Thursday, March 31, 2011


I don't sew. 

Not in a cool way like so many bloggers do. I'd love to be able to see something cute and go, hey, I could make that! I do admit that I learned how to run a straight stitch somewhere between my Mom, my paternal Grandma and my Home Ec. class in high school. 

I inherited my Grandma's sewing machine and table and all the stuff in it. This was over 10 years ago and I still haven't gone through the drawers, but every time I open them, I remember Grandma by the smell. Isn't that weird? I'll have to take a picture and show you the table my Grandpa made to Grandma's precise measurements. Everything Grandma did was precise.

Unlike me. 

I finally read the copied version of the 1960's Elna sewing machine manual and figured out how to thread the needle and bobbin. I've hemmed a couple things, sewed a hooded towel for J2 (using a towel someone else made for J1 as the pattern), and a pillow that I won't bother blogging about cuz it's not that great! 

But yesterday...

I conquered a ruffle!

It's not perfect--not even close. But it looks exactly like I wanted it to. Go me!

(And that's a sneak peek of the nursery closet!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Living Room Curtains

I finally prevailed and hung my new curtains! They've been waiting for me to hang the hardware for two weeks! I've organized closets and  cupboards, watched my husband build bunkbeds, and painted the boys' room while simultaneously caring for two boys, feeding 4 people three times a day, keeping the house clean, laundry done, manners minded, guests entertained, not to mention growing a human! What's two more weeks of naked windows?!

After (small window)

I love how the blue brightens up the room more than the red did. 

Before (small window)

And after having red window treatments for 8 years or so (the same ones at 3 different houses), it was time to move on!

After (picture window-right)

I ended up getting short rods so the curtains don't actually shut. Not that it's any of your business (wink-wink!!), but we live way out in the country, remember? Who needs curtains that shut?! Also, the window is 10 feet wide (or is it 12?) and the two panels on each end were never going to cover it! 

After (picture window - left)

See our sprouts? That means many many meals with fresh, organic, warm-from-the-garden heirloom tomato goodness in a few months! I can't wait!

This lovely picture window with the pretty new curtains faces south and I wasn't able to get a good shot of both sides. There's a couch in front of it and this is what it usually looks like:

Today these little guys were watching a pheasant. In the snow. Yes, it's March 29... in Iowa. Sigh. 

 Curtains: - 3 panels for $45
Hardware: Walmart - 3 short rods for $30
Total: $75

Read more about my new curtains here!

Now I need to find/make pillows. To go on a new couch. Which will sit on new flooring which means tearing down a wall, moving the woodstove and adding board & batten... 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Advice and an Award

Here's a question for you:

Would you paint this?

White, with glaze around the detail so it'll coordinate better with this

and this?

If so, how would you go about it? Sand? Prime? Spraypaint? Brush? Any advice?

Now that you've taken care of that question, I wanted to share that this project was featured over at Sugar and Spice in the Land of Balls 'n Sticks. Thank you, laxsupermom!

Sugar and Spice in the Land of Balls 'n Sticks also awarded me with this:

How fun! It is an award especially for blogs with less than 300 followers. Once awarded, you get to give it out to other blogs you love with less than 300 followers.

Three of my favorite reads that are fast approaching the 300-follower mark are On the Banks of Squaw Creek, Notes from the Heartland, and It's Good to be Queen.

Katie of On the Banks of Squaw Creek lives on a turkey farm with her husband, adorable son, and Baby Brudder due any day. Not only can you read about the farm, you get to see how they've been fixing up their farmhouse. Katie is creative and resourceful and funny!

Speaking of funny, Jen of Notes from the Heartland always cracks me up! Jen, a mom of two boys, is an amazing sign-painter and has single-handedly taken on the renovation of her kitchen. You'll never believe how good she can make her finds from Habitat for Humanity look!

Sara of It's Good to be Queen might be sharing the spotlight a bit more in the near future--she is a mom to three boys and just found out they're expecting a GIRL! I enjoy the variety of topics on Sara's blog and am looking forward to seeing how she personalizes the family's new home.

Thanks again, laxsupermom, for the award!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jean Quilts

You might have noticed in Part 2 of the bunkbed posts that the boys have new quilts on their beds.

They're made from old jeans!

Even more special, they're made with love by the boys' Grandma!

My in-laws do a lot of work with the Service Center at their church. (You might remember the Thanksgiving Dinner they hosted for people in need.)

After searching Ebay and hoping Target would bring back the Tiddliwinks Transportation bedding I had ONE set of (you can see pillows from that bedding in the above picture), I looked online for jean duvet covers, thinking they'd be easy to wash, would grow with the boys and match the Tiddliwinks bedding well enough.

I couldn't find anything I really liked, though, so I asked the boys' Grandma to make them quilts out of old jeans from their Service Center. 

For the back of the quilts, I bought two twin-size fuzzy blankets for $12 each at Target.

My MIL used the edge of the blanket to finish the edge of the quilt too! One is red...

... one is blue. And they're so soft and cozy!

My amazing seamstress was able to get all of the jeans she needed for free! She said it was good to clean out the inventory of tapered jeans because no one wants them anyway! 

I am absolutely thrilled with how the quilts turned out! I love the colors, all the shades of jean material, the small and large squares, the pockets!!!

And I can still use the Tiddliwinks pillows and colors in the rest of the room. Oooh! You can I"ve been painting their room! I'm finishing up today, then I'll show you the new look. Then their room will be done! For now. You know how it is.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just In Case

Just so we're all clear, we're not necessarily having a girl in May. But we're not necessarily having a boy either. After taking this test, my husband is convinced Baby 3 IS a girl and I like to dream, so I went ahead and bought a few things just in case today. 

And when I say 'bought' I mean 'selected' because my bill came to $0.21 for 4 sleepers and a dress. No, I didn't type that wrong!

How did that happen?

A couple weeks ago I found myself in Kohl's shopping for my husband. At checkout they handed me some Kohl's Cash. You know the deal, come back between certain dates and you have a certain amount coupon to use.

I agonized over the choices, honestly. I wandered around and around the baby section. It took me forever and about the time I thought my boys would have meltdowns, I finally grabbed a cute pink dress and a pink sleeper.

This is what my bill looked like. 

I spent nothing out of pocket and still had $3 on my coupon. The very nice salesperson said I could go back and get more sleepers and he'd ring them up for the same price as the one I'd already chosen. OK!

My bill the second time? $0.21. Awesome!

Now just in case we have a girl, I'm prepared. And if we don't? Well, they'll make great baby gifts. And I spent less than a quarter anyway!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Cleaning - Boys' Closet

Since the building of the bunkbeds, my boys are now roommates. (Read about that in Part 1 and Part 2.) We wanted to make the transition a couple months before Baby 3 arrives in mid May. The boys love being in the same room--a little too much! Nap time and bed time have taken a lot longer than they did before. It took J2 several nights of sleeping in the new bed before he slept through the night too. Oh well, making the transition later when there's also a new baby to adjust to would be even harder! 

The boys each have a nice, bright dresser in the room they share. We have been blessed with so many sources for clothing that I never buy them anything and their drawers are overflowing! 

Nevermind the decorations--they move and change and evolve. Right now we have a changing pad on top of the red dresser and a radio for quiet time music on the yellow dresser. The hamper has been moved and replaced with a diaper genie. Check back next week and it will have changed again, I'm sure!

The challenge in the room during this transition was making room for J2 in the closet. Are you ready for something scary? Here goes!

See the bins on the bottom? Proof that I started out well! I guess I've just been junking everything else on top. Oh dear... And yes, those are baby clothes on the bottom. No idea why they weren't downstairs in storage!

This side isn't so bad. I used the shelf to give J1's tractors somewhere to park. Do you ever feel like the toys are taking over?! Yeah...

A few hours later, side 1 looked like this. I pulled another shelf from the nursery closet (I have plans for that closet!!!) which gave me a place to put extra sheets, stuffed animals, and diapers. I went through all of the hanging clothes and J2's button-downs, jackets and shoes are on this side. Above on the closet shelf is a plain box (I might get another plastic bin) for clothes that are too small. 

Side 2 is looking better too! J1's current button-downs and jackets hang on the rod, his trucks and tractors are parked on the shelf, and you can just see the dirty clothes bin peeking out from the middle. On the shelf above are two clear bins: one each for summer and winter clothes that are still too big. 

Here is the 'summer' bin. It has shorts, sandals and t-shirts in two different sizes, but I know that's the bin I'll need to go through in a couple months.

Here is the 'winter' bin. I'm putting J1's things in it as he grows out of them so they are ready for J2 when cold weather comes again. There are a few pieces in it that are currently too big for J1, but most things that are too big for him are in another bin in the storage area of our basement.

So there you have it! The boys are organized and clean... Now I just need to decide on a paint color! We're leaving the new beds plain pine, a little rough and bare, but we like it. I'm thinking of pulling some blues out of the bedspreads (post on them coming soon!) but I don't want to be too 'baby blue'. Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Cleaning - The Kitchen

I'm not a huge one for Spring Cleaning. I like to think that my house is more-or-less clean all the time. But sometimes, you've just got to go through stuff and I've been doing my fair share of that lately. And it's Spring, so I guess I've been Spring Cleaning!

The first area I tackled was my kitchen. You know how it goes. You get a couple new appliances and suddenly NOTHING FITS! I also got some new spice tins at IKEA during my recent trip

I started by taking everything out. Which attracted my helpers--see the little hand and the bike?

So many gizmos and gadgets!

Plastic produce bins? Time to go!

I sorted and purged and ended up with a couple more things in storage and a box of things to donate. Someone snatched them up from craigslist the next day!

I went through all my canned goods too. 

And organized my dry goods. I already had the containers but put more of them in the same place instead of several places around the kitchen.

Finally, things are starting to look better!

It's not like some of those amazing pantry makeovers we've been seeing in blogland, but it works so much better for me!

Here is where I keep some of my spices.

The rest were kept on the counter in one of these:

I purchased 12 spice tins at IKEA and transferred my favorite spices into them. I wanted fewer things on my counter, containers I could scoop measurements from, and something easy to refill (I buy spices in bulk). I didn't want to spend $9 each for the handy hanging magnetic strip that IKEA sells to go with the spice tins though.

Here's what I came up with:

Canning lids! I used my husband's staple gun to attach the lids to the back of the cabinet door. (You're ignoring that it's not painted and is rather gross, right?! Cuz there's a kitchen reno in my future and I was in a hurry to get the kitchen livable when we moved in. No judging!)

I labeled the lids so we'd know where to put each spice away and hung them up! I had to keep a little space open between the top two rows so the door would shut. The tins haven't fallen down at all in the two weeks they've been up, but they might if you slammed the door hard enough!

I'm enjoying my clean kitchen where everything fits and I love my new spice tins! I think I'll get more in the future!


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