Archive for January, 2016
The other day, I found a quiet moment to flip through the Pottery Barn. Quickly flipping changed into slowly dog earing every page. They’ve got so many great things in store right now.
This bedding feels Josef Frank-esque
Some of their lighting has a much more contemporary feel to it.
I’m using this gorgeous standing lamp in a nursery that I’m working on
Love this large, rustic coffee table; it feels likes something Lauren Leiss would decorate with
Love the lines of the Lucas chair and I bet their pretty comfy with the padded leather
Hammered Copper Flatware? Well, that seems necessary.
Overall, I’m very impressed and I like the subtle changes that Pottery Barn seems to making.
So yesterday’s fail brought on a second try at a crafty table. I learned to keep the crafts doable for a non-crafter like me.
I kept my favorite thing from the last table, the place cards and I built from there.
For the napkin rings, I took the remaining of the paper towel roll and put tissue on it (same method as place cards)…
I then took craft paper and put it across the entire table and drew on the outline of four “placemats” with a black marker. Then I added paper doilies as the chargers for the table. I’ve been really into doilies lately. Who says that? Also, what has become of me? My 25 year old self would fly to New York for the weekend for a party and found clever beer koozies amazing. My 35 years old self bails out on a party in my own neighborhood and finds doilies thrilling.
I then added hydrangeas to my peony arrangement from yesterday’s tablescape to beef things up and I thought they had a great match to the doilies. And there you have it, my tablescape, redo…
I usually only do tablescapes when we have people over. Tuesday night dinners are plopped straight onto the table with a side of kitchen tea towels as napkins.
Actual dinner was still put in melamine bowls and it was still just pasta but fun to have a little bit of a fancy tablescape for a regular old night. The girls didn’t notice, but I did.
Now, onto scheming for my February tablescape.
Since my girls have begun the fantastically quiet activity of coloring at our new table, I thought I would celebrate with a “crafty paper” themed tablescape.
In preparation, I pinned gorgeous, impeccable paper flowers while sprawled out on the couch catching up on The Bachelor. And then I watched a YouTube of a woman making a paper dahlia in under two minutes flat, while classical music played in the background.
Hypnotized by the music, I thought I could surely pull off making four dahlias to place at each setting. Surely.
As I type out this post, my fingers are giving little tings of pain from my many glue gun burns all over my finger tips that I received attempting to make said paper dahlias.
My project turned out less paper dahlia and more paper Chili’s Awesome Blossom.
I am a bruised and battered pinterest fail.
After I made one piddly dahlia and deemed it horrible looking, I continued on doing absolutely nothing to improve my dahlia skills. You’d think I would have watched that video one more time. Just maybe once more.
But if I’m going to waste two nap times making these hideous dahlias, I’m going to use them.
So I continued on with my craft theme. For the napkin rings, I cut paper towel rolls down to size and then covered them in wasabi tape. Totally easy! No burns.
I then made the table place cards by using the age old tissue, glue and the tip of the pencil. I did each person’s first initial. This was my favorite part of the entire table and something I’d like to use again on a future…shall we say…more elegant…table. I really also loved how they played with the peonies on the table.
For the placemats, I used construction paper and cut up a little strip for a stripe down the center. So here we go…the table…
Yikes! My vision was soo different then my execution. It all went down way better in my head.
To redeem myself, I set a second “craft paper” themed tablescape that I like so much more. I’ll post that one tomorrow.
I don’t write every time we hang something up in our home because…well…snoozefest. But, this little something that I hung has great significance to me. It’s a cowhead given from my ever chic Aunt to my Dad ions ago. They had a game of continuously gifting each other cow items. They’d each try to one up each other. I found this faux taxidermy in my parent’s garage after my dad passed and I took it home to give it pride of place. To me, it reminds me of the fun my dad had, and even if they were ridiculous gifts, he was always incredibly generous.
The cow found a little nook in our first tiny SF apartment…
In our second San Francisco apartment it fit perfectly in our kitchen nook. When we moved to our home, I carefully unwrapped the cowhead from its box and placed it temporarily in the coat closet until I found the right spot for it. A year and a half has passed by and with each rainstorm, I open up the coat closet and see my dad’s cow looking up at me, all Velveteen Rabbity, sad and ignored. This past weekend, I found a spot for the beast. Now, I get to look at the cow and think of my dad, “the cowboy.”
I hung him up above our coat rack as you enter in the back door. It’s the perfect spot! Gracie is thrilled with the new animal in our life. Every time she walks by it she either exclaims “Hi cow” many, many times in a row or she’ll give it a simple, nonchalant, teenage-esque, “hey cow.” But she has yet to walk by the cow without saying hello. To me, it’s Grace and my dad saying hi.
I didn’t grew up in a strict household. There were expectations and rules but always way more laughter and love than rigid ways.
Although, there was one thing my parents were absolutely steadfast about – family dinner. Every day of the week, 100% family attendance was mandatory.
Getting back to the fun we had, family dinner wasn’t a bad gig. My dad entertained us; my mom kept the peace; one brother was in constant motion, another up to pranks and another telling jokes. Me, I always spilt my milk. Sound chaotic? It wasn’t.
It was ideal. Almost Norman Rockwell-esque. No matter the academics, sports and social lives, everything was put down nightly for family dinner.
My personal family dinner is currently a harried involvement of cutting up food, grabbing drinks, begging Grace to sit on her bottom, and cleaning up messes. We have a two and a one year old. This is all to be expected. I’m sure my parents had the exact same dinners all those years ago.
However, we’d like to set up the tradition of mandatory family dinners as the girls get older and much too cool for us.
One thing we were in desperate need for was a spot that fits all four of us.
For the past year, during the work week, I eat dinner standing; Grace eats in her highchair in a corner, Josie eats at a desk pushed up against a wall and Graham arrives home from work later than the girls can wait to eat so he slams down food as he walks the girls up for their nightly baths. What would Norman Rockwell say about that?
Graham and my Christmas gift is FINALLY setting into motion that breakfast nook I’ve been blogging about forever so that we have a proper family dinner spot.
The first step is already done. We have a respectable table, people!
It’s not a large space that I’m working with and all standard tables were too deep. I needed a wide, skinny table. I also needed a pedastal base so we could slide in and out once the booth is made. I searched around way too long for the perfect table.
Finally, I threw in the towel and went for an Ikea hack. I love the result. We took two Rasta table bases and one white countertop, also from Ikea and made this table…
It’s perfect! And it’s already making a huge difference to have us all pulled up to the same spot.
Not to mention the girls can sit and draw there while I cook family dinner. Now we’re talking people.
The space isn’t finished yet but mandatory family dinner is on the horizon!
We just spent the cost of a small bathroom renovation fixing dry rot from our pergola. Yay! It felt about as good as when we spent the same amount bolting the foundation to the ground last year. Woo hoo!
Here is the pergola when it was rotting away…
It looks exactly the same today except not rotting.
There is one fun thing that came out of this though. The guys who redid all of the rotted posts, took down all of the lights that we have around the pergola and then they didn’t put them back up. We now have exposed electrical wires (the power is turned off).
(Dated backyard pic but can see the Wisteria in bloom)
The other night, Graham requests that I get the new lanterns that I wanted for the pergola, find an electrician and get them put up fast before El Nino hits.
If he wants me to buy with urgency, I’ll buy with urgency. It’s not a problem.
These bad boys have been purchased and once they arrive an electrician will be called ASAP…
Prior to this, our pergola had very simple lights and I felt this was an opportunity to bring in some more interesting lighting.
Because, well, Pinterest proves my point that a pergola with pendant lighting is pretty amazing.
I’ll share them when they’re up.
New year brings on the reset button – after the wonderful exhale of reflecting on the year’s past comes a deep new inhale. Time to begin again and get rid of the old.
And when I say ‘getting rid of the old’, I am being very literal.
This year’s one goal is project clean. Getting rid of all the excess crap in my life. Laundry is constantly going – partially because we have way too many clothes. The garage is packed full with my one day decor purchases. And there are little “piles” of unwanted, I’ll look at it one day, mail all throughout the house. And the toys, don’t get me started with the toys….piles and piles, stacks and stacks of broken, unused, plastic toys. Crap, I tell you people.
Cynthia Brooks Design
I read “The Life Changing Magic of Cleaning Up” but I haven’t exactly executed. 2016 means execution. Just that which brings us joy. And Graham is getting in on this two.
I’m pairing down as much as a maximalist decorator can.
How to execute?
Devote time to cleaning daily.
When I catch myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, get up and clean instead.
Get girls to help me.
Get husband to help me.
Find a place for everything.
Go through our stuff category by category and dump out the unwanted stuff and donate, donate, donate.
Here’s to hoping that my messy ways can perhaps be amended. I’m honestly doubtful but I’m going to give this my best shot.
Thank you for your lovely feedback and comments on my 2015 post. My blogging goal is to blog as an outlet when the desire to write takes ahold of me or a project I’m excited about comes to fruition. I’ve also set a goal to do a tablescape a month and share them here. I’ve got my January one in the works so stay tuned…
I did the tablescape above a few weeks ago when we had Graham’s sister’s family over for a belated Christmas celebration.