Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Gift of Giving

I love giving gifts.  There is nothing like the pleasure of knowing that you gave someone the "perfect" gift.  Sometimes you get to watch the look on their face as they open the wrapping and find what they always wanted but never knew.  Other times you just leave it there in a pile with the rest of them and hope that when they unwrap your gift they pause for even a little bit longer than they did with the others.  Some of my top gifts given include:

My mom's birthday calendar - a personalized calendar with photos of all the grandkids and kids with important dates (everyones birthdays, anniversaries and holidays) already on it.)

My mother-in-law/mothers/grandmothers mothers day gift - a small 3x5 photo book of my daughter (the perfect size to carry in your purse and brag about the grandkids.)

The first birthday gift I gave my husband - on our first date we met for dinner and then took a walk around the area near the restaurant.  One of the stores had these velvet gnome piggy banks.  In order to make conversation we discussed which we would buy, if we were to buy one.  Six months after that first date I wrapped a light blue velvet gnome piggy bank in a box and gave it to him along with some useful kitchen items.  The best part of that gift was that I couldn't find a box that was big enough so I cut a hole around the top so what you saw was a perfectly wrapped box with light blue velvet gnome hat sticking out of the top.

Anyway - why do i mention all this...I recently had the chance to give a gift that I was so thrilled to be able to share.

Along with the amazing gift of my daughter almost a year ago, I received the gift of being part of a mommy and me class.  As most of us joked we just took the class to buy friends, it turned out to be very true.  I have met some amazing, inspiring women in this mommy and me group and I am not sure what my life as a mother would be like without them.  So when one of the moms told us she was moving across the country since her husband got an amazing job, I couldn't help but go into action.  Together with the other amazing mommies we put together the perfect survival kit for a mommy moving to New York.  Take a look at what we were able to give her:

Here is the I (Heart) LA tote bag - just to remind her of where she came from

Inside the tote were some goodies including: A "dress your snowman kit", a snowball maker, an "LA Misses You" onesie for the baby, the first season of Toddler and Tiaras (an inside joke in the group), a subway card and a family annual pass to the Zoo and Aquarium

I made a little card with all of the names of the mommies who contributed and some art that would remind her of what she was leaving behind :)

All in all a gift I loved giving.
We will miss you Samantha and Charlotte but we enjoyed giving you something to help you feel at home in your new home!!!
What's do your gifts say about you?

Monday, December 19, 2011

1 only once

So I have been thinking about Geffen's first birthday since the dust settled after he baby naming.  Though we are not doing a big all out bash with tons of people, I still want to make sure her one and only first birthday is special.  When it came to her baby naming I had lots of ideas of what to do.  Granted, I wasn't working and had lots of time to roll ideas around in my head, but the vision came easily.  With her first birthday, I am having a tougher time.

I thought I knew where I was going with purples and greys.  Brunch at our house with 30 or so family members. (Yes 30 is small - We had over 100 at her naming.)  I already had some ideas for the menu and everything.

Then we started looking for her first birthday outfit.  Alas I was let down.  Since we have been getting so many hand-me-downs from my niece I actually haven't done a lot of cloths shopping for Geffen.  There are  an overabundance of dresses for little girls.  The problem with a dress is that as a baby who is not walking yet, a dress means continual face-plants as her knees get caught in the dress.  Though funny, I must admit, it is a little cruel.

So back to the drawing board.  I am open to new color ideas!  No themes, I will have years of characters and creatures to plan around, for now I get to choose the look myself.

Please toss out your favorite color combinations, handmade decoration ideas, and photos of party's you think would be fitting for an awesome girls first birthday party!

To give you an idea of what her naming was like, I have added some photos.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Step up

So, when my nephew turned one, I thought long and hard about what to get him for his birthday.  It was tough to think of something fun and useful.  I like to give gifts with meaning that last beyond a few uses.   After a lot of bad ideas (drum set, an "I Love My Aunt" onesie) I came up with the idea of painting a step stool for him.  He will turn 6 in February and he uses it all the time.  I made one for his brother and recently made one for his sister as well.  When I was making the one for my niece I decided to make one for Geffen.  Here is what I painted:

So in LA there is one store - ONE - that sells unfinished wood step stools.  It's where I bought my nephew's gift 5 years ago and where I bought this.  As I did with the name sign for Geffen's room I designed the art on my computer, used carbon paper to transfer it onto the stool and hand painted the rest.  Then the clear coat and sanding.  And the clear coat and the sanding.  And the clear coat and the sanding.

Again, I wanted something clean and contemporary.  The possibilities for this project are endless but I am really happy with the finished product.  Geffen's cousin, Tali, got a matching step stool with her name in Hebrew and English.  One day they will each use them to get their parents liquor out of a high shelf or something - that's just fine with me!  (Just don't let my husband read this...)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's in a name

So before Geffen was born I spent a lot of time thinking about how to decorate her room.  I am Israeli and my husband is American so it's important to me that both Hebrew and English are represented in her life.  Since the elephant stencil in her room was a sage green and my husband loves burnt orange, I tried to find a way to combine something warm and inviting while staying clean and contemporary.  I also wanted to create something that would stand the test of time.  I would love to see my creations sitting on Geffen's bookcases when she has her own home one day.
So this is what I came up with.  I bought small canvas squares and thanks to good ol' carbon paper I was able to create the look on my computer and transfer it almost exactly on to the canvas.  I then hand painted the canvas with a combination of the wall paint we used to stencil her room and acrylic paint from the craft store.  Here are a few close ups of what i did.

What I like about the canvas squares is how versatile they are.  I can hang them in a bunch of different ways and, because they are so small, they can even stand on a bookcase.

I had/have so many ideas of what else I could do with this idea: add some art to a few extra squares, attach ribbon to each one and hang them from the ribbon individually, add rope behind the entire thing and hang them together...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Where to begin...

At the beginning I guess.  31+ years ago my parents had one wonderful passionate night that...ok maybe not that far back.  My creative streak goes way back.  There is a photo of me when I was about 3 or 4 carrying a pen and paper around the house.  When I was 10 or so my parents bought me a handheld sewing machine.  I hadn't sewn anything before but, without hesitation, I proceeded to design outfits for my Barbie made from old clothes.  Proof below (no comments about the glasses or haircut please!)

I have always looked at crafty things with an eye on learning it how it was  put together in order to recreate it or a version of it for myself.  This skill-set has come in handy with countless pieces of IKEA furniture and a number of creative ventures (including the bedroom set I once made for myself).

This all bring us to today and to T.W.Bean.

T.W.Bean was born both literally and figuratively in January 2011 when my daughter Geffen, my little bean, was born...

Having a child has been fulfilling in more ways than I could have imagined.  Not only did she fill me with an over abundance of love and joy.  But she filled me with this great desire to create.  She is such an inspiration and T.W.Bean is my attempt to channel that creativity in such a way that would allow me to spend more time with her, T(time).W(with).Bean(her nickname).

I hope you enjoy these projects and inspirations and share them with those you love and those who inspire you!