All things books!! Books we’ve read, authors we love, illustrators we wish we could be, or crafts related to reading.

Children’s Spaces // A Favorite Book

Children’s Spaces // A Favorite Book

Before Pinterest, I used to collect books. Throughout my childhood, high school and college, my dad would buy me one big art book every Christmas. It started with Norman Rockwell, Paul Klee and Toulouse-Lautrec. As I got older, my tastes changed but my love for beautiful books did not. After marriage and children, I started buying my own big books and that’s when I started my decorating collection. I still covet beautiful books and have a growing wish list, but I must admit that Pinterest fits better with my budget!

This book, Children’s Spaces from Zero to Ten, is one of my favorites. I’ve looked through it countless times and always end up on the same pages, daydreaming of being a child again and living in these cozy, magical rooms.

I love this shared space for a brother and sister. It’s not matchy (a pet-peeve) and it’s got splashes of red (my personal obsession). The big window in between the beds creates a lovely divide, and the little lamps on stools are small and perfect. It has a graphic quality with Babar and the striped rug, but it’s cozy, too, with it’s vintage bed sheets and pillows.

The bed with the red velvet curtains is to die for, isn’t it? Who would think that red velvet could create such a light and airy feeling. But since the red is faded, and the bed is a more grown-up white with just a few splashes of pastels, it creates a warm + serene space that is timeless.

I think that my bunting fetish must have begun with this baby’s room. I love the simplicity, and the colors. It takes discipline to create a room that is so tranquil + calm, and that can grow with baby and her developing taste and style.

This is my favorite bedroom for a boy. The checked bedding with patchwork quilt is charming + homey and makes the antique bed feel quirky instead of old. I love the simple Swiss cross and blowfish clock. I can see a string of art appearing over time. It’s such a sweet and cozy little space.

Add this book to your Mother’s Day wish list!

xo, Bar


Repurpose / Reuse / Retrash

Repurpose / Reuse / Retrash

What do all of the above have in common? They are all things that have been brilliantly repurposed! Or upcycled…reused…retrashed. Call it what you will, it is an idea as old as time. Although nowadays, the movement has a fresh face thanks to Pinterest!

As you know, I have a fondness for making things from what we have lying around the house. Many of my art projects on this blog are made from materials that everyone has at hand (click here to see them all). Part of it is that I dislike errands very much. Driving around to get this and that, it literally puts me in a bad mood. The other part is that it makes me feel bad to spend money on supplies when I have so much here. And thirdly, it just makes sense! Using what I have forces me to be creative, and it leaves me with a good feeling that I didn’t add to my garbage pile.

I hadn’t heard of the word “retrash” until recently, when I came across this Kickstarter campaign from Aussie Nathan Devine. He is funding his labor of love, a beautiful coffee table book named RETRASH. The idea spawned from his website. This book will feature artists from around the world who are inspiring change by working to reduce landfill waste and getting creative with what others view as trash. Check out his Kickstarter page and make a pledge if it moves you. I personally can’t wait to get my copy and share it with my kids (our most promising generation of recyclers)!

Above credits: globe pendants / hanger to TP holder / necktie zipper pouch / mouse beds from Altoid tins / yardstick boxes / tin cans for art supplies / egg carton sewing kit / bike sink / work shirt to little dress / tennis racquet mirrors / suitcase speakers / landfill-harmonic (you must click this link and see for yourself)

Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

xo, Bar


Best Easter Bunny Story

Best Easter Bunny Story

We love this book, it is one of our favorites of all time in this house. Have you heard of this great tale? It’s called The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes and it is a gem in every way.

It is about a busy mother of 21 babies who has always dreamed, since she was a little girl, of being chosen by Old Grandfather Bunny to be one of the five official Easter Bunnies.

The boy bunnies always teased her, saying she was just a girl and girls weren’t fast enough to become Easter Bunnies. When she became a mom, they laughed at her still and told her to leave the Easter eggs to great big men bunnies like them. So mama Cottontail took care of her babies. Once they grew up a little, she gave them each a job and taught them how to be self-sufficient.

One day, she heard that a spot had opened up to become an Easter Bunny. She took her children to watch the big race to see who would be picked. As she was standing there with her lovely children all in a row, she caught the eye of the Old Grandfather Bunny. Through a series of observations, mama Cottontail gets picked to be an Easter Bunny because she was not only swift (from running after her children), but also wise and kind.

On Easter eve, she gets injured while delivering the most special egg to a very sick boy. But in the end, through her perseverance and courage (and a pair of golden shoes) she succeeds! When the sun finally rises on Easter morning, she has made it home just in time to bring eggs to her own children. She finds the house in order and all of her children asleep in their beds (this is our favorite page).

As a reviewer once wrote so poignantly…”It is difficult to believe that this very modern feminist tale was originally written in 1939. A gem of a fantasy in which kindness and cleverness win out over size and brawn.”

Happy Easter! xo


Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012

As you all may know by now, I’m not as much into “stuff” as I am into “make”. But I thought I would share my own holiday wish list for my kids. Santa always brings books, that is a given. Clothes are necessary for growing kids – why not make them cute? Art supplies are a must (after food, shelter, clothing & books). And games are a healthy addition to the playroom and good for the brain.

So here we go. Let’s start with books! (To read a short review on each book, visit my Pinterest board.)


Stuck – Oliver Jeffers / The Frank Show – David Mackintosh / My Travelin’ Eye – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw / I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus – Jack Prelutsky / Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School – David Mackintosh / Same, Same but Different – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw / The Night I Followed the Dog – Nina Laden / For Just One Day – Marc Boutavant / I Know Here – Laurel Croza / The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School – Laurie Halse Anderson

{A little side note on picture books: My kids are 6, 10 and 12 (soon to be a teen!)…but I still read picture books aloud to them all. It makes them better writers!}

Some of these toys & games may be on the expensive side. I believe in buying one good toy that will last through all of the childhood years, rather than 5 or 6 toys that will break or lose their interest.

Play + Wear:

1. Colorful Magnet Game  $32 good for the brain  2. Wooden Doll Pram $110 made in Denmark  3. Cursive Magna Tab $19 sensory reinforced practice  4. Oeuf NYC Polka Dot Hat $48 for kid or teen  5. Organic Anorak Hoodie $62 for boy or girl  6. Little French Suitcase $38 pretty storage  7. Cotton/Lambswool Turtle $84 stripes for boy or girl  8. Artists Blocks $25 create 6 different paintings  9. Boiled Wool Slippers $44 warm + cute and last forever  10. Polka Dot PJ’s $52 little or big girl  11. Boy’s Red T $39 will be his fave  12. Tegu Magnetic Blocks $70 innovative  13. Faces Memory Game $14 everyone is different  14. Sled & Helmut $39 outdoor winter fun  15. Orange Jump Rope $32 from nautical rope  16. Alphabet Blocks $20 beautiful

My favorite way to inspire creativity is to simply put out a medium (paint, pencils, collage…) and some plain paper and let the kids explore. But sometimes it’s nice to have a pre-packaged craft, especially during the holidays.


1. Learn to Knit Kit $62 merino wool + patterns  2. Japanese Washi Tape $18 so many possibilities  3. Neon Twine $12 bracelets galore  4. Sketchbook $12 everyone needs one  5. Marled Yarn $8 pom-poms are calling  6. Le Pen $2 each doodling + writing thank you notes  7. Liquid Water Colors $30 vibrant + gorgeous  8. Chalkboard Laptop $52 iLove this  9. Table Top Paper Holder $34 for big drawing  10. Multi Ink Pad $17 stamp the day away  11. Alphabet Stamp Kit $35 words as art  12. Button Factory $19 rainy day activity  13. Watercolor Pencils $37 make cards  14. Kraft Paper Roll $26 d.i.y. wrap

Phew! That was fun.

Happy Shopping ♡



Parenting // Discipline Less + Understand More

Parenting // Discipline Less + Understand More

Every once in a while, I come across something that I really feel like I need to share. This chart was created by Carol Tuttle, author of the book The Child Whisperer, which I have never read. I wish I had had this book when my girls were little to add to my parenting-book library. I’m now starting to buy the how-to-deal-with-teenagers variety. But I still have a six-year old and this chart has worked brilliantly twice already! I won’t bore you with my child’s almost-tantrums and how I avoided them, but suffice it to say that within 30 seconds of reading this chart I realized I had a sensitive little boy who wasn’t being heard by his busy mama.

I say we all print this out and hang it in the bathroom (the place I hide when I can’t take one more child crying…or the place where husbands might read it!).

Good luck mamas! And happy monday from your friend Bar ♡