House Tour Room-by-Room Link-up Party: Guest Rooms

Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. It was blazing hot here in Northern Virginia but I absolutely love the heat (really!) so no fantastic for me. I love a hot Memorial Day weekend so we really know that summer is here. It's supposed to be in the 90s here all week so I guess summer is here to stay now!

We're back again for another Room-by-Room House Tour Party. This time we're checking in on your guest rooms. Are they guest worthy? Still a work in progress? Hotel perfect? Let's see them!!  Even if you just have a nook for guests, let's see it! 

We have 2 guest rooms which is really great. Our upstairs guest room is nothing fancy and I really don't love it at all. Definitely the dumping ground for stuff. It's all temporary though because my son will be moving out of his nursery into his big boy room later this year or early next year.  There's a picture way at the bottom of my house tour if you are dying to see it.

Our main guest room is actually the smaller of the two but it's in our basement (errr... garden level?) and has its own en suite bathroom. It's barely big enough for the double bed but it works well for our guests so far. Our goal was to make this a cozy and private space for our frequent guests. I think the private bathroom is key for privacy for guests. They love it!

Sources: Headboard - DIY; comforter - JC Penney (discontinued); cream pillows - Target; brown pillow - HomeGoods; orange pillow - Etsy; bedskirt - Bed Bath & Beyond; footstool - Marshalls; night stands - HomeGoods (knobs Anthropologie); dresser - used; sea life artwork - Bed Bath & Beyond; vanity - Home Depot; faucet - Moen Chateau; shower curtain - HomeGoods; bird art - Target; orange towels - Amy Butler (Bed Bath & Beyond); towels - Marshalls; tile - Home Depot.

Now it's your turn! Please be sure to link back or use my button below. Thanks!

HOUSEography House Tour Link Party


Happy Friday!

Hope everyone is geared up for some Memorial Day fun - at least the American readers! Hope everyone has a great weekend. We are staying put and plan to do some of this...
 Lots of this (it's supposed to be in the 90s here in Virginia)...

And some of this...
Weber 6511001 Genesis E-310 Liquid Propane Gas Grill, Black

Yes, that's the grill we decided on. The Weber E-310 and it is so fantastic I cannot even begin to describe. I ended up using a bunch of credit card points for gift cards so it was less than $400. If you do a lot of grilling and you are in the market for a new grill, this is an investment but well worth it because I'm quite sure we'll have it for 20 years.  You may remember when I asked about the side burner? We opted against it because our kitchen is close by and they don't really put out enough BTUs to do anything but heat up some BBQ sauce which we never do anyway!

I wish I could say that I'll be hitting some yard sales but I may be banned from sales while Handy Hubby decompresses after last week's yard sale. It was worth but worth it for the extra cash we made, and we still gave lots of stuff away to neighbors and friends and Goodwill! To thank Handy Hubby for his work on the sale, I got his car detailed today as a surprise. Our 2003 Honda Pilot now looks and smells new again. He was thrilled!! Wonder how he'll feel about filling it with plants again this weekend!


What is it about blue?

I seem to be going through a blue phase. No, not sad or depressed, but I am loving blue everywhere. Not light gray-blue but real blue - royal blue and navy blue especially. I recently made the blue pillows for the living room (how to here) and I LOVE them but that may have only fed the proverbial fire.

The living room is connected to the screen porch where we have been spending some time lately (I'm writing this on the sofa right now!). I started thinking about changing all of the red-orange pillows to blue pillows just to perk it up and tie it to the living room, but that would have been a bigger investment than I want to make right now. So, I opted to supplement what I have with some blue pillows and see if it worked.

Here's the before...

And here's now...

What a difference a couple of pillows make? They are graphic and fun. Best of all - $12.99 each at Target! I also added the blue flower pot ($4.99 at Ross) and the striped candle (free after a neighbor's yard sale).

So, that's the victory and here's the fail. I thought I really wanted to string some lights around the top of the porch to give it more of a campy feel. I found a few adorable sets at Target (same trip as the pillow find). I finally got around to stringing them up...

Blah! Yucko. Too campy and industrial for the porch and just sloppy looking. I think I have enough going on with the lanterns and curtains that the lights just gum it up too much. So, they're going back. Oh well.

Any decorating wins or losses lately?


Some DIY Race Car Birthday Ideas

I have a few projects in the works this weeks so hopefully I'll have some fun stuff to share later this week or early next. In the mean time, I thought I would share a couple of Alex's birthday details which I think really made the party extra fun.

First, the bunting flags which are all over the place in the blogosphere. Somehow they always seem fitting for birthday parties but even more so for race car themed birthdays. I considered a lot of options before taking the dive. I considered a ridiculous number of options of how to make them and didn't have much confidence in my ability to get it done in the tight timeframe I had for myself - 3 evenings. I liked the idea of using patterned fabric like Sherry, but didn't feel I had time to finish the hems on all of the flags that I would need for the 16 or so yards of bunting that I would need to cross the yard. I decide on felt because it's easy to cut and doesn't have to be finished. It also comes in lots of colors and is inexpensive ($5 per yard at JoAnn Fabrics minus any coupons).

I made a template using some twisted geometry of which Jim did not approve, but it worked. The top edge is about 12" across. I then cut out a big pile of triangles in blue and orange felt. It took about an hour and a half or so.

Next I pinned the triangles to the seam binding tape. Since I picked up the seam binding tape at JoAnn, they only had shorter pre-packaged lengths. At the fabric store, you can buy it by the yard which works out cheaper but I was feeling lazy and pressed for time so I grabbed it and used a couponfor 25% off the entire purchase.
 Here's what to look for if you're lazy and pressed for time as well -
Next I sewed a bit haphazardly using a zigzag stitch to be sure to grab as much felt and bias tape as possible for added strength.
I really love how it turned out!
 I think it took about 5-6 hours total to complete the entire project.

Next the gift bags...
They definitely received a few "You made these?" (with eye rolling). Yes, I made them but I honestly expected it to be another total failure. I found the bags at the Target dollar spot for 3 for $1. I then searched EVERYWHERE for a race car stamp but with no luck. I finally settled on this stencil which I found at A.C. Moore for $2.99 ($4.99 minus a 40% coupon), and a bottle of orange fabric paint.  I taped the stencil on with regular scotch tape and then dabbed on the orange paint. 

 45 minutes later, I had 30 stamped gift bags.
Each child went home with a bag holding a pull-back race car, a bottle of bubbles and a bag of Cars-shaped pretzels (another lucky Target find). Everyone seemed excited about them!

Finally I wanted another activity for the kids so the parents could enjoy themselves for a few minutes longer. Since it was a race car themed party, a race track seemed only fitting.
Handy Hubby had made this step stool several years ago for Elizabeth to use for teeth brushing. We've since switched to a plastic stool so this one has been hanging out in Jim's work shop to give the kids a leg up when they want to help at the work bench. In short, he added a piece of plywood and attached strips about 1/2" thick to allow for 3 tracks. He then taped them off and spraypainted the tracks blue with some spraypaint we had on hand. We new it was a hit when a couple of the kids' friends dropped by and played with it non-stop for more than 30 minutes.

Alex would probably still be out there playing with it if we would let him!

So, those are the details. Let me know if you need more info about any of these projects.


Alex's 2nd Birthday Party

My little man Alex turned 2 last week and we had his party this past Sunday. By some miracle, the weather cooperated and despite also pulling off our biggest yard sale in history on Saturday, we still had some energy left for pizza and cake for 40 people on Sunday afternoon. I love doing late afternoon or early evening parties for my kids' first, second, and third birthdays. If parents are going to hang out with 20 toddlers, they might need something a little stronger than iced tea.

Here's Alex on his actual birthday. He LOVES blowing out candles (which I attribute in part to this toy).

We kept his actual birthday low-key with just presents from us and a cupcake for each of us. Clearly he LOVES cupcakes as much as candles! I love that we used the same candle when Elizabeth turned two. I plan to collect them for every year and then put them together for the kids' teen years!

This year, I decided on a race car theme because he loves anything with wheels and this seemed suitable for a two year old party. I wasn't going for a Cars Movie theme although that stuff was pretty easy to find (much of it on clearance since the new movie is about to come out), because I figure I'll have many years of Disney and Thomas themed birthdays ahead of me with this guy. I decided on an orange and blue theme because he loves orange and I love the contrast with orange and blue.

We had the whole thing in our backyard which was nothing short of a miracle considering the weather these past few weeks!  The kids could take advantage of push toys in the driveway, the play set and swings, and our small moonbounce (same as this) which we bring out for parties or just long Sunday afternoons. It takes about 5 minutes to set up and about 10 minutes to put away which is perfect for frequent use.

For decorations, I made the blue and orange bunting flags (I'll show you how later this week). My mom and I made "Happy Birthday Alex" posters for the side of the garage facing the yard and the garage door.

I also bought inexpensive orange plastic table covers which my mom taped to all of the tables, and finished with orange and blue paper napkins and plates. Two dozen balloons hung along the fence and railings and a few $1 pinwheels from Target completed the decor.

The food was some easy appetizers (chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, goldfish crackers, and a veggie tray), pizza, watermelon, and cake. I also made my first candy covered pretzels in the shape of a race car which was really fun to do and not at all hard. Perfect for non-bakers.
And here is Alex's cake.

The cake was an undecorated but frosted store bought half-sheet (half chocolate and half white) except for the royal blue trim. I made a stencil of a "2" for the race track and spray painted it with this product (in black). I added the lighter blue icing trim and some orange sprinkles and glittery stuff around.I made the little finish line flags with plastic toothpicks and tiny scraps of felt. The cars were also used in the favor bag (found here).

Yes, his shirt matches the theme colors!! Possibly over the top but I loved the shirt anyway :) Fortunately Grandma stepped in to help him eat his cake!

For added entertainment, Handy Hubby threw together this ramp for the kids to race cars on. It took him about an hour to throw it together and paint the stripes but it was well worth it. Alex spent most of his party time racing the cars down the track!

Each child took home a goody bag. More details on these later this week as well...

Somehow in all of the chaos, we got a couple of pictures of Handy Hubby, Alex and me. My friend and neighbor Jen was solely responsible for these and I am so grateful we took 10 seconds to snap these. I just wish that Elizabeth would have been willing to step away from her cake to join us!!

Have to say, it was nice to go to work this morning so I could relax!! 

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Our Master Bathroom

Before we tore our house apart top to bottom (more on that here), we had one real bathroom and one sort of half bathroom (really a toilet and shower in a basement closet with laundry tub outside the door).  I'm really happy to say, we are now lucky enough to have three full bathrooms and one half bathroom which seems to work well for us... at least until Elizabeth is 13! 

Here's the tour starting with the entry which is a pocket door from our bedroom. We really only close this in the morning when we shower. Otherwise, it's open 90% of the time. It might not work or everyone but it works well for us because we saved the space of a swinging door.
We have a linen closet on the left side and our shower on the right. The tile is carrara marble from the Tile Shop.  The walls are subway tile and the floor is basketweave. If you take this picture to the Tile Shop, they will likely tell you they don't have this. BUT, this is not what I expected it to look like when we ordered it - I was expecting something more gray and white with hints of cream and blue - not like this. BUT, I liked this more so we kept it.

Next up is the vanity. This was a major splurge for us in our home renovation. We are definitely bargain basement, coupon-clippers, and web discount shoppers when it comes to our home renovation projects. I fell in love with this vanity in a Pottery Barn catalog even before we started the renovation and I set out to find a great discount alternative. None could be found other than building one (my mom's idea) but I nixed it for lack of time and patience in the midst of living in a tiny rental house, renovating our house, and having one child and one on the way. So we bought it. I helped ease the pain by getting reward points on a Pottery Barn store credit card which I used for other things in the house. It was all worth it.  One point to note - if you are thinking about this type of vanity, you have to build the space to fit the vanity - preferably with the vanity on site.

For those questioning the open storage below, it is GREAT. I love keeping extra towels there. Folding towels neatly is way easier than folding clothes neatly so it's not a big deal to have them displayed. No, it does not get dusty under there - the towels seem to take care of that.

Next up is the toilet room off to the right with another pocket door. We did not really have a choice here.
So, where's the big over-sized soaker tub?  Not there! We chose not to have a tub to save space and we are not really bath people - I can't really sit still that long! Instead, I chose a larger bedroom and closet, as well as an upstairs laundry over a large tub which collects dust because we never use it. With a shower this awesome, my kids rarely even take baths!!

The little box under the shower switch is the controller for the radiant floor heat which we LOVE. Nothing better on a cold winter morning than to feel the warm tile. We really don't need rugs other than to step out of the shower which is nice because we can show off our fantastic floor.
Sources: Wall color - Duron/Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay; Towels - Restoration Hardware Silver Sage and White; Tile - Tile Shop Carrera Marble;

Check out the great bathrooms linked below. Sorry, the party is closed to new entries!

HOUSEography House Tour Link Party

Linking to Thrifty Decor Chick!
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