Sunday, July 27, 2014

Abby Kate's Stuff

   Hey y'all!  I almost forgot that I never finished giving you the tour of the new house.  I hit most of the major renovations, but we do have rooms that didn't get/need much work.  Our house has the master bedroom separate from the other bedrooms, which I didn't think I wanted at first.  "She's so little!  She'll be scared!  What if she needs me?!" But the more I thought about it, reason won out.  "She's asleep. You have a monitor. It's just a few more steps than in the apartment." Plus, good luck finding a house with the bedrooms all together.  Apparently that isn't "in" anymore. 

   Since our Peanut is an only Peanut, she gets the luxury of pretty much taking up an entire wing of the house.  There are two bedrooms and a bathroom on that side of the house.  One bedroom is bigger, with a bigger window, and is completely behind the fence with a view of the back yard.  The other bedroom is smaller, with a smaller window, is in front of the fence, and has a view of the side of the neighbors' house.  I debated for a long time which one should be her bedroom, but eventually decided to make the smaller room hers for sleeping, and use the larger one for the playroom.  

   With the smaller window, I can keep her room darker, which seems to be a big factor in her quality (and quantity) of sleep.  She is only in her bedroom for sleeping and diaper changes, so space isn't really a problem.  It's been wonderful to have a great sunny window in her play room, and the elbow room for a newly-two-year-old to play and be silly.  I also thought that if we decide to have another baby some day, we can leave the crib set up in the smaller room, and Abby Kate can move into the bigger room with her "big girl" furniture.  Less work is totally okay with me.  So here's a look at her rooms:

View from the door, a window and the "Storybook chair"
   We didn't make or buy anything new for her bedroom in this house.  Everything was from her original nursery, we just tweaked it a little.  The curtains were made for a larger window, but since I like to "hang 'em high and wide" anyway, they worked fine in here.  The flowers were original, as were all the textiles and decorations.
Diaper station! (and a look at how small this room really is)

   Here's where you may notice a change, if you have been reading since I posted photos of her original nursery. We previously used two sets of these cubbies side by side, using the other for storage.  Welp, no room for that in this room, so the other set went in the attic and we consolidated a bit.

Sweet little bed!

    One reason we were able to get rid of one set of cubbies is that she has her own closet now!  In our apartment, we had to use the closet in the nursery for storage. This chest of drawers was wedged into it (it was a HUGE closet) and used to hold other stuff that now has real homes.  Abby Kate's new closet is small, but my dad was able to add another hanging bar to make it more useful, and the chest got to come out of hiding.  It's a sweet little nursery, and I still love the soft but not nauseatingly girly colors and florals.  On to the playroom!

Tea party, anyone?

We wanted the playroom to be completely kid friendly, a bright, fun place for her to play and explore things.  This table and chairs was mine and my Seester's when we were kids.  I think my parents were overjoyed to get it out of their attic.  The dishes and play food were ours too (except the cups--those came from WalMart).  It's so fun to see Abby Kate enjoying the things that I loved as a kid too!

Reading room!

   I took the door off of the closet in this bedroom (it's in the attic) and turned it into a little "reading nook" like some I had seen on Pinterest.  I store some things up on the closet shelf that I don't really want Abby Kate to play with without me, and things I'm saving for later, so the little curtain keeps those things out of sight and out of (her) mind.

Rainbow chair!

   Chris's parents called us one day and said that they had found this little chair while out shopping, and wanted to know if we wanted them to pick it up for us.  They send us a photo and when I saw that it was covered in the EXACT same fabric we had already used in this room, we said YES YES YES YES!!!  Thank you, HomeGoods and Nana and Papa!!!  It's the perfect size for my silly girl and for this spot!  My mom had already crocheted her a sweet little afghan to go in her "nook" and if I ever can't find her, she's always snuggled up in here with a book.

Rain gutter book shelves
   This was another idea I had seen on Pinterest and my mom had seen in classrooms.  Easiest project ever.  We bought white vinyl rain guttering, cut it to the correct length, and screwed it to the wall.  The end.  They don't hold all of her books, so I rotate them in and out when I help her clean up now and then.

   We inherited these great Ikea bookcases from Chris's mom, who retired from teaching this year.  She asked if I thought we could use them, and after seeing them, I jumped on the chance.  The finish color is similar to the other things in here, and they're a great height for Abby Kate.  They're beastly heavy, but luckily she added casters to them, so they're really mobile.  We love the adjustable shelves too!

   Here's yet another Pinterest project.  This is the theme of my house, apparently.  I saw a similar piece of art on Pinterest that I just loved, but was discontinued, so I attempted to recreate it.  It was the "inspiration" for the whole playroom.  It's not perfect, but it's cute and works great in here. (On that note, anybody know how to get pencil lines off of canvas?  I've tried three kinds of erasers with no luck.)

   Here you can see the other side of the room.  The door is just out of the frame to the right, on the adjacent wall.  The storage thing came from Target, as did the clock.  I took the clock apart and painted the numbers myself.  Don't worry, the playroom is NEVER this neat if my child is awake and home.  I think she was at Grandma's house the day I took photos.  I love that she has a place to keep her things so they aren't strewn all over the house, and I love that it's a space that is completely hers.  She can touch everything in here, she can do what she wants (within reason) in here, she can be loud and be silly, or hide in the closet, and it's okay.  It's a luxury that I am grateful for every single day.  

   As I said, these rooms didn't get much renovation.  New carpet, and a coat of paint.  It's hard to tell, but both rooms are painted a very pale blue-grey (Night Frost by Olympic) with off-white trim (Off White by Olympic).  It's the same color as we used in the master bathroom.  I also painted one side of the fan blades in here each in a different rainbow color.  I didn't get a picture of that, but it's pretty cute.  And if we change the decor in here, they're white on the other side and I know how to flip them over.  

   This concludes today's portion of The 717 Home Tour.  I hope you enjoyed a peek into the spots that my daughter holds dear.  She loves knowing where her things are, and I am overjoyed that we were able to find a house that allows her to have this kind of space.  Are kid spaces on your radar yet?  Where do your kids keep their stuff?  Why do tiny people have so much stuff anyway? (Oh, because they have grandparents....)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Starting from Scratch

   I have been following an interesting fashion blog for a while now called The Vivienne Files. The author, Janice, is a proponent of small but highly functional and lovely wardrobes, often designed around an inspiration piece such as a favorite scarf, painting, or favorite flower.  She puts together stylish but hardworking capsule wardrobes for travel too.
   One of Janice's latest endeavors has been a blog series that she calls "Starting from Scratch," which is a step-by-step process of how to logically and systematically create the most useful and attractive wardrobe for yourself, hypothetically starting from nothing.  Perhaps you have entered a new season of life (entering or leaving the work force, transitioning from youth to maturity, etc) or perhaps you are dressing a new body (weight gain or loss, post partum, etc), or whatever your reason is for desiring new clothing options.

   I have read her "Starting from Scratch" series, and it was very interesting for me.  I don't need a new wardrobe at the moment, but I am currently on a journey to better health, which presumably means I will need new (smaller!) clothing eventually.  I like the idea of planning what kinds of items are most useful for you, given your typical activities, and creating a sort of "shopping list" to work from to keep you from wasting money on things that won't match anything else or that won't fit into your lifestyle.  So I'm going to hypothetically design my ideal wardrobe for my current life, and when the time comes that I need to replace some articles of clothing, I can do it knowing that my investments will be sound.

   Janice recommends starting by choosing which colors you will work from when building your wardrobe.  She likes to work from a "wheel" of five colors: two neutrals, some form of white/ivory/cream, and two accent colors.  This is where I think I will diverge from her plan just a bit.  (Nothing like doing your own thing on step one, right?) I think that a five color wheel is a fine place to start if it suits you, but I like just a bit more variety.  Also, I'm building this imaginary wardrobe based on what I currently have and love.  I don't want to truly start from nothing because I can't afford to get rid of everything and buy new.  Here's the color wheel I came up with based on my needs:
   I chose black and grey for my neutrals because 1) I already have several items in these colors that I like and 2) this is my fall/winter wardrobe, and I think these colors will be most useful for the events/weather I anticipate that time of year.  I think my wheel could best be described as "Black, Grey, and Brights."  These bold colors look best on me with my coloring (although I'm contemplating a change of hair color...), and I wanted some of these colors specifically.  I MUST have orange in my closet during football season (and all year, really), I knew I would want some red for the holidays, and I have some pieces in the other colors that I love in pink, blue, and green that just look good on me.  Vanity is a strong motivator.

   This may turn out a lot like my Project 333 fall wardrobe, and that's okay.  I still have many of the same pieces in my closet from that time, and like I said, I don't want to buy anything I don't have to.  I don't think I'll be as strict on the "rules" for building this new wardrobe as Janice suggests, but I think to get the most enjoyment out of my clothes (and really, other than covering nakedness, isn't that what it's all about?), I will want a bit more variety than she suggests.  So I may add a bit of camel, or a yellow necklace, and I KNOW I'll throw in some leopard print, which I consider a neutral.  Maybe I should have chosen it as my second neutral, instead of grey!

   Feel free to build your own wardrobe with us, be it fantasy or more attainable.  I'll share mine when I get it all built, for anyone who is interested in a black and bright closet for a stay-at-home mom.  What wardrobe pieces will never leave your closet?  Do you have things that you never wear but refuse to part with?