Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Botany Beige

Botany Beige by Kwal

Botany Beige is my nemesis.

Leonard and I have lived in this house for two and a half years now, and other than decorating Millie's room, it looks pretty similar to when we moved in. That's not to say I don't have big plans for this place. I've got big plans. Plans that occupy my mind those last moments before falling asleep. That give me pause while cleaning the kitchen, my mind a whirl of paint colors and tile. That cause me to furrow my brow and murmur things like "hmm.." or clack my tongue while looking at a bare wall and contemplating bold artwork. I'm glad we haven't done any big projects yet as I feel like I've been marinating in this house, figuring out it's strengths and flaws. It certainly has it's strengths - open floor plan, spacious rooms, beautiful wood work.

But as for flaws, it's greatest is botany beige. Botany beige is a nice enough color. A safe neutral, used frequently on walls to add warmth and complement many design styles. However, this is the color the builder chose for all the interior woodwork. It covers the trim, columns, baseboards, window pane casings, and even some of the exterior doors. Even the bleeping outlets are botany beige. To make it pop, a fairly dark milk chocolate brown color was used on the walls which do make the botany beige look light. That is, until you put a white piece of paper against it and realize that botany beige isn't light at all. And that's where my design dilemma comes in. When it comes to color palettes, I'm a gray girl. I like cool light grays, blue grays, and charcoals. And those colors would look great in this house, but certainly not against botany beige. And since Leonard and I are planning a revamp of the sewing room (coming soon!), I needed to figure out a good salmon pink (bold, I know!) for my cabinets, but in order to do that I needed to know what wall color I should choose, and in order to that I needed an arsenal of tones that would complement Botany Beige. So I went to a local Benjamin Moore store yesterday to get some help from their color consultant as my mom entertained and toddled with my toddler.

November Rain by Benjamin Moore

Turns out Botany Beige has purple undertones, and any of those cool grays I like would bring those out, which is why they just won't do. Francine, my matter-of-fact and knowledgeable consultant, recommended yellows or greens for the walls. I wasn't interested. So we settled on a warm, light, gray green called November Rain. And I'm in love. I bought a sample and painted a poster board, and as Francine recommended, I've been moving it around from room to room at different times during the day. Sometimes it looks gray, sometimes the greenish tinges subtly shine through, and sometimes it looks like an off-white. It's gray enough that it doesn't look minty and green enough that it still looks warm, but not too warm. And it looks pretty nice against that conniving Botany Beige. My plan is to start off with November Rain on the walls of the sewing room and see how we like it, then eventually use it to cover up those brown walls in the larger living spaces of the house.

Coral Buff by Benjamin Moore

And speaking of the sewing room, I bought some Ikea cabinets which I'm having painted. I feel like I can be bolder in this room since it's meant to inspire all sorts of creativity, so I thought a salmon pink would be a good choice for the cabinets. I wanted it to be an orangey pink, kinda like the black sheep of the pink family. We finally decided on Coral Buff which is bold but not too bright and goes great with November Rain as well as Regent Green, another color I plan to use in the sewing room and throughout the rest of the house.

Regent Green by Benjamin Moore

I'm satisfied with what I've got so far, and I couldn't have done it without Francine. Well, Francine and the color that inspired it all. Botany Beige helped me step out of my cool gray tone comfort zone, so thanks BB!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Millie's Lovey

Oh, did I say I'd post daily for a month? Yikes, I should have said two weeks. My goal was to re-motivate myself to post more regularly, so I'll count it as a success.

Well, I finally finished one of my projects. I've been wanting to sew my girl a lovey for some time, and at 14 months I figure now is a good time to introduce one. I saw this little long-eared softie in Stuffed Magazine, originally created by an artist named Minu, and decided I'd recreate him for Millie. I didn't have a pattern so I essentially drew out the body with room for a seam allowance and then made the ears and arms in proportion. The original artist used a darning foot to create the eyes and lashes, but since I don't have one I went ahead and handstitched the face.

If successful, loveys can certainly undergo a lot of abuse, so I figured I'd go for some higher quality materials. I ordered the fur and stuffing from the same place the artist recommended, and even though it cost a bit more, the quality is definitely better than what I would have picked up at JoAnn's.

I really like the long length of the cotton fur, and the wool felt is quite soft. I was especially impressed with the stuffing material. Usually when I stuff a pillow with the typical commercial polyfil, it's not long before they turn a bit lumpy. But this material allowed me to firmly stuff the body while lightly stuffing the ears and arms to give a floppy affect, and thus far everything has stayed in its place.

Of course, I had to personalize it a bit!

At first Millie was a bit confused by the new addition. I started introducing him everytime we'd nurse, and also at bedtime. She'd look at him suspiciously and then was fairly indifferent. But with time she'd play peek-a-boo with his ears and trace his eyes. Now whenever it's bedtime I say "Go get Lovey!" and she searches him out, squeezes him tight, and keeps him with her during our routine.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween 2011

After resigning myself to the fact that a lumberjack costume just wasn't in the cards for this year's Halloween, we ended pulling together a great last minute pioneer costume for Millie. My mom had brought back this adorable tiny bonnet from Amish country earlier this year, so we based the costume around that.

I originally planned to have her wear last year's little brown dress, but alas it was just barely too small. I was pleasantly surprised though when my mom brought her to our work Halloween party yesterday afternoon in this little get up.

This black and white gingham dress has been sitting in her closet for the past year, unworn. It was the first dress I ever made, back when she was about four months old. It was my introduction to the bogus sizing of children's patterns - this dress was size newborn. Now, at 14 months it finally fits. There's no zipper in the back yet so my mom improvised with some stick on velcro tabs. Genius! She also grabbed some black tights and boots and got her to the party just in time.

I made the apron also last minute, using some fabric I had laying around for some well intentioned, but probably will never be realized, sewing project.

Pioneer baby out past her bedtime = Halloween Hardship!

Hope you had a great Halloween!