Monday, May 4, 2015

Regrading a small brick patio

One of hubby's first projects at this new house was to change this little landing area in the front of the house on the right.
It needed to be regraded so that the water didn't pool right there in the corner.
It bugged him.



It also didn't help that there were things growing there that shouldn't be.



So out all the brick came, pulled up the stickly things growing there, and then he added some more gravel stuff (yeah, that's my technical word for it) underneath to raise the grade and make it slope out to the walkway away from the house.

Once he did that then all the brick had to go back in.
We recruited the kids to put that puzzle back together.
Actually they had taken it out in an orderly fashion and knew right how to put it back.



They were good sports.  Although the boy teenager felt he would be most helpful by "directing" everyone else from a sitting position.  And my girls, as my sister-in-law pointed out, are wearing ballet flats to do landscape work.  Hmm...not the best footwear for this, but oh well, at least they helped.

Once they had it all back in place we added some more sand in between the grooves and we're set.
Now I get to decide what we'll do with that little space.
I'm not sure what is growing in my yard yet.
Hopefully there are some good plants and not just weeds.

Maybe I'll find a bench to place there.
Or add some potted plants.  Maybe tomatoes would grow nicely there.
Our youngest did move our dog Jasmine's memorial marker to that little rocky spot.
He wanted it front and center.



For now it can stay.



Any suggestions for what to do with this little patio space?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

First things first

While there are plenty of things I am excited about with this new house, the current paint colors are not one of them. #downwithbrown  Seriously, except for the master bedroom and bath, EVERY room in this house, on every level, is brown.  Brown.  Not tan or beige, BROWN.  Actually 3 different shades of brown. Slowly but surely I'll be working to change that.

But first things first.
I AM happy about having a white house, however, the front door wasn't that inviting.
It was just plain blah!
When we painted the front door on our previous house it made a huge difference to the feel of the house.
So painting the front door on this new house was one of my first priorities.

I don't think it had ever been changed from the original primed or whatever color.  The trim had been painted white and I did decide to leave that. But I wanted something fun and happy and welcoming. And I wanted it soon, even though there is still so much to do.



It was a toss up between a green or orange or blue.
Turquoise won out in the end.



Ignore the mess behind it and just notice the pretty door.
That mess is mostly gone now, but I wanted to paint and "accomplish" something while in the throes of unpacking and sorting things.

I LOVE this color and when, or if, we get tired of it we can just paint it again. Super easy!



Doesn't this look much more inviting?

Details:
  • Front door paint Glidden Exterior in Blue Sapphire--2 coats

Some changes

I'm working on some new posts as well as adjusting the look of the blog a bit.
Bear with me.
I'm trying.

Monday, April 6, 2015

New house craziness....

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions....I've had plenty over the last 2 months trying to put some things down on this blog.

Really, my brain and my life couldn't handle anything else other than the move.


After spending the first week post closing "camping" at some friends so that our kids could finish the last week of the quarter, we are now in the new house.
It has been slightly over one full week.
We are so happy to be all together again.

My house is a mess...to be expected.
But, I love it.
My goal has been to go thru three boxes a day to get organized.
So far that is working for me.
But our college daughter is coming home this weekend for a week break from school and I'd like to have a little more done than I currently have.  We'll see.

The kids started their new schools this morning after having Spring Break this past week.
I was more emotional about that than I have E.V.E.R been in the last 13 years of sending kids to school every year.  I've always been that mom who consoled all the crying moms hanging outside the classroom, and then took off to go take myself out for a celebration moment. I'm chalking up this partial emotional meltdown to the craziness of our life over the last weeks.


I will try and get some house pics posted here over the next couple of days.  I've got painting projects lined up and am sorting thru fabric boxes.  There may be an Etsy sale in my future, because I feel borderline hoarder-ish as I look at all my stuff.  Until then, here is a pic I took last night as hubby and I were walking around the neighborhood.  A little full moon walk along the trails by the ponds.  Enjoy your week!




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A dozen things I am excited about at the new house

Monday we got the gas hooked up to the new house and yesterday it was the water.
We had to de-winterize the house yesterday morning too in order to have our inspection later in the afternoon.  The inspection went well and only a few minor things to think about--mostly cosmetic.  Nothing that was a deal breaker.

We will have to undo all the utility hook-ups again later in the week or the first of next week since it is empty, only to start back up again permanently a month later.  HUD is a pain.

Whew!! This part has been a bit stressful.

But on the "fun" side of things we do have some things to look forward to.
After spending the majority of the day yesterday at the new house, I am getting excited about moving and the projects that I can do.

Here's my short list of things that make me happy about this house.
  1. Cute little front porch.
  2. Gas fireplace in living room.  We've never had one.
  3. Vaulted ceiling in living room. 15' high we figured at the top.
  4. Lots of windows for natural light.
  5. White cabinets in the kitchen.  This bypasses any argument discussion with hubby about painting oak--as you may remember he is a true WOOD guy.
  6. Kitchen island with more kitchen storage. It is about 69 x 35.
  7. Screen porch off the back deck that includes a light and ceiling fan.  I want to hang up this sign out there.  We already have a porch swing (that will get painted a fun bright color) that will go there too.
  8. Laundry on the main floor--and in a finished room too!
  9. Master bath is not a pass through for anything.  Yeah! no kids access to our bathroom.
  10. Regular height ceilings in the basement.  For us tall folk that is HUGE!
  11. More than one shower!!!
  12. Attached garage.
There will be lots of painting to do, eventually, in this house as the previous owner was obviously a big fan of the color brown.  I don't mind some brown--just not on every wall on the main floor.

In the meantime I am flying out to St.George, UT (via Vegas) tonight to hang with my sisters and my cousin for an extended girls weekend of sewing.  Can't wait!!!  It is -25 degrees or so with the windchill here in MN and about 70 degrees there.  Ahhhh!  It's going to be good.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

We have a House!

Well, it has taken some time and effort, but we finally have a house to move to, which is why I haven't posted lately.  My brain can really only handle so much.


We looked at this house the weekend of January 24th, which was the first weekend after we sold our house.  We hadn't been looking at all beforehand. When we got there our agent told us that they had accepted a bid on the house the day before. The selling agent hadn't bothered to let us know that little piece of information when we made our showing appointment.  RATS!!!  This was the one house I was excited to see out of all of them that day. We looked anyway, since we were there, and found that we liked the feel of this house better than the one we (or more specifically I) had been thinking about for months on end.

It is a foreclosure, through HUD, and so those bidding only had 48 hrs. to get all their paperwork in or the bid wouldn't be accepted.  So we just hoped (and maybe prayed too) that something would happen that it would be available in the following days, or that something else would come on the market that we would be happy to buy.

On the 30th this house showed back up on my email listings as active.  I got a hold of my agent and sure enough something on the buyer's end had fallen through and they were accepting new bids.  Only now it was at auction stage and we had to submit our bid by Sunday at midnight (Feb. 1).  We had no idea if anyone else was interested in the house or not.  We were told that there were a couple investors interested in the house.  Maybe that was just to get us to bid higher than the asking price, who knows, but it was slightly nerve-wracking to say the least.

We got our bid in on Saturday night and waited until Monday to hear back.  I must say I was just trying not to think about the house at all.  I didn't want to get excited about it and then end up spending an afternoon or evening crying about not getting it like I did with the previous house.  House #1, sold the week before we put our house back on the market.  It felt devastating to me.  Of course, I had been thinking about that house for months and comparing everything else we looked at to it.  This second house we had only been focusing on for a week.


Monday morning we got the word that they had accepted our bid!! and that we had until the next day to get all this HUD paperwork signed so it could be overnighted and if we didn't do it correctly they could just reject our bid and we'd have to start all over.  Talk about stress!!!

We got it all in on Tuesday and then Thursday I had to go re-sign some of the paperwork because apparently our blue ink wasn't blue enough for them and they wanted it redone.  No, seriously!  They requested we sign in blue ink, which we had, but they thought it was black and wanted us to redo it.  Honestly!  Our tax dollars hard at work.  Just shows another example of government redundancy and ridiculousness.  But hey, I drove down to the realtor's office and did it.

Our bid contract is all signed and completed and official now.
Relief!

We took our kids to see the house last Saturday for the first time (and actually only the second time for hubby and I).  We still love it!  Good thing, because nothing else has shown up for sale that interests us.  The kids were all excited and checked out their soon-to-be new rooms, etc.  We were able to talk with one of the neighbors, Tony, and he filled us in on all sorts of neighborhood info.

This house has been empty for 2 yrs.  Guy lost his job, found another one out of state, but was unable to sell the house and then just walked away and let the bank take over after a period of time.  Tony also says there has never been any water issues in this house (hallelujah!).  Considering our yard backs up to a pond, we were happy to hear about that.  Tony and another neighbor, Kevin, have been taking care of the yard during this time.  So it sounds to me like we've picked a helpful friendly neighborhood.

Next step is the inspection and if all continues to go well, we'll be moving in March right before Spring Break around here.  That will give our kids a week off in the new house to get used to everything before we start back at new schools.

I have to say after worrying for about a week after selling our house that we may end up "homeless", I am getting excited about our new adventure.  More to come in the following weeks.


Monday, January 26, 2015

New orchestra dress for the college girl

Our college daughter is certainly enjoying life on her own.
I knew she would.
It makes it so much easier than when I was a freshman in college (30 yrs ago) to have a cellphone and to be able to text whenever.  Her siblings love getting pics of her roommates and whatever other college life stuff she decides to send us.

She decided to continue with orchestra while in college and is involved with the University Orchestra at BYU-I. Although she tried out and didn't make it into the orchestra group above this one, I am so proud that she even tried out.  It was tough music and most of those kids in that orchestra are actual music majors.  She is not.  She was a bit upset about not getting in, but now that she has had a couple weeks under her belt she is happy with this orchestra group.  She is familiar in part with at least one of the pieces they will be presenting this semester and so that makes her happy.  Her best friend and roommate is also in the same orchestra group and so they are happy having at least one class together.

Now here enters the problem.
Her black orchestra dress is packed up here in MN.
We did that when she graduated last June and so it was one of the first things to go in the storage POD.
I have no clue which box it may be in.
I'm positive it is against the back wall of the POD somewhere.
We will not be digging it out.
She needs a black dress for their upcoming performance on February 11th.

I texted her (I'm new to texting and there are times I just love it) pics of a couple different pattern options for a new dress.  She picked one out and told me what adjustments she'd like and I found some fabric.

Then voila! I made a new dress.


It doesn't look like much just hanging there.


Her younger sister is modeling it for me.
She needs some pretty good heels in this picture so it won't be dragging the ground.
But since she is about 4 inches shorter than our oldest, it should be just about right.


Neckline detail


Sleeve hem and hem detail with double needle topstitching.
This sleeve hem looks a little crooked, but I assume it is because of the way I am holding it.

Another plus about this dress.  It had been folded up and ready to get sent when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures.  We pulled it out and my daughter put it on immediately--not a wrinkle in sight.

I love that kind of fabric.

Details:
  • 4 yds of jersey knit at $4.50/yd.
  • Lengthened dress to almost floor length--this equaled to about 13 additional inches.
  • 3/4 sleeves instead of full length.
  • Added ties to sides to adjust the waist fitting (similar to her HS orchestra dress)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

More photos from our home listing

This house selling business has been quite the journey.
Last Thursday afternoon our listing went live and from Friday thru Monday of this week we had 15 showings, plus an open house with 15 people attending, 4 offers, and we sold on Monday night around 8 p.m. for higher than our listing price.
Even then we had another 4 showings scheduled for Tues. and Wed.

Absolutely CRAZY!!!!
I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

We had more showings and people seeing our house in those 4 days than we did the entire 5 months of it being listed last Summer/Fall.
We have had people ask us what has made the difference.
I mean, we sold our house in 4 days in January, in Minnesota.
For us I would have to say that the staging advice was key as was having the right realtor.
That has made all the difference in the world.
This second realtor was so much more motivated and aggressive and when you are dealing with your most expensive investment that is what you want.  Someone working FOR you!

Now onto finding the next house.
The one I had wanted and was available for MONTHS is gone.
Already cried over that and got it out of my system.
Our realtor assures us that he has never left a client homeless and that he will find us an even better home.
I am holding him to that.

Here are some final shots of the rest of the house and what we did to get it sold.



Boys' room.  The bed is a trundle so they both sleep here at least until we move and then we'll figure out different sleeping arrangements and accommodations.

Girls' room sans metal bunk beds.  Queen bed up on risers so we can shove all their stuff underneath the bed. And I do mean stuff--laundry basket, viola, American Girl doll and her paraphernalia in a large bin, some blankets folded up that only get used at night.

Hubby's workshop.  Mine is right next door on the right.  It wasn't presentable enough at the time to take pictures and share on our listing.  It looks more organized now.

Interestingly enough a single gal has bought our house.
She is going to have so much room to work with.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Master BR Staging

I have to say that I have this weird-ish feeling about showing you my master bedroom.  It feels like I am showing you the deepest part of my life.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  But really, putting your house on the market is a weird experience.  There are friends of mine who haven't ever been in my bedroom and now I am posting pictures online to sell it and letting total strangers meander around my house to look at whatever they want.

It's just weird.

Our master BR is 10 feet by 13 feet (plus a few inches).  Decent size for a 1960 built rambler.  We have a king size bed with a very large headboard.  That doesn't leave a whole lot of extra room.  But we haven't really cared.  However, in order to sell our house, the staging ladies recommended we remove the headboard so the room will more accurately reflect the size.

6040 Ensign Ave N, New Hope, MN 55428

Here is the picture of our master BR from the first round of trying to sell.

And here we are after completing their recommendations.

Same room, same bed, same big pillows just recovered differently.

And here is our little powder room / master half bath off our bedroom.

We moved the entire headboard out to the garage.
Added risers so we could have some more storage space underneath the bed.
Flipped the duvet to the plain navy side.
Got rid of some pillows and changed the coverings of others.
Added this quilt to the end of the bed for some color.
Took the lamp table from the LR and put it as a side table.

Details:
  • Bed risers bought at Wal-Mart for $7 and some change for a 4 pack.  We needed to buy 2 packs  because for a King size bed you need 6 risers.
  • White bedskirt/dust ruffle made from thrifted Queen size flat sheet.  Used the piece that goes between the boxspring and mattress from the previous dust ruffle.
  • White European pillow shams from a thrift store fabric purchase.  Paid $4 or less for about 4 yards of 60 inch wide white poly-something fabric.  Tied like this.
  • King size pillows--made simple white satin pillowcases from thrift store fabric hase for less than $2.
  • Quick reference for standard pillow sizes.
  • Paint for baskets in the bathroom is Rust-Oleum 2X Ultra Cover Paint + Primer Satin in Eden.

Monday, January 19, 2015

LR Staging Changes

This past weekend we started round 2 of trying to sell our house.
This whole process has been an "experience" to say the least, and not one I hope to repeat any time soon.

The end of November we cancelled our contract with our previous realtor, took our house off the market after 5 months of lots of showings and no offers, and took a breather of sorts.  I could do a whole rant post about our previous realtor but I will spare you those details.  I am trying to move on and move forward.

Two weeks into December we had picked a new realtor, met with their staging ladies and got their recommendations and started feeling hopeful again.  Some of their suggestions we could do easily and right away, others needed more time, energy and muscle power.  And really I just couldn't deal with a lot of it right before Christmas and trying to get our oldest daughter off to college the first week of January.  My brain could only deal with so much.

Here is the previous photo of our LR for our MLS listing last year.

6040 Ensign Ave N, New Hope, MN 55428

The staging recommendation was to move some of the larger pieces out to make the room appear as large as possible.

The bookcase on the left and the 2 side pieces of the TV cabinet were moved out.
Packed up most of my quilts and just about every single book we own.
I think I only have 4 or so on my side table in our room and that is about it.
The furniture placement was altered as well as the rug placement.
And the shoe bin/bench (lower right corner barely visible above pic or below about the middle of the pic by the couch) will get put in the back of the van for showings, along with 2 cellos.  With as many people as we have in this house and trying to reduce clutter, there is no way we can completely eliminate shoe storage, in Winter no less.

6040 Ensign Ave N, New Hope, MN 55428

Thankfully we didn't have to move the piano.

Here we are now that the changes are completed.

What a difference!

In the first 4 days after our listing went live we had 14 showings and an open house where 15 people attended.

Seriously, what a difference!




Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quick quilt gift--Scrappy 16 patch

I had this quilt waiting to be sent to Lynn for her quilting magic when we found out that a family at Church was in need for Christmas.  So instead I did some easy straight line quilting--since that is really all I can do with any of my machines--and we gave it to this family along with other items and money that members had donated.



I like that it has an Irish Chain feel to it, but it isn't really...

I have to say my kids were very encouraging when I asked them if they thought this family would like the quilt.  You really just don't ever know what people are going to like.  Not everyone can appreciate the beauty of scrappy.  And for anyone who sews or quilts, even "easy" projects take some time and effort.  But they thought it was a great idea and reminded me that we have plenty of quilts.  Yes, yes, we do.



Taking pictures wasn't that easy.
During this time period we had overcast days for almost 2 weeks straight.  Yuck!!
This was the best I could come up with before giving it to this family.



Details:
  • Cut 3 inch squares sewn in a 4 by 4 block configuration.
  • Made 30 blocks.
  • Each block has 4 different fabrics in it.  And I am pretty sure I didn't repeat any fabrics.  I actually went back and changed 2 or 3 blocks that I noticed did have a repeat.  It was kind of bugging me--just a touch of OCD.  So that means in the end I used 120 different scrap fabrics.
  • Sashing between blocks cut 1 1/2 inches wide.
  • Border sashing cut 3 inches wide.
  • Yellow check fabric for binding.
  • Backing was a soft red chambray type fabric.
  • Finished size 59 inches by 69 inches.

I received a couple Pilot Frixion Ball Erasable Pens at a "Favorite Things" Party back in December.  These pens are amazing!  I used them for the first time on this quilt to mark my lines in the border.  All I had to do was to wash the quilt and the lines were GONE.  But I could see that they would disappear with just a little water alone.  The pen even comes in light colors so if you need to mark on darker fabrics you can.  AMAZING!!  You may want to try one out for yourselves.  The giver said she bought them at her local Staples store.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Modern Wonky Log Cabin Quilt

This quilt was an exercise in trying something new and different--mainly, using more negative space than I have before.  And I didn't want it to be white space.  I have plenty of white sashed quilts.  So I actually bought some Kona light grey solid for this quilt.

I wasn't quite sure how it was going to turn out, but now that it is all completed I think that it might be one of my favorites.  I love the wonky blocks, I love the wonky layout, and I love the backing fabric.









Details:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

From our house to yours
We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quilt for #1 Son

I made this quilt for my oldest son (for his new bed in the non-existent new house).
He picked this pattern because it looked like Ninja throwing stars.
Now that's a teenage boy for you.

I tried to get him to help me sew it, but he wasn't all that thrilled.
Once I got my sewing system down with these blocks they went rather quickly.

I finished this back in September and sent it out to Lynn for quilting because my parents were going to be in Utah in October.  They brought this quilt and 2 others back for me and then I just got them over Thanksgiving when my parents came to visit.  I hadn't planned on giving this to my son for Christmas, but at this point, with it being so close, it is going to get wrapped up.  He does know what it looks like--at least in theory.  He hasn't seen it all quilted and bound.

Lynn's quilting really did add to the quilt.  Now I have to get busy on boy #2's quilt.








Details:
  • Pattern called "Shuriken" from 25 Ways to Sew Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, & Charm Packs by Brioni Greenberg, pg. 58-61.
  • Original pattern called for 80 blocks.  I did 99 and assembled them 9 across and 11 down.  My son is 13 and already 6 foot so I wanted to make sure it would fit him for a long time.
  • Kona Charcoal for the background and then assorted Kona colors for the stars.
  • Quilted by Lynn
  • Finished size 78 inches by 95 inches.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Speedo Fridays

This post scares me ever so slightly.
I've made Speedos before....as a joke....for a baby shower gift.
I never thought I would actually be making them for real....for my teenage son.
Yikes!

Let's just start this by saying that swim team boys are C.R.A.Z.Y.
Maybe it is from holding their breath so much or breathing chlorine fumes, not sure.
But one of the team traditions is "Speedo Friday".
And it is exactly what it says: anyone who wants to wears a Speedo to Friday's practice.
My son wanted to participate so badly last year, because that is the "cool" thing to do, but I never got around to making any for him.
I didn't want to buy one, because let's face it, I knew I could make one.
Hello! I've been making tankini bottoms for girls for years.
The only real difference here is adding a drawstring.

So this year will be different.
He can participate in style on Speedo Fridays.



Wow, that is not much fabric.
He modeled for us and his older sisters about DIED of embarrassment.  Let's just say that gold piece looks an awful lot like your skin color.





Here's a hint for drawstrings--when you thread it through, pull the right side drawstring through the left side hole and vice versa.  The drawstring will be crossed underneath inside the casing.  This will help eliminate your kid pulling too hard and ripping the buttonholes.  Just saying....from very recent experience.

Details:
  • Kwik Sew pattern 2881 (which is out of print).  I can't remember where I found the pattern, but it was brand new unopened.  Score!!  
K2881, Shirt, Shorts & Trunks
  • Swim fabric from the stash--gold was bought at Jo-Ann's I know for sure, the rest were thrift store finds.
  • Drawstring from 3/8 inch polyester ribbon.  We tried 100% cotton, but once it is wet it is dang near impossible to untie.

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