Thursday, September 29, 2011

Try, Try Again: The Couch Saga Continues...

Ok, so I spent most of yesterday evening and this morning redyeing the slipcover. I was a little more careful with the instructions (somehow I missed the instruction to add 1 cup salt to the dye bath the first time around, so that may have contributed to the massive failure), but the funny thing is that as I opened more and more packages of dye, I noticed that some of the instructions were actually different. Full sentences missing and things left out, so maybe it was more bad instructions and less my fault. We're going to go with that. I also consulted one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, and read about their slipcover-dyeing experience (thanks for the reminder, MC!), and got a few pointers there. It went... better, but still not perfect.

So, here's how it looks now:


As I said to James, it's better than I feared... but not as good as I had hoped. There is still some splotchiness and this random red mark that appeared out of nowhere (huh?).


My next thought was to try to start over by using some color remover, getting as much of the dye out as possible and trying to redye it. I really like the lightest parts of it - so maybe if I do try it again I will use less dye. The great thing is that it didn't shrink and the fabric itself didn't seem to take a beating - no fraying or pilling - so at least now I know I can throw it in the wash.

Right now, I think I can live with it. It's not gorgeous, but it's not hideous. I may some day try the plan of action described above, but I'm not running to Joann's right this second. So, what are your thoughts? Remember, honesty is the best policy. If I'm deluding myself into thinking it looks all right and it really looks sincerely awful, please tell me.

Here are a few more pictures if you feel you need some more material before making final judgement:





I'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Umm... This Could Be Bad

So, we have this couch.

 

It's a lovely little Ikea pull-out couch that has served us well for both seating and accommodating out-of-town guests. The thing about this couch, though, is that it's slip-covered. Cool, you say, that means you can wash it. No dice. It's dry clean only, and the one time I took it to get it dry cleaned they called me later and told me they wouldn't do it because they were afraid of the liability of ruining my couch. I tried to convince them it was just a slip cover and it would be all right. They didn't believe me. They must have thought I was trying to angle my way into a ridiculous law suit or something.

Well, as you probably noticed the couch is off-white. And I have a 2 year old.


So, not the best mix. It has been looking pretty shabby, so I thought we'd better replace it.
.
Not the best picture, but it does illustrate some of the shabbiness. The cushions were starting to look grey in places.



Then I got to thinking about changing the color palette of my living room (I get bored, it's a major failing) - and I found this color scheme of grey and green in Traditional Home magazine and just fell in love. So I started researching cost for a new, grey slipcover and found out it was going to cost around 200$. Yikes. So I thought, maybe I should try a few things with one we have first. That's when I got the crazy idea to dye my slipcover grey.

"What happened to dry-clean only?!" you're asking, I know. Well, I thought if we're going to just replace it anyway, I might take the risk of ruining it. And that's just what I did.



Yeah. See that? It looks like... well, it looks bad. Images of gelatinous man-eating goo keep popping into my head. That's after a very failed attempt to dye the slipcover in a plastic tub on the back deck. Oh snap. And as I was watching the horror unfold before my eyes, I got a call about our car needing new tires AND a new battery. So, basically, we have no money, so this is our couch cover for a while, whether it's hideous or not.

This story may yet have a happy ending, though. I decided I was not going to give up so easily (it would be so awful to have to put that cover back on my couch), took a deep breath and went back to Joann's for more dye. $12.00 later, I'm retrying the experiment - this time in the washing machine and with twice as much dye divided into three batches. I just checked on batch number one and it is looking much more hopeful - it's at least evenly dyed, and coming close to the color I wanted. Now I just have to let it all line-dry and hope nothing shrunk. That "Do Not Wash!" admonition still has me on edge.


Here's hoping I end up with something better than this:


Have you ever tried dying anything? How did it go? Happy stories? I need some encouragement... but commiseration would also suffice.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Forget Me Nots

You know how sometimes you just don't want to do something (exercise, for example), but after you do you are oh so glad you did? That was me last night. We had just had my son Isaac's birthday party (he's 2, cue stereotypical mother-freaking-out moment) and my feet were tired, the house was a mess, and I just didn't want to do anything but eat all the chocolate cake that was left.

But last night was the General Relief Society Meeting for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's part of General Conference, which is a semi-annual meeting where the prophets and leaders of the church speak to a world wide audience. The R.S. meeting is only held every other year (with alternating years focusing on the Young Women of the church). It is an uplifting, wonderful meeting, and I'm ashamed to say I haven't bothered going since my mission. Shame. So this year I promised myself I would go. Cue excuses. But luckily I have a husband who nagged encouraged me to go, and a neighbor who offered to go with me, so I went.

And, oh am I so glad that I did. All of the talks were wonderful, and I learned and felt inspired. But the cream on my cocoa was President Uchtdorf's talk. He spoke about the little forget-me-not flower and related it to 5 things we should never forget. And don't you just love the internet, cuz someone has actually already come up with a beautiful little graphic representing it all:


found here

Each of these little reminders I felt was so essential. A few of my favorite quotes from each point in his talk:

on being patient with yourself: "God wants to help us eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths, but He knows that this is a long-term goal." (emphasis added)

on the difference between good and foolish sacrifices: "How can we tell the difference for our own situation? We can ask ourselves 'Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?"

on being happy now: “Never stop striving for the best that is within you. Never stop hoping for all of the righteous desires of your heart. But don't close your eyes and heart to the simple and elegant beauties of each day's ordinary moments that make up a rich, well-lived life.”

on the why of the gospel: "The gospel is a light that penetrates mortality and illuminates the way before us. While understanding the what and how of the gospel is necessary, the eternal fire and majesty of the gospel springs from the why. When we understand why our Heavenly Father has given us this pattern for living, when we remember why we committed to making it a foundational pattern of our lives, the gospel ceases to become a burden and instead becomes a joy and a delight. It becomes precious and sweet. ...Seek out the majesty, the beauty, and the exhilarating joy of the why of the gospel of Jesus Christ. ...The why of obedience sanctifies our actions, transforming the mundane into the majestic. It magnifies our small acts of obedience into holy acts of consecration."

on the love of the Lord for you: "No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, he loves you with an infinite love. Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time."

Isn't it wonderful? Honestly, I had a hard time picking out good quotes - I just wanted to transcribe the entire talk!

When he spoke of the why of the gospel, and how understanding the underlying purposes of the gospel "transforms the mundane into the majestic" and "magnifying small acts" into "holy acts of consecration," I just felt so empowered and validated. Yes, a lot of the things I do every day are pretty "insignificant" in the scheme of the world, but they are so meaningful to me, to my family, and I know they are meaningful to my God. I'm so grateful for these words.

You can watch it here, and I highly recommend you do. The words themselves are poetic, but hearing them spoken by a man who is so filled with love, compassion, conviction, and faith is just infinitely better.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Explanation

So, I'm not even really sure what I'm doing as a blogger. You may have noticed. Sometimes I am really prolific, and then other times I fall off the face of the planet for weeks at a time.

Sometimes I feel like the main purpose of this blog is to be useful to others - as evidenced by Food Storage Fridays and my somewhat lame attempts at creating tutorials. Then, other times, I think maybe this is just a place for me to come and ruminate about things I'm thinking or reading about and hopefully get a discussion going. And then there are those times when I just want to show pictures of my adorable kid.

But a lot of times, I think I am writing this blog mostly because I want my little slice of people's attention. You know, "Look at me! Look at me!" type stuff. And that's when I stop writing. Because I start to feel like, if all I'm doing is attempting to show off (and show off what exactly?) then maybe I need to get a life. Oh, and I start to feel like I really don't have anything to show off, so I should really quit.

But then I go back to all those other reasons, and I realize I do want to be useful, I do want to talk about interesting and puzzling things, and heck the world deserves as many pictures of my adorable kid as are available. That's just the truth. So here you go:


So, anyway, I guess that's my explanation for the sporadic nature of this blog. Thanks for still coming back from time to time. I can't promise those little demon voices of doubt and self-ridicule won't come back and make me take a sabbatical, but I do promise to keep trying to be interesting. It's a life-long quest.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Motherhood Moment: When He's Helping, He's Learning

Sometimes motherhood is an absolute crackup. The twos are supposedly terrible, but this stage of life with Isaac has mostly been hilarious with a side of the giggles. (Yes, exasperation and frustration occasionally make their way onto the plate, but mostly we have fun around here.) 



Most of my days are filled with little moments of laughter, big smiles, and even bigger messes. As I was thinking about how to make this blog more fun and more meaningful for me and hopefully my readers, I decided it would be a good idea to share some of the moments that fill up my day as a mother. My Life as Mom, you know? Because the fact of the matter is that I have never had a happier time in my life. So, if you'll indulge me in this, I'd love to share a little moment of motherhood every Monday. I'd love it if you'd play along in the comments, and share something about your life (whether it's life as mom, life as dad, life as student, life as daughter, son, brother, sister, whatever) that you love. Ok? Ok.


So, here's this week's little motherhood moment. And trust me, I know this is no big thing, it's just a little moment that I'd like to remember.

I've been working on Isaac's vocabulary and trying to encourage him to be more verbal. So, the other day as he was helping me unload the dishwasher, I decided to work on naming each item as he pulled it out and handed it to me. We started out with me naming the items - spoon, fork, knife (the butter variety, no worries), etc. He quickly joined in and was mostly getting it right. Then all of a sudden, he pulls out a knife and goes "Sword?" I was laughing too hard to enlighten him on the true identity of the utensil, so maybe he'll just thing swords are rather ineffective weapons for the rest of his life.

And a little inspirational quote:


"There is no career more meaningful, no calling more divine, than being a person who truly makes a home in the sense of creating and maintaining an environment of human warmth, intellectual stimulation, and spiritual strength—someone who sees the wellsprings of personal meaning that lie beyond a first glance at a diaper, a frying pan, and a worn tennis shoe. Motherhood is above all a teaching task."
--Sister Marie Hafen
 
What about you? Any funny little moments you'd like to share so they don't pass you by? I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bath Snugglers

So, I gotta tell you about this awesome thing that my friend makes. She calls it a Bath Snuggler - though it's also wonderful at the pool or anywhere you might get wet. The concept behind it is that it is a towel, a bathrobe, and an apron all in one.


While your kids are bathing, you can wear it like an apron to keep yourself from getting completely soaked while the kids are splashing happily in the tub. Then when they're ready to get out, it has a generously sized hood in the corner so you can wrap them up all snug and tight and cuddle them post-bath (one of my favorite perks of parenthood).

 
Then, you can loop it over their heads in such a way that they can wear it as a robe to keep warm after the pool or the bath. Kids LOVE this aspect.


Isaac is absolutely over the moon with his - he's always asking me to put it on him. He loves to wear it at the pool, and he looks so cute as he happily hops around in it.





Want one? Good news! My friend has now opened up her own Etsy shop - Mama'sMagicKisses where you can get a Bath Snuggler of your very own. She has these cute little froggy ones, and then multiple colors of towels as well. And if you have something custom in mind, don't hesitate to ask, cuz this is one talented creative woman. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

An Under-Deck Adventure

So, last summer, we were having a little bbq with our neighbors just chatting and whatnot, when they mentioned something about a room under our deck. I was perplexed - this was the first I had heard of it. But they had known the older gentleman who had owned the house before the flippers came in, and they remembered that before the flippers had built the deck there had actually been some sort of storage there.

Well. That has driven me nuts for over a year now. I talked to other neighbors about it. One insisted there had only been a basement entrance. Others had no recollection of anything. Others are more recent move-ins than us, so they had no clue. So... I put "Investigate under the deck" on my to-do list, and of course put it off for forever. It bugged me, sure, but that didn't necessarily mean I was going to do anything about it.

Then, a few weeks ago, James was pulling weeds, Isaac was happily helping him, and I seized my moment. I grabbed the drill and carefully removed two boards. Sure enough, I could see the hint of a stair case.


 

Oooh, the mystery. I couldn't go down there just yet, because I didn't want to worry about Isaac following me down into the spider infested hole. So, now even more intrigued, I waited.
 
Then, the opportunity came. Isaac was down for a nap, my friend and partner in crime, Alayna, was over and we decided to have our adventure. Here I am all suited up and armed with a flashlight and a broom.


If you're wondering why I'm wearing a hooded sweatshirt in July, I have one word for you: spiders. Ugh. Shudder. I did not want any of those things getting anywhere near me. I actually contemplated buying a mask to keep the things out of my mouth and nose, but I realized that may have been overkill.

So, here's what we found:



Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 boxes of "household wax" whatever that is. about 7 bottles of lamp oil. What appears to be an old sink. And assorted other random goods. And spiders. Lots of spiders. The walls were concrete, but the floor was dirt. It's definitely not sealed, so it doesn't provide much protection from the elements. I had high hopes of being able to use it for storage - if not food storage, then maybe the suitcases or something random that we don't use often could go in there, but having seen it,  I'm not sure it's worth the effort to get it in the proper condition.


In any case, it was a fun little adventure, even if it didn't yield super fruitful results.

What about you? Find anything crazy in the house or apartment lately? Or, any idea what to do with 20 boxes of household wax?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy

Do you ever have those times - a few hours, or maybe days, even - when you just don't feel like doing anything productive? If you're a faithful reader of this blog maybe you've realized that I am going through one of those times, except it's been stretching on for weeks. I have a hard time wanting to do anything but eat popsicles on the porch with Isaac or lie on the couch with my feet kicked up contemplating my laziness. Actually, what has been filling most of my non-childcare-dominated hours has been books. Books and books and books. Here's what I've been reading instead of doing productive things:










(If you want to add me as your friend on goodreads, you can find out my opinion of these books - you know you're dying to - and I can know what you're reading so I can read it, too! Loving that site lately.)

That's in no particular order, since I'm too lazy to try to remember when I read them all (laziness is the theme of this post). I did read them all since the last time I posted on this blog though, so this has been the most prolific reading I've done in, well, probably years. In school they used to call me "The Girl with the Book," but it's been a long time since I've lived up to that title.

 Anyway, I'm calling shenanigans on myself -- I'm going to try harder to be a productive person again. I've missed blogging and crafting and creating, even if I'm sure you've filled the void of my absence with other things ;)

What about you guys? Read any good books lately? I'd love a recommendation. Or what do you find is your go-to timesuck?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Notice Anything New?

No, I didn't get my hair cut again, though I need to. No, I'm not wearing a new eyeliner. I don't even wear eyeliner. Come on, guys! Look up. A little higher. There you go.

Yep, I got a new header. Isn't it awesome? :) I know you noticed it, I'm just teasing you. My awesome and talented friend Austin Beckstrom created it for me, along with a new Etsy banner and a business card. They make me feel all official, and very cool of course.

So, if you are ever in need of any graphic design, hit me up for Austin's digits. The man's got skills. And consider this me--giving you my card:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

J.A.R.V.I.S.

James and I went to see Priest yesterday. It was a movie I had been looking forward to, mostly because I was excited about the cast, namely these two:




Especially him.



The movie was about as good as I expected. Not super great - and in many ways actually terrible. Even Karl let me down. But not Paul. I decided that if I have a celebrity crush, it's Paul Bettany. Of course, James mocked me - "He's so scrawny, though!" - and fake pouted about me crushing on Paul, but I just had to remind him about his love for Kate Beckinsale, and we were even.

Anyway, I was just curious to see what else Paul Bettany has been in - maybe to add it to my Netflix queue, I'm not saying - so I browsed his filmography and discovered that he voiced J.A.R.V.I.S. in Iron Man! Now I know why I love that computer so much. :P You may recall from earlier posts that I named my sewing machine after him. Maybe I should print out a picture of Paul and tape it to Jarvis as motivation? :P

So, yeah, I was excited. What about you guys? Do you have a celebrity crush? Is he as nerdily handsome as mine? I'd love to hear, if only to justify my own girlish silliness regarding Mr. Bettany.

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