Thursday, May 15, 2014

Capturing the Memories: Photo Yearbooks and Photo 365

Every night, when I put Peyton to bed, I ask her what her favorite part of the day was. Sometimes the answer is sweet -- "you!" and other times it makes me laugh out loud -- "when I farted on you!" (What is it with kids finding body sounds hilarious?!)

We tried, ever so briefly, to write one line a day in our journal of our favorite parts of the day. But it didn't last long. Commitment issues.  

So then I switched to creating a Yearbook for each year using MyPublisher Photobooks. I got the idea from the YoungHouseLove blog and you can read all about the idea here.  I loved the idea of capturing a book full of photos for each year so I backtracked and created a yearbook for 2010, 2012 and 2013.  Peyton loves looking through the books, and she does it often.

My camera broke in 2011 and my computer also died that year so I was unfortunately not able to create enough pictures for a 2011 yearbook. I do plan to hijack my mom's photos at some point to see if I can use some of her memories to make a 2011 yearbook.

What is great about MyPublisher is that they retain every book you create so you can always re-order.  I also love the quality of the books--you can order a photo right on the cover and they have a lot of great extras, like lay flat pages, glossy pages, etc. I'm definitely a fan.

Today, I discovered this amazing app on iTunes that I am excited to share! It's called "Photo 365," and I think another version is "Collect-Everyday Photo Diary."  The goal is to upload one photo per day.  I think it will be a terrific way to capture the moments and those "favorite parts" that we have each day.  You can even order photo books using your uploaded images!

I downloaded it to my iPhone and iPad and they are syncing beautifully. I backtracked a few days with some memories that I could capture, but it starts today. Game on.

I've also created an Instagram account, but since I'm not a tremendous fan of social media (well, other than Pinterest!) I don't know how much I will use it. But I do so love those miniature IG pictures and magnets you can get from those images. I'm a sucker for anything miniature. Unless it's chocolate. Then you'd better supersize that puppy. 

How do you capture your memories? 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wild Baby Rabbits

My mom texted me this morning and asked me to bring Peyton by her house.

"You will like this too," she says.

So we hop in the car and stop at her house where she leads us to her backyard, and proceeds to pull what looks like fluff from the ground under the tree house. At first I wasn't sure what to expect--before getting close it honestly looked like a big webbed spider's nest. I thought surely my mom wouldn't be so cruel as to make me see a big fat hairy spider. Not the day before Mother's Day. That's just mean. I think my voice might have even trembled when I asked if it was a spider's nest before moving closer.

I watched with trepidation and confusion as she pulled the ground away from itself.

Baby rabbits.  I swear my heart went pitty-pat! I have never seen a rabbits burrow, though I have heard of them in Wonderland, yes I have.

There were seven babies in the nest, and as hard as it was to put them back in the nest, I knew we had to, to give them a fighting chance at survival. But they were so cute, cuddly and oh-so-soft, it was hard not to tuck them into my purse and haul them home. So hard. But even rabbit mothers should be with their babies on Mother's Day!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogger Inspired Project: Cameroon Juju Hat

I know my posting has been spotty the last few weeks. Work has been stressful and I just haven't had two brain cells to rub together at the end of my days. So I'm sorry this post is two days late but knowing me, it's probably not the last time I'll do that. Moooving on.

I have always loved Cameroon Juju hats. (I mean really, even the name tickles my funny bone-in highschool, before I even knew Cameroon Juju hats existed, I used to go round saying everyone needed leopard in thier house or the bad juju would get you. So really, this project was like.. kismet.)

Most people I've talked to don't know what a Cameroon Juju Hat is.  So in a nutshell, it's a feather African hat that is worn by royal dancers during ceremonies. You can read a little more about them here. (Note: I do not know anything else about that site or the quality of their work-it was just a page that I quickly Googled to get additional details for you!) 

The problem was that most Cameroon Juju Hats were very costly--typically ranging in the $400-$500 range. The other night I did a quick Google to show my mom what a Juju hat was and the first one that pulled up was $1,250! Yeah, I'm not inspired to spend that much on a decorative object.  

But I continued to see Juju Hats everywhere (ok, not really. But I can be surprisingly single-minded when it comes to an obsession...). I pinned several images on Pinterest of Juju hats and dreamed about dancing in Juju Hats (ok, not really. But if I did would you be surprised?)

Image from Pinterest here
Finally, like any inspired blogger, I wondered if it was possible to make one. I found several sites where bloggers provided tutorials on how they made their Juju Hat, and Vintage Farm Furniture is the the one that convinced me I could do it.  Half of the battle, I figured, was ordering the feathers. (The other half was conquering my allergies to feathers in order to put it together. Oh yeah, I did that.) 

After researching various feather options, I ultimately went with the same site that Vintage Farm Furniture used: The Feather Place.  I ordered 3 quantities (it is sold by the 1/4 lb.) of the 6-8" Shocking Pink Rooster Coque Tails.  I ordered extra because other blogs mentioned using more and I wanted to have a margin of error. For this project I only ended up using 2 of the feather rolls. (Hm, an extra roll of feathers. I spy another project in the future?!) 

Anyhoo, I digress. So I ordered the feathers. I don't know it if was just my experience, but I ordered the feathers and I did not receive an order confirmation e-mail or a shipping confirmation email. Days went by and I kicked myself for not writing down the order confirmation number (I have never not gotten a confirmation e-mail!) and I wondered if anything had gone wrong with my order and if I was going to have to call customer service.... and then I came home from work one day and the feathers were there. Like magic. Ok, not really magic, but just thought I would share that in case anyone else orders and has a similar experience. Learn from me-write the confirmation number down and then don't panic. 

I'm going to skip the tutorial here since it's not really mine and just say if you would like to make one yourself, definitely check out the tutorial on Vintage Farm Furniture. Because I really did follow it step by step.   Here are some progress shots. 

And here is where, excited at my progress, I stopped to text my mom a picture. She, predictably, thought I was ridiculous for attempting such a thing when I am allergic to feathers.  (My text is green and blue; hers is the gray.) 

 Back to the project:

When I was done, I wasn't sure where to hang it, so like the impatient gal that I am, I took a couple of pictures off my gallery wall to hang it front and center. So the disclaimer here is: this is not its final resting place. 

love the bright pop of color and fluffiness. I also love that it is not $1,250.  The only thing I need to figure out is where it can live. Oh, and if I should do another one in purple. It is that delicious. MmmWAH! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Priming & Painting Little Loo

It's been a little busy this weekend trying to knock out some painting projects to get the lower level prepped for the next stage of this renovation (flooring). So I spent the weekend in paint fumes, priming and painting the powder room and the newly mudded drywall.

A few things from this weekend:

  1. Priming over newly mudded drywall is a pain. It took me 5 hours to prime the ceiling and walls of the powder room (Little Loo) and the small patch jobs around the large room. The new drywall sucks up the paint and it doesn't glide evenly so more arm power is needed for smooth coverage. I am looking at the playroom (which also needs mudded and primed) and wincing. 
  2. Color-Matching strikes again! I went to Sherwin Williams to pick out my paint the other day since they are A-my favorite paint and B-having a 40% off sale of all paints; and asked the guy to color-match to Glidden's Silver Birch. I'd had the same color done there before so I assumed (wrongfully so) that he was pulling up my account when he asked for my name before the Color Match job.  I got the flat ceiling paint home and started slapping it up on the walls and it was green. Not even pretty green but olive green.  I grabbed another can of the same color (eggshell-so not made for walls) and tested it out right next to the other paint and there was a huge difference. So I used the eggshell paint on my ceiling just to get it done. I still have to take the original flat ceiling paint back to have them fix it before I can finish the media room.
  3. I then put on the first coat of the new color on the walls in the powder room and it's a pretty color. It will need a second coat so looks like I'll be working on that throughout the week. It's a bad picture and the light is washing out a lot of the color, but when you stand in the room it has more impact. It's very soothing and spa-like. It is Sherwin William's Sea Salt.  Unlike the primer it only took one 1 hour to knock out the ceiling and walls (well, AFTER I figured out the whole green ceiling paint debacle!) 
So there you have it, three things from the weekend. What did you get up to this weekend? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five Favorite Etsy Shops

I know I'm a day late on this post, but I had a family dinner last night and by the time I got home, I was just wiped. It was another long day today, so I thought I'd just do a quick post on a little addiction of mine-Etsy! The other day a friend of mine was telling me she was being naughty at the mall and I jokingly said her shopping habit at the mall was like my shopping habit at Etsy. Then I realized it's not really a joke at all!

I love seeing people use their creativity and bringing some individual (and sometimes custom) artwork and crafts into my home. So I thought I'd do a quick round-up of my 5 favorite Etsy vendors lately.

  1. Modern Mud by Naomi is my current obsession. She has ahhmazing vases and little bowls that I have become slightly obsessed with. I actually purchased several smaller vases and then I reached out to her and asked if she could make larger vases in custom colors. She said yes. Watch for an upcoming post on these! 
  2. SilverTreeArt by Suzanne L. Vinson. This is a relatively new shop I stumbled on from reading another blog. I ordered a few wisdom cards such as this one and this one and this one. I figure they will add little pops of color to my bookshelves. 
  3. Yao Cheng Design by Yao Cheng. I love the prints from this shop. My favorites at the moment are this one and this one. I haven't yet committed to purchasing anything from this vendor because I'm trying to refrain from buying any more art prints. You know, until I finish my basement and realize I have 6 walls to decorate. 
  4. Kolorize Vintage & Handmade. I've bought a jadeite plate set from this vendor, along with a brass unicorn, and I love looking at the vintage items she has in her shop. Inventory is always changing so very fun to visit. Plus, who wouldn't love a name like "Kolorize?!" 
  5. Pop O'Color sells designer fabric pillows and I usually browse their shop first before I hunt for other pillows. But typically I will see a fabric I like and do a search for all shops that carry that type of fabric, so it can be hit or miss with the pillows. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Vitamin Goodness

I have the song "Trick of the Moonlight" by Gareth Dunlop playing in my head tonight.  It skips over it like a record and only plays the parts I really like.  

I had another long day at work, and tonight finds me tired and stressed. I read this article over the weekend in my mom's April Good Housekeeping magazine and it rang a few bells for me.

It talked about how doctors over-prescribe the "big gun" drugs in order to beat what could be minor illnesses and thus bacteria strains are becoming very antibiotic-resistant. Kind of scary actually, because deaths are rising from viruses and bacteria due to the strains becoming resistant. It had me thinking about it because I am allergic to your first-line antibiotics (penicillin, sulfa), so the doctors always prescribe the big guns for me. I had a recurring sinus infection for pretty much all of 2013 because I couldn't kick it with antibiotics. 

It finally took a med school intern to think outside of the box and prescribe me with three weeks of an antibiotic that was a cousin of penicillin. Sure, I developed a terrible rash and hives that lasted for a few months, and I was unable to finish the antibiotics because it started to affect my mouth/face, but I got rid of most of the germs. (The article also talked about how not finishing antibiotics actually helps strengthen those bacteria germs that makes them more antibiotic-resistant. So scary!) 

Now I take VitaFusion gummy vitamins every day (really, it's just like eating candy!) and I haven't had to go to the doctor since late November in 2013, which is definitely an amazing thing in my world. I still have occasional days when the sinus germs flare up and cause me issues, but over-the-counter antihistamines seem to help on those days.  For vitamins, I take a daily dose of Calcium, Vitamin D, a Women's Multi-vitamin and Vitamin C.  I loathe taking pills but I find chewing on gummies is an easy way to fool myself into taking them daily. Besides, aren't they cute in their berry-licious form?!

But I digress. I encourage you to pick up Good Housekeeping and read the article-it definitely rang true for me. And what I want to know is why are the drug companies not investing in coming up with stronger antibiotics? Do they want us to go back to the stone age?! Actually, don't answer that. The insurance companies probably do want us all to die young so they don't have to invest in keeping us healthy. 

And, since I usually post about my interior design craziness, I thought I would leave you with this teaser of an upcoming project (or two): 

And someone really needs to go hire me a butler. So you know, he can prime my new drywall.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Finished Drywall

Just a quick post today with a drywall update. It appears the strange men have finished with mudding the drywall in my lower level. I wish I could be more excited about it, but it was a rough day, and I'm seeing a priming and paint job ahead of me, so it's hard to get truly excited about the progress. But it is definitely progress, and I'm now one step closer to the fun stuff, so I'm thankful the drywall and mud is done! Here are some snapshots of the freshly mudded walls. Ignore the mess and the terrible lighting in the pictures. I'm honesty too tired to figure out how to work the camera's manual settings tonight!

When I moved into this house, there was a wall diving these two rooms. We knocked down the wall, installed the corner fireplace, and then a few years went by. 


We enclosed the pipes (there are two, one is on the far left, not pictured below), move some light switches, finished the drywall and now, in it's freshly mudded glory:

AFTER: In Progress
The hallway was formerly closed off with a doorway (and no door) at the bottom of the stairs, making a tiny little "cubicle" of doors leading to the loo, the playroom and the laundry room. We took out the door frame and opened up the hall to the doors.  Bad blogger that I am, I didn't really get a good "before" shot of that, but below you can see some of the demo process where the brown trim on the right represents the doorway to the "cubicle." 

 After, the hallway is more open and modern, crisp lines and a flush ceiling.

AFTER: In Progress
Here is another view from the playroom down the hall to the media room-you can see the two posts and the white is where the drywall was mudded.

AFTER: In Progress
The bathroom downstairs has had the most change. It had two types of fake walls and horribly ugly, cracked and peeling floor tile. And you can see the floor has the cement exposed where we dug the french drain. Spiders loved this room. Peyton and I, not so much.

AFTER: In Progress
I'm excited to get Little Loo all done up again so we have two working bathrooms in this house! I have to work this weekend, so I'm not sure how much progress I'll be making down here. Upcoming will be priming, painting (should the wall color stay? should it change?), adding floors and trim.  So there is still quite a bit to do before I can get to the fun decorating stuff. 

One small step for mankind .... let's just say Mud is good. Mud is very, very good.