Monday, November 26, 2012

Dare to DIY: Dare to Entertain!

Even though my kitchen is pretty big, the actual dining area can only squeeze about 4 people-- 5 if you are really skinny (which I am not).  So if you are dining at Falconhead Cottage, odds are we are going buffet style.  

For this weeks Dare to DIY, I decorated our buffet instead of doing our table.  Grab a plate and let's check this bad boy out.  (..and I'm serving garland and pinecones.  Mmm, ruffage.)

I had this dream of going super rustic and natural this year, but I love my metallics too much to give them up. So, I call this look 'rustic glamour'.  I snagged my silver serving tray and added some greens and my vintage Christmas balls.  And by 'vintage' I totally mean 'Walmart circa 2007'.  

Bird's eye view, whut whut!

 Speaking of birds, here is a bird house.  Oh yeah, it's getting rustic up in this bish.

Lit candles with a toddler in the house= living on the edge.

The whole idea of Dare to DIY is to actually DIY something.  My DIYing time is limited these days, so I finally made the West Elm twine Christmas trees that were super hot in 2009.  I have been coveting these for three years now, and I wish I had known how easy they were to make.

 I picked up a couple Styrofoam trees from Michael's and some jute twine at Lowe's.  (Note: DO NOT get twine from a craft store.  That stuff is unnecessarily expensive.  I got a gajillion meters from Lowe's for under $3, and I didn't use the whole roll for this project).  I wrapped the twine around the tree, starting from the bottom, and glued the top.   Rusticness achieved.  

 If you have a hot second, pop over  and check out the other entries for this week's Dare to DIY.  I haven't finished looking at all of them, but so far I am loving Claire's glitter plates.  You know me and glitter.  It's like a moth to a flame.

Always & Forever,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It Was a Monster Mash

When it came time to plan Hunter's birthday party, I kind of HAD to do a monster theme.  First off, he is our little monster.  Secondly, it was October and I  was eight kinds of psyched for Halloween.  

I had an idea of what I wanted the invites to look like, and after searching Etsy, I couldn't find anything I liked.  So I did what I always do: do it my damn self.  

I really had to make a dollar stretch, but at the same time the dude only turns one once.  I relied heavily on wiggle eyes and cardstock to bring this bash together.

I did a simple lunch spread of sandwiches,  veggies and fruit with dips and chips. I hung a paper banner over the window, the doorway of the kitchen and our banister in the living room. 

If you look on the left, you can see I started to add little monster faces to the banner but ran out of time.  Hunter didn't seem to upset.

I ordered a 6 ft hoagie tray from our local super market and cut it into individual sizes, holding it together with a wiggle eye glued to a toothpick.

I didn't want to do flowers for centerpieces, so I glued wiggle eyes to cardstock and slipped it into cheap IKEA vases I had around the house.  I added tissue paper for "hair".

Tissue paper pomanders hung above Hunter's high chair

We printed out all of his monthly photos and hung them for guests to see.  General consensus was he changed the most between months eight and nine.

There are a row of about 4 or so houses on our street that look exactly like ours.  Since a couple family members hadn't been to our house before, I wanted to make sure they didn't end up knocking on our neighbors door.  We blew up balloons, tied them together with twine and hung them from the porch gables. 

 I think that's pretty noticeable, right?

Hunter had his own smash cake to destroy, but guests were welcome to dine on monster whoopie pies (not pictured dammit) and alien cupcakes

All the kids were sent home with goodie bags that contained bubbles, candy necklace, and a felt monster doll.

Any extra balloons we had leftover were tossed on the floor for the kids to kick around, which they wasted no time in doing

The rest of the guests mingled and caught up with each other.

our newest nephew Mitchell and his mom, Heather

JEGs, Clint, Aunt Marlene and Uncle Gary.
The birthday boy wanted to join the party outside

hey guys, can I come out?

no, seriously, let me come out
Around 3:00 we all gathered in the kitchen to sing Happy Birthday.  I helped him blow out the candles  and let him rip into his cake.  At first he just licked the icing off, but with a little help, he eventually tore into the cake.

My FIL wasn't unable to attend due to foot surgery, so we Skyped

at first I was like...

and then I was like !!!!

After a quick wardrobe change, we sat down to open presents.  Hunter lasted for exactly one gift: the first gift we opened was a fire truck, and he took it into the kitchen to play with it.

As the family started to filter out around 5:00, our friends stuck around and we began the "Lizzie and JEGs Surivived the First Year" party.  We put Hunter to bed, set up a bonfire in the back yard and toasted to the craziest year of our lives.  

A couple weeks later, I sent out his thank you cards:

When it was all said and done, I think it was a pretty successful party.  I have to give a special shout out to my neighbor, Amy, for coming over and helping me glue little wiggle eyes to toothpicks.  And then hiding a bunch around the house (a month and a half later, I'm still finding them ;)

I really really need to say thank you to my cousin Tara.  She came in from Pittsburgh for the party and was practically like my personal assistant for the weekend.  She helped me decorate, bake cupcakes, blow up balloons, set up and attend to the child while I did things like shower.  She seriously helped me hold onto my sanity.

I can't believe my baby boy is a year old.  It's killing me.

Always & Forever,

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Snipping leads to ripping

When you look at the exterior of our house, you are probably all "what a charming little cottage", right?

Well let me tell you what I see..

I don't know much about landscaping, but I can tell you I never liked what was done at our house.  First off I need to address the bushes on the side of our porch.  I assume they were planted for privacy from the neighbors- we live in a twin so the porches are very close to each other- but JEGs and I were super lazy about trimming them, and they ended up looking like this:

Honestly, we really like our neighbors and it was difficult to talk to them while dodging around trying to find an open spot through the mess.  Also, we have had a HUGE mosquito problem and JEGs' blood must be like a fine champagne to those bugs.  It was so bad we could never sit outside for more then a few minutes before his legs became an all-you-can-eat buffet.

So one afternoon, JEGs grabbed his trust shears and got to hackin..

... and it didn't work.  We had to get a chainsaw because these things were beastly.  We found a couple fun treasures in the bushes including a can of beer with a pull top lid.  So that sucker was in there for at least 20 years.

I didn't get any pictures of the chainsawing or fun treasures, but I did get pictures after all of his hard work!

well hello, neighbor!

We talked it over with our neighbors and next spring we will probably try to plant grass between the houses, and maybe some small plants like hostas just to fill it in.  There have been talks of a bridge too, because all that jumping on and off porches has become a hassle (haha).

A few weeks later, JEGs and I were cleaning up the yard while Hunter was napping.  I was planting some mums in the front flower bed and I was complaing about the placement of the skimpy azalea bushes in the bed.  Don't get me wrong, I like azalea bushes, but these were so small and puny looking, they just looked bad.  As JEGs was trimming the other bushes in the bed, I mentioned that I wouldn't be upset if he ripped out the azalea bushes now.

..and just like that, he did.  With his bare (ok, gloved) hands.

While we were at it, we ripped out a bush on the side of the house that was not only dying a slow death, but had been taking over the kitchen window

..and after a little trimming
clearly we have some power washing to do
I can't even explain to you the joy it brings me to be able to look out the window now.
It's the little things in life..

And now for a quick review..

So much cleaner!

We do have a lot more we would like to address; like why the hell is there a TREE dead smack in the middle of  our front porch?  I assume the previous owners put it there for privacy  but I am guessing they didn't think about the fact it was going to grow taller and take over the porch (like it currently is).  The sin of it all is it is a cute little dogwood, so I have hopes that we can transplant it somewhere else on the property.  Also, all of the shrubs both in the front and on the side of the house as well as the arborvitae next to the steps will probably be moved to the backyard sometime in the spring.

Which brings me to my question du jour:  to all my green thumbs, what time of the year would be the best time to move these plants?  Spring?  Summer?  Please don't say fall because that is just about outta here.

Always & forever,