Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Reverse Applique Pillow

I showed you my "Perked Up Porch"  in my last post where  I slathered my front entryway with pink and purple flowers and several accessories in the same shades.

The one thing that was missing from the porch was a comfy pillow on the Muskoka chair.  Hubby spends a great deal of time in this chair reading  during the summer months so I knew  he would appreciate a soft place to land. 

I bought this book back before Christmas and made a few things out of it.

My favourite project from the book so far is  this dear sweet Patchwork Pixie.

When it came time to make the pillow for the porch, I decided to create another of these adorable items.  
The book featured the instructions to make a reverse applique Christmas Tree pillow.

It also suggested making a pillow in a Valentine's Day theme.  I thought this heart version would be welcoming on our porch -- so I set out to make one!

I had never done any "reverse applique" before.  Basically, it is done in three steps.

First I created a patchwork "quilt" of sorts.  I sewed together squares of pretty fabric, then layered this with quilt batting and a backing fabric.  
Then I machine-quilted it to hold the layers together.  

Next, I layered a piece of plain coloured fabric over top of the mini "quilt."  
Because I had chosen a heart shape for this pillow, I traced the shape of a large heart in the centre of the plain fabric.  
Then I stitched through the layers on top of my traced heart.  Three times I went around the heart shape in order to secure the fabric together.   

Then came the scary part.  I took my sharpest scissors and cut inside the stitched heart as closely as I could to the stitches.  I had to be VERY careful not to cut the stitches or any of the fabric on the outside of the stitched line.  

(I'm not going to lie - I did cut some of the fabric in the wrong place, but I was able to fix it up with a little piece of leftover fabric!)

After the decorative front of the pillow was complete, I sewed a matching back to it and turned it into a simple envelope pillow.  

Now it has  slid perfectly into my pink and purple porch scheme.  

And it is plenty comfy enough for my hubby's reading perch.

  Mind you - he has complained a few times about the over-abundance of femininity out there on the porch.  

Okay. Maybe  it is  a bit too much pink and purple for most men - but I reminded him it was better that I decorated like this OUTSIDE, rather than INSIDE!

Have a lovely long weekend!

Hugs to all!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Perking Up the Porch

Up until last weekend I had no idea what direction my summer porch decoration would go. Turquoise and blue like last year?  Yellow and navy like the year before?  

And then I found this pot of annuals at my local grocery store:

Gorgeous, eh?  
What colours would you call these?

My daughter and I have settled on purplish-blue and magenta-pink.

And a colour scheme is born!
Pink and purple it is.

To begin my quest for "purpley-pinkness" I spray painted this tray purple  and purchased a pot of mixed pink impatiens.  

 I then echoed the colour of my annuals in the starry wreath that hangs from the front door.

I placed some pillows on the Muskoka chair to add some comfort for summer book reading and lounging. 
 (I'll tell you a bit more about the purple patchwork pillow in a later post.)

As well, I planted several more annuals in shades of pink and purple  in a handful of other pots. 
Now our porch is basking in pretty perfection.

Speaking of perfection . . .

Our youngest son came home from school today with the biggest smile on his face.
He had received the "Bucket Filler of the Week" award from his kindergarten teachers. 

A "bucket-filler" is someone who does little things on a regular basis to bring joy and happiness to those around them.
This week, Camden was particularly good at this!

And we are so proud of our littlest dude!

Have a wonderful week everyone!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Afton's Desk Gets a Makeover!

Oh Pine.  How I loathe thee.  
Your orangey-yellow-ness makes my skin crawl and my eyes burn.
How we did we spend a whole decade loving you throughout our homes - on tables, chairs, bookshelves, kitchen cabinets?  

Man - I am so glad that that trend has left the building!!

However, decor history has left us many solid pieces of furniture built out of this once-trendy wood.  
Yes, they are still usable.  But they need some "makeover love" before they can be used in our homes again.  

Enter exhibit one:  
A mid-sized desk, just perfect for my daughter's bedroom.
There's lots of drawer space to hold art supplies and a big surface on which to create her  masterpieces.  

But, man, it is  UUUGGG - LY!

This is a "keeping it real" picture.  This is REALLY how my daughter's room looks most of the time.  

Let the makeover begin!

I primed the ugly pine with two coats of a good primer.  Then three coats of creamy white went over top.
Now the drawer pulls...
I wanted to buy new ones.  Little Lady like those below. 
We compromised on keeping the pulls but spraying them silver instead.  

On a recent visit to the Home Depot, Little Lady fell in love with this "diamond" knob in the cabinetry section.  She loved it so much that she asked to spend her birthday money on it!
We bought it right then and there.

She took it home and immediately tried screwing it onto her not-quite-cured, freshly painted desk.
Oops. You can see in the above picture that some of the 5 layers of paint came off instantly

Now how was I going to fix this without having to repaint the drawer 5 times again??

Out came the scrapbook paper and the watered down white glue and I was off to the races.  


Now that worked out pretty well, didn't it??

Just think - if my daughter hadn't been so excited about the sparkly drawer pull, the whole desk would have remained white.

This is much prettier!

There we go.
Another bedroom project done.

I may be able to do a complete room reveal in the next week!!
Just a few more things to hang on the wall and Little Lady's room makeover will be complete!

No rest for the weary though --- Big Brother is looking for a bedroom re-do, too. 

Have a wonderful weekend 
we're going camping!!

Hugs to you and yours,


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Basement Gallery Wall

Like most people, we are trying to get the most usable space out of our home.  We love our second story with 4 good-sized bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a laundry room.
However, the space on our main floor is much harder to make full use of.
On this floor we have an eat-in kitchen, a casual TV room and a medium-sized room that I have divided in two areas - a living room seating area and a small dining room area.  

Where do the kids play, you ask?
Well - they used to have a stack of toys hidden behind  the couch in the TV room.  But of course, the toys never stayed hidden - they got played with, as they should in a house with three small children!!

But honestly, it all became too much when we moved the piano in and added a ton more homework gear for our older kids.
Space in our family TV room was at a premium.
So we, like many other parents, built a playroom in the basement.

And let me tell you - it was the best thing we EVER did!

Hubby did most of the work last summer:

And I've shown you a few projects that I have completed down there, too.

Our Red Doors

And now the basement is mostly done -- except for the complete lack of ceiling! (But we'll get to that soon!)

The sofa in the kid's playroom is a pull-out bed, perfect for when Nana or Aunt Stephanie come for a visit.  

Both say that the bed and room are very comfortable.
But we all agreed the main wall still looked rather plain.

But here it is now, after much  measuring, leveling, nailing and re-nailing this past weekend!!

I had been collecting items to put in this space for many months.  Actually, I probably could have put this gallery wall together back during the winter, but I never go around to it!

I kept with a red, black and neutral palette to go with the rest of the room.  

Plates, architecture salvage, a patriotic flag and some antiques all meld together for an interesting mix of items.  

This trumpet is an important family artefact.  In fact, it was played by my husband's grandfather during the second World War.  
Grandpa Jagos past away nearly 5 years ago, but this horn reminds us of him daily!

Hubby and I are both trained musicians so I figured some aged sheet music was the perfect filler for this old basket.  

Pictures of the kids round out the gallery, adding even more familial importance to the wall.  

This blank wall in the basement looks warm and welcoming now.  I wish I had one this sooner!

Have a wonderful week!

Only 8 more days til summer vacation. (Yep - this teacher is counting down just as excitedly as the students!)



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Copper Penny Carrot Salad

Hello everyone!

Finally today, we are getting some much needed sun in my part of Canada.
Don't get  me wrong - all of the rain we have been having has been very helpful in keeping our grass green and getting my veg patch to start growing . . . 


I am in the mood for sunny warmth and  . . . 

BBQ season!!

(Country Living)

This past weekend we hosted our first family BBQ of the summer. Hubs barbequed a huge hunk of beef and put together a yummy potato salad.  

I was in charge of the colourful veggie side dish.  


Well actually - I was in charge of the colourful veggie side dish THAT THE KIDS WOULD EAT!!

Much harder.

Hubby and I are calling this summer "The Vegetable Summer."

This is the year that our 8,7 and 4 year old will be introduced to a variety of new veggies - from the market, from the grocery store and from our garden.  

So far we have successfully introduced asparagus and tomatoes (both cherry and roma).  
Our children prefer their asparagus grilled with salt and pepper and their tomatoes  dipped in ranch dressing or  turned into freshly made salsa.  

So far so good - and it's only June!

Our kids eat carrots.  Raw and cooked.
However, they are NOT good with any kind of salad dressing.  
My end goal for the summer is to get them eating a lettuce salad complete with salad dressing.  

So as a compromise, I made this carrot salad with dressing  so that the kids can eat a veggie they like while being introduced to dressing ( Eww!)

Here is the recipe I made:

Copper Penny Carrot Salad


3 lbs carrots
 1 tsp salt
1 lg. onion
1 green pepper
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp grainy mustard

1.  Peel carrots and cut off ends.

2. Slice carrots into circular slices  (These circles resemble pennies - hence the name of the salad!)

3. Cook the carrots for approximately 5 minutes in salted boiling water.  

4.  While the carrots are cooking,  cut onion and green pepper into 1/2 inch pieces. 

5.  Make the dressing :  Whisk the soup, sugar, vinegar, mustard and oil together in a bowl.  

6. Pour dressing over carrots, peppers and onions.

7.  Chill and serve.

**This salad is best served a few hours after preparation. **

Mmm...doesn't this look like a delicious BBQ meal??

Interested in any of my other favourite salads?

Click on the titles and you'll be taken to my other delicious salad recipes!

Thanks for coming around for a visit
thank-you so much for all of your comments.  

I am excited to read each and every one of them!

Hugs to you and yours!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Hoop Art Collection

Hoop art has been  pretty trendy lately.
People have whole Pinterest boards dedicated to it.  I guess it is because you  can find something to put into a hoop not matter what style your home is.  

It can be as simple as  pretty pieces of fabric hooped up and hung together . . .

. . . or more intricate designs using  stitching, patchwork,  and applique.

I recently picked up a pack of 6 wooden hoops at a thrift shop.  I paid less than $3.00. Obviously the person pricing these coveted items has no idea about their current trendiness!

My plan was to turn at least 3 of these hoops into art for my daughter's bedroom makeover.  

I shared how I made this hoop out of an well-loved piece of clothing  HERE.

For a second hoop I  stitched this Matroyska doll out of some pretty pastel threads. 

Once she was hooped up, I glued on a ruffle of pink crepe paper to add some texture and size to the hoop.  

For a third hoop, I gathered some pink and blue  fabrics . . .

. . . which I turned into hexagons.

I stitched them all together. . .  and 
into the hoop went my pretty, pastel patchwork.

I edged this hoop with a length of delicate lace given to me by my husband's grandmother.  

And up on the wall they went!

Slowly her newly painted walls are filling with some home-made love.  
My daughter loves that so many of the things in her bedroom are "one-of-a-kinds."

Original - just like her!

Sunshine to you all,