Sewing a Charity Bear

Sewing a Charity BearToday I sewed my first stuffy, which will be a Christmas gift for Laila, my one year old granddaughter. I needed something simple for my first stuffy attempt, so I opted for the free Charity Bear pattern by Shiny Happy World.

Laila loves soft fleece so I cut the main body pieces from a tan fleece blanket I had laying around the house but never use. I used lavender felt for the belly and black felt for the nose. I also used black and lavender embroidery floss to applique the belly, nose and sew on the eyes and mouth.  ( If she was older I would have used button eyes, but didn’t want to risk a choking hazard. )

This was my first time sewing with fleece so it was a little bit of a different experience for me, but I managed and it turned out so cute!  The bear is currently sitting under the Christmas tree waiting to be wrapped up for her to open in a couple of weeks.

Our New Camping Rig

Yesterday we finally got to pick up our new fifth wheel camper we purchased before the Thanksgiving holiday. We had to wait to bring it home until we were able to get the fifth wheel hitch installed in Big Nasty (our Ford F-350). So now it’s home and in the driveway waiting to be leveled so I can start stocking it up for our spring camping adventures!

Here she is just after getting the hitch installed and awaiting our final walk through.

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These are Derby City RV dealership’s photos. I will be updating with my own once I get it stocked, decorated and personalized a bit.

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Exterior w/ awning. The slide is on the other side.

 

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Superslide w/ dining room table & chairs and hidabed couch

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Full kitchen

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Entertainment center with tv (to be replaced with LCD) and surround sound speakers (installed in ceiling throughout)

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Hallway to bedroom & bathroom

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Queen bed w/ nightstands on both sides

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Full stand up shower & sink

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Bedroom closet storage & tv shelf

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Water closet (literally!)

 

Brass to Bronze

When we bought our house over four years ago all the light fixtures were cheap, gaudy brass. Every. Single. One.  Shelling out money for new light fixtures when the ones we had worked flawlessly wasn’t an option we wanted to choose. So, out came the DIY in us and we painted them! And while we were at it we also painted the floor vents, the wall intake vents, light switch covers and plug outlet covers. Now the house looks much more updated and modern for well under the price it would have cost to replace all of those things.  We used Universal All Surface Spray Paint by Rust-Oleum in the color of Oil Rubbed Bronze Metallic. This stuff is awesome. It stinks to high heaven, but it’s awesome. Here is a small sample of our before and afters. We’ll be working on the ceiling fans next.

Dining room chandelier:

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Bathroom Fixtures:

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Hallway Light:

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Envelope Throw Pillow Cases

We recently purchased a new area rug, swapped out curtains and painted so now my old red throw pillows did not match at all. Rather than spending $60 on four new ones, I decided to spend $20 on fabric and make my own covers that can be slipped off and thrown in the wash if needed.  I’m still new at this whole sewing thing, so, yet again, I perused PInterest and came across a few tutorials by searching “sewing envelope pillow cases” that walked me through making envelope pillow cases for throw pillows. I’m not up for trying  a zipper yet, but it will come in time.

I purchased fabric from Wal-Mart since they had a pattern I liked.  It’s called Abstract Blue/Brown by Kentshire Home Collections. I completed two of the pillows and had intended to do two more – one for each recliner chair – but I may mix it up with a different pattern for those pillows.  I haven’t quite decided yet.  I also would like to get a couple smaller solid pillows to put in front of these to tone down the pattern a little bit.  The color does match the new area rug quite well – though I didn’t get a complete photo of the rug.

Here are the pillows in place on the couch:
DIY Envelope Pillow Cases

And here are some up close photos of the front and back:

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Front of Envelope Pillow Case

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Back of Envelope PIllow Case

Lois Lane approves!
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Cost and Materials for DIY Butcherblock Kitchen Countertops

Here is a before and after photo of the kitchen counter remodel project. Below is a materials list and the final cost for our project.

Before

Before

After

After

Now that our butcherblock countertop project has come to a close, I went back and worked up a materials and cost list for anyone wishing to take on this project. We have about 100 square feet of counter space in our kitchen. At Home Depot, the cheapest basic run of the mill Formica countertops were $48 a square foot. What we liked in the “cheap” range was $68 a square foot. So we were talking between $5000 – $7000 including installation. ( That is when I about passed out. )

For our own DIY project we spent about 10 days of work time ( a lot of this time was waiting time for coats of stain and polyurethane to dry ) and just under $260* in materials!!! No, there is not a zero missing from that number. For smaller counterspaces, obviously this will be even cheaper. And the beauty is, I love it more than the store bought ones we were looking at!

Material List
All of our materials were purchased at Home Depot.

Tools List:

  • Mider Saw
  • Table Saw
  • Jig Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Hand Sander
  • Saw Horses
  • Drill
  • Two 36″ Trigger Clamps
  • Putty Knives
  • Tape Measure
  • Rags
  • Box Fans ( to speed the drying process )

Our step by step process:

* This cost is for materials only and does not include any tools you may need.  We did end up purchasing a belt sander and a mider saw for the project and because we wanted them for upcoming projects. So this may or may not be an additional cost if you don’t already have these tools or know someone you can borrow them from.

Faux Butcherblock Countertops – Part 4

Materials & CostsPart 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Much of the weekend was spent staining, waiting for stain to dry, polyurethaning, waiting for polyurethane to dry…but we have completed the counter remodel job and it looks fantastic!

We picked up from Part 3 with fitting all the counter pieces together so we could make any needed adjustments and then wood filled the seams where each counter section met. After that dried and was sanded, I began matching the stain and polyurethane to the rest of the counters since it had to be done after installation. At this time we also began measuring out the trim pieces to go around the walls. We purchased crown molding for the trim:
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Then we stained and polyurethaned the trim pieces and a strip of quarter round to go under the left side counter around the outside edges:
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Jason fixed up the backsplash behind the sink with some spackle and primed it all. We also primed all the previous green paint color on the walls and window valances to prep for repainting a new blue gray color:
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After we finished painting the new color and nailing up the trim, we were DONE!  And I love it!  Here are a multitude of after photos:
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Now the only thing left to do is to run a bead of black silicone around all the trim edges, stove and sink and the kitchen is done! Small appliances will also go back in their appropriate places after today. We wanted to give the polyurethane plenty of time to cure before adding any weight that may mark up uncured counters.

I’ll put up a comparison before/after photo along with what our final cost was once we get it totally put back together.  ;)

Materials & CostsPart 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

 

Faux Butcherblock Countertops – Part 3

Materials & CostsPart 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

As I wait for stain coats to dry I figured I’d write up Part 3 of our kitchen counter remodel adventure. Part 4 will be the final post with final photos, which should be done sometime this weekend!

So yesterday we picked up with removing tile from the sink (and final) side of the U shaped counter. Jason removed all the plumbing attachments so he could take out the sink and then we removed all of the tiles from the counter for the last time (yay!):
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While Jason made a Home Depot run I started sanding the other two counters and removing all of the backsplash tiles with a rubber mallet and putty knife. This area will be patched and prepped for a new coat of paint.  All of the green will be replaced with a light blue-gray color called “Boot Cut”. (Look at that lovely wallpaper underneath all that – so glad we didn’t have to deal with that mess.)
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We then cut the boards for the sink side of the counter. The front and back boards are one piece that Jason jigsawed for the kitchen sink hole. The boards on either side of the sink are, of course, separate:
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Once we were sure the cuts were correct and glued, we moved the entire counter to the saw horses to wood fill and dry:
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While that was drying I began the first coat of black stain on the left and bottom counters:
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We checked on the polyurethane status and it appears that 5 coats will get us the shine we want, so technically the island section is done and ready to install, but we want to finish up the assembly of the rest of the counters before we install it:
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Before we quit for the night, Jason made some adjustments to the sink hole for a perfect fit. ( Can you spy the elusive tape measure? It never seems to be in sight when we need it… ).
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So now, it’s a matter of staining, waiting, polyurethane coats and waiting times five. Then after a decent dry time we’ll be able to install them. I’m hoping by Saturday evening we’ll have everything assembled and back in working order. We will wait a week before putting appliances on the counters to give them full time to cure without denting the finish with rubber appliance feet.

Final photos and costs will be posted in Part 4 this weekend!  I, for one, can’t wait!

Materials & CostsPart 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 

Faux Butcherblock Countertops – Part 2

Materials & CostsPart 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

Day two of our kitchen counter remodel has fared well with good results!

We picked up first thing this morning with sanding down the wood fill and the entire island to prep it for the stain. A belt sander makes this task so much easier!
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Since all of our cabinets are white and the rest of the walls are knotty pine, we decided to go with a black stain to offset the brown wood and white cabinets. This is what it looked like rag rubbing the first coat:
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While the first coat of stain dried we did the measuring and cutting for the rest of the left side of the U shaped counter. You can see the lip/shelf we added on the outer edge.
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Once we had the correct cuts and fittings, we once again glued the boards and clamped them to dry:
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While the glue was drying and the stain was drying we began ripping out tile on the back side of the U counter:
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Tiles removed, then the actual counter removed, which was dry rotted on the edges as the other one was:
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Once again we measured and cut boards:
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Then glued and clamped some more (see how unusable the kitchen is becoming?):
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After two coats of black stain we decided we were happy with the color and temporarily put the island in place to ensure it looked ok. I’m glad we did as we found a couple of spots that needed to be sawed down in order to fit back on, which allowed me to retouch before sealing the counter.  I’m loving the color!
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Since we will be sanding more tomorrow and I wanted to get a jump start on the polyurethane sealing, we moved the island into the bedroom so it can be closed off from the dust in the air. I got the first coat on tonight and it really pulls out the wood grain. It will require at least 5 more coats, applied in 12 hour intervals.  So now the waiting game begins….but I think it will be well worth it!
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Materials & CostsPart 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

Faux Butcherblock Countertops – Part 1

Materials & CostsPart 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

When we moved into our house over four years ago the kitchen countertops were in pretty good shape. While they looked nice, they were actually floor tiles. This was nice for aesthetics and clean up, however eventually water and moisture got under the tiles and they started cracking and popping off of the counter. So we decided to upgrade the counters and went off to Home Depot for some estimates. Those estimates came back WAY out of our comfort range of spending so we went back to the drawing board.

You see, we have 100 square feet of counter space. It’s awesome having that much space…until you need to replace it all.  We popped off all of the tile from one section of the counter to find that there was a blue counter underneath. So we though, eh, we can live with that until we figure something out. However, once we got the tile off we realized much of the counter was scratched and marked up on some areas. So we thought, no problem, we’ll paint it. We had used Rust-Oleum Countertop Paint at the old house before we rented it and it held up well. However that plan was also foiled when we removed more tile to find that some of the coutertops didn’t reach the entire length of the counter area and some of it had rotted out from water damage.

THEN, I came across this PInterest project and combined it with this PInterest project. And now we have a huge work in progress. So this is my documentation of our progress as we go along.  So here we go!

This is a before shot of our kitchen from when we replaced the floors a couple of years ago. You can see all the tile that is on the counters along with all the mini-tile pieces along all of the edges and along the backsplash over the sink. All of it has to go.
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Here is an up close shot of the tiles:
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We started with the island section since it’s used the most and was the smallest area to experiment with. This is what was under the tile. Again, not bad, but what you don’t see is the deep scratches:
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So off it came (and it’s currently sitting on the front porch):
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We decided we didn’t use the bar stool area of the island enough so we deleted that part out of the new design. Jason is going to add in a fold down bar on the back of the island once we complete the counters so we still have it when needed. So we measured and cut and ended up with our new island base:
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Once we had the boards cut and placed correctly, we glued them together using construction grade adhesive. We then set concrete blocks on top to keep pressure on the boards and clamped the boards together until the adhesive dried.
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While that was drying, we started removing the counter tiles from the left side of the U shape counter area:
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This is where we found that the counter frame is not even with the wall behind the counter. So we’re still working out the best way to do this piece, but may put a small lip on the back of the counter, which will help keep things from rolling off. And may eventually put a tiered shelf over it.  But for now, it was more measuring and cutting:
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At this point we were pretty exhausted and needed a part for the skill saw before we could continue, so Jason went back to the island section where the adhesive was now dry and began filling the cracks with wood putty so it would be dry by morning to begin sanding.
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Materials & CostsPart 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Low Carb Cheese Quesadillas

Low Carb Cheese QuesadillaI’ve been craving a quesadilla for a week or so now and remembered that I had low-carb wraps in the pantry and plenty of cheese…so I made some for lunch! Easy, fast and yummy! You can even add in meats, veggies and other condiments as you wish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbs Butter
  • Low Carb Wraps (1 per quesadilla)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Mexican Cheese blend
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in skillet on medium to medium-high heat
  2. Lay one wrap in skillet
  3. Top entire wrap with Mexican cheese blend
  4. Top half of wrap with mozzarella cheese
  5. When cheese starts to melt start lifting wrap and watch for the bottom to brown
  6. Once bottom of wrap browns, fold wrap in half and remove from skillet
  7. Cut, garnish and serve!