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Monday, June 13, 2011

Energy and Plans and Questions

Trimester 1 = UGH.
But I have had some hopeful moments this past week that help me see the light at the end of this dark first trimester tunnel. I've been a bit more energetic this week, feeling good more than I felt nauseous, and I even made dinner twice!
PLUS I finally completed the baby gift which will soon be headed to friends in Korea... AND! I began Baby P quilt #1. This one is for Grandma P. Grandma S has yet to decide upon a fabric, and so her's will be 2nd. Yes, I am pregnant and trying to pump out 2 baby quilts for my child's grandmothers. Why? I don't know. I cave easily under pressure. Or I like to take on more than I can handle. Or I am a people pleaser to a fault.
One or all of those.
But the Grandmas requested baby quilts and who am I to say no, or set healthy boundaries and expectations of myself. You see? I really had no choice.
The good news is I am finally feeling some motivation and inspiration... and I hope that lasts. I am a little afraid it might wane as quickly as it developed and I will be left with a pile of incomplete projects and subsequent guilt, but we will cross that bridge when we get there. Right?
In the mean time...

Photo source: E Tells Tales
I saw this nursery today, and swooned a little. Clean, simple, lovely, interesting, fun... and the wiener dog night light on the floor? Could you just die? I wouldn't be able to help myself, I just might gank him for my own room!
I've started thinking a little bit about nursery design. We went shopping this weekend and Grandpa and Grandma S bought Baby P a crib (ooh... add that to the list of reasons Grandma's get quilts). It's a pretty simple and solid design, espresso wood finish. To save us some money (well, maybe...) we are using my childhood dresser and bureau that currently resides in our spare bedroom (soon to be nursery). The only problem is... that stuff while still solid is a little banged up and janky looking, and it's not real wood. Also it it light oak.

Photo source: Nebraska Furniture Mart
This is the crib we ordered... in the 'sienna' finish, ours is 'espresso' finish

The plan is to paint a close enough match... so everything is pretty and matching-ish. I am also counting on that second trimester energy boost to get me through this project. And some nice weather. (Cross your fingers for me, okay?)
But I do have some questions about painting furniture, as this will be my first time.
For all you purists... it's fake wood, so I am not destroying heirlooms or anything.  My plan is to paint a dark chocolate brown (maybe darker...) and then use an espresso or even black glaze to give it some depth and dimension. But here's my question, because google research has yet to answer it: After painting fake wood-- can you glaze it? Will the glaze stick to anything if there is no wood grain or bumps or divots to settle into? Will it look good or will it just be a waste of my time-- in which case I should just paint it a flat color of paint and call it a day???
Thoughts? Comments? Tips? Advice?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fun Vintage Stuff!

My Husband's Grandfather died last year, leaving several houses filled to the brim with just about every item imaginable. Grandpa Sherwood was a mechanically minded man. He loved to work with his hands and he could fix anything... so he rarely threw anything away. Which honestly made him a bit of a hoarder by today's standards... but what I think is somewhat of an admirable quality that has lost credibility in today's 'disposable' consumerist society. But I digress. My Mother in law and her siblings have spent almost a year sorting through all the many many many belongings in the house trying to figure out what could be kept, what should be sold, and what just needed to be thrown away. She told me one day they sent a trailer with seven typewriters to the dumpster-- seven! But they had kept at least that many typewriters from the house to sell in the auction. Can you imagine a person with 14 typewriters that they didn't have time to get around to fixing???  Apparently it was like that with every mechanical type item you can think of... from large farm equipment to tiny keys and padlocks.
I don't know for sure if Grandpa was a locksmith/keymaker by trade, or if it was just a hobby. But they found literally hundreds of keys and lock in the house. My MIL grabbed a few old ones for me... as she knows of my love for keys and locks. Check these out:

Aren't those lovely? The fun skeleton keys and the lovely old padlocks that we can't open. It's like they have a story or a secret! They make me happy.
Also in the house were the belongings of Grandma Sherwood (who died before I was a part of the family). She was apparently a seamstress and like her husband had a thing for collecting any little odd and end that might ever be of use. My MIL found her sewing/button box and thought I might be interested in some vintage buttons. (She thought right!) But when she brought me the box it had four layers to sort through that looked like this:
Actually, to be honest, I had already weeded through this layer--removing scrap paper, several lids from toothpaste tubes, tons of rusty safety pins, some tiny scraps of fabric trim, and a llama made of pipe cleaners (!?!?!)-- before taking this picture. I was a tad overwhelmed. But when I started digging through the layers, treasures started emerging like these lovelies:
 I added a quarter in there... some of these are amazing just because they are so tiny, or so large.
Like these tiny little glass buttons... I love the bright blue and the gold on the front. SO fun.
These giant black ones might be my favs out of the bunch.  They are heavy faceted black glass buttons. How lovely would these be on a wool coat?

 These buttons are all shells or stones. Yes, even the big ugly brown one that I thought was plastic at first too... but I picked it up and it was heavy and cool and had a rough rocky back... really cool huh?
These are so tiny and sweet I can hardly stand it-- but definitely hand carved. Can you believe that?
 Cool carved wooden button.

 And even as I was waiting for photos to upload I found I really cool yellow one... and some sweet old metal ones... and a bunch of old buckles and stuff. Really fun stuff. Thank you to my MIL for thinking of me! :)
Have you found, inherited, or been gifted any cool vintage stuff???

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Most Amazing Thing I Will Ever Make.

(But I am not going to post a tutorial... ha!)

I've been absent for a while, sporadic and elusive at best. I haven't done much sewing lately. Haven't painted anything in months, and my fancy silhouette is gathering dust. It's not that I don't have any creative ideas or desire... It's just that I have this other 'project' I've been working on, and it has been consuming a great deal of my time and energy. Actually all my energy.
For the past couple months I have spent nearly every evening mostly incapacitated laying on my couch being miserable. I don't sew, I don't play with the boys, I don't even make dinner. (my husband is feeling abused and neglected.) I just lay on my couch and concentrate very hard on not puking.
Fun project, right?
It's a work in progress. Let me give you some more details:
Though the idea had been floating in my head for many many years this 'project' didn't kick off until mid march when our life was changed by one little word on a digital screen:

Shortly after that day, the first stage of the project (as described above) hit me full force. Ironically, mornings and afternoon I feel pretty good. I hate evenings. I just try to survive them promising myself that the effort will be worth it come December.
Of course initially I was hesitant to share the news of our project with people. I mean, we wanted to tell people, but wanted to wait until the right moment. So we kept it under wraps (for the most part) until Mother's Day, when we each gave our moms this card:

And the news was out! At least to our families. We swore them all to secrecy, which I am pretty sure the bubbling new grandmas thought was pretty unfair, but we were wanted to wait a little longer before we spilled the beans.
In the mean time, the process has required great amounts of sometimes strange combinations of food to fuel it. Things like this

By the truckload. And watermelon has been ridiculously sweet this season so far. Yum. And ridiculous quantities of this:
Mmmm... guacamole.
And most recently... potato chips dipped in melted dark chocolate? Oh, I swoon at the thought and my husband looks on in horror as I scarf them down. The other day after a particularly bad bought of sickness I was super dehydrated and exhausted and HUNGRY. But the only thing in the whole wide world that I wanted? Chocolate Ice Cream and Red Gatorade (folks, I don't like gatorade, I have NEVER liked gatorade. I am disgusted when my husband drinks the strange salty kool-aid stuff, and refuse to buy it for him or keep it in the house. But I wanted-- nay, NEEDED red gatorade before I was going to make it out of bed) and so at 7:30 am on a Wednesday morning I sent my baffled and slightly annoyed, but doting husband to the grocery store to buy me chocolate ice cream and red Gatorade. And it was awesome.
The past couple months have not been so productive in the crafting world because Baby P is making his/her presence known and consuming my spare time and energy with less than enjoyable symptoms. However... You can bet your buttons that I am not gone forever, And that Baby P is just the excuse I need for a whole new world of sewing, decorating, photography, and food projects. Once I hit that second trimester mark and i have energy oozing from every part of me (as i have been promised will happen by several reputable sources) and I can actually get off the couch for a few hours a day... I am sure I'll be creating like crazy.
But in the mean time here is something you can read about that happened earlier today, when we heard Baby P's heartbeat for the very first time. Let me tell you... it was incredible. I may or may not have shed a tear or two.
Will December ever get here soon enough???