- Summer is lovely. I would like several more months, please.
- This blog is unchanged in regards to politics. It’s still off-limits.
- Aargh! Please no more talk about the national debt. Seriously, I don’t care. I should, but I don’t. And I’m tired of it.
- I am not at my best in the morning.
- Seven: the number of rice cakes I pondered consuming for lunch. Actual number eaten? Four-ish (I’m mid cake, right now).
- Rice cakes have a bad rep, don’t you think? White cheddar cheese… mmmm!
- And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to Joe’s Crab Shack with my in-laws, tomorrow my plans include painting/polying and Sunday, I want to do something productive/creative!
via Friday Fill-Ins
While unemployed, I felt this driving need to be productive, hence the large number of completed sewing projects and the many hours spent painting trim.
One of my projects (self-imposed) was to clean up this area of our back yard. Our bedroom window looks out on it, and it was getting embarrassing. (However, we’ve had a rash of robberies in our neighborhood recently, so we’ve started closing the gates on the fence, which means that this part is no longer visible from the street, so it’s not as embarrassing anymore. It would help if there weren’t so many foreclosures / homes for sale in close by. I haven’t heard about any new incidents in the last week or two, so we’re probably safe, but there’s nothing wrong about compulsively checking to make sure all the doors are deadbolted.)
Prepare yourself – I discovered that I don’t like to do weeding unless I have homework to avoid doing. So, basically we haven’t done any weeding this year. On the bright side, we have very fertile soil.
The back walkway was... no longer passable. Those tall guys - I don't know what they are, but they scared the crap out of me. At any point, I thought they might get up and start attacking me for killing their brethren.
On the left is our air conditioner, and next to it is a shrub that I tackled back into submission earlier this summer. There's a large egress window behind it (for the family room). Prior to our neighbor removing a tree next to our shared fence, this was all shade, all the time. Now it's all sun, all the time. I have plans to plant vegetables and flowers here. Someday. After I remove all those rocks.
I had already pruned back the bushes significantly in preparation for painting our house (which we still haven't done). One of them was dying out a bit, so they're looking particularly scraggly. The large pile in between them was from that tree branch that feel in November. This was not our permanent solution, but it had been several months since we'd done anything with the pile.
First up? I tried working in the shade as much as possible, or at least alternating the time I spent in the sun with time spent in the shade. It worked as far as preventing sunburn, but it was still ridiculously hot outside, and the shade could only mitigate that so much.
I finally won the war with this bush! Mom and I pruned it down to the dead trunk two years ago, and every once in a while I'd wiggle it and wrestle with it to see if it was ready to give up its firm grasp on life. It finally gave in, and I felt quite victorious. (It's amazing how many dead bushes there were when we bought this house. Or, rather, nearly dead, which might be worse.)
After several long, hot days, drinking lots of water, and walking through the sprinkler whenever possible (the grass gets watered every day at 2, which was probably the hottest part of the day, but the cold water helped a great deal), this was the end result.
Safe passage! I realize it's not the prettiest sight, but it sure looks pretty to my eyes.
Branches moved (to the deck next to the fireplace, where they can be burnt).
My summer respite. Hammock, candle lantern.... I could use a little table and some mosquito netting, but this will do just fine.
I was glad to learn that the rodent damage to my hammock was minimal and will not affect usability. This is potentially a dangerous spot to have the hammock – you have to remember to disembark towards the yard, or else you will fall into the egress window, which would be unpleasant.
Normally, my hammock would go under my favorite tree, but that area is currently under construction in our much-ignored irrigation system project, so I needed a temporary place to put it. The only problem with this spot is that it is in full sun for much of the day, but it should be fine in the evening.
I think that when I finally get this area ready for planting, I’d like to replace the “fence” around the air conditioner with taller (6′?) lattice that can be used for viney plants like green beans. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe just on two of the sides – it does still need to be accessible after all. Ideally, those bushes will decide to die all on their own, but I fear the one on the right has been invigorated by the harsh pruning I gave it – it seems to be thriving, even though reduced in size by half. Those ones on the right are kind of sickly (not sickly enough, but not terribly healthy either), and their days might be numbered.
What is it that I have against bushes? Aside from their general unruliness and the need to constantly prune them to keep them from taking over the world, the evergreen varieties make me itch. That should be reason enough, right? I mean, I’ve eliminated so many other things from my life that make me itch. I gave up caffeine, regular soap and lotion, fabric softener, switched laundry detergent…. Surely we can add evergreen bushes to that list.
Though I haven’t had the opportunity to fully revel in the glory of my respite, I have sat in my hammock for a bit and read, which was lovely. There’s so much to do that I really don’t get the time I’d like to to just chill here, but at least it’s set up for that random moment when I have the time to relax. Plus, I felt like a conqueror for getting all that work done in the 90*+ heat. Also, no sunburn.
In my continuing quest to increase the numbers of shorts I own, I bought Butterick 5044 during the last sale.
There's no side seams on these pants - the one pattern piece is the whole leg! The only other pattern piece is the pockets, which are stitched on. I made view B, without the ties/elastic at the hem.
Conveniently, this woven was actually two-sided, so I didn't have a hard time telling the inside from the outside. Sometimes, that can be nearly impossible.
Apparently, I bought two yards of this fabric from JoAnn in September of 2008. I was planning on making a shirt, but that never materialized, and I’d kind of given up on that idea. The fabric had been languishing in my stash for quite some time.
Now, I realize that making up a pair of capris doesn’t exactly give me another pair of pants, but since I was rather “eh” on the fabric, I figured I could consider it a muslin if need be. The shorts would be exactly the same (all the lengths were on that main pattern piece), just… shorter.
(I was in quite the rush this morning, so these pics are not very good. Sorry.)
A decent pair of summer work pants. Fairly comfy, despite the one main flaw.
Seriously, I wasn’t trying to look displeased in this next picture. The self-timer must have gone off before I could smile.
Tiny problem with this pattern - the tummy area is HUGE! Maybe you can't tell from this picture, but if I pull the crotch up to a decent place, the waistband is above my natural waistline. Unfortunately, the pattern has you sew the pockets on before anything else, so I couldn't exactly lower the waistband without having to remove my pockets, and that was more work than I was willing to go for.
I was concerned about the elastic waist, but I think it looks OK. You can’t tell unless I tuck my shirt in, which looks ridiculous, so I won’t be doing that.
I don’t think you can see them very well in the above picture, but the pattern on the pockets matched up perfectly with the pant legs, and I didn’t do that on purpose. I mean, I didn’t purposefully cut out the pocket to match it up. I totally put the pocket exactly where I was directed to, and the stripes all matched up. It was kind of surreal. I tried taking a picture this morning, but I was already wearing the pants, which made it awkward, and the pictures turned out blurry.
Back view - not exactly flattering, but they don't look silly either. I think with back pockets, this would make a very useable pattern, once I lower the waistband by about 6 inches.
I’m quite pleased with the end result. They are the perfect length for capris, and the pockets are a good size. I think if I move the waist down, and give more room for the elastic (the pockets were sewn on just a bit too high for the casing to be the proper width for 3/4″ elastic, which was annoying), this would make a great shorts pattern. Super easy, as long as you think it through before sewing (I accidentally sewed the two legs together at first, because you have to sew the back to the front on regular pants… once I did it the right way, stitching up each inner leg seam before putting one inside the other and doing the crotch seam, it worked out fine).
The pattern says fast & easy – they were definitely that, though mine took longer than they should have since the casing wasn’t really wide enough. The only thing this pattern is missing is a side vent, which wouldn’t be possible since there’s no outside leg seam. The legs are wide enough that you don’t need a vent, but I like that style element. Can’t have everything.
I think if I found the time, I could make up about half a dozen pairs of shorts in an afternoon, which would be awesome. The three pair that I have are going to get worn out, especially the one pair that actually fits (unlike the other two, which are a tiny bit tight, which is not what I want out of my shorts – I want comfortable, and elastic waistbands definitely fit that bill). I’d have to play around with that pocket a bit – it might be too big to put on shorts. There is another pocket style, which would be acceptable. I’m sure I have a butt pocket in one of my other patterns somewhere that I can borrow to add to this. That would make me very happy.
We kind of blitzed our yard on Tuesday night in an attempt to make it look like we do more than sleep at our home. The “For Sale” sign next door was starting to make me feel bad about our curb appeal.
Anyway, after mowing and weeding and sweeping the driveway (it’s acorn time again), wanted to cut the pieces for the pocket door trim for the family room. While he set up the saw and measured things, I took the time to snap a few photos of pretty things (that were suddenly visible after weeding and picking up all the fallen branches).
These first two pictures are for . I looked at what we’ve got going on in our front garden, and these are the two I thought you might want to commandeer. These were the “tamest” of the bunch – everything else looked wilder and quite… rustic. Probably not what you were going for.
Catmint, which has grown a lot, and has these cute purple flowers.
I don't know what this fern-like plant is, but it does have yellow flowers that appear mid-summer (you can kind of see them at the top of the picture).
I had some fun using the macro mode to capture the beautiful blooming Stargazer Lily plant that gave me.
How close can we get?
She added these leafy plants at the bottom of the pot, and they have such pretty coloring!
I also took “final” pictures of the yard project I worked on while I was laid off. I’ll share those tomorrow. It’s a good thing I took them Tuesday, because it’s been cloudy ever since. Not good picture-taking weather.
This is my favorite dress of them all! It makes me so very happy.
Mock-up. I changed my mind on the sleeves, and picked a different contrasting fabric (but one that was similar to the yellow polka-dots).
The end result:
Without the sash...
With the sash (you have to look very carefully to see it - I think it'd be better in a solid that contrasted a bit, like the darker stone color in this print. If I had some of that color in my stash, I'd totally make one up.
Bow in the back. The sash is completely separate, so it would work in the front too, or at the side. I chose to go without it today, as it seemed fussier than I wanted. But, were I going to a church picnic, I'd be all over this gigantic bow at my butt.
How about some details?
OK, it was hard to edit the colors on this - the yellow really isn't that bright. But it's been cloudy here the last few days, which makes picture-taking difficult. Anyway. Here you can see the bodice lining, the pink invisible zipper (from the inside - it was one I found on clearance for $0.50, and was 22" long, so it's super easy to get this dress on - no shimmying needed to get it past the hips), and the pink lace hem (also a clearance item - discontinued color. $0.57).
Today, I wore it with a sweater, because work is too cold to go without sleeves. I rather like it this way, though I do wish I had some stone-colored sandals. Those would have looked better. I suppose my white ones would have too, but I really wasn't in the mood for those toe-less nylons again this week. Once was enough (see Monday's Unemployment Dress 1 for my white sandals).
did an excellent job pin-fitting the bodice on me. It fits like a dream! OK, the bust part is still a bit baggy, but there’s only so much that can be done. I find that the straps are just the teensiest bit wider than I’d like, but we did tighten them up so that there’s little chance of them actually slipping off. I must have a short collarbone or something – we needed to take the straps in significantly on all of the dresses.
Oh, I also took this up about 6″ from what it was supposed to be. I like it shorter, though I could have pulled it off in the longer length.
I’m so bummed that I’ve now used up all of this print, in both colorways (remember the skirt?). It’s so pretty and fun. I’m sure I have a few scraps, enough to use in a scrappy quilt or maybe for a waistband facing, but I’ve used up the majority of it. Oh well. That’s the point, right, to use the pretty stuff? Mission accomplished.
I have needed another pair of linen pants for quite a while. I only have one pair – brown ones from Old Navy. I wear them all the time in the summer, because they’re so comfy.
Mock-up (I didn't use either of those complimentary fabrics in the end). I didn't do those pockets either - I wanted these to be very work-appropriate.
And the pants themselves….
OK, so they're a little flat in the back, but then again, so am I. There's a center-back zipper, which caused some confusion and mix-ups when attaching the pockets, but I got it all squared away in the end.
Here's the facing - on the last skirt I made, I used ribbon to finish the edge of the facing, and I really liked it, so I did it again here, with some gold ribbon. It doesn't have much give, so it's a little curly in places, but you can't tell when I'm wearing it.
Cute pockets - very generously sized and placed comfortably (not too high or low).
I dragged out my blind hem foot for these babies. It took and I no less than 45 minutes to figure it out, and I’d already had a tutorial from the sewing machine store (and a sample that she let me take home to help me remember what to do), and the instructions were in my sewing machine manual too.
It was well worth the effort, though, because the hem looks great! I ended up taking them up 4 1/4″, so the hem is actually quite deep (2 3/4″), which adds some nice heft to them.
Really, really nice detail, even if I did make a few small errors that no one will ever notice.
Overall, I’m quite happy. They turned out just a bit too big, but that’s OK. They sit low on the waist, which is comfortable. They’re quite baggy, which isn’t particularly flattering, and I think the pockets emphasize my hips rather than minimize, but they’re still great pants.
Great work pants, and a great addition to my wardrobe. My summer pants stock had started to suffer after I got rid of a few pairs of khakis and didn't replace them.
It’s a good thing I took these pictures this morning before work – the pants are already hopelessly wrinkled. The joy of linen.
Did I mention that before I was called back to work, I visited and the boys for an afternoon?
There was a whole lot of energy in that house! I didn’t take too many photos, because were were busy fighting monsters with kung fu (did you know I’m a ninja?) and getting superhero capes (who knew 1/2 yard of fabric could be so fun?) and making chocolate cupcakes.
Grant posing for me.
Grant getting some help "smiling."
Joey, thrilled with something with buttons. (You can barely see his injury, though the balloon is going strong!)
I asked Grant to go hug Joey for a picture. This is what I got.
Goodness gracious, I was exhausted after that! And it’s not like I was babysitting – was there the whole time, and the boys took a nap / had quiet time for a long while and we got to chat. It was lovely.
I fell in love with this fabric, and was happy to finally find a pattern where I could use the coordinating prints without it being too cutesy. I think it helps that the one on the left is geometric and not so girly.
Sidenote - do we have any thoughts about that jacket? I can't tell if I should try to make it up or not.
According to my records, I bought 3 yards of each fabric for $2.92/yard. I’m pretty sure that’s not right, though, because I nearly ran out of fabric, and the pattern doesn’t call for that much. The back of the bodice is only half lined, and there’s a seam in the pockets where I had to piece the fabric together. That’s not to say I don’t have any fabric left over, but it’s small pieces.
And the finished result….
That looks exactly like the mock-up! Fabulous! It was the mock-up that got me excited about this dress in the first place, as I was iffy about it until then.
helped me fit this one, and she did a great job, despite the difficulties that were involved. There’s a side zipper, so there was only one side to fit, and there’s elastic at the top of the back bodice, which just messes with pinning. Still, she got it pinned perfectly and it fits very well.
Back tie, elastic at the top of the bodice.
How about some close-ups?
The bodice is fully lined, which this fabric totally doesn't need but could be useful if your fabric was lighter weight. (This stuff is pretty stiff still, even after a few washings. I'm still hoping it will loosen up as time goes on.) The bummer with the fully-lined bodice is that the inside is an exact replica, so I basically made the bodice twice. I'm pretty pleased with how the pleats turned out, and that center seam. I had a bit of puckering where one of the straps attaches to the neckline, but it's barely noticeable.
The waistband is done in pintucks, which is a cute design element, even if it's not terribly visible in this fabric. I like the sturdiness that it adds to the area. It's also lined, though with just a straight rectangle of fabric (no pintucks). I think there was supposed to be interfacing, but I've stopped using that, and this really doesn't need it. I like the box pleats that attach the skirt to the waistband - they add some nice roominess without the bulk of gathers.
Bonus - pockets! They're generously sized, and because the fabric is a bit stiff, I can hide a lot of things in them and you'd never know. I was afraid that this style of dress wouldn't be very flattering (with the higher waist), and it was a distinct possibility that we'd have a hard time getting the bust to fit, but it didn't turn out too bad in the end. It's a very comfortable style for summer, and I think makes up for the styling that slightly emphasizes the pear shape.
I wore a knit shrug with it, so that it’s warm enough for work. My green sandals and a pair of self-made earrings completed the outfit (I hadn’t actually finished getting ready for work when I took these pictures – I did my hair and put on jewelry after these shots). Do I need to make a necklace to coordinate, or would be too much?
This might be my second-favorite of the 5 dresses I made while off work. Compliments have already been given, too, which is nice.
At the end of June, I was contemplating this pattern-fabric combo:
I think this could work....
Here were my mock-ups. After running it by Mom, we decided on the one on the far right.
I was undecided about the accent color. I wanted to do dark grey, but I didn’t have any, and I wasn’t going to buy any fabric for this. So, white it was. Unfortunately, white means that it’s a summer dress only, but that’s OK. wasn’t too thrilled about this fabric, but I figured that if I treated this as a wearable muslin, I couldn’t go wrong. After all, I really liked the style, and the fabric had been fairly cheap ($5/yard, 2.5 yards – and there’s enough left to make a pair of shorts or something).
And here we are!
I had a lot of problems fitting the bodice. I ended up taking in the upper edge at each side by at least an inch, which totally changed the underarm curve. I should have re-drafted the white binding, but I was too lazy and just made it work.
I also converted the gathers to pleats. Waistline gathers are not very flattering (which is more visible in another dress I made that you’ll see sometime soon).
Please pardon the bra straps. Don't worry - I wore a sweater over it to work. The sweater kind of covers up that awkward bunching caused by the tie, too.
The zipper is purple (!), and so is the lace I used to hem it. The length was absolutely perfect.
The other change I made was to convert the halter top straps to cross in the back. They’re not actually buttoned on – I used those hammer-on snaps, and then just covered them up with a button. The illusion is good, but as I discovered this morning when getting into my car, buttons would have been better. It was the first time I’d sat down in my dress, and both snaps came undone at once. That was a hassle. So, now I have to be careful when sitting down to not pull on the back of the dress.
I'm not really liking the belt. I might ditch it. I think it makes it more... awkward than it needs to be.
I wore it with a cute 3/4 sleeve shrug that I have – I took a picture, but it turned out blurry for some strange reason, but I didn’t find out until I got to work.
As far as the wearable aspect, I totally succeeded. As far as the muslin goes, however, it was a bust. The method of attaching the shoulder straps / underarm binding was terrible and frustrating, and the fit was less than idea. I like the idea of this, but the drafting of the pattern could have been better. There’s another dress I made with bust gathers that fits much better (the bust is still a little bit loose on this one. I might still try one of the other versions of this dress (also converting the gathers to pleats, or maybe I’ll try darts), like the second one from the left in the drafted picture.
I’m still quite happy with this dress, and have received a few compliments already. I like it with the white sandals. It’s a bit tight at the underarms, so I think I’ll be changing into something more comfortable when I get home tonight, but that’s OK. We have to do yard work anyway (we were gone most of the weekend at ‘s mom’s cabin, and there’s a weed situation we have ignored for far too long – the neighbor’s house is for sale now, and I’m feeling a bit guilty about the state of our yard).
I almost forgot about this top completely – I finished it early in July and stashed it away in my closet.
The original pattern and fabric...
The other original pattern and fabric combo...
That first match-up failed because my two remnants of the geometric fabric weren’t wide enough. They fit just fine on the second pattern, however, so again I set aside that blue floral for another day. I set aside that first pattern, too, as I didn’t have any other fabric that would work.
Here’s how it turned out:
Spot-on to the drawing! Love it! (Yes, I chose to not wear jeans to work today, even though I could. Jeans are hot. Plus, I could wear whatever I wanted to for the last three weeks, so jeans temporarily lost their appeal. Linen pants on the other hand... But that's for another day.) The hem is a bit folded up here for some reason - I tried to straighten it out and failed, obviously. This shirt is pretty long - it goes well past my hips when it's not bunched up.
Here you can see the hem better, and how I used the edge of the print for that. (I used it on the sleeves, too, but that was more awkward because of their shape.)
The whole wrap-around collar gave me tons of trouble, and the directions were not very clear. I had to refer to other reviews on PatternReview.com for help, and finally things came together.
While I didn't match up the print, I did make sure that the border on both sides matches up vertically. And I stitched the hem in one of the narrow black stripes, so it's nearly invisible.
On PatternReview.com, people complained about the neckline and that it gaped too much. I thought they were probably exaggerating, or perhaps the large percentage of users there who are large-chested feel differently about drape necklines (because I love them, but can imagine that perhaps they wouldn’t be as flattering or work-appropriate if you have copious amounts of cleavage). Um, I was wrong. The neckline is too drapey. I’m totally flashing my co-workers every time I bend over to get something out of a file drawer. I figured I’d wear it the way it was meant to be at least once, and then fix it so that the neckline is straight. It’s pretty high then, but still looks nice. I think that if the fabric used was a fairly stiff knit, it would drape like the pattern, but this knit is more of a slinky, ITY knit (being a remnant, I’m not sure at all what it is, but it feels like the other ITY knits I have used), and therefore it drapes more. Silver lining of being small-chested: I’m totally work-appropriate, even with the deeper drape.
I’ll save the rest of my comments on the pattern for PatternReview.com, lest I bore you with details you’re not interested in. It is a very comfortable shirt, being knit, and paired with black pants, it makes a nice work outfit. I’m pleased. It probably cost me less than $5, since I used two remnants from Hancock Fabrics that were less than a yard each, and I’m sure I bought the pattern on sale for $0.99. No notions or thread needed either. That’s always nice.
I’m back at work! We seem to have gotten caught up quite quickly, though I am not the one responsible for checking the voicemail or sorting the mail, so perhaps I’m wrong about that. I am fairly caught up and back to normal, though.
And so it is that I’m taking the time to share with you. I have a whole bunch of posts partially written, just waiting for the appropriate photos and such to finish.
Back in June, I mocked up some copycat items. One in particular that I fell in love with (and really struggled with finding an appropriate pattern for) was the high-waisted pencil skirt.
Oh, how this one stuck in my brain for quite some time, nagging me, taunting me, making me look at my stash and dream....
Well, last weekend I went to JoAnn’s and Butterick patterns were on sale, so I bought a handful, including this one:
Views D and E... that looks like the right waist line to me!
I was pretty excited about this one. First of all, it was going to be super easy, and secondly, it barely took any fabric.
I really, really wanted to make this skirt out of the middle print here. Alas, I was a few inches shy of having enough fabric.
I picked out this bold print, “Poppy Flower” in Shadows, part of Botanical Pop collection by Jackie Shapiro, that I bought back in 2008. I had 2 yards of it, and used about a yard and a half of it. Add to that the free vintage zipper I got from , and this skirt cost about $10.
Perfection! (Yes, this print is really that bright. It's more bold than I usually go, but I've gotten tons of compliments on it today.)
I gave this print a go because 1) what else was I going to make with it (certainly not a dress, and it’s not really quilt-appropriate, though it is quilting cotton), and 2) I already had a shirt in my wardrobe that matched. I figured the grey top would help tone down the skirt. Did it work?
This design has a center-back zipper, which seems a bit odd - I'm used to side zips. I wish that the waist was a bit more fitted, but that's just the shape of this pattern.
This pattern (I made up View E) has front darts in a single panel, and then the back is four panels. They seams are all pretty straight, except for right up at the top at the waist, so if I were a bit curvier, it might not have fit so well.
Tucked in is not the way I wear my clothes... ever, but there was no other way to do this skirt justice. As long as I've got my control-top pantyhose on, I still have a flattering silhouette, and so it's acceptable.
I ended up taking it up about 4 1/2 inches, so I might be able to make this out of the first fabric I picked out after all (assuming disaster won’t occur if I cut the whole thing out cross-grain… I’ll have to research that a bit). I didn’t have to do any alterations to the fit at all, which was lovely. The whole thing took only a few hours (it was the last thing I made up yesterday, after making two pairs of pants in the morning/afternoon). I clearly need about a dozen more of these, especially some of the ones with waistbands (Views B&C), and I might need to try adding a waistband to this one. I almost did it to this one, but I’d already inserted the zipper. Next time….
Instead of using flexi-lace for the hem, I found this awesome ribbon in my stash that coordinates. It's fake snakeskin! I used it to finish the waist facing too. It's a bit sticky (the texture is kind of plastic-y), so a layer between the skirt and my skin is preferred. Regardless, I'm loving it!
So, how’s that for a return to normal?
Let me just say that the total crafting while I was unemployed was 5 dresses, 2 pairs of pants (one isn’t exactly completed yet, but it’s really close), and one shirt, and this skirt. I did a lot of things other than sew, too, and will slowly share that too.
I’ll slowly meter out the posts on all that crafting over the next few weeks. I think I’ll wait to share each one until I wear it out into the world. That way, the posts should get spread out, and I won’t have to do a little fashion show in front of the camera tonight. I’m always worried what my neighbors think when I do that….
Early last week, we finally put the last of the insulation in. This is where the last built-in goes. All of the pieces are now cut out for that.
Perhaps not very photogenic, but definitely utilitarian.
Later, we dry-fit the new cabinets and bookshelves together in the space, to make sure that all of our measurements were correct.
We did a fantastic job! (Pretend there's a center post in the middle of the other two top bookshelves.) The backings fit too, though we didn't photograph that part.
Since everything fit, we started priming.
Lots and lots of trim (see more on top of the piano).
And pieces of the cabinets and bookshelves.
Before we could buy trim, we had to figure out what we were going to do where the built-ins met up with the baseboard. Our solution was to use plinths. Unfortunately, we didn’t like anything they had at Home Depot.
So we made our own! Kind of. We bought pre-made ones, and then we'll cut off that curvy part - it's way too fancy for that room. Prince Charming added the bit of detail around the rectangular part. I think it will look great!
The priming is all done now. Once sands down the trim, I can start painting that – I can do it during the day while he’s at work. The cabinet pieces will have to wait until the weekend, since it requires two of us to keep everything straight. Two coats of paint, four of polyurethane, and then we can assemble/install. It’s all coming together. You probably won’t see any more pictures of the family room for a while – not until we get the built-in assembled or the trim installed. But I do have another home project to share… I’ve got maybe another week of work on that before I can share it. In the meantime, things might be quiet, unless you really want to hear me talk about the more boring aspects of unemployment. And really, I don’t want to dwell on those things, so that’s unlikely to happen.
It’s day… 7 of unemployment (day 12 of the shutdown), and I have managed to keep myself occupied, though just barely. Some time last month, I cleared off the top of one of my shelving units and re-decorated.
Commandeered from over the piano, it seemed more appropriate to have the name train and sock monkey in my office rather than the living room.
Surprisingly, I haven’t gone for a massage, had a pedicure, obsessively cleaned any part of the house, laid about in the sun, or anything else that might seem “laid off” appropriate. I have filed for unemployment, requested my first benefit payment, and perhaps later today I’ll look for jobs somewhere online (I have to, you know, to get those unemployment benefits, despite the fact that I have no desire to get another job at this point in time).
I have a few different types of projects I’ve been working on, so I haven’t been spending 10 hours a day in front of my sewing machine. But I’ve saved several of those projects for other posts. I thought I’d give you a peek at what’s in my closet right now….
This closet is no longer "where clothes go to die" (although those items are still in there). It's now the "where clothes go to before they can be properly fitted" closet.
is coming over later today and she’s going to help me fit 5 dresses that you see hanging above. They’re all mostly completed – side seams and facings on a few of them, hemming, and some hand sewing are all that’s left. I should have lots to show off before I get to go back to work. (No news on that front, unfortunately. Very, very frustrating.) I’m taking her out for dinner to thank her for her help. It will be nice to have a social interaction with someone other than or the cashier at Home Depot. I miss the real world.
Yesterday, I went for a walk over to Caribou to redeem one of my free medium-sized drinks. Tomorrow, we’re picking up a new piece of furniture that we found on Craigslist, and it’s not for the family room! I’m pretty excited about it, but until it’s here, details are unimportant. I think I’m going up to see and the boys on Friday (, I can drop off the Pack-n-Play that day too). No plans for next week yet – maybe I’ll be back at work. Hey, a girl can dream….
Well, this post is about a week overdue. The thing is, I don’t really use my home computer for anything other than watching TV and doing homework. But, since it seems as though they are only making negative progress on the budget and I may be out of work for a while, perhaps I should get better at posting from home.
Anyway, I wanted to show you all our furniture.
Ta-da! (Also, note the immaculate carpeting - the cleaner we had come out did such a good job removing all of the stains, even the black spray paint. If you ever need a recommendation in the Twin Cities area, let me know.)
It’s all from Craigslist (four different sellers), and we got it for a steal! Everything is nearly new in condition. The coffee table is Room & Board, and though it’s about 10 years old and lived in a family’s basement for a while, is unmarred. There are three drawers in the opposite side that are perfect for holding remotes and video game controllers. I need to find some baskets for the bottom shelf. There’s a table behind the sofa that we bought specifically for to sit on. I need to make up a little cover for it so that it is soft (and washable).
The entertainment system is all set up.
On the left there is all of the "stuff" for the entertainment center. One day we'll have a door on it, but we're not at the door-building stage yet.
So, if you remember, I had said that there was a story about the furniture that would excuse me from taking timely pictures. You will not believe what we had to do to get that couch into the basement. The old sofa was a two-seater, and quite bulky. We had to remove the stair railing and some doors to get it into the basement. Well, that was nothing compared to what we had to do last week. The sectional is in two pieces, a two-seater and a three-seater. The two-seater fit down fine. The three-seater, however, just would not fit. We had house guests over, and the boys tried everything they could, switching angles and rotating things and what have you… and nothing worked. We removed the stair railing again, and a piece of trim from the doorway, but it just wasn’t enough. Then, we got a crazy idea. We weren’t sure if it would work, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.
First, we had to empty out the pantry. Completely empty out. Removed the shelves too, and the doors.
For reference, this is one big sectional.
Bet you didn't expect that. We didn't either. It seems it was added at a later date (probably by the previous owner, not the first owners, since the tile goes all the way underneath), and was really just wedged in that space (and secured with a few screws). The trim was actually attached to the pantry, not the ceiling, and the whole thing was sitting on a base. Fancy!
Removing the pantry meant we could get the sofa down the stairs, but even then there were complications. We had to remove a light fixture at the bottom of the stairs, and it was a tight fit overall.
Thankfully, the sofa is incredibly comfy, and perfect for the space. I’m not sure our house guests who helped out think it was worth all the effort, but we do. We’ll have to cut it into pieces to remove it some day, but now we know a few things. 1) The pantry is removable. 2) Our next sectional (when this one wears out / once is no longer with us to scratch up our furniture) needs to be in three pieces – two love seats and a corner unit.
Just one more picture for you:
It looks like a functional room now! And it is! We've used it every day since getting the furniture down there. The living room is put back in order too, and things seem to be returning to normal.
I do have more pictures and updates to share, but I figure I should spread them out a bit.