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10 Fall Activities to Do With Your Active Toddler in New England

16 Oct

FullSizeRender 18I claim that every season in New England is my favorite, but fall might just be my favorite. The golden light, the foliage, the decor, the baked goods, and the style potential…? It checks all the boxes for me!

Here are the top 10 activities we have on our fall bucket list:

  1. A trip to the pumpkin patch. It’s an annual tradition to visit with one of my best friends from college and its amazing to see how our families have grown through the years.
  2. Nature scavenger collection. No matter the season, a daily walk is on our to do list and a snap to keep a toddler entertained if you provide a bucket for treasure collection. In the fall, it’s usually acorns, pinecones, sticks, pretty leaves, and dried seed heads.
  3. Pumpkin bread baking. Emilia loves helping me bake and starting her young has helped teach her precision and patience. Me too!
  4. Mosiac paper plate pumpkin. My toddler absolutely loves any crafts involving a glue stick and handling the small pieces of paper is great for developing fine motor skills.
  5. Go on a hayride. I don’t think there are many vehicles my toddler doesn’t love, from tractors to garbage trucks to air planes so this is a must for her.
  6. Decorate the house. From stick-on window decals to helping plant mums, there is so much learning potential with little tasks like these.
  7. Paint a pumpkin and compost the pumpkin guts. Emilia loves to check out the worms when we turn the compost heap. She has her own little gardening gloves and trowel and loves to plant seeds. Oh the learning!
  8. Visit the park to check out the foliage. The days are numbered before the temperature really drops, so we’re getting our fill of outdoor fun before we have to really bundle up.
  9. Apple taste test. You never know what’s going to taste good until you try. We talk about the flavor differences and see what can be improved with a dusting of cinnamon. You can then graduate to providing different “dips” and toppings. We like almond butter sprinkled with chia seeds and cottage cheese with a little maple syrup.
  10. Stuff a scare crow. As you work, it provides a great opportunity to practice naming anatomy and pieces of clothing as well as thinking creatively. What can we use for a head? What would make good eyes? (Think: a pumpkin, sticks and acorns, etc)

    I’d love to hear some of your favorite fall activities. Is there anything you do that is specific to where you live, kid-friendly or otherwise? 

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DIY Buffet Rehab Inspiration

14 Feb

dining-room-buffet-ideasvia Phonenix Restoration

Ages and ages ago my husband and I inherited an old dining room set from my husband’s grandmother that I’ve been dying to to rework with some new paint and hardware ever since. Inspiration struck recently when I stumbled across the above image via Phoenix Restoration (based in Seattle) of this hot pink lacquer buffet and now I’m itching to get going. Isn’t the above just gorg? I’m drooling over the styling too. Love those preppy navy and white striped shades. Hubba hubba.

As much as I adore a shot of hot pink, I’m thinking a more toned down palette that reworks the hot pink/navy blue/white/metallic gold accent will work beautifully with the overall decor scheme I’ve been working through in my head so I landed on a navy blue or blue gray tone for the piece.

After a quick Google Image Search for “navy blue buffet” followed quickly by a Pinterest search for the same, here we have my favorite inspiration photos for this project:

navy-dresser-4via Vintage Refined Decor on Etsy

navy-dresser-2
navy-dresser-diy

navy-dresser-3
choosing-navy-paint-colors-text2
Interestingly, I’d always had it in my mind that Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy would be the right choice for this project after seeing so many examples of it in rooms as we decided on paint colors for our own home, but after viewing a number of refinished wood furniture, I decided I liked a more blue-gray shade for less severity. In the photo above, the Newburyport Blue is another contenter I was really impressed with after a lot of image searching through Google. In fact, the first of the batch of the blue buffet inspo photos is actually painted with that same color. What a difference a white balanced camera setting makes and good lighting, right?

This actually brings up a really important tip to remember when you approach any painting project and that is to carefully consider (and test out) how your paint selection will look in all kinds of light situations. Luckily, our dining room where this buffet will live has two enormous windows along and the room opens to the living room which has near-all-day sunshine, so I’m not worried about the color appearing too navy.

Hooray for selecting a paint color! Now to purchase a respirator so I can paint while I’m pregnant and decide if I want to chance not sanding the piece. Oh — and hardware selection. That’s a fun part I’m excited about.

I’ll keep you posted as it rolls along.

New Project: Dollhouse Rehab

2 Feb



In addition to the exciting news that I launched my Etsy art print shop, Miss Modern Studio, I’ve decided now is the perfect time to restore my childhood dollhouse to give to my daughter for her second birthday. My sister and I logged so much time playing with this thing — can you tell??— that I know it will be a hit with Emilia too.

It’s seen better days obviously so I’m excited to dive into the world of “miniatures” as they say in the dollhouse world and bring it back to its former glory. In my excitement to start I gave the exterior two coats of some leftover Benjamin Moore interior paint we’d tried on our front door before I turned online to look for inspiration and information about finishing, restoring, furnishing and decorating dollhouses. (In case you’re wondering, it’s called Spirit in the Sky and it’s part of Benjamin Moore’s Classic Color Collection.)

houseGorgeous dollhouse design via this amazing blogger

It was really difficult to find well-maintained, updated web resources for dollhouse stuff; there is definitely a gap in the market as far as online inspiration for the more modern decor style that I have in mind for this refurb, so I’ll share the resources I did land on that have been really helpful.

Best Dollhouse Miniature Website Resources

miniature-dollhouse-kitchen
Miniatures.com
 |  Hands down, this has been my go-to for everything including learning about “miniature scale.” If I had to name a standard scale for dollhouses, it’s the 1-inch, or “1/12.” This is important so you buy the correct scale furniture depending on your dollhouse. Learn more on about scale of this page of their site. This is also one of the best resources I’ve found for miniatures (AKA: dollhouse furniture for newbies like me who just learned the lingo). I’m drooling over this stainless steel kitchen set and accessories like this copper pot rack. Prices seem reasonable based on what I’ve seen online.

transom-door
RealGoodToys.com
|  I’ve relied on this site for dollhouse parts like replacement windows, doors and shingles and general education about miniatures. They’re a Vermont-based shop that produces heirloom quality dollhouses and components for true miniature aficionados which is obvious from the artistry and quality of everything featured. How gorgeous is their  traditional door with transom, pictured above? Hubba hubba.

girls-room-8
Craftiness is Not Optional
 | This blog served up a massive dose of inspiration for me as I began my dollhouse refurb project. A lot of dollhouse decor styles are very dated with mahogany furniture pieces and chintz couches but this resourceful, creative, DIY-focused mom of four has an incredible eye for color and pattern. I especially love how she created her own DIY art throughout that reflected her own home’s style. The color scheme alone is giving me all the heart eyes.

west-elm-inspired-dollhouse-miniatures
#MaddiesDollHouseReno | After vintage-lover and all around creative, Linzi MacDonald renovated her daughter Maddie’s dollhouse, furnishing it with miniature versions of local designer pieces and sharing the journey on her Instagram account here, she amassed a cult following on Instagram that eventually led to a collaboration with West Elm. You know. As one does. While this minimalist, Scandinavian style isn’t quite to my own taste, I do appreciate it and often find myself drooling over all the bare white rooms with wall hangings and horse art because it just looks so dang clean and flow-y.

ebay-lot
Ebay
 Dollhouse Furniture “Lots” | Thanks to years of thrifting, yard sales and estate sales, I know that “lots” of goodies can be had on Ebay if you do your homework and research. My mom kept quite a bit of the dollhouse furniture we had as kids, but a few casual searches over the past week for miniature “furniture lots” revealed incredible deals. I actually just won a bid for an individually listed brass bed frame and an entire “lot” which included the same 3-piece nursery set I’d been eyeing on Miniatures.com. For the same price of that set, my lot (pictured above) included about 20 other miniature pieces I’ll rework to suit my needs as I trick out my daughter’s dollhouse for years of play. I can’t wait to get going!

I’ll share my progress as I work and post about this project here and on Instagram if you want to keep up. I’ll probably borrow the hashtag idea and use #EmiliasDollHouseReno to keep posts organized. With 8 weeks until her birthday, I’ve got some time, but want to wrap up as much as I can soon since this pregnant belly isn’t going to get any more manageable or comfortable as I near my final trimester.