Saturday, May 31, 2014

Vacation 2014 Day 1

I don't have many pictures from yesterday because I was too excited to take any.

We got to the airport about 5 minutes before Emily, Ryan, and Graysen came through the door to where we were waiting.  I actually had tears in my eyes when I saw that baby.  Seeing pictures is nothing like seeing the real thing - a toddler now and knowing what she wants and where she wants to go.  I was a little worried about her reaction to us, not having seen me in 6 months and Mike in 3, but she gave me a sweet little grin over Emily's shoulder, and her eyes showed recognition of the bird calls (I guess that's what they were) Mike was making.

They tried to put her little backpack on, and that was not what she wanted.  Legs all of a sudden wouldn't work, and she made it known vocally that that was not the right decision.
She's so adaptable, though, her bad moods and pouty faces only last a minute, and she's easily distracted.

She slept on the trip home but woke up when we got home.  She met Great-Grandma and smiled and held out her arms but wouldn't sit in her lap.  Later on, GG got out her necklaces, and that was a big hit.  They sat on the bed and went through them all, and Graysen must have said, "Wow" and "Ooohh" 100 times.  She spent 30 minutes or more putting them into a cup and taking them out and opening and closing the boxes.  I think there are pictures in someone's camera; I'll get them later.

I think her favorite thing in our house was her little blue chair.  Once she got used to it, she was either sitting in it or, more often, carrying it.  Mike said she was using it like her lion tamer's chair to keep her grandparents at bay.

These pictures were taken right after we got home, and she was still in the trying-to-figure-out-these-people mood.

I'm up before everyone else and just enjoying the quiet time before a very busy day.  Stephanie and Gray will arrive around noon.  The have just had their 17th wedding anniversary, and Emily and Ryan had their 5th one yesterday, so we'll have cake and barbecue and lots of fun.

I love my refrigerator this morning.  Top shelf:  Graysen's milk, banana bread, and everything else we could pile up there.  Second one:  Mama's week's supply of McDonald's apple pies, leftover crawfish, broccoli salad and G's sweet little bottles and cups.  Third shelf:  Smoked brisket, smoked macaroni, barbecue sauce, and deviled eggs.  Bottom shelf:  Anniversary cake from Costco.  I've heard their cakes are really good, so we'll see.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Where Did May Go?

Unbelievable how fast time seems to be passing.

I've had an ongoing list of things to do, buy, pack, take care of, etc, before we leave on our trip - which is suddenly this weekend.  I started April 30th and am finally caught up except these last 2 days are so full, I wish I could have gotten some of the things done earlier in the month.

This is what we're doing at 4:00 in the morning.

The most exciting package has been delivered.

The old blower was 20 years old and had done its job well through those years.  I asked for particulars on the new one, and I heard only that its AC powered and extremely powerful.  I think that's a warning to the cats and me to stay out of the way.

Once the dining room chairs got their makeover, Mike started on the breakfast room chair, one of which has been a little shaky since we got it and more over the years.

I like to think my quilting and sewing books are useful.

Here is my early morning activity.

Doing my assignment for the sew-along.  Not sure why this pattern piece is upside down, but it's the lining and won't matter.

I love sew-alongs because they force me to finish things, or at least give it a good try to avoid being embarrassed in front of all the others.  I should never have started this in the busiest month of the year, but it's very informal - just the leader and one other person, and they're aware that I won't even have a sewing machine next week.

It's through Adorable Heirlooms, a sweet online heirloom shop that I've ordered from before.  Laurie is very talented and has the best way of teaching and suggesting things.  We have a private Facebook page where we have times set up to chat and can post pictures and ask questions any time.  

The pattern is Baby Playsuit #123 by Michie Mooney.  I decided to do the skirted version.

The fabric is a beautiful micro-gingham and is a polycotton for no ironing - hopefully.  

I got 2 kinds of piping and some perfect yellow buttons.  I also ordered some yellow and white whipstitch piping but like the slicker yellow best.  In the picture above, I was considering putting Graysen's monogram on it.

I then considered 2 other options.

A smocked insert from one of Laurie's designs.  Ignore that bottom row.  I pleated one too few rows and was having to smock on the holding row - and I notice now that it's the wrong blue.  Not sure where that one came from.  The middle row will have yellow colonial knot flowers to match the piping and buttons.

But then for several reasons, I decided to use this machine embroidered faux smocking from Applique Junkie.

I'll either get some more royal gingham or possibly use some yellow that I already have for a dress or jumper and use the smocking for that.

I also decided to add a ruffle around the armhole edges, so that's where I am right now.  

I may be a little behind when we have our chat Monday night.  I'll join in from the beach but won't have anything to add.  The other participant is Ann from New Jersey.  Laurie is from Michigan.  Who says heirloom smocking and sewing is only for the South?  We had a nice discussion on the last chat about how babies should be dressed like babies and not like miniature grownups - I think we're in the minority nowadays, but we're sticking with our guns.

Well -- that green bathroom.  In spite of all my looking at sample bathrooms and sample colors and Mike testing lots of colors, it still ended up being - not what I wanted.  When it was all over and there was a splotch of green paint on the floor, it looked exactly like lime sherbet.  

The color is actually not as lime as the above picture shows but not as pretty as the one below.  Mike likes the fact that Mama uses Bed Head hairspray.  There's still a little touching up and neatening to do, but it's good to have that over with.

She says she likes it, and I know it's an improvement over this.

But sometimes at night when I look down the hall and see that green glow coming from the bathroom, I have my doubts.  

No pictures of Graysen today.  Starting tomorrow night, that sweet baby will have a camera in her face more than she wants for a week.  And a good many of them will end up here!

So instead Darby and Stella/Molly still trying to understand why humans are in their room in the middle of the night.

Darby got a new haircut yesterday, and we finally found an excellent groomer who did a great job and managed to leave her with a little feminine wave to her ears and tail while getting rid of ALL that hair she seems to grow.  She doesn't look that happy about it, but she turns into a puppy again when she comes home with short hair.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chair Success

Sewing has taken a back seat to house sprucing up lately.  Inside and out.

I consulted my long, long list of things I wanted to have done by May 30th and decided to go ahead and finish those dining chairs.

After taking off the old striped fabric and finding even older tapestry fabric underneath, I decided to use the yellow and coral fabric that has been around for years.

It was just a matter of making myself get started because it was so easy I should have done it a long time ago.

Mike took off the seats and the outer fabric, and I placed the fabric and decided if I wanted the same pattern on each or just random flowers.  I was lucky enough to have 6  repeats of this design so I cut the first one and then laid the other 5 on top of it and matching up all 4 sides.  It worked pretty well.

I wasn't really concerned with centering the design but just placing each one in a pleasing pattern.

The hardest part of the stapling was running out of staples and having to find a YouTube video on how to change them.  It went fast and was very satisfying to see 6 neat little seats appear.

I like them.  Unfortunately, the dining table is one of our staging places for the vacation, so I can't see them in their place yet.

We're getting closer to painting today.  I went back and forth over those shades of green on the wall and finally settled on Restful.  And then today I found on the closet floor a folded paint sample with the color Rejuvenate on it - which was a shade lighter than the Restful.  So without even getting a sample and trying it, Mike is on the way to Home Depot to get it and bring it home.

He caulked and muttered and scraped and stomped around and muttered a little more yesterday but got the trim and doors painted and most of the flaws hidden, and I think it is ready to paint.  We pick Mama up tomorrow, so we better get most of it done today or we'll be sharing a bathroom tomorrow.

We also go to the counter top place in Birmingham to bring home some bigger samples (to try to talk people into helping me make up my mind) and check out the sinks.  I can see painting that kitchen before the summer is over.

The back yard is pretty at twilight.  I can't decide if I like it better then or early in the morning.

 That poor maple tree has been rejuvenated so many times and lost another limb during this past rain.  It's doomed, I'm afraid, but I want to hold onto it as long as I can for a little bit of shade.

Soon it will be harvest time.

There are so many squash and almost big enough to pick.

It will be awhile for these little tomatoes.  These are Roma ones, and we have some Better Boy in a pot with about 3 tomatoes on it.

The banana pepper babies are so cute.  I wonder if you can kill them by looking at them in awe several times a day and maybe touching them.  Same with the tomatoes.  Maybe they'll feel loved and be delicious.

The pet barrier worked at first and still works for Darby.  I saw her jump into the bed and get her feet tangled and jump out quickly again.

But Stella/Molly with her delicate tread likes to check out the new seedlings.  I should plant them some catnip.

A silly picture of Darby.  Her DUH look.  She's always in trouble this spring for digging.  She's never done it before, but I think all this new soil is too tempting for her, especially when a lizard or a bug is around.

I don't have any new pictures of Graysen in the past few days.  I need to start whining about it, I guess.  Maybe we'll skype today.

I can't remember which pictures I've already posted, but there are a few I got last month.  Some Easter ones and some from a fun day out with Mom and Aunt Karen.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Green is a Hard Color

And is driving me crazy!

I've about decided on green for Mama's bathroom. for several reason.  It will probably go with the fixtures and shower curtain I already have.  It will go with the neutral colors we have planned for the hall.  It's one of Mama's favorite colors - green and peach.

But it's not that easy.  I finally picked out 4 shades but couldn't narrow them down enough to buy the actual paint, so I went to Home Depot and had them mix four that I liked.

Got them home, Mike painted samples, and I don't love any of them.

From the above pictures, #3 looks like the winner, but on the wall, it is just too mint-y.

So he went bigger.

The last one is the one I'm leaning toward now.

This is an old picture from Roy and Eleanor's house, and the mat is probably faded by now, but this is the color I want in the kitchen when we paint it.

If I could find it, I would buy it today, but I'm about to lose hope of finding it.  We painted our sunroom in Meridian Lima Bean Green and loved it so much.  It may be that anything was beautiful after pulling down the grape arbor wallpaper, which is how I'm going to feel about this magnolia stuff.  

I think we'll have to get away from Behr, although that's what we seem to always use because it's so convenient to go to Home Depot, and we have our own coffee cups there.  Not really, but we are recognized from the paint section to the countertop section.  Is that a good thing or not?

After doing a few Google searches with the names (Celtic Gray, Restful, and Valley Mist), none of them look bad in rooms that I've seen.  I ruled out the darker color and probably the mintier one and will choose between Celtic Gray and Restful.

This is progress.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beach Sewing

 I found a set of 4 little colorful bags at I think Hobby Lobby years ago, and they've been sitting around in the sewing room.  It's the perfect size for packing a few beach toys and shoes for Graysen.  This is an old whale design from Embroidery Boutique,  I notice they have some cuter ones now - on sale.

Here is the finished Children's Corner Frannie Baby.  I love how it turned out and will make this pattern again.

Instead of ribbon under the arms, I just unsewed some of the lime gingham purchased piping and refolded it.  I wanted to use that to cover the button on the back, but it was a just a teeny bit narrow, so I had to use some green gingham I had that was close enough.

Now keeping fingers crossed it will fit.

Another dress I just finished was this Monkey Tails blank that I got at My Kids Attic.

I liked one bird but liked the tail of another one, the Swirly Bird from Applique For Kids, so I merged the two and got this.

It's perfect and just what I wanted, but I made 2 mistakes.  I thought the designs was going to be too big, so I ran it around the side a little, and it ended up being too far around to the side.

The other mistake was not using more of a contrasting color for the tail.   It shows up better in person.  I thought the stitch was going to be thicker, but it was a good learning experience.  I'll use it again and do better next time.

Here we go again with wallpaper stripping.

This is Mama's bathroom, and I'm still puzzled why someone thought this was an attractive wallpaper.

I think it's supposed to put you in mind of an old European city - or something - but I still see collared pigs running every time I look at it.

Mama hasn't complained about it and probably never even looked closely at it.  I asked what color she wanted, and she said something light - not red or blue.  So no primary colors, I guess.  I have a gold shower curtain that I'd like to keep, but it's already so neutral in there that I might try a different color.  It would be easily re-paintable later on if it doesn't work.

I used to love to listen to audio books when I did mundane things, but I've gotten behind times on CDs and players, etc.  I have been enjoying (too much) The Good Wife, another Amazon Prime free offering.  I'm on Season 3 - with 5 more seasons stretching in front of me, so it was easy enough to set up my computer to listen (and watch a little) while I worked.  You really miss a lot not seeing facial expressions, especially in the court scenes, so it's not ideal.

Today is my favorite baby's birthday - 15 months.  She's having so many adventures it's hard to keep up with her.  She rode a ferry and picnicked on Bainbridge Island yesterday. 

With her little sand bucket and shovel, she's getting ready for the Gulf of Mexico beaches.