Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Hello! Just stopping in to wish you all a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Peanut and I had a little mini photoshoot yesterday to celebrate Halloween's arrival. 

Have a wonderful Halloween, eat lots of candy and come back next week to see pictures of the girls in their costumes, the finished project that I gave you a Sneak Peak of a few weeks ago and much more!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Curtains for the Dining Room

I thought I would be waiting to get curtains for our dining room forever. I really did. As you know, the dining room has been one of my "project rooms" and little by little I have been putting it together. The earth wasn't built in a day and our house certainly won't be either. Let's just take a moment to reflect on the price of curtains. If you want decent ones and you want, you know, are looking about spending around $300. Ikea does have great ones for $25 a set (which is a great option and I may end up getting some for other rooms in our house), but I was looking for something a little nicer for this room. Anyway, I was having a really hard time justifying paying for something that cost just as much as my husband and I to have a really nice day at the spa. And for something that is made out of fabric! But I was also really not in the mood to try making curtains on my own. Well, I kept my eye open for both cheap fabric or cheap ready made curtains and what do you know, I came across this cream silk dupioni fabric at a great price at a local fabric store. I couldn't believe what a good price it was. So that took care of the issue of to make, or not to make! I had already purchased the curtain rod from Joanne Fabrics a few months ago, so all I had to do was mount the thing (which my wonderful husband was thrilled to do) and make the curtains. Hanging the hardware was a little scary (at least for me), but sewing the curtains turned out to not be so bad. It just took a lot of patience because there was so much freaking fabric. Our ceilings in that room I think are 8 or 9 feet tall!

Here is the how to:

You will need:
* Fabric from those big bolts of fabric. I got 8 yards of it. The bolts are about 55 inches wide. The length depends on how long you want your curtains to be and how high your ceilings are. I wanted to put my curtains pretty high, to make the room look bigger and then I knew I wanted a "puddle" (as they apparently call it) at the bottom. My window frame was 74 inches wide, so if I had two panels sides by side at approx 55 inches, that would give me 110 all the way across, minus some hemming space. For the length I measured from where the curtains would hang to the floor, then added a few inches on for hemming and for the puddle, then I got a little extra. I didn't want to come up short. Once the woman at the fabric store cut my 8 yards, I cut it all in half, so that I knew I would be working with 2 equal pieces. Sorry for the long explanation, but it may be helpful. 
* Matching thread
* Sewing machine
* Lots of pins
* Lots of patience

Step 1. If you read all that instruction above, you should have two, 4 yard pieces of fabric. Start with one of those. This will be your first panel. Hem down the sides of your fabric. So basically along the whole length of both sides of your 4 yards of fabric. I folded it about 1/4 inch, then another 1/4 inch, pinned and then sewed it. I didn't even cut off the ugly stuff where the fabric ends because you won't see it. Don't worry about the top of the panel just yet.

Step 2. At the top of the panel (along the width of the fabric) fold over about 1/4 inch and sew down. Then fold again about 4 1/2 inches and pin in place. Then, following each of the places where you pinned, pin 2 inches from there. This second line of pins is where we will make a pleat/ruffle. (If you don't want a ruffle, you can just sew the first line of pins down and then slide your curtain on). I made the pocket (where the curtain rod will go) 2 inches wide, (on the box it said the rod was about 1 1/8 inch) so I gave myself some extra space. Just in case.

Step 3. Sew along the first line of pins you did, removing the pins as you go.

Your curtain should look like this so far.

Step 4. From there sew along the second line of pins making a pleat or ruffle as you go. (I decided to not do the ruching ruffle method because I was too afraid of my thread breaking) It's not as hard as it seems. You just pinch a little bit of the upcoming fabric and tuck it under, then sew over and repeat. You will get into a rhythm and the ruffles will all look uniform.

Now your curtain panel should look like this.

Step 5. Try your curtain on the curtain rod to make sure it fits. If it doesn't you will have to pull out the threads and make a larger pocket. I had a nervous moment with this, because my ruffling made it a little tight, but it still fit! It doesn't slide super easy though, so if you want yours to, you will need to make the pocket bigger than 2 inches. I wasn't anticipating opening and closing these curtains a lot, because they are really just for show. The room (as you will see in a bit) is really dark already, so the purpose of these curtains is merely decorative. That's also why I chose not to do a lining on the curtain.

Step 6. Determine how long you want your curtain to be and where you want it to end. You may want it to end right at the floor or you can make a puddle effect like I did. I pushed the curtain up to the wall, then measured out from there and pinned about 6 inches. I ended up doing 7 inches on the second panel, because it just needed a smidge more. No one will know.....except all of you. Sew a hem along the bottom and then your curtain is finished! Repeat all steps above for the second panel.

My glorious puddle.

This room is so dark, so it was really difficult for me to get some good pictures of the curtains, but I tried! They say in photography that there is a golden hour to take pictures, but not so for this room. It's always dark! Anyway, that's why I chose to not make a lining on these curtains and why I was not too concerned that they don't slide easily over the curtain rod, because I won't be closing them.

Overall I am really happy with the outcome of these. And they only cost me........$50!

I have to say that now I am not that scared anymore to make curtains and I may be making some others for a few rooms in our house. It was not that bad at all and I was able to finish the project in 2 days. The hardest part was just finding the perfect fabric!

The curtains have really transformed the room and I am so thrilled with how they look. Just in time for the holidays!

That's all for today. As always, let me know if you have questions or need help with this project and I will be happy to answer!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Carving

Hope everyone has been staying warm! With this last big storm that blew through our area, it seems that everyone around us was losing power! We are lucky that we have not, because we do at least once every Winter. We pretty much count on it. Princess didn't have school yesterday because they were without power (which, I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty excited about). Anyway. We carved our pumpkins last night! Halloween is almost here, 3 days away. Which reminds me, I need to get Peanut's costume put together. Most of it is done, I just haven't actually tried it on her! Better get going. I didn't take a whole lot of pictures of our night of carving, because it is so hard to take good quality ones at night, but here are a few.

When I asked Peanut what she wanted to carve on her pumpkin she said without hesitation, "A Pider!" So, I found the cutest spider I could find (because come on, we don't want to freak a 2 year old out) and Daddy carved it out for her. Poor thing, she is still a little too small to do much on pumpkin carving night, but she got to sit up on a stool like a big kid and watch. 

Princess decided on a witch for her pumpkin and she even sketched her own design on the pumpkin before Daddy went to work. Mama has pretty much zero drawing skills, so the designs and carving are left up to Daddy for the most part. How he managed to scoop out and carve 3 pumpkins before I even did my one, is beyond me. Those stupid little carving knives are ridiculous! I was huffing and puffing the whole time with frustration. I swear I break at least one every year. I had to run out to the store to get a new pack of them and the blades on those ones seemed backwards to me. I was sawing away forever!

He even drew on the design for my pumpkin. Such a stud. What would I do without his artistic abilities?

Here are the finished products!
Daddy: Gru and Minion, Mommy: Owl (Next year I swear I'm doing triangles!), Princess: Witch and Peanut: Spider.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Good morning and Happy Thursday! Hope you are all having a good week. I am working on a few projects today, so I won't be able to give you a big post, but I wanted to stop by real quickly and show you what I believe to be a miracle. My Paperwhites have bloomed! I am really not that great at growing things. My garden gets a little better each year, but it's by no means "high yielding". I think I have more of a brownish thumb than a green one, so I was so excited and surprised when these took off and bloomed recently. I can't believe they grew! Paperwhites also known as Narcissus papyraceus are commonly grown indoors and people like to grow them around Christmas. They have a beautiful smell, which I didn't know about until I started smelling this lovely scent in the kitchen. Its fragrance is similar to gardenia or jasmine. I didn't really believe that they were so easy to grow, so I thought I would try them out early and see if I could get them to grow. Since they did, (beautifully) I will have to get some more to grow for Christmas!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Farmhouse Dining Room Table!

Hello! Hope you are all having a good day. I am SO excited to show you our latest big project that we finished. (And I say, "We" because my husband built the whole thing. I helped with staining and finishing.) A new farmhouse table for our dining room!!! Or more precisely, A dining room table for the dining room. How exciting is that!? Up until this point, our dining room has been fairly unusable because all we had for a table in there was a long metal and plastic folding table that my mother-in-law loaned us for awhile. It was a table that she normally used for assembling flowers, so not really a looker. All I had for a tablecloth was old IKEA curtains. We used it on and off for many holidays and it worked great for us as we couldn't possibly afford a real table. But then I found a tutorial for Ana White's Farmhouse Table. She is amazing and builds all kinds of furniture that you see pretty often on Pinterest. You can spend hours on her site viewing all the gorgeous stuff she has made. When I saw the table that she built (for $100 in wood. This does NOT include all the tools you will need), I knew we had to give it a try as it was just what my husband and I were looking for. And most farmhouse tables cost thousands! While it cost us more than $100, I think all totalled we ended up spending $300 for the whole project. Which is not bad at all! The most expensive part was the Kreg Jig that you have to have to make this. But I guess once you buy the darn thing, you will have it for other the matching bench that I am going to beg my husband to make next. 

So I won't give you a tutorial for this, as Ana's are pretty thorough themselves. But I will show you the whole process we went through building it.

Here is the table when it is all built, but it is not stained and the top is not attached to the base yet. My husband rushed to get it built before Princess's 4th Birthday Party so that we could have all the kids sit there for activities and cake. For previous parties since there was not much seating, everyone always kind of stood around and it always drove me crazy! 

We did end up making the top of the table a little longer and wider than Ana's. We wanted to have a table that could seat 10 and it does! It's a little tight with that many, but it is definitely do-able. I am really excited because that means we should be able to fit all the adults at the table this Thanksgiving. When does that ever happen!? And I have a great idea for the kids table this year, so stay tuned for that.

Then months later, we stained it. My husband built the table back in July, but we just never got around to finishing it until now. The stain we used was Rustoleum American Walnut. Which is funny, because it ended up being the same one that Ana White used on her table. It only needed one very light coat (a little goes a long way), as we didn't want the table to end up too dark. We stained the base first as we wanted to mount the top of the table before staining it, just in case the stain caused it to warp.

 The top of the table, waiting its turn.

We stained the underside of the tabletop, then screwed it to the base (which was a workout indeed). Then we sanded the top to get off any dried glue or lumpy spots, then distressed it with a chain and a hammer and then stained the top. The tabletop was a little warped before, but as soon as we mounted it, it straightened out. Thank goodness!

Lastly, I sprayed it with several coats of polyurethane to seal it all in and make it safe to eat off of.

Then it was finally finished!

Now all we need is a bench and some chairs! I realized when taking these pictures that I am totally showing you the dining room before it is finished, so you will just have to forget you saw it after this. I would like to have it completed soon, but there is still a few things I want to do to it before I give you the final Before and Afters. I have plans for curtains, a sideboard, accessories and of course the chairs and bench....So I guess you just get a little preview.

I am really happy with the way the color turned out. As we were staining, it looked darker than we wanted, but it did lighten up a tiny bit and now I love it.

And now for some finishing touches!

I whipped up a burlap table runner for it. It will be perfect for Thanksgiving. Obviously I am excited about Thanksgiving now. I realized that since our table was custom made (i.e. we made it much bigger than the standard table) I will have to make all of the tablecloths and runners for it! Ugh! Oh well, at least that way I can have tablecloths the way that I want them.

Practising my Thanksgiving table landscapes.

Fall baking. We had these Molasses Cookies at a friend's party the other night, where I ate like 6 or 7, then I decided I needed to make my own batch so I could have more. They really are a great breakfast paired with coffee....or an afternoon snack, or dessert. Or all three.

I saw similar stacks of wheat on my new favorite blog Dear Lillie and so I was on the lookout to find my own. Faux versions were way too expensive and not very cute, so I bypassed those. But I finally found these real ones at a local florist/gardening store. Molbaks. It's amazing and if you live locally you MUST go see it at Christmastime. You will feel wonder like a child all over again.

This photo is really dark, but I had to take it with the lights off to show you the chandelier with the leaves hanging off. I really like what they add to the room.

Then I moved the wheat stalks to the window because they kept falling over. I think I like them over there better anyway.

I also added an antler to the table. Man I love those things. So cute and woodsy!
And that's our beautiful Farmhouse Table! I am so excited to finally have it finished and so excited to show you all the fun ways I plan to decorate it for holidays!