Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dining Room Update

Since I'm wide awake and happen to have the pictures handy, I thought I'd post about my recent dining room update. There's lots more exciting things going on around here than a room re-do, but I'll have to save all that for another post (or twelve.) Hopefully I can get to them sooner than later!

Ok, long story short, I loved the colors of my "before" dining room and really didn't have a problem with it, except for that I just felt it was a little bit formal and didn't really fit the flow of the rest of our living areas upstairs... which are more family-ish and fun and funky? Does that make sense?
Well, I didn't actually have any plans for a re-do any time soon, but one day I posted a picture of my living room on Instagram because, well, it was clean and I needed to document the occasion and show off my new $30 robins egg blue thrift store chair. One of my friends commented and asked me if I followed this blog, which I had never heard of, but when I went to her Instagram page and then her blog and I saw her giant chalkboard in her dining room (swoon!), I knew this was the direction I wanted to go! So I started with the jumbo chalkboard idea and just went from there! Isn't Little Miss Momma's chalkboard TO DIE FOR??

Now, just as a reminder, I'll show everyone the BEFORE PICTURE:

Like I said before, there was really nothing terribly wrong with this dining room and I still LOVED it! But there was no sense in having such a formal room right off our main living area that the kids weren't really even allowed to set foot in because it was only for parties and special occasions. I needed it to serve us better. So the first thing to go was the paint. (And FYI, I'm pretty sure the first color was called "Appletini" but I can't remember who makes the paint!) 

I went with a very light gray-ish blue, because I wanted to be able to add lots of colors to the room without feeling like they would clash with the walls. The new color is Behr's Limelight. I love it.

I painted it myself one morning while the kids were at school, and I could tell right away that the color was going to be a good fit! 

Once the walls were painted I began to decide on exactly what else I wanted to do. 
I bought these 4 Pier One rattan dining chairs (pictured below) from a picker in my hometown; they were sitting outside his building and still had the Pier 1 stickers on them (they retail for around $150 a piece!) I asked him about them and after confusing him by telling him they were from Pier 1 ("I never got nuthin' from no pier!" he said), I convinced him to sell all 4 of them to me for $75. Total. So there ya go. Pickin' at its finest. They were brown but the paint was coming off and they needed a paint job. I had not planned on painting them a bright color until I saw this spray paint at Lowes. Rust-Oleum's "Lagoon." Be still my turquoise-loving heart. I just knew I wanted that color. So I primed and spray painted the seats and backs of the chairs.

And because I do love me some shimmer, I painted the legs gold. I love how they turned out.

Next came the chalkboard. I pretty much followed Little Miss Momma's tutorial for a jumbo chalkboard.  My board is smaller than hers though - it is 4 feet by 3 feet. I bought a large 4ft x 8ft piece of MDF board at Home Depot; had them cut it to 4 ft x 3 ft. Then painted the entire board with magnetic chalkboard primer, followed by chalkboard paint (2-3 coats of each, drying in between.) I also bought 2 long pieces of crown molding, enough to frame my entire board. Instead of actually framing the board, I just sawed the pieces of molding to size, and glued them ON TOP of the chalkboard. So it's not actually a framed chalkboard, it just looks framed - does that make sense? I also didn't want to worry about having to miter the corners of my molding, so I just cut the pieces straight and bought 4 little decorative molding squares and put them in the corners. I nailed all of the molding down with nails and used glue for the decorative corner squares. I used latex caulk to seal all of the cracks and holes, including the crack between the MDF board and molding pieces, which runs all the way around the outside. Then I gave the frame and outside border a coat of paint (BM's White Dove, leftover from kitchen cabinets.) I used the 200lb Hangman brand mount from Home Depot ($14.99) and it was a breeze to mount! *Don't skip the caulking step, because it won't look finished and won't look like it is actually framed!*

Once the chalkboard was hung, it was time to start bringing in my happy things. 

This little side table used to be in our den, and I decided to use it as a sort of mini-bar type entertainment area. The mirror is the same mirror that was in the room before, I just painted it gold.

The curtains were a fun and new project for me. I hung a set of white Ikea panels first and then felt like it needed a little something extra. I bought this orange patterned curtain panel at Target and decided to make faux Roman shades... using... my glue gun. That's right. I don't really have a tutorial on this since I just sort of winged it, but there are hundreds of DIY Roman Shade tutorials on Pinterest that use mini blinds. I just didn't want to buy mini blinds. So mine look like shades that you can pull, but actually the folds are just glue gunned down. Ha! (And I probably wouldn't try this on fabric that wasn't patterned with some sort of lines, because it would be nearly impossible to get your folds correct! This was easy because of the pattern; I was able to get them all even.)

Here's a picture of the finished product, plus my little model.

 I'm soooo happy with this room and I'll post a better picture tomorrow once I take one with my actual camera! For now the phone pictures will have to do!

Happy decorating!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy 6th Birthday, Addie Jane!

 Cousins most definitely make the greatest friends. I can't believe Addie Jane and Mary Ella are turning 6 this year! Where does the time go? Feels like yesterday I was writing this post about newborn Addie, and now here we are about to send her and Mary Ella to 1st grade in the fall. *tears*
We were fortunate enough to get to spend a fun weekend in Atlanta celebrating Addie Jane's 6th birthday. Her mama (my 1st cousin Ashley) booked us a hotel room next to the North Point Mall in Alpharetta, GA, and we had such a fun time getting away together.
Ashley and Addie Jane drove down to Birmingham on Friday morning. Mary Ella was at school until noon so we picked her up and headed out of town! First we let Addie Jane open her gifts in the car - a rain coat and boots for her new American Girl doll, Josefina, as well as a travel carrying case that will hold her doll and a few outfits. All of the girls were so excited.

(P.S. This picture below captures Emma Kate's sneaky personality so well. Stinker.)

Dolls and girls, ready to go!

We arrived just in time for our 5:30pm reservation at the American Girl Bistro in the North Point Mall. We decided since we'd eaten a late lunch that we'd just eat some birthday desserts in the bistro and then get a late dinner. The girls were so excited and they were treated like special guests, as were their dolls. The servers brought each doll a high chair that hooked onto the table, as well as a tiny teacup and saucer.

This girl was in baby doll heaven.

And the big girls thought it was pretty fun, too.

The girls ordered pink lemonades which were brought out with pink-striped paper straws.

The dessert menu is filled with all sorts of yummy goodies. Ashley and I decided to split the chocolate fondue tray, which came with sprinkle-covered marshmallows, brownie bites, and strawberries with a warm chocolate sauce for dipping.

These little boxes were on the table, and inside are questions to help pass the time.

Mommy photo! Ashley and I grew up together (our moms are sisters), so it's so fun watching our girls do the same.

The little girls each ordered "Cookies & Milk." This included 2 cookies (they picked between chocolate chip and sugar cookies, and white or chocolate milk.). The milk was served ice cold in a white porcelain bottle with a little upside-down teacup on top, and they got to pour their milk into their own teacup.

After our quick dessert, we headed into the store next door and let the girls run wild. There's plenty to look at and, if you are a millionaire, there's also plenty to buy! (Ha! I'm only half kidding. I do love their stuff, but it's definitely hard to purchase when you can get the Target/Walmart stuff for so much cheaper.)
Addie Jane and Mary Ella stuck together the entire time and poured over every display, outfit and accessory. Addie Jane had some birthday money to spend, so these girls had some decisions to make.

In the end, sweet Addie Jane bought both herself AND Mary Ella an outfit for their dolls - they chose one of Julie's outfits - a 70's inspired tunic dress with boots and a head wrap. Addie certainly didn't have to do this but we weren't surprised at all and are so thankful. We love you AJ!

Next, we headed to the carousel, dolls in tow.

Then finally we decided to eat a very late dinner at Cheesecake Factory and headed to the hotel. We stayed at the Hyatt Place, right across from the mall, and I would highly recommend this hotel. It could have easily slept 6 people + kids. Our room had a huge sectional that folded into a bed, as well as 2 double beds. Next time I go to Atlanta for an overnight trip, we will be staying here again.

We slept in (hallelujah!) then woke up and grabbed a quick breakfast downstairs. I snapped this picture outside. The only to-go cups they had for kids were the coffee cups. EK was carrying hers around like she was a celebrity.

The girls were so excited to pack up their dolls in their new outfits and head out!

Our first and only stop on the way home was Ikea, of course. Now, Ikea on a Saturday isn't nearly as much fun as a weekday trip, because of crowds, but I'll take what I can get. What we didn't know was that it was some sort of Family Day at Ikea, and pretty much everyone within a 5-state radius had come to shop that day. Cue panic attack. But again, we'll take what we can get. We decided to brave the crowds anyway.

We waited 30 minutes to check the big girls into the kids area... only to be told our pick-up time was a mere 45 minutes away. Ummm what? Yeah. It was that crowded. So we basically made it through the kitchen dishes and then had to go back and get the girls. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind Ikea trip but we still found some goodies and the girls were such troopers. I'm just glad we made it out alive. And I think I'll save my Ikea trips for during the week from now on.

This was the perfect overnight getaway and we're so thankful we have Addie Jane in our lives. They've never known life without each other and I look forward to watching them grow up together. Love these girls. Happy 6th Birthday, Addie Jane! We love you oh so much.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentines Day 2014

Well, it snowed an entire 0.2 inches in our neighborhood so we were OUT.OF.SCHOOL for the ENTIRE.WEEK. That is, until Friday. Which happened to be the day of the school parties. The day all the little crafties and snacks were due.
Thank the good Lord I had sent the classroom letter out the week before so everyone knew what to bring. And being room mom, I've learned that it's easiest for me to delegate all of the food to the other mamas and I just handle the decor and paper products. I usually have quite a few things that I bring from home so it's easier if I don't also have a dish to make or a nugget tray to pick up. This system proved to work well on this day as well.
We kicked off our Valentines Day with scratch-made red velvet waffles before school. Ummm, just kidding. We ate these the night before, and they weren't made from scratch; they were made from a box of red velvet pancake mix that I purchased at World Market. I added chocolate chips and they were delish. Anytime we have pancakes we also eat this sausage & hashbrown casserole - sooo yummy.

And luckily, since we'd already experienced a snowed-in week at the end of January, I had put off laundry in order to take care of the ever-important Valentines. I had a coupon from both Tiny Prints and Shutterfly, so I used those and ordered Sam and Emma Kate some Valentines. (Since they both needed less than 10 Valentines, I was able to order the minimum amount and with my coupons these barely cost $20 for all of them.) I've never had Valentines printed like this before but I love how they turned out. 

Emma Kate's - sweet and simple. I bought a sucker bouquet at Target for $2 and tied one sucker to each little card. The Valentines are only 2x3" so I loved the tiny size.

When I saw these super hero Valentines on Shutterfly's site I knew I had the perfect picture of Sambo to go on them. I love this picture of him in his blue coat with his glasses. I also found the heart-shaped superhero themed suckers in the Target seasonal section. They were a little more - $2 a piece, but since he only needed 6 total I bought them. They worked perfectly with the cards.

And Mary Ella wanted Frozen Valentines but when we looked the first time, we couldn't find Disney Frozen ones so we just made our own on PicMonkey (they did have them the next time we went to Target but we'd already made these, so oh well.) We paired them with some turquoise rock candy suckers from Etsy.

Little Miss didn't go to school on the day of the parties, but she dressed the part! My littlest Valentine.

And for all your room mommies out there, let me tell you - the easiest way to dress up your school parties is to just bring your decorations from home. Heck, I even took my kitchen chalkboard right off the wall. I mean, I put too much effort into my chalk art for it not to be on display, right? ;)

We ate a few snacks, but the real treat for this party was the ice cream and toppings bar! We let the kids do their own toppings and they had a blast. We had everything from pink heart-shaped marshmallows to sprinkles to chocolate chips and conversation heart candies. I used my ice cream dishes from Home Goods.

We do all our kindergarten class parties in the activity room because the classroom gets a little crowded with all the kids and parents. I brought some simple glass vases, some fake gerber daisies (also from home), and rolled out some $1 pink wrapping paper as our table runner. Sprinkled some conversation hearts on the table and our decor was done! The plates, napkins and ice cream bowls are from Target.

Little sister was more than happy to join in on the ice cream fun.

And here's my Valentine from Mary Ella: 

And I can't mention Valentines Day without telling you about the little princess I was finally able to meet that night. Gracie Lynn Bradford was born on the 12th and I finally got to see her Friday night! She's absolutely amazing. You can read more about her here! I can't wait to watch her grow up.

Happy Valentines Day to you and yours!
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