed our neighbor's ladder to get the job done.  He had a close admirer inside...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

decorating with paper: tutorials

I plan to make some Christmas decorations with the kids later this month. These are a few of my favorites made from paper (aka affordable and easy)...
Wreath from paper bags. kraft paper Christmas stockings. Cupcake liner snowflakes. Christmas tree cones.

Want more ideas? Check out these pins..

Thursday, December 1, 2011

hello churchill

A few months ago we bought a new (to us) dining table off craigslist. The same day we headed to IKEA to look for chairs. While we didn't buy chairs there, Lee did buy an Ung Drill frame.

Lee had an idea: Winston Churchill. Because we live on Churchill Street. I spotted a painted Ung Drill which inspired Lee to spray paint the frame to match our woodwork. He found a printer less than a mile from our home. 

I admit it. I was hesitant to have a stranger with a cigar in my home. But now that he's here, he fits in nicely!