Monday, January 26, 2009

Orange Dreamsicle print

OMG, check out ElegantBloggery's Orange Dreamscicle Cupcake print!

And get this - it's coming to yours truly! YESSSSSSSSS!!!! A while back she hosted a contest to come up with a flavor for a new cupcake print, and if there's one thing I know, it's sweets. I suggested an Orange Dreamsicle cupcake, and that was the one she chose. I am so flippin' excited!! I can't wait to hang my new art print above my desk. It'll be like guilt-free, calorie-free indulgence all day long.

If you want one of Marisa's prints for your own self, check out her Etsy shop. Her prints are lovely!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Big home dec project revealed, part II

This is where we left off in the previous post - everything loaded up into my van. We arrived in Fort Smith around noon and immediately began the process of unloaded all of this. Keep in mind that the "crew" is just me and Denise. And both of us are weaklings with bad backs.

Lucky for us, my kind, sweet hubby nailed together a makeshift dolly. Just 4 2x4s nailed together with casters on the bottom. but it did make the process of moving much easier. That, coupled with the fact that Scarlett's apartments were originally designed as a retirement community, which means that all apartments are wheelchair (and furniture dolly) accessible.

After much pushing and pulling and grunting and panting, we got everything inside. With the exception of the big pink metal desk, we were able to manage it all just the two of us. (Luckily with the big desk, a strapping young 20-something showed up at the apartment house catty-corner at exactly the right time. Little meek Anne had to get big and bold and knock on a complete stranger's door, but he helped us.)

Four hours later, the apartment looked like this:

The couch, coffee table, and chair function as a sitting area because all the fabric is now on shelves and all the paperwork is now in a file box.

The black card table is replaced with the pink metal desk. We used this as Liv's changing table when she was a baby, hence the pink color. The bottom drawer was big enough to hold Scarlett's DVD collection, which freed shelves up on the entertainment center for books and pretties. (Also made the entertainment center feel far less cluttered.)
And do you see that turqouise bucket on the bottom shelf in the picture above? That's one of the half-bushel baskets spray-painted a pale turqouise and lined with white broadcloth. We ended up with 5 half-bushel sized baskets, and 3 bushel sized baskets. All were spraypainted. I fell head-over-heels-giddy in love with the trigger attachment for spray paint cans. It's SOOO much easier to pull the trigger than to push down on that tiny little button on top of the can.

Here's the sewing nook:
The sewing machine sits on the table donated by my sister. How perfect is that table?!? The blue shelving to the left are the old metal shelves from my basement - with a fresh coat of spraypaint of course. Bushel baskets sit on the blue shelves.
On the back wall of the sewing nook is another new set of shelves. They hold bins of fabric, and the top is exactly the right height for a tabletop ironing board. She'll still need to pull out the large ironing board when pressing large fabric cuts, but for pressing seams open on small quilt blocks this is just the right size.
By the way, check out her design wall above the ironing board. It was already there before the re-do, but I wanted to call attention to her quilt in progress.

Finally, just to the right of the sewing nook is the cutting table. Now that this table is devoted solely to cutting, she's got full use of the cutting mat. Two bushel baskets sit underneath to catch the scraps. (Later, we ended up transferring her entire collection of fabric scraps into those bins.) I had wanted to make a piece of artwork to hang over the table, but I didn't have time.

So there you have it - the surprise apartment makeover. If you add up every bit of money spent on spray paint, shelves, fabric, organizers, table top ironing boards - the total adds up to LESS THAN $75.


Monday, January 19, 2009

My big home dec project revealed

So I'm back from my weekend in Fort Smith, and now I get to tell you all about the home dec project I've been working so hard on. I was busting to write about it last week, but I couldn't talk about the project until after the trip to Fort Smith. Why is that, you say?

Why, it's because the home dec project took place in Fort Smith.

Here's the quick and dirty backstory: My dear friend Scarlett's had a lot -LOT- going on in the last few months. There have been a string of medical crises in her family. Though these crises were not with her own personal health, it was the health of loved ones. The frequent drives to and from Little Rock (2 1/2 hours from Ft. Smith) took both time and energy, which she gave freely and with love. However, it was also taking a toll on her apartment. Her living room/dining room functions as a living room/home office/sewing studio but she didn't have the right kind of furniture or organizing systems to make this work efficiently. So stuff ended up piled here and there, which was made even more overwhelming by her travel fatigue. The addition of a few pieces of functional furniture (desk, shelving, etc.) would fix this, but the travel and health crises made purchases like that impossible for the near future.

So it was in this context that about a month ago this idea flashed through my head to do a surprise apartment re-do and create a functional living space for her. Given my own financial constraints, this had to be a super-dooper-budget project. As in, what could Anne do with $75??

Enter my angels. The first angel is Denise, who eagerly signed on to help with this project. She was my co-conspirator, contributing energy, inspiration, and $$ for some of the materials. Another angel is my sister, who helped me locate an inexpensive bookshelf for Scarlett's fabric. She also generously donated a sewing table to the cause. Another angel is my friend Jennifer, who upon hearing of the suprise apartment makeover, wanted a piece of the action and donated hanging file folders. There were also two Freecycle angels: one who donated bushel baskets, and another who donated plastic organizing bins for the drawers.

I just realized I've typed a jillion words and still haven't shown any pics. I suppose that's a bit mean of me, but I wanted to give some context before the big reveal.

Now, for the before shots. They're a bit blurry due to some difficulty with the camera.

The computer lives on a card table, which doesn't give any space to store papers, pens, files, etc.

There's no place to store fabric in here, so it ends up in piles here and there.

You can't see it very well in this picture, but the sewing center is just a small dining table. There isn't room on the tabletop for both the cutting mat and the sewing machine, so the sewing machine ends up sitting on top of the cutting mat - which makes for a smaller cutting area. What you also can't see is that just to the right of the couch is an ironing board. When Scarlett is working on a quilt, she has to walk across the room to iron out each set of seams.

During the weeks that we planned this secret project, we collected up a number of furniture and organizational pieces:

1 - Old metal desk that had actually been Liv's changing table when she was a baby. The person we bought it from then told us that it was from the 1930s and came from the old nursing school here in town.

2 - Small set of wooden shelves, about 36" wide and 30" tall. Perfect height for a small table-top ironing board.

3 - Small set of metal shelves, discovered in the dark recesses of our basement. They were rusty and nasty, but a good cleaning and a coat of turquoise Rustoleam had them looking like they came from The Container Store.

4 - Wooden sewing table, courtesy of my sister. Very stury - a very nice piece of furniture.

5 - Set of bushel baskets from Freecycle. They had glued ribbon around the outside of them and used them for storage in their daughter's playroom. We took the ribbon off, spray painted them in fun colors, and made cloth liners. Denise was a genius figuring out how to make the liners with as little fuss as possible. We ended up with 5 half-bushel sized baskets, and 3 full-bushel sized baskets.

6 - Set of small plastic organizing bins for drawers, also courtesy of Freecycle. We ended up with probably 10 that were 4x6 inches, and 3 that were 6 x 9 inches. She also ended up throwing in some cutlery organizers that were perfect for organizing pens and pencils and such.
7 - Hanging file boxes scavenged from around the house and outfitted with the hanging files donated by my friend Jennifer.

That's a lot of stuff!!! To get it all to Fort Smith, we had to take out both back seats in my van:

I'll post tomorrow to show what it looked like when we got done.
Craftily yours,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Just had to post to let you know I'm working on a home dec project. It's top secret - I don't want anyone to know exactly what I'm doing until I post the finished product. I'll give you a clue though - it involves digging around in my basement, some generous freecyclers, a bit of sewing, and a large amount of spray paint.

Curious?? I can tell you no more until it's complete, which will have to wait until after my trip to Fort Smith this weekend.

Laughing maniacly,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Aprons and antennae and stars

I think I'm in denial right now. I've finally gotten some free time after all of the end of semester-Christmas-pillow madness and I'm being rather selfish with it. I haven't blogged. I haven't commented on blogs. I haven't even thanked all my friends/relatives for the Christmas presents I've received. I'm just being bad, enjoying all of the fun of being a true stay-at-home mom, rather than a stay-at-home mom with a part-time job. Of course, that all ends next week with the beginning of the new semester, but I've still got a few days to pretend I have no responsibilities outside of my four walls.

But even though I've been hiding out from the outside world, we've stayed pretty busy at our house. Liv's been practicing sewing on my big sewing machine and amassing her own fabric stash. She's also developing the fabric hoarding tendencies, as evidenced by her inability to cut into her charm squares in order to make a dolly quilt. She actually hid them from me rather than having to use any of them in a project. "But they're so pretty," she said, "and if I use them up then I won't have them any more."

Luckily, her Aunt Scarlett gave her a yard cut of a piece of fabric this weekend, which allowed her to use some of it and hoard the rest. So yesterday we completed her first real sewing project - a very simple half-apron.

And of course after we made the apron we had to make cookies. Too bad I got sidetracked and put in only half of the flour. Cookies didn't exactly turn out that good.

After the apron sewing project, she decided to create he own Word Girl costume. Word Girl wears a space helmet; Liv used a bicycle helmet. Word Girl has a star on her shirt; Olivia had me cut out a star which she colored red and taped on to her own shirt. "There are 5 points and I have 2 pieces [of tape] already, so that means I need 3 more." Then she made the antenna and taped it to the top of the helmet.
Here she is doing her Word-Girl-in-flight pose.

I know it looks... ummm... phallic? Even more reason to take tons of pictures. This is SO blackmail for her teenage years.

Later, Liv figured out that she could pull up the webpage with a picture of Word Girl and check to be sure she had everything just right. Turns out Word Girl doesn't have an antenna at all; that's some guy named Huggy Face??? So the big penis came off of the helmet and got taped to the top of a stuffed kitty that she was pretending whas this Huggy Face character. So now we have a black & white stuffed kitty with a penis on his head sitting in our living room.
Yeah, we're classy like that.