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We Have Moved

2 Feb

Little Big has permanently moved to its new home: www.thelittlebigblog.com! I won’t be posting over here any more, so please join us at our new address!

If you have subscribed to the blog or the comments, you will need to re-up on the new website.

You guys are the best. I’ll see you there.

Legitimate Business: I HAVE A WEBISTE!

30 Jan

Little Big has moved to http://thelittlebigblog.com/

Please update your bookmarks and join the party at the new and improved Little Big!

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18 Jan

Thrifty Living: Dress Up Hats

27 Nov

Although hats are part of the dress up chest, we keep them in the closet because there isn’t enough room for the hats in the actual chest itself. Like the dress up chest, I plan to keep adding to it as I go thrifting, and I’m always on the look out for hats and other costume-y additions.

Cowboy hat:

Genuine Stetson, even. I guess it pays to have lots of cowboys in the area when you can find good-quality, child-sized cowboy hats at Goodwill. (Thrifted.)

Classic Fireman:

Guess when I plan on telling the kids that if you press the fire department decal it makes all sorts of siren noises? Never! (Thrifted.)

Easter Hat:

A.k.a the Fancy Lady Hat. (Thrifted.)

Safari Hats:

Isobel loves to proclaim it is, “HAT TIME!” and then Anthony and I must follow her around while we each wear a safari hat. My life is never dull. (Thrifted–all three!)

Recently we added two new additions to the hat portion of the dress up chest: the fedora, from a yardsale, and the viking hat, which my husband earned by swimming through mud and jumping over open flames. With the exception of the viking hat, all of these hats are child’s sized, which I think is amazing. It’s like they were made for the dress up chest.

Little Big Shop

19 Nov

Here’s what’s up in the shop:

Starburst Plastic Tray, for collection of bracelets.

Greek Key Pattern Mug, such great detail on the handle.

Petite Green Daisy Mug, flower power meets coffee power.

Milkglass Capricorn Mug, it says, “The Sea Goat” on it. Which, hi. Awesome.

Houseplant Needlepoint, perfect size for a stocking.

Thrifted Home Tour: The Nursery

13 Jun

I have put off writing this post for the Thrifted Home Tour for about a year now because of PPD, and although I’ve technically never done the library or the guest bedroom either, the nursery was the room I balked at. For almost two years my sister lived in our guest bedroom so that room was off limits, and our home library has needed a lot of work so I never really took pictures of it to include it in the tour, although I should just for the awesome green vintage filing cabinet alone. I did post photos of the office/library here and you can see years-old photos of some vintage goodness in the guest bedroom on flickr, including the trunk that came over with my family from Sweden. It held all their worldly goods and you can still see the address to “Amerika” carved on the side.  You can read the previous installments of the Thrifted Home Tour here.

(What is the Thrifted Home Tour? I’m glad you asked! I’ve decorated my entire home with vintage goods either passed down from family members or found while trolling estate sales or thrift stores. I am showing off different rooms of my house to display how thrifted items can be worked into the décor to be useful and inspiring items. Partially it’s because I’d love to promote my vintage Etsy shop, and partially because that’s just how I roll. I think more people should decorate their home with thrifted goods. Here’s why .)

I made these curtains myself from Heather Ross fabric I ordered from someplace online. They look horrible, and this is because I tried to make them after I went on maternity, and getting down on the ground with a giant belly to cut fabric was DUMB. Don’t try it at home.

The nursery set got a lot of views on flickr and I still occasionally get emails from people about something that was in the photos or if they can use a shot for something. It was featured on Esty, Ohdeedoh, and Spearamint Baby. I had the most fun creating this room and I can’t wait do to it all over again when the time comes. We had a miniscule budget but I managed to put this room together by shopping thrift stores, Etsy, and my own family’s hand-me-downs.

I guess I should start explaining things now since I’m several photos into the tour. The chair in the photo above belonged to my grandparents, as did the side table next to it. The chair itself is pretty gross one side. All the cats decided it was the perfect scratching post, but I chose that chair not for its looks but for its comfort. I’ve slept in that chair while cradling the newborn Isobel many times, as has Anthony and I think maybe even my sister and mother. The pillow in the chair was an old one I bought for my first apartment at MacFrugals. It is UG-LY, but I bought a ten dollar pillow cover from Etsy seller Lindylou2. I still love it.

The blanket that’s draped over the chair was handmade by a coworker’s mother, and the one draped across the crib was made by Anthony’s Grandma.

I bought some cheap album frames from CB2 and filled them with record album covers from the thrift store with the exception of Sgt Pepper, which was my parents. My mom actually saw the Beatles at the Cow Palace way back in the day and I talk about it at every chance I get. Because DUDE she saw THE BEATLES. The magazine holder next to the chair came from my grandparents and we filled it with storybooks that we now read to her at bedtime.

Anthony and I scored both the bookcase and the dresser from a yardsale from an old neighbor. My Dad painstakingly painted the dresser pink but we left the shelf the way it was. All told I think we spent about fifty or sixty bucks for the set. Our buddy Jose gave us the thrifted “How Things Work” books which are amazing and have since been saved for Isobel for when she’s older. I miraculously came upon some old, hardbound Highlights for Children books at a book sale, and one of the doll’s quilts was thrifted as well.

The vintage print was found in a Costa Rican fairytale book from the library. I made a color copy and framed it an an old frame from an Estate sale. I got the wooden mushrooms from Etsy seller craftsty. Isobel now uses them as part of her cooking set. I got the firefly jar lights from etaknamdoow.

The closet was filled with clothes that were gifts plus a few things I picked up while thrifting or were hand-me-downs. People’s generosity was so overwhelming, it’s bursting at the seams. I decided it needed to be organized so I made these closet dividers for it and I posted a tutorial here.

I created a template for these guys that’s available for free over here.

I still use these to organize Isobel’s clothes, though we’re running to the end of the sizes I made them for. They are really lovely,  but I’m not going to lie–they were a lot of work. But seriously, they are useful, so check out the closet divider tutorial and see if you can streamline the process for yourself.

The changing table we scored for I think fifteen bucks at my favorite local thrift store, and the baskets underneath all came from Target. You can find where to purchase the cloth diaper pail liner here, and the pail itself is actually an unused garbage pail bought new from Target. You can see the lovely pink dresser my dad painted, too.

The cats above the changing table were purchased for fifteen bucks at an antique store, and Isobel used to look up at them and giggle when she was just a few months old. The old hamper next to the changing table (the wooden one) was my grandpa’s and back then I used it as a table to store wipes, powder and other essentials. Once Isobel was mobile enough to get into them I moved them to the dresser. The hamper now stores all of her dress up clothes.

I got a lot of comments on Isobel’s crib, and I wish I still had a link for it. We bought it relatively cheaply from the Babies R Us website. It was a moderately priced crib, so maybe $250? Cute modern cribs were so expensive and after striking out on Craigslist we just went ahead and bought this one. The joke’s on us though! Isobel coslept for all but about three months of her life. Hopefully kid #2 will spend more quality time here.

We ordered the decal off Etsy but I’m not going to post a link. I didn’t have a great experience with that seller so I’m not going to link to them. A quick search for “vinyl decal” or “wall decal” will yield more results than you eve r thought possible, so scour Etsy if you’re looking for something similar.

There’s sweet Peachie, sleeping on the changing table. I miss him and Tinkerbell incredibly.

This butterfly mobile is so gorgeous. It was custom made for us by Etsy seller Khamm75 and in full disclosure I have to say that I adore this seller. We convo’d a bit and she liked my photos of the mobile so much she offered to buy them for use in her listings. I had my eye on this birth date print so we arranged a trade, and now when you click on mobile listing you see my photos. She is super nice, great to work with, and her shop is filled with gorgeous wares.

It looks amazing above the crib next to the mobile.

There’s my sweet Peachie boy again.

I found this vintage owl picture while thrifting and a friend of mine said the owls look really pissed off. I didn’t think that before but ever since she said that, I always think that and it makes me giggle. They do look kind of miffed. It  adds to their charm. Below it is this great vintage brass lightswitch plate purchased from Etsy seller lexigirlcreations. I looked through a lot of light switch covers (so that’s what I did with all that carefree, childless time!) and it was by far the best.

The woodland animal pictures were handmade a long time ago and I found them while thrifting for ten cents each. The first picture is a chipmunk on a mushroom and the second features a fox and some butterflies. I luff them. Below is a yellow thrifted bowl that I keep Isobel’s hair accessories in and a thrifted bowl decorated with babies playing ping pong on it. I use that bowl for storing the rubber bands that I used to keep infant socks together. The light is vintage Irmi from the seventies. It was actually in my nursery and my mom saved it! The gold frame was also thrifted but the adorable ABC print inside came from Etsy seller studiolyon. She was another fantastic seller to work with. I also spent an inordinate amount of time researching ABC prints because I had seen so many fantastic ones featured on design sites and they were all at least $50 before shipping. This one was awesome and nine dollars. I guess sales exploded after I put up the nursery set since it was featured at different places and she sent me an email thanking me. Which is ridiculous, because we should be thanking her for producing lovely art affordably.

I found this frame and the mushroom plaque while thrifting.

This is what Isobel looked like most of the time while in her crib: awake. Here she’s chilling next to some elephants a great aunt made for me as a baby.

Isobel’s closet was ridiculous from before she was even born. We got tons of clothes as gifts but got even more things handed down from cousins and friends. I saved some of the really cute gift bags from her shower and used them as closet organization and storage for things like slings and receiving blankets.

There’s my sweet Tinky, hiding in the closet.

I didn’t get this footstool till later on during a yard saling expedition, but it was nice to have.

And I’m going to end with a photo of Tinky, who probably slept in the crib more often than Isobel.

DIY Kitchen Set

11 May

 

We haven’t gotten around to getting Isobel a full-on kitchen set yet. I know she’d love one, since “cooking” is one of her favorite pastimes, but kitchen sets so expensive. I keep an eye out for them every time I go to yard sales but I haven’t found anything yet. When my Aunt Patricia visited at Christmas time I asked if she’d do me a favor and draw a few burners and a kitchen sink on a couple of large pieces of construction paper. I could laminate it, I thought. She could set it on the coffee table and put her pots and pans on top of it. It’d be neat, I though.

My Aunt Patricia is an artist, you see, and a type A one at that. She wasn’t going to just make a 2D kitchen on a piece of paper for her favorite great niece. Pfff.

The last time my Aunt came for a visit she toted along these two toys she threw together in an afternoon or two.

She molded the faucet and handles (and look at that! a little spray faucet! It comes out so she can use it to clean!) out of self-hardening clay, then painted them a metallic silver, then glazed them. The handles turn like a real faucet. She made the drain out of a lid and the strainer out of a bead and a found item from her studio.

The stove is so fantastic. She made it with working knobs that move a red circle around so you can turn the burners “on” and “off.”

Isobel decorated it with crayons, as you can see. This means she approves.

The knobs are made from wine corks. Genius.

It’s the details that make this set so awesome.

The Gray Space

19 Apr

I feel like I’m living life in a gray space. An intermediary space. Ever since we made the decision for me to leave my job at the library and stay at home with the baby, I’ve been going through my normal routine with only half of my brain engaged. Part of me is already making plans, updating the etsy shop, and enrolling Isobel is summer activities. The other half sits behind a desk, helps students find research material for home work, shelving books. I’m undeniably distracted.

I’ve always been this way: impatient to get on to the next thing when I know a change is coming. I’m not good at these temporary situations; I become consumed with anticipation for the Next Thing.  It’s hard to focus on my job and what’s worse is I’ve done it so long I can actually function well without being fully present. I’m doing what I need to do, but my heart’s not in it. I’m miles away, deep into the summer, going to swim lessons and story times and working on craft projects and cooking.

Everyone at work has been supportive (so far, the wider population doesn’t know yet), but I’m asked repeatedly, Are you sure? Is this final? I can tell they don’t want me to go. It makes me feel guilty.

Things are changing in education. Especially in California, where the district budget has been riding on fumes for several years now, the new structure isn’t supporting the old models. Earlier this year I came to terms with the fact that librarians in our district will probably be phased out. The database that will eventually replace me is still in the works, along with other money-saving ideas meant to cut costs and slash staff.

Maybe it’s better I say goodbye to this job before it says goodbye to me.

But hopefully not. Hopefully there will be librarians in this district by the time Isobel is enrolled in school. I don’t know, but I hope so.

Quitting my job to stay at home has long been a fantasy, but there’s a part of my brain that rails against the idea. You idiot. Give up a full-time librarian position in the middle of the largest recession since the Great Depression? What do you think you’re doing? Who do you think you are?

Anthony reminds me that I’m giving a wonderful job opportunity to someone else. Some other soul who wanted to be a librarian as badly as I did will have the chance to step into my shoes, shake things up, and call this place their own.

I am wildly excited to stay at home. My reservations are not strong enough to keep me from embracing this opportunity. The challenge for the next two months is to focus on what I need to do to get there, instead of what I want to be doing.

Please Stand By

28 Mar

I am experiencing technical difficulties. I hope to be back soon.

Survey Says

22 Mar

I’d like to thank everyone who commented and left their input last week. It’s amazing to know that I have these wonderful relationships without ever meeting most of you in person. It means a lot to me. Here’s what I’m going to do.

FOLLOW FRIDAY

I’m afraid I may have given the wrong impression about Follow Friday. I am in no way thinking of changing it or getting rid of it, so don’t worry! I mostly just wanted to let everyone know why I’m not around on the Twitters so much. I check in several times a day during breaks so while I don’t get to keep up with everything, I do get in the occasional chat and still have plenty of time to find funny tweets.

LITTLE BIG LINKS

If you ever have a theme suggestion you’d like to toss my way, I’m all for it. I’ll probably update the FAQ to reflect that. In the meantime I have plenty of ideas, but I’m always happy to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to ask!

DAILY POSTS

A lot of people weighed in on this, mostly to say I shouldn’t work so hard if I don’t have to. This isn’t an issue I neither worry about nor really work hard on: weekends are for family time in my house and any post that goes up on the weekend was prepared in advance. I don’t do any writing or blog stuff on the weekends. This is part of the reason I like having Little Big Links on the weekends—it’s something that I create on an ongoing basis. Same with Flipbook, all the photos are edited and formatted in advance. All I do on the weekends is hit publish and tweet. In all honesty, I like about posting on the weekends because I have so many ideas. Sometimes I feel like 5 days is not enough.  But this question, and the answers that followed, got me thinking about changing a few things.

BLOGROLL

I’ve decided I am going to update my blogroll after all. However, at this point it’s a low priority. It will get done… eventually.

FAQ

I’m going to update the FAQ with information about Little Big Links, cameras and photography, and a few other things. Mollie Kate asked if I could update it about how I became a librarian, but I think I’ll write that up as a post instead of addressing it in the FAQ.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

I need to get on this. Thanks for the encouragement and support!

TO SUM UP…

Again, I can’t tell you how valuable this was for me. I’ve been taking an ecourse and it’s been churning all sorts of ideas around in my head.  I’m definitely going to incorporate the things you said you wanted more of (thrift scores, design-ish things, babies, food, etc) and fortunately these are all things I plan to write about anyway. This just affirms I’m on the right track.

I’m still contemplating making changes in the future but right now I’m happy with what I’m doing. Ultimately, what all this soul searching and decision making comes down to is this: I really enjoy posting here, and my goal is to keep enjoying it. I only hope you enjoy it as much as I do.