Monday, June 30, 2014

The picky twig chewer

A twig from the yard would never do.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Garage Makeover: Removing the lower loft - p.2

After we cleared out the loft rubble that we created in Part 1, the garage looked like this. Much improved, but still not at full functionality because of the super low beam and the pole in the middle.
As one would assume, the pole and beam were offering support to the upper loft so before we could cut them out we had to figure out a support alternative.
I stayed out of this discussion and let Keith consult our wise fathers. It was determined that the loft would be supported with 2x4 running vertically from the rafters to the loft's joists. If I am remembering correctly, 8 supports were put in.

The horizontal beams were added to give the vertical boards more "grab".

Once the loft was properly secured the fun began: DEMOLITION!
As usual, I pranced around and took pictures while John and Keith removed boards, shelves with flimsy backing, and finally, The Beam.

*Somewhere in this time-frame the pole came out with a swift kick to the base. Completely anticlimactic.*

Beam removal got really technical: Saw in half (you guys love saws) and let. it. fall. It did require a few whacks with a sledgehammer because the sagging beam caused the sawzall to seize but down it came.

As you can see, the guys were pleased. And who can blame them - do you see how cleanly the beam ripped out of the wall?

Now all that's left is deep cleaning, painting, rolling epoxy, wiring, and organizing. That's all.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Toaster: Now and Then

 Every time I look at Toaster she is bigger. I come up from the basement with a load of laundry and a bigger dog greets me at the top of the stairs. She lays down for a little afternoon nap and a huge dog wakes up. I get home from work and a GIANT has replaced my tiny pup.
Is this how parenthood goes?

Not sure which of my sisters took this pic but it cracks me up!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rugs that are NOT chevron! on Society6

 Holy home decor, I just learned that Society6, the place the awesome llama pillow came from, sells rugs.
My life has just shifted course.
Did I mention that they are AFFORDABLE!? Put yo hand up if  you've been on a quest for an awesome rug that isn't chevron. I knew I wasn't the only one struggling with that first world problem ;)
The biggest size they carry right now is 4'x6'. It's a tad smaller than what most of our rooms need but maybe if we all go support them they will branch out into bigger sizes. Fingers crossed.

Pebbles || Just so you know.
 If you like voicing your opinion, check out the obscene amount of favs we have pinned and give us your two cents. Clearly, we have some decision making to do.

PS - you can get the prints on shower curtains. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Garage Makeover: removing the lower loft

Upper loft on the left. Lower loft on the right. Obviously.

As the title suggests, our garage has (had) two lofts. The upper loft is above the garage door, and the lower loft was, well, lower than that. Waaaay lower. Both Keith and I are 6' so at 6'6 the loft left us feeling claustrophobic. The garage felt totally cave-like actually, since the glass in the windows are painted over and the lower part was in the back. It was sort of like entering an abyss. Dun-dun...

In this picture, Keith had just torn out a super flimsy work bench and shelving unit off the back wall. Sorry, no before pictures :(

In case claustrophobia wasn't reason enough to remove the lower loft, the stupid thing had to be supported by a pole that was located smack in the middle of the garage. While we could get our cars in the garage, getting out of the car without smacking the door against the pole was a bit tricky. We are practically experts in contortion now. Fortunately for circus performers everywhere we are no longer practicing that skill. Also, on the side of the garage there was a rather intrusive "stairway" leading up to the lofts.

All said, long ago we decided that the lower loft would be removed. Not so long ago, the floor boards came up. We took the time to pry them up, instead of going at them with the sawzall, because we wanted to salvage the boards for use on another project. This was mega tedious work. It was hot, dark and dirty up there and for every joist (12 inches) there were 3 nails. Keith got the nails up with a hammer and cats paw and I followed behind pulling them up with a wonder bar. That is, of course, when my dad-in-law and Keith's friend weren't up there doing the work ;)

Removing the joists did involve the sawzall. Keith and Friend worked like this: one person stood below to support the beam, the other operated the saw. FYI - guys love saws.
I love taking pictures, so that is what I busied myself doing. At some point the "stairway" came out. They were very pleased that they got it out in only 3 pieces. You should have seen their beaming man faces. So precious.
At this point there was still a huge, low support beam and the the pole to come out but that required a different set of actions and will, therefore, get its own post.

More coming soon! ...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Supporting my husband (via color, on the road)

This thing happens when I am a passenger in a car... The sun streaming in, the drone of the road, the reclining seats. Chick-a-dees, I love sleeping in the car. LOVE it. Understandably though, Keith doesn't like my napping habit because it leaves him in a 9 hour interstate stare-down.
So, in an effort to be a more supportive roadtrip companion and keep myself awake, I created a little game for us: Collect The Colors. The only rule: It has to be on a semi. Keith drove and I had my phone perched against the window, on-the-ready for picture taking.

There are some really awesome, flamboyantly colored cabs. Lime, aqua, daisy yellow. Almost all of them were heading in the opposite direction, naturally :(

People, there was a PINK semi cab. I saw it. The trees broke away from the interstate as it rounded the corner and a beam of sunlight, straight from heaven, lit upon it. It was too much.
My excitement spilled out in a gasp/shriek/flailing motion which, apparently, scared Keith because then I was getting scolded for making him think something catastrophic happened. It kinda hurt my feelings that he didn't share my joy but I was to busy watching that truck slip further and further away in opposite direction to *calmly voice how I was feeling* back. I seriously considered having him find an exit and track that thing down. I probably would have but we had just passed stopped traffic. Curse you, construction.

All that to say that between a bit of Creedence, Glitch Mob and color hunting, during our entire trip of Indiana - Mississippi - Texas and back, I slept a VERY miniscule amount and had a lot more fun than looking to complete the alphabet with license plates.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Creating a custom color with Julep

While Keith and I were cruising down the interstate Julep reached out to see if I'd like to participate in their Create Your Color campaign. Simply said, "If you created a nail polish color, what would it be?"
Me, create a color? Don't mind if I do.

Here is what I decided: Trying to create a single custom color is kinda hard. Really hard. Colors sing and how do you choose just ONE? So I got clever and decided that a two-tone, shimmery polish is the way I would go. Something that looked turquoise one way and limey green another. Along these lines:

What do you think? Could you get away with wearing it to work? ;)

PS - Because they are awesome Julep is having a sweepstakes where you and your bff can go to NYC for fashion week. Wouldn't that be the coolest? Click on this sentence to get your name in the drawing!

Friday, June 13, 2014

The West - Part 2

Last time I shared this portion of the yard (part 1) we were just completing demo.  For the last few weeks we've been working to bring it back to neutral.

Rototilling unearthed ungodly amounts of gravel so we spent hours removing buckets and buckets of the stuff. Nice and tedious. There is probably a fancy method of removal out there but we did it by hand. We also picked out a couple wheelbarrows worth of roots.

Once the gravel to dirt ratio was more to our liking we brought in some top soil to level everything out. After raking and smoothing, smoothing and raking and yelling at Toaster for digging in our smooth dirt, we seeded.

It looked like this for what seemed like ages but it's finally sprouting.
It's pretty patchy right now but there is still a good portion of seed that hasn't sprouted yet.
Hurry up and wait.  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

3 tips for busting the dreaded blank sketchbook page paralysis

 Do you ever just stare at a blank page in your sketch book, feeling crippled by the fear that you’ll ruin it? Because I definitely do. Sometimes I get into this ridiculous mindset that everything I create has to be perfect. That anything less was a waste. I give myself no grace. More times than I care to admit I have walked away from my sketch pad leaving just the way I found it. Kinda pathetic, yeah?
As I’ve been working to change my mindset here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:

1)    Embrace the word “practice.”
Chant it. Over and over again. If it’s “practice” then mistakes are allowed. It’s kinda stupid but it's freeing. Frees me to try new things, to grow, to soil a blank page.

2)    Experiment!
Mix it up! Take the focus off the blank page and put it on the pen. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a pen per se but try goofing around with a color you rarely use. Buy cheap products you aren’t afraid to use AND USE THEM until you are feeling inspired and are so bursting with ideas you can’t wait to fill the empty expanse. Work with a different medium. What happens when you layer things? You could also try a different paper. Have you ever played with acrylic on kraft paper? Those colors pop like wow.
Anyways, what I’m saying is that when you start experimenting, you will whip through blank pages faster than you ever thought possible. Seriously. Start having fun and forget to be intimidated.

You might have seen on instagram that these cheap-o pens are for stashing in my purse, on the ready for casual practice. I don't like carrying Microns in my purse because they are expensive and I lose them but then I waste opportunities, which brings me to...

3)    Give yourself a mini deadline.
Race yourself. For once, take the focus off the quality of your creation and put it on quantity. Instead of pulling out your phone and scrolling through instagram to kill time, see if you can fill a page with doodles. In your next spare moments, pick one of those doodles to refine on the next page. How much can you get done in 15 minutes?

Obviously, there are a bazillion ways to help squash pristine-page fear and kick-start your sketchpad creativity. Currently this is what works for me. Have any recommendations?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

DIY | How to sew cushions with piping

Remember when I shared how easy-peasy it was to create hand-stamped fabric? I am using that fabric!

I'm going to break this tutorial into 3 parts: piping, tie straps, and final assembly.
To get your cush-on, I suggest you start with piping.

To make piping all you need is ample amounts of fabric cut into strips, cord, and a zipper presser foot for your sewing machine. The width of the fabric strip is determined by how beefy the cord is. Give yourself some grace and cut the strips so your fingers have ample fabric to work with. I made mine 2 inches wide, FYI.

To join 2 strips together, overlay the end so they form an L, then stitch from OUTSIDE edge to OUTSIDE edge. If you sew toward the center of the L you will end up with a useless tangle. Not that I learned from experience or anything ;) The benefit of stitching them together on a diagonal versus in a straight line is that it keeps the seem bulk to a minimum. Can't have lumps in the piping!
Sew what feels like endless miles of piping. I promise even that will not be enough.

 Place the cord in the center of the fabric strip, folding the fabric in half around the cord and stitching with the presser foot as close to the cord as you can get it.

For each strap you will need a 2x18 inch strip of fabric. Iron it so the edges meet at the center. Then fold in half and give it another press with the iron. Stitch down the length of the strip, tucking in the raw end. BAM, you're done.

Pin your piping and straps in place onto one side of your cushion fabric. REMEMBER!: right sides of fabric go in when making cushions!
As you can see, I needed to notch the piping so it would easily wrap around the corner. Still using the zipper foot, stitch the piping into place around all sides. Sew as close to the piping as possible.
Now that the piping and ties are in place, stitch the two sides of the cushion together, leaving an 4 inch opening. To ensure that the piping is "tight", stitch directly over the first line of stitches.
Flip your cushion so it is right-side out and stuff a piece of foam through the opening.
Stitch the opening shut.

Girl, you just made your own cushion!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pyrex Color Party

Take a moment to just let your eyes absorb the beautiful Pyrex party happening on the shelves. Color explosion! I love it!

Get this chick-a-dees, there is a perk to having friends live in different states... they become Pyrex hunters at far off garage sales! One of my long-time besties snagged those pink gooseberry bowls as a birthday present. True friend or what?

Other recent additions...
The smallest blue bowl - my first clear bottom - a surprise from my dad
the large Verde cinderella bowl
and (not a Pyrex) another adorable swanky swig :)

If only there was purple Pyrex...