Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Basement Chic

What a day! The flood did a lot more damage than we originally thought. We had many demolition men walking off with the walls of our basement, along w/ all the soggy, ruined items. One of the saddest losses was MOST of my portfolios from my early jobs. I still love some of the things I designed way back when, and I've spent the day trying to dry and preserve what I can. All of the neatly done, leather portfolios were ruined.

If I look on the bright side, this is the quickest way to HAVE to clean up your basement.

Since the walls will need to be replaced...at least partially, I will be forced to address some renovation issues that I would not have otherwise considered for at least five years. Since we have a new sump pump, and will also purchase a back-up system, I have been assured that this will NEVER happen again, thus making the space able to be used for...what? This wasn't high on my agenda, but we'll need to come up with a plan pretty quick. In the meantime, there are fans drying up the place and we'll see what happens.

Perhaps I'll decorate the basement like Elvis did. Truthfully, ever since I saw Graceland, I've felt a little sorry for Elvis. He's had parades of people tramping though his house for years, without the opportunity to renovate or defend himself. If he was alive today, I doubt he would have a rainforest in his living room, or a bright yellow, mod basement. I'm sure anyone's house that was caught in that type of time capsule would have a few things to laugh about!

And then the floods came...

As we returned Christmas weekend to a smokey-smelling house, we realized that the entire basement was under a foot of water. No heat, no hot-water. Great. I'll be spending the day cleaning the sopping mess that is in our basement. Hope you're all having a good day too!

Image by BluLima. I'm thinking of purchasing it and hanging it on my basement door!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I just wanted to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas! I've been somewhat struggling lately to keep up with this blog...and my life! My lovely aunt passed away a couple of weeks ago and my thoughts are with her a lot lately. She had 5 wonderful children, and six grandchildren. When my own life gets crazy (this week, this family has collectively had two trips to the emergency room, gout, ear infections, conjunctivitis, and a severe cold/laryngitis), I think HOW DID SHE DO IT??? 

I remember when we were little and went to visit, she would pack us all in her station wagon and bring us to get ice cream, to sporting events...you name it. She must have planned Christmas way ahead of time, and this year, I know for a fact, she thought ahead to have Christmas presents for all of us. How amazing and thoughtful is that? Birthdays, and anniversaries were always remembered. Thanksgiving for 25? No problem! She'd just whip out her binder of notes and create endless dishes for all, always including someone's favorite something or other. AND ALL IN GOOD CHEER! She was just the glue that created a wonderful, loving life, which she spread to all.

I don't mean to be maudlin. I think her her in amazement! I am saddened by her passing, but will always remember her so happily, she was a true gift to my family!

I wish you all the best this holiday season!

Images © Chandler O'Leary. I love her work...check out her prints here!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Small powder room

I saw this chic powder room in the latest edition of Elle Decor. I think it's so stylish, but at the same time, I'm a little iffy on the arrows near the zebras on the Scalamandre wallpaper print. Couldn't they have left those out? What do you think?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Decorating

I love looking at photos of lovely gift wrapped packages, and ornately decorated houses for the holidays. For some lovely photos, you can click on these links of fellow bloggers:

Cristin from Simplified Bee shows some lovely inexpensive wrapping ideas.
Minnie from Mama Without Borders show some really neat vintage pink items (which Jake would love because as you know, he prefers pink!)
These are pretty too...see Chic Coles.

Although I've already decorated for Christmas (as much as I can!), I now realize I should have just gone with an Elmo theme so that I could have witnessed the true magic of Christmas through Jake's adorable little eyes. There's still time to stick an Elmo on top of the tree!

Elmo image from Sesame Street / Ornament from 2MomLuvMe.  / Stocking from Amazon. / 
Gift wrap from Find Gift.com / Gift Bags from DollarNights

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our playroom comes to life!

As I've mentioned before, I've been trying to come up with a solution to deal with all the shoes and jackets (and hats, and mittens, and STUFF) that piles up by the entry to our house...which is also open to the playroom/den/sunroom area. I have also wanted to create a fun area for Jake to play, us to be comfortable, and a way to store all the toys so that the first thing you see when you walk into the house is some type of order. Ambitious, right? Perhaps I'm delusional, but I recently spent a few fun days finding inspiration online and figuring out just what to order to accomplish this daunting task.

These are some of the photos I found that inspired me...

I love the built in benches here, and the storage underneath. One of my goals has been to make space in the playroom to accommodate the adorable table and chair set that my sister painted for Jake:

I like the light shades of white on the walls and trim with the bright red accents:

I think these window treatments are adorable and I think the vertical shelving is nice, but probably too hard to reach for kids:

This was just an ad, but I loved the colorful striped rug, and got me searching for one that would work for us:

I've shown this before, but I can't stop thinking about those great book shelves, and I'm hoping we can work something like that into our room. Also, of course, the bench is great, and I like the simple bamboo shades:

Again, I've shown this photo, but the storage will work for us (with space for baskets underneath). The fabric on the bench is cute too...anyone know what it is???:

(Photo from PS Erin)

While it's true that I probably didn't need to start this project the month before Christmas, I just wanted to get it done, and I knew if I didn't do it while I had some excitement for the project, it probably would never be finished. So, I ordered what we needed, and last Tuesday, I arrived home to an enormous pile of boxes "some assembly required" furniture sitting on the front patio. Yikes! Now what?

I ordered this bench and shelf from Pottery Barn to store all the shoes, coats, mittens, etc. I'll make the cushion for the bench because I didn't particularly like any of the fabrics they had:

I originally wanted the handyman to create a half wall that would divide the entrance area and the playroom and provide storage. Once I discovered how expensive it was going to be, I decided to use this storage "system" also from Pottery Barn Kids to create the half wall. I'm going to have our handyman create a backing to the shelves to finish it off since it will be visible from both sides. Also, all the pieces are separate, so they need to be secured together somehow:

I got this fun rug (20% off, but backordered) from Garnet Hill to add some color to the mix: 

The rest of the room will start coming together once these major elements are in place which will hopefully be by next week!

Wish us luck!

And the winners are...

Thanks to all of you who participated in my first giveaways! The lucky winners are:

Nikki of: Lovely Scribbles (a fun design blog...check it out!) won the MERRY CHRISTMAS SCRATCH AND SKETCH


Michelle of When I Grow Up (a career coach for creatives... sounds motivating, right?) won the NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS Shadow book


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy Holidays Giveaway #2

Hi Everyone,
Today's Holiday giveaway is this fun Night Before Christmas Shadow book that I designed. The illustrations are printed on acetate, so while reading the story, you shine a flashlight through the image onto the wall. Kids adore it, and I hope you will too!

Here's how to enter... please be a U.S. resident, and:
1. Leave a comment below (please include your e-mail address if you are not a blogger).
2. If you post about this giveaway of Facebook, please leave another comment below with the link.
3. If you tweet about this giveaway, comment below with the link.
4. If you post about this giveaway on your blog, comment below with the link.

Winner will be chosen on Sunday at 12 noon (EST). Winners will be chosen using random.org. Winner will be notified directly via e-mail, and listed in a post by first name only next Monday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Holidays-Giveaway

Merry Christmas friends, and Happy Holidays! 

To celebrate the season, I'd like to give one of you this super fun Merry Christmas Scratch and Sketch Activity book which I wrote and designed (and which my sister illustrated!). Please stop by again in the next couple weeks... I'll be giving away some more fun things I've created to get you all in the spirit!

This activity book includes 20 black scratch off pages which reveal colored swirls and glitter beneath! You can decorate a gingerbread house, create a stocking, and draw a wish list for Santa. It's perfect for ages 5 and up. Have fun!

Here's how to enter... please be a U.S. resident, and:
1. Leave a comment below (please include your e-mail address if you are not a blogger). 
2. If you post about this giveaway of Facebook, please leave another comment below with the link.
3. If you tweet about this giveaway, comment below with the link.
4. If you post about this giveaway on your blog, comment below with the link.

Winner will be chosen on Sunday at 12 noon (EST). Winners will be chosen using random.org.  Winner will be notified directly via e-mail, and listed in a post by first name only next Monday.

Good luck, and best wishes!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Wreaths

Somehow in our frenzy to buy a Christmas tree before naptime, we forgot to get a wreath. Personally, I think it's quite an accomplishment that we were able to put up the tree AND decorate it DURING the naptime, so maybe we'll just have to wait a week until the wreaths happen...it's not that we're not welcoming...we're just pressed for time!

Top three wreaths from William Sonoma, bottom from Two Inspire You 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What is it about pink?

Now that I am a mother of a little boy (who seems to like pink), I'm wondering why and how the color got to be associated with little girls? When presented with color choices, Jake tends to choose pink. At our little Mommy and Me gym class, he picks (all) the pink scarves, and (all) the pink monkeys. At Target the other day when I was looking at the boy blue snow boots, he kept pointing to the pink. Now, I'm not such an avant-garde mom that I'm going to be purchasing him those snow boots, but I do agree with him, the pink IS much more attractive than the drab navy blue boots. I'm quite sure that if there was such thing as a REAL pink train out there, he would be in love.

Train from here. Bikes from here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Xmas List-Design Books

Now that all the great home decorating magazines have (so sadly) been folding, I think these books would be great sources of inspiration. Any other favorites you'd like to add to your Christmas list?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

And thanks to all my readers for stopping by...I love the sweet comments and kind words of encouragement. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, and had as much help in the kitchen as I did!

P.S. Yes, we made the Betty Crocker turkey cupcakes and they were a big hit, but my photos didn't do them justice!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Please bring a dessert

We are (thankfully) guests this Thanksgiving. I cannot imagine preparing a full Thanksgiving dinner. That came out on time. Hot. For XX number of people. My cooking skills are growing, but after living in Manhattan with 80 million fantastic restaurants and six square inches of counter space for years, there was not much incentive for me to create meals. We've been asked to bring a dessert, and I always gravitate towards something that will look good which I feel may cover up any taste issues that arise. Or at least will mask the fact that I count Betty Crocker among my best friends. Is this cheating? 

Images: 1. From Katie M (Whole Foods), 2. From best friend Betty 3. Bridget Lee (inspired by Martha Stewar), 4. Kim Coopet (with recipe)