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Knowing I love painted furniture, my mother-in-law gave me this little cabinet with instructions to paint it. We tried it in a few places before picking a color and when we decided it should go in the girls room, we also knew it needed to be blue.  I had a lot of little helping hands when it came to the painting!

We used my current favorite Annie Sloan Chalk paint color “Provence,” with clear wax over the paint.

Heart in California

I love the shape of my state. It makes me happy and I’ve commemorated it.

So, I know I am way behind the curve (maybe you’re already sick of seeing chevron), but I finally did it! And, I am happy with it.

The whole project, for which of course I don’t have any in-progress or before pictures, took a couple afternoons. It clogged up our courtyard (everyone had to scoot themselves around the project to get to the front door) and smelled up the house (paint and wood stain fumes drifted in through the giant draft space under our front door).

I think I want to keep orange or red flowers up there on a regular basis. The bottles were collected and painted over a few weeks. It was a great excuse to clean out the fridge and empty out old salad dressing and hot sauce bottles, oh and wine bottles, can’t forget those. I dripped, as sparingly as I could manage, my favorite Annie Sloan paint inside and rolled them around until the paint covered the insides sufficiently.

I found a few insulators at a flee market once and my mother-in-law gave me a small collection of them that had belonged to her dad. It has saved me from climbing over barbed wire and stealing them from the tops of unused power line poles.

Watercolor Current

My husband has been getting into watercolor recently. He’s been learning about and buying brushes (his favorite, he actually has a favorite already, is his Siberian Kolinsky red sable hair, the hairs of which were rather specifically selected from the winter tails of male animals) and paper and paint (I’ll spare you all the details on the specificity of these items, but trust me…yeah) and almost every night after the girls are in bed he gets all these supplies out and tries something new.

This means that our girls, especially our 5 year old, have been interested in watercolor too. Our oldest has her own water pen and enjoys experimenting with different angles. If you’ve never seen one of these water pens, check them out sometime. Pretty cool. My husband tells me she is very good at rinsing it after each color and not leaving it in the water. Apparently, that is bad.

So, because of all this, I keep noticing watercolor art that we have put up around the house and what has been showing up on the boards of people I follow on Pinterest. I don’t know if everyone else has been noticing the watercolor current or if this is how it always is, but there’s been a lot up there lately.

Dallas Shaw is one of my new favorites (above) and I love this wallpaper (below) that you can find at Black Crow Studios.

As a gift, my husband recently hired an artist to draw and paint our 18-month old. I can’t wait to get it framed and up on the wall. See…

What’s catching your eye lately?

Postcards

This morning as I perused others’ Pintrest boards, I found myself combing this online magazine which has a little article on the history of postcards (see page 19). In the early 1900’s in England, mail was delivered up to three times a day in some towns, which meant postcards could be used like we use Facebook updates or text messages. “Honey, I will be home at seven.”

I’m sure I am not alone in my use of postcards in our decor. I love how they convey many ideas in a compact space. A few weeks ago, I added a few to a gallery wall in the bathroom. I like to think that having vintage vacation postcards from my own home town helps put me in a more relaxed state of mind. If I am finding myself particularly stressed, I try playing a game with myself where I think about how I would look at the day differently if we were on holiday. Every day can be a kind of vacation in your own town, in your own home. It’s a little easier for me to do as our vacation days are often filled with so many of the same things our “typical” days at home are comprised of now…making meals, washing babies, picking up toys, watching documentaries, making crafts, doing laundry…

During our 2 month long trip last fall, we tried to send postcards to the grandparents from many of the stops along our way. We also collected a small stack of our own as mementos from our trip that I need to do something with. I haven’t decided whether to put them in a book or display them somewhere. Maybe someday we will have enough to do something like this…

I’ve also loved these Pottery Barn displays…

When we visit museums, I like to pick up at least one postcard of a piece of art that we viewed on that visit. Here is one from our last visit to the Getty. Which sits there, reminding me that we are due for another visit.

Shopping and Gift Ideas

Okay, so I thought I subscribed to enough of those if-you-sign-up-your-friends-you-get-credit shopping sites, but someone just got me hooked on another one. These are some of my favorites items from today.

This is way beyond my budget ($375) and I am sensitive to cashmere, but I can dream…

These are pretty darn cool. They look like they’re made out of thick paper. The details say they are made of 30% recycled content. For a pad of 50 placemats you pay $22. Oh, and you can write on them with chalk!

My mom has been looking for these for a while. I have to say that I’ve been tempted on a number of occasions and this is another one of those. These guys have a few different colors and patterns available. $84 its a bit steep in my opinion, but with some credit it might become more of an option.

Now, I really love Aden and Anais blankets. Target has 4-packs for about $35, but the local store has never had these patterns. I saw them in person in a little boutique selling individually once (maybe they were knockoffs) but they were priced at a ridiculous $20/blanket! It didn’t stop me from coveting the striped pink and red (the close-up makes it look pink, but from my memory the dark pink reads more red in person). Open Sky is selling this 4-pack for $50, which is good I guess if you want these 4 (I really only want that striped one) and can’t find them elsewhere.

Now this is pretty cool and affordable. I would love to receive something like this for Christmas. Grow your own mushrooms! Now, I probably wouldn’t be 100% successful, but I would enjoy trying and every time I attempt to garden I think I get a little better at it. This pack is $20. To be honest I have no idea it this is a good price.

Now this is pretty cool. For $25 you can get a cutting board with precise measurements. I’ve always wondered how far off I’ve been from a perfect julienne.

Anyway, you can find all of these things (well, whatever’s not sold out) and more here at Open Sky.

Bathroom Redo

When we got home from our trip, I decided it was time to redo the bathroom. It was in need of some fresh white paint and some serious organizing.

Unfortunately, I am horrible at getting before shots. Here it is though after 12 days of work.

The towel and magazine bar is from Ikea (painted white) and it is resting on basic white hooks from Home Depot.

The toilet paper basket is from Cost Plus World Market. I’m liking this new system for toilet paper storage. It has freed up some space in the cupboard and now guests don’t have to guess where to look if we run out.

This mirror has actually been there since the day we moved in.The main, large mirror is to the left when you enter the bathroom, but its nice to have a little mirror over the sink too. This little green beaded mirror is from Anthropologie (several years ago).

This cabinet seems a little blah to me still, but if you could magically see a before picture of that medicine cabinet, you would be very happy that it looks like this now. This cabinet was here before we moved in so I am not responsible for the funny placement. I could have moved it down a bit, but I wasn’t motivated to do that at the time and I think its better to have it more out of the childrens’ reach. They are all climbers now.

This shelf (in the background of the photo below) was the large straw that drove me to actually get the bathroom done. My mom was getting rid of it before our trip and I grabbed it from her garage sale pile. My dad built it, so I know its sturdy. There wasn’t time to put it up before we left on our trip, so its been sitting there in my mind for a couple months.

The large apothecary jar belonged to my mother-in-law. It may have actually belonged to her paternal grandma if I am remembering correctly. I should probably double check on that.

I added the swan brackets to my dad’s shelf unit. They are another old Anthropologie find.

The motel sign is something I had originally picked up for our RV. I had it leaning up against the mirror as I worked in here and liked it so much in this room that I decided to use it in here instead.

These jewelry shadow boxes have actually been in that spot since before we moved in, so I guess this is kind of a before shot. They came with us when we moved here two and a half years ago. 

The green knobs on the black cabinet were a local craigslist find (by local, I mean, a couple blocks away) about a year ago. There were about 20 of them in a bag. I keep changing out knobs all over our house for these because I love them so. 

The black cabinet used to be periwinkle. I was tired of that the first time I saw it, but it wasn’t so hideous that it had to be changed immediately. Even if it had been though, I can’t say I wouldn’t have procrastinated until now anyway.

I added some little 4 inch furniture feet to make it look like a found dresser. A really shallow dresser. Maybe I will get a photo of that sometime.