Monday, September 30, 2013

The Setup

My studio is beginning to take shape. Here's the process of getting everything in its place.

Caulking completed and scaffolding taken down.

Right photo: a cleaner view.

Before and after photos of caulking:

It's not perfect, but it does blend in the seams.  I like it.

Looking in and looking out.

Left photo: so much space to put stuff.

Ready to assemble and setup organizers: Ignore the mess in my house. I am getting around to it, eventually. I have small children so my house will never be clean again.

 Both organizers made it to the studio and are ready for assembly!

Assembled and ready to store things.

Now this is a nifty little cabinet. My husband's grandfather made it. Once I discovered this little beauty sitting in their kitchen I fell in love with it.

I moved it in all by myself (and probably should have waited for help), but I did it with the help of a hand truck and a couple of ramps. "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall" I'm pretty sure that is what Archimedes meant to say when talking about his wife.

When the grandparents both passed away, and the children took what they wanted, the grandchildren got to take anything they wanted that wasn't already spoken for. I asked for this cabinet. If no one wanted it, it was going to stay in the house and one of the cousins wanted to paint it!. No painting this cabinet.

It will be used to store my fabric.

No fabric.

Lots of fabric. Now that all of my fabric is in one place, I was kind of amazed at how much I had. It is so nice to have it all together where I can see it and get to it easily.

Some wonderful things I rediscovered!

I have been itching to finally hang up my Singer sewing machine sign. Love that thing. I've been searching for the box with my thread and odd and ends, and I finally found it when I was moving stuff in. Hooray! Also, found my girl playing in a tote. She's such a helper. Well, she didn't really help per say. She played and explored and talked...and talked....and talked. My kids have not learned that it is ok to just be quiet sometimes. They're so noisy, and kid noise can get annoying, and overwhelming for me.

This is just a little taste of how my studio turned out. I will be putting together a tour that should be up sometime this week.

Happy Monday!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Week

My off week offers lots of time spent at home, and time with the kids. Fun. This week I have been hard at work organizing my mostly done studio. Yes! The part I have been waiting so long for. There really wasn't much of anything else that I did, but here is what I remember.

  • I finished week 3 of my Illustrator course. One part of the homework was to make a blog header.

  • I sort of helped a young mother and her daughter get to a safe place. You can read about that here.

  • The girl and I went to get haircuts this morning. This was her very first one at 3 years and 5 months of age. There was an incident involving syrup and hair a couple of weeks ago, which necessitated the need to get a good trim. Here are some photos.
Before:                                                                      After:

Before:                                      Arrival:                              After:

Her hair is now more even and just better all around. Her waves and curls are still mostly there. I hope they stay forever.

  • I haven't started my final week of Illustrator and I need to do that before the weekend is over. I also need to finish my State Fair items. They have to be turned in next week. Now that my studio has been completed, I can do that! :)

  • Studio tour will be coming soon! Get excited! But not too  much.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Good Deals and Finds

While I was in the process of finishing my studio we had to make a trip to the hardware store. There was this rack off to the side that contained clearance items. Usually, there is nothing I need or want on the rack and I just continue walking by. But on this day, something caught my eye. The price sticker!

Two dollars! That's a 90% savings from the original price. I couldn't pass up a deal this good.

Do you need curtains?

Who doesn't need $2 curtains?

Well, not exactly. I wasn't looking for curtains. I don't know what I am going to do with them., I don't need curtains. But for $2, I think I can think of something to do with them.

And they kind of match my floor color scheme. Well, except for the brown in the curtains. But, whatever.

I don't know if I just can't pass up a good deal, or really dislike paying full price for things, or if I should be miffed that things can go on clearance for next to nothing and realize that everything is generally overpriced to begin with.

So those are my curtains.

Here are my fun finds from the antique store.

Bowls and cookie cutters...

I need to clean the yellow bowl. It has a manufacturer mark on the bottom but I haven't researched it yet. There were about 5 green apple bowls. I only bought one. I thought it was cute.

I got a unicorn cookie cutter and a strawberry one. They weren't too expensive, and really, when was the last time you saw a unicorn cookie cutter in the store? Might come in handy. Especially since I have a little girly girl.

I got the strawberry cookie cutter because I kind of have an actual plan for it. Soon, I will be trying to think of a theme for said girl's fourth birthday. It falls on a Saturday next year which means she gets a birthday bash. Maybe a Strawberry Shortcake theme? But, she kind of like Doc McStuffins, and Care Bears right now, and princesses. She kind of likes anything and everything though.

Button, button, who's got the button?...

All of my finds:

Have you seen the price of buttons lately? Ri-diculous. They were better priced at the antique store. I love the blue buttons on the right. There are also a couple of blue ones in the bag. The bag buttons are a mix lot and cost $6. There are some fun finds in there as well. Some with the thread still attached. I also like the oversized brownish buttons. Maybe for a cape? And the black buttons that will hopefully be the perfect size for a project I have in mind. Everything I got at the antique place was marked down 20-30%.

Fun stuff!

I have been busy organizing my studio. I am very pleased with the preliminary results so far. I am a little bewildered at all of the craft and scrapbook stuff I have and trying to figure out where it will all go, as allotted space is running out quickly (meaning I need another bookcase, or shelves for storage).

I'll do a studio tour soon!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Help Somebody if You Can..."

"...and get right with the Man." I had to finish the lyric.


Weekends at work are generally fairly slow, quiet, nice. Occasionally people will stop by one of my buildings thinking it is something else, the place they are looking for, but it's not. We can usually help get them to where they are going. It happens a lot. No big deal. We are there to help. But something happened on Saturday that was a first.

A young lady and her little girl were dropped off by a friend at my building thinking it was a police station. It's not a police station, just an office building. The friend who drove them left so this little family was stuck at my building with no way of getting to where they needed to go. Traveling with their friend was not an option. They needed to be at a police station so they could get to a local shelter that helps women and their children escape a difficult family situation, and abuse.

I called the shelter crisis line and spoke to someone; the woman spoke to a couple of people, and was told she needed to get to the closest station or hub, which would be at the mall about 2 miles away. I started trying to find the bus routes for the area. I gave her little girl a couple of highlighters and some paper so she could color while her mom was talking on the phone to the shelter workers. She would color a little, happily show her mom her work, and then put the papers in the trash. I salvaged some of her artwork.

The little girl was adorable, sweet, never without a smile, and the same age as my daughter. Her mom was young, but seemed strong and a little cautious, quiet. She wasn't worried or scared, just not in the right place. The shelter workers weren't able to come and pick them up because they don't work that way. They are very secretive about their locations and for good reason, but they wouldn't come get them at my building.

I called my supervisor who was working at a football game. He wasn't sure what we could do at this point because we didn't have extra personnel that day. I called our victims advocate officer to ask her what we could do. She was thinking the same thing I was thinking, and that would be to call the county or city police department in my jurisdiction to come get the family. They are familiar with this process of taking people to shelters, even the secretive ones. I called central dispatch and told them what I had and they said they would send someone to come get them. Finally, some help.

A short time later a city officer showed up at my building and took the young lady and her little girl so they could get to the shelter for help. Before they left, I gave the woman the paper that I had written the phone numbers of the place I called and who I talked to so she would have the contact information. On the back of the paper I left my name, department name, and work email. She shouldn't ever need to contact me, but just in case. I just felt like I needed to give that to her. I also wrote a bible verse under my contact information. John 16:33 "I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." It's a favorite of mine.

She has certainly had her share of trouble, but I hope that she finds peace. I hope that she allows the shelter to give her the help she needs, and uses the resources they can provide for her and her daughter. I hope that she doesn't lose sight of the big picture and end up going back to where she came from. I hope that her life will be better than she could have ever believed, and that her daughter will never know the hardships her mother went through to make sure her future is as bright as the sun.

I also gave her daughter something right when the officer showed up to pick them up. On Thursday my son's school had a parenting workshop that I kind of wanted to attend, but with all of the other things going on that day I wasn't sure I would be able to make it. But I felt like I needed to be there. That I had to go. I wasn't sure why. It was an interesting workshop and I am going to look at the presenters website and information when I get a chance. As part of the workshop we received a free book that the presenter wrote. It has information on different intelligences of children and it's a workbook of activities to do with children. It's an awesome resource.

I sort of thumbed through it at work one day and I kept it with me. When I looked over at my pile of paperwork the book was buried underneath the top papers and when I saw it I knew I had to give it to the little girl. I could get another one, but she may never have the opportunity to have this resource. Maybe that is why I was at that workshop. I hope it will be useful to them.

I will keep the little girl's artwork for the future. I am sure I will hang one up in my studio, one in my work office if I ever get to that point where I am no longer a nomad. It will be a constant reminder that this is one of the reasons I am where I am and do what I do everyday, even though the opportunity rarely presents itself to help others in this manner.

It will be a reminder that my life has been very blessed and my kids don't have much of an idea that other kids don't live in the same circumstances as they do. I've been trying to open them up to those ideas. Not everyone has toys, can go to school, have enough food to eat, nice clothes to wear, a bed to sleep in, a warm place to live, or a mother and father to take care of them. Their worlds outside themselves are starting to open up a little more. When they see this little girl's artwork they will know that not everyone is just like them and we need to reach out and help whenever we can.

I pray that this little family will have a great future, and go on to do great things, and have great lives. I hope that they find a church home again. I hope this mother knows that while this decision was probably very hard to make, she is so strong for taking the next step to move on to a safer, better life. I hope they find the good life, and remain strong, especially in faith.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Week

Well, it's my long work week, so I've been, well, at work. Here are some other things that I have done this week.

  • Continuing the caulking of my studio. I can see the caulk finish line. Getting so close.

  • Had a conversation with my son after a note was sent home on his agenda about being silly and playing around while the teacher is teaching instead of holding still and listening. We talked about appropriate school behavior and what is expected of him. The next day he got a paper frog stating that he was a super listener. Our talk must have worked. It has been and will continue to be an ongoing discussion.

  • The chief of my department came to my post to give me the official award letter for the grant application I wrote. We got about 80% of the original total we applied for. Now we gotta get down to business. The letter started out saying how pleased they were to inform me blah, blah, blah. Then had additional pages of information and revisions I need to do. I told my twin it might as well have said, "Congratulations! sucker."

  • Caught my son playing in the dirt a lot at t-ball practice. We talked about what to do and what not to do at practice. We also talked about not letting others influence our behavior and being a leader not a follower.

  • Changed my blog header. I like it! Very Fall-ish.

  • My day off was spent doing a little shopping, laundry, house stuff, the second consignment sale, visiting the book fair, and attending a parent workshop at the school. Here's what I picked up at the sale. Note the super cute apple green boots (two sizes too big right now but brand spanking new), the brown trench coat, and that cute white shelf is totally mine.

  • Will be working the weekend, so I Hopefully.
Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, September 16, 2013

For all intents and purposes...

It's done.



Keep your expectations low ok.

We are not great at this sort of thing, but we put a lot of effort into it based on our non-existent construction skills. We don't have Mandi skills. I bet she could do an amazing job completing the finishing work of my studio.

Over the past week, and weekend, the hubs and I have been working on my studio. The insulation is now behind a ceiling instead of being the ceiling.

Everything is piled together that I had moved into the studio so I could do something before we were able to finish it.

My view from the scaffolding the hubs built. Sturdy construction is not his forte, but after some helpful suggestions from moi, it's not too bad.

The wall paneling now reaches to the ceiling instead of just 8 feet.

It's awesome. Not awesomely built, but it's done. Completion was the name of the game, the goal, the finish line...and we did that.

I'd say I am in 100% able-to-work-in order. I am roughly 97% absolutely done order.

I am in the process of caulking the seams to help them blend in better. The dark lines are pretty stark compared to the glossy white paneling. The caulk is helping.

I have accepted that it will never be perfect, that it will never have a "professional" feel to it, and I am ok with that. It feels like me, mistakes and all, and that is perfect.

As I inch closer to the 100% mark there some things that won't get done for a while, like trim work in the corners, baseboards, windows and door, and the upper wall where it meets the ceiling (to help hide some of the measuring/cutting mistakes that are fairly noticeable and caulk can't cover that much without looking silly).

Once the caulking is done I can officially move all of my stuff in and get to organizing and decorating.

The icing on the cake!

The fun stuff!

Or at least I hope it will be fun.

Some things I learned throughout the process:
-I am not Tom Silva. (explained in an earlier post)
-I am not Mandi. (check out her blog and you will see her amazing construction projects)
-Communication is hard, especially between spouses working on a project together.
-My husband thinks the belly button sweat circle on my shirt was cute. That's love y'all.

Like my new blog header? I worked hard trying to get everything to fit. It has a Fall-ish feel to it, don't you think? The photo is one I took in my yard with this flower my husband planted and has decided it likes where he planted it and just grew and grew. The butterflies seem to like it, too.

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Week

Here's what happened this week in my life. This week has been very busy. I alluded to that in last week's post.

  • Finished the ceiling panels in my studio. Needs caulk. If ceiling completeness was the goal, then we met it. It's not perfect by any means. Now, just need to finish the upper parts of the wall and it will actually be done, plus or minus caulking.

  • Celebrated my wedding anniversary. 8 years. We went to breakfast. We wanted to go to one restaurant that we thought would be open for breakfast, but it wasn't. So we went to McDonald's. So romantic. It was actually a decent breakfast.

  • Went shopping at the Tot Trade consignment sale. Bought lots of stuff. I'm not even sure why I try to have a budget for these things. Some sales I can stick to it or come out with extra funds, and then other times I fail miserably at the budget thing. Like this fall sale...over budget and the second consignment sale hasn't even started yet. But that is ok, I got some neat stuff for the kids to wear, some gifts for Christmas, and this cute Bentwood rocker for my girl. It is going to look so cute in her room. It has no marks on it from the maker so I know it is not an antique, just a repro. Still cool though.

  • Took my girl to her first dentist appointment. She did so well. She tends to be much less anxious than her brother at things like this.

  • First Fall T-ball practice for my boy. The head coach was one of my son's assistant coaches the first time he played T-ball. After we chatted a bit he remembered which kid my son was and called him "short stop" because that is about the only position he played last fall so it ended up being his nickname. He was also impressed with his playing skills. He's gotten pretty good. We've been working on batting and I am pleased with his improvement every time.

  • Hung out with my husband all week. Except for Thursday, my work day. Attempted to do actual work at work.

  • Took the dogs to the vet for their annual checkup and shots. Again, spent more money than I anticipated even with a credit from a mistake earlier in the week dealing with cat treatment.

  •  Got started on the upper wall parts of the studio. Looking good. Not absolutely awesome or anything, but remember, we are not professionals.

  • Week 2 of my Illustrator class has more homework than the first week. Still enjoying it.

  • After school pickup today the four of us went to the other side of the county to check out a bookstore, but it was closed. So we went to the antique store. I picked up a couple of cute bowls, a couple of cookie cutters, and some vintage buttons. Pics to come later. Then, we went out to eat at a decent Chinese restaurant, but today seemed to be an off day.

  • My twin started her own blog, finally! Check it out here. She writes about her experiences being a single mom and the dating world. She has some interesting stories to tell and will eventually get to them over time. She just doesn't have a lot of time to write like I do at work. :)

I am enjoying this little snapshot of my week that Dana from Old Red Barn Co. introduced me to. Thanks, Dana.

See you next week! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

My Week

Celebrating my week!

  • Some progress has been made on my studio.

  • Long work week=only one day off.

  • Finished up one consignment sale tagging. Ready for drop-off.

  • Worked on reading with my son. He finally brought home books from school. The first book we read was about heroes. A firefighter is a hero. A police officer is a hero. Simple, easy, repetitive. Well, we got to a new page about parents being heroes. I was trying to get him to look at the photo to figure out the one word change in the sentence. I gave him a hint. "Mommy and Daddy are________." He thought for a second and filled in the blank with, "awesome!" Raising him right!

  • Started week one of my free Adobe Illustrator online class that I won from the MADE blog, and enjoying it!

  •  Finished one book, started and finished another.

Next week will be busy and full of activities.
Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

MADE Pants

In my Fourth of July post I made my kids some shorts using Dana's KID Shorts pattern. Wonderful pattern, and great shorts!

I have made pants for the kids using her Dana's KID Pants pattern, but my son was outgrowing its size, it's only a 4T pattern. Her shorts pattern has more range. Well, I figured I could take the shorts pattern and extend the legs and make them pants. So I gave it a try.

I had this cute, very boyish robot fabric and I wasn't sure what to do with it. Now, I had a project! I would make my son some pajama pants.

Pajamas bottoms are a great way to try out something new because no one will really ever see them because you wear them to bed. Perfect!

The shorts pattern turned out decent enough for pajama pants. So cute! It needed some tweaking though. The legs ended up wider than I wanted so I adjusted my pattern for the next go round.

My son was with me when I was shopping at Wal-Mart (the one that actually has fabric). He will sometimes look for fabric and want me to make him something. He picked out this fabric and I had no idea what he wanted me to with it. So, I told him I would make him some pants.

The fabric had a very seventies, bell bottom feel to it. And I knew he would look adorable in something along those lines. I didn't want to go overboard though, lest he be teased at school. I took the fabric and cut out his pants.

I used the flat front option of the pattern, added hidden front pockets, and added back pockets.

 Up next, a photo shoot!
He loves the front pockets. I used some soft, blue flannel that matched the denim color. He thinks that the back pockets look like shields, and they totally do, which is absolutely cool in his mind. I love it when he gets excited about something I have made for him.

The pants are the perfect length for my long-legged boy who grows up more than he does out. I think the result turned out pretty good. The legs are still a little baggier than I would like, but for this fabric and look, it's a good fit.

I am looking forward to other projects that I can use the shorts pattern for, just need to get my space 100% completed. (But it is coming along. I haven't posted an update in a while, hopefully soon, when more gets done. So excited!)