Bizzare-o Weekend at the Fitzgerald House

The past two weekends have been domestic bliss, I tell you.  Without an ounce of sarcasm.  We have stayed home, worked on the house, gone to church, caught up on movies, saw friends and enjoyed the glorious weekend sunshine-y weather.  I literally couldn’t want anything more out of my weekends.  Except a trip to Greece, I suppose.

Friday night, Scott and I went to one of our new local favorites, The Robinson Ale House.  We followed it up, no lie, with a viewing of How to Train Your Dragon 2.  If you ask me it was even better than the first one.  And apparently, dragons are just big cats.  Because Scott and I both kept laughing at the bizarre behavior similarities between the dragons and Prince.

Saturday was gloriously beautiful.  We hit up an estate sale (two lamps for $1 a piece), drove to the ocean and came home and put our new (to us) weight set to use.  Yes, that is right, I pumped some iron.  First time since a brief, week-long stint in weight training class in high school.  You know I promptly dropped that class in favor of aerobics.  Do they still offer aerobics as a legitimate class these days?  Anyways, I’m still sore.  I would love to know why my elbows hurt.

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And in the afternoon, Scott continued to build doorway headers as we slowly inch our way to a completed downstairs. I can’t wait to show pictures of the final product.  Especially considering the amount of painstaking work that goes into making an old house level.  IMG_4434

Believe it or not, this is what level/90 degree angles looks like.IMG_4432

And I planted a vegetable garden!  It’s success is doubtful, but I’m hoping to get some fresh veggies and a few gardening lessons out of it.  Lesson 1: Stick to the list you go to the store with, which was informed by garden research.  Don’t get fooled by the fact that they are selling brussels sprouts! Because you might come home to learn from Google that brussels are more of a fall crop and should not be planted in the heat.  Well then.  I planted spinach, mixed lettuce, cauliflower and the doomed brussels.  And some marigolds, since they are apparently the garden equivalent of a bouncer and “keep pests away.”

At one point, Scott came outside to inform me that Prince had escaped the deck and was halfway under a bush.  He pulled him out and then we saw a MOUSE run out from the bush!  So basically, my fluff ball went hunting. Outside. Without any claws or real world know-how.  And I lifted weights.  Bizarre-o land for sure.

I also finished a small makeover/DIY project. Our house came with this massive (4′ x 5′) mirror.

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So I used up some leftover Annie Sloan Antique White paint on the frame.

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And voila – it’s hung in our entryway, bouncing around more light and filling the wall nicely. You can see that the sunny weather didn’t last past the weekend, but I’d rather have sunny weekends than work weeks anyways.

IMG_4457Next up: Building a grey-washed shelf or table under the mirror.  And then pretty candles and vases and decorations. Hopefully my massive muscles and the aggressive mouse hunter don’t get in the way.

Pretty Little End Tables

On Friday, I mentioned that I finally used Annie Sloan chalk paint to redo two little end tables for Scott and I to use in our bedroom.  I snapped a few quick pics of the finished product here. I am pretty happy with how they turned out.  Here you go!

The first is on my side of the bed, cause she’s pretty.

photo 1-9 As a reminder, here is the before.

photo 3-5Hello, gorgeous.

photo 2-10I like all the girly curves and lines.photo 2-9 I decided to try distressing the tables.  I figured, I had nothing to lose.  I was always to scared to try it on other pieces I’ve done.  I actually like it.  And there were plenty of edges and cut outs that lend themselves quite well to distressing.  I just used a sanding block before the waxing step required by Annie Sloan products.photo 4-6

And here is Scott’s table.  There was weird lighting in the room.  It’s the same color as the other one, not pink, I promise.

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Before:

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photo 5-6Overall, I think chalk paint is fun. It hasn’t changed my life or my mind and I’m not in a hurry to purchase another {expensive} quart for my next project.  It is thick and does cover very well.  It does show brush strokes, but because of the consistency, I feel like it just adds to the rustic charm.  And I thought that the waxing step was fun.  It made me feel like I was a legitimate furniture re-finisher.

In my opinion, the benefit to paint lines such as Annie Sloan (or Serena and Lily or Milk Paint, etc.) is the limited number of color choices.  Someone else, with a good eye for design, has already curated the thousands of paint colors into just a few of their top favorites.  And then they name them something fancy and you have a much easier decision to make.  I hate standing and staring at the wall of paint chips at Home Depot.  Because as much as I love that Turquoise over there, it would make a great ring but would be garish on my walls.

That is probably why when Pottery Barn releases a line of paint, everyone jumps on board.  I was talking to the guys at Benjamin Moore and they told me that whenever Pottery Barn releases their paint, they are just Benjamin Moore colors.  But Pottery Barn has taken much of the guesswork and paralyzing amount of choices and narrowed them down for you.  And they weeded out the costume jewelry colors and only left the colors that look good on walls!  But I digress.    I hope you like our new bedside tables!

Painting Furniture, Soccer and Heat

Life has been pretty quiet for the past few weeks.  We’ve actually been able to spend time at home and work on the house.  We are almost done with the molding in our bedroom, finally.  And I finally decided to do something about these two little end tables that have been sitting around our house.  We found one on the street in NYC (free) and another at a yard sale here in NJ (free since it was the end of the day and teenagers were left in charge).

They are about the same size and the same yucky orange.  photo 5-4

photo 3-5 I decided to finally give chalk paint a go.  I painted them both Old White and they are now in our nightstands.  Scott has had his for two nights and both nights he has said he feels so grown up having a bed side table.  I’ll post the finished product on Monday, when I can snap a picture.photo 4-5But there is a sneaky peek in the below selfie.  Ugh, shameful selfie in a messy room.  But I wanted to capture my America t-shirt! I wore this the day we played Germany.  It is my new favorite.photo 3-6 We definitely got into the soccer spirit around here.  There was even an official showing in our common area at work.  I feel like I always do at the end of the Olympics. I’m so sad to see the World Cup end.  Now that ESPN is covering more basketball (anyone else tired of LeBron?) and tennis (just not as exciting at soccer) I feel kinda let down.  I’m looking forward to watching the final match this Sunday.photo 2-8

Last thing going on lately?  The heat.  I don’t actually mind it. I was raised in Virginia where it’s almost 100 degrees by May.  But Scott stayed home the week of July 4th and I got multiple text messages showcasing the below.photo 1-8
I think this poor buddy is getting the worst of it. Did I mention we don’t have air conditioning?photo 5-3

Little Girl Baby Shower

A few weeks ago, I helped throw a baby shower for my boss, which was to be attended by my coworkers.  This is also known as

“A baby shower for a little girl (pink), thrown by me (more pink), which needs to appeal to, and entertain, men (so NOT pink).”

Challenge accepted!

My boss’s wife is expecting their first baby – a girl.  So I decided to use a lot of the same decor ideas from the baby shower for my new nephew but “make it pink.”  And to make everyone feel involved, we set up a onesie decorating station so that everyone could make baby girl a personalized onesie.  And bonus?  Fun decorations!
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They turned out AMAZ-ING.  We used fabric with iron-on adhesive rather than paint and they each looked like a little piece of art that you could most definitely sell on Etsy!  Every baby needs a skull and cross bones or a martini onesie, yes?Onesiecollage

Check out baby’s first tiara!  It’s a Rebecca specialty to provide baby girls with their first tiara.
Detail

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We had pitchers of the signature drink, the Preggatini, in both pomegranate and cranberry.  Pomegranate was a hit.  We just mixed OJ, pomegranate juice and ginger ale.  We had champagne and vodka on the side for those that wanted to add a bit more punch.IMG_5366

I think everyone had a good time.  I mean it was a free lunch on a Friday!IMG_5372

Momma-to-be opened all of the goodies in her basket of gifts.  My partner-in-crime, Amy, and I had the best time zooming around Babies R Us.  Neither of us have babies so there was a lot of “Well, my sister-in-law says….” or “I always see my niece/nephew using ….”.  So we hope we were able to provide lots of useful items!IMG_5376

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You got everything??
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We did avoid most shower games, but since the mom AND dad were the stars of this shower, we played one question game.  I had a list of personality and physical traits, and they each had to answer which one they preferred the baby inherit.  So whose eyes would you rather the baby inherit, and why?  It got pretty funny on some traits, such as driving skills, directional skills, dancing ability, etc.  It ended up being one of the high points of the shower, in my opinion.  I mean, check out the laughter!Laughter

And these men seem to be enjoying themselves, so mission accomplished!IMG_5393

I’d say we did well, Amy!  Another successful party 🙂IMG_5398(Yes, I did wear pink and sparkle in honor of the theme.)

Pinterest Week Day 4: Monogrammed Glitter Christmas Ornaments

It’s finally Friday and I wanted to end Pinterest Week with a fun Christmas project I did last fall in preparation for my favorite holiday.  Behold, the monogrammed, glitter Christmas ornaments.  Oh, I still love these so much.  They make my heart happy.   I made these ornaments because we needed to bring an ornament as a gift to a rehearsal dinner for a December wedding.  I decided I wanted to make  the ornament myself.  I then decided that all of our friends and family should get one!

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Warning: I’ve failed just a bit in the “Pinterest” part of this post.  Because while I did find the tutorial on Pinterest…I didn’t PIN the project!  Because I’m just paranoid enough to think,

“If I pin this, some of my friends, whom I am making these gifts for, may see the pin.  And if they see it, they will either A. immediately know I intend to make these for them, therefore ruining the surprise or B. they will see this brilliant idea and immediately try it for themselves, therefore ruining the surprise.”

Completely illogical, I know.  (This was in the days before “Secret” boards.)  And now, of course, I cannot find the original pin or website.  But I have seen this sort of thing a lot on Pinterest and I’m throwing my own project into the mix.  Find this on my Holiday Ideas board.

You will need:

  • Clear glass bulbs
  • An acrylic floor finisher, such as Pledge Floor Care (many tutorials use Mod Podge, but I don’t think that is as viscous or flexible as Pledge Floor Care)
  • Ribbon
  • Monogram Decals

AND

  • GLITTER!  Any color you like!  Cue the hallelujah chorus.

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So here we have the glass bulbs.  I got these from Michaels.  They also had plastic bulbs, which may work fine, but they won’t look as nice.  Spring for glass.

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Start by removing the silver hanger/top from the ornament.

Pour some Mop N Glo into the ornament and slowly swirl it until the entire inside has been coated.  You want to swirl sloooowly to avoid bubbles.  Pour the excess back into the bottle.

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The wonderful, great, brilliant part of this project is that the glitter is contained inside the ornament in the end result.  Not glued to the outside.  So your friends will thank you that you didn’t give them something that will rain glitter or get all over their hands and clothes every time they touch it.  Brilliant.

Make sure you have a trusty “helper” who is willing to be quality control. IMG_4232

You don’t need much floor finisher to coat the inside.  (Please note the shot glasses were great for holding the ornaments upright.  I was not drinking alone.  Thank you.)IMG_4234

Next you will pour a generous amount of your glitter of choice into the ornament.  Then you will slowly swirl the ornament and watch as the Pledge Floor Care grabs and holds the glitter in place.  I turned the ornament sideways (like the photo above) and slowly rotated it around and around, increasing the angle so that the glitter would keep making its way toward the top (open end) of the ornament.  If you need more glitter, you can pour more in.  You’ll likely need to pour out any excess glitter into the glitter container.

Be very gentle during this step.  Don’t shake the ornament.  You want as much glitter to stick to the floor care finish and stay there until it sets!IMG_4235

Once you have the ornament coated to your liking, put it back in the holder to dry and set.  I allowed mine to dry over night.  Don’t put the silver lid back in yet.

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The next day, I carefully put the silver tops back on the ornaments.  Don’t twist or turn them once the wire parts are inside.  This will scrape the glitter off.  I then tied a cute little bow with the ribbon around the silver loop, purely for decoration.  I tied a second piece of ribbon in a loop to hang the ornament from the Christmas tree.  Use sharp scissors to avoid fraying the ribbon.  I also dabbed a small amount of clear nail polish on all of the ends to prevent fraying.

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About those monograms.  I ordered mine from Etsy.  I believe there are machines and kits you can purchase to make your own decals at home.  That was not the best option for me, as I didn’t think  I would use it enough to offset the cost.  There are plenty of Etsy stores that sell decal monograms.  I used three different stores and the quality was consistent across the three.

It is smart to make a list of the monograms you will need, along with the ornament/decal color combo you want for each one before you begin the project.  For example, my mom has a “gold” Christmas tree, so I knew I wanted a gold ornament for her and Dad.  I got them a white monogram so that it would be classy and understated (as opposed to say, red, which would stand out in a bad way on her glittery, golden tree).

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I made a list of all of the monograms I would need and then checked, double checked and triple checked that the letters were in the correct order before buying anything!  When the decals arrived, I applied them to the ornaments using the provided instructions.  Tips on that later.

For our non-married friends, I either did the initial of their last name or a personal monogram.  A monogram for an individual is the first initial of their first name, followed by the first initial of their last name in the middle and the first letter of their middle name comes last.

So Rebecca Rose Fitzgerald is “RFR”

For a married couple, a monogram is the first letter of the wife’s name, followed by the first letter of the couples last name in the middle and the first letter of the husband’s name comes last.

So Rebecca and Scott Fitzgerald’s monogram is “RFS.”

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What I Learned:

  • This project will be twice as fun if you make cinnamon tea and listen to Nat King Cole’s Christmas album.
  • Straight fonts are MUCH easier to apply to a rounded surface (such as these ornaments) than scripty, swirly, curly fonts!  There was much angst over applying the scripty font decals.
  • If your monogram consists of three separate letters (meaning they don’t overlap at all), whether they are curly or not, cut out each individual letter and apply them separately.  Start with the middle letter and then apply the side letters.  This helped me overcome the challenge of applying the decal on the very curved surface of the ornament.
  • If your monogram is all one scripty (beautiful, yet challenging) piece – start in the middle.  Do not start on the left and work to the right, as that won’t allow the far side to lay right.  It will be “squinched.”
  • Relax if there are some blemishes!  Yes, you want this to look professional.  But it IS a project that was done at home – so there may be a crooked letter or an overlapping piece of decal.  But there was also a ton of time, thought and effort put into this personalized gift.  If you have the great friends I know you do, they will love it regardless.
  • This technique can be used for vases, bottles or anything else you want to “glitterize.”  And you can also use the monogram tips above to apply monograms to wine glasses, which would be a great bridal shower or bachelorette gift.

IMG_4310My last piece of advice is to make these enough in advance that you can gift them early.  This allows the gift-recipient to display their new favorite ornament THIS Christmas, rather than having to wait a full year.  We gave them to Scott’s family at Thanksgiving and we hand-delivered them to our friends with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

I hope you have enjoyed this!

Pinterest Week Day 2: Pom Poms Galore!

I’m back to continue “Pinterest Week” and we are getting crafty today.  If you read the blog, you’ve already seen this project at my sister-in-law’s baby shower.

My sister-in-law and I found this pin while looking for gender neutral, “under the sea” baby shower ideas.  We were both instantly hooked and set out to try to achieve the same level of greatness for our new niece or nephew!

Pom PictureSource: andersruff.com via Rebecca Fitzgerald on Pinterest

I used the accompanying tutorial from the  adorable, creative blog Anders Ruff.  Seriously?  Check it out – those ladies are brilliant.

Click here for the tutorial.  The instructions are very detailed and easy to understand.

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Tips and Tricks I Learned:

  • Plan ahead!  These little guys are time consuming!  They are also worth it.  This is not a project you want to take on the week before the party.  It was nice to make several pom poms in an evening but be able to stop if I got bored or my fingers got tired.
  • Enlist help! Many hands make light work.  Invite girlfriends over to help you.  Promise them wine and chocolate.  It’s amazing how many we got done while chatting away.  (A huge thank you to Maggie and Bridgette!)

IMG_5119I think that the garland makes a fun decoration for almost any type of party or even in a little kids room.  Since you can make the poms in any color under the sun you could go bold in primary colors for a little man’s room or soft and girly for a baby girl nursery.

Or…you could be that girl and put them up in your office!Office

Hey, like I said, I spent a lot of time on these! I was determined to get some more use out of them!

Baby Love

On Saturday, we threw a baby shower for my sister-in-law, Jessica.  IMG_5167

Jess and her husband aren’t finding out the sex of the baby (contrary to the April Fool’s joke she played on Monday!).  I personally could never do that, due to my tendency toward planning everything!  But I LOVE LOVE LOVE when other people don’t find out.  It feels so old-school and the day of the birth has even more to look forward to.

We wanted to find a fun theme for the baby shower since we couldn’t go with the obvious blue or pink theme.  We threw Jess a beach-y bridal shower a few years ago so we thought that a baby sea creature, “Under the Sea,” baby shower would be the fitting next step as their family grows.  We sent an adorable invitation with baby sea creatures and carried the colors throughout the rest of the decor.

Prepare yourself for some gratuitous detail shots.  I can’t help myself!IMG_5128

I made most of the decorations at home.  One of the benefits of having an accountant for a husband – all of my evenings from January to April are free!  I was happy to fill them with crafting.  And Prince was happy at the amount of yarn flying around.

I got the inspiration via Pinterest.  I mean, what else is there?IMG_5117

I think my favorite part was the yarn pom pom garland with tiny flag bunting we strung across the fireplace.
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We put a menu and a “Baby Love” game at each place setting.  Every woman filled out one of the “Baby Love” cards with wishes for baby.  I hope that Jess and Dan had fun reading all of them when they got home…and that they’ll be special reminders of how many people love this little one for years to come.

Side note: on my card, I said, “I hope you get…into a good college (Go Hokies!)”
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Each table had a mason jar arrangement of tissue paper flowers.  The light blue looked exactly like hydrangeas.
Pom Pom Centerpiece

Teeny tiny yarn pom poms topped off the {delicious} cake.  (I 100% stole all photos with myself in them from my sister-in-law and planning partner-in-crime, Stephanie!  Thank you, Steph!)

Jess Shower Cake

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Our favors were sea creature sugar cookies.  We added personalized labels to each one.  The whales were too cute for words.Favor Collage

All ready for the party to begin!

Jess Shower Decorate

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Aaaand the after!  Look how blessed this baby is!IMG_5153

I thought that the event went very well.  There was plenty of mingling at the beginning (thats the fun part!).

Check out momma-to-be rocking high heels like its no big deal!

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There was a great mix of Jess’s friends and family in attendance.IMG_5156

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Me and Little Man.  He made a guest appearance but he and his dad left to escape the estrogen before too long.R&L

Our princess-girl loved every single moment of the event, however.  She kept saying, “This is the best day ever!”  If only all of my events were so well-received!
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She’s drinking a “Preggatini” folks.  Just a bit of juice and ginger ale.  Nothing funny going on here!

Jess was very lucky in all of the gifts she received.  I think not knowing if the baby is a boy or a girl resulted in a lot of very useful gifts, including things that will be used for years down the road.  We also did a “Book Basket.”  We asked the guests to bring books for the baby instead of a card.  The basket we gave Jess was overflowing by the end of the shower.  I think it’s such a great way to build a library for a little one.

Here she is with two very happy Nannys.IMG_5178

Here are all of the Fitzgerald women, even little Miss Avery, our princess-girl.  IMG_5171

Wonder if we’ll be adding a sixth little lady to our crew??  Hope you enjoyed your day, Jess!  Love you!