Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wall Quote

quote by Joseph Campbell

This is the newest addition to our home.  My husband and I chose the quote and the Silhouette, a six foot level, transfer paper, blue tape and some trial and error turned it into reality!  It's our copper wall and black vinyl.  The picture turned out really well and it's a fair representation of the actual color!  Best of all, it's a constant reminder that being who you are is pretty spectacular!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bulletin Board & Switch Plates

This used to be covered with chickens and was desperately in need of an update.  I have quite a stash of fabric, but the only one worthy of the new kitchen (cream with soft gold stars, randomly scattered) just wasn't quite big enough.  

So last weekend it was off to the fabric store for me.  I found this natural muslin with a sprinkle of glitter and declared it good.  The glitter is subtle and I found some gold cord in a box of cast off from my mother in law.  I covered the board with a thin tightly stretched layer of batting, which I stapled first.  Then, the fabric, pulled taut and stapled.  There was just enough cording to do the cross hatching, which is trickier than I thought.  Trying to keep the lines on the same angle from one side to the other - yikes.  My oldest son helped me though and it turned out fairly well, though we did some fudging here and there.  I tied the ends of the cord in knots and stapled using the knot to keep the cording from coming loose.

I bought silver thumbtacks at the dollar store and placed them on every other intersection.  I would have done every intersection, but the cord is too tight and the tacks keep popping back out.

Funny - I just loaded the pics and realized I took this pic before the tacks were put in.  Well, trust me, the silver and gold look good together.  Ohmygoodness, luckily this blog isn't about being perfect, eh!

I've been talking about the glitter plates in the kitchen and here are a couple of pics.  The first is a rooster plate, that had to be changed to suit the new scheme and was the inspiration for all the other glitter switch plates.  

This other one is an example of what I did for the outlet plates.  For the outlets on the backsplash area, I decided to match the light switches.  I actually like the two tone.  It's a little tuxedo if you know what I mean.  For the outlets on the walls, around the table, I glittered those as well, but very minimally and in white.  So they are very subtle. I'm probably the only person who will notice, and I'm fine with that.  

There is a mix of metals happening in the kitchen, which was intentional on my part.  I didn't want the room to be bland or matchy, but I am keeping to a fairly tight color scheme, so mixing the metals is a way to add interest without color or pattern.  Neither picture really does credit to the glitter.  It's called smokey quartz and is a warm aged bronze color that isn't really a metal color, but has flecks of gold in it so you think it might be.  Have I mentioned how fantastic the Martha Stewart Glitter is?  

I'm living on the edge, trying new things, exploring my inner designer.  It will either be fabulous or will need to be tweaked.  Either way I'm enjoying the process.  

Today I've feeling icky.  I can't see much progress happening today.  What I thought would take a week has now spread to two.  You gotta love it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kitchen Refresh Super Find!

mid century bliss
My husband and I went to a consignment shop on Saturday and found the perfect kitchen table!  It has 6 chairs and a lovely vintage feel that nothing new ever has.  It feels happy and makes me happy.  See how the ends of the table curve in?  And the seats are covered in white Naugahyde.  Like it knew it was coming to my newly painted creamy white/off white kitchen.  It's really coming along!

Thought for this day:
“Start calling yourself healed, happy, whole, blessed, and prosperous. Stop talking to God about how big your mountains are, and start talking to your mountains about how big your God is!” Joel Osteen

Let's get out there sharing the best of our whole, healed, happy, blessed and prosperous selves and make this day great!  See you out there!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stuff people say... And Hurt Feelings

Had a conversation today, parts of which hurt my feelings.  Only during the conversation, because when it was over my sanity returned and I realized I'm not fundamentally different now than I was before the conversation and since I wasn't useless before, I'm not useless now.

It was a loved one and we weren't communicating effectively.  We both could have done better.  We were both contributing to the mess.  So, I've spent some quality time this afternoon considering the conversation and how or what, if anything, to do.

Here are some of my truths:

  1. It takes two to fight; if there's a fight, you're in it.  This goes for bad conversations, email exchanges, texts gone awry, etc.  
  2. You are in charge of your own feelings.  You get to decide how or even if something said by someone else affects you.
  3. When you value the other persons opinions #2 is way harder to remember.
  4. More often that not, the other person is wearing an invisible sign that says "Make me feel important" and so are you.
  5. Understanding what motivates others will change your view of the world immeasurably.
Whenever I'm in disagreement with another, I just want them to hear what I'm saying.  I'm not asking them to agree with or even to like it, just hear me and understand why I did what I did. I realize what a lot I am asking of the other person, but it's what I want.   

Why understanding?  Understanding diffuses conflict.  Understanding grows your soul.  Understanding is freedom and power.  My definition of understanding doesn't have implicit agreement, but I think other people consider agreement to be understanding.  

I'm a talker.  I know that talking about things clears the air and helps everyone to move forward.  Not everyone is a talker and oh my golly it is a crapshoot as to what to do with a non-talker.  Throw in the unpredictability of human nature and you rarely get the expected results - talker or non-talker.  Asking a ticked person to hear you is like throwing gasoline on the fire.  But it's what I want.

Very often I'm good with "I'm sorry", shake hands and move along.  Which is where we are at today.  But, for me, I would still like a little talking and a little understanding.  Since I don't feel as though understanding me makes me right and you wrong, I can't see the problem.  For the people who think understanding implies agreement and then extrapolate that makes them wrong I can see why they wouldn't want to listen.  Who wants to be wrong?  

So I just want to say to everyone else in the world:  Is someone asking you to talk about a conflict?  It's not always about being right or being wrong.  It really isn't.  Sometimes it's about being human and allowing other people to be human, too.  Sometimes it's about loving someone else enough to do the thing they need.  Not everything involves a winner and a loser.  It really doesn't.  Sometimes talking about a problem is just talking about it.  AND AFTER EVERYONE WALKS AWAY LIGHTER, HAPPIER and FREER.

Okay, since I'm not going to get my conversation or understanding, I'm going to put aside my needs and love my loved one, just the same. Dang.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Delight


This is how I spent my Sunday afternoon:  Shopping, emptying, cleaning, sorting, labeling, organizing, smiling.

Last year I bought a label maker-love, love, love.  It might seem silly, but there is something about a label that makes you (or anyone else) put things back where you got them.  I labeled everything in my craft space and by gum a year later it's all still where it belongs.

It's all the same stuff in this cabinet, with the exception of the marshmallows which were begging to become crispy treats and the only way to stop the begging was to comply :).  I have one leftover container, which would have held the marshmallows.

I did think about the containers for a while before purchasing.  Rectangular is better.  Stackable is great.  Clear lets me see when it's time to buy more.  Tight seals are important for freshness.   I'd even looked before but nothing was just right.  Quality is important, but taking a second mortgage for containers is ridiculous. Today I found these at a great price.  Let me just say... It is worth the wait to get just what I wanted for a price I can celebrate.

Though this would have been accomplishment enough for one Sunday, we didn't stop there.  We also addressed the spices, the pot lids, the under sink area and the trash & recycling.  I forgot to take pictures of the spices, which was similarly dramatic.  The rest just doesn't have the same wow factor so I didn't bother with pictures, but each will make day to day life simpler, easier and all around better.

It's been a fun day with my best guy.

How did you spend your Sunday?  Doing something you enjoy I hope!

I saw a sign today that read:  There is no remedy for Love but to Love more

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kitchen project update

Since I know there are so many people out there reading these entries and I also know you are on the edge of your seat about the kitchen refresh...  (whew, I am funny ;)  Anyway, here's a status update:

As with all good plans, some things got in the way of finished the kitchen earlier in the week.  The paint is complete, however.  It looks good.  It's received two thumbs from everyone who has been in to see it.  Even in it's disorganized I'm working on it and need all this stuff all over every surface;  it's been a week and we need to make food - what happened to the bread, peanut butter, or pans; there aren't any coat hooks and I can't figure out what to do with my coat or lunch bag or purse, kind of way.

The glitter switch plates tickle me.  Seriously, get some mod podge and put some stuff on your switch plates.  You will A) not believe how easy it is and B) how much you will love it.

Never decoupaged anything?  Don't know what to do?  It goes like this:  you will need the thing you are going to decorate (ie switch plate), mod podge, throw away foam brush, whatever you are going to to put on your thing to decorate (ie glitter).  Put a piece of wax paper or parchment paper on the surface you are working on - this piece you will be working over.  If you are working with glitter, you will want to try your darnedest not to get any glue on this surface.  You will also want a piece of wax or parchment paper for setting your piece on to dry.

I'm going to assume you are glittering a switch plate for these directions because you've seen the potential in the pictures below, so:  Holding your plate, squeeze some mod podge on, start small because you can always add more, but it's tricky to impossible to remove excess.  You want to cover the plate with a good layer of podge, but you do not want the podge to drip off.  Once it is fully covered, open the glitter and sprinkle away making sure you are over the parchment so any over-sprinkle has a safe place to land.  .  When you feel like there is glitter on all of the surface, turn it over and tap on the back with your foam brush handle, letting the glitter fall onto the parchment. Take a look at the surface, think you've missed a spot, sprinkle on more glitter.  Now, take a good look at the edges.  How's the coverage?  If need be, press the edges into the glitter on the parchment, just be careful not to put glue on the parchment.  If you gather up the glitter in a pile, you'll be fine.

Set your piece aside to dry.  If your piece has mod podge on the edge that is touching the paper, you will want to move it after about 10 minutes, cause it's going to want to stick.  Rinse out your foam brush and allow it to dry.  Use the parchment to put the excess glitter back into the bottle.  I read about another crafter who uses a paper plate under her glitter projects so she can just fold the plate in half to return the unused glitter to the bottle.  It isn't enough space for me cause I'm a little messy, but I mention it in case it would work for you.

Now, you are definitely going to want to put a coat of mod podge over the glitter, otherwise every time you touch it, some will come off, but you can't apply it immediately because it will just smoosh around and mess up the first layer of glitter.  So we wait.  Allow it to dry for at least 30 minutes.  Take a good look at it and see if it needs another coat of glitter.  It just depends on what you are covering and what color the glitter is and how you feel about it.  Either way, squeeze on mod podge and begin covering the glitter using the foam brush (it's okay if it's still damp, just not dripping).  Don't be surprised, but it will take more podge to cover this layer.  If you have decided on more glitter, just repeat what we did earlier, sprinkle, sprinkle, check the edges-dipping as needed into the excess glitter on the parchment and then set it aside to dry.  After 30 minutes, apply a top coat of mod podge.  When you've put the top layer of mod podge on, you will want to let this dry for several hours - I left mine overnight.  Then just put those switch plates up.  OOOOOOOHHH, I forgot to mention the screws.  You will want to glitter those babies! Just dip in mod podge and then in glitter, allow to dry for 30 minutes and dip in podge again for a top layer.  I haven't needed a second coat on any I've done, but check yours and decide.

Let's just say glitter isn't your thing.  What else could you put on your switch plate?  Paper, fabric, stickers, photo, ribbon, silk flowers, real flowers, confetti... It's basically the same operation, mod podge - decoration - mod podge. The only difference between glitter and these other things is that you won't need to let these other things dry before putting on the top layer of mod podge.  We wait for the glitter because is smooshes around and we have no way of holding it in place.  The paper or the photos can be done in one piece or torn and applied in bits and pieces.  Both are cool options.

The beauty of enhancing a switch plate is you can buy the very basic model for a single switch for 20 cents.  If you don't like how it turned out, whip out two dimes and buy another!  Course with decoupage you can just add another layer, too!

Now, my feelings on mod podge and other decoupage options...  I've tried lots of them.  My Aunt taught me to decoupage in the 70's.  I have really tried a lot of different things.  Mod Podge is the best.  It is consistently good, with good results.  You can have a bottle in a drawer for a year and pull it out and still get good results (not that I've done that... Oh, yes I have). In a week, a month or three years from now, your decoupaged item will still look good.  Those are just my thoughts and you are welcome to ignore them.  :)

just found this quote and wanted to share: “Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, February 15, 2013

Switch Plates!

So, it's the year of light and I'm going literal for a minute.  We are upgrading our lighting this year.  All through the house.  We're aging (shocking, I know) and with that comes the need for more light.

As I might have mentioned, we are in the midst of a kitchen refresh!  It's going really well.  We used to have a very homey, country feel (with roosters).  Those are gone and they aren't coming back.  I enjoyed them and now I'm ready for something new.  Some of the switch plates we had were rooster themed.  Rather than replace them, I decided to glitter them.  OMG.  They look incredible!  It takes a couple of coats, depending on the color you are using and what you are covering.  And, you will definitely want to end with a coat of mod podge, otherwise you will end up with glitter on your hand every time you touch a plate.  

Well, I've tried twice to get pictures of the kitchen plates and it's a no go.  This camera!  But, once I had success with the kitchen I moved on to other plates and the pictures turned out great:  

The two on the left are on a copper (non metallic) colored wall and the last is on a chocolate wall.  It's funny how flat and similar the paints look, but we're focusing on the switch plates.  You see, even with the mod podge over it, the glitter is still glittery!  I like the little bit of unexpected sparkle.  It's lightening the lighting.  (hee hee hee, ohhhh I crack myself up)

Get some mod podge and cover your plates with whatever will make you smile!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Year of Light... Fresh paint

The kitchen was in need of a freshening.  So we are beginning with paint.  I've tried unsuccessfully to use color on the kitchen walls.  It just doesn't work for me.  I really can't say why either because it's the only room that is white in our entire house.

We contemplated painting for a while.  I really don't enjoy painting.  I love the results, though.  So after much consideration we chose an slightly off white color.  The woodwork was tan, but now it is a mayonnaise white to match the rest of the house. For those of you who might be grossed out over painted woodwork, I live in an ooooold house.  This woodwork was painted many, many years ago and had been painted many, many times before I arrived here. Over the years I've tried a lot of different color combinations, but the mayonnaise white (which just means a whisper of yellow that is not detectable, but warms the white) is the best on the woodwork.  No matter what you paint the walls, the mayonnaise looks good. (It's a tip I learned from an HGTV designer/host and it's a good one.)

While there is not much contrast between the two colors, mayonnaise trim and slightly off white walls, I like the feeling in the room.  My husband and I have been working on it for two days. We patched drywall, cleaned every appliance - inside and out, tightened screws, and painted three luscious coats on the trim and just one on the walls and ceiling.

We've even picked out a new light fixture, which is not going up today.  We are burned out, just now.  It's been hard quality work and we needed a little break.  I actually had to give myself a nap break today - the paint fumes and the sore arms were really getting to me and it's no good to be crabby in the middle of such an event.

We have a couple of things to accomplish before we can bring things back together, so it will be one or two more days of evening work.  Still on the list:  fresh coat of sealer on the wood floor and a good scrubbing of the linoleum.  Oh, and the windows will need cleaning.  (I might have gotten a little paint on one or two of them.)  ;-)

I'm taking this opportunity to revise what is necessary in the kitchen.  There were definitely too many things in there and I'd like to rethink, reorganize and reduce, while I have the chance.

My fabulous hubby worked his magic and I love him completely for sticking with me through the process.  Someday soon there will be pictures.  But not today.  I'm tuckered.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Red Rover, Red Rover...

This vest is very red.  My son says "Intense" and his eyebrows raise just a little too high, if you know what I mean.  But, I like it.  It's made with a Butterick pattern that was clear, easy to follow, had very fine results.

Mind you, I tweaked the pattern.  I cannot help it.  I almost never follow a pattern from begin to end without a variation and this was no exception.  I decided to forgo using the facing.  This pre-quilted fabric is stiff.  I felt like two layers of that would be very like wearing cardboard.

So, what to do, what to do.  The pattern called for using bias tape on the arm holes.  I decided to outline the entire vest in bias tape.  I was originally going to use a pin dot fabric and I made miles and miles of bias tape, but in the end I just couldn't do it.  I don't know why exactly, normally I love any sort of polka dot, but not today and not with this vest.  So, I bought packaged bias and it is good.

Have you worked with pre-quilted?  Well, you end up with some pretty unattractive seams inside with all that white fleece hanging out.  Originally, I was going to use some of the miles of pin dot to enclose the seams.  See previous paragraph.  As I sat on my sewing chair contemplating life I spotted some bargain bin ribbon I bought a year ago.  Using it to encase the seams does two things:

First, it hides the white fluff.  Second, because I stitched it down through the garment, I ended up with these lovely wide 'top-stitching'.  Oh, and a third thing it does is I know there is silver inside.  It's like a sparkly little secret that only I know.  And now you know.

Oh, see the zipper pull?  It came off an after Christmas bargain bracelet at the grocery.  I took it apart and this was one component.  I just added a jump ring to attach it to a small lobster clasp.

Here's what's funny about all the pictures...  They do not look like they are the same vest, with all the color variations.  Oh...  I love my camera. You just never know what's going to happen.  hee hee.

Just in time for Valentine's ♥

Anyway, Butterick #5683. I recommend!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Best... An inflammatory thought

Ever noticed how when someone tells you or you read that something is "The best" it kinda gets your dander up?  Why is that?

Is it because we don't think anyone else should be deciding for us just what is best?  Is it because we think the label-er can't possibly have any idea what's good let alone what's best?  Is it because we wanted to be the one to say it first?

I don't particularly know the reason, but I catch myself doing it sometimes.  I suppose I think that what is best is very personal and very subjective.  So subjective in fact that one day I think it's the best and on another I might just think it's okay.

So, I bet you are wondering what has brought this on...  Well, I've found something that really is the best and I want to share it with you:

They are Wonder Clips by Clover.  OMG!  I've been making a vest from prequilted fabric and I've used these instead of pins.  The are amazing.  Maybe you've already seen them.  I just discovered them and this is my first project.  I used them to hold on the bias tape that I used to enclose every exposed end.   I used them to hold the zipper in place.  The zipper doesn't shift or bubble as sometimes happens with pins.  No getting stuck when maneuvering the fabric through the sewing machine.  The clips remain firm, but are easily removed or re positioned with one hand.  Woo Hoo!  They are the best!  hee hee

Buy the big box.  It's pricey, but totally worth it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cheddar Scones

Well Hello!

Yesterday was my hubby's birthday.  He's a great guy and we had a big fun family dinner.  I made these scones and want to share the recipe.  I've tried lots of different ones and these are my tweaked, tested and approved version.

3 cups flour
1/3 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup butter - a stick and a half
1 cup of buttermilk
6 oz of shredded cheddar

In a large bowl combine, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients.  Use a pastry blender to cut butter into dry ingredients.  Use may also use your hands to blend butter into dry ingredients.  You are looking for what they call coarse meal consistency, which basically means no large chunks remain.  We do not want the butter to melt, so if you've warm hands, use a pastry cutter. Add buttermilk and cheddar and mix until just combined.

When you take the dough out of the bowl, it will be crumbly.  You will be tempted to knead it.  Resist.  You only want it to stick together.  The more you work it, the tougher the scones will be.  Less work=light, fluffy, delicious scones.  More work=hard, heavy doorstops masquerading as scones.

Now you have a choice to make.  Do you want wedges or some other shape?  The choice is yours.  I'll give directions for my two favorites.

For wedges:  Dump onto a floured surface and divide dough in half.  Use hands to pat one half into a circle, approximately 1/2" thick. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 8 wedges.  Repeat with other half.

For trapezoids (like pictured): Dump onto a floured surface and pat entire batch into a large rectangle about 1/2" thick.  Use pizza cutter to cut the rectangle into rows.  Cut the rows on angles into small trapezoids or cut them straight for squares or rectangles.  If going for trapezoids, you will end up with the most adorable little triangle-y shaped pieces.

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on parchment lined baking sheets.  Do not crowd as they expand during baking.  Use two sheets.  I bake them in two batches.  It's worth the wait.  They are magic.

BTW - You can leave the cheddar out for a super delicious plain scone and there is nothing wrong about that.  In fact, I make them plain as often as I make them cheddar.