A Really Nifty Trick

On Twitter the other day, Tricia from mama marchand's nest tweeted a link to a great post that I wanted to share.  It's about creating a permalink for better online searches, meaning people may find your blog more easily through Google or other search engines.

Check it out here!

The One in Which I Quilt (For Real This Time)

Yesterday was Gus's big day.  The big 3.  It was a very full day and I think it may have been slightly overwhelming for him.  Presents in the morning, presents in the afternoon with the grandparents, pizza party and presents with our huge family later in the afternoon, and Thomas made several appearances.

Between the cake, the pillows I made, and several (read: LOTS) of gifts, he was in Thomas heaven and we came home with a car full and two exhausted children.  It was a fun day.

The day before, hubs was working on tearing out some more stuff in the entryway where the old pantry closet stood, which was awesome because that kept Gus occupied while I sewed this:

Oh, yes, that's a real quilt- one that can cover more than just a filing cabinet.  Check it off the goal list!  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I've been hoarding vehicle fabrics whenever I find them in preparation for this. 

It's not perfect, and it's a little busy for my taste, but I'm thinking of it more like an I Spy quilt, and Gus seems to like it (though he said, "Why did you do that with my fabric?" because apparently it is just for hoarding purposes).  I didn't follow any sort of pattern and just made my own blocks.  The back is four fat quarters, so that saved me a lot of time in cutting.  The binding is more Wright's bias tape, this time in Green Glow, which is appropriate because it is very bright, but it happens to be Gus's favorite color.

Hubs says I should go ahead and make a really big one, like for the bed or for use on the couch.  One thing at a time, dear.

Linking up with Sew Chatty's Made With Love Link-up

Happiness Is

So I missed doing a happiness post last week because happiness was sleeping until almost 9 am while the boy played quietly in his room and the baby slept in.  Amazing.  However, because the rest of the day was jam-packed and scheduled, the late start left the blog post by the wayside.  Today is getting away from me to, but I wanted to make sure I posted because we have been busy.

Happiness is...

...NEW COUCHES!  We haven't had couches in our living room since we finished the basement over a year ago and moved ours down there.  It is very weird to sit in the living room.  In fact, I haven't done it much yet.  I don't have a photo yet because we have no tables, lamps, or wall art.  That will come soon!

...new cabinets hung on the dining room wall, allowing me to empty this very awkward pantry we have and organize things in the kitchen a lot easier.  It looks amazing.  But, we are waiting on the small slab of counter top that we ordered, so no photo of that yet either.  Soon!

...the old pantry demolished!  No sooner did I get the pantry empty and hubs was ready to tear it down.  Like, while I was cooking dinner that night.  So now our entry hall, which had the pantry closet and the "laundry room", is now empty in preparation for a half bath and new actual mudroom.

Beautiful, ain't it?  The light switches are just hanging from the ceiling.

...making progress.  We are finally getting to all the projects in the main living space and it's making me feel happier and calmer to have some organization rather than stuff dumped everywhere.

Sunny marigolds in the backyard.

 I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Tell me what's making you happy this week!

Quilted Pillows

Gus's third birthday is coming up and I have had plans to make him several birthday surprises.  We have a large, wonderful family who spoil him rotten with toys, so we try and give him something alternative to toys just to give him something a little different.

Yesterday I made him two small pillows to go on his bed.  When we were in Walmart a few weeks ago, he sighted Thomas the Tank Engine fabric and declared that we needed to bring some home.  If he were older I think he would be a fabric hoarder like me because he knows that is "his" fabric and he likes to spread it out and look at it.  I agreed that we should bring some home because I had an idea.

It had been my plan to make him pillows in time for his birthday, I just didn't know what I was going to make them out of.  The Thomas fabric was a great solution, and after my quilted mat project I decided to go for it.  Maureen Cracknell posted this great tutorial for a quilted-top pillow cover and I decided to follow that to make the pillows for Gus.  Her tutorial is for regular size pillows, but I used smaller 12 x 16 inch throw pillows so I scaled the measurements down.  I love how they turned out.

I love the envelope-closure back.  This is my first attempt at pillow covers and I am so so so pleased at how they turned out.  I may have to try more in the future!

A quilt for Gus is hopefully on the horizon.  I have been hoarding the fabrics for awhile but of course could not start on it until the absolute last minute.  Why do we do that?  So over the next few days I will be trying to snatch some time to secretly sew, and hopefully I'll have a photo to share with you soon!

Linking up with Sew Chatty's Made With Love Link-up

Chip It!

This is not a sponsored post.  I just think it's really super-duper fun.

I was flipping through an old Food Network magazine the other day (because I am very, very behind on my magazine reading) and I saw an ad for a Sherwin-Williams paint tool called Chip It.  At first I thought it was something like Design Seeds where they provide you with color schemes.  You know the one- the site that gives you those awesome palettes taken from a photograph:

Chip It is a site that is similar, except you can make palettes from your own photos or photos you see online using Sherwin-Williams paint color chips.  So for all of you out there renovating your space, this may give you some inspiration!

It's so easy to use.  You can either put a Chip It! button up on your toolbar (just like the Pin It tool) to make a palette from an online photo, or you can pull from your own photo collection.  I tried it out last night with this photo that hubs took while looking for bushes for our yard:

I got this.

Sorry, you have to click on the link.  While you can Facebook it, tweet it, or pin it, I can't find a good way to share the image because the page is interactive.  You can get up to ten colors per chip card for an expanded palette.  You should definitely try it out!

Higher Ground

Last night I was up late doing some work and I decided to load up Pandora radio, which I haven't listened to in forever.  If you don't have Pandora, it's fun, and it's free.  You make your own radio stations based off a starter song or band, and then you curate the station by thumbsing up or down songs they play based on your starter.  Anyway, I fired up the one station that I have (starter: Ben Folds) and it turns out that my station is awesome.  I worked on my stuff and wondered why I don't have it playing all the time.

And then I started cracking up.  The Red Hot Chili Peppers' version of Higher Ground came on, which I love.  I think I might love it more than the Stevie Wonder version, and who doesn't love Stevie?  The problem is, their version makes me think of the movie Center Stage.  Have you ever seen it?  It's one of those horrible-so bad-cringe worthy movies that you can't. stop. watching.  It's seriously bad, but when I used to have television, and it would come on in a string of TBS/TNT movie marathons, would I turn it off?  Nope.  There is one scene in which Higher Ground is playing at an "impromptu" dance class, and so now when I hear the song I want to get up and dance around the house doing those moves.

So, for your viewing and listening pleasure on this Monday, I found all three versions.  If nothing else, please watch the last one.  It might just make you want to dance around like a wanna-be ballerina.

Thrifty Fabric Tower

A few weeks ago I scored this cabinet at the dump:

I knew it would be perfect for my workroom, although I didn't know exactly what I'd use it for when I grabbed it.  Super cute, with 5 drawers and a totally awesome countrified stencil on the top.

Or, not.

This one I remembered to sand before I started in on it because that stencil had to go.  My go-to color of white paint spiffed it up and gave it a fresh look.  I was going to paint the drawers and get new knobs for it, but one of the drawers was a little moldy inside, so the 5 drawers went back to the dump the next week and the drawer cabinet became a shelf cabinet perfect for holding fabric.  And happily, it fits perfectly in a small space.

Each shelf has fabric for a different project.  Quilt fabrics:

Fabric for Gus and Greta projects:

It turned out to be a handy find.  I've been working to try and get a whole bunch of thrifted items cleaned and painted and altered and put in place in my workroom because it had been such a mess, and I'm so excited with how it's turning out.  I can't wait to show off the whole thing soon!

On another note, thank you for all the enthusiastic responses to the quilted mat I posted yesterday!  It actually gave me an idea.  Several people have expressed an interest in learning how to use their sewing machine or learn how to sew, both in comments made and in posts I've read as I've been hopping from blog to blog.  Would anyone be interested in a few posts on using the sewing machine, for beginners?  I'm not some super expert, but I do know how to use one and I'd be happy to share.  Maybe we could even work on a little project together.  Let me know!  And don't worry, I don't have some fancy-schmancy machine.  I have this one from Walmart and I love it.

The One In Which I Quilt

First, don't let the title fool you.  I did not, in fact, make a quilt, as in a large cozy blanket thing that can cover at least a small person.  No no no.  I made a quilt to cover my filing cabinet.  Seriously.

Ok, so, you remember my prize filing cabinet scored from the dump, right?

Oh, so awesome.  Well, I cleaned it and painted it right away because I didn't want it to become a lost project.  When hubs got home he agreed it was neat, and asked if I sanded it down really well before I painted it so the paint won't chip off.

Um, sand?

Ok, so maybe in my haste I skipped an important step, but really, the thing is going to sit in a corner and hold paper.  It's in very little danger of getting chipped or scratched.

I really hate it when he's right.

In the meantime I had decided that I wanted to put my printer on top of the filing cabinet, so it looked like it was time to make something to cover the top of the cabinet, like a large placemat or table runner.  So first I picked the fabric: DSQuilts Collection, which I won in a giveaway a few months ago.  (Here's a secret about me and fabric: I love to get it and have all kinds of plans for it, but I hate to cut into it and actually use it.)

Because I'm still new at piecing stuff, I made a plan:

I'm still in the hope-and-pray-it's-the-right-size mode.

Cut and pieced and then sandwiched with Warm 'N Natural batting in the middle and coordinating fabric on the bottom:

I quilted up and down the seam lines and then bound it with Wright's double-fold bias tape in slate blue because I am not nearly to the point of making my own bias tape.


All the lines are straight, the fabric is laying flat, the bias tape fits properly, and it's the right size.  Amazing.  My printer thinks it's nice and cushy.

I guess I have no excuse not to try that quilt now, and Gus's birthday is rapidly approaching.

What have you been working on lately?

Linking up at 52 Mantels

Necessity Sewing

There are a bunch of sewing projects that I have lined up both for the shop, at home, and for family.  I have plans and drawings and fabric ready to go.  I'm so excited to start on them.....Enter the chewer.

Gus never chewed anything.  When he was really little, some things made their way into his mouth, but for the most part, he stayed away from the whole chewing thing babies do.  We never had to worry about toys with small parts for him.  Board books were more for his little hands than to protect the pages from being ruined in his mouth.  He was much more content to look at something and figure it out than put it in his mouth.  When we painted a hand-me-down crib for him, we didn't worry about him biting on the sides and laughed at the fact that there were bite marks on the rails from our neighbors' kids.  "Our kids would never do that," we thought, because Gus didn't.

Greta is the exact opposite in every way.  Specifically, everything goes in her mouth.  Food, toys, shoes, puzzle pieces, books, you name it.  This includes the rails on her crib.  I discovered some of the paint bunched up and flaked off on the inside of the rail and realized I was going to need to do some unexpected sewing, fast.  In about 30-45 minutes' time I had a rail guard sewed and attached so she will no longer be able to scrape up the paint and have us worrying about her ingesting it.

I used a piece of fabric from the Sophie collection for Moda with Warm 'N Natural batting underneath.  In my haste I didn't exactly quilt it; I just used the batting for a cushion.  Three Velcro straps wrap around the rail and hold the guard in place.  Now to figure out how to keep her from chewing the books.

Have you been sewing out of necessity lately?

Linking up at 52 Mantels

DreamArt Paper Cuts

A few weeks ago I was contacted by an Etsy shop owner looking to share their work with my readers, and would I mind writing something up about them?  So of course, I wander over to the shop, DreamArt, and was completely amazed by what I saw:

Folks, that is all hand-cut out of one single piece of paper!  Talk about a piece of art.  Oh, wait- there's more:

There are also prints of their paper art available as greeting cards!

Here's what they have to say about their work:

Our names are Dmytro and Iuliia and we live in Ukraine.  We love creativity and handmade items- when you look at them you can feel the inner world of the person who has created them. This is what encouraged us to share our own handmade items with others. Our craft is creating hand-cut paper silhouettes, all from a single sheet of paper where every piece is interconnected. Each piece has its own story and inspired by nature, life and people who like our works.

Paper cutting is a very amazing process, when you start with just a piece of paper and finish with a beautiful work of art. This process can take several hours or even several days to completely finish. To us these silhouettes are not just sheets of paper, but something we have put our love, care and happiness into. We truly believe people can feel the same emotions when looking at our works.

If you get minute today, maybe wander into their shop and throw them a few hearts for their beautiful artwork.

Happiness Is

I hope you all had a great week this week.  As we head toward the weekend, here are some things making me happy this week and it's all about home improvement progress!

Happiness is...

...the wallpaper done and the wall painted with new paint.

 ...the most awful looking peach color (walls and trim) being eliminated.

 ...crown moulding up and the wall prepped for the cabinets.  Looks like very funky wall art.

...cabinets arriving earlier than expected!  I guess I know what hubs will be doing this weekend.

Unfortunately we had to cancel the order we placed for the bookcases for the living room.  After waiting 12 weeks on a 6-8 week delivery estimate, we'd had enough.  I wasn't sure how it would be to get the deposit back but it came through just fine, so that makes me happy.  Now we have to go find more, though.  In the meantime, the living room is a holding area for the cabinets.

...early morning sunbathing.  I swear we have the happiest dog ever.

...thrifting the most awesome finds.

...getting projects done!

What's been making you happy this week?  Any good weekend plans?

Happy Friday!

Filing Cabinet Love

Do you love Ikea?  I love Ikea with an italicized L.  We are fortunate to have one in the state of Connecticut that is a relatively easy driving distance away.  While there the past few times I have drooled over this cabinet, with the idea that it could go in my workroom and hold all my oddly sized paper.

But $119 for an Ikea cabinet just couldn't sway me, even with all of its shallow drawer goodness.  I put it on my "one day I'd like to buy" list.

On Tuesday I ran to Walmart and decided to swing by the dump on the way home, just in case, and OMG I am so glad I did because I hit the mother lode.

I may have squealed out loud.  I definitely almost didn't get the car stopped while trying to get out of it before anyone grabbed the cabinet.  Now, not to mislead you- it didn't look this nice.  I painted it white immediately upon arrival at home.  No going on the someday list for this cabinet.  It went from standard filing cabinet tan to white pretty easily.

Now I need to actually put the paper in it.  I am so thrilled by this find, and there was actually another similarly awesome find that day (score!) but it's not quite ready to show yet.

One thing- if you have any suggestions for filling the busted out lock hole, please let me know.  I don't mind it but something pretty is just as good, too.

Linking up!