Berry Pickin’ Saturday

My first day in Seattle with the family was super fun but busy! We decided to go berry picking since they just opened the U-pick fields because the weather was nice and they berries were finally ripe.
I found this beautiful butterfly in the backyard before we left. What a pretty day!

Raspberry picking…

What a pretty and lush field!
My nephew Noah being choosy
My honerary nephew Cameron showing off his loot with his toothless grin :)
My adorable niece Hannah wanted to carry her own basket
Hmm…maybe this way is better.
Hannah sampling berries with her dad
Intrigued by this stick

Isn’t that outfit she is wearing adorable? I made the skirt and I found that pink sweater on clearance for $1.50!

A pretty creek behind the raspberry fields
Other side of the creek

Now on to the blueberry field…

Making sure we pick the blue ones not the green ones!
Look how big some of these blueberries are!
The boys loading up on berries
View of the Tolt river on the way home

Lunch time at Costco! I love the Costco in Issaquah where they live because the food court is outside rather than inside. It is always packed too!

Mmmm…Costco pizza is delicious!

Later back at the house the kids decide to jump on the trampoline and play with water balloons. Gotta love the action setting on the camera!

Notice Hannah’s feet off the ground :)
My niece Alexis chasing her brother
Trampoline + Waterballoons = fun

My new baby niece Ava just chilled inside…not sure what that face was about! But I am sure she was enjoying the burp bloth I made her.

More adventures to come!

Kitchen to do list

Yesterday I was on my way to visit my sister in Seattle and while I was delayed during my layover in Oakland I decided to use my time to try to make decisions and plan out the remaining projects for my kitchen. I am kind of all over the place with finishing my projects and I really want to focus and get the kitchen done before I move onto any other rooms. Thankfully all the construction of the kitchen is done, I just have the decorating part.
I’ve already shared my completed bulletin board and curtains that both came out awesome….it feels like this space is really starting to come together!
A great start to the kitchen decoration!
So here’s the list:
1. Seal the backsplash and replace all the electrical outlets and covers (about 7). This is the least fun project on my list. I have been putting it off since I installed the tile in February. I know it will make a huge difference but I just can’t motivated to start, even though I could get it done in an afternoon.

2. Make my monogram wall. For months now I have been picking up “the letter J” in all shapes and sizes to do a “J” collage. I may be up to a dozen pieces already. And I am not sure yet what colors or techniques I am going to use but hopefully that comes to me when I start working on it. I am still trying to decide if I want to put it on the big wall or the little side kitchen wall next to the fridge. I am leaning toward the little side today.

3. On the left side kitchen wall…well, I don’t know. The long shape of it makes it difficult to fit anything I already own, and I can’t seem to find anything long enough to buy. I also haven’t figured out anything to make that would go there either. I have started saving beer bottle caps to make a cool mural with (like the one I saw at the Abita Brewery where my cousin had his wedding reception) but I don’t really have enough to really do anything with yet.

Another obstacle is the greenish brown color I painted on the adjacent wall…I love it but I have to be careful of the colors I choose so it doesn’t look weird…red and black are definitely out! Maybe I could paint a custom vintage-looking sign there…hmmm…not sure yet. Vivienne over at The V-Spot did an AMAZING sign that I love!
4. Put a plant in the kitchen corner…a pretty tropical that doesn’t need much light and won’t die so easily. Even after I eventually get some tiebacks for the curtains, the kitchen doesn’t get any direct sunlight (it’s a north facing window) so some plants don’t like that. I don’t really have a stellar track record with indoor plants. But the last one looked good in that spot…well, before it died. 
5. I was in my dad’s business warehouse the other day and I spied this beautiful piece of wood that still had the tree bark on the edges. I asked him if I could have it and he said sure because it came attached to a pallet…SCORE! I plan to put it above the pantry door where my stained glass salmon is. His name is Sam and he will be relocating to the living room above the hallway under the staircase.

Sam the stained glass salmon…one day I will tackle a project like this.

I am going to stencil a phrase on the board but I haven’t decided what yet. But I have my trusty Cricut ready and waiting to make those stencils. Any ideas??
6. I have a skinny wood picture frame (12″ x 24″) that I want to turn into a brown chalkboard with homemade chalkboard paint. I am not sure yet if I want to make it a magnetic board or not though. I’m leaning toward not.
I would like to make a separate magnetic board for the kitchen since my pretty stainless fridge is not magnetic and I have a bunch of cool magnets from my travels. But I don’t really have a place to put it, and I also worry that the kitchen might look cluttered with chotchkies. So now I am thinking I might move the magnet board project upstairs to my sewing studio…whenever I get around to that particular train wreck.
7. I also want to put a little something hanging on the tile backsplash right above the stove below the microwave. Not sure what yet but it needs to be kind of square shaped.
I think that might be it…we’ll see.
But now I am on vacation for 8 days and I will have to work on those when I get home.
Until later, happy crafting!

Curtain Shab to Curtain Fab

I love these silk bamboo curtains!

Errr…I used to.

A few years ago during one of their crazy clearance sales, Bed Bath & Beyond had these beautiful curtains on sale for $5 a panel, from the normal $40 a panel. So I bought 4 panels. Most recently I used them on the sliding glass door at my last apartment. My dog Marley chewed up the apartment’s vertical blinds so I had to take them down and put up curtains. The curtains looked great for a while until Marley destroyed those too…

These have seen better days…

Yes they look sad, but I haven’t had the heart to throw them out because A) They were expensive (well, before the clearance), and B) I genuinely like them. They go with my tropical decor style, they let some light in the room, and the texture is unique. But now, in addition to looking ratty, they also don’t fit my huge window which is around 9 feet tall. This is the last window in the house that doesn’t have a covering because it has taken me the last year to make a decision. But given that I am tired of having to worry about being appropriately dressed to walk to the fridge, it was finally time to make that decision.

Here the is the window. The wall is beige…before I painted it brown.

I didn’t want to just do blinds because the window is an awkward size (thank you rounded top) and they are expensive when you start getting that long. So I would need  108″ curtains to cover this window which are pricey and can be difficult to find. Not to mention that I haven’t seen any normal length curtains I liked at all recently anyway.

So I decided to do a curtain makeover on my beloved bamboo silk curtains!

I just painted the window wall a couple of weeks ago with a brown accent color which happened to have a tinge of green in it. So for fabric, I chose two 1.5 yard pieces I got on clearance at Garden Ridge for $4 each. The fabric was a heavy home-dec weight fabric with a thick weave and I knew it would look awesome with the bamboo curtains and the accent wall color.

I really like this brown and green…the colors felt kind of tropical
What the curtains looked like when I started.
Note the new wall color
This was my plan: (I drew it for a better explanation)
Cut the curtains off at the lowest point that wasn’t damaged, add a 6 inch green fabric band, then add the rest of the length needed in the brown fabric.

I started by laying out the curtains on my massive cutting table (excuse the mess and poor lighting please!). And then I cut them around 60″. The hardest part was smoothing the panel down and making sure it was even.

Then I cut 6 inches of green fabric and sew it to the bottom. I encountered 2 problems here:
1) the 6 inch band was small and looked weird
2) I didn’t have enough brown fabric to accomplish what I needed (I had only 1.5 yards instead of 2)

After brief contemplation, I came up with a new plan:

Using the current old curtains attached to the green band, I decided to cut the top strip of the old curtains where the rings were attached and then sew this side to the green band.
After that I attached a medium sized green section followed by a larger brown section.
Here I am attaching the top strip with the rings to the original green band.
Then I added the green section to the other side (the new bottom). Then I tried them on the window. Looks good so far!
Then I added about half of my brown fabric to make up the rest of the length. Looking good!
After finishing the hem on the bottom and completing the other panel (I used only 2 of the 4), this is what my final product looks like:
Still need to get those wrinkles out…

View from the ground that shows the whole length:

Detail at the top

What they look like during the day…letting in a little light

A wide shot of my “still in progress” kitchen

Look on the right, there is the bulletin board I made the other day!
Looks great with my new curtains!

I am extremely happy at how the these curtains came out…they are better than I ever expected! And they only cost me $8. So one project done, only a million more to do…Progress at least!
Until later, happy crafting!

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Tip Junkie handmade projects

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Creative Itch


I meant to post something sooner but last week I went back to my hometown (New Orleans) for my cousin Ryan’s wedding. I had a great time and everything was beautiful! While I was there, I came across a few cool things that I wanted to share.
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Bulletin Board Makeover

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A few months ago, my friend Jennifer asked me to cover their sad, boring bulletin board when they moved in their new house. What I think I struggled with the most was deciding on what fabric to put on it since it was going in her living room and I didn’t want her husband to have to stare at something too girly. A 100% flower pattern was definitely out!

So after trying out nearly every piece of fabric I have, this is what I came up with…

I used dark brown canvas and accented the top and bottom with a band of brown and white floral fabric. Just in case you were wondering, the floral fabric isn’t actually attached to the brown canvas, it is just kind of sitting on top. I was pretty pleased with the way it turned out, considering this was my first bulletin board makeover! Jennifer and her husband James were as well!

This week as I was finally getting to decorating my kitchen (which has been in the constant state of remodel since last summer…), I decided I wanted a bulletin board to put my recipes on, rather than just have them lying around covered in egg and other miscellaneous goop.

So this was the spot in the Kitchen that I wanted to put the bulletin board…

It was so plain and boring…it definitely needed some jazzing up.
When I was at the thrift store last week I picked up a 18″ x 26″ bulletin board for $2.99! It was in pretty good condition and even had a solid wood frame. And it fit perfectly in this space! Sweet.
Covering the Bulletin Board
(I apoligize in advance for my shoddy pictures or lack of pictures!)

Materials needed for this project: Fabric (duh!), batting (either cotton or polyester will work), and a staple gun. I had some polyester batting scraps that I used here but I used cotton batting scraps for Jennifer’s board. For the fabric, I used a home-dec weight printed linen. I love the feel of the heavier fabrics on a project like this, but you can use plain quilter’s cotton too. Just DON’T SKIP the batting! The batting makes this project! :)

**DIY TIP – When doing this project, you have to be careful of the bulletin board you use…not all are created equally. Because you will be stapling the fabric to the back of the frame/and or the board, you cannot use one that has a plastic frame and cardboard on the back. Most of the bulletin boards you find at Walmart are made from these materials because they cost less to make and are therefore cheaper. Check other stores like Target or Office Depot for a better quality board…or see if you can get one from a thrift store like I did.
One issue I had was the location where I wanted to put it. Because I didn’t want to stick nails in the side of my cabinet, I knew I needed to use heavy duty double stick mounting tape. BUT the back of the board was a weird plywoodish back that I knew the tape wouldn’t stick to (plus it was about 1/4″ lower than the frame).
My solution was to attach 2 strips of wood across the back. These were actually strips of  lattice I had left over from another project. I just stapled them onto the frame on the left and right side. Because bulletin board won’t be weight bearing, these staples were plenty strong enough! If I wanted to reinforce them more, I could have used some glue under the wood in addition to stapling it.
With that problem out the way, now we are ready to cover it!
Start with the right side of the fabric (the pretty side) down on the table, lay the batting on top, then lay the cork side of the bulletin board on top of the batting.
First, cut your fabric and batting to fit your bulletin board, leaving about 3-4 inches all the way around. You don’t have to worry about being precise here…just make sure you have enough fabric to wrap around and grab. Again, my frame was 18″ x 26″, so my fabric and batting ended up being about 24″ x 32″ each.
The easy part first – securing the left and right sides of fabric on the bulletin board.
Make sure your fabric is placed exactly where you want it, fold over the left edge and staple it down along the left side of the bulletin board frame (sorry I don’t have a pic of this!). If you have a patterned fabric like I do, make sure it is lined up with the edge of the frame. My staple gun is not the strongest so some of my staples didn’t go in all the way so I took a hammer and tapped them in. If you end up with crooked staples it’s ok, I promise! Staple the fabric to the entire left side of the frame.
Now do the right side. Fold the right side of the fabric over the frame. This time you want to pull the fabric until it is tight…but also make sure your pattern is still aligned. Once it is in the correct place, staple the fabric onto the right side of the entire frame.
So at this point both left and right sides of the fabric should be stapled to the frame of the bulletin board, and the fabric should be tight. If any parts are loose, remove the staples, pull it tighter and re-staple. Sorry again I don’t have a pic of this step…dang it!
Ready to move on??
Ok, now we are going to fold each corner and staple it down. But before you do, you need to reduce some of the batting bulk on the corners by cutting them like so:
Now that the corners are cut, let’s start at the right bottom. The fabric is already folded over and stapled like this:
Fold the bottom corner of the fabric up into a tight triangle.
Then fold that triangle up. Make sure to keep it tight, but pay attention if you have a patterned fabric!

Now staple along the frame. Again, I prefer stapling along the frame because it holds the fabric tighter. You want to make sure you have a firm grip on the fabric and that you are pulling tight while paying attention to the pattern on your fabric.

So once you have finished a whole corner, you can staple the bottom side a little bit. This is what it should look like so far:
So neat and pretty! :) Now do the left corner fold the same way.
Rotate the board 180 degrees so the top is now on the bottom and repeat with the right corner and then left corner. Remember to keep it tight!
Note – when folding the corners, you have to fold them in the EXACT same way every time. When you are done, the folded edges should be on the top and bottom sides and the neat edges should be on the left and right sides.
Here is what my bulletin board looked like:
So pretty! And I love the shape that the batting gives it.
You can stop here if you want but because my bulletin board pattern was busy and the adjacent wall I was putting it on was busy, I felt like the two were fighting each other, so I had to do something!
My solution was to add decorative corners.
Adding decorative corners
I took 4 strips of fabric that were 3.5″ x 11″. With each strip folded the side of the fabric back, I sewed a 1/2″ seam on each side. You can also use iron on no sew tape to do this. This is what each strip (now 2.5″ x 11″) looks like from the back.
Starting on one corner I laid out the strip diagonally and measured where I wanted it…about 5″ from the bottom on each side.
Then I carefully turned it over (here is an excellent time to recheck your measurements), then I stapled it down on each side.
Now repeat for the other 3 sides. Once I finished all 4 corners I added my double sided tape along the wood strips.

Then I put it up on my wall…the decorative corners made a big difference!

Viola…a pretty new board! Here’s a little before and after:

And now it’s in use :)

Until later, happy crafting!

I’m linking up to these parties:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Back from hiatus

So I’m back from a blogging hiatus…not that I really meant to go on hiatus. It just kind of happened…

May was busy with school ending and then I got into summer and I honestly can’t recall what has kept me occupied with the last 4 weeks of summer break, but all I know is that the new school year is looming around the corner already! Ugh! I have 2 weeks here at home, then the next 3 weeks I will be out of town on vacation..YAY!

Anyway I have been sewing a ton of random things for random people. It is funny how as time passes you forget that you did a miscellanous project here and there until you are at someone’s house sitting on their sofa and you look over and say to yourself, “Hey, I made that…I totally forgot that I made that.” I keep meaning to chronicle all the random stuff I do…I am promising myself I will do better!

I did manage to snap a photo of this cute wristlet that I made one of my 12th grade students Katherine. She got me a gift card for Starbucks (yum!) for teacher appreciation day, so I wanted to sew her something a little nice. She loved it of course!

Well, this summer I have found myself reorganizing my sewing space(s)…yes I have expanded into another room…but I haven’t gotten to spend a ton of time sewing…mainly because I have been decorating my house (more on that later!).

I did get to take a sewing class a make my very first purse. It is the Amy Butler “Frenchy Bag”…it came out pretty awesome.

I actually made one as a birthday gift for my mom’s friend too, but of course I forgot to take a pic of it! It was black and white (actually I used the same black and white damask fabric for the body as in Katherine’s wristlet above).

As far as this particular purse goes, there are some quirky things that drive me crazy…the top “flap” always folds down and it has some weird pockets inside. I am currently working on my own purse pattern…but I love the shape and the pleats on this one! Plus I love telling people that I made it. :)

One thing I have been doing is enjoying my pool! Last year I was so busy that I hardly got in it….not the case this year! And these guys don’t mind the pool too much as long as they get to ride on the raft.

My weiner dogs, Marley and Cooper…aren’t they adorable?!?

Really, can Cooper be cuter?