Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Night In

happy new year!  we're ringing it in with a low-key night in [mini] kids party.  here's a little of what we have planned...

this beauty will be dropping at our pretend midnight countdown with some candy for the kids.
a beautiful bottle of delicious italian "champagne" and it's super cheap.
[i have 30 empty bottles from our wedding in my basement awaiting their fate as a chandelier someday.
i still get questions about it - that's how good it is!]
pipe cleaner crowns, glitter horns and some light up balloons that i'm really excited to try out.
i don't usually make resolutions, but something i'm going to try to do more of this year.

i hope everyone has a great and safe new year wherever you may find yourself at midnight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Through Their Eyes

i hope everyone had a great holiday, here were some scenes from ours...

bundled up for lights at the zoo, oh christmas tree - that dean and i took turns re-decorating,
matching morning jammies, stockings for the boys and dogs, letter from santa, to the moon, dino for dean-o,
and the day after re-cooperating - cole had taken off his pants and given them to dean
who decided to drape them over his shoulder (haha) and that lion looks as rough as i felt.

i felt luckier more than ever to be with my family this year and was reminded that you can't ever take time
with them for granted.  i also know these moments when my kids are little are so precious and
i'm looking forward to a new year filled with more "firsts" and fun through their eyes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sleigh Ride

at grandma's house for our christmas card photo.  dean kept running towards me, so most of these were taken while i was running backwards...

luxe faux fur russian hats from restoration hardware baby & child.
the quality is amazing (on sale for $18!)
v neck sweater in navy from baby gap

i'm a sucker for elbow patches (on sale for $14!)
and harper high tops from target (in case you missed them here)

they crack me up even when they are not trying to.
i think this was my favorite of the day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12 Trees of Christmas

the crafty diy geniuses were at it again over at oh happy day.  i want to try almost all of their projects, but this one was just too great that i had to make it immediately...

this was the first year i've done an advent calendar for the boys and i thought this one was not only beautiful,
but classic enough to bring back every year.  i had intended on making this just as it is,
but after these boxes were sold out and searching the internet elsewhere it occurred to me...
what can i even put in those teeny boxes that is safe in dean's mouth? (other than candy)

so this was my version...

i ordered the trees from oh happy day's link and used their adorable little banners,
but went without the boxes and decided to make it night time at a christmas tree farm.
also to make it easier on myself i used 25 trees, but only 12 days with banners.

this is all on a shelf in our kitchen and i made the quick night sky painting to hang
 over a picture that was washing out the trees.  i think this display would go great on a mantle too.
i see little army men hiking through these trees when the boys are older.

here's what you need for the bases of the trees if you want to make the version without boxes.
it turned out to be cheaper because i already had all the materials above and those little boxes
only seemed to be available in sets of 100 (more than i wanted to spend and four times what i needed)
it was too late in the game to find three friends that would want to make one too :)

1. draw 25 circles on a piece of cardboard (i used the box the trees were shipped in and the spool of thread as a template)
2. cut out 25 - 5" squares of fabric (i used natural colored linen, but any would work)
3. cut 25 strands of twine or any string you want to about 7" each

4. stack fabric, then circle, then batting on top of each other.  stick tree base in, bundle it all up and tie it all together and cut off any excess fabric.  

*note - these trees are designed for model train sets and will not stand on their own,

the reason you need to glue them to the boxes or make the bag bases.

i wrote different things on the back of each day - a mixture of candy,
a little bag of toys to pull from and activities like go see santa.

cole has really enjoyed it so far... day 1 = "have hot chocolate".
i decided later to add some mini starry night lights i already had
to give even more of a tree farm feel.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Some Stylish Kids

i've found some holiday-worthy outfit inspiration at zara kids recently.  if you've never checked them out you should, very similar to gap prices with free shipping and free returns.  here's some of what i loved...

for dean - knitted mittens, polo with herringbone collar and parka with sheepskin collar
and cole - sweater with shoulder patchessweater with button neck in black, and two-tone high tops,
and more from their lookbook...

and speaking of the gap... 

i saw an ad for this velvet band jacket and got so excited, i have been searching ebay for the stella mccartney version [right] off and on for months.  i thought they had brought back a new version of it, but unfortunately it's only made for girls.  cole was teeny tiny when it came out over three years ago and it even crossed my mind to buy it then, but being a new mom i wasn't confident in my future size guessing skills.  so the search continues...

Friday, December 7, 2012

My Little Man & the Moon

i was so excited when i found this rodarte moon wrapping paper (part of the new neiman marcus line at target) because it's perfect for cole who is still obsessed with the moon, you may remember this post from the summer.  i knew it would be gorgeous framed and i couldn't wait to try because it was cheap, easy and would be instantly gratifying if it worked.  it reminded me of these that i had seen from restoration hardware.  to my surprise, it looked even better than i imagined!  it turned out to not be your average wrapping paper, it's super thick and has a velvety matte finish that makes it look expensive.  i originally planned to hang it in his room, but i'm now considering it for our living area, so i decided to play around with it a bit.  i think it could work for anyone whether you have a moon-loving kid or not...
also did i mention there's four sheets in the roll, so there's room for error if you cut it out incorrectly.
the 22" x 28" poster frame is also from target (sorry no link - only available in store).  it came with plexi-glass
that i decided to take out to loose the glare and then i cracked it so there was no putting it back in.
i then used scotch tape to very carefully secure the paper to the backing board with very little tape on front
so it wouldn't peek out of the frame.  the great thing was it turned out so much better without the plexi-glass.
(i love happy accidents)
gray throw from target, handmade pillow from my etsy shop, metal polyhedron from hobby lobby,
gold candleholders and sconce from pottery barn, table and boat are flea market finds.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Owls & Feathers

everyone is finally on the mend around here and i've been getting super crafty with cole to help pass the time till santa arrives.  i am literally greeted every morning with "is it christmas today?!?"  i haven't had the heart to explain that it's twenty some days away (not that he can comprehend that kind of time anyway) so distraction has been my best friend.  here's two projects we completed so far - these sets of owls similar to ones i saw on pinterest and feather ornaments inspired by some gorgeous ones from dwell studio.  i love the look of them and they go with my woodland theme for my tree this year, but even hung high there's no way they'd survive in my house, so this was my attempt at a kid friendly version.  not only were both of these projects fun to do, but they were very inexpensive too...    

this set of the sleepy gold owls was my favorite and i loved the way they looked
perched on a piece of driftwood too.  they have held up surprisingly well
to being ripped off the tree and the same goes for the feathers ornaments,
if they get pulled apart they are very easy to fix.

here's how to make both...

you'll need - feathers + leather cording + colored tape like this

step 1. put together 3-5 feathers of your choosing
step 2. cut a piece of cording about 5" long and fold it in half to make a loop
step 3. wrap a small piece of tape to hold it all together.  

*note - this kind of paper tape is not super sticky, so i recommend using scotch tape first for binding and then adding the colored paper tape over top for looks.  this kind of tape doesn't do well when it's wrapped over itself too many times.  also make sure you've trimmed the stems off any long feathers so that one tape width covers the leather cording and stems.

you'll need - cardboard rolls + spray paint + sharpie

step 1. cut (if necessary) cardboard roll to toilet paper size
step 2. spray paint
step 3. once dry fold top inward on two sides to create the owls ears
step 4. use a black fine point sharpie to draw on the owl

*note - i recommend rubber gloves and a comfort grip handle like this to give you more control (whenever you are spray painting really).  also if it's too cold for the paint to cure properly bring them inside once they're tacky to dry the rest of the way.  i used a couple different brands from what i had around the house and the rust-oleum worked so much better than even the more expensive craft store brands - it looked better over the cardboard, dried faster, and was easier to write over once dry.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cool + Classic Kids Gifts

i've been taking care of sick kids lately so my only option has been to start my holiday shopping online.  i've collected some of my favorite gifts from three great kids shops on the web.  i really love the classic heirloom quality that many of these toys have...

from land of nod - this old truck, baby buff rattle, eenie meenie cooking set,
play with your food, large plush animals, and aloha ukulele

we have the cooking set and play food and my kids play with it on almost a daily basis.
it is also the first toy their friends dig out when we have parties.
i highly recommend it!  perfect for kids in the age 1-6 range

from romp - real tool set and optrixx kaleidoscope cameras

restoration hardware baby & child - wool felt crowns, luxe faux fur russian hats,
mountain boy pull sled and the montlhery pedal car

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Woodland Animal Ornaments

i've yet to start any holiday decorating, but i have planned a tree that is fun and extra kid friendly now that i have two little sets of curious hands.  i decided to try to make some ornaments and decorate my tree in woodland creatures.  here's a set of ornaments i made that can also be found in my etsy shop...

note - if you are viewing this within email, click MadMother at the top and be re-directed to the blog where you can access the etsy link

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White & Woven

i fell in love with this dress as soon as i saw it a couple weeks ago on project runway.  it also happens to be by my favorite designer from the whole series uli herzner.  it reminded me of some equally beautiful pillows and poufs from abc carpet & home.  since how neither is in the budget, i've been on the hunt for a cheaper version.  i thought i had found one similar at homemint, but when i went for another look, they were already gone.  and so my search continues...

you can see more of uli on project runway allstars - i really hope she wins this time.berber pillows and poufs from abc carpet & homethey are organic, fair trade and hand woven by women in morocco.

michelle adams of lonny mag with her curated collection for homemint.
i'm also now on a mission to make the tie dye pillow on the left.

i'm in awe of these woven vines structures and already dreaming about one in my backyard for the boys to play in.
there was little information on them, just that the photo was taken in new harmony, indiana.
if i knew they were still there, then a road trip would definitely be in order.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Little Heart Breaker

dean is a flirt everywhere we go and i swear he's already been wooing my friend's daughter josephine for months now.  i took this picture of them a while back (you may have seen it in the beauty of boys post).  we were cracking up at how adorable it was and joking that we could sell it to a greeting card company because the sayings that could go with it are endless...

well he saw her recently and was at it again, but i'm afraid
their love affair may have taken a turn for the worse...

i love these "quick, grab your camera!" moments.
i couldn't get a series of pictures like this again if i tried.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Target Style

my friend jenny swears that i find things at target that she never even sees.  the key - it's the closest store to me so i'm there all the time.  it's easy and efficient to buy bananas and a jacket in the same trip when you have kids in tow.  my life right now almost requires that i shop this way, and when i can't find a size, i just order it online and in the process find even more great items.  and just when i wonder if target may loose their edge, they strike back again and again with amazing items.  in case you've missed them, here's some of the extra great items i've picked up in the past couple months...

kaelyn ankle boots and fur collar faux leather jacket
long sleeve geo sweater in asphalt gray, circo robot bank and long sleeve gray pirate sweater

harper hightops - i cannot say enough good things about these shoes!
i'm going to pick up another pair or two in fact. they go with everything, clean up easily
and they are velcro and elastic so they are perfect for the "i can do it myself" toddler.
someone literally complements them and asks where we got them everywhere we go.

even my friend eric wants a pair for himself (sorry only kid sizes) and his daughter "harper" of course.

small and mini gold bowls, oak washed box, square slate frame and faux leather frame -
all from the new nate berkus collection 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tissue & Paper

i love diy and and the ideas out there right now on what you can make with tissue and paper alone are incredible.  i hope to try all of these projects below, but seeing how it could be awhile before i get to them, i didn't want to wait to share.  starting with the simple to the more complex...

versions of this tissue paper tassel garland are popping up everywhere
and i'm determined to get some onto my tree this year.

i absolutely love the new line of confetti system decorations at west elm right now.
i think they are so much more than just holiday decorations.  they would be beautiful clustered
like this or hung on a line in a child's bedroom or play room year round.

i posted a picture of a paper mache moon a couple months ago that i wanted to try making,
but this one seems easier and much less of a mess to make.  check out oh happy day -
they have some of the most beautiful and original diy projects i've ever seen
with full step by step instructions for this project and many more.

 and i really love this mini marquee sign - also courtesy of oh happy day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I'm a Sucker For...

marquis letters, classy nautical, wes anderson films, fresh flowers, cars like this - especially in places like this, party decorations, marshmallows over the fire, vintage sports equipment, and the elvis lip.

this is a snapshot from my tumblr page - to see more of what i love and get an extra dose of MadMother inspiration follow me there (and/or on pinterest)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Watch Me Grow

this was the best and hardest project i have ever done.  starting when cole was just one week old i took his picture in his crib next to this well-loved bear that was my husband's from his childhood.  when i took that first picture over three years ago i had no idea how important the process would become to me.  i continued the tradition every friday, the day of the week they were both born, and ended up taking 104 of these pictures combined.  i complied all the pictures into books and i just received dean's in the mail a few days ago.  i recently heard the saying "you have a child forever, but a baby for just one year".  i am so happy i captured that short year for both of them in this way.  the ability to now see how they grew side by side to each other is priceless...

dean and cole at one month old