It's Not About the Nail.

Sometimes something comes along that just makes me laugh so hard, and it becomes part of our everyday schtick.  I originally found this and shared it in a post on Eyelah, but it came up in conversation the other day so I decided to share it here, too.

Let me start off with this: I have a fantastic husband.  Really, he's the best and I can't say that enough.  But every now and again, we have a conversation that leaves me so frustrated that I just want to scream.  I will be in a mood for no apparent reason, and no matter what he does, it just doesn't help.  Poor guy.

Apparently, we are not alone in this.  I came across this video a few days ago and it had me laughing.  I showed it to my husband- I didn't say anything, I just turned the computer around to face him- and it was just as enjoyable watching his mouth twitch and to see him laughing.  Then, of course, he looks at me and says, "If girls know they're doing that, then why do they do it?"  Good question.  I wish I had an answer.

Studio Decor. {Giveaway}

It's been my goal to give my office a warm, comfortable feel, mixing storage and organization with attractive decor, both handmade and vintage.   And while I love the pieces I've been collecting, I was never completely happy with how everything was laid out in the room, with stuff jumbled together wherever there was space.  Now that the whole room has been redone and reorganized, with an actual plan for all the wall art and other tchotchkes, it looks so much more cohesive, and every corner of the room makes me happy.
Custom made wood block on the door by bubblewrapp'd.

Prints from Flourish Cafe (top) and Hairbrained Schemes (bottom)

My first completed large cross stitch (circa 1998).

Large quilting hoops with sewing-related designs and my Benzie felt charts

Vintage yardsticks turned into a clock made by my creative husband.
All the rulers are from Connecticut companies, which I thought added a nice touch.
I'm sorry to anyone cringing over the fact that we chopped up these yardsticks.
I love this clock.

Thread spools on the wall over the sewing machine.

 These hoops from Stitch Culture are going up over the sewing machine, too.

On the large shelf over my work table, mason jars filled with vintage spools, bobbins, and threads. 

One of my favorite cross stitch designs and a postcard from exploratory.

Calendar by Admire Design, print by Flourish Cafe.

Vintage scissors and sewing books.

I really love the overall look of this shelf, and I had fun following the vintage sewing theme.  I'd like to find some vintage fabric sewing rulers, some more yardsticks, and some other notions I can put in jars.

Print from Pen and Paint.

Print from Pen and Paint.

Print from Pen and Paint.

Print from Pen and Paint.

I love Pen and Paint, and Lindsay is one of the sweetest, nicest, and most generous people on the Internet.  Her work has been picked up by the likes of Papyrus, and she's often helping out with a charitable cause.  I was really thrilled to finally order these three smaller prints from Lindsay's shop after pining after them for years, knowing they would finally have a spot on my office wall, and I think they look fantastic right over my jar shelf.  (I already have her work in the kitchen, the dining room, and the mudroom in the fall, too.)  Both inspirational and whimsical, Lindsay's work is sure to resonate with most of you.  And lucky you, we have some Pen and Paint to give away today!

When I ordered my prints, I ordered an extra 5 x 7 Live a Creative Life print to send to one of you.  When I talked to Lindsay about this, she generously offered up a $20 credit to her shop!  The Rafflecopters are below- there will be two winners!  (Today also happens to be Lindsay's 5-year Etsy anniversary!  Check it out!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Slow Cooker Applesauce.

Honeycrisp and Pink Lady apples are my two most favorite apples.  They also happen to be two of the most expensive, but they have just the right amount of tartness and crisp, and they both taste fantastic with peanut butter on them.  However, it got to be one of those times where we had more apples and people eating them, and they were going soft.  I have really been trying very hard not to waste food and did not want to throw them in the basket, especially for the price of them, but what to do with a half dozen soft apples?

Well, the obvious answer is applesauce, which I love and love to make.  The truth, though: I've never made it on the stovetop.  It seems like a cumbersome task and I hate spending time watching a pot.  I've often made it in the microwave, which is incredibly easy, but you risk a boil-over which is incredibly messy.  I figured there had to be a way to do it in the slow cooker, so I set out to find a good recipe.

I used this recipe from My Baking Addiction, though I only used cinnamon instead of the apple pie spice.  I also added 1/4 cup of water to it, and I think I would try granulated sugar instead of brown sugar the next time, but overall it was so simple and so good.  Plus, it's an easy treat that pretty much makes itself.  Highly recommend.

What have you been cooking lately?

Friday Fun: Grammar v.6

I've been missing a strong dose of grammatical hilarity over the past few months' absence, so I figured that I'd better get to finding something that would tickle my funny bone, and I also came across some interesting and thought-provoking articles on the subject, so I threw those in, too.
 Because I really, really couldn't pick just one, you're welcome.

Is Your Usage Right When You Say "Grammar"?

I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar
(made funnier because the web address cut off to say "who-use-poo")

This Embarrasses You and I*

In general, my point is, I hate poor grammar and usage and it irks me when I read a post that has really common errors in it, especially repeatedly.  But I came across this article so I thought I'd throw it in since it presents the opposite view.  Are we being rude and one-uppity when we make comments referencing such errors?  Or are we just wishing to elevate others to a level of grammar that should be learned by high school?  I don't think a person should be outright rude in someone's comments section, but I also think good grammar should be a qualification for certain jobs, including anything that involves (ahem) writing.  And really, the comment on the bottom of this letter pretty much sums it up.

I'd love to hear what you think- regarding anything I've posted.  This is one of my favorite topics!

The Itch.


My husband is from the South.  Born and raised in Houston and later living in Florida, he craves warm temperatures and humidity.  He loves live oak trees and sitting out on the screen porch in a rainstorm.  To say he loves a good New England winter would be a gross overstatement, especially after the winter we just had.  And now that spring has sprung, his eyes have swelled up and he's constantly sneezing from something unknown that gives him allergies as soon as things start to green up.  If he leaves New England, as he just did for a business trip to Chicago, the allergies go away, so it's something specific to where we live.  So let's just say Connecticut is not his favorite place and he would love to move back South.

In one part of my mind, I would love to move.  I certainly wouldn't mind not dealing with snow removal; coats, hats, scarves, boots, and more times two small children plus myself; the endless cold through what is becoming a solid six months of winter.  I would love to be able to be out walking the dog year-round, swimming all the time, and wearing sandals, my favorite footwear of choice.  Moreover, I love the idea of change.  I love the idea of starting over in a new space, which is crazy considering how hard we've worked to renovate this one.  I feel that itch to go elsewhere and see what's out there away from the place I've always lived.  Herein lies the problem.

I have always lived in Connecticut.  Always.  I lived in one house my whole life until I got an apartment with my bestie when I started teaching.  My parents mentioned moving once when I was little and I talked them out of it.  Anxiety attacks prevented me from going away to college, so I commuted to a local school.  I was going to take a teaching job in Florida and live with my in-laws for a bit but had such a panic attack on the way down I turned around and came back.  Moving away is not my friend.  For the most part, my whole family is here (and it's a big one) and we see them often.  None of us has ever strayed too far.  I fear not having my support system if we were that far, and my personality type doesn't make me run out to find new friends. So there's this constant push and pull.  I do love the idea of southern living but would anxiety take over again?

Because I am part of the blogging community, I have the advantage of seeing into different towns and cities.  I see people packing up and moving far away with excitement and adventure, and when they get to their destination, they are so happy with their choice and their new home and a fresh start.  I want that.  I want that ability and that adventurous spirit and that get-up-and-go.  I don't want to be worried about what might be, and I don't want to panic about anything.  I am jealous of those who make the journey.

So while we have no plans to go anywhere or do anything, this is what has been on my mind lately.  Do you ever feel that need to make a big change?  Or have you already done it?  Do you have a fear of moving, or are you happy where you are?  (And how awesome are those houses up there??)

Free Font Friday: Invitations.

Do you know that feeling when you've been searching for just the right typeface to make your project perfect?  Just the right swirls and curves, the perfect size and weight?  Does anyone else think that fonts have their own personalities, even?  And totally give off a vibe?

As you may have guessed, I am a fan of fonts.  I am even more of a fan of awesome people who make fonts and offer them up for free.  All ten of the fonts shown above- all completely awesome for invitations of all kinds- are free to download.  Some are for personal use only while others are good for commercial use, so please read each font's terms of use after downloading, and consider supporting the person making the perfect font for your project.

5 Easy Steps to Recovering a Chair Seat.

This was my desk chair:

It's a dining room chair from my great-grandmother's dining table.  This poor chair has seen a lot.  A pair of them came to me from my Gram's basement when I was about 14 years old, complete with deep walnut-stained wood and a seat covered in red velvet / velour.  I was in a furniture painting phase at that age and quickly painted them white and covered the chair in this plaid fabric.  Then when I was in college I decided to strip the chair and stain it.  (Have you seen how detailed this chair is?  Thus, the other one is still painted.)  However, I didn't recover the seat again when I changed the wood.  That's about 20 years on this cushion and needless to say, just about all the spring was gone from the foam pad underneath.  I didn't even notice that the fabric was ripping and tearing until I decided to give it a refresh while redoing the office.

Recovering a seat like this is an easy task, though, and can be done in under an hour and with just a few tools.

You'll need a staple gun, a screwdriver, a hammer, pliers, and a pair of scissors, as well as a new foam pad (I found mine in Walmart but they have them at Joann's and Michael's too.) and a piece of fabric that is large enough to wrap around the seat board.  I used home decor fabric just because it's a little bit thicker and tougher than regular quilting cotton.

Step 1: Remove the seat from the chair:

Turn the chair on its side to locate the screw holes, one in each of the corner braces.  Use a screwdriver to remove the four screws and remove the seat board from the chair.

Step 2: Remove the old seat covering:

How your fabric is attached to the seat board will determine how you remove it, but it's probably going to involve some form of heavy duty staples or tacks.  Mine was stapled, so I used the pliers to pull up the staples, remove the fabric, and take up the foam pad.

Step 3: Set up your new covering:

Iron your fabric, trim your new foam pad if necessary, and make a stack.  Turn your fabric wrong-side up, place the foam pad in the middle of it, then place the seat board on top of it.  Make sure everything is centered and squarely layered.

Step 4: Attach the new fabric:

Pull one side of the fabric around the stack and use the staple gun to attach the fabric to the board.  (If your staples don't go all the way in, give them a hand with the hammer.)  Then pull the opposite side of the fabric around, and, pulling it tight, staple that side down.  Do the same with the other two opposite sides.

Pull or fold the corners so the fabric is pulled tight and staple them down.  You can either pull the fabric back flat, or you can make a fold like a wrapping paper corner, which is how I did my chair.

Step 5: Reattach the seat to the chair.

With the chair still on its side, align the seat and screw the four screws back into the seat base.  Turn your chair over and admire it.

This one small change helped modernize my chair and brought it up to the level of my new workspace.  The pattern is bold but the neutrals keep it under control, and they coordinate so nicely with the wall color and the rug.  I love it and the new foam pad makes it much more comfy to sit on while I'm sewing.

Have you ever done a seat cover update?

Office Space.

My workspace is a small bedroom in the upstairs of our house.  It started off as Gus's bedroom but we moved him to a larger room down the hall once Greta was born, and this room had such good light that I swapped my original office space for this one.  I am incredibly fortunate to have a space like this- I know many of you work out of your dining room, which I have done and know what a pain that can be.  Because the space is small, I wanted to get the most of it that I could while keeping with our vintage meets cottage feel we have going on.

The walls were medium blue that I honestly never really loved, but it was so hard to find a blue we liked that we just went with it.  It was going to be a boy's room so it would be fine....until it became and office and those blue walls were starting to become a hassle at product photography time.  I had been wanting to change the space for awhile, but given the fact that when we renovated the house, each room was totally stripped out, I was hesitant to paint walls with nice carpet in the room.  Finally I decided it was time.  Product development wasn't happening due to the anxiety creative block that was thrown my way, so I figured that sprucing up the space may kickstart my ambition.

Each photo below is the old space followed by one of the new space.  I am so thrilled with it.

Do you love it??

A few of the obvious changes: the walls went from blue to the coffee-and-cream tan that we used in all of the common spaces in the house.  Even though it's not a stark white, it is so much brighter in there, and even though it's brighter, I feel like it's much cozier somehow.  The sewing table moved from the nook to the wall when you walk in, and the Expedit that was on that wall went into Greta's room to tackle a situation desperately needing baskets/shelving.  In place of the sewing table, my patient husband and I built three of the skinny Billy bookcases, which he ardently bolted together and to the wall because he's awesome like that.

The work table stayed in place, but I got a new shipping station, and let me tell you how awesome it is to have all that stuff- scale, tissue, labels, mailers, printer, and laptop on top when I need it- in one spot.  The other filing cabinet went across the way, allowing me to get the mannequin off the floor.  The two shelves scored at the dump were replaced with one new shelf from Home Depot, and then artwork was painstakingly and agonizingly hung up as slowly as humanly possible (more on that soon).  I recovered the seat on my chair- another desperate situation (tutorial coming soon)- and my husband made me an awesome clock, which was always sorely missing up there.  I got a full-sized ironing board and over-the-door hanger to keep it out of the way, sending my bowed, college-days mini tabletop ironing board to the exchange shack at the dump.

The room really makes me so happy every time I go in there.  It turned out closer to what I envisioned than I actually thought I could do, and I love all the small touches and details that add some fun to the space.  It's a room I want to spent time in, and I feel like I was a lot more thoughtful with how I set it up this time than the first time around.  It's evolved to be more functional for my business and more enjoyable personally, so what more can you ask for?

I'd love to hear what you think, or if you're working on your own creative space, or if you are still dreaming of your own space.
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