Friday, December 24, 2010

Merrry Christmas to All...

I'm already starting to think of my New Year's Resolutions...but the most important one I started implementing early. I'm trying to me for thankful for what I have, because I have a lot.

Life hasn't exactly gone how we expected it too in the Wheaton household and I'm sure the same can be said in households across America.

But when I focus on the things I'm blessed with in this life, my disappointments begin to Bing Crosby sings in "White Christmas"---"When I am weary and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep and I fall asleep counting my blessings."

This time of year, I'm also touched by the many names of Jesus...none so much as Emmanuel.
Our God is with us.


Friday, December 17, 2010

My first attempt at a tutorial

I intended to show you all how I turned this man's shirt into a pair of crazy pants for my little man, but ...

But this is as far as my tutorial got...Yikes. I'm so glad their are bloggers out there patient and generous enough to photograph their work and walk us all through them. I'm not sure I'll ever be one of them. Basically, I've put this great tutorial by Lil Blue Boo  for turning an old t-shirt into to toddler pants. I had to tweak it a little bit because my little guy is no longer a toddler, but XL shirts still offer just enough fabric if I incorporate the arms. This project would be much easier for a smaller child.

Here's a contemplative shot with Jack in his pants. Some of you out there might think he's saying "Mom, what am I wearing?" I can assure you he likes this pants. The day I took this picture he put them on all by himself with no prompting from me.
You can be sure Jack will be wearing this outfit come Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Tour

My grandmother gave me this tree two years ago. It was my great grandmother's. It has become especially dear to me this year because my grandmother died last summer. This will be my first Christmas without her and it already seems a strange. She lived a long and lovely life, but I still wasn't ready to lose her. I'm glad I was blessed with so many memories and there are mementos from her all over my home, but this little tinsel tree is among my favorites. My memories of my great grandmother are very vague, but I'm glad my grandmother entrusted me with one of her mother's festive treasures.

 I actually got my nativity set out this year. Since my son came, I had kept it packed to afraid that he would break it, but this year I knew he was old enough to keep his hands off. I love this nativity set, which my husband and I picked out at Bronner's with a gift card we received as a wedding present.
 This year, I decided to put an old frame to use as a card holder. I used some paint, some chicken wire and paper clips to turn this old frame (also from my grandmother) into a special place to put our cards.
 My mom surprised me by sending me a real wreath. It was one of the best surprises ever. I LOVE it. I hung some vintage, child skates in the middle and called it great. It's so beautiful in all it's real splendor that I decided less is more.
I'm afraid the same can not be said for the mantle and tree. I guess I'm from the school that there can never be enough baubles when it come to my tree. (:

Merry Christmas! I'm so thankful for this time of year when we can focus on the Birth of Christ. Happy Holidays to those of another Faith, may the New Year be full of blessings for us all and may we grow in understanding and love for one another.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I've been sewing

Sometimes when I'm at the thrift store, it's so frustrating to see cute clothes in the wrong sizes, so I decided to take matters in my own hands and take my sewing machine to some. This Gap shirt was to big for Jack, so I cut it down and sewed back together to make it fit.

My favorite part of the outfit, however, is the pants. I took a men's shirt and made these plaid pants. I used a pair of Jack's pants as a basic pattern. I took off the pockets and reattached them to the sides to make the pockets. I made the pants mostly last night while watching "Dancing With the Stars."

I found this tutorial very helpful.

The nice thing about working with thrifted items is that there's not a lot of money invested, so if you really screw up (ask me about a recent felted sweater mishap)... no big deal.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Ikea "As Is" room

This sign was actually a cabinet door I got for $1.99 from the As Is section of Ikea. I can't go to Ikea without perusing the scratch and dent section. I usually find something unique and usable. I found two nice paneled cabinet doors and decided I needed to get them for future use.
I decided to upgrade our coat rack and made the "Hang Up" sign using old sheet music and great hooks my Aunt Lyla gave me from her barn. I sprayed the hooks with clear coat to keep all the great patina and to keep that "rusty patina" from getting all over our coats. The hooks are so handy and since I redid the coat rack, I don't find myself picking coats off the floor anymore... this baby can be overloaded and still function.

This sign is sentimental to me. Budd Lake is where my grandparents have their cottage and I spent many happy moments there. When my grandmother died this summer, I decided to paint this sign as a personal tribute to her and a reminder of a place I love. My grandparents really gave me the gift of the beach... an inland lake beach and the ocean beach... they arranged vacations (family events really) to Myrtle Beach each spring. I can't help but think of them when I look at this sign and my shell display, made out of a typesetters draw.

I just recently went to Ikea and passed up a cabinet door. I may have to go back.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wow, I have some catching up to do ...

Last week was all about making this costume for my son, who wanted to be a dragon. Thanks to a visit from Yaya, we were able to get it done, which made for one happy little boy.

I'm happy to have that dragon "slain" so that I can move on to other projects. Hmmm, I think it might still fit him next year... I wonder if he'd go for that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quick Change

Lately, my projects are piling up on me. So, I decided to tackle an easy job. I recovered my dining room chairs. It's sad that my red fabric and pompoms didn't last a little longer. I thought this vinyl type fabric would be perfect for the little guy,3,  but instead food spills got embedded in the design. Not cool. More pompoms started looking less than cheerful pretty early on...

So I changed things up a little and went with this green fabric. I doused them with Scotch Guard and I hope it will help. I think I will make a little cover too, for Jack's chair because his table manners are AWFUL. Honestly, I am at a loss with how to improve his skills. I should be much thinner than I am because I spend most of my time at the table chastising and losing my appetite watching him eat.

At least this is an easy job is I have to tackle it again soon. I'd really like to get a new dining room set, but I have yet to find anything that speaks to me. (:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Art Prize 2010

My husband and I recently had a date day in Grand Rapids, Mi for the second annual Art Prize. Basically, Art Prize is a very unique art competition where the public is asked to vote for their favorite art exhibits and there are more than $449,000 in prizes up for grabs with $250,000 going to the first place winner.

Last year, I wasn't sure how I felt about the competition it seemed a little like applying "American Idol" logic to the arts and that left me feeling a little unsettled. But if you listen to NPR here in Michigan then you're bound to hear about Art Prize and well, I was intrigued.

I'm so glad that we went. It is an awesome event and it really takes more than a day to appreciate fully. Artwork is on display everywhere... restaurant windows, public fountains, flower gardens...everywhere. Many pieces are very large in scale, some are in your face and some have great big messages, like the exhibit above drawing attention to the lack of drinking water in third world countries.

As someone who  has refinished a chair or two, I couldn't help but snap a picture of this artwork.

This beautiful sculpture was made from paper mache.

This unique piece was a dream collection, featuring descriptions of some of the most interesting dreams... the only thing that would have made it more amusing is if there had been a dream expert there interpreting some of them.

Art Prize has completely won me over. After being there, I no longer have qualms about it. It was great to see masses of people looking at artwork on public streets. People of all ages interacting with artwork and looks of wonderment on peoples faces. Yeah, it's that good.

Quite simply, the pros outweigh the cons.

It goes on through Oct. 10 and it's worth a drive. I'd like to go back and take my son to see some of the exhibits too, but I'm not sure if there's time for that, but I plan on marking my calendar for next year's event.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A tour of my new kitchen

I know, I know I should have some before shots, and they exist some place, but I was eager to share my afters, now that I've got my camera back. The cabinets use to be wood, with an orangey type of finish. I repainted them cream and black with a glaze over the top.
Yikes, does your fridge look like this?

It's not a farmhouse sink (my dream), but removing the old cupboard door, replacing the apron, adding some legs and making a skirt gives the kitchen the retro feeling I was going for... I also added an old panel from an organ that I got from a consignment store, over the window to add more history.
I wanted to add molding to the top of the cabinets, but I struggled with that, so instead I did a faux baten board treatment, which makes a nice backdrop for my pottery collection. I had greenish glass knobs from a redo project I did a while back, so the cream cabinets got those and the black cabinets got new chrome knobs.

I still have a few tweaks in my head, but all in all I love the kitchen. It is much more my style now and I think it belongs more in this house. Making the changes also didn't cost me much because I found the cream paint color I liked at Habitat for Humanity Restore (Nice Benjamin Moore, it was like butta) and picked up the black Ralph Lauren Paint (also very nice) at Home Depot when they stopped carrying that line. My paint cost me under $20.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm back!!!!!!

I finally found my camera equipment. Here are two pictures I took at the beginning of the summer. My personal ode to summer. And now summer is over.

Hopefully, I can get the swing of my new camera, now that we've been totally reunited. One difficulty is my computer is not letting me save my edited pictures from this camera? Frustrating. Anyone else encounter this? I'm using Microsoft Picture It! and a Nikon Coolpix 3000.

Well, it's good to be back. I can't wait to post more pictures. I repainted the kitchen cabinets over the summer, so I'll have to take pictures of that soon (it requires a good cleaning first.)

I also finally figured out how to wind my bobbin and thread the needle on my sewing machine, two requirements if you want to use the said sewing machine for sewing and not an over sized paperweight. Actually, my mom helped me with it (Thanks Mom.) and once she showed me I sewed for two days straight so I wouldn't forget.

Well, I must run. (Oh, no I didn't take up running over the summer. Although I did go for a long morning walk this morning, maybe I can work my way up to running. I could use some calorie burning, that's for sure. I don't think sewing provides much exercise.)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wow, it's still missing.

I can't believe I'm still dealing with MIA camera equipment. I may have to resort to fuzzy camera phone pictures.

Anyway, I'm loving my sewing machine and all the new (to me) sewing related blogs I've found. I've been cutting apart T-shirts and resewing them like a mad woman. If you have a sewing machine, well, it turns out you never have to wear a boxy T-shirt again... who knew?

Here's a fun blog I just found this morning:

Hope to see you soon... I mean really, this is getting ridiculous.

Friday, June 25, 2010

In case you were wondering...

I've been busy with a lot of projects that I'd love to show you...if I could find the handy dandy usb cord to my camera. Yikes.

Lots of projects = some disorganization= missing usb cord. Oh well.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm in love

I'm in love with Puddingstone Farm and Nursery in Parma, Mi.
And so is my Son.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Painted trim

I finally took my paint brush to the trim in our office and in the dining room. I absolutely love it. I also installed quarter round, which was really an easy job (in just one room, but a bit daunting when I think of the rest of the house.)
 Now I'd like to tackle the rest of the house, but  I'm waffling a little on painting the trim in the living room. It's time's like this I wish I were Samantha Stevens, so I could just wiggle my nose and Viola! Of course, she did get herself into a fair bit of trouble...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


When the CSN Stores contacted me about doing a review for their company, I thought, "What? Little old me?" and then I thought, "Why not?"

The hardest part was picking something to review. You see, CSN offers a large variety of items from barstools to baby items and gardening to home decor.

We had a very tired doormat at our front door, so I thought it was time for a replacement. I selected this beautiful indoor/outdoor rug called Safavieh Courtyard. I had a friend visiting, when it arrived, and she couldn't believe I was going to put it outside, "That's too nice to put outside, would it work in your kitchen?"

It was tempting, but since I had picked it out to go at the front door, I decided to stick with that plan, but I may just have to order another one for my kitchen. (CSN has about a gazillion indoor/outdoor rugs to choose from ranging from $19.95 to $244.95) We'll have to see how it holds up, but so far, I think I'm in love.

The only drawback to the rug is that it looks so good that it reminds me that I have to repaint the threshold.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We were loved...

Here in the State of Michigan, we suffer from low self-esteem. It’s been a long standing problem… one that goes back as far as I can remember.

Surrounded by natural wonders (they are called the Great Lakes for a reason), we mostly focus on our aging industries, fleeing population and blighted cities. Granted, they can be a little hard to see past.

We’re unlovable. I mean isn’t that why people are always leaving?

Today on Facebook, the Flint page posted an inspiring quote by Margaret Mead about the power of citizens banding together to make positive changes. In response, someone posted a long-winded response about lazy GM workers, working for inflated wages. Huh? Hope greeted with complete and utter cynicism.

We’re a little like the girl who is told she has beautiful eyes and responds, “Yeah right. You’re kidding right? How could you even see them with that pimple on my nose?”

That’s what makes losing Ernie Harwell so hard, because he was the guy that honestly hadn’t noticed the pimple. He loved us, genuinely loved us and it wasn’t just a line.

Things are rough here in this State, especially in Detroit, but we were loved in a big way, by an all-around great guy.

That means something.

Thank you, Ernie, for loving us. Now, hopefully we can get to work on loving ourselves.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Respite in Detroit

This year for our anniversary we decided to escape to the big city, but that didn't mean we had to forgo quaint. We stayed at the Inn At Ferry Street, which is really a series of Victorian Mansions, which have been restored for use as a bed and breakfast, but with 40 guests rooms it's really a hotel. It was a lovely place to stay.
This is the house we called home for the night. It's interior was filled with wonderful turn of the century details.

The Inn also has two carriage houses, including this one that is used for meetings. Ferry St. is right off of Woodward, not far from downtown and right next to the Detroit Art Institute and Wayne State University. Part of the reason I wanted to stay at the Inn At Ferry Street is because I think it demonstrated the kind of vision Michigan needs. Instead of letting these buildings crumble, someone saw possibility.
Otherwise, these beautiful homes, could have just been left to rot... like this one. A visit to Detroit does have it's heart breaking moments... blight and echos of a great past... but there is a resilience there for which it doesn't get enough credit... much like Flint and even, to some extent, my new home of Jackson. All three cities have been hit very hard by the struggles of the auto industry and there's plenty of judgement to go around, but I'm thankful to all the people who are willing to take a risk and believe and invest in their futures.

It was hard to be so close to the DIA and not go in, but this was a quick weekend, so we headed downtown for a baseball game.

We had a quick lunch at Detroit Beer Company, and the night before we had a lovely dinner at the new Angelina Italian Bistro. I'd recommend both places, both are on Broadway right across from the Detroit Opera House. (A favorite place, Small Plates, is right next to the DBC.)

It was an awesome game and the Tigers swept the Angels, in what was almost a shut-out for Justin Verlander. The skies threatened rain most the day, but we only had to contend with a few sprinkles in the ninth.
The last five years have been full of blessings and hardships and we've weathered them. I know they'll be more hard times ahead, it seems that's how life works, but I have the best teammate a girl could ask for and I'm looking forward to the next inning.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Little Bling!

I found the fabulous, yet broken glass light at the Lumen Christi sale for a whole $2. After realizing just how broken it was, (a glass arm was completely broken along with other items) I decided to disassemble is and use parts for other projects (eventually.)

First up, I added a little bling to my dining room light. An original part of the house, I've never been totally in love with it, but after adding a few prisms, I'm feeling it. Btw, I've seen the prisms at antique stores marked $2 -$3 a piece, so that's why I had no problems plopping down my $2 for a broken light.
Oh, and this is just silly, but I've found a good way to use up the Easter candy. Assemble, 20 seconds in the microwave and you've got yummy goodness.