A New Playroom

I know I still owe y’all a nursery update! And I will post one, I promise… I’m just waiting to finish one more thing up. In the meantime, I have a cute little update we did to our workout room.  Since the husband works out mostly at work or at the gym, and I haven’t been working out (at all) lately, our workout room in the basement has gone mostly under-utilized.  As we were talking about what sorts of changes we wanted to do to the house before new baby arrived, we decided our house would be best used if we had a playroom for Taylor and eventually new baby and most importantly, the growing collection of toys we have piling up at our house.  So we decided to turn this:

Into a young girl heaven:

The floor in the room is a rubber gym mat type floor that the previous owner had installed, but we wanted something soft and cushy for the girls to play on, so earlier this spring I started searching for a good area rug for their playroom.  And silly me… I checked Land of Nod (you know… just for inspiration) and fell in LOVE with this candy dot rug.  And yes, I am well aware that $800 dollars is entirely too much to pay for a rug that is going to go in a play room and probably have crayon and goldfish crammed into its tiny little fibers. So I didn’t buy it. And I kept looking. And I couldn’t find anything else that I loved… so I talked my mom (bless her!) into buying half of it for me for my birthday.  And it is perfection.  And we had a 15% off coupon with free shipping–so yay!


My grandfather built two sets of those tables and chairs for my mom and her sisters when they were little girls and I had one set stripped down (eek… they had lead paint on them and I didn’t really want Taylor ingesting any lead paint). Land of Nod had a picture in one of their catalogs of the rug with similar color table and chairs, so I can’t take credit for that inspiration, but I LOVE how cute and fun it turned out! I have to give a huge shout out to my mom and my husband who painted those for me, since I try to stay away from spray paint and similar things while pregnant.

The play kitchen is the Chelsea All In One kitchen from Pottery Barn Kids and Taylor loves it.  She is always getting out her food and pots and pans, etc. and to bring you strange concoctions like a tomato and chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

We definitely needed some adult seating in there- and in these pictures I have put our Pier 1 Director’s Chairs in black that I have had FOREVER with some green covers on them (long story… but I’ve also had the green covers that I bought forever ago in the garage and it turned out they looked cute in this room!).  HOWEVER, since I took these photos last week, we have put a love seat that my aunt wasn’t using anymore in there for some more comfy seating, but I’m trying to decide whether or not to recover it!

Notice that I didn’t show you the other half of the room in the picture above… that is because this room has reverted back to its normal state of TOTAL DISASTER ZONE. And that is the whole point of the room, so I’m just going to leave it that way.  And if I never have to reassemble the 16 piece cupcake set that Taylor loves to dump over? Ladies and Gentleman, that is what we call success.

I also had some curtains that I had purchased for the living room at our house in Texas (but had never gotten around to hanging) that were simple white curtains, so I decided to sew some fun trim on the edges to give it a little pop of color, and I LOVE the way they turned out! This was super simple to do, I just picked up some of the ball trim at JoAnns and gave it a zig zag stitch along the edge to secure it to the curtains.

Such a fun little update to the house, and I am super happy to have a place for all of Taylor’s toys to live. Although, that does mean that new baby doesn’t get the opportunity to do planks with dad like Taylor did:


5 Tips for Decorating a Table

This week my small group of friends decided to have a murder mystery dinner party.  Cheesy… yes, but hysterical.  On more than one occasion during the evening I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe! Our group consists of 7 couples, all at a fairly similar stage of life and we are each other’s support network, friends, and confidants.  I’m not sure where my life would be right now without them!! Someone came up with this idea and our group sort of ran with the idea… The theme for the party was Spaghetti Western–the murder mystery piece was pre-packaged, which one of the girls bought online and we served spaghetti and meatballs for dinner (hence spaghetti western).  My contribution was the house to host the party, so I decided we needed a bit of decoration for the tables.

As I was throwing together the decorations for the party it occurred to me that my mom (and aunts and grandmother) all taught me important things about how to decorate a table well that might be useful to share on the blog! These tables were decorated for a specific theme, but many of the ‘tricks’ of how to do it are the same no matter what you are decorating with.

For this party I used two tables- my kitchen table which we moved into the dining room and our dining table.

1. Always decorate in odd numbers: I’m not sure why this works, but there is something visually appealing about odd numbered groupings rather than even numbered groupings.  So I almost always use 3 vases, 5 candles, and so on and so forth.  Like you can see in the picture below–the two mason jars plus the cake stand make 3 and visually balance out the table.  There are also 5 mini mason jars with tea lights in them spread around the table.

Western Party Theme | www.amusingmj.com

2. Add some varying heights: My mother is notorious for draping various items in fabric just to give one part of the decor a height boost.  For these tables I used the lace cake stand above and the white cake stand below.  In fact, I’m not sure the cake stand in the photo below has ever actually had a cake on it… I use it much more often to decorate a table or a vignette.


3.  Add some texture: For this rustic vibe I love using various burlap items- We purchased the burlap below for our rehearsal dinner tables (I’m pretty sure we just bought it as fabric off the roll at Hobby Lobby and cut into squares), and I have used them countless times for many different parties because they add great texture.  For this table I snagged the rope from Michaels for $5.  It was an easy addition and definitely made the tables a lot more ‘western’.  If you are doing a fancier table texture can be brought in via silk cloth, different types of ribbon, or flowers.   Which brings me to my next point:  westerntable2

4. Flowers: almost nothing adds some va-va-voom to a table quite like fresh flowers. They definitely aren’t the cheapest option for sprucing up a table, but man do they bring the wow factor.  I love buying just a couple of bunches of whatever my grocery store is selling in the right color scheme and then splitting them up into little vases or jars like these to set around.  Funny enough, the same ‘design’ techniques that I use for tables holds fairly true for flower arrangements too: varying heights, odd numbers and texture (i.e. a little greenery or different types of flowers) make for an appealing arrangement!


5. Have fun with it! Especially if you are doing a theme, it never hurts to go all out.  I searched Pinterest to find some cheeky cowboy sayings to add some fun flair to the table.  The gold coins were a fun addition (not to mention delicious to enjoy during the party) that really sold the western theme.

All in all I spent about $30 dollars to buy things for this table (and more than half of that was in fresh flowers!), most of the things I had on hand and can be used for various other table/house decorations.  And our guests came over at 6:30 and I got home from work around 5:30, so not too shabby for an hour of time and not much money… plus it was fun to have such a festive setting for our mystery drama!

Bonus Room

So I mentioned yesterday that I jumped on the chance to buy this bookshelf from World Market when it was for sale.  I’d been on the lookout for a bookshelf for this room, because we didn’t want to hang shelves on the wall in this room, but still needed a space to store our board games.  Until this week they have been in boxes in Baby Girl’s closet, but I’m wanting to get working on putting her room together, so I needed to move those out of there and into their proper space! (See what I mean about snowballing projects?!?!) Anyway, the bookshelf I found is a nice large bookshelf and compared to other options (I checked out this from Crate & Barrel and this from Ballard Designs) for a similar size and style, this one was a steal! So I ordered it online for pickup in the store, and went in the rain Monday night to retrieve it.

Funny story, this fits in my small SUV, but only if you move the passenger seat ALL THE WAY up and lean it forward.  Which meant when I went out to my car later that night to get something but hadn’t moved the seat back, the headrest and seat leaning forward looked an AWFUL lot like a person in my passenger seat and nearly scared the bejeezus out of me.

So Wednesday on my lunch break (when I was working from home) I put this bad boy together.  It took me the full hour to put together by myself, but it wasn’t complicated at all.  And it comes with things to secure it to the wall to prevent it from tipping… so before baby girl comes, we’ll be putting those on.

And now it looks like this:


I definitely have a bit more work on ‘styling’ it, but I was able to unpack all of those last boxes (hooray!!) and get them out of Baby Girls Room.  Which speaking of Baby Girl’s room, I’ve been making some progress in there, so I’ll give you a quick glimpse of that on Monday!


Practically this room serves two purposes: a workout room for my husband (see the weights in the picture above) and a game room for when we have youth over from the youth group.  We have a Wii connected to the TV (and a play station in the drawers if someone wants to play that), board games easily accessible, and my husband’s Multicade/Galaga machine; this room definitely serves its purpose!  And I think I finally get to say I have one mostly complete room in the house!



Source List, in case you are curious:

Curtains: Emery Linen/Cotton Drapes from Pottery Barn 

Wall Color: Light French Gray- Sherwin Williams

Bookshelf: Emerson Bookshelf from World Market

Dresser: refinished for our old house

Stool: purchased from Target

Couch and recliner: hand me down La-Z-Boy

& Pillow: Hobby Lobby