The room in which we LIVE ~ The 1st Project of 2012

We are back!  I wish I could say refreshed, organised and inspired to start 2012 but it is so far from it!  In the midst of unpacking, recovering from a 2 day long drive with two children and limited sleep we somehow decided the last day of 2011 was a good time to buy 10 flat packs of IKEA furniture!

Why do we do this to ourselves? I know it’s only the third day of 2012 but I think it is already time for a flashback to 2011….

Remember how we were looking for some colour?

And how 2012 was going to be the year of LIVING in our HOME?

With these dreams in mind and exactly a day to spare of 2011 we made a start.  That’s right the first organising and decorating project of 2012 has begun!  And it’s a big one! Of all the rooms in the house we want to work on this year, one was a top priority.  The most important room in our house.  The living room, because you know that’s where we live!

Our downstairs living areas are all open plan which means our living/dining room and kitchen are combined with a few columns separating the entry area and a dwarf wall separating the play room.  

I am approaching this project just as we have all other projects in our house. Step by step.

1. Identify the problem.  I am so grateful for our home, but to be honest we have not really done much with it since we moved in.  I guess really that’s the problem.  It’s lacking colour, organisation, style….LIFE!  The living area also needed to be opened up whilst reamining a defined space.  So we can all fit in there to play the wii but be able to recognise that it is the living room and not a home for all the toys!!

 2. The inspiration.  I had already tracked down some colour inspiration, via pinterest of course! 

We are hoping to mix a bit of teal, beige and tiffany blue with…

some classic pale blue and white. 

3. Begin!  I have started to gather little bits and pieces for our new wall size entertainment unit! (That’s what the 10 packs of IKEA was!) 

I have been searching the depths of every cheap store, for years, trying to find some kind of display easel!  I was actually looking for a cream shabby chic style but even better I came accross this metal easel for only $5 and it is a decent size!  

These vintage style frames were a steal at $3-$4 even better they came in the exact shade of tiffany blue I was searching for!

These shell tiled candle holders were wait for it… $2 each!  Love the neutral colours and the fact they remind us of our favourite place…the beach!This little assortment of tin buckets were in the garden section!  Best of all the outer picture is just stuck on the tin so fingers crossed with some peeling, scrubbing and eucalyptus oil we will have some cute tins for around the house!

There will be plenty more before and after pics to come….if we ever get this entertainment unit assembled!

5 ways to display Christmas cards

If you are anything like us the Christmas Cards have already begun to roll in.  We are pretty boring when it comes to displaying Christmas Cards and we simply hang them over a line of Christmas Stars.  If only I had of discovered these simple and creative ideas for displaying cards last week!

Simply blu tac on a wall in the shape of Christmas Tree! This would be great for the kids cards in their room!

Hang off some branches to create a gorgeous card tree

Usin a wreath base peg cards on creating a Christmas Card Wreath that can be used every year.

A few pieces of ribbon tied onto a door serves as a gorgeous and effective way to display cards!

 

We have the perfect banister for this clever idea!

and then when Christmas is over what do you do with all those cards?

Cut out some of your Christmas Cards into circles (a round paper punch would be great for this) and create a Christmas Wreath for next year!

How do you display your Christmas cards?

 You can find these and many more great ideas on my PINTEREST Boards HERE

Tina Gray {dot} Me

Children’s Chores and Charts ~ It’s easy as 1,2,3

I am all about teaching children responsibility and independence.  I have witnessed many a child starting school who struggles to do the simplest tasks by themselves.  The number of children who refuse tot take up any “helpful”tasks of their own accord, without being offered a reward is growing every year.  So listen up parents, IT STARTS AT HOME.  One of the simplest ways to teach children independence, time management and intrinsic value is to get them to do chores.

1.  Age Appropriate.  Although I really dislike getting the washing off the line, this is not a job to give a four year old!  Start with the basics.  Making their bed.  Setting the table.  Picking up their own toys.  If the job is too difficult you will be fighting a harder battle!  As they become more confident increase the number of jobs.

2. Self Selection.  Although they will need your guidance ask them which jobs they think they should do and add one to the list each week.  You can have “set” jobs that you require of them and a few “self selection”. Also let them have a bit of self selection in when they do these jobs.  This way they can learn time management.  As long as you give them a  broad time frame like watering the plants must be done before dinner tonight, then leave it to them.  This way children learn about leaving things to the last minute, planning ahead and getting your work done before playing!

3.  Intrinsic Value.  This is HUGE.  If you fail to do the previous two, please (for the teachers and child sakes) teach them about doing a job because it makes you feel good not because you will get something.  I am all for rewards and would rather praise than punish but this “have it now” generation is struggling to learn “good behaviour and doing the right thing makes you “feel good” not “gets you something good”  Bribery is paying BEFORE behaviour is delivered.  “If you make your bed I’ll give you $1.”  Instead wait for them to make their bed, then let them know (verbally) what a great job they did and how proud you are of them!  In our house I take a photo, this lets them know how much I love their work!  A surprise reward of a trip to the park when all the jobs are done works better than threat of if you don’t do it we wont be going anywhere!  

All this being said, chores are a great way to teach children about working to earn money.  To find a balance, maybe rule up a list of expected jobs (Make your bed, set the table, pick up your toys) that help the fmaily and household.  Then add a few “voluntary” or “extra” jobs for payment like weed the garden, wash the car, wipe a bench, sort the old newspapers.  

Sometimes a clever chore chart, in which children can self select jobs or move jobs to a done column when they are finished is all the “motivation” they need! 

Here are some clever ways other Mums are keeping track of the chores in their families!

Todays Fabulous Finds

 This is huge but would be great for a large family!  Just hook up each persons jobs!

Putting those hooks to use again Love the visual cues this one is available on etsy

vinylgiftsandmore.com

 This one just blends beautifully into your decor…so fancy!

opensky.com

Another store bought American find, love the idea of having three pencil cases for money! One to spend, one to save and one to give!!

lh5.ggpht.com

 Ok so this is complicated but if you had the time this would last forever!

Feeling crafty?  This one comes with a free template HERE

 

 

Lucky sticks!  I use this one in my classroom!  Write the name of the chores on a stick and lucky dip!

dandee-designs.com

An easy and cheap one for toddlers using visual cues and sticky dots!

mykindofcrafts.blogspot.com

A clipboard and some pegs, could it get any easier!  Simply clip the peg onto the job once it has been done!  Great for fine motor as well!

Magnetic whiteboards prettied up with ribbons.  Love this simple format.  Great for under 5’s.

and you so know where mine is going…..

widkidsblog.blogspot.com

close to our Family command centre!

So which one did I choose?  

Can a girl go past ribbons?  I am hoping to make this one myslef and just buy the magnets!

They are sold HERE.  I love that they are visual enough for non readers but still encourage reading!

So what do other Mums think about chores?

My eldest has a chore chart that he gets a tick for each thing he does. He has to make his bed, put his dirty clothes into basket, get his bowl for breakfast, get into his school uniform each day, and then pack his school bag.  Kirsty ~ Mummy to Five

My kids have chores – their rooms are their responsibilities, they also clean up the living room, their study tables and pick up anything lying around the house that is theirs. They also are expected to help with setting the table, put away their dirty clothes in the laundry and clean up their own dishes after breakfast, lunch and dinner. While they do get an allowance (not very much), they are not paid because of the chores they do. My husband & I believe that it’s part of living in the house, we all have our duties & responsibilities and those are theirs. Norlin ~ Baubles, Bubbles and Bags

Each month I do a chore chart up for my three children, at the moment, we are only focusing on one particular “item” that each child is having issues with..every day if that item or job is completed they get a gold spot on their chart. At the end of the month they get pocket money. I believe they should help with general chores etc but this is more like an incentive to focus on one particular thing, and it’s working!! Michelle ~ Farmer’s Wifey

My 22mth old son helps me empty the dishwasher by putting his plasticware in their cupboard! He will also “help” by putting the dirty ones in, but I have to stack them properly of course. Alyce ~ Blossom Heart 

Be consistent, have fun and put the kids to work.  You will thank yourself and your child’s teacher will thank you too!!!

 

Something old, something new, something bird, something blue.

Today I caught a glimpse of my future.  
Whilst shopping at Bed Bath n Table, I literally glimpsed in a gorgeous venetian glass mirror and caught a glance of a crazy haired, blue dressed woman, armed with a collection of various birds in an erray of pastel colours.  
Alas, the crazy bird woman was me.  
The crazy hair, well that is nothing unusual for me the Mother of a little girl who seems to be constantly pulling at my ponytail.  
The blue dress,  an attempt to diversify from my obsession for anything in the pink scheme of colour, that has, despite numerous efforts,  grown in intensity each year.  
And the birds, well they are my new lust worthy collectibles.

Something old, something new, something bird, something blue?

I am no stranger to obessing over things.  But the birds have caught me completely by surprise.  I am not an animal lover, and birds, well in reality I run screaming or ducking for cover.  

In truth it all began when thinking about a title for my new blog.  When Little Miss A came into our lives, following on from her brother, Master O,  I was struck by the number of people that commented about our “Pigeon Pair”.  The saying kind of stuck and hence became the title of the blog.  My wonderful blog designer then created a gorgeous header with those two very sweet little birdies perched above.  I was hooked, beak, wings and feathers.

Now I have birdie outfits for the kids, a new little birdcage and today a bird tree, bird shabby chic ornament and a few little hanging birds for the forementioned tree.  The current range of birdie items in vogue in everything from textiles, manchester, fashion, soft furnishings and home decor has certainly been an accomplice to my fixation.  

 I am sure my passion for collecting will follow me long into my future,  I may become a little eccentric, hopefully not too much like the crazy cat woman on the Simpsons.
Perhaps I will be that woman in pink, my hair a little less crazy, collecting something that I admire. 
Until then I will swoon over my little birds in all their vintage sweetness, their imaginary song, their muted colours.  
Beware the crazy bird lady, she will continue to swoop on these little chicks and gather them all to feather our families nest, 
next time I just won’t look in the mirror.

Miff Designs

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Come Fly With Me….Part One – Party Inspiration

IT’S FEBRUARY!!!
The party preparations for Master O’s 4th Birthday have begun!
This must be undertake with military precision to avoid my usual 
“last minute disasters!”

PHASE ONE
The idea…..

Master O loves planes!  This may have something to do with the fact that his first flight was at 4 months and he has flown at least 12 times since then!  

PHASE TWO
Inspiration

I didn’t have to look far for inspiration…
Master O’s Bedroom!
His bedroom has a sky blue, red and navy colour palette with a vintage airplane theme.

 It all started with this….
 Red Vintage Bi Plane and White Letter “O”


Michael Miller Vintage Airplane Fabric Bunting from – Giggleberry Creations


Navy Biplane Vinyl Wall Decal – Circle Line Studio on Etsy

Sheridan Junior – Aviator Quilt Set


PHASE 3
The Invitation

Anders Ruff have created a personalised birthday invitation for the big day, like the one above!

So climb on board Master O airlines as the preparations begin for his….
“Come Fly With Me” 4th Birthday!!!!



Mini Monet’s – Storing and Displaying Children’s Artwork

Today is the day my baby boy starts Kindergarten.  
This time 4 years ago I was heavily pregnant with a 9 pounder baby 
and now he is off to Kindy for the first time 🙁   
Where does the time go?
He is ALL BOY
Rough, tumble, fast, determined, outdoorsy, stubborn, hilarious, friendly and a chatterbox!
(not sure where he gets that last one from)
However, unlike most boys he HATES getting messy!
I can count on one hand the number of paintings he has created!
BUT…..just incase this year is different…..I have been searching for ways to store his artwork (pirate maps, letters to his dogs, collage spaceship/flying car/helicopter)


The one and only Fiona Kate.
I discovered Fiona Kate years ago when I read about her gorgeous home in a magazine.
Her storage products are brilliant!
A3 Art folder tied with gorgeous grossgrain ribbon
Can be personalised with alphabet stickers also available from Fiona Kate
Sturdy and wipeable
$21.95


 $17.95 comes in 3 different sizes and various designs for both boys and girls.
The largest box will fit a piece of A3 paper.

Designed to keep all kinds of items but would be useful for artwork as well!


Ok so these are not Australian, but aren’t they divine!
Little Miss A’s colours, pink and green!
I am sure you could find something similar here in OZ.

Ok so it’s Fiona Kate again, but this is ingenious!
Monster Storage box that can also be used as a table, talk about multifunctional!

another version of the “Monster” storage box by Fiona Kate.
This box would be great for storing those craft projects or collage creations that would not fit in small flat boxes.
You know the spaceship/train/flying car creation made out of cereal boxes and toilet rolls!


This is what many preschool/kindergarten teachers do!  Make this very easy cardboard picture saver.
Instructions from Martha Stewart.

 But some pieces of art are just too gorgeous to have put away in a box,
especially the ones where your little one draws a picture of the family or a mothers/fathers day card!
So there are a few options …..
OPTION 1
FRAME IT
Love, Love, Love it!
Frame mini versions of your childs artwork!
Art Eater can frame your children’s prints (above) or even create custom art picture albums.
OPTION 2
CANVAS IT
Simply take a photo of the artwork or scan it and have it printed onto canvas.
This also makes a great personalised and inexpensive gift!
You can do this online or through many department stores like KMART and BIG W!
OPTION 3
BOOK IT
Have too many pictures to frame them all.  How about creating an artwork photo book each year?Any photo book company can use your scanned or photographed childrens art and turn it into a photo book.  The best thing about this is that you can insert custom text onto each page describing the picture, or what prompted the child to create that piece.  You can also create the book in any order you choose, by month,  by type of art etc

Their are many companies around I personally have used click on print and memento which have both been easy to use and quite affordable but once again you can do this instore most large department store.
OPTION 4
HANG IT
 
If you look on the right hand wall above the art table, you will see how we display pictures in our house!
I got this idea straight out of the ikea catalogue!
It is a metal curtain wire, mounted on to the wall.
You can also buy little metal peg/clips to attach the art to the wire.
Ikea also have plastic pockets that can hang off the wire to display bulkier pictures!

Maybe this will be the year when Master O takes to painting with full gusto?
I have my tissues packed, I am sure Mr Sociable will be fine as he starts this new adventure
but what about me!!!!!!
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Study Spaces

Just a quick post today as I log off the screen and into life -(Thanks Sunny Mummy!)
Off to Ikea this morning in an attempt to get the house a little more organised before school and kindy starts next week!!
So if you have some time this weekend how about transforming or creating a space in your house for learning!!


When you look closely, it is a simple white desk, but what makes it gorgeous is the way in which it  has been “accessorised” so beautifully.  
I know this from Pottery Barn Kids but I would LOVE a space like this!





 Pottery Barn Kids
This idea had may so excited that I once again attempted to find out how I could get in Australia.
Alas…not a chance the postage would be astronomical.
It is basically a lazy susan for the study!  



Ok so it’s more Pottery Barn but they are just so amazing!  This is my idea of a study for “My Pigeon Pair” one day we could convert the playroom.  I love that you would be able to see the kids instead of having a desk in their room.  Check out the pinboards behind the desks! What a simple but effective idea to help organise your week!  LOVE LOVE the giant pencil!

{via}


This is a simple and stylish idea that you could do in a study or playroom.
Painted MDF numbers or you could even use letters!



Small space? You need IKEA!
I am seriously thinking of trying the containers on the rod idea!
It would keep those crayons and pencils out of reach of Little Miss A’s Artistic hands!

{via}


Hmmm…I wonder how hard this would be for me, the man of the house, to make!
What an adorable reading/storage space!


Can’t afford to transform the whole space?
How about a refresh of the decor?

Bright Star Kids


Something for the smaller kids!  
Chalkboard dots that you can stick onto your playroom walls!




But my pick of the day is…..



Love this Personalised Alphabet Print
from
scissors paper rock designs
An easy effective way to brighten up a study space is with a unique print.
This personalised design, is from Clare at Scissor Paper Rock Designs.
It would make a great first day of school gift!
Clare should know..she is also a teacher!


In case you don’t have the time for room makeovers this weekend….
you can drool or dream over these play spaces…..

casasugar

Not sure if this one is for the kids benefit or for the adults!

twiningdesign.com

Every boys dream!

Luxury Ideas

One for Master O!  


What would your dream study space look like?