halloween porch decorations

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I had so much fun putting together this year's Halloween porch decorations!  I knew I wanted it to be fun and kid friendly.  Both Izzy and Sam have given it their stamp of approval so I think we have a winner!

My old striped back patio curtains were pulled out of storage and hung up.  They're so fun up here!  To keep them tied back, I used some rope tied around the pillars.  

The trick-or-treat banner is a DIY that I found in a BHG magazine.  Rain or humidity don't stand a chance!  The black pennant is cut from black non-adhesive shelf liner, white letters from white adhesive shelf liner, and the orange fringe is made out of orange plastic flagging tape.  All found at my local home improvement store.

The paper lanterns are just plain awesome.  I found mine at the Paper Lantern Store.  They're cheap and make a big impact.

All in all, the cat door hanging is still my favorite.  Click here to see my full tutorial.

SOURCES:  DIY cat door hanging (click here for tutorial) . DIY banner . paper lanterns . hanging bats from Target - no longer available (similar here) . striped curtains (similar here) . door mat


What type of Halloween porch decorators are you?  Scary or festive?  I love both!!!  I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!


birthday party for a guy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This past weekend we celebrated my husband's 40th birthday!!!  Forty is one of those milestones that has to be celebrated, and giving Mike a fun party with friends was a great way to do it.  

I'm completely on board with e-vites.  They are my favorite way to send invitations.  You get to track them, guests can easily RSVP, and you can quickly send updates and party reminders.  I found mine at Paperless Post.

When creating the theme, I kept it all about him.  A backyard BBQ party was his request so I went with it and incorporated things he loves.  His drinks of choice are bourbons and whiskeys so the centerpieces are combinations of old liquor bottles filled with simple greens.  I didn't think about it at the time, but they ended up being the best conversation starters as they guys all had thoughts on which ones they preferred or wanted to try.

Since we were having BBQ, I wanted to stay with the traditional checked tablecloth, but gave it an updated feel with black and white.  We rented folding chairs so we could have plenty of seating.

Speaking of BBQ, I forgot to get a photo of it, but instead of spending our time at the grill, we ordered in BBQ from a local restaurant.  If you're in the Houston area, we ordered from Rudy's.  Our order included everything.  Drinks, cups, plates, cutlery and napkins.  Such a time saver!  All we had to have ready the day of was the alcohol.  Serving it up in a big tub of ice is the easiest way to go.   

For the birthday cake, Mike's favorite is German Chocolate Cake.  I used a boxed german chocolate mix for the cake and then used this recipe from Simply Delicious for the Dulce de Leche frosting.  You guys.  It was amazing!!!  A fancy take on german chocolate cake.

We had kids at the party so we needed entertainment.  I made some corn hole boards (I've always wanted a set), and the kids loved them.  Even if they did spend more time tossing bean bags at each other than in the hole, ha!

Now, the next source of entertainment kind of makes my eyes bleed a little.  But, there is nothing kids love more than a bounce house.  It was the easiest entertainment ever.  Period.  

The party went into the evening, and I snapped a photo at the very end so you could see how pretty the strings lights looked.  Such an easy thing to add to an outdoor party to make it feel special.

Happy Birthday to you, Mike!!!  You're a far better friend, husband, and father than I could have ever asked for.  I am truly blessed to have you in my life.  All of my happiness is owed to you.  I love you like crazy.

SOURCES:  e-viteschecked table cloth . folding chairs (local rental) . string lights . large galvanized tub . dulce de leche topping recipe . number cake topper  . corn hole board (DIY)



40th birthday party planning

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My husband, Mike, turned forty last month!  We're both in shock 40 happened so quickly :D This is one of those milestones that has to be celebrated.  We were going to have a party for him a few weeks back, but a couple of days before the weather forecast didn't look very promising for an outdoor party, so we rescheduled for this weekend.  Weather seems to be cooperating, and I'm super excited to finally be able to celebrate him!

Guys are hard.  Hard to buy for.  And I was also expecting it to be hard to party plan for one.  For his 40th I knew it most definitely couldn't be girly, but I still wanted it to be really special.  Keep your guy and his likes in mind when planning and you really can't go wrong.  Here's what I'm going for:

CENTERPIECES:  Mike's drinks of choice are bourbon and whisky.  I loved the look of the bottles so I've always held on to the empty ones.  Well, my hoarding has finally paid off!!!  I'm going to fill them with greens from the yard for a simple centerpiece.

TABLECLOTHS:  He requested a BBQ for his party, so in keeping with an outdoor BBQ theme I wanted to do the tablecloths in plaid, but instead of going the expected red and white route, I went with black and white.

INVITE:  I am completely on board with online invites.  They are so stinking convenient and I love that you can schedule email reminders, updates, etc.  The one I used is from Paperless Post.

FOOD:  Like I mentioned above, he requested BBQ.  We're going to bring it in from a favorite restaurant and keep it easy on ourselves.  Done.

BIRTHDAY CAKE:  His favorite is German Chocolate Cake, so German Chocolate it is!  Don't try to introduce anything else, just give the man what he wants.

GAMES:  He isn't much for games himself, but we are welcoming kids to this party so having something around for them is a must.  Cornhole is always a hit with kids, and I've been wanting a set for years, so I made some for the party.  And because there is NOTHING more entertaining for small kids than a bounce house, we rented one.  Yes, it's big.  Yes, it doesn't fit in with a "theme".  But who cares!  Happy Kids = Happy Parents.

I'll be sharing the actual party with you next week!  If you guys have any other suggestions for throwing a guy approved party, leave them in the comments and I'll include them in the party post.  Hope you all have a great weekend!


links to love

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I've got some links for you guys to check out today that I think you'll enjoy.


I meant to share this one with you guys sooner!  Kelly at Kelly Elko was so kind to include me in her Eclectic Home Tours.  You can check out the post she did on my home here.

While you are there, make sure you check out the other Eclectic Home Tours, as well as her Fall Home Tour and her Fall House Video Tour which gives you so much more than decorating tips just for fall.  So many fun ideas here!


I cannot get enough of The Windsong Project that Studio McGee recently added completely.  It's just beautiful.  I love how they included the before and after photos.


I have another great portfolio for you guys to check out.  My childhood friend, Mel Bean, and her design partner, Bailey Austin, founded Austin Bean Design Studio in Tulsa, OK and are just killing it.  Check out their portfolio and then make sure you follow their Instagram for the latest.  I can't wait to see how some of the projects they are sharing on Instagram turn out!


I love a little creepy when it comes to Halloween decorating, and Julie Blanner did it up right with hers.  Check out her skeleton table.  I never thought I would say that a life size skeleton on a dining room table would be gorgeous, but when Julie gets her hands on one, it definitely is!

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!  If you're like me, mine is definitely a Monday in disguise.

how to fix the wrong grout color

Thursday, October 6, 2016

I can't believe it has been over a year and a half since I shared our laundry room makeover.  I meant to share this post about the grout mishap soon after, but somehow always forgot.  I think this could save some headaches and tears for some of you so better late than never!

When we had cabinets built in our laundry room, we also had them install tile between the two tall built ins as a backsplash for the galvanized sink.

When the tile installer showed up I handed him the tile and a bag of leftover grout from our kitchen that the builder had left in our attic.  It was going to be easy.  I just wanted the same look in here as the kitchen's backsplash.

When I checked back in, the install was already done (he was like the Roadrunner of tile installers).  The gout was all wrong.  It wasn't even close the the grout in the kitchen.  

This was a yellowy almond.  What the heck happened?? We don't have this color grout anywhere in the house!  Why was this the bag of grout that was left in our attic?!  I knew it was going to be a hot mess against the gray wallpaper I was going to install. 

I didn't want to pay for him to scrape all the grout out and start over, and I also didn't have time since the plumber was going to be there soon to install the sink.  Instead I ran out to the hardware store and was given the answer to all grout color woes.  Enter, Polyblend Grout Renew.  Thank you, Lord!!!

I picked mine up at Home Depot (here), and you can also find it on Amazon (here).  I went with the Snow White color.  It's actually more like a very light gray.    

To apply, I used a small craft paint brush to paint it on the grout, one tile at a time, and then wiped the excess off of the tile with a paper towel.  You don't want to get too far ahead of yourself as it dries quickly, making it more difficult to wipe excess off.  In the picture below you can see the new grout color towards the top, the old yellow grout starts below the plumbing.  It seems so subtle in these photos, but it was a HUGE improvement in person. 

So there ya go!  An easy solution for fixing the wrong grout color.  And, it's also perfect if you have badly stained grout that needs refreshed.  In one of our last homes I would spend hours scrubbing grout with a toothbrush trying to get it looking new again.  Ugh.  Wish I would have known about this back then!

For more on the laundry room, click here to see the full tour.

SOURCES: grout renew (I used Snow White) . walls republic wallpaper . galvanized wash basin . faucet . cabinet knobs . cabinet color (Benjamin Moore - Simply White) 



halloween door hanging | tutorial

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I started off buying a bunch of massive posable spiders and webs to decorate our porch with for Halloween this year.  I thought Sam was going to love it.  After all, he did take one of my big fake spiders for a walk last year and he thought it was the funniest thing ever.  

But, this year he flipped out in a not so funny way when he saw the fake ones I brought home.  If he was scared, I knew other kids would be scared.  Back to the store the spiders went.  I needed a new plan.  A happy, child friendly plan.  While I was at Target I saw the cutest, non-scary cat decoration ever and immediately thought of using it as an alternative to a wreath.  Problem was, it was way too small for our front door.  So, I made my own version twice as big.

How to do it!

  • black felt
  • craft size felt (ivory, gray, orange, hot pink)
  • foam board
  • batting
  • white embroidery floss and needle
  • scissors
  • pins
  • hot glue
  • spray adhesive
  • chalk
  • sewing machine and white thread (not required, see alternative notes)
STEP ONE:  Cut an oval from the foam board one inch smaller all around than your desired final product.  I wanted my cat to be 16x20 inches, so my foam board was 15x19 inches.  For the back side of the cat, cut one oval piece of black felt the size of your desired final product, 16x20 inches.  For the front face of the cat, cut another oval piece of black felt that is four inches larger all around, 20x24 inches.  Then, cut two 1.5x24 inch strips of black felt for the accent piece.

STEP TWO:  Using a large bowl or lid, trace circles onto the larger 20x24 front face piece with chalk.  Position the circles a little further down than half way.  Roll each piece of the 1.5x24 inch strips of black felt up lengthwise and pin into place over the white chalk lines.  Hand stitch into place with the white embroidery floss.  TIP:  This doesn't have to be neat or precise.  The charm comes from it being a little uneven and I actually wish I would have been more uneven with the stitching here.  

STEP THREE:  For the back side of the cat, attach the foam board to the smaller 16x20 inch piece of black felt with spray adhesive.  You'll want to do this outside since it's smelly and gets everywhere.   

To connect the back and face piece, lay the face piece right side down and lay the back piece on top of it right side up (ignore that seam at the top, I combined two piece of felt to have enough for the oval).  Pin the sides together and hand stitch the seams closed leaving an opening for the batting.  Again, the sloppy stitching is what makes this cute.  Fill with batting and stitch shut. 

STEP FOUR:  For the eyes, cut two almond shaped pieces from the ivory craft felt and two small ovals from the black felt.  NOTE:  This next part is optional.  Use your sewing machine to stitch contrasting thread around the edges. 

For the ears, cut four triangles from the black felt.  Use your sewing machine to stitch contrasting thread around the edges leaving an opening for batting.  Fill with batting and stitch shut.  NOTE:  If not using a sewing machine, cut only two triangles and forego the stitching and batting.   

STEP FIVE:  Cut out the remaining facial features from your craft felt.  Nose - one orange triangle.  Cheeks - two hot pink circles.  Whiskers - six gray strips.  Accent fur - eighteen small ovals.

Position your pieces onto the front of the face and hot glue into place.  Then flip the cat over and hot glue the ears into place.

STEP SIX:  Use embroidery floss to stitch on the cats mouth.  TIP:  Hide the start and end of your thread under the black rolled felt pieces.  

You're done!  To hang, I made a ribbon out of orange fabric and attached it to the back of the cat with safety pins.  

This is just part of my plans for the front porch this Halloween.  This year it's going to be super colorful (I know, a total departure from my usual neutral loving self) and definitely child friendly.  I've got this awesome idea in my head and I can't wait to see it all together!


For more Halloween ideas, check out last year's spooky wreath

Last year's Halloween porch.

Last year's Halloween mantle.  I loved this and will probably repeat it this year :)

And my round up of 20 Awesome Halloween Wreaths.

Happy crafting!


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