Sewing Little Girl Clothes

Much of my sewing time has gone into clothing. I’ve enjoyed making knit leggings, dresses, and shirts and sweatshirts for for my little girl. These projects go much faster than quilts and can be completed in a nap time or two. Since they often go straight into the dresser, I forget to photograph them.

Here’s a few that made it in front of the camera.
T-Shirt dress & Leggings
tshirt dress
Scuba Hoodie
Lion Costume
Lion costume

Up-cycled Sweater Dresses- these come together so fast, since no hemming is needed.IMG_1903


Posted in 2015, crafts, sewing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Peg People Nativity

I painted peg people for my little girl earlier this year as birthday present.
peg people

Inspired by seeing other nativity versions and my little girl’s love of her first set, I painted a nativity set of peg people this summer while on vacation. Recently she asked for ‘more people’ and so the nativity set came out a little early.

nativity 3

They’re already a favorite.

nativity 2

Posted in 2015, crafts | Tagged | 1 Comment

Kitchen Before & After

I think it’s fun to see how a room can be transformed, so here are our before and after photos from our kitchen renovation this summer.

We left for 10 days this summer and had the kitchen gutted while we were gone. They took out all the old plaster, electrical, flooring & ceiling. They insulated, put in new electrical, lights, drywall and flooring.

We left this:

kitchen before

And came home to this: (the Tyvek is protecting the new floor)


This was one of the two piles of cabinets to be assembled. We ordered them from Barker Cabinets in Oregon.  cabinets

It took us around a week to put them together and then over the next month the cabinets and counters were installed.

Here are some before & after shots. Looking from the dining room into the 1

We extended the kitchen cabinets into the dining room to replace the china cupboard and provide more 1after

Looking from the living room into the kitchen.

kitchen 2

We filled all the space above the counter with cabinets, added a dishwasher and a single basin sink.

kitchen 2 after

The refrigerator corner.  kitchen 3 kitchen 3 after

We took out the small wall to the left of the refrigerator and replaced it with a 9″ cabinet. There was a small spice rack built into the wall before behind the shutters.

kitchen 5

We made a magnetic chalkboard on the end panel here, and installed a pull out spice rack in the 9″ cabinet. The inside of these narrow cabinets have storage for vertical items and our spice rack.

kitchen 5 after

Looking at the stove and 4

We added cabinets over the stove.  We kept the cabinets to the right of the stove at a lower height because of the window and also because I like chopping and rolling pie crust at that height.  The new stove just came this 4 afterThe sink.

sink After staring at these Egyptians for the last 5 years, I’m so happy we finally get to look out a window!  I also love the size of the sink and being able to set things down in it and have them not get in the way of using the sink.  The flat bottom is great for soaking cookie sheets.   The sink is by Elkay and the faucet is by Moen.

sink after

The dining room section:  A mismatched collection of furniture gave us storage and more work space in the dining room before.


Now we have more storage and work space with a narrower footprint.

diningroom after

Here are a few more details about the project and our special features.

Toe-Kick Drawers: We wanted to maximize the space in our small kitchen and came across the idea of toe-kick drawers.  Matt made dove-tail drawer boxes out of maple and installed drawer slides when we assembled the cabinets.  The front of the drawer is covered by the toe-skin so when they are closed, you don’t even know they are there.  They’re great for storing place mats, table clothes, and baking pans that aren’t used often.

toe kick drawers

Blind Corner: Previously, there was not any cabinet space in the corner next to the stove.  We put in a blind corner cabinet and an insert to use the space better.  The first part pulls out and swings wide, and two sliding shelves behind slide into the opening in the cabinet.  This insert was made by Omega National.

blind corner

Flooring: Cork Flooring by Lumber Liquidators

Contractor/ Cabinet Installation: G.A. Smith & Sons Carpentry.  We knew we could trust Dave & Greg with this work.  They did an excellent job making things work in our old space and installing everything beautifully.

Electrician: Brite-Lite Electric. The kitchen electrical and lights are great. Also, we ended up having to do some extra whole-house work on short notice and they were great at getting it done as quickly as our electric utility would allow.

Cabinets: Barker Cabinets, Oregon.  Shaker style doors, Pure White.  These are made-to-order, ready-to-assemble cabinets.  We loved that we could order the cabinets custom to the 1/4″ in any dimension.  This was crucial for us as we worked to get the most storage out of a small space.  This let us customize to get exactly what we wanted like our low cabinets under the window with pull-outs for the pots & pans, and our 9″ cabinet next to the refrigerator.  The price was less than what we would have paid for a name brand from the big-box store and the quality is much better.  We love the soft close drawers and the all-wood drawer boxes.  The frames are sturdy and well constructed.

The cabinets come on pallets (we didn’t see that part, it’s a long story) and then are banded or shrink-wrapped.  Doors are wrapped in foam and cardboard.    The assembly went well once we got a rhythm.  I was disappointed by was how fragile some of the paint on the doors seemed.  We hung doors as soon as we got cabinets assembled and on reflection, we should have waited until the cabinets were hung.  The paint on edges of the doors seems to ding easily.  We’ve done touch up and it looks fine.   Some doors and drawer fronts were missing from our order, but Barker shipped out replacements to us as soon as possible and it didn’t hold up the installation.

We ordered the cabinets at the end of April and they arrived at the end of July.

Counter: In the kitchen we chose soapstone installed by Vermont Soapstone.  They did an excellent job installing on-site and fitting it to some odd situations like our window & door trim abutting the counter.  In the dining room we used a cherry butcher block from Lumber Liquidators and finished it ourselves. Both counters are finished with mineral oil.  We love how the soapstone can handle hot pots and pans without trivets.  We’re getting used to how soft it is and learning not to drag things across the counter or let a little girl bang spoons on it.  Even so, the scratches come out with a sanding and add to the character overall.

Spice Rack:  We put a 3″ Rev-A-Shelf soft-close filler into the 9″ cabinet.  It’s made to go between base cabinets, so we made our 9″ cabinet deep enough that it would sit inside. Then Matt installed a thin piece of ply-wood next to it with holes for the trimmed-down shelves so we could still use the space that remained. He also made a mahogany pull for the front of it.

vertical storage

I ordered jars from Fillmore Container and made my own labels.  We buy our spices mostly in bulk so it’s nice now to have matching jars to fill.

spice rack

Chalkboard:  We painted thin sheet metal with Benjamin Moore’s chalkboard paint in Deep Space.  We used liquid nails to adhere it to the finished end panel, and then added trim around the outside edges.  Matt carved a chalkboard ledge from cherry.  We wanted it to be magnetic because we plan to replace the refrigerator and we were not sure if stainless steel would be magnetic.   So far it works great!


Curtains:   I made the curtains with this fabric and cafe rods & clips. I love how easily they slide open and shut. Not all the curtains were finished in our after photos, but I have a valance over both windows.

We’re very pleased with how the kitchen turned out!

kichen 6


Posted in 2015, House | 1 Comment

Salsa Time!

Our kitchen has been under renovation this summer so we were doing minimal cooking in August. Thankfully, by the time tomatoes were overrunning the kitchen there was enough back in working order to make salsa.   Our favorite recipe (Annie’s Salsa) didn’t disappoint.IMG_0604 It’s been a few years since I’ve done much canning, but it feels nice to be able to do it again. Since my first batch, I’ve made two more batches of salsa (one tomato, one green tomatillo), tomato vegetable soup, and a batch of our favorite plum cardamom jam.  The new kitchen space is working out well and one benefit of our soapstone counters is that I can just set the hot pot directly on the counter to ladle into the jars.  There’s more jam, applesauce, and maybe salsa in the plans.

kitchen 2
We have some touch up painting to do and curtains to make, and then maybe I’ll share before & after photos of the kitchen.

Posted in 2015, canning | 1 Comment

Norwegian Sweater

I wanted to knit this Norwegian style sweater for myself, but before I tried the new-to-me technique of steeking (cutting into the sweater and then knitting up from there), I thought it would be better to knit something in a smaller size that used the technique.   The pattern I selected (Geilo Child by Dale of Norway) ended up becoming more complicated than I originally planned, but I’m happy with the results.  I knit the 2T size, and since it’s quite oversize now, there will likely be at least two or three winters of wear out of it. sweater 1 sweater4

Update: I got a “Best in Show” ribbon at the local fair for it in August.
best in show

Posted in 2015, knitting, sweater | 1 Comment