Archive for January, 2013
About a month ago we were walking around the park and Clara pointed to a dogwood tree and said “wow, that’s a big big tree in a big big world.” John and I cracked up. So now when I think of Clara’s playroom/big girl room, I also think of the big big tree and the big big world of ours. Hilarious. Anyway, back to the room that we have affectionately (and ironically) called the playroom. Remember that it looked like this when we moved in?
And then it got all cluttered up with junk and looked like this?
And then we organized it with the help of my mom and it looked like this?
And then in a Groundhog-Day-esque turn of events a year later it looked like this again (thanks to months of book insanity)?
So we cleaned it one last time and had a big yard sale and auctioned a bunch of book projects off for charity and finally we were left with this:
I may or may not have done a victory dance around the daybed that included some very painful-to-watch moonwalking. Gaining any actual use of this room will be ten times better than the junked up storage room that it has been for the past three Christmases (how are we on year three of living here without reclaiming this room sooner?!). So as we’ve mentioned a few times, it will serve as a nice little playroom for Clara and eventually will be her big girl room once she graduates from sleeping in her crib.
Why switch rooms? Well, the nursery is so small that adding a daybed basically sucks up all the floor space, so moving her into the larger spare room and keeping the nursery for a possible future kiddo makes the most sense for us). Of course we can always update the nursery for a boy bean if one should come our way someday (heck, kids rooms are our favorite things, so we’d jump at the chance). In fact here’s an old mood board we did a while back to show how Clara’s room could be adapted for a little dude:
Once all the extra stuff was cleared out and remaining items were pushed to the center of the room, it was time to paint (we had used the room as a secret-book-project backdrop so it was a hot mess). We’d repainted sections of the walls around ten times in there to create different colored backdrops for shooting – and had even painted the trim around one window a moody gray color and stenciled a good portion of another wall. Nothing was safe from the madness of book shots.
Here are a few other oddly-painted angles:
So yes, paint was definitely necessary. First I painted the book-project-window-shade from gray back to glossy white:
Before we pick a wall color we like to think about the other things that’ll be going on in the room. So we thought about that for a hot second or two. We actually wanted Clara to have some input, so we asked her what colors she wanted to see in her big girl room. Not surprisingly, she said “pink and red!” (her faves used to be pink and orange, but she moved to pink and red about a month ago).
It’ll be nice to have another room in the house with warmer touches in those red and pink tones (you know we love us some green & blue, so that’s prevalent in a lot of other areas). It was even cool with John since, in his words “as long as we’re not going hot pink all over the living room, I’m down with Clara getting to pick the colors that we use in her big girl room.” Mah man. He can build a deck and he’s cool with pink.
So just to give you an idea where we’re thinking of bringing in those pinks and reds (along with other hits of colors/textures that make a room feel layered and not-too-matchy-matchy) here’s a quick picture of some items we’ve been saving for Clara’s big girl room in a little floor-pile together. Floor-piles are the new mood board. Just kidding.
We don’t want the room to be red/pink overkill, so using tones like white and navy – along with hits of other colors like yellow and teal – to break things up is definitely on the agenda. And since we wanted the items in the photo above to stand out (instead of being the same color as the walls) we opted for a soft and pretty neutral that we know will be just as workable with any other accent colors down the line. Let’s face it, kids can change their favorite colors on a dime, so we don’t want our walls to be forever dependent on a red & pink scheme, ya know?
And this time instead of going with a gray-ish neutral (which we’ve done in a few other rooms) we dipped back into the warmer neutral palette and went for a super soft tan tone. Sort of like tea when you put in too much milk. Mmmm. It definitely still works within our whole house palette, but it’s a slightly warmer than some of the other grays.
We were between two extremely similar colors, so naturally, we picked the one with the better name. Totally reasonable tie-breaker move, right? The winner: Alaskan Skies by Benjamin Moore (we bought a gallon of their no-VOC Natura paint in an eggshell finish). The reason it won: we honeymooned in Alaska and took approximately 650,367 photos of the sky while we were there. The sweet little coincidence is that the paint in Clara’s nursery is Proposal (also by BM), so I guess we’re subconsciously drawn towards wedding/honeymoon related names.
Since I’m the cutter-inner and John’s the roller in this relationship (those sound like weird euphemisms) I was totally jealous about John’s big erase-the-past roller moves. Meanwhile I’m sitting on the floor painting above the baseboards. Look at me go! Just kidding. And now for a montage of John rolling over all of the randomly painted portions of the room (I wish it was a montage, it’s just this picture and the one above).
Not gonna lie, it felt pretty good to watch him go over all of those random colors and stencils on the walls and finally move towards a room that’s all one color again. Meanwhile I was inching my way around the room cutting in around the windows, doors and the ceiling. Speaking of which, we didn’t paint the ceiling (just left it white) but we’re debating adding some soft tone up there someday down the line after the room comes together more. Stay tuned…
I think we’re in love with the wall color though. Not too pink, gray, or tan. And not too white, so the window trim, molding (and future crown molding that we’d love to install) pop nicely against it. Just like extra milky tea against a clean white mug. Yum.
So we’re currently waiting for the paint to dry so we can move all of the furniture back into semi-normal spots.
Then we’ll share more photos along with planning/details/projects as we go! Back in 2010 Clara’s first nursery evolved over the course of about 20 posts and two or three months. Can’t wait to watch this bare little room take shape…
So that’s what we’ve been up to. What did you guys do this weekend?
Man, it feels like it’s been a month since we had a book tour update for ya. Oh, that’s because it has. We were on hiatus while bookstores and retailers focused on the holiday rush (instead of hosting authors) so last week’s adventures in Texas and Florida were our first stops since finishing up in DC and Richmond in early December. And as much fun as stops in northern cities like Boston, Chicago, Toronto and Minneapolis were – we were excited to enjoy some warm weather in the southern half of the country. #longpostwarning
But then Austin had to go and look like this…
Texas was apparently in a month-long drought until we (and our great weather luck) showed up and brought buckets of heavy rain. But that didn’t stop us from taking in some of this awesome city that people have been raving to us about (it was both of our first times in Austin). We walked a mile-ish in the misty weather to South Congress to do some eating (Guero’s) and shopping. For instance, Sherry hit up the Kendra Scott store and purchased these guys on sale (which she wore later that night to the signing, where she met dozens of other girls also wearing similar ones). In her words: “I did it, I came to Austin and I blended.”
After the always exciting earring shopping (just kidding, I’m a dude – so my eyes glazed over during that trip), we wandered into Uncommon Objects, which housed the coolest and quirkest assortment of antiques and weird wares. We were obedient shoppers and followed their “no photography” rule so the only picture we have to share is what we bought there after Sherry and I spent over an hour rooting through all their bins and baskets of old objects (this is our idea of a good time, and there were tons of wildly odd and amazingly old things to find).
We came home with an old tin 7, an assortment of old dominoes (which say 1-4-3, another favorite number of ours) and letter tiles (that spell L-O-V-E… as you can see). There’s talk of a shadowbox in their future for Clara’s big girl room, so we’ll have to see where they end up.
Once our shopping adventure had us sufficiently damp and sufficiently cold, we trudged back to our hotel to warm up and ready ourselves for that evening’s book signing. They put us up at the W Hotel downtown, which was pretty awesome (lots of modern tile and wallpaper) but we plan to do a recap post of all of our hotel inspiration (along with hotel-staying tips that we’ve picked up along the way) once the tour is over. So for now he’s a preview of the cool textures and patterns found in Austin:
Our signing that night was at BookPeople, which is just about the biggest independent bookstore we’ve ever seen. So big they even had our names on a marque outside and a curtain for us to pop out of at the start of our welcome talk. The only thing missing was a giant spotlight or something. (Thanks Sidhya for the picture below).
Unlike our previous stops where we either gave a long talk or no talk at all, this particular week we were tasked with a 15 minute chat followed by some Q&A at each stop. Something we learned just the day before we left. Oh well. We work best under pressure.
Actually, thanks to the aforementioned rainy walk to South Congress and back, we were able to brainstorm and practice a little chat consisting of five ways that we found writing a book to be surprisingly different than writing a blog. And rather than transcribe it here, we asked Alison of the blog House of Hepworths t0 capture it on video for us. Thanks so much Alison! And for anyone wondering where Sherry’s bangs are, well you’ll get that answer and more. It’s a no holds barred conversation about everything from a future Petersik baby to getting a new house and everything in between:
If you watched the video, you may have noticed at one point I stopped to take a photo of Sherry while she talked. You never know when a photo might come in handy right? Sherry was not pleased with my impromptu photo session.
Jamie took the shot above. And here’s the shot I captured below. Can’t you just feel the eye-roll? I’ll probably get another one for actually including this gem in the post.
Following the chat and our brief Q&A session, we raced up the stairs to begin the signing portion of the evening. And like our other stops, amongst tons of smiling faces and energetic people there were some good stories to pass along. For example, look how smiley Sidhya, Alison, and Katie are. People ask if signings are overwhelming or tiring but meeting so many fun and happy people gives us almost an embarrassing amount of energy. We feed off of you guys and before we know it we’re all grin-y and hyper too.
We love hearing all of the interesting stories that come up, like this poor woman who got in a fender bender on the way to the signing. Since she didn’t have any paper handy, she and her friend ended up using the back of our book to exchange insurance info with the other driver. Ha!
Audrey had a minor dental procedure the day before so she wasn’t able to talk or smile (her boyfriend emailed us ahead of time to explain why a seemingly unhappy not-chatting-at-all girl might step up to our table) so we commiserated with her and took this no-smiles-allowed picture.
And how cool is this? Megan and Brian both work at Home Depot so they brought us our very own apron, which was intricately designed by the lettering person at their store (shout out to the Evan Road Home Depot #6550!). It was so awesome it deserved a murtsy (that’s a man curtsy for anyone not familiar). Murtsying is the new planking. You heard it here first.
Being in Austin, we got lots of request to do “Hook ‘Em Horns” in our photos. It took Sherry a few tries to realize it wasn’t an aggressive, ready-to-charge style finger horn and it’s supposed to point up at the sky. At lease Celeste didn’t seem to mind.
And of course there’s always the occasional goofy photo in the mix. The girls decided to do “over excited,” but I apparently went in a shocked / dental-exam direction.
And we can’t forget to mention Jess who has achieved a book signing hat trick by attending all three Texans signings. In honor of her achievement in book travel attendance, I whipped up this graphic. It’s no Golden Globe, but I tried. She explains more about her showcase of endurance on her blog.
And lastly, thanks to the clever “I Like You A Whole Lotto” treat from Jamie (she got us each a scratch off card) I’ve officially won ten more dollars from the Texas State Lottery in my lifetime than from my own state’s games. As for Sherry, she came out with a big goose egg. Er, moon or anchor or something.
If you want to read some other accounts of our Austin stop, here’s one from Amanda & Corey and another from another Amanda (which includes a video shout out to her sick friend Ruthie). All in all, we had a blast in Austin. It was enough of a taste (albeit a dreary one) that we’d like to come back and explore for much more than a day.
Luckily our next stop – Miami, FL – was the exact opposite weather-wise. Hallelujah. The clouds parted and LMFAO started playing in our heads. Our publisher likes putting us up in unique, not-your-average-beige-walled hotels whenever they can (their goal is to try to get us into “not-chains with some flair” – and this spot in South Beach took the cake. It was called Dream and when we walked into the room, this is what greeted us. Well, minus the Sherry. Me-ow Miami. Am I right?
I’d never been to Miami before, so my impression of the city has been guided by music videos and the like. So the blue mood-lighting pretty much fit right into my picture of Miami. Couldn’t you see them shooting a Will Smith video here? And the uniqueness of this hotel didn’t stop there. Just check out the glass-doored bathroom. Our honest evaluation after a 24 hours stay is: we get the allure of a glass door on your shower, but the purpose of a “hey, look everyone!” toilet escapes us. It lead to several “I’m peeing- don’t look!” warnings over the course of our 24 hour stay. But all in all, it was a totally fun and over-the-top place to stay. Heck, it’s probably the most memorable hotel of the entire tour so far.
Sidenote: the glass door also acts as an unintentional mirror for the user of the bathroom. As in, you can see your entire body sitting on the pot. You have been warned.
Moving on… we landed in Miami around 3pm, so after we got settled into our hotel room, we headed out for a late lunch/early dinner at the closest eatery we could find. And we wasted no time making the first of many seemingly non-stop Dexter references of the trip. Here’s Sherry’s I’m-in-Miami-so-I’ll-give-you-a-Dexter-pose pose.
We were running short on time before our signing that night, but we made sure to walk over to the beach for some obligatory sand-between-our-toes time. We only had about ten minutes to spare (and Sherry was wearing a sweater and jeans) but it was awesome.
We didn’t want to leave. But alas, we had a signing to attend to (plus we had forgotten our bathing suits – and if ever there were a beach not to be overdressed at… well, you’ve seen the music videos). So we headed to our signing at Books & Books in nearby Coral Gables. Maybe the Miami heat was just getting to us (not the basketball team), but it was just about the prettiest bookstore we had ever seen. There was this glowing courtyard surrounded on three sides by a Spanish-style building with a bar under an arched breezeway.
And the inside was equally awe-inspiring. I want a room like this in my house. Stat.
Like Austin, we kicked things off with a version of the same talk followed by Q&A. We again covered important topics like Sherry’s bangs (which were pinned back due to the frizz-inducing humidity). The signing portion of the day was a blast as usual. Sherry was happy to learn from Nicholl that her gold “Jersey” purse also doubled as a gold “Miami” purse. That’s my girl, fitting in with the locals wherever she goes.
And Danielle sewed this adorable superhero cape for Clara – although Sherry’s sporting it more like a bib in this pic. I keep trying to get a picture of Clara wearing it now that we’re home but she won’t stand still once it’s velcroed on. She has one speed when the cape is on: fast.
Since our two events in Florida were fairly close geographically and neither bookstore was very large, the line wasn’t as long as we’ve seen in other places. Which meant by the time we got to the end we apparently hadn’t depleted our small-talk tank and proceeded to talk the ears of the last few folks in line. Bethany (far right in the photo below) wrote about the whole thing, including a run down of some of the questions we answered earlier in the evening. She also had a funny run-in with Sherry in the restroom. Thank goodness those doors weren’t glass.
Since our next stop in Fort Lauderdale was only about a 45 minute car ride away, Thursday was probably the most chill tour day we’ve had so far. Usually it’s all “get up crazy early to taxi to the airport so we can fly out and then taxi to our next hotel before taxiing to the event and somehow eating something better than airport food when possible.” But this one day we got to sleep in, catch up on some work, eat a sit down breakfast, and take in some of the awesome architecture along Ocean Drive. In a whirlwind trip (six flights in four days!) this was that one leisurely moment. So we were dedicated to soaking it up.
When we arrived in Fort Lauderdale early in the afternoon we took a moment to take in our hotel – which included this view from our balcony – and then headed out to grab a bite to eat. We didn’t realize just how far our hotel was from all of the action so we ended up walking over 3 miles before finally landing at Casablanca Cafe. It was actually an awesome walk though. And it felt good to stretch our legs from all of that time spent in taxis and on planes. Our pictures from this portion of the trip started to become fewer and farther between, as I think Florida was starting to trick us into thinking we were on vacation or something.
So forgive me for jumping ahead, but after having an awesome lunch (we highly recommend Casablanca Cafe), we caught a taxi back to our hotel (we didn’t have time to walk the 3 miles back and make it to our event in time), quickly changed into our signing “uniforms,” and then headed to The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale which has a Books & Books in its gift shop. From there, it was pretty much the same chat and Q&A that we had done the last two nights – except this time we had sharks! (The museum was in the process of packing up their shark exhibit, so it was right next to our podium).
The people of Fort Lauderdale were a great way to cap off this week of signings. Friendly, warm, and even somewhat familiar – we had one guy stop by who we’d seen the night before in Miami (hi Steve!) and Sherry also met the sister of one of her high school friends (hi Erin!). There was also Jenna, who had us sign her well-loved paintbrush.
While that wasn’t the first paintbrush we’ve signed, I will say Caitlin handed us the first Lowe’s receipt we were asked to put our mark on. Well, I take that back, I’ve signed lots of Lowe’s receipts in my day… but usually at the checkout counter.
But perhaps the cutest thing we were asked to autograph that day was this little guy’s homemade shirt. In case you can’t read it, Otto is sporting a “$herdog is my homegirl” shirt. Oh, and a bowtie. Which kinda makes the outfit.
When the signing was over we unexpectedly had the time and energy left to grab a real dinner, so we strolled down Las Olas Blvd and found ourselves walking into The Royal Pig – and were immediately met by a gasp. Jen (at the right) and her sister had been at the signing earlier and was surprised to see us again. So after we scarfed an amazing dinner (the food in Ft Lauderdale was the best of the trip so far, just because we had time to enjoy two meals and we happened to love both of them) we chatted it with her and took another photo to cap off the night. You can read her hilarious version of the events on her blog.
Then the next morning it was back to the ol’ airport routine and we boarded flights #5 and #6 of the journey. At least each of these plane rides got us closer to home.
And when we finally landed in Richmond Friday afternoon we got the best greeting. As we exited security we heard a familiar voice yelling “Daddy! Mommy!” and running our way. We had expected to just meet my dad in the arrivals lane outside the airport, but he and mom (who played baby/house/Burger-sitters while we were away) surprised us by bringing Clara to the airport to greet us. Oh what I would give to have that moment on video. Let’s just say it got Sherry all misty-eyed. We missed our girl.
We had this week off from touring, but we’re back on the road next week (Tacoma on Friday, Portland on Saturday, and Palo Alto on Sunday). You can see all the details here on our book tour page. We can’t wait to West Coast it up and hope to see some of you then. Oh yeah, and if there are any strings you can pull to get Miami weather up there in the Pacific Northwest we’d like to officially submit that request now. Thanks for your consideration.
Psst- For anyone near or far looking for signed books (at a discount!) we just signed a big stack of them at Chop Suey here in Richmond (804-422-8066). They’ll ship anywhere in the world and they’re 10% off this week!
We’re trying to redo the sunroom on a budget using as much that we already have as we can (since we have other projects like Clara’s big girl room, a guest bathroom, and a porch & carport overhaul that we’re saving our pennies for). But there’s a delicate balance between function and saving money. Sometimes you can use 100% of what you already have and achieve 70% function in a room, or you can spend a little money along with using 90% of the things you already have and end up with 100% function. So as you might guess, we’re going for 100% function on a small budget.
So far all we’ve bought is one gallon of paint for the walls & ceiling of the sunroom and everything else has been furniture, accessories, and art that we already have (except for these $7 frames we built here). But the time recently came to buy one more thing. The room needs storage, so instead of adding more seating or another table that we already have, we decided that a bookcase with eight whole grids of storage space was the way to go.
And thanks to Ikea’s not-too-bad prices, we scored this bad boy for $69. It’s this one (in the “white” finish, since the “gloss white” one was $20 more) and John and Clara had some bonding time on Saturday morning putting it together.
Looks like we have a little DIY lover on our hands…
As for how long it took to assemble, it wasn’t too bad. Maybe half an hour? Here it is all put together in the sunroom:
We opted to store items that would be the most functional for us, so it just made sense to use it to store board games, books, and a few toys for Clara since she plays in there sometimes and we play the occasional board game at the table in front of the daybed. And as for the books… well… we just love storing books in bookcases. Ha. And while there are some on the built-ins in our dining room, those are actually really narrow shelves, so our bigger design books don’t fit up there. Now those can live here in the sunroom. Cha-ching.
As for the things on top, I just thought adding color with some vases that John got me for Mother’s Day last year and tossing down a secondhand bike that Clara picked out a few years back would be fun. Does two pieces of bike art + a 3D bike = the bike trifecta? I think it does for John. Also, he’s wearing a bike shirt in this post. He’s gone off the deep end guys.
So here’s where the room is now:
And as for a little budget breakdown, everything in here was already owned except for the paint on the walls, those $7 frames, and this new bookcase, so we’ve spent under $135 to upgrade a room that used to look like this:
But we still have an empty corner to attend to, as well as adding some finishing touches to help polish things off (for example, that wooden side table still feels a little unbalanced to us, but we have a plan). You know we’ll keep you posted!
What Ikea furniture are you guys assembling these days? Or are you hunting things down on Craigslist? One tip: before you buy anything from Ikea, check if it’s on Craigslist (in this case the right size/color wasn’t available, but sometimes it is and you can save some money). Are you building bookcases instead? We thought about building something, but for this much chunky wood, it actually would have been more than $69! Hootie hoo for affordable shortcuts.
Oh and before I stop rambling, guess what Clara’s favorite part is?
Yup, the box. Who’s surprised?