Monday, March 29, 2010

And you thought YOUR house was messy!

(morning of day 1)

(afternoon of day 1)

(afternoon of day 2)

Ever wonder what hard labor feels like? It feels bad...and good. But I wouldn't want to do it every day. We spent the weekend at the new house doing demolition for the upcoming construction project. We have to rip out all of the dry wall, trim, wiring, flooring and cabinetry. Thankfully it's a small house, right at 1000 square feet. Small or not, it took both of us two solid 8 hour days to get as far as we did. And while we did a lot, I think we could easily use another full two weekends to get the demolition done. And since the quote from the contractor for just demolition was $10,000...that was money well saved. It takes no particular skill...just some serious effort. With two people, one sledge hammer, two wrecking bars (wall rippers as Laurel calls them), one drill, one hammer, one wonder bar, a shovel, a broom and a wheelbarrow we managed to pull 90% of the sheetrock and trim. We also pulled out some of the kitchen cabinetry (oy) and some of the floor. Here is some of the fun...

Here are some surprises...
(termite damage)

(this was the floor padding under the laminate flooring)

(it's a dead rat)

And here is what makes it worth it, spring on the "farm"...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Birthday Gifts

I finally finished the birthday gifts after I distracted myself with the jean skirt. I decided on a turtle bag and a rainbow-quilted colored pencil holder. The turtle purse design didn't come together the way I planned, I realized toward the very end that there was a flaw in my plan. So instead I basically made my turtle placemat (x2) then sewed them together leaving the top open.
I had some fun with the strap because I was running out of the coordinating Amy Butler scraps I had. So I quilted some pieces together and did some free form decorative stitching to pull it together. This is not the worlds most practical bag...but it's a turtle...I think it makes up in cuteness what it lacks in practicality. Laurel chose the hot pink button eyes, and I think it was exactly what it needed. (She even helped me stitch them on)
Then Luke, Laurel and I painted some newspaper for wrapping paper...and we were party ready.

The rainbow pencil holder really looks stunning with the pencils placed in their coordinating pocket. I take no credit for was in Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. I was sad to have to give up my library copy this past Friday. The ladies behind the library counter were already pouring through it by the time I left with my new bounty. (The other Amanda Blake Soule book...MUCH happier with this one by the way) I really can't gush enough about Hoverson's book...get it, you won't be dissapointed. There are projects from the simple to the very advanced. I actually learned something so unknown to me that it has changed the way I think about sewing...and opened up even more doors for me. (I'll touch on this later) I was actually so confounded by the claim that I had to stop what I was doing one night and try it myself. In retrospect it makes perfect sense, and I realize now I was thinking about it all wrong. But I suppose that's what happens when you learn to sew as-you-go. How exciting though, to learn something that seemed quite impossible before.
And to the Tolmich's who hosted the have just an awesome family. I was so impressed with all of your girls. It's inspiring to meet such beautiful, thoughtful, helpful and intelligent girls (and funny to boot).

(This is my latest hair-flower. It was going to be a gift, but Laurel claimed it for her own. I'll do this how-to next, it's such a quick easy project)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Deconstruction of Jeans

It's the little things that make you realize you're much more like your mother than you realize. When my mom was the absolute busiest is when she decided she had to stop and make a pot roast. I'm not sure if it's avoidance of the things you have to do, or a personal challenge to do more than you must. Either way, I do the same with sewing projects.

 I needed to use today to make a birthday present...instead I decided to make this skirt. It has begun.

And since I'm confessing things here. I'll admit that the idea for this skirt was inspired by an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I saw many years ago. This was at the beginning of the internet rather then google how to do it (how did we ever get along without the internet?) I just tried it myself with a beautiful silk fabric I had. It came out very cute, but not practical. It was floor length, and I didn't understand what to do with the crotch, so it kind of stuck out in the back.

 But I definitely felt like a hippy princess when I wore it.

I later tried again, and made the resulting skirt-flop into a bag. (my husband remembers that bag well because I had it on our very first date)

Somewhere along the way I realized what needed to be done to the crotch seam to make the skirt lay right, but I never revisited the idea. All of the sudden my daughter has been having growth spurts such that her legs are 4" longer and her waist is the same. What do I do with all those cute jeans? Most I've put in storage for a possible future baby girl...but really, why waste them all in hiding? So today I decided to deconstruct a pair of Laurel's old jeans in between other work. The trick is to remove the inside seam first so that you have a front and a back. Then go to front seam and remove the middle seam until just above the curve (you'll see).

You'll know you've pulled enough when the front piece flaps over the other and lays flat. Do the same in the back, though you will notice the flap in the back is larger then the one in the front.

I think it's best to pin and sew these flaps before moving on. Lay them flat can see the beginning of the skirt. Figure out what length you want the skirt and cut the bottom off to size. I like it to fall just at or below the knee. (Any longer makes playing hard)

With the skirt still laying flat, place your fabric under the opening and cut it a little larger then the triangle opening. You can do this with one panel, a quilted panel, an appliqued panel...this is where you get to be terribly creative. You could even put a panel in and then applique something that stretches from the panel to the really pulls the design together (ok I'm biased...since that's what I did here).

Now pin and sew the front and back panels. I just place the panel underneath the opening and sewed over the already pressed denim. (when you deconstruct the legs the previous fold from the hem remains) At this point you can leave the bottom raw (not my favorite), or hem it under. 

It's as simple as that.

What do you think? Pretty easy, no? Terribly cute, yes?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crocus Don't Lie...Spring Must Be Coming!

I can't believe spring is beginning to peak it's way out through winter. We went to the "new" house over the weekend (we do it every week to check the mail and make sure the place is still there). But this week it was warm enough to have a picnic. So we packed up sandwiches and drinks and a picnic blanket and had a picnic in our new backyard. It was great. We decided to explore the back acre a little bit, since it's been hard for us to do due to overgrowth and drainage issues. The kids had a blast exploring, and they both seem to have their own favorite exploring places already. Little-man likes to cover as much ground as possible, while my girl likes to look for specific things; birds nests, etc. While following Luke through a broken part of the horse fence I turned around and spotted a burst of color. I called Laurel over and she spent the rest of the afternoon picking the beautiful crocuses that had burst out of the cold ground to find the sun. It really felt like a little miracle. We never would have seen them from where we were either. They were hiding at the base of some trees on the other side of the yard...if I hadn't turned around, we never would have found them. (and they would have been gone before we ever knew they were there!)
I came across some things today that interest me (in no particular order)...

Natural Swimming Pools...we have to do something about our drainage problem, right?

We stopped at a flea market yesterday and I saw some antique chairs that I liked...then today I saw this. It's amazing how a simple pattern can be so dramatic. Now I want to go back and buy a chair so that I can do something like this with it!

This is a treehouse...looks like a gnome would live there. I can't wait to find the perfect tree on our new property to put a treehouse!!

This is from Land of wasn't particularly expensive...but that would take 30 minutes tops! And imagine the variations. I can't wait to decorate their new rooms. I can just picture a whole window seat filled with fun pillows. Birds and trees and butterflies and turtles!
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