Friday, September 30, 2011

SBS Blocks 10, 11 & 12

I kept putting off and putting off these 3 squares.  Oh, and I put them off some more. I seem to have lost a bit of my sewing mojo since I've moved downstairs. 

WAIT. WHAT?  I move downstairs to my own sewing space and suddenly I'm not excited to sew anymore?  eh, something like that.  It's hard to explain.  But when I did sit down and put all three of these together Wednesday night, it definitely felt great.  So maybe the sewing slump is nearing an end.  

Here's hoping anyway.

For this series we focused on Quarter Square Triangles and Improvisational Piecing.  Quarter Square Triangles? loved.  Improvisational Piecing? negative.  I seemed to forget how to add seam allowances, making my improv pieces much smaller than needed. Which meant more sewing and add-on pieces.

blocks 10, 11, and 12
Block 10: The Ohio Star
Super easy.  And I liked the idea of a blue/green block because I already have a red/green block.
Block 11: Beacon Light
I liked making the smaller quarter triangle squares but I didn't like improving the pieces.  But I do like the finished result.  Except the whole time I was making it, I pictured the top being what is the right side in the picture.  So that's throwing me off looking at it.  Sure, I could've gone back outside and taken another picture but, eh.  
Block 12: Improv House and Tree
I hated this one but it's all my fault.  I'd originally  planned on the roof to have eaves (hang over the sides of the house), but then I had to cut it down a little so the whole house could fit in the block and there still be enough room for as much "grass" and sky above the house that I wanted. Truth be told, I'm disappointed in the block because it's not what I wanted it to look like, but as Husband said, "It looks great and you're the only person who thinks it should look different."  I thought about redoing it but I don't want to waste fabric so I'm leaving it as a reminder to pay better attention. As a first attempt it's not bad, but I know it could be better.
I really did like making the Quarter Square Triangles.  I think I could make those all day long.

Because Connecting Threads (the GREAT website where I bought this fabric) currently has it on clearance, I'm thinking about buying a few of the prints/colors that I didn't get the first go around just for a little extra diversity ... and because my biggest fear is that I may run out of fabric before I'm finished!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Downstairs Improvement Part 3: The Boring Drywall Room

I think, by far, this room was the biggest job.  It's also the weirdest room in the house.  The previous homeowners planned on it being some weird little extra kitchen for downstairs. It's fitted with water fixtures for a full sink and wired with electrical lines to support a full sized stove/oven and fridge.  And there are a DOZEN wall outlets. Weird, I tell you.  Esp because all you'd have to do is walk about 50 steps to your right and up a flight of stairs and you'd be in a fully furnished amazing kitchen.  They never installed any of the kitchen things though and for that I'm grateful.

Like I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of water damage to be fixed in this room.  And Husband was set to do it himself.  And he did.  Well, it's not finished yet, so I guess I should say, "He will."

I really have no clue how much anything for this room cost except for the two sheets of drywall.  That was a total of $12.  I know he also got drywall putty, drywall nails and drywall sandpaper. But I don't know how much is cost.  

The biggest hole to patch and the hardest because he had to work around an A/C duct. The brick on the right is because this room was an add-on. The brick wall used to be the entrance to downstairs. Dry walling a ceiling = hard.

Two smaller holes and an electrical line we've got to do something with

From left to right, the current downstairs door to outside, the half bathroom and the smallest patched hole.

the last hole

Husband cleaning up the dry wall installation mess.
There's still some work left to do in this room.  The drywall putty needs to be sanded.  The ceiling, walls, door casings and baseboards need to be painted.  And the floors will probably need to be painted because right now it is a different color than the rest of the downstairs.  It looks like we'll only need ceiling paint and wall paint, so that's nice.  Plus, we need to replace the blinds on the exterior door and I have plans to paint that door white to match the other doors.

But Husband is gone for work about 60 hours a week and it's college football season.  He'll get it finished when he gets it finished.  Our plan for this room is mainly just storage.  I'm thinking the Christmas stuff and some things from the shed in the yard, like the kids' wagon and a couple of other riding toys.  We definitely won't be turning it into a weird second kitchen!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Downstairs Improvement Part 2: The half bathroom

 The half bathroom was the smallest project in terms of it being the smallest space we worked on, but the biggest in terms of how much it needed done.  It had a toilet and a pedestal sink and that's all.  bare drywall, bare concrete and no other fixtures (besides the light).

Luckily, this job ended up being pretty inexpensive too.  I painted the door (which was beige), the door casing and the ceiling with the same white I used in the under-the-stairs-room.  Only time will tell if we should have shelled out extra money for "ceiling paint" but I think it's completely fine.  I painted the walls the same blue that is in the under-the-stairs room.  And a little of the floor paint purchased for the main room was used on the floor.  Total cost thus far?  zero.

To finish the room, I bought a small white trash can for $2, a mirror for over the sink for $10, a towel ring for $6, a hand towel for $3, a bottle of hand soap for $2, a toilet paper caddy that holds 3 rolls for $8, 4 8X10 picture frames to hang some of the kids' art for $2 each and $4 worth of shoe.

Total spent: under $45
Just like with the under-the-stairs-room, I still have to get baseboards to finish the room.  But it's not an immediate need.

naked drywall
I like the pedestal sink but the lack of storage meant that I needed shelves or something for the toilet paper that held more than one roll. And I wasn't too keen on shelves.
toddler art.  The two on the left are Daughter's and the two on the right are Son's.  Both kids got really excited when we showed them the bathroom and they recognized their art.
Every time I go in the bathroom, I think the mirror is too far away from the sink, but  when Husband stands in front of the sink, it has to be that high to be able to see the top of his head in the mirror. Buying a longer mirror isn't very important now, but I might upgrade it one day and bring the smaller one upstairs for something.
Again, I'm pretty proud of the work in this room, because aside from hanging the towel ring, I did it all.  The sink is short/small enough that Daughter can reach the water knobs and the soap by herself, and she thinks that's fantastic.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A 4 Year Old's Birthday Adventure

Friday night Husband and I stayed up late and he made/created/decorated a Peppa Pig cake and I decorated the dining room with as many balloons as I could blow up and as much crepe paper as I could hang.  And when she walked in Saturday morning for her breakfast party, Daughter was ecstatic.  After "Happy Birthday" was sung and candles blown out and birthday cake eaten and presents opened and played with, Husband got dressed to head to Tuscaloosa for the game and the kids and I got dressed to pick up Nanny and head to the zoo.

The Peppa Pig cake.  I HATE HATE HATE when Husband says he's not creative.  Look at this cake! Are you kidding me?  amazing. If you're familiar with Peppa, you know, this is spot on.
this was about half way through the decorating process.   I blew up 30 balloons and used 2 rolls of crepe paper.
Daughter drawing on her mini-magnadoodle that Son picked out
Son loved that Peppa's shoes were made of nutella
The kids wanted to pose with Big Al and Aubie. And that mostly happened.
SIDE NOTE:  I was amused the whole day.  Son wore his bama hat and sunglasses ALL day.  People would come up to him and say "Roll Tide" and he was terrified these strangers were getting in his personal business and yelling at him.  Fortunately, I didn't start a brawl in the zoo and we usually just ignored these people and kept walking.  He has no clue what that means.  That and "War Eagle" are not phrases we encourage our kids to say.  They don't even know names of teams.  We say "Mommy's team" and "Daddy's team" and talk about teams in terms of their colors and mascots.  Son wears "that red hat" as he calls it, because his daddy also wears a red hat.

On the lion
her favorite, the zebra
We walked through the petting zoo but it was lunch time so we couldn't really pet the animals.  And that was fine by Son.  On the way out he said, "dat llama not 'pit on me dis time. I stay 'way from him." 

Daughter, mid roar.  They were more interested in the plywood lion they could stick their head through than The Royal Family <-- a lion family - mom, dad and at least 3 babies
playing the drums
Daughter loves zebras but today she only looked at the zebras for about  30 seconds because they smelled horrible.  "Mommy, these zebras smell like old socks dipped in the ocean."  yes, thanks Peppa Pig. So she loved seeing this non-smelly picture of a zebra
my mom is the worst photographer I know.  seriously, I was looking at the camera and that was good enough for her.
We had such a fun trip to the zoo.  The weather was amazing and the kids had a fantastic time.  I'm glad my mom was able to go because it would've been a lot harder without her there.  After the zoo we went to Nabeel's for lunch and Daughter ate, ate and ate tzatziki. Well, Son did too.  It was mom's first time there and she enjoyed it too.  

The best  part of the entire day:
Husband: night night, pea pie. I love you
Daugther: night night, Daddy. I love you
Husband: happy birthday.
Daughter: hap ... Daddy will you go away.  I want to tell myself Happy Birthday
Husband: ok, night night.
Daughter in a whisper: Happy Birthday, Ryland.  It was a great day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Downstairs Improvement Part 1: Under-the-Stairs-Room

I guess I should start at the beginning.  In August, we took a family day trip down to Mobile.  But this one wasn't just for fun.  Husband had a job interview. Yes, we were seriously considering moving to Mobile. And if Husband got the job, we would have moved. Husband and I started talking about what-ifs, what-we-need-to-dos.  And talk quickly turned to the list of things we'd need to do to the house before we could sell it or, worse case scenario, rent it out.  Number two on the list was turn the 702 sq ft of finished downstairs space into actual usable family space. In the six years that Husband has owned the house, it's never really been used for anything except a place for the dogs to stay in extreme weather.  Husband ended up not getting the job, but I was still thinking of this list of to-dos.  

Why wait to do these things until we're trying to get rid of the house?

Why not do them now and actually get to enjoy our hard work?

There are 4 finished rooms downstairs (and the unfinished 300sq ft cellar that we ignored except for organizing and cleaning).  There's the under-the-stairs room, the main room, the smaller side room that sustained substantial drywall damage when we learned that the previous owners installed 3 of the 6 water sources in the master bathroom, that's directly above this room, incorrectly, and the half bath.  

I'm starting with the room I was probably the most excited about first.  And except for husband putting two nails in the wall, I did it all by myself.  
bare wood paneling and plain concrete. cold and uninviting.
under the stairs
the 4th wall
The most important thing to me about this improvement was that it be cheap.  We just don't have the money to spare right now.  But I also didn't want it to look bootleg.  Luckily, so much of what I used in this room, we already had or I was able to find cheap.  The only exception?  The $10 can of chalk board paint.  It was the single most expensive thing I bought.

I used wall paint that we already had in the cellar (the blue that Son's room was when Husband bought the house). We already had the white paint I used to paint the window and door casings.  And since we had already decided the main room's floor needed repainting, I used a little of that paint on the floor.  I bought the chalkboard paint for $10.  Thrift store frames for the chalkboards for $5 each.  White spray paint to paint the the frames and a bookshelf I've had since college was $3.  I picked up two pillows that were $2.50 each to use as cushions.  Covered them with pillowcases we already had but don't use anymore. Then bought two .74 packs of chalk. $8 worth of shoe (the wood that usually accompanies baseboards) And that's it.  I still have to get baseboards, paint and install them.  THAT will end up being the most costly thing in the room, but the room really feels unfinished without them.  And I'd like to hang some curtains too.  Just something sheer and light.

Total spent thus far: right under $40
Total fun has thus far: priceless

the kids checking our their new chalkboards.
Daughter's first drawing
the cat approves
I used the bookshelf to butt up against the stairs and I still haven't decided if I'm going to leave the stairs unfinished or not.  The shelf now has coloring books, crayons and simple wooden puzzles on it. (the white strip on the left is the shoe.  I thought that was all we'd need as far as baseboards go, but they aren't tall enough to cover the gap between the paneling and the floor.  boo)
When the time comes that I trust my kids a little more, this is going to become a magnetic wall and I will bring out my 3 packs of magnetic poetry that I packed away when I realized Husband's fridge wasn't magnetic.  I'm excited for the day, but also realistic that it will probably be years away.
Since I took these pictures, I've hung my old cork board above the chalk boards for the kids to hang their art.  I'm really excited about this room.  And I love how much the kids love it.  Daughter calls it "my little room."  And Son doesn't seem to mind she claimed ownership because he has his own favorite thing downstairs and it's not in that room.

After I started painting my measured off chalkboard to fit into the frames and I saw how little of the $10 can of chalkboard paint I was going to be using, I ALMOST decided to scrap the frame idea and paint the entire wall.  But the thought of wasting $10 on the thrift store frames was enough to deter me.  Maybe later that'll be an upgrade to do - A SUPER HUGE WALL SIZED CHALKBOARD.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Saturday Sewing

After missing last month's sewing, I was ready to head south and sew sew sew with my friends.  This was definitely my most productive trip yet.  I finished a throw sized quilt front and almost finished a second.  Then I took a break and broke out the yarn and crocheted a little while watching the very disappointing Auburn game.
Here's what everyone was busy doing:
Kim's new husband.  I love the fabric.
My scarf.  This is Jiffy by Lion Brand that I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  Score.  This is also my current favorite pattern.  It's just single crochet and chains.  Super easy. (sorry, no pictures of the quilt.  I'm keeping them on the DL for now) 
SDJ saving The Judson money by replacing a zipper on academic regalia.

Heather making bibs. I love the dog fabric.

Marie binding her baby quilt.  I'm going to be excited to see this finished.  It looks great so far.  (Marie, you  looked like a constipated fish  so I cropped out your face.  I must get better at waiting until people are ready before I take their picture.)

Mandy working on a crayon roll.  And now she has me interested in making some for the kids. She used my machine while I took the crochet break and she can verify that my sudden increase in quality is due almost entirely to this machine.

JSS's baby quilt is ready to bind.
I really love how she straight stitched the border.  I'm such a big fan of the quilting process and how it really adds to a quilt.  It definitely gives added dimension and interest.
Plus, we got to ooh and ahh over two very precious babies.  Great sewing trip indeed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Treasures from the past

Over the last few weeks, Husband and I have been cleaning up and cleaning out our entire downstairs.  We're talking a finished space that's 5 rooms and about 900 square feet that we have just been wasting but much more on that later.  

Anyway, the cellar is the room where the hot water heater is and various old stuff gets stored there.  All my college notes, my two door sized windows from Jewett, all my jewel cases for my hundreds of cds,  Husband's old dishes from before I moved in, all the Christmas stuff, old campaign signs, all the kids stuff they outgrow and MOST of my Husband's childhood toys and trophies.  Including about 15 wrestling "action figures"   seriously.  When Husband was cleaning up and reorganizing the cellar, he gathered up his wrestlers and threw them in the dishwasher to clean them so he could introduce his wrestlers to the kids.

all cleaned up and ready.  This is everyone but King Kong Bundy -- they've already been playing with him for years.

here's a crazy green tongued guy who's name I don't know and Hulk Hogan in the background

Daughter was amazed.

Son was too.  He kept asking, "who dat? who dat?  He for me?"  

They've been carrying them around ever since.  Son loves to pick out a wrestler and start at his feet pointing out all his clothes and what colors they are and all his body parts.  He loves the ones without shirts because they have belly buttons, a favorite body part in our house.  And those wrestlers have been on all sorts of adventures.  Safaris, airplane rides, trips through the sticky mud.  It's hilarious all the games they think of to include their wrestlers in.