Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pumping Out the Pillowcases

This last week, I didn't once touch the Titans blanket I've been working on. Instead, I had a different project. I made 21 pillowcases.

It may not sound like much, but to me, it was fairly cathartic, (nevermind the fact that I have a hard time sewing a straight line and I swear like I've got Tourette Syndrome when I sew). It was all material that my mom bought to sew stuff for my sister's daughter. I brought all of her sewing stuff home with me when we were there last.

It was a combination of Disney, Sesame Street, Raggedy Ann & Andy, various prints, and even a Spider-Man. I texted my sister and asked her about either curtains or pillowcases. She thought pillowcases would be a good idea.

I started out with the idea that I'd make all the pillowcases just for Eden. However, there was SO MUCH fabric, it would have been too much. So I made just about all the fabric into pillowcases and started sorting them. Most of them are going to Eden. A few of them are going to another niece, three nephews and Nicole the Knitter's god daughter.

I did have some material left over that I could have pieced together into a couple more pillowcases, but I was ready to hurl if I had to look at Elmo for much freaking longer. I bagged up all the leftover pieces, and even included my own leftover fabric (some stuff from a couple of Craftster swaps and the Jedi costume), posted it on Craigslist, and got rid of it tonight. It was a crafting purge and it felt good.

I needed to do SOMETHING with Mom's fabric. Leaving it to sit in a box in my crafting room wasn't going to accomplish anything. I don't think my mom would have approved. I mean, I don't like to save things for a special occasion...what the hell kind of special occasion was going to come up where I'd need several yards of various Sesame Street fabric? Eden, and the rest of the kids, are going to grow up and eventually not care about that kind of stuff anymore, so now was the time to get it done. Besides, I like the idea that every kid in our family, and some friends' families, get handmade things from me. It just seems like a nice idea that someone thought enough about someone else to make something for them. I don't make entire gifts, but I do use my (limited) crafting and crochet skills to supplement store bought gifts.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another Fantasy Room

In May, I entered a contest with Grandin Road that I didn't win. Since then, I've been thinking more about interior design. My home is shabby chic, because that's what I personally like. I like cobbling together a room, or a "look" or a theme, from several different sources.

For example, in our living room, we have:

  • a low entertainment center from Ashley Furniture for our TV
  • a cat stand
  • the bench I got for free, and refinished, from Nicole the Knitter
  • a leather recliner and dual recliner sofa from a local furniture store that went out of business years ago
  • a 50 gal fish tank on a faux oak stand
  • a short glass topped table from my great aunt Ellen
  • 2 matching dark wood pedestal tables from my mom from Hancock Fabrics
  • a homemade wine bottle lamp
  • 2 matching homemade shell filled canister lamps
  • and then all the assorted things that also go into a living room
This is not catalog living here. It's comfortable, and that's what I like. However, since I do really like the Grandin Road furniture (hell, I even liked the over-priced furniture that Hancock's was trying to sell years ago!), I felt compelled to put together another room from the most recent catalog. I did a front porch and a living room for the contest. 

This is what I'd put into my Orange Office (click the picture to embiggen this bad boy...it's a large image). This is a room for working, not so much entertainment, so I'd keep the knick knacks and personal photos/mementos to a minimum, for better concentration.


  • I'd paint one of the walls with Behr Paint 250B-5 (Orange Spice) in an eggshell finish.
  • The other three walls would be painted with Behr Paint in 730C-3 (Castle Path) in a matte finish.
  • For the floor, I'd go with a wood pallet plank floor, and while I'd seal the floor, I'd want to leave it a little rustic and rough looking. No stain.
  • Window treatments would  be bamboo shades. It would bring another texture into the room and it would play off the color scheme I've got going on. I've got tortoise shell bamboo blinds in our bedroom and I love them!
  • I'd tie the room together with the 7'10"x 9'10" Damask Outdoor Rug in Neutral, now on sale for $199, regularly $249. I really need to break down and get one of these for our living room. I don't care that it's an outdoor rug. Between regular house traffic, a dog and a cat, I bet these suckers hold up remarkably well.
  • The "Street Car" artwork is 40"x 68", at $229. It would be hung on the Orange Spice wall.
  • Up against the wall with the "Street Car" art, I'd have the Westerfield Tufted Ottoman in Sunset ($249). This would be the half of the guest seating.
  • The nearly 24" long Hamilton Pen Sculpture would hang over hand-carved Waverly Chest. The pen runs $129. It would be hung on a wall opposite the "Street Car" art, on one of the Castle Path walls. 
  • Underneath the pen (and close to the desk) would be the hand-carved Waverly Chest, for $399.
  • The Scallop Copper Tray ($199) would sit on the chest.
  • I would have two of the Mabry Leather Club Chairs (I believe this color was called Weathered Dove). These are $399 each. This would be the other half of the guest seating, and I'd have these floating in the center of the room, facing the desk.
  • An Artisan-Crafted Riveted Drum Table ($299) would sit between the club chairs.
  • The Valencia Side Chair in Camel ($299 for a set of 2, even though I only want 1) would be paired with the Nielson Desk ($499). I would have the desk floating as well, in the room, facing the club chairs.
  • The orange Lydia Lamp ($79) and the Richmond Clock ($129) would sit on the desk.
  • I'd have two of the copper domed lights ($99 each), and one of the glass bell lights ($89 each), hung from the ceiling near the Waverly Chest.
  • The Lyon "Vintage Gate" artwork ($169) would be hung close to the desk, also on a Castle Path wall.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Sewing Machine Cabinet Continues

I managed to get the drawers stripped and sanded tonight, instead of going to the gym. I did make up for the gym by riding my bike about six miles tonight around the neighborhood.

Before, with stripper working on the drawers.

After being sanded.  The darker two drawers with cleaned with Murphy's Oil Soap because I ran out of wood cleaner to get rid of the sawdust.
I have been learning already from this project:
  • Strip the wood first, and then worry about the sanding. I did it in reverse with my little bench. :)
  • When you are using the wood cleaner to remove the stripper residue, it seems to work better if you pour it on the wood directly, let it sit for a moment and then start wiping it away. Think about using it the same way you apply wood stain. The stain I removed here turned very thick and goopy and sticky. Rubbing it off by hand didn't do enough.
  • When you are using the wood cleaner to remove sawdust after sanding, apply it with a rag. If you pour it on here, the wood takes on a white/ashy look when it dries. At least, this old mahogany did.
  • Make your local dollar store your best friend. Get yourself a plastic or silicone basting brush and a dough scraper, as well as rubber gloves. I got a Betty Crocker brush and scraper at my local Dollar Tree for applying and scraping off the stripper, and they are AWESOME!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

I Went On Safari, Finally!

Finally, on Saturday (yesterday), I went to the Virginia Safari Park with Michelle the Cook and Nicole the Knitter.

I rented a car here in town on Friday night, and we finally got on the road about 8:30 AM. Be forewarned...if you travel with smokers, expect your stops to be longer. Or, if you've got a friend with a tiny bladder, expect your stops to be more frequent. Me....I had both of those scenarios going on!

But we finally got there and had a good time! The drive through park now has a nice sized zoo with lots of animals to see, even before you start the drive-through portion.





I'm happy to report there was no damage to the car (I wasn't going to take my nice car up there, and risk a random animal chewing on it...I had that happen once with the Blazer the first time I went to this park several years ago). However, a zebra did lick Michelle's window, a llama snorted on her arm, a bison stole the entire food bucket right out of Nicole's hands, and pieces of food was left behind on the outside of the car. All in all, it was a pretty good day trip. There was lots of laughing and snorting, of the human variety! So that's another thing I can cross off my bucket list.

Afterwards, we stopped at the Edleweiss German Restaurant in Staunton, VA, which was about 20-30 minutes away from the park. The food was good, but the service was pretty bad. It may have had something to do with them being completely slammed that night, or maybe because we looked to be the liveliest group in the restaurant that evening.
  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy sub, but my husband and I don't know anyone that works on board a sub.
  • I'd like to take a tour of a Navy ship that most people will never get to go on.
  • I'd love to go for a ride in a fighter jet of some kind.
  • I want to go jet skiing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • I want to go scuba diving or snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  • I want to go to the top of the Washington Monument. 
  • I want to go to NYC, and see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Twin Towers, and go to a show of some sort. We went there in 2000 and saw The Late Show with David Letterman.
  • I want to go to the Saint Louis Arch. We did this in 1999.
  • I want to go to Niagara Falls.. We did this in 2000.
  • I want to go to Universal Studios Florida.. We did this in 2001 and I'd love to do it again!
  • I want to go to the Poconos and stay in one of their themed suites. We did this in 2006 and stayed at Caesar's in the champagne glass suite.
  • I want to stay in a themed suit at the HoJo in Florence, KY.
  • I want to get a memorial tattoo in honor of my mom and my mother-in-law.
  • I want to write a bad sci-fi horror script and present it to the Sy-Fy Channel and to The Asylum to see if they'd be willing to make it into an actual movie.--I'm actually writing a screenplay right now!
  • I want to finally order the "Hell's Admin Assistant" patch for my motorcycle jacket that I've been thinking about for years.--I figure it's a funny alternative to a Hell's Angel patch, which I'm clearly not a member of Hell's Angels. I ordered one from Star City Stitchery!  
  • I'd like to cuddle a baby gorilla. I really don't know where this one comes from, but aren't baby gorillas the cutest babies EVER??!
  • I want to take a painting class, a la Bob Ross.
  • I want to go hang gliding in Kill Devil Hills, NC.
  • I want to see the archaeological dig at the Jamestown Settlement.
  • I want to go charter boat fishing in the Atlantic Ocean: I tried doing this in 2012, but the water was really rough that day. I didn't catch anything but I sure made a lot of chum!
  • I want to go to the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • I want to see KISS in concert, in the make-up. 
  • I will get a job at some kind of animal shelter, and I'm going to be damn good at whatever I end up doing there. 
  • I will get at least one old, beat up piece of wood furniture, save it from going to the landfill, and refinish it. I've got another piece to start. :)
  • I'd like to go on an LCAC ride with my husband before he transfers to his new command. I had to cross this one off finally, because Shane left this command already. This bummed me out. I never got a ride on an LCAC out on the bay. Some of his family members did, and even though I offered to take any number of half days off from work, I never got to ride. 
  • I will go to see the Booth Trail in 2013. 
  • I will go to Natural Bridge, VA and the Shenandoah Valley and stay in a cabin in the woods
  • I will go to Hiddenite Gems, an emerald mine open to the public, in NC. 
  • I will go to the Richmond Zoo and the Virginia Zoo (they have done a lot of remodeling and I haven't been there for a several years). 
  • I can't drive a clutch and have no desire to learn, but I'd like to go for a ride in a 1957 Chevy BelAire and a mid-80's Lamborghini Countach.
  • I'd like to sit in any of the Batmobiles, ECTO-1 from Ghostbusters, KITT from Knight Rider, and the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • I will go to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. 
  • I want to go to Rhode Island, Boston and Seattle, just for the sake of going.
  • I want to go to Tokyo some day.--I've been to Hanoi and Hue, Vietnam, but it wasn't close enough.
  • I want to see the pyramids and sphinx in Egypt. 
  • I'd love to see the Mona Lisa (she's in the Louvre in Paris) and The Scream (there are a couple, two of them are in Munich). 
  • I want to go to London, and maybe look for the TARDIS and the Doctor. 
  • I want to go to San Diego to see my best friend, go to Comic Con, wear a costume, take lots of photos, find an awesome looking Spider-Man so I can give him a hug for just being Spidey, and then walk a beach on the Pacific Ocean, looking for shells. 
  • I'd like to go to a taping of "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" if we ever go to California. 
  • I want to have at least one great, wildly creative crochet pattern published in a real book somewhere. 
  • I'd like to have our yard be featured for our Halloween decorations with a local tv station, so people might understand you don't have to spend big bucks on decorations and still put together a great display (I say this because we don't go as crazy for Christmas decorations). 
  • I'd like to win a challenge on Craftster. 
  • I'd like to compete on Craft Wars on TLC. I had to cross this one off too, because I'm pretty sure it's no longer on the air. I can't find any updated information on it. 
  • I will finish the Jedi costume finally and I will join the Rebel Legion
  • I will finish the doll house I started several years ago. 
  • I want to go to Ohio and see Ralphie Harper's house from The Christmas Story. 
  • I want to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert, and maybe even the Bangles if I ever get to California. 
  • I want to see the Barenaked Ladies again, the next time they come to Hampton Roads.
  • I want to take my friends to the Virginia Safari drive through park in Stanton, VA.--Did this in July 2014.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Update on the Titans Blanket

We had family visiting us for two weeks, so I didn't get a lot done on the blanket during that time.



The first T and the S in Titans are the only lettering on the bottom of the blanket that are not yet completed. I think I might add in a few more rows of navy blue before I add the TENNESSEE part in, just to make it a little longer.

Plus, I started going back to the gym last night. I haven't been there since before Mom passed away and it's time to get (or at least try) to get back in the swing of things...plus, I gained 10 lbs this last year. I'm also going to start riding my bike more.

And I managed to get my first mammogram done today. Gotta be proactive!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Did Some Fishing Last Night

We took my father-in-law and a nephew to the fishing pier on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge last night. My nephew caught the only fish of the night (a croaker), and I hooked three cownose rays. My third ray and my husband's only  ray each managed to break our lines as we were bringing them up.

It was pretty damn cool! Loads of sting rays being brought up, unhooked and tossed back into the water.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Well Lookie Here

Lou Ferrigno liked a Tweet I sent him! Whoo hoo!

I am SUCH a geek! :)