Thursday, December 4, 2014

'Tis the Season

Popping my head above the waters of chaos to share a couple Christmasy things that have me excited and that I thought you might like as well.

How cute are these antler pillows from Winder & Main?!

They are obviously a great way to bring some Christmas flair to your living room, but how great would they be in a boys' bedroom year round?  Or if you are lucky enough to have a separate den in your home?  So cozy, I just love 'em!

My dear friend, Shannon, sent me the sweetest little canvas as an early Christmas gift.

She has different sizes and options for sale, wouldn't they be great Christmas gifts?  Perfect for the new and seasoned mama alike :) Let me know if you need help getting in touch with her!

Stockings!  When it came time to get stockings for Wade and Holland, I really wanted something that would last, stockings to serve them throughout their childhood.  I was excited when I found some I loved a couple years ago at an embroidery shop in Richmond.

I love a needlepoint stocking, and I think these are just the perfect blend of classic and whimsy.  Exactly my favorite type of design for kids.  They are made by Kelly Rightsell.  For some reason, it looks like her site is not selling them this year, but leave it to Amazon to stock them! (I believe Atlantic Embroidery Works may have a few left this year from last year's stock if you happen to be local in Richmond and in need of a fun stocking!)  There are so many adorable designs.   This will be Mary Graham's first Christmas, so it was fun to pick one out for her this year.

I also came across these cute stockings at TJMaxx.  And only $12/pop!

We just started an Advent book that I am loving.  After seeing it on a friend's Facebook post, I ordered it right away, and we were able to start it just one day late.  (Amazon Prime really is amazing--I ordered it on Sunday and it came on Monday!  And I did not pay extra shipping! All of that to say, if you are like me, and you are always lagging behind, it's never too late to start celebrating Advent.)  We've done the devotionals from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift the past couple of nights, and it's been great.  The language is simple enough that I think (I hope!) my children are able to grasp bits of it, and yet it's also so thoughtfully written that it is just as meaningful to me and Philip.

I have not done a ton of Christmas decorating (I'm blaming it on this incredibly exhausting season of life in which I find myself), but we did get our tree up and decorated (well, the top half…we have a baby who is intent on investigating any and all items within her grasp, so the bottom half of our tree is naked).  I brought out a few other bits of Christmas cheer, like this little pillow from last year's dollar section at Target.

Also, Kevin, our elf…..he's back (and apparently, hungry!).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bamboo Blinds

Hello there.  It has been more than two months since I have been here.  I have thought to myself many times since then how I would like to find a moment to post about this or that, and yet life has just felt so full and crazy.  Lest there be anybody out there thinking I'm tackling some fun house projects in my spare time these days, let me just set the record straight--it's much more along the lines of "struggling to stay afloat!" or "this ship is sinking" kind of thing!

These two (not sure why it's so blurry?) + this one…

I sure do love them, but my, I never knew how exhausting motherhood would be, in so many ways...  I realize I'm not alone in this--many, if not all, mamas of young families probably feel this way, but it's still important to me that when you come to my blog, you get a sense of my real life!

Many days, I feel just like this little love who wasn't too thrilled about waking up from her nap. (Except this look is not nearly so cute on me!)

Now, moving on to bamboo blinds... (made even more lovely by this precious girl!)

I've had several friends ask me about the bamboo blinds I've used in my home.  Truth is, I have them throughout my house, on just about every window come to think of it.

Find this style HERE

I used them on a couple windows in our home in Richmond (I happened to find these at marked way down on Clearance!).

Bamboo blinds are great for lots of reasons--they bring warmth to a room, they are a great source of texture, and they are easily found at very affordable price points.

My favorite source is  The shade in the nursery (above) is THIS style.  (Note:  The two shades I have linked at Overstock are available in three different lengths and in any width.)

I like bamboo blinds all by themselves.



source unknown

Or layered with drapes.




On their own, they filter the light, so if you want something for complete privacy, you may want to consider having yours black-out lined.

The shade in Wade and Holland's room (above) is from Lowes.  They have a number of different colors, and they will cut yours to fit your measurements in the store.  I still favor the tones in the ones from Overstock myself, but depending on the look you are after, Lowes is a great option too.  (Plus, you can't beat the instant gratification of walking in the store and getting what you need right away!) Also! Check out Little Green Notebook's recent post on some great shade options at Lowes currently on major sale!

Here's a close up of the Lowes shade.  I lined this one with blackout lining fabric I purchased at Jo Ann's.  It's fairly simple to do this; a quick search on Pinterest or Google will turn up a handful of tutorials.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

National Make Your Bed Day

Without intending to degrade the solemnity of today and its history, I thought I would share with my dear readers something that may be new to you about September 11th.  Today is National Make Your Bed Day, my friends.

In honor of this inspiring day, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite places to find unique and quality bedding.  

Catalina Duvet Cover & Shams

Their linens feel fresh, bright and cheery to me. (If you sign up for their emails, they do fairly frequent sales.)  

Fiona Duvet and Shams in Lilac

I think Biscuit bedding manages to strike the perfect balance between whimsical and sophisticated at the same time (and I love how easy it is to mix and match within their different lines…nothing feels too matchy!).

Their dohars are my favorite!  I need one!  Read about this unique bedding HERE.

Gorgeous hand-blocked textiles from southeast Asia.  All Mela and Roam stock is 15% off today in honor of Make Your Bed Day!  Use code 'cozy' at checkout!

You know I like this one…it's what I have on my bed.  Speaking of which,  I've got some master bedroom updates to share soon!
A great price point for simple, classic bedding.

Linden Coral Border Collection

They pride themselves on designer bedding offered at a fraction of retail price.  Julia Ryan recently got a new duvet and shams from them….see that HERE.  

Where are your favorite places to shop for bedding?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First Days

Kindergarten and preschool have both officially started for my kids, so we are trying to find our rhythm with this new pace of life.  I know I'm not the first mom to say this, but there is quite a bit of shuffling to be done when there are no school buses involved and kindergarten is only a half day.  Yes, you heard me right.  Half day kindergarten.  Forgive me if I've already bemoaned this fact to you, but it's just never what I expected when I imagined what my life might be like as a mother to a school-aged child.  But I guess that's life right?  Often times it's different than what we expect.  I'll be the first to admit I'm not the best at gracefully handling the times when my expectations aren't met.  All that to say, my kids and I will be in a similar boat this year--all with lots to learn and plenty of room for growth!

Kindergarten is obviously a big milestone, and I'm just really proud of Wade.  He had plenty of challenges in his early years and there's been no shortage of change and transition in his little life.  And yet, he has embraced this new season.  Really, I could stand to learn a lot from him.

Sometimes the thought of him being in elementary school makes me feel teary and nostalgic and my throat begins to tighten.  Other times I really enjoy what life is like with a five year old, and I am thankful for the many ways mothering this boy for half a decade has shaped me.  We aren't without our hard days, but there are also more rewarding times with an older-ish child.

Wade is in a Montessori program which is offered through our neighborhood school.  He tends to be a man of few words when it comes to these sorts of things, but he seems to like it so I can't complain.  His class is a blend of kindergarten and first graders, which I actually think is a pretty cool thing.

Most days we walk and/or ride bikes to school.

This is a pretty sweet little tradition.  Our walk is about ten minutes (if we are efficient :)

After I drop off Wade, I take Holland to preschool.

Holland barely made the cut off for pre-K, so she's actually doing the curriculum Wade did last year even though they will be two years apart in school going forward.  She thrives in school and is generally just a delightful little lady.

She loves to do art, and try as I may to provide lots of creative opportunities at home, I think she and I are both happy that preschool will fulfill some of that interest too!

Holland and her snaggle tooth buddy, her special friend Lucian. 

After school drop offs, I rush home to get my tired baby down for a nap.  

{clearly post nap}

Then I hope and pray (like, literally) I get a couple hours of quiet time to regain my sanity and perhaps get a bit done around the house so that I am ready to be the patient, engaged mother I'd like to be.

We arrived to pick up Holland from her first day at school, and she was so immersed in her book, she had no idea I was sitting right in front of her with a camera :)

Speaking of being patient and engaged,  I really feel like time to myself helps me more than anything with this.  I'm curious as to how you fellow mamas build time into your week for yourself?  A regular sitter? Preschool for your kids?  Time to exercise?  I'd really love to take a painting class.  I've also been thinking of getting involved in some sort of volunteer work that combats sex trafficking in the Sacramento area (it's something like the second largest city in the US for human trafficking.  Horrifying.)  Time while I'm at home and my baby is napping is great, but in order to thrive, I just feel like I'd love a little something outside of all of that.  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our Kitchen Details

Way back when, I posted the before and after pictures of our kitchen.  I promised to come back with the details on the sources we used, so here I am several months later as promised.  Better late than never? :)

The majority of our kitchen is from Ikea.  You really cannot beat Ikea's prices when it comes to pre-made (ie. non-custom), yet good quality cabinetry options.  Sure, I will drool over the amazing work of cabinetry artisans like the next person, but Ikea was definitely the right choice for this house.  We couldn't have afforded high-end cabinets in the first place, but even if we could have, we would not have gotten a return for our investment when we sell this little place in a few years.  Real estate out here is just a different animal…but that's another post for another time!

We opted for lower drawers instead of cabinets, which we love (Our drawers/cabinets are the "Adel" style).  So much easier to keep things organized and to access hard-to-reach items.  In addition to features like soft-close drawers, Ikea has a variety of options for organizing your drawers and cabinets.

On the pantry wall, we chose to do drawers on the left (again, really increases the efficiency of those cabinets!) and shelves on the right.  We had our electrician wire the wall behind the cabinets so we could keep our microwave in the cabinet.  I love that it's out of sight!

By eliminating upper cabinets, we were able to save some money and keep the space feeling really airy and open.  Trading upper cabinets for shelving is pretty popular in kitchen design these days, and we figured why not try it out?  We'll be selling our house in three years, so if we hate it, lesson learned and no harm done.

Philip cut wood to make the shelves and we purchased the brackets from Home Depot.  I painted both the shelves and the brackets to match the trim (Snowfall White by Benjamin Moore).

testing them out…no babies were harmed in this demonstration, I assure you :)

A few months in and I would say I like the open shelving. Everyone seems to worry about dust, right?  Here is my take: the dishes on the bottom shelves get used on a regular basis, so I haven't had any problems with dust.  I'm sure that the lesser used items on the upper shelves have their share of dust, but since I don't use them often, I just don't worry about it :)

Our counters are quartz.  Ours were fabricated by the company Counter-Fit, though they were part of our Ikea order (word to the wise:  if you are considering using Ikea for a relatively large kitchen renovation, wait and do so until one of their kitchen sales!  At least twice a year (maybe more? anyone know?) they offer 20% off your total purchase if your total spent equals $4500 or 15% off if you spend $3500.)

We debated going with soapstone or marble (two personal favorites!) and settled on quartz (in part because they were our main option if we wanted to go through Ikea), and we are really happy with them!  To my understanding, quartz is a composite of some natural material and some man-made materials.  They have a look (and price) very similar to granite, but there is very little upkeep required.  (for example, no sealing needed).  They have held up great with young kids and with a cook who may or may not leave various foods and residues to linger till she feels compelled to clean them :)

Our range and hood are all also Ikea (though I believe they are made by Whirlpool).  They are pretty basic models without any bells and whistles but they get the job done.  Aside from the fact that I find a true "simmer" somewhat tough to achieve, I have been very happy with their performance.  My biggest complaint is that I had to get an electric range top instead of a gas one (but that complaint is directed at the city of Davis and their ridiculous regulations! again, another post for another time.)

The sink (I can't find it on their site to link…sure hope they have not discontinued it!) is Ikea and the faucet is Lowes.  We ended up with this faucet because the city of Davis only allows faucets with a low enough flow rate…(are you sensing a theme?)  It was relatively hard to find one that would meet their requirements, and in an effort to get everything taken care of so we could pass our city inspection in time, we grabbed this one.

whoops! you caught me thawing hotdogs in the sink.

Our dishwasher is a bosch that we were able to get on major sale.  Key to our satisfaction was a quiet dishwasher since our living space is very close to our kitchen.  It delivers in this respect and does a good job of cleaning our dishes.  I had always heard bosch referred to as the cream of the crop for dishwashers. I'd say ours works well, but not necessarily more so than others I have used.

We really wanted a counter-depth refrigerator, so we went with the least expensive model that received good reviews.  Counter-depth models are great because they mimic a built in style and don't stick out in the room like a traditional fridge.  You do pay an up-charge for them, but I feel like it's worth it.  We have been really happy with this fridge, and I would definitely recommend it.

Our pendant lights (which I debated over in this post) are from Home Depot.  I feel like they were the right choice for the space.  Not a lot of visual weight in our small home, but enough interest and style to please the eye.  You can see that we also had our electrician wire the ceiling for a total of five can lights.

The pulls and knobs are from Home Depot (I think? or maybe it was Lowes…).

The counter stools are from Overstock.  They were having some flash sale right around Christmas last year where you could get three stools for the price of two.

Let me know if there is anything else you would like to know about the kitchen!