June 30, 2009

Link Love

A friend forwarded me this blog post from IndyHub.org about magically becoming a social paraih as a single late twenty-something. I had to share, because it hit home!


In case you don't have time to read the post in full, don't skip the Top Ten list:

Ten fun myths of being – SINGLE… what others have you heard?
#1: If someone is single past a certain age, there must be something wrong with them like they have halitosis and hammer-time
#2: Single people are irresponsible and hate babies
#3: Single people don't have family obligations and would prefer to be at Rock Lobster at Christmas
#4: Single people are unhappy being single and go home at night and pray for marriage to a shrine of celebrity couple photos
#5: Single people want you to set them up with your second cousin who has three kids with three different women
#6: At a certain age, a single person is too old to get married and should just live with their cats and call it a day
#7: Single people are uncomfortable hanging out with married people and probably will try to steal your husband or wife
#8: Single people eat take out all the time and rent movies and watch them in their underwear with bras on their heads
#9: Single people party all the time and drive drunk through your yard
#10: You're not an adult until you are married because then you are definitely mature

June 29, 2009

June 28, 2009

Weekend Recap

My parents came to town this weekend and we had a really nice visit.  My apartment worked out just as I had envisioned it with family guests - no staying in a hotel, cooking dinner together, sipping wine on the back porch and curling up in the living room together for movie night.  We visited a few fabric stores, enjoyed amazing meals at West Town Tavern and Bongo Room, and I introduced my parents to my church, which was something I was really looking forward to doing.  

Somehow the minivan pulled out of Richmond without a lot of the things they were supposed to bring me, but they did get the secretary to Chicago.  I have bruises from helping my dad carry it, but it's worth it - it looks great!!  Mom and Dad also helped me hang curtains in the living room, den and bedroom.  What a difference curtains make!!  

A complete house tour coming later this week.  It's going to be a busy one at the office and I'd like to do it justice.  Hang tight!!!  

June 26, 2009

Mission Accomplished!!

Roughly T minus 15 hours until my parents arrive in the Windy City and I'm finally done with my living room pillows.  What do you think?  I LOVE the way the living room turned out, and I think it will be even better when I brave the tall ladder to hang my curtains under the supervision of my mom and dad.  (Yes, I'm 28, but as previously discussed I'm not fond of using power tools while on ladders while home alone!)  

Now it's time for bed!!  But, tomorrow I'd love to share the picture of the sofa with my big wall o' personality with all the Etsy artists showcased - there are 3 from Etsy, as well as 3 Fish Studios out in San Fran.  Everything else either I photographed myself or are just family/friend snapshots of special memories.  That'll have to wait, but I couldn't resist sharing these now.  

(By the way, it's also so late because I had to vacuum and mop the floors, clean out the guest space because it's also my "I don't feel like going to the building dungeon storage space," go to the grocery store and read some background for a new account I'll be helping out on at work.  I've been a very busy girl!)  

Good night!  

June 25, 2009

Another P.I.P (Pillow in Progress)

While I'm piecing fabric scraps for several pillowcases for my sofa, I wanted a few that were simple - but not plain. I decided to use Heat and Bond to spice up the front with a design. Only, I don't really draw.

But, I did anyways. Then I cut out the shapes I drew and traced them on the paper side of the Heat and Bond that I had ironed onto the fabric scraps I wanted to use.

Next I cut out the shapes, arranged them on the pillow front and ironed. Wala!!!

Now I should probably sew to secure them for good. Hmmmm...... that sounds difficult.

Final shots of the pillows soon - I promise!

June 24, 2009

Disappearing Quilt Blocks

Don't worry, my quilt project didn't disappear - but the generic 9-patch blocks I originally created did! I found a very old blog post somewhere that described how to spin a traditional, boring 9-patch block into something really cool. Since that blogger is no longer blogging, I'll give my version of the directions here:

1.) Create traditional 9-patch blocks (If you don't know, a nine patch block is nine squares of any identical size - three in each row)

2.) Once it's all together, you "square it up" - which means you take off that quarter-inch seam allowance from the outer four sides and make sure all your blocks are equal and straight and perfect

3.) Cut your blocks each in half one way, then half the other creating four new blocks

4.) Rearrange to get a really cool, funky design!

Oh so fun!

June 19, 2009

A Big Surprise!

I've been offered a lot of family heirloom pieces of late.  My dad and his sisters are getting my grandmother's house ready to sell, and as they move furniture around, I'm getting offered a lot that they don't want.  I always knew that a rocking chair that had rocked four generations of my dad's family was mine, but I had no idea I would be given the opportunity to have more - even a bed and this great secretary!  

If you look past the garage setting of this picture, I think this piece has a lot of character - and it is coming up with my parents next weekend!  I'm really excited to put it in the dining room.  It'll be a nice to have the extra storage, and that room really needed another piece of furniture.  I can't paint it pink or blue like I had planned to do with something I found at a garage sale or the Salvation Army, but I'm thinking I could put adhesive gift wrap on the back of the shelves (I've already found a few I like on Hallmark.com) - and may look for new hardware down the road to give it an updated look and feel.  

June 16, 2009


Look what I did tonight! I measured. I cut. I pieced. I pieced some more. I quilted. I measured some more. I sewed!! Just a few more pillows to go. (I'm making them all out of the scraps left over from my quilt and using pillow forms I already had around the house for a totally free-to-me project!) - and then the living room is done! Ok, I still have to lengthen my curtains and hang them, but I'll get around to that this weekend!!

Gloomy Weather, Positive Outlook...

When the above is what your weather forecast for the week looks like, it's easy to get down in the dumps! But, I've got plenty of sunshine coming my way from other sources.
  • Plans for a very big surprise for someone special are finally coming together!!
  • I saw an amazing movie last night with great friends - for free! (Side note: Go see "The Proposal" - it's totally awesome and I'm totally buying it when it comes out on DVD.)
  • I also learned of an AMAZINGLY fun opportunity with HGTV to be an "Armchair Designer."
  • The apartment is coming together, complete with my clearance curtains from West Elm! I have quite a few projects to finish up before I can shoot my entry video and have the family in town, but I'm on my way!!
  • And of course, as always, I know I am loved by my family, my friends and my Lord above!

June 12, 2009


Last weekend I made an old family recipe I hadn't made in years. I honestly didn't care for potato chip cookies as a kid. Give me snickerdoodles or chocolate chip, please! But, I recently started having a craving for potato chip cookies, and because they don't have chocolate, they are a good option for me as I try to keep my complexion nice for the summer. I dug out the recipe and - WALA!
They were fun and easy to make, and my friends all enjoyed them! (And, I think my dad was jealous. Apparently he was the one that really liked them and why my mom always made them!) They also made my mom happy. Apparently it was a recipe she got at a family reunion years ago!

Power Tools and Technology

Sometimes you have to suck it up and do things you don't like to get what you want - here's the proof! I learned this lesson twice in 24 hours, is God trying to teach me something or what?

Power Tools: Apparently there are doors for my closet somewhere in the vicinity of my apartment, so the landlord says, but he cautioned me against asking him for them. The door to the room obstructs their functionality, he says. And, the room's awfully small, so I believe him. I happen to have a few drapery rods in hand, so, I thought, oh, I'll just hang up the curtain I used at the last apartment and it'll be just fine. That was over a month ago. I hate using power tools. I'm not bad at it. I'm actually quite handy. But, I don't LIKE to do it myself. Last night I broke down and did it. See? Beautiful end result.

Technology: I'm using Twitter a lot for one of my clients this summer, and while I love social media, I'd prefer to not have to do anything too technical to use it. Well, it was time to install Twitterberry so I could stay connected with media via Twitter while I'm away from my desk. I hadn't updated my phone in so long that it wouldn't download. Three hours later, there it was! (Sorry, no picture, no one needs to see my ugly grey blackberry with bright pink cover.) I installed software, updated it, personalized it and then downloaded what I needed. I guess I'm pretty good at that, too.
Just goes to show procrastinating doesn't solve anything. It just makes you stare at your closet every morning and every night, and keeps you from staying connected like you want. Jumping in and conquering those hesitations, however, has great rewards!!

June 10, 2009

There Just Aren't Enough Hours in the Day!

I haven't sewn in over a week. I have a quilt to finish. I have two European bed pillow shams to sew. I have a dress to make. I have three more pillows for the living room yet to sew. And yet, I'm oh so tempted to add these to the roster...
The quilt would be super easy to cut and piece, and a great way to use up the Amy Butler fabric I have leftover that matches the quilt shams I made last year. Those shams are now in my guest room, and boy could that room use a little love! Now, would I ever actually quilt it? Maybe Mom would do it for me with her fancy machine...
AND, the top, well. Let's see how the dress goes, but I've seen bloggers make it in a day and wear it out that night. I'm not that well-versed in clothing construction these days, but it can't be too hard if someone else can whip it out that fast. I think it would be a nice summer office shirt. (My office is extremely casual, but I avoid anything too thin on shoulder straps.

June 9, 2009

Patience Pays Off!

I've lusted over West Elm curtains my entire adult life and I have been eyeing a few nice panels to jazz up my dining room ever since I moved (of before, let's be honest). Those windows are really the first thing guests see when they walk in the door so they should look nicer than cheap hand-me-down blinds. BUT, nice draperies are expensive.... until they go on clearance. Hello, $19.99 velvet and silk curtains. You complete me... I mean my dining room. The silk duponi would have been even jazzier, but those suckers are still too expensive and not available in the color I want.
Yay! A little fun on this gloomy Tuesday morning. Photos of my actual apartment coming as soon as there is natural sunlight in Chicago again!

June 5, 2009

Happiness is...

  • A warm sunshine-filled Friday afternoon.
  • A clean home.
  • Good movies in the queue for the rainy weekend ahead.
  • Baking brownies and cookies to enjoy with friends.
  • A haircut in less than 24 hours.
  • And a bit of Sophia Blanc de Blanc paired perfectly with design porn (shelter magazines, no dirty minds here!)

Have a great weekend!!!

Missing Milly Monster

Milly WhinyPants Knowles recently spent a week with me. I think my orchid is glad she's gone, but I kinda miss the furr ball. She required a lot of time and attention, but there's something about the companionship of a dog that makes everything better - even bad reality TV.

She came over the other night so her mommy could help me with some IT issues and I got the beagle "howl of approval" as she entered the building. I now have the confidence I need to buy a dog - I have the Milly seal of approval for puppy parenting!

June 4, 2009

My Favorite Place

Quite possibly the most exciting part of my new casa is my dedicated office/craft room.  (If my boss asks, it's a home office complete with speaker phone.)  But, to be honest, it's going to be where the magic happens!  I've never before had a space where my craftiness could live in all its messy glory - and it sure makes that big rent check on the first of the month worth it all.  

Sadly it has been the last room to come together due to multiple technology woes and some IKEA desk assembly difficulties, but it's finally ready to rock and roll.  And because it was last, it's the room that followed the decorating plan the least.  But, I LOVE its simplicity.  The white furniture is classic "me."  I didn't have much of an option - those Crate & Barrel leaning wall shelves were a purchase last spring that I love too much to replace.  The complimenting IKEA desk was not the planned purchase, but fits my sewing machine and cutting board PERFECTLY!  It's like they knew I was coming.  

The decor is currently inspired by two things: an Anna Griffin scrapbook paper book I couldn't let go of at Michael's despite its price tag, and family, pure and simple.  Family is the reason I'm crafty, so it makes sense.  I come from a long line of craftiness, you see.  My mom is a former home economics teacher, her mom, my Grandma Garen, loved nothing more than to sew and fine random craft projects to try involving Pringles cans and milk jugs, and even my Mamaw Brock enjoys hand-quilting at night so she can stay awake to keep my Papaw company.  (Isn't that cute?)  And my other grandma, well, I know she appreciated my creativity and I loved her for it.  

So, back to decor,  how do you decorate with family?  I have 3 prints of all 3 sets of my grandparents (another long story, but just play along) from their weddings.

I CHERISH these prints and they're now all on display.  On the other wall, I recovered a cheap bulletin board with brown cow print as an ode to the family farms.  (I painted it white, too!)  I was determined to find a use for it in this house, and I did!  For now I've put up an assortment of photos, including me looking super skinny in college, an old family church portrait, and a photo of Maxine, who might as well be my fourth grandma she's meant so much to me for so many years!!  Ok, ok, four grandmas is pushing it...  The room is finished off with the necessary storage for craft and office supplies, files and anything else that hadn't found a home by the time I got around to this room.

Oh, and the cute kid framed between the phone and the laptop?  Yeah, that's me...

...and this is my very own craft room!!!  

Mmmmmm..... cupcakes!

I finally made one of my favorite treats, cupcakes, for my small group last night.  I just did a box mix (Funfetti, my favorite!) but of course made the buttercream frosting from scratch right before everyone arrived.  

They went over well, especially with the male contingent!  Before they left, the boys were dipping their hands in the not-yet-cleaned Kitchen-Aid mixer for more!!  I couldn't imagine a better compliment for a cook, but maybe I'm a little untraditional.  Nothing makes me happier than being able to create something others enjoy so much - whether it be a cupcake, a quilt, a press release (ok, so I'm not sure how anyone could enjoy a press release as much as a cupcake, but you know...)  

This lone survivor made it out alive - all its brothers and sisters were consumed - or carried out the door by my guests!  Doubtful it will see morning, however.  I've yet to eat dinner....

June 3, 2009

Zoe Ballerina

Zoe Ballerina may be Elmo's friend to most families with young ones, but to our family, she's our precious little princess.
Last Friday was her very first full-blown dance recital at Richmond High School's Civic Theater. It has honestly brought tears to my eyes more than once that I wasn't there to greet her in the lobby where both her daddy and me both emerged after plays, concerts and musical competitions after such a wonderful performance. I've heard from the entire family that she sang her little heart out and danced like an angel. They say ballerines are God's own little athletes, and it sounds like Zoe sure enjoys this role.

I'm now anxiously awaiting the video. Until then, I wanted to share how proud I am of my adorable niece.

June 1, 2009

From sewing for the home to sewing for ME!

I haven't made myself a garment in YEARS. (With the two exceptions of a top that resembled a bandana for my 2001 sorority barn dance and plaid skirts for my roommate and I for Halloween costumes circa 2003, but considering those were each worn ONCE, they don't count!) Hopefully this dress will come out as nicely as some of the 4-H projects of years past, but be worn much, much more!

I love these long, flowy dresses, but I haven't been able to find one that I like in an affordable price range. Just as I was giving up that I just wasn't going to be hip this summer, this pattern fell into my blogosphere! So, why not? The worst that could happen? It's a failure and I salvage what I can of the fabric to make a purse!

And the great fabric? It's called "Charleston" and is by the Alexander Henry Collection. I picked it out at The Needle Shop - a great fabric resource I just discovered in Bucktown. It's conveniently-located down the block from my church - God wanted me to have this fabric, didn't he!?!

Bets on how far I get before I cry "mommy!" with this project?? I'm hoping to start in on it this weekend. Mom's planning a visit in a few weeks - whew!!
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