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February 2008
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April 2008

March 2008

The playroom...

Wanna come over?

Last year we finished our basement.  We moved my office down there, created a guest room suite (far away from the girls' rooms upstairs!) and carved out a large man-space for Mr Pink.  Part of the deal was a playroom.

playroom, nearly done!

This space used to be our tornado shelter, where we huddled among stacked suitcases and plastic bins of off-season clothes.  It's a small room  (10x11?), made to feel smaller by the lack of a window, low ceilings, and a strangely-angled wall that takes its shape from the stairway outside.

playroom, left side.

I wanted to make the room somewhat bright and cheery -- a far cry from the cave-like space it used to be, complete with a hanging bare bulb and spider webs.  So we installed 4 potlights in this tiny room.  And we left the ceiling unfinished -- we had the builders spray paint it white, so it wouldn't seem so low.

playroom, middle

I also took a risk and added mirrors on the back wall, to bounce the light around and hopefully help create the feeling of a window... of a space that wasn't subterranean.

playroom: dress-up wall

Nearly everything (except the kitchen set, a birthday gift) in this room is thrifted or repurposed.  The curtains are bedsheets.  The bookshelves are part of a set of 4 my parents were splitting up. The window mirrors, from Big Sis' old room.  The window hardware?  Saved from two houses ago.  The small milk glass nobbed mirrors? Goodwill.  The red chair in the corner?  An $8 thrift store find.  You see where this is going.

playroom, right side

I still have a big clock and artwork display thingie to put up, somewhere on the right wall, above that little curtained storage area.  And the table in the middle (Big Sis' from 10 years ago), is a little too wobbly to be on a carpet, so I'm going to keep an eye out for something this spring when I hit the garage sales. 

But by and large, I am very happy to say "The Playroom?  Oh, yes, it's done.  Would you like to come over and mess it up with us??"

love these blocks

(You can find these and a couple other photos with notes, at flickr.)

Pink. It's PINK!

Can you hear that thumping noise?  It's little old me, banging my head against my kitchen wall.  Yes, the red one that needs repainting.

Why?  Because I was totally ready to jump into my WHITE settee slipcover project this weekend. And then I happened to cull through my old magazines last night, ripping and saving, so I could send some to school with Big Sis for a class project. 

And I came across THIS in an old Domino issue: 

gutsy in pink, from Domino Mag...

Yes.  The pink looks super cool.  (And she knows it, too.  She is sitting there, on her pretty little pink couch, thinking I'm totally going to make chris change her mind about the white.

So the question is, do I (gulp) dye my white twill (as laeroport suggested) and go for it?  Run out and buy some new pink fabric and start from there?  Or, tuck this inspiration photo away for a few years from now, when we move and I can start from scratch in a new house where my sweet little settee doesn't have to be so prim and proper, across the hall from a very buttoned-up brown and cream dining room? 

I don't have all that wood trim on mine and I do think that sets it off in this picture. I suppose that could be fixed with some thick white piping, which is also a little more work than I had anticipated... 

I've never even tried dyeing 5 yards of heavyweight twill before.  That alone could be a disaster.  But seriously, the pink?  I love it.


Happy Friday.  I'm going to ponder this.  What would YOU do?      

Suddenly, the wheels are in motion...

Joy on my doorstep.  White cotton twill and some Amy Butler Lotus Wallflower in cherry , a print I have loved for a long time but didn't have in my stash.


That's quite a bit of twill....I wonder what I'll use it for?

Oh, I know!

Remember her?


I toyed with the idea of going with a bold AB Nigella print,


..but I chickened out.  I'm not that bold. Maybe it's my that my photoshop skills leave a little to be desired, but I just couldn't go there. 

Instead, you'll get to follow my WIP while I try to construct a white slipcover for this curvy gal.  (I can already sense your excitement!)  I'll have to settle for a slipcover for now, because I've got to be able to wash this thing, as the girls love it and it's a destination when they come running into this room.  Also, I can always use the pattern -- once I've made one, that is -- to make another out of bolder fabric. Or upholster someday it in a velvet (oooh, velvet!), without having messed up the frame.   

The curves scare me a little, but I've always said I had more ambition than talent. Sometimes you just need to jump in, try and surprise yourself.   I'm also going to add nice long pillow across the back.  Hello, punchy red.


It could be I'm just chickening out altogether, but I do think it will be pretty when I'm done. The legs should get painted too, don't you think?  That's where I could be bold for now.

Back in February, I promised something pretty for the person whose idea I used... I'm pretty sure Cindy suggested cream with punchy pillows.  Joanne suggested red and white gingham (which got me thinking about the AB cherry print) and Beki, a solid with pillows and a ruffle (and I haven't ruled out a pleated ruffle along the bottom... )  So, while no one got it head-on, you each came pretty close.   So send me your address via email [pinkpicketfence (at) gmail (dot) com] and I'll make good on that one.  :)

Also, I stopped by a local thrift store today...  But I'll wait to share.  It's good stuff and I need to get some work done.

Happy Thursday, friends!  xoxoxo

Someday she'll appreciate this.

Now that the weather's thaaaat much closer to warm, I'm ready to make some easy summer stuff for the girls.  Sunday night I found this little pattern (Butterick See & Sew B5119) in my stash while looking for those embroidered girls and thought, why not?

Why not, indeed?  Oooh, I love it.   So simple and quick and ready for warm weather!

New top for Fidget

Alas, Fidget threw some kind of tantrum about it and ended up in time out.


This is not how I expected the Big Reveal would go. 

I cut a size 3, because she is long-waisted. But the neckline's a little showy for my taste, so I shortened the elastic in the casing and now it fits much better.


(Yes, my kitchen is red and my cabinets are high gloss dark stain with awful shiny bathroom-cabinet style pulls.  All of it needs replacing.  I am quite inspired by Beki and her kitchen reno.  It's on the schedule for this summer. Lotsa paint.  Thank goodness the floors are ok!)

I'd better go buy some avacados.

Big Sis has a --GASP -- 12th birthday coming up in a few weeks. She has always started planning her big day right after the Christmas holiday, and this year was no exception.  Back in January, I agreed to a sleepover with 5 girls -- your traditional let's order pizza, get some movies and a cake kind of thing.

Last night, while printing out her invitations, I got a preview of what she *really* has planned for her girlfriends.   She took these on herself this year, and I just let her go with it. 

However, I can't keep this to myself.  It's gold.

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Let me say, I am very glad there will be no fire eating or ball juggling in my basement.

And that we don't need to worry about compromised judges or head lice.

Doesn't it sound like fun?

On a side note, am I old enough to have a soon-to-be-middle-schooler?  I don't feel like a grown up yet.

From the Mailbox

Somehow, in a completely distorted universe far, far away, it makes perfect sense to trade middle-of-the-road-promotional-material-making-skills for this:

Crystalline Cake Plate

A gorgeous and very rare pink crystalline cake plate.

Some friends of mine are brave (and crazy) enough to have fallen for this special craft.  She throws the pottery -- all gorgeous -- and he glazes.  He's a software salesman by day, expert mineral crystal glazier by night.  Their stuff is ridiculously beautiful.  The failure rate on these kinds of pieces is very high, so most people don't bother with it.  I'm so glad they do. 

Crystalline Cake Plate

They had never tried pink before, but that's what I requested... so here it is.  Their first pink plate.  Oh, Larry, thank you.  It's perfect.

And your little postcards are on their way...

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I also keep forgetting to thank Jade, at chikaustin, for bestowing the "You Make Me Smile " Award on yours truly last week.  The last award I received was in high school for Best Actress in a Comedy.  Which sounds very impressive until you realize there were only two girls in the whole production.  And I had more lines. 

So when she tapped me (and a couple others) out of the many talented bloggers out there as someone who makes her smile... well.  Let me tell you.  I felt special.  If you haven't had a chance to check out her lovely blog, make sure you do.  She has been cranking out some darling pillowcase dresses lately!  Jade, you make me smile, too.  XOXOXOXO   

The Easter Bunny Rocks.

The Easter Bunny left me something very special this year.  (Well, he didn't leave it... he whispered very loudly in my ear yesterday that I should run -- not walk -- to my nearest dealer and buy one, RIGHT NOW, before I melt into a puddle on the floor, exasperated with all the sickness that is my house these days.  But I swear it was his idea.  Lovely Bunny.)

my new toy

I was delighted on Easter morning.  I played all day long... But not until after Fidget and I made chocolate chip banana bread for breakfast.  She is excellent with a whisk and a teaspoon, I promise.

no more banana bread

(It was very good.   But you'll have to trust me on that one.)   


And the Easter Bunny was very kind to hide eggs *inside* this year, as Fidget is still getting over something and it was still pretty cold outside, being mid-March and all.  Oh, and Daddy was curled up in the fetal position, recovering from a stomach virus, so this way he could participate, too.  (I'm not kidding about our house and sickness, people... )  That Easter Bunny thinks of EVERYTHING. ;)

begonias on my table

But we did enjoy the sunshine as it streamed in our windows.  Especially happy were the begonias on my kitchen table, which were a gift from my bestest girlfriends not too long ago... they make me smile every day.   

Happy Spring, everyone!   xoxoxo

A stitch in time.

I was emailing with laeroport the other day about embroidery projects, and various stages thereof.   She knows how to thread a needle, that one.  Have you seen her stuff???   She has several very cute projects in the works.

Anyway, that got me to thinking. I've got some, too.  Projects in various stages, that is. 


In fact, I have a little stack (4? 5?) of these little girls hidden somewhere in my fabric stash.  I originally intended them to be placed into a quilt for Fidget (because there is no getting aound how much that little girl looks like my Fidget, pixie-cut and all).  I remember folding them up neatly with some of the fabric I was thinking of using, and then having to whisk it out of sight one day when company was coming.  I never intended for them to be smushed into my fabric hutch for nearly half a year.  But they are.  I might have to rescue them soon.

Thanks, dear friend, for the reminder.  I think the girls in their cute little dresses and bows will appreciate the fresh air.

[ This photo.  Of course it is old.  Look at all that GREEN outside!  Ha.  ]

Happy Spring! 

Sew inspired these days...

Work is very busy this week... something not completely unexpected after the impromptu break we took last week...


But I'm so ready to CREATE!  DO!  MAKE!  I'll have to placate myself with the pretty stuff on flickr and around blogland, I suppose.  So... in no particular order,

Can you tell where my mind is wandering these days?  :)

Oh, and lest I forget.  No, I did not make the sweet little granny square blanket pictured in the doll cradle above.  Ha ha ha!  Remember how my last crochet project turned out??  No, this isn't my handiwork, dear friends.    It was a lucky thrift find a few weeks ago.  I love the daring use of color!

Marching on...

First off, a big 'ol BELATED Midwestern THANKS to Miss Lera of The Sky is Pink, for the sweet little package that arrived last week.  (Truth be told, after all the drama of last week, I ended up getting very sick myself and stayed in bed for 5 days.  * But I'm going to gloss over that part.*  See that?  Like it never happened.  I'm DONE talking about ill health.) 

FromleraI was delighted to get a little package with the yummiest smelling homemade chocolate peanut butter soap and bakers twine and handmade card...!  Thank you Lera, xoxoxo  I love it.  Fidget thinks it's chocolate and wants to eat it.

(Please forgive the photo quality.  It's pouring down rain right now and there isn't decent light to be found!)

This week I am GOING to FINISH the curtains for the playroom.  See?  I've already got the sheeting ready.


In truth, I started cutting these over a week ago.  And then I realized I miscut not one, not two, but all THREE curtain panels. How long have I been sewing again???  I tossed them on the table in disgust and walked away, quite sure that my stupidity was a serious handicap to my crafting and I shouldn't go any further.  But now I know how I'll fix them, so no harm done.  They'll just be... fancier.  Because that is what a fake window in a playroom needs.  Fancy curtains.

Anyway, the playroom IS going to be finished one of these days!  Because I need to get going on her. I'm still mulling over fabric options and the whole slipcover/reupholster decision, but we're closing in on that project, my dears.  I can't wait.

Goodness, there is a lot to catch up on when you've been unplugged for a week.  I honestly don't know if I'm going to catch up or just start from here.  There's so much good stuff in blogland that I would hate to miss.  We'll see if this week's workload allows for some skimming through last week or not... I have a feeling things are going to be pretty busy over here for a while.  I'm missed you all, dear friends!

: : :  Thank you, again, for your sweet comments and emails over the last week.  They have meant so much.  My father-in-law is moving into the rehab unit today, which is a miracle considering he had no pulse a week ago... and little Fidget?  She's back to her old silly self again.  : : :  e x h a l e  : : :