Kids Bedroom: Sources of Inspiration

06/30/2011

I’m on my computer all day at work as a graphic designer. Whenever I have a few minutes free I’m browsing my Google Reader or Pinterest pages absorbing inspiration from all the amazingly creative people out there. I had been tagging ideas for kids room and nurseries for years so when I had the opportunity to design a room for our future foster kids, I already had lots of ideas. I had so much fun putting this room together! (Have I said that before?)

This room was the inspiration behind painting the wall gray and painting the little night stand bright green:

I first saw the book ledge idea here:

This blue crib blew my mind. (Then, I saw this version in the 2010 IKEA catalog.)

There are a lot of KURA bed mods out there on the interwebs but this one inspired me to cover up the super-bright blue panels with white contact paper. She used fabric here:

And, of course, chalkboard paint has been all over the home & craft blogs for a while now but this room is what inspired me to paint the back of the kids bedroom door:

Here’s a tour of our kids bedroom in case you missed it.

If you’re a new reader from Itsy Factor, thanks for stopping by! (And thanks for the blog love, Elisabeth!)


Good Question: Missing Dresser Drawer?

06/29/2011

I sent a question over to Apartment Therapy recently for their “Good Questions” column and it was posted last night. Head over there and check it out. I welcome any creative suggestions! Looks like a bunch of good ones are coming in already…


All of Me

06/28/2011

A few weeks ago a friend asked Jason and I if in our classes we were trained how to not get too attached to the foster kids we’ll soon be welcoming into our home. We explained that, no, they actually want us to get attached because it would be impossible to love these kids the way they need loved and at the same time hold back and guard our hearts. It’s hard to understand why someone would voluntarily sign up for a program that is likely to end in heartbreak.

We’ve heard others’ accounts and we’re trying to prepare ourselves as much as possible for what lies ahead. I’ve heard other foster parents explain that reunification or releasing a foster child to another family feels a lot like losing a child, like the death of a child. How the heck do you prepare for that?!

Then there’s this metaphor: If a doctor told you as expectant parents that there was a 75% chance your baby would only live for one year, what would you do? Would you rather not love or attach to the child at all? Or give everything you’ve got to give for that year, knowing it will hurt like hell if you have to say goodbye?

Through my job, I was recently invited to a press event where musician Matt Hammitt was promoting his new album, Every Falling Tear, which releases September 13, 2011. He explained the struggles his family has gone through in the past year and the story behind a lot of the songs. When his wife Sarah was pregnant with their son Bowen, a serious heart defect was discovered. The odds of Bowen surviving birth were not great, and even after that he would need a series of at least 3 open heart surgeries to repair the problem. As an artist, Matt began to sort out his emotions through songwriting. This one was written before Bowen was born. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would hit me as a soon-to-be foster parent…

All of Me

Afraid to love something that could break
Could I move on if you were torn away?
I’m so close to what I can’t control
Can’t give you half my heart and pray He makes you whole

You’re gonna have all of me
You’re gonna have all of me
You’re worth every falling tear
You’re worth facing any fear

You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start

I won’t let sadness steal you from my arms
I won’t let pain keep you from my heart
I’ll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I’ll share with you

You’re gonna have all of me
You’re gonna have all of me

You’re worth every falling tear
You’re worth facing any fear
You’re gonna know all my love
Even if it’s not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I’ll start

Heaven brought you to this moment
It’s too wonderful to speak
You’re worth all of me
You’re worth all of me

Let me recklessly love you
Even if I bleed
You’re worth all of me
You’re worth all of me

Written by Matt Hammitt and Bernie Herms. (lyrics from here)

In case you’re wondering, Bowen was born, had his first heart surgery, almost died, had his second heart surgery, and is now doing great as a 9-month-old. He has at least one more surgery in the coming months. I’ve been following their story online from the beginning so I really enjoyed getting to hear this not-yet-released album and the passion behind the songs.

Visit Matt & Sarah Hammitt’s blog, Bowen’s Heart, to hear the work tape of the song and read about the day they thought they lost him. (It’s available now through iTunes, too.)



House Tour: Kitchen & Dining Room

06/27/2011

Kitchen

Our living room connects to the kitchen and dining room. Just before we bought our house in 2007 it was fully renovated. The original hardwoods throughout the house were refinished, some walls were removed, everything was covered in a fresh coat of paint. The room the presumably had the most floor-to-ceiling changes was the kitchen. The cabinets are from IKEA. The countertops are square foot granite tiles. The floors are 2-ft travertine tiles. I love that it’s open and airy. It never feels too small to me, except when we have parties and everyone ends up standing around in the kitchen. (Why is that?)

Dining Room

Yes, it bothers me that the light in the dining room is not centered over the table. It’s even worse when the table is extended to it’s full length. Someday we’ll get around to fixing that… and probably changing the light altogether. It’s a small dining room but it works. The walls in the dining room and kitchen are Sherwin Williams Greek White. The door there leads into Jason’s studio (which used to be considered the den).


Phone Photo Friday

06/24/2011

What?! Graeter’s—Cincinnati’s best ice cream—at our neighborhood Kroger? I definitely bought some Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.


“Am I struggling with infertility?”

06/23/2011

Alternate Title: Why We’re Foster Parenting

I’ve been asked this question a few times lately in regards to our foster parenting motives and we suspect many other people are wondering (or making assumptions) but not asking. So, here’s my answer: no.

I know this an be a sensitive matter to some people so I’ll tread lightly; this is just my personal position on the matter. There are two parts to that phrase “struggling with infertility.” I’ve haven’t, in recent years, been tested for or officially diagnosed with any reproductive problems. I suppose some people would consider not getting pregnant after a year of “not trying not to”—as we like to put it—to be infertility. I have no use for this label as I’m not interested in treatment for this problem… because I’m not treating it like a problem. Either I get pregnant or I don’t—Jason and I have chosen to leave that up to God. We are completely at peace with that. So am I struggling? I hope it’s obvious that I am not.

There were times last year when I struggled a bit. After medically preventing babies for a decade, letting my body “reset” to it’s natural rhythm was interesting. At times I thought I had it figured out and I could control what would happen. Other times I was frustrated and bewildered. With my husband’s gentle urging I chose to really, fully let go of control of this area of our lives and trust God with it.

That was about a year ago. At that point, I never would have guessed that Jason and I would now be on the cusp of becoming foster parents. It just wasn’t on our radar at all. We figured we’d have a couple babies, build an addition on to our house, then maybe adopt a little girl from China. Or something along those lines. I can see how it might look from the outside like we’re substituting foster parenting for infertility treatment. After all, becoming foster parents certainly was part of the bursting of my perfect life plan bubble. But desperation to have children, it is not. God had other plans for us. If I had gotten pregnant right away, I probably wouldn’t have been interested in considering adoption or foster care at the point when God opened our hearts to the need. Somehow that little seed grew into a passion.

Honestly, I’m so busy with everything else going on in my life right now that I really couldn’t care less whether or not I get pregnant. Sure, if it happened we would be excited and happy. But if it never happens, that really is A-ok with us. What I’ve been learning—and believe me, I’m not all the way there yet!—is that this really isn’t about me and what I want. This, this life (marriage, family, work, friendships…) is not all about me getting what I want. As a Christian, if I want God to use me for something big, it’s essential that I grasp this concept. Foster parenting for Jason and I is not about “getting” kids because we just want to be parents. It’s about kids that need some adults to step up and be parents and to love on them. A couple of artists from East Nashville that like gardening and thrift store shopping just might be the perfect fit for some kiddos going through a really rough patch in their young lives.


Overdue

06/22/2011

Last year Jason and I celebrated 7 years of marriage and 11 years since our first date. It was our 7-11 year. I had been wanting to get some professional pictures done. It was time; we hadn’t had any done since our wedding. Sitting in front of a backdrop at a department store isn’t our thing so we commissioned our friend Beth Rose, who is an awesome photographer, to do some lifestyle portraits for us. And I had the perfect idea. A 7-Eleven photo shoot. I envisioned a local Slurpee selling gas station as our setting. Problem is, there aren’t ANY 7-Elevens in Nashville. None in Atlanta where we go to IKEA. None in Naples, FL where we went on vacation last year. None in Cincinnati where we frequently visit our friends. So I shelved the idea. Then, over Christmas we planned to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Emmaus, PA. Before our trip, I looked it up and sure enough, there is a 7-Eleven right near his house. I had a new solution: bring Slurpee cups back home and do the photo in Nashville in the spring. BR was game. (The cup designs exceeded my expectations!) I convinced myself that as long as we did the shoot before May, it was technically still our 7-11 year. But, I’m overdue in sharing these since we’re now absolutely in our 8-12 year. Ah well. But now that you know the back story, the cups will make sense.

(Cup-free pictures were posted here.)

I’m thinking of getting one of the three above (where the cups are prominent) blown up to poster size for something funky/different for the house. Leaning towards the 2nd from the bottom. Do you have a favorite?

All photos by Beth Rose Photography bethrose.com


House Tour: Living Room

06/21/2011

We’ve been doing a lot of projects around the house including painting and rearranging. After doing a tour of our kids room, I realized I’ve never really done a tour of our house. So, here is our living room, freshly painted in Sherwin Williams Greek White and Hep Green…

It’s always hard to tell in photographs but this room is actually an irregular pentagon shape. The wall with the windows is angled. It’s quirky and makes furniture arrangement interesting but we love it. It’s probably most obvious in the picture below.

Our newly refaced faux fireplace that no longer has skull-cracking sharp corners.

Sources: Bookshelves and TYLOSAND sofa are from IKEA several years ago and no longer available. (Can’t remember the name of the shelves, sorry.) Everything else is from estate sales, yard sales and thrift stores. We got the three American By Martinsville tables at a thrift store for $5 a piece—one of our best finds. They’re worth 20-50x that according to eBay sales we’ve seen. I fell in love with the triangular clock at an antique store. Unfortunately it needs wound once a day and ticks really loud so it’s mostly just decoration. The painting was done by Jason and me several years ago on Valentine’s Day so we call it the Love Painting. I made the “Lovely Day x 3563” poster for Jason as a gift for the 10th anniversary of our first date. Back then he wrote me a song called Lovely Day. Jason found our front door at a local salvage yard and refinished it himself.


New Patio Dining Digs

06/20/2011

I wanted to follow up Last Monday’s finished fence post with a report on our favorite new spot to eat meals at home:

We had actually planned on building a new wood table this summer using these plans. But, while we were at IKEA a few weeks ago and possibly feeling a bit exhausted by all the projects we’ve been doing lately, we saw the perfect patio table (VINÖ). Suddenly, $180 sounded like an offer we couldn’t refuse.

Being the cheapsakes that we are, we refused to pay $60 a pop for the matching outdoor chairs and instead found some simple metal and plastic folding ones (JEFF) for $10. (6 for the price of 1? Thank ya!)

Please note, this table is the easiest IKEA assembly ever! The legs fold out and then 2 wing nuts get screwed on. It took 1 minute. We were so pumped that we moved on from there to start assembly of the KURA bed—coincidentally, the most complicated IKEA assembly ever…

Anyway, we’re loving how the fence creates a cozy, defined space around the patio and garden.

Our first dinner on the new table: shish kabobs with shrimp, onions and peppers; corn on the cob and sweet tea. Perfect.

Even more perfect because I got to share it with this guy.

Yay for one more project checked off our to do list and to a summer full of relaxing on the patio!


Phone Photo Friday

06/17/2011

Everybody has days like this sometimes…