Nursery Organization

I spent last week with my best friend (since 2nd grade) at her home in Bentonville, AR.  We worked hard getting her nursery organized for the impending arrival of her first child – a boy!  She already had all of the furniture in place.  I wanted to help her get the closet and changing table supplies in order.  She sent me pictures of the space before I went out there so that I could start researching ideas.  I put together a Pinterest board for her and she chose her favorite ideas.  I moved the rest of the ideas and products I came across to another general nursery board.

Here are a few shots of the space before I arrived:

It turned out that there were no drawers in the space, so all of my ideas for drawer organization were scraped.  We worked on a shoestring budget to get our ideas implemented.  I had given her a closet organization kit and extra hangers at her baby shower because I knew I was going out to help with that aspect of the room.  It included a hanging organizer with 3 ‘drawer’ bins and two lidded totes as well as hangers and size separaters for the clothing rod.

Surprisingly, she didn’t have that many clothes yet – I know people love to give clothes at baby showers.  We hung what she had on the right side of the top bar.  In the lidded totes, she put blankets.  In the hanging organizer, she put onesies, socks, hats and infant shoes.  The black totes in the top of the closet were clearance finds at Target and hold extra diapers.  The other boxes on the top shelf are plain cardboard boxes wrapped in burlap and held extra wipes and toys to grow into.  We cut circular tags out of marigold-colored card stock and tied them to the totes using jute string.

The large toys/items in the bottom of the closet were just sitting out in the room when I arrived.  Now there is plenty of space in the closet to keep them until she needs them.

The shoe organizer hanging on the inside of the closet door was a recommendation I read about over and over.  We chose one with mesh pockets so that it is easy to see the contents at a glance.  She stored swaddling blankets, pacifiers, extra bath products and burp cloths here.

For the changing table, she picked up plain cardboard shipping boxes and attached some burlap and navy ribbon around the top to store things inside the doors.  We stored extra diapers, wipes, bath towels/washcloths, and sheets in the boxes.  I love that the changing table and crib were items her sister used for her first baby while she was living in Holland and they have made their way to Georgia and all the way to Arkansas now!

Above the changing table, we hung a peg board that we decorated and attached baskets for easy-to-reach storage.  The surface of the table is not much bigger than the changing pad – not much else will fit there, so having a place for items up off the surface should be nice.

The only thing we didn’t find during the week was a reasonably-priced wine/towel wall rack on which to store the rolled up baby blankets.  She is still on the lookout for that.  I was so happy that I got to be a small part of Baby Zion’s room and I can’t wait to meet him.  Thanks to the best friend in the world for playing host for a week and including me in this special time!

Cost Breakdown for the week:
Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer > $9 (Walmart)
Black Flexible Totes > $9 (Target)
Burlap-Covered Boxes > FREE (burlap was from a baby shower thrown by her MIL)
Boxes inside Changing Table > $3 (Walmart)
Burlap and Navy Ribbon > FREE (also from baby shower decor)
Tags for Bins and Totes > FREE (already owned card stock and jute string was from baby shower decor)
Pegboard > $10 (Lowes)
Pegboard hooks > $5 (Walmart – I had her go ahead and buy the variety pack so she can change the layout as baby’s needs change)
2 Fabric lidded totes (not pictured) > $2 (Consignment/Antique Store) 

Total: $36  (how’s that for shoe-string?)

Nacho Average Baby Shower

Our community group is bursting with babies!  We just welcomed the third in less than a year.  In February, we held a surprise baby shower for one of the couples.  It was themed ‘Nacho Average Baby Shower.’  We gathered ideas on Pinterest for weeks in advance and went all out with a taco bar for dinner and sopapillas with ice cream for dessert.

We hung papel picado banners in the foyer and colorful paper lanterns over the dining room opening at the host couple’s home.  I had tissue paper honeycomb balls and fans from previous birthday parties, so we hung them in a cluster from the ceiling fan in the living room.  The food table was covered with my homemade tablecloth that I normally use for my summer parties.  I painted my tiered food stands red to make them pop and tied skinny colorful ribbons to them.  I brought along my cactus and a couple of succulents as well as a pair of maracas I got in Mexico years ago.  The tacos were AMAZING, better than most restaurants.  I made white queso and our friends make the absolute best guacamole, period.  The sopapillas were just baked puff pastry, brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

On the drinks/gifts table, we had a colorful tablecloth and a striped table runner which I found at Tuesday Morning.  I cut strips of crepe paper streamers, fringed them, and wrapped them around the drink tub to tie it into the theme (I did the same for the cutlery holder.)  I visited a local supermercado to pick up authentic Mexican Cokes (complete with spanish labeling.)  There was a delicious virgin margherita punch as well as the ingredients for the real thing for non-preggers.

I downloaded a Mariachi album from iTunes to play during the party.  We all wore fake mustaches and tiny plastic sombreros as the guests of honor showed up.  We had looked up the word surprise in Spanish beforehand, so we all yelled “Sorpresa” as the couple arrived.  It was a really fun night celebrating with the soon-to-be parents.

Memorial Day

Bradley and I had friends over for a low country boil again this Memorial Day.  I forgot to get the camera out once everyone got there and the food was cooked, but I can share the set up.  I started building my cache of decor this year since we have been holding this every year for a while now.  Previously, I just used a hodge-podge of summer-ish items.  Now, it is more patriotic for a day that is about remembering what the service men and women do for our country.

I got the oblong blue chevron tablecloth and  star swag from Hobby Lobby and the round red polka dot tablecloth from an online deal site called Zulily.  I covered each of them with plastic tablecloth protectors (from Tuesday Morning) to keep from having to wash them.  The Zak! melamine plates and bowls came from Tuesday Morning also.  To take my gold NYE drink tub in a Memorial Day direction, I used a plastic tablecloth from Target to make a red polka dotted skirt for it.

I made the basket planter for the geranium by loosely following this tutorial.  We got our outdoor burner set from Home Depot several years ago.  The low country boil recipe we use can be found here.  For dessert, I made my favorite homemade vanilla ice cream recipe (found here).  And since no outdoor party is complete without a game, we set up the cornhole boards that I painted using this inspiration in UGA colors.  I got my boards from Wayfair.

Around the gazebo, I hung a couple of paper buntings that I got from Old Time Pottery.  Each year, I try to minimize the number of flies and mosquitos that visit our party using ideas I come across online.  I use mesh food tents (from Dollar Tree and Old Time Pottery) to keep flies off the food table and citronella oil lamps to ward off mosquitos.  Last year, I tried putting a penny in a hanging ziplock bag of water with no luck.  This year, I added some plants that supposedly help, including marigolds and lemongrass.  Also, I used some essential oils (peppermint and lavender) on sponges in mason jars that I read about here and placed a bowl of apple cider vinegar on the food table, which I read about here.  I don’t know which idea/combination of ideas worked, but I wasn’t bothered by any bugs during the party.

Little Man Baby Shower

There has been a ton of inspiration floating around the internet for throwing a ‘Little Man’ baby shower (aka mustache bash).  I got to help with a family shower recently, for which we pulled together some crazy cute ideas, most of which can be sourced from this Pinboard.  The colors were light blue, green and black.

We used a reception room at a church, so we didn’t have to worry about finding tables or having enough parking space.  Here is the welcome table.  I purchased a book off the registry to use as the guestbook.  The black frame came from Hobby Lobby.

We were pushing it on time to get all of the decorating finished, so the gift table was the last thing we worked on.  I had punched holes in one end of some dollar store tablecloths to hang as the backdrop.  Another hostess made the adorable necktie onesies hanging over the backdrop.  I think I might have made a banner with mustache and/or necktie cutouts to go around the long or round table if I had had a little more time.

Here is a close-up of the diaper cake I made.  I used some of the receiving blankets the couple had registered for to wrap the layers and topped it with leftover ribbon from the first diaper cake I made a couple of years ago.  I found the bowtie at Goodwill.  The topper was cut using my Silhouette, and the mustache was from a dollar store pack.   The picture also shows the corsage and boutonniere that I made using baby socks.

In the back of the room, we set up a couple of homemade games and a photo booth for the guests.  One of the other hostesses made the adorable penant banner and all of the photo booth decor.  She also picked up some white balloons and added mustaches to them – so cute!  As part of my gift to the couple I bought items that we could use to play ‘The Price is Right: Baby Edition.’  Each game card listed the items on the table and gave a bank of prices from which to choose.  It proved to be difficult because a few items were the same price, and I didn’t reveal which price was used multiple times.  The second game was ‘Name that ‘Stache.’  I pulled and cropped a dozen pictures from the internet of famous men with mustaches.  The mother-to-be ended up winning by correctly guessing 11 of the 12.

Our food buffet consisted of ‘Man’wiches (recipe), bowtie pasta salad (recipe), grape salad, ‘little man cigars’ (chocolate-covered pretzels), cupcakes and a veggie platter.  I made the pineapple-lemonade punch from this blog post.  I made the paper rosettes out of blue chevron cardstock using this tutorial.  Bands of the same paper wrapped around Ball jars that held the utensils tied the accents together. Using this tutorial, I made the napkins into little bowties.  Another hostess made mustaches to fit over the straws for the drinks.

Lastly, we used round tables for guests.  I had purchased blue tablecloths a couple of years ago for another shower and was able to get another use out of them.  The centerpieces were simple with a piece of patterned cardstock, topped with a glass bottle filled with green paper grass and mustaches on skewers.  One of the hostesses made the bowtie favors out of small packages of M&Ms.

Front Yard Gardening – Spring 2013

A few pictures for comparison.  The angles are not perfectly lined up, but it gives you an idea.  The Coral Bark Japanese Maple tree is slowly getting bigger each year.  The comparison pictures are from June 2010, March of last year and this week.

The daylilies that I transplanted from the courtyard to beside the Azaleas have sprouted up like nothing happened to them.

Beside the front door, my skinny succulent bed is doing well.  I think I finally found the perfect thing for the planter at the front door – Rosemary.  It doesn’t seem to mind the terribly hot conditions there.

The Little Gem Magnolia tree in the front yard has done really well.  The comparison pictures are from September 2009 and from this week.

Over in the courtyard, I have been working on training the Japanese Maple tree up each year so that it gives head clearance for the pathway.  The comparison pictures are from April 2011 and this week.

Also, it is nice to see how much the Berkman’s Gold Thuja has grown.  The creeping thyme I put between the stepping stones last fall was hit or miss.  I have some clumps that look really healthy, but also some that are dried up and dead.  Hopefully it will spread quickly and root the soil to keep it from continuing to wash down our driveway every time it rains.

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