Monday, April 14, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 7 & 8

This year I aim to complete 52 projects - here are some of them: 

Project 7: Cat Quilt for my daughter. This project was a labor of love and took many small sessions of sneaking in time at my sewing machine when able, but it came together just as I imagined and is my favorite project so far. Everything I have ever been taught about sewing comes from a home economics class I took in 1999, so I am basically flying by the seat of my pants and learning along the way and I am okay with that as it brought me to here and this fun quilt full of red corduroy cats for my girl. The background fabric is a light blue-green print while the backing is 6 or so strips of different fabrics I already had on hand all sewn together and finished with handmade bias tape from some of the same gray fabric that is folded over on the top. I have a small book of quilt square patterns I once picked up at a garage sale that contains a cat square, but I wanted to search to see if their were any others and that led me to another blog. I liked that look a lot better so E looked at it and then made me some larger sized templates in Adobe Illustrator that I used to cut out all 300 pieces of these 30 squares. While I am no expert I think I am made for quilting. It really speaks to the side of me that enjoys repetition, tedious tasks and being able to see continuous progress. Roxanne seems to feel right at home on the quilt as well so I guess it's a keeper.

Project 8: A trio of knitted balls for the ball basket. This one is pretty simple. After a play date at a friends house and seeing a knit ball there it rekindled my desire to finally find a decent pattern and make some of my own. I used this pattern called Little Ball and worsted weight for the blue/purple and the striped balls and sock weight for the orange gradient ball, filling them with stuffing from an old pillow we had on hand. I have since searched for other patterns and made a tiny ball as well using this pattern called Orb-It Ball. They are both nice patterns but I do enjoy that the second is one continuous piece and knit up a lot faster for me due to that.

More projects to come as I tick away at the goal of 52 in a year. I'm still feeling pretty good about that goal so far.

What have you been making lately?


Monday, April 7, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 5 & 6

This year I aim to complete 52 projects - here are some of them:

Project 5: LOVE sign made with our daughter's hand and footprints at 16 months old. I had seen this idea online at some point and it stuck in my mind. Fearing her hands and feet would soon be too large to make this reasonable we made a mock-up on paper and then E cut a board to size. I coated it with a couple of coats of paint we already had on hand and Iz helped out with the rest. This now hangs above our bedroom door and it makes me happy every time I see it so I'd say it's a successful project.

Project 6: Whoever lived here before us had put in these wine bottle holes in the wall and they were always such an eyesore. They would end up filled with scraps of paper/pens/random get the idea. We put our heads together and thought shelves would be nicer, somewhere to store our cookbooks specifically since we would usually have to travel to the bookshelves two rooms away to get to them and they would always accumulate in a pile on the counter until someone returned them. So we made a plan and E made it happen and I am happy to say these shelves have been serving us well. It was also nice to really look through our cookbooks and put a few in the giveaway pile that we realized we were never using.

Be on the lookout for my favorite project so far next week!


Monday, March 31, 2014

A Year of Projects: Projects 1, 2, 3 & 4

This year I aim to complete 52 projects - here are some of them:

Project 1: Simple curtains for the front room. We had heavy brown curtains on here that just didn't feel right, so with a half off any cut of fabric coupon at Joann Fabrics I picked up this simple print and made short curtains to replace the old ones. Since then we have added blinds and I have plans to add sheers as well to bulk it out a bit and make things feel a bit more comfy-cozy, our decorating style of choice. 

Project 2: Floor length curtains for our bedroom. Another half off coupon purchase for the fabric of course and a definite upgrade. We had bright red curtains in here, along with bright red walls and no trim. E painted the walls the light grey I had picked out months ago, finished up all of the trim and helped me hang our new curtains. Projects on the horizon for this space also include making a platform height bed-frame and some oversized printed photos for above our bed.

Project 3: Chalkboard trays for Iz and friends/siblings-of-the-future. I had found a stack of vintage metal trays at a goodwill outlet in the past and decided to repurpose them for this project with some chalkboard paint we already had on hand. They also double as magnet trays which is how they are used most often these days since my favorite tiny person thinks art supplies are especially tasty.

Project 4: Decorative window for above our bedroom dresser. We had this window hanging in a different spot already but decided this would be a better spot for it long-term. We picked it up years ago at a random antique market. I cut scrapbook paper to size and attached it with a generous amount of double-sided tape and then made a length of pom pom garland from my yarn stash, choosing colors that coordinated with those in the curtains made for project 2.  I love how this simple little project brightens up our room.

I think we are on project 13 or so now so I will be playing a bit of catch-up and then maybe post each additional project 1 or 2 at a time. I share them on instagram as we go but since I am often inspired by little projects I see on other people's blogs I thought it would be nice to share them here as well. I haven't shared any in a few weeks but there are about 5 or so in the works, so hopefully we can get some of those completed soon. Always plenty to do around here as we make our house feel more like home.

Have you been making anything lately?


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We Will Be Us Forever

Opening this window seems appropriate at this time, just as Spring has greeted us and is promising open windows, removing straw from the berry patch, sweeping off the porches and making outside just as home as inside, at this time I feel the need to dust off the cobwebs from this online space and start writing again. Intentions to turn thoughts to paper rather than screen were well-intentioned but maybe a bit misguided as I didn't exactly make time for that either. My time has been full though and I have been happy, creating, dreaming, scheming, and spending a lot of time with those that I love. Sharing of the creating will happen in time as I gather the photographs of current projects. Going into my 29th year my mind was on making a goal for myself and I thought the goal of completing 29 projects sounded like a good one, which quickly turned into a project a week and so by the time my stream of thoughts had ended I had committed to completing 52 projects this year, as a way to reconnect to my creativity and to continue to feel more like myself while continuing to turn our house into the home I would like it to be while it is ours, I look forward to sharing.

Since my brother and sister have moved home last September not a week has gone by without seeing family at least once a week if not more and I can see in myself what an impact that has made. Today while Izzy was sleeping I was reading through the posts I have left up in this space and read one that spoke on that very thing, on how life changing it would be if my sister moved home and here we are and it has changed my life, along with my brother and his family being here and the new nephew they have blessed us with as well. Finally we are together and between my family and E's family we are always seeing someone and I can see how much this means to my sweet daughter already as her cousins have quickly become best friends and she has connected with the important adults in our lives. It is the best, the very best, the stuff that I always wanted in regards to this area of our life is finally starting to happen and for that I am endlessly grateful.

As the weather is slowly turning we have been trying to spend a little time outside each day on the cold ones and any waking moments in the sun on the days that feel most like Spring. Our garden is being woken up and on Friday our driveway will be filled of nearly 7 cubic yards of mulch and compost for various projects in our yard and in the garden, so we will be busy beavers. As much as my family moving back has changed my life, so has my outlook on where we live. No, this is not where we would prefer to be or where we plan on staying, but some months ago I made a conscious decision to accept what is and to make it as beautiful and wonderful as we can, to enjoy it fully while we are here and to plan together for where we would like to go, to look at the positives and what we do have rather than being sad about what I would prefer to be different. Most of the time this goes well. It's hard in a number of ways, but I can't let that rule my days and take me down. Life is too wonderful for that and we are working to make it the best we can manage.

Our sweetie is growing and exploring and talking up a storm. She fills my life with so much joy and I feel like this second year of parenting has been so beneficial to me as a mother, so helpful in showing me I am capable and competent after a bear of a first year. Challenges are aplenty as I see is common amongst my mama friends as well, but it feels like the normal sort of challenging that is to be expected at this age rather than an all-encompassing struggle we experienced in our first year as three. There is no telling if all of this was connected with health issues or if things would have been the same regardless, but I can no longer beat myself up over the could-have-beens and I can try not to let the sadness creep in over the what-ifs. All we have is today and today I have the most incredible human in my life, someone so amazing that I tear up at the though that she is mine and I am hers and we will be that way forever.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

We are knee-deep in snow and cozying up from a cold more extreme than we are accustomed to here in Missouri. All is well though and we have enjoyed a lot of time together over the past couple of weeks thanks to the holiday and a few extra days off for E. Tomorrow we are back to a more typical schedule, one that will leave us missing our guy but that will leave room for reconnecting with friends once the weather and streets allow for such. 

The big news in our lives is that my second nephew was born late Saturday evening, making me an aunt times six for which I am so very grateful and also causing quite a stir in my heart as the unexpectedly extreme weather has kept us from being able to get there to snuggle him and welcome him to our family. It's quite unfortunate that this is the first baby born while we are all in the same town and yet we are kept from meeting him. In time.

And just as he is being born we are also preparing to celebrate my first-born niece as she turns three this Saturday. We are so well acquainted these days that I feel more lucky than ever to be able to celebrate together and to delight her with gifts of a tiny fairy and felted dragons and with so many hugs. It's going to be a good day.

Not to scatter my thoughts even more but I'm in a bit of a limbo around here. This space is good for me, it helps me to capture memories in a way I don't tend to do in paper form and I so enjoy looking back over my posts. I enjoy sharing and connecting with others. I enjoy a lot, but I also don't know where I would like to draw the line with sharing images of my sweet daughter. For now I will continue with as many words as I wish but only share photos without her face in view and I don't know if that will continue or if that will make me feel any better, but for now it will make me feel most comfortable while I figure it out. Any thoughts on all of that sort of thing from you other mamas? 

Here's hoping you are all staying warm and settling well into the new year that is somehow already upon us.