Tuesday, March 29

Mini Makeover: The Kitchen

What does it mean when you go to blog about updating your kitchen and while searching through old photos for pictures of said kitchen (pre-update) you realize you may have liked it better the old way?  
Before:
I took these pictures when we first moved into to our little house.  
It seems bigger and brighter.  And the floor seems... shinier or something.   
Maybe it's just that we had less stuff.  
Before:
At any rate, one thing that did really bother me about the old kitchen was the old beige Formica counters and back splash.  They just didn't feel in sync with the rest of the room.
Before:
But, much to my delight, several months ago, our dishwasher broke which started a chain reaction resulting in an updated kitchen!  A previous owner had put the black and white ceramic tile flooring in and ended up raising the floor a good half inch, tiling in the base of the old dishwasher.  The only way to get the original dishwasher out, was to either tear up the floor or take off the counter tops.  
I voted for the counter tops.

We removed the old Formica, put in a new dishwasher, and had Home Depot install a new gray Formica counter top. 
And that's where things slowed down.  
For the next several months, this is how our kitchen looked:
I didn't get around to doing the back splash until this Spring Break.
After:
This was my first time tiling anything and I'm pretty proud of myself!  
I learned a lot.  
There are definitely things I would do differently next time, but overall, it was an easy, fun project!
Next on my big house sprucing to-do list is painting, painting, painting.  I have plans to do all the doors, trim, hallway, and ceilings.  If that goes well, I'll redo the kitchen (probably a lighter yellow and the cabinets) and the bathroom.
Anyone want to help? 
:)

Spring Breakin'

Lately, it seems like the speed of life exceeds the speed of blogging.  Here's my attempt to record what we've been up to for the past two weeks.
We've just finished up our Spring Break and while it's nice to get back to a routine, we really enjoyed the free time.  
Henry got some new pajama pants!  I'm in love with the fabric!
And we learned he needed these:
We also picked up this:
We'd been debating getting a pet for a while and when Billy's professor told him they had a litter of Dachshunds ready to find new homes, we caved and brought Mochi home. 
The kids are in heaven.  Lucy keeps saying, "I still think I'm dreaming!". 
 I am... tired.  
Mochi is six-weeks old and doesn't quite like being by himself or sleeping at night.  But, so far, I think the
 pro's out weigh the con's.  
And we worked a bit in the backyard.  It's needed some landscaping since we moved in-- that was, oh, five years ago.
Before
(the first time the grass caught on fire, billy went to get the garden hose, only to find the pipe was broken, so that was one more project on the spring-break-fix-it list)
Part of our driveway comes up into the backyard.  It is original to the house (built in the 50s).  But, more recently, a fence was put in, which cuts off the old drive.  It is cracked and coming up in places.  We started pulling up the broken concrete and leveling that corner of the yard.
Some friends stopped by and surprised us with a plate of delicious cookies that kept our energy up to finish the job!  
Thanks, Taggerts!
After
It feels so good to have that done!
I also finished a big, on going kitchen project that I will blog about soon!  




Monday, March 28

Capes and Robes



Our oldest grandson turned 13 last week! Yikes, am I that old?? All he wanted for his birthday was a medieval cape with a big hood. Knowing it was going to get drug all through the forested back yard and beyond, I didn't want to spend a fortune on fabric. I felt impressed to check out the local Sally's (Salvation Army Store) and there was 5 plus yards of brown polyester double knit just waiting for me for $4.99! If I could even find that at JoAnn's it would have been just what I wanted! I used Simplicity Pattern 9887.
With the scraps I was able to make Jacob the Jedi his robe. I improvised a girl's bathrobe pattern, hence the puffy sleeve. I didn't have enough to cut out another sleeve. If you look close you can see I had to piece fabric together to make the sleeve I had. Oh, well. He is happy and claims he really does have the force, so look out!




Holly's Shower

(photo courtesy Kristin and was taken in her darling home)

 My good friend Holly is expecting her third baby and very first GIRL!  The gang is very excited for her and wanted to throw an intimate shower.  I really love baby showers.  And birthday parties.  And really any excuse to celebrate something.  It may not come as a complete surprise to you that can I get a little carried away when it comes to making gifts for these kinds of things.  Knowing that Holly is really practical and expecting a move in the next year, I wanted to make sure whatever I made was something she really needed.  Lucky for me, she had a small list of projects she wanted to make for Baby Girl, but didn't think she'd have time to do.  She had even bought fabric-- so all the guess work was taken out of it for me!
Most of the projects she wanted were from here:
So, picked up a copy and whipped up these pants (and appliqu├ęd a matching onesie).  A few other friends took different projects that Holly'd requested.  I think between us all, we were able to get most of her to-do list finished up.
Holly had also picked out some coordinating turquoise and orange fat quarters.  I put them together in a quilt. I can't for the life of me remember where I saw the idea for this design.  It was on a pillow on some blog.  Trust me, I have looked and looked.  If anyone out there recognizes this flower design, let me know so I can give credit!  The used a soft, natural linen and the back is cream Minky.
The inspiration for this quilt came from HERE.
I had a little Minky leftover so I put together these make-shift burp cloths.

Last but not least, I did a little bunting for a shower decoration but that Holly could take home for her nursery.
We are so excited for our friends and can't wait to meet Baby Girl!

Friday, March 18

And the Winner Is...

WENDY with her guess of 16 feet!  The actual length was 17 feet 
(that's 5.7 yards, 204 inches, or 510 centimeters, in case you were interested).
  Sooo, Wendy, you can expect something coming your way soon.  
Just let me know which State to mail it to. :)

Have no idea what this post is about?  You can catch up here.

Tuesday, March 15

12 Squared: March Square

Here's my block for March.  This is going to Amy who provided an inspiration fabric (the large floral print in the center and on the right edge) and the piece measurements.  
You can see the other quilters' blocks by clicking the 12 Squared link to the right!

Monday, March 14

Civil War Dress

When I was a freshman in college, I worked in the school's costume department as the "wardrobe supervisor".  It sounds more glamorous then it really was.  Basically, I was in charge of making sure all the costumes were clean and pressed for each night's performance (or dirty, if that's what the roll called for).  I gathered jewelry and props for different costumes.  Mended little things as they needed it.  I LOVED watching the designers research styles and time periods and make their own patterns.  
For a long time after working there, I had dreams about the "closet"; an enormous room in the dim basement of the theater building with rows and rows of period clothing cascading from high hung rods, drawers and drawers of pantaloons and pettiskirts, shawls and gloves.  
It really was neat.
So, these pictures aren't of me, but they are of the BYU costume department.  Just so you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.  The one on the right is from BYU Costume Dept.'s Facebook page and the one on the left is from Flikr.
Despite my impressive resume entry of "wardrobe supervisor", I never actually made any costumes.  But, several weeks ago when an opportunity to help a local costumer presented itself , I jumped right on it.  Sure I'm qualified!  She asked me to make a Civil War era dress for a high school production of  Little Women.   Looking at the pattern (Simplicity 4551), it seemed challenging, but not impossible.  
Um, yeah.  I was kind of wrong about that.  
This pattern proved to be much more work than I anticipated.  And anyone who knows me well knows I am a procrastinator and a complainer when it comes to stuff like this.  
However difficult, I really learned a lot from this project and overall enjoyed making it.  I figured out how to use my sewing machine's blind hem foot (thanks to Teriney and some internet tutorials).
I also became an expert at making CARTRIDGE PLEATS.  The hardest thing about this pattern is that so much of it is done by hand.  I thought I'd be doing some gathering stitches on my machine to make the skirt and attach it to the waistband-- no problem!  But it was ALL done by hand.
The bodice is lined with a darted/fitted under-bodice.  The outer-bodice has gathers in the front and back.  The sleeves have multiple pleats and in some places, double pleats.
Originally, the costumer said I didn't need to do button holes, but simply close it with Velcro and make the buttons decorative.  But, once I got into the pattern, I discovered the buttons were already decorative and the front was actually fastened with hooks and eyes.  With how fitted the bodice is, I couldn't see it staying together with just Velcro-- I kept envisioning the actress moving her arms and the front ripping open with that loud sound only Velcro makes.  Can you say "wardrobe malfunction"?!?   
So, I stitched on a ton of hooks and eyes and buttons.  Not to mention the collar and cuffs were hand sewn.  I'm not sure why the pattern didn't construct more using the sewing machine, but now that it's all done, I am proud that most of it was done by hand because it feels more authentic.
I just realized that I didn't turn the cuffs up before I took pictures of the dress.  
OOPS! :)
If you made it all the way to the end of this super long post, I think you deserve a prize!  So, here is a little CONTEST!  To first person who can correctly guess how many feet of fabric it took to make the skirt, I will send you a prize!  Leave your answer in the comments and a way to contact you, if I don't know you.  
  Kristin Sharp, you cannot enter, but I will give you a prize anyway for putting up with my whining.

Jubilee 2011!

Just like last year, Billy and I sauntered down to the President Clinton Library for Jubilee.  We got there a little late, but still had a nice time (aka, there were still some refreshments left by the time we got there).  
This year the Sharps (who are always up for a good time) came, too.  I forgot my camera and I don't know the magic words that get pictures from my camera into my computer.  So, these precious photos are all I have to remember the night, thanks to Kristin's magical phone to computer powers.
Unlike last year, I was not in charge of the class art work.  It is a lot of work to execute an art project involving 75 grade schoolers.  No, this year I was off the hook and made a personal donation of two Star Wars pillows and some decoupaged suitcases.  Much easier than say three full sized quilts.
I didn't take any pictures of the pillows, but I made a Yoda and a Darth.  The auction went really well and my donations sold for more than I would have ever imagined.  

Now, I can start thinking about what to do for next year...