Thursday, December 16, 2010

The un-smelly update!

That's right, this blog has been coming to you odor-free since the end of October. The homemade deodorant has been working like a charm!

Keeping with my desire to re-use before recycling glass jars, I have the big batch of deodorant stored in an old Burt's Bee's lotion jar. I wanted something smaller for traveling, so as soon as this travel-size Burt's jar was empty, I re-purposed that: The tops of the jars are the perfect size for these little labels that I picked up at Michael's last year. I use just a pea-sized amount under each arm in the morning, so I'm hoping this will be enough for the whole week...

I loved the feedback after my first deodorant post; a few great questions/ideas were posed. Since I'm giving you an update, I thought I'd come back to one of the questions::
-Does the coconut oil leave grease stains on your clothes? Honestly, I haven't noticed any stains at all. I've been meaning to do a real experiment: take on old shirt, put a good amount of deodorant on, let it set in, and then wash and see what happens. This is still on my to-do list, and when I finally get around to it, I'll give you yet another deodorant update!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Owls! An Update

My sister Sarah and I are on our way to Germany, where they're experiencing the coldest beginning of December in 100 years. ouch. For two girls that aren't fond of cold this is going to be rough, but we know that there will be plenty of Gluehwien to keep us warm.

But I've taken the appropriate precautions and have packed plenty of wool, including my newest owl sweater::

Some people say that wearing more than one hand-knit item at a time is excessive, but I say bring on the wool! I'll be pairing this sweater with the new dimple hat that I just knit up::

And with the Elizabeth Zimmerman mittens that I knit either last year or the year before. These are the mitered mittens from Knitting Almanac with the thumb openings on the sides. Knit from a really fantastic Noro yarn that's a wool and alpaca blend:: Both look amazing with the owls!

Sweater Details::

Pattern ~ Kate Davies' Owls
Yarn ~ Lamb's Pride Bulky
Needles ~ US 10 and 10.5
Size ~ Medium

Modifications: I follow Kate's stitch count, but use my own judgement as far as sweater and sleeve length. This one I made a bit longer in both the sleeves and the body than my last. I loved the small fit of the last one, but wanted to compliment that with a cozier, bigger version this time (I also knit a size smaller for my last one). For both sweaters I did my waist shaping on the sides of the body, rather than on the back like she suggested. And finally, I made the neck slightly smaller than she suggests (by about 6 stitches).

As a fun comparison, here are both sweaters paired with the same skirt (in different colors) and boots. Even though they're different, I really like the fit of both. What do you think? Does one look better than the other? too small? too big?
... and yes, someone had a bit too much time on their hands in the cabin!

Here's to hoping we don't freeze**

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Living Room

This was supposed to go up on Friday, but in the hustle and bustle of the weekend I lost track of time! The living room::

The light coming in through the sliding doors during the day can make picture-taking difficult. Click here to see a nice picture of the room at night.

I really like this space. We don't have a TV, so the entertainment in this room will be the music from our so-to-be bangin' speakers and our collection of books.

Most of the furniture in this space made the long cross-country journey in a crate. As a result, there were a couple of bumps and bruises sustained along the way:: The end table and one bookcase each have a single area that was worn/rubbed down by whatever was leaning against it. Our plan to fix these puppies is to just apply some stain to the worn area. Of course, it won't get rid of the gouge, but it should make them less apparent, and we'll settle for that! I'll let you know how it goes.

There are a few projects that I'm going to tackle in the guest bedroom. Again, all having to do with cosmetic changes to the furniture. I'll share those once In a couple of weeks once we have the pieces in place.

And so very soon I'll reveal the "man cave"! I think it's required to keep the world in balance ~ every house that has a craft room also gets a man cave. For now, the cave is furnished with a mini-fridge and a single chair... which may be all that's required for a man in his cave?

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Our dining area and kitchen are one big space. Here's the dining side in its Christmas best:: The lovely fern comes from the Schu nursery. I'm trying to decide if the cuckoo clock should hang on one of those open walls? Or if it's better suited to the guest bedroom, which is currently without a bed, but is acting as a gallery of sorts since we've laid out all of our art and frames in there!

Again, we are so lucky for those family friends I mentioned in the bedroom post. Both the kitchen hutch and the dining room table came from them. Just like the dressers, these are old, sturdy pieces with character. Check out the legs on this one::

Anyhoo, when you turn around, you see the kitchen::

What projects are in the running here? When cooking, we both love the use of a deep sink and solid counter top. So we've thrown around the idea of keeping the kitchen as is, just replacing the counter top and sink. Of course, I LOVE the kitchen redo that YoungHouseLove did, but in our case, everything about this kitchen is functional, in great shape, and nothing to complain about, so we'll have to save those grand plans for another day. Speaking of YoungHouseLove, are you keeping up with their blog? You should. My sister, Kris, and I were talking about the major YHL crushes that we have at the moment. Stepping out of that dreamy, kitchen-love haze, let's talk about... wait for it... veneer!

As you can see, we have some warped veneer on the edge of the table::

And at the top of the hutch, we have some veneer that's pealed off and a decorative piece of wood that's cracked:: I *think* fixing the crack will be a piece of cake with some wood glue and a clamp, especially since this is just a decorative piece of the unit, not holding any weight and not an area that's going to get any "use".

I would have never known where to begin with the veneer issues until Design*Sponge came out with this fantastic article! I think most of my work will focus on the segment of their article where they talk about fixing bubbled veneer. I want to avoid removing the veneer if I can help it, rather just do some minor maintenance and then let the age of the pieces shine through.

Every Thursday Design*Sponge posts a series of "before and afters", with a range of projects from furniture projects to full room renovations. In addition, they post the helpful DIY articles, like the veneer one I mentioned about. It's Thursday, so get over there and check them out!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wednesday Soundtrack

We interrupt this house tour for music!

I have to say that I love songs about transitions.... maybe because my life as been full of them lately? Our move to PA isn't completely complete. In tomorrow's post you'll see that we only have one dining room chair! The rest are still in California with Calder's van and some final bits and pieces. Between Christmas and New Years we've scheduled a big cross-country drive to visit family and lasso the rest of our scattered belongings. Then, maybe, our transition will be mostly completely ~ we just have to wait for the mister to move back from Germany!

So here's a fun moving song and video that I keep replaying. Plus, I'm a sucker for those foliage shots at the beginning of the video. enjoy*

Artist :: Avett Brothers
Song :: I and Love and You

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The bedroom!

You'll have to excuse the lack of artwork on the walls... I've been so hesitant to commit to a decision and bang a nail, so the only artwork up right now is hanging on nails that were left behind by the previous owners!

The bedroom from the doorway {don't forget, you can click on pictures if you want a larger view}::

We have three pieces of furniture in the room at the moment ~ the bed, and two large dressers. We were so unbelievably fortunate that family friends were downsizing just as we were moving into the house. As a result, we were able to furnish our place with some pieces that are old, full of character, and built with craftsmanship that's hard to find today!.... Take these dressers for example. If that's not character, I don't know what is!

Although, I admit, I wasn't immediately sold on them ~ I often veer away from pieces that make such a strong statement and are unlike anything else we own. But the rest of my siblings were convinced that these pieces were keepers, and they're definitely right! Once the dressers were in the house, I realized that these pieces fit in nicely with the growing collection of art and housewares that we've picked up while traveling. What would you call this style? "Global", "International", "If it fits in the bag, it's ours"?

Right. Well, here's the bed dressed up with our quilt from India::

And back to the craftsmanship of these pieces. The bottom drawer of the tall dresser contains a little cedar chest for sweaters! If that's not the perfect fit for a knitter and sweater love, I don't know what is!

Although, you also see in that previous photo where the "project" lies in this room. Most of the lovely drawer pulls have broke over the years. Here's a close-up of the originals:: I want to find some sort of replacement ~ either something that looks like the originals, or a different option that keeps with the original style. And this is where the internet really comes in handy. I've found a few sites that allow you to search for every type of pull under the sun. I'll come back and give you an update when we make our final decision.

Tomorrow the dining area!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Breaking in the Craft Room

Last week the craft room looked like this::

After a trip for supplies, and the start of some projects, I'm sure the room will never be the same! ... and I realize that it's a lost cause to ever try to return this room to the "before" picture. The challenge is convincing C that it's ok to ignore the mess and just close the door.

The craft room has seen a lot of use because I'm trying my hardest to finish up some Christmas presents before I hop on a plane for Germany and the Christmas Markets!

So, before I leave, I thought I would put up a few posts this week that introduce you to the house by introducing you to some of projects on the horizon! Unfortunately today's project of secret Christmas presents cannot be shared {so much for my awesome plan for the blog!}.

As a bonus, here's the material pile for a future project for the craft room:: It's an experiment for the wedding. We're thinking of going with some unconventional seating for the ceremony, and it may require a few quilts. So rather than buy something, I have a fun idea for making heaving duty "quilts" that can be used again as picnic blankets. One side will be an army blanket, and the other will be a fun combination of colorful fabrics. The pile above includes some cotton from Jo-ann's and Ikea.