Saturday, May 30, 2009

A ballerina in tulle land...

My Daughter is obsessed with ballerinas! It's hard to pin point exactly how and when this obsession started but I fear it has something to do with as innocent an image as three ballerinas representing the number three in a DK publishing Counting and Numbers book I bought her as an infant. If you ask me I'll tell you earnestly that it was never my intention to push the gender specific, stereotypical pink frilly tutu confections and all that comes with them. Long ago though, I vowed that I'd be sensitive to my children's strengths and interests and do my best to support those interests. I know that much of what we associate with gender is acquired through socialization but honestly biology must play a fair share in it too! At only 18 months old my daughters first requests each morning are usually "necklic" (her version of necklace...) I let her wear a strand of my fake pearls... otherwise she'll find her way into my jewelery box and choose something herself... That request is usually followed by "tutu"! now to be honest we didn't own a tutu a couple months ago, she'd improvise with a scrap of shimmery purple material I had lying around in the sewing room!

I guess I am guilty on some counts though, it's hard not to ooh and ahh when your little princess is twirling around and around and attempting to do pirouettes and curtsies. My husband, myself and other family members lavish her with attention in return for her little performances...

Materials; two 25 yrd rolls of tulle in Lavender and Lt. blue, some elastic, scissors, and a measuring tape.

20 minutes into the project... I was very anxious to get tying so I didn't cut all the tulle to start... was definitely irritating to have to stop and cut more tulle once I got the hang of it... next time I'll be prepared!

To help make my little ballerinas dreams come true I decided it was time to whip up a tutu for her. I searched the web for tutu tutorials and watched a couple demos on youtube. Then decided to do my own thing.... From all I had read it was highly recommended that I purchase the precut 6" tulle rolls, so I ordered 4 rolls off ebay in 4 different colours. The plan was to make two tutu's in coordinating colours. I love the idea of a no-sew tutu that way It would hopefully be quick and easy to put together. I started it with a piece of 1/2" elastic measured to fit my daughters waist minus a few centimeters... this is because the taught tying of the tulle stretches it out... I got about half way through tying when I realised I'd tied them so tight that the elastic no longer had much stretch... on to plan B. I cut the elastic I'd sewn closed and sewed a length of sheer ribbon to either end then tied a knot on each end. Then I continued tying the tulle up to the knots. I cut the tulle ahead of time to the desired length x2 plus a little extra for the knot... to make my tutu poufy I tied two pieces at a time! this tutu turned out very poufy, glad I didn't opt for three layers as it would have been way over the top! never mind that I wouldn't have been able to finish it as I went through every last inch of two 25 yard rolls!

I love the combination of the lavender and the blue I think they work really nicely together... I also wanted to avoid the classic pink!

Originally I wanted an elasticized tutu but we ended up with a bow/tie version. Either way my toddler is in seventh heaven! trying to pry it off of her to go out to the park or to have a bath is tricky and trying... I'm taking a breather from the tutu making but will probably be back sometime next week diligently cutting up more tulle for number two! this time equipped with a little insiders how to knowledge... mainly of what not to do!

I don't know if this is just a phase or the start of lifelong passion but either way I'm very happy to see my little one so smitten with something "Mimi" made!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Etsy treasure spotlight

Introducing the Etsy treasure spotlight! I hope this will become at least a weekly segment of Design Momma. I currently have about 20 pages of favorite stores in my Etsy favorites and the list keeps growing! So many awesome creators and so many more mind blowing creations! Unfortunately I probably won't ever own ALL of the products I covet so I thought why not share my favorite finds with my readers, if not me then someone else should definitely own these awesome finds.

This etsy shop is one of my oldest favorites and one of the dearest. E.soule is an amazing shop specializing in the coolest little animal art you'll ever see. The images are available on 5x5 wooden boxes or as prints. Personally I prefer the little wooden boxes that can be hung or placed for display on a shelf. Animal imagery is an age old staple in the nursery and quite fittingly so kids love animals! I'd be happy to own any of these images for anywhere in my home. The art is sweet yet their realization is modern and sophisticated. I love the unique P.O.V. Elizabeth offers us through the lens of her Polaroid camera. This shop boasts hundreds of purchases so clearly I'm not alone in my awe of Elizabeth's art. These images are from her Little Zoo collection, be sure to check out the other collections spanning sea life to flowers.

Once again this amazing art is available at e.soule's etsy shop. Do let me know if you get one! Elizabeth also has her own website check it out here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Flag bunting Extravaganza!

Ever since spotting my first flag bunting over on ohdeedoh I've been totally gaga for the spiky, novel room decor. Post after post displayed beautiful handmade buntings that really made the spaces they were in pop!

Needless to say I caught the bug... the bunting bug! We're fortunate enough to have a nice large room to dedicate as a playroom but the walls are made of rock and the ceiling is a slanted dark wood paneled one... hardly very cheerful. I would have loved to paint the room in one or several of my favorite bright hues... but it's a rental and rock... so no such luck! Then I got thinking a flag bunting would be such a fantastic way to introduce some colour and whimsy! I decided to make a bunting for the back wall... so you'd see it on entry and from other parts of the house... Now that wall is almost 8 metres long! we were going to need a lot of bunting!

I had a really hard time choosing fabrics and ended up going for a whopping 18 different patterns in almost every colour of the rainbow. I used a mix of designer fabrics by Amy Butler (used several colourways of the Wallflower fabric), Heather Bailey, Erin Mcmorris, Alex henry, Joel Dewberry, as well as some others I had lying around. I made three flags out of each fabric for a total of 54 flags! I used a cardboard cutout template and cut out the fabric flags with a rotary cutter. The Cutting and sewing of the flags was long and laborious... The part I was dreading the most.. affixing them to bias tape actually turned out to be so fast and easy the flags were on and the bunting complete within less than half an hour! after debating for days how to sequence the flags I made up a random pattern and repeated it three times.

I love how it turned out and hope to be able to enjoy it in our playrooms for years to come. It's really that missing piece that lends the room some pizazz! My daughter let out an enthusiastic "wwowww" and "pretty" when she first saw it so I guess it's got her seal of approval too!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Green Lullabye

The world of children's furnishings is such a fun and exciting place, everything looks better in mini! Kids are constantly growing though and furniture that's perfect right now may not fit the bill in a year or two. Some heirloom pieces are of course worth saving but for the majority of us space is of the essence and the reality is that you simply cannot hold on to everything! It's always a good idea to pass on well loved but no longer needed items to friends and family or those less fortunate, but still many items find their way into landfills.

Green Lullaby is an Israeli earth conscious Eco friendly company with an answer to some of the above dilemmas. Green Lullaby designs recyclable environmentally friendly furniture, storage and play items made of cardboard! The designs are easy to assemble or store. Constructed from cardboard the products are light weight yet durable and the designs are modern and unique. Green Lullaby products are available for purchase in Israel via Artlook (they also ship internationally) as well as at baby and children's boutiques throughout the country. A list of stores worldwide is available on their site. Pricing is very affordable so indulging in more than one piece is guilt free, easy on the pocket easy on our earth... that's a winning package right there!

Benz bench and table

My personal favorites the Multi box storage/seating set.

Eco cradle

My green doll house

Benz kiddie bench

Friday, May 22, 2009

Jeu de Paumes

Last week Design Momma celebrated her 26th birthday....geesh! I'm getting old! and received the most amazing gift from my dear hubby. For years now I've requested design books as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or any other occasion of which someone might decide to shower me with gifts! Books are definitely my favorite splurge but can be pricey and many titles wait patiently on my various wish lists for months sometimes years. Last year I spotted some Japanese Interior Design books over at Yvestown and instantly fell in love, I knew I just had to have them!

The series is published by Japanese publisher Jeu de Paumes and are written entirely in Japanese. While fully bi-lingual plus a nice amount of French I definitely can't read, write or speak a word of Japanese! that fact doesn't take away from the experience in the least! If a picture is worth a thousand words? well, these books will be "talking" to me for years to come. Their are currently four titles of Children's spaces. Children's rooms Copenhagen, Chambres d'enfant a Paris, Children's room London, and Children's rooms Stockholm. I received Copenhagen and Paris from dear Hubby.

When I first saw that little table and chairs my first reaction was "what the devil?!" they stole my Ikea hack! Upon closer inspection I realized that while similar this isn't the Latt set, and I sat back to take in the amazing Scandinavian wooden floors and pale green tones.

This is just a sampling of the eye candy that awaits you inside the Copenhagen edition. The book comes complete with a city guide and list of cool stores for sourcing some awesome euro treasures!

The allure of that amazing staircase pulls you in to one breathtaking photo after another! but seriously how Parisian is that pink! J'adore!

I'm very much in love with this green room, from the colour to the fairy lights to the dollhouse... I'm swooning!

The books pay homage to the occupant or occupants of each space and the first and last pages of the books are dedicated to artwork by the little sweethearts.

The pages of each book are filled with fun and whimsy. I think the eclecticism relied on during the formation of these amazing spaces is a uniquely European approach, I love the mix of old and new, bright, bold and many unexpected colour combinations. Coming from North America with an overriding tide of matchy matchy, pink or blue and brand new everything this approach is a breath of fresh air. Children are collectors by nature and all the rooms are brimming with collections of every sort imaginable. The spaces are beautiful, definitely juvenile yet sophisticated and with out a doubt lived in. They make me nostalgic about my own childhood but mainly inspire me to create such a dreamy space for my own daughter to cherish forever.

The books are available through their site, if your brave enough to tackle the ordering process or at the Yvestown blog. Dear Hubby contacted them via their site and reported that Sakai was especially pleasant and helpful, so they've got our two thumbs up! The books were wrapped sweetly and arrived within just a matter of days. Paumes has a huge line of books covering apartments, kitchens, studios etc. and the list is always growing. I feel that for me this is the start of a major addiction! so here's wishing me many many more birthdays!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hello spring! Zara Home kids style

Seems like just the other day I was highlighting Zara home kids fall winter line, and here finally spring has sprung! The new spring summer catalogue is out and it's got me wishing now more than ever that they'd open a store in Israel. Come on people let's make this happen! I shouldn't be the only one writing inditex' customer service reps! start a facebook group! let the people have Zara Home! We need an alternative to Ikea, a little competition isn't a bad thing...

While this seasons catalogue is awash with whites and neutrals I've kind of been longing for the bright splashes of colour usually associated with spring. At least where the kids are concerned all is cheery!

I'm usually not into neutrals for children, but in this case they create a calm, modern and soothing backdrop for the inevitably colourful toys and accessories.

I don't know why, but lately I've really been into moldings, especially in kids rooms... I love their elegant polished appeal, I'd frame in some bold wallpaper or blackboard paint to really make an impact.

This carpet is divine! and I love the striped drapes! this works great if your shy of splashing bold colour on the wall. Amp up great pops of colour in textiles and accessories and set them off with crisp white walls!

Every child should have a cute little bench like this tucked away in a nook for cozy reading! and storage too!

Love the fresh colours of this setting, especially the placemat and matching bib!

These bright bold colours could work for either a girl or a boy...and can carry them in to their teens easily...

I'm a big fan of coloured tableware, I'd do anything to make mealtimes more fun and attractive for my little picky eater!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I've blogged before about my admiration of french chic, and I really enjoy the french perspective on childhood and parenting. Thus I present to you MILK Magazine, Milk is a french lifestyle magazine for modern parents. Besides for being full of the latest trends in roomwears, design and fashion, it interviews many designers and reviews their products as well as must haves for the home, recipes and travel destinations.

One of my favorite sections is their "LOOK DU RUE" the magazines street style spread. Talk about chic! I'd hire some of these kids to put MY outfits together!

Love this casual look and bandana...

Is this what Curt Cobain looked like in his youth?

This little one has future fashion icon written all over her...

Talk about runway ready...

Gotta love those glam eighties!

Kids have sure come along way in choosing their own clothing and expressive style.... geez and I thought I was opinionated! be sure to check it out, if not to steal some looks for your own budding Fashionista... than to get some style cues for yourself!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Children's ikea

I love Ikea for so many reasons but since becoming a parent I love and appreciate them even more. Each year I anxiously wait for the new catalogue to come out, usually checking it out online before I even receive my copy in the mail. I affectionately refer to it as my "bible" and within a day or two I've got it and any new products memorized! anyone that knows me that I recognize most product by name. I never used to pay much attention to the children's section though, besides for admiring their styling.

A couple months ago when our wee one starting getting mobile and into EVERYTHING we decided it was time to up the level of our baby proofing. We were going to need a baby gate for the upstairs. Many places we looked to offered pressure gates... which were definitely not an option for the top of the stairs or plastic, ick! never mind that we were planning on putting it about a meter away from the stairs in the hallway which although not especially wide was still wider than most gates can accommodate. Finally I stumbled onto the Ikea Patrull line of safety items. We got the wooden Patrull Fast safety gate, problem solved on all counts. Gate is wooden and drills into the wall (comes with a dummy proof wall stencil so you know EXACTLY where to drill), it's adjustable and the whole gate swings open, we affixed it so that when it's not in use it can be up against the wall in the hall.

It's really hard to babyproof your kitchen so besides for locking the cabinets under the sink with all the poisonous stuff and keeping knives/sharp objects out of reach, we pretty much figured that we wouldn't be letting our little one hang out in the kitchen very often. While flipping through the latest kitchen catologue I spied yet another ingenious Patrull product, the stainless steel stove top guard. This fits beautifully in our kitchen and the stainless steel is really nice, most importantly it protects our little one and makes our kitchen a more child friendly place.

Ikea Patrull stovetop guard.

While I was supposed to be shopping babyproofing I couldn't help but notice some awesome toys. In my defense I had to walk halfway through the toy zone to get the gate...

I just love this little Fabler mouse, sort of reminds me of Angelina Ballerina.

The Duktig line is great! this pots and pans set is just what we needed for our play kitchen!

The Mula walking/rattling push toy is a wooden version of the classic popcorn push toy, with a much less irritating sound.... now if they only had it in stock...

My toddler is obsessed with Old MacDonald and animals in general. The soft Ikea minnen toy farm set would be perfect for totting around and setting up impromptu barn yard dances!

On the way to the checkout I couldn't help myself and had to swing by the "As is" section (old habits are hard to break!) and I found the most awesome find... can't spill the beans yet but another Ikea hack is on it's way! stay tuned...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers day!

Hey Mommies! Happy Mothers Day!

After all we mothers go through and endure and sacrifice albeit lovingly for our dear little mini's I really think we ought to be celebrated and appreciated year round.... but we take what we can get right?

For all of you first timers, welcome to the realm, if you haven't already figured it out motherhood is the most exciting journey you'll ever embark on. Last year was my first Mothers day and I look forward to enjoying many many more. This time last year Mothers day was a blur in a seemingly endless routine of never ending diaper changes and attached by the boob feedings. Everyday had it's rewards though, that first smile of recognition.... (way to reduce a grown woman to tearful babbling!) and not too long after the first ma ma! I will cherish that memory forever! This year is especially sweet as my toddler can say mommy clearly or her preferred version Mimi... and lavishes me with surprise hugs and kisses when I least expect it!

Last year I received a heartfelt message received on an Alternate Greetings card and it still brings a smile to my face! feel free to leave this open and in Daddy's view!

Alternate Greetings has a whole line of witty alternative greeting cards, while you're at it check out the Fathers day cards for your very own babe magnet in a Bjorn!

Have a fantastic day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Booksource - The Book

Any Anglo living abroad I'm sure can relate. You want to raise your child speaking your mother tongue and feel it's important to instill that language as their own mother tongue. Children love books and imaginative storytelling, what better way to share some quality time than sharing a good story? Books are hands down the most excellent means to vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension of any language. While living in Israel has many advantages it does make coming by English toddler/children's books rather difficult. You're faced with several options, buying books on sites like amazon and paying ludicrous shipping fees, and then some import taxes just because, begging friends and relatives to bring some over , or making due with children's books in hebrew.

I've mentioned before our love of books and reading and am proud to see that my little girl is well on her way to being a little bookworm herself. We buy more books than any other toy or activity for our daughter and it is often her preferred pastime to snuggle up on our laps and listen to enthusiastic renditions of her favorite stories. But how to keep up with her developmental milestones and make things interesting by adding new books to our collection? all whilst residing at least two continents and an ocean away from your nearest Barnes and Noble?

I've previously tried all off the options I offered above, some with greater success than others none off them enough to satisfy our craving for more books. I've recently perused the web desperately searching for online bookstores that ship internationally and stock a wide selection of English board books for toddlers. Imagine my surprise and joy stumbling on to an online bookstore based in the U.K called The Book Depository they not only ship worldwide, shipping is FREE!! You heard me free! I'm kicking myself for not finding/hearing of them sooner.

We just put our first order through two weeks ago and all the books were at our house within 1 week. We've been enjoying some new stories and I'm already making wish lists for future orders. The books ship individually, they were well wrapped and each came with a cute little bookmark. According to their website their aim is too make all books available to all a goal I admire and appreciate. They've certainly one me over, I know where I'll be doing my book shopping from now on!

O.k so out of our newest acquisitions we got two Charles Fuge books, I've never encountered his books before but boy am I glad we did! Somtimes I like to curl up in a ball written by Vicki Churchill and illustrated by Fuge and I know a rhino written and illustrated by Fuge are my daughters new favorite books. Toddlers can really relate to the endearing little wombat and all his quirks and the sweet story of a little girl and her animal friends.

Looking for a gift for your own little bookworm? why not a P'kolino book buggee to help them pull around their favorite titles and other prized possessions?

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