September has been a whirlwind- Project 4- The record player

 So, my husband and I are old souls. We've known this for, well for as long as we've known each other I guess. We have a 1957 ranch for a house complete with a 50s reminiscent kitchen (in black and white check) with a payphone. We both own vintage clothing (as does our daughter (it's sweet to have hand me downs from when you were a baby to dress your little one in). And we enjoy the warmth and popping of records on a record player. Yes, I am talking those vinyl things you see at thrift stores for a dime. Because of this, we obviously had to have a record player to listen to these things on, and as luck would have it, Elliot's parents had a broken one in their basement. So after Elliot showed his skills at fixing record players and getting this one to work (and hooked up to our very modern entertainment center, I started wishing I had said no.  Definitely not because I disliked the sound, but the fake wood tackiness was starting to bother me (as if the cords coming from the TV weren't enough). Almost immediately I began asking Elliot if I could build it a box, repaint the wood, etc until I wore him down. He finally agreed to let it happen. Then all I needed to do was find the right paint.
I decided to go with a craft paint because I didn't feel sanding this down and refinishing it would be possible without tearing up the corners so I used the brand new  Martha Stewart Craft Paint, which if you are wondering is AMAZING! Check out my finished record player. Way classier and much more in line with the more modern fixtures.

Also, just for fun, I took one of Elliot's records that was damaged beyond use to make a clock for the entertainment room. I need to fix the colors (never been a fan of gold) and maybe repaint the label I think (red just doesn't go with anything in that room), but it definitely is a cool clock!

Well, that was a nice little session of blogging and remarkably I am all caught up! Guess I need to go do some crafting so I can post more :)

Update: The new record clock with white hands and a different record (with more coordinating colors for the room). I also replaced the gold numbers with white paint dots as well. (I used the Martha Stewart Craft paint for both the record and the hands painting as it works on all surfaces...so it works great!) Much happier with it.

September has been a whirlwind- Project 3- The glass front cabinet

I have big plans for painting some large furniture in my house because 1) they were free items that have seen better days (where the stain/finish is ruined (hence people got rid of them in the first place), 2) and the woodwork underneath needs patching (which doesn't work with staining, staining wood putty never looks good) so they are getting paint. I had two pieces in my front room that were going to undergo the treatment. The first was a glass front cabinet on which I kept my stereo. This piece had to be fixed first because it had a safety hazard- plate glass panels. This, of course meant my 1 year old thought this was the perfect thing to hit (and because I am a mom, who is sworn to protect her, my first reaction to the hitting was a look of terror, which must have been hilarious to my daughter...so the doors had to go get replaced with tempered glass (this is the stuff used in car windows that brakes into tiny squares instead of razor sharp shards). With the doors off it was time to finally refinish this lovely. (see it above on the left in all it's displaying glory, and on the right with the doors gone and all the goodies removed).
The top of this cabinet had at one time seen some serious water damage and the sides already had some significant wood putty corrections so we sanded it down, and painted it a lovely Satin Black (rustoleum oil-based paint) which looks great! We even realized this cabinet is the perfect size to fit under our bar in the dining room (when we removed the odd feet that didn't match the cabinet anyway) to free up some space in the sitting room for toys and other such items as well as allow for some childproof arranging (we have an open staircase that a couch was against, with my daughter now climbing furniture- that won't fly). Here is the cabinet in it's new home in it's new color. I really think it looks elegant now and when my daughter hits the glass doors I have one less thing to worry about. Ah, sweet refinishing! Pretty good for a first attempt I think.

September has been a whirlwind- Project 2- The Front Door

 In my effort to update my house I finally got around to painting the front door.
First, some background though. When we bought our house it has an interior door (aka hollow) door in the place where the front door should have been, so it was high up on our list of "to replace" and because it is ever so slightly wider than standard (ugh), we had to get a custom door. We selected this gorgeous pre-primed solid steal door that made the living room significantly warmer almost immediately. I love this door and the Charles Renning Macintosh-esque window at the top, but I had never painted it (we got the door in 2005) because I was scared to screw up this beauty.
So now, that I feel ever so much more confident with a house painting brush, and I wanted to update my world as it were, the door was on the list.

We had selected this gorgeous green paint called Mother Nature at Home Depot to paint a china cabinet that I desperately want to update in my sitting room that is also my entry foyer and it was a free piece of furniture that has been, shall we say, loved a bit too much and has some missing pieces in the molding and such that makes it a slight eye-sore to me (having stared at it every day while working at the dining room table probably didn't do it any favors). I already had the paint and realized it would match the stonework outside the front door beautifully. Since it was pre-primed the only thing stopping me was the actual painting so one Saturday morning when I put my daughter down for a nap, I got out the paint and an artist brush (and painted around the window and door knobs and therefore had to finish it. I think it turned out gorgeous and is ever so much more welcoming.
I will have to post a picture of it with my fall wreath on it (yes, I made all my wreaths (actually the one on the white door is my wedding boutique re-purposed). So now all I need to do is fix the cracking concrete issue in front to make it look stellar, but I will settle for a lovely door to start out.
Don't you love the green!

Update: Here it is with the fall wreath!

September has been a whirlwind- Project 1- The Kitchen!

 So to say that I seem to make my own life a bit complicated with my numerous projects is an understatement in most cases, but add in a significant birthday and you get a crazy level of craftiness/DIY from me. I am turning 30 in a few short days and I also have been working from home for over a year with a little girl in the house. I have gotten a bit stir-crazy and was dying for some updates in my house (I'm hoping this isn't a mid-life crisis because I was hoping to live longer than 60 years...but ah well).
After discussing my need for "new" with my husband (and assuring him I intended to only upgrade the house and not the husband) I set about removing the popcorn ceiling from my kitchen/dining room and hallway. This was one of the projects that you just know is going to be messy, so you avoid it. (Here are the before pictures), but I finagled an ingenious (if I do say so myself) tool to assist me. It required a wide putty knife (to do the scraping), a wire coat hanger (bend it out so it looks like a ball on a stick), and then a plastic grocery bag (fashion the bag and the hanger into what looks like a butterfly net). As you spray the ceiling with a lite mist of water (to keep the dust down) you run the putty knife along and catch all the bits in the bag hanging underneath. Remarkably, after I had completed the entire scraping project I only had one dustpan of bits to collect off the floor! Then, on to the refinishing of the ceiling. Luckily, ceilings look good with slight texture so this only required priming to seal the ceiling and then painting with ceiling white.

 So here, I got my husband involved in the  process (as he is significantly taller than I am, so I edged and he painted. Once that was all done, my kitchen looked significantly better, but not as great as I wanted it to. First, I thought the door looked out of place, so it gained a coat of (primmer and three actually) paint too. Better, but still not awesome.  So here, I got my husband involved in the  process (as he is significantly taller than I am, so I edged and he painted. Once that was all done, my kitchen was bright white and black checks and looks better, but now it needed some color. Enter, repainting the walls.

 We selected a bright red called Cranberry Zing (doesn't the color sound delicious too) that happened to match a funky set of picture frames hanging on my cabinetry. ( you can see those frames to the left of the door picture). Now, my kitchen has pizzazz!

So you know how life gets away from you...(aka it's been months!)

I know I haven't posted in ages. Almost 4 months actually, which means I either haven't been crafting/working on any projects, too busy to post because I have been working on too many projects, or life has been crazy.

Lucky for you, it has been a bit more crazy than normal, but I have still done a fair number of projects. I'm going to try to reminisce in order, so we shall see how I do.

The first project: The outside garden walking path. I know this dates back to June 5th, so this was before it became wickedly hot here and was after I had work done on my house to fix a drainage issue and wet basement. That project tore up the wrap around sidewalk from around the house so I had to replace it...and what better use of the space than a garden. Sadly this garden isn't completed yet (July and August were just too darn hot, and the ground was too hard so, it being the end of September, you would think I would have some sort of reason for it still not being done. I do- I was extra busy at work and I got lazy. There. I said it ;)

I don't know if I have a before picture and frankly it wasn't very picturesque in our backyard anyway. Here is what it looks like now (since I don't want to wait to show you the various steps...got a lot of projects to cover here).
First, we got some some sandstone pavers and I layed out this path (wide enough for the mower) and we put in brick pavers on the front half of the fence. This path as a weedguard underneath and pea gravel in the cracks to prevent having to pull stray plants out of it. (that black thing is the composter).

We also laid some stones around the front to make a border (but we haven't finished the far side yet). Then we planted a bunch of plants. Still some work to do on that one I guess. On to the next.

I tried my hand at making fresh baked whole wheat bread. It ended up delicious, but for whatever reason when I tried to eat more than one slice I would end up with hearburn (no idea why), so it really didn't work as the sandwich bread replacement for us. The major problem with it though was there is no way to turn down fresh baked bread...so that first loaf, lasted one meal (and these were sandwich bread sized...so it will be a while before we try that again).
Next up, I repaired for a friend a poor bear who had a run-in with their dog. This was a childhood toy that had unfortunately been left on a bed with a dog that thought all stuffed animals where theirs to play with, so after a lot of effort (and some new material to give the bear a second chance, the little guy was brought back to life. I think he feels much happier too.
Then it was time to do another project for my little girl. Not only was she going to turn one (MY BABY TURNED 1!), but she was going to attend a friend's wedding in Boston. We had a lovely time getting ready. I made my little girl this cute little headband to match her dress for the formal reception. It turned out lovely and she always makes items look great (if I do say so myself ;) )

Also for the wedding, I had to make some wedding gifts. (The first quilt was finally finishing up one started for a friend's wedding present back in December (they live in Boston as well so personally delivering it made me feel better for not having it done for the actual wedding and being over 6 months late (sigh...). The second was made for the newly weds and I am proud to say that I didn't repeat a colored fabric even once! that's right, there were 55 different fabrics in this quilt (counting the white one). I really like how they turned out (though they originally were a bit smaller, but I didn't want anyone to think I was giving a baby blanket as a wedding gift!
Prior to heading out on my daughter's first plane ride though, we had the first of my daughter's first birthday parties (yes she got two). I made delicious chocolate zucchini whole wheat cupcakes (they also had a hint of mint because I used mint chocolate chips- they were really fantastic). The first party took place at a city music festival where my daughter's favorite band was playing. Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three were the act (my little girl adores the beat of their song La La Blues and she dances up a storm) so we invited all our best buds and family to join us at the show for cupcakes. We had a blast.

The next day we flew off to bean town and spent my little one's b-day exploring the city (it really is a great city to visit if you get the chance). And we have a lovely stroll on her actual birthday down by the water.
After a lovely trip, we were a bit on the tired side, but August is notoriously busy in our family so next up was Great Grandma's birthday party where I finally got the picture I've been aiming for. Four generations!

After all that business it was time to prepare for my daughter's at home birthday party- the one where she would get to do all the fun birthday stuff. Elliot and I decided on an "old Fashioned Country picnic" theme so we grilled hotdogs and all the guests brought sides to share. I had prepared pies in a jar (homemade Cherry, Apple, Peach and a Strawberry Rhubarb crisp) in place of the cake. and then made cute little boxes with red and white striped twine wrapped around them as the favors (inside was old fashioned candies. They turned out cute.

In addition, I also had made some ball jar lanterns to hang from the tree out front with some streamers to welcome guests.

 So after that madness was over you would think I would be content with putting my feet up and relaxing until slightly after Thanksgiving, but I'm not wired that way I guess.

However, before I launch into September projects I just have to say this last year with my daughter, working from home and taking care of her full-time (in addition to working full-time) has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. She is such an amazing little girl! She amazes me everyday with all she knows and all she can do (which I would guess is similar to all mother's feeling about their young), so to think that it has been a full year having her in my life has been remarkable- it feels like she has been her forever, but also that it can't possibly have been that long. Time, it is a flying!