Thursday, March 29, 2012

Design Inspiration - Elizabeth Orton Jones

I just acquired this little treasure.
Another Little Golden Book, it's illustrated by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Orton Jones.  Jones was born in 1910 and died in 2005.  She made her home in Mason, NH for much of her life and wrote/illustrated several children's books.  I love her style.  I think her art work is somewhat like Jessie Wilcox Smith, who illustrated a generation earlier.  I had to have this sweet version of Little Red.

I have a couple of her other works.  My favorite that she illustrated is "Prayer for a Child", written by Rachel Field. This won the Caldecott award in 1945 and was a part of my childhood in the 1950's.
 When I saw the new gift version that was published a few years ago I had to have it. I have such fond memories of my parents and my Grandma Helen reading this to me.  The pictures are beautiful and I related to them so much.  I looked just like the little blonde girl, and this picture could have been me, my brother and our baby sister.
"Bless my friends and family"
I wish that all children had books that reflected them and their life.  I know that there has been a lack of multicultural images in children's publishing.  When I was read this by my Grandma she would comment about certain pages.
"Bless the hands that never tire in their loving care of me"

On this page she always said "and your mommy and daddy are so good to you".
"Bless other children, far and near and keep them safe and free from fear"
Jones art work on this page of beautiful children from all over the world was my first clue that there was a much bigger world out there and that it was full of children that were just as valuable as I was.
 She also used images of painted wooden figures throughout the book.  I really wanted some of these wooden angels.
Back to Little Red.  Can you not adore this illustration of Little Red getting ready?  Do you have any books that were significant to your childhood?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Money No Object Monday - Meet Raccoon Willy

This cute plush friend is one I wish I had made.
Raccoon Willy by Enottale

 I have a love/hate relationship with stuffed animals.  One or two wonderful ones can be favorite friends, a comfortable sleeping companion and lots of fun play.  Too many cheap ones are a problem.  They must breed like bunnies in a kids room. Next thing you know you have to exterminate some.

This sweet raccoon is a foot tall and comes not only dressed for play but with a coat, bag and a mouse friend.
Raccoon Willy $110
His Etsy maker is located in Switzerland so you can add $22 for shipping to the US.  I actually  find this not too extravagant considering how gorgeous he is.  I'm also in love with the fact that this is suitable for boys or girls. You know I'm always looking for some boy friendly items.  Are you a lover of the softies or hate them?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Money No Object Monday - Tuesday Edition

Traveling yesterday, good visit with family but no internet access.  Have you seen "Mother's" jewelery?  Usually a ring with the birthstone of each child.  I've never been a fan.  Maybe because the six BL Kids birthstones look a little wonky together.  I might go for this kind of jewelry keepsake from Etsy artist Mia Van Beek:
Gold Charm made from child's art

It's almost $700 to have a gold charm made, but how about silver?
Silver Pin $159 - $199
 She shows a bracelet made of several charms.  One for each kid or grandchild or a bunch of artwork for one child.
A Mothers Charm Bracelet
I'm so sad I don't have artwork saved for each of my babes. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Before: Were I Reveal All, Confess and Start to Repent

I never do before and after shots because I usually just dive in and get to the "after".  That, and because I'm usually ashamed of the before.  Sure, it's easy to show the before when you can blame the old owner, but by now I have to confess that some of the "before" shots I have were things that once I thought to be a good idea.  So I'm being brave and bringing all my vast readership along as I redo the studio.  Sharing may make me become more accountable to get it done.  Here's the BEFORE:

I know, I should have warned you.  The one great principle I've learned from science class and life is that entropy is a true principle.  All the universe wants to become more random and disorganized - starting with my studio.  Before Christmas I see how migrated down stairs to work and then some naughty pixies came and wrecked havoc with the room.  I need to reclaim it. And beautify it, also.  I need to move my work in there.

Things I need for the room -

Clean Out:
You, thankfully can't see the horrific details, but I have too many frames and general craft supplies.  I'm going to purge, purge, purge.  It will be a supper colonic  for the room.  Not very visible is the credenza under the window.  I have it full of fabric and frames (I have a frame problem).  I got this for free in my property management days when a tenant moved out of an office and left it.  It's in great shape - was custom made for the tenant and has an ugly laminate top.  I'm going to paint it with my Annie Sloan Chalk paint in graphite (even the top) and do some kind of cool design and it's going into the BL Baby Boy's room to be used as a dresser.  I'm also getting rid of the drafting table BLHubby gave me.  It's too small and unstable.  I've been using the antique table in the center for a work table and have been toying with turning it into a coffee table for down stairs, get back to you on that.  Bed stays, this is used as a guest room

We have been replacing all the house flooring and this is the 2nd to the last bit of the dark green that was all though the whole house.  It was pretty good carpet but I won't be sad to see it go.  BLHubby and I have laid all the rest in the house so this is the first project - after cleaning out everything!

Ana White has a terrific day bed plan with a pull out bed underneath that I think I can do.  When I try to get BL Hubby to make Ana's plans he comes up with his own.  I love BLHubbs the bestest but I like Ana's plans and I can make these myself.  I want to paint it white.

Refresh Storage and Files:
Love the flat file.  Would like another to stack on it.  Would like to pretty it up.  I have some painted metal book shelves on top of it now - Need to keep these.  Need some kind of pretty, more organized way to store stuff on the shelves.

Work Surface:
Need some sort of work surface - wide and easy to clean paint off of.

Stay tuned - and judge me kindly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Money No Object Swing Sets - Cedarworks Play Sets

I found this website and pinned my favorite on Pintrest and my "hits" blew up.  Lots of us adore the idea of having this in our back yard.
Serendipity play set by CedarWorks
This is by a company called CedarWorks.  They have lots of outdoor and indoor fantastical creations that beg for a gaggle of kiddlets to invade them.
This version is even bigger.  The concept is that they are modular and you can pick the units and then add them together for you own specialized unit.  I sent for the catalog and they emailed me a price list.  It looks like this Serendipity line starts at about $11,000 and can run up to over $44,000. They do have a bargain line that starts at around $1,000. That doesn't include shipping - and some assembly is required.  They have some great customer stories.  Families that watched their children grow up on their set and then passed it on to others.

My Uncle John described putting up a big play set a few years ago at his Wisconsin home as "the set the kids would have liked but the one the grandkids got."  If money were no object I would so get one of these - but my practical soul says I should donate it to a school.  These were made to be played on by a crowd.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Whitman 5 cent Books

When I returned from the west last weekend I came home to a wonderful package full of little beauties. Here's just one.  The graphics and art make me giddy.
 Western Printing and Lithographing Company of Racine, Wisconsin was the company that partnered with Simon and Schuster to publish Little Golden Books starting in 1949.  Long before that happy marriage, Western Printing had purchased Hammerung-Whitman Publishing Company (in 1915).  Western called the new enity "Whitman Publishing".  They had a long history of publishing 100's of cheap, colorful books, games and coloring books.  I came on this lot of little paper books that were published in 1949 - 1953.  I had never seen these before but now have found a couple more titles in the same format. They are marked 5cents.  Little Golden Books were 25 cents at the same time so these were super cheap.  These are almost "booklets" - only 10 pages 4" x 8".  Really they are just 3 pieces of paper put together and stapled down the center.  Each little book has a shaped edge.

This one is a short tale all in rhyme about how nice Jenny is:
There aren't very many, who don't talk with Jenny 
Whether they live up or down
For Jenny Giraffe
Has more friends by half
Than anyone else in town!

 I love how Jenny has a fancy and versatile wardrobe.
Pink flower hat with black netting and pink scarf

Yellow Hat, flower necklace
My copy has written on the front in the most beautiful writing that looks like it was written by a fountain pen To Gene 
Best Boy in New Jersey. 
I hope Gene is still the Best Boy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Today on the table

This morning the work table looks a bit chaotic.  Elephants, pigs, tigers, cows, penguins, raccoons nativity scenes and more.  It's what happens when I travel and get behind.
I do love to see the raccoons run across the table.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Money No Object Monday - Burberry Trench Coat

The Burberry Trench Coat is one of the great classics that never go out of style.  It's also a luxury.  An women's Trench Coat in this famous British brand starts at $1,300.  If you wear it for years, and you could - it never goes out of style, the price could just maybe be justified.  They also make variations of the famous trench for children.
Image from "Lovey Room" blog
Little fashionistas can be as classic as their older sisters, and for a lot less.  This is so stinking cute!
Burberry Pleated Back Trench for Girls - $375
Burberry Pleated Back Trench Back View
But. . .    $375  for a kids coat?

I've purchased some brands of kids clothes that I thought were expensive and justified them because I knew that the clothing would last through several kids.  BL Baby Boy had a Gymboree overall that I paid $18 (on sale it's my version of expensive).  It was printed with fishing lures and was so cute.  I was delighted when the outfit was passed to a Best Loved Nephew, and then sent to a BL Girl and used on both her sons - and it still looked wonderful and was passed on to a friend.  For all I know it's still in circulation.

Would you ever consider a quality famous designer coat as a heirloom piece?