August 29, 2012

A dress for me.

As you know, on my birthday last Saturday, I started a new dress. The previous day I received some compliments from my family on the shirt I wore to my birthday dinner. I had made the yellow gingham shirt about 4 years ago, while we lived in Florida. It was a Project Runway inspired pattern that I had bought after watching a few seasons on Lifetime and falling in love. I also adored this pattern! It needed some adjustments in sizing on the pattern, but I do admire the neckline on this top.

I got into my "to recycle garments" pile in the corner of my sewing area, and pulled out this orange and white stripe polo my husband owned. He only wore it a few times, and frustratingly (for me) somehow got a small hole in the top right front area of the shirt. I couldn't repair it without it being noticeable, so what better thought, than to turn it into a dress for me. Oh yes. I definitely will.

I started with this (husband's shirt):
 And added trim (and length) with this leftover turtleneck:
I used this pattern (Simplicity #2922) :
And ended up with this:

 And I added front pockets (using the sleeves from Steven's polo shirt):
The back view:

 This is now probably the MOST COMFORTABLE dress I own. And, incidentally, the small hole is now repaired and so discreetly hidden on the lower back side of the dress. Making it all from knit, and soft knit at that, made it oh, so soft and stretchy. LOVE. I started sewing when I was in 6th grade. I've been scared of sewing with KNITS ever since. I'm serious....until last year, that is. I read THIS on Made By Rae, and all was set at complete ease! I had been missing out all those years on making clothes with stretch knits, and all the while it was literally SO EASY. I had no idea. All I really needed to make it work so easily was to use/buy a stretch OR ball point sewing machine needle. Who knew?
So, I have found my new love in sewing!
 And what sweet poses usually appear on the blog...but this is what is usually going on, to be totally honest:
Aww, love you, my little man!
Mommy needs to be making you some new knit pajamas...that fit. We'll be seeing about that soon, now won't we.
Have a great and wonderful week, friends! And I'm sure there will be even more sewing soon!

August 26, 2012


Saturday I turned 33. It was the best birthday I've had for years! Just great! Want to see some footage from my special day? Great! I was sure hoping you would! Here come...way too many pictures of me enjoying myself!

got flowers in the mail from my INCREDIBLY AWESOME husband!!!

And a sweet note that made my day year.

I watched while my husband made me (from scratch, mind you) this beyond awesome yumminess mocha pie. It's a labor of love to make, but it is worth it on such an occasion let me tell you!
That evening we went to my parent's house and had my special birthday dinner with all my family. The food my Mom made, and sister helped with, was out of this world good! Then, there was some present opening..... my son : )

He even tried to take off with Lilly's gift to me of chocolate hazelnut wafers! No, son, come back!

I received WONDERFULLY made clay bunnies, a rocket ship, and a palm tree from my awesome 3 nephews!

Received some pretty new clothes to wear, that will hopefully make me now look like I'm in fashion : )!

And lots of coffee, and lots of chocolate. And more chocolate. Hopefully I can make it through the winter months now, with my chocolate stock up! Yes, it's a frightful addiction!

There was even a Death By Chocolate Cake the kids helped my Mom make for me. So YUM!!!!! My candles were lit twice, but I didn't blow any out. It's WAY more fun to let the kids do that part for you, ya know?!!!

Nathan shared my cake with me, and then said he was done.

Only to climb onto his Daddy's absent chair, say "Mmm!" grab the fork, and proceed to help himself to Daddy's portion too! My cute red head may very well love chocolate as much as I do!
watched my thoughtful husband do all the dishes, clean up the kitchen, and make us this delectable fritatta for breakfast!
Steven, Nathan & I then went out shopping for a few hours to an antique store, garage sale, and our favorite local coffee shop.

I made time throughout the day to smell my roses. In addition to my aromatic flowers, Steven surprised me with 4 generous gift cards to some of my favorite stores: Old Navy, Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and Bath& Body Works. What a man!

During Nathan's nap time, I snuck upstairs by myself for a bit to do some selfish sewing....a new dress for myself (before summer gets away), using this shirt of Steven's and

this leftover portion of a clearanced knit turtleneck from Walmart. The other portion of it I used to make part of Nathan's Easter outfit earlier this year. A few alterations, and I'll soon be ready to model my new dress for you!

I watched the mocha pie disappear pretty rapidly over the day....In fact, this may be the only piece left. I did share with Steven & Nathan, I promise.
So, turning, 33 was pretty awesome. Perhaps next year I'll be 33 again. Thank you all for making it absolutely SO SPECIAL for me! Love you all!

August 20, 2012


We have been using a filing cabinet as our computer desk for nearly 3 years. We were ready for a desk we could put our feet under. Thankfully, my sister found this one at the Goodwill Outlet for just $10. Yea! I bought it from her. It was just perfect for us. But, not in this color. So, with my sister's tried and true recommendations for paint choices, I grabbed 2 quarts of Rustoleum oil based paint (1 Cover stain- oil, and 1 semi-gloss black), and began the transformation:

Found this 1x6 board behind my shed, already primed!!! Who knows where it came from, but I thought it would work GREAT as a "back shelf" to hold my monitor higher off the desk. So, out came my husband's tools during nap time:

 I measured twice, and cut the board into 3 pieces with his circular saw (drawing up some bravery for using this tool for the first time without really knowing what I was doing. But, it went really well, to my surprise).
 Sanded each piece on all sides, rounding all the corners.
 Did a "test fit" where I intended it on the back portion of the desk. Will it fit? Check.
 Selected the right screws and drill bit. Hubs taught me to choose a drill bit that has the same circumference as the screw you intend to use, minus the threads on the shaft. Make sense? Hmm...well, hope so.
I measured/guessed where I wanted the screw holes.

 Pre-drilled down through top board into side bracing board, putting 2 pilot holes into each side of my shelf.

 Secured with 2 deck screws on each end.
 Now I had to chose the right length screw to mount my shelf to my desk.
 Pre-drilled holes again, and hand tightened the screws in.
 All done, except I now realized I should've either  added the shelf first, so I wouldn't have scratched my paint job and have to repaint. Oh, well. We can fix mistakes here. And mistakes usually do happen here, but we like to call them "learning opportunities." Ha.
And who slept through all Mommy's power tool usage? This precious little guy!

 Had to end up priming 2 coats of white....Followed by 3 coats black and an additional 4th coat of black on the desk surface. But, it does look real nice, and because I used the oil based paint, no seal coat was required, and I have a very smooth finish all over. Yea!

The next day, after the desk was completely dry, my toddler was VERY helpful and was so THRILLED to get to help Mommy put the hardware back on the desk. Nathan, of course, prefers the "real" tools to his soft toy set. Well, he's learning early, right?
 Here's what our filing cabinet desk looked like before.
 And here it is now. We love it. And, I'm thankful for another completed project. And a very useful one at that for around our home.
 Our "computer" area... the shelving above I made last year out of an old bookcase I tore apart. The shelves are the old bookshelves. And the braces were from Walmart. Yea for cheap and useful.

What can I paint black next? Well, actually...there's 2 chairs and a buffet that I have in mind already that need some re-do....

August 18, 2012

What's Wrong With Me?

Yes, seriously! What's wrong with me? I honestly didn't realize I was "up to my ears in projects" until my friend emailed me recently and asked what I was up to, since I hadn't updated my blog. As a result I'm discovering:  I thrive on projects. I claim to be an "un-busy" person. I am very often at home, and enjoy quiet days just playing with my son. So, why does so much go on here all at the same time?

Right now (within the past week) I:
 Have brought in more new veggies from my garden (not the best this year starting out and with the drought, but we've had a small harvest and are thankful for what we've gotten).
 Used these freshly picked apples (thank you Mom, Peter, & Ben!!!) from my Grandparent's orchard to make 4 canned jars of Cinnamon Roasted Applesauce. YUM!
 Watched my culinary husband can refrigerator pickles for the first time. YUM again. These are officially the first and only pickle I can actually tolerate eating. Thanks, my Love, for doing all the work, and for being excited to help with do my project ideas for me!!!
 Brought our kitchen receptacle into the modern age by changing it (HOT, no less....not recommended! This is the only outlet in our house tied into the main shut off, so, had no choice really but to wear gloves and hope I didn't get buzzed.) I know you think I'm crazy now, unless you already were convinced of that before...haha!
 Didn't forget to wear those gloves!
 Ahh....USB ports right into the wall. So great!
 Thank you, Lowe's, for this new modern age piece of electric genius!
 And thank you, Pinterest, for suggesting I use those silly, silly bread clips to serve an actual purpose in my home, than to let the bread go stale.
 Looking at and arranging, and re-arranging a huge pile of frames to hang and display on my dining room wall, well....perhaps next week finally?
 Bought a 10 foot piece of steel pipe at Lowe's on Thursday (tucked it over so gently thru my small car to bring it home. Inward car space...exactly 10 feet, front to back. Whew!), and some pipe straps and mounted it on my dining room wall to create my very own art gallery! I hung up Pete's original painting (LOVE IT!!!!!) with framing wire from the pipe. Total cost of project: $15.50. Gallery to celebrate the BEST art I've ever seen: Priceless!!!!
 And for those cozy evenings, snuggling up beside my wonderful husband on the couch watching many seasons of Farscape, I have my crochet hook in my hand making the only thing I know how to crochet: dish rags. Some may end up as Christmas presents, no doubt!
 Another wonderful project (this one has been in the works for about 4 months and and I have completely restored this baby rocking chair my Dad used when he was a boy. I have been simply amazed, impressed, and head over heels over the stellar job my hubs did refinishing these side arm braces. Wowee!!! I can only lay a simple claim to recovering the thing with new foam and fabric using my handy staple gun. Now if I can only get to finishing that toddler-proof, washable slipcover.....
 And if all that above was STILL not enough to keep me occupied, I have received this desk from my sister, and have had it outside (on my front porch....) repainting it over the last 5 days.
 Thankfully, almost done with the new desk now. Waiting for the final coat to dry outside. Remounting hardware. Now if I can take all my file folders downstairs for relocation, and sell my current filing cabinet on Craigslist soon.
Made another trip to JoAnn Fabrics' last night to pick up the remainder of items I needed to recover two living room chairs with new slipcovers (to be sewn by me, of course).

Now, I'm starting to think I am busy. But, when you ask me if I'm busy I'll always say "no." I'm just always trying to stay productive. I guess that means being "into" about a million projects all at the same time. But, the truth is, it's always like that around here. And, that's probably why some of my projects take months to complete. For me, though, I'll usually lay down any craft in progress to spend time hanging out with my family, or help in making something for a friend or family member.

And, I happened to marry a great guy who I am exactly like in this area!
Steven's current project list (all working on simultaneously too): restoring 2 beautiful cuckoo clocks, creating a Rinzler outfit (from Tron) for Halloween (I think...or to sell), constructing 2 different super-detailed paper model airplanes, re-installing a bracketed ceiling fan in our kitchen, about to learn about restoring vintage pocket repeater watches, and teaching Nathan to color on his (S's, not Nathans) Ipad. This is what living in a completely creative home is like. And.... I love every minute of it!
Thank you all for reading, for checking in on me, for making sure I'm not going craft crazy, and for loving what I do. You all are simply wonderful!