November 15th, 2012

I Want Three Little Pigs, or, More Requests from the 4 Year Old

Yesterday afternoon, she got home from school and started immediately demanding a trip to the toy store to buy three little pigs. I suggested a wolf to go with it, and she added houses. R. stepped in at this point and said no, we'll build you houses. Off they went to buy three little pigs, a wolf, a penguin, and an unidentifiable "Monstaz" toy.

A. was sound asleep in the car when they got home. When she woke up, it was time for houses for the three little pigs. R. got out construction paper, and I suggested using the magna-tiles instead; they'd fall down beautifully. Antics ensued.

A. really, really, really likes to have very small toys to carry around in her hand. The pets from Ty Lil Ones are some of her favorites, especially the penguin. We've had to buy additional copies of the dolls -- which she is largely uninterested in -- in order to get replacement penguins when one goes missing. The stuffed penguin R. bought at Learning Express was a Ty Beanie. He bought it because it looked like the little penguin, not even realizing the similarity was because it's the same brand. That is impressively stable design communication.

This morning, she was sitting backwards on her chair, saying she was a cowboy -- not sure who told her sitting backwards on a chair is sitting like a cowboy but probably someone at the preschool. I asked her if she wanted a cowboy hat, and obviously, she went for it. I bought her one a couple years ago because I am not a person who can walk past a lavender wool cowboy hat for a little girl and _not_ buy it (as long as I have a little girl to put it on). The hat is too warm for its official season (spring), so it was nice to get a little more use out of it in cold weather. I was afraid it would be too small (it is marked 2T-3T), but it fit just fine, at least tipped back, the most attractive way to frame a little girl's face, IMO.

This whole talking in full sentences thing is awesome.

Surfaces Vs. Me

I'm not sure which is winning, me or the surfaces. What I _can_ say is that this family abhors a clean surface. This family is not unique in this respect; that's why interior designers and Art Objects were invented. A surface pre-occupied by a decorative item is more resistant to Stuff (not to mention Crap) than a completely unoccupied surface.

Since I generally disapprove of Decorative Items and avoid their acquisition wherever possible and purge them as soon as I can do so and not appear completely uncivilized, I get into trouble whenever I clear a surface. On the other hand, I have young offspring and therefore displayable photos; all they need is frames. Even better, frames have a tendency to walk into our space whenever my guard is down. Alas, most of these frames have a mandatory orientation enforced by a decorative bit or text or whatever. However, I got sick of the piles of don't-know-what-to-do-with-them photos and stuck them all in an otherwise empty file drawer, so I had a selection. While the 2x3 vertical and a 4x6 horizontal continue to stymie my efforts to convert unframed photos and empty frames into a sort of decorative object equivalent of benign biofilm, I did get three frames set up with pictures.

I'm still trying to identify plausible art objects to remove from the place where they breed on top of the storage unit in the living room and put on top of the recently cleared bookcases on the third floor.

Why have I attacked otherwise innocent bookshelf tops? Because things on top of bookcases become invisible to R. -- really fast. When I started listing all the things on top of the cases on one side of the room, he was really surprised by what was on the list. And when I mentioned what was on top of the stuff on the other side of the room, all he could remember was the sit-up bar.

Just for reference purposes, that's where I found _two_ of the empty picture frames.

Right now, I've got a walk coming up and then my kids start returning home. And at some point, I should finish reading _Your Inner Fish_ (which is good), for next week's book group meeting.

a bit more about (re)design

Recently, I posted some link-fu about the overlap between de/un cluttering and interior design. I have since done a little more focused googling and realized that this overlap has more than one certification system associated with it (there's a RESA thing and an IRIS thing and blah blah bleeping blah, including some indies who slag the aforementioned). But all of it is intended to sell you about 5 days of training, some kind of certification, so you can get started in a business with the twin focus of (a) going through people's crap and making it look better using the stuff they already own (mostly) and/or (b) staging houses for sale. The two can be the same if the home is a non-empty resale. If you're trying to market yourself to stage empty new housing and/or resales, you have to be prepared to provide furniture and decorative objects.

Needless to say, the economic downturn/housing collapse and foreclosure clearing process has made this industry quite competitive vs. what it was a few years ago.

ETA: I did a search for "interior redesign" services in my area. *shudder* The before and after photos are really pretty appalling. There are completely denuded "befores" that are replaced by something that manages to combine the worst of generic and unappealing. There are semi-hoarded rooms that are stripped down to something that's not too bad, but looks ... plucked. And then there are just weird rooms where I can't figure out what I think of the before or the after -- they are clearly different, but it's far from obvious which is preferable.

Most irritating, however, is the dishonesty of the before-and-after photos: lighting, angle, amount of room shown, etc. is wildly variable, and in all the ways used to make a personal makeover look successful independent of whether anything actually changed. I can't help but feel like an honest designer could do the shot, redo the room, and then do the _same damn shot_, and then you wouldn't have to recalculate what you are looking at to account for all the angle changes. I'm okay with some lighting changes, since a room redo can drastically affect lighting.

ETA: Best summary of "interior redesign" I've seen so far:

From: http://www.interiorredesigndirectory.com/blog/

"What is Interior Redesign?
Interior Redesign, which has been frequently featured on HGTV and in many decorating magazines, is the art of transforming your home utilizing the wonderful and not so wonderful things you have accumulated over the years, with the assistance of a talented person who has a passion for making homes look beautiful. The goal is to create a space that is balanced and harmonious while reflecting the personalities of the family that lives in the home. There are many names for those that offer this service...interior redesigners, interior arrangers, interior stylists, one day decorators, visual coordinators, interior refiners...are just a few of the terms you may encounter while searching for a professional."