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How Hard Can it Be?

1.31.2011

Thanks for all the well wishes from our little announcement!  We have started on the nursery, but a final after is a ways away.  We we have plenty of time and a whole lots of projects.

Honestly I had been thinking about the nursery since before we were even thinking about kids.  Because it is such a fun room and you can get away with cute things that would look silly anywhere else. 

In browsing all sorts of inspiration pictures, I knew I wanted some sort or built-in or architectural feature to add to our boxy room with two plain windows.

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Since I knew the window wall was wasted space in terms of furniture placement, I came up with a “brilliant” idea of a built-in window seat.

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Easy peasy right?

Well first the ceiling had to be scraped of the popcorn…and the stains.  Which, in my delicate state, I got to sleep through while Derek did the dirty work.

I did help him tarp everything though.

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If you have never scraped popcorn, it is a very messy and gross job.  But it is also pretty easy.  Just dowse the ceiling with water from a garden sprayer, wait a couple minutes and scrape.

And it all falls down on you.

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Or Derek in this case.

After we cleaned up that mess, it was time to make more messes with moving vents, light switches, and light fixtures to accommodate the new window seat.  Didn’t really envision that mess in the whole “hey let’s add a window seat” idea.

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Luckily Derek’s step dad was along for this project and we could not have done it without him.  Drywalling is an art form we have not mastered and he took care of skim coating the ceiling, running new electrical, and patching all the wholes.  Not to mention the whole window seat thing.  He was invaluable.

After the drywall was done, it was time for primer and paint.  I planned a gender neutral aqua and orange color scheme, but I am sad to admit that I did not follow my own rule of painting a test spot on the wall and deciding on a color before buying two gallons of it.

Nope, I had figured I had picked enough paint out at this point that I could skip that step.  So I bought two gallons of my teal and let Derek handle the painting while I took another nap.

But after cutting in all the corners, he was very smart to wake me up because he knew it was not what I wanted.  A very pretty sage, but not a teal.  So we had to go buy two new gallons of paint.  I am never breaking my own rule again.  It is an expensive rule to break.  Here is the new teal on top of the wrong sage.

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After the painting issue, the window seat was finally ready to go in. 

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I wish we had a detailed window seat how to.  But it was so custom to our space and went through many redesigns during the install that it is not the case.  But I have lots of step by step pictures.

First the bookshelves went in…..

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And then the facing pieces and the bottom (while it was blizzarding outside)…..

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And then the lids and the crown molding.

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The lids flip up for toy storage….

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And there is a curtain rod built in behind the crown molding.  I plan on hanging full length drapes so the sides of the book shelves are hidden and I can try to hide that they are different sizes.

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And I can pull them all the way across to block all light.  And when the baby gets older, the cushions can come off the tops and it can be used for a stage.

Now we are in the unglamorous section of the project of filling holes and painting.  Everything will be white including those windows. 

Ugh window painting…..

I think it is time for another nap.

Up Next

1.27.2011

There is one room in our house that has not gotten much love on the blog.  We affectionately referred to it as the junk room.  Here is what we started with when we moved in:

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And in all the junk room glory:

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furniture that needs to be refinished?  check

random light fixtures?  check

painting supplies? check

bags of clothes that need to go to goodwill?  check

honey oak?  of course

popcorn ceilings? duh

So we thought it needed a to be cleaned out….not to mention a facelift.  The junk room has served it’s purpose of holding stuff and a cabinet painting location but it is time to move on.

Because we happy to finally share that we are expecting Baby #1 in July!

Many of you probably guessed by my long unexplained absence, and honestly the first trimester kicked my butt.  I have never been so sick and tired for so long.  I titled this holiday season the “Christmas of Lowered Expectations.”  Christmas card?  Nope.  Cookies?  Nope.  Decorating the house?  I watched Derek do a great job while I sat on the couch.  And it all turned out OK even though it was hard to give up control and let things go.  And while I am still not 100%, at least I am functioning again. 

Anyway….plans for the nursery.  We have already started construction and I can’t wait to share pics on Monday.  Think orange and aqua and window seats.  And no more popcorn ceiling.  And of course no more junk.

Quilt Guild Changed My Life

1.23.2011

Well the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild did at least.  My friend, and fellow officer, Lauren,coined this phrase and I am stealing it.  Or borrowing it I should say.

Let me back up a minute….

A little over a year ago, I was complete quilting newbie.  I loved reading modern quilting blogs and thinking of all the cute baby quilts I could make for my friends.  I had taught myself to sew and had made a total of two small quilts.  Which I was very proud of but I knew I still had no idea what I was doing.  And I had actually given those quilts to people so hopefully they did not know what good quilts were supposed to look like.  So I continued to stalk blogs and admire all the pretty pictures.  And dream of what I could make someday…..

Then one day one of my favorite blogs (Jacquie)  posted that they were having the very first modern quilt guild meeting that next week in Kansas City and invited every one in the area interested to the meeting.

I admit, I almost did not email her.  Have I mentioned that I had made a total of two quilts?  And I had no idea what I was doing?  And I would know absolutely no one there except through some lite blog stalking? 

But I did email her (proclaiming my newbieness of course) and stepped out from behind the computer and I went…..which was exactly one year ago.

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And it was awesome.  That day I met 34 awesome women and was so inspired.  And I was not even the only newbie there.  And some of them had even read this little blog. A.ma.zing..

Over the past year the small first meeting grew into 96 members and the amazingness has not stopped.  They welcomed newbie me onto the officer’s panel as the secretary and the fun has not let up.  With these girls even writing by-laws had it’s perks.

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I have learned so much.  More than a book, blog, or class could ever teach because at each monthly meeting there is so much knowledge sitting in that room being shared with each other.  (In case you were wondering I just learn things, I don’t think I have shared anything valuable yet).  And the inspiration…..I leave every meeting  ready to run upstairs and start sewing.  Without the guild I know my quilting would have hit a stand still by now.  But instead it is still going strong.  Just ask the four unfinished ones sitting in the craft room currently.  Or my new fabric buying addiction.

And finally the people.  This is the best part.  Because they are real and not just behind the computer.  We are a community.  I have made great friends that share similar interests and are tons of fun, all because of the guild.  And my new sewing machine is all a result of the guild.   Let’s not forget that.

My fellow officers have worked so hard to make this year and this guild a great big success and I can’t thank them enough for letting me be part of it.  And forgiving my newbie blank looks.  Check out what Jacquie, Shea, Jaime, and Lauren had to say about the guild…..and to look at all their beautiful quilts.

So Happy One Year Anniversary to the Kansas City Modern Quilting Guild….I hope you liked your love letter from me.  I am so excited to see what the next year has in store. and I am so happy that I will be a part of it!

In the Book

1.20.2011

Next up on the Christmas gift list involved a project with zero sewing.  Which was good in the while running out of time scheme of things.

I may have mentioned that we went to Italy this summer.  And that we took tons of pictures.  But at the sake of not covering every wall with vacation photos, I needed to find another way to easily display them without becoming overwhelming.  Enter Derek’s gift….the photo book.

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Just like Mrs. Limestone, I used blurb.com for the book and I love how it all came out.  All professional looking (well in my humble opinion at least).

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Blurb has lots of options for how you want to put together the book and I decided to download their program because it gave me the most control.  I went with the upgraded paper which has a slight sheen to it….especially when you are trying to photograph it.  So in person the colors are so vivid.  Promise.

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Originally I thought about narrating the pictures and adding words all over the place.  But then I nixed the idea and let the pictures speak for themselves.  I could fit a whole lot more pictures that way. And it took a whole lot less time thinking of witty things to say about each picture.  Sorry honey.

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I tried to vary my layouts (which was super easy to do with the program).

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Derek loved it and now all of Italy memories are easily accessible on the side table in the living room.

So all I need to enjoy it is a glass of red wine.  But remember it was a gift for Derek of course….

Disclaimer: Blurb has no idea who I am (other than my order number) and had nothing to do with my post.  I just wanted to share how much I loved their product with all of you.  I think more photo books are in my future.

In the Bag

1.17.2011

Told you I would be back…   First up in my “catching up from being gone way too long” posts is one of my handmade Christmas gifts.  Awhile ago, I mentioned that Amy Butler’s Cosmo Bag  was on my wish list.

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So three days before Christmas this girl who has never sewn a bag before and had two Christmas quilts to finish decided to whip one up for her brother’s girlfriend.  And of course had to take it back to grab a picture of it after it was already given because it was too dark to snap a decent photo when it was finally finished. Because that’s how I always roll.

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I love how it turned out.  And all the pockets on the sides and in the lining are so fun.  I knew she loved orange, so the printed fabrics I used were Sugar Pop by Liz Scott and the solid was a shot cotton.

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The project is labeled “easy” in Amy’s book and it was not technically difficult if you have had some sewing experience.  But I would not label it a beginner project as I felt a little over my head at times (just like wise Sharon had commented when I mentioned sewing it).  And as for someone that does not have advanced sewing skills and has never made a bag before, it was very time consuming.  Let’s just say those Christmas quilts did not get done before Christmas.

The most time consuming part was cutting all the pieces.  This is what I cut just in fabric.  The majority of those also had to have interfacing attached to them, so I had to double cut everything you see and fuse it together.  Definitely took longer than the actual sewing.IMG_3193

But I loved how it turned out and the time was worth it.  Especially now that I have made one and understand how it goes together, I think I will be able to cut a lot of time off the second time around.  And this time maybe even make one for myself!

Still Here

1.06.2011

Yep I am still around even though the total lack of posting (not to mention commenting) would indicate otherwise.  December turned into a crazy month and posting was always something that I was going to do tomorrow.  Suddenly a month passed with the whirlwind of the holidays and travel.

Oooops.

So thank you for all the comments and emails and I should be back to my regular posting schedule next week.  I have lots of handmade gifts that I can now share and the power tools are coming out this weekend.  Not to mention plans for a couple other spaces coming up.  I am excited at least.

Thank you for continuing to stick around in my absence….promise I will make it up to you with new stuff.  I had a month to think about it you know.