The Most Wonderful Time of the Year



Once again, real life has managed to get in the way of blogging. Sorry! Just wanted to take a quick minute to say hi and seasons greetings to you all:) I will try very hard to get back to our regularly scheduled blogging program once the new year starts.

{photo courtesy of my buddy Steve}

This is Maura and I hanging out this past weekend at our annual holiday open house (the main reason why I haven't posted in a while...its a lot harder to plan a party for 50 people with a 3 month old!). My how a year can change things! This exact time last year I had just had an embryo transfer and we were in the 2 week wait to find out if our first cycle of in vitro fertilization and ICSI had worked. It did, and this year we have so much to be thankful for:)

Whatever you are celebrating, I hope its happy..and filled with joy...and family...and love. Merry Christmas!

A Woodland Tree



The tall, skinny fake tree in our family room (named Alphie after a song from the John Denver and the Muppets Christmas album - one of my favorites) got some new decor this year - birds' nests and eggs. (The real, live tree is in our living room and is still in progress.)

My Advice for New Moms



Hey there! I'm honored to be guest blogging over at Odi et Amo today for Averill's "Advice for New Mom" series. Every Tuesday Averill (who is expecting a baby boy in March) features a different guest mom blogger who shares her bits of wisdom, product recommendations, nursery pics, etc. Yay! Check it out here:)

Ps. If you don't usually read Odi et Amo, you should start...this girl has style and a great way with words!

Maura's Birth Announcements



I knew I wanted Maura to have a birth announcement, and I also knew that there was no way I'd have time to design and print and assemble them myself. Instead, I had my good friend-in-real- life Holly (we used to be product designers together), who writes the blog For the Love of Letterpress, make them for me:)

Holly has recently decided to start her own custom invitation and stationery company (go girl!)...except she has something I don't - a 1200lb Kluge 12 x 18 press!!!! People, this is huge! It means I now have someone to print in letterpress for me (we're working on my holiday cards now!) and my clients (so I could still do all the designing, but she could do the printing for me). Are you as excited as I am?

Ok, back to my baby. Here's the finished, lovely product:

Holly came up with several really good initial concepts for the announcement, but the one I loved the most featured this completely unique way of writing Maura's name. It's hand-drawn, not a font!!! So cool!

Something else Holly has that I don't is a Klik-n-Kut machine. She used this to cut out the light pink heart and frame around the photo (both out of Paper Source Blossom card stock) and then adhered them to the card. The paper is 110lb Fluorescent White Crane's Lettra and we had the photos printed at SmugMug.

Holly mixed ink that would match Paper Source's Strawberry color, so that I could send them in coordinating envelopes.

I asked Holly for some behind-the-scenes pics to share with you guys (I find the entire process fascinating!).

{Her initial sketch...I had her take out the larger hearts. Getting exactly what you want is one of the benefits of custom stationery!}

{the plate with the text that will be printed}

{the press in action...gorgeous ink color!}

{before assembly...frames that have already been cut on the left and blank printed cards on the right}

Thanks so much, Holly! We love them and you were super great to work with! A beautiful intro for Maura. And they are extra special because you made them! For more info, read Holly's post on these here.

Sneak Peek: Dining Room Rug



Thanks again to everyone who participated in Mood Board Monday! Great turn out, lots of really beautiful rooms. I'll try to get back in to doing these more regularly once all the holiday craziness is over.

I wanted to share with you guys my amazing find at Home Goods last week. I was out getting my eyebrows waxed, and since Paul was home with Maura, I decided to take a quick run into Home Goods which was just across the street (gotta take advantage of these alone time situations!). Little did I know I would score the perfect rug for our dining room!!!

It's a 7' 10" x 11' wool oriental with subtle shades of blue grey, beige, ivory, sage, caramel, taupe and burnt orange. I put it on hold (I actually had to wait to see if the woman it was already on hold for came back to claim it. She didn't, so I got it!) and then went back with Paul and our other car to pay for it and take it home.

I love it! Its just the right size (not like my living room rug!), it really lightens up the room and let's our dark espresso table and chairs pop (before they blended into the new wood floors), and its a great combination of warm and cool tones so I can really decorate this room/table with a variety of different looks for the seasons.

I'll show you how it looks in the room later. It's a bit of a disaster zone in there right now, full of baby gear and gifts.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with friends and family:)

Mood Board Monday Party: Pretty Pictures



Hi! Welcome to the 8th Mood Board Monday McLinky party! Thanks for coming:)

This blog party is all about seeing how different people are inspired differently by the same things. This week's challenge was a bit unusual. Instead of using furniture or accessories as a starting point, we're using the work of three different interior and still life photographers. So, a bit more of an ambiguous beginning, but I think it will be very interesting to see where everyone ends up:)


{Photographer Helen Norman}


{Photographer Burcu Avsar}


{Photographer Patric Johansson}


Here's my mood board for the week. Something about the first picture caught my eye. I love that its so close up...there's not much here but it makes you want to know more. I love the subtle color. At first you might say "what color?", but that's what I love about neutrals - their complexity and depth. I imagine this still life in the home of someone who loves to write, who loves to travel. Someone who likes collecting old things. My mood board reflects a young woman living in a studio flat in London. Let's say she's from France but has just moved here for a new job. She doesn't have much square footage, but she's managed to carve out a place for living, a place for sleeping and a nook to work in. She keeps it very monochromatic and calm and fills it with things that remind her of home.

1. The palette - directly inspired by the photograph. Black, white, oatmeal, linen, all shades of gray, sepia, chocolate. I added in some touches of a soft seafoam for a little bit of "color".
2. Only a twin bed fits in the space. This French Academie Iron Bed from Restoration Hardware...Employing industrial materials and masterful finishing techniques, our reproduction looks much like its early-20th-century French predecessor.
3. Because its just her, she can be a little risky with this bedding, the WeSC Dans Les Bras Duvet Cover Set by Mode 2 from Urban Outfitters...Designed for WeSc by the ever-inspirational graffiti artist, Mode 2 - who focuses much of his attention on the female shape in many forms - this duvet cover set features a sketched design at the front of the duvet cover and a sleepy French message at the pillowcases.
4. I saw these sheets in the latest Pottery Barn catalog and immediately knew I wanted to put them in this room. Calligraphy Sheet Set...The cursive that crosses our sheeting evokes the lettering on vintage post-cards. Written in time-softened sepia on an ivory ground, the pattern functions as a neutral, mixing easily with other prints. Randomly ordered words and phrases are drawn from antique French documents.
5. On the bed, this
Handmade Floral Pillow cover (sandy brown and cream floral on a blue green background) from etsy seller milk and cookies.
6. And the
Grand Chenille Throw in Blue Smoke from Pottery Barn.
7. To anchor the living space in the loft, the Thema Rug from Ballard Designs...This handmade soumak weave rug is designed in a traditional tribal pattern of natural undyed wool, creating sophisticated grays and warm neutrals that mix easily with fabrics and woods.
8. Two of these Chairs 1703-01 from Lee Sonny Natural fabric with mini nail-head trim...balance out the light colored bedding across the room.
Handmade Chevron Pillow covers (CHESTER village blue and natural chevron / zig zag pattern) from etsy seller milk and cookies on the chairs add pattern and bring the accent color to this side of the space.
Brigitte Side Table in distressed black from Ballard Designs.
11. The 1930s French Postal Desk from Restoration Hardware gives our heroine a place to work and store all her vintage lovelies...Our antique French postal desk, originally used for sorting mail circa 1930, has been faithfully replicated, down to the broad leather-topped work surface and swing-out stool.
12. To pay homage to her new home, she collects maps of London from different points in history. Here's two from Map of Roman London and Map of London at the time of Queen Elizabeth I
13. And to remind her of home, this Paris Places Print from Ballard Designs...A train destination board we often see in the Gare du Nord station of Paris inspired this graphic piece.
14. Somewhere in the room (simply because its so beautiful), this Serena Antique Mercury Glass Lamp (with burlap shade) from Pottery Barn...Prized by collectors for its incomparable luster and shine, mercury glass was first produced in the 19th century as a polish-free alternative to silver. Our handblown lamps are crafted using the same method as the originals, with a gently tarnished silver lining that accentuates their graceful shapes and detailing.
15. Since the inspirational photo had so much ephemera, our girl would keep and collect things like this Vintage Book Collection, the Immigrant from etsy seller sadie olive...three vintage books - aged and worn with browned pages, french-english, english-french dictionary, a French text book (illustrated), and a German textbook, "Deutsch fur Amerikans".


Now its your turn! Here's what you do to join the party:

1. Create a mood board using one of the above inspirational photographs.
2. Write a post about it, including sources (with a link back to this post so others can come look).
3. Add your name and project to the MckLinky here on this post (for example - Sarah's London Studio Flat).
4. Then add the link to your SPECIFIC MBM POST, not your general blog address.
5. Have fun checking out all the other wonderful rooms.

Thanks so much for taking the time to join the party!!! Can't wait to see all your beautiful rooms:)

This linky list is now closed.

Mood Board Monday Reminder!



Happy Friday, everyone! Just a quick post to remind you that our next Mood Board Monday McLinky party is this Monday, the 22nd.

For this party we're getting inspired by photographs of still lives and interiors instead of actual furniture or accessories. Here's the original post with more info/all the rules, and here's the three inspirational images you can choose from:


{Photographer Helen Norman}


{Photographer Burcu Avsar}


{Photographer Patric Johansson}

I still have to finish up my board (I had a bit more trouble getting started with this one, but now that I'm into it its coming along much better.) I'll have the McLinky up on Sunday night. Hope to see you there! Enjoy the weekend:)

Our Blooming Baby



I didn't do a very good job of documenting my pregnancy (I meant to, it just didn't happen), so I told myself I really need/want to make an effort to document Maura's first few years (especially this early time).

One way in which I'm attempting to do this was unplanned. My friend
Suzanne sent Maura a really cool gift when she was born, a Blooming Baby Growth Chart Receiving Blanket (Tulip design) by Trend Lab.

Here's the product description straight from Amazon..."Finally, a growth chart for babies. The blankets center can be used to record growth with a fabric marker which is not included or in the attached growth chart booklet. Blanket reverses to a soft sage velour. Blanket is 36" x 36".

Basically its a square blanket with a cute tulip border and running from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner are one inch increments. You lay the baby on the blanket with their head at the 0" mark, stretch out their legs and see where the heel touches. Awesome! I went to Michaels and bought a couple of fabric pens and we've since been keep tracking of Maura's length right on the blanket. I'm not being super anal about recording her stats, just taking the time to measure her and fill in the appropriate number, event and date when we feel like it. As of last Friday, her 9th week mark, we had 3 recordings.

{the nurse at our pediatrician's office at our first visit said maybe the hospital didn't get a good "stretch" on her when she was born, because according to their measurement she grew 1.25" in less than a week, ha!}

So on Friday we added another milestone to the list. Probably should have done it on her 8 week "birthday" for consistency, but I'm trying not to stress myself out with this:)

23.5 inches! Thank goodness she's long, cause this girl likes to eat:)

I've also been taking a picture of Maura every Friday (she was born on a Friday night) in her bunny chair. No specific outfits or special onesies, just whatever she is wearing (which is kind of fun in its own right, to see all her "clothes"), so I'm going to add the week in later in Photoshop. Here's her 9 week bunny chair photo:

Have you guys seen the Blooming Baby Blanket before? Do you have other ways of keeping track of your kids' stats? When she's actually standing I'd love to paint a growth chart on the wall or something, anyone else do this?

Living Room Update: The Green Striped Rug



Hey! Remember that we got new hardwood floors this summer? And that the next step was area rugs? I posted a while back about the Striped Cotton rugs from Pottery Barn and wanted your advice on whether the Green or Blue colorway would look better in our living room. Thanks so much for your help, the resounding answer was that the green rug would be a better fit:)

Of course, silly me waited too long to order it, so that when I went online to PB the 8 x10 green rug was no longer available. Waaaahhhhhhh! However, the 5 x 8 was still in stock (and on sale) as well as the 8 x 10 blue striped rug. Hmmm. Right color, wrong size? Right size, wrong color? Scratch this idea and start all over? Gah! In the end I decided to go with the right color rug in the wrong size. So the finished product is slightly smaller than I wanted it and I'm probably breaking all sorts of designer rug size rules, but I like it:)

How about some progression of the living room shots? (You don't have anything else to do other than read this post, right?!)

{living room when we moved in}

{living room with our stuff and new paint...AND NASTY CARPET}


{my PHOTOSHOP MOCKUP of how the green rug would look}

And the real deal:

So, as you can see, the rug doesn't cover as much of the room as I wanted it to (I thought it would go under the sofa some and that the 2 leather chairs would mostly be on top of it). Oh well. I definitely think it adds a lot of color to the room and makes the whole space feel brighter.

I wouldn't call this the finished "after". I really want to get new decorative throw pillows for the club chairs...something in green and with a bold geometric pattern. I also don't really like the window treatments anymore, but for now I'll live with them.

The rug has a bit more yellow/gold in it than I was expecting, but I'd like to pull more of the green out as my accent color. Switching out some of small accessories in here hopefully helped a little bit with that. (The below photo is probably the most accurate pic of the real colors of the rug.)

On a side note, we have a new chair in this room. My mom brought over my little rocking chair from when I was a kid. I thought it looked cute sitting next to one of the larger club chairs. For now its only for show, but hopefully Maura will like it when she gets a bit older.

{I brought down the wool bear that I got this summer in PEI from the nursery to hang out here}

What do you guys think? Does the smaller rug look ok? Or should I have gone with the larger blue one even though I didn't like the color as much? Would you have just started from scratch? Thanks!

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