My Two Hens



"Quietly - with low level coos and the odd cluck Mother hens Sheila and Betty moved in closer - their plan to raid the meal sack firmly embedded in their crested heads."

A few weeks ago, Jennifer and her husband from The Wayman Family Nest hosted a Give Hope Adoption Auction to help fund their journey of adopting a little one from Ethiopia. (They raised over $2,500.00!! Congratulations, guys! And best of luck, you'll be in our thoughts and prayers.) A great cause, tons of fabulous items like artwork from etsy? Sign me up!

I had the honor and pleasure of bidding on and winning this 8 x 10 Hen original watercolor painting by etsy seller eastwitching. It came in the mail last week and I am in love!

I can't tell you how excited I am to have someone's original painting! I'm a watercolorist too, so this is even more special for me.

eastwitching is the shop of artist Alison Fennell from South Wales who specializes in watercolor animal paintings and custom pet portraits. I love her mission too:

Animals Matter. This is what this shop is about - raising awareness and appreciation of animals, painting them and selling art that helps protect them. At eastwitching I am using my art to help people to appreciate animals and the integral part they have in our world. I hope to help raise awareness of animal rights, reduce suffering and cruelty by being able to donate what I can each month to several international charities as a result of sales on Etsy."

Wonderful work, a wonderful heart. I'm so glad I found Alison through this auction!

These two hens are awesome. And they are so my watercolor style. The thing I love about watercolors is that they are so light and fresh and can only go so far with the paint before it starts to get muddy, so soft layer upon layer is added (light colors first, building up to darker colors), with not a lot of room for error. The nature of the paint and the water lends itself to not a lot of fiddling around is easier to let the paint do the work for you, running and blending and creating lots of interesting, organic texture. It appears that Alison is a master at this:)

My two favorite things about this painting are that you can still see Alison's pencil lines where she sketched out the hens (so cool!) and the lovely whimsical splatters of turquoise paint.

I can't wait to hang Sheila and Betty up! Thank you for sharing your amazing talent with us, Alison!

Did any of you participate in the Give Hope Adoption Auction? Did you win anything?

Our Trip to Texas



Maura traveled by airplane for the first time this past weekend! We took a family trip to visit my parents in Houston, Texas (and my sister flew in as well, but from London). It's a long story, but I grew up in Pennsylvania and my Dad recently transferred to Houston for work. So my parents left my home town, and now my Dad lives year round in TX while my Mom divides her time between being with him in the winter and spring and staying in their Cape Cod house (only 45 minutes from us) in the summer and fall. This was our first time visiting their new apartment in The Woodlands - a master-planned community with over 150 restaurants, a public waterway, 185 miles of hiking and biking trails, a bustling downtown, mall, outdoor concert pavilion, 2 cinemas, and other awesome ways to celebrate an indoor-outdoor lifestyle and a love of nature. We had so much fun:)

We flew in on Thursday night and left Sunday afternoon. It was a short but great trip filled with lots of family bonding time. We ate some really good food (both out and home cooked meals by my mom), enjoyed the hot and humid weather (so nice after it snowed in Boston last week), took lots of walks, shopped, and kayaked. Maura loved wearing warm weather clothes and exploring the outdoors...since she was born in September, she hasn't experienced summer yet and she was so little during the nice days of the fall. (I can't wait until the weather gets better here at home and we can really start to play outside!)

Here's a few pics from the trip:

{ha! pajamas and shades}

{that's my dad pushing Maura, my sister, Paul and my parent's dog Cleo}

{my Dad making the most of his time with his granddaughter}

{these guys were enjoying the waterway too}

{kayaking while my mom babysat}

{shopping for cowboy boots}

{mom trying to find the perfect pair}

{Maura trying on a pink cowgirl hat...excuse how terrible I look in this pic, we had just come from kayaking}

{shopping downtown}

Hope you guys had a great weekend too!

Grandma's Bow Front Dresser



I recently inherited my grandmother's old bow front dresser!! When she lived in an assisted living residence she had her tv sitting on it and every time I would go visit I would tell her how much I liked it. She just had to move to a nursing home where she can't fit as many of her own things, so I asked her (and my aunt who is storing everything else) if I could have it:)

After talking to my mom about it, I realized this was actually my great-grandmother's before it was grandma's. Even better!!! (BTW - I don't think I would have fully appreciated the history to this piece or seen its potential a few years ago. Wanted to say thanks to all of you out there for showing me the light when it comes to "antiques", refurbishing old things and creating a home filled with personal and unique treasures.)

It's not in perfect condition...there's a lot of scuff marks and scratches and some extensive damage to the scalloped legs. But I love it! The tone of the wood is a lot warmer than our wood floors, but I'm not going to let that bother me. Inside the top drawer is the mark "Morganton".

I think for now I'm just going to leave it as is (with the possibility of painting it in the future). But does anyone have any easy/quick tips for cleaning this baby up a bit? I also don't know exactly where I'm going to put her, in the meantime she's on the big blank wall in our living room. I'm excited to fill the drawers with some stuff that I haven't had a place for and I can't wait to hang something above and tablescape her up a bit.

I'm mostly just happy to have something of my gram's:)

Deciding on Decorative Paper



I've been wanting to line the back of the entertainment center in our family room with some sort of patterned paper, fabric or wallpaper for awhile now. Besides bringing in some more print to the space and adding a bit of whimsy, I think it will lighten up the whole thing and help the huge expanse of black feel more integrated into the room.

{this is one of those gigantic entertainment centers with the tv in the middle, cabinets below and a bookcase on either side...sorry...don't mind the holiday evergreen garland}

I love Paper Source. And they have some really beautiful decorative papers out now. Hand-crafted in Japan and India, using fibers grown in Nepal, batiked, silk-screened, inspired by textile designs (or even their own in-house stuff)...they're very global with lovely small and large scale patterns, even metallics. I'd like to use cool tones - greens, blues and/or greys - and I think all of these are contenders. (I plan on mounting the paper onto foam core, cutting it to the size of each opening and then sort of wedging it into place so as not to harm the actual bookcase. Or I guess I could mount it on poster board and glue dot it to the entertainment center? Anyone done anything like this before?)

So pretty! I think I'm going to have a tough time deciding. It's probably worth ordering one sheet of each of the potential winners and seeing how they look for real in the space, huh? Which ones do you like best?

DIY Faux Terrariums



Hi! How was everyone's weekend? I've always loved the look and idea of terrariums, but actually putting together a real live one seems a bit intimidating to me. A couple of weeks ago Maura and I were out to lunch with my mom and the restaurant had beautiful glass jars filled with succulent terrariums on the hostess stand and in the waiting area. Shy girl that I am, I asked the hostess if they had made them and she told me they were fake! Coulda fooled me! That was all the incentive I needed to head over to Michaels and tackle this project myself.

I spent $13 on 4 fake succulents, 2 fake ferns, 2 fake fiddleheads and a bag of moss. I knew I already had a ton of glass containers and river stones at home. It took me like 10 minutes to put together 3 of these faux terrariums, just layering the stones, moss and then the plants. I put this tall hurricane one in the family room on our end table.

BTW - also new to this side table is the Silver Leaf Handprint and Footprint Frame from Pottery Barn Kids that Maura got for Christmas from her uncle. It was a fun but somewhat messy project to ink up her hands and feet and press them on the paper, but its such a nice keepsake to have. He even had it personalized with her name and birth date!

The other two terrariums (one more in a glass hurricane, the other in a lantern) ended up on the coffee table in our living room.

Someday I'd like to tackle the real thing, but for now these are doing it for me. I love the pop of green and woodsie feel they add.

I'm linking up to the DIY Project Parade over at the DIY Show Off. Thanks for hosting, Roeshel!

The DIY Show Off

6 Months!!!



Maura is 6 months old today!!! I have no idea how this happened, I can't believe she's been in our lives for half a year. The time is flying by way too fast. Everyday is something new and exciting. We have so much fun together. It is amazing to watch a little person grow and develop. She is such a good baby, we love her so much!!

I haven't done this up until now, but if no one minds, I'm going to start doing a little update post each month.

But first, I've been taking photos of Maura every Friday in her Pottery Barn Kids Bunny chair since she was born. Here are her shots for this month (we'll take her 26 week pics tomorrow):

Weight: 14 lbs. 15 oz.

Height: 26.75 inches

Breastfeeding/Bottles: I am still mostly nursing Maura, although she gets a bottle every night for her last feeding right before bed (Dad does this one). We also will give her a bottle if we are out in the afternoon or if we have company over (I used to creep upstairs for the hour it takes to nurse her if we were at close friends'/family's houses or if we had people over, but lately I think its more important for her to be actually in the company of the people we are visiting with, so we do a bottle).

New Foods: We started solid foods this month!! So exciting, I love this time of the day. We began with rice cereal and she hated it, so I gave up and moved right on to sweet potatoes and she liked those. Now she has had and liked sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, apples, bananas. We are now mixing a bit of rice cereal in with the fruits and vegetables and so far she hasn't noticed:)

Bedtime: She goes upstairs at 9:00pm and is for the most part asleep by 10pm. We are still only successful at getting her to sleep if she falls asleep while drinking the bottle or worst case if I "swoop" in afterward and breastfeed her for a few minutes (she is notorious for falling asleep "on the boob"). We'd like to move her bedtime to earlier and start to get her to fall asleep on her own (putting her in the crib while she's still awake but sleepy) but are not really sure on the best way to go about this. Any advice?

Sleep Habits: From two months on Maura was sleeping through the night! Such a blessing, once you start to get more sleep everything gets better. She would wake up anywhere between 5 and 7 am, we'd nurse and then she would fall right back to asleep for another couple of hours!! Then, the last month all that changed:( She is now not consistent at all, some nights sleeping through the night, most nights though waking up one or two or three times...and never at the same time each night. In the last couple of weeks she also started to roll over onto her stomach to sleep! At first we were very paranoid, but she seems to be more comfortable this way and she is strong enough to lift her head/chest and turn her head side to side, etc. so I guess its alright. This does make her wake up more often though, as she rolls around now to find a good position.

Developmental Milestones and Firsts: first Valentine's Day, started solid foods, started rolling back onto her back from her tummy, she is now able to sit up on her own for a few minutes (as long as I place her in that position, she does not get into a sitting position on her own yet), first time playing in the snow

Favorite Toys: Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym, Bright Starts Links, Fisher Price stacking rings, Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Laughing Kitchen, Sophie the Giraffe, Baby Einstein Around the World Activity Excersaucer. I actually need to get her some more stuff to play with, any recommendations?

Favorite Pastimes: bathtime, walking around with mommy in the Baby Bjourn doing chores, grabbing at anything and trying to chew on it, drooling, rolling around naked on her bedroom floor

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