Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feeling thankful for so many things....My family, my friends, my life.

A glorious weekend. Not only (but mostly) because I spent it with my lovely children, (sans husband who is in South Korea for a week for work) but because we went away to some hot springs for some serious soaking and much needed down time. No house, no chores, no playdates, just us. My daughter, Lily, was invited to a sleepover at this hot springs/hotel here in gorgeous Montana, which is an 80 or so mile drive from our town. After a hectic sending off of my beloved husband, (who is so very missed already) we had made the decision to accompany Lily to this sleepover of four 8 year old girls.  Lily does not take sleepovers lightly; a trait that she shares with her mother.  Not my idea of a great night, having her away. Some mothers can relate to this, others look at me with a funny look and perhaps a slight chuckle, "Really? She doesn't like sleepovers? And you don't either?" Yes, thats right, I do not relish the fact that my child is not in reaching distance. They are only little for such a small spark of time; I love that she wants me near, for I know those days are numbered. I am trying to cherish every moment.

Lily, our first baby, is turning 8 next month, and she is a sensitive soul whose creativity and imagination astound me at times.  I couldn't be more proud of this little girl who marches to the beat of her own drummer and could care less about the latest trend, boys or doing what her friends do. A confident little girl who would rather be picked up at a sleepover at 10:30 then listen to her peers convincing argument to stay. She rationalizes with them, "But I will be back first thing in the morning for pancakes..." And yes, I will drive her back over so she gets to join in the a.m. fun. It works out for both of us in the end.

One of the greatest gifts of this weekend was reading. A book. Yes, I read a book. I have one chapter left and am dreading finishing it; please don't let it end. My dear friend here in Bozeman wrote a review for it in a blog for Montana parent magazine, (amazing, you should read her review)  and then offered it to me to read for my short trip outta dodge.  A lovely book, titled Bloom.  The author, Kelle Hampton, went through an experience many of have not been through; her second baby was born with Down Syndrome and it was unknown until the moment of birth. She takes us through her journey of the event.  Her pain is palpable from the first moment this child is born; a mother has so many thoughts and plans as that belly swells with life in her. Imagine if it was not as you planned for and thought over, obsessed over for 9+ months.  I kept thinking and wondering, how would I have responded to this. Her honesty compelled me from the first page.

As she reflects on motherhood, I noticed throughout the book the joy and pure pleasure of the tiny moments in life she points out, over and over, and her positivity stopped me in my tracks...How lucky I am to have experienced these moments in my own life. How is it possible to let the negative get to us so much when the positive things trump it every time...

The happiness which overwelms me when I hear my children laughing, when I see their crazy bedheads in the morning struggling to wake up over a bowl of cheerios...My husband coming in the door and my children running to him with sheer pleasure and laughter...My sons amazing lisp, and how he resembles Linus from Charlie Brown when he talks, and how I love to watch them sleep next to eachother. Picking my daughter up from school and having her run to me, and James clutching her leg, kissing her head with such love. These moments occur often, daily even, where I am so fulfilled and content I could burst. If I can start reflecting on these moments more and stop worrying, stop stressing...This trip called life is so bloody short that we are on; imagine if we could all realize that daily and stop being so negative? Just relish it, all of it.... Its funny, its the small things that matter and the small things that you can't sweat.

My most memorable moment of this book is in a chapter titled Current.  The author speaks of a trip she went on when she was 12; a trip to the west where she went white-water rafting down the Colorado river. She was scared, but determined to prove herself, and her guide gave her some advice: "If you fall out, whatever you do, don't fight the currrent. If you fight, you will drown. Don't waste your energy trying to swim, just relax and let go. Put your body in a yogalike position, curl your hands around your neck and then, let the current guide you. Someone will help you, (Let the current guide you, wow). The best chance you have of surviving is to let go and follow the flow of the current."

Follow the flow of the current.  Do not fear, don't drown, enjoy the thrill, the ride, the crazy unpredictability of that river. Although you will get bashed by rocks on the way, and maybe you will come out bloody, bruised, even scarred... But let the rocks hit you. Let it happen. Understand that following that flow will be crazy and turbulent, uncomfortable and scary, but you will survive. You will live. And the experience changes you...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Progress...Made my own Stencil and Re-vampin' Second Hand Lamps!

Wow. What a day. What a week, what a month...Sometimes I look at the clock and cannot believe the time. 4:30 p.m.? But I just woke up a second ago; wait, I have 20 more things to get done today.... I think I have figured it all out...One must say, f**k it, I am not cleaning the house today. Yes, liberating indeed, and then work on your art/project/life/things that matter most.  Look at your kids; I mean look, listen and stop rushing them and yourself around so much. (I am preaching to myself on this point, not y'all..)
On your deathbed will you ever say "God, I wish my house had been cleaner." Hell no!  And if I had a dollar for every time I said to my kids "Hurry, we are running late" I would have a nice fat nest egg going. Which of course, I don't.

So, I have not had the time to blog, just got over some awful crummy virus; but I have found (kind of) some time to create. Started another floor cloth in a zig zag pattern- trendy yes, but I just have to try it.  Here is my inspiration:

Dwell Studio
 So far I have just drawn half of the lines in...Next I need to sew some placemats and table runners to sell at the Farmers market, (and my own website) if I can get enough made in time. I love a deadline (classic procrasinator that I am).

And finally finished my thrift store lamps. My whopping $9.00 purchase for the pair of lamps picked up at a nice local thrift store needed some serious attention (they have been sitting in my garage for months staring at me, and it was not a nice look).  I decided to make my own stencil; two hours of time, one sharp exacto knife and two band aids later, and this is what I came up with:

In reality, it is about 6" diameter.

And these are the lamps before, such a lovely shade of pink and gold hardware. Oh the 1980's...

A lovely shade of mauve, had to rip that fabric off!

Gold base, gold hardware, yikes.

So then I decided to paint these shades...trial and error; I painted them and slowly distressed them, trying to make them look like old linen...And then a huge crack got bigger, and then I knew I was off to Target to get 2 new shades with a better shape.  And painting a lampshade is not that great of an idea; hard to make it so the light comes out. Next time I would really water the paint down.

Close up of my stencil.
 I used light blue, white and a linen green for colors.
In real life it is much lighter..
God I need a new camera!

Finished lamp with stencil shade. I spraypainted all the gold away,  and sanded the inside and outside of the lamp after I had spraypainted it with silver. I was attempting to make it look aged, or like mercury glass. It needs more work, but looks better than it did...

So thus this is my first published, blogged DIY. Only took 3 months. I have so many more things I would like to do...But first, an update on our house. Just painted my daughter Lily's room Lily Lavender...A pottery barn color which I thought was far too purple (or bright); in actuality it looks soothing and beautiful in her room. She picked it, and my friend brilliantly said "They are only little for so long, when else is she going to want a bright purple room?" Too right... I am going to paint a mural on the wall; a white birch tree (?) with leaves, butterflies, owls and flowers...Yes, another crazy trend, but its what she wants....I would do anything for that kid. Before and after photos to come, time will tell when.

Here are some great kids rooms, which I wouldn't mind being my room they are so nice:

Pottery Barn, always good, but everyone knows it, or owns it...remember the friends episode?

Wee Decor

C.K. Nyman Interior Design, Love the Rug and colors

Serena and Lily Ramona...And this is kids bedding. I want that window chair.

Serena and Lily Tangerine Elephant
 So heres to the weekend.  I must find some time to work! Going to be tough with my husband flying to Korea for a week. sigh. Have to sand/paint the top bunk he just completed for Lily's room, decorate the bottom bunk with glow in the dark stars, (so Lily can look up at them and see glow in the dark constellations, cozy) and design and paint mural. Phew...I'll keep you posted, cheers to the weekend on the horizon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ah, Suzani's...Musings from Modern Motherhood...More Inspring Rooms

I am so inspired by other people and their homes, diy ideas, blogs, recipes...I have never even read a blog until a couple of months ago; now I cannot keep up with all of the talent out there. Check out some links/blogs I follow on my site.

And today, I am thinking about Suzani's again...Such beautiful embroidery, want to buy one on ebay. Here are some examples I found on Ebay:

Want to make pillows out of this one...

All images from Ebay. Search for antique Suzani's.

I so would like to order fabric and suzani's. Hard to do when each paycheck we make is already spent. Sigh. With a car payment, house payment, and a 4 yr old in Montessori school, (piano lessons, new clothes for both, not to mention all of the other bills) we are just spent.  But soon my blog viewing friends, (hello there anybody out there...) I will order and begin my sewing escapades. Should be very amusing to watch; but I am determined to figure it out with some how-to books.

Finally,  my before and after living room pics will be in progress soon... In the meantime, here is another link for a great way to show your house to all of us homeade Do It Yourself-ers: (English?)

A good way to show us your before and afters, or photos of your rooms at your home. I have so many talented friends/family out there - take some photos of your projects and homes! You know who you are...

Just need to reflect upon on this journey of marriage, and family life in this cultrue. Motherhood is both the most rewarding, and challenging journey I have ever been on...The longest days, and the shortest years. At this point in my life, it is vital to find some time alone...My children, the house, the lessons and errands, dinner, class photos - and yes, oh shit they were today and I forgot, the laundry!? How do we all keep up? There is simply not enough time in the day. I multitask so much, the other day I lost my purse. Something I don't usually do, (suprisingly enough I always know where my key, wallet and purse are: dear husband, please note: try putting it in the same spot every day -love yah babe, but wow, would love to stop looking for keys in the morning rush).

All of that said, last Monday (after a big playdate at mine) I found myself without a purse, a pretty good wine buzz going, and at 6:00 realizing I could not get my daughter to piano with no car keys. Okay, backtrack... I had just been to Costco, and arrived home (to my very messy house) just in time for a giant playdate - 10 kids, 4 moms, which turned into a great mommy playdate with plenty o'wine and food.  (which by the way, changed the feel of Monday completely. I highly recommend doing this sometime).

 But I was so rushed, I put my purse, yes, my purse in the laundry machine, I guess as all my friends walked in the door and I desperately tried to pick up a laundry pile and stick it in the wash, purse and all. Luckily, being as scattered as I was, I did not put the soap in or turn it on. Its the small things that count, isn't it?

So as I embarassingly told the story to our piano teacher yesterday, and told her the story and she so wisely said..."You are obviously operating on too many levels, spreading yourself too thin..." What wisdom. Brilliant. So nice for someone to recognize this.... I almost cried due to the way she said it; without judgement and with kindness in her face.

As women in this American life we are expected to bring home the bacon, cook, clean, launder, have a clean-appearing house (which is impossible, without paying someone) look good in your skinny jeans, (at least in my community of outdoor toned ladies) be a constant healthy snack maker, kisser of boo-boos while loving everyone unconditionally, expert resolution finder, chauffer all with a smile on our face (never being late of course), and be a positive, happy wife and teacher of your children. I try so hard to live up to these expectations but sometimes find myself wanting to lie down, and just not answer to anyone but myself. Of course having said all of this I certainly would not trade any of this chaos for the quiet-ness/insecurity of my younger years. The thing about those younger years is that I was lonely, self-involved and less sure of myself. (albeit very well rested) I guess why I am verbally assaulting you all with this is that I am saying it is the balance I am lacking. I am going to try so much harder to find that balance in my life. A goal for 2012.

Perhaps that is why I love looking at beautiful homes , art and rooms which inspire me.  When things are in order, we all feel better. When they are complete. Can't wait to complete my projects here at home. Here are yet some more rooms I have been admiring...All from House Beautiful:

Love the dreamy paintings...

The Lettered Love the paint on the walls, Oyster Bay by Sherwin Williams.

the art, the mixing of patterns...

like the patterns and suzani's!

Wish I could begin my serious painting again too...This is my year though, I can feel it. I found these on Etsy; love the use of color - painterly is the word I would describe these, and what I aspire to be as a painter:

Paintings by Samantha French, on Etsy.
Look at the skin tone and light! I love to paint light...

In May, I will finally have a few days alone to work on my projects. So necessary at this point in my life to take a few days for just me and my artwork. I have not had a day off , a full day off from my children in years...Love them as I do, being 41 is such a time of self-awareness. Time to shit or get off the pot, as my dad used to say...

Also, just found this DIY about making paper pinwheels. Could be a permanent artwork piece or for a party. See for full instructions. Isn't it pretty?


Hostess with the Mostess

Let me know if anyone has read this, or has any insight on balance. Love to hear from other moms/women out there about their lives...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SewPaintLove: DIY, Recycle, Re-use...Final Fabric? For our Livin...

SewPaintLove: DIY, Recycle, Re-use...Final Fabric? For our Livin...: Got my first sunburn yesterday.  And of course today, its snowing. 73 degrees yesterday, today 32. Love Montana living, one can always coun...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

DIY, Recycle, Re-use...Final Fabric? For our Living Room Makeover

Got my first sunburn yesterday.  And of course today, its snowing. 73 degrees yesterday, today 32. Love Montana living, one can always count on change.

Pray, Montana, near Chico hot springs...Our favorite hangout. A painting of mine in the works
 So as I sit on a snowy Sunday with my sunburn, I am thinking about all the ways we can re-use and recycle in our home. I have made a pledge to never buy windex/all purpose cleaner again. Over the past few months, I have made my own non-toxic cleaning products using essential oils, vinegar, and a bit of Mrs. Meyers cleaner for some aromatherapy. (love the way Mrs.Meyers smells!) On Pinterest, I just found a make it yourself orange peel cleaner and tried it out. I am amazed at the results.

Put Orange Peels, a 1/2 cup of vinegar or so, cover with water, and let sit for a week or more. Pinterest
All we did was eat oranges, which we do all the time usually. I used it on stainless steel, and my granite counters, and it worked great. It was a little streaky on our glass doors, but so great as an all purpose cleaner. I also added a little basil essential oil (Doterra is a nice, pure oil) and it smells great.

And here are my fabric choices...Final. I think. Okay, I will edit some of these probably, but ordering the swatches. Then i just have to learn how to sew curtains, put in zippers for pillows. Should be comical.

Robert Allen Okemo Bluebell
For my curtains...

Thomas Paul Aviary, in Tangerine...
Better Homes and Gardens, like the chocolate brown geometric print
Pottery Barn, I think I will sew a white/blue linen pillow or two like these

Serena and Lily, French Circles

Color of my couch

Better Homes and Gardens, this is where I found the orange + blue + brown...And white!

Robert Allen, Leafy stitch...Calico Corners. Don't know if this will match, but I love this stitch and fabric.

Love this Robert Allen too...I guess I still have editing to do.

I have been plotting out my first Do It Yourself (DIY baby!) to complete so I finally have some actual progress photos for y'all.  Waiting on my new droid camera, but really, I think I need a real digital camera at some point....As I start photographing my progress, here are some great tips to save money while re-using things we already have...

Paper Mache letters made out of cereal boxes! Originally on Pinterest, but found DIY Gardens 2 Bergers...Link below:

And who doesn't need some Modge Podge? How easy is this DIY from link below:

Stay tuned for some easter egg stuff...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

LOVE This DIY, Cool Mommy/Food blogs, Recipes, and Feeling Mighty Fashion-less

Love this DIY I found on Pinterest.  Here are some photos and the link of how to:


Yesterday (Sunday) my impeccable diet consisted of 3 slices of pizza, 2 pieces (maybe 3) of cake and a couple of pints of Beltian Whites. That is a mighty wheaty day, and all I could do yesterday afternoon was lie on the couch and complain about how tired I am. O.k, so I am going to give it a go. I just made a quinoa salad, with roasted almonds, ginger, garlic, honey, soy sauce, orange segments (+ juice) and kale. It was really good...I added some fried tofu on top (which I love) and I am feeling full, and not tired at all.

I just found a couple of great blogs which have awesome wheat free (and gluten free) recipes and some great mommy wisdom. I love the people out there like me who know they are over-stressed and who try to simplify things by cooking wholesome food,  and who try to sneak some veggies to their children, on the sly...Women who are trying to eat better as they age (in my case it is becoming a must).

This is from Running with tweezers blog/website. Love her musings about being good to herself this year, and giving herself more time...A different version of Quinoa, black Quinoa - gotta try it:

Black Quinoa Salad with Cherries, Pistachios and Cress – serves 4 as a light meal
  • 1 cup dried black quinoa – rinsed and well-drained
  • 2 cups water or lightly flavored vegetable stock
  • 1 cup pitted cherries, cut in half or quartered
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted & salted pistachios
  • 2 cups red watercress – washed, dried and tougher stems removed
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring the water/stock to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender but not mushy – this is about 12 minutes for me but depends on the quinoa you’re using. If it’s still got a bit of bite once the water has been absorbed, add a bit more liquid and continue to cook. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Fluff with a fork to break up the grains.
- Mix the cooked quinoa with the pistachios and cherries in a salad bowl. Drizzle over the dressing and mix to coat completely. Portion out onto plates and top with handful of the watercress leaves. If you’d like, grind a bit more pepper over the top & sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt to garnish. Serve immediately.

Also check out this photo/recipe from my FAVORITE blog of a very dear friend, and amazing mom, vegetarian chef and photographer:

honey mustard dressing
6 ingredients:  dairy free

1 tsp. of honey
1 tsp. of tahini
1 tsp. of olive oil
1/2 tsp. of yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. of balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp. of water

This is my favorite salad dressing.  I love honey mustard dressing but most of them have a ton of ingredients you can't pronounce and the ones that don't aren't that great in my opinion.   A lot of homemade honey mustard dressings use mayonnaise to make it creamy, but I've never liked mayo, so I use tahini instead.  It's still creamy but no dairy.  I also like the tanginess of balsamic vinegar and even just a small amount makes a difference in this recipe. The ingredients listed make enough for two small salads or one large one.  You can double or triple it if you need more.

Check out her blog, great recipes!
And my re-design of my living room is well, going slowly. Hopefully we can buy the paint this weekend (my sons birthday party/presents wiped us out this week). This week I have been thinking about who I used to be, back in NYC in the old days....I miss fashion, the streets of NY,  and all of my dear old freinds in Brooklyn and New England.  So I have been pinning on pinterest, wasting time perhaps dreaming of being able to wear high heels again (ha, thats funny), meet a friend for drinks,  go to my favorite galleries, perhaps dinner...Yes its been a while, my dear husband, we need a date. If I make you read this blog, (again)book the babysitter. xo.

Would love to look like this (not likely), dressed like this, somewhere in a city with nothing to do but explore....
Pinterest, Alexander Wang
 and shoes, oh would love to be able to wear a high heel again. Don't know if I actually could though. Oh, the pain.

And here are more shelves, and some more blue painted ceilings:

Blue Ceiling, Design Sponge 

I used to restore, paint and install these hand-painted wallpapers in NY, and all over the northeast. Miss you Joe and Patty!

The Velvet Palette

I will be writing soon with some serious home progress, and more photos of my completed floorcloth, almost done. Building my own website, hoping to be up by summer. So hard to find the time...