Most Welcome Guests

Our house was buzzing with activity today.  We knew the new AC unit was scheduled for  today and after waiting 7 full days to get on their install schedule, I could not have been happier to see anyone.

ac-replace-1

This past week has really made me appreciate the convenience and luxury of air conditioning that we can easily  take for granted.  Yesterday seemed to be the worst day yet, not sure if it was because this primitive living was getting old or the fact that at 4:00 pm it was 91 degrees inside the house.

ac-replace-3

The upside to the week is that I was forced to spend several hours just floating away in our wonderful neighborhood pool just to cool down.  As a bonus, I got in some physical therapy at the same time.

tkg-in-pool

Besides having the ac installers here, the windows we ordered several months ago just happened to be delivered and the carpenters showed up to install them.  One of the carpenters was joking about how hot it was outside today but inside our house it was even hotter!  Guess I have lost my sense of humor about that unpleasant truth!

win-replace-2

win-replace-3

The HVAC guys said it would take about 10 hours for our house to cool down but it already feels better.  Looks like the excuse I have used for the last week to not do anything in the house is slowly starting to go away!

A new dining room?

I have a formal dining room that has never been used for the purpose of eating.  For all the years we have lived here it has been referred to as the music room since it is where our piano and assorted other musical instruments have resided over the years.

Piano

We also have a large, comfy leather chair and my mother’s old curio cabinet in the room.

Chair-in-Dining-room

curio-cabinet

We have two different eating areas in our kitchen so we have never really needed additional eating space. Lately though I have been thinking a formal dining area might be nice.  I do love to have friends over for dinner and it might be fun to have a new place to decorate and hang out.  With the kids mostly all grown up no one ever plays the piano anymore so I am thinking of saying goodbye to this large piece of furniture.  I know a couple of my kids would like to have it but they are either too far away or do not have the room for it.  The curio cabinet really does not fit in to the decor in the rest of my house so I will probably ask the family if anyone is interested in it.  The chair can easily be moved to a couple of different areas in my house.

I have been looking at pictures on HOUZZ and PINTEREST for some inspiration.   I have a hard time describing what my decorating style is because I think it is a mixture of several styles.  I know I like clean lines (modern/contemporary).

I love colorful accents (casual)

I also enjoy rooms with comfort and warmth (traditional).

I have no idea how I will incorporate all of those styles.

My wish list for the new area includes:

  • A table that will sit at least 8, 10 or 12 would be better.
  • Pops of color, maybe teal or lime green
  • New window treatments
  • New light fixture
  • New mirror or artwork for the wall

We have actually already started this make-over by ordering new windows.  As soon as those are installed, I will start the decorating process.

What suggestions do you have for me?

Chevron Baby Quilt

DISCLAIMER:  This post is about making a quilt.  I have made a few quilts over the years but in no way am I am expert quilter or  seamstress.  My finished quilts are best viewed from afar. 🙂  I do come from a long line of quilters and have cousins who could be considered experts (Cathy and Bonnie I am talking about you). For me,  I am just trying to hold on to the family traditions.

With a new grandbaby in my near  future, I decided to dust off the quilting skills that I learned many years ago and make a baby quilt.  The year I got married, before kids, I took a year long quilting class where we made a full size sampler quilt totally by hand.  No sewing machine stitches on this quilt anywhere.

1st-Quilt

As you can see in the photo below it is a very used loved quilt….

loved-quilt

I have been inspired by some very bold graphic quilts I have seen on Pinterest so I knew I wanted to start with a chevron pattern.  I came across a youtube video by the Missouri Star Quilting company that detailed how to make the chevron pattern for a full size quilt. To view that tutorial click here.  I thought I could probably adapt these instructions to a baby quilt so I got out the graph paper and started cyphering.  Since that first quilt I made, I have not used a pattern on any other quilt, just a drawing that helps me visualize how to assemble it.

paper-drawing

The first thing I did was cut 12-10″squares out of each color fabric.  The tutorial mentioned making a “layer cake” which is a term I had not heard before.  Basically it means sewing one square of each fabric together around all four edges.

squares

sewing-squares

At this point I had 12 “layer cakes.”  The next step was to cut each “layer cake” diagonally both ways.  That creates 4 half square triangles per “layer cake” or 48 half square triangles in total.

cutting-diagnols

diagnol-square

In the next step I sewed 6 half square triangles together to make a row.  I repeated that until I had 8 rows.

rows

Now you just attach your rows together until you have the pattern you want.  Once the rows are attached you are complete with the quilt top.   An easy way to assemble the quilt top to the batting and backing for a baby quilt is to tape the backing to a large table, making it as tight as possible.

backing

Then layer on your batting and quilt top.

batting-and-quilt-top

Once you have the quilt assembled you can either baste it or pin it.  I have used both methods but since this was small and I was going to hand quilt it, I basted the layers together.  Pins get in the way when you put the quilt in the quilting frame.  At this point it was getting close to my daughter’s shower and I really needed to get done so I totally forgot to take pictures of the hand quilting or binding.  There are literally hundreds of tutorials on youtube showing you how to quilt and make your own binding and I am sure they do a much better job at explaining than I do.  I did remember to take a picture of the finished quilt before I wrapped it for the shower.

Finished-quilt

This was actually a fairly quick and easy quilt to make.  I am thinking about making a full size version to use in my basement for winter TV watching! I should have that done when I am about 80!

Seven Week Update

Long-Time-No-Chalk

I have been MIA from the blog for several weeks.  I was always taught if you do not have anything nice to say then say nothing at all.  (I really should remind myself of that more often.)   In the fourth and fifth week after my knee surgery I was in a dark place, not seeing much progress in my physical therapy and still having more pain than I anticipated.  On top of that, we have had the worst spring I can remember, torrential rains with no sunshine for days upon days.  Days without sun are not good for me.

However, these last two weeks have been much better and I have forced myself to participate in life and guess what happened.  I am seeing real progress in my knee bending (although still have a long way to go) and the pain has improved.  I am walking without my cane and even went to the gym pool yesterday to walk and do strengthening exercises.  I think I may actually survive this surgery!

I have even completed a project I have been thinking about for a while and that is creating a chalkboard for my kitchen! I love the idea of a changeable venue for menus, messages or inspirational quotes front and center in the room we live in the most.   Although I love reading, I have known for a long time that I am a visual person which is probably why I have always been interested in  typography (the art of making language visible).  I even have a “ChalkBoard Art” board on pinterest.  Look at some of these fun creations:

Children will be given

Source

Birthday Board

Source

Trust God

Source

The chalk board I made for my kitchen is even more special because it is a frame my dad made for me many years ago.  I painted it white and used chalkboard paint on the hardboard backing.  Easy!  I have another chalkboard I made hanging in my office that currently lists my goal categories for the year.  It is a great way to keep those items close 0n a daily basis.

Chalkboard-Goals

We have had several other fun activities going on here in the last week and I will be sharing those soon!

Lamp Quest

For the past month or so I have been looking for a pair of new turquoise lamps for my basement remodel project.  I have searched at Home Goods, Kirklands, Macys, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and several other on-line sources.  I have found many that are perfect with regard to size, color and style, but not so perfect when it comes to price.

expensive lamp2

Expensive lamp

I was ready to start looking for white (boring) lamps until this past weekend.  The Mr. and I were hobbling around Target, actually it was just me hobbling, when we spotted this lone lamp sitting on the shelf.

lone lamp

The color and size were perfect and the price was GREAT!  The problem was there was only one.  I jotted down the product number thinking I would be able to come home, hop on the computer and order two of them on-line.  No such luck…..they were not for sale on the Target web site.  I thought about the lamp for a couple of days and then decided to run (hobble) back to Target and hope the lone lamp was there.  YEAH!   It was there and I quickly purchased it and brought it home.  After work today, the MR and I jumped in the car armed with a list of 5 other Target stores.  I was on a mission to come home with another matching lamp.  At the first Target we stopped at, we found  another lone lamp on the shelve.  But one lone lamp was all I needed…….now I have two!!  I love it when my plan actually works!

The race is on to get the basement project complete before surgery……only three weeks left.  The things left on the to-do list include:

  • Install floating shelves on the wall
  • Paint two end tables
  • Make the window valance
  • Make a few throw pillows
  • Hang artwork on the walls
  • Hang pendant lights over the bar

There are a few other things we would like to do, like build a wine rack into the bar cabinet (which will require my brother-in-law’s services) and install a new light fixture (which requires new in the wall wiring) but I am pretty sure those will not happen in the next three weeks so I am not even putting them on the list.  I can be practical if I have to be!

Between hosting an Easter brunch, work, a trip to Omaha, and pre-op visits to the doctor and the hospital I will be hard pressed to get all these items done in 18 days but I am going to give it a try!  Hope you all have a great Easter!

A sneak peek

I am having such a great day today working on one of the many projects for our basement makeover.  It involves this lonely corner in the basement,

Before-reading-nookA newspaper pattern and 2″ foam.

newspaper-pattern

A little measuring and some cutting.

bench-seat-cutting-line

Sewing, sewing and more sewing.

Sewing-cording-1

And this gorgeous material I bought last weekend.

material-1

Can you guess what project I am working on?

Basement Makeover – Step 2

We are making progress!!!  I last left you with this:

After-EC

We (by that I mean the Mr, aka DA) added an additional electrical box and moved the boxes lower down the wall. Additionally, we (by that I mean DA and friend Paul) repaired the drywall where the entertainment cabinet was and put a primer on the new drywall.

Drywall-repair

Then we (by that I mean DA and myself) got up close and personal with all the trim in the basement by doing the “cutting in” work.  No masking tape for us, just an angled brush, paint bucket and a wet cloth for tidying up the trim when our hands were not so steady.

Painting-1

Painting-2

It took us about 10 hours of work each over the course of a week but by Saturday afternoon we had completed all the painting.  YEAH!!

Our next task is to order the carpet which I have been trying to do for a week.  Do you know how many shades of taupe carpeting there are in this world?  I am now on my second round of samples trying to pick one I like.  The room has been measured so they are just waiting on me to make my final selection.

Step 3 of the makeover involves the use of my sewing machine but I will save those details for a later time.

Basement Makeover – Step 1

We have officially started the basement makeover project this past weekend by knocking down our built-in entertainment center.  The cabinet seemed like such a great idea fourteen years ago when we finished our basement.  Who knew that TV’s would totally change their shape and size?

Here is the before picture…….

Before-EC

This is what it looks like today……

After-EC

I guess I really am getting new carpet considering I now have a big chunk of the current carpet missing from the middle of the room.  I am so excited to finally get this project started after talking about it for several months.

Besides painting, new carpet and a new tv, I am going to refinish a couple of tables and hang pendant lights over the bar.  Here is a mood board showing a few things I am thinking about.

Mood Board

Can you guess what my new favorite color is????

Monogrammed Pillow

Since I made the poinsettia pillow for Christmas, I have been wanting to make another pillow out of the tea stained muslin I purchased for that project.  I really like the texture of this fabric and it I found it very easy to work with.  I have had my eye on a monogrammed pillow for a while and decided now was the perfect time to try it.

The hardest part of the project was selecting the font I wanted to use for the monogram.  I went through all the fonts I have loaded on my pc (several times) and finally narrowed the choice to one of these.

Fonts-for-pillowI really had a hard time deciding.  By the way, a great source for free fonts is one of my absolutely favorite blogs, Kevin and Amanda.  Amanda bakes incredible sweet treats and is definitely my photography inspiration.  Her travel pictures are awesome.  Amanda has many free fonts that are available for downloading and I find myself continually selecting one of her fonts for my projects.  In fact, my final choice for the monogram pillow was the ‘Hey Gorgeous’ font.  I use that one all the time,  including in my grocery, menu and planner templates.

To make the template, I started by printing out the ‘G’ in the Hey Gorgeous font using the biggest size that would fit on a piece of paper.

g

Unfortunately that still was not big enough for the space I wanted to fill on the pillow.  Plan B then was to get out some craft paper and free hand the letter.  I am certainly not very artistic but got a semi-close approximation of  what I wanted.  I used this template to cut out the letter on the white felt I had leftover from the poinsettia pillow.

pattern

Since I was making an 18 inch pillow cover, I cut out 1-18 inch square of the muslin and 2-18×11.5 inch pieces of fabric.  Notice I did not cut extra for the seams.  Cutting the fabric the same size as the insert pillow will ensure the pillow is firm and plump when inserted into the cover.

I then pinned the felt  ‘G’ to the muslin, then basted it in place.

pinned-on-fabric

basted-on-fabric

There are several ways you can adhere the monogram to the pillow including the use of fusible interfacing,  fabric glue or even applique.  I have always like the combination of felt and a blanket stitch so that is what I decided to do.  It has been several years since I used a blanket stitch so I did a quick look-up for a tutorial on you tube and found several to choose from.  Once I had the hang of it I sewed the letter to the pillow front.

Blanket-Stitch

To assemble the pillow cover I created a hem on the two smaller pieces of fabric by ironing down 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch on one of the 18″ sides and then top stitching.  These two become the back of the pillow.

I then laid the pillow front with the right side facing up and laid the two smaller pieces on top with the right side facing down, overlapping the two hems.

preparing-to-sew

I pinned around the edges and then sewed a 1/4 inch seam around the entire pillow cover.   I clipped the corners, turned it right side out and inserted my pillow.

finished-product

I probably spent about an hour and 1/2 in total making this pillow and that included searching for the font.  Since I had the felt and muslin left over from my poinsettia pillow and reused a pillow I already had for the inside,  I only spent 37 cents on some white embroidery thread to complete this project.  Pretty thrifty don’t you think?

monogram-pillow

Linking to Savvy Southern Style

A Touch of Christmas

Are you ready for Christmas?  Just a couple more weeks until all the festivities begin.  I have been planning and making lists (what a surprise) with the goal of having every present purchased and wrapped, every meal planned and shopped for, every cookie baked and decorated, and the house ready for guests by Friday, Dec 21.   From my perspective the partying starts on Saturday, Dec 22 and I can not wait!

In preparation I have been adding a few Christmas touches to the house including the new pillow covers I made this weekend.  The poinsettia pillow was inspired from the Taste of August blog.

pointsetta-pillow

Joy-and-Noel-pillows

I had some fun with the chalkboard that usually hangs in my office and decided to display it on my entryway chest along with just a few of the snowman from my collection.  The chalkboard was a total copy of one I saw on-line but unfortunately I did not write down the source.

entryway

I added a few candles, some greenery and a little bling to my dough bowl.

Doughbowl-candles

And speaking of dough bowls, the last time we visited my brother-in-law Steve’s workshop, we found this in his scrap pile.  He felt it had too many imperfections, I thought it was perfect for a candy dish.

candydish

I also added some fresh evergreen to a few places in the house.

Mantle

bathroom

Now on to tackle that mountain of presents waiting to be wrapped.