Monday, November 10, 2008

late October in photos

our very traditional Jack-O-Lanterns

Delilah inspecting the pumpkin

a reminder of spring as the weather cools

Emily looking lovely at her most recent charity event

Thursday, October 23, 2008

new book!

I discovered that Wally Lamb just published a new book and I am so excited!
If you haven't read his other words, I highly recommend both She's Come Undone and I Know This Much is True.  His newest book is titled The Hour I First Believed and deals with the Columbine shootings.

I'm hoping to have time to read it over winter break; as an English grad student I have a bit too much reading ahead of me right now to do much more than brief extracurricular reading :(  If anyone else has read it, let me know what you think!

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb: Book Cover

Monday, September 29, 2008

Emily Ballerina

Today I made a Halloween costume for one of my dogs, Emily.  Our other dog, Cara, gets to be a skunk this year :)

I purchased two yards of tulle, one in light pink and the other fuchsia.  The kind I bought had tiny 'crystals' all over it and was from JoAnn's.  The fabric cost $16 but if I had gone for a plain tulle it would have been cheaper.  I also bought one yard of elastic and used a little more than half.

First I folded each yard of fabric in half width-wise, therefore keeping it the same length but cutting the width in half.  I repeated this, making the fabric four layers thick.  Next, I cut strips about six inches wide from both the light tulle and the fuchsia tulle.  Each strip needed to be cut apart where it was folded also, creating four strips total.  The strips do not need to be perfect--I didn't even measure.  Just got by what looks right and if you're cutting isn't perfect, it won't be a problem.

two strips of the light pink tulle
I wrapped the elastic around Emily's waist and added about a half of an inch before cutting.  I safety pinned the elastic together end-to-end, creating a loop.

Next, I began wrapping the tulle around the elastic and simply tying knots.  It won't look like a tutu at first, but once the tulle starts bunching up it will take on a really nice shape.  Since I used two colors, I alternated colors for each knot.  There are many variations on this, from using just one solid color to alternating two of one color followed by one piece of another color, etc.

knotting the tulle around the elastic
Keep knotting the tulle around the elastic until you reach the safety pin on each end.  I chose to use a safety pin because I felt that it would be easier to put on and take off if it could open up, instead of trying to slip a tutu around her legs.  If you have a smaller dog, you may be better off stitching the ends together.

looking fluffy!
Now I have an adorable and fairly affordable Halloween costume for Emily--so cute!!
In total, this took under thirty minutes and cost about $17 dollars.  Obviously, much cheaper tulle could have been used for the same effect.  This method could also work for a child's tutu, although the strips may need to be longer and more tulle would be required.

Emily trying on her new tutu:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pink Armoire

For our Mom's birthday, my sister and I set out to paint her a pink armoire.  
This began with my pink armoire, which my parents purchased for me years ago in the little town of Chincoteague, VA at an antique store on Main Street.  My Mom loved my pink armoire, and I have searched online, in antique stores, and in thrift stores for years for a similar shaped armoire in any color--of course pink would have been ideal.  I never found anything similar to mine, so for her birthday this year, I simply bought a brand new armoire and started painting.  

my pink armoire:

Mom's armoire before we painted:

First I sanded and primed (with Kilz) all of the pieces, except in the places that I planned to keep white accents.  Since the armoire was already a cream color, I felt that would be perfect for the white trim and details.  Next, my sister and I began painting.  We used Behr latex in Eggshell, named Pink Amour.  The painting took a few days (which of course included a few mishaps, as usual), and once it was all dry I sanded a bit on the edges to give it a bit of a worn look.  I contemplated using chains to achieve a few dents and imperfections, which would give it more of an antique look, but I wasn't sure if that would be the best, since with the sheen, it has a newer-looking exterior. 

We made sure to paint inside each drawer as well as in the cabinet itself.  We took it in pieces to my parents' home and then took my Mom out for the day so that my dad and fiance could put it all together.  They had a bit of trouble with the glass knobs, as the piece came with both glass knobs and metal ones, so they used the metal ones for now.  Also, one of the legs snapped (a rear leg, thankfully), and they glued it back together with a bit of carpenters glue.  One of the doors also sits out a bit from the other--a very little bit-- but I guess that is what you can expect from something sold under the name "Shabby Chic".  

All in all, my Mom was very happy with the armoire and my sister and I were both pleased with how it turned out.  Although it does not have the vintage charm of my armoire, it is a beautiful piece and it is even more special since it was 'created' by my sister and I.

The finished armoire!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vera Bradley Spring 2009

So I just got a look at the new Vera Bradley colors, debuting Spring 2009 (which means January--if only spring really did start that early!).  The new patterns are lovely; I'm not sure which one I'm most excited about, but I am pretty impressed with this lineup.

Hope Garden

Cupcakes Pink

Cupcakes Green

Purple Punch

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pink Year Round

October is Breast Cancer month, but I am happy to show my support year-round.
With October coming up, here are a few of my favorite pink household items:

KitchenAid food processor, mini food processor, toaster, mixer, handheld mixer, & blender... and some kind of gumball machine or chopper in the back.

KitchenAid also has accessories, such as this can opener, spatulas, measuring utensils, and scissors, amongst other things.  I got my pink KitchenAid can opener at T.J.Maxx for $7 :)

Brita makes a lovely pink pitcher which, like the pink KitchenAid products, benefits breast cancer research.

Dyson makes a pretty in pink vacuum cleaner, sold only through Target, which gives funds to breast cancer research.

Kone also makes a pink handheld vacuum which is special enough that you won't need to hide it in the closet.

I have found pink pots and pans at numerous locations, such as Target, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx.

* * *

I was in Target on September 10 and there was an entire display of pink pans, spoons, spatulas, wine bottle openers, silicone mats, as well as other lovely kitchen necessities in pink.  The best part?  Everything benefits breast cancer research and screening!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Painted Initials

I also painted two letters to hang in my home.  I purchased them at Michael's and both were made of unfinished wood.  I painted the B with two coats of acrylic fuchsia and then added white polka dots once it had dried.  For the J, I traced the width of a ruler to create the stripes and then painted one coat of the green, two coats of the silver (which appears light blue in the photo).  Once both had dried, I sealed with a satin varnish.

Painting a Chair

On Saturday, I found two chairs that have been bumping around our house for some time and decided to spruce them up a bit.  I probably should have prepped them first, but I was too eager to begin painting.

I painted vines along the legs before realizing I had no idea what I was planning to do.  So I googled images of painted chairs and found an image of a beautiful Stargazer Lilly.  I attempted to follow the same shape as the model I found online, but the shading (or lack thereof in my case) was different, as were the details.

I attempted to copy it with no artistic experience but plenty of motivation and time.  The final result?

Both chairs were painted white when I began; I believe they were originally orange, because there are orange spots where the paint has flecked off:

I began by outlining the flower petals, first in pencil and then in white acrylic paint:

Next I filled in the outlines with fuchsia acrylic paint:

As I worked, I also added darker pink veins through the petals:

I then filled in the center white with green, giving the flower a solid stem to support each petal:

I added a brighter green to make the stem more dimensional:

Finally, I added dark pink dots to each leaf (a shade between the fuchsia petals and the dark pink veins), clustering more towards the base of each petal:

Two chairs:

After finishing the vines on the second chair, I coated both with a satin varnish to protect them.  

The vines on the legs and back actually took longer to paint than the flowers!  I had a great time designing and creating these and hope to come across more old furniture to decorate.
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