Friday, December 2, 2011

Creating an Advent Calendar the Doesn't Suck

inspired, of course, by a Pinterest find.


24x30 canvas (but you could use any kind of backing you wanted)
wrapping paper (to cover the canvas - I had just enough of this paper from Paper Source, so I used it.)
Hot glue (for adhering the pockets to the backing)
3x5 cards
scrapbook paper and embellishments (or paint, if you're so inclined)
any graphic your heart desires (I cannot for the life of me remember where I printed mine from...anyone?)
A fun font. (I used this one.)
A list of advent activities (I used this one from the original post, slightly altered to better fit our current family)

Also helpful, a friend who's a rockin' paper crafter with a bunch of old paper she's willing to trade for pockets, canvas, and cards. 

Happy Adventing!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Another one where I'm over at NPN


Here, where I talk about our ambitions to get outside *even* when it's raining. Irony part the first: both pictures were taken in Seattle, where we do not live. Irony part the second: today it's going to be 63 and sunny with a slight breeze. Rough weather, y'all. Rough.


Here, where I talk about myself.

Happy Thursday!

And a tease:

Advent starts today, and that is our advent calendar. I've had some requests for a tutorial, so when the light is better (hooray for the flash on my iphone!) I'll get some shots and share the how-to's.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Kitchen Art

Remember when I won a custom illustration by Oohmoon? Well, I got it printed (mpix rocks) and then got it frame and hung it in our dining room.

I dig it.


One day I will be able to afford museum glass...until then, reflect away!

Linen mat, wood frame

The whole shebang (I'm not thrilled with the 3 prints underneath. I feel like it needs a 4th...and the frames came from costco, so that requires a trip I don't make lightly...)

Isn't this frame awesome?  I just had to share because I love it.

Thanks, Katie!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Magic of Fairy Lights

It's that time of year again. The time when I start watching Nigella Lawson like she's going out of style (she not, thankfully) and wishing that I could be her when I grow up.

This year I decided to do something about it. Namely: twinkle lights.

If you'll notice in this video, aside from making crab cakes that I need to eat, she wanders around a house filled with twinkle lights. 

So I added some to our kitchen: 

Unlit, the looks a little sloppy, which...whatever. We rent, people. 

Lit, even with the lights on, they add a bit of working light and warmth to the kitchen.

With the lights off, however...even our $2 IKEA bowls look sparkly and glamorous.

They may stay up year round.

Then I attacked the mantle: 

It was really quite easy and it adds a nice glow to the living room. The only holiday decorations I have up are the Thankful tree (which is really just cards from Jones Design Company hung on a little bronze sculpture I've had for forever) 

The other touch is a few illustrations by Katie Moon over at Oohmoon. (More kitcheny goodness from her later this month!) When it's no longer Christmas, I may replace those prints with ones from her bicycle series.

I picked up the frame at the 10,000 Villages Craft Fair this year. It may not live there forever, but it works now. 

  These may stay up year round, too.

And yes, I know I need to touch up the wall...the paint is in the garage. When we exhume it, I'll touch up those little spots. (we rent and I can't just change the color of the wall. otherwise I would have done that first.)

**also on the mantle: an heirloom weather station, an empty apothecary jar - it house peanut M&Ms, but they are being eaten and will not be replaced, my Dead Author Bobble Heads, a print from Hammerpress in a frame from the Lollywood shop. Art by Baz, under that is his silhouette, the Russian/Soviet President Matryoshka dolls, a rocking horse, and a clock that was made for us as a wedding gift from my uncle. Random and awesome. It makes me smile every time I look at it.**

Monday, November 7, 2011


So a fellow blogger (Amanda at Let's Take the Metro) has a regular Gratitude post in which she lists things she's grateful for.  She's certainly not the only one, but considering that a) it's the time of year and b) I get constant reminders that it's that time of blogging....I figured I would do a few throughout this month (and year, in theory) and just document the little things that I am grateful for.

So here we go.

This mess. Because it means that I have food and people to help me eat it.

The city of San Jose, who will take these cats and sterilize them, vaccinate, and deworm them before microchipping them and notching their ears (except Lucy, this grey one, who managed to escape ear-notch free. But the shaved patch on her belly told us the rest of the procedure happened.) 

Abundance. (and not having to pay for Pomegranates. If I charged what the grocery store charges, I'd be a rich woman!)

Spray Paint.

Heart-shaped leaves.

Napping buddies.

Traditions to pass down.

Your turn.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Festive Ceramics

 Every year the local paint-your-plate place has a few nights where you can go in and carve your own pumpkin. They dry it, fire it, you come back and paint it, they glaze it and fire it again, and you bring it home to add festiveness to your porch. Or wherever. Last year I went on my own and created Bunnicula. (I went back and painted on my own, too.) 

 This year, we had "help" and did the haunted house..I had "help"painting, too. It's good, but not great. But I love it because he helped.

This year, I have the added help of pintrest...on which I saw this. A LOT.  I decided to take that and apply it to some dunk mugs...

We had some mugs...and then we fed them after midnight...

I rather like seeing them up there, plotting my demise...

When I'm not thinking they look a bit like Wallace and Gromit extras...


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Crayons arranged by him. Apparently he was finished coloring.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One day, he will kill me for putting this on the internet

but I can't help myself. He wanted to do it all by they're inside out and backwards. He was so proud.

We're back from our travels (LOVE Seattle, people. LOVE.) But we've been struck with a series of head colds...which has led to me feeling like there's not a whole lot worth talking about.

Seattle trip photos can be found on the flickr. Button at right.

See that? I can't even be bothered to link you directly. The power of mucus, am I right?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Autonomous Child

So I'm a big fan of letting Baz call his shots. I try to respect his opinions and desires as much I do my husbands, and as much as I expect them to respect mine. I also feel that if I go with his flow most of the time, then when I need him to go with mine, he'll be more willing. It's along the lines of the "fix game." (which totally works, by the way. Especially when you follow it with "Now sit here and watch an episode of Roary while I vacuum the rest of the house." He's had dedicated mommy time, I get ten minutes of not tripping over him while he tries to help push the vacuum. Win. Win.)

Last weekend (two weekend ago?) a friend of mine suggested giving Baz access to his snacks so that we can move past the "I want it/I hate it" stage. I saw genius in this and immediately knew where to set up his section of the kitchen.

Behold - our stash. The drawer was filled with random junk (you know what I mean) and the rest was haphazard and behind the most irritating kitchen cabinet doors ever.

Seriously - do you see where the magnets are? And the pulls are in the top/center of the door? I didn't take physics, but I know that ANNOYING. So I took them off.

And yes - that's all my coke. Hush.


Everything found new homes with minimal rearranging (cleaning out the junk drawer made a huge difference) and now here is his stash.

Top shelf: glasses, bowls, muffin tin (have you witnessed the genius of muffin tin meals?), two snack options, to-go cups, to-go snack holders.

Bottom shelf: pots and pans, pitcher, spoon, play food, spatulas and spoons. 

Inspired by this post, we set up a water station several months ago. As soon as his glasses were within his reach, he started filling them. 

Happy baby!

He does enjoy having everything where he can reach. He hasn't figured out that he can grab his toys and take them up on the counter with him - while he's in his learning tower - but I think we're close to that. Could be soon. And then - that'll be an interesting day, won't it...?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Painting the floor...sortof

Many months ago, one of the blogs I follow (who even knows which one - there are well over 100 in my reader) linked to this wonderful blog, where she painted the foam floor tiles that are ubiquitous in houses with kids.

Her "After" is very involved. I'm not that ambitious.

Then there was another post on another blog...again a little ambitious for me...although we have also had the foam tiles in our kitchen. Whether they will return again completely depends on my floor-cleaning schedule.

So anyway, here's my before: (from June, but fairly accurate in terms of neatness and what the floor looked like)

Pretty bright, considering the part of the house they're in. I went to home depot and got some primer and paint.
After one coat of primer:

After a second coat of primer, two coats of paint and sealer.

A friend of mine, after the last house post, said "where the crap is your tv?!?" It's that hulking tube screen in the corner back there.

I think we'll like it. And that mantel back there, it's a work in progress. Don't worry: it should be done in time for me to decorate for Christmas....

Friday, August 26, 2011


Inspired by this post at Carrots Are Orange:

And in case you were thinking that towel is just for splashes:

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The one in which I recover the couch and hang something.

Our couch, while super comfy, has seen better days.

You've always wanted cats, haven't you? (this is really just the most obvious damage - everything from ice cream to milk to spit up has graced the couch...and many, many naps.)

It's a good couch (storehouse - structurally, it's in amazing shape.) So in an effort to discourage the sort of behavior our cats have been exhibiting - and to make spills easier to clean up (and maybe help with allergies) we cheaped out and bought a slipcover. I bought it off the surefit site, but it's made for target (it has the label) and it was on clearance. I haven't been very happy with Target's home line, so we'll see how it holds up. The brown pillow covers on the small pillows are from restoration hardware and they're super soft. I bought them a few years ago - not sure if they still make them. (I just checked. They don't. They're faux fur - like the best teddy bear ever.)

It's not a perfect solution, but it's growing on me. And it's not uncomfortable for lounging, which is a plus.

The thing which I hung is my take on the rain gutter/IKEA spice rack/sling bookshelves:

It is found at Home Depot for the bargain price of $8 and  wasn't entirely easy to hang (use hex bolts, drywall anchors, washers, and a socket wrench. A RATCHETING socket wrench....though why one would buy tools that don't ratchet it beyond me.)

It's hung at his height on the side of the room that's "his" and it houses library books. I think we'll enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Have I told you about Oohmoon?

I feel like I have. In case I haven't...GO THERE NOW.

Katie Moon is creating some of my favorite art - and for the first 24 hours of its online existence, it's free. Every week there's a new series, and I love every series more than the previous one.

When I've saved enough pennies (and feel like the time is right) we're going to commission a family portrait. Maybe a series.

Happy Arting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Making a Ramp

I have a kid whose favorite thing ever (so far) are cars. And construction equipment. The bigger the digger, the better.

So a few months ago, we pulled out some of Husband's matchbox cars and Baz hasn't stopped playing with them since.

Well, of course he needs a road for them. And until we get the play table and the road set we've got on our wishlist, (and maybe even after) cardboard will have to do!

So I took the box our hammock came in...

Cut it apart (with plain ol' scissors)

Folded and taped the end for the "Start"...

and then had to explain the concept to my child (who always lies down when I try and shoot from the floor...cute, but defeating my purposes.)

He figured it out.

By the way - that 3-wheeled car is named Tomber*, from Cars2 (which we haven't seen.) It's Reliant Robin (or based on, whatever) and it may be the funniest car ever made.

 (*pronounced: Toomer. As in "It's not a tumor...")

(this is safe for work...if  you work at the sort of place that allows you to watch BBC on Youtube...)
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