Friday, January 30, 2015

Kennel Covers and Book Shelves

Of all the things I have commissioned DH to made for me, this project right here is my favorite. We have three dogs, all kenneled trained and they love their little "rooms," often choosing to chill in there when there is nothing exciting going on. The problem with the kennels though is that they are not very attractive.

They are down right ugly.

So first we looked at DH building a end table kennel to make them functional, like this one on We even considered incorporating them in the entertainment center. But then I remembered that my lab mix sometimes gets sick when she is in her kennel and I did not want to have to climb in to a create to clean that out.

Finally, we settled on tables and hanging shelves for my books. The tables are large - like huge. The one in the top picture would probably be a nice dining table for a family of four if its legs were a little longer. Anyway, the tables offer plenty of space for knick-knacks, picture frames and books.

The shelves on the walls are definitely my favorite aspect of the whole project. They were originally designed as floating shelves, but a lot of the plans we found for them made it seem that they were not as stable as what I was hoping for. So we tweaked the plans a little.

Each shelf is framed underneath with a nice fascia board and stained top. These suckers are anchored to the wall so well I could probably let E or A climb them like a ladder! The pieces on each end, which look like they would be used to hang the shelf, is more a decorative bookend than anything else.

All in all, I love these pieces. They are functional, pretty, sturdy, and unique. They set the design tone for the entertainment center and lighten up the feeling of the room.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Granny Swirl

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Pinterest? I really do love it. Where else can I find so many new ideas and patterns and wish for more hours in the day to try them all?!

This is one such example. I found a pattern for a spiraling granny square, and I love granny squares which meant I had to try it. I dug through my yarn stash, found some colors I liked and got to work.

And MAN!! It was a pain in the backside!

Each color is worked continuously, there is no finishing at a corner and changing colors. That means, all five skeins of yarn had to be organized and kept straight throughout the process. That was a pain in and of itself.

I was wanting to try to make it big enough to cover at least a queen sized bed - and that didn't happen! I got kinda frustrated having to untangle yarn and fighting with the dogs to keep them out of the yarn.

It really didn't seem worth the hassle once I realized how quickly the spiral-swirly aspect of the pattern got lost.  The lower picture shows the center of the square and that is about the only place you can really see the swirl. That was a pretty big let down, and if it wasn't for my excitement to try something different, I probably would have realized that before even starting.

At any rate, I ended up with a new throw blanket and a lesson learned from the experience. Have I learned my lesson once and for all about not getting too excited about starting a new project? Especially one from Pinterest? Of course not!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bathroom Storage

Who doesn't need more bathroom storage? N was living in a house with only one full bathroom and it only had about half a linen closet. And if that wasn't bad enough, it was the main bathroom in the house - so every guest who stopped by that might have to tinkle got to see a lot of clutter on a small counter simply because there was no other place for it!

Finally, when DH had some spare time and scrap wood, he made these clutter catchers for her. The 1x3 he used offered the perfect amount of depth and the cute trim on the front helped to insure nothing really got lost. N used mason jars to wrangle make-up brushes and hair brushes.

These little wonders took more time to paint that fabricate, and worked wonderfully. N is a much happier camper now that her stuff can stay organized and out of the way. The fact that she moved to a new house with two full bathrooms helped too!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ribbon Flowers

I have been aching for spring lately. Outside my window is about 6-7" of snow and not a lot of color. Flowers have been really on  my mind. While these are white flowers, I added black and gold beads as accents for a more formal feel.

No, these don't really bring to mind fields of wild flowers, but with the tight budget we have been facing, I have to use the supplies I have on hand, and that includes a lot of white ribbon.

These may end up as part of formal black and white bridal bouquet before I am done. I don't know yet. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tooth Fairy Pillow

E is getting to the age that she is starting to lose her baby teeth. She got so excited when she had her first loose tooth because that meant the tooth fairy was going to visit her. To celebrate the occasion, I made her a special Tooth Fairy Pillow, to keep her tooth safe for the fairy.

I let E choose a fat quarter of material and a skein of floss and set to work. What I ended up with is a cute little keepsake. On the front I embroidered her name and the "Has Lost A Tooth" in the yellow she picked out. Unfortunately, it kinda got lost in the butterflies of the materials.

The back has a large pocket, trimmed with a wide, delicate lace ribbon and accented with narrow yellow ribbon. To hang the little pillow on her headboard, I added a purple butterfly ribbon from my stash that matched perfectly.

The nice big pocket on the back gives the Madame Fairy plenty of room to hide a dollar, whether it is a bill or coins, without worrying about it getting lost.

I still have to make one for A, who has yet to get her first loose tooth. E has lost about a half dozen so far and uses this cute little pillow every time!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Entertainment ReDone

I love my husband's hobby: woodworking! I get new furniture built the way I want. I can even have a say in the design. I got to design an awesome ladder shelf for my fish tank. And as long as we have the money for the supplies, he is happy to build whatever I ask for.

So a little while back, when I was getting sick of the dark wood tone television stand that we had in our living room, I gave DH a job. I wanted something a little more open, much brighter, and elevated to make it easier to control the dog fluff that inevitably collects around the cords. After some planning, tweeking, redesigning, and a couple minor arguments, I got what I wanted.

The openings were designed around the dimensions of the baskets and cable receiver. The doors are not perfect, but they keep a lot of movies and video games organized and hidden. It is elevated to the perfect height - the TV is right at eye level and I can easily get my broom and mop underneath. The top of the piece and the first shelf are stained a rich, warm brown, and the rest is bright white, which was a comprise. DH wanted to show off the wood grain while I wanted something bright and light so that it wouldn't feel so heavy in the room. Saying it was a compromise might be stretching the truth - this is what I wanted and he gave in. But he ended up very happy with how it looks!

Eventually I will get bins large enough to hold board games and other odds and ends that will fit under the piece and hide the power bar. For now, I just love having custom furniture and trying to figure out what DH's next project might be.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Orange Decor Challenge

 I am the first to say I'm not a big fan of orange. I like orange flavors and orange flowers, but when it comes to decor and clothing, it's really not for me. But I have to admit, when I was looking at wedding color schemes a while back, there was something about teal and orange that really struck me.
So I challenged myself.

I know I made the pink and orange blanket for a little girl a while back, I didn't mind that, but it wasn't for my home. I wanted to make something for myself, and the challenge was going to be incorporating orange. The teal and orange combination seemed perfect.

The decor of my family room has been moving slowly toward ocean tones - cool blues, greens and teals offset with warm browns and a hint of orange. Behind it all, I will (eventually) have neutral gray walls that would remind me of the fog covered shoreline of San Francisco.

What I was planning on being a throw blanket, a little splash of color for the family room, ended up being a blanket just about big enough for a twin sized bed! I'm ok with that though - it makes it easier to cuddle with someone else under it.

And as you can see, Mini, the Wonder Wiener, loves this blanket. She pretty much claimed it by curling up on it in my lap as I worked it up. However, once it was done, Molly was quick to claim it for herself. And they both give me "the look" when I tell them to get off of it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, Challenges

It's amazing how much time can get away from you. The anniversary party was downsized and the glittery vases will likely be re-purposed for something else. My classes start a again on January 20th, DH is left to job hunting after deciding his last job was not worth his happiness or sanity.

So here it is - the beginning of January and everything is up in the air and there is no real certainty. All I can do now is refocus and make the best of what we have. I'm trying to work out a better schedule to balance school, family, and crafting and moving my work space to a larger room in the house.

Keeping the positive vibes flowing is definitely a challenge right now, but I'm up for it! More to come very soon!