Monday, August 29, 2011


DSC_1214 copyUpcycling has to be the dumbest word ever. But I don’t care, it makes me sound environmentally friendly when really I am just cheap and trying to give new life to old clothes. This pair of khakis belonged to my 7 year old daughter last year. She wore them during 1st grade. At the end of 1st grade they naturally became too short.

So I set them aside in my sewing room knowing that I would cut them into shorts or capris for her and add some fun embroidery to give them a new life. Well, they sat in my sewing room. All summer long. I finally got around to giving them a make over last week. 

I cut them off to capri length first. Then I added bias trim to the bottom that was leftover from this quilt. And to cover the stains on the knees I added these cute “paint splashes” applique designs with the perfect Ta-Dot fabric by Michael Miller. I even added an extra one to the hip area, because well, the fabric is oh-so cute.

Total time? Probably a good 1 1/2 hours, too long in my book. I was excited for my now 2nd grade daughter to arrive home from school and try on her new capris!

And guess what, they didn’t fit anymore.  Color me angry. That’s what I get for trying to be frugal.

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Screw frugality, that’s my new motto.


But I made her squeeze into them long enough to snap a few photos before giving them to  my friend Allison’s kindergartener.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Honey Glazed Chicken

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You gotta try this recipe from

I really think it might be the best chicken I have ever made. Ever.  click here for recipe

I think I’m hooked on spice rubs now. They add tons of flavor. We made 2.5 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs and my small family of 5 ate them all. That’s how good it all is.

I also used the excess spice rub to sprinkle on our corn, which we grilled. And the tomatoes are from our garden. I mashed gorgonzola bleu cheese with mayo and thinned with milk for my favorite ever bleu cheese dressing.  Notice the paper plates? Yup, I’m lazy when eating outside.

This is why I dream of summer all year long—backyard barbecues with my kids and hubby.

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Sewing up a Storm: Roman Shades for a New Home

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My sister-in-law and her husband bought a new home this summer. Winnie is a school teacher and has a small window of time each summer before she has to return to work. Seriously, I knew nothing about how hard teacher’s worked until Winnie lived with us.  For the first few months of each school year she works 15 hour days. She would leave our home by 5:30am and come home around 10pm. All to teach our kids to read. That’s what teachers do and I had no idea.

So for two days I helped her (and my mother-in-law who was in town from Chicago) sew, staple, cut wood, and drill into window casings for six windows. After a couple of days three window were done and hung with shades. Those two gals knew the routine and finished  hanging the last three over the next two more days. How good do her windows look now?

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Aren’t these fabrics gorgeous? I suggested to Winnie and boy did she find some gorgeous ones! She said she spent 8 hours trying to decide. I don’t blame her! There really is a great selection there right now in their home decor section. Can’t wait till fall when I have more time to sew and can dress up more of my own windows.

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Want to make your own roman shades?

Tutorial for Roman Shades part 1

Tutorial for Roman Shades part 2

Monday, August 01, 2011

I am featured on Etsy’s blog

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. My home is featured on Etsy’s “Get the Look” home decor blog this entire week.

Click here to read the article.

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This is the column that I read weekly at etsy and was thrilled when the fabulous Christine contacted me and asked if they could feature my home. Now, I love my home, because, well…’s my home, but I didn’t think others would find it anything special.

It’s filled with inexpensive upholstered furniture from Ikea and my own handmade pillows. I rarely pay retail for anything as I have busy fingers that can work a sewing machine pretty well; hence, I work like Cinderella’s mice to save money for things like pianos and barter for other items like a green buffet in my kitchen.

Someday I want custom club chairs in the above room—with a really modern fabric print that will mask all the dirty hands and feet of my kids. Seriously, you should see the arms of these sad Ikea chairs—nearly black with dirt from grimey hands. (New linen covers from Ikea run $179. Each!) Thankfully the white slipcover of at least the sofa removes in seconds for washing. I have two extra of those anyway. Phew, bases covered there.

And someday (hopefully in just months!) I can get rid of those rustic knotty alder cabinets in my kitchen. Who pays extra for rustic is what I want to know? Why would you want your kitchen cabinets full of knots and holes in all the doors? They’re just grease catchers and a real eye sore. But here in the intermountain west, folks love knotty wood. Check any local listing for homes here in Utah and they list knotty alder as an upgrade. Are you kidding me? This stuff is garbage. Craigslist will be seeing these kitchen cabinets soon. Did I mention these same cabinets are in all the bathrooms and laundry as well?  When we walked through this home the first time with our realtor, I said to Paul, “You have to let me paint these cupboards. They’re awful.” He agreed. And then reneged once we moved in. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not, repeat not, ask my husband for permission to do things. Gag this feminist with a wooden spoon. But when it comes to our home, both should agree on major stuff like that, hence my unusual resignation. Sigh. Adding the white subway tile backsplash and under cabinet lighting helped diffuse the black hole look—brown cabinets, black countertops, and dark brown walls.


Well, five years later I couldn’t take it anymore, went all postal,  and at least painted the island bright white just last month. Filling the holes worked ok. Still holding out for white cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling. And a 36” range.


Still, I tried to avoid any close up shots of my kitchen for the etsy article.

Please don’t think I’ll walk into your home and think ‘Wo, ugliness abounds’ if you love rustic knotty wood and dream of owning pieces from the Timberline Collection (huge here in Utah). I promise I don’t think that. The cabin look just isn’t my style, although I think it’s nice for cabins. And even then, I am grateful for a nice kitchen although I kind of sound like a snooty-tooty snob describing it. Growing up in California we had several earthquakes that eventually rendered our kitchen cabinets permanently tilted. The only way to keep them closed was to slide a butter knife between the handle pulls to keep ‘em shut. (Yup, my parents have different cabinets now, don’t worry.) So I know my kitchen hasn’t stooped to that level yet.

A few years ago I read this line in a book by Nate Berkus:

“The idea of living well has always been important to me. It’s the best investment you can make in your well-being….your home is the place to invest your money and energy.”

Those two sentences changed it all for me. I can’t afford to decorate my home and go to Europe yet so for now, I choose to spend the pennies I have on the place where I spend 365 days a year while my passport sits still new and unstamped in my desk. Europe isn’t going anywhere.


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