BING BANG BOOM (AFS Master Bathroom Remodel)

If I asked you when would be a good time to do a remodel, I bet your answer would NOT be less than 2 months before a second baby is due.  I guess you could say that we are taking an unconventional path to remodeling our bathroom - I like to call it Bathroom Remodel Extreme.

Yes, it is very reasonable and practical to completely gut, including the floors, the one room in the house that a pregnant lady frequents multiple times in the night.  Yes, dust, concrete, and more dust do add that little something "extra" when holiday decorating.  Yes, holes in the floor which expose the house to the crawl space RIGHT BY YOUR BEDROOM is awesome.  Yes, budgets and a well-planned design are better when completely thrown out the window. :)

Seriously, we are having fun.  It has been one week, and our bathroom has gone from looking like this:
to looking like THIS! 

We had some rotten wood under the old tub, so the Knight bravely cut it away and got in the crawl space to remove the rest.  I guess as far as remodels go, this is a good time of year to have a giant gaping hole in your house.  The weather hasn't been freezing, and most of the bugs are already gone.  Shew!  It still creeps me out, though.

This is my inspiration bathroom.  I realize that we do not have gorgeous dark stained floors, and that my master bedroom could probably fit in here twice, but a girl can dream, right?
Pinned Image
(found here)  I love the wall color, the dark wood, and the bright white.  Also, the chandelier and garden tub are dreamy, but those probably won't find their way into the AFS home...this time. 

We have ordered this vanity at Costco:
(found here)

And are leaning towards doing a shower with this look:
(found here)

We are keeping the layout of this very small bathroom the same, in an effort to keep costs down.  Moving plumbing gets expensive!  

I like the layout of this vanity, toilet, mirror, and shelving, though we'll probably go with something a little "heavier" for the mirror.Pinned Image

(found here)

We haven't settled on floors or fixtures yet, but are trying to figure out how to match the hardwood in our bedroom and the man room (this bathroom connects the two).  If we can't do that, we'll probably go with bright white subway tile.  As for fixtures, we'll probably stick with polished nickel - it should lighten up the space and will mesh well with the fixtures in our other bathrooms.  As for a general color scheme, the vanity is dark wood, so we'll contrast that will brilliant white tile, a gray and white marble countertop, and grays and light blues for accent tile.  We are probably going to paint the walls a soft blue, like the inspiration photo.

I'll keep you updated as we go through this journey.  It is going to be a wild, but very educational ride!

Marble tastes on a linoleum budget,
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On this Veteran's Day...

I like to think about my grandfathers.  Both served in the Korean War.  Both were very different men, but both very brave and loved their country and their families.  Neither one liked to talk about their experience in the war, but when my grandpa John (my mom's dad) passed away, someone made a slide show of photos, and several were from when he was overseas. 

I love anything nostalgic and vintage, but these photos are especially treasured by me.  I love seeing my grandfather - handsome, young, with a twinkle in his eye that meant he was probably going to have a very very good time being very very bad. 

Both grandfathers have passed away, but I remember both of them very fondly. 

Thanks to all of the wonderful men and women (and their families) who have served our country in the noblest way.

Flags and forefathers,
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C's Whaley Fun Birthday on Spearmint Baby today!

That little tum tum is famous!  Check out Shari's sweet post about C's birthday party on Spearmint Baby today!  Go here for the post.
Tummies and tickles,
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Currently Coveting...Etsy's best Christmas stockings (2011)

I don't know why, but my family is obsessed with Christmas stockings.  My mom craftily made personalized stockings for us when we were little (mine has a kitty coming out of a present, with lace and bells and glittery beads - yes, I might have helped her).  Every year, in addition to buying gifts for each other, we also draw names for "Stockings."  This helps take the burden on my sweet Mom, and allows the kids (now that we are old enough) to get into the stocking stuffer action.  It is one of my favorite family traditions.  Since the Knight and I have been married (7 years - woot woot!), every holiday season I have stalked the stores and the internet trying to find the perfect stockings for us.  When we had Caroline, it became even more challenging because I wanted to get her the "perfect" stocking, but also didn't know how many other kids (if any) we would have.  Of course, any stockings for my kids needed to coordinate, if not match.
I think I bought the 3 of us some "placeholder" stocking last Christmas at Target, but I am not convinced that they are the "ones." Once I break out the holiday decor, I am going to have to reevaluate my stocking situation. :)  Especially since little miss Vivi's arrival is right around the corner. :)

I found a TON of awesome options on Etsy and wanted to share the fruits of my search.  Seriously talented people out there.  It blows my mind all the handiwork and creativity that can be discovered on that website.

The Modern Traditionalist (probably my top pick for our home)
Modern Red Christmas Stocking
(Mona Leisa, $30 ea.)

The West Elm
White, Cream & Tan Patchwork Stockings
(Amanda Shue designs, $25 ea.)

The Brady Bunch
Christmas Stocking CHOOSE your color combo and Personalization
(Sunshine Daydream 4 U, $29.95 ea.)

The Newlyweds
Personalized - French Chic Burlap Christmas Stocking - Mr. and Mrs. Est. Date
(Simply French Market, $40 set)

The Green with Envy (also on the top of my list!)
Personalized Christmas Stockings - Set of FOUR  Recycled Sweater  - Lime Greens
(Handmade Pretties, $45 ea.)

The Mr. and Mrs. Claus
Velvet Christmas Stocking Vintage Red
(The Wild Raspberry, $15 ea.)

The Candy Stripers
Cute Modern Candy Cane Christmas Stocking
(Mini Ebbie, $10 ea.)
BONUS! Get 10% off when you enter ARTSY in the coupon code section of the checkout!

The Decorator
Personalized Christmas Stockings
(Monkey See Boutique, $20)

The Tea with Auntie
Diagonal Patchwork Christmas Stocking with Plain Cuff- Coupon Code - STOCKING - Free Shipping in US and Canada
(Kathi's Christmas, $30 ea.)

The Patchwork Princesses
Christmas stocking noelChristmas stocking pink linen stripe
(RoxyCreations, $39 ea.)

The Burlap Beauties (contender #3 for the AFS household)
Christmas Stocking - Tree on LinenChristmas Stocking - We Three Trees Linen
(Candy Argyle, $21 and 22, respectively)
BONUS - Get 10% off through the month of November if you enter "artsyfartsy" in the coupon code section of the checkout! 

The Linen Lovelies
Linen Cotton Blend Christmas Stocking with Cuff
(Sewing Passion, $25 ea.)

Last, but definitely not least...

The White Queen
Winter White Christmas Burlap Stocking with Two Buttons
(Red Door Home, $37 ea.)

There you are - my favorites!  Hope you enjoyed perusing the wonders of Etsy with me, and you find a few favorites of your own.

Stocking stuffers and secret Santas,
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Caroline's Whaley Fun Whale Themed 1st Birthday Party!

Here it is - long overdue, but finally here! All the nitty gritty details about Caroline's first birthday party.  I know you are going to get tired of hearing this but...it was really whaley fun.  :)

My friend, Amanda, said planning her son's first birthday party was like a physical love letter to her son, and I completely agree with that sentiment. (You can check out her "Hungry Little Caterpillar" party for her son here.  The cuteness was to die for!)  I know that some people think it is silly to spend the $$ and time to put together a big party for a 1 year old, but I want C to look back at these pictures and know that she was loved and cherished even before her little personality started shining through.  Plus, I wanted her party to be a (small) way to thank all of our friends and family for their support and help during C's first year.

My color scheme for the party was pink and aqua.  These were my inspiration photos:

Once we decided on the whale theme and determined that her great-aunt Janie's pool would be the location, I hit the ground running making plans, ordering things, and searching for craft and favor ideas. 

Once I found these invitations on Paper Culture, I was hooked!
The morning of the party, I had lots of helpers to set up.  It was a good thing, because we had a TON of work to do!

Here is the cake we ultimately ordered.  I just love it!  My sweet friend, Stefanie, makes fabulous cakes, and she made the whale smash cake, whale cupcake toppers, and nautical themed cookies (cookie cutters here).  

Didn't they just turn out great?  Props to my mom and dad for making 90 (yes, 90) cupcakes and to Stefanie for her whale artistry!

As for C, I think it is fair to say that she had a great time and was a little angel (in a smocked whale two-piece, to boot!).  We had the party at 3, and she woke up at 4, just in time to eat her cake and play with her friends.

Although now she loves sweets, she really wasn't into the cake much.  She was more interested in all the guests and watching her Ma and Mimi work hard to try to get her to eat some cake!

For decorations, I started with the awesome birthday banner, an "I am 1" sign, and an "It's a Party" sign from Bella Baby Toppings.  She did an INCREDIBLE job and matched my description of what I was wanting to what she created perfectly.  I am definitely going to use her again!  (I'm think that I might even be able to reuse most of both signs, but just change out the animal for Vivi's first birthday).  These items were a splurge, but I really think it tied the party together.

I wanted there to be a place where guests could chill and flip through pictures of C's first year.  I placed the favors (water guns, whale cookie cutters, and bundles of sidewalk chalk) alongside the homemade party hats (from Prudent Baby's tutorial here) with her baby books and scrapbooks.  I always enjoy looking at other people's scrapbooks, and I think it was a crowd-pleaser for my fellow sentimentals out there. :)

For the food, I wanted it to be filling, economical (we had about 50 guests), kid friendly, and heat resistant.  Memphis in August is no walk in the park, so we settled on a gourmet hot dog bar, fruit salad, chips and goldfish.  For drinks we had bottled water, lemonade, and kiwi-grape sangria (recipe here).

To show off my sweet Coco Bean (that's what the party is for, right?), I used prints from her birth, 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th months, and strung them along the top of the drink station.  I made the anchor paper clips by spraying gluing pink and white striped scrapbook paper to the front of wooden anchors (from Michael's), then using an exacto knife to cut away the excess paper.  I hot glued wooden close-pins to the back.  It was a quick(ish) project, and I have been able to reuse the clothespins for all sorts of things (attaching cards to the front of gift bags, magnets, and entertaining C are the top three).

My mom stole the show with her whaley awesome watermelon fruit bowl.  Using videos and pictures from the web, she came up with this creation.  Yep, she is one talented lady!

The Salty Dog Bar was a hit - I looked up the different kinds of hot dogs that Sonic sells, and picked the top three which I thought had the most universal appeal:  the American, the Chicago, and the New Yorker.  Using more wooden craft whales from Michael's, I hot glued a clothespin to the back of the whale, pinched a stripey straw into the pin, and then made little signs describing what ingredients each kind of hot dog required.  The clothespins on the back of the whale could also allow photos to be displayed or bigger signs.  When I made these, I wasn't quite sure that they would be used for the food, so I made them as versatile as possible.  I think they turned out pretty cute!

For entertainment, the pool was the main event, but I also had a little ocean themed toss game and several baby pools for C's fellow non-swimmers.

One of my favorite parts of the party was the photo booth!  I got tons of cute props from Michael's in the foam party department, and made some funny signs.  We used the Instax mini cameras from UO, and asked people to clothes-pin their final photo to a couple of yards of twine for display.  After the party, the photos made a perfect memory/guestbook of C's big party.

I used yards and yards of seersucker for the backdrop, made a paper pennant bunting (tutorial here), and tacked it all up to the fence.  The fence showed in a bunch of the pictures, but I didn't care - I think it added to the "weathered/nautical" look, which was just fine with me.

I got the cute little chalkboard sign here, at Her Majesty's Pug.  It is now in our dining room, and has proved to be quite a versatile little decorative item!

I just love these hilarious photos.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful and fun-loving friends!

Our families traveled from McMinnville and Tulsa to be there.  Probably one of my favorite pictures is of the Knight's (usually very serious) dad and mom dressed up like a pirate and vision-impaired princess!  Another blessing was that our friend (and Amanda's husband), Luke, got to come.  Just a few weeks before, we weren't sure if he was going to make it after getting in a terrible wreck.  So thankful that he fully (I'd say miraculously) recovered, and was able to come with his family (pictured below, with crutches).

All in all, it was an absolutely perfect day.  I don't think I would change anything about the party, except maybe that I probably could have hired some helpers to keep the food and drink freshened, so the Knight, my mom, and me didn't have to do it.

Although Vivi's first birthday will be in the frigid cold of winter, I think we will have a blast planning it as well.  I'm already thinking about penguins, polar bears, and igloos.  Who knows what I'll come up with?!?

As for C, I'm thinking that next August will be a little more low-key, although it is hard to be low-key when we are talking flamingos!  Ha!  

Hope you enjoyed my ginormous post about C's first birthday.  If you have any questions about sources, shoot me an email at curtsies (at) gmail (dot) com or leave me a comment!

water gun squirts and pool party flirts,
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