Friday, January 30, 2015

Dreaming & Scheming - The Built-Ins Part 3

My last set of built-in ideas (that's a lie already, I just realized I haven't included the dining room window bench) is in the dining room.  As I mentioned in Wednesday's Dreaming & Scheming post I want to put built-ins on either side of the big doorway between the living and dining rooms.

The dining room built-ins will be to display nice servingware and glassware on the top and for hidden away storage on the bottom cabinets.  I'm thinking our board games will go in those cabinets.  

It would be really nice to have glass doors on the top to display the servingware while keeping dust at bay, but we'll see if that seems within reach when the day comes where this project tops the list.

Here is my trusty Paint picture to set the scene:

I think building the living room bookcase will be a good trial run for these and maybe after building it we'll feel like glass doors are a realistic challenge.

With these built-ins, plus the buffet, plus all our expanded kitchen cabinetry we will have plenty of room for kitchen stuff even in a small house.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dreaming & Scheming - The Built-Ins Part 2

This second built-in of this week's edition of Dreaming & Scheming is also in the living room. Originally when I first walked into the house when our Realtor showed it to us I instantly thought I would put built-ins on either side of the big doorway in the living and dining rooms and was surprised they weren't already there.  

I figured the living room side would be bookcases and the dining room side would be like china cabinets to display nicer serving dishes and glasses.

And I stuck to that plan all the way up to hanging the mirror and coat rack in November of last year.  I was struggling with how the have the mirror over the coat rack without the mirror being awkwardly high or the coat rack being awkwardly low (there's a light switch over there that makes things more difficult).  Then Corey blew my mind with a simple "Why don't we put it over here?"

I hadn't even considered putting it on that wall behind the front door because that was where a bookcase was going.  But there were going to be some problems with putting it there anyway.  The left side of the entryway is really roomy (in terms of depth) and has plenty of room for a bookcase, but the right side is right behind the door and it is really really skinny.  And if we allowed there to be some space for the door handle when the door is all the way open the bookcase would only be like 3 inches deep.

But I have what I like to call "symmetry issues" where I always prefer things to be the same on each side or generally balanced in some way (which is how I was talked out of one of the wedding dresses that I tried on - it only had a strap on one side and not both "it's not bothering you right now, but it will when you see the pictures").  How could there be a bookcase on the left and NOTHING on the right????? THE HUMANITY.  

But it did make a lot of sense to have the mirror over there so I started thinking about other non-bookcase options that could visually balance out the right side.  And I think I have come up with something that will give that wall a "heavier" feel, look traditional, and be useful as an entryway.

Enter: wainscoting

Before we bought this house I had wanted to put it in the dining area of the new house that we built.  Now in this house it doesn't really work and I hadn't thought of a new area to put it in.  VOILA the right side of the doorway. 

It will be made of the same dark stained wood that we use on the bookcase and hopefully give the wall a more textured, heavy look like the bookcase on the left will.

Here is another professional charmingly childlike Paint drawing to show you.  Hey I'm keepin' it real here on Crafty Homestead because I don't know how to use Photoshop, but I did notice the little line drawing tool for the first time on Paint.  Ahem.

The top will hold books and the bottom will be a storage cabinet.  I'm thinking it'll hold gift wrapping supplies at the moment.  My books are almost all packed away in the basement and I can't wait to get them all back. 

The real cabinet will have a bit more pomp and circumstance, some crown moulding on the top, maybe some routed trim to separate the bookshelf from the cabinet.

So the mirror will stay where it is and the wainscoting will be under it.  I want to continue the wainscoting to under the coat rack to further define the "entryway" area and to help protect the wall there from inevitable abuse of coats & shoes & boots.

Also note the little hooks in the drawing.  I want to put hooks along the top of the wainscoting to add more usefulness (but not the part under the coat rack).  Even with just the two of us and the puppies the coat rack is basically always full (in the winter at least).  It'd be nice to have room for expansion and a place to hang up my purse.

The best part about my wainscoting idea is that the carpet is not an issue which means it can happen way sooner than the other built-ins :D

Now the only thing I'm worried about it that the bookcase will be taller than the mirror and I don't want the left side to feel top heavy.  I think all I can do is forge ahead and if it feels weird when everything is built I'll try to add some art or something above the mirror to even it out.

I wish I was as obsessed with balance in my actual life and behavior as I am with visual balance.  Sigh.   (See this post for more on my balance issues)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dreaming & Scheming - The Built-Ins Part 1

I know it's really bad that I haven't posted in a week and my last post was about FOLLOWING THROUGH.  But we haven't been doing much house stuff lately and I haven't finished any craft projects so I didn't know what to blog about.  What I have been doing is thinking about all the things I want to do around the house.  My ideas have been keeping me up at night as I think about what each thing will look like and what we will store there.  So it's time for another edition of Dreaming & Scheming.  This edition is three parts with parts 2 & 3 coming Wednesday & Friday.  

Everything that we add to this house I want to do my best to make it look original to the house.  With the porch we did a traditional beadboard ceiling and tongue & groove floors.  When we put up the coat rack I did my best to match the stain to the original wood trim.  And built-ins scream "old house with character" to me and I am surprised that this 1921 house only has one in the bathroom.

I plan to change that and add built-ins GALORE.  I love built-ins.  They look great, add character & value to the house, and have wonderous storage.  I have plans for what will go in most of them, but not all of them which is wonderful.  I love having space to grow into even though this house is pretty small compared to modern expectations.

So here we go.  Back to my charming professional Paint drawings!  This is what this space looks like now:

That buffet will move into the dining room once the kitchen/dining room renovation is done.  But for now it's a nice piece of furniture to anchor that wall in the living room.  That heat register will probably prove tricky, but hopefully we can put on an extension thingus to pull it to the front of the built-in.  And that dumbly placed light switch will have to move along with that ugly track lighting.

And here is what I dream & scheme it to be like in the future:

Obviously this picture is not perfect (ha).  I think I drew it a little too tall, and I drew the fireplace flat against the wall when really it will come out into the room like that little cabinets do.  I do want the cabinets lower than the mantle, however, unlike the inspiration picture below.

Originally my idea was just to put in a fireplace/woodstove, as shown here back in November, 2013:

But then when I was on Pinterest I saw this and my wheels started turning.  Why not add MORE storage?!  Plus this looks so Craftsman (which is the style of our house):

I don't want to have glass doors though, because I'd like to be able to put ugly odd things in there and have them be tucked away.  One side will be DVDs and the other will be open for future options!  The wonder.  Plus with our space constraints we will just have one little cabinet on each side.

The other thing you may have noticed is that there a wood stove inside our fireplace.  This is my (hopefully) genius idea that I really really hope will work.  I want the efficiency and heat of a wood stove, but the looks of a fireplace (gotta have a mantle to decorate and a place for stockings).  So here's to hoping we can install one (I figure we'll open up the wall [and expand the closet of Bedroom 1 to hide the pipe] to get the exhaust up to the attic and out the roof) and then build a traditional looking fireplace around it.

When we take the hidden-inside-the-wall-chimney down I am hoping we can save enough bricks (they are in such bad shape [you can see the bricks in the attic] that I worry they will all just crumble to dust) to use them in the fireplace.

As part of the kitchen renovation we will have the original hardwood floors refinished. Then we can start building the built-ins because the carpet will be out of our way.  I cannot wait to get to this stage!  

Monday, January 19, 2015

My One (Two) Little Word(s) & A Year of Creative Habits

I read a LOT of blogs and one of my favorites is Enjoy It by Elise Blaha Cripe.  She started a podcast last year called Elise Gets Crafty and I love it.  Its focus on small business, creativity, and motivation has gotten my butt in gear about opening my Etsy quilt shop.  

She does one episode a week, but I like to let them build up and listen to several in a row.  So last week I listened to the most recent few and to the first two episodes of a different podcast that also has a small business focus (Being Boss).  I had been stalled since September and those hours of listening inspired me and I started a quilt that day.  I also decided that I would launch the shop in April and share that with the world to make sure it happened.  #makeitpublicmakeithappen

Elise's episodes for the new year focused on daily creative habits and goals.  She had Crystal Moody on an episode who everyday last year did one sketch and posted it to her Instagram.  She started a hashtag called #yearofcreativehabits for it and inspired a lot of other people to start a daily creative habit.

Another episode starred Ali Edwards who pioneered the idea of "One Little Word" to inspire your year.  You can read more about it here.  "A word to focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life"

So as I cut fabric & sewed that day I thought about what my daily creative habit could be and what my One Little Word could be.  I ended up deciding that I would post a picture to Instagram with the hashtag #sew365 and sew (or cut fabric, just something that involves working on a fabric project) something every day this year.  My goal isn't to finish a project a day, but to do a little work on a project each day.  Hopefully I will mostly be working on quilts as they sell in the shop, but I also like the idea of finding other little things to work on to use up scraps or just to take a break from quilting and find inspiration elsewhere.


I usually am someone who struggles with being even, I mostly accomplish things in marathons.  For example, instead of doing dishes each day, I let them pile up and then I have a day of doing a million dishes.  Or a quilt sits there and sits there and then I marathon sew and finish it all in two days.  Or I have a super lazy week where I get nothing done, and then in one day I do a week's worth of errands and to do list items.  

So I want to push myself to be someone who works a little more evenly.  This #sew365 goal will help me and I am so excited to see all the projects that get finished by the end of the year.  I will post it mostly on Instagram (you can follow me @katie7487), but I will probably do some round ups here (maybe as projects get finished?).

I wanted my One Little Word to also help me with something I struggle with.  The best example of what I was going for was that in July and August I got very excited about opening a quilt shop.  I made a lot of lists and thought a lot about what I would sell and how things would work.  I researched about selling on Etsy and listened to lots of small business podcasts.  I even asked my graphic designer cousin to design a logo for the shop and website. And then nothing happened.  I got scared and froze and never started quilting. 

I am very good at coming up with ideas and making lists and plans, but when it comes to actually doing them I have a hard time.  I struggle with following through with my grand plans and ideas.  So I wanted my One Little Word for this year to focus on following through.  With my shop, with my plans for exercise, for sticking to a cleaning schedule for the house, for the bigger looming home improvement projects (the kitchen...dun dun dun...), for everything, really.  I thought and thought about one word that meant following through.  The thesaurus didn't help much.  Complete, conclude, consummate, pursue, and see through either didn't feel right to me or were also two words.  So I decided to stick with a two word One Little Word:

follow through

The theme for me with 2015 will be to Follow Through.  Make a plan and actually accomplish it.  I know that things will take longer and I will miss days and reschedule things, but I want to actually get it done within a reasonable amount of time.  Just to give you an idea of my procrastination skills, I got married in June and still haven't sent in the name change paperwork.  It is printed, and filled out, but not sent in.  

This is Elise's goal tracker available here.  I procrastinated starting the year (I struggle), but now I am determined not to break my chain of Xs

2016 will bring a new year, a new word, and hopefully a new me with a year of practicing following through behind me.

I've been walking at sunset because the beauty helps me deal with the cold hurting my face.  I've been posting those sunset pictures to Instagram as well

Friday, January 16, 2015

What's Been Sounding Yummy to Me Lately Volume 2

I have over 20 tabs open in Chrome on my phone so it's time for another edition of What's Been Sounding Yummy to Me Lately.  Here is Volume 1.

Honey Mustard Pork Chops - Budget Bytes

It's recipes like these that make me wish I ate meat.  I bought tofu yesterday and I'm going to try doing a vegetarian version of this soon.  I also think the marinade would work well on potatoes.  Meat eaters- please try this for me.

Tomato Soup With Parmesan Croutons - The Pioneer Woman

I recently had an incredibly delicious tomato soup and now I am trying to replicate it.  Pioneer Woman posted this just yesterday which is perfect timing for me.  

Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders - Recipe Girl

Again, I'll do a vegetarian version of this.  What intrigues me about this recipe is baking a whole bunch all at once, the Hawaiian bread, and the onion topping.  Tiny oven paninis!

Lemony Kale and Quinoa Salad - Budget Bytes

This could end up being really gross, but it's so healthy and intriguing that I want to give it a try.

15 Brussels Sprouts Recipes - Gimme Some Oven

Brussels Sprouts are my second favorite vegetable (after broccoli - gooooo cruciferous veggies!) and I always eat them the same way: roasted in the oven.  I'm looking forward to trying them in different ways.

1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls - Gimme Some Oven

Usually when I don't feel like making real cinnamon rolls (because they take forever with all the rising) I make them with biscuit dough.  I'm glad to see there's a faster way using regular dough.

Italian Orzo Spinach Soup - Gimme Some Oven

This looks so good!  I am definitely making this after I make the tomato soup.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Well Plated

My god this looks so cheesy and wonderful.  I am making it next week!  I love finding new quinoa recipes because it is so so so good for you.

Quick Curried Chickpeas - Budget Bytes 

I am trying these because I am still on a quest to find a good homemade Indian recipe to put into regular rotation.  Hopefully this will be it!

Creamy Black Bean Enchiladas - Budget Bytes

I have made enchiladas several times lately using Budget Bytes delicious homemade enchilada sauce, but I've never done a creamy filling.  I am excited to try this.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Poppers - Simply Taralynn

These look so simple and delicious. Caramel + pretzel+ drizzled chocolate = Mmmmmmmmm

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Bathroom To Do List: An Update

Bathroom Before: 

Bathroom Currently:

Here is an update to the Bathroom To Do List post that I first posted way back in December, 2013.

Here's what we've done:

  • replace the piping with PEX tubing
  • take down shower doors & caulking
  • patch walls where doors left gouges
  • paint bathroom walls
  • paint linen cabinet & drawers
  • power-sand drawer fronts to get old handle marks off
  • wax the drawers so they slide better & re-install all the handles
  • take down the grody hooks from the back of the door
  • buy a shower curtain rod
  • install shower curtain rod & hang up shower curtains
  • buy a shower curtain
  • buy a shower curtain liner
  • buy & install the toilet paper holder
  • buy & install the hand towel ring
  • buy a floor mat & hand towel (registered for these!)
  • buy a garbage can & tissue box cover
  • buy toothbrush holders for the medicine cabinet
  • make a little decorative curtain for the window, somewhere between this and this, but I think with a little tension rod instead of a wood block thing
  • stain the window & window trim
  • frosted the window

And here's what's left:

  • make & install towel/robe hooks
  • buy a stainless steel shower caddy
  • reglaze the cast iron tub
  • make/buy art to hang up
  • recaulk the tub, tile, window crack, & sink edges
  • strip paint off of window, window trim, door & the door trim
  • fix & stain the door & trim
  • fix the pitch of the drains 

Hopefully you'll be seeing posts about finishing some of those "what's left" items soon!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Crafty Homestead Garden Notebook

Today was a very good mail day because my two new journals came!  I used Christmas money to treat myself to expensive custom journals.  They are from Paper Source and could not be cuter or more awesome.  When I finish my current To Do List journal and my writing-thoughts-down journal I will replace them with Paper Source journals.

Things I Love About These Notebooks:

  • my pens fit into the spiral
  • pens don't bleed through to the other side of the page
  • they are spiral so they lay flat and can be folded in half
  • they are so pretty
  • I got 10% off the order

One journal (pictured above) is for all things garden.  When we were house (originally land) hunting I had a notebook that I kept everything in.  As we saw properties & took notes on them and made various lists everything was all in one place.  It was so nice to grab that notebook and know that anything that I would want to reference was in there.  No lists or notes were lost along the way.  I also do that for my To Do lists now.  I love having them all in one place and I love buying cute notebooks!

So I customized the cover of the notebook with "Crafty Homestead Garden."  I didn't put 2015 because it has so many pages I am sure we get at least two years out of it.  I picked grid paper for the inside because I want to sketch out garden bed plans in it among other things.  This way as the summer goes on and I want to write myself notes to reference when I'm planning next year (too much zucchini, move pumpkins next year, etc) they will all go in one place.  And when I want to remember what exactly we planted in that corner over there, I can flip back to the beginning and see the plan that I sketched out in Spring.  

For now I have two pages used already.  One is a list of what we want to plant this year and one is a list of goals for 2015 (based on what I struggled with last summer).

In case you can't read my handwriting I typed them out.

What To Plant This Year:

  • tomatoes - grape, black krim
  • basil
  • cucumbers - regular, pickling
  • carrots
  • kale
  • lettuce
  • zucchini
  • butternut squash
  • pumpkins
  • onions
  • garlic
  • green onions
  • peppers
  • brussel sprouts
  • potatoes
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • sweet potatoes

2015 Garden Goals:

  • stay on top of trimming & harvesting the basil
    • make enough pesto for the year
  • stay on top of weeding
  • work on tomato bursting
    • regular, deep watering
  • try succession planting
  • expand the garden dramatically
  • check zucchini daily to avoid growing crazy monsters
  • do fall planting again
    • more than just garlic?
  • keep track of how much we plant so we know how much more/less to plant in 2016
  • do more from seeds than last year
    • (which was zero) 
I want to get to the point where we are growing most of the vegetables that we need for the year.  So storing potatoes, onions, & garlic in the basement and freezing broccoli florets and canning tomatoes, etc.  I know it'll take several years to figure out how much we need to plant of each kind so that we have enough for the whole year, and documenting how much we plant this year is the first step.  Once we know how much to plant to feed ourselves the goal will change to planting enough to have some to sell.

My other notebook I personalized with my initials and used datebook pages on the inside.


This will be my planner.  A lot of my To Do Lists will move in to this notebook, along with meal plans for the week, and hopefully soon a work schedule.  It has lots of pages so it should be good for at least a year if not two.  I love that the Month spot is blank so you can start using this whenever you want in the year.  Plus if you miss a week you won't be wasting any pages.  The last column on the right is just a "Notes" column and I like having space that is not assigned to a specific day.  I used this week's blank spot for the grocery list :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas Tree Skirt

I made a Christmas tree skirt!  I have been wanting to make one for the past couple of Christmases.  I used this tutorial.  It wasn't very detailed, but it was a good place to start and I was glad to see I could do a hexagon instead of a circle.

Step 1: Cut all of your strips.  I did 2.5 inches wide by 18 inches long.  You need 36 strips.

Step 2: Sew your strips together into 6 different rectangles and then iron the seams.

Step 3: I got to use the 60 degree cutting line on my cutting mat for the first time!

Cut the rectangle off along the 60 degree line on each side.

Kittens make it a lot harder to get projects done:

Step 4: Trace around the trapezoids from the top to make the middle and backing trappezoids.  Again, cut six.  

I finally got to use my scraps of extra batting!  I've been saving them knowing I'd find a use for them some day.

 And do the same with your backing fabric.

Step 5: Then sew the 6 pieces together into a big hexagon, but leave one side open to get it around the tree.

 Do it with the batting layer and the backing layer.

Step 6: Put the three layers together and pin

Step 7: Then the quilting begins!  I did something new this time.  Instead of quilting in the "ditch" I did two lines on each side of the "ditch."  I did stitch in the "ditch" going down between all of the trapezoids.

Step 8: I used satin blanket binding this time instead of the new fabric binding that I've been doing.  This tree skirt isn't going to take much abuse or need to be washed that much, plus I have a lot of extra satin binding that I need to use up.

Because of the angled corners I was left with some extra bubbling.

I pinned it down nicely and sewed my way around the skirt:

Then I went back to each of the corners and sewed down the extra little flap because it stuck up when it wasn't pinned.  I tried my best to connect to the other sewing line so it didn't look out place:

Here it is in place!

I have a lot of fabric left over which I am happy about.  I  bought extra on purpose because I have plans for a Christmas quilt.  I love the idea of a special quilt that only comes out with the decorations.  I think I'll make it as my next project because I'm in a Christmas-y mood and I am want to quilt something new.  Stay tuned!