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Card Table Playhouse

12.02.2012

Every year while I am working on handmade Christmas gifts, I run into the conundrum of wanting to post all about…but knowing the recipients read the blog and could ruin the surprise.  On the other hand, posting about handmade gifts in January is no fun either.

Luckily this gift is going to someone who does not read my blog.

Because he can’t read.

card table plyayhouse

A card table playhouse for the little man.  With windows and doors and a mailbox that will include a letter from Santa.  Or he just may like opening and closing the mailbox flap 436 times.  I am going with that.

card table plyayhouse

And the best part?  When he (or his mommy) gets tired of it, it folds up in a small little bundle and you are left with a card table.  Which collapses as well.

I used a pattern from Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio which was fabulous as I could have never come up with it myself.  She has lots of other patterns as well which are in my to-do file. All the fabric is Kona solids.

I used the number of our previous house for a bit of nostalgia, which in retrospect will probably confuse him for years.  Oh well.

card table plyayhouse

It still needs a good iron and to get out of my disaster of a sewing room (there are other gifts being made you know), but that will have to wait until Christmas morning so he does not ruin the surprise.  I am planning on putting a big Lexus-esque bow on it.

I hope he loves it and spends many hours playing with it.  Since I spent many hours making it.  I am hoping it his favorite toy until he is…oh 15??  Would that be weird?

I am linking up today with The Dare to DIY party hosted by 4 great blogs-Newlywoodwards, Décor and the Dog, Maybe Matilda, and Two Twenty One.  Go check out other handmade goodies!

Christmas Card Photos

11.18.2012
I know I know....Thanksgiving is not even here and I am talking about holiday cards.  But we are on a quest for a reduced-stress Christmas.  Which sort of sounds like a reduced fat Christmas, but assure you that will not be the case.  Even though it is probably at the top of my thighs wish list.

Anyway that means getting stuff done early.  The majority of the gifts are bought and even the handmade ones are almost done.  Maybe I won't be sewing all night Christmas Eve.  Said the queen of procrastination.

Getting a Christmas card picture was also on the to-do list.  I had grand visions of recreating some pictures I took last year.  With a cooperative and non-moving 5 month old.

So easy and cute.


This is what we have this year with a 16 month old running toddler.


Or this.

This is the best we got so far.

 I am thinking I may have to let go of the light idea.

But not having a picture has not stopped me from trying to find a card.  Since looking at all the pretty pictures on them makes my toddler photographing skills seem very inadequate.




All of these are from Minted.com.  I love all the shapes they offer and that the designs are products of independent designers.  And every time I look on their site I find another design to love. 
Now all I need is a cooperative toddler. Or someone to send a photographer to the house.

*Minted is supplying our Christmas cards this year.  All the opinions and writing are my own and I just picked some of my favorites to share with you.  But if you happen to receive a Christmas card from us, it probably won't be one of the above as there are just so many great ones to choose from.  But it could include a crying toddler on it.  Or his mommy.

I Spy Quilt

11.06.2012

Now this quilt is not going to win a beauty contest…

I spy quiltI spy quilt

But someone is already a big fan.

I spy quilt

We can’t play “I spy” yet.  But the “eh?” game is fun.  In case you are not familiar with that one, it involves pointing to different pictures and saying “eh?”. 

I spy quilt

And if people do not tell you what it is, you keep ehhing until they do.  A little more strongly of course.

I spy quilt

Super fun.  Oh and making sure the car squares are still there is another super important daily task.

Awhile ago I participated in 2 swaps for different 5 inch novelty fabrics. I got lots of great ones and I knew whatever I made was not going to be a showpiece, but I wanted it to be as pretty as possible and tone down the busyness.  While still making it fun of course.

So ultimately I decided to do a simple pattern with Kona ash as the solid to hide the love I hope it will receive.

There is so much fun happening on the front, I decided to keep it simple on the back. 

I spy quilt

With some ABCs for some extra learning and ehhing of course.

I spy quilt

Since it was so busy, I also went with simple straight lines for the quilting.I spy quilt

I spy quilt

But my favorite part of this quilt is his insistence to look at it every day.

I spy quilt

And maybe even move beyond the ehhing game.

A Basement Playspace- In Progress

10.23.2012

Babies come with a lot of stuff.  And toddlers add even more stuff.  And rumor has it that kids bring even more stuff.

Shocking information I know.

When we were planning our basement renovation we had kept that in mind, and the playspace there has its own corner to house a portion of that stuff.  

We wanted to make sure we made use of of the awkward space and had lots of storage.  Some open storage for him to see his toys and some closed storage to him (and guests) not to see things.  Like finger paints and crayons and markers for example.  Or possibly the book we have read 2846 times.

Originally I thought we would build something , but instead we came back to the old Closetmaid shelves that served us so well already as a craft table.  With the idea of making them look less closetmaid-esque and more custom cabinet-ish.

basement playspace in progress

So Derek started the construction.  And Carter looked like this…

IMG_7608

And he sat in one place and played without moving much.

Anyway to make room for molding to increase the custom look, the shelves were installed off the floor and way from the wall.

basement playspace in progress

We also added some store bought cabinets around the awkward soffit to give us some closed storage.

basement playspace in progress

And then the magic happened.  Carter turned into this-

IMG_8723

And some molding (and some toys) made it look like this-

basement playspace in progress

Disclaimer: It is impossible to take decent pictures in the basement that gets very limited light.  And this is completely unstyled.  Picked up…yes.  Made to look pretty…no.

We are only partially done.  The rug is getting a DIY treatment and things are going on the wall.  And see the track?  That is going to be curtains.  That currently look like this.

IMG_0007 (2)

Sitting under other projects.

But for right now it is functional which is all that matters.

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

The counter is a piece wood stained to match the fireplace and then molding added to the edge.  And lots of coats of poly.

basement playspace in progress

basement playspace in progress

So I have some sewing and DIYing to do.  But we are happy how well some cheap shelves look in the space.  And maybe if I bring my sewing machine and paintbrush down there, Carter will sit in one place again and play.  Right.

What to Put on Top of the Cabinets?

10.01.2012

Looking around here lately, it appears like we have gotten away from our DIY roots and I have just been sewing(barely).  Not so. 

Back when Carter was tiny I was watching a whole lot of HGTV.  He was a very slow eater and I did a whole lot of sitting.

David Bromstad did this cool wine bottle art installation on one of the shows…which gave me the idea for the top of our bar cabinet.

Hmmm…

Now in perfect world, we would just have cabinets going all the way up to the ceiling and I would not have to worry about to put on top of them.  But we don’t and I do.

This was a super simple DIY….first drink lots of wine and save your bottles.  No problem there.  Although I think some people who saw the bar during the “save the bottles” phase may have come to the conclusion that we have a drinking problem.

above the kitchen cabinets

Then, to get the labels off, fill a bathtub full of hot water, add some cheap shampoo and soak them.

At least that is what David told me to do.

Some came off super easy and others took a little bit of scrubbing. 

I initially envisioned straight rows of bottles lined up…but the wires for the lighting and the cabinet tops prevented that.

IMG_0098 (2)

So instead we went with using some scrap wood to achieve different heights for the bottles.

After some arranging and rearranging we got this…

above the kitchen cabinets

Or should I say this…

above the kitchen cabinets

I think it adds some visual interest to the tops of the cabinet.  For free. And since the labels are off, I think it makes it look less “college dorm room alcohol trophy” and more “classy display of bottles”.  At least that is what I tell myself. 

I also love how it looks when it is lit up at night.

above the kitchen cabinets

I am toying with idea of adding this to other cabinets on the other side of the kitchen.  It would be a whole lot of wine to drink, but I think we would be up for the challenge.  I am not sure if it would be too much or make the room look we were trying for a wine theme.  Which we aren’t.

So for right now I am just going to enjoy them on the bar cabinet.  And continue to drink more wine….just in case we need the bottles.

Cutting Up the Color Card

9.11.2012

I have loved my Kona color card for awhile.  So pretty to see all the fabric possibilities lined up just waiting for you to buy them and make something beautiful.

IMG_5128

Except there was one problem.  The fabric swatches were glued down.  So when you wanted to see how two colors played with each other, you had to try to finagle the cardboard to try to get them somewhat in the same vicinity while not bending the heck out the card. 

I don’t think I need to tell you how well that worked.

So I cut it up.

IMG_0008

It was a little scary making that first snip.  But then it was almost liberating…is that weird?  Take that color card!

But then how to store them? A quick google search gave me lots of ideas.  A hole punch and a ring.  A jewelry case separated by color.  All good ideas but I wanted them to be easily accessible and visible.  And moveable of course.

Then my time working in special education came to the rescue…velcro strips. 

If you are not familiar with what I am talking about, we use velcro strips a lot.  For reinforcement systems to communication modalities to sensory issues, velcro is where it is at.  I have spent many many hours putting velcro on the back of pennies. So this is the most unoriginal idea ever.

So I bought strips of velcro and cut the soft side into small pieces.  And them stuck them on the back of each and every little square.  Which takes a very long time. There are 243 of those babies.

Then I stuck the rough side velcro strips onto an old canvas I had laying around from another previously abandoned project.

cutting up the kona color card

A little little color sorting and sticking later, I have this completely functional and not to mention somewhat pretty piece.cutting up the kona color card

The best part? You can take them off and move them anywhere.  Or rearrange them in any way.  Or just look at al the color possibilities.

cutting up the kona color card

So when I am trying to match solids to colors in patterned fabric, I just swipe them from the strip.

cutting up the kona color card

Or when I want to see certain colors together…just pull them off and move them around.  And return them back to the strip later of course.  Can’t lose any of the colors in the mess I call a craft room.

cutting up the kona color card

I added a couple of velcro strips around the craft room so I can stick them anywhere.  Like over the sewing machine…

cutting up the kona color card

Or even on the bottom of the canvas-

cutting up the kona color card

I am not sure why I did not think of this earlier.  Or why it makes me so happy.  Maybe I should have pinned up the color card for display a long time ago. Or done some self-reflection about why little pieces of fabric stuck to a canvas make me smile.

Anyways all I know is I love how it has functioned so far.  And I love looking at the colors while I am busy cutting.  Even if it does make me weird.

cutting up the kona color card

A Blue Bear Party- Part 2

8.13.2012

Now that we have all those pesky details out of the way, we are ready for the fun part of Carter’s Blue Bear 1st Birthday Extravaganza.

And what is more fun than cake smashing?

1st birthday blue bear party

Hmmm this looks…interesting.

1st birthday blue bear party

Maybe I should eat it with my face.

1st birthday blue bear party

No, I am civilized, a spoon is the only way to go  But what crap is this mom?

1st birthday blue bear party

Maybe I will just feed it to everyone else.  I am a good host.  Anyone want some partially chewed and smashed cake?

1st birthday blue bear party

I’m one…but in a sugar stupor.

1st birthday blue bear party

I do like cake!

When we got to gifts, our lack of nap started to show.

1st birthday blue bear party Especially since his extended family spoiled him rotten so there was a whole lot of opening going on.   He got so many amazing things that we had to put half them away to be brought out in a couple of months.  Good thing the basement play area is almost up and ready for fun.  He did open this bad boy from his aunt. 

1st birthday blue bear party

And rode it around the house.  He did not have the whole turning thing down though so it was much better out in the yard. Minus the fact it was 104 degrees.

1st birthday blue bear party

Yep that is what a drought and extreme heat does to your grass even when you have sprinklers.  It was a little crunchy out there, but nothing his ATV could not handle.

We finished off the day with a taste of root beer for the first time.  I get mom of the year for that one, but look on his face when he felt the bubbles was priceless.

1st birthday blue bear party

Carter has had a great year and his party was the perfect way to celebrate it.  Happy first birthday Carterman!  Now I am going to try not to cry about no longer being able to classify this post in the “baby” category…