Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Before and After

Last month for several weekends, I could be found at my parents’ house helping with a major home improvement project – installing a new tile floor in their downstairs living room! If you want to see the progression, check out these posts, here and here.

And after spending the day there yesterday, we can say for all intents and purposes, that the room is complete!

During the last month, since laying the last tile, there have been more mundane and unexciting stepsΒ  – like grouting and sealing, and mop mop mopping!
Yesterday we re-installed the base molding, puttied, and touched up paint. Mopped again, and then began to bring the furniture back into the room.

Check out the before’s and after’s:

The embarrassingly cluttered and disorganized Before pic! haha

living room before

And the organized, cleared-of-clutter After shot!

living room after

.

Here’s another view:

corner, before

And then after:

corner, after

I think that the lightness and subtle variations in the tile color are such an improvement from the flat painted concrete. The whole room feels airier and more polished – like a finished room, instead of a strictly utilitarian basement.

And of course, the process of clearing EVERYTHING out of a space really helps to clear out clutter that has been hiding in plain sight for ages.

There are still some improvements to be made to this space, in my opinion – especially in regard to lay-out and flow (a challenge in a room this big, 685 square feet!). But that will be for another day…

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Filed under home improvement, projects

mustaches!

I mentioned a week ago I am making ceramic mustaches for our planned wedding ‘photobooth’ – they turned out pretty hilarious!

mustaches and a pucker

I think they will be fun times ^_^

how do you do, sir?

give us a kiss

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Filed under Crafts, projects, Wedding

Bountiful Flowers

It was a flower-filled weekend, and now I have a flower-filled apartment! *Sigh* I love the effect fresh flowers can have on a room (I just wish they weren’t so expensive! They really are a luxury).

colorful birthday flowers

This cheerful gift (thanks, Doury!!) gave me two other arrangements I spread around the living room:

baby's breath and eucalyptus

and:

orange gerbers with sparrow

These sweet little orange gerber daisies are brightening up my computer area πŸ™‚
And the wire sculpture was another birthday present – from my artist friend; definitely check out his other stuff on his Etsy site jakobi! So cool ^_^

springtime tulips!

Our darling friends from Bellingham brought these gorgeous tulips (I love tulips!).

And my dear friend Natalie gave me the cutest little daffodils. They hadn’t bloomed yet when she gave them to me, but two days later, look how happy they are!

mini daffodils

I will be so spoiled with all these pretty flowers around! When it’s your birthday, I guess you get to be spoiled a little, heehee πŸ™‚

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Filed under Day to Day, Plants

Highlights from the weekend

I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day!

M and I had a pretty low-key evening – he had to work all day, but had promised to make me dinner (gasp!), so we walked to the store when he got home to get ingredients. We had a delicious meal of paprika-seasoned baked salmon, asparagus sauteed in a butter sauce, and garlic mashed potatoes! (M did a great job, with only minimal help from me ^_^)
For dessert, I had made two little brownie cups using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, topped with whip cream and blackberries; I halved the recipe and substituted agave for the sugar and they still turned out great! Very dense, but hugely satisfying brownies.

Valentine hanging centerpiece

I made a bunch of crimson felt flowers that I hung from the light fixture above our dining table for a whimsical Valentine centerpiece. Simple but fun!

wedding shoes ^_^ bleached

I think I have found the shoes I’ll wear for the wedding – a thrift store find!! These Report peep-toe wedges are super comfortable and uber-cute (they go with my dress style perfectly). I had to modify them slightly, however. When I bought them, they looked white to me. Turns out they were more cream-colored than I thought. But, no problem! I decided to try taking a cotton swab of bleach to the little crocheted flowers to make them whiter. It worked like a charm! You can see the original color in the picture on the left, and after being bleached on the right. I love a cost-effective solution πŸ™‚

DS carrying pouch

Another craft project from the weekend was something I did for M. He recently bought himself a new toy – a Nintendo DS. He asked me if I could sew him a sharp little carrying pouch for it. We went to the fabric store, and he picked out a soft black faux-suede fabric, and three thread colors – which I used to “embroider” 3 stripes – the Motorsport BMW colors. Ahhhh we are dorky ^_^

bisque-fired kiln

Lastly, I bisque-fired a kiln, and everything looks good – ready for some glazing!! A very fun little thing I’m doing in this load is some ceramic mustaches, heehee! The mustache trend has gotten hold I me; I do think they are very fun. These are actually intended for my wedding – we are thinking of constructing a Photobooth, and I think some mustaches on sticks are definitely in order πŸ™‚

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Filed under Crafts, Day to Day, food, Holidays, Jadeflower Ceramics, sewing, Wedding

The Graphics Fairy!

Over the last several months, as I spend time in blog-land, I have started to realize the kind of HUGE NUMBERS of incredibly beautiful and enviable blogs exist out there! I think the proliferation of such creative people is so encouraging, and I love that so many of them want to share with the world. And I literally mean share. There are countless designerly folks in the blogosphere who create such great graphics and tutorials and have such fun ideas, and they want you to take their ideas! (and also give credit where credit is due, of course)

And that’s perfect for me, because I’m always looking for the next fun project to do!

In my blog wanderings recently I stumbled across The Graphics Fairy which is an absolute wealth of vintage graphics, clip art, label art, advertising, etc. All of it is free to download! (how generous!) I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this new resource yet, but all I know is, I LOVE it!

Here are a few of my favorites in light of the upcoming lovey dovey holiday:

HOW CUTE!!!!! I will certainly be diving into The Graphics Fairy‘s archive of posts and see what other gems await! πŸ™‚

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Filed under Inspiration

fabric flowers for valentine’s day?

I am loving this post from 100 Layer Cake on making the cutest fabric flowers!

They have a great tutorial – they look so simple! But I’m sure it is a time consuming project if you’re making a lot of them.
I totally have visions of deep red fabric (maybe felt?) flowers hung all over my house for Valentine’s Day. We’ll see if I get that ambitious, haha!

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Filed under Holidays, Inspiration

Up-cycled pantry containers

I inherited a love of re-used glass jars from my dad. If you go into his garage, the workbench is rife with all sorts of mis-matched jars and containers filled with nails, screws, pencils, hardware, this and that. Despite the noble cause of recycling (and we love to recycled in the Northwest), we must also remember to reduce and reuse!

Glass jars are beautifully functional; they don’t stop being great containers once all the jam is used up or the pickles all eaten! Over the last year I’ve amassed an eclectic set of glass and plastic lidded containers. With just a tiny bit of effort, I’ve turned them into a set of pantry containers for all my dry bulk food stuffs!

Here’s a great example:

coffee bean jar

I had this fantastically huge glass jar (from Costco – marinated artichoke hearts-yumm!) and I just couldn’t bear to toss it in the recycle bin. After getting the label off with warm water, patience, and a little GooGone, all I needed to do was make it match my other containers. In order to keep the contents from being a mystery, I give the lids a chalkboard surface. Then I just chalk on what’s inside!

chalkboard lid

I’ve written about making things into chalkboards before, in this post. But my lovely fiance found something even better than what I had been using. Instead of a brush-applied chalkboard paint, he found a spray-paint version! (He found this for his own project – making a chalkboard surfaced guitar body. Aren’t we a creative bunch??)

Krylon Chalkboard spray paint

Now, having this stuff in spray-form is so much better, because you get a beautifully even and flat surface. No brush marks. No need to sand between coats. And it’s so much quicker to apply. Two thumbs up to M for finding this ^_^

So all I needed to do to make my lid a chalkboard surface was to tape off the edge of the lid (because I like the gold with the stripes, haha), leaving the top of the lid exposed.
Then, going outside where it’s nice and ventilated, and using lots of newspaper as a backdrop, I just sprayed on a nice even (and not-to-thick) coating of paint. After about an hour I went back out and did another coat. Two was all I needed.

After letting it dry for a day (just to be sure), it was ready to go!

So I can feel good for reusing a perfectly good storage container, and I actually really like my mis-matched set of chalkboard-topped jars. My dad would be so proud πŸ™‚

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Filed under DIY, projects, tutorial