Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Ugly House :: The Kitchen is Complete!

It's been a LOOOOONNNGGGGGG time! If you've read many of my past posts, you know I place high importance on life balance. Between home and work, I've been a bit overwhelmed this year and decided the blog had to fall off the "to-do list." Just for an extended time out...

Work has continued on the house and the kitchen has been complete for a few months now. While the space configuration wasn't that bad, overall, the room was plain, very boring.

Our first priorities were paint, flooring, and new appliances.

We liked the bar area, but found it too low to be useful. We had three options: 1. buy new stools; 2. cut the legs down on our existing stools; or, 3. raise the bar height.

After much deliberation, we opted for raising the bar. My industrious husband configured the solution.

The next step was granite. To be honest, we were not pleased with our selection: Giallo Ornamental. We selected it from a granite warehouse - as we've done with our previous homes - however, it seemed too brown upon installation. We thought we'd selected something with a whiter, brighter background.

But, it's installed and it's going to stay!

Jesse's first attempt with tiling a backsplash was a huge success. And once it was installed, the granite seemed to brighten up a bit. We went with a tumbled travertine subway tile.

For a final finishing touch, Jesse installed a couple of pendants over the bar area.

What is especially genius about this project is the base that he created to hang the pendants. We've had a hard time matching the ceiling textures in this house. He knew he would have to patch a few holes with the install of this lighting. Rather than go through the trouble for results that wouldn't be perfect, he fashioned this base.

I was worried that it would look odd, but it turned out nicely.

The final item to highlight is this faucet. We installed a Delta Touch2O faucet and it is awesome! Touch it anywhere and it turns on. One of those weird things you never knew you needed...

The only problem is that I now have the same expectation for all faucets I encounter. I touch them over and over, yet they don't respond!

You'll notice that we painted the window box above the sink white. It really brightened the entire room and convinced us to continue the white trim throughout the house - the entire house...

Hazel says, "Really?! You guys are gluttons for punishment."

Why, yes. Yes, we are.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

This Ugly House :: Boy's Bathroom

Wanna see something really gross?

Any ideas why this is so gross?

How about now?

This is what cigarette tar build-up looks like on your walls! And here's what it looks like when you start to clean it.

The previous owners of our home used one of the upstairs bathrooms as a smoking room... apparently for a LOOONNNNNGGGGGG time. This room was so saturated with smoke, we had to gut the whole thing.

But, we weren't giving up much, considering this is what it looked like.

Seriously dated cabinets, more peel-and-stick tile, and a PINK shower. Whew! What a mess!

But it sets the stage for a pretty remarkable transformation.

First, we scrubbed down the walls, grout and ceiling, painted and laid new flooring...

Next, the shower was professionally refinished as a clean, beautiful white...

It was finished off with new cabinets, lighting and fixtures, granite countertops and a few fun accents.

We have a little bit of trim work left to complete, but, all-in-all, we're counting this project as done!

It's perfect for a little boy to enjoy... or swap out the art and accessories and it's perfect for the grandparents!

{Hint-hint, Mom and Dad...}

This has been my favorite transformation to date. The hubby is finishing up a new tile backsplash in the kitchen this week and we're on the downside of our master bathroom renovation. I can't wait for that to be done! It's been a BIG job.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Vogue 8882

I absolutely love vintage shapes in skirts. I especially love flirty, knee-length skirts.

That pretty much sums up Vogue 8882.

Kellie sent me this pattern last spring and, as perfect as it is, I've been reluctant to get going with it.

The main reason? It requires a whopping five yards of fabric! That's a heckuva lot of fabric!

But, this past week, I decided to stop procrastinating and start making.

Originally, I thought that I'd use a beautiful embroidered border fabric. Clearly, that wouldn't work here because this is essentially a circle skirt.

Instead, I decided upon some pretty pink-dotted swiss that I've had in my collection of fabric for about 8 years.

I actually had five yards of this on hand... I'm not really sure why... big sale, maybe?

Anywho... It was way too shear to use on its own so I did have to make a fabric purchase - four yards of lining fabric. The lining was the only alteration that I made to this pattern.

 So, now I have nine yards of fabric in this skirt. In this knee-length skirt.

That's a heckuva lot of fabric!!

It still needs a bit more pressing, but all came together without a hitch...

...except the hem. It's lined in crinoline (which is definitely not the same as tulle, as I've been informed). Have you ever lined the hem of a garment?

I'm not saying it was hard to assemble, but the blind hem was a bit tricky to put in. Especially considering the volume of this skirt.

A little bit of puckering here and there has me debating over tearing it out and starting over.

I'm wondering if this lined hem is even necessary with this shear-ish fabric. What do you think? My inexperience is showing...

Overall, this was a simple pattern. I would definitely make it again, but with a more substantial fabric. Something with more body. I was glad to use the dotted swiss for this and free up some space in my studio.

Next on my list is Simplicity 1877, Dress B.

Once the weather warms and I can get outside, I promise to model a few of these new frocks so you can see the fit and styling of each. With snow still falling, I'm completely unmotivated!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Amy Butler's Anna Tunic

After battling a long and very hard winter, we were blessed with a blissful day of sunshine and 50 degree temps on Friday.

It was a welcome reminder that spring is on the way! Spring means camping and lots of time outdoors. It also means pretty dresses... flowy tops... bright prints... All things that I've missed all winter and things that I LOVE to sew. Naturally, I was inspired to dig into my vintage fabric collection and break out the sewing machine.

 My pattern of choice was the Anna Tunic by Amy Butler.

This is the second time I've made this pattern. I made the dress version back in 2009.

I decided to go with a tunic this time. I am so pleased with the results! I think this top actually turned out better than the dress. Maybe it was due to my prior experience with this pattern.

I made minor changes to the pattern by omitting the body lining and the belt. I also added a bias trim with the yellow print to the yoke.

While I'm in no shape today to model the top, I plan to style it with a wide leather belt.

What makes this top special are the fabrics. They belonged to my grandmother. Because of their age, I was a bit apprehensive about moving forward with them. Would they hold up? I laundered them first and they maintained their body so I plowed onward.

With the completion of this project, I feel like I'm back in the swing of things. I'm planning to start this skirt, Vogue 8882, this week. I have a lovely pin dot cotton with an embroidered border that was made for a flowy skirt like this.

So looking forward to warm temps, fun fashion, and bare legs. Spring can't get here soon enough!

Lucky Charm

My oldest son had to tag along to work with me on Friday.

Poor guy...

I sent him out for a walk and he promptly returned carrying a four leaf clover that he found.

He was so excited! He spent the rest of the afternoon telling everyone about it and dreaming of the many things he might wish for.

Even though this clover has seen better days, my son still wanted to preserve it. We decided to create a charm for his backpack. A "lucky charm."

I pulled out a few trusty supplies... a 1.5" glass dome, cardstock, bails, lobster clasp, findings... We added a penny for a little extra "luck."

To seal the clover behind the glass, I  followed the same procedure outlined for my Happy Magnets. Check out that post for full instructions (and another fun project!).

After patiently waiting for it all to dry, we were anxious to put it all together and...


Imagine how cute this would be with a GREEN four leaf clover!

As always, the best part about this project was collaborating with my son. I'm constantly challenging him to think creatively about materials.

I could be shaping a creative genius or manic hoarder.

He's actually been taking weekly art classes with a local arts alliance and he's been so inspired. He's learning to weave with plastic bags... printmaking with Styrofoam plates... the importance of daydreaming for the creative process...

Here's one of his printmaking projects. His house is the one in the immediate foreground, followed by his classmates' additions. I just love this!

What thrills my heart the most are the conversations we have after class. He is always so proud to learn new skills and discover new talent.

"Mommy, art class is awesome!"

I wholeheartedly agree.

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