Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Puppet Power...

We've heard it before. The economy has changed and people are cutting back on spending. This means, many spring break family vacations have been largely scaled back or omitted all together! If you're one of the millions staying home this year, you may want to supplement some of the expensive fun with some budget-friendly ideas! Here's one for you...

Available for $2 (plus shipping) at my etsy shop, these blank hand puppets are a wonderful time filler. Gather white school glue, fabric scraps, google eyes, markers, or anything else you have on hand. Then, encourage your child to get to work making a puppet! Ask your child to name the puppet, and keep the conversation open. Maybe she can tell you a story about the puppet, or act out a situation that's been bugging her lately or causing her problems at school (a bully perhaps). Get two and make your own along with your child, and you're sure to have a memorable afternoon full of good communication and giggles!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Way Past Pink...

Lately, I have been attracted to yellow and gray color combinations! I want a yellow and gray kitchen, bathroom, and...NURSERY! More specifically, a little girl's nursery. I'm over pink. It's time for punch! However, another baby is really no where in my immediate plans, so I'll just get my decor fix by blogging. Sit back, prop your feet up, grab the pickle jar and enjoy a little eye candy...

This crib set packs more than enough motivation to move forward! I am head over heels in love with this crib set! Really. In. Love.

Now, that we have the perfect inspiration Amy Butler fabric, it's time to choose the paint...

I don't think you can miss the mark with either pale gray or yellow. Then, pair the bedding with a white crib, repurposed antique furniture and art pieces like these Etsy finds...

Hang an eye catching, lacquered, antique inspired mirror above the dresser, or one like this...

Then,  place a vase of these on top of the dresser. They're low maintenance and perfect for life with a new baby!

This would also be adorable hung inside a bookshelf or near a little nook...

You'll also want a rug. Here are a few Anthropologie options that could work!

Every nursery needs a soft chair for feedings and long story sessions. With yellow walls, I'd do a white or gray one. With gray walls, I'd do a yellow or white one!

I'm also a firm believer that a nursery should have personalized touches and  grow with a baby! A way to get the most age out of a space-especially a girl's space-is to add "soft" and "hard" accessories. Investing in an over sized, industrial inspired wall letter can really add a statement too. Plus, it's sure to be a piece that will always have a place in your home...

There will be plenty of future days full of doll rocking, painting and pretend play, so you may want to add a piece or two ready and waiting! Start your child's library early and place a small chair near it!

Later, you can add a pretty full length mirror and hooks with dress-up clothes or a play kitchen and a table and chair set. Plan a head, leave some open space and choose a few pieces that are most important to you. Every child doesn't need a play room. Get the most use out of your space and create a room that your child won't ever want to leave! Also, remember a room always evolves. Don't cover every square inch of a room, before your water breaks. You'll want to have space for fantastic finds later on!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Born to Design...

Early childhood education is a passion of mine, but home decor and design is equally important to me. As a child, I wanted to be a teacher (before I knew what an interior designer was), but I always had a drive in me to design. In first grade, I would wake up in the middle of the night and rearrange my pink bedroom. I even turned my closet into a baby doll nursery. I drug my dad to the hardware store and gave him my exact specifications for a changing table. He let me pick out the trim and handles, and it was a masterpiece!

The rest of my room was almost a full classroom. My mom wanted me to have a vanity, but I had other plans. I instructed my dad to remove the mirror, and I screwed a real pencil sharpener into the top. It became a desk, survived a house fire, and I still use it today!

We moved in third grade, and I took full advantage of a new space. I was tired of Pepto-Bismol pink, and against my mother's dreams, I asked for a black and white bedroom. Well...demanded is more like it! She took me to K-Mart, and I picked out a black and white striped comforter. She fought me tooth and nail on the paint, and I settled for white walls with black trim. By this time, the rest of my room was a full blown classroom. I had two real student desks, my "teacher's" desk, a file cabinet, and a large chalkboard. Yes, these are the things I asked Santa for!

In mid elementary, my closet changed again. This time, it was "Crystal's Country Closet". The sunflower was my "logo". With tape (for laminating), paper, markers and a repurposed pin back, I made my own name tag. I cut a white tank top down the center and made a uniform vest. Using cardboard boxes for shelving and baskets for display, I gathered things I didn't want anymore and sold them to my little brother and the neighborhood kids. Yes...I even had a real cash register too!

By fifth grade, I soaked up the JCPenney catalog and begged my parents for a daybed. I convinced my mom to order a floral bedding set (remember when hunter green was in) and got to work on another transformation!

In high school, nothing changed. I saved my baby sitting money and painted my room and my desk myself. I replaced my black outlet plugs with white ones (yes, I actually turned off the power and did this myself), sewed matching pillows in Home Economics and made collage wall art. I even gathered old glass Coke bottles and covered them with dripping crayon wax and candle wax. Then, I put a white candle stick inside each one. My mom nicknamed my room "Apartment 1A". I was a budding amateur designer! With the first promo for "Trading Spaces" hitting the airways, I knew it would be a hit, and I would be their biggest fan!

Moving away to college may have meant partying and freedom to most. To me, it meant complete design control, and I took full advantage. When new friends visited my dorm, I beamed when they commented on how "homey" it felt!

My first apartment was no different. Because we couldn't paint, I covered my kitchen walls with striped school folders. I liked the print, and they were on sale. Believe it or not, they were actually easy to clean too, because they had a laminated-like coating.

During student teaching, I moved back home and turned a bedroom into my first full blown office. I drug my dad back to the hardware store and gave him exact specifications for a wall mounted ribbon display. He ended up making me two! My childhood desk was painted once again, and I was given such satisfaction in working in a perfectly functional space.

Fast forward to modern day, and I find myself once again wanting more. While PreschoolDoll Designs has turned into more than I could have even imagined, and I am honored every day to work successfully from home, I have a desire to once again give my desk a face lift...

My new Etsy shop, Modern Bungalow, will be launching in May! Inspired by our cozy, little bungalow, I will be offering an array of home decor accessories and finally tapping into that side of me professionally. Won't you please come on this newest journey with me!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

An Elephant of a Time...

I was recently given the honor of planning a baby shower for a dear friend of mine. Baby boy Lim doesn't have a name yet, but he is so loved and anticipated. Inspired by a baby blue and red color palette, I began the planning process. Starting with the paper products, here's what I have so far...

Jaimee of Bushel + Peck Paper has grown to be one of my favorite people. We've never actually met, but if we ever do, I'm sure we'll be chatting for hours! I've turned to her for all of my paper needs lately, and she always does a beautiful job! I explain my vision, and she gets to work. I think we make a good team! You can find her on Facebook here. Check out her Etsy Shop too! She even manages to maintain a blog!

When I found this adorable printable by One Sweet Party, I knew I had to have it! The colors are a perfect match, and at only $8, I couldn't pass it up! Now, I just need to find a frame.

There won't be any game playing, but I do have an activity planned for the momma to take home. These elephant stickers {$3.99/36 stickers} by California Craft will be randomly placed on the bottom of 8 plates. The lucky winners will be taking the centerpieces home!

These vases by Crate&Barrel are on clearance for $1.50 each. I'll be placing two on each table and adding a red flower.

Sitting on baby blue tablecloths, these red candy cups {$5.00/25 cups} by HeyYoYo, will be filled with snacks and placed around the centerpieces.

As usual, the plan is to stick to a tight budget and get magnificent results! I plan on making my own red and blue tissue paper poms to hang from the ceiling, children will have sidewalk chalk and bubbles to play with outside the park pavilion and food will be kept simple. We're even making our own cupcakes!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gorgeous Garden Gear

The weather is warming, and it's time to get out into our flowerbeds! {insert forced smile here} Who am I kidding?! I won't even try to lie. I know NOTHING about horticulture. When do you plant bulbs again? My "green thumb" is more of a wilted thumb, and my enormous snake fear usually paralyzes any progress I "intend" to do, but I do love cute things. I love a nice garden, and I know it's a chore that has to get done. I don't make the kind of money that allows for a personal gardener...yet!

Until my ship comes in, I'll pull on some cute garden gear and get into the mulch of it all! Here are some fun things to make the task more manageable...


Yellow is my new "happy color", and I think these would "kick" me into gear! Now, I have to protect the manicure I don't have. Let's look to Etsy...


Don't forget the sunscreen, a floppy hat, an apron, and a BIG stick {to ward off any slithering suckers}. You also want to stay hydrated. This fun drink bottle from Pottery Barn should do the trick!

 In a dream world, you would open your back door and see this...


For the rest of us in the real world, the ones on the "expensive" mac n cheese budget {a.k.a. Velveeta}, here are some affordable garden accessories and decor. They're all from Etsy!






The egg seller even has a cute wire nest {$8} to house these little seed eggs {$9}. What an adorable Mother's Day gift that would be!

The next time you head out to the garden, think of me...and send some snake repellent my way if you get a chance. My flowers will thank you!

Enjoy your day!