Saturday, August 16, 2014

Movement...

 I am happy to report progress has been made!
I may have not gone about it in the most logical of methods but it got done none the less.
 
 The best way to tackle it would have probably been to first empty the entire space thus providing ample elbow room to pull out the carpet, sand the floor, paint the floor, paint the walls, and finally paint all the trim. With several batches of company expected throughout the month and no other adequate gathering location in the house I went at it like a patchwork quilt...one block at a time.
 
 Here's a shot mid way through on a day when company was expected...not picture perfect but at least we could sit down!
 
 The worst part about such a patchwork painting project is it requires a lot of shifting of stuff...around and around, seemingly over and over again. Case in point was dear hubby's bookcase of "treasures." Three times  I shifted this thing and in order to do so most everything had to be removed.
 
 Each time this was done in the early morning hours while dear hubby was still sleeping as he doesn't like his "treasures" disturbed. This photo would send shivers down his spine for sure!
 
 I was ever so careful however,
 
 and put everything back just so.
 
By the time he awoke it was locked up tight and he was none the wiser. How in the world he thinks the bookshelf shifted from spot to spot throughout the process I have idea but that's a question much better left unasked!
 
One of the things I kept thinking about before I started in on the renovations was how nice it would be to start fresh in this room, it was going to be my blank canvas upon which to paint a cottage living environment. As such I had early on decided to paint the walls white...easy peasy right?
 
One would think so but after a quick peruse of the white paint chips at the hardware store I was in a quandary. I honestly had no idea there were so many whites out there. I brought a bunch of samples home and for days haggled over the numerous variations being too pink, too green, and eventually just too darn confusing. Add to that the simply divine names they attach to these chips...how in the world was I going to choose between Cotton Fluff, Falling Snow, and Dew Drop?

Luckily, fate intervened!
I stumbled upon the most wonderful thing in the paint department at Walmart one day...

Glidden's "Grab-N-Go" paint line.
Not only is it pre-mixed and self priming but it comes in a limited palette line of colors one of which happens to be plain "white." Just what the doctor ordered!!!

 
After the walls I was so in love with white I couldn't stop.
The heater grates got a coat and...
 

...the tables legs too.
 

But why stop there? I had read about this amazing Bulls Eye Primer that allowed you to paint literally anything without having to strip or sand it first.
With that in mind I just kept going all along the table top...
 

...and up to the tippy top of the lamp!
 

Now when I come down the stairs in the morning this is the view I see.
So far so good....
I'm pleased and so is the rest of the family, especially the boys.

Dear hubby and the boys think they have died and gone to heaven now that the TV and gaming paraphernalia have taken center stage. Very cool and macho, huh?
 

Well for the moment perhaps but I've got some plans to "Selina Lake" it up a bit.
 

A whole list of plans in fact!
 

Mollie Makes might make an appearance or two as well!
 

Look at this patchwork chair pad for instance, don't you love it?
 

Or a calico lampshade?
 

It just so happens I've got one ready and waiting for some fun inspiration!
 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Advances.....

 
"If one advances confidently
in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life
which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success
unexpected in common hours."
~Henry David Thoreau
 
 
As a Tasha Tudor fan I have read this quote many times over.
Its message is always inspiring and probably one of the many little nuggets that factored into my belief that I could transform our living room into a summer cottage retreat.
First advancing steps taken, however, have caused my confidence to drop
quite significantly and left me wondering...
what have I gotten myself into?

 


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Looking....

 Looking Back...
 
It has recently come to my attention that I failed to ever post the follow up photos to last summer's portion of Project Cottage Quest. Tackled at that time were the kids' rooms which, small as they are, created quite a mess everywhere. It wasn't until September that things all fell back in place but when they did everyone was pleased as punch with the results.
 
 Dear daughter's room was cleared of so much stuff. She was downright brutal in the decluttering process but as a result was very successful in creating the crisp, clean setting she wanted.
 
 The boys on the other hand like their collections around them. Having the shelves has been a great way for them to create rotating displays of whatever the current super robot alien action blockbuster movie happens to be.
 
 Even the living room eventually became functional again!
 
 Looking Forward however....
 
The writing is literally on the wall and it's time to paint!
 
We found oodles of notations behind the bookshelves that were removed. Archeological evidence of my insistence that dear hubby bolt every single piece of furniture into a wall when the kids were much younger and toddling around. 
 
 Looking Down....
 
I'm thinking those floors could do with some brush strokes as well. Of course that means clearing out the carpet first. Not my favorite job in the world but if it means I can have at the floors with a swish of the broom as opposed to dragging that monster of a vacuum around I'll put all my muscle into getting the job done.
 
 Looking Up.....
 
I realize I'm going to need some new curtains. Plan is to revisit my patchwork plans from several summers ago. Maybe this will be the year I get them done?!!
 
 And finally,
Looking On The Bright Side....
 
The pollen is gone and creative endeavours are back in play.
 
I've even had a few break throughs in the velvet cushion department.
Stayed tuned.....


Friday, June 13, 2014

Detours

 All was going well in the sun room studio.
 Even a bit of progress had been made in the velvet cushion department.
But then...
THIS ARRIVED!!!
 
Yellow pollen is in abundance this year and it's either keep the windows closed and simmer away in the heat or open them and find a layer of this on everything you touch. Eventually I had to put my painting and sewing away until it passes as no Lucy wants a yellow stained pinafore and velvet  proved to be a literal pollen magnet!
 
 So the question arose...what to do with my time?
The domestic goddess answer would have been to dust and vacuum 24/7 in an attempt to keep ahead of the yellow plague but let me tell you that gets old fast!
Luckily I received a request for something that involved a mess of a different sort.
 
The jumble you see above was a project from way last fall. I had spent a couple days taking photos and notes of all the steps involved in making pincushions and pin toppers. It was actually a lot of fun to do and turning a discombobulated work space like the one above...
 
 ...into this kind of an arrangement is the type of cleaning up that makes me smile.
 
 And I even got some goodies made in the process!
 
The plan was to then take all those notes and photos and turn them into tutorials. Sounded good at the time but the nitty gritty of it once I got on the computer was way beyond my capability! It was much easier to just pretend I had never even started.
 
 But then this week I got a request.
Did I have a pattern for the yo-yo pincushions?
 
Well, yup I did...sort of.
My notes were still fairly organized, my computer had a mass of photos ready to go, and if I wasn't mistaken a spark of motivation was making itself known. That combined with free time on my hands led me to spend my week with this as my view.
 
 Organizing the images and the text really wasn't that difficult in the end.
 
 Gathering the skills together to put it all into PDF formats on the other hand, was another story and one which, were it not for the generous assistance provided to me by dear hubby and child #1,
 would not have been told.
 
Oodles of thanks!!!
I promise to make you guys as many cookies as you want.
 
The really good news, however, is that it rained today.
 
Buckets in fact.
And as it poured down
and puddled at the end of the road
   so too did the pollen!
 
Looks like could be work as usual next week...
 
 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Trial, Error, and Distractions

 With the beginning of each new month I like to plan out some goals I want to accomplish in the weeks ahead. The first step in this process is to take a few minutes to review where I stand at the end of the previous month's work. Today what I found to my credit was a lot of trial, error, and distraction! 
 
During May I made my first attempt at binding together a larger, more people
friendly version of Attic Days.
 
 In the process I discovered the order in which I had the pages arranged and printed was all mixed up. I fudged it a bit but ultimately that little shiny disk dear hubby created for me to take to the printers will have to be altered. Whoops!
 
 I also found striped fabric was too hard to work with. It shows every little pull out of alignment and drives me crazy! Next time I'll try a calico print and hope it's much more forgiving.
 
 Strange but true, my biggest obstacle turned out to be this....possibly the best Doll News ever! Every article was amazing. Most were directly related to Tasha Tudor in some way but those that weren't still made me think of her because of their focus on doll play.
 
Until every word was devoured it was a huge distraction to creative work of any sort. At first I said to myself I would read one article with every teatime break I took. Trouble was I found myself taking tea far too often. Eventually my stomach ached something terrible and so I had to put down both the cuppas and the companion cookies I was gobbling up.
 
 And then there was this old friend and bane of my existence....
Lucy's velvet pincushion!
 
 I do believe I've spent more time taking out stitches than putting them in.
I just can't seem to get it to look the way I want.
But then again, sometimes I don't even know what I want!
 
 What I do know is that I love this book upon which the cushion sits. It's called Cape Random and is the most amazing story set in nineteenth century Newfoundland. Reading about the hardscrabble life those early settlers had makes the trials and tribulations of a velvet cushion seem positively trifling!
 
 Anyone remember the little "Spool" quilt block I put in the book?
 
 Well I had a go at making one up last week and goodness were my patchwork skills lacking.
I loved working with the floral fabrics however...
 
...so much so in fact I couldn't help but head outside.
Talk about distractions, there were about a million things needing attention out there and most of them were weeds!
 
But June is here now and with it a whole new round of days to try things out and hopefully find some success to share along the way....
 
 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eminent Domain

 I've laid permanent claim to the sun room. 
Come June two of the kiddos will be official teenagers and the third a young adult of twenty so I figured their summer time use of the space as a playroom is a thing of the past. The remaining toys and collections I found squirrel away in drawers and baskets were cleared out and I moved in.
 
 I can't tell you how amazing it is to have a desk area set up with everything I need to construct the little books within arms reach.
 
 Ditto to my painting station on the other wall.
 
 Supplies fit easily into the baskets...
 
 ...and the drawers I freed up.
In this one room at least I finally feel organized.
 
 Each night I do my best to tidy up...
 
 ...but when I do have a project in the works now I don't have to worry about cleaning it up in time for dinner or homework. What a great feeling!
 
Creating Lucys and mini books in a sunny studio space is making for a delightful May. My most recent batch is visible in it's early stages here and for those of you with eagle eyes you may notice I had four little dolls in the works this time around. This is my new plan of action as I've got plans to host a table at the Southern New Hampshire Doll Show and Sale next September and need to slowly build my inventory for it. I figure "one for me and three for you" ought to do the trick for the time being which means...
 
there are three new Lucy's and mini books ready to go! 
Numbers 12, 14, and 15 will be available in the shop this coming Thursday, May 22nd
between the hours of  5 and 7 PM.
 
Looking ahead a bit more I wanted to let you know June will kick off a summer full of Lucy goodies to come. New Patchwork Tale products will arrive each month. There's even an itty bitty clue for one of them in the photo above! 
 
In addition, the reset of my sun room studio has me back in the Cottage Quest frame of mind and trudging through the rest of our house I see oodles of items that will need to go. I figure a good portion of those can be either destashed or offered up as Attic Treasures
 in the shop as well.
 It's going to be a fun and busy summer!