little projects

She's a great vintage

So my sister's birthday party was this weekend.

Last year I made her some comfy pjs from vintage sheeting, and I know she likes unique handmade items, so I couldn't exactly let her down.

birthday gifts for sis

Don't worry, I didn't whip up anything too special.  But she did like it a lot, and it's one of those fast + easy gifts you can really have fun with. 


I bought a bottle of wine (and made sure I liked the bottle top cover -- it didn't have any writing on it to distract), soaked and scraped off the front label, and then replaced it with a personalized one.  I told you it was fast + easy. 

{ As for the 'Chexican' part... My gorgeous, olive-skinned, raven-haired sister has been mistaken for many a nationality over the years and she embraced it a long time ago.  Her friends threw her a Chinese Fiesta party, complete with egg rolls, layered nacho dip, taquitos and fortune cookies.  It's all in good fun. }

I also made her six napkins, just because.  Everyone should have lots of fun napkins at their disposal.

birthday gifts for sis

Happy Monday, blogworld!  xoxo


PS: Sparkle Power is hosting a great giveaway.  ;)

craft hope: project #2 doll

This little island missy will be making her way to the Casa Bernabe Orphanage very soon. 

little island girl

I used the black apple doll pattern and stitched on a little face instead of painting her up.  I used some thrifted washable velvet for her hair instead of the felt and do love how it feels.  (If you ever do this, you'll need to zig-zig over the edge of her hair cut-out, so it doesn't shed everywhere... )  She also needed some flair to go with her Hawaiian print dress, so I gave her a little flower.  Sweet little thing is ready to go play with a very special little girl now.  (As long as I get her in the mail tomorrow!)

I'm so proud of Jade and her work with Craft Hope.   She's got big things happening over there and makes it so easy to reach out and lend a hand.  You don't have to have a blog to contribute, either.  Signups for project #3 will happen soon.  Don't you want to be part of the solution?  xoxo


the one where she framed the records from her youth.

I had a lot of "Disney" records growing up.  (and one of those portable box record players, too, with the hinges and the microphone attachment?... how cool were they?)  My parents, clearly terrified of the wrath I would unleash if they ever discarded anything precious of mine, held on to these record albums.  I never knew what I'd do with them, but, darn it, I loved those records as a kid. 

Mr Do-Bee Scared the daylights out of me.

When we decided to bring the playroom upstairs (in December) from the basement to the 'office' in the front of the house, I was a little perplexed with how to decorate this room.  I mean, it's RIGHT THERE, at the front door, across from the dining room. 

The walls had been painted a tasteful cream with faux satin stripe.  I had spent so much time on those darned office walls, there was no way I was painting over them.  But the new playroom didn't have much color.  We also had this huge space to fill over the piano.  The walls, already 9' high, looked even taller with a tray ceiling.  I really didn't know what to put in this very public, but also very playful space.

So... eventually*, I got to thinking about my old childhood records.  My parents were thrilled to unload some of my rather large stash of things-that-may-never-be-thrown-out-no-matter-what from their storage.  The album covers were just as cool as I'd remembered them.  The art is beautiful and Fidget recognized the characters and stories. The problem was, I didn't want to harm the albums in any way.  I also wanted wide colorful mattes for large frames, to help fill this space and infuse some color.

 all lined up

It dawned on me one night: foam core is about the same thickness and could hold the album covers in place.   And I could cover the mattes with stash fabric.  Of which I have plenty.  Ahem.

no one sees the back, thank goodness.

I ordered 19" square frames online for $18 each.  Shipping was a little pricey, but I was having a heck of a time finding oversized square frames in town.  In the end, these worked perfectly.  (although non-glare glass would have been nice, now that I see the photos...)

somewhere, over the piano

The albums are just sandwiched in the mattes, without any adhesive to mar the album covers, which is nice because we can also swap them out with others if we get bored.  I do have a collection of about 15 or so, but I thought these were a good start. 

There is more craftiness underway... and a little Easter dress that is nearly complete.  Can't wait to share.  Happy April, everyone

{ I just remembered how and when I might have been inspired... Back in November, Julie @ Jane's Apron posted about vintage album covers, adding grommets and ribbons for instant wall-art.  Whew!  I knew it started somewhere... because I'm not really this clever on my own.  xo }

the pink party

For Fidget's third birthday, the only request was 'pink'.  So a pink gingham tablecloth and polka dot napkins followed.  And balloons.  And streamers.  And a cake. And little bowls of pink candies.  That was it.  Three year olds are pretty easy to please.  They must be. Because just before we started everything, she said to me, " Mommy, thanks for making my party."  Melted my heart like buttah.




more pink

I was particularly happy with the cake.  I used a yellow cake mix for the three tiers, but made several batches of the real homemade bad-for-you-but-oh-so-good white crisco frosting for a nice thick layer.  I followed Inchmark's Dot Cake directions for the royal icing dots.  What an easy trick.  There were even some dots left over for the cupcakes we took to school today.


The party's over but the balloons remain.  I love that birthday haze that lingers for the few days afterwards, where there is still cake to snack on and remants of the fun we had can still be found around the house... 

Here's to another year, sweet Fidgie.  You make momma proud.

Made in 2008

Thank you, each and every one of you for the sweet congratulations on our newest little Big Project.  2008 was a strange year for me -- not the least of which was a month-long emotional drama resulting in a miscarriage last summer -- so the baby news is something that I am, shall we say, cautiously excited about.  We are 16 weeks along now, and every week I feel more confident.  Last weekend I actually pulled on some maternity jeans, so I suppose it is real now.

Anyway, you just have no idea how much your sweet words meant to me.  Really.  So thanks.

Made in 2008

2008 was also the year I tried to crochet.  And slip-covered my little settee.  And did a lot of satin stitching.  And clothes-making.  Even for myself, which was something I had never done. I picked up watercolors for the first time since college and also made silly sashes for our annual Miss America Party.  Sarah set up a flickr pool called 'What I made in 2008" and this was just the little push I needed to look back and review.  

It really was a productive year.  October, November and December seemed so light on the Making, mostly due to feeling, well, tired and queasy. I was surprised how much I got done before then, though.  (And I actually forgot to shoot a couple of things.  A couple birthday number shirts and other embroidered gifties that got wrapped and given away before I could document them.  Oops)

So, here's to 2009.  I have a quilt to finish.  Some more quilt blocks for Twelve Square.  Some more sewing for the girls.  And a nursery to arrange.  That sounds like enough to keep me busy for a while.

What are your big plans for 2009?

Accomplishing { the list post }

Behold, quite possibly the cutest composition notebook ever:

composition notebook

I am a daily list-maker.  This is no small secret to those who know me.  Everything goes on the list.   (I also like to write in colored ultra-fine-point-sharpies, because the color is rich and bold and fun and I can tell my daily Lists from other lists, like groceries or driving directions.  I am a color girl, so why fight it?) Today's List is:

  • drama camp
  • preschool
  • amex art (for work)
  • edit URG (for work)
  • curtain panels
  • bathroom
  • chicken for dinner
  • run
  • shower
  • laundry

There is no particular order, but it is pretty much a list of the things I can expect myself to accomplish today.  

All about the lists.

The thing is, "Curtain Panels" and "Paint Bathroom" have been showing up on my list every day for a while.  And they have been giving me a complex.  Like I wasn't accomplishing anything, even though I was making baby steps.  But I couldn't mark the darned items OFF. 

It's easy to get overwhelmed and feel like you are spinning your wheels. 

So I finally did what I should have done a long time ago.  Instead of the meta-item "Curtain Panels," I made another List.  A micro level one:

to do to do to do

And now, I can mark off almost each and every step.  I've got one more set of blinds to take down(a large bamboo shade that had to be custom ordered), and have already made the two other panel extensions... As I finish each panel I can "X" it out.  How satisfying is that?   Take THAT, panel number three!  Much better.

And this is for Lera, who says she doesn't tire of my thrifting finds:

new { to me } pitcher

I picked this up on Monday for about $1.  It is plastic so it's perfect for lemonade on the deck.  I still can't get over that people give this stuff away. 

Happy Thursday everyone!  What kind of 'accomplishment' tips do you have?

bamboo shades and owls. { yes, very clever }

I'm in need of a pep talk.

Those stupid kitchen curtain panels will ruin me. I will soon say in a loud voice to no one in particular,

I will never ever make curtains again! Ever! Don't let me do it. My TIME is worth more than this. My SANITY -- wait, let's not go there. But my TIME! I want it back!

Especially when working with generous amounts of linen that doesn't want to be measured. So much so, that when I measured so carefully last week I was short TWENTY INCHES on four of the long panels. So. Now I have six panels that need twenty-inch extensions added to them and some embellishment on on the front that makes it look... intentional. Ahem.

i am not closed in.

So forgive me while I show you photos of the new cordless bamboo roman shades I installed this week.
They are also part of the new kitchen look. And honestly, I did underestimate how long they would take to install. (Including the by-hand removal of 50 screws for the previous treatments, while it is 107 degrees outside and we are facing southwest... ) So we're going to celebrate them.

These windows had 2" faux wooden blinds when we moved in. Blinds that, when closed, did such a good job of blocking out the sun that I felt very, very closed in. I'm not really ok with that feeling, especially in the kitchen, where I spend so much of my time. The new shades allow me to see a little while still blocking most of the sun.

But my favorite part is that there are no cords. Cords that we have to wind up because Fidge will mess with them. Cords that become tangled. These shades just go up and down. Beautiful bit of engineering here.

blinds are up (mostly)

And, I'm going to tell you, I did not pay an arm and leg for them either. They were even a bit cheaper than traditional blinds. I also took a chance and ordered the 33"-wide shades even though my windows measure 34". Because the 33" ones are stock and, therefore, returnable and not so freaking expensive. And, since curtain panels will one day flank all of the windows, no one is going to see that the gap between the shade and the casing is 5/8 inch rather than 3/8.

{ insert celebration dance here } Woohoo! Yay! Yowza! Yippee! We are still awaiting those blasted panels (and curtain hardware), but we are one step closer.

: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :

So. About the owls. This one is my favorite. It's a little Avon solid perfume holder from back in the day. Your grandmother probably had one. (Mine didn't, because she hated birds in the house. Maybe my mom did, because I do remember this guy.)

little avon owl pot

He was discounted to 40 cents at a thrift store. Couldn't pass it up. He still had some of the perfume inside, so I put him in the microwave (he IS plastic, so what the heck) and melted it down a bit to pour it out. I even put him in the dishwasher.

He's clean and shiny and so stinking cute on my living room mantle. And, he's kind of like an action figure, since his head swivels (and comes off).

owl statuette. Fidget's new buddy.

This guy is from the same thrift store, different day, about 75 cents. The eyeliner is kind of heavy for my taste, but who am I to judge? :) The feathers are pretty cool and I like that he is white, perfect for in here. (Rachel just reminded me she has one, too. "Minus the KISS eyeliner," lol.) Fidget, for some reason that baffles us, talks to him. Yes, that is Heather's pretty sunprint on the right.

We're going to pick up a middle school schedule this afternoon. Someone is celebrating upstairs, I can hear her...

So. What are you celebrating today???

Not sure what all the "�"s were earlier.  Some kind of 'fancy' typepad thing, I'm sure. 

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.)

She 'bakes', too.

That Fifi.  She's a busy girl.

I've been down in my office finishing up some work and all this time she was putting the final touches on Fidget's new birthday cake!


Would you like a slice?


Zero calories, I promise.


Be careful with the sprinkles on top, though.  They might be a little crunchy.


It pains me to have to wrap this stuff up tonight.  Momma's had a lot of fun playing with her Fidget's new toys.

Happy weekend!  xo

Ain't nothin gonna break my stride

I have had this obsession with Fidget's birthday this year.  She's turning two, and we got her a little kitchen playset for her playroom.  We're adding a faux window. With curtains.  And pennant garland.  A little table for the middle of the room.  Mini pots and pans.  I am working on the playroom -- but it's not there yet.  This week's work schedule has flipped me over and has me screaming uncle.

But that will not thwart my plans for this:


This little project has been in my mind for a couple weeks.  A felt (and wacky thrifted striped polyester) cake.  I've had that knobby striped stuff for a long time and I wasn't sure what to do with it.  Evidently, it makes decent faux frosting.

Fidget loves birthdays and cakes and the whole spectacle.  When we had an early birthday dinner in FL a couple weeks ago with my folks we had to keep relighting the candles and singing, she thought it so much fun.

Just last night I finished the 'boring' part - making the cake body and a couple slices (just wait 'til you see those: chocolate!) but I couldn't wait to decorate the top.  I will be removing the pins and sewing those buttons on before I give it to her, promise.  Guess what I'll be doing tonight if my office cooperates and gives me the night off? ;)

I'm also very excited about a handmade doll she is getting, thanks to Alicia's craftiness. The plan is to make Fidge a dress to match her new little girlfriend.  And that is kind of in progress, too.