Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finished Scrappy Cards and Cleaning

When I was cleaning up the mess from making my dish mats I noticed that clinging to the trimmed bits of terry towel was a lot of lovely bits of my favorite fabrics:

I tried to talk myself into sweeping them off the table and into the trash but I couldn't so I went and browsed my Google Reader instead. And saw this wonderful sketch at Get Sketchy:

You know where I'm going with this right?

So I started trimming the delightful little bits off the towel remnant and made a card:

and another

and still had scraps left so I made a few more

This made me very happy :-)


Friday, July 30, 2010

Dish Mat and Napkins: Finishing Week (Sewing)

There's a reason I left these to the end. I really hate sewing. Too many rules, too much danger. Seriously, I'm always a breath away from a needle in the eye or my sewing machine attaching my digits to the cloth. Don't even get me started on rotary cutters LOL.

I finally finished the napkins, or more honestly, I finished the napkins that had all parts cut out. I still have six napkins to go but the linen isn't cut so... not my problem.

Here they are as a set:

Now the other thing I hate about sewing is all the attitude:

Everything must be squared off. CONFORM!

Bind all the raw edges!

Wibbly bits! I cast you out. Off with you; you're trash! 

Wibbly bits are my favorite part! So, imagine how unimpressed I was when I washed and ironed my beautiful fat quarters (sad name, hate calling them fat. How about Rubenesque Quarters? Or  Womanly Quarters?) there was a bunch of non-conformist edge dwelling thread friends. What to do?

Well, I cut them to fit the role they were designed for - you gotta grow up someday. *sigh*
But I left my heart on the cutting room floor... :-(
Then I scooped them up into a riotous color pile at the edge of my desk and smiled at them daily.

I've wanted a dish mat (or is it dish pad?) ever since I saw them on a flurry of blogs last winter. I think Jen  from Tatertots and Jello popularized them but they were so many places I'm not sure who to credit with the idea. The trouble was, I didn't want an orderly, straight lined, proper (perfectly lovely) dish mat... but I didn't want an "artistic" one either - it's going to be doing hard labor so it has to be friendly with the washer and dryer. What to do?

Yesterday when looking at my lovely uneven edges and selvages I realized I had my answer.

It's gloriously imperfect. Some are quilted properly, some have frayed edges. There's zig-zag stitches and straight. I needed a little text in there and many of the pieces were happy to volunteer - aren't the color dots and meadowsweet wonderful?!? 

The entire project was made of those rough edges - I wonder if Chris thinks the same about me somedays? LOL.

A dish mat is a great use for an old well-loved towel and some scraps of fabric. I highly recommend giving this project a try if you're so inclined. I took some "in process" photos so if anyone has any (simple) questions about how it's made. Just let me know.

Good thing I could gaze on my wonderful new dish mat last night as I had a
of dishes after making the best meal I've ever eaten in my whole life. Chris and the kids requested it for Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving and all their birthdays - yeah, it was that good. We had Shrimp Boil on a Stick with Lemon Thyme Butter:

The photo does zero justice to the spicy, flavorful mouth-party that this meal was. Oh my goodness!

So ladies - what did you finish, please share your successes.

P.S. Here's the 2nd dish mat I made, lots of pink strawberries on this one:

P.S.S. At least personally, I'm morphing Finishing Week into Finishing Fortnight because I'm on a serious roll around here and it feels so good.

Linked to:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sci-Fi Bar Stools - The Trilogy


I finally finished my bar stools. One needed major repairs, one had to be redone and one needed cleaning... and it took me a year. Oh, the shame of it!

The Creature from the Black Lagoon started life as Forbidden Planet (Did you just break into the theme song from Rocky Horror? I know I did) but since I couldn't varnish it until I was done painting and it's been sat on for over a year... well... her bright orange dressed faded to an embarrassing shade of naked. It kind of reminds me of those pens and coffee mugs Dads used to have that  disrobed, but there I go, digressing again. Evidence:

Sad! I loved that poster.

Now it looks like this:

And I replaced the trim so there's no embarrassing crack back there. (I'm absolutely unfit for polite society today).

Wanna see the happy little threesome?

And their pretty faces:

My kitchen island just told me it feels very lucky to be in such cool company.

I never stop being amazed at what you can accomplish with Mod Podge, paint and cool paper - these were calendar pages before they hopped on my old boring stools.

That's all I've got for you in terms of finishing today

Just an FYI, there aren't any rules to Finishing Week. You don't need to have mentioned it for it to "count" or anything legalistic like that. I just hope everyone who reads this blog has the pleasure of getting a few things done this week, uses up some of their stash, completes a project instead of starting a new one, clean that attack closet, etc.

Please leave me some comments letting me know what you've been working on. I really love hearing about what you're up to.

P.S. My huge apologies if I haven't responded to all your comments this week. My spine dropped acid is misfiring and my hands feel like Mickey Mouse gloves - very gigantic and fat - so hitting the keys is a nightmare. Most of my post looked like this:

Heriu Everyonlle. I finalllly finishernd my bareoijstools.

Seriously! Very irritating stuff, but it beats the earlier misfires like the sensation that I'd caught fire or feeling like I sat in a puddle of water. Spines are weird.

Black Kats Design
Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

She's a Firecracker, all right.

And by she, in this situation, I mean me. LOL.

This LO is one I made for the Bombshell Stamps  photosynthesis challenge:
For the Scrapbookers: Make a layout featuring a photo(s) that have a pin-up feel to it. Maybe it's a picture of you and your car. Or your daughter wearing some vintage clothes. Or your niece in a pin-up style pose. Of course, you'll want to use some of your fabulous Bombshell Stamps on the page!
And it also neatly fit Kas's Firecracker Challenge:
I would love to see something along the lines of:
1) Red - White - Blue
2) Firecrackers (Bombshells)

3) Military
4) or sparkling like a firework!
July's Prize Package:

So... I pulled out some old photos and had some fun. This LO features Bombshell Angel the new Indie Girl papers and stickers from Sassafras Lass (thank you so much, I love them!) and I used the burning and melting Tyvek technique that was in the latest issue of Somerset Studio.

Be Your Own Bombshell

Bombshell Stamps is having a hop today. Here's the list so you can see what everyone has been up to :-)


If you are here for Finishing Week, please leave a comment about what you've got done. All I truly completed yesterday was this LO - I started it a while back and chickened out on finishing it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day of the Dead Graffiti Art (Finished!)

Hello Everyone. Welcome to Day Two of Finishing Week.

Whew. Finishing stuff is hard. That might be why I set some of these projects aside in the first place.

Here's one of my half done projects, it turns out I quit the old version because it just wasn't me. As soon as I took it in a new direction BOOM - it was done. The frame section is inspired by a project I saw by Alisa Burke in a Somerset Workshop last winter with a dash of Crafty Chica for good measure.

I also painted, decoupaged and glittered my third sci-fi bar stool. The project floundered because JoAnn ran out of the suede fringe I was using. So I bit the bullet (after a year of waiting) and picked a new trim. Last night I was adding the new fringe - the last step - and this happened:

How? I do not know. My guess is the mean gossiping lady didn't measure very well. So I'll be breaking my "Finish, don't shop" rule and picking up some more trim.

I also finished getting my hair back to red. Three weeks ago I bleached the black out and dyed it red, but it was a soft, pale-ish, not-very-me red. I wanted RED-RED. So, here I am:

This was taken in the evening so the brightness doesn't show, in full-sun it's pretty awesome.

My ridiculously talented friend (I don't know why she still likes me, seriously) Jenna has been finishing stuff this week too and I have to show you this amazing dresser she restyled:

And the room she finished (isn't Gracie just the cutest!):

You can read more about what Jenna is up to HERE.

I can't wait to hear what you all are finishing - dig in and cross something off that lingering to-do list. My DH says that "open loops" cause stress, so do yourself a favor and close a loop!


On a personal note, one year ago today we decided to take our finances seriously. Since then, we've paid off our car loan, Visa bill, second mortgage and more. In addition to that, we've almost got three months of our six month emergency fun saved. Woo-hoo. What struck us profoundly is how different we are as a family from who we were a year ago. This weekend our date was one of the best ever; we played crib on the front porch while drinking wine, listening to music and watching the sun slip down behind the mountains. It was AWESOME! A year ago, AWESOME would have required an overnight at an expensive hotel, a fancy dinner, a new dress... no wonder we were in debt. I still feel like a total dork pulling out my food envelope to pay for groceries and deciding if we can buy a pizza based on the thickness of the "Family Fun" envelope; but this is good for us. And the dorky feeling is just the "pinch" I need to keep my focus where it needs to be.

Also, last week I devoted a huge amount of time to making a six week menu based on what we had on hand, shopping for what we didn't and pre-cooking as much of it as possible. For about seven hours of effort, I don't have to think about dinner beyond making a pot of rice until after Labor Day. Score! It's been seven days on the new plan and we all love it. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to two-weeks of menus and cooking. In the evening I open my cupboard door and look at my menu. Then I pull whatever is needed out of the freezer. Chris and the boys love knowing what we're going to have and anticipating their favorites. The time-savings is already making an impact on my schedule. Yay!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finished First

Wouldn't it be nice if I was posting about a race of some sort... like, the Ironman in Kona. But alas, all I'm posting is the first half-done project I've completed for Finishing Week.

This is a canvas I made to fill in the big blank space behind our toilet. I've hated looking at that wall ever since Brayden lit the etagere on fire. Accidentally, of course. Since boys pee standing up, I thought it would be a nice place to say, "I love you" and that they'd see it frequently.

Did you see how GIRLY that turned out. Oops. I don't often end up quiet so frou-frou but it just kept leaning in that direction. The only thing to note is that if you are economizing on a project, stitching/embroidery is the cheapest way to make something look special and have that bit of texture that's always needed.

I got a bloggy award from Libby:

Isn't that sweet? Thank you, Libby!

Now to sum up my blogging philosophy... try to be real. Share appropriately. Provide ideas and stories that trigger action in others. Be helpful. Be a modern Titus 2 girlie. Don't be competitive. have fun...

Oops, the rules were, "in five words"... so:

Be Real. Have Fun. Share. 

I'm not going to nominate ten blogs, instead, if you think you have a blog with substance and want to pass it on, consider yourself tagged :-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Finishing What is Begun But Not Yet Done

Do you have unfinished projects? Admit it, you do. You're human, right?

As I've been restoring order to my house, I've noticed that a lot of the shelf clutter that can't be minimized is half-finished projects. Like:

* A closet that is 2/3 clean. That last bit though, not so much.
* Scrapbook pages that are "in progress" not in albums
* Shrines and Canvases that have backgrounds painted but nothing else.
* Quilt blocks needing sashing and to be sewn into a quilt top (it's been about 10 years).
* Knifty Knitted partial scarves and shawls
* Our garage is almost clean.
* Half done embroidery projects
* Stamped and matted images for cards I never completed.
* Half-read books
* Half-written stories.
* December Daily Album.
* Half-eaten lemonade pie.

You get the drift.

So next week, July 26-25th, I am finishing things. Since I'm one of the poor saps not going to CHA *pout*

Care to join me?

Just leave a comment telling me some of the things you'd like to finish. I'll even sweeten the deal and send a small something to a random commenter. Sound good?

Please let me know if you post pics of your completed projects on your blogs - I'd love to see them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Six Months Down - Six To Go

Today is six months since my surgery. Six months ago right this minute I was choking on tears as I signed a mountain of papers all of which seemed to highlight the risk of never seeing my family again.

It's been a great and terrible time for me. I've seen victories no one imagined possible and suffered pain and setbacks I didn't think I'd make it through.

Now, six months later, I barely recognize the woman I've become.

I was 30 when this began. Barely a grown up, with young kids and big dreams. Now I'm a tired 37 with teenagers and a family who worries about each step I take. It's a hard pill to swallow. While I did my best to fill the hard years with good memories, I mourn a little for what we didn't do, the fun we didn't have.

Today, according to my ex-doctors, I can start getting out of bed and trying to resume basic activities.

... like the rope course?

LOL. They meant showering and cooking dinner. I've been doing that since Day 10 after surgery. 

For a bit there I was hiking and keeping up with everyone pretty well. Then I got this nasty cold that settled into my lungs and the coughing feels like getting injured again all over. There have been some dark days the past two weeks but I  have no reason to assume they're here to stay - it's just a blip.

The weirdest part of going into something at one stage of life and popping out of it in another is I'm not sure who I am anymore. This isn't a moan-y mid-life crisis sort of sentiment - in fact, I'm positively jubilant about getting to know this older, weathered, wiser woman - it's just odd.

So many of the things I made myself good at (like crafts and blogging) were based on my inability to do much else. Now that I have options, I don't want to keep my focus so narrow.

Things I know:

* I'm creative. Art is essential to my me-ness.

* Homeschooling teenagers takes a lot more time than homeschooling eight year olds.

* We moved to a gorgeous area and we haven't explored all it's peaks and canyons.

So Nicole 2.0 will minimally be busy with those things and I'll be posting about them here.

The things I don't know list?  Well, it would go on for pages.

I hadn't really planned on writing such an introspective post, my intentions were more on the Hooray, half-way there side. But my mood has been quieter, less *SQUEAL*, a little more thoughtful. 

Thanks everyone for all the support over the last few years. You all have been essential to my success in getting better. And I still really need you as I have six months of healing left to do.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day of the Dead Tags

I've been having way too much fun playing around with fabric, batting, odd bits of trim and manilla tags this week. I've completed a few of the GAZILLION I've made, so I thought I'd share them. 

What do you think?

Both of these are made of fabric with painted book pages on the back. They are embellished with stitching, ruffles, flowers, buttons etc. 

This guy is puffy ~

These tags are so fun to squish... yes, I am easily amused. But everyone who's seen them starts squishing them and then smiles... a lot!

These little fellows are ready for a night out on the town:

And this girl is silly-cool. I adore her. Especially how she goes beyond the tag. Thank you Steph for the embellies... I thought of you while making her :-)  She's also my entry into Tag Tuesday's Challenge #59 Heart

On these, the flower is hand made and I thought the pom-pom trim reminded me of a Day of the Dead banner:

The blue button center on the top tag is for the Something Round challenge for Theme Thursday.

And a couple more :

 (dude on the right is puffilicious)

Hope everyone is having a super-fab week.

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