Monday, May 23, 2011

Watch out for Whimsy

When the three of us planned our trip to the Please Touch Museum, it was as if we had a turned a corner. Finally, it had come to fruition that me and my adorable husband had not scheduled an event for us to get dolled up, eat something exotic and have too much wine -- it was strictly geared for the benefit and fun of our mop-haired kid.

Although I had been to the Museum before, it had not been in its current housing: a Beaux-Arts architectural masterpiece we got to show are now cosmopolitan 2 1/2-year-old. Instead, I recalled attending a sciencish dank row house with musty red carpet, sticky walls and moving parts. The new museum site is quite the departure from its former. Surprisingly, I was already having fun. Rather than obsessing over fellow patrons and their poor manners (as I often do), I was too busy watching my kid play and glow in the surrounds of a late 1800s masterpiece. Not only was Vincenza having fun, but so were Ken and I. We started snapping away with our camera at bits and bobbles of the building before we even set the lens on sights of our silly little girl.
We went from room to room, all of us pleased and overwhelmed.

Hours later when the time had come to go, Ken reminded me he had saved the best for last. Personally, I really didn't see what could have been better than that which we had already seen and done. Yet, we were to have our finale moment on the carousel. I walked nonchalantly over to the door leading in to the glass conservatory that held the said carousel. Vincenza and Ken merged through the doors with grand smiles and I stayed back overwhelmed with quiet joy.

The restored antique swirling and glowing carousel surprised my heart and the back of my eyes watered. At 31 years old I felt lifted by the sunny details and craftsmanship poured in to this this masterpiece made for kids! And I was even happier to see my husband and my iPad-obsessed-toddler feel the same! At that moment we were all kids. At some moment we have all been kids. I wanna have more moments like those. Our souls all crave more moments like those. Make em happen:

Fun Bedding

Art

Play



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Needed Sunshine

It's no news that "a breath of fresh air" lightens any mood and stands the test of time as a saying we all revert to at one time or another whether we prefer to blurt out that old adage or not. Yet, less often can we name people in our lives who are continually the embodiment of that said phrase.
My friend of 17 fast, fun and fragile years, Amy, came over today with her four-month-old son for lunch. Not only did she come bearing a large and genuine smile while lugging her tiny kid in an obscenely heavy car seat, but a sunny disposition (which she's known for) and bouquet of five bright, big & simple sunflowers. Her fresh air and happy gesture immediately brightened the grey rainy day that existed outside my three-story brick facade.
She didn't bring flowers because she felt like she had to (we're not like that); she did it because she actually wanted to. That intent was tangible. That's what love feels like. That's what pure friendship feels like: bold, bright, heavy, nourishing, uncluttered, easy.

Perhaps it's time you want to lift someone's afternoon that you love soon, but only if you truly feel like it!
Pick a flower. Clip some Spring blooms from your yard and put them in a jam jar and share those suckers. Go a step further and trim that jar with a bit of ribbon from an old present or twine normally intended for your tomato cages. Not because you have to - because you actually want to. There just might be that somebody you adore who could use a breath of fresh air too. Thanks, Amy. Love you 5000.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kidspiration Chair & Book Nook

I was going through my photos just now in amazement of how fast the last nine years have flown by. I've spent nearly the last decade with my now husband, Ken.  For more than the last three of those years I have been pregnant and now mothering a precocious little wonder of a girl.  In all these years, He and now She have inspired me to create a feeling of home in either of the two happy houses we've lived in.  And to me, home means having a teensy slice of pampering, acknowledgement and panache in our own spaces.

When my daughter graduated from a highchair to standard height, I thought it called for a celebratory little piece. Acknowledgement. We had a bought a set of 5 dining chairs at a consignment shop and the fifth had stood lonely and abandoned in our basement for sometime.  It was time for it to come out of hiding -- my KID was ready for a chair!

I cleaned it up & removed the seat.  Outside, I sprayed the chair a cheery yellow. FYI - I've tortured myself with rollers and brushes before on chairs. Spare yourselves. Spray.
I then covered the seat in oil cloth for easy wipe downs and praised myself for the forward thinking.
After I reattached the seat and put it it my kitchen it was a great ta-da moment! But something just wasn't right.  The design aesthetic in me wasn't pleased about the pattern of the oil cloth not being repeated or referenced anywhere else in the kitchen. I looked around and then I had it. I'd make a super special spot for my beloved Vincenza: a book nook! Not to mention, I'd make it coordinate with the chair.

Here's how ridiculously easy it was to make a book nook, so go do it already:
1. Remove the lower shelf from your adjustable cabinetry.
2. Measure the back wall of the open space that you just removed the shelf from
3. Cut out a piece of cardboard or other forgiving/flexi material 1/2" less all the way around from that of your measurements.
4. Cover that "cardboard-back-piece" with batting and secure with duct tape on the back
5. Then cover the "cardboard-back-piece" with fabric of your choice & also secure with duct tape. I used an outdoor linen - but whatever you are comfortable removing kiddy snack stains from will do.
6. Use the shelf from the bookcase for the seat by adding a piece of foam OR plastic bubble packing sheets for comfiness! Then repeat steps 4 & 5 on the seat.  I opted for the oil cloth again on the seat, duh.
7. Staple gun down the fabric on the bottom of the "seat " followed by a smooth coverage of duct tape again for extra heft through the years.
8. Add packing or industrial strength Velcro on the backs of both upholstered items.
9. Place the "back-piece" in first - obviously expose the sticky side of the Velcro for adhesion & then place down the "seat" on the bottom shelf.
10. Add your kid's books on the shelf above your new nook and take pix how much your kids love hangin' in their very own special spot!
*Oh - kudos to you for encouraging reading too!



Cenza loves it.  She reads books in there while I'm making dinner. She eats popsicles in there when she's really in the mood to concentrate.