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!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Emma Kate's 2nd Birthday Party: Breakfast Buffet and Baby Dolls

If you've never read my parties post and why I love birthdays and celebrating little lives, you can go here to read it. I'm a big fan of the Thanks-Pinterest-But-I'm-Gonna-Do-It-The-Cheapest-Way-Possible party. As in, no I will not be making your birthday donuts from scratch, but we will most definitely throw away the boxes and make it look like we have baked them ourselves.

Apparently I'm also a fan of taking the simplest idea possible (i.e. "This year I am just doing donuts") and then getting to the Walmarts and turning that idea into something way more involved (i.e. "Ok fine, we will do a toddler breakfast buffet full of all sorts of sugary goodness and every single food will match our party colors and decor.") My brain runs away from me sometimes. But I never have any regrets. I love a party; y'all know that by now. 

And you also know that I love our party themes to go along with whatever my child loves at that age, be it princesses or pirates or polkadots. And Emma Kate is my little momma; she loves, loves, loves her baby dolls and taking care of babies and seeing real babies, so I knew we'd have a baby doll party. The donut idea came from our friend Charlotte who had the sweetest little donut party back in November. And then of course when I went to Walmart for pink plates, I passed the cereal aisle and saw some light pink strawberry-flavored Cheerios, and my brain exploded like confetti into all things breakfast-y. Which meant I was late picking the kids up from school because I was walking around the Walmarts looking for other pink breakfast foods. Super.

Well, enough, talking, here's our spread! 

The donuts were from Dunkin Donuts - I lucked out on the colors. Went by the morning of the party and they had these "spring" donuts that were being featured. And they were already pink and mint green! Score.

We had ice cold milk and OJ to drink. I even bought some cheap bottles at the dollar store and snipped the nipples off at the top and let all the kids drink out of bottles. So basically by the end of our party, all the children had regressed to their infant ways AND they all had blood sugars over 400.

Other foods: fruit, strawberry frosted pop tarts, Lucky Charms bars, pink yogurt, powdered donuts, and pink yogurt melts for the younger babies. And all of these pre-packaged treats were removed from their individual wrappers and placed on serving trays. I'm sure I fooled everyone.
The chevron tubs held 3 different cereals: Special K with Strawberries, Strawberry Mini Wheats and the strawberry Cheerios; I used my clear acrylic scoops for the cereal.

This mantle was kind of just a hodge podge of different items I pulled from her room and my craft room; the banner was from Jamie's baby shower, and the paper dolls framed picture was in my room as a little girl and now hangs in the girls' room. (The eggs are there because of Easter.)

This was on the table by the front door; blue Bottle Pop suckers for the boys and then some bottle-shaped candy mold suckers for the girls. (These were super easy! I had never used the molds before but they have molds in so many different shapes! I used the white and pink candy melts and the candy sticks. I was really impressed with how easy they were. Just microwave the melts, fill the molds and chill in the fridge!)

And because most everyone Instagram's these days, I made this little sign from scrapbook paper .

For the baby doll part of the party, I just set up different stations around the house. The only thing I bought for this portion of the party was a little pack of 10 plastic baby bottles and 10 plastic rattles in the baby shower section of Hobby Lobby. We had blankets, bottles, rattles and some baby doll clothes.

Changing station (My friend Lyndsey brought me a pack of NB-sized diapers to use. I started to order the Baby Alive doll diapers on Amazon but they were a little pricey for doll diapers. Ummm no.)

We had a bath station with little wash cloths and a bath tub and pretend lotions.

And a doctoring station where they could bring their babies for a checkup, a bandaid and a sticker or small toy as a treat.

 We also had about 12 strollers buzzing around the room at at time, so there was plenty of excitement.

I set up the doll high chairs and some pretend food and spoons and plates in the girls' room and they had fun feeding their babies in here.

We even had a couple of real babies come to our party - Graham, Tucker, Amelia and Gracie - so that made it extra fun.

 And we brought out some boy toys too for all our little guys; but I think they had just as much fun with the baby dolls!

Our friends brought Emma Kate all kinds of sweet gifts and we had fun opening them.

My sweet girl was worn out after her morning shindig - and all the sugar. She crashed before the party was even over and slept the afternoon away! I'm so thankful for this precious life. She makes me laugh every day with her sweetness and her sassy little sister ways. Love you forever, Emma Kate!

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