Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Saddle Cover

How does one end up with a saddle in the kitchen?  My niece asked me to make her a saddle cover.  Looking online, I found that they are fancy-schmancy things shaped to the saddle.  If you are gonna use the cover for riding in the rain in addition to a dust cover, I can understand the need for the shaped design. I know my niece.  Riding in the rain is never happening.  That eliminated the need for any special shape.  Saddles are kept inside which in my mind eliminates the need for ties.  It's not going to get blown off!  Once again I managed to get my sewing project down a simple rectangle.

I used a laminated fabric from Free Spirit designed by Parson Gray for the top.  It's from the Curious Nature collection fittingly named Trade Blanket Smoke.  I feared that the laminate would be difficult to sew, but it was a breeze with the Teflon foot. 

The other side is a piece from my stash that I believe is from Joann's Soft N Comfy line.

It was finished and sitting in the front hall for pick-up in less than two hours.  I actually finished this in July, but my Adobe Photoshop has been so difficult to use that I haven't been able to get pics for the blog.  It's one of the main reasons I've been blogging so little.  Putting the new Windows on my computer allows me to use another program that is simple and quick.  I love Microsoft!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Meet Poor Pathetic Chicky

Oh, yeah, he is as ugly as sin, but you should have seen him when I first got him. All the stuffing was as flat as a pancake. It was Flat Stanley flat.   Kiefer handed him to me saying, "Can you fix this?"  Chicky is Jordan's stuffy from her baby days.  It is made of a nylon-type fabric that is so worn you can see through it in places. With all the holes, tears, and open seams, I didn't really know where to start trying to put him back together.

I found this to be a daunting task.  I feared ruining something that was really important to Jordan. (Stop laughing,  Sandra.)  After staring at it and thinking about it for a few weeks, I realized I could not possibly make it any worse! I mean really!  

 So, the surgery began. I decided against removing the wings for restuffing because the fabric is so thin. Just look at that pathetic see-through head.  I tried to fix a few of the "open wounds" on his head with darning--not my strong suit. I cannot tell you how many times I started restuffing Chicky only to find yet another hole or seam needing repair.

I finally got most of the damage repaired including getting this leg sewn back on which was a major PITA.

 Let's be honest, though.  Chicky is one ugly dude--sorry, Jordan.

I made him the blanket thinking it would help.  I know, I know, it just further emphasizes his shabbiness.


I think it's time for the talk about keeping memories and photos instead of dead toys.  Oh, wait a minute!  Kiefer and Jordan moved to the new apartment.  Chicky is going to their house!  Yay!  Problem solved. 

The View From My Window

What a difference two weeks makes.  This was the view from my office two weeks ago.

And today:

We had a beautiful fall this year in upstate New York!  From the first pops of color,

 to the peak of foliage season,

 and on to the end, we have constantly been surrounded by awesomely colored trees and bushes.

I'm hoping Mother Nature will bless us with an equally beautiful winter.  Off to finish raking up those leaves!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Summer Projects 4-6 FINALLY Finished

Summer projects bled well into autumn, but here they are!

Laundry room:
Finished! (Except for the covers for the hampers and something to cover up that ugly plumbing thing on the far wall.)

Man Cave:
Finished! (Except for the pillows I need to sew and the television that needs to be put in and the pictures I need to put up and the mat for under the office chair.  Is anything ever really done???)  I did get the stairs finished.  They are painted with carpet stair treads rather than completely carpeted.

I won that battle when Brian found out it would cost $400 more to carpet the stairs. No, wait.  They are not completely finished.  I still need to put in a piece of molding on the top step.

Exercise Room:
Finished.  Okay, I also need to get mats for under the exercise equipment and move said equipment  downstairs, and hang pictures.  I'm never gonna finish this stuff am I.  Well, it's so much better than this:

and this:
Kiefer's mess
 and this:

I wanted to paint the wood paneling, but Brian did not.  We've waited so long he may be right anyway.  It should be coming back in style soon.
 and this:

Kyle's mess. 
Yup, it's looking so much better.  I was going to write that this week's goal would be to finish all the little things, but I know that won't be happening.  Realistic goals are finished pillows, mats for the exercise equipment and the office chair, some of the equipment downstairs, and maybe that piece of molding.  We shall see!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ocean Zen Gardens!

If you steal some sand from the beach and pour that sand in a pretty containers with a few shells, you will have an awesome (and cheap inexpensive) souvenir.  So much better than t-shirts and salt water taffy.  Okay, maybe not better than the taffy. 
Shells were purchased.  One goes to Ocean City, Maryland for the great beaches, but not for finding great shells.
The shells with the long points are perfect for "grooming" the sand.  This bowl is for Keegan and Pep.
This one is for Kiefer and Jordan

I baked the sand at 250 degrees and sifted it to get nice smooth finished product.  Baking dried it to the point that it didn't hold a design well at first, but just being out solved that problem in a couple of days.

Shells with shell design--must be Jordan's handiwork.

Since Kyle is in Minnesota for a year of post-graduate work and Melissa's still in Mongolia with the Peace Corp, this one will stay with me until they settle down.  Did I mention that they got engaged this summer?  Now if we could just get them on the same continent...    Soon! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Back to the Summer Projects List: #3 Empty Nest Bedroom to Office

The empty nest has some good points.  A few years ago a deserted bedroom became my yoga and meditation room, and now the newest empty bedroom is my office.

At this particular point in the process, however,
Under the plastic is the old desk that is about to get a make-over.
I would have been visiting my drug dealer if I had one.  FIVE coats of paint.  I thought I had bought Pratt and Lambert paint which I wanted to try.  Somehow I ended up with Benjamin Moore. I've never used it before and never will again.  Three coats of paint is the most I've ever done with any other paint.  The third coat is, more often than not, just to be sure I haven't missed anything.  In the end, though, I won the paint battle!  I have an office.

  It also has a nice sitting area for hand sewing or reading.
The desk is a crappy old desk left behind by the youngest child that got a paint job (NOT Benjamin Moore) and new hardware.

I put a piece of glass on the desk with black and white photos of the kids taken by my sister back when they were sweet and loving and listened to me without rolling their eyes. 

Kiefer says Keegan looks as though she's trying out for Nirvana.

Brian put in the new ceiling fan and light.  I don't care what the people at HGTV say, ceiling fans are not ugly!

I've already started project 4--the laundry room.  I'm at the wallpaper removal stage. In additional to the usual problems with wallpaper removal, this room turns out to have two layers of wallpaper.  It could be worse I guess.  I've heard that some people actually paint over wallpaper.  I cannot even begin to imagine how nasty it would be to get painted wallpaper off.   As it is, I sometimes dream of hunting down the former owners to verbally pummel them for some of their half-assed home improvements.

Twelve room down--five to go!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What is Art?

While wandering around Washington, D. C. last week, we came upon a sculpture garden.  I can't remember which of the major institutions owned it.  Smithsonian maybe??  In any case it was a lovely respite of green amidst all the buildings and roads.  I loved some of the pieces such as this full-sized tree made of some kind of silver metal.  It's about the only kind of tree I want--no shedding leaves, won't grow too big.
 I also LOVED this one called "Thinker on a Rock." 
Some pieces I just wanted to rename.  The artist called this one "Four-Sided Pyramid." 
 I'd like to call it "I Probably Should Have Been An Architect."

Before looking to see what the artist titled this one, I chose to call it "I Thought They Said These Were Stacking Chairs."

The artist entitled it "Chair Transformation Number 20B.

The artist called this next one Stele II.

I saw it more as "The Emperor Has No Clothes" in honor on another time when people agreed they saw something great when there was nothing there.

This one is quaint and whimsical to me.

 I called it "No One Understands Me" and I hadn't even been to the museum that had old typewriters and heard all the little kids says, "But what is it?" to their parents.  I am so freakin' old that the typewriters I learned on are displayed in a museum. Who remembers these erasers with the brush to clear away all the eraser crumbs?  Yes, for all you people under retirement age, it is an eraser.  The artist quite appropriately titled this one "Typewriter Eraser."

Advice for those going to D.C.  Go in the winter during the week if you prefer a less crowded visit.  There were so many people, so many families, so many children's groups this time of year.  The museums do handle everything really well.  There were no long waits.  I'm just not a big crowd person.   If you do go this time of year, go earlier in the day.  The number of people on the streets and in the museums grows larger and larger throughout the day. Also, consider staying outside the city at a place near a Metro station. We stayed in Silver Spring, MD just a few blocks from a station.  The Metro is easy to use, brightly lit, runs on time, and is very clean.  The people in the area were polite and helpful.  We had three full days for seeing the sights and probably didn't even see half of what is there. It's back on our list as a day trip whenever we take a driving trip south.