Monday, October 30, 2017

Fall Fireplace #2

So, I guess since tomorrow is Halloween, I should probably share my Halloween fireplace.

In my last post, I shared my Fall Fireplace #1-- for the month of September.

For the month of October, I went Halloween themed-- black and white.

The more I decorate for Halloween, (and look through the bins and bins of Halloween decorations I have collected over the years), the more I am beginning to really figure out my Halloween style.

I like creepy, not gory-- (think bugs, bats, rats, and spiders)...

spooky, not scary-- skeletons, crows, and candles...

and sometimes a little whimsy. (note the repurpose of a banner from WAY back when I decorated my first cubicle that was featured on what was then called The Office Stylist --now

And for fun, a (washed out) shot of the mantel at night. :)

Next up, a Thanksgiving mantel for the month of November.  I'll get to working on that this weekend.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Well... Hello there!

Wow! So it's been a 5 whole years. What?!

Truth is, I've missed blogging, (Can I get an Amen?!)

I've decided to dip my toe back in and start slowly with occasional posts as time permits.

In these past 5 years we've kept one small human alive, spent lots of quality time with friends and family, and, just under a year ago, moved into our second home. The good news, (for the blog), is that we haven't done much to the house yet, so I should have lots of thrifty home improvement projects to share in the coming months. We're about to get serious, people. (I hope.) ;)

In the meantime, I'm having lots of fun decorating for the different seasons and trying to find our style in this house.

Case in point-- our fireplace mantle...  It was billed as a "custom fireplace" in the real estate listing and we still haven't decided if we love it or not. Some days I'm all in. Other days I'm not. Maybe we just haven't refined the furniture placement to make it feel 100% yet?

Anyway, my first attempt at finding our new "style" for Spring/Summer resulted in this:

Simple. An old thrifted frame around my wedding bouquet (yes, I used faux flowers -- cheapskate, remember?), white resin deer head from Target. All the other items came from Michael's at various times--when on sale of course. ;)

Just this past week, I updated it for Fall, and I think I'm digging it.

I'm really into neutrals these days, but I decided that this Fall, I may have to re-decorate multiple times-- Early Fall (Sept.) = Neutrals, Halloween (Oct.) = Spooky Decor, Thanksgiving (Nov.) = deeper jewel tones (maybe-- I'm still debating this one).

For now though:
The off-kilter fireplace screen in this photo makes we want to gouge my eyeballs out, but of course I didn't notice it when I took the photo. Arrgghhh!

I decided to leave up the faux deer head, because, well... I like it. :)

The frame fills the space well and I needed some additional green on the mantle, so the 'M' made it's way back too.

Everything else I had in my stash already.

The little white pumpkins/gourds were actually from a bag of cheap foam pumpkins/gourds from the dollar tree. I simply spray painted them glossy white. The copper pot and the glass hurricane vase were picked up at a Goodwill for $1 each.

The leaf/berry sprigs were all picked up at Michael's during end of season sales for 70% - 80% off and the two amber glass mosaic candle holders were gifted to us. The pitcher was purchased as decor for our wedding 12 years ago, (apparently our mantle has a wedding theme), and the dried wheat I bought 4 years ago with a 40% off coupon at Michaels.

I just love this drapey (faux) greenery. I purchased this for my niece's bridal shower.

Art work in the background by my crazy talented brother-in-law.

                                                                   There it is again-- the fireplace screen...I just want to fix it so badly!

I've got lots of ideas kickin' around in my head for this house and I finally think it's time to start bringing some of them to life. I can't wait to share them with you!

And, if you followed my blog before, or you know me at all, you won't be surprised to know that in the last 5+ years, I've set-up a bunch of parties too--for all different occasions. Some better than others, but most were photographed for "some day when I bring back my blog".

Stay tuned...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ninja Party: Dessert Table (Party Part II)

To see the sneak peek of the party invitation, click here.
For Part I of the party (table decor), click here.
Every good party deserves a good dessert table right?   

 I LOVE a good dessert and/or snacks table at a party.  It really showcases the food, gives you more choices (for those that don't want cake) and in our case also give your guests a little something more to take home with them!
Since there aren't many "ninja specific" foods, I went with more of a red, black and white color scheme with the desserts.

Hand dipped fortune cookies, oreos, hershey kisses (with cute little party coordinated stickers on them)...
I displayed black and red Twizzlers in glass vases adorned with ribbon and paper pinwheels (meant to mimic Chinese throwing stars)...
Yogurt Covered Raisins, Strawberries (healthy option) and Swedish Fish - not pictured (mmm... Swedish Fish...).
My favorite dessert project however (and the favorite of the party guests) was the faux sushi:
Made with Rice Crispie treats, assorted gummy candies, fruit roll-ups and Fruit-By-The-Foot.  They turned out pretty cute (if I do say so myself).
Cole requested chocolate cake but I know not everyone likes chocolate cake, so I did white cake ninja cupcakes as well. (free printables from here)
I've learned from past experience that I can NOT frost a cake to save my life (and my sister-in-law who makes the most amazing cakes lives 4 hours away now) so I just ordered a cake from the local grocery store-- knowing I wanted a cake that was as plain as possible (and as inexpensive as possible). 
I ordered the cake-- just plain white-- no borders, no writing.  I got some weird looks both when I ordered it and when I picked it up and said "perfect!"-- but it really was just what I wanted.

Then since the whole reason we were doing a ninja party was because of my son's obsession with LEGO Ninjago (and the black ninja -- ninja Cole- which was essentially named after my son) I took four of his Ninjago mini-figures (washed them with soap and water) and placed them on top of the cake-- no need for fancy (or expensive) custom cake toppers when I already had the perfect solution right in our... toy box. (sounds weird I know, but it worked!)
We had so much dessert/snacky type food that I also bought some clear treat bags (20 for $1 at Walmart) and asked guests to fill a goodie bag before they left (in addition to the kids goodie boxes that they would get at the end of the party.)  I'm happy to report MOST of the candy/desserts went home with other people!

All in all, I was pretty happy with how it turned out and it was a big hit with kids and parents alike!
Oh and the reason that we had to have both a cake and cupcakes (besides the flavors) was this:
Cole got to cut his cake with a REAL Samuari Sword.   He was SO excited!   

And see the back of his shirt.  His birthday party shirt was my first project with my Silhouette Cameo.  I have never been so excited about a t-shirt before, but I LOVED it. (that's the Japanese symbol for the number five- for Cole's 5th birthday)

And a little "behind the scenes" look at the dessert table and the fabric backdrop I created for the dessert table.
So, do you do a dessert table at your parties?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ninja Party: Table Decor (Party Part I)

To see the sneak peek of the party invitation, click here.
For part II of the party (dessert table), click here.

I TRIED to convince Cole to want to have a superhero party or a rockstar party or even a pirate party, but what did he want? ... ninjas.   Ninjas!?  Let me tell you there's not a whole lot of ninja party inspiration out there.  Yes-- I found a few (check out my Ninja Party pinterest board) and yes I used some of their ideas, but there is just not a lot.  Especially when you're talking about ninjas for 5 year olds.

One thing I was sure of, I didn't want to go too heavily on the weapons.  I'd seen the tin foil throwing stars, the ninja sword fighting games and the chocolate swiss roll nunchucks, but I just didn't want to overplay the weapon thing.    I also didn't want to go TOO heavily with an asian theme and it's almost impossible to find kid-friendly dragons that are of the right level of appropriateness (not too child like, not too "adult").  

In the end, here's what I came up with.
Mostly just red white and black, but I added a couple of colorful dragon centerpieces.  

Using scrapbook paper that I got when it was on sale 6 for $1 at Michael's I brought the party theme together...

water bottle wraps, juice box wraps, pinwheels on the food table (to mimic throwing stars but in a "happier" way), and a Happy Birthday banner (seen way in the back of the photo below-- forgot to get a good photo of it on its own).
The blue, white and black color scheme of the karate studio itself wasn't EXACTLY what I would've liked but when you're working on a budget (and in a space that is not your own), you work with what you've got.  To cover some of the wall space I hung some red and white striped fabric (bought in the remant section at Walmart).  

The centerpieces were a total happy accident.  I was browsing the clearance section at Michael's and found these Ni Hao Ki-Lan paper dragon puppet kits.  They were on clearance for 1.99 so I bought 2. I bought the black rocks at the Dollar Store (2 bags at $1 ea.) and the white ceramic planters also from Michael's clearance (and purchased with a 20% off coupon) were $4.79 each.

At first I wasn't totally sold on the colors (as they weren't red, white and black) but in the end I think they ended up being a really good fit-- helping to make the party really kid friendly and adding a "touch of whimsy".  I didn't want to be too serious.
While trolling Pinterest a friend of mine noticed that I pinned directions for folding origami cranes and she offered to do them for me!  I gave her some pre-cut-to-the-right-size scrapbook paper and in a few days she handed me back 25 beautifully folded origami cranes.  Thanks Nicole!  (FYI-- scrapbook paper is slightly too thick for origami-- go with origami paper instead.  sorry Nicole) :)
The table runner idea also came from pinterest.  Can you guess what it is? Wrapping paper.  I got it in the Dollar spot at Target a long time ago simply because I thought it was fun.  Turns out its also the prefect width for a table runner! Score.

I also made some more DIY baker's twine in both red and black and wrapped individual serving size Pringles, used some black and white striped ribbon as napkin rings and purchased the paper straws on Amazon (best price I've found) to pull it all together.  I liked the "look" of the single serving size pringles containers but more importantly no hands in a giant chip bowl-- Hooray!!
And every birthday boy needs his own designated birthday chair right?
I cut a number 5 out of cardboard and wrapped it with yarn.  I think it's one of my favorite projects from the whole party.  I don't know why but I love it!  

In general, I'm really happy with how the table turned out!

Stay tuned because in another month or so (just kidding-- I hope!) I'll show you the food table and other miscellaneous details.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I'm gonna just pretend that it hasn't been almost 2 months since my last post. :(

It's almost that time again.  I'm in the midst of party planning madness.  Next Saturday we are doing Cole's 5th birthday party!  I can't believe my little man is almost 5!!

Here's a sneak peek:

Cole's ninja obsession continues (thank you LEGO Ninjago) so the challenge is to make trained assassins appropriate for 5 year olds.   I can't wait to tell you about some of the awesome deals I've scored!

For Part I of the party (party table decor), click here.
For Part II (dessert table), click here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Part II

Two posts in one day?! And on a Saturday?! What the...???

The funniest part about this is that we don't usually do much to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (being that we are not Irish) except maybe wear green.  Today, we did all kinds of celebratory things, but none of us actually wore green!  Ha ha!

First thing you should know for this post -- we were not wearing green because we were instead wearing ORANGE to cheer on our Syracuse Orange Men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament.  Go 'Cuse!  (we won-- on to the 'Sweet 16'! Hooray!!)

Secondly-- green food coloring makes EVERYTHING look completely un-appealing. That and the fact that food photography is hard and I don't have any REAL photography skills so all the pictures of food below look gross, but I promise you everything tasted just fine. :)

So, as you saw earlier today, we had an overnight visit from a leprechaun.  I love finding new traditions-- I can't wait to do this EVERY St. Patrick's Day!
Does anyone else throw all "rules" out the window on holidays and special occasions?  Cole ate 2 chocolate coins before BREAKFAST-- awesome mom or bad mom?  I guess it probably depends on who you ask.  :)
Then we had breakfast.  Green shamrock shaped pancakes and sausage for Cole and I.  And Tom had what I'm calling 'eggs-a-la-pinterest'.  (seriously if you're not on pinterest yet, what are you waiting for?  It's so awesome! Need an invite, leave me your e-mail address and I'll invite you!)


I had the table set in green and white.  
plastic table cloth:  Big Lots $1 (ps-- I LOVE it!  Its cheap, but it was pretty)
12" white paper doily:  Dollar Tree $1 for 18
green paper plates:  iparty  $3.79 for 24 -- makes clean up easy :)
and just our regular white paper napkins for everyday use.

I also put out my new milk glass footed bowl that I got at Goodwill for $1.  I LOVE it!  
I put some green apples in it (unfortunately the apples had seen better days at this point) and a couple of oranges since our day was going to be about both green AND orange!  

We played outside for a while because it was a gorgeous day!  And we got a package from my parents.
which promptly turned into this...
note: the addresses have been blurred for privacy reasons
 For dinner we had meatloaf with green mashed potatoes and green beans:
(warning-- I probably shouldn't even have put this picture up because it looks so unappetizing, but it really was delicious)

And for dessert (the best part of today in my opinion)-- Shamrock Shakes (using a recipe I had saved on pinterest!)
FYI-- we just used mint chocolate chip ice cream and milk and it was sooo good!

And to top it all off, there was a fireworks display in our neighborhood that we watched from Cole's bedroom window-- he was VERY excited about it.

All in all, a pretty good holiday (that we don't usually celebrate)! 

Hope you all had a great St. Patty's Day too!