Saturday, August 25, 2012

Latest "Project"

Our exchange student, Marissa, arrived yesterday! We'll put projects aside for a week or so as we get settled. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tour: Guest Room

We are two days away from the arrival of our first exchange student. Marissa is from Niels' home country of the Netherlands. Niels and I both wanted to be exchange students when we were younger, but we unable to do so. We're getting our chance to be a host family instead! We are really happy that we are able to host someone from the Netherlands because we are very familiar with the language and culture. Hopefully that will make the transition a bit easier on all of us. From our emails and Facebook exchanges, our student seems like a lovely girl so we are beyond excited for her arrival. 

Sounds like a good time to tour the guest room before our teen girl takes over!

View from the window.
View from the headboard.
View from the foot of the bed.
It has a huge window, so we were able to put a darker color. It's Sherwin Williams' Dovetail. It looks really nice with green, black and white accents. We weren't originally sure what we were going to use this room for on a daily basis. It was always going to be our guest room for kids. (The in-law suite downstairs is the primary guest room). But we weren't sure if it was going to be a playroom, library, media room, or craft room. Ultimately, we knew pretty quickly that it would be Marissa's room. 

A few closer peeks:
I found this canvas art at HomeGoods last winter. I loved the sentiment, and now it's especially fitting. 
We found the super soft robe at Ikea and the hamper from Target. 
Lots of room in the closet, thought we are kicking ourselves for not putting more thought into the shelving. Someday we'll fix that. In the meantime, I put in this laundry sorter from Big Lots as a mini set of drawers. 
We had an extra Billy shelf from Ikea after putting together Niels' office.  I bought the bins at Big Lots. 
A few books for her library. 
D found this tennis photo holder. He knows that Marissa plays tennis so he said she needed it. How can I refuse a three-year-old thinking of someone else?
I bought the letters for Marissa's name at JoAnns. I covered them with some silver contact paper I picked up on clearance months ago. They sit on a Ribba picture ledge from Ikea.
D wanted to paint something for Marissa. 
I found the pair of mirrored pieces at Flower Factory. 
We bought the nightstand from Target. 
I found this fun blingy lamp at a church garage sale. It still had its Target tags on it. 
Every teen girl need a journal. Especially when she's have such an adventurous year. 
Because we are a full service host family, we also have a power converter.
After discovering that our bargain fan from Tuesday Morning was a lemon, we replaced it with this Harbor Breeze Melior fan from Lowe's.
This room has a really nice big window. We have 9' ceilings, which makes finding curtains a challenge, but these will work for now. I bought the curtains on Amazon.
Marissa's mom and I worked together to make this collage with photos of her friends and family, and us. 
Marissa's dad made a comment early on that the one of the hardest transitions for Marissa would be missing her keyboard. We've been looking around for months, and last week I found this nearly new Casio CTK-2100 keyboard and stand  at a garage sale for $15!
I love this fun dry erase clock from Lowes. 
We thought the Micke desk from Ikea was a fun addition for teen girl.
We added a few last minute touches this week.
Copies of Sunday's paper, both local editions. 
The users manual for the keyboard, which we found online, plus pens and pencils. 
Ohio travel information so she can suggest some day trips.
Notebooks for her first day of school. We'll do the rest of her school shopping once she has a better idea of what she needs.
And lastly, a copy of her school year schedule.
Thanks for touring with us. Hopefully I'll have another room to share soon!

Linked to:
House of Hepworths * My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Sunday, August 19, 2012

easy fix #3: Scary Spray

When we first moved into our new house, about seven months ago, our three-year-old starting telling us he was sometimes afraid when he was alone in his room. 

My easy fix to quell his fears was to whip up a bottle of "scary spray." I bought a $1 spray bottle from a local value store. I chose yellow, D's favorite color. I filled the bottle with tap water. Then I added 10-15 drops of essential oil. I've use lavender and eucalyptus in the past, as those scents are known to help with relaxation. The last few times, I'm used peppermint because it's the scent he likes the best.  

I made a little label that reads "scary spray" and attached it to the bottle.

When D says he is afraid, I go into this room and spray a few squeezes of scary spray in the air. I remind him that because he feels the mist and smells the scent he can know that the scary spray is working. The scent lingers long enough for him to drift back to sleep.

Linked to:
House of HepworthsMy Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Visual Guest Book Shelf

When we designed our home, we planned for a spacious guest suite on the first floor for our friends and family all around the world.  Some loved ones may simply stay overnight as they are passing through town, but for those who consider the new and improved de Jong Resort and Spa as their final travel destination, we wanted to offer a comfy home away from home.

The room is actually a hair larger than our master bedroom, has a walk-in closet, fully accessible attached bathroom, a laundry room just outside the door, and has a slider out to the back porch. Because it's on the first floor, it's ideal for our parents, who will stay for longer periods of time, and in many, many years, will become our bedroom as our own mobility declines. (I'll post a tour of the entire space once it's finished).

We joke about our house being the de Jong Resort and Spa, but it is fun to add as many resort features as we can. We have a fully stocked bathroom with everything a forgetful traveler might need, a TV and DVR, we just added a luggage rack to the closet, and a basket full of tourist info. 

There's also a big blank wall. Inspiration hit when I found this vinyl art on a clearance rack.

I've toyed around with the idea of a guest book, and while I still like that idea, I also know that I'm visual (thank you, Facebook albums and Pinterest!) so I had the idea of a visual guestbook. The idea is to take (at least) one photo that helps me remember the gist of each visitor's stay. Hopefully, it will also remind me to take photos!

At our last trip to Ikea, we picked up a few Ribba Photo Shelves.

I found some cheap-but-cool copper frames at Ollies. They do a nice job blending the espresso finishes in the room with the black Ribba frame.

Then rounded up some frames and printed out photos from our first four overnight guests, with "reservation" frames for our next two sets of guests.

Our first visitor was Erin, so I put her photo in an 8x10. I added a sticker "1" to remember that she was the first to stay at the new and improved de Jong Resort & Spa.

Then I did the same thing with visitors #2, #3 and #4.

I've already reserved frames for our next visitors.

As one shelf fills up, we'll simply add another. We have plenty of space to expand!

I love this idea because it's such a visual reminder of the important relationships in our life. And because hospitality is a virtue we want to teach our son, it's another way to incorporate our values into our decor. I look forward to seeing this wall fill up with happy memories as the years go by.

Linked to:
Capturing Joy
Fox Hollow Cottage
House of Hepworths
I Heart Naptime
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Monday, August 13, 2012

Easy Fixes #2: Easy Travel Step Stool

We spent a few days this week in Indianapolis. Niels had a conference so we all tagged along. The nice thing about traveling with a three-year-old is that we no longer have to pack (or request) a crib. However, most hotel rooms are not set up for independence-seeking pre-schoolers, especially in the bathroom. No problem! Flip the trash can over and you have a step stool!

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Countdown Frame

It seems we are always counting down the days to something: a visit from Gramma, a trip we'll take, and most recently, how many days until our exchange student arrives. In the past, I've made a paper countdown with a photo of whatever we're looking forward to doing or seeing, and every morning D would cross off a number. 

I starting thinking that maybe I could make something a little more permanent. When I saw my old menu board, I found inspiration. 

I made this menu board about five years ago when I first started menu planning. I have a nicer board now. Since I used puffy paint for the type, it was easy to scrape that off with a knife.

Then I gave the board a good cleaning.

Next, I painted the board a pretty pearlized purple that I had in my stash of paints.

Close up of the paint color.

It took about three coats of paint since I didn't use any primer. Next, I used the glass from a frame to outline a 4x6 rectangle, which I marked with stickers.

I used some foam letters I already had for the "Days Until."

Here you can see the sticker outline.

Since this countdown is about Marissa, I printed out a fun recent photo of her.

I placed the photo in the rectangle.

I used some washi tape to secure the photo. I think next time, I will use a 3x5  photo instead so it doesn't look quite so crowded.

Finally, I added the details with my dry erase marker.

I found just the right place for it on our console table.

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