Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Drawstring Backpack

I did a little bit of sewing last week and I must confess to being tickled with how it all turned out.

I used KwikSew Pattern 2379 to make the bag.  Buttercup is a crazy-cat-lady and picked out this adorable cat fabric, plus I had some red vinyl at home.

It was a pretty easy pattern to follow and all the sewing was straight lines.  Honestly, the most difficult part was figuring out how to make holes for the grommets. 

Buttercup really likes it and is wearing it everywhere.  The bag is fully lined (in bright green) and has an outer pocket with a zipper.  The best part is that when you're wearing it, the top is closed and can't be opened without you know it.

"Bun - James Bun"
While Buttercup wanted it in lieu of a purse , it is also a great bag for bringing along your stuff animal du jour.

"Honey the Hamster"
While I still plan to make the bigger backpack included in this pattern, I am so glad I made this one first.  She's getting a lot of use out of it and it was a terrific one to start with. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Think Two Years Doesn't Make Much of a Difference?

Have you noticed how, as you've gotten older, time sees to fly at a pace even faster than you remember it going by?  Have you put off things for a few months until you realize its been two years?  Let me give you an example:  You say to yourself, "Maybe I should clean out my closet.  There are some things I haven't worn in a few months."  Still, it isn't high on your priorities and so you put it off.  One thing leads to another and you end up with clothes in your closet you haven't worn in ten years.  On the one hand, it is no big deal.  On the other hand, how many things like this happen in our lives?  We're going to start eating better, we're going to start working out regularly, we're going to read more books, watch less television.  We're going to tackle "that" room or our finances, we're going to write this letter or call that person, and we don't quite get around to it.  After all, life is busy...and it really is.  So, we think we'll do it next week...next month...next year.  Before we know it, a few years have gone by and, since there is no such thing as "staying the same", we're actually falling behind in our own lives.
Think it doesn't matter?  Think two years doesn't make a difference?  I can show you just what a difference a few years can make.

Here is what our two younger kids looked like when Superman began contracting overseas in January 2010.

Here is what they looked like when he headed back to work this month (January 2012), exactly two years later.

Valiant has lost that "little boy" look and has gone from being substantially shorter than Superman to actually being taller than Superman.  Buttercup has transition from a little girl to a young lady and has grown at least five inches, too.  Time has marched on...and measuring the changes in our children help us mark its passage more clearly than anything else I can imagine.

Still think you can afford to let years past without making progress in your life?  I beg to differ.  Your life is happening right now.  Make sure you're participating fully.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Food for Thought

A man is not where he lives, but where he loves. ~Latin Proverb

Picture credit: Cheezburger

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Obviously, we've entered our Green period...

A few weeks ago, I shared this post with you.  Yes, a new bathroom floor was on my wish list, but I wasn't really putting it high on that list.  Obviously, the heavens had a different timeline in mind, so the floor and the toilet were replaced two months ago.  All that was left was some fresh paint...but what color to choose? (The yellow looks nice, as long as you can't see it with the flooring.)

Superman came home on leave for the holidays, and I put it in his capable hands.  He agreed that the yellow just didn't work anymore.  "I just can't decide.  You pick, please, but please, please, pick a color that is NOT tan or brown," I pleaded.  He picked Mountain Sage green and I said, "Great!  I'll make it happen."

So, now this bathroom is Mountain Sage green (to accompany our Celery Sprig green basement and our Water Sprout green bathroom)...

I must say, I really, really like it.  What do you think?  This is the first Superman is seeing it, too.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Some things never change...

Nine years might have passed, but some things haven't changed as much as you'd think.

Buttercup, circa March 2003 -Sitting in Mom & Dad's bed with a broken left wrist.

Buttercup, circal January 2012 - Sitting in Mom & Dad's bed with a broken left wrist.  (This time, she threw in a broken right wrist for good measure.)

Nine years ago, she amused herself by opening birthday presents her Auntie Eveline dropped by for her 4th birthday.  (Yes, this was her birthday.)

This time around, she amused herself with Beans, who really didn't seem amused.

Nine years ago, she didn't let a little thing like a cast get in the way of rocking her new two-piece.

This time around, she didn't let a little thing like a cast (and a rigid brace) get in the way of some serious gym-time as she rocked her Vibram Five Fingers.  (And, for those of you who worry, please know she had a trained professional guiding her entire workout...she's in good hands, I promise!)

No, my little Buttercup doesn't let much get her down...she even flashed me a bit of attitude.

It really does seem that some things never change.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recovering Your Ironing Board

I don't know about you, but I am definitely one of those "out of sight, out of mind" kind of people.  I just don't think about ironing unless the ironing board is handy.  The more I sew, too, the more I realize that ironing is a must for good results.  Realizing this a few years ago, I brought the ironing board out of the cupboard, dusted it off, and put it out.  I quickly realized that the fabric they used to make the original cover was, in my opinion, a) hideous and b) hideous in my room.   Fortunately, I saw this tutorial for recovering an ironing board and had the fabulous results I shared here.  It has been three years since I recovered both my big ironing board and my desktop ironing board and with the "mango madness" orange transformed to "celery sprig" green, the fabrics I loved so much then do not make me smile now.  Still, I'm using my ironing boards a lot, so they need to stay out.  Finally, as my beloved Superman commented, they stand out like a sore thumb in the serenity of my "new" space. 

Orange really isn't the look I was going for here...
 Clearly, a change was needed.  I headed out to Hancock Fabric and found a fabric that would make me smile.  (Yeah, the smiling thing...if I have to look at something all the time, I want to like looking at it.)  Now, I could have done like before and reused the casing the the strings from the original board covers.  (See it here?  You can see the blue and white on the edge...)

The blue and white fabric, the blue plastic thingy, and the white string
are remnants of the original ironing board cover.  Buh-bye!
 Instead, I got brave and decided to begin fresh this time.  It really isn't a big deal...I did both ironing boards in one evening.  I thought I'd share with you just how easy it is to recover your ironing board.

See the chalk outline?  It is just that simple to get the right size.
First, flip your ironing board on its back and trace the shape of the board onto your new fabric.  Add approximately three inches all around to all for the new casing and the wrap around the board.

See?  I just traced with fabric chalk and cut it out.  Truly, I just eye-balled the
entire thing.

Cut out your fabric.

I didn't even double over the casing...just a down and dirty hem. 
It is going to be on the underside and the inside of your ironing board.
Just remember to leave an opening to thread your elastic through.
 Fold over one inch and iron for the casing.

See the elastic?  I tied it in a knot and trimmed it close AFTER I took this picture.

Sew the casing, leaving an opening to thread elastic through the entire thing.  Making sure you keep both ends of the elastic from slipping into the casing, try your ironing board cover on for size.  Fiddle with it until you get it just right and tie it off when you have it taut.  That's it...you're done!

There you have it.  A new ironing board cover...pretty simple, right?  I've used them both since I recovered them and they do make me smile.  Mission accomplished!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Craft Table

I saw this table in Home Decorator's catalog. 

It is part of their Martha Stewart collection and has a hefty price tag:  $499!!  There is no way I can justify that kind of money for a craft table, plus it seems like an awful lot to pay for melamine covered particle board.

Still, I liked the idea of a table that I could open up for projects and tuck out of the way when I didn't need it.  What to do, what to do!

Then inspiration struck!  I remembered that last year I'd given Charming this Ikea table for use in his new apartment.  (I bought the table three years ago for roughly $150.  Mr. & Mrs. R were in Portland at the time and were kind enough to swing by and pick it up for me.  Wasn't that sweet of them?) 

Anyway, a quick call to Charming confirmed that he was amenable to a trade, so while Superman was home, we made the switch.  (I needed Superman...this table weighs 100 pounds...solid wood, anyone?!)

Six castors later, I have my own craft table for a fraction of the cost!   That Superman!  He's so handy to have around!  It opens up on both sides, or just one.

And when I'm done, it just sits under the window until the next time.

Pretty cool, isn't it?  I just love repurposing things and giving them a new life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My life is nothing if not exciting...

I was minding my own business, getting ready for the gym, when Buttercup fell backwards, broke her fall with her wrists, and promptly broke her left wrist.  Didn't get my workout, but I did get my heart pumping.

For whatever reason, Buttercup's blood pressure dropped quite low in the ten minutes it took to get to the ER (68/30) and she was whisked into a room lickety split and placed on a bed which was tilted way back to put her head below her heart.  The blood pressure situation resolved itself and Valiant was bored.

Four hours laters, the break was set, the splint was on, the sling was in place, and the pain pills had kicked in.  Even better?  She was still rocking her Vibram Five Fingers...those shoes made her the star of the ER.

This afternoon, we head to the orthopaedist for the permanent cast.   Any guesses on the color she'll choose? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Because Superman Can't Wait!

So, we've been working on a few projects since Superman came home for Christmas break.  Since his return to work, he's been clamouring for pictures of our progress.  While we're not completely finished, I can't make him wait any longer.

Today's pre-reveal is the transformation of the room formerly known as the "Macaroni & Cheese" room.  Now that the kids are older, we don't need a "kid" room anymore, so Superman and I picked out a new "grown-up" wall color. 

To remind you, here is the before:

Bye-Bye, Macaroni & Cheese!
And here is the after:

Hello, Celery Sprig!
The view from the other side of the room...this is where I do all my sewing
and crafting and blogging...notice the bright white ceiling...it looks fabulous.

This is where the kids sit to watch television.

I still need to cover the ironing board in new fabric and we still need our new baseboards, but doesn't it look fabulous?   It is a much more relaxed space, that I, for one, am really enjoying.  I am so pleased with how it is coming along. 
Did you notice that we only changed paint?  Isn't it amazing how much of a difference a new wall color and freshened ceilings can make?

So, Superman, are you pleased?  Doesn't it look good?  Thanks for supporting my desire to change up this space.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Lunch, anyone?

On Today's Menu:                    Hamster Tacos!!

"Why, thank you!  I'd love to come to lunch."
"Wait!  You're having me for lunch?"
"Um, I think I'll leave now, but thank you for thinking of me!"

Froyo's reward for letting us mess with her:   a banana chip!

 Cold winter days and bored children:  the perfect recipe for mischief!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If You Give a Girl a Camera...

...she won't be able to resist taking a few pictures...

She'll purse her lips...

She'll imagine she's upside down...

She'll cross her eyes...

 If you give a girl a camera, she'll just have fun.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Handiest Tool Ever!

One of the best gifts I got this year (Superman's presence notwithstanding), was this amazing Black & Decker All-in-One Sure Grip Laser Level.  Seriously.  This thing is fabulous!  My friend Mrs. R picked it up after my beloved Buttercup was a good little elf and, noticing that I wanted one, passed that tip along.  I am so glad she did...it is awesome!

Perfectly aligned!
It comes in two parts...the "sticks on the wall" part with the suction cup and the actual level with the laser part that magnetically attaches to the suction cup part.  It really does stick on the wall, too.  In this example, this is a wall painted with flat paint that might possibly be dusty and that sucker stayed up the entire time I needed it to.  (Supposedly it can stay attached as long as two hours, but I can't vouch for that amount of time.)  The best part?  It is crazy-simple to use.  The light on the level turns green when the bubble is actually in the "level" position...no guess work, no eye-balling it.  It is either green or it is red.  Woot!

So, I stuck it on the wall and lined up the level so the light turned green...

The laser remains visible throughout!
Lined up my line of vinyl...

And, voila!, it is done!

The most difficult part was standing on the ladder to get the lettering up so high!

Seriously, if you find getting things level to be a hassle, this is the tool for you.   I can't believe how much use I've gotten out of it just in the first week of owning it.   After thinking it was going to be "stupid", Superman used it to install some corner shelving on the wall for Buttercup and the laser rounds the corner to make even corner shelves a snap.  He concedes that this tool is really handy...high praise, indeed!

Did I mention the laser goes around the corner?
How cool is that?  We've already hung more vinyl, pictures, a headboard and a mirror with this level.  It is just so handy.  This little tool is definitely worth the $25 purchase price and I'm so grateful to have it!