Thursday, February 16, 2012

Some Travel Sewing

In preparation for our families trip to Maui, I have been busy sewing a few things.  I guess you could say the excitement of our upcoming holiday has me taking a break from home decor.

1. A wallet for my son using noodlehead's great tutorial.  Made entirely from fabric and notion scraps. I added a change pocket to his.
2. A messanger bag for my daughter inspired by Gingercake's.  Again using fabric scraps.
3. A dress for my daughter using i candy handmade's tutorial.  An old tank top and clearance bin fabric.
4. A bolero for my daughter inspired by Heidi and Finn's Bolero Pattern. Remade from an old sweater of mine.
5. A carry-on bag inspired by this Bench Sports Bag.  It is the perfect carry-on size for packing my kids clothes.  Made entirely from left-over suiting material and 2 old bags. 
6. A sweater coat for myself inspired by a Pusch sweater my sister owns. 2.5 meters of clearance bin jogging fleece.

Am I done?  Depends how much more I can squeeze into the next 2 weeks.  I hope to remake an old skirt into a sundress, and some little pods for all our ear phones to keep them tangle free.  Also possibly remake a couple of t-shirts. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Making It Work

After some debating, we decided to make memories for our family rather than some of the home improvement projects I have on my list this year.  So I booked our tickets to Maui and then got busy making a few problem areas in our house work, using what we already own. 

This is a change table that my father made us, with love, when we were expecting our first child.  It is beautiful and something I will hold on to for a long time - maybe ever.  However,  this room is doing it no justice and it is not functioning well as a violin cabinet.  You can see my violin resting on the top of the piano.  It is supposed to be stored inside the cabinet but then is not convenient for the everyday practicing that I am trying to do with my son, so most often sits atop the piano.  I also do not like that it is the same height as the piano (I like to keep things staggered for visual interest) and there is so much wood going on here!!  Due to its depth, it also consumes a lot of space in this room making it feel more cramped.

Off I went to shop my house and see what else I have that would function better in this room for our needs.

This is the only piece I found that wasn't already serving well for another purpose.  It is a small china cabinet that came from my great Aunt Ethel.  It is not an antique, nor a solidly handcrafted piece, nor made of high quality wood, and has broken glass side panels.  The other pieces that were once a part of this set are long gone.   However, it was the correct dimension for housing a full-size violin and taller than the piano.  A little fixing up and it would make my frustrating violin situation workable!!!

The doors were removed.  The broken glass in the sides was replaced with 1/2 inch mdf cut to size.  All the holes and dings were filled with wood filler and sanded smooth.  Then primed and painted with Benjamin Moore's North Sea.  It actually is a dark navy color, however this room is always washed with natural sunlight so it appears lighter in photos.  All the supplies used were on hand except for the quart of North Sea paint.

It is helping to breakup all the wood going on in this room.  Although the piano is not my choice of color I am working with it as it was my Father's engagement gift to my Mother.  It has had many hours of memories for my family during childhood music lessons and soon my daughter will be learning on this piano.

It fits our violins perfectly and makes them easy to access for our daily practicing!! There is also a little room for storage of our most current music in the doors below and room for my sons most recent achievement framed to keep him motivated.  The current certificate displayed is his distinction (94%) performance at the music festival.  (Maybe it's more for his proud mother than him.)

This is not the end of my vision for this room.  I am picturing a gallery wall around the violin cabinet and the room painted a dark, moody color. 

Here are a few photos so you can have an idea of what I am dreaming of.

I think this color would do wonders for my 'orangeish' piano.

If only I had the paint I would be doing it right now.  But the stores are closed and the kids are in bed so this paint project will wait for another day. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Because You asked

I have had a few questions stemming from my spring cleaning post way back in March 2011 about the homemade cleaner I use.  I wish I could say that I made the switch due to some noble thoughts about my concern for the environment and the health of my children.    Not that I didn't take precautions to limit my use of cleaning chemicals and make sure there was proper ventilation when in use so my children wouldn't be breathing these harmful fumes, I just in all honesty had doubts about the effectiveness of homemade cleaners and only tried them out of pure necessity.  The impending arrival of guests for a small gathering we were hosting, and an empty bottle of windex had me searching google for a quick recipe for window cleaning.  I wish I could remember the original source for this recipe.  It is just a simple combination of regular kitchen supplies.

Equal parts vinegar and dish soap mixed with about double the water. 

For one windex bottle I use about 2 Tbsp vinegar and 2 Tbsp dish soap and the rest water.  For really tough grime such as soap scum in the shower, heat the vinegar in the microwave until hot first before mixing with the dish soap and use less water (or none).  Then spritz on and leave it to work its magic (even overnight).

I use this cleaner for everything.  Windows, mirrors, counters, tubs, tile, showers etc.  When washing my hardwood floors I only omit the dishsoap and just use a combination of vinegar and water.  I am amazed at the power of this simple formula and I have not turned back to chemical cleaners since I made the switch well over a year ago.  I love that I can also involve my children in cleaning worry free now.  As for what I use for a cleaning cloth....  all those flannel receiving blankets that have been spit on and washed countless times are now cut into rags since I no longer have babies in my house.

One last cleaning tip.  From the numerous times we have sold houses in the past, one things realtors have always stressed is making a good first impression.  So regardless of how dirty the rest of the house is, the front entrance is the first thing to become sparkling clean.  Those sidelights on the front door are handprint and streak free as well as the full length mirror to the right of the door.  I also wipe the walls down in this area frequently and keep the baseboards chrisp and dust free.  It works, trust me.  My friends all seem to have this impression that my house is always so clean when really it is just the front entrance that has given them this impression.