Sarah’s Holiday Essentials

Well we are just two days away and I still have a hand full of gifts to buy, ouch! I slacked. But there’s still time and I’m a clutch gift buyer, granted it won’t be the photo book that makes you sob or the monogrammed cocktail shaker (sorry Mom) or the perfect handmade gift but they’ll still like it and I’ll still enjoy giving it.

Here’s a list of essentials that I need to gather up and have on hand on the Eve of Christmas. Got your needs covered?

Christmas Essentials

1 Wham/ 2 Elf/ 3 cozy throw/ 4 poker deck/ 5 swiss dot PJs/ 6 Christmas Vacation DVD/ 7 Grown-up games/ 8 Thymes Frasier Fir candle/ 9 Hot cocoa/ 10 Cranberry Ginger Fizz

NYE 2012

Inching ever so close to 2013. That sounds like the future doesn’t it—2013.

In the 80s, if you would’ve told me that we wouldn’t be using hover-boards by 2013 I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

We have big plans tonight, Mad Men party with Betsy!

This is the dress I last minute ordered while I had the flu from this very nice Etsy seller.


I practiced my winged eyeliner last night, thanks to this blogger for some tips. Although I have to say the tape trick didn’t really work for me, I just freehand the wing.

the beauty department blog

Very excited to be ringing in the New Year with my friend once again. Happy New Year everyone!

Babies and Birthdays

My sweet little Laney turned one over the weekend. We started the day off right,

Getting setup for the party, a year in review. Doubling as decoration and party favor, we let the guests take home any pictures they wanted.

Not too long ago we started with this,

and like most parents we feel like time has flown by and now we have a wonderful one year old with a great sense of humor that is oh so close to walking…any day now.

have you seen this cake on Pinterest? A local bakery, The Bakehouse recreated the cake for us.

Life is so much sweeter because of you.

A little party #RIPtreehouse

Dear Sarah,

I know that it’s unlikely that you, Dan, DC and Pete can hop a plane for the party, but I wanted you to know that you are invited to help me and a few friends bid farewell to the Treehouse. I asked Heffe what the theme should be and he’s a genius. He immediately replied with “POOL PARTY.”

So, the above pic is the save the date for my #RIPtreehouse party, and I just wanted you to see it now, cause I think it’s so pretty. I’ll be peppering our Facebook invite with photos from a photography exhibit at the Palm Springs Museum called Backyard Oasis for inspiration.

Since the Treehouse decor ended up a little Palm Springsish w/ its blue and yellow theme – it’s appropriate. I’ll do my best to find an outfit that recalls this familiar image.


P.S. Here’s another that is just loveable!

Source: via KCRW on Pinterest

DC’s Birthday Party

Well all of the yardwork, land clearing, planning, shopping trips, drilling and last minute party prep came to fruition on Saturday as my sweet girl turned 3.

Here are the sights,

DC's birthday daisies

The star of the show.

DC slide

DC swing

The co-star, it was beautiful and tasted just as good as it looked. Thank you Kristin, you did a fabulous job! Recipe here.

DC's rainbow birthday cake
love the rainbow crumbs.

DC's rainbow cake slice

 DC’s favorite, pink lemonade

party pink lemonade

 straws from Sweet Lulu

Sweet Lulu party straws

 DC insisted that there be dinosaurs, I obliged

dinosaurs on DC's cake

and lots of balloons

DC party balloons

still enjoying the balloons the morning after.

DC balloons

Happy Birthday sweet girl, you’re the best.

Playset Prep

As I explained in last Friday’s weekend post, my daughter DC is turning 3 this weekend. Before DC was even 2, we were invited to a slew of birthday parties complete with pony rides and bouncey houses.  But I figure Dan and I have a lot of birthday parties ahead of us and we’re going to reserve those kinds of antics for a later time–maybe when DC is in school. Right now we like to limit birthday parties to family and close friends. How do you feel about fancy parties full of toddlers and Cowboy Bill for entertainment before the age of 3?

steve martin parenthood

So a big part of this party happening this weekend is our gift to DC which is an outdoor wooden playset. We did some research before buying at places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, Sam’s Club, Sears and Creative Playthings. I talked with my Dad about the different types of material that the various sets were made of. He gave me a general hierarchy of durability which was,

  1. Redwood
  2. Cedar
  3. Treated wood

Redwood drove the price up significantly and was outside of our budget so we looked at some cedar sets. My Dad warned that if the cedar isn’t high quality it will split. I read some reviews of some of the cedar sets offered at Costco and some parents reported that the cedar split when they were assembling it so we moved on. We found the best selection at Home Depot where they primarily carried the Swing-n-Slide brand. To learn more about their construction we visited the Swing-n-Slide site.   We liked the 4×4 construction and the heavy duty brackets used to assemble the sets. After tooling around their site a bit we found their Outlet section. Swing-n-Slide was offering some discontinued sets at pretty great discounts so my husband and I settled on the Juneau.

juneau playset swing-n-slide

There was a lot of prep work involved before assembly could even begin. Over the years the previous owner had allowed vines and other brush to take over the property. We’re lucky that my Dad owns a backhoe AND enjoys using as often as he possibly can so he has completed a lot of the land clearing for us. I’m trying to talk him into buying a Bobcat which looks like this,

Bobcat machine

He is actually going to look at a used model today that has a mulching attachment on the front that just kind of eats small trees and brush piles. This is an exciting prospect when you buy property that has been severly neglected and you battle brush piles with a rake.

So my Dad cleared some space in the side yard among the beautiful hemlocks and my brother loaded pile after pile of brush in to the rented dumpster. This process went on for a few days.

Here’s a view of the property partially cleared,

partially cleared front 2

My brother and Dan then cut the old ivy vines shooting out of the ground and hand raked the area where the playset would go, this would be significantly faster and easier if we had more equipment to smooth the area but we had to resort to hand labor.

playset spot

During the clearing process, my brother unearthed a stairwell made of square brownstones that leads down in to a lower part of the property. It will take a lot of work to fine tune this area but it was a cool landscape surprise. Those stones have been there a very long time, they were probably installed not long after the house was built in 1929.

hidden stairwell

After all that clearing and raking, we distributed 80 bales of pine straw around the area. We chose pine straw because we live in the land of Longleaf Pines which shed their needles constantly so we took a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” kind of approach. Others might choose some kind of engineered or recycled material like rubber mulch or sand.

And then finally– we’re ready for assembly which will be left up to my Dad, brother and Dan. My Dad did carpentry work and a lot of woodworking in his youth and he’s a pretty fantastic handy man so he will lead the assembly charge. The assembly is scheduled to begin this Friday, there’s a lot of speculation as to how long the assembly will take, the estimates range from 4 to 8 hours.

I told everyone we could take a long break from yard work for a while, their response was basically yeah no s#!@

Birthday Party Inspiration

In the spirit of keeping things simple for DC’s impending 3rd birthday party, I decided that what we needed was the ever fashionable rainbow themed birthday party.  Those rainbow cakes are everywhere! Nicole just had one for Eleanor and I first spotted the rainbow theme on Jordan’s blog Oh Happy Day.

Here is what the party decorations will include-

rainbow balloons crooked house blog

Crooked House

We’ll need lots of balloons in an array of colors.

rainbow cake one charming party

one Charming party

anthropologie polka dot garland
BHLDN, Anthropologie weddings

string some rainbow polka dot garland over the dining table

mason jar drink

DC loves pink lemonade so we’ll serve some of that in some mason jars

rainbow dots straw Sweet Lulu

Sweet Lulu

sparkler candles

Is she too young for sparkler candles?

Merry Muffin!!

I have a gift for you, and it’s a great gift cause its a gift that you can give and give and give to others. Don’t know if you have met our friend Bregan from The Lead Chandelier or not, but she put together this snazzy album cover for an eclectic mix of Indie Christmas Music that Frank wrote for the AudioMuffin. He has collected as seriously relevant mix of Indie Music with Christmas Flavor.

Best of all – You can download each of the songs, print the image out and “slap it on the cover of your CD-Rs” and I’m pretty sure your friends will say that you gave them the coolest gift of the year. It’s also a great soundtrack for your holiday party! Visit AudioMuffin Indie Christmas for your present!! We encourage you to share!!

The Estate of Thing chooses The Lead Chandelier Indie Christmas album cover

Domestic Bliss in Brooklyn

I discovered this very respectable renovation last week thanks to Apartment Therapy.  It’s the renovation of a Brooklyn limestone.

Stefanie didn’t skimp on the pictorial documentation of the project and I love that.  She captured every corner including the wall outlets and I couldn’t thank her more.  My opinion–thats how a renovation project should be shared online no matter how boring it might be to some, there’s someone out there who wants to know about those details.

To see the total renovation check out Stefanie’s blog a brooklyn limestone and visit her flickr site.

Living room photo by Mrs. Limestone

the estate of things chooses brooklyn limestone living room

Office Before photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone office before

Office after with cost breakdown photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone office after

Guest room before photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone guest rm before

Guest room after, again with a handy cost breakdown photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone guest rm after

Dining room before photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone dining before

Dining room after photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone dining after

Kitchen area before photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK limestone kitchen before

After photo by Mrs. Limestone

bk limestone kitchen after

carving out a master bath, before photo by Mrs. Limestone

the estate of things chooses master bath area before

Master bath after photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK Limestone master bath after

Fixture detail in master shower photo by Mrs. Limestone

BK Limestone master shower

Stefanie’s blog doesn’t end with the renovation.  She is a very creative person throwing parties, repurposing furniture and flea market finds and taking great pictures.  I know Halloween is gone and we’re in the midst of being force fed everything holiday but I couldn’t resist pointing out Stefanie’s very cool Halloween stoop party.

I love the Sweeney Todd Halloween costumes, not sure if that was on purpose.

BK Limestone halloween costumes

BK Limestone halloween party3

BK Limestone halloween party2

BK Limestone halloween party

photos by Mrs. Limestone

We’ll be seeing you…Alice

You know I’ve never seen the animated version of Alice in Wonderland, only the 1985 musical version that aired on CBS with Sammy Davis Jr., Sherman Helmsley, Shellie Winters, Scott Baio, Lloyd Bridges etc.  Now don’t go saying that I need to see the animated version because I doubt it can top Sammy Davis Jr. sitting on top of huge toadstool smoking a hooka pipe. But maybe Tim Burton’s rendition could push it to #2 or maybe even a live experience like this…

An Alice birthday party found via Swish and Swanky, photorgraphy by Jessica Claire. I would love to do this for my daughter DC, when she’s old enough of course.

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party

the estate of things chooses alice in wonderland party