Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Adventures in sewing

I am having fun thinking of decorations for the baby's room because I can do little cutesy, fun things. When else can you decorate with pictures of pink animals, really?

I got some really cute art from Etsy from a shop called Audrey and Gem.  I have been loving watercolors. AND! She made the dachshund especially for me, how awesome is that?! I guess a dachshund doesn't really fit in with a hippo and moose....but who cares! It's so cute.


I love all these cute little pennant banners all over pinterest and wanted to make one for a while, but never really had a reason. They aren't really "adult" enough for general decor, so I thought one would be perfect for baby's room!

I visited Joann's and got some cute complimentary fabrics (in pink, of course!) This is another thing about becoming a mom- finally a reason to buy cute kids fabrics!

I wish I busted out my sewing machine more often. I really enjoy sewing, but I have no permanent place for my machine, so I get lazy about using it.

I decided I wanted the banner to be double sided. Most tutorials I saw online were just for one sided flags, where one side was the fabric, and the other was just the back (like below), if that makes sense.

So I made a cardboard pattern and cut out two layers for each flag by folding the fabric over.

Then I put the two pieces together, wrong sides out, and sewed with about a half inch seam allowance. I was a little worried about them being sort of "puffy" from the seams when I turned them right side out, but a little trimming and ironing did the trick to make them flat.

Finally, I sewed them all into some bias tape and there you have it! Can't wait to hang it! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Decor Part 1

I did a little Christmas decorating over the weekend. It's fun to have a mantel (with roaring fire below) to decorate now!

Here's a few kinda crummy iPhone pictures of what I've done so far. More pictures to come as I finish decorating! (I really should invest in a somewhat nicer camera....)

I really love the mantel!  I will admit to borrowing the "JOY" with the wreath as an O from Pinterest. I saw a mantel that said "Noel" with a wreath O that was just adorable, so I modified it. 

The mirror, letters and "O" wreath, and ornaments in the candle holder are from Hobby Lobby, candle holders (the gold little ones and big glass one), and stick light things are from Target, vase is from Kroger (yep.), star garland from Ten Thousand Villages, and snowflakes from Pier 1. 

This is my special nativity scene. My parents brought it in Bethlehem, Israel, as a gift for me. Each little figure is carved from olive wood. How cool is that? I love that there's a palm tree. Not generally what one thinks of for Christmas, but much more likely around when Jesus was born!

We are going to get our tree in the next week or so. We decided to get a live tree with a root ball so we can plant it later. It will be fun to watch the trees grow over the years! Root balls are very heavy, so it probably won't be as big as a traditional tree, but I think it's just a fun idea. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tearing down the walls....and other updates

Well, I have heard a request that some of my readers (AKA my husband Travis' coworkers!) would like an update.

Travis is a bit like Ron Swanson in that he has no online presence (except through me), so I imagine this is his coworker's way of learning more about him and perhaps teasing him a bit. I am happy to oblige! ;)

We have a few house projects going on right now (what else is new?!). The layout of our house isn't very open, as is popular right now. I actually really like an open layout too, so we're doing a few things to open it up. One of my first ideas was to tear down the wall between our living room and dining room (making sure it isn't load bearing first, of course!)

Travis' dad came down several weeks ago and they had at it! Turns out it wasn't load bearing, hurray! We didn't take down the whole wall, but make the opening quite a bit larger. Here's a few pictures. It gets dark so early, it's hard to get ones with good light!

This is taken from the dining room (note the pile of baby shower bounty we have yet to put in the baby's room!) They even put up the trim, but it still has to be painted. I wish I had a "before" picture, because this is such an improvement! So much more open and airy. 

And this is taken from the living room. No trim yet, but we'll get to it. I almost could have gone for an even bigger opening, but this is great. The phase two plan (whenever that might be) is to take down  a large portion of the other wall in the dining room there, opening it up even further. That probably won't be for a few years though.

In other news, we just got one of these:

What's that, you ask? Yeah, I wouldn't have known either.  It's a fireplace insert (not installed yet, of course!). It is an insert that goes into the fireplace (obviously) that heats your house using wood.  We have multiple dead trees on our property so we have enough wood to last years. The insert is sealed off and has a blower on the front that sends out hot air. Apparently you can turn on the blower of the furnace and it circulates the heat from the insert somewhat. Travis is pretty pumped about it. If you're curious, the brand and style is Jotul 550, I believe. We bought it from a super nice lady in Indiana from Craigslist. I am very intrigued to see our heating bills after this thing is installed!

The thing weigh 500 pounds (!!!) so Travis slowly hoisted it up on these wood pieces and will easily (hopefully!) be able to move it back onto the mantel when we have all the pieces needed to install.

Finally, speaking of the mantel, I know you are all in suspense about the mantel decor situation ;) (See here for a previous update of the saga). Well, I am happy to report I found a new mirror and I really like it!

God bless Hobby Lobby. I like that it looks like a window! We are thinking of perhaps painting it a dark shade so it's not quite as stark, but we'll see. Not a super high priority.

Plus, I guess you're not supposed to have things quite that close to the fireplace insert, so we might be removing that wooden piece for safety and adding a new one that is higher. It would still be safe to hang the mirror though, granted it's high enough. We'll see!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Big door!


We did it! (Okay, Travis, my brother-in-law and father-in-law did it)

We have a new door!

I wrote a while ago about the door. (Check it out here)

Travis' family came down a few weeks ago to help install it (it is HEAVY!). Okay...actually, like I said, brother-in-law and father-in-law helped install it, while sister-in-law, mother-in-law, my mom and I went baby registering. 

I LOVE the door! Before we put it in, I was thinking we'd want a curtain or blinds on it, but now I don't want to, I think it's great as is! 

There's still a few things to do- the hardware it came with is brushed nickel, but we decided to go with bronze fixtures throughout the house. So only the knob is bronze now. We also need to finish the trim. 

We are really happy with it. It's easy to open (unlike the last one!), easy to let the dog out, we can see the pretty backyard autumn leaves, but it doesn't feel "exposed."  Hurray new door!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Books Lately....

Travis and I just got back from a little vacay to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. While it rained on and off pretty much every day (we managed to get out to the pool/beach in hour chunks before it started raining again), it was really nice to relax and not have any plans or much to do. We like vacation with no agendas.

Anyway, I have always been a big reader (I looooooved The Babysitters Club back in the day). I also am not a big fan of paying for books I will probably read once. I do buy books occasionally, especially now that I have a Kindle, but I mostly get books from the library (either Kindle or printed version.) 

So, before vacation, I hit up the library for a few books. I went a little overboard for a four night trip...

Obviously, I am mostly a fan of fiction, though I do like the occasional biography type book. 

I ended up bringing three of the books- The Bone Season, by Samantha Shannon, The Last Word by Lisa Lutz and the Gossip Girl one, by a ghostwriter....who knows (ETA- just looked it up, it's by Annabelle Vestry). 

Garlic and Sapphires, by Ruth Reichl- I read this one before we left. It was a fast read. She is the former restaurant reviewer for the New York Times. The book covered her transition and briefly touches on her troubles with old-school folks who think she's nuts for reviewing Asian food restaurants. I am glad she didn't go too much into complaining about mean letters from readers because, really, this seems like a pretty sweet job. It also made me want to try some more Asian food! I recommend for a quick read. She's fun. There's also some recipes included throughout. 

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon- Apparently this book was hugely hyped in the UK, where Samantha is from (she's Irish, to be exact). She's also only 19 years old. This is another in the stream of dystopian novels featuring teenage girls. Though this book is aimed at adults, it seemed a bit more YA to me. I am a big fan of this genre, to be honest. I have always liked dystopian novels. I am not sure why because they generally aren't that uplifting! Maybe I am more into sci-fi than I think or something. 

Anyway, the book. It follows Paige, a clairvoyant in London where this sort of thing is real and very looked down upon. She is arrested and sent to a compound in Oxford where all the other clairvoyants are controlled by this odd alien race. Okay, this book sounds really weird now that I write that.  While it's not ground breaking, I enjoyed it and will definitely read the next one in the trilogy when it's published. 

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz- I started this one but couldn't get into it. It does seem like a fun, light read so I am going to give it another shot. 

Gossip Girl- Okay, I read this book in about 4 hours. It just fluff, but fun. 

Finally, I ended up buying a book on my Kindle as well, Divergent, by Veronica Roth. It's another dystopian novel featuring a teenage girl, surprise! I liked this one as well, and apparently there is a movie being made about it. It takes place in Chicago, where all people are sorted into "factions." The main character, Beatrice, is in the faction called Abegnation, where all people are selfless. When a person turns 16, they take a test and have an opportunity change factions, but can never see their family again. While most people end up testing into two factions, Beatrice tests into three, making her "Divergent," which apparently is a problem, and she's not allowed to tell anyone. She ends up choosing the brave faction, called Dauntless. Eventually, it's figured out she's Divergent, making her harder to control, and all hell breaks loose.

 I enjoyed the book. It was inventive and had a nice fast pace. I've already started on the second in the triology! Oh, and for the record, while I would like to think I'd be in Abegnation, I would probably end up in Amity faction. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Casual Friday Five (on Saturday, oops) 9-21-13

Hello! Happy Saturday!

We are headed on vacation tomorrow to the beach!! We are so excited. We haven't really gone on a long vacation since our honeymoon, which was almost 2 years ago. We have pretty much no plans other than to be bums, sit on the beach, go kayaking and fishing and eat at yummy restaurants. We leave on a SUPER early flight tomorrow from Dayton (it's cheaper to fly from there!) so I will be turning in early tonight. 

Here's a few links from this week: 

1.My book stack for vacation. I think I went a little overboard for a week long vacation....(Are you following me on instagram? Next week will surely have some good beach pictures!)

3. Slightly random, but great interview with the Pope if you have a few minutes. It's a long one.  Here's a condensed verison by buzzfeed.

4. The happiest countries in the world.  And I have always wanted to visit Scandinavia! Even more of a reason to go now. 

5. Homemade cronuts!!! Gimme gimme!

p.s. Check out Join the Gossip for a guest post from me on Tuesday!

See ya all next week!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What's for dinner, week 2!

Well, I did an okay job of documenting our dinners last week- only forgot 2 days! So here's what we really had:

Monday- homemade pizza
Tuesday- big salads BLT's and salad
Wednesday- coworker goodbye happy hour at Palomino
Thursday- broccoli chicken mac and cheese and a vegetable side (I used real cheese with this- not laughing cow as the recipe linked does)
Friday- chicken teriyaki hoagies and salad  Grilled out- corn, hot dogs, a few other things

And here's what we're having this week!

Monday- out with my family at Buca di Beppo (happened already- I'm late this week!)
Tuesday- "healthy" nachos
Wednesday- Sausage Spinach Pasta and veggie side
Thursday- Steak hoagies and veggie side
Friday-big salad

About this series: Each Monday, I will post what we're planning on having for dinner that week, and then the next week I will post what we ACTUALLY had for dinner. 

I probably won't post our plans for weekend dinners because those are often up in the air. I might link to recipes, but we might just be eating what's on hand.

p.s. We're having a girl!