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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Finally - here it is! Mr. Man's room. Back in September, I posted some "sneak peek" pictures of the room ideas, and promised an art installation covering the window. . .

The little guy on the right was my inspiration for the room - I got this totally 70's owl card for my first birthday (it wasn't even retro at the time!), and my mom, who never throws anything away, passed him along to me in a giant portfolio documenting every little piece of my childhood. (She was a scrapbooker before there was even a name for it.)

(I found the alphabet print in the middle of the picture at the cutest shop on Etsy. Perfect for this room!)

Then we chose this orange for the walls, after collecting lots of paint chips and spending weeks narrowing them down, with different strips taped up all over the walls. (When you're thinking about committing to a paint color, it's super-important to see it on the walls it's going to live on in all different lights. The Nester has a post here that is much more thorough and eloquent on the subject of choosing paint.)
Here's my post where I talk about why we did the scallops 3/4 the way up the walls. I'll give you the short version of the post: scallops were easier than painting the whole room.

So this window was the big challenge.
It got even stickier when I realized that I really wanted to put the crib right in front of the window - that that was the best place in the room for it. We got a curtain rod at Hobby Lobby (with the 40% off coupon, of course) and climate-control curtains from Target. The curtains are fantastic - they really do keep out a lot of the cold, and they block all the light. A bonus for middle-of-the-day naps. So the regular rectangle-shaped part of the window was taken care of. The half-circle part of the window was a bigger challenge. Why not just hang the curtain rod at the ceiling and cover the whole thing? Check out the tops of the walls - they angle in near the top, so a curtain rod as wide as the window couldn't fit at the very top - it would still reveal the top four inches of that blasted half-circle!

We ended up getting a big sheet of foam core board at Lowe's and slicing the half-circle pattern with a steak knife. I bought two cheap plastic tablecloths in the most neutral pattern I could find and glued them on the front and back. Up close, it looks like straw. Who makes these tablecloths? Why straw? That's not appetizing!

I used a quilt pattern that has adorable applique owls, and just made them out of scrapbook paper instead of fabric. Then I embellished them, because that's what I do. And it won't be very long before I can't use things like glitter in the decor of my son's room. So I'm getting it in while I still can.

I cut out branches and leaves, arranged them across the tablecloth-covered board, and glued everything on. I tried to arrange them according to which owl I thought would get along best with whom. Yeah, I even overthink craft projects. But the owls don't have names. That would just be silly.

We were lucky - once we got the thing done and popped up into the window, it stayed there. Which is a good thing, because I had no idea how in the world I was going to secure it. And it's too big to fall into the crib and suffocate the baby. I've thought about every possible scenario of my decor going rogue - I think we're safe.

That's right, boys. I've got my eye on you.
So after the bright walls, my goal was to keep everything else as neutral as possible - brown and cream bedding, simple accessories. . .
What's that you say? With the curtains open, it looks like this bedroom is located approximately one block from the sun? Exactly.
I love this lamp. It has a very 70's vibe, and the color is fantastic! The inside of the shade is the same lime green as the lamp base. I found it on sale at I.O.Metro Home - the best place in Northwest Arkansas for random, awesome furniture finds. I wanted to get things for Mr. Man's room that will work in different contexts - I didn't want to end up with two rooms full of nursery-only stuff that I'd have to replace once the kids were older. I think this lamp would be great in a living room, and I think this brown-on-brown chair and ottoman will probably live in my bedroom one day.

More decorating with not-necessarily-little-kid stuff. This print is actually from an old calendar - that's a great place to look for cheap wall art. When calendars go on sale after the beginning of the year, I keep an eye out for pictures or illustrations that speak to me. They're great if you just need one piece, or do a collection of 6 in matching frames - a big visual impact for very little money. Like this collection from Crate & Barrel:

You could buy these six prints for $369. Or you could do the same thing with calendar pages for, like, $90.

But I digress. Back to the owls.
He's my favorite. Don't tell the others.

That's the room! And it only took me seven months to finish it! :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Baskets

So Easter is almost upon us and I'm gearing up for a week full of fun with the kiddos. One of my favorite bloggers, Becky Higgins, introduced a new blog just started by three creative sisters, called eighteen25. They have the cutest idea for a kids-craft where you make baskets out of yarn - head over and check it out if you have toddlers who love to play in watery glue. And that's every toddler I know.

I'm having a blast putting the kids' baskets together.
I thought it would be hard to do a basket for a 3-month-old, since he can't eat anything and he's limited in what he can play with, but we found some great blocks and a sweet stuffed giraffe who plays a song and waves his head around. . .
The highlight of P's basket is a microphone that we found. Because what that girl really needs is voice amplification.

I adore Pottery Barn. Sometimes I play-shop their online store and just dream of how beautiful my house would be if I could afford whatever I wanted from there. But I know that I wouldn't really be happy with doing that - that part of the fun of decorating is in finding things that I love for a price that I'm happy about. I was reminded of that while I was play-shopping their Easter goodies. That crinkled-shredded-Easter-paper-basket-filler? (Yeah, that's the official name.) It's 29 cents per bag at Target. And Pottery Barn has it for $8. Seriously, PB? That's just silly.
But they're still great for inspiration.
I'd love to use the paper filler in these three trifle bowls I have, and stack eggs in them, like little paper nests. Perfect Spring table centerpiece!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pancake Fridays

Family rituals have been on my mind lately. Not too long ago, P and I started celebrating Pancake Friday, which is exactly what it sounds like. Now P wakes up asking if it's Pancake Friday, and when it is, oh boy, that girl gets into it. She loves to measure ingredients and tell me when the pancakes are ready to flip, and I love eating pancakes. :) (We make a half-batch, by the way. We don't take down a whole batch of pancakes by ourselves. But I wouldn't put it past us.)

I think the thing she likes the most is that it's something different that I make a big deal about, that it's deliberate time for the two of us. (Lately, Mr. Man has been joining us if he's awake. I let him smell all the ingredients, like I did when P was that age. She liked it. He just looks like he's angry that I'm not letting him eat any of this. I think he'd take down a porterhouse steak if I'd let him.) This one little ritual has made me realize that I haven't been deliberate about making special rituals for our family.

It's not just everyday rituals - I've realized that I haven't done holidays as big as I could have. The kids are so young, my excuse is that they wouldn't remember and it wouldn't matter to them. But starting with Easter, I'm going to start making deliberate family rituals - for holidays and special weekly or monthly routines.

And wouldn't you know it - here's a post from Tsh at SimpleMom about the same thing I've been thinking! I love her Friday dinner routine - sounds like a great start to the weekend.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home Staging

So, remember how I just figured out what to do with this corner of the living room? Well, we decided to try to sell the house, which meant the desk had to go. I've been watching a lot of the HGTV sell-your-house shows - one of the biggest rules is to designate one purpose to each room, and only have stuff in that room that supports that purpose. (I totally get it - how much time did I spend telling my high school students that they should only have sentences in their paragraphs that support the theme of that paragraph? Ugh - sometimes I'm really glad I'm not teaching anymore.) So goodbye, living room/playroom/office; hello, living room. Only seating. And that blasted TV.
I found the chairs on sale at I'd never ordered furniture from them before, and I was very happy with all of it - the chairs only took four days to get here, and they look lovely and were easy to put together, and you can't beat $2.95 shipping for two big chairs.

And remember how I just re-did the mantel? That all had to go - too cluttery. Just sconces now. (I found them at Gordman's for $8 apiece!)

And remember how I just painted Mr. Man's room orange? Yeah, not the smartest move in terms of resale. Our agent came out to look at the house yesterday, and he said the paint shouldn't be a deal breaker as long as we keep the furniture in there. Or maybe we'll find a buyer who wants to decorate in Cheetos-orange. Who knows. (But the owls did get a thumbs-up - I'm still going to post pictures of the whole room - I promise.)

My little girl walked through the room and just said, "Mom-Mom sings me a song and it makes me happy." Totally out of the blue - I was not singing at the time. One of the greatest thing about having kids is that they're required to love your singing voice, no matter how off-key and horrible it is. And one of the greatest things about almost-three-year-olds is that they always say just what they're thinking, and usually it's funny stuff.

Here she is with Uncle Steve and "Anna-manda."

How did this guy get so big? What happened to newborn Mr. Man?

Any advice from people who have sold their homes recently?
Has anyone sold a home recently? :)