Blessing Bags

We’ve all seen someone who is homeless, especially recently. I don’t know about you, but I become really torn: on the one hand, I really want to help them, but on the other hand, most of the time I’m by myself so I am afraid. I’ve been known to nervously throw a bag of food out my window at a homeless person after a grocery trip (something I’m kind of ashamed for having done, but it was the only way I could conquer my fear of being harmed).  Other times, I don’t have anything to give someone. I’ve always had a strong desire to take care of people.

While on Pinterest, I came across this great blog post about making Blessing Bags to hand out to the homeless. You keep these in your car and if you happen upon someone, you have a kit ready to go. I’d make a few changes/additions, though:

-Add a travel size of dry shampoo. How often does someone who is homeless have access to a shower?

-Instead of a Starbucks gift card, what about a gift card to a local truck stop? They can’t be used on alcohol/tobacco, but more importantly, they CAN be used to rent a shower, buy food/coffee, or even a magazine for some entertainment (because let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to have a distraction from one’s current position in life).

-Add a note of encouragement. I’m not talking about a quick, two-line card. Write something of substance. Remember, you can use this note in each bag, so make it count. You might just provide the thing that gets that person through a tough day.

My challenge? I want everyone to make three of these to start. If you don’t give them out in a month or two, then donate them to your local homeless shelter. It’s important to change someone’s life, even if it’s something small. I promise that doing so will change your life, too.

Obsessive-Compulsive

Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to obsess about things just a bit. What can I say, I’m passionate! Haha. So when we were looking at some possible homes, I made some mockups as to decor and paint scheme. I can’t say that these are our faves now, but I thought I’d give you a little glimpse into my compulsions.

I started by taking the only non-computer generated picture and adding blue shutters (although I think we’d want something darker – this is a pretty terrible Photoshop job lol).

Next, I started to think about the colors I’d like for the individual rooms and how they’d work out together. You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t think about this. I’m still not sure about the hall color, but I thought that a grayish beige would work best with the gray color of the living area. All rooms will have high gloss white trim and moulding.

You can’t tell from the picture, but the layout of the formal living room would actually be four of those chairs around the round coffee table. It allows movement around the room as well as easy placement if things need to change (you can move chairs and reconfigure them much easier than a sofa).

Since there is no real wall per se between the formal living and dining areas, I needed to make sure that everything flowed between the two rooms. Using the two shades of blue provides continuity while still maintaining separate, distinct spaces.

The kitchen was a really difficult room for me. I want the paint color to be continuous with the living room/morning room, but I wasn’t sure about the surface choice. Enter that beautiful piece of multitonal granite. The hints of coral, teal, black and white are amazing! I also picked a medium color cabinet (to contrast with what will be dark hardwood throughout the first floor). And you have to love the adorable bar stools!

Again, picking the living area color was the hardest. We like lots of browns, so finding a shade of gray to work with them was difficult. Also, we want to use some of our existing pieces, like the DVD cabinet, end table, and lamp.

Okay, I couldn’t find a lot of what I was looking for with the study, but thing masculine and traditional. There would be a large corner desk for Jason and I to share, leather chairs, and huge bookcases. Also note that I replace the standard builder grade door with French pocket doors.

Next comes the upstairs. I continued the hallway color from downstairs to provide continuity. The rest was, well, not set in stone at all.

My first feeling with the loft was, “What the heck would we put up there???” I decided that a kid-friendly tv/bookshelf/desk area would be perfect! All the choices below are from IKEA of course. I especially love the couches which have interchangeable covers (so messes and patterns are okay because they can be changed!).

Okay, so this is definitely not set in stone and is just Mommy’s pipe dream that one day Clark *might* like ships enough for me to do this! Right now, his room is space-themed. It’s completely up in the air.

We are assuming that when we move into a new house, we’ll eventually upgrade to a king-sized bed, which means our lovely upholstered queen size bed would go into a guest bedroom. My goal here was trying to layer different pieces without searching extensively on the internet. This is just something I threw together quickly.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think the Master Suite is actually too big. It was so hard to figure out a layout and I’m still not enthusiastic about it. I think it might even be a better idea to wall off the sitting area and make that into an exercise room or dressing room or something. It’s especially hard because with the huge amount of closet space, we won’t really need any furniture beside a bed and nightstands in the room. The quilt is our current quilt (which we bought in king size since I’m a cover hog) and that’s where we got the paint color. Also, we know we want to continue having an upholstered bed – we lurve our current one because you can lean against the back without tons of pillows, and it wasn’t hard to convince Jason that leather was nice, haha.

So, even though I don’t necessarily love all the design choices (I picked everything out in a hurry and we would be layering the house slowly in real-life), I still love the whole idea of designing a house from top to bottom, starting with paint. Thoughts?

Supporting Other Crafters

As someone who enjoys the artistic energy from creating things, I love to support other crafters, but sometimes it’s hard to find what you are looking for. Most of you know about Etsy, a place to buy handmade artistic wears, and if you don’t, this is a great place to find really neat and unique items. I thought I’d highlight some of our upcoming purchases for the nursery from Etsy.

Closet Dividers

I wish I could take credit for finding these, but my friend G over at Life on the Terrace found them first, and I fell in love! They are dividers for hanging clothes up in the closet, and these are personalized to correspond with baby sizes, but you can customize them to say anything. Super cute! Click on the image to go to PotatoPatch’s Etsy site.

Birth Announcement Print

Since I had good luck finding woodland-themed creatures that matched our theme from PotatoPatch, I took a look at her other wares and found this awesome birth announcement print! Everything is customized, including the clip art, so we’ll pick the owl and the hedgehog to match our stuff. I can’t wait to get this one after Clark is born!

Here’s a picture of all the cliparts she can add to it:

Onesie Stickers

Our last Etsy splurge to add to the nursery actually has very little to do with it. You see, it’s always cute to take a picture on the baby’s monthly birthdays to chart growth, but monthly onesies are expensive, and it’s hard to tell what size baby will actually be in at each month. Enter onesie stickers. You just peel these stickers off and place on a onesie and voila, you have a customized-looking outfit that tells everyone who looks at it exactly how old baby is! No more wondering, “Was that the third month pic or the fourth?” And of course, I found them in woodland creatures again 🙂 Although, she has 20 designs in boy, girl, and gender neutral, and with the great price ($9 for a set of 12!) these make a really unique shower gift if you know someone who is pregnant.

Because I respect individual property rights, I’ve linked all of these images back to the sellers so you can easily find their respective shops. Even though I don’t know these sellers personally, I encourage you to use Etsy to help support artisans from all over the world if you can instead of heading to corporate big-box stores. Plus, this stuff is way cuter, anyway! 🙂

Inspiration: “Dreaming of Warm Weather”

When I want inspiration for warm-weather furnishings, I know I can always count on Pottery Barn. Looking through the site, I found a lot of pictures to share with you of great summery finds.

I love this fun coffee table! I think this would be a great coffee table to display your beach finds from a family vacation or all those knickknacks that you don’t want to dust but still want to display.

This picture/chaise lounge makes me want to escape to the ocean, stat.

These pillows are so beachy and fun, and their moderate price means that they are actually affordable to snag to add a bit of ocean coral to your house.

Who doesn’t love an antiquey lantern? The weathered look makes it seem like you made this amazing choice years ago.

I actually had a hard time finding a bedding set I liked out of their new arrivals because the style seems to be big florals in dull colors, and that didn’t scream summer to me at all (let alone style!) but I finally found this toile set, which also looks great in yellow. Paired with the dark wood bed, the blue seems very calming, like the sea.

These keys in varying sizes look great and would help bring a layered look to a room that just has pictures on the wall.

What kind of fun accents have you see lately? What makes you “dream of warm weather”?

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Inspiration: Nursery Design

For those of you who didn’t know about my secret baby blog before we announced the pregnancy, you have no idea what direction we are going in for our nursery!

Everyone who knows me knows that I am an obsessive planner. When something happens, I immediately beginning planning it or making a list, etc. We were watching a movie the other night where a couple won $2 million in the lottery, and I immediately made a detailed list of what I’d do with that money, down to the tens of thousands. So naturally, we had all of our nursery items picked out very shortly after we found out that I was pregnant, and way before we had told anyone.

We decided to go with a more gender-neutral theme that can be personalized for either sex (since it will still be another 8-10 weeks before we’ll find out! gah!), so the “mood board” you see below is the basic design.

The main wall color is Glidden’s Warm Caramel. It may seem a little dark in the picture, but when we taped several paint chips to the wall, that seemed to be the best fit, not only with the linens, but also with the natural light in the room. The trim (which is currently a laminate wood trim) will be painted antique white (the stripe you see). Eventually, all the trim in the house will go to this color, to make the house more uniform and neutral (and easier to sell later). We’ve purchased some of the elements you see in the pictures – the crib, which looks beautiful put together and is very sturdy, the hamper, the diaper stacker, the crib set, and the dust ruffle. We also purchased a mobile that matches, but it isn’t on the mood board.

We still have a long way to go (actually painting, buying and installing the ceiling fan, getting the rest of the decor just right and personalized to Bumpy), but this is a quick peek into what will be a major reveal! What do you think so far of our gender-neutral theme?