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Hmmmm...

1.28.2010
This could go one of two ways-
A. Turn into a beautiful canopy bed (with the plans from Knock-Off Wood)

-OR-

B.  Turn into a really expensive large bonfire when we mess it up

I am hoping for A....but that just might be me.

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Whatever Happened to the After?

1.25.2010
The laundry room after has been in the works for a long time.....and we are still not totally there yet. Remember how I am the queen of completing 90% of a project and then moving on to start something new? Well this one stalled around 70%. Since May.

Ouch.

Honestly the laundry room was not at the top of our renovation list because while it was full of oak and had a very awkward layout...it was the laundry room.

I did not get a true "before" picture because Derek was way too quick ripping out a laminate counter


So imagine a long laminate counter above the wood strips. The layout with the counter made for a lot of unusable space. We also had the pleasant surprise of finding that counter was not really secured to anything....the former owners decided just to set it on the strips of wood. The light fixture just had a single bulb which made the room very dim but did do a good job of hiding the dirty walls.

Ahhhhh oak...


But I kept telling myself that it was the laundry room and therefore low on the priority renovation list.

Then the dryer stopped working.

I pretended to be sad....but I really was thinking "front-loaders". Derek was really sad because he thought a new TV was next on the big purchase list. But clean clothes are a need right?

So we bought these babies.


I even blogged about my love for them....sad isn't it?

Paint color was difficult in this room.  But we finally decided and repainted, reorganized, and relit.

And there it has sat for months.


Why?  Because I wanted a counter spanning the the entire length of the room over the washer and dryer and over a side shelf that would hold laundry baskets for sorting clothes.  The problem with that small request?

These-


Outlets and water valves right where the counter needed to be hung.

So we gave up took a breather until this weekend when we decided to tackle the counter problem.  I was leaning towards just placing some sort of counter material on top of everything and not secured to the wall.  Derek however decided to raise it a couple of inches over the outlets and cover the gap in the front with decorative molding.






We did a lot of thinking about our countertop if choice.  The first priority was that it be easy to move if we need to.  We hope our new machines last for a very long time, but in case they bite the dust in the next five years, we did not want to add the pain of ripping our counters to accomodate the new dimensions.  Also while the counters are secured well, they still cannot be secured all the way across because of the outlets and water valves so the material could not be too heavy.  Bye granite and tile!

Since I am happy with the top of my craft room desk especailly considering how much abuse it gets, we decided to go the MDF route with tons of poly on top.  Cheap, easy, light, and moveable......perfect.
 

So right now I am in the process of finishing the MDF.  I have a really great design in mind that I hope will look awesome and tie the entire room.  I am seeing visions of green painters tape and gray paint.  The first coat went on Sunday so hopefully the 300 coats of poly will be done by this weekend for finally an "after".  Or I could wait another six months....hmmmmm.
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Italy Here We Come (in 5 months anyway)

1.19.2010
The flights are booked.  Deposits have been made on the apartments.  It's official: we are spending two weeks in Italy this summer.  And while I promise not to be blogging about our upcoming vacation constantly, I did want to share some pics like I promised and then shut up about it.

Anyway... we splurged a little bit on amazing views on the apartment in Florence in order to be enjoying these for an entire week.






 
 
 

Yep those were all taken from some area in the apartment. Can. not. wait.

Our apartment in Rome is much less spectacular but in a good location.



And while I wish this was from the terrace, it is actually taken from a spot close to where we will be staying.


We went the apartment route in the hopes of being able to prepare some of our meals and in the process save some euros.  And to have the experience of shopping in an Italian market.  The website we used to book them was Italy Perfect.  They have had great reviews on TripAdvisor and the BBB.  And they have been very responsive so far to my husband's million questions and emails/phone calls.  They have a lot of great properties in multiple price ranges and for different numbers of people.

Our hotel in Cinque Terre is not booked as of yet.....but I also wanted to share these gorgeous pictures.  Hopefully the couple of days we spend here will be relaxing and full of hiking.







I loved all your comments and suggestions from my previous post on Italy and places to see.  Keep 'em coming!  And now I promise to stop being the girl that keeps talking about her vacation....well until June at least.
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Knocking-Off Furniture Find

1.18.2010
I love to copy furniture pieces from expensive stores.  I love to build things. I love new furniture pieces.  I love can tolerate painting and staining.  So when I found Knock Off Wood this weekend I spent hours and hours perusing it. And planning.



You probably have already heard of Ana since she has been featured on Apartment Therapy and Young House Love, but just in case you missed it, I wanted to share my new favorite place for ideas.

Basically, she finds an awesome piece of furniture from Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, or West Elm, and then gives you the plans to make it yourself.  Like really awesome gorgeous furniture. For a fraction of the cost.  With no specialized tools.  And did I mention for free?

Wow.

Go check out all the plans because there are tons, but the one I have my sights set on first is this baby-

I have dreaming about a canopy bed forever....  In our old house the ceilings were too low....so I waited.  Our current master bedroom has the perfect ceiling for one, but since we have a a perfectly decent set of furniture I have still waited.  But our room is just screaming for one because everything looks so tiny in that much vertical space.


(more master bedroom pics here)

After finding these plans I am re-engerized in my quest for a canopy bed and would already be sawing and hammering except for one detail....Derek wants a bigger bed....which means a new mattress.  And with all the Europe trip planning going on a new mattress might not happen right away.  So I hope to be sharing my handmade canopy bed with all of you ASAP, but until then I hope you all can find some amazing plans for your home as well. 

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Excuses

1.11.2010
I have had a four day weekend because of the addition of two snow days.  Therefore I have not worn anything besides yoga pants for a very long time and should have tons of things to blog about like finished home/sewing/craft/some sort of project.  But I have nothing.  This is slightly pitiful, except I have a couple of excuses.
Ahem…
1. Derek has been sick and I have been the nice wife and been taking care of him.
(pretend this is a picture of an unshowered and unshaven Derek laying on the couch with pillows with tons of Kleenex, Zicam, and Sudafed on the coffee table….I actually snapped a picture but since he has decided to actually read the blog lately, I decided he would not appreciate that)

2.  This…..IMG_0295
I was so excited to receive a serger for Christmas from my mother-in-law so that I could tackle knits.  I had visions of so many summer knit dresses dancing in my head. I grew less excited when I saw the instruction manual and the two CD how-to set.  So until this weekend it has sat on the shelf waiting for me to get the guts to try it.  Well I tried it and let’s just say I failed.  Miserably.  Today I am trying to look at the bright side and look at it as a learning experience and remember the first disasters on the sewing machine.  I know that I will love the machine once I get the hang of it and I just need more practice starting with simpler projects.  But for the next couple of days the serger and I need to keep our distance to let those good thoughts try to soak in.
And finally..
3.
IMG_0293
Europe trip planning!  After much discussion, documentary watching, and reading, we finally determined that we are going to spend two weeks this summer in Italy.  Derek is Italian and took three years of the language in college and I…well….love red wine.   We will be spending a week in Florence with day trips to the Tuscan countryside and hilltowns,  2 days in the Cinque Terre overlooking the Mediterranean, and then end with 4 days in Rome. Our vacation philosophy is that we could see more countries and more sites, but if you are on a train every other day and up at 8 am every morning to get into line for a museum then it is not really a vacation.   With this itinerary we are hoping to experience many parts of Italy-the cities, the countryside and the coastline.  At the suggestion of Derek’s aunt we are planning on renting apartments in Florence and Rome so that for the same price of a hotel we will be able to prepare some of own meals.  I really really want to post a picture of the view from the terrace and the bed in the apartment we are thinking about in Florence (it is AMAZING) but I don’t want to jinx anything so I will make myself wait. 


We already starting the most important preparations. In the spirit of the trip Derek has been trying red wine he normally is just a white wine drinker).  Also I have been pondering the very important question of-

“What does one drink by the pool in Tuscany or on an Italian beach?” 

Obviously I need to do some research to make sure I am prepared.
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Throw Pillow Conundrum

1.07.2010
Since you guys did such an awesome job advising me on the color of curtains for the kitchen (which are still not completed as I am on the hunt for cheap and awesome white fabric just in case you were curious) I am back to get your advice on throw pillows for the family room.

I am embarrassed to admit this question for a couple of reasons.  First, this is what the couch an leather chairs have looked like since we moved in (hanging head in shame)

 

That's right...the chairs have been pillowless and the couch has had the storebought matchy pillows.

Know what is even sadder?  That I have had fabric to make said pillows for a year and a half.


So before I put out Christmas decorations I managed (after multiple multiple combination) to figure out where I wanted the pillow forms to be placed.....at least I think.

I wanted it to look random but not too random.  Not matchey matchey but not uncoordinated either.  And the set-up needed to be functional so the pillows just did not pile on the floor.  And I wanted them to stand out...no brown pillow on a dark brown chair.  You see now why this is such a process.

After passing that milestone I even ordered some additional fabric and made a couple of pillow form covers.  I really thought that all the pillows would be done before Christmas rolled around.  Here it is (and two pillows are actually complete with it)-

Paula Prass Garden Trellis

I also found a sheet set on super clearance at Homegoods that I loved the pattern and made another pillow (and bonus I still have tons of material left for other sewing projects).


I was on a roll.... right?

Not exactly....now that I have cotton prints pillow covers in slightly more modern designs, I am not sure how I feel about the previously bought fabric.

On one hand the other fabric is home decor weight and it was expensive.  I like the patterns (especially the floral) and it matches the "vibe" of the curtains better. And if I don't use it for pillows I have no idea what else I am going to use it for. But to go along with that it is dry clean only. 


On other side of the argument is purchasing an additional cotton print or two.  It is would match the more modern vibe of the pillows I have already sewn.  In addition there is no guilt about laying on them because the covers can be thrown into the wash very easily.  Here are some of the cotton prints I have been eyeing-


Studio E Flourish Beads



Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey- Lindy Leaf



Snow Flower by Dena Designs
(all the fabrics can be found on fabricshoppe's etsy shop here)

So what do you guys think?  Go with the fancier, expensive and already purchased fabrics?  Or buy more cotton prints?  Do you even like the cotton prints I picked out? Or mix and match between the two types of fabric?  Do tell because obviously I am downright confused.
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A Menu of Tutorials

1.04.2010