Wednesday, September 12, 2012

G's big boy room

I decided to attempt an inspiration board for g's little boy room. I am probably already halfway there with decorating it. I just haven't been able to make up my mind about his bed. I have finally decided on a stained wood bed in a simple more modern shape. I am thinking of DIYing this bed. Ana White has some plans on her website for a pioneer style bed that I could probably use and modify slightly to make it more modern.

Here is the board I came up with. Obviously I have some experience to gain in making inspiration boards. I am trying to use the furniture and curtains I already have. I could sand down the black dresser and go with a different color if I want. We painted it black from wood for G's nursery.

Clockwise from top left: BED inspiration taken from here. I found some 100% cotton sheets by Lauren Ralph Lauren in a small purple gingham at TJ Maxx/Homegoods. G loves purple and I wanted to incorporate it into his room somehow. I decided that the gingham print was a perfect way and this darker purple isn't too feminine. I found these sheets in twin size while visiting in CA and decided they were worth paying the 7.25% sales tax. Love not having sales tax in Oregon! Mint green down pillow found at Homegoods (love mint!!) Orange velvet pillow from Cost Plus World Market. Wall lamp from Ikea, found here. DRESSER is painted in a black gloss. It was Ryan's as a kid. Woven basket for toys/laundry. Vintage globe. Displaying G's art on one wally in a casual gallery style display. I'm planning a huge 3 ft wide strip of black chalkboard contact paper the length of one wall to contrast with the brown bed with the art above it I think. Woven baskets with books in them. We keep a basket of "bedtime books" next to G's bed and those are the books he can choose from for bedtime. We went through this time where he was so obsessed with books it made bedtime tough. We already have Ikea's Duktig Mini-kitchen and Kritter table and chairs in white. The black grommet curtains are from Target and I have 4 panels on his windows so I can close them to help blackout the room more. The blue chevron rug is from RugsUSA, found here. We also have an Ikea expedit bookshelf in the room with woven baskets full of G's toys. I already have some toys on display and layered on shelves to bring in more color (reds, blues, oranges). His rocking chair from the nursery is still in there too. Every so often I think about taking it out and then decide I'm not ready to do that. Probably because I still love the occasional night he wakes crying and I rock him. He is my baby still. The walls are white, duh (its a rental!).

Here is the inspiration for his bed:

Here's Ana White's Pioneer Bed (here's the link to plans).

I am going for more of an eclectic look rather than too matchy-matchy. What do you think? For now G is still on the floor on his crib mattress. He's happy and sleeps well so I guess that is what really matters. Right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

the shopping cart dilemma: toddlers + grocery stores


We've come to THAT age...the independently-minded 3 year old. This is one of those times when I can't really say its related to autism, but man alive get me into a tough situation and I WILL use that card if I need to because even if all 3 year-old children have this problem I'm sure the autism isn't helping it! G absolutely refuses to sit in the little shopping cart seat (and practically couldn't if he would due to his size) and now he doesn't really even want to sit in the big shopping cart area. I blame it on my husband because when he was with us once he let him run around and now he wants to do that EVERY TIME! 

Last Friday we headed to Trader Joe's for G's essentials (rice milk, peanut butter, and abc cookies). Before even entering the store G insists he wants to walk. UGH!!!!!!!!! It was busy and people are rushing all around us. So, he runs off and I catch up. I go to grab him and he rushes away. I grab him by the arm (the move I dreaded having my mom do to me as a child) and he screams. People immediately look over. I think, "Go ahead just call me a horrible mom with an out of control child right now before we get going and that way we can all just move on with out lives!" 

Funny thing is I was just thinking that morning about behavioral therapy and how I really wish I had that in-home support now to help us transition to this new change in shopping behavior. Little did I know I'd need that support this very morning.

After grabbing G I proceeded to attempt teaching my child all about grasping on to the side of the cart and keeping one hand on it at ALL TIMES! Yeah right! Seriously, how do moms teach their kids to do that? Is it really realistic. He wanted nothing to do with my little "teaching moment" and it quickly became a useless endeavor. Thankfully, I realized I needed to make it more exciting to hold tight to that cart and I enthusiastically asked G if he'd like to push the cart. He came over and got behind that thing pushing it along. That worked for most of the trip, but it was undoubtedly intermixed with wandering steps. I would grab items from the shelf and have G drop them into the cart and he seemed to enjoy that. I gave him choices of foods and he that engaged him some more as well.  When he would push too far I'd ask him to back it up like a truck and he'd make the beeping sound and back the cart up. 

By the time we made it to the register I had that little moment when you think "No, don't go with that line even though it is shorter" but I didn't listen and the darn gal was shopping for her wedding (a TJ employee) and ordering a million bottles of wine and garlic pizza dough. Seriously!! I waited it out and then finally gave up and moved to the line next to me. Kind of like on Office Space when the guy goes back and forth between traffic lanes and gets NO WHERE!! Well, we finally checked out the same time I would have had I stayed where I started. G wandered some more and I had to pull him back. He seems oblivious to the people around him and they will say "excuse me" and ask him to move and its like he doesn't hear them. Mental note: Something else to work on! It was only the last 2 minutes I finally caved and gave him my iPhone to get us through checkout. 

I would definitely call that trip successful but I doubt I will do that very often. Its good for him and working on behavior, but man its demanding! I think it will get easier over time as we develop a new routine and new expectations for grocery store behavior. I think a big key to success will be reinforcements and distractions (the two major principles that all of G's therapies taught me). We were able to find a panorama and pictures on the walls well above eye view that I would have never seen in my life if it weren't for needing to distract G. 

So, I guess even though I didn't have an autism interventionist or specialist right there with me, I did have the most amazing parenting principles (which they taught me) I could ever be given to make a successful trip through the grocery store! 

I'm sure there are many other great tactics (my favorite, leaving them home with dad). I'd love to know! 

So, what you do to make it through the grocery store with young ones who won't have anything to do with the shopping cart?

Friday, September 7, 2012

decorating a rental update, part 2

Let's keep going with the recent updates to our rental...

I have been heading to thrift stores a lot this summer in search of some good deals. I came across this accordion hanging rack for $2 I think and I snatched it up. It reminded me so much of having one in my room as a little kid. I thought it would be a good addition to our entry on the wall behind our door when it opens. I love having a place to put my purse up off the ground. I know it will be handy this winter too. We have a tiny little coat closet around the corner but this is fun to have some stuff showcased too. I want to add some temporary wallpaper to this wall too. I'm thinking of putting up black chalkboard contact paper two-thirds up the wall and it can double as a place for G to draw as well. You can find that black chalkboard contact paper at 

For me a big part of dealing with a sub-par rental is trying to hide the or camouflage the things you don't like. Our bathroom has yellow formica and I have yet to figure out how to handle that except to just pretend it doesn't exist. I have a similar rug about in the bathroom and a neutral octopus shower curtain that we had in our previous guest bathroom. If I knew we were going to be here long-term I'd consider getting permission to paint the formica or attempt covering it with contact paper. The only issue is putting hot things on the counter so that would pose a problem with the straightener. Our carpet isn't horrible but where there is high traffic areas or especially where it ends and meets a different flooring it is a little sad. So, I covered up the horrible linoleum in the dining area with a natural fiber rug (from ikea) that also runs up over the seam onto the carpet about a foot and then this colorful rug is from Cost Plus World Market for like $17 and I added it at the sliding glass door entrance to limit the debris tracked in.

I have covered our dining room table (which is actually a very nice table from Cost Plus) with a table cloth for a while now. Forever its been a black burlap tablecloth I cut and still love but that part of the room needed some more color. I found this gorgeous tablecloth from TJMaxx/Homegoods. Its a Ralph Lauren and I actually contemplated making it into curtain panels and bought a few of them, but decided against them. BTW, finding a great print tablecloth and using them as curtain panels is a great idea!!! You can usually get each tablecloth for $15-20 at TJMaxx depending on if its a designer brand and then just clip them up with rings. They usually come in different lengths similar to curtain panels too.

I got rid of my long-time table decor of a ton of candles on a silver plate and decided to group some house plants. These guys were struggling with recovering from the move and then I had an orchid that was done flowering for now and so I grouped them to make more impact. I love it! I want to add a few more and surprisingly they are all starting to bounce back and have some good new growth on them post-move. They get better light on this table as well and I've started using plant food. My orchid has a new branch growing out and this is the first time I have actually maintained an orchid after its initial flowering instead of chucking it. I hope it has a second life! I used orchid food while it was flowering and tried to follow the instructions good and now don't use the food but just water it occasionally until its ready to flower again.

This is the view from the dining table (well actually the sliding glass door to backyard). 

I restyled the bookshelves and new pillows. I added the rest of our books that were still in boxes to free up more storage space. I also added a shelf for G's books. He has sooooo many books. I didn't even have all of his unpacked. He loves having a shelf of his own and frequently lays on the floor in that corner reading his books. I now have more accessories though which previously occupied the shelves that don't have a home so I guess it didn't help much. I have been contemplating a garage sale but I don't want to do the work again. I just have so much decor and pillows and all that jazz than I could ever imagine using and my tastes are changing.

My next update for the living room is a table skirt/cover for the dresser we are using as a media console right now. Its just a bunch of dark furniture and electronics on that wall and I HATE IT! I'm hoping that a more feminine gathered skirt will make a difference. I'll post that progress soon hopefully. I'm hoping to get it sewn while in CA this coming weekend! I also want to get an new floor lamp I've been coveting from Urban Outfitters.

The more time and effort I put into this place, the more I love it and don't want to ever move. I am starting to realize that unless a home is "my style" I really just want it to have no style so that I can do whatever the heck I want to it and my style can take on the spotlight. I think that is one of the challenges I faced with our CA home. It had so much wood in the beams, floors, and kitchen floor to ceiling cabinets. It felt like a very cabin like and transitional builder home. I really want an older home the next time around, something with the right amount of age and character and then add in my own style.

But that next house we own won't be for a long time to come most likely. I'm ok with it most of the time. The biggest challenge is friends buying houses and that feeling of wanting it all too. Thankfully we have our experience with our home in CA to humble us and help us patiently wait for that goal again. I am still so grateful for this little duplex because it fits our needs to a "T" and even some of my desires. I wanted a white canvas and a good sized backyard. We got both! No neighbor problems either so that is a blessing!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

decorating a rental update, part 1

So I thought I'd share some of the more recent updates to our lovely rental. I posted my first efforts at decorating this place here. Before we begin with the updates, let me just say though that our little place is very difficult to photograph because of its small size and poor lighting. Its ok lighting for living in but for photographs its horrible! We have now been here for 6 months! Its crazy to think how quickly time has gone by and yet in a few ways it feels we have been here even longer than that. Our lease on this place was a 6 month lease and will now switch over to month 2 month. I remember thinking 6 months was so far away and wondering if we would make it here in Oregon away from family and at a new job. It still feels a little uncertain at times (just because of the challenges with R's work) but I really hope it works out for the long term (ask me that in April 2013 or shoot even February!!). I'm not sure about an entire winter/spring here due to the rain and gloom but I sure hope to it goes well and if needed we can escape to CA for some breaks where the sun still shines in the winter!! As for this little gem of a rental we originally planned to stay here 1-2 years. I can't imagine myself wanting to move in another 6 months and honestly this place can really fulfill our needs for a long time to come at the rate our family is isn't growing.

I picked up this little wicker nightstand at a local secondhand vintage shop called The Mercantile in Springfield, OR. This place has great prices!! I intended it to be for G's room but we have yet to get him into a twin bed, still on the floor on his crib mattress. I'm waiting for the right bed to come along. I might move it into his room eventually and once I find two nightstands I love for our bedroom. I also picked up the covered wagon picture for $1.75. I loved it because of our mormon pioneer heritage and how it represents it without being too obvious. It feels more abstract and I love that the background is black instead of white. I have yet to get a different frame, waiting to see where it actually ends up. Its here for now.

I have been searching Craigslist for a used wicker peacock chair. I almost bought a basic one used online for $90. I decided to wait and then a neighbor around the corner was having a yard sale. Well, let me say that they are horders, no doubt. This time it was to my advantage. There has been an ever growing pile on their drive way they keep covered with tarps and sometimes I drive by and their garage door is open and that garage is literally stuffed full from floor to ceiling with junk. A week before the sale I saw this chair pop up outside their front door. I just had this feeling!! Well, a few days later Ryan comes home from work and he tells me that they have moved the chair out closer to the road and indeed it appears they are having a yard sale. He insists we go look at it and I couldn't refuse. It was mine for $20 and Ryan scored a new George Foreman grill for $10 (he was pretty happy!). It had some "smell" to it. You know it probably comes with age and horders not being the most cleanly. So, I decided to take my chances regardless and gamble on the $20. I spent the next two nights scrubbing and spraying that sucker with a bleach water solution. I did the process twice and let it dry in the sun between each attempt. I think it definitely made a big improvement and was MUCH more clean. It is now residing in our bedroom. What a good gamble! I wanted it for the living room but it won't fit right now unless I sell the leather arm chair which I would may do in a heartbeat!

Sorry for the crumby iPhone photos. I am lazy these days and don't use my DSLR. The lighting is horrible in our bedroom (actually our entire house) too so that makes photos challenging. I am really into the bohemian vibe and so I'm trying to make that happen in our bedroom by layering lots of things. I have used square vases and thrift store finds to corral all of my jewelry and accessories. I am trying to work with a lot of what I already have and we'll see how that goes. My next addition to the room is going to be a DIY upholstered headboard. I'm just trying to figure out the textiles for the rest of the room so it will be a cohesive look. I'm thinking something with blues and purples.

Check back on Friday for part two of the rental updates!

What about you guys? Are you a thrift and secondhand store shopper? What are your recent finds?