nautical bathroom makeover inspiration

Our three kids share a bathroom and it’s worked fine for them. I just made a new hook rack for this bathroom and I did a little design refresh to it a few months ago. The refresh was a good solution but I knew it would need a little more. But like a lot of smaller house projects, this one was not top on our list, not even close. So I’m redoing this bathroom and trying not to spend too much money. And hopefully I’ll be doing a lot of it through DIY projects on the cheap.

The bathroom was decorated in a nautical theme when we moved in. I love the nautical look but I prefer a more classic feel and subdued color palette. The walls are wallpapered with a blue and white layered pattern and then there’s the sailboat/lighthouse wallpaper border along the top of the wall. The cabinets are plenty big and white so they’ll be staying but I’m considering removing the middle drawers to make room for a clothes hamper. The counter top is laminate. I would love to replace it but remember no budget, so I’m looking into some other design solutions. The large mirror is nice especially when all three are fighting for space but I think I’m going for less obtrusive, individual mirrors with more character.

Here’s my inspiration board:

kids bath ideas

1. nautical cleats  – I plan on using these as possible drawer pulls and curtain tie backs or as hooks. They’re a great shape and very inexpensive.

2. fresh artwork – I have some nice art here already but I’m loving these graphic prints that have a vintage look to them.

3. how can I not include stripes?? And I love the simplicity of the navy and white.

4. more whale’s tail hooks – I love these ones from Frontgate and used two of them in my hook rack. But I think a few more are needed.

5. a new rug – rope or a fun image?? oh the decisions…

6. a tray to help with organizing all the kids’ stuff – I love the art deco wave pattern of this one.

7. colorful metal buckets for storage – a great way to add color and whimsy.

8. my go-to gray paint color for the walls – Stonington Gray from Benjamin Moore. This will be a nice change from the blue layered wallpaper.

9. add a punch of color with buoys and rustic accessories.

10. mirrors – the metal rope detail in this mirror is the perfect subtle touch of nautical.

My to-do list looks like this:

  • remove wallpaper
  • paint the walls
  • replace mirror
  • revise cabinets with open shelf and new hardware, consider something for countertops…
  • new shower curtain
  • new rug
  • more storage hooks
  • better storage for kids’ personal items
  • clean out and organize linen closet

and what’s staying:

  • sinks, toilet and shower
  • basic cabinet structure
  • custom made window curtain {probably}
  • some art
  • lighting
  • recent hook rack DIY project
  • flooring

Click here to check out my Pinterest page for lots more ideas that have got me inspired.

I’m not sure this project will be happening during these beautiful summer months – it might be a back to school project. But stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated on the progress. Should be a fun one!

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the best sangria recipe ever

sangria_main

ok, so it might not be the best recipe ever but I have tried a bunch, ahem, and this one is my favorite. Plus it’s super easy to make. I know Sangria can be enjoyed all year round but something about summertime and sangria just go together. I like white sangria but it’s a little too sweet for me. So I’m sticking with the red. It’s a great drink for a party or large group – or do what I did last week, mix a batch for no reason and you’ll find an excuse to finish it. don’t judge me.

THE BEST SANGRIA EVER:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle red wine {Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Red Zin}
  • 1 of each: lemon, orange, & lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 T sugar
  • splash of OJ
  • 2 shots Triple Sec
  • 1 C raspberries and/or blueberries
  • 1 small can of diced pineapples with the juice
  • 4 C ginger ale
  • mint sprigs for garnish

Directions:

Pour wine into pitcher (with cover), squeeze fruit of the lemon, orange, and lime and throw the remains in. Add the pineapple, sugar, OJ and Triple Sec. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale and berries just before serving. Works best to serve in an open pitcher to get the fruit when pouring. Top each glass with a sprig of mint.

IMG_3681

Click here to download and print this recipe. Then start your weekend off with a batch of sangria and enjoy!

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budget laundry room makeover

laundry room_overview

This was a project that wasn’t planned. at. all. Have you ever had home projects like this? Our laundry room {aka closet} is located off our first floor half bathroom. Besides the washer and dryer, our laundry room had a white wire shelf, bifold doors and it wasn’t pretty. But that problem was solved when we closed the doors. kind of. The doors weren’t pretty either plus they made doing the laundry even more of a hassle because they were always in the way. I’ve been wanting to redo this area for almost a year but I was never sure exactly how I wanted it done. So when the not-so-pretty doors fell off their tracks for the 100th time, I decided not to reattach them and to just take them off completely. It was a freeing experience. Now that the doors were off, I had to make this space look nicer and function better. Instant {unplanned} project that has changed my life. kidding. not kidding. Well, it has made the chore of doing laundry a little less tedious and definitely more welcoming. Our budget was low and it was in a high traffic area so time was tight too.

Here’s the laundry room before with doors already removed {yuk!}:

laundry room_before

HERE’S WHAT I DID:

laundry room_painted

1) Painted the laundry walls.
The bathroom has a beautiful grasscloth wallpaper that I put up over a year ago. Those were my pre-blogging days so I don’t have any how-to pictures! I also refinished the small bathroom vanity with Valspar’s Seine paint color last year. See that post here. So I thought using the same paint color for the laundry walls would tie the two spaces together and work well with the neutral grasscloth. It was a bonus that I didn’t have to buy paint too. Paint is the easiest and cheapest way to make a big impact in your home.

laundry room_shelf

2) Made a wood shelf.
I hated the white wire shelving that was in this laundry room but it was a great size {full length} and it was attached very well. Taking it down would have made a lot of extra work for me. So I decided to make a wood shelf that fit over the existing wire shelf, hiding the ugly wire but keeping the good support and size. This was a fairly easy project to do. I simply measured the existing shelf and the front piece that extended down. My washing machine is a top loader so I couldn’t extend the shelf front lip too far down and obstruct the washing machine door. I bought one long piece of knotty pine and a smaller piece of finished trim at Home Depot – and had them cut both pieces to my desired length. I sanded and stained the two pieces with a pecan colored, oil-based stain and a coat of polyurethane. When dry, I attached the two pieces with wood glue and nails so they made an L shape. Then I just placed the new wood shelf directly over the wire shelf. voila! You can see some of the wire shelf and the support brackets but it looks 100% better.

painted appliances

3) Spray painted the existing appliances to look like new!
Our washer and dryer are both very old and I’m waiting for them to kick the bucket. A sledgehammer might just have to do the job if they hold on too much longer. No, I would never do that. So in the meantime, a little white spray paint for metal finishes did the trick. Since I just needed to paint the tops of each of the appliances, I left them in the space, making sure to protect my newly painted walls.

laundry room_rod

4) Made a hanging rod.
I needed a solution to cover up the ugly box that holds the laundry valves and pipes. I tried a few things but nothing seemed to work. I even sewed a mini curtain to cover it but it just made it stand out even more. The size and location of the box just isn’t ideal. So after a little brainstorming, I thought a hanging rod would not only distract from this eye sore but it would also come in handy for drying clothes. It had to be pretty so I thought I could make the rod look like it had been gold-dipped. I had refinished a small stool in the bathroom the same way so they would work well together. Check out that post here. All I needed for this project was a wooden rod, paint, 2 cup hooks and some twine. After painting the rod black and gold, I spray painted the hooks gold, screwed them into the ends of the rod and hung it with twine to the wire shelving under the wood. Now it’s a somewhat distracting, purposeful, hanging rod! I knew that wire shelf would come in handy!

laundry room_front

5) Made an antique LAUNDRY sign.
Oh, I love typography signs. And they are fairly easy to make. See my DIY tutorial post here. I think this adds a nice finishing touch to the space.

laundry room_light

6) Updated the lighting.
We changed out the awful florescent lighting for a more classic copper fixture.

laundry room_art print

7) Designed a fun laundry art print. 
I found a fun saying and designed an art print for the walls. You can purchase this print as a downloadable file on my Etsy shop here. I added a fun gold frame to tie in with the gold touches.

laundry hanger_redo

8) Made a cute clothes hanger.
I took apart a kid’s frilly hanger, sanded and painted the wood and wrapped the hook in twine. I loved how it came out so I’ll definitely be making a few more!

laundry room_storage

9) Added a variety of pretty storage pieces.
I had some old baskets and storage pieces that weren’t being used and this was the perfect spot for them. I love the different sizes and finishes. I added some cute chalkboard labels to the wicker and wood baskets which work great for hiding cleaning supplies and paper towels. I put furniture pads on the bottom of the baskets too so they don’t scratch the wood shelf.

laundry room_print with hooks

10) Hung copper colored command hooks.
Cheap {$7 each} and no holes in my freshly painted walls!

laundry room_tags

11) Made a laundry reference guide.
I found these free laundry tags at BHG.com. Click here to download and print. I just printed them out, laminated them, added a hole punch and a key ring. So cute – and helpful!

laundry room_tray

12) Created a catch-all area with a tray and storage containers.
I need the laundry detergent {love the pods!!} to be easily accessible and this glass jar was the perfect solution. I found the antique tin at a local thrift store and I just loved the colors and kitchy look. I bought a small dish from Target and it holds some colorful clothes pins and it’s also a great spot for all the goodies I find in the laundry. I used an old copper tray to hold all these accessories. I also added furniture pads on the bottom of the tray to prevent it from scratching up my “new” dryer.

laundry room_collage

It’s not the biggest laundry room or the fanciest. But every square inch is now organized and has a purpose – plus it looks so much prettier. By removing the bifold doors, the entire bathroom/laundry room looks much bigger. And doing the laundry has become so much easier. The total budget for this makeover was under $160. That includes all the projects listed above along with laundry accessories. This makeover is completely do-able by anyone and it can be done in a weekend or two.

Do you love or hate laundry? It’s not my favorite but I’m liking it a bit more now that we have a “new” space.

6

DIY wood crate rolling table & bench

crate finished

I’ve had these wood crates for years now holding all sorts of random things from toys to paint supplies. I couldn’t remember where I even got them but then I just saw similar ones at Home Depot for $10.97. What I love about them is that are a good size and constructed pretty well for an inexpensive crate. But I really love the fact that they are a little crude. The are made of real wood with no finish so you see a lot of the imperfections and wood grain. In other words, they have potential.

I thought these would make the perfect end table or put a few together and you can have a nice bench. Add some casters for a little more height and now these simple wood crates become useful, industrial looking furniture. I was really happy with how the rolling table came out so I decided to make a coordinating piece to go with it. I attached 2 crates together and made a rolling bench. Easy, inexpensive, cool pieces which now live in son #2’s bedroom. Here’s the how-to on this easy DIY project:

First, gather your materials:
I’m lucky to have a loyal assistant!

crate materials

  • wood crate(s) – I used the 18″x 12.5″ x 9.5″ size.
  • 2 – 1″ x 4″ wood pieces, cut to the width of the bottom of your piece. If you’re using a single crate upright {like my table} the wood support pieces need to be 12.5″ long. If you’re attaching 2 together horizontally for a bench, the wood pieces need to be 36″ long to cover the length of both crates. I had Home Depot cut these pieces for me but I’m dreaming of getting my own saw so I can do all this on my own.
  • 4 rolling casters – I used casters with 2″ wheels and these seem to be the right size for both the table and bench.
  • sandpaper or electric sander
  • paint & paint brush
  • approximately 10 nails – 1-7/8″ long
  • 16 screws for casters – 1-7/8″ long
  • screwdriver and hammer
  • wood glue

Instructions:

crate glueing

1. Attach the two support wood pieces with wood glue onto the bottom of your crate – one at the front and one at the back. Let it sit for a bit.

crate nails

2. Once the glue has set, nail these pieces on. I used 5 nails in each piece of wood – one on each corner and one in the middle. I added these pieces of wood because the casters need a little better support base, plus they give the crate a little more height.

crate sanded

3. Once both wood pieces are attached, lightly sand the entire crate by hand or with an electric sander.

crate painted

4. Paint the crate as you’d like. I did something a little different and only painted the inside of the crate. I love the look of the unfinished wood but I wanted to add some color too so I thought this solution was fun and gave the piece a little unexpected look.

painted areas

**I also painted to front edges of the crate and the support wood pieces. I liked how this looked but feel free to paint them how you’d like – or just leave them unfinished.

casters

5. Attach the casters. Using the screws and screwdriver, attach one caster in each outer corner of the support wood pieces. Be careful not to put them over a nail. I didn’t need – or want to use – a drill since I though it might split the wood. The screws went in fine with just a screwdriver.

crate finished 3

6. Done! Now you have a cool, kinda industrial looking end table.

crate bench 2

If you want to make a rolling storage bench, simply put 2 crates together the long way and attach the wood support pieces across both crates with the wood glue and nails. This will hold the two crates together. I also added a few smaller nails inside the crates where they came together for added support. Paint and add the casters and you have a rolling storage bench! I wouldn’t recommend sitting on it – and use it more for storage.

I ended up using the 2 pieces in my son’s bedroom and they look great and give him a little more storage. I hope you enjoyed this project – there’s so many different ways you can put these wood crates together to make some great, inexpensive pieces.

recipe round-up | July

recipe round up July

If you’re like me, cooking inside during the summer is not my fave. The thought of turning on the stove makes me cringe. But the grill – now that’s another story! There’s nothing like a good summer meal from the grill. But I always feel like I make all the same stuff. Marinate the chicken in Italian dressing or steak kebabs, usually in another type of bottled dressing. boring. So, for my July recipe round-up, I wanted to find different options for grilling four different meats – chicken, steak, fish and pork.

And even though it’s so easy to just pour that Italian dressing on the meat du jour, I forced myself to try some new recipes and we loved them! None of these recipes are complicated or time consuming. I’m always a little hesitant to change my dinner routine but I’m usually glad I did. And you will be too with these very simple, quick recipes for grilling.

I included a link back to each of the original recipe sources. Click on the links for each recipe and try them yourself. And I’d love to hear your feedback!

Here are my July recipe round-up picks:

Perfect-Grilled-Steak-with-Herb-Butter-iowagirleats-01

STEAK: the Perfect Grilled Steak with Herb Butter from Iowa Girl Eatsooh that butter…

FN_Grilled-Chicken-Basil-Dressing_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

CHICKEN: Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing from Giada de Laurentiis. A nice change from our standard Italian dressing chicken.

1109p148-apricot-glazed-pork-kebabs-m
fish-tacos-ictcrop_gal
FISH: Fish Tacos from Real Simple – they are so light and yummy.
Happy grilling!

DIY hook rack

Summer is here and I love having the kids home, the slower pace and lack of routine. But having the kids home and the nonchalant summer days come with a lot of extra mess. And the mess that has been killing me lately are all the towels, clothes and bating suits that somehow keep congregating on the kids’ bathroom floor. We need a place for these things. We also need the kids to pick these things up too but that’s another story.

hook rack_hung 1re

So I decided to made a hook rack that will hopefully help and add a cute addition to their bathroom. This project can be used in almost any room in your home – a mudroom, entryway, kitchen, bedroom and of course – a bathroom. You pick what style hooks you want to change up the look. 

What I love about this project is that you can use very in expensive hooks or drawer pulls or knobs. Or you could splurge on just one really cool hook or knob and then pair it with some other less fancy knobs that all work well together and you’ve got a really cool piece.

Here’s what I did for my nautical-ish hook rack – feel free to change the size to fit your space and also change the knobs and hooks to the style you like. Along with the wood board – which was a remnant from Home Depot, I only had to buy 2 knobs for his project. I had everything else laying around. Yes, I might be a little bit of a hoarder. 

You’ll need the following:

  • A piece of pine wood – I bought mine from the remnant section at Home Depot and had them cut it to the length I need. I really liked this piece because one side has a ridge to it which adds some character. The final size of my board is: 36″ x 8″
  • paint & paint brush
  • sand paper and/or electric sander
  • drill and screwdriver
  • hooks and/or knobs – I used 2 hooks and 3 drawer pulls
  • hardware to attach hooks and knobs
  • hardware to hang board

Instructions:

hook rack_sand 1

1. First, sand the wood to made the surface more suitable for painting. You can sand with an electric sander or by hand.

hook rack_ paint
2. Paint the wood with a latex white paint – I used paint that I had leftover from other projects.

hook rack_sand 2

3. Once the paint is dry, sand the board again. This stage of sanding was to give the board a more antique, worn look. To help achieve this, I sanded more of the edges of the board with a few extra worn spots throughout.

hook rack_knobs

4. When you like how the board looks, figure where your hooks and knobs will go. I love the look of using a variety of different hooks and knobs. To help them work well together, they should have some similar design elements – such as the metal finishes or coordinating colors. And you want to make sure they look balanced on the board. I used two larger matching whale tail hooks that I bought at Frontgate a long time ago. You can find them here. Or similar ones here. I separated them by mismatched but coordinating drawer pulls. I arranged them to be equal distance from each other – about 7″ apart, and about 3″ from the left and right edges.

hook rack_hook

hook rack_drill

5. Attach the hooks and knobs. If you’re attaching hooks, the screws go in from the front. If you’re attaching drawer knobs or pulls, they usually will need to be screwed in from the back. Be sure to measure carefully and use your drill and screwdriver to attach.

hook rack_finished

6. Now you have a custom-made hook rack and a place to hang all those fun things!

hook rack hung 2

7. When done, hang the board with screws. Be sure to drill the screws into studs to be sure it’s secure.

hook rack hung 3

This painted, mismatched hook rack is a great way to hang towels, bathing suits, or you could use it to display your necklaces or anything you want to show off. It also makes a unique and beautiful gift and you can really personalize it with different colors and hooks or knobs that fit the look you want. Hopefully it will be used and the towels and bathing suits won’t keep ending up on the floor!

a few fun things

fun things art re

I come across lots of great stuff out there on the web and I thought I would share some of my favorites with you. Enjoy!

WatercolorFans_oh happy day

this summery DIY using store-bought tissue fans, india ink {waterproof ink that won’t wash away} and a spray bottle.

mia hamm quote

we’re big soccer fans/players so here’s a shout out to the awesome women’s USA team and a quote from our fav player, Mia Hamm. I love this quote and think it applies to life in general.

toms sandals_Nordstrom

and these sandals – they’re Tom’s so they must be super comfortable!
tomato_watermelon_feta skewers
beach print_Minted

love, love this summer print.

nautical room_BHG

I’m a big fan of nautical decor and this color palette and mix of patterns is so pretty and unexpected.

cut paper initial_hanging end

And I’m being featured over at Kenarry: Ideas for the Home where I show you how to make inexpensive initial artwork with just some paper scraps, scissors and glue. Check it out here.

Enjoy your week!!

June wrap up

Ahhh, June. I love this month and all it’s craziness! In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what was happening at greco design company this past month.

June recap graphic

A recap of my posts for this month:

on the blog art

• gathered up some July 4th party ideas that are easy and inexpensive to pull together.

• shared a DIY personalized frame for a Father’s Day gift idea.

• found some yummy recipes that would work well for outdoor gatherings.

• made some patriotic wind catchers – a great kids’ craft idea!

• hung a crazy monogrammed wall of all my G’s.

• designed a patriotic wood tray that can also be used as a centerpiece or hung as artwork.

• and shared my beach bag tote picks to get ready for summer.

In the studio, I worked on some fun design projects:

in the studio

• Nantucket Island Resorts continues to keep me busy with advertising and print materials. I have been working with NIR for over 14 years now and it’s such a beautiful place to promote that it makes my job very easy. If you ever get the chance to visit Nantucket Island, take it. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a small island off of Cape Cod in Massachusetts and it is one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen! It’s a unique mix of trendy-chic with tons of high-end boutiques, hotels and restaurants mixed with such classic history. The properties I work on are absolutely beautiful and range from an amazing marina {Nantucket Boat Basin} to a sophisticated, high-end Inn {The Wauwinet} along with so many other properties and restaurants that it keeps my work super interesting.

• Designed a fun new art print for the laundry area and some summer art prints that can all be found in my Etsy shop. Bonus – you can download and print them yourself!

• Discussing some possible work with a national floral distributor for some promotional and display graphics. Exciting stuff!

• Designed this adorable tote bag with elephant graphics for the White Elephant hotel on Nantucket.

And here are some other places greco design company was featured this month.

featured elsewhere

• My first post as a contributor at Kenarry: Ideas for the Home was on June 8th. I shared our budget laundry room reveal and included a few DIY projects that I did for this “room”. I’m learning so much from being a part of this creative team. When you work from home it can be a little isolating so connecting with others is something I cherish! My next post will be on Monday, July 6 – it’s a fun one!

• My post about the paint colors in our home was featured at DIY by DesignMeatloaf & Melodrama and Adventures of Mel.

• The DIY patriotic wood tray I made was featured at Meatloaf & MelodramaCrafty AllieDiana Rambles and Anderson + Grant.

• The crazy monogrammed wall of G’s I hung was featured at Pint Sized Baker and My Paper Craze.

• And my patriotic wind catchers were featured at My Paper CrazeCupcakes & CrinolineYesterday on TuesdayAn Extraordinary DayAdventures of Mel, and Creative K Kids.

• I was also a featured blogger at prettyshabbyuk.com!! It was a whole post all about my blog. whoop, whoop!

June was another exciting month – end of the school year, kick-off to summer and my kids’ birthdays are all happening. All good stuff! I hope you had a great month and enjoy this last beautiful day of June.

July 4th party ideas

July 4th_table main pic

July 4th is right around the corner so I thought I would gather up some ideas on how you can throw together a fun festive table with treats and decorations for America’s birthday. Whether it’s a July 4th party, a birthday bash or a backyard BBQ, having a party can be overwhelming, time consuming and expensive. Here a few ideas on how to make your next patriotic party look good and be easy and fun. These ideas include some of my DIY projects and ideas and others are from blogs or websites that I loved. Check them out!

July 4th_table detail

1. Shop your home
Look for anything that could work for July 4th decor. Red, white & blue containers, baskets, jars, and anything with stars on it. Use ribbons, tags, images of flags and stars as added decorations too. They can transform any plain glass jar or basket. Labels are a great way to add some fun to your table too. Make your own or feel free to use the circle labels I created. Click here to download my free labels.

2. Tablecloths & paper goods
July 4th is all about the BBQ and this red and white checked tablecloth is the perfect iconic backdrop for your table. And paper goods are easy too – anything red, white or blue works and you can find these patriotic colors and patterns everywhere. I found tablecloths at our local grocery store for $2.99 and all the patriotic paper goods at the Dollar store. Sometimes these are better options than the pricey party stores.

July 4th_tray

3. DIY painted flag wood tray
I painted a long piece of wood to look like a flag and I’m using it here to display cupcakes. I can also use it as artwork, decoration, a centerpiece for candles – it’s a great multi-purpose piece that’s easy to make. Check out my painted wood tray tutorial here.

July 4th_wind catchers
4. Wind catcher DIY craft & decoration
I made these decorations from toilet paper rolls, paper and ribbon. Check out my tutorial post here. You can also put these materials out at your party and have this be a craft the kids can do.
July 4th_flags & tag
5. Flags, flags & more flags
This is the single easiest and cheapest party decoration and favor. And I love the mini American flags – you can stick a bunch of them in a jar, decorate your plants with them, make them into banners. Lots of options – and then let guests take them home!
July 4th_rosettes
6. Paper rosettes
I did a post last year on how to make these decorations for any occasion. Change up the colors and patterns of the paper for your specific event and they make such pretty party decor. All you need is paper, tape and some fishing line. If you don’t have paper that’s long enough, just tape different papers together and you get the color block look I have here. I actually have a version of these hanging in my dining room all year round. Check out my post on how to make paper rosettes here.
July 4th_art prints
7. FREE patriotic art prints
There’s some great free art out there for all occasions that you can download and print on your own. I found this USA print at bloominghomestead.com. I just love the floral graphic she used for the country. Click here to go to her site and download this awesome print. I also created a free watercolor flag art print. I didn’t include it on the table – things were getting a little crowded – but click here to download my free flag art print. Display these freebies in a frame and you’ve got instant free art! I also found this Stars & Stripes sign at Target for $3. almost free…
July 4th_poppers 2
8. Confetti poppers
I found this cute idea at designdazzle.com and I made a bunch very quickly and easily. Kids snap the balloon covered roll and confetti flies out of the top. Again, using toilet paper rolls, along with patriotic duct tape, ballons and homemade confetti. I placed them in a cupcake stand and I have an instant centerpiece! Click here to see her tutorial.
July 4th_cracker jacks
9. Cracker jacks
Already boxed in individual servings and they just scream all-American!
July 4th_candy
10. Color coordinated candy
kit kat, twizzlers, tootsie rolls, mints, gumballs, pop rocks, m&m’s and blue rock candy are all fun and color appropriate treats and decoration. Put them in a fun colorful container and they look even better.
Easy-Flag-Fruit-Dessert-Family-Fresh-Meals-
11. Fruit tray
ok, so I didn’t include a fruit tray on my party table but I love this easy version from familyfreshmeals.com. Click here to see the post.
July 4th_rice krispes
12. White chocolate dipped rice krispie treats
These are so stinkin’ easy and delish. I just cut the treats in half, pushed them into wood skewers {you can also use lollipop sticks}, dipped them in white chocolate and added some red and blue colored sprinkles. I used the store-bought rice krispie treats – making things much easier when getting ready for a party!
July 4th_straws
13. Patriotic drinks with washi flag straws
There are so many drink options that I couldn’t fit them all here. But click here to check out my pinterest page for some yummy drink ideas. Then, find some patriotic washi tape {I got mine at the dollar store} and just wrap them around colorful straws. done.
July 4th_table full 3
15. Pennant banner
I also found this at Target for $3. These banners are easy to make but for $3, why?
July 4th_trivia cards
16. Trivia cards
I learned a few things from these clever cards from yellowblissroad.com! Another free download you can print and cut out as you’d like. They come with a very thorough answer sheet too. Click here to download.
July 4th_invitation
17. Invitations
Create you own with some fun type and clever puns. I designed this invitation for a patriotic themed birthday party. Fun red, white & blue type along with some firework graphics. I added star stickers and washi tape to plain envelopes to jazz them up a little and keep costs down.
I hope these ideas help you to get in the spirit of the holiday and make it easier to throw together a fun celebration. Of course, no July 4th party would be complete without fireworks, sparklers or poppers. It’s a great day to celebrate and whatever you do, be sure to be safe and have a blast. hee hee.

beach bag totes

Happy summer! It’s officially here and I’m so excited. Summer is my favorite season. And with summer comes the beach. And I love going to the beach. It can be a relaxing place or a fun filled adventure. Whatever you do at the beach is just the best. Even food tastes better at the beach.

But when I took my beach bag out the other day, I realized that I desperately need a new one. I’ve had the same beach bag for a very long time – I’m a little embarassed at actually how long, so let’s just stick with a very long time. It was from L.L. Bean and it’s been great. It’s durable, fits everything I need including several towels, and it was inexpensive – maybe $40? But it’s old – very old – and not as stylish as I would like. So I’m on the hunt for a new beach bag and I thought I would share some of my selections in case you might be looking for one too.

My beach bag tote criteria includes the following:
Very large – I need it to hold towels, sunscreen, usually a change of clothes, a hair brush, maybe a frisbee or kadima game, my keys, and a few magazines or a book. So, a lot of stuff.
Durable – You got sand, water, sand, sunscreen, sand, snacks, drinks and more sand. This tote has to be able to last and still look good. I don’t want to worry about where I’m putting my bag down.
A little swag – nothing fancy or crazy but I’m looking for a little color and style. My L.L. Beanbag was white canvas with black handles. Blah. I want color.
Inexpensive – again, this will be used at the beach. Under $100 is good but under $50 is even better.
beach bag totes montage
I found a few totes that fit my strict criteria!
1. Straw tote: Athleta $82
3. Extra Large Tote Tangerine Orange: Boutique 1324 on Etsy $57
4. Acapulco Tote Bag: Nordstrom $46

5. Woven Wool Tote: Urban Outfitters $29.99 (reg $89.99)
6. Roxy Story Teller Tote: Zappos $34
7. Swahili Sisal Tote: Urban Outfitters $98
8. Seafolly Tropicana Tote: Swim Outlet $59.95
I love all these tote bags! Now I have to pick just one and I’m not good at this part. So I need your help – send me your comments about which one you would pick and why. I’d love to see which ones are the favorites. Or maybe you have an awesome beach bag you could recommend? I would love to hear about it.
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And if you’re a beach nut like me, you’ll love this beautiful print on Etsy that you can download for $5.00 – sums it all up for me!
Have a wonderful day and hope a trip to the beach trip is in your {and my!} near future. And don’t forget to send me your beach bag picks!

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