Monday, August 27, 2012

Girly Golden Books baby shower

 Be sure to check out my Smarty Parties blog for details of the baby shower I did over the weekend. The theme was Little Golden Books, but with a decidedly girly twist.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Potter Party Peek!

Two posts in a row? Get out of town!

Well, I guess this isn't a real post, so much as an invitation to check out my other blog, Smarty Parties, to see what I have been doing, party-wise. I spent a weekend in Chicago recently working on a Harry Potter-themed birthday party and custom quest for a delightful ten-year-old girl. Check it out.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

In which I say "stool" a few too many times

So, apparently, passive-aggressive whining to myself on my blog is not enough to make a silver martini side table appear in my bathroom.

Although we are not technically (as in, not at all; as in we would fire ourselves if we were our own contractors. Our actual, awesome contractor is embarrassed of his association with us, I'm sure) finished with the upstairs remodel, the bathroom is 85% done. All that's left are some paint touch-ups, installing towel bars and hooks, maybe a shelf or two, and the linen closet. Oh, and the lovely silver martini side table from West Elm, but for some reason no one else cares about THAT. What could be more important than a stylish resting place for my bathtime drinks? According to my husband, having "functioning stairs" that "meet code" or whatever. Blah blah, potato-potahhto.

Truthfully, even I don't want to drop $129 on something that will only be seen by visitors to my upstairs bathroom, so I decided to improvise for the time being. I had one of the much-pinned and blogged Big Lots garden stools from a couple years back, and while, yes, $20 is an exciting price for a garden stool, sometimes you get what you pay for:

Apparently the $20 "garden stools" should not be used in an actual garden. The paint job on that sucker only holds up in the safe, fluorescent confines of the Big Lots store. The stool's cheap finish began flaking off almost the moment we placed it on our deck and the sunlight hit it, and I was left with something a bit more . . . distressed than I tend to prefer.

Anyway, I had this crappy-looking garden stool that needed a coat of paint, so I figured, why not paint it silver and see if it could fill the martini-table-shaped hole in my heart?

I wanted the finish to be extra shiny, so I chose Rustoleum's specialty metallic spray because it boasts a "bright reflective finish," and because the shiny top distracted me and told me to buy it.

I gave it a little shot of paint on top, just to make sure I liked the finish.

I loved what I saw, so I proceeded to paint that sucker.

After some sanding, a couple coats, some more sanding, and some touching up, it's still not perfect. But I like it so much better than before.

Oh, hello, spraypainted grass in the background. Oops?

I glued some felt around the bottom rim to protect the bathroom floors, and I dragged that bad boy upstairs.

Whee, ready for books and drinks and towels!

I don't know what side of the tub it will end up on. Probably wherever my head is? 

Without the flash, if anyone cares.

For a $5.99 can of spray paint, this stool is cool again. (Sorry. Cool Stool!)

I would even recommend buying a new garden stool from Big Lots (or Odd Lots, or Canadian Lots, or whatever it's called in other places), and painting it whatever color your heart desires. The only problems with my paint job came from the difference in paint finish on the still-painted parts versus the bare ceramic (or whatever it is, hell if I know). A still-painted stool would solve that problem (so would a modicum of prep work, or priming, but those are not my strong suits), and you'd still be paying one quarter the price of a fancier stool or side table. I didn't put any weather-resistant coating on this stool because it's going to stay inside my house, but I would recommend some sort of polyacrylic (or whatever is recommended by someone who knows what she's talking about--probably not me, or anyone at Big Lots) to protect it from the elements. I hope I don't need anything to protect it from sloshed vinho verde? Stay tuned!

I'm off to take a bath now!

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Back to School Cool

Oh, hi! I wish I could tell you I have been absent from blogging because we have just been workin' away at the ol' staircase to finish the renovation. Ah haaaaa haa ha. Sadly, we have just been busy doing normal, boring, non-constructive things that have not resulted in any new stairs.

One of those things was the start of school! Our school district has moved to a "balanced calendar," with an earlier start date and more breaks throughout the year. As a result, the first day this year was August 1st! Here are my little guys, all ready for Graham's first day of kindergarten.

Dean is understandably a little confused by the situation.

If I'd had any spare time at all, which I didn't, I wanted to have a little back-to-school celebration for Graham. Hopefully as he gets older, I can make a little tradition of this for him and his friends and neighbors. I thought these pictures from Dean's first birthday back in April, "The Dean's List," were appropriate for Back to School party planning. So, (re-) enjoy these, and hopefully I'll be back soon with some house updates!

Apples for the teacher cake pops! In the background: "chex mark mix" (a stretch, I know), and "honor roll-ups."

Vintage typewriter, "smart cookies" (letter cookies from Trader Joe's), text books, a silver trophy cup, pennants.

A vintage school desk makes a great "photo booth" setting. Mini chalkboards let guests hold messages.
Pass out favors brown-bag style, with lunch bags personalized with name pennants.
Vintage cafeteria trays are fun for back-to-school snacks.

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