Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kids and books

Friends, you might have seen my posting last week about my summer reading and love of books:

Thank you to a lot of you that shared recently with me some wonderful books that you've read. My amazon wish list grew a lot last week and I can't wait to start reading your recommendations. Thank you for sharing! :) Here are just some of the books I've added to my wish list because of your feedback:

Some of you know that I was an elemetary classroom teacher (11 years) before moving on to become a Title I math specialist, then working in the central office for my county, and now being an educational consultant. Those years spent in the classroom were amazing, fun, and exhausting! I read to my students every day- it didn't matter if I was teaching first grade or fifth grade. I hope that I passed on my love of reading and books to my students.

Now, being a mother to a 5 year old girl and a 3 year boy, reading is still very important and present in our home. We read every day in our house. While I am home with my kids this summer before school starts in early August (year round track here), we are taking full advantage of the Wake County public libraries in the Raleigh area. We can tell you which libraries have storytime and on which days. We have our favorites!

I tell you all of this to provide some framework about why I am sharing about my passion of reading and books on my decorating blog. You get the picture. :)

This  is my first time uploading a video into my blog.

Here is my 5 year old daughter, Bryce, "reading" when she was just a 1 year old (Genius for sure, don't you think?):

Here's the same little monkey 3 years later at age 4 still "reading" but this time she has an audience:

I wanted to share with you some of my all time favorite children's books in the hopes that you might share one of these books with a child in your life and that you will share with me some of your favorite children's books.

Here are some of old favorites from when I was a little girl:

Here are some favorites that I shared with my students:

Here are some favorites that my children and I love:

Did you see any of your favorites? What are some of your favorite children's books?

Happy reading & living-

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Photograph Arrangements

Many friends share with me their frustration about how to hang family photographs. I totally understand! We LOVE sharing our favorite family photos in our home but also struggle with how to hang them.

Let's play a little game. Here are some framed photograph arrangements. Browse through them and pay attention to what you notice, what you like, and what you don't like:

Here are some questions about photograph arrangements that you might want to consider:

-Do you prefer black and white photos? Is color more your preference?
-Do you like to use the same frames?
-Do you prefer similar frames but somewhat different to add interest?
-Do you like a grid symmetrical arrangement?
-Do you prefer a more hapazard free form approach?
-Do you want to make a statement by filling up a whole wall?
-Do you prefer a small statement?
-Do you want to have the same mats on all of your frames?
-Do you prefer mat size varied from picture to picture to add interest?
-What kinds of frames do you like? Black? White? Gold? Silver? Wood? Metal?

Here are some of our attempts at hanging and dispalying photograph arrangements:

Last month's family black and white family photograph collection in white frames (some wood, some metal) in our living room:

Our family of 4 framed baby photos (me- the mom when I was a baby, my husband's baby picture, our son, and our daughter) hanging in our daughter's old bedroom back in Virginia:

Here we were having a little fun in the bathroom with bath tub shots of our kids (in our old house in Virginia):

You can tell we favor  black and white photographs in simple black frames (from our old house in Virginia):

Our old bedroom in Virginia, you guessed it, more black and white family photos:

Here we also had some fun with a big black and white of my cat, Millie, on my side of the bed, and Steve's dog, Raven, on his side of the bed (old Virginia house):

Do you currently have any framed photograph arrangements in your home? What is your style? Were you inspired by any of the pictures in this collection? I'd love to hear from you.

Happy decorating & living,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Room Make-Over Design Plan for Our Eat-in Kitchen

Yes, you know me, I am a tinkerer. I like to spice it up and make a room really feel like us. Now we have been in our new home in Raleigh, North Carolina for about two months. Our new home is slowly being personalized to reflect our styles and personalities. I truly believe that it is essential to create a home that is beautiful and reflects who you are. I want our home to be a place where we love to spend time, love to entertain our family and friends in, and can't wait to be in! A home is where we get rejevunated to take on our passions in life and where we come to rest after conquering the world or at least our little corner of it!

Okay, enough said, let's check out our current eat-in kitchen:

So, what do you think? It's a perfectly fine place to eat. But there is a lot of brown, brown, and more brown. I am really feeling the need to spice it up, add some interest, and some color!

Here's my Room Make-Over Plan for Our Eat-in Kitchen:

Let's break it down. Here's my 'to do' list:

1. Paint the 6 currently brown wicker chairs cream- I think by painting these wicker chairs a lighter color it will make the room pop a little and paint is such a cheap way to make an impact in a room and if I don't like it, I can always buy brown paint and repaint them back to brown, I think it's worth a try! It might look pretty cool to let a little bit of the brown come through- so that the chairs appear rustic.

2. Replace the current chandelier fixture- it's too big and fancy for us. We are both digging this clean lantern light fixture which fits in more with our style and personalities.

3. Add a big chalkboard to the large wall that is currently completely empty. I think the chalkboard will be practical- it will be magnetized so we can hang up our kids' artwork or we can have fun and write favorite scripture up there, or fun quotes, whatever. I think it will add personality to the room.

4. Purchase a small buffet to put some accessories on top of (lanters, fun big dish or bowl, etc) and store dishes inside. But it CANNOT be the same shade of brown as everything else. I don't think white will work. I am considering something like I put in my Room Make-Over Design Plan- something distressed and an interesting painted piece.

What I Plan on Keeping in the Room:
-6 wicker chairs
-round/oval table
-graphic brown and white curtains recently purchased from World Market

What do you think? What do you like about your eat-in kitchen or dining room?  Do you have any ideas for me about how to spice up our room?
Happy decorating & living,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Still Tinkering....

Yeap! I am still tinkering or 'staging' those three white floating shelves in our family room. Since we spend a lot of time in that room playing games or watching tv or we're in the adjoining kitchen I see the shelves a lot. I keep playing with different colors, textures, and arrangements.

Here's what I have settled on so far:

Here's what I had about a month ago:

Which evolved over the past month to this:

Since there are a lot of neutral colors in the room (white sofas, tan rug, gray ottoman, coffee colored walls....) I decided to embrace color within the shelves. The '3 Blue Crabs' watercolor became my jumping off point. I searched around the house for pieces that had the same brilliant blue in them and arranged them on the shelves. I also have seen the look of layering pictures a lot in magazines and catalogues lately and decided to give a hand at trying that look by layering the 3 blue beach watercolors.

I plan on buying 3 tall white pillar candles to place in these blue glass candleholders:

Steve picked up this seaweed on our latest beach trip. He soaked it first in a bleach/water solution to remove the ocean smell then dried it out on the deck for a few days:

The two crab watercolors are from a local artist in Oak Island, NC and were gifts from Steve's parents:

This fun print is one of my favorite wedding presents from Steve's cousin Darren and his family. The artist is located in Wilmington, NC and I have purchased more fun art from her for the kids' bathroom which I'll share soon:

One of my favorite photos of Bryce at 2 years old feeding newborn Buddy a small bottle:

The 3 shelves fit within my philosophy of decorating:

1. Have elements from nature in every room (plant, coral, dried seaweed, jars of shells)
2. Have elements that sparkle (silver lantern and silver frames on watercolors)
3. Have items that you remind of you great trips or happy memories (baby pictures of our 2 kiddios, framed art from the beach and our wedding)

Here's the rest of the family room:

I really wanted a sectional sofa for this room but we wanted to save money and reuse our old Pottery Barn sofa (along the window wall) which we had a new white cotton slipcover made for it last year so by purchasing the new Crate and Barrell slipcovered sofa (also white cotton) along with the corduroy gray ottoman I think we created the comfortable look of a sectional sofa. It's a great room to hang out and watch tv in.

Raven the dog loves to hang out with her family so she needed a bed in the family room:

This ottoman was a great find as a floor sample at the Crate and Barrell Outlet store. It serves as a great place to lie while watching tv:

And it hides our games:

My mom let me take this round black painted tray from her house years ago:

I like the balance of colors of in the room:

-warm tones: 2 round wood end tables, gray ottoman, warm coffee paint color, tan rug, warm brown panel curtains, tan window blinds

-cool tones: white sofas, cool brillant blue accessories on the 3 white shelves, silver accessories on shelves, softer paler blue pillows and throw blanket on 2 white sofas

Okay, now I'm headed back to tinker somewhere else our home.....

Happy tinkering, decorating, & living to you-