Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Holidays to the Bears

Ugh. I went shopping for NPJ Design supplies and it was just sad.Exhausted, unsuccessful, and slightly chilly but finally I home, I am curled up in front of the internet dreaming up a million dollar holiday. You already know what I want just for me, but what do I wish for the whole Bear household?

Well, we want a new couch. We have so much more space now and so little furniture. For seating we have the floor, one couch with a cracked frame, three breakfast room stools, some more floor, and two computer chairs. Oh, and Emily's stuffed bear chair. The end.  We're trying not to just rush out and buy disposable furniture, though. Ikea's great, but we really want something that will be comfortable and pretty several years from now.  Something like
Edith Sofa from Cisco Brothers
If it is anything like the other couches that make me swoon, the price tag is somewhere around $4000. Yikes! (But still so pretty).

If Santa can fit that 90in baby down our chimney we can move the decrepit couch to our family room and get a couple of wing chairs to keep it company around the fireplace. Ben likes one from restoration Hardware, but for the life of me I can't remember which. If I get to pick, though, we might end up with something like this
Mitchell Williams + Bob Gold
It also comes in leather!

And remember all that floor space I mentioned above? We definitely need a few rugs to cozy things up.  I may never narrow down what I want in the way of floor-covering. Just to start, I'd like to raid Pottery Barn.

And then, stop at Restoration Hardware.

I have inexplicably adored this Tufted Rose Rug from Pier 1 for years.

We can't forget something for the walls.
This modern world map from These Are Things is hands down awesome.

Finally, a little something for our four-legged family members.
Yeah, that's a cat hammock. And, yeah, you know you secretly think its cool.

I know Amy wants a family vacation and a new car. What about the rest f you?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Holidays to Me

I don't know what economy the rest of you are living in, but mine is a little inhibiting this holiday season. In truth, I love giving presents but getting them is less important. I know it sounds trite, but it is true. Still, if everyone had a million dollars to spend this is what I'd want to be showered with.
I have wanted a Clarisonic for at least a year. This past weekend I was talking to my new hair stylist about it and it turns out she has one. Her skin is gorgeous and she confirmed the pure awesomeness of this little gadget.
Clarisonic Classic

Since we're talking about luxury, I'd adore a year of these:
Deep Tissue Massage
It seems like none of my jeans fit these days.  And since I wear them all the time, I want something high end that'll last me a while.
The Provocateur by Joe's Jeans
I adore boots and this year I'm looking for a pair in gray.
Nine West Harmon Boot
Calvin Klein Logan Boot
Nine West Spool Boot
Yeah, all that stuff is more than a bit pricey. That's why it is called a wish list. What kind of caviar dreams are dancing in your head this month?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I'm supposed to keep this a secret because Emily fears being teased, but is there anything cuter than young love?  Not unlike her mother, Emily is a bit boy crazy.  This season's lucky little man is named Aaron.  Unfortunately, according to Emily, the girl he is "just bananas over" is their classmate Jillian so Aaron hasn't noticed my sweet girl at all!

It reminds of the scene in Love Actually where Sam talks about nothing being worse than the "total agony of love." So cute.

Yesterday I asked Em if Aaron had started paying her any attention. "Yes," she said, "he gave me a hug today."

J: When you fell off the monkey bars?
E: Yeah, and another at the end of the day. He also hugged Jennifer and Angelina.
J: Oh, quite the ladies man, huh?
E: Yeah, he's got himself all the ladies!
J: When he hugged you did it make you feel all squishy inside?
E: I don't know what you mean.
J: Well when Ben hugs me or tells me I'm pretty or that he loves me I get a feeling inside that's squishy. But in a good way.
E: Oooooh! Like squishy and fluttery and like happy all inside? Yes. Yes I totally get that!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Guess What

It is kumquat season again!
And you know what that means.
Sweet, tart, tasty, homemade kumquat marmalade for breakfast!

Friday, December 3, 2010

How to charm me

Wear a pink tutu and leopard print ballet shoes while building a fort out of cardboard boxes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another to-do done: Chair pockets

Waaay back in October I mentioned that I needed to make chair pockets for Emily's classroom. It was a pretty big undertaking, but Em's teacher was so excited about my sewing skills that I couldn't turn her down. Last month we settled on a dark denim and secured five yards of it at JoAnn's. Yesterday I delivered 18 of these babies to a very happy educator.
These things are great in the classroom, but they'd also come in handy at the kitchen table, on patio chairs, and at little person art desks. Want to make some of your own?

First, measure the circumference of your chair back at the widest part. I made the mistake of measuring about halfway down because I failed to notice how the molded plastic flared out as it transitioned into the seat.  As a result, I underestimated how wide I'd need to cut my fabric.  By the time I was finished with my trying and erring I was only able to make 18 pockets instead of the hoped for 20.  Once you have the circumference, divide that number by two, then add one and a half inches for seam allowance. For example, if the circumference of your chair back is 28.5 inches, you will divide that by two (14.25") and add and inch and a half (15.75"). The width of your fabric needs to be at least 15.25 inches.

Next, measure the back of your chair from the top to about an inch above where the back meets the seat. The classroom chairs were 10.5 inches. Now triple that (31.5"). The length of your fabric needs to be at least 31.5 inches.

Now you can cut your fabric.  I'd recommend making one pocket from start to finish so you can tweak your dimensions before cutting a bunch of fabric for assembly-line style sewing. Just trust me on this one.

Because we chose denim, pinking shears were definitely the way to go to keep the fabric from fraying.  If you don't have pinking shears you can sew around the entire perimeter of your cut fabric with a zig-zag stitch.

Like most fabrics, denim has an obvious "right side" and "wrong side."  I wasn't sure how Mrs. Diefenderfer would feel about the wrong side being visible on the finished product so I figured out a way to have only right sides visible.  If you like the look of both sides of your fabric or if your fabric is not one that has a marked difference between the from and back, you can skip the next couple of steps.

I cut my fabric roughly one-third of the way up so I had two pieces; one eleven inches long and the other 21 inches long.
Lay the short piece on top of the long piece so the wrong side is facing up on both pieces of fabric.
Sew your pieces together using a 5/8 seam allowance, then press the seam open.
In the picture above you can see I also hemmed the short ends.  To do this, turn the end over 1/4 to 1/2 an inch and iron it.  Turn it over another 1/2 to 1 inch, iron it, and sew using a straight stitch.
Now, lay your fabric so the wrong side of the long section and the right side of the short section are facing up. Fol the long section until just before it meets the joining seam.

Fold the short section at the seam.. If you did not have to cut and rejoin your fabric you are essentially going to do a tri-fold.

Sew up both sides using a straight stitch.
At this point can flip your pocket right-side out and be done.
If you are like me, however, you are a little bothered by the way the outer pocket sags open. This is really easy to fix.

Flip the pocket that slides over the chair inside out. If you can see the side seams you have flipped the wrong pocket. Once the correct pocket is inside out, make a curved seam across the upper corner.  You'll start the seam 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the corner and end about an 1 1/2 inches below the corner.
Repeat on the opposite corner and trim the excess fabric.
Turn the pocket right-side out again and you are done.  It should fit snugly over the chair and the outer pocket should stay taut.

Now, fill it with books, paint brushes, scrapbook paper, whatever!

And enjoy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Making the house our home - Family Room for now.

With a great deal of effort (mostly put forth by Ben), we finally finished painting the family room. I even had time to "merchandise" it a little before my folks got here on Wednesday.  So here's what we have:
View from the eating area
As you can see, we've put the room to good family use.  The three of us spent most of Sunday and a great many hours yesterday playing with Legos. We built a track for our nano bugs complete with a castle. We plan to add cedar plank shelving on either side of the fireplace which is why that entire back wall is white.  Ben is afraid that the shelves and the slate blue would make that area too dark.  I tend to feel as thought it looks like we forgot to paint a whole wall.  What do you think?

Right next to the eating area is a set of built-ins.  They mostly hold board games, puzzles, and magazines, but I just couldn't stand so much blank wall and empty surface area. The handkerchief belonged to my great-grandmother, Evelyn.  She was a cracker jack of a woman and I always want a piece of her to be in my home.  The empty frame once held a pencil drawing of a fluffy white kitten way back when my age was in the single digits. That frame has seen it all.
The room is obviously far from finished, but this is pretty much all we can do right now.  I'd like to get an art desk like this one for Emily. She really needs a comfortable space for homework and projects.  Eventually we'll get a new couch for the living room and move our current couch down here. Some wing chairs would be nice. And we definitely definitely need a rug.

We'll get there. Some day. I hope.

In the meantime, that floor space is begging to be covered in Lego creations!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Thankful Week in Pictures

No school equals a day with Angelina!
Grandma's here! Let's roast marshmallows.
No need to fear, the man in charge of pie is here!
Which one is the bigger turkey?
Just right.
Don't be jealous of my husband's perfectly fried turkey.
That's right, we had Thanksgiving OUTSIDE!
Grandma helped Emily prepare for a post-lunch glamorous photo shoot.
Natalia watched from the safety of the couch.
I made whipped cream for the pie. From scratch. By myself.
Friday morning and we're eating. Again.
Happy Anniversary, Baby. Glad you survived our first two years.
On Saturday we took Grandma to the aquarium.
And then she bought us a milkshake.
The grand finale:a HUGE pile of leaves!