Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How to throw a Teeny-Tiny Tea Party

My youngest just turned two, and for her birthday party we had a Teeny-Tiny Two year old Tea Party.  The guest list was as tiny as the items served.  Because really, how many two year olds could you keep entertained at a tea party?  So she chose her 3 best friends: her older sister, her older brother, and her friend from up the street. 

Some Must Haves at a Tiny Party:
A Tiny Table

A Tiny Tea Set

Tiny Dishes

Tiny Foods
 (Tiny pizza slices, mini granola bites, baby carrots, mini fruit leather, mini muffins, and mini chunks of cheese).

And a very tiny Birthday Cake
(two oreos frosted together and decorated), with a tiny scoop of ice cream (made with a mellon baller)

Then get ready for BIG smiles
 (well, i promise the birthday girl was smiling at one point. . . i just didn't quite capture it in this picture;) ).

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Evolution of a Kitchen

When we moved into this house, there were some awesome bits and pieces we loved, but it was like an unfinished puzzle.  There were beautiful light fixtures, fans and paint colors in some places but others were just stark white, with brass fixtures and weird flooring.  It was like someone has started on some great ideas, but wasn't around long enough to fill it all in.  Our kitchen was one place that had a lot going for it.  Great dark cherry cabernet cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a high end, huge sink with great modern antique fixtures. . . mixed with white roll out linoleum floor, white walls, a very ugly kitchen pendulum light, and the kicker, royal blue formica countertops. 

Every time i would show someone the house they would see those countertops glowing in the bland kitchen and say, "woah, those are some countertops."  Within the first week we were there, we did our best to sort of camouflage the blue.  We knew, after just buying a house, countertops were not in our budget so we looked for a color scheme that wouldn't enhance the blue, or make it stand out more, but just blend it to an unnoticeable state. 

We put in new flooring. {15x15 self-stick tile, installed on the diagonal}

Painted the walls a pewter color.  Added a few rusty orange accents around the room for a complimentary addition.  

Then added a tan backsplash. 

We actually were really impressed with ourselves, and those countertops just blended in (enough) for us.  Until lately.  We started to wonder if we were ever going to do something about the blue.  We tried to put our penny-pinching heads together and looked into cement countertops, painting the countertops, Ikea countertops.  But it all came up the same.  Not quite good enough for the kitchen parts that were there and higher quality.  It wasn't like painting a countertop in a tiny galley kitchen with old cabinets and mismatched appliances, this kitchen was a finished piece, something that could actually be a good selling point if ever we needed to resell, and all it was missing was granite.  I mean, lets be honest, no one is going to jump up and down to see a house listing that says "formica-painted-to-look-like granite countertops".  We needed to finish the job someone started before us and make this a great little gourmet kitchen.  So seth did his looking around, and found a beyond awesome deal through work, and now. . . we have granite.  Are you ready to see these after photos??    Here ya go. . .

I just love the neutrality of it all!

I really don't want to put anything back on the countertops, my dining room table is a disaster, i just love the minimal look of these sturdy stone counters. (Except for my brownies, that i of course always stick on a pedestal dish when they are done baking, haha--okay, you caught me, i just did it for the photo, i thought it would look better than a half-eaten pan of brownies on the stove.)

It was not cheap, nor easy (there was a lot of travel to find the right granite, and we pulled our old counters off ourselves to save some $$)  but nothing is cheap when it comes to countertops it was a steal of a deal that no home or kitchen center could have touched, and far less laborious for us than cement or paint.  I feel like this new countertop has been a bit like a pregnancy.  At first we were just really excited.  Then after a bit, we were a little nervous about all the permanency of it, and if we could handle it, and about the time it was totally overdue, and we were wondering if it would ever happen, we were very sure we were ready. . . and couldn't wait for it them to finally be in our home.  We brought our backsplash down 6 inches, which, let me just say, saved us about $300. 

And it really gives our countertops more space to not have the lip of countertop going up the wall.  So finally our kitchen is complete. . . almost. . . we still have that ugly brass light dangling above our kitchen table.  It can't be long now before it gets the axe!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Clothes, and Some Great News

I had all the intentions of making my girls wonderful, frilly, pastel-colored Easter dresses.  Then, my oldest said, "I want to buy one from the store."  I thought it would be easy to convince her once I showed her some designs.  Not too long after her declaration I found out I'm pregnant, and with that, it was decided. . . Easter dresses from the store!  We are all very excited about our new little addition, baby number four, due at the beginning of October.  I am glad to be getting back some more energy to complete some of the projects waiting for me in the garage.   But, i am definitely moving at a slower pace as far as projects (and house cleaning, and laundry, and cooking. . . .) are concerned, but I won't be able to resist making the girls some spring or summer dresses soon, because I have a lot of good ideas.  But, as for Easter, it didn't happen, but The Children's Place had some pretty sharp looking duds, and they turned out pretty cute I'd say :). 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter Jammies

I don't usually think of Easter as a time when you need to have special occasion jammies.  But I have a friend who gives me her daugthers hand-me-downs for my 2 year old and they are always filled with these cuter than cute handmade boutique style dresses.  This time around there was the cutest pair of spring/summer jammies that I LOVE. 
Adorable, right?

I kept thinking they were so cute, it would be fun for my oldest daugther to have some to match.  I knew with my husbands busy schedule there wouldn't be much time before easter to make a good by-myself fabric store trip, so I was giving up on the idea.  But it kept naggin at me until i remembered that she also gave me a couple of yards or coordinating fabric (which she had actually made into crib sized top sheets, but my kids don't use top sheets) So, I thought I would put it to better use than sitting in the linen closet forever, and try to mimick her cute little boutique jammies (I know, i'm making clothes out of linens now. . . it's getting out of hand, haha!). 

Mine version is definitely not as good as the original, but I tried to get in all the little details that made the outfit so unique.

I couldn't leave the boy out of the easter jammie fun. . . recognize that fabric?  I had just enough for some jammie shorts, and matched it with a $5 Tshirt from walmart. 

It was so fun to have them all cute and springy for easter morning, with their crazy bed-hed, and fancy little jammies for their easter egg hunt.  It was all I had hoped for !  Thanks Amanda for my free spring jammies and great ideas ;)

Look at them so excited ;)

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Builders Dream. . .and a Mothers

My friend sent me a link to this blog called Knock off Wood.  It is awesome, the stuff that lady makes some awesome stuff.  Not only does she show it on her blog, but she gives you the plans, all cute and drawn out, with measurements and amounts.  We love to build stuff. . . let me rephrase. . . my husband loves to build stuff.  I love that he does, and I love to tell him what to build and then help with the finishing touches.  Coming up with the plans is really half the battle.  We have been talking about making an outdoor picnic table for a while but haven't really put the gears in motion.  Yesterday I sent him a link for this cute little kids picnic table.  And without a word, he came home with lumber (and some wonderful composite decking boards, that won't splinter, or need to be painted, stained, or power washed. . . ever, for the top and seats.)  Then with plans in hand, he watched the kids outside, and zipped this thing out all while i was making dinner.  We changed the plans slightly to make the table top bigger to accommodate more plates on the table, and then today i noticed she added a new post with a bigger picnic table!  We are definitely going to be returning to that site for more projects.  I am thinking maybe a farmhouse bed frame for our bed ;)

don't mind miss nearly two taking off her pants in the middle of everything :)

Doesn't this totally make your heart melt?

It's finished!  I just need to do my "finishing touch" work, which is painting all those non surface pieces of wood.  . . I need some color ideas to go with the grey top boards, any suggestions? 

This will certainly get lots of use, seeing as how right now my kids just plop their food right on the deck floor and eat away!