Space planning puzzle.... Can you solve this?

How would you like to be an interior designer for a moment and help us solve our space planning puzzle?

This is our living room.  It is fraught with challenges.

Three entryways; no overhead lights; floor vents and windows that prevent some furniture placement; asymmetrical placement of the fireplace, windows, overhead ceiling beams, and bookshelves.

Multiple Functions

  • Eating meals
  • Doing work at the table
  • Messy art projects
  • Lighting candles in the fireplace
  • Watching TV
  • Storing all our books, school supplies, and arts supplies

Ready? Here is the challenge:

1. Include at least these pieces of furniture

  • Dining room table - not fully extended
  • Dining room chairs - 4 regular ones, 2 captains chairs if possible
  • Sofa
  • Nature table for the crabs and fish
  • 4 Billy bookshelves for the homeschool stuff, books, art supplies
  • Small 27" Television
    • It currently sits on fireplace hearth/bench so it doesn't have its own cutout piece here
    • It could sit on top of the 2 drawer lateral file
2. Do not block windows with bookshelves

3. Do not block floor vents with bookshelves, sofa, or piano

4. Do not block bookshelves by the fireplace.

5. Place nature table near outlet and kitchen since we have to change fish water often.

6. Figure out TV placement
  • needs to be near one of the two cable outlets
  • needs to be seen from the table and the sofa
  • view cannot be blocked by tall dining room chairs
6. The dining room table needs to be more convenient for viewing the TV so people will not be inclined to eat meals on the sofa -- even though I completely agree that the sofa is much more comfortable!  Mission furniture is beautiful to look at and miserable to use.


Print out the pieces, cut 'em up and start placing!!

Take a picture, scan and image, or send an email :-)




Happy Moon Festival!

It's a night for celebrating with family and friends and lighting lanterns.

While not as beautiful as another part of Michigan this weekend whose art festival happened to coincide with the weekend of the moon festival, we had our own lantern celebration in the neighborhood.




A beautiful moon and street light


We followed that with the traditional eating of the moon cake!





We found shoes!

For anyone following the saga of the shoe disaster, I am please to report we finally, finally, FINALLY, found our daughter some shoes that fit.

We had been everywhere.  Even Stride Rite.  If you can't get fit at Stride Rite, it's probably a lost cause, eh?

But my husband (who was the one that kindly took that trip to Stride Rite with our daughter a few months ago) just recently wondered if there was another Stride Rite anywhere close.

Ours had closed so he had to go to the one in the "hoity toity" neighboring city.

Surprisingly, he said the sales clerks there were really inattentive and more interested in smoking out back than helping find shoes.

So, we decided to drive an hour to another Stride Rite.

What great service.  And yes, the clerk did in depth measurements confirmed my suspicions.  Our daughter has feet whose different parts belong to 4 different shoe sizes :-)

Heel, instep, toe box, and arch all needed different size shoes.

She told us what brands might work best, how to use heel inserts to fix the problem, and what sizes to start with.

Amazingly the 3rd shoe she tried fit!  No heel slippage. And it was the exact color our daughter
wanted.

It happened to hiding in the back and no one would have found it if we hadn't asked if there were more and the clerk hadn't been so gracious to go scrounge around.  I guess it was patiently waiting for us to arrive.

I feel immensely blessed.

Oh, and I found some clothes for my hard to fit self too!!  The clerk even hooked me up with a big discount.  Gotta love CJ Banks :-)

Here is our daughter happily breaking in her new shoes!






The shoe disaster

It's the beginning of fall.

I already miss summer terribly.

Fall means socks, shoes, and long pants.

Those are three things that never fit my daughter.

  • Socks, their annoying seams, and their inability to be perfectly aligned on both feet disturb my OCD daughter.
  • Shorts and capris can be a little long and it doesn't matter. But long pants that are six inches too long just don't work.
  • Flip flips and bare feet are forgiving and unsized. But sneakers that are too small in one area and too big in another are depressing.


From: High Impact Mom















We've tried unsuccessfully for months to find shoes that fit her tall instep and a narrow heel.

Here's what I've learned:

(1) Inserts -- There are a variety of inserts and aids to improve fit. I've had them in my shoes done by the professionals but no one seems to know about them in the kid's department.

(2) Lacing -- There are ways to lace shoes differently to help with a variety of fit problems. It has helped with my daughter's soccer shoes, but soccer shoes run narrow already. Lacing alone isn't going to solve this problem with shoes that really don't fit well.

(3) Foot Models -- There are over 30 types of feet, but most manufacturers only make shoes to fit a small  number of those types. The number of foot models used to make shoes matters.

No wonder so many of us have a hard time fitting into shoes!

New Balance  has over 30 different foot model types (shoe lasts) across the combinations of four different foot characteristics for adults, but unfortunately not for kids shoes. My daughter is a perfect example of an SL-2 foot.  Narrow heel, wide forefoot, high instep, deep toe box. From New Balance:

Last TypeHEEL WIDTH
Heel Width
INSTEP HEIGHT
Instep Height
TOE BOX DEPTH
Toe Box Depth
FOREFOOT WIDTH
Forefoot Width
Men's
AL-1MB-001MF-001,MF-004MX-001,NATURAL PL-1RL-1,SL-1StandardStandardStandardStandard
CW-1RL-2RL-3NarrowerStandardStandardStandard
AL-3MF-002StandardHigherDeeperWider
MOL-1SL-2NarrowerHigherDeeperWider
NBJStandardLowerReduced VolumeReduced Volume
PL-1AnatomicalLowerReduced VolumeReduced Lateral
Forefoot Girth
PW-1AnatomicalLowerReduced VolumeWider & Lower Profile than PL-1
TSL-1NarrowerStandardReduced VolumeWider
NL-0NL-1StandardLowerShallowerWider
Women's
AL-2StandardHigherDeeperStandard
NBJStandardLowerReduced VolumeReduced Volume
PL-1AnatomicalLowerReduced VolumeReduced Lateral
Forefoot Girth
PW-1AnatomicalLowerReduced VolumeWider & Lower Profile than PL-1
CW-2NATURAL PL-1,RL-1SL-1WX-001StandardStandardStandardStandard
RL-2RL-3NarrowerStandardStandardStandard
SL-2WOL-01NarrowerHigherDeeperWider
NL-0NL-1StandardLowerShallowerWider
Kids'
JL-1JL-INKD-1StandardStandardStandardStandard
JL-2JL-NRStandardStandardStandardWider

After a 45 minute online chat with the Zappos dude he came up with a few different manufacturers with specific shoes that might work for her fit.
We both had heard that Ryka runs narrow but they don't have children's shoes.

He also said Nike can run narrow also, but we had already tried some of them unsuccessfully already.

My friend suggested that the highly adjustable fit of the keen sandals might also be found in the keen shoe with some adjustable features.

Oh, Keen, why can't you be a sneaker?
Do I adjust enough to fit? Is there enough pink to be girly?


There are also a few girls sneakers that even come in narrow including Keds School Days tennis shoes and saddle shoes.  Though it is only her heel that is narrow, not her whole foot.



Fashionable Finds has a list of pretty shoes that fit a narrow heel. It is nice to see the selection growing for women's shoes, but it will be a while until my daughter fits into women's sizes.

(4) Order locally -- Our local shoe store (that has a huge selection and specializes in fitting athletes, people with injuries or special needs, but couldn't fit my daughter) said we could show them anything online and they would order it for us so we wouldn't have to prepay or deal with returns.  If something they ordered for us fit, then great. If not, we pay nothing.

Amazing color finding tools online


COLOR PALETTE GENERATORS

They are really very cool and can do a lot of fun tricks!

Create your own color schemes using a photo, url, or your own designated colors.

4096 Color Wheel
9Rules
CSS Drive
Combo Tester



Here's a couple color palettes I created from some images:



Scavenger hunt: Help me paint my walls!

I've decide I am asking too much of online color generators.

Do you want to help me in my search for complex color combinations?

SCAVENGER HUNT!

I need inspiration.

If you have image urls of these color combinations please send them to me!!

These can be color combinations from nature, from a room design, from anywhere!
  1. white/cream, brown, orange, lime green
  2. white/cream, brown, blue, lime green
  3. white/cream, brown, blue/teal, orange
  4. purple/lavender, red/burgundy, blue
  5. purple/lavender, red/burgundy, green

I know a really talented artist could put these colors together in a pleasing way.

With a url of an image I can pull out the color names with all those handy dandy color palette tools online!!

Thanks!!

Am I asking too much?

Visit the Amazing stuff from Lemongraphics

I love color.

I'm obsessive.

I crave mathematical patterns and symmetry.

I'm all about the function over design.

I'm design-challenged.

So naturally I look to math to solve the problem of picking out wall colors.

Only it's not working so well.


We're trying to create color palettes that are pleasing to all the occupants of this tiny house.

So I'm looking to some color palette generators to select paint combinations that include all our wishes.

There are some great ones, but they usually only let you start with one or two colors in the scheme.

Then it builds on those two colors.

I need these magical math color calculators to solve more complex problems:


ME: Hey, color calculator!

COLOR: Hey, what?

ME: Can you find me a color palette that looks good and has the red or orange that my son wants everywhere?

COLOR: Sure!

ME:  It also has to take into account the he really likes dark brown and wants to feel like he is in a cabin.

COLOR: Sure...

ME: No, wait...The palette has to include lots of white or cream to add on the other non-focal walls so his room isn't a dark depressing cave with little natural light.

ME: Oh, and we want to add a pop of color with either blue or lime green to go with the other accessories.

ME:  Oh, and did I tell you we need a bedroom color palette that has the blue my husband likes, the purple I like, and the green sink that we can't change?

COLOR:  Cannot compute. Hire a designer.

What every mom of a little girl with long hair should know!

I had no idea that 4.99 could transform my life and my daughter's life.

This knowledge would have saved me copious amounts of tears.

This simple tip would have saved me from torturous hours watching The Lawrence Welk Show.



Saturday night was always the dreaded bath night.

Mom would comb my hair while we watched TV.

I had long hair.

Really long hair.

It took forever to untangle all the knots.

My darling mother tried every detangling product on the market in the (now ancient) 70's.


Flash forward to the 2010's where I tortured my long haired daughter too.

Combing her hair was awful.

I tried every product recommended by the stylists at BoRics.

The Super Skinny Serum is pretty great for preventing bed-head, I've gotta say.

So that cut down on tangles.


But one super stylist told us the real secret to painless detangling.

And it's not any of their products! [gasp]

The real secret is not to comb hair.

The real secret is to brush it.

I would have never guessed that!


The real secret is using a paddle brush.

And the stylist told us the super spy secret.

The tip is to use the paddle brush in the "i" position not the "T" position.

So brush with the paddle handle pointed down like this:



Not like this:
It takes a bit of practice to hold the brush up and down but it is worth it!

The stylist explained that having the long hair go through the brush lengthwise gives more opportunity for the brush to do its work to smooth out the tangles.

And it is supposed to smooth out your hair too.

Guess what?

No more tangles!

No more tears!

And I do declare my hair is smoother too!!!







Evils of modern technology!

When I hear or read people lamenting about the evils of today's technology I think back to some old passages I've read and wish I could find again.

The authors of old wrote warnings about how those newfangled book things were going to rot the minds of youth and keep them from doing real work.

I guess it takes us a while to realize that those emerging technologies eventually turn into the way we work and interact with the world, minds still intact.

Thanks to the Daily Mail for those newly found Edwardian fashion photos that inspired my blog post!


Source
Source


















Source
Source

One paint project and a chicken later...

These adventures in crafting and decorating tickled my funny bone today....

-- A really scientific professional way to fix and dress up a garage sale dresser, or not


-- Why everyone needs a needs a huge chicken


-- And why everyone now hunts for  their own big metal chicken


My shelves make me happy

I hate to admit it but I get *so* grumpy when my husband brings home the groceries.

Don't get me wrong.  I am supremely thankful he does all the cooking and all the grocery shopping.

My husband = Top Chef!


  • His ability to cook wonderful things from whatever is lying about (and in whatever state of chaos is found in the kitchen) amazes me.
  • But me? -- I'm easily overwhelmed by choices (ack! all those shelves in the grocery store) and by disorganization.
When the new groceries come home I have to try to figure out where to put them and there never seems to be enough space.


  • I like spaces to be designated for one type of item in the fridge, pantry, and storage closets.
  • But somehow everything spills over into the space belonging to something else...sort of a theme here! 

So every couple of months I reorganize everything.


Rows of condiments, pickles, pasta sauces/cheese, jelly, dairy

We all know it won't last. But for now I'm going to just breathe and enjoy my few days of peace whenever I look at my shelves and see symmetry.

Every bean has its own row = Joy.
I save the boxes that bulk canned items come in and recycle
them into storage for different cans.

Rows for condiments, dressings, every form of canned tomato,
broths, pastas, fruits, veggies = More Joy.

I've been doing everything on the cheap. But these clear stackable Fridge Binz items would be great to help organize the refrigerator. Maybe it would help enforce boundaries of items?!




These can organizers would be fabulous too. Rotating can racks would save time instead of taking everything out and reorganizing rows by "last in first out."

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