Home Sweet Home

The Last Days of Summer

Home Sweet Home: The Last Days of Summer | CLOTH & KIND

This summer has flown by. How is it already August? Back to school is less than a month away and so I'm trying to savor every last minute of warmth in the air, sunshine on my face, playing outside with my kids and spending time with good friends. Like today, one of my best girls, Jen, and her adorable kids Hugh & Lucy came to visit. Alex & Tahlia collected bugs to examine under a magnifying glass with their friends, they ran through the sprinkler for what seemed like happy hours on end, played on the swing and made a secret fort in our bushes. What could be better?...

Last weekend, we celebrated Alex's 6th birthday with a pretty chill party at our house, complete with a face painter and games in the front yard...

Home Sweet Home: The Last Days of Summer | CLOTH & KIND
Home Sweet Home: The Last Days of Summer | CLOTH & KIND

And I've been savoring my alone time and long runs in the arboretum, which is blissfully close to my home here in Ann Arbor. It's such a beautiful sanctuary. This summer, it's become the place where I go to do all of my thinking, dreaming and planning. I can see everything so clearly when I'm there, running alone in the silence of nature...

Home Sweet Home: The Last Days of Summer | CLOTH & KIND
Home Sweet Home: The Last Days of Summer | CLOTH & KIND
Home Sweet Home: The Last Days of Summer | CLOTH & KIND

How are you spending the last sweet days of your summer?

 

IMAGE CREDITS | All photos taken by Krista Nye Schwartz, via Instagram.

Pastel Easter Eggs

Home Sweet Home: Pastel Easter Eggs | CLOTH & KIND

The kids just got done dyeing their Easter eggs and they tuned out surprisingly beautiful. The only thing we did differently this year than in years past was to use water with the Paas dye tablets as opposed to vinegar. I'm loving the soft hues. So pretty & springy. Happy Easter!

 

IMAGE CREDITS | All photos taken by Krista Nye Schwartz using Instagram. Are you following CLOTH & KIND yet? Hop to it.

Snow Day

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I wanted to share this pretty photo with you all. I took it earlier this week right after a big old snow storm came through Ann Arbor. It was first thing the morning after the snowfall, and I captured this from our front porch. There's nothing quite as beautiful as freshly fallen snow, is there?...

Especially for the kids who LOVE eating it! School was closed so they enjoyed the day off romping in the fresh snow and building a snowman that they later named Franklin. He's now half melted and kind of looks like a drunken sailor, all tipped over to one side. All week it's been the kids' favorite thing to talk about ...  "Has Franklin fallen over yet?", "How long is Franklin going to last before he melts away?"

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The snow day was fun - for sure, but it is now March and this momma, for one, is ready for some warmer weather. Melt away, Franklin. Melt away. Whose with me?

 

IMAGES | Tahlia after eating some fresh snow | Alex & Tahlia building Franklin the snowman | Instagram

Home Sweet (Away From) Home

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Part of this whole This Is Who I Am thing is that I want to start confessing some things about the reality of my life to you. Don't get too excited... it's nothing super juicy, just that I feel an obligation to own up to everyone (especially to other bloggers, many of whom have already made such admissions) about the fact that it is incredibly taxing to write on the blog daily, work my full-time job (which I love as much as my interior design & textiles, just in a totally different way), maintain meaningful friendships, and still be the kind of mom & wife that I want to be. Being a perfectionist doesn't help things either.

This is not meant to be a woe-is-me sob story. I am honestly not complaining here, because the truth is that I love my life and at the end of each day when I fall into bed utterly exhausted I still think to myself that I wouldn't change a thing. But the hard fact of the matter is that every aspect of my existence probably suffers a little bit because I am spread so thin and that makes me not so happy.

I know I'm not alone in this predicament. It's the universal plight of women worldwide, right? We all overextend ourselves and end up feeling guilty about the things that are still on our to-do lists, and the people that we love so much but haven't managed to call in a couple of weeks, etc, etc. I used to frequently think to myself "if only I could squeeze an additional 2-3 hours out of each day" but age and practice have taught me that even if this was the case, I'd still manage to burn the candle at both ends. I know myself. But I also know this... I wouldn't be who I am if I didn't allow myself time in each of these important and tremendously fulfilling areas of my life. So for now, at least, the answer is living in a state of happy exhaustion.

However, for at least the next week I'm going to temporarily suspend all of the madness because we're going on vacation! Actually, as I write the final words of this post, we are already on vacation. The photo above of Alex & Tahlia doing their happy dance in the backseat of the rental car as we pulled up to our final destination says it all, and for the following week I belong exclusively to my family. And while we may not be at our personal Home Sweet Home, we are together - without interruption - and that to me is home. No work, no blog, but yes - probably still a little Pinterest & Instagram. I mean, a girl can't go cold turkey now, come on!

See you all back here in another week, and please come prepared for some wonderful surprises in the form of new columns and guest editors. Until then, wishing you (and me) a little more calm & peace than we may normally find.

 

Grateful

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There are so many people & things for which I am grateful this year that the list would be far too long to post here. But let me just tell you that one of the things I'm most fortunate to have in my life is CLOTH & KIND, or should I say, what this blog has brought me... I am incredibly lucky to have met so many of you through this outlet and am elated just to have this little corner in cyberspace to express my passion for interior design & textiles. What's one thing you are grateful for this Thanksgiving?

p.s. I'm taking the rest of the week off to be with family, but I'll be back on the blog on Monday and have a wonderful new Proust on Design interview to share with you next week.

 

Linen Plates

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Last time I was in NY I found these adorable Fog Linen Work plates at Ochre and couldn't resist them as gifts for Alex & Tahlia. Designer Yumiko Sekine uses raw linen from Lithuania as a base for the plates then coats them in melamine so they are super durable... and it's a good thing they are because it turns out that the kids love them just as much as I do. They get used almost nightly and make our dinner table a little bit prettier to sit down to.

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Image: Photo taken by Krista Nye Schwartz using Instagram // CLOTH & KIND

The Tooth Fairy

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Alex turned 5 in July. He's in kindergarten, he's learning to read and write and if all of that isn't enough he has his very first loose tooth! Where have the last 5 years gone and when did my baby turn into such a big boy?! Ok, so while I'm trying to get over the shock of it all I've been immersing myself in the preparations for the much-anticipated inaugural visit from the tooth fairy. First, we had to help him get past his fears. At first Alex was terrified of loosing a tooth... "How will I eat my food?....I'll be soooo hungry!", "Will it hurt?", "I'm scared of the tooth fairy... is she mean?"... Every Friday at school for the last 3 weeks he's checked out a new book from the library about the tooth fairy and now he's got the basics down. He's actually pretty psyched. Tooth fairy = money for his piggy bank. He's saving up to buy a yellow convertible for his 16th birthday (I like his ambition). Since we're past all of the concerns, I'm now able to get into fun mommy (ahem, tooth fairy) stuff like this.... But I need your help, please. Since this will be the first tooth fairy visit to our house I am conducting some unofficial research... what's the going rate for a tooth these days?

Good Night Tablet // Zakka Tooth Fairy BoxesOeuf Tooth Fairy Pillow //  Official Tooth Fairy Kit

Bookshelf Nirvana

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I took the lunch hour today to finish organizing my home office, complete with my first ever color-coded bookshelves. I hadn't planned on doing this, but it's always something that I've thought is incredibly aesthetically pleasing. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that having the luxury of my own little office tucked away on the 3rd floor of our new/old home means that I am able to fill these shelves with just my design-related books. All of our other books have a different home (definitely no color coding there, I might add). Since all of these titles are in the same genre I decided to give it a whirl and organize solely based on hue. I must say, it's kind of like design nirvana for me. What do you think? Am I officially off my rocker or would you ever consider color-coding your bookshelves too?

 

Nympheus & Song

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I've been somewhat obsessed with this Nympheus fabric from Lee Jofa ever since I first laid eyes on it at BlogFest. In fact, I have already written about it once before. It's a very old pattern dating back to 1915 Thailand that came from Lee Jofa's archives. Thomas O'Brien has recently reimagined it in two new colorways - Aubergine (above) & Teal. Since it's been so on my mind, I absolutely had to integrate it into our new/old house reno somewhere and the little back hallway/mudroom ended up being the perfect place for it. With just one window, this was the most amazing fabric choice to add a powerful punch of interest to a space that is often neglected from a design standpoint in many homes. It was also a good choice budget-wise because the window is small and this fabric is - ahem, not inexpensive, shall we say. Then when I found Madeline Weinrib's Song runner in Pumpernickel the deal was sealed. These two textiles were meant to be together and they make me very, very happy every time I come and go out the back door of our new/old home.

Do you have a fabric that you've always dreamed of using in your home or am I the only one who fantasizes about textiles? Please tell me I'm not alone.

 

Living Room

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I'm finally getting around to hanging artwork in our new/old house reno. Today, this stunning original piece by Britt Bass was hung above our living room sofa and I absolutely adore it. The juxtaposition of the modern painting with my antique pillows and rug, and somewhat traditional furniture makes me so, so happy. The only thing left to complete this room are the drapes that I'm having made in Seema Krish's Glitterati. It's a gorgeous linen with delicious hints of gold thread subtly woven in. For more from Seema's new Bombay Glitz collection, check out these recent posts I did on her. Happy weekend.

 

Home Sweet Home

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I’ve just had the most lovely month off from the blog, and while I missed it (and all of you) tremendously, it was a necessary break in so many ways. The best thing that happened during my time away is that we finally moved into the new/old house that we’ve been renovating for the past year and half. The last two weeks of August were spent unpacking and busily putting everything in its place, which to a Type A personality like myself is pretty much a dream come true. The first 10 days of September were spent savoring every little detail of our new home, exploring our neighborhood with my family and just pretty much relaxing. The kids are enjoying their new schools and for the first time in a really long time, everything feels just right. Can you hear my deep, deep exhale from where you are?

It feels good to be home, and good to be back. Please tell me, what is new in your world?

 

Kisses

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Michael is out of town this weekend for some much needed R&R in the form of a golf trip with his buddies, and no one deserves it more than him. The kids and I got in some quality snuggle time and I have been showered with kisses. In fact, kisses have somehow become our unofficial theme of the weekend.... and really, what's better than that? I hope yours has been wonderful too. xo

 

20 Days

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It all started as a hair brained idea well over a year ago. We were moving to Ann Arbor. Michael wanted to build new and be as eco-friendly as possible. I loved the idea of new, and definitely of building green, but couldn't get past my love for old homes and all of the things that come with them. Lots with mature trees. Hardwood floors with years of character ingrained in them, complete with squeaks. Intricate crown molding. These are things you can't duplicate in a new home. So when we found this beat up, haunted looking old cottage on the most perfect of tree lined streets in the neighborhood we wanted, it gave us both pause. Kind of perfect. It needed to be made essentially new on the inside which made Michael happy, but had great bones and there were enough things that were salvageable, like hard wood floors throughout and some pretty plaster molding, that it seemed to be the ideal compromise for us both. And so we jumped in head first. Found a rental home to plant ourselves for the year and had blueprints drawn up. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? Had we known it was going to take well over a year and far exceed our original budget would we still have made the choice to do it?

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It's been a labor of love and learning for us both, but especially me. I've been schooled on masonry and woodworking. Choosing the perfect stain color. The virtues of geothermal vs. traditional heating and cooling, and so much more.

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I'll be sharing some photos of the course of the project with you as we're counting down to our move in date. T-20 days! These shots are of the rough stuff that was required but trust me, there's lots & lots of pretty interior design selections which I can't wait to share with you.

And the answer to the question above, in case you are wondering, is yes. Unequivocally yes. We would do it all again in a heartbeat. I know every square inch of our new home and have thought through the functionality and design of every single room. I can't imagine ever living in or loving another home quite as much as this one.

 

Eating Clean

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I have to admit that I'm far from the picture of perfect health. Despite the fact that I stock our kitchen with predominately organic and/or local, fresh & healthy foods, I have three pretty major things working against me: 1. I am not a naturally good cook, as much as I aspire to be

2. I am a stress eater

3. I am bad, bad, bad about working out

It feels kind of good to admit those things out loud, by the way.

So I'm bound and determined to make this the year that I finally take control of my eating and exercise. Mostly so that I can continue to keep up with my amazing, whirlwind life. Don't get me wrong, I already have a LOT of energy but am just starting to feel myself lacking the strength and stamina to keep going at the pace with which I enjoy living. Does that make sense to anyone?

I've never been a dieter. I grew up bean pole thin and it wasn't until after Tahlia (my second child) was born that I really felt my body changing. It's the classic mom's story, really. Everything went right back to where it was supposed to after Alex (my first) was born but not so much after the second. And I'm not even talking about how I look, although that's part of it, it's more about how I feel. My core is just not as strong and it affects everything else in my body. I feel more aware of this than ever before - it's like my body is telling me "please, please start to take better care of me."

So all of this is to say that I'm making some changes. The first of which is that I started going to a trainer to help kick my butt (also so that I have no choice about whether or not to work out). My trainer, Kelly, really recommends following the Eating Clean principles as a way to rethink how I'm eating. It's not a diet, per say, but more of a healthy way of living which maintains that eating foods closest to their natural state (unprocessed), more often (5-6x per day), in the right combinations (lean protein, complex carbs & healthy fats) is the key to feeling and looking amazing. It makes common sense, actually. It's just eating thoughtfully as opposed to mindlessly, which is what I do when I'm stress eating. I've done some initial research, and ordered the book and cookbook, but am curious if any of you Eat Clean? If you do, I'd love to know how it's working for you. I'll keep you posted of my progress and we can support one another (no matter if you are also following this method or trying something else to get healthy).

Have a wonderful weekend, and a very happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there!

 

Image Credit: Farmers Market tomatoes photographed by Krista Nye Schwartz with Instagram.

Alex & Tahlia

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Absolutely nothing in the world says Home Sweet Home to me more than my family. You met Michael yesterday, by way of my birthday message to him so I thought it was appropriate to introduce our kids as well. Alex is almost 5, and starting kindergarten in the fall. He is as kind and loving as they come, but man is this kid LOUD. Tahlia is 2 and a 1/2. Don't let her sweetness fool you. She is one strong-willed and independent little kid... a bit of a chip off of the old block, some would say.

They are the world to us yet they simultaneously make us want to pull our hair out nearly every day. Who can relate?!

 

China Blue

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As the renovation of our charming old house continues I've realized something about myself purely through the process of decorating this home. My favorite color is blue. Over and over again, in room after room, I find myself using various shades of this versatile hue. It's no wonder then that when it came to selecting the color for my most creative space - my home office - that I chose china blue for the palette.

LEFT // Vintage china plates from a flea market that I found on a recent trip to Saugatuck. RIGHT // The final selections for walls and windows.

For more specific product detail about what's going into this space, visit the Pinterest page for this room. So, what's your favorite color? Do you find yourself using it over and over again in your personal interior spaces?

 

Saugatuck

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This weekend we are in the charming lakefront town of Saugatuck, MI. Michael and I were graciously given private access to a friend's absolutely gorgeous home (so technically this isn't our home sweet home but let me tell you, it is sweet).

We thought about bringing the kids but at the end of the day decided we were due a weekend alone. At first I felt pretty awful about not bringing them. But as I sit and write this on Friday evening, with a belly full of delicious food - of which I was able to savor every. last. bite. with no whining or arguing from the peanut gallery - and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in hand, I can honestly say that I am now happily settled into our weekend of R & R and have fully succumbed to the fact that every parent deserves a break from their little ones once in a while....even if it does happen to fall on Mother's Day weekend. What are your plans?

Farm Fresh

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We've been getting milk delivery from our local dairy for some time now. It was only recently that we included eggs to our weekly delivery order. It was, in fact, precisely after I stumbled across this article and then linked here. Who knew?! Well, now I do and I'm quite happy with the eggs from our farm-fresh, local, happily raised and truly free-range chickens. Michael, however, wants to take it a step further and raise our own chickens in a coop in the backyard. He knows me well because his incentive was that I could design a really modern & hip coop. Tempting, yes. But I didn't fall for it.

Where do you get your eggs? Were you also surprised by the Organic Egg Scorecard? If anyone raises their own chickens for eggs, please do share. I'm intrigued...but don't tell him that.