Monday, November 29, 2010

Forget Maniac Shopping . . .

Around here, we're just busy maniac CRAFTING!

Yes. This is my pile of crafts that need to be done. The joyful thing - this is only the stuff that needs to be done before December 13. There's more that I'm putting off until after that.

On the table are:
  • presents for both moms
  • present for the person who's name we have for Christmas (my side)
  • presents for Hubby's side
  • 10 table runners for a wedding reception
  • fabric for a pieced quilt, also for the reception
  • a little something (that may change) for a little present for my sisters
  • presents for my primary class
Whew. All in 14 days. And my in laws are coming today for a few days. Wish me luck in my insanity!

Friday, November 26, 2010

What's your number?

Just thought I'd drop a note and let you know I've been playing with my blog. I now can number my comments! I've tried several different tutorials for this before, but none have ever worked for me. But I finally found one that did!

If you'd like to be all cool and marvelous too, check it out HERE.

(and I keep on getting more followers. Seriously. It's the oddest thing in the world that complete strangers read my randomness. But still, it is pretty darn cool to log on and see that number click up. So thanks you guys! You make me happy!)

*oh, and to answer some questions from the last few posts: if you make curtain clothes for other people, that makes you an Austrian nun. If it's for you, you're now Scarlett O'Hara. And if you want to look like you time travel, accidentally put your posting date for 20 days previously, publish your post, and then try to change it. You can change the date, but it still will publish early!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

I always wanted to be a Von Trap.

Query: Does using curtians to make your child a dress, make you an Austrian almost nun?

So, on Friday, I found this:

Isn't that a beautiful dress? I have yet to find a Christmas dress for Girly-lou, and thought this would be just perfect! In my last post, this was the project I mentioned was supposed to be super easy, but was TOTALLY NOT! Ok, that's a lie. Actually, it went reasonably well, until I tried the silly thing on my daughter. And found it was way. WAY too short.


So here's how I made this my own.

First: I totally planned on running out to pick up some fabric. But Lil was sleeping, and I was also babysitting some extra kids. So being the amazingly patient person I am, I scoured my small fabric stash instead. And found this adorable pink stuff that Happy Mom had given me when she was de-junking her stuff (thanks sis!). For the accent, I honestly and truly used the valence portion to the curtains in the girls room. I was never super crazy about the cut on these (three very VERY long triangles), but kept the stuff because I love the fabric. And off I went!

First snag: the pattern is not super easy to follow. I am no stranger with my sewing machine, but there were some steps that just were not listed! So I punted (I'm pretty sure punted wrong on some places, hence the major hiccup later).

Second snag: making the button loops. The instructions say that it's easy to turn this microscopic tube. Well, I sure couldn't do it! I needed some back up help for that part. So after a 20 minute struggle, I gave up, made some double fold bias tape, and decided I could live with seeing some stitching.

Third snag: After sewing the entire bodice - WITH top stitching, AND attaching it to the skirt, THEN I decided it needed sleeves. Phooey. I made my sleeves by cutting out a piece, 6 inches by 25 inches (for each sleeve), doing a double fold hem along one long side, and sewing up the underarm seam on with the two short sides. Then I ran a gathering stitch along the other long side, adjusted it to fit inside the arm hole, and just sewed again along the previous top stitching. Not the most ideal or perfect look, but I'm happy with it.

not going to win any ribbons, but if you're close enough to notice, you're going to be family anyway!

Fourth snag: There are really no instructions for making the sash. Seriously. So I just assumed how it was supposed to go, and think it was ok.

MAJOR HICCUP: This dress is supposed to hit mid to lower calf. When I tried it on Girly-Lou, it was hitting smack dab in the middle of her knee cap. Which first of all, looked goofy, and second of all, if she grows at all in the next month, it will be too short for her.

Triple sigh.

At first, I thought I would just make another skirt. Annoying, yes, but not too bad. But then I found out there was not even close enough fabric left over for a whole skirt. Grumble grumble. I also felt that the band was too small (that really bad punt at the first) and the sash was too big. So, I unpicked the entire band (with top stitching), and then the entire sash.

I made band into the sash, and the sash into the band, and then added a SECOND band made out of the skirt material.

that bow makes me happy.

This involved a full HOUR of unpicking. SOOO not my favorite activity. But eventually, I made it through.

back view

So, the moral of the story. If a pattern is confusing, take the extra day to email the author back and forth so you can actually understand the instructions!

I promise, it will help. And curtians really are some great sources for fabric!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New finds I now love

1. Good Eats. This is one I've loved for years. We do not have cable at our house. We did, for one full year back in 2007, but only because it was included in our rent. Since then, we just haven't had the desire spring that much dough for that much crud. But one of the tragedies of this is the total lack of Food Network. It's been a thorn in my side for years now.

However, I just discovered that they are now posting limited episodes of the best shows. We just spent an hour watching Alton Brown teach us about tuna, oil, and crackers. I have so missed the insane amount of knowledge I glean from these. (Full confessions, I remember staying up way too late watching an entire episode about pepper. Seriously. Who knew you could talk for 21 minutes just about pepper?)

And now, my kids are walking around the basement telling each other how to combine plastic parts of chicken with one part cucumber, a pear, and to bake until golden brown and delicious!

2. Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. This one was a link of a link of a link. But after perusing her blog for an hour or so (what can I say, all those yummy pictures!), I'm a new follower. Her stories are funny, the pictures are yummy, and it's a food blog full of stuff I might actually want to make! I'm totally picking up some candy corn to whip this one up later!

3. Uncle Jay explains again, a link of a link. Basically, he posts videos every Monday talking about the past week's news. He also puts things very basically, so kids could understand it, but the little jokes and side notes are all for the adults. Very funny, very easy, very worth a bookmark.

So that's what I spent my morning on
(instead of preparing my primary lesson, cleaning my house, or working on a project that was supposed to be easy and amazing and blogged about this morning, but instead has turned frustrating, complicated, and procrastinated for another day!) What new things have caught your fancy recently?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Good Enough For Now Bathroom

I had a dozen different ideas for the title of this post. Here are some of my best ones:

Getting the biggest bang for no bucks

I may be certifiably insane

More signs of my DIY addiction

Dizzy Diagonals Disappear!

It's better than it was before bathroom

My own version of Trading Spaces

Back story: My house is 46 years old (coincidentally, it was built the same year as the home I grew up in, and is almost the exact same size!). Every room has been updated in the last 20 years - except the bathroom. The day I looked at this house, it was an eyesore - so OBVIOUSLY needed some TLC. But the rest of the house was marvelous, so we bought it.

I have great plans for this room. AMAZING plans. However, they involve replacing every. single. thing. in the ENTIRE room (plus moving a wall!) Since my budget is full of things like apples and diapers, that plan is a long way off. So I just lived with this:

Ummmmmmm. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

I have no idea what someone was smoking when they decided to put up real bead board panelling, on a diagonal, floor to ceiling, and add crown molding, and then leave everything natural wood. Oh, and the two toned ivy-ish stencil on the ceiling. That really changes the feel of the room. It was something, let me tell you. Hubby liked it (he thought it felt like a log cabin). Not exactly what I was wanting though.

I'd thought about painting that panelling, but I've heard just how frustrating painting bead board is, and I kind of have hopes of turning it all into an adorable real bed for my room someday, and really just didn't want to bother with it.

Last week, I'd had enough! I was between projects, I HATED this room, passionately! I'm not sure which of my inspiration friends (maybe the nester or thrifty decor chic?) have inspired me. If I hate it, whatever I do trying to make it better, couldn't be any worse, right? If horrible things happen, well, then I'm still stuck with a bathroom I hate.

So Tuesday night I picked up a pry bar from Happy Mom, and I went at it. By myself, I pulled down all that panelling (well, almost all of it.) And discovered that there was no drywall underneath. Instead there was plywood.

Hmmm. Ok. So this officially became my well-it-could-be-worse room. And I decided to see just how much change I could do WITHOUT SPENDING A NICKEL.

What do you think.

A bit different?
I reached the certifiably insane point when I decided I should also paint the cabinets, and try to get the whole thing done before I leave for Texas Friday morning (yes, that would be just about exactly 48 hours, hence the trading spaces title, even though I didn't trade with anyone, did it all myself, and did it in two days instead of one). I made it, but it was a bit more than I could really chew trying to get everything done that fast! I'm also pretty sure that the paint will end up chipping on the cabinets.

Do I love it?Well, sorta. The paint is all left over stuff. The white is from the bunk bed, the blue actually came with the house. I'm really done with my shower curtain, but I liked the idea of saying I didn't spend any money at all on this. I like the paint colors way better than I thought. However, the blue is flat paint. I really hate the way flat paint feels - an on top of plywood, it's even worse. There are also some big gaps where I couldn't get the paint in.

And taking off 1/4 inch thick paneling all across the room meant that the crown molding was now too small, so there's some great creative optical illusions going on in the room. And I didn't know how to unhook all the pluming to move the toilet and vanity to get all the board off, so there are some really raggedy places.

But I must say, it looks SOOOO much nicer in here. Much closer to the feel I want in my home.

Goodbye log cabin:

Hello spa. Well, really low budget spa anyway!

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