Sunday, March 31, 2013

Making My House A Home: Kitchen Curtains

So a long time ago (at least it seems that way) I started a series called "Making My House A Home".  I did one post and haven't done another since then.  Fortunately that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything to make my house a home, I've just been tardy in blogging about it.

Ever since I can remember I've always wanted a bright cheery kitchen full of red accents.  During high school, or maybe even college, I can't really remember, I was at Meijer with my mom and I saw these adorable cafe style curtains that I wanted for my kitchen.  They were white cotton with a red panel at the bottom.  There were also red buttons with green stitching to make little cherries and I thought they would be perfect.  Since I didn't have my own kitchen and they weren't on sale I decided to let them go.  

Several years later I was getting ready to outfit my very own kitchen (and house) and was perusing the clearance aisle at Meijer.  Guess what I found!!  Those curtains!  I could hardly believe it, I was so excited!  Looking back I think I was more excited about the fact that the curtains that I had loved so much were still available than actually getting the curtains.  I put them up and they looked cute, but there was too much white, I wanted more red:

I don't normally keep my curtains that high, I just rehung them quickly to take a picture of them a) for the blog and b) so I could sell them online!
  After a while I decided I did indeed need more red but I didn't want to pay $20 for a new set.  I stopped in at Joann's Fabric one day to pick up some fabric for another project and happened upon this fabric:

I fell in love right away, it was classy and intricate but wouldn't be too overwhelming on our small window.  Best of all, it was on sale.  I only needed a yard and on sale it cost me just $2.25!  Now that's a bargain!  So I set to work with my sewing machine while Liam was napping.  I won't go into all the gory details but I followed this helpful tutorial and despite a few seams that look a little like a drunk person trying to walk a straight line I think they turned out pretty well:

I thought briefly about making the curtains the same height as the window because the view out that window is anything but pretty.  However I'm a big fan of natural light so I decided to just make them a couple inches taller than normal to cover some more of the less than pleasant view.   Something I didn't expect is that I've been enjoying using my sewing machine more and more.  However my skills are definitely a work in progress.  Hopefully I'll be able to post about the curtains I'm sewing for our office and the inches I added to my new dress soon!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Very Vera Bradley Birthday

So last night I had a dream that I was at the mall and this lady told me that my eyebrows were too bushy and too close together.  So every time I've looked in the mirror this morning I've been self conscious about my eyebrows :-)

That being said, last week was my birthday and it was a wonderful week.  My dad took Liam and me out for brunch and the antique shopping, which was lovely!  I was also spoiled by my two guys, my in-laws, and by my parents and I wanted to highlight a couple gifts.  As I mentioned on Facebook last week Will surprised me with a new Vera Bradley bag.  I had asked for a makeup bag because my stash has outgrown my current bag.  He went into a local Hallmark to see if they had one and instead came out with a new purse that he'd gotten for 50% off!  I love that he's trying to be frugal, but still get me something he knows I'll love!  I opened the box, which was the Vera Bradley box my purse from Christmas had come in, and cautioned myself not to get excited, thinking it must have been just the right size for the non-Vera Bradley gift he had gotten me.  Boy was I happily surprised!

On Saturday night we enjoyed tacos for my birthday with my parents and I was surprised again by a very full Vera Bradley box.  My mom had gotten such an amazing deal between sales, free shipping, and a 15% off code for her entire order that she had picked out a new makeup bag, and case for my makeup brushes, a purse, and a matching wallet!  I know Vera Bradley isn't the cheapest habit so I appreciate that my family is willing to go out of their way to find it within their price range.   So here are my fabulous bags that I can't wait to use:

And then, as I already mentioned, I was greatly spoiled by my mother and father-in-law!  I got a fantastic bundt pan and and adorable little set of salt and pepper grinders among other things.  However, my favorite gift, by far, was the jewelry box that my father-in-law made for me.  He made it out of a beautiful burled (his word, not mine) piece of box elder.  In case you're wondering "burl" (and I had to look up burled to be sure what it meant), is an abnormality in the wood that makes a beautiful and highly sought after swirl pattern in the grain of the wood.  

The other unique and amazing thing about the piece is that the bottom and top were carved completely from one piece of wood.  He didn't cut the boards and then nail or glue them together, instead he began carving a large chunk of wood and kept cutting away and carving until the entirety of my little box appeared.  He has some serious talent and thankfully he's passed a good portion of it on to Will.

Yes, he even engraved my initial:


Here's another picture of the burl:

I've come to appreciate how he inscribes the date, who it was made for and who made the piece. I like knowing that in 50 years one of my grandchildren might cherish the fact that they know their Great-Grandpapa was talented and generous with his talents:

And lastly, I was quite surprised to open the box and find that it had been lined with a velvety material and that my father-in-law had "framed" a picture of Will and myself in the lid.   Needless to say I love it and can't wait to put it to good use:

So thank you Will, Liam (who got me a Whoopie Pie recipe book, by the way), Mom, Dad, Mom and Papa Wagner, it was a fantastic birthday and I am so grateful!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Animal Crackers In My Soup (Or On My Rug) & Ikea

I found this little surprise on my rug today:

It made my heart happy!

In other news, I went to Ikea for the first time ever last week.  My friend and I spent 5 (yes 5!) hours perusing the store.  I was overwhelmed and amazed at all there was to be had.  Some of it was really nice, some of it was a little too modern for me.  But all in all it was a great trip and I'm excited to go back there again, maybe this time with Will!  Here's a little peek at what I picked up:

Of course I got the iconic blue Ikea bag, because, seriously, who doesn't want one of those...  I also picked up a set of bowls, cups, and plates for my little man, a lovely knit (or crocheted?) throw, some fun juice glasses, a set of plastic food storage containers, a wall storage holder for plastic grocery bags, and a yummy smelling candle! 

My two favorites are these sweet little juice glasses:

And this cozy throw:

I was really excited to get out of the store having only spent $60, especially after I saw that the people in front of me dropped $1500!  Whew!