Monday, December 3, 2012

DIY Kid-size Table & Chairs

 A little while ago I was introduced Ana White's website full of DIY furniture plans.  I am completely addicted and have bookmarked tons of projects I want to build for our home.  If you have not yet heard of her, please check her website out!  She's this amazing woman from Alaska with a website full of plans for furniture.  She has everything from dinning room tables, to beds, to doll furniture, patio furniture.  You name it, she has it!  And now, thanks to my father-in-law, I have finally (mostly) completed my first Ana White project, the Clara Table and Four Dollar Stackable Chairs.

I really wanted to make these for my son, as they are kid-sized and he LOVES kids furniture.  The plans were easy to follow and the cost was low, but I have to confess that the cost for me was $0 because my father-in-law had a bunch of scraps that we used for the wood and all other supplies as well.  Now I just need to figure out what I want to do as far as staining/painting it.  Any thoughts?  My initial thought was to paint the table white and the chairs a fun color, but the top of the table is so pretty I am contemplating staining the top and just painting the legs, apron, and chairs some color.  I need to hurry up, though, and get this done for Christmas!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Girly Girly

Having a little boy, I often relish the opportunity to make items for girls.  I think this is the girliest set that I have made yet!  I love the combination of pink and grey. This set features fabrics from Michael Miller. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Recipe Reviews

Like many people, you may have already moved on to thinking about Christmas.  I know we have, but I couldn't let Thanksgiving go completely until I made myself some notes on the recipes that I made this year.  And of course, I am sharing them with you.  First, here's a round up of what we made.  I labeled many of the dishes because, well, most of them are indistinguishable due to the covering of cheddar cheese.  

1. Broccoli Casserole
My mom makes a great one of these, but at the last minute I could not find my copy of her recipe, so I decided to make this one instead because it seemed to be similar.  It was ok, but not great.  I will be sure to get my mom's next time.  Oh, and yes, I will be endeavoring to include more green in my menu next year, as, well, we were a little lacking.

2. Rolls
I have made this roll recipe many, many times and we really like it.  They are super easy because the dough is made in the bread machine, then you just have to divide it into rolls, let rise, and bake.  I highly recommend this recipe, but I have to bake them a little longer than the recipe calls for or they will be too doughy.  Your oven might be different though.

3. Mashed Potatoes
The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook is my go-to source for basics like this.  They were phenomenal, especially with the gravy.  

4. Shrimp & Crab Au Gratin
This recipe was fantastic!  I had never made this before and so I followed the recipe to the letter.  We had the au gratin with crackers as an appetizer, so that's why in the picture this dish has already been dug into.  The only thing I would change is that I would have gone a little heavier on the spices.

5. Corn Casserole
Paula Deen has some of the best recipes.  I love this recipe because it's one where you basically just mix everything together, then bake.  And it is delicious despite how little effort it takes.  If you have never had corn casserole, try it!

6. Turkey Breast
Oh the disappointment.  Let me first say that the recipe for this is phenomenal.  I am the one who messed up.  I brined my turkey breast as called for, but instead of grilling I wanted to cook mine in the crock pot.  Unfortunately, our crock pot has gone bad and now cooks everything waaay too fast.  I knew this going into Thanksgiving, and I tried to keep an eye on the turkey breast, but it ended up being rather tough.  Maybe next year :)

7. Deviled Eggs
Like the mashed potatoes, deviled eggs is one of those basic recipes from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  The only change I made here is that I omit the vinegar.  My husband finds it odd that my family and I eat these at Thanksgiving & Christmas, so I guess maybe it's a southern thing?

8. Gravy
 No recipe to share here.  I bought my gravy in a jar.  I have always had a hard time making gravy and with making only a turkey breast I did not think I would have nearly enough drippings to make enough gravy for us.

9. Sausage & Herb Stuffing
I made this last year and we loved it so much that we made it again.  We do modify it to suit our tastes, so we actually omit the apples and cranberries.  Sorry, Ina, we like a more savory stuffing.

To finish off our little Thanksgiving, we had a pumpkin pie (again, a Better Homes & Gardens Recipe), but somehow I never got a picture of it.  I hope your Thanksgiving was as filling and relaxing as ours!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fab New Fabrics

 I just got a whole bunch of new fabrics in the mail yesterday!  I am giddy as a school girl!  It doesn't look like a lot in the pile above, so I spread them out.

 So exciting!

 I love the bottle cap one and the alphabet font one!

I have been longing for the Michael Miller Citron Bird Sing print for a long time, so I finally bought it.

And then I used it to make this set of burp cloths, which I am selling in my Etsy shop.  Shamless plug, I know.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plum out of Pin Puns

 I am very rarely on the cutting edge.  I like to wade slowly into things.  Recently I decided to jump onto the Pinterest Bandwagon.  Mainly, I don't want to keep clogging up my bookmarks on the computer with all the stuff I love and want to make or just look at and think one day I will make.  If you take a look at the top right hand corner of my site, there is now a link to my Pinterest Boards.  I have not spent a ton of time pinning, but I will be adding more as time goes by.  Also, if you have a Pinterest Profile, let me know!  I love to see what others pin. 

Young House Love Book Review

Nearly a year ago I was researching how to paint our kitchen cabinets when I came across the blog Young House Love.  I loved the information on how they painted their cabinets and even though I went a different route due to the fact that my cabinets are a different material, I book marked their site so that I could go back and learn how to do other DIY/ decor related things.  And since then I have gone back more times than I could even count. I am constantly sending links of their projects to show my husband things that we should adapt for our own home.  When I read that they were coming out with a book, I told him I wanted it for Christmas.  Instead, he surprised me with it a little over a week ago.  I love out of the blue surprises!

Now that I am finally done reading through it (for the first of many times, I am sure), here is my brief review:
The book has the same voice as the blog.  Or voices, I should say, as John and Sherry both write, but what I really mean to say is that the book is written in the same, inviting, witty way that the blog is.  One of the reasons I love their blog is for the content and the other is for their personalities.  I enjoy seeing some of their life in the projects.  Originally from Richmond, the city where they live, I also enjoy the little glimpses of the area itself.  

The projects ideas are great starting points for inspiration, which I really feel was their goal.  In the very beginning they let you know that they are in no way claiming that they are the only ones to say, upholster a headboard, for example, but they show you what their experience has been with such a project and how they approached it, all with the hopes of helping you, the reader along.  I am excited to have this book and I am looking forward to making some projects from it.  My favorite project right now is #118, "Sew a Pattern into Cardstock".  I have been trying to think of fun new ways of incorporating graphic art into our home, and I already have all the supplies for this project, so it's on the to do list.

The most inspiring part of the book is this:  Sometimes, I get bummed or burnt out and feel that our house is not progressing fast enough.  But as John and Sherry point out, it takes time for a house to grow into a home.  And it's ok to have unfinished rooms.  I love that they keep it real in that way and show how long the whole remodeling and decorating process really takes.  Which makes me feel happier about the state of things, and inspires me to keep going.  Thanks John and Sherry!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm coming back!

After a few months of very sporadic blogging, I am now in a place where I can spend some regular time sewing and blogging.  And I'm super excited about it!  I've got new fabrics coming in the mail this week and I am spending this afternoon cleaning all the Christmas presents off of my sewing table in anticipation of the work ahead.  So what have I been up to?  Well, mostly the average daily life of chasing around a 2 year old mixed in with the never-ending renovations on our home.  We are currently working on the bathroom that our son's room and the guest bedroom share.
Sorry, the before picture is blurry and yes, that is very poor lighting.  It's a very small room and therefore difficult to photograph.  Unfortunately this is the only before I took as a part of a series of pictures I took to show my family our new house shortly after we moved in.  This picture actually makes it look better than it did, but believe me, the bathroom was in rough shape.  The toilet did not work.  The prior owners had had a leak in the toilet and it had damaged the linoleum flooring and the sub flooring beneath it.  The walls were not in great shape.  The light (not seen in the picture) is this awful brass contraption.  And the counter top was pink.  Yes, pink.  Apparently pink and brass were neutrals in the 1980s and this bathroom was full of them.  So in short the bathroom was failing us in the areas of both form and function.

So we did the following:
We ripped out the toilet, vanity, giant mirror, old trim, flooring, and sub flooring.  This step also included pulling out thousands of the staples that held the old sub floor down.  We also scraped out the old caulking around the tub/shower insert so that we could redo the caulking after painting.  Then we fixed the sub flooring, put down concrete backer board, laid tile, installed a new tolet, vanity, sink, and faucet, re-caulked around the tub, painted the medicine cabinet, replaced the medicine cabinet hardware, painted the walls, ceiling, trim, and door, replaced door knob and towel bars and toilet paper holder.  So here is where we are:
As you can see, we went with a dark grey ceramic tile.  This was our first time tiling, so we were very nervous!  We still need to hang the new mirror above the vanity, replace the light fixture, and replace the baseboard trim and door casings on the inside.

Originally the door, trim, and medicine cabinet were a dark brown wood veneer.  I have now painted the doors and trim in almost all of the house white.  I think that it helps to brighten things up.

We got our vanity at Lowes.  I love it, but it was not without its problems.  When we got it home and opened it up, there was no top!  It was supposed to be included and so we called and they finally tracked one down for us.  I have one DIY saying that I think is true for every project we do: "Nothing is ever going to be as simple as you think."  While it was not a major problem, little snags like that always delay things.
 We did not do a perfect job with the tiling, but I am proud of us for tackling it ourselves.  

 I should have put away the lime green kneeling pad that I use when I bathe my son.  It definitely clashes with the walls.  The color on the walls is "Happy Camper" by Behr and it's a nice kelly green sort of color.  I already had the shower curtain and liked it, so I pulled the colors for the room out of it.   

 I am a cheap-o on some things, so if I can repaint it instead of replacing it, I will!  So I took the medicine cabinet down, painted it, replaced the hardware and just hung it back up.  It's not the prettiest thing ever, but it coordinates with the rest of the room.

As you can see here we still need to replace the door casings (which I have already painted and are just waiting for a good weekend to be installed).  We did replace the electrical socket and light switches and covers.  I don't like the off white ones, so we have done this in every room.  I know, it seems like a lot of work and expense to replace something that functions, but I think they look so much cleaner in white than off-white.  Plus, I've gone to all the trouble to paint all the trim and doors in the house white, so I like for it to match instead of clash.  

Whew!  So we still have some more to do in this room and I will definitely share some pictures once we polish it off and consider it done.  Anyone else take on their first bathroom renovation lately? 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Oh Dear!

Maybe I will have more time to blog in the fall/winter.  It's been a little busy here.  We've been working on the house and I've even sneaked in a few projects like this:
A Chalkboard calendar for the kitchen

A Close-up

My first pillow!
We finally fixed the chandelier up and hung a mirror in the dinning room!
 And while I do have some other projects in the works, I did manage to get back to this:
New Burp Cloths for my Etsy Shop

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I am having the first ever sale in my Etsy Shop!  All of the burp cloths are on sale from today until Thursday, June 14th. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I made another baby gift for a friend today, this time using Cloud 9's "Monsterz" collection in orange.  If you look closely, you can see my favorite part of this cute print, which is a little blue monster saying "Growl".  Again, I thought this was a fun print to use for a boy that's a little different than the standard baby blue type stuff.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Commute by birch organic fabric

Some friends of ours recently had a baby and I absolutely love making a gift to celebrate new little ones!  Our friends had a baby boy and I did not want to go with a traditional baby blue and I definitely wanted something modern.  

Picking out the perfect fabrics to match up with the recipient's style is sometimes a challenge, but my husband helped me pick these out and I think they turned out really well.  We decided to make them some burp cloths and chose fabrics from birch organic's Commute collection.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Alexander Henry 2D Zoo

We were thinking of taking our son to the zoo this past weekend but it was waaay too hot.  The closest I got to the zoo was starting these burp cloths.  I just finished and listed them today!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patchwork Burp Cloth!

I typically make burp cloths with just one fabric on the front, but today I felt like doing something a little different so I made a patchwork burp cloth featuring four different fabrics.  The fabrics are all from Monaluna's Monaco collection.  This burp cloth is part of a set of three that I just listed in my Etsy shop.  I like this concept and will definitely have to play around with some different patchwork designs to see what I like.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gettin Squiggy with It

This morning I actually managed to get a little sewing done with my 15 month old son in my lap!  He was fascinated by the sewing machine and it went pretty well.  Only one time did I have to tell him not to touch the machine.  Here's what we made!  It's a set of 4 burp cloths in a fabric called "Figure 8 Summer Grey" from the Free to Grow collection by Nancy Sims for Mod Green Pod.  It's 100% organic cotton.  I backed the burp cloths with 100% cotton terry cloth for great absorbancy.  I just love how the vibrant colors bounce off the grey background.

Monday, May 21, 2012

They're baaack!

I've been super excited about sewing this week and today I finally made my way back to one of my favorite fabrics as of late, Monaluna's Bah Bah Black Sheep from the Taali collection.  I sold the last burp cloth set that I made from this fabric back in February, so it's fun to have it back in the shop again.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

New Organic Burp Cloths

We are finally experiencing a break in projects on the house, so after giving the sewing cave a good cleaning, I got down to some sewing on Friday.  My newest burp cloth set is made from all organic fabrics.  The front fabric is Cloud 9's Astors in Sky and the backing is organic fleece.  I love how the dragonflies pop off of the blue flowers in the background.  I'm looking forward to re-stocking my shop this week, so keep an eye out for new items!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

54 Cent Make-over

We have been busy.  The counter top issue has been resolved.  They replaced the broken piece with a new one.  We've been working outside on the landscaping quite a lot, and I have re-organized and cleaned out our pantry.  It's not 100% completed yet, so I'll wait until I finish to share pictures.  I did also manage a nice $0.54 make-over that I am willing to share now!

My mom got me some potted plants last year, and they came in your standard plastic containers painted a faux terra cotta orange.
I had been wanting to do something with them for a while, so when I found a paint sample in the mis-tint section for only $0.50 I knew that it would be the perfect color for sprucing these up.
I cleaned the pots, painted them, and I am very happy with the results!
Here's the side by side after one coat:
I am very pleased with them, now I just have to find the perfect plants to put in them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Roman-ish Shades

When I last showed you my living room windows they looked like this:
I had just put up the new curtain panels that I altered and I still needed to replace those ugly faded wooden blinds.  Thanks to a trip to Ikea last weeked while en route to my parents for Easter, the windows now look like this:
I had been researching cordless Roman shade options and all of them were pretty pricey, but while we were in Ikea we found these and decided to get them.  They are kinda like Roman shades, but not quite, hence the Roman-ish in the title.  They are Emmie Roll-up blinds.  Basically they roll up from the bottom and you secure them in place with two velcro loops through button holes.  They are easy enough to roll up and down and I love that there are no cords so that Bear is safe.  They are not black out curtains by any means, but when they are unrolled and the curtains are closed as well it works well enough for our needs in the living room.  Above all I love how they freshen up the space.
Speaking of fresh, it totally feels like spring here!  Even if it has gotten colder, I am feeling the "spring cleaning" bug and we've got a bunch of projects in the works.  The kitchen counter tops are coming on Friday!  So exciting!  I will be getting a new skill set this week as I decided that we should remove the old counter tops ourselves.  So be looking for a post on how to remove counter tops and un-install as sink coming soon, as I will be sure to pass on the details of that adventure!  There's also weeding and mulching still going on outside, an elliptical being put together (we're on step 15, only 4 steps to go!), a back splash tiling to be done once the counter top is in, laminate flooring waiting to be installed, a Roman shade to be made for the kitchen window... and the list goes on.  Hopefully I'll be able to take some breaks here and there to share.  Happy spring!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's Curtains for me!

FINALLY. But they're not done yet...
Last June we bought a fixer-upper.  A charming, 1980's neglected home.  In the 9 months that we have lived here, we have be slowly making progress on making our home our own and bringing it into the present.  We have replaced the carpet upstairs, painted ceilings, walls, and trim, purchased new appliances for the kitchen, put in a new furnace and air conditioning, painted the kitchen cabinets, changed out the kitchen hardware, and the list goes on.  when you have so many BIG things to do, sometimes the little things get put off or just seem to take forever.  Our curtains fall into that little category.

The living room is not quite complete yet.  so far we have painted the walls, ceiling, and trim, hung a few pictures, and replaced the hardware on the front door.  We still have to put in the laminate flooring and then we will eventually get around to installing some built-ins to store books and media.  For some time, though, I have been the look out for curtains.  When you are practically re-doing an entire house, you have a constant list of things to "be on the lookout" for.  Also, because we have so much to do, I have set some pretty strict budgets for things, and that can make it difficult to find items, sometimes most of the time.  I feel like I looked high and low for curtains.  I looked at Ikea, T.J. Maxx, Target, Walmart, World Market, Gabriel Brother's, Marc's and really couldn't find anything already made within my budget.  I really wanted to spend no more than $40 for all  four panels total, so $10 per panel.  I know, that is ridiculously low, but I just had a hard time pulling the trigger on something more expensive.  I liked these from Ikea in brown, but they were way over budget.  
 I also like these from World Market, but they were over budget as well.  

I briefly toyed with the idea of making them, but when I looked at fabric I struggled to find any that I liked that would be within my budget.  I liked this fabric from Dwell Studio that I saw at Joanne's. But it was also over budget.

Another struggle I had was with trying to find something that would coordinate with the rest of the living room.  The walls are a soft, dove-gray (Bay Waves by Valspar).  I have a rug that I love which features a large, modern pattern of berries and branches in a dark blue/green, chocolate brown, khaki, and cream color scheme.  I knew I wanted to keep the rug so I felt the need to stay in the same color scheme, especially if I wanted a curtain with a pattern.  I very much love rooms with a mixture of patterns, but the mixture has to be done well.  It has to strike this balance of not being to matchy-matchy and not clashing completely.  It's a fine balance.

I think I finally was able to find something I like in the curtains that I found at Target.  They were about $17 a panel, and I really liked them, so my husband (eager to stop having to talk about the curtains) told me to forget about the budget and put them into the cart.  When we got home, I took them out of the package and delightfully discovered that they were extremely wide in comparison to out windows.  I am planning on replacing the wooden blinds with cream colored Roman shades because I love the look of long panels paired with a crisp Roman shade in the middle.  Kinda like this:
I feel really bad, but I cannot for the life of me remember where this photo is from.  So if this is your photo, let me know so that I can give proper credit. I think maybe it was on
So the Roman shades will be coming soon, now that I finally have the curtains to know how to coordinate the colors.  Since we are planning on putting a Roman shade in the middle, I wanted to hang the curtains a bit wider than the windows so that they do not cover too much of the sunlight.  When I hung one panel up I felt like it was way too wide for what I wanted, especially given the amount of space between the two windows, so I decided to cut the panel in half, thus creating two panels out of one.  So I kept two panels, cut each in half and hemmed the raw edge.  Since I only needed two panels instead of 4, the total cost for the panels for the living room was about $34.  Completely under budget.  I know that not everyone would necessarily like their panels to be thinner, but it works for us in our living room.  And believe it or not, when the panels are closed, they do completely cover the windows.  Now I just need to keep an eye out for those Roman shades.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Excuse Me

Well, the blog has been a little neglected, but with a good and exciting excuse.  We have been remodeling our kitchen and it's been taking up most of my free time during my son's naps.  Typically I use a few naps a week to work on my Etsy shop, blog, and sew, but lately they have been spent working on our kitchen. It's still a work in progress, but here is what we have done so far:
  • Removed 2 layers of wall paper
  • Painted walls, ceiling, and trim
  • Painted our kitchen cabinets using a Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit
  • Replaced the cabinet hardware
  • Spray painted and hung a new chandelier
We still need to:
  • Have the new counter tops installed (We have our template appointment next week!)
  • Tile the back splash
  • Install the new laminate flooring
  • Have a new patio door installed
We are going to wait to reveal the afters until they are completely done, but here's a look at some before & during pictures:
Close-up: Wallpaper layer # 1

Close-up: Wallpaper layer #2

During the Removal of the Wallpaper
 The exciting reveal of the afters to come hopefully in the next month.  However, since we are waiting on various installs and the kitchen is less hands-on for me, I can get back to the giant pile of sewing projects that has piled up for me.  Have a great weekend!