Monday, June 27, 2011


Sorry for the lack of consistent posting lately.  We've been enjoying the pool - a lot.

And my stepdaughter turned 8 this weekend!

I can make myelf sad by thinking of how old she's getting and how quickly it all goes by.  Instead I'm focusing on what a cool girl she's turning into.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bento Lunches

The first year I taught preschool, I had adorable two-year old twins in my class named Joey and Riko.  Their mom, who was originally from Japan, would pack them amazing lunches.  The food looked like art - cute shapes, nice composition, etc.  What was more amazing was that Joey and Riko were great eaters.  While we were coaxing other kids to take "one more" bite of their PB&Js, the twins would be eagerly munching away on shrimp, broccoli, meatballs, etc.  Whatever their mom sent them, they ate with gusto.

I didn't know it then, but that was my introduction to bento lunches.  Bentos are originally from Japan - and they're not just for kids.  The hallmark of a bento lunch is the small box artfully crammed full of food.  In Japan, the main part of a bento is usually made out of rice - which can be molded and tinted to create fantastic food art.

Both from
Some people get really into the art of making a bento lunch.  It's amazing, but not something I see myself doing five days a week.  What really appeals to me as a mom is the nutritional focus of a bento lunch.  A typical Japanese bento lunch contains 3 parts grain (rice, pasta, bread or noodles), 2 parts vegetable, 1 part protein (meat, fish, eggs).  I plan on adapting my bentos to follow more closely the new MyPlate initiative the USDA rolled out earlier this year.

Bento boxes make it fairly easy to focus on food groups because most come with little divided sections.  You can also use little silicone cups or even tupperware containers to section out your food.  It keeps the different types of food from mixing together and emphasizes the great variety of food presented in a bento box.

There's also the green factor.  Where I taught preschool, the children had to bring their lunches.  You would be amazed at the amount of trash that was accumulated from eight kids' lunches.  Bentos will also help cut down on the cost of packing a lunch.  Instead of buying individually portioned bags of pretzels, buy one regular bag and dole out five at a time.
My son is starting kindergarten in the fall and I plan on sending his lunches most days.  I'd even like to start doing bento lunches myself when I go back to work (they're great for portion control because there's only so much food you can fit in a tiny box).  I'll keep you updated on our latest food adventures.

If you're interested in bento lunches - two great websites are and

Friday, June 17, 2011

Preppy Bedroom

I've been at a loss for inspiration when it comes to ideas for the master bedroom.  Desperate, I asked the boyfriend what colors he thinks we should use.  He suggested green and I liked it.  We don't have green in the living area, and just a couple of pops of grass green in my son's room.  A couple of minutes of fabric (window) shopping later, and I was sold on a vision of a blue and green bedroom. 

Annie Selke makes a lovely coordinated line - perfect for pillows.

Annie Selke Seema Bluemarine

Annie Selke Links Indigo

Annie Selke Happy Poppys Blue Marine

Annie Selke Pearls Citrus

I also like this Iman fabric for drapes - velvet trellis!

Iman Sultana Lattice Luna

It reads pretty preppy, though - which is not how I would describe our style.  At all.

I thought about maybe adding a fancy carved headboard in bright pink, just for a dash of fun.  And to take advantage of the boyfriend's declaration that I can decorate the bedroom however I want.  I'm sure he wasn't thinking I'd ever want  a hot pink bed - but whatevs.

Then I came across Design Manifest's gorgeous color combo of pink and orange, and it made me want to scrap the entire blue/green thing and start all over.  Too bad that Schumacher fabric is $250 a yard - yikes!

So, to recap, I still haven't decided on a color scheme for the bedroom and it will remain a giant beige box for the near future.  Actually, it'll always stay a giant beige box because we rent and can't change the walls, ceiling or carpeting.  But you can put pretty things in a beige box - and that's the goal.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

West Elm Striped Duvet

I found this gray striped duvet at West Elm and I'll be watching for a sale.

I love it as a poor woman's version of this Serena and Lily duvet. 

Yes, the West Elm stripe is missing the awesome green piping and is a totally different color - but I actually like it more.  The gray will definitely read less nautical and I think the gray will look lovely with the orange bunkbeds (that currently live in my head since we are nowhere near ready to tackle that project).

Obviously the best part is that the West Elm duvet is only $59 - almost $100 less each than the Serena and Lily duvets.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I'm loving the look of this daybed and the curtains.

I have been struggling to find the right curtain fabric, so maybe something more simple would fit the bill.  I have the perfect corner in the living room for a set-up like this.  Do you think it looks too bedroom-y?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ikea Through the Ages

Is there a better design duo out there than Sarah Richardson and Tommy Smythe?  I love their sense of style, her ability to mix high and low effortlessly, and his wicked sense of humor.

How crazy-awesome is this seating?
Sarah and Tommy recently took a trip to Denmark and Sweden.  While in Sweden they visited the first Ikea as well as the Ikea Museum.  That's right, an Ikea Museum!  He posted these awesome room set-ups that represent Ikea products through the ages.  "Like" him in Facebook - you won't regret it.

The '60s
Ikea - Mad Men style.  Can you believe how awesome those chairs are?  I want two right now.

The '70s

The '80s

This one isn't that different from what you would find in Ikea today - Lack tables and a Klippan sofa.

Has anyone else added the Ikea Museum to their bucket list?

All photos by Tommy Smythe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Big Art Ideas

I'm in search for inspiration for a big piece of art for above my sofa.  We're talking really large. 

From Ebay

Originally, I was feeling some suzani love.  Yes, suzanis are everywhere - but they should be.  Because they're gorgeous and have been around for centuries.  So I think they'll survive this latest craze.  Plus I like the idea of juxtaposing my retro couch with something handmade and ethnic.  But then I bought the ikat fabric for the ottoman and I'm still considering the zebra curtains - so I don't want it to feel like World Market threw up all over the place.  But, I'm still considering it for the dining room, maybe....

I also toyed with the idea of DIY abstract art.  Nicole at Sketch42 did a post about a cool artist who does spin art - like when you were a little kid.  (But now I can't find it anywhere, so you'll just have to take my word for it.)  We actually have one of those spin art machines, so I thought that would be a kinda cool family-oriented art project.  I also really love her painting printed on lucite - maybe worth attempting as a DIY project?

From Sketch42
And I thought about a Chinese screen - if I could find this exact one I would be in heaven.  But they don't pop up that often in my price range.

From Luisa Design - her house is uber cool and thrifty!
My latest ideas have centered on pop art - especially something a little quirky or whimsical.  Like giant circus art.  I have a picture of an acrobat or trapeze artist in my head, but since I'm no artist, I'm going to have to search around until I find something close enough.

Circus: Equilibrists Digital ID: TH-02834. New York Public Library

I like these guys, except for the dumbfound expression on their faces.  But I really love the Art Deco feel - and the print is free from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery, so they might show up somewhere else in my house.

From Zazzle
 This is the closest thing I've found to the image in my head.  The colors are perfect.  Unfortunately, even it's "huge" size isn't big enough, so I'm thinking of using it as a guide to make my own version (and taking the chance to tone down the lady's harsh facial shadowing). 

The boyfriend is not sold on this idea at all, by the way.  So, there's a good chance it'll change by next week.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Serena and Lily Ronan Duvet

Saw this picture on The Shabby Nest and fell in love with the striped duvet.

I especially love the touch of green in the piping.

It might just be perfect for my son's room.  If only it wasn't $150 each duvet cover.  Which is expensive enough for one, but I need two.

Damn you, Serena and Lily - why do you always make such cute stuff that I can't afford?

However, it looks pretty simple to duplicate.  You know, when I learn how to turn on my sewing machine.  And then thread it.

I'm not completely sold yet.  I'm worried it would read too nautical.  Whereas I want it to read more modern.

Meanwhile, we had a semi-productive weekend.  We had another garage sale and managed to make about $130, despite our big ticket item being a $15 TV.  I did a little thrift store shopping in hopes of finding another project piece, but despite finding two campaign dressers I came away empty handed.  One of the dressers was laminate and the other was missing hardware.  Boo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Zebra Curtains?

I hardly recognize myself.  I was once the girl who would never even think of anything animal print for her house or her wardrobe.  And now I'm looking at this and thinking, "That could work..."

From The Designer's Attic

Despite what Carson Kressley says, I don't usually think of zebra as a neutral.  But in this case, I think it works wonderfully as a neutral print since everything is pretty monochromatic.

Premier Prints makes a zebra print in a lot of colorways for cheap.  I'd have to see a sample to see if they would read as elegant as the inspiration picture, but I think they're a good alternative to the real thing (Clarence House Od Zebra, $35/yard). These are the two I would want samples of:

Tunisia Kelp/Denton

Tunisia Kelp/Linen

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Blogger is giving me issues - or maybe its my google account?  I can't leave comments anywhere, even my own blog.  Odd.  It also might be my own computer, because I think I have a virus that makes it seem like I have a Mac when I really have a PC.  As far as viruses go, it's not that terrible.  And since my virus protection software obviously sucks, I guess it'll stay.