Category Archives: Decorating

Show and Tell: I finished a Bunk Bed, failed a new muffin recipe and witnessed a case of stage fright.

I had a busy week. Instead of neatly showing off each thing, post by post and laying out the process or delving into the details I found to be most amusing or baffling, I’m trying something new today. A photo-journal of sorts…

I built bunk beds!

Finished Project: Bunk Beds

After a month of working on bunk beds, they are finished! My neighbor and friend, Amanda, had the tools, space and skills to teach me how to do it myself. It was my first ever wood-working project. I could not, would not have attempted to do this on my own.

Amanda literally guided me through Home Depot, showed me how to pick out wood that wasn’t warped, and proceeded to let me use her power tools (after showing me how and explaining safety precautions). She was a patient, helpful teacher. I really looked forward to our scattered work sessions (lasting only about 2-3 hours) as our schedules allowed. And, she did help along the way – where it seemed like I needed it. My husband even pitched in a sanding session to get these done on the one sick day I needed to stay home and rest. Honestly, it was easier than I had expected. It has wet my appetite to make other things for our home, but not enough for me to want to do it for a living.

We made the bunk beds from an Ana White plan– she’s got so many great ideas and plans for everything from an entertainment center to simple book shelf (and they’re free!). Amanda introduced me to her site, and has recently completed a head board. She’s a crafty DIY blogger herself: uffdaprojects.blogspot.com

Recipe Experiment: from muffins to granola!

Muffin Mistake

I make mistakes. All the time. The recipes I share are ones I’ve perfected and have tested on unassuming family and friends. Last week I was trying to create a new muffin recipe using some pre-soaked and roasted Walnuts (because I read that they are easier to digest). Well using pre-roasted nuts turned into burnt nuts. They were black! I didn’t notice until my taste-tester-son starting crumbling up his muffin and picking out the nuts. So, facing my defeat and frustration for  wasting all the ingredients, I suddenly realized I could follow my son’s lead. I tore them all apart, picked out the nuts, and decided to make granola. I laid out the bits onto a cookie sheet, added Ghee and Honey and baked it on low for about 2 hours. My husband ate it up, but did add some dried Cranberries and Almonds. So now, I want to try making granola from the start!

Stage fright: a first recital.

Saturday was the big day. Our daughter, Iris, is a spontaneous dancer – ever since she could stand, she’s danced anywhere, anytime when the mood strikes her.

She has been taking Pre-Ballet classes for 7 months and even enjoys the micro performance when parents get to see them demonstrate what they’ve learned.  Saturday was her first recital. She wasn’t keen on the idea of getting on a small stage for the rehearsal on Friday. But, she did like the idea of wearing her costume and lipstick and blush (we practiced applying it).  I made the mistake of assuming once she was surrounded by her class mates all would be well.

Photo by Aunt Jennifer.

I should have planned on asking my relatives to photograph and film the event – that’s what I thought as I sat back stage with Iris clinging to me in the sea of tutu’s and adorable little girls. There was a “Room Mom” for every class to keep order. But, Iris insisted that my lap was the only one she wanted. So, I grabbed my cell phone and recruited my multi-talented sister-in-law, Jennifer to be the photographer.

Thankfully, Iris’ class was not the first one up on stage. She enjoyed watching the big girls perform. But, when it came her turn, she wanted me to go on with her. Since I could not, she joined her class reluctantly, then part way through decided to exit the stage and join me. Poor thing. Really, I felt bad about it but I was glad she knew what to do about her feelings. That should could leave the stage. Everyone was really nice about it and some other Mom’s went out of their way to compliment how well Iris did. It was sweet and hopefully not too traumatic for Iris.

As soon as we got home, Iris requested music and danced her little heart out barefoot style.

Home Making Goodness: Plants and Decorating

Plum Pruning = Spring Indoors!

I love to learn new things, especially in the area of home making – like with decorating or organizing. I’ve got three things worth sharing that can make a difference in your home no matter what size it is. I have learned some really cool things over the years that fall out of those categories and into some tangent areas, like growing more oxygenating air with houseplants.

Spring Indoors – Around the Seattle area, we had spring like weather for the past couple of weeks, and the trees are blossoming. Now, we have a freezing week, with some dusting of snow. My In-laws gave us some pruned Plum Tree clippings, and we have them in a glass jar (provids better stability than our vases).  This saves some of those precious blossom buds who would freeze otherwise, and delights my kids as they watch them open.  You could do this even without erratic weather patterns this spring, saving some pretty blossoms from the compost pile or yard waste bin. And, best of all, they will make for a beautiful bouquet for free!

Make Clean Air – Last spring, I checked out the book, How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office, from the Library and researched the best plant for my husband to have in his office. I learned that we had 3 of the plants already in our home!  The book explained that some of them needed to be misted once in a while, and now I take better care of them.

Well, I just stumbled upon this blog post that pretty much explains it all, better than I could at Simpleorganic.net – well worth sharing with you. The best part is the listing of the top 10 plants as sourced from the book directly at the bottom of the post. If you enjoy learning a bit more about the science behind this, and the reasons why you’d want to get more oxygenated air into your home, read the whole thing.

My daughter's second-hand custom made rocking chair. My favorite spot in the house.

Decorate Simply – Reading RowdyKittens.com has inspired me to live a more simple, “minimalistic” life – a recent post directed me to Miss Minimalist’s Decorating tips post, Adding Warmth Without Adding Stuff.  Yeah, I know, link, link, link, but it’s worth it. She points out how to put together specific textures or colors to make a cozy home with less stuff. This reminds me of my Mom’s interior decorating business tag line, “Making your home your own.” In the mid-80’s and early 90’s she redecorated homes using what people already had. So, you could say she instilled some “minimalist” values in me. Part of this has stuck due in part because I want to live within my means. So, while I may enjoy looking at Pottery Barn’s website and stores, I have never felt the need to shop there in order to decorate my home.