Friday, October 31, 2014


Dear Olive,

I just devoured this book.  Do you think that we knew each other in past lives?  It must be so.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Dear Olive,

My hunt for someone to build the playhouse is at an end.

I interviewed contractors, handymen, and playhouse construction companies for the past year.  Each person I spoke with said that the project was either too big or too small.  None of the playhouse companies would do custom.  Ultimately, we called the local Career Center.  The teacher was unbelievable.  They completed the entire playhouse as a student learning project for the cost of materials alone.  Here it is being built.

At first, I advised them to build it 8 feet by 8 feet.  When I arrived on site for a visit, it towered over me and I slightly panicked as I realized that it would be 16 feet high and would take up most of our backyard.  

The instructor was uber cool about it and they cut down the frame to be 6 by 6.  Basically, it is just an octagonal turret with a cone roof.  I had been planning this project since my childhood.  I was first inspired for the turret by pigeonniers, which were fancy pigeon coops in the 1700s.

I found salvage windows and had plexi-glass inserted into them.  The dormer window was originally from the first house we owned.  My husband snuck it into our moving truck for posterity.

At the end of the school year when the project was complete, we hired a truck to transport it to our house.  This was perhaps the most dramatic feat since the roof kept hitting low tree branches on the 6 mile trip.  It ended up knocking off and crushing the top cone, which we had to replace. 

I wish you could have seen the kid's faces when we pulled in.  We took out the front picket fence and backed it into the yard.  

Now that the project is finished, we have great plans for a faux fireplace and ceiling chandelier. 

I love your idea for a rain barrel-fed sink inside.  That's gotta happen.  So cool!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Dear Olive,

Do you remember when I bought this book?

Well, now that the girls are a bit older, we qualify for this website as well:
50 Reasons Your Toddler is Awake Right Now

If I don't get some sleep soon, its about to get real around here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Dear Olive,

So, you know how I've been rather myopic in my pursuit of a library card catalog?  Scouring Craigslist nightly to no avail?  What did I find whilst walking into my favorite thrift store?

This 78 drawer beauty is to be our new family time capsule.  Its salvage from the College library across the street.  A stamp on the side says that it was custom made by a wood makers guild mid-century.  I plan to fill a drawer a year to store pressed leaves, baby hospital bracelets, shells, ticket stubs, and other trinkets that don't fit into our photo albums.  We'll bring everything out to review on New Year's as a family tradition.  This year on December 31st, we'll open it to find invites for a "secret pizza party," prophetic Chinese fortunes, and tiny prizes from our first trip to the fair.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Dear Olive,

I don't know what possessed me to form this rule that Halloween costumes must be homemade.  Each year it feels like that 3rd grade salt dough map project.  I put it off for weeks and then end up staying up to do it all in one night.  Right now I am making mermaid tails for our girls.  You should receive the package on Wednesday.  Let's see if they turn out better than my previous years attempts.

Remember this spider one was black socks that I safety pinned to Gabriel?

And this year I ended up stapling on the claws of his Max Wild Things suit.

I fared a little better with the shark suits.  I was pretty proud that Ella's connected to the Baby Bjorn.  She kicked her fishtail all night. 

This year, Gabe wants to be a Spiderman Jellyfish.  Wish me luck.


Dear Olive,

We love this book.

So a few days ago, I sent the kids these invitations:

3 layers of construction paper cut into pizza.  Then I rolled and stapled the crust.  Each pizza layer had a different detail of the party included.

We made our own pizzas and then read the book.

Secret pizza parties give me the happy screams.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Dear Olive,

I fully plan to hack this shirt for you.  Beware.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Dear Olive,

What the Frock is Bloglovin?

We're about to find out.
<a href="">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>


Dear Olive, 

I may be slightly consumed with redecorating my sister in law's apartment.  Sadly, even after the jump, this is what I think about in the middle of the night.  Ultimately, the math added up to: 10 frames, 3 mirrors, 5 tables, 5 chairs, 5 lamps, 3 rugs, 2 people, within constraints of $600, and a day and a half.

With great graciousness, Jac consented to let me bring junk into her space and arrange it how I saw fit.  She took a hands off approach and with generous trust, let me do anything that I wanted with her apartment.  Who does that?  
So, this was the before:

We had prepared for a handful of weekends. Over the course of a month, we purchased, painted, and reupholstered items from Craigslist and thrift stores with her budget of $600.  No single item in the space cost more than $30.  Many of our resources were procured while “curb-side shopping” on trash day.

The strategy was to drive to her apartment in the Short North of Columbus and spend just a weekend executing our plan.  Saturday morning, we loaded up my dad’s pick up truck with our finds: 5 lamps, 5 tables, 5 chairs, 3 rugs, shelves, frames, and art, and made the trip.  When we arrived, all that was in the living room was a dining bench and table, a couch and a tv.  We spent the next 28 hours hanging pictures, shelves, lighting, and styling the space. 

The pillows were constructed of Ikea linen towels and repurposed sweaters and the coffee table was a mid-century find cut down to size.  Our son provided much of the abstract artwork, which we inserted into simple gallery frames.  When I ran out of artwork, we literally walked the streets of Columbus finding cool graphic ads and free magazines to frame.  The bar cart beneath the large mirror was a typing table scored for $15 at the ReStore and we painted the $2 wire accent chairs with wide metallic gold stripes.  You'll notice her grandma's chair that I reupholstered too.  The roller shades are old maps that were targeted for the dumpster of a local elementary.  We also used them as wallpaper for a pop of color on the backside of her kitchen cabinets in the apartment’s entryway.  

Since the apartment management doesn’t allow painting, we added texture to the walls by hanging burlap curtain panels behind the dining area and then layering it with a vintage mirror.  Along the kitchen wall we added a mudroom space with iron curtain tie backs as oversized hooks and wooden slacks hangers as periodical holders.  All of the hardware, paint, decor, and furniture was included in the $600 budget and I’m kind of astounded that we pulled it off.  She arrives home from Africa in a few days.  Hopefully she gets the “Welcome Home” to beat the band!