Thanksgiving Vignette

Monday, November 24, 2014

Can I still post about Thanksgiving? It seems like all the blogs I follow have moved onto Christmas decorations and Christmas how tos and Christmas home tours. Unless we pretend that the crumpled tissues scattered all over our house from every single one of us having a cold count as Christmas decorations, I don't have much going on yet.


I never do much decorating for Thanksgiving anyway. I'd been following The Nester's "Vignette Me" series and decided to photograph the little table in my entryway that had a small Halloween vignette.
And I made some minor changes to make it Thanksgivingish.
Muffy Bear changed clothes! Isn't she adorable? 
And it's totally reasonable for a grown woman to decorate with stuffed animals (I'm looking at you, Marc) if that's what makes her, ah me, happy. Don't judge!

On a more mature note, I also managed to switch my summer wreath for this fall beauty I made last year by adding to a wreath I already had.

She looks good right?
And that is all for fall. 

Jonathan's Sweet 16 Scavenger Hunt

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Jonathan turned 16 at the end of October but each weekend was already booked up so we didn't have his party until last Saturday. A Sweet 16 Birthday Party is a big deal, right? It couldn't be skipped even though my natural inclination was to give up after three weeks had passed. 

We kind of have a regular party routine around here that involves pizza outside on the patio with all the lights from Maddie's wedding still up, and then s'mores at the fire pit. Really, if it's not broken don't fix it! But since 16 is a biggie I wanted to add something to the mix, and since what Jonathan and his friends like best is any excuse be hyper and act silly I decided to plan a scavenger hunt for them.

Everyone divided into three groups and headed downtown with their list. I assigned points for each item, staying together, and being back at our house on time. Here are some of the best photos and the clues that went with them.
The item here was "20 points for a group photo with everyone wearing hats." I think they took this in Forever 21.
We have this weird fountain with a head coming out of it downtown, one of the items was a photo of their group making a pyramid in front of it.
This might be my favorite photo of them all! The item on the list was "50 points to whichever team gets a photo of a team member wearing the weirdest outfit." I think this is worth 50 points for the unicorn head alone. And yes, that's a boy in there.
One of the items was to get a photo with a store employee.

Some of the other items on the list were to get a set of chopsticks, to get an item with the Chipotle logo on it, and to take a video of the group serenading a stranger. That one went a little awry since I imagined they would explain to said stranger that they were on a scavenger hunt and needed a video of themselves singing to someone. Instead they chased random people down the street trying to sing to them. One video of that has some bad words in it; I hope all the kids' parents still like me.

Happy Birthday Jonathan! You are the best son a mom could wish for.  

Tween Girl Bedroom Makeover Reveal

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I thought I'd have the before and after pictures of Ellie's bedroom posted yesterday but I am dying of a disgusting head cold and it's slowing me down. It's almost all I can do to lay in bed watching old episodes of "Gilmore Girls" while eating chocolate chips. Which is sad because I can't even taste them that well. What a waste!

Anywho, better late than never!

Here is her room before. And there are a few more pictures plus my original plans here.

And here it is now.

 After sewing the blackout curtains, one of the biggest changes are the white walls which shall henceforth be referred to as "The White Walls From Hell." When we painted the wood paneling in the kitchen we got a lot of bleed through so we knew that this time we needed to prime before we painted. First I hit all of the knots in the knotty pine with a layer of oil based primer, then Marc sprayed the whole room with two coats of Kilz. Things were looking good so he went ahead and sprayed the walls with a coat of Benjamin Moore latex interior white paint. The next morning we found this.
  Disgusting brown bleed through in several places. I may have had a major hissy fit/crazy break at that point, I mean, we'd spent an entire Saturday prepping and painting and the room looked awful. So on Monday I marched myself down to Sherwin Williams and demanded a product that would "FIX THIS MESS!" Poor Sherwin Williams paint guys. I was not in a good mood. I was directed to the white pigmented shellac which I now fondly think of as the Holy Grail of primers. It smelled a little, but it covered everything! Unfortunately Marc had to work so I ended up rolling it on myself and then brushing over it to get out the bubbles that kept happening. Because it's a shellac it dried with a bit of shine and I decided to stop there and be happy because I was sick to death of painting! 

The paint pros said that a lot of things can cause bleed through on old wood paneling, tannins in the wood, old tobacco smoke, or even residue from furniture polish that people used to put on them. In short, next time (yes I have two rooms left with unpainted wood paneling) I'll start with the shellac primer. It's expensive, but so worth it!
 Hooray for smooth white walls! Everything after that was pretty easy and went according to plan. Ellie loves comics so we framed some in these clip frames from Hobby Lobby.

Batgirl is a favorite. She's also loves Batman, so he went on the door here.
I'm curious how other moms decorate with their tweens and teens? I really wanted Ellie to feel like the room was hers, but she is only 12 and doesn't totally understand design. I kept having her look at teen rooms on Pinterest with me and trying to get her to identify what she liked about the rooms she was drawn to so we could replicate them. We'd have conversations like this:

Me: So you like this room? Awesome! What do you like about it? The color? The lamp? The area rug?
Ellie: I like the giant 6 foot canopy bed.
Me: Right. But remember your room is tiny. So we need to find things you like that we can do in your room.
Ellie: I like the two huge chairs shaped like space pods in front of the giant fireplace?
Me: arrrrrghpftttt.

I finally decided to ask her to help pick specific items for her room, but I'd decide how it was all going to go together. So I found her dresser on Craigslist, and she picked the paint color for it. More on that makeover here.
 There wasn't room for a nightstand, but I wanted her to be able to read in bed and she picked out this little spotlight lamp for her wall from Target.

Her stuffed animals that she couldn't part with got corralled on shelves.
You can read a cute story about that little pink piggy bank here.
She wanted to hang this plaque she got from her Young Women's church leaders when she turned twelve.
 It's interesting because she loves the way everything came out, but her perception of things is that I designed her room. And my perception of things is that I love how it came out, but I definitely didn't design it how I would have for me. I think all that wood paneling would make for a perfect cottage bedroom, but when I showed Ellie pictures like this
 She said no way.

So we ended up with this, and we are both very happy! What do you think about decorating your child's room? How much input do they get? Would you let them have something you hate? I hope you'll leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Linking up!

How to Sew Blackout Curtains-DIY

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Hey! Guess what? I made blackout curtains! I did it. I did it! I did it! YAY! I am super excited to share how with you because if you want to buy a single blackout panel from PBTeen it will cost you a cool $80 for one panel, but you can make four of them for about $75! All you need is a little belief in yourself and the ability to sew a semi-straight line.
tween girl bedroom makeover

This is a project I took on as part of Ellie's room makeover. You can see my plans for her little room here, and how I refinished her dresser here. The girl has to have complete and utter darkness in order to wake up happy so blackout curtains were a must. Previously she would drape extra blankets over her curtain rods to block out the light. So fashion forward I tell you. You can see some of her room in these curtain pictures; by Wednesday I'll hopefully be finished and have the full, wait for it, reveal. 

I looked at a few different tutorials online and the one I really followed was this one from A View Along the Way. It is very clear and well done.

I'm so happy with how these came out I'm looking at every window in my house with a critical eye wondering what fabric would look best as a new dress for them.

So if you're ready to make your own blackout curtains, let's get cracking!

I do everything with a sort of casual approach, I hope that doesn't bug you. Don't stress out when you're making these; you can do it! And all mistakes are fixable.

So first, cut your fabric. Ideally you should cut your fabric 4-6 inches wider and 6-8 inches longer than you want your panel to end up. I, on the other hand, got excited and immediately cut my fabric to almost exactly the length I wanted my panel to end up. But after a brief moment where I thought I'd have to stab myself in the eye with the scissors, I realized I'd just have to make do with smaller hems. And it worked out fine.

Lock your dog in another room and lay your fabric out on the floor if your panels are too long to cut on a table.

Next cut your blackout lining a few inches shorter and narrower than your fabric panels. I cut mine 6 inches shorter and 4 inches narrower.

Fold up a hem on the bottom edge of your fabric, iron it, fold it again, iron it and sew it with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I was trying to make my hem as small as possible since I was an over eager cutter, but if you cut your fabric 8 inches longer than your finished panel you can fold up a two inch hem and then fold it again taking up four inches total. It will look nice and professional. Are you following? Great!


A 1/4 inch seam allowance is basically when you put your presser foot right against that fold and follow it for the whole seam. It makes it easy to sew straight. You will see that I didn't bother pinning. I also just eyeballed what an inch hem looks like and folded it without measuring. I like living on the edge that way.

This is quick and dirty curtain making my friends. Not really though, it actually looks very good. I just hate spending a million hours trying to make everything perfect and then being hyper aware of every uneven hem or crooked stitch; instead I like to eyeball things and remember that the curtain police probably won't come check on me. 

Okay next hem your lining fabric again using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Now you have a hemmed curtain panel, and a hemmed lining. Lay them right sides together and line the left edges up together. The right side of the blockout fabric is the side that is a little bit soft and fuzzy; the wrong side feels like rubber? It should look like this. Go ahead and pin it and sew the edges together.
Next you need to take the right edges and pin and sew them together. The fabric panel is, obviously, bigger than the lining so the fabric will be loose. It's okay, just go with it.
After both of the edges are sewn together, you get to do the fun part...turning the whole thing right side out! It will look like this:
Kind of smooth and straighten it so that there are equal amounts of fabric on each side of the lining. Be excited! It looks like a real, professional, blackout curtain panel! Iron it up.

At this point you could simply hem the top and then hang the panels using curtain clips like I did with my kitchen valance. 

If you want curtains hung with back tabs you can cut 2 1/2 inch lengths of grosgrain ribbon to use as tabs. Double fold down the top of the panel and iron it. Slide the ribbon pieces under the edge of the hem and pin them. To get even spacing I put one tab at each corner, then one in the middle, then eyeballed the two tabs in between the middle and edge tabs.

Now sew the edge down securing the tabs as you do.
Now sew the ends of the tabs down. I went across, backwards, and across again.
And finally, trim the loose threads and hang that beautiful curtain up! After you make the first one you'll be amazed at how easy it was and probably, like me, excited to make more. Cheers!
Linking at DIY Show off and Under the Table and Dreaming - what a great name! and Huckleberry Love

Sticker Chart for Teenagers

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

For awhile it felt like Jonathan and Ellie were always fighting. So even though they are 16 and 12 I decided to make them a sticker chart. A sticker chart of love. One where you could only add a sticker when you felt your sibling had done something nice.
And remarkably, it worked. Donuts are a powerful motivator I guess. And I am fine with bribery.

The Springbrook Ranch of my Dreams

Monday, November 10, 2014

Marc and I always daydreamed about having a home with a name. For me it comes from loving Pemberley, Green Gables, Misselthwaite Manor, and other fictional homes that thrive in my imagination. So when we bought Springbrook Ranch we were both pretty tickled to have a home that already had a name given to it ages ago when the original owners kept horses and a small chicken farm here. I mean, all the best stories start in a home with a name, right?

So although our real three acres is full of weeds and gopher holes, trees that need to be trimmed and the wretched wretched deer that eat all my flowers (I will get you yet my pretties), I just want to show you the Springbrook Ranch that I see in my dreams.

Of course it has the cadillac of chicken coops. Heck, I want to live here!

And my chickens will eat in synchronized formation because I will become a chicken whisperer. I really like chickens.
Maybe my chickens will wear designer chicken outfits?
Or maybe not.

We also need pygmy goats. For reals, they will eat all our weeds and SAVE us the money we spend every year to have our hills cleared. Plus, the cuteness is killing me.
Not to mention how I will become a master goat cheese and goat milk soap maker. 
They will love me and come running when I call them.

My vision of myself serenely making my own cheese that I serve my friends on long tables under trees strung with fairy lights on soft summer nights is so vivid I can almost touch it. Don't bother me with tiny details like the fact that I've never milked anything and am actually a little afraid of goats.

I want to make cheese.
And soap!
Then there's my massive, glorious, imaginary vegetable garden.
It will all have to be on an automatic drip water system though because I have dehydrated more tomato plants than I care to count in real life. But I can change!

Clearly the whole operation will run on solar energy. But that's not all! There will also be an adorable, personal sized windmill. Of course.
Because not only are we industrious, we are energy efficient (for pretend).

We already have bees. I just need to paint the hives in beautiful colors.
Oh and get twenty-seven more.

So that's what I dream of. When I'm not imagining we live in a perfect, tiny condominium perched over a bookstore/bakery in the heart of Paris. 



 

Copyright © Barnaclebutt | Premade Blog Design by Lilipop Designs