Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sick day and sneak peek

Well, I've been trying to ignore it for 2 days, but today it was impossible: I have the flu. I was so weak and sore this morning I couldn't even drive my little guy to preschool. And I felt even worse, because school is the thing he looks most forward to every day (well, that and bath time!). I really hope I feel better tomorrow because I hate to ask Hubby to miss work to help me at home.

I'm feeling a bit better after having a little nap this afternoon, though. And I woke up to find a box of fabric on my doorstep, which did work to cheer me up a bit. I don't know how it got there, honest! I would never order fabric when I already have stacks and stacks of it on my shelves begging me to make them into something pretty. Really!

I couldn't resist this impossibly gorgeous fabric from Tina Givens called Blue Zazu



I've really just discovered her fabrics for Free Spirit. I am in love with the vivid hues she uses, her style, and I’m really looking forward to Tina's new collection coming out this Spring!

I also got a few fabrics from this guy (love it all), so keep your eye out for my items in some new fabrics coming soon!



And those of you who would like reminders of when I'm stocking my shop, please join my mailing list. I've been getting so many requests lately to let you know when I'm stocking headbands or aprons or bags or you name it that I can't possibly keep track of it all! I promise I won't fill your mailbox with annoying spam; I only send out notes once or twice per month, plus you'll get a heads up when I'm offering giveaways and other promotions. Thanks bunches!

Kim

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh, yeah.

This guy has got the right idea.

Errrrrrrr *stretch*



Ooooph.



What was that? An intruder? I'd better let the girls handle it.



Getting...so....very.....sleeeeepyyyy.....



Snxxxxxxxxx

Monday, January 21, 2008

And we have a winner!

I assigned everyone a number based on the order that your comments appeared, put the numbers into a random number picker, and voila:

Congratulations Scarlet!

Several of you guessed correctly that my little whatsit is a travel tissue holder, and now you can see one in action....



Thanks for playing everyone! This was fun. I'll be sure to do another giveaway soon!

Kim

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's tough being four

I thought he seemed rather eager when he jumped out of the van and raced inside after arriving home from school



The poor kid was so tired he didn't even bother to take off his coat, just dove onto the couch and conked out next to his favorite book



I suppose that's what happens after an afternoon full of learning and playing and growing and making snowballs out of soap flakes. Oh, to be four...

Choosing Paint



Do you enjoy picking out paint colors? In theory, this is a task that I should enjoy. However. I'm not choosing paints for me, but for our home's potential future owners. I'm attempting to do what they call home staging. A foreign concept to you? You're lucky. Basically, it's presenting your house in a way that allows potential buyers to see themselves living there. What does that mean? It means: no clutter, tasteful decorations, no personal photographs, cozy little reading nooks, a dining table set for a party, the smell of freshly baked cookies, and neutral paint. It's the last bit that has had me hung up for quite some time. After multiple trips to several places for paint chips, I spent a good couple of weeks running from room to room, trying to chase the lighting around the house to get an idea of what the paint would look like at different times of the day. A color that looks fantastic at 10am might look dreary and horrible at 5pm. I brought home a few quarts of paint, and ended up with: baby poo yellow, and corn husk green.

Yep.

I knew the colors weren't right the moment the paint mixer took the lids off the cans. And of course, when I held the paint chips up to the paint on the wall, it was a perfect match.

Take two.

Forget aiming for something that has any hint of warmth. Let's go for something with gray undertones. I mulled and I pondered. I tried out 397 combinations of paints at the online Behr and Valspar paint simulators. And came up with this color scheme:



This process has taught me a few things about picking out paint colors, especially neutrals:

1. Put some amount of trust in the names of the paints. "Corn Husk Green" will actually appear to be corn husk green when it is on your wall. At the very least, the paint title will give you an idea about what the undertones are. Even if it appears white on the chip, "Frosty Sky" will definitely have a blue tint. Of course, when the name is something like "Party Streamer" (Martha Stewart, MS010, Valspar), you're on your own.

2. When using online paint simulators, try the paints in lots of rooms. Find the online room that makes most paint colors look horrible (usually it's some aspect of the lighting) and then find paint that looks good in that room.

3. Paints with historical names (see above pic) tend to have those gray undertones that are so desirable when staging your home.

4. Do not trust the lighting in the paint department at your local hardware store. I cannot stress this enough. I recommend taking the paint chips you've selected outside before making any rash decisions that the paint you chose at home suddenly looks "fleshy" or "too green" once at the store. At the very least, find that little light box in the paint department that is supposed to simulate natural light.

5. Finally, don't spend as much time deliberating about paint as I did. No shade of beige can possibly be that important. Consider defaulting to the experts' favorite neutrals, like these.

I'll be sure to post pictures once I've painted a room or two. So feel free to dismiss the above advice until I have definitive proof that those beigey beiges I selected aren't cleverly disguised shades of things that you would never, ever want to find on your walls.

Don't think that paint has kept me from doing a bit of sewing, however. In between trips to the paint store, I designed a new little something:



It was so fun, I just had to make a stack of them, which will soon find their way into my shop



Happy Wednesday!

Kim

P.S. Oh, and anyone who comments on this or any of my blog posts from now through this weekend will qualify to win a FREE new little thingamagig, like those pictured above. Can you tell what it is?? I'll put all the names in a hat Sunday evening and announce the winner on Monday.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Time to break out the mittens?

I woke up this morning to a beautiful layer of frost covering my yard.



This picture is of my lawn table. Those ice crystals are gorgeous, and so sparkly in the sun.

My Chihuahua--all our dogs are rescue dogs, mixes, so I’ll just refer to the predominant breed--Rico, is buried in a comforter on the couch:



and my German Shepherd, Humphrey, tiptoed across the frozen grass this morning. Ingrid and Molly, our Border Collies, are stoic, and love all types of weather (it just goes to show that women are tougher than the boys, across species). They spent the morning hunting in our yard for squirrels that foolishly didn't go into hibernation. We really do enjoy such mild weather here, year round. We can expect at least a few 80 degree days 12 months a year, so it's quite a treat to have a cold, icy morning. It makes all my hot cocoa drinking seem a little less out of place.

When I'm not drinking cocoa, I've been working on some new products. I've had the itch to try something new, and the quilting bug bit me, which resulted in this fun new library tote





and a closeup of the faux log cabin block



It was such fun to put together so many gorgeous fabrics in one bag that I suspect I may have a new addiction. Library totes for everyone!

Until next time,
Kim

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Another New Year, Another New Blogger

Happy New Year!



Cute wreath, huh? I got it on clearance, I can't remember where. It looks sort of springy to me, and I'm ready for Spring, despite not really having had a winter here in Georgia. I think it needs a little bird's nest, or something...hmmm.

I've finally decided to take the blogging plunge, and there's no better time to start than at the beginning of the New Year (well, almost at the beginning). This is where I'll share my home improvement and decorating projects, travel, cooking and other adventures, in addition to plenty of sewing and crafty goodness.

A little bit about myself: I'm a work-at-home mom to two adorable and sometimes mischievous little boys, and wife to my brilliant and often mischievous scientist husband. I am the designer/seamstress/owner of the online boutique, Retro Mama, which opened in November of 2006, and you can also find my items at my Etsy shop.

Some things you'll learn about me:

1. I like to make lists. I derive enough joy from it that I almost consider it a hobby.

2. I like romantic comedies, from classics to cheesy--I'm not terribly picky. I like them new, old, and even really old.

3. I have a thing for all things vintage and retro (as if that weren't already blatantly obvious).

4. I love dogs.

5. I love flickr. I spend many, many hours being inspired by all the wonderful photos I find there (probably a few too many hours, to tell the truth).

6. I am unable to control myself when it comes to buying fabric. I have lots of it and there's always room for more.

7. I love to read books, though I often don't make time for it (add "read more books" to my list of New Years resolutions).

8. I love reading/experiencing/being inspired by other peoples' blogs, like this one, this one, and this one.

9. I am a closet neat freak. I expect one day to emerge from my closet cocoon and my house will glisten from top to bottom, but in the meantime, it will have more of a chaotic, "two kids, four dogs, and two creative and slightly absent-minded people live here" look.

10. I love hot chocolate. It doesn't seem quite important enough to make The List of "things you'll learn about me," but it was a less nerdy alternative to mentioning that I like to end my lists on an even number.

Thanks for stopping by, and I look forward to getting to know you!

Warmly,
Kim