Entries Tagged as: home


April 27th, 2011, Comments (67)

There are still a few tiny touches to put into the nursery, but I couldn't wait any longer to share this little room that I've been working so hard to create. I'm in love with it (it's definitely my favorite room in the house!) and hope our little girl will love it too. I've shared where I got some of these items at the bottom of this post, just in case anyone is curious.

At first I was thinking of doing a yellow and gray nursery, but the hubster didn't think it was feminine enough, so I went with aqua and yellow. Looking around for inspiration, I saw a gorgeous nursery that used the Robin's Nest paint color with yellow and happened to have a very similar crib to the one we bought! So we started with the crib and wall color and went from there.

I loved adding all the personal touches along the way. Customizing and hand-creating items really made the space magical for me. I sewed the crib skirt and curtains out of fabric I found online and painted the sweet, simple wall mural of trees, each with its own bird and/or woodland creature.

I enjoyed customizing items, like the mirror and lamp, which I painted to match the nursery. I also loved adding hand-crafted items from loved ones, like the quilt hanging over the chair, created by my talented cousin, Kim.

Looking to put something in the space to the right of the dresser, I combined the idea of the hubster (to paint another tree) and my best friend (to hang a growth chart), and painted a growth chart tree with a little bunny rabbit. I love how it came out. I'm planning to use white cut-out leaves (or birds or butterflies) made of contact paper, to mark her growth on the wall.

Here are some detail shots:

I fell in love with this clock from Decoylab early on (they make the coolest clocks!), but it was a bit translucent and looked off-white on the wall. So I painted it white to make it opaque. Perfect!! I love how it also looks a bit like a round moon on the wall.

This clothesline was hand-crafted by my best friend for my baby shower. Isn't it adorable? I love the little "A."

Here are some close-ups of the lamp. It fit so perfectly with with the little birdies and was easy to customize with some paint and a white lampshade.

It was fun combining items and art, my own (like "Lucy and the Elephant" and "Owl and the Pussycat" paintings) and that of others (like the Amy Ruppel encaustic above, and the polka dot bucket full of fans from Judean), that I already had in my possession, to decorate the room.

I'm sure I'll be adding/subtracting and changing things up over time on the shelves.

And I had to share the little squirrel because he's a bit hidden, but so sweet. :-)

I hope you enjoyed the peek into my baby girls' nursery! We've got less than 2 weeks til my due date, so we'll soon be adding the best part: her!



Paint: Benjamin Moore Natura paint in Robin's Nest, applied by my step-dad (thanks, Gil!)

Crib: Babyletto Modo crib from Amazon.

Wall mural of trees, woodland creatures, and growth chart: Hand painted with acrylic.

Rug: notNeutral Seasons rug purchased from csnrugs.com

Curtains and Crib skirt: I made these myself with Premier Prints Suzani fabric in corn yellow from fabricguru.com. I used a slightly modified version of the Young House Love no-sew tutorial to create the crib skirt. I did sew the hem of the skirt, but I used her (brilliant) velcro idea for the top. There are blackout honeycomb shades hidden behind the valances.

Mirror and lamp: I purchased both at Home Goods and painted them to match the nursery. I changed the lamp shade to a simple white one.

Dresser, toy box, night stand, and bookshelf: Land of Nod (love their furniture!)

Nightlight: Oxo "Tooli." The hubster and I love this thing. It's super cute.

Baskets/buckets: The ones in and on the dresser (except for the small white one, which was a gift), book shelf, and next to glider are from The Container Store. The elephant bin next to the crib was a gift from my dad and step-mother, but I've seen them at Giggle.

Clock: Decoylab on Etsy (I painted it to make opaque white.)

Glider: Dutalier from Baby Furniture Warehouse (gift from my mom.)

Wall shelves: Home Depot. Artwork on shelves is by me! I'm not sure where the little bird/votive holders came from. I bought them for myself ages ago. The letter A was also a gift.

Mobile: Pottery Barn. I have to say, the mobile is super cute, but the music that went along with it was dreadful. We ended up buying a clearance mobile to change the music box part.

Art on top shelf of book shelf and hanging above it: Two paintings by me and "Urban love" encaustic by Amy Ruppel that I've had in my collection for years. The yellow polka dot bucket and adorable fans were created by my best friend as baby shower decorations. I had to take some home with me!

Clothesline (on the back of the door): Also by my best friend, Judean as part of a baby shower decoration. She hand-dyed the clothes and constructed them, which totally blew me away!

Any other questions, ask away!

A Creative Dreaming Nook of My Own

April 7th, 2010, Comments (25)

When we moved into our home in September and I saw the beautiful room that would become my studio, I saw that there was a little spot against one wall that I thought would be perfect for a bench with a cushion. And yet, I waited and waited. I was hesitating about spending money on myself. Did I really need a window seat? Weren't there more important things to spend my money on? And yet, I kept thinking about it and wanting this little nook for myself.

With a little encouragement from friends, I moved beyond my initial discomfort and used the money I'd saved up for this purpose to buy a sweet white bench. It came yesterday and I spent part of the afternoon putting it together. And oh, I love it! I imagine this will be a special spot for me to daydream, sketch, read, snuggle cats, and dream up new ideas. And I have more plans for this spot too. It's already got a few small decorations on the windowsill...my cat clock, bird candle, and little spring painting. But perhaps you spotted the paint swatches up on the wall? Yes, I'll be painting that wall in a beautiful blue, hanging some things from the ceiling, and putting up some art. And I'm so excited about it! Sometimes, even when it seems frivolous at first glance, treating ourselves to something that delights our creativity is so worth it.

Do you have a little corner, a nook where you can go and dream? Could you add something to it that brings you delight and makes it a place you'll want to hang out in more often? Perhaps you could bring this month's theme into developing your space by imagining what elements you could bring in to delight your senses? What scents could you bring in? What colors? What textures? What sounds?

In a room I rented ages ago, my favorite part of it was the built in window seat. Over the two years I lived there, I decorated it with curtains, a hanging plant, cushy pillows, wind chimes, and twinkling lights. It was awesome and I loved escaping to this dreamy hideaway. In another apartment I lived in, my nook consisted of a small table covered with items I loved, such as photos, bowls of shells, candles, etc...sort of like a little altar. When I was a kid, I loved making blanket forts under the kitchen table and pulling in books, the telephone, and snacks. I suppose I'm cat-like in my desire for cozy spots to curl up in! But I know from speaking with others that I'm far from alone.

I think these little safe spaces we create are a beautiful way to express ourselves creatively and also to honor our creative selves. It's a way of remembering that we need space not just for the doing, but also for the resting and dreaming and imagining and re-connecting.

If you could create your perfect nook, what would it look like? How can you create something like it in your life now?

Loving our Rooms, an Interview with Lisa Baldwin

February 27th, 2010, Comments (5)

To close out the month of home for the Creative Every Day Challenge, I'm so thrilled to be able to share this interview with the super smart, funny, and lovely Lisa Baldwin of Zen at Play. Check out her awesome clutter-clearing advice below and her super cool Love that Room e-course!

1. Please introduce yourself:

Hi! I'm Lisa, and I help people make space for their awesomeness.

2. What led you into the work of helping people with their clutter?

I got interested in clutter because I had a lot of it. As I cleared, I noticed unexpected benefits that went way beyond just having a tidier house - it can be a journey of discovery and an act of self-care, and creating a less crowded environment makes way for better things. It didn't seem right to keep all that a secret, so I set about finding ways to teach others and that became my work.

3. I used to use the excuse that I'm artist as a reason for my messiness. Do you think there's a correlation between creativity and a messy house?

Ooh, the answer to this question could be a whole post. So many layers! So many angles!

Active mess is a side-effect of living and is a part of the creative process. If you've got a creative, busy mind, then that can certainly result in something that looks a lot like mess. In that sense, I do think there's a correlation between mess and creativity.

At the same time, there's a difference between that active, creative, happy mess and the passive, stagnant, stuckifying kind of mess that is clutter. (Clutter isn't necessarily messy, by the way, but that's a different question. See? Layers! Angles!) That kind of stuff hinders creativity by sucking up your energy and attention, so there's a relationship there, but not a happy one.

The trick is to determine the level of mess that feels good to your creative self, and then set up helpful systems and habits that support you in maintaining that. If your way of being tends to create mess, then run with it - just be sure to keep that mess fresh by letting go of that which no longer serves you.

Did I answer your question? I answered something, that's for sure. I really need to write a post about this.

4. The theme this month at Creative Every Day is home. Do you have any tips for bringing more creativity into your home?

Create space for what you love. Hold it high. That's all.

5. What's one small, simple thing we could try at home to enjoy our space more?

Recognise your treasures, then love them up. Some things you own light up your life with their beauty, meaning or usefulness. Other things just sit around taking up space and blocking your view of the good stuff. Once you know what your treasures are, treat them as such - put them where you can see them, take care of them, appreciate them - and create more space for them by letting go of the other stuff.

6. I love the name of your online course, "love that room." Could you talk a bit about what the class involves?

Love That Room is a clutter-clearing adventure where we focus on loving up just one room. (You know, that room.) It starts with seeing - really seeing - the space, then gently letting go of the stuff that no longer serves us. There's private blog where course-doers can download exercises, support each other, ask questions, celebrate wins and check in for gentle accountability. It's definitely not a scary bootcamp course - it's all about mindful interaction with your self and your stuff, so it's pretty special. I just opened up registrations for the next offering (starting March 22) and you can take a peek here.

7. Do you think focusing on clearing clutter in one room at a time is the way to go? And how do you deal with clutter overwhelm?

I like to focus on one room at a time because I like to set up a series of small, easy wins. Clutter can be so overwhelming when you look at it all at once, because we tend to think of it all as one big thing - The Clutter! [cue ominous music]. But it's not a big thing - it's a gathering of many little things, and little things we can handle.

8. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Just that I'm so happy that you invited me to hang out on your lovely blog with your lovely people. Thank you! *waves to Leah's lovely people*

9. Where can people find you?

I have the beginnings of a blog over at ZenAtPlay.com and there's a newsletter there too. I'm an enthusiastic Twitterer - @zenatplay. (Let it be noted that I don't often talk about clutter on Twitter - I'm more likely to do magic tricks and show off my Wonder Woman underwear. Just so you know.)


Thank you so much, Lisa for sharing your awesomeness!!

Coming Home to Yourself

February 26th, 2010, Comments (15)

Chairs in a Row, mixed-media on panel, available here.

As we move swiftly towards the end of the month of home at the Creative Every Day Challenge, I notice that I've been thinking about and working on feeling at home with myself quite a bit.

Part of my working on this has involved regular movement. I mentioned last month that in the past, I was super strict and harsh with myself around exercise and food. I realized recently that my movement practice has very little to do with how I look and is now all about how I feel. What a difference that makes! I started out the winter with a practice of at least 20 minutes of movement 3 days a week. As the winter went on, I realized that to keep my mood up, I really needed more than that, so I stepped it up to 4 or 5 days a week. Much better.

And I've found as I stay more in touch with what helps me feel good, I feel so much more in touch with my body and my whole self. I feel like a work in progress (I suppose we are always a work in progress), but I like the connection I've been developing and this returning to myself.

Making art is another way I connect with those deeper parts of myself that are not always right on the surface of things. Creating art intuitively, helps me to get in touch with the ideas and feelings that may not have words yet. Along those lines, I'm excited to be teaching a workshop about creating art from the heart in Mindy's Wish*full virtual art retreat this spring!

How do you move towards feeling at home with yourself? What are the things you do that lead to feeling this way? How can you bring more of those things into your life?

Some of the things that help me re-connect are:

  • * Creating art intuitively, just letting it flow out.
  • * Getting regular movement.
  • * Returning to the present moment.
  • * Laughter.
  • * Being in nature.
  • * Taking a look at what I'm avoiding/procrastinating about and making a step forward. (Recently, that meant making a dentist appointment after a 2 year hiatus. Super scary to make the appointment, but it was totally fine and I had no cavities! Phew!)
  • * Writing in a stream of consciousness style (Morning pages style as suggested in The Artist's Way.)
  • * Getting support from friends and loved ones.

I'm curious about how you come home to yourself, so feel free to share in the comments!

I'm going to be out of town next week, but the check-in post will be there on Monday as usual and I've lined up some fabulous guest posts to keep you thinking about March's theme of Stories! Wishing you all a fabulously creative week!


February 17th, 2010, Comments (17)

The home theme had me thinking about nesting and then little birds, which led to some little birdy sketches. This first one I added some color to with photoshop. The second, I think would make a super cute sticker.

I hope you're all feeling cozy in your nests this week. We just got whopped by another winter storm, which has me wanting to curl up in blankets and drink cocoa til spring!

The Soul of Your Home

February 12th, 2010, Comments (22)

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." -Jean Cocteau

I've always loved that quote. I adore my kitties and do feel like the bring so much life to the home the hubster and I share. We've got 4 (yes, 4!) cats and they never fail to make me smile every day. Love em.

But this quote also had me thinking about what makes up the soul of a home. I think a big part of it is the people, the hearts there, that make up its soul. But there's also the life we bring into it, with our creations, the little nooks and crannies filled with the things we love, the ways that we represent who we are with our space.

I love seeing those little nooks in the homes of others, little altars (intentional or otherwise) filled with photos of family, sweet smelling candles, favorite books, bowls of sea glass. And even the messy stuff can say so much, the magazines mixed with a random sock, a cat toy, and a purple pen. Yes, I think there's soul in the mess!

What is the soul of your home?

Before we moved into our first home this fall, the hubster and I were in a run-down, rented apartment. I think we both were hesitant to put much too much work into the place because it wasn't ours, but even so, when we did make the effort in some areas, it felt great. In our home now, everything feels like a big, blank slate. At first it felt like we were house-sitting for someone else. But little by little, as we put up pictures, made cozy places to rest in, and just lived there, it began to feel like home, like a place with soul.

If you feel like your home isn't representing you, what are some simple ways you can bring its heart back?

You might try starting in one room, in one small area. You could clear off a surface (like a bookshelf) and while looking at each item, ask yourself, "Do I love this?" Keep the items that say "Yes!" And release (throw out, give away, donate, or sell) the items that don't. Perhaps frame a favorite piece of art and put it up somewhere that will bring you joy and inspiration every day. Simple, small shifts can make a huge difference in how your space feels. And that can radiate out into how you feel in your home and then how you feel all day.

Beyond the appearance of things, I think one of the biggest places I feel the soul of my home is in the laughter. the silly dances in the kitchen, the snuggles. It's also in the creativity, the love, and home-cooked meals. And yes, in our four fuzzy kitties, which I enjoyed drawing in little houses. How about you? Where does the soul in your home reside? Where does it show up? How can you bring more of your heart and soul into your space?

Gentle, Creative De-cluttering with Jennifer Hofmann

February 9th, 2010, Comments (9)

I'm so excited to share this chat with the absolutely fabulous Jennifer Hofmann, of Inspired Home Office. Jen is what you might call a professional organizer, but she's so much more than that. She's got the sweetest soul and she immediately came to mind when I knew I was going to be doing the theme of home for the Creative Every Day Challenge this month.  You can listen to our chat by clicking on the link below or right-click (ctrl-click on a Mac) to download to your computer. Enjoy!

Click here to listen.

I've taken a few of Jen's Office Spa Day classes (you can read about my experience here.) It's a wonderful process that I've turned to when I felt stuck (or in major avoidance) around a cluttered-up area. The group energy is always great and Jen's questions are super helpful in making the work go smoothly.

In our chat Jen generously offered to take a question by email, so feel free to contact her. You can also find Jen on her blog and on Twitter. Thanks so much, Jen!!

Winter Roots

February 5th, 2010, Comments (39)


Some home related art. I started with a very vague image in my mind with layers, red, and houses, and then, following my intuition, it went in a completely different direction with lots of trees and roots. I'm calling it "Winter Roots."

Making Icky, Sticky Tasks Creative

February 3rd, 2010, Comments (22)

inside my purse. yikes!

I've started the home theme with some internal cleaning. Yesterday was spent working hard on bookkeeping. And today, well, I'm starting with cleaning out my purse...my portable home. And oh yikes, it's kind of scary in there!

Ever since I moved in September, my files have not been in order. And as a result, there's been a back up of paper everywhere. I've been procrastinating about it, not knowing exactly where things are going to go, but I know I'll feel better and more clear-headed once I deal with this stuff.

But I've gotta do it step-by-step. The build-up didn't happen in one day and I don't expect it to be cleared up in one day. Which is why today, my baby step is to dump out my purse and sort through it all. I know it will feel great to have it cleaned up!

So, how do you make these icky, sticky, un-fun tasks creative?

Creatively break down your tasks. Get creative with how you tackle your to-do's. Break them into smaller chunks, set a timer, mix it up with more fun tasks (like circuit training!)

Draw your to-do's: I like to doodle my to-do list, drawing a little picture next to each item. My visual-self loves the images. It's an easy reminder of what's on my list without even having to read it. Plus, it's fun and makes the to-do list look pretty nifty!

Get creative with your rewards. I like to make un-fun tasks more enjoyable by adding treats. For example, when I go to the grocery store, a task I do not enjoy, I often bring along my ipod and listen to an audiobook while I shop. It gets me out the door, I get my shopping done, and I don't dread it as much. I also use audiobooks to help motivate me to change the litter, do the dishes, and fold my laundry. Hey, whatever works!

Make your organizing attractive: Using purple pens and pretty folders makes filing more enjoyable for me. I also love colored paper clips. Go figure.

Play rockin' tunes: Great music can be incredibly motivating when you're cleaning or organizing. Dancing while cleaning or organizing is highly encouraged. :-)

What are some ways you get creative while cleaning up your space?

Let Others In

January 30th, 2010, Comments (33)


Yesterday I finished this art for a project that's due shortly, but I thought it made a fitting image for the end of the body theme and beginning of the home theme. The theme for this piece is: "Let others in."

I think in many cases we use our body, either through body language or weight or attitude to keep others out. It's a safety mechanism meant to protect us from getting hurt. But these same safety mechanisms can also hurt us by not allowing us to get close to or get support from others. Have you ever experienced that? I know I have.

Doing this image has had me musing on the idea of letting others in, whether through an open embrace, sharing what's in our hearts, or welcoming others into our homes.

What are some of the ways you practice letting others in?

Update: A bit last minute, but this morning at 10am CST I'm going to be on Liv Lane's radio program, Get Real, in St. Paul/Minneapolis for about 15 minutes. The station is 107.1

*You can now listen to the podcast of the radio show here! I'm at the very beginning of hour 2. Enjoy!