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T-minus 4 days

12.21.2011

Ummm…so where did December go?  Is Christmas really just a couple of days away(gulp)?

True to form I am way too busy with way too many sewing projects to give and the next couple of nights will involve long hours in the craft room.  But I wanted to pop in to say hi and with a quick tip on holiday wrapping. 

There are so many creative ideas on pinterest and on blogs for creative holiday wrapping.  Amazing stuff. Two Christmases ago each package at our house was carefully decorated with jingle bells, punch outs of holiday scrapbook paper etc. If you have that kind of time skip this post and start hitting up pinterest.

Last year I was in my first trimester and sick sick sick and we went the gift bags and tissue route.  At least I think that is what Derek pulled together.

This year with a 5 month old time is still very precious but I wanted our packages to look special.  My quick and easy solution?  Use satin non-wired ribbon and nice gift tags.

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This ribbon is not in the Christmas section of craft stores but in the normal ribbon section.  Which stinks when Christmas ribbon is 40% off but is nice that you could stock up year round (and when you have a coupon).

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Rocket science?  No.  But for the same amount of time and little more money I think it makes a big difference.  And if you are traveling, the bows won’t get smashed in transit.

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For the gift tags, I bought a bucket of them at Target for a couple of bucks.

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If you had an extra couple of minutes you also could print some off.  I love these from Brooklyn Limestone and used them on kids packages.  So far they are a big hit.IMG_6325

Now back to sewing…

Now If It Would Just Paint Itself

11.17.2011

Last time we left the basement renovation, we had taken down the walls and found some unfortunate poles.  Well we have had some busy weekends since then.

First up the electrical.  Which involved the fun of putting more holes in the wall.  And ceiling.  And framing out the firepace to camouflage those weirdly placed poles. 

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And making a wall for the workout closet since we got rid of it’s own room.

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Then the drywallers spent a week with us working their magic.  We have learned that drywall is an artform that we have not mastered and hiring someone to handle it all was money well spent.  Very well spent.

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And then the two pallets of tile had to be carried downstairs.  Did I mention it was heavy?  At least that is what was reported to me.

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And after a weekend of fun with all that tile we are now looking like this…

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Love.this.tile.

It is a little hard to tell from the photos but it is a charcoal quarzite.  We did figure out a reason why it was on closeout.  Those tiles were all different thicknesses.  Even in the same tile one side was thicker than the other.  Which posed some challenges for installing it.  Or so I am told.  I just provided the beer.

In a perfect world we would have painted first so splattering all over the cement floor would not have been a big deal.  But we were lucky enough to have family come into town to help Derek with this undertaking. We took them when they could come in figuring that dealing with some drop clothes was better than having a cement floor and tile in the garage indefinitely.

Anyone feel like painting this weekend?  I am a pro at bringing down beer.

Habitat Challenge

11.15.2011

Last Thursday was the Habitat Challenge Reveal Night at Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild. Yeah!

The challenge?  We each received 8 fat eighths of Habitat fabric by Jay McCarroll (of Project Runway fame).  We could use any solid fabric or other Habitat print in addition to our challenge packet.  Here is what I came up with-

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I was planning on originally using the solid gray as my major background color.  But I happened to set the challenge fabric next to a blue shot cotton that I had planned on using for the lining on a pair of pants for Carter.  I loved it so much that the blue replaced the gray.  And Carter still has no pants.

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I then quilted it with random vertical and horizontal lines to mimic the lines of the inserted fabric.

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And the back is another Habitat print.

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As a beginner with the whole quilt thing, I love it when people share their process.  So here is how I got to my finished product.

I started with this….just strips inserted at right angles.IMG_5490

Yawn.

I knew I wanted to cut it up and re-orient sections but I worried about making it look awful.  I needed to do a test run before I started  hacking into the fabric.  So instead of using modern technology, I went the old fashioned way of scissors and tape.

I printed out the picture of the quilt and started hacking away.

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I took a picture each time I made a cut so I would remember the steps in case I liked it. 

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My picture was not square to begin with so I was not worried about things matching up perfectly.  I just wanted to make sure it would not be ugly.

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I was satisfied that it was more interesting than what I was starting with, so I started the same process with my quilt, but this time with a rotary cutter and a sewing machine.  It did not turn out like my original picture because more math was involved to make sure things would line up correctly, but it gave me a general idea. And I was happy with the random finished product.

There were so many awesome quilts at the reveal…it made for a super fun night.  Check out our Flickr photostream to see all the talent.

And for those you wondering if I have given up my procrastinator ways of quilting, the answer is a resounding no.   I was binding this baby until an hour before I left for the meeting.  After not getting much sleep the night before.

But it is complete and I think it is going to return to it’s roots of the craft room.  Carter has been playing on the pink Project Plume challenge quilt while I am sewing and he has requested something a little more masculine.

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Much better.

Now he just needs his mommy to get on those pants.

Framed

11.07.2011

You would think that the room that you spend a third of your life in would be the first to be beautiful.  But not our master bedroom.  It has been ignored for other projects for too long. And now it since the other rooms are getting closer towards being “finished” it has our undivided attention.

To share with a basement reno and a baby.  Oh and two dogs.

Sure we painted, and made the bed and added some other furniture but it never got past that halfway mark. Because no one ever sees it except the two of us and a lot of the time it holds unglamorous things like laundry baskets of clean clothes we I am too lazy to put away.

Or recently bottles, burp clothes, and pack and plays. Nothing says glamour like cloth diapers for cleaning up baby urps.

Part of the issue is it is a huge room so it is taking a lot to make it look complete. But I am on a new kick and have lots of ideas up my sleeve to make it elegant, relaxing, and personal.  And add some color. 

First up was adding some picture frames or something above the nightstands for some height.  Because the lamps look puny.  See…(yes this picture is from over a year and a half ago but sadly looked pretty much the same until this weekend.)

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And now…

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Not a huge difference, but we are taking baby steps here.  Any guesses what we framed?  Give you a hint…it was cheap and simple and has personal meaning without being photos.

A closer look…

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In keeping with the theme of remembering our trips (like with our Italy gallery wall and maps), I went with our passport stamps.

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It was super simple-just scan them in and blow them up.  I then opened them up in a simple photo editing program and messed with the tint and saturation in a non systematic way until they looked the way I envisioned.  Then a quick print and trim before sticking them in a frame.  All of my stamps on my side of the bed and all of Derek’s on his.

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We had some repeats of course since we do travel with each other a lot, but even those looked different because of the varied backgrounds they were stamped on.

So now as I get ready to turn off the light, I can remember our fond times in Italy Frankfurt, Germany. 

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Long story.

But it still makes me smile.

DIYer is to Paint Deck as Quilter is to-

10.31.2011

My beloved paint deck has a new best friend.

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But this one stays in my sewing room.  And it unfolds to reveal all of this color goodness.

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So now when I am working on a quilt (or pillow, or pants for the little man) and I want a coordinating solid, I can just whip out my handy card and find the perfect match.

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Before I had to hope my computer screen was an accurate depiction of color.  I will let you guess how that turned out.

Or I had to be limited to the colors that my local stores carried.  And when I needed more and they were out and I had no idea what color I had bought I was up a creek.  But no more with this baby!

I have done two solids quilts in the past- an easy color box baby quilt and a zigzag quilt that was my (late) entry in the Robert Kaufman No Prints Allowed Challenge through the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.  Just looking at the Flickr group for that challenge makes me not miss prints for awhile.

With my handy card I decided that I needed to make a quilt for the end of our bed.  In solids please.

Because the master bedroom has gotten the short end of the decorating stick and I am starting to enjoy actually keeping the quilts I make.  And I like to forget all the other sewing projects currently in progress to start a new one.  Much more fun.

Just looking at the fabric makes me happy.

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Now all I need is some long nap vibes…

Why This is Not A Cooking Blog

10.26.2011

If it is still a blog at all with my pitiful lack of posting.

I hate when bloggers go into a long drawn out explanation about why they have not blogged so here is my short and sweet version.

A baby.  13 weeks of maternity leave over. 

I have tons of stuff to blog about which is the first step…now just finding time to write coherently about it. 

Or at least semi-coherently since some babble could be excused due to sleep deprivation.

Anyway, I was excited for this recipe for a couple of reasons.  1) I love pumpkin dips 2) It was super quick and easy 3) It meant we were actually going to a social function that required us to bring something (remember the whole three month old thing).

The name if the recipe is Pumpkin Fluff and I found it on Allrecipes.com.  I am not going to post the entire recipe, but here is the short and sweet version.

Pumpkin Fluff

1. Get the ingredients- Cool Whip, canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, instant vanilla pudding, and graham crackers.

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2. Realize you are an idiot for not reading the sizes of said ingredients on the original recipe.  Meaning you have too little cool whip and pudding.  Which you figured out after you took the picture thinking “oh I am so going to blog about this”. Way to be with it.

3. Decide to cut the recipe in half.

4. Realize you have left over cool whip in the fridge. 

5.  Put somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 of the amount of ingredients the recipe calls for in the mixing bowl.

6. Mix.

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7. Serve.

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8. When you serve it make sure you put a little sign by it indicating what it is or make a big announcement.  Or your friends will assume you are a weirdo serving hummus with graham crackers and no one will touch it. Until you tell them and then everyone will love it.

Just don’t mention that you messed up the ingredients.  And then don’t blog about it so they don’t figure it out.

Oooops.

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

9.22.2011

The basement renovation has officially commenced with the ceremonial first swing of the sledge hammer.

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And that sledge hammer made the well thought out plans change.  Of course. 

The original basement plan?  New paint, new flooring, new furniture. Easy peasy.

After living with cement floors and thinking about it for months?  No more work out room and opening up the walls completely.  Or should I say…

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Why?  First of all we could not call that room a bedroom as the window was not large enough.  And putting in a larger window was going to require digging out all around the foundation and cutting through cement.  Which equals dollar signs.  New plan.

The basement needs to serve many functions for us- man space, workout space, play space, tv space, and guest space.  This would be a lot easier with the walls gone and the workout space not hogging an entire closed off room.  Not to mention that it would be nice to actually be able to see the play space while you are working out to make sure no trouble is happening.  Although it is sort of attractive to have that excuse about why my work outs were not happening.

This plan had much discussion before the sledge hammer flew. 

What if we made that room the play space?  Where will the elliptical go?  What about a combo workout/play space?  How long are we staying this house as the most cost effective option is new paint and cheap carpet?

In the end we decided the walls were coming down.

So the old furniture got loaded up for it’s new home at my brother’s first place.

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And down came the drywall.IMG_4955

And then the plan changed again….because there were not one load bearing pole as we expected, but two.  And of course they were awkwardly right next to each other.  Like three feet in between them.

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Awesome.

We discussed sliding them towards the staircase, but after figuring out what making a footing for them entailed, that idea was discarded.

New idea…fireplace in between them.  We loved the look of gas, but that would require hiring someone to run a gas line and to vent it which equaled dollar signs again.  So we decided to go with electric as it was much more DIY and wallet friendly.  And after spending  a lot of time visiting fireplace stores and researching online and watching YouTube videos (yes people really do post videos of different types of fireplace models which turned out to be strangely helpful) we ordered this baby.

fireplace

Then we just had to figure out where everything was going around it.  The challenges?  A lot of functions in a relatively small space.  Wanting to hide the workout equipment, but have it easily accessible so it might get used more often.  And those ^&%$ low soffits that elliptical machines, murphy beds and any activity involving your hand over your head like workout videos can not be under. 

Just a little bitter of how they got in the way of every good idea I had. 

They and those ^&$# poles.

But I think we have it figured out.  I was going to post it, but no one would care to look as the diagram besides me and frankly it will probably change again.

One thing I am excited about …how we are going to hide the workout equipment-

 

Or…

Source: google.com via Jenny on Pinterest

 

Or..

 

Thank you Pinterest.

So after the boys spent a long weekend swinging a sledge hammer and filling a dumpster..

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And the girls spent the weekend loving on this guy (give you one guess who dressed him)…

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The basement is now demoed.  And all ready for this weekend fun with electrical.  Whoo Hoo!