Two peas in a pod

Friday, May 29, 2009
I haven't done much crafting this week. I'm gearing up for our big move (we'll be moving to AL from TN by the end of June - a 3.5 hour move.) So my time has been taken up by yard sales, cleaning, de-cluttering, finishing up my counter-tops. I haven't even started packing yet! Oh and my triathlon is one week from tomorrow!

Last week I was able to go to the actual site of the race with most of Team ASK (Athletes for Special Kids.) We hopped in the lake and did about 3/4 of the swim distance, then hopped on our bikes and biked the full 16 mile bike course and topped it off with a 2 mile run. All I can say is, "I'm so ready!" I had so much energy the rest of the day and wasn't even sore. Last year (my first triathlon) I was so tired after wards that I came home and crashed!

That's me, front and center, bottom row. We're missing about 1/3 of the team

Really it wasn't that cold, only 3 of us weren't wearing wetsuits and the water was fine. but Don't we look cool and all official in wetsuits?!

Since I don't have any projects to post I thought I would share one of Mr. PD's projects. We really are 2 peas in a pod. We are both creative and love to make things. He is good at making things out of wood, building homes, fixing things, and I'm good at making things pretty, sewing, painting etc. That's not to say that we don't overlap in our creativeness! I do some wood working and have been known to take matters into my own hands when he doesn't get to fixing things right away. Mr. PD knows how to knit (I don't!) and has been known to sew once in a while. Between the 2 of us there really is nothing we can't make!

So without further ado I give you Mr. Petit Debutant's Chicken Tractor:

Designed and built 100% by him. Ok he got a little help on the painting from the kids, mostly in the form of painting their own clothes red!

This is a pretty neat contraption. The chickens have access to a roost and fresh grass all within the safety of an enclosure. The heavy duty tires make it so easy to wheel it around the yard to a new spot of fresh leafy greens. I'm 5'0 and about 120lbs, I have no problems wheeling this around the yard! the whole thing measures about 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and is about 5 feet tall at the tallest point. A lovely home for our 8 chicks and duck.

Catch up

Friday, May 22, 2009
I failed to post last week. We were super busy running around the Anniston area in AL trying to secure housing last weekend. We were hoping to get something set up during the short time that I was there with my husband (Thursday afternoon to Monday morning.)

The first few days were really disappointing. It's supposed to be cheaper to live in AL so we thought that this move would provide us with a way to save money. We have already found a friend to rent our house for the next year so most of our House expenses will be covered. The rentals we looked at in AL during those first 3 days were awful. Not my idea of move in ready, dirty, dark, smelly, and dingy. Plus they were asking too much, in my opinion.

We finally gave up using the property management companies and struck out on our own. We drove up and down almost every neighborhood in Jacksonville, Weaver, Alexandria, McClellan, and Oxford AL. We skipped the majority of the homes in Anniston because we have heard bad things about the schools there.

We stumbled upon a couple of homes for rent by owner, two of which would be really close to Mr. Debutant's work. We were unable to get in to see them before I left on Monday morning though. I left the house picking up to Mr. Debutant, and he has made his choice. I just hope he made the right choice! Actually it sounds like the house he picked is a good fit: 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, large yard, allows dogs (without a fee), rent is not too expensive, in a good school zone, a short lease (in case we hate it) and no smoker smell! We don't smoke, never have never will. So walking into a home that has had smoker's is like a punch in the face. Anyway the plus side is that the landlord is pretty easy going and Mr. Debutant discovered that under all the carpet in the house there are lovely hardwood floors! The landlord has agreed to let us pull up the carpet! Yay!

Ok enough House hunting stories.

I haven't done much in the way of crafting this week. I got home on Monday afternoon, and have been trying to re-claim my "groove" since then: catching up on laundry, catching up on dishes (I hate doing dishes), working out, and gearing up for a yard sale on Memorial day.

I don't think I will have much to share between now and the time we have to move. I have my triathlon in little more than 2 weeks! (June 6th) I can't believe it's right around the corner. So for the next 2 weeks I will not be traveling to AL with Mr. Debutant because now is the time I have to focus. Next week is my last hard week of workouts and the week after that is an easy "recovery" week leading up to race day!

ok here are some pictures of the Friendship Quilt v2.0 (click to enlarge and view detail):

I did the main "pumpkin seed" quilting with my walking foot. It was much easier to go diagonally across the quilt rather than making "u" shaped rows of quilting and trying to pivot the quilt at the top of each "u." Did that even make sense? I free motion quilted around the center panel, outlining the girl and dog. I also free motioned the borders.

You can see that I appliqued the silhouettes and extra charm squares onto the back. This quilt ended up almost twin size and was a beast to shove through my little Kenmore. But... no more!!!

I scored a Brother 1300, which apparently is not sold anymore, but is the exact same as a Brother 1500 with one exception: it sews 1300 stitches per minute as opposed to 1500 spm. It has a 9" throat space and will work on my quilting frame! They also make a stitch regulator and speed control for this machine so I should be set for the next couple of years once I add it. I have no idea how much this machine costs. A Brother 1500 sells for $800 (the cheapest I've found) brand new. I can't imagine this machine being that much cheaper, maybe in the $700 range. I got it off of eBay for $350 with shipping. Score!

Painted counter tops

Friday, May 8, 2009
Yes you can!

Yes indeed you can paint laminate counter tops. The key is a good primer and a good sealant. I have been meaning to do this for so long and we finally bought the materials to do it and after a week of brainstorming and a day of practicing I bit the bullet and painted my own counter tops. I really, highly suggest practicing before going at it on your very own counter tops.

I tell ya, Mr. Debutant is coming around to my harebrained ideas. He didn't even flinch when I told him I wanted to paint the counter tops! After wards all I got were compliments from him! :)

1) practice piece of counter top
2) a really good bonding primer
3) oil based paints in your desired color family (I used 3 different colors)
4) paint brushes ( I used a natural bristle brush for this)
5) paint thinner for clean up
6) a mini paint roller (foam)
7) glaze for oil based paints
8) de-greasing cleaner (I used Simple Green)
9) foam craft brush
10) painters tape

First of all practice practice practice! First I tried sponge painting, didn't like it, then I tried troweling it on, didn't work, then I finally tried a color wash technique using "x" strokes - loved it! Also when you practice, try out your colors in different orders. The lightest color as your base will look completely different than your darkest color as a base.

When I was practicing I used the darkest as the base and then decided it was too dark. Without trying it out any other way I decided to go ahead and paint my counter tops using the lightest color as a base. Over all it looks nice but in my opinion I ended up with too much yellow in my kitchen! oh well, but I do love the look, it's very Italian-ish.

How to:
1) Clean your counter tops very well. I used undiluted maximum strength Simple Green. Run your hands over your counter tops to make sure there are no rough food particles stuck on. Use a scraper or a butter knife to scrape them off.
2) Apply one or two coats of your primer allowing to dry in between coats (I only used one coat)
Use your foam roller to roll the main parts and a foam brush to do the top of the counter top back splash.
3)Apply your base coat of color, again using the foam brush and roller. Allow to dry for at least 12 hours and until no longer sticky (I think I waited 16hrs)
4) Mix your 2nd coat. Mix glaze and paint to your desired consistency, following manufactures suggestions. It is much easier to pour your glaze into a container, then with a paint stick drizzle your desired color into the glaze, adding it a little at a time. I used about 10 parts glaze to 1 part paint. Now using your natural bristle brush dip into the paint a little at a time. On your counter top you will paint a small "x." Now repeat that "x" motion in the surrounding area until the paint is blended to your liking, and the brush needs to be reloaded. I found that a small "x" worked better than av large "x."
5) I did one section of counter top, then went ahead and mixed up my 3rd color with some glaze and applied that before my counter tops where completely dry. Again this is where the practice comes in. You might find that it is easier for you to wait for that second coat to dry before applying the last coat.
6) allow to dry and then seal using a non-yellowing sealant, such as an epoxy sealant etc.

I still have one more counter top to do, over by the kitchen sink and then I will seal them all. I'll be using a marine grade sealant that Mr. Debutant has lying around.

Here are pics of my progress for your enjoyment!

First off, a picture of the blue counter tops with my new flooring!

Counter tops primed

Here are the counters with the first coat of paint. Honestly you could stop here if you wanted plain counter tops (like in a rental.)

and here a few pictures of coats 2 and 3 (which went on at the same step)
Close up

And here is the whole she-bang, counter tops, cabinets (which we painted when we first moved in to the house) and the new floor. I love my kitchen!

Happy Birthday to me!

My Birthday was last weekend, I'm now officially closer to 30!

Well my birthday wasn't horribly entertaining. After a Team A.S.K work out in the morning I came home to help my hubby work on the kitchen flooring and to practice on my "practice counter top" in preparation for painting my actual counter tops. Oooh I did score some awesome Matryoshka Kokka fabric from my sister-in-law. Thank you! I love it! :)

The flooring that was in the kitchen as a blue vinyl that had stained and faded in the sun. It was also separating in different places. While we would have loved to do real tile, it is not in the budget right now and we're just trying to get the house ready to go on the market. So we opted for this nice brown earth tone vinyl stick down tile with little specks of black. it took most of the day Saturday to get it done, minus a few tricky cuts which Mr. Debutant finished up on Sunday.

Yuck! I can't believe I was able to stand looking at his for over a year. But I kept it clean, it just looked ugly!
Here's the whole effect with the blue counter tops!

And here is "Big Brother" helping out with his nifty new change-o screw driver.

Kitchen Table

Shortly after we got married Mr. Debutant and I inherited a dining room table and 2 chairs from his parents. Mind you this table had been theirs for years and years. Mr. Debutant has years of memories of home cooked meals at this table. I really have no idea how old the table was when we got it, at least 10 years old but I think it was closer to 15-20 (I'll have to ask him later.) Needless to say that while the table was sturdy it was lacking in visual appeal. Mr. Debutant comes from a family of 4 kids, needless to say they took their toll on the table.

So one day about 4 years ago I decided to do something about it, and as it goes with all of my major projects I did it without consulting my husband. My theory behind this is as follows: If I ask or mention that I intend to do something to any piece of furniture that is solid, or solid wood for that matter, Mr. Debutant tends to get all negative on me. He thinks I'll ruin a sturdy item, never mind that it looks like it's been through a garbage disposal. If it's sturdy and solid wood, you don't mess with it. he just doesn't catch my vision. So I've learned to just do my own thing, preferably when he is out of town so he won't interrupt until he sees the final product.

I think he's come around some now. After all he did agree to let me paint our blue kitchen counter tops (see next post.)

Anyway back to the table, I don't think I have any before pictures on this computer so I'll have to search my old hard drive to see if I can scrounge some up. But believe me, I was putting it out of it's misery by giving it new life. I think I've since seen the unfinished top and base at Lowe's (in case you are interested)

So here is the mini tute:
1) an old table that has seen better days
2) floor tiles
3) tile/mosaic adhesive (found at Michael's in the mosaic section)
4) decorative gems/half marbles (frosted works better than smooth)
5) spray paint
7) some sort of sealant

How to:
1) Do what you like to the base and side edge of the table top, sand paint etc. Don't worry about refinishing the actual top. My table was in decent shape in these areas so I only darkened the wood with a stain.
2) Place all your gems bubble face up on some plastic and spray paint with some paint made for glass. The frosted gems tend to hold the paint better because they are textured. I painted mine black. Allow to dry
3) Once dry glue all your gems (using mosaic glue) to the outer edge of the table top.
4) Break up your floor tiles into pieces ( I left fairly large pieces) You can do this by placing the tile between 2 rags so little pieces don't go flying all over, and then take a couple of good whacks with a hammer.
5) After you've vented all your frustrations on your tile, put the hammer down and step away from the hammer.
6) Now start gluing your tile pieces onto the table top (using the mosaic glue)
7)Once dry mix up your grout (I used black) and apply to the table top just as you would a floor. Clean up the excess. For this step follow the manufacturers directions.
8) allow to dry and seal with some sealant

I must admit I never got to step 8. And my table has done great, with the exception of the little glass marbles. So this last week I went back and re-painted the marbles by hand using a little brush and some black paint.

Table as it looks now

Close up of marbles with peeling paint

Re-painted marbles on the left and old marbles on the right

Kawaii Cupcake pattern

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
In honor of "Cupcake Week" going on at Lolly's I decided to share one of my own patterns form my stash. I drew up this little gal ages ago and she has been sitting patiently in the cupboard of my "c:" drive. So here she is along with her sisters in PDF format for you to download.

Feel free to use this little pattern for embroidery, applique, needlework, punch needle etc. Just remember that is is for your own personal use on items for yourself or to give away, but not on items for sale. Please do not redistribute my work and claim it as your own.

Add your own flair by adding, sprinkles, candles, changing up the eyes etc. Oh and don't forget to add your finished item over to the Petit Flickr pool!

First Impressions

Friday, May 1, 2009
As I mentioned in my previous post a lot of the projects on my list have to do with curb appeal. You only get to make one first impression so it's best to woo your buyers/renters from the get go.

Long ago I stashed into my ever growing memory bank of crafty home projects, a door I had seen with a vinyl decal stating "welcome." I have been meaning to do that to my door but had never gotten around to ordering my decal. That plus I think they are slightly expensive for something that you don't have to spend any money on!

So here is how I did it "for free" (insert Adam Sandler's voice as heard on "Bedtime stories"

1) print up your chosen word in your chosen font in your chosen size, onto freezer paper cut to fit in your printer (8.5x11) make sure you print on the paper side. Tape your stencil together as needed.

2) use an exacto knife to cut out your letters. Take your time to be accurate. Keep the little bits of paper that go inside letters as in the letter "o"

3) use a light spray adhesive and spray the back side of your stencil and your little paper bits that go inside letters.

4) tack it up onto your door

5) burnish (rub) the edges of the letters with something dull but hard, like a crochet hook end.

6) use a brush and some paint to fill in the letter, you will only be able to do one pass because the paper will bubble a bit.

7) remove the stencil as sooon as you are done filling in the words.

8) touch up any unwanted paint with a toothpick wrapped in a baby wipe for tiny places

9) allow to dry

10) clean up the "gunk"left by the adhesive with some goo gone using a q-tip. Be careful not to touch your paint with the goo gone.

11) you are done! Depending on what kind of paint you used you may want to spray a clear sealant over your words. I did not (yet) but I have a storm door so my door is protected from the elements.

First I used the American Accents black gloss paint that you see in my "Kitchen table" post (coming up next) I did not like the results, it was to thin of a coat. So I cleaned it and used acrylic craft paint. It went on like a charm but then it dried to a dull finish, not what I wanted. So I went back over it free hand with the American Accents paint and I love the results!

Of course this is just one way to do it. I just did it with stuff I had lying around. It would have been just as easy to cut the letters out of black contact paper, which seems to only exist online and not in any stores in Middle Tennessee.

See that ugly lock set on the door? I have plans for updating it without spending any money as well!

Getting ready for Market

The housing market that is. Over the next couple of weeks my husband and I will be working on making our house shine. I always hate that these last little projects that have been on your "to do" list don't get done until you are ready to move out! You put in some hard work, spit and shine, and elbow grease into a couple of weeks and then you don't get to enjoy them! Oh well, cest la vie!

We are still hanging on to some marginal thread of hope that something miraculous will happen and we won't have to leave our lovely home after all. Yeah, I know wishful thinking but it doesn't hurt to dream!

So we have made a list of things that need to be done to our house. Hubby has a list and I have my own list, each list is about 10 items long.

My list consist mainly of curb appeal items, but it also involves painting my laminate counter tops (I'm excited to try this), painting the bathroom cabinets, and general cleaning of the house.

One of the things on my list is to make pillow covers for the giant 25"x25" pillows we have on our futon. They are all mismatched and the light colored ones are now looking dingy thanks to the kids. I purchased them oh, about 1 year ago with the intent of eventually recovering them. Well it's moving time and decided new pillow covers would tie my living room together. I bought the pillows at Old Time Pottery for $5 each - what a great deal!

The theme of the room is set by my adjacent kitchen and this painting that hangs over the couch. The yellow of the kitchen matches the yellow flower centers.

Back when I bought the pillows I already had a plan in mind. I had fallen in love with these Pottery barn Pillows:

But at $40+ each (just for the pillow cover not the pillow inserts) That would have been $160! I can think of much better ways to spend $160 than on pillow covers. I went to the fabric store two days ago and spent $25 on fabric for all 4 including some wooden toggle buttons (I was going by a year old memory of the pillows) I might go back and exchange the buttons, we'll see.

I love the look of having different colored pillows. It's still coherent because the are the same style. I'll be pulling my pillow colors off my magnolia painting shown above: dark red, sage green, yellow, and ivory.

I'll take pictures as I make these super easy envelope style pillows so I can write a tutorial. I can't make promises as to when they'll be up though!
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