Thursday, December 19, 2013

merry making 2013

This time of year is never without lots of making. This year is no different and, in fact, may have set a new precedent for the amount of making one can accomplish in a season. 
Let's get to it, shall we:

Along with all of the renovating that is happening around here we have also made...FIRE. And it couldn't come at a more appropriate time of year.

We hit our 3rd anniversary in the house, on December 31st, and having the fireplace inspected for wood burning finally made it to the top of our list. Maybe something fancier in the future, but for now this is a lovely sight. 


An even longer anticipated item is my very own stocking. I made Dana's in 2009, Desmond's in 2011, and mine was always getting bumped for more important projects until the season was over and I would "get to it next year." Well, "next year" arrived and I squeezed it in. 

I used wool scraps from a thrifted skirt I had made something else with years ago and a green velvet remnant for the cuff. I also had those buttons in my stash too.

I had kept the pattern I made for Desmond's, seen at right, so I used that for reference and just altered it a bit to make it suit my style.

I whipped up a bunch of this yarn-ball-ornaments for family, and my neighborhood ornament exchange, this year. They are super easy to make and all over pintrest. This is my second year making ornaments and I have a feeling it's going to stick.

Of course I made an extra special ornament for the little guy. I painted it during his nap just before we hung ornaments, talk about last minute, but how could I resist after his Halloween costume this year.

Felt cookies anyone?
I am happy to report that the play kitchen Santa brought last year is still in daily use. It just needed a cookie upgrade... 

...and a toddler-sized oven mitt...

...and some tea bags. His felt ravioli has been pulling double duty for the past year so I thought it could use a break. 
Special thanks to my crafty girlfriends for coming through with some last minute white felt and saving me a trip to the store.

Although I am usually elbows deep in little girl aprons, I wanted my little guy to have one too. Obviously I choose a more boy-friendly fabric and then tweaked my pattern a bit. I went for more of a craft smock style (which he could really use) and added sleeves, a more masculine front pocket for craft tools, and I gave the neckline a little V. 

I really think he's going to love it!

I did manage to sneak in a little something for myself too. I made these mittens from a shrunken wool sweater that I loved, not to mention that I'm a little crazy about mittens right now. They took me all of 15 minutes to make.

 And...SURPRISE! There is a skier on the other side! A little nod to my northern youth.

Alas, there is so much more making happening for my mother, husband, nephew, and one more special thing for Desmond, but I don't want to ruin the holiday by posting them! 

I hope you have a Merry Winter Solstice, however you celebrate!

Monday, November 18, 2013

a little help from our friends - garage update

 I am happy to report that the garage renovation is making progress and we will be warm this winter, a big plus. We wouldn't be as far as we've come in the past couple of months without a little help from friends and family.

In late September, when an aerator snafu gave Dana's Dad a free afternoon he came over to help hang the insulation. That one simple project, and the falling temperatures, got the garage project rolling. 

With the insulation in and some minor electrical work handled it was time to tackle that horrible cement floor.

It was cold and stained and, worst of all, not level, not at all, not even a little bit.

It did wear the names of the people who built our house though...

...and a date. My husband and I were both 6-years-old.

But that history is history and it was time for a nice level floor.

Dana's folks helped us out again, his Dad with the concrete mixing and his Mom watched Desmond since I was needed on this project.

We used self-leveling cement to get this baby as close to level as she could be. I was the concrete spreader, and man, I think I missed my calling as a mason. Not to toot my own horn, but TOOT, it looked good.

I snagged the camera for some quick shots when we were halfway through, it's tough to record these moments when it's all hands on deck.

With the fresh cement floor down we are now ready to lay a sub-floor and our hardwoods, maybe laminate, we just need to agree on one. 

In the interim we managed to tackle PART 1 of our heating and cooling issues by installing a ductless mini split.

Sometimes you take a natural childbirth class and you meet lifelong friends, the husband portion of those friends may just be an HVAC pro, who knew. 

After a dinner together a couple of weeks ago, some behind the scenes details worked out, one full day of work last Saturday and, ta da, we had proper heat in the garage by quitting time. Right about when the wife and child portion joined us for a chili  dinner with some cornbread and pumpkin pie, yum.

This is also a good pic of that nice cement floor I spread, under all of the equipment mess of course.

Yay, no more constant faint breeze blowing into the living room!
And, in case you were wondering, this baby is super quiet inside and out.

*Bonus News: The mini-spit came on a half pallet that I have saved for a future crafty project.

With the mini split in, Dana tackled PART 2 of the heating and cooling issues by removing the old duct work this weekend. It was always inefficient to say the least, and now it was just taking up valuable real estate in the closet and the garage attic.

In a house that has surprisingly limited storage I'm really psyched to be gaining an attic, a small attic, but it will be big enough to store baby gear and that's good enough for me.

Yes, that closet space has our junction boxes in it, that is going to take some figuring since we would like to use the space for coats and games. But for now, all of the duct is gone and a little, narrow, built-in book shelf is going to be taking it's place.

Those closet doors were a horrible fit and are headed toward some repurposing when we get around to it. A new back door has been ordered and is on the way along with a window we are having installed in the near future.

I'm starting to feel good about this renovation, so much so that I should probably stop calling the space "the garage" and upgrade it to "future family room." Yes!

Now in honor of all of the help from our friends and family it's time to enjoy Desmond's favorite video. Hoggify!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Recap

 I've always loved Halloween, but this year Halloween was extra  exciting because it became exciting to Desmond. 

This is where we leave off. 

A look at the post-Halloween studio mayhem. I can't believe all of the Fall making that has been happening in there and I haven't even started on my Christmas gifts and decorations yet.

Yikes, time to grab some candy and get to work. 

Monday, October 21, 2013


 My love for the state of Maine is no secret and had I met it before Virginia I would probably be living there now. Being married to a man from Maine is surely the next best thing.  

It had been four years since our last trip and we were due back. 
Here is a brief recap of all of the things that made my heart sing last week.

I'm not quite sure Desmond appreciated my need to take a photo with every oversized statue on the side of the road but he will someday, this was his first giant lobster.

If you are staying within two hours of Alewives you go there. It's in an old barn, of course, and is the most fantastic fabric store I have ever been in. I picked out a little sampling to bring home.

Desmond was keeping warm under his pirate hat in Portland while we waited for the ferry to take us to Peak's Island. 

He loved the boat and life got even better when he realized we were going on a bike ride.

We rented bikes at Brad and Wyatt's and took the 4 mile cruise around the island. It was totally worth lugging Desmond's helmet across seven states.

One road even led us to some honor system honey. Seriously!

Of course I had to bring some home with us. Being honest pays off too, I was rewarded with seeing this live bee just hanging out with the profits. 
Dana called him a "money bee," I acted like it wasn't funny, but it was.

We spent a second day poking around Portland and checked out the Cryptozoology museum
Honestly, I was most interested in all of the creatures the girl who works there handmade. Like a to-scale giant squid that hangs on the wall and some of the souvenirs, she made Desmond's Yeren (the Bigfoot of China) finger puppet that he is holding up.

Here he is not being waved about by a toddler. Awesome.

Just down the street from the museum was this fantastic cafe called Local Sprouts, we actually ate there for breakfast and lunch it was so good. They had a "Maine food map" showing where your food came from and a play area for kids. It was my dining dream come true.

Another food favorite was Pizza by Alex. I cannot possibly relay the level of deliciousness.

We also did a good amount of picnicking, which is Desmond's favorite way to eat, and plenty of running around time too when we were out on the road.

And running around back at the house with family too, lots of family.

So, another amazing trip to Maine. This was the sunset view from the front of the house, the back yard was the ocean. I may hate the drive there but I don't want to leave once we make it to Maine.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sayonara Split Pea

Way back, ten months ago, we made new year's resolutions for our house, here. One of the major things we wanted to accomplish was to paint over the split-pea colored paneling in the living room. The paneling itself is another project for another year.

Here it is on the day before we moved in:

As you can see, the paneling only covers the lower portion of the walls in the living room. We decided to chose two colors from the same paint chip, a darker for the bottom and lighter for the top.

I wanted something white or grayish, Dana wanted something beige. This is an ongoing dilemma.

We put up a bunch of samples and spent a few months compromising, I mean, deciding. 

It was finally Desmond's upcoming birthday party that made us pick one and get it done before this became the backdrop for all of his birthday pictures.

We choose Behr's Aged Beige for the paneling (more gray-ish) and Cotton Knit (white-ish) for the upper wall, downstairs hallway, entryway, stairway, and the whole giant wall leading into the kitchen. That is a lot of space to cover and part of why we took so long to choose our colors, this baby is only getting painted once a decade.

Dana worked late into the night to get the main living room done for the party and it made a much nicer backdrop to all of the toddler party mayhem. 

Hooray! No more pea-soup!

I recently finished painting the nook portion and Dana has started on the downstairs hall. We've run into a little snafu with the crackle finish in the entryway, it won't come off without a fight, but more on that later.

All of this crisp new paint really made our front door look sad. So, in an uncharacteristic moment, Dana offered for me to paint it any color I wanted since it would be better than this dirty beige. 

No compromise? Whatever I wanted?

He even reminded me of a Pantone color I had liked but didn't have a project for. Hmmmmm??? This could be awesome!