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Etsy Shop: Misfit Menagerie

Last weekend at the Queen Bee Market, there were so many great vendors. I mean, really so many. But for some reason, there was one that brought out in me an unabashedly stalkerish attitude. Seriously, I think I lurked or “wandered over” there to “look around” like 20 times. Granted I am a slow, methodical shopper, always trying to get the most I can for the amount of cash burning a hole in my pocket. But last Saturday, I took this deliberate shopping approach to a new level.


The booth was Misfit Menagerie, and it hosted a wall of plush deer heads, otherwise known as faux taxidermy. Now, I realize this isn’t for everyone. In fact, as I was oogling, I heard two women declare how odd it all was. They professed that they just didn’t get it. Yet in contrast, I did – hook, line and sinker! I was dreaming up ways to get a large ram head in perfect colors and fabrics for Lyla’s room. Instead I walked away with a small mounted fish that is adorable (see it in Lyla’s room below). But maybe someday soon, I will add to that collection. Just as long as that doesn’t make me “the lady with a faux taxidermy” obsession.

Whatever the case, go check out some of their stuff. Trust me, the pictures don’t even do it justice.

Oh and if you are wondering, Lyla’s infatuation knows no bounds for the fishy we’ve named Pinky. Apples don’t fall far from the tree, I guess.

August 11th, 2011

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Emotional Shopping

I’m grumpy, tired, a little sad, and seriously regretting eating Chili’s last night. I want to buy myself a present. The contenders:

Monogrammed Note Cards from Kate Spade. I wish I sent more letters to loved ones, maybe these would encourage me?

Paint and Peel Duos from Sula. These are genius! I love the idea of being able to change my polish easily and as frequently as I’d like.

Leatherbound Classic of Pride and Prejudice from Barnes and Noble. I would love to have free online pokies with free spins a collection of hardback copies of my favorite novel, new and old. My current stash stands at two editions. Time to add another!

Essex Dhurrie Ottoman from West Elm. I wish! Don’t worry, my emotional state will not drive me to spend $600 on myself. But this thing is gorg. I want to lie on it face down and kiss it. I wonder if you can buy this fabric from them? Because I would seriously use this tutorial and DIY it.


August 1st, 2011

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Know Your Birdies: Most Hated Chore

Welcome to our weekly feature “Know Your Birdies” where every Friday a question is posed and you get to know us through our answers. This week we’ve asked… and answered: What is your most hated chore? Oh, this should be good.

Well, this is easy, and definitely not original. But… I… hate… bathrooms. Cleaning any surface in the bathroom is the equilvalent of going to the dentist for a root canal for me. Seriously. And I don’t say this to discourage you from coming to my house after drinking a gallon of water, but scrubbing the tub or toilet inevitably continues to move down on my to-do list each and every day. Meaning a sparkly bathroom is a seldom occurance at Casa Olbinski. Of course, if my bathrooms looked like either of these, I might have to change my stance on cleaning them… or at least fork out the money to have someone do it for me.

Images via Pinterest

My most hated chore is laundry. It is just a perpetual thing that is never ever done. I do at least two loads a day and still can’t seem to keep on top of it. I guess I don’t mind doing the actual putting it in the washer and dryer bit, but folding it is really what kills me. When I am folding laundry I find myself resenting my family for wearing clothes. That is healthy right? No, I know I really shouldn’t complain because I have a machine that does 95% of the work for me, no hand washing and hanging clothes on the line. I wouldn’t have made it very far in bygone eras.



I’m kind of one of those weird people who likes cleaning in most instances. Don’t get me wrong, I do not enjoy scrubbing my daughter’s latest poo explosion off the floor/stroller/car seat/grandma/you name it- but many of the regular, mundane chores are not offensive to me in the slightest. However, the tasks I do not enjoy are things that make my hands feel gross. Sounds silly? Well rinsing the leftover refried beans off your plate makes me want to hurl. And if I have to scrub those plates in a sea of floaty food particles in the kitchen sink? Ew. (If you are a regular Jimmy Fallon viewer, you will know what kind of “ew” I mean. Ha!) This yuck fest also includes taking out the trash. I don’t care about the smell or the actual work involved, I just don’t want any nasty garbage bits to touch my hands. Maybe I should invest in some of those 1950′s housewife gloves?

How about you? What is your most dreaded chore?

July 29th, 2011

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Random In Its Most Logical Form

For some reason, my brain is mush today. Actually, I think it’s been mush all week. So consequently prepare yourself for a stellar post. Seriously, hunker down because instead of opting for something logical and coherent, I am going with several random thoughts that have been swarming around in my little noggin for days… all in the attempt to clear some space out of the vast chasm of craziness in order to make room for only thoughtful and intriguing ponderings going forward. I know, that’s a lot to expect, but I am nothing if not overzealous. So, here we go…


Last week Design Mom posted these Knitted Bean Bags from Zilalila, and ever since, I can’t stop thinking about them… even though they are only found in Amsterdam and cost more than my couch.




Have you seen this Milk Art that you can do with your kids with ingredients even I have in my kitchen? Which honestly is saying more than it should. Regardless, Lyla and I are doing this for sure. Thanks Evie S.




Do you like documentaries? I do. So, I want to watch the show Spurlock, the guy from Super Size Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. It airs on Current TV (channel 358 on Directv) on August 2nd.




Another crafty thing (found on Momtastic) that I really want to try with Lyla is spin art using that salad spinner that you never use. Come on, you don’t use it, do you? Next you’re going to tell me that you actually eat salad!






I’m also pretty much enamored with these sweet dolls from Goodbye Blue Monday on Etsy. Lyla’s favorite is Coco. And yes, that means I’ve taught her how to do some online shopping. And yes, I am a role model of a mom. My workshop registration will open next week.





As I type all of this up, I realize that there are many, many more things still rattling around up in the soft corners of my brain, so clarity and introspective decision making might still be slightly out of grasp for me. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow. One thing that might help is if you tell me some of the randomness brewing in your head. You’d do that for me, wouldn’t you? Prove it.

July 28th, 2011

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DIY Table Runner

Hi everyone! Claire’s party was this past Saturday, and it was a lovely time. Like the paper heart garland that I shared last week, I made many of the other decorations myself. And they were all relatively affordable projects that anyone could do! Believe me, I am not an expert crafter- I have never used a sewing machine and I cut with scissors like a first grader. Regardless, I love hand making things, especially when these things are to celebrate my favorite little girl in the world. Here’s an easy idea to dress up your table- a do-it-yourself table runner made with only 3 items!

First, I bought a 3 yards of burlap from the craft store (I used a 50% off coupon so it was less than $7!) Then, I cut the width of the burlap to 20 inches, which is a standard width of a table runner. I then grabbed a bunch of ribbons in different sizes and textures that Viagra coordinated with the party decor. I simply cut them a bit longer that the width of the burlap and arranged them into a random pattern that I liked.

Then, I cut some iron on hemming tape that I picked up at the craft store the same length as the ribbons. And then placed the ribbons on top of the hem strips.

Next, I heated up the iron to the wool setting, turned off the steam, and placed a washcloth on top of the ribbon as I pressed down and sealed it to the burlap. Super easy!

After I was done ironing all the ribbons to the burlap, I simply used scissors to trim the excess ribbon from the edges of the runner.

Here is what the completed table runner looks like! (Ignore all the leftover heart confetti, this was taken after the party. I forgot to take pictures with everything set up on the table, oops!)

Have a happy Wednesday!


July 27th, 2011

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Olive Manna

I’m kind of obsessed lately.

With what, you ask? Well, I’d be happy to tell you a) because I’m just that kind of girl and b) because I think there is a good chance that my obsession will spill over on to you and then I’ll be able to reason out my guilt at day-dreaming of their goods miraculously showing up in ideal spots around my house thus completing my decor and gift-packaging to a previously unrealized level of perfection.

So, once again, it really is just about me and my need for justification. But come along for the ride anyway, because honestly it is worth it.

Olive Manna is a collection of “well-designed handmade packaging, gifts and home decor”, as defined on their website. But still it is a family business with Dad and 3 girls lending Mom a helping hand on a regular basis. Check out all of what they have. I feel inspired just browsing their selection.

July 21st, 2011

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The Fourth

Can you believe it will be Independence Day in a week? Where is our summer going?! We usually have a BBQ with friends and family. I love watching firework displays but it’s unfortunately not as fun here in Phoenix since it is still over 100 degrees outside even when the sun goes down! And now that we have a toddler, fireworks start way past bedtime. We’ll just have to catch them on TV instead and have our own little show with some sparklers!

Here are a few patriotic ideas I’ve found to get you started on the celebration.

Make this festive wreath for your front door:

Bring this easy red, white, and blue dessert to a potluck:

Buy these cute wedges for a dose of Americana on your feet:

Get these star spangled bows for your little one:

and get inspired by this Fourth of July celebration from A Field Journal:

What are your plans for the holiday?

June 27th, 2011

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Etsy Seller: NestaHome

Today I think I may have found my long lost best friend… and she doesn’t even know it, or me, yet.

Tandie Nesta, of NestaHome on Etsy, is a Phoenician. Commonality #1. She grew up in the south. And as I spent many formative years in Memphis, I consider this to be Commonality #2. She majored in Sociology. Creepy now, because that’s Commonality #3. She has a little girl and obviously has a love of urban settings. Commonality #4 and #5; I mean I live downtown and have a Lyla in tow! You might as well consider us sisters from… another… mother. Hmmm, that saying doesn’t work as well as it does with the word brothers. Oh well, I’m sticking to it. But the most important detail, and really the point of this post, is to ooh and aah over her creations.

I’ve been trying to narrow it down to highlight one or two things you can purchase/snag from the confines of her genius mind, but I’m at a loss. It’s all so good. So, you get a smorgasbord. Yes, it’s the first time I’ve used that word in a post, so I automatically get 500 points. My gain and your gain… really. Enjoy!

Oh, and then buy something from her. You’ll be supporting a handmade and local (if you are blessed to also be a Phoenician sweltering in the 112 degree temperatures today) business. Yay to all of us!

June 23rd, 2011

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World Market Bath

Wasn’t Katrina’s bathroom makeover from yesterday gorgeous? I loved that faux bois tile, the pretty chandelier, and the inviting yet posh feel to the space. While Adrian and I aren’t in a position to undertake a total room re-do, what I can do is at least replace my ragged towel collection. Some of these towels I have had since college. Eww. I had never thought of that before. Time to demote those to car washing. Last week, I stopped by Cost Plus World Market to grab one of those Beers of The World packs for my dad and happened to find myself in their bath section. I hadn’t been inside a World Market in ages and was completely impressed with the style and quality of their bath linens. They had stylish chevron patterned whites like these:

and lovely patterned designs like these:

Trust me, the picture above does not do it justice. They were more of a vibrant, deeper green. I loved them. I’m not one to buy patterned towels for shower use but I will be getting one of these to hang on my hand towel ring.

They also had this charming botanical print:

There were many more selections from stripes to flowers to all the basic solids. I also spotted unique beach towels and lush looking bath mats. I thought the prices were fair, especially for the quality feel. I’ll be going back to pick up a few!

Who knew a beer run could bring me design inspiration?

June 22nd, 2011

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The After: Master Bathroom Remodel

I promised I would post the bathroom last week, had I not done that it would have been months before I posted this. So I am good to my word. If you need a refresher here are the before pictures.

I love a good reveal. I particularly love how theatrical the term has become in terms of home decorating; you know the lead up, the letters, the tears. The tears are my favorite. I have clearly watched far too much HGTV in my life. One thing I always wanted to know was how could you not peek in while someone was redoing a room in your house? I couldn’t. But then I would feel like a giant phoney for having to put on an act pretending I didn’t totally go look every chance I could.

The point of all this is it is time for a reveal! I am really excited to share with you the transformation of our master bathroom.  Our poor little bathroom has been painted and repainted so many times in a vain attempt to hide the wear and tear of several decades. Which was akin to throwing some Avon on a face that needs reconstructive surgery.  So we gutted it; we retiled the shower and floors, put in all new fixtures and of course repainted the walls

The floors are my favorite, I was skeptical about putting “wood-looking tile” down as opposed to hardwood floors but I am so happy with how they came out.  I know that Carrera marble is insanely popular right now and will likely look dated, but dang it I love it.  Oh and it is porcelain, not real marble, I cut corners like that.

We took out the old medicine cabinet and replaced the mirrors with two oval cabinets for more storage.

I was insistent on having a hand held and my husband was insistent on not putting a normal roman tub faucet that would allow for it, so we ended up with a compromise of sorts. Unfortunately with the plumbing valve that we have it is more like a pressure washer…oh well.

I did get my chandy over the tub. On a dimmer. It is love, people.

I love our sinks, I wanted a vessel look with out having actual vessel sinks. These sinks take up a lot of counter space, but thankfully I will be doing very little food prep in there, so I don’t think it will be an issue. I shamelessly copied Ms. Martha and put in three towel bars to save wall space and am happy with how that came out. Speaking of wall space I am now terrified to put any wall art up due to a fear of ruining the rest of the bathroom. Any suggestions?

That’s it. Nearly five years after we moved in, we have finished one room in our house. Looks for new projects as we continue at this break neck speed!

June 21st, 2011

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