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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Future Master Bathroom

One of the things I regularly tell Adam is that our next house needs to have a real master bath...or at least the option to create a master bath.  I don't mind our bathroom at home, and I feel pretty fortunate that we have 2 full baths in our 100 year old house, but our bathroom just isn't up to "master" status.  My hope is that next in our next house we will have double sinks and a separate shower and bath.  Oh and windows.  I would love some natural light!

I saw this master bath renovation on Poppytalk.  Everything in it is from Home Depot.  Just goes to show you can make ordinary, stock items look unique and interesting.

{images by Kim Christie for Heather Cameron.  Found via Poppytalk}

Can't wait for the day that I can fit into my tub...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray

I've been checking the kid's party blog Hip Hip Hooray for ideas for a future birthday, I may or may not already be planning!  Hey, only half a year left to think about what to do! 

How adorable are these inspiration boards for an "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" Party?

Check out cute ideas for little kid parties here.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cooler Cover Tutorial

Remember the awesome cooler covers Martha came up with for her party?  Remember how we almost spent at least $40 buying buckets for the drinks?  Instead we paid about $5 for thrift store bedsheets to make these great covers?  What a money saver...and they're pretty good looking too! Martha was awesome, and sent over some before pictures and some detail shots.  She created these the night before, on the fly, so we don't have step-by-step shots.  I think you'll get the idea though!

I said before they were pretty dingy and I wasn't lying!

NOT a pretty sight.  So here are the steps.  Note that the bed sheets we picked up were 2 single sized sheets.  They made 3 covers and could probably make 2 more!

Materials: Bed sheets (or fabric), 1/4" elastic, sewing machine, accessories (optional)

1.  Measure across the base of your cooler at it's widest point.  Add enough for your seam allowance + 3. inches.  For the height, measure from the base to the top, add seam allowance + 2 inches.  Cut out your rectangle from your bed sheet (or whatever fabric you decide to use).

2.  Fold your rectangle in half (hamburger style, if you will...) and pin right sides together.  Sew your side seam.

3.  Hem the top and bottom.

4.  Attach the elastic.  Martha used 1/4" elastic.  She pinned the elastic to the inside, near the hem and stretched it as tight as she could while she sewed on top of the elastic.  This will create the gathered effect.

5. Slide over the bottom and ta-da!  You're halfway there! So simple!

Now your lid shape can vary.  All three of these had different lids.  One came off completely, one was hinged and the other was hinged but had two doors.  Here are a few pictures to show what she did for each of them.  You're going to basically do the same thing that you did for the base on the removable lid and the hinged lid, except you'll sew on elastic to hold it in place on the underside of the lid (see below).

This last lid was the hinged double door kind.  Martha created a pillowcase type sleeve for this one, with elastic on the end to hold it in place.

You can also sew the base cover and the lid cover together on the sides so it doesn't slide around.

Martha also added handles and attached snaps on some flowers and the lids.  She can remove the flowers and wash the covers!

Finished, they look like this:

These would be great for an end of the summer/Labor Day party!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Design Star

Adam and I watched HGTV's Design Star during this whole season.  I've seen bits and pieces of other seasons, but this was the first time we watched it start to finish.  We were happy when Emily won...she was our pick from the beginning.  She is quirky and funny and has great style.  Plus her show was an interesting concept and one I know I will watch.  She has an eclectic style, which I really relate to.  I found her design blog and found these pictures of her living room.  I really like this space...The navy is perfect.


my living room 2


And here was one of her room's she designed for the show.  I loved this room.  I wish the picture was better quality because it really is a great space.

ep 9 5

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Heavenly" Cupcakes

First I will tell you that there is nothing nutrionally good about these cupcakes.  But secondly I will say they are soooo worth it.  Everything in moderation, right?  Try these out for your next party...they are a definite winner.

Heavenly White Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c water
1pkg. instant vanilla pudding
1/2 c butter

Combine ingredients and scoop into cupcake liners.  Fill about half full.

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
dash of salt
white chocolate chips

Drop a tablespoon of filling into each cupcake.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool and frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.  Then pass out from their goodness.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Martha's 24th Anniversary of her 26th Birthday

We had the big party on Saturday and it went really well.  There were about 5 million things I had planned on doing that I just ran out of time on, but I still thought it turned out fabulous.  The party was mostly outside where the pool and the "Tiki Room"are located.  The Tiki Room is already so well decorated, we didn't think the outside needed a whole let of decor.  We kept the decorations mostly to the food table inside.  We used the colors of their outdoor space as the jumping off point.  We also were serving authentic Mexican food (50 lbs. of yummy carne asada + homemade tortillas!) so we also wanted to have a bit of Latin flair for the party.  Here is the invitation as a refresher:

I thought that the bunting on the invitation looked similar to doilies.  So I picked up some doilies from the dollar store and dyed them in food coloring.  I think they looked really sweet.  I dyed 50 of them but only had time to put up one little strand of them.  I also made a quick birthday banner using scrapbook paper and ribbon.  I hung different colored ribbon from the ceiling and made a few tissue poms as well.


Martha and I went to the thrift store and picked up some vases and plates in our colors and style scheme.  We then glued some of them together to create cake stands and used the rest as flower vases.  I made two different kinds of cupcakes.  I wish I would've taken a more detailed shot of the cupcakes.  They were both delicious!  The first was a Key Lime Coconut cupcake.  I liked this one because it was so different from any cupcake I've ever had.  Tart and limey!  The recipe was from here.  The other cupcakes we call "Heavenly Cheesecake" cupcakes.  I got the recipe from my friend Jess.  I had so many compliments on them.  I will share the recipe sometime this week!  They are out of this world yummy.

I had really wanted use doilies to put around the cupcake wrappers, as seen here, but again, I just ran out of time!

Martha suggested we use coolers for all the drinks.  The coolers were pretty dingy and beat up though.  My Dad and I were going to pick up some metal buckets to use instead.  The buckets would have been around $20 each...pretty pricey for a party!  Martha came up with a brilliant idea.  We went to the thrift store and picked up some sheets that coordinated with her outdoor space.  Then she created these awesome cooler covers!  I seriously think this was the best idea of the whole party.  So clever!  And they look pretty cute too.  I'll try and get a quick tutorial up this week.  They were really fast to make and seriously look so much better than the yucky coolers.  Plus they're removable and washable!

I was kind of all over the place trying to get things ready, visiting with people and entertaining Rilo so I didn't get as many photos as I wanted.  I should have taken a picture of the fantastic food we served and of the awesome Tiki Room.  I was also hoping to do a "photobooth" with sheet as the backdrop, but by the time I was ready to take the pictures it was dark.  And since I've never once used my flash (I prefer natural light), I tried to take some pictures with the flash, and what do you know?  It doesn't work!  Photobooth FAIL.

But all-in-all, it was a success!  So glad Rilo and I were there to celebrate with Martha and to see family!

Delayed Post

The party post will be up in a few hours!  Check back later today!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Party Sneak Peek

This has been a fun, but exhausting trip!  Rilo and I are headed back to Chicago to see Adam.  We can't wait to see him!  I'm going to hold off on editing all the pictures until I'm on my iMac but here's a quick picture from the party.  I have pictures, recipes and possibly a semi-tutorial for you this week.  And if we can help the house recover from the party, I might get a little house tour up as well.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Do you get your Groupon on?  I just recently found out about the site, via some friends on Facebook.  Here's how it works: There is a deal a day in most of the larger cities in the US.  If you're interested, you enter your information to buy it.  Each deal has a minimum amount of buyers needed in order for you to get the Groupon.  From what I've observed, it's pretty rare that the minimum number is not met.  Once the number is hit, you get your Groupon!  I just scored a $50 gift certificate to Gap for $25!

The Gap Groupon was the first national deal that was offered in every city.  Generally they support local places...I like the concept of supporting businesses in the area by guaranteeing them a certain amount of sales, while also giving consumers  (read: me) an awesome deal. 

And with that, I'm off for the weekend.  We are busy getting ready for the big party.  I have some banners to create and about 100 cupcakes to make!  I can't wait to share next week!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Party Lights

These Cable and Cotton lights are perfect.   I want them in every color!  You can order the lights in premade color sets or create your own to fit your needs.  I am hoping to have a little outdoor dinner party when we return home to celebrate us coming back and to celebrate my then belated birthday.  I think these would be lovely for the event!


And it just dawned on me, just before I hit "post" why these look so familiar.  My freshman year of college I had lights that looked like these, in earthy tones of green, cream and white.  I had completely forgotten about them!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Paper Bag Skirt

Just another project to add to my list.  This skirt, in an adult version! 

Rilo and I are on our way to Arizona today!  Can't wait to see family (most of whom haven't even met Rilo Jane yet) and throw a fabulous party, for the fabulous Martha! 

I have two goals for when we get back:

1.  Finally take photos of my $200 Rental Redesign.  The summer is almost over!
2. Sew, sew and sew.  I'm feeling a little guilty about my fabric stash.  It's just sitting and collecting cobwebs (quite literally, Chicago is pretty buggy!). 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Pretty Thing

Thanks to One Pretty Thing for featuring my printable birthday reminder calendar.  If you're looking for a site to inspire you (or overwhelm you with a million projects that you will want to do) then One Pretty Thing is for you!  Rachel does all the hard searching for you and rounds up all the DIY projects, crafts, free printables and other great ideas from all over the internet and the posts them in separate categories daily.  Be sure to check it out!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Amber, Whit and Josie

Here's a few more from our little photo session last week.  It was so nice posing Amber and Whit...It was great to have subjects who did what I asked of them!  And Josie was excellent practice for next summer when Rilo will be her age!  It definitely takes some effort to get a good shot of a toddler!

Whit was a good sport.  She had been at the pool and packing all day long and just came to watch.  I forced her to do a few pictures.  Doesn't she look great for not getting all dolled up?

Here's cute little Josie.  It's hard to believe she was Rilo's age last summer and now is walking and talking!

And lastly, a few more of Amber.

I love how much there is to learn about photography.  I have no current plans for it, other than to document our life, but I really love working on specific skills and seeing progress.  Sometimes I think I have too many hobbies, but I really love them all and can't begin to think about narrowing them down. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Photos, Birthdays, and Closings

Yesterday, I asked some of the girls out here in Chicago to do a fun little photoshoot.  I love taking pictures of Rilo, but I wanted to practice on some other subjects.  Photography is such a fun hobby!  I might post some more of these next week after the girls give their stamp of approval.  Here's one I love of Amber:

Tomorrow marks the 25th birthday of my best friend!  Happy early birthday Marbear!!!

{Circa Halloween 2003?!  We won Most Creative at the Halloween Dance...mostly because we stayed in "tourist" character the WHOLE dance}

And lastly, I was sad to hear that Shade is closing down.  They are great for basics...I have several of their tees!  Boo!  But at least we can enjoy their sale


Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spray Paint

Most of the furniture pieces we picked up out here, we spray painted to spruce them out.  I really like spray paint because it's quick and clean up is easy.  I have always felt a little limited, however, with color choices.  I was looking for a muted orange color for Rilo's light in the nursery and ended up going with a brown (which I ended up loving) because I couldn't find the right color!  Little did I know, there is actually a pretty great selection of colors on the manufacturers websites.  Here is Valspar's collection:

Thanks to Everything LEB for the heads up on this!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Early Birthday

Adam's Mom sent me my early birthday presents.  Two sewing books!  I've had my eye on this book by Martha for awhile now:

And she also picked out this vintage book called Sew Retro.

I've been flipping through them and I love them so far.  They both have some really great projects that I can't wait to start on!  Such thoughtful gifts!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I went shopping for clothes for me for the first time on Friday since having Rilo.  We went to the 3 story H&M downtown, and it felt so good to get a few things to spice up my wardrobe.  But when I go shopping once, it becomes increasingly hard to stop there.  I've been peeking at online sites over the weekend, lusting over the new fall lines.  I remembered to check out Ruche.  I like Ruche because it's a step or two above Forever21 but not quite as pricey as Anthro, but equally feminine.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

I especially love the last two.   Perfect for the cooler autumn air!