September 30th, 2009 - Alterations

This time of year often prompts me to start doing a closet reorganization and clean out. When I went through things this year, I found two items that I never really wore (well, there was substantially more than two, but these two I thought I could fix).

This is a little blazer that T's grandma had purchased, but had never liked. It never looked quite right on me either, but I liked the fabric so I thought I could fiddle around with it a bit and come up with something workable.

I took the shoulder pads out and took in the shoulder shape a bit, shortened the sleeves and added a little slit and a button to each one:

added some belt loops from the extra sleeve fabric and put in a grosgrain ribbon as a belt.

I am really pleased with the change and I think it will give me something to wear this fall with jeans that is a little more fancy.

I also had a long sleeve brown shirt that I bought, wore once, and hung up in the abyss.

It always looked a little dumpy on me, and as with EVERY SHIRT ON EARTH the sleeves were too short. So? Make them shorter of course!

Now to me it looks like a cute little cowboy-esque number. Again, I am sure that I will get more use out of it now. And even if I don't? It didn't cost me a penny.


September 23rd, 2009 - Last One For a While

Since I have been on a roll posting pictures about the house, I am keeping with the theme and posting a little dining room update that I did. This will be the last one for a while though, as the only major room to do now is the bedroom, and we are a while off that one. It is so empty in there that it is going to take some serious planning for that one.

Since we moved here in March of 2008, this is what our dining room has looked like.

Not exactly the picture of design eh? We have never had a dining room before, so we don't own any furniture. The one picture and a rug was basically an attempt to keep it from echoing in there. Unfortunately it is right beside the front door, so it wasn't exactly a pretty first site for visitors to see.

A little while ago we found a kitchen table and chairs that we really liked, so we were able to move the old set into the dining room so at least it didn't look so empty. And then when T's mom was here, she helped me move around some of the things I already had to make it look a little fuller.

It didn't stay like this long though, because as soon as I got it into my head that I could make it look decent in there for a very small budget, I was off. A can of paint (thanks to T's mom for helping me paint!), some decorative accessories (most of which I already had), and some projects later I am so happy with how it came out.

Isn't it purdy? The walls were painted Benjamin Moore "Driftwood" on the top half only. I added some vases in the corner on a table that I already had;

ordered some artwork for the walls;

and made a little display for the centre of the table (all with things I had, although I did get a new tablecloth).

The fork and the spoon on the wall were fun to make. I took some MDF that TJ had in the garage and cut it to size. Then I printed out a fork and spoon picture on a transparency and used the overhead at T's work to trace them out onto chart paper. Then I cut out the chart paper and traced it onto the MDF. We borrowed a neighbours jigsaw and TJ cut out the inside. I used the dremel to sand it out and perfect the shapes, and then painted them out the wall colour. While at the hardware store they had a container of Weathering Glaze on for $0.50. I don't know why, but I jumped on it. I put a layer of that on and then coated it in flat white paint. That gives them that weathered barn look which I really like.

For the other side of the room, TJ built me a chalkboard, again using leftover MDF that we had from other projects. It even has a really pretty routered edge. One coat of primer, some sanding and three coats of chalkboard paint et voila!

When we are having guests I plan on putting the menu and everyone's name up there.

The curtain panel that you can see in the above picture was something else that I made. There was much traveling to different fabric stores and many swatches before I picked this one. I didn't want to have a big curtain rod across the centre, as these curtains are just panels, not meant to cover the window. So I bought two $3 curtain rods and cut them down little before mounting them

Someday we will have the big dining room table of our dreams, but for now I think this room is much warmer and much more inviting. I don't like having wasted spaces, and now I think I could even hold a little dinner party. For now though I just keep going in there to drink my tea.


September 20th, 2009 - Nook Update

We have a small nook in our house upstairs between the bedrooms. The previous owners had used it for an office space, but we have a bedroom for that. A while back I got a very good deal on a tiny pull out couch that fit into that space, but I really wasn't sure what to do with it. While TJ's mom was here, she suggested that I turn it into a little sitting area.

This is what it looked like before:

Just sort of an empty space.

This is directly across from the couch. This is the gorgeous doll house that my parents built me when I was a little girl. Every piece in it is hand made, right down to the little coins that were used for burners on the stove. (By the way, if anyone recognizes this design and knows where I can get a set of plans for it? I would love you.). It has since found an awesome new display spot in the guest bedroom so that everyone can see it and admire it.

T's mom suggested moving some art from our bedroom into the nook, where it was more suited to the space. My bedroom is slowly being emptied of every decorative item for use in the rest of the house. Now I just need to decide what it is that I want to do in that one. Maybe in the new year.

But back to the nook. With the artwork moved I needed to find a little chair for the corner. Enter craigslist.

I found this chair for a whopping $25. It was dirty:

but some soap, oxygen bleach and a toothbrush took care of that.

I found some great fabric for a pillow, and moved some little decorative accessories that I already had into the space. And Ta Da!

Revitalized nook space!

I am quite happy with how it turned out. And it cost me all of $63 total ($11 for fabric, $27 for art and $25 for the chair). It's nice to sit up there now and read or chat on the phone. I am glad it is no longer wasted space.


September 17th, 2009 - Touch Ups

Thank you all so much for the comments on our garage. I am thinking about renting myself out.....takers?

For a while there has been a chip in the wall in our upstairs hallway. I see it every time I go up the stairs and I think "I should fix that", but I am too lazy to get out the paint, shake up the giant can with a few drops in it, find the screwdriver to get it open, find the filler, sand it, find a paintbrush, find the mallet to shut the paint can etc.

So I thought I would make myself a little touch up kit. I pulled out all the cans of paint that have been used in the house, along with some old dollar store spice jars.

I filled each of the jars up (no mess made doing that. Nooooo.)

And labeled them all with the room and the colour. Then I took a little wooden box that I had and added some filler, a sanding pad, a rag and some different sized paintbrushes.

Now when I need to touch something up I just get the box and I have everything I need. And the best part is that everything is screwtop. Nice and neat and no screwdriver needed.

Now to fix that stupid chip.


September 13th, 2009 - Garage Reno

Back in the spring TJ decided that he would like to paint the garage floor with one of those epoxy floor coatings. He does a lot of woodworking (as I am sure long time blog readers know) and it is really difficult to sweep sawdust from unfinished concrete.

But as with many home improvement jobs, one thing leads to another. Once the floor was painted, it was so clean and new looking that the rest of the garage got an overhaul as well.

Here are the only real before shots I have:

That is TJ about to pressure wash the floor. Notice the white walls, stained floor, unorganized shelving in the background, etc.

Here TJ is starting the painting (which could only happen after pressure washing, acid etching, neutralizing with ammonia, and pressure washing again). You can see the dirty white door in the background here too.

With a huge amount of help from TJ's Mom, we painted the walls blue and the trim a dark charcoal grey. We found a cabinet at the Habitat for Humanity Restore which we painted "safety red, gloss", repurposed the shelving we already had, and bought a few organizational tools.

And tada! A fully organized garage. The bench at the back TJ built last fall, and the cabinets that are holding the bench were salvaged from an old restaurant and also painted safety red.

Everything has a hanging spot, and it is all labeled with our handy label maker (love that thing!).

TJ hung a towel bar, painted his garbage pail red, and we hung some automotive posters he had.

You might remember these were part of his birthday gift from me last year.

In the corner TJ hung some marble tile that he bought at the Restore for almost nothing, so that when the hose is wet and dirty it doesn't make a mess of the walls.

That is the big kitchen cabinet we painted, and beside it TJ repurposed some slides he had and made a hanging board for some of his larger tools. Here it is in the "out" position, but when closed it slides in beside the cabinet.

I am really happy with the result, but not half as happy as TJ. The floor is amazing to clean, as we proved this weekend while working on some other home improvement projects. We just can't seem to sit still. :)


September 8th, 2009 - For the Love of All Things Neat

Any of you who have met me in person, and perhaps some that have not, probably know that I like things neat. I take great pleasure out of organizing something like a closet, and then standing back and seeing the results. The only area in my life where this doesn't seem to hold true is during cooking. While I am much better than I used to be, I still seem to leave a trail behind me that is rather appalling when I am in the kitchen.

As a result some of my clothing seems to be holding on to memories of past kitchen escapades. What better excuse to make this adorable apron!

This was a very simple pattern to make, and I gotta tell you, I feel awesome wearing this. So 1950's I can hardly stand it.

Isn't that fabric awesome? (Alexander Henry, Apples and Pears Blue). This pattern is actually reversible, but the back side of mine is just white cotton. I knew I was never going to wear it the other way since I love this fabric so much. Here's hoping it saves some of my clothes!


September 3rd, 2009 - Another Hybrid

Ever since I knit TJ his EZ Seamless Hybrid a couple of years ago for Christmas, I have been secretly trying to steal it from him to wear for myself. It is warm, comfy and a great go to sweater. The problem is, as soon as it is cold, TJ rarely takes it off long enough for me to steal. So....

Pattern: EZ Seamless Hybrid from Knitting Without Tears (which everyone should own)
Yarn: Caroden Farms Worsted, light grey
Needles: US8
Size: Approximately 36" around

It is just starting to have the first hint of fall here, so it seems appropriate that it is done.

I love the shirt yoke construction option for this sweater, it really makes it something special .

I particularly like the back.

It seems to be one of those sweaters that is flattering on everyone, male or female. I am sure at some point in my life I will knit another one, but for now I am just going to enjoy mine.



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