Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Porch Furniture

I inherited some wicker furniture years ago that I put on my porch. It was light sort of minty green and had cushions covered in white floral vintage looking material. All of it was kind of getting ragged, but it wasn't until I tried to wash the cushion covers and they disintegrated that I decided it was time for a makeover.

Mom and I went to JoAnn's Fabrics and picked out some outdoor fabric with a pattern of hydrangeas on it and I came home and got to work! I wrapped the fabric around the cushion and measured them, then sewed up both sides from the fold to make sort of a pocket cover for the cushion to slide inside of. Then I folded up the ends as if I were wrapping a gift and hand sewed them shut. Here's the corner of one showing the machine stitches up the left side and the hand stitches on the right.

I also made 2 throw pillows with some matching blue outdoor fabric.

Then I spray painted the chair and sofa white, waited patiently for them to dry and set it all up on the porch! I love them! They turned out great. This was my first time doing an upholstery project, and discovering that it's ok to be imperfect was awesome.


Ok here's the new obsession I'm on board with Mom for. Amigurumi.
Mom is totally out of control, I'll be sure to get lots of photos of her work. She's insane and pumps these cuties out like crazy, especially since she broke her toe and can't walk. She just whips out all kinds of cute little crocheted creatures. I'm planning on doing some smaller ones so I too can have that level of production. The photo above is of Ana Paula Rimoli's book Seriously Cute Crochet.

So..... drumroll please!
Here is my first amigurumi:


He still needs a mouth as you can see which I will make with felt and sew on once I decide what color will make him look snazzy. Bryan named him "Lego" because um... well..... he was my first one and it appears that I had a couple extra rows on his right leg, so it's longer. You can tell by looking at him, but it's ok, I don't mind. He's my first one and as I always say, imperfections make it more personal!

Plants and Flowers

I look forward to spring and summer so much because of the amazing foliage in the yard. The woman who lived in our house before my family bought it was an unbelievable gardener. I often wish I could have seen her in action and picked her brain, but I was only 8 when we moved here and had no idea I would care so much for her work. A lot of her landscaping handiwork still exists and one of my personal goals in life is to restore some of it someday. But I'm also realistic. I don't have the time and a lot of the plants that made it what it was are now overgrown or gone and so we are doing our best to make it our own while preserving anything that makes sense to preserve. Here are a couple treats I took pictures of with the new camera that I just had to share.

First, the random fern patch that sprouts in the middle of the backyard, flourishes in gorgeous green and then scorches in the July sun and dies, forcing us to mow it and send it back to hiding until next summer.
We have some gorgeous creamy colored lilies that have been in the backyard ever since the beginning of time as far as I'm concerned. Last year the deer ate the flowers before I could appreciate them and made me really mad, but this year they had no problems showing off as long as possible.

My vegetable patch didn't quite work out this year. The spot we chose was too humid and allowed to many wet pests like slugs, but also I got overzealous and planted too much and got too busy to harvest. It was a mess and wound up rotting (stinky!). But interestingly enough, this morning glory showed up out of nowhere and Bryan took a nice picture of it before I had to murder the whole patch.
This is a photo of the flowers that bloom on these goofy weeds that sprout everywhere in ground cover areas like ivy, vinca and some flower patches. I got a load of these blooms and said "uh oh... I've been pulling these like crazy..." So if anyone knows what they are called, and if I'm evil for pulling them, let me know! But come on people, everyone knows I would never pull them if they were sporting these cute little flowees!
And finally, this is a picture of the day lilies that are all over my property. They line the yard by the road, swinging wildly as cars pass, and sprout in various areas of the backyard too. This too is a treasure left behind by the previous owner that I look forward to all winter. This patch is along the wall around the back garden.
As much as I love the foliage, once we get into July, the growth can go so quickly that it overwhelms everything, especially Bryan and I. We spent the past week transforming the yard from a jungle into something with a bit more control. I am forcing myself to ignore the tiny spot of poison ivy on my arm as I type and my forearms are sore and limp from pruning, but it was worth it! I have some before and after pictures I'll post of the transformation soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I'm into the seasonal crafting from time to time. Mom and I were making cardboard vintage houses for Christmas villages, when she discovered from some of our favorite blogs that you can make the same houses with a springtime feel! Here's a picture of 3 of them I made that are on a shelf in my living room. I need to get some closeups of these, they are so cute. The two on the ends are mounted on light wooden boxes and the one in the middle in on a small wooden candlestick with a round wooden base on top. The houses are made of cardboard that I draw a pattern on, and then glittered like crazy with super fine glitter. The trees are pompoms and pipe cleaners.

I am pretty sure we found these Springtime Fairies on the same blog page as the houses to make in the springtime. We used dollpin clothespin kits that come with the wooden clothespin, a round bead for a head and a base to let the pin stand on end. Then I disassembled fake flowers and turned them into the clothes, painted the heads and embellished with ribbon, tiny pearls and wings.

Birds and Porch

From my front porch I have a nice view of my little bird sanctuary, which incidentally needs new birdhouses as has been pointed out to me lately. Here's a nice view of the massive honeysuckle bush that provides the branches and shelter for my bird village.

One of my favorite hand painted creations here is this bird feeder I so lovely named "Scout's Birdie Bar and Grill". My cat Scout loves this tree, so I play on the idea that she's like the mayor of Birdie Village or something, making sure they have plenty of housing and establishments, but really just intends to eat them. That sounds even more sinister written out.... but anyway. Check out the menu on the side of the Birdie Bar and Grill which was clearly concocted by the evil mayor herself:

Here's a Bird Gazebo that I did following Mary Englebreit's instructions. It's blatantly Mary with the color and pattern schemes. I found the gazebo birdfeeder and attached wooden finials to the bottom per her instructions. It's protected on the porch from the weather thank goodness.

Bryan and I came up with the idea of making this tree to use as our guest book at our wedding. He welded it and attached clips to the ends of the branches. We put it on a table and had many multicolored leaves on the table for people to write on. They put their names and a message and then clipped them to the tree so by the end of the wedding, the tree was all full of leaves! Now it lives on the front porch and we hung leftover wedding favors (small birdhouse chimes) all over it. At different holiday seasons sometimes I'll decorate it with seasonal decorations (snowflakes, cauldrons, eggs, etc.)

The Birdbath

My newest "creme de la creme" if you will. One of the biggest projects I've done in years. My dear friends Matt and Bill got married last month and I had to do something spectacular for their wedding present. Bryan and I wanted to do something that was a compilation of both of our talents, so we decided on a birdbath. We found the basic concrete basin at Home Depot and started from there.

I laid out a basic idea for the pattern on the coffee table before doing anything (and braced myself for the reality that I knew was ahead of me!). Then I got all my tiles in coordinating colors from Michael's Craft Store (hotspot of course) and began hand snipping. It took weeks (working mostly weekends) just to snip all the tiles because once you get going on the mosaic itself, you have to keep going before the adhesive dries. We used a basic Thin Set to adhere the tile pieces in the mosaic pattern and I wound up freehanding most of the design. I also found initial tiles so I could add their initials to the design:

Bryan worked on the bottom of the bath. He created a mold out of wood pieces and poured a concrete base for the stand after I expressed concern about the bath falling and breaking or something terrible like that. I caught him just as he finished making the date out of piece of chain link which I thought was really cute.

He took a steel pipe and drew some patterns on it, and then cut the steel to create this vine-like structure. He made the metal sort of melty to look more natural. The leaves were welded on to reinforce the frame and the whole thing was painted black.

Here's a full photo of the completed bath:

Needless to say, the reaction we got from the guys was well worth all of the work. It was an amazing feeling to create something so totally from us both for 2 people whom we adore so much.