Two and a Half Years!

Two and a Half Years!

Last Wednesday, Laelia turned turned two and a half! I have found it very fun to always do something a little special on her half birthday, to break up the monotony of  the everyday.  Nothing like a big gathering or a party, but something special just for her. October 17th also happens to be the actual birthdays of my cousin-in-law Becky and our friend Isabella. Last year, we went to the Long Beach Aquarium w/ Isabella for her 3rd birthday, and this year, we went again! This time we were joined by a very pregnant Beth and her son Orion. They had an excellent time running about and watching the fish. Later, we met Tyler at his work and then went at the Cheesecake Factory down the street for a sundae. I asked our waiter (who was really great) to put a candle in her sundae, because, whereas on her second birthday, she did not really understand birthdays, now she does. Well, she at least sees them as something exciting; she knows they are someone’s “special day” (which is what she was saying all day; “it’s my special day”). So when they brought out her birthday sundae and put it in front of her and started singing, her eyes bulged in recognition and I totally got a lump in my throat! Then I somehow managed to convince him to take Laelia to her first movie! We went to the Arclight (also in the Sherman Oaks Galleria) and saw Hotel Transylvania. She definitely did not like the few short parts where Dracula’s eyes went red, but she sat through almost all of it before she stood up and said “bye-bye?”. Definitely a fun day!

I haven’t updated on the things Laelia can do in a long while, so I figured I’d better do it now, before, you know, she starts reading & writing and I haven’t noted it.
– After two months of taking naps in her crib, Laelia started sleeping in her crib at night as well. There have only been a few nights when she woke up, and I think it’s mostly due to getting her two-year molars in.
– She’s been singing her ABCs for several months now. She especially likes to do it while spinning in circles!
– She can identify all of the letters.
– She can count to 20 in English.
– She can count to 10 in Spanish.
– She says “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” with out being prompted.
– She said “gracias” last night, after I put a bandage on her finger.
– She still needs to occasionally be asked to say “please”, but she will say it with out being asked as well.
– She knows all the primary and secondary colors.
– She knows how to say most of the primary and secondary colors in Spanish.
– She can complete large 24 pc or 36 pc jigsaw puzzles, often with no help at all!
– Sings Mary Had a Little Lamb and the Itsy Bitsy Spider.
– Makes pretty awesome Lego towers. Exclaims “look, a castle!”.
– Is really into the Care Bears and Mario. A girl after my own heart!

I’m currently doing a little research about home pre-schooling. I get a lot of crazy looks and “really?”s and “are you sure?”s, but — let’s face it, after a planned home birth, co-sleeping, babywearing, cloth diapering, and “extended” breastfeeding, I’m pretty used to odd looks and people telling me I can’t or shouldn’t do something because of their own preconceptions (and no actual research) on a subject. I’m keeping an open mind about it, and I simply think that the cost of pre-school is too high in our area, especially if I’m already home. I’d rather send her to ballet classes, and take her to museums and  outings with other children to keep her “socialized”, while I have direct one-on-one teaching with her, and I can help with manners as well. I’ve been looking at some Montessori books and some workbooks, and I plan to start in January (although, from what I can gather so far, I think Tyler and I  already doing a lot of what these books suggest, it is just our parenting style!). Anyway, I’m sure I’ll give it a post of its own! If you have any experience or any suggestions on books to read, please let me know!

Easy DIY Ceramic Coaster Backsplash

Easy DIY Ceramic Coaster Backsplash

In the midst of our kitchen makeover, I decided to use these to create a little backsplash between the grundtal rail and the grundtal wall shelf, using some ceramic coasters that I’ve always wanted to display somehow. It was SO easy, and so inexpensive, and I’m going to share with you exactly how I did it!



  1. Gather your items; coaster, DISC hanger, water.
  2. Dab a little water on the back, un-printed side of the DISC hanger. Let it sit for 30-60 seconds until it becomes tacky.
  3. Swirl the water around to cover the entire surface area of the DISC hanger.
  4. Turn the DISC hanger over, and place it centered on the backside of the coaster. Make sure the hanging tab is right side up! Press firmly over the surface area of the DISC to remove air and ensure a secure bond. Repeat steps 1-4 until you have all your coasters ready to hang.
    *the instructions on the DISC hangers say to let the bond cure for 24 hours. I hung these coasters immediately with no problems; however, if you are hanging something heavy, I certainly would wait the entire 24 hours.
  5. If you are hanging an odd number of coasters, place a nail centered over your stove. If you are hanging an even amount of coasters, you will have to place nails 2 1/4″ to the right and left of your center mark. Hang nails 4.5 ” apart.
  6. Hang your coasters, and voila! Instant backsplash.

So, there you have it! Easy-to-clean art above a stove, and no visible hangers! What do you think?

My Kitchen Makeover: Bones

My Kitchen Makeover: Bones

We made HUGE progress in the kitchen over labor day weekend, and I’ve been dying to share here, but I’ve been attached to my computer and printer doing a wedding invitation suite and my birthday invites, amongst other things, and so I’ve barely even had time to mop the floor, let alone do a little styling! To give you an idea, I’ve been composing this post for over two weeks! I finally managed to take some photos AND edit them for comparison, so here they are!

In my previous kitchen post, I mentioned that a lightbulb turned on above my head and I thought an icey blue would be the best color to put on this wall to work with the tile and a lot of the things I already had and didn’t want to replace. Tyler and I have officially decided to stop trying to have any other color on our walls besides blue or gray! We waste a lot of time saying “but do we really want another blue wall?!” when the answer is always “YES. Yes we do want another blue wall”. Right now I feel this concept works great in our small apartment (I’m currently set on painting our bedroom navy, and Laelia’s room needs an OVERHAUL!!! So her room might be painted with in the year, too!).

Anyway, I was having trouble finding the right icey blue. I did not see a color I felt was right from Valspar or Olympic, or the little paint shop down the street, and I have had disastrous results with color matching. So, I finally bit the bullet and decided to find out what Benjamin Moore was all about. I feel like nine out of ten times a wall paint reference on AT, pinterest, Lonny Mag, Rue, D*S, etc. ends up being a Benjamin Moore (BM) color. To my delight, I discovered a few things which will mean that I will probably be using BM paints exclusively for the foreseeable future:

  1.  OSH, the closest hardware store to my apt, recently started selling the full line of BM paint (i.e. no more driving over 10 miles to Lowes for paint). I walked into the store, didn’t see the color I liked so I asked to see their color fan (which has their full line of colors), and immediately saw a color I thought was right called blue bonnet, and bought a sample of it.
  2. BM’s most affordable line concepts, is $26.99. This is actually a little less expensive than Valspar!
  3. Holy moly, this stuff rolls on smooth, and has great coverage, and doesn’t splatter much. We have done a lot of painting in the last year, AND we were painting with Valspar’s ultra white at the same time we were painting with the BM paint. BM’s eggshell finish feels smoother than Valspar’s satin finish!  And we had to put 4-5 coats of the Valspar paint on to get full coverage (ouch), compared to 1-2 for the BM paint.

An IG I snapped while I was painting the ceiling… I was stunned by what a big difference it made! Bye bye smoker’s wall!

We also ended up painting the ceiling which I was really not intending to do! But just look at the difference! Despite all the cosmetic work we did in this room, I feel like my favorite part of this makeover is the area above the stove, primarily for the significantly increased functionality of the space. Considering our fridge is right next to our stove, moving our spices to magnetic spice jars was definitely the right move here (a post and free printable will be available here at some point)! Not only does it give them a uniform look, but it cleared up the space behind the stove for a shelving rack and rail! Now virtually all of our cooking utensils are an arm’s length away, and I was able to  free up some space and reorganize the cupboard in the stove to have better access to baking sheets and pot lids! I also finally found a good use for my ceramic coasters (I almost put these up on eBay)!  I’ll be making a separate post about these, too. This space is pretty much done, but for a few things; My parents have a vintage O’keefe and Merrit stove sitting in their garage, and I’m thinking about using their knobs on this stove until we move, because these ones are pretty rotted away… I also want to get a new tea kettle, we need to install an oven light, and we’ll be installing a little shelf to sit right on top of the stove, as the stove has to sit about 6 inches away from the wall because of some piping that comes out of the wall.

We removed the cabinet doors from the cabinet above the fridge, and this worked out even better than I expected; I finally have a place to store things that wouldn’t otherwise fit inside my shallow cabinets! The picnic basket and larger cake stands now have a super “official” place to go. The only things I was storing in there before we removed the doors were a large traveling cake holder and some dishes that I’m selling on eBay, so this is a much better use of this space. I don’t think the wire candle holders will stay up there, but they just haven’t found a home yet, and they physically fit there, so that’s where they are living for now… The few people who have come over since we have made this change have ALL said “Wow, I had no idea you even had a cupboard up there!”. Usually, I think comments about noticing areas for the first time after a makeover mean I’m heading in the right direction! We also moved the microwave down, and it’s waiting to be put in a small kitchen cart in front of the drop down ironing board.

Although I think the stove area is probably the largest improvement in functionality, this area is a close second. However, it takes the cake in the “biggest aesthetic improvement”! World Market finally had a dining sale and we went to buy this jackson table as soon as we found out! It is such a beautiful table, and it really uses the space well! We also installed shelves and blinds. The main reason I’ve been slowly installing blinds in every room of this apartment is that a) most of the windows didn’t have them (9/13), or b) if they did have them, they didn’t work, the plastic was rotted and they covered up the beautiful casing around the windows (DON’T DO THAT!). I love the way the blinds show off the pretty moulding around the windows! As you can see, I did try the rug under the table, and I like it, but this rug is just too big to really live here. This area still needs the most work, but it’s all styling; artwork, decor, and cushions!

The cupboard on this wall conceals our drop down ironing board. This is definitely a very nostalgic and awesome feature of this apartment, but it’s also kind of frustrating; I’ll be putting a kitchen cart here and this cupboard will be blocked. The cart will be on wheels, so I can move it out of the way when I need to iron, and yet I know this will affect how often I iron (I only seem to do it once a month, as it is!). Since I don’t iron very often, it’s easy to understand how I get annoyed with how much space is wasted here, just for the chance of ironing… Anyway, in addition to cleaning the grate below the sink, I also cleaned off the grate on this door, we think it is to vent heat from where you placed your hot iron. It’s so pretty and shiny now! I’ve definitely embraced the icey blue, silver and white in this kitchen; I hope the wood warms it up a little, although I have to admit a lighter wood would probably have worked better, but you can’t have everything.

I’ve made an executive decision about the pantry; I’m replacing the black-brown billy and short doors for a white billy and long doors. I moved out the baking supplies and some small appliances from the other cupboards in order to have some open shelving near the countertops, and I think it makes more sense to keep all of our dry food stuffs in one place. I think white will look much better with our new space, and the long doors will provide coverage over the top half, which I would rather not see all the time; Laelia constantly asks for food on the open shelves, and I just don’t think it’s all that pretty to look at. I’ve arranged it so there is plenty of other exposed shelving in the kitchen, so I think I’m okay with this transitioning into closed storage. I never really had it looking the way I wanted it to, anyway! I am working on completely organizing our food organization system though… it’s coming along great!

I’m also loving the way this little area is coming along. I love that clock! It might be the best $7 I’ve ever spent! The white on white is pretty much the exact detail I was looking for in this room! And you can see how I’ve left this cupboard to be open shelving! I think it will be a few months until I have it perfect, but I really love having the open space here…

Kitchen to-do list


  • Strip paint
  • Prime
  • Wax all drawers and drawer runners
  • Restore cutting board (*almost done! Just need to oil it)
  • Re-grout tile (Thanks Brother!)
  • Finalize a decor style
  • Paint
  • Lay in new shelf liner
  • Hang wine glass racks
  • Install shelving
  • Install blinds
  • Install rack in front of window for herb garden – the grundtal rail will not fit here, so this is not possible. :(
  • Install new light fixtures
  • New, extendable, rectangular kitchen table It’s not extendable, but we love it!
  • New, smaller, microwave to sit on the shelf above the stove in the kitchen island.
  • Find a rug
  • Portable kitchen island – I want the stenstorp from IKEA–it will fit perfectly!
  • Change out black-brown billy bookcase with short doors for a white billy bookcase with long doors.
  • Finish painting the trim and beneath the cabinets
  • Touch up the ceiling
  • Paint and install the brackets-turned-cabinet-legs
  • Hang ceramic coasters to make a faux back-splash
  • Install an Ekby shelf right above the stove, so it acts as a catch all


  • Strip paint
  • Prime
  • Paint
  • Install chair rail in breakfast nook
  • Re-Hang Mirror
  • Purchase and hang artwork
  • Shelf styling
  • Hang planters on either side of the window
  • Switch out boob light for pendant light
  • Upholster storage benches
  • Pillows for benches
  • Paint storage benches – not sure I’ll need to do this if I end up making a skirt for the benches, which I’m leaning toward
  • Add baseboard to storage benches – not sure I’ll need to do this if I end up making a skirt for the benches, which I’m leaning toward
  • Potentially place a rug under the table

(we haven’t started painting at ALL in this room, but we’ve done a little organizing) 

  • Strip paint
  • Prime
  • Paint
  • Install new shelf
  • Hang Brooms & Dustpan
  • Lay in new shelf liner
  • Make labels for all the things
  • Hang stick vac charger
  • Re-hang iron holder

I’ll be dedicating some items that have been crossed out (and some that I’ve yet to do) to an entire blog post of its own, so expect to see those sometime soon. I think, if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to start blogging regularly again very soon! Or, at the very least, bust out some of this kitchen stuff. I’m sure I’ll be blogging less when I finally get to hammer out my new blog design… slightly ironic, I know!

My Kitchen Makeover: Nook Sketches

My Kitchen Makeover: Nook Sketches

In my last post about the kitchen, I mentioned how I felt some designer’s block when it came to the styling of my kitchen. I was torn between trying to implement styles I loved while simultaneously doing the colored vintage tile and my O’keefe and Merrit stove justice. Normally, I wouldn’t breakdown my odd thought processes and “Eureka!” moments quite to the extent I’m about to, but here it goes: the instant inspiration I was looking for came from, of course, pinterest. And, also of course, it came from Justina Blakeney (this woman can do no wrong, I tell you).

Click to visit the specific pin! :) And, then, of course, visit the source.

So, for reasons I still can’t explain, this gorgeous little sofa via Co-Lab made something in my brain click, and I decided to draw a mock up of my kitchen nook to spec and see what my benches would look like with this pattern (Facet 5, by Seacloth / Lee Jofa).

At some point during my drawing, I remembered that almost a year ago I pinned a sketch by an English artist that I thought would work perfectly in my kitchen (although, ultimately I don’t want it in the nook area, so it’s not in the above sketch; the artwork in the above sketch is by Lullie Wallace, and Jamie Rovenstine):

Floral Dots with Yellow Stripes, by Studiolegohead. Visit her Etsy Shop!

… which also dug up the memory of reading this:

“Black and white are another neutral that sherbet can mix with effortlessly. However, if retaining the saturated softness is your goal, I would avoid mixing too much black with the look. Instead, opt for thin black lines or small details… White can only make the look feel more airy so go nuts in that department if a bright, cool sorbet palette is your desired outcome!” —Chloé Douglas from Plenty of Colour, via Rena Tom (A scoop of Sorbet)

I’m feeling that organic, sketchy thin lines of either black or navy (or both!) will really help me love this kitchen, but still keep it bright and airy and in sync with the permanent fixtures in the room! So, the fabric from the beautiful sofa helped me to realize that I already had come across the ideas I needed to implement to get me out of my designer’s block! Thank you awesome sofa! (and Justina, for pinning it, and Lab Co for making it, and Seacloth, for the fabric).

Image via the Foundary’s blog.

After I nailed down the idea of thin dark lines, I was able to easily add in other inspirations that I knew I wanted to use. One source was Erin Lochner’s Designer Spotlight for the Foundary, and many of the featured items I used in my sketches. Of course, the shop is now closed (/pout), but you can still view the items I used on pinterest, and the items are still viewable through the shop, although you cannot purchase them through the Foundary anymore.

Also, we didn’t end up painting it gray, because I felt like gray would have dragged the whole room down, and I’m trying to keep things as light and airy as possible while having a wood table and wooden blinds. I was having a very hard time choosing a paint color — I didn’t even know where to start. Then I saw something very pastel on IG, (It was a photo of @locketship posted by @modcloth), and I immediately thought “ice blue” in the kitchen.

I think the ice blue really helps to tie in the tile and the stove and the stuff I already have going on with the kitchen, even if I think I might have liked the gray more if the nook was it’s own space. I’m still feeling pretty torn about what pendant light to go with! I love this faceted light from IKEA, Tyler loves it, and it’s $99. But I also really like the pendant with the touch of wood from West Elm, but I’m OH SO IN LOVE with this sea glass chandelier from Serena & Lily (seen in the above sketch)! Of course, it is totally out of the question at $1,500. Especially after I realized that the Seacloth fabric is super expensive designer fabric, and decided I probably shouldn’t go for it on these benches because I can get awesome fabric for 1/10th of the price, and I don’t love the shape of these things! So now I’m thinking about this fabric from IKEA or something similar. Jenny Komenda kinda has me on love for spots right now. :) The rug I have in the first sketch (the gray one) is from IKEA, but this one here is from Urban. I just bought it for the office space, but now I’m wondering how it will look in here! It comes in the mail today! I’ll try it out…

I’m happy to say that we have the table in and the shelves and the blinds installed now, and it really is remarkable how much it looks like my sketches! I’ll have some photos up of how far we’ve come in the kitchen soon–we’ve made tons of progress, and we are certainly over the “ugly” hump. :) Now I get to focus on fun things, like styling and artwork what fabric to use! :)

A Laelia Outfit #38

A Laelia Outfit #38

If you follow me on IG (@jditrimares) you will have seen this outfit to death, and I’m finally putting it here!!

Poncho: From the Pasadena Rose Bowl.
Tank: H&M kids
Chevron Skirt: Peek
Sandals: HealthTex

Here are some of my favorite IGs of her in this outfit! :)

Also–what do we think of posting her in the actual outfits more often? Why don’t I do that more regularly?!


Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

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