Hot Wheels Birthday Party

Vroom! Vroom! When JJ turned four, we celebrated by playing with Hot Wheels!

Decorations: To set the theme, I decorated our house with balloons and a Hot Wheels birthday banner. IMG_2889.PNG

Activities:

  • Car Wash: bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles!
  • Race Course: the kids used sidewalk chalk to create their own race tracks

Food:

We managed some themed food, too:

  • Traffic light – strawberries, green grapes, and pineapple
  • For the cake, a giant chocolate bundt cake made a great tire!

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Party favors:


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Happy birthday, big boy!

“Jewels”

Stitch Fix #3 Review

So, I feel like I have come to peace with Stitch Fix and am a happy customer. I started out thinking that I would have to love all five pieces to make it a success. After a few fixes, I realized it’s actually all I need (and less expensive) to get a couple of new items that I love and more importantly, that I would not have found on my own. On top of that, I get a major thrill knowing a box is on its way and opening it for that moment of surprise. There is something about the unexpected that really feels like getting a gift (though, yes, I know I am paying for it!)


Box number three arrived this week, and here’s what was inside:

  1. 41 Hawthorn Sugar Dot Print Dress. When I opened the box, I thought this would be the piece I liked the most. The fabric has a cute dot print and a nice drape. I like the feminine styling. However, when I put it on, the bottom is quite full, and it made my hips look extra-wide, which is not what I am going for! Unfortunately, this was a return.

2. Donna Morgan Guilia Jersey Faux Wrap Dress. These two dresses definitely prove that you have to try clothes on to really tell what will work. I did not love this dress at first sight. The print was too much of a statement for me, and I thought I wanted something more refined-looking. However, when I put it on, it fit so perfectly, and the style and print are super-slimming. My stylist Erin suggested wearing this with a short trench coat, so I tried it with both a beige blazer and a grey cardigan. Both did a nice job of toning down the print a bit. I had to sleep on this decision, but in the end, I am excited to keep this dress. One of the main reasons I signed up for Stitch Fix was to get introduced to new styles that I would not pick out myself, and I think this dress definitely achieves this.

3. Cole Haan Zero Grand Snake Flats. These are actually nice shoes. Cole Haan has good quality shoes, and these are very comfortable, with a bit of a sporty sole. I like these, but I didn’t keep them, because I have a gazillion ballet flats already, and these were a bit expensive for something that is very similar to other shoes I own.

4. Margaret M. Emer Straight Leg Pant. This was the big miss in Fix #3. I has asked for a pair of interesting dress pants for work, and these really did not meet my expectations. They are very stretchy, basically like leggings, and I don’t consider them to be dressy or flattering at all. I don’t think you can call yourself work pants if you are so stretchy that you don’t need a fly to put them on. Bummer.

5. Collective Concepts Ryleigh Pintuck Detailed Silk Blouse.This blouse was the sleeper hit of the fix. Kind of like the jeans from fix #2, which I thought were kind of boring when I first saw them and have become my absolute favorite jeans. This top looked pretty plain, but when I put it on, it fit perfectly and the little details around the collar and shoulders are so pretty. The cap sleeves look great, and I can see myself wearing this a lot!

 


So, I kept two out of five items this time, which is the same as last time. I did like the shoes as well and would have kept them if I didn’t own so many ballet flats already. So, it is really the dotted dress and the pants that didn’t work. I think my overall impression was  initially negatively colored by the fact that I was so disappointed by the pants, since that was the only item I actually requested. However, having fallen in love with the top and the wrap dress – which is something I would never have guessed I would like, I do think that I am getting what I want out of this service, which is discovering new styles that I wouldn’t find myself, not to mention the excitement of opening a surprise picked just for me!

I’m planning on ordering from Stitch Fix again, though I haven’t put it on the calendar yet. I’ll be sure to update you when it comes! In the meantime, if you want to try them out, I’d appreciate if you use my referral link.

Thanks and enjoy!

“Jewels”

 

 

In the Clear… Acrylic Furniture Picks

Beautiful clear furniture in acrylic, lucite, or glass, has always caught my eye. It is distinctly modern but neutral enough to fit in – and add a touch of glamorous sparkle – to any room. When one of my favorite home decor sites, One Kings Lane, announced a sale on beautiful acrylic furniture, I thought it would be a good time to scout out some favorite items.

Here are my picks from this sale:

Jones Bar Cart. Ohhh I want a bar cart so badly. I love the touch of gold on this one. Sadly, I’m afraid my boys would use this as a go-cart, but perhaps you’d have more luck?


Havenhurst Coffee Table. Again, I think the touch of gold makes this modern table feel more transitional. The corners remind me of the campaign style. This clear table would feel so light and airy in a living room or family room.

Whitley Tufted Bench. This bench feels less like going out on a limb than some of the other pieces. I think it is because the top surface, which catches more of your eye, is a traditional upholstered surface. The clear legs add just the right amount of sparkle and glamour. Statement pieces are great, and so are subtle touches like this one.

Havenhurst Etagere. More clean lines and metallic touches. I guess I know what I like this mix of campaign touches on a modern acrylic etagere really set my heart aflutter!

Brigitte Floor Lamp. Here’s another piece, like the bench, where the top looks more traditional, and the acrylic legs turn the lamp into something distinctive and glamorous.

Wow, I would put any of these in my house. How about you?

“Jewels”

Giant Paper Flowers!!!

Oh, I honestly love any project that involves paper!

For a friend’s bridal shower, I offered to set up a photo booth and make some other decorations, which was the perfect excuse to try making these giant paper flowers.

Materials:

  • 12×12 Cardstock – I used 3-4 sheets for the outer petals and one more sheet for the inner petals on each flower; you can cut two leaves from a sheet of green cardstock
  • Muffin cups for the centers
  • Cardboard for the backing
  • Tacky glue or hot glue

Instructions:

  • I started with this template and tutorial for giant paper roses
  • Because my cardstock was 12×12, I used the template to cut one each of sizes 1, 2, and 3 out of each sheet of cardstock. I made a smaller size 4 and used that to cut out the inner color
  • I varied the tips of the petals to get some variety (the pink-red and purple flowers follow the template; the blue has pointed petals, and the yellow and pink-yellow flowers have heart-shaped petals)

 

Here are some close-ups of the flowers:

They look really impressive grouped together:

And while I was taking pictures, it was so cute that Finn came over to smell the flowers!

Here’s how the flowers looked in our photo booth. The backdrop is a striped shower curtain.

Any ideas of where to put the flowers until our next event?

“Jewels”

 

 

 

DIY Gold-Painted Vases

One of my favorite partners in craft-crime recently hosted a bridal shower for one of our coworkers, and I offered to make some decorations. First, I made giant paper flowers for a photo backdrop, and next up were these gold-painted vases.

DIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at Home

Materials:

  • Empty glass jars (pasta sauce, peanut butter, mustard, etc.)
  • Goo gone
  • Painters tape
  • Gold spray paint

Instructions:

  • Clean your jars thoroughly. I peel my labels as much as I can and then use Goo gone to remove the adhesive. Then, I run them through the dishwasher.
  • Mask off the area you don’t want to paint. I did a few variations: simple horizontal stripes, uneven edges (tape some torn paper around the vase), elastic bands, and geometric angles. You could get creative with round stickers for polka dots, etc.
  • Spray with gold spray paint and ta-da!

DIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at Home

I love how this textured jar turned out. I think it was a sauerkraut jar.

DIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at Home

At the shower, I grouped vases together, so these small arrangements made a big impact.

DIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at HomeDIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at HomeDIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at HomeDIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at HomeDIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at Home

From “trash” to treasures!DIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at HomeDIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at Home

I gave most of the vases away as party favors, so the is the only picture I have of one of the diagonal geometric designs (far right).DIY gold-painted vases | Jewels at Home

Of course, now I am seeing beauty throughout my pantry and already have plans for another set of vases!

“Jewels”

 

DIY Paper Rosettes

I was putting together a photo booth background for my old boss’ retirement party, and I wanted to try to make these pretty paper rosettes I had seen. It turns out they are very easy, and I love them in these retro-inspired prints. I’m now making more for an upcoming bridal shower photo booth. Fun! Fun! Fun! Paper just makes me so happy.

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Materials:

  • Two sheets of matching scrapbook paper for each rosette
  • Tape
  • String

Directions:

I think the pictures are pretty easy to follow, but here’s how I figured out how to make the rosettes.

  • Stack the two pieces of paper together and fold in half, printed side facing in
  • Fold into quarters by folding the to edges down
  • Using the fold lines as a guide, pleat the paper into 12 one-inch sections. Separate the two sheets of paper
  • Tie them together in the middle
  • Spread out the pleats and tape the sheets of paper together from the back
  • Voila!

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Next project is some oversized paper flowers to add to our photo backdrop for next weekend!

“Jewels”

Hudson Bay Stripe Throw Cushions

I planned this project a while ago and got motivated to finish in time for our ex-pat Canada Day party.

While it was fun going a bit over-the-top with Canadiana for the party, I appreciate classic Hudson Bay stripes for providing a more sophisticated touch of Canadian culture. This iconic pattern has a great retro homey feel.

I used cloth napkins with Hudson Bay stripes for the front of the pillows and denim for the back. You can find my favorite throw pillow pattern back in this post.


Happy Canada Day, eh!

“Jewels”

(Ex-pat) Canada Day Party

Canada Day is coming up this Friday, July 1. My ex-pat friends and I had the pleasure of celebrating a little early today. “What is a Canada Day party?” some of our American friends asked. Well, a regular Canada Day party is a nice summer picnic or barbecue, but when you are an ex-pat, you have to go over-the-top to assert your Canadian-ness, and today was a good example.

Setting the scene:

Red-and-white everywhere!

And some more subtle elements like these Hudson Bay striped pillows:

Music:

So much good music comes out of Canada. You will have no problem putting together a playlist with artists like Bare Naked Ladies, Sarah Mclachlan, Bryan Adams, Tragically Hip, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morisette, and so many more!

Food and drink:

You can find Canadian beers, wines, and soft drinks at specialty stores like BevMo. We also enjoyed Nanaimo bars, smoked salmon, “Timbits” (donut holes), and other treats.

Be sure to add these adorable igloo ice cubes!

Games:

Falling in July, Canada Day is not typically celebrated with snowball fights, but that didn’t stop us from having a ball with Snowtime Anytime.

Happy Canada Day to my friends at home and all over the world!

“Jewels”

Book Review: The Design Cookbook

I love books. Not just the stories in them, but the feel of hefty printed pages in your hands. I especially love looking at used books stores and book sales. There’s something about the combination of a good deal on a newer book mixed in with the curiosities of vintage books that makes for such an enjoyable browsing.

I was recently in Chicago, where I met up with some friends from high school to do the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. On our last day, having walked 39 miles through the beautiful city and shopped our hearts out at the fashion outlets, a friend and I hunted down a big used bookstore: after-words in River North.

I found some fun books for souvenirs for the boys, and my personal pick was The Design Cookbook by Kelly Edwards. Even in this day of Pinterest, I find there is something special about browsing glossy images in a book or magazine.

Kelly Edwards really captures my style goals in this book – the rooms all have an eclectic combination of classic, modern, and whimsical elements. This can be a hard look to pull off, because the room is much more than a sum of the parts, so the “cook book” format is especially helpful. Kelly shows a series of rooms and then breaks them down into a list of features, like a painted lamp and dark walls. I like how this step-by-step approach to decorating can help you with recreating any room you see. The book also includes a handful of DIY projects.

Here are a few of my favorite vignettes from the book.

I am definitely feeling inspired, and I hope you are too!  For the “recipes” for these rooms and more, check out The Design Cookbook by Kelly Edwards.

“Jewels”

Chinoiserie Chic Living Room

Our living room has evolved over the years. Here’s a look at some of our latest additions, including the color block drapes and these pretty turquoise chairs from Article (formerly Bryght). I have to admit I was pretty nervous when the intense color showed up in my living room, but I am so glad I took a risk!

Over on the other side of the room, I have a little bar set up next to the dining area:

I recently moved this painted Chinese screen over the bar area when I was rearranging our art. I really like how it brings the eye up and emphasizes the tall ceilings.

And here are two paintings by my mom that I recently added to the living room. These remind me of De Gournay wallpapers and add an authentic bit of Chinoiserie to our home.

Hope you enjoyed the details in our living room!

“Jewels”