Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Friday

megan_carty

Happy Friday friends!
Any big plans for the weekend? We'll be busy here and there doing family things. Fun!
In the meantime, I've got some plans for some more stationery designs up my sleeve. I love having new ideas; I get so pumped! They involve papery patterns and an antique ephemera feel. Wee!

I just cleared off my vanity in my bedroom and rearranged things so that I can use the space to get ready in the morning. Handy! We had a few closets through our bedroom that we just turned into ONE closet and a...Master Bathroom! Yay! It's been months in the making and it's almost done. The shower glass goes in next week. I can't wait to show you pictures! In the meantime I'm plotting and planning where all my stuff will go.
Feeling blessed!

See my new phone in the picture? First of all, I had never even really even texted until I got the phone. Talk about behind the times! I had an old phone that I only had on for emergencies. To be honest, I don't even know my phone number. LOL. So, I decided to join the current world and get an iphone 4S. (I opted out of getting the 5). I love it! I've been missing out and am now enjoying Instagram and doing all kinds of fun things. The buttons on the top right of my blog show you the places you can find and follow me. Now, I just have to memorize that phone number...

And finally, I just spent 2 hours searching for my keys. Tearing the house apart. Freaking out, sweating, crying and panicking (I know they're just keys but I needed to get P to school). Chris had them at work in his bag all along. sigh Luckily, he came all the way home with them and brought Paige to her school for me. Better late than never! It was funny, I was so mad at first but when he told me he had them I was so relieved and I immediately felt for Chris. He told me he was so sorry and he felt bad... and in that moment I chose to not give him any hassle for an honest mix up. It always feels good to choose to forgive rather than yell and nag. Next time I make a mistake I know he'll offer me the same. That man is the best.

Enjoy your weekend! Hug the ones you love, ok? See you Monday!

PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE TURNED OFF WORD VERIFICATION IN MY COMMENT SECTION TO MAKE THINGS EASIER FOR EVERYONE. THANKS!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Let Sleeping Dogs Lay

Maren's Eyes

Lie? Lay? I wish I'd paid more attention in grammar school. Well, I paid attention but I never understood all the rules.

Look closely at Maren the Wonder Dog for a surprise. I think I'll be creating more of these.

Morning Routine

Hi friends!
This is how Noah spends part of his morning while Paige gets ready for school:


I wish I could do that.

And when Paige goes to get on the bus, she always looks for slugs. And bugs. Even if it means making the bus wait! She likes to talk to them and say "awwww, cute little bug."
It's the little things. Literally.

make a gif at gickr.com
gif maker


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cute Onesie!

My tiger
Isn't he cute? I'm in love with this Tigger onesie. Chris got it for him at Disneyland when he was there for a conference he was presenting at. My favorite part is the tail design on the butt.

I just got back from having the last part of a root canal done. Good times! I'm all numb and drooly which makes it hard to eat or drink. I can't really feel anything, so I'd probably chew my cheek off or something if I tried. Why is it you always want to eat something desperately when you know you can't? Delicious left-over ravioli, I'm talking about you.
Root canal

Giveaway

Hi friends! I hope you're well!
I'm participating in a giveaway over at Burlap and Blue; enter and see if you'll win all the super-cool prizes! I'm giving away a custom silhouette portrait with your choice of 4 backgrounds (a $40 value)!
Good luck! :)
paigesilhouette

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stay At Home Mom Fashion and Style

I don't know about you, but I gave up trying to look cute a looooong time ago. With the kiddos and life and trying to adjust to all the changes...well, fashion fell to the back burner. Not even the back burner...the trash? The dump? Don't get me wrong, I have a good day here and there, but not every day. Every day is more of a jammie "just wear what I slept in and hope I make it through the day alive" sort of look. Shower? Nonexistent half the time. Hair? Pulled into a bun or ponytail. Usually dirty and messy. Makeup? Ha!
I've hit the schlump wall. I can't take anymore of myself looking like I crawled out of a dumpster.
I've spent the past several weeks consulting magazines and websites on what I should be wearing these days. But, most of the stuff I've found is focused on the working woman. Cute things. Dry-Clean Only things. Form-fitting and restricting things. sigh.
I haven't found much advice for moms. Specifically, stay at home moms or work at home moms who want to know what might work for our specific lifestyle. I decided to take on the challenge myself, dammit.

I'm now doing a new line of posts from time to time called "Stay at Home Mom Style." Where I will feature an image of myself how I usually look, how I might look if I put in minimal effort, and how I look when I plan out an outfit and actually TRY (without trying much...ha!)

First, I had to come up with a list of clothing requirements/at home mom fashion problems. Here's my list specific to me:
1. Clothes must be comfortable.
This is obvious, but not just for comfort's sake. What do we do all day? Bending, cleaning, wiping (hello spit up!), picking up toys, playing with My Little Ponies on the floor, changing diapers, playing tag, putting strollers together, crawling on the floor with baby...the list goes on and on. Clothes that have tight seams or stiff edges are not comfortable in these listed situations. Is it any wonder that sweatsuits and work out gear are the choices of many?
2. Clothes must be machine washable.
Much of the day I'm covered in spit up, marker, food, drool, snot, tears (not only my own, haha!) My clothes must be washable. I can't afford constant dry cleaning. Nor do I have the time to schlepp my stuff to said dry cleaner.
3. Clothes can't be easy to wrinkle
You know, I hate ironing. So I don't bother. I wear wrinkly clothes all the time. Oh well.
If I can, I try to find non-iron shirts and clothes made of fabrics that don't easily wrinkle. Problem semi-solved.
4. The neckline can't be low, loose, or revealing.
I have an 8 month old. He pulls! Plus, I'm always bending down and I don't feel like showing the ladies to everyone in the room. Nobody wants to see them anymore anyway, trust me.
5. Clothes must be flexible to wear different seasons
I live in northern New England. It's a long-ass winter. I need things to work from fall, through winter, and into spring. Thanks to leggings and thick tights, I can wear a lot more for longer. Yay! Thank you layering! Thank you cardigans!

So, that's my list that has helped me figure out what need to be wearing.

So, let's get on with things! First, let me show you what I would normally look like when home sitting around the house all day and not going anywhere. Try not to scream. I'll try not to cry.
scarybefore
I wore those jammie pants and tshirt to bed. I threw on the workout shirt over that so I didn't freeze to death when I brought Paige out to her bus. I wear contacts, but of course don't make the time to put them in. Shower? Ha!

So, not long ago, if I decided to "get dressed" to run to the store, I might have thrown on an old pair of jeans and a cute top. Slipped on some easy shoes and off I went. Just grabbing groceries. You know the drill. But, I still felt frumpy. What? A wet hair bun isn't stylish?
slight improvement

I decided that showering at night is the best solution to staying clean. Once the kids are in bed, I have more time for self-care. I even blow-dry my hair so that there's not much to do in the morning. Innovative, right? Ha!

I've always heard that accessorizing was key when it comes to looking more pulled together. But I didn't know what the hell that meant. On my own, I've discovered that a little extra detail takes no real extra effort but makes an outfit looks more put together.
ampedupcasual
Here, along with my cute Downeast Basics top from the last photo, I added a yellow leather skinny belt, trouser jeans (jeans, but they look dressier), and fun yellow flats.
For good measure, my hair is dried AND I have deodorant! It's the little things.
Just the belt alone was the trick to adding more sass. No real effort! The trouser jeans are the same effort, but they seam more expensive and dressy, don't they? (shh, they're not!) A better look would probably be skinny jeans or jeggings but I don't own them. That's that.

This outfit fits the bill for a day at home and running errands...your average every day. It's in the upper-seventies for the high temps today, so I won't be totally sweating in this outfit. I'm in air-conditioning in my house anyway.

Here's an image of the outfit with different shoes...a platform wedge. I don't normally wear high heels, but the platform in these makes for a lot of support. My feet don't hurt in them. But, I wouldn't wear shoes like these all day. Maybe out to lunch or for shopping? On a movie date?
 ampedupcasualshoes

And finally, here's another version of the same outfit where I tuck the shirt in and put the belt around the jeans. I like this too, but I still have a tummy from having Noah (remember my crazy-huge belly?) so I prefer the untucked look. The jersey knit to the shirt is smooth, stretchy and comfortable, but not very forgiving around the belly when tucked in!

For good measure, I added a chunky bracelet, a bit of mascara, and a bit of plum lip stain.

ampedupcasualtucked


So, the jersey knit shirt: comfortable, machine-washable, wrinkle-free, simple neck, good under a cardigan when cold. CHECK! I got it from Downeast Basics (they aren't sponsoring this post or anything, I just found their clothes and love them).

Trouser jeans: comfortable, machine-washable, wrinkle-free, CHECK! These are KUT brand from Nordstrom. I'm short so I had to have them hemmed (FREE at Nordstrom when you buy them full price). These jeans weren't expensive either, wooo! Another bonus is the denim is stretchy and soft. So, they hug my curves and I can bend, run, sit on the floor...whatever and they feel nice. They don't dig into my skin or feel stiff at all.

Shoes: The yellow ones are old. They were from the Gap.
The platform wedges are new and from Aerosoles.
Yellow Belt: Banana Republic
Chunky Bracelet: Coach (a gift!)

So, that's it! I hope you liked my first little style post. I didn't study fashion.  I'm just a graphic designer who likes color. I'm a regular gal who has real life fashion issues. I'm not trying to create a style statement or win a fashion award. Obviously.
I'm simply trying to look a little more together in my daily life so that I feel good. I feel more confident and happy when I feel like I look my best. And, let's be honest, it can be FUN to look sort of cute! (or at least DRESSED)

Do you have any style tricks you love? Wanna play along and do before/after pics of yourself? Feel free to do your own Stay at Home Mom Fashion posts and put the links here! Let's inspire each other.
And if you've got fashion all figured out? These posts aren't for you. Revel in how lucky you are!
P.S. Don't make fun of me.
P.P.S. I'm sucking in my stomach like mad in all these pictures. I thought I'd pass out.




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just Because...

Sometimes you just capture a moment that says everything and you want to keep it forever and ever.

My girl my joy

Book of the Week

reading

One thing I am a huge advocate of is the importance of reading to our children. Children can develop a love of learning and reading through the active listening from being read aloud to. I won't go into the heaps of research and advice about it...but I WILL cite my favorite book on the subject: The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.
I got it for my e-reader and it's filled with inspirational advice about reading aloud to our children (even teens!) and what books are best for reading aloud for all age groups. I highly recommend it. So, if you're ever wondering what good books to read aloud are, start there! It's a treasure!

Paige has a lot of favorite books. But, I notice that each week she seems to favor one in particular that she wants read aloud all the time every day until she sort of tires of it. Then, she's onto a new one for the next week. Eventually, she always cycles back around. Ha!
Recently, her "book of the week" was "Stuck" by Oliver Jeffers.

Stuck

This book is hysterical. It really appeals to a child's humor. I know I love reading it over and over (because I have a kid's humor!). The charming illustrations by Jeffers bring the humor to life...his simple lines bring so much personality to his characters. I never tire of his clever drawings!

Stuck, a page

The storyline revolves around Floyd and the fact that he got his kite stuck up in the tree...the hilarity ensues when he throws his favorite shoe up there to get the kite out...but that gets stuck too!

Stuck, a spread

Paige always managed loud laughter during this story. She even has a lot of it memorized and began using some of it's language in her daily life i.e.: "I'm SO delighted!"

Fun to read, fun to listen to AND learning new vocabulary? This book is a winner for us!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Monday

To our special lunch
Hi friends!
I hope you had a great weekend! We got lots done and we went to Paige's favorite place...the Rainforest Cafe. It's a theme restaurant made to look like you're in the rainforest. The animals come to life and every 30 minutes there is a fake thunderstorm and the animals go crazy. There's giant fish tanks everywhere and all kinds of things to look at. You're encouraged to run around and look at things, so it's the perfect place to bring little ones and not worry about craziness.
As you know, Paige started preschool for the year and she's been doing a great job. She's gaining a lot of new skills already! In the morning, she has her special needs class where there are 2 kids per teacher with 4 teachers in there. She's learning all about how to initiate a conversation, say hi and bye without prompting, and how to share and play with other kids. She's doing great! She's finally saying things like "hi Mommy" on her own. When my Mom was visiting Paige said "Bye Nana!" all on her own as she was leaving for the bus...without me having to say "Say Bye to Nana!". She's really using all her new skills in real life situations, so it's working out great! After her first class, she has a rest period and lunch, and then she goes to the integrated classroom for the afternoon where she is mixed with typical kids. She gets to practice all the skills she learned in the morning there. She LOVES it. Then, she's home around 3:45 after she gets off the bus. She goes Monday through Thursday. She's pretty tired when she gets home, so I let her decide what to do with her time and let her have her space to decompress. So far so good! It's a lot for a three year old, but I also know it's working for her. I try to always remember that even if it's not something I WANT to do, I have to do what is best for her and her future. I'm reminded of our good choice every time she talks about sharing or I see her out in public saying hi to older kids on her own and then running to us to say "Look Mommy! I'm making a new friend!"
To celebrate, we let her choose the restaurant we went to. Rainforest Cafe it is! (She calls it "Jungle Supper.") She enjoyed her hamburger and the fries even more! Good times that go far too quickly.
Off to lunch

Sunday, September 16, 2012

8 Months

8 months

8 months today!

Dear Little N.,
A few days ago you turned 8 months old!
I'm proud of you and all you've worked hard for this month...crawling (the belly/Army crawl), playing with your toys, and sprouting 2 little bottom teeth! Teething is proving to be much harder for you than it was your sister. You really feel the pain so you are suffering. I feel so bad! But, you're a trooper and are doing your best. Your sister doesn't feel pain the same way a typical person does, so she had an advantage!
You are still adorably chubby...a snuggly warm teddy bear! It's hard to put you down after I get to hold you. But I know you love exploring. We baby-proofed the family room so you can have your run of the place without worry. Now to teach your sister about putting her toys away after she plays with them EVERY TIME. You sure do like to bite on everything in sight!
Now that your sister is at school almost full time, I take you everywhere I go. You're my little sidekick. And you're a real pleasure to be with! I can be out all day long and you are so quiet and happy. You just like to "socialize" as strangers fawn all over you. I'm so lucky you are so easy to be with, so thanks for that! You continue to be a champion sleeper and napper and all around cutie pie; always in a good mood. I hope you stay this way!
Noah, you are such a sweet treasure. I love you to the moon and beyond; I wish I could bottle up this time with you and save it for always. Being with you is such a great joy, my precious.
I hope being with me is even half as wonderful for you. :)
I love you forever and always little one,
Mama

P.S. Here's a little video of you laughing and playing with your Daddy.  I'll never tire of your laugh.


8 months
8 months

Monday, September 10, 2012

Toys!

I have been eying these French toys from Janod forever. This might be the year to jump at them!
Look at this cool rocket!
or how 'bout this plane?

and I really love this bakery. They have something there similar as a vegetable stand too!



Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Work

Howdy! Not too long ago, I put up some new work in the shop.

First up, are my multi-media fine art prints. I'm so excited and nervous to show these. This is my first real time showing my "fine-arty side." It's a vulnerable feeling, but exhilarating too. These were originally created in watercolor and pencil on high end Winsor & Newton watercolor paper in a 5 x 7 size. I created prints of them in an 8 x 10 size and a 5x7 size...heirloom quality with fade-proof inks...for sale here.
 buck and fawn

 mama and fawn by the apple tree

fawn and mama at the treeline
wagon bunnies
 Maine dory
bear cub in hat

 bird on a camera


Many of you know that I'm originally from Maine and I miss it very much (though I'm not far away). I'm very much inspired by nature's moody colors there and by the beautiful shapes and tones of the landscape. The majestic beauty of Maine's animals is not to be missed, so I like to highlight their shapes in silhouette. There is a wealth of beautiful subject matter to be found along Maine's rocky coasts and inland in her forests and mountains. It's hard to decide what to paint!
You will see that my style is very sparse, using very limited compositions and simple color washes. There's a lot of wet-on-wet use of the paint. (where I soak the paper with water for 20 minutes and then drop the color onto it). I combine this with the contrast of thick pencil lines which gives the work a folk art vibe that I love. These are great clustered together in a group for a family room, nursery, den, or office. More are definitely coming!

And, here are my latest letterpress additions to the shop. These designs surely must look familiar, but I've reinvented them as long tea-length notecards (4 x 9 inches). This allows for more room for writing and they make a unique impression. Folded notecards are fine, but I wanted to try something different and more memorable. I created one new design...the sand dollar...in a flat notecard format. Beachy and fun if you like that sort of thing! :)
You can find all the letterpress stationery here.

Bird Nest stationery
Letterpress Bird nest stationery
cherry blossom branch
letterpress cherry blossom branch
Elephant Stationery
Letterpress Elephant Stationery

sand dollar stationery
letterpress sand dollar stationery
sand dollar stationery

I hope you enjoyed the little peek at my latest work! Hugs to all!

Someone's bottom teeth are coming in and it isn't me!

I can feel them with my finger...
Why do you have to grow?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Preschool 2012-2013

FirstDay1

My little one, I wish you nothing but the best this school year. I'm already so proud of you. Today was your first day for this year and you already have a note from school saying you shared AND took turns. Ha! :) I'm sad because you're gone all day now (the school changed your status to have you there from morning to afternoon...so the bus picks you up at 8am and drops you off at 3:30 pm). I missed you during the day; but I kept plenty busy with your brother and with all the things I needed to do for my work and around the house. You're growing too darn fast. I love you little birdie; you are flying now! Love you always and forever, Mama
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