{home & garden} tomkat studio ~ valentine collection

I have an obsession with The TomKat Studio.

I’ll admit it, but it really shouldn’t come as a surprise, as whatever I deem to be a favorite, I truly am a loyal follower.  The TomKat Studio. first wowed me with their help on the Three Ring Circus Birthday Party last year.  And of course I’m addicted to their free printable calendar. (And just read that there is a weekly calendar now too….)

{image: tomkat studio}

But they have since been beyond incredible at helping me get ready for the girls’ birthdays this year, as well as our Valentine’s Party.  I’ve also used some of the free printables Kim offers for Piper’s Baptism.  You’ll have to stay tuned for all the details, but know that I’m over the top excited about how each party is turning out!!  And I really can’t beleive the creativity, dedication, and customer service of The TomKat Studio team. You will not be sorry if you use their printables for an upcoming event!  I really love that it’s a simple addition that adds that little somethin-somethin to the day.

But I really wanted to give you a heads up that Kim’s Simply Sweet Valentine Printable Collection is darling as well as a bargain!!  You get every possible printable you could dream of using to make your Valentine’s Day special. Whether you use it for the kids lunches throughout the month, for a little Valentine brunch, something for a school party…whatever the “loving” occasion, the collection really is sweet.  Splurge for the $9.50!!

You could also, download the free printable “Love” banner that was featured on HGTV.

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Just be sure to check em out!  Such a fun party addition!!

{home & garden} birthday season

{image: sandy heit}

Wow. It’s here again.What’s here you ask??? BIRTHDAY SEASON!

And what does birthday season mean in our house? Are you ready for it? It means this….

Newborn cousin born last night!

Sister-in-law’s (newborn’s mom) birthday today

Niece on Jan 20

Brother-in-law’s birthday Feb 4

His brother, my other brother-in-law Feb 7

Mine Feb 9

(short break for Piper’s, + 2 cousins’ baptisms)

(short break for Valentines’ Day)

My mother-in-law Feb 14

Hayden Feb 16

Another nephew a few days after that….

Then into the start of March with Piper March 9

And then Addie March 14.

OK…now BREATHE.

And that’s not to mention all the friend birthday parties on the calendar. Seriously peeps, does everyone really just like “celebrating” the start of summer each year???

So this is about the time in the year that I just put my head down and get er down for birthday season! Christmas feels like a dress rehearsal to me…

I figured it was about time, since it’s been a year, to post about the party last year. Hubs and I decided that each child would have a First Birthday Party to be sure we really celebrated their first year. And so that when each looks back, none will feel they were left out somehow. Addie’s was a Little Einstein Birthday (she’s born on 3/14), then Hayden’s (and Addie’s) was a Sock Hop, and Piper’s (and Addie & Hayden’s) was a Three Ring Circus.

This year we’re doing small individual family parties for each (we’re a little worn out from the past 3 years), plus we really wanted to start doing a smaller, special party for each girl.

But last year’s party was definitely fun! When we were deciding on a theme, a Facebook Follower immediately responded with THREE RING CIRCUS, and we honestly couldn’t think of a better description of our then current life! So we ran with it.

Of course, I was totally behind at the time (About a month before her birthday day, Piper started walking. Prior too she was just my easy hip baby. I always felt like I had 2.1 kids. But when she started to walk……we might as well have had 8 kids under our roof! So I had nothing ready for their party. Frankly nothing in my life was ready).

{image: sandy heit}

But Kim from The TomKat Studio saw my Facebook post about drowning in party details that weren’t done, and offered her team’s assistance. Thank the Heaven’s above, because I promise you, this party would not have happened without them. They quickly customized The TomKat Studio Circus collection of printables for what I needed, and it made the party! I was able to print everything from home onto full 8-1/2 x 11″ label sheets, then cut everything out with a circle punch & scallop punch.

I found a couple cute party napkins at Party City, that I used as a base for patterns. They weren’t meant to be together, but I liked the mix. I made color copies to use in a multitude of ways:

Paper cones for popcorn…

Bunting Flags for our backyard fence & the birthday signage…

Cards to label the food….

A label around a water bottle…

Also, when I use 2 patterns, I usually color copy one pattern on one side, wait a bit for the ink to dry, and then reload the paper on the opposite side to copy the second pattern on the back side.

{image: sandy heit}

My mom made a couple cute tablecloths using a black & white Ikea fabric (figured it was a great basic, which proved right, we’ve used them so many times!)

I chose to use less balloons this time, and instead enlisted the help of my youngest sister and mom. They made LOADS of tissue pom-poms that had a great circus pop and lots of color around the house and yard.

Food was pretty basic ~ Costco frozen corn dogs, trays of chicken nuggets from Chik-fil-A, large warm pretzels from Smart & Final, fresh fruit, bags of chips, and the day of, a friend flew up to Costco to pick up fresh Churros for $1/each.

Then there were the birthday cakes…Susie Cakes. They are so dang yummy, I can’t pass up the chance to eat em! Once again, The TomKat Studio came to the rescue with their free mini bunting flag printable….I thought the cakes were darling! (My dad said he thought I was decorating an ant parade, hilarious!)

{image: sandy heit}

I did 1 cake for each girl. All had a white buttercream exterier. Addie’s was a Vanilla Confetti Cake with Strawberry Buttercream filling, Hay’s was a Vanilla Cake with Lemon Buttercream filling (our family favorite), and Piper’s was a Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream filling. (BTW – you know she’s your third child when you order your 1 year old’s cake with peaNUT butter! Oh well, we did and she loved it!)

The kids were all dressed in jeans and these darling number shirts I found from The TomKat Studio, called Picadilly Circus Shirts (I don’t think the shop is open anymore though, so sad!). Suzanne the owner sent her husband from Manhattan Beach the morning of the party with the girls shirts! Amazing!

{image: sandy heit}

{image: sandy heit}

Sandy Heit was thankfully at the party to capture all the fun moments for me too. Her photos always make me smile!! Such a great eye. We even arranged for a super cute photo booth that I’ll share in a separate post. LOVE those photos!!! (And love having parents and a sister that dress in theme for a party….without being asked!)

{image: sandy heit}

Kids were sent home with little colorful buckets that I added The TomKat Studio printable to. I can’t quite remember what was in them now…..but I know they had taffy, colored star sunglasses, & whistles.

{image: sandy heit}

That’s about it. A super fun Three Ring Circus! Now it’s time for me to get my head down again and prep for the next round of birthday parties…wish me luck!

{home & garden} home tour ~ the kids bathroom

Next up on the Home Tour, the Kids Bathroom. Isn’t it pretty?  It’s about as pretty as the rest of the house was before we got started on our super fast overhaul.  So far we’ve toured the Kitchen and Piper’s Room, and of course there was the post on the entire “Before” House. I gave you my cheater post on the Kids Bath, but that was mostly about the towels (since I was lazy).  I dug deep today and sifted through a ton more photos…these are what I came up with for your viewing pleasure.  (And no, I have no clue who the towels belong to in the photo above. No one had lived here for 8 years or so…).

Beautiful lights…..

Lovely linoleum.

Doesn’t everyone need a fan like this in their bathroom. Wait….don’t answer that please.

Again I have to say this, because this is how we attacked the entire house project. We never really knew how much we would be able to do until almost the day we were doing it., and we only had 11 weeks before we needed to move in.  We were hunting for deals, keeping on eye on sales and making trades all over the place. Such was the case with the bathrooms.  If I remember correctly, my mom and I were at Home Depot picking up some supplies Hubs needed when I got a call to “pick up some sinks and toilets, we’re going ahead with the bathrooms…..you might want to check the tile while you’re there”.

Frankly, that kinda call stresses me out (remember I’m type A and always nervous about making the “right” desicion) but when it means you’re going to get a new (and clean) bathroom, you go for it!

There was a lot of scribbling on the walls.   My brain was a little fried at the time. Addie was 5 month old, I was pregnant with Hayden, project managing a resort for my real life job, and stopping in to the house to give instruction during lunch breaks, while packing up our rental in the evenings.

But the point is, if you’re going to paint, tile, wallpaper, or tear down a wall, WRITE ON IT. I’m visual, so the best, and most unofficial & fastest way, I could give instruction was to put it up on the wall so I could see it and tell someone what to do.  Sometimes they were just notes for me, sometimes they were to someone else. And I always took a photo. That way I could remember what my brain could not.  Helps for answering questions when you’re not there.

In came the cabinets.  The same person that helped us with the Kitchen, helped build these for us.  Because both Hubs & I are tall (and expect our children will be too), we choose to go taller with or counter heights (35-1/2″ tall).  I hate to lean over.  We also chose two sets of smaller cabinet doors (rather than singles as the cabinet maker suggested). Yes our way made the design busier, but the space between the bathtub and counter is VERY narrow. I would never be able to access them without totally clearing out of the way. The other thing I ALWAYS like to do, is make tall bathroom drawers (12-1/2″ tall). I love to be able to stand bottles up tall, and also stack towels inside.

In went the vanity counter.  The counters in this bathroom and our master bath are both  leftover Carrera Marble remnants. Meaning they were salvaged from other bigger jobs.  Our installer was able to piece them together for the sizes we needed. BIG dollar saver! Helps to ask the question of the person helping you on ways to save money.

We chose to go with the much loved (and inexpensive) white subway tile. Frankly, I love white. It represents clean to me.  So we just used the basic Home Depot DalTile along with very basic trim peices.

You might also notice that the window is new. I forgot to mention this in Piper’s Room Tour. But all of the windows in the house were in desperate need of replacement.  Hubs did a bit of research and learned that window companies have something called a “Boneyard Sale” to sell brand new windows that didn’t work for a customer. Maybe a measurment wasn’t right, maybe they didn’t like it and wanted a different style. Whatever the reason, a new one was ordered and the unused one goes back. But because it’s not a standard size (remember it was originally ordered custom) it can’t go to regular stock, so they are sold at “Boneyard Sales” for SIGNIFICANT discounts! As in more than 1/2 off.

In the end we were able to buy some beautiful Anderson windows…then the game of where to install them came next as we picked where the “sightly off sized” windows would look best. Thankfully this little one in the bathroom was a perfect fit!

Ahhhhh clean and white!  The floor is probably my biggest mistake of our bathrooms. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that floor. It was our only splurge, a penny round from Ann Saks. But there are 2 things we could have done that would have made it perfect. One, not ordered white. There is another color that has a dark ring around the outside of each “penny” and the center is white. Much better than white. OR used a dark gray grout. The problem with the floor as it is, is that you can’t ever get the white grout perfectly clean and white again. So even when it’s clean, it looks dirty. You’ll see in the photos below. Either of the other options would have given us our white floor, but also hidden the”dirt” stains in the grout. I’ll talk about that more in another post….for now I’m just going to enjoy this lovely white Before photo!

Soap niches. These I prefer to put on or near the shower head wall, rather that your view as you enter the bathroom. But with our house we were working with existing (albeit opened up) walls, so I didn’t have a lot of options on where to put them (there were plumbing pipes in that wall). I like to have a nice tall one for oversize shampoo bottles, and a smaller wide shelf for soap and razors.

Now onto what it looks like now.  It’s a small bathroom so somewhat difficult to photograph.  This is standing next to the counter and looking in the mirror back at the toilet area.

The bathtub. It’s an amazingly deep tub perfect for the kids, and perfect for a grown adult to soak in! It was also a salvage purchase. A tub that was ordered for, but not used on another job, that we were able to purchase at a reduced cost.

And yes that’s a no slip mat like you’ve seen at your grandmothers house. I use it in the tub with the little punks and their bums stay in place, no accidental slipping under water!

The new vanity area. Very simple and basic. The sinks are Kohler Memoir from Home Depot.  Step stools are from Ikea.  Knobs are from Home Depot, Pulls are from Restoration Hardware. Sink fixtures are Kohler (I don’t remember the style, let me know in the comments if anyone needs it…).  Bamboo Kleenex box and plastic soap bottles from Target, light fixtures and towel bars from Restoration Hardware during the lighting sale and then the bath sale (and using the Restoration Hardware credit card with a discount for first time purchases, that could be paid over a year at no interest).

I chose to put one plug in the center and had it installed horizontally to visually go with the subway tile. Then had it installed between the sinks where the counter was the widest for functionality.

I always look for hidden storage. While I could have added a cabinet above the toilet. I   preferred to keep the space looking open. So I added a shelf. Sometime sthere are stacks of towels, sometimes glass jars with soap or bath toys, sometimes a big basket with white toilet paper rolls.

Below is the Made by Girl print that I based all the colors for the towels on. I mentioned it in the earlier Kids Bath post.

Yes, that is a pink tin of big girl panties, why do you ask??? OK, truthfully, it makes it a lot more fun in the potty training department!!  All about the choices my friends.

And of course the towels I talked about before. They hang across from the toilet, behind the door, and next to the vanity area.

Best I can do at showing you the whole room. (See the sad dirty, but clean, floor in the photo below? *sigh*). For the record, there is normally a pink Ikea towel like the one with Addie’s name on it hanging on the far towel bar. I quickly ran out of my office to grab these 2 shots so you got the current condition photos!

So there you have it! The Kids Bathroom. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Thanks for touring!!

{home & garden} name your design {& giveaway!!}

Name Your Design, is a FAVORITE for sure!! Do you know them? You’ve heard me talk about them before, and I’m asked ALL.THE.TIME. where I got the adorable canvas name prints in the Little Punks Playroom.  In my personal opinion they just “make” any room I move them to. I’ve had them in the nursery, the kids bath, and now the playroom….and I fall in love with them again each and every time I move them!

When we finished the playroom last fall I had this nice big blank space that need something fun.

I had picked out the canvas prints probably 8 months before the playroom was complete, I loved the colors and playfulness that they represented. I asked Stacy if I could change the color of each of their names (since the alphabet pattern & colors would be the same on each), so that is the only difference between each print. (For the record, I also really like this dot print and could see mixing the two in a cute grouping…and don’t forget, I have girls so I focus on the girl stuff, but the boys art is not to be missed!!)

For the rest of the wall, I dug out some older white gallery frames from Pottery Barn, as well as a couple bamboo Pottery Barn frames I had purchased for our wedding reception.  The bamboo frames come off a little dark in these photos, but in the room, they give that little bit of warmth it needs.

I like to lay out whatever I’m hanging on the floor in front of the space. From there I pretty much wing it and eyeball it through the whole process, but only because I know my eye.

I usually pick a few key pieces to hang first so that I can use those to space off of for the rest. In this case the white frames acted as my “eye guides”.

Hubs on the other hand is a precise measurer…and since Piper was still a baby and needed a bottle right about now, he took over and I handled the bottle, the baby, the camera, and general ordering around.

When I’m hanging a symmetrical grouping, I try to do it in portions. After completing something, I move to the mirrored side, and then go on to another section and repeat.

Don’t you love the canvas prints!!!  They add that little pop of color the wall needed. And I especially love them on the light smoky blue paint. (The same one as Piper’s Room).

Onto the second side….

And it’s done!

OK, so here is where reality come in.  You all think I’ve “got my act together, everything is perfect” in my house…..yeaaaaah. Let’s get something straight. There ain’t no perfect going on here, just real life. These photos were taken a year ago. Our sitter asked me LAST WEEK why I like to hang my photos sideways….(yep, see them sideways in these photos? That’s because they used to hang somewhere else until I moved them – AND NEVER CHANGED THE PHOTOS).  And as mortified as I was to be called out on that last week, I STILL have not changed them.  I realized I probably needed to get that taken care of for this post, but my printer decided not to cooperate, so nope. They are STILL sideways.

BUT, here is the important part, the Name Your Design canvas prints look PERFECT! I think that’s way I look past the other frames every day :-)

Piper’s hangs in the Playroom Bathroom. I love it. Seriously, I absolutely love what it does to that little space.

But here’s the thing about Name Your Design, As amazing as all their Wall Art is, there is MORE.  Serving trays, placemats, notepads, etc. And I am totally taken by these kids Lunch Boxes, cute, huh!?!?

(Image: Name Your Design)

ANNNNNNND, Stacy also designs for Tiny Prints! You can check our her super cute collection here. {You can even get 15% of orders of $99 or more until 12/31/2011 with promo code TPHOL2011 ~ excludes Erin Condren, William Arthur, custom stamps, mint tins, photo gifts, photo books, calendars and gift certificates.}

Pretty cute huh!?!

Would you believe there is more? Name Your Design Pays it Forward, which honestly makes me so proud of them! With certain designs on their site, they pay forward a portion of the proceeds to help different organizations with their cause. We have this sweet Nie Nie Bird print. I smile each time I walk past it (but unfortunately it fell off the table and the frame broke yesterday so I can’t snap a photo of ours) but it looks just like this (and fits quite well in a black Ikea frame ~ great gift idea…)

OK, so if ALL THAT wasn’t pretty cool already, how about this little early holiday gift from Name Your Design?

They are giving away 1 – 16 x 16 canvas print!!!! You can pick any 16 x 16 canvas single print from their site ~ (giveaway excludes custom silouettes, and sets.) AND they are offering 15% off your ENTIRE ORDER with promo code MFE15 (good through November 25, 2011). What a great way to knock out some holiday gifts!

Here’s the Rules (leave a separate comment for each please):

1. REQUIRED: Comment below with your favorite print from Name Your Design.

2. OPTIONAL: “Like” Name Your Design on Facebook.

3. OPTIONAL: Follow Name Your Design on on Twitter: @designfiles

4. OPTIONAL: “Like” My Favorite Everything on Facebook.

5. OPTIONAL: Follow My Favorite Everything on Twitter: @MyFavEverything

Giveaway closes Saturday, November 12th @ 9:00pm PST. GOOD LUCK!!!

{home & garden} home tour ~ piper’s new room

Got to say, I’m feeling kinda good about the Home Tour promise right now. I think I’ve gotten one out each week, albeit, a couple were half tours, but I’m taking that as a win because I’m getting SOMETHING out about the house! Seriously, most of this work was done 3 years ago.  I’ve had 2 more children since then and my brain is FRIED. But I’ve shown you the Kitchen, and part of the Kids Bath. Then last week it was our first home. This week I’m going back to Piper’s Room. I showed it before, but I’ve done a little bit of work to it, and yes, it was eaiser to show this again, then to dig out other photos…..

Yep, I’m lazy.

So this is Piper’s Room “Before”. Technically it’s Hayden’s “Before” shots since she lived here first.

There were 2 super small windows, horrible popcorn ceilings with water damage down the walls.

And this lovely closet.

The house we bought is an old 50s track home.  The rooms are not large and frankly not a lot of sun.  We knew we needed to “open” things up. We wanted it to feel brighter and also more current.  All of the bedrooms and hallway that connect them all now have wainscoting.  This can be purchased in sheets at building supply stores.  I did choose to make ours taller, therefore not fully utilizing the sheets (I think they are sold in 8 foot lengths). But if you thought you wanted to use wainscoting as a back splash somewhere, or behind shelves this would work well.

Piper’s crib was a spare one from my parents house. (They realized how much easier it was to watch all 3 babes at our house rather than their’s! But at the time they had visions of “one little baby sleepovers” little did we all know!!)

The shelves on either side of the crib are from Ikea. Hubs cut a taller unit into 2 sets for me, and we hung them on either side of the crib. (I’ve searched the Ikea site with no luck, next time I’m at the store I’ll need to check the name for you.)

The rug is also from Ikea. Great bargain! And surprisingly comfortable on your feet.

I’ve said before that the color scheme of the room might not be where I would go if I started today. But I had free fabric that we could use for the window treatments so it just worked better to take this route. I LOVE the paint color though. A nice light smoky blue that we use in both this room and the playroom.

To cover up the popcorn ceiling, we chose to add the white planked boards. I’m not sure  now if they are T&G or up with liquid nails. (If anyone wants to know, leave a comment and I’ll check with Hubs as he and our painter installed them.)  We finished the ceilings off with a nice modern crown. I love that it’s so clean and simple.  Again, because we needed to make the rooms feel bigger and lighten things up, adding the wainscot and also using the planks on the ceiling with a large crown not only achieved that, but also made the rooms feel taller. We chose to paint these all out white and finished with a sheen. Makes the wainscot a breeze to keep clean with the Littles.

This corner is lacking something. A nice tall tree might be nice. But that currently gives me visions of Littles making a mess, so for now, it sits a little bare.

The white cabinet is an old one of Hub’s that we painted out white and updated the hardware. I store extra wipes in it.

The swivel chair matches our Family Room sofa. I had them both made by a discount upholster back when I was pregnant with Addie. They are both white slip-covered. Love taking this route as they get cleaned about once a month in the washer and I always know they are CLEAN.

The cabinet is Piper’s Closet. It was mine from a discount pine vendor back when I was a sophomore in college. I’ve added a few coats of BRIWAX over the years to deepen the color. I should actually photograph how we utilize the inside as it’s surprisingly functional. I think we could use it for one of the Little’s the same way through early grade school.

The closet is still set up for a closet. We have the doors in storage, but at the final hour, I chose to make this the spot for Hayden’s crib. She was tucked away here, before Piper was born. When we moved Piper in, we switched the bed and crib.  It has always bugged me not to have a headboard though. The bed seemed empty in the closet.  I’ll have to write about this little project, I was inspired one afternoon and asked Hubs to build the blue headboard. (Don’t you love that? I was inspired so I asked HUBS to build it!! Ha! Thank goodness he loves me!) Super easy day project for under $40.  The curtain above the bed serves as a canopy look, but is actually the top shelf of a closet (when it becomes one again) and serves for longer term storage now.

I have a few more ideas I would like to do to this spot, but some other rooms are sitting higher on the list at the moment.

Love this photo of little Piper! Sandy Heit is the awesome photographer that snapped it for me when Pipe’s was 2 weeks old.  The chest of drawers is Hub’s from his single days, painted out white. The lamp is an old one from my single days.

I’ve been trying to “kid” up the room a bit, so asked my Dad to hang an cute old bath hook I had from the old house and hung Addie’s Christening gown (as a reminder that we STILL need to Baptize Piper!!) Being that it’s a sweet little pique dress, it’s actually fun with the jean jacket and straw hat :-)

There is lots I would love to do to cute things up more, but you know, that all takes a few more dollars than you ever have in your pocket. But the good news is, if you look around your house, you will almost always find something you can re-purpose, paint, or move around!! All the white bedding is a combination from over the years, and that long white pillow? It has Hayden’s name on the back, I just flipped it backwards….sshhh, don’t tell. Straw pillow is from our wedding. The green pillow is from Pottery Barn and was the only thing I bought for the room when it was Hayden’s nursery.

So there you have it. Piper’s little room! I’m hoping for the Living Room or Playroom next week….hmm let’s see what I can do. Wish me luck!

{home & garden} our first house

Well, technically not our “first” house…

But since it’s our 5 year wedding anniversary this week, I thought it might be fun to write this week’s Home Tour post on our last house.

This house had a front and back house. I rented the back house for almost 8 years I think.  When Hubs and I were married, he moved in with me (we joked as we lived in an area where the streets are alphabetized, single he lived on a “B” street, then he moved with roommates to a “C” street, and finally ended up on a “D” street when we got married…wait, does that mean it was “D Day” for him!?!?)

Anywhooo, we lived in the 600 sq ft back house together until we realized we needed just a “tad” more space. Thankfully our landlords used the front house as a vacation home, so we were able to “move up” and rent it for the next year and 1/2.

As I was looking for some photos for another post, I came across these OLD front house photos that Hubs took for our renters insurance (hence why the images are so small and not from the best camera…)

Our living/family room (though we had no “family” yet), looking into the kitchen. At the time we were changing the guest room/home office into Addie’s nursery (I was 7 months prego).  That armoire on the left became the new home for the printer and all the office equipment and supplies (it used to hold linens and office supplies in the guest room). Our computer moved to the “Kitchen Desk”.

(I was deciding on pillows). That’s a non functional fireplace behind the sofa that we ended up making a “box” to cover it after this photo was taken.

Looking in the opposite direction. Street and eating table (Ikea). I never changed the window covering. It was white and worked.

I’m laughing as I see these photos. So many of this furniture we obviously still have and use…and it looks like these photos were taken around Christmas time (note the gifts stacked by the door.) I remember this house and room being very long and narrow,  and challenging to come up with a good space plan. Plus being a rental, you can’t do too much to your walls.

Our little kitchen.  That is linoleum on the floor (landlords already had it installed, pretty cute, since it looked like tile, and great for a rental!).  They let us paint the cabinets white.  Costco stainless table helped a ton with the lack of counter space. I actually miss having a work table in the center of the room.

Same Ikea cabinets I use today for dishes. Since we were newly married, we had a TON of dishes that need to go somewhere. We had to wait about 3 months for the doors to arrive for these…

Down the backdoor/kitchen hall to my desk (why is my desk always by the back door???)

From the kitchen to the bedroom hallway.

Master Bath (totally laughing that Hubs took these without me, which means this is what our little renters bathroom looked like BEFORE I left for the office…OBVIOUSLY WE DIDN’T HAVE KIDS YET!)

Our bedroom…we still use all the same stuff just in different places.

Hallway to second bedroom. That 2 bookcases are now painted white. One is in our bedroom, one in the playroom.

Second bathroom…can you tell it was for Hubs???

The photos of the second bedroom weren’t much fun. They just showed a room half torn apart as we changed it from guest room/office, to Addie’s nursery. But what I loved while looking at all these photos was realizing how different each of the 3 places we lived have been, and yet we have used almost the exact same furniture and accessories in all of them.  For me it’s about being creative and figuring out how to address your current living needs. A piece of furniture is up for grabs for any room in our house, can be painted any color, and can have anything drilled into it, or added to it.

What about you? Do you like reusing and re-purposing your furniture? Or would you rather just scrap and start again??

{home & garden} kids bath…sort of

Now before you all throw in the towel at me (Oh wait, HA! That pun was not intended!!)… I KNOW last week with our kitchen I promised you a room each week for the Home Tour, but it just was too crazy a week to try and photograph something during the daylight hours…and as much as I wanted to show you the whole Kids Bathroom, the last blooms had just falled off the plant this week….

(That’s what the plant should have looked like…but it is a little brown now and without color….the room just didn’t look as nice.)

So I’m only showing you part of the Kids Bathroom. Sorry. Just think, that means you get to see it in 2 parts!

But let’s focus on the part that I am sharing SOMETHING from the house. That means I’m keeping my word, kind of, right???

A friend was visiting recently and while she walked around, she kept asking about things in the house and why I didn’t write about them. Frankly, I just didn’t think people would interested….or that they already knew. But she reminded me that things you see everyday in your own life, are not necesarily in someone elses life.

So I’m here to share a couple favorites, one being Bath Towels.

Exciting huh?  Well actually, I kinda think these are exciting. I found them at Ikea (but can’t seem to locate online). They have lots of fun colors, and a loop for a hook already sewn on them (you can see it in the photo above). I had each of the girls’ names added to them and hung them on simple chrome hooks from the hardware store. (I think it was about $10/monogram, and $8-9/towel).

The Little Punks LOVE to use THEIR “towel with my name on it”…and I like the way the towels add a fun kid feel to the room.

Across from the towels I hung a super fun print from Made By Girl. Have you heard of the site? Great, great blog with fun design inspiration and a cute shop with adorable prints. I ordered this one and  had it personalized with “Bath Time” rather than someone’s name.

I love the colors and I love the blue (to tie in with the flower pot in the photo above). I used the print as the basis to pick the towel monogram colors for the Littles’ towels. Just a few simple things and a basic white bathroom is a happy kids space.

I’d love to know what favorite things you’ve done in your kids bathroom/s? Any fun websites you used? Design tricks? My tip to you is, it doesn’t need to be big or too expensive to be effective. Simple things go a long way.

{home & garden} our kitchen ~ before, during, after

I am soooooo tardy in sharing our Home Tour with you all. But I’ve been poked in the ribs enough times with all the emails asking “WHEN??” that I’m going to get my booty in gear and get this done for us all.  My goal to you and to myself is to post once a week on our house.

You would think this would be easy, but it involves digging through THOUSANDS of photos we’ve taken along the way, along with taking the updated photo for you.  Which, of course, means I want the rooms to be realitively clean.

But as I’ve said before, the after photos will be how the rooms are 99% of the time.  You may see kids, toys, laundry, or half eaten meals.  And if anyone spots a lost sippy cup or 2, let me know please!

As a recap, this is our house the day we bought it. I’m gonna hang out here while you look through that post and laugh…..

So this is our kitchen the day we bought the house. And that’s me with 6 month old Addie (4 months pregnant with Hayden).

We had not planned on tackling the kitchen when we moved in. Kind of took all our pennies just to buy the house. But we knew we needed to open the front Family Room (meaning raising the ceiling, and pushing out into the backyard. Both being possible because the roof line was existing). That meant that we would be able to get rid of that wall at the end of the kitchen and open the kitchen into the Family Room.

But we really needed to try and live with the Kitchen for the time being. Paint and clean it up, and then hold out.

Thankfully some of the cabinets were actually pretty functional, and again could just be cleaned up.

So much nicer once the wall came down and opened things up a bit.

The ceiling had to be opened as it was just unfinished drywall to patch an old water leak. This helped us as it meant we could update the electrical which was in DESPERATE need of attention.

But then the Heaven’s opened up and had mercy on us. Hubs received a call from a friend who was helping a small design showroom leave their current space. Everything need to go and the space needed to be demoed for future tenants.  If Hubs could take care of it all, then he could have everything. (Let me reitorate, demoing is not Hub’s normal job, but we he was willing to take on whatever to help our house. Hubs’ brain works like this ~ if you want it badly enough, you will find away to make it happen). Lord love him!

So he took on the job.

Hubs grabbed a few guys and paid for a days worth of help. We were able to take the entire stainless kitchen, and most of the cabinets, then sell the rest to both help pay for the help that day, and loads of other house surprises we ran into later on in the project (which you will with an old house).

Now that our kitchen was opened up and more of a blank slate. We brought in some of the base cabinets from the design showroom and started puzzle piecing things together in a fashion that made sense for this space. (The kitchen it came from was filled with angles).

Crazy how a little bit of playing around showed us that we could come up with a very workable configuration for us!

Then we brought back in some of the old upper cabinets, and added trim to update it all.  For counter tops we REALLY had no extra budget. This kitchen basically happened because of that demo job. So even if we dreamed of granite, Ikea’s butcher block counters have worked PERFECTLY for our family. And we were able to add a nice peninsula area for eating with the kids, a work surface, buffet spot, etc.

We also knew that we wanted open shelves somewhere. I love Juliska (no secret) and love seeing the collection out. But practically speaking, I also love the easy access.

To further update the cabinets, Hubs made another trade with a friend to help us make new cabinet fronts.  Then found a stainless steel hood from a Home Depot an hour away. It was being phased out with the release of a new model, so was a steal compared to most new hoods. It was simple, clean lined, and with no brand names. Worked with us.

Coming together more! This is when it started to become real that we really were going to have a brand new kitchen!  WhooHoooo!

Primer went on and it became even more real.

I can’t say enough how important a good painter is. I’ll write about ours one day as he is pretty much my hero for EVERYTHING! Ultimately your painter may not like you for cheaping out in some areas of your home as it will be his job to make it look good.  BUT if you choose to go higher end in areas and cheap out on your painter, you’ve just wasted a whole lot of money because it will look cheap.

I will ALWAYS be ok paying more for a fabulous painter, they are worth their weight in gold.

I mentioned above that we used the Ikea butcher block top on our counters. At the last minute however we were nervous about the undermount sink and water issues with the wood (which probably wouldn’t be an issue today as Ikea is showing this as an option in their showrooms, but at the time, it made us nervous). Thankfully a friend had a piece of a marble slab left over from a project.  It had it’s imperfections, but nothing we couldn’t live with. If we paid for the installation, it was ours. Sold.

This is the kitchen today (well last Friday actually) but it’s the “AFTER” picture.

I love that we were able to reuse so many cabinets, and by just updating the doors and hardware (Ikea handles), and painting it all out white the DIFFERENCE it all made! Remember, some of these cabinets were from the demo job, and some were already here and we just moved them around. So this is an eclectic mix, all with updated trim and white paint.

The Ikea counters are very functional and 3 years into us living here, have never let us down.

We’ve never gotten around to adding the glass to that cabinet. (Which we placed there on purpose as we were able to add a wine fridge from the showroom too. Should have taken a pic of that, sorry. It’s on the other side of the counter.)

Also, note the outlet to the right of the photo, over Addie’s head. If you get the chance to make over, or build a new kitchen, add outlets everywhere you MIGHT want one. Can you imagine having that big counter to work on and having to go back to the wall for the mixer? I can’t tell you how many times we make cookies and ice cream on this counter!

This is my other favorite thing in the kitchen. The door was existing. I asked our painter to cut it in half to make it a make shift Dutch Door. Then he added trim and a little chalkboard paint. When I’m working I can keep the top half open and can still be aware of what’s going on, but the bottom door locked to keep little hands from getting to the desk. It also lets me open the office door (which is the room behind the door) to let more air into the kitchen.

I use the chalkboard everyday. Whatever we need from any store goes on that door. I snap a photo with my phone whenever I leave so the list is always with me.

So there you have it.  We started here….

And ended up here, with the entire project being almost for free. Lots of late nights & sweat, lots of friends & family, and thanks to my fabulous Hubs, keeping an eye out for good deals and helping other friends out. To clarify, while we did have help from Electricians and our FAB painter, the rest of the construction fell to us Hubs, and friends & family.

Happy to answer any questions, just leave a comment below.  Stay tuned for another room next week!

{home & garden} 5 new favorites (& giveway)

Have you been following along the past 5 months while I’ve been trying Arm & Hammer’s products for their The Switch & Save Challenge?  Have you entered for the $25,000 Giveaway over on The Switch & Save site yet??  Ummmm, worth it…SOMEONE has to win, right!?!?  I can think of a WHOLE LOTTA stuff that $25K would be good for!

This final post (and the last $25 Visa Gift Card Giveaway) is a wrap up of the last 5 months. I thought I might do a little recap of each of the products and my favorite thing about them. Let’s go by degree of life changing, with the most life changing at the end of the list.

Continue reading “{home & garden} 5 new favorites (& giveway)”

{home & garden} just a little project…a few books

In the spirit of doing “just a little project”.

Something that has bugged me to no end is the TV in our bedroom. I know there are 2 sides of the fence for whether or not a TV needs to be in the bedroom. For us, it’s a necessity. Our bedroom serves as the only real place we can escape to be alone, and honestly, there is nothing quite like taking a hot shower, putting on your comfy clothes, and crawling into bed with a cup of hot chocolate (or a piece of cake) and catching up on “your shows”.

So yes, there is a TV in our bedroom.

Now that I’ve explained why there is one.  I need to explain why it bugs me. We used to have a small one that I could conceal the TV “stuff” with design books, plants, etc. Then we changed to AT&T’s UVerse, and our little TV couldn’t show the HD channels (which our master DVR was set for) so all the shows were as big as a pin and you couldn’t see them.

So Hubs bought a new TV.

A big one.

He says it was on sale.

But I think he’s planning on hiding in our room from the kids so he can watch Sunday football…

All this meant I was having a lot of trouble “disguising” the receiver box for the DVR (since there wasn’t as much room on top of the cabinet anymore). Until it dawned on me to stack it on smaller books.

My tip for you is that the change doesn’t need to be big to be effective.  Change in itself is always good!