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.
The frequency of my blogging has significantly waned as I hem and haw over the future of Kate Collins Interiors. But, I don’t want to let a year pass without sending out one of my favorite posts. I learned from my dad, a lifelong journaler, that the great mark of a new year is an apropos time to look both backwards and forwards. Because this is a blog and not a leather bound journal, I thought I’d include some of my most liked Instagram pics over the past year.
Today I will look back and tomorrow onwards.
This year has given me the gift of simplicity. No moves, no new babies, no pregnancies. It has been a year of routines and roots. We know every inch of our neighborhood block; we know the fastest route to the fresh pressed smoothie store; we know the timing of mail arrival and the sound of construction as neighbors remodel. We know how to repair the antique doorknob when it inevitably falls off; we know what stair squeaks the loudest as we’re tiptoeing up; and we know how to run from dining room around to the kitchen in a repetitive loop.
Coming off of years of moves, transitions, deaths and births, this year of normalcy did not go unnoticed. I awoke truly grateful that my day consisted of feeding toddlers, wrangling them to the grocery store, a stop at the park, more feeding and then peaceful naps (while I work), waking up to a library visit then home for dinner and a bath, bed, cleaning and then restful, deep, uncomplicated sleep for myself.
I’ve done the best sleeping of my life in 2015. As a lifelong insomniac this is an absolutely wondrous, amazing thing. And it’s the permanent simplicty and relatively stress free days that have brought on the zzzz’s.
Sure, it’s not all buttercups and rainbows. Every day there are tantrums, sibling squabbles, compromises and moments of deep boredom. There are days strung together where I want to pull my hair out and I’m convinced I’ll absolutely lose it. But relative to years past that’s stress free baby and I’m thankful for it.
January 1, 2015, I set out with the one goal to make friends in our then new community. Guess what?! I did it!! I have this amazing play group with the most wonderful women and friends that I could possibly ask for. We meet up every week; we’re there for each other; supportive and completely non-judgemental. We can finish each other’s sentences because we’re all going through the exact same thing. And we have an amazing ability to carry on a conversation, all while 7 toddlers, ages 2 and under are running around us. These girls keep my insanity intact and my sense of humor strong. They are my complaint dumping haven and my special moments sharing spot. I’m so glad I forced myself to make those awkward first moves all those months ago.
I can’t finish up a year looking back without including the man who made those awkward first moves on me 10 years ago. Graham and I have further solidified as a team as we battle out the tantrums, squabbles and begging sessions. Yet, consistently at the end of the night, we’re scrolling through that day’s photos of the girls in absolute thankfulness that those two sweethearts are ours. Both of us are acutely aware that the years are short, no matter how long the days feel.
Those three are my complete heart and I’m thankful for another grand year with them.
Wishing each one of you readers, whom I absolutely treasure, a wonderfully simple 2016.
Miniature fingers and toes, thighs with multiple rolls and a little button nose. Few things in life can beat that first sight of a newborn baby. I’m at the point in life where it is raining babies all around me. We’re in a massive drought here in California but I’m pretty sure you can head outside and catch a bundle of joy as it falls from the sky. Pretty sure.
With all the babies come nurseries to decorate. Hallelujah!! Kids spaces are by far and away my favorite to design.
Here are two plans that I recently put together.
For the Tahoe lovers whose little boy will be shredding the pow pow in no time…
For the city dwellers who escape every weekend to take to the open sea whose baby can tie a sailor knot better than you can…
Now get on out there and catch yourself a baby. Clearly I shouldn’t be the one in charge of explaining the birds and the bees to my children.