I have a weakness for eye-catching fabric. Not to the point of obsession, but my eyes do widen with glee when I see a print I like. That being said, there are, apparently, folks who are obsessed. Like the lady who frequents one of my favorite fabric haunts. The owner there told me she comes in quite frequently and buys about a yard of different fabrics each time. When he asked her what she does with all the fabric she buys she informed him she puts it on display in her fabric room. She doesn’t use it for anything but eye candy. In a room dedicated solely to her fabric collection. Seriously. That being said, my fondness for textiles is not nearly that maniacal. Tangent aside, I visited my aforementioned haunt yesterday and picked up a yard each of these beauties.
I am going to make some 20 x 20 pillow covers tonight (zippered thank you very much) to put in my Etsy Shop (click here to visit). Among my other sewing projects in waiting are the organic french terry diapers I need to make for Charley. Girl is growing fast! I made six a few weeks ago and I absolutely love them. I love the fabric, fit, feel, absorbency, and look. The only problem is they are time-consuming to make. Here’s one from the batch I made a ~month ago.
Good looking, huh? Last but not least, my other sewing project in the works is to make new reusable shopping bags using Hutson’s dog food bag. Sounds crazy I know, but I came across images of similar ones yesterday and thought they were rather nifty. For one thing, they are putting what would otherwise be trash to good use and for another they are essentially free to make.
(courtesy of Etsy Shop Farmtown Totes)
Needless to say I have plenty to keep me busy these next few days outside of work, family, and other daily requirements. Here’s hoping I don’t flake out and decide to be lazy tonight instead, choosing to read the latest Food & Wine instead of sewing!
I am already making my own lotions, solid perfumes, and exfoliants…why not my own soap? That, at least, was my thought process the other day when I decided to try my hand at homemade soaps. My explanation for this home bath and beauty adventure (warning: scroll down to the next paragraph to skip my soap box rant) is that I want to know what I put on my body and in my belly. I find it disturbing when I read ingredient lists I cannot pronounce much less understand. Why do I need preservatives that act like formaldahyde when absorbed by own body? Why do I need fragrances and perfumes that are synthetic and disrupt my endocrine system? I embrace the notion that knowledge is power- that knowing what you are consuming, absorbing, buying keeps you healthier and saves you from unnecessary risk. So when I realized my last soap bar was just about kapoot, it was the perfect time for me to make my own using organic and simple ingredients.
I chose a glycerin-based soap to experiment with first. I added Vitamin E, shea butter, beeswax, and essential oils to liven it up and, wah-lah!, I ended up with three batches (9 bars total) that all smell amazing and leave my skin soft and smooth. So far the Cedarwood variation is my favorite and rustic enough (re: manly) for Aaron to like it, too.
My Lavender Soap
The moral of this tale is that making things yourself results in a superior product both in terms of quality and safety. While it is true that homemade requires more time and effort than running to the store, I firmly believe that whatever exertion you to have to put forth is a small cost for the rewards you reap. I am now stepping down from my proverbial soap box. Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!
Happy hump day boys and girls! It’s setting up to be yet another whirlwind day for your’s truly, but what day isn’t when you have two kids, a dog, fish, and three chickens? That’s right…three chickens! Our newest additions joined the Randall flock (ha!) this past weekend and have already blessed us with five eggs. We decided some time ago we wanted chickens since 1) I eat eggs like they are going out of style and 2) we fancy ourselves urban farmers and revel in the idea of being more self-sufficient.
The original plan was to purchase day old chicks and raise them ourselves. The only downside of that idea is it would take months for them to mature enough to produce eggs and, well, we’re impatient farmers (oxymoronic, I know). It just so happens that one of Aaron’s customers raises chickens and offered to give him several for free. Who can say no to free? So Aaron and Roscoe went and picked up three lovely ladies- Lucky (Aaron’s), Fred Clifford (Roscoe’s) and Ruby (mine).
They are Buff Orpingtons and have slowly started to get used to us. It’s amazing how providing food and water will make you fast friends with a chicken. So far, it’s certainly been a learning curve for us. On the first day, we quickly realized that our chicken yard needed to be enclosed after we chased them down in the neighbors yard not once, but twice after they flew over the fence. Despite looking absolutely ridiculous scrambling after loose chickens, I am thrilled to have ”the girls” as I like to call them.
As for the chicken coop, Aaron built it almost entirely out of scrap material and of his own design. It turned out beautifully!
He incorporate a handy way to get the eggs out of the coop without irking the chickens. Ingenious!
So far so good, although we are still researching like crazy in ensure we keep them healthy and producing. Who knew they had to have certain ratios of feed (i.e., pellets and scratch), be deloused, have their coop and run cleaned regularly, etc.? They are certainly more work than we had anticipated but the reward is two fold: not just eggs, but a learning experience for the whole family. As for Roscoe, he’s smitten! We might have a future farmer in our midsts!
My latest obsession is the air plant. More formally known as Tillansdia, the air plant is quite a funky specimen. It requires no soil, minimal water, and very little thought- a combo that is more than ideal in my book. The only downside of these plants is trying to find them. Lucky for me a nursery in the area had a few on hand for my most recent project.
The first step in my “Spruce up the mantle” project was ordering these hanging glass terrariums from CB2, the cheaper cousin of Crate & Barrel. They are $6.95 a piece with a flat shipping rate of $4.95.
Within a week, these glass lovelies were in my hands and ready to hang. With a little help from things I already had on hand (namely the large gilt frame and wreath), I created my display.
I tucked a little moss into the wreath to add more interest.
But of course my favorite part is the air plants. All they require to maintain is a light water misting once a week. Even the most plant care challenged/brown thumb folks can handle these beauties.
I’m certainly digging the display (at least for now) and quite happy with the cost it took to create- somewhere in the ballpark of $60 total. Easy peasy and super affordable. Now it’s on to the next project!
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s time once again to overindugle in conversation hearts, confessions of affection, and googly eyed adoration. While I wouldn’t qualify this day as my favorite holiday of the year, it is nice to have an annual reminder that we should vocalize and express our love for the special persons in our lives. We can too easily get caught up in daily doldrums and stresses and fail to adequately display our care and concern for our friends, family, and significant others. With that being said, lots of kisses and hugs to my wonderful husband, son, family, and friends- without you life would not be as magical or meaningful!
Mushiness and gushiness aside, I do have a rather appropriate recap to share. This past weekend we hosted our housewarming party for the new pad, complete with a vday theme. We called it our housewarming/lovefest and certainly felt the love from everyone who attended. (While I realize hosting a housewarming two weeks prior to my anticipated delivery date was risky, the good news is that the party did not have to move to the hospital.)
A quick shot of the decorations (although minus the tissue paper pom-poms we made)
We were also very fortunate to have some very special folks as visitors this weekend- our wonderful friends The Pohlman’s who came from Wilmington, North Carolina to celebrate with us. They made the weekend quite memorable with good conversation and company.
As for celebrating today, Aaron and I are going to enjoy a quiet night in with a planned feast of grass-fed rack of lamb, creme brulee, and a good bottle of wine (confession: I will be indulging in one glass). Roscoe has his own celebration at school and will likely come home wired from all the sugar and sweets. His valentine’s for his classmates are of course homemade (surprise!), but I thought they turned out rather cute.
But enough rambling about love for one day! I hope everyone has a wonderful day and takes time to show appreciation for the special people in their lives. xoxo
My last post I waxed poetic about our recently painted entry and front parlour/office. The change in color had a dynamic effect on improving the atmosphere and feel of the rooms. While I consider the front parlour/office essentially done in terms of decorating, the front entry still needs a little TLC. With the walls now a creamy off white (Valspar’s Honeymilk), I am planning on (eventually) undertaking Plan B- which is using this concentric circle stencil randomly applied on the walls in a high gloss version of Honeymilk for a subtle effect.
While I am excited about getting this project underway it is a tad lower on the project priority list than say getting the nursery together (which I haven’t even attempted to do). Hence my stencilling shall have to wait, but that hasn’t prevented me from imagining what the front entry will look like when completed or what it still needs in terms of decor.
My plan is to keep the furnishing in this room fairly simple so the first feelings we have upon entering the home are reflective of simplicity not clutter. Besides the bench and teacart, there won’t be much else in there except one desperately needed item: a coat rack! Aaron and I both found ourselves tossing our jackets and bags on the bench since we had no where to properly place our discards of the day. After a little perusing on the ole internet, I found this beauty- a coat rack that Aaron can easily make using plywood, a skill saw, and my drawing skills.
I haven’t exactly informed Aaron he’ll be making this in the near future, but I’m sure he won’t mind (he’s rather accomodating that way). While I did like this particular rack the best, here are some other beauts I found in my search that would have been just as simple to recreate.
Like this one made out of rebar.
Or this one out of old spoons.
I love this one by artist Dominic Wilcox using old paintbrushes.
I even liked this irregular picket style one, but mostly for its vivid color than it’s actual design merits.
Once we get our little coat rack completed, we’ll have a fun and functional way to store our daily necessities. The best part is that we’ll also have solved our entry clutter dilemma at a fraction of the price it would cost us for this coat rack at retail. I simply cannot imagine paying $600+ (seriously) when we can recreate a near exact version for less than $40. All you need to save some moolah is a little ingenuity and willingness to sacrfice convenience in favor of time- a price I am more than willing to pay.
Yesterday I mentioned I was going to attempt to felt soap. It looked like fun and I’ve heard that they are amazingly exfoliating. How hard could it be? Turns out, not that hard at all. I decided to use some used soap bars to try my hand at felting since I didn’t want to waste a new bar of soap.
I’ve realized now that using such a small bar of soap as a trial did have its downside. Because of all the suds you create in the process of felting the wool roving, the bar decreases in size noticeably (which left me with a rather pathetic size felted soap). Anyhoo, lesson learned- now let’s backtrack on how I did it.
First I wrapped the roving around my bar. I should have wrapped it a lot tighter so it gripped the soap better, but, again, lesson learned.
You then drizzle on warm water, slowly working up a sud. If you get the bar too wet too quickly, then the roving simply slips off. The second bar I made, it helped to get the soap wet and slightly sudsy before I wrapped the roving around. Once the bar is wet, you simple have to work it into a good lather in your hands occasionally rinses off the bar with warm water. I worked this bar for about 15 minutes and still feel like I could have handled it a bit longer.
Once you feel it has felted to your satisfaction, rinse it one more time and wrap it in a towel to dry. Easy, right? If it dries and you don’t feel like the wool warped enough, just remember that as you use the bar the roving will felt more.
My only other tip is to wrap the bar of soap with enough roving. I was a tad skimpy with the roving on my first and second bar and it left slight gaps that revealed the bar of soap underneath. Nevertheless, this was a fun project! I look forward to making more in the future as gifts (using a new bar of soap of course!).
I stayed up way to late last night reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” on the ole’ kindle last night. Not that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy having some “me” time and the rare pleasure of quiet, because I certainly did. However, I should have known that the night I stay up until 1 am reading is the night Roscoe gets up several times in the wee hours of the morning for one thing or another. Needless to say (although I’ll state it anyway), I am dragging today and planning on indulging in some caffeine to get myself productive at work. I figure that since I am over 8 months along, a little Starbucks rejuvenation won’t do much harm to the little bambino growing inside.
But enough complaining and strategizing how I’ll get through the day! Let’s discuss my goal for tonight, shall we? Admittedly I have been a tad lazy on the creativity front lately. I have shunned the sewing machine and crafting in favor of some lazy evenings and social outings. Now that I’ve given my creative spirit a rest, it’s time to get back into the swing of things and get cracking on some projects. First and foremost on the agenda is felted soaps. I’ve been seeing them everywhere lately! After a quick Bing search, I found several easy tutorials. I picked up my wool roving at Hobby Lobby the other day and happen to have several spare bars of soap at the house. Not sure my first attempts will look as good as these, but fingers crossed. I’ll post some photos tomorrow of my end product.
Image Source: Tomboy Design
Who knew you could make such cute designs with felted wool? These character soaps are adorable!
Image source: Frugal Kiwi
These would make cute gifts for Valentine’s Day (which is quickly approaching!)
Image Source: Creative Ideas for You
I will admit that knowing I have a fun project to look forward to tonight does help boost my energy for the day ahead- hopefully thoughts of shrinking roving will still be enough to get my through the 2 o’clock slump!
My latest redecorating efforts have nothing to do with the holidays, but rather were born out of necessity. Let me explain. We love having house guests and are blessed with good friends and family who visit us on the occasional weekend. This was easily managed in our old house since we had plenty of spare bedrooms to accomodate. In our new place, however, we don’t have this same luxury; not because we can’t, but rather because the current furniture configuration isn’t arranged to maximum efficiency/effectiveness. Take Roscoe’s room for instance.
It’s obviously a boy’s room and that means that’s there are constantly trucks and blocks everywhere. That’s fine and dandy except that it’s hard to make this room useful for anything else other than snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails in its current configuration. My plan was to change out the exisiting bed to two twins while rearranging the furniture. That way, when we did have house guests, they would have a place to sleep. My initial intention was to accomplish this plan over the next several weeks, but when I was aked to babysit my adorable niece and nephew this past weekend that time table got majorly accelerated.
Luckily, my MIL was remodeling the family’s beach condo and had two twin headboards for me to use. My plan was simple. Cover them with foam and batting to make padded headboards and then topping them off with slipcovers. Easy as pie!
Foam cut to size and stapled on.
Batting stapled on.
And the fabric I selected for my slipcovers, picked up at my favorite fabric place for $5/yard.
I’ll post pictures of how they turned out tomorrow (hint: they look awesome!).
On Friday it dawned on me that I had yet to design, print, and send out our Christmas cards for the 2011 holiday season. Over the years, it has become our tradition to make homemade cards so running out to the store to buy a few packs simply was not an option. I had originally planned to have professional family photos done for use on a card design, but scheduling conflicts and unexpected events derailed that idea. By Friday afternoon I was sufficiently fixated on sending out cards prior to 2012 to actually get around to creating one using a photo I already had on hand. Behold, Roscoe hanging an ornament on the Christmas tree this year.
I retinted this photo to sepia and merely printed on manila cardstock. Then I created a top design of holiday-themed shutters that would “open” to the photo and our text. With a little exacto work on the shutters and glue stick to hold my pieces together, I had our holiday card.
It took me about a half hour to put everything together and our cards were done. They are in the mail as we speak and I can cheerily check another item of the to-do list. Joy!