Thursday, July 14, 2016

Cute Baby Shower Under The Carport {Aqua Blue & Coral/Orange}

If weather permits, why not have the shower outdoors?
This was under the carport of our home so if a cloud happened to let loose a few sprinkles, we wouldn't risk melting.

Greet guests with a cute sign!

Guests were told in the invite to bring a package or diapers if they wished to be in the "diaper raffle".  The winner was drawn randomly during the games and won a gift card.

Gathering addresses for sending out thank you notes can be a pain in the you know what.
So why not help the mom-to-be out and have the notes already bought and have guests write their addresses on them?  Phew!  One job checked off the list for mamma!

See how I repurposed this dresser drawer HERE.
Now let's see some decorations!

Guest of Honor seating!

Mix outdoor furniture with indoor decor!
 If you're hosting your party outdoors, bring the indoors out.
We made our spaces cozy with throw rugs and other textiles.

We brought throw rugs out from in the house if they had any coordinating colors in them, as well as throw pillows.  We added the bench (which is normally our indoor dining seating) to set the gifts on so they were easily accessible for miss mom-to-be.
The frame with the rag swag was taken from it's spot over the mantel in the master bedroom

Having small tables in between chairs or a coffee table placed in front of a few is a MUST so guests have somewhere to set their drink.  Nothing more awkward than having nowhere to set your punch or tripping over someone's on the ground!

Why spend money on flowers or center pieces?  These beauties were found on the roadside and put in blue ball jars from my hutch and mantel vignettes.
Extra bonus: Going on a hunt for flowers while walking with my six year old daughter!

Let's get to everyone's favorite part, shall we?  FOOD!

Mom-To-Be Amanda flanked by the two grandmas

This adorable "fruit baby" was crafted by one of our gracious hostesses, Jennah.
The carriage (or bassinet) is made from a hollowed out watermelon, the head from a cantaloupe, and I'm asking myself why I'm even bothering to explain any of this because I'd say it's rather self explanatory so I'll stop now! 

Lemon Onsie Cake
 (don't look too close, I am in no way a cake decorator!)

Lime flavored popcorn baggies with a label that says "about to pop!" is a perfect treat with a play on words since mom is "about to pop!"

Now let's have some FUN!

How about some funny but not corny baby shower games?
We decided to put the grandma's against each other for a "binky on a stick" race and it turned hysterical!

This was a race to see who could transfer their three pacifiers from the table to a branch using only a chopstick in their mouth.  The sticks are cut from a tree outside and spray painted aqua blue (normally used for a craft display which you can see HERE.)

We kept the grandmas in this race and added our mom-to-be to the mix as well!
A stack of diapers (we opened a package from the diaper raffle) was placed on
the table in front of the contestants and they were given one minute to put on as many diapers as they could.

And a few random shots of the party and it's goers. :)

"I just did 9 months on the inside" onsie

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Replicating The Drive Way Entry Pillars {Restoring The Mansion}

This post is basically just going to say that my father is one swell guy.  Like really, really swell.  Or really spoils me....   probably both?

Restoring this estate has been slightly overwhelming and we are trying to do it one project at a time.  But it usually ends up with twenty projects at a time with none of them totally completed.  I'm so happy my dad stepped in on this one.  Let me tell you how restoring these pillars back to their original look went down.

Let's see how they looked two years ago when we bought the place (on an online auction!):

Dear friends.  They were a sorry sight.  The old aluminum siding looked super tacky and was starting to come off, and the wood that was being revealed underneath was rotten.

We knew we wanted to save them somehow, and with the help of my boys and the boy I watch after school, they worked away at uncovering what they once were.

How COOL to find little shutters on all four sides!!  But oh how sad to see they were in such bad shape and there was much wood rot. Whatever to do now.....

Then I remembered this old black and white photo I had from 1963.  Why hadn't I noticed the shutters before when looking at it?   I think I was too busy crying over the fact that the beautiful fencing around the roof of the gatehouse was gone!!

The huge round metal tops are bigger than they appear perched on top of those stately posts.

Another great job for the boys - scraping paint so they can get a nice new coat!

Here's where my awesome Dad comes in.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  He and Mom were just leaving to go back home to Iowa after one of their many visits to see us and as I watched them go I realized he had taken one of the old pillars home with him.   WHAT?!  I called him quick on the cell.  "What art thou doing with that there pillar in your truck?!"  "I'm taking it home."  Yeah, I can see that!  Why?  Are you're fixing it and bringing it back??"  "I can use it as a template to build new ones.  I'm going to replicate the original ones AND I'm going to use materials that will last a good long time!"  Oh, Wow.  How do you even thank a guy like that??

So here he is, back in Iowa, slaving away over his replicas.  He even managed to find the same size shutters.

He brought them back several months later, and Hubby and Dad poured a cement base.

Glad they survived the five hundred mile road trip in Dad's truck! :)

Every time it rained, mud would splash up around the bottom of the pillars, making them super dirty.  So Tim and I put black plastic around the base of each of them, lined it with bricks we had on hand and surrounded them with landscaping rocks.

Tim also installed crown molding between the pillar and the metal top to finish it off.

A parting before and after:

If you missed the Gatehouse post, which obviously got a makeover as well, you can view that here:

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Gate House {Restoring The Mansion}

This post has been a long time coming.  As in, people have actually been asking if they missed the post because they've been waiting for it since they knew this was a project we finished last year. So I"ll confess one reason this post is so late in coming.  I wanted to have my lawn mowed... but I also needed to wait for a cloudy day so I didn't have crazy shadows and the two just never seemed to synchronize!  Especially since I mow lawns for a living....  mine always is the last on the priority list.

So let's take a stroll down memory lane and see this beautiful Gate House back in 1963....

And let's step back even further into time and talk about what this was! 
Long before the 1963 photo above, there was an interurban train car that ran from Jackson to Battle Creek in the early 1900's.  You can still see where the tracks once were along the front of our property, to the east of the Gate House.  This Gatehouse was one of the train car's stops before it got to Parma.  It is rumored that Mr. Miner, who lived on this estate at the time, hired prisoners from the Jackson State Penitentiary to help him build his magnificent waterfalls (see HERE), plant thousands of trees, and more, and the prisoners would wait in the gate house (aka guardhouse) for the train car to transport them back to their home behind bars.  Whether that is completely true or not, I cannot verify!

The story of the Interurban Train Car ended with a tragic crash in 1923 which you can read about HERE.

So when it came turn for the Wielenga family to take over this estate, the little Gate House needed some desperate TLC, as you can see in the next few photos.  

The round columns on the front had been replaced with square wood posts and covered in aluminum siding.

The aluminum siding, put on by the Lefere's in 1972 had become a terrible eye sore forty years later.

The pillars that greeted you as you pulled into the drive were also a sight for sore eyes.
I'll post on their restoration soon!

Let's peek at the inside which really stayed quite nice!  It's paneled floor to ceiling and has carpet on the floor.

The kids went to work ripping off siding:

Yours truly removing the shutters....

The Lefere's always documented the date they did something so it was no surprise when we found this written on the old wood siding under the "newer" aluminium:

And not only did we uncover the date and who did the work - Nate Shong - but we uncovered a door on the back side!!

We loved the look of the door, but it does not open because of the paneling over it from the inside.

I put the boys to work painting the posts white and when they were almost finished a light bulb went off in my head and I remembered the four old pillars I had found out in the barn!  

I was giddy with excitement as I ran to the barn with a measuring tape, and the old black and white photo of the gate house in my hand that showed round columns.  YESSSSS!!!!!!!  I snapped a photo on my phone and quickly texted it to the hubby.

The boys were not thrilled they had painted the square ones only to replaced.  I told them it was a character building experience.

 They were too long, so Tim had to cut them shorter.  So that might make you wonder... if they come off the gate house, why wouldn't they go back on?  Since there were only two on the gate house and four in the barn, we are thinking maybe they are from the bandstand that was once in the backyard.  Just a guess, as we do not have any photos of the bandstand, just a diagram of it on the old map (See the map HERE).

Here you can see the white pillars the boys needlessly painted - thanks boys - and my mom working on the east side window.  Of course she got in on some of this project!  What's a project around here without my mom??

Notice the transom windows (well, what used to be windows, the glass is gone) over the door!  That was another detail that had been hidden by the aluminum siding.  You can see them back in the black and white photo!  

A close up of the transom "window" (it has plywood behind it now where glass once was) and the cast iron hanger for a flower pot (thanks Shirley Larson!).

So what do we use it for?  Well right now it has the kids lemonade stand stored in it for "some day" and the kids wait for the school bus in it during nasty weather.  Other than that?  It just sits and looks cute, recording everyone who pulls into the old Trail Acres Driveway.  Oh the stories it could tell!

And the view from my front porch.... :)

One last comparison of the then and now photos and I'll let you go!
Thanks for your patience as I walked you through some of the restoration of the Gate House!
And ohhhhhh how did I forget to mention that BEAUTIFUL fence around the top that it once had? Oh to have that back - sniff sniff!!!!!

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