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Turn Back Time

4.29.2010
There are some perks to sharing an office with the space that old school library books go to die.  Besides the potential for procrastination. And the ambiance that shelves of books bring (paired with the hum of the main computer servers of course).

Anyway you get to score these finds.


You know when you read the books from the 50’s about how to be a “good wife” and so forth?  Well these remind me of that but only with interior design and decorating….in 1987.  Which of course is also known as the golden years of design and fashion. But on the other really does not seem that long ago.  I would link to them for purchase (or possibly an updated edition) but could not find them anywhere.

Let me share some of the gems-
 


But I thought that the addition of this coffee table was interesting.….look familiar?

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Maybe they were onto something??  Nah, the mint and mauve definitely counteracted that.

Bring back any memories?

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Grumpy

4.28.2010

IMG_0920This picture sums up the week.

Which to most people would not necessarily be a bad thing…other than the fact it is really cheap brand and probably tastes bad.  But Derek and I both have nut allergies(I know weird) and I just returned from the store with this in my bag.

Hmmmmmm…..

Let’s start at the beginning with the main culprit-

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Yeah it’s not working.  We knew it was 20 years old and therefore on it’s last legs.  And when the inspector mentioned that two years ago we just thought we would worry about it later.  I was too busy muttering “I don’t care if we have to paint every.single.surface…….I want it.”  Not sure what was going on in our brains that day.

But we were being all smart (at least I thought so) and budgeted for it as soon as we got back from our vacation in Italy to take advantage of the whole tax credit business.  Unfortunately it did not get the memo of the plan.  Cha-ching.  Bye-Bye master bath remodel.

I was really trying to look on the bright side of this. At least it is not hot yet and therefore not an emergency.  And it didn’t crap out when we were in Italy when it is over 100 degree and my college-aged brother was dog sitting at our house.  Because that would be a fun thing to deal with 10 time zones away.  The bright side.

So…..the connection with peanut butter?

Well, while we were getting a very expensive bid to replace the whole system, something started squeaking in the basement ceiling. 

“Um I am not an exterminator or anything but those sound like mice”.

Super.  This was the first time the thought “I wish we were renting” has ever has popped into my head.

Jack (aka the assassin) added “mouse” to his resume last weekend  in the backyard which I thought was strange and slightly creeped me out.  But now I am really creeped out and the assassin has not left my side if I have to walk into the basement in case the mice decide to make an appearance.  Maybe we should add the nickname of bodyguard.

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Hence the peanut butter excursion to use as bait in traps. 

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On a sidenote, I know most people do not have food allergies so they cannot relate to this.  But I felt so strange looking at the peanut butter.  Almost like I was in a forbidden aisle with “nut allergy” was stamped across my forehead and someone was going to jump out and bust me.  Or that the cashier was going to look at me and say “peanut butter? you?”    Probably how a teenager feels in an aisle that they know that they should not be in….but not that I experienced that feeling at that age personally of course.

The half-full side of me was happy that everyone was very complimentary of the appearance of our house when they were giving us bids.

But half-empty side reminded me very quickly that they were trying very hard to sell us an expensive piece of equipment.  So sincerity probably should be questioned.

Sigh.  I think that side wins this one.

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Project Plume

4.21.2010

It is official….without a deadline I am no good at actually completing a quilt. 

Case in point- in all the posts that I talk about a completed quilt I always mention that I wanted better pictures but because of _____ I had to hurry and get it done and therefore all my pictures stink. 

And the fact that I have two half done quilts hanging in the craft room that may never see the light of this blog because they do not have a deadline. 

No surprise that my newest quilt was not any different in the “completing at the last possible moment” category.

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But the good/bad news for everyone else is that I have no one to give it to as of right now…so I had a lot more time to take pictures.

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If it was not a gift, what was the deadline?

So glad you asked.

I have mentioned the Kansas City Modern Quilting Guild before….but I have forgotten to mention that we are already on our fourth meeting and we have had over 70 people attend the last three and we have already outgrown our original space and Tula Pink is a member of our guild. (she is a fabric designer for you non-quilt people out there).  She and Moda were kind enough to donate 35 charm packs of her latest line Plume to our guild with the following challenge- Make a quilt with just the charm pack and 1/2 yard of any other single fabric of your choosing.  Backing and binding were up to us.  That is not a lot of fabric ……but hence the word “challenge.”

I spent a lot of time thinking about all the creative things I could do with my fabric.  And I had a lot of great ideas.  At least I thought so. 

But I was realistic about my beginning quilting skills and limited time.  And in the end came up with this which I think will make a cute baby girl blanket-

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And here is what everyone else came up with (thanks to Shea for the pictures).  Obviously not everyone is a beginner like me because there were some amazing quilts on the Project Plume stage.  And obviously I need to get some blond highlights for spring.

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On another quilty note….April is National Quilt month.  And because of this Sew, Mama, Sew is hosting tons of how-tos on their blog (like here).  If would like to get you feet wet with quilting, this would be a perfect place to start.  Our president, Jacquie, has done a lot of the tutorials featured there and I have learned so much just from reading them. So go check it out!

And finally…on my quest for a spring picnic I just had to purchase this-

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I thought it just screamed picnic and I am planning on making an incredibly simple picnicing quilt (maybe backed with a laminated cotton??). 

But maybe I need to put a picnic on the calendar so there is a deadline….

Herbs on the Move

4.19.2010

Know what my favorite thing about winter is?  How much it makes me appreciate spring. 

Because who can appreciate the absolutely gorgeous weather we have been having without going through the cold and incredibly long winter?

That is what I tell myself at least during the winter.  Sometimes it actually works.

Since spring is in the air, gardening is on my mind.  We are still in the iffy part of planting in good ole Zone 5 because we have been known to still have a random freeze this late.  But being the rebel I am, I decided that I could start planting my pots last week.  I know I am living on the wild side, but I figure that in the unlikely event we have a freeze, I can always pull them inside at night.

Since I am freeing up garden real estate this year, I decided all the the herbs were going to planted in pots on the deck.  There are two added bonuses to this.  First, most of them smell heavenly which brings a nice ambience to the deck space.  Also, all the flowers I planted in pots last year did not do very well so hopefully the herbs will succeed  much better.  And flowers can start to add up in terms of $$$.  So by replacing most of them with herbs I would be buying anyway, we are saving some money.

But then I stumbled onto a problem- pretty pots are expensive, especially when I plan on planting tons of herbs and some random flowers. 

I did have a stack of old terra cotta ones  in the garage and they are inexpensive for new ones as well…..but orange rust does not mesh with the color scheme of the outdoor decor I am going for. 

So I turned to my favorite thing for sprucing something up…..I bet you can guess what that is…..

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But terra cotta is not a material that you can just slap some paint onto and call it good.  It took some prep work and specific materials.  So of course I am sharing the how-to so that you can also score some cheap and springy pots.

The How -To

1. First, gather all your posts and scrub them with soap and water.  I used a combination of new and old pots and definitely spent a lot more time scrubbing the mineral deposits and grime off of the old ones.

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2. Let them dry for at least 24 hours.  Learn from my mistakes and do not set them on a cement garage floor if there is any moisture at all in the ground.  The terra cotta will suck it right up and they will never dry.  Which is not fun to discover when you are ready to start painting them.

3. Spray with a water proofer.   Terra Cotta is porous and when holding plants will suck all the moisture in from the dirt into the clay.  Which is bad news for your paint if you are expecting it to stick.  There are a lot of water proofers out there and some people suggest painting them with oil-based polyurethane to do the trick.  But we had cans of Thompsons spray water sealer laying around from some past project that I now have no memory of.  The terra cotta absorbed it right away and did not appear any different after spraying.  Spray every surface with this stuff- both inside and outside.  We went though a can and a half for all the pots pictured after applying one heavy coat.

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4. Paint with Patio Paint in your desired color on both the outside and the inside.  All terra cotta surfaces must be covered so that no water permeates any part and causes your paint to peel.  This includes the inside of the water hole.  I found my patio paint at a local craft store next to the terra cotta pots and not next to the acrylic paint which caused me a little bit of confusion.

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I covered everything with two coats of paint using a foam brush.  The yellow and the white did not cover as well, so I added an extra coat.  This paint dries really fast so the process did no ttake very long.   I also used the green on the lower inside part of most of the pots because I knew you would not see it but it covered very well.  And I had a big bottle of it.

5.  Let dry for at least 48 hours per the paint’s instructions.

6.  Fill with plants!

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We put a coffee filter at the bottom the pots so that water could seep through but the dirt would stay put.

7. Color coordinate where you want particular herbs and enjoy!

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Budget Breakdown:

$37 for pots (I already owned some)

$16 for paint

$0 for water sealer (already owned)

=$53 total…..which I think is great for 11 pots and some of them being large ones at that.

And I love what the color brings to the deck….I am so excited about how it is coming together.   Now I just need to figure out what I can cook with that monstrous sage that came back with a vengeance this year…..

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Spring Steals

4.14.2010

So I am taking a big step and taking a personal day today.  I have never taken one before, but I am so proud of myself for taking a day to myself and all the projects waiting to be completed. 

Well let’s be honest…..half a personal day.  I have things scheduled at work in the morning but I will get out of there by noon.  Promise. 

Small steps.

While I use my extra couple of hours to work on the ten different spring projects that are partially done, I wanted to share all my great spring buys that I have found recently.

First, has anyone else noticed how expensive outdoor furniture is?  Ouch….especially when you are looking at comfortable outdoor sectionals.  Even at all of our favorite cheap places were were looking at least $1000.  Sigh. I will admit I was frustrated and thought that our outdoor space would be bland and not as functional for another year.  And what fun is that?

But then Wal-Mart.com came to the rescue with this-

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Any guesses on how much?  Under $500.  Yeah, so it probably won’t last a million years and become a family heirloom but oh well.  A couple of summers of enjoyment is all we are asking for.  It was also free to ship to the store. 

The box barely wedged into my small SUV.  And by barely I mean we had to take out the carpet in the back for that last centimeter and actually take the sectional out of the box piece by piece while it was in the car because it was so snug in order to extract it.

I am in the process of buying fun fabric for pillows to make it more summery and bright.  Because the throw pillows it came with were pretty ugly. Add that to the project list.

And did anyone spy the other thrifty find I scored this past week?  I will give you a second to scroll up in case you missed it. 

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Yep a garden stool for 20 bucks at Homegoods.  I am thinking to use it as a little side table right now but as the outdoor space comes together we will see where it ends up.  Anyway I love it.  And the color.  And the price.

I can’t wait to put together all the details and make our deck an extension of our house.

But in the meantime I will pretend that I am going to spend my afternoon of freedom stopping and smelling these-

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(and because of my spring fever I not able to resist at least one flower pic in every post….it will pass soon I promise)

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The TV Question

4.08.2010

So since the bed is done, I have been working on accessorizing the master bedroom so that it complete.   Not just 90% but completely finished.  Which you all know is a big step for me.

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But in trying to complete this process I have come across an obstacle that I have not been able to wrap my brain around how to successfully hide it’s ugliness. 

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You see it?  Yep the cable box (the speakers aren’t my favorite either but they don’t bother me as much for some reason).  I don’t think the reed diffuser is masking it. 

So how did the cable box find its home on the dresser?  Isn’t there a better place for it? Let’s back up a bit.

It all started when I declared that I did not want a TV in the bedroom.  Growing up we did not have cable and TV was not a big part of our lives.  We were not allowed to have TV’s in our rooms and we all had to figure out how to share one.  Sounds like fun huh? Derek on the other hand really enjoyed having a TV in the bedroom and assumed when we got married that we would have one.  Because that is what people do.

I lost the battle 5 years ago.

But until recently this is where our TV was located in our room as I did not want to crowd a dresser with it and a new flat screen was planted firmly on the “want” list and nowhere near the “need” column.  It was classy as well as dusty.

 

However when we went to the furniture store to buy a mattress, somehow this magically followed us home.

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Amazing how that happened.

So you can see that there is no place for the cable box where the TV is located.  The box currently is near the location of the original cable outlet.  So Derek ran the longest wire ever through the attic and down the wall to the TV.  In order to change the channel, you have to point the remote to the box on the dresser and not the TV. This took some getting used to and still is a little strange.

But that leads me to the problem….I can’t cover the cable box with a basket or something else because of the remote issue.  And that is the same reason it has to be in a prominent location and not stuck on some shelf somewhere.

So do you creative people have any ideas about how to fix this?  I will admit that the TV is really growing on me and maybe I was even……wrong.    Or are there more “no TV in the bedroom” people out there?

While you are thinking here are some other sneak peek pics of the other things I am putting together in the space-

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A-Tisket A-Tasket…

4.06.2010

What is the best thing about winter?   It makes you appreciate spring so much more.  Even going to the grocery store after a long day of work is enjoyable when it is 80 degrees and sunny.  Especially when a month ago you were wearing 6 layers and cursing the snow.

So in honor my newly found good mood, I decided to make a spring resolution.  And since I am putting it on the blog it makes it all official, we actually have to do it. 

When we were organizing the basement I stumbled on this odd shaped object all wrapped up in trash bags.  Hmmm what was that?

Picnic Basket

Our picnic basket!

Picnic Basket

This was my most favorite wedding present.  I was so excited when we opened it and had all these visions of packing it every weekend and lounging in the park together ….eating and drinking wine of course.

Now want to hear the sad and pathetic part?

Picnic Basket

Ummm that was almost five years ago and it has never been used.  Yep never.  Told you it was sad.  I swear it was because we have been too busy with house projects.

So in the spirit of spring I decided to bust it out of the trash bag and keep it out so we would be more likely to use it. 

Because who can resist this picnic-i-ness?

Picnic Basket

Picnic Basket

I am not usually a red gingham type of girl, but in this basket, I think it is perfect.

And to up the ante, I also want to make a picnic quilt.  I have a couple more baby quilts that are 75% done. And after they are finished, I swore to myself that the next one would be for us.  Since we have a big fat zero quilts in our house as I repeatedly give them all away.  The picnic one can be incredibly simple since it will be hopefully thrown in the dirt and eaten off of and washed many many times (you know with all the picnics we will be having).  But it will be ours. ….and I can save the more difficult patterns for a throw in the family room.

So will you guys hold us to it?  Any other fun spring ideas to add to my list?

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Hanging Around

4.02.2010

Ready for the last laundry room post?  Have I dragged it out long enough considered we started this journey a little less than a year ago?

But I know you have been waiting for the final how-to….the drying rack.

Like I mentioned before, it was totally inspired by Centsational Girl who was totally inspired by Ballard Designs.

And Derek was inspired by the pile of wood and all his tools out in the garage during the bed-making process.  And possibly by me asking really really nicely.

So I showed him the great tutorial by Kate, told him I would like some molding around ours, and no hanging hooks since we already had tons of hanging space. 

And he came up with this-

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I will not go into an incredibly detailed how-to because Kate already did such a great job.  And because I knew I was pushing my luck with another project in the middle of the bed so I decided to not act like the paparazzi and stalk him while he was putting it together.  Instead every time he walked into the house, I would nonchalantly stroll out there with my camera.  Shhhh…I am sure he had no idea what I was doing.  Especially considering he kept saying things like “do you need a picture of this for the blog?”

So here is the quick and dirty version-

1. Start with a piece of wood the size you want your drying rack to be and add molding to the edges to frame it.  Again, just like the bed, straight boards are your friend, especially since it will be fitting snugly next to the frame.IMG_0528

2. Then caulk around the moldingIMG_0530

3.  Build the actual drying rack with dowel rods and woodIMG_0531

4. Sand to smooth the wood and your caulk (if you are as bad of caulker as I am at least).  Also test to ensure that your rack fits within the frame perfectly without sticking.   IMG_0532

5.  Paint it.  I spray painted it.  And then I decided I did not love the finish so I painted it again with the ole stand by.

6. Assemble it.  Because of the way the frame is, we could not use the hinge and latch the same way that Kate did.  So Derek installed two hinges on the bottom.

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And some hooks and chain at the top for support as well as to latch it closed.   Pretend you can’t see the wood filler smudge.  It is now all white I swear.

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You just move the chain link to latch it (although honestly it is pretty snug so often it remains closed on it’s own)

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7.  Hang it.  We just screwed it into the studs in the wall.  A little wood filler and paint and you could not tell.  (although you can in this picture as I snapped it prematurely)

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Like always, this was a totally cheap project.  We had the majority of the wood left over from the bed and the dowels I had for some reason in the craft room.  And of course we had the paint.  So the grand total for some hinges and random wood was $15 at the most.  Much better than over $90 at Ballard wouldn’t you say?

And it works beautifully in the space as evidenced by the running clothes enjoying it…

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Happy Drying!

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