Monday, October 31, 2011

Our Halloween

This post is really for my hubby - who's away at training - but of course, I assume everyone will enjoy looking at our beautiful daughter ;)

I'd love to tell you that I made at least part of her costume...but it's just not true.

I don't think she minded.

It's good to be three.  and we are very three.

We ate our traditional chili.  
Every Halloween for as long as I can remember :)

Dora made an appearance on the pumpkin.

We hope yours was full of treats!

jessica and charlotte

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Defining Your Decorating Style

I love to decorate.  
I love fabrics and accessories and colors.  But I have always felt that my home lacks continuity.  It's missing a cohesiveness that is inherent to really great decorating.  I'll see something that I like and buy it(or make it), but once I step back and really look at it I realize 
"um...that doesn't really go in my house".  
I'm not really talking about things that match - I'm not a matchy Pottery Barn style decorator (although I do love Pottery Barn...).  I'm talking about the overall feel of my house.  It has just seemed that so far in my life, everything doesn't go together.  I may get one room just the way I want it, but it doesn't really echo the feelings of the other rooms.  
So right now, I have no house to decorate(or clean)...which means I have lots of time to think about decorating; to really evaluate the situation while I'm not in it (see? I'm trying to make the best of this situation ;).  I was talking to my sister about this whole problem, saying "I can't even find pictures of exactly what I want."  There's no one store or style or picture that I could find to capture what I have in my head.  So she had a great suggestion - 

"How about creating a phrase to describe your style?

  Everything you buy/make must fit into that phrase."  For me, it was the perfect solution.  Not as limiting as a photograph, but a way to still keep me focused(a challenge to be sure..).  
So here's what I came up with:

Textured.  Vibrant.  Bohemian.

That's the phrase for my home.  
It has helped me soooooo much!  I'll pick up a fabric that I really like, but realize it's very subdued or too modern looking.  I still like those things, but that doesn't mean I should put them in my home.  Does that make sense?  Here's an example:  I have had to purchase several rugs because the base housing has no carpet.  The store shelves are filled with all styles of really pretty rugs - and I bought one, but when I brought it home I realized it did not fit my style.  It looks a little too traditional.  So I went back out - this time repeating my phrase to myself - and purchased a rug that I really love and that will look really nice with the rest of my things.
Now every time I am shopping, I ask myself 
"Does it have texture?  Is it vibrant?  Does it have a bohemian feel?"
(anyone else talk to themselves while they are shopping...??) 
Not every item has to meet all three qualifications, but I know those qualifications harmonize with one another - therefore the items will as well.
So how about you?  Do you feel like your house is cohesive?  
Does anyone else struggle with this?
  If you do, I'd love to know what works for you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The whole room...

Here is the quilt - the final piece of Charlotte's Japan Room!  It's adorable Valori Wells fabric and mom quilted it on her sewing machine.  

Here's the whole room laid out:

Now tomorrow it will be boxed up and we're starting the shipping process...kinda exciting!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

{DIY} Mason Jar Sewing Kit - the tween version

This is certainly not a new idea.  I don't claim to have made it up.  I'm just sharing my version.  I made this as a gift for a girl who just turned 12.  I've seen lots of gorgeous versions online like this one on Anthropologie or this nice DIY one on Martha ,but I needed to make something a little bit more youthful looking - so here's what I came up with!

There's a great tutorial for making a jar lid pin cushion over on Prudent Baby.

This is my top
and this is the underneath side

This is such a fun gift to put together, because it can be changed in so many ways!  Add a small pair of scissors, or a thimble and embroidery floss.  You can really tailor it (ha ha) for the person you're making it for.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 21, 2011

{DIY} Panels with Grommets

Yesterday I shared the little pillow going in Charlotte's 3 year old room when we move to Japan.   
So today I have the matching window treatments.  

A few weeks ago I shared the inspiration for this room...but you know sometimes you get to the fabric store and a fabric just calls out your name and you can't ignore it!  That's what happened when I spotted this Michael Miller.  I knew it would make the perfect drapes for the room!
So I bought 6 yards 
(and I had a 40% off coupon - woo hoo!).  
That's how much it takes to make two panels 
(for a standard size window - if your window or rod is placed higher than standard, simply measure from the floor to your fabric rod, then add 1 1/4" - that will be the total length of the drape.  Then add 11" to that number to get the cut for the length.  
Ex: If your rod is 92" from the floor, add 1 1/4" making the finished length 93 1/4".  Add 11" and the cut of your drape should be 104 1/4" long x the width of the fabric.)

Here's the full supply list, in case you find yourself in a similar situation with a fabric that's got your name!

6 yards of 44-45" wide cotton fabric
6 yards of lining fabric
sewing machine/thread/scissors/yard stick/iron/pins
8-10 grommets , depending on how you like them spaced

These are really simple to make - I made them in one evening.  
And you really just need to know how to sew a straight line.  
Seriously - you can make your own drapes.  Are you convinced?  Okay then, let's go.

Step 1:  
"Measure twice, cut once."  This is soooo true when you are making drapes.  You are working with large amounts of fabric and you really want to make sure you have measured correctly before you cut them out.  So here are the measurements.  44"(the width of your fabric) x 95".  Cut two panels at those measurements.  Cut 2 panels of lining 41" x 93".  
(If you are using a wider fabric, just cut the lining 2-3" less on both the width and length)

Step 2:
Along the short edge (44" on cotton or 41" on lining), press up 3" toward the wrong side of the fabric, then up 3" again creating a hem.  Pin in place.  

Do this for all 4 panels.  
Top stitch along the folded and pinned edge.

Step 3:

Lay the lining right sides together with the panel.  
Match up the raw edges along the sides and pin.  Since the lining is smaller than the panel, there will be a little bit of bunching of the panel - that's okay, in fact you want that. Just make sure the raw edges on both sides are lined up.

Sew along those edges.

Step 4:
Flip the panel right sides out.  You should find that when the lining lays flat you get about 1" of panel folded over - that's exactly what you want! 
Pin the hems together so the lining doesn't scoot around on you.

Press it flat.

Step 4: 
When you have the entire panel pressed, measure from the hem until you get exactly 84".  
Place a pin there.
Press the raw edge over 1/2".  Then fold it over at the pin - so the pin mark becomes the very top of the curtain.

Step 5:
Now it's time for the grommets.  You can buy these at any fabric store - Joann's, Hancocks, etc.  They just snap on, and the directions are on the back of the package.  
They provide a template like this:

I place the top of the grommet about 1 1/4" inch from the top of the curtain.  Draw the markings in the template.  I started 2" from the edge, then spaced them 12" apart.  Next time I may put more grommets, but this was what I had and I didn't want to go back to the store.  I don't think my three year old will notice :)  
Then you cut out the holes (I cut it slightly smaller than the traced template because I think it stays in place better)
 (sorry about that blurry pic)

Then push the raised piece through the right side of the panel.

Snap the other piece on (you have to push really hard).
Now you have beautiful professional looking drapes!
I can't wait to hang them up at our new home!
happy sewing!
If you have any questions, email me at 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Details...

Currently I'm working on the soft furnishings for Charlotte's bedroom - so far I've made the curtains (a tutorial on that tomorrow) and I have cut out the quilt.  
With the scraps, I decided to make this little pillow for the green chair in her room.  

It was inspired by this Anthropologie one.
You know, it's the details in a room that make it special and make it look finished.
Well, so that's what I've been up to...I'm trying to really work on the home furnishings while I'm here at my mom's - amidst the mile high stack of military paper work... :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hey, Pumpkin!

Lots of pumpkin things floating around these days!  
Really wonderful looking recipes.  
 (although nothing looks as wonderful as that sweet girl)

So you know, I started wondering - what's in pumpkins?  
 Vitamins?  Minerals?  
So here's what I found, plus a roundup of some delicious and healthy recipes!
Pumpkins contain a lot of vitamin A (the orange color is a big hint - think carrots)
They are full of fiber
low in calories (49 in a cup)
also contain vitamin C and potassium
and pumpkins are a fruit.  Did you know that?  I didn't.
So go ahead and try some pumpkin tonight!


Happy cooking, and hope you have a lovely fall day!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Quilt to Pass the Time...

Throughout history women have used quilting as a way to pass the time
- such as when a husband or son was off at war like the Dear Jane Quilt.
That would keep you busy right?
But what a cool thing to do with your time - at the end of the war she actually had something to show for her time - not just a bunch of worrisome nights.
Well my mom, sister, and I have decided to do the same thing while I am in Japan.  We are going to make 36 quilt blocks (one a month).  We have chosen a color palate so that all of the bocks will coordinate, meaning our quilts will match.  At the end, we will make 3 quilts, 12 blocks each, so that we will each have something to commemorate that time (and use it as kind of a countdown system).  So here are our rules - and we haven't come up with a catchy name for this project either, so if you think of one we are open to suggestions :)
1. Prewash fabrics
2.  Each finished block must be 20 1/2" x 20 1/2"
3.  The color palate is Orange, Yellow, Turquoise, Navy, and muslin.
4.  You must embroider your initials and the month/year onto your block
5.  Your block must be mailed to the next person by the 7th of the month
(we're going to take turns ex: Oct. mom, Nov. me, Dec. joanna, Jan. mom, Feb. me, March, joanna etc. etc.)
6.  We will mail our block, plus the previous blocks to the next person so that we can see the progress, but we will only do this for 12 blocks, then we will start over ( we didn't want to have to mail tons of blocks )
7.  At the end, we will have a bee.  We will put all 36 blocks in a bag and each grab 12 blocks without looking.  Then we'll piece our quilt tops! 
I'm pretty excited.  We will each have a sampler-style quilt at the end of the three years!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

{DIY} Anthro Pinwheel Pushpins

These little guys are so cute and quick to whip up, they should be at the top of your gift-making list. 
 Plus they use up scraps!  and you don't need a sewing machine.
Anyone can make these!!!

Here's my version:
cost - $.24 (yes a quarter!)

cost - $15

The secret to making these the cutest pushpins you've ever seen, is the size. 
Finished they are only 3/4" across (which you cannot tell by that Anthro pic). 
Teeny tiny and oh-so-adorable.

Here are the supplies you will need:
various scraps of fabric
small beads (I used little seed beads)
a pack of pushpins
a 1.5" circle template

Step 1:  Cut 8 (or as many as you want) circles, 1.5" in diameter, out of different colors of fabric.

Step 2:  Make them into yo-yos: Thread the needle and tie a knot in the end.   With the wrong side of the fabric facing you, fold the edge over toward you about 1/8" and push your needle through. 

Use a running stitch to gather the edge of the circle - folding the raw edge in as you go.

Push the pin through the center of the circle, then pull the thread tight to gather the yo-yo completely.

Step 3:  Slip 3 small beads onto the needle and thread, and secure them in the center.

Tie a knot in the thread and cut it. 
Repeat with each pushpin until you have the desired amount!

It's a perfect gift for someone with a new job or even a great stocking stuffer!
Happy crafting,

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