Friday, March 26, 2010

By Land or By Sea

The nursery is 99% finished! I say 99% because the bookcases we ordered are on back order until July. A number of people have tried to make me feel better about this, namely by stating that 1) I won't be reading to the baby until July anyway, and 2) that the baby won't notice whether the bookcases are there or not. But this does not make me feel better because 1) naive or not, I do believe I will read to the baby before July, I do, I do! and 2) I will notice that the bookcases aren't there (and let's be honest, decorating the nursery is more about the mom and dad than the baby anyway, right?).

But on to the good news, and all the things I love about the nursery. First of all, this
blabla mobile just arrived today, and was the perfect finishing touch. I don't think that we could have had a nursery without birds somewhere, given how much Zach loves them. And this mobile is so beautifully made- all hand-knit, and the yarn they use is so soft.
The theme for the nursery is By Land or By Sea. This is the "by land" side. We got much inspiration from the Serena and Lily bedding we ordered, as well as their catalogue. Per their design suggestion, Zach drew the tree with chalk. You can also see the gorgeous zebra wood fronts to the drawers on the crib and changing table.

Zach hung shelves for toys and knick-knacks. Decorative items include a wooden airplane from good friend Kristen, pictures of Mom and Dad (of course!), a rocking horse from Grandma, plants, pots, bath stuff, books and more little fun items (can you tell Zach is a sucker for hedgehogs?). At some point, I think we will add blocks.

The changing table matches the crib, and the changing table top will pop off to turn it into a little boy dresser when the time comes.

And inside the drawers- our cloth diapers, all washed and folded (and adorably named "bummis"), and all sorts of tiny clothes.

And when you look at the wall across from the crib, you see the "by sea" side of the nursery. From his crib, the baby will be able to gaze across at his pirate ship, attached to the wall by a shelf that Zach designed, built, painted, and secured.
Now imagine two of these bookshelves on either side of the pirate ship (in place of the "stroller as art" installation we currently have happening, and behind the little orange reading chair).
The second baby shower we had thrown for us a few weeks ago was a gorgeous "bring-a-book" shower, which was so. lovely. And it felt so me. It was old-fashioned in its design, with cut crystal nut bowls and candy bowls, and cupcakes, and bookplates as favors for all the guests. One of my favorite parts was the quote on the invitation. It was so perfect: "it is a great thing to start life with a small number of really good books which are your very own" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Isn't that a perfect sentiment? Needless to say, the shower stocked our library, so once the bookcases arrive, we can display all our beautiful books and the nursery will be totally complete. But I love how it is coming along. I feel that the design adage of "buy what you love and it will all come together" has really been the case with the little man's room.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beatrix Ong Shoes
I was rifling through a magazine the other day, and was struck by the shoes on a model in an ad. So struck, in fact, that I stopped what I was doing to look up the designer. Lo and behold, it was British designer Beatrix Ong. I had not heard of Ms. Ong before, but after voraciously perusing her website, I am officially a fan.

So many of her designs are very structural, and you can see definite inspiration from origami and nature. Birds wings make frequent appearances.

And her more outlandish designs (that, let's be honest, are simply not realistic for my ordinary life) are balanced by simpler designs that are still beautiful, but completely wearable. Like this one:

And her use of color is bold and refreshing. Can't you see these red shoes with a black skirt in the office and red lipstick?

But my favorite pair of all, the true piece de resistance, is this pair:

I think they would make the perfect wedding shoe.

Friday, March 19, 2010

For Dad

It has been a few days now since I've posted. You would think being on bedrest would provide a lot of opportunities for doing nothing but posting, but I find that working from home eats up a good portion of my day. Combined with Oprah and Dr. Phil, and the fact that my mom arrived on Wednesday so I now have someone to gossip and read magazines with, and the days are slipping by. Nevertheless, I have been thinking a lot about the new baby, and in particular, Zach and the new baby. So many things out in the world for moms, so I am impressed with how Petunia Pickle Bottom has come out with such a great line of items for dads. In particular, I am absolutely loving the new, about-to-be-released baby carrier. The color and design are so masculine. I really want to get this for Zach, because a carrier was one of the only items he really specifically wanted for himself. As a teacher, he has summers off, and so he plans to garden and take walks and go to the Farmer's Market with the baby, all in all soaking up the beautiful Portland summers. He wanted a carrier to help him do so. I think this is the perfect one. Also, what are your thoughts on the male diaper bag? Since I know Zach will be a hands-on dad who is always willing to take the baby out and about, I think it is a great idea. Once again, Petunia Pickle Bottom's Scout label is making me drool. Look at this one: You would never guess it comes with a changing pad, space for a bottle, etc. Cheers to good design for dads!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Paul Octavious Book Sculptures

I am loving these book sculptures by Paul Octavious. It is making me want to experiment with my books on the coffee table.


Friends, there is a new home store in Portland, called Manor. I was immediately intrigued by their beautiful space (full windows, hand-hewn beams) and the fact that under the name of the store is the charming descriptor "Fine Wares, Curious Goods". That was enough to get me to enter, and once inside, I realized what a treasure trove Manor truly is. You know those stores that you could spend hours in? Where you just wander and each corner or nook presents another beautiful or interesting object? This is the kind of store Manor is. About 6 weeks ago, Mom and I spent probably an hour wandering around, and it could have been much longer.
While we were there, we stumbled across the amazing and beautiful blankets by NooNoo. We must have stood around looking at them for at least 20 minutes. The NooNoo blankets are small, beautifully made tactile objects for babies. Have you ever noticed how babies little fingers are drawn to the tags or edges of baby blankets? NooNoo takes that concept to another level, designing pieces that are made to interact with the baby and stimulate their little brains, help teach counting etc. They are embroidered with sweet designs (some based on drawings by toddlers), and overall are such a unique, beautiful little something to attach to a stroller or to become a favorite comfort object.
So onto the best part of this story. As stated above, while Mom and I were shopping, we must have perused the NooNoo blankets a dozen times, satelliting around them, oohing and aahing. I was this close to buying one, friends, but the pirate ship purchase had just occurred, so I responsibly (but regretfully) kept my wallet closed. Nevertheless I have thought about them ever since. And we didn't leave Manor completely empty-handed; Mom had purchased some napkin rings that needed to be ordered. Manor assured us they would call when the napkin rings came in and Zach and I would go pick them up for Mom.
We got that call last week, so Zach (in his continued heroic efforts of doing everything I would normally do, plus everything he would normally do, plus more while I'm on bed rest) made a special trip out to Manor to pick up the napkin rings from my mom. On his way home, I got this call:
Zach: Hi hon. I just had the best shopping experience at that store.
Janelle: Yeah, its a beautiful store, isn't it?
Zach: And they were so nice. I walked in and there were immediately two friendly women to help me. And they immediately knew what I needed to pick up. And there was this amazing taxidermed owl that I loved.
Janelle: Well, I'm glad it was a nice errand.
Zach: Oh yeah- the lady mentioned that she threw in a little something extra for you. I'm not sure what, but I brought it home for you.
Well, friends, you have to know where this was going. The lovely, generous owners at Manor gifted us with a NooNoo blanket! I was stunned with their kindness, because really, between the two of us, Mom and I had only spent about $100 at the store. And we weren't regulars (although we certainly will be now). And they must have observed our obsession with the NooNoo blankets because we never discussed it with them, just meandered our way back to them during our shopping excursion.
So thank you, Manor, for such a lovely gift! You turned Sunday into a special day and reminded both Zach and I of why we support small local businesses. Especially those committed to not only beautiful wares, but beautiful customer service.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Ever since Zach and I have enhanced our bedroom with curtains and bookcases and new carpet and a bed skirt and soft, white, bedding, I love spending time in there. It has become a tranquil and peaceful spot, and I find myself leisurely wallowing among the blankets and pillows out of sheer enjoyment (well, that and the fact that I am on doctor-mandated bed rest. But I digress). The paint on the walls looks prettier, the light coming in the windows seems brighter, and overall it just seems so much more appealing. So although I know we are probably a few years away from spending the money to buy a real bed frame, and I am perfectly content with our current bedroom situation, I can't help but poke around those sites I know and love for the perfect bed, so I have it in mind when the time to is right. I have recently been looking at this bed a lot. And this bed is one I have long admired from afar. But friends, the ante was officially upped when I saw these two fairytale beds, both handmade and both absolutely beautiful. Dawn emailed me this one, saying it was something she coveted. Rightly so, I say. And imagine falling asleep under this fanciful apple tree canopy. Couldn't you see these in a little girl's fairytale bedroom? Or in my fairytale bedroom? I have to believe that I would sleep more peacefully and have more pleasant dreams if I was surrounded by branches all night. The only thing that could make it better was if we put a skylight right in the middle of the canopy, so between the stars and the branches and the Oregon rainfall at night, it would be like sleeping in a storybook.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring Baby Showers

My friend Melissa is due with her first baby, a little girl, in June. In just a few weeks, she will be having her baby shower, and although I won't be able to be there, I have still had much fun scouting around and pretending I was going to be there, and could contribute to what I know will be a beautiful and springy celebration.
I especially love this one, via Hostess with the Mostess. Aptly called "Anthropologie Style Owl Shower", I love all the small details, especially the little vignettes- antique desks set up outside with vintage booties and a guest book, handmake owl fans, frozen lemonade in mason jars... such sweet details.
To see more details of this gorgeous shower, visit Anthropologie Style Owl Shower.
Melissa, wish I could be there to celebrate with you, and make slushy lemonade in jars for your shower!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This, friends, is what happens when the doctor puts you on bedrest 7 weeks before your due date and your fantastic husband goes to Barnes & Noble. You end up with weeks worth of reading material; books and magazines for every mood. Zach managed to buy a book from every genre that I love; history, business, fiction... Isn't he a sweet and thoughtful man? So yes, bed rest it is, but just for a few more weeks, because the doctor thinks that our little guy is going to end up being induced the first week of April! So he may be here sooner than we expected. In other news, doesn't this hamburger look delicious? Zach made it for dinner last week, and the best part was the homemade spicy pickles. Do you pickle? Or can? If so, I love these canning labels from Lelo in NoPo. So clean.
And pre-bed rest, I spent some time making thank-you's for the wonderful hosts and gift-givers at our shower.
I ended up going with peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and chewy brownies. The brownies were from a recent Cook's Illustrated, and I have already made them 4 times. They are that delicious. People have actually requested them.
Do you have any favorite recipes? In particular, how about a chewy chocolate chip cookie with crispy edges? I am on a constant hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In My Dreams

Friends, have you ever watched the television show "Scrubs"? One of the things I love about it is the dreamy montages, wherein which characters imagine themselves into an alternate, often absurd, reality. Well, when I saw these pinatas, filled with homemade confetti and aptly called the Confetti System, my imagination immediately created an alternate universe, in which, the moment our baby boy is born, these glittering pinatas explode, much like champagne corks, and cover my whole new family in confetti while trumpets blare in the background and I smile glowingly at everyone.
When I think about the realities of actually having confetti rain down upon me after labor, sticking to who knows what, I am kind of grossed out. But it just goes to show the power of these pinatas. They are so fanciful and chic and just made for daydreams of ecstatic celebrations.
Maybe I will get one (or a dozen!) for my 30th birthday party instead.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Zach and I spent this weekend at a family friends' gorgeous beach house on the Oregon coast. It was fantastic. Quiet. Calm. A respite from what feels like our hectic lives. We didn't take a computer and turned off our phones, and were essentially "off the grid". We read books and took walks and drank coffee and enjoyed ourselves. And then we came home to ecstatic and enthusiastic pets, the Oscars, and a home-cooked meal. All in all, a very satisfying weekend (and perhaps the last really quiet one we'll have for awhile). But one that didn't leave much time for updating O Chickadee. That said, since I saw these Gucio shoes, I have been coveting them. Apparently, they are great for babies learning to walk. All handmade, and they are absolutely beautiful. And I love these Pia Walen slippers too. Too cute, no? P.S. Was everyone else as thrilled as I was to see that a woman finally won Best Director at the Academy Awards?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Party Details

I am loving these party details by Fete owner Jung Lee. Here Jung shows off some of the personalized stamps Fete has created for wedding and save-the-date invitations courtesy of Zazzle. I love the idea of paying such close attention to every visual detail of a party invite. Just think of all the endless ways you can make your invitations stand out with personalized details like modern, designed stamps. And when I think about trying to balance motherhood with the very real fact that I (as my sister says) "don't want my home overrun with plastic crap", I was excited to see these chic, disposable placements/napkins called My Drap. You unroll and tear them at the perforation just like papertowels. It is when I find things like this that I think "of course! Why didn't I think of that?!" Because the idea of using cloth napkins for dinner or picnics is so appealing. But is it just me and my messy life, or do cloth napkins seem to get stained within just one use? So I feel like they are a waste of money. The My Drap products have such clean design details to take them above the humble papertowel but below the expense and potential fussiness of formal cloth napkins and placemats. And they come in all sizes, too! Cocktail napkins- dinner napkins- the perfect way to teach little kids about place settings without worrying about anything being too precious. And you can wash them, and use them a few times, before eventually throwing them in the compost pile (because yes- they are compostable!!)
And aren't these disposable plates and cups amazing? Who says having kids and kid parties means cheap, wax-covered disposable dinnerware?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Handmade with Love Part II

My mom is simultaneously the most talented and most humble woman I know. When it comes to handmade, my mom puts everyone else to shame. Case in point? Instead of the traditional wedding guest book, my mom (a hand quilter) made us The. Most. Amazing. Signature. Quilt. Ever. Friends, are you familiar with a signature quilt? In a nutshell, the concept is that the guests sign quilt squares instead of the traditional book. Once the squares are signed, they are then pieced together into a larger quilt. Here are pictures of the squares my mom made displayed at our wedding, waiting for guest signatures:
And here is just a glimpse of the finished product.
Friends, it took my mom five years to complete this quilt. Five years! And do you want to know why? Because every single stitch in this quilt was done by hand. I know. I am in awe too. It is taking me 9 months to grow this baby and I feel tired and impatient doing it. Let alone 5 years of investment. But her commitment and attention to detail is one of the best things about my mom. Here are a few more gorgeous pictures of the signature quilt:
Another of my mom's handmade gifts? These amazing, embroidered pillow shams. I love that she did mine in green, they look so pretty against the hyacinth walls in our guest room.
Aren't I lucky to have such a talented mom? Wouldn't you love to be tucked into a guest room bed with these delicious pillows? Isn't our son lucky for all of grandma's projects to come?