Apr
29
2016
The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

This post is brought to you by TargetStyle. Shop the new Home collection in stores and online.

Having young kiddos in the house often means that when my boys have play dates, I do as well. It is such a wonderful way to get to know other moms, and build that village we want to raise our babes in. But, knowing a seemingly simple play date will likely turn into more of an event can easily derail even the best laid plans and often feels a more like a chore, than something laid back and relaxing. Since I want my boys to be fully socialized, skipping this isn’t precisely an option, so naturally I have attempted to find some shortcuts that help me pull something together quickly and easily, but still set the stage for an enjoyable afternoon for kids and adults alike. Luckily there is a Target store less than two miles from my house – this is my number one trick of the trade.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Brass Handled VaseStoneware Tray / Wooden Planter Stand / Pineapple Candle / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Stainless Steel Glass / Gold Plasticware / Striped Napkin / Dining Chair / Plastic Beverage Dispenser / Blue Chambray Tablecloth / Horn Bowl

STOCKPILE + SAVE

My first life hack for easy impromptu entertaining is to buy kid and outdoor friendly entertaining pieces whenever possible, and have a stockpile of chic disposables on hand and in bulk, at any given time. If you don’t need to stress about what everyone will eat with or whether something precious will get broken, you are already way ahead of the game in my book. I now keep my shelves stocked with gold striped paper napkins, chic melamine dinnerware and a stylish collection of serving platters and other various pieces to fill with snacks or utensils.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Brass Handled Vase / Stoneware Tray / Wooden Planter Stand / Pineapple Candle / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Stainless Steel Glass / Gold Plasticware / Striped Napkin / Dining Chair / Blue Chambray Tablecloth / Horn Bowl

GATHER + REPURPOSE

I am on a kick to declutter and streamline all areas of my life right now, a major spring cleaning if you will, and décor tends to be the major culprit in all of my chaos.  So for an item to come into my home, it needs to be both beautiful and functional, not simply one or the other. If it can serve more than one purpose then all the better to enjoy it with. Which leads to my next newly discovered life hack of repurposing items I use in my everyday life, for special purposes when I am entertaining. The amazing plant stands I bought the other day, look amazing as is, or as a center piece that simply screams spring and as it turns out the larger plant stand base is the perfect size for my drink dispenser. A great way to quickly whip together some lemonade (which I also keep on hand for exactly this sort of thing) or maybe a lemonade inspired adult beverage that sits out of reach from prying hands… 

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Jelly LoungerGarden Stool / Pineapple Candle / Round Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware

REINVENT + REINVIGORATE

Chances are, if you are heading to my house for a playdate, you definitely have kids and you are probably exhausted as a general rule of thumb. Kiddos are not for the faint of heart, but they certainly keep you young at heart… when you aren’t sound asleep before it’s even dark outside. So, what could be better than a short little getaway and a bit of rest and relaxation – without actually leaving your kids behind and all of the planning and prep that comes along with it? Not a lot…

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Jelly Lounger / Garden Stool / Pineapple Candle / Round Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware

In the spring, it starts to heat up around here and the sun can be intense for anyone older than the age of 12. And yet, the kids always want to play outside regardless, so I like the idea of reinventing my outdoor space to bring in a little of that  quiet enjoyment I experience on vacation. By simply adding a few creature comforts and some relaxing entertainment, I can set the mood for a carefree afternoon all within direct sight of the little ones who aren’t old enough to run wild just yet.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Jelly Lounger / Garden Stool / Pineapple Candle / Round Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware

Chaise lounges, good reading material, and easy to handle refreshments all under a gorgeous umbrella, to shield me from the heat… It is just so simple and lovely, requiring only the effort of filling a pitcher and grabbing a tray with something easy to snack on.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Garden Stool / Rectangular Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Marimekko Kubb Set / Marimekko Beach Towel / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Outdoor Pouf

PERFECT THE GROCERY RATIO

When I shop for groceries, I try to buy a mix of things that are fresh and things that will keep. Some of my absolute favorites for outdoor entertaining also happen to be things I buy on a regular basis, so I don’t have to go far to find some fabulous and simple options to feed a crazy crew with a lot of different age groups. When I am entertaining in the hot, hot sun, frozen or chilled fruit is the perfect way to cool down and hydrate a bit. Buying fruit as I normally would and leaving everything unpeeled means there is little waste for what isn’t eaten and a more importantly, no need to worry about prep or leaving things out in the sun with the bugs.

The Design Confidentials 5 Easy Life Hacks for the Impromptu Mom Date with @TargetStyle x @thedesconf #Sponsored

Garden Stool / Rectangular Patio Umbrella / Outdoor Pillow / Marimekko Kubb Set / Marimekko Beach Towel / Rect Serving Tray / Drinkware / Outdoor Pouf

TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF

Since these mom dates are often much like first dates, it helps to have open ended activities for both kids and adults, that will keep the small talk at bay. We are huge fans of outdoor games here at Casa de TDC, and pulling out the macrame net, over sized badminton rackets and gorgeous Kubb set, makes for quite the icebreaker. Whether merely an instant conversation starter or a fun ongoing activity to get everyone moving and having fun, outdoor games are always well paired with a chic refreshment area to help beat the heat and stay hydrated. Having a front row seat also makes for great people watching - or kid watching, in my case.

If there is one thing I love, it’s a no hassle solution to food and décor, that doesn’t involve skimping or skipping the things I love. Target is always my first stop and I can always count on them to have the perfect things to add to my arsenal that let me enjoy an afternoon with my guests instead of slaving away and stressing out.

SEE SOMETHING YOU LOVE? SHOP THIS POST...

DIY 
Kiddos 
Apr
25
2016
The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

This post is brought to you by TargetStyleShop the new Home collection in stores and online.

When I have entertaining on the horizon and the event isn’t related to a specific holiday, I love to create an experience that draws inspiration from a faraway place. For me a party is like a vacation, a place you can go for a brief period of time where you don’t have to focus on meals or cleaning and where you can and should get swept up in the moment and enjoy your time.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

The Louvre in Neon - Paris

As the host, creating this experience for other people can be stressful and tedious. Rather than a vacation, it has the potential to feel more like a chore, especially for those of us who are tasked with thinking of the details and implementing them. Most of the time, this stress doesn’t end until the party itself has ended. After a recent trip to Europe, my entertaining frame of mind has forever been changed. I now view simple and indulgent as being far more chic than any elaborate spread might be.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Gold Decorative Vase / Bottle Opener

Choose a Theme or Pick a Locale

On my recent trip overseas, I had the distinct pleasure of spending time in Paris and London. It was magical and unforgettable in every possible way. Both cities had such an extreme mix of old and new, opulent and rich in history, right alongside and mingling marvelously with minimal and modern. I was smitten and it was glorious. Since both countries were heavily invested in many of the tropical nations we know and love today, a celebration of the exotic can be seen everywhere you turn. From décor to cuisine, the wonder of the West Indies and a love of all things from the Far East, it was spectacular to see how these things have been incorporated in every aspect of life for both cultures.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Le Bon Marche, Paper Koi + Crane Installation - Paris

For this event, I hoped to incorporate a bit of inspiration from both the places I visited along with some of the more exotic places that have inspired them throughout the ages. Luckily, an eclectic mix of design styles is always amazing, don’t you think? With the vast amount of super stylish goods available at Target, I was able to bring this wild and varied look to the table (literally) in a far more inspired way than I could have imagined and with so much less stress from beginning to end.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon / Black Plates / Striped Napkins

Simplify and Focus on the Few

Having the opportunity to travel always leaves me full of inspiration and a completely new outlook on the type of lifestyle I would like to lead. It certainly brings light to all the ways I might enjoy the everyday moments so much more. Vacations are amazing like that, aren’t they? In London, they celebrate a way of life that is steeped in tradition. Meals are often elaborate and indulgent with a great many options on the menu. It’s beautiful and delicious, and such a big focus of the day. 

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Modern Gold Chainmail Ceiling Installation – Palace of Versailles

In contrast, the Parisian way of life is simplified and indulgent with far fewer options and much less fuss. While meals are also a large focus of the day in Paris, it is less about the process and more about the experience and enjoying the people you are with. The latter of these ideas is something that truly stuck with me and for this event I sought to recreate the ambiance I adored from both places with the more simplified sentiment of Parisian dining. The simple and chic sensibility that permeates every aspect of Parisian life was definitely contagious and I think in replicating a bit of it here, it made for a more relaxing setup and likely a more pleasant experience for my guests. I kept the food easy and paired down, yet sumptuous and delicious, with a few baked goods that work beautifully with either cheese or dark chocolate. An overabundance of fresh fruits was scattered about, to celebrate a bit of the exotic and of course bring that vacation-esque feel to the table that we all long for come spring.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Pineapple Candle / Gold Fluted Tray / Ceramic Platter / Neon Tray / Cheeseboard / Recycled Glass Tumblers + Carafe / Gold Decorative Vase / Decorative Lemon / 8" Plant Stand / Gold Pigeon

Throw Caution to the Wind and Have Fun

I am a firm believer in the fact that if you love it, it will work – as long as you ground it within your design and repeat it more than once. The same goes for entertaining. Mastering the Mix is often more about letting your guard down and taking risks than a set guideline for pairing patterns and colors. When done right, I often end up with elements that I wouldn’t otherwise choose to put together but in the end I am typically so very glad I did. This is precisely how the style direction for this spring event happened for me and the challenge of trying to create a feeling and an experience rather than directly placing the focus on the design elements themselves, gave me a whole new freedom in setting the table and choosing the menu.  It was glorious.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Modern Stairway Model – Victoria & Albert Museum - London

I walked the aisles at Target and chose individual items that reminded me of London and Paris. Rustic cheeseboards, global patterns, handcrafted ceramics, pineapples (a constant motif in London architecture), modern neon acrylic trays and a wide array of colors all reminiscent of the tropics and all grounded in a healthy dose of white, black and gold – just like these ancient cities themselves. It was so easy to find no less than one million items that would have been perfect and so chic, and oh so hard to narrow it down to what might actually fit on the table.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

My table is a melting pot of eras, materials and styles and somehow that made choosing the pieces carefree, fun and fabulous. With a theme that was based in variety and more about the ambiance, I had more options for décor and entertaining than I could actually cart home with me and a very low stress experience in the process of choosing the pieces to use. There were no rules to consider or strict choices to be adhered to – I just went for it and let the vacation vibe and carefree state of mind I was hoping to create, take the lead.

The Design Confidential Spring Entertaining with a Global Beat / Target x TDC

Target knocks it out of the park every single season and this spring is no exception. If you have entertaining on the calendar in the near future, you can be sure that you will find everything you need (and more – always more) to create an experience for your guests that you can enjoy right along with them. Let them do the heavy lifting and simply mix and mingle styles from their collections as you please.

DIY 
Feb
01
2016
The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

This post is brought to you by Bertolli. Don't just eat, Mangia!

 

Life with young children can be exceptionally wild, completely untamed and altogether unfiltered - ninety nine percent of the time. Parenting breeds uncertainty and a certain amount of insanity that you wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Though our journeys may be different, we will all eventually arrive at the same conclusion in our lives. At some point along the way, when no one was looking, the days, months and years began to fly by at the speed of light. Those difficult parenting moments and struggles that seem so big at the time begin to melt away and what remains are the memories from many of life’s little moments. The moments we hardly consider important as they unfold, we only later realize just how special they truly were.

 

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

As parents who are both entrepreneurs and business owners in completely different fields, the time we have to spend unplugged and focused on our family is often limited and frequently conflicting. To say that those moments are more valuable than gold would be an understatement. It is important to us that we celebrate life’s little moments every chance we get and help create those special memories for our babies to cherish later on.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

Having two boys who thoroughly dislike having to take time out of their day for eating, means that mealtime is often a struggle and can be time consuming, to put it mildly. There are very few foods that everyone agrees on at any given time and one or both are typically resigned to simply not eat if given the chance. Pasta is truly one of the only things that both boys adore and that happens to be easy to add protein and vegetables to without it being so obviously detestable. But this can be a bit of an undertaking and with limited time to enjoy these beautiful wild animals of mine… let’s just say it is a great day indeed when someone makes this easy for me, with a meal that is easy to prep, in no time at all and that happens to be absolutely fabulous. Because life should be spent making memories and not slaving away in the kitchen or arguing over what to eat.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

When dinner begins to feel like a chore and I start to dread the entire endeavor, it helps to switch things up and do something different. I love to sit and eat a proper meal with these cute boys, and nothing says excitement like getting to do the things we normally don’t. Drinking out of real glasses, eating on real plates and buttering our own bread are the most exciting things to happen to a toddler and an eight year old who adores eating at fancy restaurants. We do these things on holidays and special events, but it isn’t the same when it requires hours of prep beforehand. With the Bertolli Skillet Meals, I can toss it into a pan and in ten minutes it is ready to eat. It takes less than a minute to get it started which leaves me free to fill the remaining 9 minutes with a few other special touches to make our time more enjoyable.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

Warm bread with butter and Himalayan sea salt are a new family fave, and a balsamic dipping sauce comes together faster than you can say, ‘pass me the bread, please’! We are all lovers of olives and brussel sprouts so I take any chance I can to add those to the mix. Our favorite Chicken Florentine and Farfalle pairs well with a Pinot Grigio which is a lovely and light treat for the over 21 crowd – making it perfect for our somewhat early dinnertime and to help provide distraction from the chaotic but fun and funny process of trying actually accomplish sitting at a table with little boys.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

We linger and chat when we sit down to eat. There is never any rush, and yet still there is much in the way of commotion and movement. The boys are generally abuzz and love to tell stories about things that happened during their day. I love listening to them talk with their wildly creative and interesting minds. They are each so different and yet they find an amazing amount of common ground despite their age difference. Oh how they adore each other, the greatest gift of all. It is so easy to slip out of the habit of slowing down and taking the time to have these adorable conversations. Before long their words will change from things they saw and ideas they have to what they are rushing off to do and who they have plans with later on. But for now, there is no end to the imagination that unfolds during something as simple as sharing a meal.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

If only I could slow things down and freeze time for just a bit. I suppose I wouldn’t get half the workout I currently do, since we spend 80 percent of our time chasing one or more children out from under the table and one or more dogs away from the table.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

I think life is meant to be lived and loved and there is no one on earth I would rather laugh and linger with than these crazies. I choose to enjoy it now and let them be kids. To live in the moment and cherish the crazy and the chaos as it comes… which is currently on rotation about every 4 minutes or so.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories

I am seriously grateful for such a fabulous and simple solution for a delicious meal that my boys will willingly eat. Bertolli Skillet Meals are truly one of the few meals they will eat anyhow, so while the convenience alone puts this at the top of my list, the fact that it’s a family favorite makes it idyllic. Because I would rather spend my time listening to these little beauties any day of the week than attempting to prepare an over the top meal that they won’t actually like. A home cooked meal with no interruption aside from the commotion of these young boys is always my favorite way to spend an evening.

The Design Confidential x Bertolli with Life's Little Moments Make the Most Special Memories
DIY 
Kiddos 
Jan
01
2016
The Design Confidential Its a Wrap // Getting Organized After the Holiday Chaos

Happy 2016 my friends! I am always surprised how quickly the end of the year sneaks up on me, but after 30 some odd years of being surprised, you would think I would have a better handle on things...

Now that the Holidays are officially over and a new year has begun, I am on a mission to cleanse and organize in the aftermath of all the chaos. I think after two weeks of sickness, and three months of holiday, work, and birthday crazy with hardly a step outside these doors except for said celebratory events... the chaos is getting to me even more than it normally does. Luckily this month's Michael's Makers challenge was to tackle a bit of DIY Organizing and it was just the kick in the pants I needed. Well that and the fact that I was completely out of my element this year in choosing not to bring the typical holiday mayhem out of storage and into the house. I was hoping it would keep a bit of the crazy at bay and instead it made it worse if that is even possible! I swear I am still trying to track down about seven of rolls of tape and several pairs of scissors. Scissors and tape are like socks in this house, and I can never find them when I need them, even when I just had them five minutes earlier. Don't even get me started on pens and markers... I think Mike hordes them.

The Design Confidential Its a Wrap // Getting Organized After the Holiday Chaos

Michaels just launched a new line of storage and organization product called Cre8ted Spaces and it's quite lovely. Tons of fabulous colorways and clever containers to help you contain your own crazy. While I need to give every single room in this house a complete overhaul, my gift wrap and other crafty supplies have been getting the better of me for the last couple of months so this is where I started. I tend to use gift wrap, tape, scissors and ribbon several times a month so it makes sense for me to keep these things close at hand but in a stored and controlled kind of way. I have a ton of organization for my crafty supplies already, but I'm finding that my need to have things out of sight also seems to put them out of mind. This makes for a lot of duplicate purchasing and wasted time and this year that irritation was allocated to gift tags and ribbon along with the usual tape and scissors ordeal. A sturdy box or two to keep my tags and other dangling bits is such a welcome thing. I gave my gift tag box a little make-under and changed the top part of the box from the stunning chartreuse color it was to the glossy white that it is, with just a few flicks of the paint brush. It just happens to be perfectly divided for my tags and that makes this little mama super duper happy.

The Design Confidential Its a Wrap // Getting Organized After the Holiday Chaos

A rolling cart for projects in progress and regularly used items has been on my list for days... Alas I have never gotten around to it since most of my time is spent creating the projects and not so much on the storage of the supplies for them. Naturally my work would be so much easier if everything I needed was beautifully organized and in its place. I think its that chicken and egg thing. I gave my mobile beauty a glimmering new outfit with a couple of coats of gold spray paint and I think that will make it easier for my mind to handle as it moves around the house as I work. The minty color it came in would have worked well in my office, but gold is a neutral and this baby will get around so she needs to blend in.

The Design Confidential Its a Wrap // Getting Organized After the Holiday Chaos

I have a large bin that holds my bulk supply of ribbon, and I am fairly certain I have more ribbon than any normal human should so I shall be remedying that asap. In the meantime, having a more mobile option to keep the rolls and spools under control while I am using them and that looks good too is absolutely dreamy. I gave a peachy wooden box a beautiful matte black finish using chalk paint and I love it so much I want to paint all the things in this gorgeous matte black color. I think you can guess what my future holds - painting, refinishing and general sprucing is certainly part of the plan. Why does the new year always kick my need for calm into high gear - and why does my version of calm require an insane amount of effort and organization?

The Design Confidential Its a Wrap // Getting Organized After the Holiday Chaos

Do you feel the need to minimize and downsize after the intense Holiday season and the addition of more of everything in your life and your home? I sure do. It is most peculiar how the gift of giving and the act of receiving makes me feel the need to shed most if not all of the things I no longer cherish and many of the things I still do. If you are feeling a bit like this too, check out the other 49 Maker's organizing projects over on The Glue String... it will surely inspire you to go and do and whip into shape! 

This crafty little organizing project was brought to you in partnership with Michaels and is part of an ongoing series of fun projects I will be creating as a Michaels Maker! Thank you for supporting the awesome peeps who help make this little corner of the blog-iverse fun and interesting! Heart you guys!

Oct
29
2015
The Design Confidential Family Room Edit // Trim It / Dress It / Cut the Cord

I have a little story to tell you guys. Like many stories, even those with happy endings, this one begins with a tragedy that would only later become a near miss and a lesson learned the hard way.

You see, when we moved to the house we live in currently, Blake had just turned 5 and Penn was just 5 months old, and while both were obviously quite young, Blake was already a very conscious, forward thinking, and reasonably aware child. Unlike the other homes we have lived in over the years, this new home had honeycomb cellular shades on all of the windows. Considered an upgrade by most standards, with heat blocking characteristics and light filtering capabilities. But for me, they were cumbersome because I need the natural light and to see the view, which means I have to pull them up entirely and can no longer simply tilt open to let the light in.

A unique combination of things, including the age of this home, the ridiculously tall height of each and every window, and my obsession with having the shades open, means that a sturdy unyielding cord hangs down from each of those blinds that is no less than 90 inches, in total. Hanging as if to lure children in with the temptation of something fun to swing from. I think you can probably see where I am going with this... This home is not old, by any means, yet apparently it is old enough that the window treatments don't have child safety features built into them - just in case. Many blinds have a safety release that will pop the blind out of the mount, or a portion of the cord that snaps off when weight is applied to them, and all of mine had some form of this over the last 10 years. Brand new window treatments now have a completely cordless option or a continuous loop to help keep your kiddos from strangulation. I learned that mine don't have this - the hard way - one quiet afternoon shortly after we moved in.

The Design Confidential Family Room Edit // Trim It / Dress It / Cut the Cord

You can see the window line in my family room in the image above. There isn't a window in this entire house that doesn't sit below a standard height piece of furniture. On the one hand, this is dreamy, but on the other...

Let me preface this by saying that never having ever had to pull the blinds up on a single window in my entire life, never having windows this tall (long? whatever), having Blake be the age that he was, and my assuption that every house built in the mid 2000's or later had fixtures with these safety features I mentioned earlier built into them (especially the high end fixtures)... the danger of that dangling cord never even occured to me. Literally - not a single thought. If you know me in real life, you know that I tend to be a worrier. Inside, I am the crazy, fearful, terrified of the 'what-if', stupid accident happening and harming my children type of gal. So needless to say that if I thought there was something to worry about, I definitely would have. Not to mention Blake and I had the 'talk' many times in his life prior to this, about never touching the cords and what could happen. He could never even come close to reaching them anyhow, unless he was standing on something.

And then my sweet blue-eyed boy was playing with the cord, swinging it wildly back and forth and letting it wrap around his neck like a tether ball. I had no idea he was doing this mind you, because at the time I was putting Penn down for a nap upstairs. Several minutes later, Blake wandered up and was telling me his neck hurt. I asked him to show me where it was hurting and he got a little tearful as he typically does when he is trying to be tough but is actually a bit hurt. He pointed to the side of his neck which appeared fine from where I was sitting and he said he thought he scraped it. That might have been a red flag if it were any other kid, but my kids in particular inherited their weirdness from me and so mention of a scrape on the neck wouldn't have been the oddest thing to ever have happened. Though I can usually tell when an odd claim such as that is more of a reference to how it feels than to what actually happened and that is what I figured here. He was describing that stinging, burning sensation that happens when you get rug burn or a scrape on the knee. When he got a little closer to me I could see that a line was starting to show. It did indeed look a bit like a scrape and even more like he had been running with a stick in his hand and it hadn't ended well. Over the course of the next 20 minutes a full burn mark appeared and wrapped around the front of his neck from ear to ear. When I pressed him further about what happened he finally managed to tell me that he was jumping off the furniture and surfing the sofas as he often does and that the cord from the blinds got wrapped around his neck and choked him.

I started to cry, finally realizing what he was attempting to tell me and seeing the complete situation unfold in my mind. Running through the horrific details and what he must have just experienced - what he could have experienced. He was frightened and while I still don't know to this day exactly how things actually unfolded, I know enough to know just how scary this almost was. The mark on his neck was so severe that I kept him out of school for an entire week while it healed. You see, until you experience seeing the unmistakable appearance of a rope burn around the neck of a little kid, you honestly can't know the horror and I honestly can't even put it to words. This goes for any child, not just your own. Had I seen this on someone else's child, I wouldn't have been able to shake that image from my mind, and may have burst into tears at the sight of it. It was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen or experienced as a mom so far. My worst nightmare - and I am one of the lucky ones. I didn't have to experience the loss of my child to understand the danger and to figure out that everything I thought I knew, wasn't actually true.

The Design Confidential Family Room Edit // Trim It / Dress It / Cut the Cord

They say ignorance is bliss, and I suppose in this case it was, until that terrible day. Having never had a reason to raise the blinds before living here, all of the cords were up and out of the way, even when they were danging down, so this was unique for him as well. Maybe my warnings didn't resonate since the circumstances were different here, or maybe he was young and the power of temptation was too great to heed my words. And maybe he simply forgot - kids do that. There is nothing that will draw a child in like a dangling cord. Since then I have rigged make-shift cord wraps at every window to wrap the cord up and out of the way. But children will always find a way if they really want to. Luckily he doesn't, and may never touch another cord like these ever again in his life, but now Penn is 3 and a force to be reckoned with. So rather than live in this fear I have, I am ready to replace these death-traps and upgrade the window situation altogether. For safety and for style.

We have no molding or trim around our windows, just a simple drywall return. And while the shades are relatively high end, they match the wall color so closely that they somehow look dingy and undeniably blah. With furniture that rubs against the drywall thanks to those low lying windows, the paint is beginning to wear and with curtains that are never left alone by my boys and the dogs and that spend most of their time tied up in a knot and off of the floor... let's just say everything is ready for a major update and refresh. I want to streamline and I would love to replace the shades with something that looks beautiful on it's own - curtains or not - and is lasting and classic. No more temporary solutions.

I had a lovely gal from Smith + Noble come out for a design consult. We settled on a gorgeous neutral linen in a classic roman shade. They have a cordless option available for this, which is incredible, though with the height of my windows, it maybe be hard for me to reach. They also have a continuous loop option that is perfect for putting my mind at ease and would still allow me to reach the pulley to raise and lower easily. Even their standard cords can be locked in place so they don't dangle. Of course we are now talking about an upgrade that will take many years to do all throughout this house, but hopefully I can tackle this one room at a time. I will try to make this a priority as I refresh paint, add trim and update other general fixtures as well.

These mock-ups are what I envision the roman shades will look like and what I hope to work toward over the next several months (years probably). If I trim out the windows themselves, then I should have the option to do away with the fussy curtains altogether if I like. In the spaces where we spend a lot of time, and the boys do a lot of playing, no dangling curtains sounds amazing. The dust and dog hair they pick up is unreal.

If you have kids, and you need to upgrade your #WindowSafety -do it in style - #SafeandStylish. Smith + Noble is hosting a giveaway for $1000 toward new window treatments, so go forth and enter (I did)! If you have existing shades or blinds in place, they will give you $50 trade-in value for every blind you trade in. They also have a handy little guide to help you child-proof your existing window treatments. A must if you aren't looking to replace or install new blinds or shades any time soon. With no less than 8 million windows in this house, I should rack up the discounts, no? Fingers crossed because this little mama bird is terrified of what my younger daredevil child will attempt. He is a definite hazard.

 

 

Oct
01
2015
Easy Halloween DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

There is nothing I love more than a project that takes me so far out of my comfort zone that I literally stress for weeks, brainstorming and then scrapping most of my ideas. Probably sounds weird, but that process is often crucial for me to arrive at the magical spot that lives smack in the middle between awesome and simple. When my monthly challenge as a Michaels Maker rolled through with the ask being for us to create a costume, I seriously panicked because as many of you know - I don't do clothing... I can buy clothing with the best of them, but make or even embellish clothing - not my strong suit.

But I think I found that sweet spot because this costume is super easy to create and is equal parts spooky and adorable. It has the feel of the costumes from long ago without the complicated construction of those intricate paper maché masks. Yahoo for that.

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

So let's get at it. Here is what you will need

MATERIALS // I recommend black clothing with this costume. You can choose either black pants and a shirt or if you want to get precise, a black pants with a formal suit jacket that has longer tails would be appropriate.

Half Craft Pumpkin

Craft Knife

Ribbon or Elastic Band

Copper Wire

Needle Nose Pliers or small jewelry pliers

Face Paint

Spooky Cloth

Horse Stick

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

The half pumpkins come in a few sizes so you can choose the appropriate size for the person this costume is intended for. You are going to start by lightly drawing a face on your half pumpkin, then carefully carve it out using a sharp craft knife.

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

Once your face is carved, you will create the strap with ribbon or elastic bands. I used elastic bands since I am making this for smaller kiddos. You will need to create a small hole about the size of a pea using your craft knife. Place it about 1/2 inch in from the sides and up near the top about even with the top of your eyes.

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

Cut a 5 inch piece of copper wire and fold it into a figure 8. It helps if you start at what will be the middle and create a small loop, then the opposite loop and continue wrapping into a figure 8 shape until you have about 1/2 inch remaining. With that remaining section, wrap the center and using your needle nose pliers, crimp in the center so that the end is around the backside along with your starting end.

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

Pull one end of your elastic band through the hole and slide your copper bow tie through the loop with the sharp edges against the pumpkin.

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

If this costume is for a little one, you can probably use one band like you see here. If your kiddo is bigger, use two straps like you see two images up. Create your second strap hole if you haven't already and a second copper wire bow tie. Pull the other end of your band, or one end of your second band, through you hole. Use something to help you poke it through if need be.

DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

This is what it will look like when you have it finished if you are using one strap for a smaller kiddo. For a double strap, you can simply tie them together for your big kid or adult.

Easy Halloween DIY // Headless Horseman Costume

Super simple and super fast to whip this together. Now finish things off by using a bit of black face paint so it looks hollow inside and drape a bit of spooky cloth over their heads and around their shoulders. This isn't required of course, but certainly adds to the tattered clothing look. Wear black pants and a black top and grab your horse stick for a wild night of trick or treating. An orange pumpkin basket would be a good accessory for this too!

This project was created in partnership with Michaels as part of my ongoing series of projects as a Michaels Maker! All crazy and opinions are 100% my own.

Still haven’t decided what you’re going to be? Check out the other 49 DIY costumes from the Michaels Makers and you might just find the perfect one for you, your kiddos or your beloved pet this Halloween-- they’re to die for! Whether you’re into spooky sights, playful pumpkins or giggling ghouls, the Michaels.com Halloween project page has tons of ideas for DIY Halloween costumes and décor

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