Thursday, February 24, 2011

A splash of color...

I've been very busy lately, trying to make this house we are renting look more appealing.  It's a nice big place with lots of space, but all of that space was off-white/cream, very boring to me.  I didn't realize quite how bad it was, till I started adding color and love the results!  We plan on staying here for a long time, so it was worth it.
The casual entry/laundry/computer area looked like this:
My little helper.
He was quite sure he could do the whole job if Mom would just let him take over.
What's a farmhouse without some barn red?
(to be exact, "cherry cobbler" red)
Then I added some border left from our previous kitchen.
It's so bright and cheery I could just stare at it!
I've had this quilt hanging by the front entry, so thought some of the extra paint would cheer it up a bit too.
And the opposing wall, was a little leftover from the boys' room.  Levi badly wanted this wallpaper border from our first house in Alaska, but this is all I had left.  He was quite thrilled when I put it up here.
Didn't get a picture before I started, Levi was quite interested in the painting of his room.
Matches with both the queen-size bed quilt....
And Levi's bed quilt and newly painted orange bed.
All the shades work great, but are also that aweful beige color.  Now that the walls are painted, those shades look fine!
Part of our room before.
Now a light brown that contrasts nicely but is very neutral.  Hard to get a good photo, but it's the same as most of our last house in Alaska.  Most of my Valentine's tulips are done, but a few are hanging in there.
And the back bathroom was very... um... maybe "retro"?  The pink counter isn't too bad, but that wallpaper...
The house is older and has been well-maintained.  Just the lack of color was bothering me.
The old-style light fixture was holding the bulbs too close to the wall, and they had actually burnt holes in the wallpaper and crinkled the paint!  Will be replaced, the landlord agreed that needed fixed.
Now with some green and a new curtain.  I was somewhat limited by the pink countertop, but it will all match nicely with some of the towels we got for our wedding.
The wallpapered wall is still a nightmare, so I've been avoiding it as long as possible.  We used a goo to get rid of the wallpaper paste, but the old paint is also 1/2 peeling so it's kindof a mess.  Not sure where to go from here, so I've been focusing on the rest of the bathroom & house.
So that's why I haven't been blogging.  Or sewing.  Painting is fun, but when you have to mask so much it takes time and becomes quite a chore.  I'm loving the look, but think I might take a break and sew a little.

Speaking of breaks, Breanna was home for the holiday on Monday, and it was a gorgeous sunny day; so we went for a long walk.  I'm not sure how far we went, but at least 3, or nearly 4 miles.  Our goal was to visit some friends across the field, and I didn't realize how far it actually was.  (I still need to drive it to see).
Breanna rode her bike so was able to go quickly, and actually did about 3x's the distance because of always turning around and coming back to us.
 These photos don't really show it; but it was a beautiful day, and you could see mountains all around.
It was a bit breezy, though, so the boys were bundled up for the ride.  This stroller is working great!
And a good story from Dad one Sunday afternoon.
While Daddy was home for lunch, Andy decided to walk in his shoes for awhile.
We sold our table when we left Alaska, and Tyler was going to make a new one.  We've been using this fold-up "Lifetime" table that was handy but has had a very rough life.  It was free, so can't complain there, but there wasn't room for food once you got all the dishes on.
Then we found this fun antique one at Goodwill for only $14.99!!!  That's right, less than fifteen bucks, and it's very sturdy and cute.
This is why it was so cheap, but I think we can make do.  =)  With a tablecloth you can't even see the gauge, and it looks repairable.
This couch was given to us when we came down, and although older; it's very comfy, and perfect for the family room!  But I didn't like the green curtains.  The color didn't match, and they were worn to almost see-through.
While at Goodwill I found these blue gingham Pottery Barn curtains that I thought would work.  I obviously misinterpreted the size of that window. 
So, I sewed them together, shortened them, and added some lace to cheer up the kitchen.
This is what was here before.  Kindof cute, but needs some more color!
And in the closets I found these that Marlene had given me in Alaska!  I had wanted some similar but in red, but I like this too!  They are a heavyweight gingham.
And they even go nicely with the red wall.  There were 4 sections, and I'm debating on whether or not to put the two from the doors in our room.  They would match perfectly, and then I could make some smaller ones.  But for now, I'm enjoying the green ones gone.
And for Alma, some close-ups of some of my quilting.  Sorry, I couldn't get photos to turn out very good.  Guess you'll just have to come visit instead.  =)
Stars, loops, and stipling.
Lots of tiny hearts for the table-runner.
And when I looked for backing, I found that this piece was not only big enough; but also matched the binding perfectly, so it's reversible!
Wow, that was a lot of pictures, and one long post.  Hope I haven't bored too many of you!  And yes, Sue, that quilting lady is amazing, thank you for sharing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Labor of Love

Do you ever get an idea in your head very last-minute, and no matter how crazy it seems- have to finish it?  It seems quite a few sewers that I've talked to have this problem quality. 

Last week I decided it would be really fun to make a quilt for our bed (finally; it's king-size and we've been using a queen-size for over a year!)  I decided this would be a great idea late last week, with the intention of finishing it for Valentine's Day.  That's right, a king-size in a few days.  Of course there was a weekend in there where I spent time with my family and didn't sew..... anyone seeing the problem here?  At the time it seemed doable, I was using a simple pattern after all.  But after I finally finished sewing all the blocks together last night, I realized I was borderline crazy.

I had bought some green sheets at the second hand store awhile back, Tyler's favorite color.  Then I went thru my scraps/stash and found some coordinating pinks.  Cut all into 3 inch strips.
The pile of blocks ready to sew together.
All the blocks laid out on the living room floor, ready to join.  Before I started sewing, I asked Breanna if she'd noticed the quilt and liked it.  "Of course", she said "everything you make is pretty!"  Sometimes I wonder if I have strange tastes, but at least my 6-year-old agrees with me!
Next, all the blocks sewn into strips.
And the strips sewn together, top complete. 
Well, it's not actually complete because I need to add one more row to allow for shrinkage, but the end is getting visible!
You should SEE the dent that made in my pink scraps bin, it closes now!  I have never made this large of a quilt before, and am now thinking it may be the only for our bed.  I thought it would be fun to have a few so I could change them out for different looks/seasons, but now maybe not.  Or maybe I just need to wait till there's another impending date......

How did you spend your valentines day?  I asked Tyler to please not buy me flowers till the next day, since they are so overpriced.  So, we celebrated on February 15th!  It may sound silly, but we had a delicious box of chocolates that was 75% off, I got a cute little coffee mug with pink & red hearts that was also 75% off, a boquet of purple and white tulips that were normal-priced, and he even made me a delicious dinner of BBQ Ribs.  Mmmmm, and I didn't even have to cook.  You may think that we are frugal, wierd, or whatever you like; but we actually enjoyed it more than if we'd spent a lot of money.  And do you think we love each other less by ignoring Feb 14th?  Absolutely not.

Now I really need to take a break from sewing, that quilt was turning into labor more than fun.  And did I mention the house really needs some color?  It's quite boring; cream everywhere.  The floors, ceiling, walls, I can't stand it.  We got some pretty colors to paint, now I am going to direct my creative juices in that direction.  What are you up to?

P.S. as far as that bread recipe- no kneading involved (I'm not a bread person, but I can make this one work!), you can buy flax seed whole (then put in the blender) or pre-ground (I get it bulk pre-ground at Costco), and you can use whatever kind of sweet-potatoes as long as they are cooked.  Someone actually mentioned I could try leftover mashed potatoes, good idea!  I'll try and post the actual recipe (it didn't even include them) later, now I'm off to piant with the kids!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine table runner, simple Bread, and more Blue Leftovers

Since I've been finishing up so many projects, I decided it was time to take a break and start something new.  And since it's for Valentine's Day next Monday; I'll be finishing it so it doesn't become another project in the "finishing pile".
Just a peak; I still need to quilt it & add binding (as shown), but that will have to wait till tomorrow.
And, since I just started making hearts and din't do anycalculating, I have some leftover hearts!  Thinking maybe some hotpads or placemats?

I have been using a simple bread recipe that is somewhat healthy but tastes delicious!  Of course I've modified it a little from the original, but it's super-simple, seriously- I promise you could do it, Kylee!

It works best for toast, and is super moist.
For some reason, at least one loaf always looks like this within the first 5 minutes of being out of the oven.
So here goes:

Stir together and let cool to luke-warm (between 100-130degrees):
3 cups boiling water
2 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 TB. salt
2 TB. butter
1 small can sweet potatoes, mashed

When mix is lukewarm, disolve 3 tsp. yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (120-130 deg.) and then add it to the mix.  Also add 6 cups flour (I've tried all white, half & half, you choose).

Next you let it rise till doubled, and I do the mixing in the large kitchenaid bowl so I just leave it in there covered with saran-wrap.
When doubled, form into loaves, rolls, or roll out for cinamon rolls; and let double again.  Bake at 375deg. for rolls: 15 mins, bread: 20-25 depending on size.  It will make about 4 loaves of bread or 3 pans of rolls.  It lasts best frozen (extra loaves), but I think it's fun to share with friends too.  So far I don't know of anyone who doesn't like it.  =)
And since my goal is to use up scraps, and I had various tiny pieces from the Blue Leftovers quilt, I decided to make a small doll quilt or wall-hanging.

Someone mentioned here about a disappearing 4-patch, and so I googled to find some more ideas.  Even neater, was this disappearing 4-patch pinwheel!  Absolutely no triangles to sew, yipee!
Then I added some borders
And some more:
Now it needs quilting and binding, and I get to keep a sample of the fabrics I loved so much in the other quilt.  And best of all, none of those scraps went back into the "blues" bin!