Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Join the Squirrel Chatter Minions

Getting pretty fancy with the blogging efforts here lately. You should join in the fun!

1. Follow me on Twitter (not that I am twittering too often)

2. Add Squirrel Chatter and Confessions of a Design Junkie to your Reading List
(This is really cool! Blogger has set up a snazzy new "Blogs I am Following" feature where you can add blogs either by copy and pasting in the url or straight from your Google Reader into a special list. It is like a fan club and favorite blogs list of sorts. Here's a link for more info.)

3. Join My Blog Network on Facebook
Apparently for it to work I have to have 20+ readers. Sigh. So help me out and join my reader list!

Found & Returned: A Happy Ending To a Lost Dog Story

Image from LOL Dogs

Matthew and I noticed a new dog in our neighborhood this weekend. He was roaming around without a leash on the playground in our housing edition. There was a group of kids with him so I assumed they were together.

Well, turns out he was just following them around and was apparently lost.

Poor little guy was still hanging around yesterday morning as I was leaving for work. I set out a food dish and checked his tags - no phone number other than to a local animal clinic where he had his recent rabies shot.

Called the clinic and they matched the number on his rabies tag with his owner's records. At first the clinic could not reach Scrappy's owner - I was running late for work so I agreed to put him in my fenced-in backyard until I heard from his human mum and dad. (I would want someone to do the same for my loves if they ever got lost rather than leave them wandering the streets all day).

This was all around 8AM yesterday morning and by9:30AM I heard from his distraught owner. Apparently Scrappy managed to wander almost a mile and a half way and across a 4 lane highway - they live on the other side - no clue how he got in our neighborhood but thankfully he is safe and sound and no worse for the wear!

I love it when things end happily!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tote Giveaway at Oh, Hey

Corinn Renee from Oh, Hey is having a giveaway - hey that rhymes!

She is handing out these great reusable shopping totes to three lucky winners! Make sure you stop by her blog and enter to win before Wednesday!

Adventures in Desk Refinishing 1

I must say that I do have quite a few hobbies going here - what with the sewing, knitting, and gardening. Well, now I'm starting to refinish furniture. I've been inspired by so many marvelous bloggers and their many inspirational projects. There is something quite satisfying in finding a bargain desk or piece of furniture and turning into your own with a little elbow grease.

My Inspiration:
1. Filing cabinet redo at Design Sponge
2. Blueline's Bookcase Two Ways
3. Furniture Redo at jcaroline
4. Before and After Radio Table at Design Sponge
5. Before and After Chair at Design Sponge

A trip to one of our local Goodwill's landed us with this perfect little desk for only 19.99!We currently have a large L-shaped desk made from pressed wood - but we've been wanting something smaller and prettier. I already had an electric sander I've borrowed from my Aunt Krista for another refinished project (our outdoor coffee table) so - after a trip to Lowes for snazzy new hardware, flat black paint and sand paper and I started sanding away.

(see the silver new hardware we bought? now imagine the desk black and the old hardware gone - nice, huh?)

About a half an hour into sanding, sweating profusely from working in the stuffy garage with the door shut and my arms numb from the hand sander and my ears ringing - it dawned on me. I should have stripped it first - duh!

Another trip to Lowes for CitrusStrip and now I am officially on the path to getting this puppy finished!

Oh! And when my husband was unloading the desk from our car a Swiss half franc fell out - kinda cool! :)

My Resources:
How to Refinish A Desk - ehow.com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Design Gangsta

"Yeah, CMYK!...Turn those guides on, son!"

Ha! This video only gets funnier! :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday Foto Fiesta

For today's Friday Foto Fun I have this picture I took around this month's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day (that I never got around to posting). We don't have many fall blooms (need to fix that soon!) but this one really stands out - quite an interesting flower. Not sure what it is though, it is on one of the bushes we got here recently.

Don't forget to visit my husband's blog and see his foto fun post at Matt's Miscellany.
For more foto fun, check out Candid Carrie.

First Fabric Finds

Here's a start - a sign I'm slowly coming out of my scary beginner's paralysis.

From right to left: (all from Joann's) I am thinking some sort of tote or sling with a coordinating fabric (maybe orange or blue). The damask is an outdoor fabric for the seat cushion I need to make for a wicker chair we found. And lastly is a home decor weight fabric in tan.

This super soft fabric I got from Walmart for 50% off - they are getting rid of their fabric! :(

A little bit of Amy Butler or Heather Bailey - I think it is Heather Bailey - I have left over from a previous no-sew project.

Remnants from Joann's. I see a trend of blues and tans - huh. I am sure that will all go out the window once I make a stop at Clementine's to check out what drool-worthy fabric they have in store for me!

More tan from a past project that never got off the ground.

Lovely quarters from Joann's - something is going to get a little patchwork! I am thinking totebag, or placemats, or something! (using the three fall colors - keeping the black and white for something else - inspiration will hit I know it will!)

Here's all I have all tucked way in my new little basket! Now I just need a free evening to get chopping!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Beginner's Paralysis - Yeah, I have that.

Sigh, so I am feeling just a tad bit intimidated by my lovely new sewing machine. Yes, I fixed a few pairs of pants already (aka sewed a whooping 4 seams in semi-straight - ok, not at all straight- rows)...AND I have SO MANY IDEAS and have checked out so many books and have even more ideas - that I simply DON'T KNOW WHERE TO START!

I have a small stash of fabric - left over from various no-sew projects I've taken on in the past - but nothing that really coordinates or would even remotely work well together. So, I know a few trips to Joann's, Hobby Lobby and Michael's are in due order...but what to make first?!

Here's my list of things I want to make. Brace yourself - it's a whopper of a list!

(in no particular order)

1. Fleece and Cotton PJ Bottoms- pattern is from a book I checked out at the library
2. Bean Bag w/ Handle - pattern is from a book I checked out at the library

3. Bean Bag from Whip Up

4. Hammock- pattern is from a book I checked out at the library
5. Apron - pattern is from a book I checked out at the library
6. Napkins/Placemats - pattern is from a book I checked out at the library
7. Totes:

7a. Oh my goodness these totes from Hip to Pieces Squares are cute!

7b. Then there are these simple cinch bags from Craftzine

8. Cushion for Wicker Chair
9. Curtains?

10. Amy Butler's Birdie Sling
11. Potholders:

11a. Scrappy Hot Pad Tutorial

11b. Quilted Patchwork Hot Pads

12. Fabric Bookmarks from Anna Maria Horner

13. Linen Pear Sachets

14. Picnic Blanket with Rock Pockets

15. Tissue Holder

16. Pillows: More gorgeous goodness from Hip to Pieces Squares

17. Patchwork Ball

18. Amy Butler Business Card Keeper

Then I checked out Amy Butler's In Stitches Book...sigh...here more:

19. Decorate Patchwork Throw
20. Short Pleated Apron
21. Sleeping Mask
22. Bedside Organizer
23. Desktop Organizer

I have an ongoing list of projects in my Google Docs to keep it all organized. I think this phase happened when I started knitting, too. A kind of beginner's paralysis - where to start? What to make first? What fabric to buy? Do I need ribbon? Oh, this is on sale! What the heck is batting?! Ahhhh!

I will come out of it - I know - but...when?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What A Weekend

Had a lovely weekend and wanted to recap a few of the great things going on!

Had houseguests Friday, my Dad & brother, I always love it when we have people over! Gives me a reason to cook and clean - both of which I enjoy! The guest bedroom and bathrooms are all lovely now and we had a great time hanging out. I even managed to whip up breakfast burritos in the morning that amazingly got my brother up before noon! :)

Our good friends, Matt, Laura and their little one - Landen, closed on their house Friday and started the painting process this weekend. I will be joining them here in a few minutes. (Matt has to work today and we both felt crummy yesterday - hopefully just a 24hr bug).

As if the excitment of house guests and wonderful new neighbors wasn't enough my husband surprised me with this lovely beaut!

Meet my new sewing machine - the Singer Confidence! I have already ripped seams out of two pairs of my pj pants that had too tight elastic in them and made them into comfy drawstring pants! I have such a long list of stuff I want to make - I can't wait to go out and find some great fabric to get going! :) And it has spurred me to get back into knitting - or, at very least, finish up the scarf I started for my sister last Christmas! It feels so good to get into the craft mood again!

Oh and we finally got the approval paperwork for our deck! Woohoo!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Foto Fiesta

Great photo from our recent Michigan trip! Our friends hooked up their snazzy cameras and we took a whole series of fun group pics like this. Ah, fun times!

Pictured left to right: Allison & Quentin, Ben - our gracious host (his other half, Megan, couldn't make it), Matt & I.

Don't forget to visit my husband's blog and see his foto fun post at Matt's Miscellany.
For more foto fun, check out Candid Carrie.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Machine Sewing 101 Class

Ha, this class was great! Considering it has been YEARS since I have been close to a sewing machine, let alone USING one - it went well!

I think they highly underestimated my beginner level when they started us off sewing a straight line. For one I needed a refresher on the how the damn thing even operated. How to put the foot and needle down, how to thread it, how to keep it from becoming unthreaded, how to sew a straight line without everything getting wonky....yeah...I am THAT much of a beginner. Hey, the invite said no experience needed - and I definitely fit the bill! :)

First project was this lovely tote...all it needs now are some marvelous embellishments! I gotta visit Joanns for some inspiration! I was really surprised at how easy it was.

Project #2 Was this lovely fleece cap. I like how it was quick and the fabric hides mistakes well. Just needs a poof for something for the top (maybe) and it's good to go!

Thankfully, one of the library staff members was on hand during the class, in addition to two members of the Indianapolis Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, to get me started and keep me from getting too flustered.

I managed to chug out a fairly decent tote and fleece hat in 2 hours. Pretty nifty if I do say so myself.

I really love taking classes like that - meeting new people, learning something new, and I especially love how everyone (mostly me) looks so darn lost the whole time (except the one super expert sewer who came though I am really not sure why - the class was clearly titled 101...not 200 or 500 level here - B.A.S.I.C.S. and of course she was buddied up with me (the slowest in the class) - we all had to pair up on machines).

Sadly, I did not see a glimpse of Amy Butler or Heather Bailey designs that I oh so love...which is probably best considering I can't even keep my stitches straight.

Practice baby, practice- just gotta get my paws on a machine now! I work so much better when no one is watching - a lot less flustery and and a lot less mistakes. I feel like I have the time to figure things out - and a class like this, where time was limited I felt a little rushed and I had four people peering over my shoulder - so it was kinda nerve wracking.


This month in National Sewing Month - hence the special class my local library.

Check out your local library for cool (and usually free) classes!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Web Finds Wednesday!

Haha, these little comics by Natalie Dee are great! I remember seeing them once a while ago but the wonderful blogger at Cardboard see reminded me. Oh the hilariousness of it all!

Below are the ones that made me crack up (aka reminded me of myself, etc):

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Michigan Weekend of Fun!

Been a little quiet on the blogging front this past weekend. The husband and I managed to sneak away for a Couples Weekend with a few friends at a cottage right off of Lake Michigan. Had a blast! A little rainy and chilly for my taste but had a marvelous time none-the-less!

Took a little detour on our 6-hour road trip to a winery we saw signs for on the highway (Fenn Valley Winery). Ended up finding an amazing Port that we couldn't live without! Anything with hints of nutmeg and chocolate has my a-okay!

Also met the official winery kitty - Pinot Meow!

Found out that Michigan doesn't have "fancy things" like nacho cheese dip for your breadsticks at Pizza Hut. :) Our waitress gave us that line, "We don't have fancy things like that...," when we asked for it. Chuckle.

After navigating some pretty hilly and muddy DIRT roads, we finally came to the cottage in all it's cozy, comfy glory!

Made dinner for all our friends that first night...had Flank Steak with Lime Marinade, Grilled Corn with Chili Powder and Lime, and Carmelized Grilled Fruit - all Martha Stewart recipes, of course!

Ventured out the second day to a few more wineries and happened upon the great Fox Barn full of apple, asparagus, wine and cherry goodness. Ever heard of Cherry BBQ Sauce?! It is freakin' delicious!

Also dined in at the scrumptious La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in downtown Hart Michigan and took the scenic tour around Silver Lake where my husband proposed to me nearly 5 years ago!

The rain let up long enough to enjoy some great evening campfires complete with smores! During one lag in the rainy weather the men took quick jaunt out to the beach to test the waters. Luckily I "forgot" my bathing suit so I was unable to see what frigid Lake Michigan water feels like in 50ish degree weather...darn. :)

Stretched out our legs a little before our long journey back home by starting off the third day in Pentwater. Perused the marvelous The Bitchen Kitchen and came home with all sorts of goodies!

Hopefully this weekend becomes a yearly tradition!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Last Living, Lean & Green Class and Chimney Swifts

The Living Lean & Green Class I've been taking every Wednesday for the last month came to a close last night. We spent the last class having a pitch-in, a green elephant gift exchange (I somehow wound up with Bath & Body Works products - go figure) and summing up what we've learned and the pounds we've shaved off our footprints.

It was very rewarding to hear every one's story about changing their daily habits - taking shorter showers, recycling, turn off lights, unplugging electrical cords, turning the thermostat up a few degrees, driving less, etc.

I managed to take an additional 2,400 lbs of our carbon footprint with installing our new Energy Star washing machine (-500lbs), washing more dishes by hand instead of using the dish washer (-125lbs), planting a tree in our front yard (-25) - we haven't done this yet but we are going to before winter, getting a tune-up on my car (-1,500) and installing another low flow shower head (-250).

While chatting with my friend, Jessie, after our green class - we spotted a flock of chimney swifts turning in for the evening in a nearby building. I had never seen anything like it before. They were all swarming in the sky and just dropping into the chimney - it was crazy and there were so many!