Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blue Moon

This is my entry for the pincushion challenge. The theme is Winter Wonderland. I have been admiring the pincushions everyone has been making for several months and thought I'd give it a try.

I made it using wool I felted in the washer from old clothes from the thrift shop. The colors I had available dictated the palette (it was snowing and I did not want to make a trip to the store). I would have reached for pure white for the snowflakes and snowy ground, but I like how the blue flakes and the oatmeal ground looks even better. As I was embroidering all the snowflakes I started humming "Blue Moon" and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with the top of the cushion.

I'm not sure how everyone gets their cushions to turn out so perfectly shaped. I'd like any hints anyone can offer on that. And what kind of stuffing is best? I used polyfil.

I totally get why so many crafters are addicted to making these! I love the feel of the wool, the sound of the cotton thread pulling through...very satisifying!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Valentine Table

As I mentioned before our coffee table is a skid from an electrical warehouse (the name is still on the side) with a glass top over it. I like it and my hubby is an electrician and an EE so it's pretty fitting. I used to always just keep the same thing in the table all year long. But at Christmas this year I decorated it for the holidays and now I think I'm on a roll. For Valentines Day I put in some red antique books, doilies, and my bridal bouquet. I was married in in the 80's and it was popular at the time to use silk instead of fresh flowers--so my bouquet is fresh as ever! This is the first time I've ever found a way to use it. Oops, please ignore the messy birdseed under the birdcage stand...
And here we are almost 25 years ago! I can't believe it's been that long. Back then pastels were all the rage for weddings and florists and other wedding pros thought we were crazy for the bright pink. But I love it still. When I brought the bridesmaids' dresses in to the tux shop the dealer said he didn't have anything to match that. You have to remember that those were the days when we got the tuxes in colors to match....I told him charcoal gray. I wore my mom's dress...from 1960 and it fit perfectly. There you go....more than you ever wanted to know about our wedding!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Changing Roofline

This is another project we did some a while back. I am posting these old projects as a little history to of how our home has evolved. Besides, it makes me feel kind of good to see what we have done since this house has turned out to be such a loooong project. This is the back of our house as it looked when we bought it. Our poor house has had a lot of remuddling throught the years. Unfortunate, but since we cannot see how it orginally looked, we just try to do what makes sense to us. The former additions included a carport attached to one side of the kitchen (above) and a tiny family room attached to the other side (below). Both with unattractive shed roofs. Count'em...three shed roofs on the photo above and one on the photo below! Amazing.
Shortly after we moved in we had to replace the roof, so we decided to rip it right off the back of the house and make one roofline.
This raised the roof quite a bit over the kitchen and someday we will have our master bath up there (see, I told you it was a long project!). You can see in the picture below that we lost a window in the bedrooms on each side, but there is still two windows in each room.
This is how it looks now. The windows are all different sizes and such, but because of the layout inside there was no avoiding that. It's the back of the house, so it doesn't bother us.
Joe cut new siding to match the gable ends on the rest of the house. He also trimmed out the window and eaves to match the others on the house. I think he did a great job.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Finally sewing again!

I finally did a little sewing tonite...for the first time in a long time. I made these 2 little mini garlands out of some scraps of an old tattered quilt. Some places I even reinforced the fragile old material with some red stitching and then I trimed it out with vintage ricrac and trim. I really like them and I will probably make more tomorrow night. The fabrics in the old quilt are so charming...I just couldn't throw away the little scraps! It would be pretty on a shelf as I have them here or maybe on doll's bed. I listed them on etsy.

Friday, January 12, 2007

January Goals, etc.

I decided to not do "New Year's resolutions" this year and instead set myself a few measurable goals for each month. For January I've decided to:
  1. get the valance done for the kit/family room
  2. work out at least 4 times each week
  3. start listing on ebay
  4. make more time to do something with my friends.

So far I'm doing ok on these. Today I listed some things on ebay:I had not done this in a long time, so for some reason it seemed like a huge chore. Actually ebay has improved their listing process and it was easier than it used to be! That should teach me not to procrastinate so much.......

If you are interested the link to my ebay auctions is to the right.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Joe Recycles, Reuses

Joe did a neat reuse project with his old duffle bag...he turned it into a log carrier (we have a lot of fires in the fireplace). The bag had a broken zipper and was just like this one...which is his new one.
He cut the ends off... and across the top on each side, close to where the handles attach. Note the concentration on his face. Cracks me up, that man. So serious.
Works great and is easier on the arms and sleeves than carrying wood in your bare arms!

Here's a poll I got at Starrgirl's:
1. Explain what ended your last relationship? I'm still in my last relationship...almost 25 years.
2. When was the last time you shaved? Last night.
3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.? Brushing my teeth getting ready for work
4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago? Taking pictures for stuff I'm putting on eBay
5. Are you any good at math? I'm good enough to get along alright
6. Your prom night? Was fun...I went with Joe. We've known each other that long. And we double dated with my sister and the boy who is now her husband! Occasionally those high school romances do work out!
7. Do you have any famous ancestors?Nope.
8. Have you had to take a loan out for school? Gosh yes. I was absolutely broke when I was in college.
9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile? Don't have one.
10. Last thing received in the mail? A new Home Companion magazine-yea!!
11. How many different beverages have you had today? 2: water and diet coke
12. Do you ever leave messages on peoples answering machine? Sure. Otherwise I'd never reach anyone.
13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to? Little River Band
14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach? Naturally...doesn't everyone?
15. What was the most painful dental procedure you have had? all four impacted wisdom teeth out at once
16. What is out your back door? A screened-in porch...one of my favorite places in the summer.
17. Any plans for Friday night? Maybe go to see the movie Miss Potter
18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair? My hair looks bad most of the time...being by the ocean just gives me a great and pleasant excuse for it!
19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns? No.
20. Have you ever been to a planetarium? Yup, several. Adler in Chicago is great!
21. Do you re-use towels after you shower? Sure for a few days...we'd be doing laundry 24/7 otherwise
22. Some things you are excited about? I'm excited about drawing and going to see the show Wicked pretty soon. I'm excited that I'm finally getting my basement organized....quite the exciting life I lead.
23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO? Cherry
24. Describe your keychain. Church key, home key, car key, bike key. Discount cards for supermarket and sporting good store. Unfortunately that keyring is, ahem, misplaced not lost, Joe, so I'm using a spare.
25. Where do you keep your change? In pockets and all over the bottom of my purse...see how organized I am?
26. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed? Open a crack
27. Did you read this far? Consider yourself tagged.That would be me!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Books!

My sweet father-in-law gave me some cash for Christmas. I used some of it to treat myself at the bookstore: Cloth, Paper Scissors I used to get in the mail, but I must have let the subscription expire since I haven't received it yet. Must fix that. Where Women Create by Jo Packham is a lovely book just packed with inspiration. I have my sewing/art stuff in one of our bedrooms and I am starting to think over all the things I would like to do to make that room easy to use and an inspiring place to be.Well the Christmas decorations have to start coming down tomorrow. Before they do, I thought I'd share my favorite decoration. Since we celebrate Christmas, the story of Christ is central to our holiday. We put the nativity in the center of our home this year...on the dining room buffet. The figures are by Fontanini and we started buying them when our kids were little because they are unbreakable. I liked the idea of the kids being able to move the figures around. Our brother-in-law made the stable for us and we just love it. Over the stable I've hung a star that is one of the ornaments from Germany that the great grands brought with them.Isn't this cute? It's my dad and me on New Year's Eve 1962. Each of us with bottled refreshment. We lived in Hawaii in military housing. Isn't that pink couch terrific?! Mom says the furniture was really nice and came with 2 sets of custom slipcovers so you could change the look. And I thought that was a new idea.

My plan for the New Year is to set a couple of goals at the beginning of each month instead of the usual New Year's resolutions. This month I want to get the valance made for the kit/family room and make a collage I've been mulling over for a while now. I hope everyone has a good 2007.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Kitchen Today

Today our kitchen looks like this. Our TV can hide behind a roll down door. Behind the black glass is a VCR and stuff-the black glass so you can use the remote while the door is closed. At the far right you see a smidge of our next project...the stair and area at the bottom of the stairs is currently gutted.
I think the undercounter lights make a huge difference. We used nice halogen lights and they are on a dimmer. I'm currently considering and trying to convince DH to remove the lights over the sink and put in cans behind that valance....because I'd like to hang more plants in there. We reused all our old appliances (20+ years old) to save money. We replaced the dishwasher with a quieter one (Bosch) and I love it...you can't tell it's running unless you lay your hand on it. We are hoping to replace the stove and fridge with black ones this year.
This is what you see when you come in the back door. The black spot on the floor is the hind end of our napping dog. January's goal: get the valance finished for over the window. I had Joe put an outlet up there for Christmas lights, but it is supposed to be hidden by the valance. The cabinets around the fireplace are extra deep because of the depth of the fireplace. The cabinet to the right of the fireplace has roll out shelves so I can reach the back of them easily.

The floors were a money saving measure that we ended up liking very well. We wanted wood but the wood floors we priced out were just not going to fit in our budget. I just could not see putting this big an expanse of vinyl in our old house (we do have it in the bathrooms). We ended up installing car siding with the flat side up and staining it dark enough to contrast with the cabinets some. It's rustic, and not for someone who cannot stand to see their floors get worn, since pine is a soft wood. We like it though. It's easy to clean and it seems to be holding up.
This is standing at the sink looking back. We use bottled water so we put in place for that. I figured if we ever opted to get rid of the water bottle, we could put shelves in that spot for cookbooks...or wine storage. There are recycling bins in the big drawer under the water.
Behind the couch is our computer desk....so you see, from where I am I can see the TV, the computer, and the fireplace.....and I'm a step away from the fridge. This is definitely a favorite room for everybody. I'm rarely alone when I cook anymore and I love that. Used to be, every one was in the front of the house watching TV together and I was way back here in that old brown and orange kitchen cooking by myself. This is much better!

We put the backsplash in a year after we "finished" the kitchen. It's tumbled marble we found at a home improvement store. The counter is corian-like laminate edged with solid pieces of the same in a darker color. I like it. It's easy to clean, not over the top expensive and looks good after 4 years.

Story of the kitchen is in 5 posts. In order they are:
Money Saving Cosmetic Fix
Big Remodel-walls come down
Paint and Cabinets Going In
and this post which is where we currently are!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Paint and Cabinets

I painted the walls before the cabinets came....it isn't really a teal as it appears here....actually it is more of a woodsy green. Looks good with the hickory.
The French doors lead to a closet that we built into one end of the room. Before this we had only a tiny closet for all downstairs storage. Now that closet is a broom closet, and we hang our coats in this new closet. Dick, our wonderful cabinet maker kneels on the counter to install an upper cabinet. We just had the hickory clearcoated to let the natural color show.
My husband Joe, in the plaid, helps install the counter. I love the nice big window over the sink.
This is how it looked when they left the day before Christmas in 2002....well, imagine a little different paint color. The glass in the upper doors is beveled and the cabinets are lit from within. Tomorrow when I have some daylight, I'll take some pics as it looks today. We are the slowest of remodelers, so we are actually still working on some projects in this room.