Thursday, September 22, 2011

Half Bath: Before and After (and after that)

So, this day last year my half bathroom looked like this. Scary right? Can you believe this is better that when we bought the house? Back then the walls and ceiling were painted mint green. So that meant walls, ceiling, tile, towel bars, sink, coutertop accent and the TOILET were all mint green. When we toured the house for the first time our sweet realtor told me I sould just get some brown towels and go with a mint chocolate chip color pallet - she wasn't kidding.  Also there was a hunter green squishy toilet seat - ick (Getting rid of that was my first house project). Anyway, 4 coats of white paint made the bathroom less scary, but one day the mint green tiles just got to me. Maybe, while my husband was still at work I took a scraper think and started popping off tiles.
And maybe a few weeks later it looked like ...

..this! SO much better, right? Unfortunately, I have no progress pictures to show you how we did it but I will try to summarize. After removing all the tile, the toilet, the sink and counter top; we added bead board, modified the drawers to shelves, and painted all the woodwork white (Valspar Ultra premium Soft Gloss Ultra White). We made the counter top of dyed charcoal concrete and added a vessel sink. The walls are Valspar Desert Fortress. But... the mirror was too heavy and the different containers on the shelves weren't doing it for me so... the bathroom looks like this. Lighter, fresher, perfect - well I love it. I switched to all white ceramic on the shelves although the shapes are slightly different the finish and color ties everything together. I really like the functionality of the dishes on the shelf. I returned the more ornate mirror and instead I painted one that I already had white. Other things  you might want to know: the faucet is actually a kitchen faucet, we put up bead board because the tile adhesive was not coming off the wall, and if we can do it you can do it too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Couple Little Projects

Here's the thing, I love giving homemade gifts. Sure I could have gone out and bought you something you didn't really need, but instead I will show you I care about you enough to customize a gift that you will love. Do I always give homemade gifts? - No, sometimes I find the perfect thing for the perfect person or know that there is something that the recipient wants or need that I can buy. I just like giving gifts that make the receiver feel loved, appreciated, and understood. Sometimes that gift can be found at a garage sale, some times that gift carries a price tag other people wouldn't pay, and sometimes I get to make that gift.

For a couple of brand new little people I tried my hand at sewing baby bibs. My mom had devised the pattern (out of a paper bag) and method long ago and shared it with me. I, of course, had to make the whole thing more complicated by appliquéing an initial on them.

If I were better at this blogging thing I would have done step by step photos and then could give you a full run down. Let me know if that is something that you want - I will probably just have you over for a craft day, but I would consider just posting a tutorial (invitation extended to non-creeps only).

My parents recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and my brother his 5th birthday. I had seen things like this on Pinterest  and knew my Mom would love them. And since 5 year old boys (and 50+ year old boys) don't care what hangs on the wall I really made both of them for Mom. Tucker really got a Nerf football, a Scrunch Bob (Sponge Bob) coloring book, and a Kindergarden skills workbook. And Ron got ... umm me as a daughter. Anyway I used Inkscape (open source graphics editor). Now I am not a pro by any means but I have done several projects for work on Inkscape and compared to those this was a cinch.

And if you are really dedicated to your homemade gifts you try then out to make sure the baby will like it. This one got 2 thumbs up (from me).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My First Vegetable Garden

The squirrels in my yard may finally be disinterested in my tomatoes enough for me to get a decent harvest.    For the past month I have had many beautiful green tomatoes, but before they can ripen pesky squirrels take one bite/knock them to the ground and then leave them there to rot. However today I was able to harvest 2 tomatoes and 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes. Yay! - I LOVE fresh homegrown tomatoes.

Early this spring my sweet husband indulged my whim and one Saturday afternoon rented a tiller and tilled up a small garden in our yard. It's not very big maybe 8ft by 16ft, but I honestly wasn't very confident in my gardening abilities.
Not quite as classy as I would
like but it was a good first try. 
I planted a gooseberry bush - this probably won't produce much (if any) fruit for a few years. Gooseberries are hard to some by in this area, and gooseberry pie was a thanksgiving tradition and birthday cake substitute for me growing up.

I also sewed seeds for a Italian Blend Lettuce Patch. The loose leaf lettuce came up quickly and was great for salads in the spring and early summer. Eventually the plants aged and became bitter and I removed the whole patch. I should have replanted the patch but forgot about it in the heat of the summer.
The tomato plants toward the bottom of the frame are the
uncaged/from-seed ones. Toward the top left you can
see the taller caged ones.

Currently, the 5 tomato plants I purchased are doing great and are covered in green tomatoes.  These 5 plants I caged, but are so big they are leaning on each others cages and are somewhat tangled together.  The cherry tomatoes that I planted in the middle seem to be growing out every direction and are getting rather touchy-feely with neighboring plants. Next year I will buy taller cages and plant them farther apart.

I also planted a row of tomatoes from seed. My intention was to have a row of sweet corn - but the day I decided to till and plant the garden (remember it was a whim), it was too cold to plant corn. I thought 'Tomatoes don't usually grow from seed outdoors, so I will plant these and they won't make it and then later - when it is warm enough I will just plant corn here'. Boy was I wrong. The tomato plants did come up, and although they were significantly behind the purchased plants initially in the past few months they have caught up. Since I didn't cage them they are low to the ground with course and twisted stems, but they have lots of fruit on them.

Teaser Alert: I will hopefully be back very soon to share what I did with my bounty, besides making an unintentional italian flag.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What I Do .... (when i'm not blogging)

In response to many one  comment from readers... (Here's the thing, when I started blogging I only told Amanda, my wonderful friend who has found blogging perfection over at The Krazy Kirby's. She and I aspire to be like Katie B. & Sherry P., best friends in real-life and blog-land who each write funny/fun blogs about diy/their houses/etc. Now since you are reading I must have more than 1 reader and for that I am grateful and terrified, but welcome none the less, anyway...) here are some of the things that fill my time each week:

My usual spot at work, although 3 laptops
is atypical the Dr. Pepper is not
1) Work - I am a florist, but not your typical florist. Yes, I can design floral arrangements (proof 1 and proof 2) and I do some kind of hands on design each week, but day to day I am not at a bench designing arrangements. I basically do the nerdy/wedding/computer stuff no one else wants to do.

Just a few of my
small group girls from last year

2) Church - I love my church family! Wednesdays I co-lead a small group of lovely high school girls. On Sunday mornings besides attending regular service, Jeremy and I are facilitating Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University this fall (everybody no matter their age, income, religion should take this class as soon as possible). And then Sunday nights we have our adult small group, where we meet with three other couples for Bible study, fellowship, and accountability.

3) School - I like math. I know I'm strange - not many people like math, even fewer florists like math, but I do. I am currently working on a masters degree in Mathematics at the U of I. So I spend time in class and at home working on, you guessed it - homework. Right now I am taking a math education class on problem solving, so my homework looks like this...  And just like everyone else you are wondering "Brittany, what will you do with another math degree?". I will tell you, "Be a florist, I love what I do. Maybe someday I will teach a class or two - we'll see."

Those are the places I go and things I do but most of all I like to spend my time with people (actually blogging is probably my only alone activity - I take that back I work out alone, anyway...). I feel amazingly blessed by relationships! And I am so grateful for my sweet husband, wonderful friends, and local families.