Monday, June 27, 2011

Organized chaos

I've had a few people comment recently on how few toys there seem to be in our house.  Obviously these people were not at my house this past weekend when every toy we own was scattered all over our living room!  So what's the secret?  Well... first it is that I am secretly pretty messy... I just hide it well.  And second... I am just a little bit creative with storage.  All of our toy mess gets hidden when we don't want to be tripping over blocks and puzzle pieces or sometimes when we just want to feel like we live in a house inhabited by adults!

Here is my 3-year-old daughter's desk tucked in a little bay window in our dining room.

And here is the secret storage inside the desk.  It is so convenient that she can just lift the lid and get to all of her drawing and painting supplies.

This gray dresser was a flea market find and I just love the way it looks in the corner of our living room.

You would never guess that this dresser primarily houses puzzles and games.

And for a little bonus, we stash some of our favorite books in a basket below to really maximize storage!

Open basket storage is great, but when you really don't want to worry about organization, I also love these baskets with hinged covers to hide some of our mess.

This top basket doubles as a dress-up bin!

As much as I would like to have every toy put away in it's exact spot every evening in our expansive toy room, that just isn't realistic for our busy lives or our tiny little house.  Since we don't have the time or the space for either of these dreams, this system of tossing toys and craft supplies into their hidden places seems to keep the clutter to a minimum around our house.  What are some of the ways you keep your kiddos chaos organized?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Top 5 baby must haves

When my oldest daughter was born, I obsessed over all things baby for 9 long months.  I wavered back and forth over every little decision.  I spent hours researching big purchases like which stroller to buy, and equal time obsessing over which baby shampoo we would use.  I was definitely trying to keep things minimalist, but in the end still ended up with more ‘stuff’ than was really necessary.  And then there were definitely a few things that I would have liked to have, that I didn’t.  So… we’ve each compiled our top 5 list of baby items that we just felt we couldn’t live without… or at least made our lives much easier in those first days at home with a new baby.

Elizabeth Says...
1. Nature Babycare Diapers
These made me feel less guilty on those days out or overnight when cloth just felt inconvenient!

2. Carters Swaddle Blankets
Both my kids loved being snuggled up tight and I loved the designs.

3. Nursing Cover
"Oh the places you'll go" and not feel like a social outcast. :)

4. Anabel Karmel's Weaning Book
I know, I could live without it the first few months, but I'm one of those who is always researching the next phase and cooking for babies was way out of my comfort zone.  This book was informative and the meals taste great!

5. Love and Life Thank You Cards
Of course mine were late, but better late than never:)

Sona Says... 
1. bumGenius Organic One-Size All-In-One Diapers
Organic cotton on my baby’s bum and no extra pieces to put together after washing.

2. Ergo Baby Carrier
We used this carrier with the infant insert from day 1 and my daughter still loved being carried in it until she was 2.  Truth be told, now at 3+, she would probably still love being carried in it—and still meets the weight limit!

3. Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets
These breathable swaddle blankets were the perfect weight for my summer babies and can also double as a nursing cover in a pinch! 

4. The Essential Nursing Tank by Bravado 
These tops are so comfortable and really make nursing at home or in public a breeze as they keep your tummy covered. I think I have one in every color!

5. Love and Life Birth Announcements
Who better to announce the arrival of our newest family member than her big sister! 

Do you have a top 5 baby items list you’d like to share?  Or maybe one item you just couldn't do without when your kiddos were new?  We'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Displaying your child's art

Every child is an artist. –Pablo Picasso

We wrote last week about our Mini Monet line where we use a scan of your child’s artwork, and create a thank you card or personalized stationery.  Now let’s talk about ways to display your child’s beautiful works of art every day. 

My personal favorite is the clothesline art display.  Cute, easy, inexpensive.  I love the schoolhouse look of it and the ease in which you can swap pieces as your child grows.  At our house we use a piece of twine and mini clothespins found at any craft store.  These look cute in a kitchen, a wide doorway or entryway, or a child’s very own room.  A wire mounted to a wall can give a similar, yet more sturdy, clothesline art display.    
Another great way to display child’s artwork and really make your child feel like their work is a piece of art is to frame it.  This can be done with any frame as long as it is easy to take off the back and rotate artwork.  I recently saw this frame at Target that makes it even one step easier.  The frame hinges open in order to change the picture on display.  You wouldn’t even have to take this frame off the wall to add new artwork and it comes with a handy little storage compartment for additional art.

And of course, check out our constantly growing Mini Monet cards and prints to turn your child’s work of art into a fun way to say thank you or write little notes to share with friends and family. 

Happy displaying!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Inspiring little artists

As we at Love and Life were preparing for the big launch last month, a friend asked if we could somehow turn her daughter's painting into a birthday thank you card.  Not really being in my nature to say "no"... um... EVER... I said "of course!"

It turned out to be such a fun and cute card, with an adorable little candid photo of the birthday girl on the back side, that we decided to create a whole line of "Mini Monet" stationery and cards.  What better way to share your child's artwork with friends and family while creating a treasured keepsake?

Check out four-year-old Emma's inspiring artwork!

Stay tuned for more on inspiring your little artist and displaying their beautiful works of art next week!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Announcing love and life cards!

Elizabeth and Sona had always imagined that they would make a fantastic business duo. Both loved singing (reserved for long road trips only), traveling, strong coffee, good chocolate, and red wine. What more could you ask for in a perfect business partner?   

In the summer of 2008, the team began to plan the launch of Love and Life Cards. The company would be an inspiring online card designer that provides people with a fun and fresh way to share life’s noteworthy moments with friends and family.

Now in the summer of 2011 — three years and four babies later — we are pleased to FINALLY announce the arrival of Love and Life Cards! We hope you enjoy perusing our designs as much as we enjoy creating them. 

Please visit often to check out what’s new at Love and Life and to share your good news.

Wishing you love and all of life’s little blessings!

Elizabeth & Sona