Wednesday, January 22

:: A Room to Grow In ::

I finally got around to visiting a client in Vestavia to take some pictures of this finished space and it is gorgeous!  It says a lot when my seven-year-old little boy looks over my shoulder as I'm uploading these pictures and exclaims, "Whose room is that?!?  It's awesome!  I wish I had a room like that!"  Enough said.  Every little boy's dream room come to life!

My client's husband had the great idea to carve out the bunk-like niches into the wall when they were remodeling their house.  We propped an Olivia Charles Antiques ladder up against the wall for easy access and I commissioned an etsy shop owner to make the bottom bunk curtain out of vintage nautical flags and a vintage military tent.  (She also makes great pillows!  Check out her "Cove Cabin" shop here.)
My client picked an awesome rug from Dash and Albert (one of my favorite companies for rugs, especially for children's rooms!) and got the burlap storage bins from The Good Life in Vestavia.

She already had the awesome framed Auburn jerseys - one for each of her boys - and the gorgeous antique twin beds, so before I got there she was already off to a great start!
The wooden Whale with the aged nautical scene was something I loved on etsy months ago.  I was excited to have a project to use it.  Similar items can be found in "Edie's Lab" here.
The striped blue and white fabric we used on both the bolster pillows at the end of the beds AND as backing for the antique fishing lures we grouped above the boys' dresser is reminiscent of menswear - think button-up shirts - and I love the nod it gives to becoming a big boy while still retaining the youthful fun of a bold pattern.  If you ever have remnant fabric, I highly recommend this unique use of your scraps.  It adds pattern, depth, and an element of the unexpected to your walls.
The room has a fun alcove where we added a custom Olivia Charles Antiques storage bench so the boys can read and mom has another place to store toys and necessities when they're not in use.

We wanted each boy to have a special sense of belonging in their room, so we chose an oversize monogram on a standard pillow sham to help them lay claim to their individual beds.

The reclaimed wooden ceiling and antler chandelier are stunning and were already there when we started this project.  I love the way the wood brings the height of the tall ceiling down and the chandelier just screams "boy."

The antler pillows on the window seat were made from Lee Jofa's "antlers" fabric in rust. And the box pleated valance was designed to coordinate with the drapes on the other side of the room and hung where the ceiling meets the wall above the window so no natural light was blocked, the window seems even taller, and the backside of the valance can't be seen when looking at the front of the home from the outside.
What little boy wouldn't love to climb that ladder to a secret hide away??

I found the antique dresser in this picture for a steal at an estate sale.  With a little elbow grease it cleaned up nicely and looks very stately, if I do say so myself!

One of my favorite parts of the room is the art rail that I created from the left-over rod in the double curtain rod pack used to hang the drapes and oar above the beds.  All I did was add twig ball finials to the end and purchase x-small umbra curtain brackets at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to hang it from the wall.
Another etsy find, the precious and coloful animal prints were personalized for each boy's first and middle initials.  "C" is for Clay, "H" is for Harris, "M" is for Miller, etc.  The images are playful but have a feeling of age which just fits right in with the overall feel of this space.
Here is an image of the small clips I used to hang the boys' artwork.  These were actually left overs from the double curtain rod pack too.  However, you can easily do this same thing using mini curtain rings with attached clips, which can also be found at B,B and B.

The military curtain was personalized with the client's last name using an old WWII metal stencil and off white paint.  I love the authenticity it gives the vintage materials.
Folded at the end of each bed is a "Badlands Park" Pendleton blanket.  I love these blankets for boys' rooms...each one in this series carries the name of a different state park as well as a unique design.  They are at once rustic and refined, little boy and grown-up.  See all the choices here.
The narrow space between the beds was the perfect spot for our Olivia Charles Antiques bedside table bookcase.  These can be made in any color and size.  Email for information.

The vintage wooden moose dress up the window trim and playfully peak through the drapes when they are closed.

My favorite part about the window treatments is the jute "fringe" trim we used to frame the fabric band.  In my opinion, if you are going to pay for custom window treatments they should look just that...custom.  Using trims and tapes is a simple and easy way to create something truly unique.  If you don't have the money for custom drapes from scratch, adding embellishments in the form of trim or tapes or fabric bands is an inexpensive alternative that will give you a similar high-end and custom look.

The reclaimed barn wood storage bench is also by Olivia Charles Antiques.  4" foam was cut to size and covered with a coordinating tweed fabric.  The client's son slept on this window seat the first night it was in the room, so I think it's safe to say the boys love it as much as mommy does!

I am in love with the tobacco-leaf frames we used for the fishing lures.  I think they scream "Southern gentleman" and the texture and rich color go beautifully on the light walls.

For those of you wondering how we managed to hang the oar in front of the drapes, here is a close-up of the double curtain rod we used.  By purchasing a double bracket with screws we were able to secure the oar tightly, which was important when you consider the number of boys that will be playing in this room!  :) 

With the left over trim we created double-sided pillows using both the cushion fabric and the bolster fabric and used the fringe along the seam.  Don't limit yourself to one-sided and one-look pillows.  Coordinating fabrics can be used on either side, giving you the freedom to change-up your look.
This was such a fun room to work on.  I absolutely love designing for little boys, and I love that my client wanted a room that would work for her boys well into their teenage years....I think we definitely achieved a room they can grow in!

Tuesday, January 21

::Happy 4th Birthday, Olivia!::

It's hard to believe that this moment was four years ago today. The joy of welcoming our little girl into this world and into our family was the best day of our lives, along with our boys' birthdays. Loosing her was the worst. Everytime I visit the cemetery I marvel at the fact that the best day and worst day of our lives are commemorated on her marker. 2010 was a year I both love and hate. 
Soon we will leave for the cemetery with balloons marked with our messages to Olivia.  Parrish will go with us and we will release them together and then have cake to celebrate that happy day and her life here on earth.
Even though we ache to hold her and smell her and see her and know her as a four-year-old little girl, we are comforted that she wouldn't want to come back, even if she could. This weekend at my church women's retreat a speaker there said, "the soul NEVER DIES."  We miss her physical form but mostly we miss her soul and spirit...and that is alive and well with our God!!  So thankful for that comforting truth and the promise that our souls will be together again one day. 

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with The Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8

And the dust returns as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 17:7

Wednesday, January 8

:: I ❤️ Baby Toes (and Sculpey Clay) ::

Christmas is barely over and we are already thinking about Valentine's Day.

So annoying.

Yet here I am, jumping on the band wagon!

But wait!  I have a good excuse...

You see...just before Christmas I made these hand and footprint ornaments (see ^) and many of you asked me for a tutorial.  

Sadly, I never got around to posting the (oh-so-easy) instructions before CHRISTmas arrived. 

So, I decided I'd do something similar (and even easier) for Valentine's Day with my son's little piggies (I just love those little toes!)
Step One: Buy two small blocks of Sculpey oven-bake clay (these can be purchased at your local craft store-I got mine at Michael's)  You will discover that there are many color choices - if you have a little girl, you may want to go the pink route.  I used the red with glitter option!

Step Two: Open both packages of clay and incorporate them into one larger ball using your hands - just like you used to do with play doh only with a little more force! :)   (*Note - I have discovered that some Sculpey clay is easier to soften than others.  Maybe this has something to do with the amount of time it's been sitting on the shelf?  I say this because typically I find the white more pliable and the colors more stiff.  You should be able to leave the clay in a warm spot, under a light, or if you are really impatient like me - you can microwave it for just a few seconds to get it pliable enough to work with)

Step Three: Use a rolling pin to flatten clay to about 1/4" thickness

Step Four:  This is the hardest part!  Put your little one in a (loving) bear hug and press their feet (or hands if you are making a different design) into the clay.  You are going to have to apply some pressure here.  I even press each toe down individually.  (and before some of you write me off because you are rolling your eyes at the thought of getting your baby to be still long enough to do this, hear me out.  My sweet Knox is THE BUSIEST BABY I have ever met.  I did require the assistance of my willing 6 six year old.  He distracted him while I went to work wrangling and pressing.  :)  If you are making the heart shown here just press the right foot in on the right side of the dough at a slight angle and then overlap the heel of the right foot imprint with the left heel and press it in (also at a slight angle, only this time to the left).

Step Five: Now that the torture is over, comes the fun and easy part!  Take a sharp kitchen knife or exacto knife and cut out the shape of a heart around those cute little piggies.

Step Six:  Then use a straw or wooden skewer to make a hole in the clay between the feet. At this point you can choose to leave it as it, or you can flip it over and write the child's name and age on the back, or even write a message to the recipient.  (Grandmother's love that!)  You can use a toothpick or skewer just like a pencil to do that (just be careful not to press too hard or you will go through to the other side!)

Step Seven: I decided I wanted to stamp a little message on the front of the piece.  I have tiny rubber letter stamps that a friend gave me as a hostess gift several years ago and she got them at Wal Mart for a great deal (I talk more about them here).  So I just pressed in the message "Knox Loves Mom"  (Because I am his favorite, even if I have to say so myself.  Ha!)

Step Eight:  So here are the little piggies all complete minus the final (and probably most important!) step!  The baking.  Preheat your oven to 250 degrees and bake for 15 mins. on an ungreased cookie sheet.  When you remove them from the oven let cool, then tie with bakers twine or ribbon and give them to someone special (or keep them for yourself! Because sadly, those little piggies won't be that little for long!)

Now, some of you may still be wondering how to make those ornaments.  And if so, the steps are almost exactly the same except:
-buy white Sculpey instead of colored
-once the piece is cool from the oven, use acrylic paint and a teeny-tiny paint brush to paint the design of your choice onto the front (I painted the entire foot blue for one ornament)  For the santa and snowman, I painted the entire ornament white first as a base, then painted details on top of that once it was dry.
-seal the acrylic with a spray gloss for acrylics (you could also do this to the valentine footprint heart to give it more of a sheen)

Happy Valentine's Day!