Sisi's New Yellow Bedroom

Friday, January 31, 2014

I know by now what my daughter is into- yellow is her favorite color, she loves animals, the ocean and cars.  She is slightly girly in that she likes to paint her nails and wear tutus on occasion, but she is a tomboy in every other way.  This room strikes a nice balance I think.

Pale yellow walls, teal blackout curtains (had to double them up because one layer wasn't blocking out enough light), and bright pops of color.  We used mostly decor from her nursery, but it looks so fresh and new against the yellow walls.  It's amazing what a coat (or two or three) of paint can do!

A cute couple sells handmade platform beds on craigslist.  They whipped this up in less than a week and delivered it to us for less than 300.00.  Beat that, Ikea!

Her quilt is from Target and it says "Goodnight...Sleep Tight".  Quilts are easy to wash.  We don't do comforters in this house anymore. Also, you can see her magnetic sleep pad which Joe insists will keep her circadian rhythms on track and improve her sleep.  We have one under our bed, too.  Joe swears it has helped him overcome his insomnia.

The bookshelf that I made with my own two hands...

Joe is silly and changed the "SIENA" letters to "IN SEA."  He likes to play word scramble with them.

This is Bella, my mom's boston terrier. Dogs are allowed in Sisi's room only when she gives them permission.  I'm trying to make her room her own private respite from dogs and any future children we might have.

The stamped "quilt" I made looks darling over her antique teal dresser (another great craigslist find!)

The dresser has locking drawers, which is cool.  Until Sisi is a teenager and is hiding things from me.

Souvenirs from Mexico, and Sisi's first portraits :) 

I have a lot more decluttering to do in her closet.  It's mostly office/etsy stuff that I don't quite know what to do with now that our office is basically a kitchen island in the sunroom.  I left her a teeny bit of room for her dresses.  Good thing she has a minimal wardrobe :)

This teeny banner was a gift from Courtney of Joyful Joyful after I told her about my miscarriage.  The banner reminds me of the joy of Christ that fills our household even in the hard times.  I don't mean to bring up the MC all the time, but I can't help but think of it when I am in Sisi's new room.  The reason we got rid of our office and moved Sisi into it was because we were going to give Sisi's old room to Baby #2.  When we lost Baby #2, we decided to keep going on her new room.  It was actually cathartic to use my hands and energy to create and make new. Now her old room is empty and waiting.  We are all waiting...

BTW, Joe bought those Russian nesting dolls for Sisi's stocking.  Made a special trip to Laguna Beach for them.  Love that man so much!


DIY Drawer Bookshelf

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here is one Pinterest project I actually completed!  We were going to trash Sisi's massive damaged dresser, but then I saw this project online and thought it'd be perfect to store Sisi's books and toys.

One of my resolutions is to be more handy around the house.  I am slowly progressing on this goal.  For example, this project required that I prime and paint, use a power drill to remove hardware, and a socket wrench to insert wood screws.  Before this project, I didn't even know what a socket wrench was.

Basically, here's how I did it:

  •  I removed the old hardware
  •  primed and painted the drawers pure white 
  • glued cute wallpaper in as a backing (I originally used spray glue to attach the wallpaper, but it wasn't adhering well, so I squeezed E-6000 onto the paper instead.)  
  • stacked the drawers in a way that made sense and seemed sturdy
  • screwed them together using a socket wrench (power drill was just too big to maneuver on this project)
  • attached new knobs to the exposed drawers
It's not perfect.  It's slightly wobbly because the drawers were wonky in the first place.  I didn't use spackle to fill in the drill holes or anything.  My wallpaper job is not totally perfect, either. But who cares?  That's the thing about DIY home projects- if you expect perfection, you'll be too afraid to just dig right in and get started.  I really don't mind if my homemade furniture looks a little homemade, and neither does Sisi!  I'm just proud that we were able to upcycle something that would have gone to the landfill.  


Sisi's Birthday Un-party

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I told myself I wouldn't throw a party this year.  So I found a loophole and threw a family "dinner" instead.  The dinner ended up being very much like a party, except smaller crowd, less pressure, and no presents (well, I asked people not to bring presents but some just couldn't contain themselves!)
I'm so pleased with how the evening turned out.  It was low-stress and low-budget and high-fun.

We chose an ocean theme based on our trip to the aquarium last week...

I originally told myself no decorations, but decided that as long as they were dirt cheap, I could do it. The only supplies I needed to buy were curling ribbon, clear balloons, and paper bowls.  The rest I had at home.

Our new sunroom has been wonderful for entertaining.  It opens up the entire space so much.

Our new covered patio also gives us lots more dining space.

Cute little jellyfish garland!
Clear balloon "bubbles" and paper bowl jellyfish hung from fishing line.  I suggest buying paper bowls that are pure white on top and bottom and painting both sides.  I was bummed that they didn't look cute from the bottom, which is the angle that people saw them from most.  Oh well ;)  I also made paper anenomes/sea urchins.  Basically just made polish star ornaments with less layers.  These are a lot of work, but so geometric and cool looking.
We had blue gak and kinetic sand for the kiddos.  Adults love this stuff, too :)
Paper bag jellyfish craft.  Another practically free activity!  Also, random toys on the lawn for kids of all ages.

We hid glow sticks all over the house, turned off the lights, and sent the kids off on a glow stick hunt!

Always a crowd pleaser!  Berries and chocolate fondue.  I make the chocolate a little healthier by using dark chocolate bars melted with coconut milk and a touch of honey.  The result is a super creamy, not too sweet puddle of chocolate goodness.

No fancy designer cake, just paleo cupcakes with frosting that I squeezed out of a ziplock bag.  I need a real pastry bag, for sure.  That frosting looks too much like dog poop.  Sure was tasty though!

Such a fun evening!  A few lessons I've learned (via trial and error) about throwing low-stress kids parties (er, I mean "dinner gatherings".)

  • HAVE IT CATERED.  I prepared a few simple appetizers (bacon wrapped dates, chips and guac, cheese and salami plate) but had our favorite local Greek restaurant cater.  It was delicious, and I was able to feed each person a hearty meal for under 10.00.  I couldn't have cooked cheaper!  Really, catering doesn't have to be that expensive.  Or, don't even serve a meal.  Choose a time when guests won't be expecting a meal, and serve snacks and drinks instead.  
  • DON'T GO NUTS ON DECOR.  I didn't even buy flowers for this party, and I'm a former florist.  It felt blasphemous, but really, no one noticed or cared.  Instead, I snipped succulents from our garden.
  • DON'T HAVE TOO MANY DESSERTS. There was a time when one funfetti cake got the job done.  Nowadays we serve huge dessert buffets. They look gorgeous, but I learned the hard way with Sisi's 1st bday party that people often don't eat a lot of dessert at parties.  This was evidenced by the fact that we had  no "real food" leftovers, but 6 huge bundt cakes leftover that my mom had to give away to coworkers.  This time, I made a few dozen cupcakes and fondue and that was it.  It was more than enough to satisfy the sweet lovers.  
  • DO YOUR HAIR AND MAKEUP FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.  If you rush around prepping for the party all day, chances are you'll have no time to freshen up before guests arrive. Everything else will seem more important than primping, and that's just not true :)  
  • MAKE ICE AHEAD OF TIME.  The day before the party I made several batches of ice and saved them in zip lock baggies.  
  • CLEAN THE HOUSE, BUT NOT OBSESSIVELY.  I didn't mop the floor or wash the windows beforehand because I knew people would mess it up pretty much immediately.  Instead, I deep cleaned afterward.  BUT I did thoroughly clean the bathroom and made sure to have a neat and tidy sink area.  
  • ASK FOR NO GIFTS.  Or not, this is a totally personal matter.  I just preferred people come empty handed because we're minimalists and Sisi already has more toys than she knows what to do with.  But many of our sweet guests could not resist themselves, and she got a handful of really cool gifts anyway.  
  • TELL YOURSELF IT'S NOT A PARTY.  Call it a "play date" a "dinner" or "get-together".  This was a good mind-trick for me.  It took off so much of the pressure.  I didn't feel the need to make it magazine-worthy or spend lots of money at all.  It was just a special get-together for family and a few friends to spend time with my favorite 3 year old.  
  • PUT OUT A FEW BIG TRASH BARRELS.  That will encourage guests to help clean up a little :)
  • ORGANIZED GAMES AND ACTIVITIES ARE A BONUS, BUT NOT NECESSARY.  We did have a simple craft and a glow stick hunt, but other than that, the kids ran around the house and made their own fun.  It made my job a lot easier!      
  • KEEP IT SMALL!  I really wanted to invite all my friends and their spouses and their kids and their pets, but my house is tiny and that would have been chaos.  Instead, I kept it to family and a few church friends.   


Siena is 3!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My marvelous kid just turned three years old!!!

With her chubby cheeks and round tummy, she still looks quite babyish.  I love that!  But don't let that fool you.  She is a full-fledged toddler, with opinions, profound reflections, a sense of humor, and enough language skills to express it all pretty well.

Three years with this girl, and you think we'd be used to her adorableness! But sometimes Joe and I still sneak into her room at night to stare at her and say, "Wow, I can't believe how cute our child is. Ridiculously cute!"

This year for her birthday, thanks to our newfound minimalism, we only got Sisi one simple gift.  I made her wait patiently for about 15 minutes while Joe got his camera ready before she could open it.  She has enormous self-control.  I'm pretty sure she would have been one of those kids who waited to eat the marshmallow!  

 Her very first tea set!  She uses it in the bath to make "cappatinos" (cappuccinos) with bubble bath foam.

Almost tall enough!

 Three years old, and this kid has still never climbed out of her crib.  She is so uber-cautious,we could probably keep her in her crib until 4 or 5!   Her cautiousness definitely makes my job a lot easier :)  I swear, our next child will be an adrenaline junkie or something.

Testing boundaries. A major theme in any toddler's life.

Her birthday was her last day sleeping in the crib.  She now has a platform bed in her brand new yellow and teal room which I will be blogging in the next week.  It's the perfect room for Sisi- colorful, happy and not too girly.  I can't wait to share it with you.

I wasn't super emotional when she turned three. The only time I lost it was when I tucked her into her "big girl bed", and she busted out and ran to her old crib and tried to climb into it.  She sobbed and pleaded, "I don't want big girl bed!  I want my crib! I don't like new room!"  

Eventually after I cuddled with her in her bed and sang her Jason Mraz songs for a few minutes, she calmed down and slept soundly in her new bed.

But I learned an important lesson:  Don't label things "big girl_______" because it adds unnecessary pressure to times of transition (which are alreaady stressful to begin with).  Big girl potty, big girl bed, big girl room, big girl underwear, etc.  I think the idea of being a "big girl" comes with mixed emotions and anxiety for both parent and child.  I will let her be who she is.  Not a baby, not yet a big girl. Just my silly, sensitive, creative, cautious, curious toddler.  

And now I have "I'm not a girl" by Britney Spears stuck in my head! All I need is time, a moment that is mine, while I'm in between......

Sisi at a glance: 
  • Wearing 3T and 4T clothing
  • Potty trained for pee since 2 1/2, but still not poop (below, her sticker encrusted potty!) 
  • Favorite songs:  Katy Perry "Roar", Lorde "Royals", and anything by the Okee Dokee Brothers.
  • Current obsessions:  band-aids, tails (she has been wearing tails every day for the past 5 months), ducks, cutting things with scissors
  • She is left handed for most tasks
  • Favorite foods:  berries, sweet potatoes, parsnip fries, pats of butter, sardines, fatty fat fat (the fatty portion from steak, lamb, etc.), brocolli with mayo, dark chocolate, and any paleo treats I whip up.  
  • She loves being a dog.  She will ask to wear our dogs' collars, does tricks for treats, and even scratches her head with her feet sometimes.  
  • She and Joe often go on sunrise hikes.  During those hikes, they refer to each other as "daddy tiger" and "baby tiger".  So cute!  
  • We took her to the aquarium for the first time, and her favorites were the seals, garden eels, and homo sapiens (the divers).  She refused to touch any of the sharks/sting rays/anenomes in the touch tanks.  Like I said, very very cautious child.  
  • While we're still pretty strict about limiting her screen time (she's still never seen a whole movie) we do let her watch bits of videos we rent from the library.  Thomas the Tank Engine, Charlie Brown, Pocoyo, and Bob the Builder are some of her favs.  
  • She has now travelled by plane to Boston, New York, Costa Rica, Mexico, Oregon, and Florida.  That's a lot of trips in 3 years! 
 I was about to put my camera away when she said, "Wait!  How about like this?" and did this silly pose. 

I love this girl so much it hurts.  Here's to another amazing year!  Happy Birthday, my sweet cherry blossom!


My Minimalist Blue Bedroom

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My bedroom used to be a mish mash of clearance bedding and curtains and rugs, whatever I could find that was pretty and colorful.  That's fine and all, but I recently decided to give my bedroom a mini makeover.

The rest of my house is dark, ornate and ethnic, so I went the opposite in this room.  I painted two of the walls bright white, and stuck with neutrals and blue for the decor.  It's so hard for me to choose simple decor.  I'm always led to crazy patterns, but I know that it's wiser to buy solid neutral pieces because you'll never get sick of them.  And subtle is best when you're aiming for a soothing space.

We got rid of our canopy bed.  It was lovely, but it was too big and cumbersome for such a tiny room.  We instead had our carpenter make a very low profile platform bed in dark wood.  I love being close to the ground.  It's also way easier to make the bed now. 

I chose a cheap but nice cream quilt.  I like quilts because they are machine washable, and useful year round.  In winter, I simply throw on an extra throw blanket to stay warn.  There is a big difference between cream and white.  We are just not pristine enough to have white blankets, but cream is definitely more forgiving.  I used to have a thing about mixing cream and white together, but I actually like it now.  I like layering different neutrals together.   I also splurged on some hand-dyed pillows from etsy.

I found two beautiful Persian indigo table runners to use as a tapestry headboard. They are hand-painted and even prettier in person. I love the cracked glass finials on the gold curtain rod.

My husband took the beach picture during our trip to Thailand.  We used MPix to enlarge it.  This empty beach in Tub Kaak was the most beautiful, relaxing place I've ever seen in this world.  During childbirth when I had to visualize a "happy place", this was it.  Now I have it right next to me while I sleep.

We use blackout curtains with regular beige and gold drapes sewn to the front.  Blackout is a must for good sleep!

Lastly, we found this cute light blue rug for cheap cheap cheap on overstock.  I don't invest a lot of money in rugs because with 2 dogs and a toddler, they are bound to get dirty and peed on at some point.  Sadly, I have to think of them as a disposable item that I'll probably have to replace in a few years.

Sisi requested that I take a picture of her tail, so here:

As you can see, we have a truly minimalistic bedroom.  No clutter, no nightstands.  We have one dresser tucked into the closet.  We have no choice, it's a tiny room.