Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch on Amazon

My favorite Valentine's Day read is "Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch" by Eileen Spinelli. The story was written in such a way that it is both simple and full of depth. The illustrations complement the story so well that I cannot imagine the story without them.


Mr. Hatch is a sad man. His story begins with a description of him,
"Mr. Hatch was tall and thin and he did not smile."
The story continues by describing his daily schedule, which never varies and is dull and grey. The illustrations that accompany this first part of the story are done in washed-out and grey tones which reflects the lack of color and light in his life.  (The character very much reminds me of Harold Crick in Stranger than Fiction, a delightful movie).

One day, Mr. Hatch receives an unexpected package from the postman. He opens the box to find a heart-shaped box of candy and a simple note attached: Somebody Loves You.

This small thing, a simple unexpected gift, makes Mr. Hatch smile. From here, color seeps into the pages of the book and Mr. Hatch's life.

I won't give away the ending of the book. But suffice to say, it will give you that 'warm fuzzy feeling' that Valentine's day is all about.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Little Project Gone Out of Hand...

As the cardboard house and Christmas present have shown, I tend to take a simple idea and go a little overboard with it. (Okay, let's be honest, way overboard).

This month's out-of-hand project was a complete redesign of the playroom.

As soon as she began walking, our daughter started taking over the living room. To contain the chaos in a room with a closable door, husband and I converted our office into a playroom. Which basically meant just taking our stuff out and putting her stuff in. Until recently the room donned blue-green walls and plain white curtains that the previous owners left to us. I have been itching to redo it for some time.

So... I thought the first step would be to upgrade the storage in the room; a small Rubbermaid tub as a toy-box and bookshelves is fine for a toddler with teething toys and blocks, but not-so-much for a little girl with art supplies, puzzles and dress up clothes.

When I realized that replacing storage in the room meant unscrewing the child safety straps holding bookshelves to the wall, I thought it was a great opportunity to spruce up the paint in the room. (You see where this is going- it is my own little "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" moment...)

Being the designer I am, I didn't feel just an accent wall would be fun enough for a play room. I mean, this was my opportunity to go crazy with a room! So I started playing with options in Photoshop. I drew my color palette from the Target Itso Polka Dot bins (love, love, love them), and my first renderings played with the idea of oversized dots on the wall.

Too plain.

Then I looked at some options of vinyl wall decals. When I saw this Ohdeeoh room tour with the city skyline, it reminded me how much I adore the illustrations of Laura Ljungvist.

I had my inspiration. 

Paint Swatches and Laura Ljungvist books.

I sketched up elevations of the walls and begin painting.

This is just a sneak-peek photo. I am still working on the long wall cityscape, and some finishing touches in other areas. To be continued!