Saturday, May 30, 2009

Allspice Apron


A few weeks ago my husband's mom sent us a package that had this gorgeous apron in it that she made for me. I LOVE it! I think it's maybe the prettiest apron I've ever seen, so pretty I'm a little afraid to actually cook in it! Who wants to splatter grease all over that gorgeous fabric? I think I can use it for baking and be safe though. It's made with Moda's Allspice Tapestry fabric, just like my pinwheel quilt (all the blocks are done on that btw, just need to sew 'em all together). She is an amazing seamstress, I only wish I had half of her skills. I also really wish we weren't so far away so she could help me with my sewing projects. The irony is that I lived by her for several years, but didn't sew a stitch during that whole time!

Here it is a little more close up:

Here you can see the detail at the top and the pocket, with little flower button:

What a nice surprise!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wow, it's a Miracle!

I actually won something! I am constantly entering giveaways on blogs, but of course I never win. Until now that is! I entered a giveaway for a child's cape that Stacey at The Thrifty Chick was doing, via One Crafty Place (a great website for tons of kid oriented craft ideas and tutorials). To my surprise my name was chosen and I won this adorable PINK cape for my little gal, complete with adorable ladybug and monogrammed with her initial! I'm so excited! It arrived in the mail yesterday and she put it on immidiately. Lately she has been saying, "I'm a princess!" so this is a perfect dress up item for her right now. It's pretty long on her which is great so she'll be able to play in it for a long time. Thanks so much Stacey for such a nice giveaway, it was so sweet of you to do that and I'm thrilled! If you want to order a cape of your own, check out her blog and contact her. She also makes little boys superhero capes. There are a bunch of other tutorials on her blog that look really fun, like the latest one which is how to make a personalized Yatzee game with your family pictures. Such a cute idea. Thanks again!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Giveaway!

Camille at Simplify is having a giveaway of her pretty new fabric, so I thought I'd let you all know. Go over to her blog to check it out.
And here is another place you can win something- some adorable RED polka dot plates. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

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A Mini Project With Sneak Peak, and Weekend Report


Here's a picture of a little project I did over the weekend, in between all of my other projects that is. Last weekend I bought this little picture frame (for super cheap):
I liked the detail on it, but it was chipped and I thought it might be prettier painted white. So, I filled in the chips with putty, and then I got out my handy dandy spray paint can and sprayed it! Actually, I just used the can of primer, and then I was going to spray the actual paint over that. When I sprayed it, the primer kind of puddled in the grooves of the detail on the frame, so I started trying to wipe it off, and then realized that I liked the way it looked with some of the pinkish brown color coming through. So, I wiped a little more, and sanded it a little until I liked how it looked:


After that, I sprayed it with a clear satin finish, just so the paint wouldn't chip off too much. I think it turned out really cute, and you can't even tell where the little chips were.

The sneak peak is the table! Do you remember that little end table from the last post- the really ugly one? Well, I have had this little table for a long time. I got it from a neighbor around the corner. The wood on the lower shelf was all warped and totally ruined. I asked my friend Michelle, who is amazing with the power tools, if she could cut me out a piece of plywood to fit in there- this was well over a year ago. So, it's been sitting in my living room looking kind of sad for all that time. It was also really wobbly, so hubby tightened up the screws and put in a few new nails. Here it is so far, even with just the primer I think it looks so cute! It is amazing what a coat of paint can do. I have latex I was planning to use for all of my little tables, but using spray paint is so easy and quick, that I'm tempted to just get some white spray paint and be done with it. I've painted furniture with rollers and brushes before, and it is really hard to do it and make it look nice and smooth. I guess I'll try it, but if it doesn't look good, I'm breaking out the spray paint. It's my new favorite thing!


Here is a little picture of the frame detail all finished:


I had to putty the edges of the piece of wood added to the table since it was just cheapo plywood:

Once it's sanded down and painted, no one will ever know!



This has nothing to do with the rest of the post, I just felt like showing you my new Joann's find. I went to a fancy shmancy Joann's- ok, not really, but much bigger than the one I usually go to! I bought this in the home decor section, it was 50% off, I think it ended up being $5 or so so pretty darn cheap:

It looks cute hanging in my kitchen!


So, the status of all of my projects is- all three tables are sanded and have at least one coat of primer on them. Picture frame is done. A couple of other new projects are started. I decided to go ahead and paint this table white as originally planned- thanks for the comments btw! - although I was a little tempted to leave it like this:

I really liked the way it looked with the white legs, and I think if I had stained the top, it would have looked cute. Too late though, I've already primed the top! It's looking really cute white though too.



All of these projects have so many steps that take some time, so I'll be working on them into next weekend too, and then hopefully have some final after pictures to show!
And, just so you don't think we didn't have any fun this weekend, we also had a bbq with some fam, and took the boys to see this movie:



I thought it was awesome! I recommend it to everyone, even if you're not really much of a Trekkie. It was just a good action movie.

One final project we got started on this weekend:


I got this adirondack chair a couple of years ago. It's still pretty solid, but it was missing an arm. My same woodworking whiz friend cut out a new arm for me. It's been sitting there ever since, but this weekend, hubby reattached the arm. So, next Saturday I will once again be getting out the good ol' power sander and sand this baby down, and paint it. I think it's going to be pretty sweet, I just wish I had two of them!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day !


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Before and After, and Decision Help

Around here, this holiday was declared Project Weekend (by me of course!) I have a bunch of junky old, dark furniture that I have been wanting to paint for a long time. I was going to wait until all the projects were done so I could just show before and after pics, but now I need a second opinion! So anyway, I have a coffee table and two little end tables in my living room that I wanted to paint white. Remember this ugly old one I showed you last week? Well, a neighbor was getting rid of it and I thought that it had potential if painted white:

So, my hubby spent a good chunk of his Saturday fixing it up for me:
(Thanks honey)
He did a really good job, it was totally wobbly before and I didn't know if it could even be fixed. But he went above and beyond my request to just glue the legs or something, and instead he took it all apart and put it back together with new screws.
So then I got out my new favorite tool- the power sander! and sanded, and sanded, and sanded by hand some more, and then it looked like this:


Once the ugly old dark, chipped stain was off I thought it looked pretty good and I kind of liked the natural wood grain. So, that is my dilemma, should I still paint it white, or do something else? I'd really like some other opinions, so please feel free to leave a comment and vote on what you think I should do with my little project! Here are the options I was thinking of:
1. Paint white as originally planned (I already have the paint)
2. Use a white stain, so the wood grain shows through, but it's still somewhat white.
3. Paint the legs white and stain the top, either with light wood stain, or maybe even the white stain.
So, what do you think? Keep in mind that I am painting these two other little end tables white:


Here is the first one I've already started. This is it before (above)


Here it is after two coats of primer:

I think it already looks so much better!
I still plan to paint it with white latex, and then sand the edges for a slightly "distressed" look, and then possibly put on a final coat of polyurethane (that is a whole other story I'll probably ask your opinion about later)

Here is the other little table I'm planning on doing the same to:


I realize that these are not life-changing decisions or anything (duh! as my kids would say), but I always like to bounce ideas off of someone else. So, if you're not already totally bored with this topic, let me know your vote!
One other thing to keep in mind is that I'm kind of trying to go for a cottagey, beachy look that is also a little bit country, and even a tad shabby chic. Does that clarify things for you?! I've got one more day of Project Weekend, but I have a feeling it's going to spill over into the week, and probably next weekend too!
Hope you enjoy your extra day to work on whatever projects you're doing!





Wednesday, May 20, 2009

April Christmas Project




Is done! I know I haven't been super timely on my monthly project posting, but see, I do get around to things eventually. March kind of got skipped, but oh well. I did make an apron, but it was pink and white polka dot, so doesn't really count for a Christmas project. I'm still working on the star quilt, which was supposed to be the January project. I guess I should have made that one a whole year project!
So, this table runner is made from the same Mistletoe Manor fabric as my Christmas star quilt. In fact, it is made from the scrap pieces left after I cut out my Buggy Barn stars. There is always a big chunk of each fat quarter left after you cut out your star pieces, so from those I cut out charm pack size squares (5"), sewed a mini quilt top and then quilted it with simple X's. I backed it with the red polka dot fabric, which I just love, so it could easily be reversible, and you could even use it all year round. You can also consider these the before pics for this little coffee table- a recent thrifty find. I'm planning to paint it this weekend if it's not wet.
So many projects, so little time!


It's the truth...
This is the mother's day book my kindergartener made for me.
In case you can't read it, it says, "My mom always...sows."
He's got me all figured out!

On the other pages it says:
"My mom helps me...kleen up the liveing room."
"My mom likes to ...Hugs me."
"Mom you are special because...taks kare of me."
So sweet, and you gotta love that 5-year-old spelling!
On Mother's Day I also got homemade cinnamon rolls made by hubby- in bed of course! Plus a really nice quilting book, and best of all lots of hugs and kisses. I'm one lucky lady!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Quilt Project!


So now that you are updated on all the recent goings on in our neck of the woods, let's move on to some crafting!
A couple of months ago I discovered a new blog that I absolutely love called V. and Co. It might just be my favorite blog of all time! I just love Vanessa's style and taste, and all of her projects and creativity, and I've been really inspired by it. Plus she has tons of really fun tutorials and how-to's which is great. Besides all of that, she is a hoot!
There are lots (and lots!) of blogs I like, but many have kind of a more modern-type style. Which is fine, but I really like more of a country/cottagey type of style and when I started looking at all of Vanessa's photos I was like- that's totally me! If you haven't already, click on some of my links and check out V. and Co, you might just get inspired too.
So anyway, since I loved the blog so much, I actually went back and read all of the archives from the beginning. When I saw this Pinwheel Quilt she made from two Moda charm packs, along with easy instructions on how to make the block, I knew I wanted to make on of these quilts, like right now! I've always loved the pinwheel pattern and wanted to do a pinwheel quilt someday, but I thought they could be a little busy looking sometimes. What I love about Vanessa's quilt is that it has a plain white square in between each pieced block, which really shows off each individual pinwheel. A very simple idea, but I probably wouldn't have thought of it if I hadn't seen it done. I had these gorgeous Allspice Tapestry charm packs conveniently lying around, so I just had to go out and get some solid cream fabric to get started. I love the colors in the fabric, lots of pretty light pinks and a gorgeous blue color, plus the cinnamon brown and grassy green. Charm packs are great because you get a little piece of every fabric from the line, and in this one I like them all. So, here are the pinwheel blocks so far. I'm even having thoughts of quilting it myself- other than just x's or in the ditch. We'll see if I'm really brave enough to do that.
I realize that you might be thinking to yourself- doesn't she have another unfinished quilt laying around somewhere?! Well, ahem, yes, more than one actually! When it comes to crafting, I kind of just have to work on whatever I'm in the mood for when inspiration strikes!
Update on the Christmas quilt- the blocks are all sewn and I just have to sew the top together and send it off to my longarm quilter. It may actually be done by Christmas!

Quite a Week

Last Thursday my sister-in-law gave birth to her baby boy- over 3 months early. It was completely unexpected and we are just grateful that he arrived safely. He is very tiny, just over one and a half pounds, and twelve inches long, but is doing amazingly well considering his size and gestational age, but of course we are all still really worried about him. We are saying lots of prayers in his behalf around here, and I wanted to ask you all to keep him in your prayers as well. If my LDS friends and family could add his name to your Temple prayer list we'd appreciate it (you can email me to get his name, I didn't want to post it without permission). He has already been added to Boston, SLC, Mesa, and probably several others. Hopefully he will continue to grow and develop well, he is very cute and even with his tiny size we can see a family resemblance! There is a long road of recovery ahead but we all have a lot of faith in a Father in Heaven who is aware of everything that happens in our lives, who loves us as individuals, and has a plan for each of us.


                                  my friend Ellen P took this picture



In other news, we were at our Stake Conference on Sunday morning, which was being broadcast from Salt Lake. At the very end of the meeting, one of the Priesthood leaders stood up and announced that the Longfellow Park Building in Cambridge was on fire, and it looked like the entire building would be lost. It was such a shock, I wasn't sure if I had heard him correctly at first!
The fire alarm went off about halfway through the broadcast, the chapel was full of people there to watch it. Everyone got out safely which is a huge blessing. It is a sad loss for so many though. This was the first LDS church building built in New England, and is over 60 years old. It is the building where I attended church from birth until I was about 12 and they built a new chapel. I was baptized in the font there, and have so many childhood memories of Christmas Nativity parties, primary, the "spook alley" in the basement at Halloween parties, the sacrament table in the Junior Sunday School room (back in the day we had this on Sunday, and primary during the week, and you took the sacrament during jr. S. School), the fun rocks for climbing on the lawn outside, which seemed huge to me. The building has a beautiful magnolia tree on the side lawn, and I have pictures of me as a toddler standing under the blossoming tree in my Easter dress and little white gloves. Many people have been commenting on the round window in the chapel, and the New England style white steeple, it was very sad to see those damaged. It is a really sad situation, but on the other hand, the recent family events help keep things in perspective about what is really important.
You can go to my friend Ellen's blog to see some pictures of the chapel, and there is a Boston Globe article with other pictures and a video of the fire.

So, a thought provoking few days, and the main thought that I have is that I have so much to be grateful for, and that we truly have Heaven's blessings and protection with us all the time.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

D.C. Flowers
























One of my favorite things about our trip was all the gorgeous flowers. We picked the perfect week to go for prime flower viewing, I was in heaven! My favorite flowering tree is the dogwood, and they were out in full force, along with redbuds, apple blossoms, and gobs of tulips everywhere. I just couldn't get enough of them, and of course took about a million pictures.
As you might have noticed, I have a hard time narrowing down photos, there are so many I just love. So, here are a boatload of flower pics, hope you enjoy them!
p.s. I've given up on collage for now until I can figure it out better, which is too bad since it would have saved a lot of space on this post esp.!
*quick note on retouching pics for my mom in law who asked about it:
- I use Picasa to retouch, and I almost always do "I'm feeling lucky" to start off with. Then I go into effects and I usually "glow" everything, I also use warmify, film grain, color saturation, soft focus a lot. Sometimes I sharpen, and I crop a lot too. I like to combine a whole bunch of effects together in one picture, it's amazing how much it will improve light and color in the photos. I used to think of retouching as "cheating," but I'm totally over that!
I tried using photoshop once and it gave me a headache, it's just beyond me. Which is too bad ,because there are lots of cool things you can do with it. One other effect I wish Picasa had is one my dad has that makes paint stroke effects, so it kind of blurs it all into an impressionist painting type of look.