When planning a wedding, there are SO many details.  Now, let’s be clear, none of these details will trump the most important part of the day (you know, that guy or gal you are marrying and vowing to spend the rest of your life with, yeah that’s the MOST important part).  But, if you are a detail freak, type A person like me, don’t act like you haven’t hem and hawed over something as simple as your table numbers.  Here are my thoughts on customizing your table numbers for this small detail of your BIG day (oh, and they are super budget-friendly too!)

Biggest Tip:  Make It About YOU GUYS

Your wedding day is all about you guys’ as a couple.  The reasons that you are perfect for each other and the story of what has brought you to this very moment and decision to spend the rest of your lives together.  What do you like to do together?  How did you meet?  Here are two of my favorite (ok, I’m bias) examples from my own wedding as well as my sister’s wedding:

 

How You Met | {My Wedding}
Matt & I met in Astronomy class my freshman (his sophomore) year of college.  So, in a very cute (and ok maybe semi-cheesy way), we rolled with an “Astronomy” theme for our table numbers, naming each table a constellation.  While I for sure couldn’t pronounce half the names, we included a little summary of how we met as well as a little “fun fact” about the constellation for our guests to read.  We also added our logo featuring a silhouette of The Enchanted Barn with the constellation above it for an added touch of personalization.

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Execution:
I used these white iKea Tolsby Frames that run $0.99 each (ch-ya!).  Then I simply had our graphic designer create each table number as a 2-sided 4×6 to fit the frames.  Simple + chic. Check!

 

What You Like To Do Together | {My Sister’s Wedding}
Adrian & Jeff are passionate foodies (they are always my first call for a restaurant recommendation or a “what is this strange ingredient in this recipe”).  They know the Minneapolis-area food scene like the back of their hand. So, for their wedding, they chose to name their tables as their FAVORITE local hidden gem restaurants.  They included a little summary of each restaurant for their guests to read at the table & it tied in perfectly- it was just so “them”.

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Photo credit:  Nicolas Norbert Photography & Erin Jean Photography

Execution:
We DIY-ed these table numbers with a simple “table tent” style with scrapbook paper and maintaining the same consistent fonts from the rest of the wedding invites, programs, etc.  The guest’s escort cards were (of course) with the coordinating scrapbook paper as their appropriate table (I mean ‘restaurant’). Oh how the organization & detailed coordination makes my heart sing! (

While I love a classic numeric table number, why not change it up and let your table names say a little more about you as a couple?!  Your guests (many of which may not know your new spouse as well as your closest friends) will love the little insider they get into a slice of you as a couple.

**Special shout-out to the AH-MAZING designer that did all the design work for both my own and my sister’s wedding – the talented Amy Stemper of Ash & Oke.  If you are in the market for a graphic designer, check her out.  Her work will make your wedding cohesive, gorgeous, and reflective of your own individual style!

cheers!

mallory

 

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As I write this post I can hardly hold back my feelings from gushing everywhere all over your screen as I begin to unveil what 2015 holds for me and the changes I am going to make. Words to describe it include: excited, terrified, eager, scared, enthusiastic, optimistic, and – ready.

If you remember, about 6 months ago I made a career move transitioning from a large Fortune 1,000 company to a small agency with less than 20 people (flashback here).  It seemed like time to see “what else was out there” and move on from my first job out of college. Career-wise, my role shifted from marketing/branding focused into an account management, digitally-focused position.  I have learned a lot about both large and small companies, the past few months have shown me that it is time to do something very different, something else, to find balance, and, to try.

Try to take time to focus on my own small business endeavors, my crazy entrepreneurial ideas (yes, including those that I wake up in the middle of the night and write down in the notebook on my nightstand), and just see. See what happens because you only have one life to live, and if I wake up everyday and love what I am doing, I consider that a win. I just can’t turn off the passionate person I am, it is just simply that- it’s who I am. I urge for creativity, freedom, strategy, trial and error of my own accord.  I am proud of what I have created thus far, but so excited to see what more I can do to grow.

That being said, here is a look at the Big Changes of 2015!

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Career

I am makin’ (another) Corporate Dress Change, and actually going back to Corporate.  I am bouncing BACK to my Fortune 1000 company that holds a special place in my heart and was my home for 4+ years. I will be working in a different department rather than Marketing, working in the Merchandising team planning Education and Events.  I get to work with a new team of more amazing people of whom I’ve already had the pleasure of working with on a project-by-project basis when I was there before. In addition to a whole new department/team, another big change is that I am going back part-time.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to stay in the industry in which I love, working with such great people, and was so humbled when the opportunity arose and I heard how highly I was thought of as a candidate/previous employee.

I am so excited for the flexibility of my schedule so I can work on the strategy of my businesses and strive for a new type of balance between career, personal, and entrepreneurial goals.

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Photographs by Mallory Jo

As most of you know from Facebook, I have started to pursue and grow my photography business beyond my standard friends and family clientele.  I got my website up and running in September and have had a great start doing family, newborn, engagement, and maternity sessions all over the place! I’m loving the variety and growth and want to shout out a big ‘thank you’ for all the support. Whether you’ve liked a photo, visited the website or Facebook page, or referred a friend, you guys are seriously the best cheerleaders ever (bold statement, coming from a former cheerleader).

While I’m loving what my photography business has brought thus far, I am a firm believer in learning.  I certainly don’t claim to be an expert and I am definitely learning as I go.  One thing that I crazy love about this industry is the passion and morale and sense of community that photography has.  It has already been such a supportive and amazing industry to follow and break into!  Speaking of which, in 2015 I have the INCREDIBLE opportunity to intern for an established wedding photographer Hannah Schmitt Photography.  I will be working with Hannah and interning/second shooting about 9 weddings this year. Ah! So excited.  I’ve been wanting to break into the wedding industry SO much (I actually did book my first wedding this coming May!), and I am so eager to learn the ins and outs and gain hands on wedding experience (and portfolio) with a wedding photography pro.  More info about this awesome opportunity to come. :)

*All photo portraits of me in this post are credited to Hannah Schmitt Photography.

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Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Don’t worry, I (as in CMCD) isn’t going anywhere. :) IN FACT, I’ve been planning a complete overhaul of the website and brand look, so excited to share once it’s up and running to deliver a better blog experience for my awesome following (cough-you guys-cough).  I’m excited to work on a better schedule/cadence of posting and really dig deep to make Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress a fully functioning Lifestyle blog with LOTS of different topics. Can you sense the excitement?  I sure can!

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Mint to Be Vintage Rentals

After planning and DIY-ing my wedding back in July 2013, I accumulated a boatload of event decor treasures.  Rather then these things collecting dust in my basement, I’m in the process of launching a full-out Vintage Rental and Styling company for any and all wedding/event decor needs!  I want to help make others visions come to life with the help of my eclectic inventory of items styled into beautiful schemes that are sure to be swoon-worthy.  The website is in process as we speak and when it is up, I mean, it’s gonna be fab (I even “leaked” a tiny preview below-gasp!).  Make sure to keep up with Mint to Be Vintage Rentals via the Facebook page for more information and to be the first to know when the website is up and running!

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So as you can see, lots going on and lots of new & exciting changes in 2015 – I can’t wait to make this year the BEST year yet for all these endeavors! I’m out on a mission to strike a balance I’ve never had.  A balance between corporate work life and my own dreams – hang on tight everyone, it’s going to be a thrilling ride!  Let’s cheers to 2015!

Per the photo, I think this is an appropriate time to gaze off into the distance at all the fabulous things to come :)

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Are you tired of the same boring Christmas gift exchange? Or does Christmas roll around and everyone says to themselves, “I don’t really want or need anything!”. Well, that was pretty much the place my family was at.  Christmas gift exchanging had lost its appeal, and in a large family, we didn’t want to have everyone buy everyone a gift (holy gift overload that would be).

My sister heard this amazing idea from a friend (credit where credit is due- thanks Jenn!) and we have since implemented it into our past 5 (or so?) Christmas gatherings and it has become a crowd fav.  It is called “My Favorite Things”.

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Yes, that is me as Julie Andrews with the von Trapp family children, you know, we are just singing about our favorite things, obviously.  Upon further discussion of the Sound of Music with my husband I discovered he has NEVER seen the movie Sound of Music.  For. Shame. I then realized that I knew all of the songs (after lip-syncing them in our office obnoxiously to my husband who seemed less-than-impressed), so it only seemed appropriate to put myself in the setting.

Ok, back to reality.  Here is how it works:

1 | Split your group into guys & girls
Because I’m sorry, girls favorite things are just different than guys favorite things, it’s the truth. Dads, brothers, uncles, boyfriends, you’re grouped. Moms, sisters, aunts, girlfriends, you’re grouped.

2 | Come up with your favorite thing!
Think about what is your favorite thing that tells something about you, but also, is something that you would totally recommend to someone else. We do a range of $10-$15 gift. Once you have found your favorite thing, purchase one of each “favorite thing” for each person in your gender group. (So if you have 5 girls participating, buy 4 of your favorite things as gifts for all the girls, and 5 if you want to buy one for yourself- I mean, it IS your favorite thing afterall :)

This is so fun because you end up getting a lot of smaller gifts that people love shopping for and love to give and recommend because they love it so much!  It’s also fun to see people play into their personalities. Finally, I think this does a good job of getting the guys involved and excited about finding their own favorite things.

Here are some great ideas that I’ve seen throughout the years of our family doing this tradition on both the girls and guys’ side (sorry, I do remember the girl gifts better :)

Girl Gift Ideas:

  • Fuzzy socks
  • Coffee shop gift cards
  • Coffee mugs
  • Picture Frames
  • Non-Slip Hangers
  • Jewelry
  • Jewelry holder
  • Scarves
  • Mittens
  • Tights
  • Belts
  • Cookbooks
  • Subscription To Magazine
  • Chocolate
  • Gift Card to Movie Theater w/ a bag of popcorn
  • Boot Socks

Here are my Top 5 Ideas for 2014 Favorite Christmas Gifts for the Gals:

Christmas-Gift-Exchange-Favorite-Things-Girls1.  Anthropologie Limited Edition Golden Monogram Mug | $10

2.  Don’t Quit Your Day Dream Mug | $15

3.  Target Throw Blanket | $24.99

4.  American Eagle Bow Headband | $9.50

5.  Old Navy Women’s Sweater-Knit Pom-Pom Hat | $12.94

 

Guy Gift Ideas:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Liquor
  • Beer
  • Hot Sauce
  • Tools
  • Movies
  • Slingshots
  • Nerf Guns
  • Flashlights
  • Shot Glasses
  • Beer Mugs

 

Now I know with getting together this week for Turkey day the conversation is bound to come up to organize the Christmas gift exchange.  Give this idea a try and I just know your group will love it! We sure do.

Now get on out there and find your favorite thing, yo.  I still need to find mine but hopefully will do so at 5am at Mall of America Black Friday shopping with my sisters (true story, that’s going down in T-minus 2 days).

Have a great Thanksgiving!

mallory

 

So now that we can check the window off the list (CHECK! – I mean, what’s a checklist without making a big deal about the checking off action), we are turning our attention to the fireplace wall.

We essentially need to focus on the fireplace wall because as we are losing a wall to create an open concept kitchen/living/dining space, we are losing the wall our TV is currently up against.  Therefore, the living room layouts will be shifting, with the fireplace wall being the focal point (which, it should be), and our TV will go on the fireplace mantel. Ta-da! Wait, oh yeah back to the planning…

So here is what our fireplace looks like, as you can see it is not like a usual fireplace with brick/stone in the center and drywall on either side.  The ENTIRE wall is brick (I included a close up so you can see how cool/unique this wall is, the “bricks” are SO wide!)  Now, I think it’s a really awesome focal point that totally pays tribute to the era of the house and I wouldn’t dream of covering it up/re-doing it. However, we do need to make it more functional, hence the mantel.

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At first I considered framing the fireplace itself – using this photo as inspiration – but thinking further and seeing the mockup, it just isn’t a “clean” look and chops up the stunning feature wall.  Strike 1.

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Then, I thought maybe we would do a centered mantel in the middle (across 3 columns of brick), but I just worry it will look too puny/dainty for the wall.  I love the look if I had built ins or drywall on either side, but the entire brick wall? Eh, not sold.  Strike 2.

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Finally, I decided that I love the feature wall and that I love the idea of having the fireplace mantel span the ENTIRE width.  Functionality wise I think I will really like having that much mantel for decor, photos, artwork, stockings, etc. (oh, yes and the TV).

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As for mantel style, I really like the mantel that my brother and sister-in-law have at their house, a family friend made it and we’re calling that same friend in to do ours.  So while I don’t really know exactly what it will look like, I am going for a rustic and natural look and think that it will do great contrasting against the vintage modern feature wall.

What do you guys think?  How excited are you for a mantel?? Just in time for Christmas.  Fun fact, I’ve actually NEVER had a mantel to hang stockings on (my parents house we used the stairs, and my tiny house I used….well, the TV stand). Can’t wait!

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We love the character and originality of our 1960’s Walk-Out Rambler home. However, one original feature that has become a “pane” (hahaha) is our original windows. (see what I did there?)

Now, most of our windows in our house that are original can be categorized under “annoyingly chilly”, to be replaced eventually.  However, if you Minnesotans can recall back to last winter (remember, we bought our house in January), it was a fr-eeeee-zing cold winter, one for the books.  We made the discovery that our living room bay window leaked soooo much cold air that it actually created ice on the INSIDE of the house.  Our solution?  Insulation by throw-pillows. So high-tech and energy efficient -not!  What was worse is that our living room layout called for our sofa to be up against the bay window, so if you were on the couch, you were freezing your bum off.  It had to be this way so we could keep the fireplace wall open because, well, we used the fireplace A LOT to heat the house and counteract the wrath of the bay window freeze.

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We knew after last winter that we simply could NOT go through another winter with that draft (and heating bill), so we set out on a mission this Fall to get this baby replaced before the snow came. We started by having Home Depot and Window World both come to our house to do proposals/quotes. Holy-bologne. Having an installer do the whole thing ranged from $3,000-$4,000. Yikes! We are truly fortunate to have my Dad be a retired carpenter, so he heard those prices, laughed, and said we’d be doing it ourselves (dear Matt, please take off work, thanks.)

So, as you can see, in my Dad’s more-than-capable hands, we had to decide next what we were going to replace the window with. While I’m sure there is very valuable information about the install process itself, that is not my forte, but here are some photos of the men in action making this happen:

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Now, I learned a thing or two about windows (far from an expert, mind you). But I’ll pass my knowledge on for the next window-shoppers out there.

Bay Window:
Fun fact, our window that I keep referring to as a “bay window”- not a REAL bay window.  A real bay window either jets out 30 or 45 degrees to create a “bench/seat/ledge” in the middle of the panes. When we were looking into bay windows I liked the 30 degree bays a lot more, the 45 almost feel like a box has been shoved on the side of your house. Kind of weird.

Bow Window:
Now THIS is what our current window was.  Bow refers to a window that wants to be a bay, but didn’t quite make the cut. It doesn’t jet out as far as 30 degrees so its in more of a bow form.  Our bow window had 2 casement windows on the left and right side that opened (with a crank), and two center pane windows that did not open.

After discovering the differences and seeing bay and bow windows in big box stores and salvage shops, I came to the conclusion that bay windows are silly expensive. Now, subjective I understand, but let me explain my reasoning and things I considered that made me realize the bay window just wasn’t worth the investment for us:

Window Location/Function
So, we live in a neighborhood, and this bay window in question is in the front of our house, facing the street. Realistically, we have our shades drawn/covering the window 90% of the time. It just seems unnatural to have the neighborhood looking in on you like a fish bowl (and vice-versa). Now, I grew up on 10 acres in the country, and we didn’t have one single window covering because you looked outside and all you saw was trees & fields. That’s just not the case here. It’s a neighborhood, which is fine, but I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a bay window that I am pretty certain will be covered up by some form of window treatment for privacy.

Exterior Appeal
Now, I wasn’t about to just take the cheap route and stick something on the very front of our house that looked like garbage, so that was taken into consideration too.  The truth was that the bow/jetting out aspect of the window really didn’t do much for the curb appeal, so I wasn’t worried about changing it up (but something to keep in mind).

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 Change Of The Times
I think we were hesitant about taking out even the bow window (let alone a bay) because it just seems like a classic thing people want in homes. However, I feel like that is a little cliche/old school train of thought. I mean, we were keeping the same window opening area, so we were going to let in just as much light- which REALLY is what buyers are looking for in homes.

 

THE DECISION & OUTCOMES

So all things considered, we went with a standard window from Lowes, they were having a promotion so we saved 30% which was great.  The window is flat, and features 2 casement windows (open with cranks) on either side, and one large pane in the middle (that doesn’t open).  While I was just relieved to have one picked out, I never imagined the new window would have these positive effects on our house:

 Room Feels Bigger
This is kind of ironic/seems backwards, since you would think that by taking out the bow window (which, remember, jetted outward from the room), would make the room feel smaller, that is not the case at all. We think it is because there is so much more glass vs. wood in the old window design.

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Walkway Feels Bigger
Remember when I said to make sure you consider your exterior? Well, we thought about the curb appeal of the house, but didn’t realize that our walkway (that used to have the bow window on your left jetting out from the house as you walked to the front door) feels SO much more wide and open without the window protruding from the house. Woot woot!

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Trim Makes A Big Deal
After the window was in, we had to decide on what kind of wood to use for trim. Since the interior framing of the window itself is pine, we opted for Pine for the trim (in case we stain it them the wood would match).  Going from our old yellow-y original 60s oak trim to this beautiful, thick, pine trim makes me weak in the knees with glee at the difference trim can make.

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AND the best part? The window is sealed and is keeping our living room toasty warm! (No throw-pillow insulation this year, yes!)  We got this done literally in the knick of time just one week before Mother Nature dusted the Twin Cities with snow and plummeted our temperatures into the 20s (which p.s. heard on the radio today, this is JANUARY weather, Mother Nature, not November. Check yourself.)

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I think we can all agree Lewis approves too.  Anywho, yay for our new window! I hope you walk away with a small piece of knowledge should you ever have to replace a large window!

*Next on the docket, what should we do for trim?! (Finally, something more aesthetic/visual/fun). Such a huge decision (since it will carry through the whole house). I love white, but Matt isn’t sold. He wants to go with a clear poly over the pine, but I don’t want it to turn yellow-ish. How about white-wash?  What do you guys think?!

 

 

Let me start with a confession about my previous Friday night.  I got off work with no plans for the night, so I headed to Caribou for a little recharge. From there I headed over to Target where I proceeded to get a cart (I mean, sometimes pushing around your purse while drinking a coffee is just way too nice). Besides, I knew I’d fill up a cart. Well, after perusing around the store for awhile, I left Target with one small makeup item :)  Confession or not, it was a pretty nice Friday night enjoying my Caribou coffee and perusing the Holiday section at Target to start to get into the “holiday spirit”.

So (for all my Minne-snow-tans) out there, in honor of our first real day of snow, check out some of my Target Holiday 2014 loves.  I think this may be a good way to justify these types of Target trips :) I like the idea of sorting these by color schemes, so there will for sure be more to come.

Gotta love Target!

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Links:

1. Texture Deer Figurine

2. Tabletop Deer Head

3.  Ornament Wreath

4.  Brushed Bronze “JOY” sign

5.  Beverage Dispenser

6.  Fair Isle Pillow

7.  Snowflake Sparkle Pillow

8.  Red Chevron Pouf

 

So you know when you tell your hubby an idea when he is really engulfed in something else and he doesn’t want anything to do with the idea (at the time).  Yeah that happened here.  So when Matt was building the desk, I brought up the idea of tearing up the carpet since we knew there was wood floors underneath, although we had no idea what condition they were in.  Rightfully so, Matt said he wanted to “finish one thing”, so we continued on with the desk project, and once it was in, it did look awesome, but those floors were just calling my name.  I brought it up again and Matt told me the order of operations was not ideal.  I calmly reminded him that I ACTUALLY did bring it up earlier :)  Ohhh the small wins.  Anywho, he was a good trooper of pulling up the carpet around the desk legs which revealed our awesome wood floors that were in really good condition!!  We will have to re-level the desk, but until I pick a rug we have little tufts of carpet to level it from it’s “original floor” (order of operations fail).  But just a few hours of pulling up tack strips, nails, staples, and cleaning, and ta-da!  Pretty psyched how it turned out!

Oh, and if you noticed we have a curtain!  First one in the house (which now makes me feel a little behind on the rest of the house!?) But it was a steal at Home Goods!  While the color palette is pretty neutral right now I’m excited to start accessorizing and adding some color.  Next up, the hunt for a rug!

Lewis is so excited too he had to photobomb.

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Hello all! My name is Adrian and you’ve seen me on the blog before, but only in pictures :). I’m Mallory’s older sister and Vivienne’s mama. I live in South Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis in a 1,400 square foot home with Vivienne (obviously), my husband Jeff and our two dogs. In my (rare) freetime, I enjoy crafting, thrifting, reading home decor/lifestyle blogs and redesigning my house over and over again. I’ve decided I don’t have enough time to run a blog by myself, but have enough to write a few guest posts.  So here goes the first one!

As I said above, I enjoy reading blogs. One of my favorites, Style By Emily Henderson has a fantastic feature she rotates through calling ‘Trolling Craigslist.’ Basically, she looks at Craigslist in a random city and features things she finds. So I thought it would be fun to do it for Minneapolis. Why do you ask?  Because I LOVE Craigslist.

Craigslist is a great (online) resource for shopping and I’ve found some fantastic items at amazing prices. Herman Miller Shell Chairs? Check. 5 Vintage Dressers? Yep (not all at once). Dining Hutch? Yes! I could keep going, but I’ll stop :)

Now the issue with Craigslist, which is a good issue, is that there is always. new. stuff. Like I could shop my house every day. And with my under 1,400 square foot house full to the brim, I figure sharing great finds might satiate my shopping fix and ensure that some of these beauties find good homes. And maybe help me stop buying dressers. Or chairs.

So, without further ado, here are the finds!

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Wicker Folding Chairs I’m currently in a wicker phase. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the 70s influences coming back, but I’m really drawn to it. Anyway, these sweet little folding chairs would be a great addition to any home, perfect for extra seating, any stylish too!

Vintage Full Size Bed Stay with me on this one folks. With a little love and some paint, I think this gal would be lovely in a guest room or a little girl’s room. Very shabby chic.

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Brass Arc/Arch Lamp So much love for this floor lamp. Brass is back! This kind of lamp is great for rooms with no overhead lighting and perfect for behind a chair or behind the corner of a sectional. This is a run, don’t walk one people.  If I didn’t have a 17 month old that I knew would try to hang off of it like a monkey, I would have bought this already.

Wooden Spindle Bench As the Craigslist poster said, it would be a great hallway bench. It would also be great with a dining set in a dining room or kitchen as a settee. It also would be lovely painted. And maybe add a cushion?

Vintage Tall Boy Dresser This guy would be a great addition to any bedroom. The dresser is also a good scale for a hallway or entry. The detail on the drawer fronts is super unique. And who doesn’t need more storage?

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Vintage End Tables The shape. Oh, it makes me want to throw out my Lane Acclaim side tables and take these babies home. But all those corners don’t match with a wobbly walker. Lame yo. Someone rescue these. And put some fantastic lamps on top of them.

Bamboo Wicker 3 Piece Set I know, more wicker. It’s a miracle there are only 2 items on this list. But this set, seriously. Yes, it might need new cushions (or hey, get rid of the cushions all together), but imagine it in a sun room. Or on a 3-season porch. Or just use a piece for an eclectic look in a living room. In love. If I hadn’t just bought a wicker loveseat (or as I call it a bench to make my husband feel better), I would be en route to Northfield right now.

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Waiting Room Table and Chair Bench This would be awesome (recovered and painted) in an entryway.  You could lineup shoes underneath the table and under the chairs. Adorable. Yes, it’s a little waiting room-esque, but I think it’s in a good way.

Lucite Table Base This is a great deal! Throw a piece of wood on top (I’d go walnut or something with a great grain) and you’ll have yourself a stunning coffee table. It’s a little retro and little contemporary all in one.

Well I hope you all liked the post! We’re hoping to make this a regular thing, so if you’re looking for anything in particular comment below, and we’ll try to find/feature it next time!

NOTE: All of these items were available when I posted this article. They may not be by the time you look at them. In the Craigslist world, you gotta act quick!

 

The desk is in!  A very exciting and big step forward (we’ve been maneuvering our way around the massive desk in the garage for weeks now).  Matt did SUCH an amazing job being a teach-yourself-carpenter in progress.  Here are some details on what we’ve done so far and our next steps.

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The “Desktop”:  Making big boards out of little boards
This is a saying my Dad (who is a carpenter) always says (mostly when he is cutting wood, then making “little boards out of big boards”).  Anywho, we went to Home Depot to pick out our material of choice for the desk and came across common board.  Now, here is what sold us on this type of wood:

1) Price
Each 10′ x 10″ x 3/4″ piece of common board was about $7.  At this price, we felt pretty good about our first crack at making a DIY countertop with the kreg jig.

2) Look
I liked the natural grain and look of the wood.  Unlike Doug wood, it didn’t have any weird red undertones and it looked like it would take to stain nicely if we decided to go down that path.

To create the countertop, Matt took each board and kreg screwed holes to attach it to the next board.  Then, he used wood glue and clamps to make a nice tight fit and to get rid of the seams.  Then, he sanded.  A lot.  Like a lot a lot.  But it was totally worth the time.  The seams melted away like magic and when you run your hand over the top, you can’t tell or feel at all where the separate boards are (such a proud wifey moment!).  Then, he ripped more common board down to make it into the trim to match.  He 45-ed the edges for a nice finished look (again, so proud.)

We attached a cleat to the wall and then attached the long section of the “T” that fit in the wall to the cleat (which actually turned out to be pretty sturdy).  Then, we used the legs and blocks to help support the corners.  Finally, we attached the island of the “T” (which I got to screw in, laying on the floor while Matt hulk-hogan style held it together), and again put the legs for corner support.

The Legs
Oh yeah, these guys?  Well, we ripped ‘em off an old table from Craigslist.  Scraped off a bunch of “gunk” for lack of a better term, primed, and painted them.  To attach them to the desk, we needed some more height, so we used another block and drilled a hole into it to attach the legs to the desk.  I think they do the perfect job of bringing a little character and rustic to our desk system. :)

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Poly/Sealing
Now, I thought once I had made the decision to keep the desk natural that the decision work was done.  Ha!  Nope, welcome our world/introduction to polyurithane/lacquer.  Now, we could have done some research, but we just kind of dove right in.  We had purchased the oil-based high gloss lacquer for another project, an outdoor bar cart that had to be super durable since we plan to keep it on our deck.  We have a gallon of it with a lot left, so initially we though we’d use it on the desk.  LUCKILY, we tested it.  Blech!  Did not like at all. The oil-based lacquer although super durable, gave the pretty, raw, rustic wood a yellow/shiny coat that totally changed it’s look.  Strike 1-nope.  Second try was a water-based poly in a satin finish.  LOVED the look.  But we tested our test piece with a cold glass of water to see if the seal would hold up to a water ring…results weren’t that great.  :(  Finally, we tried an oil-based satin poly, and the smell almost killed Matt (OK, that may be a stretch, but for some reason it really did smell awful).  That was still too shiny for me and the layer didn’t go on very evenly.  Despite our test, we are going with the water-based satin sealer, we will just be doing a lot of layers, and then using coasters (like, I will be a coaster natzi).  Then again, I’m not all about keeping everything in prestine condition.  I like to live in my spaces and not have them be showroom ready.  That’s just us.  Keepin’ it real.

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 EEEeee!!  We are getting closer!  Things to plan next are wall shelving, storage, and colors/ mood board.  Some FUN stuff if you ask me!! :) I’m so excited to be organized and up and running in our space.

Enjoy!

 

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My niece Lindsey is having a little girl in August and will be naming her Alice after her grandmother (adorable, right?!)  Well, as the host/planner of her baby shower, what theme would you choose other than ALICE In Wonderland?!  I had a lot of fun planning this baby shower with the help of my sisters.  This was the most people I have had at our new house and without knowing how the flow would go, I was a bit nervous!  I really wanted to utilize the outside deck space for the party so everyone could spread out and mingle without feeling crammed into the house.  (Not to mention making sure the house and yard were CLEAN!)

Sidenote: If the load-bearing wall between our kitchen and living room were down, I would have been more comfortable with being inside, but that is our upcoming FALL project.  Patience (like I have any).

Anyway, I had a team of helpers that I couldn’t have pulled it off without.  I literally came home from work one day and my yard look like a mini-episode of Yard Crashers.  OK, maybe not that big of projects, but lots of rallying of weeding, reinforcing our deck, and planting/moving hostas (our yard is frikin hosta-crazy!).  Long story short, our yard and deck never looked better!

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In terms of decor, I wanted to keep it light and airy with a very girly/vintage feel.  We used crates to make shelves on the buffet where the dessert table was to give us some height and display area for framed photos of the “Mom-to-Be” and stacking of the vintage teacups in true “tea party” form.  The cupcakes had “eat me” signs, and the mason jar mugs had “drink me” signs.  Our favors were packs of tea in mini burlap bags with a teacup stamped on them.  A lot of the centerpiece and styling decor are available for rent from my rental website Mint To Be Vintage Rentals.

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Games are a very important part of a baby shower.  You want to keep your guests entertained and busy enough so they don’t become bored (and they often don’t know each other as well since everyone is there in honor of the mom-to-be).  For our shower, we played  games that were super fun and I would highly suggest.

Sitting Out Games:
I also like to promote guests to mingle at baby showers and to participate in a few stations that are sitting out.  We had two “sitting out” games/activities:

How Many M&Ms are in the Bottle?
We had this bottle sitting out and filled it with M&Ms.  Guests had to guess how many M&Ms were in the bottle for a chance to win a prize.  I also made up a cute rhyme to go with our theme that we displayed in a sign to tell guests how to play.

Mommy Motivation Diaper Message
This is a new one I had never seen until I started searching for baby shower ideas.  We purchased a pack of diapers and left sharpees out for guests to write funny or motivational messages for the parents-to-be during late-night diaper changes when moral may be low.  Although I have not been in this position, I would think these could be a real “pick-me-up”!

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Sitting down Games:
When the group is sitting down together (often before or after gifts), playing a few games is a great opportunity to laugh and get to know one-another in the group.  We played 3 sitting down games:

Play-Doh Sculpting
We passed out a container of play-doh to each person at the shower, along with a paper plate for them to write their name on.  The challenge was to sculpt a baby out of your play-doh.  The Mom-to-Be would then judge and choose the best baby to win a prize.  We were laughing so hard at some of the “attempts” and woo-ing over the successes.  It was a very fun and interactive game for all ages (plus the 4-year old attendee then really enjoyed playing with the play-doh during gifts!)

Baby Shower Gestation Game
This is a fun and quick game where you match the animal with the number of days you think that animal is pregnant for.  This was actually harder than you would think and of course it is mostly luck whoever wins, but it is a fun (and informative) game that may make the mommy-to-be feel a little better about only being pregnant for 9 months compared to some other pregnancies!

Celebrity Baby Matching Game
This is a classic that I have played before at baby showers, but it is always fun.  You have to think about your audience, if your guests seem like they may know some celebrity babies & mommas, then this game is a win!  (Me, I am terrible.  All I know is there are some crazy baby names like Apple and Blue Ivy).

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