I meant to finish my project this weekend. But, as usual, I got swallowed up into a whole new project. It's hard to do one project with two boys running around. But two was almost impossible.

Here's what I did this weekend:
Okay, so my husband put in the dry wall, but I prepped, sanded, spackled, sanded, primed and painted it. We even had some leftover yellow, so it's all matchy-matchy. And the room looks so much better.

Here's what I'm still trying to finish. It's been really difficult to keep the bubbles out.

Sneak Peek

I'm in the middle of another project. This one I thought would take me only a day or two. But I've had a bunch of issues. My paper was too big. Then it wrinkled too much. So my project that began as the use-what-you-have-no-buying-stuff has evolved.

Although, is getting supplies from your prop master husband "buying" them? I hope not.

Toddler Photographer

I'm in the middle of a project right now. And it's way more complicated than I thought it would be. So while I was running back and forth between the house and the backyard, Hartwell got a hold of the camera. He's pretty good.

The first picture is of his brother!

Then he took a few, like five, of his feet.


Then I heard, "I wanna take a picture of the sky."

And here's one that shows his little shadow.

I need to get him a video camera. That would be some good stuff.

Lonny Magazine

I was going through my magazine pages and putting together an inspiration book for the house and I realized that I totally miss Domino Magazine! Most of the other magazines were either too super refined or too matchy-matchy for me. Like a Kelly Wearstler room will have collections of things that look like they took years to assemble or Better Homes and Gardens will feature a room that is entirely pink and green. Both pretty, but not my thing.

Then the other day, my husband (?!), tweeted about Lonny Magazine. An online magazine from an ex-editor of Domino. And it is exactly what I was missing. It's full of things that are totally doable for me! The only problem is that there is no way to share the photos. Or print them to add to your inspiration folder. Gentlemen, unacceptable!

I'll sleep when they're 18.

I got really brave and took a non-retouched, non-blurred, non-made-up, non-black and white photo of myself.

I was talking to a friend about how I think I look tired. I'm pretty sure it's because I am actually tired, and not that I'm just old. I'm only 33. I should be able to just take a long nap and be okay. And there's the problem. Who has time to take naps?

But I still decided to do a little something about it. I really, really want a day at a spa. With a massage and a facial. (Universe..did you get that?) And since instant gratification takes too long, I helped me help myself. I made myself a fancy scrub with olive oil and baking soda. And scrubbed away. My skin is terribly soft. We'll see if I break out.

I just sort of made it up, mixing a little baking soda and a little olive oil until I got a paste. But this site has a recipe.

I think it smells a little too much like the bread course at Macaroni Grill, and so does Bee who sat next to the new, clean mama and said, "Whachu eatin'?"

It's curtains for you. Curtains.

Last night I had one of those moments of inspiration and  ran to the basement to get materials to create a little valance for my kitchen. I just used scrapbooking paper and some crazy double stick rug tape I had lying around.

Previously, I had some super cool roman blinds I had made out of rice paper. Grommets and everything! But they weren't entirely functional. And eventually the sun kind of bleached them to nothing.

I took a dowel rod and affixed two wooden caps to the ends and painted them yellow. Then used cup hooks to attach the dowel to the window.

For the shade, I covered the rod with double stick tape and just wrapped the top of the paper around it. Then I trimmed the bottom with scallop shears. It's not perfect, you really have to be precise, but from a distance it looks pretty cute!

Ew, house-a-tosis!

I've been exploring paint choices for our house lately. It's a bit too neutral for my taste. I "painted" it with the Benjamin Moore software, but the trim came out looking like a cartoon. I made a few sketches and used my colored pencils to see what worked. I like this color combination, but the yellow is a bit dark. The window behind that giant bush on the left:

I also did a tiny, tiny sketch of what it could be. I really like tiny drawings.

And finally, a sketch of my bathroom. I did it without the window measurement and realized why AutoCAD rules. Erasing is lame. I would much rather click and click and move and copy. I need to redo where the tile stripe goes, but who doesn't love a hand drawn toilet?

Would you knock it off please? Thank you.

I am the meanest mom ever. I try to capture crying kids as much as smiling kids. Not that I am the cause of the tears, he fell down while trying to be the leader. It's just that I bet he would've preferred kind words and a kiss to faux shutter clicks. Sorry, buddy.

I like Los Angeles in winter, how about you?

We went to the park this morning to get a better look at the snow. It's pretty crazy to see it that low on the mountain. I love the palm trees. Such a perfect photo of Los Angeles in winter. Sunny, palm trees and snow far away.

Barometer's gettin' low.

It's raining here in Southern California. It rained almost all day yesterday which puts a damper on my creative plans. My "mama room" is in my basement, which is outside and downstairs. Slippery stairs. Usually I let the boys hang out and watch a movie on daddy's computer while I sew. But I don't want them walking up and down the cement stairs and it's cold. I don't like the cold.

I have a lot of ideas percolating, but then I have to go downstairs in the cold and slightly darker basement and lay out my goodies and realize it won't work and walk back upstairs and have a cookie.

You can see my white back door at the top and the top corner of my basement. the space in the middle is open. Only in Southern California. Even though when this house was built, it probably snowed here.

Also in prepping for the rain we called our cousin the fire captain. We needed some sand bags since our house is south facing on a downhill. So she set some aside for us. (Sometimes we get the neighbor's front yard washing through our backyard). We went to the fire station to pick up the sand bags and took the boys because, FIRE STATION! And not only was it an awesome fire station, but one of the fire fighters brought his son to work to celebrate his second birthday. So the boys got to sing happy birthday and get cake and ice cream!  As soon as the cake and ice cream was done, a call came in and the fire truck pulled out sirens and all. Best. Day. Ever.

I can't wait to paint this house. Color suggestions?

All My Teals

We randomly ended up at a hardware store today. Not in the plans at all. We drove to Glendora to get a smog check and needed a place to hang out  while we waited. I picked up a bunch of teals. My camera photographs them bluer than they are. At least I think it's my camera. It's overcast today. Another reason to build myself a lightbox. (That paragraph is a perfect example of  how my brain works).

I used the chartreuse sample as "carpeting" because I really, really want chartreuse Fedora Flor tiles in my bedroom. And right now, in the imagination stage, I'm feeling exceptionally brave.

More Paint

Another great tool is a Color Visualizer. Available for free online from several paint retailers. I used the one from Benjamin Moore. You do have to register, which they don't ask for until you're halfway through, but it's pretty cool.

Here's my lovely bedroom pic in Grappa:

And Gondola Ride:

I think Barkley's coat really pops with the teal.

Interior Design on a Budget

Here's another random tip for getting the room of your dreams...on a budget. Buy a paint deck. Mine is from Dunn  Edwards and was $16. I've had it for 5 years now and anytime I want to paint something, I just whip it out and find a color I like. It's instant gratification for me. I don't have to find time to go to Lowe's to sift through their infinite paint walls. Now I just select a color from my fan deck, lime green, for example, then head for the greens, pick a few I like, usually several of each shade/tint, and then come home and tape them to the walls.

But, of course, it doesn't always work out that way. I wanted my cabinets to be Martha gray, I selected several grays and when I went to buy the paint I chose a navy blue. Because I like color, dammit! And when in doubt I choose COLOR!

The Secret Bedroom

A lot of you know that I use the secret to get everything. But I thought I'd share a little bit of the how. First there's You actually type in your goals and then the universe sends you personalized emails. Here's an example:

I understand, Courtney, that you must wonder, sometimes to the point of bewilderment, at what you're truly capable of doing. Yet, therein lies the "problem," because living the life of your dreams is far more about what I'm capable of doing. Surrender -
    The Universe

Sometimes they're so good they make me cry. Which, not difficult, but still.

Now to use this toward my interior design dreams, that's my favorite part. I've never been one to walk into a Crate and Barrel and buy a $5,000 bedroom on a credit card. I'm too cheap for that. Even if I had the cash, not really my style. If you follow the secret, you probably have a vision board. I don't like them, too clutter-ie. Especially mine. I'm a square-right angle clutterer. So what I do is frame my inspirations and put them around my house. Like so:

This is my bedroom inspiration. It sits on a shelf in my bedroom. It was almost impossible to find anything that was small enough to replicate. No sense in finding some crazy 500 square foot dream bedroom. I love the wall color, it's a rich eggplant, and the textures in the pillows and then duvet and the closet drapery. It's got all that pattern that I love so much.

Here's my bedroom. It's tiny, but it's not like I need a treadmill in here:

We used the IKEA swedish shelving and I added an Indian flavored tapestry. Then I made a fabric panel in some excellent IKEA fabric to cover the end. It faces out to the hall and I don't want to see clutter from outside my bedroom.* (Barkley really wanted to be in the picture).

Underneath is the really bad clutter. That's what the tapestry is for. But I wanted to show you everything, good and bad and biscotti on the corner of my bed.

*I know I have a shoe hanging off the basket. It's an excellent shoe and I like to look at it. A shoe fairy sent it to me with kind words and it reminds me of good things. I also have my Buy More hat in there. I wanted it and my husband got it for me from a producer. So it gets displayed as well.

Quilty, quilty, green squared.

Thought I'd give quilting a whirl. Last time I visited my mom in Seattle (more like Canada), she bought me this pack of squares. I thought they matched my living room and that maybe I'd eventually make some pillows or something. Now that we're trying not to spend any unnecessary money, (i.e. on fabric and jalapeno poppers), I've been digging through my stash of unfinished/never started projects and gettin' busy.

The projects do two things, keep me busy so I don't leave the house and give me something to post about. I'm also slowly finishing all the little bits that I have laying around. I found an embroidered drum set and some great vintage pieces that I meant to turn into something amazing.

I keep stumbling and finding really fantastic quilts people whip together. Which makes me want to try it. I remembered I had this pack of fabric, arranged it in a pattern I liked and started sewing. It's not perfect, but it'll make a great nap quilt for John. Something I can keep in the living room that I don't have to hide if someone comes over.

My mom is coming to visit for Hartwell's birthday and she's an uber-quilter. So I'll probably drag her to my local quilting store to finish the edges and get a cool backing fabric. It's only 3' x 3' right now, not quite enough to cover my feet.

He's got legs. He knows how to use them.

As I've mentioned before, John likes to say to me, when a joke falls flat or a dish doesn't come together as I had hoped, "They can't all be winners." Yet another of my Keurig fueled projects didn't magically turn out bathed in the perfection I had envisioned. I made this little love chicken as a test to see if they were simple enough to make as a Valentine project for Hartwell's preschool class.

I followed the instructions as well as I could, Hartwell was watching a Thomas video on the computer and I had to either interrupt it to get the next step or leave him alone and sew in peace. I sewed in peace. When I turned love chicken right side out for my "voila" moment, his legs were missing! I sewed his legs inside the love pocket. Usually I'm a really good instruction/directions memorizer, with my little acting background, and yet my motherhood scatterbrain is starting to win the battle.

After showing my friends my fail, I decided to fix him. If only because it's one less love chicken to make for the class. And I'm lazy.

Pattern and Instructions at Molly Chicken.

Bee Embroidery Pattern

I was born with good legs. As for the rest... beautiful, no. Amusing, yes."

I love all divas. Dolly Parton, RuPaul, Lady GaGa. Right now we're watching Pete's Dragon and I have a crush on Helen Reddy. If you're a brassy broad, I'm in love with you. I saw this Josephine Baker image and knew I had to stitch her.

In preparation for posting this, I looked her up. I knew she was amazing, but I had no idea of the extent of her amazingness. I read her official website and actually cried when they got to her funeral. (I cry a lot, but still). Dancer, singer, activist, government courier in WWII, foster mother to 12 children. Angelina Jolie has a lot of work to do to catch up with La Baker.

Photo in banana costume.

P.S. I ironed it once and then set it to the side. I'm not ironing it twice! For a photo! Are you mad?!

Orange you glad I didn't say banana?

In a previous post I remarked on the sorry state of my oven mitt. I mean, it was gross. It looked like I used it to dust under my couch. A couple of my favorite readers decided to remedy the situation and bought me the most gorgeous orange oven mitts ever! Clearly these ladies are artists, who else would know about my love of high contrast?

Thank you, thank you, Elsa and Chloe! I look forward to forcing you to help me with more odd french translations and letting Bee poop in your house.

This is one of my favorite, favorite cookie recipes ever! Danish Vanilla Slices. They taste like fresh, delicious bites of vanilla. Plus? Since you have to form the dough into logs and freeze it, you don't have to sit there baking all day. You can slice off 3, 14, or 25 and just bake those. I like to bake half and keep the other log in the freezer for emergencies.

Danish Vanilla Slices (from TheGreat Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas)

1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg. In separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture, alternating with the vanilla. Mix until stiff dough forms. Knead lightly. Divide into 2 parts, form into logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill one hour. (If you plan to store for longer, wrap in wax paper and foil, freeze up to 2 weeks).
Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Allow to cool, dust with powdered sugar.

But maybe I'm crazy...

These jeans drive me crazy.

I think they were made on the cusp between the Abercrombie Strategically Ripped (TM) and the new Dark and Skinny. They aren't old, they just have odd holes in them that I believe were there when purchased.

The other lameness about them is that the pockets aren't deep enough.

You can't slip your change in there and they also sort of drift out. So I end up looking like a political cartoon circa 1929. I had to fix them. I worked it out in my head, I wanted it to look sort or wabi-sabi, so I just picked my fabric and started pinning. I thought I was making the pockets deeper, I added some muslin on the inside and stitched it to the background fabric. But as my husband says, "They can't all be winners." Didn't quite work.

I ironed and starched the pockets and tried them on. Same problem. They fell out. Which I discovered was part design, part my big fat ass. (Two babies! Leave me alone). So I just went back to my sewing machine and stitched them closed. Problem solved! (And I didn't even need the Problem Solvers!) Here they are:


...if you want to be loved.

A purse! The universe spoke to me!

After one of my favorite ladies reported that her purse was stolen from her car which was parked in her DRIVEWAY, the boys and I decided that Ms. Marcel Wave was a purse. A quick and dirty purse. Made in a couple of hours. Between finishing my other boot.

Totally worth it.

Keep young and beautiful...

Deborah Graff helped me select a new inspirational design book on our last date. And here is the embroidery I was inspired to stitch. I wish the colors came out better in the photo. It is the most delicious deco palette. Daffodil, maroon, teal and gray.

One of my interior design professors used to say he would murder us if he saw that we did a deco room in pink and gray. "There are so many other colors to use!" So, this is for you, Mr. Adams. No pink!

P.S. What is she? A pillow? I have no idea.

Brilliant or Insane?

Brilliant because it's gorgeous. Insane because there are TWO! It took me 6-8 hours for the first one. (Stretched out over 2 days, of course). So this next one will be done Thursday.

 How'd I do it? An iron-on transfer pen! I used a pattern from Peasant Designs, a Dover Publications book. (I'm pretty sure most of them are royalty free). I increased it 150% and then traced the design onto tracing paper, then flipped it and traced the reverse on a second piece of tracing paper. Then ironed them onto my $25 boots from Payless. I also busted out my colored pencils and traced a color guide onto a third piece of tracing paper. Above is my floss mess after 2 days of working piece by piece.

[edited to add boot #2 in process].

P.S. Totally inspired by petunia.