Category / DIY + Crafts

Halloween Classroom Treats

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’ve always loved Halloween — it’s smack dab in the middle of gorgeous, festive, fall and the costumes, treats, and traditions are all so much fun. It’s a new (less spooky!) kind of fun with a kiddo, and this is the first year that Crew can actually understand reading and talking about trick-or-treating, answer people who ask him what he’s going to be, and (somewhat) understands how far off it is…(“I think Halloween is in two more tomorrows, Mom!”).

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.lifeinyellow.com

The minute the merchandise hits the stores, I’m all over it. Because we can’t bring homemade treats to school, I kept an eye out for individually wrapped candies, and per Crew’s interest in bugs, found some little spring spiders that you push down to “lock” and then a few moments later they jump a couple feet in the air, to the delight of a certain two-year-old. Sold. I can’t take credit for the “bugs and kisses” — I saw it somewhere on Pinterest at some point and it stuck in my head! The spiders are from Target and I used these treat bags), and whipped up a business card size design to fold in half length-wise and staple across the tops. Quick and cute!

Halloween 2017: Crew’s Garbage Man Costume

DIY Garbage Man Costume

I always appreciate some costume idea inspiration sooner than later — so today I’m sharing Crew’s costume he’ll be donning in a few short weeks (and who are we kidding, several times before then!).

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

It was no surprise that of course Crew wanted to be a garbage man for Halloween (the first year he’s had any kind of say!). I had grabbed the vest at IKEA for dress-up (he’s a size 3T and it’s the smallest size they make — Youth XS). To make it a little more special, I ordered an iron-on patch with his name. As much as I love to make his costumes as opposed to buying them, we just had to have a piece of legit merchandise directly from Mecca — this youth size trucker hat was perfect, and he was SO excited when I showed it to him.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

Obviously, the best way to haul his loot this year would be in what else — a garbage can. We bought a black Sterilite flip-lid style, hit it with some green spray paint, and added a WM decal bought on eBay. Even though it said it was meant for plastic, the spray paint is pretty delicate and scratches/flakes easily, so right before Beggars Night arrives, I’ll probably hit it again for touch-ups.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

Page added two replacement 7” plastic grill wheels by running a threaded rod through the back-bottom of the can. Eight washers, two nuts, and two stop nuts later, Crew was mobile.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

To make it easier to pull, Page added a wooden handle that he also sprayed with the same paint. He drilled it directly into the back of the can.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

Crew has himself a mini-version of the big guy, and he could NOT be more excited!

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.lifeinyellow.com

And if you’re in search of more ideas…see how we embraced the pacifier last year when Crew went as a scuba diver (and Dad was the shark who chased him!) and his very first Halloween when he went as Albert Einstein (scroll to the bottom of that post). 🙂 Happy costume planning!

The latest in the basement: our home gym

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Paint color is Sherwin Williams “Oceanside”. You can view all our basement paint picks here.

The gym is our basement level is currently the most finished space so far, but still a work in progress. Today I’m sharing the final plan (and inspiration board, above) for this space, along with a couple progress pics!

gym drywalled

The flooring was in before we even drywalled (Page used the horse stall mats similar to what you might see in a CrossFit or other gym). We have since drywalled, trimmed, painted, and added a ceiling fan and TV. The doors that will let the window light through to the main living area are hung as well, just waiting on the door handles. I don’t have a photo that shows the last few details, but here’s a gist picture thus far…

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The final touches will include a series of full length mirrors on the south wall, and across them a ballet barre (yasssss!!!!) and eventually, a wall of planked wood across the south (window) wall to bring in a little warmth to the space. I’ve already squeezed in a couple workouts down here and am LOVING the space.

We’ll be back with the FINAL reveal, and I’ll have Page chime in on all the equipment (much more his gig than mine) for anyone curious!

basement paint colors.

Basement Paint Scheme | lifeinyellow.com

With drywall finished, and trim installation up next, I got a head-start on looking at paint colors. (Note: All colors you see in this post are Sherwin-Williams.)

Working off the paint colors throughout the rest of our home, we wanted to go lighter in the basement, since the only natural light comes in through two egress windows on the south side, and filters down the stairs from a large window on the landing. I’m okay that it feels cozy down there, but not dungeon-like!

“Requisite Gray” that you see below, is the color that comes down the stairwell from our main level and sets the tone for the basement.

house palette | lifeinyellow.com

The palette that will make up the majority of the basement is below:

Basement_Palette | lifeinyellow.com

Did that last one throw you? 🙂 Oceanside (6496) is the color Page kept coming back to for the gym. It is definitely a deeper/less neutral color than the rest of our picks, but a great energizing hue for a workout space. You won’t see a whole lot of it, between a wall of wood (more on that later), a window, and mirrors and a TV on the walls, but hints of it will be visible from the main living space through french doors. The gym is a fun place to play with more intense color, and not be so safe. I like that it’s something out of the norm of colors we’re usually drawn to (paint or otherwise) and I like the examples I’ve seen of it in real rooms with white trim and natural light that soften it a bit.

Oceanside

Source

Speaking of white trim, Extra White (7006) is our trim color throughout the house, and one that will continue onto this level. We used this as our trim color in our last home as well. I love it in all lighting situations — perfectly creamy and clean and not too cool, but still a “true” white with no yellow undertones.

I mentioned that Requisite Gray is the color that currently comes down the stairwell. It will meet up on the lower level with City Loft (7631), which will cover the majority of the basement, including the main living room area, the bar/simulator, play area, and the bathroom. It keeps the warm/neutral flow going, but a bit lighter than our upstairs choices. I always think screens mess with paint chip hues — it’s definitely still the in the “grays” versus “tans” category, but the warmer end of the gray spectrum.

CityLoft

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To create some contrast, we are bringing our outside color in. The exterior of our home is Cyberspace (7076), a gray-navy inky color that I love as much as the day we picked it. After we moved in, I was gifted a large picture frame for our front entry from the creative duo at Adamo Design, in the same Cyberspace hue. Seeing a splash of this color inside on our walls and how she artistically distressed it a bit made it an easy choice for our downstairs bar cabinets.

Cyberspace

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I’ve wanted to use a faint, faint (dare I say “pink”) wall color somewhere in our home, but I wanted it to be anything but baby pink. This has a more coral/peach tint to it, and it’s super subtle. I was ultimately sold on it after I saw it in a couple of non-nursery rooms. In a basement bedroom, I wanted something that felt warm and welcoming but still light and bright, without any (major) color commitment in any one direction. (I know, I’m high maintenance!) So Faint Coral (6329) it is, to bring a little personality to the guestroom.

FaintCoral

Source

So there is the rundown of our paint picks for the lowest level. And to give a flavor of the other surfaces and finishes that will come in down here, here’s a quick collage. The stone will go up a pillar at the bottom of the stairs (Eldorado’s “Chapel Hill” which is in our upstairs level as well), some elements of dark walnut stain and/or cedar will appear between the bar countertop, a sliding barn door at the bottom of the stairs (for noise control), and a version of this on a wall of the gym. We haven’t picked a tile, but we’d like to go light with a subway tile in the shower stall, and we’ll continue the chrome door/cabinet hardware and fixtures on this level as well.

basement textures | lifeinyellow.com

I’ll be back to share more as this all slowly comes to life. Off to call some trim carpenters! 🙂

back in the basement!

Oh, friends. Who knew a decision to finish a basement could prompt so much soul-searching??!

In brief, the past couple months brought some major start-of-the-year conversations about goals — home, financial, location, etc. Those conversations dovetailed with an unforeseen opportunity to purchase some land that we may or may not build on (yes, again…sign us up for the support group…) in a few years. We literally got as far as starting the paperwork and decided in the eleventh hour that it wasn’t our move. Not now, anyway.

And so with that decision made, we were refueled in our desire to continue to put down roots in our current home. While we still scrunch our noses at our lot (it’s a semi-busy street and not much yard in any one direction, and the idea of building where there are actual TREES continues to be a (sub)urban myth) we do love the home as we built it — but now two years later, we are ready to finish moving in. We’ve always planned that this would be a house we grow into — finish the basement, landscape the outside, furnish a patio, and hell – just furnish the parts we live in now. We can’t do it all at once for all kinds of reasons (uh, money for one!) but with the cold winter days fresh in our minds, we are turning our attention back to our basement in hopes of having this space ready to use by the next cold season!

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Back in September, Page finished up a couple little details to the framing that was mostly done by our builder, pre-move-in. We installed insulation ourselves, and a crew came to hang the sheets of drywall that had been stocked down there since day one, finishing up before Halloween. Since then, we cleaned up a little and purged some of the stuff being stored down there, but mostly between holidays and birthdays and life in general, we’ve been focused on other things…until now!

After chatting with a few contractors, we selected a drywall duo to come in and tape, mud, and texture the walls. This ended up taking six working days, in part because of the extra drying time that comes with basement levels. I give you the latest — dust in the air and all!

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{From left to right: storage closet, bathroom, bedroom, gym} IMG_9697

{toy storage area with extra-deep toy closet…

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…and play house under the stairs}

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{one of the things I’m most excited about — the future ballet barre on this wall!}

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{another shot of the bedroom}

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{bathroom}

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{two storage closets on the right, looking to the future bar and golf simulator to the left}

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{bar, A/V closet and sump pump access, and golf sim space}

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{future stone column at entrance to lower level}
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Progress continues — Page is on the fence about his decision to do trim himself, so we’re asking a few trim carpenters to stop by and give us some estimates. After that, PAINT — and our colors are already selected! Stay tuned for the picks!

planning for Camp Crew

It’s still a few weeks away, but with the holidays between now and January 5 (and the inevitable slow-down in ordering/shipping/business hours), I’ve launched into planning mode for Crew’s second birthday party sooner than later. I’ve started to just consider it another one of ‘the holidays’!

Last year, we piggybacked his first birthday (that he was of course completely unaware of) with both a one-year-later housewarming and a general New Years celebration, hosting brunch with lots of friends and family. It was a larger bash, and this year we’ve opted to just make it about Crew’s birthday and keep the gathering much smaller with a few of his buddies and their families.

Camp Crew Inspiration Board | lifeinyellow.com

A January birthday in Iowa of course means celebrating indoors. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t bring the outdoors in. For his second birthday, we are opting for a chance to set up a cool tent and eat some marshmallows — a camping birthday!

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Between the popular plaids everywhere in seasonal merchandise (hellloooo after-Christmas clearance scores!) and the popularity of camping/adventure in kids’ home decor, it’s been easy to find a variety of items to incorporate into his party theme. I also feel less guilty about investing a little — I’m planning to use some of this after the party, permanently, in our home.

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I’ll be back with the full run-down and day-of photos, but for today, I’m excited to share where a great party all starts — the invitation! Envelopes came from Paper Source and I designed the invite myself. The oh-so-cute personalized address labels from Tiny Prints’ Holiday collection are the icing on the (birthday!) cake. I love that they introduce the plaid party vibe right from the start!

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I can’t wait to pull this all together — and I don’t even like to camp! 😉  More soon!

the beginning of the end: basement finishing progress

I last blogged about our plans for the basement shortly before we moved in. If you prefer a quicker re-cap than reading the link, we had our builder frame this lower level for us and stock it with drywall, saving Page one of the more time intensive steps, and avoiding dragging messy (and huge!) sheets of drywall through our finished house later when we were ready to get cracking down there.

Our plan still includes some unfinished storage space, a fifth bedroom, full bath, gym, kid area/oversized toy closet/understair playhouse, an area to hang and watch TV, a wet bar, and a golf simulator. As much time as we spend at home now, it makes sense to us to put our time, energy, and funding into these types of projects. Additionally, after our last basement finish much more than paid for itself when it came time to sell, we also see this as a fun project that we not only benefit from now, but also (hopefully) and investment that will pay off later. Since we moved in, we had an electrician come out and rough in all our wiring.  

This summer, Page did some additional framing of the soffit in the bedroom, an access wall to the sump pump along the simulator area, a future stone column, and the wet bar. Although the gym is no more than framed, we added our flooring — the same horse mats used by CrossFit gyms — and moved in the weights and equipment. We’ve been using the gym as-is in lieu of a paid membership elsewhere and we both love the ability to work out at home.

August = insulation. #thispartsucks #basementfinish #casadesmith #houseprojects #diy

A photo posted by Liz Smith (@lizblogphotog) on

This past month we tackled insulation. There’s no way to sugarcoat it — insulation installation is pretty damn awful, but it’s a step we could do ourselves and save some coin.

Yaaaaaassss. #finishingthebasement #houseprojects #casadesmith A photo posted by Liz Smith (@lizblogphotog) on

We’ve had the hardest time finding available drywallers, and in something unheard of to us, we are discovering many options — but some ONLY hang the drywall, and some that ONLY mud/tape/texture. Weird, but whatever, we’ll take it. We were able to get on the first contractor’s schedule this month, so voila, we now have walls! This was SUCH a huge step down here — to get all the drywall up and off the floor makes the space, while unfinished, much more usable. We have a busy toddler who can spend the cold winter months riding bikes, big wheels, and jumping on his trampoline (shh! he doesn’t know Santa is bringing it!) down here all winter long, while we save up for the next steps (and pick paint colors! No idea what we want to do down here yet!)

Please excuse the dump of photos…it’s been over a year since I last came down here with my camera! Beginning with our basement stairway…

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…this is the view into what will be the living room area…

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Off to the right of this area is a kiddo space…

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…with an extra-deep closet to the left for toys/games…

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…and perhaps my favorite spot of the whole basement, a mini door to under the stairs for a Crew clubhouse…

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…In the opposite corner of the living room will be a full bath, and a guest bedroom…

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(guest bedroom)

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(guest bedroom)

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…and opposite the guest bedroom is our workout room…

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…turning around from the workout room looking across the living room to what will be the bar area…

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…and in front of the bar, the golf simulator…

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…the door to the right is a long narrow closet mainly for access to A/V, our sump pump, etc.

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For now, we’re at another pause point down here, cleaning up this latest (dusty!) phase, but so happy with the progress made as we save for and decide on next steps. As mentioned, the mudding and painting will be completed by a pro, but Page will do the trim work himself. Flooring will be professionally installed, although we’ve toyed with installing the bath/bar floor ourselves. (It’s worth noting we also said this the first time we finished a basement…and changed our minds, so…). Final plumbing and electrical stages will be completed by outside help, and we’ll plan to install our own bath fixtures, closet fixtures, and bar cabinetry/counter. So more or less “half DIY”. For now we’re just happy dancing that these most recent steps are behind us!

moved in: the patio

our patio | lifeinyellow.com

I promised myself I would “finish up” a couple spaces in our house, photograph them, and get them posted to the blog in the coming weeks. But first, it seemed fitting to do an update on the exterior, since it was still being finished last outdoor post a year ago.

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

We spend a lot of time outdoors right now, so specifically, we’ve been working on pulling the back patio together a bit more, starting with a stone wall that Page arranged on the south side.

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

Originally the plan was to just contain our grill in place from the winds that whip through our and our neighbor’s house, but we’ve discovered there’s an added benefit of keeping Crew’s attention away from the sloping lawn on the other side (that also houses our window wells we have yet to cover.)

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

It’s been nice to pull out our outdoor furniture, cushions, and — though it pains me that they aren’t as chic to look at — Crew’s outdoor toys, and have a “bonus” living room for the warmer months. We can sit and have a drink on our chairs, and Crew will entertain himself at the water table for a blissful half hour or more!

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

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I do have three planters that do not yet have residents…it’s on my to-do list. And next year, we would like to add a fire pit and four adirondacks around it on the uncovered portion. But for now, our pennies are being saved for some upcoming basement progress…more on that soon, I’m sure!

our patio | www.lifeinyellow.com

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Since we last posted about the exterior, a tree had to be replaced, as did a couple smaller shrubs, and our final cedar accent pieces were stained.

completed exterior | www.lifeinyellow.com

completed exterior | www.lifeinyellow.com

We put in our own sweat equity by creating stone borders around each of our five trees, pulling the cedar color into the mulch, and edging in the rock in the back yard (spoiler alert — if you look closely, you can see this is still being completed!) 😉

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With every completed project, it starts to feel a little less like our house, and more like our home. Anxious to share more (inside!) spaces soon…

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