Monday, October 26, 2015

Treehouse

Last Christmas we built a treehouse for the kids and then six short months later we had to take it apart again for the move. We were worried about whether or not we would be able to move it.

It took help from cousins to take it apart, six guys, a girl and a Uhaul to move the floor but we did it! Then it sat on the side of the new house for four months making our house look like a junk yard.

Finally last week, Dallas had some help and he put the structure back together and I went in and cleaned off the spider webs, found all of the knick knacks I had collected and we put it back together.

Now its as good as new and I wanted to share it with you!


For the construction we used these instructions from The Handmade Home. They were awesome and worked amazingly!

For the most part we stained the wood and painted one accent wall. I wanted to keep the paint to a minimum to give it more of the look of an an old rustic treehouse.


I found this little mexican style hutch/desk at the swap meet for $40. Its perfect for an art station and an outdoor space for Archie to do his homework.



I painted the bench seating and made some pillows. I found the vintage butterfly quilt that I used for the pillows at the swapmeet and have been holding into it for almost a year now trying to figure out what to do with it!


The fox painting is a reproduction my mom did of the amazing Sonia Cavalinni's fox painting. She is one of my favorite artists, (she does the artwork on my blog header) and I just had to have a huge whimsical painting like this for their playhouse.



I got these little embroideries at the Queen Bee Market last year. I love the little buttons and notions that add to the whimsy of the place.



This kitchen set was an old Ikea one that a school was getting rid of so it was actually free. I painted it up, added some handles from anthropologie and wall papered the back of the hutch with some gift wrap from Rifle Paper Co!


I found these copper canisters, bundt pans and the flower ones at two different swap meets and paid close to nothing for them.


The sweet felt garland is from Bee's Knee's Shoppe on Etsy. I love her shop and I met her in person at the Queen Bee Market and she is so sweet and just the type of person who I LOVE to support!

 

I made these spoons. I reproduced these from an english artist named Jess Quinn.  Her work was what originally inspired me to make handmade dolls.


Winnie is baking our snack.


I got this woven rag rug when we were in the Netherlands two years ago. We had it in our kitchen in the old house, but it wasn't working in the new house so I moved it out here :)

 
 

She's pretty proud of this dish she's made for us!




One of her many tea sets.


I found this carved wood chess set at the swap meet as well. Archie loves it. They are all carved wood frog men or dragons with frogs on their backs. He once talked me into playing a game of chess with him that lasted three hours! I wanted to stab myself in the eye the entire time.


I found these little dolls guys (and their camel) at the swap meet as well.


You can find so many treasures there, like this mini ship, for next to nothing.


Gotta have a mailbox right!?


We added this little gingerbread detail.


You can see a glimpse of my lampshade leaf chandelier here. I just threw it together. I'm sure I will improve upon it in the future. But I love that the leaves make it feel like a tree house!


My cousin Audra gave me this sweet table.


It's perfect for tea and snacks. We enjoyed mushroom, banana and melon soup!


 

Cousin Audra also gave me this sweet antique little dolly house!


And of course we had to have a slide!




This is the outside. We installed these antique windows and shutters that I'd found nearly three years ago and hoarded. I'm so glad they were perfect for the treehouse!



I love that it is nestled behind the fruit trees and the morning glories that will eventually make their way to crawl onto the railing and then the roof making it look like a little tree cottage in the woods.

And our sweet neighbor just stopped by and gave us some limes!


The new house is starting to feel like home and I love setting up these fun spaces for the kiddos so they feel at home too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ten Percent Happier

Recently as a part of the process of trying to find a fix for my Panic attacks, or more accurately make myself more healthy and balanced, I've taken what can only be described as a wispy interest in meditation. Any time you google "anxiety" or "panic attack" its impossible not to wind up reading an article on or at the very least a passing mention of meditation and/or yoga.

I probably shouldn't admit this but when people have mentioned meditation to me in the past I would have a tiny internal panic that they might start talking about their spirit animal at any moment or use phrases like "one with the universe" and that I would somehow have to act like I knew what they were talking about.

Living in southern California, you are more of an oddity if you don't meditate than if you do. Everyone here does yoga and is constantly raving about it.

Despite my experiences, I try not to be a closed minded person. I'm up for trying new things. So there have been two occasions when I decided I would give yoga a try. I figured it couldn't hurt to stretch and maybe relax.

The first time I was pregnant with Winnie. Throughout the class, the teacher kept saying things like, "Now feel HIM bringing you into HIS arms and protecting you and the child growing within you." In addition to having no idea who HE is and not wanting HIM to touch me or my baby, which I could have put up with to some degree but coupled with the fact that I got like zero exercise, it just wasn't worth it to me. I didn't go back.

Everyone I spoke to about my experience said that it sounded weird and not how their yoga class was. So I decided to try it again a few months ago in a class at the local gym. My mom came with me. We walked into a dim room. There was chimey type watery music playing and the teacher was talking in a breathy voice. I finally asked her where we should go and she told us where the mats were. Then she proceeded to give the class instructions in a voice as if she had been possessed by some sort of demon. I couldn't take it. I tried to control my laughter and keep it together for like five minutes. But the fact that my mom was there made it so much worse. I felt bad about bolting, but I figured it was better than having a laugh attack inside the class.

I do realize that I have now outed myself as being both closed minded and immature. Oh well.

I figured that yoga just  isn't for me. But I wanted to learn more about meditation.

Among many others, I ran across a book called, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris who is a correspondent for ABC News.

What peaked my interest about this book was twofold. The first reason is because he had a panic attack and that is where his journey into mindfulness began. I could relate to that. Unfortunately for him it all played out on live TV on Good Morning America while millions watched.

The second reason is because I actually met Dan Harris once. Well actually I spent several hours with him in a really hot warehouse in the middle of summer in NYC with no AC. He was interviewing me for a 20/20 or a Nightline piece (I forget which) back in 2012 and he was a really cool guy.

He was truly empathetic, very friendly and took time to tell us the best places to eat in the city while we were in town. I guess its kinda hard not to like someone who you just poured your whole life story out to but I definitely felt that he was a warm person.

Anyway, I got his book and from the moment I began listening to it, I was completely hooked. I found myself interested the entire time to the point of not wanting to go to sleep at night.

To boot it was hilarious. Some of his stories still have me randomly busting out in a grin a few days later. He is raw, irreverent and yet honest, self depreciating and vulnerable. His curiosities and skepticism were so in line with my own that I was completely engaged throughout the entire book. He asked the questions that I wanted to ask except way better ones!

He presents investigations, research, various points of view, science along with his own personal experience and priceless anecdotes.  He has met with the gamut of experts from Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Dr. Mark Epstien to the Dalai Lama (to name a few) and was able to ask them his burning questions.

In the end despite his (our) skepticism, he totally sold me on meditation.  In fact, I am pretty excited about it.

I wouldn't say this is a handbook on how to meditate, it is more of a book that makes the case for doing it at all.

This quote really rang true to me, "Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one.” I am so guilty of this.

This one is probably my favorite from the entire book, "There's even science to back this up -- an explosion of new research, complete with colorful MRI scans, demonstrating that meditation can essentially rewire your brain. This science challenges the common assumption that our levels of happiness, resilience, and kindness are set from birth. Many of us labor under the delusion that we're permanently stuck with all of the difficult parts of our personalities -- that we are "hot-tempered," or "shy," or "sad" -- and that these are fixed, immutable traits. We now know that many of the attributes we value most are, in fact, skills, which can be trained the same way you build your body in the gym."

Such a hopeful statement, not only for me but what a great tool for my kids to grow up with. Like most moms, all I want is for my kids to be happy. I'm not overly obsessed with them being geniuses or star athletes.  I just want them to live happy and fulfilling lives which in my book need not necessarily involve being famous, a CEO, a doctor or getting rich. Sometimes intelligence and wealth comes with a price. What I feel gave me a sliver of peace of mind in this book is that it is that whether my kids end up being beach bums, CEOs or Scientists or chefs, happiness is a skill that they can learn no matter where they end up.

I just thought I'd pass this along as a book that I found very uplifting and informative in my personal journey and perhaps it can be for you too!

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Polka Dot Box Just for Me!

On Friday my special package from Thredup was delivered! 




I ordered three dresses. There was such a wide selection it was very hard to choose what to get!


For some reason this happens from time to time, but recently the idea trying to figure out what to wear everyday feels unbearably tedious. So my genius plan was to order comfy casual everyday dresses so I don't have to pick out a top and a bottom, all I have to do is put on a dress and some shoes. Genius right!?


I love these beautiful textures,


patterns and colors. Floral and chambray are my two favorites!


For a grand total of $85 I got all four of these beauties.


They were all in perfect shape, the package smelled lovely, two dresses still had the tags on and they all fit!!






I usually just do Thredup for the kiddos, but every once in a while I have to treat myself!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October Fun!

Just thought I'd share some recent pics of things we have enjoyed recently!


I knitted some leg warmers and I'm already working on my second pair.


Dance classes.


Cinnamon buns and breakfast with Grandma Gail.


Fabric shopping for Win's Elsa costume for Halloween with Grandma Gail.


Some pretty Elsa dress fabric.



Grandma Gail is the costume maker of the family. With seven grandkids, Haloween is a pretty busy time for her!


Lunch with Daddy. Winnie told him the other day, "Daddy that hair all over you makes you look like a dog." So sweet.


Making yummy blueberry banana bread!



Pumpkin carving with Grandma Bitty!


Daddy too!


Arch wanted a Charlie Brown pumpkin, not sure what that means but he said this was right.


Winnie wanted a kitty cat but was pissed off the whole time we were carving pumpkins.



We're listening to lots of books, doing lots of laundry, trying lots of different kinds of squash, enjoying some slightly cooler fall weather and occasionally wearing sweaters in the evenings even though it is totally unnecessary.

I'm excited about the fun stuff that I plan to share on the blog this week.

Wishing you all a Happy Monday!