Friday, August 29, 2014

Fuzzy Friday: Big Sis, Lil Sis

Sure, there has been a lot of house talk lately but be assured that there's been just as many kitty snuggles and cat chatter within our walls.  Nervous about moving the herd but so excited for them to explore new closets, to discover the large windows prime for bird-watching, and to continue making our hearts full.  I lurve those cats.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Ultimate Estate Sale Purchase

We did it.  Last Friday, we bought a new house.  Here's that crazy story.

Just a little over a month ago, we had decided to tough it out and stay in our current home for a few more years, finish some house projects, and get ready to move our family.  Literally 48 hours after coming to that decision, we found the house we would soon buy.

In early July, I hit a random estate sale like I regularly do.  When I pulled up, I quickly realized that I was in a neighborhood that I'd had a crush on since I moved back to Tulsa after college.  Beautiful ranch style, mid-century houses, homes lived in with pride, large lots, and a great location.  I'd never been in this part of the hood but was quickly won over.  As I walked up to this particular sale, I quickly noticed the For Sale by Owner sign but didn't really think twice about it since we'd chosen to stay put just a few days before.  Just a few minutes into the sale, I got a text from my dad who told me that I had to see these available digs.  We were randomly at the sale at the same time.  After finding each other, we marveled around the house together and ended up talking to the son, who was taking care of the sale and got some general answers about the house's history.  Brent did a few tours through the house the next day, with the estate sale going on, and also saw the potential.  We made an offer just 48 hours later.  Remember, not looking to move.  It was a bit impulsive.

Things continued to progress.

Being a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) house, I learned LOTS.  I mean more than I ever thought I'd know about real estate.  Talk about a crash course.  While I do think it would have been easier on the buyer's (our!) end to officially have a realtor involved in the process, there were also some really cool parts to FSBO.  In the short time that this all happened, we got to know all about the only other family that has ever lived in this house.  That's right, this is our second house to buy from original owners.  We LOVE that.  It's a quirky house that needs some TLC in many spots but more so, it's a house filled with SO much potential.  Not only is it twice the size of our (very) cramped current home, it's a house with tons of history, gorgeous mid-century modern features, an amazing yard that we can't wait to personalize, and so.much.more.

We hope to spend many, many years in this house.

We officially became this home's new owner last Friday.  We did some urban camping sans kid and cleaned into the wee hours of the morning.  We have SO much more to accomplish before we move in but luckily, we have about four weeks before we have to turn over our current home to its new owners.  Yup, our house is set to sell in just a few more weeks, hopefully.  Our luck with ALL of the house stuff has been insane...   If everything continues to progress as wonderfully as it already has, the house that we've built a family in will belong to its third family.  We're absolutely thrilled and astounded how everything has unfolded.  So surreal.

The countdown has begun and we've got a lot to accomplish before we move into our sea of harvest gold and pink.  It's crazy exciting, a little overwhelming, and quite hard to believe.  Throw work, back to teaching, and a toddler into the mix and you've got yourself a lot on the plate.  But we're always up for a challenge.  I hope.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Dream Kitchen

And now, I welcome you to my favorite room in our house, the room I will undoubtedly miss the most, the room that made me fall in love with our first home:  the kitchen. 
When we first began looking for a house to buy, Brent and I were living in different cities.  In fact, we'd spent no more than five days straight together.  Buying a house together was certainly a leap of faith.  We had our wants and had been looking on the weekends while he was in town for a few weeks.  We did our best to only look at houses while we were in town together but we hit a point where we were really ready to move so I started looking with our realtor during the week nights.  We definitely wanted an older home but everything we looked at made me feel claustrophobic and seemed like too much money for such a small space.  That's when we broadened our searching horizon a few miles and found this house.  It was a single owner and hadn't been updated for many, many, many moons.  For the first time, I didn't feel like the walls were closing in and the idea of buying a house from the original owner just felt right.  Then I walked into the kitchen.  Love at first sight.  I HAD to have this house. 
I would venture to say that even those that barely know me, know that I'm slightly obsessed with the color green.  Always have been.  I like all shades but one shade in particular really revs my engine - avocado green.  Yup, these kitchen cabinets sealed the deal.  In the early 70s, the original homeowners expanded the kitchen and had these cabinets installed.  Pretty dreamy, right?  A HUGE kitchen filled with cabinets in the color of my dreams?  Tell me more.  And yes, that's an avocado green sink surrounded by avocado green counter tops.  They weren't messing around with their green.

Believe it or not, these cabinets have always been a point of contention between the mister and me.  You see, to me, they are perfect.  Not a thing to change.  To a man who was once a trim carpenter, these were basic, outdated cabinets that desperately needed a facelift.  See, we're not perfect!  We bicker and it's mostly about our decor styles!  Ha!  Alas, we did nothing more to the cabinets than remove more shelf paper than one could ever imagine and added new hardware.  We had finally agreed to keep the cabinets, install new countertops, and replace the sink with a stainless number but lo and behold, an unexpected move jumped in and the kitchen remained relatively untouched.
A few years back, we did paint the walls that bright yellow color.  To me, green and yellow just belong together.  We ended up accenting in red and black, adding to our rainbow house.  Nothing wrong with adding color to a home, amiright
I wish I could have seen what the original stove looked like since the vent hood is so killer.  While we don't have the fanciest of stoves, I have always LOVED how easy ceramic cook tops are to clean.  The easy clean up is so desirable to me that I prefer these stoves over others.  Call me crazy.  :)
One of the stranger aspects of our kitchen is the brick corner.  When we moved in, there was a wood-burning Benjamin Franklin stove there, vented through the ceiling.  It was massive but cool.  When inspections went down, we learned that the vent was capped, leaving the stove unusable in that location.  We decided to remove it and make the space more usable for our household.  For us, this space has typically functioned as animal central with feeding areas and storage for pet-related goods.  We had plans (and have actually already started) to build Rio a play kitchen of her own to sit in this space.  Project postponed. 
Sometimes, I (often) get in a fury of reorganizing and cleaning out of nowhere.  The artwork above the dining table happened in one of the fits and was really a happy accident.  I was just placing them on the wall on existing nails to see if I liked the colors and the pieces together.  I took two steps back and absolutely loved the composition and left it like that.  Who says that art must be centered on a wall?
Once a mobile child started scooting across the floor, it was time to find hooks to hang my bag hoard up.  With as many different things as I tend to, I have tons of different bags that shuffle around with me.  Above that lifesaver is one of my earlier online DIYs, a floating vintage matchbook display.  
Our kitchen window above the sink faces west, something that I absolutely love.  Actually, I just love and appreciate a window above any kitchen sink but make it west-facing for sunset watching and I'm in heaven. 
While I was packing up some in the kitchen last night, I mentioned to Brent that this may be the hardest room to pack.  A few days earlier, I had said that same thing about Rio's room.  When I was packing up the workroom, I'm sure I made that same statement.  I knew that once we decided to move, it would be an emotional process but with as quick as everything has happened for this move, it feels like those emotions are intensified.  Moving is tough work physically, mentally, and emotionally.  For sure. 

Man, I'll miss this kitchen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No Longer a Nursery

So, um, we're moving.  Like in a few weeks.  It's a crazy story that just sort of happened and we're just going with it!  I'll go into more depth soon but know that it's all super positive and exciting!  That short little teaser to introduce another room tour, Rio's Room!

The last time we toured this room, the kid was still cooking and having a child in the house was something we hadn't experienced yet.  Fast forward almost two years later, and we're old pros!  Or something like that.  ;)  Things have changed in her world since those newborn days which, of course, means that her room has evolved some as well.

One of the most popular features of Rio's room are her lockers that we configured to work as a tiny closet for her tiny clothes.  I've had some inquiries as to what we use the lockers for so here we go.  Obviously, they are the framework for the hanging clothes but they also serve as invaluable storage.  Toys that are too old for her, crib sheets, changing pad sheets, hand-me-down books, and other miscellaneous kid goods all live within those lockers.  I've already been dreaming up how they'll function in her new space since she'll actually have a true blue closet of her own!
Once we were done with co-sleeping and the kid started sleeping on her own, we quickly decided that her crib had to move.  It began on the wall that also houses our lone bathroom's plumbing which meant that anything that occurred in the bathroom was easily heard through that wall.  The crib was moved and we've never looked back since.  The hanging swaddling blanket on the window blocks out sunlight during naps and early bed times at home.  It's not the fanciest solution but it sure works!

The book tree has worked well but I don't know that we'll use it in the same form in the future.  What rocked about it was its mobility.  While I get ready in the morning, the kid often hangs out in the crib reading.  All I have to do is move that book tree next to the crib and she then has a stash of books to choose from!  It's easy for books to get lost within it though so I'm hoping to utilize more shelf space for her readers in the future.
We made the area next to the crib a reading/play area which has functioned quite well.  That rocker gets tons of use by us and the kid (I'm still impressed by her ability to climb on it!) all throughout the day which makes me all sorts of happy since it's such a dear family heirloom. 
The trunk functions as a sort of table top while storing the loads of blankets we have.  Next to it is another one of those basic storage shelves that we seem to have amassed a lot of!  I have plans for those in the future as well.  :)  Try as I might to keep her toys well organized within this space, it always seems fairly disheveled to me.  If parenthood has taught me anything, it's to be ok with the chaos, something I truly struggle with.  As much as I am ok with a little disorganization in this space, I can't help but be optimistic in our future plans to make her new space function even better and more organized! 
I still do love our wallpapered wall.  We never hung anything on it but it was a statement all its own.  I have a feeling that the changing table situation won't be around much longer as we're on the cusp of saying good bye to diapers.  After the move, of course.
So much of our house is now in boxes.  In fact, my entire studio is just a shell now.  Artwork is coming off of the walls, closets have been cleaned out, filled boxes are multiplying, but only one little section in Rio's room has been dealt with.  I think this will be the most difficult room to pack up and say good bye to.  As sad as it may be to say adios to this home, I think about how exciting it will be to start fresh in our new abode.  I can't wait to share more of it and its evolution so very soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Work Room

I've come to a conclusion:  My workspace room is never going to be spotlessly clean long enough and the lighting is never going to be good enough for proper pictures.  And that's ok.  It is with those epiphanies and some other external factors that just made me grab the camera the other night to capture the room I spend SO much time in while in its natural state.

When we found out a kid was coming along, we decided to move my workroom from the spare bedroom into the office.  At the time, the office really didn't function as smoothly as it could have.  We made an epic trip to Ikea and got to work revamping things.  It's certainly evolved since then and has turned into a highly functioning room that uses every bit of its small space. 

Howsabout a quick tour?  So the 'office' wall is filled with the Ikea furniture that best fit our space.  The white on the cabinets and drawers drove me absolutely bonkers so I looked and looked for some way to change it.  Enter Pier 1 clearance where I found a package of removable wall art which I chopped up and made work to cover the white!  I LOVE the way it turned out and it only cost about $5.  The large shelving unit has seen much worse disorganization and much better organization!  I finally gave up trying to keep it pristine once Rio got more mobile and interested in it.  Basically, anything on the bottom shelves is fair game for her.  I never planned on fabric being stored on any of these particular shelves but needed a little overflow space after the warehouse haul.
The next snapshot is nothing too fancy except for what lies beneath.  That secretary has been around in my home or my parents' since I was at least seven years old.  In my possession, it's housed my many Barbies when I was younger, clothing, boxes and boxes of photos, and now, it houses fabric and is my mailing station.  It's a beast of a piece of furniture but that means it's always been reliable, sturdy, and functional!  Perhaps some day, I'll show you the crazy inside of it.  There's even a light in there.  

Behind that closet door lies more fabric (I know, I know!), my dress and skirt collection, and the kitties' restroom which is why the door always stays slightly open.  :)
And finally, the 'workspace' side of the room.  When I first moved into this space, I was focusing mainly on jewelry making but was beginning my transition into fabric obsession.  On the little shelf next to my worktable, I store all of my beads and threads which makes for easy access when I'm in the groove.  My machines typically stay on the little side typewriter table unless I'm working on a larger project when I'll move them to the worktable or even the kitchen table.

Sadly, I didn't get a straight on shot of my gallery wall this time around but it's one of my favorite spots in the room.  Many heirlooms and sentimental hangings reside there.  It's the one wall in the house that I can just hang things willy nilly!  ;)
I'll be the first to admit there is a LOT of stuff in this small space but I feel like we've done our best to maximize the space and keep it well organized and clean.  There are no doors so there is no way to block off this area to the kid.  Once upon a time we did use baby gates but that was short lived.  Rio is really pretty great in here.  There has been very little she's gotten into (although the day she found my pincushion I about had a heart attack!) and she definitely knows it's not a place that she's supposed to poke around in.  Most of the time I spend working in here though, is during naps and after she goes down so to her, it's not a room we hang out in tons with her.

So there you have it, my command central!  It's a space that I love and do feel very inspired in.  I only hope that I'm able to continue creating an environment that encourages creativity in myself wherever we may find ourselves in the future.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The King Kristel Quilt

A bit over a month ago, an old friend of mine, who was once also my neighbor, texted and asked if I was up for making her a king sized quilt.  I'd never done anything larger than a *small* twin but figured, sure why not!?  How hard can it be?  Insert surprised face with huge eyes here now.  There were times that I was ready to ceremonially set the thing on fire while I chanted a wide array of cuss words but I made it through those dark moments and eventually finished my first king size quilt!
Initially, my friend just told me to 'do my thing' but with a little prodding, I was able to pull out some more details of her design aesthetic.  Her favorite colors are red, mustard, and turquoise and she is a fan of polka dots.  Well, it's hard to tell from the larger photos but this thing is FILLED with polka dots.  The bias tape is made from a turquoise polka dot pattern, the gray used throughout is covered in dots, and the cream background fabric is filled with polka dots in a circular pattern.  I think I fulfilled that wish.
The hardest part for me was scale.  I'm used to working with fabric on a much smaller scale so trying to come up with a design that was cohesive, large, and feasible was actually very stalling for me.  Once I finally quit trying to plan it all out beforehand and just start building on smaller pieces, the top actually came together quite quickly.
I almost didn't put the red stripes in but thank goodness I did!  I don't think it would have as much of a punch without that pop of color.  The stripes are intentionally offset just a few inches right to throw a little extra something in.  I used every last scrap of fabric to finish out the design on this one.  The triangle points?  Totally scraps that worked out perfectly.
In the days leading up to Sew OK, I worked my tail off trying to complete the top.  As I mentioned before, I really wanted to work on quilting this at the retreat on their fancy machines but ended up just doing it on my tiny, basic machine.  Talk about a test in patience!  ;)
The first night of the retreat, I was able to get the backing cut out and the whole thing pin basted with the gracious help of my friend Mary.  It was SO nice to have the large ballroom floor to lay this out on.  If I had done it at home, I would have had to move the dining table out of the kitchen!  I could have done it but this was much more efficient.
For the remainder of the retreat, I just put on some headphones, ditched the glasses, and quilted until I was cross-eyed.  Oh, and did I mention the brownie?  All of that time working on the quilt at home with four animals and a toddler and I managed to keep it in pristine shape.  I go to the event, start sewing and get brownie in a few spots.  Yeah, not pleased with myself.  Luckily, a little cold water and soap go a long way so it's like it never happened!  My quilts are definitely made to be used, loved, and easily cleaned!  :)
Photo snagged from the great Jemellia.
Because of its size, I didn't want to do a super detailed quilting pattern so I just did large curves back and forth for the majority of it and in the middle square, did tinier stippling.
Once I hit the backing portion, it was decided that no more dinero would be put into its construction so I dug through my beloved drawer of vintage bed sheets.  SO comfortable.  I thought these two complemented the front beautifully, brought about some extra character, and there was enough to finish a large project!  There were just a couple little hiccups on the back, but it's the back for a reason!  ;)
I'm so glad I said yes to this commission.  Taking on such a large project taught me so very much in patience, perseverance, and how bad ass it feels to finish something so daunting!  So thank you, Kristel, for having faith in me!  
Oh yeah, and with the very few scraps that were left, I made a little quilted pillow cover to go along with the quilt.  :)  Because, why not?!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sew OK Was More Than OK

Last weekend, I took off for an adventure of all kinds.  While it was just down the highway from where I reside, it truly felt like I had a vacation that I'll remember fondly.  You may remember that I signed up for my first sewing retreat, Sew OK, recently.  I was mega nervous for a million reasons - not feeling up to par with my sewing game, longest time away from the kid, rain in the forecast for my traveling days, and leaving a big decision behind that I'll talk more about later.
I actually ended up hitting the road last Wednesday, one day before the retreat began, so I could avoid the rain.  Well, most of the rain I encountered was during my drive!  But it ended up being a very therapeutic drive with a nice steady, summer rain.  Oklahoma City is the place I called home for four years while I completed my undergraduate degree.  I haven't gone back and just farted around for many years so it was a welcomed, unplanned day that was fantastic.  I dropped some of my handmade clothing off at a new shop, Out on a Limb, in the Plaza District, visited a dear old friend and her brand new baby, spent time shooting the shit with JD of Deluxe, had a lovely dinner with my brother-in-law, and stayed the night with one of my besties that I don't get to see often enough!  It was a PERFECT day. How could the sewing retreat even compare?  Oh it did.  It did.
I really didn't know what to expect.  The event was held in a super cool (and haunted!) historic hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.  I had stayed there once before last year so I was excited to return to spend more time.  I opted to make a little vacay out of it and not have a roommate which was SO nice.  Of course, I was given a room on the infamous haunted floor but never saw a thing.  Although, the last night, I swear I felt something 'sit' on the end of my bed more than once.  I just kept those peepers shut tight!  Ha!  The actual retreat was held in a gigantic ballroom where everyone had their own workstation.  Machines were provided, if needed, but it seemed most traveled with their own.  I brought both my sewing machine and serger with the intention of playing with some of the machines they had provided but ended up only using my own.  Glad I had brought them!  
There were two optional classes offered throughout the three day retreat but other than that, nothing else was scheduled so you had the opportunity to sew willy-nilly all day and night long!  I don't think I have EVER sewn so long, so consistently.  It was heaven.  I attended both classes, one taught by Dana of Old Red Barn Co. (what a sweet, sweet soul!) who taught us how to simply sew curves and the other taught by Carolyn Friedlander who taught us how to make her Social Tote project.  Both classes were invaluable and fun! 
99.9% of the time I was working on my first king size quilt which I completely finished there!  I had intentions of using their fancy mid-arm machine to do my quilting but ended up doing the entire thing on my own machine which, in hindsight, was a little crazy!  It was SO nice to have such a large floor space to lay things out on and large workspace to spread out on.  I'll shared photos of the finished quilt in my next post.  :)  Even though I only worked on one project, I learned SO much from my fellow attendees and their projects! 
One highlight from the experience was one that I just never even anticipated.  The fellowship.  It was beyond nice to be among other women equally obsessed with sewing and making things.  The bonding I experienced was priceless, especially within one particular gal.  Mary, who many of you may know as one of the fabulous sewing teachers at Owl & Drum, ended up being someone who I felt like I'd known forever and that I know that I WILL know forever.  I loved every moment that we got to share together that weekend. 
I sincerely hope that I am able to be involved with something like this again in the near future.  Hours of uninterrupted sewing with ladies that I think the world of in a fancy schmancy setting was just more than I could ask for.  Oh, and free stuff.  Like tons and tons of free stuff.

So thanks to the *hilarious* ladies who made this weekend possible, to the teachers who were so patient with this non-precise sewer, and to the gals who stayed up late with me to make!
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