Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A family tree

When Brian and I were planning our wedding (we tried to do most things ourselves and with our families help!) we decided to forgo the traditional wedding cake  because we wanted something a bit different.  We had our caterer make us a few cheesecakes  with raspberry sauce and a few chocolate ganache cakes..............yummy!

We still wanted the cakes to look special even if we weren't having a fancy decorated cake but I wasn't sure what to do until ....................... I came across just the thing in a Martha Stewart magazine!:

I showed my Dad and he said he could try to make one like it for me!  He enjoys welding, mostly things having to do with a car, so this would be a bit different, more of an artistic endeavor :o)  He bought some metal rods in different diameters from the hardware store and found an old metal disk from a tractor at my aunt's farm to use as a base.  Then he got to work wielding everything together.   About a week before the wedding I remember calling my mom to see if the cake tree would be possible and hearing metal crashing in the background and her convincing me things were going fine!...........yeah, I had a few cake stands as a back-up plan (sorry Dad!).

A couple days before the wedding my parents came driving up with a cake tree in the back of their truck.  Some of the finishing touches had to be made but we had a tree!  My dad was pretty fancy with the decorating, he painted the trunk and branches a darker brown first and then sponge painted on a lighter brown to give the appearance of bark.  I bought some moss covered "rocks" and hot glued them on to the base and then we had a CAKE TREE!  (Sorry, I couldn't find a picture with the cakes but here it is in our bedroom now acting as a candle stand for the time being):

Here you can see some more of the details:

So for now the tree has become an art piece in our bedroom:

But I'm sure it will be making many appearances at family get-togethers where there is food to be displayed :o)

Monday, March 28, 2011

A lyrical pillow .......... well, um, wall art

Last week on one of the blogs I've started reading, Miss Mustard Seed, she made a pillow decorated with lines from a poem she enjoyed.  I thought it would be fun to make a pillow with the lyrics to a song Brian and I really like, "Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service.  (It was almost our First Dance song at our wedding but both of us aren't really dancers and we didn't want to look like fools.........so we chose a slow song so we only had to sway a bit!  Anyway, back to the story).

Well, I had the intent to make a pillow but after I got through the first few steps I thought maybe I'd just make it a wall hanging and not worry about the sewing part!

So, I basically followed the guidelines she had on her post.  I really loved the font she used so I found a similar one online, found the lyrics I wanted, enlarged the font to what I needed, printed it out, then cut and taped it to the right dimensions for my fabric:

I didn't have a fancy light box like the one she had on her blog, so I used the old "hold it up to a window" method to trace the lyrics onto the fabric with a pencil.  I then chose a fabric paint in "midnight blue" and got to work painting the lyrics.  I don't know if it is just me, but this took me quite a while! 

And here's the finished product, it almost looks like embroidery:

I then stuck it in a frame and hung it on the wall over our bed.  Here you can see it flanked by two black and white photos of us. 

Here's closer up:

And another angle :o)

So there you have it.  Our bedroom is finally coming together!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm loving our bedroom!

I have to admit, even after painting our bedroom blue I was still skeptical we had found a color we would stick with.  I really liked the shade of blue, but for our small bedroom it was a bit overwhelming ......... until today when we put up the new curtain rods for the curtains I had made.  We hung the curtains higher and wider than the window and it did the trick, it made the window look larger.  And the billowy, white cotton fabric I used softened the blue of the room and I felt it looked so much better.  I'll just show you the before and after pictures and then get down to the details of what we did.

So here you can see the before (sorry about the messy bed!):

And then the after:

We bought a double bar curtain rod in a brushed nickel finish so we could have both sheers and thicker curtains over the window.  Here you can see Brian hanging the new curtains rods higher and wider and below on the window frame you can see the old curtain rod:

For the inner rod we hung a cotton eyelet sheer panel I found at Target.   Here it is with sunlight filtering through (I just love it!):

For the outer rod I bought a thicker, white cotton fabric and made panels to hang on either side of the sheers so we can pull those closed for privacy and to block out any light when we need to.   I used no-sew tape that I picked up at our local fabric store to make the hems.  I also left a slight overhang at the top of the panel that you can see here from a before picture:

And today when I came home from work and opened the window I had to take a picture of the curtains billowing in the breeze!  And the afternoon sun filtering in.........oh, I'm just loving it!

Here's some more angles of the room to show how it's coming together.  We still need to add some art but things are improving.

I removed the clutter from our dresser and the small drawers on top to place the focus on our letters (talked about here).  I also added small glass votive holders with tea lights across the top of the drawers and a canvas runner along the dresser to soften things up a bit and add some interest.

Here's a closer picture:

And here's looking towards the bed:


The frame in the center contains lyrics to one of our favorite songs, "Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service, painted on canvas fabric (talked about here) flanked by two black and white photos from our wedding.

So that's how our bedroom is looking.  I'm so happy that I don't have to paint it again, I'm really liking the color now.  And I LOVE our new curtains, they add a bit of romance to the room :o)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Camouflaging the kitty box

Since we only have one bathroom we end up having to share with Bailey our cat.  I really do not enjoy stepping out of the shower all nice and clean and getting cat litter all over my feet.  We decided we needed something to contain Bay's litter but didn't want to give him one of those tiny enclosed boxes, it just didn't seem very nice.  On one of our yard sale outings we found an old desk that we could modify to hide Bay's cat box.

So I devised a plan to place curtains around the bottom of the desk strung along wires so the curtains could be easily removed for cleaning.  I used eye screws to hold the wires in place on the inside edges of all four legs.

I chose a taupe and cream colored ticking-stripe fabric to fit in with the neutral colors of the bathroom.  I sewed a channel along the length of the fabric to feed the wire through for hanging.  For the front and back of the desk I sewed channels on both the top and bottom edges to keep the fabric taut.  For the two sides I only attached the fabric along the top.  One of the sides I made half the height of the other sides so Bay can easily find his way in.

Here you can see the finished product with Bay laying on my robe on top, his usual hang out spot.  So besides providing Bay with some privacy, it also gives him a place to sleep...........and a place to set our clothes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Try and try again

We have had a cork board hanging next to our  front door for quite a while now but it was supposed to just be a temporary thing until we found some artwork that we liked to replace it with.  But having a message board by the door has come in handy so I decided to spruce it up a bit.

Here it is in it's initial state.  I had painted the trim blue a few years ago but the dark brown chunky cork just wasn't helping it out any in the style department.

So I thought it might be fun to cover the cork in some blue scrapbooking paper and paint the frame a light green color to match the other decor in the living room.

Once again I prepared for painting by first taping off the edges and then painting on a coat of primer:

Then I applied a couple layers of the green paint and attached the scrapbooking paper with some double-sided tape:

I liked the color combination but when I put it up on the wall it just faded into the background, it didn't add the pop of color I was hoping for :o(

So after being a little grumpy I got back to work and tried again.  This time I used left-over paint from the blue dresser in the living room and fabric remnants from covering the lampshade for the bedroom mentioned a few posts ago.   I also added a few hooks along the bottom of the frame that I had picked up the other day.  For the hooks I pre-drilled guide holes making the screwing in of the hooks a lot easier.

Then I cut the fabric to size and pinned it to the corners of the cork board and here you go, our new message board.  I am MUCH happier with the results this time around :o)  And we have hooks to hang our keys so no more fishing through my purse every morning.

Now this message board will be a permanent and appreciated addition to the space..........no more "place holder" designation for this cork board!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making it work with a little ingenuity

While I was finishing up the bathroom this last weekend (straightening towels, etc. before taking pictures) I remembered Brian and I had worked some magic on one of the towel bars.  I found the two towel bars and a matching toilet paper holder all at Home Goods for a reasonably good price.  The only problem was the towel bars only came in one size 24".  That would work for holding one folded towel but what do we do about two?!

So I thought maybe we could buy an aluminum pipe in the same thickness as the towel bar and cut it to the length we wanted to nicely line-up with the window and fit two towels.  Brian got to work measuring and cutting the pipe to the right length and I sprayed it with some left over paint we had in a satin nickel.

Here you can see that it looks like it belongs, if you look really close you might be able to tell a difference, but who ever looks that close.......

........And the towels hide it anyway!

So there you have it.  To make a good deal work for you, sometimes you may have to do a little tweaking :o)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another rainy day

I just thought this view of Bailey in the window watching the rain was cute so I had to get a picture.  Did I ever mention that Bay has a curly, little pig-tail?  When I adopted him from the SPCA his name was "Hook".  Poor Bay, good thing I saved him :o)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The bathroom is complete ........... atleast for the time being

Today I finished decorating the bathroom.  We still have some caulking to finish and someday replacing the sink but for the present we are done with the bathroom.  The bathroom has really become my favorite room.  I just love the choices we made, from paint color to tile styles.  We pretty much did a full remodel on the bathroom.  We pulled out the shower surround and put in a new deeper tub, tiled to the ceiling in the shower, and also tiled the floor.

Here's a picture of our new tub, faucet hardware, soap holder, and tile.  The tile we chose is a basic tan ceramic 6"x6" tile from Home Depot.  Since we were putting in the tile ourselves we thought we should do something fun so we added a travertine and green-tinted glass accent strip through the middle of the wall.  We bought the accent in mesh-backed sheets of 12"x12" from Lowe's and decided to cut them down to 4" thick to run the entire length of shower enclosure.

Here is a closer picture of the accent tile:


Here's another view of the shower showing our water-saving rain flow shower head.  I'm really glad we decided on the rain flow option, it still gives decent water pressure but it's a bit gentler.  It's so relaxing I end up not wanting to get out of the shower.  I guess that kinda cancels out the whole water saving feature :o) 

The color scheme for the bathroom arose from our shower curtain.  I fell in love with it looking through the Crate and Barrel catalog and had to buy it, even before we were completely moved in to the house.  I just loved the colors and their soothing nature and the leaf pattern.  We incorporated the light tan color with the tile and the light green with the paint color on the walls and also the glass tiles of the accent strip in the shower.

We also tiled the floor of the bathroom.  When we moved in the flooring was just a plain white "tile-looking" linoleum.  Brian decided to surprise me while I was out of town by starting the floor tile but ran into a snag when he found we hadn't bought enough of the hexagonal tile from Home Depot and they no longer carried it.  I'll leave the details for him to tell in a post when he talks about how to actually do the tile work.  But we finally finished and the floor looks great.  The hexagonal shape is reminescent of tile used during the early 1900's when our house was built but has a more modern feel due to the color and non-glossy appearance.  

Here you can see the tile a little closer up:

You can also see from this picture a couple rows of tile near the baseboard are a slightly different color.........that's how we ended up dealing with the tile shortage.  We had to contact the manufacturer and ordered a slightly different color tile.  It has more shades of grey and tan than the original tile we had.  We have the greyish tile running the perimeter of the room, an even thickness all the way around.  Another bit of "fun" or "character" we added to the room :o)

So after we had the major things out of the way I got to work on the little touches.  I had a cute little bird that I had bought several years back that I thought would work well with the whole leaf motif of the shower curtain.

For some reason this bird and the "French Clay" green of the walls made me think "French Garden" for the decoration theme.  And today I found this cute little ceramic bird at Michael's:

So the bird's crown incorporates aristocracy and that makes you think French too, right? :o)

I also bought some prints of bird eggs and flowers a couple of weeks back that I finally found frames for at Target and was able to hang them up.

Here's a grouping on the wall next to the sink:

And a bit closer:

And I also put a couple of small frames over the toilet, though this was a bit difficult to place because our toilet is not centered in this little cubby :o(  And I might try to use larger frames to fill the space a bit more.

So here's another, fuller view of the bathroom:

We do have an old desk in the bathroom that we found at a yard sale that we use to set clothes or towels on instead of the floor.......and it also doubles as a cat box hider!  We attached some curtains to help contain the cat litter so we didn't have to worry about stepping on it with wet feet when we get out of the shower......YUCK!  (You can read more about it here).

Here you can see a little more of it:

So there you have it, our finished for now bathroom.........until we tackle a new sink :o)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring is here and we are far, far behind!

We have been watching as the yard is coming back to life.  Last year at this time our yard was pretty much non-existent.  We had yet to move the fence back to enclose all our property, plant the grass, and get our garden started.  So compared to last year, we are way ahead of the game.  But we still have quite a bit of work to do.

We are excited that this year we will be able to reap the benefits of our garden.  Last year we were working to establish our fruit trees and berries so we removed most the flowers to encourage vegetative growth :o(  So now that the plants are a bit stronger we get to eat fruit from OUR OWN GARDEN!!!

And here is our peach tree with blossoms! 

And here is a picture of our apricot tree, already past the blossom stage and starting to leaf out.

A cool thing about the fruit trees we planted are that they were grafted on a dwarf rootstocks so we won't be overwhelmed with pruning and too much fruit (though I doubt this last part!) AND there are three different varieties on each tree that produce at different times so we will have an extended peach and apricot enjoyment season.........Yippee!
Now we just have to sit back and wait.

And did I mention our berries?!  We are hoping to have a crop of raspberries, two varieties of red and a golden variety, blackberries, boysenberries, two different varieties of blueberries and last but not least strawberries.  We had a short season of strawberries last year as we were a little late at getting them in the ground.  The strawberries we did have were wonderful, super sweet, a bit on the small size but they packed a flavorful punch.  And we did get to enjoy some red raspberries last year too.

Here's a picture of our golden raspberry sending up new shoots.  We have to keep this guy under control because I've heard raspberries can get a bit out of hand.  We dug out our beds and buried the sideboards about a foot into the ground to try to contain the vines to the planters.   We will see how that works.  I've already had to pull out a few escapees from the red raspberries that broke free over the planter box wall.

So the state of a garden (and whole yard) is a bit of a weed patch.  As it's been raining a lot lately and we have been traveling almost every weekend we haven't had any time to work in the yard.........and it shows!

I am embarrassed to show the state of our yard but here it is :o(  I'm leaving out the pictures of the flower beds where the weeds are a couple feet tall!

Atleast it's green, right?
The last two days have been nice and sunny so after work I pulled some weeds and mowed down some to get the garden looking a bit better..........and so I can start planning what to plant in our other beds :o)

(That big funky looking plant in the far bed is an artichoke, it didn't produce last year but maybe this year.........let's keep our fingers crossed.)

Overall we are at a much better starting point than last year so I'm excited to get out and working in the yard again.  So hopefully we get a few more sunny days!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adding a little pizzaz.........to a lampshade

I decided to cover our bedroom nightstand lampshade with some fabric to tie in to the color-scheme and liven things up a bit.  

I had covered a lampshade in our bedroom before with some fabric that just wasn't working with the new blue painted walls.  The work was a bit tedious for me so I hadn't gotten around to doing a new lampshade in a different fabric.  For the first lampshade I had cut out some fabric using the plastic protective sleeve that the lampshade is sold in as a template.  Then I sewed the two edges together so it was cylindrical and pulled it down and around the lampshade like putting on a shirt.  I had left an inch extra on the bottom and the top that I glued to the inside of the shade to make the edges look finished.  I know, I know, it doesn't sound that bad but my sewing skills leave something to be desired, even for just sewing a straight seam :o(

But low and behold guess what I found at the fabric store!  A lampshade lined with adhesive so all you have to do is stick on your fabric of choice.  I was excited!  And it was on sale for 50% off, woohoo! 

So here it is.  The green paper is just the liner, like the backing to a sticker that is peeled off to reveal the sticky layer.

Here is a close-up of the simple instructions included on the shade:

First I removed the paper lining from the adhesive of the lamp shade.  The lining is then used as the pattern to draw the dimensions out on the fabric to be used, with 1 inch extra on all sides for the edges.

Here is a picture of the pattern laid out on the wrong side of the fabric so trace lines won't be visible on the finished shade.  Well I guess that doesn't matter too much since the trace lines will be glued to the inside of the shade.........oh well, this is how I did it anyway.

After cutting the fabric I carefully attached the fabric to the shade, smoothing out any creases in the fabric as I went along.  I then glued the 1 inch overhang of fabric at the top and bottom to the inside of the shade with a hot glue gun.  If you wanted to, you can also add some fringe or pretty beads along the bottom edge of the shade to give it something a little more flashy.........but alas I don't think that would go over very well with Brian since this lamp is on his side of the bed :o(

But here it is all finished!

I know not terribly exciting, but a lot better than the orange shade I previously had...........yeah, the orange never really worked but I was experimenting, nothing wrong with experimenting :o)  I also plan on painting Brian's nightstand white to lighten things up a bit more and maybe getting a new picture frame.  One project down a zillion more to go! :o)