Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two Year Photos

I decided to try my hand at taking some portraits of Michael and Sophie yesterday.  I've been slowly but surely working my way out of my camera's auto setting (for the last 2+ years), and while these photos are far from perfect, I'm pleased with my progress.

Sophie is wearing my old sailor dress.  Insert a Sears Portrait Studio background circa 1980 behind her here and she could be me.

Michael has turned into your typical almost two-year-old boy.  He points out every truck, bus, car, and train that he sees and loved the Thomas set at the Henry Ford Museum.  Sophie's a fan as well.

Am I wrong, or could she be on her way back to the Oval Office?

"Sophie, cover me."
"Already on it, buddy."

"...alllll through the town!"

These two stick their tongues out a lot!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guess what I'm working on.

It's been a busy time around here with unseasonably warm weather demanding wagon rides and visits to the park.  I wish we could make yesterday's zoo adventure an annual St. Patrick's Day event, but I'm not counting on future years being quite as nice!

Here are a few pictures from our driveway this morning.  

This all took place in roughly 70 degree weather at around 9 a.m on the morning after St. Patrick's Day.  My apologies to any hungover neighbors who had their windows open.  We weren't quiet.

Sadly, all this fun has been getting in the way of my projects. Darn sunshine.

So far I've only been able to complete the first chunk of one that I've been obsessed with lately.  That chunk was the shopping and scrounging for ingredients.  Here they are:

Did you guess what I'm hoping to give Michael and Sophie for their birthday?

Think I can do this in less than a month? I sure hope so!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Local Artists

The warmer winter and early spring this year has kept me from falling into full-on hibernation mode and seems to have kicked the more industrious side of me into high gear.  I want to plan vacations, research home improvements, and actually feel motivated to go all Nike and just do some of the tasks that cross my mind.  Most of the time I feel like one of those circus acts with the spinning dishware, but I'm starting to think that's actually how I like it.

Several heavier pieces of art recently came home from the child care center (including those "turf paintings" pictured below), and when tape wouldn't hold them, I decided it was time to put one of my ideas into action.   I did hit up Pinterest to see if there were any better ideas, but the simple solution I envisioned seemed like the way to go. 


Here are a few cute solutions I did come across:

We had the eye-hooks and twine in our basement.  I just had to pick up some mini-clothespins for $2 at Michael's (on the same trip that I bought the baskets for the pantry).  I'm thinking of displaying Christmas cards like this in the future.

The above wall art was already on the playroom wall.  Being so high up out of the reach of my shorties left a lot of space below.

 As adorable as those other solutions are, this one makes me think of quaint cafes that hang art from local artists beside the tables.  And I guess that's kind of what this is!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pantry Organization

UPDATE: Click here to see how we freshened this pantry up a little more!

Isn't that pretty?  My mom described my pantry as "very mercantile."  I like that.

Mike and I have been debating what, if anything, we'll do to our kitchen in the coming months.  We're probably going to end up renting out our house and buying something a tad bigger in the next year or so, and how much of a return (financial or otherwise) we'll get from a kitchen update is very much on our minds.  I was putting off some badly needed reorganization until we solve that puzzle.  Then I stumbled onto some inspiration.

My before is below.  Don't judge.

Like pretty much every home project I take on these days, this one had to be done in small chunks over the course of a couple of months.  

I was this close to going to Walmart for the first time in probably a decade to buy the $6 glass jars in the inspiration pantry (that is an insanely good price for jars of that size), but I saw online that they're not airtight.  Deal-breaker.  I bought all six jars at my beloved Target.  Having been awarded a field trip grant to an art museum from them this year, I'm beyond happy to remain loyal.

For the canister's chalkboard labels, I first considered spray-painting mailing labels with chalkboard paint, a tip I stumbled onto on another blog, but chalkboard Contact paper is what really got my attention.  One of the few stores known to carry that product is Kmart, so I stopped there on the way home from picking up the kids one afternoon.  They didn't have the Contact paper, but on the home improvement section's clearance rack I found these, originally $19.99 each, marked down to $5:

They're vinyl chalkboard wall decals. While I freely admit to having shown Michael and Sophie The Little Mermaid  and Cinderella, I'm far from fully embracing Disney decor or princess culture just yet.  These decals are removable, washable, and entirely cut-able (the package didn't say that last part), so at $5 each, I had at 'em with my curvy-edged scissors.  No need to worry; the princesses and cars themselves are safe and ready to adorn something or other down the road.


In addition to the glass jars with labels, I also loved the lazy susans in the corner of the inspiration pantry.  Hers were custom made, but I bought mine at Ikea--one for baking supplies, one for cooking.  I also wanted two bins for that center space--one for produce, one for bread.  I found the baskets at Michael's during a 40% off sale this past weekend, the final detail of the project.

Below are a couple more "after" photos.

 Between the planning/shopping and implementation phases of the pantry organization was the pull-everything-out-of-the-all-the-kitchen-cupboards phase.  It was then that I determined our need for toddler snack storage.


Again, don't judge.  Part of me would rather reveal the state of my post-twins abdomen than these sadly abused cupboards.

Our snack canisters are also from Target.  

Don't ask me why I bought three tall ones and one short one.  I'm certain there was a plan behind that decision, but now two tall ones and two short ones seems like a better solution.  Oh, well.

The canisters are hard (BPA free, of course) plastic, and the easy to grasp sides make them perfect for the high cabinet.  The tops flip up and closed for pouring or reaching in.  We've been happy with those and the much more functional and aesthetically pleasing organization.

Next on the to-do list (well, sort of) is work on mastering auto-focus!  Some of these photos are awful.  Sorry, folks.

UPDATE:  Since this post I have learned that Blogger is sort of notorious for making your pictures blurry.  Using a photo hosting website like Flickr and linking with those URLs rather than uploading right to the blog is a good fix, and I've been doing that since the fall of 2012.  I wish I could wiggle my nose and fix the photos in all these old posts!

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