Thursday, December 13, 2012
Life has been, well, life. I've stopped expecting it to slow down or for me to feel caught up. Suddenly it is the holiday season and WOW! Wasn't it just summer? That is just how it is going to be, isn't it? This wild head first slide into home plate, all the while wondering what inning we are in and if it was our day to bring the snack and oh! Did I leave the stove on at home? I'm getting old now that I think like this, right? Is this what age is? This roller coaster in my head? In my days?
I'm not even one of those busy moms. I purposely try to keep time open for us to breathe. I don't know how other families accomplish all that they do without curling into a fetal position and whimpering their days away. I'm not even all that busy compared to 'normal' people. And I'm still, well. Busy. Bless all you moms out there that earn their busy stripes with your soccering, and careering and baking cupcakes for the school this-and-that. I stand in awe. Awe, I say.
Doing holiday/seasonal related things as a family seemed more in keeping with the season anyway and I found this cute little advent calendar thing on overstock for (I think) $14.00 and free shipping and thought it was time for a change. I had to assemble it, paint it and decorate it, and I made the cards out of small pieces of scrapbook paper and printed out 'things to do' which I laminated with packing tape. I'm happy with how it turned out for using simple materials and I like that we can use it year after year. I finished it up this year adding numbers and painting a paper star to add to the middle to match the numbers.
Before adding the numbers.
With the shiny happy numbers and painted/glittered star.
The extra box holds the extra 'things to do' cards. I made a lot so I can change things up from year to year, and because some of them are weather related like build a snowman which obviously needs cooperating weather. We also sometimes do a couple things a day as some of them are simple, like make hot cocoa. I love, love, love advent calendars. I have a thing for them. A few years back I made one using sewn cones. It was cool but took up a ton of space. And filling them was expensive! Even when trying to find cheap little things, it added up to more than the playmobil calendars. So this little one with drawers just big enough for a small 'thing to do' card and a couple chocolates is working just fine for this mama that is trying to scale back on stuff and expenses. And it works for the kids as they just enjoy the anticipation and the activities that surround this time of year. Win/win.
Other than decorating the house for the holidays, this is the extent of my holiday crafting this year. I've been going lighter than usual with projects as I've been hunkered down working on a BIG PROJECT for the past year. It's finally feeling like it might end in the somewhat near future. Yay! However, thanks to Pinterest, I did get sucked into a couple projects over the past few months and thought I'd share a couple I stumbled on when going through my pictures today.
wordy walls theme! I painted this on my walls after I saw a vinyl decal someone pinned onto pinterest with this quote. I couldn't find a decal that would fit the blank space on my wall so I decided to just paint it on. I found fonts I liked and printed the quote out in the size I wanted it. Then I made guides by cutting out the letters from the paper and tracing the letters up onto the wall and then painting them in. Yes, it was a pain. But I am happy with how it turned out.
This is the wall above my bed, btw. Artfully taken as to not show my unmade bed. Yes, that is more scrapbook paper mod podged onto my walls acting as a visual headboard that I did a few years back. I painted the different colored squares and then centered scrapbook paper that I like inside the squares and then put 'patches' of complimentary scrapbook paper within the squares. I also have patches randomly placed around the room to cover ugly spots on my walls (old plaster). The lights strung in front of the squares are dragonfly lights, not bats like they look like in this photo. They're pretty, with colored beads making up the dragonfly bodies. It is all very bohemian college dorm meets crafting space meets bed taking up most the room meets escaped balls of yarn that like to wrap themselves around my feet at night. Hey-- It works for me.
I have started a couple more projects recently, but due to the lack of time they are still ongoing. I'll post about them as I finish. I've learned that I can still do projects, even with a lack of time, I just have to accept that they won't get done quickly and come to terms with that 'things are unfinished' feeling that I used to freak out about. I think I'm mellowing out a bit as I age. So there are some good bits with the whole aging thing. So I guess with my logic tonight I might have a spinny, world-is-going-at-full-speed brain thing happening as I get older, but as time goes on I won't mind how crazy that makes me? Hmmm... Methinks I need to go to bed now. I'm confused.
So here ends my projects portion of this all over the place blog post. Only fun bits of random left from pictures I found while scrolling through my photo files.
Dragons taking tea:
Then the next bit needs a bit of explaining. My daughter and dog are totally MFEO. They've started this game called, 'dog fashion show' which they both love with a ridiculous kind of quirkiness that makes me laugh every time they play. I think my dog enjoys it more than my daughter. It seems she feels she was destined for great things and it is only right that people would want to faun over her and photograph her. Here is just a sample from their growing dog fashion collection:
Yes, she actually sits there waiting to be photographed. And yes, she is even wearing a headband in the above picture. This is what happens when you mix a kid with years of accumulated recital outfits and a compliant pet and a mom that is obsessively working away at projects involving scrapbook paper to notice that her daughter and dog have become addicted to fashion.
Well folks, that was certainly a rambling journey into my recent days. I don't even know if I had a point tonight. Just felt chatty. :) Wishing everyone out there in internet-land the kind of joy that my dog and daughter find in a pink tutu and matching accessories.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A few months ago I posted about my entryway project and at the time I mentioned I'd highlight the prints that lined my hallway in an upcoming post. Then time passed and obviously my slippery attention span moved on. However, since I posted about my wordy walls last week I suppose it could once again be considered timely to share, since this is where the 'walls of wisdom' movement all started to begin with.
I had so much fun shopping on Etsy to decorate the walls. I basically stocked myself up on super cheap black frames whenever I found them on clearance (most I bought for $2 or cheaper), and set out to fill them with typography prints that I make or buy. Often the prints didn't fit the prefab frames and in those cases I just filled the background of the frame with coordinated scrapbook paper and mounted the print on top. I know that I just made anyone who's ever worked in a frame shop shudder. I know, since I spent a few years working in a frameshop myself. But honestly? Buying so much art all at once was really pushing my budget, so dollar frames and scrapbook paper was all I could muster for framing. And I think it works for my hodge podge little artsy hallway. I like how the scrapbook paper 'matting' goes with the art and the scrapbook tiles on the stairs.
Etsy is crazy hard for me to resist on any given day, but going on there with every intention on buying several prints... Madness! I gave myself a spending limit but it was still rather hard to not get too carried away. I am very happy with the prints I bought and there were several more I would have loved to own, but will need to wait until I have funds built up for such sport.
I'll link to the shops where I bought each print. I'd buy from any one of them again. I think every transaction was smooth, professional and perfect. I know I'm sounding like a commercial, but mostly just showing love to artists I like enough to line my walls with. I know I stumble onto blogs all the time and wish they'd post links to where they bought the art on their walls.
Piles of pictures on my table waiting for me to hang in the hall.
The happy little hooks I bought from our local healthfood store.
Home to my kids' dance bags and my shopping bags.
A puppy looking out and a puppy wanting in. :)
This picture captures the dark purple color of this wall the best. This also is another example of my bizarre affinity for pantry shelves. Here it works as a catchall for hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc. I'm always finding a new use for these shelves. I'm oddly obsessed. They hold so much but take up such little space. Stuffed animal storage is one of my favorite uses for them! I also have one in my bedroom that holds my yarn and one behind each kids' door to control dress up accessories.
A sun catcher my daughter made with a bead charm attached.
This photo captures the light purple/gray of the outer walls.
The random frog/turtle collection I've somehow acquired over the years.
One of the biggest prints in my hall. Love this!
I never fail to 'see' this one. It never becomes background noise.
It is always a message I need too.
I think this was the first print I purchased. Because it is awesome. Duh.
Vectorstock. I used graphics from there for this print and a little coffee one and included some good words and mounted it on scrapbook paper. This is from one of my favorite ee cumming poems.
Filling another small frame with a card I liked and saved. The quote on it says:
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others,
cannot keep it from themselves. J.M. Barrie
I've always loved otters and my husband and I had this poster mounted in our early days. I can't remember why. I think we liked the quirkiness of it and the colors. Quirky and colorful would be a fitting theme title for my hallway, so it fits in well.
I love her whole shop. If I had unlimited wall space and funds, I'd buy it all.
Wall placement detail.
The other simple print I made using a vectorstock image. It is actually cuter than this picture seems. The coffee image is made up of smaller images, like coffee beans and such in a nice chocolate brown.
toxic melted bead suncatcher tutorials going around Pinterest? I followed it and came up with this. Not exactly a Pinterest fail, but it is a Pinterest tale of caution. Other than losing a few thousand brain cells due to melted plastic fumes, I'm very happy with this project. It is a very fun way to make a colorful something for a window. I recommend using an outdoor grill instead of an indoor oven if you've never tried it before. However, make sure your grill isn't upwind to your neighbors, because they will hate you once they realize the industrial chemical fumes that are invading their house is due to you grilling plastic. I may or may not know this from personal experience. Hey! I had already melted my brain from trying it inside the first time, so I wasn't really thinking when I moved the operation outside and away from my own house. Oops! Sorry neighbors! Still... Pretty!
Cluttery landing picture. World meet my plants, Charlie and Lola. Charlie and Lola, the world. Right this second, Lola is gasping out to me. Water! Water! I need water! I am a bad plant mommy.
My sad and narrow entryway. The skinny doorway represents one of the only 'real' closet type storage areas in my house. Old homes are full of fun little storage challenges, no? This is kind of an ugly photo but it shows the two purples against each other.
So at long last, the end of my entry makeover. Very likely not everyone's cup of tea, but it continues to make me happy to this day. Every time I come home and see the color and the happy messages, and I smile. Sure beats the plain white, bare walls that we lived with for over a decade. A vast improvement over entering my home and wincing or feeling down due to my surroundings. Now as I leave or return, I'm uplifted, reminded to find my smile. I like that it does the same for my family. Like a little hug from me as they walk out the door.
At this point I can't change the fact that I live in a small home with old plaster walls, weird curvy stairs, a severe lack of storage and random old house quirks, but I can change how I view living in such a place. Now that I am using my space as a sort of way to express how I feel inside, I feel more at home than ever before. It may not be perfect. But certainly, at this point, it is definitely home.
Wishing everyone a week full of color and uplifting words! :)
Monday, November 19, 2012
Second stage of my quotes wall. I've added art to the top since this photo was taken.
I have been on a mission to get my house prettified. No wall left behind, basically. Though I've been tackling my house since the first day I moved in, this last evolution has been one based more on personality and the emotion I want my home to evoke as opposed to just making it more functional. Like most projects, it has taken me way longer than I've ever thought possible, but it has also been one of the most rewarding undertakings as once the work is done it is there to make me feel happy every time I see it.
It all started when I tackled the entry stairway into my house that used to depress me every time I'd walk in or leave. You can't have that, right? Falling into an emotional downslide every time you enter or exit your home is just sad. So I tried to figure out what I'd like to say to my kids as they leave the house. The small messages of encouragement I that I hope sinks into their subconscious and gives them a bit of a boost as they transition from home into the big wide world each day. That turned into my quote stairway with walls lined with prints I made or purchased from Etsy artists and the stair risers 'tiled' with scrapbook paper tiles and highlighted with a quote.
This wall project also involves quotes. Maybe this decorating phase I've been in could be accurately named, "Read My House" or something like that. I guess I like quotes. However, when my 8 year old boy told me that his favorite quote was "May my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living" by E.E. Cummings, it was enough to make it worth it to me. The words are sinking in.
I have a love/hate thing going on with Pinterest, don't you? First, there is the whole 'go there for inspiration only to find that you've sucked away hours on the internet and no longer have time to do a project' aspect to it. Then there are the Pinterest fails, a phenomenon that has sparked several spin-off blogs, all of which I could contribute to many times over, if I wasn't wasting so much time browsing Pinterest to have time to blog.
It was on Pinterest that I discovered a project that birthed this project. The whole thing actually started out as a Pinterest fail for me. If you clicked to see the original pin, you notice it is an art wall for the kids to hang their artwork. Well, that might work if I had different kids.
My kids see such thing as a mission to accomplish. If I give them a box and tell them it is to store their art creations, then they set out to fill that box to the very top, within that very same day if possible. They kick into high production mode and all of a sudden there is no paper left in the house. And that is exactly what happened here. Within a week my husband couldn't find one stack of paper to do his weekly paperwork and these poor clipboards were straining under inch thick paper stacks of random drawings of Pokemon and unicorns. Not that I don't ADORE my kids art. I totally do. I just don't like clutter. Or not having paper to bill people for our business so, you know, we can receive money to buy groceries.
So, one day after the third stack of papers plummeted to the floor after the clipboard gave out, I sat down, opened photoshop, typed a few of my favorite quotes in simple fonts and printed them out on some nicer quality matte presentation paper. (The stuff I keep hidden from my little Picassos.) I actually made a few extra quotes than I had clipboards for, but that has been fun because I can change out inspiration as the mood sees fit.
My now uncluttered clipboard wall. Yay!
You can click the photo to read the quotes, but the photos aren't the best. They read as follows:
"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living" Dr. Seuss
"Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing." Leo Buscaglia
"Think. Think. Think." Winnie the Pooh
"When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion." Abraham Lincoln
"Let me guess. Someone stole your sweet roll?" Skyrim Guard (video game joke)
"If music be the food of love, play on" Shakespeare
"Words are, in my not so humble opinion, the most inexhaustible source of magic." Dumbledore
"Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." Steve Jobs
"To be wise is to be eternally curious." Frederick Buechner *I've since replaced this one with another one by Buechner, "Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid."
"Put something silly in the world that ain't been there before." Shel Silverstein
"May my heart always be open to little birds who are the secrets of living" E.E. Cummings
"Let the Wild Rumpus Start!" Maurice Sendack
I've added some art to the top of the clipboard wall now and am also working on another Pinterest inspired wall enhancement on the adjoining wall that is almost finished. So far that one is working out just swell and I can't wait to post about those results. Even incomplete the project makes me smile. No quotes on the new project, but I do use scrapbook paper and mod podge, which outside of quotes make up the other staples in my ongoing home redecorating projects.
I have a couple empty spaces yet on my walls. Favorite quotes, anyone?