Slowly making progress in the house.
When it comes to decorating my house, I'm not very good at leaving things alone when I don't love them. I also have to note - I am terrible at picking out paint colors. Or rather I am just very, very new to it. I feel like I am getting better at it... but that may just be a delusion.
We started with a really bright blue. I swear I didn't realize it would be this bright when I picked it, but like I said, I am new to picking paint colors. So I decided to try a technique called glazing. I tried and failed. I am sure it would have worked better with different colors, but with the dull on bright color and no natural light, but it just looked dirty. I don't know if the photo really shows how dirty it made it look.
So I just painted it the new duller color. I liked the new color, but I had really been hoping to make it an accent wall with more pizzazz.
I don't really have any photos in the process. Just this close up of the pattern, don't mind the color, its hard to get a close up without any natural light. It at least shows what the pattern looks like.
I couldn't be happier with how it turned it out! Which is so much better than it is in these photos...
So, I fell out of the loop for a while ... and then before I knew it 3 months have passed...
Yeah, the holidays are busy, and then things didn't seem to slow down with the new year. Yes, Excuses :( Really once I fall behind on something I sometimes find it very hard to just start again because I feel like I have to catch up and as more time passes, there is more to catch up on. So I am just going to start again, but will share a few catch up posts... that I have been saving up...
One fun thing we started out the new year with was a new(ish) car. We traded our Scion Tc in for an '08 Nissan Rogue. So far it has proved to be a great vehicle with the cold and snowy winter we have had. I apologize for the not so great photos. We realized over the holidays that we really needed a little more room, and the scion was just too light to be safe on the slippery roads.
Next up - Accent Wall Stenciling...
Good bye yellow sink! And good riddance! Since we moved in the little faucet spray attachment didn't work. It would trickle out a little bit if we were lucky. One day I was so fed up, I decided I was going to try to fix it. John walked into the kitchen as I was using pliers trying to get it apart and said "you know, we could just replace that thing". I thought about it. Maybe just get a whole new faucet, and get rid of the yellow sink we HATE while we are at it.
After looking, we discovered white is hard to find, and actually costs more than the black they had in stock, and stainless doesn't really go well in this house. So if we were going to do it, we should just go with black and replace the counters too because the black doesn't really go with the current counters. This is major feature creep as we software writers call it. He stopped me before I could suggest new cabinets ;) That will have to be for update round two!
This was what it looked like when we moved in - yellow sink with matching yellow oven, and laminate butcher block design counter tops - 70's original awesomeness.
We decided to just do laminate counters again, as more of a temporary update. My end goal is new cabinets, new flooring, and a tiled back splash, but those were not going to happen in this update.
Cardinal and Gold meet Orange! Pumpkin orange to be exact.
I love using my Dremel to carve pumpkins. Its super messy, but I think its worth it. I started this adventure by cleaning out the pumpkin like normal. I traced the logo with a stylus, any dull pointed object would work though, to get an outline to work with. No, I can't freehand my carvings - kudos to those who can :)
Then I carved it in a few stages. I do an outline with a small round carving bit. Pumpkin sprays everywhere, so despite looking silly, I wore my old flight suit from my Civil Air Patrol piloting days. What else am I going to do with it... makeshift coveralls...
Then I washed it and went back over it with a bigger carving bit. It looks a lot brighter lit up when its carved deeper so this also helps mostly when its lit up, but it definitely looks better not lit after that too.
I decided the highlights in the ISU should show bright instead of dark, so i cut them out. After washing it up, I sprayed the whole front with cooking spray. I read online that petroleum jelly will keep the image from dehydrating, and therefore wilting, but I don't have any, so figured something oily would suffice.
It only dried some, making the outline a little broader, but overall it remained sharp and firm. I think cooking spray will be my go to from now on when trying to preserve my carved pumpkins.
Overall I am super happy with it! Now if only I wasn't still cleaning up pumpkin bits from my garage and kitchen and just about everywhere else... I suppose its all part of the adventure :)
Since high school I have been collecting t-shirts, with the intention of making a quilt out of them. After nearly 10 years, it was time to make it happen.
I started by cutting the parts of the shirts that I wanted to use. Then I folded them down to get an idea of what pattern I could make with them. It took several tries, but I got something I liked.
I used the computer to lay out the measurements for each piece. Even though I had the layout figured out, it took a some adjustments to get it all to work because some of the pieces had been cut down more than I would have liked. That's what happens when you start a project 5+ years before you finish it ;) I also wanted it just a little bit bigger, so added a boarder.
This is what I used as my guide from here on out.
After some reading, I decided to use iron-on interfacing for all the t-shirts. As a beginner in the quilting department, I think this saved my butt...
I just marked each piece using a fabric pencil to get the image centered and then just stitched them all together.
I just ordered a quilting foot for my sewing machine so I can finish the quilting part, but I still cant believe how it came together.
Monday night a pretty big storm blew threw. The wind came up suddenly and we had a tree branch get blown down. It broke into 2 parts with the bigger part landing on the house. It doesn't look very big up there... not to mention its a blurry photo taken from my phone while it was raining.
But once John got it down, it does not look so small anymore. But we got lucky because there was no damage other than a dent in the chimney. But with the winds, if the branch had hit the roof differently it could have been a very different story. So thank goodness for getting lucky!
Another fantastic blessing... We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary yesterday. I cant believe it has been 3 fantastic years since we said I Do! So many things have changed since then. We have probably grown up some, but we are still a couple of crazy kids :) We celebrated by going out to eat and then going for a long walk around Iowa State Campus. We like to keep it pretty low key, just taking some time to really appreciate some time together. And yes, I do feel pretty darn lucky having this man in my life. Marriage takes works, but I wouldn't want to be working on it with any other person!
Well, there are still cords, but now you can't see them. A few months ago I tried to go cordless here, and gave up when I found a big board running behind the TV and decided to just live with it. Then we got this and it wasn't going to work anymore. Its IKEA, which I am now in love with. Its the BESTA line if anyone is curious.
There is a glass top that runs across the whole top of the center 3 cabinets, so there is no going behind it without a HUGE gap and no securing it to the wall... not going to work for me. So I got out the big guns, aka jig saw and big drill bits to make this happen.
This is in the basement, the white bar is the edge of the suspended ceiling, and the whole in the middle is the start of the hole that leads right into the entertainment center where all the electronics go. And we are techies, so there are a lot of electronics. So my next challenge was powering all of said electronics... and with the outlet all the way down the wall, I decided I would power it all by moving an outlet and plugging the power strip in back here in a makeshift AV box thing. That is a technical term, I am sure of it.
So we took down another piece of the peg board wall, which I am grateful for not having had time to drywall yet, to move the cable down. You can see the outlet just under the cords that I planned to move into the box and the top board of the box already in place. I just used my dado blades to cut a pretty big notch into it for all the cords to come through. Next I made the bottom part of the box, the part that the outlet will live in. This is what I ended up with.
Next I turned off the power to the outlet to move it. And now we we have power to the box!
Now I need to get a lot of cords to fit in this little box. My favorite thing for cord organizing is scotch cord bundling velcro. I used nails to attach it to the sides of the box to keep the cords where I want them. Eventually there will be a door on the outside of this box, but unfortunately I didn't get that far. So this is where we end, everything is powered, and is hooked up and at least all the cords are behind the wall. Small victories.
Now I just need to finish putting everything away...
So June has come and gone. It started well with our vacation to Colorado (post coming soon on that). Two days after we got back, my mom passed away unexpectedly. She was only 57 years old, and there were so many things in my life I had looked forward to sharing with her and still so many things I wanted to learn from her. I will miss her so much.
It feels like the rest of June was a blur, mostly getting the estate figured out, clearing her apartment out, having an estate sale, and all the other things that go along with losing someone close to you.
So now its July, and I am working on turning over a new leaf and getting back to some sort of normal. The one thing that always shows me how much life there is to live is my garden. The last time I posted I had just finished my garden bed. Now it looks like this!
On the far left in a pot, I have my morning glories vining up the trellis with my convolvulus starting to flower in front. They have been doing really well, but I haven't seen any morning glories bloom on these vines yet. I planted a few along the chain link fence further in the back yard and had one bloom. I love how they add a little privacy to the back yard. I am hoping they will continue to move along the fence as they grow.
In the bed there are 6 tomato plants. Last year I made the mistake of planting 4 in a pot together. The look so tiny when they start out... but you live, you learn. I did not make the same mistake this year, and they are thanking me for it :)
I have several cucumbers that I have been training to go up the trellis at the back of the bed. I had an old pair of nylons that I have been cutting up to tie them up to keep them going in the right direction. It seems to give them enough freedom to move in the wind. I have already and pollinated several baby cucumbers so they seem to be doing well. Last year I killed all the seedlings as soon as they were transplanted, so I am feeling like this is a big improvement. Look at all those blooms!
In front of the cucumbers there are a ton of little green onions. The whole right half of the bed is zucchini plants. They are huge and unruly. I am trying to train them upwards as well, but that is easier said than done. At least they are flowering and seem to be doing pretty well.
I just added 2 hanging baskets with 2 tomato plants upside down and have a basil plant on top of each of them. I really wanted to see how they upside down tomatoes worked, so this is my first attempt. They were too heavy for my little shepherd's hook, so I stabilized it using a couple of boards and the fence. Its holding a lot more steady since I did that. Lastly I have some cilantro down in the pot next to the bed on the right.
So that's my garden. Green and growing and full of life. I can't say I really know what I'm doing, but I am learning a little bit every day and every year :)
Finishing projects feels good, but I wonder if I am the only one who finishes one project and starts thinking of three more before I have even started walking away. But enough about that, I will leave those for another day.
But back to finishing the garden. I last left off with a rough box in the ground with a little dirt in it.
I added the tops, extra side supports, and the top boards. Looks a lot better already. At this point I had to leave it to be finished the next day so we could go see Star Trek Into Darkness with some good friends. And yes, I loved the movie.
The next day, I started the trellis by attaching three - 1x2 boards on the one side with several screw to make sure it was sturdy . Using the air nailer, I first attached the cross bars at 10 inch intervals.
Then more vertical bars to finish it off. Then added the rest of the soil and compost. I also added some base boards to the outside to make it looks a litte more finished.
Only a real garden has plants... so I added some :) Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, garlic, lettuce, chives, and cilantro. I suppose we will see what grows.
While I was working on the garden, John decided to dig out this little post. It was probably a clothes line pole, but had been cut off like this before we moved in.
Hmmm, little bigger than we thought it would be, but we are glad to have it out of the back yard. We filled it all in with a few bags of dirt and seeded it. We were both ready for showers after all of that fun, but so glad to have gotten so much done outside.