Tuesday, February 15, 2011


You know how curtains are supposed to be really easy to sew.  Well, as we are quickly learning, nothing is going to be easy on us around here.

These simple curtains turned into a major project when we realized that they had to be lined because they were too thin and because they needed to look nice close up from the backside.  The two windows these ladies will adorn look out onto our front porch.

This isn't a great picture because it is pretty difficult to take a photo of something that is blocking the major light source to the room you are standing in.  The colors are not even close.  It gives you an idea, though.

The curtains are lined and finished on both sides with custom bias tape (read, I cut, ironed and sewed for HOURS.)  We also needed to be able to tie them up to keep them from catching on fire in the winter, courtesy of our very ugly base board heaters.  The ribbons were also made (and top sewn down both forever long sides to keep them nice and flat) from the same fabric as the bias tape.  While I will be letting them down as soon as it's warm enough to turn the heaters off, I kind of love them tied up like this right now.  They look like little French Country Girls who are holding up their skirts to keep them out of the spring mud!

They took a long time to make, but I really like how they turned out.  Now I just have to get my act together and make yet ANOTHER set for the window next to this one.

Sigh, just getting curtains in this house has turned out to be such a big job.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Three Year Old Assistant

A lot of people have asked me how I manage to get anything done on the house with John Henry around.  The truth is that he loves to help.  He's kind of like a Boarder Collie.  He needs something to do or he becomes destructive!

Today we cleaned the remaining wall paper paste off of the bathroom walls in preparation for painting them.  (aside: PLEASE never wall paper a bathroom.  It's a nightmare to remove!)

This job requires the following tools: A spray bottle, fabric softener, a nylon brush, lots and lots and lots of rags and a couple of old towels.

 Fill the spray bottle up with 4 parts HOT water and 1 part fabric softener.  I chose an eco friendly brand with a very light lavender smell, as I knew John Henry would be helping me and I am very sensitive to smells.  You are going to be in a room filled with this smell, so best to choose something that isn't going to make you miserable.
Give the spray bottle to the three year old assistant and let him go to town on the walls.  If he's anything like John Henry he will think this is the best thing that's ever happened in his entire life.

 It was also very convenient to have a very small helper to pick the little pieces of left over wall paper off of the walls in the very tight spaces.
 Follow him around and take pictures of him scrub the walls with the nylon brush, then rub the paste off with the rags that have been soaked in hot water.
MOM!  Get back to work!!!
 Oops!  Well, after an hour of doing this we were about 80% done with scrubbing off the paste and only had areas left that John Henry was too short to get to even if he was standing on the counter or the toilet.  We decided to call it a day.  I'll finish tomorrow while Link has the boys.  Then I can repair the sheet rock (the wall paper did a number on it) and paint at LONG LAST.  I'm very excited to get the paint on the walls.  I chose an unexpected color and I'm anxious to see if it's going to work or not.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fresh Eggs

OK, I might be a tiny bit excited for spring!  :)

I took down all of my winter decorations (Christmas had been down for awhile, but I left winter up.)  I know we still have at least another month of winter up here and probably longer, but I just am DONE with winter.

I have been planning and decorating for SPRING!

The boys and I went down to the feed store to find out what breeds of chicks they are going to get in and when so I can order the breeds I want from them and arrange to have to rest that I want shipped to on or around the same day.

I'm planning out the design for our chicken coop.

AND. . .

Well, did I mention that I might be just a little bit excited?  :)

 My mom gave me a Silhouette for Christmas.  With so much going on today was the first time I had a chance to sit down and really figure out how it works.  I am IN LOVE with my new sign and I am IN LOVE with my Silhouette.  What a great machine!  I've all ready thought of a dozen more projects that this is going to be very helpful with. 

I used the Silhouette to cut a stencil and then used the stencil on an old weathered cedar shake.   I love the character of aged cedar.

For now, it is going to be a part of my spring mantel.  Later perhaps it will hang on the coop to inspire the girls!

Visit thecsiproject.com

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Punch List - Dining Room

The main floor of our house looks something like this  (this is not to scale, just to give you an idea.)

You can see that the dining room, living room and kitchen are all one big room.  The closet and pantry are a large box that sit in the middle of the room but do not go all the way to the ceiling which are cathedral height (probably about 15 feet at the peak.)

So when I refer to the living room and the dinning room you can see that they are really one big room that also open up to the kitchen.

So here's the list:

* curtains - Oh the drama I am having over the curtains in this house.  This room has two HUGE picture windows, one on each exterior wall.  I purchased two sets of oatmeal colored curtains to go in this room from the as is section at Ikea (I luv the as is section at Ikea.)  When I got them home they just didn't look quite right.  They needed to be more white or cream.  Well, easy enough, I figured I would just bleach them.  Oh, I should have known it couldn't be that easy.



That's right, they are now a nice spring green.  Sigh.  We think it may have been because we have sulfer in our water.  Anyway, I have a few ideas on how to try to fix it.  So, despite working on the curtains, there are still no curtains in this room.

* get rid of the doors - I removed the doors from a closest and my laundry room and replaced them with curtains.  The doors haven't been moved to storage yet and are still living in my dining room.
* skirt the potting bench - This will be a fun project.  I have an awesome old potting bench that acts as a side board.  I want to skirt the bottom of it so that it is more useful for storage. 
* get rid of strange orange box - there is this strange little cabinet on wheels that was in the house when we got here.  It hasn't been evicted yet.  I'm considering painting it as our land lord told us to just get rid of it.  We'll see.

There isn't a ton to do in this room because there isn't much in it.  I do want to create a tall decorative something to go in the corner between the two windows to help balance out the room, but that will wait until our "new" table and chairs show up!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Punch List - Front Room

I wish there were cookies to go along with this punch. . .

In order to keep focused on what I want to do I made a list of what I need to do in each room in the upstairs.  (I have a tendency to move from one thing to another aimlessly.  I'm hoping this will help a little bit.  No one noticed that my bathroom sat with half the wall paper stripped for several months, did you?)

It's quite the list.  I thought I'd share one room at a time and include some of my wishes for each room.

Living room:

* hang curtains - I need to finish making the four panels for the front windows.
* buy a  new rug - this has to wait until more funds are available, but I am thinking about having a piece of carpet bound.  My sister had this done and it looks great.

In my dreams one of these rugs would come to live with us.

* paint the mirror frame and hang it properly - Right now it's just sitting on the mantel and it's tilted up to give us a nice view of the ceiling.
* more light - I have some new (to me) lamps that need a little makeover and will hopefully add more light to the room.  Who ever thought it was a good idea to leave overhead lighting out of main living rooms?  This is my third house without overhead lighting in the living room.  It's annoying.  (rant)
* hang pictures  Still not sure what I am going to do here.  I had a large wall full of frames of the boys and my family in the town house.  That's not an option anywhere here.  Also the stark white frames are a little modern for the space.  Maybe more paint.
* find new hutch and paint it - I'll post about this soon.  I really like the one that is here.  There are only two major problems with it.  1.  It needs to be painted  2. It doesn't belong to me so I can't paint it.
* make new pillows for the couches

Here are some pillows that might inspire me to get going on that one.

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