Monday, February 28, 2011

Kitchen Kitch

Look at what my darling husband found when he took out our kitchen drawers. This was hidden beneath a drawer along with another hot pad that wasn't worth keeping. I love that Mike thought to ask me if I wanted them instead of just tossing them out. Shows he does pay attention to what I like. Not that I doubted it. 
I washed this little fluffy hot pad and it cleaned up nicely. I plan to hang it somewhere in the kitchen. A reminder of the lovely lady who lived here before.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Again with the kitchen redo.

Chloe. Being, well, Chloe. 
 Ok, the cat photo has nothing to do with the kitchen redo. She's darn cute, though, so I had to add her in. Mike's been diligently working on the kitchen. He'd be done with the cabinets except he somehow missed one drawer. But, he is finished enough that I was able to move back into my sewing room. I gave it a good cleaning, too, which it needed.
 You can see by these two pictures that our sunroom is uninhabitable. This was actually taken after I put a lot of the kitchen appliances and cake pans and pots and cookie cutters, etc. away. It's the storm before the calm. Our goal is to have the kitchen put in order by Nathan's confirmation which is two weeks from tomorrow. We'll be there.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Kitchen Redo #2

Mike painting in the sunroom on a day that was sunny. It has been too cold in there to paint these last few days so he's taken over my sewing room.
 You would think a tiny little kitchen like mine wouldn't take long to paint. Ok, I know that everything takes a long time, especially when the rest of the house becomes a repository for the goods generally kept in the room being refinished. 
The cabinet doors are off. Only took me three hours to do it. Darn painted over hardware.
 I'm ok with that but I don't like living in a lot of mess. It's just who I am. Our house is just over 1,100 square feet and we use every blessed inch of it. That's as it should be. Why have space and not use it? That's one of the reasons we moved. We had too much space. However, it becomes cumbersome to have my sewing machine on the dinning room floor, the ironing board in the living room, fabric in both places, paint cans and cabinets in the sewing room. The sun room is full of pantry items, silverware, pots and pans.
The other side of the kitchen.
Lest you think I'm complaining, I'm not. I'm thrilled to be getting my kitchen painted. I've been wanting to brighten things up for years. I'm even more thrilled that my husband is painting and I'm not. I'm really a terrible painter and I really hate it. He's fabulous at it and very meticulous. So we're living in a bit of a mess but that's ok. It'll help me appreciate the cleanliness and orderliness when it is all over.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Princess Belt

Here's the fancy belt for the princess. The belt is very sturdy. It has double thickness of interfacing.
Here's a closeup of the belt and button.

This is the back. The pattern called for velcro but I added grommets and satin cording. This way the belt will fit the wearer (or multiple wearers) for years.

The dress up basket. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lancaster Creative Re-use

I love a bargain. I also hate to waste things. So you can imagine my delight when a friend told me about the Lancaster Creative Re-Use store. Now, she told me they had used craft supplies that are donated and resold on the cheap. That was good. I sometimes need craft supplies, but not too often. Then I went to their web site and saw that they have....


Ok, I'm hooked. 

Our youth leader at church recently put out the call for door prizes and baskets to be auctioned or for our basket bingo. These events will help fund our youth group on their trip to South Dakota. I thought I'd make a dress up basket and mozied on down to the Re-Use. Here's my haul.
And all for under $20. I've been slowly working away on the items for the basket. The difficulty lies in the fact that my darling husband has taken over my sewing room in order to paint our kitchen cabinet doors. So I've moved my sewing gear to the living room and the dinning room. I've come to appreciate those women who sew without a dedicated space. I've also come to appreciate my tiny sewing room. I love our small house and wouldn't trade it for the world but at times like these the house gets a *little* more cluttered than I like. I'll live.
Here are the photos of what I made yesterday. A princess hat just like I always wanted (but never had) when I was little. The bag is lined in satin and has a pretty print to show off. Notice the grommets. I'm getting good at attaching those things. I better watch my pride in my grommet attaching skills or the next time I go to grommet, it'll be a disaster.
Well, there will be more for your princess coming soon. If you are a St. Mary's sure to watch for this basket of fun at one of the upcoming events. It could be yours!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

From the Stash

Three bibs and a little frog
At church, I've joined the choir. I was unable to be in choir when Nathan was homeschooled because choir practice coincided with his orchestra practice. Since my husband is the organist at church he sort of needs to be at practice so I would take Nathan to orchestra. Now that Nathan is back at school, I was able to join the choir.
Front of one bib. Rocket ship fabric from a quilt I made a year or so ago.
Choir is such a simple thing, yet so powerful. Singing brings a joy to my life that I can't quite explain. It's a way to pray, for me. Singing brings part of my soul to the forefront. So I am very happy to be back singing with the choir.
Back of rocket ship bib. Flannel scrap from a quilt.
The other bonus to choir is the people. Choir people are just different than other people. And I mean that is the best of ways. Choir is a community. We laugh and cry together. We're there for each other. 
Close up of the snap closure. I'm getting better at adding snaps and grommets these days.
At choir we have a baby. Well, two of our members had a baby last year and he comes to all the practices! He will be baptized on Sunday and they asked the choir to sing. We, of course, were thrilled. So, I needed a little present. I went to the stash. I made three bibs and a little stuffed frog. Nothing elaborate but sweet just the same.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mario Revealed

Here's a little something I'm working up for Nathan's birthday. He'll be 15 in a few weeks. I can't believe it. I guess all mothers say that. He is turning into a wonderful young man that we are so proud of. I'm planning some kind of Mario and Luigi pillow for Nathan's room. Still working on the details...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oscar Night Fun

The Oscar's are a week from tomorrow. Mike and I have only recently started going to see more movies. One time we even went to one movie while allowing the kids to see another movie. Wow. They are getting older! Mostly we watch our movies at home so we tend to be really behind the times when it comes to the Oscars.

Good friends from church have invited us again this year to their very fun and fabulous Oscar party. Everyone dresses up as a movie character. After perusing the movies of 2010, I took a trip to the local Goodwill to see what I could come up with. I had a hankering to make something not of this time period. I was able to find some great boots which sealed the deal to dress as Lucy from the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I was able to buy the aforementioned boots, a pair of greenish pants and a white top. 
You can see a little of the blouse in the above photo. I made the vest and the little pouch. The vest is in need of some gold accents if I want it to be a little more like the movie vest. I have to remember not to get too crazy about the details for this party but it is so much fun!
Above is a genuine leather skirt I found during my Goodwill run. I used it to make the little leather pouch. There was no way I was going to buy leather so I was pleased to find this much leather fabric for so little money. I've never sewn leather before and didn't know how well my machine needles would handle it. It actually went better than I expected. I only broke one needle. 
Now I just need to find a vial to fit into the pouch so I can heal any injuries during the party!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Juice-O-Mat

I do love the 50's. Everything made out of one kind of metal or another. Manufacturer's working to make the life of the housewife easier. Of course they profited from the purchase of all of these labor saving devices!

Many, many years ago I purchased this little juicer at a garage sale. I'm sorry to say it spent quite a bit of time in a box in my basement and I almost gave it to Goodwill more than once in one of my de-cluttering frenzies. Fortunately, I didn't purge this gem and fortunately, it's stint in a humid basement didn't harm it too much. 

We had some lovely friends over for dinner last week and I made herb marinated pork loin from Ina Garten. Let me just say that it was delish! I really need to purchase these cookbooks instead of constantly getting them out of the library. Anyway....

The recipe called for lemon juice and so I got the old trusty Juice-O-Mat out and juiced to my heart's content. It is easy to clean and easy to use. 

It also looks great in my 1950's kitchen! If you are in the market for one, check out this Ebay link.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

From the cupboard

I just love that word....cupboard. It sounds so old fashioned, so homey, so full of good things to eat. It's like comfort.

Ok...I digress before I even get started. Yesterday I rummaged around in my pantry cupboard to really see what was there. I'm always amazed at how we can say "there's nothing to eat" when the cupboard isn't nearly empty. So I decided to see just how many meals I could make with what was in that darn cupboard.

I discovered I had all the ingredients to make homemade granola, which I love. I received this recipe when Nolan was in his very first preschool class. He was three. He's now thirteen. I only used this recipe for the first time last year! Can you believe I held on to a recipe for ten years before trying it? Well, I must have known it was a good one. It is. I'm sharing it with you today while mine is baking in the oven (yummy smells are filling the air...).

This photo is from last summer. I do love eating out of this bowl, though.


5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 cup coconut 
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup raisins 

Combine the oats, wheat germ, coconut, sesame seeds and nuts in large pan (I use a sheet pan). Heat the brown sugar, water, oil, honey, molasses, salt and cinnamon in a sauce pan just until the sugar dissolves. DO NOT BOIL. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and mix well. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 45 minutes stirring often. Add the raisins (if you like...I don't) when cool. Store in an airtight container. This freezes well.

I like to eat this with plain yogurt. I also am very free with the ingredients. I happened to find 1/2 cup bags of pre-chopped pecans at our local Sharp Shopper months ago two for $1. I bought a bunch and froze them. I just saw pecans at our local farmers market for $12 a pound. Talk about savings! 

But, really, I add what I have. Sometimes I don't add nuts at all but add in sesame seeds or sunflower seeds. I've used oat bran instead of wheat germ as well. Really, it's hard to go wrong with granola. I have some dried cranberries that I may add to a bowl today. 

So here are some other meals I found "hovering" in my cupboard:  Lasagne, spaghetti alfredo, tacos, and hamburgers. Not the healthiest meals but meals none the less. I also have a bag of lentils that I need to ponder. I tend to use them when I'm making bean bag animals but I've also used them in soup. Who knows?

What's in YOUR pantry that you should use????

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love color (if you hadn't already figured that out)

 If you know me or have ever been to any of my houses (we've owned three) you know I love color. I quilt with colorful fabric, I paint my walls with bright vibrant colors, I curtain my blind-less windows (gotta have the sun) with bright colored fabric.  My all time favorite fabric line is Moda Marbles. Why? Because it comes in all the colors of the rainbow. 

I make a lot of my quilts with Moda Marbles and thus tend to have a lot of small pieces left over. I had a hankering for some additional coasters. I wanted to use the remains of my lemon fabric along with multiple colors of my Moda Marbles. These photos show you what I came up with. The front is four different colors and the back is just the lemon fabric. I love them. Makes my coffee that much more cheerful in the a.m. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Most Fun

Recently, my oldest went back to school. It was a very difficult decision to make but ultimately we knew it was in his best interest. The transition continues but for the most part he's adjusting well. When I asked him the other day if he's making any friends or meeting people, he told me that he doesn't have time for that, he's focused on his school work. Wow. I guess it's hard to argue there. He's so responsible with his school work it amazes me.
With only one child left at home, school is a little different than in the past. Nolan is taking several classes away from home and he's able to much of his work independently. I've been able to get some home projects done but still spend part of each day working on school with Nolan. We've been studying chemistry this year and for his birthday, Nolan received a really nice chemistry set. We had some difficulty with the alcohol burner but got it up and running last week. We were studying separating mixtures and so were able to perform several different methods of separating: chromatography, evaporation and distillation. 
What I've been realizing more and more this year is how much Nolan enjoys hands-on learning. He is perfectly capable of learning by all the methods, auditory, visual, etc., but he loves hands on. He told me he felt so happy while doing these experiments. I'm sure the fire had a lot to do with it but I have to remember to give this kids lots of hands on experiences to make the end of our school year as meaningful as possible.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kitchen redo part one

This is what this end of the kitchen looked like prior to us moving in.

Here are a few pictures of the kitchen. I love that in a picture things can look more perfect than in real life. Not that these are perfect looking cabinets. Notice I'm only showing you the right side of the china cabinet. There's a reason for that. The left side is doorless. In fact that left door isn't even painted yet. But you can't tell that from the photo, can you??? Also, all my painting supplies are just below the spice shelf. It's very messy under there. You can't see that, either. Just remember the picture doesn't always tell all 1,000 words! 

Here's the same corner. I've added shelf paper and put back all of my china in the cabinet since taking this photo. It looks great. It's maybe slightly pinker than I thought but I still like it.
Spice shelf. We need to repaint the wall but since there's lots more trim to paint that won't happen for a while.  The curtain hides the ugly jars of vitamins and other sundries.
Well, I'm off to the grocery store. We're having friends over for dinner tomorrow and there are a few things I couldn't get at market when I was there this morning. Happy Saturday.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Roll

We've had snow on the ground for longer than I can ever remember. Lots of birds at our feeders. Do you think Mr. Blue Jay has cold feet?
I wanted to share a few of the blogs I've been following these days. I think February is a wonderful time of year (at least in the cold, dark northeast) to sit with a cup of coffee and your computer and get some inspiration. I'm going with that notion, anyway. I do have to be careful about only getting inspiration and not creating anything myself but I've been doing pretty well at balancing looking and doing.
Here is our newest cat, Chloe. She is a doll. She loves looking out the window at the birds.
First, many of you may already be familiar with Sew Mama Sew! I seem to go in phases with their web site. They have a great store with fabrics and patterns and also a wonderful blog with ideas and tutorials. February is pillow month over at Sew Mama Sew! and they have some really wonderful give-aways, a pillow contest and tutorials. I have several pillows that need covering and I'm getting some ideas to help me along. Unfortunately, I have too many projects going right now to work on the pillows but I'm using this time to gather ideas. Check it out if you are interested in pillows or check the side bar for lots and lots of amazing tutorials about just about any subject.
The men of our household don't really enjoy my blogs as much as they enjoy perusing catalogs like this one: Think Geek:: Stuff for Smart Masses. Lots of laughter included.
Another blog I've been following is one that is fairly new to me. It is run by a mom of three and is called Make It Do. She's got some lovely ideas about sewing, crafting, cleaning and cooking. I love her blog setup. Although you can scroll through the blog chronologically, she also has tabs at the top that take you to the main subjects of the blog, including one called kids do. Kids do shows crafts, sewing and cooking that are appropriate for kids. One of the things I like about finding a new blog is being able to spend an evening looking through the whole thing. Lots of great ideas and inspiration all at once. You'll find lots of that at Make It Do.

Finally, a website that just blows my costume-making-mind is called Brielle's Costume Wardrobe. This girl is a true artisan. She creates and recreates costumes special ordered by customers. I am speechless about her costumes. You'll just have to click on the link and look up your favorite costume type to see what I'm saying. Go ahead, do it.

When I'm not painting....

This is the back of the dress.
I'm sewing. The homeschool music program is putting on Jane Eyre (yes, it's a musical. I didn't know either.). I offered to help make some costumes. I'm making the Lowood school dresses. Sixteen dresses. I have 13 finished and only 3 to go. It's been fun but I'm about ready to put away the drab grey! I also have this horrible problem when working on a project. I'm so excited about it at the beginning, start in like gang busters and then about 3/4 of the way to the end I can think of nothing but my next project. 

My next project has me fairly excited. We're going to an Oscar party at the end of the month and I need to finish my costume. Most of it came from a thrift store but there are a few parts that I need to (ok...want to) make. More on that in another post.
Here are a few dresses waiting to be delivered.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My new obsession

I am obsessed with this website. I had no idea my house was a "mid century modest." As I've been figuring out how I want to rehab our kitchen, I'm getting LOTS of ideas from this web site, Check it out!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Getting Started

I bought my first can of pink paint. Not having had daughters, I never expected to paint anything in the house pink. I've decided to add pink accents to my china closet and spice shelves. Here's a before photo.

The china cabinet without the doors. You can see how the spice shelves abut the side of the cabinet.
One of the things I loved about this house was the built in's. We've got the china cabinet and beside it small shelves just the right size for spices. Until a few weeks ago, the spice shelves included doors that I abhorred. They were obviously added on at some date well after the house was built. One morning I got out the hammer and the screw driver and took them off. Unfortunately, whoever added the doors also added a piece of wood to the original shelves. That had to go as well. As you can see by the photo below, when I removed the extra wood, quite a bit of the wall paint was also removed. 
Here are the spice shelves after the doors have been removed. You can see the mucked up wall paint on the left. 
 A strange part of the kitchen can be seen below. This is a laundry shoot of sorts. I don't know who would use it as it would take me forever to trek to the kitchen with my laundry in a basket and then throw it through this little opening. I'm not really clear about the actual purpose of the opening but it goes directly into the basement near the washer. I guess I could throw my kitchen linens down there but I don't really see any other practical purpose. The cardboard laying on the top I scraped off the spice shelves. No so good looking.
The wacky laundry shoot. You can also see that they must have had to patch about 2 inches of flooring with that hideous metal strip. It gets so dirty back there because the strip catches everything. I don't know that we'll change the flooring right now but I'm thinking about it.
And finally, one of my pet peeves. I abhor that people paint right over their hardware. How hard is it to unscrew the little knob? Really people. Our china cabinet has wonderful glass knobs that now have hideous paint covering the metal and even part of the glass. Grrr. I am going to strip the hinges and the knobs.  I love the look of pristine hardware.
The hardware from the china cabinet. Don't you just love that glass knob?
So even though we're not totally sure about everything we want to change in the kitchen (including the counter top and sink) I just decided to do the cabinets a little at a time. I was able to sand, clean and get in one coat of pink. The pink is inside the china cabinet and on the back wall of the spice shelves. I'm really liking the way it looks. More photos to come.
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