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Baby Brownie turned 4 last month and we hosted a princess tea party for her. She (and every other 4-year-old girl I know) has really gotten into dressing up as a princess lately and I knew she would have so much fun with a super girly pink princess party.
It’s funny, when Baby Brownie was born I swore I wouldn’t buy into the princess thing, but I guess that has gone the way of so many other parenting resolutions! So I decided to embrace my feminine side, and I figured, if you’re gonna do a princess tea party, you might as well go whole hog.
I ordered satin chair covers and tableclothes from Linentablecloth.com for a steal. I think the chair covers were less than $2 each on sale! Totally affordable. I tied them on to the chairs really tight and safety-pinned the tablecloth to the table legs to minimize any potential catastrophes.
The milk glass vases I’ve collected over the years from thrift shops came in handy as centerpieces. I love those versatile bud vases — they are so sculptural, yet they go with everything. I found gorgeous multi-colored ranunculus at Trader Joe’s. They are my favorite spring flower and their season is so short, so I’m glad I got to use them!
The white ceramic tea cups were another budget find. They are espresso cups from World Market that come in a set of 6 and were the perfect child-sized teacups. I got two sets and used a $10 off coupon. The sparkly paper plates were from Target and the plastic rose-gold flatware was from Michaels. The flatware was a hit; multiple people picked them up and were astonished that they were plastic!
We filled the drink dispenser with lemonade and set out a bowl of kettle corn for appetizers.
The little princesses made a rainbow of color and it was the cutest thing watching them play together in their sweet dresses. This is a particularly mature bunch of kids who were able to sit still and drink “tea” (water or lemonade) without breaking anything!
As Brownie gets older, her birthday parties have increasingly become about the fun that she and her friends can have playing together. I know, it seems obvious, but this is the first year she has truly had a preference for who she wants to invite and what she wants to do.
I’m so proud of what a confident and independent little girl she has become. She is completely comfortable spending time by herself with her books and crayons, yet she is also willing and happy to socialize with her peers.
I got to use my beloved thrifted brass server finally! See, I knew there was a reason I kept it around!
I bought these paper crowns from Daiso and the kids had so much fun decorating them with stickers.
Along with the crowns, I set up a craft table with princess coloring pages (downloaded from Crayola.com) and chunky crayons.
Gratuitous shot of my little prince.
Can you believe I ordered this ombre rosette cake from Albertsons? It was $35 for a 10-inch cake and it served all the kids and adults (we had about 15 adults and 10 kids). It was also delicious! Chocolate inside with strawberry filling.
My little princess had a spectacular time and she said the cake was her favorite part.
We didn’t really do party favors — instead we hid Easter eggs all around the yard and the kids had a blast doing an Easter egg hunt and brought all the treats home in princess favor bags ($1 for 20 from Walmart).
These photos were taken by my good friend Rachel Chen, who is starting her own photography business! Contact her if you need an LA / Orange County photographer! Seriously, she is just starting out right now so book her now because in a year, she will be booked and much more expensive, I would wager!
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Aha, we’re finally doing a little bit of updating around here.
It’s been hard to find uninterrupted time to take photos of the work we’ve been doing around the house. So I apologize in advance if these photos aren’t the greatest. I’ll do my best to post more later.
As usual we forgot to take before pictures, so these progress pics give you an idea of how much work this loft bedroom entailed. This bedroom is right above the family room and it’s actually a perfect place for guests — away from the rest of the bedrooms but with its own ensuite bathroom for both privacy and convenience. It started out pretty rough though.
The outdated wallpaper had been stuck on to bare drywall without primer, and was impossible to remove without gouging up the walls, so we ended up sealing it with an oil based primer before painting over it.
What you don’t see here is the dank, musty, forest-green carpet that had been collecting leaking water for years. We removed it the first day we got the keys to this house. We also had to fix some leaks in the roof and replaced the window.
The first bed that Chris built is the guest bed with a super comfy memory foam mattress. It does get hot up there in the loft, so right now I just have a thin bedspread on the bed (from Ikea).
We did a planked treatment for the ceilings to camouflage any not-so-skillful drywall seams. Chris found this tongue-and-groove pine planking that was much thinner and cheaper than buying wood planks. The raw pine looks kind of rustic and cottagey which is nice for up here, I think.
The wall hanging was purchased when we were backpacking in Asia.
I’ve been hoarding that wood carving(?) for a few years; just needed the right spot to put it.
Below are a couple wide angle shots we took earlier (hence why things are arranged a bit differently). They give you an idea of the entire layout of the room.
The dormer actually adds a lot of extra space. We recently had friends stay with their two toddlers and the dormer was able to accommodate one of the kids, while the other child slept on a small mat beside the bed.
I think I’m just going to hang a curtain in front of the closet — the nightstand is so close to the opening that doors won’t be practical. And as you can see, the furniture up here is pretty mismatched, as most guestroom furniture tends to be. But it’s comfortable for guests, and that’s what matters at this point.
It’s a pretty relaxing place to take a nap, which is one of my favorite things to do ;).
I will update more later, as we slowly improve this space!
I must be a sucker for punishment or something. We’re immersed in a gut bathroom reno, and our next child is due in less than 2 months which we have made NO preparations for, and somehow I decided I was going to attempt my very first quilt for my 2-year-old daughter. Luckily it turned out all right…
I might even go so far as to say, it turned out much better than my expectations. (By the way, please don’t pay any attention to my very dusty floor. I’d like to blame my daughter’s chalkboard, which is right outside of the frame, but really, I’ve just been lax on vacuuming that corner.)
I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at simple quilts and decided that simple straight strips of fabric would be the easiest, quickest, and most forgiving for my less-than-stellar sewing skills. (To be precise, I literally have to look up how to wind a bobbin every time I use the sewing machine.)
All of the fabrics are scraps/remnants that I’ve picked up over the last couple years at Joanns. I always check their remnant pile for cute fabrics, which are always 50% off, and turned out just perfect for this project. The quilt back is an old fitted sheet that no longer fits any of the beds we own now.
I made this quilt approx 40″ by 55″ so that even when Brownie outgrows it she’ll still be able to use it as a throw blanket to snuggle with. I bound it with store-bought bias tape, because after putting together the quilt top I was in no mood to cut and make my own bias tape (although it might have been cuter). The store-bought stuff is great! The filling is polyester, because I already had a piece of polyester batting in my stash, though next time (if there IS a next time) I’ll try cotton.
I quilted it “in the ditch” aka along the seams. Straight line quilting seemed the easiest to handle for me.
There are far better tutorials than I could provide out on the Net (by people who actually know how to use their sewing machines), so I’ll just link to a few of them here.
How to sew a strip quilt top
How to baste and quilt your strip quilt
How to bind your finished quilt
I feel that after sewing this quilt I have a much better idea of how to work my sewing machine. Next time I might attempt…dum dum dum…square blocks!
What do you think? Is quilting something you would attempt? Do you get intimidated by sewing in a straight line like I do?
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It occurred to me lately that the guestroom pictures I have up on this site don’t reflect the current style of the guest room.
This is what it looks like now:
I apologize for the harsh light but this was the only time of day I could find to take this picture…it’s been a busy day.
It used to look like this:
I liked the red and white scheme for a while but decided I wanted something a little more grown up. Also, the bohemian sheer curtains were pretty but didn’t block any light…kind of the opposite of what you want in a bedroom. So I bought some ticking stripe fabric and clipped it up for curtains (just before my parents came to stay for a couple of weeks).
There are some framed pictures in the chair that I haven’t gotten a chance to put up yet…
I picked up this little mid century nightstand for $5 at a neighbor’s garage sale. I moved one of the old lamps from the master bedroom into this room.
This room is getting a little closer to where I want it to be. but there still needs to be a lot more COLOR added. I do like having a base of neutrals and adding colors on top of it. Unfortunately the budget doesn’t really allow me to go all out shopping for accessories, haha! Which brings me to my next point…
I sometimes wish I had unlimited funds to decorate, not necessarily to buy expensive stuff, but because it would be so much easier to get things consistently looking “my style”. Our current style is much more about finding thrifty deals, making them over, using what we have, building our own, etc… I sometimes wistfully think about HOW I would decorate a room if I could make it all over completely. It’s totally unrealistic, haha =). But on the other hand, there’s also something really cool about looking at the great things we’ve found for a song, and seeing how everything in our home has gradually gotten collected or created.
Like that mid century nightstand — I mean, it’s definitely a high to find something that cool at a garage sale for five bucks. Or for example, look at some of the really awesome things that Chris has created, like the rustic DIY dining table, or the industrial chandelier, or even the lamps that I just spray painted. If we had an unlimited budget we never would have found/created those things. So…I guess frugality begets creativity. And the real fun is in the process.
I mean, sure, it would be fun to go to Restoration Hardware and buy everything to furnish my house, but then… my home would just look like a RH catalog.
It’s easy to compare your home with others (especially all those gorgeous blogs out there) and wish you had similar things, but at the end of the day it’s more satisfying to use your creativity and the ingenuity you never would have used otherwise, right?
Plus, what do you do when your home is DONE?
The master bedroom slash office has been my pet project for the past month. It’s still far from done, but I’ve changed more in the last month than I have in the past year. It’s gratifying to get something done, right?
I’ve had plain white IKEA curtains up since we moved in. When we moved into this house (which has LOTS of windows), I just went with white curtains everywhere because 1) They’re cheap at IKEA, 2) I didn’t have to think about it too much, and 3) White goes with everything. White does get a little bland though, especially in this room where I don’t have anything up on the walls yet. So I decided to glam up the curtains a little bit with Greek key trim, inspired by this image from Pinterest.
Did you know that Greek key trim is expensive? Especially the 3″ wide trim I was looking at, especially enough to do 4 curtain panels? Then, I found this awesome post by Bethany at Dwellings by Devore and I found my solution! She simply ordered a few yards of Premier Prints’ Towers fabric, which has a Greek key-inspired pattern on it. She cut the fabric into strips, folded over the raw edges, and sewed them to the edges of her curtains. Genius!
I ordered 3 yards of navy Premier Prints fabric from Fabric.com (at just $8 a yard) and did just that. Tadaa!
The office area, which previously looked like this (with my newly refinished desk):
Now looks like this:
(I still need to put the closet door back on the wall to the right; please disregard that for now!)
The bland wall on this side of the room is livened up a little by the graphic trim, though much still remains to be done…
A headboard, for example, would be nice. (Psst, instructions for building the DIY king-size bed frame are here).
There’s a lot of projects coming up here. I’m switching out the small lamps for larger scale ones (another DIY), and I’m bringing in more navy accents to pick up on the curtain trim and that blue pillow. I’ve also ordered the fabric for the headboard…just need some time to make it now…
And some art or other decorative element above the bed. But definitely something simple. I like the spare, serene feeling in here and don’t want to lose it.
What do you think of my little budget Greek key trim update? An easy way to bring a graphic element into a room, right?
P.S. My love affair with navy blue shows no signs of abating…
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