Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter decorations

How about a peek at the Easter stuff I did manage to get up before it comes down?

Before I start, someone was asking about the speckled eggs (and I have no way to contact you), I assume you meant the ones hanging on the fireplace? I thrifted them, but they still had a Marshalls price tag on them. Not much help I am sure.
It took me half a day to find the glass ornaments, but find them I did.
The old die cuts are back in the "hall of frames."
I love the Easter tree in the foyer.
A closer look.
I thrifted this sweet cross stitch a few weeks ago and just plopped it on the mantle. It might stay there after Easter.
A faux chocolate bunny under a cloche and one of my grandpa's old jars stuffed with some peep lights.
The eggs in the jar are all real, some have been with me since we lived in Florida. The eggs on the cake plate are Jack's creation. He was bugging me over the weekend to dye eggs (too early!) so I dug out the wooden eggs and some watercolors and set him to work. He spent two days painting those eggs, working in bursts here and there, and I was SO pleased when I looked at them and discovered he had made them striped and beautiful!

I am really not feeling like myself lately. :-( I spent most of Friday bawling my eyes out when I discovered that the director and assistant director of the preschool are both pregnant.

And I find myself really hating the new neighborhood. We moved from a VERY (overly) vibrant neighborhood that was full of kids and commotion to a dead zone filled with retirees. Jack and I can spend 6 hours a day outside and see not another living soul. Only two people have knocked on the door in almost 4 months...There are no kids needing help with homework, no one needs a cup of sugar, the doorbell isn't ringing constantly, there are no too loud radios,etc etc.

And it is lonely.

For both Jack and I.

We've been walking to the park trying to meet kids in the neighborhood for him to play with. Yesterday there was a cute little boy Jack's age who tried SO hard to get Jack to play with him. Jack decided he didn't want to speak to anybody yesterday, so he just stuck to me like a fly on poo.

While I usually deal with Jack's social difficulties with ease, yesterday left me feeling sad and frustrated.

David says he was the same kind of child and that his parents made him feel like he was torturing them with his difficulties. I certainly do not want to do that, but I do want to encourage Jack to branch out a bit, take a risk. (The last two times we have been down there he was happy to play. Maybe it was the kid or the day or the phase of the moon, lol.)

Sigh. Anyway, that's whats happening with us.

I have another bookshelf on the patio waiting for me to paint it, so I suppose I should get up and do something, eh?

P.S. Did you see this article about quilting truckers? There is a quote in there about actually accomplishing something with his time off and I have long said that making things gives me a real feeling of accomplishment while I am doing the work of mothering, a job that is often one where it is hard to see the accomplishment. :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

A quick flea market make over and a decision

Two weeks ago we went to a VERY chilly flea market on Saturday morning. Despite arriving only 30 minutes after it started, I was feeling disheartened by how.much.stuff.everyone was buying! They were filling up trucks full of stuff (good stuff too) and I was struggling to find anything to bring home with me despite having a pretty long wish list for the new house.
And then I spotted this bench. I paid a fair amount of money for it, for me anyway ($35), but we decided the legs made it worth it.

The legs are solid cast iron women in what looks like an art deco style.
Yesterday we ripped off two of the old layers of upholstery and left the first two layers on. The first layer looks like an old carpet, the second layer is a quilted silk. The layers I ripped off were something that look like a nubby 1950's pink and that red silk in the photo. Underneath all of that it is stuffed with pine needles! (That's why I left the first two layers, too big of a mess to take all that apart.)
I added some more foam and a piece of a quilt I had kicking around the sewing room and now we have a foyer bench for taking off your shoes.
In my ongoing efforts to make the house more "homey," I framed and hung up these cup quilt blocks I bought at the flea market a long time ago. It wasn't easy to find square frames, but dollar tree finally came through. I just had to paint them white.
Anyway, I am still debating something. I bought a set of these three shelves at a thrift because I knew I would use them somewhere. My first thought was to use them with the teacup quilt blocks. Hang the shelves, lean a teacup block on each shelf and then set some of my teacup collection on the shelves with the quilt blocks. Does that make sense?

Then I decided to just hang the quilt blocks by themselves and see if I loved them. If I did, I would just use the shelves elsewhere.

But I am still undecided! What do you think? Blocks alone? Or blocks + shelves + teacups? (If I do use the shelves I think I am going to relocate the whole thing to a different wall, it won't be crowded onto that wall.)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jamie Oliver

So, is anyone else watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? Maybe some of you want to talk about it if you are?

I think it horrifies me in a train wreck kind of way.

The part where he ground up all the "unsellable" parts of the chicken and made a nugget, which the children actually wanted to eat (!!), was particularly gruesome.

I will fully admit that we are not great eaters here. While remodeling the house we practically lived at the darn McDonalds. And I do have frozen pizzas in the big freezer. I do make Jack get whatever fruit choice there is if we are eating out (instead of fries) and he NEVER is allowed soda, always milk.

However, when we do eat at home I cook with recognizable "food". We don't eat hamburger helper or green ketchup, we don't eat a lot of red meat, I use whole grains, we eat vegetables (never from a can unless it's a bean), and we love fruit. BUT, again, I am not even close to wonderful about food. I do give him hot dogs (I try to choose "healthier" ones) and spaghetti o's and what have you.

But he is about to start school next year, and I recognize that I am about to lose some of the control I have over his food choices.

Take that milk I always make him drink - we never give him chocolate milk. I do have the chocolate powder in the pantry, but he never even asks for it unless he has been playing in the snow. On Food Revolution every child there is choosing colored/sweetened milk.

I wonder what kind of milk I will find him choosing...

And then last night the kindergartners on the show didn't recognize a single fruit or veg when he showed it to them.

I went through our fridge this morning and quizzed Jack on everything I could find in there. (I told you that show made me uncomfortable.)

He did pretty well, but we do eat a lot of fruits and vegetables around here. (Including tofu, which most people in this area think is bizarre.)

Before we had even started watching the show Dave and I were talking about his lunches at school and I was already pretty adamant that he carry a lunch. Jack has issues with hypoglycemia and if he does not eat food regularly all hell breaks loose.

But after watching Jamie fill that dumpster with saturated fat? HOLY CRAP. Terrifying. What in the hell are we feeding kids at school for goodness sake?

And don't even get me started on the knife and fork thing. I mean really, kids who can't use a fork??

Jack is five now, and I let him help me prepare foods all the time. He can measure ingredients, find ingredients in the pantry/fridge, make sandwiches, pour his own drinks, etc.

I could go on and on about this stuff I suppose. About local food (hard to get here sometimes. I can find fruit easily, but even the "farm stands" are stuff that is trucked in), organic food, slow food, etc.

It is ALWAYS on my mind, but I am not always great at doing anything about it.

This show however? Totally makes me change my mind about doing something about it. Both in our house and wherever Jack ends up going to school. I recognize that in many ways Jack has the "luxury" of my being able to always send a nutritious lunch with him and not every child has access to that. Which is upsetting in so many ways.

A few things to read if you haven't already and are interested:
a teacher blogs school lunches
Food Inc, a great resource
Jamie's website
ABC, where you can watch episodes of Food Revolution
And there is always Supersize me, which I have not seen, but I now am vowing to see.

If anyone does want to babble about this show, or food in general, I will try and reply in the comments instead of via email so that everyone can follow the "conversation" if they choose.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Me and my stuff

On Wednesday I went thrifting. I decided on Tuesday I was going to forget about everything else and just follow that little nudge I had been having to go the thrift. And follow it, I did. Right to a nice bounty of treasure. (Never ignore that little thrift store call when it happens, I say.)

So, what did I buy? (photos can click to enlarge)
My everyday driver quilt is seriously on it's last legs. It is starting to riiiiiiiipppp every time I roll over at night. It's really hard to find a replacement though, because I am seriously attached to my quilt.

When I spotted this rosy quilt in the linens I think I had heart palpitations.
She made it with that border print fabric that I am in love with. And it is so soft and so perfect. I've slept under it for two nights already.

I have more duvet covers than should be legal, but these tiny periwinkle polka dots and that crochet edge are wonderful. Also already on the bed.
A pink tulip lamp?!?! Get out. LOVE. Destined for the kitchen countertop.
And feedsacks. Oh yes I did.
A never opened circus feedsack?!?! I think I died and went to heaven again, right?
This baby quilt top was clearly worked on by two different ladies. The bear appliques are PERFECT work. And in lovely 1930's fabrics with feedsack bowties.
Even their little tongues stick out.

But someone kind of ruined it when they did the sloppy blue stitching instead of finishing the embroidery properly. It would be a ton of work to rip out those stitches and redo it right, so I am pondering reusing the bears in something else.
I didn't get the greatest photo of this quilt top (my camera was going bonkers with that face recognition stuff, it could not pick a square to focus on! and it was too big for the garage door, thank goodness the fence starts going in in 2 weeks), but it is awesome.
There are so many interesting fabrics in it. I LOVE the purple one, of course.
It looks like the fabrics span a few decades, a true scrap quilt.

I don't often ponder finishing the quilt tops I pick up, but this one would be easy enough to do that I just might.
Last, but not least, is this super cool vintage toy for Jack. I had never seen these woodsey squirrels before...
but I was sold as soon as I saw that mushroom! They actually are quite fun (they squeak!) and Jack spent awhile playing with them. (Surprise, he did something other than ask me to play that $##@ wii.)

There were a few other things too - bedskirts (one is chenille), books for Jack (Goldilocks has chicken pox, the CUTEST illustrations ever), sheets to cut up for a smock for my niece, a restoration hardware mint julep cup for the bathroom and who knows what else. LOL

I did say it was a good day, right? :-)

And tomorrow is Saturday and garage sales are starting. I wonder what's out there waiting for me now?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It seemed like a good idea

I have a bunch of Dave's old shirts that I scavenged from the goodwill pile in my sewing room because I love the fabric. (And because he used to wear nice pastels for *me* and now he only wants to wear orange and dark green and navy blue! LOL). When I saw the shirt on the left at Goodwill this weekend I bought it for the fabric thinking I had a GREAT idea for the last living room pillow I needed.

Pretty lavender ruffles! With soft torn edges! Loads of them!
Except the darn thing took forever to make. And really? It wasn't that easy. It might be easier to make quilts. Honestly.

All that tearing to get those edges. All that basting. All that ruffling. All that straightening of the ruffles. All that pinning.

And the threads. Oh man, the threads. You could sit and pull loose threads from torn ruffles for a week and still have more threads. (And the corner looks goofy in the photo, I think I must have been at a bad angle.)
This photo with the glaring flash is a better representation of the color.

It *is* cute. But perhaps in this case it is better to give homegoods $10 or something and just buy one.

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Ha.

I had a spectacular thrifting day yesterday when I decided to take a day off from making things and painting things and cleaning things. It's rainy today, but I will share some treasures tomorrow. It was the best day in years* I think.

*Dave and I used to go out thrifting together once in awhile and I swear we could fill up the whole van. Now three bags makes my day. Oh how times have changed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The painted quilt cabinet

Another one bites the dust! I finished the quilt cabinet makeover this weekend. One project down, 999,000 to go. LOL
David made this cabinet for me 8 or 9 years ago after we saw one I LOVED in an antique store that was insanely expensive (around $1400). He always intended to paint it, but it never happened. And honestly, I didn't hate it just being pine.

But over the years the pine started to get dark and look blech.

I really was going to paint it that green that I had tried on it in this photo. But that paint (a freebie from the internet) was an eggshell finish and I really prefer at least a satin finish on furniture.
Then I stumbled on a pink mistint at Wal-mart that was 50% off and I KNEW it was going to pink.

It is nice in pink. Lovely in pink. It is, however, taking some getting used to! I was quite accustomed to the pine. (Seeing it in the picture makes me love it more I think.)
I decided not to paint the inside for a myriad of reasons. First, it would have been darn hard to paint in there. Second, I was worried about how long the paint would have to cure without getting stuck to my quilts. You can't really see any of the inside anyway. Right now you can see a little of the shelves, but I have more quilts I can put in there.

While we were updating it we went ahead and removed the screens and put in chicken wire in it's place. The cats were totally shredding the screens and they were falling out.
And then I went and brought home yet another project yesterday. LOL I want a chair for our bedroom. Two or three years ago my mom and I were in the thrift and I spotted this chair. (I think it was one of a pair actually. Pity we left the other behind.) I LOVED it but we had NO room for it.

So my mom bought it and has been using it in her apartment and she said I could have it now.
I kind of love the current upholstery, which is truer in color in this photo. But it's really grungy and Dave says it does not work with our (Which it really doesn't, but still, I like it.)

I have an idea on how to make this chair over, but man is it ambitious.

It might be a little scary.

And it's going to take me awhile to work up the nerve to do it. LOL

In the meantime I better tackle a smaller project. Like the bench for the hallway.

*To answer a few questions:
- The yellow in our hallway/living room/etc is Summer Wish from Valspar at Lowes. (Yellow is a HARD color. Try a few yellows to find one that works in *your* house. This yellow is actually brighter than the yellow at our old house, but this house is a little darker inside, so it can carry the brighter yellow.)
- The pink on the cabinet is pink spangles, color place, from wal-mart, but mine is a mistint, so I am not sure what it was supposed to look like.
- The blue in the kitchen is bird's song, a valspar "signature" color at Lowes.
- When do I do all this painting?? When Jack is at preschool! I love preschool. :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Still painting

The "paint everything that isn't standing still" spree continues, including finally getting some paint on some of the house remodeling type stuff!
The fireplace went from half finished
to all the way white
with a little rosette thing on it.
I was going to paint the back of the peninsula white, since everything in the kitchen and dining room is white
but out of nowhere I decided to paint it blue. It's lovely blue. It makes the whole kitchen feel more cottagey and less stark. (Even if this isn't a great photo because there is stuff all over the counters from my projects. LOL)
I also finished another pillow with the 5 inch squares. This one tried to kill me. Seriously.
It was supposed to be an 8 point star, but despite sewing VERY carefully, ironing the heck out of everything, cutting and recutting, sewing and seam ripping I could not make it work that way. So I made it a 9 pointed star. And it doesn't come together right in the middle. Whatever. Life isn't perfect. And it still pretties up the living room sofa.
Yesterday I took a break from painting and Jack and I went to the park. We can actually walk to a playground from our house. Woooohooo! Since the sun was so bright we played with some shadow photos of us together.
And today I am playing the princess and the pea with vintage quilts.

Just kidding. I am painting the quilt cabinet. Pink. I can't wait to see it finished.

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One paint job down

I spent so much time painting last week that my muscles felt like they might be about to explode. I managed to get a few things done (although if you look into the office to the right you can see I have made no progress there!) that have been bugging me.
This is our entry table before, a nondescript khaki color.
And after, a beautiful blue green. The paint is Martha Stewart duck's egg from Home Depot. I kind of love it next to the yellow. (photos are clickable to enlarge)

One paint job down, one million to go.

Now I need to go ponder the Easter decorations. I do NOT have my holiday mojo at this house. At all. Here's hoping I find it since I just spent 2 hours hunting down the Easter totes in the very messy basement!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Going Dotty

When Dave and I were watching the Olympics last month, I decided to get out my pile of 5 inch fabric squares* and see what I could make with them. I pulled out a big pile of the polka dot fabrics and set them aside to make a new couch pillow.

It took me awhile to get to it, and it is not at all where I originally set out to go with it, but I really do love the new pillow. (This is much simpler than what I had set out to do, but once I had the fabric laid it out it was screaming to be simple squares.)
Jack likes that it says bubbly on it.
It looks pretty sweet on the pink Ektorp slipcover also. :-)

I am still working on hanging new curtains, adding more pictures to the walls, etc. It's amazing how things like new couch pillows can help this house go from "boy it feels weird to live here" to "ahhhhhhh, much more like home."

And Dave is out of town AGAIN this week and Jack is already acting like something out of where the wild things are. It might be a long week.

* I am still getting miles and miles of use out of that fabric swap. In fact, I have another couch pillow in the works from them. I keep thinking we need to do another one of those swaps, but holy moly it's a lot of work. If you are new to Makin' Projiks it is probably worth looking at the 5 inch square fabric swap label at the end of this post to see just how much stuff you can make with a pile of small pieces of fabric!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

A family shadow box project

I love shadow boxes. I pick them up whenever I see them cheap.
I found this one for a dollar at Goodwill last week. It's pretty small (probably 4 x 6) and I wandered around the house for a good hour trying to decide what to put in it. I could only find seashells that fit, and I really prefer them to hold something a bit more "precious".

I kept wishing I had something of my grandparent's that was screaming to go in there, but nada.
And then I remembered that just last week Jack had drawn the cutest family portrait and it was currently languishing away on the fridge amongst a million other drawings.

I had him add a drawing of our new house to the pile of drawings.
Then after he went to bed I copied them onto cardstock, cut them out so they had little stands on the bottom and glued them into the shadow box with some dollhouse flowerpots I picked up awhile back.

Add a piece of grass scrapbook paper to the back and voila!

Something precious indeed, our family and our house in a little shadow box. A moment captured perfectly in time.