Category Archives: House

My first pintrest project!!!

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Was made by my husband…. go figure.

I am slowly… slowly… turning my office into a craft studio. Soon the days where all my craft stuff is buried deep in draws and boxes will be long gone, and everything will be out for me to see.

So, Wes made me a super cute stamp storage space that fits neatly behind my door – thank you honey 🙂

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P.S. Anyone else pin a heapload of stuff, but never actually check their pintrest boards? And then spend hours googling something online (e.g. ‘baby shower cakes’) only to find out you had a whole pintest board devoted to that thing AFTER you spent hours finding a project? OK. Just me then.

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I made a blind!

Roman blind of sadness

Roman blind of sadness

A terrible.. terrible blind.

Well, the blind structure is good. The fabric is, as I suspected all along, terrible. Note to self: vintage and old fashioned are very different.

Sigh. Here is how I made the blind…

(1) Cut your fabric & lining 1″ wider than the window, and 4″ longer.

(2) Sew together, with 1/2 ” seams around 3 of the sides (leave the top open), with the outside sides (the sides you want to see) facing together.

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(3) Turn right way out and insert a metal pole (I got mine from Home Depot) into the little bag you have created.

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(4) Sew three sets of brass rings up from the base. I started 5″ from the bottom, then went at 7″, 6″, 5″, 4″, & 3″, intervals.

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(5) Staple gun the open top around some wood, the length of your window frame (I used 1/2″ thick wood) and screw in little hooks for the threads.

(6) Run threads through the brass rings and through the hooks,

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Et voila.

Hang.

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I hate my blind.

I am quite pleased with my valance – this was easy peasy.

(1) Construct a valance out of insulation foam (I glued it with my hot glue gun)

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(2) Cover with fabric and pin into place:

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Et voila a deux:

Blind of sadness

Blind of sadness

Now I have to remake the dratted blind with decent fabric.

A Colour Scheme for my Study

My desire to redo the house has started to take fruition. Inspired by how nice Sam’s room is, and how dismally impersonal and cold the rest of the house is, I have in fact, started in full force. (Note: I tend to start everything in very full force).

Sorry to have this pic again, but I just love how peaceful and warm this room is.

Sorry to have this pic again, but I just love how peaceful and warm this room is.

I am starting with my study / play area (let’s face it: I play far more than I study…) so that I can experiment in a relatively private spot, without wrecking the visible spots of the house. The first thing I decided to do was decide on a color scheme, for, from there, all good creative things flow.

Previously I loved yellow. It was my favorite colour for all rooms: so bright and sunny, and so easy to accent. I think I was swayed by the cold wintery weather here in Houston, because I wanted something more warm and cosy and the word: autumnal kept coming to mind (another note: I do know that winter lasts all of 2 milliseconds in Houston and therefore it is foolish to build a room around winter feelings… but the current urge is too strong to ignore).

So, I decided chocolate brown would be my starting point. Then I needed an accent… powder blue & white & brown will probably be how our bedroom goes (inspired by my boppy).

Boppy. The cushion, not the child.

Boppy. The cushion, not the child.

Our bedroom is currently brown with leaf green and I have decided I HATE that, so that is out.

I hate this so much now. Except now I see this picture, when I quite like it.

I hate this so much now. Except now I see this picture, when I quite like it.

While looking online I became obsessed with this orange candle:

I can almost smell the pumpkin spice

I can almost smell the pumpkin spice

and thus, my accent color was born: burnt orange.

Yes. Brown and orange. I know what you are thinking. I googled ‘brown and orange rooms’ for inspiration and found phrases like ‘brave’ and ‘not often used’. I sat through Wesley’s earnest attempts to talk me into another color. I have seen people’s eyebrows raise sharply when I tell them. I know you are thinking ‘bit sixties… bit dated’.

Sadly I am now thinking them too, but… anyway…

Before I got to that stage of regret and woe, I decided that I needed a statement fabric to make a couple of blinds with. So off to Jo Ann’s I went. Surprisingly – surprisingly – they didn’t have a whole lot of brown and orange fabric. Anyone would think that colour combination was a bad idea… But, I did find this:

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Which I bought. And I also bought some brown and orange craft paint to make accessories. And some scrapbooking things. And I didn’t sign up for my New Year’s Day 5K because they were having a sale in Jo Ann’s and I spent all my money. Boo.

And now, I am in regret and woe stage 2, because now I am home, and we tacked it up at a window, this doesn’t so much look like a funky statement fabric, but rather like something dragged out of an old people’s home. In Jo Ann’s the word ‘vintage’ sprung to mind. At home the words ‘horribly dated’ came forth. There were tears, and laughter, and then sort of tears-laughter.

Doesn't look any better from a distance...

Doesn’t look any better from a distance…

But now. Now there is resolution and determination. Dammit. I will MAKE this fabric work. I will put lots of chocolate brown around it – brown lettering on doors, brown seat covers, brown cushions (all homemade), and lots of autumnal woody accessories: wooden picture frames etc and the odd orange accessory (a button on a cushion, a candle, some orange accents on the letters) and I will MAKE IT LOOK AWESOME.

I like a challenge. But… I am still full of regret and woe at my fabric and color scheme choice. You know what is brown & orange? Lindt Intense Orange Chocolate. Which I am mournfully eating now as I glare dejectedly at my fabric. Any suggestions for working this into a room (this will be the blinds) most welcome. Or just any encouragement. Or any chocolate.

An Early Start on 2013 Resolutions

The title of this post is a bit misleading. I don’t really have any resolutions, but I do have some things I would like to do in 2013 (if you get the distinction). One is to turn our house into a home. The house we live in now is gorgeous structurally: large spacious rooms, wooden floors, sun room, dining room bathed in light. But we have not done much with it, other than move our stuff in, and keep it fairly clean and tidy.

I have not owned, or settled, somewhere for 3 years. I previously owned a flat in London, but I was heinously broke and struggled to deal with how tiny it was – it was a beautiful place, but very cluttered with all my junk (and animals). Then I rented in Birmingham – one nice apartment and one hell hole. Now Wes and I own our own home, and intend to be here a good 3-5 years at the least, I am more motivated to try to do something nice with it – something personal, something Better Homes and Garden-y. It has struck me how nice it is to go into Sam’s room which is properly painted, has a color scheme and decorations and so on. So, with the zest I previously applied to changing my body, I now intend to change the house.

First up: cleaning out my wardrobe, which was an absolute abomination.

This is how it started (and this was a GOOD day):

Messy wardrobe

Messy wardrobe

Yeah… it was bad. So, I put Sam in his jungle gym of entertainment and hilarity:

Fisher Price rainforest jungle gym

So amusing to a 7 week old

And set to it. These were my steps:

1. Take EVERYTHING out. Yes. Everything.

Empty wardrobe

Empty wardrobe

2. Sort it into piles:
‘work trousers’, ‘work skirts’, ‘work tops’, ‘work dresses’
‘weekend trousers’, ‘weekend skirts’, ‘weekend tops’, ‘weekend dresses’
‘sweaters’ ‘evening dresses’ ‘long dresses [not evening’], ‘vest tops’
‘pyjamas’, ‘sports gear’, ‘lounging around the house’

piles of clothes

This is actually organized believe it or not

Note: This is the ‘you have to break eggs to make an omelette’ stage. Also note: if you have been let off other house chores to get this done, and that person who is slaving away cleaning the kitchen sees this, they may go bananas at this stage. Weather the storm… weather the storm.

3. Go through RUTHLESSLY. Remove everything that doesn’t fit (NO it will NEVER fit), is tattered, is only in the wardrobe for sentimental reasons, is ripped or torn, doesn’t have anything else that goes with it or you always put on and take off again.

4. Then look at each pile and remove even more items if the pile is too big for your lifestyle e.g. I have not worn an evening dress for 3 years (sob)… I don’t need 11, no matter how beautiful they are. I don’t need 24 work dresses (yes really).

Every empty hanger is a piece of clothing given to charity!

Every empty hanger is a piece of clothing given to charity!

Yeah, the above pic shows how much I got rid of. Ouch.

5. Rehang in the sections from stage 2.

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All told, it took about 7-8 hours (over 3 days) but felt MARVELOUS when done. Future projects will be more crafty (I am making a blind this weekend… bit nervous about that) but this was a great, and needed, start to sorting this place out.

Monkey stayed with me most of the time, but graduated to his tummy time mat 🙂 :

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Reindeer cupcakes

reindeer cupcakes

Merry Christmas… just 5 more days to go. While I am super excited, I must confess, my Christmas crafts did not go as plentifully as planned. I blame two things:

(1) Sam.

Cute, but time consuming

Cute, but time consuming

(2) Liars in Kroger who tell my husband that you can’t get superfine sugar in the US (wtf? Superfine is the US term! In the UK we call is caster sugar…) nor can you get ground almonds (again: wtf? The country of paleo eating and the birth place of Atkins does indeed have ground almonds / almond meal / almond flour). Eegits have put a halt to my Christmas baking.

So… since I last blogged about my tree and wreath, all I have really managed is some paper chains around the banisters:

paper chains Christmas decoration

The stockings being hung (not even on a mantelpiece… oh dearie me):

Can you guess which one is Sam's?

Can you guess which one is Sam’s?

A party involving mulled wine and mince pies,

And some reindeer cupcakes.

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The decorations were cobbled together from several ideas on the internet, but I basically put chocolate frosting (icing) on some cupcakes and added:

Muzzle: vanilla wafer
Nose: mini chocolate chip / mini morsel
Eyes: Sugar eyes from Target
Antlers: mini pretzels snapped in half.

Easy peasy and very festive.

Oh, and don’t forget to ask your husband to buy an ENORMOUS bag of mini M&M’s so you can extract just one red one for:

Don't forget Rudolph

Don’t forget Rudolph

LOVE Christmas baking. These went to our OB’s office. I may do some more this weekend to give to Texas Children’s Hospital 🙂

New Toy-box and a Final Nursery Tour

Homemade toybox

Toy-box

I have been crafting again – I should do more of this as I really enjoy it. I tend to shy away from craft projects due to lack of inspiration, and a general lack of talent (my Mum used to be an artist – how these genes bypassed me, I’ll never know), but my husband and I agreed that I enjoy it so much, it is worth it anyway. I am going to read some craft / home decor magazines, and I also have found a friend here who is going to teach me to crochet something other than long ‘worms’ which will expand my current ‘painting boxes’ and ‘cake pop’ craft repertoire 😉

Crochet stitch

After many failed internet tutorials, this is the most I can do with crochet. A worm. A pink / brown / blue / yellow worm, if you like. But still, a worm.

So… poor Firework will either be a craft-lover, or a child terribly embarrassed at his mother’s homemade, hokey decorations. Quite frankly, I am OK with either 😉

I wanted a toy-box for FW, but ones I liked were all pretty expensive. I had the idea of using an old apple crate to go well with the tree mural in the nursery… but actually finding apple crates, without paying hundreds of $$s for postage was not easy either. Then a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, and 10 princely dollars later, I emerged with a fake, plywood apple crate. Sweet. Some $5 plywood decorations later (including the name letters – hence the blank square) and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. At least, pleased for $15. He can totally change it up when he is old enough to care.

I also made another ‘letter box’ – just for funsies.

So, unless the hospital puts us back due to being excessively busy, just 4 days to go. Final bits done to the nursery… all the light switches which were really old and discolored have been replaced with shiny new ones, covers have been put on the sockets (not that we need that yet, but hubby was being proactive) and the last things are in place. We have a changing table:

Changing table in nursery

A bed (it is still the spare room for when guests come, and then FW will stay in the pack ‘n’ play in our room – where he might start anyway) / nursing / play / crib area:

Gender neutral grey Nursery

Creepy uber-cam the husband wanted, which scans the entire room (you have been warned, future guests 😉 ):

Web cam for baby

And a closet full of baby clothes for 3 – 24 months – a sight that makes me smile every time I see it:

Baby clothes in wardrobe

See our bumbo? It’s a must have!

If you have sent us something lovely and cannot see it hanging up, this is because it is for 3 months or under, and is in the changing table ready to be worn! It all seems quite real, and very exciting now.

Making a Mural for Firework

I am nothing, if not stubborn. I got a bee in my bonnet about having a tree on Firework’s wall. Which was going to be simple, as I could just order a nice wall decal (i.e. sticker). After much searching and deciding and comparing and pintresting and getting over the $100+ price, hubby and I decided to go for it. Alas, the new home has textured walls and decals won’t stay up. So I decided to stencil one on. Hubby was skeptical and very unenthusiastic, until he saw my canvases. So, we decided to go for it… except we could not find the tree I wanted. So, I decided I would just draw a tree o the wall! Yeah! How hard could it be? I mean, we’ve all been drawing trees since we were – like – 2, right? Green lollipop with a brown stick.

Little bit of my, ahem, artistic ‘talent’. I went to a super competitive school where we were drummed to be successes and basically forced to be so: the school would do whatever it took to get you to pass their end of year exams. Except, it would seem, actually pass me in Art. Seriously, I tried, but I remain the only girl to fail an internal LEH art exam. Sigh. And, really, quite fairly so. Years later, as a special ed teacher, my ‘art’ was the mirth of my friends, and the despair of my assistants. Lucy politely and in a roundabout way, basically asked if she could redo all my displays, as they were so dire. I said yes *hangs head*

But. Hormones. Age. Memory loss. Stubbornness. Whatever. I decided to make one for FW. Here is how it went:

1. Draw pic on giant paper:

2. Spend three days redrawing and refining pic:


3. Paint in proposed colours:

4. Cut out pic:

5: Tape on wall:

6: Draw around outline in chalk

7: Paint around outline

8: Fill in (painstakingly and boringly. Twice):

9: Paint accents:

10: Outline in black, adding detail:

11: Finally: add name in wooden letters ($1.99 each from Hobby Lobby), you have painted white.

Obviously this is edited on the computer not to show his real name 🙂

Voila! I am actually pretty pleased. No Picasso, or Monet, but I like it. It’ll probably be the bane of the kid’s life.Now we have to decide on cot (US: crib) colour. I say: white, he says: black. We’ll see.

If *I* can do it, trust me, anyone can. Here’s hoping some of you are inspired to give it a go…