Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Emberly's Princess Pink Room

Well this post has been a long time coming....

Let me just start by saying that I've already "finished" her room once. Oh, and then we moved. Her room was complete longer before she was born than after. I was just about done 3-4 months before she was born. And she only got to enjoy it for 2.5 months before we moved.

So when we moved into our new house, it just fell by the wayside. I was really adamant to get Luke's room painted immediately. I finished his blue walls and ceiling before the moving truck showed up. Since he's at an age where "consistency is key" and the 5 months before we bought this house was about as inconsistent as it could get, getting those blue walls done was at the top of my list. Like so high up that after we snagged the house keys at closing our first stop was at the paint desk at Home Depot.

I actually planned to have both their rooms painted that weekend. But it was a lot more work than I originally thought. His room took 2 gallons (I originally bought 1) and I just didn't have enough hours to get her room done.

So it sat.
And sat. I started painting her room but then it stalled. And then I'd make it a really high priority- and then I'd stall again. For MONTHS. I would get frustrated because I only had 1 hour blocks of time here and there and there's not much you can get done in an hour.

Then I'd have to clean up and make the room "baby proof" again, only to pull everything out a week later and not get much done again. And then 6 months passed. I finally decided that the thing holding me back was the light. I was SO SICK OF THE BOOB LIGHT in there. It was dark and made the whole space feel tight. On our recent trip to IKEA I decided that enough was enough. Josh and I had agreed on a chandelier and had looked for one second hand. But we never found one under $50 and since IKEA's chandy was $40 we figured there was no reason to buy used if we could get a new one for less. So it was the light that put the fire under me to finish! 

And now that I've rambled on and on...
Not only was the light holding me back but so were the curtains. Since our ceiling are 9 feet (12 inches higher than our old house) I had some major issues with the length. BUT I actually had never hemmed the curtains from before so I just had to decide what I wanted to do. I do have 1 extra curtain panel (since her old room had 2 windows) but I just couldn't pull the trigger on adding them to the bottom. So a 40% off deal at Hobby Lobby landed this gray fabric in my cart. I didn't want the gray super ruffle-y, but I did want it more ruffle-y than not- if that makes sense. (see princess in the corner playing?)
Also I decided to paint this ceiling pink (like I painted Luke's blue in his room). The rest of the house is a neutral tan and the ceilings are the same color as the walls and I really like how big it makes the spaces feel. White ceilings almost put a "cap" on rooms and the same color just makes it feel higher and higher!
Next up- the light. I couldn't be happier with it. It gives off the perfect amount of light for this space. I made sure that Josh hung it high enough so he could walk under it without hitting his head. It's simply EXACTLY WHAT I ENVISIONED!
I love the design it shadows on the ceiling...
And I covered the cord with some scrap fabric and hot glue. Easy peasy.
The other wall is a work in progress. I love building collages and I like making them "add-able" so I can slowly add things over time as I see fit.
The funny thing? I didn't intend for this wall to make "stairs". But it does and I'm kind liking it! I  intend to hang something over the pink E but I wanted to wait for something special and it wasn't until I stepped back after it was all hung did I realize it did this. Love it.

Her changing table wall (which lives between the entrance to her room and the closet) is pretty straightforward. I had some nasty holes to spackle because of a shelf that the previous owners left. Although my "eye" thinks the vinyl should be over the canvas, the practicality of a 15 month of reaching for everything makes it better up there.

Also I've mentioned before that the cream trim in this house KILLS me. I love bright white trim. But since I just finished painting all our trim in our old house last year I wasn't about to start it again. Oyyyy. It's really obvious how cream it is next to her white dresser. 
Her toy corner is perfect. Since the kids have a playroom, lots of toys in their room isn't really necessary.

I love how dark the curtains make the room for naps. That was another thing holding me up. We had blankets held up with thumb tacks for 5 months. But I finally broke down and bought room darkening curtains to hang behind the curtains I made.

They are tan simply because I couldn't find gray. And whenever we repurpose them I figure they are a good neutral color. I hung them directly behind the curtains on the same clips as the pink/gray curtains. For the most part they are total concealed. This room gets direct western sun so not only for sunlight were they vital but also to keep the heat out.
Her crib wall is still plain. I had a lot of nail holes to touch up when we moved her crib to this wall (it had originally been on the collage wall when she didn't sleep at night). Living in a townhouse I wanted her screaming self to be on our bedroom wall and not the neighbors. She's a LOUD crier ;)
I have a few ideas that I am tossing around... so I will be sure to update when that happens. But I am VERY pleased with the outcome of this space! It's so girly and happy that I just smile when I'm putting her to bed. Of course now that she's actually sleeping at night it's a lot easier to be a peace when putting her to sleep!

Next up? The kid's bathroom! I promised Josh I wouldn't start another room until this one was finished so I'm excited to get going!

Friday, August 22, 2014

High Five for Friday

1. I am in the final stages of finishing Emberly's room. Can I get an amen? I will get a post up next week finished or not! I have a few things to hang on the wall...

2. I took on the position of Elementary Director at our church so blogging has been few and far between lately. I am so blessed by this position and that I am able to work very part time and have my kids with me. So I'm still here and I always have ideas buzzing around in my head. Things are just a bit slower to get done ;)

3. Luke started school last week. Love that he loves school so much! I tried to work with him this summer with writing his name and he didn't really want anything to do with it so I didn't want to force it. At school they write their name everyday and I am SO proud of the progress he's made. He sat down one night and wrote this note to me unassisted. To say I was teary eyed is a total understatement.

Emmie had her 15month check up late last week. She did great and even though she's not walking yet (well she's couch cruising). She measured in at the 94% for everything (head, weight and height). She's a whopping 26lbs and my arms hurt.

4. Now that Emmie's room is painted I've already started planning my next project- the kids' bathroom. Here's sneak peek.

5. Love that my mom and I have matching vans. Twinsies. ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sofa Table

I mentioned a week or so ago that Josh's dad came into town. He just closed on his new house (YAY!) and  needed his sofa table back. He loaned it to us a few years ago (it moved with us from Toccoa) and we knew he'd most likely need it back eventually.

I always knew that I'd want the IKEA Hemnes sofa table to match our current coffee table when the time came. I also thought that maybe we'd be adventurous and build one. Then I woke up from that dream.

When his dad called asking for it back and said that he would even come get it (he lives in Mississippi) we were all for it. He then said that as my birthday gift he would replace it for whatever one I wanted. Double score. He told me to peruse Pottery Barn and any other local furniture stores. Although Pottery Barn is lovely I would never pay their prices, even if I could.

So we planned a day to IKEA. It was a super fun day and we grabbed a few things we needed (some towels for the kids bathroom, a chandelier for Em's room, and a few other odds and ends). I keep a running IKEA list all year and stock up when I go to make it worth the trip. Although we only live about 30 minutes away, it's a serious pain with 2 kids. BUT I must add that we took advantage of their childcare/playground for Luke and I was VERY impressed. He had fun and it was super clean.

Back to the sofa table. Here is the before:

I mentioned that I wanted to grab the match to our coffee table so I jumped on pinterest before we left to make sure it was what I wanted. I also took note of the baskets I liked so I could grab those while I was there too.

Here were a few fun ideas I found:

The traditional wicker baskets on bottom. No baskets on top. Styled with a lamp and frames. The lamps are a little too symmetrical for me.
This one really piqued my curiosity. Love how they made the bottom 4 cubbies into 2. Still wasn't sure about the top cubbies not having storage. Balls and breakable stuff isn't really my jam right now. 
This gave me a view of what all white would look like. And I decided that for our style (and brown couches) that this wasn't the direction I was headed. 
So I kind of merged all these ideas together (doggie legs included):

The absolute best part? I didn't buy any new baskets. I fully intended when I walked in IKEA that I would walk out with baskets. But as I realized that our coffee table baskets fit in the upper cubbies and that we really didn't use our baskets under the coffee table in our new house I figured it would be the perfect switch. In our old house we had NO place for toy storage in the living room so the baskets had a purpose. Well now we have a playroom so no need for baskets. And I like the open coffee table better.

And the striped bins were used on top of our desk hutch in our old house
But that's my embroidery desk now so the bins could be repurposed. 

As we were assembling the sofa table we purposely left out 2 of the cubbies to create space for these. And we kept the other pieces and screws incase we ever change our mind!

I dry our cloth diapers in the sun on our back deck (right past this table) so I figured it was the perfect place to display our pretty, yet functional clothes pins in a blue mason jar.
Overall I'm in love. I'm shocked at how a bigger piece doesn't make the space feel any smaller since it's so bright and white. I am also super proud that we repurposed things we already have. And if I miss the baskets under the coffee table, it's IKEA. I can always grab more. I am SO THANKFUL for this gift and just the fact that Josh's dad thought of me (and let us borrow the old one to begin with)! Yay for happy FREE switch ups!

Friday, August 1, 2014

It's Friday!

I didn't do a Friday post last week so some of these are catching up from the previous week. It has been a CRAZY busy 2 weeks! And honestly I love being busy. I tend to love being home, and being by myself with the kids doesn't bother me. But there are days I feel like we do the same old same old- so it's nice to have a change in routine!

1. Last Wednesday we made a trip to visit our friends in Athens. It was good for our soul to see them. Holly kept Luke in her home when he was a baby. We lived about 2 miles apart and saw each other constantly so it's been super weird to not have them near-by. Nothing like a "shooting" game to lift everyone's spirit! (Wade is fighting a pretty huge battle right now).
2. Luke is growing growing growing. He had a checkup so I could get his vaccination records for school (pre-k). I am so thankful he is such a healthy little boy who is so full of life. And if you've spent 10 seconds around him you KNOW he expresses that in his words. He is JUST like his daddy in that he talks to everyone. They should both run for mayor.

He took a selfie on my phone one night and I found this picture a few days later. He is hilarious.
The boy still loves his subway so I know that's a special treat I can get that he will love. Subway was the only thing I could eat while I was pregnant with both kids that I knew wouldn't make me sick. It was also the only thing I really craved so it's no surprise that he is obsessed (and sissy really loves it too).
3. Emberly is growing so fast. She'll be 15months in August and the girl still isn't walking. Can we say princess? She prefers to have her 5'1" mother carry all 26 pounds of her squishy goodness all around. Seriously girl it's getting old. ;) Actually I love that she "needs" me since she's my baby. I know that there won't be anymore for a while so I am soaking this up.

Her hair is growing in like crazy and we have tried to control her mullet. I am LOVING her ponies!

4. We also got to hang out with my globe trotting college roommate this month! Britt has been back from Russia this summer and it was great seeing her and Patrick. By the way, I don't think the boy is ever mad. Seriously he has the sweetest smile/cheeks/face ever.

5. Josh's dad came into town (rather unexpectedly) which was PERFECT since our calendar was wide open this week. He is in the middle of closing on a new house on the Mississippi Gulf Shore. A few years ago he loaned us his sofa table while he wasn't using it. Well he needs it in his new house so he came to grab it (and take me shopping for a new one). I really didn't expect for him to take me shopping, but I had a few sofa tables in mind. There's more to the story and I'll have a separate post for the new one, but we spent the day at Ikea and found something I absolutely love!
Hard to believe that school is right around the corner... got all Luke's supplies and we are ready to meet his teacher next week. And you can bet you will NOT be finding this cheapskate in any store this tax free weekend!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let's get it straight...

One of the most difficult things to learn about embroidery is how to hoop and how to center a design. It sounds SO EASY but it takes ALOT of practice to get it right.

I'm going to show how to center a design  (including rehooping) and then I'll show examples of how this doesn't always work. If you are reading this and are pretty well read in embroidery then you know the term "hooping" vs. "floating". I started out by hooping everything, but slowly got frustrated because I would pull the shirt too tight and it would cause puckering and small holes. Hooping is quite simply hooping the stabilizer (I prefer precut medium cutaway squares/rectangles for knit shirts) and the shirt all in one step.  I ventured into floating and SWORE by it for a few years. Floating is when you hoop your stabilizer and lay the shirt (or whatever your embroidering) on top of the hoop/stabilizer. You HAVE to attach the garment (either with basting spray, a basting stitch, or pins). I stuck with this method even though it was a pain because it gave me the results I wanted. But about 1 in 5 or so items weren't straight. And I didn't know until I pulled it off the hoop (aka when the project was done) and it was incredibly frustrating. So I went back to hooping because not only did I learn HOW to hoop but I am now getting the results I want. 

So here's my very unprofessional version of hooping AND getting it straight without holes or puckering!

Fold the item in half. I prefer NOT to measure because measurements are different at different areas. Also the tag can be put in crooked or off center, so if you center it to the tag it may be off. I like finding the middle by physically folding the shirt and matching the shoulder seams together.

When it's folded I mark 3 small lines down the middle. Think middle school geometry. Then I connect the lines with a ruler and draw 1 long line down the front center. Oh and did I mention it's REALLY important to get the right marking pen? I have had this baby since I started (4 years ago) and it's still going strong! I found it at Joanns and it has worked perfectly. It comes out of the fabric with a couple squirts of water.

After drawing my 1st line down the center, I line up the ruler and draw 1-2 lines to the left of the center line and 1-2 lines to the right. Like this:
Pretty straightforward right?  (punny- I know I can't help it)

Then I have an unwritten rule that I start the appliqué about 1.5 inches down from the neck. If it's a really big shirt (5T+) I'll start is about 2 inches down. I measure and make a mark at the place I want the appliqué to start. Then I make straight lines with my ruler down. I kind of eyeball it against the neck to check for straightness. I usually go 4-5 lines down.

Then I put my hoop in. The bottom part of the hoop goes inside the shirt with the stabilizer. I ALWAYS use my grid. Always. No exceptions. 
I line the center line of the grid up with the center line I drew. I line the top of the purple grid with the top line I drew. Then I pop the hoop together. 
PSA: See how the purple line on the grid DOESN'T match with the hoop? You CANNOT go by the marking on the hoop or it won't be centered! Always use the grid (is the horse dead?). Neigh.

Pretty simple right? I use this technique on every shirt. Of course now that I have it down it only takes about a minute to get it all marked and hooped. For productivity reasons I usually always have my next 2 projects hooped while my machine is running. I love being able to pop one project off and start the next. 

Now what about a name? I was excited about getting my bigger machine to be able to embroider a larger area. But I've found that I run into the same issue as I did with my smaller machine. If I use a 5x7 design I still usually don't have the space to add a name. About 50% of the time I get lucky and it works in one hooping. But sometimes it doesn't. So here's how to handle that. (I do have the monster 5x12 positional hoop- but many times it's just too large).

Here's an applique I recently did. The minnie head fit in my vertical hoop, but the name "Savannah" didn't- I needed my hoop flipped to 7inches. But the minnie head wouldn't fit horizontally. I was doing 2 identical shirts and one fit in just one hooping and the other didn't so I had to do my best to get the Savannah shirt to match this Maci shirt:
See how I still have my markings intact from the appliqué? (you can even see my "hoop burn" from the first hooping). That mark comes out with a squirt of water- no worries. 
Once again I marked where the top of the name needed to go. That tells me where the top of my grid will go. 
I needed the name to start about half an inch down, so I made my mark and lined up my grid:
Probably the MOST IMPORTANT STEP of this whole process is making sure that your design is actually at the top of the grid!!! This goes for the first appliqué too! So in my program after merging all the letters I moved it to the top. 
I use Sew What Pro as my program simply because it's what I started with. It does everything I need it to do and I have learned it pretty well. There are other programs that offer other things, but I'm too scared to switch now for the learning curve! Oh and to make life a WHOLE LOT EASIER- join your stitches so it will stitch out the whole name without stopping- not letter by letter. 

Once it was done stitching I checked to make sure that the name was about half an inch under the appliqué- Bingo!
And the finished product:
As an example of how our eyes can play tricks on us: Visually, the Savannah looks farther down on the shirt. But it's not because the M is closer to the center and therefore APPEARS closer to the appliqué. I measured 3 times after pulling it off the hoop to double and triple check! 

A quick tip I learned is to always center the second center hooping to the first hooping (by extending the marking lines down). If you recenter the name to the shirt it MAY be off since the measurements down the shirt differ. It shouldn't make a difference but I did a shirt once where I centered the appliqué to the shirt and then centered the name to the shirt and the name wasn't centered on the design. It was incredibly frustrating! So I always center the name to the design!

Here's another example of how our eyes play tricks:
This name is clearly centered to the elephant. The L comes right below the tail and the M is right under the trunk, but the name looks slightly off center because the truck is so large and the tail is so skinny. I didn't have to rehoop this one so I am POSITIVE this is centered (it was centered in my program) but at quick glance it looks "heavy" on the right and light on the left. 

See this start shirt. It's nearly symmetrical so the name looks perfectly centered:
Another great example: 
This bird drives me NUTS because the feet are off center. But according to the design the J is under the beak and the e is under the tail. And if I centered the name to the legs it would be even more off! Haha!

So just a glimpse into the many decisions we as embroiderers have to make! I really think I have arguments with myself back and forth before finally settling on a design. And 99% of the time I center it to design (not to a portion of the design like the feet). Thankfully our computers are awesome in showing us what it will look like before it's done so I can visualize it! Isn't it crazy the number of steps that goes into simply hooping a shirt?!