Monday, January 26, 2009

internet inspiration

a lovely monday morning to you all.

i am out of town this week and though i thought i packed my camera usb cord thing, i have no idea where it is at the moment. so instead of showing you the pre-snow gray skies of this more northern state, here are a few brighter images for you....just a few things that i am loving right now:

{these classic, hand-painted wooden blocks from land of nod are just so very sweet}

{what a simple, noncommittal solution to displaying artwork and photography...from domino}

{i would love to have these pipdesigns pillow covers to hide the 5 years' worth of dog hair that has collected on my floor pillows}

{the decor of alicia paulsen's studio is a little too frilly and pastel-y for me, but what an airy, spacious work space. almost as good as the pile of plastic boxes on my kitchen table that is my creative spot. one day a studio i shall have!}

Friday, January 23, 2009

scenes from the life of...

a stay-at-home mama who is attempting to run her own small business out of her own teeny tiny house.

very glamorous, i tell you.




have a marvelous weekend, all!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009


i hope you don't mind if i direct you to another one of my favorite blogs. soulemama's post today is just so cute and so poignant. kids are awesome.

Monday, January 19, 2009


hello all! hope some of you got to enjoy a nice long weekend...or are still enjoying it into tomorrow! there is such an energy in the air, on this eve of a great and historic moment for our country. tears and chills have already paid me a visit while listening to some of the early inauguration speeches and performances...i am truly proud of our country and excited for the hard work ahead.

but in this time of change and inspiration, i want to direct you over to a little gal from utah whose recent major life changes have been an inspiration for me. if you have never visited the nie nie dialogues, i'll give you a little background. nie (stephanie nielson) is a woman with four children, a husband, and a darling little life. she has a colorful, whimsical blog in which she shares snippits of her home, her family, and her fresh, funny, and positive viewpoint on life. this past august, she and her husband were in a private plane crash and severely burned. i think over 80% of her body was burned, and over 30% his. they were both in chemically-induced comas for months and the original outlook was grim. but then, amazingly, their strong bodies began to heal and they are now both living at home - of course with constant care, and from what i gather, looking quite different.

i did not learn of nie until after the accident had occured. i looked up her blog and was instantly sucked in. i slowly read all of her archives, starting with the oldest post and dreading the day that i would come to the post in august 2008 that would be her last. until now.

after many months of relying on her sister's blog for updates on nie, her husband ("mr. nielson"), and the children...nie is back. and she is even more of an inspiration now than she was before. this woman is dealing with a more horrendous nightmare than most of us will never have to endure, yet she manages to shine through with her trademark humor and positive outlook. reading her new posts still gives me that same little bit of creative and lighthearted view on life that i took from her "before the crash" posts.

so if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go and take my frustrated-with-recent-car-troubles mood and turn it into grateful-that-i-have-a-happy-life- and-beautiful-baby-and-amazing-husband-and-all-my-loved-ones-are-healthy-and-oh-so-much-more.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

toy story

well, i guess most of you out there are as clueless as i am when it comes to photography...'cause i only got one comment response to my plea for camera advice (thanks, sydney!) so just so ya'll know...i have this nifty little device on my blog that lets me know how many hits i i know you're reading! how 'bout a little comment love, people?

anyhow, moving on. above you will see a glimpse of my 9-month-old baby's room. in the wake of the toy bonanza that is the holidays with children, i thought i'd talk a bit about my approach to the home play/learning environment. so upon returning home from our holiday festivities, i was excited to put out all of olivia's new toys. i then almost as quickly decided that i was taking most of them away. not away for good, just away in her bedroom closet where i can easily access them and rotate.

rotating materials and having just a few items out at a time is one of the aspects of the montessori education philosophy. now, just a little preface: although my background and training is in montessori, i don't - and have never - strictly adhere to all of montessori's standards. i prefer to educate myself on all sorts of educational theory and take from each what suits me - or more importantly, my child - best. but the idea of rotating toys i definitely agree with. having too many toys out at once is overwhelming and overstimulating for a young child. plus, when you rotate the toys, you keep them interested without having to constantly buy new toys. the parent can rotate the toys and surprise the child with something new on the shelf or in the basket, or the child can be a part of the process, choosing from the 'storage basket' what to put out in the 'play basket.'

another montessori concept is the notion of having natural toys. ideally this means wooden, fabric, and handmade. now, i definitely prefer these sorts of toys for many reasons, including that they are usually not made in china, are more attractive and feel better in your hands than plastic, and more closely resemble the real world. and it would be wonderful if i had the money and time to buy and make only the highest quality, natural toys for my baby. but, this just isn't the reality. neither is the fact that she has received, and will continue to receive, toys from loving and well-meaning friends and family that don't necessarily fit this natural-toy criteria. i feel that if a toy is given as a gift or a hand-me-down, it would be ungrateful and wasteful to not only accept these toys but to use them with love and appreciation. most toys, plastic or not, are still made with some developmental aspect in mind. plus, as with anything, if i were to 'ban' plastic toys from my child's life, then she will likely just be more and more drawn to only plastic toys in the future. so. my intention is that the toys that i myself purchase for my children will be of the natural, handmade variety - which means my money will go towards one or two special items instead of three or four less expensive ones - quality over quantity, a good concept in my opinion. but as far as what she may receive from others, or what she may desire at points in the future - not going to be outlawing any of these things. and so one of the cornerstones of my personal philosophy emerges: everything in moderation.

and finally, one of the other aspects of montessori education is that the child learn a basic three-part sequence in their playtime or worktime: choose an item from the shelf, use it for as long as desired, and return it as found to the same spot on the shelf. my babe is well on her way with the first two steps. however, as you can see below, the third is going to take a few years to perfect...

Monday, January 12, 2009

focus, baby, focus


i have always been a photo lover - love taking photos, love looking at photos, love making photo albums. love making people pose for photos. love taking candid shots. but since i've given birth to my baby girl, this photo love has become more of a photo, um, obsession. but instead of being ashamed, i am rolling with it. already i have seen how so, so quickly everything changes...and i guess i don't want to risk forgetting what she looked like in this very second...or now, in this very second. this is my way of ensuring that each precious moment will be preserved for all eternity. just so long as i have my trusty external hard drive...

but since i've entered this new reality, i have discovered that my camera doesn't exactly capture the moment. it captures some version of the moment - only with a brighter light, or a muted hue, or a fuzzy overtone. so i have decided: it is time for an upgrade.

i actually am happy with my little point-and-shoot camera (a canon powershot sd750). it is small and convenient and at times does get some really nice shots. i'll continue to use it, especially at times when i just want to toss a camera in my purse. but i am ready to add on a bigger, fancier guy that allows me to better control my photos and perhaps actually learn a bit about photography. now the tricky part is - i know nothing about cameras. this is where i ask my friends out there in blog-land: advice, please! i guess what i want is an slr? basically i want something nice, where i can control the focus and stuff, but not so crazy that i won't know what to do with it. some suggestions i've recieved are: nikon D70s; canon rebel 400; nikon D80; canon EOS 30D. anyone agree with any of these suggestions, or have any others that they would recommend, or just any general words of wisdom as i search?
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

growing and refocusing

like most of you out there, our family has been pinching pennies lately, and that meant holding back on our holiday buying this year. looking back on past christmases, my hubby and i were shaking our heads about the amount of money we used to spend in our carefree pre-baby, two-salary life. many dollars were spent, not only on gifts for each other and friends and family, but on our life in general - admittedly our favorite courtship pastime was having a nice dinner out complete with bottle of wine (or two) - a weekly event that we surely couldn't afford but somehow always found a way to justify. there are moments now, with our nonexistent savings account, that i start to regret our self-indulgent beginning. but then i think about how i have so many wonderful, comical memories of those days and i know those memories will stick around much longer than a few extra bucks would!

see how good i am at justifying?

in any case, for various reasons our focus has now definitely shifted and i am quite satisfied with our quieter, simpler life. actually, i think the state of the economy has some benefits for everyone. this holiday season, when so many people had to tighten their belts, made a lot of us get back to the real reason for the season. sharing quality time with our loved ones, making gifts by hand, thinking long and hard about our purchases so that they are thoughtfully chosen. it's nice to get back to basics and enjoy the freedom that comes with a less consumer-centric life.

so the hubby and i had a limit for ourselves, and i was touched by his thougtful choices and the fact that he even stayed, well almost, within budget. one of my gifts that i've been thoroughly enjoying is the book craft, inc. unknown to my husband, i had actually listened to a podcast interview with the author, meg mateo ilasco, on craftsanity a while back and had already learned a bit from her and her craft business sense. this book is great for anyone who is attempting, or thinking about attempting, a craft-based business. i'm about a quarter of the way through and already have some good ideas on ways to refocus and grow oliver.handmade. meg writes with a casual prose that makes it an easy and pleasurable read. so i urge you to check it out!

Monday, January 5, 2009

a baby and her daddy

well, we are back.

almost 2 weeks, over 1800 miles, two adults, 1 baby, 1 dog, 1 massive stroller (used exactly once), 1 tiny volkswagen.

twenty-something relatives, countless gifts, many friends, a couple of colds, lots of laughs.

the best part?

spending time with these 2. and watching them spend time together.

happy new year!