Friday, February 12, 2010

I have been making some progress with making the house feel more like ours. We are trying to work on our bad habits so we don't clutter up the new space. One big area of improvement is keeping our kitchen counter tops cleared, specifically with mail. Out of embarrassment I did not take a 'before' picture but just imagine weeks worth of piles over a kitchen island and a cupboard crammed with recipe print outs, cookbooks, note pads, and car related items.

I cleaned out the upper cabinet and added two thick cork pin boards to the inner door. $1.49 each at Michaels and they included the sticky tape. I then moved the home phone and cells phone into the bottom shelf to clear the lower counter top. Thankfully, the previous owners had installed a phone jack and outlet into the cupboard itself. The second shelf holds a piggy bank for spare change and our monkey pencil cup. The top shelf is storing all of our manuals and some paperwork we need handy.

But how do we solve the problem with the piles of mail? I cleaned out the drawer under the upper counter and decided to sew my own organizers to keep everything neat.

This is the first version. I use home deco weight fabric I had in my stash. I didn't use any interfacing and I just tacked the top points together to make a box. This version was a bit too flimsy for what I needed it to be and I knew I could make a more reinforced corner. So back to fix my pattern.

This is the second version. Much better! I used the hvy weight interfacing from JoAnn's (not the craft bond stuff) on both the interior and exterior pieces. I also drafted tabs into the pattern to fold around the edges to reinforce the corners. The button are decorative tacks to hold everything in place in a stylish way.

This version worked out beautifully. The only thing I am going to change about it is to make the tabs wider. It was a hassle to get those turned with the thick, interfaced fabric!

So this is the drawer. I have one more fabric organizer to make (to fill in the corner) so we have three seperate areas to store notepads, tape, rubber bands, and the like. The open space is to temporarily store our mail til bills get paid and filed. Next on the list is to find a small hook system to install on the bottom shelf in the upper cabinet for all the keys and to find a cell phone charger station to keep everything neat and tidy. I also have extra magazine boxes from Ikea to place on the top shelf for additional storage.

And I have to figure out how to organize all those printed recipes and find a place to store our cookbooks. I need yard sales to start up soon!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finished Denim Blanket

Table is a new acquisition from Mom-mom's. Got to love free things from grandparents. I am not sure what I'll do with it. It has a beautiful dark patina, but I don't have a turned style leg anywhere in the house. But this table is also our only end table. Beggars can't be choosers! I originally brought it home to place in the front room with a large Boston fern. I am not opposed to changing out the legs and painting it. I'll put it on the "list".

I finally shot some finished photo's of that forever WIP denim blanket. I'll spare you more photo's of lots of snow, but I am one of those who are snowed in. We got 3+ feet! We tried to get the snow drifts plowed again tonight but no success. I have been home bound since Wednesday and it doesn't look like tomorrow is going to be any different.

It's been through the wash twice and it's back in again. As mentioned before I used a blue embroidery thread to hand quilt a square design. Five years ago I thought this was a great idea and I actually finished the quilting part last winter. Five years ago I also thought it was a great idea to layer the quilt with the heaviest polyester batting I could find and a solid cream flannel for the back. Talk about overkill.

The concept of the contrasting quilting in a geometric design really works for me. My fabric choice, however, very bad. Everything sticks to flannel. Like every little bit of fuzz that comes off from the fraying denim. I have little fuzz bits all over the house! Because of all the extremely heavy fabric choices this is a very weighty quilt. But when you are snowed in and you keep the house temp around 62 and you're trying to watch season 3 of Lost, it's quite a cozy blanket! I just happened to make it large enough to cover two snugglie people on a dual reclining love seat very well. Such a happy ending!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

24 inches of snow

We are snowed in again! It's been a long time since I've seen this much snow. Even the snow we got in Dec was peanuts compared to this. We tried to get the cars out today but no luck. Having a long driveway is awesome 98% of the time. This is not one of those times. Hopefully our drive will be plowed tonight and then we'll see if we can get the Prius up the hill. *crossing fingers*

But since we couldn't go anywhere I sewed up my only V-day decoration. Made completely with scraps it was quick and easy. I was testing how it would hang before I sewed on the homemade bias tape. I guesstimated the measurements so I was pleased when it actually worked out.

I was alsot creative in the kitchen when making my own decaf herbal tea which included fresh orange zest, fresh ginger, cardamon, and lemon grass.

I cleaned up the counters and set up a collection of vintage glass made exclusively from the small towns dotting southern NJ. (Well, all except the small clear bud vase.)

And my amaryllis planted Christmas Day is in full bloom! I love fresh flowers in the house!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's on my camera that I can write a post about?

I came down with a fever. Garden fever to be more exact! Thank goodness the days are starting to get noticeably longer but that doesn't mean the days are filled with sunshine around here. Critter is enjoying some sun from our window sill that just happens to overlook the bird feeder. A popular spot as you might have guessed. She is sitting next to a container I brought indoors last fall. The ivy has completely taken over almost choking out a mini fern plant. The begonia continues to flower. I adopted two very large Boston Ferns and they are doing very well too. In the spring I'll have to divide them.

Oh. Check this out. After only FIVE YEARS I finally finished this denim quilt. I guess since this is the 6th time I have moved with it I figured I needed to finish it. It almost makes me sick to think it only took me an hour to finish the binding. One lousy hour and I moved it 6 times. Critter took a liking to it right away. The funny thing is that I really don't like it anymore. I mean this was the second sewing project I started. I've changed a lot since then.

I quilted it with a blue embroidery thread. When I have some good light again I'll take a picture of the back.
And the vintage sofa is still around. I finished the pattern for it. You can kinda see where I am taking this. But it's going to take 15 or so yards of fabric (est $10-15/yard) and new cushions. And the car didn't pass inspection so we have to buy 4 new tires. Maybe I can look for fabric in March.
I am pretty proud on those darts to fit the cover around the soft corners. This baby is going to look nice when I finish it!