Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
I knit this little fishie for him and it quickly became his favorite. The simple pattern, from Teach Me To Knit, came together in no time at all.
Instructions called for tying the fish to a thread and dangling it from a stick but, as you can see, Pepper prefers it no strings attached. More fish are in the works, as this one is already thoroughly abused.
He's so fun, but no matter how wild he gets (clawing up the back of the chair, stalking unsuspecting toes), it's never long before he's fast asleep again.
Welcome home, Pepper!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This year, in an effort to cut down on the waste in the girls' lunchboxes, I made a bunch of snack sacks. They were so simple and quick—I made 9 of them in one sitting. I didn't have a pattern, so I decided to wing it and take my cues from a basic envelope. Once they were constructed, I added a few pieces of Velcro to keep the contents from spilling out.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It'll be 8 weeks until we can taste these dill pickles, and we are waiting as patiently as we can. We tried a new recipe this year and we're holding out hope for crunchy spears this time.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This was going to be a challenge for us, as we have made a commitment to start buying more responsibly. It didn't feel right to run out to some big store to buy the latest and greatest cheap import. I considered homemade but, given my sewing skills, I imagined the girls lunches falling right through the bottom on their way to school. With making backpacks myself ruled out, I was off on an adventure to source handmade, quality ones.
After a lengthy Internet search (a time span, "A" reminded me, that was about equal to the time I would have spent on a trip to the store), I found the perfect backpacks.
Handmade by DCR Creations, these backpacks were custom made for the girls in prints/designs they got to choose themselves. When they arrived in the mail, we pulled them out and immediately started exploring them. We marveled at the quality handwork, we were thrilled with the cute theme-matching fabrics used for the linings of all the compartments, we found the water-bottle pocket, and then the girls noticed something else: the smell! They were lightly scented with just a hint of fruity aroma. This was their favorite feature of all and if they had the chance, I'm am sure they would ask you to smell those new backpacks, too.
We considered it a small victory to have sourced some great backpacks that served as an alternative to the inferior mass-produced ones. This gives us hope that we will be able find quality, affordable handmade products whenever the need arises.
DCR Creations is a mother-and-daughter run business that sews backpacks, wallets, aprons, totes, lunch bags, and so much more. Most products they offer can be custom-made in any fabric you see on their website.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Speaking of good neighbors, I had the pleasure of being assigned the booth next to Little Garlic Press at last Sunday's Design Hive Market in Cambridge, MA.
Little Garlic Press is a Portland, ME based operation featuring clothing made from re-purposed vintage fabrics, cotton t-shirts bearing antique botanical illustrations, and beautiful paper products. The creative force behind the shop is Nikaline who, aside from her 4 (four!) other jobs, finds time to design gorgeous scarves, skirts, dresses and shirts from vintage clothing and fabric she cleverly sources.
She has gotten her hands on so much vintage fabric over the years that she sells that, too. I couldn't resist this piece of mushroom print polyester fabric she was selling, so I scooped it up before anyone else could buy it. I can only imagine what was originally done with this fabric in the 70's ( think: women's pantsuits and men's shirts a la Travolta). What will I do with it? I have no idea. I just know needed it. Polyester mushroom print fabric doesn't come along every day, folks.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The new walls, windows, floors, cabinets, and counter tops were a dream come true, but it is the back splash that remains the conversation piece of the room. We covered the walls between the counter tops and cabinets with pebble tile, giving the kitchen a natural feel. The best part? The wave.
Crafted in homage to our time spent surfing in Southern California, our wave is a reminder of the place where we started our family. And with time flying as fast as it is (case in point: our baby started to kindergarten today), we are doing all we can to keep our special memories at the surface. This pebbly ocean swell may seem like merely a decorative touch to some, but to us it is so much more.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
like climbing trees (can you find the 2 little trolls in this photo?)
Thursday, September 3, 2009
This is something you hear in our household many times a day. No matter what you're looking for, be it nail clippers, a hair elastic, or a headlamp, you're likely to find it in the second drawer, our junk drawer, of that dresser.
It was rescued from my parents' old cottage, destined to become a TV stand and storage piece for us. When we brought it home, it was a pinkish-brown, as was most of the furniture in that cottage. (I'll have to ask my parents why one of these days). I painted it bright yellow, then a watery crimson so the yellow radiates through the red. It brings color and character to our living room.
But I'm not here to talk about our junk drawer, or the makeover the dresser got. The thing that makes this piece of furniture a prized object in our home is it's secret (apparently, we are partial to furniture with hidden surprises. Remember the table?). Our resident woodworker fashioned a special place for a modern amenity in this antique piece. A flip-down drawer front reveals our DVD/VCR player hidden inside the top drawer. We just flip it back up to hide it all—keeping the big silver box out of sight.
I have never been particularly fond of decorating my home with various technological components, so this was a great solution. I did have some reservations about modifying such a nice, old piece of furniture but in the end, functionality won out—and I'm glad it did!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
There's the furnace that has been known to shut off only on the coldest day, the paint that's peeling from the foundation, and a front lawn that is mostly crabgrass. It's easy to get hung up on what the neighbors might see as not up to par, but it is what I look past almost daily that makes this house special. A pretty window that looks out to the backyard, the kitchen back splash we put in a few years ago, and the sturdy front door that we opened with a skeleton key the first time we entered the house
Today, with renewed enthusiasm about my home, I have decided to run a series featuring the special things that surround me and my family. These things might inspire, spark an idea for you and your own home, or could be a clever solution you may want to try for yourself.
So here goes! The first "Surroundings" feature:
This trellis was built by "A" only three years ago. The vines have completely covered it, creating a green "room" that houses our hammock. And it just so happens to be this very week that the vine explodes with tiny white flowers that drip off the top of it. We call this place our "secret garden," our little hideaway right in our own backyard.
What about you? What is your favorite thing about where you live? Is it artwork, an architectural feature, an outdoor element, a prized piece of furniture? Do tell.