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Life (and Projects) Lately

Oh hai there! Train of thought post, coming your way.

I feel like I’ve been running around doing a million things, but I have as yet to document them all here. So here goes! Stuff that has been going on and will continue to go on and that will make it here in the form of photos and words and whatnot. Ready? Ready!

My coffee table was styled up and shot three ways for Make it Better magazine. I have some outtakes and different angles that are super pretty, so I’ll put that together as a post for next week.

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

• The wallpaper in August’s bedroom has been stripped and the room has been painted green. I am not in love with the green, but it is an improvement over peeling wallpaper.

Green in August's Room

• Speaking of wallpaper, two rolls of the stuff are en route for the upstairs bathroom. Also, art has been chosen and ordered for the downstairs bathroom. I get all weird about not sharing things until they’re done, but sometimes I think back to the random little updates I used to post ages ago when I first started this blog. I mean, seriously? My Pinterest and Instagram kind of replaced all of that, didn’t they? I’m digressing here. Blogging is weird, and so is this post.

No photo! Unless you want a screenshot of my receipts?

• Some new art went up! Here’s a preview.

Art for the Hallway

:)

• Not too terribly long ago, I setup the prettiest dang Easter brunch. (I know, we’re nearing summer now. Hush. I’m proud of the way this turned out and I’m sharing. We also decorated eggs, if you’re inclined to see.)

Juice and Coffee
Paper Lanterns and Pinwheels
Easter Decorations: Paper Lanterns and Pinwheels, Garland, and Easter Bunnies

• I visited another designer showhouse, the Merchandise Mart’s DreamHome 2015. Do we want pictures? I have some pictures. These were from my favorite room, designed by Anne Coyle.

Merchandise Mart DreamHome 2015 Dining Room, Designed by Anne Coyle
Merchandise Mart DreamHome 2015 Dining Room, Designed by Anne Coyle

• I spent some time in San Francisco last month with a few of Target’s Made to Matter brands (Soma, Olly, and Suja) and a bunch of fellow bloggers. Always nice to be back in one of my favorite places, and in such good company. (I love this picture of us, taken by Thayer Allyson Gowdy.) I’ll be seeing some of these fine folks again in a couple of weeks in Salt Lake City when I’m back there to speak at Alt Summit.

#sunrisesf photo by Thayer Allyson Gowdy

• We had a birthday party for Eleanor, not at our house. (First time!) She loved it. At the last minute though, she asked for a science theme, so I went to the nerd store (ahem, science surplus store) to buy favors and decorations. Flowers in beakers and flasks, and voila: science theme! Kids are easy to please. Me too, judging by the amount of happiness these signs brought me.

Science Store Humor

• Two new additions joined our household after Eleanor’s birthday, bringing our total of living beings here to ten. Meet our guinea pigs, Speedy (the white one, so named because she is quick), and Gingerbread (named in advance, so we tried to find one that matched the moniker). They squeal and make little noises and are cute, and I like to pet and pick them up as much if not more than the kids do.

Guinea Pigs

• The pantry closet in the kitchen got organized. The old man on the oatmeal box no longer stares at me each morning as I make my breakfast and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I miss you, oatmeal man! I do like the matching containers and colorful bins that have replaced him though. I wrote about the whole thing on Crate & Barrel’s new blog.

Wrapping Paper Sheets and Clear Shelf Liner
Pantry Shelves with New Liners

• I’ve been fattening up a baby all day everyday. I know this is not news, but dammit it takes up a lot of time!

Calvin

• This happened between the time I went from upstairs to down, and back up again. Every stuffed animal (and daughter) in the house had a party on our bed.

So many stuffed animals.

And with that, I think we’re all caught up. Phew!

Workplaces

Our house is warm! Our house is warm! We woke up this morning to a not-freezing house, even though we’re getting hit with another arctic blast. The thermostat downstairs is set to 70° and it’s actually that temperature. Thank you, plastic-wrap window film.

We’ve also closed off the small room downstairs, a former porch off of the kitchen, that should be my office. I moved my computer out of there last month when it became clear that the space had some insulation issues. Fingerless gloves are all right, but I don’t really want them to be part of my work day. I’m at a desk in one of the bedrooms on the third floor now instead. We’re lucky to have the space to be flexible, but we have other plans for the room I’m in now.

I was photographed recently for Splash, the magazine in the Sunday edition of The Chicago Sun Times, and the focus was on workplaces. The turnaround was quick, so they shot in my living room instead of my home office. The issue came out yesterday, and you can read it online here.

Chicago Sun Times Splash, Making it Lovely

Proud! (Hello, laptop and @ sign. It was a story on bloggers, so props.) But then here is why we didn’t shoot in my actual workspace…

Temporary Office

Not so proud.

That’s my temporary office. The desk and lamp were Brandon’s in the last house, and the chair is one of four waiting room chairs I found in an alley ages ago. We’ve had them kicking around forever. Crazy wires and a general lack of styling? Super pretty. It’s working for now, but I do want a dedicated office space here in the house that I can make nice. I’m just not sure where that’s going to be yet.

We have to figure out what’s going on with that room downstairs at the back of the house. It’s open below with a storage area beneath (accessed from the yard), so perhaps better insulation from underneath would help during the winter? Or, if we really want to get crazy, we could knock out the load-bearing wall between it and the kitchen, and make one amazing kitchen. That’s a huge project though — one that is on our maybe someday a decade or more down the line list. I don’t think we want to bump that up right now, but if we did, we could really gut the space and address its issues properly.

I’m thinking out loud here a bit. What would you do?

Feels Like Home

Last week, someone asked me on Twitter if I ever get spooked in this big old house. I grew up in the Chicago area (River Grove and Franklin Park), but we didn’t have Victorian houses in that neighborhood. My only references to them as a kid would have been The Addams Family and The Munsters. Creepy, but not scary. More awesome, really.

I am easily spooked though. I no longer watch scary movies because I can’t stop thinking about them for days months years afterwards. The Gift creeped me out. I don’t even remember much about it, besides a scene with some water and a tree, and oh let’s not think of it. I’m pretty sure that The Ring was the last one I saw, where I decided that yes! That’s it! I’m done with these! In the old house, more often than I’d like to admit, I ran up the stairs at night. Because: zombies. I know it’s irrational, but at least it was good cardio?

In this house though, there has been no nighttime running up stairs. No sprinting down halls in dumb terror. Brandon tries to mess with me. I told him what I was writing about today and he said “yeah, this house is good. Except for that sound of a baby crying. You ever hear it? In the hallway upstairs. But it always sounds far away…” (It isn’t working on me. Yet.) This house feels right. The kids took to it immediately, and we all fit in very happily here. I think that as long as I can go downstairs for a glass of water at night without being scared, and we can have impromptu picnics in the kitchen the next morning, we’re good.

Impromptu Kitchen Breakfast Picnic

This house feels right in so many ways. I hope we’re here for a long, long time.

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