Happy Friday everyone!
Happy Friday everyone!
by Rose Elder
We hosted Alexander’s 4th birthday party yesterday. All and all I think it was a success. Kids were entertained as well as the parents, and thanks to my amazing in-laws even I got to enjoy it!
I am a perfectionist, sometimes that plays against you when it refers to entertaining. I want everything to be on point and most times that makes me feel overwhelmed and stressed. When you are stressed you transmit that on to your guests and they have a hard time enjoying your hard work. Yesterday I consciously let go of all the stress and thanks to all my family’s help we all had fun. I am not sure about Alexander though, it was his first party where he really realized people bring presents and it was basically all he cared about. He just wanted to rip off the wrapping paper and go in his room to play with his new toys. I need to figure that one out for next year.
I took many pictures thinking of you. I just wanted to show a bit of what I did to make my boy’s day special.
I got the idea of the balloon arrangements from The House That Lars Built’s post on how to curl a balloon. I thought they were kind of fun and different.
I decided to put the kids names on the popcorn containers to personalize them but mainly to avoid them sharing germs. Some don’t read their name yet, but their parents helped them along.
The sandbox is always a great entertainment feature.
The cake was from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I got so many positive comments about it: That it was “moist and delicious”. The top layer was chocolate and the bottom cake was marbled, most people loved the marbled.
Excited when he got his first present.
I bought the little stools at Ikea. I just figured renting them would’ve been about the same cost and this way I can keep them for many parties to come. They are easy to dissemble and you can also choose to stack them.
I also got the plates and bags at Ikea. The bags had the chips and the plates the burgers. I got burgers from In-N-Out, I did that last year and it was a hit! This year was no different.
For the younger ones I set out a little pool with fish. They loved it! Some were there the whole time.
The party favors were bubble wands for the little ones and water splashers for the older kids.
Share some of your favorite party ideas!
by Rose Elder
by Rose Elder
Adam and I purchased our home in San Diego a couple of years back. Most San Diegans that have been on the market for a house know how tough it is to find one. Let alone the right one.
a) An available home that meets your family’s needs
b) A house in your price range in the area that you want
c) Then you have to survive the offer battle and actually get the house
I won’t bore you with the details but we found a house that we can grow into, at least for the next few years. The condition of the house was pretty good, the previous and only owner took great care of it. It was immaculate, but nothing had been remodeled since 1974. Little by little we have done some improvements, but definitely the major one has been out kitchen.
I am not here to say it was the cheapest, but I did my best. I opted of IKEA cabinets. Why? Well, if I could’ve I would’ve used Henry Built or any modern high end brand featured on Dwell. Ikea was right for us because it had the functionality and technology we wanted and it was in our price range. The new SKETION system was brand new (still current) when we planed out the remodel. The Sketion system is a drawer system so no more bending down to look inside bottom cabinets.
It took me about two months of intense research to know exactly what I wanted. I started to get my inspiration from looking back at all my Dwell magazines of the last couple of years. I also used Pinterest, the IKEA website, but for sure the tool that I used the most for inspiration was HOUZZ.
I used the IKEA online tool to design my dream kitchen. I did hire their $199.00 measuring and design service to make sure all my measurements and paneling were going to function properly. I definitely recommend you to use it to avoid costly mistakes.
I also used IKEA’s company of choice, Trademan I believe its called, for the instal. That company was also a life saver. They installed my kitchen in 3 days without delays. They know exactly what they are doing and the price was fair. I was impressed by their professionalism and punctuality.
Here are the after photos of the remodel:
I added cabinets on top of cabinets to take advantage of the height of the ceiling so I could get as much storage as possible. The top cabinets are meant to go above the fridge. These are 24″ deep, and the bottom horizontal ones are 15″ deep. On the highest cabinets I keep appliances I don’t use as often like my fondue maker or my ice cream maker.
Below is the view of the kitchen from the dining room area.
I did a waterfall effect on my peninsula. I just think it makes it look sturdy and modern. I also added some clear glass shelving to showcase our bar area.
I’m in desperate need to stock my wine holder.
I love having the option of dividing my horizontal cabinets with glass shelves to add storage space and not block the view of the items inside. Plus it just looks clean and bright.
Having drawers and pull-outs in my pantry let me see all my stocked items.
Even my kids get their own drawer they can reach. It makes their life and my life easier.
Here is the info on some of the kitchen items:
Knobs/pulls: IKEA Blankett
Countertops and backsplash (above stove area): Pure white quartz
Fridge: Fisher & Paykel
Electric stove and Convection Oven: Ikea
Coffe maker: Jura
Kitchen stools: Ikea
by Rose Elder
My husband recently wrote an article for melmagazine.com. The article is about how to buy exactly a week worth of groceries. He interviewed a nutritionist and a professional organizer to give the reader information on how to achieve this.
I asked Adam if he could ask the experts for advice on how to avoid wasting food. I recently had found myself buying chia seeds because I wasn’t able to find any in my pantry drawer. I realized, after a full pantry cleanup, that I not only had one bag of chia seeds hiding in there, I had 4! I also found myself frequently throwing away spoiled leftovers from my fridge from who knows when.
Both the professional organizer and the nutritionist kept mentioning to Adam that the key to eating what you already have and subsequently saving money is: “You have to see it.”
It sounds so simple, but is easier said than done. I was determined to organize my pantry and refrigerator in a way that would not only look organized, but that was 100% functional. Last year we remodeled our kitchen with Ikea cabinetry and at that time we only bought a few drawer organizers because we were already maxed out. Ikea has the most amazing accessories to help your kitchen organization go to the next level, so I figured I’d start there.
Sure enough in Ikea’s yearly catalog they had a whole section on how to avoid wasting food. The TILLSLUTA line is their line of dry food jars that they recommend to use with their pantry system. Fortunately for people that don’t have an Ikea kitchen, this system can work with any kitchen.
Then I went to Ikea to purchase the amount of TILLSUTA dry food jars I suspected I needed based on the size of my drawer. I believe I spent around $80 in 14 containers of different sizes, so they are kind of spendy. On the other hand, buying four $6 bags of chia seeds adds up quickly.
I also bought clear tupperwares so I could finally see what leftovers I had in my fridge. I cleaned my fridge completely and got rid of my old tupperwares that were not clear. I opted for Ikea’s PRUTA. 17 tupperwares for $4.99 sounded like a deal to me. Since the tupperwares I was using were not clear, I kept forgetting what was in them, or that they were even there! I have been using this clear tupperwares for about a month now. Since then no leftovers have spoiled on me! The experts were right, if you see it you eat it.
Here are some pictures of my pantry before and after the new system.
For my kids food pouches I got one of their containers that attaches to the side of the drawer. This ones unfortunately only work for Ikea drawers.
In one of the boxes I added smaller plastic bags because had smaller quantities and I didn’t want to have that many dry jars for such little amounts. But I am able to see what is in that box.
With the TILLSUTA dry jars I was able to also use my pantry drawers to the max. I not only used the width and length of the drawer, but also its height.
I love my P-touch, I use it for most drawer organization. You can go even further by labeling each box, but I decided against it. I sometimes buy something different and I didn’t want to complicate things by adding labels.
This is also an easy way to know if you are running out of anything and needs to be replenished.
How did you choose to organize your pantry?
I finally got my inspiration back. Moving from our first apartment together to our new home was a bit of a struggle. For starters, moving. It was a long and exhausting process. Finding the perfect place for everything, creating a clean and functional home. Realizing that our furniture was not working for our new place was the second hurdle. Getting rid of all these pieces that I love has been a frustrating process. I still have a large bookcase in my living room that Adam and I refuse to give away for pennies on Craigslist.
Last weekend we finally sold a queen bed that was in Alexander’s room. I now was able to give my son a proper room where he can grow, learn and play. It is a work in progress (like everything is), but I am proud of what I have accomplished so far.
I got my inspiration reading magazines, browsing other fellow bloggers websites as well as Pinterest. You see so many beautiful nurseries or transitional bedrooms on Pinterest that you want to magically appear at your home. But it is not as easy as it looks.
My main struggle was creating a beautiful but functional bedroom. Some bedrooms are just not realistic or they require constant cleaning. An example would be having colorful baskets with blankets or toys. The first thing Alexander would do is turn the basket upside down and then stand on top of the basket and break it. Or having the classic Ikea bookcases that people use as benches; Alexander would pull everything out and eventually he would rip his books apart. It just wasn’t going to work for us.
I had to start somewhere, so I decided my first move was to have a design element on the wall above his crib. Chevron is in style this year so I ambitiously decided I wanted a touch of it on that wall. It was such a frustrating and long project, but it paid off. I love it!
Here is how I did it:
You will need:
1. Thin blue tape.
2. A level.
4. Exacto knife.
5. Your paining supplies.
1. Measure your wall widthwise and divide by two to find the center of your wall. With the help of your level for precision draw a vertical line with chalk to divide your wall . Draw the line as long as you want your chevron pattern to go. You can do a banner like I did or do the whole wall. F.Y.I.: The whole wall will take you a couple of days.
2. With some chalk and a your level create a 6 inch by 6 inch grid on the rest of the wall or area you will work with (If you want larger or smaller chevrons divide by that number). I decided I wanted them to be 6 inches long by 6 inches in between each chevron to make a clean pattern.
3. Taping. This is by far the hardest part. Be patient. It is very important that you purchase a thin tape. I had a wide one and it made very difficult to make clean points on each chevron. I gave up and went and purchased a thiner tape.
4. Start by the top row. Start taping the furthest top left point. Put the tape right above the chalk grid diagonally down to the next row finishing right above the grid, then diagonally back up to the next grid finishing right above the grid. Continue taping until you finish that whole horizontal row. Since you wont paint above the tape you can slack a bit on the preciseness of the tape finish on each point. The bottom points have to be perfect. You can use and exacto knife to clean the extra tape.
5. Go to the next row, starting again on the left side under the last row. This time the tape has to start right under the grid. Why? Because you have to account for the width of the tape. You will alternate each row. This will leave one row wider than the next. You will eventually paint on the wider blank space. The thiner rows don’t have to have the tape points made with the precision the wider rows do. See image below. Continue until you finish taping the area you are working with.
6. After you finish taping make sure the tape is well stuck to the wall. Use your thumb and go over each row of tape.
7. Erase the chalk grid with a dry towel, try to avoid the tape.
8. Paint the wider rows with the color of your choice. I used both a small roller and a brush. The brush I used to “cut” the paint along the tape, making sure the points were completely painted. The small roller to hide the brush strokes making my work as clean as possible.
9. I chose to do an accent color in the middle row, you can do as you choose. When you finish painting take the tape off. Don’t wait till the paint is completely dry, do it after 30 minutes of finishing with the painting process.
10. Good news, it is over! Now you have a wonderful accent wall. You can do this on your entryway, your bedroom, or anywhere you want to give more focus to.
To complete Alexander’s room I used the Ikea Stuva system. I wanted to give him a desk to paint and draw in the near future, the other side of the Stuva system I used it as as a storage bench to put away the toys he doesn’t use as often. I also added a cute book storage wall with the help of the Ribba picture ledge. Then the finishing touch was a teepee that I purchased at Etsy. It is our reading sanctuary. I put a sheep skin as the teepee’s floor, it’s Alexander’s favorite element of his bedroom. He lies down on it as much as he can.
I still want to make some art for his walls as well as finding the prefect rug he can play on. I am changing the carpets next week and I would be devastated to see stains on it on a regular basis. If you have any rug suggestions I would really appreciate them. I have ordered and returned a couple so far!
Since I moved to San Diego, more than 6-years-ago, I have been dreaming about having a patio in my home . The city’s perfect weather makes the outdoors enjoyable most days of the year. In our
new home we have a small front patio and I had big dreams for it. My first thought was to turn it into a small French breakfast nook. Adam mentioned he wanted a comfortable sitting area to read and he was right—we both love to read.
The doors of the front patio are located in the living room area. After much thought, I decided to treat the patio as an extension of the living room. Doing this we would not only have a comfortable outdoor space to read, but it would also give some amplitude to the downstairs area. This way I would be able to use the patio for Alexander to play in and of course for small gatherings. When the patio doors are closed the colorful patio would be a nice accent in the room.
First thing I did? Well, of course, I went to Home Depot and bought about 8 pots and plants. What’s a small patio without them?
The patio’s floor was this rough colorless cement, so that was a big concern. I really wanted to use fake turf, it is amazing how the quality of turf has evolved—it looks even better than the real thing! The soft texture would be great for Alexander to play in and it would give the appearance of real grass. Adam was not sure about it, he was worried about maintenance. After giving it some thought for a few days, I decided to let it go. I went to Home Depot and Lowes looking for new ideas. I also searched online without finding what I was looking for. Finally I remembered that Ikea sells some cool patio furniture and flooring so I decided to pay them a visit. All my prayers were answered, they had amazing furniture and flooring—of course, at an amazing price!
This is the before and after of our patio adventure, I hope you like it:
This is the flooring from Ikea. They have a wood version as well, but my patio gets sun most of the day—I was afraid it would be high maintenance so I went with plastic.
You will have to cut the plastic with a saw to make it fit in your space.