Monday, July 30, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Reading Nooks

LYSANDER:  Reason becomes the marshal to my will
And leads me to your eyes, where I o'erlook
Love's stories written in love's richest book.

Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II Scene 2

With a blog name like "Be Book Bound," it should come as no surprise that Miriam and I like to read.  I started reading on my mother's lap with a "Dick and Jane" book---not classic literature by any means, but I remember liking Jane's hair, and that was good enough for me.  Miriam probably started reading in the womb, because she's smart like that.

It has been decades since those first books, and I still haven't been able to get my hair to look as good as Jane's.  But I keep reading, in spite of it all.  I have 11 books on my nightstand right now that are all partially finished.  The problem is, when I climb in bed and choose a book from the stack, I feel like I'm choosing between children.  

It can't be done.  

(That is, unless you have a child like mine, today, who bit another toddler at church only minutes after taking off his shoes and darting out of our church pew toward freedom.  
Then it's not so hard to choose.)  

So, as any good mother would, I divide my time equally amongst my darlings.  (Although, I must say, I'm loving a certain book right now over the others, but I don't dare let on . . . :)

The only thing that could make me love books any more would be to have a nook of my own to read them in.  In the spirit of midsummer dreaming, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite and most magical "book nook" finds . . .

 Any good reading nook needs lovely light to read by, whether spilling from sunny windows or sparkling chandeliers, or both . . .

{via Downsize My Space}

{via Southern Living}
{via Apartment Therapy}

I love nooks that use conventional space in unconventional ways, like the hollow beneath the stairs . . .

{via Knotting Hill Interiors}
 a bedroom closet . . .

{via Pretty Handy Girl}
 a great room alcove . . .

{via Be Nonsensical}
 or the hall cupboard.

{via Thrifty Decor Chick}
Soft fabrics and cozy pillows are a must . . .

{via A Little Chippy}

{via House Beautiful}

{via Home-Designing}
Regardless of the space you use, it should inspire the imagination and the spirit . . .

{via Desire to Inspire}

{via Pinterest}

{via Aris Whittier}

Which nook did you like best?  

Better yet, what are YOU currently reading?  We'd love to hear what's in your book stack!

Many magical reads in magical nooks to you all . . .

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Fairy Tutu Dress

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve:
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time. 

-William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5 Scene 1

I love these sweet little tutu dresses. I love how ethereal and fairy-like they are. Most of all, I love how they can make you forget that that you're on your 20th repeat of "Stay away from the water. Come back here. COME BACK. I am counting to three..." Now, if you are looking to make one of these, chances are that you have some experience with these little fairies I speak of, and you know exactly how this whole scenario goes, so...

...On to the Tutu dress!

These were SO easy to make! And I even took the difficult route by using the tulle that comes on a bolt instead of those cute little spools you can buy at the craft store. But this is how I did it:

Measure your munchkin from armpit to floor, and double that length. Cut 10 yards of bolt tulle into strips that are 8 inches wide by that measurement you just got. My little one's doubled measurement happened to thankfully be the with of the bolt fabric, so I just had to cut it into strips. No extra cutting necessary.
*If you are using the tulle that comes on a spool, your yardage is going to be anywhere from 100-400 yards depending on how full you want it and how tall your little lady is. 100 being about right for a toddler. Think along the lines of 100 yards per year of life*

For this Tutu Dress, I used 5 yards ivory and 5 yards of mint tulle.

Now take white elastic banding and measure around your munchkin's torso right at their armpits. Cut the band an inch or two smaller than that measurement, and sew one end to the other. You will have a big circle now.

(Reserve 2 strips of tulle) Take 2 strips of your tulle just layered together (I put one layer of each color together), and fold them in half, making an arch in the center. Put the center arch behind the elastic, and then pull the tails over the elastic, through the arch, and tighten. (Not too tight- get em all on there before you tighten really well, that way you can be sure they are evenly spaced)

Now if you'd like to cover the elastic that is still peeking out, take a ribbon, and tack it at one spot on the elastic. Then wrap it over the adjacent knot, and back up, over the adjacent knot, and back up, etc., etc. until you get all the way around, and tie a bow. (See here if that confuses you) Save the rest of your ribbon to cinch the empire waistline once the dress is on your little sprite.

Now put the dress on that little lady, cinch that waistline, and take your reserved pieces of tulle- put them on top of one another. Wrap them from the back of the right shoulder to the front of the right shoulder (Threading them under the elastic band- these are your arm straps) over the back of the neck to the front of the left shoulder, and to the back of the left shoulder. Then tie in the back and you have arm straps and a little halter. You could opt to sew these into place, but I am lazy and this works great. So there :)

Now jump for joy! You did it!

Linking Up
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Baby's Dream Nook

Sing in our sweet lullaby;
 Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby:
Never harm,
Nor spell nor charm,
Come our lovely lady nigh;
So, good night, with lullaby. 
- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 2 Scene2

I need to make a disclaimer here: My child will not be sleeping in this crib exactly as you see it in the pictures below. The berry vine would quickly become a snack,  and the chandelier, being that low, would become a swing. Also, the twinkle lights will probably never get turned on because I have a bizarre fear of fire, and she sleeps in the dark. But when the chandelier is raised and the vine is removed, or hung on the wall or some such thing, this is going to still be a perfect little place to dream.

We have this strange little nook that fits a crib perfectly, so I added some curtains,

hung a chandelier

and some twinkle lights, followed by a sheer layer of gauzy fabric...

I hung a sleeping angel to be near my own little angel

made a champagne colored damask bumper 
(It's totally not complete yet, BTW- just check out the back side of the crib!)

and a ruffled bed skirt.

And a midsummer night's dream needed some foliage, so I added the berry garland

and a touch of the forest on the tie-backs.

And there you have it: a new sweet place to dream.

May you have many lovely dreams on these midsummer nights.

Linking up:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Vintage Toiletry Bottle Labels

OBERON:  Fetch me that flower; the herb I shew'd thee once:
The juice of it on sleeping eye-lids laid
Will make or man or woman madly dote
Upon the next live creature that it sees. . . .
Having once this juice,
I'll watch Titania when she is asleep,
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes.
The next thing then she waking looks upon,
Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull,
On meddling monkey, or on busy ape,
She shall pursue it with the soul of love . . .

Sleep deprivation has all sorts of consequences.  There are the obvious ones, like fatigue, fuzzy thinking, and not remembering dentist appointments.  But then there are the more embarrassing ones, like smearing hair pomade on your face in the morning because your moisturizer jar looks EXACTLY like the pomade jar.

(Or at least it does if you squint your eyes when you have been up with a baby at least twice in the night.)

And if that isn't enough, sleep deprivation may just throw you a double whammy by not affording you the braincells to realize that the goo on your face is not moisturizer, but "Surf Hair Gum Paste," until your face starts to harden like a Renaissance statue and you frantically consider the possibility that mothers everywhere might have been right all those years when they said, "Don't make a face like that or your face might stay that way."

Not that this has ever happened to me, of course. 

So for those of you that struggle to find your footing in the wee hours of the morning, and who may need a little something to look forward to as the sun rises (besides an eyewash to remove searing hair product from your corneas), Miriam and I have created the following array of toiletries.

Every woman deserves a little magic in the morning.  All the better if that little bit of magic is perfectly vintage and feminine.

Here's how to do it.

First, collect an assortment of fun bottles IN VARIOUS SHAPES AND SIZES so you don't have a repeat of the incident mentioned above.  I found these for about a dollar each at a furniture/decor store.

Next, take a roll of contact paper and cut it to the size of an 8.5x11 piece of printer paper. 

Place your contact paper in a laser jet printer and print off your desired labels onto your paper.  

(all frames courtesy of The Graphics Fairy)

Cut your labels to size and then stick them on your bottles.

And all of a sudden, your morning ritual becomes a little more indulgent, a little more refined, and lots more enjoyable.  

Oh the difference a pretty label can make . . .

Boring bubble bath becomes "Bath Tincture" . . .

Moisturizer becomes "Creme de Visage" . . .

Everyday bath salts become a "Salted Water Potion" . . .

Lame Listerine becomes a "Mint Herbed Tonic for Breath" . . .

and the mandatory multivitamin becomes a "Vitamin Restorative".


Someday I hope to add a "nap potion" or a "slenderizing serum" to the array.  

Until then, I'll just be content that none of these magically feminine bottles could ever be confused with hair pomade.

Many magical mornings to you all!

Here are the image files, should you choose to make your own :)

Sharing at . . .


Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Magical Home Tour

SCENE I. A wood near Athens.

PUCK: How now, spirit! whither wander you?
FAIRY:  Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone:
Our queen and all our elves come here anon.

Sometimes first impressions are exactly right.  The first time I met Jane, she was standing under an enchanting canopy of vines and leaves with the trickling of water in the distance.  We were in her backyard and I felt as though I had slipped through the rabbit hole into a wooded land of pixies and sprites.  I knew nothing of Jane at the time, and yet her surroundings spoke volumes.  Encircled by flora and fauna, Jane reminded me of a modern-day Titania, Queen of the Fairies.

Jane is now one of my dear friends and I treasure her organic and magical sensibility.  I see it in her clothing, her music, and especially in her home.  She was kind enough to let me take pictures for our "Midsummer Night's Dream" series so you could delight with me in the wistful wonder of her enchanting house.

The magic begins on the front porch with this gorgeous door.  Jane had the trees hand-carved on both the inside and the outside of the door.  The ivy couldn't be a more perfect accompaniment to the scene.

The vines in the sidelight and the leave motifs of the light switches carry the theme of nature into the entry. Fairy-like angels greet you from the living room walls as you enter the home. 

A nest nestles in a sunny corner of the living room's transom window.

The showpiece of the main floor is the tree on the stairway wall.  
It looks like an illustration straight out of a fairytale.

Jane preserves the romance of childhood in this foyer niche with a christening gown.  Her grandfather wore it when he was blessed and all of her children have worn it since on their blessing days.  The dragonfly hooks couldn't be more perfect for this vintage vignette.

Jane recently added these relief panels of birds and branches to her kitchen cupboards.  Every time I stand in her kitchen, I feel as though I am standing in the middle of an enchanted forest. 

Even the kitchen chandelier has a woodsy feel to it with the addition of these glass leaves.

I love the surprise of the tree branch curtain rod over the kitchen door . . .

and the purple thistle as a kitchen table centerpiece.

Tree branches embellish the family room mantel.  The stunning wooden crests over the fireplace hail from her childhood home.

Jane has turned her guest bathroom into a woodland paradise with the organic wall art and fixtures.

After seeing Jane's magical abode, it is no wonder that books like these call this wonderland "home."

Every time I leave Jane's home, I come away wishing I were more like her---not only svelte and smart like her (because that would be nice as well), but sensitive and sentimental like her, too. 

I'm just glad to know that somewhere nearby there is a home where fairies and I are both welcome to pay a visit.

Linking up:
Show and Tell Saturday
Sundae Scoop
Overflowing with Creativity
No Minimalist Here
A Delightsome Life
Common Ground
The Charm of Home
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...