Category Archives: inspiration

Words of Wisdom {Nursery Wall Decor}

Confession time: I’m a little scared to raise a little girl.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m excited about having a little girl, all the pink and glitter, ballet classes and general ‘sugar and spice’ that having a girl entails.  It just seems like it’s so hard to be a girl and it’s getting harder.  I keep hearing things like how third graders at a school nearby have lunch group therapy because the cattiness with the girls has gotten so out of control (although that might be the product of helicopter parenting), and I see more and more cattiness and just downright rudeness between little girls.  And women as well.  I mean, let’s just look at the whole mommy wars thing.  Breastfeeding vs. formula, attachment vs. cry-it-out…  We do it to each other. It breaks my heart.  And I don’t know how to raise a kind, smart, confident, creative little girl that will grow to be a strong woman someday.

But dammit, I’m gonna try.

So when I was thinking of what to do in the nursery, I got an idea in my head of having a wall of wisdom, if you will.  I looked for quotes from strong women that would reflect qualities I want my little girl to have – things like kindness, confidence, creativity, doing your best, reading… I thought it would be hard to find enough to fill a wall, but the hard part ended up being narrowing them down.

The project was a lot of fun to do. I rummaged around my house, craft stores and Goodwill to find frames and my hubby and father-in-law spray painted them white.  Once I had an arrangement I liked on the wall, I began designing what went where and how it would look.  I ended up with a few other things that weren’t word frames: a corbal/shelf to which I added a little bud vase with a pink rose, a mirror to add some sparkle to that side of the room (and because it was $2 at Goodwill), and her initial.

To design the word ‘art’, I used a free trial of Adobe InDesign.  I love, love, love the Adobe Creative Suite.  I miss it so much.  I think that’s what kept me at my old job for so long.  Sigh.  But I digress.  I channeled my inner design nerd and spent way too much time playing with fonts, sizes, kerning, spacing and all those fun things I used to do back when I worked 9-5.  Finally, I had each frame the way I wanted it (mostly).  Most I was able to print at home, but there were two that were too big for my printer, so I had them done at Office Max for a whopping $3 or so. I then trimmed everything down to size as needed and popped them into the frames.

It might be hard to see the quotes in the photo, so if you are interested, this is what is up there (for now, at least):

1. We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. – Marie Curie

2. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says “I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn

3. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. – Oprah Winfrey

4. Let us always greet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. – Mother Teresa

5. You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have. – Maya Angelou

6. No me embarco sin galleta. – my grandma (this means “I won’t get on a boat without a cracker/cookie” in Spanish, meaning to always be prepared and being able to take care of yourself.  She said this all the time, and we take this advice to heart, literally and figuratively.  My husband who travels a lot will now not get on a plane without crackers based on her advice.  My grandma passed away this summer, so it’s nice to have a little piece of her in my little girl’s room.)

7. …something magical happens when you read a book. – JK Rowling

8. A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. – Coco Chanel

Admittedly, some of these have been all over pinterest and aren’t exactly novel, but they all speak to me.  What I couldn’t find were quotes on travel/seeing the world, but got some travel-inspired prints for another wall in the room to give her that sense that there’s a world beyond our little town.

Here’s another look from further away. I love how it’s part of the cozy little corner where I’ll be rocking her for hours  and hours.

I’ll admit that having these quotes on a wall in a room for a baby who can’t read may not make her a strong woman later on in life, but at the very least, it will inspire me to try to live up to these ideals and to work hard to raise a daughter that embodies these sentiments.

It’s about dang time (a.k.a. a house is not a home)

Four years.  That’s how long we’ve lived in our house, a house that we were so excited about.  Our ‘forever-or-until-our-yet-unconcieved-children-are-out-of-the-house’ house.  We moved in just days before Christmas in 2007 having just moved to NC, excited to be in a place where we felt we could settle down, set down some roots and start a family.  Having already had a house, we had most of the furniture so you’d think it would be set up in no time, right?  And yes.  Our rooms are furnished and boxes are unpacked.  We have a few personal items out on the shelves in our family room.

But we never got around to making it a home.  Only two rooms in our home have been painted.  That’s it.  Two.  My son’s nursery in 2009, almost two years after we moved in, and my craft room/guest room just last summer.

Everything else is low-quality blah-blah-builder-beige (although the paint can calls it ‘antique white’).  It chips and scratches just by looking at it. And it’s so drab.  But it’s not just the paint.  We haven’t put anything up on the walls except for a couple of prints in our entry door (‘antique’ maps of the world).

The need for ‘home’ in our house has been nagging at us for a while and now it’s like a bomb went off.  It’s not a just nagging need, it’s an itch, one that has grown into a really annoying, stinging, poison-ivy-meets-jellyfish-meets-fire-ants kind of feel, right in the middle of your back where you can’t reach it and it drives you nuts until you take care of it and then are all like “AAAHHHHhhhhhhh.”

Alright, I’m sorry about that.  Where were we?  Oh yes.  Making a house a home (or is it finding a good back-scratcher?).

It may seem superficial, but making your house pretty, personalizing it with memories and things that make you smile really adds to other memories.  Coming home and seeing photos of your baby when he was a baby or that trip where you fell in love all over again feels like coming home to hugs.

But where to start?  For us, it was here:

While taking down Christmas decorations, my hubby apparently got into a back-alley fight with a Command hook that resulted in a chunk of paint being ripped off the wall in our family room.  Unfortunately, the way our house is, if we paint that chunk, we’d have to paint the wall, and if we paint the wall, we’d have to paint the whole downstairs because of the open layout, so that left us with the option of covering it.  So off to Kohls we went and replaced the blank wall with this:

And their home accents department was having a buy-one-get-one for a dollar sale, so we got another mirror for our entry (and moved the map prints to the dining room). Then we decided to move a chest that we had cramping our garage entrance to the upstairs, hang some pretty trivets on the wall, pulling out a really pretty red depression glass plate that was handed down and using it for a pop of color…and so on and so forth.

I even put back the coffee table into the family room.  It had been moved out of the way soon after my son was born to a) make more play space available and b) keep him away from the fireplace.  Now I realize that having the coffee table limits how many toys can be out (he still has plenty of room to play) and gives me my fireplace back.  And a place to put my feet while I blog or cruise FB/Twitter/Pinterest.

We kept holding off adding personality until we painted.  But I can’t figure out what color(s) I want, since each room flows into the other so everything is visible and I don’t know how to choose a color that will work..and…and…and.  So many reasons to sit inside my builder’s beige world and not add personality.  But no more.  Even if I’m not ready to paint yet (and oh, God, how I need to do that!) there is no excuse for keeping my house so lifeless.  I don’t have to spend a fortune, I just have to have it reflect who we are.

I’m so excited to finally get some personality into our house!  I hope you don’t mind coming along for the ride with me.  How about you?  How do you make your house a home?  How did you choose a color?

Looking Ahead at 2012

Hello everyone! How is the new year going?  I had the last set of guests leave yesterday morning and was able to enjoy a relatively quiet day before getting back into the swing of things.  The extra down time has gotten me thinking about goals for 2012.  There is so much I want to do, but dreaming big isn’t going to get me where I want to be, so in order to help myself accomplish my goals, I’m not only writing them out here for accountability, but assigning specific tasks to get me there. So here I go:

1. Sew at least two pieces each week.  I always feel so overwhelmed by what I want to sew that I end up not knowing where to start.  Two coffee cuffs or a zippered pouch or two are doable, even with my limited time (SAHM to a very active two-year-old that hates to sleep doesn’t give me much time to sew).

2. Be more creative.  Last year, I had so much creativity running through me.  It’s like part of my personality was re-awakened.  I love it and I don’t want to lose that. I registered for a photography class in February, which will certainly keep me creative, but I also want to paint one painting this coming year.  Not sure what it will be or where it will go (probably my craft room), but it’s something I really want to do just to exercise a different type of creativity.

3.  Live and enjoy life more.  I tend to get stuck in ruts and not really get out and explore life.  My hubby and I sat down and created a 2012 Bucket List.  Each month, we have something we want to do – take our son to the zoo, plant a salsa garden, take a day trip, etc.  Nothing is crazy out of the ordinary.  It’s stuff that most people do, but we never seem to get around to it.

4. Make a quilt for my son.  Isn’t it sad that other than a couple of burp cloths, I haven’t made anything for him?  It’s kinda hard to do anything for boys.  And I have a ton of handmade blankets for him (I ended up with 23 receiving blankets, knitted blankets and quilts as gifts when he was born) and some of them are handmade.  But I want him to have something from me.  I recently got this quilt pattern, which I love.  I’m now trying to find fabric that won’t make me have to sell my first born (which would defeat the purpose of making him a quilt) that I like.  Why is it so hard to find fabric for boys?

Do you have goals for 2012?  I’d love to hear them!

Tangerine Tango ~ What do you think?

Pantone, the people who rule the world of color, has announced that the 2012 color of the year is…..

Tangerine Tango, Pantone 17-1463.

What does this mean? It means that this color will play a big role in home furnishings and fashion in the coming year.  This is why one year, you deck out your master bath in a beautiful color palette, but the following year, when you want to replace your towels, there is nothing on the market that will work with it.

If you have agreed to be a bridesmaid in 2012 (especially for a trendy bride), chances are you’ll be strutting this down the aisle.  When you log into Pinterest, you’ll see splashes of this across your screen, each one with a comment like “LOVE!!  SOOO different! Maybe for the [master bedroom/bridesmaids/next mani/birthday banner]?”

I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Being a die-hard Florida Gator fan, I’m happy to see an orange shade dominate.  I like that it’s deep, with a bit of spice and sultriness, not like a halloween orange or thankfully anything reminiscent of Tennessee Vols.

But tangerine?  It seems so in-your-face.  The trend with Pantone the past few years have been bold and bright colors – the past few have been honeysuckle (toned-down hot pink), turquoise, and mimosa (remember how everything all of a sudden was yellow? this is why).  Much of the reasoning involves the need for cheerfulness and hopefulness given the current state of the world, hoping that powerful colors will lift us up.  I can see that.  And I can see how Tangerine Tango fits that.

I’m curious to see what comes out in the marketplace with Tangerine Tango for home accessories, clothing and fabrics that I’ll have available for my shop.  I am getting some ideas about how I’d like to play a little with it. We’ll see.

What do you think about Tangerine Tango? Do you incorporate trendy colors into your home and fashion or stick to your favorites regardless of trends?

Paper Flowers, Inspiration and Fake French Accents

Last week, I was getting ready for my first craft fair and kind of stressing about it.  Surprisingly, what was frustrating me the most was that for the life of me, I could not make a “Thanks a Latte” tag to go along with my gift display.  I couldn’t get a hold of my super-scrapbooker neighbor to get help, so I just gathered some random and very basic art supplies that I scavenged from my around the house and threw together.  What I got was….ugh:

Now, I’m no paper crafter, but this is bad, even for me.  But it would have to do.  I mean, I still had actual sewing to do for the craft fair, I really couldn’t spend more time on a tag for a display/giveaway.

More than a little annoyed, I headed off to my Junior League meeting.  I had glanced at an e-mail and vaguely comprehended that the paper guy from Real Simple magazine would be speaking.  I got to the meeting and the president seemed a little too excited about the evening.  Seriously.  It’s a Junior League meeting, it’s not like you’re going to get a pedicure and cupcakes. But wait…did I just hear her say ‘breakout groups’?!?!  What the heck is going on?  Then Matthew Sporzynski (the guy that makes the amazing Real Simple paper photos and the Sherwin Williams print ads) got up and showed us some of the things he’s done and then said told us he brought plenty of paper for us to make a gardenia with him during the breakouts.

WHAT?!?!  Hold the presses, here.  Are you saying that I:
a) get to craft at a Junior League meeting?!?!
b) with the paper guy from Real Simple?!?!

Yes, and yes!  My little crafting heart was pounding in joy and delight!

I had actually wondered who ‘the paper guy’ was when I first subscribed to Real Simple.  I imagined him to be a middle-aged, slightly stocky man, balding with a ponytail and who always wore a black turtleneck and that said things like “Yoo theenk dees is ‘just’ paper?  Dees is ART!!!  Go away! Doo not talk to mee!”  In my imagination, he really did have a really bad fake French accent and a major stick up his butt.  I’m not making this up.  I wish I were.  And I wish I knew better than to put this in a blog, but I apparently don’t.

But my crazy imagination couldn’t have been further from the reality of who he is. Matthew is a down-to-earth guy, who really has no clue how talented he is.  And I can’t get over how nice he is.  He would sit down right next to us, answer all our questions and encouraged us to take home the die cut leftovers so we could use them as patterns to make more gardenias (and even let us take extras!). Most people who are successful in creative endeavors are very proprietary of their art – it’s their livelihood, after all.  But not him.  He told us what kind of paper he likes and where he gets it, and other little tips to his art.  And you know what?  Every gardenia I saw is different, even though we all had the same materials and the same instructions.  That just shows what I always thought…if everyone in the world made were given the same materials and instructions to do anything, you still wouldn’t have two idential copies.

I asked him how he began creating paper images, he said that he grew up in the country, but didn’t like to be outside.  So he just went for whatever he could find.  But this is what got me: his original passion was actually sewing but his dad wouldn’t allow it, so he began fiddling with paper, and here he is today.

Hearing that he found inspiration from sewing to channel into paper crafting on the day that I was having trouble going from sewing to paper crafting gave me a new outlook, lifted my spirits and re-energized my creativity.  I’m amazed that on the same day I struggled to come up with something as lame as the ‘Thanks a Latte’ tag above, I was able to create this:

I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity come up so unexpectedly. It came at exactly the perfect time.

What about you?  Has inspiration ever found you when you least expected it?