There are literally thousands of people on Pinterest with gobs of followers, but my 600th follower is a big deal to me. Why? Because every single one of my fabulous followers is an authentic one. I have not offered them a prize, traded a follow for a follow, or offered any other type of incentive. Basically, each and every fabulous person that follows me on Pinterest does so because they value the content I share and like my perspective and I can’t tell you how much that warms my heart. I love Pinterest, but I love that there are people in the world who I connect with based solely on our creativity and love of life. That, my friends, is awesome in the very best way.
And if you’re not following me on Pinterest, come and take a peak! I post a bunch of recipes, crafts, design, clothing, travel…basically all the best things in life!
I’ve got a seven-year old on my hands, people! How did this happen? I’m far too young to have such a big kid already, right. Right?
Alas, ’tis true. And right now my girl loves all things geological. As her current hobby of choice, rock collecting naturally lent itself to rock-sharing and hands-on exploration at her birthday party. With actually rock specimens to study as well as fun rock-themed activities, the kids had a great time learning and celebrating the birthday girl.
I started with cute (and free) rock and mineral images from this source and built her invitations and all the paper goods from there. Let me be honest with you, I am no pro when it comes to swanky artistic software. All my stuff is created in good, old-fashioned Microsoft word. But I love the way the invites and info cards all turned out.
Next, I created image cards to build a pin board. The pin board served as my backdrop to all of the amazing rock specimens my fabulous neighbor, Mary, lent us. It pays to live across the street from a geologist!
And the rock specimens really were amazing. I had a serious case of geological envy. Kinda wanted them to stay…permanently.
Snacks were deceptively easy. I always fret over this one. Keeping it real; I’m not a big fan of party snacks. While I love to eat them, trying to find a cute way to tie them into your party is usually a bit much for me. But I came across this awesome lesson plan on making geological soil strata and decided to adjust it to meet my needs. I created a “Soil Strata Snack” and the kids went in a circle, filling a clear cup with snacks that represented the layers of the earth/soil. It was great in that all I had to do was empty stuff into bowls and the kids got to “make” their own snack. That’s a win right there on my part, people!
Then we had the kids hit up stations. This was the fun part (outside of decorating…y’all know I love to decorate). We had a rock exploration station where kids got to look at and handle different rock specimens.
I made reference cards and mini field note journals where they could write down and draw their observations.
And a rock dig area. I bought a large bag of tiny tumbled rocks, spray painted some larger rocks into “gold nuggets” and let the kids go to town trying to find them all in our sand pit. This was a big “time” hit in that the kids spent quite a bit of time here. I actually plan on doing this again with the girls, just to give them something to do outside.
There was a “Pet Rock” station, where garden rocks were transformed into best friends.
And the coolest station; the Radioactive Station. My wonderful neighbor/geologist, Mary, brought over special rocks that glow under a black light. We turned one of our coat closets into the radioactive room and the kids went in four at a time to see them.
Another big hit at the party was the cake. I made an amethyst geode cake. I looked like a baking goddess.
I’m a fraud.
Yes, I baked and decorated the cake, but it doesn’t get much easier than a bundt cake made from boxed funfetti cake mix and dyed purple, butter cream frosting dyed gray, and purple rock crystal candy. It does, however, look much harder. Again, a win in my opinion.
All in all, the birthday girl had a “rockin” good time (sorry, I couldn’t skip a pun opportunity) and her friends enjoyed celebrating with her.
And I enjoyed watching my baby girl get just a bit bigger…but not too big. I’m not ready for that.
We’re moving! I can hardly believe it myself, especially given that we weren’t actively looking. I, however, have a serious obsession with what I affectionately have termed “real estate window shopping”. It goes a little something like this; me sitting on the couch with the laptop, scanning Redfin and my local MLS, plugging a multitude of criteria combinations and seeing just what I *could* get in my dream areas if I could ever convince my husband to move. Once I’ve spotted a gem, I turn to said husband and exclaim, “Look at this gorgeous turn-of-the-century farm house!” to which he inevitably asks two questions, 1) how much, and 2) where’s it at, knowing fair and well it will be 1) stratospherically out of our price range, 2) somewhere far, far, away, or 3) in a neighborhood I wouldn’t leave my bike in. “But it’s got amazing potential,” I opine, to which he chuckles and flatly ignores me in favor for whatever is on t.v.
To be fair, he moved an awful lot as a kid and as such, is not too excited at the idea of moving yet again. I moved often as well, but to me it was always an adventure, an opportunity for new possibilities.
So I nearly choked when I found a beautiful home, in a fabulous area, that was…wait for it…within our price range! I quickly employed the help of one of my best friends, who just so happens to be a real estate agent. We made plans to go see it, the husband begrudgingly, the two of us excitedly, because I knew for him this house would be a game changer. Yes, it needed some cosmetic updating to make it more like “us”, but it was practically turn-key, which is a must for the husband. And it was built in the 80’s. The 1980’s. That alone, I think, was the selling point to him (homie has an obsession with the 80’s something fierce).
Within a two-day period we were in contract on the new house AND on our home. It’s been warp speed ahead since.
So now comes the worst part of moving; packing. I HATE packing. But I’m way too frugal (read: poor) to pay for a moving company to pack our stuff so it ends of being he and I after the kids are in bed, night—after night—after night. In order to make the process as smooth as possible, I’ve been trolling the web and asking friends for packing tips and I figured I’d share some, just in case you too find yourself suddenly buying a house and trying to figure out how to stuff it into a single truck like a tetris game.
Tip #1: Bag You Clothes
via Renaee Sowe
This one is from my friends Ashley and Jessica: Instead of folding and boxing your clothes, cover several hanging pieces with a large black trash bag. Pop a hole in the middle of the sealed in end, thread your hangers through, and toe the bottom in a knot. Now they’re protected and you can lay them down in the trunk of your car or hang them from your hand rails in the backseat.
Tip #2: Pack You Books in Rolling Suitcases
This prevents the weight of your books from tearing your boxes and makes them easy to move without breaking your back. My problem is I have way more books that suitcases, but I’m using this tip for the heaviest ones.
Tip #3: Create a “Packing Caddy”
via Kristy at http://www.theoddgirl.com/caption
Gather all your packing items together (scissors, tape gun, Sharpies, etc) and put them into a caddy with a handle. That way everything stays together, can transport easily from room to room, and your not constantly asking your spouse where the (fill in the blank) is.
Tip # 4: Wrap Your Furniture/Mirrors in Saran Wrap
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="349"]
via Rocky Mountain Movers
This may seem a bit of an overkill, but it will save you many tears shed over Great Aunt Trudy’s chair that now has an oil stain on it. Put an X of tape over your mirrors to help protect them from shattering and wrap your furniture in saran wrap. You’ll thank me for this later.
Tip #5: Eat Your Food
via For Rent
I know this sounds silly, but stop shopping for food a week or two prior to the move and make an effort to eat all that you’ve got. Nothing is worse than a refrigerator filled with food you need to toss. Or trying to borrow enough ice chests to move it all.
Tip #6: Use Soft Items as Space Fillers
I have finally found a purpose for all of the damn stuffed animals my girls have! Stuff them around your more fragile items to protect them in the move. This works not only with stuffed animals but also throw pillows, towels and blankets.
Tip #7: Take a Photo of Your Cords
You know all of those cords that make your life function, like the t.v. cords and the internet cords? Then you also know the jumbled mess they make once disconnected. Save yourself the frustration of trying to reconnect them through trial and error and take a picture of them plugged in.
Tip #8: Use Wine Bottle Cases for Your Glassware
Okay, I might be outing myself here, but wine cases aren’t very hard to find around my house. The cardboard dividers are great protectors for glassware, so re-use those babies!
Tip #9: Tape screws/anchors/picture hangers to the backs of art and furniture.
If you have to dissemble your table for moving, it’s a quick search to find the nuts and bolts that put it back together when they’re taped to the underside of the table top. Same goes for art…and anything else requiring small parts to hang up or put it back together.
Tip #10: Pack a First Night Box
I need to thank Pinterest for this one. I’d never thought of a first night box, but it totally makes sense. After spending all day packing, and unpacking, most of us just want a shower an a good night’s sleep. The first-night box makes this easy. Everything you need for that first night; sheets, pjs, toothbrushes, face lotion, it all goes into the box.
Hope these help. I’ll be making the big move in two weeks and as I’m putting all of these tips into action I can tell you they really will save you time, money, and an awful lot of work. If you’ve got any other tips I should know about, please share! I’ll take all the help I can get.
Speaking of which, what are you doing two Saturdays from now? Cuz if you’re bored, I’ve got a job for you.
I spent Memorial day weekend enjoying family and friends and the treasure that is the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase. The 37th annual showcase took over 3660 Jackson Street, a stunning 9,000 square foot mansion built in 1907 for the Sutro family and purchased last year for a cool $18 million.
via Bartlett Real Estate
A decorator’s showcase is an opportunity for designers to show their work, but also a chance to push boundaries, and the San Francisco Designer’s Showcase was no exception. There was A LOT of personality and boundary pushing going on this year. If last year’s collection was more about designing livable, artistically inspired spaces, this year’s was all about design as art… with much less emphasis on the livable part.
My appreciation tends to fall into the prior camp, and as such, it was some of the smaller rooms that really worked for me. A stand out was Regan Baker’s little boy’s room, which had a world-traveler vibe. Using the original linen wallpaper, she transformed the space into a 4-year old’s dream with a tented bed that expands to fill the entire room. And lining the closet with a world map was a stroke of clever genius. Plus she was super sweet to boot!
via Patricia Chang at SF Curbed
“Lily’s Pad”, a pre-teen room designed by Tineke Triggs, was darling (although I could have done without the splatter paint ceiling), but it was the restroom that was the star. With a lacquered vanity, brass mirror and fixtures, and beautiful Moroccan inspired tile work, it offered a glamorous little retreat for any teenage girl.
via Patricia Chang for SF Curbed
And while we’re on the topic of bathrooms, I felt like there were some clever design ideas going on. For instance, Jaime Belew used a creative approach in her master bathroom by creating a shower surround that showcased the space and brought in architectural detail. And her cat print with goldfish below was a witty remark in an otherwise formal setting.
Also, the small sitting room off the main entrance bathroom was a sumptuous space, harking back to the days of formal waiting rooms where one could “touch themselves up”. It felt very glamorous.
The kitchen, House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year, was not my style, but had several very cool ideas to take away. It was entirely black (mmm…no me gusta), but the herringbone tile pattern was chic, as was the massive fig tree on the counter. I also thought the idea of side-by-side ovens was genius for those who don’t have the wall space for double stacked ones, and the led mini light strips on the inner facing of the glass cabinets was so smart! You have great lighting that isn’t obstructed by shelving as you would if it were lit from the top.
via Patricia Change for SF Curbed
I think one of the most serene and smart spaces was actually the potter’s shed. Designer Randy McDannell incorporated equal measures of form and function, each choice made to create a feeling of bringing the outdoors in while also making sure the space was actually usable for it’s purpose. Bravo to that!
A few other design highlights include the cow hide gold flecked rug in the entry, the table setting and superb tailoring on the formal dining table (the wallpaper was AH-MAZ-INg, but original to the space), and the outdoor concrete sofa (it was heated—perfect for foggy mornings and evenings).
Unfortunately, some of the spaces just didn’t work for me.
The foyer and sitting vestibule by Jane Richardson-Mack and John Romaidis was a miss. While I loved the color palette, the styling and fabric choices felt cheap to me.
Also, the music room by Steve Henry and Michael Booth of BAMO just didn’t work. There were major issues with scale and styling. But the light fixture was cool, so I guess there’s that.
And don’t get me started on the “artist’s retreat”. It may be one of the laziest designs I’ve ever seen. I will never be sold on the idea that paint splattered all over subflooring and tacking burlap to the walls as drapery are “creative choices”.
via Sally Kucher for SF Curbed
All in all, I enjoyed my time perusing the spaces and getting some ideas to incorporate into my own designs. I will also say that I know it’s much easier to arm-chair judge when one isn’t confronted with the actual work, so a big kudos is in order for all designers for stepping up to the task.
However, burlap tacked to the walls as drapery never works. Like, ever.
With spring in full swing here in California, everything is blooming and growing and being pretty awesome all around. It also makes it incredibly easy to bring a touch of the outdoors in. With a few choice cuts and blooms it was easy to give my living room a little spring sprucing.
This tree lent a few branches…
To my recycled vase.
And my succulents…
Gave it up for my sideboard.
The roses are my babies. I adore old growth roses (and new growth masquerading as old roses) like these David Austin’s. I actually own 12 David Austin’s along with 7 floribunda…I have a bit of a rose hoarding problem.
But when they look this pretty you can’t blame me, can you?
Spring is the perfect time to bring a bit of the outside into your home. How do you welcome spring?
I had business cards drawn up recently. I’ve never had a need in the past for them but in the last few months, as the blog grows and what I’m doing with it evolves, I’ve had more people ask me how to get in touch. Let’s be honest here, Stellmacher isn’t exactly Smith, and as my url is my name, having to spell it out every time isn’t the most convenient, or time effective for that matter. Plus there’s that whole professional thing where you want people to think you actually know what you’re doing.
Welcome the business card. It tells people I’m a professional up in here…increasing my street cred exponentially.
Look at her. Isn’t she a beaut, Clark?
Receiving these was such a small thing but it made me happy in a ridiculous way. Seeing what I do—and what the blog is about—on paper with ink was such a tangible reminder of how very much I love what I do on the blog; decorate, entertain, create, and live. It’s about taking the everyday moments and elevating them.
I’m thankful I get to share your everyday with you, and I hope that through the blog I’m able to help you make each one better.
Sally Wheat is such a talent. Always glam, punches of color, and a bit unexpected, she finds a way to mesh decades together with ease, uniting them through form, color, and a boldness that is a signature of her style.
Her own living room is no exception. While this room may not be her most colorful, I’d argue it’s one of her prettiest and most chic.
Sally Wheat via Simple Details
Ms. Wheat’s space is beautiful, and with a few select pieces, you can pull a similar looks together yourself for much less.
Two of these ottomans from Target with the Tejn faux sheepskin from ikea should do the trick.
And while not an exact match, two of these side tables add shape and interest next to the couch. They’re from lamp plus…which I did not know has quite a selection of furniture and accessories. Go figure?
If there’s space in your budget, this little glass piece (also form lamps plus) works as a stand in for the lucite in Wheat’s design.
Target has you covered as far as the acrylic bubble lamp goes.
Two of these shades should do the trick…now the other lamp, that’s going to be tougher…
But one of these vintage lamps off etsy would work.
Or this one…
Or even this one!
The Tarnby rug from ikea along with World Market’s Light Natural Cowhide Rug are good matches for flooring.
The Dorothy Thorpe lucite candlesticks are gorgeous, but pricey. You can get a similar feel with these soap stone sculptures. I’d use two and intersperse them with two or three glass candle stick holders.
I would keep an eye out at HomeGoods for pillows, but this pillow from Pier One would work well, too.
And this one from etsy.
With this one from Wisteria.
The couch can easily be replicated with the Rochelle Apartment sofa from Crate and Barrel in “Nickel”.
And the channel tufted chairs have a feel similar to this one by Ballard Designs.
The accessories for the space are eclectic and show stopping. While I didn’t find exact matches, this one from Z Gallerie would look great sprayed gold.
As does this bronze dancing couple from overstock.com.
This sea urchin from Horchow is pretty spot on, though.
Last but not least, that gorgeous mirror! It’s a tough one to do at a good price point as it’s large and the style and patina indicate an antique (and a potentially pricey one at that).
This one from lamps plus (seriously, though…who knew?) is $227 with shipping!
And definitely check out your local craigslist. I found quite a few gems that were fairly well priced.
With a little inspiration and a whole lot of frugality, your space can look like a million bucks without costing it, something I’m sure even Ms. Wheat would approve of.
You may have noticed it’s been a bit quiet around these parts lately. I took a few days off from blogging, but not from writing. Instead of talking about gorgeous interiors or my newest DIY project, I wrote about something personal and painful. I wrote about Jennifer.
Jennifer is the six-year-old daughter of my friend Libby Kranz. She’s beautiful and vivacious and everything sparkly and wonderful in this world. And now she is gone. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor on her sixth birthday, she passed away Wednesday, three short months later.
The pain that her departure has left–the void in all of those she touched–is beyond explanation. But there is no comparison to the utter devastation her family is facing. If I could take my heart and trade it with them, carry their pain so they don’t have to, I would. But I can’t, and so instead, I wrote.
I wrote about Jennifer and the dismal funding in pediatric cancer research. Every day 7 children will die because of a vicious disease that has no care for the lives it steals. Every year over 13,500 children will learn that this monster lives inside of them, and yet only 4% of cancer research funding will go to find a cure for them.
4% isn’t enough.
Please read my article on allparenting.com, and then please, please, please, pick up your pen or take to your key board and write to your local congress people, to your state senators, to your governor, to anyone and everyone who has a vote in government. Ask them to reauthorize the Caroline Pryce Walker Conquer Childhood Cancer Bill that was already unanimously passed so that we can bring an end to the pointless loss of so many of our children.
And so that the memory of Jennifer Lynn Kranz will not be forgotten.
I was over the moon when http://www.wallsneedlove.com informed me that my polka dot room update was the feature on their website! Seriously, the folks over there couldn’t be nicer, and as I mentioned in the post regarding the decals, they really are such good quality and so easy to work with. If you haven’t visited their site yet, do it now. There are so many choices you could customize every room. A big thank you to their team!
p.s. For those wondering, this is not a sponsored post. I was just highly impressed with the quality and ease with which it was working with their decals and wanted readers to know what a great, well-priced product they offer:)
Designing an interior space is an intimate process; getting to know your client and their needs, discussing style preferences, convincing them to trust you—with their space and their money—it’s a lot of design but also a lot of relationship building. So call me lucky when my wonderful friend Lizz at AmIAFunnyGirl.com contacted me about giving her living room a new look. She not only trusted me but we could skip directly to the fun of decorating!
She recently inherited a beautiful antique Chinese writing desk, which spurred a couch and love seat purchased, which spurred, you guessed it, a desire for a totally new space. Together with her recent purchases/inheritance, she tasked me with blending old with new, and finding a tie to bind it all together. Using items she already had, along with some new purchases, we aimed for giving her family room an entirely new feel; a little traveled, a lot collected, with a nod to mid century.
What we’re starting with:
We started with a questionnaire and images of stuff already in the space. Using both as starting points, I sent her some room boards to get us started.
Now comes the fun part; the shopping. My next step is picking up items to pull it all together. Can’t wait to do a little shopping (and if I’m lucky, a little client-designer-lunching) with my fabulous friend. Stay tuned for the final room reveal!