An Afternoon at the Vintage Bazaar



Two weekends ago I took a drive up to the North Shore (I'm on the South) to check out the Vintage Bazaar. It takes place twice a year (one weekend in June and one in September) on a flower farm in Salisbury, Ma. Its like an antique show, flea market, craft show, festival all rolled into one with vendors, live music, food, kids' activities. This was my first year going, just found out about it on someone's blog a couple of weeks ago. I was owed some "me time" by Paul and the kids, so this is what I chose to do:) Super fun!

And guess what? I met a famous person there! Like literally shook hands with them and introduced myself and had a down-to-earth chat. Recognize this lady from the HGTV show "Cash and Cari"?!

I knew it was her (Cari Cucksey) right away!! She had her own booth there selling cool finds and then was the special guest of the weekend with a scheduled meet and greet time. I was in her booth buying some old flash cards (see below) when she came in and I was like one of those star-struck dorks although I tried to play it cool. She was so so nice, talked with me right there and showed me her new paint line (sort of but nothing like chalk or milk paint) and everything! Thanks, Cari! Check out her website here.

I got a couple of small things that I'll show you, but I was really tempted to buy this spindle bed for when Ian is out of his crib. I got nervous though and didn't have anyone to help me carry it, or really any room in the car, etc. so I walked away:(

Here's the vintage flashcards I got in Cari's booth (I bought 4). I'll probably hang them in the playroom.

I have a hard time resisting any old ephemera or botanical/nature prints I see, so I bought 4 of these really cool owl illustrations from a book "Birds of the Forest" by J.F. Lansdowne. (Love that guy on the left!)

I also came home with this hand-made pillow in a lovely blue (with bits of coral) floral crewel fabric. Love it!

What did you guys do this weekend? Get any great finds?

Flea Market Finds for Early Fall in the Foyer



***waves nervously*** Hi! I was just gone for like 2 months and didn't mean to be! Sorry about that!! How is everyone? The motherboard on my old laptop went and it took me a long time to get a new machine and back up to speed. While all that happened, I guess we had summer?! And now its fall? Waaah, I loooove summer. Sniff. Sniff. To help get me a little less depressed, I redid the top of the new painted dresser in the foyer (remember when I bought it from Danielle of Finding Silver Pennies this spring?!) for the season.

A week or two ago I dragged Maura and Ian to a local flea market one Sunday morning while Paul was golfing and came home with four things...2 brass deer and 2 vintage bird prints. I chose the bird print that had the most warm tones in it to include here (leaning in the black frame). I've always had a thing for deer and just decided that I might start collecting them:) I'm excited to leave these guys out for Christmas and winter, but for now I think they say autumn to me too.

Now I'm feeling more in the fall spirit and ready to get back in the saddle here in blogland. (Speaking of saddles, we had Maura's "horse" birthday party this past weekend, with real ponies!, and it was awesome! I'll try to get some pics up soon.) 

Ian's First Birthday Book Party: Activities, Food, and Favors



Sorry it took so long to get back with the second half of Ian's first birthday party! (Isn't the summer just flying by?!) We talked about the invitations and decor here, now I wanted to show you the rest - what we did for "activities", food, and favors.

The chalkboard wall that we painted in our new playroom is coming in handy! I lettered a Happy Birthday sign on it and then left out chalk for guests to leave the little guy a note. Here's Maura testing it out right after I finished. She signed her name as close to her brother's as she could get:)

I've found that it helps to have like one planned activity or craft to keep the kids busy. We had a book making/decorating station set up on the kitchen table with a ton of random art supplies - paint, stickers, foam shapes, glittery jewels, crayons/markers, stamps, pieces of patterned paper.


There were two kinds of books available for the kids to choose from to work on. Small hardback books like these from Rainbow Resource Center (super nice customer service too!)  that had blank white pages inside (for coloring or drawing their own stories) and a blank white cover to decorate. My oldest niece taught Maura the art of scrap booking to do with hers:)

I also bought a bunch of old school copybooks (from Target and Staples) and covered them in brown kraft paper (bought for a dollar a roll at our local Dollar Store!) that the kids could then decorate and use to practice writing their letters or whatever. I also got a bunch of different patterned scrapbook paper from Michaels and used that on the inside front and back covers of the copybooks to add some fun and cover up unsightly edges from the kraft paper. (Each copybook had a different inside pattern, so the kids could pick which one they liked best, and I get to keep these 2 that were left - win/win!) I got the idea for this and followed the tutorial from the sweetest vintage book party over at the "Aesthetic Nest", although she used fabric. (BTW, I used spray glue to both adhere the kraft paper to the cover of the book and to glue the scrapbook paper onto the inside cover...pain in the butt but its what I found that worked the best/less wrinkles.)

It was really fun once they got into it, and I was excited that even some of the adults got in on the action (here's my friend making herself a journal to write about her adorable little 18 month old in).

The only other thing that I had really scheduled to do was have a sort of story time. I asked my aunt (former teacher and one of my primary babysitters) if she would read the kids a story. I threw a bunch of pillows and blankets on the floor in the new playroom to go with the "bedtime" thing. I'll admit that this did not quite go as planned...most of the kids got too distracted by all the toys or their snacks or whatever and kind of walked/crawled off after the first few pages. We had a couple of die hards that stuck with it through the end though and that was sweet:)

The bigger kids just had fun going outside and playing on the swingset. Here's a cute shot of some of them in their pjs waiting to be let outside!

For food, we served snacks for the kids (like fruit salad cups, cheese sticks, yogurt puffs, chips) and appetizers for the adults. We also had a bunch of sweets like cupcakes, donuts, munchkins, and cookies

{most of the paper goods were from Target - I always love to find fun patterned plates and napkins to kick off the party's color scheme}
Since I was using brown kraft paper as a table runner, I thought it would be cool to go around and write/doodle directly onto the paper what all the dishes were. But of course I ran out of time and it didn't happen. This dip was the only thing that wasn't very self-explanatory, so I quickly added this...but wouldn't it have been cool if I had managed to get it done in time before everyone arrived?!

I've always wanted to serve milk in cute plastic bottles with fun straws, so I decided to go for it with this party since I thought it tied in again to the bedtime thing. I found these plastic bottles that came with lids (with a hole already punched in for the straws) here...this way the kids could carry them around without spilling. I've always wondered how you serve milk at a party and keep it cold, so I jury rigged a little cooler action here by setting up the bottles in glass pyrex dishes filled with ice. We served both regular whole and chocolate milk:)

I thought about giving out books for favors, but since ever guest was bringing Ian one I didn't want to be too repetitive. Instead I tried to think of something having to do with the bedtime thing and decided on pillowcases. I bought a pack of a dozen hotel grade white pillowcases from Amazon  and decorated them using cheap fabric paint from Michaels. I monogrammed each one with the child's name and then depending on if they were a girl or a boy hand-stamped a little decorative design around that. I set up the names in the size and font I wanted on the computer and printed them out. I then slipped them (along with a piece of cardboard to protect the paint from bleeding through to the back) inside the pillowcase. That way, since the pillowcases were white, I was able to use the printout as a template and could just basically trace over each name with my paint. The boys got blue fish that I stamped using the stamp I made myself for the drapes in Ian's nursery way back when I was pregnant with him (still have yet to post those pics, oops!) and the girls got a paisley/floral pattern in green using a block print stamp I bought at the Brimfield fair last year (it was really used to block print fabric in Pakistan at one time...I then hand painted on some of the other colors to add more depth/interest). I totally love how they came out and the kids thought they were really cool too!

We had such a fun time celebrating the first year of this little guy's life with family and friends! And we are always going to cherish the books he received that day. Here he is trying out a cupcake for the first time.

And one more of me and my little "Bubs" in his Old Navy pajamas...I love you so much, Buddy!!

Ian's 1st Birthday Book Party: Invites and Decor



Ian turned one at the beginning of the month! So hard to believe. I always get a bit sad at first birthdays. But we had a really fun time celebrating:)

Ian looves to read...its the first thing he wants to do when he wakes up in the morning and right after naps. A lot of the times you will just find him chillin' on the floor in his room or in the "book nook" in our new playroom flipping through a book. So cute! So I decided it might be fun to throw him a book party...and everyone could bring him a book to add to his "library" instead of a gift.

I went old school library card bookplate on the invitations. This is definitely not an original concept...I just browsed etsy and other places for inspiration and ideas and then recreated my own design based on what I liked from others.  I purposely messed with the typewriter and stamped text to get them to look a bit old and worn and imperfect.

I included one of these super sweet personalized bookplates from etsy seller Pera Press in with each invite so that guests could fill them out and stick them into the book that they brought. I think it will be nice to look back in a few years when we are still reading them and remember who each book is from/who was at his first birthday party.


When we decided to have the party at 4pm (after his afternoon nap), I thought it would be fun to also add a kind of "bedtime" story theme spin off to we asked the kids to come in their pajamas and planned on just serving snacks and desserts (think cookies and milk). This also gave me a bit more to work with in terms of decor, etc than just books. (Think moon and stars and night time.)

To greet guests on their way in from outside, I drew a message on our chalkboard easel and filled the baskets underneath with lots of books we already had. A couple of pre-ordered balloons from Party City (including 2 gold stars) finished things off.

The mantel is an easy spot to redecorate for a party so I had fun adding books old Hardy Boys from when I was little (with brass duck book ends) and Paddington (with matching stuffed animal that I brought home for Maura and Ian when I went to London this winter). 

You guys have seen this custom birthday banner before...I bought it from etsy seller CowCountryCreations when Maura had her first birthday and have used it every birthday since. When Ian's bday was fast approaching, I contacted Michelle to see if she could make me just his name to match and I could re-use the "Happy" and "Birthday" parts (though I restrung them on blue ribbon since Maura's came on hot pink). She was super nice and speedy about it, highly recommend:)

In the dining room where we served the food, I made and hung some simple bunting out of pages from a giant Beatrix Potter book I already had. This was a simple and fun project...I just ripped out the pages I wanted, cut them all to the same size rectangle (6" x 8") using my paper cutter, measured and cut off the sides to make the triangles, scored a small split at the top right and left hand corners of each flag and then strung them on baker's twine from Michaels.

I added a runner of brown kraft paper ($1 for the whole roll at the dollar store - such a great buy!) to the table and for a centerpiece I mixed white and green flowers (from the supermarket) with books and other sort of vintage baby-ish stuff (both Paul and my shoes from when we were babies!).

Just like I did for Maura's first and second birthdays, I made a little garland out of Ian's monthly elephant chair, he's just the cutest:)

We served drinks and did a craft project in the kitchen, so I wanted to have some decor here too. I decided to play off the bedtime thing and try to make (as Maura called it) a "night sky" feel in here. I cut a ton of stars out of champagne metallic card stock (using a star cookie cutter as a template) and hung them from the ceiling using clear fishing wire and draped the metallic star garland I purchased from Land of Nod last Christmas from the light. I wanted to try to make the ceiling dark and figured lots of streamers would be the cheapest and quickest way...I couldn't find navy streamers at the party store so I went with a random mix of black and royal blue...this part ended up being a bit more cliche prom than I would have liked, but the kids dug it:) PS. I took the streamers down right after the party but the stars are still hanging from the ceiling now, they just look cool!

I'll post some pics of the other aspects of the party soon (that's a relative term!), but in the meantime, hope everyone has a great July 4th weekend!!

PS. To check out Maura's 2nd birthday party, go here. To see her 3rd birthday fairy party, go here and here:) And I just realized that I probably have to get moving on her 4th birthday party soon...I think we're going to do My Little Ponies!!!

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