Stripes in the Dining Room

Dan vetoed beadboard wainscoting.

Source: CTMLS, Inc










Searching for ideas on how to decorate the dining room, I fell in love with this striped idea.

Source: The Family Handyman












Can you picture stripes of yellow, olive green and orange in our dining room?

With Elly’s help, I was able to try out the idea in crayons.

The green fabric is what I’m using to slip cover the two wing back chairs in the adjacent living room. The fun and vibrant fabric will be curtains for both the dining room and the adjacent living room. Isn’t it great? I have become a fan of bright and cheerful colors. I can’t help myself.

Oddly enough, Dan is not opposed to my new plan. He thinks I’m nuts, because painting stripes is a whole lot harder than just painting it all one color. He is also slightly concerned about me adding green back to the walls when it had taken us so long to get rid of all the green in each room. The original homeowner must have loved green. It was everywhere. It’s still the dominant color in the basement.

I refuse to worry about a few green stripes taking over our house. Besides, I’m just giddy to begin painting another room. This house is starting to feel like our home and not the old home of the Elliott household.

Chalkboard Fun

Elly loves chalk. True, it’s partly because she has acquired a taste for it, but it’s also because it can be erased easily, providing endless hours of drawing or at least a solid 10 minutes.

So when Elly drew on the newly painted attic door with permanent marker, I decided to repaint it using chalkboard paint.

Now when she gets tired of helping me cook, she can draw.

Because I needed a place to jot menu ideas as well as items to be added to the grocery list, I made a miniature chalkboard for me too.

Total cost for both – $12.25
Chalkboard paint from Walmart – $10
Frame from Memories n More, local consignment store – $2
Yellow paint – from stash
Acrylic coat over yellow paint – also from stash (and to think I was going to throw out all my paint because I hadn’t used it in over a year)
Chalk from Walmart – 25 cents

2 chalkboards just means more happiness in my turquoise kitchen!

Happy Dance in my Kitchen

Finally, the last of the kitchen cabinets are painted!

I’m so happy! It looks better than I imagined it would.

Before I just loved the layout of my kitchen and the awesome stove, but now I love the feel of the whole room. It’s so bright and cheerful! Somebody pinch me.

Before with the 1970’s avocado green

Now with the turquoise 

Oh sure, I still have a laundry list of things that need to be upgraded, like the floor, the faux vent, the backsplash, and the island. And I would cut my left arm off just to get some more lighting. But all those things cost considerably more than a can of paint, so they’ll have to wait.


This post joined TDC’s link party!

TDC Before and After

Fabric for our Party Dresses

Isn’t it beautiful?

I just love it.

The main fabric is an iridescent purple taffeta purchased from

The lace fabric was brought back from our trip to Mexico last year.

Both dresses will be lined with white lining fabric.

Though I had purchased lilac tulle for the underskirt, I am having buyer’s remorse. It might be too much purple. Gold or white tulle might be better. Maybe I should match the tulle to the trim I plan to add to the dresses. Of course, I need to decide on what color trim to add. A trip to my local sewing store is in order. Oh, joy!

Elly Models My First Muslin

Of all the dresses I’ve sewn, I’ve never made a muslin first. I would just cut out the pattern size closest to my bust, waist and hip measurements. Then, I sewed the dress in its entirety and hoped for the best. Sometimes it worked great. Sometimes it didn’t.

Lately, I started reading some really great sewing blogs. Which reminds me, I need to update my blog roll. Time and again the authors of these sewing blogs would mention that they sewed a muslin first before cutting out the expensive fabric they purchased. Though the fabric I purchased for our dresses isn’t terribly expensive, it’s not cheap and I would prefer to not have to buy more.

Based on Elly’s chest measurement, I traced out a size 5T/6. It’s true Elly is tall for her age, but she is not the height of a 5 year old. Assuming the bodice would need shortening and not wanting to make such adjustments on the fancy fabric, I made a muslin of it. The skirt I was unconcerned about. I can always make the hem deeper. Plus, the width of the skirt doesn’t really matter since it is gathered.

I was right. The straps needed to be 1 inch shorter. What I didn’t anticipate was how tight the bodice was in the waist. I had forgotten about Elly’s big belly.

It took slashing the front bodice piece and adding 2.5 inches to keep the bodice from being skin-tight over her belly.

It’s a good thing Elly is only 2 years old. I don’t think she will appreciate me divulging such personal information when she is 13. Ha!

The other thing I learned from the muslin was how to put the pattern pieces together. I mucked it up in the first picture. I attached the shoulder straps next to the side seams when they are supposed to be shifted over a few inches. Nice to figure that out on cheap muslin.

So, I’m a convert. I’ll be making a muslin of my bodice as well.

Next, I have to wash the gorgeous fabric (pictures coming soon), take a very deep breath and cut out all the pattern pieces for Elly’s dress.

Updating Elly’s Toy Chest

I bought this toy chest last year at Memories ‘n More, a local consignment store.

It was my hope that all her toys would fit in it. Ha! Oh the silly dreams we first-time-mothers have.

While searching for curtain fabric, I ran across some red elephant fabric and couldn’t resist buying a yard for Elly’s room. After a brief lesson from Dan on how to use the staple gun, I was off.

Now not only does the toy chest match her red-themed room, but it also matches her nickname (Elly, short for Elizabeth and elephants).

Thanks to Elly’s help yesterday, I have to fit all the toys back into the toy chest. Maybe I’ll take the opportunity to rotate her toys.

2 Down and Still 5 to Go

Another hexagon is finished.

There is a little bump in the middle of the hexagon where all points meet. I am hoping that it will lay flat during the washing and blocking stage.

I am no closer to finishing the blanket than the last time I posted due to a silly geometry error. It’s a reminder of how much I need to write an apology letter to my geometry teacher. I was so certain that I would never use any of the information he taught.

Only knitting 6 hexagons like I thought would leave a huge gap in the middle.

So, I still have 5 more hexagons to knit. I’m pretty sure I have enough yarn to see me through thanks to my policy of always buying an extra skein.

Scored 2 Chairs

On my way back from taking Jake for a walk and letting Elly play at the local school playground, I saw these chairs sitting in front of my neighbor’s house.

I loved them immediately.

The big, dark wood goes with all the rest of the old, inherited furniture we own. Though the cushions need to be replaced, I still have half a roll of cushion foam leftover from my ongoing wing back chair project.

Do you remember my crazy musical chair plan for the wood stove? Well, we won’t be getting the wood stove because it wouldn’t easily connect to our fireplace. However, my plan involved having 2 chairs flanking the fireplace. I even wished for another wing back chair to slip cover.

I got pretty close to having my wish granted. Neither are wing back chairs, but they are comfy sitting chairs. Not being wing backs will allow me to sew slip covers in a weekend or two rather than months.

This chair is actually a rocker.

I love rocking chairs. I haven’t a clue where I will put it. There really isn’t room for it, but that didn’t stop me from dragging it home. Literally. Dan was off watching a movie with a friend. Not willing to leave it on the curb lest someone else snatch it and not able to lift it, I drug it across my neighbor’s yard and into my yard. Sheer determination got it onto our front porch.

A Small Change

We moved into our house almost 6 years ago. All the windows came with curtains. I have born a deep hatred for them all. They are too formal, too flowerly, and too dark. Yet, I have kept them, biding my time until I find the perfect fabric to replace them with.

But, why did I keep the mini curtain over the front door? It served no real purpose. It looked ugly. I suppose I kept it because it matched the rest of the curtains in the living room.

As usual, I forgot to snap a before picture. Thankfully, Elly caught the front door in the very first picture she took on my camera.

Yesterday, after finally ordering half of the fabric to replace the red living room curtains, I climbed onto a chair and removed the curtain hardware.

It looks so much better.

All I did was remove 4 screws. If only all DIY projects were this easy ……

Picking up Speed

Remember how I said this blanket was going to take years to complete? It’s looking like I may have to admit I was wrong. Give me a little bit of knitting time and I don’t screw around! Ha!

Since Elly is more and more independent with each passing day, I am back to bringing my knitting bag with me everywhere I go. While visiting my godsons for the eldest’s birthday, I managed to sneak in a few rows.

In the past 4 days, I have knit 1/3 or 2 sections of one hexagon.

Why I just might finish this blanket in the course of a few months. Oh, I hope so. I have so many other knitting projects I want to make like a skirt for Elly, a jacket for me and a sweater for Dan.