Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Blog Roll

I really only started pinning things a few months ago--maybe a little late to jump on that bandwagon--but before that, I was already obsessing over all kinds of blogs. I'm not sure what got me into it originally. Maybe I had a question on how to make something, and a google search here, a link there... another link to another blog, and another link, and then hours and hours later of looking through every post that one woman had ever written, I was hooked. It's a healthy addiction, I think, and an interesting view into the lives of other women who are like-minded in their need to work with their hands and create something lasting and beautiful in their homes. I so admire these blogs and their creators and aim to make my home as cozy and fun as theirs look!
Because no one likes a post without pictures, here's one of me at Lake Michigan saying "look over there!"

(Disclaimer: I understand that a lot of times, blogs only show us the sunny side of one's life and that not everything is fantastic with everyone. Some of my favorites are these authors who make themselves vulnerable and share their frustrations--and their subsequent victories over those frustrations! These are the ones that are truly an inspiration to read.)

Like this photo of me drinking coffee (taken by the husband). I usually look much more disheveled when I am having my morning cup.

You can find my weekly blogroll in "Further Prescriptions" at the right-hand side of the page. At least once a week, I visit these places, and it is strangely like visiting old friends (that I've never met and who have no idea who I am). I thought I'd like to share them with you so you can find inspiration from their lives as well! I will just point out some of my absolute favorites!

Diary of a Quilter: I'm not a fantastic quilter myself, but I love looking at all the quilty eye candy on Amy Smart's blog. She has original patterns for sale too! I am always amazed at her great sense of color and how well every quilt comes together so perfectly.

Prudent Baby: These ladies just know--clothing, fabric, babies, good advice, tutorials that teach me how to one day be a hot mess mama. You guys, they just know.

Smitten Kitchen: One of the only food blogs I follow, but this lady is the one who made me realize I can make oreos and goldfish in my own kitchen. I've tried more recipes than just those of course, and her beautiful photos and fantastic directions have helped build my confidence in cooking.

ISLY: Melissa Esplin has an amazing sense of style. She's so creative and takes wonderful photos of her beautiful home. I love to see her take thrift store clothing finds and turn them into something new and modern. She also gives me some neat printables every now and then, and if I lived where ever it is in Utah? she lives, I'd want to be her friend.

Design*Sponge: You may already know my obsession with this site from my inhalation of their book this summer. I need to own that beautifully designed tome so that I can have all of their projects in my library. I also really like their reader-submitted before and afters, which happen every Tuesday, I believe, and their city guides! If I ever am about to visit a new city and they have done a guide on it, you know I am all over that business.

One Little Minute: You guys. This is the most adorable woman ever. Her talent just goes in so many directions and I may want to be her. She runs, she sews, she mothers, she cooks, and thank the Lord, she blogs. I'm sure you will get just as sucked into her homemaking triumphs as I have, and her family is really sweet too!

Lullaby Lubbock: A lot of the blogs I follow in general seem to be based out West somewhere (Utah a lot of the time--is it that pioneer spirit I just really admire?) so it's nice to see these two ladies, and best friends, writing about all their adventures in the South. They are the kind of mothers I want to be someday: energetic, fun-loving, and all about their kids (but knowing when to have some pretty rocking adult parties just for themselves...) 

So there you have it! Visit these amazingly talented people and get some inspiration in food, design, and family life! Is there any other way I needed to get you addicted to the internet? Probably not. But at least you get stuck to something wholesome, and hey--you might learn something. I know I did. 

Pictures of crafts next time. Promise.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Tea Party Sunday

When hubs and I got engaged, I didn't really have a plan for my wedding. I was just starting my junior year of college (I know, I know, we got married super young) and was still wrapped up in all the fun of my extracurriculars. Sorority, Honors, friends, the joys and giggles living with three other girls, and just generally being silly were all high on my agenda--wedding planning was totally out of my league. I wasn't one of those little girls who had been planning it my whole life either. Instead, I was planning the twelve novels I was going to write. I was, and still will be, a career woman, you see. My future existence was not wrapped up in who I was going to marry--it was wrapped up in what I was going, and still will, contribute to the world of literature! (Also, we didn't have pinterest back then... four years ago).

Thankfully, I had an awesome wedding planner. She helped with all the big details, and I felt totally comfortable with her, since she was one of my mom's best friends and I had known her ever since I can remember. I knew two things about my wedding: it should be outside, and it should look like a garden tea party.

We hit the thrift stores hardcore. In one afternoon, we scored all kinds of mismatched porcelain teacups, teapots, saucers and extra little things that would feature as the simple centerpieces for my little garden tables. Surrounded by greenery and hydrangeas, they were perfect.

For the past three years, I've had all of these things sitting in a red tub, wrapped carefully by my awesome planner, and waiting for some sort of use. A lot of them still have their savers 99 cent tags on the bottom. In my last post, when I made our little kitchen hutch a lot fancier, I immediately saw the opportunity to give those teapots a home!

But what to do about the teacups? I am holding onto my favorites--for grown-up tea parties of course--but there are so many that I don't want to keep just to keep. I don't want to give them back to savers where they will sit on some lonely shelf, because now they're strangely special to me. I mean, they were there when I got married! How can I just give them up, as beautiful as they are? (Is this the toy-story effect on my generation? Now everything inanimate has feelings...)

The solution, to me, is obvious. They need to be remade into something beautiful and fantastic. They need to go to loving homes. They need... to be pincushions.

I did this with two of these cups about two years ago. I saw the blogs that were focusing on those teacup candles and wanted to re-purpose my own teacups but without all the mess of melting wax and cutting wicks and there are sticks involved and I just don't want to do that. I do, however, love my pincushions, and I have really enjoyed having a classy little pincushion sitting next to my machine, making my sewing time seem extra fancy, even while my creations were falling apart. 

What is really special about these pincushions is that they will be the first etsy product I list in my store. I hope that they make someone else's craft table feel beautiful, fancy, and whimsically feminine--and at least I know they will come into some use somewhere, and not sit lonely in savers for the rest of their little porcelain lives.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fancying up Furniture

My dad has a great work ethic and a big heart, so when a woman in his sunday school class asked for some help cleaning out some of her late husband's things for an auction, he raised his hand to volunteer. Little did he know, the late husband had been a classic hoarder, and my dad and his sunday school buddies found themselves hauling out not only items that had never been used in the house, but a whole barn full of furniture, totes, and jumbled bundles of electronics. My dad had a first hand look at everything as it got set up into aisles for the big sale--and called myself and my older sister for us to come out and take a look.

I had never been to a furniture auction before, and was quickly advised by my mom that it is actually a gruelling exercise in controlling your emotions. As much as I wanted to point at this kitchen hutch and say "ooooooooo!!!" I held it in and put on my best poker face so that while we were bidding against about five other people they wouldn't run up the price because for all they knew--I could care less. We ended up with this great kitchen hutch, and a cabinet that matches it (which is my quilting cabinet in the craft room), a dresser, and a gigantic mirror. My sister ended up with two matching end tables that had never even been taken out of the box and assembled. In short, we all scored.

The back has some weird stains that, when we were first married, I covered with a brown poster board for a quick solution. We recently pulled it out of storage and put it in our new kitchen which is big enough to hold it, and I wanted a fancier solution than just a poster board.

That's right, I am upgrading to a foam board! Here's a solution that ended up costing about two bucks. The foam board was almost the perfect size for the cubby I am covering up, but for what I was planning on doing, I needed to cut off just a little bit. My rotary cutter came in handy here.

I covered the cut board with some polyfill fluff, then quilt batting, then my fabric of choice. Now to tack it all together.

We're working with foam board here, so I just used a regular stapler. 

I also want to be able to use this fabric again if I feel like it, so staples would be easy to take out and wouldn't leave huge holes.

That's why I didn't cut my long sides. Who know when you'll need some fancy porcelain yardage? 

All done! I have successfully upholstered a foam board.

Here's the board finished in its little cubby.

And here it is all fixed up!

Since it sits right by the door I set it up to hold our keys. My pins, stuck in two at a time, hold up all our stuff pretty well through the board.

So then I got a little carried away, and decided to set up some fabric on the upper shelf and all my teapots for display.

I hear all the time on HGTV about those designers who create "little moments" in their spaces. Well there we go, my little tea-time moment in my happy little kitchen. We painted that wall and the rest of it a fun seafoam green. Now that I see that painting in a photo, I'm not sure that's where it's going to stay. It does seem pretty teeny.... My little moment may be put together, but the kitchen isn't quite finished! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

New Craft Room

My husband and I have finally moved! We have been settled into our new apartment for about a week and we love it, though we have learned some really great lessons about moving in general.

Lesson 1.
We have too much stuff. Seriously--most of America probably has too much stuff, and we definitely don't want ours to clutter up our future house. I'm working on getting some of that out of our home and into goodwill (or on craigslist, who knows!)

Lesson 2.
Having a craft studio is the most amazing idea I ever had. Pictures to follow.

Lesson 3.
NEVER NEVER NEVER!! move during teacher in-service week! This was the worst idea in the world. We really didn't have much choice here--the apartment was available at this time and not before. We figured we might as well move before we started really getting into work. We both teach, so we were both preoccupied all day until about 3:30, and then had to come home, take a couple trips over to the new apartment, and then finally have the big move on Saturday. Sunday was spent trying to get everything we could out of boxes, and we started work on Monday (with the first day of school and kids showing up on Tuesday!) Needless to say, we're exhausted.

Priority, of course, was invested in clothing, school items, computer set-up, tv set-up, and kitchen assemblage. Once those things were all accomplished, I could look into the giant mess that was the guest bedroom. I'm almost done unboxing all my craft things... and I think it's coming along pretty well.

The desk is really special because it used to belong to my great grandmother. The teal file cabinet was a gift from my grandmother on the other side, and I spray painted it to give it some flair. 

Here is my great-grandmother herself, hanging out in my sewing room! During WWII, she developed her own soap company, and in this photo she is at her desk on the phone, looking very professional. My mom will have to remind me what magazine this photo came out of... She hit the soap market at just the right time, since apparently companies like Tide were making dynamite instead of detergent. 

While we were up north, visiting my husband's parents, I had some pretty great thrift store finds. These two tea towels are some of my favorite pieces I walked away with, and they're really specially because they represent the years we were born! Mr. Kopf is a little sad that his has to be the one with the butterflies. I'm a big fan of my hot air balloons, though.

We're not planning on having children for a few more years, but I always thought that something like this would be a sweet little decoration for a nursery. When I saw these two right next to each other, and so white and crisp, I just had to snatch them up... even if it is a little early!

I am finally able to frame the embroidery I worked on this summer during our road trips! This
particular piece, "just be kind", was inspired by my grad school friend Victoria--she has this tattooed on her foot and lives by it with one of the biggest hearts I have had the pleasure to meet.

There is certainly a lot to do. My favorite: "Be nice or go away." Coming to the etsy store soon!

Flannery and I share a love for the big window above the desk. I am finally sewing in a room with some decent light, and kitty gets to people watch all she wants. 

Here's to many crafting adventures to come, in a cozy little corner that is all my own!