Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween // 1985

For some reason I was so excited about that clown costume [I'm on the far left] -- the wig especially. And I had made that paper mache pumpkin at school, and couldn't wait to trick or treat with it, only to have the handle break halfway through the night from the weight of the candy. It was a total bummer! I'm not sure what my older sister [far right] was, but if I had to guess I'd say a BMX biker or one of the street dancers from Kids Incorporated.

Happy trick or treating this weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Kitchen

Since we finally got our counter stools, I thought I'd post some before and after pictures of our kitchen. I don't really like the use of "after" all that much because there are still things that I want to do and would have done if we had a money tree in the backyard. But, it's come so far from what it was when we moved in that I wanted to share the progress.

A LITTLE HISTORY: we bought our house from a couple who had lived here 40 years, and I believe hadn't touched the house since they moved in back in the 60s. The kitchen was U-G-L-Y with absolutely no alibi. It had yellow linoleum floors, dark wood cabinets, fluorescent lighting and was generally cave-like.

We painted. And painted some more [the cabinets are Salisbury Green by Benjamin Moore]. Never underestimate the miracle of a fresh coat of paint! We knocked down a wall between the kitchen and the living room [previously, both were pretty closed off and dark]. That alone made a world of difference. What else? We replaced all the lighting, put in wood floors and a kitchen island, replaced all cabinet hardware, put in a new window and got rid of the "granny bits." Before the house was put in the market, they updated some of the appliances, but after so many years of apartment living, we had gas hooked up so we could put in a gas range. Thankfully, the countertop and backsplash tile were neutral/white, so we could leave them for the time being.

Reggie D putting in the floors:

He's such a handy guy.

Nick, our painter, who did all the priming/oil paints, hard at work:

I would've done the painting myself, but I was 6 months pregnant and didn't want to take any chances with all those fumes. Can I be honest here? When I look at these "during" pictures I kind of want to cry. It was miserable being that pregnant in July in Florida and renovating a house. Happiness is not the emotion I feel when I think of that time! But it's over, and I like our house now [I didn't for a while because it was such a huge pain in the rear].

Our island, below, where we keep lots of things that would've otherwise ended up on the counter. I love it. We just replaced our toaster, and I love that, too. No more babysitting my toast in the morning to make sure it isn't burned to a crisp!

Below you can see the wall we knock out. My sister thinks I should put a big bulletin board on this back wall to hang the kids' artwork, but I'm afraid it may get too cluttered. What do you think?

I'm still trying to figure out what fridge I want, and I'd also like to eventually replace the faucet. It just takes me a while to figure out exactly what I want. Oh, and I wouldn't turn my nose up at a new countertop and new tile backsplash. But, I'm happy with the transformation so far!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Loved this interview [and the guest posts] by Jessica Hische on Friends of Type. It doesn't get much better than a handwritten interview asking you to "Design a decal for this 80's looking van." Love it. And this post made me laugh out loud.

Jessica's work is stunning, truly inspiring...

[If you haven't already, check out her portfolio!]

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Trail of Treats

A quirky and fun interpretation of Hansel and Gretel by Andrew + Natsuko:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Inspired By [Treats]

Both sweet treats and a couple others, like the monsterific Halloween card from Rifle Paper and those cute as a button lamb costumes made out of cotton balls. Oh, and a logo-ed pumpkin? Definitely not what goes on with pumpkins at our house! We have one sitting at our door warning people in black Sharpie marker "Do not come near me or a hand will reach out and grab you and throw you in the lava pit."

[Images, TOP ROW: Twig & Thistle Ghost Cake, Amy Atlas Dessert Table, Monogrammed Pumpkin by Sweet Paul; MIDDLE ROW: Rifle Paper Co. Card, Martha Costumes, Martha Halloween Table, Twig & Thistle Treat Bags; BOTTOM ROW: Amy Atlas Treats, Martha Treats, Martha Pumpkins]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Holiday Cards // 2010

The 2010 b. wise papers Holiday Collection is now available! And if you order your cards by November 15th, 25 cards will automatically be added to your order.*

There are also some exciting new things this season:

-- LOWER PRICES! Our cards are now available for as low as $1.05 a card. [See a full pricing list here]

-- NEW SIZE: all of our cards are 5 x 7". A perfect size for sending greetings of the season to all your fans.

-- NEW BACK PRINTING DESIGNS: now in color to add that extra zing.

-- NEW ENVELOPE OPTION: In addition to WHITE [below left] and BROWN BAG KRAFT [below middle], there is now CHOCOLATE KRAFT [below right]. And it's so yummy.

In addition to the designs on the b.wise site, exclusive b.wise holiday designs are now available at Minted [enter code BWISE2010 for 10% off]:

Having a hard time deciding? I'm here to help! Shoot me an email at alston[at]bwisepapers[dot]com. It would make my day to here from you.

*Here are the details of the added bonus for early shoppers: if you place your holiday card order before November 15th, you will receive an additional 25 cards on us. Need 100 cards? Order and pay for only 75 -- we will give you the extra 25! [**Please note: Additional 25 will not appear in cart, but will automatically be added to each custom card order placed before Nov. 15th. Not to worry -- final quantity will be confirmed when proof is sent. Offer applies only to custom holiday cards and cannot be redeemed for cash value. Questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us!]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happiness + Lonny

Happy One Year to Lonny! I'm so happy that Lonny decided to come along. She brings me the same kind of happiness that Domino did. The only thing that keeps Lonny from surpassing the Domino happiness is that I can't hold her. And I want to. Maybe one day when this old economy is happily humming along again, I will find her sitting in my mailbox with all her delectable goodness. Do you think it will happen?

Since my Cappuccino cup has been empty for a while, I think it's time for a trip to J.K. Place:

Oh, that bathroom. Yeh, I can see myself there.

And these next two are pretty sweet children's rooms:

[Love how the side safety rail on the top bunk is covered in fabric]

[Orange + Pink + Rad pictures = Girl Room Perfection. Beautifully done.]

These are my favorites from the anniversary issue, but if you haven't already, go check out the whole issue!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Partners

I'm gradually making my way through my "READ" stack, and I came across this ad [above] that I had torn out of the NYT a few weeks ago. Something about it made me smile [the giant balloon monkey? the pirate hat? definitely the teepee.], so I did a little digging to find out more about it. Turns out it was produced by Partners & Spade, and that there are many more inspiring things on their site. Like this ad campaign for Boast:

And Kate Spade:

And the J. Crew Liquor Store:

And that's not all -- just in time for Halloween, "a bachelor" goes trick or treating...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Sand Table for M

We got the idea for this table from some of our creative friends [thanks, Elisabeth and Jim!]. Ben had all the wood laying around his shop and bought the cement bin at Lowe's. All-in, this bad boy cost about $20 [including the sand], and took about one morning to build.

I, personally, did not have anything to do with the actual building part -- it probably would've taken me much longer to do it, and then I've no doubt it would've been wobbly. That's why it's so great that Reggie D lives with me. I bring him ideas, and he makes it happen. He's cool like that.

We are going to get another tub for water, so we can switch the sand out. It was my experience with the boys that whenever the sand and the water were there side-by-side, the sand and the water ended up mixed together in both bins. Then it got grody. What can I say except that my kids were not born rule followers; not the kids who are concerned about things going in their places.

And yes, sadly, it is still warm enough here for sunsuits.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Animal Magnetism, Indeed

I'm a little behind on my reading materials, and just last night read through an article about Renate Muller that was in the NYT last Sunday. Muller is the designer of jute-and-leather animals that are not only adorable looking, but created specifically to enhance the learning environment for disabled children. This just happens to be one of my favorite things: when form and function combine to create something not only smart, but aesthetically appealing too.

[Photographs above show her process]

Living in East Germany, Muller was secluded from the larger design world, which she says allowed her to develop her own ideas. She stresses the importance of designing from your own spirit and power. Important, indeed, because while it's great to have access to so much inspiration from all over, seclusion can definitely help define your voice and clarify your ideas. Check out the full article here, and let me know what you think!

[Images from R 20th Century Design, where the exhibit "Renate Muller: Toys and Design" will be through January 4, 2011]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Party Hardy

Since we are on the topic of parties, I thought I'd pass along these inspirational photos from Ashley Meaders.

You all know how I feel about flags and tags, so it will come as no surprise to you how much I want to see these pancakes on my breakfast table. Or dinner table. A pancake party would be a perfect first or second birthday party, and the pig pancake book would be a fun addition to the pancakes. Hmmmm, M's 2nd birthday party perhaps?

I'm totally feeling this fringe. I think a fringe movement is in the works. Just you watch, fringey things are bound to happen...

[Images from Ashley Meaders; Photography by Our Labor of Love]

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

M's Birthday Celebration

Pictures, at last! I mentioned before that we kept things very small and low-key; some friends, family and cupcakes.

I love first birthdays, and this will be the last one I put together for one of my kids. Red was the main color, with some dots and stripes sprinkled in. Sweets were big, too -- the cupcakes, candy and favors.

We served cucumber tea sandwiches and bruschetta to nibble on.

I made the cupcake toppers from a picture I printed and cut out, and then backed with red paper. The sticks are small lollipop sticks you can buy at Michael's. However, it's sometimes fun to imply that maybe you saved all the sticks from lollipops eaten at your house. As in Oh, we save everything around here! Enjoy!

They were a hit with Mags:

Favors were Rice Krispie treats on a stick and red Swedish Fish. Yum.

The poms poms I made from red tissue and Martha's tutorial. I hung one of the letters of her name from each one.

It was a perfect little first birthday celebration. [You can see the invite and inspiration board here.]

I'm glad we kept it small because most of the time she walked around like this:

Precious girl.
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