Tag Archives: house

fall decorating

When I learned to sew last fall I set a goal of creating 35 projects by my 35th birthday (a.k.a. 35×35). Then I took ten months to pursue schooling in nutrition and find myself having completed six sewing projects with 14.5 months to go until my 35th birthday. I’m changing my goal to be 35 craft projects. The point was to try new things and use the creative side of my brain more, so I’m okay with whatever medium that comes in. It doesn’t always have to be cotton. IMG_8316_edited-1

I knew I wouldn’t have much time for fall decorating given my school finals, but I wanted to have a little something in the house. Last year, (my favorite blogger) Elise shared a felted garland she created as part of her handmade holiday series. I decided to change up the colors and use her instructions to make a fall garland for our table.
IMG_8317_edited-1Out of convenience I went to the Joanne’s that has much less variety and had to work with the felt they had available. In the end I really love the color combo of orange, green, purple, cream, and tan. Typically I am not a big fan of purple, but it works here.

IMG_8282_edited-1This project is incredibly cheap, easy and quick. I cut the fabric during one episode of Burn Notice and put together the garlands during a second episode. I ended up having about half the felt left when I was done with my first garland. I’m not sure if I misread something or if mine is that much shorter than Elise’s. Either way, I made a second garland and sent it to my sister for her table.

Project: 7/35
Time: 2 hours for 2
Tutorial: felted Christmas garland
Cost: $6.14 for both (1/4 yard of 5 felt colors; roll of twine)

candlesticks and placemats are both from Crate&Barrel (wrinkles not included); mini pumpkins were a gift from my MIL 

the pouf


As part of my efforts to finish the office update, I made us a pouf. We don’t have a coffee table in front of the couch in order to keep the space open, but we needed something to put our feet up on.  IMG_4392_edited-2

I’m not sure what it was about this project, but I found it really tedious and it took me months to finish. I bought fabric in January, cut it in February, sewed one half in March, and then finally finished it a week ago in May. It might be that I just have a lot going on and this felt like a project that I needed to finish but didn’t care much about by the time I sat down to complete it.


I’m not sure the pouf is going to last all that long. I think I might have overstuffed it, so the seems are already pulling a bit. For now, it’s serving it’s purpose as a foot rest at the desk or when we’re on the couch. 

Project: 6/35
Time: 3 hours
Tutorial: Sewing 101: Making a Pouf
Cost: $20 (that’s a guess, bought the fabric awhile ago and don’t have the receipt)

the 2014 winter bucket list: recap

winter bucket list 2014_edited-1Seeing that we’re more than two weeks into spring territory, it’s time to recap winter. I made my list of goals weeks before I decided to jump into the NTP program, so they definitely did not take into account that I’d be spending most of my free time learning and studying.

1. Attend Barre3 five times a week. I went five days a week up until we got a few weeks into class. Then I cut back to three or four. Then I realized that with all the studying I was doing, exercising indoors meant I was never getting outside. I ended my membership and started walking Alfred a lot more. It was a great decision – I just feel so much better when I get outside everyday for an extended period of time.

2. Bring breakfast to work every day, bring my lunch to work four days a week, and eat a homemade dinner five nights a week. I did really well with this. Over the course of ten weeks I think I bought my breakfast at work only three times. There was probably a week or two where I didn’t bring my lunch four days, but I really improved on not eating in the cafe everyday. As for dinners, for the most part we stuck to going out/take out no more than twice a week and some weeks I think we even did only one.


3. Redo our office. The major work is done, but I’m still finishing up some decorative aspects. Still loving our new set up and the additional light we are getting in our favorite room. I wrote about our overhaul here.

4. Create my craft closet. I got so far as to cleared out the closet and moved in a small desk. Between seeing what I was actually working with and knowing that the next year or more is dedicated to becoming an NTP and starting my own business (and if we’re lucky throwing a baby in the mix), crafting is probably not going to be high on my list for a while. I’ve decided to reorganize the closet (it’s about halfway done) to better store all my supplies. That alone is huge and with our larger work desk I have room to craft when I get a few minutes.

5. Finish closet and jewelry organization. Ha. Let’s just say it is not significantly worse than when winter started.


6. Organize the spice jars. The supplies were purchased and the work is mostly done. There’s probably an hour left, I just haven’t got to it yet. Maybe this weekend? I went with small jars to organize my every growing spice collection. More details to come in a post when I finally finish the project.


7.  See something new in Washington. We did! It wasn’t super exciting, but we had a fun family day down to Port Orchard.


8. Go on a winter getaway. Phoenix was not so good to us in 2014, but we got a few hours in the sun and we had a good time together. Maui 2015 is on the books (in my head), though Maui for Fall 2014 needs to get booked on the real books ASAP.

9. Replace two of our dog-chewed blankets with homemade ones. I made progress on two blankets but neither are near finished. I bought the fabric for a quilt and I’m about 30% done with a new knit blanket. I’m LOVING it and will happily admit I borrowed the idea from Elise (of course). You can see her finished product here and at some point I’ll be back to show you mine.

10. Send five cards. I did not start a snail-mail revolution. The only snail-mail I sent was monthly anniversary cards to my sister and brother-in-law (from her shower), which totally don’t count since I did not write them.

the office

One of our six big house goals for the year is to rearrange our office to improve the layout. We spend the vast majority of our waking home hours in this room and we had a feeling we could make better use of the space. IMG_7826_edited-1

Originally we each had our own desk but we really didn’t require two. Neither of us works from home regularly and mine was becoming a craft war zone. We decided one desk would be fine and (next project) we’ll move my crafting goods into the closet to make a cozy craft “room”.IMG_7828_edited-1

The previous owners left bamboo shades on the windows (they used this room as their master); I liked the color and texture they added, but then I took one off and we realized they were blocking about 18″ of light from the top of each window. We took all six off and are pretty ecstatic with how much light is coming in now. We still need to remove the nails and fill/paint the holes. IMG_7830_edited-1We set the room up so we have our seating area to watch shows on Greg’s computer from the couch.

All the major pieces are done and we even sold my old desk for $30 less than what we spent on our IKEA trip. I’ll take a $30 room make over any day. What’s left now is the decor and finishing touches. I had a goal of finishing by mid February, but do to an exciting new adventure for me (more on that later), it will probably take a little longer. I’m just slowly making my way through my three-level to-do list. Seriously people, this is how (and the only way) my brain functions.



throwback thursday

I thought it would be fun to go through my photos and try to find a picture from January from each year in the past. My digital photos start with 2005 and I really had no idea what I would find. I just skipped the year if I didn’t have any pictures from January.

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2006 – my first roast chicken! oh my gosh I totally remember this. i was living alone for the first time (in San Rafael) and always did new recipe Monday.

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2007 – around my birthday on the coast up in marin county.

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2009 – one of my all time favorite SF nights. the night before we ran our first Kaiser half marathon. soo many of our inside jokes came from this night.

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2010 – my birthday/girls night at julie’s. after many bottles of wine.


2011 – so many great pictures from my 30th birthday, but i’ve always really loved this one. five great guys, i’m thankful to have them all in my life.


2012 – sending out save the dates. started to feel really real!


2013 – birthday trip to portland, before we realized puppy plus hotel room was a terrible combination.

This was so much fun, I’m going to try to remember to do it again next month.

the 2014 winter bucket list

winter bucket listMy first time writing 2014, so crazy. This bucket list looks a little less fun and a little more self-improvement, but I think if you start the first ten weeks of the year off with a solid foundation the year can only be great, right? Besides, in Seattle winter the days are short and dark. Might as well get all the improvements going in winter so the summer bucket list can be full of fun for long, warm days.

“Winter” is going to be Jan 6th – March 16th. It’s a little arbitrary, but going all the way to Memorial Day is too long. Easter is late this year at the end of April and isn’t a good cut-off either. Ten weeks sounded good, so mid-March it is.

1. Attend Barre3 five times a week. I recently switched up my exercise routine after taking all of December off. I no longer belong to my CrossFit gym and started Barre3, a combo of ballet, yoga, and pilates. Five days a week seems a little daunting, but I’m making it a top priority as my mental state seems to be so much better when I make exercise a part of my routine. My physical state could also use the health.

2. Bring breakfast to work every day, bring my lunch to work four days a week, and eat a homemade dinner five nights a week. Speaking of ensuring good mental and physical health, food is right up there with moving. We went WAY off track in December and ate more take-out than I’ve ever eaten in my life. I’m committing to making making our food a priority. Oh, and everything I make at home will be Whole30 compliant.

3. Redo our office. I mentioned this in my house goals post, it’s time we reorganize our office to better fit how we use it. We spend so much time in that room (it’s really more like a family room than an office) and we can improve how it’s laid out.

4. Create my craft closet. The second of our house goals that I want to attack in the next few months. Things are getting out of hand on my desk and with the office reorg Greg and I will be sharing one. It definitely will not work if my craft gear is everywhere, so into the closet I go.

5. Finish closet and jewelry organization. I started this in the fall and never finished, so it’s back on the list again.

6. Organize the spice jars. This might sound silly, but I have a ton of spices (and use them!) and they are a complete and total mess. It takes me a while to find anything and usually involves a few jars falling out of the cupboard while I’m searching through them. So far nothing has broken but it’s really just a matter of time.


7.  See something new in Washington. I really have seen so little of that state since moving here in 2011. I don’t have anything specific in mind and am leaving the options open for whatever might come up.

8. Go on a winter getaway. Last year’s long weekend in Phoenix was fantastic. We’re figuring out where to go this year to keep our (my?) winter sanity.


9. Replace two of our dog-chewed blankets with homemade ones. Right now I’m thinking one knit and one quilt, but we’ll see what I end up doing.

10. Send five cards. I’m going to start a snail-mail revolution.

the house plan


This picture just made me start the summer countdown. Since we’re one day past the solstice, this seems totally reasonable. 

This last year has definitely been a settling in year. There are still many (many) walls that have nothing hanging on them and space that can be used in ways to better fit our living style. When I think back though we did do a lot.

  • We cleaned up the front yard and put down bark in the dirt. Then we turned over maintenance to our fantastic gardener, Ros.
  • We painted the living room a much brighter color, then hired painters to handle the dining room and both bedrooms downstairs.
  • We hung the maps we’ve been collecting on a gallery wall in the office.
  • We unpacked all our boxes. After talking to some people, getting this done in the first year seems like it should be an accomplishment.
  • We bought grown-up furniture for our bedroom.

The other night I made nicely asked Greg to think about what we want to do with the house this next year. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Put grass in on one side of the backyard and string lights from the house to the fence. We love entertaining in our front yard, but when it’s just Greg and I it sometimes feels weird. We’re hoping to make the backyard a nice spot to have a glass of wine or cup of coffee outside during the summer.
  • Reorganize the office. After a year of living here, it’s clear we spend 73% of our time at home in the office. We have a plan to use the space better and make it even better, if that’s possible.
  • Create a craft room in the office closet. So yeah, I’ve taken on some new hobbies this year and my stuff is all over my desk. I need a craft space but don’t want to use our guest bedroom because that will hopefully become a nursery. I’d rather find a more permanent solution and after browsing Pinterest I’ve decided our walk-in office closet is the perfect spot.
  • Get a home energy audit. After last winter’s painful gas bills we have tried to make some changes this year. I recently heard that for $100 you can have an audit done with a write-up of what you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Considering $100 isn’t even half of our normal gas bill for 7 months of the year, it seems like a great idea.
  • Change the smoke detectors to automated ones. Okay, this clearly is Greg’s pick and I can’t even come up with a reason why we need this, but since I get a craft “room” he gets new smoke detectors.
  • Replace downstairs carpet. Our stairs and bedrooms are carpeted and the carpet is pretty old and dirty. I don’t know what exactly we’ll replace it with (I want to do all hard wood, Greg wants nicer carpet), but hopefully we’ll find something we both like and get that done.

my first blanket


I finished a big project this weekend – my first knitted blanket. I got into knitting back in 2005 or 2006 when the whole “stitch + bitch” trend hit 20 and 30 something females. I made a few scarves then dropped the hobby for years. As I started having fun crafting this year I decided to try knitting again.IMG_7321_edited-1

This blanket was another idea I found from the enJOY it blog. I really should rename my blog “It is possible for a non-crafty person to recreate Elise’s crafts”. Sort of like the Pinterest Told Me To blog, but mine would be Elise Showed Me How. I loved the simplicity of the blanket and how it required no pattern* and only the garter stitch.


I wasn’t really sure who I was making the blanket for so I went with neutral colors. I think it’s sweet that I thought my first blanket might be gift-worthy. That is so far from the truth. But each hole or wonky spot was definitely a lesson in how to make the next one better. IMG_7333_edited-1

It turned out to be very autumn-ish. I started with the white and it looked very much like candy corn at first. With the addition of the last three colors I think it turned out not too bad. This project was the first time I tried to pick a color palette. It’s not something I’ll ever be great at but I think I’m getting better with practice.IMG_7343_edited-1

So here’s the funny part. When I say no pattern was required, I meant that I didn’t have to follow a certain number of stitches or rows in a specific stitch. It was just all knit/garter stitch. However, I decided that the recommended width was way off. It was my first time knitting with circular needles, which allow you to make something large like a blanket but make it very difficult to visualize the actual width. I cast on an extra 100 stitches. And in the end I ended up with a beach towel shaped blanket.IMG_7339_edited-1

It is supposed to be thick vertical stripes of each color. Instead I have thin horizontal stripes. As I write this it is draped around my shoulders as a shawl. We’ve got our fair share of laughs out of it. IMG_7347_edited-1

It ended up being a six month project. Thanks to Project Life, I know I started in June. Or at least that is the earliest picture I could find of the project. I have no idea how much I spent, but my guess is somewhere around $40. I worked on it mostly while watching TV and I think on a flight to Boston. I love that I created something (somewhat) useful. It also feels great to have a project that’s been sitting around forever completed.

the dining room

Months ago I saw someone pin this drink cart from Target and I knew it would be a really fun addition to the dining room. Right now the room is lacking in everything aside from a table and chairs. There are two pretty stained glass windows (original to the house) but that is the only thing going on in the room.IMG_7153_edited-1

I waited a month or so to make sure the cart was still on my must have list. It’s a new requirement forced upon myself because I’ve bought too many house furnishings on a whim that I regret down the road. I’m talking to you, coffee + end tables.

I was still enamored with it last month, loving the lighter colors it would bring into our house of very dark furniture, but by then we were in No Spend October. But now we’re in November and I brought the cart home this weekend. I’m limiting myself to one house purchase per month, so I’m done for November. And probably the rest of the year because December is expensive. IMG_7154_edited-1The cart needs to be styled some. We just threw all the booze we had on the top shelf (mostly gifts from our house warming last year, so it just dawned on me that to keep this cart looking stocked I might actually have to buy liquor on occasion), but I’m thinking a vase with flowers and a few other fun touches will make it a cute little drink station. I’m finding lots of inspiration here. And here – I need that print. Actually, I want everything on that list, exactly as is.

Already I love that the bottles being under the window add a ton of color to the room during the day. Now I just need to invite friends over and put Greg to work on a signature cocktail. Too bad it’s only Monday.

Project Life: Week 38

Week 38 (Sept 16 – Sept 22)

When I look at these pictures I feel like I’m regressing in my photography skills. Sigh. Right now getting the album updated weekly and taking crappy pictures of it is about all I have the energy for, so I guess I should just be happy I’m getting it done.


On to the fun. Week 38, or the week of our first anniversary! How fun is that? The week seemed to have two themes: finishing a few projects around the house and a very low key anniversary celebration.IMG_6928_edited-1

We finally got a new rug for the office. Out with the old blue rug that was impossible to vacuum. The rug was one of my first purchases when I moved into my Marina apartment in 2008 and I love it fiercely. But after five years, a dog, and residing in a very high traffic area it was time to let go. Our nightstands finally went on sale at West Elm and I snapped them up after a four month wait. And in perfect timing, the headboard I ordered from Target several weeks ago was back in stock and shipped. Once we get a few items up on the wall our master bedroom will be complete. IMG_6929_edited-1On Saturday we drove up to Bellingham to use a wedding gift from Jon and Amanda. We stayed at the Chrysalis Inn, had a fun dinner with a gorgeous view at the Oyster House, and were super lazy on Sunday morning with mimosas and cable TV. We couldn’t freeze the pie from our wedding so we saved the bottle of champagne that was in our room post reception. We topped the trip off with Mexican food for lunch, of course. (We had sushi for dinner Friday and Indian for dinner Sunday, ensuring we got in all of our favorite food groups during the anniversary weekend.)


We decided not to do gifts and instead got each other cards. I cut out a 3×4 section of each card to add to the album. And then I mostly missed the 22nd when trying to stamp a heart on a calendar card. Perfection is overrated.

IMG_6923_edited-1I started a second album for 2013 because the first was full and very heavy (it weighs over 20 lbs!). I quickly created a title page for the album using pictures from our anniversary trip (enjoying a drink on the terrace while we waiting for our room to be ready) and a few cards I had from other kits. I still need to create a last page for the first album. We’ll see if that happens before the year is over.

Supplies used: Seafoam project life kit; Studio Calico Double Scoop & Steinbeck kits; Kelly Purkey August + September kit; stamps and free quote cards from EliseJoy.

The Mom Creative