It has been nearly a year since we moved, can you believe it?! Last year at this time, everything was chaos with boxes all over & I had a minor panic attack. For real. Not saying that as an expression. I really thought buying a new house had been a huge mistake and nothing was ever going to be put away or organized and it just wasn’t worth it. Someone casually mentioned that it takes a year to really settle into a house and my panic spiraled deeper. I need it all settled RIGHT NOW (like all of it settled immediately), NOT in a YEAR! It seemed helpless to try at all. I finally confessed my agitated mental state to a girlfriend and she suggested I make one area peaceful; she called it ‘making a sanctuary’.
The only spot I could find for this little patch of peace was the tiny landing at the turn of the stairs. It’s so small it felt pathetic and sad and I thought it almost didn’t count. I laid down a rug from my travels in India and filled it with plants. Every time I passed through the landing I was reminded that one day the whole house might actually come together, too. It worked. I could take a deep breath and calm down. Because of this, I have an odd amount of affection for our landing…just a tiny bit of real estate but boy do I love it. The landing is a place I want to fill with plants and color and keep it my lovely sanctuary. So, when my neighbors tossed out an old-beat up stool I snatched it up, repaired it, painted and polyurethaned it for the landing.
It added the perfect pop of color to the landing and was a nice break from sewing. It’s our paint-dipped plant stool and it is keeping the sanctuary dream alive.
Here is the original state:
It was falling apart at the seams with the finish flaking off. I started by sanding the whole thing and then wood gluing it back together.
Once the glue dried, I wiped it with mineral spirits and taped, with blue paint tape, around the legs at the same height mark. I painted below the tape in bright yellow with a sponge brush. I painted three different coats letting each one dry first. The final step was to apply polyurethane. I used a spray-on poly, applied outside, because there was some already in the basement. The wood turned out darker than I wanted it to be but I still love it. Plus, because I found the stool and had the paint, poly, and wood glue on hand it was completely free. Bonus!
And here we are at that year mark. The one where we are supposed to feel more settled. We still don’t have many pictures up, the floors still need work, our one-hundred year old windows blow in a breeze on especially windy days but we are definitely feeling settled. We belong here and the work we do at this point feels more like tidying the nest rather than gathering the sticks and mud needed to put it all together.
A few weeks ago the boys and I tried out ice painting and made some really fantastic ice painted tee shirts. At first glance, they look a bit like tie-dyed tees but they are so much more painter-ly (that a word?) when you look closer. Awesomer, too. Way awesomer. Making t-shirts has become something of a summer tradition around here. Last year we tried tie-dying and sun printing dyes and loved it. There seem to be these unplanned, looser, low-key moments in summer that allow for messy projects. It’s one of my favorite things about summer with the boys at this age. I got the idea to try ice painting from a Sweet Paul Magazine video on Facebook, which I unfortunately can’t find anymore. Sorry.
The good news is that I took lots of pictures of what we did and remember it all so I can share our tee shirt making with you. (more…)
Happy July everybody! After two weeks at home, the boys are enjoying summer camp run by the town PE teachers and staffed with local teens, half of which play on the football team. They came home from their first day, yesterday, with skinned knees and dried sweat defining the tips of their hair as well as important updates on which friends are in their group and stories about the cool camp counselors. Remember when nothing was cooler than knowing cool teenagers? Ah, summer. I can already see it taking shape. I didn’t plan to slow down on blogging while they were home with me but the pull to sleep in, read with them, play cards (we are loving War and the game Twisted Fish right now) and swim at the town pool was so strong. I have to assume that I needed a break, too. I did manage to share my boxer shorts but, things were slow around here. Two weeks was long enough, though, and now I am itching to jump back in to sewing, blogging, teaching, sharing and re-immersing myself into this crazy world I made for myself. And, I’m excited to jump back in with a review of the Sundressing book, a giveaway and a lovely, bug-filled, Olive dress. (more…)
There is something new hanging on the clothesline and it’s for dudes….boxers! It has been a long time since I stitched something for my husband, K. In fact, his handmade pajama pants are so well-worn they are nearly thread-bare at the waistband. I just don’t sew for him very much and to be honest, I find it hard to sew for dudes. What would I make? He wears t-shirts and neutral colored shorts for the most part. Not that exciting. If I could knit, I think I would have more options but as it is, I am limited. So, when Betz White asked me if I wanted to play with her new fabric line, Dutch Treat, I decided it was time to make something for K. Thankfully, I took one look at her charcoal and yellow print and saw boxer shorts written all over them. Hence, the cheeky name Dutch Treat Boxer Shorts! I made it my Project Sew It challenge for June to create a boxer shorts pattern that fits him. (more…)
I am a natural skeptic, so I must admit I was slow to embrace the indigo dying trend. It seemed like everyone was doing it and I pshawed. Of course, sometimes you have to (embarassingly) admit that what you first dismissed as a ‘trend’ is a hundreds of hundreds years old technique born out of pure awesome and you were being kind of a heel. Or, maybe that only happens to me. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that indigo dying is awesome! It’s a living plant, guys, and the whole process of dying with indigo is really unexpected and fun. It’s like tie-dye (on steroids) for (artist-oriented) grown ups. If you are at all interested, don’t overthink it…definitely try it out. I am so glad that my husband bought me a class in indigo dying at the Brooklyn Craft Company so I could get over my self and dive into it already. I brought along a bunch of plain fabric including some canvas and basically had the time of my life. Two of the pieces I dyed I turned into this Indigo Dyed Tote bag. (more…)
It’s around this time of year that I lose all tolerance for annoying things like jeans or tight-fitting dresses. I want to either be wearing grub-wear in the garden or a dress I can throw on over a swimsuit. I also have pretty nit-picky criteria for sundresses…they should be so easy and comfortable you can wear them all day in the sun and also feel free to stop in at the ice cream shop or indulge in a boardwalk funnel cake without shame/discomfort. You should be able to sweat freely, no pools of sweat that collect at a tight waistband. They should allow enough length for sitting but not so much that the breeze can’t dry any sweat behind the knees. They should never, ever involve anything that even stands a chance of scraping or itching such as a zipper. Save all that other stuff for the fancy dresses! I’m a delicate flower in the hot sun of summer and my tolerance for irritation plummets to all time lows. I really don’t think I’m the only one. Let’s be honest, summer days meander with uncertainty and a sundress should be ready for all of it. (more…)
Every summer I make the same mistake. I think to myself, “I don’t need any help or planned activities for the kids this summer! School is so structured and scripted, they need summertime freedom! They need a chance to get bored and make something up!” And then the boys spend the first few weeks of summer begging me to watch TV or play games on the computer. Eventually I cave and they end up watchings screens way more than I would like. Or I spend my evenings scrolling Pinterest and then scrambling to find random supplies so they have an activity to draw them away from those magnetic and brain-draining screens.
Well, I’m not repeating that mistake this summer! I teamed up with Andrea from Andrea’s Notebook and nearly a dozen other talented bloggers to create a Boredom Busters Kit. The kit includes 10 different projects and bonus printables like a calendar and coloring page. Each project just needs to be printed out and it’s ready to go. (more…)
You know that thing that happens when the world finds out that you sew? You are flooded with requests to sew things. Bless them, right? Everyone means well. Remember those kindergarten chair pockets I made for my son’s class last year? Well, you can probably guess where this is going…at least a little bit. About halfway into this school year J’s first grade teacher approached me about sewing chair pockets for his classroom, just like the ones from last year (link includes my tutorial on how to make them, btw).
Much as I loved making chair pockets for his classroom last year, it is time-consuming, monotonous and costly (it takes A LOT of fabric). Plus, it seemed inequitable to me. If classrooms need chair pockets is it fair that the only classrooms who get them have my kid in them? Not really. So, I suggested that the school identify how many classrooms need chair pockets and write a grant to cover the cost of store-bought chair pockets. J’s teacher came back and suggested that the ones I make are sturdier than the mass-produced kind. I was terribly flattered. I agreed I could make them and quoted her a price per classroom (at 25 chair pockets per classroom) that paid for my time and supplies. She submitted the grant and it was only after the grant was accepted that I found out that nearly the entire school needed chair pockets, 300 to be exact. Turns out every first grade and kindergarten classroom except for two needed chair pockets….one of those two classroom has special chairs and the other has the pockets I made last year. Ha! I was totally overwhelmed. (more…)