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!

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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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It is so hard to believe that one-year ago I was in frantic wedding-planning mode, exhausting all of my energy to planning and coordinating every last detail for our big day.  What a year it has been!  From getting married, to buying our first house together, so many exciting life events.

I feel like there is a small amount of pressure for a first anniversary.  I mean, you don’t want to do something so extravagant that it is a lot of work (oh yeah, that was the WEDDING), but you don’t want to discount the occasion and set the bar low for future anniversaries either.  Keeping in mind that Matt & I have found that we are totally guilty if we are at home of so often either working on projects (a majority of the time), or engulfed in some type of technology, we wanted to do a mini destination.

So we decided to plan a trip with our camper and do our own little getaway to the northern Minnesota  Brainerd/Nisswa area.  Our plans = No plans.  It was great.  We left home when we were ready, took our time driving up, and hung out with my brother and his wife at their amazing cabin.  Pontoon rides, seafood dinner, and bonfire, yep it was perfect and so relaxing.

My request?  A one-year anniversary photoshoot, of course.  I want to keep doing (something) like this every year (I know all the parents out there are chuckling saying “good luck!”) but even if not as coordinated as this, still I think it’d be special to take photos every year reflecting where we are at that point in our lives.

This first year’s theme ended up being our Vintage Camper, which I had been wanting to get photos with anyway.  This is a good representation of our lives with no kids, carefree travelers and cray DIY/project lifestyle.

I did use a few “tokens” from our wedding day that are special to us and that we can maybe use from year to year when doing these photos.  The headband, bracelet, and necklace are all the jewelry I wore on our wedding day.  The wooden “the Kiesows”, the knot, and the chalkboard easel also all made appearances.  We even tried to recreate a few wedding pose photos we really liked.

(Of course we did get some photos of us enjoying the camper & cooking breakfast too :)
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Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Let me just preface this post by explaining how much of my life is supported by Target.  As a full-time working individual with a zillion projects, how often do you think I get to a fabric store?  The answer: never.  A mall or clothing store?  Puh-leeze. Even my wardrobe is starting to freakishly mimic the Target Sunday ad.  Good thing Target has EVERYTHING.  I digress, the curtains….

Have you ever seen something in a store over and over again that catches your eye, you may even go out of your way to look at it for the 25th time, but you say “that doesn’t go with my house” or “that isn’t quite my style, but I love it.”  Well, that was this shower curtain for me at Target.  I was drawn to the pattern from the second I saw it.  I loved the colorful, geographic, chevron pattern, but it was a little on the modern side for me and seeing as how I’m not in the market to re-do my bathroom, I just swooned over it at my regular Target visits.

What spurred on this project in a week (weird how that ALWAYS seems to happen), all of a sudden Matt & I were going camping, and our camper had no curtains!  Eek!  No privacy= an issue when it comes to camping.  I just couldn’t stand the impromptu curtains we had before (black fleece with sticky velcro that would not stick to the walls = curtain fail.  And super ugly).  So I dove in and bought two of these adorable Target shower curtains to make all of my interior curtains for the vintage camper.

The process?  Well, let me tell you, I am not a sewer.  I would certainly love to be, but I just haven’t done much of it at all.  But, curtains are a great beginner project because all you do is sew straight(ish) lines.  :)  I did a ¼” hem on all the sides and a ½” fold-over hem for the curtain rod to fit in.  The rods are also from Target, and were $4 each (win!).  Secret:  I didn’t pin, but I did iron the shower curtain first to get out all the wrinkles.  As for measuring, I added 1 foot to the width of each camper window to allow “bunching”, and added 2” to the height to make sure my curtains covered the frame plus a little.  This overage also was fine for taking into account my hems.

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The result?  Love!  I was initially a little nervous about pulling in the green and orange in the print, but I think that really forced me outside my comfort zone and the teal/mint green in the chevron really pulls in the cabinet colors too (only giving you a sneak peek of those right now!).  I’m really excited to accessorize the camper once it is done.  The curtains are somewhat white, so are they 100% light blocking?  No.  Which is OK, I mean I would say who really SLEEPS IN when you are in a camper, but Matt & I have actually formed a Sunday habit of camping and sleeping in till 10AM :)  We can always line the curtains if we feel this is a need down the road.  I am also considering cutting the curtains right down the middle (and hemming of course) so we can “open them” and tie them up on either side when we don’t want them closed (however, thus far, we haven’t disliked having them closed all the time, especially since they still let light in).

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{Ignore the lack of cushion covers and paint on the walls, oh so more to come with the Vintage Camper remodel, but lots in the works!}

I hope I maybe inspired some non-sewers like me to take on some curtain projects, so easy!  And try to keep you eye out for some non-traditional fabric material, like a shower curtain!

Enjoy!

 

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