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Panda Themed Birthday Party



Panda Party

Does anyone else have a panda lover in their house? My youngest has been crazy obsessed lately! He requested a Panda-themed birthday party this year, and since he’s not going to be cool with themed parties for much longer you can believe that I was going to run with this! So, with a little help from a perfectly timed release of the Kung Fu Panda 3 movie and some jelly beans, I was able to pull it off.

I am not at all gifted with baking skills, so I always try to keep things pretty simple. I searched Pinterest for inspiration, and found lots of panda faces made of chocolate chips or fondant icing (heck no!). Basic icing and some carefully placed jelly beans work for me! I love how the curve of the jelly beans totally mimics panda eyes and ears! How has that idea not made it’s way to Pinterest already! You’re welcome people!

And, of course, what birthday party is complete without an invitation? This little heart-nosed panda invitation is now listed in the shop here so you can put together your own panda party!

Mini Makeover for Teacher Appreciation Week




It was Teacher Appreciation Week at our children’s school recently, which usually involves parents bringing in food for the week. But, after years of walking past the window of the somewhat uninspired teachers lounge, I thought that it might be fun to add a surprise mini-makeover of the staff room into the mix! I contacted IKEA to see if they would consider coming on board and donating some of the items to our little scheme, and they agreed!

The Offender

This ugly lamp is the reason I first started plotting. It was screaming to be put it out of its dusty-green misery. And if you’re going to change one thing, why not a few more while you’re at it, right? We wanted to keep the plan simple to implement so it could be a surprise, which meant all the furniture had to stay. Although it’s not exactly pretty, it is functional, and that counts for something when there’s a budget and slim window of time. So, I put together a mood board (top) of what I envisioned would add to the space, and then went shopping! We waited for the teachers to leave for the weekend, and spent 3 hours packing up and unpacking all the new and old dishes, art, and organizing the space. It was a lot of fun!

Disclaimer: Because this was a surprise we didn’t get rid of anything, just boxed things up so that the teachers could put it all back if they wanted to.

Here are some Before & After’s of the freshened up space…


Mismatched garage sale finds filled the kitchen cupboards, every size and shape of mug or plate imaginable. Granted, it’s not the end of the world, but I love how serene and organized the cupboards are now! And the teachers seem to like it too, which is good, considering that was the point.

Eating Area

The eating area needed some more visual interest on the walls, and so we added a large tree decal to visually divide the eating area from the seating area, and an art print that tied into the red tables. And, of course, what interior shot is complete without a bowl of green apples… or three, especially for a bunch of teachers.

Lounge Area

And here is the after shot of the seating area. It turns out the dusty green lamp wasn’t even plugged in! Probably because the plug for the lamp wasn’t accessible, so we ended up putting the large palm plant (which we ran out of floor space for) onto the side table to fill the void. It’s a little large for that spot, but it’ll do. Ideally, some beautiful coffee table books would grace the table, but I ran out of time to search for some, and the reality is that the teachers need somewhere to put their magazines, coffee mugs and such, so we left it open.

A big thanks to IKEA for donating items for the mini makeover! And to all the helpers that made the afternoon fun!

IKEA Food & Holiday Decoration Collection



I was invited to a Holiday Tea Party at IKEA last Thursday to see their Food & Holiday Decoration Collection. I have to say that it really jump started my holiday spirit! I love the colors of this season, and the warmth that it brings to the inside of the home. I never have candles lit more than at Christmastime!

On the way out I bought a bunch of fun new items to trim the tree, such a these awesome little birds. I love the colors, and the handmade esthetic of many of the ornaments. They are going fast, so I’m glad that I am thinking ahead this year! Although I suppose that with Christmas being NEXT MONTH and all, I’m not that far ahead, am I?! 😉

And don’t forget that it’s better to give than receive! This year, between November 4 – December 29, 2012, for every soft toy or children’s book bought, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1 to help fund education projects supported by UNICEF and Save the Children.

Have you started prepping for the holiday season?

Hostile Takeover



There are toys EVERYWHERE right now. I think that they are conspiring to take over the house… I can tell just by the look on their faces!

We are going to be ripping up the carpet in our youngest’s room soon, so it was emptied of all Lego, ending up on the train table, bumping the trains to the floor… and so on. Storage systems are going to be top of the list on my next trip to Ikea.

Happy Friday! And Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all you moms out there!

Mudroom Bench Fabric



Remember my mud room inspiration pics? Well, I’m finally making some progress! I went fabric shopping today! My mother in law came over to see the boys and I got to escape for three hours! Luxurious, and very productive. Does anyone else have a full body reaction when they find exactly what they’re searching for? Just me? I knew that this Robert Allen fabric was “the one” as soon as I saw it. It’s New Damask BK in Greystone and I LOVE it!

I really wanted to pull from the colours in the adjoining powder room for my laundry & mud room reno. Between the dark grey baskets that I found at Homesense, and this Robert Allen fabric that has both the gray and yellow, I think it’s working! I’ve just placed the fabric on the bench for the picture… I do still need to sew the cover. My sewing projects for the home have been limited to roman blinds so far, so I’ve never had to do piping. Just out of curiosity, have any of you used piping before? I had thought about using some contrasting yellow piping, but now I’m thinking that I might just keep it all in the same fabric. Any thoughts?

Welcome Design*Sponge Readers!!



I just saw that the DIY I posted last week is featured today on Design*Sponge! Welcome to anyone who has wandered over! Please say hi, I’d love to meet you! And for those of you that haven’t checked out Design*Sponge lately, go check out their newly redesigned site! I’m so impressed with all their work!

Welcome to my blog!



Well here we go! If you’re reading this then it means the creative exchange has begun! I’m writing my first post in between washing dishes, wiping faces, and printing out proofs of the latest Christmas card design that I’m working on for a client. And that pretty much describes the balancing (or lack of) that goes on over here at our house… welcome!

Photo: Nunuboo Photography

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