Its October! Only 31 days until Halloween! My girl has been asking about it for months. She loves dress up and, of course, there is nothing like trick-or-treating. We’ve picked up a few things from the dollar store to decorate with, but here are three fun signs you can download and print right from your computer: Eat, Drink and Be Scary, I Love Halloween, and Trick or Treat.
David and I reached out 8th anniversary yesterday. This is the card I gave him. The simple letterpress design with the sweet little heart over Portland sums up a lot of how I feel. While pieces of my heart may be elsewhere, it’s this spot on the map where my true love lies… along with our home, our kids, our lives. I think we both hope to stay here for a long time. Together.
So thankful that we have found each other.
Oh! I just realized I’ve never shared the printable birthday party bingo game that I made for Chloe’s 3rd “Rubber Duck” birthday party! The bingo game was a hit, especially because it was easy to do with a big group and even the parents could participate. We used Chloe’s set of washable Dots and Dashes Paint, but I’ve seen real “Bingo” markers at the dollar store, too.
*** Click here to download Happy Birthday Bingo PDF 779 kB ***
To play, cut out the squares on pages 1 and 2 (shown above). These are the call out cards. The caller piles the cards face-down and calls out one image at a time, allowing enough time for all players to check and see if they have a match. If they do, they mark that image on their bingo card. Once a player has found all 9 images and calls out “Bingo!,” that player wins! There are 12 unique bingo cards in all.
This is fun to play as a family, too. Just cut off the portion that says “Happy Birthday Bingo” and you’re good to go. 🙂
I learned two new things about my iPhone today.
The first is that you have to manually turn off apps. I guess I thought that simply shutting down the phone would do. Guess not. If you don’t turn them off yourself, then they will continually run in the background, draining the battery life. You can find the step-by-step instructions here (thanks Ohdeedoh!).
The second thing my husband showed me. If you turn on the Google Maps app, you probably know that the little pointer in the bottom left zooms into your exact location. What I didn’t know was that if you tap that pointer button twice the icon changes into a spot-light icon. Now, if you move the iphone around, the map moves around as well, acting like a compass to help you get where you’re going. Neat right?
And lastly, I thought I’d just mention the blog reader app that I use, called Slide Reader Broadsheet Edition. It has a nice visual layout where you can see an image along with the title of the post (see the photo above). It’s free to download on the iPhone, but $2.99 if you want the add-free add on, which I totally recommend. It helps that I recently cleaned up my feeds and switched from using Bloglines (which I loved and used for years) to using Google Reader, so it loaded right up. I tried other rss readers like MobileRSS and My Feeds, but I’m the kind of person where the visual experience counts for a lot.
Do you have a favorite app or iPhone tip? If so, please share!
We like foaming hand soap in our house (see the previous post for just one of the reasons why). For kids, it’s less messy than bar soap, and it pumps out, spreads and rinses off easier than regular liquid soap. We even use it in shampoo form – more suds for the hair and less running into the eyes.
Seeing two empty pump bottles laying around made me wonder if we could re-fill them with our own home-made version. And guess what? All it takes is just a portion of liquid soap mixed with water. We filled our pump containers about an eighth full of regular liquid soap and filled them the rest of the way with water. Voila! Turns out the technology isn’t in the soap formula, but in the pump itself.
I’m so happy we discovered this. Now a bottle of regular soap lasts us so much longer, and each amount of soap costs a fraction of what it did before.
Extra fun: I peeled off the labels on our used soap pumps and gave them each a makeover. See the “before” photo here. The colorful one above is for Chloe’s bathroom and the black and white one below is for ours.
Update: Even though I used “permanent” Sharpie markers, the ink actually comes off if scraped too hard. They’d probably last longer if sprayed with a fixative. I wonder what would be a better medium? Some sort of paint?
Floral designs inspired by Sandra Isaksson.
This is another collage that wowed me today. Artist Jenny Odell compiled satellite images from Google and created a really unique set of images. The one above 125 Swimming Pools is my favorite followed by 77 Waste and Salt Ponds and 144 Empty Parking Lots below. Jenny writes “The view from a satellite is not a human one, nor is it one we were ever really meant to see. But it is precisely from this inhuman point of view that we are able to read our own humanity, in all of its tiny, reliably repetitive marks upon the face of the earth…” You can read more about what she has to say here.
I’ve been looking for wall art for the new part of the house, but nothing said “buy me!” until today, when my husband sent me a link to this Tree of Life poster. I LOVE it. Even better, we already have a black Ikea frame that fits exactly. Almost like it was meant to be.
(I wrote this before Leo was born, but didn’t get a chance to post it.)
One of the things I regret not doing for Chloe was sending out a birth announcement. There were several factors involved in that decision – like the pressure (as a professional designer) to design my own, the cost of printing and postage, and the time it takes to stuff, address, and stamp each envelope. As a first time mom, I was just too exhausted and overwhelmed to tackle that project, and so I let it go. By the time I felt like I had a handle on things, it seemed a little too late to send a newborn announcement.
Wanting to do things differently this time, David and I talked about looking into an online service. I was perusing Minted and noticed they were holding a “Summer is Born” Birth Announcement Design Challenge (they provided the photos). So I thought, what the heck? Maybe I’ll submit a few.
Here are the three I submitted – all minimalist, mostly letting the photo speak for itself. Maybe one of these will be the birth announcement style we use for Leo…
Things are still happening here on the house. Most notably, our master bath is close to complete! I wanted to wait and do a big reveal, but I’m too excited not to share. Everything works – our new dual-flush toilet, rain shower, and sink faucets – but there are still a few finishing touches left, like putting up the wood trim/moulding around the door, window, and floor, priming and painting the pocket door and adjusting the drawers on the sink cabinet to open and close properly. We’re talking about painting the bathroom door a fun color, but that is still undecided. Right now we’re just using a shower curtain, but eventually I’d love to have a frameless glass shower door put in. Unfortunately it costs big $$$, and there is still so much left to do yet in the rest of the house. And see that curtain? I made it from some Ikea fabric I had on hand, and I’m quite proud of how it turned out (simple as it is).
Two other notable occurrences include the professional installation of our ultra-high efficiency heat pump and the installation of our new bamboo floor. Being extra sensitive to sounds, our new heating system is taking a little getting used to, especially that only-noticeable-to-me “newly-installed” smell. I understand it is very quiet compared to most systems. Previously we had baseboards, which were almost noiseless except for occasional ticking. We used Pyramid Heating and Cooling, so if you’re in the Portland area, we would highly recommend them.
The bamboo floor was purchased from Costco, and David installed it himself over a couple of weekends. It’s noisy and repetitive work with all the pounding and sawing.Â Â I had to take Chloe and get out of the house several times to save our sanity. It looks awesome, though. Makes me think of a ballet studio, so smooth and satiny. The above photo also shows a new-to-us Crate & Barrel sofa. My in-laws got a new sectional and drove this one out with them (from Colorado!) when they came to visit in April. It’s SO much more comfortable and better looking than our old Pottery Barn Basic sofa..
Things are really shaping up around here. Today David painted and installed lighting in our his-and-her closets. He wants us to move into the master bedroom before the baby comes, but for some reason I want to wait. It’s such a big change. I think I want to keep some sense of familiarity, plus I want to stay close to Chloe during this transitional time. Maybe I’m just silly. 🙂
The hall bathroom in our new addition will also be the kid’s bathroom. Originally, I thought we’d save money by choosing plain white wall tile, whatever bargain basement floor tile we could find, and just try to spruce it up with paint. After all, it is the room most likely to be trashed by little hands (and later teenagers) right? Well, maybe not, according to David. He made a good point that it will also be the bathroom most used by the household, including guests, so why not make it the nice bathroom and our master the cheap bathroom?
So then I went back to the drawing board in my mind, and I think I’ve had some better ideas after thinking it through.
First of all, the one thing we’ve been able to agree on is the white IKEA Godmorgon/Odensvik sink (similar to below). For the kid’s bath, we’ll get the less-expensive single sink version (I thought the double version at first, but David thinks it is unlikely that the kids will be using the bathroom at the same time once they get older since they will be boy & girl). Besides being both budget-friendly and modern looking, the other thing I like is that the kids will be able to push their step stools underneath the sink when not in use.
By keeping the tile and fixtures white, a lot of fun can be had with paint color. Maybe a bright blue or green, or perhaps the addition of a wall decal to liven things up. In this way, it would be nice enough for adults, but also fun for the kids.
Now lets just imagine… for example, right now Chloe loves owls. Although spendy, I found that Target currently carries really cute Owl bathroom accessories. Aren’t they adorable?
And after a quick search for wall decals I found this Owl on Tree wall decal on Etsy which can be custom colored and then tie every thing together. Can you imagine what a cool bathroom it could be? So many possibilities. The hard part is limiting to items that will fit our budget, but it sure is fun to imagine! 🙂
I’ve been looking at a lot of bathroom photos lately, now that ours will soon be torn out. Some of these photos just blow me away with their beauty and style. Although the luxe options shown here are way out of our price range, the challenge is figuring out why they look so good, and if it is possible to glean some of their magic with more widely-available and affordable options. For example, I’ve noticed I tend to like the contrast of dark brown and white. I also like glass tile, especially in aqua and other shades of blues and greys. I think bathrooms are one of those rooms that can stand a little drama, especially now that we’ll have more than one.
And here are some important lessons I learned when we remodeled our existing bathroom 5 years ago:
1) Although I like the look, using 1×1 floor tiles and 2×2 wall tile leaves A LOT of grout to clean. Not making that mistake again.
2) In order to save money, we didn’t do any accents. The walls are white and the floor is gray. We call it “classic,” but it really just looks kinda plain.
3) Our current bath faucet doesn’t let us adjust for pressure, just on and off. We ended up buying a special bath toy so Chloe could play with a small steady drip of water in the bathtub and not a loud deluge.
4) We left the old ugly tub because it would have cost a fortune to replace (we’d have to rip out the exterior wall just to get it out). Since then I have always lamented not replacing that yucky thing. The effect of the remodel was ruined by how worn that tub was. It will be a relief when it is finally gone!
For fun, I priced the Heath Ceramic Oval tiles (shown above) at Ann Sacks – $75 per sq foot, meaning that the dark blue tile must have cost over $4000 alone, not including installation. OMG!
I guess I haven’t been much in a writing mood lately. Was my last post really a week ago? I guess I’ve been spending most of my spare time reading lately, plus now that I can check emails with my phone, I don’t really sit at my computer as much anymore. Not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.
Speaking of bad things reminds me of the house in the above photo. I’ve watched it being built over the summer, the beautiful wood and stone work, the flowing design. I particularly liked the way the multiple windows were set together, and wondered if it was something we could incorporate if we ever got around to doing our own addition. With that in mind, about a month ago, I took this photo with my new phone. I thought it would be nice to have a photo reminder, plus have the name of the contractor in case we had questions later.
Fast forward to yesterday. I drove by and saw this:
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And it broke my heart, knowing that someone, maybe a family, was waiting with anticipation to inhabit their beautiful new custom home. Possibly their dream come true. Can you imagine?
David thinks it was likely faulty wiring, but maybe it was something else, something sinister. Although, how someone could do such a horrible thing is hard to imagine. I hope the builders were insured, and the owners decide to build again, but I can imagine that such a tragedy would be seared into the memory of the place, during what should have been only a happy and exciting time.
Another reminder to be grateful for what we have now, because you truly never know.
I updated my Downloads + Tutorials page (see link under the header bar) with all the project tutorials and printable pdfs I’ve included on this blog. Hopefully they’ll be easier to find and use all in one place. Here are some:
1. DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea_2b.jpg, 2. Paper-Wrapped Jewelry Organizer, 3. bird magnets1.jpg, 4. Free Printable Valentine Flower card, 5. Chocolate Gift Jar Oreos.jpg, 6. Baby bib, 7. Halloween “Cauldron Bubbles” Treat, 8. IMG_7332.JPG, 9. “Dad” Father’s Day Card, 10. Cute Baby Hair Clips, 11. Holiday Gift tags, 12. Printable Holiday Gift Wrap, 13. Printable Holiday Cheer game board, 14. Felt photo album cover, 15. Vinyl Record Bowl, 16. Modern Happy Holidays Card
I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.
Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last â€“ at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.
So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!
How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:
1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.
Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.
2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.
3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.
And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).
Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.
If we have time on the weekends, we sometimes stop at an occasional yard sale in search of toys for Chloe. Recently we hit an estate sale. In the garage was a set of four mid-century Burke chairs. I think they might be called tulip chairs, except the similar ones I found online swivel and have propeller-type feet. These are stationary, with round bases. Burke Tulip chairs are actually 1960’s knock-offs of Eero Saarinen Tulip Chairs. Anyway, I thought they were awesome (and still in usable shape after almost 50 years!). David and I got in a little argument since we have no room in our shoebox house for more furniture, but he eventually walked off in a huff to go buy them for me anyway (thanks honey!).
The other thing about buying them so cheap, is that I won’t be afraid to paint them. More research says my best bet, should I decide to re-finish, is to use acrylic epoxy to fill scratches in the fiberglass and then apply architectural paint (1) or automotive paint, or have them professionally painted at an auto-body shop that has experience with painting fiberglass auto parts (here is another good article on shell chair refinishing).
Considering a single new reproduction Saarinen Tulip Chair by Knoll currently begins at $1,285, I’m happy with our estate-sale “original” knock-offs!
This month David and I will be walking down the aisle as best-man and bridesmaid for my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law. It will be the grandest wedding I’ve ever attended and we are both honored to be a part of the festivities.
I thought I’d share the heraldry shield that we helped to design for the event. The wedding colors are purple and gold and the letters on the shield are a combination of the last initials of the bride and groom. Amor Vincit Omnia is Latin for “Love Conquers All.” It portrays both the magnificence and the sense of romance of this momentous occasion. I’m sure I’ll have more details and photos to share soon!
Just a round-up of some pretty snazzy camera bags available. I own the Crumpler, a gift from my husband, which is a good fit for my lifestyle right now (aka camera/diaper bag). However, in a perfect world, I’d love to be able to design my own. If you feel the same, check out KATA’s Dream Bag Challenge. You can submit your own original idea for the chance to have your bag hand-built, and to win a professional photo kit worth $5000 (including a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR body, 2 Canon lenses, Gitzo tripod kit and Litepanels Camera Light).
I found a very interesting book on the new arrival shelf at the library yesterday. A book called Build Fun Paper Cameras: Take Eye-Catching Pinhole Photos. My first thought was Hmm, those look pretty cool! My second thought was They still make 35mm film?! It is almost hard for me to believe that everyone just doesn’t use digital these days. I love the instant satisfaction of seeing an image onscreen (especially handy when I notice a detail that needs fixing). Film cameras don’t give you that amount of control, and that idea is… intriguing.
So, I’m curious. I decided to check the book out and experiment. What if I had to physically rely on myself to manage the exposure (and not just tell my digital camera how long to do it for me)? I mean literally open and close the shutter by hand, and not with the press of a button? What would it be like to manually make my own equipment? And wind the film myself? I’m guessing the worst that can happen will be that none of my photos come out, but even so I’ll have made some pretty nifty little paper cameras. So, if you’ll excuse me – I have a Coke can to cut and pierce, film to find and purchase, and 8 sheets of freshly printed card stock to cut, fold and assemble.
To be continued…
I did it. I dropped Chloe off at day care this morning. For and hour. For the First Time. I’ve never left her anywhere before, except for brief periods with her grandparents. It feels really weird. Exciting and a bit wrong. Sort of like leaving the house with only one shoe on. You know it is missing and it doesn’t feel right. But you can still run errands with only one shoe. And know that the other one is doing just fine without you, right where you left it.
A friend of mine started up a child-care co-op that I have yet to try. She printed coupon cards (that I got to design!) for AM and PM (see above), that you give to the sitter, so she can then use one when she needs child care. I want to take my husband with me to go see AVATAR again, and use one of my coupons, but it hasn’t worked out for us yet. Three+ hours seems like an awful long time. I’m hoping this will help me work up to it. You know, baby steps, and all that.
I’ve been doing a little experimenting with Photoshop. It is an amazing program, and one I wish I knew better. Here I’ve played with adding little butterfly wings to a photograph of Chloe, and to a couple of my friend Greta’s photos. It is interesting to see the results. Aren’t these little girls darling?