Family Room

Our family room is one of our favorite places in the house to hang out.  It's also the first thing you see when you walk in the front door, and the next stop on my home tour!  If you want to see the rest of the tour so far, click on the button in my left sidebar or click here.  I have also been playing around with my DSLR camera, a Nikon D40, a little bit more, so I hope my interior photos are improving a tad.
I love my piano, but it is a bit crowded upstairs.  Once we finish the large family room in the basement (some day, but not anytime soon), I'd like to move the piano or the television stand downstairs.  When we were looking for houses, I decided that I didn't necessarily need a formal sitting room, and for the most part it's been great.  We love having the family room, dining area, and kitchen all in one big room, but every once in a while it would be nice to have a formal room for the piano, some sitting chairs, and a little privacy from the rest of the house. 
Yep, that's the birdcage that I repainted with crackle glaze.  I still love it. 
And that's my tea-stained IKEA lamp, crackle-glazed clock, and chalkboard sign.  As you can see, I do a lot of projects for my home's decor.  Part of the reason for that is to save money, and the other part is so I get exactly what I have envisioned.  It's a win-win.
We love having this sectional.  It is great for entertaining, but it does take up a lot of space in the family room.  Eventually, I'd like to move it to the basement as well.  One thing that I would like to do much sooner is to paint that wall with all the windows.  I'd like to paint it (sometime this fall) the same brown we have on the wall behind the piano and television, except bring the green from the kitchen into the bay window. 

Another project I have started to think about for this room is a slipcover for the piano bench.  Overall, I am pretty pleased with this room.  Next time, I'll be showing you around the rest of our giant common room, the kitchen and dining area.


Chalkboard Calendar

I went to a neighborhood fundraiser a few months ago and came home with this chalkboard calendar vinyl from my friend Amie at Willow Creek Signs.  I knew right where I wanted to put it, but I had some qualms about putting the vinyl directly on the wall.  Now, I know that vinyl doesn't damage your walls, but here's my biggest problem:  I love to redecorate.  And, the truth is, I really can't commit to something like vinyl directly on the walls.  I also know that it's removable, but you can't reuse it.  With all that said, I used my vinyl to create this calendar board for the sad and lonely giant wall in my laundry room:
Best part about this project?  I already had everything for it on-hand.  Plus, I did every bit of the work for it myself.  Cutting, sanding, painting, drilling the holes, applying the vinyl; you name it, I did it.  One of my favorite parts of the board is the jute cording detail.
It was one of those ideas that just randomly came to me, and I love it.  As far as writing on this chalkboard calendar, I wanted to use something besides chalk that was a little bit more permanent(we're talking wet-erase here) and a little bit less dusty.  I love the look of the Liquid Chalk Markers, but I can't really justify spending more on the markers than on the board itself.  I can't find these sold as individual markers online or in retail stores at all.  Let me just say, dragging a husband, toddler, and baby around looking for these was kind of a nightmare.  I tried craft stores and office supply stores with no luck.  However, I happened upon a suitable alternative for the time being (until I can get a set of Liquid Chalk markers for my birthday or Christmas) at Shopko, of all places.
Expo Neons!  The only reason that I tried these was because the package said they worked on black surfaces.  I'd say they do a decent job.  Since I am writing on chalkboard vinyl, which is not as smooth as a dry erase board, they act like wet erase markers instead of dry erase.  Cha-ching!  Exactly what I wanted.  It will be interesting to see how they work in the long run, but for now I am pretty pleased with them.
This photo is to give you a better idea of the scale of the chalkboard compared to the rest of the room.  The laundry room is still a work in progress, but I am happy I can already use the calendar.  I hope to paint the laundry and hall before it gets too crazy with holidays and such.  The color I am wanting is Velvet Slipper by Olympic.  It looks a little bit dustier in real life versus the color on their website.  I think my husband is ready for another painting experience. . .


Backyard Pergola

I'm so excited to share a project that we have been working on for about a month now, but that I have wanted for much longer.  Since we live in a new subdivision, there is not a lot of shade to be had outside.  We have planted a lot of trees in our yard, but they are all still pretty tiny.  We have a concrete pad in the backyard, right outside the kitchen and family room.  I didn't take a great before picture, but this kind of gives you the feel of what it was like outside.
Pretty barren.  But still cute kids.  In an effort to create more shade, backyard atmosphere, and possibly privacy, we designed up a heavy-duty pergola.
Each of the 4"x6" posts is set in concrete, and all the 2"x6" beams on the top are notched to fit on the 2"x8" support beams.  The 2"x2" pieces on the very top are screwed down with decking screws.
The curtains are outdoor panels from Pottery Barn that are hung on a galvanized pipe from Home Depot.  They are perfect for shade in the evening.
I love how much of a difference this makes in our backyard.  We almost ran into some trouble on the post closest to the house, but everything worked out perfectly.
We just had to notch a few of the bigger beams to fit under the roof, but the pergola is still tall enough that it doesn't block the porch light.

I am still waiting for some shade cloth to come in the mail, which we are going to hang under the beams on the inside.  We eventually want to have some flowering vines grow over the top, but until them we still want some shade during the day.  Next step for the backyard-- make an outdoor dining table!
UPDATE: We made it in the top 10 of the Porches, Terraces, and Patios Challenge at the CSI Project!
Linked up: Tatertots & Jello
Visit thecsiproject.com


Baby Apron

If any of you follow me on Pinterest, you may have seen that I pinned this free baby apron pattern to my "Things to Make" board a few weeks ago.
via Craftiness is not Optional

What a great idea!  My baby has just started feeding herself, and the regular bibs we have just aren't cutting it.  Since I had some leftover bias tape from the Toy Stroller Makeover, I thought this would be a cinch.  Here's what I ended up with:
It's not perfect, but it does the trick.  A couple of things I learned about this pattern:
I wouldn't recommend using bias tape this small.  It was very difficult to work with, and I wrestled with my machine a lot.  There are still a few little places where I didn't catch enough of the fabric in the tape, and it came out a little bit after I put it in the wash.  It also shrunk quite a bit in the wash, so next time I will cut the pattern a little bit bigger.
Overall, it was great for a free pattern!  I was able to do it all in one afternoon.  I can't wait to try it again with bigger tape, which I think will make things go much faster.


Shark School Fabric

Shark School 
Hey all!  I've been busy working on a lot of little projects lately, but none of them are completely finished yet, except for this.  This fabric is a design I created to enter in Spoonflower's weekly design contest.  The theme for this week was Sharks, and the contest opens for voting this Thursday.

I put a lot of time on this one, just ask my husband.  This time around, I tried a different method than I have used on previous designs, which is usually to do some sketches by hand and then use the sketches as inspiration for computer-only drawings.  I drew everything by hand first, then scanned the drawings and basically redrew them in Photoshop.  I had to pull out my drawing tablet for this one, and I got a lot better at using it.  I like the hand-drawn feel this design has, but I'm still not sure which way I prefer yet.

On my next design, whatever it may be, I will try doing the drawings by hand, then trace them in Illustrator and see how those turn out.

So here's where I ask you a question.  What kind of fabric designs would you like to see?