What did we do on the weekend? Well... I already said we skated Friday til it was dark.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Although I've only been talking about changes we've made to Mallory's room here, the fact is that we have made changes to Liam's room, too. In fact, Liam's changes came about before Mallory's. It all started when we decided that a single skinny white IKEA 'Billy' bookcase in the corner of the room was not enough to hold all of the stuff that little boys are wont to collect.
So back in the fall, when I made my annual trip to Niagara Falls for the OEA conference, I swung into the Burlington IKEA and picked up an Expedit bookshelf. It's 4 cubbies x 4 cubbies in a nice glossy grey finish, and it holds so much more than the Billy. We can style it up really nicely when we want to, but this is what it looks like most of the time. The cubby arrangements make sense to Liam and I suppose that's all that matters.
We made a few other changes, too. We finally took down the Curious George and David prints that I loved so much, and put up some hockey-themed stuff in their places. Much before befitting of Liam's current obsession!
After Liam got his Expedit and we saw how well it was working, we made the same change in Mallory's room. Out with the Billy bookcase and in with Expedit, this time in white. Luckily I had another meeting in Mississauga just a few weeks after the conference in Niagara Falls, so I was able to squeeze in another IKEA trip then.
For a while I fretted that the pink wasn't pink enough and that the white of the bed frame was too stark (especially since the trim is very much an off-white), but now that it's together, I love it all. You can also make out the edge of the night table we painted blue beside the bed. Once the mattress is here, we'll get the new bedding in place and then assess what else needs to be done. She needs a beside lamp (there's one I am eyeing at IKEA and as luck would have it - we'll be in Burlington again for the Chilly Half Marathon in a few more weeks). I'm trying to figure out how to re-rig the lanterns that originally formed a canopy over her daybed; I don't want as many, but I would like to re-hang at least some of them. I am considering making her a bedskirt, but want to get the rest in place before deciding any more about that. And there are a few more things to hang on the walls once we finalize plans for furniture arrangement. That's the thing about decorating I guess; it evolves over time - never a finished process.
Friday, January 25, 2013
It was exactly what I needed at the end of the day today. Something good.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The day that Mallory has been waiting for pretty much since Christmas, when she first laid eyes on Jenna: Jenna's birthday party.
Note that Jenna's actual birthday was yesterday, the 18th. But Mallory's friend Meghan's birthday is also the 18th. And I had to explain to Mallory more than once that Meghan might actually want her own birthday celebration on the 18th, rather than spending the day celebrating Mallory's doll's birthday. I think she finally understands why the party had to be today rather than yesterday.
Meghan came bearing her own two American Girl dolls. Meghan was in on this doll action a year before we were, so she is pretty doll-savvy. The first order of business was opening gifts, and Meghan was kind enough to bring a gift for Jenna, a little miniature pair of blue Crocs. I tell you, the doll wants for nothing.
Finally, Mallory helped Jenna blow out the candles on her cake. This cake came from an old play food set. The rest of us got real cupcakes.
Jenna's birthday wasn't the extent of the action today. Liam played hockey and had a great breakaway, though he didn't score on it.
Friday, January 18, 2013
This one is from over the holidays, before the NHL strike ended. The World Juniors championship was a bright spot in a season that otherwise lacked any hockey at all. Liam came up with this playoff chart that he faithfully updated every day. In this day and age of DVR's he never had to wake up at 4 a.m. to watch a game, but I bet he would have if that had been the only way to see it. (Not sure why there is always one goofy picture I can never rotate around!)
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The "other project" that has prevented me from getting any more sewing done lately has also come at Mallory's request (my my, I am catering to her whims lately, aren't I!?) She has been asking to have her bedroom painted pink and we finally caved in.
The thing is, I still think of our house being brand new, but this year will mark 5 years that we have been here. And while I bemoaned redoing a 'brand new' bedroom, the truth of it was that after we pulled the furniture away from the walls and took stock of what we were dealing with, it actually seemed like a good idea to paint. There were many nicks and holes that had to be patched up (especially where her old rocking chair used to bash into the wall), and a grimy little handprint line right above the mattress level of her bed. The fact that contractors don't exactly use top-quality paint for a new home job also meant that the usual wear and tear was starting to show. So despite the fact that I really, really loved "Georgian Green" (I think) and how nicely our whole house's palette tied together... it was time for Mallory to have a say in what her room looks like. I got to decorate two rooms for her without her say and I guess you can't expect to have a little girl and never get a request for a girly paint colour.
But while we were OK with painting her room pink, I got to decide the exact colour. If I had taken Mallory to the paint store to see the chip display, you can bet we would have walked out of there with the loudest, brightest, most bubblegum pink imaginable. We have developed a process for picking paint colours that we like, and it comes down to two rules: pick something lighter and muddier than you think you really want, and then once it's up on the wall it won't scream at you.
So the pink I picked for Mallory was actually a pale, fleshy looking colour, that doesn't do a whole lot for me on its own. It's called Fairest Pink:
I picked this colour and then to confirm it, I looked into the name of a paint colour I have always admired in online photos of a blogger's home. It comes from the same colour line (Benjamin Moore) but is called Wild Aster. Here it is:
The fact that the colours are so darn close gave me some confidence that this colour was going to give me the effect I wanted.
At the last minute I panicked a bit, and considered going with Ballerina Pink:
But I think your first instinct is usually the right one, so I stuck with Fairest Pink.
Of course, as with any home project, this bedroom update has morphed into something bigger than was ever intended. The time seemed right to make a few other changes in tandem with the painting. My childhood bed has been down in the basement all this time and we decided it would be a good time now to switch Mallory from the single daybed into my old double bed. But, that bed is an old yellowy pine piece. So I have been painting it as well... and it's taken several coats to cover it. Paint the headboard, footboard, and side rails, let dry, flip, paint again, let dry, flip... three coats each side and counting... I think tonight might be the last coat, but I am not 100% certain about that. The painting is going on in the basement - we might get the bed upstairs and realize in the natural light that it really requires another coat! After all this work, I am hoping the paint finish is as durable as the Benjamin Moore salesperson promised it would be. We also painted a side table to use as a night stand, and there is a desk in the queue still to be painted.
There is more cash to be spent now as well. We had the double bed in the basement, but no mattress or box spring to go with it, so those have to be purchased. And we had to buy a new double duvet, duvet cover and sheets as well. So what started out as a project that would only cost as much as a can of paint, has now turned into several hundred dollars. Ouch. Not good when I had just put myself on a post-Christmas spending reduction!!
Anyway, I'm hoping this weekend will see the end of (or nearly so) Mallory's Bedroom Overhaul. I would like to put the furniture back and reclaim the closet that has been stuffed full of so many odds and ends these past few weeks, roll up the drop cloths that are all over our floors, and put away the spackle, the sandpaper, the brushes and rollers and paint trays... all of the clutter that comes out when a project is underway.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Last Monday I went back to work after the break, and everyone was talking about how much illness they'd experienced over the holidays. I was kind of dumbstruck by how rampant it was, given that we escaped relatively unscathed. Wouldn't you know it - by Tuesday night I knew exactly what they meant. I lost several days last week to being incredibly sick. Definitely not part of the plan with all of the projects I have on the go right now! (On the bright side, the rest of the family seems to have dodged the bullet.)
As a result, I haven't made any more progress on doll clothes, although I did finish the party dress and it turned out awesome. Liam was very excited to see it finished and wanted to give it to Mallory right away, so we did. She was tickled, and then promptly decided that the party dress would be her gift to Jenna for Jenna's birthday. It's now wrapped up in some tissue paper and a gift bag and hidden behind Mallory's closet door, which I have come to find out is her secret hiding spot for everything (this will serve me well in the future.)
Something else Mallory now has hidden behind her closet door is the card she made Jenna. I started laughing hysterically when I first saw it but then took a look at Mallory and saw how serious and earnest she was, and I shut right up about it.
I will keep working on my clandestine sewing but am not sure how much more I can get done between now and next weekend. Another project has taken precedence lately, and I'd like to get it finished up sooner rather than later because it's spread pretty much clear across the house right now. But now that Mallory has the party dress in hand, I think the rest of the outfit options can trickle in over time.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
The thing about Maplelea dolls is that they are pricey, and their clothes and accessories are even worse. The doll came wearing some casual clothes and Mallory got a dressier outfit and a gymnastics outfit to go along with her, but these outfits are around $30 apiece so that is where Santa drew the line.
(In this picture, both Jenna and Mallory are wearing their gymnastics uniforms. Mallory requested the photo shoot. It cracked me up.)
Then I realized that there are a whole bunch of patterns out there to make your own clothes for these dolls. First off, Mallory wanted some pajamas for her, so I cut up an old piece of fleece I had on hand and made some PJs. Mallory was thrilled, though the PJs are pink and Mallory did inform me that Jenna would have preferred them in blue (which the booklet that came with the doll says is her favourite colour).
Jenna came with an official birth date, January 18, so I decided to surprise Mallory by making a couple more outfits for a birthday present for Jenna (unbeknownst to Mallory). Unfortunately, Liam is awfully perceptive, and one day he remarked to Mallory that she should just get me to make Jenna some clothes as a present. Drat! Foiled!!
Liam is now in on my secret. I showed him what I have been up to. I made Jenna a little set of sweats, including a hoodie that is super super cute but unfortunately, I think my seam allowances were too big (fabric was too bulky) and it doesn't fully do up in the back. I think she will love it anyway. I also just finished the prettiest little party dress, which was infinitely easier to sew and does fit. Mallory requested a dress that Jenna could wear for her birthday. And yes, both of these items are blue.
I have been working on all of this after Mallory is in bed for the night... I have to wait for her to fall asleep, then slip in and steal Jenna away from her for the fittings. I pack up the sewing each night so there are not scraps of blue fabric lying around as a telltale sign. I think she is starting to catch on, though, and I hope Liam hasn't let it slip.
I have a few more things planned. The fleece that made such bulky sweats might be good to make a coat, and I have some shimmery blue stretchy stuff from which I'd like to try a swimsuit (though I fully expect it to be murder to sew and wonder if I should just order one from Etsy instead!) Mallory wants underpants too, and those are cheap on Etsy and since my local sewing store does not carry fold over elastic, I might just buy one or two pairs of those, too. I have a couple of other dresses in mind with some different fabric and might do some jeans and a t-shirt or two. If only Mallory went to bed earlier...
Friday, January 4, 2013
I said I would be back with an epic Christmas wrap-up post.
Not really though - she is still in a foul mood. Someone said maybe she is getting her 6 year molars? I really hope that's true and that there is a valid reason for the moodiness. I cannot imagine what she will be like at 15 if she is like this at 5.
Anyway, back to the schedule of events of the past couple of weeks. After the new year, Chad went back to work. I have been home with the kids covering the school break. We just got home from what I guess is now an annual sequence of events: first we went to Listowel to visit GG... (nice face, Mallory!...)
Mallory was not crabby for about ten minutes of the 2-hour lift ticket I purchased. Good times.