Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pom Poms

This was our favorite Mexico purchase...a hand woven blanket.  The pom poms sold me.  Not sure what I will do with it...I was thinking about potentially using it as a rug somewhere?  The nice man at the store told me about the woman who makes the blanket including how she uses the loom, how they use specific herbs to create the vibrant colors you see in the stripes...he didn't even need to keep telling me - I was already sold. :)  I wonder how long it is going to take for Paddy or Glory to decide it would be fun to rip the pom poms off.

UPDATE - One pom pom ripped off...several to go.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stitch Witch

So, in Mexico, Ryan and Jamie's place didn't have much storage in the bathroom.  There was a large, wide open space underneath the sinks.  Ryan built some custom shelves to give them space they needed to store toiletries.  They had hoped to conceal the contents of the shelves, so I hoped to help while we were there.  I bought some fabric...hoping it would go with their new duvet from West Elm.  They didn't have a sewing machine, but they did already have the rod to hang the fabric from, so I purchased....

--drapery rings with clips
--stitch witchery - heavy duty

I had thought I would make a panel or two, just create a hem around the four edges, and then hang it from the clips.  Unfortunately, the clips hung down too low, so you could see the contents of the top shelf.  Just didn't really serve the purpose we were hoping for.

After I botched the first attempt with 'Stitch Witch' (I will spare you the embarrassing details), I finally figured out how much I love that stuff.  I am sure it wouldn't be great for many jobs, but for this, it was perfect. 

In the end, I ditched the curtain rod clips, cut two panels, made a large hem on the top of the panels (to allow enough room to slide the rod through the top hem), and hemmed the other three sides.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chair Challenge - Update

So, I finally finished one part of the chair challenge!  Krissy was a huge help.  We have been trying to have 'project night' to work on some/many of our random projects.  I had hoped to finish the bamboo chairs before the Plebe Parent weekend open house, so Krissy helped me staple/pull/staple/fold corners/and staple some more.  Sean helped me screw the seats back on the morning of the party...and they were done!



Perfect husband quote after these were done...."What did you change again?  Don't these look the same as they used to?"  No, no and no.  There is no longer sticky vinyl on them, and they have been glued/repaired/sanded/primed/painted/clear coated...NO.  They don't look the same :)

I finished all of the following tasks...

a.  Determine which chairs need something on them fixed (some of the backs are loose, some of the seat braces are coming unglued, etc.)
     b.  Determine if I can fix, or if I need someone to help me.  Likely will need help. (UPDATE:  I was able to find this very honest and helpful handyman on CL, and he fixed all six chairs for me - he checked every joint/loose spot, fixed them all, sanded, primed, painted, and put two clear coats on them!)

     c.  Learn more about reupholstering chairs.
          i.  Price/buy new foam for seats (UPDATE: Still undecided on foam is 1 inch thick, and I would upgrade to 1.5 inch foam - not sure that the 1/2 inch is really worth the cost and effort)
          ii.  Research/decide on stain protection, if any. (Thankfully, I already have the fabric)
     d.  Wash/iron fabric
     e.  Stain protect fabric
     d.  Recover seats

Now onto the next chairs....

Open House

On Friday, March 12, we had an open house for the plebes that we sponsor and their families who were in town for Plebe Parent Weekend.  It was such a lovely group of people and we were so happy to have the opportunity to meet/see all of them.  One of our very favorite things about being here at West Point is sponsoring these cadets.

One of the dads mentioned to Sean how lucky we are to get to see their sons in an environment where they are able to just sit down and share their stories.  He was saying that they are always excited to have their son home, but that they usually get to see him when he first comes home, and then he is with friends, playing XBox, or whatever else kids do these days :).  It was a great reminder that it is a privilege to spend some nice quality time with these kids outside of the more regimented West Point life.

It was fun to get the open house together - thank goodness for our sweet babysitter, Kayla.  Sean wasn't there for the first hour and a half or so because he was wrapping up at his department's open house.  I wouldn't have been able to pull it off without Kayla.  To be honest, I am surprised I allowed anyone in the house with me before a gathering like that!  It seems that I am always scrambling until the first guest arrives (ok, maybe even sometimes AFTER they arrive ;)). 

I bought a few yards of fabric to use as a tablecloth...

The menu...

--Southwestern Egg Rolls with Amy's Cilantro Cream Sauce (a new favorite of ours that Jamie introduced us to!)
--Potato Skins (does anyone have a good recipe?  I prepped these and froze the empty skins ahead of time...but I didn't think that they looked that great...would love to hear if anyone has a good recipe!)
--Taco Dip
--Pesto Breads
--Rosemary Cashews (Jean introduced us to these - they are addictive!)

Sour Cream Caramel Cakes
Chocolate covered strawberries
Lemon Bars

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


A while back, we scored some chesterfield sofas from CL.  We wanted more seating, and weren't ready to take the plunge to invest (Sean laughs at me when I say that couches are an investment) in 'new' couches, so I found some that would be new to us, didn't cost us much at all, and would achieve the objective of more seating.

The couches, because they are 'vintage' are lower to the ground - not the best for tall people, and are in need of some new foam - but they work for now!

I adore the style of them, but now feel like I need a lighter coffee table/end tables.  I still love our tables that Randy made and if I did find something, they would go perfectly in our basement.  I figure it doesn't hurt to keep an eye out for a good CL find.



Hi pretty girl :)

Since these pictures, I have added a couple of Etsy pillows, Sean's blanket from USMA, and our wool blanket from Ireland. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Ironing is one of my least favorite chores around the house...but if this could be my view when I ironed, it may quickly become my favorite! 

We just got home from a relaxing trip to Mexico where we were able to visit Ryan & Jamie.  Their place is you can see from the view :)  Notice the lighthouse, too!  Ahhh, I miss their view already.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Small bathroom - gallery wall

I recently created a small gallery wall in our half bathroom.  I had originally thought I would do a wall of mirrors but I didn't like the look of the few smaller mirrors that I tried to group on the wall and the quattrefoil mirror didn't quite fit either.  The mirrors seemed to compete too much with the one above the sink.

So, I got some small frames from Michael's while they were on sale.  When I usually do a gallery wall, I am the farthest thing from precise.  I just eyeball it.  Given that this was going to be a tighter grouping than I was used to, I wanted to use a more systematic way.

First, I took a large piece of kraft paper that was about the size of the wall space that I wanted to use for the frames.  Then, I arranged the frames.

Once I had an arrangement I was happy with, I traced the outline of the frames onto the paper as well as I put a small mark where the nail would have to go.

Then, I hung the paper up in the bathroom with masking tape.  I took the nails I wanted to use and I started each nail hole so that there were small holes for me to follow on the wall once I took the paper down.

After taking the paper down, I finished hammering in all the nails, and then hung the frames.  They don't sit against the wall very well b/c of the stands on the back of the frames, so I may need to remove those?  Does anyone have any suggestions for what to do about that? 

I have yet to fill the top left frame - one more reason why I try to avoid frames - I am so horrible about filling them/keeping them up to date!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

May the force be with you...

My friend, Monique, asked me to make some tags for her son's birthday party.  She had this adorable idea, so I just threw these together for her to tie onto the gift bags...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chair Challenge

So, there are lots of projects I would like to undertake around the house...but isn't that how it always is?

I talked to Sean about prioritizing projects (this was back in November - yikes.) and he was very quick to say that CHAIRS needed to be number one on our list.  In fact, he gave me an ultimatum of February 1st (yes, 2011) to have them all done by - I knew that wasn't I said March 1st.  HA. 

Sadly, I still haven't made much progress.  Only the Bamboo Chairs have seen a little action.  I really do want to start checking some projects off the list, and all the chairs below should be at the top.  Now...if I can just focus and stop thinking about the new desk and free buffet

Here is what I need to do:

1.  Bamboo Chairs (6)
     a.  Determine which chairs need something on them fixed (some of the backs are loose, some of the seat braces are coming unglued, etc.)
     b.  Determine if I can fix, or if I need someone to help me.  Likely will need help. (UPDATE:  I was able to find this very honest and helpful handyman on CL, and he fixed all six chairs for me - he checked every joint/loose spot, fixed them all, sanded, primed, painted, and put two clear coats on them!)

     c.  Learn more about reupholstering chairs.
          i.  Price/buy new foam for seats (UPDATE: Still undecided on foam is 1 inch thick, and I would upgrade to 1.5 inch foam - not sure that the 1/2 inch is really worth the cost and effort)
          ii.  Research/decide on stain protection, if any. (Thankfully, I already have the fabric)
     d.  Wash/iron fabric
     e.  Stain protect fabric
     d.  Recover seats

2.  Black and White Salvation Army Chairs (2)
I have had these since fall of 2008, and I still haven't changed them.  And, a leg broke off of one of them while in Boston...that isn't even fixed yet!  Yikes.
     a.  Call more furniture repair/upholstery places and decide where I will take the chair....or if it is worth fixing it.
     b.  Decide if I will paint chairs (would prefer this to save money), or if I will have them painted so that all the work can be done seamlessly at once.
     c.  Decide if I want to replace the foam in the cushions and have a better back pillow made that will mirror the shape of the chair better.
     d.  Pick fabric.
     e.  Execute!

3.  French Chairs from Scott's (2)
I re-did these chairs while in Georgia, but one of the pair was broken during this move.  In order to fix the chair properly, the chair needs to be taken apart before putting back together so that the joint can be cleaned/re-set.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, that means that the chairs will need to be re-upholstered.
     a.  Call more furniture repair/upholstery places and decide where I will take the chairs.
     b.  Decide how I want the wood painted (probably glossy white...but I seem to want ALL the chairs to be this way...I need to diversify)
     c.  Select a fabric.
     d.  Execute!

4.  Caned & tufted barrel chair (1)
     a.  Decide if I want to leave the current stain or paint.
     b.  Decide if I want to have reupholstered or leave alone for a while.
     c.  Have the chair evaluated as I think it might need a little gluing at some of the joints and a tightening of the seat.  Then have work done!
     d.  Pick a fabric
     e.  Execute!

Gotta love free.

We picked this piece up this weekend - it was FREE on Craigslist.  I love the geometric pattern on the doors and can't wait to see it painted.  Just one more project to add to the list :)

I am hoping I can clean up the hardware like I did on the red desk...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I joined the revolution - iPhone App Review

I now own an iPhone.  I am one of the crazy people who stayed up until 3am on February 3rd to order my Verizon iPhone.  I was on pins and needles waiting for her to arrive, and I have been hooked since she did.  Since I stopped working, I have just had an old school cell phone which often got made fun of.  I am glad we stuck it out and waited for Verizon to come around.  I am now just trying to not get TOO addicted...this can do EVERYTHING...oh, I am probably telling you all something you already know :)

So, I thought I would list out some of my favorite apps that I have acquired thus far...

1.  CraigsPro+  ($1.99) - OH MY!!!!!!!!  This is the BEST.  I wish craigslist used this user interface.  It is so much better to look at and easy to use.  I adore this one.

2.  eBay (Free) - I used to feel like I shouldn't even bid on things on eBay anymore b/c I was usually not paying attention or was away from my computer at the end of an auction, and I would lose time and time again.  I hope, now that I am more connected, I might win more often.  Sean may disagree with me here :)

3.  Save Benjis ($1.99) - So, when buying my iPhone, I was hoping it could help me figure out the best price on an item when I am out and about.  When I see something in a store, I always am wondering if I can get it cheaper elsewhere.  This app is my new best friend!  Just hold up the barcode on the item you are interested in,  and the app will scan it and report back several places that have it cheaper!  You can also search for items by typing in if you don't have a barcode. 

3.  Amazon Price Check (Free) - I found this one before I learned about Save Benjis...same concept but will let you know if Amazon has it for cheaper!

4.  Amazon (Free) - I was hoping to figure out how to use the Universal Wish List function from the iPhone, but I haven't been successful in figuring that out yet.

1.  Benjamin Moore Color Capture (Free)- take a picture of anything, zoom in on the part of the picture where you like the color, and the app will show you the closest BM color.  I have already used this a couple of times, and I really like it.  There is also a Pantone app; however, it was $10, so I went for the free one :)

2.  Houzz (Free) - Great for looking at photos of all different rooms in the house for design inspiration...

3.  Dimensions ($1.99) - I really wanted my phone to work as a tape measure, but wasn't sure if it was possible.  I started looking into apps that can do this, and I found a few different ones.  I finally decided to give Dimensions a whirl, despite some of the bad reviews it got.  When I opened the app and it asked me to measure my foot, I thought, well, there goes my $1.99 down the drain.  But, as cumbersome as the tutorials/set up are, I think that it is going to be a super useful tool for me.  Bonus - it has a GPS like function, so if I am walking Paddy, I could just use that to figure out how far we went, what our pace was, etc. 

4.  What the Font (Free) - Oh my - you can take a picture of a font to identify it!  How fun!  I tested this three times, and it only got one out of three correct; however, it returned lots of results of fonts that look very similar to the one I had taken a picture of.

5.  SnapShop - I thought this sounded fun, but using it wasn't nearly as great as I thought it would be.  You can select furniture from a limited selection that the app has (they have some featured brands like Pier 1, CB2, etc.), and then you can take a picture of the room that you were looking to put this new piece in.  The piece is then placed in the room and you can move it around to see what it would look like.  I can see how this could be helpful in some situations; however, it wasn't quite as slick as I thought it might be.

1.  Evernote (Free) - So, this is one that I am super excited about but haven't spent the time to figure out how powerful it is yet.  I have started putting my to do lists on here.  I have also used it to snap a picture of our parking spot designation - and then, you can tell it to find all notes within a mile, and it would have retrieved that picture!  Crazy.  I didn't get to try that part of the functionality because we remembered where our car was.  I did spend some time trying to figure out how to use their Web Clipper from the iPhone...which allows you to take screenshots on the iPhone and save them to Evernote.  So far, I have figured that I can press the round button on the face of the phone at the same time as the power button and it captures the shot.  

2.  Ziplist (Free) - awesome grocery list making app.  I love that it has check boxes that I can click when I have put the item in my cart....ahhhh, sweet lists.  It apparently can take pictures of barcodes as well - I haven't quite figured all that out - I may try it tomorrow at the commissary!

1.  Flashlight (Free) - turns your phone into a flashlight...or a crazy strobe light for that matter!

2.  Hipstamatic ($1.99) - takes awesome 'vintage' looking pictures - you can change out the types of film and the lens, and it looks like an old school camera, with the film window, the button that lights up when the flash is ready, etc.  Great stuff.

3.  Pandora (Free) - WHY am I just starting to use Pandora now?  I have heard about it for years - but have no clue why I didn't start using it earlier.  If you haven't used it, you just type in the name of an artist you like, and then it will play you songs that are 'similar' that it thinks you might like.  Fantastic. We have been just using my iPhone in our Logitech iPod speaker system now and it is so fun having this whole new world of songs!

 That's all I've got to share right now...I have a few others, but these are my favorites.  I haven't downloaded a good reader for all the blogs I love keeping up with but I hear that 'Reeder' is the best. 

Do you have any great apps you can share??