make-believe: a space to sleep.

July 30, 2018

a sweet space to sleep | reading my tea leavesOver the past few months I’ve been collecting bits of inspiration for turning Faye and Silas’s space into a cozier nest. It’s been a year and a half since Silas was born and a room for one became a room for two, but I’m a firm believer that the sweetest spaces are the ones that emerge slowly. Petit a petit…In real life we’ve added a new blanket for Faye that’s perfect for warm nights and a clock to coax her to sleep in her own bed past five-thirty. Soon we’ll be padding morning footfalls with soft rugs to match the dresser given a new lease on life. We’re starting to imagine how the space might transform as Silas transitions out of his crib, but for now, I’ve enjoyed the exercise of using a few of our very favorite things as a starting off point for creating a more cohesive whole. Inspiration found in what was very much loved already.

A swallow kite for flying and safeguarding. 

A baby doll for loving.

An oyster-colored rug for a soft place to land.

A fan for heavy July nights.

A quartet of soft underthings.

A pink bunny for lighting the way.

A list of tiny perfect things.

A paper bag for stashing treasures.

A flashlight for making shadow puppets.

A stay-in-your-own-bed-please clock.

A favorite baby blanket for snuggling with.

A paint swatch for a found dresser.

An undyed honeycomb blanket for being neat and tidy.


In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are two things we might do to ensure that all kids have a safe space to rest their heads, particularly in light of the ongoing immigration crisis:

To help pay for family reunification travel expenses, including transportation, lodging, and a small personal kit to help families get started, donate to Flights for Families.

To offer aid to separated families, even if you don’t have money give, here’s a shortlist of ways to help reunite families beyond donating.

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  • Reply Naomi July 30, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    In your experience are the Uashmama bags tough enough to stand up to use by kids? I’m debating between them and some canvas bags for toy and clothes storage and am hoping for something that will stay sturdy over time…

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 30, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Oh, I think so! They’re probably comparable in terms of sturdiness and easier to wipe clean if that’s an issue!

  • Reply MissEm July 30, 2018 at 5:56 pm

    What do you use to edit your make believe photos, Erin? Looks handy for thinking through rooms.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 30, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      I often compile images on Pinterest first, but I make them in Photoshop!

  • Reply Claire July 31, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I’ll be interested to hear if you like that clock!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 31, 2018 at 10:33 am

      It’s been kind of crazy effective so far! Will report more once we’ve used it for a bit!

      • Reply Claire July 31, 2018 at 12:58 pm

        Thanks! Anything that helps with those early mornings! haha.

  • Reply Brianna July 31, 2018 at 10:48 am

    With all respect it’s very kid adult: as in “if I were I kid I’d like this”. I’m sure you have great reasons, but when it comes to soulfulness it takes spontaneity, impulsivity, and colour and mess. It takes trusting in the junk children love. They can’t always thrive in a photograph worthy space. You might have to take a few risks in your edit.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 31, 2018 at 11:49 am

      I’m so weary of this critique. Setting kids up with a serene, simple space in no way implies that there might not also be child-driven spontaneity or color or mess.

      • Reply Christie July 31, 2018 at 9:12 pm

        I love serene and simple. Why do kids have to have bright colors? I think that’s a product of marketing in our modern times. I also think that kids can be wild and crazy and messy no matter the color of the decorations in the room. My three kids share a pretty neutral and simple room, and trust me, they are as wild and messy as can be.

        • Reply Sasha L August 4, 2018 at 10:03 am

          I think Christie expressed my thoughts about this blog so eloquently and clearly. I wholeheartedly agree.

          While children may create a mess, yes, it’s normal and appropriate, it’s also our job as caregivers to gently guide the space back to tidy when the play is finished. The fact that Erin’s photos show her space in the state of tidy in no way leads me to think that her children are deprived of play. She’s creating her own world here, one that is simple and tranquil and she has no obligation to show us a splot of catsup on the floor just so it feels *real*.

      • Reply Brianna August 1, 2018 at 11:26 am

        I expect you must hear this because it’s never really seen and people mean well. If you see this as a foundation, that changes things a lot. The readers you respect highly might be weary too.

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 1, 2018 at 11:41 am

          To be honest, I’m not following.

          • Christie August 3, 2018 at 2:21 pm

            I think she’s trying to say that you do not show the wild, colorful, messy side of your children’s lives. All that you post are the beautiful, simple, and serene images. To which, I would respond, if I may, that you have no obligation to post any type of photo other than that which you choose to. And, in fact, I appreciate so much how you do not exploit your children on instagram or your website. The photos you post are tasteful, rarely close-ups of the kids faces, and in no way embarrassing to them now or, rather, when they turn 15. I am off-put by bloggers/instagramers who make bank off of their kids backs and offer the most intimate and exploitative photos. I love that the kids are an important, but tangential part of your work here. As a parent, myself, I know that my children are the most important thing in my life, but they are not my whole life, and this is not a blog about parenting.

          • ERIN BOYLE August 3, 2018 at 2:37 pm

            Ah, perhaps. In any case, thanks for the kind words, Christie. I do try to strike a balance here. I think there are so many important parenting conversations to be had and I love delving into them from time to time in this space, but I also like to write about all sorts of other things and I’m mindful of my kids’—and my own!—rights to privacy.

  • Reply Rose August 1, 2018 at 11:06 am

    In NYC, I started volunteering for the New Sanctuary Coalition. I’m so happy I found that organization. It’s exactly the kind of volunteer work in immigration I always pictured myself doing. Google them and join us! Working directly with people in need of help is extremely rewarding.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Awesome! Editing your comment to include a link so more folks can get there easily!

      • Reply Rose August 2, 2018 at 6:49 pm

        Perfect. Thank you.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Awesome! Editing your comment to include a link so more folks can get there easily!

  • Reply Mun August 2, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    I’m washed by a wave of whimsy…

  • Reply Brianna August 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I am interested in seeing more of the reality of life. A zen buddhist sees beauty in the totality of life, which includes colour, etc. I happen to think reality is beautiful in every expression. I understand that in these business oriented, stressful, privacy redefining times certain colours and curatorial choices are preferable. I made my suggestions because there is a great deal of reality already shown and I appreciate it. It’s why I read this blog.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 5, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Brianna: I’m not quite sure what to tell you. I’d hope you can understand that for me the reality is two-fold. Sometimes there are colorful messes and often things are tidy. I enjoy a serene color palette, which has everything to do with my personal preferences and nothing to do with business. When Faye and I went to the paint store together to choose a color for her cabinet, she chose gray. Reality looks a million different ways for different people. Of course here are private moments that I don’t share in this space, but I’d love to also be clear that I’m not conjuring a false reality. Our home is tidy. The bright colors are few. Messes get made and cleaned up again.

  • Reply Brianna August 9, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Hi Erin, thanks for the reply. On reflection I believe it’s a more complex situation than I initially realised when I made my suggestions. So I will respectfully disagree with a few of your responses, and just enjoy your work and the uniqueness of the culture you are forging.

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