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The playhouse I built for our daughter!


A little fun-fact about me... all of the tools in our garage are mine, not my husband's (he's cool with that as he wants nothing to do with them anyway). I've been known to embark on lofty, bordering-on-completely-insane, building projects (see my walk-in closet that I built a few years ago), and this past October I began my latest project.

Our entire basement is a big playroom (well, except for the bit of space we carved out for our gym), and I've been obsessed with filling the playroom with super fun toys, specifically ones that are different from what other kids have (our kid may be only two but already our house is "the party house", and I love it that way). Anyway, one day as I sat looking at an oddly recessed space in the playroom, I started daydreaming about making it some sort of indoor treehouse (well, minus the tree I guess). And then my daydreaming turned into thinking of how I would design it... and then of how I would build it... and then I drew sketches... and then at that point the plan bordered on a full-blown obsession, and once that happens there's no turning back for me!

Anyway, as an artist I could not help but prioritize form just as much as function, and the aesthetic of it was as thought out and slaved over as was the method of building it. I knew I'd have to look at it a lot, so I knew it couldn't be ugly. Originally it wasn't going to have the stairs jut out the way that they do, and it wasn't going to have a commercial-grade slide. But herein laid the problem: residential slides come only in green, yellow, blue, and red. Those who know me know that I'm not one to rock primary colors, or many colors at all for that matter. I spent hours searching for a residential-grade slide in a less obnoxious color, but after an exhaustive search I can confirm that they literally don't exist. And so a huge, 100+ pound, commercial-grade slide it would be! (Note: I can always determine if a person is an artist-at-heart by their design decisions. To those with artistry in their soul, bad design bothers them like an itch they can't scratch, and they'll go to great lengths and shell out stupid amounts of money to create/have something that pleases their soul.)

I've been getting the same questions from everyone who has seen it, so I'll go ahead and proactively answer those here. Yes, I built it myself (with a little bit of help from my dad). No it wasn't a kit, and no I didn't find the instructions for it online. And I don't know how I learned to build things, I just did - if you have enough drive and the vision to create something, learning how to use the tools is the easy part.

So it brings me great joy to reveal to you the final result! (And yes, that is a mail slot, a doorbell, carpeting, and pink twinkly lights... I told you it's a little insane.) Our daughter had better love this thing until she's at least 10, and every time she asks for something new I plan to simply point to her playhouse. ;)

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Our little girl turns ONE!


ONE? No really, that can't be right. But yes it's true, although I can barely believe it. I can also barely believe that she hasn't appeared on the blog until now. I meant to post when she was born, and then a million times after that, but it was a whirlwind of a year as any new mom can understand. Anyway, my husband and I are blown away by how amazing, sweet, and adorable she is. She is an amazing sleeper, she's extremely snuggly, and when she needs something she just gives a subtle whine and rarely ever breaks into a full-blown cry... we have no idea how we got so lucky. She is an observer, yet very vocal and fiercely independent... I'm pretty sure she got all of that from me.

Anyway, here is her past year in photos. I must give credit to Kristin G.. and Amanda (both on my staff) for doing these amazing photos for us!

And so we begin with our sweet Alyssa's newborn photos...

At 3 months old...

6 months old...

9 months old...

And finally almost a year old...

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announcement: i'm having a baby (due in january)!!!


I imagine that many of you have suspected that I'm pregnant (or you've just wondered if I've been putting down twinkies by the box load), but you've been too kind to say anything... but YES... I am pregnant!!! Our baby girl is due in January, intentionally timed to arrive during my slow season and therefore not interfere with ANY weddings (timing it in this way was no easy task nor small feat!). Anyway, my husband and I are beyond thrilled! We have been married for almost 11 years, and in that time we have traveled, built our careers, followed our favorite bands, partied like rockstars, settled into our home, and have been generally selfish in doing whatever we want pretty much whenever we want. We never really intended to wait THIS long before having a baby, but we got a little swept up in our life. However in the last couple of years I have really slowed down, mellowed out, and I've come to love staying home versus going out... so I welcome the change in life stage that is just around the corner.

Anyway, below are some images from the nursery. As you'll notice, I'm not a very big fan of the typical "baby" bright colors and bold patterns (the first time I walked into one of those baby giant box stores I lasted only 10 minutes because the wild baby stuff was making my head spin). I searched high and low to find just the right things for the look I wanted, and every step of the way I have thought about how lucky I have been to be able to design my dream nursery.

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happy holidays from paisley!


My husband hates it when I put our dog in sweaters (except of course when it's the U of M sweater), but I couldn't resist this festive little sweater!

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little green gardeners... the first garden was a huge success!


As many of you know from following my blog, last year I founded a new non-profit organization called Little Green Gardeners, which builds vegetable gardens in elementary schools and teaches gardening and healthy eating to the students.

Our first garden, which is at Pierce Elementary in Birmingham, was a huge success! Here are a few photos of it from back in July. To see more, visit the Little Green Gardeners blog.

And if you would like to donate to this amazing cause, you can do so by clicking here.

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