Pimp My (Cozy Coupe) Rides

Ooooh, that's right.  I have a blog.  It's what that little corner of my head is always nagging me about, like a term paper that is constantly overdue.  Need to blog this... I should really blog that.  But with two little ones I can barely keep up with the basics around here.  And by basics, I mean spray painting anything that isn't nailed down and eating a bunch of sweets.  Spray painting is my new love.  The moment I spray painted my first piece of furniture for our music studio I was hooked.  It was a little vintage cabinet I found for $10 at the Goodwill that I painted espresso and replaced the knobs with funky colorful ones from Anthropologie. It turned out so great and was SO easy that I was ready to paint the rest of my life in very bright colors.  I think I might have been a tagger in a past life.  It's very relaxing for me, apart from those ghastly fumes.  I'm big on instant gratification and that is just what this is.  You press one little button and see an immediate improvement.  Why can't housework be like that?
When my friend Dawn told me about people renovating their ugly orange Little Tikes cozy coupe cars, I thought that was crazy.  Why would anyone spend any amount of time dolling up a piece of junk?  They are always faded and peeling and just plain trashy.  I figured they are just a part of having kids and like most other toddler toys, I can't wait until they are outgrown and donated.  I went on Pinterest to see some examples and found the cutest little cars ever.  That was it.  I had to pimp out our cozy coupes.  I bought the really faded one on the left at a garage sale for $1.  One. Dollar.
I thought this cozy coupe car wash was pretty precious.

I wish I could say that this project was as easy as all of the other spray paint experiences I've had, but this little police car was a serious pain.  For the life of me I could not figure out how to take the door off so I had to carefully tape around it and spray and then respray and then touch up and retouch. And since there's no real door on the other side, I had to hand paint it.  With a paint brush.  Spraying paint onto a paint brush and painting it on.  It took, oh...say... 150 coats (give or take) to get it bright white against the black with a nice even coat.  It was 95* that afternoon and I kind of wished someone would just show up with a giant frying pan and put me out of my misery.  But oh, look at that siren!  It lights up and blares the loudest sound known to man when you press the button.  Luckily a few layers of black duct tape over the speaker took care of that.  I found Transformers police decals that were perfect for the doors, since Jude loves both of those things right now.  And obviously, you can't have a new police car without a police hat & badge to make it official.  I wonder if they sell tiny traffic ticket booklets on eBay?


The gypsy caravan coupe was pure joy to make.  It only took me about an hour since I didn't have to hand paint anything.  My favorite part was hot gluing the fringe along the roof, so much fun.  Raya loves her "princess car" and thinks the fringe is hilarious.  I wonder if they sell mini crystal balls and toddler tarot cards on eBay? 


The Photo Booth

I decided to brave the Orange County fair with two very small kids this year for one reason only: the photo booths.  I have always loved taking booth pictures.  My addiction began during my freshman year of high school, with my best friend Maria Rohler.  This was long before we could drive, and we had to walk a few miles to take pictures together in a photo booth at the local video arcade.  This became one of the trademark experiences of our friendship... we made sure to hit every photo booth we knew of every time we had a chance.  We loaded up with single dollar bills and we took as many pictures as we could afford.  Then we walked home with our stack of photo strips, cut them up and then traded them for our favorites. 

We started to sharpen our photo booth skills and brought props like hats, flowers and signs that said silly things we thought were HILARIOUS back then.  We posed, did some theater, a little modeling, got creative with the curtains, even changed our hairstyle in time for the next *poof* of the flash.  One time we sent Drew Barrymore a photo strip holding up my phone number with "please come!" under it, along with an invitation to the Tom Green tea party we hosted for a bunch of our friends.  She was married to him at the time, and we thought she'd appreciate that gesture.  We also hoped in our silly high school way that she'd show up.  She must have had a prior engagement.

Over the years I collected quite a beloved pile of our little photos and one day I decided to arrange my favorites in a frame.  The love I have for this collage that represents over 10 years of our zany friendship is immense.  It would be among the first things I'd grab if my house was on fire.

So, I wanted to do something a little bit unique for our family's first photo booth experience.  I came up with the idea to buy some fun fabric and pin the material over the original boring blue backdrop with safety pins.  And after a frustrating afternoon of an hour-long parking wait and huge crowds and summer heat and two skipped naps and outrageously expensive fair food, I made my entire family pile into a tiny photo booth while I hovered over them, pinning cloth.  There was an attendant for the first time ever who collected the whopping $5 per photo strip and made sure nobody got out of control in their booth.  She was very intrigued when our pictures dropped into the slot with an entirely new background.  "I've never seen THOSE curtains before!" she said, and I'd really stumped her.  I told her it was because they were in my purse.


I love that this silly tradition lives on and is being passed to a new generation.  I wonder how my kids will rebel in photo booths?  Only time will tell.  One thing is for sure:  we won't be having any more babies.  We've maxed out our photo booth space.


The Dark Passengers

If you aren't a Dexter watcher, this blog post will be very boring to you. I apologize for that, and for the quality of the upcoming photos... consider this more of a "documentary-style" post. There also may be some past season spoilers so if you're just starting to watch, read with caution.
My friend Laura asked me if I thought it would be fun to go on a Dexter scavenger hunt. I didn't care what it was, the mere mention of my favorite TV show and I was in. She found a website that locates the addresses of all of the places they film the show and most of them are in Long Beach where she lives. Neither of us are particularly star struck but we both are equally entranced by Dexter, and when you live in LA, sometimes you have to take advantage of this kind of thing. Our plan was to take our picture in front of as many locations as we could find. We set out with navigation via her phone and headed out for our epic Dexter adventure.

Our first stop was the house where Dexter and Rita first lived together. This one was very easy to recognize because they spent a lot of time in this house. We really wanted to know if Rita died in their actual bathtub but neither of us were willing to ring the doorbell to find out.

If you've ever been anywhere with me, you probably recognize this scene:

I take my point-and-shoot camera everywhere and always forget the handy little tripod I bought to avoid the above situation. So I'm constantly having to create new ways to balance that camera on uneven (and sometimes quite expensive) objects. This was the silver BMW parked in front of Dexter's house.

The next place we found was Batista's house, and I didn't recognize it at all. It was only used in one episode, although later they went back to this house and shot a kill scene inside.

How do I know this? Because the guy that owns the house parked a van in the driveway THE VERY SECOND I had the camera steady and ready to take the picture. How dare he come home in the middle of the day like that. But we waited a bit and he left, so we got a picture without the van. And when we pulled our car up 5 feet to get a picture in front of the next Dexter house which happens to be right next to it, SOMEONE PULLED A CAR INTO THAT DRIVEWAY. But it turned out to be great, because that guy in the van came back moments later and I asked if he would take our picture in front of his neighbor's house. It was Dexter's childhood home, where they shot the flashback scenes when Dexter was a teenager. I thought he'd think we were crazy, but he just smiled and said "You mean, the Dexter house?" Apparently we weren't their first visitors. He told us that they filmed one episode using the outside of the house, and then came back the next season to use the inside. They built walls in their living room in order to film a murder scene, and there was "blood spatter" everywhere. He had been a fan of the show before he was approached by the staff about using his house, so all of this was very awesome to him. I think it would take just the right person to say yes to creating a messy kill scene in your living room.

Here are the two houses together. With both cars in the driveway.

We also didn't recognize the next location which was the house Dexter inherited from his estranged biological father when he died. They built a wall in the front that had been taken down so it wasn't as easy to match it up with our still shots from the show. The gardener had just arrived and parked RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE, but when he saw I had a camera and was pointing it in his direction he offered to move it. He also took the picture for us. What a sweet gardener he was.

It was the same situation at Rita's house. This was the house Rita lived in with her kids when she first met Dexter, and they built that salmon wall just for the show. They must have a lot of these stone walls in Miami where it is supposed to be taking place. But that tree in front of the house was very much the same.

This is where Dexter went to get all of his household necessities at great prices. He was also seen shopping the Dollar Spot in season 3. Just kidding. This was a bathroom stop.

We then headed out to El Dorado Park, which is gigantic. We parked on a residential street and walked a very long way to get into the park. Along the way we passed this guy mining for gold or some such thing in the water below us. There is so much strange stuff going on in this picture.

We found our destination, the creepy old ranger station where Dexter found Lumen last season. They had built a chain link fence around it and added lots of greenery and an old No Trespassing sign. If you look very closely at this first picture you can see a tan door laying on the ground to the right of where Dexter is standing...

...and look, there's the door. This must really be an abandoned ranger station because nobody in the park bothered to pick up that old door.

Here's how the magic happens. I used a metal pole in the ground and laid a piece of burned wood across it. Voila. Tripod.

I was SO dirty. I didn't realize that wood had been burned until after I picked it up and messed with it.

Our final destination was the bridge that Lumen ran under while trying to escape Dexter. We knew it was about 300 feet from the ranger station so we just walked around until we found it. There's Laura "pretending to run" in the left corner of the mucky swamp. We were pretty surprised that those actors had to be knee deep in that disgusting water, but for millions of dollars I'd probably run in anything too.

From this angle it doesn't look so creepy. Kind of pretty and serene, except for those random wooden planks that are there to say "Whatever you do, don't run in this dangerous radioactive mess of swamp water."

And then we were exhausted and went to get blended coffee drinks like true LA girls. I love having a friend that is still willing to do silly high-school stunts like this with me. You're never too old to trespass, that's what I always say.



I was going to just toss this up on Facebook like I regularly do with new photos, but this one felt like it deserved a blog post all of its own. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes that is such a relief. Because there are no adequate words to describe the hold this kid has taken on my heart, what he has already taught me about life, and how serenely wise, gentle and beautiful he is. Sometimes I look at him and can't believe I get to keep him.


The Smash Session

Raya turned a year old at the end of July. Time flies when you're having fun, which is why the first 6 months of her life felt more like 10 years. But then she turned a corner and things became delightful, and then the next 6 months flashed by so very fast. We had a cake smashing photo shoot for her since she wasn't feeling very well at her birthday party and hardly touched her cake. But we discovered that was because she is just like her brother and absolutely hates getting dirty.

The cake, the set. All was calm... all was bright. We were excited to see this tiny 3-tier cake get completely destroyed.

Here's a closer look at that cake. Not too close though, it had it's issues. If it hadn't been for the sprinkles that somewhat saved the day I probably wouldn't even be posting this.

Here she is, femininely pondering what to do with the sticky mess sitting next to her. Surely they don't want me to dig into that thing, she wondered daintily.

The boys tried to show her how it's done. She thought it was funny for about 3 seconds.

And then, the party cake meltdown. She was so upset that her hands were a mess that she couldn't focus on the sugary goodness in her mouth. She just couldn't take any more of it.

That poor little smash cake, never given a fair chance. All Raya did was push it to the side a little.

The End.


What's a little 6 months between friends?

Hey, remember me? I'm that ridiculously pale redhead who blogged, oh, you know, 6 MONTHS AGO. Funny how my last post started with "So yeah, it's been awhile." I guess that's my style now, to just drop off the virtual radar for a gigantic chunk of time. I don't know how my masses of avid blog readers ever survived without me. (Kidding, of course. But can I just say how cool it is when someone I've never met contacts me about this blog? And a tiny bit scary. But mostly so cool.) Facebook has sort of taken over with its perfect platform for the "drive-by picture posting." My extremely short attention span has really enjoyed being able to edit and display a favorite photo within minutes and be DONE for the day. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong on Blogger, but it is a wrestling match every single time. And although I always sorta win, it makes me want to curl up in a corner rocking with my Facebook wall by the time I'm done.

Life has been good. I have run into a constant struggle since having kids, but surprisingly it has nothing to do with them anymore. In the last 6 months we have slowly navigated our way to a new family groove and Raya is, dare I say it, an easy baby! Even better than Jude was at this age. I know, it's shocking. Other than the way she does a violent Riverdance during every diaper change making it nearly impossible and very annoying, she's great. But it seems as though we Bucheles put in our time at the front end of the baby stage. It's all hell until around 6 months, and then we sit back, relax, and enjoy our good little sleepers and mostly chill children for the rest of it. Until they hit 3, of course. Then it's a rocky road. But truly nothing like our Newborn Hell. Anyway, my new struggle is a personal one. It is the need for more time to be as creative as I feel now with these little guys around me. I'm so much more inspired, so saturated with fun ideas and find myself surrounded by wonderfully artsy friends. And, no extra time to really dig into any of it. Which is driving me crazy. I want to bake sweets. I want to make patchwork curtains from vintage linens. I want to master the manual setting on my camera. I want to crochet pixie hats. I want to make my own soap. I want somewhere really cool to wear all of the new boho tweed vintage coats I've found during my many thrift store adventures (upcoming blog post about those). And I should probably finish Raya's pregnancy scrapbook one of these days. Where is all of my extra time? Ah yes. It was used up peeling grapes, chopping cheese into the smallest cubes imaginable and washing white blond angel hair in an overly bubbly tub. And all that other stuff in between that makes a mom of two little ones feel overwhelmed most days. And yes, I am aware that someday I will miss all this.

In an attempt to feel somewhat caught up, I'm going to post a smattering of favorite holiday pictures and flash through the last few months. My husband says that being "caught up" is an absolute impossibility for me, especially with the recent discovery of a new brilliance in my life called Pinterest. Do not click on that link if you are crafty and easily inspired, unless you currently find yourself bored. Don't. Do it.


A 3 month old colicky baby girl in a homemade poodle skirt and personalized cardigan, a larger (slightly less cranky) 50s style mama, and two greasers. And way too much candy for a toddler.

(You may be wondering why this one is first when the other holidays are in descending order by month. That's because Blogger is winning this round and instead of reloading all the pictures, I'm gonna just have them be out of order. I deserve a few points for letting go of my perfectionism a little tonight, right?)


Decorated eggs, handmade baskets (just the lining, I didn't weave those personally), train rides, egg hunts, and a Herbie car that took me a very long time to make. See that sad face on Jude down there? That's due to a back bumper failure. It fell off moments after being taken out of his Easter basket. I meticulously placed each tiny Herbie racing decal on that plain white VW bug, carefully sealed it with 3 coats of clear nail polish to protect it from toddler crashing...and the BUMPER FALLS OFF. Nice.

Valentine's Day

A charming picnic lunch with Grandma at the arboretum, Jude's first glittery handmade Valentines, and generally lots of pink and red.


Little color coordinated outfits, night walks through magically lit neighborhoods, sticky sucker Christmas card photo shoot, and the best Christmas morning so far. Oh, and a massive, epic meltdown on Christmas Eve, compliments of that darling girl below.

And there you have it. The last half of a Buchele year in a nutshell. And it only took me about 6 hours to get the spacing (mostly) right.


Darkness and Light

So yeah, it's been awhile. I had a baby girl that decided to overthrow my entire system of being and I've been, "out of it" for a few months. The wonderful thing is that her colic fussies ended right when she turned 2 months old. The not so great thing is that she still has major separation anxiety and won't let anyone hold her except for me and Rhys. So that means, no babysitting for us. And I've nicknamed her my "sleep diva" because she currently sacks out in our bedroom closet. We realized that she was hyper sensitive to both light and sound, so she had to be stashed somewhere very... cozy. And she has slept pretty well ever since. But she had an issue with sleeping anywhere outside of this closet, so family outings were a challenge since she naps every 2 hours. And closets aren't portable.

When I found this Day Out with Thomas the Train event many months ago, I knew we'd have to take Jude to it no matter what our home life was like. So I bought (very expensive, non refundable) tickets before I'd even given birth to Raya. Kind of a challenge to myself: Whatever life throws your way, you must get through this day. We had to go. Thomas is Jude's hero. I mean, what kind of mom would I be to keep a kid away from his hero?

This place is an hour drive into the dusty hills of Perris, CA. It's missing the old ghost town shacks but it comes stocked with the tumbleweeds and a complete lack of civilization. So we packed up the car and headed out with our very excited toddler and our non-napping, ready-to-meltdown-any-minute infant for a fun filled day of adventure. And I'm serious, Raya was an angel baby that day. Infants like to pull out tricks and really surprise you sometimes. We strolled her around in her car seat and although she didn't sleep, she didn't make a peep either. And then she SLEPT THE ENTIRE WAY HOME. Unheard of. I had to take a picture from the front seat because I couldn't actually believe it was happening. Which is why the picture is a little close and was taken at an "up the nostril" angle.
Since that day two weeks ago, she's been a very easy baby. She is mellow, happy and just pure joy. She even took her naps in my mom's closet yesterday for Thanksgiving so apparently any closet will do. Hopefully CPS isn't reading my blog.

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday, and I'm taking the whole day off from motherhood. Meaning, I will be getting a massage and spending my Anthropologie gift card and seeing a movie and having dinner out without any tiny people around me. And unlike the last time I did this, I already know I'm gonna miss these little guys so much. Life has settled its dust for us and we are really enjoying each other. Jude has decided that Raya isn't "yucky" anymore, and loves to hold her and rub the top of her fuzzy head. After a minute of having her weight on him he says "Get this thing off me", but he is full of love when he says it. It really is amazing what 2 months can do. We went from pure darkness to a wonderful stream of sunlight.

But despite all this daily heartwarming preciousness, this girl needs an entire day to herself.

The Day Out with Thomas took place at a train museum which lent itself to some amazing surroundings and light.