Entries from March 31st, 2016

A-frame Progress

a-frame living room - progressSoooo, things are going a bit slower than I’d like over at the A-frame but I’ve got an update, a costly mistake, and some major demo to share…. READ MORE

babyproofing casa samuel

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelWell it’s official, Archer is walking and the baby proofing game has begun! I think I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t spent a lot of time around babies so I wasn’t sure what needed babyproofing and what didn’t. Of course most is common sense and I’ve seen the drawer catches and door knob covers but we decided to hire a baby proofing service to get the low down from a professional. They go around your house giving advice on products to use where. (If you are curious the consultation cost us $40).  I have to say I am really glad we did it, because I wouldn’t have thought of some of the suggestions and others that I would have done were unnecessary.

So if you are wondering how I’ve been making my house a bit more child friendly, here it is! Surprisingly not a ton has changed, but I will walk you through where we are so far.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelbaby proofing // sarah sherman samuelThe most dangerous rooms in a house are the bathrooms and the kitchen so the main thing the baby proofer recommended was installing gates to keep Archer in the main living spaces instead of having the whole run of the house. We used Munchkin’s LOFT gates, which went in easily and I really like how sturdy it feels. We needed two gates, one in the doorway that leads to all the bedrooms and bathrooms and one in the doorway going into the kitchen. By blocking off the kitchen with the safety gate, it eliminated the need to put cupboard catches on all the cabinets in the kitchen.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelWe also secured the entry console table with a strap that screwed right into the wall. As of now hasn’t bothered with the items on top of the console so they are staying until it becomes a problem but so far so good.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelbaby proofing // sarah sherman samuelThe one piece of furniture that we decided to swap out for now was our vintage wood slat coffee table. The living room isn’t exactly spacious and in tight quarters those sharp corners already proved themselves a hazard. Also, the marble slab on top was a bit scary to have when he was nearly knocking the table over when pulling himself up on it. I found this simple rush grass ottoman/coffee table, which was pretty inexpensive and nice and soft and round and I even like it. When Archer is older and the other table makes it way back in here, we can use this one in our outdoor patio area.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelbaby proofing // sarah sherman samuelWe did install some cabinet and drawer latches on this credenza since there are all sorts of tiny non-baby friendly items inside.

baby-proofing-livingroom-15-640Our family room is two steps down so the baby proofer guy said they usually don’t gate for one or two stairs and for a while there I was worried Archer would never get that he shouldn’t just take a nose dive down the stairs. Thankfully after working with him on turning around and scooting down backwards he totally got it. We were advised however to pad the heck out of the rug down there because the fast he gets the more prone he will be to taking a few nose dives whether we like it or not.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelThe family has become Archer’s main play area so we also just moved this coffee table off to the side and have two large baskets of toys down here to continually empty and re-fill which is his favorite activity du jour.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelIn the bathroom the only thing we did was put a lock on the toilet. Archer has a large head, is very tall, and skinny which equals extra top heavy… so anything to prevent him from taking a dunk in the toilet is A O K with me.

baby proofing // sarah sherman samuelAnd finally… plug covers all over the house, making sure all cords/cables and cleaning supplies are out of reach, and securing large items like dressers and television to the wall were those common sense things that even I already had under control.

So in summary:
My house hasn’t gone through a complete kid zone transformation (yet atleast) but here are a few things I’ve done to get it more toddler ready

#1 Gates are my new best friend, use them to keep your kiddo in the safe zone.

#2 Secure large furniture pieces (and items like televisions) to the wall

#3 If you can’t take away a trip hazard give them a soft place to land

#4 Toilet locks get the thumbs up from me

#5 Plug covers all over

#6 cords and power cables out of reach

#7 put the cleaning supplies where they can’t get to them

SOURCES: LOFT security gate by Munchkin // Drawer Latches // Plug Covers by Munchkin // Ottoman/Coffee Table  // Mill Console Table by CB2 // Door by AAW (stained with 1 part Light Walnut & 2 parts Provencal by Varathane) // Vintage Hardoy Chair from Surfing Cowboys // Sofa from HD buttercup // Khotan Rug from The Rug Warehouse // Chandelier by Jonathan Adler // Paint color is Snowfall by Behr // Mid-century stool, vintage // Sheepskin from Ikea // Basket from Chicos // Pillows by Little Korboose and Loom Goods // Glass Terrarium from Urban Outfitters // Candle Holder, Vintage // Gold Bowl by CB2 // Black & White Rug from Urban Outfitters // Large Tote from The Citizenry // Yellow Chairs are vintage // White Credenza from West Elm // Pink Flamingo Photograph by Sharon Montrose 

 This post was in collaboration with Munchkin. Munchkin rids the world of the mundane by developing clever, innovative solutions that make family life safer, easier, and more fun. You can find Munchkin products at Munchkin.comTargetBabies’R’UsWalmart, and Amazon. It’s the little things!

artist spotlight: Kate Akatombo

woodland-tale-sarahshermansamuel-sI’ve been trying to carve out more time to highlight more makers and artists I love because little finds like Woodland Tale make me so happy! I remember when I had just graduated from college with my graphic design degree and I thought my only option to make money was to go corporate and be a studio designer at an ad agency (which I inevitably did until I woke up and realized there is so much more out there). One evening I fell into an online rabbit hole discovering makers, artists, and designers all making a living doing what they love, creating their own work. I grew up in a non-internet world so this was the first time I really discovered what it can do for creatives.

Now the internetz are over saturated with everyone and their mother making something, etsy has a whole lotta incredible shops and a whole lotta not so incredible but when I stumbled upon these critters, I had to make them mine, I mean Archer’s of course (but really mine).

woodland-tale-sarahshermansamuel-2sarchandwoodlandtalewoodland-tale-sarahshermansamuel-3sKate Akatombo hand stitches these little plushies under the name Woodland Tale out of her studio in Ukraine. The detail is incredible and how adorable are those little faces? I reached out to her to answer a few questions about how she came about making the adorable guys so without further ado…

SSS: Tell me about your creative journey. (background, schooling, previous work etc.)

KA: I always was somehow connected with handmade. My mother was a terrific knitter (and so was her mom and her sisters), my other GrandMa taught me crocheting, sewing and, of course, embroidery of all kinds. Later I was lucky to work in a small retail hobby shop, where I had to learn a lot of various decorative techniques – and this was the very time when I finally understood that working with threads and fabrics is my thing.

SSS: How would you describe your aesthetic? Is your work inspired by anything in particular?

KA: I’m very bound to everything natural and all things inspired by nature. I rarely use flashy, bright colors, prefer cotton and linen textiles and have a dream about naturally dyed fabrics, made by myself. In the world full of machine-made things, in the life of high pace I really strive to something real and thoughtful. This is also true for my little critters. They take time to be made, but every stitch on their small bodies is laid with pleasure of slow life.

SSS: Please share some insight into your design process. How do you come up with the animal shapes, color selections etc.

KA: I have to confess that the very first critters made were significantly inspired by illustrations for children’s books, mostly by Japanese and Spanish artists. I was really amazed how they come up to creating images – very close to the child’s doodles, but still with so much character and feel for color. So I tried to just draw simple as well – but on fabrics.

Most of my softies are 2D, they are flat – as if a drawing turned into a plushie. At the moment, I’m trying to go on with it and make more complicated patterns, vary the embroidery stitches, play with shapes too.

I also have a creative escape – my series of blooming friends, bunnies, hedgehogs and moose deers, embroidered with flowers on their bodies. They have basic shapes, but the embroidery is always different and unique. I really loved stitching them this winter, when starving for spring time, I was designing gentle blooms and leaves.

See all the goodies in her shop here: Woodland Tale

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Rug is from Frances Loom

style stories: spring jumpsuit

striped jumpsuit // spring styleLayering is great and all, but I’m happy Spring is here so I can bring out the jumpsuits and dresses… you know the all-in-one kind of outfits. One piece and you’re done.

striped jumpsuit // spring stylestriped jumpsuit // spring stylestriped jumpsuit // spring stylestriped jumpsuit // spring styleI love the structure and silhouette of this one, and it has enough visual interest to be that one and only kind of garment.

Jumpsuit By J.O.A // Bucket Bag from Shopbop // Shoes are vintage, find similar here  // Cuff by 2 Bandits

Photos by Mike Carreiro 

real talk real moms: self care

real-talk-real moms-self-careToday we’re back with another installment in the #realmomseries and this one is on self-care. When I think of self-care I first think of pampering yourself with manicures and massages and as far as beauty routines, exercise, and pampering I am probably the last person to look to on the topic. I have always been slacking in those realms. I’ve gotten my hair cut once in the last 2.5 years, my only exercise routine is walking Archer to the park and back, I’m the one to show up to beauty events with my nails grown out and at all different lengths (gasp!), legs unshaven (thankfully it’s blonde so you can hardly notice… at least that’s what I tell myself) and while I highly recommend regular massages I myself have gotten 2 since archer was born and both were gifted to me on big occasions like my birthday. 

But while I totally fail on the physical realm of self care, I do make sure to take care of my overall health in pretty basic ways which I can boil down to these four topics… sleep, food, meditation/prayer, and knowing when to say no. So here we go…

SLEEP: At the beginning self care is more self survival. You get the sleep when and where you can (You can read our real mom series on how I got as much as I could here). I need a lot of it and I make it a priority. When I start to feel drained or tired to the point of distraction it is time to take a step back and often a good nights sleep will be the cure. Oh and never underestimate the power of a nap. Also even at the very beginning, I did manage to take a shower every evening before bed. It sounds so simple but it is a luxury for some and I never take it for granted. It’s become part of my bedtime routine, the warm water washing off the day and getting me ready to curl up into bed all warm and cozy.  

FOOD: Like I said, my self-care seems pretty basic. We all need food but I LOVE food, like major flavour hound foodie here and since I am not a cook, I probably invest a lot more into it than the average person. And by invest I mean monetarily. I make it a priority to eat whole, delicious, and balanced meals but how do I do that without cooking them myself? Well thankfully in California you can’t throw a stick without hitting some healthy meal delivery service, or a vegan cafe, or a gourmet restaurant that uses quality ingredients and accepts orders for pick-up, or a Whole Foods grocery store that has a huge cafeteria section. I am a major foodie and the things I can make myself usually don’t cut it. When I have a belly full of good food I am a happy girl but since actually preparing it is not fun for me, I do a lot of ordering in, picking up, and getting food delivered. Yes, it can be expensive to have others prepare it, but I figure, I don’t spend money on my hair, I don’t spend money on cosmetics or creams, I don’t have a gym membership, I don’t collect expensive hand-bags, I don’t drink coffee (which out here can be an expensive habit), etc. etc. I just choose to spend my money on food and by buying a lot of it pre-prepared it saves me time to do other things that fulfill me oh and it usually tastes WAY better.

MEDITATION/PRAYER: I could also just call this quiet time but whatever you do in your quiet time it doesn’t matter, I have just found it to be really helpful to carve out some time every single day to take 10 minutes or so to just sit with my thoughts, pray and say thanks for all the good things happening in my life. One benefit of nursing is that you get a few sessions of quiet time built right into the day. Right now I am down to nursing Archie 3 times a day but the one right before his bedtime is one that I cherish (Sidenote: remember how much I hated nursing for so long because it was SO hard and so painful? well, update: I finally made it to the place where I enjoy that time of the day).  We both sit in the dark, say our prayers and it’s my transition from a crazy hectic day to a more calm evening. I will have to find a way to make this a priority once nursing is over because just sitting in the dark and clearing my head at that time of day (a couple hours before my bedtime) has been really beneficial.

SAYING NO: It is all about investing in the things that fill your cup, whatever that may be (in my book there are no wrong answers there) and saying no to more of the things that drain you. I feel incredibly lucky that a lot of my work actually fills my cup so I can happily work a ton of hours (as long as it doesn’t cut into my designated sleep and family time) and still feel balanced. But if I don’t say no to enough of the projects and parts of work that are total drainers, I feel it. It’s all about knowing your own personal “speed limit” and paying attention to it so you know when it is time to stop, say no, refuel and replenish to restore your energy and your soul.

See all of my posts from the series here.

and make sure to check out all the other mama’s thoughts on self-care:
Apartment 34
Could I Have That
The Effortless Chic
Ave Styles
The Refined Woman
Parker Etc
A Daily Something
Sacramento Street
Our Style Stories

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