Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cherry Quilt and a Little Cutie

Last week, my husband suggested that, rather than start 2 or three new quilting projects, why didn't I try finishing up some already started ones? Hmm, what a good idea! Here is my first finished up quilt:

I made this quilt top last year for the little gal's first birthday, along with a whole ensemble of items using this pink cherry fabric. I think it may be one of my favorite fabrics of all time! I'm glad I bought tons of it, enough to make birthday presents, and three little girl dresses, and a quilt, because now you can find it in white but not pink at Joann's. I saw a cute idea for framing fabric yesterday, this one is a candidate for that. And of course we've all seen all the cute versions of fabric displayed in hoops, or stretched on a canvas. Anyhoo, I still have some left- maybe enough to make another dress. I'll save that project for next year!

I was going to be thrifty and use the red check I had left from the backing to bind it, but then I thought maybe I'd try something different, so at the last minute I ran over to my local quilt shop and bought some red. I love it! I think it frames the quilt and gives it a little pop, the red check would have been too boring.

she seems to like her new quilt:

I always learn something new with each quilting project. This quilt looks really cute, and it is fine for just a little quilt for dragging around, throwing down on the grass, but it's not really the best quality there is. This red check fabric from Joann's is a little cheapo and is really thin and frays easily. I think it's not 100% cotton. I probably should have found a red check of better quality. The cherry fabric is pretty sturdy. Also, I decided to use some polyester batting that was free to me, but I don't think I'll use it again. It doesn't have that soft, flexible, old-fashioned texture that just gets better with age and washing like cotton batting does.


It also has a lot of puckering in the back, and even a little on the front. I just read a tip about taping down the backing onto the floor before you pin the three layers together- that would have been a good idea. There is a line in "Alice in Wonderland" where Alice says something like:
"I always get good advice, but very seldom follow it."
Guess I'm a bit like Alice!

This babe slays me with her cuteness. She is the sweetest girl ever. Sometimes she'll do something irritating and I'll react with anger, and she'll say, "sorry Mama," so sweetly. Ouch. I need to realize how sensitive she is and be more sensitive back. She always wants to kiss all of your owies and she's so sweet to little babies and other kids. She is a gentle, nurturing soul. She loves shoes, popsicles (she'll break into the freezer to get them by hanging on the handles until it falls open!), baby dolls, corn on the cob and the beach. Got to get a pic of this girl in her bathing suit- most adorable sight ever! Her gorgeous hair just keeps getting longer, blonder and prettier. Sorry to brag, but it's all true! (I will save this to remember when she's a teenager and maybe not so sweet?!)
She'll be two next week- exciting and heartbreaking all in one.
I managed to get her to hold still for a few minutes yesterday when I was photographing her quilt. Just ignore the orange popsicle stains all over her face and arms! (she had just finished her 2nd one of the day) Black and white works wonders for that:

Can't get enough of this little gal, wish she'd quit growing so darn fast!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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Yard Sale Picnic Basket Redo

finished product:


Another little makeover featuring one of my favorite decorating products- spray paint of course! I got this little picnic basket at a neighbor's yard sale for about $5 I think. I thought the shape was cute but wasn't wild about the multi colored design on the basket:


It even came with a set of picnic dishes, never used I think:

I got out the trusty spray paint can and painted it white, inside and out:


Now it is a cute little container for my little gal's play dishes. Her collection is about to grow due to her upcoming birthday- shh, don't tell her I told you so! She loves to "cook" her play food and especially to "wash" (aka hose down the entire kitchen) her dishes. This took about 10 minutes all together- quick, easy and fun, my type of project!
I am linking this to A Soft Place to Land's diy link day so be sure to go check it out- there are always lots of really cool projects and inspiring ideas to see.
p.s.I'm linking it here too. Southern Hospitality is another place to find lots of fun ideas.

A Mini Makeover
So here is a little project I did yesterday. Got out the spray paint and sprayed this Christmas tin. The tree was fine, but the red color was really orangey and not my favorite shade of red. I got the chance to go to Walmart a week or so ago- yes you heard me right! I know a lot of people like to dis Walmart, and believe me I've done it myself but I have to say, now that there are no Walmarts near me, it's a whole different story! The closest one is about an hour away. Anyhoo, I have only been to Walmart about 3 times in the last 4 years, it's not my favorite place in the world but this trip there didn't disappoint! The most exciting thing I found was spray paint- really cheap spray paint, like half the price that I pay in my town hardware stores, and WAY more color choices!! Wow, I couldn't believe how many color choices they had, I wish I had bought even more. This tin top is sprayed with ballet slipper pink- so pretty. I bought this and "celery" for a future furniture transformation for the little gal.
So, this tin looks cute, but I think I need to do a bit more experimenting, or just dry the paint longer, or shake the can longer because now it is stuck closed and I don't think the lid is going to come off at all- not exactly a good trait for a storage container. Anyway, I will buy a tin of cookies or something and try again, but it does look cute. I think I just have to practice my spray painting technique a bit more.

Christmas tin before:
I've got some other metal spray painting projects to share, and a few other Walmart purchases to show, so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ward Campout
My brave Dad took three of my boys and my nephew to the ward campout this weekend- looks like they had lots of good, messy fun!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Small Changes...





Can have a big impact.

Here are a few small changes I've made in my kitchen lately, courtesy mostly of the Christmas Tree Shop as I mentioned the other day. First of all, I've always loved the look of hanging plates. I've been inspired lately by a lot of hanging plate pictures on people's blogs like these:
Anyone Can Quilt (a LOT to love on this blog, while you're there check out her sewing room and newly made vintage sheet quilt. I like how she's mixed up all different sizes and colors of plates)

So, the above picture is my first attempt at hanging a little yard sale plate (the blue) along with a 99cent X-mas tree shop find (the white). I used the Command strips to hang them and it worked great. I just love the look and see many more plates on my wall in my future. Esp someday when I have a bit more wall space! Actually, I have already spray painted a couple for my living room. I just love this idea for decorating for cheap, cheap, cheap. You can find really cute plates or just use what you have for practically nothing. In fact, the command strips cost more than the plates themselves (those things aren't super cheap, but I think they're worth it not to have to put holes in the wall). I really like the idea of hanging things in unexpected places, like under the counters instead of just the regular wall areas. It gives it a really cozy feel.

I love having space to decorate above cabinets. It's pretty much a necessity for me since my kids will destroy anything within their reach! Plus I usually don't have a lot of surface spaces and this is a great way to add a whole lot more decor without cluttering up your counter tops or other areas. (between my bad lighting and awkward angles in my kitchen, it's hard to get a really good picture, but hopefully you get the idea)

I already liked these above cabinet spaces in my kitchen, but they were a bit cold looking. All the black, metal and glass was there but now I like how the white softens it up and gives it a little more of a cottage feel. Just moved some things around and added a pitcher and platter from Xmas Tree Shop (cost about $2), plus threw some white Target dollar section bowls I already had up there. Got this white wire cake stand from Target after Easter clearance. The hatbox and rusty fan are neighborhood castoffs I've had for a long while.

The canning jars a friend from church was giving away, they have the old style metal on them and acual glass lids! What else might you wonder about that's up there? Oh, the little vintage lamb chocolate mold I got at an antique shop in Concord, and the red handled sifter I got at a second hand store in Palmyra. Got a red handled rolling pin that I hang on the wall too, although you can't see that in the picture.
You can get creative and decorate with pretty much whatever you have. Dig out some of your cute dishes or other stuff that is normally hidden away in your cabinets and put it out on display, hang it on the walls, or whatever! I love this idea of hanging baskets on the walls too.

Besides hanging plates on the wall, a new favorite thing is plate racks for displaying plates of all sizes, or you could use them for framed items too like photos, paintings, or stitchery. Both of my little black wire chairs I already had and got on sale at a little shop in my town a few years ago. A little easel can make a photograph or painting have a lot more of an impact also, I do that with framed photos sometimes (you can get really cheap little easels at IKEA).

I love my Williams-Sonoma outlet cookie jar too (I've had that for a while). Of course, being down low it got broken within days of coming home, but I just turn it around to hide the little chip. See what I mean? I wasn't kidding about my kids breaking everything within their reach! In one of those pictures up there you see my sugar bowl turned at a weird angle, that is because my little gal just broke the handle the other day, a major bummer since it was my grandmother's.
Another little tip (none of these ideas are original, you can read this anywhere) is to vary the heights and textures of things. Just mix it up until it looks good to you, and you can use old books or other things to vary heights of things you want to display.


Well, I hope you're inspired to make some small (and cheap!) changes in your kitchen, to make it more YOU.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

MY FIRST QUILT

Parade of Quilts

I thought it might be fun to participate in Camille's "Parade of Quilts." You're supposed to share your first quilt, and then your most recent quilt, and I guess see how you've progressed as a quilter. It's not too late, I think the links are supposed to be sent by tomorrow (Monday), so if you're a quilter, join in! I'm excited to check out all the other entries.

So, here are a couple of pictures of my first quilt I ever made. I still really like it! A friend told me it looked like something out of a Pottery Barn catalogue once, which was a great compliment! It was made from recycled clothing, jeans, khakis, and men's shirts. It's mostly dark reds, blues, and tans and some white, with a lot of star patterns in there. I'm planning to make a similar quilt for my other son and make their room sort of Americana-ish. I remember staying up sweating over this as I quilted it (literally- that denim is heavy!) until 1 or 2 in the morning because I was so excited to actually finish my first quilt I'd ever made all by myself from start to finish!

here's a close up:

Now here is the most recent quilt that I have finished. As you know, I have at least 3 other quilt projects in the works! This quilt is definitely a favorite. It's made with brushed cotton on the top, which feel like flannel but is a little lighter, and flannel on the back. It's so soft and cozy! Great for cuddling up on a cold New England winter evening!

The pattern is "Turning Twenty," a very easy pattern made with 20 fat quarters- the possibilities are endless! This is a great beginner quilt if you're just getting started quilting.

I don't know how well it shows up in the pictures, but this is the first quilt I had long arm quilted, or the first one I kept, actually. I love the colors in this quilt too, soft pastels but some khaki-ish greens and browns to make it not too sweet.


So, this isn't technically part of the Parade of Quilts "assignment," but I'm so excited about finishing my pinwheel quilt top, I just had to share a few photos!


I guess it's not technically finished because I'm still going to add a border to it. This quilt was inspired by Vanessa at V&Co. and her pinwheel quilts she's made. The minute I saw one of her pinwheel quilts I thought, I have to make one of those! So, I dropped what I was working on and dug out my two Allspice Tapestry charm packs and got to work. I used her tutorial for making pinwheels out of charm packs and white fabric, and was surprised at how much easier it was than it looked. That's one thing I've learned, when you see a pattern that looks so complicated, if you break it down by the block, a lot of times it's a lot simpler than it looks.

I think it's going to be really pretty once it's done. The colors in this fabric line are gorgeous, peachy pinks, cinnamon browns, and a robin's egg blue color that I just love- pretty similar to the color I painted my adirondack chair actually! I'm still trying to decide how to quilt it, any ideas? I was thinking of doing it myself, but it's tempting to just send it off to the long arm lady and be done with it! My quilting style has definitely evolved, I'm really interested in making classic quilt patterns with a modern twist. I love quilts with white background and an old fashioned block in a solid color, like red or blue, and I'd love to recreate some of those. Some other things I'd like to try- a 9 patch quilt and an Ohio star. I love any star quilt pattern!
One thing is for sure, I'll never be done quilting!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Patriotic Decor


My GIANT metal star, now gracing

the side of the house on my back porch:


LOVE IT!

Can't get enough wreaths:



I found some fun patriotic decor at the Christmas Tree Shop this year. I hadn't been to that place in a long time. You can find lots of cute stuff there for WICKED cheap! Stuff that of course, you absolutely can't live without! That's my only problem when things are cheap- I buy a lot of it, therefore making it not so cheap. Their slogan is "Don't you just love a bargain?" Uh, yes, I do!


So anyway, I love holiday decorations that can be used for a whole season, not just for the specific holiday, like pumpkins that can be used for all of October and November, rather than just things specific to Halloween or Thanksgiving. As far as I'm concerned, between Memorial Day and the 4th of July- and Pioneer Day for us Mormons- the theme of the whole summer is down home patriotic/country/Americana style! As far as I'm concerned, this stuff is always in style anyway.



I love decorating with stars and I can't get enough twig wreaths either, as you can see. The CTS is a great place to find both of these. In fact, really the only thing I was actually looking for there was a big red metal star. I love the huge one I found for the outside, still searching for a slightly smaller red one for the inside. I did find a faux tin black star that is now hanging in my living room, and a star mirror who's location is still to be determined. I love this wreath with it's little tiny fabric stars:

It was hard to get such a close up detail shot of it, but here you can see the little stars and red white and blue berries.


I also liked this fabric flag with the pledge of alligence on it:


These two items fall into the category of things that I might say, "I'm not buying that because I could make it myself," if it were in an expensive store, but considering that I didn't pay more than $6 for anything I bought there, I think it was worth buying not making this time! I don't think I could make either of these items without spending at least what I paid on supplies, never mind the fact that saying I could make something doesn't mean I actually would! Sometimes it's just easier to give yourself a break and just pay someone else to do the work. I guess the last time I made any Americana type stuff is a couple of years ago when I made this quilt and pillows.

And this little flag was in the $1 section so of course it had to come home with me :


So, these things will be hanging in my home for the summer, and possibly beyond. When I was blog surfing post-4th holiday, I came across some projects I just LOVE and will definitely try for next year, or maybe even the rest of this patriotic summer season:

Beadboard Flag- I love this lady, she has a ton of great project inspiration on her blog.

Window Flag- also from Joys of Home, I think this is genius. This is why I love reading blogs, I would never think to do this, but I love it!

These patriotic flags- sew simple, yet so cute! From one of my new favorite blogs- Something to Do. I like everything she does! And check out her new sewing room while you're there, it's to die for.

Painted Wooden Flag, and Rag Garland- love them both, Jamie is so creative.

I like projects that are creative yet simple and easy, and also versatile and all of these fit that bill. I'm also thinking about doing an Americana/Patriotic style bedroom for two of my boys, using this quilt I made a long time ago as the basis of my inspiration. So, a lot of these holiday things could be used year round there as well.

As I say often, so many projects, so little time!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

I Highly Recommend:


It's been quite a while since I've seen a movie I liked as much as this one that I watched last night. With pudding and scrapbooking as two major themes in the movie, how could they go wrong?! I found this movie to be romantic and heartwarming, and also really funny in a clever and kind of understated way. I think movies like this, little movies with a good story, clean humor, interesting characters, and without a lot of violence, bad language and sexual content are getting very hard to find. Occasionally you can find them out there, so I just wanted to let you know about this one. Go out and rent it, you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

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Adirondack Chair Finished!


Remember my adirondack chair project I blogged about a little while ago? Well, it is finally finished!

I've had this thing hanging around on my porch unfinished for almost 2 years. Better late than never I guess! I don't know why it takes me so long to get around to doing things sometimes. Anyway, my hubby finally got the new arm we cut out screwed on, and sanded it down really well for me, so I could get on with the painting. I got up early on the 4th of July and painted the first coat, then did the second one early yesterday. I love how this turned out! I always see these chairs in different shades of bluey green when we're driving around the Cape and in Maine, and I always think to myself- I'd really like one of those sometime. So I guess my adirondack dreams have come true! Actually, now I'd like to see if I can find a similar unfinished one to paint and make a pair. I only used half of the quart of paint I bought, so I think another chair is in order.


The color is "Kensington Green" by Benjamin Moore. I LOVE this color! I love any color that reminds me of the ocean and all things beachy. I don't know if you can tell in the pictures, but it's kind of a pretty seafoamy type green, that's also a little grayish, very mellow. My plan is to sit on it while watching the kids play in the back yard, instead of perching myself uncomfortably at the top of one of their plastic slides, which is pretty much my only seating option out there at the moment!

Anyway, not bad for a chair that was destined for the trash before I rescued it! It just goes to show that many things can be repaired/transformed rather than thrown out with just a little elbow grease and paint. I love being thrifty like that! I think all together, for the primer I used and paint, and little piece of wood, this project cost about $15 total.

Here it is before, although it looked even worse before it got it's left arm replaced.

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New Trash to Treasure Project


(from Country Living, I think)

After falling in love with these two drop leaf table pictures recently, lo and behold, what did I find discarded by the side of the road?

(from Simple Sparrow)

This little drop leaf table, in all it's ugly blue painted glory!

What a great helper! The dirt on her face proves it:

As you can see, it needs a bit of intervention. There was a warped, water damaged layer of cheapo plywood stuff on the tabletop (top and bottom, ugh) which my hubby was nice enough to spend a good chunk of time chiseling off. Here it is half chiseled:

*I love the detail on the little turned legs



It's a work in progress, but I think when it's all finished being sanded down, primed and painted, it's going to be awfully cute, a perfect place for a little white pitcher and some family photos, and a stack of books on the bottom shelf. Hopefully it will stop raining one of these days (it's been two weeks straight and we're all going a little stir crazy!) and I can get this project finished up and show you the final product!