Thursday, March 29, 2012

What I Learned: Reupholstry Edition

Once upon a time, I reupholstered my office chair, and thought that made me an expert. Clearly, I could rule the world with some fabric and a staple gun. So when one of my neighbors began downsizing their stuff with a garage sale, I did not shy away from this settee.
Allison loves this seat and has called forever dibs on it.
I loved the shape of the legs and I knew it would fit perfectly on the wall in our living room that stretches into the dining area. And for $5 I was in. The Mister I proudly walked home carried my new project down the block and set it up.
Step one of my project was finding the right fabric. Because of where it was going to live in the house, I wanted something yellow and gray to match the kitchen and living room walls. Yellow and gray is hot right now so I figured it wouldn't be that hard to find something. Well, it wasn't hard, but I wasn't willing to pay $20+ a yard for a project I only kind of knew how to finish. After going to 3 different fabric stores I found a nice yellow/gray dasmask-ish print on upholstering fabric on clearance for $15/yard. Because it was President's Day (and the best way to honor the President is to buy cheap fabric) all clearance was half off. Then I had another 10% off coupon. When all was said and done, I got 3 yards for $15.
Then, I had to figure out what to do. I started by flipping him over and removing the legs and 7,000 staples.

After pulling out 45,000 staples, I got all of the fabric off the settee realized this was done in 7 pieces of fabric. Hmm. This was going to be a little trickier than recovering the chair. I decided to use the individual pieces like a pattern: I pinned it to the fabric and cut out all 7 pieces.
After cutting out the pieces, I started to put them back on the settee.  I tried to take pictures as I removed the fabric as a way to remind myself how to put it back together but they were too close to help me. After figuring out where each part went, it was a lot of pulling it tight and stapling it. However, the side pannels had these tack thingies that were a little bit more difficult. So much so, that I put down the staple gun and walked away from the project until this week.

Time away did me some good. This week, I finished up the fabric part of it, with a million more staples. Then I decided to paint the legs. Now that I am an expert with a can of spray paint, I knew some semi-gloss white is just what these legs needed. Using two pieces of styrofoam (that came out of my sewing machine box) I sat the legs up and sprayed away.
I glued a circle of felt on the bottom and screwed them back into the settee. I had some red left from the pillow I made.

And here she is flipped upright.

I'm pretty proud of this project, it is the largest crafting/DIY project I have done, but it is far from perfect. I still need to make some fabric covered button/tacks for the arms, but I will get around to it eventually. Even looking at the picture above, I see a place where the fabric is a little loose and could use some more staples.
What I learned:
1. You can't use use too many staples.
2. I am really impatient waiting for paint to dry.

3. There is a 95% percent chance that this little girl will use this more than anyone else in the house.

4. Yes, with a staple gun, fabric and a little bit of spray paint, I really can rule the world.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Midweek Confessions: A Little Bit of Everything

Time for another session of confession. Hee hee. Last week I started off by confessing how I compare myself and life to others. Your comments/messages were so sweet. It's scary to put things like that out there, but your response was so heartfelt. This week, I have nothing heavy and deep.

-I broke my dog. Monday I did his nails took him out to play on the concrete, and we played too long and he hurt the pads on his feet. Since then he's been hobbling and limping around. I feel so bad.
-Yes, I am too big of a chicken to cut my dogs nails so I play fetch with him in a parking lot to "file" them down.
-So its March, like end of March. I have been reading these mid-week confessions for a while now and women were confessing that their Christmas decorations weren't fully put away in the beginning of February. Our Christmas decorations just got taken out of the living room and put in the attic/garage. The only reason that this happened was because we were putting in new floors. In my defense they were boxed up at least. That makes it better, right?
-My belly button hurts. What's up with that?
-I have been rocking the wife thing this spring break. The Mister has came home to dinner in the oven/on the stove every night this week.
-Why does spring break always throw off my work out routine? It doesn't make sense, I have about 10 extra hours each day (since I am not at work) and some how I don't go to the gym. Fail.
-I don't like colored pants. I don't mind colored shorts, but for some reason brightly colored pants make me cringe. It did take me until this school year to own a pair of skinny jeans, I'm not what you would call a fashionista, so my opinion is probably wrong.
-I haven't told the Mister this yet, and every once in a while he reads this little blog, so don't be mad babe, but yesterday I dropped my staple gun on our brand new floors and put a little gash in them. I'm sure no one will notice it, but who wrecks their new floors without even having them a week?
-On Monday I posted about our new floors. This is by far one of my favorite side effects of our floors:
What are you confessing?? Head on over to e, myself and I to link up!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Conquering my fear... of spray paint

Two posts in one day? What? Is it like spring break or something? Why, yes, it is spring break around here, which means I have some extra time on my hands. Today I worked on two projects... a small one and a big one that I am thisclose to finishing. Y'all are on the edges of your seats. This post is about the small project, and how I started to overcome my fear of spray paint.
Don't they just look scary??
First off, I have no idea why spray paint intimidates me so much. I mean really, it doesn't seem to scare the teenage hoodlums that are tagging up the fences at the park. Boo for them. Anywho, after redoing our floors this weekend, two big eyesores popped out at me: the air vent thingys air return registers on the floor in the bedroom and the living room.
As soon as the vent cover was put back on the floor, I just really didn't like how it looked against the laminate floor or with the paint color on the walls. My brother said they made wood ones that could be stained, so on Sunday morning I was off to Home Depot. And BOOM! Home Depot was closed by police for a bomb scare. (Maybe boom was the wrong choice of expression given the situation...) Monday I headed back over there, bringing with me a sample of our floor and the measurements of the covers I wanted to replace. I walked over to the aisle and saw lots of these covers, I went to grab a wood one when I noticed it wasn't the right size. I started to search around, and I discovered that we have "interesting" sized vent covers, and a wood one would have to be special ordered. Hmm. Special order = expensive.

So I wandered over to the scariest section in the store, and faced a wall filled with spray paints. None of the spray paint is named "wood colored" so I finally decided on glossy khaki by Rustoleum. I figured $4 was a much better price than special ordering two floor vents AND if it really looked ugly, I could always order them later.

Today I went out to the garage, laid down some paper, and after fighting to get the cap off  I sprayed.
Action shot
And, it wasn't that bad. In fact, it was pretty easy, and went on quickly and pretty even.
Please ignore the badly painted trim area on the wall. That is part of the flooring project that hasn't been finished yet.

It is a really small change, but I like how it blends in much better with the floors in both rooms. I think I am ready to do some more spray painting now. In fact, I think spray paint may be used to finish up the "big" project I worked on today. :)

Do you use spray paint? How come no one told me how easy it is to use??

Time Travel Tuesday: This Time Last Year

Britt, over at Magnolia Pair, has decided to start up a little linky party called "Time Travel Tuesdays." Basically it is away to look back (or forward), and reflect. The first link-up theme, is "This Time Last Year."

This time last year, I was on spring break, just like every year for the last 25 years (since Kindergarten). Being a teacher, my year is broken up into chunks: back to school through winter break, winter break to spring break, spring break until end of the school year and summer. I've never really vacationed on spring break. I've been to Arizona a couple times, and the Mister's family took everyone to Disney World a few years ago, but other than that, I have mostly had pretty low-key spring breaks. Quite frankly, I like it that way. I remember coming back on Saturday night from our Disney trip and just being so exhausted. Then I had to go back to work on Monday. No bueno.

Anywho... last year's spring break was not filled with beaches and sunshine (I live in Oregon, NO spring break is filled with beaches and sunshine), instead I spent it mostly sitting at a computer, trying to finish up my Action Research project for my Masters in Education.
I had to remind myself to keep the forks away from my eyeballs
while I was writing my Action Research paper

I remember finishing it, printing it and putting it all in a fancy binder. I was so happy turning it in to the College of Education, thinking I was finally done with my Master's degree. I was picturing this:
I was thinking a bit too far ahead, as I found out I a few revisions to do, but in the end I did end up finishing my Masters and graduating last June.
What were you doing this time last year?

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Floors!

This weekend was spent listening to the sound of nail guns, saws and hammers. We decided it was finally time to say goodbye to this:
and this:

and a big ol' buh-bye to this:

and say hello to this:

I actually posted about it way back in October. All of that is a result of some separation anxiety from this guy

The stars finally lined up, and my brother and his nephew came down and installed those babies. 

First off, I am so thankful to have such a talented brother. He is a general contractor and he has installed these types of floors before, so it was no problem for him. The Mister and I briefly discussed doing it ourselves, but after watching these go in, we definitely made the right choice in having someone else doing it. Yes, the pieces snap together, and as I was watching, there were times when I thought "hey, I could do that." Then there were other times like down this hall where my brother was making cuts into the pieces to fit in the doorways and into the closets.
It took them two days to install the laminate in the living room, down the hall and in the master bedroom. I am loving the look of the floors so much more than the carpet. I am not loving the "clackity clack" of my dogs nails and the hourly sweeping job I have created for myself.
Why yes, we do have a very high tech TV...
I will be do get to do a little bit of work myself. The trim on the walls had to be lowered about a half an inch, SO after I paint that part of the wall, I will be reinstalling the trip using a fancy nail gun that my brother left me. 

Have you ever installed flooring in your home? Did you think it was easy? 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Hear it for Friday

Where does the time go? I promise I am not really trying to ignore my little blog, Things have just been busy busy busy.

What better way to join back to the blogging world with one of my favorites: High Five for Friday.

Today is technically the first day of SPRING BREAK!!! But, due to half a foot of SNOW, we got an extra day off yesterday too!

In some parts of the country, snow in late March is normal, but definitely not here. On Wednesday we had a  two hour delay, and then had to stay late for Parent-Teacher conferences. Thursday was supposed to be a 12 hour work day of parent teacher conferences, but Mother Nature had other plans. While I am high-fiving the bonus day off, I am ready for some sunshine!
The Mister and I are planning our summer vacation! His parents are so generous and let us use their timeshare points for our vacation. We decided to go to Kauai in August. We went there last summer too. I feel so incredibly blessed that we are going back to Hawaii. I can't wait for some more of this

These babies came in the mail!
I am so excited to see Aziz Ansari in person! I first saw him in 30 Minutes or Less and I couldn't stop laughing. Then we got into Parks and Rec and then we started to look up youtube clips of his stand up routines and his sketch comedy. It's two days after our second wedding anniversary, and it will be a fantastic way to celebrate!

I got my first one this month. I've never been really into make-up/products, but for the last 6 months or so I have been drawn to that stuff. This month I was graced with a yummy Kate Spade perfume sample, some Essie polish, and $10 off at Modcloth (among other thing!)

My brother is here right now, starting to rip up our carpet and install the flooring that has been in our garage for months. So excited to get rid of the carpet!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Midweek Confessions

1.Just to warn you, I'm going to start with something knd of "heavy" for mid-week confessions (feel free to skip to #2): I get jealous. Not of other ladies and my hubby, but of other people's lives: their stuff, their babies, their houses etc. I know that there are other things going on that I don't see in their lives, but I sometimes I get  upset that my life isn't more like someone else's or where I think I should be or what I should have. I try to remind myself of this amazing blog post, and I also remind myself of all the great things in my life. I know I am not the only one who struggles with this. End of "heavy" confession.

2. Guess who made the "hot teacher" list. Me! The list was found in a desk in an 8th grade English class. My confession is that this was probably the highlight of my school year week. I figure I only have a couple years left where I can make a list like that so I will just enjoy the fact I was on it.

3. I didn't really blog at all last week because of the sickness that made it so I didn't want to get out of bed, much less try to write out a complete sentence, so I didn't post my confessions. When I was feeling better this weekend, I did go through and read some of the posts that were linked up, but I felt funny about it, like I didn't pay my admission to the show or something.

4. I was kind of bummed my pillow post hasn't gotten the comments feedback like I thought it would. The Mister even called me out on looking at my stats after I posted it. You know that is bad when the hubby calls you out.

5. On Tuesday, it was supposed to snow hard enough that we might have a snow day or delay,and I prayed that we would have a full regular day. My prayers came true. I have not taught a full 5 day week in weeks now (that counts my being sick, holidays, budget cut days, grading days etc), and I totally notice a difference in my students behavior on "weird" weeks. I just really needed some normalcy in my classroom. Especially since spring break starts next week. Oy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Why I Love Living in a Small Town

I grew up in Portland, Oregon. (yes, Portlandia is funny because it's true) Any who, I moved about an hour away to go to college in a small town. While doing my undergrad, people (including me) would complain about how boring it was, how there was never anything going on, etc. After getting my bachelors, I moved a half hour away into "town," AKA Salem, Oregon.
When I first met the Mister, he was living in the small town I had moved away from. He is a newspaper reporter for the local county paper, and covers the town, the college and the local school district. So naturally, I began spending more and more time in the place I complained so much about. When we decided we wanted to buy a house together (gasp! before we were married), we needed it to be in between his office (about 15 minutes from his apartment) and my job in town. That left us with two search areas, and in one (the small town) we could buy a much nicer house on a small budget. So I moved back.

And I love it.

This weekend we headed out to watch the local high school's boys basketball team play for (and win!) the state championship title. There had to be the majority of the town there. It was crazy to see all of the red and black in the crowd.
This was after the final shot and the players ran into the crowd
since security wouldn't let the fans on the floor.
And when I was at the gym on Monday, the game is what every one was talking about. And of course you see signs like this all over town:
Since becoming a "townie" (that's what we called the locals when I was in college) I have also really come to appreciate the small, local restaurants and shops in down town and  I really have enjoyed the fact that the town hosts several festivals during the summer, as well as free concerts and movies in the park. One of my favorite traditions is the 4th of July festival, parade and "mini-marathon" (2.6 miles!) that starts off the parade.

Yes, it is inconvenient that Target is 30 minutes away. It is also inconvenient that our two grocery stores are somewhat small, and I can't always find the products I want.  Its also not my favorite thing to commute 25 minutes each way to work, but I love the sense of community that comes with living on a small town. I love seeing people at the grocery store or the gym or the bank and stopping to chat. And, although I do love my job, I do sometimes wish I was teaching here in our local school district to have more of a connection to the community.

Are you a small town girl, or do you love the city?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Pillows!

My blog crush, Bower Power and the always fantastic Young House Love are doing it again. If I am being honest, I didn't know if they were going to do the winter edition of the Pinterest Challenge. I mean, it is March. No worries though, I am just so happy that it is back! AND it came at such a perfect time. I am recovering from being sick, so I didn't want to be around people AND the hubby was working late. This made for a perfect Friday night activity.

The purpose of the challenge is to stop pinning and start doing the things we pin.  As of right now I have 447 pins- much like all of you, it includes everything from recipes to sewing projects to those fantastic nail polish pins. (Really, how do they do that??) And like most of you, I have actually done about 1% of the things I have pinned.

I made this little deal for the fall challenge, and it has consistently been one of my most viewed posts. For this go around, I looked through my DIY board and noticed a butt load of pillow pins and I knew that was what I was going to be doing. In August (ish) we I painted my living room a dark grey color. I still really like the color, but man, dark grey is kind of depressing when you are going through winter in Oregon. Grey on the inside, grey on the outside. And now that all the Christmas decorations are down, there is nothing on the walls to break up the grey. I figure that a few fun pillows on the couch will add just enough pop to brighten the room up.

The first pin that jumped out to me was this guy. Here's the link to the original post, but no joke... it's in Chinese.
Luckily I am a visual learner, and there were some pretty clear and semi-wordless directions on the original pin. I took pictures of what I did, but really their pictures/directions are so much more clear than what I could come up with.  Here's my version:

I posted a picture of this on Facebook right when I was finished with it. My super nice friends were giving it so many likes and comments I thought it was my birthday or something.

The flower is made up of felt circles (3 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 1/2 inches) then cut in half. They got sewed on to the fabric so that they overlapped each other. Then I sewed the pillow and stuffed it with poly-fill.
After a couple of rows of flower petals, I realized (and maybe some of you will say "duh") that if I stopped the machine when I was about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through a petal, if I lifted the foot (with the needle down) I could add the next petal and turn the fabric slightly to line it up. Then I repeated about a billion more times. This made the sewing part much quicker than sewing each petal on individually. I did a couple of rows with the larger petals and then switched to the smaller size.

For my second pillow, I wanted to do this "super easy no-sew pillow cover" from here :
Let's just say "super easy" is not how I would describe it. I gave up after 45 minutes. So I turned back to my boards and found this:

When I looked through the tutorial I realized a couple things: a) this would be the most complicated thing I have ever sewn and b) this tutorial was super clear and gave easy, detailed directions and pictures for each step. So, I took a deep breath and went for it, and ta-da!

I literally had my lap top next to me the entire time I was making this, double checking each step from her tutorial, so I won't bother to post my step by step. But I love it. It's a little loose on the pillow because my measurements weren't as exact as they could have been, but I am still really happy with how it turned out.
Here they are together :)

Check out all the projects over at Bower Power, Young House Love, Hi Sugarplum, and The Great Indoors. If you want to play along, click on over, read all the details and get on it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Seriously, I'm ok...

I know, I know, I dropped off the face of the earth.. or blogland (same diff...) I got sick y'all. Not like hospital sick or anything, but sicker than I have been in a long time. Sick enough that all I wanted to do was sleep. Sunday I was sneezing and sniffling and went to bed at 7 pm. I went to work Monday but felt like this
Tuesday I woke up with a terrible head cold, and I was all kinds of nauseous so I decided to take the morning off. The nausea went away and I went in at lunch.

The next day I felt even worse, but I had convinced myself I had to come in to work because of an assembly that was supposed to happen on Thursday. My principal saw me before first period, told me I was too sick to be at work and moved the assembly (I'm in charge of and run all of the spirit assemblies at my school) to later in the month so I could go home and stop worrying and get healing. I went to the dentist (there was a real gross thing happening on the roof of my mouth) and he didn't necessarily think it was dental related, but the infection was somehow probably related to my sickness. He gave me some antibiotics and those have cleared up the gross thing. (I don't know how to explain it except that it was a swollen puffy part on the roof of my mouth. I thought it might have had something to do with my root canal I had 4 months ago, but he didn't think so.)

Thursday I did go to work, and drank about a gallon of hot tea throughout the day. My kiddos were already supposed to be watching a video so I thought I could handle it. It was also the last day of the grading period so I wanted to be there to get as much done on my grades as I could. I ended up leaving work a bit early (my prep period is the last period of the day) because I was just soooo tired. I went home and slept for pretty much the rest of the evening.

Today (Friday) was a half day grading day, and I am feeling better. (Like 75%) My hubby is working super late tonight. Usually on nights like this I make a point to hang out with one of my girl friends, but they are all either suuuuper pregnant or have an infant so I don't want to risk getting anyone sick. I did a little sewing (post coming soon!) and more relaxing. Hopefully I will be back to feeling like myself again by the end of the weekend!

How are you all doing?

Oh and when some women at work heard I was nauseous in the morning they somehow convinced me that I was pregnant so while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled, I went over to the lab at the doctors office and had a pee test done. And no, I am not pregnant.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In like a lion...

March is a good month. When I flip my calendar to March I am reminded that I am thisclose to summer AND even closer to spring break. What I am not use to is this:
This is enough to close school for the day. What?? Snow day in March?  It was completely unexpected. Yesterday it was pretty wet, and there was some slush coming down, but I didn't even hear the weather guy hinting that there might be enough to close schools. I was even doing my hair and getting ready for work when I heard the news.

The weather warmed up quite a bit so I decided to do what any normal person does on a snow day:
I went in to work and tried to get caught up on a few things.

Then I rewarded myself with soup, salad and too many bread sticks with the BFF and her adorable little 9 month old.