Monday, September 28, 2009

Misty Ridge Designs Giveaway!

Misty Ridge Designs is hosting a giveaway for a set of bags from my etsy shop! The giveaway will run from Monday, September 28th through 9pm (CST) Thursday October 1st. Visit her blog and check it out!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Garage Organization Part 1

S: I promised I would share pictures of all Zach's hard work cleaning up and organizing the garage. I'll start with something little, that makes a big difference, at least to us.

Both of our garage door openers were wired along the ceiling of the garage, instead of in the attic, which is directly above, and easily accessible. This really annoyed two perfectionists such as ourselves. When we replaced the door from the garage in to the house, we had to pull all the wiring to the buttons away from the door frame. Then they just kind of hung there from the ceiling, taunting us with their glowing green buttons...for months, and months, until we had time to rewire them. You had to dodge them on your way in and out of the door not to mention reach up above you and hope you pressed the correct button for whichever door you wanted open.

Zach even took time to make a wooden piece to mount the buttons to, which I painted white before we mounted it to the wall. For the next week or so after it was fixed, I would still reach above me looking for the buttons, until I remembered they were on the wall, where they belong.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trash to Treasure

S: There are several items in our home that I'm quite fond of, and they didn't cost a penny. I found them all patiently waiting for the garbage man to take them to their final resting place.

This is the first post in a mini series of the trash-to-treasure finds in our home. I hope you're inspired to do a little curbside rescuing yourself. Also, thanks to my mom who snagged some of these items for me!

Have you ever been driving down the street and seen an antique solid wood desk set out for trash day? My mom's neighbor was throwing away said item, that had been sitting unused in their garage. When I found it, it was painted in a dark glossy brown....not attractive at all. But it had all it's original hardware and some great details. Luckily it was on wheels, so I got my mom and we rolled it down the street to her house. I spent hours with paint stripper and scraper in hand, trying to remove what turned out to be three layers of paint. At some point I stepped back, realizing I would never get all the paint off, and also realizing that hey, I kind of liked how it looked. It definitely has a shabby chic look to it...emphasis on the shabby. But I adore this little desk. Zach not so much, since he bumps his knees when sitting at it.

Can you spot the needle felted monkey?

I scream you scream

Carvel and Coldstone are both giving away free ice cream today! The weather is pretty cool here in Austin, but who can pass up free ice cream?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


S: I sat down the other day to make a needle felted squirrel, and ended up with a beaver. We'll call him Squeaver. I had sketched out plans for a squirrel but as I started felting the head I began to have doubts.

"What does this look like to you, Zach?"
"A groundhog...or a beaver."
"Or a squirrel?"
"No, not at all, that's a beaver."

Sigh. but no worries...slight change in plans but all he needed was a tail to become a full fledged beaver. He also got a little vest, buttoned on with a button that I made from polymer clay. I decided to start making some of my own buttons for my needle felts since they are so expensive to buy. I think the first batch turned out pretty well.

Z: In the days of yore, Sarah would have taken the Squeaver to market and she would have sat in the hot sun all day eating watermelon and fanning her pretty sweaty face hoping that someone would walk along and fancy her homemade needle felted craft. Yawn. We live in the digital age people! This is what happened: Sarah made a digital post to sell her non-digital Squeaver on Etsy and within 30 seconds someone had digitally purchased it. I believe that's a digital record. Sarah, in her humility, was not going to reveal this to our blog readers, but I'm here to verify that she made the fastest sale of a needle felted Squeaver ever.
S: I also searched the yard for acorn tops to use for these felted ones. They look pretty cute resting in a leaf-shaped dish that I have.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Table Runners

S: My latest project was to make a table runner for for the dining room table...which turned in to three table runners. What can I say, I'm addicted to making things.
For the fall, I made two burlap table runners with ruffled ends. (two different lengths to use when the table leaves are in.) I added brown velvet ribbon to the ruffles on the shorter table runner.

I made both burlap table runners for less than $5 each. If you can sew a straight line you can make one of these!

I also made a Christmas table runner with some red and white fabric I had leftover from another project.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spinelli the spider

S: Meet Spinelli. He's a cute little needle felted spider I made for my etsy shop! Zach gets the credit for the pun-ny name.

Front loaded with mildew

S: I'm ashamed to share this post....but I'll do keep all you front load washing machine owners informed.

We had heard that front loaders were infamous for mold, so we use Affresh tablets every month or so to clean our washing machine. The other day I was doing the laundry and pulled out the tray to add my laundry detergent. I bent over to pick something up and noticed mildew around the bottom edge of the tray. Zach undid some of the screws and pulled the tray out.

It was horrible.
The part that we couldn't see from the outside was COVERED in black mildew. Looking in further we could see more of the gross black mess. Zach ended up having to take apart the rest of the washing machine so we could clean all the mildew.

I felt pretty dumb when I dug the manual out of the filing cabinet and found the maintenance guide simply outlined on two pages. This probably would have prevented all the dismantling, scrubbing, soaking, and bleaching.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Have a seat and a bowl of soup

S: I went into Crate & Barrel the other day to pick up some soup bowls, my first non-gift purchase from that store. It's not that I don't like what they have to offer, and I certainly appreciate how wonderfully organized the store is. It's just that I know I can almost certainly find similar items elsewhere, for less. But back to what brought me to the store...the soup bowls. Oven-to-table soup bowls to be exact. Surprisingly, Crate & Barrel wins out on this one, offering them for less than Target or even Walmart.

While there, I saw this chair:

Image: Crate & Barrel

I got this one for free when my grandma moved:

Crate and Barrel loses this round.

So even though the soup bowls were a great deal, I don't foresee many more trips to this store, unless I find $1,099 underneath the chair cushion.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Making a house a home

S: Earlier this year we remodeled our master bathroom. With all it's newness, it took a while for it to feel like ours...I've felt that with a lot of the rooms we've remodeled. So I'm usually thinking of ways to improve our space and make it feel more like home. I've been eyeing the work of cori D for a while, and recently purchased two of her prints. I'm pretty much in love with these and I really like how they look in our bathroom.

Thanks to Hobby Lobby's generous 50% off sales, I was able to get two frames for the price of one. They didn't have any white frames in the size I needed so I spray painted them. I ended up having to go to three different stores to get acid free mats cut. Apparently acid free mat board is a special order item....luckily the last store I tried sold me some leftover board. Looking back, I was pretty uncordial to the Michael's employee at the custom framing department when he informed me that they don't cut mat boards while you wait...not even regular mat board. I would have to order a precut board that would take a week to arrive. I have a problem with outsourced mat board cutting.
However, I did find two candle holders that I really liked, and ended up putting one in our bathroom. I had two 50% off coupons but could only use one at a time, so Zach got in the check out line in front of me and we ignored each other until we had successfully purchased both candle holders for $25.

I have a few special items grouped around it. The green daisy-and-button pressed glass canister was my grandmothers, and stores our cotton balls. Next to that is a sweet little wind up clock that also belonged to her. Much to Zach's dismay, it still works, and the ticking keeps him up at night unless I stick it in a drawer. I got the other canister from a resale shop, different design but same color, colonial green. So this is my happy little corner of the bathroom that keeps me on time, reminds me of my grandma, and gives a warm glow.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fall is here!

S: Austin got some much needed rain this weekend, and although stuck indoors, Zach and I were busy at work. I spent most of my time sewing, making these pumpkin drawstring bags for my etsy shop.

Zach spent his time organizing the garage. It's really looking great, we'll share those pictures with you soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Craft Cabinet

S: I just reorganized my craft cabinet. I like opening the drawers to look's amazing what a few plastic bins from the dollar store can do.

I bought the dresser in college for $15 at Goodwill. It's made of solid wood and metal, and is super heavy. It was black when I bought it, but I think it may have been red in a past life. We used it as a tv stand when we lived in our apartment. Zach worked his magic and made the top drawer front fold down for our dvd player, and cut a hole in the back for cords.

When we moved into our house, I repainted it a cream color with some paint left in our garage from the previous homeowners. We left the top drawer as it was. It's great for things like sketch pads and paper, making it easy to slide them in and out rather than digging through a drawer. We've gotten a lot of use out of this thrift store dresser!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hose Reel Repair

S: Several months back we had a pretty bad hail storm that did a lot of damage. A couple days after the storm Zach discovered a baseball sized hole in the top of our plastic hose reel box. We had just purchased it and weren't willing to pay $45 for a new one when everything else was fine. But every time I went outside it taunted me with it's imperfection. Something had to be done.

My mom suggested gluing a piece of plastic on top to cover the hole...good idea! However, when I went in search of plastic at home depot, I was directed to the plexiglass. Obviously something see-through would not work. Then Zach had the great idea of using vinyl tile. I have to admit that I was against this idea at first and was skeptical of how it would look, but it turned out great. We picked up an 18" x 18" peel-and-stick vinyl tile for $2.50. I trimmed it down a couple of inches and added a little extra glue to the top of the hose reel to make sure it would stay, then pressed it down into place. Such a cheap and easy fix...I wish we had done it sooner!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Tree

S: Our front lawn has been struggling to stay alive against the water restrictions and triple digit heat here in Austin. The only part that looks decent is the patch underneath our lone oak tree, which is shaded from the sun. So for Zach's birthday we decided to buy another tree for the front yard. My mom came to visit over Labor Day weekend and we went by Red Barn Garden Center to pick out a tree. Zach ended up choosing a Lacey Oak. We were able to save a lot of money because all of their shade trees were 50% off! We also picked up some plants for the front flower bed, lantanas and salvias. Getting the tree home was an adventure....
Z: An adventure like driving a car through a forest a forest through the city.

two of these things are just the same...

S: While Zach began digging the hole for the new tree, my mom and I worked on making a small bed with a limestone border around our existing tree.

Step 1: Lay out your stones to get the spacing right.

Step 2: Dig out grass and a deeper border for stones.

Step 3: Lay down paver base and compact.

Step 4: Lay down paver sand and compact. We used a rubber mallet and a small board to compact the layers.

Step 5: Place your stones and add more paver sand if necessary to even out the height.

Step 6: Add mulch around the tree

Thanks for all your help mom!!!

Z: Limestone dapples Austin top soil and eventually you hit solid limestone. This geological feature makes for great foundations and difficult digging. I needed to dig a hole for the lacey oak about 2.5 ft down and 3 feet across. Its pretty amazing how a basketball sized chunk of limestone will slow you down. After fruitlessly jabbing around with a shovel for a few minutes, I broke down and bought a pick axe. I had never wielded a pick axe before, but like its name implies, it's half weapon. A pick axe allows you to wage war with the earth. During the Battle of Lacey Oak, I defeated two great limestone warlords from the FrontLawn region and their battalion of lesser rocks. My armor proved essential during the fight, for on multiple occasions, as my pick axe struck the limestone warlord, he fired pieces of himself to blind me but luckily my safety glasses head visor deflected the flying chip attack. With the limestone conquered, I claimed the region by erecting the oak tree and lining the monument with cut limestone the bodies of my victims.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Zach!

S: On behalf of Zach's 26th birthday, I would like to share some embarrassing cute photos:

Love you dear!