Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Backyard Progress

Mother Nature has it out for us. I swear. It seems as if we have an afternoon thunderstorm at least once a week. Usually about the time when Tom can get home from work early to work in the yard. Despite all this, we are slowly, very slowly, making progress.

We now have . . .




a two tiered, brick paved patio.




It makes me smile just looking at it.




And throughout it all, the workers (aka family) are still smiling! Yeah.







We still have so much left to do, it hurts my head to think of it all. I think we're going to get our HOA breathing down our necks any day. For every step we have planned, there are always three or four extra steps that we didn't include. Isn't that the way it always goes? We'll get there though. Beauties like these take time!

PS - I forgot to mention - I was featured:


Blogger of the Week at Beautiful Mess. Thanks so much!

Monday, July 27, 2009

a little pretty

I got a little gift for a friend. The gift never worked out, yeah for me.



I tried it in a few places - the kitchen, the master bath, on the piano.


It looked great everywhere.


It ended up being a catch-all for remotes.


For some reason, I love the modern remotes sticking out of the footed bowl.
This is it's place - at least for now.

Perfect for little hands to reach in and loose.

Lest you think I have it all together, I will NOT stage this picture. Nothing like taking pictures to notice how much you need to dust. Good thing my blinds were closed - my windows need to be scrubbed!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grateful Sunday

Oy - is it Sunday already? This week I am thankful for:
  • my three munchkins, and that I don't have to work, find daycare and worry about them. I get to stay home with them.
  • cuddling M. after she wakes up from her nap.
  • reading with I. at nights. We lay in my bed and I read my book and she reads her book. I love it.
  • I made yummy crescent rolls - bread products usually scare me! I used Jenni's recipe. Thanks. (of course, poor little M. had to go without).
  • G's honesty - you get it whether you want it or not, and it usually makes me laugh.
  • Tom's a hard worker and cares about details.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Books By Color

I organize my books by color:



These are just some of the kid's books. I talk about other ways I organize them here. All the grown up books are in boxes in the basement awaiting the floor to ceiling bookshelves that I've gotta sweet talk my hubby into building.


It is WAY easier for my kids to sort by color than any other book sorting method. Even M. can tell most colors. If we are looking for a specific book, the kids usually know what the cover looks like and we can find it quickly. Plus, it's prettier.






I realize that most of you probably just put books on the shelves and call it good. I realize that my dad is probably rolling his eyes at this post.

But, I'm in good company. Look at Kevin Sharkey's office (he's a big wig with Martha Stewart. His actual title is executive editorial director for decorating):


Yeah - it's finally Friday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kirstin's Skirt

We had 11 extra people in our home this past week. It was supposed to be the girls' sewing week, but it got thwarted by the men working in the backyard. That's fine with me. . . our backyard REALLY needed it! But my sister-in-law wanted to sew. I tried to get in the mood, but between worrying about cheeto fingers on the walls, brick dust in my couch, making sure no one got lost, providing Propel to the workers, I just wasn't into it.
I did manage to squeak out another skirt. . . the Kirstin skirt:



I used cheap-o fabric from Joanns (and my hubby's camera - I can't figure out how to turn the flash off).


I love that my little I. loves to wear skirts. She usually chooses them over shorts if she can. I also love that she paired it with a short sleeve cardi, that's something I would wear!


The pattern is easy to follow, quick to put together and includes measurements for most little girl sizes - love that. It has an underskirt the pokes out on the bottom, and elastic back, and a sash that we tied in the front.


I. gets her poses from her aunts!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Best Birthday Cake . . . Ever!!

well, that's what my son thought! I'd love to be really good at decorating cakes, but I'm not. Add that to my list of things to learn.

We had a slew of people in our house this past week and I. asked if she could celebrate her upcoming birthday while her cousins and grandparents were here (she's no dummy).



We saw this cake on The Idea Room, and I knew that it was a cake I could do. You should go look at her pictures - they're way better. I have a stinky camera.

Boy, was it a hit!


The colors were vibrant, it was super tall.

Last night, the kids were figuring out all the different variations they could do for holidays. I used 2 white cake mixes and gel food coloring. Each layer only had to be cooked for 12 minutes, and even though I only had 2 round cake pans, it went really fast. I didn't tell any of the kids what was in the inside. It was pretty fun to cut open and have them see it! We'll definitely be doing this again.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grateful Sunday

I am grateful for:
  • 9:00 church and Sunday naps
  • Bar-b-ques and delicious blue cheese turkey burgers
  • showers after long runs
  • finding a good deal
  • finding a good paint color
  • phone calls with my sister that make me laugh
  • that it is summertime!

Have a great week - we've got tons of company coming tomorrow and hopefully we have a super productive week.

Laurel

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pleated Pillow

While I'm debating my drape dilemma, I am trying to finish other projects. Don't we all have 2-3 projects we're working on? Remember when I said I was going to copy Layla's bench exactly- even the pillows? Well, that was the plan until I saw Kasey and her cute pillow:I think it is perfection - in fact, if I remember correctly, she had to fight others to get it.


No need to fight - it's super easy to copy. I'll show you:

I had this pillow that I bought at HomeGoods after Christmas for $5. I don't love the print, but I knew it was a shape that would come in handy. I also have some tan linen that I've been saving for something to do. I used about 2/3 of a yard. The pillow measures 25 1/2" long by 13" wide. Not a standard size, huh? Quick calculations


I need to cut 2 rectangles for the front - each 7"x26" long (Take 13 and divide it by half is 6.5. Add 1/2 inch for seam allowances - is that too confusing?) Because I want to be able to take this on and off, and I'm too lazy to sew a zipper today, I think you call it an envelope back. Ribbons hold it together. The back pieces need to overlap. Cut 2 rectangles for the back - each 8 1/2" x 26". For the pleat, I thought a 3" width was fine - so cut a rectangle 6" x 52" (double the width you want, double the length you want). That is the hardest part, seriously. If you have a different size pillow, hopefully you can follow my math and figure it out. Hopefully.





Next, fold the pleated piece in half longways and iron. I found the center and marked a line every 3" starting at the center. Then, take the first line to the right of the center and fold it to meet the center - iron. Then just keep folding marks to match. Does that make sense?




I pinned it to a front piece, and sewed it. Than sewed 2 front pieces together, finished their edges:






For the back, I finished the edge and then folded over 1" ( I could have folded over more, but I forgot what I calculated by that time). Stitch.


Line everything up, pin and stitch around the entire pillow. Finish the edges and clip the corners.



Turn inside out and push out the corners - I use a chopstick. Iron

Stitch on your ribbons. I zig-zag them on. I tried to put them about 1/3 of the way.



Pray that you did your calculations right - Moment of truth:




So cute - I love making pillows that I know are unique and not everyone else looks at them and knows exactly where you got them. They are pretty inexpensive to make and add so much to a room.

Seriously, it took me WAY longer to write this out, then it did to sew it. Next up for this project - black and white ticking seat cushions. I may or may not tuft them. I may or may not get distracted by another project.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Opinions Please . . .

You know this shower curtain we all love, right?


I don't have any showers that need curtains. BUT, I'm thinking of copying it and making drapes for my master bedroom. I've had such a hard time with this room. I'm going very slowly - isn't that always my case. I've probably gotten about 25 fabric samples for drapes and nothing is what I want. I think I'm going to go with a classic white linen. Would it look cheesy if I put the ruffles on the bottom? Two of the panels will be hidden by the nightstands, which I'm going to sand and stain - later. But maybe it might bring in the femininity that this room needs. What do you think? I want to work on these during when my sister-in-laws come next week for sewing week.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Grateful Sunday

Happy 4th from the MacDougalls!





We spent the 4th in Yellowstone with my family. It was such a good, fun trip! We spent time without TV, without Internet - with just an awesome family. Glad we went, was totally worth the car trip to get there. It was pretty much perfection.

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