Thursday, March 31, 2011

100th Post Greatfulness Giveaway!!!!!

Yes folks- it's my very first BLOG GIVEAWAY!!!!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with blogs (and only read mine because you are a friend/relative who loves me;) Giveaways are rampant in Blogland.  It's a very fun aspect of the blogging club- but one that I haven't felt the urge to do until a momentous event such as this.

You see- this here post is my 100th post!  Pretty exciting right?  I think so.  and I figured that this would be as a good a time as any to have a fabulous (in my humble opinion) giveaway for the people who take the time to check in on my little blog and support me in their devotion!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you and each and every comment and compliment you have given me.  So.....without further adieu:

I have chosen 3 separate gifts to give- one that represents each of the facets of this blog.

First for my Angelbabies- my most favorite children's book ever.  This book is simply divine in every way.  The illustrations, the words, it's a must have in any collection- children or adult!  It is SUCH a beautiful book!
If you win this prize you will get a brand new hardcover copy of the book
All The World by Liz Garton Scanlon, Illustrated by Marla Frazee. Retail value: $20

Secondly for the Paint- I will be giving away one of my recent, original paintings from my current series.  This painting was completed a few weeks back- it is inspired by the onset of spring.  It is an acrylic and graphite painting done on a 5"x 5" 1.5" deep wrapped canvas. It can be hung as is- no need for a frame. Retail value: $40

Third for the Cookies- I will be baking, packaging and overnight shipping a batch of my all time favorite Peanut Blossom a.k.a Crack Cookies, to anywhere in the continental United States!!!!! Retail value...priceless;)


Have at it folks! 
Here's how you enter:
You need to simply leave me a comment under this post (if you do not have an "account" simply sign under anonymous and leave your name/email address along with your that I can contact you if you are a winner!)
On Sunday evening I will be doing 3 separate drawings on and picking 3 winners- 1 for each prize. I will post the winners then- so be sure to check back!  Feel free to pass this givewaway along...the more the merrier.  Good luck:)

Thank you all for your support over the past 100 posts.  It means more than you could possibly know.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Project File: Refurbished Kids Table and Chairs

Here' s the latest project that I finished today.
We recently received this fabulous handmade kids table and chair set from some friends with an older child.  The bones and lines were good- but it had seen better days for sure...
I did my best with sandpaper (although an electric sander would have been better- but, I'm impatient- and it's a kids table...not to say they don't deserve a perfectly sanded table, but I know it's going to get grubby again soon!)
Then I primed it with an oil based primer.
Then I applied 3 coats of interior semi-gloss in a creamy white color (same color as our kitchen cabinets.)
After much deliberation- I decided to make an owl stencil and do some decorative painting on the backs of the chairs.  I measured and taped a 1" boarder around the back panel, and centered the owl design.
Then, I took some remnants from the oil cloth bench project and cut rectangles of foam to fit the chair seats, and wrapped a piece of the oil cloth over the top and around the sides-then stapled the ends on the underside of the chair.  So now my little angels have some cushy- wipe-able seats:)
While the owls were drying I took a quick snack break and was flipping through the recent West Elm catalog that came yesterday.  I was inspired immediately by the zebra print rug- and applied the idea to the owls:)

Before                                                    After
I have been on a serious hunt for new fabric to make these fabric amazing roller shades for the kitchen windows.  The color scheme in the kitchen is a tough one (due to the pink ceramic tile floor, pink laminate counter tops, and pink backsplash).  We went with off white cabinets (which are also in rough shape and need to be replaced, and chocolate brown walls).  The old curtains are made out of this Premiere Print fabric-

which is a little too similar to the oil cloth bench fabric-
and the kitchen has thus become a little too monochromatic for my taste.  So- after weeks of searching fabric sites- I stumbled upon this, here a fabulous little Etsy fabric shop with TONS of fabric choices.
(Mod Charm by Anthology)
and ordered it.  I'll keep you posted on the roller shade progress (I'm going to use fusible lining to give this quilting cotton fabric some heft). 
What do you think of the fabric???
I liked it because it has a retro feel to the design, it has lots of colors (pink included)- but more importantly yellow and turquoise which are all over the rest of the house.  I think it's a really fun fabric too! 
We will eventually do a total kitchen/dining room renovation- but this is perfect for the meantime!

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Roof Over Our Heads

At long last- we are getting a new roof! Hallelujah!!!!
We are in a desperate situation here- I have revealed one of the various ceilings of our house here- and, although this one is probably (and thankfully) the worst- the stress of knowing the instability of the roof- is stressing me out!

SO- we bit the bullet! Not the most rewarding purchase you might think...but honestly I feel so good about spending this $- it's taking a huge weight off my shoulders.  Plus-it's allowed me the pleasure of dreaming up color schemes for the exterior of the house (something I've been holding off on until the roof is done- and I'm glad I waited- because it's a HUGE MESS!)
This next project, I will be taking on myself.  My Dad is a house painter by trade- and I was lucky enough to work a couple summers when I was off from teaching, as his assistant.  Maybe this summer...but more than likely next summer:)
I'm thinking (hoping) they will be done next week:)

Here are a couple of my favorite roof job shots- inspiration comes in some interesting places....
I'm calling this one "Nail Flower"
They left one day and I noticed the shovel balancing on the chimney- "how cool- great picture" was my initial thought- then I began thinking of the potential for an accident- i.e shovel in the head...thankfully all heads are intact:)

and here's the resulting painting...still in progress...
I love the little spaces that formed between the leaves, they remind me of tide pools.

This painting was done on primed board- something new for me- I thought I'd give it whirl- I liked working on it although it was really different than canvas- you can see the linear texture of the wood- which I think works with my highly textural series.

Now I just need to figure how to use those amazing nails for mono printing;)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What The Cha Cha?! and a Pair of Pillows

So- you know the saying March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb....
last time I checked the calendar it was March 23rd- the END of March- and the weather people are calling for 4-7 inches of SNOW tonight into tomorrow!?  What the heck! What in the world?! (I'm trying to correct my bad speech habits because Zella recently said "what the heck" out of frustration....bad Mommy)- anyway- I DO love snow- but not in March- it's very un-lamb-like:)
On the subject of Zella's speech- her latest speech phase is adding "Cha Cha" into otherwise normal phrases...examples from the past 24 hours:
"Daddy, that's not Cha Cha music!"...said during our after dinner dance party last night.
"Watch this great Cha Cha dance move Mommy"...said same time as above.
"This is the best Cha Cha soup I've ever had"... in regards to the lentil soup I made last night.
"Let's go under the nice Cha Cha blanket"...while getting into our nightly "igloo" before bed.
I'm not quit sure if Cha Cha means "awesome", or maybe "delicious", or maybe "warm and fluffy"???? Whatever it means- it's something good and is always said with enthusiasm- you should give it a try!  I'm thinking I may start substituting it in my common frustration induced phrase...What the Cha Cha?:)

Onto the project of the day- I finally got around to making the pillow covers for the big inserts I mentioned here., for my newish living room design.
I have been slacking big time in the project department- between last weeks stressful event and working the past 4 days- today was a much welcomed rest...and it gave me a little time to sew:)

Let me start by saying that I am NOT a seamstress.  I sew because I'm cheap, and out of necessity.  I sew things like curtains, pillow covers, chair covers, quilts- etc.  My sewing attention span is very short- hence the simple projects with fairly straight seams. I consider myself an abstract sewer- I do not have the patience to follow a pattern- hence me not attempting any clothing:)
So- I came across this amazing tutorial on the design blog Casa Brasi- on sewing zippers into pillow covers- and I knew at once I had to give it whirl...and I'm SO glad I did!!!!
Advantages to zippered pillow covers:
  1. less fabric is used
  2. looks more professional
  3. less bulky
that's enough reasons for me!  and it didn't take that much longer (it will be even faster the more I do!)

Here's the fabric I used- I LOVE it. 
I found it at this Etsy shop, and here's how the pillows came out- I'm still playing with the arrangement of all of my toss pillows between the 2 couches.  I ended up putting a linen back on the pillows to reserve the remaining velvet for more pillows (possibly for the smaller couch)?

It needs to be ironed- but you get the idea;) Not too shabby right?

Thank you Amanda from Casa Brasi for the fabulous tutorial!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sweet Potato Enchiladas and Wednesday's Heart Attack

Let me start off with the heart attack- since you might be wondering with the cryptic title:)

On Wednesday- I had a heart attack- not a real one- but an emotional one.

My little man was playing in a laundry-basket-boat with his big sister- which capsized shortly into their journey and hit a very hard, very white IKEA bed frame...with his face.

(above is the bed in question- in his revamped "big boy room"- he began climbing out of the crib during the wee morning hours- a.k.a 2am- so I took it down to avoid further injuries...that's also a new rug addition to his room)

There was crying- there was lots of blood, and there was sheer panic on my behalf when I looked in his sweet little mouth and saw that he had not only bit through his bottom lip- but that the edge of the bed had sliced into his gums above his front teeth and left a gaping hole:(

So- after a many phone calls, a visit to the doctor, a 4 hour wait in the ER, a 3 hour wait in the examination room, finally being assisted by some lovely dental residents (who Moses thankfully fell in love with- he's a sucker for a pretty lady), Barney on the portable DVD player, a toddler-sized sedation, 5 stitches, and many text messages and phone calls to concerned family members, we made it home safe and sound and are ALL healing.  He is a trooper- he's been in good spirits the rest of the week.  The hardest part is probably the fact that he is on a "soft diet" and for a boy that can be quite picky- this is tough!

Seeing as this is the 2nd ER trip we've had with the little guy in past 6 months- I know this will most likely not be our last.  I really felt like I was having a heart attack- or maybe anxiety attack? I started crying in the pediatricians office (I am not a crier)- I was a mess. 

When we finally got into the examination room- we shared it with another family- separated by only a thin curtain.  This mother and father had a sick little boy too- but their little boy was chronically sick with a crippling genetic disorder- and looking at that family put everything in perspective- I couldn't help but think we were placed together for a greater reason than coincidence. It's never easy seeing your child in pain- but, right now especially I am grateful and blessed that my children are in general- healthy.

On a much-less-serious note...onto the amazing dinner from Monday night- oooh is this a good one!

Sweet Potato Pinto Enchiladas with Asian Slaw

Here's how it goes....gather the ingredients:

roasted sweet potatoes (I poke a few holes in them with a fork, put them on a cookie sheet and roast them @ 375 for about 1 hour of until they smell done)
chopped spinach, onion and garlic, pinto beans, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and pepper, tortillas, cheese, cilantro, sour cream.

First you dice up the onions and start them sauteing in a little extra virgin olive oil-
As they cook- add in the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
Once the onions have cooked down a bit- add in the chopped spinach- cook another 4 mins.
While that's cooking- add the cinnamon, cayenne and S&P to the roasted sweet potatoes- mash it together real good...
then combine it with the can of rinsed pinto beans (black, canillini, lentils or kidney would all work fine too)!
mash it up real good!
Lay 1 tortilla down in a heated pan, spread the bean mixture, then some of the spinach mixture, then some cheese- add another tortilla, and let it toast up a little- flip it after a couple minutes- when the cheese is melted take it out and slice it up.
Top with sour cream, a little salsa, chopped cilantro (avocado would be awesome too!)
I served it with a side of Asian slaw- I got the recipe from Shutterbean- food blogger extraordinaire. The dressing on this salad is AMAZING- you must try it. Also check out this other delicious salad of hers- similar dressing (no oil?!)- oh it's real good!

Sweet Potato Enchiladas (serves 4)
1.5 cups roasted sweet potato( 3-4 small sweet potatos roasted, skinned)
1 can pinto beans
1 large onion(diced)
3 cloves garlic(crushed)
2.5 cups chopped baby spinach
1 tsp. sea salt separated
1 Tbp. cumin
1tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 pack tortillas
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup salsa

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Window Washers and Unrelated Studio Time

They have a new hobby of late....and I am in FULL support of it:)

 She is the director/scrubber

and he is the sprayer

Nothin' like a little teamwork to get the job done;)

It keeps them busy for a while, and it cleans my very dirty window paynes- one of the many things that has fallen off of my too long to-do list. It's very Montessori don't you think?  I visited a montessori school last year as when I was looking for a pre-school for Z, and when I was there we walked past a classroom door that had various port hole style windows.  I noticed some suds on the window and the director said "someone is doing their work"- so cute.

I got some beautiful daytime work hours in my studio the other day.  It was amazing!
The picture below is the tree outside my windows- paintings inspired by trees is a frequent theme in my work- and what better inspiration then the first signs of spring?

I hope to reveal the finished paintings by the end of the week! 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Project File: Oil Cloth Bench

So- if you remember my previous post- about this old might be impressed by the results (I know I certainly am!)

and BEFORE....

Here are the tools I employed.

The first step was to remove all of the old fabric- it was really gross.  This was the most tedious part- there were MANY staples that needed to be pulled out!!!

The legs are a whole other story- and they probably took up the most time in the entire project.  Basically- they were poorly assembled/attached in the first place- so over the years we  D, has reattached them more securely- so after all of the re-upholstering was done, there was more than one HD trip spent getting supplies for the final leg repair:)

I decided to leave the old batting on- which wasn't in too bad of shape- and add an extra layer.  I ended up getting a twin size egg crate ($8) and cutting it to fit width wise over the 3 sides (I left the ends alone).

I used this to hold it in place while I stapled it around the bench.

Once that was done I headed downstairs to the sewing room to begin the cover!

I cut 5 panels of the oilcloth, leaving 1" seam allowance. Then I pinned them into place.

I'll admit- I was a little nervous about the sewing (having never used the oil cloth before)- but it was super-easy!  The hardest part was probably handling the inflexibility of the fabric- especially since I was sewing such a large item- but other than that- it was great!
I found some tips on the process here.

Oh- and I had this lovely little helper boy in tow during the process.  He's my professional pin-sticker.  Dangerous???? perhaps- but I look at it as a dexterity building exercise, great for fine motor coordination:) He was happy as can be!

After sewing  together the 3 side panels, I pinned the edges on while the sewn panels were inside out on the bench, slid off the pined cover- and finished stitching.

It fits pretty good!
Then we reattached all the legs- and put it in it's resting place at the kitchen table.
It reminds me of vinyl furniture covers that would be in a grandparents house...but classier;)
Perfect for a house with little ones, I can literally just wipe it right off!

The oil cloth came from here, fabulous service by the way;) and a great selection of oil cloth!

This weeks Project List :

#1: pillow covers (1 for a little bolster for Mosie's bed, and 2 for the living room pillows here- wait till you see the fabric I got for these- it's awesome!!!)

#2: paint the kids dining set and cover the table top with the matching oil cloth I used on the bench.