Archive for May, 2012

State Art DIY

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged over on Her View From Home about some fantastic FREE state art. I chose Arizona and Maine to be featured on the Dream’s upcoming gallery wall:

Those are the two states where the hubs and I have history together. Personally, I’ve lived in 10 states and it might be fun to do a collage of all of them at some point. Which is just what my friend Danielle did.

She read my Her View from Home post and was inspired to put this fun piece together – that’s displayed in her kitchen. Here’s her email:

I think I will eventually change the hearts from the state capital to where we lived. And outline the L. I resized all of these in photoshop. I just wanted to get it up before Miles’ party this weekend.

Her adorable son Miles is having his big FIRST birthday party this weekend. Here he is with the new artwork:

And here is his big brother – and big personality – Jax, showing off mom’s handiwork:

Aren’t they CUTE?!

Danielle and I go way back to Portland, Maine – where we were both reporters at WMTW-TV. We weathered many a blizzard together! Danielle and her husband, Guy have lived in many states together – and this funky statement (see what I did there?) is a great conversation piece for their home.

Danielle is now a professional photographer, based in Massachusetts. If you need someone to shoot your baby (with a camera!), your wedding, your family, etc… she’s your gal. Check out her website here. She’s also incredibly gifted with PhotoShop and helped design some amazing invites for Kenton’s upcoming (fast!) first birthday party. I’ll be sharing those soon.

Also, Danielle has one little problem area in her kitchen – and would like some thoughts on what to do with it…

Here is a pic of the space above our stove. I’m stumped as what to do there. There is a pic there for now… but I’d love some help from you and your readers for ideas.

 What do you think? It is kind of an odd space, huh? I feel like there should be a window there or something. Here are a few ideas:
  • DIY subway art (similar to my Sunshine piece in the nursery) – would be big and bold to fill the space and could be a clever/catchy phrase for the kitchen.
  • Spray paint a fancy outdoor welcome mat and put a clock on it, like Leslie did.
  • Find a wrought iron piece (likely at a vintage or flea market) that fits the space.

Lovely readers, what do you think? Do you like any of those ideas – or have another to share with Danielle?!

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The playroom is slowly coming together, but let’s go ahead and put a fork in one wall. It is done.

If you’ve been following this blog since the nursery design days, you may remember those faces. The sheep and cow are original paintings by my mom. She gave them to us for the nursery, but they just didn’t fit there. But now they have the PERFECT spot.

Thanks to this dude, Kenton is obsessed with saying, “Moooooooooo!” and now thinks that’s what all animals say.

He’s working on “Baaaa” – but doesn’t quite have it down yet. (He does, however, do a great ROAR.)

Anyway, we are so grateful to my talented momma for giving us these paintings. They did look a bit lonely on that big ol’ wall, so I filled the space between them with some embroidery hoops and a menagerie of fabrics:

I’m really excited with how these turned out. Each piece of fabric has a story and some have ties to other rooms in the Dream. It’s also so cool that this little collage started out as a pile of random fabrics that seemed daunting…

I scored the hoops at a thrift store for $2 each…

I took my time and played around with which fabrics would go in the different size hoops – which wound up being primarily decided based on how much fabric I had on hand.

So, people are doing this every.where. Displaying all sorts of fun fabrics in these hoops. I never really understood how you could tie this together, but what I learned doing this project is that you shouldn’t overanalyze it! 🙂 I love that these fabrics all coordinate, but don’t match… and they all have a little story…

Yes! This is the fabric I found recently at a thrift store. You’ll see more of it in the playroom soon!

Saw this in the clearance section at Home Fabrics and had to snag it. You’ll also see more of this in the playroom soon!

Yeah, so, the “Dream outdoor collection” has been a work in progress for about two years (embarrassing). I’ve made two pillows and cut all the fabric (the hard part!) for new seat cushions, but have yet to actually sew them together. Anywho, these polka-dots are part of the patio fun.

I snagged a small piece of this fabric from the clearance section of Jo-Ann’s a while ago. I just loved the print and color. Unfortunately, there was not an obvious place for it – until now. (Ironically, I found the SAME fabric with different colors on clearance at Home Fabrics a couple weeks ago – and that will soon be making an appearance in the master bedroom and a couple other spots. Yay!)

And I had just enough of the yellow striped fabric leftover from the nursery portrait project for the itty-bitty hoop. I LOVE that the downstairs playroom has a subtle tie to the upstairs nursery. 🙂

So, this project specifically cost me $10. The paintings were free, the fabric is all scraps from other projects and the hoops set me back just $10. I would definitely call that – SUCCESS!

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18 weeks!

Aside from moments of really low energy, I still don’t feel pregnant (not complaining!). However, I am experiencing some pregnancy-induced allergies and possible migraines. GOOD. TIMES. I’ve had the sneezes/sniffles/itchy eyes/scratchy throat thing going for six weeks now and am SO READY for that to be done. Dr. Donnelly, if you read my blog (doubt it), expect to be peppered with MAKE IT STOP pleas at my next appointment. And the migraines – wowzah. Those hit out of nowhere. Actually, I’ve never had a migraine, so I’m not even sure that’s what it is, but all of the sudden, I will get intense, stabbing pain in my head that will affect my vision. Not fun. AT. ALL.

On a positive note, I saw the belly move for the first time this week. That was weird. The baby certainly isn’t big enough to do that, but must have been doing some serious flips, causing the fluid in there to jostle around. It was really special. Plus, it happened on Mother’s Day. AWWWWWWWWE!

Also, snapped this pic on Mother’s Day:

It is so hard to believe that this was my one and only Mother’s Day as momma to one. CRAZINESS.

PS: This is (hopefully) the last week we have to endure iPhone bump photos! My broken lens is supposed to be released from ICU on Friday. Fingers crossed!

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We are changing a lot around here and not just diapers.

BABIES!  They cause a lot of things to change.  Amen?

When they grow, they like things.  Things take up room and space and make noise and are fantastic for individual play time, but in a designated area.  Up until now, that’s been a corner of the living room.

This really blurry cell phone picture of Kenton climbing the stairs with toys strewn about in the background is the only photo I have of that nonsense. Clearly, it wasn’t something I was proud of! Our front door is just off to the left – so that was the scene that greeted people as soon as they entered the Dream. Not exactly welcoming.

We have now completely overhauled that room and made it much less kid-friendly (Ha! Seriously… sharp corners, a bar, “expensive-if-we-would-have-paid-full-price” furniture… not for the kiddos!)… which means the toys are gone and now in the guest bedroom! It’s the best room in the Dream for a play space.

My view from the kitchen – before the transformation.

Our guest room (the empty one with the ugly standing lamp) is right off the family room and kitchen.  We do get a steady stream of visitors, but we don’t feel like a B&B. So, we thought we could sacrifice the queen guest bed for something smaller and use the space for our little man’s possessions.

Here is what it looked like before:

We sold the furniture and mattress on Craig’s List. I also feel compelled to tell you that the comforter seen above only lived with us for a short time. We replaced it with a super cute Angela Adams polka-dot duvet cover. (We’re a bit obsessed with polka-dots). Okay, I feel better now.

Now, the guest/playroom is filled up with a trundle bed for guests/doubles as a day bed for reading time (or mommy rest time while a cute baby boy plays, but screams in horror if I leave his presence), sweet original art, a new (to us) changing table, kid’s art table, toys (TONS of toys!), and one happy pre-toddler…

Well, mostly happy…

I’ll be back soon with updates on this room… including how I turned this menagerie of fabric into a real focal point…

So far, we’ve only invested about $70 in the room. Sweet! More on that soon. For now, I need to tend to a baby boy calling “mommommommommaaaaa” over the monitor.

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If you’re visiting our blog for the first time from West Elm – welcome! Learn more about us here and what we blog about here. If you love English Bulldogs, you’ll want to check out these posts. If you love West Elm like we do, check out our master bedroom makeover.

We’re dealing with a bit of an inflated ego around here.

who? me?

Yep, Bowdoin the Bulldog is famous! He was featured on West Elm’s blog, Front & Main:

The West Elm Circle rug is in our entry way, at the bottom of our stairs – and is Sir Bowdoin’s favorite nap spot in the Dream. I walked past the other day and saw him in this position – our favorite! It looks like he’s ready for takeoff. I snapped a quick photo on my phone before he spied me and rolled over for a belly rub. That kid cracks me up. (The tongue, the TONGUE!).

For his newfound fame, he’ll earn an extra walk and maybe some peanut butter. That may garner some excitement, but no promises. After all, he is a lazy bully:

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This week, I started getting some referrals from another blog… so I checked it out and saw something familiar…

Silver DIY dots! Nope, those aren’t mine… here’s what my pile looked like:

Yep, basically the same – because this adorable momma-to-be followed my DIY dot tutorial and did her own wall. It turned out AMAZING!

She even added silver butterflys as an accent, which I adore.  Check out more picks at http://ayeshacurry.tumblr.com/. I wish I understood Tumblr and could leave her a comment! Great job, Ayesha!

Here is our “original:”

You can find the tutorial here. If you replicate this, we would LOVE to see it! Please share!

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Mother’s Dream

We celebrated our moms a week early for Mother’s Day. Jason’s parents (sadly) returned to Maine this week for the summer. We wanted to make sure we got a little mom-celebration in before they took off.

we miss them already!

Due to our recent change in income status, we had to do Mother’s Day on a budget this year. We invited our moms over for Sunday brunch. They were both allowed to bring a date and both chose to bring our dads (whew!).

only my mom is smiling for the camera!

I’m sharing this today, hoping it may inspire someone else to do a similar, low-budget mom-honoring brunch this coming weekend. The meal was fantastic and our moms felt loved – success!

First, the decorations… we broke out our china and flatware… which we rarely use, but this was a fun excuse… also picked up some flowers at Costco and put two in bud vases at our mom’s seats. So, an $8.99 bunch of flowers is all this cost us – we already had all the other fancy-schmancy stuff thanks to our wedding guests.

Next, the FOOD. I’ve made this brunch a couple of times before and it is a hit!

I discovered these recipes during an episode of Everyday Italian (with Giada de Laurentiis) on Food Network a few years ago. Here are the recipes and my tips/suggestions:

Crostata with Raspberry Jam: Any berry jam will work. This time, I used blueberry and it was yummy. Tips: I briefly toss the almonds around in a hot pan to give them a little extra flavor. It’s also important to allow the dough to chill for one hour – it’s very easy to work with if you do that.

(still cookin’… I forgot to get a good shot of the finished product!)

Frittata with Asparagus, Tomato, and Fontina: I subbed broccoli for the asparagus (my dad hates asparagus!) and mozzarella for the fontina (to save money) and it was fantastic. This recipe is really easy. My only regret is that I should have made two frittatas as I think our guests would have appreciated bigger portions of protein – due to all of the sweet treats we were serving!

Bruschetta with Ricotta and Marmalade: Oh my goodness, this is HEAVEN. I’m so glad we had some pieces leftover because I munched on a couple more in the afternoon. Sounds like a totally random combo – but OH. SO. GOOD. Tip: we grilled thick slices of bread on the grill. That way, we could do the whole loaf at once and they turned out perfect!

Giada’s brunch menu also calls for a delish Raspberry Bellini. Sadly, we did not have those – but they are yummo.

I did try one new menu item…

Strawberry-Banana Muffins

I made these on a whim the morning of the brunch. We had brown bananas and some strawberries that were about to turn bad. So, I used my favorite banana bread recipe, threw in the strawberries, made them muffins and they were SO GOOD.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe card background source from here.

So, that’s how we honored our moms – filling their tummies with yummy food! How about you? How will you be spending Mother’s Day this weekend?

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