decorating 101- paint it white

I love decorating my house.  The hardest part about moving was leaving our dear friends, but the hardest part about leaving our physical home in Oak Park, was leaving the light fixtures, English imported wallpaper, Japanese maple, etc.  and the memories and emotions that went with them.

The upside is I have a new home with new spaces ready for new stories. When I say new, I mean new to us.  Our home was built in 1936 and still has much of its original character left.

I wanted to share two quick inexpensive updates we added over the weekend.

In Paddy’s bathroom, there was a bench that did not match the built in vainty, so we painted the stool white and I recovered the seat. “Recovered” as in bought super cool oil cloth in California and stapled it to the seat. I did not take a before picture, but I had this picture and you can see the stool with the old medicine cabinet on it.  (we took down the ivy wallpaper and repainted the room before we moved in).













New and improved:















The other update was adding a shelf over the bed in our guestroom.  There is not too much room for anything but a bed in the room, but we wanted somewhere to put a few books, a clock and a vase for a flower when we have guests.  We simply painted a 6 foot board white and it literally sits on these cool brackets my sister had bought from Anthropologie, but never used (making them free to us). The before picture was taken before we moved in and we repainted the room from lavender to a dark shade of white.










shoebox dollhouse

We have fallen for Calico Critters.  I had a few when I was little and we bought Bridget a few for Christmas.  I was very tempted to buy a house for them, but we really don’t need one and so I decided to make a shoebox dollhouse for them to live in. This is a very old idea and there are many ways to do it.  I used two books for inspiration, Green Crafts for Children and Homemade Fun.

  1. We selected four shoe boxes that had similar height and width (you can use as many as you like, or only one, depending on the number of rooms you would like to have)
  2. We painted the insides of the boxes
  3. We glued them together with  hot glue and used clothespins to hold the boxes together as the glue dried
  4. I used mod podge to cover the boxes in paper to make the outside a little prettier
  5. I used a piece of cardboard to make the roof, I also modged poged paper on it and hot glued it in place
  6. We have not done too much else, but you can cut out windows, make furniture, curtains, etc.





Bridget has enjoyed playing with it and it has made a cute place for her hedgehog family to live.

As this is another girl craft, I will share a picture of my chubby cheeked boy.  Let’s just say he LOVES trucks (or frucks as he calls them.)


the great thaw

I know it is not spring, but Bridget thinks it is and after the past couple of days I know I can survive until it does come.  My children enjoyed splashing in the puddles as the ice finally melted.


It also helped that B and I got out of Dodge last week when we were having the bitter cold weather.  We jetted to San Francisco to visit my sister.  They have a meyer lemon tree in their backyard and one of the first things we did was make lemonade.  Nothing tastes better than fresh homemade lemonade.




Homeade Lemonade

  • make simple syrup (1/1 ratio of sugar and water) : boil 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and let cool
  • squeeze about 2 cups of lemon juice
  • Combine simply syrup and lemon juice and pour over ice and add 3-4 cups of water to taste

Bridget sometimes will find a lemon in the fridge and squeeze the juice into her play pitcher and add sugar and water and mix it all up- it always tastes yummy!

I have to say it was extra fun making the lemonade in a kitchen that looks like this

Because we were feeling so springy today, we made a butterfly craft.  The idea actually came from a craft  saw on the oriental trading company website.

We simply painted an old toilet paper roll added googly eyes, a pipe cleaner antennae, and some tissue paper wings.


cooped up fun

I find being cooped up in our home without a schedule to be a great hindrance to my creative juices.  I thrive on structure and schedules, and flounder when every activity is canceled for four days in a row.

I do, however, think it is good for me and the kids to slow down and enjoy going a little crazy within the walls of our home. We have stayed in our pajamas all day, made forts, had indoor picnics and watched hours of Super Friends

We love tea parties.  We have at least five different tea sets.  I have to say that the one pictured above is our favorite.  It was  birthday a 2nd birthday gift from dear friends.  It is enamel coated so the kids can really but tea (or lemonade or water) in it.  They pretend with it too, it may be one of our most played with toys.

I love paper dolls. When my mom was in labor with my sister she sat on the couch and cut out paper dolls for me.  Bridget was recently introduced to paper dolls because her aunt gave her this really beautiful book for Christmas.

While you can cut the book up, I chose to make copies of the dolls and clothes so that we can keep the book intact. The book also includes beautiful scenes to use as backdrops for play.  Paper dolls are one of those lovely, timeless toys that are perfect for quiet winter play.

When Bridget gets older I would love to get her some of these custom paper dolls, which I think would be a lovely gift for any little girl.

A  note about our crafting:

I started really crafting with Bridget when she was 2-1/2. She will be 4 in a few weeks.  In general it seems that more girly crafts  exist. Given this and that my oldest is a girl, most crafts on this blog while be girlish. My son is 19 months and shows interest in what we do, but is not quite old enough to really participate.  I hope as Paddy grows that we will discover cool boyish crafts that we can all enjoy together.

My son however, looks like he may grow up to be baller.  He already shoots hoops, and they actually go in. . .

Another cooped up activity: lots of time playing in the basement where we keep the basketball or  “baball” as Paddy calls it.

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