March 30, 2010

quilt inspirations

So I've been thinking about making a quilt for my daughter when she transitions to a big girl bed (soon!). I know, I know. You're right. I don't know how to sew. Yet. Besides, I know people who do sew and that counts for a lot when it comes to bringing my visions to life.

There are two quilters I "discovered" via the CraftSanity podcast. They both do fabulous modern designs that are fun and funky.


• blog: Craft Nectar
• book: The Modern Quilts Sourcebook: Over 50 Inspiring Projects with Detailed Step-by-step Instructions and Illustrations

March 29, 2010

sky at dusk

I think the colors might be just as lovely in the winter but I probably miss them completely because I am not outside. I think my tree-lined street looks quaint. A robin was singing cheerfully while I took this photo, a pause before the bedtime routine.

March 27, 2010

Friday night garland!

Last night my partner in craft and I had a sew-fest. Of our three intended garlands, only one is complete. But I must take the blame since my single happy birthday garland evolved into two 6-yard multi-purpose creations. I had a fabulous time and was SO happy to see a vision of mine become reality. I find it thrilling to make something that only previously existed in my head. I suppose I do this at work but this is much more fun since it is just for me and no one has edits!

Baby triangles awaiting trimming, flipping, ironing.

I think I am going to use these skinny scraps in an Easter basket. Won't eggs look charming nestled in there?

My dear friend who encourages me in my artistic endeavors with a can-do spirit and supplies the sewing machine know-how.

Rearranging the order with my toes. 6 yards was longer than either of us had envisioned!

A garland is born!

You want to see it hanging up don't you? Well, you're just going to have to wait! The birthday party is next weekend so I am sure it will be well documented after that.

March 25, 2010


Tonight we read The Beautiful World that God Made. I picked it out when we visited the Library last week. I was attracted to the cheerful illustrations by the very talented Anne Wilson. I enjoyed it even more today when I studied them up close. There's a fabulous layers and textures that I am  highly attracted to. Most of my graphic design work involves clean, solid, flat colors. While I still consider that my style, I am interested in adding more texture to my home decorating and perhaps to some future personal projects. Illustrations like this make me want to experiment with paint.

March 24, 2010

spring surprises

Tumbleweed hydrangea waltzing through the neighborhood and appearing in surprising places, resting alongside brick walls, tucked into chain link fences like festive boutonnieres celebrating the arrival of spring. "Mommy, look! Get that flower!"

March 22, 2010

one person's trash... another person's treasure!

We have an on-going treasure hunt in the breakroom at work. If you have something you don't want, put it on the first table and someone is bound to take it. A drink powder you didn't like? Overnight diapers? A purse? A sweater? Put it out there! I myself have contributed a wooden picnic basket. It didn't even last 10 minutes. We're a thrifty bunch, us librarian types.

Today's treasures are some vintage chicks for Easter decorating. I snatched them right up. They're just old enough that they've earned the title "vintage" as opposed to "clutter." Now I have visions of gathering up lots of ceramic chicks and clustering them in high places or marching them across the mantle. It could be an amusing springtime display!

March 21, 2010

red and teal

My new favorite color combination is red and teal and turquoise. I wear this combination as does my living room.

The painter Laura Gunn (remember my poppy fabric and poppy obsession?) created this great piece of art that would be friendly with my house (notice the two different shades of blue!):

Unfortunately, she doesn't have anything for sale in her etsy shop last time I looked.

On a related note: I recently spied some panel curtains on sale at Target. I went to buy navy, saw and considered lime green and red, and ended up with turquoise color. The walls of the living room are more teal. I am anticipating a lovely combination. Now I must find the perfect hardware! I want white or a wood tone that will match my floor. Yes, this is yet another in progress project!

March 18, 2010

Garden Antiques

Julia and I were outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine (a stretched out transition between car and house) when I spied these lovlies in the garden. They're the base of poppy blooms, worn away to tiny fragile skeletons and lovely little rings of petals.

March 16, 2010

Baubles, beads, and buttons

I have a collection of broken costume jewelry and inherited buttons that I've sorted into empty peanut butter jars. What does this say about me? I like old stuff, including dusty beads. I keep things that are free and might become part of an art project. I seem to be doing this more now that I have a child and visions of crazy creative crafting. And I see artistic potential pretty much everywhere, including the recycling bin. I do have a hard time departing with glass jars. They seem so sturdy. And lasting. Let me know if you have any creative visions for using these treasures!

March 15, 2010

visions of garland...

I went fabric shopping on Saturday! Overwhelmed by options! I have always loved fabric stores. I love even more having a reason to fabric shop!

March 11, 2010

Some inspiration

So it's kind of on the old side but there's some truth in there. I've had this clipped out for over a decade now. I suppose it's kind of funny that I was reading things like Erma Bombeck as a kid or teenager but I always read the newspaper (maybe that's strange too!) and her column was there.

We've recently started an "inspiration station" at work. It's a bulletin board dedicated to inspiring things. So I rescued this clipping from the side of my fridge and made a fresh photocopy. Enjoy!

March 10, 2010

Kitchen makeover: curtains

I love the hardware that I currently have. One of the very first things I did when we moved in was to replace all the cabinet knobs to match. The current "curtains" are made up of three squares of fabric folded in half, which many people like and have complimented.

So my quest has been to find the perfect fabric. I have been working on compiling a blog post of all the options I have considered, with none of them being quite right. In fact, I have a folder labeled "fabric" that bookmarks to 25 different fabric websites! One of them being Spoonflower, a site where you can have your very own design printed.

Then it happened. I found it. Just yesterday. The lovely delicious line of fabrics in just the right colors featuring sassy bold red poppies. I was so happy! I already ordered some!

And I thought of one more!

I want to do a small little book on the history of our home, which was built in 1948. One of the previous owners actually stopped by and dropped off a little folder with information about the land the home was built on, saying he found it stuffed in the ceiling of the basement. It was odd to see how often the land changed hands. I wonder if it was traded around the way stocks are? I would like to understand that better.

I think we are the fourth owner. You can actually research all of that in the local history department of the Grand Rapids Public Library (of course!). People who have seen ghosts in their homes even go in to find out who that ghost might be! I would like to establish a timeline of owners and even try to track some people down to get a few photos of the house and what it looked like when they lived there. I just think it would be a cool thing to do. I always say I am going to do the research during my lunch but I haven't gotten started yet.

March 8, 2010

Project Wish List: Scrapbooks

I always have multiple project ideas swimming about in my head. Here's a nice long list for myself and for your amusement.

Scrapbooks I have supplies for:

1. Halloween book
This is a smaller book that would feature pumpkin photo and a costume photo from every year. Eventually, you will be able to flip through it and enjoy a fast forward experience of the annual festivities.

2. Christmas book
This is the same concept as the Halloween book although I am not quite sure how to narrow it down a far as which photos go in it every year.

3. Teacher book
I want to put together photos from Chad's teaching career, primarily the lovely annual school photo and then whatever additional odds and ends accumulate.

4. Old-fashioned scrapbook
I have decided to compile all the photos of friends and family that arrive at Christmas time into a large miscellaneous kind of book. This will also be the place where I keep copies of newspaper articles or announcements that relate to our family.

Scrapbooks (or photo books) I have in mind:

1. Grandma Bev's life
I know my Aunt Amy has all the photos in her basement and has talked about doing a book. It's a daunting project – after all, it would be her entire life – but I think it would be cool to do. I would love to have her siblings help write stories and captions to go with her childhood and for my grandfather, my father, my aunt, and my uncle to do the same for photos from her marriage and the time when their children were young. Sadly, I am not sure how much us grandchildren will remember. Some things for sure, and I think photos might help trigger memories. Anyway, this book would be kind of a family project. Maybe it should be a series of books. What could you fit in one – a decade? Two? All the images are pre-digital cameras so it would have to be the kind of scrapbook where you stick in the photos or there would be a whole lot of scanning involved if it was going to be done online.

2. Christmas ornament book
I think of this as being a small little book with close-up photos of individual ornaments. The page could have a caption or the opposite page on the spread could have a short little story. I think of making this kind of book for my husband's grandmother, who has several old ornaments with stories. I also think of doing this book for my Grandma Helen. Most of her ornaments came from travels. I can picture the ornament image on the left side of the page and a beautiful landscape on the right side of the page.

3. 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
That's where I left off in the scrapbook world. I like to imagine these being like yearbooks of our life as a family. My daughter was born in 2008 but I recently finished a book that encompassed her first year of life so it seems like starting there would feel repetitious, at least right now. I obviously can't keep up on doing regular scrapbooking so I am interested in doing the books online through Snapfish or I just haven't tried it yet. I am not intimidated by doing page layouts. I do that every day for my job. So really, this shouldn't be all that difficult! There are some pretty interesting vacations in a few of those years (the Florida Keys and Boston) so it would be fun to get those photos in book form.

4. When I was 1...
I would also like to make a set of books that are child-specific that the child can have for themselves. Right now, as my daughter is a toddler, I frame those in terms of age: "When I was 1..." or "When I was 2..." But as she enters school it seems like it would make sense to have them follow the school year. I think the key to success with these books (which I picture as little squares for some reason) and with the so-called yearbooks, is to do them a few years after the fact. Then you are much less attached to every photo and able to edit things down.

March 5, 2010

Kitchen makeover: cabinets part 2

So this site shows a lovely example of glass front mixed with solid fronts:

And IKEA shows it both ways (mixed and all glass up top):

Something to consider. I suppose it would be easy enough to change if we didn't like it!

March 4, 2010

Kitchen makeover: cabinet options

So once I get the walls painted, the cabinets are getting refreshed in some way:

1. I paint them.
If I choose this option, I have to figure out if I paint them with regular ole paint (glass? semi-gloss?) or do I go for some special cabinet coating stuff? I am also considering leaving the doors off the large top ones so that they are open. Then that leads me to think, "Oh, I could paint the interior of the cabinets a different color!" However, the risk here is that the interior of your cupboards is permanently exposed. So all that counter clutter I tucked away on a shelf? Back out in the open!

2. I get a quote for getting them refaced.
As I understand it, this puts new coat of something (more substantial than paint I think) on the base and then attached brand-new doors with brand new hardware. Our current hardware is pretty funny. Teeny little springs are always exploding out of the hinges and zooming across the kitchen. I think this might open up the option of doing the top ones with glass doors with white panes that are similar to the style of the window.

Both of these options have the inside of my cupboards being visible in some way. One set, that has my Feistaware in it, would of course look bright and sassy.

The other set is a little more monochromatic since I mostly store glass and plastic containers here – and they're all clear!

March 3, 2010

A future obsession

Today at work I listed to a back episode of the CraftSanity podcast that interviewed Jenny Hart, owner of Sublime Stitching. I have always appreciated the look of embroidered things and wondered how exactly they are made. Projects with stitching have been popping up in the craft books I have been reading. And now I have discovered this site! It has a starter kit and fun and funky patterns. I am tempted to send away for it and get started at this very moment. I will resist for now!

Here's one of my favorite patterns from the site:

March 2, 2010

In honor of our tree

I used to say I wish I had a maple tree instead of an oak tree because the leaves are so much brighter and more colorful in the fall. But I'm growing to appreciate the big strong oaks that line my street. I'm noticing the curving, dipping, rounded shape of its leaves. I'm even appreciating their year round presence. Even now, with snow still on the ground, my daughter manages to find these brown leftovers and bring them into the house, pleased with her treasure. The abundance of acorns the tree offers will provide for my children's creative adventures – a treasure of nature.

Spring might come after all. We played outside tonight – finding acorns ("find the baby ones, mom!") and eating snow (Julia, not me). 

March 1, 2010

We made time!

So it must be some kind of record. On Saturday, my friend Rebecca and I worked on a scrapbook for her son for... drumroll... seven hours! We were using photos from the first year of his life. We made it all the way up to 10 months old before we called it quits for the day. I thought everyone would find this tidbit amusing. My advice for making time? Put it on the calendar. And have another adult around to entertain your child (thanks, husband!).