Just a Normal Sunday… Right?!?

So, I managed to find some get-up-and-go and brought my current projects just a bit closer to ‘done’.

First up are two dressers getting the standard pink ombré treatment. Both are five drawer chests of drawers, I love when I get five drawers, that gives me the chance to paint with six different shades of pink! Pink, pink, PINK!

Here are the befores:

2015-04-19 12.58.586961-1They both were sanded and primed and today they both received their first coats of pink. Of course this followed the tedious hours of sanding… did I ever mention that I hate sanding? LOL

2015-04-19 13.56.40And… we’ve been working on turning two pairs of head and foot boards into benches. We totally lost momentum last week, but now we have found a new push to getting them completed. I have been debating on whether or not to build a farmhouse style table and maybe add two ladderback chairs before selling. Haven’t quite decided.

2015-04-19 13.56.29And speaking of undecided, we put the first coats of red on the benches. Holy cow! I don’t think this is the right red… it leans way too much to the pink spectrum that I am thinking a new deeper shade of red. I could have sworn that the paint was the same thing I used when painting my own pieces (you know that I love red, right?) but obviously it wasn’t. In fact, I started wondering where so many of my gallon paint cans came from… time to purge!

Spent a bit of time working the cross stitch project too. Now that day light is around longer each night, it gives me more time to work on the project. For some reason, I cannot accurately do the stitches by lamp light, only day light. Totally weird, huh?

I’ve just about made it through my list of started but unfinished projects. Crazy thing is, I don’t really have any new projects in mind! What ever will I do?

julie

Bad Habits Don’t Always Die

Growing up, I was smack dab in the middle of a whole bunch of boys. And as it was customary wayyyy back then, girls were expected to learn crap like cooking, baking, ironing, etc. Looking back on it, it wasn’t bad training for life. Except for one thing.

So, I was the seventh of ten kids and mostly during my childhood, it was mostly three older brothers and two younger. The siblings on either end were girls, but one eleven years older and the other eleven years younger. So, it was me and five boys.

So cooking in our house was usually for eight, give or take. When you learn to cook for such a large group, it is all about quantity.  But you can imagine what it takes to pull together food for such a group… it was mostly casseroles, soups and lots and lots of mac and cheese. Now all these years later, I still am having difficulty in keeping the quantity in check.

One of the mainstays of my families was our traditional navy bean soup. Whenever we had ham, it was a whole ham/bone in and after the hungry pack of wolves known as my brothers got through with it, there was never much left. But that bone… it would become the chief ingredient of the soup.

So, into a pot filled with water that bone was go. It would simmer for at least a whole day, sometimes more. At the same time, the navy beans were dumped into a pot and left alone to soak. Finally, the beans were added to the soup stock and the bone removed (any meat left was long boiled off); potatoes peeled, cut up and added.2015-04-17 20.11.42

Then the whole thing was left again to simmer on the back of the stove. The great thing about navy bean soup is that beans and potatoes could constantly be added to stretch the stock. And as everything continued to cook, the soup became thicker as a result of the break down of the potatoes. The longer it cooked, the better it tasted. Even thawing the soup after freezing made it taste just a little more. And it could be stretched and stretched… it would feed the brood that I grew up with.

So, in our little family, having a whole ham is pretty unthinkable… we would have way more ham than we could ever eat. Even a half-ham is a bit much, but there are some traditions that you just don’t mess with. After boiling the ham bone, I had enough stock to split it in half and make two pots. The same steps were followed and we ended up with lots of soup.

2015-04-17 20.11.54The great thing is, The Kid loves this stuff. He hasn’t always had the same fondness for some of the inventive food that I grew up eating. But this is one indulgence that I happily make for him. And because of bad habits… I made enough soup for a small army!

The only downside is the human result of eating beans day after day. :-)

julie

A Lull in the Madness

Do you ever find yourself in one of those places? Where nothing seems to energize you or interest you or gets your creative juices going? That is where I have been for the last week. Scattered and wandering around aimless.

I have a number of projects in the works; the benches being constructed from head and foot boards, which I hope to pair with a long table and a couple of ladder back chairs. Next up, two more dressers awaiting priming and painting. Along with those larger projects, I am still working my giant cross stitch.

I’ve been doing some purging in the meantime. I’ve listed a ton of my china collection on eBay. While trying to find a place for my latest collection (cut glass sugar bowls) I’ve realized that I am on the verge of becoming an honest-to-goodness hoarder. Only my hoard is for wonderful stuff (don’t they all say that?).

Over the last ten years I have collected dinnerware that both my grandmothers had, my mother’s china and of course, my own china (you know, the good stuff that never is used). I collected cookie jars, cookie cutters, cake pans (these were more for making The Kid birthday cakes, but once you have them how can you get rid of them?), buttons, beads, Lego mini-figs, PEZ dispensers (the count somewhere near a thousand), apples, old computers (with The Kid’s help), Monopoly tokens, Diet Coke stuff… heck, I could go on and on. Sometimes in this day and age of computers and eBay and Craigslist and other sites, collecting is so easy and what once starts as a harmless little collection soon becomes a huge pile. And then what do you do with it?

I don’t know if I mentioned that I have a dream of moving to Europe for a few years, but that is becoming closer to a reality every day. I look around at all the ‘stuff’ I have and try to figure out what I could do with it, and every once in a while I get sick of seeing all of it and list a bunch on eBay and start selling. Let’s just hope that there is someone out there would thinks my stuff is worth buying. :-)

Thanks for dropping by and I promise to have something good to share soon.

julie

And the Endeavor Continues… The List is Nearly Complete

The endeavor is to complete all started projects before starting any new. Which technically, I am still adhering to that. I say technically because I did sort of start on the benches before I swore the oath.

So, along those lines, we’re busy in the garage. I try to stay motivated, but lately that has been hard to do. The weather is see-sawing between absolutely gorgeous spring days to those hot, muggy damp days. Which just messes with the arthritis something fierce. Its days like this that I warn everyone I come in contact with to avoid getting old. Old sucks.

Anyway, on our last abandoned house hunting trip, I made a major find. Technically two, but in the end combining the two will yield one complete one.

What am I referring to? A nineteen twenties chandelier. Complete with unbroken, with zero flaws in the shades. It is absolutely a miracle that a house filled with wild animal dung and nary an unbroken window that this thing survived. Sort of.

photo 1Can you believe this? When I initially saw the shades, I thought, ‘no way‘! Once The Kid grabbed hold of it, it just all fell down around us! Luckily he had a grip on it and it didn’t hit the ground. There was another identical one in the next room, sans shades. I figured it would be to my advantage if I took both of them, to use the second one for parts.

So am in the middle of cleaning these up and they are turning out brilliantly. I can’t quite decide if I should repaint it or not. While cleaning the pieces, it was obvious that someone took paint and a brush to the pieces. The canopy’s paint nearly peeled off in my hands! The bottom piece wasn’t so accommodating… and I don’t want to scrub too hard and ruin the surface below it.

So, I took it all apart (took photos so I would know how to put it back together) and cleaned everything and pulled all the old wiring out.

photo 4I then hit the net and pulled up my favorite lighting supplies place: ColorCord.com. They have to greatest stuff! And most of it is so inexpensive (I try not to say “cheap” as it has a different connotation than “inexpensive”) and has the widest array of colors and options. Ordered enough to wire up both chandeliers, just in case. Maybe I will get lucky and run across the shades (btw called ‘slip shades’ because they don’t go over the bulb  they just sort of ‘slip’ on) and then I will have two chandeliers. I haven’t quite decided what to do with them… my house doesn’t really have the ceilings for either of them, but was toying the idea of somehow combing the two into one. I guess we’ll see.

Other than that, I’ve pretty much gotten caught on all of the already started projects. The extra large cross stitch that I’ve been working on continues, albeit slowly. I pick it up when I need to rest, like this morning when the impending rain clouds cause my knees to ache.

julie

Another Collis Country Quilting Quilt: Zig, Don’t Zag

The second of the two quilts shipped off to my new long-arm quilter is finished. If you missed yesterday’s post, I wrote about a very talented woman who is now quilting my quilts. She is not exactly local, but close enough that I should be able to deliver a sizable stack of quilt tops ready to be quilted. I had previously sent her two randomly chosen quilt tops from my considerable stack as a sort of trial and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Somehow, out of the hefty stack, I managed to choose two of the largest quilts I made. Or maybe all my quilts are larger than I remember. At least shows that Becky can handle even the largest quilts. I’ve completed so many quilt tops, that by the time I get around getting them shipped off to be quilted and they return, it is like having brand new quilts. It is quite a nice surprise.

photo 4

So, here it is, spread out on the guest bedroom waiting for binding. This one is larger than the last, so much so that I think it is close to king sized. I rarely pay attention to the sizes as I am creating quilt tops, rather just sew to my heart’s content.photo 2Isn’t this beautiful quilting? I love the way that Becky quilts right up to the edge. Oh and did I mention that she actually bastes right at the edge before quilting? Makes the quilting lay so nice and flat. And after the first washing, the quilt takes on that puffy look, which I fell in love with when I saw my very first handmade quilt.

DSCN3288

I tried to get some close up photos so that you could see the beauty in her quilting. And so that you can see the details in the fabrics that I used. I have a whole collection of fabrics that I continuously add to so that I can make “I Spy” quilts. You can see some of those fabrics in this quilt.DSCN3286I don’t recall where I saw this design but it was easy enough to do. I am pleased with the wide border, to set of the white zig zags.

DSCN3284

Lots of bright colors and cheery fabrics:DSCN3289 DSCN3290

And there it is in all of its glory! Its funny, but The Kid has called ‘dibs’ on this quilt. Funny enough, though, he calls ‘dibs’ on most of my quilts! If I actually gave him every quilt he called dibs, he’d be sleeping under thirty or forty!DSCN3285I can’t say enough good things about Becky and her services. In case you missed yesterday’s post, I am trying out a new longarm service, Collis Country Quilting. If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com. Just let her know that I sent you! She is working to build up a client base, which is kind of funny, because as word gets out about how good she is, she probably won’t have time to do my quilts! Ha!

Still working on completing everything that’s already been started (before beginning anything new), but I’ve managed to sell my last furniture piece. I need to get a few more of the garage furniture completed next. I picked up a few new pieces over the last couple of weeks, so tomorrow we start banging out those projects.

julie

My New Longarm Quilter! Meet Collis Country Quilting

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I am an avid quilter. Well, I suppose it might be accurate to call me a ‘quilt piecer’, as I have really only actually done “quilting” on a single quilt. When my daughter-in-law was pregnant with her first baby – a girl – I made her a quilt. I found out that she was pregnant and that they were decorating their baby girl’s nursery in red and white. I pieced the top in a weekend and then furiously spent the next six months hand quilting it. I got it done just in time for Elisabeth’s birth. After that, I knew I wasn’t cut out for being a hand quilter.

Funny thing is, I had attempted to do quilting using my sewing machine a few times, but never could make it go the way I wanted. And then I have to sit and carefully pluck the stitches out and then find someone else to quilt it for me. I did tie a couple of quilts, even went so far as to “tie” a quilt and stitch beads into each section, but knew that the beads would soon be lost during use. Then I saw the ad in the back of a quilt magazine.

I “met” Gloria through that ad. And a virtual relationship started. Gloria has quilted so many quilts for me, that I couldn’t keep track. I am guessing somewhere in the three- to four hundred range. If memory serves, she had just gotten her long arm and wanted to try out some new patterns. In all of those quilts, maybe – maybe – I specified a pattern or thread color a half a dozen times. Otherwise, I let her experiment to her heart’s content. I would box up ten to fifteen quilts and send them off and two to three at a time they would come back. She has always done above excellent work for me. There literally has NEVER been a quilt that she completed for me that I didn’t outright LOVE.

I remember that when I moved from California to Missouri, I shipped her an extra large box of quilts… why drag them to Missouri just to send them to her? And then they came back to me done.

About a year or so ago, I managed to break her machine. I take full responsibility for it too. She had quilted a couple of denim quilts – recycled jeans, seams and all – but I recall her tell me just how difficult that it was to quilt. I recalled those quilts being hard on my own sewing machine, sometimes you get two or more seams stacked up and the needle just doesn’t want to go through it. Bam! Broken needle. Or broken throat plate. And it would throw the machine out of whack.

Well, it seems that one of my denim quilts really did a number on her machine. So much so, that she decided it was time to hang up her quilting needle for good. It was heartbreaking to lose her expertise and the quality she gave me in finishing my quilts for me. We’ve become Facebook buddies and share comments and a small part of our lives with each other. She did a great job getting a friend of hers to finish the remainder of the quilts that I had sent – sans the denim quilts. I had hoped to find someone more ‘local’ though, do you have any idea what a large quilt costs to mail? And multiply that many times over and it would seem that I am supporting USPS more than I should!

Recently, I wrote a blog about uncovering unquilted tops. Counted 53 that still need to be finished. And with my steady work to complete all started projects before I start anything else, I have added another eight plus six denim quilts.

Which brings me to Collis Country Quilting. When I wrote about all of my unfinished quilts, she made a comment to me about getting them done. Seems that she is in the vicinity of Kansas City, but still a little ways south. She is relatively new to her long arm, and after a year of practice of her own and family members… she was ready to take on more customers.

I picked out two quilts and shipped them off to Becky. She is great about communicating, she let me know that she had received them. And she sent me updates as she worked on them. This was sent when the quilt was on the frame:

01e3684c08dfadb21006aac0c79acd2e76cc634943Next was the photo of the quilt finished. There is just some magical about the transformation of a quilt once the quilting is done.IMG_0049Yesterday, I finally got to completing the binding. It came together easily. Finished in about an hour or so, and considering just how big this quilt is, that’s quick!

It was returned and then rested for a while on the guest bedroom bed. You can get a glimpse of the quilting pattern here:

2015-04-06 14.55.36I’m guessing about a full sized quilt, albeit an extra long one. It is a simple quilt, just plain ol’ pinwheels around a larger pinwheel medallion in the center.2015-04-06 14.55.08So, a few more shots of the quilt and its quilting:

2015-04-07 13.38.032015-04-07 13.39.16Here you can see the quilting on the center medallion: 2015-04-06 14.55.44I used the same material in the medallion as well as the edge setting triangles and the backing. I love the way this quilt turned out!

2015-04-07 13.39.25If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com.

I have one more to get done and then I am caught up. At least in the quilts department! I’ve have a few things in the garage that are calling for attention, though.

julie

Reusing Bed Pillows to Make Dog Beds

Still on my kick of finishing anything that has already been started (before starting anything new). I have been planning on doing this projects (projects?) for at least a year.

You have to know that by now, I am a saver. I say this – as opposed to hoarder (like The Kid calls me) because I do eventually get around to doing the projects that I plan and then getting rid of stuff. This one centers around pillows, bed pillows to be exact. I mean, how does one throw away a pillow? I am not asking about parting with said pillow, but rather the physical aspect of disposing of a bed pillow. Do you just throw them into the garbage?

Anyway, I am kind of weird when it comes to pillows. I like to have new ones. Often. I love the way that they smell and are so fluffy when brand new. So, I buy inexpensive ones. They’re decent quality pillows, but they just don’t really last more than about six months or so. And then I replace them. And then I end up with four pillows that are like new, but not really.

So, a long time ago, I figured out how to reuse the pillows and make dog beds. When we had our dog (we called her a ‘forever puppy’), she would love to be in whatever room that I or The Kid was in. So, I made a few of these dog beds for her to be comfortable. But of course, I had way more pillows than I could use in making beds for her.

Ain't I a cutie?

Ain’t I a cutie?

So, I still made them, I just found someone else who could use the beds. I donate them to a local ‘no-kill’ shelter that is just the most awesome place in the world. Its called Wayside Waifs and it is where we recently almost adopted a puppy. (The Kid and I found that it was just too soon for a new puppy after we had lost our Ashla.)

So, yesterday I dug out all the pillows I had stashed. Then I went through my odds and ends of quilting blocks and started sewing. Often, I will experiment with a quilt style or make a few blocks and then change my mind. Or I will have leftover quilt blocks. One end has a velcro opening, so that the cover can be washed or the pillows replaced. Its pretty easy boxed construction. I won’t go into instructions here, but may in the future if any one is really interested.

So, here is the whole pile:

DSCN3260And here are the individual beds:

DSCN3261This pink one is four pillows and would be suited for a larger breed dog.

DSCN3263Now its smallest to largest. This was a leftover piece of a quilt. Quite large actually for a single pillow):

DSCN3262Another single pillow with a scrap piece that I was trying out a very small pattern.

DSCN3264A little larger, this is two pillows. These are leftover 2 1/2″ strips that went together easily.

DSCN3265Another double pillow. This was done with denim scraps and an attempt at using denim for appliqué.

DSCN3266One more double pillow bed, this time with a leftover medallion. I know that I started this with the intent of some appliqué in the center, but never got back to it.

DSCN3267This one was the first one I finished and my favorite. I love the bold black touches (and the sides and back are also black). The sides on this one were a bit wide, so in the end it took four pillows to get it taut, but I think it will accommodate a pretty large breed dog nicely.

That’s the whole lot. I have some other goodies for Wayside Waifs as well (I checked out their wish list on their website.) If you’re interested and are local to the Kansas City area, check them out. You can find them here.

Well, I hope that you have a great day and come back soon!

julie

Another Round of Dressers and Benches

Sometimes it seems that if I didn’t stay organized, I could easily be tempted to just kick back on the couch and watch streaming movies and work on my cross stitch. And speaking of, I have managed to get more completed – I figure I am about 30 – 35% completed. I have to make sure that I did a little work on it continuously, I don’t want it to go unfinished.

Today, The Kid and I worked on the head- and foot-boards, turning them into benches. They are turning out pretty cool, although I am having some difficulty in figuring out what color to paint them. I briefly entertained the idea of sanding them down and refinishing them, but they have those round spindles and I don’t particularly enjoying sanding, staining or painting anything round… so, painting it is.

2015-03-26 13.41.54I picked these up in an auction for a mere ten dollars. I totally could see the potential. I am now getting probably thirty or forty percent of my pieces through this auction business.

2015-04-02 19.53.18I love working with The Kid. He is so talented when it comes to wood working and he has experience with all different tools. Thankfully, we continue to purchase better and new tools all the time; with funds from sales of finished products.

6961-1This piece is a very nice dresser purchased from the auction site. After we started taking the drawers out, we found that three out of the five drawers needed serious attention. In fact, on the of the drawers actually came in five pieces; thankfully all of the pieces were there and in good shape, just a matter of gluing it all back together.

2015-04-02 19.53.47Tomorrow I get to start sanding. This purple paint on the cabinet and drawer fronts is peeling badly and I need to get all of that knocked down before I can start priming.

Another little project that I’ve been working on is another faux stained glass. I keep an eye out for interesting material; mirrors, glass, unique wood pieces, what have you. This project was a result of a large slab of glass I picked up.

First, I picked out some wonderful clip art, worked with it a bit until I had a design I liked. Then had the design printed onto a full size sheet of paper and laid the glass on top. (This has been sitting on my kitchen island for at least two weeks and I am sure that my family is getting tired or working around it!)3Hearts 17.5x43

Then it was a matter of laying down the faux leading… this turned out to be a lot of exacting work. I made it a point to lay a few pieces every time I came into the kitchen.2015-03-26 15.51.18

Finally! The leading is done. Whew! I thought I would know what colors I would want to finish this piece with by the time I got to this point, but I am conflicted on whether doing them all red or all pink. Or maybe one pink and one red and one white. Perhaps two red and one pink? I am still thinking about it.

DSCN3236And speaking of colors, here is how the paint chip cards look in the morning light. While I was leaning to the left bottom color in evening light, this morning I am leaning towards the right middle color this morning. I am planning to just live with the chips for a while. Would love to hear your comments!

photoWell, I need to update tomorrow’s list and get ready to hit the hay.

julie

A Quick Check In Before Working in the Garage

Just wanted to check in with everyone… The Kid and I have been busy starting a multitude of projects. The collection of furniture and projects is a never ending stream. I have a bug about the next “big one” – a project that will span a fair amount of time and cost more than most. It is a toss up between the master bedroom makeover or attempting to once more finish the attic space behind The Kid’s closet. Either way, both are slated to go done while I am taking a hiatus from work and have the time.

Today, we’re working on a couple of matching benches from head and foot boards. We also got started on my latest rescue, another five drawer dresser purchased at a local auction company. We also picked up a ton of paint chip cards, chose the color scheme for my master bedroom. Which one do you think matches best?photo 1

The Kid thinks the middle one on the right, I think the bottom on the left. I am going to leave these up for a few days, look at them in different lights.

I’ve also gotten a little further on my secret project… and it is still creeping out The Kid. :-)

photo 2Sorry I can’t share – yet – what this is going to turn out to be! ;-)

We spent most of today, though, listing eBay auctions. I also spent some time up in my quilting room, finishing up the remainder of my quilt tops: matching the fronts with the backing material.I finished up the last of my denim quilts, but need to purchase some flannel for the backing. I love the combination of recycled denim and flannel – like wearing your favorite jeans and a flannel shirt. I just went through 16 yards of dark blue flannel getting five other quilts ready. Wow!

I go in cycles, it seems, where for days, sometimes weeks, working on the same sort of projects and then suddenly due to acquiring materials, I will switch to something else. And then that, will consume my time for a few weeks. The furniture that The Kid and I work on is really to fund the other projects, so that sort of goes on all the time. At least a little bit all the time.

Come back often for updates!

julie

Jewelry Making Materials – Bits and Baubles

This has been an end to a great week. Not only did I finish a bunch of pieces (and start a few more), but sold almost all of what was ready! Yay! Now I have a small foundation to start looking for the next projects. If you’ve read or followed my blog at all, you will probably have figured out by this point that I don’t do any one thing for long. It isn’t that I get bored, its that I am always wanting to try more and new things and different and better ways to do the things I do already. And sometimes it is about timing, when I get materials or furniture or inspiration!

So, there has been a project I have been working on for a while.  These are the projects I really like, that take a while and some attention, but don’t last too long and are always useful – either to keep or to sell.

I did a similar pieces a while back, but I am not sure I did a write-up. So, I will make sure I’ve covered all the bases with this one. The first one was black, but this was is my signature red – what I call “Kitchenaid Red”.

2015-03-27 19.51.02It all started with finding a printer drawer online. The person selling was only asking $15 and was close to me, so I bought it. I removed a few dividers, otherwise I would end up with too many very small sections. I primed it and then gave it a couple of coats of the red paint in a matte finish. It looks a bit on the orange-ish side in this photo, but it is the perfect red.

Sorry about the lack of focus!

Then, I set about filling it. Much like the black one, I felt it was the perfect way to store – yet display – the supplies that I use in a lot of the work that I do. I really want to do more jewelry making, I am just waiting for the inspiration. I did some way, way, way back, but haven’t done much since. Well, other than collect pretty and sparkling beads and baubles.

I stumbled onto these little glass bottles a while back when I was making food for the American Girl dollhouse. I can’t seem to locate a photo at this moment, but we made jars of pickles and jellies and jams and peanut butter, even spice bottles in a rack!

I found them on eBay and you can find bottles of every height and width – some with crew tops, or corks or droppers. I just watched for a good time to purchase an assortment and then I turned to filling them. Originally, with the first drawer, it was to store and organize what I already had. But this time, I had little left still be to stored. So, I turned to a little sneaky little way that I discovered how to get great deals on beads and such on eBay. In the wee hours of the night, I search for “free shipping” and prices between $.01 and $.25 and “ending soonest” and then I sit and watch until they are down to 30 seconds and place a single bid. If I get it, great! If I don’t, I move on to the next auction.

Now, most of these end of coming from China, so it can take a bit longer than what I would normally want to wait, but in this case, it is just fine. Little packages start being delivered between one and four weeks and it is always fun to get little surprises!

So, then it is just a process of filing the bottles and then arranging them in the drawer. This is the fun part. The colors and sizes and sparkles – its just fun! I also make a mental inventory of what I have. Once I do start jewelry designing, I will know what I already have!

So, a few more photos:

2015-03-27 19.51.32Look at all the sparkle and shine! Its like candies or chocolate, only better!2015-03-27 19.51.20I haven’t quite figured out where exactly to hang it… I had thought on the other side of the cabinet (opposite of the black one) if there is room. I’ve said this before, the problem with being crafty is finding enough places to display your works of art.

Lots of things in the works, so keep coming back!

julie

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