December 31, 2013

We're about to ring in a New Year tonight. 2014! I feel like 2013 just flew by. I've been super busy around here doing all sorts of projects and things. I'm sad that I haven't really had the time to show it all to you. Hopefully in the new year I'll be better about that. At least, that's my plan!

I'm partying tonight with my family - just us. We're going to have tons of fun - but I'm keeping it simple. Because if I was having a real New Year's Eve party I'd be going all out. (Or at least trying to.) Have fun tonight everyone! May 2014 be all that you want it to be!

November 23, 2013

Thanks to Molly for giving me the heads up on this. Some of you will be thrilled with this announcement. Silhouette has developed Silhouette Connect. It's a plug-in for Illustrator and Corel Draw users to cut directly from their software to the Silhouette Cameo and Potrait (and I'm assuming their older Silhouette SD and Original). This is available for Windows XP and higher as well as Mac OS X 10.6.8. It's a really great price at $39.99 and is available to automatically download! I am currently waiting for my software to download in order to play around with it. I'm sure this news will thrill others just as much as it does me!


November 10, 2013

Well I did it. I went outside of my comfort zone and entered a design contest. Usually I see them on Ployvore and think they look cool, but that there's no way I could win. But for some reason (perhaps the reward) I was really intrigued by this design challenge.

The challenge from Polyvore and 2Modern was to "Create a contemporary living room with a softer, natural touch." In another description they explained a little more of what they were looking for. "Beehive-shaped lamps, caterpillar-curves on a chair -- nature inspires design. Show us how you would create a contemporary, organic room."

So the first thing I did was look for an inspiration piece to design around. The orange Anana Poof from Aqua Creation's Furniture line is made from a super luscious material - but it is even named after it's inspiration - the Pineapple. (Anana is pineapple in Spanish.)

Aqua Creations
Aqua Creations   (clipped to polyvore.com)

I knew I wanted to pull in the bright colors of fall to make the room feel more rich and natural - so I chose orange, blue and green as my pallet. I like to show people that bright colors aren't just for paint or artwork.

Then I searched for items with organic fabrics, recycled materials and other nature inspired elements. The sectional from Environment Furniture was made recycled army tent canvas. I was so surprised by that but I love it.

Sofa   (see more modular sofas)

I think what surprised me when I finally sat back and looked at the room was how warm and inviting it felt. I pulled many modern elements in and used items from 2Modern and while a lot of it is modern, there is a much more inviting feel to this room than I usually see in modern design.

Here's my entry to the contest! What do you all think? Does it feel like organic modernism?

October 26, 2013

While putting together the plans for our Halloween party - I whipped up this image. It was a great visual checklist for me while preparing everything. It was also really nice to use to get back to links instead of having 10 tabs open.


The Party was so much fun. All together there were 5 adults and 17 kids. There was lots of playing indoors and out. Good food was enjoyed by all. Sadly, I had no idea my husband had stuck dry ice in the freezer that morning, or I would have pulled that out to use as well. But honestly, it was a whole lot of fun. Here's a few photos of some of the details:

Halloween Party

Spiders Eggs

Zombie Teeth

October 25, 2013

The day school let out this year we flew out of town and basically we were on the go since then. I counted up a total of 5 weeks either traveling or having company this summer. So if you wondered where I was - I've been BUSY. That didn't stop after school started up and the clouds of dust settled. We're currently working on repairing our deck. Amid that mess I realized how little I canned this summer (ie. Nothing at all.) Suddenly, I felt this overwhelming urge to stock my bare shelves and a Costco trip did not suffice. I needed more.

When I placed my produce order I can guarantee you I wasn't thinking properly. I ordered WAY too much for a sane person to do. Can-O-Rama 2013 commenced. I was worried I'd have some produce go bad by getting it all at once, but I lost 1/2 a pineapple out of 16 and 5 tomatoes out of 60lbs. Not bad. Just over a week later I finished and I have to say I'm so happy with the results!

13 Quarts of Pears
26.5 Pints of Pineapple (in 37 Jars)
16 Pints Stewed Tomatoes
15 Pints Regular Salsa
6.5 Pints Hot Salsa (in 8 Jars total)
23 Pints Zucchini Salsa (in 26 Jars total)

Hot Salsa

Zucshini Salsa

+ 4 Large Bags of Concord Grapes in the Freezer to be juiced in a few weeks when I'm ready to can again.

Had I read this post from NW Edible prior to canning I may also have a few jars of tomato sauce. Maybe next time.

Altogether that was 99 jars through the canner! The hardest part of it all is finding room to put it all in my pantry! Thankfully this new house has a big Garage!

Pantry Full of Canned Goods

Canning In Garage

As if that wasn't enough for me. Just weeks later I found my self experimenting with Pressure Canning Chicken from Zaycon Foods. I followed all directions in the Pressure Canner's Manual. It turned out super easy and super delicious! 36 pints from 40lbs! It doesn't look all that pretty - but here's one batch (18 jars) for you to see. (This is nothing like Canned Chicken you buy in a store.) I also found this post from The Sister's Cafe helpful. (I didn't use Bouillon though.)

Pressure Canned Chicken

I still have a lot of frozen fruit to make jam and jelly with this year.

One thing that kept me sane through all of the canning was a message thread back and forth between myself and some friends of mine that also can. It was fun to get pointers from them, learn some new things and get the boost of support I needed to make it through that week! (Thanks girls!)

Do any of you can? Do you have a favorite recipe? Feel free to share!

June 5, 2013

For quite some time now I have been a Pinterest user. You can find me HERE. The inner geek sometimes makes me get frustrated wtih programs I use and how they could be better. So I contact companies with my suggestions. No - I'm not saying it was solely my idea (I'd like to think they did this just for me though.) but today Pinterest announced that you can finally search your own boards! Huzzah! My main frustration with Pinterest is now eliminated.

How do you do it? In the search bar up top enter the words you are searching for. When the results come up click on "Just my pins" in the upper left corner of the results. Suddenly that impossible to find Lime Chicken Enchilada recipe that you pinned and tried and liked and then lost among your pins got a whole lot easier to find!


Thanks Pinterest! Now if they could only program in my one last request: to be able to type the board name to find it in the drop down box when I'm pinning - that would make pinning a whole lot faster!

June 3, 2013

I kind of dropped of the end of the online universe lately. Life has been busy. I've been working really hard to get my home and life organized, spending a lot of time outside in my glorious yard with the kids, and working on crafts instead of blogging about them. One proud accomplishment was updating a website last month. A friend of mine wanted to freshen up her website. It is hosted on Weebly and they have lots of design options so I wasn't even required to code too much. The logo was re-designed by another company near her but I colored it in for the site. It was fun collaborating with her on this.

Sunrise Studios Website Before

Sunrise Before

Sunrise Studios Website After

Sunrise After

Sunrise Studios is a great studio with all sorts of classes offered. If you live near Kent East Hill, you should check out all that this company has to offer.

If you are looking into creating a website for your business but aren't sure where to begin, Weebly.com is free (with various upgrades at additional prices) and is relatively easy to use.

April 30, 2013

Just about two weeks ago I heard some drumming in the house. I thought it was one of the kids but quickly realized it wasn't anyone inside the house. No, we were under attack! Two woodpeckers found our home a perfect place to peck at. I quickly scared them away but they came back. WARNING: If you hear woodpeckers at your house scare them away for good right away. I wasn't that smart - but I've learned my lesson.

Woodpecker Solution

Our woodpeckers were beautiful Northern Flickers. Don't be fooled, as beautiful as the bird is - you don't want it pecking on your house!

Just a week later I woke up way too early with the kids. They watched shows while cuddling their sleepy mom on the couch. About two hours later I realized that there had been drumming that entire time, but it was way too early for the neighbors to be out working on a project. That's when I bolted from my seat, ran out the patio door, and quickly scared away another woodpecker. This is what I saw next:

Woodpecker Attack Insulation

Woodpecker Attack House Siding

There were two woodpeckers and we're certain they were trying to make our house a home. I searched for all sorts of solutions but most of them were things like: call animal control, buy this spray (which took 5-7 days to arrive), buy a fake owl, hang some reflective things up, etc. So I kept looking for something cheap. Finally I found THIS PAGE. Seriously, if you are under attack - the suggestions there are great!

After a quick read of their suggestions my husband got excited. He quickly ran out and purchased a water gun and hot sauce. He loaded the water gun with hot sauce and soaked the entire wall of the area where the woodpeckers were visiting. (Don't worry, our kids will not be using that gun ever.) The next morning they were back, as usual. The two woodpeckers landed and pecked. My husband ran out ready to scare them away. After two pecks they flew away before he could even scare them. They haven't come back since! Yay HOT SAUCE! My husband rocks! Now to get the hole repaired so we don't have other surprise visitors.

Woodpecker Repellent

*One of our friends (who owns a Pest Control Business) also recommended Bird-X Scare Eye Balloon from Amazon.com. He says many people he refers to them have success.

April 25, 2013

I've been so excited with all the changes in lighting around here. In our great room we removed the track light that ran on the edge of the room. It was good at lighting the room when the spotlights were pointed towards the roof, but then they were in-your-face lights. You know how that is - like when the sun shines in through a window and blinds you in your seat. It wasn't quite that blinding, but much more annoying because it never went away.

Taken the night before we moved in! That old couch is no longer there.

It took me some time (4.5 months to be exact) to decide what to do with the lights. What I wanted was the same amount of light, division of spaces and versatility. I didn't want the new lighting to prevent me from putting up bookcases, rearranging the room, or changing things around later on down the road.

I finally decided on adding two new recessed lights and putting a light fixture above the table. That fixture could be a chandelier, a special light, or changed to a simple flush mount depending on how the space was being used. You can see in the before and after images I whipped up quickly the differences.

Great Room Lighting

We still have to install the light above the dining room table. Just like with the entry-way chandelier I went through and chose several and then let my husband look at them. Below are our top choices. Which one do you think we got? (That's not our table, just one that I popped in to help me through the thinking process.)

Drum Shade Choices

Drum Shade Choices by maggiemuggins on Polyvore

Hopefully next week we will have the light installed and I can show you some after photos!


April 24, 2013

Years ago, when I was a teenager, I was over at my friends house when the power went out. We had been making some special potato dish for her dinner. I remember that her grandparents were coming over and her grandpa was a picky eater so we had to make sure all the potatoes were pealed perfectly. Anyhow, as we were preparing this dish the power went out. We continued as much as we could in the dimly lit area and then talked and did some other things while we waited. But that potato dish had to be in the oven by a certain time so it continued in the back of our minds as we did the other things. What seemed like hours later (but was probably not even an hour) my friend commented about how we needed power soon and the loudly proclaimed "And then there was light!" That very second the lights came on! It was so awesome - we were stunned and had a great laugh over it. Every time I hear those words, I still think of that story.

Nuvo Harmony Chandelier

I wish it would have been as easy as proclaiming some words this time around. We had the electricians here doing lots of work over the course of 4 days last week. It was noisy, dusty and dirty - but the results were exactly what we hoped for!

One of the first things they did was replace the entry-way chandelier for us. I asked you for suggestions recently - and showed you our top choices. In the end - we didn't go with any of them.

I looked through all my before photos and don't actually have one of the old chandelier. Oops. This is what it looked like:




How We Chose

SIZE
The first reason is we decided two-tier might be too wide of a chandelier for the space. The chandelier hangs right at the bottom of the stairs so the old light actually made my husband feel like he was going to hit his head on it. We needed to be really careful what we replaced it with so we chose a one-tier version of one of our favorites. It also needed to hold about 5 regular bulbs to provide extra light to the adjacent room - which had no lights at all.

COLLECTION
Another factor that influenced our decision was the entire collection. Many light fixtures come in a coordinating collection with chandeliers, flush mount, semi-flush mount, pendants and wall lights all made to match. We're replacing a lot of the other light fixtures in the house so we wanted to be able to use some from the same collection. Some of our top choices we ONLY liked the chandelier in the collection and nothing else.

STYLE
Lastly we chose based on style. We wanted a modern style but something that was still elegant.

PRICE
If the price hadn't been so much higher than the rest ($400 more) my husband would have picked #7 from our top choices. The prices were so much better on the rest of the styles though. Also - we found the lights on LightingDirect.com but purchased them cheaper on Amazon.com.

I have to confess, even after it arrived, even after choosing it, I was still nervous until I saw it hung and lit up. What a HUGE difference it made. The space is so much brighter and the room next to it didn't need the lamps anymore.

Nuvo Harmony Chandelier 2

I'll be back soon to show you some of the other lighting/electrical work we had done.

April 22, 2013

I've used the Silhouette Frosted Vinyl a few times now and it has never disappointed me. I showed you how I used it on my "Everything Has Beauty" artwork last year. I also used it on a mirror - and the results were amazing!

Lauren over at The Thinking Closet has a great post about Frosted Vinyl today. (A really cool blog to read.) Her project is really pretty and the round-up of other projects will likely inspire you to buy a roll to try - if you haven't already!

This is a Nativity Silhouette that I made combining several Silhouette shapes. The frosted vinyl was easy to cut. It did require higher settings than regular vinyl. It's a little more thick.

Frosted Vinyl Nativity on Mirror

It's hard to get a nice close up of this, so this was my best attempt. You'll notice a few bubbles if you look closely. I wasn't careful enough while applying this vinyl.

Frosted Vinyl Nativity

I have to warn you - frosted vinyl sticks REALLY well. So it can be a lot of work to remove it! I left this vinyl up for over a year because it was so hard to remove. On the plus side, if you use it on a vase, or other things you might want to rinse, you won't have to worry about it coming off.

Now, head on over to The Thinking Closet for some more ideas for Frosted Vinyl!

Silhouette Shapes:
(Click on the shapes to link to them in the Silhouette Online Store.)

March 20, 2013

One of the hard things about our new house is the many choices I've been having to make. I love Interior Design and Home Decorating, but I have to confess, that on occasion I feel a little overwhelmed by it all. We're having an electrician come to add some lights to the house as well as add/move switches and outlets. For some reason builders here haven't figured out just how essential lighting is here in the Pacific Northwest. Our 18 year old townhouse had lighting issues (aka: one little 20W spotlight in a large room with a vaulted ceiling . In our new 33 year old house the front (formal living) room has no lights. It has one outlet attached to a switch and that is all. I can't even get both lamps to turn on and off with the switch. Boo. This is a fairly large room with a vaulted ceiling too. It has lots of windows to help during the day and it is open to the entrance which has a dimly-lit chandelier. But at night, there's just not enough light in there.

After much thought, and walking over toys each night to turn off the lamp, I have finally decided what we'll do to make the lighting situation better.

1. We're going to do about 4 recessed lights in the vaulted ceiling. This should create a significant amount of extra light with-out detracting from the chandelier in the entrance.

2. We're going to replace the dimly-lit chandelier with a slightly larger and much brighter one. It will be able to take large bulbs instead of the little 7 watt ones.

I was about to call the electrician and have him over this week when suddenly I realized I still hadn't chosen a new chandelier. After trips to 3 different stores without success, as well as perusing several sites, I finally found some options that my husband and I both liked. We still have to choose our favorite. Which one do you like best?

Chandelier Choices

Chandelier Choices by maggiemuggins on Polyvore
*If you click over to Polyvore you can get links to each chandelier.

We would install this ourselves but seeing as we're having someone come with scaffolding to do add lights to the room, it will actually cost less to pay him to install the chandelier than to rent the scaffolding ourselves and take the time to do the work.

March 19, 2013

I am working on a quilt. I bought it as a kit at last year's Sew Expo. I started it right away and was over half-way through the blocks when I realized my seam allowance was 1/8" instead of the standard 1/4". I'm not sure why it took me so long to notice it. It took me a long time pick everything apart. Then for some reason it was left alone for months. (I blame moving.) Anyhow, this is part of the reason I've been offline a LOT more lately. I started finally setting up my craft room and this is the first thing I'm making in it. I'm so excited with how this is coming together. I've finished the top and have to work on the back of it now. I should be beginning the actual quilting one evening very soon.

Quilt Fabric

When I finally get to the quilting I'm going to be testing a new product I have. I'm pretty excited for it. I'll be letting you know how that goes.

March 18, 2013

A long time ago we went to The Rainforest Cafe and for some reason I didn't even look at the price of my drink. It was some sort of raspberry slushie (non-alcoholic as always) and apparently came with the glass. Woops! So for a long time this thing just sat at the back of our shelf. Unused.

A few years later and I suddenly realized this was my go-to vase. It was wider than anything I had and a good height, plus it had a unique look to it. I would just turn the glass around so the logo was hidden. I attempted removing the logo a couple different ways without success. Then one day I decided to cover that logo up. It really wasn't a sentimental item at all, so I didn't feel guilty doing it at all.

Glass with Logo

I used Cosmo Cricket's 2" Glubers. I got them on sale at Ben Franklin Crafts. I followed it's instructions for making a flower, then I added a little extra triangle cut piece on the bottom to extend the flower just a little more over the logo. (Next time I would cut and adhere that part first, then twist and make the flower.)  This was actually something I did last year, and some of the buttons have fallen off but the flower never has. It's been wet a few times even, despite me being careful.

Glubers

Glue gun's don't work well on glass - that's why the buttons fell of. I knew it but was too lazy to look for my good glue. I will glue them back on with a better glue (E600) the second time around. I wanted to show you this project now though because this is really great for spring!

Logo on Glass Covered

New Vase

March 14, 2013

As you may have noticed I've had the Blogging Blah's. It seems like it's been too long since the last time I shared something with you. I have TONS to share, but lately I've had little time to do so. But, with one of my favorite Holidays soon to happen I just have to share a few things with you.

St. Patrick's is just days away and my boys are anxiously anticipating the arrival of the Leprechaun. He visits and plays mischief in our house. This morning he scattered green shamrock coins on the stairs. Who know what he will do tomorrow. He usually tips chairs, dies milk green, leaves things lying around, and is so mischievousness that we try to catch him. We've built a few good traps throughout the years, but he's always outsmarting us and getting away. I looked through my photos so I could show you - but I can't find any. Must document it this year.

This year we're planning to try to catch the Leprechaun once again. I have a St. Patrick's Day Pinterest Board - and this is what I'm thinking we'll try this year. (Of course, the playground will be to lure him in, not to make peace. We're not ready to try that yet.)


I have to confess I'm pretty excited. I'll probably make some treats again like I made last year. Or something else from my Pinterest board.

Gold Rainbow Treat Boxes

Last year I made this artwork for in my Dining Room. We're still not all set up at this house or I would have it up somewhere already.

Lucky St. Patrick's Day Printable

Just because I love all my readers, especially the ones who send me sweet notes, I'm going to make this available for you to download! If I reprint it I might try it on craft paper to see how it looks. This would be cute to print on the front of a card too!

Lucky St. Patrick's Day Printable

FREE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY - By downloading this file you agree to the following terms: This file is for use in your own creative projects; not for commercial use. Please do not sell or offer this download as your own. Please do not distribute this file to others, but refer others here to download it for themselves instead -- my files are given freely for download from my site only. Thanks for your understanding! If you have questions about the use of a file please contact me through email.



Enjoy the file. If you use it please send me a photo or share the photo in my Flickr Group here.

January 29, 2013

These are the steps I followed for painting the stripes in the boys bedroom. In my last house the walls were not so textured and I never did Step 2 and got the same results. This time around, there was more texture on the wall and I really didn't want to have to touch up so I used step 2.

1. Use Frog Tape. The stuff is amazing! Once you've got it on the wall, rub over the soon to be painted edge well to get it adhered as much as possible. (Use your thumb nail, a visa card, or something similar.) If you're walls aren't too textured you can skip Step 2.

2. Paint over the edge of the tape with the wall's original color. Allow to dry. (I usually wait until it's dry to the touch, about 1 hour, instead of the full time listed in the instructions.)

3. Paint the stripe. If a second coat is needed, allow to dry to the touch and do a second coat.

4. As soon as the last coat is applied, peel away the tape while the paint is still wet. Allowing it to dry adds the risk of peeling away the paint you just put on the wall. Not fun!

Does it work?

Trust me - in this room (after painting the stripe twice - due to this mistake) I only touched up three spots that bled - and they were tiny spots.

Perfect Stripe

January 28, 2013

Just over a week ago I finished painting the first room in the house. I was so excited! I walked into the cute room, with all the painters tape finally gone and the flooring ripped up - and started imagining. Then just to imagine some more, I closed the door, and went and stood in the other corner. That's when I noticed it. How could I have made such a big mistake?!

Messed up Stripe at Door

On the other wall - you can see how it angles downward as it goes around.
Messed up Painted Stripe

The grey stripe for their room was way off across the door! My heart sank, and the level was whipped out. We started checking, re-checking and soon enough discovered the what had gone awry. How I missed it when I taped is beyond me. The mistake is pretty obvious.

What made the stripes completely uneven? I'm glad you asked! (And if you didn't I'm still going to tell you. Ha ha.) The error was two-fold.

1. The small level I used was off. I think the textured walls combined with how hard it was to keep in perfect place didn't help, but my first ever laser level has been retired. Permanently. At Amazon's ($3) price though, if you have flat walls, it is still worth having one around for quick picture hanging.

 

2. I used the window sill as a starting point and checked that it was level with the broken level. It wasn't, of course. This meant that my starting points from either side of the window sill were already off!



In the end, we went to our local Home Depot and picked up this sweet rotary level:


The price tag wasn't bad (about $60) and I know we'll use it a lot. I have plans for stripes in another room, and trim work in my bedroom.

Laser Level for Stripes

Laser Level for Painting Stripes

The light runs around the room completely (and quickly) and you don't have to hold anything while you tape, just set it on a tripod in the middle of the room. When we did the second line, the tripod just had to be twisted up, the levels double checked and we were good to go!

Rotating Laser for Painting Stripes

We brought in a lamp and turned off the lights to see the laser line better, the red glasses were helpful but not necessary that way. Taping was way faster than with the other laser (it didn't have to be moved ever) and the stripe looks oh so much better now! I have to say that my most favorite part is that I won't have to wait for my husband to be home to hold the level for me!

Painted Stripe Finished