Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"New" Couch

Thanks to my lovely, wonderful mother, my couch has been re-upholstered!

We bought a brand new flexsteel couch years ago when Hannah was just a few months old. Not thinking anything of it, we picked out a red couch. It was covered in a wannabe micro fiber type material. We loved the red but the plainness did nothing for camouflaging messes.
Fast forward about 6 years and we were the owners of a well built but really dilapidated looking couch. Every stain showed and you could see the strain on the fabric from the couch enduring four rambunctious children. The fabric on the cushions was starting to fray and there where a few places that my children could get their fingers in and remove stuffing. Not good.

(Notice the couch behind my sleeping handsome boys.)

(I'm horrible at taking "before" I had to search hard for these two, the one with Ivan in the helmet is from a year ago and notice the nasty stains on the arm of the couch.)

It needed help, badly.

Now, I have attempted a few re-upholster jobs in my brief history but all my "jobs" where cheap chairs I found at the dump re-sale shop, so it didn't matter if I got it right or not. But my way, not by myself.

So I called my mom. "Mom, will you help me re-cover my couch?"

Without hesitation she said yes. My mom is awesome. And also she has quite a bit more experience re-upholstering things. She knows what she's doing and she's good.

Back in October I went to Fabric Depot and found a great upholstery fabric for $7 a yard, and bought all that they had left; I think it ended up being about 18 yards. I wanted to be on the safe side ('cause it's not like I could run out and buy more mid-project). It's textured and patterned and will hide stains well.

And the fabric has been waiting in my craft closet until my mom purchased the pneumatic stapler she wanted and found the time to come help me. Though as it turns out, I mostly helped her...

She got here Sunday night and Monday morning after the kids and I did a little schoolwork we got to work taking the couch apart.

The key is to take it apart slowly and use the old pieces as patterns.

We got it all taken apart and the main body of it, except for the back, put together again on Monday. Erik even helped with the stretching, pulling and stapling. And then Tuesday we spent working on the cushions. My mom did all the sewing, so I did most of the taking apart of old cushions, so we could use the piping and zippers, and the cutting out of new pieces.

The back cushions used to be attached, but I hated it. They were quite scrunched down and I hated not being able to turn them, so we didn't attach them this time. In doing so we discovered we didn't have enough piping to go around the "new" back cushions. So my mom checked at Creative Fabrics in Wheeler and Doris gave my mom the number for Jerry's Custom Upholstery in Bay City. I called and he said he would sell me some, so I hopped in the van and drove down there. I only needed 10 yards, so he just gave it to me! He said I paid more in the gas coming down, so just to take it! Lovely!

We finished last night at about 11:20pm.

I really like my "new" couch. My mom does good work.

And I did help some, and so did Erik. I have about 7 or so yards of material left! So maybe I went a little overboard with the fabric, but have no fear, I'm already planning a few projects for it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marilyn Oliva

I thought many times about sitting down yesterday and writing a Birthday post for Miss Moddy but amidst the many things going on, it didn't happen. We also haven't "officially celebrated" with cake yet. We're waiting until Sunday and she'll share a cake with Aunt Mindy.

My little girl is 2.


I'm having a hard time believing it.

She's a spunky little thing and sometimes I just look at her and wonder, "Who are you? Where did you come from?"

She's full of life and energy. She loves animals, her "special job" is feeding Quincy in the morning (she gets really upset if she sees anyone else doing it). She loves playing outside. She's a sweet cuddle-er and my favorite thing is in the morning she'll come stumbling into our room if we're not up yet, climb up next to me and lay across me and snuggle. She also likes to help unload the dishwasher.

She still takes a nap in the afternoon and usually requests me to sing. Her favorite song is "Bible tells me so" (Jesus loves me) which she requests two or three times in a row. Then if she's feeling particularly silly she'll interrupt me mid-song with a smile, a laugh, and a request for "lu-lu". (Another lullaby I've sung to the kids since they were little.)

Happy Birthday Marilyn!

Love you baby.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Garden Dreams

This year we're getting a head start on the garden. I just planted a few colder weather veggies directly into the ground and I'm hoping they actually grow.
Sunday was a gorgeous day, still cold but the sun was shining so Erik and I headed out to the garden to work the beds. We dug up most of the invading buttercups and tilled the soil.

(Side note: Erik now wears a wool hat instead of a baseball cap...and oh boy do I like the look of it.)

We then worked some of this wonderful compost into the beds. This beautiful dirt came from our worm bin. We have red worms and a huge box that we throw all the compost from our kitchen into. And in turn we get to "harvest" this beautiful dirt to put back in our soil. I never thought that worms and compost and dirt would make me smile but they do.

This is what the inside of our bin looks like. Nothing fancy, but we started by throwing all the compost on one side of the bin and when that got full and subsequently worked down we started throwing the compost into the other side and the worms migrated over, leaving the garden ready stuff behind.
Miss Moddy came out after her nap and helped drop seeds in their rows. She was quite helpful and careful.

Then she joined Clayton in the hammock for a swing.

Three beds are worked and two and a half are planted with snow peas, kale, swiss chard and spinach. There's some garlic growing that I planted last year and a few onions that were missed last harvest.
Here's hoping things grow this year and that the slugs stay away. Spring is around the corner, I know it. My irises are blooming and just today, in spite of the rain and blustering winds I spotted a yellow tulip just about to open.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This is Why...

...I love homeschooling!

Today we were playing with pattern shapes and Hannah had a large hexagon shape in front of her. I asked her to tell me about her shape and she said, "It's a square."

In much confusion I asked, "What do you mean it's a square? It's not a square, it's a hexagon. Can you try and explain?"

And she said, "Well, it's kind of like it's a box."

Me: "Huh?"

She went and picked up a cardboard box out of the laundry room, brought it to me and held it at an angle, "See, kind of like this."

I still wasn't getting it.

So she pointed to her shape again and said, "Well, just pretend there's a line here and here and here."

And then I saw it.

And to explain what she explained to me, I drew you a picture.

Look in order of top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right.

Let's just say I was/ I am quite impressed.

And then I explained that that shape is a cube.

I love being in on these discoveries that my children make.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cooking With Emily?

Every year the church puts on a "Gifts of the People" art show during the 4th of July weekend, preceded by art classes the few weeks before. You can come and learn photography, painting, quilting, crocheting, leatherworking, glass work and guitar.
Hypothetically speaking...
If someone asked me to teach a cooking class some night at church, what would you like to learn to make?
Maybe it's not so hypothetical.
And maybe I've already said I would.
And maybe the panic has already set in...
What should I teach?
A full meal?
Something baked?
Any suggestions?
Any recipe I've mentioned that you would love to learn from an
Please comment and let me know, I'm horrible at decisions like this.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I've had this for awhile now but I keep forgetting to share about my "new toy".
I inherited this wonderful grain mill from Erik's grandparents. It's a wood encased stone mill that can be hooked up to a handle or an outlet and grinds beautiful flour. The latest that it could have been purchased was 1972. I doubt the warranty on the back of the owners manual is still viable but...
Oh how I love it.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kitchen aid grain mill it just can't handle the quantities that I require. I still use it for cracked wheat cereal.
But this...

Well, actually these:
Can turn many cups of grain into many more cups of flour in about 5 minutes.

I really like freshly ground flour.