Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm a Michigan Girl at Heart, and This is How I Devote My Love

I was born in Washington, but I have lived in Iowa for the past...well...let's just say since I was five.  So when people ask where I am from or where I grew up, most of the time I answer "Iowa".  But truly, my heart has always belonged to Michigan.  Both my parents were raised there, we spent many vacations there with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and I even spent two summers working at a camp on the beach outside of Holland.  So no, it is not technically my hometown, or where I was born, or where I grew up, but my Michigan memories do hold a special place in my heart.
So how better to celebrate those memories than to immortalize the location in my home?  I just can't think of any other way.  Especially since I have so many blank walls just screaming for some decoration.  As soon as I found this, I knew I wanted it.  Bonus points that Byron also has ties to Michigan and liked it, too.  And at only $22, it was practically a steal!  I ordered it on one Monday, and it was waiting by my door the next.  I dragged my husband to one of his favorite stores (yeah right) Michaels, and we found a frame in just the right size.  (Although it is here that I will add that I thought 20x24 was a pretty standard size, but maybe it's not because they only had like 2 frames to choose from.)
As soon as we got home, it took about 15 minutes for our dining area to go from this...
To this!
I'm in love with my new poster.  I even claimed the head of the table for myself at dinner tonight so that I could stare at my art.  There are still a TON of items on my list to work on our house, but little by little it is becoming our palace.  And with each new poster hung on the wall or accessory on a shelf or project completed, the pride I feel for my house gets another little boost.
By the way, for anyone wanting help determining how to hang artwork at the perfect height, I stumbled across this and have found it extremely helpful.  I stick to it faithfully and have always been pleased with the results.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This is the One Thing

The youngsters posed the question today, "What's the one thing that you can't quite bring yourself to dole out the cash for, but always admire from afar?"  I knew instantly.
Picture found here.
It's the Eames Lounge & Ottoman in the walnut/ivory combination.  Isn't it beautiful?  I'll have to admit, the first time I saw this chair, I wasn't exactly smitten.  In fact, I thought it was ugly.  But with time, I have developed a love for this chair and *swoon* whenever I am in its presence.  What is your one thing?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pick A Rug, Any Rug...

Since we moved into the house in March, one of the things i have been on a quest for is the perfect rug.  To me, what makes a rug perfect is just the right combination of design/style and price.  After 3 months of casual searching, the perfect rug is not jumping out at me.  It seems like I find tons of rugs that I like, but they are either way too expensive or no longer available.  For example, this rug and this rug, both of which I love.  So I changed my strategy a little.  Instead of a heavy wool rug that I thought would ground the room, I started looking for something a little lighter (also read, cheaper!).  I was originally inspired to change my game plan by this post, and even though the decision wasn't working for her, I didn't think it was so bad.  Additionally, I started noticing a pattern in some of rooms that I liked - they all had a beachy, airy feel.  I think a lighter, cotton rug will actually give me what I'm looking for better than a heavy wool one would.

So, all that said, I have been searching all over creation and have found a couple of rugs that might meet the requirements I've established for myself.  But because I am non-committal, and still a bit nervous about making such a big decision, I put together some mockups to give me a better idea of whether I would actually like any of my choices.  [Editor's note - forgive my shoddy Photoshop job...I am a newbie!]  My real concern is the color choice, and I don't know that I've solved that problem entirely, but I think this is a start.  See what I mean:
Those are my top 3 choices, in order, right now.  There is one other rug that I found that I also like, though this one is a heavier weight unlike the beachy feel I just described.
So what do you think?  Are any of these rugs speaking to you?  Well if so, please kindly share your thoughts with me.  We indecisive types need all of the feedback and confirmation we can get!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Few More Disney Pictures

Day 1
I awoke early (starving) to register for the conference.  By 8:00 am I had registered and got my conference materials, handy backpack, and geektag nametag, and I was ready.  One problem, there was no food to be seen.  So before I hit my first session, I went to the Garden Grove for some breakfast.  Bonus for me, it was a weekend morning, and the characters were out and about, greeting all of the restaurant patrons.  Check us out!  I even asked Pluto what he thought of my conference agenda.  I think he was probably overwhelmed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Baby Quilt in Three Parts, part 3

Here it is, the final hurrah!  This is how I finished my baby quilt and sent it off to the lucky recipient.  And by that I mean, will send it off to the lucky recipient almost 2 months late.  I hope it's the thought that counts.
I started by making the quilt binding - lots and lots of quilt binding.  I knew I wanted the binding to be a little thicker, so I cut a bunch of 3-4 inch bias strips.  I figured this measurement using a really fancy technique called "using the width of your ruler".
I sewed these strips into one really really long strip.  In the end, I had probably 16 feet of bias tape.  I don't actually know how long it was but it was a lot - I estimated high.  Once I had this strip ready to go, I ironed it into submission.  In case you have never done this before, you basically fold the outside edges into the center and iron, then fold those folded edges into the center again and iron.  Somewhere along the way, I learned a trick in doing this.  When creating the first crease, you off set where "center" really is. One side will end up being slightly longer than the other, which will come in handy later.  The best help I can give you comes deep within this tutorial, see step 4.
Yes, that is a lot of bias tape, but in actuality, it really was pretty close to the right amount.  I only had enough left over to tie around the quilt for packaging and also to torture my dog.  Speaking of my tortured dog, here she is.  She secretly LOVES this look!
But anyway, now that I had the bias tape all ready to go, it was time to sew it on.  To be honest, this is by far the best and easiest explanation of how to sew on bias tape, so please go check it out (and commit it to your memory...or bookmark the location.  Unless you have amazing powers of memory, you will need to refer back).  Basically, though, you line up the longer end of the bias tape with the back of the quilt, and you sew in the fold so that your seam can't be seen.  Be careful around the corners - I just googled how to do this so that I didn't mess it up completely.  I made it through - you can too.  To sew the front, you fold the bias tape over and topstitch the whole thing down.  Because your top edge of the bias tape is just ever so slightly shorter then the bottom, as long as you are careful, you will automatically catch the bottom portion even though you can't see it.
Here is the picture where I have pinned it on, before I started sewing the second side.  I like to use pins.  They help make up for my mediocre sewing.  Anyway, that's pretty much that.  It was an easy process that really only took a few hours altogether, I just had to chunk them out to work around my time schedule.  And of course the remaining 6ish weeks that it took me to write about it and, uh, send it off.  I'll leave you with pictures of the finished project.

Friday, June 11, 2010

We Up and Went to Florida

We just spent the last week in Florida - me attending a conference for work and Byron to work on his tan.  It was such a great week.  Sparing you the conference details (I do work in IT after all), here are just a few moments we captured.
This is us in front of our hotel, the Walt Disney World Dolphin.  Even though it's called the Dolphin, there are fish statues everywhere.  Hey Disney, those fish aren't actually fooling us!  Notice the especially white legs in this picture.  This is a picture from the beginning of our trip.

This is the view from our hotel room.  Here you can see four out of five pools.  We spent the majority of our time in the far pool in this picture.  It was really long and ranged between 3-5 feet deep.  In the center, there was a waterfall and a grotto.  Very cool.  Very relaxing.  I think Byron had a permanent spot out there while I was attending the conference.

Finally, this is another view from our hotel room.  The big building on the left is actually the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Later in the week I got the opportunity to ride that...twice.  It was awesome and I could have ridden it 20 more times and screamed just as loud each time.  The big blue magician's hat in the center is where the fireworks show is launched from.  You can't really see anything else of note in this picture.
I hope to post more about our trip soon, and also finish up my experience in quilt binding for those of you so anxiously awaiting that!  (I know you are out!)