kriselkeeper: December 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

A few images of our house at this time of the year.  It's been a quiet Christmas. No  travel plans. No outside family.  It's been lovely. The three and a half of us bonding in the things like cooking, napping and building toys.  It's the year we got our snowman for outside.  This is the kind of snowman we build in Southern California.

Dave and P made a gingerbread house from Costco and it turned out like this.

The train set came out for the second year. P and Dave love putting it together.  I love the special time they get to spend doing this.  

I made our stockings. The two on the far left I made 7 years ago for Dave and me during our first Christmas together.  The ones on the right I made last year to include other family members. This year P chose those two for herself and her sister to come.  

 P is this tall this year. (In comparison to the tree)

 Our first Christmas with Penny, our 18month old rescue from Linda Blair.

  It's the year, I'm 6 months pregnant with our second! 

 P made us these Christmas ornaments of gingerbread!

 Our 1950's nativity set from inherited from Dave's grandfather. 

P got her first real and compete dollhouse.  The Plan Toys Chalet with furniture.  She loves it and we love it for it's functionality and design.  

 Play time in the hallway with her marble run! Using the house as part of her play and creativity!

 I love this picture. Shows off the light in the house plus the fun of giving toys to our kids that are as much fun for us as it is for them.....I think!

 Christmas Eve after mass.  A train, a tree and my family! Love it!

 Before having children I hated these window clings. I thought they looked dumb and ugly. Now, I love them. They make the house feel homey and clearly identify the ages and stages we're living through. 

 With our new bookcase we now have a place to put nutcrackers, etc. P wanted her own. We got her a small one but what she meant was that she wanted a real working one.

 Our holiday cards get displayed on a glittery, red string across our chalk wall.  
I love getting and sending holiday cards. REAL cards are a tradition I hope never goes away despite ecards

The best part about the holidays this year was Dave cooking super delicious Cornish hens!  He is not "the cook" in the house but it seems that when left to his own devices he is quite awesome!  I've never cooked a bird in my life and it looks like I may never have to. His were so delicious! 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Living Room Changes

We're like ants moving piles of sand back and forth over here.  We made changes to the guest bedroom.  Which caused us to move all our books, both in storage and on a shelf, out of that room and into the living room.  We always intended to have a wall of books in the living room but it's taken 4 years to make it happen. 

We decided on the Helix bookcases from CB2. Four of these fit the intended wall perfectly. We pulled almost all of our books out of storage and now have them out on display for easy access. Oddly enough, it's our 4-year old who really enjoys going through them. 

Before putting the bookcases up we had to repaint the wall. P loved to help. But just like the last time she helped me paint a wall she found this type of painting to have "too many rules" and "not fun". I was still happy that she wanted to help.  It's the storm before the calm that prohibits me from doing projects like these any faster.  I hate this stage of the process.   Furniture is moved, books everywhere, complete chaos! I hate it!

Another big change was getting rid of the big tv!  You may remember seeing this great big black box in most of our living room pictures...or maybe not. I tried to hide it as much as possible.
Dave bought the TV before we were even together.  The picture quality is still great but we can't connect it to any online devices; ie Apple TV, Hulu, Netflix, etc.  We decided to downsize in screen size and take advantage of the black Friday sales after Thanksgiving.  Online access on the TV may not seem so important but we got rid of cable almost a year ago and now just watch what we really want to watch from all the online apps.  No more $200/month cable bills!  It justified getting a new TV.

Just in time for the holidays our living room that once looked like this, now looks like this:
In it's previous location, the TV got glare from almost every window. In it's new spot we get no glare. Watching TV during the day is enjoyable and I can even watch from the kitchen and dining room.

 Before, the far left couch was all the way up against the wall. The spacing was odd in relation to the fireplace. Now with the bookcase on that wall the couch is pushed in closer  to the fireplace and the other couch which created a more intimate sitting area.  The entire room feels cozier. 

There will forever be toys in this room. It just is what it is with small children in the house. I've come to find it soothing instead of a mess.  We do try to keep it somewhat contained.

This is the view from the hallway as you enter the house. I love the new bookcases and all those books meeting us every time we enter. 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bunk Beds: the true test of a marriage.

When you get married they never tell you that it's things like putting a bunk bed together that will really test your marriage.  The bed arrived in a box like this.  Then we had to put it together.  And we all have a method to our madness. And we all have things we feel we must finish before going to bed. And usually neither one of these aligns in a couple.

After all was said and done Dave and I laughed about it all. The bed did get made. We're still happily married. And P is super happy with her new bed and room. So, I'm warning all  single or unmarried people right now that it's not just a bunk bed but a test!

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Peanut's New Bed and Bedroom

We were looking for a bunk bed for P's room back in June.  I strategized this purchase every which way possible. How long would our 4 year old use this bed?  How much should we spend? Should I be able to convert it into two twin beds?  Etc, etc!  

I was tempted to fork out $1700 for a bed from Room and Board.  But add the mattresses and bedding we're talking like $2500!  Then I chatted with fellow moms who brought some sense into me.  They all said the bed purchased at this age will inevitably get markers, shoe marks, crayon, stickers and Lord knows what else all over it. They all recommended going towards a lower budget.  

I felt my only option in a semi-designer type, budget-conscience category was Ikea.  I looked everywhere and found the options very limiting especially since i was looking for something more modern.  Then one day I was reading through back posts of Cup of Jo. She bought their crib at Walmart!!! I love Joanna's taste...but Walmart?  I checked out the site and to my surprise found some great options.  Thank God because Dave refused to buy an Ikea bed.  He found them to be way too wobbly and unsafe. 

So, first a couple of pictures of P's room in October. And then pictures of her room now.  I still have some adjustments and fixes to do but this is how it turned out.  

You will notice in this picture that there is a blue film covering the top windows. Dave quickly placed it up there in an attempt to create an underwater world for P. It was meant to be temporary but we like how it slightly darkened the room. Now, I have to get back up and put it on properly.  It's still up with blue painters tape!


One corner of the room with the bunk bed. 

A capture of the room right down the middle. Bookcase to one side and bed to the other.

I felt this wall area needed something.  I ordered these wall decals off Etsy.

I splurged on bedding. This is the winter flannel set from Garnet Hill called Painted Ponies. The quality of the sheets is amazing and I'm glad I went with a higher end version.

This wall is the "pretend wall" where all her dress up gear and backpacks are hung.  Even though I really wanted the animal wall hooks from Anthropology I decided with a more functional choice from them instead.  Also, the flower ones I selected were half the price. 

The hooks at the entrance of her room are now free to hold the daily shuffle of coats, hats and swords. 

Easy toy access makes for easy toy clean up.

The top bunk is currently a little reading haven. I need to relocate the flower wall art to better places and I'd like to add a single book shelf so she can place a couple books up there.  It's become one of her favorite places to read.

This is a run down of the things I purchased and where I got them:
Bunk Bed: Wallmart
Mattresses: Ikea
Hanging lamp: Ikea Maskros
Wall Hooks: Anthropology Petal Hook
Wall decal of tree with owls: Modern Decals from Etsy
Wall flowers : Walter
Duvet covers: Garnet Hill Fiesta Percale Bedding in Beach Rose
Flannel sheets: Garnet Hill called Painted Ponies
Bookcase: Ikea Expedit
Balloon Print: LoveMaki

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Succulent Wreath

Tis the season for receiving a million catalogs.  It's so much fun to look through all those amazing products but torturous when trying to save.  This is one item I think I'll have to purchase. If not over the holidays then a little later this year.  The succulent wreath from VivaTerra.  I love it and can think of a million places to put it!  

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Exterior Color?...

I've been thinking about paint colors for a while.  It's the next big thing to happen to the house. Dave and I always had a dark brown in mind.  After a couple of summers we're thinking that might not be the best idea.  We're working against two major factors:  no insulation in the walls and our inability to plant trees where we need them to block the summer sun. Adding a color that sucks in the heat is probably one of the worst things we could do. 

Recently I've been considering white.  But then again, I need to work with the color schemes already established.  The roof is dark,dark brown and the framing around the windows is white.  Soooooo, I have no idea.  I'd like to add a color to contrast with the white of the frames and complement the brown of the roof.  I think I'm too worried about this because I've seen other houses where the wrong shade of brown makes the house look just awful.  It's like nail polish, the wrong shade of gold will make you look like a stripper but the right one can make you look like you walked out of Channel.  

I'm also having a hard time visualizing what a color will really look like because of the current stucco on the house.  It's so awful!  Who invented this horrible technique of making a building look like it's covered in cake frosting?  Seriously!  If you change the color of the house to white it looks like a wedding cake and pink it looks like a little girl's birthday cake!  Even designer cakes don't use this kind of coating anymore!  Smooth fondant has replaced the whippie stuff! That's something else to add to the bill: re-stucco the house.  

On another note.  The house behind/beside us is now up for sale after a major re-do.  I went over one day to say hello and be neighborly.  The contractor showed me all the changes, etc  he was doing to the house (none to the Mid Century Modern taste). When I went to leave he TELLS me that they're going to paint one of our walls and landscape part of our property.  Doesn't ASK, if it's ok with me but TELLS me that's what he's going to do. I informed Dave and he talked to them.   Dave has a better way with people who have that kind of stupidity audacity.  Last week they had an open house so I went over to see the final work.  The realtor says to me "Did you see they didn't paint your wall or put plants on your side? They really wanted to." I replied in the kindest way I could "Yes, I did and I appreciate you not changing MY property." Then she started asking me how soon we're going to repaint the house and tried selling me the contractor and his services.  I can't help but laugh. 

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