Beach-inspired Kids’ Bath

The kids/guest bath was a part of our big renovation when we moved into the house. It was originally a Jack-and-Jill (aka Brady Bunch) bathroom with no tub, and like much of the house, it was pink!  We wanted to turn it into a hall bath, which would be much more practical, especially because we were adding a new bedroom – the nursery – upstairs.  The reconfigured area also allowed us to move the laundry up from the basement, which is vastly more convenient.

It’s a simple space with a feel that’s the perfect blend of classic and contemporary. Since its also a guest bath, and these little boys are fast becoming little men, I didn’t want to make the decor too cutesy.  My original idea was to have a “Three Men in a Tub” theme, with a gallery of bath photos. Wet babies are so adorable, so why not a gallery wall in the bathroom? I still love that idea, but with our recent vacation in Hawaii, I hit on a beach theme instead.

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

As for function, there’s a lot of practicality in this small space.

When the architect first proposed the double vanity for a kids bath, I wasn’t sure it was necessary, but hubby, who comes from a family of four kids, assured me it would be put to good use, and he was right!

20130324-163234.jpgHawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

My kids never seem to successfully get their towels back on a towel bar, so I opted for these robe hooks. The adorable monogrammed hooded towels from Pottery Barn Kids were a gift from a dear friend when our youngest was born, and they fit perfectly here.

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

The Hawaiian “honu” sea turtles were ceramic coasters I found at a crafts fair in Honolulu, and our little family adds some color and whimsy to this wall.

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

And finally, some pictures of life by the water, to transport us every day.  Every time JJ sees this wall, he yells, “Beach!”

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

A few more pictures:

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}20130324-163217.jpg

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

 

 

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

Hawaiian beach-inspired bathroom.  Shared kids and guest bathroom.  {Jewels at Home}

Let’s make a splash!

“Jewels”

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Mad Men Party – Setting the Scene

I haven’t had a birthday party in 20 years, but this year seemed like a good time to get friends together for a joint party to celebrate Steve and my birthdays. Really, it all came out of my recent discovery of Mad Men (yes, I am late to the game but twice as devoted to make up for it), and the party seemed like a perfect excuse to dress up in fun 50s and 60s garb while swilling yummy cocktails with our nearest and dearest.

Are you planning a 50s/60s-era Mad Men party? What do you have in mind? Here are some of the props and ideas I can’t wait to try out. (Update: check out the new posts on the Mad Men menu and party wrap-up!)

Clothes

For guys, a suit with a skinny tie will look very dapper. Maybe a fedora?

Girls, the ideas are endless. You can go elegant late 50s or mod 60s. I see 50s- and 60s- inspired styles almost everywhere these days, but some specialty sources you’ll have fun browsing are ModCloth, Etsy, and eBay. Don’t forget your local thrift and consignment stores, too!

I’m still going through my closet for the perfect dress(es!) to accessorize with some pearls or this vintage rhinestone necklace:

Art Deco rhinestone necklace. Fab collection of ideas for a Mad Men party. {Jewels at Home}

Decor and atmosphere

I plan to set the scene with accessories like this old typewriter I found at an antiques store. I think it predates the 60s, but it still creates a great atmosphere. The typewriter needs a new ribbon – perhaps I can call UNderhill 3-2261 for service, as the sticker suggests?

Vintage typewriter - great prop for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

And of course, a fabulous bar is a must. I’m putting together a little collection of Dorothy Thorpe silver-rimmed barware, including roly poly glasses that look like them came straight out of Don Draper’s office.

Vintage Dorothy Thorpe monogrammed glasses for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

Vintage Dorothy Thorpe roly poly glass for a Mad Men party! Complete list of party ideas in this blog post.  {Jewels at Home}

I considered getting a chip and dip dish, like the one Pete and Trudy Campbell got as a wedding gift, but I didn’t really want to spend money on something so specific, so I’m going to fake it with a bowl and platter.

If time permits, I’d like to make up some mock Lucky Strike cigarette boxes filled with something – chocolates, bread sticks, pretzels, candy cigarettes?

Music playlist – some Jazz and blues classics, Beatles, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel.

Since this is a big birthday for both of us, I’m also considering doing a slide show – inspired by the Kodak carousel – maybe including some “Instagram”s of recent pictures.

I’ve also started printing posters to frame for products that Sterling Cooper worked on, such as:

  • Lucky Strike
  • Right Guard – aerosol can
  • Menken’s department store
  • Secor laxative
  • Liberty Capital – executive account
  • Belle Jolie lipstick
  • Mohawk Airlines
  • Samsonite
  • Patio cola
  • Heinz – baked beans
  • Sugarberry hams
  • Playtex
  • Jaguar
  • Kodak carousel
  • Pepsi snoball

Menu

This is a tough one. What are some retro dishes that people would actually want to eat? Waldorf salad, quiche, shrimp cocktail? We’re also thinking about some classic dishes to make for fun – I want to make a Jell-o salad, and Steve is talking about Beef Wellington.

For drinks, cocktails of all kinds, including Don Draper’s Old Fashioned, Betty’s Mint Juleps, martinis, and maybe a punch bowl. Another fun addition would be some Heinekens, which were also featured in the show.

Activities
We’ll have plenty of fun just hanging out together, but I’d also like to put out some vintage board games – Scrabble, Monopoly, Yahtzhee, Farkle and some games Steve picked up at the neighborhood rummage sale last year – and maybe set up a card table.

vintage board games

Game of the States from 1960 and Gettysburg from 1958 for $1 each! Looking forward to playing these!

Send any more ideas our way. Can’t wait to show you what we put together!

“Jewels”

Living Room Tour

After some peeks into the small spaces in our house – the powder room, the nursery, the laundry, the master bath – I’m glad I can show you our living room. It’s actually only one half of the original living room – we are using the other half of this enormous room as our dining room, and we turned the separate dining room into a family room.

I am not sure quite how to describe the style – it’s a little bit contemporary but classic. It has Chinese elements, but more of a Regency Chinoiserie feel than traditional Chinese. Is this the Asian fusion of the decorating world? Anyway, I love the cool soothing blues and grays warmed up with some green. It satisfies my desire for a grown-up space but is still a very comfortable spot to hang out.

Not much more explanation needed, so I’ll get to the pictures.  I’ve included links to the many DIY projects in this room.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

A view of the living room side of our living-dining room, from the foyer.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

The bamboo brush paintings are by my mom.  I sewed the living room pillows and repainted the vintage marble-top coffee table.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

This picture was from the Holiday House Tour:

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

I love this elegant old Chinese chair that I picked up at the flea market.  It’s sitting by the window, next to a craigslist-find chest that I painted in teal.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Here’s another sunny view of our living room.  I love that it has so many windows.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

To the left of the piano is an antique wooden window screen that I painted, and on top is a repurposed shoe box, decorated with paper.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

These nesting tables are from a consignment store, and the silver box is a rummage sale find that I painted in silver.

Living room tour.  Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

This vignette on top of a bookshelf includes some art from a favorite calendar, an antique Korean vase given to us by Steve’s parents, and a little Japanese dish I picked up years ago while shopping with my mom and sister.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

The bookshelf on the other side of the window has a similarly sentimental display – art from a calendar and from an old friend, a small blue and white Chinese vase from my grandmother’s house, and some candle sticks I found in thrift store.

Living room tour. Classic contemporary space with Asian elements.  {Jewels at Home}

Thanks for visiting!

“Jewels”

Ikea Expedit Hack: Compact Storage Bed

It’s happening… our oldest is officially a “tween” and has asked for his own room. The timing works out, as baby J and middle brother L are excited to move in together and play all day (hopefully not all night), so Kai can have the former nursery as his own.

J’s nursery was a small room – you may remember that it was converted from the former master bath – so I put a lot of planning into making a space-efficient layout that would be useful and not feel too claustrophobic. As part of the plan I needed a bed that was “zero clearance” – just the size of the mattress, and when I didn’t find what I was looking for shopping, I decided to get creative! As you know, I’m definitely one of those people who thinks everything is more fun when you make it yourself.

Awesome Ikea hack.  DIY compact bed with tons of storage, using Ikea EXPEDIT.  {Jewels at Home}

Here’s how we made our compact bed with plenty of storage space below.

Materials:

  • Two (2) Ikea EXPEDIT 1×5 bookshelves. Ours are black-brown
  • Ikea SULTAN LADE bed slats
  • Mattress (we used the one we already had)
  • Optional headboard: Ikea LACK wall shelf in the 43″ length for a twin bed – you could use the longer version for a full or queen bed
  • For hanging the headboard, Command Large Adhesive Picture Hanging Strips. I used these black ones to match the shelf.

Instructions:

  • Assemble the two EXPEDIT bookshelves, placing the felt pads on the long sides
  • Place the two bookshelves next to each other, with a gap in between. (pictured below, left)
  • Lay the SULTAN LADE bed slats on top of the shelves. (pictured below, right)

Awesome Ikea hack.  DIY compact bed with tons of storage, using Ikea EXPEDIT.  {Jewels at Home}

  • I moved my slats in 2″ from the edge, so you won’t see the slats when the mattress is in place. If your bed will be exposed on both sides, I would recommend trimming the slats, so the bed base is not too wide. Since our bed is up against the wall, I just shifted the slats over, and they hang off the edge next to the wall. (pictured below, left)
  • Since the EXPEDIT is just a couple of inches shorter than the mattress, I also let the slats extend about an inch over the bookcase at the head, for extra support. (pictured below, right)
Awesome Ikea hack.  DIY compact bed with tons of storage, using Ikea EXPEDIT.  {Jewels at Home}

Place the slats about 2″ from the edge of the shelf and hanging over the “head” end by about 1″.

  • You can paint the bed slats before securing, so they blend into the the shelves better, since you do get a little peek of the slats, even when the mattress is on. (pictured below)

Awesome Ikea hack.  DIY compact bed with tons of storage, using Ikea EXPEDIT.  {Jewels at Home}

  • Use four screws, two in each bookcase, to secure the bed slats to the bookshelf at each end and create a stable base. Then then screw down some of the slats in the middle, to keep them from slipping around.
  • For the headboard, trim off a few inches from the LACK shelf, so it matches the width of your bed. (pictured below, second picture)
  • Add the Command Large Adhesive Picture Hanging Strips to the back of the shelf. I used eight large strips, to make it very secure. (pictured below, third picture)
  • Attach the headboard to the wall above your bed. (pictured below, bottom)
Ikea hack: LACK wall shelf hung as a headboard for a compact bed.  {Jewels at Home}

LACK wall shelf hung as a headboard for a compact bed.

I’m planning on this wide stripe bedding from West Elm to complete the big boy bed!

West Elm wide stripe duvet cover.

 

Here’s the finished bed. I’ll put up some more pictures as the rest of the room comes together!

 

 

Awesome Ikea hack.  DIY compact bed with tons of storage, using Ikea EXPEDIT.  {Jewels at Home}

DIY compact bed with tons of storage, using Ikea EXPEDIT.

Although the rest of the room is unfinished, our tween boy is very happy hanging out in his new room. This spot for the bed is perfect for our bookworm to read away the afternoons.

“Jewels”

 

DIY Paper Art – Heart and Butterfly Silhouettes

Just every once in a while, I plan a project, and then I actually do it!  Yes, really!  I recently collected some fun ideas for art projects involving paper, and now I’m excited to unveil my own paper creations.

I have a great weakness for pretty prints on paper and fabric, and these easy projects were a great way to display them and create inspiration in my craft studio.

Art Hearts

I was feeling girly when I collected these pink and red papers – a mix of scrapbook paper, origami paper, scraps from card, and even some paper I made myself! (second row, center) – and cut out rows of matching hearts.  Very easy – I made a heart template out of scrap paper and then traced and cut out this collection.  I glued them onto a plain background and popped them into this frame I already had.  I had also thought of folding the hearts and making them three dimensional, but I’m happy with how this turned out.

Simple and pretty DIY paper heart art.  A perfect way to enjoy your favorite pretty papers. {Jewels at Home}

 

Butterfly Collection

No butterflies were harmed in the production of this pretty display piece.  While I have fallen in love with pink and red only recently (some kind of reaction to having three boys), I’ve long had a love for the color blue – in fact, my dad still talks about how much I love blue (do your parents also remember you exactly as you were twenty years ago?).

Anyway, unlike all the identical hearts, I wanted to make each butterfly unique.  Again, I love the mix of papers many of which have stories behind them – an old stationery set, some wrapping paper, and more paper that I hand made (second row, left).  These are mixed with some more scrapbook and origami papers for a soothing and pretty work of art.

 

 

 

Simple and pretty DIY paper butterfly collection.  A perfect way to enjoy your favorite pretty papers. {Jewels at Home}

 

And now, there is finally something to adorn the blank wall in my “studio.”  Along with my new paper art, I framed a section of the hydrangea wrapping paper that I used for my desk accessories and added some botanical prints from a calendar.

Create an inspiring art gallery with a mix of DIY paper art, framed papers, and pretty prints. {Jewels at Home}

 

I love how putting something up on the walls makes a space feel like home!

“Jewels”

Ninjago Party – Part 2: Activities

This past weekend, we put together a fun Ninjago-themed party for our seven year old’s birthday. I already posted pictures and ideas for the decorations, food, and party favors, and here are some details on the activities that kept our army of Lego ninjas busy!

Ninjago party activities and many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Sword fighting against Ninjago enemies

I bought these foam swords at Hallowe’en for L’s ninja costume. They come as a mixed set of pirate and knight/ ninja swords. The pirate ones could easily be altered to look like the ninja swords by trimming the handles, but my kids didn’t seem to be particular about it. Our kids have played with the swords quite a lot in the past few months, and I’ve been impressed by how durable the they are and also how it seems pretty much impossible to hurt someone or break something with them (and I’m sure our good fortune will end with that statement…). Despite the fact that no physical harm has ever been inflicted, the swords have been the cause of some arguments and whining, neither of which I felt were suitable for a party, so I decided to direct the boys’ energy toward targets other than each other.

Luckily, I had just been to Ikea to pick up a couple of things, so I had two large cardboard boxes to turn into training dummies for the party. The Skulkin skeletons and the Serpentine are the main enemies of the Ninjago (I learned a lot to put together this party!), so I made one of each out of plain newsprint and glued them onto the boxes, adding some embellishment with markers. They’re each about five feet tall!

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Skulkin and Serpentine sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.

We set up the targets outside and let the kids take turns trying to knock them down. We quickly learned that we needed to draw a chalk line to delineate a “safe zone” for the kids waiting their turn, after the birthday boy got whacked by his older brother, who was aiming for General Skales. No harm done, but as I said, some – thankfully brief – tears and argument.

This activity was really beloved by our Ninjago guests. In retrospect, their war cries should probably have been saved for later in the party, as we may have woken some of our neighbors, but it was all in good fun.

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Sword fighting targets for a Ninjago birthday party activity.  Many more ideas from Jewels at Home.

Stick the ninja star on the Ninjago

For this activity, I made a bunch of these origami ninja stars and put 3M clear mounting squares on the back.

Origami ninja stars.  Ninjago birthday party activity and party favors.  {Jewels at Home}

Origami ninja stars for Ninjago birthday party activity and party favors.

I made a giant poster of Ninjago Lloyd ZX. It was very easy to print this image across multiple pages using a downloadable program called Poster Razor, and then I taped the pages together and and placed the outline of a ninja star in Lloyd’s hand. I laminated the front of the poster with clear contact paper, so the ninja stars could stick without damaging the poster.

Stick the ninja star on Ninjago Lloyd.  Instructions and many more activities for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

Stick the ninja star on Ninjago Lloyd.

Not all the kids wanted to play this game, but those who did played over and over! We had to experiment with a few blindfolds and locations for the poster, as we had some very sneaky ninjas!

Each Ninjago guest got to take one of these little stars home, too.

Ninjago Skeleton Bowling

Lego actually makes a Skeleton Bowling set, so I took this idea and decided to make a life-sized version.

I was able to borrow this Little Tikes Totsports Bowling Set from our neighbor. I then printed two Ninjago skeletons side by side across regular sheets of paper and wrapped and taped the paper around the bowling pins.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.  Many more ideas for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.  Many more ideas for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

I have to admit that the bowling game did not get a lot of attention at the party, although I suppose I can understand that the opportunity to whack things with swords was a bit distracting. Our toddler did have a lot of fun playing bowling the next day, though, as you can see. I think the kid has a future in pro bowling.

DIY life-sized Ninjago skeleton bowling game.  Many more ideas for a Ninjago birthday party from Jewels at Home.

Finally, let’s not forget the Lego itself! While we may grumble about how commercialized it has become since our childhood, I still think Lego is one of the best toys. Our kids can be occupied for hours making their own creations. Not surprisingly, the boys spent a lot of the party just hanging out with this classic toy. Looking for Lego sets for your kids or gifts? I have found great Ninjago and other Lego toys at big discounts on Zulily.com!

Lego Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Lego Ninjago birthday party.

Well that’s the round-up of activities and fun at our Lego Ninjago birthday party. Don’t forget to check out the previous post for details on the decorations, food, and party favors.

Lego Ninjago birthday party.  Don't miss these ideas for decorations, activities, food, and favors.  {Jewels at Home}

“Jewels”

Ninjago Birthday Party – Part 1

Pulling off a birthday party is like an athletic event (or at least I imagine it to be, not actually being athletic) – I work like crazy and then crash afterward. It’s always worth it to give our boys a day to remember. Here’s the first post on our seven year old’s Ninjago birthday party. I put details on the party activities in a separate post.

A complete guide to a Ninjago birthday party, with ideas for decorations, activities, food, and party favors.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago birthday decorations

I still like the feel of a paper invitation, like the ones I made for our firefighter birthday party, but sometimes the convenience of an online invitation is hard to resist.  Luckily, evite has this Lego-themed invitation, and I added a Ninjago drawing by our birthday boy, to complete the look.

Ninjago birthday party blog post with decorations, food, and activities, from Jewels at Home.

Customize an online invitation for your Ninjago birthday party.

For decorating the house, I hung our reusable birthday banners, customized with pictures of green Ninjago Lloyd ZX.  I had in mind to do balloons with stuck-on Ninjago eyes, but I ran out of time!

Ninjago birthday party blog post with customized decorations and tons of ideas.  {Jewels at Home}

Customized Ninjago birthday banner.

I printed signs for the activities using Bonsai font and mounted them on green scrapbook paper.  Each child got a Ninjago eyes T-shirt to wear when he arrived.  This was their main party favor, and the shirts were a hit!  It was really fun to see all the little Ninjagos running around the house together!

DIY Ninjago T-shirt party favors and many other ideas for a Ninjago birthday from Jewels at Home.

Celebrate your Ninjago fan's birthday with the DIY Ninjago eyes shirts!  Tutorial and more ideas from Jewels at Home.

I failed to capture the partying kids in any decent poses – they were moving too fast! but here’s the birthday boy’s little brother sporting his custom shirt. You don’t need to make your own shirts to have great Ninjago accessories.  I have definitely picked up a lot of Ninjago and other Lego shirts and toys at great prices on Zulily.com!

DIY Ninjago eyes T-shirts and many other ideas for your Ninjago birthday party.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago birthday food ideas

As you can see from the sign in this picture, I had wanted to arrange fruit into a Serpentine, one of the Ninjago enemies, but due to limitations of daylight savings time, I just piled the fruit on a plate, and it was all gone in an instant anyway – I told you those Ninjago are fast!

For lunch, we had a variety of Japanese and Japanese-inspired fare, including California rolls and avocado rolls from the local supermarket, homemade Spam musubi by Steve, and plenty of gyoza dumplings, which were the kids’ favorite.

Ninjago birthday party ideas, including decorations, food, and activities.  {Jewels at Home}

Ninjago birthdy party food: gyoza, musubi, and rolls.

Ninjago birthday party ideas, including decorations, food, and activities.  {Jewels at Home}

Instead of a cake, I made sushi using Rice Krispies.  These Rice Krispy treat sushi are decorated with fruit roll-up for the “nori” and Swedish fish and fruit gummies for garnish.  They were a lot of fun to make, though time-consuming.  If you do it, I definitely recommend making a half batch at a time, as the Rice Krispy treats kept hardening before I could shape them all, and I ended up with several leftover globs.

Rice Krispy Treat sushi made from Rice Krispies cereal and candy.  More ideas for a Ninjago birthday party at Jewels at Home.

Rice Krispy Treat sushi made from Rice Krispies cereal, fruit roll-up, Swedish fish, and other treats. So cute!

Tons of ideas for a Ninjago birthday party, complete with decorations, activities and food, from Jewels at Home.

Happy birthday boy at his Ninjago-themed party!

Ninjago Birthday Activities

These were a blast, and you can read all the details in this post!

Happy birthday to our dear son!  I am glad it was such a fun day.

“Jewels”