August 31, 2011

The bane of my household

Hello friends!
I am proud to report I am almost finished with the pearl necklace I wanted to make from my last post! I will have a tutorial up soon. Let's just say, it was a lot easier than I thought it would be & I'm trilled with the almost finished result!

Until then, I thought I'd share with you something I mentioned in my last post. It is this UGLY eye sore:
Welcome to our guest room. Doesn't this just make you want to come & stay a while?!
Yeah I thought so.

It has been a pain in my side for quite a while. We were in a hurry to move into our house as we had been living with my parents for the past year. (Just stop for a minute and think about that. ONE. WHOLE. YEAR.)
Really, we were so thankful that we had a place to stay when we moved from Montana back to Kentucky. We were so thankful to have help with Isaac for a few months, and their support (in many ways) after he passed. We are SO thankful, but it's not an ideal living situation for any married couple, and we were ready to get back into our own place. I digress.

We closed the week of Christmas, moved our things in, and two days later went on vacation. So, we were planning on just waiting a little while before we decided what we wanted to do on the house.

I picked this room to be my first project cause all I had to do was slap some paint on the wall and move on. Little did I know until my grandpa pointed it out, that the previous homeowners painted over wallpaper. So that's what those bumpy, noticeable seams are every foot and a half.

So, after a trip to Lowes, and some help from the friendly paint master there, I came home with a tub of joint compound, and a slew of tools I needed. It took me about a week of working off and on, and I had all the seams covered
(We chose the grey color on the far right, yay! I can't wait to get rid of this ridiculous lovely peach color!)
I also had this wall covered:
Let me explain this in the nicest way. The lovely family who tore up worked on this room before us, at one time decided to tear off the wallpaper. But, they must have decided it was too much work or something because they left what they started to peel off, (you know that frayed look of torn paper?) and just painted right over it.
So all over this wall are frayed little bits of wallpaper here and there. REALLY?

Let me just say people, I understand not wanting to take down wallpaper, because, I hear it's not fun. I have to do it in this room soon.

But if you're going to paint over it, please cover all the seams & do the dirty work yourselves. Don't leave it for the kind, unsuspecting people who will buy your house. (Is that a hint of a pity party I hear?) :)

So, anyway, I have been sanding away, and feel like I may be sanding forever.
My dear husband doesn't have the same affinity for projects as I do, so I'm pretty much doing this in my spare time... once a week... or every other week.
It is just taking forever, and I get so sick of it. I'll work in there for hours, and then walk away for a long time because I can't stand the room. That, and I have project ADD, and I hop from one project to another like a flea in a dog park.

So, now that I've revealed this eye sore of a room to the world, and will be embarrassed if I am still working on it next year, you can hold me accountable to get it done. I might even give you a play by play on how I created my soon to be masterpiece. :)
My goal: have it done this year. (What?! I don't want to set myself up to fail!) Or maybe sooner, we'll see.
See you soon!

August 29, 2011

Pinterest To Do List

Call off the search parties, I'm not missing, I've just been really, really busy.   :)
With my crazy schedule, and all the orders I'm behind on, (If you ordered anything, I'm getting them done this week!) I haven't gotten to do much crafting lately.

I have a number of projects I've been wanting to do, as Pinterest inspired me so. So I thought I would share with you some of the projects I'm wanting to tackle in the next few weeks! They are in no particular order, I'll work on them as I feel like it. :)

I'll start off simple:

I recently got a new phone, but I have yet to find a cover I like that is a reasonable price (really $40 for a phone cover?) I'm too cheap for that. So I was so excited to find this tip on Pinterest! It's just a clear phone cover, with different patterns of scrapbook paper placed inside! I am definitely going to try this one!

 This next one, I am hoping to make for our mudroom. I'm kind of particular about taking off our shoes in the house (yeah yeah, start with the hillbilly/Kentucky jokes) :) but really it's just more comfortable, saves the carpet, saves me from having to vacuum every single day, and I can't imagine lounging on a floor that has the nasty stuff from the bottom of our shoes. BLECH!

On any given day, this is what our mudroom looks like:
They are an ugly eye sore, and I get tired of tripping over them in the doorway.

So, I want to make this shoe rack. It's a lot less cumbersome than most store bought shoe storage solutions. Plus, it keeps them up off the floor so I don't have to move them when I vacuum, and when you run out of room on the shelf, you just put some in the closet!

For the next few project ideas, they aren't for me (no announcements here), but for gifts! I have about half a dozen friends who are expecting this fall, all with baby girls! I like to give practical, but also memorable gifts, so something handmade is perfect for that. I love the idea of adding a little something cute to a (much needed for any baby) onesie.

I also want to try my hand and making this beautiful pinafore for my dear friend's little one:

The last two are for me to enjoy. I've been wanting to try my hand at jewelry making. I've made a few pieces from fabric, but have wanted to branch out. Little by little, I've been collecting the materials I need, and the ideas I like. I think I'm going to give this a try:
Think I'm biting off more than I can chew? Do any of you have any jewelry making tips you want to share? I'd love to hear them!

And lastly, I thought this would be a really simple, but beautiful way to bring a little bit of autumn into the house. Plus, it is a great way to use up some of the thousands many candles I still have from our wedding......6 years ago. (Ok, I might be a pack-rat)

I can't wait to get started on these! I'll let you know as I finish these projects, and post tutorials on some of the harder ones. For now, I better get to some of those orders. Oh yeah, and I'm still working on this horrid looming project. More on that later.


August 20, 2011

Bacon Tomato Dip

HEY! Sorry you haven't seen much of me the last few days. I have been inundated with school work (remind me why I went back after being out of college for 7 years?!). I have a big portfolio due Monday & a very important interview Tuesday with the Dean of Education. (Yikes! I'm so nervous it's like I'm meeting Oprah or something!)
So, I thought I'd post a totally rad recipe real quick, and then I'll be back when the dust settles in a few days.

I got this recipe from my Aunt Michele (Hi Michele! Was I not supposed to share this with the world? Sorry!). I have no idea where she got it from, so I'm just going to call it a family recipe (you can call it a family recipe too- you're in a family, it's a recipe, bam.)
It is ah-mazing. I take it to functions all the time, in fact that's why I made it yesterday. I was going to a friends house for a Willow house party. Fun times!

It is so simple, you won't even believe it. Here we go:

1 C Mayo
1C sour cream
1 C chopped tomatoes (although, I usually add at least half a cup more)
3 oz. package of REAL bacon bits (not the crunchy salad topper kind)

See? I told you! Easy! 4 ingredients.

This recipe is so easy and quick, it doesn't really need pictures, but I took 'em anyway, so here ya go.

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl:
Now let me stop here and tell you, this picture kind of grosses me out. I do not like sour cream (yuck) and I do not like mayo (double yuck), but I love this dip. I can't explain it! I've had other people tell me the same thing. So even if you aren't sure, just TRY it!

Chop up your tomatoes. Oh, and you don't have to use the little romas, you can use a regular size tomato, cherry tomatoes, whatever. As long as it's a tomato. I just so happened to have a bunch of these little babies thanks to my friend Jen (thanks Jen!!).
(This is only about a cup of the tomatoes, I was getting too impatient to cut them all up before I took the picture)
Oh, and yes, I put in seeds and all. You don't even notice them when you're eating the dip. So I don't waste my time picking out seeds.

Then, put in your tomatoes and stir the whole thing up!

Sometimes I like to add a little tomato & bacon garnish to the top. That way, if you're taking it to a party, people get an idea of what is in it.

Ready for the last step? Well, eating it would be the last step, so ready for the second to last step?
Cut up some of these:

You can serve this with crackers or whatever, but I really love this dip with plain bagel pieces. I buy mini plain bagels and just cut them up into fourths or sixths (and if you get the pre-sliced ones, it's even faster!)
Mmm look at that sweet iced tea in the background, that makes me want some, I'll be back...

Ok, I'm back! So that's it people! After the dip has refrigerated for a little while, I just put the dip and bagels in my chip & dip platter, and it's ready to go! (The longer the dip refrigerates, the better it tastes, but I only had 3 hours for it to schmeld together, and it still tasted great! And guess what? Between the party goers, my husband and I, it's gone. It doesn't last long around here.

Now you may be thinking, "it doesn't look that appetizing Andrea." And I would kind of agree. I know that Gordon Ramsay and the other Master Chef judges would yell at me for presentation, but I don't care. Cause it tastes DELICIOUS!
I took this dip to a derby party last year, and the hostess told me she didn't think she would like it cause it looked weird. But once she did, she was addicted! She emailed me a few days later asking for the recipe. (Thanks for believing in me Mary! haha)

Alright, go. Get to making it. I'm going to get back to this portfolio. You can think of me as you are shoving this down your gullet, cause I'll probably still be sitting here on my couch, going cross eyed in front of this computer, pulling my hair out, asking myself why I went back to school, and trying to remind myself that it will be worth it in the end.  :)

Love ya!

August 17, 2011

10% OFF!

It has been a week since I started this blog, and I feel so blessed for all of you readers and your kind words! It's blown my socks off and filled my heart :)
To celebrate almost 1,000 visits to my blog this first week, and to say thank you, I'm giving all of you 10% off in my Etsy shoppe!

Simply enter the coupon code JUSTDOWNTHEHALL10 when you check out! It's easy peasy! Thank you so much for being so awesome!

Love you all,

August 15, 2011

The WORLD'S longest yard sale!

Last weekend I was planning a trip to Ikea with the hubs (2.5 hrs away, so we make a day of it) when I realized, "Wait! That's the same weekend as the 127 yard sale that goes through our town!" Ikea would have to wait. I've been putting back some money & looking forward to this all summer. I was hoping to find a few specific things to refinish or re-purpose for our new house.

I do love a good yard sale, but try to only hit them when there is something specific I am looking for. I don't usually have the patience to look through every little thing, plus, if I do that, I tend to bring home a lot of stuff I probably don't need. (Like glassware, I have an obsession with glassware & dishes- it may be an intervention worthy obsession one day) ;)

So let me tell you a little bit about this thing. It is 675 miles long and goes from Michigan to Alabama, running along highway 127. Our town, luckily (or unluckily because of the traffic) has 127 going right down the middle of it.

Hubs & I only hit a small portion of it, but we found a few great finds that we "needed". I was on the look out for 2-3 night stands- 2 for our bedroom, and maybe a new one for the guest room. Two occasional chairs for our front room sitting area, and a little table to go in between those two any awesome glassware I couldn't live without.  :)
One of our first stops was the fair grounds. Here, they have tons of booths set up, so you don't have to play the stop & go game as much. I was a little disappointed though. A lot of these booths were vendors. They were set on their (high in my opinion) prices & didn't care about coming down because they would just pack it up & sell elsewhere. Oh well, they just didn't get any business from this cheap deal-seeking girl!

We did find some other great stops, and this is what I found!
TWO corning ware tea pots! Let me tell you, I am a hot tea-a-holic in cool weather. I drink a few pots a day. And corning ware makes my most favorite tea pot. It's the same kind I grew up with!
This last winter, I accidentally left for work with the stove still on, and my tea pot boiled dry and almost took the house down (Thanks for saving the day dear!). Once that happened, a big ole crack formed & eventually busted. I was so upset as these pots are not the easiest to find anymore!

So imagine my delight when I came across these babies. The design isn't as pretty as my old one, but I couldn't risk not being able to find them again, I had to have two.  :)

I also found this giant candle stick. It sits about 2 feet tall, and I have the perfect idea for re-purposing it. You'll have to wait to see what I have in store! Can you guess what it will be?!

Lastly, I came across this little lovely:

And you will never guess how much I paid for it...$20?...$10?...Nope, $3.50! Can you believe it?! 3 dollars and 50 cents! The chair is in really good condition, except for two small tears in the leather. (You can kind of see them, at the seams where the arms meet the back of the chair) I plan to re-upholster it in a beautiful patterned fabric. Maybe something like this?
 Or this?
Or what about this?

I have a few other projects I need to finish before I can start on the chair, but I cannot wait! Any suggestions for fabric?

Here's another pic I took of some old vintage sewing machines on the back of a trailer. I just thought they were pretty. 

So there you have it. I didn't go hog wild, I was actually being kind of picky that day. That, and it was 90+ degrees & the hubs and I were getting a little grumpier as the day went on.
But I consider it a pretty successful trip. The day was made even better when I ran into an old dance student of mine! She's in grad school now- boy do I feel old! haha :) Love ya Brooklyn!
Have you found any great steals at a yard sale this summer? Do share!


August 13, 2011

T-shirt refashion tutorial

Ok! Here's my first tutorial. This is a shirt I made last weekend. After seeing a similar one on Pinterest, I just had to make it! So many of you were asking me how I made it, so here you go!

You will need:
     An old knit t-shirt (or a yd. of fabric will do)
     Coordinating fabric for the bow (2- 45"x 6" pieces)
     scissors (or rotary cutter)
     Straight pins
     3 safety pins
     Sewing machine (or needle & thread if you are up to a hand-sewing challenge!)
     Measuring stick/tape
     Iron (as in the clothes kind, not the metal kind...or the mineral kind)

This is what I started with: my husband's old t-shirt he was getting rid of. (It didn't sell in our yard sale, so I pulled it and a few other items out that I knew had good fabric I could re-purpose with)

I simply cut off the sleeves and the neck, making a big square

I wanted the shirt to be long enough, so I actually decided to make the words go along one of the side seams (you'll see later). Next, I held it up to me & measured how much fabric I needed for it to fit me, then cut the shirt again.

I made it about 23" long by 19" wide.

Next, I pinned a 1.25" hem at what I wanted to be the top of the shirt. (You can choose to iron your pinned hem if you'd like so it will better stay when you are sewing. I on the other hand iron as little as possible so I skip this almost every time.)
This is actually not a hem, but the tube your sash with fit through! Then I sewed it with a straight stitch (you could pick any stitch really) and black thread so the stitch wouldn't really show.

Once the tube was sewn, I set it aside for a while to work on the sash (bow) part of the shirt. I had a bunch of different fabrics I could use, but opted for a light pink satin. I thought this would soften the plain ol' knit fabric and make it feel/look a little fancier than it's used t-shirt counterpart.
For the sash, I cut two pieces of satin, each 45" by 6". Then I laid them out end to end to get one long piece that is 90" by 6". (Next time I might shave a couple inches off the length, but it is totally up to you and your preferences of how long you want your bow.)
Look at the Mai Mai "helping" me. Right before I took this picture, she was actually laying ON the sash *Sigh* She just wants to be with Mama I suppose :)

Next, I pinned the two pieces together with about 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance, right sides (silky sides) facing each other. This picture is when it was all spread out 90" long. To sew it, if you hold the pieces by the pinned part (so the length is only 45" long) you can easily sew the 6" seam.

Now don't be mad, because I don't have a picture of the next part, so let me paint a picture with my words...

Open the sash length so it is 90" by 6". Fold in half length-wise (hotdog style) :) so you have a 90" by 3" piece of fabric. Again, right sides facing, pin all the way down the 90" length. (I changed out my thread and bobbin & used white thread for this next part). Now STOP and read below before you sew:

*Now it is very important to make sure BEFORE you sew that you are sewing a long, 90" by 3" sash. DON'T fold it over and sew a 45" by 3" sash and then have to rip all the seams and re-sew, causing you to stay up until 2 am making this simple shirt...Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Ok, now that you've read the disclaimer, you may sew. You only need to sew the one long side, you do not need to sew the folded edge.

Now, what to do with the ends you ask? Why, I was just getting to that you fast learner you!
 Sew a diagonal stitch on one end like so:

There's one of two ways you can do this. You can sew the diagonal when you get to the end of sewing your long 90" seam, then cut off the excess fabric.
You can stop when you get to the end of your 90" seam, cut the fabric on a diagonal and sew along that diagonal line.

I think the latter is a little easier. For me, I can more easily CUT a straight diagonal than I can SEW a straight diagonal. But again, it's whatever you prefer.

Now what about the other end? You will eventually sew another diagonal, but for now, leave it open. You want a nice big opening to be able to turn the sash inside out. In fact, I left the end open, plus about 3 inches of the side seam. See?

Now get to turning that thing inside out! I did it pantyhose style. I held the open end with my thumbs and used my fingers to scrunch all the way down to the end. Then, I grabbed the other end and started feeding it out the opening. If you've ever turned a sock inside out, then you can do this. It's like turning out a giant sock...for a really long, skinny foot.

Now once you have that sucker turned inside out, you can hand or machine stitch it closed. I opted for machine because it was past midnight and my patience was in bed, like I should have been.

From there, I ironed the sash (I know shock! I actually used the iron! That hardly ever is evident by my occasionally wrinkly wardrobe. Whatever, it's my signature look)

You can see here, the big difference between ironing & not ironing

You definitely want to iron that baby flat.

Now you are finished with the sash! Hooray! Pat yourself on the back, make yourself a drink, grab some chocolate, and let's finish this thing!

Put a safety pin through one end of your sash, like so (really, there's no art to safety pinning anything, so there's not really a need for this picture. But for some reason I found a need for this picture, and not previous important pictures. That's how I roll.)

Now, remember that grey shirt we started a while ago, then neglected like...I don't know, something that gets neglected...I have nothing. Moving on!
I put the two pieces of shirt together (you guessed it, right sides facing), and safety pinned where I thought the armpit should fit. Just one pin on each side, and you can move them later. In fact, you'll probably move them later unless you're just totally amazing.

Then, I just fished the sash through the holes of the tube you made earlier.

Bring the sash through both sides of the shirt. The sash will make a U with one side having the loose extra ribbon flowing down.

Now put that sucker on! We are almost done!

Now if this isn't getting personal. You are witnessing my embarasing, ugly hall bathroom that I've yet to have time to remodel since we moved in; and my no makeup self at no way o'clock in the morning. I must really want you guys to get to know me on a deep level.

Back to business: See above how I need to move my pins? No biggie. After this picture was taken, I moved the safety pins to where I wanted the arm holes to be.
Now take it off. (You don't have to, but I've found that sewing is easier when it's off your body. Just sayin.)

I just pinned from the safety pins down to the bottom, switched my thread and bobbin back to black, and sewed up the side seams! (See how the words from the t-shirt are on the side seam? Just a little shift-a-roo!)

Once the sides are sewn, flip that shirt right side out, and then model it like so:


Now you may be thinking, "Wait! we didn't do anything with the arm holes or hemming the bottom!" And I'm saying, "You're dang right we didn't! That's how I planned it!"
Let me explain: being the novice sewer that I am, I picked a knit fabric. When you cut a knit and stretch it, it just rolls up. It doesn't fray or anything, so you don't have to hem or use bias tape or anything!
See? It's like magic :)

And this is me wearing it to church the next day.

And this is what Mailey did the next day with the scraps I left laying on the floor:
Was she excited about the project, or mad that I didn't let her help more? We may never know.

Alright folks! There she is! A wonderful idea of how to re-purpose a shirt you very well might have sitting around your house!

Check back tomorrow for my adventures of the Hwy. 127 yard sale-- the longest, most awesome, most dangerous yard sale in the history of the world...or at least the Eastern seaboard...of the United States.