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Sunday
Jul262015

Cora's Fifth Birthday at the Beach ~ 2015

Cora at Moonlight Beach, Encinitas. July 26, 2015.

This sweet girl is five today. Five years ago she joined our family and we have all been having the most fabulous adventures ever since.

Renée gave her a boogie board for her birthday and the kid was smitten. Combine the boogie board with the weekly swim lessons we are taking, and even without a sailboat right now, we'll keep her a water kid as much as we can.

It is bittersweet to write this post today because it is the last birthday post I'll be sharing about Cora. In a few more days I'll be officially retiring Cora from this blog and from social media. I've written about my plan to do this when she turned five for several years now and alas, the time has arrived.

We were lucky to have some wonderful friends join us today.

Estella and Melvin.

Kristine, Alex, and Jack.

Sacha, Monique, Steve, and Ronen.

Ryan and Spencer.

Leo and Renée.

Gray, Miles, and Ella.

This photo below is the only family photo that has Cora looking forward.

Here she is looking back to check the waves.

And here she is riding the wave.

I love seeing in these family photos how clearly Cora has Eric's legs and Lyra has mine.

You can see it here too with Lyra's little legs. We each have our own Mini-me's.

Cora wanted a strawberry cake with pink strawberry frosting in the shape of a heart with sprinkles.

I only had a small heart pan so I made a heart and a star. She loved them.

"We are so lucky. We have TWO cakes!"

Happy birthday, Cora!!

I love these photos below of Cora holding court. First she talks to Sacha.

Then she talks to Xavier.

You're a loveable, and loved, kid, Cora.

After the party we started working on thank you cards. She came up and gave me the first one. 

"This one is for you, mom, because you got me everything I wanted for my cake. You get the best stuff."

I'm enjoying so much the simple joy that comes from five year olds.

To the grown ups and kids who came to Cora's party today, thank you.

Cora, it's gonna be a great year.

Friday
Jul242015

My Workout Buddies

If you have followed mine or Eric's blogs for even a short time, you'll have noticed that we both like to work out. We also include our kids in our workouts as much as possible. 

All chalked up.

I've been working out in our car port area and when I head out the girls do too.

That's my girl. Fierce!

Lyra loves the ab wheel.

She also loves the toy garbage truck.

Sometimes I have one of the girls try to take pictures. Lyra tried in this one. Hey, at least you can see me and Cora in the shot.

Mostly the girls just play.

A little post workout snack is lovely outside too.

Cora asked me what these posters said when I hung them up.

She listened intently as I read.

"That's a great poem, mom. Yeah. Good idea to work out."

Hey thanks, buddy. 

Lyra did the most adorable videobomb yesterday when I was trying to check my form. 

I.LOVE.THIS.KID.

Cora and Lyra, when you read this one day, thanks for being such kick ass little workout buddies.

Love,

Mom

Thursday
Jul232015

Original Artwork by Talented Friends

We had three handmade, gorgeous wooden frames on Rebel Heart. They were each custom designed by our friend Gray, of Small Life Studio.

Yes, Cora is truly this sweet. This is her in La Paz in 2013 awaiting Eric's return home from a business trip and gazing lovingly at him in the picture.

The frame on the port-side bulkhead contained a painting done for us by our friend, Rick Sakow. 

Rick on the left. Me and Eric at right. Catalina, November 2008.

We love this painting. If you have never had someone paint your portrait, let me tell you it is a true honor to receive a gift like that.

Right? RIGHT? He totally nailed it. I plan to share more of his art here one day with you. He doesn't know that, but I plan to!

The two frames on the athwart ship's bulkhead held a photo of me and baby Lyra (top frame) and the other (bottom frame), contained a painting by the artist Kelly Paige Standard.

I first encountered Kelly's artwork years ago when I was walking past an art gallery on Beech Street in South Park and literally paused mid-stride, transfixed by her paintings in the window.

All images are original artwork by Kelly Paige Standard.

The way Kelly paints light in her work mesmerizes me. And like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, who couldn't describe porn, but "knew it when he saw it," I too don't have the words to describe fine art like Kelly's. But I know it when I see it.

Artwork by Kelly Paige Standard.

I never thought I'd have the means to own one of Kelly's pieces until one day on social media she announced that she would be doing a few small pieces and to contact her if interested. I took the leap and messaged her.

What I wanted to do was get a unique birthday gift for Eric. It is notoriously difficult to get anything for Eric. Perhaps it is just him, or maybe it is a sailor thing. Sailors either want very expensive items (300 feet of chain, anyone?) or the items they want are so technical and specific, that you have to get them to tell you exactly what the item is so you don't get the wrong one by accident. Some cologne and a new sweater won't work either. He doesn't wear cologne and he hates sweaters.

What was a woman to do?

Commission an incredible artist for a one of a kind gift, that's what.

Our friend, photographer Holly Harris, snapped this photo of Eric and Cora one day and it melted my heart. This was the image I proposed Kelly turn into a painting for us. The day the painting was finished I drove over to pick it up, six months pregnant with Lyra, and ever the emotional pregnant lady. I met Kelly at a local Starbucks and she handed me the painting wrapped. I unwrapped it right there in the outdoor courtyard and as I turned it over to see it for the first time, I burst into tears.

Here it is zoomed out in the custom frame made for just this painting by our friend, Gray.

I don't have the words. True perfection.

It was very lovingly hung up in our boat and there we enjoyed looking at it every day.

Before we set sail for the South Pacific, Kelly announced that she was doing another series of small paintings and I approached her about trying to turn this photo into a painting.

Cora, Christmas in Albuquerque, 2012.

Kelly was working on this piece as we sailed across the Pacific. If you know our story, then you'll know we didn't make it all the way across. During the two and a half days we had to await the arrival of the USS Vandegrift, I had time to look around our boat and see what I could possibly take with us. I slipped Rick's painting (featured at the top of this post) and Kelly's painting of Eric and Cora out of their large wooden frames. I put them in a large Ziplock bag and nestled them between our laptops in a bag that I wasn't even sure if we'd be able to bring with us off of the boat.

Luckily, we were able to. And the two pieces of artwork were saved.

Kelly Paige Standard with Cora and Lyra, fall 2014.

When we got back to town, Kelly was thrilled to know the painting had not gone down with the ship. She also presented us with this.

Look at how she has made those Christmas lights GLOW. 

I didn't cry this time. I just stared transfixed for a while.

I still stop and stare at this painting. What a thrill to have true art in your home.

Now I had two pieces of art by Kelly Paige Standard, but I needed frames for them. It is not that easy to get quality square frames. I finally found Paisley Couture Frames on Etsy and was able to order exactly what I wanted (by the way, I just noticed that they are having a 10% off sale until the end of July. You can thank me later.)

These paintings hang in our living room along with the painting by Rick, that has its own new frame.

And alongside these we have a few more original pieces of art.

On the top right there is a framed colored pencil piece by Cherry Yarrow who worked from this photo of the girls to create her own composition.

Lyra and Cora, San Diego, February 2015.

She even got the sweet detail of their holding hands.

And then there are two darling water color paintings by my friend Ella, the other half of Small Life Studio. Yes, she and her husband are just that talented.

This one is my Cora.

And this photo of Lyra, clearly inspired this watercolor by Ella:

As someone who takes great joy in creating something with my own hands, in my case from fabric and thread, I'm honored to be surrounded by these creations in mediums that I don't work in. I marvel at people's talent, skill, and passion for their craft.

As William Morris said, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

And this art, my friends, is beautiful.

You can contact Kelly Paige Standard at kpstandard@cox.net and view more of her artwork at her web page 

http://www.kpstandard.com/ and her Facebook fan page

Tuesday
Jul142015

Custom Curtains for our Lively Living Room

I've been hoarding this fabric since 2007 when it first came out and I snatched some up. My sister stored a few of my things for me when we left to go sailing. Along with memorabilia like my wedding dress, she kept a few of my most beloved fabrics. Yes, to me, wedding dresses and pretty fabric are kinda on the same par.

This is Fredrika trees fabric by designer Helen Trast for Ikea, 2007. Now out of print, I finally found the perfect use for it. I have two pieces of this fabric; one my sister kept for me, another came from a friend. The larger piece was just large enough to make some curtains for our living room.

When I first hung these up I wasn't happy with how the ends flared at the bottom. No problem. I just needed to press the creases, or train the fabric if you will, to hang the right way. I grabbed some clothes pins and rubber bands and folded the fabric the way it should hang from top to bottom.

See what I mean?

PS: I am so NOT going to apologize to you for that dirty window. The outside screens are screwed into the window frame and I've got this much desire to unscrew them and clean it. [How much desire? ZERO desire.]

You don't like my dirty window?

After a day of hanging like that, I took off the clips and left the rubber bands for awhile longer. Basically until the girls couldn't take it anymore and begged me to take them off so they could the curtains in all their glory.

And voilà:

Truly, much improved.

As Lyra says, "I LUB it!"

I added a thick, white lining fabric on the back and used the same fabric to make the tabs.

I realize this fabric is very white. And I have two small children. Don't worry, I have already prepared myself for the invetible little hand marks, marker marks, crayon marks, and chalk stains.

It's going to happen.

We'll probably be in this house for another two years and I'm frankly curious to see how well/poorly white fabric holds up around the kids. It's an experiment, okay?

Who knows? Maybe they'll suprise me.

Probably not.

I can offically say that our living room is complete now. That feels amazing.

For the details on the rest of our living room you can read these posts:

Our Entry Way

DIY Floor Couch

DIY Dress Up Cabinet

DIY Picture Gallery Wall

DIY Mason Jar Organizer

DIY Solar System Chalkboard Wall

Sunday
Jul122015

DIY Floor Couch | Bohemian Style Floor Cushion

When we first moved into the new house this was our "couch." It was just the cushions from the girls' former closet bed and a bunch of floor pillows I had made for our studio.

My brother mentioned he had a full size mattress we could use as a floor couch and I jumped at the opportunity. We already sit around a lowered table to eat, AND we have little kids, so why not keep everything low to the ground?

OMG they are so cute!The foam was in good shape, but the cover was not. I ditched the cover (and saved the zipper) and got out a bunch of fabric scraps to make a new cover.

Before long, this was covered with this:

Of course as cute as this pieced cover was, you are crazy-sauce if you think I'd leave it like that.

Did I mention I have little children?

On went a waterproof covering from Ikea.

And on top of THAT, I found a colorful sheet that would hide marks and stains, and that became the top layer of my DIY floor couch.

I actually bought the full sheet set in that print. I turned the flat sheet into a fitted sheet as well so now I have two covers for when one inevitably gets dirty or needs washing. 

I had made these gorgeous floor pillows for the studio. You can view all the detail photos of these floor cushions at Sew Sew Sew Your Boat. The problem with their size though, is that we just kept doing this when we used them:

Kind of a waste if you ask me. And since I was asking "me," I decided to do something about it

I straight up cut those suckers in half.

After I cut them, I created new seams and now I had a bunch of bolster-sized pillow forms. 

Before I show you what I did with the pillow cases, let me show you the giant body pillows I made as back rests.

Target sells a body pillow for $10. Not a bad price for a pre-made pillow with stuffing. I ordered four.

I knew that one wouldn't be firm enough so I cut them all open and took the filler from one and wrapped it around the filler from another. Then I repeated the process so I had two much firmer rolls of batting.

Those rolls got shoved (with Eric's help) back into the original pillowcases. The result was two very firm back rest pillows. One for our floor couch downstairs and one for the guest room floor couch upstairs (which I have yet to show!).

Eric approved.

I was ALMOST done. I took some spare fabric from the custom sheets I made for our upstairs bed and made the covers for the big back rest pillows, using coordinating fabric from the new sheeet set on each end to get some matchy-matchy going on.

Then I turned my eyes to all the smaller pillows I had created.

I cut the pillow cases in half, just like I had cut the pillow forms. Then I re-sewed them and slipped them back on.

:::::::::::::::Drum roll please:::::::::::::::::::::

Ta-da!

I give you our cozy family, boho-style floor couch.

My loves.

Total project cost was $75. $40 for for the four body pillows I ordered, $20 for the sheet set I got on sale, and $15 for the water-proof cover under the sheet.

BOOM! I may never go back to a real couch again. 

Bonus? It can double as a bed for overnight guests!