Tuesday, September 30, 2014

hurray! the kitchen is fully done!

my kitchen.
it's finally done.

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A very long summer has culminated with the completion of my kitchen.  It is a pleasure to hang out in there now, and I am super excited for cooking and even the cleanup!

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The basics:
We decided to just refurbish the old cabinets by replacing the water damaged parts, and then painting the lot of them. Just that, the painting, brightened the kitchen up so much. For painting them, I went off of this tutorial and I will say using a liquid sander was the fastest easiest way to go about the process! Please forgive the before pics.  even though my house does often look this chaotic, this was right after we discovered the leak and everything was prepping to be torn out.



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You may remember I talked about the butcher block counter tops?  we canned that thought after looking into how much longer it would take and being fully frustrated as it was. We ended up going with black Formica. I figured if we were going to go with Formica, I did NOT want any of the fake granite stuff. Luckily there was this black micro dot. I love it.  It is simple, fast application (of course I watched the contractor do it...)and easy to clean.


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We did take out the old island, it lives in my garage sewing studio now.  Its very welcome there as another surface to work with. We put in a smaller island, with big deep drawers and a butcher block top from Ikea. I love this island. I don't usually cut directly on it, but you can. I really like the drawers. I had been wanting drawers in the kitchen, and now there are some!


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Instead of trying to put wood floor back in the kitchen we went with laminate.  This one is a faux cork and I added an under layment that makes standing in there for hours easier on the feet and back. Its a very soft and floaty feel. Plus it was easy and cheap.



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The only really big difference, and expense is my new, incredibly awesome fantastic super sink!

When I thought about this I had no idea just how much one could love a sink. For starters its huge.  However it does not take up any more counter space than the old 2 bowl porcelain one we had. The faucet came with it as a package, and we added an instant hot water tap that we adore (why didn't we do that before??)
To go with it, and the most labor intensive from the contractor is the full tile backsplash. yes. clean white subway tile. I probably would have loved a mosaic and crazy colors, but the backsplash alone sets my hubs mind at ease.  And I really like it too.

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The black and white kitchen idea has been running around pinterest for a while, and I have always liked it. I have learned over the years that, as much as white may bore me, it is great for the daily light.
Not too bad for under $3000, It only took 3 months (ugh)...
It would have been less, if we had done a lot of it ourselves, but we are running low on DIY steam and honestly, we were scared to try plumbing and tiling on our own...
We still have a couple of things left.  deciding on knobs, if we want them at all. also, we need to get the trim in under the cabinets.

PS even though the links are mostly to home depot and the products I purchased, this was NOT sponsored... I wish. Its just the big box DIY store to hand. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

late on a sunday night...

My stomach's doing flip flops.

A few things happened recently that set me a little on edge, both with excitement and embarrassment.

First: I got a job. A job away from home and the computer and the sewing machine.
I will be an Educational Assistant in our local school district. I had been considering applying for a while, and the hubs and I always had it in mind that I would "Go Back To Work" after the boys were in school for full days. I cringe a little when I say go back to work.  I don't feel like I ever really stopped working, and any stay at home mom can tell you its a 24/7 job. I think last year was my first year with actual hours of quiet and alone time. I didn't use those hours the way I had intended, and so it was time to move forward in a different way.
I think this will be good.  Its only a half day schedule, but, I tend to work best under pressure, and I think that my sewing creativity may actually improve when I am back to night work only. We'll see. I have hope.

All that being said, and now that the interview is over, whew.  I haven't been to a face to face interview in a very long time. I went in with a positive feeling and attitude, but I was nervous as all get out!

I think those nerves are still messing with me a little a week later.  I sent out my emails for seeking permissions for this next months Sew Mama Sew column.  I tried a different format and ended up getting a lot of responses about the email being impersonal and vague. I felt horrible. I hate getting spam emails, and I did not want to come across that way.  So I responded, and re sent several emails. I do thank those I contacted for being patient with me!

It leaves me reflecting on my time as a small crafty blogger. I have kept this space somewhat impersonal with only visual glimpses into my life at home. I meant it to be about the crafts, the creations, the creativity. Sometimes all those things jumbled up in the clutter of everyday life.  And so I need a little journal entry to cleanse my palette.

I have met a lot of very incredible people along this journey so far.  I am inspired by many and have had some friendships come and go. Some leaving me feeling a little dumped, others a natural progression of our communication. All in all learning experiences. Even if a precious few are very disheartening and sad.

I think blogging for me is a journal of my creativity. A visual bragging platform, but also a place to share with others. I think its time to get back to the ideas that led me here, and the sharing. So I am working on my tutorials and sewing guides page to get the links in order, and adding recipes as well. Bear with me while I work on that.

But I never meant it to be an earning platform. It was always just for me, and I thank you for joining me here.

Time to shake off the funk and move on to the next project!

tattoo- sewing edition

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almost every year for the last 10 I have added to my tattoo on or near my birthday. Some elements were completely separated, only to be connected over time.  It started at my low back, and there are hidden initials of all my boys. But, this last addition (pictured above all fresh and shiny) is sewing related.
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When I was young, it was not allowed to even consider a tattoo. For starters it gave my step dad the heeby jeebies to even consider tattooing. It was outlawed with the statement: " while I pay your health insurance you will not tattoo or pierce anything". So what did I do as soon as I could? got a few piercings. After that fallout at 18, I kept it quiet until I was 23, then, I got my first tattoo. And I had been paying for my own health insurance for a while.

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My dad never really was comfortable with it, but it was his own aversion. He did like that every piece except the fish (and now the sewing machine and scissors) has been my own work and follows who I am, a little loose and flowy. Not super structured, but there is a symmetry involved. It does wrap over my shoulder and come down about 3 " and then around my hip a few inches too.  I've been adding colors here and there as well, and while I keep working on it, I decided this new one needed to be black. I'm really liking having my love and need for sewing stamped right there, another component to the doodling.

Do you have any tattoos? what are they? do you want more?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

#sskal14 sweater number two: beary cozy

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In the midst of all the fun sewing and crazed canning I have been doing, I managed to get another sweater done for the #sskal14 ! hurray!

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THe original pattern is in a darker tweed, but I had this chunky blue wool in my stash and I had just enough to do the whole sweater! except for a little section on the hood, you can see in the last pic down.  I also used browns and grays in chunky weights from my stash of left overs to do the bear face.  This is my first time doing a technique called intarsia, I suppose you could argue there is a little bit of the fair isle technique too.  it makes for one crazy mess of strings through the back...

please forgive the dark iphone pic...

The pattern, "oh my bear" is from Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen designer and super fairie of tiny owl knits. 

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 I was frustrated with learning this technique in the first try, so I unraveled it to the beginning of the bear face and set it down for a week.  When I came back to it I powered through, trusted my ability to fix any holes later, and just went for it. I got it done, and it is really one of my most cozy and favorite handknits!
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more details on my ravelry project page!  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

sew geeky: studio ghibli

It's that time again! I really love this series.  Kat and Ari are geniuses and I am so glad they keep letting me jump on board!
This month is Studio Ghibli.  Are you familiar with these amazing animated films? Our favorites are those that are the most child friendly: Totoro, Ponyo, Arriety, Nausicaa, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle
I decided to go with Totoro as my inspiration especially since I knew this little cutie was coming for a visit!

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Our Totoro is all of french terry with a version of the urban unisex hoodie from hiedi and finn and fancy pants leggings from titchy threads. Complete with ears on the hood.  I made the leggings, thinking they would have enough stretch, and they actually went on pretty well, but are very snug! Of course, I don't get to see this little guy very often so I was going with an approximate...
It has been a very long time since I dealt with the squirms of a crawling baby, but he pulled it off well, and we managed a few shots!

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To go with Totoro, we had to have a pair of soot sprites.  I think soot sprites make an appearance in several of the Ghibli movies. For these two charmers I made Banyan tees from Figgy's, turning the pocket into a soot sprite. It is still a pocket!

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The boys had a wonderful time with our visitor. They are very good big brothers and fully watching out for the babe. Murphy is doing an amazing job of being insanely charming in most of these shots as well (makes a mother swoon).

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Don't forget to check out the Sew Geeky Series blog for the links to all of the other amazingly talented ladies contributing this month!
Click each picture below to check out the stars of this episode of Sew Geeky!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

selfish sewing fall 2014: my minoru


Its time again for Selfish sewing week! and what better way to get the blog up and going again for fall than with my fancy laminate Minoru!

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This wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be, however there were some tricky sewing moments. Anytime you are sewing through thick layers of resistant fabric you run the risk of ripping out lots of seams.  It's a little trickier with the laminate, because I didn't want to leave a bunch of little holes as I pulled seams. I was also worried about the zipper.  It doesn't seem to matter how precise I am my zippers always seem to be off by a few centimeters, driving me batty!

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The bottom back part has a little flare because the laminate is stiff.  I think its a great coat honestly and it's super warm. I got lucky when the clouds rolled in.  I really didn't want to take these pics in 80* and sun. We are having a bit of an Indian summer here and its wreaking havoc with my wardrobe!

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I lined it in flannel, which gives it a warm layer. I had considered adding a layer of something for more insulation, but sense caught up with me and between the laminate layering and the flannel, I had enough to contend with.

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I'm in love, and I highly recommend this pattern. It's not in the list for our selfish sewing sponsors, but well worth your time.  If you'd like to try sewing a a water proof coat for yourself, I have a great selection of laminates in the Casa Crafty shop. I should start selling mallets too. They are the best for all those triple and quadruple layered seams.

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don't forget to get your projects up on Kollabura!  There is also a great giveaway going here.
Happy sewing!
come back tomorrow,  I have another great sew along to check out! don't miss out on all the other great stitichers and the patterns featured this year!

Call Ajaire
The Crafty Kitty
Max California
the quirky peach
Swoodson Says
a happy stitch
sew a straight line
Sew Caroline
Our Chez Nous
Casa Crafty
Flamingo Toes
Sewing Rabbit
groovy baby and mama
you & mie
oona balloona
sew Amy sew
Idle Fancy
miss matatabi
Dandelion Drift
Modern Handcraft
A Quilter's Table
lbg studio
Diary of a Chainstitcher
Compagnie M.
Sew Chibi
la inglesita
Modern Handmade
Sing All You Want
Cookin' and Craftin'
Behind the Hedgerow
Milkybeer Handmade
The Charming Needle

indie pattern designers:

April Rhodes
Blank Slate Patterns
By Hand London
CaliFaye Collection
Chris W Designs
Christine Haynes
Closet Case Patterns
Clover & Violet
Deer and Doe
Delia Creates
Emmaline Bags
Go To Patterns
grainline studio
Hey June Handmade
imagine gnats
In-House Patterns
Kate & Rose
Kitschy Coo
Megan Nielsen Patterns
Mouse House Creations
Named Clothing
Papercut Patterns
Pauline Alice
SBCC Patterns
Scientific Seamstress
see kate sew
Sew Caroline
Sew House Seven
Sew Sweetness
Sewing Patterns by Mrs. H
SUCH Designs
True Bias
Victory Patterns
Violette Field Threads

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

let's talk about: quail eggs and garam masala

I know what today is. We all do in the United States. Today is a day in our recent history that rocked us all to our core. We lived a life of security, and 9/11 dashed those notions to the ground. But, today is just a day. Like 1/19 (MLK day), and 2/16 (Presidents day)and 7/4 (independence day) or 11/22/63 (JFK dies). These historical days stack up over decades, centuries and time makes us remember the people that created a change in our way of life.  The people that gave their lives for our rights, our freedoms, and our ability to have just what we want if we truly want it.
I wasn't there. I was on the other side of the country. It was 6 AM when I heard about the towers on the radio. I will always remember driving the hour to my house from my boyfriends place and thinking I just wanted to turn around and get a huge hug.
But, it's 13 years later, and this morning, I sent two boys to school. I am waiting on the contractor, and I am considering how to put together Garam Masala. Even though we have a great deal of things to be proud of in this wide and great country, I can't find Garam Masala in my own little part of it. I knew I could put it together myself, but I thought I would just pick up what little I needed in bulk, only to find that the grocery store was lacking...
A little research has provided me with a few recipes, and I decided to go with this one from Cooking like a Fox. but, while searching through my spices to find what I need, I found a little baggy of garam masala buried in the recesses of the spice cabinet! here it is though, for the next time.

I can't find quail eggs either.  This surprises me greatly. I live in a land of hunters, poultry farmers, beef ranches and new age grocery stores. How is it that not a one of them has quail eggs? Why is it that when I ask about them, people look at me like I am a loony for wanting a different form of EGGS!

oh well.
In the end, I asked my sister ( that lives in Portland) to drive to Uwajimaya, and get me some canned hard boiled quail eggs. She did, and promptly mailed them to me before her honeymoon. what a good sister!

The boys love to snack on them. I did have a conversation with a friend that said she knew of someone that might have quail eggs. So I may have a way in. I think its just time for me to start raising quail. It will have to wait until spring, but, I have always wanted to raise quail!

yes. I need and love quail eggs.  I love the quail too! I love watching the quail families in the spring, and their little calls in the evening. Someday I will be able to have quail, but for now, I will stock up on the canned versions when I go to Portland, and I am on the hunt now for some one in Central Oregon with fresh quail eggs.
Luckily I can use the hard boiled ones for Wee Scotch eggs a la Jamie Oliver!
I will never forget 9/11, even when it sneaks up on a Thursday. I will tell my children about it, where I was, and what we did as a nation to recover. The series of events that have taken place since then will effect my boys futures and their friends. That is a weighty thought.
My love and thoughts go to all those that survived, and the families that lost loved ones.