Friday, May 29, 2009

Decorate: Paint Colors for High Traffic Spaces

As I was putting together all of Guissell's great posts about color and pantones, I thought I'd conclude this week of posts with a snippet of an article I came across in House Magazine on color palettes for high traffic spaces. I think with kids, high traffic spaces pretty much means 100% of your place. Have a great weekend everyone!

Some recommend palettes are using "spicy oranges" to hide dirt and stains. The spicy orange most preferred was the Sherwin Williams "Tiger Eye" #SW6362. They also suggested color palette formulas. My personal favorite is the use of "2 Bolds + A Touch of Gray"...for some reason, after a crazy day at the studio, subtle tones help me to relax.

For paint, I love G&R Paint Compay that's in the same 'hood as my studio in San Francisco. I have gone through hundreds (I'm not kidding) of sample paint pots in my day to no avail. I much prefer the poster sized painted swatch sheets they offer where you can tape them on your wall and move them around to different areas where the lighting is different. I found my sable chocolate gray in just two swatches (much to hubby's relief!).

To read the full article click here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Decorate: Photography

By Designing Mom Guissell

A very easy way to bring colors in your home is through framed photography. Thanks to the digital world now this can be an easy and free. Take out the digital cam and take some pictures in a natural setting, provided the day is sunny you can't miss getting great shots.

Not a good with photography that's cool, then browse through photo sharing sites (IE: Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket) to find something interesting that complements your décor whether its for your Living Room, Kitchen, or even Nursery. Now you just have to find the right frame!

Here are some pictures I have taken that you can use if you like. To view in original size follow this link.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Decorate: Paint Colors

By Designing Mom Guissell

Another easy, but not necessarily cheap, way of renovating your home is through paint. Last year I decided that it was time my small NY apt to get some face-lifting so I decided to paint every room. Prior to motherhood I was your white walls type of gal, very city of me eh? Minimalist was the safe way when it came to interior home décor for me. But now that toys have become permanent residents in my home I've embraced the need of color!

Here are some before and after shots of my bathroom I thought I share to exemplify the power of paint. I used BEHR paint color Ocean Kiss (510E-3) for the walls and for the cabinet Bitter Chocolate (790B-7). I kept the ceiling white since this bathroom is small as it is! The color inspiration... The $2 hand towel from Target pictured there.

If you don't know what colors work best together, grab a home magazine for room samples. If you want to get technical, then check out this link on color theory & wheel.

Decorate: Paint Colors

By Designing Mom Guissell

I had posted this about a month ago in my
blog and I couldn't end the topic of color without sharing:
I found this fun website sometime ago and thought of it today as I looked through my Pantone book. Colorstrology by Michele Bernhardt is one of my favorite flash websites I have visited. It provides you with the pantone color of your birth month and also your unique birth pantone color. For those who work with or have in the past worked with Pantones this is a pretty neat use of them. My birth color: Apple Butter Pantone 18-1426 Hardworking ~ Theorist ~ Philosopher ... I have to agree. Have fun!"

For those who just can't get enough of Pantone you can find their Fall and Spring 2009 color reports here:
Spring 2009
Fall 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Balance: Guisell's Work and Play Space

By Designing Mom Guissell

Living in a one-bedroom NYC apartment is a challenge with a Toddler, but throw a business on top of that and well you better become an interior decor fanatic! When I started my small business I knew exactly what I would need since I had worked in developing lines for years but I wasn't quite sure how I was going to pull it off without intruding in our family space.

Key to any success in business is having organization, so I allowed that to be my start. With a tight budget in mind I shopped for pieces that provided me with most work and organization space. Anything with lots of enclosed compartments works great when kids are present. Framed pictures of your products work well not only as decorating pieces but also as inspiration. These are some pictures of my home studio. Hope this inspires the interior designer in you!

1. Vika Amon + Vika Tore drawer unit + storage unit

2. Bulletin Board I made myself: Blue fabric $1, Cork boards $4/square, Curling gift wrapping ribbons $3.

3. Kassett organizer series

4. Billy book case; looking to add the doors once they are back in stock.

5. Old drawer unit on casters; double as printing station.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Decorate: Nursery Colors

Our guest blogger for this week is Designing Mom Guissell. Are you staring at empty walls in your room, pondering colors or images or both? Guissell has some great ideas to brighten up your spaces, including a little peek into her own very organized studio/living space.

I have collected several colors I've either worked with in the past and/or colors I've found inspirational. Some of these are brighter than other which could be considered as Spring/Summer. However, I didn't want to put them into seasons because the truth is once you have the baby time is of the essence and changing color schemes in the room is simply something not many people can do. So instead focus on what colors inspire you, yes you mommy! You will be spending lots of time in the room and it's important that you choose those colors that soothe you.

The center leaf is your core color and the smaller ones are complementary.... There is really no right way to use these colors though so let your inner designer come through. If you need a fourth color I would root for white (aka "safe color").

Do however, always remember to include at least one personalized item in your nursery. This here is my son's first shirt that was provided at the hospital. It adds to the sentimental meaning of the room whle adding color and texture as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Our Lists: Decoylab Children's Art

by Designing Mom Tori

How perfect is this print from Decoylab next to your child's bookcase? And of course you have to get the adorable matching bookplates ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Lists: Wee Gallery Children's Art

by Designing Mom Tori

I believe that children are never too young to be exposed to art. That’s why I just love the company Wee Gallery – they have a collection of art for newborns and up. I love their bold black and white illustrations as art cards that can be used as early as day one in a “crib side gallery” and later as flash cards to help little ones identify different animals and shapes. They base their designs on a few “Wee Facts” like the following I found on their website:

“High-contrast visual patterns help promote infant brain development.” – Dr. James Brewer, Pediatrician, California
- “Newborns can see up to 12-15 inches away and are most taken by their parents’ faces and high-contrast repeating patterns.”

They have a wide selection of ways to expose your baby to Wee Gallery art – including wall graphics, mobiles, art cards, canvases, prints, and more. Be sure to check out their incredibly inspirational blog (which is a new favorite of mine) and etsy shop as well. They even offer free images to download on their website. Click here for your free test print and iron on patches.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shop: Personalized Baby Gifts

by Designing Mom Tori

I’m always on the lookout for great baby shower gifts as it seems like I always have a friend who is getting ready for a new little addition. I especially love to give personalized baby gifts as an extra thoughtful touch. It’s fun to do something different from a practical baby registry item from time to time – especially when it’s for a really close friend. I have composed a list of personalized baby gifts that I really love (many of them are gifts I have either given, received, or both) Please feel free to add to the list anytime because I am sure there are many more great ideas out there – these are just a few of my favorites right now.

Varsity Font Wallpaper available at The Land of Nod

Custom brag books and photo albums by Kata Golda

Personalized apparel and accessories by Tiny Sprouts

Personalized name charms by Liberty Worth

Custom name prints by Ida Pearle available at Mahar Drygoods

Personalized super soft blankets by Ally Zabba

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Make: Custom Step Stool

by Designing Mom Tori

I recently made a gift for my son to give to his little friend, Rohan. Ro’s mom is a dear friend of mine so when we were pregnant at the same time we knew that our boys would end up with lots of play dates and hopefully will experience as great of a friendship that we have enjoyed over the years. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share how I made this super easy (and super cute if I do say so myself) stepstool. It’s perfect for toddlers who need a little extra help to reach the sink or who just want a place to sit that’s just their size.

Materials you will need:
1. Unfinished wood step stool (from any craft store)
2. Acrylic paint (I like Basics)

3. Paint brush (I used a stencil brush for this project)

4. Foam paint brush (similar to this one)

5. Mod Podge

6. Old newspaper or something to cover your workspace

7. Jar or cup for water while you paint along with a dry paper towel to wipe your brush as needed
8. And last, but definitely not least, my favorite supply: vintage alphabet flash cards from the Boston Bag Lady’s etsy shop . She has a TON of cute things in her shop – have fun deciding if your stool has vintage go go go cards , vintage Raggedy Ann characters , vintage crazy eights cards , etc…

Now that you have all of the supplies you need, the first step is to prep your workspace. First, cover your table with newspaper or newsprint. Then, fill your glass jar with water. Place all of the materials you need for the project on your covered table and you are now ready to start painting!

I recommend painting the bottom of the stool first for drying purposes. Simply start on the bottom with your stencil brush (I think stencil brushes are the easiest to work with on unfinished wood) and flip over when you are ready. You may need to do two coats, depending on the look you are going for.

After your piece is completely dry, place your collage materials of choice on the stool in the way that you want them to be arranged. Next, apply the Mod Podge to the cards as if it were a glue with your foam paint brush. After all of your pieces are “glued” down, simply paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over your entire stool. Let it dry – and you’re done! It’s that easy (and fun)!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Our Booklist: Flippy And Toadpole

Our second guest blogger for this week is Designing Mom Tori.
I know you'll be delighted to read about her fun picks for great books, children's art and DIY projects!

I recently met John Mese who is a of a friend of a friend and who happens to be an actor turned children’s book writer and publisher. He and his wife started their own publishing company along with an illustrator friend and have successfully been self publishing their books for the last several years. John is a very warm and friendly guy who is obviously passionate about what he does. When he saw that I was with my baby, he literally went to the trunk of his car to give us one of their books. How nice is that? I think that the quirky rhymes and illustrations are adorable - and kids love them, too!
We have the book, Flippy and Toadpole, which is all about how Flippy can be anything...such as a "Hippie Flippy", "Mud Flappy Flippy", "Sleepy Fleepy Flippy", and our current favorite: "Mighty Mississippi Flippy."

If you get a chance, stop by their website and visit their online store to peek on the inside of each book.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Balance: Recess

by Designing Mom Jackie

Oh recess. How I so miss that concept. While my public elementary school was lacking in many ways, they sure got the recess thing down perfectly. I will always look back on that mandatory respite from fractions and pronouns to play dodge ball and eat chocolate chip cookies with a big smile.

Nowadays, my recess comes at night when the kids are asleep and I am off-duty. To mix it up a bit and not feel so guilty about the crap TV that I watch and even crappier tabloids that I read, I’ve started seeking out evening workshops on crafty or culinary topics.

Given my limited time and tight purse strings these days, I look for classes that are a one-night deal, usually just a few hours. I find that this is just long enough for me to retreat from my daily routine, learn some new tricks, and if I’m lucky, make a thing or two (if food is involved, that might mean burn a thing or two).

Here are a few great local classes on my recess "wish list" for the months ahead:

1) A Moroccan Feast cooking class at
Kitchen on Fire

2) Paper Arts taught by Courtney Cerruti at The Workshop

3) Rookie Rubber Stamping at Paper Source

4) Recycled Sweaters & Tee Shirt Workshop at
Stonemountain and Daughter Fabric

5) Screen Printing: Home Edition at Richmond Art Center

6) Picture Links and Pendants at Baubles & Beads

What about you?? Please email your favorite “recess” activities.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Make: Freezer Paper Stencils

by Designing Mom Jackie

For the past year, my friend Lisa has been organizing a monthly craft night at her house. This month, we decided to rotate houses so I volunteered to play hostess. I suggested we try a freezer paper stencil project that I had read about on Katie's blog. I am pleased to report it was a huge hit! Super easy, super fun, and super fast. I am completely addicted to this now, and find myself wanting to stencil everything in site. My husband is a little concerned. He is hiding his socks as I type this.

Supply list:

  • Image(s) that you want to stencil
  • T-shirts, tote bag, tea towels or anything else you want to stencil onto
  • Fabric paint
  • Paint brush
  • X-Acto knife
  • Freezer paper
  • Iron


  1. Find an image you want to use as a stencil. There are plenty of websites with free stencils or you can use an image from a book. My advice is to keep it simple when you are starting out.
  2. Lay it on the freezer paper (waxy side down!) onto a cutting mat and use an exacto knife to cut out your design (cutting it out of both the paper and the freezer paper).
  3. Take the freezer paper and iron it onto your t-shirt or fabric.
  4. Paint over the stencil with washable fabric paint (available in a zillion colors).
  5. Wait a bit until the paint is dry, and then peel of the freezer paper.
  6. Voila! You’re done.

Let the addiction begin…

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Our Lists: Bunk Beds

by Designing Mom Jackie

Wanna bunk? My twin sister, Cathy, and I shared a room until we were 17 and off to college.

Growing up, I always wanted bunk beds. But, my mom was too freaked out to get them and opted for the twin side-by-side beds from Plummers topped with super 80s geometric comforters from K-mart. Now that we have two kids, and plan for them to share a room at some point (hopefully before they turn 17), I am starting to relive my childhood fantasy and thinking about bunk beds. Gabe will probably end up making them, but I am doing some advanced research anyhow. My mom would be thrilled to know that the ugly, clunky, and unsafe bunk beds of days past have been replaced by an amazing collection of modern, simple, and fun options.

For those of us with smaller sized kids bedrooms, I can’t think of a better way to maximize space for building forts, conducting trains, and dressing Mr. Potato Head.

Here are some of my favorites:

1. Modern Children Bunk Bed R302

2. Lollipop Bunk Bed

3. Uffizi Bunk Bed

4. Julian Shutter Bunk Beds

5. Hillsdale - Universal Youth Twin Bunk Beds

6. Nurseryworks Duet Bunk Bed

7. Wave 2 Bed by Gudiksen Design

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