Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Dark Side Of The Bathroom

The light that I ordered for the bathroom just came in and I am SO excited!  But before I can get that baby up (and show it to you) there were a few things that needed to be taken care of.  The first of which was saying goodbye to this 80's beaut...

Goodbye little buddy!  But here was the thing, it is the only light in the room.  Do you see the problem?  To take it down I had to turn off the power but with no power I had no light to take it down.  Ahhh things are never simple.  

And speaking of never simple, I was home alone doing this project.  The hubs is in 80 degree Miami and I am stuck in feet of new snow schools closed lovely Madison.  I ran downstairs into the very depths of our basement to shut off the power but of course the circuits where not labeled correctly and the one named "hall bath" did not turn off the power to the hall bath.  Usually no person stands in the bathroom, one goes downstairs and turns things on and off until the other yells "that one"!  But nope, I had to switch off one circuit,  run upstairs and around the corner to see if the light was still on, run back downstairs and try another one.  I ran up and down the stairs 11 times (yes, I counted) before finding the right circuit.  U-G-H!   

OK, but back on track.  So finally I turned off the power and then I had to search around the house for light.  After a few laps I headed into the garage and grabbed these babies.

Wondering what's up with the dark pictures?  Well, see the thing is when a room is dark, the pictures are dark.  Sorry!

So in the romantic light of the camping lantern I took down the gold monster.  Goodbye.  Goodbye.  Luckily no huge problems taking it down.  The screws came off.  I did remember to remove the light bulbs first, just in case it came crashing to the ground.  And I even saved all the pieces so I can pass this baby on to the Habitat ReStore (which is also where the mirror is going).  

But of course a boomerang project developed.  You know, a project that happens when you start one project and then another project comes up that has to be done to complete the first project...a boomerang project.  In this case the boomerang project came because of these

Huge screws where holding the fixture to the wall and huge holes where for some reason needed for those screws.  No idea why.  I had never fixed a hole in the wall before.  But hey, no time like the present to learn so I went to eHow and found this tutorial on how to patch a hole in drywall.  And happily I already had all the supplies I needed except the self-adhesive mesh tape.  But all that took was a quick trip to my local ACE.

As instructed, I cut a piece of mesh tape and adhered it to the wall.  I put the spackle over it and let it dry.  The next morning I lightly sanded it and used spray texture to match the rest of the room.  Damn, I am good!

I know, great picture huh?!?!  But you don't see two holes on either side of the wires anymore, do you?

So the wall is ready for the new light.  And I will let you in on a little secret...I just put the light up and I love it!  But I'm not quiet ready to show it to you yet.  However, I will say I still have all 10 fingers and my hair is not standing up on end.  An electrical success (and my first electrical project, may I add).  So go ahead, pat me on the back and say good job :)  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Displaying Kid Art!

Way back when, I created this photo wall in my daughter's room...

It was a really simple project.  I went to the ribbon isle at JoAnn's and bought that thicker cording that is kinda like the good old boy scout belts.  Do they still wear those horrible things?  I also bought a little fun frilly ribbon to coordinate.  I cut slits at both ends of the cording, strung the frilly ribbon through and tied the frilly ribbon to create a loop.  I put two copper nails in the wall and strung the cording between them.  I attached pictures with some painted and some plain clothes pins and it was a great way to display cute pics in my daughter's room.

But I was recently sitting in her bed reading her a book and started thinking that maybe it is strange for a 3 year old to have a entire wall of pictures of herself in her room.  Hmmmm?  Is that odd or am I just odd?  Well, that's a whole other topic.  But maybe it is time to change it up.

Ever since she started school my daughter comes home with piles of papers.  Many of them "art" that I have no idea what to do with or honestly what they are.  I put them on the fridge for a day and then when she isn't looking I sneak them to the trash.  (Horrible mother, I know.)  But as she has become a big 3 year old in recent weeks I am trying to get her more involved in decision making so I thought maybe I could turn her picture of me wall into my art wall.  And when she brings home a new masterpiece that she wants to add to the wall she can decide what comes down and what stays.  What do you think?

So I snatched down all the pics and put them in a keepsake pile, which btw I need a true home for at some point - add to the project list.  And I have started putting up her art.  The very first to go up is my very favorite because it is her first ever scribble...

...and I was smart enough at the time to put a date on it so it is a great keepsake.  But as the art comes in it will go up and eventually rotate out.

And as I think about it, this idea was inspired by The Happiness Project idea of "be a treasure house of happy memories".  For a DIYer there is nothing better then the bargain of home made art and for our happiness there is nothing better then displaying things that fill your heart with wonderful thoughts.  So this project is a two for one deal, how about that!?!?!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Happiness Project

Have you read this book?  The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  It is not a new book.  It came out in March of 2011, but it seems to be popping up in places again so I thought I would check it out.

The Happiness Project

As the full title explains The Happiness Project is a book about why Gretchen spent a year "trying to sing in the morning, clean (her) closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun."  It is not the story of a woman who leads a miserable life, who is unhappy and needing a huge change.  Instead it is about a woman who is a lot like many of us.  She loves her job, has a great marriage and two pretty awesome kids, but even so she often asks herself if she could do better, live better and treat others better.

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  Are you sitting around waiting for "when this happens" or "when that happens" you will be really happy?  Don't we all do that?  I know I do.  And along the way I take out my grouchy moods and unnecessary stress on the people who matter most to me (read - my husband).  Oh and one of my biggest faults - everything becomes about the to-do list and the good stuff just slips on by.

Well, I am not her publicist and I have no monetary connection to Mrs. Gretchen Rubin but reading this book is really making me think and act in a happier way.  And that right there is worth selling!

the happiness project

She also writes a blog and you know I like me some good blog.  You can check it out on her website here.  She seems to be half way through a 21-Day Challenge right now, which I know nothing about but I'm sure it is great.

So let me know if you have read this book and / or read her blog.  I would love to hear others' experiences with their own happiness project.       

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mirror Mirror Off The Wall

Birthday week is over and now it is time to get back to business; Bathroom Business.  I last left you hanging a little with this post.  What to do?  What to do? Do we work with what we've got (wainscoting, new fixtures, paint) or  do we go all the way (tile, tile, tile)?  Well the final decision is somewhere in the middle.

No, we are not going to tile.  A decision that is not only more budget friendly but also more hectic life friendly.  Sometimes you just gotta say no, even to yourself.  But we did decide to take one more giant leap.  It was a leap because the move left us with some uncertainty.  It seemed simple enough but who knew what lied beneath.

Yup, you guessed it - I'm talking about the mirror.  The big builders mirror with gold brackets.  Now there are many options for updating a mirror.  One used a ton in DIY world is framing out a builders mirror like Sherry and John did at YHL.  Or you could order a custom frame from Mirror Mate.  (I've never used them but I hear great things!)  But even though we have been warned against it we decided to go all the way and pull that sucker down.

(Yuck, bad pic...sorry!)

Well hold on.  I need to be honest with you.  When I say "we" it isn't really "we".  We got help.  We asked a friend who is very handy to help us pull the mirror down and tackle the mess that lay beneath.  My thought was we would do it together so next time I would know what to do.  But schedules got crazy and timing wasn't working so he snuck in when we were gone and pulled that baby down.  So that picture you see above is what my husband and I came home to Saturday afternoon.  Pretty awesome, right?!?!

Now I have read and been told that pulling down a builders mirror can be a nightmare because of one word...glue.  There is really no good way to figure out how much glue was used and what damage it will leave behind until you pull that baby down.  We got pretty lucky.  No huge chunks of wall came off and no huge holes were left behind.  It will take three coats of mud (allowing 8 hours to dry in between coats) and a coat of texture to match the rest of the wall but that is minor compared to what could have been left behind.  So win for us!

So what is going in its place?  No final decisions have been made but I have been pinning away and I like these 3 from Home Decorators Collection who just so happens to be having a bed & bath sale right now!

Reflections Mirror I

Keys Bath Mirror - to country?

Artisan Mirror

Is it funny that I haven't even showed these options to my husband yet but you all now know what I am planning?!?!  I guess he will just have to read my blog ;)  So tell me which you like best, I just can't decide!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dora Backpack, Map & More

When hosting fifteen 3 & 4 year olds at your house I think the only way to survive is to plan an activity.  So that is exactly what I did for my daughter's third birthday party.  And as you all know by now the party was Dora themed.

I apologize that I am about to be wordy but I gotta explain a little.  Once all the children arrived and had a chance to play for a few minutes we gathered them around.  I told them how excited Kylie was to have them at her party and that she had made them Backpack treats!  But there was one problem...Swiper had come and taken all the treats out of the backpacks.  So if they wanted their treats they were going to have to follow the Map.

OK, so break time here for your "how to make a backpack treat bag tutorial"...

Here is what you will need:

Purple Bags - paper or cloth    I scored cloth bags at the dollar store - 2 for a $1
School Glue - the old school stuff
Red Paper
Yellow Paper
White Paper
Cream Paper

On the red paper you will print out the mouth

Those lines above the mouth are just left over from cutting & pasting and can be ignored.  

On the white paper you will print out the eyes

Same deal on the dots below the eyes.

On the yellow paper you will print out the eyebrows

Now, I am still trying to figure out how you can download and print the above sheets straight from here but in the mean time just email me at missiondecorate at gmail dot com if you would like me to email them to you (or if you know how to create the link I need, please).  I will send you the template and it will make your life much easier.  

The next step is to cut out each face piece outside of the black print lines.  You want the black lines.  This takes a little time.  When you are done just glue everything onto your bag!  

And remember, School Glue dries clear so don't worry if a little squishes out on the sides.  

Now for the map.  First thing, you will want to print the map face so it falls in the upper left corner of the page.  Haha!  I can't get the pic below to rotate so you are just going to have to look at him sideways.  But I am happy to email this to you and it is easy to rotate for printing.
Then take out a Sharpie and hand draw your map on a piece of paper.  Keep it simple, they are 3 year olds after all!  Mine looked like this...

Scan your drawing to your computer and print the map on the opposite side of the cream paper from the map face.  Now all you have to do is roll up the map so the face is what you see and tie a ribbon around it.  

One quick note - I decided to let the kiddos go to any of the three spots when they wanted, rather then go in a specific order.  I found this spread everyone out a little bit.  

Now you are wondering what my three stops were?  But before I explain that I also want to add that we dressed the birthday girl up as Dora for a little extra fun.  (It doesn't hurt that she already has the Dora haircut!)  

Pink Shirt found at JoAnns 
Orange Shorts which started out as leggings from Carters and my fab sister-in-law sewed into shorts
Yellow Socks oddly hard to find but eventually I found them at H&M
And Backpack found here
all these links take you right to the items I bought - told you I would make it easy :)

But back to the stops on the map...

First there was the Rainbow Cave - a room filled with all different color balloons.  Each balloon had a treat hiding inside and the Explorers had to pop the balloon to get their surprise.  (So sad, but I didn't get a pic of this.)

Next was Sparkle Lake - a kiddie pool filled with treats (with paperclips attached) and home made magnetic fishing polls ready to reel in the goods.

And third stop was Star Island - my home made paper cut out "island" with a cardboard palm tree to boot.  The kids got to make Dora Stars at this spot using foam stars, stickers, puff balls, markers and glue.

Once all the treasures where found lunch was served followed up by a yummy chocolate birthday cake from Costco.  Have you had their cake?  I don't normally like cake but this stuff is gooooood!  

My daughter agrees.

My other tips for hosting a successful toddler party at your house are...

1. Keep things moving.  Start activities soon after guests arrive.  Follow that right up with food and cake.  Then if the kiddos want to stick around and play they can do that for as long as they want.  But attention spans are short and nap / bedtimes creep in so don't take your time, get right to it.

2.  If guests bring presents hold off on opening them until after the party.  It is really hard for kids to sit still and watch someone else open toys.  They run around.  They grab the presents.  They just don't really get it.  So open the gifts once everyone has gone home.  Take pictures if you want and send them with thank you cards.  And then just be specific in your thank you notes so everyone knows their specific present was opened and appreciated.   

3. Can your decorations also be party gifts?  This happened by accident but it is something I will definitely remember in the future.  We decorated the play room with milar (sp?) balloons from the dollar store.  And as they left a number of little ones asked if they could take one home.  Heck yeah!  An extra gift for them and one less thing to clean up for me.  I take full credit for that brilliance.   

4. My last tip is to give people jobs.  If you can ask friends or family to help with a few things during the party then their is a much better chance of you actually enjoying it.  Assign picture taking.  Ask someone to get the cake out of the fridge at a certain time.  I even assigned my mom to lead my daughter through the activities so I could watch all the kids having fun.

Happy Partying!  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dora Party Invitations

Time to get down to the nitty gritty and share all the deets on the Dora Bash.  So let's start at the beginning...the invitations!

I love including a picture of the birthday girl on party invitations.  It is a cute visual and pop of color but even better it is so fun to use them as art later on.   And not to mention a good way for a sappy mom to tear up will thinking about how big her little girl has gotten.


Sniffle, sniffle.  

For her first and second birthday I created and ordered her invitations at TinyPrints, which I love.  But this time around I decided to make them myself.  With a little help from my friend PicMonkey it was super easy!  

Just follow this link for my full tutorial on how to make a PicMonkey card.  

Once I had created the cards I took them to FedEx Office to print.  Now you could print them at home if you have a great color printer that does well with cardstock.  But sigh, our printer is only so-so which made me think this was a better job for a professional.  I was able to fit two invitations to a page and I trimmed them myself so in total I spent about $13 for 20 invitations. 

And if you are looking for some more ideas for wording your Dora invitations here are some that I love...

Calling All Explorers

It's a fiesta!

Come on vamanos, everybody let's go

Child's Name the Explorer is turning 5!

She did it!

Follow the map and you will see child's name is turning 3

Let's Explore!  Child's name is turning 4.

Join us for an Ah-Dora-ble birthday fiesta!  

OK, that last one is my favorite so I will stop there.  Stay tuned for more on the how to make your Dora party happen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dora Birthday Party!

What a fun weekend!  The birthday party was a huge hit!  And I am so excited to share it all with you!  How about we start out with lots of fun pics and later on in the week I will break down some of the details.  Don't worry, I wont leave anything out.  If you have a little one who is begging for a Dora party I will give you everything you need!

So come on along with me cause Kylie is turning 3!

Dora will lead the way...

But don't forget Backpack!

and "if there's a place you gotta go I'm the one you need to know, I'm the map!"

Now a few explorers and you have everything you need.

Oh and don't forget the cake!

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Amazing Little Girl

My amazing little girl turned 3 on Wednesday!  And as my husband so brilliantly proclaimed on Facebook "So whoever had the under on three years, I kept my child alive and didn't forget her at the grocery store, so HA to you!!"  Kinda sums it up.  

But this weekend is the Big Birthday Party!  And I know a lot of parents like to keep it simple, especially for the first few birthdays, but um I am not one of those parents.  The truth is I love planning this kind of stuff!

Ky's first birthday party was a storytime themed bash.  (Here are all the details.)  Her 2nd birthday party was a sledding party.  (Details for that one too.)  And this year what will it be?  I will give you three guesses.  Zoo  Yup, you got it...DORA!  Probably the most popular little girl birthday theme around.  But don't think this is just Dora plates and hats.  Nope, we are going on an adventure.  A true Dora exploration!

But sorry you will have to wait till next week to see all the details but before then I have a quick problem to solve.  As I was just putting the food together I noticed a not-on-purpose theme.

Anyone else see it?!?!?  Everything is ORANGE!  Kinda odd, right?  Well, looks like I am running to the store for snap peas or green apples or anything not orange!

Have a great weekend everyone and wish me luck!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wainscoting: The Real Deal

Ha!  Does my title sound like a 20/20 investigation?  Well this might be just as ground breaking...if you like wainscoting!  Because I have a product to share with you.  I am not getting paid big bucks - or any bucks for that matter - to plug this product.  I am simply doing it out of the kindness of my heart.  Kindness to you, that is.  I really don't care about the company that makes it :)

We have used this product in our upstairs bath and now our main floor bath and it is so easy and looks great to boot.  We found it at Home Depot in the lumbar section and it looks like this...

Now I am not sure why it has two names.  At the top it says Veranda and at the bottom it says Plastpro.  But either way it is called Prefinished Reversible Vinyl Wainscot.  It is a vinyl product (duh) that stands up great in a bathroom.  It does not have to be painted or patched or anything at all.  

When you buy this you will also need to buy the Trim Kit.  

It is pricier than the wood sheets but it saves so much time that I think it is worth every penny.  To adhere it to the wall you will need adhesive and I like this stuff...

Loctite makes a great adhesive.  They have several different types and I stick with the All Purpose.  And don't forget you need the gun thingy too.  (Yes, that is the official name.)

From there just follow the directions right there on the packaging.  With a few cuts and a couple of hours the job is done.  So get to work...what are you waiting for?!?!?! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

What To Do, What To Do?

The painting in the bathroom is done.  (Well as done as it is going to be for now.)

And now it is time for some decisions to be made.  Here is the deal...the room already looks totally different with the paint change.  We have already purchased and will soon start installing wainscoting.  But then where do we go from there?

Option One leaves us with a good looking bathroom.  New color, wainscoting and new fixtures.  And all with a pretty reasonable investment.  My fun and very rough rendition looks something like this...

If you squint and ignore the clutter you kinda get the idea.  Decent change, right?  It will make an impact and with the right accessories look pretty darn good.

But we could do more.  And, of course spend more.  My plan would be to remove the mirror and cover that section of the wall with glass tile, vanity to ceiling.  Then hang a smaller mirror from the tile.  

Pretty amazing, right?!?!  The mirror I have pictured is from Target (you can find it here).  I have no idea if the size would work but I am running rough numbers here people so cut me a break :)  It is $40.  The tile I chose is from Home Depot (here) and $6.95 per square foot.  Our space is about 18 sq ft so that adds up to $125.  Of course that does not include grout and install materials.  I also have to keep in mind that there will probably be some expense to removing the current mirror because who knows what will be hiding behind.  So lets estimate that this design will be about $250 more.  So...well...hmmmm.  What to do, what to do?  

Well, the answer is we don't know.  The plan is to keep moving forward and think about it along the way.  So I will keep you posted but in the mean time I would love your feedback.  So comment, email, post on FB and let us know what to do!