30 September 2013

Sam's Rainbow Baby Shower: Part II

Last week, I shared the decorative part of Sam's rainbow baby shower. I'm glad you're back today to check out some party details, many of which were captured by Ellen, who has agreed to let me share them with you.

To kick things off, Sam opened a package to reveal the baby's gender to her guests.

How cute is that bump?!

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

 It's a boy! 

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

Sam loves shower games (seriously), so we played two games. The first was a name/picture matching game with celebrity baby pictures, which was won by a baby shower rookie. The second was the ol' baby food guessing game, which was one by a mother of four. How perfect is that?

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

We did lots of chatting and mingling between eating, game playing, and gift opening. It made me absolutely thrilled to see our home full of life. This is what it's all about! 

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

Yep, I finally got to hand over Sam's nursery ensemble made from this fabric. I cannot wait to see the nursery all put together! 

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

Thanks for letting us celebrate you, Sam! You're an amazing friend, and I can't wait to see you flourish as a mother!

27 September 2013

Tutorial: How to Make a Temporary Table Runner

Instead of sharing a Pinterest-inspired project today, I have my own little tutorial to pass along.

What's the phrase: necessity is the mother of invention? Well, that's exactly what happened with this one. As I was planning Sam's shower, I knew that I wanted a table runner for the sideboard, but I didn't want to make anything permanent given that I'm not likely to make rainbows a permanent part of my decor.

So, here's how you make a temporary table runner (and add a few yards of pretty fabric to your stash).

First, you want to buy a length of fabric that corresponds to the length of your table. Two yards was just about right for me. Square up both ends of the piece of fabric.

Next, fold the fabric lengthwise with right (print) sides facing each other. The selvages should be touching.

Sew a straight line about 1/2 or 1 inch from the edge of the fabric along this long line. Do not back stitch at the start or end. Press your seam to set it.

Then, turn your fabric right side out and adjust it so that your seam is in the middle. Give your fabric a good press.

Now, we're ready to "finish" the ends. Fold 1/4 inch on the short end and give it a good press. Make another 1/4 to 1/2 inch fold and press again. Repeat on the other end.

Sew a straight line across the folds you just made only backstitching one or two stitches at the start and end.

Give your runner a good press. You're done! Once you're done using the table runner, you can take out your stitches, wash your fabric, and add it to your stash.

Note: My runner was a little too wide (but I didn't want to cut the fabric), so I pinned the corners back for a custom fit.

25 September 2013

Sam's Rainbow Baby Shower: Part I

A couple of weeks ago, I was honored to host the local baby shower for my dear friend, Sam. Lucky for me, Sam was open to having a rainbow themed party. I was thrilled to get more mileage out of the first birthday decorations while enjoying the challenge of finding a new spin.

With that, let's take a look at the decoration details. Huge thanks to Ellen, who captured some beautiful shots and agreed to let me share them.

Did somebody say party? (Pssst. Those are our new paint colors.)

I gave new life to the rainbow balloon wreath with a little white paper banner.

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

Inside, I made use of our "art nook" by setting up a name tag station. Sam has friends from so many different parts of her life that I thought it'd be nice for everyone to have some assistance remembering names to go with the new faces. Or maybe I selfishly wanted some help remembering names...?

In the formal living room, I hung a bunting over the fireplace. 

The father-to-be helped me surprise Sam by getting baby pictures from both of their mothers, which I displayed on a simple string with mini clothespins. 

Photo Credit: Ellen G.
Photo Credit: Ellen G.

In the dining room, I set up a little display on the sideboard. 

Sam loves Twinkies, so it had to be done.

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

Cupcake credit goes to Sam's friend, Sarah, who supplied them along with beverages and a salad. I made some simple washi tape flags to go on the cupcakes.

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

I loved reading all the wishes for baby from my shower so much that I decided to repeat the activity. 

 On the table, I used a plain white table cloth, large confetti (made using cardstock and a hole punch), and tea lights inside Mason jars with a bit of sand. 

Photo Credit: Ellen G.

The shower was at 11am, so I served brunch-type foods. 

Photo Credit: Ellen G.
Photo Credit: Ellen G.
For those who may be wondering about the balloon ice cubes, I tried the concept again using regular balloons rather than water balloons, and it worked! Unfortunately, I completely forgot to photograph it. 

And, with that, we were ready for guests to arrive! 
Come back soon to see some action shots.

23 September 2013

Dim Sum = Success

A few days ago, George and I experienced a parenting success. Of course, there are at least 85 million ways to parent, and any parent's definition of success is really just a measure along their own continuum of parenting values, goals, and priorities. In such a subjective experience, it's nice to see evidence, albeit subjective evidence, of progress. Okay, you say, you saw evidence of meeting your own definition of parenting success. What does that have to do with dim sum? Allow me to explain.

About three years ago, George and I were in New Zealand when we met friends for dim sum one morning. Their daughter, maybe 15 months old at the time, sat right up at the table and had a sampling of dim sum along with the adults. After the meal, we commented that it was pleasant to be around her and impressive that she tucked right into the food we were eating. That day, we vowed that it be our goal to raise future children to behave like Catherine.

Since Madeleine has been born, we've often reminded each other of that meal, continuing to aspire to have Madeleine eat grown up food at the table with us in a way that allows us to still enjoy the meal. This is hardly a universal parenting priority, but it is one of our parenting priorities. Well, a few days ago, we went to dim sum, and I felt a little nervous about the approach of our moment of truth. Madeleine sat at the table, tucked into the wontons and dumplings placed in front of her, and confidently signed "more" when they were gone. I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear.

If you're reading, Chris and May, thanks for the inspiration.

18 September 2013

Lil' Hardware Update

The handles and knobs in our kitchen and powder room have never really been in keeping with our taste. The powder room had brass fish as the knobs, and the kitchen cabinets sported some sort of antique brass finish on the knobs and pulls.

After nearly a year, the fish have been laid to rest and replaced by some simple matte black knobs. I don't have any photos because George practically ran in to change them out as soon as the new hardware arrived.

In the kitchen, we were limited in types of pulls because of the location of holes from the previous ones. Because of that and my satisfaction with the general style, the new ones are not so different. But, with the busy patterns of both the wood grain and counter tops, I'm much happier with the simpler matte black hardware. It really makes such a difference...at least when you have to stare at it day after day.

I really can't believe that it took us a year to get to this project. It wasn't terribly expensive, and it only took George two nap times to get them all changed out (and at least two trips to the hardware store for the right length of screw, but that's a post all its own). Lots of credit to my husband for executing my plan.

So, what minor changes have you made to your home that have major impact?

16 September 2013

What makes home home?

This theme keeps coming up in conversations, so I'm going to take a few minutes to write about it. 

I believe that one element of "home" is comprised of the things we bring into our house. The things that surround us become familiar and, in concert with memories and time, transform a house into a home. 

Anyone who knows my mom knows that she's a collector. I've called her a hoarder, but it's really more that she keeps things around that are meaningful or interesting to her. Don't we all? 

One thing I remember always being at our home growing up was her collection of antique glass jars. I never thought much about them until I was visiting, and my mom mentioned that she was interested in moving them on to their next home. I thought about it for about 20 seconds and suddenly realized that they are both something meaningful (or at least familiar) from my childhood and also something I'd pick up at an antique store myself. Fast forward a few weeks, and two boxes marked fragile arrived on my doorstep. 

Look at what's now sitting on our mantel: 

George and I often talk about deliberately choosing the items we want to be "home" for Madeleine, and I am so thrilled that one of those items is going to be something that has been "home" for me since I was her age. 

What makes your home home? 


Apologies for the quiet week last week. Getting ready for a baby shower and visiting family while caring for a sick child means that "blog" was left unchecked on my to-do list all week. Here's hoping that some good health and regular routines are just around the corner!

09 September 2013

Summer Summary

It's a little tough to think about summer wrapping up with the fall equinox still a few weeks away and this week's forecast including sunshine and 80 degrees; however, Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer, so it's time to share some highlights from the season. 

What a summer it was! We kicked it off with an Oregon roadtrip, had our house painted, celebrated Madeleine's first birthday (day of and with friends), hosted two grandmas and a great aunt, adjusted to the mother of the house going back to work, visited friends and family in Ohio (and dogs), enjoyed the best summer weather most Seattleites can remember, and wrapped it up with an exceptional weekend on the Olympic peninsula

Here's a look at some of the simple moments from the summer that haven't otherwise made it onto the blog: 

Madeleine loved the grass this summer.

There was a lot of "helping" happening at our house.

Look who caught a glimpse of his admirer!

Banana cake with lemon frosting, just like
Daddy's Nana used to make for him. 

A moment of glee - captured!

We enjoyed a bit of Mt. Rainier with our visitors.

Madeleine loved her friend's playhouse.

Madeleine did a lot of eating out and left quite a
few messes...and large tips to compensate.

Madeleine and Mum took many walks.
Brown Bear came along for some of them.

Master of the sippy cup!

We took our first family hike.

Madeleine had her first bouncy house experience.
She loved it!

We all survived a few fits. 

The water table was a big hit. 

Madeleine already likes sun bathing. Ugh. 

We all survived a few sick days. 

Madeleine shared her slide with friends.

Mum's shoes don't quite fit...yet.

Madeleine started and ended most days by reading.

She continued to be our quality control expert.

Madeleine met as many dogs as possible, including sweet Sadie.

We said goodbye to Madeleine's first babysitter, who just
moved to Pittsburgh. We'll all miss CJ! 

Madeleine was happy to inherit her Mum's earbuds.

Look who learned to walk! 

Look who's working on using silverware!

We are so blessed. What a summer! What were the special everyday moments of your summer?