Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Commissioning Art

Photos are great, but have you ever thought of commissioning a piece of art as a way to display special memories?  I found a few great artists who offer commissioned portraits.

Alan Schuler features house portraits on Etsy.  A custom watercolor will only set you back $45.  This would be a great way to remember that first house or maybe your childhood home.

Susan Woodard does some amazing watercolors of children.  She doesn't include facial features, so I think her best portraits show children engaged in a favorite activity.  Her work is a bit more expensive, but a smaller watercolor is still pretty affordable for original art.

Miss Black Eyes is an Etsy shop that does portraits in oil.  I love her brush work and attention to detail in the faces.

A custom portrait can be really any person, moment, or place special to you.  I think its a perfect addition to any art collection.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Instant Headboard

How easy is this idea from the Ballard Designs catalog?  

They simply hung a tie top curtain on some metal wall hooks.  Although they show a headboard in the photo, the curtain itself would make a great instant headboard if you didn't have the money to purchase an actual piece of furniture.  I love the drama the fabric panel adds to the space!

Monday, August 26, 2013

This is Fun

I love it when people get creative with kids stuff because frankly my brain doesn't ever really get creative with kids stuff.  I just don't think that way.

In this month's issue of Coastal Living, India Hicks elevates an ordinary child's building toy to high art by placing it inside an acrylic display box.  Each time her daughter plays with the toy, the new creation goes on display for the family to enjoy.  Pretty cool idea.

If you're interested, the building toy is Interstar Rings.  

These look like fun.  I really want to play with them.  I think the girls might like them too!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mommy Frump

If you're not a mommy, you may not be interested in this post so just check back with me later (I always hate it when decorating blogs feature other subjects and now I'm doing it)!

If you are a mommy, you may already have yourself together, but as for me I have been struggling with Mommy Frump.  You roll out of bed, feed your kids, get urped up on a few times, somehow manage to get into the shower, get yourself clean, pull your hair into a pony and throw on some old shorts and a t-shirt and you call that getting dressed.

I was sporting my Mommy Frump the other day as I dropped Savannah off at preschool.  I thought "These people don't care what I look like, they only see me for a total of five minutes."  But then I saw the working moms dropping off their kids and they were fashionably dressed for work and I realized that I had turned into one of those moms from "What Not to Wear"  (you know, the ones who wear ratty old clothes from 1983 and never buy anything new for themselves and think that putting on a pair of jeans is dressing up).  Probably one of my biggest fears in life.  I had to remedy this situation ASAP.

So I started thinking, what would make a great Mommy outfit?  It would need to be simple, easy, comfy, and appropriate for a range  of activities.  It would also need to look pulled together with a minimum of effort.  Here's what I came up with for summer:

#1 - The Uniform
A dress is best.  Comfortable enough for me to roll around in the floor playing with the kids, but polished enough to look good in public.  It also makes getting dressed quicker because its only one piece, no worries about coordinating tops and pants.  I snagged a couple of cute ones at Target this week on sale for $20 each.  (Tip:  make sure to check the weekly ads for sales and the online coupons for extra savings).

#2 - The Kicks
I live in sandals during the summer, and I've found that gold ones or silver ones pretty much go with anything, so I have a pair of both.  I love how the metallic is subtle and blends in with my skin so that my short, stubby legs look a wee bit longer.  

Silver Mossimo sandals from Target
Nine West sandals from

#3 - The Bling
Limiting your options to a few classic items is key.  Since I have a baby, I really only wear earrings (everything else gets pulled and chewed on).  My favorites are gold or silver hoops or diamond studs.

#4 - The 'Do
I have long hair, but in the summer it's impossible to wear it down.  It's just too hot and the baby yanks on it all the time, so I've started pulling it up in a topknot.  Not sure if mine looks as good as this, but its quick and easy and looks better than wearing a ball cap.

#5 - The Makeup
Although I'm at home all day, I still need some makeup (I'm so envious of those women who don't need foundation to look good).  I'm usually able to put on some foundation, powder, blush, and fill in my eyebrows.  Eye shadow is out, it just takes too long.  A great way to look finished is with a vibrant lipstick color.  

In the past I would have never considered making such a bold statement, but when the rest of your makeup is pared down you can afford to be a little more daring with your lip color.  MAC has some great colors like "Lady at Play" and "Candy Yum Yum".

I can't say Mommy Frump won't happen from time to time, but at least it won't be an everyday occurrence.  (And my husband will still think I'm hot).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Can't Get Enough

My eyeballs can't get enough of this spread in the September issue of Elle Decor:

Did you see the floor tiles?  Did you see them??!!!  They are killer crazy good!

Apparently I have been living under a rock because this is the residence of the owners of Popham Design, the manufacturers of all this glorious tile, and this is the first time I've ever seen their designs.  
I don't know how I've missed these people considering the fact that I have an abiding love for this type of tile and I used it in my bathroom renovation.  But thank you Elle Decor for schooling me!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bonus Room Inspiration Board

The bonus room.  It's basically been a junk room for the past five years.  When we first bought the house, we thought we might convert it into a large master bedroom with a bath.  But then we realized we didn't really need a large bedroom and bath and that this space was more valuable as a home gym/playroom.  So then we had grand plans of totally renovating the room.  This would involve ripping down paneling, putting up sheetrock, moving lighting, installing new flooring, etc.  At this point we just really couldn't afford to spend the money to make all that happen but we wanted to make the room more user friendly.  So we decided that a small cosmetic reno was the easiest way to make this a usable space.

Here's the inspiration board:

The jumping off point for the design is the striped chair.  I have a pair of these left over from the living room in our first house. They are in great shape, I'm just not super in love with them anymore but they will be fine to be used in the kid's playroom.  The color scheme is cream and black with a dash of coral.  Can't wait to see this space come together!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lighting Obsession

Sometimes its just fun to look at super fabulous stuff that you could never in a million gazillion years afford.  And even if I could afford it, my conscience wouldn't let me pay that much for it.  

I spied these wall sconces on Bijou and Boheme and couldn't stop thinking about them.

Thought about how gorgeous they would be in the bonus room with my striped chairs and mid-century chest (after it gets a new coat of paint).

Went on the rewire website and saw lots more beautiful stuff.  Here are some goodies:

Realized that these sconces are not even remotely an option.

Then I stumbled upon onefortythree via Emily Henderson's blog.  While this is a much smaller selection, some of the items have the same vibe and are much more affordable.

Also found this floor lamp on Furbish

Hey Jamie, if you're reading this, could you put together a Labor Day sale with some nifty little discounts on this baby?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happenin' to My House in 2013 - Progress

Time to check the progress on that New Year's house to-do list I posted way back in January (seems like so long ago).  Let's see how I'm doing.

#1 - Finish Savannah's Big Girl Room Makeover - DONE!

Before: needed art above the bed and dresser and a new rug.


#2 - Finish Madeline's Nursery - DONE!

Before:  I ran out of time/energy/money on the nursery.  I'm still on the hunt for art and accessories to finish the space. 



#3 - Bonus Room Reno - In Progress
Before:  I soooo do not have another reno project in me right now (see here for my last one) but the toys have taken over my living room and with two kids we need more space for them to play.  Our long neglected bonus room/workout space/furniture graveyard/toy dump needs a complete makeover.  This will require lots of brain power and probably will not occur until mid-year.

Currently:  Still working on this one.  It has turned out to be more of a face lift versus a major overhaul, which is actually better for my finances and my sanity.  More details on this soon.

#4 - Finally Fill Up My Walls - No Progress (Boo!)
Before:  I have bare spaces that need to be filled and lots of great family photos that have never been properly framed and displayed.  This is a project that I definitely want to tackle this year.

Currently:  Haven't gotten around to this at all.  This shelf is in the kitchen and I haven't been able to commit to any artwork for it.  Just can't find the perfect thing.  I do have plans to create a couple of family photo displays in the living room and the stairwell, just need to select frames and photos (am waiting for a trip to Ikea to snag some cheap frames).

#5 - Create My Own Workspace - No Progress (Boo!)
Before:  My husband has a whole office but I do my work on the sofa which is not the most convenient place when you have a 3 year old sitting beside you who likes to punch the buttons on your computer.  I would like to find some corner of my house that can be transformed into my own personal workspace.  The desk will probably only be large enough for my laptop, but I'll take whatever I can get.

Currently:  No real progress has been made.  There's probably a reason this was last on my list.

Well, two out of five ain't bad, right?