Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cross Stitch Dala Horse Pattern

Every time I try to use an off-the-shelf pattern, I find things that I'd like to change, and I start to tinker with the pattern. Call me a perfectionist. I look for inspiration from not just cross stitch patterns, but also real-life photos. That is what happened here, leading to the creation of my own original Dala Horse pattern. I think this design works for anyone who has a playful side, not just the Swedish.

DMC colors used:
Green - 910
White - BLANC
Red - 817
Yellow - 726
Blue - 995

Fabric: White 14-count Aida cloth

Finished size: Slightly smaller than 4 x 4 inches

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Couple of Birds Sitting on a Branch (Cross Stitch)

This is a pair of birds perching on a branch with three red berries. Note that the beaks are each made with two half-stitches. Be sure to "catch" your longer diagonal stitch with your shorter stitch (the one that goes into the middle of a square) or else your beak won't look tight and crisp (it will look rounded / bulbous). There is also one half-stitch randomly towards the mid-bottom of the left bird.

DMC colors used:
Dark red for berries – To be added later
Light red for berries – To be added later
Dark gray for beaks – To be added later
Blue – To be added later
Brown for branch – To be added later

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida

Small Plane in Cross Stitch

DMC colors used:
Dull purple – 3041 is similar
White (for highlights in the cockpit) – BLANC
Red – 304
Yellow – 972

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida cloth

The finished size for my Christmas ornament was 3.25 inches square.

Small Cross Stitch Train

I'm pretty proud of myself for creating this tiny train pattern from scratch. I turned this design into a 3.25-inch square Christmas ornament using the finishing technique in this post.

DMC colors used:
Red – 304
Yellow – 972
Green – 910 or 699 (similar)
Black for wheels – 310

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida cloth

Tiny, Small Helicopter (Cross Stitch)

Do you know what's surprisingly hard to find online? A cross stitch pattern for a small, ornament-sized plane. But I found one for a helicopter!

DMC colors used:
Red – 304
Yellow – 972
Green – 910 or 699 (similar)
White for window of helicopter – BLANC

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida cloth

Finishing directions for turning this into a Christmas ornament can be found in this post.

Small Red Cottage (Cross Stitch) and Tips for Using Metallic Embroider Floss

I made this small cross stitch item and turned it into a 3.25-inch square Christmas ornament. The metallic floss was difficult to work with (see my tips below). See this post for my mounting / finishing instructions.

DMC colors used:
Red for house – 304
Pearl / iridescent white metallic embroidery floss
White (for windows) – BLANC

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida cloth*
*Note: If I had to do this project again, I would have done it on a colored cloth (maybe tan?) - doing white snow and a white roof on a white cloth background makes little sense.

Tips for working with metallic embroidery floss:

  • Work in small sections, using short pieces of floss - longer pieces will tangle
  • Work in as large a weave of cloth as you can - I've tried using metallic embroidery floss with 18-count Aida cloth - do. not. do. that. The smaller the weave of your fabric, the more likely it is that your metallic floss will snag and / or get tangled
  • Work slowly - rushing will lead to tangles
  • Use a hoop - normally, using a hoop for small designs (less than 4"x4") is unnecessary, but because the metallic floss is more stiff and rigid than ordinary floss, you are more likely to need to tug on your floss to get it to do what you want (i.e. to get it to go through your fabric), which could warp and stretch your fabric unevenly if it's not secured in a hoop

Christian Cross with Dark Shadow Detail and Backstitching (Cross Stitch)

I made this ornament - the finished size of my ornament was 3.25 inches square but I had plenty of room on every side (you could easily use this pattern for a 2.75-inch square ornament). The gold outline was done via backstitching at the very end.

DMC colors used:
Metallic pearl in gold
Dark and light purple were both in this pack (#340 light purple and #333 dark purple are similar)

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida cloth

See this post for how I turned this into a Christmas ornament.

Choo-Choo Train Cross Stitch

I made this cute toy choo-choo train ornament using cross stitch. My finished ornament was 3.25 inches square from corner to corner.

DMC colors used:
White for the window – BLANC
Red for train body – 304
Dull purple – 3041 (similar)
Green for stripes – 910 or 699 (similar)
Black for wheel bar – 310
Darker blue for front and back wheel – 3807
Lighter blue for middle wheel – 794
Yellow – 972

Fabric used: 14-count white Aida cloth

See this post for how I turned it into a Christmas ornament.

*Note: for the exact dull purple and green I used, I'm not sure what their DMC numbers were, but the ones provided above are very similar.

Fancy Christian Cross (Cross Stitch)

Here is a Christian Cross. It was kind of hard to find a pattern online since the word "cross" is part of "cross stitch." You may want to try Googling with the words "holy" or "religious" or "Christian," etc. I used this cross stitch to make a Christmas ornament. My finished ornament size including all of the excess cloth was 3.25 inches square.

DMC colors used:
Red – 304
Light blue – 157
Light brown –839
Dark brown – 436
Green – 910 or 699 (similar)
White (in the wreath) – BLANC

Fabric: Aida 14-count in white

See this post for how I mounted it.

Minions Cross Stitch

A couple (boy and girl) of minions. This was a pretty easy project and I think it turned out cute. I used a 3-inch wooden embroidery hoop.

DMC colors used:
Minion yellow – 3822
Black – 310
Blue for overalls – 995
Pink for dress – 602
Pink for cheeks (female) – 605
Gray for around eyeglass – 318
White for eyes – BLANC

14-count Aida, white-colored

Rainbow Colored Christian Cross (Cross Stitch)

This is a very simple Christian Cross shape. My finished ornament was 3.25 inches square, but mine had a lot of excess edge around the cross - you could easily use this pattern for a 2.75-inch square.

DMC colors used:
Red – 817
Yellow – 726
Blue – 995

Fabric used: 14-count Aida in white

Mounting (finishing) directions for my ornament:
I cut press-on mounting board to size using an Exacto knife, a metal ruler, and a self-healing cutting mat (like quilters use). Then I mounted my finished cross stitch design squarely onto the board (by pressing it into place), and lightly hot-glued it to the back (using a hot glue gun). If you don't have press-on mounting board, you could cut mat board to size and use that. Afterwards, I made a loop of yarn, knotted it at the bottom, and glued that to the back of my ornament. Then I glued a piece of felt cut 1/2 inch larger on all sides than my ornament to the back, thus covering the back of my mounting board and my yarn hanger. The back of my ornament was lumpy, but I was okay with that.

All my pretty finished ornaments!

Friday, December 11, 2015

4-Month-Old Bear (Update)

I have two children – a 25-month-old boy and a 4.5-month-old boy. This post was originally meant to be a three-month update on the little guy, but I didn’t get around to it, so enjoy this 4-month update! He’s just changing so fast that having only a newborn post and a six-month post didn’t feel like enough.
I guess the biggest surprise is how different our first son is from our second son. Our first son was larger at this age – both in terms of height and weight – and also harder to please; he was more of a serious kid. Further, our first kid hated getting too hot (and would cry if you tried to put him in warmer clothes), was sick frequently with ear infections, and was not interested in cuddling most of the time. Bear on the other hand is all smiles. Even when he was feeling sick (he had a cold once), he was very mild mannered about the whole thing. Bear loves getting warm and snuggling – whether it’s fuzzy footie pajamas or cuddling with you and a toasty blanket – he is all about it. Our first son has rounded features – Bear has more of a pointy nose and chin. Our first son lost all of his hair around six weeks old; knock on wood, Bear hasn’t lost any of his hair.
The Best Things
The best thing about Bear being part of our family is that life feels fuller. I was not feeling unhappy or incomplete before Bear – I love my children equally. However, comparing life now to life before Bear is like apples to oranges. Or rather, it’s like comparing a barrel of apples on one side, with a barrel of apples and an additional barrel of oranges on the other hand. Our first son is like the barrel of apples on each side of the equation – my love for him has not changed and I wouldn’t want anything to be different with him. But then the additional barrel of oranges is like having Bear join the party! It’s different and wonderful. I really do not know where to start in terms of expressing how thankful I feel for both of my children.
There are so many other good things to share that I do not know where to start! One thing I love is how loving our first son is with Bear. And for his part, Bear encourages this by basically having a baby-crush on his older brother – he smiles adoringly at our older son and coos at him whenever he is near. He just gets so excited to see his big brother!
The Worst Things
Sometimes I feel guilty about the amount of attention I am paying to Bear – I wonder if our first son will feel left out. I do my best to try to include him and reach out to him. But on the other hand, Bear is younger and smaller than Max, and I feel strongly drawn to protect, nurture, and interact with Bear. Let me provide an example – our toddler was sick with a cold earlier this week. Normally, he loves to go over to Bear, touch Bear’s hands and chest, nuzzle him, and speak to him face-to-face (which ordinarily is heart-meltingly sweet). But because our toddler was sick, I rebuffed him and pushed him away, even though it made him cry due to the perceived unfairness. “My [brother's name]!” he protested. It made me sad to reject his displays of affection and see him so sad, but I really did not want baby Bear to catch his cold.
Another bad thing is how fragile all children are, especially during the first year. There are so many bad things that could happen to them, from SIDS to falls (from furniture, in the driveway, etc.) to a car accident... I really do not know how other people cope when something really bad happens to their child – it is the worst kind of pain I can imagine. It’s like the greatest joy in life – and I think right now is probably the most joyful time of my life – also comes with the greatest risk, because at any moment it could be taken away, and then you have the knowledge of how great it once was to haunt you. Earlier this year, we lost our beloved black-and-white pet cat unexpectedly – I was devastated – and what I learned from that experience is that you never, ever truly know what you have until you have to adjust to it being gone.
What I’m Doing Differently This Time Around
On a lighter note, Bear does not use a pacifier, even though our first son did (and still does). Instead, Bear sucks his thumb, his burp cloth, a blanket, his teether, my thumb… pretty much anything. Also, I’m exclusively breastfeeding right now (technically, it’s called “exclusively pumping” since we never did master latching). Our first son got a mix of formula and breastmilk. Breastfeeding / pumping is probably number three on my “worst things” list above. Every woman is different, but for me personally, breastfeeding has been ten times more difficult than being pregnant ever was. It is so time-consuming and I am frequently uncomfortable (during pumping, when engorged, when sore, when chaffed). The thought of breastfeeding a third child is almost enough to make me forget about having a third child entirely. I have stuck with breastfeeding Bear so far because I love Bear. Love: the greatest motivator of all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Toddler Bedroom


Toddler bed!

The colors in the room: gray, lime green, blue-green, and white

A rug for toy cars

The chair is for the bedtime story reader to sit in

His stuff animals

His wardrobe

His puzzle and crafting area

Monday, November 2, 2015

Infant Nursery


Crib, note the blue bedding

Current color scheme, showing gray, dark and light blue, and white

Orange dreamcatcher above the bed

Photo showing our current storage solutions, the gray closet organizer and the white Sterilite rolly

Another angle, this time showing the toy chest

Photo of diaper changing table, diapers, wipes, tote containing spare changing pad covers, and Diaper Genie

Entire room

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fake It 'Til You Make It: Yellow, Ivory and Tan Bedroom

I found this inspiration image, originally from Atlanta Homes Mag, and wondered, how could this look be achieved at home? Here is my answer, with affordable sources!

Yellow sheets

The tan color was a little hard to source because there are many words that all can mean tan - flax, beige, camel, and sand can be the same color, but internet listings may not list the word you choose to search for in lieu of another, similar word for the same thing! Also, I believe the curtains and the pillow on the bench may be custom (made specifically for this room using fabric and some seamstress skills), so I could not find a ready-made close match for the curtains.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Two Year Kiddo Update

His Schedule:  On the weekdays he gets up at 6:45 a.m.; on the weekends it’s 8:30 a.m. On the weekdays, he naps from 11:30 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m.; on the weekends it’s from about noon until 2:00 p.m., or longer if we let him. His bed time is currently 8:45 p.m.

His Size:  At his 2-year-old wellness visit, he was 2 ft. 10.5 inches tall (0.87 m), which is in the 54th percentile for height. He was 29 lbs. 11 oz. (about 13.5 kg), which is in the 70th percentile for weight.

His Personality:  He’s not quite the cheerful kiddo he used to be. Maybe it’s that he’s entering the terrible twos? He’s very insistent when it comes to getting his way – someday his persistence will be an asset to him, but right now it can be annoying to his caregivers. I think he’s a very independent kid – he’s willing to go off by himself if you’re not watching him, and he’s willing to entertain himself by reading a book or playing with blocks.

His Favorite Things:
  • Activity:  Spending time with his daddy, even if it’s just going to the grocery store together... He still loves coloring with his crayons (which he pronounces “cran”)... Yesterday, I noticed him shading with his crayons for the first time, not just drawing curvy lines
  • Animal: His favorite animal seems to be cats (because of our cat, "Cat-Cat," and/or Daniel Tiger)... He is fonder of our cat than our dog, though he loves them both (and hugs them frequently to prove it)
  • Book:  The Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers
  • Color: He still really likes the color orange... Because he’s now old enough to pick out his own clothes, we’ve noticed that he seems to like wearing the color green... Honestly, he seems to like most colors, but with a preference towards orange, green, red, and yellow
  • Security Item:  He went through a phase when he wanted "Cat-Cat" (a black-and-white leopard stuffed animal wearing a white t-shirt) to be with him everywhere... He is still quite attached to his fuzzy green lion blanket... When he’s sleepy or hurt, then he sucks his "binky" (pacifier) – if I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t have given the kiddo a pacifier quite as much when he was younger since it's become kind of a crutch
  • Toys:  He still likes Mega Bloks, but now he also likes Duplos... He can build a tall tower with Mega Bloks, or a short tower with Duplos
  • TV Show:  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is his favorite right now, but he still sometimes watches FraggleRock

Words:  He can say a lot of words now – too many to count. Some of the more unusual words he knows (for a toddler) are owl, key, and belt.

Major Life Events, Age 18 Months to 2 Years:
  • The biggest thing to happen to the kiddo recently was the additionof his baby brother to our family this summer. He seems to be quite fond of his brother. He is particularly affectionate with baby Bear. He will do everything from pet Bear, to kiss him, to give him a bottle.
  • In August we transitioned the kiddo to his toddler bed!
  • Travel - we went on a few short vacations this summer that were a lot of fun, and we went to a wedding this fall.

Family and Friends:  I’m surprised at how well the kiddo plays with our friends’ children despite the age gap (the kiddo is a couple of years younger than some of our friends’ children). I had thought that because of the size and maturity gap, the kiddo wouldn’t be able to, but he really is able to hang out and play with the other kids.

Parenting:  I wish I could say that parenting the kiddo is just as easy now as it was when he was 6 to 18 months old. However, in the last month or so he has gotten quite defiant. It can be very annoying. And if he’s challenged (i.e. if I tell him “no” or “don’t”) and he’s prevented from doing what he wants, then he cries. Aside from the power struggle I just described, it’s also sometimes frustrating to interact with the kiddo because he’d rather watch TV than read a book with me, and he almost never wants to cuddle. Why does it hurt so much to be told “no” by a toddler when all you want to do is hug him? He can also say “go away,” complete with a shooing-off hand motion.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Best Baby Products

For Sleeping

For Feeding

For Everything Else

Sometimes, brand doesn't matter. However, sometimes it does, so I'm sharing some of my favorite products.

For Sleeping:

For Feeding:

For Everything Else:

Newborn "Bear": Kid Update

Newborn Update
This summer I had a baby. For my first son, I’ve been doing updates on this blog every six months, and I'm trying to start that for "The Bear." But since it’s really hard to set aside even 15 minutes to do a blog post when you have an infant, this post is a couple of months late.

His Birth Story
It could not have gone better. At 10 p.m. the night before he was born, out of nowhere, my water broke. I was surprised since I wasn’t having contractions yet. At 1:30 a.m., the contractions started. I tried to relax my body and focus on surrendering my body to the contractions. At around 2:30 a.m., I woke my husband and asked him to make me a smoothie since I was thirsty, I was craving one, and didn’t want to get to the hospital and be denied food and beverage. My mom arrived to watch our older son and started timing my contractions. At about 3 a.m., my mom informed me that my contractions were a minute and a half long and coming every three minutes, because she had been timing them on her wristwatch. This was a surprise to me since they didn’t seem that long or that close together to me. At about 3:15 a.m. my husband and I got into the car to go to the hospital; he drove quickly. At about 3:35 a.m. we arrived at the hospital and got into the elevator. I got on my hands and knees in the elevator during a powerful contraction. Once we got to the labor floor, I sent my husband to check us in at their front desk while I waited near the elevator, still on my hands and knees. A nurse found me and rounded up a wheelchair to push me to the front desk. Once she got me to the front desk, I felt a sensation that made me wonder if I should push. “I’m going to try to push,” I said. “Don’t push!” said a nurse, but it was too late – I had already started to push and I could not stop. “Doing it,” I said. I was wheeled into the room and in what I believe was a total of four pushes, this baby was here! He was born at 3:43 a.m. The nurses made some comment about me livening up their night. I couldn’t believe labor was over so fast for me this time. He looked so healthy when he was born (by contrast, our first son was purple when he was born and was what they called a “stunned baby”). His first day is kind of a blur to me now, but I remember holding him a lot – he loved to be held.

His Personality
He’s great – he’s an awesome baby, and we are very blessed to have him. He’s cuddly and smiley, and he's a happy baby. I could not ask for a sweeter baby. As annoying as breastfeeding has been (read below), spending time with this baby while he’s this age has been a tremendous gift that I am soaking in.

The single biggest hurdle I have faced for both him as well as our first son is breastfeeding. Despite seeing multiple lactation consultants (five to be exact) multiple times, neither of my sons was adept at latching on. Therefore, I have been using a breastpump to give him breastmilk. Luckily, this time I have been producing enough milk (unlike last time). It’s difficult to go pump every three hours, especially with another child to take care of besides my new little one. There is so much confusing, conflicting information out there for exclusive pumpers, but the biggest piece of erroneous information out there is that pumping for 10-15 minutes per session is enough. While it is enough for some moms, it is not enough for many moms, especially in the beginning. Our bodies are all made differently – some women have a faster letdown cycle than others. Basically, you should pump until empty each time, and hopefully get through two letdown cycles. For me, that’s been about 40 minutes per session using a double-pump thus far.

My Parents
Having my parents live near us and be willing to help us watch our kids has been really helpful, and I could not be more thankful that they are alive and, for the most part, healthy.

How I’m Feeling
I couldn’t be happier with my family. I haven’t decided if I’d like to stick with just two kids, or try to add a third child at some point in the future. Either way, time feels like it’s flying by. I know that even if I add one more kid, my years of being the parent of a child in diapers are numbered. Before I know it, my sons will be running around chasing soccer balls and will be too big for me to hold in my arms. They will look like “big kids” and their clothes will go from oh-so-cute to purely functional. Even if I drink in every precious moment of this wonderful time, it will end. But when it does, I hope I can just be thankful, instead of being baby-crazy forever (although, seriously, is there anything that feels as good as holding a warm, snuggly infant?). I am so very grateful for my family.

The Best Thing About Right Now
There are so many good parts! Seeing him smile is wonderful. There’s something about a happy toothless grinning baby that is heart-melting. Hearing him laugh feels so good. Feeling him grab my arm in order to stay close to me (which I think is part of the startle reflex) is so precious. Seeing him on my dad’s chest as they take an afternoon nap together is priceless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Whole House Color Scheme

Some designers recommend a whole house color scheme; most do not. But if I were going to commit to one, this might be it. I love the color gray the most - I find it soothing. The gray-brown and the tiger orange are not used as much, mostly because they are not as favored by my husband as they are by me. Orange is my son's favorite color though.

And here are some examples of how this plays out in my own home right now. Orange rarely shows up in my decor, but I want it to show up in small doses sometimes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dog-Safe House Plants

Here are a few dog-safe potted plants for your home.

Sources of information:

Baby Shower Game - How well do you know the parents (free download)

Enjoy this free printable download, suitable to play as a game at a baby shower or a baby sprinkle.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

More Words

19-Month-Old Kiddo

Since my 18-Month Kid Update only a month has passed, yet the kiddo has learned so many new words! I'm really trying to remember the words he learns and the order in which he learns them... My own mother does not remember what my first words were, other than that "your first word was probably 'Mom.'" True, she didn't have the power of blogging back then :).

So, here are the kiddo's current words, with the "new" words he learned this past month in orange (his favorite color).

  • Words: dog, dad and daddy (which was his first word), mama, cat, wow, yeah and ya, bottle (although it sounds like “baba”), mine, ball, no, more (although it sounds like “mo”), uh-oh, go (and “go up,” “I go,” etc.), milk (although it sounds like “miii”), hi, yay, mhmm, car, bookRock (by which he means "I want to watch FraggleRock on Amazon Prime"), eye, foot, and bye. He can also nod his head “yes” and shake his head “no.”
  • Sentences: “Hi dog” (his first sentence), “No, mine,” “Go up,” “I go,” “Go away” (which he says to our dog when the dog gets too close to him), "Go now," and “Go out.”

Baby Poll PDF - Free Download

I couldn't find a baby delivery pool online that was exactly what I wanted so I made my own. Feel free to use this too!

PNG version (above).

JPG version (above).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Teal & Lime 5-Day Do-Over: My Living Room

First, a nice glossy after pic...
AFTER photo

Now that I've got that out of the way, here is what happened when I took Jackie Hernandez's (AKA Teal & Lime's) Five-Day Decorating Do-Over. I won't get into all of the steps since you can buy her book (it is her method after all), plus this post is more about what happened to me when I used her method of no-cost decorating.

Day 1 (in a nutshell)
First, pick one room. Do NOT try to do more than one room, seriously. Make a list of all of the decorative items in the room. Next, circle the items that do not seem to fit in.

  • For my room, I cirlced the rocking horse, the Marimeko flower pillow, the tiny bunny rabbit pillow, and the painting of a winter tree.

My pre-cleaning BEFORE photo

I eventually did clean, just look at the after photos!

This dark blue throw blanket is actually staying in the room, but it's in the laundry now, so add it to the after photos using your imagination

Day 2 (in a nutshell)
Use Jackie's Decorating Staples Checklist and cross out items that you seem to have too many of. Then, remove a few and look around your home for some items with more variety to add to the room.

  • For my room, I noticed that I had a bizillion square pillows, and also quite a few family photos. So I removed a couple of pillows and one family photo. I added a vase and a couple of sculptural items (in my case, a couple of decoy ducks).

Day 3 (in a nutshell)
Use Jackie's Decision Tree and the list you created on Day 1 to evaluate each item in your room. Remove anything that is not beautiful, useful, or meaningful.

  • For my room, I noticed that the bar I set for "beautiful" was actually pretty high, and so I was able to remove things that I thought were pretty, but not as pretty as the items that remained in the room. The same goes for the bar I set for "meaningful."

This is more of a MID-WAY photo than a DAY 3 photo

Another MID-WAY photo - note the absence of the toy chest in favor of some dark blue IKEA trunks that the kiddo can actually reach into himself

Day 4 (in a nutshell)
Do NOT rush out and buy things. Instead, write a "wish list" of items you would like to add to the room. Revisit the list in a couple of weeks - you may be surprised to find that you no longer want all of the things that are on your list.

  • On my wish list I put silver frames, less-sheer curtains, and a ceiling light. When I "shopped" my home on Day 5, I actually found some curtains that would work that were being stored in our guest bedroom.

Okay, and maybe a new gaming system is on the wish list too (XBox One, we covet you)

Day 5 (in a nutshell)
Choose a fresh accent color to add to your room, and add it in at least three places (e.g. in a throw blanket, in a pillow, and in a piece of artwork) by "shopping" your home for things to add to the room. Optional: Remove an existing accent color from the room.

  • My existing room colors were light green, gray-brown, pale blue and dark blue. I tried to add either white or red, but I did not have quite enough things elsewhere in my home to add. So, I'm still going to tentatively try to add more white over time (I did add a white lamp and curtains that had thin white stripes). But the biggest change for me, I think, was removing light blue. I had already bought a replacement rug and a replacement coffee table before taking the Five Day Challenge, so this was still no-cost decorating for me. The rug change was purely pragmatic - the blue one shed too much. And the coffee table change was also purely pragment - toys and books were getting stuck under it, plus it had sharp corners and I have a kiddo running around.
Yep, I clearly did not stage this AFTER photo

Note that I added more light green to this room, shown here via the green vase; although changing the curtains actually made a huge difference to this room, this is apparently the only AFTER photo I have that shows them

That white nightstand is just temporary - I'm tackling one thing at a time here

These are the two pillows that I loved, so they stayed (again, totally not a staged photo)

As I mentioned before, I added more of the light green accent color

This room feels very livable to me (and I'm not drowning in pillows, although having one more pillow couldn't hurt)

Yes, we have an exercise ball in our living room - that is just how we do

I know there is not a lot of art on the walls. I am getting around to that, I promise. Some previously ordered blue bins to corral the books below the TV are also on their way.