Phew, still here...I think?!?!

I took a little break for a couple of reasons...

1) Christmas
Need I say more?


2) We have, prayerfully, decided to homeschool our kids.
When I say "we" are going to homeschool, it really means "I" am going to homeschool.  :)  We (the hubs and I) made the decision together, though.  We have a third grader, first grader, Pre-Ker and almost 2 year old so it will be quite busy around here....or at least I will be!

I have taken the last month to delve into the wonderful world of homeschooling.  I have been researching homeschooling, researching curriculum, talking to as many people as I can find who homeschool, looking at classroom setup, etc.  It has taken over my life!!!  

So...I will begin to document my journey (a little) in addition to the normal stuff I do.  Plus, its given me a whole lot more to organize and rearrange around the house (YAY for projects! :)

So....away we go!

Sewing challenge catch up....

I've been frantically sewing to make sure I hit my goal of 52 things this year.  52 is really not a lot, especially when you only have to do 1 a week.  For some reason I'm scrambling with only a few weeks left of 2011.

I worked on #37-42 last night.  I darned a hole in a sweater.  I sewed a strap back on an art apron.  I fixed our plush Noah's Ark by sewing the head back on one of the animals (don't ask), a leg back on another, and the strap to the ark's plank.  (The set has been used! ;)  I also sewed a bell back on some jingle socks.

The good "to sew" pile is dwindling.  I have a handful of jeans left to patch and a few dress up costumes to fix.  That's about it.  This was my whole reason for the challenge in the first place, so YAY!!! 

Appliqueing with knit {quick tutorial}

This is a Birthday gift for my little nephew.  (Happy 1st buddy!!!)  My sis had mentioned that he didn't have many long sleeve shirts, so here ya go!  (This is in addition to the huge box of clothes and toys I'm sending up that my little man has grown out of.)

I grabbed a couple shirts at the store, brought them home and washed them.  I usually wash the fabric first if its something that's going to be worn and washed.

I posted a full tutorial on appliquéing clothes here so won't do that again.  Will just highlight any differences between cotton and knit.

I opted to use knit material for this set, where I usually use cotton.  I like the knit because it doesn't fray, but doing the "m" was a little tricky and the knit wasn't a "firm" as cotton is when cutting and trying to place the applique.  The other barely noticeable difference is when I got to the tiny edges (like star points) the knit gets pushed into the shirt with the needle, so you have to be really careful.
Other than that...sewing challenge #35 and #36, check and check.

Framed Magnetic Chalkboard {tutorial}

This project has been 18 months in process, maybe longer.  It started one day drooling over the looking through the pottery barn magazine when I found something similar to this.... 
...and being the DIYer that I am I thought....I can make that!  So I approached dear hubs with it and he begged and begged and begged me (well, not really that much) to JUST BUY IT ALREADY.  (I think its was like $150+ before shipping.  Hmm....hubs telling me to buy something at Pottery Barn and I'm actually have to think about it?  (It's  a sickness, really....icanmakethatitis.)

So, after careful consideration, I actually bought it.  Yep.  I hit "add to cart" and then "checkout" and then I waited and waited and received the email that said it was on back order for 5 weeks and then waited and waited and waited and received another email that it was on back order for 8 weeks and then  waited and waiting and then finally....

I got the email that said it was discontinued and my card was not charged.

This is the world telling me that its ok to want to make things, right???

So I did.  And I love it!

Here's what you need to make your own:
Backer board (MDF, plywood, whatever) cut to size
Sheet metal, cut to size
Metal primer
Chalkboard paint
Baseboard or trim moulding
Finishing nails and glue

Here's how ya do it:
First go buy your backer board.  (Then let it sit in the garage for a few months because its like 115 degrees all summer and too hot for hubs to work outside, plus he won't let me use the circular saw....which I don't get because I use the compound miter and jig saws just fine, plus the drill and nailer, and I drive his 4 children around in a car all day which is much more dangerous.)

It would probably just be easier for the store to cut it for you then you can skip over step 1b.
Or you can just wait until your BIL comes to town so he can cut it for you. 
Mine is 4' x 5' (yes its big!)
Call a sheet metal place and have them cut you a piece of sheet metal slightly smaller than your board.  (I live in small town USA, so I'm sure your city/town will have a sheet metal place.)  I ordered mine to be 45"x57" to give me an extra 1 1/2" border all around (you'll see why later).  

Adhere your sheet metal to your backer board using heavy duty construction adhesive.  (Pardon the picture taken at night with my cell phone.)
Using an automotive primer, prime the sheet metal in a well ventilated area.  Its kinda stinky.  I did two coats.

On your next free day(s), paint it with your chalkboard paint.  If two coats are good, three are even better.  I knew this was going to be a permanent fixture in our kitchen and with four small kiddos in the house I thought it safe to ensure its longevity with more coats of paint.
Here's the part where I can't find pictures.  My children have been playing with my phone lately and I'm thinking they might have "accidentally" deleted the pics of the trim etc. so I will try to explain thoroughly.

Measure and cut your baseboard trim to size.  I mitered my corners and dry fit it first with clamps, to make sure it fit.  Measure twice, cut once, right?  Then I painted them before I attached them.  I was not about to create an extra step of having to tape off the chalkboard and risk the paint pulling up with the tape. 

Using the same construction adhesive you used to attach the sheet metal, draw a line of glue on the wood border, place your trim down and then clamp.  I used a finish nailer to nail in place.  I made sure I put my nails towards the outer edge (where you can see the wood in the above picture).  This is why you want your sheet metal cut smaller than your backer board.

Then fill and paint any holes and the mitered corners.  Here's a shot before I filled the corners.   
I decided that I didn't want to wait for the hubs to return from his business trip so carried it into the house myself.  Wow is this sucker heavy!  It sat like this for a few days because I didn't have the heavy duty hanging hardware I needed.
I found the right hardware for the weight and then hung it....once again by myself.
I wish I had a nice pretty before picture with the chalkboard surface all crisp and black, but this is what happens when said children are in the house....
Here's my version....and the whole reason for the board.
Our weekly menu gets put up so there are no questions about what is for dinner....except this week....on M/Th/S/S  (must get planning).

The kids weekly bible versus and "book-it" pages are on the other side...
...put up with these cute fabric button magnets (another tutorial to do.)
And its all tucked nicely in the alcove of our breakfast nook.

Here's the cost breakdown:
Plywood $15 (and I have some leftover for another upcoming project)
Sheet metal $29
Chalkboard paint (already on hand from a past project)
Baseboard $20
White paint, on hand
Nail and glue, on hand
Total cost: $64

Not a super cheap project, but it sure beats the $150+shipping for the PB one, plus mine is much bigger and the exact size I wanted.

Here was the push to finish it....I used it as a scoreboard for a friends sports (soccer) themed baby shower.

Laundry Room Paint Color

I have had a few requests for the "oops" color that I put in my laundry room.  Since the paint can had the color information ripped off of it, I grabbed my handy dandy Sherwin Williams paint deck to compare colors.  Since we have NO natural light in the laundry room, I compared the color both in the room and then outside in natural light.  These are two colors that came the closest.
 SW 6515 Leisure Blue                      SW 6242 Bracing Blue

Hope that helps! :)

Sewing Challenge {#32, 33, & 34}

Really trying to catch up here.  I have 18 things to do, and only 7 weeks left.  Yikes!  Actually, I only have 15 left....I have 3 items that are finished, but I just haven't had a chance to take pictures and blog them since they were gifts for other people.  

Today, I sewed a hook clasp back onto the hubs pants, darned a hole in one of my shirts, and sewed at patch onto one of my kiddos jeans.  Phew.


Laundry Room Counter

Its finally done!  My laundry room counter.  This is a project that I have wanted to do since we moved in over 4 years ago.  I knew I wanted some sort of counter over the washer and dryer, but didn't want to pay for I made it myself for about $40 in lumber.

Here's the before.  I had the hubs cut a sheet of MDF to use temporarily, but temporarily turned out to be a long time.  Let me just say that this room is tiny!  So tiny that the door from the living room into it and the door to the garage out of it almost touch when they are both open.  Its really hard to get a picture of the room.
I've been looking at wood table/counter legs to use but they were too expensive.  Luckily I happen to come across these beauties at the antique store where I sell my painted furniture.  They were a titch dirty, but for $5 a piece...Yes.  Please!
Tried them on for size to see where I needed to cut and started building.  
But....since I was getting a new counter, I needed a new color on the wall first.  This is an oops color that I slapped on and LOVED!
Here is the structure underneath.  Screwed into the studs in the back and the legs in front.  (I would love to give you more specifics of exactly how to build it, but I just kind of wung-it.)  I added a couple more cross supports than are showing...just in case.  I knew I wanted the farmhouse table look, so cut and  dry fitted the planks, then painted the boards and built the top in the garage. 
I ended up securing the two strips at the end to make the top removable and not have to worry about scraping the walls if/when I needed to remove the top.  If I made it permanent, something would go wrong with the washer and we'd need to rip it apart.  So...getting a little creative I made the top able to completely lift out.  (Oh and last night....our washer started leaking. :)

The top is one piece, supported with boards perpendicular underneath and put together by pre-driling and screwing from the underside (does that make sense?).  

The best part.....its all level! :)
Here's the after again! 

 Check out the chalkboard labels (which I now sell here.)
This is also the room that I made this pendant light and shade for...
Now on to the other side....its bad.  
Really.  Really.  Bad.  But I have plans.....and I guess it'll make for a great before and after! :)

(I'm sure my mother is grimacing that I dared even post these pictures! ;)

Fall snack mix

I put together a little snack mix for all the kids teachers and helpers.  The only thing I had to buy was candy corn, all the rest was snacky stuff that we always have on hand.

Candy corn
Honey roasted peanuts
Dried cranberries
Golden raisins

Eyeball the amounts and mix together.   Enjoy!


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