Friday, June 27, 2014

Caroline's New Room

This was a sorta-kinda birthday present for Caroline... we moved her into her own room around the time she turned nine.  She had been sharing with Cecilia, so we began turning the guest room into her room.  She wanted the walls to be purple, so we chose a color that we thought would compliment the furniture, which we picked up at a local antique mall.  I LOVE the furniture, and fortunately, Caroline did too.  It fit my requirements of real wood, not too expensive, used but in good condition.  I was amazed at how low the price was, actually, for furniture that somebody had repainted so nicely!

So, here are some pictures...

found the rug at Big Lots...

This one was taken with the flash... I couldn't decide which showed the colors better, flash or natural light.

this one with no flash
I made the artwork... the center is an old picture frame found at an antique store, to the back of which I staple-gunned old chicken wire.  Then I painted the center painting on a thin board and had Chris drill holes in the corner.  I cut scraps of chicken wire and used them to thread through the holes and twist onto the chicken wire that is on the frame.  The two side paintings are just done on pre-made canvases, already primed with gesso.  The paints are acrylics because that is just what I know; I have never really painted with oil paints or anything else.  I probably should have taken more art courses; I loved my high school drawing classes and could have taken more art classes then, as well as more than just Intro to Painting in college.
I made the tree part by painting it all white, then letting it dry before adding the silver paint.  I dipped the edge of a piece of corrugated cardboard into the silver paint and then used it to make a print, over and over side by side along the trunk and branches of the tree, in an effort to give the tree some texture.  Silver paint is hard to photograph!
Painting walls with a toddler around is probably impossible... so Chris and I painted the walls while she was asleep!  I also did the bird and feather paintings while the kids were all sleeping.  I have one more painting to do for her room - I am thinking maybe a sea green background, a yellow nest, and purple eggs speckled with silver??  It is for the wall opposite the dresser.  She has the purple saucer chair in there with a sea green pillow on it, and that is basically it.  I may add a few pieces of bird-related decor here and there... don't want it to be too crowded, as she already has her dresser covered with her collection of random knick-knacks.  One day she will probably have a little school desk in there, and one day it might need to be a bigger one with drawers.  She has her bookcase under her loft-style bed, and we could turn it to make more room under it for a desk if need be.

When we were painting the walls, I was so excited because I had pulled out some old clothes to paint in... clothes that were from before I was ever pregnant, even.  And the jeans fit me!!!  So, I got thinking about how old the jeans were, and I think I got a little too proud of myself, because in my mind, the old pair of jeans was this pair pictured here:

So the first one is a clearer photo, but the second one shows that I wore these jeans as far back as freshman year in college.  The first photo is from my sophomore year.  Yes, I realize they are in reverse chronological order, but it was all I could do to get them side by side at all - I don't even know how they switched order.  Best that I can do.  Anyway, I looked back at photos, trying to decide just how old that pair of jeans was, and then I remembered: the pair that I was remembering were Union Bay brand and so they couldn't be the ones I wore to paint in, because those were Nautica.  The reason I got them mixed up is because both have a baggy, straight-leg style cut.  The Union Bay jeans were so comfortable and so I wore them a lot and thus remembered them well, but alas, I was not still fitting in size 9 jeans as I inadvertently thought.  The Nautica pair of jeans was newer, and I don't know how much newer, because I couldn't find a photo of myself wearing them.  Unless I was in a seated photo; it is pretty hard to ID jeans when they aren't clear front shots like these.  So, needless to say, I was all excited that I fit in old jeans that were really not quite as old as I had thought at first.  However, I had worn them before ever getting pregnant, and so at least I had gotten to the point weight-wise where I could zip and button a pair of pre-children pants.  I am just going to assume my hips have widened since my early college days!

So then I started looking at the baggy, wide legs on the jeans in these photos, and the short shirt style, and I started thinking, wow, I thought those looked attractive?  And then I realized I probably didn't care; they were comfortable, and I was never a fashion-minded kind of girl.  I mean, I had a shirt that my brothers dubbed, "Erin's Ugly Shirt."  I still have it, actually, but it can't button at the hips.  For some reason the shirts were all short back then, as you can see in the photos.  Thank goodness most shirts are made longer now; my post-partum x3 belly appreciates that very much.  Who thought designing such short shirts was such a good idea back in the 90s??  I remember once in high school, my dad was folding laundry and gave one of my shirts to my brother who is nine years younger than me: "Yes, the shirt looks short enough to fit him, I said, but really, it's mine.  They just make them that way for some reason." 

And yes, I did take photos of the photos above with my camera phone.  Technology allows me to add old photographs so as to embellish my randomness - isn't it great?  Or maybe not... as my husband has said of me, "Some people just shouldn't have camera phones."

And now that I have gone completely off on a tangent... this was supposed to be about decorating my child's bedroom, yes?  Sorry, I tend to get very long-winded, as I am sure anyone who has read this blog for awhile can attest.  The moral of the story: I am not as skinny as I thought I was, but old jeans from at least 2003ish still fit me.  For what that's worth, which maybe isn't much anyway.

{end babbling}

So, Caroline likes her room, and now I am on the lookout for a bed for Cecilia and (one day) Lucy's shared room and will decide what else to do in that room (other than Lucy-proof it so she can't destroy it, which will be a challenge in and of itself).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Catching Up - Caroline's 9th Birthday!

Caroline turned nine on March 21st!  She wanted to have a spring/flower themed tea party, which ended up being very easy to do: flower shaped cake made of cupcakes, tea sandwiches and that sort of thing for lunch, and tea in the old teacups I had been collecting from thrift stores and antique malls to use for our Little flowers Tea parties.

Here are some photos from the day...

Flower-shaped cake... made by arranging cupcakes into groups and frosting over them.  They were chocolate with strawberry icing.  Although the leaves and stem were made with plain frosting tinted pale green with pureed spinach.  Yes, spinach.  The pink color resulted from the strawberries in the frosting, and the purple outline was tinted with grape juice concentrate.  The gunny thingies at the center of each flower are pure artificial color goodness, ha.

The birthday girl serves herself some tea party foods

Lunch was a team effort... grandparents brought chicken salad on mini croissants and crab-filled flaky pastries, to go along with the egg salad tea sandwiches, fruit, crackers/veggies with cream cheese bacon dip, tomato-bacon appetizer thingies, hummus and pita chips... I am going off the photos here and not my memory.  What I do remember is that it all tasted delicious!

Caroline and Cecilia enjoy lunch.  My brother Mike's truck photobombing through the window to advertise his employer on the license plate, ha.


Caroline got a big illustrated Audobon bird book...
...a How to Find Flower Fairies detailed pop-up book...
Apparently Lucy was so bored she went to sleep, ha.
Cecilia gave Caroline a detailed underwater scene she had drawn.
She also got a journal, a craft kit, and a new bag for dance class.
As you can see, the two year olds were thoroughly impressed by the present-opening.
She also got American Girl accessories for the doll she had gotten at Christmas from grandparents.
Her doll, Josefina, all dressed in her new outfit with her new pet goat.
Dessert Time!

Along with the cupcakes, we had flower-shaped cookies that the girls had decorated and chocolate-covered "cookie dough" balls... oh, so yummy!  They are made of chick peas and honey, believe it or not! 
The dessert table
Blowing out the candles
And here is Caroline wearing her Josefina dress up outfit, a birthday gift from Mommy and Daddy, ordered from Etsy at the same time as Cecilia's colonial dress up outfit.  They are so well-made and the girls have loved them!

Happy 9th birthday, Caroline!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Catching Up - Cecilia's 6th Birthday!

Cecilia's birthday was in January, I know!!  I have been bad about getting photos up lately.  So, better late than never: Cecilia's 6th birthday!

Cecilia wanted a fairy castle cake for her birthday.  We have been using the Flower Fairies alphabet book this year for Kindergarten, so flower fairies were a favorite for her at this point!

She had flower fairy plates and napkins for her cake.  We didn't do a big meal for her party because we were also fitting in a ballet recital that day - phew, tiring day! :)

I had made Caroline a castle cake before, so this one was basically the same.  Cecilia picked out some fairy toothpick decorations and stuck them in the cake.

 Part of the flower fairy banner we got... that I planned to reuse for the End of the Alphabet Kindergarten party at the end of our school year.  Guess what?  I forgot to hang it up then.  I even got it out and had it laying on a table, and then just didn't remember to hang it.  Maybe for Lucy, then...

We always have family parties... from this photo I can recall who was here: Gramma and Grampa, Gran and Grandad, Uncle Mike and cousins Julianne and Chloe.

 The best part about this cake - the towers get pulled apart and you get to eat ice cream out of chocolate covered cones!

Caroline, Cecilia, Chloe, and Julianne enjoying ice cream... Lucy must have been napping and missed out.  Shh, don't tell her.

Opening presents - she got Calico Critters...

and doll clothes...

and a sketchbook and drawing pencils...

and some books...


a colonial dress-up outfit!  This is what she most wanted.  It was handmade and I didn't get the order in in time for Christmas, so I ordered it for her birthday.  Yay Etsy - most of the time, that is!

She went to try it on right away - and she wore it tons in the first few months she had it.  It is very well-made and she says it is very comfortable!

While Cecilia was changing into her dress-up outfit, Gramma read to Lucy...

and Grampa read to Chloe.

And to close out the day, the girls at the city auditorium after their ballet recital.