Wednesday, May 22, 2013

up for sale

I got into a purging mode last week and decided to go through my closet and be honest with myself about whether or not I would ever wear everything in it. Our closet isn't very big, so I have a feeling I am going to need to do this periodically to keep it from getting out of control. I don't shop that much, but somehow it still adds up over time! I was able to pull out quite a few pieces that I love but are just not getting any use. I am sure you have those items of clothing too - the ones that never seem to make it into your rotation even though you obviously liked them when you bought them. I also went through the girl's clothes and did the same.

I decided to try out an instagram sale which has been all the rage lately, and put everything I couldn't bring myself to donate up for sale in a new shop account @littlemisslark. If you care to take a look there are a lot of vintage and newer pieces for women as well as some little girl clothes in great condition. You can leave a comment with your paypal email on the picture of the item on instagram, or if you would rather leave a comment here letting me know which item you are interested in that is fine too. Shipping is included in the price, sorry no international shipping this time. Thanks!

Other than my closet purging I have been spending a lot of time on the phone lately with our insurance company trying to sort out a big financial mess dealing with my miscarriage surgery. The first time I sat down to make a call I thought I had my emotions in check but the minute I tried to speak everything came back to the surface a hundred-fold and I found myself sobbing on the phone to a complete stranger. Lucky for me the person who answered my call was the most caring older woman who knew just what to say. She has been so wonderfully helpful through it all and if I saw her in person I would give her a big hug. My midwife clinic has also been so supportive and without getting into too much detail, it was because of them our appeal to the insurance company was accepted. Now I am just getting some odds and ends sorted out. It will feel so good when everything is all settled and I can continue to heal without this added stress.

I didn't sit down with the intention to write about any of my insurance woes and I don't really know where I am going with it, except that I am just really grateful for those people I am certain God has placed on my path to help me though this time. I am sure they will never realize just how much their kindness has meant to me, but at least now you all know and that is something :)

And, to leave you on a happy note, the winner of the So Pretty! Felt book giveaway was announced here!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

so pretty! felt book review & GIVEAWAY (closed)

Chronicle Books recently sent me a copy of So Pretty! Felt by Amy Palanjian, former editor of ReadyMade Magazine. It is a compilation of 24 simple felt projects by an assortment of contributors from around the world. In the book you will find beautiful photography as well as helpful instructions and templates for each project. I was glad to see the book began with a 'Tools and Techniques' section outlining basic tools, felt facts, and basic embroidery stitches so even beginners can feel confident getting started. You can even learn how to make your own felt from that wool sweater you never wear (or from one you thrifted).

Flipping through the book inspired me to get my felt stash out. I decided on a quick project that I knew my girls would love to wake up to the next morning and made a couple of the rosette hairpins with added leaves. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and I was right - the girls loved them! Hair clips of any kind don't stay in Lark's fine hair very well, but LM's curls looked extra cute with a little splash of Spring color.

She can't not be silly during photo shoots. It makes for my favorite pictures ;)

You can purchase So Pretty! Felt from AmazonBarnes & NobleIndieBound, or Chronicle Books.

To win a copy of the book simply leave a comment below. Follow this blog on Bloglovin for an extra entry and leave a separate comment letting me know. I'll announce the winner next Wednesday, good luck!

Update: Congratulations Heidi, you won! Please email me and I'll get you in touch with Chronicle Books. Thanks!

To read other reviews, get more chances to win, and even get the full tutorial for that awesome graphic table runner, here is the full blog book tour:

Monday, May 6 – Whip Up & Bugs and Fishes
Tuesday, May 7 – Mom Inc. Daily & Studio DIY
Wednesday, May 9 – Coquette & Studs and Pearls
Thursday, May 9 – The Sweetest Occasion & Ambrosia Creative
Friday, May 10 – West Coast Crafty & One More Mushroom
Saturday, May 11 – Mod Podge Rocks
Monday, May 13 – Handmade Charlotte & Fabric Paper Glue
Tuesday, May 14 – MINT & A Spoonful of Sugar
Wednesday, May 15 – Positively Splendid & Hart and Sew
Friday, May 17 – Aesthetic Nest & Dollar Store Crafts

Monday, May 13, 2013

making a house a home: before & after - downstairs

You've seen the upstairs renovation before and after pictures, now it's time for some peeks of the downstairs! As before, these pictures (except the last one) were taken before we moved any of our belongings inside. I am looking forward to the day I can show you these rooms lived in and decorated, but that is happening veeeery slowly. I am working on it :)

The downstairs of our home doesn't have any original mid-century charm going for it other than an awesome brick wall with a wood burning fireplace. The rest of the basement was 'finished' poorly much later on and painted horribly in dark colors so it felt like a cave. Now it is much brighter and more open! Let's take a look...

We ripped up the old dirty carpet on the stairs and originally wanted to keep them wooden, but after some thought we ended up carpeting them. It made our budget happy and made us feel a little better about any kids taking potential tumbles down them (and, yes, Lark has fallen down the stairs once and I was so glad the carpet helped cushion her fall). Also, the way the stairs are positioned you don't see them unless you are walking on them, so aesthetically the wooden stairs wouldn't have made a big difference.

The stairs lead you to the downstairs family room with the brick wall and fireplace. That door is a second entrance to the garage.

This is the view of the same room from the other side. You can see we ripped out the lovely red metal roofing acting as wainscoting, built a half wall railing, and carpeted. We also put drywall up over the wood paneling which was painted in stripes. They used the wrong kind of paint so you could peel big pieces of it right off. Instead of trying to sand and paint over that nightmare we just covered it up.

The peek you see of that dark room is where we have the TV set up. It has no windows and the very first time we saw the house Husband claimed it as the 'theater room'. I have to say it is nice to have the TV tucked away with a door to close on it, and it is also nice to have a cool, dark relaxing room to watch movies in at night :)

There was a laundry closet in the upstairs hallway but we decided to convert it into a pantry for more storage space and build a new laundry room downstairs. This room had a laundry hook up but was totally unfinished. After knocking out a wall we were able to create a nice sized laundry room that is very functional. Not pictured are some cabinets and a hanging rod around the corner of the door. This room also has a not so nice story of a homemade non-functioning ejector pump in the floor that I will spare you the gory details of... I am happy to say we got a professional plumber to put a proper pump in and now all smells well :) 

 The playroom was the darkest corner of the basement and in my opinion one of the biggest changes. This carpet was a compromise between Husband and I. I wanted to lacquer the concrete with a fun aqua color so the kids could easily push ride-on toys and even roller skate like I did in my basement growing up. Husband thought it would be too cold on little feet and once again there was the carpet provides cushion for falls argument. We settled on getting a colorful carpet with a low pile so ride-on toys and trains could still easily be pushed around on it, but I was never certain of that choice.

At first I thought we made a horrible decision. It was the only change we made that I wasn't completely happy with when I saw it. It took me a while to get used to the color which was not exactly what I was expecting, but now I think it is fun - it is a playroom after all! I know I will like it better once it is decorated and all put together. All of the toys are still pretty much where they were placed when we moved everything in and just plopped them down. I have big plans for this space being more functional, organized, and fun!

So now you've seen most of the house. I didn't have good before and after pictures of every space, but it gives you a good idea of the work we were doing for all of those months. It was a lot!

See all of our house renovation posts here.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

our backyard anniversary date

This past weekend Husband and I celebrated our six year wedding anniversary. We decided not to worry about dressing up fancy or giving each other gifts and were both content spending the day doing yard work side by side. We hauled away two truckloads of plant debris (thanks to the help of my dad and his truck), and our flowerbeds are now actually starting to resemble flowerbeds.

The girls had been begging all week to have a camp out with s'mores, so we ended the day around our fire pit for the first time. We have plans to fix it up a bit and probably move it's location, but for now it is a fun gathering spot. We roasted marshmallows and hot dogs, and enjoyed all of the beautiful blossoms that are showing off on our two apple trees and one gigantic pear tree. Our five lilac trees are alllmost in bloom. Afterwards we set the tent up inside for the girls to sleep in and since we left it up they have been enjoying playing in it all week.

It wasn't the most romantic anniversary we have ever had, but it is definitely up there as one of my favorites. We are so happy and grateful for this life we have built and that we have this little piece of land to work on and improve, and most especially spend time together in.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

kollabora + my waves

I have had this skirt on my 'to-sew' list for a long time, but with our crazy ups and downs these past six or so months it was put on the back burner. Kollabora generously sent me a kit with everything I would need to make it, so when I was feeling pretty down in the dumps recently and just wanted to sew without having to think about anything it was the perfect project - it was all there waiting for me! I love the fabric they chose and the pattern was a real winner too. Their site is filled with inspiration, tutorials, and even the supplies you need to make the project you love, plus, you can upload your own projects to share. Are any of you already members? Let me know and I will follow you!

In other really important news that you definitely need to know about me, I have decided to ban my blow dryer this Spring/Summer. It's been almost a month since hot air has touched these locks and I am not looking back. High-fives to the lazy girl inside of me! I have wavy hair naturally but have never really embraced it, so this will be the longest stretch of time I will have let my hair air-dry. Also, I am growing out my bangs for the first time in years. Big changes are happening around here folks! ;)

p.s. The winner of the Shabby Apple giveaway was announced here. Did you win?

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