June 30, 2010

4th of July Weekend

Oh what to do this weekend for the 4th?!?  I usually like to plan some sort of BBQ and we are thinking a Minute to Win It theme could be really fun but I cannot motivate myself to plan it and now it is Wednesday and I think it is too late to get on people's calendars.

Of course we will take the pups and meet our families in our quaint little downtown for the parade - I still love the parade.  We also will head over to the next town over to watch the fireworks over the small lake.  They have the best fireworks.  I think the 4th is one of my favorite holidays, mostly because it falls during summer.  I cannot wait until we have kids and can re-experience the wonder of the the 4th.  I have to say it has lost some of it's mystery and excitement for the moment.  Nonetheless I always look forward to it.

Last year we had a lovely 4th, despite the rain and nasty weather.

We went up to the lake on the 3rd and swam and well tried to swim.

Can a dog be a boat dog without being a water dog?

After our day on the lake we stopped by the parade to meet both our families.

It was rainy but we all had a good time letting our inner children out!

So now the question is,
what will this weekend have in store for us - it probably will be pretty crazy since Lola will be with us.

Speaking of Lola - she will be 1 this 4th of July.  
Just another reason to love the day.

June 28, 2010

How to choose a paint color

No, I'm not going to answer that.  

I'm asking.

How the heck do you choose a paint color?  
If you have seen the picture of our dining room with all the paint samples on the wall (check it out here) you will be shocked to know that I have yet to find a paint color for the living room - that photo was taken months and months ago.  It is so pathetic.  My wall still looks like that - it is so ugly.  Which is why I am making it my mission to find a paint color this weekend and I may need a little help choosing.
Okay, a lot of help!  Because I have been trying.  I think I am extremely indecisive.

Awhile back I started collecting paint samples of colors I liked for my home and put them all together here:

By punching holes in the corners and stringing a metal ring through it creates a great fan deck.  The only problem - at least in my case - is too many options.  At least I know my paint color is in there somewhere.  Just need to find it.

Another great tip is to collect on a separate ring with paint chips of colors you currently have in your home.  I have also done this with fabric samples from my home.  It makes shopping for rooms so much easier.  Just pop it in your purse and go.  They are so small you can leave a set in there for those impromptu finds.  I would hate for you to miss a great deal or item because you just weren't sure it would work.

So my back to my problem.  Please help!  Any tips or advice you can give for finding the right paint?

My first priority for painting is the living/dining room.  I must hide those swatches plus it currently is this hideous mauve color - yuck.  I'm thinking of a pretty taupe, cream or grey (maybe a very soft green or blue or blue-green.) Here is the room, any thoughts?

Ok, so first of all I want to keep this room light and airy and combat the dark couch.  I wish I didn't have to have a dark couch but with two large, black dogs it is a necessity so I want a color that can lighten that up.  My curtains are muted blues, greens, creams, a dark sage stripe like the couch, yellow and thats it.
I am thinking of painting some of the dark furniture a distressed white/off-white.  Not all of it but I think for sure the coffee table....so with that info, what do you suggest?

Another room I want to paint soon is our bedroom.  We painted it right when we purchased the house, I do not like it at all.  It is a nice masculine color for Bran but it is also ugly and dark.  So I am thinking for this room a soft grey would be really cool.

So please tell me what you think.  Do you have a favorite color in your home?  A great tip for finding it?  Please share!

June 27, 2010

DIY: Therapeutic Neck Pillows

The power is finally back on - and hopefully for good.  Due to these crazy storms, we lost our power 3x this week - 3 separate times.  And this isn't just for an hour or two - it was more like a day or two.  We knew our block had major storm problems when almost every home on our block owned a generator and fired them up right away - they didn't even hesitate - they just knew it would be needed.  
We learned fast.

Well these storms interrupted some major sewing plans I had in the works.  

I am working on making my own roman shades for the guest room/craft room.  I am almost done with them so I will share those soon - they were so easy and look great so far.  

On top of making blinds, I have been making some therapeutic neck pillows.  I love these.  I use them ALL the time and they make great gifts.  The materials aren't expensive and they are so useful.  

Since it is not blaringly obvious what therapeutic neck pillows are (I had a hard time naming them) let me explain.  It is a tubular pillow filled with small flax seeds and lavender.  You microwave them for a few minutes so they heat up and relax your neck muscles.  They have many other uses and you can make them in any shape.  I made rectangular ones for my back and small little squares as hand warmers.  I also put them by my feet under a blanket when I'm chilled.  I am telling you, these are amazing.  I am hoarding them because a) I always fall in love with a new fabric b) I love all the different shapes and uses c) I like to use them ALL at the same time and d) They are so easy to make that every time I make one for someone else I have to make one for myself - it is a sickness.

With that being said, I would like to share them with you.  And if you love them but don't want to whip out the sewing machine or still don't believe me that you can do it (because you can) then let me know because I have been known to make them for peeps for 10 bucks and I would be happy to make one for YOU! 

So to begin.

Fabric (44" x 6")
Flax Seeds (1.75 lbs. per bag/4+ cups)
Lavender (3-4 tbsp.)

It's all about the fabric.  So find one you love.  Then cut to 44" x 6".

Then fold it in half with the pattern size facing in and pin it together on three sides - the two long edges and the one folded edge.  I like to also run an iron over it - not essential but I think it helps.

The I start sewing.  I sew the two long edges first.

Then I flip it right-side out and sew along the folded edge.
Do NOT sew the opening, you'll still need that.

Then it is time to fill this puppy up.  I use about 1.75 lbs. per bag which is a smidge over 4 cups.  This can be adjusted, just remember to not over fill it because then it gets hard and uncomfortable and not as warm.  So don't get too eager.   

I also put in about 2-3 tablespoons of lavender.  Hmmm...it smells so yummy.  This can be adjusted or completely taken out.  If I am making a pillow for a man I typically do not put in any fragrance.  You can also use other fragrances as well. 

Once it is filled I fold in the top edges so it is even across, pin it in place and sew across to mimic the bottom edge.

And you're done.  How easy is that?  Very easy.

To use, microwave your pillow for 2-3 minutes.  Every once in awhile sprinkle, spray or splash the pillow with a bit of water before microwaving to keep the flax seeds from drying out.

So heat your pillow up, sit back, relax and flip on your favorite movie or show.  At the present moment mine would be the Bachelorette.  That show is my guilty pleasure - it is ridiculous but I am hooked and can't get away.

Please don't hesitate to ask questions, I don't want you to miss out on this easy *new necessity.

Also, you can check out my etsy site here for more pillows to purchase or my other neck pillow post here.



freckled laundry

June 24, 2010

Maria's Maison

My amazing friend and college roommate Maria just bought her first home just a few blocks from us.  I am so excited for her and totally ashamed and jealous of her casa.  In a matter of weeks she has accomplished more than we have in 2 years and her house is way more stylin'.

Maria grew up in the Amana Colonies in Iowa - no she is not Amish.  The Amana Colonies were settled by German immigrants in the 1800's (I think it was the 1800's) and she can trace her family way back to the original settlers.  Amana is where the microwave was invented thus starting the Amana Appliances.  There is such great history and charm in Amana.  They have amazing antiques, many of which have been in their families for decades and decades, and great barns to harvest artifacts from.  Maria has promised to bring me one weekend so we can tear down some old barn beams and go antiquing.  You can see all these touches in her home.  Come check out the before and afters.

Please ignore the poor quality.  I kind of snapped these in a rush.

Thanks for sharing Maria!
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