Friday, March 30, 2012

Spiced-Up Maternity Tees

Lately I've been painting bedrooms and furniture. Not my favorite kind of painting. Last night, I got home from work and thought about continuing to paint furniture, but I just didn't want to do it anymore! 

I worked on something for myself instead. I have several large plain t-shirts that I've been wearing as maternity shirts. They work great, because I don't have to buy actual maternity clothing. The only problem is the color block. Sometimes I feel like a giant blob of color, and the blob is only getting bigger. 

Easily fixed. 

These pictures look all whacked-out. I "enhanced" them in iphoto, so...maybe that's why? I don't know, but you'll get the general idea. 

I only have yellow, white and green acrylic paint, because I bought it for a different purpose, but here's how I made it work with my shirts.  



I just love paisleys!

Those speckles on the top shoulder were not part of my original plan. They became part of the plan as I kept accidentally dropping paint from my loaded brush when I was painting the top three paisleys. Art develops on its own. It changes and morphs throughout the creative process. When you only have one canvas, you can't afford mistakes!



I also love daisies! 

The yellow in the flower petals doesn't look so stripe-y in real life. I guess the flash accentuates it.  

Here's my modeling in the mirror: 

This was a fun project that didn't take too much time. Near-instant gratification. Go and do likewise spicing up your t-shirts!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sewing Machine Cover

Last summer I picked up this fabric from the Ikea last chance room for a couple bucks. It was a sofa cushion cover that was ripped at some of the seams. I had intentions of covering my dining room chairs, but that project was too much work, so the fabric was stored away for months.

We recently painted the guest room/sewing room/office, and this fabric coordinates really well with the quilt on the bed. I finally had a purpose for it! I went back and forth about using the fabric for valances or pillows and then decided to make a sewing machine cover instead.

My machine is on the desk, which doubles as a bedside table, so a cover helps this room go from sewing room to guest room in seconds.

Because this started as a cushion cover, it was a really simple project. Here it is before:
Sorry that's all dark and grainy. Rufio's watching me in the background. My little shadow. 

I draped it over my machine, measured the width and height. The depth seemed to be okay as the original cover depth. I patched up the top and cut out the corner piece to my dimensions. Then I sewed up the side that was open and added a hem to the bottom. 

I worked on several different projects yesterday, so it was nice to have at least one thing finished. The other ones are still in process, but I'll get the finished and posted soon. 

Next for this room is a desk chair re-do and a window valance. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Unwelcome Spider

Last month this guy set up a wicked web between some bushes on our back patio. 

It's about the size of the top knuckle of your index finger, legs and body included. 

I took that picture last week. I was completely freaked out it was going to jump on me while I was trying to get my camera to macro focus. I persevered through several bad photos (see below) to get the one above. 

My dad thought it might be related to the black widow, because its web was kind of wacky looking, and the spider has that red dot on its abdomen. Yikes! 

After he said that, I had every intention of capturing the spider and putting it to death, except that I couldn't contrive a plan that didn't involve accidentally getting bit (bitten?). I put it off long enough that the spider left on its own. I don't know where it went, but its web is all droopy and abandoned now. 

Here's a post from a few years ago when my dad found a black widow on his porch. Do you think my unwelcome arachnid is a relative? I hope not, because Rufio chills on the patio all day while we're at work. 

Stay away from the spiders, Rufio! They're not all like Charlotte!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mexican Pizza

You all know I'm not a cook, but here's one of my easy, yummy recipes that I used to make a few times a month. Zane doesn't like refried beans, which he didn't tell me until after I made this for him several times, so now I only make it if he's travelling. He was out of town last week, so I whipped it up for myself!

Here's the lowdown: 
10-12'' tortillas
1 can of refried beans
1 jar of salsa
1 pepper
1 sweet onion (I used a frozen onion/pepper mix)
8 oz of shredded cheese
1/2 lb of ground beef 

Preheat oven to 400F.
Brown the beef. 
Mix in onions, peppers and refried beans. 
Stir until mixed and soft. 
Lay out one tortilla in a round pan or on a cookie sheet. 
Spoon in half of bean and beef mixture. 
Lay another tortilla on top, and bake for 10 minutes. 
Take out pan, spoon half the jar of salsa and add cheese to top. 
Bake again until cheese is melted. 

This recipe makes two large Mexican pizzas and yields about 6-8 servings. 

I modified the recipe for single serving by using one a tortilla folded in half. This size works great for a toaster oven. I was also too lazy to defrost meat, so it's vegetarian. I saved my bean, onion and pepper mixture in the fridge and made several small pizzas throughout the week for lunch. 

Normally, I'd only eat half of this, but being preggers makes me hungrier, so I ate the whole thing. It's especially yummy with sour cream on top!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just Fork It Cafe

A restaurant review.

As part of Zane and my tour of local food spots, we visited Just Fork It Cafe in Fern Park. We loved it. The atmosphere is simple, but it's clean and quaint.

The menu was pretty big with plenty of variety. Zane got a spicy roast beef wrap with onion rings, and I got a gyro with fries. We were both more than satisfied with our meals! So tasty! The onion rings were deep fried with lots of batter, so they tasted like a carnival treat.

During dinner, I saw one of the waitresses take a slice of apple pie to another table. I had to get one for myself, so I did. It was also delicious.

The restaurant is family-owned by a Christian family who lives nearby. They're super welcoming and low-key. I had heard somewhere that they had a great breakfast, but we found out that they don't serve breakfast at the new location. However, they said they might start it up again.

The prices were pretty average. My gyro was about $7.00, and Zane's wrap was about $9.00. The burgers were $6-8 and their plated dinners were $10-13. You can find the full menu on their website, which I linked above. They also have a facebook page.

I definitely recommend this place. We plan on going back to support the family in their business and community outreach endeavor, but also because we want to try other things on the menu!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rocking Chair Cushion Re-do

When we first moved into our house, Zane's aunt gave us several pieces of furniture, including this rocking chair:

She used it with her two babies, who are now tweens/teens. 

I knew I would cover it eventually, but I didn't have any motivation to work on the project until actual nursery plans began forming in my mind. When I got an idea of how I wanted to cover it, I added it to the "To-do before Daisy arrives" list. 

A few months ago, I received a roll of upholstery fabric from my grandma. I'd been looking for a reason to use it, and the rocking chair was perfect.  

I started this project in mid-February by ripping out all the stitches of the floral fabric. Dude. That was hard!!! I've never ripped out industrial-strength stitches. I had to rip them out over the course of a few days, because my hands hurt so bad. Then I had to pause the project, because some serious upholstery buttons were standing in my way. 

A week later, my dad used heavy-duty wire cutters to cut off the upholstery buttons. 

A couple weeks later brings us up to last night, when I laid out the old fabric and cut out my new pieces. 

I used the old fabric as a pattern. I folded over my new fabric right-side in, so I cut both sides of the cushion at one time. 

Rufio chilled out while I worked. He's a perfect sewing companion. He entertains himself, while staying as close to me as possible. Here he is working on an orange juice bottle cap. He loves plastic caps. 

I finished last night with pinning my pieces and setting them aside for future sewing. 

Tonight, I started about 7:00pm and sewed the pieces together. The hardest part was the T on the bottom cushion, but I finally figured it out. It's not perfect, but I'm not a perfectionist, so we're okay. Stuffing the foam was a bit labor-intensive, but I managed that as well. I closed the cushions up by hand-sewing the edges that are hidden in the middle of the chair. 

Here's the final product:

It looks lighter than I thought it would, which I actually like better. You can't really tell in this picture, but it's light green with light pink specks in the middle of each pattern thing. I'm hoping it will look nice with blue nursery walls. Painting the nursery is next! 

Whew! The check list is getting done! Which means Daisy's time is getting closer!! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Daisy's Middle Name

We knew that we wanted to name our daughter Daisy before we even found out she was a girl. We didn't know what her middle name would be though. We had several possibilities, since many different names go with Daisy. Here are some of the names we considered:

Daisy Joy
Daisy Grace
Daisy Lynne
Daisy Love
Daisy Jane
Daisy Zane
Daisy Duck (jk)

Last week I was especially emotional driving home from Lowes and thinking about Daisy. I said something to her like, "I love you, Daisy girl." Then I was overcome with the emotion of how much I love this girl! I got all teary.

I realized that she'll never love me as much as I love her, and she has no idea of the amount of love I have for her.

Then I realized what a perfect picture of God's love that is. I'll never grasp how much He loves me, and I don't (can't) love Him as much as He loves me. I've heard parents say that they understood God's love better after having a kid. Now I see how that's true.

I thought of 1 John 3:1, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

At that moment, I was pretty confident I wanted to name her Daisy Love and have 1 John 3:1 be her verse. I was never into giving kids verses before, but here I am doing it. I feel strongly that God was teaching me about His love and being His child, and He did it through Daisy.

So there you have it. It sounds like she has hippies for parents, but our baby girl is going to be named Daisy Love.

And just for kicks, here's a picture of my belly bump at 25 weeks.

I was dressed all cute that morning for church, but then neglected to do a baby bump picture until after a long day of naps, driving with the windows open and general laziness. So, this is my blurry, t-shirt and messy hair baby bump picture. I call it, "Real Life." 

I'll try harder next time. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Pillow

Back in January I had an awesome idea to make a shamrock pillow for my sister in China, whose birthday is on St. Patrick's Day. My plans were lofty. Little did I know that I'd be ripping out stitches and taking multiple-day breaks before this project was done. 

I started out with these fabrics. Two were purchased remnant fabrics from Joann's and the other two were given to me by my grandma and a friend. I only spent $5.00 tops on this project. 

I cut out a pattern heart and quadrupled it. 

Then I pinned it into a shamrock and cut out the satin-y fabric for the back of the pillow. 

I did the same with the printed shamrock fabric, pinned it down...

...and sewed around the edges. 

At this point, I started making it a 3-D pillow, where I thought I was going to add a strip of canvas between the two shamrock panels. HA! That idea was only good as an idea. Canvas is really hard to manipulate, especially in the shape of a shamrock. I got through 1/4 of one side of the pillow and had to walk away out of fatigue and frustration. A few days later I went back and ripped out the stitches. 

A regular pillow is good too. 

I lined up the two panels as best I could. 

I flipped the inside out, pinned them, and sewed around the edges, leaving a gap in the bottom of the shamrock (or let's say crotch because that's what it looked like). 

In order for the shamrock to keep its form right-side out, I had to trim very closely to the outer seam. 

I flipped it right-side out and embroidered over the eight four-leaf clovers in the pattern on the front. Can you find them? This picture is pre-embroidery.

I stuffed it with some poly fil that I bought ages ago. 

I pinned up the crotch and hand-sewed it closed except for a little opening. 

The last step was figuring out the embroidery function on my sewing macine. 

I did several practice letters, and it still looks like kindergarten and/or etch-a-sketch writing. Oh well!
I attached the monogramed stem and sewed it all up. 

Here's the final product that I wrapped and shipped to China. 

It's not much like my original plan, but I think it's cute and personal. There are very few creative projects that I do that end up looking like my original plan. I think that's just part of creative endeavors. 

I skyped with her this morning, and she loved it. Here she is with the pillow in China: 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Happy Birthday, Angela!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Italian Village Pizza

A restaurant review.

Zane and have I decided to check out some local restaurants that we've passed over for years. There are so many great little places that we ignore in favor of big chain restaurants. We just usually go for what we know, but we made a deal to only go to hole-in-the-wall places until Daisy comes. That's an arbirtrary deadline, but it gives us a time period.

This week, we went to Italian Village Pizza. It's in Casselberry at the intersection of Semoran and Red Bug.

When we walked in, I felt like I stepped into Moonstruck. It's seemingly family-owned by Italian New Yorkers. The food and service were great. The atmosphere is cute, clean, and calm.

We added pepperonis to the $6.99 cheese pizza window special and also got an order of amazing garlic knots. I ate four! The food was fresh and made to order. Their menu extended way beyond pizza, including pastas, subs, gyros and calzones.

In the hour that we were there, lots of people came in for take-out orders, which is probably their typical customer base. We were the only ones eating in the dining room, but we also got there at 5:15pm. Early birds, what can we say? They also deliver if that's more your preference.

The prices were standard $10-15 an entree. The specialty pizzas were $15 for a large. We got a large and only ate half.

I recommend this place, and I definitely want to go back! Check here for their menu and more information.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spray Painting Furniture

I hate painting, unless it's painting a canvas. I had lofty goals of painting furniture and walls for the nursery, then I threw them all out. Then I thought about it again and decided to do the absolute minimum while still being satisfied with the final outcome. Here's the first part of that project.

We're making over both our spare bedrooms before Daisy comes. One will be the nursery, and the other will be the guest room/sewing room.

I forgot to take a before picture of the high boy dresser intact. Here's what the drawers looked like.

Dresser afterwards. I painted the drawers and dresser tan/gray and the hardware flat black.

It's going in a room with this large dresser, which I refuse to paint.

I tried to pick a color that would coordinate with the large dresser's off-white tint. The large dresser has been around forever, so it naturally has that antique banged-up look. A lot of people are distressing their furniture these days, so why should I re-paint this perfectly distressed piece? Years of use and moving from house to house has distressed it for me.

The next step is painting the walls of the guest room/sewing room this weekend. Then I'll show you pictures of the furniture in place. After that, valance for the window! Then onto the nursery! Oh, the excitement!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Daisy's Stomach and 3D Ultrasounds

Last time I updated, I mentioned that we had to get a follow-up ultrasound to see Daisy's heart, because she was hiding it. We got that ultrasound on Wednesday, and her heart looked great. However, her stomach was super big, which was unusual enough to require a visit to a specialist.

I couldn't find anything bad online about a large fetal stomach. There aren't abnormalities associated with it, and all the message board moms who experienced this said it didn't end up being an issue.

Today I saw the specialist. Nothing to worry about. Daisy's stomach is within normal range, just on the bigger side. We'll get another ultrasound at 30 weeks to make sure she's swallowing enough amniotic fluid.

The upside is that we got to do another ultrasound (which makes five!) on a MUCH better machine. And we got 3D's!

Here's the evidence:

No freaky stares this time. 

They did the entire 23week scan over again. With the better machine, and having already gone through the scan once, I knew what I was looking at almost the whole time. 

She's so cute! Look at her little nosey-wosey!

Then I saw this and I almost died. What a sweetheart! I think she's got Zane's lips!!

All those bumpy things on the right side of her her face are her arms or hands or something. 

It looks like she's been sculpted out of clay in this one. 

I'm officially 24 weeks, which means she's viable outside the womb. It wouldn't be good for her to be born right now, but at least she has a good chance of living if that did happen. Sixteen weeks to go, but I wish I could hold her now!

We haven't taken a belly pic lately, but I'm definitely blossoming! I'll post one soon. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Motivational Garden Trike

My sweet mother-in-law gave me this tricycle planter for my birthday a few weeks ago with the ivy plant. It was the final motivation that I needed to get my severely neglected garden back into shape. 

I have several projects on my "Do Before Daisy Arrives" list, and this was one of them. I knew I couldn't handle it by myself, so I bribed my sister with free lunch to come help me. She likes all things plants, so she probably would have helped sans bribe. 

It's a jungle of weeds. The legitimate plants are harder to find than Waldo. 

Lydia and I started weeding around 9:30 a.m., and the weather was really pleasant for us. By 11:00 a.m., we managed to clear out all the unwanted plants and trim back the overgrown ones:
Looking much sparser.

Only two kitchen bags of weeds and a lonely mini-tree trunk for the garbage men. 

Next, we took a trip to the super center to pick up some pretty flowers (ten plants to be exact) and eight bags of mulch. Total cost was $43.00. I didn't think that was too bad.

After a short lunch break, we were back at it around 1:00 p.m., planting the new plants. By this point the Florida sun was high and hot. I was SO glad we did the weeding in the cool morning. We had to take more water/AC breaks after lunch.
New plants in the ground and mulch ready for spreading. 

It took us about an hour to plant the new plants and 30 minutes to spread the mulch. Not counting the trip to the store and our lunch break, the whole garden was overhauled in three hours. Not bad!
Final product! 

I was so excited when I looked at the before and after photos. When we finished, I had already forgotten what a mess it was before. It looks so clean now!

Let's take another look at the before and after shots: 
  I'm not a fan of manual labor, but I love to see the the final product. Plus, I got spend the day hanging out with my sister, which makes work WAY more fun.