Nov 25, 2014

Backyard Cleanup, A Little Progress

I'm becoming more mobile again as my ankle heals. I'm in just an air cast now and can limp around more and more as I build strength back up. So we set out to get the most important stuff done in the backyard for Fall cleanup. There's a lot more that I'd like to get done, but this is a good start.

First we got the fig trees wrapped up in burlap and stuffed with leaves.

Mike finished cleaning out the garage and made so much room... which we promptly filled up with all of our outdoor furniture and Oliver's toys. It's now totally chock full again until Spring.

We got the bramble of blackberries, raspberries and sweet peas cleaned up. We also got the dahlia bulbs dug up from around the yard... hopefully I didn't wait too long and they'll come back next year.

All of the patio furniture is packed up in the garage...

The pergola bamboo shade was packed up and put into the garage too, in anticipation of the snow. We decided to leave the lights up, at least a little bit longer, because they illuminate the backyard so well.

In the front yard we cleaned up the perennials nipped by frost, but I didn't take a picture of it. At least the part of our house that shows is cleaned up. There's still a ton of work to do in the backyard and I never completely finished cleaning up the raised bed garden... the to-do list is really long but I'm glad to be getting back into action! 

Nov 24, 2014

A Few Little Things

A few little things from around our house over the past few days... I finally changed out a picture on our gallery wall from a black and white city picture to that blue painting I shared a few weeks ago.

I put up our Christmas lights outside early when it hit 70 degrees today. At first I felt a little weird about it, but I rationalized that I was taking advantage of the beautiful weather. I also realized that today last year would have been post-Thanksgiving, so it's not that bad. We got new snowflake lights to hang on the tree - I'm so excited about them!

I also got a new doormat for our porch on sale at Target. I actually intended to get a Christmas one, but Oliver really loved the snowman (thank you Frozen). I realized I could keep it out longer in the winter if we went with a snow/winter one (and put the bicycle one away until spring), so Oliver won.

The snow theme was cute when it was 70 and warm. Then I checked the forecast and realized we're getting snow on Wednesday. Too soon... I didn't mean it! Let's change it to "let it not snow."

Nov 21, 2014

Mini Tree Skirt

Oliver is finally at the age where he's excited about Christmas ahead of time. When he's allowed to watch TV, he only wants to watch Christmas specials on Netflix. And after we shot this year's Christmas card using the pre-lit mini tree (that we bought in October), he insisted we keep it up in the living room. I decorated it with the ornaments I recently made. Christmas has started early this year in our house!

The tree actually fits perfectly between the stairs and the TV and Oliver loves having it front and center where he can admire it easily. The only thing that bothered me was the bottom - plastic legs are so ugly! I went online to see if I could find a cheap mini tree skirt, but the prices were outrageous! I'm sure if I had the mobility to shop around at some big box stores I could have found something, but I'm still restricted to online shopping. So instead I ordered a $5 giant sheet of felt from amazon ($5 felt like the right price for a $12 tree!) that arrived 2 days later.

I measured the base of the tree with a ruler - I needed 12" from the center all the way around, or a 24" diameter. I laid out my felt and then marked it with some of Oliver's colored chalk,the outside borders and the center. I freehanded the circle shape in chalk, it didn't need to be perfect since it was going around a tree.

I cut out the outside circle, then the line towards the middle (so it can wrap) and the center circle. I was going to do buttons with loops to hold it closed, but then I realized it didn't have to lay perfectly flat - the legs are raised a bit. So I took a shortcut and cut slits for the buttons instead - it's not perfectly flat, but around the tree it actually works better!

I liked the plain dark green because it disappeared...  but then I couldn't help myself. I wanted some white felt stars on it. White stars would match the felt ornaments decorating the tree and the big tree skirt for our big tree. On the big tree skirt I actually added the stars myself years ago, modeling it after a really pricey felt tree skirt I loved from Garnet Hill.

Adding the stars was easy, I already had the white felt. I cut out the stars in the same freehand folksy style of the ornaments, pinned them to the skirt where I wanted them, then sewed them on by hand.

I like the tree so much better now with the skirt around the legs. It's really early to have anything for Christmas out... but honestly I can't say that I mind!

Nov 19, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Nothing like a frigid cold snap over the country to motivate us to get our leaky original windows wrapped up in insulating plastic. The biggest offenders are the two windows in the living room, the two back windows in the sunroom/playroom, and the downstairs bathroom.

Before we had the plastic up, I could actually feel the cold air flowing inside. Until we can afford to replace the windows (ouch!) this plastic sheeting actually works really well. The taping part is kind of a pain, but it makes a BIG difference on our energy bills.

Beyond the windows, things are slowly progressing around here. My ankle is getting better and I'm more mobile, but we've also been suffering through some rough sick days (daycare germs!). We did get our Christmas card photographed, designed and ordered - so that was a big check off my to-do list (see 2013, 2012). The photo shoot involved the mini pre-lit Christmas tree we bought in October and my handmade ornaments - since then Oliver has insisted the tree remain up, lit and decorated in the living room.

Nov 14, 2014

Our House In Watercolor

Back in September I turned our house image into Pop Art after I had created some similar images for my sister's birthday. I thought it might be fun (while I'm still recuperating) to make a watercolor version. This is a cheat (because of course there's an app for that), but I'm still pretty happy with the results. I think this would totally worked framed on our gallery wall.

Now I just need to get this printed...

Nov 11, 2014

More Ornaments

I made a few more ornaments for my felt collection. I've been productive in the crafting department (just not anywhere else). I made a wreathe and a house...

A red bird and white bird to keep the blue bird ornament company..

Two red stars to go with the blue stars (Oliver is a big fan of the stars)...

Everything is soft and puffy. They have a nice weight in the hand. I like the little folksy collection. Maybe I'll make a couple of white stars and then call it finished.

Nov 6, 2014

Ornaments in Progress

Hello there, just checking in from the land of sprained ankles. The orthopedist told me I'd be in a cast for 4 weeks. FOUR WEEKS. I'm doing my exercises and building up strength to get around better in my walking cast, but progress is painful and slower than I hoped. It's been frustrating. I've been injured now for a full week and I'm still using crutches.

So what's a girl to do? Binge watch Netflix, start some early online Christmas shopping, and get a jump start on this year's homemade ornaments.

Last year I made paper ornaments that were toddler safe. The year before we did 3 versions of baby's first Christmas (1, 2, 3), and before that we commemorated our first house. This year I'm making ornaments out of felt. Now that we have a little kid's tree for Oliver to enjoy, we have more room for more ornaments, so I'm having fun and keeping myself entertained. 

I started with some stars, sewn together with embroidery thread. I stuffed them with felt scraps.

Using the same pattern from Oliver's bird mobiles, I made a  felt bird ornament and decorated it with embroidery thread. I like it so much I kind of wish I did all of the nursery birds this way!

So far it's a cute, folksy collection -

Next up... a red bird...!

Nov 3, 2014

Taking a Few Sick Days

Two weeks ago when I fell and injured my ankle, it was a setback but I was recovering. Then I fell again, on the same (weak and recovering) ankle, in our unfinished street construction covered with leaves (in the dark, walking the dog).

This time I'm benched. The good news was that it's not fractured, but it's a bad sprain. I have an air cast and crutches, I'm on strict orders to stay off it completely. Lots of rest, recuperation, orthopedic appointments and physical therapy.

So I'm benched for a little while. Mike has to take over all the parenting and household responsibilities. Blog content is going to be slim for a while while I recover. I'll be checking in, just not as regularly as usual. There's so much we want to do, but like the jack-o-lanterns on Halloween - sometimes even with the best intentions you can't do it all.

Oct 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from our little yellow house!

Our Halloween costumes had a dog theme this year - Oliver was a puppy dog (he called it a "puppy truck" and he carried a truck while in the puppy costume) and Georgia was a hot dog. They were so cute together trick-or-treating.

One of our neighbors gave out balloons in addition candy, Ollie was in heaven.

Georgia's mustard also lit up, it was hilarious (hard to see in the photos but you'll have to trust me - it was awesome).

Things That Made Me Happy In October

In January I embarked on a personal project to take pictures of the little things that make me happy. The past few years I forgot to document the little things in our life, the details that are lovely to look back on. So for the year I'm taking pictures of the good little things and sharing them here. 

See: January February | March | April | May |  June | July | August | September

These are the things that made me happy in October: