Monday, January 31, 2011

Colors of Chinatown

B was sick over the weekend. In order to get the kids out of the house so he could rest, I took them over to the Chinese New Year mini parade and flower fair. I normally don't frequent Chinatown. Too crowded, and too touristy. But I do love all the colors there. And apparently I have a thing for photographing brick walls. :)

Every booth we'd been to had fresh flowers. So I was totally impressed with this colorful arrangement. Until I realized it was fake. And I loved this orange wall. The graffiti probably says something horrible, but I can't quite decipher it. :)

Taking a little slinky break. More fake flowers...What can I say? I guess I'm a sucker for the fake ones. I kept seeing people walking around with gorgeous peonies and cherry blossoms (both real). So I just assumed this booth was where they were coming from. Wrong. But very colorful, at least. 

One more brick wall. It looks like I put two photos together, but they're actually side by side buildings. Love the color combination. 

I've purposely started taking my camera with me when we're out and about. It's kind of fun noticing the little details I'd otherwise miss. Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weekend Projects

After installing a Valentine's Day window display last week, I realized it's perhaps the easiest holiday to decorate. (duh, right?) Paper hearts, candy, envelopes, doilies. What could be more simple? Or more cute? Confession time: I don't own any Valentine's Day decorations. Well, that's just not going to cut it this year. If you're looking for a good weekend project, I've collected a few of my favorite valentine-related ones right here. 

Just imagine all the possibilities for these vintage sequin hearts. They're all connected, so simply string them up as a garland, or cut them apart and hang them as ornaments. Attach a pin or a hair clip to dress up an everyday outfit. They even look pretty great just casually draped over a chair, no?

Little heart barrettes for the tiniest little loves out there. If your little sweetheart doesn't have enough hair to rock a barrette yet (ahem, Charlotte) you could easily modify the barrettes into a headband. Or sew a bunch onto a little white cardigan. Or hot glue some magnets on the back and show the fridge some love, too.

This is the sweetest idea I've seen in a long time. Bubblegum necklaces = pure genius. Perfect for little gifts or a valentine's day party.

I love conversation hearts. I don't love to eat them...I just love to look at them; I love the nostalgia. They're the icon of Valentine's Day. The perfect solution: hot-glue them to a wreath

{If I put this up, I'd be begging for a visit from the neighborhood raccoons and the voracious ants. So I'll probably just admire this project from afar. But if you don't have insect and/or nocturnal scavenger issues, this project is for you.}

If paper and glue are your mediums of choice, here's a simple heart chain. String them in doorways or windows for instant valentine decor.

Framed hearts...a little bit more grown up take on Valentine's Day decor. This one's not exactly in my price range, but I may try creating my own version for our gallery wall in the family room.

How do you decorate for Valentine's Day?
P.S. If you need me this weekend, I'll be in the garage with red glitter up to my elbows.

image credits: 1. sunday hatch, 2. purl bee, 3. one charming party, 4. tidbits from the tremaynes, 5. How About Orange, 6. sarah & bendrix

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Not Your Grandma's Doily

With Valentine's Day approaching, I've got doilies on the brain. But these ain't your grandma's doilies. They're updated, fresh, and surprisingly chic. Check 'em out:

Send an elegant thank you with doily print notecards. Or write your grandma a nice, long letter. You know she'd love it. (note to self: write to grandma).
Maybe a doily monogram stamp is more geared toward a wedding; but this stamp is so cute, I'd even dress up that envelope as I send in my utility bill.

Wooden doilies make a chic hostess gift. Or serve as a gentle reminder to ahem, "use a coaster, idiot."
These little birdie cake toppers will have your guests talking (or dare I say tweeting?) for days.

Here's a doily you can walk all over. Really. 
An unexpected surprise for your valentine--a doily envelope liner.

She'll have sweet dreams with this Tea Time bedding, from The Land of Nod
Cupcakes are plenty sweet on their own, but add a custom doily topper and the cuteness is out of this world.

Photo credits: 1. cami's paperie, 2. baby jewels, 3. uncommon, 4. wannabe, 5. anthropologie, 6. martha stewart weddings, 7. land of nod, 8. cake stand boutique 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dream Kitchen

While at my folks house last week, I picked up a new catalog and started flipping through it. It was filled with the Martha Stewart for Home Depot line (see above). And ever since, I can't stop daydreaming about my perfect kitchen. I've always been partial to white kitchens, but this grey Ox Hill kitchen has me reconsidering.

Let me be clear, although my mind may wander into grey territory occasionally, my inspiration file is still filled with white kitchens. Take a peek into my imagination:

via {this is glamorous}
An apron-front sink (or two, perhaps?) falls into the "necessity" category for my dream kitchen. Oh, and fresh flowers are a must, of course. 

via the red bungalow
 Ok, open shelving scares me a bit. If you want to know why, just come take a peek at my studio. Scary. But since we're talking dream kitchen, can my dream include the ability to be a perfect housekeeper? Or a maid? 

via decor8, photo by Virginia Macdonald
With that maid tending to my home kitchen, I've found oodles of time to run a sweet little bakery in my spare time...didn't you hear? Nope, it's not the typical industrial-looking commercial kitchen. I wanted mine to feel more homey and feminine.

via valdirose
Oh, and this is my country home. I've been out picking berries for our waffles this morning. Won't you join us?

via My Sweet Savannah

We'll sit side-by-side at my rustic, tough (yet very chic) table that B made last weekend. We reclaimed the wood from an old barn down the street that was being torn down. Because that was the responsible thing to do.

Do you have requirements for your dream kitchen(s)? Or are you lucky enough to have yours all ready?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Portrait

According to my son, I'm having an issue with male-pattern baldness. Why have none of you told me this before? Should I consider a comb-over?

P.S. Aren't kids' pictures the best? And I love that he always includes a heart when he draws my picture.

52 Smiles

You all know how incredible Katherine is. Let me remind you: incredibly talented, astonishingly creative, with the kindest heart you'll ever encounter...yep, that's her. Well, she's really outdone herself this time. 52 Smiles is her way of spreading intentional acts of kindness throughout the year. I'm so excited to be participating in int the project, too.

I've got a fun one up my sleeve this week. Can't wait to share it with you.

What about you, any service-oriented goals this year? 

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Back (kind of)

We spent the last week+ visiting with family and friends in Utah. I arrived home Saturday with a sick baby (she's doing much better now). B surprised me with a sparkling clean home. (Hooray!) Now I've just got to catch up on the laundry and the orders in my shop before life feels normal again.

One of the other things I need to catch up on is my 365. I'm constantly amazed by the talent and creativity of so many people over at 365 project. I hop online for just a sec to upload a photo, but then I get sucked in by the likes of these:

Go ahead, click on the photos and you'll zip on over to their albums.
Entering Dreamland on 365 Project
Entering Dreamland, by Tammi Oberg

Fairy Dust on 365 Project
Fairy Dust, also by Tammi Oberg

Cracking Up on 365 Project
Cracking Up, by Amy Hughes

Lantern on 365 Project
Lantern, by Andrea Freeman

mr. grumpy face on 365 Project
mr. grumpy face, by Jill Montes
See what I mean?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love is Handmade

Great news! I'm offering free shipping (to US addresses) on all greeting cards in my shop from now through January 21. Also, check out my friends from Etsy Greetings who have some great promotions going on as part of our "Love is Handmade" event.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New This Week

Listed in this week's shop update, several new valentines. This one is perfect for that guy in your life without being too cute. A little bragfest: It was on etsy's front page last night. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Five years ago today it was raining in San Francisco. I remember waiting in the misty rain, nervous and excited, while B parked the car. We entered the hospital together. A short time later, our lives changed forever: we were parents.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the last five years:

I don't have the words to express how I love this little boy. It's been such a pleasure to watch him grow. I love his kindness, his charisma, and his strong will. I will forever feel blessed that I was chosen to be his mother.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Renter's Survival Guide

Sure, renting comes with some drawbacks: no painting the walls, getting stuck with dated tile, etc. But the perks are pretty spectacular: no property insurance, immediate (free!) repairs. If I do say so myself, I've gotten pretty good at renting. Here are a few tricks I've learned over the last decade. {And this list isn't just for renters...homeowners, you'll probably want to stick around, too}.

  • Tip 1: Upon moving in, find out the exact shade of paint used for the walls and/or doors. Trust me. It will be a huge relief to know you've got an easy fix when your kid "decorates" with a Sharpie.

  • Buy this. Seriously. All other carpet spot removers are junk in comparison. I didn't know how I'd survive in a rental with practically white carpet. Then came the spilled grape juice, the play date that ended in a bloody nose, and a case of exploding eyeshadow. This stuff is a even got permanent marker out of my couch. (B: pretend you didn't read that).

  • Now these things make me feel like a rental goddess. In previous rentals, I may have been be a little hammer-happy. I ended up with multiple nail holes under each picture on the walls. I'm sure my landlords loved that. Problem solved: stick one (removable) strip to the wall and one to your picture and you can adjust the picture to your heart's content. This is extremely helpful to those who are fickle with wall decor. (Please tell me I'm not the only one).

  • Dear Costco, could you please start selling these by the case? They're perfect for cleaning the burned mess off of the stovetop, wiping crayon off the dining set (is it starting to sound like I don't watch my children? I should look into that).

  • Then along comes the baby who is obsessed with the boingy thing on the back of the door. In her adoration, she removes said spring-like apparatus, resulting in a doorknob through the wall. Grab yourself a fast patch kit, paint over the wall with that paint we talked about before, and ta-da! Good as new.

  • And lest this post get too industrial, let's talk wall decor a minute. I've had it with boring walls. While I'm not a fan of inspirational quotes plastered all over the place, whimsical, colorful decals can really boost the feel of a room. All with the non-committal confidence a renter needs. Just slap 'em up, and peel 'em off when it's time to move along. Because even renters deserve fun walls. {I found this one here}.
My next experiment in renting is testing out the array of grout paints out there. Mine is looking pretty grungy. Ick.

Happy Monday, folks!