Friday, October 14, 2011

fire station pumpkins

Here's another reason why we like Boise:  Fire Station Pumpkins.

The firemen of a local fire station planted a pumpkin patch behind their fire house.  Now that it is harvest time, the pumpkin patch is open to all.  You park your car, stomp around the patch and find the perfect pumpkin.

Or two.

Or three.

Or, in our case, five...not including the minis.

All pumpkins are on the donation/honor system.  All monies go to the Fallen Firefighter Fund.

Yesterday, two of my three kids and I stopped to bring home some lovely orange pumpkins.

The best part of the morning was the impromptu tour of the inside of the fire house and fire trucks.  As we were dropping off our donations, a kind firefighter asked us if we wanted to come in and check things out.

Of course we did!

We were able to see the inside of the station, the rooms where they stay, the radios and computers, and the most important part - the trucks.  My five year old and two year old were in awe.

Such a fun surprise.  So that, coupled with the genius idea of a pumpkin patch behind the fire station, is just one more reason why we think Boise is pretty darn great.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

running based giveaway

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Ashley over at Redonkulous Runner.  She was in the middle of putting together a great giveaway package on her blog, all to benefit St. Jude hospital.  She will be participating in an upcoming marathon that benefits the hospital, and all proceeds from the giveaway will go directly to the hospital.

Of course I wanted to be a part of it!  Something that combines running and benefits others - right up my alley.

Her giveaway just went live!  Go check it out, check out her blog, check out all the fabulous running-based items, and while you're there - enter to win!  All donations will go toward St. Jude hospital, so you just can't lose.  Plan and simple.

{Some of the loot.  Great cards!}

{One of my 'run' pillows from my shop.}

Good luck, Ashley!

Monday, October 3, 2011

pumpkins five ways

On my way home from taking kids to school this morning, I noticed that fall decorations were beginning to grace the neighborhood homes.  It's always fun to decorate for this time of year.  I need to pull down my fall/Halloween box in the garage and see how I can spruce up the place.

Meanwhile, what do you think of these fabric, or paper, covered pumpkins?  A little modge podge can do wonders on our favorite squash.

{From Country Living website.}

{Also from Country Living website.}

Or, what about these gold tack-covered pumpkins?  A little glitz and glamour.  

{From Madigan Made.}

I'm always a fan of chalkboard paint, aren't you?  Why didn't I think of this?  I'm definitely going to try this out this year.

{From Zakka Life.}

The next time you're at a craft store, pick up one of their carve-able pumpkins and bling it up!  No carving, no mess.  Just some fun Halloween decorations.

{Via Pinterest.}

Feeling inspired to decorate yet for Fall?!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

doorstops & bookends

A couple of weeks ago I was finally fed up with my laundry room door not staying open.  It would slowly creep forward, getting in the way of laundry baskets that were overflowing with clean clothes and the like.  Ideally, I would love to have one of those cool vintage iron doorstops to place in my laundry room. Since none were readily at my fingertips, I needed to figure out something else to hold it open.  Problems, I tell you.

After a quick think-through, I realized that one of the bigger sized river rocks in our backyard would be perfect.  But, a little ugly...and hard.

With a little hot glue and yarn - ta da!  A doorstop!  I love the texture and design that the yarn adds.  Now my laundry room door stays open perfectly.

Perfectly enough for me to see all the laundry that needs to be folded and put away.

 {Working it's magic on my laundry room floor.}

Another area that I've been working on is organizing the girls' room trying to combine the interests, toys and books of a seven year old and a two year old.  Not an easy task, I tell you.  One of the spots we needed some help with was the big bookshelf that holds loads of books.  It is open-sided, so the books had a tendency to fall off and onto the ground.  We needed some bookends.

Taking the same idea from the yarn doorstop, I decided to cover up more rocks and turn them into bookends.  Perfect!

{Holding together some favorite books.}

I love quick and easy projects that use supplies I already have on hand.  



Hot glue. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Spruce Up

When the air gets crisp in the morning and the leaves begin to hint at changing colors, I always want to dig in and get things straightened up and squared away for the fast approaching fall and winter season.  One of the biggest spaces that needs some TLC in our home is my wee studio.

I love that it has a glass door that I can close to  keep the clutter at bay.  However, it is desperately time to sort, clean, and organize.  For me, a clean space is much-needed in order to design and create.  If I've got a mess in front of me, it zaps and overwhelms any creativity. I have so many ideas bopping around in my head, that I definitely need this space to be cleaned so I can get started!

I am so thankful for my space, but it is teeny-tiny.  So, I always have my eye out for sweet studio spaces to be inspired by.

{I love this studio from Little Pincushion Studio}

{Great backyard studio!  From The Adventures of Tartanscot}

{Look at that organization and color.  Amazing!  From Everything Etsy}

{I envy the light in this painting studio.  My studio is void of windows, and I daily think about adding skylights...something, anything for natural light!  Image from via Pinterest}

{The amazing Anna Maria Horner's studio space. Perfect.}

Alright, I'm inspired.  Is there a studio space that you desire?  Where do you create?  Kitchen table, closet, garage?  

Friday, June 10, 2011

egg paint

 One of my summer goals to do with my kids are art projects.  I hope to expose them to a variety of mediums and allow them the freedom to create their own masterpieces.  My original intent is to do two projects a week with my big kids (ages seven and five) while their little sister takes a nap.  So far, during this first week of summer, I've managed to do one.  Time to step it up!

This first one was a lot of fun.  They got to learn a little about the Italian artist, Giotto, and the process that many artists had to go through to create their own paint.  We talked about how easy it is for us today to go to the store and pick out what kind of paint and what color of paint we want.  Artists in the past had to use berries, minerals and even bugs (my 5 year old son especially liked this fact) to create their paints.

We collected our colored sidewalk chalk and went to work making our own paint.  They used rocks to pound and grind down the chalk into a fine powder.  Through this they realized how hard it was to create paint and how precious it was back then.  

After the chalk was ground into a powder, we separated out an egg yolk, mixed it with a little water and then stirred a few drops of the egg mixture into each color of powdered chalk.

They got straight away to working on their masterpieces.  I loved seeing how each of them went about it.  My five year old immediately dipped his brush in and began on a truck.  My seven year old daughter on the other hand, had to think about it for a bit, and then got a pencil and sketched her work first before she began painting.

The end result!  One of the fun facts they learned about painting with egg tempura is that Giotto's works have lasted over 700 years - maybe Q.'s truck will be around that long.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

there is a fairy for that

Did you know there is such a thing as a Binky Fairy?  Neither did I until my clever neighbor told me.  We have a certain two and a half year old who lives in our house that still enjoys a nighttime binky.  Or paci, Nuk, sucky, - whatever slang you feel like using.

So after lots of days of talking about giving all the binkies to the babies who need them, we gathered up all of the binkies and put them in a box.  Little two and a half year old, P., and big seven year old sis D. then wrapped the box up to leave by the front door for the Binky Fairy.

And, what do you know?  This morning in the same spot the Binky Fairy left a present.  Just for P.  Amazing.

I wonder if there is a Bad Behavior Fairy?  Gather up all our bad behavior and put it into a the morning...*poof!*....we all act good as gold.  Wishful thinking, I guess.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


With all the hand washing that I find myself doing as a mom, my dry-skin-prone hands really take a beating.  I'm trying to do a better job of using high quality soaps and slathering my hands with super moisturizing lotions during the day.  I found these great soaps a while back, and absolutely love them.  Their soft, sudsy lather makes my endless hand-washing more bearable.  

And, their great scents don't hurt either.

The Paintbox - Luxury Glycerin Soap Custom Sample Collection

Don't you love these little paint box inspired packaging?  The mini soaps make great gifts, and the larger sized soaps last for months.    

Friday, May 13, 2011

anticipating berries

I'm so happy that the weather by us has finally started to warm up and treat us like it actually likes us.  We were starting to wonder.  The past couple of days the flowers have begun to bloom more freely, the leaves are growing rapidly on the trees, and the kids have dug down deep in their drawers to find any shorts that still fit (not very successfully, I'm afraid).  Ahh, Spring.  A little late, but we'll definitely take it.

"Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward."  Terri Guillemets

I'm determined to grow a bigger and better garden this year.  That is not saying much, compared to years past, but nonetheless - it's a goal!  These little berries are doing fine and we even have some little growing berries tucked underneath the leaves now.  Yay!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

cool like that. in iceland.

I can't get enough of this song.  

It gets played over and over on my runs.  I play it loudly in the kitchen when I'm making dinner (mainly to drown out the kids yelling - it works!). I listen to it on repeat in my tiny little studio.  

Heart, heart.  Love, love.

Don't you just adore it?  Happiness should now be oozing through your fingertips - hey!

I'm off to toss some clothes in a bag for a sweet little weekend away with some old, dear friends....right after I listen to this song.  Again.

Friday, April 22, 2011

good morning, good friday

I thought I'd try my hand at Hot Cross Buns.  It seems a fitting food for this time of year.  When making them I couldn't help but want to sing the Mother Goose rhyme, "Hot cross buns; hot cross buns; one a penny, two a penny...."

Traditionally I realize that they're supposed to contain currants.  But, out of my household of five, I'm the only one who likes raisins/currants in my food.  So, for these little buns I left out the currants.  I did, however, add a healthy dose of orange zest instead.  

They turned out alright for my first go at them.  Excuse the messy frosting crosses.  I am not too skilled at frosting yet.

The recipe is here - making it even easier with a bread machine!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

bedtime story

I happened to pick up Rabbit Hill, by Robert Lawson, at the library last week and I'm so glad I did.  It is the perfect read-aloud bedtime story for the kids.  I'm not sure who enjoys it more - the grown-ups or the kids.  There are words like 'dingblastit' and 'tarnation' in it.  I ask you, when is the last time those words have crossed your lips?  

Besides, it seems a perfect read for this time of year. All spring like and such. 

I highly recommend it as a family reading book.  And, it won a Newberry award so I know I'm not making it up.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

cafe au lait bowls

I still remember one of the best cafe au laits I've ever had.  It was in Berlin at an outdoor cafe.  My dear sweet friend and I were in the middle of our backpacking trip through Europe.  I remember ordering and savoring a big bowl full of warm, frothy goodness.

It made all the difference drinking the liquid out of a bowl.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my mugs of coffee.  Turning on the coffee pot and waiting, mug in hand, for my hot coffee is one of the first things I do in the morning.  But, there is something cozy, and European, about drinking my cafe au lait and hot chocolate out of a bowl.

This fascination with drinking from bowls got me to thinking about when I was younger.  I remember staying with one of my aunts and uncles when I was little, and they served us our hot chocolate in a bowl with toast for dipping.  For breakfast!

You know where I'm going with this....ta da!  Guess what we've been doing here lately?  Yep.  Drinking our [homemade] hot cocoa from bowls for breakfast...with cinnamon toast for dipping.  Makes breakfast before school a little more enjoyable.

Check out these cute vintage cafe au lait bowls.  Or these.  Or what about these for the smaller set?

{Image from Northern Light}

I love (and want) this collection of cafe au lait bowls.  Until then, our little bowls at home will have to do.  Off to enjoy one now!

Friday, April 8, 2011

hand sewn

The night before we headed out of town for our trip to the desert, I quickly threw in some fabric and notions. We were going to be traveling for 10 hours in a car (both directions), plus the quiet hours of monitoring nap time in a hotel room, so I needed some things to keep my hands busy.

It was a good thing that I threw in some fabric scraps and the like.  Once we got settled in our place, we found that the hotel didn't have wi-fi.  What?!  All my well-laid plans to catch up on computer-y things went out the window.

And, look.  I was so well-prepared that I was able to whip out my crafting bag and get busy.  

Some new little spots to hold my pins during sewing.  So cute.  They remind me of traditional Japanese toys that I discovered when I lived there.  

Little fabric flowers.  What to do with them all?  Some have found their way on to hair clips for my seven year old.  One even made it's way as a package topper on a recently sold pillow.  

Both little items are so fun to make and super cute when finished.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

weather warm up

We survived the road trip.  

The drive turned out to be more like 10 hours instead of the planned upon nine.  We somehow forgot to pack the cables to make our portable DVD player work, and still the kids did great.  Remember the days of looking out the window and seeing the scenery during road trips?  Or, playing alphabet games?  Or, spotting cars with different license plates?  That was how we filled the hours.  And, really the kids did super.  

We made it to the desert!  We made it to warm weather!  We made it to swimming pools!

It was so great to be warm.

And, now we're home with swim suits and shorts tucked away for another two months.

It makes the forecast of snow showers tomorrow seem all the more miserable.

Friday, March 25, 2011

projects here, projects there, projects everywhere

I find myself often in the middle of projects, some fun and some not so fun.  Today we're juggling birthdays, Kindergarten testing, rainy afternoons, cake making, packing for our Spring Break trip, paying bills, wrapping presents and laundry.  

But really, all I'd like to do is sit down, enjoy a glass of San Pellegrino with oranges and finish this project.  

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be so lucky.

Maybe I should throw it in the car to give my hands (and my brain) something to do on our nine hour car trip tomorrow.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Little Western Love

In what was supposed to be a moment of organization and cleaning, I came across my Sunset magazine from October 2010.  

And, like any good procrastinator, I sat down to peruse it again.  

I was reminded of all the many reasons why I love living in the West, the list below is just the tip of the iceberg.  We've lived in a handful of different places, and traveled to many more, but there is just something about the West that is home to us.

I'm sure you all feel the same about the places you call home.  An indescribable feeling of being home.

Take a gander of some of the things that Sunset mag listed as the Top 100 trends shaping the West:  urban wineries; gourmet jams and chocolates; ease of biking; chicken coops (sign me up, please!); cocktail catering......

Pretty great, right?

Now, back to getting organized.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring, Spring

"Dear beautiful Spring weather, I miss you.  Was it something I said?"  ~ Kim Corbin

Really, we miss you Spring.  Where have you gone?  We're waiting and watching, not so patiently, for our buds to come on the trees and bushes, for our Spring bulbs to grow like they mean it, and to be able to go outside without wearing a heavy jacket and hat.  But, alas we're met with wind, cold temps and even snow.  *Sigh*

I guess it is fitting that St. Patrick's day falls in March.  It reminds us of the greenness of Ireland which really embodies the ideal of Spring-time.

{Image via whimsicalities}

Don't you just want to knock on the door and sit by the fire for a cup of tea?  Or, go down to the pub and have a pint with the locals?  I know I do.

On a side note:  is it wrong that one of our kids' new favorite CDs is an Irish CD featuring pub songs?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Geography Is Cool

One of the best things we have sitting in our family room is a globe.

Originally, I just wanted an old-fashioned globe.  One that spins around and around and allows us the chance to see all the countries moving by, helping all of us to keep in perspective where we are in the world.  My two oldest kids are now seven and five and always want to know where places are that they've read and heard about in books, or where we've traveled and lived (pre-kids).

For Christmas we were given the Oregon Scientific Smart Globe.
Oregon Scientific PR18SC-09 Smart Globe Deluxe Edition with AC Adapter

I typically have an aversion to electronic gadgets and games.  All the distracting chimes, dings and noises drives me bonkers.  

But, this.  This is different.  

It really has been such a fun (and educational..gasp!) addition to our family life.  It can be updated with world news - and, through that my kids have learned a lot about the quake in Haiti, the changes in the Middle East, and, most recently, the tragedies in Japan.

There are geography challenges; facts about each country and individual U.S. state; distances between locations, etc.  It even plays the national anthems to the different countries.  My kids love to hit that option and dance around the room to the different countries' anthems.

Along those same lines of geography, and wanting to continue to instill in our kids the awareness of the world outside our front door, I found this great project on Design Sponge.  I think it would make a great addition to a wall in my kids' shared bedroom (girl/boy sharing a room...deserves a post of its' own).

Check this out:

So fun.  I think we'll mark it with the places that all of our relatives live - that should cover quite a bit of the country.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why Did I Wait So Long?

We've had this set of six Danish Modern kitchen chairs from the 1950's for a couple of years.  They are in excellent shape and I love the clean shape of their lines and what they bring into the room.  However, their vinyl seat coverings leave much to be desired.  It is the original fabric, and is in quite excellent condition for the age of it.  I have always chosen to ignore the fabric, reasoning that since we have small children the vinyl aspect is great for wipe-downs and general wear.  

But, finally I could take it no more.  

I found my fabric - a beautiful laminated pattern by Annette Tatum.

I dug out our staple gun, a little extra padding (I used low-loft quilt batting), and got to work.  

In no time at all, our six chairs had been turned from this:

to this:

Such a quick, easy and transformational project it made me wonder why I waited so long.  What about you, is there some quick project around the house that could be done to get a jump-start on Spring?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Preschool Art

I am an Art History major and am in love with art created by children.  Love it.  I so enjoy their freedom to create what they see without being inhibited; or worried about messing up; or slipping into the comparison mode that adults often find themselves in.  Just their ability to purely create and enjoy the given medium.

I came across the blog, Pineapple Paintbrush through Desgin Mom.  Dani, of Pineapple Paintbrush, has an upcoming online art course for preschoolers.  I couldn't be more excited about it!  This is exactly the sort of thing that I have been wanting to provide for my youngest children who are still at home during the day.  It's like Dani read my mind.  The course begins March 14 (next Monday).  I've got our supplies all ready and our space prepped.

Check out Dani's blog:  Pineapple Paintbrush if you want to follow along too!

Unplanned Fabric Purchase...Is There Any Other Kind?

A day last week found me in a new-to-me fabric store.  It was sensory overload.  Because I'm a mama of three young children, my shopping is usually limited to online stores.  My adoration for online shopping deserves a post of it's own:  the ease!  the time saved!  the endless stores!

However, last week it was a treat to enter into a store and actually touch the fabric and see things with my very own eyes.  To be able to see the colors in person, the patterns, the textures.  What a treat!

Of course, I had stopped in only to purchase some brown wool felt for a project.  But, that didn't stop me from picking up this pattern:

... and these fabrics:

Normally, I'm not a huge floral fan but something about the happy geraniums and the gorgeous coral and aqua colors drew me in.  I just stitched up the bag last night, and I'm happy to report that it is a great Mama Bag.  It easily carried the sippy cups, snacks, money, phone, and keys - with lots of room to spare - this morning on our errands.

Thank you, Brick and Mortar Fabric Store for providing me with a spirit-lifting project.  And, that toy table you had in the store was genius.  Kids were occupied - mama shopped.  Pure genius.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stripey Stripes

I have a penchant for stripes - particularly navy and white stripes interspersed with red.  I also like, in small doses, nautical-inspired designs.  Maybe it's because I grew up near the ocean.  Maybe it's a nod to something else.  Whatever the case, navy/white stripes have a special draw for me.

 {Image from pinkandgreenowl}
Don't these red boots just make the picture?  It seems such a fitting picture for a day like today:  rain, snow, rain again, and sun.  Also, I would love a pair of those tights for my seven year old!

{Bag by BAGGU}
One of these packable bags from BAGGU would be a welcome gift for any busy mom.  I always try to keep at least one packable bag stashed in my purse and/or car for those times when we've collected too many pinecones at the park, or stopped for fresh fruit at the market, or any myriad of times when our hands runneth over.

{Top from Anthropologie}
Love this top Anthropologie.  I can almost feel the sand between my toes.
And, these shoes.  Well, how sweet are they?  'Nuff said.

See, don't you love a little navy/white stripe and red too?  Doesn't it make you feel like going to the beach?  If you want to bring a little something special home, check out this treasury created by an Etsy seller (also features one of my nautical-inspired anchor pillows!).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Hasn't Sprung

As I sent off this pillow today, it got me wishfully thinking of warm, sunny weather.  The pillow is headed to Australia.  Lucky pillow.

 {Enjoy your life in Australia, pillow.}

We are slowly, painfully working our way through our Idaho winter.

Today marks March 1.  Now, I feel I'm justified when I say: "No more chilly winds, please";  "No more grey skies, thank you very much".

Just be pleasant, Weather.  And, if you must make the wind blow, make it a gentle, happy breeze with hints of warmth. 

That's all I ask.

That, and put a few flowers in bloom.


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