Sunday, May 30, 2010

This way for the tour...

I shared some pictures of my craft closet makeover last week so I figured I'd post some pictures of the rest of my craft room.

Here is my crafting table:

Many of the things in my craft room originated in Sweden (Ikea). I keep all of my punches on metal bars I got at Ikea (this idea came from Mary over at Stampin' Pretty). They are within easy reach and facing out for quick choosing. Other often-used tools are either on hooks hanging from the bar or in a pencil cup mounted to the wall to the right of the bars. I also keep some items on the table in a napkin holder a friend bought me in Paris (Thanks again A!). My Stampin' Up stamp sets are all in the black and white storage boxes under the desk.

I have black fabric-covered storage boxes for my collection of felt and Cuttlebug and Sizzix dies. The dresser in the corner serves a storage role as well as being a perch for my TV and DVD player and my Cuttlebug. This particular dresser was obtained and refinished by Mom G when she was in college.
The metal rack next to the window is actually meant for a bathroom, but I stole it for my craft room since there was really no place for it in our bathroom once we moved. It holds my ginormous jar of spools of thread and my collection of buttons (my grandmother was a great seamstress and had a huge collection of thread and buttons in these jars). The rack also holds a couple of my many plants. There's a law in our household that states there must be plants in every room. In fact, we even have a room in our house that we refer to as "the plant room" since it contains mostly plants with the exception of a couple pieces of furniture. But I digress.

My Singer sewing machine sits on top of this old sewing machine table I got on Craigslist for a whopping $10. I fancied it up by spray-painting the handles. The bulletin board is covered in a Project Runway button print, and the frame is also spray-painted to match. The file box down below hold all of my magazine pages that I tear out for gardening and crafting ideas.

This little box sits to the right of my sewing machine. It is my favorite thing from my grandmother's house. It still holds her sewing scissors, her tomato pincushion (full of needles), and all sorts of sewing odds and ends. I just love the look of it and its tiny gnome, flower thimble holder, and mushroom pincushion. It was made in Japan. I think it originally had some kind of handle because there is a hole on each side in the middle.

Just for good measure, here is a picture of the craft closet again. I have added something since I posted last week. See if you can figure out what it is...
The tour ends here. Thanks for joining me :)

Leaf out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Party in the SWVA

The Gnome and I were invited to two cookouts this past weekend: one to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday and the other to celebrate a couple's 1st anniversary. I made the same dessert to take to both parties: a fruit pizza. I got the recipe from Fruit Pizza II. I used reduced fat cream cheese and lite Cool Whip for the pizza "sauce." I went fruit shopping on Friday to get the supplies and got raspberries, blueberries, kiwis, and pineapple. Of course, we already had a surplus of strawberries from our strawberry picking extravaganza. Here is fruit pizza #1 (pic from camera phone):
Do you see the hidden message? Well, do ya? It took people at the party a while to notice. I think it's probably easier to see in the picture.

And fruit pizza #2:
It has an orange juice/lemon juice/sugar sauce drizzled on top. Someone brought oatmeal raisin cookies to party #1. One party-goer had the crazy idea to dip the cookies in the extree sauce I brought. This led to much cookie dipping that would likely rival oreos and milk. Try it might love it :)

Also, I forgot to share my most recent cake decorating feat. I made a fudge marble/chocolate buttercream cake for some friends that are departing for CA next month. We will be sad to see them go, but hopefully this will motivate us to go on a trip to CA. Their names are Holly and Zach, and since they are moving back to CA near LA, I thought it would be fitting to decorate the cake to look like the Hollywood sign using their names. 
I got the Gnome to make me a template and print the text out flipped backwards. I traced it onto wax paper with clear piping gel and transferred it onto the cake. Then I just traced away with my icing. After piping a billion stars to fill in the "mountain," I finished the bottom of the cake with a rope border. My mom saw the picture of the cake and asked, "what is the significance of the brown top and green bottom?" So I guess it wasn't completely obvious what I was trying to depict. Oh well. Maybe it's because there was no sky...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Extreme (Closet) Makeover - Craft Closet Edition

It was rainy all day yesterday so we decided to take on the task of making over my craft room closet. As I often do, I forgot to take a picture of the before closet. Nerds! (Insert description here: the old configuration featured two shelves; one at a height appropriate for hanging clothes and one about a foot above that, both extending the width of the closet). I wanted to take advantage of all of that vertical space in there. So after breakfast, I coerced the Gnome into taking me to Lowe's, the closet organizational wonderland...well, actually that's probably The Container Store, but we don't have one of those in the small city of Roanoke. Upon reviewing our available options, we decided to take down the existing shelves (with the intent of reusing them in the new plan) and start over. We got some shelves and wall-mounting hardware from the ClosetMaid Shelftrack line. That way I can move the shelves whenever I need to do so. It took a while, but they are installed, and it is all organized and labeled. Here's the new closet:
 It is fantastic. I have so much storage space now...although I may have already used all of the available space. Hmmm. The top two shelves were the existing ones and are all one piece. The new shelves are all 24 inches long. If you look closely, you can see that the bottom two shelves are two pieces. 

I love these magazine files from Ikea. I cut out a little piece of colored cardstock for each one and made labels to stick on them with my labelmaker. The cardboard organizers are inexpensive so I actually bought two sets. I'm sure I'll find something to put in the other set.

I used my trusty labelmaker to label the other boxes and bins in the closet too. I'm not really sure why I felt the need to label the plastic see-through bins for yarn and fabric. I guess I just got a little label-happy with my labelmaker :)
Extreme Closet Makeover = Success!

Soon to come: more craft studio pictures...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

The Gnome and I went to a strawberry farm about a half an hour away today to get some not-half-green, vine-ripened strawberries. The place was huge! I don't know how many fields they have, but we drove for about 5 minutes through fields and around a pond to get to Field 2, our assigned picking area. They gave us a row and two buckets. We didn't make it very far down the row before our buckets were heaping. So now we have all of these strawberries. I don't really know what to do with them other than eat them with angel food cake and light whipped cream. That's my favorite. But I guess there's also strawberry daquiris...and strawberry cake...and chocolate-covered strawberries...and strawberries by themselves. Any other ideas?

They are delicious. Nothing beats going and picking your own.

Monday, May 10, 2010

PW in Charlotte, Nephew's Birthday, and Mother's Day

The Gnome, EG, Little Man, and I traveled to Charlotte on Friday to meet the Pioneer Woman, go to our Nephew's first birthday party, and celebrate Mother's Day. It was a multipurpose trip for sure. We arrived in Charlotte just in time to grab Mom G (my mother-in-law) and head over to the bookstore for the cookbook signing. We had planned to get there two hours before P-Dub's arrival. We got our number in line when we arrived (which was around #200) and waited in the bookstore's children's area to the delight of Little Man. At 6 pm, PW came onto the balcony to address the crowd. She was hilarious, sweet, and wearing her fabulous boots as always. Here's PW and her boots:
*photo courtesy of Mom G; I forgot my camera :(

PW spoke about the wonders of Spanx, answered some crowd questions (e.g., does MM wear boxers or briefs? boxers, in case you're wondering), and sang some Ethel Merman per someone's request. Then the signing began. We went to the nearby food court to get dinner while we waited. And then we spent the rest of our waiting time outside around a fountain at the mall. It was a gorgeous day outside, and the gardenias planted all around smelled heavenly. 

Note: For those of you that are planning on going to a PW book signing...If we had been savvy enough to call the bookstore ahead of time, we would have known that we could have gotten our numbers as soon as we knew she was coming, not 2 hours before the event. Oh well. They called us in groups of 20. So all in all, we waited about 5 hours until we could meet PW for our picture and signed cookbook.

PW was super-nice, and it was well worth the waiting time to get our books signed and meet her. She even whipped out her camera to take some pics of Little Man. Here's our group pic (I am notorious for closing my eyes in photos):

*photo courtesy of Mom G

Although Friday was Nephew N's official birthday, the par-tay was on Saturday. Family and friends gathered to enjoy playroom fun, outside time, barbeque, and Paula Deen's Pig Pickin' Cake (Mmmmmmm). They had the most wonderful beverage there: have you ever had Arizona's Arnold Palmer Half Iced Tea Half Lemonade? You must run out and get some straight away. Here's a pic of the Gnome, Gnome's sister Suz, Nephew N, and me at the shin-dig. Isn't N adorable? :)

*photo courtesy of Mom G

And Mother's Day! I am thankful for the bestest Mom (you know, the ?L) and mother-in-law in the world. LollyChops, in her infinite crafty genius, designed these felt flower corsages for her mom(Chops) for Easter. I decided to whip a couple up for Mother's Day. I ended up buying a different (but similar) Sizzix die (paper sculpting lilac instead of Build a Lilac) by accident, but it still worked pretty well for the task. The only problem I had is that I couldn't get the floral foam to stay snug in the fabric cone. I'm sure I was just doing something wrong (or using the wrong floral foam?), but I'll have to figure out a fix so that the bouquet will stay where it's 'sposed to. I also attempted the crocheted butterflies, but mine weren't very round (and a little big) for some reason. Obviously, I am not an accomplished crocheter (is that a word?...It is now). They're still pretty cute though. I didn't end up beading the leaves because the beads I had were a little on the large side. I even got Pops to get me two corsage boxes and corsage pins from a florist for gifting. Here are corsage number 1 and number 2:

I also made special cards for the ?L and Mom G using my new Martha Stewart punches I got on clearance. The dark and light pink (note the yellow button brad :) ) flowers are the Pop-Up Water Lily Punches, and the coral flower is the Chrysanthemum punch. I used the Cuttlebug Swiss Dots embossing folder on the background.

In Etsy news, I made my first sale! The felt flower clip I made was shipped off to it's new owner this morning. Time to list some more items! :) Happy Monday!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Anniversary Party Invitation and Shop News

I have been working on planning my parents' 45th anniversary party. I've got the location, the food, the decorations, and the invitations worked out. I made the invitations for the party. Here's a peek:

The 45th anniversary is the sapphire anniversary so I used wild blueberry cardstock for the base, which is stamped with the larger flower from the Stampin Up Fabulous Flowers set and heat embossed with clear powder. I printed the text on white cardstock and then stamped the corners with the same stamp in blue and green ink. I also added a "You're Invited" stamp in the center.

And on the back is my new shop stamp :)

Speaking of the shop, it's officially open! I have listed a few items and will keep adding more daily.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My week on the Eastern Shore of Virginia

This past week, I left the Gnome all alone (well, he had the cats for company) and traveled 6 hours to my parents'. I hadn't been to visit my parents since Thanksgiving so it was long overdue. In my defense, I had visited once in October and twice in November, but I still shouldn't wait so long in between visits. 

Monday was driving day, and I arrived around dinner time. My favorite meal, roast beef and dumplings (the flat kind, not the ball kind), was waiting for me :) And dessert was cotton candy ice cream with a waffle cone at the Island Creamery on Chincoteague Island.

Tuesday, my mom, the Question Lady (?L for short; called this due to her superhuman abilities to ask an insane number of questions within a given amount of time), and I jumped in the car and drove back in the direction from which I came to go shopping in VA Beach. Our first stop was a consignment shop the ?L loves called Worth the Wait. The shop carries consignment items from Anne Taylor, Talbots, BCBG, Vera Bradley, and Coach to name a few. I myself didn't find anything, but the ?L came away with a dress and two tops. After lunch at Macaroni Grill, we went to the biggest Michael's I have ever seen (I am in our local Michael's and ACMoore at least twice a week). A quick stop at Bed Bath and Beyond was followed by a lengthy visit to TJMaxx (also the largest TJMaxx I have ever seen). We had some time to kill before dinner so we walked around Fresh Market (a specialty grocery store in case you aren't familiar with the name) since the ?L had never been to one before. I had decided that we had to eat at a Japanese steakhouse for dinner because the ?L had never been to one, and I knew she would love it. We met up with one of my best friends from high school to have our hibachi dinner. The ?L definitely loved the dining experience, but the fire was a bit close to her for her liking, and the chef didn't throw shrimp for us to catch. The ?L hasn't stopped talking about the fried rice.

Wednesday was just a hanging around the house day until dinner with some more of my best friends from high school. We had flatbread pizzas and flirtinis. We were going to watch a movie, but we ended up talking the whole night so the movie didn't happen.

Pops (my dad) took Thursday off to hang with me. We ran errands, had lunch with the ?L, and then headed to Ocean City, Maryland for dinner. Everything on the Boardwalk was closed so we ended up just eating at Outback. Friday morning, I loaded the car with all of the stuff the ?L was sending with me and headed back to Roanoke. It was a great week with the parents. Here are a few pictures from around my parents'.

Strawberries ripening away in their own personal patch:

The strawberry patch!

Sweet Potato starts growing in Pops' hot box. He topped it with an old window, and it's equipped with its own temperature/humidity monitor. You may be able to see the sandals on either side of the box. They serve a very significant role in venting the box when it gets trans-mega hot in there. How's that for recycling?
Pops has an ongoing battle with the booming deer population. His pea plants are deer candy so he is constructing a 7-foot-tall fence complete with double gates. Gate #1 is to the left of the truck while Gate #2 is under construction. The pea plants are safe, but the ?L contends that they haven't been consumed because she bought these strips meant to deter deer called Critter Chasers and hung them up around the garden. Pops doesn't believe in the Critter Chasers.

Finally, this is the canopy Pops built recently to cover the back steps, mainly so snow and ice don't accumulate on the landing. Now, I'm trying to talk him into coming out to our house to build a screened porch.