Saturday, February 27, 2010

Under the Chair-y Moon

When my mom was visiting, she told me she wanted to get me a birthday present early. She gave me a few choices, (new countertop? new sink vanity?) and I chose to have my beloved pink chair reupholstered. The chair was my Great Aunt Sarah's and when she passed away we went to clean out her house. She didn't have any children. And she always made us reuse our paper napkins. She would fit right in today!

I was a junior in high school, I think, and I saw that chair and was in love. She also had a matching aqua sofa/chaise with one arm, the other side ending with a circle. I loved the sofa, too. But my dad didn't want to have to rent a Uhaul to get it all from Minnesota to Arizona. (Damn you, dad!) Since we drove up in a Suburban, the chair fit just fine.

I took the chair with me to college and onto my apprenticeship and then to LA. And it has sat in my basement covered in John's pants for the last 5 years. It was pink and didn't really match the living room. And it needed to be repaired. The springs were askew and the padding was nearly gone.

But now she is all fixed! And orange! The fabric is similar to the original, kind of thick and nubby, but no metallic threads. Sorely missed.

Here's a picture of the original fabric. I had them save it so I could make a pillow or a bag or something.
 
This picture shows the worst of the decay. You can kind of still see the pink with red and silver threads.

I'm so happy that it's fixed and ready to be sat on! Although, I may have to sell tickets and have everyone thoroughly vetted. I told the boys only mamas and grandmas are allowed on the chair. It seemed to work. Hartwell told me to sit on the chair and then asked to sit on my lap. Sneaky, sneaky, sir.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kids Quilt

 
I'm almost done with the rag quilt for Hartwell's School's Silent Auction. I think it is sold rather than auctioned, but I'm not exactly sure.

I went to school yesterday with some muslin blocks and fabric markers for the kids to color. Miss Shelley had them draw a garden or bugs. It was really cute. Some kids said they couldn't draw, and Miss Shelley said, "You can draw a circle!" And I loved watching them draw bugs. The legs! The eyes! One little guy was absent, so I left the supplies so he wouldn't be left out. 

Hartwell just kind of scribbled and said, "I'm done." Which I think was due to his mom sitting right there. Little Bee had a super fun preschool day which made me want to sell my body so he could attend next year. (He has a late birthday and will still get 2 years of preschool, just not next year).

I just have to sew on one missing garden piece and then snip the edges and wash. Then it should look something like this. Please let it look like that.

Pattern

 
I found this soap dish at Home Goods. And I stared at it for a long time because I think it may be the basis for my little side table. It was $6.99 and I was about to buy it when I remembered I had my camera with me. 
The edge is a pretty spring green and the red is a little richer. But I mostly just wanted the pattern. 

I also bought chocolate. Which I needed to get my kids to leave. They had giant stuffed puppy dogs. And they wanted to play. Or so I was told.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Little Cupcake-Things I Love Thurday!

 
I love a boy with a cupcake. A giant cupcake. That he chose himself. All pink and sprinkle-ie and topped with a cherry.

See More Things I Love Thursday at Diaper Diaries!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hit 'em Up Tile

 
Someday soon I will slightly redo my kitchen. It needs a new sink and countertop and backsplash and faucet and stove. I mean, our fridge is in the hall*, but our tiled countertop is much, much worse. It just won't stay clean! I'm pretty sure I want the IKEA butcherblock countertops and just simple white tiles for the backsplash, but I also wanted to mix in something excellent.

I found these tiles at Anthropologie on sale for $2! They are actually coasters, but remove those foam squares and I get awesome decorative tiles for cheap. And I don't even have to order them and wait.

I carried the tiles around the store for awhile, I hate to just spend money with no actual project, but Deborah said, "Worst case, you just use them as coasters."

I bought eight tiles, four in each color and I kind of want to go to another store to see if they have any more.

(Amanda? Would you mind checking the Denver area stores? Thanks). 

When I was trying to photograph the tiles, the boys kept trying to touch them asking, "Mom, can I touch them." I said no.
I had no idea I had hand models in my family.


*Yes, our fridge sits in a hall utility closet. Seems when it was built, no one had refrigerators.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Table scape

 
John got me this table from an old job. It was a cast-off set dressing piece that was headed for
the trash. He knew I would like something like this if only for the possibilities. It's been sitting in my living room for almost three years untouched. I usually just throw a tapestry over it. 

But now I'm waiting for escrow to close before I can do anything to my new/old house and I'm bored! So I took it to the barn for a redo.

I have lots of ideas including rosemaling, decoupaging (again!), and tiling. The rosemaling was actually going to involve decoupaging and the decoupaging was going to include Ukrainian folk art. I have a Cost Plus World Market vibe goin' in my living room, so those seemed to fit in.

Any ideas? I could use some. Here it is after I sanded the crap out of it and applied a thin coat of primer:
Please help! I've been staring at it for three years and could use some fresh perspective!



Check out more at A Soft Place to Land!
And Between Naps on the Porch!

Perils of Painting


 
We've been having weird sporadic rain showers in Pasadena lately. Which really cuts in on painting time. Yesterday, we thought it was supposed to rain around noon,  but there were no clouds in the sky. So we painted the rest of the trim and John went to work scraping the eastern facing windows. It didn't rain all day. We got a lot done. All that was left were the back stairs and a wall that needed some cement repair.

This morning I took the boys to an outdoor mall that has a playground and a trolley! So fun! We left dad at home to finish the rest of the work kid free. We even bought daddy a present! 

We got home and John had cut in the back stairs and painted almost everything else. We went next door to get some sand to mix with the paint for the back stairs, they are terribly slippery, and then I went to work in the garden and John went back to painting. 

Suddenly, it started raining! A small rain shower, but it made a huge mess! The back stairs were still wet and started dripping over the white wall. And when the rain hit the steps, it splashed paint up onto the wall. John rushed and managed to get a tarp over it but it was pretty bad.

So now the back steps are wet, and with the extra moisture in the air, going to stay wet for awhile. Usually if you get a couple hours of drying time in normal humidity it's fine. But I had to go to the basement to put some fabric away about 2 hours later and nearly slid down the wet stairs! 

While in the basement, I heard John upstairs say, "Oh nooooo." I slipped up the back stairs barefoot, rinsed my painted feet with the hose and went to see what the ruckus was. Turned out Hartwell trekked down the back stairs, and back up and down the hall. Our fault. No yelling. But, really?

There would be more footprints, because usually I'm shoot photos first and ask questions later, but John had a long day, and I wanted to clean it up as soon as I could. But you can imagine. It looked like a Family Circus cartoon.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Things to do in Altadena when it rains.

My mom came to visit and took me to the fabric store to pick out a couple of fabrics to complete my quilt. They had a row of Timber by Jessica Levitt which I instantly fell in love with.
 
So I got the aqua trees. Maybe it doesn't exactly match. So it may be the back. But it's so pretty it doesn't matter.

In other news, I was asked to sew something for Hartwell's class art project for his school's silent auction. I'm not sure if they expect someone to actually buy it. Or if it's a presentation of how amazing our children are. His teacher thought a small quilt with squares designed by the kids would be cute. Crayola has some fabric markers and I found this quick and easy quilt tutorial to use.

I can't wait to see what the kids do! I love kids art. I'm having trouble throwing it away. I want to wait at least until I have his entire preschool collection. Then I can photograph it and frame the good stuff.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Things I Love Thursday - Macarons!



While stumbling around the internet lately, visiting my favorite places and finding new ones, I kept coming across photos of macarons. Pink ones, brown ones and even blue ones. So I had to try one. Because it's food and I like to eat food. But as soon as my brain registered the need to eat one, it shut down at the thought of finding one.

So there I am, a week later, shopping at a Trader Joe's and lusting after their frozen treats, when what do I spot?

Parisian Macarons! Into the cart they went.
I finally got my taste! Delicious! But I had a bit of a cold. A slight vanilla flavor with a crispy/chewy meringue-like cookie. Good but not amazing. A week later I bought a new box and popped one in my mouth expecting the same mild vanilla flavor, but no! Taste sensation! It was like a delicate vanilla orchid burst open on my tongue! Apparently, when you aren't sick your taste buds work!

The only thing that stopped me from eating the whole box was, "Mom, wha' you ea'in'?"

Is it bad to want to eat cookies in the closet?


Check out more Things I Love Thursday's at Diaper Diaries!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Birthday Breakfast

 
and

Tackle it Tuesday - Painting a House





This weekend we tackled our house! With chipped paint everywhere and some occasional flaking in the shady areas, out tiny house needed a refresher!


Before:
 
After:


Look at that shine in the freshly painted porch! It's hard to see all the chipping on the floor in the before but it looks a little cleaner, non?

In a perfect world, I would change the colors. But we're just trying to touch it up so we can buy it. (I know! Backwards!)

We also fixed and primer-ed the south facing windows. I'm supposed to paint the trim in my spare time. Ah-HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!
 
  
That little window on the bottom is actually a door! A tiny door! And inside there's a set of stairs leading down. The door is paneled over, but that makes it even crazier! Just stairs in a room. Stairs to nowhere. Old houses are great.

Ya know, for boys!

For Hartwell's 4th birthday his grandma took him to Disneyland. The next morning we ate at the Storytellers Cafe and then walked around Downtown Disney. Grandma spotted this place, Ridemakerz, which is like Build-A-Bear but with cars. It's so nice that there's something similar. The boys were so cute picking out their car and wheels and decals. And then a super cute girl helped the boys put them together.
 
 
I love that the boxes are almost bigger than they are.
Did I leave the oven on/what should I destroy now?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love. Exciting and new...

I never got to show you the super cute drawing my mother-in-law did for Hartwell's Valentine Party. They were pdf's and I probably could have finagled something, but then this arrived in the mail. She sent the boys a valentine!

I wish you could see my face when I open things like this. It's so amazing to see a drawing of your kids made by someone who really loves them.

And it's so accurate! Hartwell is so loving. And Bee's hiding brass knuckles in his pocket.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's an Internet Valentine's Day, Hartwell Pollard!

 
Hartwell's birthday is Valentine's Day. And this is his first birthday in school...okay, preschool. And since he's still little and still likes hearts, I tried to make it special for him. 

It turned out very internet-ie. I think I went to a different place for everything! 

First, we went to Cottage-Industrialist and picked out a Valentine for his friends. The alligator, of course!
Then I went to Blonde-Designs for the little sticker to hold the lollipop in the card. Hartwell did the "H," I did the "artwell."
Next I visited the long thread and saw their cute idea for recycled crayon hearts.
 
  
Cute, right? I just love them! 

Then, Bee fell asleep.
  
While he slept, I made some bags for Hartwell's teachers. I never did anything for Christmas, so I thought, "Now's my time!" I used a tutorial from Indie House, which I love and have used before. I added the bit of ribbon. They need a little something to hold on to when you zip and unzip. The pouches are filled with Hershey's Hugs and Kisses with a note that reads, "Hugs and Kisses, Love, Hartwell."
As if that weren't enough, I also made a little matchbook inspired notepad to go with the crayon. The paper is 4" x 5" and the matchbook paper is 4-1/4" x 11". Fold and staple. Then I used butyl to attach the crayon to the paper.


  
Since the little gift is a crayon and paper, we're planning on coloring! My mother-in-law, an excellent and speedy artist, drew some coloring pages for me and scanned them on over! I was going to show one to you, it's so cute, she drew Hartwell, but it's a pdf. Pretend it's here:



The last thing I made, was timed to be last. I didn't want any sticky fingers getting into them. Didn't stop Bee. He had that giant nap! I found these rice krispie hearts at Skip to My Lou. I didn't add the chocolate to them, but I did add sprinkles. Hartwell was very excited. He said, "Hey, that rhymes with me!" Heart does rhyme with Hartwell. Smart kid.
So, now, I'm almost positive I'm gonna have dreams about waking up late and missing the party. I'm hoping if I mention it to you now, it won't happen. I'm also hoping for a new, amazing handbag. If it's going to happen, maybe that purse will come with it.

Things I Love Thursday!

Whenever the creativity monster pops out of my head and into my hands, I want to immediately rush down to my basement and start cutting or designing or Mod Podging. But, alas, I have two boys, 2 1/2 and 4. And leaving them alone is not an option. So I have to drag them with me and find something to entertain them. Otherwise I get two hours of, "Mom? Can I help you with your sewing?"

The thing I love is YouTube!

First, let me say, I know it's a little neglectful but the kid will sit and watch train videos for hours. And, like actual trains, TGV's, Bullet Trains, Steam Engines and MagLevs. With an occasional Spanish Mickey Mouse video thrown in for good measure.

I love that he gets to watch the real trains actually working, instead of just Thomas, or worse, a DVD of trains that plays for two hours in my living room complete with wacky sound effects. These are five or ten minutes and he is so happy!
 Another great thing about YouTube is that I get to share videos of the boys with the grandparents. Which makes me shoot more videos. Which now won't just sit there in my camera. Plus, I can go to my own channel and let the boys watch themselves. They love it!

Did you think I wasn't going to link to my kids' videos?

Hartwell Discusses Trains*

Bee Tells Knock Knock Joke While John Breaks the Law**

The only thing that could make You Tube better is some kind of situation that will let kids play "kid friendly" videos only. Sometimes a Thomas video with alternate narration slips in. And while I understand the hilarity, it's not the best for my little guys.

 So, yeah, I'm kind of a lazy mom, but they're happy and I'm happy. And if everyone's happy maybe I'll cook dinner tonight. Maybe.


*I'm a steam engine because I'm slow.
 **He's saying, "Old lady" and "Olive."

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

While I Was Blogging.

Yesterday, I was typing away and listening for screams or silence. Typical day. I hear the boys get into their piggy banks and just kind of yell, "Stop it! Put your money back!" A few minutes later I hear some kind of tearing. I go in to check on them and an entire box of packing peanuts has been dumped all over their room! And most of the box was dumped behind the bed. Here's how my brain responds:

I'm goING TO KILL...where's my camera?
So I had to bring in the shop vac. The giant R-2 Unit lookin' shop vac. Which I had to go out into the rain to get.

I started scooping up the mess into the box and discovered that underneath the peanuts were dimes and quarters. They had also dumped their piggy banks behind the bed. Which meant I had to push the packing peanuts around and find the change before I could vacuum.
I finally get all the change into the banks and all the styrofoam vacuumed up and start to put all the bedding back. (Did I mention I had to vacuum their beds?) I was looking for the all the paper money that was missing from the banks and asked Hartwell where he put it. Why, in the wipes, of course! They had emptied the baby wipes and filled it with cash and some change. (They seem to understand the value of a dollar these days).

I was pretty happy with myself for not totally exploding and screaming. Filled with my sense of self satisfaction, I walked by the living room and saw that they had somehow managed to get the box of packing peanuts into the living room and were throwing them all over.

I'm having another whoopie pie. I deserve it.

Painting Tips for Moms


My house is peeling. The paint, that is. The whole thing needs to be exfoliated and painted. But that takes time and time without kids underfoot. Which, as a stay-at-home-mom, is impossible. I was telling my neighbor about my idea to spend a few months painting my house myself. Like painting a couple of hours during the day and then cleaning up and doing it again the next day. She's an artist and a teacher and has been painting her house for 5 years, so she had some tips for me.

1. Use a Cart. Keep all of your supplies on a wheeled cart or wagon. Then you can take everything with you as you paint and have a place to store it out of a kids reach when you're finished. I was going to keep mine on my front porch and then I won't have to run around for an hour looking for all my supplies.

2. Use Glad Press'n Seal Wrap for Brushes. When you are done for the day, wrap your brush/roller in the Glad Wrap and pop it in the freezer. When you're ready to paint, put the brush in the sun to thaw while you prep your wall and then it's ready to go. And since you don't have to rinse your brush every night, it wastes less paint.(Not a paid endorser, just a wrap lover).

3. Use Clear Coat. When you're painting between wall and trim, tape off your trim and apply a clear coat to seal the tape. Then paint the wall. You'll get a nice clean line.

I should mention I'm not a professional. These are just things I've learned from painting things. And in my house, everything has a coat of paint on it. Except Barkley. Unless he gets too close to my paintbrush.

 
 
Fun with house painting at Sherwin Williams.
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