Sunday, January 24, 2021

2021 Is Keeping A Heck Of A Pace!

Well, so far 2021 has been SUPER exciting on all accounts!  The day after the Capital Riots, this little Sugar Muffin came into the world.  May I introduce our first Grandchild, Miss Lucy Rose Hernandez.

We're hoping to visit soon, but with the pandemic and such, we don't want to take any chances with her or Alyssa's health.  Look at her little bear Snuggie and matching mittens!  So sweet!  Couldn't you just snuggle her for hours?! I swear, I can smell that baby smell from here.
Carmen's' birthday was just before that, on the 3rd.  I did this paint pour for her.  I felt like it was my first success in awhile.  The paint fluidity on these things is really tricky.
I also decided to refurbish our old end and coffee tables.  We bought these in '01?  The tops are laminated wood and did NOT hold up to 4 kids.  Rather than spend hundreds on new wood tops, I decided to just paint.  This is before.
And, after.  First, I scrubbed them down with Simple Green, then lightly sanded them.  Painted a coat of Sherwin Williams Super Primer, then it took 3 coats of "Breathe" paint.  Green little pumpkin knobs to top it off.  The screws didn't quite fit, so I decided to 'make things easy' by buying shorter ones.  3 trips later to ACE for screws...  I finally got the right size.  Thank God, ACE is right down the street.  The jury is still out on wether or not the paint will last on the laminate.  Paint technology has come a LONG way but I don't know that I trust it. 
LOL, the yoga mat.  I'm still hopeful that I'll use it again...

Then Melissa moved out with 3 days notice and the great room rehab started.  Which led to my office/ studio getting a once over.  We removed the bed and my cutting table came out from behind the doors.  SO MUCH more useful now!  The cute pendant lights were a Christmas present.
The books are now behind the doors and I got my spool bunting hung.
Home office section basically stayed the same.  The overhead lighting makes a huge difference while I'm on the computer or at the cutting table.  SO HAPPY to have them.
The big screen is awesome to watch painting tutorials on while I follow along!
Having a more open studio was like opening the flood gates for creativity.  Painting also helped get my mind off the fact that my youngest was moving out, I'd just become a Grandma but can't visit and the DC craziness that was blowing my mind.  That's a lot to fit in to 2 weeks...
The paint pouring was really frustrating me, so I gave expressionism another shot.  I was pretty happy with my first attempt in about a year.  Elle Byers posted 30 lessons in 30 days last year on YouTube that I plan to get through.  C. Brooke Ring has some great stuff posted as well.  She has a really dreamy color palette.
This is an original of mine.  It's giving me strong United Colors of Benetton vibes.  You can take the girl out of the 80's but you can't take the 80's out of the girl.   I saw a Benetton in Ireland and REALLY wanted to check it out for old times sake but didn't want to drag the kids through it.  Maybe next time.
This isn't exactly what I envisioned but, it's close.  Not sure what's wrong with it, maybe it's finished, maybe it isn't.  Perhaps the silver x is too bold.  I don't know.  Didn't mean for it to be a pastel Jamaican flag, but that's what I got.
Then, Melissa asked for a landscape for her new apartment.  I couldn't decide on dawn or twilight.
So, I did both.  Fairly pedestrian, but I'm proud of them.  I tried a landscape right before the lock down last year that was so bad, I basically quit painting.
And, the excitement doesn't stop there!  Bethany swung by on the way back from HER birthday weekend trip to announce her engagement!  We're so, super excited!  I can't wait to help with the wedding planning.  

That's still not all that I've been up to!  No moss growing on me this month!  I'll share the renovation on Melissa's old room next time.  Until then, take care of yourselves.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Pouring It All Out For Christmas

I have a YouTube addiction.  I can watch resin and paint pouring ALL DAY LONG.  So, I decided everyone needed resin coasters for Christmas.  This first picture is what I made for Carmen.  I used aqua, white and gold to make a geode type coaster.  The sides are painted gold.
Bethany got an emerald green color.  What I think I should have done was let the resin set up for a few minutes before I poured.  Then the colors would have been more distinct.  I'm sure it was explained to me in a video, and I didn't pay attention.  Both have a little glitter in the gold.
I was especially excited to do these Pokemon coasters for Hunter.  I ruined the first set, these are my second try.  You have to make the coaster, let them cure.  Decoupage the card in place, then top with another thin coat of resin.  On the first batch, I didn't use enough decoupage & the cards curled & warped.

I did the same for Sierra.  Instead of resin dye, I just used colored glitter for hers.  Pro tip: glitter floats in resin.  The backs are almost solid glitter.  She said they were "business in the front, party in the back".
I tried to pick all the cute Pokemon for her.  Melissa got a set of pink/blue marbled set.  Marcus got Pokemon.  I forgot to take pictures of theirs.
And since that wasn't a big enough mess, I've also been experimenting with paint pouring.  I just love Rinske Douna's work.  I have spent HOURS watching her YouTube videos!  She does a "Dutch Pour" as apposed to a cup flip.  I was really excited at my first Dutch Pour in this green version.  The feathering and lacing are so pretty!
But then, I set it in the dining room to dry.  The dining room doesn't have level floors, apparently.  The freaking paint ran off the canvas!  This is what I was left with.  Not horrible, but not nearly as cool.
Then, I did this one & left it in the kitchen.  The big round white blob in the middle is a light reflection.
This one was a pour and swipe.  I let that one dry in my office & lost ALL the paint down the back of a dresser.  Thank goodness I got rid of the carpet last spring!  I'm happy to announce the new vinyl flooring wiped up beautifully!  Excellent investment, Rich would agree, (if he ever finds out what I did.). Somehow I managed to miss the wall and dresser, pouring in a small lake between the two.  It was so cool, too (the painting, not the lake).  I loved the orange and white feather!
One more fail before I let you go.  This one was SUPER cool but I used old paint.  The dark green was lumpy & when it dried, it looked disgusting.  Pro tip: only use smooth paint to begin with and make sure your work dries on a LEVEL surface...
Today, I decluttered my basement.  Tomorrow, I'm going to set up a painting station.  I've been working in the kitchen but it takes tons of room & disrupts normal life quite a bit.  AKA, annoys my husband.  Which is why I was always moving them before they were dry.  There is zero chance my manky, old basement floors are level but I think I can rig something that works.

Until next time, Happy New Year!  May your new year be beautifully, messy!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

It's All About The Fruit

 Hello again!  Hope everyone is safe and well this week before Christmas!  

I got behind on my Christmas cookie baking because we were renovating the dining room.  Who knew I was storing that much crap in the china cabinet!?  I had dishes stacked all over my office and kitchen counters.  Then there was the dust to deal with.  Didn't want to add 150 yr old drywall dust to the Snickerdoodles.  I did pare down on the amount I baked this year.  With Rich being quarantined until Christmas and my office has everyone working remotely, I wasn't sure how much to do.  Instead of my normal 20 batches, I downsized to 15 and it feels weird.  No pictures, but the cookies finally got done and shipped/ delivered to various destinations today.

I'm super happy with how the dining room turned out!  I chose blue to match Rich's Grandma Betty's china.  The lighter color made such a BIG difference in the room.  The large peony picture was my Grandma Deveda's.  Both Grandmas are well represented.
I had always wanted Judge's paneling in here but these pre-made frames fit our budget & skill set better than true Judge's paneling.  It was a real challenge to get the math right to go around all the air vents and electrical outlets.  Three outlets, all three at a different level on the wall.  One is crooked to boot.  Yeah for old houses and the DIY'ers that got here before us.  I got some new brighter drapes.  They're wildflowers and birds, a very French feel to them.  Even the cabinet looks better with the blue.
Here's a picture of Rich in the thick of it.  You can see how he had to sand down the bottom part smooth.  It took us 11 days, start to finish.  We basically worked on one step per day.  The funniest part?  I was going to do the whole thing by myself in January!  Ridiculous, right?  It would have taken a month at least on my own!  Rich has one more week of quarantine, and I'm going to let him do what he wants The whole week.  Big of me, don't you think?

While I was "supervising" the renovations in the dining room,  I did have some time to stitch.  I started the Mary Simon quilt that the DAR has.  It's been on my bucket list for years & figured, I've got the time now.  I can see in the picture that some of my rounded edges need smoothing.  I'll have to go back over it & fine tune some things.  I enjoyed this more "organic" block to the red & green quilt I started months ago.  If something is askew, it's not so obvious.  I also feel like that pineapple fabric is genius.  Were those supposed to be peaches?  I made them peaches.  Berries?  Okay, sure, those can be berries.  No idea what those pod things are but why not have pods.
Did I share this already?  TAS is doing a monthly sew along with Kathy Delaney.  I struggle when things don't look like I feel they should.  The 30s artwork isn't screaming apples to me.  I did the first block and then kind of forgot to keep joining in.  I was supposed to do Apricots? this month.  Well, maybe next time I'll be ready... Apparently, it's all about the fruit right now!
TAS had Rita Verroca speak at the meeting in November about Baltimore Album quilts.  I had to watch the video after but man, was that ever inspiring!  So much eye candy!  She's an excellent speaker & a real delight to listen to.  It really made me itch to get my needle out again.  Here's hoping that lasts!

Next time, I'll share what I made the kids for Christmas.  Much to Rich's dismay, it involves epoxy resin!

Until then, may you have the brightest of days, the merriest of Christmas's, the holiest of Hanukkah's and an epic freakin' New Year! 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Quarantine Fun

Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post!  It's nice to get so much nice feedback.

Since Baby Palooza is complete, I started on a stitching project for Christmas.  I downloaded some embroidery patterns from Kimberly Ouimet's Etsy shop.  I've used her designs before and she's one of my favorite designers.  I combined her Christmas Village and Santa Claus pattern sets to make this little table topper.

I drew the patterns on with a pigment pen.  Colored them in with crayons, heat-set the crayons and then stitched the outlines.  

I had no idea how to quilt it, so I just did a starburst from the center.

So, Covid made it's way through our house.  A couple of weeks ago, Sierra had contact with a friend who tested positive.  She works in food service, so she got tested as a precaution.  Her test came back positive but she never had any symptoms.  Her positive test meant that Rich has to quarantine at home for 24 days.  He had one day that he felt sick but otherwise healthy.  I had one day of dizziness but otherwise healthy.  I have been SO stressed and anxious about my family getting Covid for the last 9 months and it turned out to be no big deal.  I feel so relieved but also guilty because I know that so many people are struggling with it.

Since we're quarantining together, Rich & I have decided to sand down the walls of our dining room.  They've been SUPER janky since we moved in.  150 years of patchwork and crazy textures.  This is what it looks like so far.  It took Rich a day to sand everything down.  The ENTIRE house is covered in dust, even though the sander was attached to a shop vac the whole time.  We just started the skim coat on the top.  You can really see how they textured the bottom.  Yikes!  The dogs would rub up against the wall and the paint would rub off.  We also found some fantastic 80s wallpaper under the chair rail.  Which, incidentally took some wall with it when we pulled it down...

Any who... never a dull moment.

Hope you're Thanksgiving was great and that you're all staying very healthy!


Friday, November 20, 2020

Baby Palooza

I'm so super excited to show the baby stuff I've been working on the past several months.  Rich's daughter is due in early January and the baby shower is this weekend.  Everything has been gifted and opened, so I can finally share all the things I've been working on.

The first thing I did was make this Harry Potter Cube.  It's a free pattern on Pinterest if you'd like to make one for yourself.  Alyssa is a huge HP fan and I tried to do something she would find fun.  As most of you know, I'm a huge fan, too!  Something that I love about modern baby stuff is that it's not super baby themed.  I would have liked to do similar when my kids were babies. 
I found these super fun ribbons on Etsy that all have a HP theme.  The golden snitch has crinkly stuff inside.
The Quidditch field is made with wooden teething rings.
The Hedwig panel was the hardest one to do.  There was a national shortage of elastic at the time and I couldn't make the pouch the way it was supposed to be made but I think I got it done.  Clearly the baby owl is removable and Hedwig's wings have velcro to hold him in.
Then there's the Hogwarts emblem.  I'm really happy with the whole thing.💓
I had to miss the baby shower because of the pandemic.  Her mom is hosting a "Drive Thru" shower this weekend.  We couldn't justify driving to Iowa just to drive by her mom's house & wave hi.  So, instead I baked cookies and shipped them.  The invitations were really cute and said something about welcoming a little pumpkin so I went with pretty pumpkins.  The little rose is from a fondant mold, the rest was piping.
This was the first time I've used real egg whites instead of merengue powder for my royal icing.  It didn't harden as well but I liked the flavor a lot better.  I used a gift tag cutter for the base of the bottle cookie.  They've been "quality controlled" after shipping and passed inspection.
The onesie wasn't as successful as I had hoped.  I used a lace technique for the first time on the sleeves.  I think this would have been more successful using merengue powder.  Also, the green and cream frostings were different thicknesses so the dots didn't smooth into the green like I wanted them to.
The peach dots were more successful.  I didn't want them to be as 90s country as they turned out but, there you go.  It is what it is.  They're delicious and that's what really matters.  I've literally been using this cookie recipe since Alyssa was 6 years old.  Not sure if she remembers them from that far back.
I really wanted to do some burp rags.  They're super useful and a fun way to be creative.
I bought some fabric diapers and basically raided my ribbons and rick rack.
They were fun.  I liked the idea a using fabrics that weren't necessarily baby themed.
Last but certainly not least, the quilt.  I didn't want to go super fancy because I hope that it gets used.  A lot.  I want this thing to be barely hanging together by a thread when the baby is a middle schooler.
I really had trouble deciding what to do.  I was hoping for HP but I didn't like any of the fabric that was available in the US.  I just couldn't bring myself to spend $20/yard for fabric that was going to be pooped on in the near future...
Melissa gave me the best advice while I was stressing out about it.  She said that I should make it about me so that the baby knows what Grandma Heather is about.  When I was done crying ugly tears, I found the baking mice.  My spirit animals, each and every one.
I can't get enough of them.
I hope that baby Lucy always feels the love that this was all made with.
And with that, my friends, it's time to find my butter bed and & take my nap...