Monday, January 31, 2011

Backyard Birthday Party

I like celebrating birthdays. I don't like when things get out of hand and I'm all stressed out. Spencer kept changing the theme he wanted from monsters to dinosaurs, so we just went with both. My theme for the party was low-key fun. He had mentioned a bounce house, and I think it's one of the best things we've ever done for a party. The kids loved it. In keeping with my theme, I decided to invite only family and neighborhood friends. Things were a thousand times easier this way. The parents felt comfortable dropping kids off, and they literally just bounced for most of the time.

I tend to pull these things together last minute, and this year I even sent an invitation through Paperless Post:

I covered a table with contractor paper that you can buy by the roll at Lowe's. I wrote each person's name at their place, which really helped with the whole "but I want to sit next to so-and-so..."

My first attempt at a dinosaur cake:

[It was super easy; find a tutorial for it here]

Monster faces on the goody bags:

Curious what was in the goody bags? Pez dispensers I found at Michaels for 0.19, tic-tac-toe game from the Target dollar section that was 75% off, glow sticks, and some Swedish fish:

We found this dinosaur pinata at Target that was blue and green, and those ended up being the colors I stuck with.

Pinatas have always been a big hit at our parties. Things can get a little crazy when it starts to break and candy starts flying, kids start diving, and the "stick-wielder" is still trying to whack the thing, but I'm happy to report there were no injuries. One tip for pinatas: let the smallest kids take a hit first to ensure that everyone gets a turn. It would not be a happy scene if the first two big kids broke it and then the little ones started crying!

So that pretty much covers it: a bounce house, pizza, cake and a pinata. Most importantly, Spencer felt loved and celebrated:

And for me, this was one of the best parties we've ever thrown. I was actually able to enjoy it and not be running around the whole time. After all the guest's left, I hopped into the bounce house myself [with my boys, the birthday boy wearing is 3rd outfit of the party -- war eagle!]!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


My middle munchkin turns 5 today. What is it about the 5th birthday that sounds so grown-up, like it's official: your baby boy is no longer a baby anymore. Obviously, I know that, but now it seems there's no denying it. I hope, though, that his sweet little cheeks will still be around for a while...

Happy Birthday, Precious Boy.

[Photos by the talented Laura Negri]

Monday, January 24, 2011

To Chalk Paint or Not

How do you feel about chalk paint? I can't decide. I really like the way it looks in the kitchen, especially when people draw/write cool things on it, but what about erasing? Is there dust everywhere? And when it has been erased over and over does it get messy looking?

Please enlighten me if you can!

[Images from top to bottom: Adore Magazine; Desire to Inspire; Design is Mine; Lonny Magazine; Freunde von Freunden]

PS: To the Google Reader folks, you got a sneak peak at Thursday's post! This is what happens when I try to do too many things after a long day. Spencer turns 5 on Thursday, and I was trying to get a jump start on his birthday post, but alas, somehow it published, and posts go straight into the old google reader. SO, on Thursday, the real birthday post will be up!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whoopsy Daisy...and some GREAT news!

A post scheduled for later this week was strangely published tonight. I caught it, but all you Google Readers out there got a sneak peak of Thursday's birthday post! Stay tuned -- it will be back up [and completed] then!

In other news, check out the results from the Minted Getting Hitched Challenge:

YEEHAW!!! I was blown away by these results -- The Perfect Match won 1st and Hold the Date 5th! Talk about humbling. A million thanks to all of you out there supporting me and my work. It means the world to me.

[See all the results on right here]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Art + Play

Check out this art/playroom from the home of Lisa Mahar, the owner of a shop called Kid O in NYC:

Can we all please take a moment to digest these shelves:

This is what I dream about. Shelves stocked and stacked neatly with oodles of art supplies, and my kids taking down the supplies one at a time, and using them appropriately. Look, I'm not trying to hinder artistic expression and creativity -- a lot of the time art is messy. I'm just saying it would be nice if this type of organization wasn't destroyed just for the heck of it!

In the interview, Lisa mentions one technique she uses for getting her kids to pick up after themselves. She tells her kids, "you put away the things you want to, but whatever you don’t put away, I’ll put it away but when I put it away, I’m going to put it somewhere where you can’t get it for a week..." I've actually tried this once before when the boys' room was a disaster. I told them that whatever was left on the floor was going to Goodwill. You really do get an idea of what they care about. Anyway, it's inspired me to do that on a more regular basis and try to weed out the toys that are just taking up space and causing clutter. I'm actually tempted to head back there with a trash bag right now while they are at school! I don't think they'd even miss whatever I threw away.

How about you -- do you have any techniques for getting kids to clean up their things?

[Images from the home of Lisa Mahar, featured in this article on NY Social Diary]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Happy Birthday to my dad today! It's a big one, and I wish we could be in town to celebrate with him. I found this school picture of him when I was going through some of my grandmother's letters. I love school pictures. There's just something so sincere and sweet about them -- the hair, the tees, the facial expressions. It's also a sneak peak into what kids do without their parents behind the camera coercing [and I'm even guilty of the occasional bribing!] them to look and smile at the camera.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Darth Vader meets Living Etc

I'm learning to accept that until my kids leave for college, there is going to be "stuff" strewn about the house. In accepting this fact, I'm also trying to find the humor in it, and it's become one of my favorite games when I'm straightening up the house [should I even admit this?? Yes, I know I need to get out more!]. For example, thinking of Darth reading Living Etc is pretty funny, right? Really, just imagine if underneath that massive helmet and cloak, and between light sabering people to death, he was a guy who giggled in delight over fabrics, faucets and tile choices.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Dream

I found this is Henry's backpack Friday:

"My dream is that nobody would be scared." Me too, buddy.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Meet Eddie. The black sheep. I found him last weekend at a little shop in Micanopy. He's made out of bamboo. He saw me from his perch on the shelf and begged me to take him home, so when I discovered his name tag -- and that his name was in fact Eddie -- I said "Sure, come with me." He sits on my desk now and makes me smile, reminding me that sometimes being the black sheep is pretty great.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


You know what I find amazing? When I see ordered stacks of books and magazines like these:

[How great is the artwork in this one, too?]

or these:

and these:

How in the world do they keep them stacked up so nicely?! If M [or H + S for that matter] were anywhere in striking distance those stacks would be swiped, leveled and scattered. And that sweet little plant in the second picture would be toast, too.

For now, we have to keep books either on bookshelves or above 3 feet high. When we were moving books onto our shelves, my sister said sweetly "You know, I like it when books are at the front of the shelf." I know, me too. But if I did that it would only be a matter of minutes before they were pushed to the back anyway! And our coffee table?

Vogue Living gets my apologies everyday for the abuse it suffers. I tell it not to worry, that it's building up character.

[First Image: Per Gunnarsson; Second Image: Freunde von Freunden Olaf Hajek; Third Image: Lonny Magazine]

Monday, January 10, 2011

For Pete's Sake

Not only would I like to tack up this pithy little reminder, but there was much more on C.S. Neal's site that made me smile.

And since we are on the topic of pithy sayings, I can't resist this one:

I laughed out loud when I first saw that one there.* Plus, the stencil and mustard/gold combo is perfecto.

*Print is part of a larger wall collection [below] from Freunde Von Freunden via Decor8; Photography by Ailine Liefeld. Be forewarned: FvF features homes/studios/interviews of creative types, so if you are into that sort of thing it's all too easy to while away a morning over there!

Friday, January 7, 2011

When do we eat cake?

It's always the question, right? This clever and cool program answers it so well:

[from a wedding featured in Style Me Pretty's delicious new magazine; Photography by Hannah Bergman of Steve Steinhardt Photography; program by Paper and Thread Studio]

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chalk it Up

Happy 2011, friends! I hope that your year is off to a good start. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things -- it was a - bizarre? crazy? long? not sure how to describe it - holiday break. We will officially be home for Christmas from now on. Travel with 3 little ones and all their accoutrements [especially the toys] was way too much. As we were *secretly* packing and unpacking Santa's wares, I kept thinking "What are we doing??!!" Little M was practically giddy when I put her to sleep in her own crib. She's a girl after my own heart -- likes the comfort of her own bed! Lesson learned: travel will be saved for after Christmas next year.

Anyway, I wanted to start the new year off on the right typographical foot over here on the b.wise blog, so here's some hand lettered eye candy by the typog-genius Dana Tanamachi. It makes me want to cover the walls of my studio with chalk paint and write all over it!

Be back once I get my head together!
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