big boy bed

orlis.quilt

Hey, wait a second!  When did my little boy become such a big boy, and a big brother at that?  It’s a fascinating thing having a baby ’round these parts, and the effect his tiny-ness has on my perspective of Orlis.  Who seems so huge.

A few months ago, as my nesting phase went on longer than expected, I did what any semi-insane pregnant woman would do — I made a quilt.  While making baby quilts — for gifts — has become a symbol of my very existence, I had never ventured past the 3X3 foot terrain into larger, truer, longer-lasting bed quilts.  Seeing my [now older] child grow inches on the wall, and make his way s.l.o.w.l.y out of the family bed, I figured it was time he get a bonafide, mama-made quilt of his own with which to grow into late-toddler, little boy, (gulp) older boyhood.

up.close.quilting

For many years, I’ve had my eye on the simple, fresh design of the sunny-tied quilt from the Purl Bee.  I decided it would be the perfect design for my color-loving boy in his bright orange bedroom.  I had a great time picking out lights and mediums and darks and patterned fabrics to accentuate his two-toned bedroom, and got to work immediately, cutting them into scraps and piecing it all together.  Without much deliberating, I also decided that doing that many yarn ties (as the tutorial dictates) to hold it all together would exacerbate my pregnant crabbiness and poke a hole in my thumb, so I sent it out to be quilted instead.  As soon as this sweet thing got back, I tacked on the binding and threw it on his bed.

finishing.bindingview.from.foot

And, oh glory, isn’t it adorable!  I love the way the few subtle blues pop out, drawing attention to the mis-match lineup of the two sides, and I love the way the oranges and whites bring to life the birds I stenciled on the walls.  Mostly I love how much he loves his cozy quilt — making a burrito of himself during a sweaty nap, and burrowing deep for the long nights.  He’s learning how to comfortably be alone, and I’m learning, too, how to help him do it.  As he is warmed by his own homemade blanket, my own heart is warmed knowing that, in good company my little Blackbird dreams.  ”I want “mama cuddles” he calls the quilt already, as we settle him in for slumber.  And I think to myself, “oh, baby.  You can have Mama Cuddles.  Do take them to college too, won’t you?  But not for a good, long while.”

full.vieworlis.climbinghappy.guy.on.bed

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a reading nook

4

Forgive me, I’ve gotten a bit behind in sharing with you some of the exciting things going on this house.  There’s been birth, baby, post-partum, yes of course.  But there were other things going on a few months ago during my supreme and most-elongated nesting phase that I had the wherewithal to photograph, but not necessarily the wherewithal to post.  So here we are.

A long while back, I shared with you a few projects that I did around the house as a result of taking a really cool online course called “The Playful Learning E-course.”  It’s a really neat go-at-your-own-pace class that gets you inspired to make some simple changes and doctor up your house so it’s more child-centric.  I did this room, this little space, and this wall organization as homework for the class last summer.

One of my favorite things about this e-course is how the teacher encourages you to find little nooks and crannies around your house.  With a little imagination and usually some objects you find lying around elsewhere in your home, you can re-create these small spaces as mini-learning and playing centers.  The nook you see below, at the top of our stairs, has always beckoned my attention.  When we moved in to this house, we immediately painted this hallway space (you can see a horrific “before” and lovely “after” here).  Once it was sparkly white, I fell in love with this little space that’s about 4 feet by 3 feet.  But I didn’t know what to do with it.

At first, I put a shelf and some toys there in hopes that Orlis would want to play there, but it never drew him.  So, I thought for a few months, and then decided, after taking this course and learning the importance of creating a cozy space for reading, to make it a book nook.

nook.2

after painting, before reading nook

I took a class to learn how to make some zippered floor pillows.

zipper.up

(I’m very proud of these.)

two.floor

Then I knocked out four more regular pillows while Orlis serenaded me.  I gathered up some books, a bit of artwork, and a couple of fluffy rugs…

stitching.pillow

and a reading nook was born.

nook copy

After! A reading nook.

(Wall art by Johanna Wright; faux lambskin rugs by Ikea.)

from.other.side

And, oh, what a cozy place it is — to snuggle up with some good books and my cuddly boys and treat ourselves to a good read.

orlis.reading.in

Note: I updated the books on the sidebar recently — there are some good reads floating around this house (and landing in the reading nook).  Check ‘em out!

 

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studio/office makeover!

OFFICE/STUDIO BEFORE

In the year+ since we’ve lived in this old house, I’ve been repeatedly struck by how a seemingly bland space  – one that seems to have small square footage, poor light, strange window placement, a completely depressing paint color, etc — can easily be lightened and brightened and brought to life, and, in the end, barely resemble the room it once was.  It can become, as in the case of my finally-finished studio/office, one’s very favorite room to be in.  What strikes me even more is how much these changes — slow as they may come — can alter so significantly one’s mood, one’s level of creativity, and one’s experience of work and play.

I’ve finally, finally put some finished art-on-the-wall touches to this little office of mine, and I’m happy as a lark now, being in here and letting the space multi-function as it needs to.  Do you like Befores and Afters?  Oh, I just adore them! Here’s a little tour of the Treelife office/studio.

Above you’ll see the photo I took when walking through this house when it was for sale.

And here it is with it’s strange-smelling, badly stained carpeting and beige walls.

Awhile back, we put on our face masks and pulled up the carpet…to reveal some seriously damaged wood floors and about 1000 staples sticking up.  In walks this lovely man who went at it for 3 days pulling up staples, and then we hired some professional floor sanders.

OFFICE/STUDIO AFTER

And a year later, here she is.  This room needed to function in several ways — as a space for me to do my writing and ceremony-planning, and also a place to have my client calls, including some in-person meetings with folks.  It also, of course, needed to house my large collections of fabric and craft supplies and be a space where I was set up to work for an hour here and an hour there on all of my projects.

I’ve always felt inspired by rooms painted very bright, light blues and this color makes me smile every time I walk in here.  After we painted, we brought in as much of our leftover or salvaged furniture that we thought could work, including some re-purposed old cd shelving for my quilting fabrics and a beloved old desk that has moved along with me for the last 25 years.

What we didn’t have, we found at resale shops and at IKEA, including some new light fixtures.

After sewing a fresh cover for my ironing board, getting everything organized onto shelves and into baskets, and splurging a bit on this fabulous up-cycled rug from an etsy shop that I had had my eye on for years, I was getting close.

A few fabric buckets, a pegboard project, and a tiny-quilt-top-turned-wall-hanging finally finished, and I was good to go.

I especially love how this space works for sewing prep — ABOVE, or having clients here — BELOW.

And most of all, I cherish the hours I get to sit at my desk, connecting with clients, connecting with you on this blog, and bringing to life workshops and ceremonies and all the things in my work world that keep me feeling connected to myself.

Oh, it’s just amazing what a space can do.

 

 

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nesting

Awhile back, I warned you that the over-riding theme of this blog would be about nesting for the foreseeable weeks and months.  And, like it or not, I think I’ve kept to my word about that.  Then, over the last several days — looking around this house, at my lists, at the photos compiling in my camera, I decided the concept of nesting deserved a post all it’s own.  What a strange but powerful instinct it is.

Over the past weekend, we did the dirty work of emptying out every single one of our kitchen cabinets, cleaning them and their contents, and then putting everything back in.  Orlis had a great time playing with some strange items unearthed in the mess, and I felt that delicious sensation of having spring cleaned (spring weather or not…).   I had a laugh with a pregnant client of mine who had the very same chore on her to-do list in the coming months as we got to talking about this wild nesting urge and how intense (and sometimes unreasonable) it can be.  I shared that this time around, I’m doing my best to keep things prioritized as they really should be — the gathering and organizing of birth supplies to come before certain sewing and painting projects.  (And as I was doing such “gathering” in the way of some bottles of pink Prosecco yesterday at the grocery store to have chilled on hand for the birth team for those moments after birth — the clerk working asked me if I was having a party.  ”No,” I said, “I’m having a baby.”)

Though my understanding is nearly every species, while pregnant, does some version of this, what occurs to me is how arbitrary, in some ways, these nesting projects can seem, particularly with such a strong deadline, and especially since the baby won’t notice one single ounce of my efforts.  He/she won’t see that we’ve endured painful, dusty basement cleanups and certainly won’t notice that my spices are now alphabetized.  In fact, it’s not likely that any of it will make a bit of difference when it comes down to how I know we’ll be spending our days for those tender, early weeks and months after the baby is born — nursing, sleeping, foraging for food, getting to know one another.  But, somehow, a large jar of homemade chicken noodle soup in my freezer, some freshly sewn pillows tossed around, and a toddler who now knows how to fold diapers puts my mind at ease like nothing else could at this moment.  So many projects, so little time.  And the good news is, if it doesn’t get done, it really is okay – we’ve got each other, quilts of all sizes, and enough Gatorade, popcorn, and pink Prosecco to get us through.

 

 

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fabric-covered pegboards, oh my!

I am so excited!  My office walls (well, one of them) finally received some love and attention.  In truth, this post could be alternatively-titled, “Fabric Projects for when your Sewing Machine is in the Shop.”  Because sometimes, machines need a little tuning here and there, and during those [excruciatingly] idle days and weeks, hands like mine get antsy and need to work with fabric.

I wanted a place in my already-technicolored office/studio to, you know, hang things. (before/after pictures of the whole office coming soon, when it is complete-for-now)   Mostly I wanted to hang pictures and some inspiring notions right above my ironing board where I find myself standing, quite often, staring at a blank, blue wall.  While surfing around on Pinterest, I found this easy tutorial for making multiple fabric-covered cork boards.  The author of the tutorial suggests using old, dirty cork boards which would have worked just great if I’d had any laying around or if I’d had the patience to find some at a garage sale, but my nesting enthusiasm got the better of me and I headed to Target and got what I needed.  I’ll give you a quick walk-thru — this project was SO easy and is enormously satisfying.  Now my wall is covered in my two favorite things: fabric and friends.  What could make me happier?

So, you get your hands on some cork boards and then pick your fabrics among your stash and press them.  I made all different sizes, so even some little scraps of fabric will work.  Lay your cork boards on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter (and your quilting rulers) to cut them into different shapes.

Cut your fabric with your rotary cutter and quilting rulers too — it doesn’t need to be perfect (like if you were making a quilt) but it should be about an inch and a half larger on all four sides than your cork board piece.

This part is almost like wrapping a present.  Apply your glue (I used Elmer’s) to your corners, and adhere all four.

Then apply glue to the sides and adhere all four.

Easy does it — you are done!  Make a bunch!  I let mine dry overnight with the glued side facing up.

Now, you are facing your empty wall that is begging for some artwork.

I started with a few of my larger pieces first.  Oh, I forgot to mention that my cork boards from Target came with some double-sided adhesive tape stickers, so I applied 3-4 of those to the back of each board, and then eyeballed where I wanted them.

With some foundational pieces up first, I just placed the rest of the boards one at a time until I had used them all, ending with a cornucopia of color!

Cute, huh?

And here they are up close.  For a week, I left them like this, and enjoyed just the beauty of the fabrics, but then decided it was time to put them to their originally-intended use.

And here they are — adorned with my favorite people and other ideas and projects that I’m excited about right now.  And alas, my office/studio is alive with color, warmth, and meaning.

 

 

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a year later

New York moving van, 3rd floor apartment view.  Jan. 31st 2012

The moving van arrives, Portland. Feb. 2012

I can hardly believe it, a whole year has circled around me here in Portland, OR.  In some ways, it seems like just a few months ago, with tears streaming down our faces, that we loaded up the last of our little one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment and bid farewell to the city and the people we loved there.  I still hear myself say, “we just moved to Portland a few months ago,” when in fact, that’s not true at all.  And yet, when I stop and look around me, considering the number of paint cans I’ve dipped my brush into, the number of boxes I’ve unpacked and things I’ve organized, the number of meals I’ve already cooked in this kitchen, and, perhaps most significantly, the number of sweet memories we have already piled up into a year of seasons, well, it does seem like it’s been a whole year.  Now we know our grocers and love our neighbors and consistently remember to put our recycling bins out on Tuesday nights — all the good stuff of home-owning.

Feb. 1st 2012. This is my new house!

…and it’s still my house a year later! Feb. 2013.

In some ways, though, it all still seems so new.  Embarrassingly, I still plug in my GPS more often than I’d like to admit.  There are dozens of enticing restaurants we haven’t had the chance to visit yet.  There are (ahem) plenty of friends and family members who haven’t had a chance to visit us here yet, which still makes the whole thing seem new, or rather, yet unwitnessed.  We’ve still got plenty to figure out about this quirky city and how to effectively fit in and find our way.  Good assimilation takes time, I’m learning and re-learning and re-learning again and again.

But, this morning, as I ponder the strange passage of time — how many marks we’ve made on the big-boy growth chart and how many failures we’ve had in the garden — I see there’s much living to do here, in this sweet abode, and in this forgiving and lively part of the country.  I feel the familiar, aching tug at my heartstrings as east coast friends continue to make big strides in their lives I’m not there to witness in person, and I also feel the newer tug at my spirit as our calendars get fuller with the freshness of fun, local work opportunities, and new friends becoming just “friends.”

 

Day 1 in Portland. No furniture yet. Feb. 2012

Over a year’s time, a house becomes a home. Feb. 2013.

And I see, perhaps most poignantly, since so much of our lives happens right here in this quaint, old house, the rhythms of our days enhanced by the ever-growing energy of home.  Somehow, I see the colors of our everyday world mellowing as they interact with each other and I feel the heat of the old quilts and blankets strewn about working more effectively on my cold bones.  I know, now, where to walk the zig-zagged path across Orlis’ bedroom to achieve the fewest amount of floor creaks after he’s finally nodded off to sleep in the evenings.  And, on on those occasional nights when I make my way out of the house, I return and see the same old porch light somehow burning a little brighter to welcome me home after dark.

 

Welcome…

Portlanders!  If you are practicing Elimination Communication with your little one (in any way, shape, or form) do come by the EC Parents and Babies Drop-In Group this Wednesday at Alma Education and Movement Space!  It’s free for Alma clients and only $10/family suggested donation otherwise.  There will be potties available and a safe, nurturing space for letting your baby be diaper-free (if you wish) while we exchange experiences, ideas, and create community around this wonderful practice.  Infants to one-year-olds only please.  1233 SE Stark Street.  Come on down!

 

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the 5 senses, early January

These early days of 2013, all of the senses are alive and noticing…

I’m seeing:

*last year’s calendar turned into quite the opportunity for imaginative story-making

*the sky do miraculous things — one morning, opaque fog; the next, only pinks

*my pile of “to-finish” sewing projects heaping up again

*someone doing the timely dance of doll-play that warms (and settles) this mama’s heart for what’s to come so very soon

*houses, airplanes, cars, and whole cities being built, torn down, and built again with what’s around the house, and whoever feels like lending a hand

*the fresh empty pages of a January calendar that beckon one of my very favorite things: plans

I’m hearing:

*still, in my heart, the laughter and pounding feet of young cousins playing together.  There is so, so much for me to discover as a mama, and lo and behold, last week’s visit with family illuminated an important insight: the very best age for a babysitter for my rambunctious toddler is seven.

*sweet piano duets.  my two boys and their four hands find a way to make each other sound interesting, cheerful, and altogether surprisingly good

*the soulful expression of Michael Kiwanuka on my stereo morning, noon, and night.  My sweetie stocked my stocking with some much-needed new music.

*old favorite books read over and over and over and over and over again

*rain, fairly consistent rain, pelting softly on my lucky plants and trees, and lulling me to sleep as she lands on the rooftop.  sometimes, for a moment, there is a brief respite because it’s snow…and then some sunshine

I’m smelling:

*pine.  wet pine.  drying pine.  pine in the sunshine.

*the last of our dear neighbor’s dried japanese pears — their sweetness filling our noses and our bellies.  This alone, another reason to look forward to next year’s batch

*the lingering smells of Christmas — cinnamon, clove, cookies baking, peppermint — still alive and well in our dwindling but ever-present cookie jar

*citrus of every kind, gracing our table and our breakfast and lunch plates.  ’tis the season, for both the sweet, orange winter treats that offer a boon of color to our meals, and also the extra boost of vitamin C to ward off colds

*a pot of my mother’s beef chili recipe currently cooking away slowly on the stove.  If you can’t have mom’s cooking, in the deepest chill of winter, you can come close with her handwritten secrets

I’m tasting:

*soups, stews, and more soups — ’tis the season, too, for getting creative with both the season’s winter squashes and my immersion blender

*winter root vegetables finding their way onto the table in surprisingly beautiful ways, like Peter Berley’s Barley and Beet Risotto with Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese 

*lots of hearty fare coming out of our beloved slow cooker.  Just the words “slow cooker” conjure up the month of January for me.

*sweet, crunchy Millionaire’s Shortbread for a New Year’s party.  What better day than New Year’s to eat something with “millionaire” in the title.  A girl can dream….

I’m feeling:

*temperatures drifting towards the mid-20s which, for around these parts, means we deserve some snow.  Snow that sticks.  We are donning layer after woolen and flannel layer and enjoying the thousands of fun things to do indoors

*with these low temperatures and bygone holidays, justified in my “good enough” reasons to stop for a brief mid-day snooze with my little one.

*gratitude for warm water and the magical healing, soothing, sedating nature of a nice hot bath

*big elbows and hefty kicks in my midsection — large enough to see and to share with visiting hands

*tenderness towards all who come and go from this house, warming it with their big smiles and gracious gifts. Perhaps a house feels most like a home this time of year

*anticipation for a fresh start, a thousand yummy projects, and so many people to love and know in 2013

 

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feeling decembery

The house smells like pine and twinkles at me from several directions.  A few sweet snowmen and santa faces peek around from discreet corners, and the repetitious warmth of Christmas music — in my head, on the radio, in every public space  – has me singing aloud more, I find.   It’s the first year I’ve ever really decorated for the December holidays since I lived in my mother’s house and I have to admit, it helps me like the month more.  A month about which I’ve held mixed feelings for many, many years — loving the smells and memories it holds, and not loving the excess or expectation.  I’ve not known how to step fully into the parts of it that speak to me and how to leave the other parts behind.  I’ve certainly not known, exactly, how to keep it contained and real with so much pressure to do otherwise — to make space for it to be the way I hope my child(ren) will know it and remember it.

This year, though, December feels different, and I blame the irresistible nature of white Christmas lights and the smell of gingerbread.  That, or I’ve found my way with it a bit more.  I’ve found a way to light the candles of Hanukkah, to embrace the darkness of the Solstice, and to welcome the mysterious story of Christmas and somehow not feel fickle or like I’m playing someone else’s mixture of a life.  This haphazard mixture feels a bit more like it this year, somehow — like how I want to honor this season of short days and long nights and sugar-coated everything.  It’s with even more of a focus on handmade and oven-baked — and with, yes, more open arms; less pushing away.  It’s with a reminder to myself to consider what puts these holidays of twinkle and light here during the darkest part of the year; what it means to give a gift, and to receive one.  And what it is, in the experience of a small child, to open a little perforated door each day and taste a tiny piece of chocolate, or to see the neighborhood houses at night illuminated in colors and creatures held dear, or to know the feeling of being gathered around, in warmth and festivity, by people who think you are terrific.  There is some true twinkle and shine around here, indeed, and not only in my eyes.

 

 

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gather ’round

So often it seems the timing of things, while perhaps not what one originally envisioned, ends up working out perfectly.  As in the case of our new, gorgeous, hand-crafted dining room table — here just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.  Some projects — many would say, most projects — we like to do ourselves, and for projects like these (well beyond our skills or expertise), we outsource.  It’s a good thing we know Mickey.

We had the idea to replace our old, rickety round table months and months ago and planted a seed with our lovely friend who contracted and finished our basement renovation.  (pictures coming…sometime…)  He liked the idea of building a nice farm table from scratch, and thus a deal was struck.  Admittedly, we hoped the table would be finished by August or September, but as one knows with hand-crafting, the very best things do come to those who wait.  Patiently we waited, enjoying the occasional update, and then last Saturday the three of us stood on our front porch in most eager anticipation (re: practically jumping out of our skin in excitement) and proceeded to be floored by what came through our door: a table I know will be the context for hundreds and hundreds of memories and special occasions to come.  I think you know a family heirloom when it walks in your door, and this was one of those times — Orlis promptly got out his toolbox to help assemble the table, and I nearly cried.

Isn’t she just gorgeous?

We assembled the mismatched chairs we have around the table and marveled at her deep beauty and amazing functionality.  Then we held an inauguration dinner in the way of squash soup and salad — a mainstay meal this fall — and felt the deliciousness of sitting down together in both a new way and an altogether familiar way too.  These dinner rituals hold so much more meaning than what’s on the table.

Promptly after dinner I pulled out the small gift I had been working on for our little table here — a quilted table runner (pattern from Denyse Schmidt’s Quilt-It kit) and laid her down.  Oh, what a beaut.  I completely bolloxed the pattern for this little runner by not reading the instructions thoroughly enough and had to make-shift it to completion from about the middle of the project.  As you can see, it turned out okay (as so many disasters do), but I recommend not looking at the underside.  Let’s put it this way, thank goodness the project is intended to look skewed and funky, because…it is.  I’ll say this: laying the runner down felt like giving the table a bit of a heartbeat — a central focal point to show off her strong features and lovely sheen.  Moreover, it serves as a starting point for what comes next — a craft project? A spot of lunch?  A bit of grocery-list making?  Afternoon tea?  This is only the beginning.

Oh, I’m so pleased, and honored really, to have and hold such a solid piece at the center of our home, and it has my wheels just beginning to turn about the rituals of meals and sitting together as family and friends.

I’ll miss the roundness of our old table with its bad paint job and wobbly legs — it holds so many memories, and for now, does well holding boxes above the small puddles in our garage.  In the meanwhile, this new shape offers itself up so well to our lives right now…a strong, sturdy multi-tasking table as good for eating and cooking on as it is for puzzles, projects, sewing, and a thousand other things.  ”Gather rectangle” doesn’t hold quite the charm as an expression as “gather ’round” and so, I think I’ll hold with tradition and let the shape of a circle form in my heart as we gather around this beautiful, lovely place — with space for everyone and then some, and our feet firmly planted on the floor.  In gratitude and Thanksgiving….I’ll see you Friday for this moment.

 

 

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guest house

A pair of special guests are arriving this weekend to help us celebrate our first Thanksgiving in Portland.  So, at long last, we’ve been busy putting some finishing touches on our guest room, hoping it will provide all the creature comforts they need, so they’ll hang their hat for awhile and come back again soon.  This room, as you’ll see below in the Before picture, was a bit tricky for us to make homey.  It’s in the basement, so the natural light isn’t very forthcoming, and while the heat works well down there, basement rooms can easily seem, I think, a little dank or cold or even spooky, just by virtue of being in the basement.  I really wanted a feeling of warmth and welcome in there.  I wanted it to be a place where guests felt comfortable — where they could sleep soundly, access their belongings, and feel happy reading a book by the window.  I wanted it to feel, to guests, like a place they associated with sweet dreams — a place they could stay awhile and visit often.

So, here’s the Before picture.  This is what the room looked like when I walked through this house (for sale) a year ago.  (with other people’s stuff in it)

BEFORE

And here it is After.   (After the rest of the basement underwent renovation, after it served as a storage closet for many months, and after finally putting a coat of paint on the walls and throwing together what we had for furniture.)

AFTER

I’ve been reading a lovely little book called “Home Sweeter Home: Creating a Haven of Simplicity and Spirit” by Jann Mitchell.  The book is about a lot more than creating physical spaces, but she talks about how well-crafted, “restful” spaces make life for the inhabitants easier, calmer, and more joyful.  Well, now doesn’t that make sense?

I like Jann’s concept of “restful rooms”  – she says restful rooms have four characteristics: beauty, comfort, meaning, and convenience.  Beauty, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, and for us, it usually involves incorporating lively colors and old things.  In the case of this guest room, we went for it on the walls, saturating them in a deep, rosy pink to give it warmth and flavor.  We paired this with one of my favorite bedquilts — a red backdrop onto which my mother appliquéd a set of vintage quilt “squares” years ago and gave it to us as a gift.  We didn’t have a lot of artwork or wall hangings left over, but wanted this room to have some meaning and texture, so we thought to bring in a bit of new and old — a painting of my grandmother, an old photo of Rob and his brother as a child, a framed drawing of my home when I lived in Spain, and some of Orlis’ most welcoming artwork.  We scattered a few more quilts and hand-made pillows around, giving it all the extra warmth it will need, (as well as a sense of history).  We cleared the closet as well as the drawers of one of the dressers, and stuck a coat-tree in there that serves just as well for towels, hats, or bathrobes.  We set a few plants by the window, popped a few candles around the room, and called it a day, feeling very satisfied with ourselves.

before stencil

And yet, still, after getting some furniture and knick-knacks pulled together in there, the walls were still looking a little bare.  So, I decided to try my hand at some stenciling — also known as “poor man’s wallpaper.”  I got my hands on some of Lotta Jansdotter’s modern and simple stencils and gave it a go in the corner by the window with some of our leftover wall paint.  Admittedly, I don’t think I’ll become a pro stenciler — wow, it’s a little harder than it looks.  But… I love the effect.  I took  Lotta’s advice and let that stencil travel all the way down the dresser.  That thing (pulled from a street corner in Brooklyn years ago, no doubt) needed a little love too.

after stencil

And you know, it’s not like this room is going to win any decorating awards or anything, but I think it accomplishes Jann Mitchell’s definition of “restful.”  It’s beautiful, comfortable, meaningful, and convenient.  (You do have to get yourself out here to Portland…but then it’s pretty convenient.  The bathroom is just at the top of the stairs.)  I’d like to think, guests will come, hang their coats, and stay a spell.  We’ll have tea and cookies and listen to Stevie Wonder records.  Oh, do come visit.

 

 

 

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