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our master bedroom (and a cozy update)

Master Bedroom | www.lifeinyellow.com
Master Bedroom | www.lifeinyellow.com

I haven’t shared much of our master bedroom since we moved in almost three years ago. But as the temps dropped this fall, I was ready to cozy up the summery-feeling bedding I had in there, and make a couple other small changes as well.

Because of our geriatric bed (two adjustable twin mattresses on a king frame), I’m pretty locked into the plain white sheets we currently use — otherwise I’d be buying three sets of some cute design to get the two twin fitted, one king flat, and various sized pillowcases I’d need to outfit our bed. So keeping the sheets white, I brought home a flannel duvet/sham set, and added some velvet, waffle knit, and faux fur. Just give me all the comfy textures for cold weather!

The wrapping up of the year always means we’ve recently updated our family photos, and our bedroom is one particular spot I love to have those on display. So I’ve been swapping out a couple here and there and adding a couple more frames. A couple of new candles with woodsier/wintery scents and the seasons have officially clicked in this room.

The only furniture in here aside from the bed are our two nightstands (you can read more about how we hacked these from IKEA furniture here).

I recently sold my jewelry armoire and would like to use the newly freed-up wall space for a BIG leaning floor mirror. I’m pinned some inspiration for Page and my birthday ask is for him to build me one (coming in January!). I’m long over the five dollar dorm room wonder that has been hanging in our closet since we got married!

Finally, what’s a freshened up space without purging some STUFF? We did some serious donating and consigning this fall both in our wardrobes (which we still LOVE — read more about how we built them here) and in our closet. Having less to keep organized is seriously helping the zen factor in here. Bring on winter – I’m happy to hunker down in here for a bit!

Our Favorite Christmas Books

I have the fondest memories of pulling out favorite Christmas books each year as a kid and it’s been so fun to continue that tradition with Crew. Our stash has grown quite a bit this year, as we’ve moved firmly out of the baby/board book phase, and into the “real” storybooks. It’s fun to pull out old favorites, and discover new works and authors.

WHEN SANTA WAS A BABY. For a little boy who LOVES to talk about how he used to be a baby, and thinks Santa is his bestie, this book hits all the right notes. Love the illustrations in this and the story is so charming.

THE POLAR EXPRESS. Of course. Whether or not you have a train fanatic, this is a classic. And hit home especially hard this year when we were able to ride a “Polar Express” train in a nearby town and Santa handed out bells. The movie has been captivating as well!

OLIVE THE OTHER REINDEER. Crew is drawn to stories with animal main characters, so I knew this one would be a favorite. Love the clever take on the classic song lyric.

WHY CHRISTMAS TREES AREN’T PERFECT. This is one I remember loving as a kid and while it’s still a bit wordy for an almost three-year-old, we paraphrase it to get the message across.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Another classic and we are big fans of Dr. Seuss in general. Crew is starting to find the silly words and quirky characters funnier as he gets a bit older and understands the oddity of this writing style. Again, we love (both) movie versions of this fun story.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. We have a couple versions of this story but this one is, hands down, the coolest pop-up book I’ve ever seen. It’s truly a work of art, and Crew is fascinated with each page (some of them interactive). For a rather wordy and old fashioned story (who is this St. Nick they speak of?! And why is he smoking?! LOL) the elaborate art keeps him engaged and following along.

OLIVIA HELPS WITH CHRISTMAS. Crew has been an Olivia fan for a while — he gets a kick out of her naughty antics. So of course, this was a natural pick to keep the mischief going.

THE SWEET SMELL OF CHRISTMAS. This was one of the books that really helped Crew to “get” the whole idea of getting ready for Christmas (decorating, baking, etc) but also that Santa just comes on ONE night, not all month long. 🙂 Plus the scratch and sniff stickers are a fun sensory way to experience the season.

(Looking for younger readers? We’ve loved both Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – complete with twinkling lights at the end! – and Dream Snow by Eric Carle — love that you can feel the bumps of snowflakes!)

I’m a sucker for children’s books in general, so I love to hear what others are reading. Which good Christmas reads did I miss??

flex room update (yes, again!)

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

Peeking in on our flex room again…

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

…We have some new lovelies setting up shop.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

These chairs are so comfortable and the mid-century vibe was exactly what I wanted more of in this room.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

This space finally feels pulled together to me with the balancing of the sofa with two chairs, and a coffee table and floor lamp to ground it all. It’s fun to swap out the accent colors in here with the season and right I’m playing around with mustard yellow and cozy gray flannels.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

Similar Sofa | Pom Pom Pillow | Gold Pillow | Floor Lamp

We hang out in this room a LOT –more than I anticipated.  I think it’s the huge dose of sunshine and light/bright walls, the zen that comes with a toy-free/TV-free zone, and the room itself is just a cozier, more defined space than some of the more open-concept parts of our home.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

Rug | Chairs | Dot Pillows | Brass Frames

The final thing we’d like to do in here is to add some built-ins. We want to draw attention to the high ceiling and dormer window above, so we’re talking through adding some chunky, open shelving beginning at chair rail height and staggering all the way to the break in the ceiling. Inspo picture from Yellow Brick Home below!

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…and here’s my quick and dirty sketch of where I’d place them.

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Shelves are one item on a very long list of projects right now (and Page is currently busy OUTSIDE our home building a project I can’t wait to share — soon!). I’m hopeful that this one might get ticked off the list while we’re inside and restless this winter. But until then, I’m enjoying this room that feels blissfully “finished”!

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

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!

gift ideas for the garbage / recycling truck enthusiast

garbage truck gift ideas | lifeinyellow.com

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If I’ve learned one thing since becoming a mama (to a garbage truck OBSESSED little boy), it’s that there’s a whole subculture of boys — and girls — like mine, who LIVE for garbage day. The garbage truck topic is a super specific one — there’s no Pixar movie or TV show about them, and there are far fewer books (the closest we can usually come are zillions of books about construction vehicles), and you know finding cute clothes or home decor items about, well, trash essentially — is a hurdle.

But if you have a garbage enthusiast in your world, you know they happy dance each week on trash day, you know they can hear the unique rumble of their stop-and-start brakes a mile away, and that they will find any excuse to throw something in the trash and dump it out. I never thought I’d add garbage truck expert to my resume, but here we are, and I feel compelled to share the best of what we’ve found (and loved) for anyone else looking to gift something to a future Waste Management worker. 😉

  1. Melissa & Doug recycling truck — this was Crew’s very first truck and it is STILL a favorite. In general, I find that even with all the bells and whistles some of these have, he prefers to make his own sound effects, and manually fill and dump the receptacles. A LITTLE frustrating for younger (under 2) to get the trash can on the levers just right, but with time, he figured it out.
  2. Dickie Toys garbage truck — this is probably the very favorite of Crew’s entire fleet. Rather large, but still quiet, this one has a simple one-touch button to raise and lower a dumpster into the top of the truck. The dumpster slides open as it dumps and any number of small toys/trash can fit inside. ENDLESS HOURS of entertainment from this one, and it’s still ticking after months of (daily) rough play.
  3. Garbage Truck pajamas — it’s tough, like I said, to make something with garbage trucks particularly cute, but these fit the bill. I do think they shrink but the price is right and they’re soft. I’ve since bought them again in the next size up.
  4. I Am a Garbage Truck — We literally wore out our copy of this, and while a super short/simple read, it teaches the difference between trash and recycling. Added bonus that the book is shaped like the truck.
  5. Trashy Town — I can’t say it’s on my top ten list of kids’ books across the board, but as far as this subject, it’s a cute read with cool illustrations and introduces us to Mr. Gilly, the garbage truck driver. We have since added a truck to our entourage that came with a driver, and of course, he is referred to as Mr. Gilly. There are only a handful of garbage truck books out there (we’ve purchased them all) and many of them stink (pun intended), so if you want a book on the subject, this would be my go-to title.
  6. VTech Go Go Smart Wheels garbage truck — I had to search a bit to find this particular vehicle, but it was worth it for as much as it’s been played with. Crew was a superfan of the VTech parking garage from day one his first Christmas, and we still rotate it in and out of play as he’s since learned to build tracks and play with it on a new level. He would have loved this little truck all on its own, but it’s especially a must-have if your kiddo has any of the Smart Wheels sets.
  7. Pottery Barn Kids recycling truck (currently on sale!) — Like I said, many of the trucks that get played with the most (and have also LASTED the longest) are the simplest ones, without all the buttons and batteries. The fact that there are “guys” that fit these trucks was a big deal for Crew, and the simple dumping truckbed can hold quite a bit.
  8. Garbage truck puzzle — While he needs help to build the puzzle (“it’s almost a garbage truck! we’re doing it!”) it’s a bonus that the truck itself Velcro opens and closes to hold the pieces, and the wheels actually roll.
  9. Play Doh garbage truck — This is one we don’t have but it’s on my list for future reference. Crew loves Play Doh but still needs something to DO with it — cookie cutters, plastic scissors, etc. This would be a fun addition to our Play Doh bin.
  10. Little Tikes Rey Recycler — I didn’t see this one until Crew was too old for it, although it still catches his eye when we see it at the store! For the littlest garbage fan, (or to keep a younger sibling out of an older one’s collection), this is a great starter truck!

And of course, if you want to see how we brought the garbage theme into Crew’s room decor, check out that post here!

Red, White, and BOY (‘Merica style for the little guys!)

Red White and BOY |www.lifeinyellow.com

1. dinosaur t-shirt | 2. 1776 hoodie (check out the matching shorts!) | 3. flag trunks
4. hot dog flag t-shirt | 5. seersucker trunks | 6. rockets t-shirt | 7. shoes

You know I’m always on a mission to seek out the harder-to-find cute boy clothes that are comfy enough they’ll love them, and original enough that I enjoy buying them. I’m a sucker for red, white, and blue any time of year, but especially during these summer months. Plus, cameras are always out on the 4th, so I know I’ll get a photo opp! If your little man is in need of something to wear to the parade, the fireworks, or whatever else you have planned, check out the above. (I’m loving the long-sleeveed hoodie for after the sun goes down, and we are total fankids of Native shoes — they are easy to get on and off, and do. not. stink!) Wishing you a safe and happy upcoming holiday!

Crew’s Big Kid Room (with garbage trucks, of course)

Big Kid Room Garbage Truck Theme | www.lifeinyellow.com

Even before we finished swapping the nursery and the big kid room, this oh-so-big kid was begging to sleep in here. He had exactly zero issues making the transition to new bed and new room, and we haven’t looked back…although I have a hunch as to why this room is where he wants to be. 🙂

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I’ve always shied away from anything too “themed” when it comes to decorating — cohesive pieces, yes — color palette, yep — so as I rolled around the idea of working in some garbage trucks here and there (along with other favorite things) — I had to apply a little creative brainpower to make it COOL and not too cutesy or cheesy.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I tried not to invest too heavily in anything specific to garbage trucks, thinking ahead to when he’s onto the “next thing” …although I can’t imagine that day now. I have videos over a year old on my phone from him captivated by the garbage truck. It’s been a nearly lifelong love affair for this nearly two-and-a-half-year-old.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

It was fun to share the final room with Crew, who saw the progress as it happened — furniture being moved in, crib being taken down, etc. But I waited to hang and place all the little details until one mad-dash evening before bedtime, so he could walk in and see the whole effect. He had no idea it was going to be a “garbage truck room” and it made me so happy to watch him gasp and grin and count them as he found them around the room.

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(Cut to me trying to shoot this wall, and Crew pretending he’s important and walking in front of my camera chattering away on a toy cell phone *eye roll*)

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big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

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The “trash in my lamp!” was a big hit, as was the 3-foot-wide engineer’s print of him with “his” neighborhood truck. (A fun and different way to print your photographs — send to Staples and for around 3 bucks, you get a gritty/grainy effect black/white large scale print.)

big kid garbage truck room | www.lifeinyellow.com

The thing I didn’t quite foresee was what a hit the little vintage book would be — I like to incorporate something vintage in each room of our house, and I thought this would serve as charming little decor detail if nothing else. Turns out we’ve read it (multiple) times daily since it appeared on his shelf. I love that Crew refers to it as his “new old garbage truck book” after I explained he had to be careful with the pages!

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Garbage trucks aside, we brought in a couple favorite animals — a lion (his favorite to see at the zoo) and a crocodile on one of the throw pillows. The stars and the moon are also both a big hit in his world. I liked Page’s idea to put the moon up high near the window, as opposed to my compulsive need to make everything part of an organized grouping in the room, and I love how it (and the wooden star) look against the night sky paint color. Some glow stars on the ceiling were the final touch.

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I was able to reuse quite a bit from his old room without it seeming babyish, as well as several things we already had on hand around the house. The corrugated metal letters were in his first room and seemed like a natural fit (he thinks they are made “out of trash cans”) and the concrete and wood stool is less a side table now and more a perch for a certain someone to look out his window (for what else…the garbage truck, whose route he can now see from this room!) The duvet we had on hand from when this room was still a guest room. I added a stripe of green paint to a cork lampshade from his nursery, spray painted his previously aqua “Things” bin to navy, and used white fabric paint to add a recycling icon to an Ikea pillow cover. A swap of hardware on his dresser (previously changing table) gave it a little facelift as well.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I’d still like to find a headboard, but haven’t come across quite what I’m looking for yet. I’m waiting until we’re less in need of the bedrails before adding a nightstand (too many sheet-changing obstacles!), but I like the idea of this one that would match his shelves. I considered these a couple times, but ultimately we don’t store much besides books and clothing in his room (toys and more books are both in our loft playspace outside his room and, soon, in the basement playspace).

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

No room tour would be complete without me patting myself on the back for cleaning out both rooms’ closets. Actually swapping the rooms around forced me to go through everything and move out the baby stuff. Hello, big boy closet space:

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Thanks for checking out this little garbage enthusiast’s new digs!

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Wishing you many happy memories in here, buddy, and lots of sweet dreams.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

engineer print frame (Ikea, only available in store) | C pillow | crocodile pillow | striped duvet | polka dot sheets | plaid shams (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | wood monogram | bedrails | green metal shelf | vintage childrens books | garbage truck watercolor print | “you make me happy” print | tiny trash can | wire basket | Trashy Town book | trash can wastebasket (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | garbage truck patent print | lion head | wooden star | Moon in My Room | “Things” bin | black storage box | baby monitor | curtain panels | recycling truck costume (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | nightlight

Finishing the Basement: The Bathroom

Bathroom Inspiration Board | www.lifeinyellow.com

Mirror | Sconces | Faucet
Paint color pictured is Sherwin Williams “City Loft” — see all of our paint picks here

I’m proud to say we’ve stayed remarkably on budget for this basement project, now that we have drywall, trim, paint, and electrical/fixtures all behind us. But we KNEW when we requested our first flooring/shower estimate that we were asking for all of the “wants” on our wishlist. So somewhat expectedly, the estimate came back and we choked. For the first time, we stopped to reevaluate a bit as to where we wanted to splurge, and save, to keep ourselves in check financially. Much of the estimate (and much of where we could reevaluate and save) was allocated to various elements of the bathroom.

I’ve had to remind myself that while I was living out all my bath tile dreams in the showroom, this is – in fact – just the basement bathroom and the shower will only get used a handful of times a year, if that. It’s a must-have for our guests, but unless I plan on moving down to the basement level and making it my master, I could apply a little “look for less” to the plan. 🙂 #realitycheck

The inspo board above was put together while we were still picking items to estimate, but the overall look/feel will stay very much the same. It was easy to identify the look we were going for in here — Pinterest is a great tool for gathering the styles that grab you time and again! My board quickly showed several trends and elements that needed to be incorporated, blending classic tile with restoration-style light fixtures, a pivot mirror, window pane shower doors, an open-concept vanity with exposed plumbing, and a mix of black and chrome hardware.

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source | source | source

The beauty of going back and swapping out materials is that a) the challenge is kind of fun to see how much you can save for a similar effect, and b) once I settle on the new option, I often forget what I had even planned on doing the first time around. Picking a different but very similar floor tile will save us over 50% of the original estimate, as did shopping around for our subway tile and hiring our own installer. We’ve planned all along to hack our own vanity, similar to what we did in the basement of our first house. In part, this saves us money, and we haven’t found any ready-made options out there that aren’t well into the four digit price tags (keep repeating with me…it’s just the basement bathroom…). 🙂

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I leave you with the current status of the bathroom –more to come soon!