Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Boy and His Power Tools

My oldest son, Seth, loves to work with wood. He's been taking classes for several years now. First at the charter school we attended and now at our local junior college. This past spring he took a class and I got the product of that class, a night stand. Unfortunately, like most wood lovers, he hates when I paint anything wooden unless it's plywood or something like that. I figure he'll probably be the receptor of these things he's created for me some day so I don't change them all that much without permission. :)
Lately he's been working on my shelf in the kitchen. He didn't like the product that's been up there so he's been trying to devise a way to do it differently. Of course we live in an older house so the walls aren't level or even or anything accommodating like that. So he's just been plugging along trying to figure it out on his own. My hubby doesn't do a lot of project type things like that (Seth gets that from my side) so he's not much help to Seth but Seth just plugs along until he gets his mind wrapped around it and gets it figured out. He's just about done but how about a sneak peek? I can't wait to get it painted and finished.
Here's the before shot. That middle bracket just always bugged Seth and I.

The driveway is the perfect place to work.
Level, measure, level -
Me    "Is it done yet?"
More measuring and more leveling -
Me    "I'm sure it'll be fine just like that."
Sigh, still waiting. As always

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Way too much to do or never enough time

My oldest took me to see Toy Story 3 the other day. I'm a huge Pixar fan. So there I was crying over the leaving for college, cleaning out the bedroom scene. Probably because I will be or am facing the same thing with my youngest in just a few short weeks. She's already begun the clean out my room process all on her own. You remember that room don't you? If not you can check it out here. This room will become my new guest/sewing/scrapbooking room. I can and can't wait. A place to call my own again. It's been  3 long years since I said goodbye to my own space to call my very own. So now I'm thinking what do I want to do with this space? How do I want it to function for me?
I wish it still looked like this, clean I mean.
It looks more like this now again.
Of course she is going through things and figuring out what stays and what goes and what gets tossed. The bunk beds are gone already. She outgrew them a year or so ago. Now two young brothers are enjoying them. I get leftover furniture. The twin bed. So what to do, what to do? What would you do with this space? It's small. 8x11 and that's stretching it.
I've thought about having the oldest, the carpenter make me a desk like his own. Not the best shot, but you get the idea. It's attached to the wall, long and skinny with two legs to support the front. He built the desk and stained the shelves. He's pretty handy that way. Well it's time to go for our Sunday evening ritual of waffles, strawberries and swimming at our friends house. Bye!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Just another backyard update and a sewing project

Thought I would share pictures of the backyard again. With it level and everything. Now if only the grass would spring up, I would be so happy. Can't wait for it to do that. I want it to look this again (7th picture down. These photos aren't on my computer anymore so thought this way was easiest.) Just want the green part because it wasn't level even in this picture. Made for interesting games of croquet though.
Here it is with the sprinklers going in. Rascal is inspecting the job. He's our oldest dog and really showing his age.
Of course Trigger has to help also.
Not the best of pictures because the sun was going down and not helping my photography one bit, but I was so anxious to get a photo of it completely level.

Thought I would also share a picture of a project I've been working on lately. The Paris Flea Market bag, but I think it's really just called flea market bag in the pattern. The pattern is by Cindi Taylor Oates Easy To Make Totes With Zippers (Taylor Made Designs #TMB-155) I made one for myself a couple of years ago and my daughter has been begging for one. So I had embroidered a piece for the pocket, because she insisted it look like mine. It does kinda. It's cute and she likes it. Hope to finish it this weekend. Hope everyone's weekend is a spectacular one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Backyard update

I thought I would post some recent pictures of the backyard. We finally have sprinklers, it's leveled and Monday we'll plant grass seed. This flower bed wraps around the outside of the master bedroom addition. We believe this part of the house was added sometime in the late 60s. I have the best luck growing things in this bed.
The irises have faded but the other flowers are still coming on strong. We've had such lovely weather so they'll continue for awhile I hope. Seth was inspired by his trip to Ireland 2 years ago to plant dinner plate dahlias. They're doing fabulous. So far only the yellow have opened up though. 

 The small pink flowers are humpty dumpty dahlias. I've had a lot of success with these and have even divided and transplanted elsewhere. Most of these pictures are pre-leveled back yard. 
The hollyhocks did fabulous this year and even got taller than the grape arbor which is very tall.
The grape is filling in fabulously. We leveled this area and we're thinking we'll put in flagstone or something similar this fall. That's what Seth wants to do at least. I found a great teacup chandlier to hang in here and I'm thinking once the flagstone is in a little bistro set would be great. Already asked Seth for a bench for along the wall. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kitchen Dreaming

So I dream of having a kitchen like this....
traditional kitchen design
or one like this....
traditional kitchen design by chicago general contractor Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers
but the reality is this....

Yes a shoe box. My kitchen is only 9x12 and that's being very generous. I'm sure there are smaller kitchens out there, in fact I know there are, but I dream of larger and larger. Sigh .......
I have been working on this small kitchen lately. It's not going as nearly as fast as I would like it to. Sometimes I think a wand or nose wrinkle would be the best. I try to comfort myself with it's the journey that counts. It's not working though. I just want it done. But the carpenter did take down this ...
To replace it with something better.
But what we've really been working on this week while hubby is off is this ...
Of course these were taken at the height of the rainy season we had. There are real plants out there hidden among all those weeds. After 4 years of begging we're finally getting it leveled. Hallelujah!!! I can't shout it enough. Friday is the day. I'll leave on a positive note, most of the flower beds are cleared and looking good.
{{HUGS}} Amanda

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Project Completion

So I spent my weekend or at least my Saturday working on this project.... remember this? Yep it's pieced. Waiting for borders and a backing. I'll be posting the finished product later this week. Hope your week is a good one too. {{HUGS}} Amanda

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quilts for Students

So here are this year's quilts. We actually got 6 of them done and had numerous problems with #7 due to the batting. We're just learning this long-arm quilting thing, so we'll eventually get it right. My BFF Kelly just got her new long-arm this spring. We thought quilting these students' quilts would be the best thing to learn on and they probably wouldn't notice or complain about them too much. :-) So here they are.
We try to match the quilts to the kids or at least what we think they would like. The majority of these quilts were all pulled from stash. Kelly's and mine. The red, white and blue quilt was one that I actually started years ago, so it was good to finish it. Yeah!!!! The students all loved them. Most of them are just floored and don't realize that we made them just for them. We hope these quilts help them realize they are someone special and that even when times are bad making the good choice is always the best way even when it's the hard choice. 
Please take my poll on the right hand side. I'm trying to determine which way to take this blog. I'll be having a lot more time on my hands this next year as I graduated the last child. The years just fly by. 
Happy summer,
{{HUGS}} Amanda

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Just Musing

So summer is here and the living is easy. I've been pondering, should a blog be about one particular subject or theme? Say decorating or gardening or sewing or etc. Basically we started this blog for a school project 3 years ago. The kids moved on and I stayed or inherited this blog. Fine with me. I like to write and I love to let our friends and family know what we've been up to. But lately I've been wondering and also looking over past posts should a blog be streamlined so to say? I know when looking at other blogs I look at some for their decorating or cooking. I seem to kind of wander around in my posts and so should I split those different subjects into their own blogs? I've posted a poll on the side bar and if you don't mind answering the questions I would much appreciate it.
{{HUGS}} Amanda

Monday, June 7, 2010

Confessions of a Readaholic

Okay, so I'll admit that I like to read and I like to read a lot. My childhood wasn't the best and I read to escape a lot of the unpleasantness of it. Enough said. So I guess that's why I love my job as a school librarian. It's hard for me to imagine that so many kids today don't like to read. Go figure. Or maybe they say that because reading isn't cool and associated with all things nerd or well I have my beliefs on what the other reasons are. Reading helped me to realize that there were others worse off than myself and that I could escape the circumstances of my childhood. I didn't need to repeat the offenses of it. So there I've admitted everything. I love to read, but my darkest secret is that I love to read children's literature. Not because my reading level is so low but because it's great stuff.
I started reading to my oldest child before he could even sit up or crawl. I would lie on the floor beside him and hold the book above us while I read. I couldn't wait to introduce my favorite world, the written word, to him. I've read to him ever since.
Even today we still read together because it's fun to share a novel together, to discuss and have someone to share it with. We still like a lot of the same kind of literature. When my youngest came along, we continued to read together while I would nurse her. So she too got a very early introduction to the written word. They both love to read. Tina, like me, would rather read to herself than be read to. I love to read aloud to others but not be read to. Go figure. Books of all kinds have found a home in our house.
So I'd like to introduce a book that I've come to really like and can't wait for the third book to come out. Hence the clock that is counting down at the top of my blog. If you get a chance this summer read this series. It's awesome, especially if you like dystopia fiction. The movie rights have been bought and I can't wait or maybe I can because I already have these characters so firmly etched in my mind as to what they look like. I haven't decided totally who I would want to play the two leading characters, but Bruce Willis gets my vote for  the alcoholic, cantankerous Haymitch. He'd be perfect at it. Hunger Games and Catching Fire are awesome. If you're having a hard time to get  your middle school children to read, suggest this series. Even my reluctant readers were hooked by this one. 
Now we did have a great time at Yosemite and the quilts went over really well, so I'll be back to posting regularly I hope now that school is out for the summer. Also I hope to have more time to visit and leave comments.
{{HUGS}} Amanda

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yosemite here we come!

School is out for the summer and we're off to this incredible place for the weekend. I haven't been to Yosemite since I was a kid and we've never taken our children, so this should be fun. Wishing everyone a great summer vacation.
Cloudy Yosemite Valley

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crazy, Crazy Month of May

End of year is always amazingly busy. I don't know why but it seems that we hit that month of May and things just accelerate and every weekend has something to do and before you know it's June and school/work is getting out. So just to hit the highlights this is what I've been doing and then had to put on the back burner. I hope to get started back up again next week once work is over for the summer.
I did start painting my kitchen cabinets. The top cabinet that is. I originally started by painting the new cabinet the same shade of green as the lower ones. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was new also. I never even finished it, probably because I didn't like it. Tina finally said why don't you just paint it white like the other two older cabinets? Well duh!! Why didn't I think of that?
You can just see a touch of the green left in this photo. I left the back of the one cabinet green because someday I think that would be a great display space when I don't have to store so much up there. There's only the doors left to do. I love what I've gotten done so far before graduation and quilting seven, that's right 7, quilts for our end of year kids that my BFF  and I do every year. I'll post pictures of those hopefully tomorrow. They turned out so nice. Can't wait to give them to the kids and see their faces. So have a great week and weekend. We're headed out of town for camping this weekend at Yosemite. Can't wait.