Category Archives: Les importantes

Turquoise Vintage Circus Jungle Nursery

When I was about four months pregnant, my close friend Kasandra asked me, “So, what is your theme going to be for the nursery?” Theme? Uh….under the sea? Wild west? I just don’t think in themes. So I thought about the colors I love — red, turquoise, purple, teal, orange, yellow — oh wait — I love all the colors.

When we first moved into our place Stephen and I painted two of the rooms Martha Stewart Vintage Map, which, obviously, is a light blue color (I can’t get over product color names).  So, conveniently enough when we found out we were having a boy we didn’t have to repaint the walls.

Honestly, though, I have a problem with classic nurseries. The baby is only a baby for a couple of years so I see no point in decking out a room with paint and decals and décor that will only be applicable for a short amount of time. Also, I wanted our baby room to be a space that I’d want to hang out in.

I love vintage toys and they all seem to have vintage colors like rusty orange and faded blue. I also love the look of Hipstamatic photos. The colors are saturated but a little off. They kind of remind me of old circus photos.

A few months ago I found someone on Craigslist who was selling several Fisher Price toys from the ’60s. I instantly scooped them up and after some light contemplation I had an answer for Kasandra: the theme will be vintage circus. What I ended up with I can’t exactly explain in terms of a theme, hence the bizarre blog title of Turquoise Vintage Circus Jungle Nursery.

I love how the room turned out. It look very little effort to transform what used to be the booze and guns room into a comfortable space to play and care for our son. Due to space constraints, my husband is sharing this room with baby. Stephen lays claim to the closet and the upper part of the cube shelf is his retro music station. But I think it blends well with the rest of the room.

I pride myself in finding good used items, so this room was a relative bargain. All the furniture is from thrift stores, garage sales, or was given to us. Most of the decorations were handcrafted by me, friends and family or were printed off the Internet and put into cheap frames.

We have many meaningful things in this room: a slate that my godmother used when she was a child, my older sister’s teddy bear, friends’ artwork, embroidery that was in my nursery, “A Child’s Garden of Verses” that belonged to my husband’s grandfather, a crib that all four of the kids in my family used, a bookshelf my grandfather made in the ’50s, a homemade sock monkey that belonged to my older brother and photos taken by close friends.

The love from our family and friends spans wall to wall. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do. Click on a photo to enlarge.

Curtains from Ikea, blanket made by me, crane mobile and paint chip bunting also made by moi, our old garage sale chair and ottoman, my Oriental rug from college

Bookshelf made my my grandfather in the ’50s, thrift store bedside table and lamp

Craigslist vintage toys, slate belonging to my godmother, thrift store toys, new German wooden toys from grandma

Homemade fitted sheet, giant sock monkey and red monkey painting from our friend Ashley, crib made in Sweden and purchased in England for my brother in 1971, wall quilt made by my mom, jungle painting scrounged from a moving van, space-age TV scrounged from a dumpster
From left to right: My childhood bear Bosh, older sister’s bear Beary, new Pooh sitting on vintage telephone bench converted to a toy chest

Artwork and haiku by my old friend Joe

Craigslist cube shelf, painting by original Jack, thrift store toys, photos by our friend Amber
Bins from Jo-Ann’s

A Year and a Day

I’m not too much of a sentimental person when it comes to anniversaries. In fact, if I hadn’t been looking at my blog stats just now and seen that someone had looked at “Posting No. 1” I’d have no idea that I started this blog Nov. 6, 2010.

So…happy birthday Knit Nat!

So many good memories….

Wild Alaska Strawberries — I love this state!

My family has secrets. And I don’t mean the deep, dark kind. We have mushroom secrets and berry secrets. Our best kept one is our patch of wild strawberries. My husband and I came across this anonymous patch a few summers ago and we’ve gone back every year to pick the small, pale, sun-sweetened fruit.

My mama and I picked nearly a gallon today and there are even more unripe ones to pick in about a week.

Life is good. 

My Quilt Finally Has a Home

When I graduated high school, my mom made me a quilt. Not just any patchwork, scrap quilt, but an intricate, well-planned one. Each basket square was given to a close friend, family member, or person who impacted my life. Each was given a fabric pen and instructed to write something on the square and give it back to my mom. These squares traveled as far as England. After the top was pieced, she stitched flowers and grapes and leaves on every square inch of the quilt, save the border, where she stuffed letters to form the first phrase from Shakespeare’s 18th sonnet — “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.”

yeah. my mom’s a badass.

She named the quilt, “The Secret Garden.” From far away it can be admired, but only when you crawl across it with your nose nearly touching the fabric will you be able to see its true beauty. Each square has  different foliage — oak leaves for the wisdom of my father, forget-me-nots for my high school boyfriend, evergreen boughs for my now passed-away grandmother. Nothing was overlooked in this masterpiece.









As a young adult I was worried about using the quilt for fear of ruining it. Also, I never had a good bed for it. This quilt needs a regal bed — and I don’t just mean a queen size. It needs to be displayed with care and reverence.

Fast forward 10 years. My husband’s mom is moving out of state and she gave us an antique brass bed. Benetfinks & Comp. Made in Cheapside, London.

Thanks to both our mothers. Our guest room truly is fit for a queen.

I love my mama

My mama turned 60 this week. It’s hard for me to fully understand this as she’s got the spirit of a 20-year-old. She went salsa dancing twice this week and she always makes room for yoga and aerobics (she did, after all, found the aerobics association here in Anchorage in the mid-80s.) She plans on staring up pilates  soon too.

But that’s not why I love my mother. She is an exceptional person. Always level-headed. Makes practical choices. She’s an incredible quilter and sewer. She gives everything her best.

When I was a teenager, I didn’t understand why other girls my age were mortified of being seen with their mothers. My mom was my best friend and my confidante. Sure, she was silly, but that never embarrassed me. I was proud to have such an awesome mom.

As a young woman, she didn’t always make the best life choices, but it was those stories of her past that helped shape my future. Her wisdom helped me with some of my toughest decisions. She’s the one who solidified my philosophy of life: There’s no such thing as a mistake. There are choices you make in life and the best thing you can do is learn from those choices in order to live happily.

Her 60th birthday hasn’t fazed her much at all. In fact, it’s made her more motivated to live life to its fullest.

So happy birthday mama. I love you.