While the house isn't totally clean, or unpacked...we did reupholster the dining room chairs and recover the couch cushions (most of them anyway). What a dramatic difference in appearance (for both) and comfort (for the dining room chairs). Both projects together total about $31. $1 for the fabric and $30 for the foam for the dining room chairs. And I have enough foam leftover to cover the piano bench as well. In the end the foam was sold out at the craft store and they weren't getting any more in before Christmas...and living on an island it's not like I can drive to the next Joann's or Hobby Lobby. So I headed to Walmart and found a couple of choices, but settled on the 1.5 foam/memory foam combo. (The eggcrate stuff was half the price, but I wanted to make sure it was going to look nice, hold up and be comfortable.)
As for the pillows, the fabric is the same as the $1 upholstery fabric from the dining room as well as some leftover natural canvas drop cloths from previous projects. I changed up the scrabble pillows, instead of using a plain dark fabric I used the same fabric as the rest. And while I like the effect I need to kick up some contrasting color for my own sake...I don't want things too match-y. I was thinking about an appliqued version of my old Candid Memory Cards, and some knitted covers. (something like these)
There are so many colors to work with in this fabric from light blue to rust orange...which I love. Plus I've been wanting to make a quilt with each block being an appliqued memory, so a pillow would give me a chance to do a quick trial version.
(plus I still totally want to make a whale pillow...I just can't help myself, inspiration below)
I SHOULD be cleaning for our company tomorrow...but instead, I'm starting the reupholstery project that I've been meaning to do for years. We finally hit the point where it can't wait anymore. Most of the fabric is torn at least partially off. (See? I wasn't kidding...yikes!)
Thankfully I'm ready with fabric in hand...and guess how much it cost me? $1. That's right, I can reupholster 6 dining room chairs for $1 of beautiful upholstery fabric. Seriously...you can't buy fabric for that. BUT YOU CAN!! (Not here in Alaska of course...but in Georgia you can) So for those friends still in GA it's a little family owned place on GA 20 between Loganville and Snellville. She sells her leftovers from her upholstery projects (as well as other fabrics) for $1.
I have yards and yards of fabric with panels cut out. I use the large pieces in between the panels for things like this, and the small bits for smaller projects. I've used these fabrics for purses, fabric bins, etc. It's such a sturdy weight of fabric with some really fun prints. I even have an uncut hand printed fabric that I'm waiting for just the right project. It's gorgeous. But I love this print as well and I can't wait to see the finished project. (I just hope I can finish it all by tomorow night!)
So what do you do when you live in Alaska and you need a Christmas tree? Well...you can go the artificial route (but it's just not the same to me), you can buy one from the boyscouts (boring) OR you can hike into the Tongass National Rainforest and cut one down.
We actually pondered this one for a minute...but in the end we decided to do what we came here to do LIVE BIG. So we drove to Bear Mountain, trudged through the snow, picked a tree, sunk in the snow getting to the tree, cut down the tree, dragged the tree back to the car, tied it on top the car, carried it inside the house, realized it was 5 feet too tall, cut off the bottom, stood it up and.....laughed. It is the scraggliest Charlie Brown looking tree you ever did see. (apparently we cut off the wrong 5 feet!)
But so what, right? We had a blast, we got to play in the snow, we got to feel in touch with nature...and in touch with our lives. I can't even compare it with last year (we picked it up at the Kroger on the way home one night)...not comparable at all.
It's the best Christmas tree ever...as long as you don't look at it too closely.
Time to recover those hideous Rooms-to-go couch cushions that came with our couch. And while I'm on the topic WHY ON EARTH do they have to make couch cushions so ugly? Unless you can afford to buy your couch at Ethan Allen or Pottery Barn you are destined for ugly hotel lobby pillows. I have 11 pillows to re-cover (though recover is appropriate as well...as in recover from the hideous ugly disease they were inflicted with)
Four of them I will be doing something like this...(from pillowhappy on ETSY)
But here is some more ETSY ispiration for my pillows...
I should have enough fabric to do them for free, I have a bunch of natural canvas we bought when we were working on the reno-house in Georgia...so that will do at least 6 of the pillows. Free is good...though I was tempted by some batik fabric at the store with native fish symbols. The native symbols are everywhere here, and I really love the block print feel of them. Like these...
In the end I'm just going to start working on them and see how they come out...wish me luck! I will be posting soon with the cushion recovery as well as dining room chair reulpholstering (for $1!!!)
I saw the most beautiful mittens at a little boutique here in town, but for $27 I couldn't swallow the price for the nominal amount of yarn. I needed to learn how to make them. So I got a couple of books from the library with mitten patterns. I'm already bad with patterns...but come on! You could could write an entire book just on how to make a mitten...with lots of helpful pictures and hints. But no, the beginners books had one pattern each, both were 2 pages. (No how-two pics included) My first attempt I didn't use a pattern, I just played around. Luke has claimed this one as his own and loves the additional hole that he can stick his finger through.
On my second attempt I wrote my own pattern based on what I learned from my first attempt and then I combined the two patterns into something I thought was more reasonable. I added a ruffle on the bottom (because the ones I loved had a simple ruffle), and ribbed the wrist section. These came out more reasonably. But wow...this is not a simple project. At one point I had all 5 DPNs in use. Though, I have to say I prefer them to a circular needles. They can be a little tricky to maneuver around, but I hate using stitch markers, so instead I can place the DPNs in such a way that they are the stitch markers.
I am not to the level to make the ones from the store yet, but in a few more tries I think I will. This week I will finish the other mitten and then I'm moving onto pillow covers. Our new couch came with the most hideous pillows (truly unless you buy your sofa at Ethan Allen or Pottery Barn they're going to be ugly). So I'm going to cover a few with knitted pillow cases in various shades of teal and turquoise, and the rest I will cover in unbleached canvas with appliqued letters that will spell out different words. I can't wait...with company coming for Christmas I want to get cracking on the finishing touches of decor...you know like making a bed for Luke...and me...and unpacking all the boxes...and making pillow case covers. 3 weeks...NO PROBLEM!!
On a strange sidenote...when I made the ugly mitten I kept thinking to myself that the thumb portion reminded me of a dragon from some movie...I kept thinking through all the movies with strange creatures...I finally put my finger on it...Willow. The strange bloated thumb reminds me of the dragon from Willow. Am I crazy or do you see it? (granted I can see it in 3D, it might not look so much the same in 2D)
The weather held out this weekend giving us a chance to explore our new home a little more. We went out to Settlers Cove on Saturday and hiked and explored the beach. We found the most beautiful starfish, the first was a color of purple that my camera couldn't capture well enough to do it justice. We also had some seals playing in the water right behind us the whole time we were playing at the beach. Saturday night I promised the kids we could have a glow party. So we set off all the glow sticks and danced our hearts out.
Sunday we went to Rotary Beach and collected sea glass, explored and collected driftwood for the fire. Now that we're heating exclusively with wood we are going through our wood supply much faster than we expected, supplementing with driftwood keeps us from "burning through it" too quickly.
I think I was made for the Pacific Northwest. While I wish there was a little more sun, a little less rain and a little more snow...I really can't complain. So far since moving here we hike more, explore more, bake more, read more...etc etc. That is exactly why we moved here, to be the kind of family we just didn't seem to have time for in Atlanta. There are so few distractions here, I get to just hang out with my family. I get to workout everyday, I get to knit everyday...I even get to watch network television after the kids go to bed. I am a happy woman.
I have learned to take advantage of the sun here in Ketchikan. There is this overwhelming feeling that you need to drop everything and go outside when the sun is shining. And so we do. When the sun is shining after school we stop at Rotary Beach on the way home. Luke likes to climb the rocks and Laurel likes to comb the beach for sea glass and shells. These are the kind of days you realize why people dream of visiting Alaska.
I know carbs are "bad" for you, but really...Lance Armstrong resorting to haunting my bread board is just going too far. Seriously...what's next an image of Bob Harper in my butter?
This is no joke folks. Late last night I was watching R5 Sons (I think this is just an Alaska thing, so no worries if you have no idea what that is) and making bread. After I rolled out the dough and put it in the pan to rise I felt like something was watching me. I looked down, and there he was staring at me from the board I just used. I swear I didn't touch the board, I rolled out the dough, picked it up and this image was just there. I thought it was hysterical and I called for Jon to come look, but he wasn't nearly as impressed as I was. Really, how could you not be amazed by this?!?!
This sweater took some twists and turns. After ripping out the collar I decided to knit a button-able collar. I did a simple rib-knit and left an opening in the front and back. At first I decided to close the opening with a button and a loop, but after taking a picture of it I realized it looked like a girls sweater. (am I right?)
So I took off the loop and knit a little overlapping band and put in a buttonhole. I did this on the front and the back, so now the sweater is reversible (and more importantly fits over Luke's head). In the end I think it looks like I meant to do this, plus it's the little details that make things look unique.
I know better than to continue to crochet or knit when I'm tired. I make mistakes, I take shortcuts...it's just generally a bad idea. I was so ready to have the body of the sweater finished that I didn't wait to try it on Luke before I crocheted the neck onto the pieced together sweater. If I had waited I would have realized that I wouldn't be able to pull it over his cute (but obviously large) head. Oy. I hate undoing and redoing things. You know how carpenters say measure twice, cut once...I am going to apply that concept to sweaters...and add onto it FOLLOW A PATTERN DUMMY! Pattern? Me?!?!?! NEVER!
I did this entire thing using the afghan stitch (with the exception of a single crochet around the bottom and top to finish it off) so that I could cross-stitch a skull onto the front. The afghan stitch leaves a very square stitch behind, perfect for cross-stitching. Though, I'm wishing now I had just knit the thing and appliqued on a skull. Live and learn, but on a positive note it does make a very thick sweater...which is starting to come in very handy here in SE AK.
Becoming Maggie Blue is the journey to becoming the person I want to be. After many years of living a conventional life, we decided to move to Alaska and live on a boat. Currently we're traveling full time in a camper with our two kids, exploring North America. We have no plan beyond going slowly and seeing all there is to see, and taking the time to connect and be together as much as possible in these special years.