Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Isabella's "movie night" birthday...a bit belated

Okay...so Isabella's birthday was a few months back...and I am just now posting it.  I should probably just let it go, but it was such a fun night, that I wanted to share it with you : )

My girls' birthdays are exactly 6 months apart from each other, and inevitably, as soon as one party is being cleaned up, the other child is telling me what they want their next party to be.  Isabella blurted out "movie night" pretty quick, and surprisingly, stuck with it.   

I was dealing with my broken foot in the month leading up to her birthday, so I did have to revise some of my plans.  First things first...we needed a theater : )

I borrowed a tent...more like a sun shelter...and set it up in the back yard.  It was 10'x10' which I was pretty confident would be able to contain a dozen little ones.  I bought some drapes from IKEA- two blue drapes and two lace drapes.  I created a swag over the entrance with the lace, and I clipped the blue drapes to the corners of the tent, to make an entrance. This photo was an in progress shot...leaving the swag valance like that would have driven me crazy.

Jason borrowed a screen from work, and he was solely responsible for all sound/movie/electrical needs. I have no clue about any of it. Once again, soooo thankful that he helps execute all the crazy ideas I come up with!

We considered many different options for seating, but in the end, bales of hay with my grandmothers' quilts tossed over them, won out.  They were the perfect height for the kiddos and three grouped together could hold 6 kids.  

I knew I wanted some marquee signs, because every proper theater has marquee signs right? 

I decided to make two- one for the front of the house...

...and one for the concession stand. These guys were pretty easy...but time-consuming...to make.  Materials needed: foam core board, exacto knife, outdoor globe string lights and paint.  I LOVED them, even though I was gritting my teeth by the time I got done.  

To create the concession stand, I put an old door on top of a console table, and attached a thin curtain rod to the bottom of the door.  Using some extra clip rings I had hanging around, I hung pink corduroy material to cover the front of the console and to add a little "candy counter" feeling.  

Using vintage wood crates, I bagged up common theater food, with some healthier options thrown in : )  Pretzels, goldfish, popcorn (buttered and kettle corn), skittles, twizzlers, gummi bears, tootsie rolls and of course, whoppers.

When we have a party, we usually serve a meal, and this time Isabella chose a burger bar!  I was super excited about this idea.  We had three types of burgers- Hawaiian burger with grilled pineapple, sauteed onions, lettuce and hoison sauce, Guacamole burgers with guacamole, of course, fresh salsa and pepper jack cheese, and Southern style with chili, slaw, diced onions and mustard.  We also had fresh fruit, veggies and dip, chips and pasta salad.  

Please forgive the photo.  I was slowed down this go round and didn't get a good pic before it was time to eat.

We served punch and lemonade in mason jars to the kids.  I swear, I use those things at every party. It's so easy, just change the paper on top and tie a different ribbon to match each party.

Adult drinks were served in a wheel barrow : )

And that is all the set-up.  Now on to the fun part! The kiddos jumped right into the rope swing while we grilled up the burgers...

...and they played with the gigantic balloons...

And they snacked on some stolen goldfish from the concession stand : )

After chowing down, it was time for cake! Isabella requested ice cream cake, so Nutella Cruch Cake was the obvious choice.  It was super good and VERY easy to make.

And as it was getting dark, it was time to make selections from the concession stand.

Each child was given 4 tickets when they arrived to "buy" some treats.  I WAS trying to control sugar intake... at least a little.

 After selections were made, everyone chose a seat...

 And we started the movie!

We had a great time! Isabella asked me to leave her sign out in the front yard "just a little longer" : ) At two weeks, I took it down.  She still has it sitting in her room though. 

I think we can confidently say another party was a success.  And as we were cleaning up and taking down the tent, Ava says "Mom, I've got it!  I want a Frozen party!"  Shaking my head : )

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Finally...my new office!!!

My office...my new favorite room in our house. It is the space I always wanted to have, but it has also become the room that the entire family uses the most. When I took the leap and started working as a photographer professionally, I knew I needed a place to work, where all of my "stuff" could be gathered in one place. The only space I could think of was our spare bedroom, which happens to be the first room on your left when you come through our front door.  It wasn't a big decision to get rid of the spare bedroom actually. It had been slept in twice in the six years we had been here, and it had more recently taken on the identity of a storage room. So, I jumped into the bedroom to office conversion head first... while Jason was at work of course : )

To understand, how much this room has changed since we moved in, you have to consider it's previous lives.

Life number #1- I searched for a couple days for a picture of what this room looked like when we moved in, but I can't find it anywhere.  Let me just say, it had beige carpet and was painted the color of flesh. Really...flesh. Ugh!

Life number #2- the first decorating go round.  This is not the room at it's completion, but you can see the gist. 

And in process...

And now, life number #3- white walls with accents of sunny yellow and lagoon blue : ) This room makes me happy on so many levels : ) 

The whole transition began with painting the walls white. I wanted a BRIGHT and CLEAN space where I would feel like everything had it's place.  I knew I wanted a desktop where only I would work, but I also wanted a work table where I could spread out my projects, and I could work with the girls on their homework. 

And this was the result...light, bright and perfect for me : )

I wanted to utilize the height of the room as much as possible, but I could not find a bookcase that was as tall as I needed it to be.  I ultimately decided on using an IKEA Stuva bench with a Billy bookcase (15" depth) stacked upon it on either side of the desktop, which has been secured to the wall and to the bookcases. 

Stuva bench
Billy bookcase

Eventually, I may want to add crown molding to the top of the bookcases, but for right now, I am liking the streamlined and modern look, I've got going on.

I wanted to have a desk to work at that was clean and clutter free, so I made everything white- the desk, computer, keyboard, mouse, chair and even the artwork is B&W.  When I am working there, it feels stress-free.  LOVE it! By the way, the peacock is one of my photos that is available here

Before installing the bookcases, I painted 8" bright sunny yellow stripes on the wall where the bookcases were going to be.  I started second guessing that decision until I started to fill them in.  It was bright, but I knew this was one of the only places in the room, where I was going to have any color. 

The next thing we did, was build that humongous and absolutely wonderful work table. Jason was a huge help planning this big project out...and I will actually have a DIY post describing the process in the next week. 

I needed storage. Lots of storage for every possible tool, material, art supply, etc. I have collected in the past 20 years.  I did not think it was possible to do it, without it looking like a jumbled mess, but I am pleasantly surprised with my organized chaos : )

Some of the storage solutions I used were galvanized containers I bought from Pottery Barn years ago, small glass jars from IKEA for my tiny things...

...two wooden boxes with drawers that I painted white and numbered, photo boxes and magazine files that I painted lagoon blue to pick up on the drapes, white plastic recycle bins stored under the benches for material and my larger items...

 ...palm leaf baskets fit into the sides of the work table for even more storage...

...vintage spools to hold all of my twine,rope and string...

...and shelving on the opposite wall to hold all of my paint supplies.

Sprinkle in some books, photos, and some of my favorite vintage items...cameras, spools and my grandfather's typewriter, and the bookshelves are full!

I wanted a calendar that was big, and hopefully would keep me organized, so I painted a chalkboard calendar on the wall, and used a chalk paint pen to write the days of the week and one of my favorite quotes at the bottom.  I LOVE it and plan everything on it...seriously! DIY coming soon

One of the last things we did, was to install a light in this room.  You may remember me writing about the fact that there was NO overhead light.  It bothered me to no end!  After a lot of back and forth, Jas came up with an industrial solution, which I absolutely LOVE.

One of my main complaints about our house, is the lack of architectural details and uniqueness. We are combating that one room at a time.  This light and the conduit leading to it brighten my life : )

Last bit of color that I added to the space were these yellow barstools at the work table.  I decided on a modern streamlined stool for my desk, but I wanted something a little more fun for the girls.  These guys fit the bill.

A few billy buds and a tray to keep the work table clean, and I am done...for now : )

I am not exaggerating when I say that this room is where the whole family congregates. It's amazing how my approach to this room has given me a direction for the rest of the house.  You will see white again...a lot probably : )

***Keep posted for a few DIYS from the office

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hello again...here's what I have been up to lately

So I took a break...a 4 month long break.  

I haven't completely disappeared, even though it has felt that way more than a few times in the past couple of months. It wasn't a conscious decision to be absent from the blogosphere for so long, as much as I was drawing a blank...granted, a very big blank... over what was inspiring me.

Breaking my foot...and the subsequent sequestration from the rest of the world...and the inability to do anything for myself...let alone diy house projects... made me realize that I needed to take some time and reevaluate what was making me happy at that moment.  I started...and completed...the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge and I can truly say that... life has been full of "happy" lately : )  I find myself with a lot to share all of a sudden.  It could be the fact that I did not post anything for four months...could be.

I do hope  to jump back into angenuity, because I have truly missed it.  That being said, I am so grateful for the uninterrupted time I had with my girls this Summer.  The time I had with them and the memories we made will be a lifelong treasure for me...and hopefully for them too : )

So, here is a peak into what I have been up to lately through my #100HAPPYDAYS lens...

     With a little help from Isabella, we perked up the front porch

     My vanilla iced coffee was a rare treat when I was house bound

     Margaritas at sunset

     Being able to drive after 10 weeks was soooooo nice

     Isabella's movie night birthday party was a huge success...you may just see it pop up on the blog soon

     Dinner outside...yes please : )

     A return to work...a very happy day

     Gathering artwork for my dining room gallery wall...you may see this soon too : )

     A week in the mountains...full of water, sun and plenty of relaxation

     Summer movies with two of the sweetest girls

     Learning patience at a train stop.  Perfect time to sing my favorite song at the top of my lungs : )

     Fostering a love of the classics early

     Date night at SOUL Gastrolounge...sooooo gooood

     What's not to love about live music and glow in the dark hula hoops?

      Worth the hike...even though I may not have thought so while I was doing it : )

     Love me some Sputnik : )

     Waiting in line with Clint is never boring

     Bella and I could have watched this guy for hours...quite a good mending job

     When was the last time you flew a kite?

     Deer in our front yard at the beach. Every...single...day.  Loved it.

     An annual beach staple...and so good every time

     New beach...new mode of transportation

     Found my mid century dining chairs...you will definitely see these guys again soon : )

     Isabella and her hot pink tail. It made every excursion a little more interesting this Summer

Just a few of my happy moments from the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge. I hope you have had a wonderful Summer and I can't wait to share some of the DIYs I have been up to lately : )

Until then....