Monday, April 30, 2012

1 Year!

Yesterday marked one year since we closed on our new house.  We have loved living in our house and I can't believe how fast time has flown. We've gotten a lot accomplished around the house too! So, I thought I would go through the big changes and progress that we've made.

The kitchen was the first project that we took on, we wanted it to be nearly complete before we actually moved in. I couldn't imagine living in a house without a functioning kitchen while you try to renovate. So, we took advantage of still living in our apartment in order to get everything done quickly.

Living Room
We didn't do that much in the living room. We painted the walls the same as the kitchen, BM Smoke, and were able to use our previous furniture. I did find a fun printed chair at HomeGoods that helps to tie all of the colors together. This room is more about function than aesthetics, it's where we spend most of our time.

Deck & Backyard
We stained the deck last summer and got new outdoor furniture to make both a dining and seating area.  We have enjoyed this area all year long, but it's really great when the weather is nice and we can grill out.
I've also enjoyed watching the plants that we've planted grow and fill in. I love this section of our garden and the flagstone pathway that we added last summer.  The butterfly bush grows so fast it is fun to watch each week, it gets bigger and bigger. Even after having been cut down to stumps about knee high, it will grow more than 10 feet tall and it adds a lot of privacy. I also love the flowering bushes, the knockout roses that we added and the hydrangea that blooms almost all summer long.

Dining Room
We made a few changes to this room in addition to filling it with furniture. But, I think the things we did had a big impact. We installed wainscoting on the walls, which made the room start to look like a real formal dining room. Adding floor to ceiling curtains in a neutral, geometric fabric helped make the room feel bigger.  Overall, I'm happy with how this room turned out, even though it's likely to change and evolve with us over the next few years.

Guest Room
We've had a couple of guests stay with us this year, but mostly family members.  The guest room isn't really 'complete' but it's definitely better than an empty room. ;)

This is our most recent project and we have gotten so many compliments on the bookshelves. They really dominate the room, but that's exactly what I wanted!  We need to work on wall decorations and finally finishing up the last few furniture pieces, two arm chairs and an ottoman. However, I'm really happy that we've gotten this far. I love to sit on the couch in this room and relax on sunny afternoons.

We still have a lot on our list of things to do around the house though. See my list of goals for 2012 here. Upstairs we need to decorate the bonus room and office and finish the master bedroom.  We are also planning to do a lot more work outside. We've got the backyard looking pretty nice, but the front still needs a lot of work.  We're planning to sod the front yard later this spring and that should make a big impact! I can't wait to see what the future looks like!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kelsey's Bridal Shower: the details

As you might have noticed in the last post, we used Kelsey's K monogram for the shower theme and we brought it in a lot of places.  So here are some more of the details from the shower, this post is definitely picture heavy ;) Things started out with the wreath that I made for the front door out of tissue paper flowers.  
Monogram wreath
I was inspired by the picture below from Pinterest and then I made a ton of little tissue paper flowers and tied them to a piece of poster board that I cut out in the shape of the K from the shower monogram.
 Cute wreaths
When guests entered the house, they found a silver mirror hanging with the escort cards.  The sign at the top says: "Find your table ...then find your Monogram" meaning find your table with your escort card and then find your monogram at your place setting.
Escort cards
The table numbers were created from wooden numbers that I got at AC Moore and painted with pink paint. I drilled a 1/4" hole in the bottom of each and inserted a dowel to be able to place each number in the vase.
Table numbers for centerpieces
 I created each centerpiece by hand with all of the flowers that we got at local shops. I love arranging flowers and making these low centerpieces was a lot of fun.  I tied pink ribbon around each centerpiece vase and added Kelsey's K monogram to tie into the theme of the event. 
Table setting
Then, once the guests had found their tables, their personal monogram was tied to a place card favor on top of their dessert plate.  I  filled clear boxes with different types of pink candies and tied them with silver ribbon and a card with their monogram.  As I mentioned before, the china and silverware was collected from different members of my family, the picture below is our wedding china mixed with my mom's sterling silverware.
Monogrammed place card favor
Table 1
Table 2
Since it was a really nice day outside, we had 3 more tables outside on the deck. Here I mixed up the pink and silver tablecloths and we had two square tables and one round table.  The centerpieces and table numbers were the same as the other tables.  I also used different silverware and china for each table out there as well. 
Tables outside
Round table with silver tablecloth

Inside, I decorated the mantle with lots of different glassware, including mason jars, bud vases, etc and filled them with different pink flowers. I placed all of this on top of wide pink ribbon that I had draped over the mantle.  I also hung the letters of Kelsey's new monogram from the mantle with pink ribbon. 
The mantle and gift opening area
To the left of the mantle and gift opening area was the gift table.  I covered the table in a pink tablecloth and by the start of the shower, this table was overflowing with gifts!
Gift table before the guests arrived with the rest of the gifts
As you might have seen before, I painted the K monogram by hand on the table runner that was on the food buffet. It took a lot of patience, but I think it was worth it. I loved how the pink runner looked on the silver tablecloth and differentiated this table from the guest tables.
Hand painted table runner
We had so much delicious food and I think everyone really enjoyed it.  There were so many options for sandwiches, quiches, fruit and veggies. It was really good and still pretty healthy for you! 

The dessert bar was also really fun.  I printed out a sign that said Love is Sweet and placed it in the middle of my bulletin board then filled the rest of the space with lots of pictures of Kelsey and Brandon.
Dessert bar
We had a ton of wonderful desserts and of course everything tied in with the monogram theme.  The cake from Sweet Memories had a replica of the monogram painted on a fondant topper.  Each of the jar desserts also had a monogram on the lid.  
More of the desserts
I mentioned the drinks before, but we had a bellini bar to create your custom drink creations and lemonade and iced tea in large mason jar dispensers.  I created custom stir stick flags with Kelsey's monogram for the drinks and we had gray and white paper straws available for the sweet tea or lemonade.
Drinks at the bellini bar
Strawberry lemonade and sweet tea in mason jar dispensers
The decor and food was really great, everyone was pretty wowed. But, now down to the actual events of the shower! When the guests arrived, everyone had a chance to get a drink and mingle and we played an icebreaker game that actually went over really well.  We played the "what's in your purse game?" and it was fun!
What's in your purse game
Each guest filled out a card and got points for having certain items with them in their purse.  It was pretty amazing that multiple people got over 100 points!!
Playing the what's in your purse game
After lunch, we played a game that is a spin on the traditional toilet paper wedding dress game.  Instead of toilet paper however, the groups each received a bag with various supplies so that they could fashion their own more realistic wedding dress. Each bag contained satin, tulle, various types of white ribbon, silk flowers, bobby pins, safety pins and scissors. 
Wedding dress game bags
We gave the groups about 15-20 minutes to make their creations and it was a ton of fun.  We got a lot of really unique dresses and some pretty successful dresses. After their dresses were complete, we had everyone gather together in the living room for a fashion show to show off each dress.
One of the model brides 
Fixing the bride's veil
Wedding dress fashion show
Then, after all of the dresses had been shown, Kelsey got to pick the winner. It was a lot of fun and then she posed for a picture with the models. 
Kelsey with all of the model brides
While Kelsey opened her gifts, the guests played Bingo. Each person filled out a card with items they thought she might receive, then as Kelsey opened her gifts they marked them off. The first person to get 5 in a row won! It was a fun way to keep everyone interested in the gifts that were being opened.
Gift bingo
After opening all of Kelsey's wonderful monogrammed gifts, we played one more game before the event was over.  Sarah, the MOH, had asked Brandon 20 questions before the shower and we asked Kelsey the same questions to see if she could get them right!  The guests had to guess how many of the 20 questions they thought Kelsey would actually get right. Brandon happened to show up right before we started this last game, so he got to listen to Kelsey try to come up with all of the same answers.
The bride and groom
It was a wonderful day and I know everyone had a lot of fun celebrating the bride-to-be, Kelsey

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kelsey's Bridal Shower

This weekend was a whirlwind, but it was amazing! I helped host Kelsey's bridal shower at our house on Saturday and it went really well. It was so fun and really neat to see all of the details that I had been working on finally come together.

The shower had a monogram theme and Kelsey received lots and lots of really cute monogrammed gifts.  The decorations started off with a wreath that I made for the front door out of tissue paper flowers.  The K is the same K from the party monogram that was sent out on the invitations.
K wreath on the front door
We served luncheon type food for the shower and everything was really delicious!  All of the bridesmaids contributed different foods, which made it easier on everyone.  We had chicken salad croissants, cucumber tea sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, hummus wraps, quiches, ham biscuits, salads and lots of fruit and veggies.  You can also see that we brought the K monogram through in the table runner which I hand painted and the wreath above the buffet. 
Lots of food!
 Speaking of the food, I wrote the menu out on our kitchen chalkboard with a new chalk marker that I found at Michaels. It makes writing on the chalkboard even more fun!
bridal shower menu
There were a ton of options for everyone for dessert.  We had cake from Sweet Memories (where we got our wedding cake and they're making Kelsey's wedding cake... they're the best!!) and a ton of other delicious sweets. Sarah, the MOH, made red velvet cupcakes with pink icing and lemon raspberry cheesecake jar desserts.  There were also Oreo balls and macarons... so yummy!
the desserts!
Kelsey getting ready to cut her cake
For drinks, guests had the options of sweet tea, lemonade or a custom creation at the Bellini bar.  I bottled different fruit purees and juices, including peach, mango, raspberry, strawberry, orange, and pomegranate, for everyone to choose from.  The guests picked their fruit and then poured in the prosecco.  We even had sparkling water available for the non-alcoholic drinkers.
The Bellini Bar
I decorated the area where Kelsey would open her gifts with lots of flowers and her new monogram.  I placed various small glass containers on the mantle and filled them with pink and white flowers to create a pretty backdrop.  I also painted the letters of her new monogram and hung them with pink ribbon from the mantle. Kelsey got to sit in the big chair to open all of her gifts. 

Kelsey opening her gifts
I created the centerpieces myself with flowers I purchased at local stores. I had a lot of luck finding really pretty flowers, like hydrangea and roses that looked great together. I was hoping to find peonies, but it was just a little too early in the season.  I created low centerpieces for each table with square or round glass vases with ribbon tied around them and the shower monogram emblem.  I place a painted wooden number in the center of each floral arrangement to indicate the table number.  
the tablescape
We used different china at each table, which I collected from family members. It was really neat to use china from our wedding, my mom's, grandmother's, and great grandmother's collection.  Each place setting also included a favor place card of pink candy tied with the guest's own monogram, to indicate where they should sit.
The lovely bride-to-be and some of her bridesmaids 
Guests playing one of the games at the shower
Kelsey at the dessert bar
 It was a really fabulous day and we got so many compliments on how nicely everything turned out.  We played a lot of games and they all went over really well. Kelsey had a wonderful time and in the end, it was a great day filled with lots of love from family and friends.
Kelsey and me after the shower
I have a lot more pictures and details still to come that I didn't post here. I'll be back later this week with a post detailing some close ups of the projects we worked on and some of the behind the scenes work.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures, we really had a great day! 
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