Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween folks!! We’ve got beautiful Fall weather here today in Grapevine, so it should be perfect for all the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood tonight.

We’re embracing the Halloween spirit around here and thought I’d share some of our decorations! First up, a pile of gourds and pumpkins picked up at a local pumpkin patch. The hubby likes to take charge in this area and set up the “display”.

 He was feeling super festive last week and picked up this flag too. My mom is so proud.

And here is the pumpkin I carved last night…it’s an owl. Hope it looks good all lit up tonight!  If you can’t tell, we’ve got a thing for owls around here – or rather my hubby does.

Next up…the front door. I got a little crafty and made this feather boa wreath. Thanks for the inspiration Alisa!

Just like last year, we put up our creepy crawler spiders all over the house. I think they look pretty cool climbing up the light over our kitchen table.

Some more gourds and mini pumpkins, along with the spider web runner, make our table pretty festive. 🙂

I also made some yummy cupcakes for J to bring into work. Chocolate with cream cheese frosting – delish!

And now for the good stuff…the pups. I know, I know, a lot of people think it’s just mean to dress up your pets, but c’mon it’s all in good fun. It’s just one day! Plus they love it – ummm yeah. BUT they were good sports and let mommy take some pictures, (while trying to control my laughter). Ok, that sounds mean…laughing because they are so cute! 😉 Enjoy our little pumpkin Lolo and ferocious bull Brutus – complete with cowboy! Yee-haw!

Brutus was SUPER excited to have daddy dress him up, can’t you tell 😉

Lolo is too sweet for the bull horns – her pumpkin getup was more her 🙂

Ready to rumble!

It’s on!

Happy Halloween from Lolo and Brutus!!  — DP

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Kitchen Reno: week 2

Week two has come and gone- and I wasn’t here for any of it (I was at a conference for work). In my absence, Mark (my husband) took the photos below.  It’s getting exciting!! We can definitely visualize the layout and space much better now.

Chaos…fridge is pulled out to the middle of the room. Plastic sheeting to contain dust.

Ripped up wall from demo. You can see the old plaster and boards…and about ten different “choice” layers of wall paper.


Lower cabinets are in! (almost all). More to come soon…

“New” Front Door!

A few weeks ago my parents took a “western road trip” and stopped by our place for a few days!! It was such a treat! As soon as they arrived they were ready to get back into “project mode” …I think they were having “project withdrawals” since the wedding was over.

Anyways- my dad had his eye on our front door and decided to take matters into his own hands! So he and Mark got to work!..I helped a little 🙂

Here’s what the OLD door looked like (we took the hardware off):

door before

First things first- remove the hardware.

removing hardware

Original hardware- tarnished brass…facelift coming up!

Once the door was off the next step was to strip all old lacquer and stain off.

stripping door

We chose a “safer” stripper (that just sounds wrong).

stripping gel

Once the stripper was cleaned off (again – wrong) and the door was dry- Mark used his pro sanding skills to smooth out the wood.

After the first round of sanding- My dad used wood filler in any holes or cracks. Once it’s dry- then Mark did another round (or 3) of sanding. Mark was determined to get it super smooooth.

Here’s my dad cutting the new trim for the door!

Once the trim was cut and nailed on- the door was put back on the hinges and it was time for staining! (Sorry no photos of the door being hung back in the hinges- it was a three person job!)

Here’s my dad carefully staining the door.

…and two coats later:

After the stain was dry we put on two coats of “polycrylic” to seal it.

While the door was drying- I was busy cleaning off the hardware. I used silver cleaner- it’s all i had- but it did the trick! For the mail slot- I used brass spray paint- which actually came out looking pretty good!

And the NEW DOOR!

new door

After a hard days work- Dad and Mark take a well deserved break..with a beer of course 🙂

…while all this was going on- my mom was busy in the garden and in the kitchen! Sangria and plum/ peach pie here we come!!

-AY

Quilting – Week 2

Last Wednesday was our second class and we got a ton accomplished! I took photos in class this time to document all the steps.

Hung up in our classroom is a large piece of batting, and we learned very quickly this is a very useful tool.  You throw your fabric pieces up there and they just stick  – super helpful when piecing together large sections so you’re able to see the full picture. First up was to layout all the squares we finished up for homework.

Sidenote: the batting had lots of stray thread that has accumulated over time (so that’s what all that messy looking stuff is).

We then cut our two other fabrics to finish off the center. Cutting is kind of boring, so you won’t see any pictures of that 🙂 The bold pattern pieces around the edge was the first fabric I picked out, and then the fuschia and polka dot fabrics were chosen to compliment the pattern. So here’s a picture of all the individual pieces laid out in the finished pattern. Cool, right?

To begin sewing together we started in the top left corner. The strips are all sewn together diagonally. So in the corner there are three individual pieces – you sew the triangle piece to the square polka dot, then you sew that to the other triangle piece. You do that for each diagonal row until you have 6 strips. The pictures below shows me sewing two of the pieces from the second row together and then the first two diagnal strips completed.

Once all the strips are completed you start to sew those together, starting with the corner and working your way down. Here’s a photo showing the corner and second row pinned together ready to be sewn. You always sew right sides together.

I flipped the corner piece up to double check everything lined up.

To make things a little easier during this process we sewed the first three strips together, then started in the other corner to sew those three strips together. We ended up with two large pieces to sew together instead of continuously adding on to one growing piece. This made it much easier to manage. Here’s a shot of the three strips together and a closeup.

Voila! I was actually happy that most of my seams lined up. There were a few that were a little off, but unless you get your face right up in there you would never notice. Now, all that’s left is to add the corners.

Pinned and ready to go!

YAY! I finished!

I still can’t believe how much we’ve accomplished in just two classes (and one afternoon of homework). Sabrina and I were both in shock! In this week’s class we should finish the entire front 🙂 With Josh’s birthday festivities this weekend neither Sabrina or I got to our homework, so we’re gonna have to get that finished up by tonight. We just need to cut the rest of the fabric for the border. Here’s another look at the finished product.

I have a blue fabric that I’m using where you see green above. Hoping it works with everything so far – fingers crossed! –DP

Quilting – Week 1

Yes, things are getting very domestic over here in Grapevine! Josh’s mom, Sabrina, persuaded me to sign up for a 3 week quilting class with her at a local shop. See Sabrina initially took some beginner classes last year, but life got busy and the sewing machine was pushed aside. She recently got the itch again, wanting to get back into it, so she found a class and signed us up. I figured what the heck, why not give it a shot! Even though I’ve never sewn a darn thing I could at least try.

Our class began last Wednesday evening at Quilter’s Dream. Turns out that Sabrina and I were the only ones to sign up – good for us since we will need all the focus and attention we can get from the instructor. We have three classes together, and by the end we were told will have a “finished” quilt! Both of us find this hard to believe, but we’re just gonna go with the flow.

Here’s a picture of the finished quilt:

We picked out our own fabrics for the project, so that is just the pattern we are using. I picked mine out in about 5 minutes, so not a whole lot of thought went into it. Mine will be very bright and bubbly – whomever of my friends or family that has the next baby girl will most likely get it as a gift – and they better love it :). Let’s just start with hoping it actually gets finished!

Back to class…I think we initially terrified our instructor since I told her I’d never sewn and had no idea how to use the machine (on loan from Sabrina) that was sitting in front of me, and Sabrina needed a refresher on hers as well. BUT, we both were rock stars that night and picked it up pretty quickly. I was very proud! Now we learned to do a number of things (of which I can’t remember the official terminology at the moment), and were sent packing with our homework to be completed by the next class. Over the weekend we really only spent Saturday working and we both got our homework done – we’re such good students!! Below is a little bit of the afternoon that I documented.

We set up shop at Sabrina’s…

Me trying to be a little artsy with my camera.

Ok, so down to business. Here is the layout of the squares we had to make. In class we made the triangle pieces sewn together. Again, I don’t remember all the technical mumbo-jumbo, so you’ll just have to deal for now and maybe by next class I’ll have the names for ya. The top row shows each of the three pieces that combine to make the second row.

Next step once all those rows were made was to then sew them together.

And voila – you have a square! As you can guess the goal is to line up all the points. I was successful on the top row, but the bottom row was a little sloppy – oops. I’m a newbie at this so I’m not going to be too hard on myself. For our homework we had to make twelve of these that would make up part of the center of the quilt. I was super happy to get them all finished and overall was satisfied with my sewing skillz 🙂

Some shots of Sabrina’s fabric…

Hard at work…

Sabrina is definitely going to be the star pupil in class. She opted to step things up and “chain piece” her triangle pieces together. This is simply a faster method, a little more organized. Once you complete the chain you snip them apart.

Show off.  😉

Tomorrow evening will be our second class and we are both curious as to what part of the quilt we will be working on next. There is definitely still some lack of faith we’ll actually have a finished product by the end of this, but who knows, maybe we’ll rock it out!! –DP

Sweet baby bag!

My brother, Adam and his wife, Jess are having a boy in the fall and I wanted to make them a “cool” baby bag that Adam wouldn’t be embarrassed to carry. Here’s the pattern I used: Butterick B4560 baby bag.  So this is what I came up with- (finished size roughly 14″X 13″ X 5″).

Materials needed:

  • GOOD Scissors
  • “Rolling Scissors”
  • Sewing Machine
  • all-purpose thread
  • velcro (iron on)
  • 1′ of .25″ elastic (I used an elastic “stay put” goody headband – perfect tension)
  • buckle (optional)
  • 1 1/2 yards cotton blend fabric
  • 1 1/4 yards cotton blend (lining)
  • 1  yard fusibile interfacing (pattern suggest fleece interfacing- but I didn’t want it to be “puffy”)
  • 1.25 yards “duckcloth” (option I added to give flap, bottom, sides more weight)


cut out all pieces.


sew exterior pieces together.


close-up (side pocket- elastic inserted into casting)


close-up (side pocket with velcro)


lining with duckcloth (duckcloth for bottom and front/back panels only)


place lining inside-out into exterior bag

lining inside exterior of bag


inside lining pockets -with velcro


strap with loop sewn to buckle


pad for strap (velcro to close)


velcro on flap to outside front pocket

-AY