Monday, July 30, 2012

Crane's Quilts

My grandma makes amazing quilts.  Amazing, beautiful, fun, creative quilts.  One day I aspire to be as good at combining colors and patterns as she is to make these fabulous arrangements.

With her help I recently created my first quilt which is a larger version of the one she created below called "Scrappy Pinwheels."

https://www.etsy.com/listing/40330016/scrappy-pinwheels-quilt

It was so much fun...but it took SO LONG!

I cannot believe how she continues to churn out these gorgeous works of art.  It never ceases to amaze me every time I head over to visit that she has about two or three more done...each more jaw dropping than the last.  I love that her quilts are not your typical country kitchen quilts, but use fun, wild patterns and fabrics to make a much more contemporary look.  Not many people lean towards making this style and it just proves how contemporary that brain of hers is.

Someday I will have my own shop on the wonderful website called Etsy.  Until then, though, I will continue to live vicariously through her.  If you haven't checked out her shop in awhile, we just posted three new quilts.

Here we have "Petite Fleur."  Grandpa actually named this one that since we didn't like the original pattern name.  Grandpa, by the way, is an exceptionally amazing helper at assisting in these photos!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/105532330/petite-fleur-quilt?ref=v1_other_1

Next up is "Large Flower Snowballs."  This one is so intensely rich and vibrant.  She used all of her favorite designer, Kaffe Fassett's, fabrics.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/105531731/large-flower-snowballs-quilt

And finally, this one is called "Let's take a Whirl."  As I was posting this on her shop the other day, I almost stopped so I could just drive back over and ask if I could be the proud owner because it's so magnificent.  I decided that this could be my next attempt a quilt making myself, though, and gear it towards the colors I'm selecting in my house.  I'm still having doubts when I look at it again!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/105531194/lets-take-a-whirl-quilt

So basically I would like to give a huge shout out to my amazing grandma, Marlene.  I know that much of my love for crafty creativeness came from her.  In fact, she was my knitting teacher way back in middle school.  And most recently my quilting teacher.  Two things I hope someday to pass on the deep family love for (her father was also a knitter who used to make and sell beanies, mittens and scarves up at Timberline Lodge before they had shops.)

If you haven't visited her site on Etsy recently, here is the link to check it out: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CranesQuilts

And don't forget to pass it on! 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wedding in Paradise

I'm sure you guys are wondering where the heck I've been all week.  I ran out of time last Thursday before Chris and I left for Portland to let you know I'd be living it up on the Hawaiian island of Kauai for five days.  Our trip was planned to join in celebrating my good friend Kristy's marriage to her love of nine years, Sean.

We'd been so pumped about going on this trip together.  It was Chris' first time ever to Hawaii and my first on Kauai.  So beautiful!  Originally, all we wanted to do was be lazy and get some good tan lines.  Once I started reading my trusty guidebook given to me by one of my friend/coworkers back at Nike on the plane over there, I realized that probably wasn't going to be the case.  There are so many beautiful things to see on the island and who knew when we'd make it back there.  Chris agreed that we should squeeze in what sights we could in our four full days there.

Our first activity was a welcome barbecue hosted by the engaged couple and their parents.  Delicious chicken, pork, Hawaiian rice and other yummy fruits and veggies.  There we received our couples goodie packs which included snacks, treats, informational packets and a fun contest for the guests to play while on the island.  Sean loves gnomes, but they weren't allowed to be in the actual wedding.  To still include them, they created laminated gnomes on popsicle sticks for us to take pictures of around the island.  The most creative pictures win prizes after the trip.  So fun!

I know I've told you this many times, but I am horrible at remembering to take pictures.  There are a few things like our condo and WEDDING PICTURES that I failed to take, but I'll still walk you through some of the ones I did capture (or pulled from the internet).

This one was obviously not taken by me because Chris and I could not afford the $500 helicopter ride on the island.  Someday, right?  This is the Kiahuna Plantation where we rented a condo for four nights.  The place was so spacious and amazing.  We absolutely loved the location and atmosphere.


Below is the beach just in front of the condo where I caught some pictures of Chris chillin' out in the waves.  In the sand you can see our gnome castle we built along with pyramids and sphinx.


And I have to say that I think we captured the winning gnome picture below.  Look at that wave crashing in on him buried in the sand.  Beautiful.  The prizes haven't been awarded yet, but I'm thinking we have a good chance.


On Monday we decided to take the long excursion to the north shore and hike along the Kalalau Trail two miles to Hanakapi'ai Beach.  We could have gone an extra two miles from there to the Hanakapi'ai Falls which a lot of people do, but since we'd gotten a late start, we figured it probably wasn't the smartest thing to hike eight miles round trip.  Chris and forgot to take our camera along on the hike, but our friend and roommate, Mandee snapped some which I'll share when I get them from her.

On the drive over to the north shore we stopped at the below view point and checked out 'Opaeka'a Falls.


Across the road and back towards the east shore a bit was there was another lookout that showed a beautiful view of the Wailua River.


The next day we decided to be adventurous in the morning and fit in more sight seeing.  For those of you who don't know, Kauai does not have a road that goes completely around the island.  On our trip to the north shore we actually drove to the complete end of the road which stops at Ke'e Beach.  This time we went the opposite direction all the way to the end of the road around the west side and almost up to the north.  Highway 550 takes you past some amazing lookouts of what many people call the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", Waimea Canyon.

Our first stop was the major viewpoint.


Mandee snagged this shot of Chris and I with the insane view behind us.


Next stop was the end of the road at Pu'u o Kila Lookout.


It has absolutely breathtaking views of the Kalalua Valley below.


And here we are!


We actually had gotten the opportunity to see the valley from out in the Ocean a few days before on our sunset cruise with a lot of guests and members of the wedding party.  I failed to nab those pictures, but when I get a hold of Chris' camera I'll add some of those too.

We stopped to check out some red dirt falls along the road on the way back.  Pretty cool!


Our last stop of the trip before the wedding on Tuesday was to see the Spouting Horn.  The waves from the ocean thrust in through an opening on the lava shelf to create this spectacular blow hole.  Another hole nearby blows air through and makes a really creepy sound at the same time.


And of course, here is a lovely photo of the couple that I nabbed off Facebook since Chris and I were too busy dancing and having a good time to take any (good) photos at the wedding.


Thanks so much for including us in your big day Kristy and Sean!  We had such a blast...what an amazing place for a wedding!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chair Chaos

Have you ever tried painting a dining room set?  If you haven't and are thinking about, beware that you may go insane before you finish.  If you have, then will you please do mine next time?

After painting my little end table I was feeling pumped about refurbishing more of the furniture in the house.  I figured I should just go for the gusto and start working on the largest project that I had awaiting paint...the dining room table set.

Mary had donated it to Chris when he moved after having it as their set for a number of years.  She told me that the table originally had white legs.  When she got bored of the white she changed them to black and sanded and refinished the top.  I'm guessing the chairs were bought black as they didn't seem to have been altered at all when I first took them apart.  Since I'm crazy and am on an everything bright and cheery kick, I decided to paint the chairs the same color as the side table I shared with you guys awhile back.  Eventually I will be painting the table back to white, but that will be another post when it's finished.

So far I have completely finished 4 chairs.  It's taken me quite a few hours almost every day since the beginning of the month.

Here is the lengthy process I get to go through for each one.

Starting point

Wear and tear scratches

The chairs are still in quite good shape as you can see, I was just really jonesin' for a new fresh look.

Next step was taking them all apart...which I originally thought was the hard part.

In pieces

Then it was time for sanding.  If only Chris had been home to take a picture of me in my dust mask.  Pretty sight I tell ya.

You can see how dark they originally were stained

Scratch free!

After sanding I set it up in the garage and applied three coats of varnish, then four coats of polyurethane.  SEVEN coats.

After that was started, it was time to start priming those chair legs!  I didn't capture a prime picture, but keep in your head that I did two coats.

Once those had dried (I usually waited until the next day), I did two coats of my color.  I also have a finished seat in this picture as I had two chairs or more going at one time at different stages.


Ready for building

And the next part is when I wanted to give up and tell Chris we were buying a new dining set.  Putting these things back together was the most frustrating thing EVER.  I was sweating and speaking a slight amount of profanity as I wrestled with those chairs out in the 85 degree garage.  I have five completely reassembled now and cannot wait until that last one is done and I never have to think about it again.

Here it is put back together.

Success after 45 minutes

As you can see I didn't paint the bars on the lower half of the chair because I learned after the first one they don't want to go in their home after they have been doused by four layers of paint.  The first chair I had to sand the edges off and repaint once it was put back together.

Next step was priming and painting those bars.

And if you thought I was finished after that, think again.  I realized while putting them together that the paint chipped off a little too easy.  Since I was being lazy originally, I didn't sand all the chair pieces, which I should have done and was now paying the price.  I looked online for tips and opted to slap a few coats of poly to try and protect it from the scratches.  Not ideal, but it was too late.

Here is the finished product six coats + seven seat coats later.

DONE!

Oh what joy I felt bringing that beauty into the dining room.  It totally looks out of place right now as that dining room has nothing in it.  Can't wait until I can get the table and hutch done, and throw some stuff on the walls!

Here is a side by side comparison so you can see how much they changed.


Most likely the first and only time I will ever do this.  Seriously.  Really happy with the way they turned out but SO MUCH WORK!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Closet of Clutter

My father's farewell present to Chris and I was what finally provided me with the ability to clear out all the extra random clutter that we had laying around the living room.

The downstairs closet is actually a pretty decent size space.  It had just one shelf on one wall and a long rod to hang jackets.  Since Chris hadn't been hosting dinner parties every week, he really hadn't been using it to hang coats.   It basically was the home for any random stuff that he didn't know what else to do with since there isn't much other storage in the house. 

I figured that since I didn't need to hang my coats down there either, we could continue using it to store junk, but perhaps make it a little more organized and able to hold more things.  Predicting in the future we may have some friends here to have over on occasion, I figured we should leave a little bit of space to put a in shorter rod.

Per usual, I forgot to take a picture before Papa John started work on it.  I tried to create one in Photoshop, but my skills are failing me on Chris's ancient version on the Mac and I don't want to switch to my computer to access CS5 for the cheater's method of cloning.  So no before photo, I apologize.  I think everyone has the skills to imagine what I described earlier, though, so you can still be amazed.

Here are a few I nabbed of it once all the junk was clear and Papa John had gotten all the shelves created.  He re-purposed the boards taken down from the upstairs master closet.

Lots of junk spilling in the dining room
 
All re-purposed wood

Notice the all tan still in there.  Blah.

This closet was done the Sunday before Papa John left.  He got the entire thing built, caulked, and primed before he left!  He would not quit even though Chris and I kept telling him to stop.  He finished painting at 11pm.  That man is a work horse.  I kid you not, the next day he got home to P-town at 1pm and was out mowing the lawn within an hour!

So feeling like I had some big shoes to fill, I took it upon myself to finish painting the ceiling, trim, shelves and walls all in one day too.  Why not?  Even got the rod and broom hooks put in that night.

Here is the beautiful finished product.

So purty

Much more shelving space

New hooks for the broom & swiffer

The rod we removed from this closet was actually taken out before to reuse in the upstairs closet.  We used one of the shorter rods from the upstairs and cut it down even more to fit in this one.  Gotta save those pennies everywhere you can, right?

In fact this whole project was approximately $15.  Oh and some manual labor.  Which I repay with my love.

And here is one to prove that all the junk now fits!

All nestled in

We may have so shift some things if we really need to hang a few coats, but I'm not too worried about it right now in the 95 degree weather. 

Downstairs painting complete!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Living in the Living Room

I told you I'd share the living room with you when it was cleaned up.  Finally got that done a few days ago and took some pics.   Once again I forgot to take before pictures, but I think it might have been cheating even if I did because that room was an insane mess of boxes and random things for pretty much the entire month after I moved in.  Took me awhile to pick away at everything and find them new homes.

Here is another before picture that Mary sent me of the living room.  The only updates to this room since this picture was taken and I moved in are black leather couches, a few potted plants, and the pictures shown below were up on the walls. 

Barren landscape

I think Chris was planning on me moving to Utah all along and never bothered doing anything downstairs because he knew it would be my domain.  Smart one that feller.

Did you take note of the all tan walls, ceiling & trim?  Here is a snapshot of Papa John before he left working away on the new vanilla walls. 

Goof

He is exceptionally talented, isn't he?

I went with vanilla because it looked so good with the yellow in the kitchen (think stripes in the craft room).  Yes, it may be slightly boring right now, but I promise when my vision is fully complete and there is deco on the walls it will be awesome.  In the meantime, here is what it currently looks like in the living room.

Pretend you can't see the pictures in the background

Can't wait to jazz up the table

My cute end table all situated in it's home

And I have proof.  Chris actually likes the room too.  In fact, he's in there more than I am reading all his smart people magazines.

Typical weekend morning

In a few of the photos you can see the line we made where the vanilla stops by the stairs.  Here is a close up of it so you can see the difference in color.  The change doesn't look as drastic in the photos as it does in real life.

Vanilla vs. Tan

The line is because we didn't have time to do the upstairs before Papa John left and we also didn't have a means to get all the way to the ceiling in that section.  It will be continued upstairs when the rents come out for a fall visit.  Also being worked on then will be the patio and pergola.  Can't wait!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our Fabulous Fourth

Hope you all had an amazing 4th of July!

Chris and I had a blast this year here in Utah.  We ended up having the neighbors across the street over for dinner at our place.  A family of four...two super cute girls who like to come visit Chris and I when we are outside.  The oldest is in love with Dwight and calls him "secret kitty" because he's always slinking around out back in the all the weeds.

We barbecued kabobs, burgers and sausages.  The kabobs were brought over by the neighbors and were absolutely delish.  Full of chicken, shrimp, beef, and yummy veggies.  I made a pesto pasta salad and cut up fruit.  They also brought over amazing cookies for dessert.

After dinner we played a bit of cornhole out in the front while we waited for their family to show up for fireworks.

Cornhole out in the front

Chris had been slaving away all day out in the garage working on his firework show.  I gave him permission to buy a few more after his show the previous night was so awesome.  You give that boy and inch, he'll take a mile when it come to fireworks.  This is what his creation ended up as pre show.

Firework mania!

Pretty insane, huh?  That took him a good four hours to build.

When it finally got dark, more people started showing up.  Here is the view across the street.

Good turnout for the show

Our neighbors next door got home from having dinner with their families and set up camp with us.  Chris and I had taken a break earlier that day from our work and gone over there to mention the fireworks show we were putting on.  This was the added bonus for us going over there to chat with them.

Little fluff puppies!

Sooo sleepy

Ahhhh!

Look at that face!!

They are so stinkin' cute I can't stand it.  It's really hard not to snatch one when are so adorable.  Chris and I are being good, though, don't worry.  No puppies for now.

But back to the fireworks.  The neighbors across the street had a bunch to set off as well.  Their family brought sparklers for the kids and had a great show of their own.  I believe I mentioned last post that aerials are legal here in Utah as of two years ago.  You should have seen the sky lighting up.  It was pretty cool.  When the neighbor's stash finally died down Chris got his show set up out in the street.  I didn't manage to catch any super awesome aerial shots because I'm still learning how to work our new camera and gave up about a third of the way into the show because I was missing it all.  Here are some that I did get.

Carefully constructed lineup

Sparkling in the sky

All in all it was a pretty awesome evening.  Looking forward to hanging out more with our neighbors in the future!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

This Little Table of Mine

You guys remember a few weeks ago when I brought home this little beauty from a second hand store nearby?

Fresh from Pak Rat's

When I finally got the living room somewhat put back together the other day, I realized that I really could not stand those forest green table legs any longer.  I decided that it would be my first furniture project.  I also figured it would be a good choice for a first timer like me since it was so small as well.  And now that Papa John left us on Monday, all of the house projects were now up to me unless I wanted to beg Chris for help after he got home from work.  Which I really don't want to have to do much.

I did have him show me how to use the electric sander, though, so I wouldn't screw anything up.  We took the table out to the garage and got the top down to a nice, light finish.  All fresh and new looking.

Yesterday was painting/staining day while Chris was at work.  Out to the garage I went with determination.  I grabbed the electric drill and the bit I needed and got those table legs off.  Then went to town with two coats of primer.  The heat here in Utah right now is so crazy that paint dries in about 10 minutes.  It's nice that it speeds up the process, but when it comes time for the nice thick furniture paint to go on, you want to scream because it gets so sticky within about two brush strokes.  I was freaking out a little because the strokes were so heavy looking.  When Chris came home and opened the garage door I had a panic attack because the heat and sun were showing me some not so pretty results.  I comforted myself knowing that it was only a $20 thrift store table.  I could get some tips online before starting some of the bigger projects.

After dinner and about 4 hours of drying time, I went back out to the garage to start the reassembly.  I was so excited to see that the brush strokes had completely minimized and everything looked great!  The color was perfect.   I got the table legs put back on and grabbed the varnish we bought at Ikea for the butcher block top on the new cabinets in the kitchen.  Two coats later it was fit for a living room.

In between the coats we had a small pre-4th of July fireworks display.  Chris is somewhat of a pyro and fireworks maniac.  It's totally awesome as long as he doesn't hurt himself.  He took half of one of those packaged firework kits and strung them all up up a wood structure he created.  Since the big, cool fireworks are legal here in Utah (no idea why when we've had a fire every single day here for the last 3 weeks because it's so dry), he stuck a set of those at the end for the finale.  Some of the neighbors were still out from lighting a few of theirs, and they were so amazed at the spectacle.  I was so proud of my pyro fiance.  Since we still have half the fireworks, Chris will put on another show tonight.  I'll remember to take pictures this time!

But back to my wonderful end table.  Here she is...a fruit of my labor and love.

Light and wonderful

So you can now see the color scheme I'll be going for with most of the downstairs.  I'm shooting for a very light, airy feel.  Slowly try to weed out all the black as much as I can.  Couches will have to wait for a few years though as I'd like to save up for some nice ones.  Chris bought the ones we have fairly recently too, so we need to get some good use out of them.

I will update you with pictures of the freshly painted living/family room soon now that I have it fairly organized.

In the mean time, hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Closet Remodel

This makeover may be my favorite so far.  I cannot believe how much a little bit of space planning can take you from freaking out that you have to donate half your wardrobe to the a second hand shop, to basking in the site of all of your clothing fitting in one closet for the first time in your life.  Plus your fiance's clothes.  Of which I did not make him take any to the second hand shop either.  Though to be honest, his probably would have been sacrificed before mine...  ;)

The other request for Papa John was to put a door on closet.  For some reason the company that built these homes thought it was a great idea to put an open archway leading into closet rather than a door.  Perhaps some people like everyone viewing their clothing when they come to visit, but I thought it was quite silly.  I wouldn't have been that bothered by it though until I learned from Chris that Dwight (cat fluff) had been in there chomping on some of his shirts recently.  He has a few holes in his favorite Oregon tee, along with a few others.  I knew that Farrah (cat fluff 2) would also find this as a new playground and proceed to make her bed on top of all my sweaters like my parent's cat, Calvin, does to my mother.  I decided I really wanted a door.

Here are some shots of what the closet looked like before the makeover began. 

Archway from master bedroom

Awkward corner

All single shelf & rod

As you can see it's a fairly large closet, but it really doesn't hold much due it being a single rod all around and no shelving.  After a trip to home depot to see what we could do to improve the storage, we decided that Papa John would be attempting his first ever complete closet tear down and redo.  I'm proud to say that I have an original.  We decided to add a few double rods and a corner shelving unit to maximize the space.

If any of you didn't know, Chris is a Google 3D SketchUp Model wizard.  He's won awards and had articles written about him.  Seriously.  Check out his stuff here: http://www.chrisbence.com/googleearth/

So naturally, he made a comment to Papa John and I about making a model of it.  We just kind of looked at each other and shrugged, thinking we'd be done building by the time that thing was done.  Within about 20 minutes Chris called us in to show us this:

Detailed with measurements

With our clothes...love my dresses!

Is that not awesome?  He printed out a few views so Papa John had all the correct measurements close at hand.  I'm thinking these skills will definitely be handy to call upon many times in the future. 

Here are a few pics midway through the remodel.

Door frame in!

Looking into the master room

I was getting so pumped seeing all the progress.  My poor clothes had been trapped in boxes for the last two weeks.  They were so close to being set free.

Two days after the last few pictures were taken, this is the wonderful site that I saw:

SO PRETTY!

Look at all those shelves!

Chris's side ;)

Later that evening we went to Home Depot and bought a few more rods and a new door handle.  I spent the entire night unpacking and putting away clothing.  Don't judge my OCD hanger colors and color/sleeve length coordinating.  Here are some pics with the new closet being put to use:

Wonderful new door and fresh white trim

Chris's side

Laura's side

Laura's side continued.

I actually could not believe that everything fit in there with barely anything put on the upper shelves!  So amazing.  I love my new closet.  

And I'm sorry to say that Papa John is not for hire.  I think he's retiring house work after the last 6 months that brother Bryan and I have put him through.  I'll have to think of a REALLY good birthday gift to get him this year!

What about you guys?  What has been your largest house project accomplished thus far?