Thursday, October 26, 2017

New Orleans Themed Couple's Wedding Shower

New Orleans
Couple's Wedding Shower

New Orleans themed wedding shower with cafe du monde coffee cans

My baby brother is getting married, so of course, I offered to throw a wedding shower. I thought a couple's shower would be appropriate so that he could be there too. He and his future bride are having a destination wedding in New Orleans so that was my inspiration. It's nice to give a little hint of what is to come at the wedding but I did try not to do anything that the bride was planning for the big day.

Where to start? I tend to be a very organized person so in planning a party I start with an outline similar to writing a paper or essay. I think it is easier if you name some of the most basic things that you need for a party and go from there.

First, you need a theme. Check! Then a date for the event. Easy enough. Next, a place to have the party. Done. Then you need a list of the basic needs for a party:

Food and drinks
Music and entertainment

First item on the list, invitations, should reflect your theme. I wanted to keep the shower less formal and not too "girlie" since it was a couple's shower. After looking through options for invitations, I decided to make my own on the computer. I guess a New Orleans themed wedding shower is not that common, huh? While looking for some ideas on Pinterest, I came across the cutest dancing alligators and knew right away that I had to try to use them somehow. Luckily, my major was in art so I was able to redraw them with a little umbrella above their heads. (Get it... shower, ha,ha)

The back of the invitation had all of the information for the party such as the couples' names, location, time, and registry information. 

Next item to tackle was the food and drink department. This was easy as New Orleans is famous for it's restaurants and local flavors. My first call was to my mother as she is a bit of a foodie so she helped decide on the menu and thankfully offered to make her red beans and rice in addition to a yummy muffaletta dip.

 I wanted to have one more entree and appetizer so I found a restaurant to make poboys, another staple of the New Orleans diet, and boudin balls, which taste much better than they sound! We have a new restaurant here in San Antonio called Walk Ons which is originally from Louisiana and oddly enough has the best food I have ever had from a sports bar! We added some Zapp's voodoo chips to go along with the sandwiches and I am so glad I did as I think they're the best chips I have ever had! They're like a salt and vinegar and BBQ flavor all in one.

My mom "the chef" on the right and me "the baker" on the left
No party meal would be complete without dessert so we decided on Bourbon balls and hand pies. (Which also doubled as a favor to take home) I wanted to do finger foods for dessert to keep it simple. (Get the recipe for the bourbon balls  here. It is actually a rum ball recipe but just substitute bourbon for the rum.)

Excited to find the kissing alligators at Retro Planet (they are actually salt and pepper shakers)

The hand pies were ordered from Haydel's bakery in New Orleans and they were delicious! The packaging was adorable too! Here's the link: Haydel's hand pies

I balanced out the dessert table with some black and white cookies...

 Liquor was definitely on the menu for the party. Ehem...Bourbon street!

changed the alligators up a bit with glasses this time

We were going to do a bride's drink (French 75) and a groom's drink (Sazerac) but decided to save that for the rehearsal dinner instead and just let everyone make their own drinks to keep it more casual. I found some cute beverage napkins while in New Orleans with the St. Charles street car on them so they set the tone for the bar.

Now to music and entertainment. Being one of the musical capitols in the world, (in my opinion) we had to have some jazz. My friend found a great band in New Orleans that sells their CD called The Shotgun Jazz Band. Check them out here. No microphone needed for this chick. She can belt out a tune. Unfortunately, we only had a CD and not the real thing.

The minute I knew the theme for the party, I wanted to have a tarot card reader for entertainment. If you have been to New Orleans, you might have noticed that you can't walk through Jackson Square without seeing one. Luckily, I found one right here in San Antonio, Ms. Cassandra. She even dressed the part. It was so much fun! You can find her here.

Lastly, in the entertainment department, I decided that we had to do a selfie station. It seems the thing to do these days and finding New Orleans styled fashion accessories was easy and cheap!

NOLA bound banner for the selfie station

Last but not least, decorations. After everything else is planned out, this is the simple part. I knew that I wanted to use things found in New Orleans but you always have to have some decorating party staples such as flowers.

I found the empty Cafe Du Monde cans on Ebay

22 Days to I Do Banner with masks, flowers and candles

When decorating for a party, have an idea of the areas that need to be decorated first. This seems obvious, but you might be tempted to just go to Party City and start loading up on balloons and streamers when you might not need those things at all. Above, I used masks, flowers and candles.

When planning locations to be decorated, I started with the exterior because I wanted guests to be greeted with a sign welcoming them to come in. I also wanted the house to be clearly located from the street so we threw beads up on a light pole lantern that we have in the front yard which is reminiscent of the ones that you see in New Orleans. We also tied some gold and white balloons to the pole to show the way.

The frame was one from my wall that I repurposed (originally Hobby Lobby)

The other areas that I thought needed to be decorated were the tarot card area, the dining room table and dessert table, the area for the couple to open presents along with a gift table, the bar, the kitchen and the back patio. I used beads, masks, frames, banners, feathers, flowers, ribbon, moss and candles to give a traditional New Orleans feel along with some silver serving pieces and ceramic alligators.

I made the cutest lanterns with hanging ribbon that were hung in the rafters of the covered patio but because I waited until it got dark to take a picture and then forgot to take the picture after too many French 75's, you will just have to see them in your imagination. Sorry! Bad Blogger!!!

Well, that just means that the party was too much fun. That's all. I hope this was some inspiration if you're having a shower of your own. Whether it is New Orleans inspired or not, the principles of party planning are all the same. Just have fun with it and make sure there is a lot of booze if everything else goes wrong.

sharing with ~French Country Cottage

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Beach House Before and Afters

This post is long overdue. Finally, some before and afters of the beach house. 

When we purchased the home, I was so happy that it not only had good bones but the main finishes of the house were neutral enough that I could do anything. Wood floors and ceilings, white walls and counter tops, made selecting my own colors and furniture so easy.

So, when you purchase a house knowing you're going to redo some of it, where do you start? Normally, if you need to do any construction, you would have to demo. anything you don't want and replace it. We were lucky because the rooms were well laid out and the main finishes like floors, counter tops and tile where all neutral and did not need to be replaced.  So, that meant that space planning was the next thing on my list. 

I started with the main living spaces. The living room, kitchen and dining were all open to each other. In the before, there wasn't a dining room table. I wanted one even though there was already seating at the island. I thought it would be nice to have the extra table for playing games or an extra eating space. My first design challenge was to find some extra room for a dining table. I did this, in part, by shifting the seating up against the far wall. Using a sectional allowed more seating using less space. In addition, to make this work, I had to purchase a table that was the correct width and buy benches instead of chairs so that  they could slide under the table when not in use.
After figuring out the layout, I needed to decide what furniture I was keeping and what I needed to purchase from there. The red sofa obviously had to go.

Speaking of getting rid of things...the fan. It was just too dark and too big for the odd placement of it in the room. We needed the air flow but also needed a fan that would blend in a little more. 

Once I had the large furniture items decided on, I had to look at the accessory situation. You can see that there was a lot of shelving that needed to be filled up. I tend to like things less cluttered so this was a challenge. I wanted one big statement piece. When I found the marlin, I knew that would be it!

The main thing in the kitchen was the pot rack. In another house, I would have loved it but it was just too much here. I decided on the light fixture instead for a more clean look. 

There was a little bit of controversy about the purple cabinets, but in the end, I decided that it was the beach and if you can't do it there, where can you do it? So, why not?

You can see from these two photos that not much changed in the kitchen. We were very lucky to have good tile and counter tops!

In the main bedroom, on the same floor as the living areas, I wanted to continue with the same color scheme, so I painted the walls, changed the bedding and added a shutter headboard.

I decided to go with a bright teal on the walls in the bathroom for some contrast from the bedroom walls.

This bedroom had the biggest transformation because we needed bunk beds for the kids.

At the beach, you need a lot of extra sleeping space for guests so we added an extra bed for sleepovers!

The entryway even got a little tweak with added hooks for towels and beach bags.

The final thing the house needed...a name. There was a perfect spot right by the door.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Bottle Cap Art

bottle cap fish on vintage window cheap beach art

I needed some cheap art for all of the wall space in the beach house so it was time to put all of the beer drinking to good use. I have been saving up bottle caps for years. I turned these Heineken caps upside down because I really liked the green color.

I found the letters in a little store in Gruene, Texas for about $1 a piece and I bought the window at Vintage Market Days in Kerville for $20.00. So, this project only cost around $25. (If you don't count the beer, that is.)

 I found plywood cutouts in the shape of a mermaid at Michael's for about $3 and thought that they would be cool on the sign for the house that I was making. I already had them made when I realized that I didn't like the way they looked on that sign so this project was created. Sometimes failure leads to something even better anyway. The boards are from Michael's and cost about $3. They were originally a stained color so I lightly brushed some white over the top to make it look more "beachy".

They aren't very large, only about 10" square but I figured that they would work somewhere. The funny thing is, my original plan was to make crabs because I had seen some on Pinterest, but they evolved in to these two projects. Sometimes you just need some inspiration to get yourself started.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The New Beach House

I am so excited to say that we finally purchased a beach house! Of course one of my favorite parts is getting to decorate it! It came somewhat furnished but I have been purchasing a few things. Ahem...Here are my plans...

                                                                 kitchen before

This is the before of the kitchen. My husband doesn't like the purple cabinets but I'm thinking it's kind of beachy so let's see if I can make it work. I love everything else, the glass tile back splash, the solid surface counter top, the white upper cabinets, the stainless steel appliances. These things are all easy to work with. However, while I usually like a pot rack, I think I'm going to take it down and add 2 hanging lights over the island instead. I only have one light box in the center, so I'm going to see if I can hang 2 lights from one box and swag them over to be even over the island. I've seen it done but don't know how to do it and the Internet is not helping. If I figure it out, I'll let you know...

So this is what I have ordered but I still need a canopy too. The light fixture and the rope swag kit are both from World Market.

                                                            Living Room before

This room has really good bones. Wood floors and ceilings warm up the room which could be cold with the white walls.  It's hard to tell here but the walls have painted ship lap which I LOVE. What I don't love is the red sofa. Not exactly calming at the beach. The other thing that has to go is the fan. Even though it has palm leaves for blades, it is just too dark and heavy for the room. It is very distracting too because it is not centered in the room. This would drive me crazy.

                                                                  Living/Dining before

There isn't a dining table now in the room but I really wanted one. In order for this to work, I had to get a sectional and put it next to the wall so that there is more room under the windows to the right. I purchased a table and 2 benches from one of my favorite stores, El Paso Import Company. They have great pieces for the price and can even custom make furniture to your specifications. I decided on benches so that they can easily slide under the table when not in use to create more room. Below is the vintage table that I ordered.

 I have something really cool picked out for over the table but I'll save that for the reveal!

                                                          Master Bedroom before

The master bedroom has gone from this yellow above to white. There isn't anything wrong with the yellow. It is certainly bright and cheery but I just love a white wall with crisp white linens for the beach so I had to do it. I bought a king size bed and the headboard will be made out of shutters. This storage bed is cool though so I moved it upstairs to the guest room. The color scheme in here will be inspired by some Dash and Albert pillows that I already had.

                                                               Bunk Room before

This room will now be the bunk room. Since I have two growing teenage boys now, an ordinary twin bunk was not going to fly so I found a company that will custom make heavy duty QUEEN sized beds which, believe me, are very hard to find! I purchased them from The Bunk and Loft Factory. Unfortunately, we (meaning my husband and sons) will have to put it together. I'm kind of digging this rattan chair so it's going to stay. I am "trying" to recover the chair with a Mexican blanket. If it works, I think it will be super cool and durable.

While most of the house will be cool blues and turquoise colors, the guest room is going in a different direction...

                                                               Guest Room before

Again, there is really nothing wrong with the before picture of this room, but it's just not me. In this room I'm going to use some warm colors mixed in with darker teals and purples. I was inspired by some Kantha throws that I found at Vintage Market Days. At first, I was going to use them on the bed but I noticed that the windows really needed something so I'm making some valances with the throws to add a little color. I want kind of a Boho beach look in here.

This gives you a good idea of the color scheme that will go in this room. Luckily, the previous owners left some cool posters in exactly the colors that I wanted to use. They had shiny black frames that just didn't seem fitting so I changed them up a bit. I'll show you my trick to doing this cheaply a little later.

That's about it for the plans for the main parts of the house. Stay tuned for the reveal of all of the rooms which should be finished in a couple of weeks. I hope...if "WE" can get that bunk bed put together that is.