Happy Birthday- Mermaid Party

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Happy Monday All! I am so excited that we are getting closer to Spring! February is always a busy month for us as we celebrate birthdays for both my younger daughter and my husband.  Such fun! My daughter is much like her mamma in that she always has a “vision” for what she wants her party to be, and this year she drew me a picture of the cake she wanted (no pressure)!  IMG_4604

The cake is always a big part of our parties because when I was growing up my talented Nana would make us amazing cake creations based upon whatever theme we had dreamt up.  I have tried to maintain that tradition for both my kids, and this year my daughter wanted a mermaid theme.  The cake was to be three layers, complete with Ariel coming out of the top (as clearly noted in the drawing). So off I went to Michael’s to pick up some pre-made turquoise fondant, which totally saved us in constructing a mermaid tail mere hours before the party began.  Let’s be clear, the cake is the highlight, and in order to get it done I order out dinner!

I knew I wanted to incorporate edible sand into the cake design somewhere so I chopped up some chocolate graham crackers and vanilla wafers in the Cuisinart, which gave me the perfect consistency to sprinkle onto the bottom frosted layer.

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I had additional vanilla wafers left over, so after a little Pinterest research I found this cute idea from Houseful of Handmade to create clams by adding some frosting and a candy “pearl”. My older daughter is eight and loves baking, so she helped me make all the chocolate shells and starfish that we used both on top of the cake, and in the goody bags for our guests.

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I found some amazing mermaid themed plates from Meri Meri through Amazon, which were a total hit! To complete the mermaid look, I added a coordinating net as a table runner and layered it with some starfish and seashells we recently brought back from our vacation. I also included some gummy sharks in the bottom of the the kids’ glasses to which we added pink lemonade when everyone arrived.

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I cannot believe my baby is 6! Time please slow down!

xo,

Kelly

 

 

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Let them have space to nod…

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Happy January all! This past week I surprised myself by de-decorating and packing up all the holiday goodies.  In the past, I savored it all until at least the second week of January, but alas the tree, and garland have been taken curbside and the house somehow feels lighter.  In the past I would have said empty, hmmmm.  In the last few days, with great vigor, I have been happy to embrace January decor…whatever that is!

image-5And each year when it all gets packed away with the promise of next year, I think of my Nana.  As the story goes she would be so saddened when the Christmas tree was taken down that my Pop-pop, bless his heart, would buy her bunches of flowers to help fill the void, mostly carnations so as to last as long as possible.

Nana was totally into flower arranging, entering competitions, taking classes and relishing the nuances of how things “fit together.” I have a lingering memory from her funeral that a woman I didn’t know spoke about my Nana’s love of flowers, and how she would always say that when you arrange them, you have to “give them space to nod.” In essence, don’t just jam them all in there and call it a day.  I take this woman’s memory as a gift, and as I pack up my holidays each year I go out and buy flowers and attempt to arrange them in such a way so as to let each one nod.

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It’s a work in progress but one that always makes me smile.

 

xo,

Kelly

 

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Happy New Year, May All Your Wishes Come True!

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It’s resolution time! As I leave flee from 2016, my plans are to embrace 2017 as a year of all years. Where nothing is off limits, unattainable or out of reach with enough hard work, commitment, and most of all courage.

Personally, I feel that I did not hit the ball out of the park when it came to 2016. I was pulled in many directions and overall was re-active all year, never truly able to shift to a proactive stance. So this year I am going to tackle things with a vengeance with the following goals in mind:

First, I am going to indulge a bit. I am going to actually make myself breakfast and yes, sit down to eat it, rather than nibbling on whatever the kids didn’t eat while making their lunches for school. I am going to go to the gym or try a new yoga class and then take a nice long shower afterward. And after that shower I am actually going to blow-out my hair instead of piling it wet on top of my head, and then perhaps apply some of the make-up I buy but never take the time to use. It’s the little things…

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Second, I am going to have more fun by doing the things I used to love to do before there was no time to do them. I will ski, remembering how freeing it is to fly down the hill. And I will go skating again, hoping of course that muscle memory is a real thing because while I used to take figure skating lessons, it has been over twenty years since I have laced up. And tennis… I smile when I play, especially against my husband when we are trying to get shots in against one another. Again, too many years have gone by. You know its bad when your kids are amazed and remark, “Mom can do that?” Why yes! Watch me!12213d996c71b782fa8e4e1b4b75e4ad

Third, I will reduce the amount of things in my home. And while I respect Marie Kondo, I was too scared to read her book as I secretly knew it would lead me down an organizing rabbit hole a la Monica Geller. Rather, I will go at my own pace room by room, bin by bin, and have a hell of a garage sale in the Summer. You see my husband and I moved a lot for our respective schooling in the early years of our marriage and you tend to accumulate things. And then when you hastily move to the next city you pack things up in “To be sorted bins” that then sit in the basement of the home you have lived in for seven years. Or maybe that is just me…but I am not lugging those damn bins with me into 2018.

Fourth, I will set out on a new journey for myself. More on this later, but I am embracing the chance to spend more time on this blog and with it meet new people, challenge myself, and learn A LOT!

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I have not figured out how to add extra hours into the forthcoming days of the new year, so while this year has been full of best intentions falling short of results, the underlying premise to accomplishing all of the above is making the time to do them.  To realize their importance and move forward always striving to sneak in an extra hour or two to pull them off.  There you have it…2017 is going to be a year of all years, full of much fun and success.  All the best friends!

XO,

Kelly

 

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One Room Challenge, Week 5

Hi all! Almost there- It is WEEK FIVE! The room is painted, all items are purchased (with some exceptions below), and a few areas are even set-up…the home stretch! Now for all the little details on my checklist….

I had a new chandelier installed (finally after 7 years of living here!), but I’m not sure I’m happy with the neutral shades since I’m aiming for more color pops in the room.  Here is what I chose from Lowes. I went with a big box option due to limited lead time and installation schedule:

611728207505Also on the checklist, I am adding trim to the curtains I purchased from Overstock like this inspiration pic from Amy Meier Design:

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I am struggling with deciding on additional pieces of art. I bought four of the same frames for either side of the buffet, and want to bring in colorful art but don’t want it to  compete with the patterned drapes and bold rug. Hmmmm…going to keep looking.

Also need to finalize my tablescape. Thinking of keeping it clean and “classic” so as not to compete with all the other bold prints in the room. Some inspiration..

This:

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Ooh and this because I am totally digging the feathers:

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But then I also loved this blue and white masterpiece:

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So many choices, so little time:) Planning to hit up one of my favs, Save on Crafts, for some goodies that may do the trick.

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Almost There!

Best,

Kelly

 

 

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One Room Challenge Week 4!

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HI all! I have been totally beeeeee-hind. So much so that I am running from one thing to the other and have been forgetting things like crazy. Nevertheless I have been working on the dining room, despite having missed a week of posting (yikes)!

We made great strides with the millwork that we started here. I totally love it and have already started planning for more of the same in the living room. As you all know, projects grow legs and start to travel, and mine has meandered across three areas- from the Dining Room, through the Foyer, and into the Living Room. Taking out the arched doorways and raising the headers led to drywall, spackle, paint touchups and beacoup plaster dust across three rooms…. but I would do it all again without hesitation.

 

View from Dining Room through Foyer, into Living Room.
View from Dining Room, through the Foyer, into Living Room #ihateplasterdust.

 

From Living Room looking through to Dining Room
View from Living Room looking through to Dining Room (oops have to move thermostat!)

 

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#lovethesmelloffreshlumber

OK, now on to some design candy….

First up, I found this gorgeous silver bamboo mirror at Pottery Barn. I fell for it in the store and with only one remaining in stock I had to take it home without measuring where I wanted it to go. It was so swoon worthy that I took a chance and it.fits.perfectly.

Pottery Barn Bamboo Silver Gilt Wall Mirror
Pottery Barn Bamboo Silver Gilt Wall Mirror

Next I discovered a colorful rug through Drooz and Company, the amazing store of fellow design lover, Shelly Kennedy. My “before” dining room was so neutral for way too long that a definite prerequisite for this design challenge was to introduce major color. This rug totally fits the bill, and of course I could not pass up the coordinating candles!

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#cannotbeliveitspolypropylene
Everything looks better by candlelight!
Everything looks better by candlelight!

Additionally, I had ordered this print from Minted before I found the rug, but it is a lucky coincidence and works to pull the bold colors from the floor up to the wall.

Bar Cart Teaser (of course this area needs to be the FIRST to be set-up)
Bar Cart Teaser (of course this area needs to be the FIRST to be set-up) #peek-a-boofitbit

I also did a little furniture DIY, but I totally made a rookie mistake and did not get a pic of the piece prior to revitalizing it (similar here). I have been meaning to paint this cabinet for the eight years I have owned it, and I am LOVING the Hale Navy (#benmoorecoveragerocks). I repurposed wallpaper from our mudroom to give the back some flair… of course in a large scale print.

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I popped into Home Goods in search of some fun accessories and found this awesome navy alligator textured tray.

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And of course my love of orchids necessitated the purchase of one that will fit.right.in.

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pop o’ purple

Cannot wait to show you the final results! Two more weeks! I am sure it is all going to come together…right?

Best,

Kelly

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Where I Grew Up

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Morning Everyone!

I have been thinking a lot about where I grew up and its MAJOR impact on my design aesthetic. When I was a little kid, my parents purchased and began renovating an 1803 Federal Landmark.  Fast forward almost 40 years and while it is still jokingly called the “Money Pit”, so much has been accomplished.  It has high ceilings, large rooms and beautiful details common of the day. Due to the size of the rooms, they can accommodate oversized antiques, grand wallpaper prints and bold colors.

The "Homestead"
The “Homestead”

All of this has seriously skewed my view of scale. Is this print too big? Never. Is this color too bold? Nah. Will this piece fit in the room? Of course! Needless to say, I currently live in an updated 1930s transitional colonial and I do need to be more aware of scale overall….and I have promised hubby I will measure more often before purchasing things.

I will post some fun pics from my parents house in the near future, but in the meantime here is what they have been working on:

THE.BARN.

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We celebrated my dad’s birthday in his barn and it was a lovely scene amidst the construction. Cannot wait to see what it will look like when the doors are finished and added. I am in love with the lighting…and its scale. More pics soon! Happy Fall!

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xo,

Kelly

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One Room Challenge, Week 2

IT.IS.GONE!

Hi Friends!

I am attempting to put a dent into the To Do List for the Dining Room and while I never thought I would be doing actual DEMO for this project, this is where we find ourselves. I looooove demo but not when you are hosting two parties in a few weeks and need to use the room! I had the best intentions to just do some painting and new decor for this Challenge, but I could no longer tolerate the pony wall we inherited between the kitchen and the dining room. And you know how it goes…one things leads to another…

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The offending 1/2 wall was always a fun picture spot (my mom with the girls at Christmas)…

 

IT.IS.GONE!
IT.IS.GONE!

And of course the header needed to be taken out as well in order to open it up even more! The unpleasant surprise was that beacoup electrical was hidden in the ceiling channel and because the kitchen was an addition done many moons ago before we bought the house, the ceiling heights were off. In sum, we could not take the whole header out. BUMMER.

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Working with a header…

So, a plan is forming with help from Pinterest to add molding on the surround. Oh, and this happened because I suppose we were on a roll..

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Down with the arches. The doorway between the dining room and foyer…

I am so ready to finish the demo and the get rid of the dust!

Best,

Kelly

 

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My Summer Project…Oh wait, It’s Fall!?

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So Summer has come and now gone- Yikes! We enjoyed the heck out of it (swimming, camping, and visiting family) while I was also toiling diligently scraping, sanding and now painting the garage. If I had more time, famous last words, this project would have been done much sooner. However, I tackled it in the amount of hours I could keep the kids away from the pool, so yeah….two to three hours MAX a day.

I cannot believe we lived with this peeling uni-color garage for so long. I suppose it came down to priorities and repainting the inside of the house and decorating our main living rooms won out. Here are the sad “befores”:

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Just starting to prep…
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Alligator texture is NOT a good look on the garage…
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Getting closer…
Almost done!
Almost done!

I couldn’t reach the peak area on my trusty ladder so I borrowed one from my dear dad and unfortunately was too scared to scrape and sand while up that high! He saved me by coming over and doing it himself #dadsavestheday, so now I am so close to the finish line I cannot stand it!

I LOVE the colors and am so happy with the overall look. I still need to paint the trim around the doors and do a second coat of the main color, but that part thankfully has gone much quicker… now that the kiddos are in school I have 5 hour increments instead of 3.:)

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I chose SW Urbane Bronze for the doors and did a custom match color to our house for the tan. After doing a ton of research, I ended up using Behr’s Paint and Primer combo from Home Depot, which went on really well and had great coverage. I am hoping it holds up to the elements as I do NOT want to be doing this project again anytime soon!

Last steps once painting is complete will be to add the weatherstripping on the bottom of the doors, and in the Spring, pick out some new lighting kind of like this (because I am looooving the copper interior!):

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Thanks for checking in!

Best,

Kelly

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One Room Challenge- A Fresh Dining Room

Dining Room Before

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Welcome friends from the ORC! To jump into Fall, and quite frankly to gain some inspiration AND motivation, I am excited to tag along with the One Room Challenge. I have enjoyed following the Challenge for years, stalking the designs and relishing in the amazing “afters.” It is really fun to follow along and see what both the selected bloggers, and the guest participants like myself, come up with at the end of six weeks!

I have decided to move forward with updating my dining room. At the end of this month we are celebrating my birthday, as well as my daughter’s 8th birthday (wait…8! Yikes!), and will have a lot of friends and family over to celebrate. I typically get myself into trouble thinking that of course I can finish a room rehab from top to bottom in time for company, but this time I have promised my poor husband, who always jumps in to save the day when I have bitten off more than I can handle, that I will temper my design ideas.

Here is our current dining room that we first painted when we moved in 7 years ago. I still love the custom color which was a happy accident when I took my daughter’s sweater to Lowes for a color match.  The curtains I made with material from Premier Prints, using this tutorial from YHL.  I still enjoy the room, but am sooo ready for color, bold prints and an overall lighten-ing up of the space!IMG_0268What I want to change: 1) The chandelier we inherited with the house that I have lived with WAY TOO LONG; 2)  Add fresh paint in a gorg neutral gray and FINALLY (with lots of shouting for emphasis) paint the moldings that we had installed when we moved in ahem 7 years ago, but never painted beyond the primer; 3) Add a fab new rug (Side bar: Currently, with young children and two dogs I have been too nervous to put a rug under the dining room table for fear it would be nothing more than a giant crumb catcher, but now I am going for it and want one that will be REALLY colorful and fun….and hides crumbs; 4) Purchase lovely curtains that I DO.NOT.MAKE.MYSELF (if I am going to wrap this up in time that must be part of the plan); 5) Actually hang art on the wall instead of empty frames on the floor or, as the pic below shows, hastily tacked up because company was coming…7 years ago (noticing a pattern here…).

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This is our sad little bar area. I purchased a cart from Target awhile ago, but never set it up because the kids were younger and the less easily accessible glass the better!  Now that the kiddos are a bit older I am excited to implement the cart into the Challenge design. This pic also shows folding chairs that we drag out whenever we have more than four people eating at one time, so I am hoping I can incorporate more seating as well.  Lastly, I would like to repurpose and paint some furniture, and find a more successful pet gate (insert frustration here).

And THAT.IS.IT. I think I did a great job not adding too much and will totally complete it on time for both the Challenge and the Birthday parties (at least that is what I keep telling hubby).

Stay Tuned!

Best,

Kelly

 

 

 

 

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Back to School 2016

This is the first year I will have both kiddos in school full-time! I am saddened that this milestone is upon us, but I also have big plans on the horizon, so I am trying to keep looking forward and am thankful both kids are excited for the upcoming school year!

Here in the Northeast we start back later than many of you, so we just did our back-to-school shopping today. My mom started an amazing tradition with my kids and their cousins that we all go shopping together and of course, have lunch. The kids look forward to it every year!

too cool for back to school
too cool for back to school

And while we by no means accomplish all of our shopping with four kids under age seven, me, my SIL and mom have a great time together too. Here are some items I am picking up for their back-to school wardrobe:

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Top row: J.Crew Factory; Middle row: Cat & Jack for Target; Bottom row: Old Navy

 

All the Best!

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