kriselkeeper: June 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Planting Trees

Dwell on Design is this weekend.  I'm dying to go but D and I decided that enough is enough with the social events.  It's time to get down to work.  If we're both home, we're working on the house.   

A couple weeks ago we ordered trees from LADWP.  You can get up to seven free trees through a program called "Trees for a Green LA".  Besides the free trees I love that on their website they have a very well organized list of trees.  They are divided by size, both height and width.  All the information you need to know about the tree (water, soil, light) is all listed in an easy to follow chart. 

Three of our five trees arrived this week.  I ordered two Australian Willows, a Paperbark or Melaleuca, a Brisbane Box and one more that I can't remember.  The Willows and Melaleuca were the ones to arrive and we planted them in the front yard.  The front and side yard are all designated draught tolerant areas so these trees will be perfect here.  (as I was doing this post I realized that the Melaleuca tree is not what I thought it was and I don't remember ordering it. It's also too big for where we put it so that will now need to be replaced or planted elsewhere...but where?)

While D was digging tree holes I weeded and transplanted some blue fescue to go in front of the wooden fence.  The big juggle is entertaining P while all this is going on.  I brought out her watering sink and a few toys but I'm also trying to engage her with the garden.  I got her full focus when I dug a hole and filled it with water for one of the fescue.  She jumped in and turned it into her mud bath.  

Here are pictures of our sad front yard.  It's quite awful but I've got a plan and some of the elements, like the dry grasses and now the trees, are there so it's just a matter of time.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

A bed

I've been wanting to build a bed for a very long time.  I wanted to do it with my dad but he passed away in January.  Between my pregnancies/post delivery fatigue and his chemo treatments we never got the opportunity during his visits.  My dad had the experience and know-how of wood working.  His father was a carpenter. It wasn't until my dad's last visit that I learned of my grandfather's extensive craftsmanship and what he passed onto my dad. I feel I missed out on a lot of learning but I'm glad I got to hear the stories. It does explains why I love working with wood so much.  

We need a king size, platform bed.  I think that's the style that best suits the direction of our intended decor.  Plus, I feel it's the safest kind of bed when toddlers are wanting to join you at 5am.  I also love beds that have either no or very minimal headboards.  One of my favorite sites for inspiration was the Cookie Magazine website. The Home Tours section had these amazing kid-friendly homes.  I liked the European bedrooms the best. Now that I'm doing research I can't find those pictures because Cookie Mag is defunct and their website is sad.  

Although beds with large headboards and tons of pillows are regal and beautiful, to me they feel like a hotel or a mall display. There is something private and sexy about a simple bed. I prefer the elegance in the details surrounding the bed it self or in the thread count.  When I see a home with a paired down bedroom decor I feel the intimacy of the space.  And that's what a bedroom is about.  I think you can also get the most insight to a person by seeing their bedroom.  

Here are some of the pictures inspiring me so far. Unfortunately I can't remember where I found most of these.  I've been collecting pictures for a while now.
No idea where this bed is from. Thought Room and Board but now I can't find it. 

 I like the "raw" feel of this bed, although it wouldn't work for us. I can just hear the complaints of bruised toes and shins.

From Cookie Mag. How intimate and lovely is that heart of pictures above the bed?

A little too "pauper" for me, but I still love the simplicity.

Too much headboard but I do love the way the planks are laid out in this design.

The following two night stands are what I'm thinking of using.  
The first one would have less storage space but it would mean a 
cleaner looking space.


From CB2. I like this one quite a bit and of course you all know much I like hairpin legs.  


Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birthday D!

To anyone considering doing a chalk board wall in their house here is something to consider:  once you write on it, it will never be completely black again.  It's not like a regular chalkboard where you can wipe it down and it's completely clean.  There will always be residue.

Our wall has grown on me. I loved it at first and then hated it once it was written on.  Today I loved it.  It was D's birthday.  He didn't ask for anything. We're fighting hard to get out of debt and I know he preferred peace of mind over another charge on the cards.  The only things he asked for was a pizza and chocolate-peanut butter cupcakes....which just fyi, our neighbor's 6 year old just asked for the same thing for her birthday.  Charming and funny.  

As I shopped around for a cheap way to make his birthday special I realized I could skip on the birthday banner and write "happy birthday" on our chalk board wall.  I did a little bit of a tiki themed font.  D loves tiki. I do not. He wants large tiki heads in our backyard. Someone please explain to him how this is not right unless you have a Hawaiian villa.  A little birthday tiki theme is my way of compromising.

My other creative feat of the day was his cake.  Our 2.5 year old daughter would not let me make him cupcakes. She said it had to be a birthday cake so I made a chocolate-peanut butter cake. Once I got home I realized I sort of forgot a cake topper.  Again, trying not to spend money which is why I "kind of" forgot. Instead I traced and cutout a bicycle icon on cardstock.  I placed the card bicycle on the cake and dusted cocoa powder on top.  I took off the bike stencil and taaada!!! My husband is a cycling fan.  Tour de France is next month and he's gearing up by watching a race in Switzerland right now.  

D, happy birthday!  As I told you today; I feel you were made for me so today I feel special and lucky.  When I look at our daughter I know it was all meant to be and I'm glad we are still together for her, for me, for you.  I love our house. Thank you for finding it and working for us to grow in it. 


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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DIY Craft Table

Lately it seems all my projects are for the kid.  She's outgrowing everything including her furniture.  My parents originally bought her the Jill Table and the Little Jake Chairs from Room and Board.   I love them.  I put them in a corner of our living room where she could play and I could easily see her.  The problem is that the table is too tall for toddlers so I replaced it with a little red one I bought off Craigslist. 

I've come to understand that toddler craft tables are only temporary.  At this age there are a lot of accidents with glue and paints. Most of the accidents can be wiped clean but there are many that can't.  We do a lot of art activities so we have many "notches" on our poor little red table.  Besides getting "Jackson Pollacked" the red table can't hold all of P's projects.   It can't accommodate the space she now needs for crayons, papers, etc and a space for her to work.  

I've been thinking about what to do because I didn't want to shell out a lot for a table that looks cool but is temporary.  (The Jill Table is in storage for when she gets older. ) I also didn't want to get something cheap that didn't look good. This table is in our living room.  I'm trying to inch my way to better looking furniture as fast as our budget allows.

I came up with a great solution at Ikea.  Our lovely friends at offered to give us a set of legs because of a successful order we did with them a few months ago.  The bench I made for the entry way got so much attention Ian extended a thank you our way.  While shopping at Ikea I noticed they had plenty of table tops including one that's a perfect size for kids.  However, they don't have short legs to accommodate a toddler's height.  I remembered the hairpin legs!  The Vika Amon table top comes in white and is available online only in the larger size for $19.99.  However, in the store they have a smaller size.  The 39x23" is $4! I screwed in the legs to the table top and made this craft table for P.

The genius of this solution is that she can trash the table top and I can replace it for $4!  When she's outgrown this table height I can use the legs for a coffee table, bench, or night table for us.  I used 18" high legs. Four of these range between $72-108, which I would have ordered anyway if I wasn't given a set. I love how cool the table looks in our living room and it goes so well with the Little Jake Chairs.  Mostly, I love that the legs will have a long life in our home probably way past P's departure for college!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kid's Bedding

I think the one item to make the largest impact in a bedroom is the bedding.  For example, P has an Ikea crib/toddler bed with Dwell bedding.  The bedding makes the $99 crib look so much more sophisticated. 

Kid's bedding is so awful and the good stuff is so overpriced.  There is a wide open gap in this market for someone to produce well designed, moderately priced and useful bedding.  The Dwell set that we have has worn terribly.  The comforter has been washed many times and the color has faded quite a bit.  The bumper and skirt have not been washed as much and there is a huge color difference between the comforter and the other two pieces.  This is not what I expect from $350 bedding!  

We're going to keep P in her toddler bed which was her crib.  We'll get her a twin bed, probably a bunk bed, when we have a second child and need the crib again.  However in the meantime the bedding is not fitting her.  P rolls over once and the comforter is totally off of her.  I searched for a duvet and cover in toddler size but couldn't find one I liked that was under $100.  Basically they don't make duvets for toddlers, only comforters.  I believe children should have the same quality of sheets as we do which is why I wanted to get her  a duvet. 

Once again, I couldn't find what I was looking for so I made my own.  I went to Ikea and bought a twin size duvet and cover.  I came home and cut both in half and sewed up two sets.  A twin size duvet folded in half is the perfect size for a toddler bed.  For $45 I got two sets of duvets for P's bed.  Perfect. Now if she has an accident in the middle of the night I have a spare set I can quickly change.  

Before P was born I knew I wanted her nursery to be brown and pink.  We ended up painting her room in a tan and Tiffany blue with pink accents and white furniture.  I found a bed/sofa cover at Target one day for $20.  I loved the pattern but wasn't sure what to do with the material.  It reminded  me of bedding from Serena & Lily, which I love so much so I bought it. I can't afford Serena & Lily bedding on sale so this was a score find.  I figured eventually I'd have a use for it.  That day has come.  I pulled the fabric out from deep in the closet and made a duvet cover and pillow sham for P's toddler bed.  It's her favorite cover.  

Designing children's bedding may be my new business when it's time to go back to work. 

A few tips if you decided to cut a feather filled duvet in two. My dining, laundry and bedroom looked like a chicken coop when I was finished because of mistakes I made.

1. if you have a clothes line, hang the duvet from the clothes line at the point where you plan to split it.
2. Smack the duvet as if you were cleaning a rug so that the feathers settle to either side of your planned cut line.
3. Take your duvet back to your sewing area. Try to keep it from shaking around much as you've settled the feathers into their proper place. Mark your cut line.
4. Sew up and down to the left and right side of your marked cut line.   This is the tough part.  Trying to pass half a duvet through the space of a sewing machine that's between the needle and the body of the machine is a bit tough.  However, sewing these lines will keep you from having feathers all over the place.
5. Cut between your two newly sewn lines.  

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Trip

I haven't written in a while because we were out of town over Memorial Day weekend and all of last week.    D and I decided to drive to Seattle on a Wednesday night and left that Friday morning.  I'd like to say the trip was last minute by no fault of our own but instead I have to say "that's just how we roll".  

The trip was full of family drama.  Not our nuclear family drama, extended family drama.  Another "par for the course".  But amongst all that, we were able to make the best of it and do a sight of our own.  On both the way up and back down we stopped in Redding to see Santiago Calatrava's Sundial Bridge.  It was brilliant.  We saw it at sundown and in the morning light.  It was really beautiful during both visits.  I honestly can't say one was better than the other.  The bridge has a magical aura regardless of what light it's in.  I love the repetition of the glass tiles all the way across.  In the daylight they are a milky glass with a hint of blue.  At night they are illuminated from below and the blue is more obvious.  The entire bridge is so white.  It opened in 2004 but you'd think it opened yesterday it's so clean.  

The bridge has so much meaning to me, which I didn't realize until I was there.  The same year it opened D and I started dating.  He wanted to see it very badly but somehow throughout the years we never got to it until now.  We've done many great trips together, just the two of us.  When we set foot on the bridge our daughter ran ahead of us with our dog and it dawned on me how far we've come together and what we've been through.  

I really liked Redding.  It's a quiet, secluded town nestled in among it's natural habitat. We didn't get to see much of it but there seems to be a respect for nature and a love of cultural, designer things. I mean why else would Calatrava build this bridge there? Right?  Or, more importantly, why else would the city commission Calatrava to build there?