Archive for the ‘at home’ Category
preface: i am not a professional child expert! i’m a graphic designer who made a child with the help of a journalist. the following information is for entertainment purposes only and seems to be working well for our child.
i posted a picture of our new ‘discipline’ system on instagram last week and a few people were curious, so i thought i’d share it with you. now, we love our little guy! he is so interesting and funny but sometimes: SO FRUSTRATING! i’m sure all the parents are feeling me on this one. we’ve been working on a way to minimize the exhaustion though: the behavior bead system!
a few things we’ve been dealing with lately prompted this system: there has been some major ingratitude (“i wanted better presents from america, dad”), some teasing of the pets (nothing cruel, just annoying them incessantly) and disrespect for people and property (hello autographed sofa). generally, we’d all got a bit slack and naughty things would slip by un-checked – until something made one of us snap and over react! at the end of a rough day its difficult to understand that he’s just five and that its our job to teach him these good qualities. that might sound like craziness but in some cases its difficult not to take things personally and i don’t want our time together to be more enduring than enjoying, so we all needed a shake up!
what’s the system?
i wanted a system that would help us stay on top of the unpleasant behavior, would maintain the kid’s attention, and teach him some better self control. so, i arrived at the behavior bead system! i think its pretty great because:
✽ each day the kid starts with 20 beads credit. he doesn’t have to work to earn more beads, he just has to try and not lose any! i think this is good because its a positive start to each day: he’s moving forward, but its up to him how fast he moves toward his goals.
✽ his goals are a collection of vouchers that he can redeem when he’s collected enough beads. we made a list of things that he enjoys and assigned each a bead value e.g.:
40 beads: your choice of game from the cupboard
60 beads: a tv show of your choice
70 beads: a DVD movie
100 beads: 1 hour internet time
100 beads: dessert of his choice
120 beads: dinner of his choice
140 beads: a trip to the movies
✽ he gets the benefit of the doubt: each time he starts heading off track he gets a warning, and if he doesn’t correct himself, he gets fined one bead. he can’t earn that bead back, so he has mostly been paying attention at the warning stage.
✽ he is learning about saving, and delaying gratification. i was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t cash all his beads in on day three for some tv time – he held out for what must have felt like an eternity so he could have dessert. i was happy to reward him – he really earned that ice cream!
how does it work day to day?
we have a chart on the wall in our living room, and each day has 20 blank circles representing beads. if the kid gets a fine we color one circle in and he will get one less bead at the end of the day. e.g.: 3 fines, 3 circles filled in = 17 beads remaining at the end of the day.
after dinner, we check the chart and count out the remaining beads he hasn’t lost to fines. this is fun because he likes counting and we practice counting in 2′s, 4′s etc. he has a box for bead his stash and his voucher book that he keeps in his room. i keep the “bank” of beads and redeemed vouchers up high in the living room so there’s no tampering or great bead robberies!
i chose to use beads rather than money because i wanted something separate that we could put our own value on and he couldn’t cheat with and find other coins to add to his stash! and i chose green beads because i had a whoooole heap of them – also they look very special and valuable like emeralds!
do you want to try using behavior beads?
if you would like to try this out with your kiddos, i’ve made printable charts and vouchers just for you – just BYO beads and you’re all set!
please note: i do not offer tech support, or customization on printables.
✽ 2 week progress chart for recording fines & tallying the beads
or, if you’d like to fill in your own vouchers with goals relevant to your child:
what do you think of our system? do you have your own way of helping your kids keep on track?
so, we had a party… it was pretty epic. feel free to skim over and admire the photos, or continue reading and find out how you can have an epic party too – i’m even sharing party printables!
each year, around june i ask my son what he wants for his september birthday party. i love parties, so i get excited early and i’m eager to start planning! the rest of the year we’re busy and we have to say “no” to a lot of stuff, but birthday time is SACRED! so far we’ve had “alice in wonderland”, “space” and this year he asked me for a “willy wonka/charlie and the chocolate factory” themed party. i thought that was pretty neat considering he share’s his birthday with roald dahl and we’ve read the book multiple times and watched both movies many multiples of times.
this theme is a blessing and a curse, though. you have so much inspiring material to begin with that its not like you need to brainstorm too hard, but then both the book and the movies provide such awe inspiring descriptions of the factory that that’s a BIG job to try and live up to!
i started off “small” with the invitations. the obvious choice was to send out bars of chocolate with golden tickets! and who am i to question the obvious choice?! however i’m neither made of postage money or chocolate so i opted for 2D double-sided paper wonka bars that were cheaper and simpler to post.
i made you a special printable version to use for your own wonka party! and don’t forget to ask your print shop to print them double sided – just hand write in the party host, the location, time and date, your phone number and “RSVP by” date.
please note: i do not offer tech support, or customization on printables.
pinterest came through big time with decor ideas, and the rest was just some creative thinking. above are some of the inspiring bits and pieces that pinterest delivered. i didn’t use them all, but maybe you’ll find them useful.
the big issues i had to solve with making this party all that it could be were:
a) making a big impact, on a small budget and scale
b) not wasting too much stuff (food, money, materials)
a tight color palette is the answer to all of life’s problems, but it helps parties look well put together with minimal effort and expense. turns out there’s not much chocolate brown party supply out there so i happily used the groovy pink/orange/yellow color scheme of the wonka bar packaging.
you can make a big impact with a knock-out buffet display – let the food display be part of the decor: decorative AND delicious! i really lucked out finding a groovy striped plastic table cloth in those colors which served as the backdrop to the table AND the table cloth (it was long).
we had pink and orange plates and cups from our birthday shindig, so i mixed in some new yellow ones, and some orange striped napkins. some of the plates even made their way into the decor as cellophane wrapped candies (see down a little further).
in my intensive, focused, scientific, party research phase i loved the jars of candy i was seeing at other people’s parties – but we will never eat three full jars of candy in 1000 years so that was just wasteful in our situation. my solution was to whip up some graphic faux candy! i printed out paper inserts for the jars and some paper lollipops too. these would be fun to do with your kiddo – get them involved in the preparation by stamping, drawing or painting some candy jar fillings!
we made up some plastic plate candies to stick around, some $2 paper lantern lollipops for the garden and helium baloons en masse in the party colors filled out ceiling space and were easy to do on the morning of the party.
~ Menu ~
fizzy lifting lemonade
everlasting bubblegum cordial
(if you’re in australia, cottee’s make “gubble bum” flavor cordial)
pretzels, chips, popcorn
mini candy bars
lots and lots of candies!
and i was instructed to make a “chocolate birthday cake, with chocolate frosting, and chocolate” to follow. i made just that! and i decorated it with smarties (candy covered chocolates like flatter m&ms) in the shape of a 5. this cake is kind of an homage to my own 5th birthday cake which my clever mama and grandmama made in the SHAPE of a FIVE, covered in smarties. it blew my tiny mind and i’ve never quite recovered.
i had every intention of also making a rainbow platter of fruits with honey yoghurt to dip, and vegetable crudité with hummus but a) i’m a chronic over-caterer and always feel wasteful after parties and b) what kid is going to eat veggies when there is a table full of candy?! we all know candy is a sometimes food, but parties are only sometimes events so i saved the fruit and veg for us to enjoy during the week. and i skipped the fairy bread too. i know, i’ll just give up my australian citizenship right now, huh? shame on me.
so there was candy for all, and sugar highs on the horizon. the only solution was to burn off some energy and distract the kids from grazing on the sugar by playing lots of fun games! here’s what we did, how we did it and what you need to do it yourself!
mike teevee’s tv quiz
think up 5-10 tv related questions your kid’s will be able to answer. give chocolate money prizes.
for example, we asked the 5 year olds:
“what color is oscar the grouch?”
“on the wiggles, what color shirt does jeff wear?”
“what type of animal is pingu?”
“on yo gabba gabba, who said they had a party in their tummy?”
“who can tell me the name of the island that thomas the tank engine lives on?”
charlie bucket’s bucket basketball
a large bucket or tub
a lot of breath or a balloon pump
veruca salt’s bad egg and spoon race
eggs; real, plastic or chocolate depending on the age of participants
silver spoons or dumpling spoons (easier for little kids)
each participant gets a spoon balanced on an egg and they must make it around a race course without dropping their egg. no holding the eggs with your hands, though!
augusts gloop’s donut race
mini donuts for each guest
a long stick, or broom handle
using the kitchen twine, tie the mini donuts to the string, then tie the length of string attatched to the donut to the long stick. make sure they’re equally spaced leaving enough room for everyone to stand/eat comfortably.
to play, hold up the stick with the donuts hanging down and have the children put their hands behind their back. the first to eat all of the donut without using their hands wins!
violet beauregarde’s blueberry baloon bonanza
blueberry colored balloons
small prizes you’ll be able to fit into un-inflated balloons eg: mini candy bars, small puzzles, whistles
fill blueberry colored balloons with small prizes then inflate them. get the kids to pop (squeeze, sit on) the blueberry bubbles to win their prize. have a push pin on standby for you to use in case your kiddos are too light to pop the balloons on their own.
to finish up with, i REALLY like party favor bags. its like having a little extra party after the party, so i tend to make a bit of extra effort to send home some fun treats. this year i got organized early and it paid off! i found handmade soaps (by sailormouth soaps on etsy) in the shape of frog candies, and i redeemed myself with the guest’s parents by finding a bunch of cute animal toothbrushes. packed up in gold bags with some bubble mix, and a couple of extra candies the favors made leaving the party a little less upsetting.
sure there are people who will say i’m probably spoiling my kid, but we ALL had fun – both father and son asked for the same party next year) and there’s only a few years you can be spoiled for. my mum threw fun parties for me so i like passing on those special memories to my son as its a way of keeping her fun spirit alive, but i think whatever effort you make for your children will be happily received and treasured.
maybe its the sugar talking, but i think i’d quite like to make parties happen for a living, so y’know… call me! who knows maybe we can have a pilgrim party blog.
remember i took you on a tour of my office area a few weeks back? today i’ll be showing you some fresh pics of my lounge/dining area shot by the very talented fi mims. hopefully i include all the vital info you want to know, but if i miss anything or you have questions – comment it up and i’ll get back to you!
working from left to right in the photo above: thrifted orange chair reupholstered in a thick terra-cotta corduroy. mystery vintage art print, torsby buffet from ikea, “the fool” print by me, eclipse chair from oz design furniture, “maidens of the midnight sun” print by sanna annukka. assorted pillows from now closed etsy sellers.
sofa from freedom furniture covered in “coco raspberry” by warwick fabric, assorted cushions from etsy, & freedom. “the big apple” fabric wall hanging by luther travis, red bookshelf from ikea, vintage hello mushroom lamp. oh and everyone asks – on top of the bookshelf is a silver “thing”: its a space projector by mathmos, the GROOVIEST lamp in the world.
“love” and “radio” radios vintage, from ebay, final enamel tea kettle inherited, plastic toadstool napkin holder from etsy, shinzi katoh bento box, plastic tulip lamp in the pink coffee pot (inherited) was a gift so i don’t know where to find one, red olivetti valentine typewriter from ebay.
so there you go! any questions? i love this room very much. its where we spend the majority of our time and its comfortable, inviting and functional. a space like this doesn’t develop over night, it took quite a few years to work out what fitted where but now it feel juuuuuust right.
may i introduce to you the prettiest girl in my living room… unfortunately i don’t know anything about her.
isn’t she lovely, though? she was a present from a lovely, generous friend and i had her framed recently which has totally done her justice. here she is ‘in situ’ hanging with a copy of my ‘fool’ print and a sanna annukka print…
i recently had some new house shots done by the fab fi mims, and i’m going to show them to you room by room. i’ve been emailed a few times about where i got various things from, so this should be a fun way of sharing some secret sources and talking you through my space!
in the case of my desk area its also a bit of a time capsule! its not going to look like this for very much longer now that my desk is movin’ on out and up to my studio: lil desky’s leaving home! and do i need to tell you how excited i am about working AWAY FROM HOME. like a grown up!
the actual desk is from ikea, and that frosted glass panel is very useful! the chair is from ikea too, but i made a fancy cover for it using a pattern by yvestown.
bottom: vintage shelf papers in search of the perfect project
beatles yellow submarine album cover notebook by vinylux
the fabulous chair fabric, found via ebay
butterfly mobile from shine gallery, LA
top left: paumes interior books, pop ink books, and kaboom: explosive animation from america and japan top right: vintage mugs
bottom: postcards, gum balls, ‘let’s hang’ zipper pull blind box, decole toys from the middle of bath fizzies, puchi puchi babie deers. my terrarium, and a luggage tag from the beatles’ 1964 tour of australia.
fuji instax gallery on the shelves behind my desk.
bottom: the pigeon holes of the yellow bookshelf (a salvaged office pigeonhole shelf)
stay tuned for more fresh house photos and eventually, photos of my NEW studio space (yay!)
this isn’t really late breaking news, but its taken me aaaages to get around to posting about the changes i made to my son’s room. its no secret that’s for sure! if you’ve seen my apartment therapy home tour shots you’ll be familiar with all of this already, but oh sweet lordy do i love talking about makeovers! can we get a before…?
nothing intrinsically wrong with that ‘before’ pic. it was a very nice calm and minimal babies room. i went with an aqua, lime, and orange palette largely inspired by the rug you see. the changing table was the same that i was changed on when i was a baby, and it was made by my great grandfather during the depression (from orange crates). don’t worry the cabinet has been moved into another room where it will take on its seventh life as a guitar bench. and there’s the wee little guy, back in the day, i think that was taken when he was one year old. and what about the ‘after’ shot…?
TA-DA! there is a sideboard where the cot was! and a bed where the change table was! and a bunch of different stuff! working from left to right we have: ikea storage ‘bins’ holding toys and supplies (painted in nippon paints ‘bamboo’ color), a second hand sideboard scored from my friend’s shop (the top was pretty rough so it got a lick of paint ‘satsuma’ by nippon paint, to be precise), the print on the wall above the sideboard is by shinzi katoh, and the smaller print on the wall is ‘gama go’s critter boat’ by tim biskup.
the bed was actually the first thing i bought. i found it in a thrift store and thought it was such a sweet, perfect ‘first bed’. from that point i put the room together really gradually. i had a folder on my desktop and a photoshop file that i used as a digital mood board. i took photos of what we already had (the prints, the clock, the chair) and then worked out a palette and ‘theme’ (i was inspired by the yellowing colorful illustrations in vintage kid’s encyclopedias) and then added the other furniture as i discovered it. i would search very generally on etsy and ebay for extras using very general terms that fit my theme, eg “vintage woodland” and if i found something intriguing i’d drag the pictures into my mood board to see if they worked. it was just trial and error and patience. but i enjoy putting rooms together so much, and this was such a special project. i adored my bedrooms, growing up, and i wanted this extra special first ‘big kid’ room to be as fun and cute as it was functional. storage was an extra special consideration seeing as previously all the toys had lived in our lounge room!
here’s a view of the million dollar rug! its not really that valuable, i bought it from urban outfitters and it arrived a very different color to the one online so i spent about its equal value just getting it to be the color i wanted! ugh.
so after i worked out i was going for a vintage woodland, nature, kinda theme i could. not. believe it when i found this sheet on etsy! its a smokey the bear single sheet, in great condition, that i’ve turned into a duvet cover. its got that lovely soft vintage sheet feeling, but i sewed it to a new plain white sheet to give it some extra thickness . i still can’t believe my luck! my son loves pointing out the animals on the sheet and reading all the fire safety messages. the cushions are ‘orla kiely for target’ napkins set i picked up on ebay.
here is one of my woodland patchwork prints in its natural habitat! now you know what informed my choice of colors for that print… its all about me, baby! also pictured is a leaf print by ubiki, from etsy.
the sideboard was a real score. my friend was closing down her shop to set off on a world adventure, and so i kindly offered to relieve her of her shop counter, and here it is! a freshly painted top, and a new lease on life. it now holds lots of boxes of smaller toys and games in its shelves, and some smaller clothing items in its drawers.
some woodland-ish trinkets my son corralled into his room. funny how little people take ownership of certain things. he’s just claimed my whisk as his own recently!
the bedtime story chair has a very new and lovely cushion on it from arthur’s circus! the chair and the bed frame are both painted in nippon paint’s ‘wainscot’ color. its a nice, very 70s brown. the chair was one of my grandma’s kitchen chairs, so its really cool it gets such an important role in this room.
can you believe i found some squirrel bookends at my local housewares/gifty shop.. these babies are keeping us safe from a total book-alanche. we have an avid story-listener on our hands!
and finally, on the wall at the foot of the bed, by the doorway, we have a little cluster of art wall goodness. the dreamy lab partners prints (and the matte stephens’ bear monster) frame the ‘moon in my room’ light. father christmas brought my son the moon last december and so every night we check out what phase the moon is in, and adjust the light accordingly. it makes a really pretty nightlight and educational tool.
as i mentioned, a lot of the things we already had around the house, and the other furniture brought in is half ikea, half second hand so i’m quite happy with the thriftiness vs practicalness balance.
so there we have it! from nursery to nearly four years old! my son loves his room and even after a couple of months of it being all set up he’s still thrilled to have a room of his own, with character and interest, and that’s the big triumph for me.