Friday, April 29, 2011


(via today.com)

As I write this, Thursday night, the Royal Wedding has yet to happen.  I'm sure everyone will be all abuzz about it by the time you read this.  I won't be staying up to watch it, but I will be catching it first thing tomorrow morning!  There won't be anything else like it!  Can't wait!  :D  So... in honor of the Royal Wedding, I thought I should pick out something a bit more stately and refined this week.  I think the EDLAND dresser fits the bill.

I've liked the EDLAND suite for a long time.  It's a nice departure from the boxy, modern shapes typical of IKEA furniture.  This piece really looks like it has a bit of old world character.  I love the legs and the feminine lines of all the pieces.  So beautiful.  Plus, to really make it look un-IKEA, changing out the knobs with some Anthropologie ones would be so easy!

The 2 drawer dresser here is $199.  I've been considering getting 2 of these for either side of our fireplace in our living room.  What do you think?

Have a wonderful weekend!  Praying for a bit of sun....   See you Monday.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good for Young and Old

Don't let this picture fool you.  I took this a couple of weeks ago
on the UW campus on a rare clear day!

If you know anyone who's living in the Pacific Northwest, you've already heard how WET this spring has been for us!  It has been crazy.  All of us here can't wait to get outside and feel some warmth and sunshine!  (of course, I know, could be worse... no tornadoes here)  :)    So... we've been spending A LOT of time indoors.  I wanted to share with you 2 games that I love because they're fun, easy to play, and people of all ages can play.  Another plus... they're relatively inexpensive, portable AND educational!

First off, Spot It!  This is a great matching game and there are several ways to play it.  I love how my boys can play this together.  It keeps them occupied for a good while between running around and chasing each other.   

Next one is Bananagrams.  This one is sooo good!  For pre-readers, they love to just sort the letters and we can play letter hunt.  As my 5 year old is starting to read, we can spell simple 3 letter words or I can write out words for him to copy.  This is a also a great game for adults.  It's like your own personal, speed Scrabble.

If you're looking to add a couple of games to your arsenal, I highly recommend these 2.  Both available from Amazon.  They would make for great camping games this summer too! 

In the meantime... please send warm, sunny vibes from wherever you are!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The BIG 3 - 5!

Last week I celebrated my 35th birthday and my dear husband whisked me off to Las Vegas to celebrate.  In spite of my strong reluctance, we had a wonderful time.  How did I spend our 48 hours away from our 3 kids?

Alot of this and this:

(A GREAT book!  I hope the movie lives up to the book.)

We also managed to catch this:

The Lion King at Mandalay Bay

and indulge in a bit of this:

Jean Philippe Patisserie at the Aria

Needlesstosay, the greatest gift was simply time to sit, rest and reflect.  I realized that my life now is nothing like I would've imagined... it is so much more!  More in so many ways... more exhausting, more fulfilling, more joyful and more precious.  5 years ago, I was enjoying a simple married life and teaching my little 3rd graders.  Silly enough, having kids of our own was nowhere on the radar.  I would have never guessed that 5 years later I would have 3 gregarious kids, be a stay at home mom AND have an outlet for my passion for design.  This is not to say life is perfect - far from it!  My dear husband has a demanding job that requires alot of sacrifice, parenting is never as clean, calm or clear as I'd like, add on top of that, marriage is hardwork!    I was reminded of 2 verses this year:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."  (Jeremiah 29:11) 

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 
(1 Thesssalonians 5:16-18)

Joy. Prayer. Thankfulness.

Couln't we all use more of that?

Thanks to Bud and all of our friends and family who made this getaway possible! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - A Boy's Room

Happy Monday!  This week's inspiration room comes to us from Australia.  I love how this room is clearly kid friendly, yet so well put together.  Here's what else I love:


(via the style files)

  • A full wall of shelving or display space.  Let's face it.  Kids have alot of stuff.  I love the idea of dedicating a whole wall to display and storage AND taking it all they way up to the ceiling.
  • Color.  Another great example of keeping it simple.  White walls with warm woods always work.  This blank canvas provides the perfect backdrop to all the "stuff".
  • Long work table.  I love long work surfaces.  This workspace here maximizes the wall space and works so well for the 3 kiddos in this family.

  • Corralling.  What makes this space work is that like items are grouped together and small items are corralled in pots or boxes.  Anything to lessen visual clutter.
  • Monograms.  I LOVE monograms.  They are an expensive way to personalize ANY space in your home.  My favorite place to get them is JoAnns.  They're paper mache and you can easily paint them with craft paint.  They come in all sorts of fonts and sizes.  Its a good thing.  :)
  • Mix it up.  Styling a bookshelf is both an art and a science.  Styling shelves in a child's space is no different.  Often, what looks effortless, takes quite a bit of effort.  (It does for me anyways)  :)  One tip shown here is mixing in objects with your books.  For example, the Darth Vadar mask next to the Star Wars books.  I also am finally ok with designating some things in a childs space as "look, don't touch".  I think there is value in including pieces that truly are just for inspiration, special objects that spark the imagination.

Here's another photo from this house tour.  How cool is that?  Clearly, any family who has one of these in their backyards, has some style and imagination!

(via the style files)

To see more photos of this family home in Australia, click on over here to the style files.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I always look forward to seeing the seasonal items that IKEA rolls out a couple of times a year.  I just discovered their new summer fabric, SUSANNA.  At only $6.99, the possibilites are endless.  This fabric would really jazz up your summer table!  I've mentioned before that I prefer entertaining with real linens and plates if possible.  Yes, I admit I'm a bit of a paperplate snob.  :)  But, I think I using real utensils, plates and tablecloths really help to elevate the whole event and its really not that much more money.  PLUS, all of those things are reusable, so you're actually be very green.  :) 

SUSANNA comes in many different prints, but all have hat same bold, geometric look playing off of fun primary colors.  Here are some ways to use Susanna:

  • Tablecloths for summer parties
  • Throw pillows
  • Placemats
  • Reupholster seat cushions ( the pattern will be very forgiving)
  • Framed or Stretched on canvas as wall art.  I think the multi stripe would look stunning in a huge frame over a sofa.  It would look like a million bucks!
Here's a throw pillow that I found on etsy:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bulletin Board Revamp

Last week, I happen to stumble across this post from one of my favorite blogs, Little Green Notebook.  I love how casually Jenny presents her fabulously cool ideas.  She makes it easy to live beautifully!  Be sure to check out her whole post to see more pics!

via Little Green Notebook

Once I saw this bulletin board, I knew it would be the perfect way for me to update mine.  The fabric and colors would work perfectly in my office!  So I found the fabric on amazon and I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival!  I only need 1 yard, and it was less than $10!

Waverly Lovely Lattice in Lagoon
via amazon.com

I'll be heading out to Jo Ann's to find some red or yellow trim.  Can't wait to share the finished product with you!

Isn't this a gorgeous workspace?! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And We Have a Winner...

Dandelion Rug from Garnet Hill

Just when I thought I've seen my share of rugs, I got my Garnet Hill catalog in the mail last Friday and I think I found my new kitchen rug!  If you're looking for a rug, you need to check out Garnet Hill.  They've come out with some beautiful rugs this spring and all rugs ship free until May 24th.  This is their indoor/outdoor Dandelion rug.  Isn't it fun?  The color palette is just right and I love that it's an indoor/outdoor rug.  Excellent for a high traffic area!  I'll be getting it in 3 x 5 for this area.  What do you think?

I've been wanting to get a bold, graphic graphic for the kitchen ever since I saw this picture:

Here's the lesson in all this:  Resist the temptation to buy something just because it's cheap,convenient or you're in a rush.  I've waited and have been looking for just the right rug for almost a year.  I was tempted to go with another FLOR rug like I wrote about here, but I just wasn't convinced.  I'm so glad I waited!  There are so many beautiful and inspiring things out there, there's something for everyone, wait for just that right piece, it's out there!  (Is this starting to sound like dating advice?)  Anyways!  :)  Living beautifully is about being selective and only living with things that you truly love.

Monday, April 18, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - A Family Kitchen Nook

Happy Monday everyone!  I love this photo.  It's a great example of how good design, function and kids can all happily coexist !  Here's what I love about it.


  • Banquettte.  If your kitchen allows for it, either a long wall, window or corner like this one, I'm a big fan of a built-in banquette.  They are practical for storage underneath, cozy for kids, it can accomodate alot of people and they're just so darn charming!
  • Wallpaper.  Wallpaper has come a LONG way.  The wallpaper here is fresh and helps to hide a multitude of imperfections.
  • Mixing styles.  I love the look of the modern Eames chairs with the traditional pedestal round table.  Both are durable and are well suited to meet the needs of a busy family.  Good style CAN be kid friendly too!
(via houseandhome.com)


  • Storage.  Kitchens tend to be the hub of all activity.  Do you have closed storage for all the stuff that tends to migrate into this area?  Bins or cabinets for toys, crafts, art supplies, etc
  • Style.  Is your kitchen more function and less fashion?  Easy ways to inject style is through window treatments, wallpaper and covering a bulletin board with beautiful paper or fabric.
  • And lastly, edit, toss and store.  This is an endless task, but oh so essential for living well.  It helps to build it into a routine.  For me, I try to make sure the sink is clean and the counters and tables are cleared off (as much as possible) each night.  There's nothing more gratifying than walking downstairs to a beautifully clean kitchen in the morning.  :)  I often think of our kitchen as a restaurant with 3 big rushes during the day; breakfast, lunch and dinner.  At the end of the day, we close up shop and regroup and try to start fresh for the next day. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I picked up this little guy and boy, does he offer a lot for just 39.99!  First of all, this was one of the easiest IKEA pieces I've ever assembled.  It literally snaps together!  Man, the engineering behind some of these things is amazing!  At 27" it tucks perfectly underneath my desk and with 6 drawers, there's plenty of room for paperclips, pushpins, note cards, stamps, envelopes and on and on... :)

Maybe I can turn this:

into this:

via marthastewart.com

By the way, while I was IKEA this week, I noticed the twin MALM bed I featured last week was "last chance"!  So if you want it, I'd get it now.  Hmm.. I've been noticing quite a few last chance items lately... makes me excited for what new stuff will be coming out this July!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rugs I Love

I've been doing a lot of rug research lately, as I'm looking for a rug to define my office space.  There are some great things out there!  Here are some of my favorites.  Many of these are not within my budget, but they are so good for inspiration!

  1. Dwell Studio Facet Rug in Cream/Citrine, 5 x 8, $350
  2. Dwell Studio Gate Rug in Azure/Cream, 5 x 8, $350
  3. Jill Rosenwald Rug from csn.com, 5 x 8, $345
  4. Amy Butler Georgia Rug from Velocity Art and Design, 5 x 8, $778
  5. Surya Rug from csn.com, 5 x 8, $295
  6. Thomas Paul's Parasols Rug from Velocity Art and Design, 5 x 8, $778
  7. Thomas Paul's Flock Rug from Velocity Art and Design, 5 x 8, $390
  8. Dash and Albert Diamond Rug from Velocity Art and Design, 5 x 8, $88  :)
Which ones are your favorites?  I love theThomas Paul rugs!  Did you see the rest of his collection? 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Transforming our Loft

Over the past few weeks, my husband I have spent many late nights working on moving my workspace into our loft.   As you know if you have kids, most home improvement projects don't start till after everyone is asleep and goes into the wee hours of the night!  This space is FAR from done!  But I did want to show you  the bare bones of the space. Here's the before and after:



I was inspired by this craftroom I featured awhile back.  I definitely wanted some closed storage for all my not so attractive craft stuff, so the mounted cabinets were a must!  I also wanted to keep everything neutral so that I would have a blank canvas on which to add fun accessories!  This project is also done on a very tight budget.  The only things that were purchased new were the 2 upper EFFECTIV cabinets and the 2 EKBY BJARNUM shelves from IKEA.  The total so far is about $150. 

Now.. for the fun part!  Accessorizing!  Here are some things that I've been eyeing.

stripe tumblers from westelm

prints from jones design company

Martha Stewart Paint in Hosta
maybe to add a frame around the bulletin board

wire chair from overstock.com

or splurge on this Eames plastic chair

Still researching rugs.  I'm loving this one from Dwell, but not loving the price.  :P 
I'm open to suggestions!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - Mixing Florals and Patterns

Happy Monday!  Well, we're right in the middle of a soggy April here in the Pacific Northwest.  As I was  looking for an inspiration room this week, I found myself drawn to bright colors and floral patterns.  I'm eagerly anticipating the warmth and brightness of spring to come!  Are you?  Here we go!

(via houseandhome.com)


  • This room is a great example of successfully mixing colors and patterns!  Sticking to a defined color palette is what makes it work.  In this room, black and white are the base colors accented by plum and aqua blue. Even the tulips match!  In this way, everything seems to "fit" as a whole and you're not looking at pieces individually.  Decorating boldly takes planning and a discerning eye.
  • Keep furniture classic.  The furniture in this space will never go out of style.  I love the color, the shape and the legs of the sofa.  You can easily update the look by changing the throw pillows.  The side chairs and coffee table are also neutral and can evolve as your tastes evolve.  Like a wardrobe, invest in basics and let your accessories help keep your look current.
  • A console table, my favorite piece of furniture!  I love the look of a slim table behind a couch.  The great thing is... if it's simply acting as a stand for accessories, you can really get away with something inexpensive like plywood and 4 table legs.

  • Throw pillows.  I can really get carried away with these!  These days, my favorite source for throw pillows is etsy.com.  The prices seem better and the patterns are more unique.  You can also find fabric and have your local dry cleaner make pillows for you. 
  • A chalkboard panel.  I'm loving the panel behind the couch.  I'm not sure if it's a painting or if it's a chalkboard panel, but I'm inspired!  Just have a piece of wood cut down to size and paint it with chalkboard paint.  You can write poems, messages, stories on it and change it throughout the year(s).  Now that's fresh!
  • A pair of lamps.  Accessorizing with a pair of lamps is such a classic look.  You can never go wrong with this.  Look for simple lamp bases and you can have the flexibility of changing out the shades.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Last Friday, I featured the MALM dresser, and this week I'm featuring a bed from the same family.   I have been fighting off a cold all week and have been incredibly tired.  This week's posts have been all about kids so what better way to end the week than with a feature on a great bed that I think would work fabulously in a kids room or really any room for that matter!  Here is the twin for $129.

I was inspired by a MALM bed make over I saw over at a blog that I love, armelle, the blog.  Caroline did such a great job painting the MALM and transforming it from ordinary to something special!  I think it was the great choice of paint color.  Love that gray!

Caroline also gave some great tips on painting furniture.  Click here to read!

(via armelle blog)

Have a great weekend!  Off to do my 12K on Sunday!  See you Monday!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Simple and Beautiful Truth

I was reading one of my favorite blogs last week, Jones Design Company, and read this beautiful post written by Emily.  She wrote a sweet and simple post about keeping the big picture in mind while raising kids, especially during the messy and crazy early years.  Click here to read the full post.  I could so relate to each photo and each thought!

She also created beautiful pdfs that you can download for free.  Emily certainly understands the meaning of "elevating the everyday"!  Thanks for a great reminder! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

These Shoes Were Made For Walking

This little one at my house needs new shoes.

And here's what she got:

Nostalgic Saltwater Sandals

Classic Converse

Adorable Tiny Toms

All under $30 and available from Nordstroms.  :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

WHY IT WORKS - A Simple Playroom

As much as I love design and patterns, and fabrics and the fun and fluff... every once in awhile I come across something that reminds me that sometimes, simple is best.  This photo from of the Carlin Home from Traditional Home is a great example of just that!


  • With a plain and understated backdrop, each individualy piece has a chance to shine.  Do I need to say anything about that light fixture?  It clearly is the focal point and lets you know that even though this room appears simple, it's certainly not short on style!
  • A white slipcovered couch can work in any space.  I'm a big proponent of having some "grown up" seating in a playroom.
  • Children's Art.  When looking for artwork for a child's space, there are a ton of options out there, just browse etsy!  But sometimes, the best ones are created by the little artists in your own home.  Throw them in a Ribba frame from IKEA, and you have instant, beautiful and meaningful art! 


When putting together a child's space, here are a few things that I try to remember.

  • Lighting.  No one likes to be in a dimly lit room, especially kids.  If you want to create a warm, fun space where your kids will want to stay and play, make sure there's good lighting.  The use of ceiling lights and wall lights are great because they eliminate the possibility of anyone touching them and or anything tipping over.
  • Seating.  Chances are there will be plenty of adults spending time in this space too.  Don't forget to include comfortable seating for the "big kids".  Their grandparents will thank you.  :)  And it's always nice to have a place to be able to cuddle and read books.
  • Display.  Every child love to see their work displayed, even if it is the simplest of projects or drawings.  It's tempting to fill up every wall with artwork or decor, but don't forget to leave room for future projects.  You can do this bulletin boards, frames, or these great art cables too.  This ones from Pottery Barn Kids for $39, but you can also get IKEA's curtain wire for under $20.

Click here to see more photos of this beautiful home. 


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