Vintage book illustration

More books. I know, I can't help it. I am really glad my mom kept all of the kids books.

These were another set that made it back to our house. I remember reading these when I was young and looking back over the illustrations makes me extremely nostalgic.

The colors, the graphics, the boldness of the prints - I love it all. Plus, each book covers a different topic and I am delighted to admit that I in fact have learned something new, again.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


First words, in 2 languages

We have learned that children who learn 2 languages tend to speak a tad later than their playmates who do not. We have found this to be true, for sure. And then suddenly, in the last few days, the flodd gates have opened and out come words and almost audible phrases. I noticed more German words, his childcare provider noticed more English words - and what we both noticed is that we were both right on. How is that? Because he speaks English with her and German with us. How at 23 months a child can determine what language to speak with what person sort of just blows me away.

And then came the big question "How are we going to teach the nugget how to read and write German?" And since books and reading have been on my mind this week because of the eCourse, I decided to give it some thought.

I never formally learned either, so I am a 35 year old woman who can speak fairly well, maybe write an email to her parents-in-law and then read children's books and a german InStyle magazine - but don't ask to me write or read about anything more grown-up than that. So what do we do for the nugget?

Well, he and I will just learn together.

One word, one sentence, one grammatical rule at at time.

I "borrowed" this book that my mom had saved and with a bit of label maker magic, added the German spelling of the words and images. It's not a whole lot, but I figure every little bit counts.

And yes, I know I should have capitalized the German words because they are nouns and they should be capitalized but it looked better like this. I'll make sure to point it out to the little man at some point...


Week 3 : PL eCourse : Encouraging young readers part 2

The other reading nook is upstairs, so I needed a solution for books in the nugget's room. I built the 2 shelf book rack months ago - you can see the project here.

But it was free standing and the tip over factor was high - so I have been looking for a place to attach it. One of the other projects I had taken on for this eCourse was to find a new home for the play kitchen. Well, I found a home and magically the play kitchen and the base of the mini-bookcase are the exact same height and width...I love it when its that easy.

So now, the kitchen is its own little nook and the nugget has a place for some of his books.

It didn't take very long for him to make himself cozy.

wooden play kitchen {craigslist}
picture ledge {IKEA}
vintage wooden chair {well, that belonged to the nugget's dad some 30+ years ago}


Week 3 : PL eCourse : Encouraging young readers

Two days ago, the nook looked like this...

This afternoon in the rain, it looked a little different...

The best part about transforming this space is that I didn't buy anything new. A lamp from here, pillows from there, books from all around.

{the details}

vintage desk lamp {urban home}
orange pillow {urban outfitters}
white plush bolster {marshalls}
large gray square pillow {IKEA}
orange tree book ends {daiso}
vintage turtle picky bank {etsy}
knitted penguin {papersource}
books {bought used on amazon or "borrowed" from my mom's attic}



Sometimes I am a little slow to realize where all the cool kids are. Seems that on Thursday mornings its at the library for toddler storytime. Fits perfectly for the topic in the eCourse this week - "Encouraging young readers." Stay tuned tomorrow for the transformed book nook..

For today, my nugget was of course more interested in the fire alarm and the buttons on the elevator than a book being read, but once I discovered the "cars, boats, trucks" section, I had him.

And from there, I just had to figure out how to get a library card and get our new stash of books home without getting wet.


Week 2 : PL eCourse - Encouraging young writers

I have been thinking a lot about writing since last Wednesday. Last weeks eCourse material was about creating a space for children that encourages writing. At first I was relieved, "Whew, week off I thought, the nugget is barely 2 and we don't need a space yet for him to write." But as I watched the video snippet again, I began to realize that this week's material was totally relevant and totally important and totally worth paying attention too.

Why you ask?

Because I don't write anymore. I type. I send emails. I use Paperless Post. And the irony here is that I used to design wedding invitations - you know, the paper kind with all kinds of inserts and envelopes. I used to be a paper girl with fountain pens and boxes of cards. I used to send birthday cards and christmas cards. And I don't do that anymore. And this eCourse about learning spaces for kiddos made me realize that I miss it.

But this course is not supposed to be about me? Until I realized that the nugget watches us do everything. And if he doesn't watch us spend the time to actually write something with a pen or pencil or Sharpie or rollerball, he may lack the desire or patience to learn the art of penmanship himself. So when he is ready and the age is right and he wants to start to use a pen and trace letters and then spell words and then compose whole paragraphs, he will know how to do that because he will have watched someone do it.

So, instead of creating a writing space for him, this week, I am going to create a writing space for us. I am still working out the details, so you will have to check back.

Until then, I walked around our house looking for the places that I was unconsciously teaching him about letters and words already and found these few examples:

His favorite letter and word book from his uncle.
His name spelled out in blocks and then in scrabble letters.

I guess the writer in me just needed a little encouragement this week too.

Check back in a few days for the writing nook...


Happy Valentine's Day

As I mentioned last week, I am re-reading Domino because I miss it and I am trying to clean up the "stuff" in our house - and my pile o' magazines clearly can be defined as stuff.

Amidst the Dominos are a few issues of Blueprint, a Martha Stewart creation, that didn't make it past more than a few issues so I am hesitant to recycle any of them. However, now re-reading them, I see how much fluff they really were. I have collected a few nuggets of delightful things that make me smile.

This for one, is a delightful repurposed way to say Happy Valentine's Day!


From table runner to bolster pillow...

BEFORE: An old IKEA runner 

DURING: Adding some batting to the stitched case. Thank you Emily for the sewing! 
AFTER: A new bolster pillow for the nugget's room


A home of learning

"As we endeavor to create a home of learning, we will discover the priceless opportunities available each day to teach and learn together. This begins with the recognition that we, as parents, are the stewards, of our children's education and that our minds and hearts are the most important books our children will ever read."

by Ladawn Jacob and Jenet Jacob Erickson for Seeing the Everday

One of the reasons I am so excited about being part of this eCourse is that it is allowing me to sift through the endless pile of magazine clippings and articles that I have been accumulating on the subject of child and family friendly spaces for the last few years. I have always been interested on how the built environment affects our behavior. I even wrote my graduate thesis on how the built environment can impact our health and now I am interested to learn how it affects children.

So now, as I sift and make sense of all of this great information, I found an article that was in Seeing the Everyday, a lovely periodical about slowing down and appreciating the great beauty in the things we do every day. It was titled "Creating a home of learning."

I was struck by this...

"While racing back and forth from piano lessons to soccer, many parents may feel their primary role is opportunity manager and outsource provider rather than teacher and educator."

and this...

"Learning is enhanced in a setting of predictability, repetition, and order, where purposeful interactions prepare space for the spontaneous joy of learning."

They are watching, these little ones. Everything they see and hear and watch and experience, comes from home first. And that, well that is my inspiration to keep on doing what I am doing.


Week 1 : PL eCourse Part 2

There is no sugarcoating here. Nothing cleaned up, nothing organized. Just a little glimpse into what happens when the tornado comes through.

These are my projects to tackle in the next few weeks:

Play kitchen
Toys in the living room
Book nook
Upstairs playroom

The before shots (please forgive the poor quality - after shots will be better) :

Stay tuned for the transformation.

Week 1 : Playful Learning eCourse

One of the reasons that I love reading my favorite blogs, is that I get to learn about things like Playful Learning. And then I get to be envious that things like Playful Learning and Tracy Stewart's Moomah are on the East Coast and I am on the West Coast and how could we not have something like this in the Bay Area?

So when I learned about Mariah Bruehl's eCourse - I signed up, immediately. I didn't think about all the other things I had to do or what it would mean for my schedule since I went back to work part-time a few weeks ago. I didn't think about either of those things because creating beautiful and functional spaces is what I love to do, and now with an overly curious 2 year old around our house I figured it might help me either to create a family living space that works for all of us or help me to get better at simply living with the chaos.

Here is how it will work: Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, an email will arrive with a link to a video, research and updated Pinterest and Flickr images, that will allow us as a group to tackle the more complicated spaces and rejoice in the simple changes that we make. So far, I am impressed with the approach that Mariah takes, advocating re:using and re:purposing things we already have around the house and choosing less over more. I am pleased and excited that she blends information from Montessori and Reggio Emilia education philosophies (will see if she incorporates Waldorf at all) because all three make a point at addressing how children learn and what role the built environment plays on that process.

This first week is about looking at our homes and finding the spaces and nooks that are either abandoned and in need of some TLC or simply need a new function. She asked us to think about children, or more accurately, what we think about children: how they learn, what they do, why the behave the way they behave. She asked me to re:think children, and although I thought I did that already, there was something about her asking that made me realize how often I act or address our toddler with an adult mindset, instead of understanding the developmental stage in which he is. And where is he? Well, he is about to turn 2 which means that taking the train set apart and dumping water in his spaghetti and covering Thomas with yogurt and wanting to go left instead of right and pulling every thing out of the pots and pans drawer is just exactly what he is supposed to be doing, even if it means more mess for me to clean up. So, how can I set up our home to let him make a mess and be curious and learn things on his own without creating a whole heap of extra work for myself? Guess that is the question I am going to try to answer.

For now, I have got some photos to take and some things to think about, but other than that, I am totally excited to be part of this.


A touch of gray

I love the color gray which is ever so ironic since I find gray weather terribly depressing. But as a color, well, its a neutral staple, that in the right tone, can work almost everywhere.

But in a kiddo's room? Yes, there too.

I think this is a great looking kids room. As I am sure you have figured out I am not really into wallpaper borders with trucks and trains, matching duvets and monogrammed towels. This eclectic mix of old and new, muted and bright is simple and not overdone.

The cool thing - this room could be for a boy or a girl (just add some more feminine details) and could even be transformed into a guest room with a few minor adjustments. Design that is flexible and multi-functional - that's the kind I like.

Image via Oh Dee Doh via Design Sponge


A darling space for a wee little man...

It is very hard to find spaces for little boys that are not over-stuffed with trucks and dinosaurs and firefighters galore. I get it. I mean I have a toddler who hoards as many trains and cars in his little nubby hands as he possibly can but that doesn't mean that I have to overpopulate his world with images of them.

Joanna Goddard's {of Cup of Jo fame} son Toby, with the help of one talented designer named Jenny Komenda {her blog here}, gets to spend time in this sweet simplicity of a space. Not too much, not too little. What I also appreciate is that Joanna and Jenny mixed new with vintage, not being afraid to create a lived in space that is both appropriate for the needs of new little person and the needs of a mom and dad who would no doubt be spending quite a lot of time in there as well.

As for the cloud window treatment, they created that themselves! For the details and more darling pictures, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Je t'aime

I can't tell you how much I love this baby space. It is from one of my favorite blogs from french artist flora douville. Her photography is breathtaking.

For the rest of the images in this series, click here


A room of her own : Inspiration for little girl spaces

A room the Peach from Oh Dee Doh

A room for Sage from Oh Dee Doh

A room for Rylie from Oh Dee Doh

A room for Penelope on ISLY {via kenziepoo}

A room for Lois at Found Now Home
{top image in SF, bottom in her new room in London}

No, there is no news I need to share with, so don't get any ideas. I just happen to love kids spaces and I always gravitate to girls spaces and I want to dedicate the month of February to things that I love. 

I have folders full of inspirational images of baby and kid spaces but these ones are my very favorite because they are eclectic and vintage and lively repurposed and DIY. They did not pop out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog, nor did the parents spend an unreasonable or outrageous amount of money on creating them. They are full of second-hand and flea market finds and hand-me downs without looking hodge podge, cluttered and out dated.

Really, I think I would be happy spending time in any of one of them.

To see the how-to's and the why's and story behind each room, simply click on the linkin bold under each picture.