Friday, July 25, 2008

mini window sill garden

I came a cross this mini window sill garden while searching for a tea set. I love that the process starts with the kids painting all the pieces (pottery paint doesn't seem to be included). The mini rakes and shovels are too cute. $14.99

Friday, July 18, 2008

dream nook

The granddaddy of all nooks! Via Geekdad, the Uroko house in Japan. Book & toy storage, a cool hideout for a kid, I love it. This is setting my do-it-yourself brain into overdrive. Maybe a little too cozy for a baby, but a toddler or child would be so happy to have this nook.

inspired stenciling

This delightful paint job (emerald green chalkboard paint) invites little artists to add birds of their own, or perhaps some creepy crawlers that live under the grass. It ranks as one of my favorite nursery inspirations. Instead of toucans and parrots, I see squirrels, gnomes and fairies wrapping around the whole room. The hot pink angel peeking into the room is a nice touch.

Kudos to the NYC design team know as The Apartment featured in the February 2007 issue of Domino magazine.


Leave it to the Japanese to turn the chia pet into something so insanely cute. Handmade in Japan, the egg shaped ceramic critters are filled with a soil medium and rye grass seed. The "hair" grows to full length in two weeks. You can style it, cut it, then watch it grow again. My babe is too young to fully appreciate these. She'd rip their hair out! I've filed them away and plan to get a few when she's a bit older as a fun way to introduce indoor gardening.

I think they'd look cute on a shelf in a nursery. Bring a little bit of the outdoors in.

Characters include Kitty, Monkey, Chickee, Blue Bear, Froggie, Panda, and Piglet as well as some holiday friends. Available online at eggling.

P.S. Nyokki is a Japanese onomatopoeia that mimics the sound of a plant growing! It is pronounced "n-yoo-key".

the art of rocking

This has got to be the most whimsical, adorable, cool, did I say adorable? rocker I've ever laid eyes on. It's $179 bucks which I consider a splurge. My husband has been telling me for a few months now that he's going to make my daughter a cool animal shaped rocker. If he doesn't snap to it soon I am heading to the blood bank and selling every once of blood I can spare, then racing home and ordering this. I can just imagine my girl holding onto those long leather ears and rocking herself into some serious giggles. It is designed by Bjorn Dahlstrom for Playsam in Sweden. It even earned the "Excellent Swedish Design Seal of Approval." Amazing wood creations come from Scandanavia so I'm assuming this is a big deal. I think this would make a nice object d'art in the living room. We'll see.... If anyone wants to grace their nursery with it, you can buy it online at kidsonthirdstreet.

room and board goodies

Room and Board's little Jake chairs in green, blue, orange or white ($49ea) and the little jill table ($99) are simple, stylish and best of all colorful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

august cookie - fave

These aluminum creatures from OWI robots are awesome. I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to build these, I am ordering my husband one now.

august cookie - fave

Cookie magazine is a fun read. Though I do have to shake my head at them this month for the cover which promises 21 decorating ideas on a budget p. 34, p. 78. When I think budget I don't think $2777 chair, $85 stuffed animal and fabric for $115 a yard budget. This is a $10,000 toddler room (that's just the stuff they listed).

Cookie transformed a bland built in office into a lively storage area. I love the cable rug from West elm. Even I want to roll on it. The leather handles from vandykes really add style. I love the lovely mix of orange, red and hot pink. It gives the room energy. Cookie installed fabric-covered cork panels in the cubbies. Fabulous idea.

so many questions

"If only I were in a real tub I could play with my rubber duck!"

Age 3 months to 14 months. What one year old would stay in this thing for a bath? How do you clean all their bits and pieces with them stuffed in the bottom? That poor babies feet are folded up to his chin. Do they stand so you can wash their bits? That wouldn't be a good precedent for bathtime. I got a plastic trash bin from IKEA for a few dollars, I think it would work just as well.

oh kitchen, where art thou

Look at this girl hugging her fabulous kitchen. She doesn't know how lucky she is. We thought we found the perfect play kitchen a month ago. It has a sink, a stove, ovens, fridge, freezer and a microwave. What more could you want. So I searched the web for the best price and ordered it off Amazon. Then I got an email that it was out of stock. I ordered from another shop on Amazon. A few days later another email. This time I bought one off eBay. I mean they must have it if they are auctioning it, right? Now I don't know. I got an email saying the auction is void and it had been pulled off eBay. I assume it's not coming. Of course, paypal charged me already and the seller hasn't sent me a word. We were so excited for this damn kitchen to come. We even went to a party at a play place and they had this kitchen. We thought how happy our gal will be when it comes. Shopping on the web can really suck sometimes.

It's back to the web to look for another one.

eiffel book case

We are knock on wood going to have another baby next March. So I am pondering a move to a two bedroom which seemed like it would solve all our space issues. No more toys in the living room - hooray! My daughter and the new baby will share a room. Then it occurred to me. When the baby is napping during the day, and my daughter is up she isn't going to be able to play in her bedroom. I'm still going to have to have toys out.

I think eiffel book case by argington is a perfect solution for toy storage in the living room. Bonus -it's a nice piece of modern furniture that isn't 2 grand ($630). It's available in four finishes: white, birch, walnut or red maple. You can also make it "two-tone" by selecting different finishes for the doors and case.

Unless she wants to play with her toy kitchen. Maybe we'll put that on casters?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

litto kids crib bedding

These litto kids Silly Owls caught my eye. I use to hate orange and brown together, but it's beginning to warm on me. The inside (baby side) of the bumper has a fabulous silky feel to it which is why I think it's worth a mention. This print reminds me of my childhood (1970's) and my mother's collection of owls.

I like the punch of turquoise with the orange and green in the Magic Garden set.

Retro Mushroom is a little too 70's for me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

kukunest bedding

I just stumbled upon Kukunest and thought their small selection of toddler and kid bedding was worth sharing. Lantern and sub adventure were my favorites. I thought their line was modernly sweet without being too themey (is that a word? I don't think so). The sub adventure pillow sham is great inspiration for a do-it-yourself sham.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

liberty of london fabric nook

This feminine nook was clipped from Blueprint magazine. The homeowner (sorry, I didn't clip the whole article!) transformed a nook off her bedroom into a nursery, separating them with a curtain on an easy-pull hospital track. She used Liberty of London "Tana Lawn" in Caesar for the room divider and "Tana Lawn" in Mabelle for the wardrobe. Both fabrics were purchased from which happens to be my favorite place to peruse beautiful fabrics.

mix-and-match napkins

Martha Stewart is my go to gal for party ideas. I have a bag full of various napkins from parties past. I'm using this idea at my next picnic. Get the details here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

paint by numbers

These paint by number wall strips by Jenny Wilkinson are too cute. Available online at 2JANE. They are sold in 6 inch x 15 foot rolls. That's a lot of coloring. This reminded me of the leftover acoustic tiles I colored in as a kid after we redid our basement ceiling. They had a kind of rainbow pattern to them. It was great fun. This is even better.

cribs at jcp

JCP, that's JCPenny's for those of you like me who hasn't stepped in one in 20 years. I can still picture their Christmas catalog like it was yesterday. I spent hours marking off tall the toys I wanted. I remember the forest and beach at sunset wallpaper they use to sell. Of course as a teen I was way too cool to shop there. Now I think it's time to revisit.

The Sweat Pea Modern Crib, looks just like a crib I saw online for over a grand (I wanted to show that one too, but now I can't find it!). I don't think the proportions on this crib are appealing, but the shelves are a great spot for toys and books.

JCP has a large selection of well priced cribs. Check them out at their website.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

build a closet

I'm pulling all my favorite storage ideas from my design file this week. This is from a bedroom designed by Nate Berkus for O At Home, Fall 2004. Never let yourself be hindered by a rooms lack of closet space. When I clipped this I loved the mirror doors. Now I'm imagining them covered with tiny little fingerprints. The purple did inspire our repainting the "hallway" which is now home to a cupboard filled with my daughters dresses, shoes, toys and bath gear.

When you break this idea down, it's basically a box (wood & drywall) with doors, trimmed with molding. Nate created sections for the clients work space, entertainment center and clothes storage.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

mibo lamp shades

This is my new dream shade. It's from mibo lighting and homewares.
These two caught my husband's eye.

tile tattoos

There are so many fun wall decals out there, I was wondering if someone made something similiar for tiles. Sure enough, they do. The pattern selection at mibo lighting and homewares is small, but if you fancy one of the patterns these tile tatoos would allow for some sprucing up in a rental kitchen, or in a condo when you're not ready to finance a remodel. This is a British site, so when you convert to pounds, you'll feel a pinch in your wallet.

Homewares. We don't use that word in the U.S. I wonder why we say Housewares? It's a little alienating. I don't have a house. But I have a home.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

There is a point where one's taste for modern furniture or desire to maintain your home's "adult space" turns to the place of wire monkey's.

This bookhou child's chair is a wire monkey. This chair has institution woven into it's thick grey felt pad. It has the power to drain any child of every ounce of whimsy and joy.

closet office

I originally clipped this from Martha Stewart Living and filed it under fun curtains. Today I'm feeling inspired by the bursts of yellow and think this is an inspiring design for a closet office. There is even a copy of Martha Stewart's kids magazine in the storage tin on the desk - perfect.

We all need a space to mentally escape from our children. Something that is just ours. As I extrapolate on that idea, I realize that at some point the kids will want to get on the computer or you may need a space for them to do crafts. That's the downside of living small - everything has to serve many functions. Okay... this is a fabulous idea for a family office.

alternative closet

One more reason to love Domino magazine. This storage solution is from designer Adrienne Neff and was featured in the October 2006 issue of Domino.

I see this as a do-it-yourself project. Closet companies will charge you a lot of money for laminate shelving that you're going to be hiding behind curtains and a shade anyway. Plus, they won't hang the curtain or shade for you. I use to design for a custom closet company so I'm going to let you in on all you know in designing a closet. Here are the rules:

1. Hanging clothes require 24" of depth. In this situation the side panels next to the bed should be 24" deep so the clothes don't extend beyond it. You don't want to be pearing into the closet from your bed.

2. Folded clothes and shoes only require 12" deep shelves. Don't go deeper than 16" or you'll find you're neat stacks will turn into messy piles.

3. Double hang clothing for maximum use of space. Measure your longest shirt and build to that height (usually at least 36"). Hang pants folded over a hanger so they take up half the space. Long dresses and coats eat up a lot of space. If you must, make a taller section for them, with shelves above - make this a shared space with any long items your spouse has.
4. Put in a bottom shelf to help with keeping dust off your clothes.

5. Personally, I prefer to put shoe shelves on their own or above a section of hanging clothes. Many designers put them on the bottom, but then you're head goes into your clothing as you rummage for a shoe!

6. Drawers require some carpentry knowledge and a lot of measuring to get right. Consider integrating a few store bought drawers if need be. Check out West Elm, IKEA and The container store.

Neff used a roman shade above the bed, and suspended the curtains on a track mounted behind a 12" high valance to create a finished effect.

closet nook

I like the idea of converting a closet into a nook because it gives the baby a sense of it's own space whether they're in your room, a siblings, or the office. Curtains soften the hard edges of the closet and with a non-sheer fabric can make for a darkened nap space on sunny days. There are a million and one ways to give the space personality with paint, art and bedding.

I've had this nook on file since 2004! It's from Home magazine.

You can always slip the closet doors under the bed so they can go back on later. Where will I put my clothes you ask? I have some ideas for that in my file. I'll post them under storage.

life without a yard

Life without a yard proposes some challenges and a serious need for creative solutions. I grew up with a huge yard that nestled up against giants fields and woods. The neighbors across the street had the same. I have dreamy memories of sledding and snow hut building in the winter only to be topped by long days in the summer playing flash and capture the flag. We would spend hours in the woods pretending to be a frontier family surviving on pods fallen from the trees and water from the streams and brooks. I can't help but feel sad for my daughter who won't have that kind of experience. I know it fostered my independent nature and creativity.

Everything is so structured in the city. You can't just let your kids out of the house with instructions to be home for dinner. I see my challenge as a mother to find ways my Babe can feel like an explorer. When we are at the park I sometimes catch myself trying to walk her away from a puddle because if she gets wet she'll get the stroller muddy. I stop myself. I let her get down and dirty every chance she gets. A little dirt under the nails is a sure sign that fun is being had.

For now it's off to the park. I plan to share any activities and ideas I devise for fun without a yard. I'd love to hear yours....