Moodboard | Shades Of Blue |

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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I probably don't give blue the attention it deserves here on my blog. It is in fact one of my favorite colors. Maybe it's just that I take it for granted and I forget to give it all the love it deserves. But I truly love the versatility of blue - it can be calming and serene, vibrant and cheery, modern and classic, or deep and moody. Here are a few of my favorite images that I have come across this week featuring lovely hues of blue. 

I am especially in love with the painting (image 5) by Michael Carson and I may soon have to dedicate a post just to his work, it is exquisite.  

I also came across this behind the scenes post of designer Rebecca Atwood at Apartment 34 (second image), I am besotted with her textile design work and as always I love a good behind the scenes look of creatives. One of my dreams is to have space enough that I could also get messy with trying out different textile design techniques. And this feature makes it all look so lovely.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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Wired is actually the opposite of how I am feeling this morning, which may or may not be due to the emotional roller-coaster of that which was part one of The Bachelorette finale. I usually watch that show for total mind numbing entertainment but last night was pretty sad, poor des. What will she do now? 

Okay, enough of my tmi, let's talk about these fun wired goodies for the home. This round-up all started from finding that cute little bear memo holder (you should know by now my self-admitted love of woodland animal home accents), it took off from there after triggering my memory of the ferm living wire waste basket I have long had my eye on (but at 125 bucks to throw my trash in I don't think I will ever be pulling that trigger. i do love it though.). I would be tempted by the chair - I'd happily take a couple for my patio and the little side table is a a steal (only $20!).

Photo Diary | Hearts Unfold |

Monday, July 29, 2013

If you remember from my Friday post I was ready for a quiet weekend of unwinding and a new week to begin. Our weekend was just as I had hoped, nice and mellow. Lots of long meandering walks, reading, snuggles and giggles. And in between all that I somehow accomplished to get some much needed deep cleaning done in the house. It always feels so heavenly to relax in dust-bunny free, refrigerators cleaned, laundry is caught-up house, it truly has to be one of my favorite things in the world. I think having the intention to relax and be stress-free made all the difference. I didn't quite feel I was fighting time or a list or that I had do anything at all if I didn't want to. Everything was a choice and somehow it made it all better, more enjoyable. I need to figure out this formula for future reference.

Last night I also started cleaning up my computer. Agh, how I hoard images and files I don't need! Is this a problem for anyone else? I made folders and categorized everything and did a lot of adding to the trash bin. My computer is already running much faster so I am feeling motivated to finish the task. How was your weekend? Any plans for the week ahead? August is almost here already, I can't believe it!

Weekends Are For Relaxing

Friday, July 26, 2013

It's been one of those weeks for me. It started with M+L dropping my iPhone and shattering the screen and just kind of took off in that direction for the rest of the week. Car shopping, car mechanics, and general step-on-every-single-lego-on-the-floor kind of week. So I am so glad it's Friday. The weekend is here and I am hoping to regroup, relax and be ready for a nice new week ahead.

These knotted melati hanging chairs keep popping up wherever I look and this week they have been looking even more lovely than the first time I spotted them. I have happily been revisiting them to imagine myself spending a weekend curled up with some books, good drinks and just swaying in the breeze without a care in the world. And that is exactly my plan for the weekend (unfortunately i'll have to use a different chair but that's okay. the good books, drinks and breeze will suffice). Any weekend plans for you all?

Black + White Kids Room | Accoutrements |

Thursday, July 25, 2013

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Here are some fun accoutrements that I found to go along with my B+W kids' room inspirations. I'd pick a favorite but I don't think I can. That chair and the downloadable diy diatribe are at the top of my list though - actually lets just put everything on the right side on my wish list. And while we are add it we may as well add everything from the left side too.  

Kids Room B+W

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One room in my house that I need to put on my makeover list is M+L's room. It's not terrible but they will be 5 the end of next month (sniff sniff) and I have done nothing with their room since I was pregnant besides replace cribs with beds. It's time or at least getting time to start planning this project. 

I am thinking for going for a simple monochromatic color palette. For one it limits my choices. This is a positive thing for me. Part of the reason I haven't changed it is my constant "oh! that's cute" or "oooo, maybe i should do that." Every style. And every time I visit this topic I find a design I would love to use as inspiration. But one thing I have consistently liked for their room is a chalkboard wall (I like the half-wall in the last photo). The other thing about a black and white kids room that I like is that it can be done for pretty inexpensive. You don't need to have a ton of decor for an impact or overall feeling of being designed. In fact less is more which I think is great for a kids room because it will inevitably be filled daily with more . . . toys. One of my wishlist DIY projects is to have fabric made with their drawings to make duvet covers. How stinking cute would that be? Unfortunately will still need to work on the drawing (and writing too). But that's another topic of my decision to keep them home rather than starting kindergarten this coming fall. One more year home with me. Yes, please. And thank you. 

In Australia | House Tour |

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Here are a few of my favorite Australian house tours from Design Files as I have dreamed of Australia since I lived in tiny village in Northern England for a short bit when I was 18 and watching the Australian soap Neighbours was the highlight of my days. Also with one of my favorite bloggers, Meghan of Wishful Thinking, most recent news of moving to the land of Oz soon, and the latest book that I am reading about an Aussie expat in Paris, I have had constant visions of Australia swimming through my head lately. I think part of the allure in visiting is not only the warmer temps and that Australia looks a beautiful land to visit but Australians speak English and in the ways of language I am your typical American - hablo inglès solemente or je parle anglais seulement. These are two phrases I have committed to memory in case my attempt to string together words that I have memorized from French and Spanish classes ever confuse someone that I actually speak any other language other than english (let's be honest there is no real threat here). I can actually have a conversation in Spanish if the other person doesn't mind talking to someone that resembles a giant two year old: car + restaurant + eat + now + want + you. This would be me saying do you want to go get something to eat? French would be much worse and I would probably end up saying something entirely offensive with all the double entendres.

But enough about my daydreams - where are some of your favorite places to imagine running away to?


Monday, July 22, 2013

How was everyone's weekend? Ours was pretty low key mostly spent going between catching up on house work, relaxing and working. Running a few errands over the weekend also prompted a couple yard sale stops and I must say I found some treasures. Remember the $1 ice cream maker I was so impressed with that I got a few weeks ago? Well I think I topped that.

My first yard sale stop was actually just right across the street at Grandma Kat's as she calls herself, who seems to have a yard sale every year and each year she pulls out more vintage items.  Her first yard sale I scooped up a pam-am carry-on that I am still just as in love with as the moment I saw it. This one I picked up the pretty ornate saw in the photo and the vintage camping stools (which need some new fabric) and maybe a few other things as well. Ooo, not pictured but another good one is a mid-century bullet sconce, like this, for Fishers room.

At the second sale I got that lovely vintage bag at the top. I am in love - with the color especially. The leather is perfectly worn and I have been longing for a new leather cross-body bag for the summer time. I also couldn't pass up the little plaster bust of a child, whom according to the garage seller, was her niece. After I drove away I realized I didn't ask the name of her niece and knowing the mystery would keep me awake at night (or at least every time I looked at it) I drove back and asked. Her name is Isabella and I hope Isabella doesn't see this and see that her aunt sold her for $1.00. Directly across the street from there I picked up a vintage scrabble game I didn't even know existed! It's called "sentence cube game" not the most creative name but it's fun. Really fun. I am pretty sure it would be the perfect game to play whilst having a few cocktails with friends. I also got the (like new) vintage wool blanket. Three Dollars. I know. It was a good yard sale day. I love the colors: coral and navy and teal, oh my.

I am assuming you are sitting down, but just in case you're not - have a seat. I have saved the best for last. At the last yard sale (I had to stop myself after this one and these were all literally within a few blocks of my house) I got a double length sheepskin for $15.00 bucks. I barely looked at when I was there I just grabbed it, tossed money at them and ran. When I got it home I questioned my purchase. I wasn't sure how I felt about a used sheepskin (especially having severe cat allergies and a wild imagination). I have read that you can machine wash sheepskin though I have always been weary about this process, but I decided I needed to take the chance or I would probably end up getting rid of it. I washed it, I brushed, I groomed it and it's lovely (the pictures are before pictures, so you can go ahead and picture it looking 10x better now). That $15.00 was a worthwhile gamble and paid off. With finds like this I may have to get one of those bumper stickers that says "caution! i break for yard sales!"

Favorite Finds | 26 | Around The Web

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I don't remember exactly how I was directed to Michael Wolf's photography series The Real Toy Story but I was immediately captivated and mesmerized by the images. This is my favorite form of photography, or art for that matter. I love to be provoked. I love something, anything that makes me think, makes me grow - maybe even makes me change, whether that be my thoughts or my actions, or both. It's worth clicking the link and viewing all of the powerful images he captured and the story that they tell.

I remember awhile ago Theresa from Inspiration Coop shared a review of a book she had recently read called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World Who Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. At the time I wanted to get my hands on the book as soon as possible, but of course I forgot about it. Luckily I ran across the animated excerpt from Susan Cain's RSA talk which I think is just lovely. Hopefully now I will remember to put it on my to-read list.

Yesterday while driving home from my haircut I was listening to PRI and heard an interview with Kim Ho who made this moving and beautiful short film The Language of Love. It's worth every bit of it's 9 minutes and the song it was inspired by is worth the listen too.

As for my haircut . . . I am so happy. Gah! Why did I wait so long? The hairdresser, Joy, is appropriately named because I left feeling lighter and much more joyful. You can see the new do here. We already scheduled a return appointment in 9 weeks. So hopefully any future "before" pictures will not look like this one did. Yikes!

Pins of The Week | Shadows + Light

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 circle one; circle two

Have I mentioned I love summer? Oh, yes that's right I have. Well let me tell you that I am in love with this one especially. We have had such nice weather here, and let me also tell you, it's been a long time since I have spoken those words in summer months. It's been hot and sunny and the days have been long and beautimous. All these lovely days have made me remember one of the reasons I love summer so much - the light. It starts early and goes late. It has so many phases and stages that can completely change the mood and scenery around you.

In the not-summer-months here it's often one variation of grey or another: light grey, medium grey, dark grey. Grey with rain. Grey with the promise of rain et. al.. My house is dark so even on sunny days in the not-summer-months it seems to go from sunrise to sunset in a matter of a few hours and most of it seems to miss my house all together. Not only have we been enjoying the time outside in the sun and noticing how a walk along the same path can look one way in the morning and completely different in the evening, but even in my house I have been enjoying the dance of light durning the long days. Each morning I have been waking up to a great ball of diffused sunlight and throughout the day the sun changes and cast prisms and shadows and it's just lovely.

Have you seen the amazing light and shadow art by Kumi Yamashita? It's almost unbelievable how the objects are transformed into such beautiful shadows.

Breaking News (not really)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I know getting a haircut isn't breaking news - unless you are me and you haven't gotten a haircut in about two years and your ends are so dry you poke your children's eyes out with it while trying to console them or snuggle. And when your friends say "wow, your hair is so long!" And then you say "yeah, but look how unhealthy it is. . ." They respond with, "yikes, yeah, you really need a haircut. when was the last time you had your haircut?" Then it's breaking-freaking-news. And so here you have it tomorrow I am finally getting my hair cut! I am going to a new place (it's been so long I am ashamed to see my regular gal. sorry regular gal but you must understand, I am shamed.) For some reason (yelp) I chose a place called ginger hair salon - it has good reviews and easy parking. But oye. That name kind of makes me want to poke out my own eyes with my dead ends. But apparently the term "ginger" is here to say and if so I may as well embrace it (I am totally never going to embrace it but I am getting my hair cut and that's good.) I am thinking of something like this which with my hair color and texture will translate to this. Wish me and my impossible hair luck!

A Little Hello

Monday, July 15, 2013

Happy Monday. In my recent happy acceptance of just being for the time being we have been adventuring this weekend with family and friends and each other (with some working in the mix and the in between) so this is all I have for today - a lovely hand-lettered quote, a little hello and the promise of being back here again tomorrow. Hope you all had a fabulous weekend.

p.s. it seemed this weekend was also filled with tragic news. but last night i did find one piece of good news i thought i would pass along - did you know allie brosh of hyperbole and a half has written a book?! congrats to her. i can't wait to get a copy.

Photo Diary | Gramps |

Friday, July 12, 2013

Another photo diary this week with an extra helping of the diary part. Yesterday my tots and I went to visit my paternal grandfather in his new home which is a nursing home. I don't know if any of you have visited a nursing home before but it was my first time. It's like the sweetest and most heartbreaking place I had ever been. After we spilled out of the car and started walking up I noticed I was twirling my hair something fierce. So I stopped for a minute after realizing I was feeling maybe a little nervous.  My grandfather has dementia and I think I was afraid he wouldn't recognize us in this new place and I wouldn't know what to do because I also realized in that moment that I could count on one hand the times I have seen him outside of his house - not to include the two block radius around it.  As soon as we went in I was at once relieved because we had stopped at another two nursing homes that, thank goodness, turned out to be the wrong ones, this place had a much more breathable feel. In the car to leave for our visit I realized I didn't bring the address or remember the name but vaguely remembered where it kind-of-might-be-at, and if you have ever tried to wrangle a teenager and twin toddlers in a car - well, once you have accomplished that you just go. So we went on a sort of scavenger hunt. Third stop was a charm and we found the right place. 

Once we got in we were quickly surrounded by grandma's and grandpa's all with wide shining eyes looking at us with hopeful smiles. We were cornered by the door, they wanted to look at us and touch us, ask a million questions and tell us a million stories. We spent a few minutes being patted on the hands and returning inkind a few shoulder rubs and high fives. We shared names and ages until one of the staff members wheeled away a nice granny who was definitely the ring leader (and obvious repeat offender), clearing a path for us (don't worry we ended up giving her attention throughout our time there - she was fast to track us down again. and again. she was also wheeled off again and again by the ninja-like staff.) Soon we found my grandfather who was being walked down the hall.

This was the first time I had seen my grandfather being walked too. I'd always known him as the one who took me for walks, who scooted off on his old beat up schwinn bicycles to work at his beloved job at the university museum. He used to be a teacher and has always been an artist perpetually covered in ink blots and eraser shavings (and cookie crumbs). The first hour was tough as I realized he suddenly(?) could hardly walk on his own, even with his nursing home issued walker (that's why he's there now. he's declined). It was slightly uncomfortable, an adjustment for me, to see him adjusting, or not adjusting and our conversation staggered back in this tiny corner of the building they brought us to visit in. My kids were quiet, unusually quiet and my grandfather unusually somber, achingly confused and tiny. I'd never imagined he could look so small. At first he kept asking me if I knew what was going on and I could at least confidently answer "no, I don't." Though I am not sure that was the best answer. So I'd back it up with "we are here to visit you." He told me he kept being followed, everywhere, and I said maybe they think you are a spy and he laughed and said "good one." Then he'd ask again "Where are we? I don't know these people." We went in and out of a painful reality like this for a while.

I quickly decided the air would all do us good and once we headed outside it changed, he seemed more himself. Relaxed. We talked in several different time periods and I found clever and not so clever ways to say the same information with the same enthusiasm as I did the first time around. Sometimes in our conversation we were in his backyard and he kept offering me to have grandma make us a snack. He also kept asking me where grandma was which made my heart feel like it was sinking. (grandma is at home.) Sometimes we were at the university and he would refer to the other elderly people as his "kids" - meaning his students. This made my heart swell. There were several breakthroughs though where he would ask which of my kids showed artistic abilities and how he wanted to make sure that they got some of his artwork to inspire them . . . and remember him. It would mean something in 20 years. (it means something now). And that I needed to remind him before we left to get some artwork together for them. (that's at home too.)

In his new environment the dementia was more apparent than ever. As I said our conversations spanned decades in the matter of seconds. But I also don't think I have ever spent a moment with my grandfather totally alone. While our conversations were the most surreal and confusing I have experienced thus far, there were also these moments of total emotional honesty. An honesty I had never really seen from a man who used humor at every turn, there was never a moment when a joke wasn't the most appropriate response and where I wasn't in a constant string of giggles. Never a time when I said "I love you gramps" it wasn't met with a chuckle and a hard slap on the back. He kept asking me "did they call you to come see me?" And "why are you here?" And I would say "because I love you Grandpa." And all times but once he would move on to a different time period or another question and that one time he didn't do that he said "You were always a soft one. You always had such a soft heart. I have always loved that so much about you." Then he immediately fell asleep which I was thankful for because I didn't want him to see the tears in my eyes.

For a little background I know my paternal family but not my actual father - we've only met once. My grandparents are all I have really known from one half of who I am. I am grateful for that. I never once wondered where I came from because they are both excellent story tellers. My grandfather has taught me to appreciate the art of being creative, history (he was a history teacher), and he was the first person that showed me being smart was pretty much the coolest thing you could be and laughter was the best way to approach life. He always invited me back in time and to appreciate the past. He introduced me to japanese kung-fu movies and old-time radio shows that I would listen to while going to sleep all through my childhood, he made business cards for me on the printing press he had in his garage. It was difficult to see my grandfather in a nursing home not knowing where he was, maybe at times not knowing who exactly he was. But he reminded me of who I am, who my kids are and being able to pass that on, well, that's something I can never express to him fully - at least not without the risk of getting a whack on the back that would probably knock me over.

Leaving was difficult and they have a sort of daycare drop-off system where they swoop in and you are just suppose to leave without saying goodbye. I still don't like this method, with kids or elderly. But they whisked him off assuring me he won't remember you were here. Then the social worker came up and said to me, "I think he will. I haven't seen him smile since he's been here, today was the first time. 'Okay,' she corrected, 'the second time. The first time was when they brought in a therapy dog.' But I still think he will remember and he didn't smile quite like he did today." Either way I am planning on giving him as many memories with us as possible. While I can't change the fact that he has dementia and that he won't be here forever, he helped me to know who I am and I just want to help him remember who he is too. Even if it's only for a second here and there. I think my weekend is going to be partially spent creating some artwork with the kids for his new walls. Which sounds like a perfect way to spend the weekend. Hope you all enjoy yours as well!

Favorite Finds | 25 |

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I found this image the other day and I keep sneaking peeks at it. (Though for the life of me I can't find where this paper is from.) The flowers on the wallpaper seem to be blooming right off the wall. While I think it might frighten me a little bit if I stared at it long enough while home alone at night (that part in Alice in Wonderland with the talking flowers terrified me as a child), there is something I love about this moody little space. I am sure the table and chairs have something to do with it. Something else that could be influencing me is it reminds of a tapestry you might find hanging on a castle wall and just yesterday I finished the 4th book of Game of Thrones. I still cannot believe what a Game of Thrones nerd I have become. The wait for 5th to come out in paperback in October sounds like a lifetime away. (What is going on?!) But wait I must because there is no way my wrists can handle holding these monstrosities in hardback. And I know, I know I could download it on the old Ipad but me and electronic reading just don't get along. Until then I am going to whittle away at my "to-read-next" stack that is currently 4 feet high. That is, of course, after I finish the book I bought two days ago, Where'd You Go, Bernadette at the recommendation of rooth. I am already halfway through and am dreading the finish line. Such a good book! Thanks rooth :)

Photo Diary | Lazy Days |

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My days of late have been lazy. I had been so busy for awhile and you know what happens when I am really busy? I am really efficient. I get more done. My house is cleaner. I am cleaner. I do small things with every chance I get because the chance to do them is right there and it might not be later. I'll jump out of bed after I have settled in to just go ahead and put my clothes away so I can wake up to a clean room. I will excitedly think of all the projects I wish with all my heart I could be doing if I weren't so busy. And they actually sound fun. And I have to use all of my willpower to stay on task and not dive head first into one project after another.

Then as the busy dies down I still feel the need to be busy and so I force myself to take a break. Force myself to be idle for awhile. Because, you know, I need that after days/weeks/months of busy. But somewhere in my trying to rest and finding it I start to feel like I should get on with doing something. Productive. And I suddenly (or not suddenly but slowly) approach things with a groan and a stretch and an maybe I'll just do that tomorrow. And then when tomorrow comes I say the same thing. And I feel like I should be tackling some list I am sure I wrote down while I was busy - a list of things to do when I was someday not so busy. But looking for said list sounds like too much work. Then I feel a little bad for my lack of effort.

But then I look at my photos and I see the things I have been doing that don't require lists. Something like just being. Being present. Staring at my boys whilst they make a teeter-totter in a hiking trail I dragged us to in order to get away from the house and my feelings like I "should be doing something." I get to look at their faces and study their knees and elbows and absorb the long moments of exactly wherever we are. I hear them when they say "wanna watch me do sumkin?" And I say, "I do!" instead of "in a minute . . ." and then cheer for them after they do something that I think was suppose to be a summersault. I get to have visits with friends and picnics and read books and go for walks. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this stuff - just being is the most important thing I can be doing.

House Tour | Flädle |

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sometimes I see a home featured elsewhere and know I want to feature it too. Most times, however, I spend an ungodly amount of time searching the web for something I haven't seen pinned all over pinterest and find something that is representative of my current mood. A place I would like to imagine myself in the moment. Those times, while a fun escape from cleaning my own house, I often look through too many houses to a point where I start to think maybe I will just skip a house tour this week, when nothing strikes my fancy. But alas I always find one that makes my little heart flutter for one reason or another.

This week it was this charming and effortless looking (I have no doubt a ton of effort went into this home) rustic/bohemian/scandinavian/modern/farmhouse that made me feel all dreamy inside when I saw it. While I wouldn't say this is my ultimate dream home it there is much about it that I love and would indeed be found in my dream home. How about the white planked floors, ceilings and walls? The brick in the kitchen and the eclectic furnishings? The staircase, windows and vaulted ceilings? I say. Yes. Please. Being the indecisive person that I am it's impossible for me to pinpoint a favorite design style - but I would say this house cohesively marries the lot of them. Not only that but this home feels perfect for the summer months. For my mood right now - the interior begs for a warm breeze and fresh cut flowers, the garden for a late evening dinner salad and a glass of wine with friends. Believe it or not there are still more photos that I left out if you are inclined to spend a little more time envisioning yourself here too. 

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