Posts filed under ‘art’

Operation Organization

The time has come for me to take action and organize my girls’ play room. Every time I step into that room, I’m so subconsciously overwhelmed by it’s frenzied appearance that I usually have to step away and close the door in denial. Ms. Bean goes back to school in 2 weeks which will allow me a little extra time to take on a project. Their play room is what we call the “sun room” because it sits off Ms. Bean’s bedroom and it’s the sunniest, and warmest, room in the house. It’s a long & narrow room, so a tricky space to design; however, not impossible.





Here are my goals:

1. Get rid of the clutter! Less is more!
2. More utilitarian cubbies to organize books, baskets with art supplies, etc.
3. Make the current reading area more useful and inviting
4. Creative way to display the girls’ artwork
5. Keep costs to a minimum
6. Paint the room (it’s the same, boring beige color from when we purchased the house)

So, with these goals in mind, it’s time for me to begin my mission in organizing this space to maximize it’s potential. I will continue to keep a journal of my process…wish me luck!


August 23, 2007 at 5:45 am Leave a comment

Yoshitomo Nara drinking glasses

Plastic cups are practically extinct around our house these days as Ms. Bean insists on using glasses for her milk and juice. It’s all part of her movement to prove that she’s not a baby anymore. Sigh…fine. I simply purchased a few cheap glasses from Crate & Barrel that would keep her away from the expensive ones as she exercises her independence. As soon as we’re feeling confident, I think this little set of drinking glasses designed by the renowned Japanese artist, Yoshitomo Nara, would be a nice congratulatory gift for Ms. Bean.


August 22, 2007 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Count the Birdies

Local Seattle artist and BlueBottle gallery owner, Matthew Porter, has recently published his second children’s book Count the Birdies, geared to teach children to count and recognize colors. The illustrations are inspired by Japanese woodcuts which include house sparrows perched on white pear blossoms, tiny hummingbirds flitting among pink cherry blossoms and other common birds and flowers. I haven’t read it yet but the illustrations look just as lovely as his first book, ABC, which was a Winner of Child Magazine 2006 Best Children’s Books and was chosen by the American Association of Booksellers for Children as one of the Best Books for Children in 2006! Both of my girls love this book where Matthew has illustrated animals for each letter — for instance, “N” is for “Nuthatch” (a bird) and “Q” is for “Quokka” (an Australian marsupial).


If you fancy decorating your child’s room with uniquely painted pieces of the Quokka, Vole or Nuthatch, Matthew sells them in limited edition format at BlueBottle gallery.


August 20, 2007 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Trish Grantham

Trish Grantham is having an online art sale today. Unfortunately, at the moment, she’s having technical problems but the images should be up by today sometime. Keep checking back…


August 17, 2007 at 3:18 pm Leave a comment

Chauney Peck

Chauney Peck is a local Seattle artist whose work is very fresh and fascinating — and perfect for a child’s room. She creates plywood cutout pieces and then stains them. Her current work focuses on how global warming is impacting our environment and small villages, particularly in Alaska. I recently visited Chauney’s studio and after hearing the inspiration behind “The house that fell into the ocean of Shishmaref” — I had to have it. Shishmaref is a village in North Alaska that is facing evacuation due to rising temperatures and melting the sea ice along the coast. Apprarently, entire village homes have fallen into the ocean, which is what this piece depicts. When I went to Chauney’s studio, I also brought the Bean so she could help me choose a piece of art — she really liked this one as well, so we took it home. Eventually, I’m going to put it in Bean’s room but I need to do some shuffling. So, in the meantime, it hangs in my tiny entry way on a dark brown wall — which really makes it pop.


August 17, 2007 at 4:28 am Leave a comment

Toy recalls

With the news of Mattel recalling 9 million toys including Barbie and Polly Pockets — I can’t help but feel disturbed and even more disenchanted with cheaply manufactured toys. I’m tempted to throw a slew of toys and plastic figurines away that clutter my daughter’s room but I know the reprocussions of such a hasty act.

I’ve always been a big fan of wooden toys made by artisans. My mom is from Austria, so I grew up with unique toys and dolls that were hand made in Germany and surrounding countries. So, on the heels of the unfortunate recall, I thought I’d focus on some of the smaller artisans that make great toys that will undoubtedly stand the test of time and could eventually become a cherished heirloom for generations (well, I like to be optimistic at least).

Being from Seattle, I was thrilled to find a local company run by two inspiring moms. They started Nico & Zoe Toys in 2006 and their website is a hub of “uncommon and artisan made toys”.

Check out these adorable toys! I know Bean would love this sweet Wren Purse Sewing Kit. Handmade: Sparrowkids / London, UK


These sturdy wooden trucks called My Little Scoots, made in Vermont with non-toxic paints, are a sign of the times. Check out the recycling truck!
recycling truck

Then there’s the knit Socktopi! Handcrafted by Blackbird Fashions in Anacortes, Wa. My 1 year old could chew on Socktopi without me second guessing it’s safety. How great are those stripes!?
I find it comforting to know that there are fantastic toy artisans passionately crafting toys for our wee ones.

August 17, 2007 at 4:26 am Leave a comment

The Bean’s Room

What better way to officially kick off my Kids design blog than to feature my daughter’s bedroom. Bean’s room was a blank canvas when I started. I mulled over several ideas for months and months, yet as she got older, I realized she had already outgrown many of those ideas. I didn’t realize how quickly babies grow out of the baby stage and right into toddler stage and then onto little girl stage! I highly recommend thinking of a scaleable design — something that will grow with the child and can be flexible enough for change.

Art is one of my biggest weaknesses. My dad was a painter, so I got a taste of art as a child — our walls were filled with original paintings which I was aware of as a child but learned to appreciate as an adult. I want my children to appreciate the beauty of art and, who knows, they may even choose it as a career. So, I like to put whimsical pieces of original art in their room to inspire. I keep one wall open for their own pieces of original work that we rotate; although i need to do a better job at displaying it — using frames or art rails or…something other than what I’m currently doing (scotch tape).

I knew I wanted a wall that popped so i chose pink! Not too bubble gum, not too pastel…it’s salmony pink. It’s actually pretty comforting. who knew!? The framed pieces are original silk screened posters that I couldn’t resist. I never get tired of looking at them. We’ve also got the token fish…Sammy Rainbow.


These little clay figurines are about 2.5″ tall. They’re made by a local Seattle artist, Sean Beasley. Our dear friend, Rich, gave them to our girls as a Christmas gift. They’re so adorable, aren’t they? Bean loves her yellow guy. She occasionally asks me to take him down from his perch so she can play with him.

Art gallery

This is my girls’ art gallery wall. I painted the cherry blossom branch on a whim one afternoon while my husband was watching football. I never got around to embellishing with more blossoms which i illustrated in Adobe Illustrator and printed on sticky-back cloth paper. I simply printed, cut and stuck them to the wall. I need more flowers but haven’t found the spare time. Instead, I decorate the wall with my daughter’s art (cat mask shown). To the right of the picture is local Seattle artist, Amy Hevron’s, paintings. We’ve got several of her little works of art scattered about the house.

Fox by Amy Hevron

Close-up of “Fox” by Amy Hevron

art wall

This is a mini art wall above my daughter’s bed. The piece to the left is an etching my husband drew as a child. His mom miraculously kept it and I framed it because it’s so adorable! Next to that are 2 pieces by the talented Portland artist, Trish Grantham. The two teeny pieces (panda and bee) are hers as well. The framed piece above them is by an unknown artist that I received as a gift.

window seat

This is the window bench that I hired a crafty carpenter to build. The drawers are filled with toys that I can quickly stash when it’s time to clean up. The cushion is a simple slab of foam from a local source and I went to Seattle’s fabulous Great Jones Home store and purchased the striped fabric and stapled it over the foam. It was a mini DIY project that didn’t take long at all.

You’ll notice two black rectangles on my drawers. Those are pieces of fiber board that i had my dad cut to size because while drilling holes for the drawer handles, I completely mis-drilled and had to cover my mistake. I painted the fiber board pieces in chalkboard paint; however, my daughter never uses them to draw on. Someday I’ll get those drawers fixed! (at least I keep telling myself).

August 17, 2007 at 4:24 am Leave a comment