Friday, December 30, 2011

{four.for.friday} melancholy & neutrals

Last Friday of the year, and what a year it has been. 2011 has greeted me with new challenges, new perspective and lots of giggles and tears along the way.

I tried my hand at being more creative and even tried to piece together a job outside of the home. The jury is still out whether or not I succeeded or failed, but I can say I tried.

So I am taking time this weekend to reflect back while looking forward at the future.
And who knows what it will bring?!? (I am assuming more of the same: great family & friends, great food, creative outlets and three of the damn cutest kids around making me so proud and so frustrated daily) 

happy weekending and thanks for sticking around through this little prop styling/stay at home mom project!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

from our home to yours...

 ...merriest of days. I hope everyone is happy and healthy. (and that no kids are crying)

Friday, December 23, 2011

{four.for.friday} ott holiday joy

Having so much fun with outings and activities with the kids. Every season, I start to feel like I have had enough, and them suddenly it hits me (the Christmas spirit, I guess?) And joy and happiness prevail, and it becomes another year for the books.

We have hung our stockings with care. Even our newest family member, Banner, gets a stocking.
I made, rolled out and baked six dozen sugar cookies and had little friends over to decorate.
We headed south and enjoyed the San Diego Bay parade of lights for the first time, and it was great.
And we made graham cracker candy houses.  Do you see the gumball snowman?

I am so excited for whats next, days of family gatherings... tamales, mexi-style chicken soup, butterscotch pudding and turkey dinner. And all the merriment that comes with it.

Merry Everything to you all.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the annual sandy santa: let's build a sand-man.

Oh how I love Cardiff.  A few years back, some parents got together and decided that we needed an annual sand snowman building contest. And a beloved tradition was born.

(Our entry: we called her the pineapple princess)
It just doesn't feel like Christmas until we spend a chilling afternoon at the beach sipping mulled wine and eating holiday cookies with other Cardiff families. This was our third year competing. (And we didn't win, again) But we did have a great time. 

It was so much fun to hang out with some of my favorite families. And all their creative holiday themed sand sculptures.

And after the judges viewed all the entries (there were so many this year!), prizes were given. And guess what, my sister & mom's 'Snow School' won second place! So proud.

It really is such a wonderful life. And one day, I hope our name is on that (damn) trophy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

{four.for.friday} hope your holiday is sparkly.

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time. Today was a Santa visit to Malley's preschool, the annual international fourth grade food festival & Finn had pajama day. I am tired, but heart happy.

Happy weekending. xoxox

Thursday, December 15, 2011

our christmas card 2011

There is nothing I like more than holiday cards. Making them & receiving them. Tim and I began making our own cards in 1998, which was the year we sent our first together card. And I have been crafting them out ever since.

There are many times each season when I try to talk myself in to simply ordering a nicely done photo card, but for some reason I just can't. Christmas cards are sort of my thing, I guess.

And becasue I know all our cards are in the hands of our dear friends and family, I'd like to share our card.

Wishing you all a very merry holiday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

host a cookie party.

{clockwise: Lauren, Oceana, Laura,  'put a bird on it', Abuelita's oatmeal cookies, and very yummy almond joy to the world}

This weekend, I attended our annual Holiday Cookie Exchange. It's a little tradition I started 10 years ago when I first moved back to my hometown. (We didn't move to Cardiff until 2004)  I had few friends still in town then, and wanted to bring everyone together. I love that the tradition continues...but the guest list has really grown and we rotate hosting duties.

This year, my friend Mikayla opened up her cool cottage to the gaggle of ladies. And when I say exchange, I should state it's more bake off than anything else. It's all about the taste and texture, creating a display and crafting up an original name. There are even prizes!

{clockwise: the cookie spread, my mom's holiday broach, the winners- yup, I won best name -, Christmas decor}

Nothing says Christmas more than a great sugar high/coffee buzz first thing it the morning. I hope everyone else had a jolly weekend.

Friday, December 9, 2011

{four.for.friday: mad for plaid}

Well, the holidays are rolling along. I am so pleased that our Christmas cards are in the mail, hopefully arriving in our dear friends and families hands today.

This weekend will be filled with shopping, holiday celebrating and hopefully caroling. (I kid, but a girl can dream, right?!?)

I have had some serious plaid on the the brain lately. I guess its just this season or all this freezing weather?!? Either way, I present my plaid picks.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

(wreath on the door, crocheted mistletoe, photos with Santa, burrito delivery)
Don't you think the kids and Tim picked the most perfect Christmas tree? 

(yo-yo garland on our mantle, our little snowy village, paper snow, little train)
The house it looking great, I am just about done make it look festive. I am busy running around town like a crazy person, trying to get things done. And loving every minute of it, or at least trying to.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

whew! December is busy.

Whoa! Life got super busy the second I turned the page on the calender. But you know, I love December and the holly jolly goodness it brings.

I have been really neglecting my blog and even missed {four.for.friday} on Friday. I meant to get to it, but I was way to busy preparing for the artist market, shopping, decorating and visiting friends. The weekend was a windwhirl, too. We went to the first holiday party of the season (thanks Nixon!) and had a great time. We even squeezed in the annual Cardiff Kringle Mingle, always so much fun to visit with our friends and neighbors.

The highlight of the weekend was participating (& shopping) at Karin Grow's Artist Market and the yummy cookies I baked to share at the show.

A huge THANK YOU to the lovely Karin, for hosting such a great show. And thank you to all you happy shoppers and friends. It was wonderful to chat with you all!

And here is the recipe for Chai Shortbread, from Sunset Magazine November 2011 issue. They were fantastic!

Chai Spiced Shortbread:  

1 cup butter, softened 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 cups flour 
1 tablespoon cinnamon 
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds (I ground these & the cardamom is my cleaned coffee grinder) 
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
Leaves from 1 English Breakfast tea bag 
1 cup white chocolate chips

1 Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth. In another bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, fennel, cardamom, and tea. Add to butter mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set 1-tbsp. balls of dough 1 in. apart on sheets and flatten slightly with a floured glass.

3. Bake until cookies are light golden on undersides, 15 to 18 minutes.


Monday, November 28, 2011

holiday happenings.

This no doubt is my favorite time of the year.
Do I get a little stressed? YES. Do I feel overwhelmed? YES. But love it anyway? heck YES!

But before we get a tree, decorate cookies or sing carols....we shop!

I am super excited to be participating in the Karin Grow Craft Spectacular*!! I will peddling some vintage goods. And checking out all the amazing and talented vendors. 

I hope to see you there. It should be fun and yummy.
(*not the official name.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

{ Friday}

And a happy thanksgiving to you.

We spent the day yesterday as a family, visiting far away family. I'm spending this weekend remembering all that I am thankful for. Mostly my sweet little family and this blissful little beach town that feels like home.  I am so honored to be apart of both.

1. West Elm's horse bookend2. Epicene rectangle frame / 3. Madewell's leather tote / 4. Sorel Joan of Arc boots

 ....And now, let's officially let the reindeer games begin.

happy weekend and holiday kick off.

(ps. i am also thankful for this little creative outlet blog & my readers, which I realize are mostly my supportive friends)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

glitter saddle shoes: DIY

Our weekend was filled with some crafting, some soccer and a lot of family time. And making some glitter saddle shoes for Devlin!

Devlin and I had been eye-ing the crewcut glitter boots for weeks. But I can't help choking on the pricetag. After some inspiration from Fawn of Clean Up on Aisle Four, I decided to give it a try.

1. Gather supplies: shoes, glitter and glue (you will also need a little paint brush, painters tape, a paper cup and fine grit sandpaper for this project)
Any shoes will do. I bought these cheap-o saddle shoes at Payless Shoes. For the glitter, I choose this ultra fine Martha version. And based on the hours of Internet research I did, using Mod Podge glossy is a must.

2. Lightly sand the surface you wish to glitter.

3. Tape off the areas you wish to glitter. This step is tedious and takes forever, so take your time. I was nervous about the painters tape sticking to the cheap pleather, so I used some Japanese masking tape. (and boy were those eye holes a pain)

4. Mix some Mod Podge and glitter in a paper cup. (Don't make the same mistake I did, and make the mixture too thick. It paints on clumpy.) Paint on your mixture. Let dry. Repeat this process until you have full coverage. Once I had the correct consistency, it took three coats. To finish, paint on a Mod Podge only coat. Let dry.

5. Admire your work. And earn some serious cool points with the 9 year old.

Friday, November 18, 2011

{four.for.Friday} end of autumn.

I am doing my best to stay in the moment with fall. One week left. Its always been a hard fast rule in the Ott house to celebrate one holiday at a time. And so I am trying!

We have been busy collecting colored leaves, baking apple crisp, eating pumpkin pancakes and arranging the decorative gourds.

So one last fall-ish themed roundup. Or this could be used as my Christmas list if all you early shoppers are in a pinch.

1. bottletop candleholders / 2. Stone & Honey necklace / 3. stripes loop scarf /
4. Minnetonka pull-on fringe booties

Wishing a very wonderful thanksgiving to one and all. and a happy weekend!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

{four.for.friday: feeling quite thankful}

Today is Veteran's Day. And the kids have no school. I am planning a little fun for us, or trying to at least.

In the meantime, I leave you with my picks for Friday. All a bit thanksgiving-y: a little bit Pilgrim, a little bit Native American. A whole lot of wonderful.

1. Super great looking Paul Loebach dining chair, a colaboration with West Elm.
2. Peace slippers from Sundance Catalog.
3. I like the design on this Bliss Living Home Patagonia pouch.
4. Clever and tasteful tee pee Grand Lodge cream & sugar from Pendleton.

I have been trying to focus on all the amazing things in my life, including this little blog, and feeling so thankful.

happy weekending: rainy weather and all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

getting back on the horse.

This past week has been quite busy for me and prop styling. I have been booking jobs right and left. What can I say, its nice to feel liked and appreciated.

And then, one of my favorite clients canceled. Which is not a big deal, this happens. Sometimes things change and sometimes budgets can't accommodate a props person.
But it's hard not to feel... deflated.

This past weekend, Devlin went away to Rawhide Horse Camp. Which was super amazing and ended with a horse show. Devlin did great, but didn't win the grand champion trophy. She cried a little. It broke my heart.

And I found myself telling her all the words I need to tell myself...

You did your best, and that is what matters most. Only one person can win, which means lots of others have to walk away empty handed. And really, you can't win them all.


Friday, November 4, 2011

{four.for.Friday: baby, it's cold outside}

The past few days the weather has really taken a turn for the chillyside. (and I love it!)
And add the fact, that it is currently accepted to pull out all the Christmas decor, Christmas lights and all those holiday television commercials the day after Halloween.
So, I guess I am seeking coziness. And if you can't beat them, join them, right?

clockwise from top left:
A Staub LA Cocotte cokking vessel from Anthropologie. mmm...soup.
Cute and warm mitten from Kate Spade. Clever and practical.
Loving this plaid duffle cape from Fidelity Sportswear for Steven Alan.
I am ready to snuggle up to the fire and listen to tunes on this super cool Singgih Kartono Magno Wooden Radio. 

WIshing you all some snuggles this weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Halloween on a Monday ends up being a little rough. But it all worked out in the end. Another memorable night in South Oceanside...

(an angel & a devil are best friends, almost all the kids, our otter pop costumes, and Laura serves Pimm's)

(Teagan leads a group cheer, half of our carved pumpkins, firefighter Kieran, two super gals rescues an owl)

And a very special thank you to Lauren and Jeremiah who hosted another great party. On her birthday, no less - Happy birthday Lauren!! It was a very memorable night which included laughing until my stomach hurt.  I hope everyone had a super Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Four Finds for under $40.

Whew hew! It's Friday again. This week's we are featuring four finds under $40. Because it's just about gift giving season... So, let's just say I would love to give or receive any of these things.

1. Seawinds & Willows Tote from the New Domestic $36
2. Ecote Macrame Skimmer from Urban Outfitters $39
3. Etsy's Slippin' Southern hand cut bright wood arrows $31
4. Royal Apothic Extract roll on perfume. Smell good. $18

Well, that was fun! I wish all a very fun and fabulous Spooky weekend and Halloween.

happy weekending! be well and safe.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloweening 2011: Devlin

Last one..

Devlin as a Devil. 

The details:
This red sequin dress is a hand me down. Devlin really wanted to wear it for Halloween, so I suggested she could be a ladybug or devil. She chose the latter. The pitchfork, horns and tail were purchased on clearance at Party City.
For the cape, I found the red flame fabric at Joann's and stitched it to some ribbon.
Total: $11.00

Devlin and I both agree her costume is missing . . . something, so hopefully we will add some more flare before the carnival on Saturday.

Of course, Tim and I are dressing up too. . . but we will save our costume reveal until Halloween!  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloweening 2011: Finn

So continuing on the costume train...

Finn as a Mummy!

Who doesn't love a classic monster? Last year, I had suggested that Finn dress as a mummy, but he wasn't having it. So, we were super surprised and excited, when he said he wanted to be a spooky mummy this year.

I bought a few yards of the cheapest white fabric I could find at the fabric store. For the top, I bought a white tshirt at Michaels for $2.50. And then dyed it all with some tea.
I caught a lucky break (via facebook) when a fellow Cardiff mom gifted me her son's old mummy costume. (thanks MMB, you're a life saver!) The hand me down costume's look was a little different than our vision, but I used the pants and head piece after removing some of the tulle bandages on it.

The end result is almost what I had in mind. (but seriously, the whole process took a lot longer than I could of imagined.)

This costume is 75% hot glue, 15% sewing and 10% good luck. I am so thankful it turned out.
I picked up a face-painting kit on clearance and bamm! a mummy is born resurrected.

Grand total: $7.50

....Devlin is up next, tune in tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloweening 2011: Malley

This week, I would like to unveil the Ott family Halloween costumes!

I really love Halloween, it's definitely one of my favorites. (hello candy!) But for some reason, that I can not actually explain, I insist on creating our costumes myself, rather than the simpler prepackaged Party City route. (not that there is anything wrong with that!) I guess I like the challenge of reinventing what we have around the house and I try to keep each costume under $10. In the past we have done family themes, but this year, we let the kids choose whatever they wanted.

Malley as Wonder Woman!

I was quite excited when she choose this costume, for two reasons: 1. it's totally rad and 2. my super star sister had made my niece, Lillian, a Wonder Woman costume last year!

We found the red shirt at Target for $5.00. For the Wonder Woman type logo on the front, I bought a piece of gold fabric and some Wonder-Under and voila! 
The cape, headband, belt, lasso and skirt were from Lillian's costume. The skirt was a little long and big, so I added elastic to the bottom to make it more of a bubble. I love the volume the elastic created.
The gold wrist protectors were made from some gold fabric and Velcro I had.
The purple boots she had from her normal wardrobe, and I added some white duct tape down the front.
Total: $8.00!

Stay tuned for more tomorrow....

Monday, October 24, 2011

I heart Borrego.

I come from a family that really seems to like each other. Which is nice. Because my family is fun and nice and generally rocks.

Saturday we drove out to the family desert house. To watch a parade and hang out with each other. The weather was nice, but pretty warm.

Borrego Days annual parade. Which is so great, and super down-home-ish. The parade kicks off with an airplane flyover. How awesome is that?

Back at the house; the kids swam, rode bikes and went on a spooky scavenger hunt that my mom planned. The grown ups got busy catching up and enjoying cocktails. And we had a couple of surprise desert house visitors. Borrego is like that. Or my parents are. Either way, I like it.

Our best attempt at a self timer family picture. (of course, Malley was not having it, Banner was distracted, Jeff's faced is blocked and Grandma and Grandpa were too busy sleeping.)

Another successful trip to the desert.

Friday, October 21, 2011

{four for Friday}: put an owl on it.

Is it just me or are owls really having their time?  I feel like everywhere I look, there's an owl on it. Good thing, too, because I think they're pretty awesome.

And owls make for a great Halloween costume. This diy one, from Alpha-mom, is my favorite. Even Finn dressed up as an owl when he turned one. (One of my favorite costumes I have ever made.)

 Happy Owl-o-ween!!  And happy weekending!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

getting into the Halloween spirit?

We were 'boo'ed last night.  Big ol' bucket of Halloween goodness.

Are you all familiar with this suburban tradition? It's sort of like door bell ditching a curse. A neighbor leaves some treats and Halloween goodness anonymously on another neighbor's door, and in return, they must copy the poem and 'boo!' sign, run to Target, buy a bunch of Halloween crap stuff and leave it at two other neighbors doors. Once you have been boo'ed, you are to leave the ghost in your front window so you don't get boo'ed again.

All this boo'ing and costume making (I have been busy doing that too) had me thinking, the season is really upon us.

Halloween is here, folks.

          (cake round up from top left: Country Living, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Better Homes & Garden)

The kid's school carnival is next weekend, and the cake walk is a Cardiff tradition. Guess it's time to get my bake on, I love all these tricked out cakes and cupcakes. So spooktacular.

Friday, October 14, 2011

{four for Friday} safari.ish

Really, Friday already?!? These weeks are really flying by.  I actually dreamt of decorating Christmas trees last night.
1. Life Little Gem's vintage mounted deer antlers.
2. Westward for Kate Spade's adventurer satchel.
3. Dwell Studio's giraffe papier-mache head.
4. Anthropologie's eiko cabinet.

We have very little in the weekend line up, fingers crossed that we can actually get some house projects done.
happy weekending!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

sh#t from my parents garage

A while back, my collector type parents began to realize that they had accumulated too much. My dad kindly asked if I could help him with a garage sale to unload a fraction of his fine Hawaiiana collectibles. I agreed. Seriously, my dear parents had been shopping on ebay, thrift stores and estate sales for as long as I can remember, but had never thought to release any of it back into the wild.

The sale went really well (and was great fun!) but there was a bit still left. Plus, dear mom and dad were so inspired, they started to dig deeper into their garage and found ten more boxes of things...and all of this stuff is looking for new homes.

So, I present to you....

Amazing treasures. Vintage items. We will be adding more items daily. Or hope to anyway.

{click here to shop}

Plus, We added a mini shop to our left side bar.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

weekend away at the ace, palm springs.

{from top left: ace sign, lobby photo booth, banana Irish porridge, Andy & Owen in King's Highway}

After hearing about The Ace, Palm Springs for years, we finally headed east for a weekend of pool frolic and desert views. Yes, I realize we are a little late on the band wagon, but wanted to add my review and thoughts on the experience.

A dear friend of ours was celebrating his big 40, so off we went, sans children, for three days of desertness with four other families.

{from top left: room 419, cool fireplace, view from our bed, happy ep}

Here are my thoughts on the experience:

Totally loved all the white and wood interior design throughout the resort. And all the shades of neutral; the decor was unified, chic and urban outfitters-y, but in a good way.

Fist pumping music, pool side. 16 hours a day. This was mostly a positive, until your head starts to spin, then we would exit to our rooms to enjoy a little quiet moment, then back to the poolside party.

Oh my goodness, great people watching. Really supreme. But then again you are hanging with these people all day...

Every room comes with strangely attractive cult like robes....and walking sticks.

The converted Denny's turned King's Highway had acceptable food and service. Not the best food ever, but far from the worst. The Ace makes it very easy to stay on the compound. I mean, why leave?!

I had some great cocktails. Both from the Amigo Bar, with muddled cucumber?!?, and made with the booze we smuggled in. I have a new fondness for Pimm's with ginger beer, and anything with St. Germain's.

 {from top left: Polaroid fun, me + Tim, mostly all of us in the mirror at King's Highway, room key & my purse}

Definitely a weekend to remember. 

I am little sad that the whole group didn't take a group picture, that Tim and I didn't find any treasure at the Palm Springs thrift stores and that I didn't steal anything from our room. 

But all and all, desert goodness.

(happy birthday Eric and a big thank you to you & Christa for including us.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

42nd & Orange: fall 2011

Greetings. I am currently blogging from the ace, palm springs. Just a little weekend away to celebrate our friend turning 40! But more on that later.

In the mean time, here are some selects from a recent shoot I prop styled for.  Bethany & Tere are the driving force behind this amazing clothing line for little girls and woman, too. m•o•m is definitely an Ott Creative favorite, for both their strong sense of community and the cute clothes that my girls adore.

The shoot was at m•o•m headquarters right here in Cardiff. (so convenient!) I also was granted access to their prop house, 42nd prop house. I also added in a few items here and there. It was such a fun morning.

And how cute are these models. Recognize anyone? Yup, that's Devlin and one of her besties, Maya.
More pictures are on the m•o•m website and their blog, too.

If you haven't checked them out, I highly recommend you do! 

Friday, October 7, 2011

{four for Friday}: polyhedrons and the outdoor oven

one/ two/ three/ four

I have been obsessed with wood fired pizza since Sara and Jakes wedding or was it the date night at Blue Ribbon Pizza. Anyhoo...loving the Weltree portable oven, nice patina, simple design, outdoor fireplace...awesome. This would fit right in at the in-law's ranch in the desert where rusted metal is the choice color.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

making friends with art.

Yesterday, Tim brought home a piece of art that I love. It is 'on loan' from some amazing friends who have a great collection. I love the new addition to our walls, its only been here 11 hours and has already improved my mood. Because it makes me happy.

I have always wanted to have cool happy art in my house, but I having a hard trusting my gut. Or affording what I love. But listen here my friends: Affordable art is everywhere.

Here is a little round up of my current favorite sources and pieces.

The 20X200 Project. Affordable art prints for as little $20. New prints are added weekly. Limited print runs. This one caught my eye.
Michelle Muldrow

 • Etsy. The best thing to happen to the internets since ebay, in my humble opinion. I could spend a whole day poking about on this site. Also, a great place to find affordable art at great prices. Look what I found today.

Ship in a Bottle from Little Paper Ship

Little Paper Planes. Kelly Lynn Jones of Oakland created Little Paper Planes back n 2004 as a platform for her friends and community to sell art. The result totally fantastic afforable art!

White Mountain Print by: Brandi Strickland

Moral of the story: Art makes life better.  And beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Monday, October 3, 2011

S & J's garden wedding

MPW Photography was kind enough to share some photos of Sara and Jake's big night. It was such a lovely evening, enjoy. 

Sara's blue shoes and Jake's brand new jeans were two of my favorite things at the wedding.

This typewriter welcomed guests and shared instructions for the guest book. Everyone was asked to write a note to the happy couple on one of the collection of vintage postcards.

Which were then clipped to this screen turned guest book.  

The event was full of burlap and succulents. Including these succulent boxes that the groom made himself.

This was the first wedding I helped style. I truly had the best time working with the lovely bride and groom. Can't wait until the next one.