It’s Finally Happening: Renovating our 1920s Craftsman

ChristyRenovationLeave a Comment

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Yesterday was one of the most exciting days of my adult life. It’s been almost 2 years in the making, and I’ll be honest, there were (many) times I thought it would never come. But we’re here, and it’s happening and OH MY GOD I’M SO EXCITED.

“It” is the demolition of our house. You may remember that we bought a little place right before Allie was born. Looking back at that old blog post, the house almost looks kindof cute. It’s not. It never was. From day one, we planned to live in it for a couple of years while we decided exactly what we wanted, and then add some space and update it into our dream house.

1920s Craftsman Renovation

For the first year, my husband and I talked almost every day about what we’d do when we renovated. Sometimes it was a quick mention, like “It will be so nice when we have a fully functioning water heater,” or “I can’t wait until we have a house that’s actually insulated.” Because this place was not. At all.

Exterior Wall, No Insulation

Other days we’d go into full fantasy mode and plan out the layout of our kitchen, or shop online for flooring. I filled a few Pinterest boards with ideas and plans.

Finally we decided it was time to get down to business and hire and architect. We went with Sinnott and Company, and could not be more pleased. The design phase took us another year, which is probably a little (okay, a lot) longer than most people take. Sam was so patient with us, though. We changed our mind on scope probably 87 times, going from “let’s just do a small addition with a bathroom and update the kitchen,” all the way to “gut the place and change everything.”

After countless revisions, we finally finished the plans around this time last year. We found out little Theo was on his way at right about the same time. Foolish optimists that we were, we expected to get started last fall. The city quickly disabused us of that notion. Due to the size of our project, the design review and hearing process ended up taking us a little over 6 months. We finished just after Thanksgiving. By that point, the Holidays were upon us, and I was enormously pregnant, so we didn’t go to bid until the January. And then we needed to get a loan.

Anyone who’s ever bought a home is no doubt aware of the paperwork, and delays, and general jumping through hoops involved in closing a mortgage. I don’t even want to talk about the appraisal fiasco. But all that’s over now. The loan closed on Friday, and the construction crew moved in today. They even let me take the first swing with the sledgehammer.

Demolition Begins

The next 12 or so months will surely be fraught with more complications and delays, and every annoyance imaginable on the spectrum from minor to severe. But it’s also going to be exciting, and fun, and crazy, and did I mention exciting, to watch this junk heap transform into the perfect house for our little family. And I plan to document every minute. Here we go!

#EverydayCrafting

ChristyCopics, Ink & PaperLeave a Comment

Copic Marker Cherry Blossom
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So you know that back in March I participated in the Daily Marker 30 Day coloring challenge. I made a real effort to color something every day, even if it was only for a few minutes, and I only missed about 3 days out of the 3o, and I was pretty pleased with some of my work. Like this cherry blossom tree.

Copic Marker Cherry Blossom

Since the challenge, I’ve made it a goal to do a little bit of crafting every day. It’s crazy how sometimes you need to force yourself to do something you love, but since having kids I’ve found that when I’m not feeding or reading or driving or doing puzzles or cleaning or kissing booboos or burping or changing or rocking or bathing, all I want to do is SIT STILL. Maybe drink a Diet Coke, or watch a TV show.

So I’m trying to consciously use that time for crafting. The end goal of course, is for more crafting to translate to more blogging, but for now I’m taking baby steps. I’m using the hashtag #everydaycrafting on Instagram to document what I do. So far it’s mostly coloring, and it certainly hasn’t been happening everyday. But keep an eye on it for fun stuff coming soon, and maybe join me in using it when you find a little time to create.

Allie’s Thank You Notes

ChristyInk & PaperLeave a Comment

Personalized Toddler Card
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Allie turned 3 at the end of January. I’ve chosen to ignore just how fast the last 3 years have gone by, and instead focus on how much fun it is to have a daughter who’s starting to show an interest in arts and crafts. She loves to color, and lately has been telling me, “Mommy, I need your square ink pads.” The kid loves Distress Inks. She has great taste in craft supplies.

After her birthday party, I wanted her to take an active role in sending her thank you notes. But since she can’t write, I decided the best way to do that would be to make them together.

This is a great project for using up scraps, but I have so much paper (seriously, so much paper), that I just grabbed a 6×6 stack and let her go to town.

We worked with Dear Lizzy’s Day Dreamer line from American Crafts. I handed her the book and told her to pick out her favorite pages, then I cut them each to various sizes to make a very basic card front. I also let her pick colors from my Bazzill stash to mat each background.

Once everything was cut I laid everything out and told her to pick one piece from each pile to make each card. We ended up with some interesting combinations.

Toddler Cards | Dear Lizzy Day Dreamer

To really personalize each card, I cut a sheet of white card stock to 2×3 inches and let her decorate them however she liked with stickers, markers and stamps.

Toddler Cards

This part of the process was hilarious to watch. Instead of working on each card individually, Allie would pick a marker or a stamp or a sheet of stickers and use the same one to decorate several cards. Then she’d move on, sometimes starting new cards, and sometimes improving the ones she’d already worked on.

Toddler Card decorations

When the artist finally decided her masterpieces were complete, we used pop dots to add them to the fronts of each card.

Personalized Toddler Card

The results were nothing short of ridiculous, and perfect.

Toddler Thank You Notes

As far as crafting with toddlers goes, I found this to be a pretty simple project. The design was easy to mass produce and she got to participate through the whole process. I even let her use my rotary cutter and ATG (under close supervision), and she was very proud of her work.

Of course it still took me over a month to get them all mailed. Baby steps.

The Elsa Dress

ChristyNeedlecrafts, Sewing2 Comments

Home Made Elsa Dress
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Yes, I know Halloween was almost 6 months ago, but I can’t not write about this particular project. And I’ve been a little busy since then, what with having a baby and all.

Like pretty much every child (and many adults) I’ve encountered in the last year, Allie is obsessed with Frozen. So when I saw the pattern for Anna and Elsa’s dresses in Joann’s late last summer, I couldn’t not buy it.

You may remember that the WHOLE reason I bought my sewing machine was because I wanted to sew my children’s Halloween costumes. Now that it was Allie’s 3rd Halloween, and I’d become fairly confident with my sewing abilities, I figured it was Time. Still, this was my first experience with garment sewing, and I was pretty nervous about how it would turn out. Needless to say, this project was a learning experience.

Naturally I waited until under 2 weeks before Halloween to get started. I selected a light blue sateen fabric for the main dress, and a lovely shimmery mesh to layer over it for the bodice. For the overdress I went with an ice blue organza. I loved the colors and the way the fabrics went with each other, but in hindsight I wish I’d chosen something with a little more drape for the overdress, and something a little easier to work with for the bodice.

Elsa Dress Cutting the Bodice

I traced the pattern for the smallest toddler size, which was 3. The bodice seemed short to me, so I added an extra inch to each piece when I traced them. I’m glad I did; if anything I think I could have made them a little longer. I also decided to add a little more of a train to the overdress than what was drawn.

Elsa Dress Bodice Pattern Pieces

 

I constructed the bodice in 2 layers: the sateen and the shimmery mesh. On my first attempt, I cut each fabric to the pattern then started basting them together. This caused the fabric to warp more than I wanted. So after some trial and error I found it was easiest to cut the under-fabric to the pattern, and just lay squares of mesh over it until it was all sewn together.

Elsa Dress Bodice

And when I finally got the bodice together, it was enormous. The pattern said it should measure 22 inches around. For a 3 year old. I didn’t really think about it until I tried it on her, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit a 22 inch waist line until I was in high school.

Too Big

The top was also wide at the top and narrow at the waist. To accommodate a bust, I guess?? I don’t know about you, but every toddler I know is basically the opposite of that shape. So I took in each seam at least an inch, and then I took a couple of them in even more before I ended up with something that sorta-kinda fit my kid.

The skirt was much easier, and even the cape was pretty simple to put together. I’d decided to use this project as an opportunity to get over my fear of my serger, which was much easier to use than I’d expected it to be.

Elsa Dress Finished Seams

 

This turned out to be a very good thing, because the lining was a complete fail. It was already October 28th by the time I was ready to start working on the lining, so I was already short on time. And since I’d taken the top in so much I really couldn’t rely on the pattern to cut the lining pieces. I finally constructed a close enough approximation to the top of the dress after several hours of work. Then I had to attach both the yoke and the lining to the bodice, and discovered that sweetheart necklines are no joke. After about 4 attempts I still could not get it even, the fabric was starting to fray, and I was dangerously close to giving up entirely. I finally ended up cutting the thing flat (and still not lining it) to get it to work.

Elsa Dress Attaching Sleeves

My next (and final) challenge was the sleeves. Since I’d taken the bodice in so much, the arm holes weren’t anything like the pattern. It took lots of pinning and trimming, and forcing Allie to try the dress on about 6 times in one evening, before I got it all together.

But against all odds, I finished this thing at 10pm on October 30th, and Allie looked adorable if I do say so myself.

Allie in her Elsa Dress

She barely stood still in it long enough for me to get a picture. She loved running and letting the train fly behind her.

Home Made Elsa DressIt was a learning experience, and definitely worth the trouble to see how happy she was with it. She still asks to wear it daily.

30 Day Coloring Challenge: Day 1 (and 2)

ChristyCopics, Ink & Paper2 Comments

Marci Blonde Close Up
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I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog lately. One of my goals for my maternity leave was to revive it, and now that leave’s about half over, I figure it’s time to stop thinking about it and start working on it.

Lucky for me, Kathy over at The Daily Marker issued a rather perfectly-timed challenge.

Color something every day for 30 days. In other words, take a few minutes every day for the next month to do something you love that you don’t do enough of. I can do that. I should do that! I NEED to do that.

So I am. Yesterday was the first day, which was pretty inconvenient for me. We spent most of the day in the car driving home from Southern California. We got home later than we’d planned, and had two exhausted-but-wired kiddos to get bathed and in bed. Still, I was determined to do this. I got Allie settled, then started gathering my markers just as Teddy started screaming to be fed. I’ve gotten pretty used to doing everything else one-handed, so I figured coloring while nursing was just one more skill I’d have to master.

Marci with Flower Pot

I don’t think it turned out so bad. This particular Marci stamp reminds me of a certain big-headed, blonde-haired 3 year old I know, so I definitely colored it with her in mind. I’ve been searching for ages to find the perfect color combination to emulate Allie’s white-blonde hair…and I still haven’t found it.

Marci Blonde Close Up

With this I experimented with FYG1, Y02, and Y21. The lighting in my house is terrible, so I liked it much better while I was coloring it. But in the light of day, the FYG1 is a bit too fluorescent (surprise, surprise). So I’ll probably spend a lot of this month experimenting with blonde combos.

La La Land Crafts and Dear Lizzy

I happened to have out a 6×6 stack of the Day Dreamer line from Dear Lizzy, so I grabbed a couple sheets and slapped together a card this afternoon. It’s very simple, but I like it.

Now, I need to get my Day 2 coloring done while both kids are still being quiet (I may only have seconds, here). I’ll post on Instagram when I finish!

Color breakdown:

Copics Used

Skin: E0000, 000, 00, 01, 11 (note: I normally use E0000, 00 and 11, but my 00 dried up, so 000 and 01 had to fill in)
Lips: R22
Hair: FYG1, Y02, 21 (note: I do not recommend these colors. If you have a good combo for light blonde, leave it in the comments!)
Shirt: RV13, 14
Pants, Shoes: B41, 45
Lace, Shoe Soles: C00, Colorless Blender
Flower Pot: YR15, 27, 18
Flower: B01, 05 (with tip-to-tip blending)
Leaves: YG13, 17
Dirt: E44, 47, 49
Spade: C00, 1, 3

Theodore David is Here!

ChristyBabyLeave a Comment

first baby picture
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It was quite the exciting holiday season here in I&Y land. Just 1 week after my last post (and 1 day after Thanksgiving), we moved out of our house and into a…charming…little Eichler with lots of…the original finishes. Plywood walls are nice, right? This will be our home until our renovation is complete. But more on that later.

I spent weeks begging this baby not to come early, and he actually obeyed! We celebrated a lovely Christmas as a family of 3. This was the first year that Allie really “got it,” and it was so much fun to watch her experience the magic. But more on that later, too.

After Christmas we had 3 awesome days of family time, and then right on his due date, Teddy made his appearance. At that point he was still Baby Boy. We didn’t decide on his name until he was about 24 hours old.

first baby picture

These 8 Pounds, 4 ounces, and 20.5 inches of baby goodness joined us at exactly 1:01 PM.

And now 5 weeks have already gone by! I can hardly believe it. He’s such a sweet baby (does anyone ever say their baby isn’t sweet?). Allie loves having a baby brother, Jesse and I are re-learning what it’s like to have a newborn in the house, and all is well.

New Baby and Big Sister

Since I love birth stories, I’ll post mine (plus more pictures) after the jump. TL;DR: Pretty textbook labor and delivery, none of the complications we had last time around. Read More