Monthly Archives: July 2010

For the birds. . .

I’m off to the beach and am not taking my blackberry or my computer.  I need a break from technology.  I’ll see you back here next week, with more bedroom updates and a gorgeous house tour.  But first, a bit about why my life is “for the birds.”

One of my favorite things about working on my porch, morning or night, is the “wildlife.” When things are quiet, like they are on my suburban street in the middle of a weekday, the birds are active, flitting to and fro as they go about their daily business.

Even with the dogs lounging at my feet, and my cat perched on the table like a lazy sentinel, the birds feel free to hop throughout my yard.

In just a few weeks I’ve come to recognize most of them.  There’s the robin, who is quite active, and probably is the owner of the nest behind my fence.

The handsome cardinal, who flies from branch to branch looking like a little sentinel, is harder to get a photo of…

Then there’s a larger, more unique bird, who makes graces my yard less frequently.  At first glance, he appeared to be black in color, until he flew off in a hurry, exposing a beautiful navy blue breast.  Any idea what he is?

The little brown birds are everywhere, and are the most brave.  Just yesterday I caught one of them on my porch, not more than 3 feet from my cat (who was lazily stalking it).  Needless to say I made an intervention, so that they both could live.

The foxes are a whole other story.  I always know when one is nearby, as the dogs take off on a determined rush to the back corner of the fence.  I walk over to peek, and inevitably – the young fox is there, in the backyard catty-corner to mine, looking over at us with a slightly fearful expression.  He’s (she’s?) amazing to watch, as he trots quickly out of sight, hopping over fences like a clumsy cat.  Every sighting brings me a little excitement, though.  I feel so fortunate to have just a few signs of wildlife in my suburban backyard.

For more animal cuteness, you must hop over to Posy the Porcelain Pig and see what precious little critter Mikalah photographed today!

Confused by RSS and Feedburner

This morning I’ve got a simple request for you all.

If you follow me in an RSS feed or in Google Reader or anything, can you please let me know? I’m very confused about this stuff.   Heck, I may not even be using the right lingo.   But right now Feedburner tells me that no one is following me. . . which (maybe I’m delusional) I don’t think is accurate.   I’m not sure I’m even using it right.  I am so utterly confused.


Bedroom Makeover, Part 8: Completed Curtains!

I finally have a bedroom before and after to share with you all: my new handmade curtains are finished!

Here’s a reminder of where we were:   When I last left off, I had just shared the fact that I was wrestling yards and yards of fabric, but I didn’t share which fabric we eventually chose.

After a week of pondering, we chose the Shantung Bangalore Tan (#6) – which was plain, with a subtle striped color variation when viewed up close.

I know several of you were voting for others, including my beloved Barber Taupe Robin, but Ryan vetoed that completely (which is unusual for him), declaring it to be an “old lady fabric.”   So I let it go, because I definitely want this room to be a space that he and I have created together.

So here I am now, ready to share the results of all our “hemming” and hawing.   Pun intended.

I can’t begin to describe the joy that filled me as I finished the curtains, and started to hang them.  I immediately loved how perfectly they coordinated with my cheap Ikea pillows.

Then my heart plummeted to the floor with disappointment. The damn things wouldn’t hang right on the rods.

I’d purchased several types and sizes of clip-on curtain rings, because I wanted a cheap and easy solution that I could remove later if I decided to convert the curtains to pinch-pleat drapes later on. But no matter what rings I used, the curtains just hung there awkwardly, refusing to hold my carefully-placed folds. Every time I thought I had them positioned right, I’d step away to admire my handiwork – only to have the ornery things fall out of place immediately.

What I do like, however, is how the curtains frame the platform bed.  Hooray for small victories!

Have any of you fought with clip-on curtain rings? It’s my first time using them and dammit, they are frustrating me. Maybe I should convert the drapes to pinch-pleat, but for now I just want to move on. Time to finally finish the nightstands, hang the bedside lamps, and then do the most fun part of all – accessorizing!

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A luggage gift with a handmade touch

Giving the gift of luggage? Here’s a few personal touches you can add to take the suitcases from so-so to fabulous.

When my friend Reba suggested we give our newlywed friend Crysty a suitcase (off her wedding registry) for her birthday, we thought it would be fun to take it one step further with some personal touches.  I decided to give handmade luggage tags a try.

I’d planned to just use a few layers of card stock for the tag, but then I found thin wooden “tags” at the craft store.  (I think they were in the kid’s craft section.)  They turned out to be the perfect sturdy base for the project.

I cut out some colorful card stock (the brighter the better, so that the suitcase is easy to spot during baggage claim), and adhered it to the wooden tags using ModPodge.  I used a nail to poke a hole through the paper where the hole already existed in the wooden tags.

After the first layer of MP dried, I wrote out Crysty’s name, address, and phone number on slightly smaller pieces of card stock, and adhered one to each tag with another coat of MP.  I let that coat dry, and then ran a long length of ribbon through the hole in each tag.  I then tied the ends of the ribbons and hung each tag on a hanger.  The luggage tags needed to be waterproof, so I applied two coats of polyurethane sealant (allowing several hours for drying time in between each coat).

The finished product looked like this on the front (the address and phone were neatly printed, but I blurred them in the photo for privacy):

And the back looked like this:

As another personalized touch, Reba and I decided to order one of the handmade travel journals from Katie at Gadanke.  Crysty and her husband plan to take a mission trip to the Philippines for their honeymoon, and we knew she’d love to record all their memories somewhere special.

Sounds like the perfect gift, right?   It would have been, but the suitcase was back ordered and didn’t arrive in time. Reba came to the rescue with a super-createive solution:  She decorated an old cardboard box to look like a suitcase, complete with a flora design similar to that of the real thing, and an extendable handle on the top.  Genius.

We tied the luggage tags to the “handle” and she slipped a card and the journal in the front pocket she had made for the “suitcase.”

In the end, the creative solution for the missing suitcase was even more fun than the real thing – as far as the gift presentation was concerned.

And the grand total for the handmade luggage tags? $3.00 for the wooden tags and the ribbon.  I already had the paper and ModPodge on hand.

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