Lovely Little Things: Ruche

1.31.2013


I've always loved the clothing over at Ruche, but I just recently discovered that they have some adorable pieces for little ones too! How did I not know this??? xo, Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win $50 toward a custom embroidered blanket, lovely, or pillow from Dolce Dreams!

Favorite Parenting Links Lately

1.30.2013

There have been a ton of great posts on the art of parenting in my reader lately. Here are a few of my very favorites that I thought were worth sharing:


Hope you find them as helpful as I did! xo, Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win $50 toward a custom embroidered blanket, lovely, or pillow from Dolce Dreams!

Newness!

1.29.2013

I updated the look of the blog on a bit of a whim today and I'm really loving the fresh feel! Just wondering if everything is looking okay on your end? xo, Lauren

P.S. Don't forget to enter to win $50 toward a custom embroidered blanket, lovely, or pillow from Dolce Dreams!

Giveaway: $50 to Dolce Dreams

I'm so happy to introduce you to one of A Lovely Lark's newest sponsors: Dolce Dreams. Dolce Dreams is the work of Nathalie DeSouligny-Blanco, who creates the most beautiful hand-crafted heirlooms for children. Her quilts, loveys, and tooth fairy pillows (and more) are all custom and hand embroidered. And the best part is Nathalie has generously offered a $50 credit to one lucky reader toward any item in her shop!

To enter simply leave a comment on this post telling us what item in the shop you would use the $50 toward. You can earn extra entries by liking Dolce Dreams on Facebook or by becoming a follower on Twitter or Pinterest. A winner will be chosen on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013. Please list each entry separately and good luck! xo, Lauren

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Entrants must provide a first name and email address in order to enter. Up to four entries per person. After the winner is randomly chosen he or she will be put in contact with the sponsors of the giveaway. Winnings will not be distributed by A Lovely Lark. If the winner does not claim his or her prize within ten days, they forfeit their winnings and another winner will be chosen and contacted via email. All rules and conditions are subject to change without notice.

PSA: P'Kolino on My Habit

1.28.2013
I've always loved P'Kolino's Easel, and it's for sale over on My Habit today! I also came across these cute diaper bags from Danzo - still a little on the pricey side for me, but they look fairly gender neutral, right?

Progress

Well, I'm happy to report that although the state of my house is in complete disarray, there is progress being made on the master bedroom floors. The glue that we purchased is no VOC, so no smell which is nice for me and the baby, although it's done a number on Kevin's hands, despite wearing gloves. He's  been hard at work all weekend:





Currently there are boxsprings in the nursery, our nightstands and hampers are in Violet's room, the headboard and bedframe are in the kitchen, and our mattress is in the back room (which is where we are sleeping at the moment). Not exactly my idea of a good time, but hopefully it'll just be until next weekend and the floors will be finished - hurray!

DIY Birch Veneer Artwork

1.25.2013
Here's some easy (and inexpensive) DIY artwork for you just in time for Valentine's Day:


Step 1: You will need an X-acto knife, a piece of cardboard or other cutting surface, a glue stick, birch veneer paper (can be purchased here - I used the 12"x12" size), and a print out of your text (flipped so that it looks backwards). You can download my 'for like ever' file (already reversed) here.

Step 2: Glue the printed text to the back of your birch veneer paper. Make sure it's glued so that you can see the text (and the text should look backwards)

Step 3: Place cardboard or another cutting surface beneath your paper and carefully cut through both the printed text and birch veneer paper with your X-acto knife.

Step 4: Mount to a piece of paper with glue or spray adhesive and frame. Hang and enjoy!



Cheap, easy, pretty - checks all of my boxes! Happy happy Friday!  xo, Lauren

New from Land of Nod

1.24.2013
The Land of Nod just put out their new pieces for Spring 2013 and there a few things that really caught my eye:


Circulation Chest, Bon Voyage Suitcase Set, Chalkboard Puppet Theatre, Striped Baby Blanket, Striped Storage Bin, Dotted Suitcase

I actually bought the Bon Voyage Suitcase Set for Violet's room - something that gets me about pink and peach every time! Plus they'd make for great storage for all of those little toys that get lost in the bottom of a big toy bin. I'd love one of those stripey blankets for the new babe - they look so soft and cozy, but we don't really need it (we've got blankets galore!) so I'm trying to restrain myself.

xo, Lauren

The Second Time Around


It hit me like a ton of bricks today - I'm in my third trimester. My baby girl will be here in two-and-a-half months. This pregnancy has literally flown by. And I don't have a single picture of myself pregnant. I mean, sure there are a few photos with me in them, but none that really show my pregnancy...and it makes me kind of sad. When I was pregnant with Violet we took at least one belly photo a month, and I really and truly thought I'd eventually get around to that kind of stuff with this pregnancy, but life just moves too fast these days. I feel like I don't really get a minute to sit and think about this new baby, this pregnancy. I'm too busy working all day, chasing after my toddler, and squeezing in a few minutes here and there to blog. It's so, so different from the last time I was pregnant and it pretty much occupied my every waking thought.

I know things are only going to get busier when the new baby is here, and I'm really worried that I'm missing important things - that I'm going to look back and regret not taking pictures of my belly and not keeping a journal about my pregnancy and, and and...

So I've decided (just now as I write this post - this is literally stream of consciousness, working it out as I type here) that maybe I should think about what is important to me with this pregnancy, get it down on 'paper', and really focus on those things. Before it's over and I totally miss it. So here's what I'm thinking so far:

  • Take at least one photo of myself pregnant that I love
  • Take a photo of Violet interacting with the baby (she's started to talk to my belly, give it kisses, and even sometimes tries to pry open my belly button to see her 'baby sistuhr') 
  • Write a few letters to Violet and to my new little girl
  • Take some time to do the practical stuff - look into getting my insurance company to pay for a breast pump, decide on bottles, pick out a couple of new baby outfits and blankets, turn in my maternity leave paperwork, etc.
  • Finish the nursery
  • Plan the baby's baptism for when my sister is here visiting from Australia
  • Come up with a for-sure name for our new little girl
These are the things that I feel should be on my mind, things that are important to me that I want or need to get accomplished. Maybe, just maybe getting them down in a concrete form will help? I hope so! On a positive note, I think Violet has actually finally turned a corner with the whole sleep thing, so hopefully that will help this tired mama get it together! (More on that to come - hopefully I'm not jinxing it by typing it on here, eek!) Anyway, sorry for the rambling post. If you made it through I applaud you! xo, Lauren


P.S. Anyone know the original source of the beautiful image above? I found it here.

Handmade Love

1.23.2013

Isn't this little mail pouch adorable? Violet would absolutely love playing with those little felt envelopes. One of her favorite things is to help pick up the mail when it comes through the mail slot each day. And what a fun Valentine's Day present! xo, Lauren

Nursery Bits + Pieces



I finally started working on updating the nursery for the new baby. It probably wasn't the best idea to wait until the third trimester - my energy has plummeted and I'm starting to get more and more uncomfortable. Luckily I'm not planning to do anything too labor intensive like repainting - just hoping to update some of the accessories. So far I've purchased this rug (20% off, hurray!) from West Elm, the sweet little bunny lamp by Egmont Toys, and Serena and Lily was nice enough to send over these gorgeous tassel drapes from their amazing new Spring collection. (By the way, today they're offering 20% off sitewide + free shipping!)

I'm currently working on creating some custom fabric for the crib bedding on Spoonflower - I just haven't been able to find anything ready-made that I really love - and on creating some DIY wall art and possibly a mobile for the space. Stay tuned! xo, Lauren

Lovely Little Tents

1.21.2013





Aren't these just the most lovely A-frame tents you've ever laid eyes on? See them and other pretty designs at Such Great Heights on Etsy.

Master Bedroom Redo: Part 1

We finally decided to tackle the master bedroom. It's the last room in our house with carpet, and we've been putting it off for a number of reasons - the biggest two being the Mister's back and the asbestos tile we knew was lurking beneath the rug. (Is it just us or does everyone save their own bedroom space as the last to fix up?) After some months of taking it easy with his back, Kevin got the brilliant idea to glue the wood flooring down instead of nailing it. It's a thinner wood, and it's actually recommended to be glued, so we're pretty excited to give it a go. Not only will it be easier on his back, it won't disturb the asbestos tile like nails would. I love a good win-win!

The first order of business was to remove the old radiator, starting with the hideous cover:






What we found beneath was almost more horrific than the asbestos tile, I must say. About a foot thick with dust:



Next the carpet had to go. Violet supervised while Kev cut it into strips and rolled it up:

Here is the finished result: a radiator-free wall and emerald green asbestos tile. Not exactly what I think Pantone had in mind:



There was actually a small section where the asbestos tile was missing after we pulled out the radiator, so Kevin filled the space in with some inexpensive peel-and-stick tile from Lowes. To make sure it was extra solid he used liquid nails in addition to the tiles' adhesive. Easy peasy!


I can't say how excited I am about the progress and I now I really can't wait for the wood floors to go in! That tile is super cold on your feet in the morning, that's for sure. What were people thinking putting that in a bedroom (or anywhere for that matter)?! Ah the joys of an older home :)

Have any of you used the glue method with wood flooring? How did it go? Anything we should know before we begin? Thanks in advance! xo, Lauren

Love Handmade

1.16.2013

Supermom: Rubyellen Bratcher of Cakies

This week's Supermom is Rubyellen Bratcher of Cakies. Rubyellen has four gorgeous little girls and an absolutely beautiful home. She is always coming up with a new lovely DIY project or pretty crafts, whipping up delicious looking meals, and planning awesome birthday bashes, movie nights, and fun activities for her girls. Rubyellen is truly a lady who does it all and that's why I'm happy to include her in my list of Supermoms! Read on to find out more about Rubyellen...

Baby Wish List No. 006

1.15.2013

I'm on the hunt at the moment for a unisex diaper bag, and let me tell you it isn't easy! We definitely learned from the last baby that we need one location to permanently house diapers, wipes, etc. so we can just grab and go. No switching back and forth between a Daddy and Mommy diaper bag. Here are four options that I'm currently eyeing up (although most are definitely out of my price range!)

1. Bento Ultimate Diaper Bag - Amazon ($82)

2. Charlie Unisex Diaper Bag - SoYoung ($175)

3. Storksak Sofia - Amazon ($398)

4. BabyBeau Butterscotch Kobe Bag - Zulily ($244.99)

Any suggestions for a stylish and affordable diaper bag that would work for the Mister and me would be greatly appreciated! xo, Lauren

Baby Wish List posts are generously sponsored by the online baby registry, BabyList - put anything on your baby registry from any store. It's as easy to use as Pinterest, because making your baby registry should be fun!

Ten Things About You...


1. The words that come out of your mouth at this age are the most adorable thing in the world. Your pronouns are all switched around, "Let I see, Mommy" and some of the phrases you utter are just too funny, "Actually I tan take (it a)long Mommy" Instead of saying 'yesterday' you say, "Last day I went Nonny Poppy's house" I seriously want to record everything that comes out of your mouth for fear that I will one day forget.

2. You love your hair. I worry that we will never be able to trim it for fear that the loss you will feel will be too great. Your favorite thing is to run around the house in between taking off clothing and putting on jammies, shaking your head, feeling your long curly tresses against your back.

3. At bedtime you come up with every excuse in the book to get us to come back into your room. Anything from, "My nose wunny Daddy" to "Bear/bad guys/Moe Moe in my woom!" to "I getting verwy tie-uhd!"

4. You're currently in an "Ew, yut!" phase. Any food, new to you or old hat can be subject to this phrase.

5. You love to help with everything. You help us vacuum, sweep, cook, unload the dishwasher, fold laundry, and dry dishes. You are our big helper and we hope it lasts well into the teenage years! *wink wink*

6. Your favorite toy is probably your baby doll. You've named her "Mad-son" after the little baby who comes once a week to your sitter. You love to change her diaper, feed her water and "milt", and give her "med-sin". You put bandaids on her boo boos and swaddle her tightly before you rock her to sleep. Baby Mad-son's favorite lullabies are Rockabye Baby and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. You tell her things like, "That's otay baby" and "I'll be wight bat!". Sometimes you like to push her in the stroller, at other times carry her in a backpack or carrier. You are going to be such a wonderful big sister and mommy someday.

7. You've started reading parts of your books and singing along with us. We are amazed at how quickly you can pick up the words or lyrics to anything new. Not only do you read, but you act along with the story. When the Cat in the Hat is sad, your face drops, your voice gets soft. When the fish is angry you scrunch up your eyebrows and wag your finger right along with him. We love that you have such a vivid imagination and love of stories and songs.

8. Reverse psychology is our biggest trick right now. You love to make everything into a game. If I want you to put your pj's on I'll say, "I want to wear these jammies - you're not allowed." And you quickly snatch them away with a grin and giggle as you tug them over your wee little head. When Daddy wants a hug at bedtime I simply have to say that, "No I want to give Daddy a hug," and you immediately wrap your arms around him. I'm not sure how long this trick will last, but we're using it to our full advantage at the moment.

9. Your favorite books right now include Going on a Bear Hunt, The Cat in the Hat, The Bear Snores On, and The Bear Feels Scared. Anything with a bear and a 'Scare-wee pahwt" and you are happy as a clam.

10. One of your most loved games is to have someone save you. You love to snuggle up with Daddy as Mommy tries to snatch you away, and vice versa. Hide and go seek and simply running around the house are other close contenders.

We love you so much sweetheart - you light up our lives!
xo, Mommy & Daddy

January Cure: Week 2

1.14.2013

If you'd like to check out how I did on week two of the January Cure (I'll admit there may have been a little cheating *cough cough*), check it out over on Apartment Therapy. xo, Lauren

Wishing...

1.11.2013

Thought if I got this out on here I wouldn't be as tempted to buy anything...

Since we took down our Christmas decorations I have been really, really, really wishing for a few new things for our living and dining rooms. Minty hues are really doing it for me these days (sorry emerald) and I think mint would be the perfect accent color with our wallpaper (Cow Parsley by Cole & Son). The other thing I'd really like to change is the amount of black in both rooms. Right now our dining chairs, TV stand, and end table are black and somewhat traditional and I'd love to go with a more updated look in white and wood tones instead. Here are a few of the items I've been coveting as of late:


So here's to hoping that now after writing about these beauties I will feel less of a compulsion to dip into the baby savings :) I think I can I think I can... xo, Lauren

New Favorites from Ferm Living

1.10.2013
Ferm Living just announced some of their new products - I am sooo in love! The tent makes me swoon.
Check them all out here.

Pinspiration No. 2: Warm Brights


I'm definitely noticing a color trend with a lot of my pins lately - I'm really attracted to these bright and fresh colors at the moment. I think I'm just so tired of the grays and browns and blahs outside. Makes me want to throw some hot pink on my walls and throw a bunch of pom poms around my house!

Top row: one, two, three
Middle row: one, two, three
Bottom row: one, two, three

January Cure: Week 1 - Check!

1.09.2013

Well I'm excited to check week one of Apartment Therapy's January Cure off of my list. Looking forward to this week's assignments. It feels great to get organized! Check out the full details on each of my assignments from last week right here. xo, Lauren

My Favorite Little Aussie

a-lovely-lark-xavier-monthly-photos Just had to take a minute to share these adorable monthly photos my sister has been taking of my nephew, Xavier. Isn't he the cutest?! I attempted something like this with Violet, but it was difficult with all of her medical issues at the time. Hoping with the next baby I'll be a little more successful... Thanks for letting me share sis! xo, Lauren

Fresh & Clean

1.08.2013

I don't know about you, but when the new year rolls around and my Christmas decorations are neatly packed away, I feel the urge to freshen up the house. Bringing in clean, bright colors, purging the clutter, and getting organized all score high on my list right now. If you head on over to Houzz.com you can check out my favorite items for doing just that. (if I only had some cash!) xo, Lauren

Even More Nursery Ideas

1.07.2013





Clockwise from top left: French tassel curtains, dot fabric, Ferm Living little dormCastle pom pom cushion, Egmont rabbit lamp, Phoenix dhurrie rug, tall rope basket, linen heart, Marimekko Unikko wallpaper, In the Gnome container

I had a lot of trouble committing to a design for the nursery update, but I notice I'm being drawn to warm pinks, peaches, corals, and oranges. (Surprise surprise!) I honestly kind of resisted it for a while because I feel like there's a lot of negative thoughts on doing a 'traditional pink' nursery for a girl, but in the end you've got to do what you love, and really, who cares what everyone else thinks! I'm really excited about these new tassel curtains from Serena & Lily. I was planning to DIY some basic white curtains with pom pom trim, but I came across these and was instantly smitten. Looks like I might not have to muddle through a sewing project after all! xo, Lauren

Homework

1.06.2013

Getting started on my weekend homework for the January Cure - clean the floors! And trust me, after the holidays - they sorely need it...

January Cure

1.04.2013
I'm participating in Apartment Therapy's January Cure this month. Day one's assignment was to make a list of projects that need doing around the house. It could include cleaning, organizing, trouble spots - the sky's the limit! Here's my list:

This weekend I'm going to tackle assignments two and three: create an 'outbox' and tackle your floors. It's not too late to join in! You can sign up here. Now off to get crackin'...

Happy Friday!

xo, Lauren

Favorite Projects of 2012




Looking back at 2012, we got a lot of DIY projects (big and small) accomplished here at the H-Haus. Here are a few of my favorites from the past year:


Looking ahead to 2013, I plan to tie up a lot of loose ends around the house before diving into anything new, but on my list would be:

1. DIY Upholstered Headboard
2. Wood floors in the master bedroom
3. Updating the nursery for the new baby
4. Painting the kitchen cabinets
5. Wood floors in the kitchen
6. Painting the entryway

And probably a few other little odds and ends along the way. Our house may be tiny, but we are hoping to spread a little DIY love to every single square inch of it - after all, it's where we spend most of our time. Here's to a happy, lovely home! xo, Lauren

White + Wood + A Pop of Color

1.03.2013

Here's another look I'm really drawn to: creamy whites + warm wood tones + pops of bright fun color. I am seriously the worst decision maker in the world...

Clockwise from top left: Themis Mono Mobile, LIDAN Baskets, Cloud Wall Garland, MUR Wall Patterns, Chevron Knot Rug, Love You Art, Dovetail Animals

Resolve...


After thinking long and hard, I've come up with a few things I'd really like to focus on this year:

1. Number one on my list is to look at the bright side. I think between the short days and pregnancy hormones, I've been a little negative and down in the dumps lately. I was really feeling down about going back to work - I love my job, but waking up early is not my cup of tea and I was really enjoying my time home over the holidays with my family. In the end it all comes down to the fact that I don't want to go through life that way, so I'm going to choose to focus on the positive and try to keep a smile on my face. I did really well yesterday and today, although last night I'll admit I got a little down when I couldn't fall asleep. I think tiredness really sets off my negativity. Maybe along with this goal another one should be to get more sleep!

2. SAVE. Money that is. We were doing really well, but then the holiday season hit. It seems that no matter how much I save and budget I always end up spending more than I'd like. In spite of that bump in the road I'm determined to get back on track with saving to stay home with the new baby. My goal is to stay home for over a year. I won't get paid for any of that time, so having a nest egg is a must!

3. Be more organized. Sometimes I feel like my life is like a moving freight train and I just can't keep up. I'm tired of playing catch up. This year I want to I want to take control of things and try to be one step ahead with better meal planning, a cleaning schedule, a better bedtime routine, etc.

Going along with that I really need to get on top of our laundry situation. Last year one of my resolutions was to immediately put away laundry (to keep from looking like a hoarder. Seriously - sometimes it seems like there are mountains of clean laundry filling our entire bedroom). Well, that goal never really worked out last year but I'm determined to make it work this year. We've decided to make it into a game and have 'family laundry time.' We all fold the laundry together and each take our own pile (well Violet takes a little of hers and we take the rest) up and put it straight into our dressers. Violet seems to really like it so far - hopefully that will stick!

4. Be a better friend. After working all day away from my little girl, I really just want to come home and be with her. I realize though that I really miss seeing my friends and that being away from the babe one evening a month wouldn't hurt her or me. My plan is to make a date each month with a couple of my girlfriends for dinner, a movie, or just some time to chat. I also want to try to help out my friends who are either single mamas or new mamas. Maybe offer to babysit or bring them a hot meal. And birthdays - I'm the worst! I'd love to send out pretty cards in the mail - so much better than a message on Facebook.

5. Tie up loose ends. We have so many unfinished projects around the house it's kind of ridiculous. I'd like to choose one thing for us to focus on each weekend and force myself not to start anything new until the current projects are taken care of.

So there you have it! Five goals for the new year. Five sounds like a nice, round, manageable number, right? Wish me luck! xo, Lauren

New Year, New Baby, New(ish) Nursery

1.02.2013
Now that we know we're having another little girl, I've been thinking a lot about the nursery. I'd like to make some small changes to update it for our new little sweetie without going too crazy. Right now I'm thinking we'll keep the current paint color and furniture and just spruce the room up with new accessories and bedding. Here are a few fun things that are on my wish list:

1. I Lovely Love My Family print by Tuesday Mourning
2. For Like Ever lasercut sign by Oh Dier Living
3. Unikko Wallpaper in Cream by Marimekko
4. Sleepy Fox by Savage Seeds
5. Lasercut Birch Eep Birds by Skinny laMinx
6. Running Fox by Ostheimer
7. Clay Toadstool by Sweet Bestiary
8. Little Wooden Bear by Outside Everywhere

I've been crushing on that Marimekko wallpaper for pretty much ever since I saw it in this little girls' room a long time ago. I'm not sure where I'd use it - as art? In the nook? On the dresser? But I'd love to incorporate it somehow. It would be nice if I could find a remnant since a whole roll would probably be overkill, but I don't know if that will happen. Well, I'm off to ponder a little more so that I can hopefully have it finished by the time the new baby arrives! xo, Lauren

Happy New Year!

1.01.2013
A-Lovely-Lark-New-Year's-Eve-2012

We decided to spend New Year's Eve at home this year - just the three (and a half) of us. After running all over visiting with family and friends this holiday season it was nice to just be in our own space with our own little family. We made our own party fun - Kev cooked us a delicious German-style dinner of rouladen, dumplings, and red cabbage, I scavenged the house for some festive decorations, we had 'fancy' (alcohol-free for V and me) drinks, made paper crowns, and we all had a dance party in the dining room. Then after the babe was fast asleep, the Mister snuck out and got us some delicious desserts to munch on as we watched the ball drop. It was festive and fun and just what we needed to finish off our wonderful year. Happy 2013! xo, Lauren
 

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