Shed finds...

vintageI mentioned yesterday that we spent Saturday cleaning out our shed. About a year before we bought this place, the owners had a massive auction and sold almost everything in the house. Remember what our house looked like before? Instead of getting rid of the leftovers, they stashed it all in the shed and barn. Thanks to a bunch of creepy little rodents, I put off cleaning out the shed until this weekend. As it turns out, the rodent nest I mentioned a while ago was built by a herd of squirrels (or whatever you call a large number of cohabitating squirrels). The friskiest of the herd jumped right out when I grabbed a box of junk. Aaaaggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Irrational fear of squirrels. Who me? Yes.

I digress. We found some awesome stuff, including this Bingo tin full of glasses and old advertising ephemera. Remember what I found the last two times I attempted a clean-out (this and this)? Hmmmm...almost worth all of that screaming and running in terror. Thank goodness the shed is finally cleaned out, right?



Cookbook love...

blueberry tart
Last week my very sweet friend, Renee, sent us the book Chicken and Egg: A Memoir of Suburban Homesteading with 125 Recipes by Janice Cole. In the Spring PRH and I are planning to start raising chickens. To that end, we spent part of Saturday cleaning out a little shed and researching chickens. My "research" involved reading Chicken and Egg from cover to cover, drooling over Janice Cole's recipe for Blueberry Sour Cream Tart, and then making, photographing (above), and devouring said tart. Beyond yum! We brought it to my parents' dinner party this weekend and everyone, including kids, loved it.

The book itself is both engaging and absolutely gorgeous, with page after page of perfectly styled/photographed recipes, several of which are in our dinner queue for this week...

cookbookI also loved the hand-drawn chapter pages by Caitlin Keegan (thanks for the tip, Kathleen!)...

cookbookand this sweet looking little chicken...

Chicken and Egg made me excited about raising chickens and cooking...a feat in and of itself. You can pick up a copy here and read Janice Cole's blog here. Special thanks to Renee for the thoughtful gift!


This weekend...

inspirationI love this image by NiftySwank (found via Ez Pudewa). I'll be keeping it in mind while I try not to feel overwhelmed by my to-do list this weekend. Stay tuned for images of our bathroom renovation project next week. Have a happy weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Pattern maker...

I'm on an embroidery kick lately and started making a version of this piece that I made last year for my 20 in 20 series. Here's what the rest of the piece looks like. Has anyone ever had patterns made?


Toys everywhere...

The other day after I posted our old playroom, a few people asked what our current play area looks like and how we handle toy storage. The truth is that our current house is pretty much blanketed in a fine layer of toys at all times (no lie...PRH just stepped on a matchbox car). We don't have space for a dedicated playroom, and I didn't fully comprehend how much I'd miss that space until I started regularly sitting on toys, stepping on them in the middle of the night, or tripping over them when I'm not paying attention. Here's a peek at our house yesterday. The living room floor has a tape road because a certain 4-year-old is obsessed with the Cars part 2 movie and needs "space to just drive" (his words).

Here's one end of our table, filled with puzzles, games, stamps, and old kitchen containers that hold playmobil...

toysThis crate full of coloring books and paper sits on the floor in the dining room. Don't look so shocked by the mess, Velma Dinkley...

toysThe always-popular play kitchen is also on the floor in the dining room/kitchen, along with oodles of play food...

toysHere's Kicky on the living room floor. We pushed the table out of the way to make room for the track and buildings...

toysThe window seat in the dining room is usually piled high with babies. The doll on the floor, who Kicky named 'Abbey', goes with us everywhere (I'm not sure I should be flattered that she named it after me)..

toysWe do make an effort to get most of the toys upstairs into the kids' room at the end of each day. They have a huge walk-in closet that's lined with shelving (I know, totally weird in an 1800's farmhouse) and everything has a spot on the shelf. If the shelves are full, forgotten toys go into the attic rotation until they're missed. I guess the point of this post is to ask how YOU handle toys at your house. Do you have toys everywhere or a dedicated space? How do you store legos and playmobil and woodzeez?



Let's have a little giveaway today! We have 5 letterpress calendars to send out into the world! Printed by Pistachio Press and designed by yours truly, each 4" x 11" calendar is held together with a silver binder clip. Once the month is over, you can trim it to make a 4" x 6" print to frame or give to a friend. That's 13 prints, including the cover print. Yay! The giveaway ends on February 1st- here's more fine print:

♥ giveaway rules:
  • eligibility: open to all Aesthetic Outburst readers, worldwide
  • how to enter: leave a comment on this post (one comment per person, please)
  • entry deadline: comments will close on Wednesday, February 1, 2012
  • winner selection: 5 winners will be chosen at random
  • winner notification: On Thursday morning, I'll announce the five winners.
  • claiming your calendar: send me an email at hownowdesign (at) yahoo (dot) com with your mailing address and I'll pop your calendar in the mail! Winners must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.

If you're a retailer interested in carrying Pistachio Press products, please send them an email at: info [at] pistachiopress [dot] com.

High five...

My five favorite things from around blogland recently.

mason jars
    1. Oh yes! I'm determined to throw a party that looks like this as soon as humanly possible. Who wants to come? Photo by Daniel Usenko (found via The Belvedere).
    2. Speaking of parties, this image by Kim Rinehimer on Apartment Therapy makes me insanely happy (found via Abbey Nova).
    3. Check out this super cute flapper costume made by Kristin from Skirt as Top. She's participating in a contest called Project Run and Play, so hurry and go vote for her.
    4. This is a great idea for a wedding or anniversary party! Guests' names are written on stickers, attached to pens, and the pens are put in drilled holes. Guests find their names and write a message to the couple (photo by Lara Kimmerer via pretty little weddings).

    5. Isn't this valentine from Artistry Cards lovely? I'm such a sucker for Valentine's Day!


Years past...

Aesthetic Outburst turns five in March, which is sort of hard for me to believe. I've spent hours 'blog cleaning' recently (tagging posts and re-sizing images) and came across all of these old photos that I took. Please forgive the almost complete randomness, but I'm feeling a little nostalgic today. Links to the related posts are above each photo.

DIY clawsbirthday garland...



Hello, old playroom? I miss you. I loved you even when you looked like this.

Can you tell that I've spent the better part of this morning picking up mass quantities of playmobil?


This weekend...

What are your plans for the weekend? We're expecting a visit from a dear friend tomorrow- if we don't get hit with the snowstorm that's expected tonight. Kicky and I went to the library to load up on books today, just in case. I hope you all have a happy weekend! See you on Monday.


I came across this photo of the stairs this morning. The bottom photo was taken on the day we bought the house. Look at that! Gross! I don't know how I almost forgot about those rubber treads. Here's what we've done so far:
  • I scraped off the treads
  • we refinished the hardwood floors and painted the upstairs floors (painting was so much cheaper and less time-consuming)
  • we painted the upstairs paneling
  • painted the stairs
  • PRH knocked out the stairwell wall and removed the door at the bottom of the stairs
  • he replaced drywall on the first floor.
We still need to figure out some sort of railing while our kiddos are little (don't worry- for now, we have a gate at the top and bottom and don't let them go up or down alone). These stairs are eventually going to come out completely to make more space on the first floor; they're typical farmhouse stairs...really steep and narrow. We're planning to build a new set of stairs up the back of the house through the mudroom. You also can't see in these photos, but the top stair cuts into the doorway of one of the bedrooms. I use that room as a studio for fear that one of us would fall down the stairs if we woke up in the middle of the night. EZ E and Kicky share a bedroom now, but we're going to need three usable bedrooms at some point. Big plans, big plans.


Life with a 4-year-old...

Evidence of EZ E being particularly 4-years-old this morning: he woke up in a terrible mood and, when asked what he'd like for breakfast, responded, "I just want a sad breakfast". PRH served up a heaping bowl of sad oatmeal. Here's hoping EZ E cheers up. Are all 4-year-olds wildly emotional?


High five...

My five favorite things from around blogland recently.

    2. How pretty is this front door from A Country Farmhouse? That shade of green is just perfect. Have you seen their house? It's stunning.

    3. How awesome is the crepe paper tent at this Dia de los Muertos-inspired wedding from Green Wedding Shoes? Great idea, right?
party4. This simple but lovely wreath by me oh my (found via Rachel Denbow). Our front door could use something really graphic like this.

    5. Dude. Yes! Loving this whole look from Scotch & Soda (found via Matt B.). This actually reminds me of the clothing PRH wears.


Exposed ceilings...

renovationPRH is working on the mudroom today. He goes back to school on Friday (he teaches art/design at a university) and wants to get the mudroom cleaned up beforehand. This is what the room looked like a few months ago. It has drywall now, but we've left the ceiling exposed like this (I did vacuum the insulation off and PRH fixed the lights). Lately I've been obsessed with exposed, loft-style ceilings- not just exposed beams, I'm talking exposed ceilings like this image from stadshem (found via altruism in the morning)...

exposed ceilings
or this image of photographer Carter Smith's home from the January 2007 issue of House & Garden (photo by Martyn Thompson found via moodboard)...

exposed ceilings
or this image from one of my favorite books, Restoring a House in the City by Ingrid Abramovitch (project by G.P. Schafer Architect). Both the wildly expensive range and built-in shelf in the corner make me drool...

Our mudroom is certainly not a gorgeous space, but it will have exposed ceilings...for now. All of the ceilings in our house need to be re-done and I'm seriously considering this look. With the right floors, it could be pretty fabulous. What do you think? Yay or nay?
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