This is news to no one. School at home is extra hard—for the students and the teachers (and the parents, too). We’re feeling it over here, oscillating from “this really isn’t so bad” to “this might be the absolute worst,” even with an amazing teacher. One thing that’s helped to make online school a little brighter for Hal is creating a designated space to do school, with an adjustable desk just her size, and a fun calendar we made like the one her teacher has stuck to her chalkboard. Because we could all use a little pick-me-up right now, I’m excited to team up with Smith System, a K-12 furniture manufacturer, to giveaway 50 sturdy school desks and fun chairs to create a familiar setup like school at home. Oh, and Hal and I made you a fun printable too. Read more

Linden's room with crib from The Faux Martha

From guest room to Linden’s nursery, the transformation is complete, minus a tinker here and a tinker there. (See the moodboard here.) It’s strange to design a space for someone you don’t know yet, but it’s also one of my favorite things to do in the last weeks of pregnancy—to create a space she’ll hopefully love to play in and sleep in. Please sleep, I prayed as I set the level on the shelf while Kev screwed it into the wall. Please be level, too. Made from shallow prayers, teamwork, hand-me-downs, so many stripes, and last-minute Target drive-up pick-ups (because COVID), I’d love to take you on a tour of Linnie’s room. Read more

Oh, hi. It’s me again. We’ve been getting a 9-hour stretch of sleep outta this baby for the last week (!!), something we didn’t get outta Hal until she was over a year. Things are starting to feel normal again. You know, new normal. With that, I’m wading my way back online. Though it shouldn’t go without mentioning, using the word normal about life feels strange right now, like it’s a word worth holding back on. Nothing is normal outside the walls of our house, neighborhood, and country between the centuries-long lack of basic human rights extended towards our Black neighbors and the months-long pandemic. If anything, a new normal, a more equitable normal, is in order here, too. It’s a heavy time to be dipping my toes back into this space. I’m not quite sure how to do it all and do it all well, but here I am, tripping along. Oh, hi. Read more

Fall fireplace bats for halloween from the faux martha

The last couple of years, we’ve gotten by with pumpkins for fall decorations and an annual leaf wreath, too. At the age of six, with ideas growing as tall as her height, Hal wanted to take our decorations closer to spooktacular. Her word, not mine. “Spooky like bats, Mom.” Thank goodness the bats are out on Instagram. I knew just what to do— make fall fireplace bats. Read more

Cove Dishwasher from The Faux Martha

“Everyday” is a word I think about a lot. I like to protect it like the prized possession that it is. And by everyday, I’m not talking about the special occasion, I’m talking about loading the dishwasher, getting dressed in the morning, making dinner on a weeknight, driving to work or walking to the grocery store, and digging for your shoes at the backdoor before running out—you know, the things that intersect with your Monday-Friday life, your everyday and every-other-minute life. These tiny, mundane, ordinary occurrences have the potential to make your day go smoothly or completely unravel. For the unraveling reason (and life can unravel way too fast for me), I have this rule for myself—handle the little things within my control ahead of time so that I have the capacity to handle the big things outside of my control. This is me setting myself up to succeed. Or at least trying to. Read more

No Mow Miracle Grass from The Faux Martha

Last summer, we went to Jackson Hole with family, and I fell in love with a grass. I also fell in love with this mint chip green smoothie. It was long and whispy, the grass, with that wind-blown, sideways Justin Bieber hair, so dense and lush, holding on to water like a dew-soaked spider web on a fall morning. It was unlike any grass I’d ever seen in real life. Though, I had a vague memory of reading about eco-friendly grasses in an old copy of Martha Stewart Living, bookmarked on an iPad we no longer had. It had to exist. [Article found by Haley!] I had the perfect spot for it. After an internet search, I found a miracle no mow grass, promised to be drought-tolerant and eco-friendly. Was it too good to be true? Read more

The first year we moved into our urban lot, I started a vegetable garden knowing next to nothing. “Don’t worry Kev, I’ve got this.” I planted in May, where the sun stuck to that sunny sliver running along the driveway, when the snowglobe promised to stop shaking, when the plant store was flooded with humans again. By June, the sun slid high into the sky and stayed there for the rest of the season, throwing complete shade at my small vegetable garden. Despite all odds, produce produced, and Hal learned that food comes from the dirt that summer. The next year, though, I packed up my expensive idea, splintered cedar, and trellis, leaving it on the curb for another optimist, hopefully an optimist with some sun in her garden. Read more

When we started designing our home, I was pretty sure every room would be as colorful as Hal’s turned out to be. Either my color palette was refining itself, or I just couldn’t pull off more than 3 colors at a time. It’s probably the latter. Because in my junior year as a graphic design major, I was reamed in front of the entire class over my color palette choice on a magazine redesign project. I am not so great at pulling off a lot of colors at one time like Jenny Komenda, one of my favorite designers. So we renegotiated a rug, a large piece of framed art, and a couple bright pillows from downstairs to Hal’s room, and they felt right at home and like a cousin to her bathroom.   Read more

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