Monday, November 19, 2012

compost & potatoes

Kevin has been a building machine lately!

He built garage shelves this past summer, has been working with his brothers on a new shed back home and now he's built us a compost bin!

We forgot to snap a true "before pic" so here we are with a little progress to the right of the house

close up

Kevin kept the design pretty simple (square as opposed to an L-shaped shed, which he'd be happy to tell you about :) and just a short time later we had a compost bin

Complete with two sections - one side for dirt to reuse in my flower pots and the other side for misc compost.

Now comes the potato section of this story... this year we tried growing potatoes in an old trash can

Kevin drilled air holes down the side of the can and as the potato plants grew up over the summer he kept adding dirt to cover the plants up until the top the can was full.


Then, once our compost bin was built & the potato plants looked more dead than alive, we dumped the can of dirt and harvested the potatoes.

Sadly, we didn't get very many, but at least the ones we did get look good!

We haven't decided if we will be trying this again next year or not... there were lots and lots of tiny potatoes that just hand't grown into anything.

Anybody had success with this type of potato growing method?

Next building project: A mantle surround for my faux fireplace. O wait, it's done!!!!
I just have to paint it and decorate it for Christmas!

Kevin is AMAZING!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

my celebrity experience

No I didn't meet Madonna or Lady Gaga...

This was so much better!

My favorite blog Young House Love, which is a DIY blog that I read daily and was the inspiration for our downstairs bathroom redo, just published their first book. Woot Woot!

Aaaaand they came to Chicago for a book signing. So I decided that I would follow my heart and be a groupie for the first time in my entire life. Seriously, even Mickey Mouse never got this kind of love from me!
{I'm thinking the Mickey Mouse reference just revealed my age, umm Power Rangers, Pokemon, Barney, Dora - who the Heck would be a modern refernce these days?!?!}

My very supportive Mr. came along (with absolutely no arm twisting on my part!) to keep me safe from all the other crazed fans and be my chauffeur for the day. Thanks, Babe!

Notice he even thought to dress the part of a DIYer; all rough and ready to tackle projects ;)

First we had lunch at this amazing burger joint because we knew we'd need the energy for standing in line!

A banana nutella shake for me!

And a turducken burger for Kevin
(it even had duck bacon! yum!)

Finally, we got in line... and O boy was it a line!

But I never doubted waiting in that line - it helps the commitment that we drove two hours already :)


We talked to others in line who drove from as far as Ohio and Northern Michigan! So watch out Madonna, maybe Sherry & John (that's their names... I know cause we're like this "fingers crossed" now) ARE pretty big.
Now when I meet Madonna I'll have to say "No, it wasn't Sherry & John, but..." 

Thankfully, it warmed up that day and I just had to stress about crazy-rain-weather-hair instead of my fingers turning black from cold

Loooook, we could see them through the window!!!

No, I did not smash my face against the glass trying to get closer
but only because I'm a recovering germ-a-phobe and almost died just thinking about all those germs

Finally, we made it to the front of the line!

OMG!!! Sherry is talking to me in this photo!!! And John is signing MY book!!!

We're like family now. I think we said about two sentances a piece

"thanks for waiting in line" "they said you were worth it" "Oooo big camera" "haha" "cheese"

I must have blacked out for the rest of our soul bearing conversation, but I'm sure it was the type of stuff that makes one blood brothers :)

They were verrrry nice and look how happy they are even after the hundreds of people who came through the line before us.

That's why I'm ok crushing on them: They work hard and appreciate their fans!


For a 2 hour drive + 2 1/2 hour wait in line + another 2 hour drive
I still seemed pretty happy at the end of the day :)

That's my book! With my name in it! And Sherry & John's names too! Gahh!

I want to tell you the book is great, but it's insured... in a safe deposit box so I have to go buy another one to be able to read it, haha!

Who's up next? Maybe Candice Olsen or David Bromstad will come to town??

Sunday, November 11, 2012

give thanks ruffle wreath

I made this pretty ruffle wreath for my sister's bridal shower earlier this year
I loved it and couldn't wait to make one for myself. So I finally did! 

What??? A seasonal project that I'm blogging about before the season has passed?!?!?!
Don't get too excited, I'm putting money on this being a rare event :)
This wreath is very easy and fun to do. I did it during one episode of The Voice so that is about 1 1/2 hours at this point in the season?!
DISCLAIMER: the writers of the blog (me!) in no way recommend watching tv and opperating a glue gun (curses have been removed to maintain our PG rating)
3/4 yard fabric
1 wire wreath
glue gun
small amount of written/string
fabric pen
 The first step is the most fun! You rip the fabric to get the frayed edge look! To prepare the fabric I make a little 1/2 inch snip (about an inch or two) from the cut edge of the fabric. Then grap both sides of the fabric on either side of the "snip" and pull rip away! This first rip is to straighten your edge. Now, you will need to rip 4 - 4" strips. Just like above: measure 4" away from the now ripped edge of the fabric, make a little snip, and then grasp the two sides of the fabric and rip.
Too bad making the strips takes like 2 seconds cause it is fun to do!
Clean up the strip edges a little by pulling loose threads, giving it a more frayed look.

Now you take the long 4" stips and cut them into 4 equal sized pieces of fabric.
You should end up with 16 pieces of fabric now.

Wire wreath are just a few dollars at the craft store or I even got mine at a garage sale for $0.50!
There are four rows of green wire. I attached my ruffles to the inner most row, then skipped a row, and attached more ruffles to the second from outside row.
Use one piece of fabric per a section, per a row.
The fabric does not meet the wire of the wreath at the half way point, but instead the front should be shorter and the back longer. This will create the look of two rows of ruffles: see picture below.
Add a line of glue from the glue gun to the wire of the wreath, then fold up the fabic to create your ruffles. Do not glue the fabric much above the wire of the wreath or it will look stiff and not flow like a ruffle should. Just glue along the bottom where the wire wreath form is.

Where sections of fabric meet side to side, I did occasionally add small amounts of glue so they would lay as I wanted them to and appear to be one continuous ruffle.
This is first row of fabric; creating two rows of ruffle:

Now the second row of fabric is added; creating 4 rows of ruffles
To finish I tied twine to the back of the wreath and 
cut diamond shapes out of the remaining fabric which I then folded in half over the twine to get a pennant shape & glued in place. I used a fabric pen to write "give thanks" on the pennant shapes and I was done!
I think the simplicty makes it powerful and I love that!


Here's a few shots of the first one I made for Sarah & Tristan

So I have some favorites from The Voice, but I haven't seen the elimnations episode from Thursday night. So I'll be working on my never ending paper wreath later today and catching up on that :)