The stairs come straight up to a landing . . .
. . . which is what we use as our bedroom:
When the house was built in 1924, this space was the extent of the upstairs. In the '50s, someone added on the very large adjacent room, which we use as our art studio.
The arch doorway in the above photo leads to the new "nursery nook." It's not a room exactly, but more of a nook. That is, it lacks a window, and the ceiling slants precipitously, but it's space. Before we hired our friend/ contractor Tyler to carve out this space, it was a weird no-man's-land hidden behind a big Ikea armoire. This doorway is what the armoire hid:
Insulation hung from the unfinished walls and heating ducts went straight across the unfinished floor. See:
Yikes! It was weird and hidden and a little scary, and I've said in the past I've imagined an alien living there and taking secret notes on the human occupants as part of his research for a potential occupation of Earth. You can even see his chair.
Anyway, it's much cuter now. Tyler took out the weird double doors and put in an open archway:
Since the room is windowless and small, we didn't want a door that closes. It would seem too much like a closet. Instead, it's open and colorful, with simple white semi-transparent drapes. I made a mini version of my bird garlands for the arch:
Within, this is more or less the space:
That built-in bench hides heating ducts. It's decorated with the most awesome decals from Alexandra:
Here's another (they show up better on the white):
This little cabinet we found on sale at Cost Plus, and the colors are perfect:
It's full of swaddling blankets. How weird that soon I will be attempting a swaddle on a real baby!!!
So, that right there was our main project of the past month, and it started out as the only project. Everything else (refinishing the floors, painting the living room and bathroom, new door, soffit, new base boards, and more) just cropped up as we went along. Tyler did an awesome job, and if you're in the Portland area and in need of a contractor, we recommend him highly! We have another friend who's a carpenter who's done a lot of work for us too -- Dave Fox -- the kitchen and writing room remodels, plus deck awnings and stair railings, and his work is fantastic as well. And how we know both Dave and Tyler is that we all started out as vendors at the Portland Saturday Market on the same day years ago -- Jim and me, Tyler and his wife Jennifer, and Dave and his wife, also Jennifer (that's two distinct Jennifers, of course). Jim and I were selling prints of our artwork; it was our very first foray into vending, and I recall it being a bit scary, and we probably didn't sell a whole lot that first day. I stuck it out, though, and it turned into my job for several years. Weekends spent under a canopy at the Burnside Bridge, surrounding by other crafty folks. I dreamed up Laini's Ladies down there and debuted them there, which changed my career as an artist in profound ways. Anyway. That's off the point a little. If you're looking for quality carpentry and building work, email me for info. Tyler Fuqua has a website HERE; I can forward inquiries to Dave.
So, that's a peek at the upstairs. It's a little spare still, un-art-ified, but it's very neat and peaceful and bright. I love having white bedding. The blue paint is Embellish Blue from Behr, and I love it. It's so tranquil, a little beachy.
And yes, today IS Professor's due date, but nothing is happening as of yet. Jim and I went out on a "due date date" and had our favorite pizza and saw  Days of Summer -- terrific movie!
So original, which is a real feat for a romantic movie. Joseph Gordon Levitt is terrific, and Zooey Deschanel wears the cutest clothes. And of course, the script is really different. It tells you right up front: it's not a love story, not really. It's more a story of the way people and relationships act as catalysts in our lives, in completely unpredictable ways. See it!
Throughout the movie, I think Professor was trying to get out through my skin, like a little bird trying to bust out of an egg. It was madness -- my belly must have stretched 6 inches this way, then 6 that way, on and on. There were
Oh, I made my first-ever ice cream cake yesterday, for my mom's birthday. It was really good, and nice and cold :-) AND: easy!
I looked at recipes online for making a basic ice cream cake, and then I sort of improvised:
Lemon-blueberry Ice Cream Cake
1 box lemon cake mix (prepare using box directions, 2 circular cake pans)
Vanilla ice cream
Jar lemon curd
Jar blueberry jam
whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla
That's all the ingredients (of course, you'll need eggs and oil for the cake mix). Bake the cakes and cool them; I sliced one in half longwise, you know, to make a total of 3 cake layers. The online recipes all called for using a rectangular baking pan and then slicing the "brick" of ice cream to make the layers that way, but I couldn't find my rectangular cake pan. So for the ice cream, I had to melt and re-freeze it in circular cake pans. This was a good thing, though, because it allowed me to add a jar of lemon curd to the vanilla ice cream and make it lemonier.
So: melt ice cream, blend in jar of lemon curd. Line 2 round cake pans with saran wrap (for easy removal later) and pour in melted ice cream/lemon curd mixture. Refreeze; freeze cake layers too. When all is frozen, assemble as so:
Full cake layer + spread blueberry jam + ice cream layer + half cake layer + spread blueberry jam + ice cream layer + half cake layer. Then refreeze it again.
For frosting, whip whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla to taste, until thickened. Frost the whole dang thing, sprinkle blueberries on top, and refreeze again. Voila.
See? Easy. You could adapt this to any ice cream or cake or fruit flavors, and add in all sorts of other layers in between: caramel, crushed candy bars, whatever. Great for a summer party. Enjoy!