Porched Pillows

Yay for you-tube how-to's, home decorators sewing books, and sewing machines...especially mine!  With those things I recently created my first-ever, 'real' pillow cover!  By 'real', I mean normal/sewn/minus bonding tape/like-the-kind-you'd-find-in-a-store pillow covers unlike the ones I've made in the past that you can see here and here.  
I would write up a tutorial but one - I don't have enough time at the moment, and two - I'm pretty sure I made up my own sewing rules during the process.  But they turned out AWESOME and they were so easy to make!  If I had my way, and enough pillows (and time) at my disposal, I'd probably make at least one day!

So anyway, as you all probably know by now, our dining area doubles as a workstation:
It's complete with iTunes and my beloved Bernina - the sewing machine given to me by a friend who didn't have a need for her anymore.  As far as worldly gifts go, she's probably the best thing I've ever received! 
So back to the topic at hand, you can see the two measured and cut-out squares of fabric waiting to be sewn to two other squares which had yet to be cut out.  (And yes, that long, yellow thing is Anthony's drywall square that I used to make sure I had some perfect squares...I have yet to go get an actual sewer's square...like I've said before, you use what you got, right?)  As fabric goes, I used a half-yard of the floral fabric ($5 at JoAnn's) for the front side and for the back side, I used a Target tablecloth I found for $4.  All in all, (considering I used about 1/4 of the tablecloth) these pillow covers cost me around $7.  I already had thread and Scotch-Guard, which I sprayed 'em down with since their perch would be our porch.  :)
So, after threading, cutting, ironing seams, and sewing, this is what they looked like (inside-out) when I was finished:
I know they look a little 'un-square' in the picture because of wrinkles but in real life they're almost perfect!  It wasn't until I turned them right-side-out that I started jumping for joy and letting my happiness be known through screams of delight.  Then, after my happy tantrum I ran outside with Scotch-Guard and covers in hand, sprayed 'em down, let 'em dry (5 minutes), grabbed my yard sale pillows, stuffed 'em inside, and ran outside to adorn our free, made-over wicker chairs.  (P.S.  I'm not exaggerating when say write "ran"...I was way too excited to leisurely stroll.)
Here are my accomplishments:

How cute are they?  My heart melts every time I look at them.  :)

So, for fun, I thought I'd give the grand finale in porch pictures, showing how far it's come in the past 1.5 years.

Here's the "ewwww" it looked like from move-in day to almost 9 months later:

And here it is today - always waiting for a couple of coffee mugs (or sweet teas) and some relaxed rears to make themselves comfortable:
Now that's what we call 'Southern Comfort'.  :)

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By the way, I'm itchin' to paint the porch ceiling a pale blue so we can become true southerners and also to bring the sky a little closer...I just haven't told Anthony my idea yet.  What do you think?  Do it or don't?

Flower Power

Well, a couple of weeks have passed since I started my spring cleaning...and I have yet to finish the first room I started with - the laundry room.  Me?  Busy?  Yes.  Today is the day I have in my mind to finish it though...which really only requires the attack of the rust spot on the door...and then I'm done!  I'll let you know who wins.  :)
So anyway, I'm going to take a subject detour and share a project I did last summer.  It involved faux floral stems, little silver hair clips, scissors,  hot glue, and cereal boxes so I didn't get hot glue all over our table slash my workplace for everything.  The intended result?  Flower hair clips to adorn the curls of our precious Godchild, Emma.  My sister and I took on a project just like this during one summer home from college so I had lots of extra clips.  Lucky for me too, Michael's was having a 50% off sale on summer floral stems at the time so all in all, this project cost me under $5 and I still have flowers left to make more clips in the future. 

First, I pulled off the fullest flowers in each bunch.  (They slip right off the top of the stems.) 

Then, I clipped off the remaining plastic stem on the bottom of each flower, which caused two of the flowers to come apart in layers.  So, I simply glued each layer together but before I glued the bottom layer on, I first glued it to the clip to make sure the flower would sit flat.

After gluing the entire flower on, I clipped a piece of petal off a smaller flower from the stem that I wasn't going to use, and glued it to the underside of the top of the clip for added support and also to make the clip look prettier underneath.
Like so...

I even got a little creative and used some an old button to dress up an extra layer of an unused flower:

15 minutes later and our Godchild had these:
(Sorry for the bad picture.  The bottom flower is actually a plum color.)

Emma even took a plunge in the pool with one on and it's still alive and kickin'...well, not really but you know what I mean. 
Headbands would also be great to accessorize with flowers like this!  I especially swoon when I see baby girls adorned with a big 'ole flower attached to a stretchy headband.  So cute, so cheap, and so easy to DIY! 
On a side note:  Did you know that you can use Elmer's school glue to attach rhinestones and such to your hair and it washes right out?  My mom used to do it all the time for formals and prom in high school to my sisters and I!  Gosh it's fun to be a girl!  :)
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Newsflash:  All of our "expired herb seeds" have sprouted!  We even have a teeny, tiny tomato that made it's way into the world this week!  In even bigger news, we FINALLY listed our house 'For Sale by Owner'!  No buyers yet, but all of the flyers I made for our flyer box were gone in 4 days so hopefully it means people other than neighbors have been taking interest!  :) 

Spring Cleaning - Laundry Room

I don't know why but whenever I start cleaning our house I ALWAYS start with the laundry room.  It's probably the most inconspicuous room in the house so I don't really understand my logic but I guess it just feels good to have the room that holds everything that's dirty, namely clothes, clean.  So of course that's where I began my spring cleaning.  This year spring cleaning has become not only that but also, get-our-house-ready-to-be-bought time.  That means that every room I clean, I make sure light bulbs are all working, if there are any paint touch-ups that need to happen happen, etc...  Oh yeah, and I'm purging too.  Meet Mr. Tupperware:
I'm carrying him from room to room and filling him with things in said room that don't belong anymore...a.k.a. stuff we haven't used in a long time, don't need anymore, whatever will make life a little less cluttered.  :)

So, yes, the laundry room.  Since garages aren't popular down here in the South, our tools and such are stored in our laundry room.  Lucky for us, our laundry room is big, measuring 8.5' by 8', so one whole wall is dedicated to tools, drying racks, paint stuff, recyclables, and other things.

To begin my cleaning process (cause y'all know it's a process, especially "spring cleaning"...they don't give it a name for nothin') I started with the elephant in the room (to me anyway) - our one and only junk drawer.  I loathe junk drawers and I hate that we have one.  My philosophy is that everything has a place, and if not, give it away.  Well, here it is:
Ugh!  It's mainly screws, bolts, and lots of other DIY knick-knacks but it drives me bonkers!  How we even find what we need to DIY is beyond me!

Well, thankfully, a trip to the dollar store for $2 worth of little storage bins solved our junk drawer crisis. 
See?  Much better.  I can sleep easier at night...

A little bit of sorting and cleaning later and our entire drawer system was organized.
I love being organized!  And yes, that whole drawer on the bottom right is spray paint.  It's an ask-Santa-for-it thing for me.  :) 

Look!  I even punched and hung our ever-growing collection of paint swatches on a handy dandy ring!

If you're thinking by now that I might be a little obsessive...you're right!  It runs in my family.  (By the way, all this cleaning jazz is coming from the girl who used to stuff clothes, shoes, and anything else in the way of not getting to go to a sleepover, under her bed, dressers, and night stands...my how the tables have turned.  I guess sitting in the "ucky basement" proved to be a worthy punishment Rock.)

On I moved to the dryer.  I love our dryer but for some reason, the lint filter isn't the best little lint filter in the world.  So, every 6 months or so I get out the shop vac and suck up what's not been captured.  Horror stories about dryer lint catching fire have brought me to this.
On a side note:  As I was unscrewing the plastic piece that holds the filter in place, I had the radio on in the other room, and if you know me, you know I love singing.  So I was singing with the radio with my head, arms, and shoulders all inside the dryer and let me tell you - with the steel drum it's like I had my own recording studio.  The sound is awesome in there!  There's a perfect echo and great surround sound!  Get a mic and a dryer and you don't even need to go anywhere to record!

So anyway, that's the extent of my cleaning so far.  The entire room is spotless - baseboards, cupboards, ex-junk drawer, you name it.  Now I move on to washing the one window on the door, inside and out, fixing an 'oops' drop of water on wet paint I committed on the inside of the door, and getting out a tiny rust spot on the outside...by the way, anyone know how to do that?  Oh, and here's what Mr. Tupperware came away with:
New grass fertilizer, a bunch of rags (we have tons), old drawer pulls, and parts for window screens.  After a trip to ReStore, even he'll be all clean!
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Anyone else spring cleaning?  Anyone else not get up the motivation yet?  You can clean along with me and then tell me about it!  I know it's sounds daunting and boring but writing about it makes it so much more fun!  After I finish the door (which I'll tell y'all about after I've solved our tiny rust problem), I'm moving on to our kitchen.  Get those rubber gloves on ladies (and gents...Crappa and Booguy) and get your clean on!  :) 


This is a story about a rod iron bench we inherited from our very good friends...actually, we asked if we could have it.  :)  It was sitting unused (missing quite a few slats) in their backyard and they had replaced it with another bench.  Liking the idea of making it the subject of one of our projects and thinking it would look rather nice on our porch (which at the time was bare), we snatched it up and brought it home...er, down the street.  Then starts the project.

First, we broke out all of the remaining, deteriorating slats and got it down to the bare iron.
Then, I'm assuming that by looking at the worn-nature of the iron and knowing me, you can probably guess what came next...
Yep!  Spray paint!  Hammered brown Rustoleum spray paint to be exact.

Here's a great picture showing the difference between what's painted and what's not...I love spray paint!

After it was spray painted, it took temporary residence on our front porch, waiting to be completed.
I know, it looks a little funny without the actual 'bench' part but time got away from us in finishing it.
So on our porch it sat until Anthony came home one day with a thrown out wicker set I quickly took under my wing, which took over the porch and moved our little, unfinished bench to the backyard where it sat unfinished for 5 months...until last weekend.

After quickly measuring the lengths the slats should be and the slots they fit into, we headed to Lowe's Saturday morning to pick up some wood.  We decided to grab pressure-treated wood over other, nicer, unfinished types because, since the bench is outside and will be subject to the sometimes crazy weather of the South, it will last much longer and is made for the great outdoors.  Plus, it was a quarter of the price and wouldn't need to be stained or polyed (pollied?  poly-ed?  whatever, you know what I mean.)  Homeward bound we went with our 4 planks of wood (costing us $12), all set to be cut in half when we got there.

Two sawhorses, a circular saw, a drywall square, an hour, and two beans later...
and we have ourselves a finished bench!  The pressure-treated wood gives it a rustic look that I can't wait to dress up a little with some throw pillows!

Herb update:  The herbs we planted last weekend are sprouting!  We're happy to announce that just because a seed packet says it's seeds are only meant for planting during one season, doesn't mean they won't come up the year after!  Aka...don't throw out extra herb seeds from this year just because they say they'll expire!  Use them next year!  :)  (Disclaimer:  this works for oregano and basil (so far).  We can't speak for other seeds.)

Spring Has Sprung & the Beans Have Begun

Yep, it's here!  The cold weather, bare branches, and brown landscapes are all a thing of the past!  For us it means not only do we (in saying "we" I mean "I") have to start spring cleaning (which of course I'm going to write about since projects are at a minimum...and because I have a rhyme to my spring cleaning reason this year) but also that we get to spend time outside primping, pruning, and planting! 
That's exactly what we did this past Saturday.  We finally had a weekend home (the past three weekends have been spent in hotel rooms) so we took advantage of the gorgeous, 74 degree weather, and went on a date in our very own backyard. 

Here's what we accomplished:

Herbs planted - cilantro, basil, and oregano.  Amazingly enough, the chives we planted last year survived our quite chilly winter, whereas the other three were dead by November.  Not wanting to waste (or spend more moolah), I used the rest of the seeds left over from last year even though on the package it says they're only to be used for the 2010 planting season and expired in November 2010.  Well, using my maybe crazy reasoning, I thought "Well, they're only five months past expiration so I'm gonna give it a whirl."  I let you know how, and if, they grow.  :)  Anyone else have luck with expired seeds? 

We also got on the tomato train again this year and planted tomatoes.  The tomato plants we planted last year turned out so great that we couldn't not do it again!  Except, this year we went with cherry tomatoes.  Not sure why we didn't do that last year but we use those the most and find them more flavorful than the big ones.  One change from last year - I spray painted the pots to add more color to our backyard.  I felt like the gray color they were blended in too much with the gray-green paint on our house.  I contemplated painting them a bright color but then went a safer route and with navy blue to match our chair cushions, thinking I'd add color with flowers.
 Notice the little table between the two chairs in the background?  :)  Well, you see, we have a pile of bricks left to us by the previous owner that just sit near the side of our house and so I had this bright, maybe a little cheesy, but FREE idea to stack some up, place a round stepping stone I found behind our shed on top, and create a little place to host a pot of flowers...just don't have the flowers yet.  :)

So far, our little backyard oasis is coming along.  A big thanks to our hand-me-down patio set (hailing from the houseful of college boys Anthony used to live with), the $5 cushions on the patio chairs I found a few years ago at our old grocery store at the end of summer, the hand-me-down pair of white chairs, the hand-me-down charcoal grill, and various pots soon to be filled with tomatoes, herbs, and flowers.  All we need is some Beller Beef and we'll have our own vacation spot at home!  It's going to be a great summer!

P.S.  That's not all we did in our backyard last weekend.  Find out later this week what other project we finally finished!